ALEX R CARVER
Alex R Carver
Copyright © United Kingdom 2016
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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© 2016 by ARC Books
A hand snaked out from under the covers to turn off the alarm before the first note had finished, leaving the room to return to silence. It remained that way for only a moment though, for with an explosion of energy that was unlike that displayed by the average person upon waking, Julian threw back the sheet that covered him and all but sprang from the bed. The move would have been silent, were it not for the floorboards that creaked under him as he landed.
Once on his feet he looked around. To anyone else the room would have been pitch black, too dark to see anything, but he had no problem making out the interior of his bedroom. Everything was just as it had been when he went to bed, not that he thought anything was likely to have changed since he had incredibly sensitive hearing, and would almost certainly have woken had anything, no matter how minor, happened. It was habit, though, for him to check for changes or danger the moment he woke, as so many of the things he did were habit.
Having satisfied himself that everything was alright, Julian made his way out of the bedroom and along to the bathroom, which was only a few steps away. It wasn’t until he got there that he turned a light on – the sudden glare made him blink his steel grey eyes rapidly for a moment. He ignored the mirror over the sink, looking in it was a human reflex he had trained himself not to respond to, and climbed into the shower, where he gave the tap a quick twist; it spun until it stopped of its own accord and the water lashed his skin with the force of a whip.
The water had barely reached its maximum temperature, hot enough to have most people wincing and reaching for the cold tap, when he finished cleaning himself. Giving the tap another quick twist he shut the flow of water off and ran his hands over his body, stripping off the excess water; invigorated, as he always felt after such a shower, he snagged a towel from the rail next to the cubicle and stepped out so he could rub himself dry before dropping the wet towel in the laundry basket.
The last thing Julian did prior to leaving the bathroom was clean his teeth – he spent more time doing that than he had showering. Dental hygiene was very important to him and he brushed and flossed until he was sure his teeth were as clean as they could be.
Returning to his bedroom once he was done in the bathroom, he made his way over to the window. Pulling back the heavy curtain, which prevented even the smallest amount of light from entering the room, he looked out. He spared a quick glance for his car, a battered old VW Golf, making sure that it hadn’t been stolen or vandalised, a possibility given the neighbourhood he lived in, which was in a part of town known for trouble, and another for the street. He then turned his gaze to the cloudless night sky. He was always amazed by how peaceful the simple act of gazing at the moon, especially when it was full, could make him feel.
Tearing himself away from his contemplation of the sky, Julian glanced quickly down the street again, wondering if he should go out and have a bite to eat before work. He decided, after a moment, that he wasn’t hungry enough and stepped back from the window, pulling the heavy curtain closed once again.
He got dressed after that, and made his way out of the small one bedroom flat he occupied when he was finished; as always, he stopped in the doorway where he went through his pre-departure ritual, which involved him patting his pockets, to be sure he wasn’t forgetting his mobile phone, wallet or keys, and then checking the zip on his trousers in case he hadn’t done it up. The last thing he did was run his fingers along his neck to ensure that the silver chain, which had once belonged to his grandfather and was the only piece of jewellery he ever wore, was still there.
When he was satisfied that he had not forgotten anything, Julian closed and locked the door before making his way out of the building. There was no lift, a lack that annoyed a few of the residents, but didn’t bother him; there weren’t all that many stairs, and they didn’t trouble him, even when he descended at a jog, as he did then.
He slowed to a walk when he reached his car, though he didn’t stop; the petrol station where he worked the night shift was less than a mile away, and he saw no reason to be lazy and drive when the sky was clear, with no suggestion of bad weather. The only reason for him to drive, other than bad weather, was because he was running late, and as usual he had plenty of time to get to work before his shift start.
“How many times do I have to tell you not to do that?” Julian asked rhetorically in an exasperated voice as he grabbed hold of the old man outside the petrol station.
“Hey, it’s the night guy.” The drunk continued pissing up against the side of the building as he looked round, bleary-eyed, to see who had grabbed him. “Hey, night guy, where are we?”
The question was slurred, and barely audible, but after more than a year of working the night shift there, Julian was able to understand what he was saying.
“You’re at the petrol station, and you’re pissing against the wall, again!” Giving the drunk a shove, he ignored the man’s protest when he splashed himself. “Now, get out of here, you drunken pain in the ass.” Julian gave him another shove, this time in the direction of the street. “And take your friend with you,” he said sharply, aiming a kick at the second drunken figure, who was leaning against the building, rather than pissing on it.
