Things That Go Bump
Slept So Long

Alex looked himself over in the mirror and felt a blush rise to his cheeks. He never dressed like this. But then, he’d never had a reason to before. He hoped Snoddy didn’t get the wrong idea.

There was a knock. Alex took a deep breath and opened the door.

“Hey, angel,” Snoddy said, leaning in and kissing him. He pulled back and looked Alex over appreciatively. “Very nice.”

Leather pants clung to Alex’s slender legs, highlighting their muscular curves. A black tank top showed off his pale skin to its best advantage. From his neck hung a silver cross on a black leather strap, and on his hands were black fingerless gloves. Topping the look off was a silver earring in his right ear and a touch of kohl at the corner of either eye.

“So . . . you . . . like it?” Alex asked hesitantly.

Like it?” Snoddy repeated. “Like it?” He stepped forward, grabbed Alex by the hips, and pulled him close, crushing their lips together. When they pulled apart, Snoddy’s voice had dropped about an octave. “I love it.”

A blush curled up Alex’s neck and stained his face a very attractive shade of tomato.

“Uh, thank you,” he mumbled, ducking his head.

“Hey, what are you embarrassed about?” Snoddy asked. “You look gorgeous. There’s no shame in that.” He pulled the apartment door shut and wrapped his arm around Alex’s shoulders. “D’you know what you’re going to do?”

Alex nodded and allowed himself to be led to the couch. “Yeah. First thing I’m gonna do is find the bastard . . .”

At seven o’clock sharp, Alex stood outside the doors of the Sphinx’s Riddle. This was his first time ever going without Princess, and his nerves were in an uproar. Snoddy’s words echoed in his head as he looked at the impressive steel-and-onyx exterior of the club.

/You’ll do fine, angel. Just be careful and watch your step./

/Thanks, hon,/ he thought. Flashing his license as he passed the bouncer, he left the peaceful outside world behind.

Alex’s first impression of the club was the scent of many humans crammed into a small room. He grimaced but pressed on.

Onstage, a dark-haired man wearing leather pants and a fishnet shirt gyrated to the music, singing along in a somewhat raspy voice.

You see, I cannot be forsaken
Because I’m not the only one
We walk amongst you, feeding, raping
Must we hide from everyone?

As if sensing Alex’s eyes on him, the singer licked his lips and opened his mouth, revealing a pair of sharp ivory fangs. Alex turned away, fighting off the twin waves of revulsion and desire that rose in him.

Threading through the crowds, Alex grabbed a seat on the far end of the bar. The barmaid, a cute brunette wearing a black corset and a dark red miniskirt, quickly made her way over to him.

“Hey Alex sweetie!” she shouted over the music, grinning and pinching his cheek. She looked around him and frowned. “Where’s Maggie?”

Alex felt tears rise to his eyes. “She—she had to stay home.” He shook himself. “Hey, Scorch, can you get me a Bloody Mary?”

“Sure thing, Alex dear.” Scorch stared at him, concerned, then shrugged and bustled off. A few seconds later, a small cup with dark red liquid in it slid down the bar. Alex caught it and took a sip, then turned to survey the club.

Out on the floor, a black-clad mass moved to the music. Patrons of the Sphinx’s Riddle tended to be more open-minded then most, and on the dance floor, anything went. Hetero, homo, bi—whatever struck one’s fancy.

The music stopped, and the emcee yelled, “Ladies and gentlemen, your band for the night—The Four Gods!

“On the guitar, the tiger of the West, Byron “Pie Eater” Kline!” The guitarist played a few chords and waved.

“Next, on the keyboard, the dragon from the East, Simon “Swifty” Li!” The keyboarder hit a couple of keys and flashed a pearly white grin.

“Third, on the drums, the turtle of the North, Richard “Snitch” Adams!” The drummer grinned, spun his drumsticks, and played a quick beat.

“Last but definitely not least, the phoenix of the South, Michael “Skittery” Hasczak!” The singer flashed his fangs again.

“And what are the gods without their priestesses? Meet the girls themselves, Anne Stahl, Amanda White, Elizabeth Block, and Lauren Robertson!” The four girls on the back of the stage giggled and waved.

“Give it up for the Four Gods!”

