Copyright © 2020 Cindy Julian
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author/publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
“This flesh, as is the sweetest a flesh ever could be from hand to shoulder from feet to knee from lips to cheek to her peak. My angel smelt of rose water while the juice pumping through her veins was soft and warm like milk and honey. My salivating cold senses it filled. Her chestnut hair curl looked around my fingers as her emotion-ridden face stayed in place. On mine own death, I promised myself impelling her mind would be the last resort while fighting these shattering urges and an insatiable hunger. Her head tilted back when I lightly tug the ends of her hair moving my pursed mouth down in-between her bodice and neck. Oh…that neck, lovely is that neck those two dark dotted marks at the side beckoning to be bored into.”
“Sinister tis what I am, stripped of humanity and all its fragilities. Curs’d I am for eternity withstanding centuries of emptiness, until now. Amid this pending hour I thought of nothing, and everything. How long I walked this cruel earth without a touch of feeling. I live but I’m not truly alive, I’ve survived epidemics, sailing across the farthest, deepest, bluest oceans through perils of monstrous storms and the vast wars of my Emperor. I fought bravely alongside fellow soldiers, took sword wounds from enemies in battle, buried and wept for my comrades. I toasted to victories in the name of honor, glory, conquest and Napoleon. I sang like a wolf, drank twice my share, dance like a court jester along with my countrymen. Never could we tell if such merry was ours again, if we would greet the sun rise another day or find our faiths underneath the land, or maybe see a next battle won either courage would go unsung. In that brothel where I laughed and felt then was the last time I would feel for there I saw the lusting creature that was my awaited faith.”
“I shalt hath met her just as I shalt hath met thou. Aulora...Dearest art thou gentle in spirit, kind in heart, petite in body, Venus in beauty. Doe eyes struck me as did the smile thou gifted me with. Bright became my world illuminating mercy upon the darkness. I hath seen in spring gardens lotuses bloom, hath seen from a shell a baby bird being born, hath seen under city lights lovers share their kisses sworn, hath seen the first snow drops in Rome even a flock of white swans floating across Lake Geneva Christmas morning. But never hath I known joy upon seeing anything as though I felt when I saw thou.” “Damn tis painful thirst, deeply it burnt. More than ever I wanted it gone and return to the hell from whence it spawned. These lips, none so heavenly these lips how much I desires for a taste of their divine grace. Mine own self I canst control, the evil within slowly beginning to unfold, l pray tis last sorrowful kiss shall rest my soul. Dearest, hear a curs’d’s last commands, do not weep when you see my stone body. If I had to relive all I would choose tis sad end a million times over to spare you terrible pain this war shalt go in vain. Thou must leave tis Manor and save thy tears for Roman as he’s one more deserving. Do not mourn long rekindle thyself and thy heart with happiness. Forget all memory of me at most you must rejoice. Forget all tis I said, words and my voice. Oh, Aulora, from where did thou came? Perhaps a superior really dost sleeps the skies perhaps somewhere amongst our twinkling stars magic dost truly lies. The strength of a giant I hath but here I kneel for thou I am too weak. How sweet tis sweetest flesh with warm juice more succulent than vintage wine, tis evil thirst I will end forever, and for thou angel mine.”
Every line dripped off his tongue smooth like the autumn breeze like a tender caress, weighing in the climax his wooing lover-filled voice lit the silence room. Ms. Fatty sat beside me engrossed more than any else at least I think more than anyone else. Each line he read had her hanging on like thread though it have to be a very enormous thread in her case. I shouldn’t joke to myself but it’s hard to be alert every minute on an operation, especially, when they involved being in a circle of desperate chicks. Of all the hobbies to devote your free time haven’t they ever heard rock climbing, tennis, kickboxing or maybe a shooting range? After all, most of these housewives look like they could use something to release all that built up rage. Instead their preference steam from whining about their neglectful husband’s and unappreciative children to each other over cocktails. He then came to a closing easing the final words off the tip of his tongue as those he lived the scene as those he felt everything it had to offer you would never guess he felt absolutely nothing.
Today he wore navy jeans and simple green, stripe T-shirt he probably thought the suede jackets were leaving too much to the imagination. His well-shaped arms drew most of the attention in the room with him sitting, his heel on one leg. I could practically feel the heat oozing off Ms. Fatty’s thighs. ‘Go outside and fan yourself already!’ I wanted to just yell at her.
