Warning! This is a horror/dark fiction story so may be disturbing to some. There is strong language and sexual situations.
The rain was falling with a fury beyond the shelter of the striped canopy overhanging Scatter’s neon-lit facade. The two couples huddled at the curb squinted into the darkness, acclimating themselves to the abrupt change from the brightly lit interior of the restaurant.
“Your ticket, Sir?” The fresh-faced parking attendant, his short red jacket showing beneath the clear plastic raincoat he wore, hurried up to Straight Razor Dan from the shelter of his ticket booth.
The hunter waved him away, turning to the others with what appeared to be an embarrassed smile. “I’m afraid I goofed,” he said, pointing down the poorly lit sidewalk. “The valets were backed up when I got here so I just parked down the street and walked back.” He produced a set of keys and took a tentative step toward the wet pavement. “Why don’t you three stay put here and I’ll go get the car… No sense all of us getting wet.”
Summer felt as if a great weight had been lifted from her. While the prince was gone she would somehow convince the innocent humans to flee. Then, when he returned for her she would entice him to take her hunting for another human, a bad one like the male who had attacked her at Bobby’s apartment; someone who deserved to die.
Her heart sank as the tall female produced a slender rod from the bag she carried, extending it to form a round canopy of shiny fabric.
“Don’t anybody panic,” laughed April Strysik. “We St. Louis girls never go anyplace without our ‘brollys. Come on, we can all squeeze under here.” She took the prince’s arm possessively and led him into the rain. Summer felt the big male take her arm and they all hurried out into the downpour.
“I don’t see any Mercedes,” said John, bending to yell into her ear. “Hey, Dan old buddy, hope nobody ripped off your car.”
The prince turned to regard the male, drops of water glittering on the lenses of his glasses. John looked from his face to Summer’s, cocking his head quizzically. “I been meanin’ to ask how come you both wear them dark glasses at night,” he said.
“Silly boy,” laughed April, “It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?” He gave her a blank look. “They don’t want to be recognized,” she said in a stage whisper.
“Oh yeah, I get it,” he grinned. “Who are you guys anyway? I mean, I don’t watch much TV….”
“Here we are,” said the prince, leading them into a narrow alleyway.
“You got to be kidding,” said John, hesitating. “You parked your Mercedes in there?
“Last place a thief would think to look,” smiled the prince, disappearing into the shadows with the tall female.
John leaned closer to Summer. “Your friend’s a little strange, isn’t he?”
“Run, John,” she hissed into his ear. “Run for your life.”
The big male straightened and stared at her. “Huh?”
“Run, damn you!” she whispered again, pushing him roughly away from the dark alley. “He’ll kill you.”
“Hey, what the hell is this?” he yelled angrily, whirling back to face her.
Something moved at the limits of her peripheral vision and she turned her head in time to see a dark shadow hurtling out of the shadows. She ripped off the dark lenses as the prince, his fighting teeth bared, struck John squarely in the chest, the sudden ferocity of his attack knocking the big man to the pavement.
John’s eyes widened in disbelief as the death’s head poised above his throat, then slashed down to rip at the soft flesh above his necktie. The man’s body went limp as the poison surged through his system. Stunned by the swift slaughter, Summer stood watching in frozen terror. The prince’s head withdrew from the bloody ruin of the prey after a long moment and he glared up at her with gleaming yellow eyes.
“The female,” he rasped through the veil of blood dripping from his jaws. “Take the female while I get this one off the street.”
Nodding dumbly, she turned and ran into the alleyway.
April Strysik’s heart thundered in her chest, pounding so hard she was sure it would burst.
She was running blindly down the narrow unlit corridor, her feet bare feet splashing noisily through black puddles. She had kicked off her shoes in the first moment after the attack, ducking and running as Daniel’s glowing eyes flickered away from her at the sound of some commotion on the sidewalk.
Her breath was coming in ragged gasps and her tortured brain tried frantically to piece together what had happened. She had stepped into the pitch black alleyway a step ahead of Daniel, reassured by the feel of his hand on her arm and sure that he was about to kiss her. She had just made some comment about being unable to see his car when she had felt him stop and turn her around, then…. April’s mind reeled at the memory of the hard yellow eyes staring down from the darkness, the impossibly widening grin peeling back to reveal rows of sharp teeth…. She wanted desperately to scream–to scream and keep on screaming–but she hadn’t the breath. Run, she told herself, run or it will kill you!
Something cold and yielding smashed into her face and chest and she was thrown violently backward, landing on her back in a puddle of cold water. She looked up dazedly at the silvery pattern of a high chain link fence topped with coiled strands of barbed wire, realizing that she had run headlong into it.
Warm squares of yellow light shone down from the windows of a tall building beyond the fence. April opened her mouth to scream for help. Nothing came out but a harsh whisper as her tortured lungs fought for more oxygen.
Run! Her survival instinct took over and she scrambled to her knees, feeling the satiny fabric of the foolish dress rip. Why hadn’t she gone to Disneyland with Shelly and Joyce? She imagined them now, cozily huddled in an ice cream parlor on Main Street, whispering about how foolish she had been; later coming to the morgue to identify her body…. No! She had to run. To get away!
Get away from the… It!
Her stomach churned and she knew she was going to throw up, the bitter taste of the wine rising in her esophagus.
