Ads 468x60px

Monday, January 20, 2014

Chevalier Arrives

            It was unnaturally cold for early fall, and even though the sun had set hours ago, the inside of the hanger was illuminated as brightly as a field at a football stadium.  Christie folded her arms across her chest and scowled, noting as she looked at her watch that even though she’d arrived at nine the plane had yet to appear three hours later.

            She fished her dossier out of the large pockets of her official FBI jacket and reread her instructions: to meet and escort a French ambassador from the hangar back to headquarters. She was not to take any detours nor was she to question the ambassador’s appearance as he suffered from Cutaneous Porphyria, which resulted in an extreme aversion to sunlight. Christie was not looking forward to that aspect of her visitor: she had researched Porphyria briefly before leaving for her assignment and was a little horrified to discover that the condition included blisters, photosensitivity, necrosis of the skin and the abnormal growth of thick hair on the forehead.

            One of the line service crew inched closer to her and cleared his throat, “Ma’am, you might be more comfortable waiting in the lobby.”

            “I’m fine, thank you.”

            The man shrugged, and the gesture was more like an explosive spasm, “Of course…but in accordance with the Patriot Act, I have to ask-“

            Christie pulled out her badge and held it at arm’s length to the man as she continued to read, “I’m fine here, thank you.”

            “Uh…sure, okay.” he inched closer and cleared his throat conspiratorially, “Are you here about the Airport Manager’s deal with the Cubans?”

            “No, it’s...wait, what?”

            “Uh, nothing. Never mind.” He inched away and when Christie looked back at him he had vanished.

            She was just about to go looking for him when an alarm sounded nearby and the ground crew assembled to usher in a plane from the runway. She stepped off to the side as a surprisingly shabby Legacy 600 hobbled inside and came to a stop, and from what she could see of the pilot from the ground, he looked like he’d had a rough flight.

            After what seemed like an eternity, the cargo bay was unloaded and the flight doors opened. She waited at the base of the stairs but after the flight crew and two very tired-looking passengers disembarked she found herself still alone with a handwritten sign that read “Ambassador Chevaliay.”

             “That is cute,” a thickly accented voice grunted from behind her. She turned quickly only to see a very tall man half standing, half leaning against a crate a few feet away. His skin was so pale that a network of faint blue veins laced a face so eerily beautiful that it resembled a newly drowned super-model’s. His long, jet black hair looked like it was once swept into a ponytail but it had come loose and now hung lankly around his shoulders, and as she stepped closer she caught the powerful scent of dirt.

            He looked at her from behind dark shades, which were a tragic fashion statement when paired with his strangely old-fashioned suit jacket, and his voice rattled in his chest when he asked, “Are you here collect me?”

            “Are you the French ambassador?”

            He nodded and tried to straighten up, which just made him seem feebler, “I am Sir Trystram Le Maingre Chevalier.  It is not spelled like that,” he jabbed a finger at her sign, “But that is no doubt a joke played on me by your benefactor.”

            “Well, you can take it up with him when we get there.”

            “Wait,” he stared at her for a long moment, “You are going to drive me there?”

            “Yes, that is my assignment. Now, if you will please hurry up, Agent Thomas is waiting for us in the car, if she hasn’t died from carbon monoxide poisoning.”

            “A second hu…agent?” the ambassador’s displeasure was obvious, “I was under the assumption that I would be met directly by my peers in this project.”

            Christie stiffened at the word “peers” and fixed him with a scowl, “Well, apparently you are stuck with the peasants. Now let’s go.” she cleared her throat, “Any bags?”

            “Yes.” Chevalier looked behind him and grunted, “Five.”

            “You have five bags? How long are you staying?”

            “That isn’t your concern,” he snapped. His jaw slacked and he swayed slightly, and for a minute Christie was afraid that he was going to collapse.

            “Are you drunk?” Christie demanded.

            “No.” Chevalier’s lips curled into the epitome of a snobby leer, “Quite the opposite. Now, if you are my transportation, let’s get this over with. The trip thus far has been less than enjoyable and I would like it to be over.”

            The FBI agent nodded shortly, “Sure. Grab your bags and let’s go.”

            “Grab my bags?”

            “I’m not grabbing them.” Christie scowled more, “I am an agent of the FBI, not a bell hop.” she turned on her heel and stalked through the hangar towards the exit to the parking lot. She finally reached the car, where Agent Thomas was snoring in the passenger seat with her feet up on the dash, so Christie leaned against the door with her hands stuffed deeply into her pockets.

            A half an hour later, Chevalier emerged with the same ground crew member that had been talking to her earlier, and the poor man was laden with a suave matching set of leather suitcases. The man looked like a pack mule and his expression belayed the fact that he was less than happy.

            “Unbelievable.” Christie spat under her breath and Agent Thomas sat up abruptly and blinked owlishly through the glass.

            “Mmmmph, what time is it?” Thomas grunted, and her voice thick from sleep.

            “Almost one.” Christ sneered, and pointed with a forefinger, “Look at that.”

            Thomas blinked at narrowed her eyes, “Does he have five bags?”

            “Yep. He wanted me to carry them, too.”

            Thomas let out a low clicking noise and stretched, which only made her mouse-brown hair stick out in even more bizarre angles, “Apparently he travels light.”

            The ground-crew member made it to the car and dropped the baggage beside the trunk of the car before leaning against it and breathing heavily. The ambassador also leaned against the car, and his frail limbs shook slightly as he struggled to compose himself.

            The airport employee grunted to Chevalier, “Alright, we’re here. Where’s my fifty bucks?”

            The French ambassador turned to look at him and then quirked his mouth into a smile. He extended his empty hand, which the ground crewman took almost before he realized he was doing it. There was a sudden rush of euphoria that surged through the man’s tiny skull and all thoughts of money fled into the darker recesses. The vampire’s long nails dug into the skin and crimson droplets rushed out onto his fingers. The sight of life so close to his reach made the rabid, seething hunger inside of him stir and rattle and it took all of his self-restraint to not tear the man in half like a phone book.

            Chevalier blinked hard and gasped as what was left of his strength was emptied into controlling the weak man in front of him, “Thanks for your help.”

            The man gave him a sleepy, blissful look and gave an awkward salute, “No problem, man…anytime.” he turned on his heel and wandered away like a sleep walker as Chevalier covertly brought his hand up to his lips and licked his fingers clean in what was practically a frenzy.

            “You done?” Chevalier spun quickly to see Christie angrily tapping her foot behind him, “We have places to be, sir.”

            The vampire staggered to the rear of the car and when he’d opened the door he collapsed onto the seat, his chest heaving as he fought to remain in control. Christie slammed the door shut behind him and climbed into the driver’s seat just as Agent Thomas chuckled slightly.

            “What could possibly be funny?”

            “I don’t think that we need to worry about taking detours,” Thomas snickered, “Our charge is fast asleep.”

No comments:

Post a Comment