Opinion

Bloodline

wolfs

The attacks seemed to be random at first but as the deaths became more frequent, the similarities of the methods of killing were obvious. After the first death the homicide squad had ruled out any human involvement and had put the death down as a mauling by an animal. The animal was never named, as the forensic team couldn’t come up with one capable of inflicting the damage that they had found on the body. Rudy Crane was looking after the investigation and in his twenty years of service, he had never seen anything that could compare to these killings. The body count was now at sixteen and the frequency increasing to almost one every two days. Rudy had just received a phone call at home; he had been in bed for two hours, as he replaced the handset he looked to his alarm clock, the alarm was set for seven o’clock and the time was now one forty-five, the numbers glowed brightly almost mocking him.

It had been three weeks now since the discovery of the first body; Rudy had been first on the scene, a scene that would forever stay in his memory. The body was laid out arms and legs spread wider than was humanly possible, the two puncture wounds that were apparent in the victim’s neck immediately alerted Rudy to the possibility of vampire involvement. The body was white, sucked dry of its blood, not a drop left in him. All the victims had so far been male, this did not signify anything to Rudy but he noted the possibility of a female vampire. They generally as a rule would not harm the female of any other species, something to do with a species needing the female more than the male for survival. The first victim was also, like the rest that would follow, alive through the whole ordeal; the loss of blood was the cause of death, a slow death if this was the case. The bodies were intact to look at them on arrival but on closer inspection it could be seen that the internal organs of the victims had been removed after death. There were holes the size of fists directly over where each organ would have been located. The reason for the removal was still unknown as was the killer.

Rudy arrived on the scene of the latest killing, ‘what have we got?’ he asked as he approached John Simmons, his second in command, a man that never seemed to sleep. John stood out of Rudy’s way to disclose the body of a twenty-something year old male, a carbon copy of the way all the other victims had been found. ‘Same again, Rudy’, John said as Rudy surveyed the scene, ‘anything different about this one? Anything at all?’ Rudy asked as his stomach turned again looking at the fist-sized holes in the stomach of the victim. ‘What you see is what you get, the exact same, nothing different but the victim’, John said as reached his fingers into one of the wounds to withdraw a sample of tissue. Rudy’s stomach couldn’t take much more, ‘I’ll meet you back at the precinct’, he said as he hurried back towards his transport.

As Rudy gazed around the crime room, he felt physically sick again. The pictures of the sixteen victims adorned the walls and tonight’s victim would be joining them on that wall very soon. The photos were almost like wallpaper now, every possible angle of each victim photographed and each crime scene identical to the last. The possibility of vampire involvement was an obvious accusation but Rudy found this highly unlikely. It had been over eight years now since the ‘Great Agreement’, between the slayers and the vampires, back in 2010. When the vampires had come out of hiding in 2006 in an effort to rule mankind and feed openly, the slayers were born. The vampires were sick of the creeping around at night and feeding on lost or worthless humans and had made a valiant effort to take over the human world, they intended to farm the humans rather than wipe them out. Human resistance was however a lot more powerful than the vampires had envisaged and the army of slayers that had been born out of necessity back in that time began to gain the upper hand. It was in 2009 that the vampires finally surrendered, their kind on the brink of extinction. Many humans at the time were keen to wipe them out altogether but the men in power decided against that course of action. Instead they sat down with the head of the vampire army and put sanctions on their kind. Human contact was forbidden, the vampires were free to feed on the animals of the world but killing was restricted. The only kills that they could perform were to be on wild animals and even with that, they were restricted on the number of kills per year. The agreement was drawn up in the year 2010 and Rudy knew that the vampire species were still too weak at this time to be breaking the rules of that agreement. Many of the slayers of that time still resented the fact that they weren’t allowed to finish off the culling and would gladly accept the responsibility of wiping them out now. Rudy knew that the vampires just couldn’t afford to take a chance on killing humans again and even a renegade vampire would be sanctioned by his own kind, as he would be putting them all at risk. The pair of puncture marks on each of the victims necks though couldn’t be overlooked, the points at which the blood from their bodies was slowly drained. It was too obvious though, Rudy thought to himself. Someone must have been trying to set them up, maybe even the slayers so that they might be free to hunt down the last remaining vampires.