Folding the book, cover flat on his lap, he began the hunt. Wendy, the number 1 fan seated front and center in between Liz, Melissa, Caroline and Beatriz. She could barely contain her adoration biting on her lip and tapping her heel at double pace. She made sure to always be the first to applaud him prompting everyone else to join in. That, naturally should make them more enticing for the hunt I imagine. Weak, vulnerable and eating out his hand, a dream come true for Freddy.
“Encore,” I echoed displaying my best adoring smile, while inside, I was really shaking. Shaking with excitement, time to draw him in, I gave a loud whistle with my fingers gaining a distasteful look from Wendy. As if I gave a fuck. I got exactly what I sought, Freddy’s undivided attention. He gaze fixed on me, keen and appreciative. These tight jeans and thin V neck sweater were fitted for success. He’s still a man though a deadly motherfucker. Wendy uncomfortably coughed when she saw his eyes then lowered checking me out. If all else fails, cleavage always prevails.
“My, such a compelling story. We’re all left breathless.”
She broke the ice like the club leader she typically asserted herself as. Her long pink fingernails ruffled her strawberry blonde hair before flipping it behind her shoulder. “What a tragic ending,” she mouthed in awe. You would think she was rehearsing for the role of a literary critic.
“It’s sad but still overall captivating. You’re truly a gift for romanticism, Fredrick.” Nelly said fishing tissues out her handbag.
Sighs flooded the room along with the agreeing nods.
Sure, it was everything to engage bored females. A beautiful innocent girl, a century old vampire obsessed with her. These days supernatural love was an irresistible jackpot among women particularly when they featured bloodsuckers. Maybe, there was some curiosity about immortality, mind control and the lust that was unlike ordinary lust. Funny how they shriek if they tuned into a horror flick, but are dazzled by a pale, unnaturally handsome devil salivating for a bite of their veins? I was super glad the damn book was finally done with. The ending wasn’t bad too I have to admit.
These Friday get-togethers had switched from being unbearable to just plain maddening. So far this was my longest lingering case and all I could think was how much I wanted it closed. Listening to housewives bicker over and over was beginning to leave me with stressful headaches.
“You are all too kind. Really, I believe Aloura and Lucas’s story is simply a reflection of complicated romance.” He made clear lifting from the chair threading the right corner of the room. “Lucas was also the main feature rather than our lovable female character as it frequently is. Now, can anyone tell me what he conveyed thorough the course of the novel?” He stopped at the back corner by the table of wrapped snacks and refreshments. Swiping a square chicken sandwich from the plastic plate he looked to the middle where we were seated, taking small bites, fucking tease.
“Depends,” I uttered.
His and everyone’s eyes shot to me. “What’s our prize if we get it right?”
I pictured him staring at my back striking his interest. I hadn’t bothered to shift in my chair like everyone did. I knew Freddy was used to that. To have control over his prey so easily thanks to his wolf in sheep’s clothing façade. There was a short silence before I heard him mutter just what I waiting to hear.
“Let’s see…will a pleasant evening of dinner suffice?”
Everyone suddenly jilted a bit in their seats cooing as though they were discovering fire for the first time.
“W-w-with you,” Ms. Fatty gaped in an idiotic sort of way. What else could he mean?
“Well, let’s get cracking then.” Wendy smiled exuberant, lips wide, overdone red lipstick glowing. The whole group got into silent frenzy like they had all been tickled.
Flattering smiles, blushes they tried desperately to hide minds riddling anxiously. More and more I realized how perfect a victim each made. I formed a smile to blend in knowing full well what he must be going through his head and the intense itch he must be feeling.
So many excited pink faces, overheated bodies, eyes glistening with need. They were lambs all of them, offering themselves up to a slaughterer and without the slightest clue I could close my eyes and imagine exactly what he would. A pink face, pretty, sprawled on the ground, wheezing in fear and the nice sharp edge of a knife pressed to their sweat soaked skin. The gush of blood mixing beautifully with his fingertip, I hadn’t felt disgusted as I should have, but instead, euphoric. My simpering was longer for pretense.
“If no one minds, I’ll go first.”
