The circus arrives without warning.
Disoriented, he woke deep within the ground. The first sensation he felt was one of hunger. It was no ordinary hunger, but one of gut-wrenching, skin-crawling necessity. He was starving. Every cell in his body demanded nourishment. He lay there in silence while the hunger gnawed at him like a rat. It attacked not only his body, but also his mind so that he feared for all others, humans and Carpathians alike. Feared for himself. Feared for his soul. This time the darkness was spreading fast and ferociously, the terrible call of bloodlust and his soul was definitely in jeopardy.
A fat winter moon poured light over the old stone and brick of the inn on The Square. In its beams, the new porches and pickets glowed, and the bright-penny copper of the roof glinted. The old and new merged there—the past and the now—in a strong and happy marriage. Its windows stayed dark on this December night, prizing its secrets in shadows.
Willie McCoy had been a jerk before he died. His being dead didn’t change that. He sat across from me, wearing a loud plaid sport jacket. The polyester pants were primary Crayola green. His short, black ahir was slicked back from a thin, triangular face. He had always reminded me of a bit player in a gangster movie. The kind that sells information, runs errands and is expendable.