Beth’s cell rang Thursday evening and she stared at the strange number, not recognizing it. “Beth Turner,” she answered, curious about the mystery caller.
“Beth? This is Rose Hampton.
Heroku gave me your number. He tells me you are exhibiting some
strange traits to your recent turning and has suggested that I
investigate a bit. Is this a good time to chat?”
Beth was stunned; one of the Children of the Moon? Finally, after all this time? “Hi Rose. Yes, I’m free to chat.”
“I’d like to stop by Beth; this isn’t the thing to discuss over the phone actually. When could we meet?”
“I’m free this evening or tomorrow evening as well. Do either of those times work for you?”
“Yes, I could pop over now if that is okay?”
Beth it was more than okay; she’d been waiting for this forever it
seemed. “Sure, let me give you our address.” After the information was
given Beth hung up the phone, excited. Mick wasn’t home yet, he was
meeting with Josef and Tango about another body in the morgue, same
situation as before.
Beth was paying attention to what was going
on with it all. When she scented this body she say the same guy, the
same house and knew that it was a serial killer. Tango and Josef were
worried about having a rogue vamp out there and that was what the
meeting was about.
Beth hurriedly drank down her dinner and made
sure the loft was tidy; not that Mick ever let it get ‘untidy’. Who
needed a maid when Mick St. John lived here? She’d always been a fairly
neat person herself but he was practically compulsive about it.
that everything was shining clean as usual she decided to do some work
while she waited for her visitor. She hadn’t asked Ben yet about doing
their online legal segment so she was checking for a precedent of other
similar types of programs. She was amazed to find that there weren’t
that many out there, but the ones that were there were very interesting
and it seemed that setting up some guidelines were going to be
She was still engrossed in her research an hour later
when there was a knock on the door. She couldn’t help it as her heart
kicked out a few extra beats and her palms felt a bit sweaty. She
wished that Mick were home but his meeting was running longer than he
expected. So, she was on her own, for awhile at least. This was it;
time for answers.
told Tango and Josef about the two bodies that had been found so far he
watched as something hard glinted in Tango’s eyes as he knocked back a
“Son of a bitch!” he said, looking at Josef, rage washing over him.
Josef said nothing but his eyes told a story; this wasn’t really a shock to either one of them.
“Somebody care to tell me what the hell is going on?” Mick said and then getting up to refill his own glass.
“We’ve found two bodies as well, so that makes 4 now,” Josef said, his voice a harsh whisper.
“You’ve found?” Mick asked, curious.
“The Cleaners, he mean’s,” Tango interjected. “Two bodies this week, abandoned in alley’s.”
nodded, digesting the news. “Both of the victim’s in the morgue were
found in alley’s too. Carl and Ben are trying to keep it out of the
media, but if there are 4 bodies so far there’s going to be more, you
know that, right?”
“Yes, we get that,” Josef practically spat the words out.
scented what happened, for both of them; she’s much better than I am at
that,” Mick said, a huge dose of pride in his voice.
“Well?” Tango and Josef asked at the same time.
vamp is older than I am and doesn’t drink the blood. He kills them in a
house somewhere and drains the blood into a basin or maybe a bucket,
she’s not sure about it. Says he’s large, tall, about 6’4” or 6’5”
maybe and black.”
“Black? As in African?” Tango asked, his face paling even for a vamp.
“Yep, that’s what she says.”
“Are you sure? That she sees that I mean? She not confused or something?”
“Tango, what the hell do you know about this?”
pursed his lips as his head tilted sideways a bit, lost in thought.
“Shatel LaFleur. Josef, you remember him from the Black Pearl?”
flickered over Josef’s face as he remembered who Tango was talking
about. “Yes, I do. Creepy bastard.” He looked at Mick’s questioning
face and added, “We met him when we were running a Mississippi river
boat around 1840 or so. Threw him off because he was attacking
passengers; people I might add who were lining our pockets with their
gold. Kicked his ass off, somewhere in Missouri, never saw him again.”
“So you think this is the guy?”
“Description sounds right; could Beth describe him well enough for an artist to sketch him?”
“I don’t know, you’d have to ask her but she seems pretty damn sure about him. What they hell is he doing here?”
we thought that whoever was doing this was working for Malcolm, but if
it’s Shatel probably not. He runs his own games and pretty much shuns
encounters with other vamps. Or at least he used to.”
“Then what the hell is this about?”
he’s found Tango - he, uh, there’s some bad blood there, you might
say.” Josef glanced at Tango who was enraged about the situation.
this guy had a personal vendetta then that made him a whole lot more
dangerous; criminals with agenda’s are usually planned out and much
harder to catch than those that did impulse killings. A vamp with a
vendetta was guaranteed trouble. How they hell did they keep it out of
the media much longer?
The three men talked for the next hour and
at the end of the time they hadn’t reached any solution. When Mick
left it was still a problem and one that they each knew was going to get
watched as Tango went into the Cleaners headquarters. He’d heard he was
the big man there and the thought made Shatel laugh hysterically. That
was like setting the cat to watch the canary.
