Vampire nation, p.1

Vampire Nation, page 1

 part  #1 of  Vampire Nation Series

 

Vampire Nation
 


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Vampire Nation


  Vampire Nation

  By

  Sean Thomas Fisher

  Copyright © 2018 by Sean Thomas Fisher

  Cover design by Perie Wolford Cover Design

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  For Esmeralda and her tireless hours of editing... You are my first reader and my beautiful wife! I love you. For my amazing four-year-old daughter, Layla, and our crazy dog, Penny, without whom this book would have been finished two years ago.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One: Hand Please

  Chapter Two: Silver Toothpick

  Chapter Three: Footprints

  Chapter Four: Baby Maker

  Chapter Five: Bugout Bag

  Chapter Six: Whispers

  Chapter Seven: Large Marge

  Chapter Eight: Cherry Pie

  Chapter Nine: To Hell with the Devil

  Chapter Ten: The Emerald Triangle

  Chapter Eleven: So Sweet

  Chapter Twelve: True Form

  Chapter Thirteen: Garlic and Crosses

  Chapter Fourteen: Omertà

  Chapter Fifteen: Enforcer

  Chapter Sixteen: A God-Fearing Man

  Chapter Seventeen: Ten Months Later

  Other Books by Sean Thomas Fisher:

  Chapter One

  Hand Please

  Huck peeled his eyelids apart and watched a man suck on a pretty woman’s finger across the room. Confusion and alarm tore through him first, sealing his airway. Then came instinct. He tried to flee but could barely blink the greasy film from his eyes. Flanked by two men in black jackets, the man in a pinstriped suit worked on the blonde’s index finger like a ten-cent whore. Sallow cheeks pumped in and out, flushing with color. Unable to resist him, the terrified woman in athleisurewear trembled against a cinderblock wall. The portly man released her and tipped his head back, filling his lungs with a deep intake of frigid air. The harsh fluorescents glinted off his silver sweptback hair and there was no hiding the red creeping into his face. Exhaling an unseen breath, the suit jumped back when a skinny black guy with a soul patch lunged at him. Almost as if they knew it was coming – like they could read his mind – the two goons in polyester coats slammed him up against a wall and lifted him off his feet. Wrestling against their hold, the bony man kicked and screamed while the suit watched with a toothpick wiggling in the corner of his mouth. His ensuing laughter struck a chord of fear inside the frightened eyes lining the long wall.

  Blinking against the fog of disbelief, Huck’s chest pumped beneath a leather jacket that wasn’t nearly warm enough. His mouth tasted like something spongy died inside and when he tried to move his legs, he couldn’t. His heart beat faster, panic rising in the back of his throat like bile. How did he get here? And where is here? The last thing he remembered was cleaning the garage. Everything after that was a… In a sudden burst of color, the farmer with a big smile sparked against a blue sky inside his mind. Swallowing dryly, that’s when Huck knew he’d been murdered and sent to Hell. Knew his debt to the devil had finally been paid in full because there was nothing left to take. His wife and career hadn’t been enough and now he would never see his five-year-old little girl again because sweet and innocents like RaeAnn don’t end up in a wretched place like this – forced to live out the same horrific day, over and over again.

  The men in black pushed the heroic (or foolish) skinny guy into the arms of some pleading individuals who pulled him into the middle of their huddle. Tears slipped over the blonde’s colorless cheeks as the man with silver hair whispered something in her ear. He handed her a Band-Aid and straightened a burgundy necktie before moving on down the line. Sliding to the cold concrete floor in a heap behind him, the woman could only quiver and cry.

  “Here,” someone whispered in Huck’s ear.

  He barely turned his head, dizzy from the small movement.

  “Drink,” the woman sitting next to him whispered in a cloud, bringing a water bottle to his lips. “The drugs dehydrate you.”

  “Druvs?” he slurred, trying to wet his lips with a piece of parchment paper for a tongue.

  “Just drink and keep quiet.”

