It’s worked: the wound is healing now. Flesh is growing over the laceration and his energy is returning.
The cop doesn’t meet his eyes. “I’ll drive you home.”
* * *
Eric is at his desk, trying to find out where the killer vampire – the other one – is living when Alexander arrives the next evening. Vampires and werewolves are a threat to every human. He’s always believed that. Given the number of supernatural creature-related killings he’s had to solve over the years, he has good reason to believe it. Just because Alexander wants to stop the rogue vampire too doesn’t make him one of the good guys.
He looks up and is struck by a wave of attraction to the vampire, something he once again tries to ignore. Alexander’s blond hair, pale green eyes and good quality fitted suit make him look like what he once was: an English aristocrat. His accent and attitude, expecting his every word to be obeyed, confirm it. He’s a threat – one day he’ll be the one killing a load of people and Eric will have to hunt him down and end his existence. It had been stupid to save his life last night; Eric had hesitated, doubtful that Alexander would be able to stop drinking his blood without killing him, but he hadn’t been able to just stand there and watch the vampire die. It was for the good of the investigation. He still needed Alexander’s help, that was all.
“Good evening, Eric,” Alexander says with a white toothed smile, no trace of the retractable fangs evident.
Eric swallows and looks back at his laptop. He can still feel those fangs sinking into his wrist – Eric had expected the pain but not the other sensations. It had felt like a seduction; when Alexander had licked his wrist Eric had nearly… He blocks out the memory and says, “We’ve had hundreds of phone calls from people whose neighbours work nights or whose neighbours are a bit pale. None of them have got us anywhere. We need a fresh angle. How well did you see the creature last night? If you sat down with the sketch artist could you come up with a picture?” There had been several more murders last night and, during their search of the area, they had split up. Eric curses the fact now – it had been his decision, made because for no better reason than that he was uncomfortable around Alexander; if only he’d been there with Alexander he could’ve shot the rogue vampire and ended the killings.
“I only caught a glimpse of him when he attacked me – you know how fast vampires can move.” Alexander says this in a reluctant tone, as if just as frustrated over last night as Eric, then he snorts. “What kind of vampire carries a knife?”
He looks offended, as if the rogue had dishonoured all vampires by such an action. His nose is crinkled with the same look of distaste he had probably aimed at his valet when his cravat hadn’t been folded correctly in centuries past. Watching him, Eric frowns: why would a vampire carry a knife? “If he was already a criminal when he was turned into a vampire then he would’ve been used to having a knife or… What if he was homeless?” Alexander’s expressive face is doubtful now but the more Eric thinks about it, the more it makes sense to him. “He’d have needed protection living on the streets and, if he’d had a tough life, it might explain the killing spree: him taking revenge on everyone for past hurts. It would also explain why we’ve had no luck finding where he lives.”
“Assuming you’re right,” Alexander says with a slight emphasis on assuming, “he couldn’t go on living out in the daylight… The sewers!” Alexander grabs Eric’s arm, an innocent touch that brings up all those disturbing sensations from last night Eric has been trying to forget. “When he stabbed me he had this foul smell clinging to him. I should’ve realised earlier. He’s been sleeping during the day in the sewers.”
Eric jumps to his feet. “I’ll speak to my lieutenant – get as many cops as possible to help us search.”
* * *
They get a call from another police unit two hours later that a pile of bodies had been found and he and Eric drive through the dark Chicago streets to the location. As they get out of their car, snow flurries obscuring their vision, Alexander hears gunshots from beneath their feet.
He scans the ground and catches sight of a sewer cover in the middle of the road. “This way,” he says, striding over to it, intent on finally catching the vampire that has done so much harm.
Eric follows him and they lift off the cover. It comes away easily and Alexander’s keen sense of smell is once again assaulted by the most revolting odours imaginable. Eric gives him a nudge and Alexander, wishing he was wearing a less expensive suit, jumps into the dark corridor.
His own night vision is cat-like so he leads the way, hearing Eric stumbling along behind him. Another shot is fired close by and, when they turn a corner, Alexander gets his first proper view of the other vampire: a sandy-haired boy of no more than fifteen in worn ill-fitting clothes. He feels a surge of anger at the vampire who turned him; Alexander will conduct his own hunt for that person.
Beyond the vampire boy, Alexander catches sight of the police unit, two of its people dead on the damp, slimy ground. There is no way for the vampire to escape; between them they’ve surrounded him. He pushes down any pity he feels for the boy, reminding himself that the new vampire has killed more than sixty people.
There’s a sudden flash of movement: the vampire has darted forward to kill another cop but gunshots sound from that unit and from Eric’s gun. The vampire is hit by a silver bullet and gives an inhuman howl of pain, the sound echoing round the tunnels. He turns, running at Alexander and Eric, a savage look in his eyes, but, before Alexander can attack, Eric puts a bullet into the vampire’s chest, then another, and it’s over.
The vampire falls to the ground, his immortal life ended. Alexander feels no satisfaction, just the sense that the boy never should have been turned. So many people are dead for no reason. He turns and catches a look on Eric’s face that mirrors what he feels. Their partnership has been an unexpected source of pleasure. It could be more than that.
But Eric hates vampires
* * *
The sun has long since set by the time Eric leaves the police precinct and the night is icy, the snow still fresh and crisp beneath his feet. It gives the darkness a strange, almost unnatural glow. Eric he refuses to think about what he’s doing or what he’s going to say. He hates Alexander. He’s tells himself he’s sure of that.
He drives to a large detached house that he could never afford and sits in his car staring at it. He hasn’t seen Alexander in more than thirty-six hours but the vampire hasn’t been out of his thoughts the entire time. He tells himself over and over again to leave but can’t seem to do it so. Instead, he gets out of his car and crosses the street, walking up snow-covered steps to the house.
Alexander opens the door, looks at him for a long moment with a gaze that seems to reach down into his gut, then holds the door open in invitation.
Eric steps inside the luxurious hallway. Alexander reaches for him and he doesn’t resist, allowing the vampire to lead him with a cold slender hand up the sweeping staircase and into the bedroom.
Eric is pushed down onto green silk bedding and the vampire lowers a strong body on top of his. Alexander kisses and licks his neck, teasing Eric, or possibly teasing himself. Then the vampire bites through skin and Eric closes his eyes as pain and desire mingle. Nothing has ever felt so seductive or intimate as Eric surrenders himself to the vampire. He doesn’t think about the cold daylight ahead – it’s a world away.
(For more free reading, download my Human Hybrids Prequel, “A Destructive Power”, on the Books page on the above menu.)