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Wakefield, Wyoming. Chapter 5

by KocoCoko

Frank tightened his grasp around Lucinda, humming along with the record player. Lucy’s favorite song was playing. That song always happened to send her into a deep sleep, too. Well, anything touched by Dinah Shore usually did the trick. She was fast asleep in his arms, hiding her face against his chest while she sat in his lap. What would dear old mama think? He got a little girl before he ever started liking a woman. A vampire girl! How absurd was that, ma?

Lucy wouldn’t even sniff in her sleep, completely exhausted from the day’s events. Frank didn’t dare bother her. His arm hurt too much for that. He looked down at the cloth wrapped around the wound. Lucinda shrieked when he put the blade against his arm, but her bloodlust had taken over. He had to push her off of him to let the blood soak into a previously white towel. After he had to repeat this process six times to sate her growling stomach, the towel was pink. Frank didn’t even want to think about having to wash that sucker.

Frank rubbed Lucy’s tiny wrist, causing her to wince in her dreams. She had passed out just as she finished off the last wringing of the towel, not even noticing the eighteen punctures in her wrist. He knew when she woke up she'd be screaming and crying about her arm, about how guilty she felt, about everything. His free thumbs traced over the stubby fangs sticking out while she slept with her mouth open.

Frank sighed. They couldn't do this much longer. He needed to find a way to frame Beckwith, but first he needed to find out what to do with poor little Lucy. He knew what he had to do. How would he tell her? She had some conflicting emotions about the family that threw her out, after all.

But they were vampires, and Frank needed some advice.

. . .

"I've told you once and I'm tellin’ ya again, this is an awful idea," Lucy said, pouting and crossing her arms. The rocky trail was replaced with a nice dirt road with only occasional bumps. At least they didn't send Lucy flying.

Frank was just glad there weren't many sharp turns in the forest. "Lucinda," he said, slowly, "It's either this, or I’m just gonna chain you to the house.” that seemed to shut Lucy up. It failed to stop her huffing and sighing every second. Frank slowed the car as they hit a sharp turn and used the opportunity to look at her. All he got to see was a mess of short, black hair and frayed ends. Maybe he should start looking into an actual hair salon instead of his ‘decent’ skills with a dagger. “Lucy, you know we have to do this. We can’t keep guessing and hoping someone doesn’t get hurt.”

The little girl kept staring off into the woods. A static-ridden baseball game was all that interrupted their silence. Lucy swallowed thickly and cleared her throat. “It’s just…” she started. She licked her lips nervously, “They threw me out, sir. It was raining, it was cold, and they just… chucked me out the door,” Lucinda whispered, “And I remember what they said, too. “You’re no longer a Rainilda, Lucinda! You’re nothing but a disgrace to us all.” I don’t even know what I did wrong!”

Frank listened attentively. He knew the story like the back of his hand, but it didn’t change the fact that Lucy sniffled after every retelling. Nothing was going to change his mind, though. They needed help, and these might be the only other vampires in town. “You know, after this… I could tell the town about their vampirism. They don’t know you’re one of them,” Frank said with a surprisingly calm tone, “Two birds with one stone.”

“What?!” Lucy screamed. It was the first time she ever showed her fangs to him from sheer anger. “No! Absolutely not! I’m not gonna let you turn my family in! I have seventeen siblings, Frank! You can’t do that!”

Seventeen? How was their poor mom not a vegetable already? “They threw you out. That ain’t what family does. They even said it– You’re not a Rainilda.”

Lucy huffed again and turned to the car window, watching trees fly by with restrained fury. “It’s complicated, Frank.”

She never used his name that often. So, Frank decided to shut himself up. Nothing could change little Lucy’s mind easily. The rest of the drive was silent. The scraping of branches and tumbles in the road were all that kept the tension growing too high. Lucinda refused to look at him. They arrived at a metal gate left wide open. Frank slowed the car as they approached.

Then, in the distance, a dark figure grew over the trees. A pointed roof, and then another made from dark bricks. Then came cylinders painted gray with windows on the sides. Complicated patterns made of wood followed every single corner, though they looked more like embroidery done by the old Grandma who lived downtown.

