Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part II

I escorted Nadine to the kitchen and got her settled into a chair at the table. Surprisingly, she barely uttered a word the whole time I made hot chocolate. Only after I put it down in front of her, did she finally look up.

hot+chocolate

“Thanks,” she smiled and inhaled the aroma deeply. Immediately, her shoulders relaxed along with the rest of her. After a few moments of silent bliss, she caught me grinning. “What?”

“Never underestimate the power of chocolate, Sweetie,” I told her and took a sip from my own cup. Damn I make good hot chocolate, even if I do say so myself.

That made her smile.

“So,” I began, “You said you were doing research. Come to any conclusions yet?”

A serious expression crossed my companions face as she gave it some serious thought. Then she took a deep breath, declared that men are misogynistic ass-hats and that she was never letting Isabella out of the manor ever again. Then she went back to drinking her hot chocolate.

I just stared at her for a few seconds before saying, “Number one: congratulations on coming to that conclusion. Number two: as far as never letting your sister out of his manor again, do yourself a favor and don’t even try. Because knowing that little girl the way I do, I can tell you right now it ain’t happening. And controlling, over-protective behavior can be the very thing that makes girls rebel and put themselves in danger.”

I expected Nadine to sigh, but instead she groaned and began gently head-desking the table.

“You must have had one hell of an evening tonight.”

“Not just tonight,” she corrected. “Ever since I dealt with the Cannibal Killer, I’ve been going out like this at least once or twice a week.”

My curiosity was piqued. “Why?”

“Because of some of the reactions I got when I went after that psycho,” she replied, tucking some of her long blonde locks behind one ear.

Leaning forward I gestured for her to continue.

“I never told you or the girls at the time, but I spent a whole day in that town looking like this. The idea at the time was to observe what kind of reactions I got from other people, hoping our killer might give himself away. Of course, he was already hiding in the park and never laid eyes on me till I pulled him off the girl he attacked. But that’s not to say I didn’t get a few reactions during my walk.”

“With looks like yours, I’m not surprised,” I remarked.

“Thanks,” she smiled, but I could see it only partly reached her eyes.

“How did it feel,” I asked after a moment.

“Kind of flattering at first, but also kind of uncomfortable on a sort of subconscious level,” she answered, shifting in her seat as she spoke. “I was so focused on my mission I never really gave the feelings any thought at the time. But when I got to the bar where I was to meet Michael, I started thinking about it.”

Bar scene

I didn’t say it aloud, but I already had a pretty good idea of what was coming. Sure enough, her next words proved me right.

“I barely sat down at the end of the bar when some guy suddenly appeared at my elbow leaning in and asking me what I was drinking,” she said with more than a touch of annoyance in her voice. “And before you say anything, no it was NOT the bartender. But the thing that bothered me the most was the fact that he was supposedly talking to me, but I could actually feel the vibration from his voice hitting me down here,” she added, pointing at her chest.

As tempted as I was to say “no surprise”, I kept quiet and listened as she continued.

“And let me tell you, he was like practically six feet tall,” Nadine continued. “And here I am like 5′ 4″ and he’s talking to my cleavage. I mean my God, if he was bent over any further, he could have passed for The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s better looking cousin.”

I leaned back in my chair nodding. I could tell already that this was just the beginning…

TO BE CONTINUED…

Penny’s E-Diary August 11, 2016 “She’s Back” – Part I

       If anyone had told me two years ago I would one day be married, have a child, and be living in a big old mansion, I’d have told them to quit snorting the white powder. Of course, there’s no way they would’ve have known a man who’d fought in the Civil War, and was for all intent and purposes a vampire, would be partly responsible for all of this. It still seems like some weird dream, or like I stepped into the Twilight Zone, but it’s all real. And I’m truly happy about it.

     Not that things don’t get kind of bizarre on a semi-regular basis. Take tonight for example, my baby boy had been fussing and feeling poorly lately. So I took him to Dr. Jack a couple of days ago, who said it was an ear infection and gave me instructions and a prescription for it. Of course, this means I’ve been keeping odd hours at night to administer the medicines. Needless to say my he wasn’t happy when I woke him up to administer more medicine and it took me a good hour to get him back to sleep. Richard offered to take over for me, but I insisted. He even offered to keep me company  while I walked our boy back to sleep. He’s really turning into a great dad. And as much as I appreciated his offer, I sent him back to bed. He’d had a really long day already, plus sometimes a girl wants to deal with things on her own. My home life had been pretty messed up and I didn’t want to make the same mistakes as my so-called parents. The moment I knew I was pregnant I swore to do a lot better than them, and I like to think I’ve been succeeding.

      Anyway, I’d just put my little boy down again and realized I was a bit hungry. Looking over at the clock on the night table I saw it was only 1:30 in the morning. Not too late for a snack, I thought and headed downstairs.

