Vampire Assassin (Jane #1), page 1
© 2011, ©2013 Samantha Warren
The following story is a work of fiction and all names and characters are strictly the creation of the author.
All rights reserved.
This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any manner without expressed written consent from Samantha Warren.
Cover Art © 2012 Kalen O'Donnell
He didn't notice me at first. They never do. That's one of the things about being plain—you often get ignored. By the way, it's not true that if you turn into a vampire, you automatically become beautiful. I’m just as dull and unbeautiful as I was alive. The only difference now is that my hair refuses to hold color for any length of time, so I’m constantly re-dying it.
Today, however, that plainness was working in my favor. I was practically standing right next to him. Yet he was so oblivious to my presence, I could have punched him in the nose and he wouldn’t have been the wiser. I didn't want to punch him, though. I wanted to kill him. But not here. Not now.
I watched as he stooped over to put his briefcase in his car, all 6'4" of him. He was a foot taller than me and quite handsome. He had dark brown hair, a chiseled jaw, and lovely blue eyes. They weren’t really blue. He had an unfathomable obsession with colored contacts and his eyes changed hue more often than Paris Hilton changed handbags.
He slammed the door to his BMW a little too hard and peeled away from the curb in alarming fashion. A bit irritating, really. I wanted him dead, just not like that. Regardless, he’d officially had the last spat he would ever have with his mistress. Oops, sorry. I meant secretary. It was the typical forbidden lovers’ quarrel:
“When are you going to tell your wife about us?”
“Don't hound me! I can’t handle this right now!”
“But you said you loved me! Don't you love me?”
“I’m not dealing with this!”
Cue slamming of door and sobbing of delusional administrative assistant.
I glanced at my watch. It would take him 45 minutes to get home. I watched him round the corner and walked over to the frozen yogurt stand.
"Blueberry burst, please." I settled on a bench and enjoyed the creamy deliciousness.
Fifteen minutes later, I was weaving through traffic on the highway. I'm one of those drivers most people hate. If there's a gap just big enough for my car, I'm in it and gone before you can blink. Halfway to the target's house, I spotted his car stuck in a knot of traffic. It was wall to wall. There was no way I was getting through, but then again, neither was he.
Jacking my steering wheel to the right, I veered out onto the shoulder of the road and gunned the engine. The cars beside me blurred into a colorful line, some blaring their horns at the crazy lady who was whipping past them. A cop turned on his lights, but he was jammed between two SUVs and he wasn't going anywhere.
The next exit led to a series of back roads that would have taken any normal person even longer. I'm not normal. I reached his house about ten minutes before he arrived, giving me plenty of time to recap what I knew about him.
On a typical day, he got home and sat in the car for a few minutes while he checked for lipstick smears, perfume stench, and other telltale signs of his blatant infidelity. Then he'd walk into the house carrying whatever gift he’d bought to assuage his guilty conscience. Sometimes it was flowers, sometimes chocolates. This time, it was a pearl necklace worth more than the car I owned when I was alive.
Usually when he got inside, his son would immediately run to greet him. It wasn't the boy’s fault. He was only four, still too young to realize what a bastard his father was. The man’s daughter, however, couldn’t care less about her doting daddy. She lovingly referred to him as Mr. Doucheburn. Get it? His last name is Washburn? Well, I thought it was funny.
His beautiful, blond, too-young-for-him wife was typically in the kitchen making supper. It rarely tasted any good, and it almost always was burned or undercooked, but she was hot and a tiger in the sack, so he wasn't ready to let her go just yet.
But he wasn’t greeted by his loving son, bitter daughter, or cookie-cutter wife that fateful evening. You see, while she looked like the token blond bimbo usually snagged by guys who feel like they have something to prove, Becky was actually shrewdly calculating and sharp as a tack. Before she married Mr. Doucheburn, she held a 4.0 at Yale and was planning to join a well-known law firm in New York City. She was also a very smart shopper, allowing her to sock away three-quarters of the monthly allowance her husband gave her into stocks and other high-yield savings options. She and her kids never failed to look the part of upper middle-class in sale items and elegantly disguised, well-made knock-offs. Only Becky's step-daughter and her investment profiler knew her secret. Well, and me. But I don't count because, for all intents and purposes, I don't exist. Except in movies.
Anyway, Mr. Cheating Dirtbag (his real name is Bob, by the way) came home to a house full of nothing that evening. Becky decided to be “spontaneous” and took the kids to dinner at their favorite restaurant, after giving me specific instructions to not mess up her spotless house. She didn't want to have to explain to the maid about why the perfectly off-white carpet suddenly had a massive, spreading stain in the middle of it.
I was waiting in the shadows when he pulled into the garage. True to form, Bob went about his evening scumbag ritual, then stepped out of the car. He had found a nice set of mauve lips on his collar, so he went to the toolchest-turned-armoire and changed. I let him change and get as far as the door before I showed myself.