He was not surprised that his name hadn’t been remembered; the drunk old man could barely remember his own name, let alone those of people he encountered on an almost daily basis. As well as his name not being known by the drunk, Julian didn’t know the drunk’s name, and he wasn’t particularly bothered by that lack; as far as he was concerned the old guy was no-one for him to be bothered about, not unless he was pissing against the building, which he did with a regularity that was annoying.
Julian watched the two drunks to be sure they were not going to return – they showed no sign of turning round, they simply continued on in the direction they had been pointed – and then he made his way round the side of the building to the carwash, where he grabbed the hose so he could wash off the wall. Generally, he liked his job, it wasn’t too demanding, and he didn’t have to worry about a boss breathing down his neck all the time, but he did find dealing with the drug addicts and drunks who lived in the local area distasteful at times, especially the ones who were so far gone they couldn’t take proper care of themselves.
Once he was done with the hose, he allowed himself a few moments to enjoy the peace and quiet that only occurred in that area at such a late hour – it was almost four in the morning and the street was devoid of traffic, and had been for a while, with the exception of the two drunks who had decided to use the petrol station as a toilet. He knew that the peace and quiet wouldn’t last, much as he would like it to; he had maybe an hour before people started appearing on the street, the first wave of people heading either to or from work.
With a last glance at the moon, he pushed open the door and entered the shop, where the radio was playing quietly, just loud enough to be heard.
As if there had been no interruption, Julian returned to cleaning the shelves and checking the best-before dates on the various products as he put them back; it was work that he invariably left until a Sunday night, when he had the most free time, because his colleagues rarely rotated the stock when they filled up during the day and it took most of the shift to complete.
He had made it to the end of the shelf, and was just beginning to remove the chocolate bars from the next shelf down, when he heard a car pull onto the forecourt. Standing up, he looked out at the car; it was not unheard of for people to come in at that time on a Monday morning, but it was unusual enough to make him curious to know who was out there. He immediately guessed that the couple who got out of the car were returning from a holiday.
The lights that illuminated the forecourt were the sort to make all but the darkest of people look anaemic and sick; he could make out a hint of a tan on the faces of the couple, however, and he could see suitcases on the back seat of the car. In addition to the cases and the slight tan, both of them were dressed in clothes that were better suited to a warmer climate than to Northern England in the winter.
Julian’s guess, had anyone been around to ask him, was that the couple had just flown back from somewhere hot and sunny, and they had not given any thought to how much chillier it would be when they got home. They were both in shorts and t-shirts, and were shivering slightly.
Walking over to the counter he memorised the car’s license plate, and as many other details about the car and its occupants, as he could before leaning over the counter to activate the pump. He didn’t think the couple were likely to drive off without paying for their fuel, but just in case they did, it was helpful to have as much information as possible to give to the police. When he straightened up, Julian saw that the woman was at the night hatch, waiting for him to walk round and serve her – that was something he wasn’t inclined to do since the door was open, and he indicated as much, gesturing for her to come in.
“I can’t believe you’re open at this time of night,” the young lady said the moment she was through the door. “In this area I expected you to have the door locked up, and for you to be serving through the hatch.”
“It’s more trouble than it’s worth to do things that way,” Julian told her. “If I served through the hatch rather than letting people in, I’d have every drunken idiot who came by sending me all round the shop for things they don’t want just for the fun of it.” By that time, he had made it round the counter to the till, from there he could keep an eye on the car and on the lady in the shop, just in case she should turn out not to be as ordinary and innocent as she seemed.
The guy was just finishing with the pump when Julian’s attention was drawn away from him by two figures that started across the forecourt; he had no difficulty recognising the two new figures, they were locals he saw far more often than he wanted to. Harry and Adam were both in their mid-twenties, and liked to get off their faces on whatever they could get their hands on, before going out looking for what they called fun – fun which by most other people’s standards was cruel and sadistic behaviour.
Gauging the distances, he realised that the two troublemakers were going to reach the door at about the same time as the man who had just finished filling his car; that meant he couldn’t just lock the door and avoid dealing with whatever trouble they were planning on making, which was what he usually preferred to do.