John eventually returned from the latest murder scene, he walked in to the crime room shaking his head. ‘It’s getting worse, Rudy’, Rudy looked up from his paper cup of coffee; ‘two more bodies were found in the last hour’. ‘What?’ Rudy questioned in disbelief. ‘Two more Rudy’, John reiterated, ‘whatever the hell is doing this, is getting hungrier and more confident, the last two bodies were found at a refuelling station’. John removed a large brown envelope from his jacket and emptied the contents out onto the desk, the photos of the victim that Rudy had just seen spread out in front of him. His stomach again ached as he was confronted with the disturbing images. ‘Get the head of the vampire council in here right now’, Rudy barked, the lack of solutions obviously irritating him. ‘If you ask me, those vampires are up to something, there seems to be more of them around everyday’, John said. ‘ I think that someone wants us to think that they broke the agreement and if we talk to this guy, what’s his name?’ Rudy’s face scrunched up trying to remember the name. ‘Cadbury’, John said, helping him out, John was a mine of information and had a memory to match any human. ‘Yeah, that’s him’, Rudy continued, ‘get him in here now’.

The scene of the latest two victims was being examined by forensics when Rudy arrived. Two kills side by side was the only real difference with this scene and that of the others. What or who ever was responsible for doing this was either growing in stature or number? The end result of these attacks was death and no one ever witnessed the attack. This seemed very improbable to Rudy as he surveyed the surroundings of the refuelling station, there was a constant flow of traffic on the nearby road and the area was a hive of activity with shops and other amenities surrounding the scene. It just didn’t make sense to him, that two people could be killed and left in these positions in the forecourt of the station without anybody seeing anything. The forensics were finished their examinations of the two bodies and their supervisor approached Rudy on seeing him. ‘Rudy Crane?’ he asked, ‘yeah’, Rudy replied shaking the man’s hand. ‘There’s something you should know about these two’, the supervisor started, we found hair on both bodies, not their own of course but animal hair, there were minute traces on the other victims but not enough to worry about’. ‘What kind of animal?’ Rudy interrupted, ‘that, we don’t know yet but the minute traces on the other bodies seem to be too similar for coincidence, we’re bringing the samples back to the lab, we should have a result for you before morning’, the supervisor left his hand out again and Rudy took it. ‘It’s those vampires again, if you ask me’, the supervisor said as he shook Rudy’s hand. Rudy let go of the man’s hand, ‘Lucky no-one is asking you then isn’t it?’ he said as he walked away.

Cadbury was already being grilled by John in the interrogation room when Rudy got back, John was never a big fan of vampires and wasn’t one to hide his contempt for them either. Rudy watched for a few minutes as the totally cool Cadbury answered John’s questions. John seemed to getting aggravated by the mere presence of a vampire, his questions were more like accusations; he accused Cadbury of an attempt to again try to mount an attack on human kind. An accusation that Cadbury laughed off, the vampire numbers were down to a thousand or so and with restrictions on breeding they were in no position to attack the human kind again. Cadbury was watching the clock more and more as the questioning continued. It was four forty-four, sunrise was due at six eighteen that morning, the knowledge of the time of sunrise was a built in security system for the vampire, they could all do it and the time was different every day. Cadbury was still cool but was getting slightly nervous at the fact that he was in a police station and sunrise was only an hour and a half or so away. Cadbury could feel Johns dislike for him and could sense that John would have no problem questioning him until six seventeen and then freeing him out of the station. ‘You had a relation or friend killed by a vampire?’ Cadbury asked turning from answering the questions to asking them. John eyed the clean-cut man sitting in front of him; his white skin was repulsive to him, his jet-black hair a reminder of past events. ‘How do you know that?’ John asked, ‘I can see the hate in your eyes’, Cadbury answered ‘but I can also see that you got your revenge’. John pulled in a deep breath of air and filled his lungs, he didn’t like talking about this and especially not with a vampire. ‘I got my revenge yes, but it wasn’t enough’, John started, ‘I joined the slayers during the war and I killed hundreds of your kind and we should have finished the job too but whether I got the one that I wanted to, I’ll never know’. Rudy was intrigued as he listened from behind the glass panel, he had known John for a few years now but had not known that he had been a slayer during the war but as he thought back, Rudy couldn’t think of anyone else that knew as much about vampires as John did. Cadbury was warming up; he obviously enjoyed the fact that he could irritate his young interrogator so easily. ‘So this vampire that you wanted to kill, who did he take away from you? Cadbury asked, ‘did he kill a friend of yours? A parent maybe, your mother, your father?’ John’s face tightened at the mention of his father. ‘He killed your father?’ Cadbury again questioned. ‘He didn’t kill him, he took him’, John answered with venom. Cadbury laughed loudly, his laugh echoed around the small room and his mouth opened as he laughed, showing the large fangs that were housed inside. ‘So your father became one of us’, Cadbury continued as he laughed loudly, it became too much for John, the sight of the fangs was enough to make him finally snap, he lunged forward grabbing the vampire by the throat and off guard, he closed his hands around Cadbury’s neck and choked with all his might. Rudy burst in the door as soon as John had lunged forward and he was grappling with him trying to release his grip on Cadbury’s neck, he managed to pull John to one side and Cadbury jumped free holding his throat. Rudy held John back and it took all his strength to do so, ‘get out John, get out’, Rudy shouted as he forced him towards the door, eventually getting him out into the corridor. Cadbury hissed as John tried to burst back in to get at him, Rudy held firm until the young detective had calmed down, finally walking away down the corridor with his head down. Rudy went back into the room and Cadbury was sitting, waiting as if nothing had happened. ‘How much time have you left?’ Rudy asked. Cadbury looked to the clock, ‘I should be going now, it is just six o’clock, I will have to return tomorrow night to help out with your queries’. Rudy nodded, it was also against the law to hold a vampire to within an hour of sunrise, the agreement had to give them some protection too.

