Short Story – Bloodlines
This week’s story was pieced together from two different inspirations.
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I probably wasn’t going to write too many stories about vampires because I didn’t much care for them. That meant I immediately started working on a story about vampires. Like you do.
The other inspiration was the police procedural. I tried to create something of a stereotypical buddy cop duo with a twist. That’s not really original since just about every buddy cop duo on TV these days has a twist.
This one is longer than most and it plays out like a pilot to a TV series, I guess. Funny thing is, I could see this one being made. Maybe it’s already been made. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my stories (if you do). For me, it’s an important exercise. For you, it’s time out of your day you could spend doing something else.
Drake knelt over the body of a young man, checking the neck for bite marks. She knew they were there. The only question was what kind of bite marks were they?
When she found the two puncture wounds, she quickly pulled a stake out of her belt and drove it into the corpse’s chest.
The moment the stake penetrated his heart, the young man’s body began to convulse and he let out an unholy scream. While the body was still moving, Drake put on her sunglasses, lit a match, and threw it on the twitching corpse. The screaming started all over again.
Hatch came running as soon as he heard the screams but he knew what he was going to find. Being Drake’s partner was a pain in the ass. She always made these calls without approval and even though she was always right, it meant a whole lot of paperwork.
“Damn it, Drake! Couldn’t you wait for forensics?”
“Vampires don’t leave prints, Hatch. You know that. I had to stake him right away. It’s the humane thing to do.”
It was the humane thing to do, yes. While one could legally live with vampirism, it was a hard life. Vampires had to register themselves with the state, live in designated areas, and carefully record all of their blood intake. Creation of new vampires was strictly controlled and killing someone while feeding was, obviously, illegal.
The laws were harsh but even vampires agreed they were needed because of rogue elements that the authorities couldn’t control on their own. If humans and vampires were to coexist, some concessions had to be made.
Life as a vampire, though, was not something many people chose. Still…some people did.
“What if he wanted to be a vampire?”
“If he wanted to be a vampire, his body wouldn’t have been ditched in an alley, would it? He’d have woken up confused and hungry and would have gone straight for that playground down the street. Whoever vamped this guy was using him as a weapon. What I did was basically defuse a bomb.”
“You still staked him without authorization, Drake. How did you know…?”
Of course she did. She always knew.
Someone who became a vampire would retain their personality once they’d transformed. It wasn’t like good people suddenly turned into murderers. They just developed vastly different dietary needs.
A bad person, though, would turn into a bad vampire. And bad vampires were a bigger threat than bad people.
What Drake could see already was the kind of man who had been left in an alley to prey on children. His was a twisted past and he would use vampirism to feed his own deviant hungers. That’s why she knew he would have gone straight to the playground. It wouldn’t have been to kill a child, although that might have happened. It would have been to recruit one.
Or two. Or ten.
“This was a bad one, Hatch. It takes a special kind of asshole to do something like this.”
Hatch had no idea how Drake knew so much. She never chose to explain where her insight came from. As long as the evidence kept supporting her, nobody complained. Much.
“Yeah. One or two.”
Nico Hatch had been Tia Drake’s partner for two years now. He didn’t like it when she had ideas. She wasn’t afraid to put herself in harm’s way. Problem was, she always managed to put him there too.
They climbed into their car and Drake punched an address into the GPS. Hatch looked at the address and whistled.
“You know who lives there, right?”
What a dumb question. Everyone knew who lived there.
“Of course I do.”
“Should we call for back up?”
“No. We can handle it.”
The drive took longer than expected due to a zombie protest march that was blocking traffic. Drake drummed her fingers on the dash and told Hatch to run them down because they were dead anyway. She probably didn’t mean it. Probably.
There was a reason Hatch drove.
Finally, they arrived at an old Gothic castle perched on a hill with a unblocked view of downtown. The money that built this castle was old. Very old.
Hatch went to the back for his stake gun but Drake pushed the trunk shut.
“You’d never get off a shot, partner. Don’t worry – he’s not our guy. But he knows our guy. I’m sure of it.”
