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Centrally located between Malibu Creek and Topanga State Park is a lonely stretch of road the locals refer to as the “Mulholland Dieway”. Here first responders rally to save those unfortunate enough to find themselves stranded and in need of assistance. For years Karen thought that section of road was unusually treacherous – tonight would be no different.
Nearby lies a creature with a heart as black as night. It has reinvented itself and moves through time unnoticed by most.. It feeds on those unfortunate and in dire straits. Immersing itself in the misfortune of others, it is a life saver for most, but for some, the last thing they will ever see.
Their Whambulance was always left running so at a moment’s notice they could be on their way. Karen waved to a few fire fighters she passed in the hallway on her way to the back of the station. Pushing the women’s restroom door open she walked inside. She had taken two steps inside when the door closed with a squeak. Stopping where she stood she looked around. It was beautiful. Beiges, tans, and browns took control of the palate in this room. California Golden Slate tiling covered every inch of the floor. Natural wooden doors with horizontal slats filled the insides from top to bottom of the sturdy doors.
The lighting in the room was soft, and easy on the eyes. The stalls were supported by tiled columns that reached to the ceiling. The sinks were separate pedestals, equally spaced with everything within an arm’s reach for convenience. You could stand in front of your sink and easily grab hand towels, lotion, soap, napkins, and tissues. There was even an eye glass cleaner dispenser! Looking in the mirror Karen counted eight stalls that covered the back wall. All were open wide and appeared to have been recently cleaned. This was probably used as an overflow for the men. Of all the fire fighters, only two were women.
Smiling widely, Karen chose stall five and walked inside. After closing the door Karen locked it by pushing the button on the stainless steel handle. Using her time, she accessed her cell phone and looked for any new social media posts. “Nope, no new emails,” Karen thought as she swiped to check her texts. Karen was finished checking her phone when she heard the squeak of the door. She knew that someone had just entered. She listened as the stall door next to hers closed and a pair of black sneakers walked in. The woman began relieving herself almost immediately, Karen envied that, it normally took her several minutes before she could go. “I have to get that checked out one day,” Karen chuckled. The woman finished and stood up, exiting before Karen had even started.
The toilet flushed after the woman had walked away. It made enough noise to mask where the woman had walked to. Karen wasn’t sure if it was the noise the water made when the pedestal sink was used or the flushing noise of the toilet next to her, but on cue she began urinating. After finishing, Karen listened for the squeaking door to tell her someone had just left before getting up and opening her door. She pulled the door to her and moved to the left so she could exit. Karen managed to put one foot in front of the other before she was pushed back into the stall by Lisa.
“There’s something I’ve wanted to tell you,” Lisa said as she avoided eye contact and locked the door.
Karen smiled and placed her palms outward and turned her head slightly to the side smiling.
“I’m flattered but,” Karen finished before Lisa kneed her in the stomach.
Dr. Stevens took a moment to appreciate his surroundings. A golden brown hue reached upward from the walls to the ceiling, providing a welcoming glow for all. Recessed rectangular lighting came down from above the kitchen area, but over the customers, round suspended globes provided a softer glow. Mid center a single cash register stood sentry to witnessing all who entered these walls. Adjacent to the cash register was bar stool seating reminiscent of diners from the 60s. At both ends of the building were comfortable booths, and on the right side there was a juke box that played a variety of songs throughout the work day. Whether or not booths or stools were available depended on the hour of the day or night that you visited. Booths were sometimes ready, but most of the time a bar stool was a safe bet, these places were almost always busy.
Tonight, patrons were dispersed with two couples seated in booths on opposite ends, with a party of three planted on the bar stools. On the other side in the kitchen area was five servers and three cooks, all buzzing around at various speeds of efficiency. At the same time two servers welcomed him and told him to sit anywhere. Dr. Stevens smiled back and took a booth that looked inviting as he followed the thick scent of blood in the air. From what he could tell they were short servers tonight, and they had a cook in training. It didn’t bother him, he had plenty of time. With the warm smells of waffles and blood wafting through the air, he thought he should never leave. An older woman hovered over the corner of his seated partition and took his order. He ordered the same thing he ordered each and every time he came to a Waffle House. Smiling she left and said she would be right back with coffee. It wasn’t her. The constant motion of all employees made it difficult indeed to put a finger on his next meal, but he was up to the challenge.
