As the sunset over the harbor, Brea walked each dock, checking to ensure she locked everything down for the night. Each one of the metal gates she passed was locked – that is, until she reached the gate for one of the most expensive boats docked in the harbor. That gate was open. “Crap,” she said.
She moved to the gate and pushed it open. Walking through, she lets it close behind her. The sound of the lock clicking into place made her jump. She walked along the dock headed toward the boat at the end. “Anyone here?” She called as she reached the bow of the boat. No response.
Brea walked farther along. Stopping at the welcome mat sitting on the dock. Again she called out. “Hello?”
This time, there was a response. A man’s voice answered. “Can I help you?” A man stepped out onto the deck from below.
Brea relaxed, her shoulders dropping as the tension eased. “Hey Thomas. You doing okay out here tonight? Someone left the gate open,” she said.
He blinked, taken aback. “I haven’t seen anyone tonight. Last person I saw was Connie from slip 12, but that was maybe four hours ago,” he said.
Brea looked back down the dock toward slip 12. It looked empty, the windows dark and the door closed. “I’ll check on her on my way back out. You sure everything is okay?”
“Yeah. Just out here hiding from the wife.”
Brea laughed. “That bad tonight?” They had been friends for years and it was a running joke he hide on his boat to get away from his wife when she was in a mood.
He shook his head. “Not really, her mother’s here for the week and I just don’t have the energy to deal with that old woman.” He glanced down at the dock as the gate rattled. There wasn’t anyone near it.
“Can’t blame you. In-laws are more trouble than they are worth most of the time.” She nodded. “I’ll leave you to your night.”
“Thanks for checking on me,” he said.
“Anytime.” She turned and walked back down the dock.
Brea passed slip 12 on her way to the gate. Only a step away from it she skidded to a stop. Now there was something in her way. Something dark and angry. In a moment of clarity, Brea spun on her heel and raced back to Thomas’ boat. She didn’t stop until her feet touched the decking of the thirty-something foot-long vessel. “Thomas,” she said, trying to keep her tone calm. “Get your ass back up here.”
In less than a heartbeat, he was standing beside her on the deck. “What’s…?” He stopped as his eyes touched on the shadow thing in front of the gates. She watched him shiver, swallow and try again. “That doesn’t look like a good thing.” He stepped back toward the door leading down into the living space of his boat.
“It’s not. And I think it’s what left the gate unlocked.” She swallowed, forcing herself to continue without taking her eyes off the figure. “Think we could go below deck and talk?” She asked.
He glanced between her and the thing by the gate. “Sure.” He motioned her through the passage and into the lower part of his boat.
She followed his directions, and he followed her, closing the hatch behind them. He lowered his voice. “Do you know what that thing is?” He asked, dropping down onto the bench.
Brea dropped down next to him. “It’s called at Vexin. It was, at one time, a human. Now it’s just a ball of dark energy that feeds on the fear and anger in it.” She shivered. “Stories say if you can keep your anger and fear at bay, it won’t hurt you. However, I don’t believe it. I’ve seen it – swallow – innocent people without a hesitation.” She explained.
Thomas gulped. “Are we safe in here?”
She nodded. “Yep. From what I have found, it follows most of the rules of vampires in the stories. He doesn’t like the sun – I don’t know if it will kill him, but he avoids it. Fire scares the hell out of him – he will run from it and hurt whoever and whatever is in his way. But the best part is that he can’t get into anywhere without being invited.”
“Then how about I cook you dinner? Looks like we might be here a while.” He said, looking out the little window at the dock. They could both see the creature walking back and forth down the docks.
A sad smile touched her face. “Thanks. Guess your wife is going to be upset about me spending the night here.”
Thomas let out a blast of laughter. “Of all the women that could be on this boat, you are the least likely to make her worry. She thinks you’re safe.”
This time Brea burst out in laughter. “Me safe? Doesn’t she know about our history?”
He went to work in the galley, making dinner for the two of them. “I’m not stupid enough to tell anyone about our history. Sit back and relax. Dinner won’t be long.”