Vampire's Day (Book 1): Epicenter, page 1part #1 of Vampire's Day Series
By YURI HAMAGANOV
This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.
Dedicated to Maria
STAGE ONE: FLIGHT 263
1. Number Two
Again, I dreamt about a plane. What plane? I don’t know, just a plane. I think it was a military transport, possibly the same one which started it all for me. I was on a plane again.
It was time to get up, I had no other choice. I opened my eyes – indeed the plane. I was sat in the chair, bright sun hidden behind thick sunglasses, not a cloud in the sky.
“I'll go check the pilots.”
Number Three nodded and went back to reading her newspaper, opened at the celebrity gossip page. I headed slowly through the cabin - everything was as it should be: all passengers in their seats, seat backs in the right position, folding tables cleaned. No smoking, no littering, fasten your seat belts; please don’t get up until the plane has come to a full stop.
I gave three knocks on the cockpit door, then two, then three again. Number Five opened the lock and went back to his place.
“They still haven’t shot at us, which is good. They also haven’t forced us to make an emergency landing, which is just as good. They don’t know anything.”
“Not from any city hospital. It’s a local emergency service, lights on the roof, doctors inside, everything as it should be.”
I went back to the empty business class, and sat down on the flight attendant’s seat. Now all I had to do was waiting. Waiting for landing, or missile hit. Explosion, depressurization, crush landing. Needed to stop thinking about it, took the newspaper. Serenity, concentration.
No shooting, no missiles. Every second we got closer to the city, and soon it was time. I went out to the passengers, and pulled a flask from my pocket. I saw their eyes, they were hungry. Hundreds of eyes looking at the flask in my hand.
The flask was open. I felt the blood, all the passengers felt it. I panicked for a second - now they would attack me, tear me to shreds.
“Stop! Sit down!”
As always Number Three helped me. I don’t know why, but they listened to her. She was able to command them, I don’t know how.
“Stay in your seats and wait for the landing! You will get what you want at the airport! Sit down!”
They calmed down, and settled to wait. Two hundred passengers and crew silently waited for landing. I felt as though everything would be OK.
“Number Two – camouflage!”
It was time. I took off my jacket and put on a white smock. Stethoscope, small metal suitcase. I was no longer a passenger, I’m a doctor now. I’m ready for landing.
2. Exclusive report
“How I look?”
“Perfect, just like five minutes ago when you asked me the last time. Calm down, girl, and do your job. We will not have a second chance, so everything must be done right.”
Around them was the usual bustle of an international airport: thousands of travelers from all over the world, young and old, rich and poor; ground employees working hard and pilots and stewardess, travelling to their aircraft. Numbers and letters appeared rapidly on the screens, loud voices via speaker followed each other: ends of check-in and the start of baggage claims, flight Los Angeles - Vladivostok delayed and so on. A usual morning.
“Someone’s calling you.”
“Yes? What? Ambulance? OK.”
“Who was that?” the girl asked.
“My brother. We have a problem. He said that an ambulance has been called to the plane – one of the passengers is sick.”
“And you believed it? It's a trick to get Raul to the city unnoticed! We need to get there, now!”
“Are you crazy, woman? It’s a forbidden zone – you can’t go there without permission! It would be ten years in prison for breaking in!”
“Your brother has the keys.”
“He won’t do it; he doesn’t want to lose his job. I'm not going anywhere, I'll wait here.”
“You're missing the best chance of your career!”
“Maybe it's a coincidence? Maybe someone is really sick?”
There was no use in arguing further, as passengers had begun to leave the plane.
“I’m ready. Get the card.”
The girl raised her large card, with red letters reading JONES SMITH, as if she was meeting someone. Raul Livshits had changed his appearance, but she was sure that she could identify him regardless, she had sharp eyes. One of the most famous fraud returns to the country on this plane, to bargain with the investigation. And she’s wanted to interview him, right there, in the airport. After that, any newspaper or TV channel will fight for her.
“Trashman, I’m waiting.”
“OK, girl, if you will catch him, I will give you… what the hell is that?”
“What the fuck?!”
Everything is still as usual. Early morning, the airport, the crowd, the planes. Numbers on screens, planes taking off and landing, an ambulance behind the windows. But there are now screams of rage, fear and pain at the entrance to the arrivals area, where people are crowded into a small space. There is a pistol shot, two, three, and then a short, sharp burst of machine gun!
“What the fuck? Did you see their eyes? Don’t turn off the camera! Don’t…”
Trashman, owner of a sensationalist news site, stared at the screen. A live broadcast started, the phone rang somewhere, but he seemed to have forgotten about it, watching what was happening in this second in the arrivals area of the Los Angeles International Airport. His sexy girl was right - she had bagged herself an amazing report. That was the last time he saw her.