Tripping over himself, he let out quite the stream of expletives. They usually do. Like dropping the F-bomb is going to save them. Once he’d recovered his composure a bit, he glared at me and spit out, “What the fuck are you doing in my house?”
“Well, Bob, technically I’m not in your house.” They always ask that, and I always respond the same (assuming I’m not actually in the house). It typically takes them a minute or two to think of a comeback to that.
“I don't fucking care. Who the fuck are you?”
“Now, Bob, no need to be vulgar. Can’t we just be civil about this?”
“What the hell do you want?” He was getting a bit hysterical now, dropping his favorite word in favor of something more PG-rated. I didn't blame him, really. Here I was, standing in his securely locked garage, inside his pretty little gated community that was supposed to be safe from strangers. It definitely helped that I knew someone on the inside and had the passcode on the back of a fancy business card shoved deep into my pocket.
“Why, Bob, I want you. Your blood, to be more specific.”
He was shocked into silence. There aren't too many people that can come up with a response to that one. Bob eventually recovered a smidge and started stuttering as he fumbled with the door to the kitchen. I just smiled and advanced on him.
I always leave the area clean. No point in making things worse for the poor cops that have to come in and try to figure out what happened. I do sometimes get a bit creative, though. And Bob deserved something special. No fake suicide in the car, no attempted robbery, nothing mundane and boring. I took him up to the bedroom, which was the agreed-upon death scene per his adoring wife’s contract, and set to work. When all was said and done, I was pretty pleased with myself. By then, the marks on his neck had faded to nothing and the cops would be no closer to finding the truth than they were before he died.
Before I left, I opened the curtains in the b
I saw Becky's shadow under the door before I saw the tips of her fake Prada shoes. In slow motion, the door handle turned. She was bracing herself. It's always hard for the client. They know it's coming, but usually the victim is someone they’re close to, physically and socially, if not emotionally. Bob was a bastard, but he had shared her bed repeatedly and was the father of her son and stepdaughter. The little boy would be devastated. She would never tell him the truth. She would tell the girl once the investigation was completely wrapped up, so there would be no chance of her slipping up and incriminating them both. Becky knew Bob’s daughter wouldn’t be upset about the true manner of his death. The girl hated him and always blamed him for her real mother’s death, with just cause. Becky had bonded with her quickly.
Becky eased the door open at about 8:30, more than an hour after her husband’s death. She was greeted by a beautifully embarrassing sight. There dangled Bob from a length of heavy-duty rope procured from the garage, for all appearances in the midst of some erotic asphyxiation gone horribly wrong, an illegal animal porn magazine laying open on the floor in front of the ottoman he’d “stood” on. His posthumous reputation would be completely destroyed once the cops showed up. She couldn’t keep the smile off her face. After glancing behind her to make sure the kids weren’t there, Becky did a little happy dance and let out an excited little squeal. I saw her look up at where she knew I would be and whisper, “Thank you.” Then she straightened her face, composed herself, and prepared to play the role of grieving wife.
With my super-awesome uber-powerful vampire hearing, I heard Becky head back downstairs to the kitchen and pick up the phone. She took a deep breath before dialing 911. After a hushed conversation with the operator on the other end, adding that she hadn’t told the kids yet as way of explanation for her calmness, Becky hung up and went into the family room. Her stepdaughter was likely curled up on the excessively expensive couch, still glued to crappy evening soap operas.
“Jana, can I talk to you?”
“Sure, mom. Can we wait for a commercial?”
As the Tampax ads started to roll, Becky told Jana about her father, accidentally letting slip a few disconcerting details about his not-so-glamorous death. Both girls were forced to bite back grins and appropriately turned to tears when doorbell rang. While the cops proceeded upstairs to the crime scene, Becky and Jana retrieved the little boy from his bedroom and took him to the family room. By the time the coroner arrived, the three were a perfect picture of a horribly distraught family. But poor boy was alone in his grief.
By now you're probably wondering how I became a badass vampire assassin. Maybe I should tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Jane. Plain Jane. Everyone called me Janey when I was growing up. I hate the name Janey with a passion. Please do not call me Janey.
I grew up in New York. No, not New York City. You assumed that right off the bat, didn't you? I'm from someplace in the far to the north of that where everyone knew everyone. I longed to leave that little town and see what lay beyond the hills.
The day after graduation I left behind everything that wouldn't fit in my little two-door coup and drove until I couldn't afford anymore gas. I ended up down south and found myself a nice little apartment over the diner where I got a job. But I have a bit of a wanderer's spirit and I got bored after a year. So I packed up again and headed out west.
After jumping from town to town, I finally ended up in the best place on earth: Los Angeles. I love Los Angeles. It's perfect. There’s so much to do and it's just plain beautiful. After years of trying to find my place in the world, I found it one day in Hollywood, on the set of a new movie. On a whim, I decided to audition for a part in a new independent film about a vampire living in Wisconsin. Believe it or not, that movie never saw the light of day. Ha! Sometimes I slay myself. So, yeah, anyway, I played my part beautifully, even if I do say so myself, and I really enjoyed every moment of it. It was on that film set that I met Steven.