By the time the three of them reached the door, only a few steps apart, the lady had finished her shopping and was waiting for her boyfriend to join her, that was when the trouble started. With the door closed Julian couldn’t hear what was said, but he clearly saw Adam, who was the smaller of the two troublemakers, shove the boyfriend, and he immediately hurried out from behind the counter while the lady looked on, not knowing what to say or do.
“…think yer better than us? We was here first, but you fink it’s alright to barge in front; you always this rude, you ignorant prick?” The man had the door open before Julian could get there, enabling him to catch part of what the troublemakers were saying.
Stepping past the man, Julian placed himself in the doorway, preventing the two from entering. “You’re barred,” he told them both forcefully, his hands on the doorframe so there was no way for them to try and push past him. “You’ve both been told about harassing the customers; now bugger off and find your ‘fun’ somewhere else.” He needed only a glance at their faces to tell both Adam and Harry were on something – they looked even more out of it than they usually did. Despite that, he would never have guessed at what was going to happen next.
In a move faster than Julian would have thought possible, given how unfocused were his eyes, and his general appearance of being only barely aware of where he was and what was going on, Adam plunged a hand into his pocket. When it came out he was clutching a kitchen knife that looked too big to have been hidden in the pocket.
As fast as the drugged up troublemaker was, Julian was faster, he managed to twist himself to one side, avoiding the long blade that was stabbed towards him. At the same time, he grabbed Adam’s wrist and smashed his fist down on the elbow, causing him to scream in pain as the bone was shattered. Certain that Adam was no longer an immediate threat, Julian shoved him back out of the way, doing so with enough force to make him stumble, as he turned to confront Harry. He ignored the scream of terror that came from the lady by the counter.
The report from the gun, which he saw in the same moment that it was fired, all but deafened Julian, not that being deafened was a major concern given that the bullet slammed into his chest with the force of a sledgehammer. He was shot twice more, though he had no idea about that, the impact from the first lifted him off his feet and threw him backwards; he only flew for a couple of feet but it was far enough for him to crash into a promotional display and hit his head, knocking him out.
It was dark when Julian opened his eyes, so dark that even his sensitive eyes couldn’t see a thing, and he could feel pain in his chest. The pain radiated from three distinct locations, which told him that he had been shot twice more after the impact with the promotional stand, and he was glad he had been spared the immediate pain of the injuries because he was unconscious.
While the pain in his chest and gut was unpleasant, he could cope with it – he had an exceptionally high pain threshold. He pushed it from his mind as he attempted to figure out where he was, and why he was unable to see anything. Lifting his hand, he immediately came into contact with something cold and plastic. After a minute or so of investigating with his hands, Julian was sure he knew where he was, and why he couldn’t see anything, and he couldn’t help but find the situation somewhat amusing, even if at the same time it was annoying. He was certain that the plastic he could feel all around him was a body bag, and the reason he was cooler than he really liked was because he was in cold storage in the local morgue.
He could easily imagine how it had been concluded that he was dead when his body was checked – no life signs and three bullet wounds would have convinced anyone; it was even technically accurate since he wasn’t really alive anymore.
He took hold of the heavy plastic with both hands, it wasn’t easy to get a grip on it but after a bit of work he managed, and gave a sharp wrench. The plastic was strong, but he was stronger, and it tore, not much, but enough to enable him to get his fingers into the gap. With a better grip he was able to tear a hole in it that ran the full length of his body, which enabled himself to wriggle out, though that was only the first part of his escape completed. Free from the bag, he reached out with his hands to try and determine where the door was – it only took him a few moments to determine that the door was by his head. Knowing where the ‘exit’ was left him with just one problem, actually exiting.
Since the storage freezer – he had no idea what it was actually called, and he didn’t really care just then – was designed to hold a person much larger than himself, Julian had no difficulty turning himself over so he was on his belly and facing the door, which he could feel, if not see. From that position he attempted to punch open the door, hitting it as hard as he could, which wasn’t very hard, certainly not hard enough to be successful; he knew that he could punch harder normally, but he was weakened by his wounds, and his position robbed him of the ability to punch effectively.
After trying four times, without success, he gave up punching the door and tried to think of another way to free himself. His options were limited, nonetheless he was confident that he would manage to get himself free, though the only method he could think of for getting the door open, other than punching it, was kicking it, and he was the wrong way round for that.
