Warnings: Not that I can think of yet
Characters: Sam Emerson, Edgar Frog, Alan Frog
Spoilers: Reign of Frogs, The Tribe
Synopsis: Sequel to Aftertaste. Four years after Alan turned, Edgar returns to Santa Carla to enlist Sam's help in killing the one vampire that he can't.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Lost Boys
The sun was beginning to sink down into the horizon. Sam watched it warily out of the corner of his eye as he tried to listen to his mother's chatter. She looked and sounded cheerful on the surface, but to Sam it appeared forced. He could hear the anxiety beneath as she struggled to keep things light, desperate not to say or do anything that might upset him.
As she spoke, she got to her feet and switched on the lamp at the other side of the room. Sam blinked at the sudden bright light and realized as he did just how dark it had gotten. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was tired. It was still early yet, but it had been a long day, and the night promised no rest for him. He glanced outside again. It was now more dark than it was light. The long shadows that had punctuated the orange glow of the dying beams of sunlight had disappeared into the dusk of evening. Soon, the dead things would begin to wake, if they hadn't already. Somewhere out there, Alan was opening his eyes.
Sam's body twitched involuntarily as the sound of his name, formed into a worried question, sliced unexpectedly through his thoughts. He tore his attention away from the window and to his mother. She was leaning forward in her chair, a glass of ice tea in her hand, resting on her knee, face creased in concern.
“You look tired, Sam,” she said. “Maybe you should get an early night tonight.”
Sam glanced at the stairs with unease, the last thing he wanted to do was be alone, but to refuse would arouse her suspicions. He knew his exhaustion was obvious. His mouth suddenly felt incredibly dry. He licked his lips and struggled to swallow, then nodded.
His mom smiled as he got to his feet. “Tomorrow, if you want, we can go into town, get your hair cut, maybe buy some new clothes.”
Sam tried to smile back at her. Once, he would have been excited by the prospect of a shopping trip. Now, though, he had more important things to worry about. Like getting through the night alive, for example.
At his strangled, unconvincing enthusiasm, Lucy's smile faltered slightly but she kept up the cheep in her voice. “Or maybe you could take Edgar with you,” she suggested. “If you're embarrassed to be seen with me.”
“No, Mom, that's not it,” Sam told her instantly. He tried again to grin at her, doing slightly better this time. “I'd love you to come with me. Edgar? Clothes shopping, seriously? Have you seen the guy?”
With that, he turned toward the stairs, his smile fading as soon as she could no longer see his face.
“Goodnight,” she told him.
Sam didn't answer. There was nothing good about the night.
Sam had closed the curtains covering the windows of his bedroom tightly earlier in the day, when the sun was still high in the sky. He was glad of that now, it spared him from having to walk across the room in full view of anyone – or anything – that might be watching from outside in order to close them. His hand traced the wall, fingertips searching for the light switch. He pressed it and blinked in the artificial light. Without stepping completely inside, his eyes searched the room, passing over every nook and cranny, every potential hiding place, making sure he was alone.
From the doorway, he could see most of the room. The closet door was open, unthinkable while he sleeps, but for now he was thankful of it. There was only one place he couldn't see completely. Feeling slightly ridiculous, despite the very real danger, he stepped gingerly into the room, crouched down until he was on all fours, and lifted the dangling edge of his duvet with its Batman cover, and checked underneath the bed. There was nothing there but a few comics and a forgotten odd sock. He relaxed very slightly.
Feeling fractionally safer, Sam sat down heavily on the bed and rested his head in his hands. He was tired, but sleep wasn't an option. Not before the sun came up. If Alan came, he needed to be awake, ready to defend himself. He opened the drawer of his bedside cabinet and retrieved a medium sized stake. It had been a present from Edgar and Alan for his sixteenth birthday. He gripped it in both hands, feeling the reassuring weight of the carefully carved and smoothly sanded wood, and then reluctantly slipped it underneath the covers of his bed, where he could reach it easily, but where it wouldn't be visible.
That done, he switched on the bedside light in addition to the main light in the room, then reached for the top of his pile of unread comics and opened the first one at the front page. He stretched out on the bed and tried to lose himself in the slightly out of date adventures of Batman. When he got the chance, he decided, he needed to get to the comic store and buy the latest issues. He had a lot of catching up to do. That was, if there even was a comic book store in Santa Carla any more. Since Frog's comics closed its doors, he wasn't sure any more.
Sam rolled over onto his back and frowned at the unexpected sound of crinkling paper by his ear. He pried his eyes open and blinked in the glare of his two lights. He stretched and yawned as the last remnants of some dream or another disappeared back into his subconscious, and he jerked in horror. He had been asleep.
He yanked back the long sleeve of his sweater and checked the time on his watch. It was a little after 2am. At some point partway through his second comic book, Sam had succumbed to exhaustion and done what he had sworn to himself he wouldn't. And there was something else. Something wrong.
