I recently started running an old school Hunter: The Reckoning game for some of my friends, and while getting myself back in the mindset for the World of Darkness dug up some of my old Vampire fan fiction. I actually wrote these stories several years ago, but I figured no harm sharing the vampire-love with folks. If you have grown tired of emo supermodels with sun allergies and are looking for something a bit different in your vamp reading, you may enjoy this series of stories.
Each chapter is a stand-alone story, but its best to read them in order to get the full effect.
And so, let the mayhem and carnage begin.
Prologue: The Game
My name is detective Alexandra Austin. I'm not crazy.
I'm not delusional.
I'm not suffering from some survivor guilt, or whatever that brainshrinker said.
I know what I saw.
I gotta write it all down. If I write it down they can't make me forget like they did everyone else.
If only I knew who "they" were.
Captain put me on the desk. He says it's because he doesn't buy all that crap from the shrink and I'm too good of a cop to be sitting at home making myself nutty with boredom. I think the real reason is if I'm at the station, they can keep an eye on me the eight or ten hours I'm here. They can keep me busy.
Unfortunately for them, I multitask REALLY well.
It all started about two months ago. A gas station just outside of the city was blown up. The coroner couldn't really figure the cause of death, but he could tell the cashier was missing an eye. Then a week later a van was found with three dead bodies. One of the bodies was missing two arms and a liver. The other two had been bled. CSI discovered a set of tire tracks that matched a set from the station explosion and a pocketknife with the station's logo. One of victims had put up a fight, and had specks of blood on his knuckles that didn't belong to him.
So I got in touch with one of my boys on the street. He tells me some Spanish girl had been around trying to sell off some cheap watches. He didn't buy anything from her, but a buddy of his did…and ended up taking her home. I paid him $50 and he coughed up an address. When we get there, the guy is dead and bloodless. No fingerprints. But there were a few stray hairs in the bed. The lab said the DNA from the hair and the blood match. The guy's neighbor says a van pulled up with tinted windows about two hours before dawn and a woman got in it. He even remembered part of the plate number and that it was a PA tag (I love nosey neighbors, I really do).
I hit the DMV records and find out the van had been stolen in Philly. I call some of my old running buddies from the hometown and find out the owners were murdered in their home and the van and a lot of cash and jewelry were stolen. No prints anywhere in the house. No leads. Not even a stray hair. They had already put the case in the cold case files. When I asked why they would put a three month old homicide on the back burner, I was told they had stuff to do and couldn't talk anymore, but next time I'm in town to see my mom I should stop by.
So now I'm breaking out a map and making phone calls to every police station between Philly and the Windy City. After five hours of that, I discover ten other homicides that fit with my little psychos.
Then I make the mistake of checking old newspaper reports on the same route, looking for any clues I can get. I say it was a mistake because that was when I realized how wrong this whole thing was.
There was another string of murders along the same route 7 years ago.
And a similar string 10 years before that.
I call my boyfriend Roger at the local FBI office. After abusing him for ten minutes with a rant about how incompetent can some people be not to see this pattern and why hasn't the FBI done anything, I ask him to see if some files could accidentally come home with him. He objects. I tell him the couch is quite comfortable in the winter. He tells me he'll see what he can find.
I shouldn't be as mean to him as I am. It's not like I won't let him take credit for it if this turns out to be a major career-builder. Moving up the food chain at the FBI is important to him. Me, being in an office all day would make me nuttier than the shrink already thinks I am. I need to be on the street. I need the game.
Roger tells me that the FBI apparently questioned a Dr. Hershel 17 years ago about a string of disappearances. They didn't have enough evidence to do anything then, and when they finally thought they did, the guy turned up dead.
Apparently, the FBI is a lot better at keeping track of evidence than my own precinct. Now that the love of my life is interested in the case, he signs out some of the physical evidence from the original case. There's a sweater that belonged to one of the missing women. He has forensics runs some tests and they're able to pull up some DNA.
Imagine my surprise when it matches my mysterious Spanish girl. But I'm figuring maybe it's her daughter or something, because the girl my contact described couldn't be a day over eighteen. If this were the same woman, she'd be 35. But forensics assures me that it's the same person. She's apparently aged well.
Then I reread the files. Dr. Hershel was a plastic surgeon.
So now I'm on the computer looking into unusual medical supply purchases or robberies along the route in question. I get a hit for a medical supply warehouse that was broken into six months ago. I go threw the yellow pages and make a phone call to the first plastic surgeon I find to find out bare minimum what would be needed to get the job done. His list matches the burglars' shopping list.
Something tells me the Good Doctor's not quite dead.
So I convince the Captain to put out an APB on both the girl and the doctor. Two days later, I'm getting my ink touched up and Charlie asks me why I'm so stressed out. Charlie's place is great for info. He's got the seediest tattoo parlor in Chicago, and I have an…agreement of sorts with the regulars. They all know I'm a homicide detective. But I put it to them pretty simple. Unless they kill somebody I don't care about their hookers and drug deals and hot cars. Sometimes I can get the heat off of them for minor infractions. In exchange, they like to kiss my ass by feeding me rumors they hear. So I loudly whisper to him about the case. One of my pals tells me he thought he saw some Spanish chick and a Texan helping an old guy in a white coat carry some stuff into an abandoned warehouse in a burnt-out section of the industrial park.
"You sure what you saw?" I ask.
"I make it a point to pay attention in my line of work. It ain't every day you see a fine mamasita, a throwback to Bonanza, and Dr. Frankenstein in the same night."
"You had to see him to understand."
"Thanks for the info. Oh, Public Service Announcement. Stay away from 13th through 20th streets. Vice is running a net next week."
