Two stories today, because I missed one during the past month.

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The Light of Our Armistice (9-7-09)

 Ed twiddled the pen between his fingers and waited for the men who’d picked him up to return.  He knew what they wanted and hoped they would cooperate, if he did.  He looked up at the dark skinned man as he entered.

 “You’re military?” he asked without preamble.

 “NCIS.  I was a SEAL.  What were you doing on that Navy base?” the man asked.

 “You looked military.  I was in the army for four or five years, so I know the type.  Can I pace while I talk.  I won’t try anything, I swear,” Ed said.  He stood.  The man didn’t say anything so he began to pace.  “I was in that base because I have a group of people who want something from that base and are using me to get it.  They have my pregnant wife, daughter and little brother.”

 “Why you?” the man asked.

 “Why not?” Ed deflected.  He rocked on his heels and sighed.  “They think I’m some kind of… I don’t know… mystical person.  They think that… I can do things normal people can’t.”

 “Can you?”

 “I’m a college history professor,” Ed deflected.  “What do you think?  I kind of got caught on purpose though.  I didn’t want to give them whatever it was they wanted, but I can’t let them hurt my family.  Will you help me get them back?”

 “Absolutely,” the man said. “Do you know where they’re being held?”

 “I do.  Can I help?”  The man looked at him critically.  “I was in the military before I got my degree in history and became a teacher.  I can handle myself in the field.  Besides, Al won’t trust you.  He doesn’t know you.”

 “Right,” the man said.  “I’m Sam Hanna.”

 “Edward Elric,” Ed replied, shaking his hand and smiling broadly.

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Worn Hearts (9-30-09)

Vanni stared out the window and sighed.  He was tired of being sick.  He wanted to be able to run and play with the other children.  He was tired of missing out on trips his father and brother took and staying home with his nanny.  He was tired of the sunroom and its view of the park.  He didn’t want to spend his life as a spectator.

*

Pat watched his younger brother from the doorway of the sunroom.  The five-year-old thought he was missing out on fun when Father took him away and left Vanni with Nanny.  Pat sighed.  It wasn’t Vanni’s fault.  No one told him about something they figured he wouldn’t understand.  The trips weren’t fun.  They were treatments that were meant to keep his vampirism at bay.  He’d been born of a human woman and a vampire and had inherited his father’s thirst for blood.  One of the conditions to his living at the Galiano estate and being raised with his younger half-brother was these treatments.  They were painful and made him feel sick but the thirst went away.  Uncle Edric had said that they wouldn’t have to do the treatments as often as he grew up.  He hoped that time came soon.

*

Philippe sighed as he sat on the swing, watching the moon creep across the sky.  There weren’t any other children on the estate.  His sisters were young women now and more interested in luring victims to their nests than playing with their younger half-brother.  His father was busy with his duties as the lord of their people.  He faintly remembered an older brother and perhaps a younger one.  However, they might have been only dreams.  Imaginary playmates.  He was getting older.  The small furry animals that had once bounded through the yard when he was outside wouldn’t come near.  They sensed his thirst coming.  It hadn’t come yet.  He still only ate human food.  However, he’d gotten to the point where his meat was rare.  It was only a matter of time.

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