Chapter 16~17


Chapter Sixteen

Being the Chronicles of Abby Normal:

Completely Fucked Servant of the Vampyre Flood

OMFG-WOOT! I have failed, left my duty undone, like so much dog poop on the gloaming sidewalk of the tragedy that is my life. Even as I sit here at the Metreon Starbucks, writing this, the froth slaves seem to move like silver-eyed zombies and my nonfat, soy Amaretto Mochaccino has gone as bitter as snake bile. (Which is like the bitterest bile you can get.) If there wasn't a totally hot guy two tables away, acting like he doesn't notice me, I would weep - but real tears make your mascara run, so I'm staying chilly in my despair. Your loss, cute guy, for I have been chosen. Suffer, bitch!

I had to leave Lord Flood to his own devices last night, but before I left, I confessed my undying love for him. I am a hopeless hose beast. All I had to do was say good-bye, but no, I just barked it out. It's like he has this power over me - like I have an eating disorder and he's a package of Oreo Double Stuff cookies. (I don't have an eating disorder, I'm just skinny because I enjoy eating mass quantities and then yakking it back up. It's not a body-image problem. I think my system has always wanted to live on a liquid diet, and until I'm brought into my Dark Lord's loving embrace, then it's Starbucks for me.)

I have been trying to call my Dark Lord and the Countess all day on their cells, but I kept getting voice mail. Well, duh - they're vampires. They won't be answering the phone. I'm such a tard sometimes.

So I went to the old loft early this morning, in fact even before dawn. I should be, like, made a Bronte sister for coming up with a story to get out of the house that early, but I wanted to talk to the master before his slumber. Thing was, the scary drunk guy and his huge cat were gone, but so were my master and the Countess. Everything had been moved except the statue of the turtle and the Countess.

So I rolled out, headed for the new loft I rented, when I spotted two cops sitting in a POS brown car. I knew they were vampyre hunters right away. It must be the master's dark powers rubbing off on me. There was a big fat gay cop and a sharp-faced Hispano-cop.

So I was like, "Could you guys look any more like cops?"

And they were like, "Move along, little lady."

So I was forced to point out to them that they were not the boss of me and then I proceeded to humiliate them by verbally bitch-slapping them until they cried. What is it about the crusties? Their minds work so slowly that you have to, like, prompt them to stand up so you can slap them again until they faint like the little wuss-bags that they are. I never want to be crusty. And I won't be, because my Lord will bring me into the fold and I shall stalk the night for eternity, my beauty forever preserved as it is, except I'd like a little bigger boobs.

Anyway, I wandered around on Market Street and up in Union Square to give the cops enough time to slink off to lick their wounds, then I returned to the master's street to check the new loft. This time there was this Asian guy sitting across the street in a Honda, looking all Manga-cool, but it was obvious that he was watching the loft door. He didn't look like a cop, but he was definitely watching, so I stopped and pretended to watch the sculptors work who have the space under the master's old loft. They are these two crusty biker guys, but they do some amazing shit. They'd left the garage door open so I stepped in.

They were putting dead chickens on wires and dipping them in silver paint, then hanging them on sticks by the wires.

So I was all, "What the fuck, biker? What are you doing?"

And one of them was like, "It's almost the year of the cock."

And I was all), "Don't be gross, you crustacious fuck. You pull that thing out and I'll pepper-spray you until you fry." (You have to be stern with weenie waggers - I've been exposed to on the bus over seventeen times, so I know.)

And he was like, "No, it's the year of the cock in the Chinese zodiac."

Which I knew, of course.

"We're making statues," said the bigger biker, who was named Frank. (The other one's name was Monk. He didn't talk much, which might explain the name.)

So they showed me how they took real dead roosters they bought in Chinatown, ran wires through them to pose them, then dipped them in a thin metallic paint, then put them in this big tank and attached electric clips to them. They pass some current through the clips and the current attracts bronze molecules or something to the metallic paint. It's like instant bronze rooster. I thought about the statue of the Countess upstairs and got a little creeped out.

So I'm all, "You ever do a person?"

And they were like, "No way, that would be wrong. You'd better go now, because we're behind and don't you have school and stuff?"

So walking out, I saw the Asian guy checking me out and I was like, "Hey, it's almost the year of the cock. Shouldn't you be out shopping for one?"

He looked really nervous, but he kinda grinned. Then started his car and drove off, but he wants me, I can tell, so he'll be back. I hope he wants me. He was so cute - in that Final Fantasy Thirty-Seven way. What I'm saying is, the Sex Fu is strong with this one.