It took some contortions, and a few knocks, which increased the pain from his injuries, for Julian to turn his body round in the cramped confines, and he had to take a breather when he was done. He didn’t allow himself to rest for too long, however; he sensed that he didn’t have much time left before dawn would break.
He quickly determined that the change in attack was a good idea; on his second, powerful kick he felt the door give, and with the third it burst wide open. The door flew back with enough force to hit something with a loud crash, and he heard the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps as he scrambled out of the freezer. He had just made it to his feet when overhead lights blazed on, momentarily blinding.
“Y-you’re s-supposed to be d-dead.” A voice stammered from somewhere off to Julian’s right and he quickly turned in that direction, blinking his eyes to accustom them to the increase in light.
What Julian saw, when he got his eyes working properly again, was a thin man in his early thirties, who appeared to be frozen in the doorway with one hand on the light switch and a shocked expression on his face. Julian looked the man up and down for a moment before he spoke. “I am dead,” he said finally, smiling evilly. “Tell me, are you a fan of horror?”
The only response the mortuary assistant could make was to nod his head as he stared dumbly at the man who had just declared himself to be dead, and who was apparently oblivious to the three gunshot wounds in his chest and gut.
“Then I think you’re going to love this.” Julian bared his teeth to reveal a pair of pointed fangs and sprang forward.
Even if he hadn’t been too shocked and scared to move, the mortuary assistant would not have been able to escape, Julian was too quick. In an instant he was across the room and had his hand clamped over the other man’s mouth to prevent him screaming, or indeed making any kind of noise at all. He lowered his head to the neck he had exposed then, and sank his teeth into the pulsing jugular so he could begin drinking; he felt the man stiffen when his teeth punctured the neck, but as the life was drained out of it the body relaxed in his arms until finally he was as limp as a rag doll.
“I feel better now,” Julian remarked aloud, not that there was anyone around to hear him. The pain from his gunshot wounds was gone and he knew his body’s healing rate would be increasing, to the point where it would soon be difficult to tell that he had been shot. In a couple of days there would be no sign at all of the injuries he had received.
He looking down at the body he was still holding and was tempted to just drop it and leave it where it fell – he thought better of it, however. With ease he lifted it up so he could carry it over to the freezer compartment he had so recently escaped from, where he shoved it carelessly inside, though not before he had taken the car keys from the man’s pocket and emptied his wallet of cash.
The door wouldn’t stay shut, despite Julian’s efforts to bend it back into shape, so he gave up on it. The body would be found eventually, no matter what he did; since that was the case he decided there was no point in him worrying about it, not when he could feel that dawn was getting close, and he needed to find himself some cover, some protection from the rays of the sun.
Julian considered himself smarter than most other vampires – for that was what he was – not that he had met many, beyond the one who made him, which was why he had been working the night shift at the petrol station and he lived in a flat; doing so made him less conspicuous. He realised he could no longer go back to either, however – too many question would be asked, questions that he couldn’t answer without revealing his secret. Since he was smart, he was prepared for the possibility that something would happen that would make it necessary for him to leave the area in a hurry, though he hadn’t expected it to happen so soon – he had only been there for a year – and he had a few places where he could hide during the day. He also had money and other essentials stashed away to help him get set up in his next town.
Finding his way out of the morgue proved not to be difficult, for there were signs for him to follow, and he was soon out in the predawn darkness. He had neither seen nor heard any indication that there was anyone in the building other than the now dead morgue assistant, which meant it would be a while before anyone knew he had risen and was not as dead as he had been believed to be.
The exit he had taken was at the side of the building and it opened onto the car park, which was conveniently empty but for a single car. He guessed it belonged to the man he had killed, a guess he learned was right when he unlocked the car with the keys he had taken from his victim. Starting the engine, he shifted into gear and raced from the car park, keen to get under cover before dawn broke.
With every passing minute he became more concerned; the morgue was in a part of town he was unfamiliar with, and he wasn’t entirely certain how to get back to the petrol station he worked at – all of the bolt holes he had prepared were to be found in the area around it.
In the end he managed to find somewhere he recognised with only a couple of wrong turns, though by then he was more than a little worried by the proximity of dawn. He was so worried in fact that he went against his nature and put his foot down so that he was speeding through the streets, more concerned with getting caught by the sun that would soon be rising than by the police, who could not hurt him as much as the ball of fire in the sky could.