As the applause died, the band kicked into a new song. Alex began scanning the dance floor for his victim. His breath caught in his throat when he spotted him.

On the edge of the dance floor, a dark-haired, dark-eyed man danced himself into a frenzy, head thrown back, arms above his head, writhing lasciviously to the beat. His white tank top had become adhered to his chest and back with sweat, and his leather pants gave off a pale shine in the flashing lights. One word popped up in Alex’s head:


“Hey, Scorch!” he yelled down the bar. In half a jiffy, Scorch reappeared.

“What’s up, Alex doll?”

“Who’s that guy?” Alex asked, pointing to Specs.

“Him? Nobody knows for sure. People call him Specs, though. Why, you interested?” Scorch grinned at him.


“Well, go on, then!” Scorch said, shoving him lightly. “I’m sure he’ll like you. And if he asks, tell ‘im Scorch sent you.” She winked, then went back to the other patrons.

Alone without a care

Alex pressed through the crowd, receiving more gropes and propositions than he was entirely comfortable with. One blonde man actually reached out and pulled him over to dance, but then his black-haired companion slapped his hand and said something sharply, at which point Alex was released.

And hating
The things that I can’t bear

When he was finally in the vicinity of his victim, Alex added a little more sway to his hips than was absolutely necessary and sauntered over to the brunette. Pressing a quarter in his hand, he whispered,

“Here’s a quarter. Call your mom and tell her you’re not coming home tonight.”

Did you think it’s cool to walk right up
To take my life and f—k it up?
Well, did you?

Specs stopped dancing and stared at him. Then he threw his head back and laughed, revealing a pair of sharp white fangs. Alex’s stomach lurched, imagining those teeth tearing at Princess’ flesh.

“Haven’t heard that one this evening!” Specs yelled. “Wanna dance?”

Alex grinned. “Love to!” Wrapping his arms around Specs’ neck, he pressed their bodies together.

I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
Touching you makes me feel alive
Touching you makes me die inside

“They call me Specs! What about you?”

“Dutchy!” Alex shouted back.

“Curious,” Specs commented. “So, you single?”

“I can be,” Alex replied. “Depends on how much you’re willing to shell out!”

Alone without a care

Specs’ eyebrows shot straight up. “You’re a—“

With a sly grin, Alex rolled his hips, causing Specs to lurch, gasp, and tighten his grip on Alex’s waist. As they got into the dance, Alex found it all too easy to forget about the life he’d left behind—all that mattered was the here, the now.

And hating
The things that I can’t bear

Their mouths met almost desperately, Alex running his nails down Specs’ back as the other man jerked his hips in such a way that almost sent Alex straight to heaven. Their tongues tangled, the kiss deepening as Specs began to massage Alex’s buttocks, causing him to buck.

Did you think it’s cool to walk right up
To take my life and f—k it up

They broke apart and Specs began kissing down Alex’s neck, nibbling and licking at his jugular vein. With a muted moan, Alex tried to rub against Specs, only to find his progress blocked by Specs’ hand.

“Not yet,” he whispered. “Not yet.”

I see hell in your eyes
Taken in by surprise
Touching you makes me feel alive
Touching you makes me die inside

“You taste so good,” Specs continued, now licking off the sweat that had gathered in the crook of Alex’s neck and shoulder. “Like ambrosia. Or better.”

Alex moaned, too far-gone to be any more coherent. This was more intense—hotter—better—than anything he had ever dared imagine.

I’ve slept so long without you
It’s tearing me apart to
I hardly got this far
Playing games with this old heart
I’ve killed a million petty souls
But I couldn’t kill you
I’ve slept so long without you . . .

As the singer’s voice reached its climax, Specs grabbed Alex by the back of the head and pulled him in for another deep kiss. The heat built between their bodies as their tongues frantically tangled and their hips rocked together.

Specs pulled away, panting. “C’mon,” he gasped. “Bathroom. Now.”

Alex, his head whirling from the sheer intensity of it all, could only nod. The two staggered towards the bathroom, unable to keep their hands off the other. As soon as the bathroom door swung shut behind them, Specs pressed Alex against the wall and kissed him hard. Alex felt a sharp pain in his tongue and gasped against Specs’ mouth. Specs flicked his tongue over Alex’s as if in apology, then pulled away. As he dropped to his knees, hands fumbling with the button to Alex’s pants, Alex registered the sharp, coppery taste of blood in his mouth.

