He reached out and grabbed my arm, then pulled me through the open crypt doorway. My whole world went black.
Loosening his tie with one hand, Quentin stepped out into the cold clear winter air and flew.
That should have been the end of it, but somewhere in the deepest recesses of my awareness, I hear the brassy wail of a ragtime band. A funeral procession, New Orleans style, is wending its way through the cemetery. Through the gates of the crypt, the music pulls me up from oblivion.
Quentin was understandably upset at my contract breach. I agreed to produce a child to serve as his new host, and after the designated three-year deadline, refused to pass on an innocent to him.
I don’t blame him for taking his pound of flesh, or rather several pounds of my life force. He must still be drained from his prolonged hibernation if he could leave behind even an iota of my essence.
Good for me. I learned a few things while he was gone, one of which is how to use a weakness to my benefit.
He is on the prowl. His main concern is building his strength, and at this point, he won’t be picky. I remain his best chance at immortality, he just doesn’t know it yet.
I try to rise, but am only able to open my eyes. It is dark outside, which means I was incapacitated for several hours, perhaps for days. So I don’t know how much of a head start Quentin has on me.
The music is getting louder, I can feel the resonance through the stone of my temporary shelter. It echoes inside my head, and in my bones. Attempting to move again, I curl into a tight ball, finally getting my arms around my head, blocking out the sound.
Quentin will first look for brawn, a strong host that can help him heal. Then shedding that body like peeling back the husk of a beetle, he will move on to intellect. Using his renewed brilliance, he will devise a new plan.
That’s what I have to stop. Strength I can fight, smart I can match. My edge is having both, only I am so tired. The music turns again, moving down the path nearest to the crypt. The tempo slows to a dirge and I close my eyes. I just need to rest a little longer, then I can face Quentin again.
The hunt begins.