  Poison slashed through his mind just before the ice-cold liquid slipped over his tongue. He stared at the runny mascara and long, dark hair hiding the woman’s heart-shaped face. She was pretty and young – mid-twenties with a black puffer coat hugging her slender frame. Tall, black boots rose over her designer jeans and that’s when Huck noticed the silver Pumas on his feet. The ones he randomly remembered buying at Footlocker this past Halloween and maybe he wasn’t dead after all. Do they let you take your Pumas to Hell?

  Water pooled in his throat. Coughing, he turned his head to the side and caught his breath. “What drugs?” he choked out in a cottony plume.

  “The ones they used to get you here.”

  Sitting up straighter against the wall, he fought to move the outstretched legs before him, the ones he couldn’t feel but assumed were his because of the Pumas. His left shoe moved a little and a man’s scream pulled his gaze across the room. The guy in the three-piece suit bent over someone Huck couldn’t see, doing God knows what.

  “What’s happening?” he breathed out, raising a heavy hand to see if his face was still there. “Where am I?”

  “We’ve been kidnapped,” the woman replied, raising the bottle to his lips. “Sip this time. Slowly.”

  Huck blinked her into focus, the smell of soap and wax hanging in the air. “Kidnapped?”

  “Shh, drink.”

  He eyeballed her for a moment, waiting for his mind to catch up to reality, before letting the suspect water revive his sandy tongue and weedy insides. Turning for breath, he noticed the people shivering along his side of the long, narrow room as well. Plywood covered the windows and doors, making it impossible to tell if it was day or night. “Where am I?” he panted, eyes catching on some large, red rollers in the middle of the room.

  “I don’t know, an old car wash or something,” she answered, eyes glued to the suit and his trailing bodyguards.

  Leaning forward, Huck checked the small of his back and groaned.

  “What’s wrong?” she asked.

  “My gun is gone.”

  “Gun?” Her breath rushed in and out on white waves. “They took it. What’s the last thing you remember?”

  Straining to massage his brow, Huck tried assembling pieces to a moving puzzle, feeding the headache throbbing just behind his left eye. Everything came and went in looping flashes: the Craigslist ad, the farm, the sweet old man with a booming laugh. “I-I went to look at a car out in the country.”

  Her eyebrows dipped. “A car?”

  Another scream rang out and Huck snapped his head around to see the suit prick an elderly woman’s finger with a toothpick. Holding it up to the light for inspection, he nodded his approval and slipped it into his mouth. Pulling the toothpick out clean, red rushed back into his cheeks. Huck took the bottle from the woman next to him and nearly dropped it. Drinking greedily, he passed it back. “A ’69 Camaro,” he panted, water dripping from his chin. “I found on Craigslist.”

  “Craigslist?” she whispered, sharpening her smoky eyes. “Did you eat or drink anything while you were there?”

  “We signed the papers and then we…had a beer to seal the deal.” Rubbing a wrist, he startled. “My watch is gone,” he gasped, splaying the fingers on his left hand. “And my
wedding ring!”

  She shushed him. “They took everything: my purse, jewelry, phone, even my Fitbit.”

  “What the fuck is going on here?’ he cried, trying to stand up.

  She pulled him back down, drawing the dark eyes of a big burly guy in a motorcycle jacket guarding a pedestrian exit near some bay doors at the end of the room. “They drugged your beer when you bought the car.”

  “They?”

  “I don’t know who they are.”

  Huck tried to stay calm. He was smart enough to know hysterics would get him nowhere, but not practiced enough to mask it. “How long’ve I been here?” he asked, barely moving his legs.

  Leaning her head against the hard wall, she blew out a stream. “Not long, half-hour maybe.”

  “How long’ve you been here?”

  She ran a finger along the Band-Aid on the inside of her wrist. “A day or two. Hard to tell without windows or a watch.”

  “Did you wake up here?”

  She nodded. “Still have a major headache too.”

  “What’s the last thing you remember?”

  She opened her mouth to answer but turned dead quiet when the suit crossed over to their side of the car wash that, more than likely, went belly up with the advent of touchless. Huck’s spinal cord tightened down his back as the man came closer. Clasping his hands behind him, the suit perused the group like they were new vehicles on a sun-splashed lot.

