The traveling vampire sh.., p.34
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       The Traveling Vampire Show, p.34

           Richard Laymon

  Turning to Lee, I said, “Why doesn’t she…?” But even as the words started to come out, I noticed that Lee seemed entranced by the spectacle. Her eyes had a glazed look and her mouth hung open.

  Though I hadn’t finished my question, she blinked and turned her head. “Huh? What was that?”

  “I was just…why is she letting him do that? He’s hurting her.”

  Lee shook her head, muttered, “Don’t know,” and returned her attention to the cage.

  Rusty leaned forward and said to me, “Bet she likes it. Some gals like to get knocked around, you know? Turns ’em on.”

  I nodded. “Yeah, that’s probably it.”

  We both stopped talking.

  Eyes on the show again, I flinched as the tip of Scotty’s belt cracked against Valeria’s belly. That one must’ve really hurt, because she cried out and twisted away.

  As Scotty rushed after her, swinging his belt, she backed away from him. A couple more strides, and a wall of the cage would stop her retreat.

  Suddenly, she reached behind her back, undid whatever fasteners were there, and swept off the bright red leather top of her costume. The sight of her naked breasts tore my breath away. All through the audience, people gasped. I could feel myself growing hard. A moan came from Rusty’s direction, but I didn’t look over at him. Couldn’t look anywhere except at Valeria.

  Clad only in her short red skirt and boots, she whipped the bra-like garment through the air in front of her. The quick motion swung her breasts.

  In midair, the red leather of Valeria’s top met the black leather of Scotty’s belt. They tangled.

  Valeria’s arm leaped back and the belt flew from Scotty’s hand.

  The crowd roared with delight.

  Most of the crowd, that is. The bunch behind us—Scotty’s friends—hissed and booed. Someone from back there shouted, “Get her, Scot!” Another shouted, “Ream her!”

  Down in the cage, Valeria flung away the tangled leather of Scotty’s belt and the top of her costume. They landed inside her open casket. Scotty watched them drop out of sight with a look on his face as if his favorite hat had just been blown over the edge of a cliff.

  Beyond the other bleachers, a jagged dagger of lightning ripped through the night.

  Scotty made a dash for the casket.

  He wanted that belt.

  Valeria raced to intercept him, her large breasts leaping and swinging.

  Thunder grumbled.

  She dived, wrapped her arms around Scotty’s waist as he ran, and tore him to the ground. They rolled through the dirt. Then Scotty was on his back. Valeria, straddling him, grabbed his shoulder with one hand and his head with the other. She shoved his head sideways, then plunged her face against the side of his neck.

  He thrashed and writhed underneath her.

  Stryker’s voice boomed from the speakers, “AND THE WINNER IS…VALERIA!”

  She stayed on Scotty, not done with him yet.

  Stryker ran into the cage. “THAT’S ENOUGH, VALERIA! STOP IT.”

  She didn’t stop.


  She clung to Scotty for a few seconds more, then raised her head and rolled off him. She flopped on her back, gasping for air. Her lips and cheeks and chin—even the tip of her nose—were crimson with Scotty’s blood. The rest of her body gleamed with sweat.

  As the crew rushed into the cage, Stryker announced, “SCOT’S TIME WITH VALERIA, THREE MINUTES AND TWENTY SECONDS.”

  He hadn’t lasted nearly as long as the frail Chester, but the audience showed lots of appreciation. Maybe because he’d gotten Valeria to remove her top.

  The crew lifted Scotty onto a gurney and hurried away with him.

  There was a lot of blood on the dirt floor where he’d been sprawled.

  The audience cheered Valeria as she rose to her feet. Her body gleaming with blood and sweat, she thrust both arms toward the sky in triumph and pranced around in a circle as if doing some sort of victory dance. The way she looked—beautiful and shiny, hair blowing in the hot wind, breasts bouncing and swinging—drove the audience to a frenzy. All around us, people stood up.

  My view was blocked, so I stood up, too. As did Lee and Rusty.

  Apparently enjoying her ovation, Valeria danced around even more wildly.