He continued on past the cemetery that was just down the road from the petrol station for a couple more streets, only then did he ditch the car in a street he knew was used as a short cut through the area. He returned to the cemetery as quickly as he could, taking a back route that would ensure he wasn’t seen by anyone in the petrol station, and once there he darted between the headstones until he reached the mausoleums in the oldest section.
The first rays of the sun were only a few minutes away – he was so attuned to the arrival and departure of the celestial orb that he could tell, with that level of accuracy, when it would broach the horizon – when he slipped inside the mausoleum he had broken open not long after he arrived in the area. He pulled the door closed behind him and then checked for any sign that light would penetrate his haven; he couldn’t be certain, but what he could be sure of was that any light that did get in would be no danger to him. That meant all he had to worry about was the possibility that someone might realise the mausoleum had been opened, a possibility he considered unlikely since no-one had realised during the eleven months that had passed since he first broke into it.
Satisfied that he was not going to be turned to ash while he slept the day away, or be found by some curious groundskeeper, Julian crossed to the oldest of the sarcophagi. With an ease that no mortal could have matched, he slid the lid to one side. Inside were the remains of what had once been a man – over the centuries the body had been reduced to nothing more than bones with fragments of clothing clinging to them, fragments that were barely recognisable as having once been clothing. Some people might have been disturbed by the sight, but he had seen worse and so ignored it and reached into the sarcophagus.
He didn’t think there was any need to check the contents of the small bag he took out, but he did so anyway, just in case someone had discovered it and taken what he had put in there. The first thing he took from the bag was a torch, his night vision was infinitely better than that of humans, but his eyes still worked in the same way and needed some light to see by, and there was little of that in the mausoleum. Switching the torch on, he shined its beam into the bag so he could check on the rest of the contents.
In addition to the torch he had one thousand pounds in cash – it was not a huge sum, but he didn’t earn a huge amount as a sales assistant in a petrol station– some spare clothes, and a false birth certificate, along with matching driver’s license and passport. The false documents had not been easy to arrange, even with him knowing a number of criminals through his job, and they had cost more than he really wanted to spend, but it was important to have them; he had two other sets of emergency supplies hidden away in the other bolt holes he had arranged, and he intended collecting them before he left town, which being shot by the trouble twins was forcing him to do.
Once he had reassured himself that his emergency stash was safe, Julian dropped the bag back into the sarcophagus, and then climbed in after it. It was not easy to manoeuvre the lid back into place from the inside but he managed it, though only after he succeeded in trapping his fingers briefly. He rescued his fingers and finished closing the lid, and promptly shut his eyes; the nearness of the sun’s rise, as always, made him drowsy and he was asleep almost straight away.
Julian knew the sun was down the instant he woke. He wasn’t sure of the time, but that didn’t matter; it made little difference to him what the time was, so long as it was after sunset, which meant it was safe for him to get up and leave the mausoleum. Safe in the sense that he wasn’t going to be turned to ash at least, there were still other dangers for him to be concerned about, even if they weren’t as potentially serious.
Carefully, he slid the lid of the sarcophagus to one side, pausing when he had moved it a couple of inches so he could listen for any indication that the noise of stone grating against stone had been heard. Given the mostly deserted nature of the cemetery, especially at night, he would have been surprised if he had detected any indication that there was someone nearby, so he didn’t listen for long before he opened the sarcophagus further and climbed out
Once he had the lid back in place, with him on the outside, Julian made his way over to the door; pushing it open he stepped out into the night. He felt much better out in the fresh air, after the mustiness that pervaded the mausoleum. He stayed in the shadows at the entrance to avoid being seen, should there actually be someone around to do so, while he considered his next move.
He knew that after the events of the previous night there was no question of him staying in town – the disappearance of his body, and the murder of the mortuary assistant, would have any number of people wondering what had happened, and expending every effort to find out – it just remained for him to decide what he was going to do before he left, and he had already made up his mind about that, he was going to revenge himself on the two men who had put him in the position of having to leave so hurriedly.
The problem with his plan was that he didn’t know where to find Adam and Harry – the trouble twins, as they were known to most people. He knew a lot about them, yet at the same time he knew little, which made the task he had set himself that much more difficult; the most important gap in his knowledge was that he didn’t know where the twins lived, only that they lived in the area – fortunately he knew people who were likely to be able to tell him where he could find them.
