Penance
Part Four
Best Kept Secrets
By: Stephanie J. Bardy

Chris slid into the seat of his car. It still gave him the same rush it had when he had bought it fresh off the line in 1980. He turned the key and the engine roared to life. The 301 Turbo rumbled happily as he pulled out of his drive onto the street. His car always got noticed. It had since the day he bought it. He kept the 1980's Trans Am shined to a mirror sheen. It was his pride and joy. More so than any woman he had ever dated. Relationships had ended over this car.

He drove down the street a bit and pulled into the coffee shop parking lot. He could see Dan standing beside his car drinking his coffee. He gave Chris a nod as Chris backed into he spot beside him. Chris never just pulled in. The Firebird must always be on display. It was a thing with Chris. Always on. He had never really given up the band persona as he had gotten older. He no longer traveled with he groups he used to, and was no longer a roadie, but he still maintained the lifestyle like he was. Still wore the ripped jeans and the band t-shirts, still drove the car, still had the long hair. Even though he was just over 50, he had never really grown up.

"Hey Bud, what's the emergency." Said Dan as Chris shut the car off and got out. He turned the key one click more, and his tape deck clicked on. Anthrax poured from the speakers and Dan leaned in the passenger side and turned the volume down. Chris shot him a dirty look.

Dan handed Chris his coffee as he leaned against his car.

"Man do I have some shit to tell you!" Chris said.

Dan nodded. He was a man of few words. Unless it was on conspiracy theories. Then he had a lot to say.

Chris took another sip of his coffee, light a cigarette and began his tale. Dan stood silently and listened. When Chris had finished speaking, he pushed himself off the car and pulled his phone from his back pocket.

Chris went to speak but Dan raised his hand, silencing him.

"Freddie, whatcha doing?" he asked the voice on the other end of the phone. There was a mumbled response.

"Good, tell the wife you are going out and meet me and Chris at the Top Spot. Grab Denny on your way." He pushed the button and hung up the phone.

Chris just stared at him.

"Did you not hear me say that she would kill me if she knew I told you?" Chris was a bit apoplectic at the thought of his other two friends being in the know.

Dan looked at Chris, blinked once, and crossed his arms.

"Dude you just told me that not only do you have survivors of Roanoke in your cousins B&B, but that she and possibly he, are vampires. Either you've slipped a gear and we need to take you to the nuthouse, or you need us to protect that stupid ass of yours. Your mouth will get you killed if this is all true."

"Screw you, it's all true. I don't need your [protection] either. She likes me." Said Chris, with just the slightest of whine to his tone.

"Uh huh." Said Dan. He climbed into his car. "Get in."

Chris locked his car and the two drove down the street to the local bar. The inside was dark and the jukebox played some old tune in the corner. A bar always looked sad and worn during the day, but the emptiness was what Dan was counting on. He took a table at the back by the pool table and ordered two beers.

"We can't tell them." Whined Chris. "I wasn't supposed to tell you."

"Well, that cat can't be stuffed back into that particular bag so suck it up. This is the best bit of information you have shared in a long time." Dan spied Freddie and Denny entering. The whole front of the bar light up as sunlight streamed in the open door. He waved at them and they both grabbed a beer from the bar and headed over to the table.

Freddie folded his tall frame into the chair across from Chris and Denny sat across from Dan. Denny and Dan were brothers but if you didn't know, you wouldn't be able to tell. Denny was very much peace love and happiness. A true child of the 60's who never changed. Dan was full of anger, conspiracy theories and the odd need to punch something. Freddie was the quiet one. He watched people, listened to what they said, and could anticipate trouble before it happened. Many years spent as a door man for some of the rowdier bars in the city, he had learned to watch the body language. It often said more than words ever did.

"I don't have long. I promised the wife we would watch that new show tonight. She wasn't impressed I left her with dinner dishes." Said Freddie. He liked to portray that his wife Vickie ruled the relationship. It gave him an easy out.

Dan prodded Chris.

Chris downed the rest of his beer and told the other two what he had shared with Dan. The four sat in silence drinking their beer.

"Well." Was all Freddie said. He got up and got four more beers.

"Where are they now?" he asked as he sat back down.