3. Number Eleven
PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! This was exactly what was needed right now. Panic was required at the first stage of operation, and, when they had enough panic, they could proceed to the second stage.
He rushed to the gallery with the gun in hands; in front of him a huge waiting room and thousands of targets. First target - fat man in a business suit, second target - seller in the cafe. Panic!
Number Eleven took off his MP5, laid it on the floor and picked up a rifle. First target - a girl in a white suit, he can’t hear the shot, no recoil. The girl continued to run; she hadn’t noticed the small wound thanks to the adrenaline coursing through her body. The next shot is at an airport employee, and then he shot at two men, one of which falls. Was he dead? No, he got up and continued to run. All was going well, as he made shot after shot. It was impossible to miss - optical sight, no recoil and muzzle flash.
He locked onto two important targets - a policeman and firefighter. He knew that it was necessary to shoot them first. Shot – hit, shot – hit!
Number Eleven forgot to change the firing range, he had no time, he was too busy shooting people. Next shot - a beauty in a bikini.
A single shot rang out. Number Eleven’s head was pierced by a bullet. He fell face down on the white floor, holding a rifle, that didn’t make the last shot.
4. Officer Jimenez
The Code Red caught Jimenez at the wrong time in the wrong place - in the toilet. This was clearly not a drill - she could hear gunshots and screams. With a gun in hand, she carefully looked out of the toilet door. Twenty meters ahead on the floor was a thin guy with a rifle, and next to him an MP5. He shot without any sound; the other shots she heard came from pistols and machine guns w
Jimenez had been a police officer for two years, and during that time she had never used her service weapon. She hoped she would never have to shoot people and asked the Virgin Mary every day before duty to make sure she wouldn’t have to. Today her prayer hadn’t helped - on her territory another madman play in mass shooting.
She offered no warning shot, and made no attempt to take him alive. A madman with a rifle should be stopped immediately, and she did so – one bullet, right in the head. Her firearm training instructor would be proud of her.
His legs had ceased to twitch as she approached cautiously, without dropping the gun. The madman was dead, but the shooting continued. She heard on the radio as they announced a massive terrorist attack, and then there was silence. No one answered her calls; she would have to act independently.
This rifle, she didn’t know the type. It was like a Russian sniper rifle, which her lieutenant had brought from Iraq, but smaller. Why did this crazy use it, when he had the machine gun and two spare magazines? Judging by spent cartridges, he used the MP, but then why did he put it back and pick up the little rifle? Jimenez took the captured enemy machine gun and then raised his rifle.
“That? Air rifle?!”
Machine gun fire struck the wall of the gallery just above her black hair. She didn’t wait until the invisible shooter corrected his aim and instead ran to the nearest door marked "staff only". There, in a darkened corridor, she took a deep breath, threw the air rifle behind her back and recharge MP. Footsteps.
“Stay where you are!”
In the lantern light she sees bright red shoes, a short skirt and a small video camera held in the right hand. This girl isn’t an airport employee.
“What are you doing here? Didn’t you hear the alarm? Show your face. Is something wrong with your neck, are you hurt? Don’t come closer, stand still! Halt!”
At such close quarters in the corridor the machine gun fire was shocking.
5. Audio and video
“Death to the infidels! Death to America! Death…”
The clip showed a dirty bearded man shooting an old AK47, periodically changing magazines from dirty cloth bags. It was a black-and-white image with bad sound and barely eight seconds long. It was called: SHOOTING AT THE AIRPORT, with the description: Terrorist attacks at the AIRPORT! Within thirty-one minutes it had received over seventy-three thousand views, with a comment added every few seconds.
“Look, look over there! See?”
The second clip featured a dimly-lit corridor, noise, screams, shots. Then there was the bright flash of a hand grenade, and a mobile phone fell out of an invisible hand to the floor.
This one was forty-eight seconds long, and the name: ААААА!!! Thirty-five thousand views.
“All leave immediately…”
The policeman didn’t finish what he was saying. A short burst of machine gun pierced his head. Twenty-one seconds, no name, no description. The views grew steadily.
STAGE TWO: CITY AND SUBURBS
6. Number Seven
We needed luck. A lot depended on the combat experience and training, but luck was no less important. And at the moment Lady Luck was on our side.
We ran out of the airport and headed to the city by ambulance under flashing lights. This was exactly according to plan, even before the shooting started in the waiting room. Cars on the road passed us, and no police stopped the ambulance. They won’t, because we are supposedly taking the injured to hospital.
“Slow down, we don’t need an accident.”
I turned on the radio; we need to know what they say about us.
“The Minister, in his statement to the press…”
“Number three in our chart…”
“According to unconfirmed reports, during shooting…”
“New proposal for the goods…”
“We continue our live show now, and I just looked at the shocking video of a terrorist attack at the airport, can you…”
So, the radio still worked, and the internet too. That was good.
I braked at a red light and looked around – there were no police or military in the vicinity. I peered back towards our passengers – we’d taken seven of them. Our first stop – please, leave the car.
Number Two opened the door. A first Hungry – a woman in a bloodstained suit – jumped out.
“Sit down!” Number Three took command. “Sit down and wait!”
The light went green, so we turned right, leaving behind the fight that started at the crossroads. Our next point was three blocks away.
LJ was scared. He liked this particular corner, and earned good money there. He had a lot of customers and trade was brisk, especially on weekends, when he and his men could hardly keep up with demand. It was a valuable space that he had taken by force from the previous owner. For protection, he had everything he needed - a few baseball bats and an old Colt in the cache. He would not give up this territory without a fight.
But now LJ was scared. He was afraid to stand on his favorite corner, but it wasn’t because of a police raid or a competitor’s attack. It was something unusual, incomprehensible. It all started with reports of a shooting at the airport. And then, ten minutes later, shooting started in his quarter. Minutes ago, he’d heard a shotgun in a nearby street, then cries for help. What should he do? Flee? Leaving the territory without a guard? Big Joe would never forgive this.
“Look at this bastard!” said Shorty.
A man emerged from the alley and walked unsteadily to the middle of the street. He was clearly not a tramp, but, judging by the ragged condition of his expensive suit, someone had already beaten him well.
“Hey you, asshole!”
The man turned his face and LJ backed away. He heard Shorty whisper something about Jesus.
“Pigs, pigs fly!”
A patrol car stopped next to them, from which jumped the sadly familiar Officer Daniels and his partner.
“Lay down, hands behind your head!”
The man stood on the dividing line.
The man took a step towards the car, then a second one. LJ watched, knowing that Daniels was bound to shoot him.
“Bring him down!”
The man fell silently on the asphalt, as Daniel’s partner used his taser. It was a pity that he didn’t just shoot him.
“It’s time to move!”
“What's going on, boss? You could see how much he was hurt, he couldn’t even walk at all…”
Daniels’ partner didn’t manage to finish because a sudden hit in the stomach bounced him onto the hood of the patrol car. Daniels’ telescopic baton lowered onto the man’s shoulder and LJ heard bones breaking, but it didn’t stop the man. LJ hadn’t seen such fast movements, even in movies. Daniels was suddenly crushed like a paper cup, the man grabbing his throat with his bare teeth.
A shot rung out and the man’s body twitched. He dropped Daniels and rushed to the partner. They struggled for the gun, and LJ heard a couple of shots. He didn’t see who made the shots, but he saw where the bullet hit. The upper part of Shorty’s skull shattered like a watermelon, soiling the expensive blazer that LJ bought yesterday.
Two more shots. The man snatched Daniels’ partner’s gun and shot him several times, then once again used his teeth.
The man turned to him, but now LJ was ready for his crazy red eyes. He took a single shot, right in the forehead.
LJ put the gun in his belt, picked up a package of cocaine and a baseball bat, threw a last look at the corpses, and then ran. He headed around the corner, and didn’t see Officer Daniels begin to rise, trying to close the laceration on his neck.
“So, girls, let's all repeat again.”
Rubinstein had always been convinced that in his business improvisation led to f
“General plan - Christie and Sharon, a little foreplay, two minutes. Passionately, girls, passionately and don’t hurry through it. I need a quality picture. Stacy, begin to play with yourself, and remember the smartphone – don’t keep it in the frame, show it a couple of times and don’t hide the logo with your fingers. That's it, clever girl.”
Lights, camera, music. The director preferred to work with music while he was filming; it gave the girls the right rhythm. Not in a hurry, but without wasting time, so that the viewer would be fully immersed in the film.
“Stacy, faster, drop the smartphone lower, well done. Christie, more aggression, light bites, and now softer, good.”
Stacy believed that she had the hardest part of the job. Robb, damn him, had decided to earn some extra money, and now she must add to her fucking with advertising a fucking phone. The smartphone was showing a fashion show and at least entertaining her – she certainly knew how to spend money… What the hell, what had happened to the fashion show? It had been interrupted by live stream news.
Shouts and screams of people on the street outside interrupted the filming, violating perfectly aligned scene of girls love.
“Tom, you schmuck, considering what I pay you…” The director shouted at the guard, and, without waiting for an answer, moved around to the open glass door to the courtyard. He came face to face with Tom, who staggered, leaving behind a long trail of small red drops. Tom stumbled inside, and not hearing Stacy’s cries, tried to point somewhere outside, and then collapsed on the expensive carpet.