Steven was a lovely man. He was a bit older, very classy, and he played the lead role. For the first weeks, I didn't see him at all. During that time we focused on daylight scenes and, obviously, a vampire wouldn't be involved in daylight scenes. It was quite pleasant, regardless. I got to spend most of the day on set, playing a receptionist for a dentist's office. I became fast friends with one of my fellow actresses and we spent countless nights hopping from club to club, racing home before the sun came up. Then we would roll out of bed just in time to grab a double shot latte before we hit the set.
Weekends were spent at the beach, rain or shine. It was at that beach where I learned to surf. My instructor was a handsome eighteen-year-old fresh out of high school. He had sun-bleached hair and was ridiculously tan. I spent so much time in the ocean next to surfer boy Danny, my skin began to darken noticeably despite my tendency to look like a Stoker-esque vampire when I was alive. For the record, real vampires aren't always pale. Their skin tends to hold on to the pigment color they had when they died. I may be plain, but my skin is so beautifully golden, it would make any material girl cry.
I met Steven during my third week as an up-and-coming starlet. The new scenes would all take place at night, when my character's story line became intertwined with his. They met outside a grocery store one dark, dangerous night. She left the office a little late and had to stop for dinner. Mira, my character, adhered to the "park further away" notion and tended to leave her car on the far end of any parking lot she happened to enter. This evening, however, it wasn’t a decision that made her life healthier; it very nearly ended her existence.
Mira headed into the grocery store and grabbed a cart. As she walked slowly down the aisles, she grabbed a whole chicken from the meat section and some vegetables from produce. Last but not least, she dropped by the alcohol aisle for a bottle of Cheap Red Wine. After she paid the generically saucy teenage grocery store clerk with way too many fake nose piercings, Mira made the trek out to her car. As she popped her trunk, a gang of street thugs surrounded her and she dropped her groceries, spilling them all over the parking lot. The thugs advanced on her, shouting suggestions about how she could save herself. Mira backed up until she bumped into her car and looked around for help that she never expected to come.
Just before the first thug reached for her, Steven, her theoretical knight in shining armor, dropped down in front of her, appearing from out of nowhere. The thugs all took a step back, then advanced rapidly, laughing at Steven's attempt to be a hero. Some had small, blunt box cutter knives, one had a length of chain, and a few had those shiny brass knuckles. Steven got into a crouch, ready to defend both of our characters from this gang of ne’er-do-wellers.
His character’s name was Jacobson, Maxwell Jacobson, a hundred-year-old vampire with a nice southern drawl—the screenwriter was obsessed with the Sookie Stackhouse novels and had a thing for Bill. In his past life, Max was a shoemaker back in the 1800s. According to the background story, he stayed in his shop late one night to finish a pair of shoes for the governor’s wife. A man entered, demanding Max repair his own shoes before Max left. When Max refused, he was attacked, bitten, and left for dead. He woke up before morning and knew immediately what had happened. He sought refuge from the daylight in a vault in the basement of his shop, and when the night fell he packed up everything he could and left, for he could not bear to terrorize his own townsmen and women. So the story goes on that he wandered alone, searc
Based on the script, Max stood six feet tall with jet black hair, extremely pale skin, and burning red eyes. Steven was only 5’10” with blond hair and blue eyes, but the casting director did not seem too concerned about those minor details. They dyed Steven’s hair to match his character’s description, turning it so black it had a blue tinge under the bright bulbs they used to light the night scenes properly. The bulbs were so hot that our makeup had to be touched up after every take because it would start to melt. For me, that wasn’t so bad. But for Steven, that meant he ended up with layer upon layer of white mess on his face by the time we were finished filming for the day. And that stuff was not pleasant. It took me about half an hour to get the makeup off my face. It took Steven three times as long, and he usually left the set with some of it still in his hair and the creases around his eyes. He also occasionally would forget to take out his blood-red contacts, so he would hail a cab and totally freak the poor cab driver out. I think sometimes he did it on purpose.
I actually met Steven about two days before we filmed that first scene. It was just before midnight when we got together to go over some of the lines. The director didn't seem to be too on top of things, so a lot of the scenes went without any initial walk-through, which might not have helped much anyway considering most of the actors and actresses were of the less-than-talented B-movie persuasion. But some of us tried to get together despite the lack of direction, and those scenes tended to come together much more smoothly and turned out to be some of the better scenes filmed.
We met in a coffee shop that stayed open until 1 a.m. every night. It wasn’t a chain coffee shop and was quite popular with the “scene kids” in the area. He was waiting when I got there. He found a nice booth in the corner and already had a cup of coffee in front of him. As I walked in, he had the cup to his beautiful lips. I waved and went to the counter to order my own drink. I got a venti non-fat caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso. It was going to be a long night.
Other author's books:
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