Updated: Sep 8
“Where are you going?” Tom asked as Abbi dressed in the closet of the master bedroom of the Grundy Hill house.
“It’s Halloween,” Abbi said and slipped into her ripped skinny jeans and oversized hoodie.
“You know, I’ve never understood this modern-day fascination with wearing ripped clothing.” Tom motioned to her jeans that had tears in the knees.
“You wouldn’t. You pay $300 for a pair of sweatpants which look exactly like the ones I pay $10 for.” She scowled and stuck out her tongue.
“My clothes are quality. Don’t act like you wear those pants like that because they’re old. You buy them to look that way from whatever little boutique that was I took you to last time we went shopping. It’s what you consider fashion.”
Abbi huffed at him. “And you consider fashion, paying ridiculous prices for sweat pants and jeans or even tee shirts that are essentially the same clothing everyone else wears all because it’s slapped with a designer label.”
“You are wrong, however, we will continue to agree to disagree on this because I come from a time where people took pride in what they wore and…”
“Yes, I know. All your clothes were hand stitched and blah, blah, blah…”
“I’m done with this conversation.”
“Weren’t you leaving?” she cocked her head to the side, giving him some sass as she put on her black Converse sneakers.
Tom buttoned up his black shirt and sat on the bed next to her to tie up his Berluti leather boots.
“I’m going hunting. You’re not coming.”
Abbi stood and crossed her arms, very annoyed with his remark. “No worries there, vampire man. I’m going out with Lacy. It’s Halloween, and Jack is having a party. I’m meeting up at Lacy’s house to get dressed there.”
“Excuse me? You are what?”
“Yes. I have the most amazing costume.”
Tom raised his eyebrows, waiting to hear about her costume. Mostly he didn’t care because he felt this night to be the most ridiculous of all the things she participated in. However, there was something about the sparkle in her eye when she spoke of her amazing costume that stirred his interest only enough to keep him a few moments more to find out if she was going to be a fairy or…
“Hold on!” she exclaimed and ran to the bathroom. A few moments later, she emerged in an entirely different outfit, also wearing a puffy black wig and false teeth.
“What the hell are you wearing?”
“I’m Dracula’s wife.”
Abbi laughed at herself in her floor length black dress and pointed to her fake vampire teeth. “Look…” she opened her mouth up wide, “I have fangs.”
Tom was expressionless.
“You don’t like it?” she giggled and kissed his cheek. “Ooo, you’re right. It is hard to kiss with these things!”
“You think that’s cute, don’t you?”
Abbi turned and faced the dresser mirror, admiring her half dressed-up self. “Yep!”
Tom wasn’t amused, though. “I don’t think you should go.”
“Oh, Tom. It’s just a joke. I don’t really think I’m your wife. Lighten up. Besides,” she turned to face him. “You’re not Dracula.”
He let out a low but deep growl as his eyes followed her to the door.
“I am lightened up.”
Abbi turned back to face him, hands on her hips. “Did you just growl at me?”
Tom shrugged and Abbi stepped over, pointing her finger in his face. “That is not what I would call lightening up! You are so tightly wound that if I flicked you, you would snap.”
“What does that even mean, Abigail?
“It means…” she waved her finger in his face while he scrunched one eyes in irritation and crossed his arms over his chest, waiting for her to finish. “That you don’t know how to be relaxed. You are the definition of uptight. If I looked up the word ‘uptight’ in the dictionary, Tom Barclay’s picture would be there in lieu of a definition. That’s how uptight you are.”
Tom walked to the bedroom door and nodded. “Alright, Mrs. Dracula. You think I’m so uptight? Go ahead and go wherever you were headed this evening. But don’t come crying to me when you get yourself in a mess and need me to fix it. Got it?” His eyes reddened as he watched Abbi roll her eyes.
Tom walked out of the bedroom door and repeated himself. “Just remember I told you not to go.” He closed the door and left her standing there feeling very angry at his rudeness, but she continued in her party dressing nonetheless.
Once Abbi heard him descend down the long stairs and head out the front door, she went into the bathroom and knelt down to open the cabinet under the sink.
“I’ll show him who’s the boss around here…” she mumbled as she dug through her costume makeup supplies. “He thinks he’s so smart the way he acts like I have no right to go to the party with lacy. He doesn’t know everything. Just because he’s been around for 200 years… UGH! He makes me so mad!” She stared at herself in the mirror for a few minutes and decided she didn’t want to be Dracula’s wife anymore. After a quick costume change, she decided to go as… herself. “Abbi Taylor. Kickass vampire slayer who will NOT be told what to do!”
