Nothing But The Blood

Costas' Embrace

Plate glass doesn’t break easy, but Costas Petrakis was always a tough guy. The last hour and a half just made him tougher. God, it was a rush. He hated to say it, but it was true, like a little growl in the back of his head telling him how to force the blood through his arms and legs and fists and Boom!, out goes that fuckin’ window and he is gone, sweetness.

He was out of that cellar and over the fence around St. Stan’s in a minute flat, wondering what to do next. Last night’s events replayed in his brain with that flickering quality that only memories and old 16mm films seem to capture. The ominous chanting of the Catholic Kindred. The gleam of the chalice, slick with his comrade’s blood (they’ll pay for that). The flare of the Molotov, screaming, a last howl of defiance and then…

Cold. But not dark.

Costas ran through the streets of South Milwaukee almost at random, pumping his arms with an eerie silence that he realized was the absence of what should be ragged breath pumping from his lungs. He was almost at the lakefront before he managed to stop and force himself to sit down on a park bench, and collect himself.

The oldest creature, the one that did this to him, had explained. A little. He spoke of Embraces and Kindred, of a society that lived in shadows. He also explained how they were God’s predators on a fallen Earth, and something about saints, but Costas mostly tuned him out at that point. The priest offered him blood, though, and Costas drank it, gladly. When morning came, he slept and had dreams that…

That I’m not gonna fucking think about right now. Get your head in the game, fool! Concentrate!

The next night, they left him alone, which was a poor choice on their part. Costas cut through the duct tape with the help of a protruding concrete sear and kicked down the door to a back cellar. Which brought us to the window which brought us to

Right now.

Right here on this bench, looking at the clouds over Lake Mich. Looking at the water where he doesn’t have a reflection any more. Looking at his hands, and were they always so drawn and wicked, were they always so pale and horrible…

After an hour of this, Costas stood. Stick to the plans. The Hole. You’ve got the Hole. Always thought it’d be the cops on his ass, but in the mean time it looks like as good a place as any to crash until he can figure this shit out. Costas started walking down Prospect Avenue, counting manholes.

Twelve… Thirteen… Fourteen… Fifteen. Gotcha.

Maybe someone saw him lift the iron disc and slip into the blackness, but maybe not. For the second time that night, Costas Petrakis disappeared.


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