He thought back over the few moments since consciousness had returned, wondering what had woken him. It hadn't been the sound of the comic book beneath his head. That had brought him into full wakefulness, but something else had disturbed him first.
The room was completely silent save for the faint hum of electricity and the sound of his own breathing and heartbeat suddenly amplified to ridiculous volume. The world was asleep. But there had been something. His hand reaching underneath the still undisturbed covers of his bed, Sam took a slow deep breath, and held it. Waiting.
Tap, tap tap.
Sam's eyes widened in terror. 'It's the branch of a tree,' he told himself, 'the wind is blowing it against the window.' But it was an almost completely still night, and there were no trees close enough to the window to reach it, even allowing for growth while he had been away. His grip on the stake tightened.
Tap, tap tap.
Through the thin material of the curtains, silhouetted against the glow of the moonlight, Sam was sure that he could make out a shape. A terrifyingly human-looking shape.
Tap, tap tap.
It was too regular a sound to be made by anything other than a person, or a vampire.
Tap, tap tap.
Fingernails on glass. Then there was a pause, just long enough to miss the expected next repetition. Sam released his breath as quietly as he could manage. Maybe he had been wrong, maybe...
“I know you're in there, Sam.”
Sam jumped violently, pulling the stake out into the open and pointing it in the direction of the still covered window. He broke out into a cold sweat and his hands began to tremble, moving the stake up and down, from side to side.
Tap, tap tap.
“Let me in, Sam.”
Sam dragged a trembling hand over his damp face, shaking his head. He tried to speak but fear had constricted his throat to the point where sound was almost impossible. “No!” he managed eventually, then cringed in terror, eyes closed, stake still brandished in front of him.
“It's okay,” came Alan's voice, calm and rational, and so much like it had sounded in life that if Sam wanted, he could almost fool himself into believing that this really was the friend that he had lost. “Sam, I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to talk.”
Talk. Yeah, that was the plan. But now the time had come, he really wasn't ready. Sam continued to shake his head, breathing too quickly, beginning to feel lightheaded from the excess of oxygen.
Tap, tap tap.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't get up, go to the window and let the monster into his room, back into his life. He had thought, for a few stupid moments, drunk on the idea of getting his life back, confidence bolstered by Edgar's comforting presence that he could do it, but he had been wrong. Tension locked every muscle. Even if he wanted to get up and open the window, he wouldn't be able to.
“Okay,” came Alan's voice. “Sam, it's okay. I'm going. I'll try again tomorrow.” Another pause, and then, “I'm really not going to hurt you, Sam. I just want to be your friend.”
The vague silhouette of the vampire disappeared quickly and silently as Alan flew away. Sam stayed where he was, perched on the edge of the bad, holding the weapon, shaking in fear.
He stayed there until the first rays of new morning sunlight began to penetrate the room, and then finally he relaxed enough to lay down, and slowly drifted into an uneasy sleep.
“This is great!” Edgar said excitedly, the following day. “I thought we might have to wait days before he realized you were back.”
They were sitting on the porch steps in the early afternoon sunlight. Sam's arms bare arms embraced his denim clad knees tightly while Edgar stretched out his legs and leaned backwards until he was almost laying on the steps, basking in the warmth of the sun like a cat.
“Yeah, great,” said Sam. His voice would have dripped sarcasm if he had the energy. As it was, the terror of the previous night had left him drained. “He must have been watching the house the whole time I've been away. The house where my mom lives, by the way. And the instant I come back, he pounces.”
Edgar shook his head, “He didn't pounce though, did he? He just talked at you through the window.”
“Well, no,” Sam agreed. “I guess not. But only because I didn't let him in.”
“Come on, Sam, don't tell me you're forgetting the basics,” Edgar told him. “We learned this stuff back in the beginning. Vampire 101. Yes, inviting a vampire inside takes away a lot of your power, renders some weapons useless, gives them back their reflections – makes them more human, in a way – but whether they're invited or not, they can still come in if they want to. Remember the ones that attacked your house? You didn't invite them in, did you? They still managed to do plenty of damage.”
Sam shrugged unhappily.
“If he'd wanted to get in, he would have done. It sounds to me like he just wants to talk. This is what we wanted. The plan is working exactly as we hoped.”
Sam, in fact, had been hoping that Alan would never appear, as he was sure Edgar knew, but he said nothing.
“When he comes tomorrow, let him in. Or don't, if it makes you feel safer, but talk to him. Start to win his trust. Or else he's going to lose patience, and you really don't want that.”
Unlike Edgar who seemed to live his life on a short fuse, the human Alan had been slow to anger, but when something finally got to him and he snapped, you did not want to be on the wrong side of him. Sam nodded his reluctant agreement.
Inside the house, he could hear his mother humming to herself as she baked. Edgar took a deep sniff of the air. “Hey,” he said. “Your mom mentioned cookies yesterday. Do you know if there's any left?”