When he finally left the shadow of the mausoleum he had a plan for his night’s activities; it wasn’t a very detailed plan, but he was confident that it would afford him enough time to find and kill the trouble twins before he had to be on his way to another town.
Deliberately, he picked a route that led him away from the petrol station where he had worked until the previous night. The gate was locked when he got to it, but since the cemetery was only surrounded by a waist-high wall he had no difficulty leaving it – he vaulted the wall easily and landed lightly on the other side.
A relatively short walk brought him to the road where the majority of the local drug dealers and prostitutes plied their trade. Despite it being early, Julian could see that a few people were already out, conducting ‘business’, as he walked down the street, and he pulled the hood of his jacket up to hide his face, just in case any of them might recognise him – many, most, of them came into the petrol station at least once a night and so knew him pretty well.
“Wanna have some fun?”
The invitation came before he had gone even a quarter of the way down the street, and Julian looked at the prostitute from the shadow of his hood. The drugs most of the women who worked the streets were on gave their features a similarity after a while that made it a little difficult to tell one from another at a casual glance, but after a couple of seconds he saw that it wasn’t who he was looking for. He shook his head and kept moving.
It took Julian very little time to reach the end of the road, without seeing who he was looking for, and he immediately turned to his right to follow that road. He did the same when he got to the end of that road, and in barely half an hour he had completed a full circuit.
“Wanna have some fun?” It was the same girl who had propositioned him before, too out of it from whatever drugs she was on to remember she had already asked him.
He had a strong urge to stop and put the girl out of her misery, more for his own sake than for hers; he had no particular issue with drugs, any more than he had a problem with alcohol, but he did despise people who used either to such an excess that they couldn’t remember speaking to someone half an hour before. Ignoring the urge, because giving in would accomplish little in the short term, and nothing in the longer term, he kept walking; it amused him to think that the girl had no idea how close she had come to losing her life. His amusement was tempered by the thought that the girl probably wouldn’t have cared how closed to death she had been.
His self-control was rewarded moments later when a car pulled up to the curb further down on the other side of the street; the two people he had been hunting for climbed out.
Changing direction, Julian headed straight across the road, taking the shortest route to his targets. He didn’t even allow the few cars that made their way down the road to move him from his course. When he reached the far pavement Julian took the few paces to where the girl was standing.
“Looking fer some fun, mister?” she asked as he approached, only to take a quick step back in surprise when he lifted his head and she saw his face. “Jesus!” The imprecation sprang from her lips before she could stop it.
The man who had exited the car with the prostitute quickly appeared from the shadows he had disappeared into. “What the…” The burly man stepped into the light with one hand under his jacket, clearly ready to produce a weapon of some kind; he stopped abruptly, momentarily rendered speechless, when he saw Julian’s face. “Fuck me!”
“I’d rather not, Mike, you’re not my type,” Julian said with a smile. “If I was going to fuck anyone, it’d be Bella here.”
That comment brought a smile to the girl’s face and she squeezed herself up against him, making sure to squash her breast against his arm where he was certain to feel it. “You can fuck me anytime, Jules, you know that; I won’t even charge you. I don’t charge anyone who can get me wet without touching me.”
“Thanks.” Julian gave her bum a squeeze. “I didn’t come here for a fuck, though,” he told her.
“Then why’re you here?” Mike, Tammy’s pimp and drug dealer, wanted to know. “You after summin to keep you goin’, summin fer the pain? We ‘eard about the trouble twins robbin’ t’ station an’ shootin’ you. You mus’ be on summin pretty good alreddy t’ be out o’ ‘ospital so soon. I got stuck a while back an’ were in there fer a week ‘fore I could get outta bed, weren’t I babe?”
“Uh huh! It were bad; he were white as a ghost and everything. Like ‘ow you look normally, only worse, like how you look now. If you was any paler, I could see right through you; you sure you should be outta hospital? Drugs are good, but we ‘eard you was shot five times, you was killed we ‘eard…” Even as she spoke, Bella rubbed her breast up and down Julian’s arm, trying to get him interested in fucking her.
“It was only three times, and as you can see, I’m still walking and talking,” Julian said. “I’m not here for drugs either; I’m after information, and I think you can give it to me.”
“What’s that?” Mike wanted to know.
“I want to know where I can find the trouble twins.”
“What you wanna know that fer?”
“So I can do to them what you did to the guy that knifed you.” Julian had heard what Mike had done to his attacker, it was common knowledge, though how he had avoided jail wasn’t.
