by R. E. Bearlee
5:::Killer On The Loose…
Violet stepped out of the bathroom wearing a black pencil skirt with matching fishnets. She wore black flats with silver buckles on them. Her shit was was fishnet with a black haltertop underneath. She wore no earrings or necklaces, no bracelets or rings. She had flat ironed her black curls into a a straight shadow that flowed past her shoulders. Her hair hung around her head and neck; covering her forehead and ears. Tom smiled as he saw her and then looked down at his simple black jeans, boots and collared long sleeved shirt and felt a bit underdressed. Together they looked very different from the white and tan hotel room around them.
“Galba wants to meet up at Disco 9000 later.” He said it slowly as Violet disappeared into the closet to find her leather jacket. Tom looked out the window at the fresh night and realized it had rained at some point in the day he slept through. Puddles in the street reflected the electric lights of the city.
“Hm ok. You haven’t seen them in a while right?” She said loudly while she still in the closet.
“No. Been over a week.” Tom had gotten the text message in the early afternoon; he had just responded half an hour ago and felt weird about it. It was as if he had texted him in the middle of the night and he had just gotten up in the morning to find it. He was on a different schedule now.
“You thirsty?” Violet reappeared with her jacket on. She fumbled with her large purse as she waited for Tom’s response.
“Yes. Are you?” The thought of drinking living blood made Tom lick his lips unconsciously. Violet noticed and gave him a knowing smile.
“Of course. We’ll drink on the way there. It’s only what like 8 or 9?”
“8:20. Plenty of time.”
Galba muttered to himself as he paced the sidewalk in front of Disco 9000. Tom said he would be here with Violet and Galba knew that was the moment to act. He was pacing because he didn’t want to make trouble in one of his favorite clubs. He didn’t want to be disemboweled by vampires either. He didn’t know what to do. He had been following his gut and now his bowels were empty.
“Come on Rufus.” Hella tapped him on the shoulder while Horace and Sabrina looked at him expectantly.
“Ok.” He muttered as they all walked forward.
Galba, Helena, Horace and Sabrina showed their Ids to the bouncer and walked into the dim front hallway of Disco 9000. Galba fiddled with his jacket; the wooden stakes he stashed up his sleeves threw him off a little. Hella had a bigger purse than usual that also had stakes in it. Horace and Sabrina had nifty jackets and holsters to discreetly hide their gear. They were professionals after all. Galba was glad they weren’t searched thoroughly because they were regulars.
The club throbbed and rattled as the automated lights flashed red, white and blue. Tom scanned the dancefloor as he swayed to the music beside Violet. Half of the people were in their own worlds, dancing with themselves with their eyes closed and arms outstretched. The others were milling about on the fringes chatting and drinking. Tom noticed the few guys off to the edges in dark suits just standing there. They all had shades on. Guys in dark suits in a dark club with shades on facing the dancefloor standing like statues. Tom knew they weren’t security because security was livelier than they were.
He wondered if he could take all 4 of Conrad’s guys. He looked over at Violet’s face and among the flashing lights he saw a mask of calm that made him smile. He felt they were together in this. The people around them were dancing while Tom, Violet and the 4 men in dark suits stood still as predators and prey during the hunt.
Tom leaned in close to Violet and whispered:
“See those guys out there just standing? Are they Conrad’s goons?”
He didn’t want to tip them off by pointing. While they danced Violet casually moved her head all around to the beat and did a quick twirl to look behind her. She then leaned in to Tom to whisper:
“Yeah that’s them. 4 of them all around.”
Tom remembered his last encounter with just one. Then he remembered he was a vampire now too.
“We’re gonna fight them.” Tom whispered to Violet without looking at her.
“We’ll have to finish it somewhere else. Hit em hard and then make a run for it. It pisses me off. I’m always running from these bastards.” Violet muttered with grit teeth; her eyes slowly observing.
“You won’t have to keep running after this.”