Wendy stood taking the floor. “Okay, Lucas, besides being the dashing, aristocrat vamp of my dreams…” She mentioned coyly making the chuckles burst from the group. “He’s I have to say lonely. He had all the charms imaginable to win many hearts but he never found anyone he was in love with until Aloura. She had his heart, well his love actually, since vampires don’t have hearts and everything.” She clarified shrugging to us.
“Ah, so for you, Lucas represented loneliness?”
Freddy sauntered over to the opposite corner.
“Why, yes certainly. Throughout his years, I mean centuries, his fondest memories were of back when he was human with friends even in Napoleon war. That wasn’t a very happy time but he was still happy because he wasn’t alone.” She elaborated confidently.
“Contrary to the way the rest of his existence had been portrayed, which was sad. Even when he met Aloura he couldn’t be with her because he considered himself a monster, so instead, she became his obsession. He watched her every day, envied her boyfriend don’t forget when he bought her favorite perfume and sprayed his coffin with it just so he could always have her scent.”
Dashing dreamy vamp indeed! I smirked to myself.
Threading slowly toward where Wendy stood eager for him to get closer. Didn’t seem there was one woman in the group that didn’t hold their breath longer than they should when Freddy was near. A woman wearing a huge pair of reading glasses switched my thoughts as she rose from the second row in front mine. “I disagree.”
She let out.
Wendy was taken aback by the look on her face she was wondering the same as I. Who was she? Not all the book club members were good friends and hung out together. I knew I wasn’t the only new comer sometimes I was too busy trying to pry the 411 out of the club organizers over lunch that I didn’t notice some were left out the clique. It was like high school replaying again. No matter I hated having to nosy into their irrelevant business to get even one useful tip of information. I need to put an end to all this. I hope I can convince George of that.
“Lucas represents a self tormented man, male vampire, rather,” the anonymous woman echoed clutching her book her chest like was her asthma pump. She cloaked in a knitted homey sweater. Her hair in a bun she looked so demure compared Wendy and many of the other glamorous Writer groupies in here. Cashmere outfits, diamond tennis bracelets, nails and hair always freshly-salon done. At least their husbands had a bank account like the bloodsucker of their dreams if nothing else.
“Self torment you say, do go on.” Freddy turned to her. I’m positive he didn’t remember who she was either or he would’ve said her name.
“Thank you, what I got from Lucas was a protagonist that’s maybe perfect on the outside but his existence was not just based around loneliness because there also a lot of pain and suffering.”
“How do you suppose it?”
Freddy inquired demanding more detail.
“Well as Wendy said he thought of himself as a monster, yes, he hated it and its true his last days as a mortal were his happiest. But I think that more than anything hurt him. Lucas wanted hopelessly to be what he would never become again. He couldn’t even have a moment beside his first love without being forced to fight the urge to sink his teeth into her. Lucas was consumed with that level of torment, from start of the story to the stake he drove through his own chest.” She fervently elaborated on her deeper intake wishing to impress the author. Guess things just got competitive.
“My, my, aren’t you a passionate reader.”
Wendy muttered with slightly shocked and awkward grin. She glanced to Caroline and Liz who arched their brows to her and tilted their heads to the side. Their Queen B wasn’t use to being blatantly challenged. These short discussions were usually spent listening to her and the entourage. This time there was all the reason for the outcast nobodies to participate given the price and all. The avid speaker strangely reminded me of a forty year old, crack addict, hooker I busted some years back.
“Both of you ladies do have accurate views on the topic but they’re still missing something vital pertaining to our protagonist’s suicide.” He tossed a clue. “Can anyone guess what I’m referring to, for the win?”
“Death,” The word escaped my mouth freely.
He shifted in my direction with a curious look on his face.
“Excuse me, Ms. Rider.”
I hadn’t bothered to stand, the less control he felt he had the better shot I had. I folded my lips calmly before continuing. “Death is what both answers lacked. Lucas was lonely and tormented, no doubt. Two good reasons for him to do himself in centuries ago yet he didn’t until Aloura came into the picture. She was not just his secret love or obsession, but also his mortality trigger. Aloura gave him the guts to do what he was too scared to do all along. Death was the only real way to free himself of an eternity of misery.”
Glances, some stunned, others meek as a baby sheep, aimed at me obviously due to my drastic intake. My gaze, however, didn’t leave Freddy for any of them. He seemed surprised, his expression was dim, calculating, desiring.
