A vampire short

Yes, I finally caved and wrote a vampire story.

I’d been successfully steering clear of the creatures since the Twilight series but I needed to write one more short story for my Intermediate Fiction Writing class. And I couldn’t seem to come up with anything else. Like with my mermaid short, I gave the vampires in this story my own unique twist. I’m sure I could’ve kept going and expanded this little world I created, but I’m satisfied with the way I ended the story. Hope you like it! I’m calling it: To Kill a Vampire.

 


 

Allen was not the kind of man who scared easily.

Having been a detective for the Los Angeles Police Department for almost fifteen years, he’d seen pretty much every grisly thing imaginable. Because of this, he’d developed an attitude of indifferent detachment, burying emotion down deep so that it wouldn’t get in the way of his investigations. Many on the force and the media had nicknamed him ‘Robocop’ because of this, but Allen didn’t care what they thought. Appearing to be cold or uncaring or insensitive was a small price to pay for justice.

The job got done swiftly and efficiently. The cases were always closed. Then Allen would go home to his wife, Elsa, and his ten-year-old daughter, Bethany, and become human again. In this manner, he lived in two separate worlds, was two separate people. The members of the LAPD had never seen Allen Hayes, loving husband and doting father. Likewise his wife and daughter had never experienced Detective Allen Hayes, Robocop.

The night a vampire broke into his house and snatched Bethany was the first time both of Allen’s worlds collided.

 

It was their anniversary. Allen had taken his wife out to the most expensive restaurant he’d been able to afford. Elsa’s pale blond hair was twisted into an intricate bun, exposing teardrop pearl earrings and a matching necklace. With blood red lips and a red satin dress, she was ravishing. Allen himself had bought a three piece suit for the occasion, had shaved his beard and sleeked his dark hair back. They were enjoying an evening of reminiscing, with good food and even greater wine, when Allen got the phone call.

He wiped his mouth with the cloth napkin and then reached into his suit jacket pocket.

Elsa’s smile wavered when she saw him pull out his phone. “Oh, honey. Ignore it. Please?”

“It’s Beth,” Allen said after checking the caller ID. He put the phone to his ear. “Hi, sweetheart.”

“Daddy,” Bethany sobbed. Her voice sent a jolt of terror through him. “I think there’s someone in the house.”

“Are you sure? Where’s Leilani?” Just a scream then. And the sound of the phone being jostled. “Beth? Can you hear me?”

“What is it?” Elsa asked, eyes dark with worry.  “Allen?”

He lifted a hand to silence her. His heart pumped hard.

“The babysitter is dead. But your daughter doesn’t have to meet the same fate.” That voice sounded like the hissing of water being poured into a hot pot. It woke up the Robocop in Allen.

“Who is this?” he deadpanned.

“Who I am is irrelevant. All that matters right now is that I have your daughter. And I won’t be giving her back until you give me any evidence you’ve collected against Fria McKellan.”

The name struck a chord. Allen had been assigned a new missing person’s case the other day, a fifteen-year-old girl who had seemingly vanished from her room one night three weeks ago. A note left behind said the girl had run away with a boyfriend – but her parents had immediately pointed the finger at Fria, their daughter’s new best friend and, according to them, a bad influence.

“We have no evidence against Ms. McKellan,” Allen told the stranger on the phone. “She was barely a person of interest. I didn’t even get the chance to interrogate her.” He paused. “Let my daughter go.”

Elsa clapped a hand over her mouth.

Allen reached across the table to squeeze her fingers.

“You will deliver any and all information you’ve gathered on Fria to the park on East 51st Street,” the slithering voice said. “I think it goes without saying that contacting your friends at the LAPD would be highly inadvisable. You have three hours. Every moment you delay, your daughter will make a very generous blood donation.”

Then the line went dead.

 

Once back home, Allen let the Robocop in him take the lead. His first order of business was getting Elsa to safety. It took some convincing, but he eventually managed to herd her into a taxi that would take her to a friend’s house.