“Look at you. So confident.” The song faded out and a faster bass heavy one replaced it. The crwod cheered and danced harder. The 4 men stepped forward in unison and Tom dashed to the left. Two closed in on him and Tom punched one square in the jaw as he was about to say something. Tom heard a grunt as he ducked under a right hook from the other guy. He kicked the first guy in the stomach as he was reaching for him and then felt the sudden hot pain in his face from a fist. Before he could rear his fist back two more blows caught him in the chest that knocked the air out of his lungs. People were screaming now; quickly stumbling away and around him as the music continued to crash and the strobe lights continued to flash. Tom jumped back and without thinking did a roundhouse kick that knocked the two guys and an unfortunate girl to the floor. He looked over at Violet in time to see her knock down one of Conrad’s guys but the other one was coming up behind her. Tom rushed over to her but before he got ther Violet had grabbed the guy from behind and flipped him over her shoulder into the crowd. At least 10 people fell over like bowling pins. Tom grabbed Violet’s hand and ran for the back exit. He looked around him at the people looking confused, excited and oblivious. A lot had held their phones in front them recording. Security was pushing people aside to get to him. Conrad’s guys were even closer; only several feet behind Violet and himself. He ran with Violet’s hand in his; surprised at how fast he was and how well he had fought. The back exit was down a long hallway near the bathrooms and they ran toward it without looking behind them.
“They’re going out the back door.” Horace mentioned to Galba as they stood next to the bar, he gestured to the others and they followed behind the 4 men in dark suits also going in that direction.
“You took karate didn’t you?” Violet asked in between breathing hard.
“Yeah. As a kid. Mostly middle school and some of high school. ”
“Well you’re on the stick.”
They pushed through the doors and darted across the street. They ran through the shadows; Tom’s eyes drifting around the alleys and sidestreets. He knew he hadn’t lost any of them. Violet was glad she had turned Tom by then. Now he could keep up when she ran at top speed. They could put up more of a fight against them. Yes it was better this way.
Galba and Horace were running as fast as they could; with arms pumping and open mouths sucking in air. Hella and Sabrina were a few feet behind them as they dashed down the empty cold sidewalk and darted into alleys behind long dead businesses. The group was lagging behind the men in dark suits chasing Tom and Violet; getting further behind them from moment to moment. In Galba’s vision their backs grew smaller as they easily jumped over dumpsters the rest had to be careful to avoid.
“Damn! They’re so fast!” Galba huffed as he splashed through a puddle.
“They’re vampires. They’re stronger. Faster than us.” Horace blurted in between gulping air.
Galba tried to run faster but he didn’t want to collapse. His body burned with exertion as he dreaded catching up to them. He looked further ahead to see the small forms of Tom and Violet running among the shadows with a speed that didn’t match their elegant movements. Tom was running as fast as the vampires. Chills ran through his limbs as Galba wondered how that could be. Here Galba was running as fast as he could; arms pumping and legs winding. His clothes rattled and he gasped for air in quick, short bursts. A moment later he swallowed hard and decided not to think about anything but running faster. The working streetlights were harder to come by as instinct kept the gang running.
Tom came out of an alley to face an empty street surrounded by fenced in overgrown grass. There were only a couple buildings on the street. One had burned up years ago; with a gutted roof and blackened bricks. The other was boarded up on the opposite side and looked like it would be next. A streetlight cast a flickering orange glow above him and Tom stopped running. Violet turned around with a look of listening confusion.
“We’ll make our stand here huh?” She shrugged; glad for the approaching fight. The men in dark suits, Conrad Hegira’s toadies would be upon them in a handful of seconds.
“Some other people are behind them. Your sister, Galba and two others.”
“What are they doing here?” Tom realized then how long it had been since he had spoken to his sister or best friend. Long enough for them to be worried about him. Long enough for them to come looking for him.
“They don’t know what has happened.” Tom muttered in a low tone with eyes focused on the approaching opponents.
“Well they’re gonna learn tonight! Square up here they come.”
