Taste of Blood - Part Five

Above the door, a picture of a red rose with blood dripping from thorns on the stem was lit up by a pair of lights and in neon lights flashed the words "Blood Red Rose." It was Saturday evening and I was suppose to meet a bunch of local vampires at this Goth bar. Always avoided Goth bars in the past and did not have any clear idea what to expect.

I was dressed in a short black leather mini-skirt, black leather boots with three inch heels, and a black leather jacket over a bright red silk camisole. My lipstick matched the camisole. I had no clear idea how people dressed at these places and hoped that I had not over dressed. I had to consciously resist not putting my hand at the small of my back to feel for the pistol riding there.

Pushing the door open, I stepped into the club. Thick smoke assaulted my senses along with the smells of alcohol, sweat, and perfume. In truth, I had never been one to spend much time in bars but had been in a few in the course of duty as a police officer. The smell was much like I remember from other bars although seemed to be much stronger. I put this off to my senses becoming much sharper as a vampire. Loud music pumped from concealed speakers and the sound was almost deafening.

Looking around, I first thought that I had badly underdressed. At a table near the door was a group of people in tight leather outfits with chains everywhere. It was hard to tell due to the outfits but I guessed that it was a pair of girls and three guys. They all had their lips painted black along with gloss black finger nails. I never even had even had my ears pierced for earrings and never could understand the fetish some people had for piercings. They had pierced eyebrows, noses, chins, and even lips. I noticed one of the women was wearing a mesh shirt and I could see that she had rings in both of her nipples.

My gaze went to other tables and I saw that some were dressed more like I was. Some were in costumes I would have expected from a Victorian movie. Long gowns in red or black. Many of the woman also wore corsets. Many men wore shirts with lace collars or sleeves. I saw a couple who were dressed alike in black jeans and black tee-shirts with "nine inch nails" and a picture of a guy on them. Maybe the name of a band? Both also had combat boots on. My clothing might be a bit on the conservative side for the club but was not so conservative that I would stand out.

Walking up to the bar, I went over to the bartender, who was a woman dressed in a red latex mini-dress which was tight enough that I could see her nipples under it and had open sides and a plunging neckline which revealed a lot of skin. When she turned towards me, she looked nervous. Maybe I was being too aggressive in my stance. I put my arms down on the bar and she asked, "C...Can I help you?"

"Yes, I am here to meet with Mistress Rose,"I responded, trying to keep my voice call so as to not startle her any more than she already was. Maybe I was projecting my cop aura on her. "She is expecting me."

"Hold one for a moment, I will need to check with her,"she responded. She turned to a fairly muscular guy dressed in black leather pants and a black silk shirt, "I need to go check with the boss, could you watch the bar for a few minutes?" With his nod, she walked through a door into the back. The three inch heels which I was wearing, I thought were tall but hers looked like they were at least five inches tall if not six and her feet were far smaller than mine were. It amazed me that she could walk in them at all.

Looking around more, I saw a pair of large and muscular men who were standing in the corners. Each were dressed in black jeans and wore plain black tee-shirts. Bouncers, I assumed. From their stance and the way they gazed around the bar, I was almost sure that I was right. One locked eyes on me for a moment and I locked my eyes back on him. He turned after a moment and I could almost hear his mind thinking "Cop." It should prevent further problems and I sat down on the barstool to wait.

It was only a few minutes before the woman came out again. Instead of going back to her position around the bar, she came around to where I was sitting. She stated, "Mistress Rose asked me to escort you to her office." I stood up from where I was sitting and followed behind her as we went behind the bar. We passed through a door behind the bar and into a plain white hallway with grey industrial carpeting. When the door closed behind us, the noise diminished greatly. The strong base could still be heard but it was much more bearable than the blast of sound in the bar was.

She led me to a door which was marked "office" and knocked. A woman's voice answered, velvety smooth, "Let her in please." The woman pushed the door open and gestured for me to enter.

As I stepped inside, I saw that the room was very different than the bar. The walls were paneled in light wood paneling and there was a wooden desk. The room was softly lit by two lamps sitting in the back corners of the room. This room must have been made to be completely sound proof because when the doors closed, I could no longer hear the music from the bar.

I could see sitting on one side of the desk was the one who I had met at the Convenience Store a few days ago. He was dressed in a simple black tee shirt and black jeans. My eyes finally focused on the figure behind the desk, a woman and I could feel the same vampire presence which I had felt from the other one. She had long raven tresses and was dressed in a red Victorian style gown similar to what several women in the bar had worn. Her age looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties. Still, neither of them seemed to contain the power which I had felt from the Vampire who had made me seemed to project when I tried to fight him. There was a sense of rolling power inside of him which she lacked.