What was more
interesting was the two other men that showed up; one was Henri Beckett,
otherwise known as Josef Kostan these days. The other one Shatel
didn’t know at all.
But, he was going to. When Mick left he
followed him to an old apartment building. He parked and followed the
guy in, scenting vamp very strongly; it was everywhere and definitely
more than one. He wasn’t very old, but he was a man who was extremely
self-assured. The building itself was art deco and kind of cool Shatel
decided; be a shame to see anything happen to it. He watched as the
elevator carried the guy to the top floor. A quick check of the
mailboxes revealed his name as Mick St. John and also showed a PI
business up there as well. Interesting. No doubt he was looking into
all the dead bodies. Shatel hoped he had lots of free time on his hands
because he was going to need it.
The penthouse; only the best
Shatel thought with a twisted grin. A man after his own heart. Too bad
he was a walking dead man. He laughed at his own twisted joke. Dead
Beth opened the
door and saw a very young looking woman standing there; petite, with
blonde hair and very blue-green eyes; she was exceptionally beautiful.
“Rose? Please come in,” she said, stepping aside for her guest to enter.
“Yes, thank you.” She stopped and offered her hand to Beth who took in politely and shook it briefly.
“Please, have a seat. Would you like a refreshment?”
“No, I’m fine thank you. This is quite an interesting apartment,” she said, looking around at it all.
is Mick’s place, or at least it was. I - I mean it’s ours now that
we’re married,” she babbled and mentally shook herself. Why the hell
was she stammering? Rose was just a person, like her.
like her at all. She was old, immensely old but Beth couldn’t really
scent that. She smelled of the earth, but also of the sky, the sun,
something Beth couldn’t quite describe. It was relaxing and made you
feel safe though.
They both sat down, Rose in a chair across from
the couch and she settled back, crossing her legs and smiling at Beth
as she opened a bag she had with her and took out a notebook and pen, as
if to take notes. She also pulled out a small medical kit and Beth
stared at it nervously, wondering what it was about.
Beth’s eyes resting on the small kit and decided some information would
be helpful. “Let me tell you a bit about myself before we begin, shall
Beth nodded, listening to Rose’s accent. She couldn’t quite
place it; maybe British, or Australian, or, or what? It was soft and
soothing as well and Beth tried to focus on that and relax a bit.
a doctor and I run the Porter - Wycliffe Women’s clinic here in LA. I
am one of the originals, the Children of the Moon and I’ve been told by
Heroku that he believes you are a descendant of us. I believe he has
told you the same thing?”
“Yes. My first full moon, I, well if
it hadn’t been for him I don’t think I would have survived.” Beth
crossed her legs and Rose watched as her foot jiggled nervously. “I
actually know the Porter - Wycliffe Clinic, or rather the women’s
shelter that is part of it. My mother is pregnant, with twins,” she
said, grinning. “We’re having a baby shower for her in a couple of
weeks and we’re donating all the gifts to the shelter, since mom and dad
don’t need anything really.”
“How lovely; I know the shelter always needs things. What a very kind thing to do.”
“Rose, what does it mean, to be a descendant? I mean, aren’t all vampires descendants if you are all the original vampires?”
in one sense of the word yes, but in this case ‘descendants’ means that
you are a child of our physical bodies, in other words through birth,
not by turning.”
“Oh, okay. So you’re sort of like my great-great grandmother, or something?”
definitely had her suspicions about that, but for now she’d give a more
vague answer. “Yes, of one of us anyway. Beth, I need to take a blood
sample and a DNA swab, for testing. Would that be okay?”
“I thought a vampires DNA is changed when they are turned?” she asked, suddenly suspicious.
it does in some ways; you’ll have characteristics of your sire and his
sire and so on. But some of your basic DNA is always there and while
human tests can’t differentiate between the two, we can.” She pulled
alcohol swabs and a syringe out of the bag as well as a long cotton swab
in a tube. “Okay, let’s do the swab first, shall we?”
took a moment and then Rose slipped it inside it’s tube and wrote Beth’s
name on it. “Now, I won’t hurt you, promise,” she said as she prepared
to take some of Beth’s blood.
Beth watched as the needle went
into her arm and thought of another question. “If I’m constantly
drinking other blood, how can you get any accurate reading on my blood?”
blood you drink is absorbed into your body; yes, some of it gets into
your veins but it is still predominately your blood. Vampires think
they don’t make their own blood and they don’t make enough, quickly
enough to replace their own in a catastrophic situation but it does
replenish gradually. Just as your heart beats very slowly, you still
find the need to relieve your bladder occasionally, you sweat, all those
things are bodily functions, so the blood shouldn’t be that much of a
“Oh, okay. How come I can taste and digest food and Mick can’t?”
“Well, that’s a good question, Beth.”
both looked up as the door opened and Mick entered the apartment, his
senses on high alert. He’d scented Rose and hadn’t been exactly sure
what the hell he was scenting in the hallway. He stood at the door,
eyeing her speculatively.
Rose stood up, as did Beth. “Mick, this
is Rose Hampton, one of the, uh, Children of the Moon. She’s here to
talk to me, to us, about it all.”
Mick looked at the syringe that
held some of Beth’s blood and his eyes narrowed as he stared at Rose.