So there was no sign of my Dark Lord or the Countess at the new place. I wonder if they have crawled under the earth in some park and satisfied their perverse desires with each other among the worms and the tree roots. Eww!

Oh well, almost dark. I'd better go back to the loft and wait for them.

Addendum: The lice shampoo didn't work on my sister. Looks like we might have to shave her head. I'm going to try to talk her into getting a pentagram tattooed on her scalp. I know a guy in the Haight who will do it for free if you verbally abuse him while he's tattooing. More later.

Sundown. Jody awoke to pain and the smell of cooking meat. She rolled away from the source of the pain and went crashing through the acoustical ceiling tiles to land in a commercial sink full of dishes and soapy water. A Mexican guy was backing across the dish room crossing himself and invoking saints in Spanish as Jody climbed out of the sink and brushed suds off her jacket and jeans. When she touched the front of her thighs she nearly leapt back through the ceiling the pain was so sharp.

"Mother-fuck-that-hurts!" she said, hopping around on one foot, because that will generally help all manner of pain, regardless of where it's located on the body. Her boot heel clicking against the tiles sounded like a limping flamenco dancer.

The dishwasher turned and bolted out of the dish room into the bakery.

The bakery. When the alarm on her watch had threatened dawn she ran down the alley checking doors as she went, and the only one she found unlocked led into the stockroom of a bakery. She needed a place to hide where she'd be undisturbed while she slept, and although she considered hiding under a couple of the fifty-pound bags of flour, she had no way of knowing if the bakers would be using them today. She'd already awakened in a morgue once before (when Tommy had frozen her), and finding a rotund necrophiliac morgue attendant rubbing his hands and other bits over her seminaked body while she thawed had soured her to the whole morgue experience. No, she had to find someplace more secluded.

One of the bakers had been coming into the stockroom, she could hear his voice and footfalls outside the door. She looked around for somewhere to hide, then spotted the grimy acoustic ceiling tiles suspended above. She leapt onto the pallet of flour, lifted a tile to see that the ceiling was suspended a full four feet below the structural ceiling. Bless old buildings. She grabbed a water pipe, pulled herself through the ceiling, jackknifed her legs up and around the pipe, then used her free hand to pull the ceiling tile back in place, all in less than two seconds.

She listened as the man moved around below her, then scooped up one of the big bags of flour and left the room. That was a good call.

She checked her watch. Less than a minute before she'd go out. She spotted four pipes running together parallel to the floor. They were slightly warm, which was why she could see them at all in the darkness, but each was two inches around and braced to the ceiling every few feet. They'd hold her.

She scrambled over to the pipes, squirmed out of her leather jacket, and put it across the pipes, then lay facedown on top of it. This way, even if one of her legs slipped off, it wouldn't pull her off the pipes. She was trying to wedge the toes of her boots into the gap between the pipes when she went out.

The problem was that the pipes weren't used that early in the morning. As the building awoke, hot water began coursing through them, and Jody had been subjected to the heat all day. Her jacket had protected her face and torso, but her thighs had been slow-cooked inside her jeans.

She gritted her teeth and bolted through the dish room door into the back room of the bakery. So now it's deserted. Of course, bakers work in the middle of the night and the early morning. At sundown the dishwasher would be the only guy still in the building.

She found her way to the stockroom, then out into the alley. She could see the entries to both of their lofts from the end of the alley, and fortunately, no one appeared to be watching from the street. There were lights on in the new loft and she made her way to the door, her legs burning with every step.

She listened at the door - did what she thought of as "reaching out." If she focused she could almost hear shapes, depending on the ambient noise. There was someone in the loft - she could hear the heartbeat, industrial music playing in headphones, the shuffling of a body - a light body dancing. It was the kid, Abby Normal. Where in the hell was Tommy? He couldn't be far from the loft - the sun had gone down only five minutes ago.

Jody pounded on the door, but the shuffling sounds upstairs didn't change rhythm, and she pounded again, this time leaving a dent in the metal door. Fuck, the kid has the headphones cranked and can't hear a thing.

Jody shivered, although not because of the cold, but because the hunger was rising in her. Her body telling her she needed to feed so she could heal.

She'd only done it once before, and wasn't sure she could pull it off again, but she needed to get into the loft and leave a lockable door intact. She concentrated as the old vampire had taught her, and gradually, she felt herself fading - going to mist.

