Something feels off tonight. Not in a way that feels dangerous or wrong, the way it does when someone's out to get you, just… off.
At first, I'm thinking it's on account I woke up an hour earlier than normal, but I've gotten up earlier than this without a hitch, so that can't be it. Nobody's called the law on us as far as I can tell, and there's nobody around that ain't supposed to be. It's just me and Trochee.
And also the corpse of the fella we ate last night stretched out behind the sofa, the one who owned the place, but he don't really count.
My best guess is I'm just not used to breaking into other folks' houses to find dinner and then sleeping in them. Normally, I just sleep under a bridge or an underpass with a blanket over my head to keep the sun out, but Trochee's tagging along now and he's accustomed to breaking into places for the day.
Being in a different sleeping space has gotta be what's eating me. Sure, that must be it.
Still, I don't wanna stick around any longer than I have to, and as soon as the sun sets, I go lookin' for Trochee.
I find him curled up at the back of the closet, nestled beside a vacuum in an explosion of white towels that were probably stacked neatly before he got to them. It's easy to see how people tend to trust him enough to let him into their house, since he kinda looks like he just limped out of a Dickens novel, what with the hat too big for his head and crippled foot from a factory accident and big sunken in eyes. Of all people to suddenly jump on you from a rafter and start chomping jugulars, he's the last one you'd expect (if he doesn't have bloodstains on his teeth anyway). Course, at the moment he looks like a corpse someone stashed to hide evidence more than anything else.
"C'mon, Trochee. Up and at 'em, there's trains and breakfast to catch." He pushes into the towels and pretends not to hear me, so I poke him with my toe a couple of times. When that doesn't work I try poking him in the eye, and he curls up his lip in a little fanged snarl and makes a grouchy hissing noise like someone let the air out of his tires. "Aw, go soak your head."
"It's already past eight; we shoulda cut outta here by now. The train leaves at eleven, we're losing moonlight here."
He finally sits up and glowers at me from under a bird's nest of filthy yellowy hair, "So I'll get up at ten. Hell's bells, Ira! The moon ain't even high yet and besides, my foot hurts."
"Your foot always hurts, and besides you were practically running on it yesterday."
"Yeah, that's how come it hurts again." He thinks for a second, then frowns, "…Hold on a second. I thought we don't gotta be in Chattanooga until Thursday."
Rats. I was actually hoping he'd forget that.
Trochee wriggles out from towels and comes to stand next to me in the hallway, head cocked to the side, "If we got three days to spare, I don't get why we can't just hang around here in the meantime. We can't we just catch the train tomorrow? It's not gonna disappear into thin air is it?"
I don't really have an answer for that. To be honest, he's right. It would be better to just hunker down here for the next few days and take the opportunity to enjoy the house. It's been a long time since either of us had some real time to relax. I don't think either of us has seen any television since the moon landing, and I really wanna take a gander at the stiff's music collection. And movie collection.
Like he's a mind reader, Trochee smiles his sweetest swindler smile and says real casual like, "I wonder if the stiff we ate last night has a videocassette player." When I act like I don't know what he's talking about, his grin just gets bigger, "And you know, I think this guy has Lawrence of Arabia."
"That's not gonna work," I tell him, hoping that it's the truth. "I don't care if he has a whole theater in his house, I don't wanna stay here."
"Something… I dunno. Something doesn't feel right, like it's not how we left it. I just - quit lookin' at me like I'm taking crazy pills Trochee, I ain't kidding around here!"
He stares at me for a few minutes with a funny lopsided look, like his face can't decide to be frazzled or irritated or both. "Are we in some kind of trouble Ira?" he says, in a small voice.
Trochee's being worried calms me down, somehow. I don't like the both of us being worried at once, especially over what's probably nothing. "No. No, we're not in trouble. Well, I don't think. Something's just bothering me about this house. Maybe there's spooks in it or something. Or maybe I am loosing my marbles. I mean, that does happen to folks like us eventually. Undeath does that."
"Don't be stupid, you're only a hundred and forty. That stuff won't happen for another fifty years at least." The smaller vampire grins, "And everyone knows there's no such thing as spooks."
We agree to stay here for at least another day, if for no other reason than it's better to hunker down here than to rush to Chattanooga when we're not due there for a while anyway. And also because I really do want to see Lawrence again.
But when the two of us get to the living room, that odd feeling starts creepin' up on me again. Stronger this time, hovering above us ominous and dreadful. It doesn't feel so strange this time though, because now I can identify what's bothering me. It's the same apprehension I get when I'm in another vampire's territory, like when you're in someone's house uninvited.
But naturally, that's impossible. I mean, it's like I said before, the only ones in the house are me and Trochee and -
"Say, Ira did you move the stiff?"
"He's by the stereo. You left him by the sofa last night, right?"
I left him by the sofa fifteen minutes ago, actually. And in a completely different position. The fella's leaning against the wall now, and it looks like he's clenching his teeth... teeth that are starting to look red and nasty in the gums, like when a baby's teeth are growing in. Or, in this case, where fangs are growing in.
" I think we might have to stay for more than another night."