There was a pair of chairs in front of the desk but I did not avail myself of either. Instead, I stood in uncomfortable silence, none of us speaking. Eventually, the woman behind the deck, "Tim stated that I should talk to you. I am called Rose. I believe you are Emily Rose, a police woman killed a couple of weeks ago by the vampire we all fear will ruin us all. You must have bitten him and drank some of his blood just when you were dying. That is how our kind become vampires."

For a second, I was taken aback by the fact that we shared the same name. Her fist name, if it was her real name, was Rose and my last name had been Rose. "If you are so concerned with this vampire, why have not you been trying to stop him?" I asked. It felt like my voice came out a bit hostile although I had tried to control it.

"None of us are very powerful," she replied, echoing what I had heard earlier from Tim, the convenience store worker. "I believe he told you that your willpower has a factor on how powerful you are. Age is a factor as well but not as important as your will. I am the oldest vampire in the area and I have only been a vampire for around fifty years and not even that powerful to be honest. I was born in Germany and married an American soldier. When he left the service, we settled here and he worked at Boeing until he died in the mid fifties. Some of us also are more skilled at various abilities than others. I am pretty good at controlling the mind by my gaze but I am not much of a fighter. Tim is not really skilled at either although he can fight better than I can. While stronger than humans, simple strength is not always enough."

"I met the vampire a few days ago a few days ago and tried to fight him. I sunk six rounds of forty five into him and it did not stop him. How the hell do you kill him?" I asked.

"We don't like talking about what will kill us, even to our own kind. Most of us only discover these a little at a time but if you are determined to hunt this one, you must know how to kill him. Someone must kill him or all of us will be in danger. Contrary to some stories, we are not invulnerable but we can take injuries which would incapacitate any normal human. In general, you have to hurt one of bad enough that it would outright kill a human. A stake or knife to the heart would do it. The heart would have to be destroyed almost completely so a bullet very well might not do it although a shotgun round would. Blowing his head apart or slicing the neck off the shoulders would do as well."

"I was a cop," I stated. "I have dealt with human monsters as one. What I suspect, Vampires mostly carry the traits of what they were like from when they were still alive. This means that it is likely that he has been a serial killer for a long time. Do you know where he might have come from?"

"You are right, I am nominally the leader of the vampires here and I have forbid the others from killing others when they feed. Too many deaths and the authorities get involved. You are right, chances are that he has always been like this," She answered me.

She paused for a few moments before adding, "Don't get me wrong, there are vampires that are monsters and far more that I would like. They enjoy the killing and the feeding. Today, they tend to gravitate towards lawless places. I have stories that there are packs wandering around Mexico and Central America. I have heard stories about some setting up almost kingdoms of their own. In places like the United States, they have to be more careful but they still take an occasional cull from the herd."

Continuing on, Rose added, "While Seattle is a larger city, for some reason Portland Oregon always had a larger vampire population. We number less than a dozen here but there are at least thirty, maybe forty vampires, living in the vast underground of the city. As well, the elder there is suppose to be far older and more powerful than I am. Several hundred years and likely the godfather of all of the illegal activities which the city is famous for. He is extremely powerful. Something was suppose to have happened there a while back. Some kind of fight. Maybe he came from down there. Otherwise, I don't know where he is from. There are often transient vampires but few make trouble."

"I have another concern," she stated. "That is the rules which we follow up here." I nodded my head for her to continue. "The way you become a vampire is to be completely drained and drink the blood of the vampire while you are dying," repeating what she had said a few minutes ago. "The first is that I ask you to not make any more vampires. With our small numbers, it is much less likely that we will be noticed by the population in general. There are vampire hunters and a major vampire group is said to have been destroyed on the east coast recently. From what I read about the leader, she was not a very nice being but she was incredibly powerful. If she can be taken out, all of us can be. As well, we may attract a powerful vampire who wants to take control."

Taking a deep breath, looking just a little nervous, she continued, "I am not too concerned with the victims you appear to have taken. Drug dealers and gang members often do themselves in and the cops think it is just part of the vicious cycle. Still, too many being killed may create problems for all of us. I ask you to be careful. Most of us find a few people who are willing to give blood. Just one person is not enough to keep one of us supplied. We will kill that person slowly. It takes about half a dozen to be safe although four will do if necessary. Some of us go to clubs and pick up people and I started this club in the first place to pick them up. We can likely work out something and I have a few gentleman who I might suggest, assuming you prefer male company. There is no reason I could not introduce you."

