IN FEAR OF FEAR
In Game Date: October 2008
“This is the Police! Come out with your hands up!”
Jack recognized Deputy Jody Wells’ voice immediately. After all she had just arrested him the day before. What he found disconcerting though was that JJ Mercer was there as well having obviously manipulated her into coming to arrest them. Luckily it was late afternoon and the deputies would be unable to perceive them through the windows of the bed and breakfast due to the glare.
Zeb told Lief to stall the deputies while he prepared a ritual casting using an Edward Cullen doll and Jack closed his own eyes in concentration and started mumbling under his breath. Knowing that the truth (JJ is a White Court Vampire) would be rejected as totally crazy Lief tried to explain to Jody that the Deputy had trained his dog to kill on command and used it to kill the missing Deputy, Maxwell.
Oozing charm JJ replied, “Aw, c’mon, Chère, you know that dogs hate me. Remember when Widow Ame’s poodle went crazy and attacked me when I was trying to resuscitate her after her heart attack? There is no way I could train a dog to do something like he is suggesting. He is just trying to confuse you.”
Roy called out, “Deputy Wells, you have to see it. He is a pathological liar and he is manipulating you. You’re a good cop. That is clear to me but he is playing you.”
At that moment Jack opened his eyes and released his spell and a subtle spiritual energy flowed out from him and washed over the defensive White Court Vampire. Nothing overt happened but subtly the demon inside that JJ was working so hard to conceal was revealed in the shining silver of his eyes and lean, hungry lines of his face. Jody gasped at him obviously seeing him in a new light despite not really understanding what he was. Her instincts told her she was in the presence of a predator though. Seeing that the deputies were distracted Riley moved to a better position and would be lying in wait if the confrontation devolved into a fire fight.
Detective Mullinex tried again, “Deputy, you have read the reports. Why is it that Deputy Mercer is almost always the first one on the scene of the disappearances? Why are the descriptions of the males perps involved in the crimes so vague? It is clear that he is hiding something. You have to see it!”
“He is a sociopath,” Lief called out. “He would have to be to hurt a child. You know what happened to Charlie Jensen. He was severely mauled. Someone who could do that would have to be a monster.”
Seeing that Wells was being swayed JJ exclaimed, “He’s playing you, Jody. He is trying to manipulate your emotions. You have worked with me for the last year. You know I am a good cop,” exasperated, “Why are we even listening to these people? They are obviously in on it with that kid. You saw his rap sheet. He is the murderer! He got it away with it in Seattle and we won’t let him get away with it here.”
At that moment Zeb finished his ritual. Suddenly the Edward doll with one of Jack’s hairs attached to it transformed into a shadowy form that looked exactly like the young Warden and ran out the door with inhuman speed. JJ called out that “I got him!” and gave chase easily able to keep up using his own superhuman quickness to catch the illusion a couple of blocks down the street. As he slammed into it the shadowy form vanished. Jody Wells was completely shocked at the display of speed.
Roy, realizing that she was wavering, tried again,“Deputy, he is not what he seems. Surely you can see that. No one normal could move that fast.”
Jack chimed in, "Jody, I know you are confused and that he has made you doubt what is right before your own eyes. But that is what he does. He fosters trust in the people around him with his disarming charm. He did it to me earlier. And now he is using his “magic” on you. But you have to trust to your instincts. Think about all the inconsistencies in his story."
Mercer jogged up right at that moment saying “He got away—-”. He stopped short. He could see it clearly in her eyes. Jody Wells doubted him. That was unacceptable. His arms blurring he turned on the deputy ready to gun her down. He would worry about covering it up later. Just as his revolvers fired on the startled Deputy a single gun shot rang out. Riley’s bullet hit the vampire’s revolver causing his aim to be skewed and the bullet sailed over the head of the startled target. Jody reacted with admirable speed and accuracy…for a human. Her return fire tore through the space that JJ had occupied a fraction of second before. However, he was moving so fast that he seemed to almost vanish.
“What the hell is he?!?!” cried the shaken deputy.
“A White Court Vampire,” replied Jack in a serious voice.
Jody stared at the young man in disbelief. “A vampire? Are you fucking kidding me!? But he was walking around in the daylight. I thought vampires would burst into flame. Or sparkle or some shit like that?”
“Only Black and Red Court Vampires are vulnerable to sunlight and they both feed on blood as you might expect. White Court Vamps are different. They have no weakness to the sun. Plus they feed on emotions not blood. In his case fear. They are the foundation for the myths of the Incubus,” Jack explained.
“There are no sparkling vampires,” he growled, “If there were I would have to dedicate my life to their destruction like any sane person.”
“I am with you there,” said Lief as he headed inside the B&B to check on Emmie Mercer. When he walked in Emmie was standing over the twitching form of Bob Heupel with a rapt expression on her face. “Emmie,” called the worried doctor, “Emmie, snap out of it!”
When he grabbed her arm she seemed to come back to herself and Bob stopped twitching and moaning. The rest of the group entered the house on Lief’s heals. “What happened here?” asked Zeb, his monotone voice showing little actual interest.
Emmie turned to them and said, “It’s the war. It wasn’t kind to him.”
“I know the feeling,” Zeb replied with a faraway stare creeping into his own eyes.