“I’ll call you once this is through,” he promised through the partially rolled-down window.

“I should be with you,” his wife said with a sniffle. “I should be there when Bethany comes home.”

“I won’t be able to focus on getting her home unless I know you’re safe.” Allen touched her cheek with the tips of his fingers. “I’ll get her back, Elsa. I promise.”

They shared a quick kiss, then the taxi sped away.

Second on his list: Collect intel.

Allen walked the length of the house, shrewd eyes taking in every detail. This wasn’t his home now – it was a crime scene. The broken lock on the front door meant the kidnapper had forced his way in. The reality TV show still playing on the screen suggested the babysitter had left the couch in a hurry to see what was happening at the doorway. The picture frames hanging lopsidedly on the walls, the overturned table, the broken vase and scattered flowers in the foyer told Allen that Leilani had put up a fight. She lay on the tile before the downstairs bathroom.

It had been a quick death. Her neck had been snapped, her body tossed aside before the kidnapper had walked over her to the second story. Allen used two fingers to close Leilani’s eyes before he jogged up the stairs. He’d alert the girl’s parents after this was all over. He’d help pay for her funeral arrangements. Leilani had been a good kid.

There were no traces of dirt or shoe imprints on the carpeted stairs that Allen could see. The door to Bethany’s room was ajar. He nudged it aside and stepped in. Shoes and stuffed animals dotted the floor, kicked out of the way during the struggle. The empty circle in the room told Allen where the kidnapper had stood while he’d wrestled Bethany into submission.

The bright pink comforter had been yanked away; Bethany must have been hiding underneath when she’d made the call. Her cell phone lay abandoned by the pillow. Allen used one of his daughter’s discarded shirts to lift the phone, then hurried out of the room to his study further down the hall. He carefully placed the phone on his desk. Next, he took the decorative painting away from the wall and extracted the small camera hidden in the frame.

Once back in his study, he hooked up the camera to his laptop and got to work downloading the video file. Allen dusted the cell phone’s case for prints while the loading bar slowly filled on his computer screen. He frowned when the dark powder revealed only the small fingerprints of his daughter. Allen nudged the phone aside and pulled the laptop closer to him, hoping the camera would provide more answers.

The video box opened up on the screen, depicting a wide shot of the hallway with the stairs at the far end. Allen watched the numbers on the bottom right corner of the screen (date and time) as he hit the fast-forward button. He, Elsa, and Bethany moved at blurring speeds, walking up the stairs, down the stairs, across the hall, into each other’s bedrooms, into the bathroom over the last few days.

Finally he caught up with tonight’s feed. He hit play and leaned back in his chair to watch. Bethany came up the stairs and stretched her arms above her head, her blond hair swept away from one shoulder in a side braid. She yawned widely and let her arms fall back down to her sides.

Allen watched her go into her bedroom and come out a few minutes later, dressed in her purple monkey pajamas. She meandered into the bathroom, no doubt to brush her teeth, before going back into her room and shutting the door. The light under the door flickered off. The empty hallway was left in semi-darkness, and stayed that way for ten minutes. Leilani came up briefly to check on Beth before retreating back down the stairs.

Suddenly, the door to her room burst open from the outside, as if someone had kicked it down.

Allen rewound that segment. He leaned forward until his nose was almost touching the computer screen. The hallway was most definitely empty. A moment later, Bethany came floating out of the room, bound and gagged. She appeared to be unconscious. Down the stairs she went until she eventually drifted out of sight. Allen rewound the video and played it again and again. He stared at the footage until his eyes began to water.

But the images were always the same.

What in the world was going on?

A squeak on the stairs had Allen reaching for the Glock he kept taped under his desk. He spun around, handgun raised. A woman in dark clothes and heavy boots stood in the hallway with a crossbow.

They locked eyes. The woman froze.

