Hi Impurest Chameleon here with the voting thread for Character Creation Contest #23. Since Wildvine appears to be unavailable and the 8th March over all across the world it's time to chose a winner. PI's (long awaited) and octopus heads (not so long awaited) were the concept with no word limit at all. Voting closes at midnight of the 16th March GMT. Without further ado here are the entries.
From the interfering @impurestcheese we received this;
Files from the Black Casebook - The Case of the Cynote Killer
Hector Gomez was tall for a Mexican, at least the stereotypical Mexican that most of the gringos pictured. With a dark mop of hair but a well shaven pale face he often passed as an American despite his Latin roots. Based in El Paso he worked as an investigator not for the police but for the cities one true crime lord the mysterious Boccanegra, a man who none but a few had ever met. So when the woman dressed in an orange tank-top overlaid by a red cardigan emblazoned with a big ‘12’ on the back and a pair of chinos walked in at 10PM he knew just who she represented, still his Nona had taught him manners and he got to his feet as she placed a laptop on his desk.
“Buenas tardes señora. So what does the ‘Black Mouth’ need from me today?” He asked a warm smile on his face. Turning the screen on; he saw a shadowy figure sitting in a cane chair at a desk similar to his own. “My services are yours.”
“You have heard of the recent slayings among the Hispanic population, the ones the police are covering up. I want you to investigate and bring me the culprit; too many of my people have fallen to this vigilante.” Boccanegra explained his voice masked by several layers of voice masking software. “Your normal fee applied of course and you will be given a bonus on capture of the objective. My associated Siwang will be accompanying you,” He paused. “…for your own protection.”
“Of course. I will need to get a copy of the police reports before…” He stopped as Siwang dropped a heavy bound folder on his desk. “Oh I see you have already acquired the files.” He sighed as Boccanegra signed off. “So Señora where to first?” He asked as he stuffed his old police issue Glock 18 into his belt, before standing and loosening his shoulders. Siwang didn't answer and simply cocked her head, Hector knew that even at forty one he was able to turn heads, with a washboard stomach and the build of a professional footballer the lord had been kind to him as he aged.
“One of Bocanegra’s smugglers was killed two hours ago. His house connects to a tunnel network that links to Juarez across the border. His family knew they couldn't call the police so they phoned Boccanegra instead.” She stated as Hector led the way out of his office and onto the fire escape before sliding down the ladder onto the roof of the garage where he kept his old Shelby Cobra. Siwang followed him carrying the files but despite that managed to land silently and with no apparent effort. Typing the address into his satnav the pair drove away towards the house of the slain man.
“So what do the files say?” Hector asked as he sped past two parked police cars and gave the two officers the usual one finger salute.
“Each victim was Latino, killed in their own home.” Siwang announced. “Each one was killed by a circular multiple stabbing action, the Police thought it was a shotgun blast until they didn’t find any buckshot in the wounds. Their current analysis is some kind of five pronged instrument with slightly recurved blades. All the victims were stripped from the waist up and had their eyes removed with some kind of recurved knife. Both weapons are ceramic and contain traces of volcanic glass. No valuables were taken and there were no fingerprints and little DNA evidence, what little evidence that we have about the suspect suggests he is male.”
“No eyes. Sounds like a ritual killing to me.” Hector suggested as he pulled up to a long low house in the suburbs of El Paso. It was unremarkable but then most murder scenes were until you looked closer. Walking to the door he pushed it open and listened, there was nobody inside, nobody living was inside this home. “Bocanegra say where the body is?” Hector asked as he walked through a slightly messy kitchen, the fridge door ajar with the light off. Casually he flicked the switch and wasn't surprised when the lights failed to banish the darkness. “Got a torch?” He added as Siwang removed the handbow attached to her belt and turned on the tactical light mounted underneath it.
“I can smell incense.” Siwang sighed. “I think its water lily scent. Maybe somebody was here to witness the attack?”
“Doubtful this room doesn’t suggest a woman live here.” Hector stated as the pair walked upstairs. Reaching the landing Hector bent down and ran his finger through the dusty footprints on the carpet. “This could have been trodden in by the killer, the floor was tile downstairs so we didn't notice the deposits but up here it’s obvious.” He told Siwang as she pushed the door open to reveal a dead Hispanic man, his torso uncovered to reveal his stab wounds and his hands over his eyes.
“There’s the body.” She whispered before watching as Hector slipped some gloves on and pulled the man’s hands down to reveal his extracted eyes. “I think the optical surgery was done perimortem, it would explain why he covered his eyes. My question is why would anyone stay still while this was being done.” Hector listened half heartedly as he looked at the chest wound.