Drake walked up to the aged wooden door and pounded it with her fist. The echo could be heard reverberating off the walls. Hatch stood by the car.
“Get over here, Hatch! He’s not going to bite.”
“I’ve heard different.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. We’ll be fine.”
Hatch moved over towards the door just as a heavy metal latch was lifted from the inside and the door creaked open. Behind it was a man who was at least four hundred years old but looked about forty. He had jet black hair that he’d allowed to grow out in an unkempt mess, pale skin, and a tacky sweater that was worn out at the elbows. He looked annoyed when he opened the door but when he saw Drake, his expression warmed almost immediately.
“Inspector Drake,” he said in a slight Hungarian accent, “So good to see you!”
“You as well, Count.”
Her voice betrayed no indication that she was actually happy to see him.
“What can I do for you? And this is your partner, is it not? Inspector…”
“Hatch,” Drake interrupted.
“Yes, Hatch. I’ve read a great deal about you both. Won’t you come in?”
Hatch was hesitant. “I thought there was an old story about vampires and invitations.”
The count laughed. “That inviting a vampire into you home renders you powerless? It is just a legend. And besides, it is I who is the vampire.”
He pushed the door open with another loud creak and motioned for them to come inside.
“You should really get that door fixed,” Drake told him.
“Never! The kids just love it on Halloween. Can I get you something to drink? Inspector Hatch, would you like some tea?”
“Um..sure,” Hatch replied, confused. “I didn’t think vampires drank tea.”
“We don’t do it very often,” the count agreed. “But I have houseguests and I try to be a good host. I’ll just be a few minutes. Have a seat in the living room.”
Hatch was too uncomfortable to sit. He just paced around the room looking at the tapestries and artwork that hung from the walls and browsing the bookshelves.
“Is this an original Gutenberg Bible?”
“I don’t get it, Drake, how do you know Count Dracula?”
“It’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time.”
“Well I don’t. We’ve got a killer to catch.”
Dracula came into the room carrying a tea tray. He gave Hatch a cup and then poured the tea for the three of them.
“Now, inspectors, how may I help you?”
“We had an unauthorized vamping at fifth and Hague this evening,” Hatch began.
“Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that. I stopped creating new brides years ago.”
“This was a young man,” Drake interjected, “and he was placed there on purpose.”
“What do you mean?”
“He was a pedophile. And he was killed less than a block from a crowded playground.”
Dracula’s brow darkened as he took a sip of his tea. “Are you sure of this?”
“You know I am. And I was wondering, Count, if you knew any vampires who might do that sort of thing? You know, just for kicks?”
Dracula smiled “I’m sure I don’t.”
Drake glared at him. “Like hell you don’t. You know exactly who would do something like that. You need to tell me where I can find him. He’s going to do this sort of thing again.”
Hatch coughed up his tea and said “you know the guy who did it?”
Drake sighed. “Of course I do. He’s my brother.”
“Half brother,” Dracula corrected her.
“Different mothers. Same father.”
Drake just sipped her tea and let Hatch think for a moment. It didn’t take long for everything to click.
Drake continued sipping her tea.
“You’re a vampire?”
“No. I’m a half vampire. My mother was human. Dad doesn’t turn every woman he seduces into a vampire. Besides, two full vampires can’t have children.”
“I didn’t know there was such a thing as a half vampire.”
Dracula smiled “we try to keep that information to ourselves. Vampires are already treated shamefully. If our children can lead somewhat normal lives, we want to let them have that chance.”
“So wait – Drake – you drink blood?”
Drake rolled her eyes. “No much. Why do you think I eat my steaks rare?”
“Wait – what kind of tea is this?”
“Earl Grey,” Dracula replied. “My favorite.”
“We’re getting off track,” Drake interrupted. “I need to know where James is, dad. He can’t do things like this. You know he can’t.”
“What will you do with him when you find him?”
“I’m going to stake him, dad. He’s out of control.”
“I can’t let you kill my son.”
