Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 38

It takes a lot to make a vampire cry.

These soulless creatures fornicate indiscriminately, openly mock all societal conventions, murder on a whim and feed on the blood of the living.

But there are a few predicaments that can elicit bloody tears from the children of the night.

For instance, having to fess up to his own mother how he betrayed her caused Jericho to bawl.

“Oh Mumsie!” Jericho cried as he rested his head on the lady’s lap. “I’m so sorry!”

“Shhh,” Lady Beatrice said as she stroke her hand through the three or four hairs atop her son’s crispy head. “Everything is all right now, darling. Mumsie is here.”

“Henry wants to kill me doesn’t he?” Jericho asked.

“No dearest,” Lady Beatrice replied. “Daddy loves you more than ever.”

“Ha!” Jericho scoffed. “That’s a good one. Henry never loved me.”

“And what makes you think that?” the lady asked.

“He told me every day,” Jericho said. “‘I will never love you, you burnt sausage with fangs.’”

Lady Beatrice sighed. “He was just playing with you, darling.”

“And that time he tried to poison me with silver?” Jericho asked.

The lady paused to think about the question. “He was trying to toughen you up, love.”

Jericho folded his arms and sulked. “I wish he’d killed me.”

“Oh don’t say such foolish things,” Lady Beatrice said.

“Do you hate me now, Mumsie?” Jericho asked.

“Well,” the lady said as she looked around her hotel room. It was fairly spartan. A table. A few chairs. A bed in the other room and the sofa she was currently comforting her son on.

“You do, don’t you?” Jericho asked.

“‘Hate’ is such a strong word, darling,” the lady said. “Mumsie could never hate you but she must admit, she is very cross with you for your behavior.”

“I’ve been naughty,” Jericho said.

“Yes you have,” Lady Beatrice said. “And you must realize what a terrible situation you have put Mumsie in.”

“I do,” Jericho said. “Oh how I do.”

“Mumsie is the Vice-President of the Legion Corporation, dearest,” the lady said. “And as the most powerful evil being currently walking the face of the earth, she can’t very well have her spawn consorting with the likes of a vampire hunter like Bill Hickok, now can she?”

Jericho wiped the red tears from his burnt face. “No. I suppose she can’t.”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” the lady said. “What is Mumsie to do with you?”

“Forgive me,” Jericho said. “Please.”

Lady Beatrice continued to stroke the top of Jericho’s head. “Mumsie wants nothing more than to forgive and forget this entire sordid mess, my love, but first you must tell her everything you told Hickok.”

“Everything?” Jericho asked.

“Everything,” the lady replied.

“We had a correspondence,” Jericho said. “I initiated it after overhearing you and Henry…”

Lady Beatrice stopped her son to correct him. “Daddy.”

Jericho shuddered. “I overheard you and…Daddy….discussing other vampires he’d bribed information out of. I wanted money too, Mumsie. After close to two hundred years of living with you and…ugh…Daddy…it really is past time for me to venture out on my own.”
The lady listened patiently.

“Hickok invited me into his room,” Jericho said. “I reviewed his occult book collection. It was very impressive. Then I told him who the board members are.”

Lady Beatrice stopped rubbing her son’s head. “You…told him…who the board members are?”


The lady’s tone turned from loving to angry. “Out with it.”

Jericho sat up and face his mother. “I might have…had a deck of cards printed that features the names and faces of all the board members so that Hickok could have a collection of your likenesses to refer to as a handy pocket reference tool.”

Lady Beatrice’s eyes widened. Her left eye twitched. She felt rage swell up inside her.

“Do you hate me now?”

The lady rolled her eyes and pulled her son close to her bosom, wrapping him up in her arms. “Don’t ask me that again, sweetness. Mumsie has already told you that she could never hate you.”

“What will I do?” Jericho asked.

“Well you certainly can’t stay here much longer,” the lady said. “Daddy isn’t as forgiving as Mumsie and the Chairman will want your head.”

“I’ll give it to him,” Jericho said. “Anything to protect you.”

“No, no,” the lady said as she rubbed her hand up and down Jericho’s back. “That won’t be necessary. But you will need to go somewhere far, far away and I will need to be very convincing when I tell them that I punished you. Do you understand?”

Jericho nodded. “I think so.”

“There can be no surprises,” Lady Beatrice said. “If there is something you haven’t told Mumsie and it comes back to bite her later…”

“There’s nothing else,” Jericho said.

“Promise?” the lady asked.

“I promise,” Jericho answered.


Mother and son remained seated for awhile, quiet and still in their embrace.

Lady Beatrice put it off as long as possible but then finally, with her son nary the wiser, she gently reached down to her garter belt and pulled out a wooden stake.

“I love you, Mumsie,” Jericho said.

A red tear trickled its way out of Lady Beatrice’s tear duct and rolled down her cheek. It was the first time she’d cried in her long history as a vampire.
The lady located roughly where her son’s heart was, then jammed the stake into it from behind. Jericho had only a few seconds to flash his mother a look of betrayal before he bursted into a pool of blood that splashed all over the room. The sofa, the floor, the walls, the ceiling, the chairs, the table, and even the lady herself ended up painted a thick coat of crimson.

Lady Beatrice wiped her son’s blood out of her eyes, then dabbed the red off of her face with a white handkerchief.

“Mumsie loves you too, darling.”

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