Monet was no longer dressed as the statue guy, no longer in character - not that character, anyway. Now he was the masta-blasta, gansta-rappa, full-ninja-badass and a bag of mothafuckin' chips, bi-yatch - bent on revenge and whatnot. He'd given up midafternoon on making any money and had gone home to remove his makeup and lick his wounds. He'd taken a vicious ass-whuppin' today, even if it was only to his ego. But now he was rolling with his homies, P.J. and Fly, they would put that bronze muthafucka down - if he was still around. If he didn't run away like a little bitch.

"You strapped?" Fly said, adjusting his do-rag as he drove his ten-year-old Honda Civic with rims worth more than the rest of the car.

"Huh?" Monet inquired.

"Do you have a weapon?" Fly said, enunciating all Royal Shakespeare Company precise.

"Oh, yeah." Monet pulled the Glock out of his waistband and showed it to Fly.

"Nigga, put that shit down," said P.J., who was in the backseat, wearing a Phat Pharm tracksuit that was four sizes too big for him.

"Sorry," Monet said, tucking the gun back into the waistband of his jeans. He'd borrowed the Glock - rented it, really - from a real gangsta in Hunter's Point, who needed it back in two hours or he'd charge another twenty-five bucks. Before he gave Monet the gun, he made him swear that no one would be wearing gang colors, so nothing Monet did could come back on him. Monet had made the assurance, then, after P.J. did a Google search for gang colors, they settled on orange do-rags, since no gang seemed to claim that one.

"Highway Safety Posse, yo," Monet had said.

"Yo, Stone Tangerine Thugs, yo," suggested Fly.

"Yo, yo, yo, check it out," said P.J., with enough hand gestures that any deaf person watching would have thought he had ASL Tourette's syndrome. "Cheesy Goldfish Crew."

"Yo, dog, that's so stupid it's not stupid," Monet said.

"Is that good?" asked Fly.

"Yo, dog, get in character." Fly was a bad actor. They were all in the same acting class.

He should have just hired real gangsters to do this. P.J. was probably going to trip over the legs of his track pants and completely ruin their intimidation.

"This is it," Fly said, pulling off the street, right up onto the sidewalk of the Embarcadero by the Ferry Building. "That him?"

"That's him," Monet said. There was no one around but the occasional passing car, but the new statue guy still stood there.

"Remember," Fly said. "Walk. Don't run up. Just walk, like you got all the time in the world. Use your sense memories."

"Right, right, right," Monet said. He and P.J. got out of the car and quickstepped across the bricks to where the statue guy was running his game. Damn, he was good, didn't even flinch.

As he reached the statue guy, Monet raised the Glock and the barrel connected with the statue's forehead. "Bi-yatch!" There was a dull clank.

"Whoa," P.J. said. "Nigga really is a statue."

Monet tapped the statue, three dull clanks. "Yep."

"But he got all that money in his shoes," P.J. said.

"Well, take it, stupid," Monet said.

"Yo, step off, Monet. I'm not the one that got upstaged by a statue."

"Shut up," Monet said.

P.J. was grabbing handfuls of bills out of the Big Gulp cups at the statue's feet and shoving them into his pockets. "Must be a G here, G."

"Yo," Monet said. "Help me get the statue into the car."

P.J. stood and got one shoulder under the statue and tried to lift it, while Monet tucked the gun in his pants and got under the other. They dragged the statue only a couple of feet before they had to set it down and catch their breath.

"Motherfucker heavy," P.J. said.

"Would you guys come on!" Fly screamed from the car, totally out of character now.

"Fuck this," Monet said. This whole thing was just too embarrassing. He'd paid rent on the gun, hadn't he? He drew the Glock from his waistband and squeezed one off at the statue.

"Shit," P.J. said, ducking. "Are you crazy?"

"Bi-atch need to learn a - " Monet's comment was choked off.

P.J. stood up and looked back. There was smoke streaming out of the bullet hole in the statue, and in the second he watched, it had formed into a hand and grabbed Monet by the throat. P.J. turned to run, but something caught the hood of his tracksuit and yanked him back off his feet. He could hear Monet gagging and choking. Then he felt a sharp pain in the side of his neck and he felt suddenly light-headed.

The last thing he saw was Fly peeling away in the Honda.

Chapter Seventeen

Being the Chronicles of Abby Normal:

Newly Baptized Minion of the Night

Bow before me, skeezy mortals, for now I see you for the pathetic little rodents that you are. Scurry before my dazzling darkness, daysters, for I am your mistress, your queen, your goddess - I have been brought into the fold - I am Abigail Von Normal, NOSFERATU, bitches!