“What in the cockeyed broad is that?” Frank said beneath his breath as his car came to a stop. Lucy lurched forward as usual. She looked up from her window and her eyes went wider than Frank had ever seen.

She swallowed hard as she slid out from seat and exited the car. She pointed to the Victorian home. “That’s the Rainilda Estate, sir.”

Frank put his hand on his head, whistling as he took in the mansion's size. His own cabin’s size didn’t even make up a single room in the house. Hell, their bathroom was probably bigger than his ranch alone! “Has this always been here?”

Lucy shrugged. “I dunno. One of my brothers used to say they built it as soon as they moved from .”

Frank made long steps to approach the front steps, carefully avoiding any flora or statues that spread across the estate. He wanted to laugh at how much the place screamed Hey! We house vampires! “When did y’all move?”

Lucinda’s legs moved stiffly, scared to make even one mistake. “Sometime after the revolutionary war, I think. My father said he liked how rich we were in the Americas and how warm it was compared to Moscow.”

“You’re Russian?” he questioned.

“On my mother’s side. My father is from London,” Lucy responded.

“How do you remember all this stuff? You’re barely out of diapers,” Frank chuckled, though the question was sincere.

Once again, Lucy shrugged. “Maybe it comes with the whole immortal vampire thing?”

Frank wouldn’t question further as he stepped onto the porch. If the supernatural was possible, who was to say Lucinda couldn’t do something? “Well, moment of truth,” he freed his hand from his pockets and prepared to knock on the door. Then he looked back. Lucy was stuck on the steps, biting her lip and playing the edges of her dress. “You comin’ up or what?” She shook her head furiously. “Well, they might be more hospitable if they see you with me.”

Still, Lucy refused to budge. Frank saw her short legs tremble under her own weight. For a moment, he thought about abandoning the idea. It looked as if that poor little girl was going to vomit any second. He shook the idea away as quickly as it came. She was a vampire, little girl or not. He needed to figure out what would get her to calm down. A bit of fright never killed nobody. “Lucy, I need you up here,” he repeated in a harsher tone.

Lucinda grew more antsy, swaying side to side and fidgeting with the skin beneath her nails. Just as Frank went to demand she step up, her pale and shivering hand reached out. “Help,” she begged in a breathy whisper. The detective stared down the stairs for a moment. It was then he noticed bubbly tears starting to build in the corners of her eyes.

He knew the story like the back of his hand, but sometimes, if he was lucky, Lucy would add the extra details. Such as how she was grabbed by the collar of her shirt, how there was blood staining her lips, how she was flung from the porch while thousands of voices resembling her family screamed and cried at her in the howling wind. How much it hurt when she felt the side of her head crash against the corner of the first step, how her knees scraped against the dirt, how she saw blood pour from her ear, though she couldn’t tell if it was red or black.

Frank gently took her hand and led her up the steps, each move slow and methodical. Each creaked when she stood on them for too long. When she arrived at the door, the detective bent down to clean her tears with his thumb. The vampire smiled when he did. She held his hand even tighter. “Ready?” she asked.

“As I’ll ever be.” Frank knocked on the door.

There was lull for a moment, as if every ghost in the house refused to move. Then, footsteps hurried towards the door and it flung open. A young boy, maybe twelve or so, stood in the doorway. He looked straight out of an English boarding school, stockings and all. He had the same black hair and red eyes that Lucinda had. The young boy scanned over Frank. “Uh, hello, Mr. detective sir,” the boy said, clearly forcing back his midwestern accent, “Is something wrong?”

Frank was glad he didn’t need to threaten him with his badge. “Hello, we’re here to discuss some private matters. Nothing that’ll get you in trouble–”

“Ezekiel?” Lucinda’s eyes sparkled with hope, “It’s me! Lucy!” Ezekiel looked down at Frank’s side. For just a moment, she imagined that her brother would grin and welcome her inside. She could see her family, be held by them all again, be treated like she was normal…

Instead, his eyes widened. Lucy reached out for the mere touch of her family, but was faced with a slamming door. Frank chewed on his cheek. He should’ve expected it. Bringing a disgraced child back to their family never turned out well. “Kid, I’m sorry,” he murmured, “I should’ve expected this.” He heard a hiccup from her direction.