“Make a claw.” He ordered as Siwang put down her weapon and made a classic claw shape with her fingers. “Hmm the murder weapon isn't a knife or a single implement but more likely a gauntlet that slipped over the fingers to give the illusion the attacker had claws or talons. The weapon is most likely obsidian tipped to give the fingers it covers a cutting edge.” He added as Siwang picked up her crossbow. “The extraction of the eye suggests someone with surgical experience since the entire optical construct has been removed.”
“So this guy is a doctor?” Siwang stated. “You mentioned a ritual purpose in the car? Do we have any leads on that?” She asked.
“Not as yet. The soil is a good lead, its damp limestone which means our killer has been underground recently.” Hector analysed. “You mentioned smuggling tunnels, which is a logical place to enter and exit the house unseen.” He announced as he headed back to the stairs. Siwang cocked her head and followed the pair racing downstairs into the basement, the walls lined with smuggled weapons. “Wow what is Boccanegra planning World War Three?” Hector asked as he picked up a corner shot attachment and examined it.
“One of the weapons is missing.” Siwang stated blankly before pointing to a table with an obvious space where a firearm should be. Picking up a clipboard she ran through the list before stopping on an entry halfway down. “There was a case of M23 Chemical Mines here but now there gone. Wait there’s something here? It looks like a feather.” She stated passing the quill to Hector.
“Should be worries about these mines?” Hector asked as he removed his mobile phone and snapped a picture and sent it attached to a text.
“No Bocanegra has the contents moved separately after the BZ gas inside was stolen from the last shipment.” Siwang answered as Hector’s phone beeped.
“The feather belongs to a Horned Owl. Strange that it would be down here.” He added as Siwang opened up a hatch in the basement and dropped down. Attaching the corner shot to his pistol Hector turned on the built in flash light and surveillance camera and the pair headed south towards the first intersection, the pair of lights barely illuminating the walls. “This is sandstone we need to go deeper.” Hector stated as he rubbed the wall as they reached the intersection a dark shape darting across the gap and heading to the left. Travelling in hot pursuit Siwang sprinted off before stopping as she reached a small chamber an ancient well sunk into the ground, white smoke flowing up the shaft.
“I found the way to get deeper.” She announced pointing at the well cover that had been ripped off, a rusty iron ladder leading down.
“Did you get a good look at that?” Hector asked as he replayed the footage captured by the corner shot. “That person was covered in feathers and their eyes…those aren’t human.” He added as Siwang squinted at the footage.
“Bad resolution, the image is warped.” She snidely remarked. “There is no such thing as owl monsters just psychopaths in masks.”
“Really!” Hector snorted. “Because I know about you Siwang Patron Saint of Crime, how the police think you're a demon, most criminals think you're nothing but a folk legend and the public see you as a ghost. Maybe there is no such thing as supernatural entities but the human mind plays tricks on you.” He added before throwing an oxidised rivet ripped out of the well down the main shaft. “Wow that’s deep. You want to go first?” He asked causing Siwang to roll her eyes before climbing down the ladder.
“I’m not a spiritual person.” She stated as she descended. “People are making me more than I am. They let their imaginations run wild, let primal nature take over when cold hard facts could easily reveal the truth. Hmm I'm at the bottom and I found your limestone.” She added. Not wasting any time Hector climbed down and in a few minutes both of them were at the bottom, damp limestone clinging at their boots before they climbed out of the river and into a massive antechamber lined with alcoves carved by human hands.
“This…this is a find.” Hector whispered, “We could be rich and famous. These carvings are similar to Aztec architecture reaching out. “They…wait there are bodies.”
“I see dead people too.” Siwang gulped, “They are not Aztecs.” she added pointing to one figure still partially clad in a T-shirt. “My guess they were immigrants who got lost in the tunnels.”
“Or were lead astray.” Hector answered. “There are cuts around the optical lobes, all appear to have had the procedure down post-mortem, our killer honed his skills down here.”
“Didn't the Aztecs practice ritual sacrifice?” Siwang asked as something darted from one of the alcoves across the room into the one on the opposite wall. “We are being shadowed.”
“They did.” Hector answered swinging his light around as the sound of claws against metal could be heard from one of the alcoves. “But that was heart sacrifice not the eyes and there was no evidence of cardiovascular stress or removal in the coroner's reports. As far as I know there was nothing in Aztec culture that involved the removal of eyeballs.” He added as a shadowy figure leapt out and darted past them and into another alcove.