The big man looked down on Julian with something akin to pity, but also with a hint of amusement, mixed with concern. “You really think you have wha’ it takes t’ kill someone?” he asked. “I know you’re tough, there’s no way you’d be outta hospital the day after bein’ shot if you weren’t, and I know you can deal with the trouble you usually get at the station, but killin’ someone’s a whole different game. I don’t think you’ve got it in you. Besides, the trouble twins are crazy motherfuckers; it’s ain’t a good idea to piss ‘em off.
“They already shot you, if you go after ‘em they’ll kill you, then they’ll be after me for telling you where to find ‘em. I don’t need that kind of trouble; it attracts too much attention.”
Julian nodded his head after a moment. “I guess you’re right, I guess I’m just pissed off they shot me. It’s not worth the trouble it’d cause to try and get even, though.” He turned to Bella then. “Why don’t you take me down that alley and take my mind off being shot,” he suggested.
“Shit yeah!” Taking her hand out from under his t-shirt she grabbed his belt and all but dragged him towards the alley. “Back soon babe,” she told her boyfriend/pimp/drug dealer. To Julian she said, “I’m gonna fuck you so good yer not just gonna forget about being shot, yer gonna forget about everything.”
“She’s not kidding; her pussy’ll make you forget anything,” Mike told him. “You get this fuck fer free coz I like you, next one’ll cost you.”
Bella shook her head as she preceded Julian into the alley, walking backwards. “You won’t ever have to pay with me,” she said quietly, making sure her boyfriend wouldn’t hear. “Not when you can do this to me without even touchin’ me.” She took his hand and slipped it up under her skirt and into her panties, where his fingers slid easily into her wet pussy.
Leaving his fingers in her pussy, Bella fumbled with Julian’s belt and zipper in her eagerness to get him inside her. While she did, Julian backed her up against the wall of the alley where he kissed her, moving quickly from her lips to her neck as she moaned in pleasure. It wasn’t until his hand came up to cover her mouth that she realised something was wrong; instinctively, she struggled, not knowing what was about to happen, but certain that she didn’t want it to happen.
Julian didn’t really want to kill Bella, he liked her, but he had to get blood from somewhere, and since he was leaving town he didn’t have the time to hunt around. Slowly, he sank his teeth into her neck as he took his first taste of her blood, aware, in that one taste, of the drugs she had taken that day. Pulling his head back, he allowed the blood to run down her neck. “Pity,” he remarked, unmoved by either the fear or the lack of comprehension he saw in her eyes; with a quick jerk of the hand he had clamped over her mouth he snapped her neck.
He left the body to fall to the ground in a heap, one blood-coated breast exposed, and did his trousers up so he could leave the alley. Julian grabbed Mike’s arm as the drug dealer turned towards the sound of approaching footsteps and swung him round. When he let him go, he sent him stumbling up the alley, where he tripped over Bella’s body and fell to the ground.
Mike sprang to his feet, a large knife appearing in his hand as though by magic. “What the…” he started to say, looking from the body at his feet to Julian. When he realised the man he had thought of as a friend was closer than he should have been he stopped speaking and lunged with the knife.
Julian twisted away from the blade that was thrust at his belly and grabbed Mike’s wrist. Almost casually he gave a sharp twist that snapped the wrist with an audible crack and pointed the blade at the belly of its owner, he then plunged it into Mike’s stomach, burying it up to the handle as he pushed the drug dealer back against the wall where he had kissed Bella just a minute or so before.
“I think,” the vampire hissed the words almost directly into Mike’s ear. “this establishes that I do have what it takes to kill someone, and that I’m the one you should be afraid of, not the trouble twins. Now, why don’t you tell me where I can find them.”
“Go fuck yourself, you’re fucking nuts, you know that.”
“Now that isn’t a very sensible attitude.” Julian still had hold of the knife he had buried in Mike’s stomach and he wiggled it slightly, just enough to remind Mike that it was there.
Less than two minutes later he walked out of the alley with the information he was after, and with a portion of his need for blood satisfied.
A little over a quarter of an hour later Julian reached the address he had been given – he could have gotten there quicker, but not without attracting attention, which he didn’t wish to do. When he arrived, he stopped in front of the small block of flats where the trouble twins lived to survey the building for a few moments; he then walked up the short path to the doors. Once inside he bounded up the stairs to the second floor, and then strode quickly along the passage to Flat D.
