Jean Luc, dressed in a long dark cloak that hung around his frail frame, stood within the darkness at the back of the room. Patrons or congregation stand waiting…

The large, Haitian man stopped and stared at me, he didn’t recognize me at first. It had been twenty some years since I’d seen this particular vampire. His posture changed after a moment.

We stood staring at each other when he finally spoke.“

“Erik Clinton? What are you doing In Oceanside?” He said. His accent thick in French Creole.

“What are you doing here,” I answered gesturing toward the congregation. “Are you some church leader.”

“It’s difficult to say,” the Haitian man said as he looked down at me.

“Sacrifice to flying demons. Church service. I think it’s pretty simple to explain.”

John Luc was quiet then suddenly grabbed me by the shoulders and pushed me toward the door where the other old men went. As much as I wanted to resist I still trusted this vampire so I cooperated.

Erik stood from his stool and took a drink of water. He looked over the theater crowd then continued.

I met John Luc within one of the prisons in the Northeast Territory. I had been captured after a drunken night out and was designated “undesirable” so they tossed me in. John Luc and I fought zombie, vampire and everyone else till finally destroying the entire complex a few years later. I’m sure you heard of the Great Escape, written by me… available in paperback in the lobby of the theater.

So John Luc and I had a history. It’s always good to have some history with a vampire. It’s saved my ass multiple times. It certainly saved me in Oceanside.

John Luc lead me into the back room of the Church at Oceanside. I noticed a few rooms and a long hallway. He pushed me into one of the rooms, turned on the light and shut the door.

I sat in an empty, windowless room for, what seemed like hours as vampire milled and moaned outside the door. I wouldn’t find out till later that this was on of the West’s bigger vampire nest. John Luc returned after the noise had settled. The congregation had departed for the staking ceremony.

The tall man walked into the room. His dark skin, pale and gray. His lips, pencil thin, barely covered his long vampire teeth.

“With all this,” I outstretched my arms. “ You look terrible. How are you not healthy and warm with blood?”

I waited but I knew the answer. I never thought he would last this long.

“Your still fasting aren’t you?” I asked. “It’s been over twenty years. You look like crap. This whole scheme you got going…”

He stopped me.

“I’m going to be very honest with you, I don’t know what to say right now. Why are you here? I am thousands of miles from the NorthEast territory.”

“Years from the Great Escape. I’ve lived half a human lifetime on my own. I’ve been doing ok.”

“You! Are a harbinger of bad luck and destruction.”

“My friend, told me this. I was a harbinger of destruction.” Erik addressed the crowd. “A carrion of the living. Do I look like a threat to anyone?”

He asked the crowd. After a moment.

“It’s fine,” he began. “I have at times, and to all the persons in attendance, this has not happened in a loooong time. It’s been decades.. maybe…” he paused. “A couple years.”

Erik watched as a few groups stood to leave.

Ok, sure.. that makes sense. I said to my friend. Erik continued. I did not bring any demon with me, nor to I have this demon now..

“If that is any assurance at all, but you will miss the good part if you leave.”

So John Luc was not very happy to see me and I was stuck in a room with tall, dark and vampire. So I replied.

“To you a harbinger of death. To me a guy that always runs into stupid things. A carnival in Oceanside. A Mad Max like carnival wheel and staking people to tops of buildings. I did not bring any of that here.” I said.

“I.. am pretty sure many people will die because of this little scheme and why are you involved?” I asked having turned the interrogation on the interrogator.

The vampire opened the room door.

“You are free to go.”

I wanted to argue, honestly, but I didn’t. I left the room and stepped into the hallway and went right. Toward where they took the other old men.

John Luc grabbed my arm. Pulled me toward the hallway door and out the why I came.

“My friend,” he said as he pushed me out the door. “You are your own worse enemy. Please stay safe the next few days. It’s going to be rough. Oh! and buy an umbrella.”

He then closed the door to the surf museum and locked it.

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