Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Station House Six: Chapter Two

No hunter ever took on a partner. We worked together when occasion demanded it but we never actually called it a partnership. That implied a greater relationship than any of us were willing to commit to.
It was hard enough doing this job without becoming attached to the people you worked with. Besides, there were lots of things that were much harder to do with a partner breathing down your neck. Napping in the afternoon, drinking in the afternoon, smoking a little weed in the afternoon—not to mention the one glaring thing that I really did not want anyone else to know.
I finished my paperwork, feeling more than a bit grumpy, before heading out for a bite to eat. As far as I knew, most of us didn’t eat in the station house, too creepy even for us. Waxford did, but then, Waxford was more ghoulish than most. Whenever I worked with I double checked to make sure he was actually with the living. He’d gotten used to me throwing holy water at him by now. Given how paranoid most of us were, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
I took a company cab out to The Block, a steakhouse that was practically my second home. The minute I came through the heavy oak doors and was spotted by Lorie, the hostess, my order went onto the grill and I was seated at the bar just like always. I was a creature of habit. I found it was important to have a schedule of some kind when you were in this business, helped keep you grounded.
Yosef, the scrawny bartender, drew me a draft and set it down at my usual seat at the butcher block topped bar. All the tables, all nine of them, were heavy butcher block topped as well with beat up stools. The place was really only known for two things, steak and beer. Not that I had any issue with that.
Well, there was also pie. The chalkboard by the door said today was apple, which Lorie would tack onto my order as well. I liked my apple pie.
About ten minutes after I sat down Lorie brought me my steak, a two pronged fork and a knife. I’d been told once that the owner, a shadowy guy called Gus, was a blacksmith who made all the utensils, and metal bits that furnished the bar. I liked it. I couldn’t fault a place who had utensils that could easily double as killing tools.
My steak arrived bloody rare, just the way I liked it. There were also fried potatoes and mashed peas, which were a secret addiction of mine. I found that if I didn’t regularly consume vegetables I became sluggish. I ate my food and drank my beer and soon enough I had my pie and was throwing cash onto the bar to cover the meal and a good tip and then back out the door I went.
A bloody steak was usually enough to hold over my more…unusual cravings.
I was climbing into the cab when my phone began to buzz. I answered. “Wayland.”
“Inspector Mulhaney speaking, I have your partner assignment. I need you to stop by station house two within the hour.”
I gritted my teeth, all the warmth from my meal disappeared. “Okay.”
“See you soon.” He hung up on me. I put the phone in the pocket of my coat and sighed. Him personally overseeing the assignments meant there was no way I was weaseling out of it. No one I knew was dumb enough to go against Ian Mulhaney, and I was included in that.
I made my way inside station house two with a feeling of irritation overlaying my usual unease. The Bats weren’t really welcomed with open arms at other stations. Their desk warden ignored me completely, for the best and I went on up to the second floor where they kept all of their offices.
There was a small bullpen for the normal officers which used to be cubicals when this place was a utilities office. There were separate offices along the walls for detectives and the like. The like included Howl, station house two’s resident spell caster. He was leaning in his doorway chatting with a tall Latin piece of handsomeness I knew was a Detective Reyes.
From the body language I took it they were a thing now.
I ignored them and skulked my way through the pen to Inspector Mulhaney’s office. I knocked once before entering. He typically kept his door shut.
The tall red-head looked up as I entered. “Wayland, take a seat.”
I sat in the chair sitting opposite his desk. “Inspector.”
“Given that you are one of the younger hunters here, I’ve decided to pair you off with someone with a bit more experience.”
I raised my eyebrows but didn’t say anything.
“I know full well you are an experienced hunter, but what you aren’t, is a detective. You don’t have the same training or expertise and I believe that is what is most lacking from House Six.”

