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Stalking Grounds

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It would take days to clear up all the mess at his grandfather's house. The hardest part ought to have been all the blood and gore splattered around, and the picking up of vampire body parts and skeletons from various locations, but Michael realized that dealing with David would be the hardest part for him. Their's had been a relationship built on rivalry over Star, except now that David was gone, so had Michael's desire for Star. She was still young and beautiful, still gentle and protective but when Michael dreamed at night, he saw only David lying so young and innocent-looking in death.

He should have known from the first time he met David that it was not only Star that intrigued him. It was David too, with his soft, mesmerizing voice and almost angelic features--when not in vampire form. In the days since they killed David's sire, Max, Michael had wondered how long David had lived before meeting his end here in Santa Carla. The Frog brothers had mentioned that Max had arrived only three summers earlier, around the same time the disappearances started up again after several decades of normal small town crime. David and the others had arrived soon after though with so many people moving around the fairground after dark, they admitted it was hard to pinpoint when exactly.

It seemed obvious to Michael that David and the other lost boys had followed Max to Santa Carla, and it didn't take a lot of searching inthe news archive at the local library to determine where they had stalked before Santa Carla. They had left a trail of strange disappearances in their wake that went full circle around the United States, leading back to Santa Carla in the early 1900s, around the same time of the earthquake that saw the grand hotel--David's nest--fall into the sea. Michael had started to wonder if David had been speaking in fond remembrance when he talked of the hotel in its heyday, and it took only a little more searching to find a blurred image from those days of a young man who looked identical to David--a young hotel porter standing in full sunlight with a carefree smile on his face as he greeted a new guest.

Almost ninety years earlier David had been human, and too beautiful for Max to resist turning so he could keep him young and by his side forever.

Michael found missing person reports and grainy photographs spread across the intervening years that gave places and names to the other lost boys, and it struck him that if Sam and his strange friends had not helped him to make a stand against David--and Max--then Michael would have become lost too. Yet instead of giving him some measure of relief, he felt a twinge of bitterness as he wondered what it might have been like to ride with David for another century. He wondered what it would have been like to fall asleep at dawn, curled up or hanging beside David--or perhaps even curled around David's slim yet muscular form in the musty bed in what had once been the hotel's lobby. He wondered what it would have been like to take Star's place on the pillion behind David, to wrap his arms around David's waist as they rode off into the night together, seeking new stalking grounds and new adventures.

Michael sighed. Even if he had known the pleasure of holding David just once, he knew he could not wrap his arms around a memory. He would never again hear that soft voice whispering his name over and over, or the gentle laughter that had made David seem so human. He could still recall the heat of the blood running through his veins when he watched David and the others attack the bonfire group on the beach, and how much he had wanted David at that moment. More than Star, perhaps even more than sunlight. It was the shock of that need that drove Michael to such desperate lengths to break free of the vampire curse. He had never seen himself as a lover of other boys before that moment, where even his night of passion with Star seemed dull-edged in comparison to the hard, bright edge of desire that coursed through him whenever he looked upon David.

The Frog brothers wanted to burn all the vampire bodies--and remnants of bodies--but Michael felt compelled to steal David's body away from them. he decided to take David back to the dilapidated hotel where he had once lived and loved as a mortal, and to bury him deep inside that rotting tomb with the two animal horns still skewering David's flesh, sawn off close to the body to make them manageable. For Michael it seemed a fitting resting place for someone who had probably been just like him before the fateful day when his path crossed Max's. From the raging hunger that had filled him at the bonfire, Michael knew how hard it was to resist the call of blood, and he could not blame David for eventually giving in to that hunger.

Deep inside the hotel, he laid David to rest as if he was merely sleeping. With no one to observe his actions, he could not resist giving in to a desire to lie down beside him and wrap his arms around him for just a short while. Michael placed a kiss upon the cold lips and held on tight, allowing himself at least one real memory even if David would never return that embrace.

Tired from the ordeal of the past few days, he fell asleep. When he awoke much later the sun was low in the sky and David still lay cold and innocent in death within Michael's embrace. In a sudden, rash decision, he pushed David to a seated position and tore out the horns piercing David's body before gently laying him back down on the soft ground. Lying down again, Michael pulled David into his arms and held him tight as he waited for sunset, and a vain hope that he would not have to leave this place with just a quickly fading memory of holding David in his arms.