Serialized Science Fiction.

Batter Up
Tom Haynes

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happen in that hallway? What happened to all of my millions? Where am I now? Why do Red Sox fans hate me more than Rodger Clemens?

Well, I can answer one of those with the casual observation that my contract was technically over with the end of the season and anyone who thinks they'll get their hands on my money should remember that stint I did with the CIA - besides killing, the favorite camp talk had been about squirreling away illegal gains. I.e., I transferred my assets out of the bank and took them elsewhere. The Red Sox management tried to sue for the money, but I was long gone.

As to what really happened in that hallway, well, lets just say I met a really rabid Yankees fan and he convinced me to leave the park.

I remember stomping down the hall, pissed that the ball had curved at the end. They couldn't walk me, they were playing for the win and Jackson had already smacked them around earlier. Then this guy just appears out of nowhere, clamps these iron fingers on my shoulder, I'm thinking major bruises, and sinks these major fangs into my neck. I can't do anything, his eyes have got me locked down and none of my muscles are responding.

I didn't have any faith to fall back on to fight this bloodsucker, Iraq took care of that. He took his fangs out, switched to the other side of my neck and slurped out some more blood. I just sat there and let him do his thing. He reared back and I knew he was out to convert me to his faith. I finally saw he was wearing a Yankee cap and I knew he hated me - killing me would have been too easy, just suck it all out. No, he wanted to rob me of playing in the daylight.

Out of nowhere, he chomped down on my left wrist, almost chewing my hand off in the process. Did I mention I was superstitious? The only jewelry I wore was a silver bracelet with a pair of stars - on my left wrist. I wore it tight and under a sweatband so the umps wouldn't throw me out. When he started to chew it, he roared, and grasped at his mouth - it was bleeding, turning green from where it had contacted my bracelet. His hold on me slipped, both physically and mentally. I thrust the remains of my bat through his heart and watched him burn.

Blood was streaming down the front of my jersey and my left hand was clutched up to my chest. It started to burn and when I looked down, it was green. I pulled the bracelet off, it didn't hurt my right hand. It must take an open wound for the silver to work its charm. I felt a slight breeze come from the wall and the ashes scattered out of sight.

Anyway, there I stood, basically dead. The game had drifted into the early night, I could go back out there. I couldn't however go into the locker room looking like this and I couldn't go out onto the field. Baseball is very understanding still about performance enhancers, but not in the form of superhuman strength imparted either by vampirism or lycanthropism. Never mind that I had been out under the sun earlier in that day or that I had been passing the lycanthropy piss test since I started playing high school ball, I couldn't go forth and ruin my accomplishments.

It was weird, I was torn by that Ranger mentality to go out and help my team, but in the long run, I knew it would do more harm to baseball than good. Pete Rose never understood that, yet I finally was starting to soak in the implications of how my needs would damage the game.

As I thought of this, with the roar of the crowd in the back ground, with the blood soaking my uniform, I realized I'd just killed the only source of information on how vampires do their supernatural tricks. Okay, I knew that silver and wood were effective against them, but other than that what was myth and what was fact? The Church wasn't going to help me and the only bloodsuckers I knew of were

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