I waited.
“You’re being assigned to Detective Tobias Raimes. He’ll report to House Six in three days time as soon as he gets in from Boston. I don’t want any trouble. Show him what Chicago’s Night Shift is capable of. All right?”
There was threat in there. “Yes sir.”
“Good. You are dismissed.”
I stood up and got out of the office as quickly as I could. I was a bit disgruntled. Sure, I had to accept I was getting a partner, but why couldn’t it be another hunter? I mean, we would have gotten along fine—by not doing anything together. Then he had to go and give me a detective.
Not even a local. Probably couldn’t get the locals to do it. They all knew us too well.
It wasn’t like I personally was involved in leaving those severed heads in station house four, but we all got painted with the same bloody, crazy brush. Nothing I could do about that.
By the time I got back to the house, the sun was starting to set. Time for patrols then. The routes and schedules were posted in what used to be the viewing room and now served as a general meeting area. I’d been given car eight with Johannsen as back-up. Not a bad guy as far as they went. He hadn’t started out as a hunter though. He’d been a normal detective before the big blow up, but things went hairy and he ended up finding an affinity for killing vampires.
I gave the tall blond a nod and we headed out to our car for the night with no need for discussion, picking up our tools on the way out. Every hunter kept a duffel bag stuffed with the usual. Holy water, stakes, garlic, silver bullets and some less usual stuff. I had a machete, lighter fluid, matches, lighters and a few UV bombs the guys in R and D came up with. They were mostly magic with a bit of science.
I suited up quickly. A bite guard for my throat, a stab vest and gloves. Johannsen checked the field kit in our car to make sure it was up to date and full of antivenin. It had a decent supply of stuff, if someone got bit the vials we had would help about eighty-percent of cases. For anything else you had to go to House One, it’s where we kept the hospital and the less stable venom cures.
There hadn’t been a master vampire in Chicago for some time though, not since they killed the Norseman. There hadn’t been any chatter of a new one coming in either. Unusual though that was. There was usually one or two master vampires in a city, kept the others in line. It wasn’t like we could hunt all the bastards down, we couldn’t. Not all of them even killed people. Some were practically urbane.
That didn’t stop me though.
Johannsen and I had been assigned the Red district. That is, the four city blocks surrounding the club know as The Red Room. It was frequent vampire hangout and hotspot. We parked the cab half a block from the club and started our night out with a quick look inside. The door bouncers knew better than to deny any Night Shift officer entrance these days. We were working on a shoot first theorem at the moment, and after two of them ended up in the hospital the rest fell into line.
The club was busy tonight, full of young idiots dancing and tempting the few bloodsuckers I could sense in the room. That was my real talent right there. I could feel them, the vampires. It was in my blood. I always knew one of them when I saw one, and sometimes I even got a fair idea of age and origin.
The three mosquitoes in the club tonight were small fry. Babies really. Which mean they were likely to be hungry. I looked at Johannsen and pointed out our targets. He nodded and peeled off to take the one on the western wall. I made for fellow lurking near the tables to the right of the bar.
He was so caught up watching the cattle in front of him, he never even saw me coming.
This one turned to dust as soon as the stake reached his heart. The others were likely of the same stock, so there shouldn’t be any blood to clean up tonight. Johannsen had disposed of his target easily enough and I headed on to number three.
Half-way across the dance floor, I felt the presence of a fourth. A powerful one. Familiar. I spun around, trying to get a glimpse. A smiling face near the club’s entrance caught my attention. With no thought for Johannsen, I tore off after the vampire as it slipped out the door.
I should have known better.
There were three more waiting for me, all familiar faces. The one who’d lured me out smiled at me. “Caspian. It’s so good to see you again.”
“Aramis,” I replied. “I thought you were dead.” I looked at the others. “I thought you were all dead.”
“No such luck.” The dark haired vampire smiled. “He wants to see you. You’ve upset him greatly.”
I swallowed. “Since when is he in Chicago?”
“Since you came to Chicago,” Aramis replied. “Come along then. Don’t make this hard.” I straightened and slipped a knife from the sheath at my wrist. “I don’t think so.” I rarely fought at full strength, but I would have to if I wanted to get away from a vampire as old as Aramis. Not kill, I didn’t think I could, but I did need to get away.
Aramis and his cohorts laughed. “A little knife? Is that all you have brother?” He tsked. “This is going to be easy.”
I really wished he wasn’t always right.


  1. Wayland's brother is a vampire? And Aramis is ancient... is Wayland a vampire? One who doesn't want to be a vampire? Or some sort of hybrid? If his brother is ancient, how is Wayland still living if he's not a vampire? Although, I suppose he could be quite a bit younger than his brother and they'd still be brothers as long as they shared one parent. Hmmm, I shall be pondering this for a while, I'm sure.

    1. I will tell you that they are half-brothers and that Aramis is the elder of the two.