His senses were in overload as he continued scanning the room and its inhabitants. If his pray was a customer, it would make things so much easier. If the one he was hunting was an employee, well that’s when things would become complicated. The waffles and coffee were fresh and over powering scents. He could smell the dozens of chickens that laid the individual eggs that were stacked in the wire metal cage with ease. Dr. Stevens could identify at least four types of deodorant used in six different locations on three different individuals. He could tell that the windows were last cleaned approximately thirty minutes ago due to the smell of vinegar in the air, but he could not tell which employee was broadcasting their blood for him. He had narrowed it down to employees walking around in the kitchen. The fact of the matter was that employees mattered not to him. He would figure all of this out tonight. Dr. Stevens was in the middle of another thought when his order arrived.
His server slid a plate down in front of him consisting of a pecan waffle and looked over at his coffee before turning back to him.
“Biding my time, I’ll get moving on the coffee in a few,” he said smiling.
“No worries, now you know you only have the rest of your life to enjoy it, hon,” she said smiling as she walked away.
Not her, he thought as he arranged his butter and syrup in concentric circles on his waffle. Reaching down to his coffee he felt its warmth and brought the cup to his nose. This was as close a culinary experience as he could go. Sometimes the scents of food were so wonderful to him, so powerful, that he often associated them with feeding or an orgasm. It had been years since he last took a bite of a waffle. That night ended horribly for him and took him weeks to recover. It almost ruined his love for this place, almost.
There. There it is, it is her, he thought as he panned left. A young blonde server stopped to replace his napkin dispenser with a full one. Looking at her he smiled and took in her scent.
“Nice to meet you,” he said with a very large smile.
Linda smiled back efficiently and continued replacing nearby napkin holders, glancing back one time with another smile towards the man.
He listened to her thoughts as he cut up his waffle and moved the pieces around his plate. She was chaotic, and all over the place. He pulled out words such as batteries, plastic, fuzzy, and water-some sort of checklist or shopping list, he deduced. The scent of blood hung thick around that one, and in continuing to check her out he quickly determined the cause. She had a white bandage around her left wrist, obviously covering a recent burn or some sort of wound. It might as well have been a neon sign that flashed ‘eat me’. Dr. Stevens could tell that she was sexually active. Her scent coupled with her blood was enough. Throw in the list of her words and one would have clarity and confidence in that theory. He knew he must meet her to put his inquiring mind at ease. He made an effort to have a late-night breakfast each and every night for the rest of this week, and from now on to sit in her section. He paid for his meal and took the waffle with him. It pained him so to leave it behind. He would enjoy its smell as long as he could before discarding it in a local trash bin.
The next night he again visited the friendly Waffle House. He stood at the juke box to make a selection as he waited to see what section his new friend was working. Ah, nothing wrong with some ‘afternoon delight’ he thought as he punched the buttons for a lovely song by the Starland Vocal Band. For years he thought that song was sung by Captain and Tennille. He had a wait of about four minutes before a table was cleaned in her section. He quickly walked over and stood nearby as she ran a clean cloth towel over the bench.
“All ready now, I’ll be right back with your coffee,” she said smiling.
Looking back over at Amalie who had not budged, Karen asked her the question that had been bothering her for days.
“How can you help out?” Karen asked with sincerity.
“Well, where do you need us? I suppose when the car blows up, after the distraction?” Amalie said.
“I am puzzled about a few things. I have seen the movies on TV about vampires, particularly the ones where there are vampires fighting vampires. Can’t you just rip heads off, or punch through chests to obtain the hearts? Why would you want to partner up with humans for this?” Karen said, throwing her cards on the table.
“Like I said earlier, we’ve been hunting him for years, he knows us. He does not know you, well, not really. He’s only seen you once before. He knows you in your first responder role, so you will have to wear your uniform for tonight’s endeavors. Other than that, is there anything else I can do for you?” Amalie asked with pep.
“Nope, it all makes sense. We’ll be expecting you there immediately after we blow the vehicle up, and not a second sooner. I’m counting on your speed to get you into the action as it develops,” Karen said with confidence.