“What are you doing in my house?” Allen asked calmly, pulse thundering away in his throat.

“My name is Clara,” the woman said, crossbow still aimed at his chest. “I’ve been tracking a group of freaks who call themselves the Brotherhood of the Bloodless. One of their members led me here.”

Allen took a step forward, gripping the Glock until his knuckles hurt. “Did you see him take my daughter?”

Clara’s intense blue eyes seemed to soften. She finally lowered her weapon. “No. I didn’t. I’m sorry.”

“What can you tell me about them?”

Clara tapped her fingers against the foregrip of her crossbow. “How much do you know about vampires?”

“They live forever. They drink blood. They can’t go out into the sunlight. They sleep in coffins,” Allen said. “What does this have anything to do with—?”

“They also don’t have reflections, can’t swear by God’s name, and are twice as fast and strong as the average human,” Clara interrupted. “They can only be killed by decapitation, fire, or a wooden stake through the heart.” She gestured with the crossbow and pointed to the wooden bolt it held.

Allen slowly lowered his Glock. “You’re joking.”

“The man that came for your daughter didn’t leave any prints behind, did he?” Clara asked as her eyes swept the hallway.

“No. He didn’t.”

“That’s because he’s practically a shade, an echo of the man he once was. A vampire lives forever, yes, but he does change as the years pass him by.” She peeked inside the bathroom. “He weighs less, his fingertips become smooth, he starts thinking more like a predator and less like a human with a soul.” Clara inched the door open to Bethany’s room with the toe of her boot and glanced inside. “The oldest vampires feel nothing at all, only thirst. They pass through this world like ghosts.”

Even though her words explained a lot, Allen couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. “You realize how crazy you sound?”

Clara laughed, a mirthless sound in the otherwise quiet house. “I guess I do sound like a crazy person.”

Allen raised an eyebrow at her. He’d encountered crazy people before; the kind that ranted and foamed at the mouth, and the kind who seemed perfectly normal until something specific set them off.

He proceeded with caution. “Does the name Fria McKellan mean anything to you?”

“She’s the coven leader’s daughter,” Clara replied without missing a beat. “She may only look like a teenager but she’s over a hundred years old. She lures innocents into joining the coven with the promise of immortality.”

That was the final piece of the puzzle. Suddenly, it all made sense.

Allen sighed and holstered his weapon. “The parents of Fria’s most recent victim filed a missing person’s report and named her as a suspect. I was told to be at a park on 51st Street in three hours to trade my daughter for any evidence I might have against Fria.”

“You go there and they’ll kill you,” Clara said, taking a step forward. “You’re a cop who knows what Fria’s up to. They can’t afford to let you live.”

“I’m not handing over any evidence. But I am going to get my daughter.” He paused. “I’d appreciate your help.”

Clara nodded. “I’ll do what I can.”

“Thank you.” Allen shut off his laptop and was about to leave the study, but paused. “You said you’d been tracking them for years? How did you find out about them?”

“The coven’s leader, Damon, bit my sister and claimed her as one of his wives,” Clara said, anger lighting up her eyes. “She’s barely twenty-one.”

Allen’s stomach turned. “What will you do once you find her?”

She averted her gaze, jaw working. “What I must,” she said at last.

 

Allen walked the length of the park on 51st Street, eyes peeled for a pale face or a suspicious figure in the dark. He knew Clara was watching from a distance but he saw no indications of being followed. He gripped the file folder full of fake police reports in one hand and ran a hand through his hair with the other. The empty swings swayed in the cold breeze. The jungle gym’s colorful pipes, slides, and rock-climbing wall seemed terribly out of place in the dark.

He was too exposed here. The Robocop in him was on high alert. Despite the thin wooden stake Clara had given him, hidden in the inside pocket of his jacket, and the Glock holstered at his side, he felt vulnerable.

“That’s close enough, Detective Hayes.”

Allen glanced around. He was sure the hissing voice had come from the cluster of trees to his right.

