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Chapter 1- Supper Sings
3-M Park- San Francisco
Posters were hung all over the place, loudly proclaiming that 3-M Park was the home of the San Francisco Giants, but tonight, they were on the road, and another event was clogging the ball park. The parking lot was full, nearly to capacity. Inside, spectators were milling around the various concession stands, or hunting around to find their seats. Down on the playing field, a game of sorts was already in progress, but it wasn’t a ballgame. Instead, a makeshift stage had been set up, and a contestant with a number pinned to his shirt stood before a microphone, warbling out a song. He was accompanied by music heard in speakers behind him; and in a sound system arranged artfully all over the park. A table was set up some 10 feet in front of the stage, where three judges sat, shuffling papers before them. A few other executive sorts also sat at this table, but they were just there to offer stoic glances and offer their presences. Digital announcements blazed over the scoreboard, loudly proclaiming to all: Welcome To The American Idol Auditions: San Francisco!
“Please remind me why we’re here,” David remarked dryly, surveying the scene with an air of disgust. He shouldered himself past spectators that were standing up against the railings, hoping to be able to better see the events going on down on the playing field. David didn’t need to be down on that level. He could see just fine. In fact, even from several tiers up, he could even tell that the young singer at the mic’ had scarred over acne on his cheeks and that he had brown eyes. He also couldn’t sing worth a rat’s ass.
“I just had to see how well Paula Abdul is holding up after all these years. She sure looked fine in ‘Opposites Attract’, didn’t she?” Paul replied, licking his lips at the memory.
“She’s probably a dried up old biddy by now. Shit, that video is what…almost 20 years old? She’s mortal, Paul. Take a good look at her, and then let’s get the hell out of here and get someone to eat.”
“Yeah. I, for one, can’t stand to be reminded too much of how quickly time passes,” Marko commented, gazing down at the playing field. His eyebrow shot up in surprise as he surveyed the judges at the table.
“Holy shit! That can’t be her! For an old crone, she sure looks pretty good! Must be the makeup!” he cried.
“Where?” Paul panted.
“Right down there, asshole!”
The kid finished his song, and it was time for the judges to rate his performance. First, Randy Jackson tapped a microphone that was clipped to the collar of his polo shirt, and then he began his critique.
“What’s your name again?” he asked the young man.
“Well, Jason, your performance was as forgettable as your name. You really need to spice it up. You managed to stay on key for most of it, but your confidence level really sagged. You have promise, but you’re not a professional yet.”
It was Paula’s turn next, and Paul looked like he was about to throw himself over the railing. David laid a gentle hand on his back.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” he whispered in his ear.
Paul wasn’t tempted. He just wanted to watch and listen.
“Your performance had a lot of guts, but it was a little tepid. A little more experience and confidence in yourself is what you need, Jason,” Paula advised kindly.
Lastly, it was the ever scalding Simon Cowell’s turn. The four vampires didn’t particularly follow the seasons of American Idol, but anyone who lived (or didn’t, in their case) knew what American Idol was by now. And everyone knew about Simon Cowell. All of the boys leaned forward, clutching the railing, not caring if they were blocking the seated spectator’s views of the judging; so that they could hear Simon’s verdict.
“Jason, let me ask you, do you have a day job?” Simon asked in his crisp British accent.
“Yes, sir, I do. I’m a bar tender.”
“Do they have a karaoke bar where you work?”
“No, sir.” Jason responded in a trembling voice.
“Good. You’ll spare the world from hearing your voice again. Next contestant!”
A few more singers braved the judges, and David was growing visibly more impatient. It was getting close to time to feed.
“Okay, just one more,” Paul said. He was still amazed at how good Paula Abdul looked! He wished he had the guts to meet her in person. He wished he had the guts to sign up for auditions. After all, he knew he could bang heads with the best of them. His voice was better than most of the contestants he’d heard all night. Sadly, participating on the show would mean daytime activities, and he would be unable to do any of them. How could he explain that? What if he didn’t show up on camera? It was bad enough that a vampire didn’t have a reflection in a mirror….
Paul was getting hungry, too. He was getting pissed at Simon Cowell when he disagreed with Paula Abdul. He wanted to drain him of every last drop of his smug blood. Sighing sadly, he knew it was time to do as David said, and leave this huge throng of humanity.
