Vampire Dead-Tective, page 1
Vampire Dead-tective (Dead-tective #1) (c) 2014 Mac Flynn
Book 1 of the DEAD-TECTIVE Series
Genre: Contemporary Romance Romantic Comedy Paranormal Romance / Romantic Thriller
Due to sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
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We weren't really a thing. Well, at least not usually. We were just really good friends with the occasional benefits. That's why we shared an apartment, but not a life. That is, until he was killed. Actually, that's not true. He wasn't killed, he was murdered.
But let me start from the top. My name is Liz Stokes, and I was a normal office girl working at a normal day job that normally paid the bills. The only weird part about my life was my roommate for my normal apartment. His name was Timothy Hamilton, and he was, well, eccentric. We stumbled into each other one autumn's evening five years ago. I was taking a walk, he was laying in some bushes with so many bruises over his body he looked like Barney the Dinosaur. I don't like watching stupid animals suffer, so I helped him back to my apartment and like most strays he stayed there.
That's how I learned how weird his habits were. Timothy was a night owl who dragged himself in at early hours of the morning and generally collapsed on the couch. That was where I usually found him, if I found him at all. Sometimes he would leave for a few days and come back to crash for a few more days. Other times he would be awake at all hours of the day thanks to a gallon of coffee and superhuman perseverance. I'm sure you're asking me why he had such strange hours, and that was because of his job. He told me he was a kind of consultant, and when I found him he'd just had some bad luck in a mediation. That was how he was able to pay for his half of the apartment rent. I suggested a change of occupation, but he argued that he'd been doing it for so long he didn't have any other skills.
Which now brings us to the man himself. Timothy was old-fashioned in his mannerisms. He'd open doors for me and sweep off invisible hats when we met. I have to admit it made me feel special, and that's why we were sometimes more than just roommates.
With all his gallant manners and cute eccentricities there was one thing about him I couldn't stand, and that was his partner, Vincent. Vincent was tall, pale, and unfriendly. He wore a black overcoat with a duster, and had a faded black fedora. It made him dashingly handsome, but I couldn't get past his cold manner and eyes. I hoped he wasn't the face of their Public Relations department.
The first time we met Timothy had us shake hands, or tried to have us shake hands. I held out mine, but Vincent just sneered and turned away. Timothy brought him over to the apartment only a few times before he noticed Vincent and I didn't hit it off, and then the visits stopped.
There was one final weird thing about Timothy that happened shortly after we agreed to share the apartment. He took me aside and handed me a small metal box. "If you ever find out something's happened to me then you take this box and follow the instructions, okay?"
"Like what?" I'd asked him.
He shook his head. "You'll know when it happens, but don't hesitate to follow the instructions inside. Got it?" He was so strange that I took the whole thing as a joke and stuffed the box under my bed. How wrong I was, and how I wished I would have better enjoyed the time we had together.
Those halcyon days of strange hours with my strange roommate came to an abrupt end three years after we met. I returned to the apartment after a long day at the office and found that Timothy wasn't home. As I said before that wasn't so unusual except that he'd been gone for nearly a week. I wondered at what point I needed to call the police and submit a missing person report when there was a knock on the door.
I looked through the peephole and saw it was a uniformed office. That was service for you. I opened the door and was nearly blinded by the setting sun behind the guy. "Can I help you?" I asked him.
He held up a wallet with a badge, but flipped it back inside his coat before I got a good look at it. "Officer Sutton with the Third Precinct. Is this the residence of Timothy Hamilton?"
My heart picked up speed. "Yeah, why?"
"I'm afraid something's happened to him. Are you related to him?"
Horrible images and possibilities passed through my mind. "No, I'm just his roommate. What's happened to him?"
"Mr. Hamilton's been murdered. His body was found a few hours ago along the river." My mouth dropped open and I stumbled back. The officer stepped inside and caught me. He led me over to the couch where I sat down in numb disbelief. "I'm sorry about this, but if you could come down to the station we're going to need a statement from you."
"What? Oh, yes, of course." I mechanically stood and stumbled toward my room. "Just let me change and get a coat." I was still in my uncomfortable work clothes.
"Certainly," the officer kindly agreed.
I went into my room and closed the door behind me. That's when the full force of the officer's words hit me, and I burst into uncontrollable sobs. I slid down to the floor in a blubbering mass of tears and denial. Timothy, my Timothy, was dead. I didn't want to believe that he was gone, that something had horrible had happened to him.
My eyes widened. "Something happened to him. . ." I softly repeated aloud. Those were the words he'd used when he'd handed me that box all those years ago. Sitting as I was I could see under my bed and the box stared back at me. Hope surged inside me that maybe this was some cruel joke of his, and that box held the punchline. I quickly crawled over to it and noticed there were fresh fingerprints on the dusty top. I fumbled with the clasp and the top popped open. Inside was a slip of paper and a ring I'd seen Timothy constantly wear. He must have put the ring in the box just before he went off to get himself-well, get himself in trouble.