A pale man emerged from the greenery a moment later, bright red hair pulled into a ponytail. He was dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. He walked with a swagger. A seemingly permanent smirk tugged at his mouth and his dark eyes danced.

Allen hated him immediately.

“I’m at a disadvantage,” Allen said coldly. “You know me but I don’t know you.”

“The name’s Clayton,” said the vampire. “That’s all you need to know.”

“Where’s my daughter – Clayton?”

Clayton nodded at the jungle gym behind Allen. Allen backed up slightly so that he could keep an eye on the vampire while checking the gym. Bethany now stood beneath the rock climbing wall, bound and gagged. Her hair was disheveled. Her big blue eyes were red-rimmed from crying. There was a tear in her shoulder, which decapitated one of the purple monkeys on her pajama top.

Rage made Allen’s scalp tingle. He wanted to hurt the second vampire who stood behind Beth, gripping her by the elbow. He wanted to unload a whole clip of bullets into that man’s chest. It wouldn’t do any good, but Allen would feel better.

Instead, Allen calmed himself. He turned back to the red-headed vampire and lifted the file. “I brought what you wanted. Now let her go.”

“Hand over the file first,” Clayton said.

Allen held the folder out and then dropped it onto the ground. “Come and get it.” Then he backed away, toward his daughter.

Clayton prowled forward.

They stayed the same space apart, both moving slowly, Allen closer toward Beth, Clayton closer to the police papers rustling on the ground. Allen was a few steps away from Bethany when a wooden crossbow bolt flew through her captor’s neck. His head was severed cleanly from his shoulders and flew to the side as his body dropped to the ground. Beth let out a scream and ducked. Clayton was on Allen in a second, grabbing a fistful of Allen’s shirt, spinning him around. The hand that gripped Allen’s throat was cold and immovable. Still Allen clawed at it with one hand while whipping his Glock out with the other. He fired three rounds into Clayton’s side – but the vampire barely flinched.

Clayton grinned widely, exposing enlarged fangs.

Two more wooden bolts flew out from the darkness. One bolt sunk into one of the vampire’s calves. Then the other. Clayton glanced over his shoulder and growled. Allen was losing oxygen fast. He dropped his gun and dug a hand into this inner jacket pocket. His fingers wrapped around the thin stake hidden there. Clayton turned back to Allen to get leverage. But then Allen thrust the stake through the vampire’s heart. An almost comical look of surprise took over the once confident face of the vampire. The hand gripping Allen’s neck finally fell away. Allen yanked the stake out and bent over. He took large gulps of air. The vampire lay motionless at his feet.

There wasn’t any blood on the ground or the stake.

Soft whimpering drew Allen’s eyes to his daughter. He tossed the thin wooden stylus aside and hurried over to crouch beside her. “Are you all right, Beth?” He took her by the shoulders and carefully angled her away from the bodies. He tugged the gag out of her mouth.

“Daddy,” she sobbed. “Those men…they…”

“They’re dead, sweetheart,” Allen murmured, untying the rope around her wrists. “They’re not going to hurt you ever again.”

The moment her hands were free, Bethany threw her arms around her father and cried into his shoulder. Allen held her close, stroked her back, murmured reassurances, blinked back tears of his own.

Beth was safe. She was whole.

When Clara came walking around the jungle gym and met his eyes, he nodded in thanks.

“You’re welcome,” she mouthed.

“Wait,” he said when it looked like Clara was going to walk away. “I’ll be right back,” he murmured to Beth as he stood. He left his daughter kneeling in the grass and approached this woman he hardly knew, this woman he owed so much.

“If you’re going after Damon, I’m coming with you.”

“I’d appreciate your help,” Clara asked with a grin.

Allen found himself matching smile. “I’ll do what I can.”

