30
Jan
20

Vampire 2.0 – System Shutdown

System Shutdown

The female moaned a little, deep in the back of her throat, as his talented fingers found the spot at the small of her back that had been troubling her. Encouraged by the sound, he worked harder, kneading with his fingers, then circling with his knuckles. She was sitting sideways on the couch, her shirt pulled up to her neck, bra strap undone and bare back turned towards him. So far he had been doing well, managing to get no closer than was absolutely necessary to do the deed. His long years had taught him control and discipline, among many other things, and he didn’t intend to relinquish those teachings now. No matter how much she moaned and squirmed, no matter how tantalizing the smell of her sweat was becoming.
They were in one of his apartments in Las Vegas. He always found it most amusing to hunt there, given the liberties that the artists had taken with him over the years and the fact that it was in the center of the worst desert America had to offer. It was well furnished – and why wouldn’t it be? He was wealthy enough to own dozens of mansions if it took his fancy – with furniture that tended towards Old World style. Lots of leather, dark hardwood and silk. The predominant colors were red and purple, and the few visitors to the place often made snide remarks about it – if they were brave – or seemed to be assessing it poorly but silently – if they were not – but both such visitors were few, and were often mollified when he pointed out that the colors were those of royalty and of his family.
The female was nothing special; dozens of them milled in every nightclub and bar along the strip. Just another girl who bleached her hair, bleached her skin, paid far too much to have her nailed trimmed for her and spent far too much on clothes that were ill-fitting. Drawn by the grandeur and possibilities that Vegas represented – or drawn by what lay over the border in California and either rebuffed or sidetracked before they made it – they were invariably starry-eyed and certain the world existed simply to glorify them. This one’s name was Candi. He had known ten or twelve Candis before her. Also a half dozen Brandis, a Mandi or two, and once, god help us, a Cyndi. Why they all insisted on using “I”s instead of a more traditional Y in their name, he didn’t understand. Why he never once tripped over a Tracy or a Kaitlyn or a Melissa he likewise failed to understand. Parents and their naming conventions these days were something that was always going to be a mystery to him.
While he had been mulling all of this over, his fingers had continued to work. He had only been paying peripheral attention when she had half twisted and laid her hand on his leg. Now she was finger-walking up his thigh, smiling – and of course, her teeth were as bleached as the rest of her – and whispering in what she probably thought of as her best seductive voice.
“Maybe I should massage you. Tit…” and at that, she turned fully. She removed his hand from her back and placed it on one silicone breast as it wobbled out from underneath her shirt. “…for tat.”
He allowed himself to appear to stammer – they seemed to enjoy it when they unmanned their prey, never seeming to realize that a real predator was in the room with them – and tried to pull his hand away. He knew she would grab it and place it back, and was not proven wrong. He gave her a slow smile, a slightly nervous smile, all the while focusing on the side of her throat, at the steady beat there, the slight quivering of the vein picking up speed. She moved towards him, licking her lips as her hand finally reached his member and took hold of it with a grip that spoke of deep familiarity.
He leaned over her, the ache in his gums as his teeth revealed themselves there and gone again. She buried her face in the thick dark hair that framed his features, nibbling playfully at his neck as his teeth – nearly three inches long and viciously sharp – descended towards that quickening pulse.
Then all hell broke loose.
His senses were far sharper than any normal man’s. Had he not been so focused on the female, he would have heard the heavy, unfamiliar treat coming up the walk or along the hallway. But he had been occupied and the intruder had reached that far before being noticed. The loud crash of a shotgun, amplified by the tight outer corridor, rippled through the front room. His front door was standing in tatters, several chunks of it drifting lazily through the air. Some of them were on fire, he observed with a brief flicker of fear. Fire was just about the only thing he did fear, and never mind the hacks’ ideas regarding crosses, garlic, and mirrors. The female was gone, having leapt off the couch and into the bathroom, seemingly in a single movement, and her sobbing seemed to serve as a soundtrack to those slowly drifting bits of cinder.
Standing in the doorway was a short, fat little man that the apartment’s owner recognized almost immediately.
“Ah. Van Hamstring,” he spat. “Don’t you know it’s terrible manners to enter in such a way? Why not knock?”
The fat man stepped over the remains of the door, hammering some more of the frame out of his path. His pale face – topped with an unfortunate crop of red, curly hair – sported two flaming spots of hate as he snarled back at his intended victim.
“That’s Van Helsing. Not like I haven’t told you before.”
The vampire smiled, his fangs pulling back into his upper lip as he twisted one hand in the air.
“Ah, but I shudder to think of what your great grandfather would say of the mockery you’ve made of his name. Now, Abraham, he had some manners!”
He shook his finger at Van Helsing in a tsk tsk gesture, then leapt onto the back of the couch, balancing there quite easily.
Van Helsing spat out the mouthful of tobacco he’d been chewing on, staining the thick carpet – Another black mark in his behavioral record, the vampire thought dourly – and scrubbed his mouth with his left hand, clad in a rugged-looking black gauntlet. The right kept hold of the shotgun, keeping it trained on the vampire.
“Oh, really. You’d just bust into a man’s home and shoot him? That’s hardly sporting.”
He inched slightly to the left on the back of the couch. He knew the layout of the room perfectly, and by his judgment his back was now directly facing the eastern picture window. While dawn was coming, it didn’t concern him overmuch; it wouldn’t induce melting like the picture shows seemed to claim, and while launching out a window and falling twenty stories would probably be unpleasant – especially if the sun caught him out before he mended the worst of the damage – it was certainly better than being vaporized by dragon’s breath shotgun rounds. All his attention was on Van Helsing’s trigger finger; the second he saw it begin to twitch, he’d jump.
Van Helsing seemed unimpressed with the balancing act.
“You can stop that right now, you know. You don’t scare me with your little tricks.”
The click in his throat as he swallowed marked the lie for what it was.
The vampire laughed, full-throated and rich as it rolled across the room, a far warmer sound than the shotgun’s rude blaring.
“Ah, my little Van Hamstring. You’re a terrible liar. Perhaps you’re a better shot?”
Whatever Van Helsing might have said next, he choked back, glancing over his shoulder in surprise. The sound of sirens had filled the pre-dawn evening air, and flashes of red and blue were approaching the apartment. The vampire snarled. He’d forgotten the female. She must have alerted the authorities; when the police got calls from this neighborhood, they arrived almost immediately.
“Well, well. So sorry to say goodbye, but…” He took a bow, but before he was able to somersault out the window, Van Helsing’s attention had refocused on the vampire. The little fat man squeezed the triggers of the Mossberg, and twin jets of flame belched out of the barrels towards the vampire.
The vampire had a brief moment where everything seemed to pause before the force of the slugs struck him in the chest, shredding the expensive silk vest he had been wearing and demolishing the marble flesh beneath. The impact finished the leap he had started, sending him flying out the window just as the sun crested the horizon.
Pain struck him then, pain unlike anything he had felt in nearly six hundred years. Mortal pain, the pain humans felt. He tried to scream, but his lungs were gone, so much ash and vapor probably still trapped in the apartment above. He turned his head, eyes seeking the sun, the hateful sun that couldn’t have waited just five more minutes to arrive, but he saw only blackness. In the moment that he had before that darkness bore down on him, he registered that it was the tire of a police cruiser, moving much too quickly to stop, and then his world was only blackness.

 

(The story continues here…)


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