      I’d gotten halfway down the  staircase when I saw the front doors open and a young woman entered. In the dim lighting I couldn’t make out the features and thought it must be either Marisa or Lisa my two, much younger, best friends. Both of them are barely twenty but in spite of a decade difference between us we’re tight. They love hanging out with me and both of them are great with the baby. The two of them also have the hots for Nathan, the Civil War veteran/vampyre I mentioned earlier, who owns this big old mansion. He’s also one of the best friends/guardian angel any of us could ever ask for.

      I know Nathan gave both girls their own key, so naturally I thought it must be one of them. Upon seeing that our late night visitor had blonde hair, I figured it must be Marisa (Lisa’s a brunette). Then realizing what time it was I immediately started hurrying down the rest of the stairs thinking something bad must have happened.

     “Marisa?” I called out only to have our guest look up.  It wasn’t Marisa, instead it was someone I hadn’t expected to see again anytime soon. “Nathan… I mean Nadine?” I stammered for a second.

      Okay, now I’m going to take a step back for a moment and explain a few things. Like everyone else who knows about Nathan being a vampyre and keeps an e-journal, blog, or an e-diary, these entries I make are set to private. Only someone knows, or will one day know, about Nathan gets to read them. We do this because we want to keep our memories and experiences with him alive even when (God forbid) we can’t remember, or are no longer part of this world. Although in the former case I don’t think we’ll ever fall to dementia or Alzheimer’s because Nathan wouldn’t let that happen. He’s got abilities like you’ve never seen and although he can’t hold off death (except for maybe himself), he’s learned to use them in so many ways to help people. And  want these memories to be available for my son and his children so they know what a difference this man has made, not only my life but other peoples’ as well.

    One of Nathan’s more fascinating abilities is of course shape-shifting. But unlike what you see in the movies where a vampire simply turns into mist, or a bat, or some other animal, he’s taken this ability to a whole other level. He’ll alter parts of his body, like turning just his legs into individual puppy dogs to play with Lisa’s little brother, or alter his facial features to look like another person. However, even more impressive is his skill at changing his entire body  into that of a very attractive woman. Mind you, Lisa, Marisa and I had a hand in his learning how to do it convincingly. The three of us gave him some serious coaching just two months ago when he was helping hunt down a cannibalistic serial killer.

     The result was the creation of ‘Nadine’ the female persona he was wearing tonight. Upon seeing ‘she’ was back my first thought was, ‘Oh dear God, don’t tell me was there another maniac on the loose?’ It must’ve shown on my face, because he/she… dammit, I’m going to call Nadine a she for this entry, mainly because she didn’t change back to normal all the time I was with her.

      Anyway, Nadine smiled as if she’d read my thoughts and said, “It’s okay, Penny. I’m not on a case or anything like that. I’ve just been doing some… research of my own.”

     “Thank God,” I sighed and looked at her again. I have to admit, the girls and I had done a damn good job on teaching Nadine how not only how to look but act like a woman. Even as we were talking, the mannerisms and way she held herself was just right. Which puzzled me even more.

     Had ‘Nathan’ taken a liking to being a woman sometimes or was there something more going on here? She had just mentioned something about research, so I asked, “Trying to find out how the other half lives?”

       “In more ways than one,” Nadine sighed raising a tired hand to her head.

      I knew that tone and the gesture. I’d seen and done it myself more times than I’d like to count. Putting an arm around her shoulders I said, “Let’s go to the kitchen and I’ll make us something and you can tell me all about it.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

“The Cannibal Killer” – Part II: Nathan’s Private E-Journal June 17th, 2016

*Note to self: I’m not the only one living in this big old house!* 

      I really need to pay attention to what’s going on around me when I’m on my computer, because I never know who’s going to come by and start reading over my shoulder.  Today, it was practically EVERYBODY!  Sigh…

     Now let me set the scene for you all.  Ever since I started writing I got into the habit of using two monitors at once, so I can have something I’m researching on one screen, while I’m writing on the other.  Tonight, I was reading an e-mail from my “nephew” Michael Rhodes about a case he’s involved with on one screen, while looking over the newspaper accounts on the other.

    I was so absorbed in what I was reading that I never heard Penny, Lisa, or Marisa come into the room.  In fact I only realized they were there after I suddenly leaned back  and felt my head bump into Marisa’s chest (not that she minded).

    After realizing I had an audience I quickly looked around the room to make sure one person in particular had not seen what I had been reading.

     As if reading my thoughts Penny said, “Isabella’s downstairs with Richard.”

    Immediately I breathed a sigh of relief and then scowled at the intruders.  “And what brings all three of you into my study?  For all you know, I could’ve been working on a new bestseller… or surfing the internet for porn.”

     “Which was why we came in,” Marisa answered simply. pointed out.

   “If you were searching for porn we felt it was important to know what turns you on and what doesn’t,”  Lisa added helpfully.

  “I just came in to see if you wanted something to drink,” was Penny’s contribution to the proceedings.  But she looked troubled.

    Standing up I started to ask Marisa and Lisa to leave us, but Penny cut in sharply saying, “NO!  They need to hear this!”

    I don’t know who was more surprised by her tone, our companions or me.  In either case, both girls sat down while I drew closer to Penny who I noticed was shaking slightly.  As she looked at me I gave her a reassuring smile and said quietly, “Start whenever you’re ready.”

   She gave me a little smile but instead of talking she wandered over to one of the windows in my study and stared out into the night.

     After several moments she said, “All the victims of that psycho you were reading up on were women.”

       It was more a statement than a question, still I replied, “Yes, they were.”

    She nodded, then asked, “Did you girls know prostitutes are the most likely to be victims of violence or even murdered?”

      Lisa looked uncomfortable, but Marisa actually answered.  “Yes, I did a report on violence against women for a class.  Got a good grade on it, plus a lecture from the teacher for touching on a ‘sensitive’ subject.”

     “Was the instructor male?” Penny asked.

     “Yeah, he was.”

     Penny turned.  “And what did you say?”

    “I reminded him that he’d asked us to pick a social issue that needed addressing and that I’d felt that violence against women was one I felt strongly about.  Then he asked why I’d focused on prostitutes and I told him that many of them had wound up in that situation because they’d been victimized already and needed more protection not less.  After that things got a little heated, and he wound up lowering my grade to a C.”

    I made a mental note to myself to ask Marisa the name of her instructor, but only later.  But right now I wanted to keep my focus on what Penny had to say.

    She gave Marisa a fleeting smile of gratitude, but then her expression turned serious again.  “You’re right, we… they do.  And sometimes we found it with guys who wanted to ‘protect’ us and help us out.  Only they could be just as bad, or worse than some of our clients.”

     “Like Tony?” Lisa murmured, breaking her silence.

     Penny shot her a look, but it quickly softened.  “Yeah, like my old employer.  But he only got mean when one of us tried to leave.  As long as we were under his roof, we WERE protected.  Which was why I felt safer being in a brothel than I did out on the street.  Anyone got too rough with us they’d be sorry…  But the only way any of us left his employ was when he felt they weren’t worth keeping around anymore.  Or he’d grown tired of them.”

    “Richard must’ve been very special for you to risk all that you did to get away,” I remarked, thinking aloud.

     That earned me a smile.  “He was… and not just because he got me a knocked up.  I could’ve easily gotten an abortion, but I wanted my baby and him.  And I would’ve lost both if it hadn’t been for you and Lisa.”

     “It was mostly Nathan,” my favorite goddaughter pointed out.

    “You were there for us too,” Penny replied softly, and then turned back to me.  “But the point I’m trying to make is that girls in my trade, we lived our lives knowing something bad could and would happen to us.  But the girls in those articles… they were just like these two,” here she gestured at Lisa and Marisa who were looking a little pale right about then.  “They weren’t hooking, they were just women who had families and friends who loved them.  One or two of them had children… they weren’t looking for trouble but it found them and it cost them.  But not before they suffered.”

     Glancing back at the article that was still on my screen, my eyes went straight to the part where it described some of what had been done to the girl before she died and murmured, “I know…”

     Penny caught the tone in my voice and said, “I know this Michael guy has already asked you to help stop this guy, but now I’m asking you as well.  Use your abilities to stop this guy, don’t let another girl suffer at his hands.”

     “Oh I intend to,” I assured her and began to use my shape-shifting skills.

     Normally, I don’t let anyone see one of my transformations, unless I’m turning into mist.  But most of the time I’m usually changing into something more “bestial”.  However this wasn’t one of those occasions.  First my waist pulled in while my hips expanded slightly.  At the same time the hair on my arms vanished while the skin took on a smoother look.  As my hair lengthened, my chest expanded, while my jawline softened and my nose took on a more aquiline shape.

   Once I was done, I gazed expectantly at my audience and said, “Well?  Do I make a tempting target?”

      Lisa, who I noticed was looking a little flushed, was the first to answer, “A little too tempting.”

     “Too male fantasy?” I asked.

     “Too Hollywood,” answered Marisa. who was also eyeing me curiously.

    “But it’s a good start,” Penny smiled and turned to the girls.  “Why don’t you two get some clothes and make-up for our girl here.  Then we’ll give her some tips to get the proper effect.”

     As soon as the girls left, Penny looked at me and said, “You know, if you hadn’t changed form, one of them would’ve offered to act as bait.”

     I nodded, “I was also afraid you might as well.”

     “I was,” she admitted and then threw her arms around me saying, “Thank you.”

    As I returned the gesture, I silently prayed for all our sakes (including Michael and Terri’s) that I would be enough to be the maniac’s next target.