“No,” he whimpered, trying to spit the blood out.

Specs, apparently assuming Alex was addressing him, paused.

“You want me to stop?” he asked incredulously.

“Not you,” Alex replied breathlessly. “Mouth bleeding. Bit my tongue.”

“Did you?” Specs asked, and for a split second, a smile crossed his handsome face. “Hope it feels better. But in the meantime . . .” He finished unzipping Alex’s pants and paused, licking his lips. Then he dove in for the kill.

Alex moaned and his head fell back as the most pleasurable pain coursed outwards. Desperate to stay upright, his fingers clutched at the smooth tile wall for support.

Amidst his pleasure, a tiny coherent voice popped up in his head and began screaming at him. It said:

Just then, Specs gave a particularly strong suck, and the tiny voice lost coherency.

Although the voice was silenced, what it said was not lost. It was right—the sensations were off-center. One thought pierced the fog shrouding Alex’s mind--/Oh my God, he’s sucking my blood!/

Alex shoved Specs’ head away and straightened up, holding one hand over the puncture wounds in his femoral artery.

“Heal it,” he hissed.

Specs stared up at him, dumbfounded. “What—what are you talking about?”

“I said heal it, vampire!”

Still staring at Alex, Specs reached inside his mouth with his thumb, then brought it back out, the tip bloody, and pressed it to the twin holes in Alex’s thighs. He stood up, one hand going to the small of his back.

“So you know what I am,” he said. “But you’ll never know who I am.”

“Samuel Matthew Edwards. Nickname is “Specs.” Born August 28, 1949. Died November 7, 1969. Parents are Jonathan and Catherine Edwards. Brother Andrew Edwards, deceased March 19, 1956. Attended Riverton High School, graduated salutatorian 1967. Attended College of William and Mary until death.” Alex smirked slightly as Specs’ face went white. The vampire pulled his hand from the small of his back, revealing a small gun.

“Won’t it be a pity,” Specs whispered. “Took his own life at such a young age. He had such potential.”

Alex turned his head and narrowed his eyes. Specs leveled the gun, and, just as he was about to fire, the bathroom door swung open and a long wooden stake flew in.

“Good bye, Samuel,” Alex whispered.

He grabbed it in midair, spun it, and shoved it through Specs’ heart just as the gun fired.

The bullet embedded itself in Alex’s shoulder, and he cried out in sudden pain. Pressing a hand to his bleeding shoulder, he watched blankly as Specs fell to his knees, clawing at the stake.

“Dutchy, why?” he whispered, tears leaking from his eyes. “Why?”

“Her name was Princess,” Alex replied. “Princess MacEaver.”

Specs fell forward, and as soon as he hit the floor, turned into a pile of dust. Alex bowed his head, and placed his good hand on his cross. Then, with a violent movement, he tore the cross from its cord and dropped it on the pile.

/I wonder why I don’t have a headache./ Usually, by this point, he would be on the floor, writhing in agony. Now, however, he was possessed of unusually clear thought. Suddenly, the words of his mentor came back to him.

/Once there is no pain, there will be no time for good-byes./

As he slumped to the ground, he heard a noise and looked up. A blonde girl grinned down at him.

“C’mon, Alex. Let’s go home.”

Alex reached out and took Princess’ hand.

“ALEX!” Snoddy yelled, running into the men’s bathroom. “ALEX! The barmaid said you came in he—oh, God . . .”

Slumped next to a pile of ashes with a cross on top was Alex, head lolling back, one hand lying limply in his lap. Blood trickled sluggishly from the bullet wound in his shoulder. Snoddy clapped a hand over his mouth to stifle the sob that burst from him, then knelt and gathered Alex’s body in his arms.

He exited the bathroom and the people split, making a clear path for him. The band stopped playing, and the lights stopped flashing.

The door shut behind Snoddy and his precious cargo, and the lights slowly started up again, soon followed by the band.

Trapped in this world
Lonely and fading
Heartbroken, waiting
For you to come
Are stuck in this world
That’s not meant for me
For me
For . . .
Me . . .

it is finished.
9:54 PM EST
11th June, AD 2002