  As she leaped and twirled, lightning in the shape of an upside-down tree turned the sky brilliant. Every detail of Valeria trembled in stark relief—the wild look on her face, the curves of her muscles and ribcage, the jutting tips of her breasts…

  I felt hard and achy. Without underwear on, I was pushing tight against the inside of my jeans. I started to worry about having another accident so I sat down. This not only relieved the pressure, but it took Valeria out of sight.

  Thunder roared, shaking the night.

  Lee sat down beside me. “You okay?” she asked.

  I nodded.

  “We’d probably better get going,” she said.

  “I guess so.”

  “Before something else happens.”

  “Guess so,” I said.

  She patted my leg, then turned her head the other way. Toward Rusty.

  But he wasn’t there.

  Chapter Fifty-five

  All I could figure was that Rusty must’ve had an accident, himself, and hurried away to prevent Lee or anyone else from noticing it.

  “Come on,” Lee said. She started to stand up.

  “No, wait.”


  “Why don’t we wait here for him? He probably just went…”

  Lee shook her head. “He knows we’re about to leave. Maybe he just went on ahead.”

  We were both wrong.

  In front of us, the spectators sat down and we saw Rusty halfway down the bleacher stairs, waving both hands overhead. Shiftless and bandaged, he almost looked as if he’d already been in the cage with Valeria. Racing toward the bottom, he shouted, “Me! Me! I’m next! I call it! My turn!”

  The audience cheered him.

  Lightning ripped through the sky.

  “Oh, my God,” Lee muttered.

  I couldn’t believe my eyes—oh, yes I could. Though stunned, I wasn’t very surprised. Of course Rusty wanted to get into the cage with Valeria. He probably saw this as the opportunity of a lifetime.

  And maybe he was right.

  The thunder came…a long, rumbling noise. I could feel its vibrations in my chest like the drums of a parade band.

  The storm was coming closer.

  But wasn’t here yet.

  Valeria stood in the cage, breathing hard, slowly rubbing her body with the towel. She hadn’t put her top back on. It was probably still inside the casket.

  “Rusty!” I shouted. The crowd was clapping and yelling, so maybe he couldn’t hear me. “Don’t!” I called out.

  “Come on,” Lee said. She stood, sidestepped past the empty space left by Rusty, and started to make her way through the seated spectators.

  I stayed close to her.

  “Excuse me,” Lee said to the people we had to disturb.

  We were facing forward. The knees of those behind us jammed the backs of our legs. Our thighs rubbed the backs of people the next row down. I’d lost my boner by then, or it would’ve poked some heads.

  “Excuse me,” Lee said. “Excuse me. Excuse me.”

  A few people stood up to let us by. Others didn’t budge and we had to shove past their legs.

  “Excuse me. Excuse me.”

  “Sit down!”

  “Down in front!”

  “Y’make a better door than window!”

  As we struggled across the row, I watched Rusty scribble on Vivian’s clipboard. She took his arm and led him up the steps to the cage. As they entered the cage, another tree of lightning cracked across the night.

  Lee and I broke through the end of the row.

  Thunder crashed.

  But still no rain.

  If the rain starts, I thought, will they st
op the fight?

  Probably not.

  I followed Lee as she raced down the stairs toward the arena.

  “I SEE WE HAVE AN EAGER YOUNG VOLUNTEER,” Stryker said, his amplified voice loud and crackling.

  “I’M RUSTY,” Rusty said into the microphone.

  The audience cheered.

  Rusty turned all the way around, grinning like a dope and waving at the crowd.

  Someone called out, “Go get her, Rusty!”

  Another, “Nail her!”

  “Give them titties a squeeze for me!”

  And worse.

  Suddenly, near the bottom of the bleachers, our way was blocked by half a dozen black-shirted members of Stryker’s crew.

  “READY TO TAKE ON VALERIA?” Stryker asked.

  “Excuse me,” Lee said, and tried to keep going.

  “YOU BET,” Rusty said.

  The man directly in front of Lee shook his head and spread out his arms.