The 4 men with their dark suits and glasses slowed to a confident stroll as they approached Tom and Violet. One was smiling as he cracked his knuckles. Tom couldn’t tell which 2 he had fought earlier; they looked the same with their porcelain skin and short dark hair.
“Violet you should know better.” One of them muttered with disdain.
“I’m Rob. That’s Jesse. Over there’s Alex and then Evan. We were told to collect you by force if neccessary.” They each slowly nodded and smiled when their name was called.
“That’s too bad for you. You guys may be his puppets but I’m not.”
“Yes you are.”
“You know I haven’t seen any of you before. You guys new?”
“No we’re not. We’ve been vampires for 5 years now.”
“Yeah that’s new.”
“Get her!” One of them shouted and lunged for Violet. Tom jumped in between them and kicked the guy in the head. Alex fell back with a grunt and Evan appeared from the side. Tom reared back his fist but before he could throw the punch he took a blow to the chest and a slap across the face that knocked him to his knees. His chest burned and his face stung as he looked over at Violet being encircled.
Violet punched Evan in the stomach and sidestepped to miss a fist by Jesse as Tom got on his feet and ran toward her. Before Tom could get there Violet was struck with a hard right hook that made her stagger. She cursed as she jumped back closer to Tom. She gave him a quick wink and then rushed forward. When she met the one that struck her she ducked low to avoid Jesse’s clumsy overhead punch and shoved her fist into the center of his chest. Jesse suddenly froze with a gaping mouth and outstreched arms. Violet jumped away and Tom saw the dull metal stake where she had struck. The guy fell over with a dead thud. The other three looked over at their partner as Tom dove and rolled toward Violet.
Keeping her eyes on her opponents Violet opened her purse and passed Tom a metal stake and took one for herself. Tom looked down at the smoother metal cylinder. It looked like a sharp dildo.
“That’s all I got.” She whispered. The three men in dark suits slowly approached as Tom heard several footsteps behind him but didn’t look.
“Hey! What the hell Tom?!” Hella ran right up to both of them followed by the rest of the gang.
“Violet what have you got him mixed up in?!” Galba sounded indignant.
“Shut up. This is dangerous. You guys shouldn’t be here.” Tom muttered after a brief glance their way. The men stood still, smiling and staring. Rob folded his arms and licked his lips in anticipation.
“They’re vampires. We get it. We’re ready for them.” Galba pulled a wooden stake from his jacket sleeve.
“We hired Ace and Rina because we’re new to the paranormal shit. They’re specialists.” Hella said quickly as she her eyes darted between the couple and the silent men in dark suits.
“Oh really.” Violet rolled her eyes. The rest of the gang took off jackets and pulled out stakes.
“Listen we’re a bit busy. You guys should really get out of here.” Tom said hurriedly.
“No way. Haven’t had a fight in a while.” Galba responded as soon as Tom finished.
“This isn’t some-”
“You have humans for backup? That is hilarious.” Rob laughed after saying it. A cold chuckle tumbled from his mouth as she stood still.
“We were getting thirsty.” Alex responded.
“We gotta kill these fucks. They’re trying to take Violet.” Tom mumbled to Galba as the smiling vampires began to stroll forward. 6 against 3 are good odds right?
Tom threw a punch but only hit air and as he whirled around off balance he felt the knee to his stomach. The sickening throb that echoed through the rest of his body dropped him to the dark pavement. From there he saw Violet fighting with 3 of Conrad’s guys; her movements fast and unfocused like a cornered animal. Off to the side he saw Evan break off and head toward Galba, Hella and the 2 people he didn’t know. A flash of panic gripped Tom and pulled him to his feet. Galba and the others were too slow; the vampire laughed as he effortlessly dodged their attacks. A punch Galba couldn’t see knocked him to the ground. A backhanded slap left Hella crumbled on the curb. Tom ran toward them as the vampire moved toward Sabrina and took her off of her feet in a tight embrace.