“My bow string just got cut.” Siwang gasped as both lights flickered out and an eerie glow joined by chanting sounded from the next chamber. Cautiously the pair edged out to see a pit crossed by wooden planks to a disc shaped altar flanked by a pair of alcoves in the wall. Looking down Hector could see rows and rows of corpse like figures standing at attention and all appearing to chant the same name ‘Mictlantecuhtli’. Hector vaguely remembered the name and seeing a picture of the figure, a man with decayed flesh, a necklace of eyeballs strung around him and owl feather for hair. “So it’s a cult.” He mumbled under his breath.
“The chemical mines, I found them.” Siwang stated unaware of the monstrous figure behind her. Hector went for the trigger but the figure was terrifying and his finger froze as Siwang turned and lashed out, her knife bouncing off the owl man’s face as he dragged her away towards the alter. Panicking Hector ran in the other way before feeling someone grab him from behind and drag him back. By now there was screaming mixed in with the chanting and he could see Siwang now naked save for her lingerie tied to the alter, the owl man standing over her. Shaking his head he tried to clear the image and for a moment he saw something else before the terrifying vision returned as he was stuffed in an alcove.
“A surgeon, ritual killings, people smuggling, mass grave of immigrants, Mictlantecuhtli and the chemical mines.” He grunted before reaching for his Glock and corner shot. Struggling he set the weapon up as the crowd got louder and Siwang struggled to break the rusted chains she was bound down by. Getting it into position he pulled the trigger, the round slashing through the Owl Man’s eye and sending him flailing into the corpse pit. Collapsing he crawled forward and with much effort released his partner.
“I take it back there are supernatural things out there.” Siwang gaped as her pupils dilated and contracted uncontrollably. “I just want to get out of here.”
“Calm down I got him.” Hector said holding her and brushing the sweat off his own brow. “You were right. The men killed were all people smugglers; they led the immigrants down here and sealed them in after robbing them. I remember an article about a man who claimed he’d escaped and died in surgery at hospital. The surgeon was acquitted but had his licence revoked before vanishing. He found the mass grave and snapped, dressed up as the priest of Mictlantecuhtli in homage to the dead and took revenge.”
“That thing isn't human.” Siwang stated.
“Yes he is, the reason we see him like that is due to the gas release we saw at the well. He used the BZ gas to make his victims hallucinate and to incapacitate them, we’re feeling the side effects now due to a delayed reactions. The ‘corpse’ audience was a hallucination as well; the pit is most likely empty.”
“He’s a monster.” Siwang gulped. “He’s not a man.”
“I'll prove it to you.” Hector told her as he picked her up and walked over to where the body was. Looking down he saw it wasn't there so he probed the area with his foot and found nothing to suggest a body lay there. The priest of Mictlantecuhtli was gone; Hector shook his head again and saw the owl like figure standing on the other side of the makeshift bridge before witnessing it dash away into a shadowy alcove.
“Did you…” Siwang gulped.
“Just a hallucination still lets get out of here.” Hector announced. “This is no place for the living.”
From the bewildering @batkevin74 we got this;
I looked at her and back at the photo again. I didn’t know what to say. I thought I’d seen it all but along comes, well this.
“So…?” I pause mainly due to the fact I have no idea what I’m looking at. My cigarette dangles on my bottom lip like flag in a light breeze. “What exactly do you want me to do?”
She batted her eyelid and recrossed her legs, I swear I saw her Garden of Eden but it could be a trick of the light due to the spinning ceiling fan being in the worst possible location. Slowly she took out a long filter for her cigarette and places it on her ruby lips.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Her voice was like audio bourbon, not the cheap watered down panther piss them Italian goombahs ship across from Canada but the real deal.
“Lady,” I ash my cigarette and shine my desk lamp straight into her beautiful angel face “There’s a photograph here of what looks like you, being attacked by a guy with an octopus on his head!”
“That’s my sister,” she replied the words mixing with the exhalation of smoke that they almost formed a speech bubble like the Sunday funnies.
“This is why I’m hiring you,” she reached into her purse and produced a wad of bills the size of a Reuben sandwich. “And it’s not on his head…”
I look into her eyes, trying to fathom what she means before clicking off the light. “Let me get this straight; your sister, who is your twin…”
“Identical twin has gone missing after having a date with octopus head face guy? That about right?”
She looked at me, I mean really looked at me. I think I fell in love there and then. She could’ve asked me to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and I’d be in my car on the fourteen hour journey to get there by the time she’d finished saying bridge.