  “Let us through,” Lee said.

  “You’ll just have to wait your turn, miss.”

  “Down in front!”

  “Hey, sit down!”

  “That kid can’t fight Valeria,” Lee said.

  “Sure, he can.”

  “He’s underage.”

  The man smirked. “Big deal.”

  “Outa the way, for cry-sake!”

  “I’m his mother and I forbid…”


  “His mother, my ass.”


  A thin, tough-looking woman beside the guy said, “We don’t want any trouble here.”

  “Then don’t let Rusty fight!”

  “Move yer asses!”

  “Down in front!”

  The woman shook her head. “Why don’t you both return to your seats and enjoy the show?”


  Another harsh flash of lightning.

  “You can’t do this!” Lee shouted.

  “Hell we can’t. Sit down or we’ll have you removed from the premises.”

  The crowd roared.

  So did the thunder.

  The fight had started. We didn’t stand much chance of stopping it, now. I wanted to watch. And so did a dozen or so people whose views we were blocking.

  Apparently, so did Lee. “Okay, okay,” she said.

  Though there were empty spaces down low, Lee raced halfway up the stairs before moving toward the center, squeezing past half a dozen spectators and taking a seat. If she couldn’t stop the fight, at least she wanted a good vantage point for watching it. Breathless, I sat beside her.

  The black-shirted crew watched us for a few more seconds, then spread out and seemed to vanish.

  From the look of things in the cage, we hadn’t missed much. Rusty and Valeria were both hunched over, arms out, circling each other slowly.

  Which seemed to be the standard way to begin such contests.

  I felt scared for Rusty. But I also envied him. There he was, face to face with Valeria, probably one of the most beautiful women to ever walk the earth—three or four feet away from that amazing face and those incredible, naked breasts.

  It seemed like madness.

  Glorious madness.

  This must’ve been like a dream come true for Rusty.

  He was sure to pay dearly for it, but it might be worth the payment.

  Valeria seemed in no hurry to attack. Neither did Rusty—not with the kind of view he had. But I knew him. What he really wanted, now, was to reach out and feel those breasts.

  He had to get his hands on them.

  Even in front of an audience brimming with people who knew him and his parents?

  You bet, I thought. He won’t let a little thing like that stop him.

  I could just see him grin and hear him say, Hey, man, by the time someone tells on me, it’ll be over. What’re my folks gonna do, ground me? They can’t make it not’ve happened, know what I mean? And he would be showing me his hands as if they were trophies.

  He went for her.

  Rushed forward, ducking and reaching out with both hands. I thought he was going for her breasts, but then he dived and grabbed the sides of her leather skirt. His weight tore the skirt from her hips.

  As Rusty fell, Valeria stumbled backward until the skirt tripped her. She landed on her back. The impact jolted her entire body, bounced her head off the dirt floor and jarred her breasts.

  The audience exploded with delight.

  The night exploded with lightning.

  On his knees, Rusty snatched Valeria’s skirt off her boots. The spurs seemed to give him trouble for a moment. Then the skirt pulled free and he flung it out of reach.

  Thunder pounded through the air.

  Valeria was now naked except for the crimson boots that reached almost to her knees.

  She just lay there, sprawled out and limp, staring at the sky…either knocked into a stupor by the blow to her head or faking it.

  I figured she had to be faking. Vampire or not, she’d outmatched much tougher men than Rusty tonight.

  “Get away from her!” I shouted.

  He probably couldn’t hear me through the tumult of the crowd.

  Lee joined my shouts. In unison, we yelled, “Get away from her, Rusty!”

  If Valeria really was stunned or unconscious, Rusty actually stood a chance of winning the contest. Five hundred bucks was a ton of money for a guy who forever spent his allowance the day he got it. But he needed to keep his distance…

  Instead of getting away from her, he scooted forward on his knees, sliding his hands up her bare legs.

  The audience cheered him on.

  “Rusty!” I yelled. “No!”

  But the lure must’ve been irresistable. I knew him well. He claimed he’d never seen a naked woman in real life, much less touched one. And he’d never seen a woman as beautiful as Valeria.