Placing his ear to the door, he listened for a minute, until he was sure that he could only hear two people in the flat with his sensitive hearing. He took a step back then and kicked the door, it flew open to crash into the wall of the passage and he rushed through.
His intention was to catch the trouble twins by surprise, and that proved easier than expected because they were both smoking dope. It was clear they had been for some time. Several long moments passed before they realised their flat had been invaded, and another before they reacted to the invasion.
“Y-you’re dead,” Adam, whose elbow was swathed in bandages, said when he recovered from the shock. “We-we shot you.”
“So you did,” Julian agreed as he walked slowly across the room towards the sofa, where the two would-be murderers were.
He was halfway there when Harry surged to his feet. In his hand was the gun that had sent him to the morgue the night before. Unlike the last time, however, Julian was ready for the gun, and he reacted the moment he saw it, moving almost faster than either of the twins could see.
Grabbing hold of the hand the gun was in, Julian pushed it away from him, at the same time he curled his finger over Harry’s on the trigger. He swung Harry round until the gun was pointing at his friend, who could only gape, and then forced him to squeeze the trigger. The report was loud in the small room, and Julian was positive that it would have been heard in the neighbouring flats, though he wasn’t as certain that the police would be called to check it out; he doubted they would hurry to do so if they did respond – they didn’t hurry to respond to any reports they received from the estate, doing so had proven dangerous to them in the past.
Julian ignored Harry’s efforts to free himself from the hand encompassing his and forced him to squeeze the trigger a second time. The first bullet had taken Adam in the shoulder, knocking him back down onto the couch he had been struggling to push himself up from; the second was more aimed and it shattered his knee.
As Harry continued to struggle, Julian turned the gun in his hand on him, and forced him to squeeze the trigger on himself. The bullet splintered his shin and he fell to the floor.
“What are you?” Harry gasped the question between quick, shallow breaths as he fought the scream that welled up and threatened to erupt out of him. “You’re not human, you can’t be human, what are you?” He was almost drowned by the screams from his friend, who made no effort to hold them in. “I kilt you last night, I know I did – I shot you three times, and ain’t no human can move that fast.”
“I was human once,” Julian said matter-of-factly as he wrenched the gun from Harry’s hand and tossed it away. “But now…” He bared his fangs. “I’m so much more.” Taking out the knife that Mike had tried to stab him with, and which he had used to get the trouble twins’ location from the drug dealer, he knelt at Harry’s side. “I’m not usually a vindictive or cruel person, I prefer to make my kills nice and quick, as painless as possible, but you and your friend have exposed me; I’ve got to leave town because of you, and I’m not happy about that. I can’t let what you’ve done go unpunished.
“It’s just a shame I can’t get some use out of your deaths, but your blood’s useless to me, thanks to all those drugs the two of you like to take. Still, I’m sure there’s something around here that’ll help make up for all of this, even if only a little.” He started straight into Harry’s eyes, so he could watch them grow wide with pain that the drugs he was on couldn’t mask, as he slowly pushed the knife into his belly.
A quarter of an hour after bursting into the trouble twins’ flat, Julian left it, without bothering to even try and close the broken front door. In the distance was the sound of approaching police sirens, obviously responding to a report about the gunshots and the screams of pain from the flat he had just left. He smiled at the thought of what the police would find when they entered the flat; he wished he could be there to see their reaction, but it was time for him to leave, both the area and the town. He had a long way to go before dawn, and a lot to arrange.
About the author
Alex R Carver has worked in the clerical, warehouse and retail industries over the years, without gaining much satisfaction, and has now quit to become a full-time writer. Where There’s A Will is the first in his Inspector Stone series, with the second book due out in 2017, along with a serial killer thriller, Written In Blood.
You can find out more about his writing on his blog https://arcbookblog.wordpress.com/ including previews of the novels he is working on, short stories and reviews.
Some secrets should remain hidden, exposing them can get you killed. Julian wants a normal life, the only trouble is, he isn't normal. When Adam and Harry come into the petrol station looking for trouble, though, their actions threaten to expose his secret, a secret that would make him a wanted man - wanted by lots of people, for lots of reasons. Now he has to leave behind the life he's been building and start over again, but before he does that, Adam and Harry must pay. This is a novella of approx 8,000 words