  “I went out with a guy I met on Match,” the brunette replied under her breath, watching him stroll closer. “After dinner, we hopped in a cab to go check out some new place on the south side and this is where I ended up. I have no idea what happened to Chuck. I don’t know if he’s a victim or if he was in on it.”

  “South side?” Huck muttered. “South side of what?”

  Her brow folded. “Omaha.”

  “Omaha?”

  “Yeah, why? Where are you from?”

  Slack jawed, he stared at her with blood pounding thickly in his temples and the cold floor beginning to seep through his blue jeans. “Colorado.”

  “Jesus,” she exhaled. “I don’t even know where we are.”

  “I have to get out of here. My daughter is waiting for me.” Grimacing, Huck sat up a little straighter as the man with sweptback hair meandered down the line of captives with a toothpick wiggling in the corner of his mouth. There had to be at least thirty terrified pairs of eyes watching his every move like they knew something Huck didn’t. Something horrible. “Who is that guy?”

  “He’s the leader,” she answered, taking Huck’s hand when he stepped closer. “He tastes our blood.”

  His fuzzy gaze jerked to her, prodding his headache. “He what?”

  Her breath came faster, palm sweating in his. “Then he has it tested or something.”

  “Tested? For what?”

  “No idea.”

  “How many are there?”

  She barely shook her head. “Six or seven, maybe more.”

  “What’s your name?”

  “Nina.”

  “Nina,” he said, pins and needles attacking his rear end. “I’m Huck and we’re getting the hell out of here.”

  “How?”

  “I don’t know yet.”

  The suit was so close now, they could smell his woody cologne over the soap and wax. Stepping a shiny wingtip over a chain-driven rail, he stopped in front of a young girl with blond pigtails who couldn’t be a day older than sixteen. There was a pallor to her skin that left her looking like a ghost. Clad in a hoodie and pajama bottoms, she pulled her knees into her chest and tried to blend in with the white wall. The man yanked a silk handkerchief from a breast pocket and dabbed at his glistening brow.

  “Are you comfortable, Jenny?” he asked, meticulously folding the crimson fabric back into a pocket square. “Do you have enough water?” The terrified girl pressed up against the wall and he smiled. “Good, good. More food and blankets are on the way. Make yourself comfortable, we won’t be here long.”

  His wingtips scraped against the concrete and stopped in front of a freckled-faced boy with shaggy brown hair. “Are you hungry, child?”

  The boy shrank into a black t-shirt with Adidas stamped across the chest in big white letters and Huck couldn’t tell if he was shaking from the cold or the raw terror gripping the room. Brushing bangs from his eyes, he glared up at the barrel-chested man. “Where’s my mom and dad?”

  The suit flashed him a warm smile that almost felt genuine – the kind your grandpa gave when you asked where babies came from. “Your parents are just fine and if you do exactly as we say, they will stay that way. Okay?” Sweeping a hand over his shiny locks, he exhaled an invisible breath that lowered his chest. “What’s your name, boy?”

  The boy traded a disconcerted look with Huck that tugged at his heartstrings. “Johnny.”

  Taking a knee, the man held out a palm that had never seen a hard day’s work. “Johnny, I’m Ambrose. Can you do me a favor and hold your hand out, please?”

  Johnny folded his arms across his chest. “Blow me!”

  Huck flexed his fingers, feeling slowly bleeding back into his extremities.

  Seizing Johnny’s wrist, Ambrose took the toothpick from his mouth and poked the meaty part of the boy’s thumb. Johnny’s shrill cry rang out through the car wash, ricocheting off the walls and silencing the antsy group across the way.

  “Leave him alone!” Huck shouted, drawing the henchmen’s angry eyes. He tried getting up and Nina pulled him back to the floor.

  “Don’t.”

