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I winked down at the receptionist with a little grin. There was something about her I liked. Didn't really know her. She was personable in a no-nonsense way I came to respect. "So, what'd she say?"

She shook her head, "She said she was a friend of yours."

I laughed, "Yeah, like I have any friends."

She looked concerned as she spoke and I knew that mothering instinct was coming out in full force, "You could always come out with me and my friends. We'd be happy to have you."

"Sorry, Becca. I don't have friends for a reason. I don't play well with others. I'm not a people person and I'm very independent. Come on, you can't say you never noticed."

"Well, of course I noticed. You'd have to be a blind man not to. But still, you're a good girl, Angelina. If you say this lady is bad news, I believe you." Becca was about fifty or so and acted as mother hen to just about everyone at the morgue, no matter the shift. Sometimes, she liked to take a special interest in me for no other reason than I seemed to have no one.

"Thanks. I don't know what's going on but I don't need her bothering me at work." I didn't need her bothering me at home either, but there wasn't anything I could do about that.

"No problem. Just leave it to me." She gestured to the doors with her head, "Now get outta here. There're stiffs in there with your name on them. Scoot."

"All right. I'm gone." As I walked away, I shook my head. It used to bother me when people tried to fix all my problems. I used to hate when people felt like they knew what was best for me. Now, I just saw it as both sad and pointless. No one could help me but me.

  

The subject didn’t leave the building until four in the morning. Dutifully, she followed at a distance far enough so as not to be noticed. In fact, she was so far behind she could barely keep a peeper on the BS, keeping her speed down to avoid drawing attention of the 5-0 variety since she didn't have the heavy camouflage of other traffic. Fortunately, the BS went straight home, possibly to go to sleep. What an eventful day! She felt like celebrating with a shot but decided against it.

  

The same thing happened for the next few nights. All the BS did was get up, go to work, and go back home again. Blah, blah, bo-ring. She didn’t get it. What was so damn threatening about this vamp that someone wanted her dead? And not just dead, would pay to have it done. She could understand a BS having a quarrel with another BS and whacking the compatriot in a fit of rage. After all, they were murderers. That's just what they did. But contract kill?  

Thus far, the subject didn’t even seem that interesting. She worked five nights this week. The following night, a Saturday, her subject went on the prowl. Finally. Think ill of her all you wanted but she was ready for a little action, even if it meant there was a serial killer on the streets itching for a victim.

That night, she watched as her BS left the house, as normal, got in the car, as normal, and turned left at the highway, not so normal. Even at the speeds she tended to drive, it still took an hour to get there. Eventually, they were in Philly. It continued to drive like a demon on crack as they got into worse and worse neighborhoods. The BS parked the car and got out on a street that looked like you were more likely to get shot and robbed than greeted hello or even what up? She parked a half block down and tried to keep an eye on the predator as she made her way through a group of hoodlums, her fingers twitching at each of her easily accessible concealed weapons, that is, the ones still appropriate for taking down a human. The BS grabbed one by the shirt and, not so involuntarily, led him into the alley. Then, for those with better night vision, it proceeded to make out with the young man until it whispered something in his ear, led him to the car and took off. The idiot stumbled along behind as if he'd hit the jackpot. Oh-kay...

 Several minutes behind them, she followed as the BS left the city in the dust and parked in the middle of nowhere, continuing to make out with the barely post-pubescent boy. She watched as the subject started to nibble on his ear, shoulder, neck. In the meanwhile, the boy was too excited by this unique occasion to realize he was doomed. He was eating it up. After some lengthy foreplay, the BS ended it by tearing out his throat. It ended so quick that, even with a telephoto lens, she never once saw a single ounce of fear in the victim’s eyes, only pleasure, excitement, ecstasy. Again, not what she’d expected. This one seemed to play with its victims so as never to give them an opportunity to scream or resist. Furthermore, it only took he-hos – guys that would literally sleep with anything that propositioned them, so long as the propositioner didn't have three legs. The boy would have probably followed a female Igor if she'd angled her finger at him.

After it drained the life from the body, the BS took it out and laid it on the ground. It then proceeded to whistle loudly five, maybe six, times. She flinched at the high-pitched squeal the BS made but opened her eyes once more as the sound faded to echoes in the trees. After maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, she heard dogs yipping and yowling in the background. From the sound of it, an entire pack. The sounds were getting closer, louder. Suddenly, she wasn’t sure they were dogs at all. There was something off about the tone, the character of the noise. There was just something wrong about the whole thing.

A pack of eight dogs left the woods and entered the clearing. Yeah, those weren’t dogs, all right. The carnivores had pointy ears, bushy tails that pointed to the ground with white tips, a white belly and a dark brown ragged coat. Each animal must have weighed at least thirty pounds, probably more. She had the feeling they were coyotes, but wasn’t sure since she’d never actually seen one. Seriously, who met up with coyotes in the inner city? After a lengthy bit of lurking in the shadows, the pack left the woods at full speed and went straight at the body. She gasped and held her hand over her face. She'd seen a lot of bad things. She'd seen people's heads blown apart by gunshot wounds. She'd seen how a bomb blast could plaster little bits of limbs to the remaining walls, the blood little more than burgundy stains, the brains the consistency of old runny cottage cheese. She'd seen a lot in her time but nothing had quite prepared her for this. She closed her eyes so as not to look, but she still heard the wet tearing sounds, the growls and snarls as the pack fought over the best bits. She held back a gag and took a couple of deep breaths, telling herself it would be over soon and there was nothing she could do for the guy. After all, he was already dead and she'd get him justice soon enough.

 In less than five minutes, she'd almost gotten over her case of the dry heaves and the pack had ripped every chunk off the victim until there wasn’t even any blood left because the BS had sucked him dry. Leaving in a prance, the coyotes trotted back to the woods with prizes that made her want to vomit even though she was dry. She was about to hyperventilate. She couldn’t believe it, that son of a bitch fed the poor guy to coyotes. She got in her car and just wanted to go home and rest.

Deciding she’d learned enough for the night, she drove home on autopilot. By the time she pulled in the parking lot, she realized what an abnormality this vamp really was. It was a year old and yet, from all she could see, was better adapted to the life than any she’d ever encountered. It had picked victims from areas where they’d never be missed, lured them away so they wouldn’t cause a commotion, and fed the victim to coyotes that, let’s face it, would eat anything and leave no traces left but a few bones at their den, which no one would find. She hadn’t even gotten a chance to see what the defenses at the vamp’s home were like. She held no doubt they would entail the kind of planning she saw with everything else it did. No wonder there was a contract out on its head. This bitch was a force to be reckoned with.



As I walked to my car, I looked down the road in a distracted way and noticed the car was now gone. Hmm… she must have decided after the dog display it was time to call it a night. I smiled a little inward smirk. What she was doing?  What was keeping her? I mean, if it was me, I would have acted by now. So why wait? What was her plan? I had to figure she’d make her move soon. Maybe tonight. Probably tomorrow night. This did seem an awful long time to stalk just one vamp. But then, I'd never met a vampire hunter before and I had to figure that was what she was. Maybe they were all that slow? Slow and cautious, planning methodically, searching for an enemy's weaknesses and patterns. That would come in handy when you knew you lacked all physical advantages. Humans didn't stand a chance against the average vampire in a fight and if she knew I was a hunter, a warrior, she might be trying to be extra cautious. One wrong move could cut that kind of career short quick. Deciding I might as well call it a night too and pick up a movie when I woke up tomorrow evening, I drove home satiated, my mind in turmoil…

Photo credit: meantux / Foter.com / CC BY-NC



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