Sort of.

OMG. It was so fucking cool - like coming twice with Skittles and a Coke. I was in the loft, spacing into my jams on my MP3 player. I had downloaded the latest Dead Can Dub CD (Death Boots Badonka Mix) at the Starbucks and it was totally transcendent. I was transported to an ancient Romanian castle, where everyone had done X and was dancing totally chill and sensuous (with perfect hair). I was grinding a free-form booty dance on the armchair - perfecting my dance gestalt - when I saw some smoke coming in under the door.

(I can't wait to dance with Jared to this new CD. He's so going to love this move I do. That's what I love about dancing with gay guys. If they get wood during a booty dance, you can just take it as a compliment, not an agenda. Jared said that if I was a guy, he would totally suck my dick. He can be so sweet.)

So I pulled out one of my headphones and I was like, "Whoa, fire in the staircase - sucks to be me." There's only one exit, so, you know, blackened Abby coming up.

But the smoke formed into a pillar, and then it started growing arms and legs. When I saw it had eyes I ran into the bedroom and shut the door. I wasn't trippin' or anything, just totally calm. But it wasn't like when your friends hold your hair while you puke and tell you it's just the drugs and you'll be okay - so I went for the safe thing of locking the door so I could assess the situation. Then the door just 'splodes into splinters and there's the Countess, totally naked, standing in the doorway with the knob in her hand. And she was totally hot, except that her legs were all fucked up, like they were burned or rotted or something.

So I'm all, "You totally wrecked your deposit."

And the Countess like grabs my hair and pulls me to her and bites my neck, just like that. It didn't really hurt - it was more surprising - like you woke up from getting a root canal to find your dentist going down on you. Well, not exactly like that - more mystical. But still, surprising. (Okay, it hurt, but not as much as the time Lily tried to pierce our nipples with a compass from geometry class and an ice cube. Youch!)

She smelled like burning meat, and I tried to push her away, but it was like my limbs were paralyzed or there was a fat guy sitting on me - like I was buried alive or something, just watching it happen. And then I started to get lightheaded and I thought I was going to pass out. That's when the ho dropped me.

She goes, "Go downstairs and get my clothes off the sidewalk. And make coffee."

And I'm like, Wait a minute, I just lost my mortality virginity, shouldn't I get a cigarette and a fucking towel or something? But I just said, "Okay," because where the Countess was all burned was healing while I watched, and it was kind of freaking me out to be looking at her naked, burned-up thighs and her totally red pubes anyway. So I went downstairs and just outside the door there was a homeless guy digging through a pile of clothes. Well, really, he was sniffing her panties. And because I don't feel we always do enough to help the homeless, I was like, "Take them, and tell no one what you witnessed here tonight."

(I was already feeling the superiority of my Nosferatitude, so it only seemed appropriate that I go all noblesse oblige on his ass.) So off he went to sniff the lacy crotch of the undead while I went back upstairs to find coffee filters.

So when I get up there the Countess is dressed and hair brushed and she's all, "Where is Tommy? Have you seen Tommy? Did you talk to those cops? And where's Tommy?"

And I was all, "Countess, begging your pardon and shit, but you need to chill. The vampyre Flood was gone when I got here this morning, and so was that bronze statue from the other side. I thought you guys went off to sleep in the damp womb of your native soil or something."

"Yuck!" goes the Countess. Then she tightens down all of sudden. "Make me a cup of coffee, two sugars, and squeeze one of those vials of blood into it - and call us a cab."

And I was like, "Hey, step off, Countess. I'm one of you and you are not the boss of me and - "

And she said, "I said for us, didn't I?"

So I did her bidding - well, our bidding, really - and we took a cab over to the Marina Safeway, but why we didn't transform into bats and fly is beyond me. Anyway, we were there in ten minutes. But as we start to pull in, the Countess tells the driver to keep going.

She was all, "It's Rivera and Cavuto. This is not good."

The POS brown cop car was parked in front of the store. I was all, "Cops? Their shit is weak."

She seemed surprised that I knew the cops, but I told her how I had owned them like the little wussy-boys that they are and I could tell that the Countess was feeling pretty good about bringing me into the dark fold of the coven.

Then she was all, "Fucking Clint - he's telling them about Tommy."

But I couldn't even see what she was looking at beyond the big glass front of the Safeway. I guess my powers will develop as time goes on. Five hundred years is a long time to get your vampyre kung fu down.