“No…” Tom muttered as Evan turned his open mouth toward Sabrina’s neck. The others saw Sabrina jerk; it distracted them enough to take more blows. The drink wasn’t long; Tom crashed into Evan and knocked him away just as he had gotten started. Tom took advantage of his opponent’s disorientation and attacked blindly, punching wild with both fists. The creaure in the dark suit eventually recovered after a few seconds and caught Tom’s fists in his hands; laughing as a trickle of blood ran down the corner of his mouth.
“Are you trying to protect them? We’re toying with them you know. You’d better worry about yourself.” Evan’s smile was big and his eyes flashed with confidence as he firmly held Tom’s fists in his hands against Tom’s struggling and grunting.
Suddenly the vampire gasped and froze. Tom felt the grip on his fists suddenly slacken and sprang back to watch his opponent fall to his knees. Tom saw Horace tense and focused in front of him and behind the kneeling creature. The vampire struggled to pull the stake from the center of his back for a few moments before going limp and falling over. Tom stared down at his still form with the face in the street and a wooden stake sticking out.
“You’re one of them now aren’t you?!” Horace had hurt in his voice and anger in his eyes as he looked at Tom.
“Who are you?” Was all Tom could managed before he ran off to support Violet who was fighting the last 2 of Conrad’s guys.
Tom tackled Alex while Violet ducked low and drove a metal stake into his chest as soon as Tom got off of him. She wasn’t fast enough; Alex knocked it away and Tom whirled around to catch an uppercut that knocked him off of his feet and Violet received a kick to the stomach that made her stagger. She bent over, holding her abdomen and scanning her surroundings. There were 2 of Conrad’s henchmen left; one was fighting 3 of Tom’s friends and the other was coming straight for her. In her peripheral she observed Tom rushing to be beside her. Off in a corner she noticed a woman laying face down in a heap.
Violet saw that she was still moving and breathing. She was gasping and squirming on the damp cemet. She saw the 3 humans struggling to land blows on the vampire and felt a pang of pity. She shook her head as if to scatter her thoughts and stood up. She looked over at Tom standing right beside her now. He had hard eyes in a boxing stance facing the approaching enemy. A feeling of relief rose in her but she chose not to savor it as she refocused on her opponent.
They stepped aside to avoid his wild swing similtaneously; Tom kneed Rob in the stomach and Violet’s uppercut connected perfectly with the ghoul’s chin. From there they pounced; furiously fighting without thinking. Absorbing blows and striking back before the pain could register. Violet was smiling and Tom was grimacing. Slowly they were wearing their opponent down; smashing his glasses and ripping his suit into tatters. His attacks were becoming sloppier and more desperate.
A right hook dropped Violet to her knees. Tom pulled the metal stake from his belt loop and plunged it into the chest of the offender. Rob fell over without a sound. Tom looked over at Violet and she winked at him. Then they both looked over at the last henchman knocking around 3 people who kept coming back for more. Tom knelt over the body and pulled the stake out; staring down at the open eyes and snarling mouth he wondering why he didn’t feel remorse like he thought he would. He pushed the thoughts out of his mind and stood up. Violet was already helping his friends and he ran to join them.
He got there just as the last one was staked by a bloody Horace. Rob flopped into a puddle and Horace let himself tumble to the ground a second later. Tom looked at all of them and they stared at him. Hella and Galba had torn clothes, bloody noses and scratches all over. They were panting and staggered in place. Violet casually walked over to where she had discarded her purse several feet away.
“We gotta…chop their heads off…” Horace muttered as his head drooped.
“You guys alright?” Tom felt his strength emptied; his thirst grew as he stared at their battered and exhausted faces. The blood smeared on their cheeks gave Tom a feeling he didn’t want to acknowledge.
“Yeah. You?” Hella muttered.
“This is Horace…he helped us with all this vampire shit. Sabrina is over…oh shit!” Galba abruptly turned and hobbled toward the crumpled body across the street. Horace looked over; cursed and them limped off of the ground to see about her as well.
“She’s still alive.” Violet muttered as she lit a cigarette while walking back to Tom and Hella.