The beauty of abandoned buildings is that you don't technically need a warrant. But I got one anyway, in the off chance some liberal bleeding heart judge doesn't want to infringe on the rights of the homeless or something. That night we took a team into the industrial park.
That's when the fun started.
We're greeted by a hail of bullets from two jacked-up full autos. It's our little missing Spanish girl driving them, and she's whipping them around like a pair of cheerleader batons. She's obviously high on SOMETHING, because her eyes are glazed over and she's hissing and growling at us. Jay, Brian, and Dwight get destroyed as we realize the bitch is using armor-piercing rounds.
Then Frank gets dropped by a double-barrel shotgun that catches him in the throat just below his helmet. There's a faint hint of phosphorous in the air and my eyes dart around to find the cowboy on top of a rusted out bailer. What kind of psychos use phosphorous rounds and armor-piercers?
Now I told Internal Affairs I didn't see those two bright red gasoline containers near the bailer. It was a complete accident when I tossed that smoke grenade and the whole thing went boom. It's not like I aimed at the gas cans. I didn't know they were there. Really.
As cowboy burned, the girl went completely spastic. She dropped both autos and charged Jack and Toby. They fired at least ten rounds into her. That should have dropped the most hyped-up crack head. But instead she punched both of them in the chest and I heard ribs breaking. Then I swear on my father's grave I saw her hand come out Toby's back. She had punched clear through his vest and chest.
That's when I heard Phil scream behind me. I turned to see an eight-foot tall Alien-God-Damn-Queen-looking thing bite down on his shoulder and tear out the blade.
By some miracle my spidey-senses must have kicked in, because I instinctively dodged out of the way as the girl lunged at me. I barely rolled passed her. But then like lightning she was on me with a mouth full of fangs. A claw tore into my side and I felt my blood seeping out. I managed to get one of my Anacondas up and the barrel in her mouth. Then I let it rip. I emptied the gun into her mouth and the result came out the back of her skull. She finally went limp on top of me. When I pushed her off, I realized she has shriveled up into a dried corpse.
I heard a howl and turned to see the alien-thing rip Tommy's arms off. I found cowboy's shotgun where he had thrown it when the fire "accidentally" started. Fortunately, he had loaded it before he dropped it. I fired at the thing and caught it in the gut. The phosphorous-laced rounds seemed to get its attention, because it dropped Tommy's corpse and let out what must have been a wail of pain.
Unfortunately, I didn't have any round left for the shotgun and now it was charging me.
More unfortunate, the whole place was on fire and the only way out was on the other side of it.
I had enough time to dodge and grab my second gun. The beast wasn't as fast as the girl had been, so it barely missed me. I had already seen that my puny police-issue bullets were ineffective against it. So I did the only thing I could.
I fired up.
I struck the cables of some burning light fixtures and they came crashing down on top of the critter. It yelped or made some weird noise and in a panic fled the opposite direction of me. I was so happy to see it lose interest in me I didn't notice that beam collapse until it was too late. I couldn't get my whole body out of the way and it crashed down into my left shin. The bone snapped.
I tried to pull myself along the floor, but the bleeding and the heavy smoke made it impossible. Then as my sight faded I thought I saw a humanoid shadow walking toward me. It was surrounded by lesser, formless shadows that flitted about its legs. As it moved over small patches of flames, the flames were extinguished. A shadowy claw reached down and grabbed me by the back of my vest just as I passed out.
I woke up three days later in the hospital to be greeted by a gentleman in a rather expensive suit who claimed to be from the FBI. He flashed a badge at me that, if I wasn't dating a bureau man, might have fooled me. He then proceeded to tell me what I remembered. He gently held my chin to make sure I maintained eye contact and gave me a story about my team being ambushed by two-dozen Columbian drug dealers and how I so bravely managed to take out their leader and crawl to safety. I didn't resist him. I actually found the whole thing a bit amusing, until I had this strange feeling there was somebody in my head besides me.
"There were no drug dealers," I said as I smacked his hand away. "There was a vampire chick and a cowboy and a creature from a bad sci-fi movie. Now who the hell are you?"
The door slowly opened and I turned my head to see Roger. When I looked back the guy in the suit had vanished.
I was finally able to escape the hospital two days later. I politely bullied Roger into taking me down to the coroner's office. I wanted to see the autopsy reports. The coroner had reported that everyone had died of bullet wounds. No mention of any claw or bite damage. I asked him about it and he gave me a confused look. I told him maybe he should check again based on new information. He told me the bodies had already been released to the families and, as far as he knew, all the families had agreed to cremation. There were no bodies left to examine.
So I dragged Roger to the Evidence Room. They had the two autos and the shotgun.
"Henry, let me ask you a stupid question."
"So long as I can give you a stupid answer."
"Fair enough. If two dozen Columbian drug lords are attacking a swat team, how many guns do you think there would be?"
"uuuummmm…more than two autos and a old shotgun?"
"Congratulations. I owe you a cookie."
"It's a shame about the shotgun, though."
"What do you mean?"
"Remington ain't made a rifle like that since maybe 1900. In good condition, it would have been worth a lot of money."
I took a taxi over to Charlie's last night. I had him tattoo the shadow walker on my back. As usual, he did an incredible job. Roger's gonna have a fit. Not because of my new tattoo per se. More because I had to take my shirt off for Charlie to do the tattoo. But he'll get over it. I need it there to remember. I can see it in the mirror and remember.
I know that thing is still out there. I know the doctor is involved. Somehow all the evidence has disappeared and everybody's memory has gone screwy. It doesn't matter. I know what I'm looking for now. I've worked tougher cases than this. The Good Doctor is sloppy. I'll find him again.
And next time, I win.