The Countess had the driver drop us at Fort Mason, so we could still see the front of the Safeway, and we stood in the fog like the creatures of the night that we were while we waited for the cops to leave.

Then the Countess put her arm around my shoulders and she was all, "Abby, I'm sorry I, uh, attacked you like that. I was hurt really badly and to heal I needed fresh blood. I wasn't really in control of myself. It won't happen again."

"No worries," I told her. "I'm honored to be promoted. Besides, it was kind of hot." Which it was, you know, except for the smell of burning flesh and stuff.

And she was all, "Well, thanks for looking out for us."

And I was all, "Pardon, Countess, but why are we at the Safeway?" Because it's not like we needed groceries.

And she was all, "These guys used to work with Tommy, and one of them knows that he is, uh, one of the children of the night. I think they might know something about where he is now."

Then, over at the Safeway, we saw this goofy-looking guy with frizzy hair and glasses unlock the front door and let the cops out. They got in their car and the frizzy guy locked the front door behind them.

"Showtime," said the Countess. She zipped up her leather jacket, took a pair of sunglasses out of her jacket pocket, and put them on. She goes, "Stay back, Abby. I'll be right back." Then she started across the parking lot toward the Safeway, taking big strides and looking all angel of vengeance, with her red hair flying out behind her, and the lights shining down on her through the fog.

I was like, "Oh shit!"

She didn't even slow down. When she got about ten feet from the front window she snatched up one of the steel-reinforced trash cans like it was made of cardboard and flung it through the window. And she just kept walking! Little cubes of safety glass rained down on her and she just walked through the front of the store like she owned it and everyone in it - which she did.

Before I even got in the store, she was coming back around the corner, dragging the frizzy-haired guy by the throat. She threw him up against a rack of wine bottles, which shattered, spilling red all over the floor and splattering the registers and stuff.

I was all, "Oh, dog, Countess gonna crack open a forty of whup-ass on you now. Oh, you in the shit now, wigga!" (I am not inclined to use hip-hop vernacular often, but there are times when, like French, it just better expresses the sentiment of the moment.)

Just then the whole crowd of guys I'd seen in the limo came running around the corner. The Countess snatched a wine bottle off the rack, and without a second of hesitation, she threw it and it hit the first guy, a tall, hippie-looking guy, right in the middle of the forehead and he went down like he was shot.

She goes, "Back!" and they all headed back around the corner the way they came, except the hippie-looking guy, who was out cold.

Then the Countess picked up the guy with glasses by the throat. And even though he was like a foot taller than her, she whipped him around like a rag doll until he was screaming stuff about Satan and Jesus and telling her to get behind him and shit. And the Countess was all, "Where is Tommy?"

And he was all, "I don't know. I don't know."

And the Countess grabbed him by the hair and held his head steady against the wine rack. Real chilly, she says, "Clint, I'm going to take your right eye now. Then if you don't tell me where Tommy is, I'm going to take your left. Ready. On three. One... Two..."

Then he's all, "I didn't have anything to do with it. She's the spawn of Satan, I told them that."

"Three!" goes the Countess.

"He's in Lash's apartment on Northpoint. I don't know the number."

And the Countess just yells "Number?" out to the whole store.

And the black guy pops up from behind a display of Cheerios and is all, "Six ninety-three Northpoint, Apartment 301." And one of the other guys pulls him back down.

Then the Countess is all, "Thank you. If he's hurt, I'll be back." And she throws the Clint guy through a rack of Doritos, which exploded their nacho cheesy goodness all over the place.

Then she's all, "Well, that's a nice surprise."

And I'm all, "That Lord Flood is in an apartment on Northpoint?"

"I didn't think they would really know. I just didn't know where else to start."

"Probably your senses attuned to Lord Flood's presence over the eons," I said, like a total tard.

And she's all, "Let's go, Abby."

And I don't know why, I guess because I had like low blood sugar or something from blood loss, but I was like, "Can I get some gum?"

And she was all, "Sure. Grab some coffee, too. Whole beans. We're almost out."

So I did. And when I caught up with her, she was halfway across the parking lot, headed back toward Ghirardelli Square, and little pieces of safety glass were still shining in her hair and she smiled at me when I caught up and I just couldn't help myself, because that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Ever! And I was all, "Countess, I love you."

And she put her arm around me and kissed me on the forehead and goes, "Let's get Tommy."

I guess I'll start feeling my vampyre powers tomorrow night, but right now I feel like a total fucking loser. But I am so going to rule when school starts again.


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