She paused for several moments before adding, "I might also be able to find you a bit of work. Being a vampire does not pay the bills and I cannot see you working a convenience store like Tom does. Most of the vampires have no training in how to fight. I could use another bouncer in the bar."

Shaking my head, I answered, "Thank you for the offer, by I think I have got an idea." I had been talking to Vernon about the idea of working as a bounty hunter. He had a friend who worked as a bail bondsman, an ex cop who had been forced to leave after he had been injured. Through him, I would have contact with several other bail bondsman. I could even combine bounty hunting with looking for the vampire who created me.

"You are probably right about not taking drug dealers and the like on a constant basis," I added. "I may ask if I can avail myself of your club to see if I can find some people to help with sustenance, let me think on it. How long did it take you to get used to surviving off of blood."

"After my husband died, I went self destructive. Every night, I would go out drinking and going home with a different guy. This was the Fifties, don't forget so it was even more scandalous than it is today. As you might expect, none of my former friends would have much to do with me. As time went on, I played deeper and deeper in the dark scenes. They were far less known in the Fifties but they existed. Bondage, S and M, Fetishes, you name it, I was involved in it. One day I went home with a man. I had been with him many times and I though he just had a strange fetish of drinking of blood. He offered to change me, to become a vampire. He said he wanted a companion to be with him forever," Rose told me.

"I don't remember much of that night but I remember waking in a bed next to him. He looked at me and told me that I was no a vampire. He took me to a bar and there he showed me how to find someone to feed from. If no one helps you control yourself, the feeding is almost always fatal to the first person you feed from. Many rogue vampires never learn control. It is possible that the one who created you was also a Rogue. Tom and you are the only ones I know," she continued with. I could see a nervous expression on Tom's face.

"Forever turned out to be less than a year. He seemed to get jealous of the men I spent time with. I could never understand that. He made me into a vampire and without blood, I cannot survive. We began fighting. One day he just disappeared and I have not seen him since. It was as much a relief as anything when he left. It took me years to get used to feed from people but I managed somehow. It is how we live. There are stories of some of us who cannot live that way and decide to see the sun one last time."

Maybe it would come to it one day but I had no desire to see the sun. I missed being a cop but it did not mean that there was nothing to live for. I nodded and stated, "Well, I think we will see each other again."

The night was dark and cloud covered. I could feel cold rain pouring down my neck. It did not bother me and I could see as well in the darkness as most could on an overcast day. I was hiding in the shadows and watching the strip. The women moving around, dressed as scantily as ever, propositioning those in cars which pulled up to them. Other figures selling drugs. There were others deeper in the alleys, thinking themselves hidden but I could see them clearly in the shadows.

It had been a full week and half. There had been two more killings since I had visited "The Blood Red Rose." Two more girls found laid out when the sun came out. It seemed like the vampire doing it was where ever I was not. Was he sensing me and avoiding me. Maybe whatever sense I had which could find him, his sense was more acute than mine. Instead of driving the streets with Vernon, I decided to try waiting in the shadows and listening to the night. I could not cover as much area but maybe waiting for him would be a better way of catching him.

It would have been good if I could have gotten some of the other vampires to help me hunt for him. Unfortunately, they were weak and none seemed to have much in the wait of fighting skills. I had met several others over the last week. They might be able to terrorize a normal person but they simply did not have it in them to fight something like this. I got the feeling that if any powerful vampire ever tried to take over this area, they would all be in trouble. There had been some thought of what I would do if that happened. I did not want to be leader of the vampires in this area.

There was a thirst, a hunger inside me. I had fed from Vernon again but I had the feeling that if I kept doing it much longer, it could cause him permanent harm. He would need to recover his lost blood and life force. There was no one else who I felt I could trust that intimately and had not fed on any of the criminal elements. I would need to soon if I was to sustain myself. Maybe I could jump one of the drug dealers at the end of the day. Still, I needed to come up with a better solution. Maybe talk to Rose again.

My eyes kept turning towards one of the women, really a girl would be more accurate. Most likely she was only around thirteen under than mini-dress she wore. What happened to make her run away from home and consider turning tricks better than the alternative. Was it something like what had happened to me. Did "Daddy" try to take advantage of his little girl. I could not help but worry about her on these darkened streets. She appeared to be shivering from the cold and there was an uncertainty in her walk. I knew many of the girls who walked the street and I did not recognize her. Most likely, she was new. At least I did not see a pimp near her.