“That’s…quite a deduction, Ms. Rider.”
“Yeah, Alice, that was some creepy speech,” Wendy added exaggerating a bit. She looked to her girls who all smirked and started whispering whatever I didn’t care to know.
Everybody knew me as Alice. Everybody called me, Alice, everybody except him. Best-selling romance novelist, Fredrick Carlton was slick, good-looking, and successful his name was already in five local news articles. I called him Freddy, it suited him so well. Never out loud though, it was always Mr. Carlton even if the all the others weren’t formal. I made sure I was and that he was the same with me. When he insisted to just address me as Alice I insisted otherwise. I am defiant for the sole purpose of provoking Freddy. Freddy usually got his way but not with me which is why I am ideal to be his next Jezebel. And I couldn’t wait!
“So, Mr. Carlton, am I correct? Better yet, did I win?
“You’re shitting me, Ace.”
George burst at me.
And here I thought my outrageous suggestion would render him speechless or give him a good laugh.
“I maybe shitting myself,” I reminded, taking a chilled Red stripe out the freezer. “But I’m going with it, you in or out, Sarge?”
“Fuck, Miller. There has to be a less risky way to get it done.”
He went on.
“George, I was able to get four items and all DNA tests were blank. There was too much effort and work done on those victims to find a shred of evidence. This one’s another master at clean up, if you haven’t notice.” Drinking from the cold bottle I sealed my apartment windows and cranked up the air conditioner.
The Miami summer heat was blazing everywhere you went pool parties, beach festivals and barbecues. College students littering the streets with beer cans, kegs, beat boxes on their shoulders and flashing their bikini clad bodies. The hot temperature was enough to make your skin melt like butter. It actually made my cover little bearable. The luxury upscale social clubs, relaxing with icy daiquiris, your glass always refreshed upon request.
“Of course I do, but you’re right in the nest, we should wait it out a week more at least.”
“Until there’s another kill you mean. Are willing you let one of these gullible women become the bait instead?”
There was long silence then I heard a stressful sigh and a lighter being chipped for a flare. He exhaled the smoke must’ve been fumigating the office.
“You’re too quick to become it, Miller. I don’t need to mention the danger involved. The plan is crazy,” he said frank, but not dismissive.
“You said the same thing about the Drowner case and the Arson,” I reminded.
“We got lucky and they still cost us due to the carelessness, you in particular, Ace, have a trigger happy record, in case you forgot.” His voice gave off a touch of warning.
“Minor,” I puffed out the word.
“I’ve been attending those damn sessions, while head office keeps on giving us a thumbs’ up. Throw me some credit here. We closed the cases and caught those assholes, that’s all what matters.” I took a big gulp as George grunted over phone, mostly to himself.
He sounded like a man told by his doctor to do a prostate exam.
“Are you sure?”
He finally asked.
I lifted the lid of my kitchen bin tossing in the empty Red Stripe. “I have him. It couldn’t be more perfect. He’s mine, imma nail him before Irene calls to ask what time you’ll be home for dinner.”
I imagined him with the critical look I was so familiar with receiving.
“That cocky attitude is what makes it hard for your colleagues to like you,” I chuckled simply out a habit.
“Don’t worry, Dr. Leng and I, we’re working on it.”
He sniggered sarcastically refusing to comment.
“I don’t want to have to rush another motherfucker to the hospital and deal with a bunch of paperwork on my desk for the third time. If I agree to this, keep in mind, not to get careless. Understand?”
I bristled for a second undoing the tight jeans that were pinching my ass. Easier said than done, George, I thought to myself. I responded with a curt, ‘clearly sir,’ while searching for my sweats I had to shake off the skepticism.
“Even so,” His tone suddenly became low- low and serious. “It’s still risky shit, Miller. If push comes to shove and you have no other option. You do what you gotta do.” He wasn’t advising me. It was a clear-cut order.
“Now, I’ll get a team ready in the morning. You make yourself prepared. We’re gonna need a cable van or something to stay out of sight.” I paid attention as he kept checking down the list. His voice had returned to normal.
“I’ll send Mathews by your place to get to you wired properly.”
“Can you send a stylist too? I need to look hot for my date.”
“Sure, I’ll put on the government’s tab at Joseph’s or fucking Vogue, if you prefer, Detective Sandra Bullock.”