“I thought you’d do that kind of thing in a lab or something?”
a doctor, Mick, I can do it just as well here as anywhere.” She met
his gaze levelly, not blinking and giving him a chance to size her up.
She evidently passed muster because he stepped into the room and offered
her his hand.
“I’m very pleased to meet you, Mick; Heroku has told us many good things about you.”
he?” Mick nodded, digesting that news. “Heroku has been helpful for us
as we learn to deal with all this.” He walked into the kitchen and
opened the hidden fridge, pulling out some A+ and pouring a tall glass.
Rose declined his offer so he brought it back to the living room and
sat down next to Beth on the couch, trying to look more comfortable than
he felt. His free arm rested around her shoulders and he felt her
relax against him.
“I believe you were going to explain to Beth why she can eat and digest food when I came in?”
well the simple answer is that Beth is most likely a descendant. The
complicated answer? Originally we all could do it, Mick. When we were
created, it was a gift, a blessing to mankind. It was a positive
evolution of the human species.”
“What happened to it because I’m telling you that it isn’t that any longer.”
nodded in agreement and said, “Somewhere along the way it became viewed
as a dark gift, twisted and perverted beyond the original significance
of the gift. Anytime power is involved someone will use it for their
own benefit and often that benefit is cruel, evil.”
“So why did you let this happen? If it’s supposed to be so great why did you let the evil spread?”
looked at him sadly; he was so young and still hurting from what
evidently hadn’t been a chosen turning. Then she remembered that Heroku
had said that one of the Duvall’s had turned him and it all became much
clearer. “Mick, I’ll admit that originally it was all very idealistic,
utopian almost; we didn’t police because you want to believe that
people will use the gift for goodness, not to attain dominance and
power. This was perhaps a mistake on our part.”
Mick scoffed at
her answer and rose to his feet, heading into the kitchen to rinse his
glass. He bit back a sharp retort and took a couple of deep breaths to
try and calm himself.
Rose smiled at Beth and said, “The reason
you most likely can eat and taste food and Mick or other vamps can’t is
that myths and legends are strong motivators. Vampires can’t taste
food, they can’t digest it because they have been told that they can’t.”
doesn’t explain why I can though. I was told the same thing,
especially when I ate my first food and Mick didn’t believe that I could
taste it. He did believe that I’d get sick though and I didn’t.”
are a descendant,” she said with a shrug, as if that explained it all.
When she saw both of them staring at her in disbelief she continued,
“You could have went forever and never known that you could but for some
reason you were more curious than most vamps. Curiosity can sometimes
be a good thing.”
“So, because Mick and countless others before
him believe that they can’t eat or taste food they can’t? You’re saying
that every vamp has the ability?”
“At one time they did, yes.
Now? I’m willing to bet that it is so ingrained into his and every
other vamps head that it’s no longer possible. I’m sorry to say that,
but it’s true. Beth, what other gifts do you have?”
“I have a
very strong gift of allure for one and I can scent the past in great
detail. Mick can scent the past too, but not quite like me. I can,”
she looked at Mick, afraid to tell the rest of it so she softened it a
bit in hopes that she and Rose would have some time to chat privately
later. “I can tell where he is too, like if he’s in the other room I
She wanted to tell Rose about her ability to put
thoughts into people minds or to calm them. She wanted to tell her that
she could actually see Mick, wherever he was but she hadn’t told Mick
about those things yet.
Rose wrote quickly on the notepad, and
Beth couldn’t help but notice that it was in a language she didn’t
recognize. “So, you’re ability to manipulate is very strong. That’s
fairly typical actually, among us.” She stared at Beth and suddenly
Beth could feel her in her mind, as if Rose was reading all the things
she hadn’t told her.
Beth sucked in a quick, ragged breath and
tried to push her out and Rose said gently, “Beth, that is one of our
abilities as well. Don’t be frightened by it.”
Mick was again on
full alert; he wasn’t sure what had just happened but Beth was shaking
badly. “Okay, I think this is enough for tonight. You have to run your
tests don’t you, to tell for sure if she’s one of you?”
do. Beth, I’ll be in touch with you soon. I’ll call,” she added, as
if trying to reassure Beth who nodded, still shaken up.
Mick walked Rose to the door, clearly angry. “Mick, this will be for her benefit, I assure you.”
“Yes, that’s what Heroku said. Goodbye Rose.”
she stepped through the door he all but slammed it. After he’d locked
it he went to Beth and sat down, pulling her into his lap and holding
her close. “What happened baby?”
“I - I could feel her in my
mind, Mick. It just freaked me out. She didn’t hurt me or anything,
but I think it was just a demonstration of some of the abilities.”
“She should have warned you, told you what she was going to do.”
nodded, starting to feel a bit calmer now. All of this ‘mind’ stuff
was overwhelming - her ability to allure, to calm people, lead their
conversation in another direction. Was that what they feel like when
she did that? She was fairly sure it wasn’t because no one ever seemed
to notice when she did it. Maybe she hadn’t developed it enough. What
other gifts did she have?
The answer might very well scare her she realized.
To be continued…