It almost seemed like I could feel waves of fear coming from the girl. I feared for her too. In addition to the vampire stalking the girls, there were plenty of predators after such girls who were human. Maybe it would be better to call them human in body. They were just as evil as the vampire I was hunting, maybe more so because they did not have the thirst which I shared with him. In a way, I could understand him now.

A black Chevrolet El Camino pulled up to where the girl was. With their cargo beds making look like half truck, they are extremely recognizable and this one appeared to be in perfect condition. There was too much noise to hear what the man was saying but I could easily guess the gist of the conversation. Looking at the guy in the drivers seat, he was dark skinned for a Caucasian with a blond pony tail behind an almost bald head. Something about his features bothered me about him, maybe I had seen him before somewhere. It took a few moments but I remembered. He had been arrested for the abduction of child, a girl even younger that this girl. Unfortunately, the District Attorney decided not to file, citing lack of evidence when the girl refused to testify. Vernon told me about the case and that he was suspected of abducting several other young girls. Barry something was his name. I could not remember his last name.

Barry pushed the passenger door of the corvette open and the girl slid in the car. There was no way I could let him leave with the girl. Suddenly, I could feel the presence of the vampire I had been hunting. He was still at the edge of my senses but I thought I could catch him. I had only moments to decide which one to go after. The girl won out. Running from the alley I had been concealed in, I grabbed the bumper just as Barry was about to pull onto the street from where he had pulled over to proposition the girl. Luckily, he seemed distracted by the girl. Pulling myself into the bed, I moved quickly to just behind the driver's compartment so that I would he hopefully hidden. There was a plastic tarp. I pulled it over me with the hope that it would keep me concealed.

As he wanted to find somewhere secluded to do with the girl as he wanted, I wanted somewhere secluded to deal with him. There were too many people on the street. The last girl he had not killed but had raped her repeatedly and had held her for several days. I had to wonder if he would not kill his next victim. After all, a dead girl could not be a witness against him. I could see a little through a hole in the tarp. The car drove away from the strip and threaded its way through the dark streets.

It did not seem to take long before the car stopped. I could see trees through the hole in the tarp. It was darker than the streets had been. There were several parks within close proximity to the strip. They were safe during the daytime but the night was something else completely different. Barry opened the car door and slid out. "I just need to get a blanket from the back," I could hear him tell her. He ignored the tarp I was hiding under to go to a tool box. He pulled a roll of silvery Duct Tape from it. Barry then went around to the passenger side of the car.

I debated for several moments when the right time to strike would be. I decided to wait until Barry had shown the girl his true intention. It might scare her into coming off of the streets. He opened the passenger side and suddenly the girl screamed. With that, I jumped from under the tarp. Her scream had been cut off by this time with his hand on her mouth.

By now, I was beginning to understand myself better. I had gone into my predator mode. My canines were fully extended my senses were razor sharp. My hand went to the arm which he had the girls pinned with and I pulled it back. A wet snapping sound could be heard and I knew I had broken his arm. Almost as if from an incredible distance, I heard the girl scream again. I kicked the legs out from this scum and allowed him to crumble to the ground. I could see as he fell that a lower arm bone was sticking out and blood was gushing out.

Turning towards the girl, I yelled at her, "Run, you stupid whore." The girl ran although almost tripping in the high heels she wore. When she disappeared, I turned towards Barry and could feel the fear coming from him. It was sweet and filling the void of my hunger. It was time to feed. Barry would not be molesting any more girls. That was a promise.

Instead of stalking the streets, I had elected to look through what had been gathered on the vampire I was stalking. I was sitting on the futon, converted into a couch, my eyes staring almost blankly at the laptop screen. It was time to try a new method to find this vampire. Another prostitute had been killed as I had dealt with the child rapist. Unfortunately, there was only one of me and there was no way I could be in two places at the same time. Right or wrong, I had to make a decision on the spot and had decided to save the young girl. I tried not to regret that another woman had been murdered.

Where was he on days which he did not hunt. My first thoughts had been that he likely watched and stalked the streets but this did not seem to be the case. Maybe he did not actually hunt but I was sure that he thought about his next victim.