“Contestant number 312! A voice boomed over the intercom. This time, a female bounded up to the mic’ and composed herself, waiting for the into cues for her song to start. Most other spectators would have to rely on the wide screen TV’s mounted around the auditorium to see the contestant, but the boys had keen vision and could see her clearly. She was a brunette, and her hair was full bodied, but straight, and hung down past her shoulders. Her race was nearly indeterminate. Obviously of mixed heritage, possibly Black, maybe Hispanic, with light toffee colored skin. There was also some Caucasian descent because her eyes were hazel. The contestant was on the thin side and taller than most girls; about 5 ‘7’ or so. She wore her height proudly, standing straight and tall. It was difficult to tell her age. She could be anywhere between 16 and 24.
The boys were transfixed the moment that they saw her, but each thought different things. David simply thought :‘Dinner is served’. Marko thought: ‘There’s something familiar about her:…’ Dwayne thought to himself: ‘Damn she’s hot’, and Paul thought: ‘She looks a little like Maria’.
The girl began to sing a cover of Alanna Miles’s ‘Black Velvet’, in a rich voice. The judges listened intently, giving her the benefit of their full attention. Though she wasn’t the absolute best singer that had performed all night, she certainly rated better than the ones that had recently gone before her. The crowd erupted in cheers at the end of her song.
Randy Jackson was first, as usual.
“What’s your name?” he asked her.
“Alex. Alex Melendez,” she responded calmly.
“Well, Alex, I like Alanna Miles. I’m not quite sure her style suits you, but you did a pretty decent job. Good work tonight. Thanks for giving our ears a break.”
Alex smiled happily.
“Never mind what Randy said about that song not quite suiting you. It’s a great style. You have a nice voice. My only suggestion for you is that you ‘bite the mic’ more when you sing. Your projection is pretty good, but in a noisy crowd like this, you really have to stand closer to the microphone to be heard well by everyone in the ‘back forty’,” Paula advised.
Then, Simon adjusted his lapel microphone.
“Tell me, Alex, have you ever seen the musical ‘A Chorus Line’?”
Alex shook her head.
“Well, there’s a number in it called ‘Dance Ten, Looks Three’. You’ve got an above mediocre amount of talent, I’ll admit. But, body wise, you’re slim pickins’. You make Nicole Ritchie look like the fat lady act at the circus. Go eat a couple of greasy double cheeseburgers, will you? And, please don’t throw them up when you’re done! Next!”
David started to chuckle in spite of himself as the girl replaced the microphone on the stand and quietly exited the stage.
The boys took this as their cue to leave as well, with Paul shooting one last, longing look over his shoulder at the former pop star, now television personality; Paula Abdul. Though he usually preferred heavy metal music back in the eighties, when Paula was a huge star, (and he still loved that stuff), he couldn’t help liking her stuff, simply because he loved looking at her. Twenty years later, she was still hot. Age hadn’t hurt her much, and it hadn’t hurt Paul or the boys at all. (At least, not in appearances).
They’d all changed a little with the times, though not much. Much of what was worn in the eighties was coming back around, in an updated sense. These days, almost anything went. Really, there was no set style. Here in San Francisco, the crowd was quite eclectic. No one paid anyone else any mind. The boys blended in easily amidst the locals and the tourists.
David had done away with his mullet and spikes, but had kept some of the length in the back of his platinum blond hair. He used a bit of gel for a careless, windswept look in the front, now. The rest of his look was still basically the same. Black all over; black gloves, black leather jacket, black T-shirt, black jeans, and black boots. Sometimes, he even still donned his black leather trench coat. He had repaired it and still had it.
Marko alternated between long and short hair. Since he’d ‘died’ when his hair was long, this was not hard for him to achieve. Whenever he cut it, his hair would simply grow back within a few nights, as long as he was adequately fed. Tonight, he opted for a short haired look. He was dressed rather conservatively, in a pair of blue jeans, and a black ‘South Park’ hoodie sweatshirt that proclaimed “Evil Clowns Killed Kenny”.
Paul still looked like a rocker, but a modern day one. His hair was kept long, but not as wild. He’d swapped his white jeans for blue Levi’s, and the tux coat for a black leather jacket not unlike David’s. The bracelets and chains were gone, but he still wore a couple of silver rings and an earring.
Of the foursome, Dwayne had changed the least. His leather jacket with the panther painted on it had been destroyed in the attack waged by Sam Emerson nearly twenty years ago, but he had another jacket to replace it. It was a rich, deep brown, and well worn and supple. His blue Levi’s were slightly faded and fit like they were sculpted for him. The length of his hair was still essentially the same tonight; only the ends of it were trimmed a bit for neatness.
They wandered far from 3-M Park in search of some denizens to dine upon, finding some intoxicated morsels hanging out in Golden Gate Park. Disposing of corpses was easy here in the City by the Bay. One only had to lick the fang marks closed in the second before death; then fly the dead victim out to the middle of the bay and drop it in. If and when it ever did wash back up, it would be virtually unrecognizable, and any cause of death would be undetectable.
The boys made certain that no one saw their comings and goings. In a city like San Francisco, no one really cared. However, they knew by now not to take anything for granted. Once upon a time, Santa Carla, their native hunting grounds, had been just like San Francisco. They ruled that town, and everyone living there respected and feared them, even if they didn’t know why. Then, over the course of a few days, everything had changed. The Emerson’s had come to town and the Lost Boys had lost their precious hold on Santa Carla. They’d lost their father figure, Max, lost the privacy of their hideout, and very nearly lost their immortal lives, too. Now, they really were ‘Lost’ Boys.
The Frog Brothers had made some serious mistakes when it came to dispatching vampires. Obviously, they weren’t the awesome monster bashers they’d claimed to be. It had been Michael and his grandfather who’d taken out Max. Nanook, Sam Emerson’s Siberian Husky had been primarily responsible for nearly ending Paul’s life, and Sam himself had nearly done away with Dwayne. Michael had been the one to make the pathetic attempt on David’s life. The Frog Brothers could only claim rights to Marko’s injuries. They had rightfully staked him. But in all of the above instances, the fatal flaw in the initiated attacks was quite simple. They’d never beheaded and incinerated any of the remains. With the exception of Max, whose remains had quite neatly incinerated themselves, all of the boys had been buried intact, (except for Marko, who’d been left to lay where he’d dropped in the cave). Even Paul’s skeletal remains, after he’d melted in the tub, were able to regenerate after some time. Any ‘awesome monster basher’ would know that the only surefire way to kill a vampire is to stake them through the heart or behead them and then incinerate the remains…or expose them to sunlight, thereby incinerating them!!!
“Anyone feel like a cable car ride?” Marko asked, wiping at the corners of his mouth. His hand came away clean, and he was satisfied that there was no more blood left over from his dinner.
“How touristy,” Paul sniffed.
“Maybe your victim wasn’t drunk enough. I’m in the mood for something tacky and touristy,” Marko laughed.
“I say it beats listening to a bunch of crappy singers just to get a glimpse of Paula Abdul’s back,” David remarked, “Let’s go find us a cable car.”
“Cable cars don’t run this late at night. We either fly or take the bus,” Dwayne said.
Marko looked disappointed. They’d all left their bikes back at the hotel to avoid paying the parking fee at the 3-M parking lot. Then they’d flown in under the radar.
Paul glanced across the street at a bus stop where several people were congregated on a bench like crows on a telephone wire, awaiting a city bus. There sat contestant 312, crammed on the edge of the bench, sitting next to a woman who looked like she was having a rather animated conversation on her cell-phone.
Paul elbowed Dwayne, and soon their gazes met in a mutual understanding.
“I say we take the bus,” Paul suggested.
“Since when do you give the orders?” David countered.
“The price of gas is a real killer. I don’t know about you, David, but the last guy I rolled only had $4.50 on him. Flying is cheap, but it’s not real low profile. The night’s still young, and we don’t wanna burn up all our gas. There’s gotta be some places around here to scope some quality kills…I dunno. Maybe around the theaters or something,” Marko piped.
“Think Tourist Traps, boys. China Town. The piers; places like that,” David said.
“Yeah, exactly,” Paul interjected, “And tourists travel in taxi’s, planes and buses. So we should be where they are.”
“Very well, you have a point. I’m not going to stand here and pretend that I think money is the only thing you’re after, Paul, but it’s a good enough motive for me. Let’s go.”
Alexandra Melendez stayed until the last contestant finished, which was well after 11 p.m. They were all told that they would be called within a week if they were chosen to go on to Los Angeles, where the American Idol semi-finals would be conducted. She wondered if she would be so lucky, but so far, she considered herself lucky enough to even have gotten a chance to audition at all. Many of the people that had come didn’t get a chance simply because they had come too late. There were only so many slots available. First come, first served, regardless of talent.
She had taken a few days off from her shitty night job as a Boardwalk security guard. Alex considered getting those nights off as a lucky omen. She was rather new on the job. Her boss was cool, even if the job was crappy. When she told him why she needed the time off, he was good about allowing her the days she needed. He wished her luck, too. Now that the auditions were over, Alex had some time to kill. She was exhausted. It was late, and she had booked a hotel room, knowing she’d be staying in the City at least for one night. There was plenty of public transport in San Francisco, so it didn’t matter that she didn’t have a car. She could either take the bus, or hail a cab, but a cab was pricey. There was a bus stop nearby that would take her within a few blocks of her hotel, and she wouldn’t have to wait long for it. Public transport was much better here than it was in Santa Carla!
Several people were already waiting when she arrived at the stop. A woman with a cell-phone moved over to allow her a sliver of wood to sit on. Alex squeezed onto the bench and pulled her fleece jacket around her to ward off the bay breeze. The fog that had descended late in the afternoon had blown off at nightfall, but it was quite chilly for an evening early in May. A steady stream of traffic passed by on the street before her, and a group of four young men cut through the slow moving cars to get to the bus stop, unmindful that they were jaywalking. A car honked at them, and one of the boys flipped the bird at the annoyed driver. By now, there was no room to sit. None of them seemed to care. Like a flock of pigeons, they all seemed to roost around the back portion of the bench where Alex sat. Eyes were on her; she could sense it. Suddenly, she was very uncomfortable.
“Well, if it isn’t Slim Pickin’s,” one of them said to her, right in her ear. It was the blonde heavy metal dude, wearing the black, leather jacket.
Alex blushed furiously and turned to face him.
“You guys were there?!” she hissed.
“Yeah. We were there,” the long haired brunette confirmed.
“That Simon is a dickhead. Don’t pay him any mind. You did an awesome job. How ‘bout an encore?” the blond asked.
“Umm, I don’t think so. Not here.”
“My friend wants to know your name,” he said, jerking his thumb to the brunette.
“He’s afraid to ask me himself?”
“He’s kind of shy.”
“I’ll tell him if he asks me.”
Alex flicked her eyes to the brunette haired man, and gazed at the two men standing behind him. They were both blond, but one had a shocking shade of nearly platinum, (it looked like it could be bleached), and the other’s hair was curly. They were both exchanging resigned glances to each other that might be translated as boredom. The brunette paid them no mind. Hesitantly, he stepped forward and offered her a smile that looked anything but shy.
“I already know your name,” he told her, shutting up his rocker friend’s conversational banter, “Its Alex. I heard you introduce yourself. I’m Dwayne.”
“Hi, Dwayne,” she said. She thought about asking him if he always let his friend do his talking for him, but thought better of it. He exuded a sort of charisma that made her think twice. Instead, only a lame conversation maker came to mind.
“You live around here?”
“No. We’re just chillin’ around the City for a change of scenery. What about you?”
“I live in a town nearby, but I bussed over for the competition,” Alex replied.
“We know the area pretty well. We hang out here a lot. By the way, I’m Paul,” the rocker stated. He offered his hand, and when Alex took it, he gave her an exaggerated handshake.
Just then, the bus rolled up, with a whoosh of exhaust fumes permeating the air. Several people on the benches waved their hands in front of their noses to fan the fumes away. Then everyone rose to begin boarding the bus. The boys lagged behind Alex, allowing her a bit of space. She took one of the last available seats. The boys shuffled to the back of the bus, eyeing all of the various passengers as they made their way past. Then, they grabbed onto the handrails as the doors slid shut.
Alex sat in her seat, growing more uneasy as the scenery slid past her. She paid no mind to teenager in the seat beside her, who was listening to an MP3 player so loud that the music was leaking out of his headphones. In fact, the events of the audition, and Simon Cowell’s scathing comments to her were even fading in her memory somewhat. Instead, she focused on the conversation she’d had at the bus stop just a few minutes before. Something was utterly wrong with it. She was used to getting these intuitions, and they exhausted her to no end, but never before had they been so strong. Not only was the conversation wrong, but the company was wrong! She felt like her mind was being picked while she talked with these guys! Alex had been careful not to divulge her name, yet ‘Dwayne’ indicated that he already knew it. She made sure she didn’t tell those boys where she was staying. Her heart was pounding in her chest and her hands were curled into tight little fists when she realized it was time to reach over and ring the strip to signal her stop. The boys still had not disembarked. A block later, the bus pulled over. Alex and one other passenger unloaded. The doors closed, and the bus pulled away from the curb. Her hotel was still a couple of blocks away, and Alex felt the need to make haste.
The boys disembarked at the next stop, on Dwayne’s urging, after knowing from him that the girl he was casing for his next meal was staying at the Adante Inn. He had picked the information right out of her mind during their brief conversation. Dwayne knew he’d have to hurry if he was going to catch her. Certainly, he didn’t want to abduct her in front of anyone. Separating himself from his pack, he took to the air and found his prey hurrying across Geary Street at the corner. Soon, she would be in the shadows of the very hotel where she thought she’d be safe. However, shadows were never safe. There didn’t seem to be a soul around her near vicinity, but he’d have to cover her mouth to prevent any screaming. Up ahead, about a half a block, were the front doors. People could come and go from those at any time.
Dwayne waited patiently for his prey to cross the street. Then, when she was concealed by the shadows, he swooped down, grabbed her by the back of her jeans and by her face (with his hand covering her mouth), and hauled her up to the roof of the hotel. David’s admonishment sounded in his head as he wrestled with his victim for a purchase to her neck.
“Dinner, Dwayne, nothing more. I saw the way you and Paul were ogling her, but we’re done with VIP club members. I mean it.”
With his prey in his clutches, it was the moment of truth. Alex was struggling and kicking against him. Her strength was unbelievable! Yet, in his time, he’d run across a few mortals that were stronger than others. After all, a trio of teenagers and two traitorous half vampires had nearly been the end of him and his pack, though the memories of that night were vague to him. Just as he was about to remove his hand from his singing supper’s mouth to bare her neck, she bit him with enough force to make him snarl.
“Damn, Girl!” he yelled, pulling his hand back. He then grabbed a handful of her thick, dark hair and yanked it back, exposing the tawny skin of her neck. Her veins were pulsing and throbbing from her exertions, and they were easy pickings for him. By now, he was kneeling on the roof, with the girl’s back bent over his knees. One of his powerful arms restrained her at the waist, while her legs flailed in protest. Her fingernails clawed at his hands but they had little effect. At last, he was able sink his extended fangs into her exposed neck. Then, the soul dance between vampire and victim could really begin.
True enough, Dwayne had promised David ‘no new club members’. That wasn’t what he’d wanted when he’d first spotted this girl at the tryouts to begin with. Paul had even understood it. What Dwayne had recognized was a similar spirit; the spirit of an artist thriving in this girl. Though his mediums were jewelry making and painting, and this girl’s art was song, the drive was the same. Dwayne felt the need to drink in her spirit and let it inspire him. He would have let her live and carry on, but he had scanned the minds of the judges and the officials at the tryouts. They felt Alex had lots of talent; (about six liters of raw, pumping talent, to be exact). However, they also believed that she was a bit too tall, and way too skinny. Even the kind hearted Paula Abdul thought she’d look awkward on tour. Sadly, Alex knew it, too. She just wanted to see how far she could go. Therefore Dwayne knew there was only one way to let her gifts live forever. They would live with him. He transmitted these thoughts to her as he took in the first sips of her blood.
Here was the point where the victims stopped struggling. The vampire’s control and hypnosis took over. Contrary to popular belief, death by vampire’s bite was not painful. It was the fear beforehand that was. Even in the most violent of deaths, it was the struggling prior to the kill that caused the pain. Death itself was a peaceful surrender, even if it was quick and brutal. A vampire hypnotized their victim; seduced them into cooperation. Their saliva to the bite wound acted as a topical anesthetic, as well. Alex only thrashed a little more before laying limply in Dwayne’s arms. She seemed to accept her fate. Dwayne took a deep pull from the vein he’d opened up, and then another. Then, suddenly, he pulled back. Something was wrong. Very wrong.