Chapter 71 - M.

Chapter 71 - M.



“You really called in sick?”

“Yeah, I never call in sick so I’ve got lots of sick days.”

“And you wanted to spend your day off, with me?”

“I don’t have any other friends, except my brother, and he’s busy.”

“I’m busy too,” Destiny takes her eyes off the road.

“Yeah, but you said, and I quote, 'my job isn’t all about murder murder and kill kill.' I wanted to see what other kinds of jobs you took.”

“Fine, read the case file,” she digs in the back seat, ignoring the road and the wheel now.

“I can find it, you drive,” I try to hold the wheel steady.

“Here it is,” she finally takes the wheel again.

“You’re a terrible driver.”

“You’re a slow driver.”

“At least I pay attention to the road.”

“Just read,” she turns on the radio to drown me out.

Damien Harold, a vampire, or half vampire. He’s 176 years old, longer than most live. He’s dying and he’s searching for his son. He doesn’t have much information to go by as it has been over 150 years. All he could give us was that his son was a half vampire as well, and his name was Paul. This huge pack of files and most of it was about how Damien had spent his life. The only real clue was a few photographs, paperclipped together. Paul wasn’t a large man but he stood with a lot of commanding power, he didn’t look 150 years old, but I suppose being half vampire had that effect on aging. Nothing else distinct about the phot except the camera next to him seemed to be expensive and he wore a large bomber jacket. Somewhere cold maybe, was he a photographer. Still, something didn’t sit right with me. If he hadn’t seen his son in 150 years, how did he have these pictures?

“We’re here,” Destiny proclaimed as she we pulled into the parking spot.

“You’re a way better driver when you look at the road.”

“I know, but I like looking at you now.”

“So, you like looking at me? Wait, what did you mean by now? Did you dislike me back then?”

“I’ve become accustomed to your face,” she laughs and gets out. She’s so mean to me. I like it.

Our destination, an old bar, called Dalmatians. It looks almost like it belongs in the old west. The only things missing are the swinging doors and a rest place for the horses. Instead there’s a few motorcycles and cars dotting the parking lot. I can’t imagine many people are out drinking in the middle of the day. Especially a place that might have clues about a vampire’s missing son from over 100 years ago. Almost as if time means nothing to them. I suppose when you’re an immortal vampire, or a vampire that can live centuries, it is nothing.

Inside seems just as old as the outside, a few TVs playing reruns of last night’s basketball game. The rookie for the Oklahoma City Hornets is killing it. I don’t mind basketball but I’ve always been a fan of baseball first. Seems like skill and strategy play a bigger part of the game than just athleticism for basketball. Then again, I suppose the WNBA is big on skill. Outside of the TVs the newest thing in the bar seems to be the pool tables, empty of course. A few lonely folks sit at booths drinking or eating bar food. Destiny makes her way over to the bar and leans over the counter like some old Clint Eastwood movie.

I take a seat at the other end of the bar and watch. She asks some questions, points to the photo and the bartender shrugs. It’s clear he doesn’t know anything. So, she moves around the bar asking the few people here. I order an orange juice and just watch as she works. It’s interesting, but I can’t help feel like there’s a better way to go about finding his son. We’ve got a name, a supposed birthday, a city and a photo. I’m willing to bet I can pull something up online. Maybe see if there are birth records that go that far back.

“Alright, let’s go. There’s another bar we can hit not far from here,” Destiny calls to me from the door.

I return the glass to the bartender and head out to the car. This time I sit in the backseat and grab my laptop. I can fold out the center armrest as a little desk.

“What are you doing? I’m not a chauffeur for real. That was a onetime thing,” she says.

“I’m going to try to find this guy Paul on the internet.”

“That’s not how this works nerd boy,” she laughs before backing out.

She hits the next bar, a spot called Dracula’s Deep Drink. I guess they serve blood there, I don’t bother going in. I just hit the internet and search. Paul Harold turns up a bunch of search results. None of them are the guy I’m looking at in the picture. Mostly old guys from around the country. Apparently, it’s a common name, just not for Black guys. Birth records give me even less to go on. It turns not everyone was keeping birth records for Black people in the 1850s, even in different parts of the same city. There’s nothing to go based on there. It’s not likely I’ll pull a serial number from the camera in the photo or figure out where he is based on the photo.

Actually, I can. I can search the internet for similar photos. I’ll post it on image boards while I look elsewhere. Maybe an hour after our third bar stop, I get a hit. Someone on the internet recognizes the photograph. It isn’t Paul Harold. It’s a man named Gordon Parks, a film director and photographer. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach as I start to piece all of this together. Destiny returns to the car dejected after putting an entire afternoon into this search.

“Any luck,” she asks me.

“None, but I have a question about vampires.”

“I’m not really up for anthropology class right now.”

“Nah, this is a quick one.”

“When a vampire dies of old age do they just die or is it like humans?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like, sometimes minds start to go. Dementia or Alzheimer’s takes over.”

“Oh, yeah. Same thing. One of the few human conditions that can carry over. Completely possible.”

I start to type in my keyboard as the rest of her statement trails off and she heads to the next bar. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner. It doesn’t take long for me to confirm my suspicions. From there I can pull everything together and the answers start rolling in.

“Destiny, I found him.”

“What,” she slams on the breaks.

“Let’s go see Mr. Harold, I know where his son is.”


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