Looking again through files Vernon had gotten for me, I noted that his victims were among the fresher looking of the whores. Most had only been on the streets for a short time and had not yet been twisted by drugs. The youngest victim had been Sixteen and had looked older. He did not appear to go after children. I guess that was a relief but it did not seem to help me any.

There had been no matching tire tracks near the disposal sites except for police and medical vehicles. I did not think that he had used a car to carry me to the mausoleum where he had taken me. He had been incredibly strong and I suspect he had carried me himself there. He had been incredibly fast and could run just about forever. A normal human could sprint at around fifteen miles per hour. Assuming that he could run at least that fast and never took a victim without having at least two or so hours to reach his daytime hiding place, this was a vast area to search, a thirty to sixty mile radius at a guess. There were vast areas of wilderness which were within thirty miles. It was rumored that Barry had a cabin somewhere hidden in the woods where he had taken some of the girls which he had taken.

Still, maybe there would be something out of the ordinary which would let me narrow down where he might be hiding. Vernon was working late tonight in the mad scramble from the last victims. There was definite panic in the homicide department. Picking up the phone, I dialed the number to Vernon's cell phone.

A few moments later her answered with a guarded "Yes."

"I have some knew thoughts about where we might find him," I stated. "Could you look in nearby jurisdictions to see if there are any unsolved murders, maybe an accidental death or suicides which involved a lot of blood loss. I am thinking he might be lairing somewhere outside of Seattle."

"I will see what I can find," he responded back and hung up the phone. I could only sit back and wait to see if Vernon could come up with anything.

A couple hours later, Vernon came through the door. It was after two in the morning. I came up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and saw him hanging his coat at the door, looking extremely tired but having what looked like a satisfied expression on his face. In his hands was a file. He tossed in on the table, "Over in Carnation,

there are reports of a murder, a suicide, and disappearance. All were women, fairly yong and attractive. They started about two weeks before the Vampire started hitting prostitutes here. The final was only four days before the first prostitute body was found in Seattle."

"Could you tell me a bit about them? I can read the reports on the later but I would like to get your point of view on them," I asked. I waited patiently for her to explain what he had read.

"Elizabeth Bell, age thirty one, was murdered in such a manner to look like suicide in a hot tub. Her wrists were cut. There was not enough blood in the tub though, so it was extremely suspicious. Actually, there was almost no blood in the tub. The problem is that the husband confessed. While he later recanted, the officers up there still believe that he did it. You know the deal, many recant after confessing. I doubt I would believe him either,"Vernon continued with. "There was no signs of her being restrained but she had been drinking a bit. When interviewed, the neighbors said that they had fought a lot as well. The cops up there apparently decided that the husband did it and it wrap up everything up nicely."

"The second, Katrina Hood, was twenty. She had a drinking problem and had a reputation of being a," Vernon paused for a moment and completed, "very active sexually active." He paused for several moments, "Apparently, she had attempted suicide before, when she had been in high school. It had been pills that time. The cops assumed that this time she had succeeded. Her wrists were also slit but in this case, the plug did not seat quite right and the tub slowly drained out. She had been dead several days. Her apartment was investigated after another tenant in the apartment she lived in complained about a smell. There was a faint ring of blood so they assume that it had all went down the drain. Again, case closed."

"Finally, we have Britney Shay. She was seventeen." Vernon paused again before continuing, "The cops believe that she ran away with her boyfriend Paul , who her parents do not approve of. She simply disappeared along with her boyfriend. He was nineteen. She had talked to some of her girlfriends that she was thinking of running away with him. The problem is that he had a car but it was found simply abandoned in the shopping center where she worked at. She worked at a Pizza shop and did not close up until about one in the morning. She told the last girl to leave, besides her, that she was waiting for her boyfriend. That was almost two. In the morning, they found his car abandoned and no sign of either Britney or her boyfriend. That was only four days before the first prostitute was killed by him."

"I showed all this to the chief," Vernon told me. "While the chief is a bit skeptical, she thinks that someone should at least go up there and talk to the officers up there. I volunteered to go up there. I was thinking you might want to see if you could see if he could sense him but I know that you cannot deal with the sun." He held out his hands to show he had no ideas.

For a second, I thought about riding in the trunk but there was not way I could deal with being locked up like that all day. I told him, "I can just drive up and meet you once the sun goes down. Maybe you can delay you trip until the afternoon and commandeer a police vehicle. Maybe telling them that you offered the vehicle for a friend to use for the day and you forgot. Now, why don't you see if you can get some sleep so that you will be able to function in the morning."

By Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2007, Kitsune. All rights reserved.