The Vampire

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Only a sliver of silvery light showed from the half moon above; all of the stars were blotted out by the menacing clouds that covered the night sky. Down in the city below, a young woman was walking home from the grocery store. She was greatly pleased with herself; she had bought all of her groceries for the coming week, including a selection from the new line of clothing the store manager had recommended for her. It was a surprising turn of events, since the store manager usually did not show any sign of liking her. But then again, she was rich, and she expected that the manager just wanted to make a profit. The only thing that marred this marvelous shopping spree was that all three of her father’s limos had broken over the night, so she had to walk until her mom got off of work and could pick her up. She was not used to walking, and soon her feet hurt; blisters and sores swelled up on the bottoms of her tender feet.
She forgot her foot pain when suddenly, a shadow flashed across the dark street she was walking on. Only a blur of movement and a shadowy reflection of the dark form in a car window were visible to the naked eye. Knowing the stories of the murderers and robbers that were up at this time of night, the woman quickened her pace. Then she saw it again, this time in front of her. Sure that she was being attacked, she screamed and ran towards the store, desperate to find someone to save her. She had almost reached the store when the shadow flashed before her again. Terrified beyond all reasoning, the woman darted into an alleyway, hoping her assailant wouldn’t follow her. Unfortunately it did, this time materializing into a solid form. “You!” the woman gasped. These were her last words, for the figure lashed at her. A piercing pain exploded from the side of her neck, like a very large bee had stung her. Then she felt the blood steadily draining from her wound, and knew no more.
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Detective John Riddlem was sitting in his office, furious. He was a private detective, arguably the best in the city. He had solved a vast number of crimes involving everything from forced suicides to familial abuse, to mass killing. He was in his early thirties, and extremely fit for one of his age. He was known to be a precise shot with the pistol kept safely in his belt, but, just in case, he hid several switchblades elsewhere. John’s intelligence was matched by few, and these did not have the physical strength that he did. He could make grown men tremble in fear simply by staring them in the eye. For these and other reasons, he kept himself busy primarily with his work, which was his life. John was about six feet tall, with shaggy brown hair that was often unkempt. His face was hard and sported a nose crooked from the several times it had been broken. His eyes were deep and sunken like a wolf’s, and had dark brown irises, further completing his lupine resemblance. He had a thin goatee, and the rest of his chin was coated in stubble. His form was thick for one so tall, his muscled arms and legs were thicker than tree trunks, and could lift somewhere close to three hundred pounds.
He had no family, the closest thing he had was his assistant, Wesly Price. Wesly was a smaller man than John, and not as bright, but he knew how to talk. He could probably have convinced Hitler to become the tooth fairy if he wanted to. Wesly was somewhat small for a man of his age, only being five foot six inches. Wesly had a sharp hooked nose that loomed over his somewhat thin mouth. In sharp contrast, his sky blue eyes showed all of the merriment of a pod of young dolphins. Long, matted white hair crowned his face, and several piercings covered his ears. He was pale skinned and thin, but sleek. He was stronger than his appearance warranted, but not as strong as John. What Wesly relied on in cases where serial killers were accosting him was his incredible speed and agility. John was constantly amazed by Wesly’s incredible feats of dexterity which, when paired with his quick actions in an incredibly complex manner, baffled him. John had found Wesly useful in his past cases, but his assistant was just as befuddled by this case as John was.
Four people had been killed in the past month alone, all of them members of the same family: the Sawyers. A reasonably rich family, the Sawyers no doubt had several enemies that would kill simply for the immense amounts of cash hidden within their vaults. What frustrated John the most was that the killer had escaped detection from the police all four times. There was simply no evidence that there was a killer, except for signs of struggle in all of the crime scenes. The four victims, Jacob, Sarah, Alex, and most recently Michelle Sawyer had been killed in the same manor and in the same neighborhood. Each of the Sawyers bore two black holes in their neck from which crimson blood oozed, forming a foreboding river of malice. Some of the more superstitious police thought that the killings must be the doing of a rampaging vampire, intent on destroying the family that had stolen his families’ livelihood and reputation. It was true that the Sawyers had done this to many families, but John knew that vampires didn’t exist and, therefore, was thoroughly confused as to why a murderer would imitate one. It didn’t help that Wesly also believed the suspicions of a vampire attack.
What was worse, much of the evidence supported that a vampire had caused the killings. The biggest being that the victims showed the classic signs of death by vampire, two fang holes in the side of their necks where the blood had been drained. In addition, the last killing had been made very close to a local grocery store, “Mall-Mart,” so naturally, the police asked for security footage from the store’s many cameras during the night of the incident in the alleyway beside the store where the last victim, Michelle, was found. What the police, and later John, had received, however, was a film depicting the murder of Michelle Sawyer, without an apparent murderer. The mortal wound seemed to have inflicted itself. Two dark black holes had appeared on the side of her neck, and had started issuing thick, red blood. Michelle had given one last cry of agony into the night then died. This was the only evidence John had on the murders, and it wasn’t even evidence. It further proved Wesly’s point that the killer was a vampire, because vampires can’t be caught on camera or on film.
