Lazarus wandered slowly around the museum. The calm of the night cleared his head and he was sure that for once, he would return to his flat sober. And with a certain lack of alcohol, he figured he would stay that way for a few more days, at least until he was paid again. He wondered if Melissa would be angry when he got back.
The path he had given himself around the museum was long and winding and he took his time walking it. He rarely came across his colleagues and it was for this reason he had chosen this route. He was sure his colleagues were nice enough, but he didn’t want to befriend them. Lycanthropy is such a ball, he thought bitterly. He reached the art section of the museum and turned, spinning on his heel to face the direction he had just come. He began to walk again, slow, calm, soft steps. He took a deep breath, ready for his path to cross like clockwork with James’ own route around the museum. But he reached the glass cases of pottery and James wasn’t there waiting to persuade him to come out for a drink with them all some time.
Lazarus even waited for a couple of minutes for James to appear... but he never did. He had seen James when he arrived, so where was he? Lazarus abandoned his set path and traced the path he knew to be James’ around the museum.
The Mayan artefacts came into view and the glass cases reflected his shadowy image strangely in the dim light. He would have called out James’ name, but the unfamiliar parts of the museum never failed to make him jittery. He flicked on his torch and scanned the Mayan area, looking for his colleague. He was half convinced James was simply fooling around, hoping Lazarus would freak out and make an idiot of himself, but when he saw two booted feet limp on the floor, the body they belonged to hidden out of view, Lazarus had doubts about his convictions about James’ motive for not being where he was supposed to be.
He crept forward, his shoes making hardly any noise. He paused for a second, listening for breathing, or heartbeats that were not his own. One of the feet twitched lazily, as though someone had knocked it from one side. He moved around and hunched, lowering his centre of gravity, as if expecting a fight. He steeled himself, quelling his nerves enough to force himself to move around to see the rest of the person slumped behind the show case.
‘What the...!’ Lazarus exclaimed as what met his eyes was not what he had been expecting. A dark figure was crouched over James, far to absorbed in what they were doing to notice Lazarus until he had spoken. The figure whipped around, alarmed. Lazarus fumbled for that can of... whatever it was, but before he had found the clip that attached it to his belt, the figure jumped up, racing towards Lazarus.
Lazarus was thrown backwards by the impact of the figure barrelling into him; he landed heavily on a glass case of priceless Mayan crap that only the museum curators seemed to care about. Alarms went off all around them, flashing lights blinding him, the sirens deafening. Lazarus picked himself up and looked around, but the figure was already gone, and Lazarus couldn’t have caught up with them, even if he had wanted to. The sirens were making his hangover worse. He swore heavily as he realised he was stuck in a room with broken artefacts and a colleague’s dead body. He spun around, trying to think of what to do before the others arrived with the police.
Should have listened to Melissa, he thought in between curses as the other graveyard shift guards piled in and took in the scene.
‘What happened?!’ one of them shouted, seeing James on the floor, oozing blood onto the tiles beneath him.
‘He wasn’t at the pottery when he should have been; I went looking for him and... this is what I found... there was someone else. He got away.’ Vampire... Melissa...? Something inside him sunk, and he found he didn’t notice the police sirens screeching to a halt outside. Voices talked at him, hands grabbed at him, pulling him around, leading him outside. He realised numbly that he was bleeding from the shards of glass that had buried themselves in his back. The fragments were being pulled out, but he didn’t even wince. The world moved around him, but he could hardly blink fast enough. He heard the rising melody of a violin somewhere in the back of his mind, but he couldn’t tell if it was real or not.
‘... blah, blah, blah... statement... blah, blah...’ a voice above him was saying. He looked up into the police officer’s stern face and then back at the ground again. He was sitting on something cold and hard, low down. He found himself explaining what had happened, but he didn’t mention the other figure was a vampire, only that they had attacked James and then him before escaping. I hope for your sake Melissa, that wasn’t you.