“It’s fine,” she whispered, turning away from the door. She cleaned her face as best she could with her sleeve. Frank knew better than to believe that. The two of them stared at the stairs. There was a dent in the first step, perfectly shaped to the curve in Lucy’s temples. He sighed.

Then, Frank picked Lucy up and held her against his shoulder. A vampire, a parasite, but nonetheless a little girl. A little girl who would use this chance to cry into his shoulder. His coat was damp by the time they returned to the car. He wouldn’t get in for the five minutes that Lucinda poured her eyes out. He rubbed her back as best he could, but the absurdity of her sobbing twice in less than five minutes made him unable to say anything resembling comfort.

By the time his trench coat was thoroughly soaked, he gently placed Lucinda in the backseat. She quickly took the chance to lay down and rest her tired eyes. Frank threw off his coat once he made it inside. Then, he slammed his head onto the steering wheel. What was he thinking?! Of course this wouldn’t work, but he was getting desperate. He couldn’t keep feeding livestock to Lucy, they’d run out, and letting her on a violent rampage wouldn’t do any good either.

“Frank?” Lucinda said, her throat dry, “I just remembered something.” Lucy was tucked deep into the cushions. Only her back was visible from Frank’s angle.

The detective threw his head back onto the headrest, “Go on.”

“I… Sir, I got another sister, I think. She lives all the way out in Riverton, but some of my brothers said she got herself a husband and bakery,” she explained, sniffling, “She got thrown out, too. I dunno her name, but she might be our best bet. If you wanna make the trip, I mean.”

Frank slicked his hair back. Despite the cold, he was already sweating from the stress. It’d been a while since he felt any kind of stress. He had to remind himself to stop biting on his fingernails. He hadn’t done that in years. “What choice do we have? You said Riverton, right?” Lucy finally sat up just to give him a polite nod. “I’ll see if I can take tomorrow off. That’ll give me enough time to do some paperwork.” He started up the car.

“One more thing,” she said over the roar of the engine, “Sir, when we get home, can I take a bath?”

Frank lightly smirked, “ ‘bout damn time. Do you need my help?”

“Yes, sir,” Lucy yawned and cuddled back into the backseat cushions. Frank, for once in his life, decided to drive slowly to let her sleep. His smile faded soon after and Lucinda’s snoring replaced the radio. He already suspected the real reason she wanted a bath, but he wouldn’t say anything about it. Today had already been so long in the span of thirty minutes, and he didn’t want another outburst. Besides, awful memories or not, Lucy was starting to reek.

“Ow! Not so rough!” Lucy whined. Frank scrubbed her back as best he could with a simple hand towel, though he wasn’t exactly used to such sensitive skin. Frank would slow to a stop, “Sorry, kid. Just trying to make this quick,” he said, before grabbing a small cup and pouring the bathtub water over her head. Lucy shut her eyes just in time as the water ran over her face. “I’m surprised, actually. You’re pretty clean despite the housework. Is it more vampire magic?”

Lucida giggled as she felt her messy bob slap against her shoulders, her bangs over her eyes. Being drenched in warm water was quite the experience, especially compared to freezing rain. "Probably! I dunno."

Frank chuckled and rubbed soap into her hair. Once again, she groaned. Frank ignored it completely. Gotta get clean somehow, right? “Maybe we should get a haircut. Especially if we’re gonna meet your sister.”

“But I like my hair!” she argued.

Frank smiled. He’d take that as a compliment to his skill with scissors. Though, maybe so many cowlicks and stray ends and uneven choppiness wasn’t very good for a girl her age. It was sudden! He couldn’t help that one day Lucy ran up to him with her long hair twirled around her arm and screamed I want it short! “I think it’s wonderful, too, but I’m not sure Mrs. Baker or Penny would like it.”

Lucy threw herself back in the tub and threw her arms up in the air, “Boring! Who cares what Mrs. Baker thinks?”

A lot of people, actually. Soon enough, Mrs. Baker would wake up and rumors would spread like wildfire. Would she remember that it was Lucy? If she could, would anyone believe that sweet Lucinda Williamson could do such a thing? No matter what, Mrs. Baker would fuel the rumors and start a wildfire. He had to make sure he’d be there. Maybe, with a bit of manipulation, he could convince her she saw something other than Lucy. A patient stepping out of what could be considered a coma would be disorienting. Maybe he could say her memory of events isn’t to be trusted, or…

“Frank?” Lucy called out, waving her hand in front of his eyes. Frank’s glasses were wet by the time he woke up. “Sir? You did that thing again.”