“How the fuck do you know?” Hella blinked slowly as she spoke in a weak voice.
“I can see her breathing. You’d better get her to a hospital. You all should get checked out.” She turned toward Tom and gave him a look that indicated it was time to go. Tom nodded slowly.
“Tom where are you going? With her? What the fuck?” Hella’s voice was dull and her arms dangled at her sides but the outrage still burned.
“We gotta go. I’ll catch up with you guys later. Go to the hospital Hella.” Tom was stern as he turned to walk away.
“She caused all this shit! You’re just gonna leave us?! Asshole!” Hella yelled in a slow rasp.
Galba looked over at Tom and Violet briskly walking away and blinked in confusion. They didn’t seem very injured; in fact there was a spring in Tom’s step. Anger welled inside as Galba watched them clasp hands. The shadows folded over them as if all that had happened was a minor inconvienence. He looked down at Sabrina barely conscious, he looked over at Horace crying silently as he tried to stop the bleeding. He looked down at his ripped clothes and bloody throbbing body. He stared at his red hands and couldn’t believe it. So he stood up; pulled a wooden stake from his jacket sleeve and started jogging towards Tom and Violet with grit teeth.
The thirst was distracting to both Tom and Violet; it urged them to move faster and dart their eyes from corner to corner to find prey. They had to get away from the others before they became victims of blind need. The fight had required a great deal of energy; lost energy that demanded to be replaced. They took long strides as they seemed to glide across the pavement.
“I swear the next person we run into…I don’t care who it is.” Tom said quickly. Violet smiled and nodded.
“That was fun though wasn’t it? You were great back there.”
“Thanks. Didn’t know I had it in me.” Tom’s eyes darted around in a frantic search as he spoke. The thirst pounded in his ears he briskly walked hand in hand with Violet. The memory of fresh blood filling his veins, the feeling of strengh and calm spreading through his drained body. He could barely think of anything else.
“Tonight we get our fill. Tomorrow I’m checking out of the hotel. Time to hit the road. Are you coming with me?” Violet was also speaking quickly and looking everywhere but at Tom.
“Yes.” Tom answered without pause.
“Let’s go near the casinos. It’s our last night here anyway who cares if someone sees us. I want a juicy degenerate gambler for an appetizer.”
“Hell yeah. I want a-” As Tom glanced behind him he saw Galba running toward them. He saw the grim face he had on and the stake raised to strike in his right hand.
“Fucking bitch!” Galba screamed. His muscles groaned as he lunged for Violet as Tom rushed at him.
The raw crunch of torn flesh and bone was heard as the wooden stake struck Tom’s chest and they both froze. Galba’s face instantly changed to wild confusion as Tom’s eyes rolled.
“No!” Violet turned and backhanded Galba away without thinking. Tom fell limply backward as Violet pounced on the falling Galba and grabbed him by his shoulders. She said nothing as she bit into his neck; drinking while Galba quivered and grunted. She felt his warm blood fill her and restore her. She swallowed mouthfuls before she ever stopped for breath. Galba’s eyes were frozen and wide as he felt his strength and life being pulled out of him.
In a moment it was over. Violet released her grip and turned to run. She was down an alley before Galba flopped to the ground. She ran her fastest with tears flowing behind her that no one could see.
Galba rolled over on his belly and barely registered the echo of her rapid footsteps fading away. With blurry eyes and a spinning head he dragged himself to the still form a few feet away from him. His heart pounded as attempted to stand and fell over again.
“Tom? I didn’t mean to hit you…that bitch…” Galba muttered weakly as he struggled to see if Tom was still breathing. Blood ran thick from his mouth and chest as he took in slow breaths on his back. The wooden stake was still in his chest and he lay in a puddle. It didn’t look real to Galba.
“You sick fuck.” Tom gasped.
Galba felt the spinning grow in intense; shaking out the thoughts in his head. With his words tossed away his head dropped into the puddle and Galba surrendered.
It had been almost 8 weeks since Tom Marat met Violet Hegira.