Rudy sent John home for what was left of the night; he was of no use in the agitated state that he was now in anyway. A uniformed officer came and knocked at Rudy’s office door, ‘forensics on line two for you Rudy’, he said as he looked in the door. ‘Thanks’, Rudy answered and he picked up the handset, ‘Crane’, he said, ‘Hello Rudy, Jack Turner, here in forensics’. ‘What have you got for me Jack?’ Rudy asked, his tolerance for small talk was now very limited. ‘That animal hair that we found’, ‘yeah’, Rudy said, encouraging the caller to hurry up. ‘It turns out that it’s wolf hair, well the d.n.a. Shows traces of wolf but also of vampire blood, the composition isn’t like anything we have ever seen before’. ‘Wolf?’ Rudy questioned just to confirm. ‘Yeah wolf’, the caller again said, ‘Is a wolf capable of doing this to a human?’ Rudy asked. ‘Not in my opinion’, the caller answered, ‘yeah that’s what I thought, thanks’, and Rudy hung up, more questions and no answers.

There was something bugging Rudy about the refuelling station and he returned to the scene. As he looked around the forecourt, he finally saw the reason for his return visit. Sitting, perched in the forecourt canopy, two cameras stared down directly at him. Rudy moved and stood exactly where the two bodies had been found, he smiled as he looked up, the cameras were pointing directly down on him. He went into the station shop, flashed his badge and asked to see the screens that were showing the forecourt. The attendant brought him around the back of the shop and there were four screens on display, two showed the forecourt where Rudy had just being standing and the other two showed the inside of the shop, one on the cash register, the other on the door. ‘Have you the tapes from last night?’ Rudy question the young attendant, ‘yeah, yeah, sure’, the young man answered nervously and withdrew a tape from a shelf beside the screens. ‘I’ll be taking this back to station, ok?’ Rudy asked but was gone out the door with the tape before the attendant could answer. John was already at the station when Rudy returned, he looked as fresh as ever, his three hours away seemed to have revitalised him. ‘Rudy’, John started as Rudy entered the crime room, ‘listen about earlier, I’m sorry he just..’ ‘Don’t worry about it John, it’s done and dusted’, Rudy interrupted, sensing the young mans uneasiness and helping him out of the awkwardness. ‘Thanks Rudy’, John said and looked to the cassette in Rudy’s hand. ‘What’s that’, he asked. ‘This’, Rudy answered could be the answer we are looking for; it’s the tape of last nights security on the forecourt of the refuelling station. ‘But we already rewound that tape and looked at it, there was nothing on it’, John said, looking bemused. ‘That depends on what you were looking for John?’ Rudy handed him the tape, ‘put it on from ten minutes before the bodies were found’. John loaded the tape and set it up as asked. ‘Now play it’, Rudy said as he sat back in a chair. The two men watched as the two victims could be seen approaching the station, then both victims seemed to fall down and lay as they were found. ‘Told you’, John said, ‘nothing’, John was a little bit put out that Rudy seemed to be re-checking his work. ‘Now’, Rudy said, ‘rewind to the same spot and slow it down by fifty per cent’. John looked puzzled but adjusted the machine accordingly. It was then that they saw it, the two men that were approaching the garage didn’t see their attacker, if the cameras couldn’t see him, how could they? The tape was playing at half the speed of normal activity, a slow motion version of what had happened in the forecourt. The two men were talking as they walked, at this speed it was nearly possible to lip-read what they were saying, then Rudy and John saw it. A shadow descended from the roof of the canopy in the forecourt, even at half speed, it was hard to make out the form of the attacker but both men were spread eagled out on the ground and the figure hunched over both for what seemed like less than a split second. The men were left lying in the forecourt; the shadow disappeared again, seen only as a blur on the screen. John looked at Rudy, ‘what the hell was that?’ he asked. Rudy went forward and adjusted the dials on the machine himself; he slowed the speed down by eighty-five per cent. As the tape began to play again, the speed of the men walking was agonisingly slow. From the canopy the flying shadow appeared and was now a figure that the two detectives could make out. The figure pounced on the two men breaking both their arms and legs in one manoeuvre and hunching down to bite deep into their jugular veins. The figures hands were so swift that it was only just about possible to see them punching in and out of the victims bodies, removing their hearts and kidneys with accurate precision. Then he or she was gone, the bodies left just as they had been found. ‘Well, that’s our killer John, see if you can zoom in on his face’, Rudy said as he glanced around the room at the dead people that adorned his walls. John was quick to re-set the machine and they had their close-up within a minute. ‘What the hell is it?’ John asked as both men studied the resulting picture. ‘It looks like a cross between a wolf and a vampire to me’, Rudy said, ‘just a guess’, he continued as he pointed to the figures head. ‘Get the head slayer on the phone, what’s his name?’ Rudy was never any good at remembering names, ‘Marcus’, John answered quickly. ‘Do you know him?’ Rudy questioned, ‘yes, very well, I fought beside him during the war, he landed that cushy number he has now because of his bravery in the field’. ‘Were you offered a position after the war?’ Rudy enquired. ‘I was but refused it on the grounds that I would rather have never seen another vampire again’.

Marcus arrived into the crime room with the swagger of somebody important. ‘I hear we have a vampire problem’, he said as he entered. ‘Rudy Crane’, Rudy said as he extended his hand, ‘nice to meet you Rudy’, Marcus said but all the while he kept his eyes on John. ‘Great to see you again John’, Marcus said and he embraced his old friend. ‘You have a good man here, Rudy’, Marcus said, ‘he saved my life more times than I can remember’. Rudy looked towards John, the young detective had obviously been a serious slayer to be fighting beside this guy and he had saved his life a few times. Rudy’s respect for John had just doubled. ‘So what have we got?’ Marcus asked getting down to the business. The detectives showed him the slowed down version of events outside the refuelling station. Marcus had never seen anything like it before, ‘vampires are fast my friends but this thing is as fast as light’. During the war years, we had a need to develop special weapons to combat the speed of the vampire; the silver bullets seemed to be the most effective method. Because of the natural speed of the vampires, we developed a gun that could fire a blanket of bullets, it created a sheet of silver that no matter how fast the vampire moved, he could not escape all the bullets’, Marcus turned to John. ‘Yes extremely effective’, John agreed. That’s the only possible way to stop a creature with that kind of speed at his disposal. ‘Now we just need to lure him out’, Rudy said.

Cadbury arrived into the Police station, he smiled at John as he walked past but John didn’t take the bait. The detectives and Marcus quizzed the vampire on his tribes feeding habits and the locations of their feeding grounds. After Cadbury had given the information, the detectives showed him the tape; Cadbury was even taken back with the speed that this creature seemed to move. Cadbury had told them that wolves were a favourite feed for the vampires since the agreement’s restrictions. Livestock were also high on the list but the wolves were readily available around the rocky ground that held the cave dwellings of the vampires. Cadbury thought about the creature that the detectives had shown him. He laughed out loud at the realisation of what had happened. ‘I have the answer for you’, he cackled. Rudy looked to him, ‘you know, what’s doing this?’ ‘Yes’, the vampire began, ‘you see it is quite funny really that the restrictions that you humans placed upon us have finally turned against you’. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Marcus asked; he like John would gladly slay this vampire right there and then. ‘What I mean slayer, is that because of the restrictions placed upon us, our tribe repeatedly fed off the same animals over and over again. The fact that we didn’t kill them has created this problem for you. When we feed on the blood of an animal, a certain amount of our power is also transmitted the other way. If an animal were continually drained night after night, it would be only a matter of time before he would gain an enormous amount of power. Instead of us hunting him, he would look for us to find him, he would make himself available to the attack because he would be able to feel the power flowing in his veins, it is like an addiction he would want more and more until’. Cadbury stopped and smiled. ‘Until what?’ the two detectives and Marcus asked together. ‘Until he becomes a fully- fledged vampire version of whatever creature he is. In this case a wolf by the looks of it but depending on how many vampires had fed off of him his strength would have increased after each attack, he could have the power of ten or twenty vampires by now. This news wasn’t exactly encouraging to the humans but begrudgingly they asked for Cadbury’s help and surprisingly he agreed, the new vampire was faster and stronger than his kind, he would eventually turn on them as well.

The rocky terrain where the wolf packs inhabited was becoming a serious obstacle to the human slayers and detectives. Marcus had called up his ten most efficient and experienced slayers, none of whom were impressed being in the company of Cadbury and especially since he was leading the team. The terrain was of no consequence to the vampire, his agility animal like, his senses super-human. As Cadbury looked back at the struggling slayers, he wondered how they had managed to defeat his kind in the Great War. He looked at the weaponry that they were carrying and he remembered, he hissed to himself as he thought back of the great battles that had been fought between the two species. The terrain was slowing the team down and Cadbury was becoming restless, as Marcus made it to the top of the hill he was greeted by a scene that made him realise why he disliked the vampires so much. Tired of waiting and feeling the urge to feed, Cadbury had stalked and caught a wild deer, as Marcus appeared over the top of the hill, he saw Cadbury with his teeth locked on the deer’s neck. Cadbury looked up at the human and smiled, ‘would you like some?’ he teased, his green eyes menacing in the dark. With that Cadbury let go of the deer and the animal struggled to his feet. Rudy’s stomach turned as he saw the fresh blood drop from the vampire’s lips. ‘You see’, said Cadbury, ‘although that animal looks weak now, he has taken some of my power with him, tomorrow night he will be stronger’, Cadbury went forward urging the humans to follow, ‘we’re nearly there’, he said.

Cadbury raised his hand in the air, the humans stopped dead in their tracks behind him, he could sense and smell the presence of the wolves. He peered out from behind a large rock and pulled his head back in with great haste. Cadbury signalled for Marcus to join him, Marcus approached the rock and looked to where Cadbury was pointing his long slender fingers. There they were, what looked like a mother and a pack of cubs, Marcus did a quick head count; along with the female there were six cubs. The female stood like a human and sniffed the air, turning to where the human and vampire lay. She had a wolf like head and large fangs, larger than any vampires. Marcus gave the signal and the rest of the team arrived up behind him. Rudy sat terrified; he wondered what had he gotten himself into; John was at ease with the situation, he’d obviously had experience of this before. Marcus pointed and gave hand signals and his team moved into action, they set up a large gun head just over the rock, the wolf nest was a mere ten foot wide but this gun when fired would sent a sheet of bullets, forty foot wide by forty foot high. With the gun set up, the team sat in silence. Cadbury smiled as he feigned to sneeze, Marcus pulled a handgun from his jacket and loaded a single silver bullet into the chamber, Cadbury’s smile disappeared and he retreated back behind the slayers, silver bullets made him very nervous and he knew there were hundreds of them, loaded in front of him.

After what seemed like an eternity, Marcus signalled again, there was movement in the nest. The male had returned from a kill, his mouth still full with fresh blood and he passed this into the female’s mouth. The dry hearts and kidneys of tonight’s victims were handed out to the cubs and they viciously tore them apart and fed, growling at each other for space. A vampire is at his weakest when feeding, his senses dull and he gets caught up in the pleasures before him. Marcus gave the signal and the noise of the shot rang out into the crisp air of the night. The wolf-vampires turned with lightning speed but it was too late, the silver bullets ripped through the air and pierced their bodies, sending blood spurting everywhere. The sheet of bullets ripped the creatures apart, the sheer scale of attack too much for them to avoid being hit. When the smoke died down Marcus peered out from behind the rock, ‘he shoots, he scores’, he yelled out into the night. The slayers all cheered and high-fived each other, another mission completed successfully. Cadbury looked in horror at the damage that was inflicted and was glad to be standing on this side for a change. Rudy still had his hands over his ears, his eyes shut and John had to nudge him to look up.

The slayers as was customary returned to a local bar and the party began, Rudy and John joined in, glad that a nights sleep was again possible. Cadbury turned down the generous invitation to join them; he had things to do he said and he set out in search of a fresh cow or deer to satisfy his needs. Rudy had given a message to Cadbury to bring back to his tribe, they now had to mark any animal that they had fed off and when he was marked five times, he could be killed. Back up in the hills the bodies of the two adult and six cub wolf-vampires lay dead, all having taken numerous hits. Their bodies were torn apart from the impact of the bullets, and there was blood everywhere. The bushes rattled as the two cubs that had wandered off returned to the nest, they growled and howled angrily at the sight that greeted them. They fed on the bodies of their parents and siblings and at the speed of light, fled back into the darkness. Their existence unknown to the partying slayers, the head count after the killing added up and Marcus counted more than once to make sure. Two adults and six cubs he counted before the attack and two dead adults and six dead cubs, he had counted after. How could he have known that two other cubs had wandered off into the darkness? Playing and pretending to hunt like their father. He would soon find out !!!!!!!! THE END

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