Frank blinked himself to complete consciousness. “Did what?”

Lucy sank back into the water and shrugged, “Ya know, that thing when you zone out and get all serious and thoughtful and… uh, other big words.”

He rubbed his chin, “My bad. There’s been a lot to think about,” he paused, only to realize leaving Lucy with that alone might devolve her into bad thoughts again, “What did I taste like?”

Lucinda had been blowing bubbles in the water, only to spring up and turn to Frank. “What?” she giggled.

“I’ve just been wondering. You passed out once you were full. I never got to know what you thought,” he said, “You said everyone had a different taste, right? So, what was I?”

Lucy’s face scrunched up. She stared right at him. “Want me to be honest?” Frank nodded. Lucinda sighed, “You know Old Shirley? The bar at the edge of town? Yeah, you taste like that.”

“Whiskey and smoke, ay?” Frank smirked. He wouldn’t deny a night out with his pals and a few cigarettes along the way. Once the soap was fully in her head, he started pouring a cup of water over sections of it, brushing it as he went. His ma knew how to take care of hair, that’s for damn sure. Who would’ve thought that’d be useful?

“Yep. Absolutely di-gust-ting,” She emphasized everything she could, frowning as she thought back to it. “Even now, you smell kinda gross. Maybe you should be in this bath instead,” she splashed a bit of water around her hand, only then noticing the bandages around her wrist. “You’re gonna hafta reapply these, ya know.”

“You can just take it off now, if you want,” Frank said, before carefully submerging her in the water to make sure it all got out of her hair. She dramatically gasped when she came back up, his hand still on her chest.

Lucy splashed water in his face, “I almost kicked the bucket! I saw the face of God!”

Frank grinned, “Really? What’d he say?”

“Oh, he said a lotta things! Like how you just drowned me!”

“It’s how you wash hair, Lucy. Blame it on my mama. Hope you said hi to her up there.”

Lucy clicked her tongue with a bored expression, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Thanks a lot, mama Williamson!”

Frank’s eyes met the ground, “Her name’s Josie.” Lucinda looked at him. Did she say something wrong? Not exactly. He just couldn’t help that he was a mama’s boy, despite the fact she died when he was twelve. “C’mon, let’s get you out before ya start lookin’ like Granny Lisa.”

Lucinda tilted her head, only to realize the tips of her fingers looked like raisins. She reached her arms out for him. Slowly, he picked her up and wrapped her up in a towel. She loved how warm it was, but soon he tore it from her body and cleaned off her hair. He didn’t have to use his usual roughness, but her hair dried a lot quicker. She slipped into a pair of cotton pants. Frank was careful not to accidentally nick her as he buttoned up her frilly pink shirt. “Let me fix that bandage,” Frank said as he removed the wet and limp wrap from her wrist. Lucy was still ridden with bite marks, clear with every flinch that occurred when he ran his thumb over it. “Then, bedtime. Got a big day tomorrow, don’t we?”

Lucy wouldn’t say anything, but Frank could easily read the disdain on her face. “Look, even if tomorrow ends up stinking, we’ll do something fun near Riverton,” he said as he picked her up. She leaned onto his chest. The wraps around her wrist had gone limp and wet “You said she has a bakery? I’ll buy you some donuts. You like donuts, right?” She nodded. “Perfect.”

Frank set her on the counter and went digging through the cabinets and drawers for band-aids and a roll of bandage wrap. At this point, with how much had been going on, he probably should just leave those out… “Hey, Lucy? Why didn’t you tell me about your sister before?”

Lucinda let her legs kick back and forth as she thought of a response. “I dunno. I guess I just wanted to see if I’d be welcome back.”

Frank simply hummed. He wasn’t mad, per say, but it definitely would’ve been a help. Still, he understood her struggle. Even after being thrown out, she wanted acceptance. What did she do that made all of them oust her? It had to be something big. Or it was something so minor and dumb that he’d laugh when he shouldn’t.

Frank ran her wrist under the warm sink water, rubbing it as warmly as he could. Lucy still hissed and drew away as much as she could. Then, he wrapped it in a bandage and hastily tapped it together. He yawned right after. Lucy played with the loose parts that stuck out, flicking it with her finger. “If you can tuck yourself in,” Frank rubbed his eyes and his glasses pushed onto his forehead, “I’ll get you some warm milk.” Lucinda nodded and happily slid herself off the counter and ran to the bedroom.

Once he heard the door shut, Frank sighed loudly. What had he gotten himself into? The wine cabinet was so tempting now, but drinking was more fun with friends. Once they’re done in Riverton, maybe he should go out with Chief Jenkins. Maybe he could even sneak a few and lend them to Dawson. He always wanted a romantic date with Penny but couldn’t afford it. He stared at the cabinet, then promptly shut the door.

Frank changed into worn striped pajamas and entered the bedroom with a warm glass of milk in hand. The room was tiny, like everything else in the house. Frank never bought himself a new bed. Instead, he slept on the same creaky bed his parents had. Then, Lucy arrived. There weren’t many rooms in the house, so Lucy’s small and pink bed was barely five feet apart from his. She held her favorite bunny plush close to her chest. “No reading tonight?” she asked.

Frank shook his head. He sat at the edge of her bed and handed her the milk. She took it with glee and instantly gulped it down. “Sorry, no Dr. Seuss tonight. We’ll finish Mulberry Street tomorrow. Now, c’mon, get in,” He tucked Lucinda in as tight as he could and stole the milk from her. “Sweet dreams, no bed bugs, all that.”

“Yeah, all that,” Lucy snuggled into the blankets and closed her eyes. With that, Frank smiled, turned off the lamp, and softly shut the door as he left.

Then, he slammed his forehead against his arm. Really, he should’ve just called it a night. Tomorrow would be even longer, but he wasn’t one to cheat out on his work. He needed to theorize on how Mrs. Baker would react, and then find a way to frame Beckwith. Tonight was going to be a long night.

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1506 Reviews

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Wed Jun 21, 2023 1:58 pm
IcyFlame wrote a review...

Hi Koco!

Icy here for a quick review today. I can't remember if I've read any of the past chapters of this because I've done quite a few reviews this month so please forgive me if I have, but I'm going to approach this as though I've not read anything prior and focus just on this one chapter.

I think my first point is around character names. It took me a minute to work out that Lucy and Lucinda were the same person, because the name is used so interchangeably. I would pick one name and stick with it as a primary choice. Other characters may call her different things - e.g. Frank might always call her Lucinda but someone else calls her Lucy but they're not likely to keep switching. I think the consistency could be helpful here.

She swallowed hard as she slid out from seat and exited the car. She pointed to the Victorian home. “That’s the Rainilda Estate, sir.”

Frank put his hand on his head, whistling as he took in the mansion's size. His own cabin’s size didn’t even make up a single room in the house. Hell, their bathroom was probably bigger than his ranch alone! “Has this always been here?”

Lucy shrugged. “I dunno. One of my brothers used to say they built it as soon as they moved from .”

A couple of thoughts on this section - why does Frank not know where they're going/ why does he not make the connection himself it's the Rainilda Estate?
The the last line, where have they moved from? It feels like perhaps a word is missing here?

The dynamic between the two characters here is interesting and at some points I didn't really get it (though this is probably better explained in your previous chapters). Lucy switching between calling Frank by his name and 'sir' felt a bit odd, because she addresses him as a peer more so than a superior. This is more an observation than anything else - it may be more clear in other chapters!

I've kept this pretty short, but I'll catch up again with the next chapter :)

Happy Wednesday!


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Sat Mar 25, 2023 9:21 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...

I’m listening to Dinah Shore songs right now to get the vibe of the story and I like it! Now, onto the chapter. It’s sad that even her brother slammed the door on her, but maybe Lucy’s older sister will help. At least she is safe with Frank. I’ll have to see for the next chapter how the trip to Riverton is going to be.

I enjoyed this chapter and I wish you an awesome day/night.

The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It's about what you're made of, not the circumstances.
— Unknown