John knew better though. He knew there were no such things as vampires, despite all of the evidence placed against him. A knock on his door interrupted the foul mood John was in. He strode over and opened the door and saw Wesly with an apologetic look on his face. Wesly only came into the office at night, because he worked as a part-time detective. The rest of the time he was a high school gym teacher. The reason Wesly was ashamed to be at the door now was understandable, as somewhere close to fifty reporters were shouting at him in the hallway, taking pictures, asking him questions, and otherwise harassing him. When the reporters saw that John had opened the door, they trained their many cameras on him, and Wesly slipped under his arm and into the safety of his office. The storm of questions rushed at him.
“Is it true that you have been unable to find even a suspect for the recent murders?”
One reporter said while thrusting a microphone under his mouth.
“Are the rumors of recent vampire attacks true?”
“Are the sawyers in any real danger?”
“Is the murderer really what the locals say it is?”
John glared angrily at the mob in front of him, so that they all backed off a little. Then he spoke in a voice sure to reach each microphone, “No, we don’t know who the murderer is, but we do know for sure that it isn’t a vampire! Now, goodnight!” He finished his statement in a tone that invited no argument, and he received none.
Feeling slightly more secure in the relative privacy of the office, Wesly asked John, “How can you prove that?”
“I am not going to argue this case with you again. There are no such things as vampires!” John almost shouted at his assistant.
“But-” Wesly began, and then stopped.
“What?”
“Shhhhh!” Wesly interrupted. “Don’t you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Then John heard it, a gunshot in the distance. From the sound of it, no more than a couple of blocks away. “Let’s go.” Wesly picked up his antique military rifle and John pulled out his pistol from its holster in his boot and together they tore off down the street towards the sound.
The duo ran down the street and then turned right down a side street. Another shot echoed through the murky darkness, followed by a masculine scream. The pair backtracked to where they had heard the second shot. Then John turned into an alley, and beheld a startling scene. A figure dressed entirely in heavy black clothing had his back to the detective, clutching his leg, while another man held an upraised gun. The magnum shined silver in the moonlight, a slight wisp of smoke melting out of its barrel. John recognized that the man with the gun as Victor Sawyer, the patriarch of the Sawyer family, so why was he trying to murder someone? John thought that the Sawyers were the targets of the killings, not the cause of them. What reason could he possibly have for doing this?
“Drop your weapon!” John shouted at the Victor.
Victor started and turned to look at John, his face white with fear, “You don’t understand!”
Wesly, who had just turned into the alley jabbed John in the ribs and exclaimed, “He’s getting away!” John turned from Victor to see that the man he had shot was running, with a slight limp, out of the alley and onto the street.
“Stop!” called John. He then turned to Victor and said “Stay here!” Then he took off after the mystery man, Wesly hot on his heels. The detectives followed the man across the street and around a few corners. The quarry even jumped over tall fences; a surprising feat considering the man had just been shot in the leg. The figure turned, revealing a heavily hooded face with glowing red eyes. From within the depths of its cloak, it drew a small pistol and shot at its pursuers, John dove behind a trash can and shot back. Wesly miraculously dodged the bullet then dropped to the ground, getting into a sniping position. The hooded figure darted into an alley. John and Wesly hurriedly scrambled out of their hiding places and ran after the strange man.
It was only a couple of blocks until the detectives cornered the man in another alleyway, with a twenty foot brick wall on three sides, and two guns aimed directly at his head from the other. The figure looked at them with its ghoulish glowing red eyes, and then laughed. It was an eerie sound, a malicious laugh somewhere between a scream and a cackle. John shivered from the intensity of it. In contrast, Wesly, who stood beside him, looked eager. “See! There’s a vampire and now you know it!” he whispered excitedly. Before John could answer, the laughing abruptly stopped as a dark concealing fog drifted around the man. He stared at them with contempt in the bright scarlet eyes that marked his face.
“No, we have to be able to see him!” shouted John, and the two of them dashed into the fog. After a fruitless search, within which the pair nearly shot each other a couple of times, they had to give up the chase. On the way back to talk to Victor, Wesly continued to animatedly boast in his correctness of the existence of vampires, and this time John had no argument. The figure had devil-red eyes, could run extremely fast and jump over walls even with an injured leg. It had not been seen on camera and killed all of the Sawyers by biting them, leaving the trademark bite of a vampire on its victim’s necks. Most importantly, it had disappeared into a fog with no way out, something no human could pull off. As they rounded the corner, they saw Victor, dead and bleeding from four holes in the side of his neck his pistol held in his hand; the weapon had apparently not shielded him from the wrath of the vampire. The fact that there were two sets of bite marks puzzled John. Could a vampire miss its mark when it struck? Was it scared by the gun Victor had? How could it be scared of something that supposedly couldn’t kill it?
“How did this happen?!?” John exclaimed.