Adulting

The baby shower was going to start in twenty minutes and I didn’t have anything to wrap my present with. I had some tape, a bow, a lot of colored tissue paper, and a plethora of “Merry Christmas” gift bags, and that was pretty much it. I’d just been to the grocery store that morning and had remembered to snatch a card, but somehow I’d forgotten to get a gift bag. Fortunately, my sister-in-law (who was driving us both to this event) graciously offered to stop by the 99 cent store on the corner. I hopped out of the car, ran in, snatched the biggest baby gift bag I could find, and zipped into the check out line. Once outside, I stood at the curb and waited for my sister-in-law to come around the parking lot. I hurried up to her car when she was near enough, tucking a stray curl behind my ear.

That’s when I caught my reflection in the passenger’s side window.

I don’t see myself as an adult. I may be twenty-two years old but, physically, I’ve looked exactly the same since I was fifteen. I’ve had my own car, my own apartment, my own bills, and my own job ever since I was nineteen. I’ll be celebrating two years of marriage this May. I live in a four bedroom, two bathroom rental house with a husband, a very old, very fat tabby cat, and a hyperactive miniature Australian shepherd who can’t produce tears. (We still don’t know why. She was very sick with an unknown illness for the first six months of her life and we’re thinking all the different medications we had to give her might have damaged her tear-ducts somehow, but we can’t prove that. We should really get her to a dog eye specialist but we don’t have that kind of money, so we have to resort to giving her eye drops three to four times a day. Yes, we love this dog.) I plan meals and manage finances while balancing 30 hours a week at the office and 9 credit hours per semester.

I have goals for the future which involve finishing school, becoming a published, well-known author, and helping my husband the police officer raise our four kids. It all sounds very adultly, right? And yet, I still see myself as that fifteen-year-old girl who thought Twilight was the greatest love story ever told and didn’t know anything about the real world.

So when I looked into that car window and saw a young lady, all dolled up and ready to attend a baby shower, I blinked in surprise. Because, for a second there, I actually looked like an adult.

My husband believes we never really grow up. We might physically change and become more responsible as life demands, but that little kid lives on inside of us. Sometimes its voice is loud and its influence is strong, while at other times we can suppress it more successfully. With all the “adulting” memes out there, I think he might be right. I find that I feel the youngest when I’m geeking out about Star Wars or when I’m daydreaming about The Magical World of Harry Potter theme park or when I’m listening to the kind of emo music I used to listen to as a teenager or when I visit my old haunts in Mexico. That little kid inside me sure loves to throw a fit when the alarm goes off at 7 a.m. But then there’s the voice of reason, the voice of the Adult, reminding me of all the things I have to get done and how much work will pile up if I listen to the Kid and simply pull the covers over my head.

If I take a good look at the choices I’ve made throughout my life, I can honestly say that I’ve listened to the Adult more often than I’ve listened to the Kid. My husband often has to tell me when it’s time to relax or take a break or set the schedule aside and just hang out. Indulge the Kid. So why don’t I feel like an Adult more often?

Good question…

I think it’s because of the conviction that I don’t know anything. All right, that’s not entirely true. I’ve been in college for three years and have worked for three different establishments, and have read more books than I can count. After all that, I should know something, but every day I encounter new things. Every day it seems I come across an article, a person, a conversation heard in passing, or an event that reminds me of just how much I still have to learn about life, love, politics, insurance, government, taxes, credit, education, literature, creative writing, finance, morality, the Bible, my family members and friends, even my husband. There are still topics I don’t understand. There’s still stuff in this world that I haven’t discovered yet. It leaves me feeling like a child who’s still figuring it all out.

Sometimes I have to wonder: will I ever feel like an adult? Will I ever feel like I’ve got this life thing figured out? A part of me would like to have the answers to everything. It might make life simpler. But another part of me hopes that I won’t ever reach that point. Because what is someone supposed to do after they’ve discovered everything there is to know? Maybe that’s why it’s so important the keep that little kid around. After all, without it’s sense of wonder, humility, and discovery, how are we supposed to grow?