  These were probably the most fabulous moments of his entire life.

  “Is he nuts?” Lee asked.

  As his hands traveled up Valeria’s thighs, the crowd roared with delight and advice.

  Lee yelled, “Rusty, watch out! She’s playing ’possum! Get away from her!”

  Rusty spread Valeria’s legs apart. Either that, or she spread them herself. I missed who did it. I just suddenly realized her thighs were wider apart than a moment earlier.

  “It’s a trick!” Lee shouted. “Get away from her! Run!”

  On his knees between her legs, Rusty leaned forward and put a hand on each of her breasts. He rubbed them slowly as if she’d asked him to spread suntan oil on them. They wobbled around under the motions of his hands. When he squeezed them, they seemed springy.

  Valeria just lay there, not reacting.

  Maybe she isn’t faking, I thought.

  If she’s hurt, shouldn’t Stryker put a stop to this? Was he planning to just let Rusty spend the rest of the five minutes feeling her up?

  Rusty hunkered down and put his mouth on Valeria’s right breast. He seemed to be kissing or sucking its nipple. Then his head was moving all around. I didn’t know what he was doing at first, then realized he was licking her breast.

  A dagger of lightning stabbed down from the sky, roaring, and struck the top of one of the light poles. It was just behind the other bleachers. The bank of stadium lights exploded…along with the top of the pole.

  All the lights surrounding the grandstands suddenly died.

  Chapter Fifty-six

  We were plunged into darkness…except for a fluttering yellow-orange glow of firelight. It came from the blazing top of the pole that the lightning had struck.

  Suddenly, warm rain was pouring down.

  The blazing pole loomed over the bleachers like a giant torch, dimmed by the rain but still on fire.

  All around us, people began leaping to their feet.

  They wanted out.

  As they shoved and bumped us in their rush to escape, Lee and I sto
od up. We climbed onto our seats and looked down. On both sides of the arena, people were fleeing through the downpour. Some were falling. Others were fighting. But I didn’t care what was happening to them.

  I turned my eyes toward the cage in the center of the arena.

  By then, the fiery light post had nearly been extinguished. Through the heavy rain, I could barely make out the shapes of Rusty and Valeria.

  Then came another blast of lightning.

  It turned the rain into slanting silver streaks and filled the cage with a shuddering white glare. I glimpsed Rusty on top of Valeria, jeans down around his ankles, his white rump shoving, flexing.


  Someone bumped me from behind. I don’t know whether it was deliberate or one of those careless collisions of the kind that happens when people are in a hurry. Either way, the result was the same. I yelped and teetered.

  Lee grabbed me. She couldn’t stop me, though. We both fell forward, grappling with each other, colliding with a few people below us, knocking them off their feet before we crashed down on the slick, wet bleachers. We rolled and fell between two rows.

  I struck a board. Then Lee mashed me against it.

  She seemed very heavy for such a slender woman. I couldn’t budge. She lay on top of me, gasping for breath. Her cheek was warm and wet against the left side of my face while the right side got pelted by rain. Under my back, I felt the vibrations of all the shoes and boots and sandals and bare feet pounding their way down the bleachers.

  Nobody stopped to help us.

  For that matter, with the darkness and downpour and the way we were down in a low place between the rows, maybe no one even saw us.

  The bleachers trembled and shook.

  Out behind the stands, car doors thumped. Engines began to sputter and cough and race. Headlights came on, casting a pale glow into the rain-filled air above Janks Field. Horns honked. People shouted. More doors slammed. More engines revved.

  I suddenly remembered the Cadillac twins and what I’d done to their car.

  I’d intended to strand them, but I hadn’t planned on us being trapped in the grandstands when it happened.

  Brilliant move, Thompson.

  Directly above us, lightning fluttered across the sky and thunder crashed. Lee flinched.

  Which surprised me. She seemed too strong for that. But all her weight was on top of me, so there was no mistake about it: she jerked like a startled little girl. Suddenly feeling protective of her, I raised my arms and wrapped them around her back.

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