“He must have attacked him while we were still looking for him in the alleyway,” said Wesly. John, furious, shot into the air three times, then looked back at Victor, his blood still pooling on the ground beside him. Then he saw something, a small flash of red briefly shone from the Victor’s hand. John reached down, pried open Victor’s fingers, and pulled out a cell phone. It had flashed red to indicate that the battery was low. Curious as to why Victor had his phone in his hand when he died, John opened it. He gasped, the phone was on the camera setting, and before Victor had died, it seemed as though he had taken a picture of his killer. The same malicious red eyes glared at him on the camera screen, but this time a small portion of the man’s face was revealed where the cloak had moved. From the features John saw, he thought the man looked oddly familiar.
“Wesly, come look at this.” called John. Wesly came over and gasped as he too saw the perpetrator. “Well he can’t be a vampire now that he’s in a photograph now can he?” he said to Wesly. “Why don’t we go back to the alley where the vampire disappeared, I want to check something?”
Reinvestigating the alley where the killer had escaped, John immediately began feeling along the graffiti-riddled walls. After a few minutes, he found what he was looking for. “Wesly!”
Wesly rushed over at the note of urgency in his voice. “What is it?” John showed him the hole concealed within dot of an “i” of a particularly profane phrase.
“This is a fog machine outlet. The fog that hid the man came from here. He had all of this planned! Search for any way the killer could have escaped without going through us. He must have used some secret contraption! Maybe the wall here slides out,” he said as he felt along the rough brick of the left wall. “Or perhaps there’s a giant claw hanging from one of these windows…” He trailed off as he saw that Wesly had pulled open a trapdoor that was hidden under couple of trash cans that had been knocked over in their original pursuit. “Well,” said John, “I think it’s time we found out just who and what this so called vampire really is, and why it’s so intent on killing the Sawyers.”
The detectives climbed into a grimy passageway and walked down its dimly lit corridor. The tunnel was unwavering in its direction, and John imagined it was taking them somewhere downtown, a likely place for criminals.
“Where do you think it leads?” Wesly inquired, sounding rather disappointed but curious all the same.
“I have a theory,” said John. He showed the picture of the vampire to Wesly again through Victor’s phone. “Recognize anyone?”
“Isn’t that one of the grocers at “Mal-Mart”? Mako or something like that?”
“That’s Mark, and he does indeed work at “Mal-Mart.” Can you think of any reason why he would do this?”
Wesly appeared to think for a moment, and then said, “The Sawyers were supposed to have been running a campaign to crush the store, which they stopped… as soon as the first murder occurred!” Wesly finished, sounding excited.
“Yes, now be quiet, we’re almost there.” He said as light began to glow in the distance, indicating the end of the tunnel.
John and Wesly emerged from the tunnel inside what looked like a private bathroom. “Stay here,” John whispered to his companion, “guard the entrance in case he tries to run away this way.”
John kicked in the door. He was in what looked like the employee’s lounge of the store. Once his eyes adjusted to the sudden and drastic change in light, he saw a scrawny man taking off a heavy black jacket. Hearing the noise of the forced entry, the grocer turned and screamed at John, knowing he had been found out, glowing burgundy sunglasses on his face. Frantically he dove inside the pockets of his jacket, but John stopped him by saying, “Private detective John Riddlem, we know you’ve been involved with the murders of five members of the Sawyer family. Put your hands where I can see them!” The man dove into the bathroom, and a muffled grunt issued as Wesly tackled him to the ground. John dialed the number he knew so well. “Hello Deputy Bosh? Yes, we have a delivery for you. He’s a vampire that forgot to pay his detective insurance this month, and needs to be dragged off to a nice dark cell where he won’t be sun burnt too badly.”
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John was sitting comfortably in his office the next night with Wesly, enjoying an overly large bottle of whisky in celebration of finally cracking the case. “See, I told you there were no such things as vampires!” John said jovially. “He only had red eyes because he was wearing those creepy sunglasses. It just goes to show you, there are no such things as vampires.” He concluded with a slight nod in agreement to his own statement.
“Well, I guess I should have known it wouldn’t be a vampire.” Wesly said in an offhanded manner, waving his hand. “A real vampire would never leave its victims behind.”
John stopped celebrating. “What do you mea-” but John was cut off as Wesly rubbed his eye. John stared at him in horror; there was a bright blue circle in the eye that Wesly had just rubbed that was located a few centimeters to the left of his iris. Where the contact had moved, there was a slight crescent of bright crimson.
“What?” Wesly asked at John’s openmouthed stare.
“Are you wearing two sets of contacts, or is this a joke?” John said, his brain whirling with the implications. In response, Wesly slowly lifted his fingers to his left eye, and removed the contact lens, revealing a startling ruby colored iris.
Wesly laughed, “Well it looks like I’ve been found out!” His features abruptly changed to very serious ones as he smiled, revealing two longer and sharper than normal incisors in the top of his mouth. “It turns out there are such things as vampires,” Wesly said.
These were the last words John heard before Wesly lunged, and a sharp stabbing pain erupted from his neck, and he felt his lifeblood flowing from the wound, as he fell into infinite darkness.





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