he Vampire willed himself into the air and his body rose as if it had no more weight or substance than a feather. He held his breath as he soared over treetops and higher still over manmade skyscrapers until he was surrounded by twinkling lights--the cityscape beneath him, the starscape overhead. He let out his breath in a rush.
The ability to fly had been the last of his powers to return after he had been released from the caved-in basement of the Heidecker estate twenty years before. He frowned into the night as he remembered his race with the dawn after Nicole arranged his release from jail. He had run through the streets like a wild animal, the rays of the rising sun burning him through his clothing by the time he reached his Nob Hill apartment and the coffin that awaited him behind the secret panel.
He hadn't seen Nicole in twenty years and, idly, he wondered where she was at this moment. Nicole DeCamp had been too easy while Andrea Parker had been too difficult. As weak as he had been after his unintentional 40-year interment, it had taken every ounce of his strength to keep Andrea enthralled. Other powers had come to him quickly, but flying had taken a few years. Twenty years ago, he had been little better than a fledgling.
Twenty years ago tonight...
He had only to think of a destination and he soon found himself there. Now, he thought of dear Leslie and within minutes he hovered above her final resting place. Far below him headstones lined up in neat rows. He closed his eyes and envied the dead their peace. Leslie, he thought wondering if there was any way to reach her in the beyond, don't be angry. You are much better off where you are than you would have been with me.
The screeching of the iron cemetary gates made him open his eyes. He glided closer and landed silently in a tree where he had a clear view of Leslie's grave. A familiar form made its way from the gate. Rawlins!
The past twenty years had not been kind to John Rawlins. He moved like an old man. He was, after all, in his sixties now. Rawlins found the grave and stood, murmuring to his long-dead wife. Then he knelt by the headstone. After a long while, a woman approached and helped Rawlins to his feet.
He probed their minds enough to find the information he sought but not enough to alert them to his presence. When she had helped Rawlins to the car and they drove away, he once more took flight into the night sky.
It was time to reacquaint himself with the Rawlins family.
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