  Ambrose paid him little attention, eyes widening with the red bead pushing through Johnny’s skin. Bringing the toothpick to his mouth, he wrapped his thin, blue lips around it and pulled it out clean. He inhaled deeply through his nose, detecting promising notes as if sampling a fine bottle of wine. Then, in a blurry motion Huck barely saw, the man licked the bead of blood from Johnny’s hand. Tipping his head back and moaning in orgasmic fashion, Ambrose’s face flushed with color, shaving five years off him in the beat of a heart.

  “Thank you, Johnny,” he panted, standing up and straightening his coat. “I think he’s fine,” he said, glancing at his goons. “But get a sample just the same.” The two men swept in and went to work on Johnny with a tourniquet and syringe, handling him much rougher than their superior.

  Breathing hard and fast, Huck’s eyes drew to the group exchanging nervous whispers with the skinny black guy across the room.

  “Hello, Mr. Law.”

  Looking up, he found Ambrose staring down at him, turning the blood cold in his veins. Nina dug her nails into his palm and Johnny screamed when the tall henchman punctured the crook of his arm with a long needle. Pulling back the plunger, Huck watched dark blood rush into the plastic barrel.

  “I see you got some water. Good, good.” Adjusting a silver cufflink, Ambrose’s crooked grin sent a shudder through Huck he could not hide. The fluorescents winked off the toothpick and that’s when Huck noticed it was made of metal, not wood. Thick, silver rings strangled the man’s plump fingers, looking more like brass knuckles than jewelry. Ambrose shifted his weight from one dress shoe to the other, affording Huck a glimpse of the handgun hiding in a shoulder holster beneath his unbuttoned suit coat.

  “I do apologize for your discomfort, Mr. Law. We shall have you out of here very soon and I promise your next destination will be much more to your liking.” A distant sparkle reached his coal black eyes. “Your biggest fan can’t wait to meet you.” He shrugged loosely. “Personally, I abstain from horror as I don’t enjoy taking my work home with me, but to each their own.”

  “Fan?” Huck furrowed his brow but couldn’t tell if his face was moving or not. “Who?”

  “All will be revealed soon enough, Mr. Law.”

  “Who are you?” he growled through his teeth.

  The silver toothpick stopped wiggling. “I am Ambrose.” Turning to the two men behind him, he nodded at the tall, thin one with long greasy locks.
These are my personal assistants, Greeve and Joshua. They will take excellent care of you.” The short one named Joshua grimly shook his head at Huck like he was going to beat the living shit out of him the first chance he got.

  “And how are you, Ms. Saldana?” Silver eyebrows rose into Ambrose’s shiny forehead, an expectant Burberry tapping against the floor.

  “What do you want from us?” Nina countered, voice steady as a rock.

  Ambrose searched the derelict car wash, lips pulling down at the corners. “I want you to be comfortable,” he replied, refreshing his pleasant smile. “All will be explained very soon, I give you my word.”

  “Human trafficking?” Huck glanced at the edgy group across the way. “Is that what this is all about? You’re kidnapping thirty-two-year-old men now?”

  “I can assure you, all will be…”

  “Since fucking when?” Huck barked, silencing Ambrose midsentence. Everyone stared at Huck in the thunderstruck silence that followed, giving way to the buzzing lights above. “Tell me what you want!”

  Tipping his pointy chin down, Ambrose pulled the toothpick from his mouth and spoke in a grave voice. “I want your hand please, Mr. Law.”

  Chapter Two

  Silver Toothpick

  Ambrose studied Huck for a few seconds that lasted a lifetime. There was something in his eyes that made Huck’s skin crawl on his flesh. Looking away, Huck watched his blood fill the syringe. When it was full, Greeve yanked the needle out and rose to a pair of shiny black boots. Ambrose stepped in and issued Huck a Band-Aid, the roses already wilting on his doughy cheeks. “Thank you, Mr. Law,” he smiled, moving on to a young couple holding onto each other like they were adrift in the icy Atlantic.

  Huck pulled his jacket sleeve down and unlocked a pent-up plume. At least his legs felt better now. Apparently, the sheer terror of having your blood drawn by people who, clearly, were not doctors brought them back to life. Dropping the Band-Aid to the floor, he exchanged a cryptic look with Nina.

 
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