Coming to my senses, I could feel vampires all around me of varying ages and bloods. The one that concerned me most, however, was like a beacon of darkness. The master vampire. I was in a warehouse. It wasn’t very well lit, but then it wouldn’t be, and I was damn sure it wasn’t the home base for this lot. They wouldn’t know how to sleep rough if it bit them in the ass.
“Good evening, Caspian.”
The vampire who stood in front of me was a lean, averagely tall man with long dark hair pulled back into a tail and gray-blue eyes. Same color as mine actually. He wore a black suit and a red tie. His shoes were very shiny. His arms were crossed over his chest and there was a distinctly disappointed look on his face. There generally was when he was dealing with me. I was a constant source of annoyance to him. It was a source of pride for me.
“I won’t stop.”
He shook his head. “Caspian, I didn’t bring you in to ask you stop. I brought you in to punish you. You have done things…things I can barely bring myself to forgive. So I must punish you.”
I swallowed. “How?”
He stepped forward. I wasn’t going anywhere. They’d trussed me up tight in chains limned with silver gilt. The only weakness I shared with them.
“I think you deserve a bite, don’t you?”
I thrashed in the chains. “No…please.” The last time had been horrible enough.
“It will be very painful, I know, but it’s the only way to get my message through.” He knelt down and put a hand on my face. “You will say yes one of these days, Caspian. You are my son. You will join the fold.”
“Very well.” He opened his mouth, revealing two sets of canines where other vampires had only one.
The mark of a master vampire. I could see the poison starting to bead at the tips. And then he bit down into my neck.
The poison burned and a scream tore its way out of my throat. I couldn’t help it. When he was done, he stepped away, wiping my blood from his mouth as I sobbed like a baby.
“This lesson will be the first of many if you don’t do as you are told, boy,” he said. “We’ll talk again when you recover. Aramis, dump him on the street, would you?”
Aramis picked me up and slung me over his shoulder, ignoring the silver of the chains with the practiced ease of an elder vampire.
When we were outside he took the chains off of me and just stared at me for the longest time. “Why Father loves you so, I have no idea little brother. You ought to wise up.” He kissed my cheek. “Be good.”
I waited until Aramis was gone to pull myself together. I climbed to my feet and took stock of my surroundings. I was near the club, that was certain. Oh god… The pain was like nothing else in the world. It climbed into every bit of you and just burned. Only my heritage was keeping me on my feet now.
Going to the car would mean seeing Johannsen, who would know the moment he saw the distinctive four punctures that a master vampire had done it and rush me to House One’s infirmary. I couldn’t risk that. Instead, I made for the nearest building, an empty warehouse, and broke in through a side door.
The echoing space had a manager’s office high above the floor. It took much of what was left of the adrenaline to get up those stairs and into the office. I stumbled behind the huge metal desk and curled up into the well. Clenching my muscles helped abate the pain to some extent. I’d be here for awhile until I recovered enough to fake normal.
Though what I was going to do after I recovered, I had no clue. Father would not stop. I might have to leave Chicago… I didn’t want to, but I wasn’t strong enough to beat him. No one was.
Once I was past the vomiting blood stage of bite recovery, I made my way back to my hole in the wall apartment to change clothes and shower. It really was a hole. A one room studio with a “kitchen” on one wall, my living/bedroom on the other and a door to the closet sized bathroom. And people wondered why I slept at the office. The bed was softer.
I managed to get some juice in me, which was better than nothing, but I knew I needed blood. Not like a vampire needs blood. It’s a not lust, it’s need. There’s no craving associated with it. It’s like being thirsty. Sort of. So once I was clean and dressed in clothes that weren’t bloody, I went to The Block and ordered three rare steaks and consumed them with the urgency of a last minute condom purchase.
I wasn’t really sure how long I’d been out of commission, I wasn’t good at keeping track of time when I had a schedule. So I went to the station. It wasn’t like hunters didn’t randomly vanish and show up again weeks, or even years, later. We weren’t a ruly bunch by anyone’s definition.
I spied Johannsen, who gave me a look that said he was glad I wasn’t dead and then he pointed at the stairs. “Your new partner is here.”
I grimaced and waved thanks before trudging up the stairs. That answered the question of how long I’d been gone. Longer than last time Daddy felt the need to bite me. He must have put more venom in this time, the bastard.
My office door was wide open. I sighed, feeling more put-upon than usual and headed inside. There was someone sitting on my bed. They appeared to have sorted through my desk and even—dusted. I suddenly felt kinship for the three bears. Goldilocks was a bitch.
My personal Goldilocks was a slender, golden skinned man with almond shaped eyes, broad cheekbones and scimitar shaped nose. His hair was pitch black and short, and it looked like he ran his hands through it frequently, as it was stuck up straight in a soft line like a parakeet’s crest. He wore a blue and green striped polo shirt and dark slacks with sneakers, his badge was clipped to his belt and
I could smell his spicy cologne all the way from the door.
That didn’t mean he was wearing a whole lot though, I had the benefit of extra-sensitive olfactory glands. He gave me a look and then smiled. I decided I didn’t like him.