Lief didn’t believe her. He knew the signs of a psychic feeding when he saw them. He could only hope that the girl hadn’t fed enough to become a full vampire or she would be lost to them all.
Lief then asked her to bring him something that the kidnapped child loved. A toy or a doll or something. Also he wanted her hairbrush. So distracted by what just happened Emmie didn’t even question the order and ran into the house and brought back the brush and a stuffed bunny rabbit.
Lief concentrated and started playing with the toy as if he was a child himself talking to the cute little stuffed bunny and answering as if it spoke back to him. He finally asked the bunny in a sing-song voice to find Jayme Heupel and to tell him where she was.
“She’s at the cemetery?” he intoned as Deputy Wells stared at him as is he’d lost his mind. He put the bunny on his shoulder and said, “We have to leave now. It is almost sunset and we don’t want to be there after dark.”
“The girl stays here,” stated Jody. “I can’t risk a civilian with something like this.” Her eyes snapping into focus as she realized the deputy was talking about her Emmie cried out, “No! I won’t leave her! You have to take me!”
Lief told the deputy that it would be too dangerous to leave Emmie behind. “What if JJ showed back up after they left? Also, Jayme knows the child. That could be important when we find her.” The deputy finally agreed to take Emmie along but said that she would have to stay behind in the patrol car. She also took her shotgun. “I am not going to have some squirrely civilian at my back with a loaded gun.”
Lief had a second motive for taking the beautiful young girl along. White Court Vampires are born not made. However, if they experienced a pure emotion the opposite of the one they would end up feeding on as a full vampire before they reached adulthood then they would remain human and not be controlled by the demon inside of them. In Emmie’s case Courage could save her from her nature. One thing was clear to the doctor, facing down a Black Court Vampire in a cemetery would give her plenty of opportunity to be brave. He had seen her possible Fates and he wanted to help her save herself from becoming a monster.
They arrived at the cemetery at dusk. The sunset was quite lovely although all them felt their hearts beat a little faster as they realized that the vampires would be able to walk freely within minutes. Zeb, an experienced Wizard who had traveled many Ways throughout the Nevernever, sensed the entrance easily. After consulting star charts and ley line maps from a couple of books he kept with him he deduced that while it would be more difficult to open during the day once the sun went down it would be easy to access. As he prepared to open the Way to the Nevernever Detective Mullinex searched the area and found fresh prints leading right to where Zeb had said the portal was.
“Remember Revenge of the Demon Bride VI when the heroes went to Hell?” Lief asked Emmie. She nodded her head. “Well, this is going to be exactly like that,” he said as a shimmering doorway appeared in front of the old wizard grabbing everyone’s attention. “OK,” gulped Emmie, “I am ready.”
“Here,” said the doctor passing her the shotgun that the distracted Wells had taken from her, “Now you are ready.” Emmie smiled at him gratefully and expertly ratcheted a shell into the chamber.
Jody Wells was transfixed by the shimmering portal to another world. Jack turned to look her in the eye gesturing for them to wait there. He winked at Jody and then vanished into thin air. She gasped in disbelief. After a moment he reappeared whispering that it was clear before going back through the portal.
Everyone entered the portal that led to a large chamber. Obviously it was the same location they had encountered in the Seattle sewer drain. Luckily, the tentacled horrors were absent this time. Amusingly, by crossing into the Nevernever the bunny rabbit toy was transformed into an ambulatory cartoon creature. It jumped down from Leif’s shoulder and pointed to one of the entrances to another chamber. Riley and Lief crept forward to check the next room. They saw a man in the middle of a large chamber with shadows clinging to him like some kind of inky residue. He was wearing the same kind of uniform as Jody. They had found their missing deputy.
Ever cautious Jack levitated a clove of garlic towards the immobile figure to see if Deputy Maxwell had indeed been turned by a Black Court Vampire. He intended to drop the clove down the deputy’s shirt but at the last second the figure reacted and knocked the clove away with a hiss of pain as it burned him. Mustering his considerable power Jack hit the vampire with a blast of intense light that left the creature completely blind. Detective Mullinex reacted immediately and blasted a huge hole through the undead deputy’s chest.
Jody cried out in horror as the mortal wound only staggered her fellow law officer. Emmie stared at the scared deputy with that same rapt expression on her face. Riley then put a three round burst through the creature’s heart dropping him in a spray of gore. The special ammo he was using caused an immediate reaction in the deputy’s body and it exploded in a shower of fire leaving nothing but ash behind.
Intoxicated by Jody’s fear Emmie grabbed her arm and started to feed. Seeing the danger Leif knocked her hand away telling her to fight it. “You have to be Brave, Emmie, and fight your hunger. The reason you are so enraptured with horror movies is that you likely have been lightly feeding on the fear they generate in those around you when you watch them.”
“Lief is right,” said Jack gently, “If you fully feed on someone’s fear it will awaken the demon that is bound to your soul. It will take you over and completely dominate you forcing you to instill fear in others to satiate its hunger. Your life from that point will be one of death and horror that you can never come back from.”
The malignant laughter chilled them all and seemingly came from the darkness itself.
“Worry not young one. You will not live long enough to feed again….”