No, goddammit! She forced herself to stand, leaning against the cold wire of the fence for support. She was only twenty-eight years old. She was going to get rich and buy a BMW and marry somebody nice and have kids, not die in some fucking Los Angeles alley.
Please God! Yeah, right! April stopped herself from praying. A lot of good that’s going to do you now, my girl, she thought. God didn’t get you into this mess and he’s not going to get you out. You gotta do it yourself, babe. Just pull yourself together and get the hell out of here. There’s gotta be a way out.
Swiping at her mascara stained cheeks with an angry fist, April turned to look back down the alley. A pair of predator’s eyes stared back at her from the deep shadows. “Oh Jesus!” Her knees went weak and she sank to the ground, whimpering.
She looked up at the sound of her name to see the blond girl, Daniel’s friend, gazing down at her with those unearthly eyes! April turned away, pressing her face against cold metal. A hand roughly grasped her chin, forcing her head around. Dark glasses now covered the horrible eyes.
“Listen to me or you will die,” hissed the pretty blonde with the pale skin.
“Daniel, he…” she blubbered.
“He will kill you if you do not do as I say,” she whispered. The blond girl’s head suddenly whipped around and she stared down the dark alleyway for a long moment. She turned back to regard the frightened woman on the pavement. “Do you understand?”
“Very well,” said the other, placing a supporting hand under her elbow and boosting her to her feet with surprising strength. “There is no way out of this passage but the way you entered,” she whispered, propelling her back toward the shadows.
April pulled back, but the other shoved her ahead, pushing her into a black rectangle that the frightened woman realized was a doorway.
“You must remain here without moving, without making a sound,” said the blonde, who was now just a vague outline against the darker background of the shadows. “I am going to tell him that you have been killed and he will believe me. Do you understand?”
She nodded dumbly, wondering if the other could see the slight movement of her head.
“When enough time has passed, you must walk out of here and back to the eating place.” She paused and April could hear no sound but the ragged wheeze of her own breathing. “They will ask you what happened,” the girl finally said. “You must tell them only that bad men tried to rob you, nothing more.”
“But Daniel, he…”
“If you tell what you saw,” said the other, “he will know. It will be on the television and he will know you are a danger to him. Then he will seek you out and kill you. Do you believe this?”
April nodded. This was a nightmare. In a moment she would awaken in her apartment in St. Louis and Frederick, her spoiled Persian would be meowing for his breakfast. Right after that, Larry, her gay neighbor who was also a weightlifter and the closest thing to a big brother she had ever had, would come over for coffee and she’d tell him the whole horrible thing and he’d comfort her and tell her she had to stop watching those weird late movies on TV…
April’s head snapped around at the sound of footsteps in the alley. She held her breath, waiting. After a long moment she realized that the sounds were moving away from her, not coming closer.
April Strysik remained where she was, standing stock still in the dark shadows of the doorway. Fifteen minutes, she decided, beginning a slow count in her head. Fifteen minutes should be long enough. Shouldn’t it?
Straight Razor Dan straddled the big male’s chest, taking his fill from the man’s torn throat. The burning in his belly was already beginning to subside and he sucked greedily at the severed vein, intent on feeding until he could hold no more. Afterwards, he would return to the penthouse with the female. Since she, too, was feeding now they could spend the next two days alone, coupling.
The vampire allowed his eyes to shift into the dark confines of the alley and saw her coming toward him. She had fed quickly; not surprising in view of the fact that it was her second kill of the day. He had checked the enclosed place earlier, knew that the opposite end was blocked by a high fence and so there was no chance the frightened human woman had escaped. It had, of course, been foolish of him to have left the female to face the big man on her own. Fortunately he had been able to react so swiftly to the crisis, and he determined to devote more careful planning to future hunts.
The female stopped before him and he raised his mouth from the dying prey to regard her. “Have you fed?” he asked.
“A little,” she whispered, nodding her head in the human fashion.
“I will be finished shortly,” he said, then we will walk directly to the car.
“I can operate the vehicle,” she said. “Shall I bring it here, My Lord?”
He raised his brows approvingly. Perhaps the bitch was not going to be as much of a problem as he had earlier suspected. “Yes,” he said, reaching into the pocket of his raincoat and handing her the keys. “Then we shall return to the habitation. Perhaps after we have rested,” he said, anxious to test her improved attitude, “you will be ready to couple again.”
A human smile curved her lips and she lowered her head. “If that would please My Lord.”
He watched her turn away and walk the short distance to the street, waiting until she had turned the corner before plunging back into the still warm flesh of the prey. Good, he thought, feeling the weakening flow from the man’s rapidly weakening heart well up about his thirsty tongue. Very good.
Summer stepped out onto the wet sidewalk turning in the opposite direction from the brightly lit restaurant facade and hurrying to the corner of the next street, where he had left the low black vehicle.
Reaching the Ferrari, she paused to look back in the direction from which she had come. The street was empty. She held the cluster of metal keys up to the light, then turned and flung them into the dark shadows of a deserted store front across the way.
A slow smile spread across her face as she heard the jingle of metal striking cement.
“Asshole!” She whispered the satisfying human word into the wet night before hurrying off in the direction of a brightly lighted street a few blocks away.