“You must be Wayland, I didn’t see a first name on your file though. I’m Tobias Raimes.”
“So we’re going to be working together then.”
“I’ve been told to expect some resistance.” He raised his eyebrows.
“Yup.” I sat down at my desk and popped open the bottom drawer for the iron tablets I kept there and down three of them.
“We have the nine to six shift, zone three.”
“Are you always this gregarious?”
“No.” I turned around in my chair to face him.
He sighed. “I can see we’re going to be a great team.”
“You know, I heard you were—recalcitrant, but this is ridiculous. I dare you to say a full sentence.” He stared at me. His dark eyes made me nervous.
I wasn’t one to bow to peer pressure, so I said nothing. I’d drive him away in a week, tops.
Sometimes, it paid to be a man of few words.
“Fine, don’t talk. I’ll talk enough for us both. By the way, I got a call from the Inspector, he was concerned that you disappeared and said something about missing pages from your paperwork. I think he wants a call.”
“I’m going to get a coffee, do you want one?”
He grimaced and stood, marching out the door without another word. There was an art to driving a man mad, I was good at, if my father was any indication.
I grabbed the phone and dialed the Inspector.
“Ian Mulhaney speaking.”
“Ah, alive I see. Fantastic. You forgot to attach your requisition forms to cases S649F2 and S649G1. Which, if you’ll recall, means I can’t authorize those funds to your station. I need them on my desk
tomorrow morning to send over to Jack.”
“Good. Now, how’s your partner?”
“I swear on all that is holy, if you get him killed, drive him crazy or have him disappear, you’ll regret it, Wayland.”
“Tomorrow morning, forms. Got it?”
“Good. Behave yourself.” He hung up.
This day just sucked.
Raimes took the keys to our car, which meant I got stuck in the back seat. Sure, I could’ve sat up front, but I was still feeling like a wreck even after the iron tabs and rare steaks. I felt like I needed to sleep for a week. The back seat worked.
“You aren’t going to sleep our whole shift, are you?”
“Just most of it then?”
I didn’t dignify that with a response. My body was still recovering, and if it hadn’t been for him, I would’ve gone to sleep. He turned on the radio and we settled into a somewhat comfortable silence. I was comfortable anyway. Though as the night wore on, the telltale signs of need were becoming apparent. Clammy palms, racing heart beat and an ache in my teeth. I’d exhausted myself more than I thought. I eyed my “partner”. He was still pretty perky.
I could fix that. Full blood I might not be, but I still had my resources. I slipped into the front seat and grabbed Raimes by the wrist.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
I looked him in the eyes. “You are very tired.”
“You need sleep.” I pressed my thumb onto his pulse and continued to stare into his eyes. “Sleep.”
His pulse was slowing. “What…?”
“Sleep.” I lowered my voice and softened the intonation. “Sleep.”
“I…I’m not…” His eyes fluttered.
He was taking longer than most people did, that was for sure. I hadn’t bothered to find out what exactly was weird about Raimes, that should have been a priority.
He was still resistant. I wrinkled my nose. I hated to do it this way, but I needed to get away from him without causing a fuss, get some type O and get back. I licked my lips and pulled my hair away from my face. When I wasn’t attempting to look half dead, I did have my father’s good looks to fall back on. It was just a matter of livening up a bit.
I managed a soft smile. “Sleep.” I put my free hand on his cheek. “Sleep.” I leaned forward, pricking my tongue against the sharp edge of my canines and then coating my lips with the bead of blood.
I kissed him. When I pulled away, he licked his lips.
At last, his eyes fluttered and then closed as he drifted off. He would be safer in the cab than in his own home for the most part. They’d been outfitted special to protect against vampires, ghosts, ghouls…most everything really. It helped that we had a very paranoid Inspector.
Raimes asleep, I slipped out of the cab. I wiped the remnants of blood off my lips and was struck by the slight buzz remaining from the kiss. I hadn’t had a lover in some years. It was always too much work. One night stands, sure, but it had been a while since I’d had one of those too.
I hurried away from the car, taking my bearings as I went. Typically I’d hit a blood bar, but that required interacting with vampires and I wasn’t in the mood. I was going to have make a withdrawal the old fashioned way—which was playing right into my father’s expectations.
I’d have to make sure he didn’t find out about this then.
I had to be more selective of my targets than a full blood. I could only consume my own blood type, and when that became scarce with the evolution of men, it had become necessary to seek out the universal donor.
There was a smell, luckily, and if Raimes had been of the appropriate type, I likely would have taken a bite. My symptoms only got worse the longer I waited, so there was no use putting it off. The moment I spotted someone with the correct blood type—who wasn’t geriatric or pediatric—I stalked them, entranced them and took a pint for my trouble before heading back to the cab feeling a bit tipsy. Fresh blood always had that effect on me.
Raimes was still out of it. I climbed back into the back seat and settled in as if I never left. When Raimes came to, he’d figure he just nodded off, see me and all would be well. Now I just had to figure out if I was going to fight to stay in Chicago or flee, perhaps to Bermuda. Father hated Bermuda.
It’s not like I had any real reason to stay in Chicago. Wherever I went, there would be vampires to hunt, and that was all that I lived for.