“Now that’s my girl, don’t forget what we talked about earlier,” Amalie said as she walked for the door and left.
Karen was puzzled by this, but there wasn’t much that didn’t involve the two of them that she didn’t find puzzling. Walking over to the kitchen table she sat down and added some sugar to her black coffee and yet again went over her notes. On her third review after Amalie had left, she decided it was time for a break. Refilling her coffee Karen moved to the living room and sat on the couch. She turned on her TV to relax and catch up on current events. Watching the eleven o’clock news was something she didn’t do often, but tonight it seemed prudent. While she was at it, she picked a few news shows scheduled for tomorrow morning and evening and set her DVR to record them. In case things hit the fan, she wanted to get as much info as possible on what was going down, and what reporters found out.
One hour of mindless news and a few talk shows later and it was time to prepare. Looking at her watch it was just before 2 a.m. Soon Clarence would be looking for a car to steal so he could drive it over the guard rail for the trap. Shortly after that it would be rigged with enough explosives to pull the limbs right off that vampire. After that, Dom would make the call to 911 and then all would be ready. Three hunters would surprise him, blow him up, stab and stake him, and then when all was ready, the other vampires would join the fray.
She didn’t care why they wanted him dead, or what grudge they held against him. Karen just reveled in the fact that there would be one less vampire in the world. She still didn’t know where her group fit into Amalie’s plans. They had talked about the possibility of killing Amalie, especially for what she had done to her in the sewer, but it was only loosely mentioned. Enough thinking, Karen thought. It was time to act. Taking the first of many steps on tonight’s adventure, Karen closed her door and took off down the hall.
When Karen had both feet on the ground she fought back. Twisting her body around, Karen sent a well-placed knee into Lisa’s face. It was Lisa’s turn to stare blindly on as Karen got in a few blows, sending her to the floor. Lisa fell backwards on her butt and hit her head on the floor. Karen kicked her twice before reaching down and pulling her up by her blouse. Just when Lisa was high enough for Karen to punch in the face her buttons ripped sending her back to the floor.
“Blue? I would have figured you to have a black bra,” Karen grunted.
Lisa protected her face as Karen sent several hindered kicks her way. The pants between her legs offered resistance, but she had to try. Karen’s survival instincts had begun! Karen was taking care of Karen. Kick after kick landed against Lisa’s thighs, her butt, her stomach, but her arms protected her face. Lisa was hurting badly at this point. She was looking for a way to get back up without taking a foot to the face. Karen had a look of anguish on her face, and with each consecutive kick she began to tear up. She began slowing, as if recognizing the fight was almost over, she had won.
The next kick that Karen landed hit Lisa in her chest. Lisa grabbed Karen’s foot by the heel and raised it as high as she could into the air. This sent Karen flying backwards, head over heel. She landed on her back, half knocking the wind out of her. Karen hit her head on the side of the toilet, effectively making it game over. She saw blackness as she struggled to take in air. Karen knew one thing, although she hurt badly and one of her eyes was closing, she was still alive!
Lisa had regained her strength and was holding Karen’s ankles so she could not kick her again. “Looking down from above would be hilarious,” Lisa thought. Her with her blouse ripped open, Karen with pants down to her ankles, and both of them wrestling around on the floor of a woman’s restroom stall. This would have been a great UFC match indeed! Lisa looked on a few seconds longer before taking a deep breath and pulling Karen over closer to her. This placed Karen’s legs from her knees down outside the stall and into the restroom proper. Lisa thought back to the Wizard of Oz movie where the house was on top of the Wicked Witch of the East with only her legs and shoes showing. More importantly though, was the fact that Karen’s camel toe was only inches away from Lisa’s face.
Karen’s head had hit the floor hard when Lisa had pulled her forward, further hampering her already injured state. Lisa took a knee and then climbed up on Karen to straddle her.
“Next time you’ll think twice before you try to double cross one born of darkness,” Lisa yelled out.
“The story line is really intriguing; I just love it.”
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“As an EMT I am a holder of hands, a consoler of families, a patient advocate, a fixer of the broken. I am the saver of lives while putting my own aside. We work long tireless shifts, having no personal life, and it’s all worth it. ‘No greater love has he…'”
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