Chapter Five - The Sons Of Agnes Potter
1919, NEW YORK CITY
Demobilization had been briefly halted. Some of the returning soldiers had brought back a deadly influenza virus. Those that hadn't were needed to clear the streets of the fallen. It wasn't that bad all over--but in spots it got exactly that bad.
Late in returning from post-Armistice Europe, Lieutanant Sherman Potter was again knee-deep in bloodied human beings. This time, though, he welcomed it. For this time, he was helping to end human suffering instead of inflicting it. His activities---atrocities, really---undertaken as part of 'The Boys From Golgotha' would likely haunt him forever. He would do anything at all, he decided, to expiate those sins. For now, though, he played at being medical assistant.
"You! Over here."
"What's your name, son?"
"Sherm Potter, sir."
The man wore a surgical mask like Potter. Unlike Potter, he had no need of one. No mere virus could kill an Immortal.
"I'm Doctor Henry Braymore, Sherm. Kid, you look exhausted. Take a break. You've been at this without let since they brought you here three months back. This clinic could use the help, but not another patient. And some advice from someone who's been there? Don't try and try yourself for what you did in the war. The Lord'll take care of that in his own sweet time, kay?"
Potter's eyes shifted downward.
"Doc, I'm already pretty sure of what his decision might be. I rode with Golgotha."
"I've been to Golgotha. Nice hill."
Potter grabbed 'Braymore's' arm.
"You have no idea of what I am."
The man who would soon resume the identity of Henry Blake batted Potter away, quite casually.
"I've lopped men's heads straight off their bodies, boy! Watched as my fellow Knig---as the fellas bet on the distance I could get. I saw the finest man who ever lived be killed by the son he had by his own sister. I saw a monster 300 feet tall if he was an inch! Don't presume to trade war stories with me. You'll lose. Big. Now lie down and get some rest."
Potter got right in his face.
"And if I don't?"
Henry knocked him silly with one punch.
"Then I'll apply anesthetic---to my hand! Owwww!!"
Henry's hand, of course, healed quickly.
Better than a full day later, Potter awoke on a train bound in the general direction of Missouri.
"Hunh? Where Am I?"
Seated across from Potter--notably in the car with the fewest windows---was Nicholas Knight.
"You--have been officially placed on reserve. Doctor Braymore is an old friend of mine, and he knew I was in the city. He arranged your change in status, and asked me to take you home."
Sherm realized how tired he must have really been, for Braymore's punch to put him out as it did.
"Is the Doc one of Bram Stoker's Boys, too?"
"No. Similar. But where I'm into blood, he goes for the head. Then--well, you know."
"Wonderful. Is there anyone on all the Earth who isn't part of the forever club?"
"There's you. Although the way you were pushing yourself, no one would ever know that. Wanna hear a story, Sherman?"
Sherm got up to find another seat.
Nick gently pushed the still-weary Potter back into his seat.
"Good! Then you'll like this one."
Nick grinned sarcastically.
"Glad to have your enthusiasm."
"In the 1740's and 50's...."
"Oh great. Its gonna be one of those long stories."
"AS I was saying, the English finally supressed the last major Scottish uprising. They did so in a brutal but permanent matter. One Scotsman, in particular, did not take this very well. He started hunting Englishmen of High Rank. Among them were the Gentlemen Of The Heart in London. He murdered them one and all, about 50 good men. That he was able to do this was a sign of his rage-driven power. Those 50--were all of my kind."
"How'd they fight in a war, being vampires? Sun comes up, and you gotta stop, right?"
"We do fight, on occasion. But not these men. No. They were men of leisure, and servants of their community. They would bottle cow's blood from the butchers, and find and deal with those who preyed upon children--no matter who they were. They let most people alone, and were let alone themselves. But this Scotsman proclaimed that an Englishman was an Englishman, whether living or undead. On their behalf, a group of nightkind found this mad Scotsman's hometown--and butchered almost all who bore his name. I was leader of that vengeful group. The name of The Scotsman--was Duncan Macleod."
"So where you are headed with this yarn?"
"Vengeance, Sherman. It is a never-ending cycle. I want done with it. But if I saw him again, I'd surely start in."
"Because of what he did?"
"I've gotten past what he did. I will, however, never get past what I did. My quest is to become human once more. But if I am to do that, I must somehow deal with those ghosts--among others. And I have no idea how to even begin to do that."
The young man's eyes looked unbelievably sad.
"I'd like to be human again, too."