To prove her authority over herself, she pulled her phone out of her pocket and texted Lacy.
As she waited for Lacy to respond, she put on her trendiest Halloween makeup and blasted her music really loud, trying to drown out the anger she still felt over Tom.
“Ugh!” she spewed. “I can’t believe he thinks he can control me the way he does!” She put eyeliner around her eyes and dabbed some on her cheek to look like cut marks and outlined it in red to make it look like blood on her face.
“He thinks he can control everyone! Well, he doesn’t control me!”
As she took a good look at herself in her skinny jeans and oversized hoodie (which was actually Tom’s), she was pleased with her costume and slipped her feet into her Converse sneakers once more before grabbing Tom’s keys to his Aston off the dresser and grabbing her cell off the bed. Lacy texted back just then.
Bummed at the message, Abbi flopped down onto the bed and didn’t even respond.
There go my evening plans, she thought as she laid sprawled out across the bed and turned on the tv. She began flipping through the channels and her mind started wandering to a million different things, not even focusing on the reality show she was watching.
I bet Tom is out having a great time, while I’m stuck here all dressed up with nowhere to go because my best friend ditched me. I suppose I could go to Jack’s party alone…
Just as Abbi switched off the tv, she received another text message.
Abbi still felt angry that he left her there, so she slipped her phone into her pocket, tied her shoelaces, grabbed Tom’s keys and her purse off the dresser, and her jacket out of the closet. Then she convinced herself that leaving was a good idea in spite of the hesitation from Tom.
He just likes feeling like he’s in control, her inner voice said as she walked out the front door.
“Tom! What are you doing?” Antonius yelled from the other end of the alley as he tossed his second drained body into a dumpster and slammed the lid closed.
After Tom slipped his phone back into his pocket, he looked over to Antonius and said, “I’ll be right there. I had to send a text.”
Antonius ran over, glanced down to the dead human man at Tom’s feet, and he replied, “Texting while hunting? Who have you become? You’re so…”
“Domestic. I know.”
Just as Tom reached down for the dead human, he heard an unusual ticking noise at the far end of the alley.
“Tony, do you hear that?” Tom asked and paused in his movement of moving the drained body to look down the alley.
“Yes,” Antonius replied and also glanced down to the far end of the alley.
Antonius picked up the dead human and said, “I’ll dispose of them. You go check it out.” He returned to the dumpster and tossed the dead human inside, and then lit its contents on fire to be sure there were no remains.
Meanwhile, Tom walked to the end of the alley to search for the mysterious ticking noise, but he found nothing.
As a precaution, Tom sent Abbi another text, knowing many spirits, witches, demons, and sorcerers would be out tonight, also knowing Abbi thought it only a night of fun and games—as did all modern-day people—he knew she wouldn’t be taking the evil of the day seriously.
“You coming, Tom?” Antonius hollered from the other end of the alley by the dumpster as Tom stared at his phone, waiting for Abbi’s response. Tom felt guilty leaving her on a night that he knew her safety could be in jeopardy and he was anxious to know that she was safe.
He slipped his phone into his pocket. “I’m coming.” He raced to Antonius’s side. “I didn’t see anything at the other end of the alley to give me much suspicion about the ticking; however, let’s keep our watch out. If it’s who we think it is, we could have trouble on our hands.”
Antonius nodded and pointed to a connecting alley. “Ready for more?”
Tom agreed and they went in search for more kills.
“Abbi!” Jack hollered from where he stood in the middle of his living room and he waved as he saw her enter through the front door. “I’m so glad you could make it!”
Abbi smiled and waved back as she looked around at the lavish party decorations.
“This is quite the party,” she said and gestured to the fake fog being created, the flashing lights strewn from the ceiling, the loud music being blasted by the hired DJ, and she put her hands over her ears when the creepy sound effects went off and startled her.
Jack smiled and approached her. “You were supposed to wear a costume.”
“I did,” she replied and pointed to the scratch paint on her face.
Jack shook his head. “That’s not a costume. What are you?”
Abbi smiled. “I’m a vampire slayer.” Abbi pulled the stake from her jacket sleeve and held it to his chest with a grin.
Jack laughed. “Clever. Well, alright then. Come in and meet everyone. I have some friends here from college who would love to meet you.”