“Basically,” She lied. There was more to it but I didn’t give a hoot. She tossed the money onto the desk as she stood. “So will you help me Mr Donald?”
I normally hate being called Mr Donald, that was my rat bastard father’s name, but she could’ve called me horse crap and I was going to say yes.
“Rick.” I held out my hand and then realised what an idiot I was being trying to shake a ladies hand that I jammed it into my trousers ripping the pocket and making the dimes I had run down my leg and spill on the floor.
“Jackpot.” She said with a wink and like that she was gone, leaving me on my hands and knees picking up loose change.
I make a dash downtown to see some acquaintances. It’s 2am, a time when normal decent people are in bed. Which is why I’m wide awake and heading to the Green Door. You either know about the Green Door or you don’t. From the outside it’s just, well a green door. But inside it’s heaven.
“Father Finnegan!” I tap on the door. Soon a large Negro man wearing priestly vestments answers the door.
“What choo want my son?” He always sounds like he learnt to talk five minutes ago.
“Weekly confession.” I flick him a note and he carefully ushers me inside. Finnegan gives me the casual obligatory pat down, mainly to check I am packing. Only Jews and mad man come here unarmed. He unlocks the second green door and swings it open. It’s like the opening of a Broadway show. Lights, noise, dancing girls, gambling and glorious overpriced booze that the government stupidly doesn’t want us to have. Only people making money out of the Volstead Act are the government and the criminals. Us poor Joes get caught in the middle.
I love the bubbly way she says my name. Her name is Roxy, she’s a matchstick girl. We once had a thing, well a near thing…actually it was nothing. She’s coulda been mine. If I’d been smarter, kinder, richer and about a dozen other things we’d be livin somewhere getting fat and old. But my work, her work, it just wasn’t meant to be.
“Roxy.” I slip her a bunch of notes into her top “With interest.”
She giggles like Clara Bow, gives me a peck on the cheek “Always knew you were good for it. I gotta go for a spin but I’ll see you.”
She glides off hawking matches, cigars and other things. I turn to watch the girls doing the can-can. It’s hypnotic watching nine of them in unison kicking their legs. Could watch it for days but that’s not why I’m here. I scan the room and finally see him sitting at a table telling stories that them Warner Brothers outta put’em on the screen. He pauses midsentence to acknowledge me and turns back to the gaggle who hangs on his every word. “…twelve little kids dressed like schmucks following a big schmuck dressed like a kid!”
They roar with laughter, I’ve heard his Boy Scout routine before. I give him a tap on the shoulder which sets up his next bit. Jimmy shoots to his feet.
“Do you mind sir?”
The gaggle goes quiet. The sudden silence spreads like a pond ripple. He winks at me.
“I don’t mind at all.” I reply.
Jimmy pauses, sucks them all in and deadpans “Then who’s minding my kids?” Another pause then he breaks into a smile and boom they’re all laughing. He hugs me and moves us away to a corner.
“You’re an excellent straight man,” he says lighting up a cigar “What brings you here?”
“You and your eyesight”
He straightens up with a quizzical look on his. I pull out the photo. “Ignore the octopus tango, what does that name on the desk say?”
“What in the Sam Hill is that?” he exclaims.
“Costume party.” It’s the easiest answer since I don't have an answer.
Jimmy holds the photo up to the light and bends backwards like them freaky Vaudevillians. I don’t question it coz it produces results. Jimmy Tedesco was one of the best forgers around. I didn’t tell him how to do his job; he didn’t tell me how to do mine. Probably why we got along so well.
“J. Fairchild Esquire,” he said as he handed it back to me “The certificate on the wall says he graduated Harvard law.”
I shake Jimmy’s hand with a few notes. “Here’s one for you; a cannibal goes into a restaurant. And orders the waiter.”
Jimmy smiles politely and pats me on the back “Not half bad. Now I’ve been hearing rumours of weird stuff, like your cephalopodic friend.”
“He ain’t a Jew?”
Jimmy looks at me; it’s the look of correcting a child “Cephalopod. It’s name scientific genus for octopus and squid.”
He was usually right, not always but he spoke with authority and surety that it sounded right anyways. I hightail it outta there before Roxy comes back from her lap, she’ll be annoyed but she’ll live.
From the Crafty @cbishop we got this;
So a private eye walks into his lawyer's office, finds her struggling with an octopus guy, and he's got his tentacles all over her. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, right? Well, that's my life now. One bad joke after another. From the doorway I said, "It's not funny, Jeanine." Jeanine Fairchild, Esquire, my attorney and business partner- we share the office space.