"The B&B." replied Chris.

"Do they know you were coming here?" Freddie sat back and watched Chris.

"No. I told them I was going to get my phone fixed."

Freddie sat forward, leaned his arms on the table and stared directly at Chris.

"Don't tell them. Not one word. Don't mention our names, or that you even know us. We need some time to figure this out and the less interaction we have with them for now, the better. This will also buy you some time. You said she threatened you if you told anyone. I'm pretty sure telling three people would make her follow through."

Freddie then turned to Denny. "You still got all that old hiking equipment?" Denny nodded.

"What are you thinking Freddie?" asked Dan. He was very into the whole Roanoke side of it and was desperate to talk to Reese and Marlon. But if Freddie said wait, it was for a good reason, and you waited.

"I will get the wife's camping gear and we will set up base in the woods by the crypt you said you found them at. We will watch from a distance, when they come and go, where they go, what they do. I want to see if there is any truth to what you said. If there is, then we need to know exactly what we are dealing with. This is movie level shit. Not real life. If she has been eating your cooking then garlic is a myth, and they are wandering around in the day so that whole crispy critter by sunlight is bull too."

Chris furrowed his brow. "I'm not sure if they will be able to sense you there. She is kinda weird about some things and completely oblivious about others. The mailman wasn't even at the end of the drive and she knew he was coming, Marlon had to restrain her, but when the satellite guy came with his truck it took her by surprise."

Dan scratched his chin. 'Maybe all the radioactive waves coming off the truck jammed her frequency?"

Denny rolled his eyes. "You and your theories. Satellite tv doesn't make you sterile, it won't give you cancer and they can't read your mind. There are no radioactive waves coming of repair men trucks."

Dan glared at his brother. "You don't know that." Denny threw his hands up and conceded defeat. There was no point in arguing with Dan when he was like this.

Freddie looked thoughtful. "It is something worth exploring. If we can dampen her abilities, shield ourselves somehow, it would be better for us."

"Create something like a Faraday cage around us?" Dan asked.

The other three looked at him. "What? I watch those paranormal shows. Nothing gets in or out."

Freddie nodded. "Something like that."

The four sat and discussed how they were going to pull this off. Freddie made a few calls home and soon they had a plan. They ordered some food and sat back rather pleased with themselves.

They got up after their meal and began to shoot some pool.

Chris bent over the table and an uneasy wave passed through him. He spun around and the back door opened blinding the four. When the door finally closed. Reese and Marlon were walking towards Chris.

"Wha…wha…what are you doing here? I'm just here playing pool with my buddies. How did you find me?" he asked in rapid fire succession.

Freddie groaned and put his hand on Chris's arm. He looked at Reese and Marlon, sized them up and pasted a friendly smile on his lips.

"You guys friends of Chris's? He didn't mention he was meeting any one but us here." He said.

Reese walked over to Freddie and lightly toughed his arm. His face went slack and his eyes blank. She did the same with Denny and Dan.

"I told you not to speak to anyone." She hissed.

"I didn't!" stammered Chris.

Marlon snarled under his breath and took a step toward Chris.

Reese raised her hand and Marlon stopped. She walked over to Denny and sniffed the air around him.

"He smells yummy." She purred. With a few deep breaths, Denny was lying on the floor literally half the man he was a moment before. His expression was still blank. He had no idea his life was being ripped from him one breath at a time.

Chris was speechless. He had brought this on. He had involved his friends and now they had to pay the price.

Reese proceeded to drain every last drop from Denny until all that was left was a small pile of dust that she gingerly stepped over.

Wiping the corners of her lips, like she had just eaten something juicy, she slid her hands over Chris's back. He tensed at her touch.

"I warned you what would happen. We need you, we don't need them."

She turned to Marlon and nodded. He gathered the other three and brought them to her. She whispered into each of their ears and in turn they each left the bar.

She turned back to Chris. "Now we go back to the house. We need to have a talk."

Marlon grabbed Chris by the arm and walked him to the waiting cab out back.

Chris was shaking inside and Reese just smiled at him.

"The rules are simple. Just follow them. The best kept secrets are the ones that will keep you alive."

To Be Continued…

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