Abbi gave him a puzzled look. “Me? Why would they want to meet me?”
Jack didn’t respond but took her hand and led her into the dining room where a group of people were congregating around a drink table.
“Hey losers!” Jack hollered over the loud music and noise. A few men and women turned to face him. “I want you to meet a good friend of mine, Abigail Taylor.”
“Hold up! This is the Abigail Taylor?” said one guy who was dressed up as Garth from Wayne’s World.
Abbi felt uncomfortable with his response and she leaned closer to Jack and whispered, “Jack, how do they know who I am?”
“He’s just drunk. Pay him no attention.”
Jack’s friend took a drink from his Budweiser and said, “I’m not drunk. This is the girl that you wouldn’t shut up about. I remember her name.” He looked to Abbi and held out his hand. “Name’s Kyle. You’re a lot hotter than I’d thought you’d be.”
Embarrassed, Abbi shook his hand and blushed at his comment.
“Nice to meet you.”
“Can I talk to you?” she leaned in and whispered to Jack. Grabbing Jack’s hand, she turned and left the dining room, tugging Jack along behind her.
When they were standing just outside in the hallway to the living room, she began her scolding.
“What is going on? Why did that guy know who I am? What was he talking about? Why did you make that so awkward for me?”
Jack held her hand a little tighter and admitted, “The truth is when I left for school, I might’ve had a little thing for you and it might’ve affected me while I was away.”
“Ugh, Jack. I don’t know what to say to you. That was so embarrassing!”
“I didn’t know they were going to say those things. They’re immature idiots. I’m sorry, Abs. I...”
Frustrated with Jack and his friends, Abbi’s mind zoned out and she stopped listening to Jack. There’s got to be someone here I know. It’s Grundy Hill, for crying out loud. There’s only so many people to pick from! Her eyes started wandering the room, looking for a familiar face when she heard an unusual ticking sound coming from the screened porch just to her right down the hall.
“I need a minute,” she said and walked down the hall, and Jack’s eyes followed her as she did, his frustration with himself rising for messing up again.
When Abbi stepped out onto the porch, the noise stopped.
“Hello?” she spoke just above a whisper. “Is someone out here?”
A shadow appeared from around the corner, startling her, and she shrieked, giving Jack cause for concern, and immediately ran out to the screened porch to check on her.
“Abbi?” he said and stepped out onto the porch, looking around for her. “Abbi?” he said once more when she was nowhere in sight. Jack exited out the porch door into the yard but still saw no sign of her and his alarm went up and called the deputy, who was on duty.
“Harry, there was a good friend of mine at my party who I believe has gone missing. It could be a Halloween prank. I want you to do rounds near my house… Yes, it’s that woman.”
In the meantime, Tom tried numerous times to get in touch with Abbi, and when his attempts failed, he went to Jack’s house and walked right in the front door in search of her.
“Tom,” Antonius said as they walked in on the extravagant Halloween party. “We could really have a lot of fun with this party. Think about it. Two vampires, a house full of humans celebrating this ridiculous holiday… it could be fun.”
Tom looked back to him as the wandered they house and said, “We aren’t here for playtime. We are here to find Abigail. You go in there. I’m going this way.” Tom pointed to the dining room and motioned for Antonius to head that way, while Tom headed to the stairs. His internal monologue was telling him that she was fine and that she was drunk in a corner somewhere with Lacy, but something was nagging him in the back of his mind to tell him that she wasn’t okay.
You know who that ticking in the alley was, Tom, he said as he opened Jack’s bedroom doors and saw various couples in there making out.
“Hey, buddy!” one guy yelled to Tom as he burst through the door.
“My apologies. I’m looking for my girlfriend.”
“What’s she look like?” the woman on the bed asked as she sat up on Jack’s guest bedroom bed and buttoned up her shirt.
Tom ran his finger through his hair and tried to recall the costume Abbi was wearing, not realizing she had changed in a fury.
“She’s dressed up as Dracula’s wife.”
“Sorry. Haven’t seen her.”
“How would you have seen anything with your faces buried where they are…” he mumbled and closed the door. Tom descended the stairs to find Jack, whom he figured she would’ve given her full attention to immediately upon arrival. His temper flared at the thought and his jealousy stirred, reddening his eyes.
“Damnit,” he said and he began searching for the alcohol in hopes of vodka to calm himself.