The rest of my night was spent doing jumping jacks, crunches and striking fists in the air. I loved boosting working out to boost my adrenaline, feel my heart pumping at light speed. The sweat and muscles toning, nerves relaxed. I didn’t have to have a big case to exercise though they did encourage me more. But, most significantly was the effect, after I’m done I felt light as a feather and tired enough to get a sound, peaceful sleep. I rose to meet the early morning along with a newspaper and a cup of coffee. On the second page I saw a picture of a man in tears, I knew him. Carlos Porter, husband of the latest ‘Throat Slasher’ victim, Melanie Porter, under the devastating picture reported the new outbreak of panic and terror by residents. All arose after the gruesome streak of female murders for the past month. Lower was the ever smug-looking, Chief Oswell, reassuring the public of the police’s nonstop efforts catch the psychopath and rid him from our quote, ‘decent streets.’
Whether because it the statement ironic or plain funny, I had the urge to laugh. If you snatched all the serial killers and threw them into a pit, you would only have about: three drug dealers per roadside, drug addicts per street corner, six hookers per distance of parking meter, store robberies, coke addicts and gangs per bad neighborhood. Yes, those were our fairly decent streets, Mr. Chief.
Mathews knocked me up at twelve-thirty covering my breakfast table with his state of the art laptop and a set of micro devices.
“Gotta say, Miller, I don’t if you’re one brave lady or a just a crazy ass.”
He bellowed so I could hear from behind my bedroom door. “You must love being around these sick fuckers all day.” A silent titter escaped me applying the blush to my cheeks. Like, I hadn’t pondered the possibility once.
“Is there something wrong in trying to serve the greater good?” I retorted loud wishing he was one of those shy, weird Tech nerds. Although, he definitely had weird part down, he was unfortunately a can’t-shut-up pain in the neck.
“Shit!” I growled running a facial wipe over where I ruined the work on my eyeliner. After fixing it I decided my face had enough sprucing. I choose two teardrop gold earrings and matching bracelet.
“Oh, don’t give me that. I’m in on the gossip I know you don’t care about the glory.”
“Smart ass,” I murmured, strapping the dark pumps to my ankle.
The pantyhose were tight on my legs and thighs hiking up my hem and clipped on my garner belt. My work is done here I thought glimpsing myself in the mirror. This will do to attract and entrap.
“Holy smoke, stab me in the fucking groin.”
His mouth opened as I threaded pass him taking the radio from the table.
“Did you know in some cultures staring is not considered impolite but gesture of worship.” He peeled the insightful words in a way that must be his idea of seductive. Too bad it had skin crawling effect.
“Do you want to have find out the worship gesture blind men use,” I drew my hunter’s knife from its sheath shining the silver light off the blade to his fluttering lemon-shaped face. “Isn’t she pretty?”
His throat cleared roughly before you darting his bulgy eyes back to the monitor and resumed tapping the keys.
I strapped to my left thigh then my right with my pistol.
“Come in, Mathews. How’s it going with Miller?”
The unmistakable deep voice inquired. “You want to hang yourself yet?” A laugh echoed through the receiver.
“Miller, here, we’re doing swell. How about you, Digan, I know you got better wise cracks than that up your sleeve?” I spoke into the receiver getting no response from the other end. Mathews let out what sounded like an amused hiccup.
“Come in, Digan. Hand me over to the Sergeant.” I couldn’t help to purposely use an ordering tone with him.
“I’m here, Miller. Are you set for us?”
“I will be once our genius is done,” I relayed.
“Sorry, sir, I got a little distracted earlier.”
Mathews yelled from behind.
“How’s it looking on your front?”
“Good. We’re situated a few feet away got a clear inside view of the place. Best you stay close when you arrive.”
Someone uttered a sarcastic slur I couldn’t make out right. A stick was ever jammed in Digan’s ass when George agreed to one of my courageous schemes.
“I’ll try.” Mathews stood with the wire.
“Checking for loud and precise transmission fellows,” He held it to his mouth.
“Copy, we’re getting perfect reception.” George confirmed.
“Everything’s ready then,” I said punching his shoulder.
“Pull down that sexy dress for me.”
I punched the same shoulder with unfriendly, hard force.
“Ouch, I mean to batch it on you,” he screeched. I grabbed it from his hands turning on my heel.
“I know how to wire my own bra, thank you.”