"Oh, Solomon!" cried Jeanine, throwing a hand to her forehead and kicking her heel in the air. "Get this thing off of me!"
I repeated, "It's not funny, Jeanine. Turn him back."
"Solomon Seal!" she pleaded. "This is no time for games! Help me! Shoot it"
I didn't move from the doorway. "I said turn my brother back, Jeanine. Now."
Suddenly undisturbed by the tentacles entangling her, Jeanine looked at me cooly for a few seconds, then stomped the foot she had raised in the air. "Damn! How'd you know it was him?"
"He's wearing my dad's watch," I answered. "He hardly ever takes it off. Plus I was expecting him. Now turn Titus back to normal."
She raised an eyebrow. "Why should I?"
"Because it's been a long night, I'm not in the mood, and I'm hungry."
Still in the embrace of my brother the octo-man, she put a hand on her hip and said, "Well, so am I. You haven't paid me in two months." Okay, so I rent my part of the office space from her. Lawyers.
I narrowed my eyes at her. "You don't eat. At least not anything you'd pay for."
She threw me a petulant look, "I paid for you, didn't I?"
"That was a charity bachelor auction, and you took advantage!" I said perhaps a little too sharply.
She poked out her bottom lip and gave me the puppy dog eyes. "You didn't seem to think I was taking advantage then," she cooed.
"Yeah, well, when you said you were going to eat me up, I didn't think you meant it literally!" I barked. It's exactly what it sounds like. I partnered with Jeanine about a year ago to do private investigations for her clients or in relation to her cases. We got friendly, we got flirty, and then came the bachelor auction. She paid an obscene amount of money to charity for a date with me, we went out, and things led to her place. While I was handcuffed to her headboard, she drained my main vein of enough blood to keep her alive and make me one of the undead... and I've still got the bite marks to prove it. "Now enough! Turn him back!"
She rolled her eyes, huffed, snapped her fingers, and Titus turned back to normal. "Oh, relax, crabby. We were just having some fun. Weren't we Up-Titus?" She stroked my brother's cheek and made a kiss face at him. He backed away quickly. Jeanine gave him a low growl.
I put a hand on her shoulder and said, "Down, girl." She sneered. "Tito..."
"Tito!" Jeanine cut in. "Tito? Oh, Solomon, you are just too cute." She smiled a wicked, scheming smile which almost certainly meant Titus was in for more torture later.
I looked at her dubiously. "You think I'm 'cute?'"
She tilted her hazel eyes my way and said, "Aw. Yeah... and your little bro, too." She winked at Tito, and he backed up more, until he hit the window. "There's something very special about him." She waggled her eyebrows.
"Tito," I said again. Jeanine giggled. "You okay?" He was focused on Jeanine and didn't answer, so I snapped my fingers a few times and waved until I got his attention, then asked again, "Are you okay?" Titus flicked his eyes back at Jeanine, then slowly back to me. He lifted his hands tentatively, then began waving them around furiously.
"Hey! Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Hey! Hey! Slow down! You know I'm new to this." He began signing again, still going a little too fast, but I followed most of it.
"He's deaf?" asked Jeanine. She sounded almost genuinely concerned. "When did this happen?"
"He's not deaf, he's mute," I corrected her, "and it happened the same time you happened."
"Me? I didn't do this!" she protested. "I only turned him into an octopus! He couldn't talk then, but that shouldn't be lingering now that he's back to normal."
"No, Jeanine, it happened right after you turned me into a...into this." She looked at me reproachfully. I still have a hard time saying the word. "We had that brownout a few months ago. My fridge was out long enough for my blood stores to spoil. Tito found me in a bad state, and he let me have some of his blood."
"Let you?" echoed Jeanine.
"Yes, Jeanine, he let me. He's my brother, and he cares for me that much. But I almost took too much. He went into shock, and the trauma drove him mute. The doctors say..."
"Doctors?" Jeanine cut in again. "You involved doctors? How many? Where? What were you thinking?" she fired in rapid succession.
I fired back, "Yes I did, a few, nevermind where, and I was thinking of my brother, not about keeping the ancient secret of Jeanine Fairchild."
We glowered at each other for about two seconds before she snarled, grabbed me by the throat, lifted me bodily off of the floor and slammed me against the wall, causing her Ivy League diploma to crash to the floor. "That 'ancient secret' is now your secret too, and you'd better get real serious real quick about protecting it. Doctors are too curious- they want to study vampirism and figure it out. They get ideas about being published in medical journals and winning humanitarian awards. We can't afford that kind of scrutiny." She glanced at the diploma in the floor and added, "You're paying to reframe that."
Once she loosened her grip a bit, I said, "Exactly. They want to study it, and I'm paying them to do so, which is why I haven't paid you for the last two months. You can afford it. The money keeps them quiet and that lure of medical fame keeps them going. I'll take any chance I can get to undo this condition."
"'Condition?' You're a vampire, Solomon. Get used to it. I've been around for ages. You think I haven't hired doctors to try to figure this out before?" She locked eyes with me, but when Titus shifted to move from the window, she pointed at him without looking, and he quickly pressed back against the window sill.
"When was the last time you tried? 1897? About the time Bram Stoker wrote Dracula?" Jeanine was surprised by that, and couldn't cover it before I raised an eyebrow that let her know she was caught.
Refusing defeat, she countered, "Actually, they had been working on it since 1893, and Bram Stoker is exactly my point! One of those doctors couldn't resist telling him all about what they had found, and he wrote that bloody book. He took license to embellish, of course."
I eased away from the wall as I said gently, "That's just it, Jeanine. Science and medicine have changed since then. These three are excited and highly motivated to unlock the mystery of vampirism."
Jeanine crossed her arms and gave me a look that said she was back on top. "Three, huh?" She smiled wickedly.
Damn. "Yes, three, Jeanine. And if any of them get out of line, you can eat them." What can I say? When you're dealing with a monster as old and powerful as Jeanine, pick your battles. "In the meantime... let them try. Okay?"
She took a deep breath and gave me an icy stare. "Fine, but you are wasting your time, and when they fail, I will kill them."
"My time to waste. Do you mind if I eat now?"
She raised an eyebrow at me and said, "You don't eat either."
"Not true. I still enjoy hamburgers, a good New York strip, and on occasion, that shrimp fettuccine I had for dinner before you had me for dinner." I smirked.
Jeanine shook her head. "You're never going to let that go, are you?"
"You turned me into a monster, Jeanine. That's kind of hard to forget." I looked at her unapologetically, and she had nothing to say.
I walked over to Tito who was rolling up his sleeve. He took off dad's watch and offered me his wrist. I leaned in to bite, and Jeanine said, "I thought you said he never takes off that watch?"
I stopped and looked at her. "I said 'hardly ever.' When I need some of his blood, he lets me take it from his wrist. The artery lets me take what I need faster, and the watchband covers the bite marks." I leaned back in and bit into Tito's wrist, feeding for about twenty seconds- enough to get by.
Jeanine had watched curiously. "So you force your own brother to feed you? My, I did create a monster."
I licked my lips and wiped the corner of my mouth with my thumb. "No, I don't force him. He helps me when I don't have any other way. Right now, I'm paying the doctors, so the blood banks are unavailable to me."
"You've been doing this for awhile then?" she asked.
"On and off," I nodded.
"But he's not enthralled to you, or turned?" She looked at Titus, genuinely interested.
I shrugged. "He's never shown any signs of it. Should he be?" I really didn't know. I tried to stick to the blood banks. Anyone else I'd taken blood from, I didn't leave them alive to observe the side effects, and we have a system for disposing of those bodies. There are other creatures out there that have to eat too.
Jeanine's eyes lit up and she slunk back over to Tito, eyeing him up and down like a prized sports car. "A natural immunity?" she gasped. "Myyy, Solomon, I was right- he is special." She caressed the left side of his face while growling low in his right ear. Tito closed his eyes and swallowed hard. Jeanine kissed his cheek quickly, cupped his chin in a firm grip, and looking at me with a big smile, she said, "Let's keep him safe! He could come in handy one day!" She gave his cheek a couple of playful slaps and snuggled her face against his before letting him go. Tito sagged back against the window for a few seconds, getting himself together.
"Stop, Jeanine. I don't play with your food." I looked at Tito and shrugged, "Sorry bro'. Bad joke." One after another, just like I said. He waved me off a little shakily, deciding to slide down to the floor.
I turned to Jeanine and was about to speak when I noticed a red dot dancing around her forehead. I got wide eyed and yelled, "Tito! Get down!" I dove for Titus as a bullet crashed through the window and sent Jeanine tumbling backwards over her desk and into the floor.
She snarled inhumanly as a mist rose from behind her desk and came towards us, deepening to a fog. Her face formed from the fog very close to mine and she growled, "You couldn't knock me out of the way? What if that bullet had been silver? If I die, you die!"
"That's a chance I'm willing to take. Titus is my first concern. You've 'been around for ages,' right? I figure you can survive just about anything." Unfortunately.
She looked livid, sounded worse. "We're going to have a talk about your attitude later, Solomon." She roared in anger and crashed out the window, pursuing whoever shot at her. The glass was for effect- she could have just as easily misted out the window.
It didn't matter though. Hudson was gone as soon as he took the shot. That's the way my older brother and I had planned it. Like I said: you have to pick your battles. Distracting my landlord from the diverted rent money, from disemboweling the doctors I diverted it to, and from devouring my baby brother were the battles that most needed fighting today. Tomorrow's battles will be replacing the window, getting Jeanine's diploma reframed, and convincing her that the shot wasn't meant for her. I help Tito up, see him out the door, and head across town to meet my contact at the morgue. He's been keeping a body fresh for me, and tomorrow, that will be Jeanine's "shooter."
Until then, there's work to do. Always is for a vampire P.I.
From the funky @frangipan we got this entry;
It was a dreary day.
To be honest Derek couldn't remember any day that had a different adjective. "Dreary." Deary was the soundtrack to Derek's life. Not that he had a life.
I don't mean "Oh Derek has no life!"
I mean "Derek is no longer breathing! Call 999"
Sure maybe Derek still had a functioning mind but that only added to dreariness of his days. If his brain no longer functioned things would be a lot easier. Now his life was just a long boring nightmare. He didn't know if this was supposed to happen when you finally bit the dust, all he knew was that it had happened - and he wasn't happy about it.
It was a pretty rubbish afterlife. When people talk of afterlife they talk of the pearly gates opening up to a jaw dropping land of never ending happiness. Or a vast red desert of burning lava inhabited by flying demons whose employee title is 'Make everyone's life hell.'
'Well' Thought Derek bitterly
'I'd rather have the desert than this.'
His afterlife consisted of a few basic ingredients for a normal life, with some wildcards thrown in to turn it all on its head.
Everyone was scared of Derek! Anybody that so much as glimpsed Derek would run away at breakneck speed with a backward glance of pure horror. Derek couldn't understand it - he didn't do anything to them yet they ran away as fast as The Flash on steroids.
As if this horror wasn't enough another one was thrown into the mix. Derek had absolutely no control over his body! Some sort of strange force controlled whatever he did and wherever he went. His efforts to move himself were in vain, the strange force took him wherever it damn well pleased. It was agony for Derek.
The cherry on the top was the last wildcard. His brain was in a joint partnership with his best pal ‘The Strange Force.’ It was as if all Dereks thoughts were being jumbled up and rearranged in a unrecognisable order. He could think straight for inconsistent amounts of time but then without warning he be taken on a trip to nothing land. In nothing land Derek couldn’t see or hear anything - because there is simply nothing to see or hear, but he could think. Derek knew that once he left this strange state of mind he wouldn’t remember anything that he had been thinking about. It was as if he had two different sets of brains, one for the ‘Everyones scared of me’ land and one for the ‘Nothing is here land.’ Anything he thought about in Nothing land he wouldn’t remember when he got back to Scared land, and vice versa. There was only one exception to this rule the thought ‘I’ve just been in Nothing land’
Once Derek returned to Nothing land he’d remember everything he’d forgotten about in Scared land, so any train of thought he’d been in the middle of Derek could resume on his next visit. It was all very frustrating.
Right now Derek was enjoying his stay in nothing land. Derek was once again pondering how he had ended up in this predicament.
“Perhaps it was something to do with the way I died” Derek suggested to himself.
Derek knew this was just clutching at straws but no other thoughts came to mind so he went with it. Derek’s death had certainly been odd but to suggest it had any relevance to his situation was laughable. In life Derek had worked as a cleaner at a big aquarium, although he had a sort of part time job as a private investigator, that was his real passion. He didn’t mind the job but it had been tiresome. The thing that had kept Derek going was an octopus. An octopus called Trevor. You see this was no ordinary octopus, Its widely known octopuses are extremely clever but Trevor was on another level. You see while the average octopus could predict the World Cup Trevor could read minds. That’s how they communicated - Derek would think what he wanted to say and Trevor would get the message telepathically. And when Trevor wanted to speak to Derek he would send a message to Derek’s brain via his power. Derek had always thought they had a special connection - until his very last moments.
Derek was scrubbing the floors as he did everyday when he heard Trevor calling for him.
Derek come to my tank, I wish for your company
The scrubbing would lead him there eventually so he obliged. When Derek reached the glass he could see Trevor clearly his dark pink tentacles glittered in the bright light.
Derek I must ask a big favour of you
Derek didn’t know what the octopus wanted doing - he was rife with curiosity
What is the favour you ask, Trevor?
Trevor squirmed as if taking a deep breath
I want you to set me free
Derek was shocked
You know as well as I do that I’d lose my job
Trevor eyed him shrewdly
Friendship is more important than a job
You would die anyway you can’t breathe out of water
Oh, you know me I’m very resourceful
Derek was suspicious. Trevor had never asked anything of Derek before and what a way to start.
I’m not going to let you die Trevor
Trevor banged a tentacle against the glass
I said set me free
Derek was angry now
Suddenly a terrible pain shot up his entire body, it was like nothing he’d ever experienced before. It was like a white hot knife being twisted around in his brain. He writhed on the floor in agony.
He tried to scream but no sound came out.
I said do it. Ordered Trevor
Derek eyed the vicious beast he’d always thought of as kind and gentle. He was lost for words.
Derek feared another attack. He picked up a hammer the builders had forgotten, and set to work on the glass.
The only good thing about his situation was Derek’s tank was separate from the rest of the aquarium he was careful to avoid smashing glass outside of his tank; he didn’t want the jellyfish flying towards him, and drowning didn’t seem a very nice prospect.
The sound of hammer hitting glass was deafening in such a quiet area. The glass cracked into a spiral but didn’t brake.
The full force of water from Trevor's tank knocked Derek off his feet. He spluttered out the water he’d gulped up. The reality of his decision kicked in, he’d lose his job and probably never get another one. He’d be charged for vandalism and misconduct and the death of a octopus. Plus the hefty fine he undoubtedly be paying.
Sadly these were the least of his worries…
The shock knocked him over. something wet and slimy was suffocating him. Derek struggled with the thing, it seemed to have completely wrapped itself around his head. The revelation hit him - The thing was Trevor. His faithful pet had turned on him and in the most vicious way possible. Derek struggled for breath, but his efforts were in vain. He felt himself losing consciousness his very last thought was angry and vicious and directed at this evil thing he’d called a friend.
And thats how Derek died, and now he was stuck in this predicament. Wait a thought raced through Dereks mind at 100 miles an hour. Trevor had always been far too clever what if-
Derek returned to Scared land. He wondered what he’d been thinking about in nothing land but once again no idea. Didn’t matter much he’d resume it later.
Derek viewed his surroundings he was walking down a rainy london street. Derek vaguely wondered where he was going - he didn’t really care everyone ran away anyway.
The road turned left and he found himself on Oxford Street. As usual tons of shoppers crowded the area but for now no one was running away from him. Derek looked down at the floor away from all people. He realised he was wearing a wide brimmed cowboy hat. No one would be able to see his face. Maybe the reason for people running away from him was due to his face thought Derek. Perhaps he was severely deformed or something.
Derek walked into selfridges, He had no idea why he was going in here he hated shopping. He walked into the makeup area. What the hell was he doing! Derek accidentally knocked into a woman due to the fact he was staring at the floor.
“Watch where you’re going you idiot!”
Derek looked up.
For gods sake! Derek was tired of this now angered flared inside him. He tried to hit the woman and he actually did. What? moments ago he’d had no control over himself, had his anger suddenly made him regain control. Derek revelled in his new found control, he hit the woman again. He was still in a fit of rage he hated this constant screaming.
The womans face bruised a deep shade of purple. Security ran forward, Derek didn’t notice he was so angry, the crowd blocked the guards way they wouldn’t get there quickly. Derek checked his pockets for his swiss army knife he always used to carry. It was there. He flicked out the blade with a flamboyant gesture enjoying the movement of his arm. He was in such a state of ecstasy and rage he didn’t even register what he was doing.
The blade cut a line diagonally across the womans face. She screamed - He hated screaming.
Another line her face now had a cross etched into it.
The security were closer now - close enough to shoot. They levelled their guns at the creature that stood before them.
Derek died instantly. His body fell to the ground.
Trevor lept up in a spazm. He was dying. The only way he’d been able to survive out of water was by attaching himself to Derek and bending him to his will with telekinesis. Now Derek was dead it was only seconds before he died. He had adjusted himself to breathing out of water by sharing Derek’s bodily needs. Now Derek was dead he couldn’t breathe.
The New York Times
The horrific scenes today at Selfridges, that'll be bad for business