“Tom,” Antonius said from the drink table.
After a few shots of vodka, Tom responded. “She isn’t here.”
“I’m going to find that Sheriff and ask him about where she is.”
Antonius pointed to a group of women in the far corner of the room who were dressed as zombie nurses.
“Can I have my fun yet? What’s the point of being a vampire if I can’t have fun with the ladies on Halloween?”
“Fine.” Tom drank down one more shot in preparation for his conversation with Jack, and then he walked away from Antonius.
When he located Jack, he was annoyed to see that Abbi wasn’t with him, but that he had his attention fixed on a young blonde woman. Though the thought pleased him some—since he didn’t want Jack’s fancy fixed on Abbi—Tom was annoyed that he couldn’t find Abbi.
“Jack,” Tom said, interrupting the conversation happening between Jack and the young blonde woman.
“Tom? Is it? You’re Abbi’s boyfriend.” Jack looked to the young woman he was chatting and said, “Give me a minute.” Then he looked to Tom and said, “Did you need something?”
The pompous attitude of the sheriff standing only two feet away from him was enough to make Tom rip the jugular he could see through Jack’s neck right out of his throat and cause a bloody, gruesome scene for the whole party to see. However, knowing that this was his girlfriend’s friend and also the town’s sheriff, he refrained.
“Hold on,” Tom said and reached beside himself to the table that held the vodka, pouring himself a shot. Once Tom felt his focus was no longer on Jack’s jugular, he looked at Jack’s blue eyes and said, “I’m looking for my girlfriend. I know you’ve seen her.”
“She was here. I don’t know where she went,” Jack said with a nonchalant shrug as he stuck his hands into his pockets and turned his back towards Tom.
Anger surged through Tom as he drank down another shot of vodka and he tried to contain his rage, but it wouldn’t do; he wanted answers.
“Tell me everything you know!” he yelled at Jack and used one hand to forcefully shove him against the wall behind where they were standing.
“I know exactly what I told you. She was here, but now she’s not.”
Tom’s anger grew with every syllable jack uttered. He was fighting the temptation to bite right into Jack’s neck, and in order to keep that temptation away, Tom grasped Jack by the neck with his hand, squeezing tightly.
“I’m going to repeat this only one time, so listen carefully. I want to know where my girlfriend went. I want to know what she did when she was here and why she is here no longer. You are going to tell me. Got it?”
Jack only produced a small smile as Tom backed away and began to walk circles in front of where Jack stood.
“You might want to start with the back porch,” a young woman whispered to Tom as she poured herself a glass of the punch.
“Excuse me?” Tom responded as he glanced her way, noticing her costume—a slutty rendition of Cleopatra—Tom fluttered his eyes at the ridiculousness of humans and continued. “You said something?”
“I overheard you asking Jack about your girlfriend. I think she was the one he was standing with on the back porch.”
She bit her lip and adjusted her dress to show more shoulder, obviously checking out Tom, and she said, “I try to keep tabs on Jack because I really like him, but he’s only interested in your girlfriend…”
Tom raised his eyebrows and soured his mouth in annoyance. “So I’ve heard. Where did they go?”
“He came back in, but she didn’t.”
Tom walked out to the back porch, his protective senses on high alert as he called her name and his eyes looked in every direction as he breathed in her scent.
“Abigail! Are you out here?”
Why can I not find your location, Abigail? Where did you go? Damnit! His thoughts berated her as he exited the back, porch door and followed the ticking noise.
“Abigail Taylor… what a lovely surprise.”
Abbi flinched away from the man who dangled the pocket watch over her face.
“Who are you and why do you know my name? Where am I?” she asked as she yanked her arms in an attempt to loosen the ties around her wrists, which were pulled together behind her back against the chair she was sitting in.
“Name’s Barnabus. I don’t believe you have any reason to know me, but I know all about you. Thank your lover boy for that.”
“Tom?! What about Tom? Is he here? What’s he got to do with anything?”
Barnabus laughed and said, “He keeps a journal, no?”
“What do you want with me?” Abbi asked, fighting against the restraints harder.
“I want the journal.”
“Barclay’s journal. I know you can get it. I want it.”
“Tom’s journal? Why?”
Barnabus grabbed Abbi’s shirt collar, pulling her up closer, yelling in her face, “Because it tells me how I can get to Aldestine, you idiot girl!”
“Just tell me where it is and you can leave.”