“What are you going to do, dad? Protect him? Lock him in the dungeon for the rest of his life? Which is basically forever? You tried that when I said I wanted to become a cop. I got out. Do you think he can’t do the same?”
Hatch was still several statements behind. “Stake him? I thought he was half vampire.”
“Jesus, Nico! It’s so simple. If a half vampire drinks too much blood and doesn’t eat human food, they become a full vampire. James abandoned his human side years ago.”
“What’s wrong with being full vampire?”
“Nothing, dad. You’re fine. But James has done something horrible and he’ll do it again. I’m going to make sure he doesn’t.”
A laugh echoed through the living room. “Oh, little sister, do you really think you can stop me?”
Drake glared at her father. “He’s been here the whole time?”
Dracula lowered his eyes. “I’m sorry, Tia. He’s my son.”
“And I’m your daughter. He’s going to try to kill me now. Did that occur to you?”
“Oh no! I would never try to kill my precious little sister. Your partner on the other hand…”
Hatch fumbled for a gun he knew would be of little use.
“Drake…? You told me to leave the stake gun in the car.”
“In retrospect, that was a bad idea.”
Books began falling off the shelves and a cold wind blew through the room. Drake jumped up and ran to Hatch.
“You don’t get him, James! If you want to have a proper sibling quarrel, stop the parlor tricks and let’s quarrel!”
“Parlor tricks?” Hatch whispered.
“Basically. He’s been dabbling in necromancy. Don’t worry – he’s not very good at it.”
“Do you know necromancy?”
“No. But half vampires are immune so I’ll be fine.”
“What about me?”
“Just shut up, would you? James! The invisibility trick is old. I’m going to find you like I always do and you’re going to have to pay for what you tried to do today.”
“What did I try to do? I tried to make someone happy!”
“By making someone else miserable!”
“He was cursed with a forbidden desire. I would have allowed him to live with that desire.”
“You keep telling yourself you’re the good guy, James. You know full well what vamping a child can do.”
“That isn’t my problem.”
“No. It’s my problem. Why are you doing this, James? Money? Our family doesn’t need money. You’re doing it for fun aren’t you?”
“Of course, little sister, of course! I get so dreadfully bored.”
“Tia, I’m sure he’ll let you go if you just promise to leave him alone.”
“Oh come on, Dad! Do you honestly think this is the first time he’s tried to kill me? He has no more care for my life than he does for yours. He just knows he doesn’t stand a chance against you.”
“Oh you are so right, little sister.”
She felt his breath on her face. He was close. He loved to sneak up on her and that was how she always found him. He always got too close before he struck. He was so proud of himself, he gave away his location every time.
She pulled a stake from her belt and drove it into his chest. He howled in pain and anger, becoming visible as he fell to the floor, flailing and vainly trying to pull the stake from his chest. He continued to twitch and scream for what was definitely several minutes.
Hatch wondered why it was taking so long. Usually it only took a few moments for the screaming to stop.
Drake knew what he was thinking. “The Dracula bloodline is old. It takes a long, painful time to die.”
She kicked him in the face a couple of times. “That’s for beating me up when we were little. You were an asshole of a brother.”
Dracula looked at his son screaming and twitching on the floor. “You’ve killed my son.”
Drake looked at him with a tired expression. “Oh shut up dad. No I haven’t. You know as well as I do that you have to burn him or cut off his head. I showed him a hell of a lot more mercy than he was going to show me. Or Hatch.
“So now it’s up to you. You can leave the stake in his heart and lock him in one of the coffins in the cellar. Should keep him out of trouble. Or you can toss him into the fireplace. You decide. I’m really hungry. I’m going to get some steak tartare. Thanks for the tea.”
As the two of them walked to the car, Hatch looked back to see smoke rising from castle Dracula’s chimney. He had no idea if the old vampire was burning wood or the remains of his son.
“Changed your name, didn’t you?”
“I was pretty sure they wouldn’t let Tia Dracula into the academy. You aren’t going to tell anyone, are you Hatch?”
“NO! No. I’d have to break in a new partner. Where’s the fun in that?”