My hands shook as I opened the paper which turned out to be a note.
If you're reading this then either you're sneaking a peek when you shouldn't or something's happened to me. If the former, then put this note back and don't look at it until the latter happens. If something really has happened to me then you're in danger.
My heart stopped beating for a moment, but I continued reading.
I'm sorry I couldn't explain all of this while I was alive, but I didn't want you to get involved. With my probable death you're knee-deep in my troubles, and I'm sorry for what you need to do, but know that it's the only thing you can do. Take this ring to the address at the bottom of this letter and wait inside the warehouse until after dark. No matter what, even if someone you trust comes to get you, you have to get to that warehouse. If you're reading this at night then put on the ring and pray. Pray for me, too, okay?
I covered my mouth to stifle my sobs. He was really dead, and through this letter he'd warned me about some unknown danger. I jumped when there was a loud knock on the door. "Miss, are you all right?" the officer called to me.
"I-I'm fine, just-" I paused and glanced down at the letter. Timothy instructed me to hurry to the warehouse and the sun was even now setting. I glanced around my room and noticed the window and the fire escape. I could get down that and drive to the warehouse—
Wait a minute, why the hell was I running from an officer? All he wanted to do was take me down to the station to give a
I slipped on my coat, stuffed the letter and ring into a pocket, and stepped out of my room. "I'm ready," I announced to him.
The officer jumped, grabbed his gun, and swung around with the barrel pointed at me. I jumped back and my back hit the wall beside my bedroom door. He smiled and re-holstered his weapon. "Sorry about that, habit."
"T-that's a bad habit," I commented. Even without Timothy's instructions ringing in my mind I didn't want to go with a guy that had such an itchy trigger finger.
"No harm done," he insisted with a smile. He turned to the front door, paused, and turned back to me. "Oh, did you happen to know where Timothy kept a ring?" he asked me.
My heart picked up speed. "N-no, why?"
"We suspect he stole some jewelery, and that's part of the missing stash," he told me.
I unconsciously reached into my pocket and clutched the ring. I faked astonishment. "A jewel thief? When'd he steal it?"
"Um, about two years ago, but that's not important. Let's get you down to the station for the questioning, and then we'll get you back here." That was actually very important to me because Timothy had owned the ring far longer than two years. I'd seen him with it. The officer was lying, and I didn't want to find out why.
I obediently followed him out into the hall and downstairs to the lobby where I glanced around looking for some chance to get away. My eyes fell on the public restrooms, and I stopped and pointed at them. "I need to go to the bathroom."
He turned to me with a deep frown. "Can't you hold it?"
I shook my head. "No, but this won't take more than a minute."
Before he could argue I rushed into the girl's bathroom, leaned against one of the stalls and clutched at my heart. Something was seriously wrong here, and Timothy's letter proved he knew I'd be in danger. The big problem I had was what was dangerous and what was safe. Timothy wanted me to go to the warehouse, and the cop wanted me to go to the precinct. As a law-abiding citizen I wanted to go to the station, but the officer lied to me about Timothy's ring. I pulled out the paper and ring from my pocket. Who was I going to believe me, my dead friend or a cop I'd never met who'd already lied to me?
Yeah, not much of a contest there. If the cop really did just want to question me he could pick me up later. Right now I had a warehouse to get to, so I looked around the bathroom and saw a ventilation window at the end of the stalls. It was only four feet above the floor and I wasn't that fat, so I stuffed the letter back into my pocket and, for safety's sake, put the ring on my finger and went over to the window.
I hefted myself up over the sill and pulled myself through the open, angled window. I was nearly out when I heard a knock on the door. "You almost done?" the officer shouted.
"Almost!" I shouted back. Unfortunately, because my head stuck out of the building my voice sounded off, and that alerted the cop. He rushed into the room just as I slipped my legs through.
"Hey, stop!" He dashed over to the window, but I sprinted away down the alley to the street. My car was parked along the curb, but so was the police car and inside was a partner. I skidded to a stop and did an about-face in the other direction. I was halfway down the alley when I heard shouts from the front of the building and glanced over my shoulder. Two cops raced after me, one of them being Officer Sutton. Fortunately I was in better shape than them, and I had fear and adrenaline to get me going.
I lost them a few blocks down, and stopped for a breather in an alley. "I. . .am. . .so. . .dead," I gasped. I'd just ditched a couple of cops, and they were going to tell all their uniformed friends about me. I pulled out the letter from Timothy and sighed. "I hope you're right about this, Tim," I whispered.
I kept in the shadows of the alleys and my heart skipped a few beats whenever I heard a police car. The address at the bottom of the letter led me to the river and a row of old, rectangular, abandoned warehouses that had been built on a small island a hundred yards out into the water. The sunlight was nearly gone and a cold wind from the water swept over me. I shuddered and hurried across a narrow paved road that led up to a chain-link gate and fence. The entire island was surrounded by the fence, and the top had coils of barbed wire. Besides the warehouses there were rotten crates and pallets, and an old guardhouse stood behind the gate.
A narrow patch of gravel ran along either side of the fence, and it took me a few minutes to find a hole beneath the fence that had been made by wild dogs and stupid kids. I wiggled my way through the loose gravel to the other side and I followed the peeled numbers on the buildings until I found the right warehouse. They ran lengthwise with the bank, and it was the one closest to the far-off shore. I looked over the broken window panes and the metal, and a sense of dread flooded over me. This place looked haunted, and the dim light didn't comfort me.
I sighed and tried the knob. It was unlocked, so I stepped inside and looked around. There was just enough light for me to see the place was full of broken crates stacked well over my head and that created a maze. I moved through them and twenty yards from the door I found a strange setup. The crates were arranged like a square bench around a single, long rectangular box. On the box was a deck of cards, a propane lantern, and a box of matches.
I eagerly lit the lamp and sat down on the makeshift bench in front of the long box. The air inside the warehouse was dank and cool, and I rubbed my arms to comfort and warm me. Outside the sun finished its setting and the world was enveloped in darkness. To pass the time I pulled out the letter and reread the contents. I really wished Tim would have put in a few more specifics about what I was supposed to be waiting for.
I didn't have long to wait. As I sat reading the letter the light from the lamp shuddered. I lowered the letter and glared at the lantern. The flame was strong and unwavering, but then it jiggled again. That's when I realized it wasn't the light flickering but the entire lantern. My eyes widened when the lid of the long box moved. I grabbed the lantern and jumped back just as the lid flew off. A dark figure arose from the box, and I held out the lantern light toward them.
It was Vincent, and he didn't look happy to see me. "What are you doing here?" he demanded to know.
What the hell had he been doing in there? "I-I-" I stuttered.
Vincent swooped toward me with such speed that before I knew it the lantern and letter were swiped from my hands. I shrieked when his pale face appeared an inch from my own, and in the lantern light his teeth looked unnaturally long. "What are you doing here?" he growled.
I stumbled backward and my back hit a tower of crates. "T-Tim told me to come here. Something happened to him," I replied.
Vincent straightened and raised an eyebrow. "What happened?"
"H-he was murdered."
Vincent's eyes widened and he hurriedly placed his hand over his chest. Whatever he felt it made his thin mouth turn up in a twisted grin. "So he's dead at last? How wonderful."
"Wonderful?" I gasped. My hands balled into fists and I marched up to him. "Tim's dead, you idiot! Don't you know what that means?"
"Yes, but you don't." Vincent dropped the lantern and it clattered to the floor, but remained intact. He lunged for me and slammed me back against the crates with such force that their heavy frames rattled.
"What the hell are you doing?" I exclaimed.
Vincent shoved his face into mine and his eyes glowed with an unnatural light. He brushed his nose against my cheek, and I shuddered at the contact of his cold skin against mine. His nostrils flared. "The human beauty is so fragile. A single bullet and your light is extinguished." I flinched when one of his hands slid up my thigh and came to rest on my waist. He pressed his body against mine, pinning me to the crates. "You have such beauty, but
"W-what are you talking about?" I breathed. "Tim just told me to come here and-"
I jumped when Vincent grabbed my arms and pushed me roughly against the crates. "Then Tim was an idiot, and I should thank your friend for so many years of slavery by draining you of every last drop of blood," he whispered. My heart skipped a beat and I wiggled in his grasp, but he was strong, unbelievably strong. His eyes traveled down to my neck, and then back up to my wide, scared eyes. "Wouldn't that be fitting revenge?" he mused. He was toying with me like a cat with a mouse. His amusement vanished when he glanced at my left hand. His eyes widened in fury and fear, and he pulled his face away from mine. "What are you doing with that?" he growled. I didn't know what he was talking about until I remembered the ring on my finger. "Take it off!" he demanded as he lunged for my hand.
A bright, white light erupted from the ring. The heat was so intense I could feel the width of the narrow band etch into my finger. Vincent screamed in agony and I was released from his iron grasp. I dropped to the ground and watched Vincent stumble back. He clutched at his left hand where another intense light emanated where I noticed he wore the same ring as me. A few yards from me he collapsed to his knees and the light swallowed him. My only thought was to get the ring off, so I grasped the ring in my hand and pulled. The ring slowly slid across my finger, and in the background of my struggle Vincent cried out in horrible pain. The moment the ring slipped off my finger the light vanished, but I was left with a searing pain in my finger. I glanced down and was in time to see engraved letters on my skin fade into my body.
I slumped over onto my side and my breath came out in haggard gasps. Far off I heard Vincent groan, and I glanced over to where he lay. He was huddled in a tight, quivering ball, but he soon pulled himself from his cocoon and rolled over to face me. His eyes were full of a confusing mix of hate, anger, and fear. He struggled to his feet and I pushed through my own pain but only managed to sit up.
I expected him to attack me again, but instead his arms dropped to his sides and a sick smirk slid onto his lips. "So that's what he planned," he hoarsely whispered. "Smart boy."
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