Tom ran back inside to the party to find Antonius when he realized who was behind Abigail’s disappearance.
Antonius was found with the two human women dressed as zombie nurses.
“Tony,” Tom said nodding his head to the door. “Time to go.”
“Hi, cutie,” one woman said, “Why such a hurry? Your friend was just about to take us to his place. Don’t you want to come?” she winked at Tom and blew him a kiss.
Disgust crossed Tom’s face as he shook his head. “As tempting as the offer sounds…” he fluttered his eyes, looking away, his annoyance heightened.
“Tom,” Antonius said, “You’re really going to steal my fun too, aren’t you?”
Tom nodded to the door once more and raised his eyebrows, waiting for Antonius to say goodbye to his female friends.
“Well, ladies, it looks like I won’t be able to show you a good time after all.”
“Awww!” the blonde woman said.
“Call me!” hollered the other as Tom grabbed Antonius’s arm and yanked him out the door.
“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Antonius said when they got outside.
Tom turned around once they got past a few people who were drunk and throwing up, and he said, “First, what are you thinking? You can’t come to a party full of Abigail’s friends and hook up with women.”
“Why the hell not?”
Tom stared at him blank-faced.
“Because I know what you do with those women.”
“You can’t kill Abigail’s friends!”
“Tom! We are vampires. Killing people is what we do!”
“That is true. Abigail isn’t people, however.”
“Dude. This Slayer has made you so soft. This is not cool for my reputation. Do I need to find someone new to hunt with now?”
“Of course not. Abigail’s friends are off limits.”
Antonius shook his head and put his hands in his pockets, and began walking away from the house.
“Where are you going?” Tom hollered after him.
“Do you want to find Barnabus and your Slayer or not?”
Tom hurried up behind Antonius and pulled out his cell, looking at the last text Abbi had sent. That’s when he realized she hadn’t texted him at all that evening and his concern for her was growing.
“What’s the plan?” Antonius asked as Tom tucked his cell back into his pocket and began pacing the woods directly across the road from Jack’s house, which was not too far from Abigail’s house. Tom could see her house from a distance. She wasn’t there however, but he wanted to be on alert.
“I don’t have one yet,” he replied.
Just as he said that, he received a text to his cell phone.
“Tony, look at this.”
Tom held his phone out for Antonius to see the message.
“Respond,” Antonius said. “You need information. Now’s the time to get it.”
Tom contemplated for a few minutes on what to say before Antonius grabbed the cell and texted something in response for him.
“Are you insane?” Tom yelled, snatching his phone back from Antonius. “You’re just going to piss him off and who knows what he’ll do to take it out on Abigail!”
“Well, someone had to say something, you were only standing there.”
Tom let out a growl of exasperation and began walking away. “Let’s go.”
“I haven’t the slightest idea.”
Tom and Antonius ran the length of the county for many minutes while Tom thought about his last encounter with Barnabus.
“Barnabus was a clock maker in my family’s town in England,” Tom said as they ran full-speed through the woods.
“How did he become… you know, cursed?” Antonius asked.
Tom halted his running and looked over to Antonius as they neared town.
“Aldestine trapped him. Apparently, it’s his reparation for something he did wrong.”
Antonius looked to Tom. “Like some kind of sin. Is there such a thing?”
Tom shrugged. “There must be or else how are we damned to Hell?”
Antonius shrugged. "Ha. I'm really screwed then."
Tom laughed. "Yeah. You are."
“So, Aldestine trapped him in limbo, so-to-speak, and now he is a walking corpse, and a very angry one who thinks…”
“Who thinks my family owes him something,” Tom finished.
Antonius shook his head. “This sucks for you. I don’t think you’re getting her back.” Antonius looked to his left and saw two men leaving a bar. He nodded his head in that direction, signaling for Tom to join him in the attack.
Antonius sneaked up from behind the first man and grabbed his shoulder and his head by his hair, biting into his neck without even giving the man time to react.
Tom, on the other hand, was a different kind of predator. He showed his face.
“Are you afraid?” he said as the second man watched his friend die by Antonius’s hand.
The man nodded as he watched Tom walk up.
“Good. It takes about three minutes for you to die… start counting.”
TO BE CONTINUED...
Curious about Aldestine? She's a huge character in the Slayer sequel, BLOODLINES! Stay Tuned for more details on that book!
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© 2021 Meg Sechrest All Rights Reserved.
This article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission.