Authors: John Conroe
This book is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel either products of the author’s im
agination or are used fictitiously
Copyright © 2010 John Conroe
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of the author
This book would not exist without the help of a lot of people. Thanks to my beta readers : Deann, Jessica, Elaine, Kaylie (my niece) and my sister, Laurie. Thanks to Jack for listening to improbable ideas and offering creative names. My Russian computer experts, Vincent and Rouslan kept my names accurate. My brother Scott provided invaluable editing and advice.
My parents need to receive my thanks for teaching me to enjoy reading ( no reading – no writing). Most of all I need to thank my wife, Robin, and my girls, Emilee and Allison for living with a mid-life writer. Thanks for putting up with all the hours I snuck away to write.
I had to admit it, these vampires really knew how to run a club.
It had to be the most bizarre place in the Big Apple, and that’s saying something.
I wouldn’t have chosen a vampire/Goth club myself, but Henderson’s ravings about Plasma had won over Pella, and
so I went along. Now,
I had to confess to some curiosity myself.
Of course the vampires weren’t real, but the owners had done a great job capitalizing on the current nationwide love affair with all things vampire –movies, books, and dance clubs. The
building had once housed a newspaper and the center of the building, where the printing presses had operated, was open all the way to the ceiling, three stories above. The club’s entrance brought you in on the second floor and a labyrinth of stairs provided passage to the top floor or down to the bottom where the dance floor and band stage were.
I sipped my Corona and took in the atmosphere. The walls were black and most of the lighting came from red neon that bathed everything in a bloody glow. Dark nooks and corners abounded, occupied with a strange mixture of serious Goth and trendy night clubbers. The staff was uniformly pale and etheric looking, an effect that puzzled me to no end. Our ‘vampire’ waitress had visited our table four or five times and I hadn’t been able to detect a trace of white makeup on her face. Likewise, the club appeared to only hire professional dancers as staff, since they all moved entirely too gracefully to be regular clods like the three of us.
“Hey Chris, dude, here’s to six months on the
orce and the end of probation!” Pella exclaimed for the dozenth time, his slurring getting more pronounced with each toast. I clinked my bottle to his glass, having to first steady his hand. Pella and I had just finished probation with the NYPD and were now eligible for full benefits.
Our host for the evening, veteran officer Scott Hend
erson, single and ever the playa
, was charming a pair of young ladies at the bar.
He had waved me over several times, but that wasn’t gonna happen. Bad enough that I was out with my brothers in blue, there was no way I’d involve a girl in the minefield of my life.
Pella had jumped into the celebration with both feet, pounding Bacardi and Coke like water. I, on the other hand, was having a tough time relaxing, only just getting to the bottom of my second beer. Something had me on edge, maybe just the strange nature of the club. Any club would be strange to me, having grown up at the top of New York State, right on the border of the six million acre Adirondack Park. Not much opportunity for clubbing up there, although I had been exposed to a little nightlife during my college years in Albany. But nothing in my college career had prepared me for a nightclub where accountants and lawyers, bond traders and stockbrokers flocked for the thrill of pretending to be in the company of vampires.
Plasma’s resident vampire staff carried the whole thing off with surprising realism. Our pretty little–five-foot nothing waitress acted the part, with sly smirks and hungry glances at our throats. Spiky black hair and excellent green contact lenses gave her the full effect. For some reason, e
ven knowing everything was fake,
it raised the hair on the back of my neck, obviously the effect that kept bringing hordes of people through the door. The lines outside were two blocks long and we would probably still be out there if the head bouncer hadn’t recognized Henderson as a regular and a cop. Now
guy had set the tone right from the beginning. Well over six feet tall and built like a professional wrestler, he had been dressed in leather pants and python skin vest. His baldhead gleamed in the sodium light and a large gold earring hung from his right lobe. Eerie yellow contact lenses had added to his formidable appearance. But despite the theatrical nature of his costume, his movements and carriage screamed serious fighter. Having spent most of my twenty-two plus years in mixed martial arts, I am a pretty good judge. Friendly enough when he greeted Henderson, he had given Pella a glance, and then spent an uncomfortable amount of time evaluating me, before letting us through without waiting in line. Henderson had called him Vadim, which sounded Russian. Rumor had it that the club’s owners were originally from Moscow, with possible connections to the Russian mob.
“Falling behind your friends a bit there, ay North boy?” A silky voice purred in my ear. Somehow I kept from jumping, but my heart lurched in my chest. Turning my head I found our spooky waitress with her mouth inches from my neck. She had introduced herself as Lydia when we first claimed the table overlooking the dance floor. Now her bright green eyes glittered in the low light. Where
do you buy contacts like that I wondered as goosebumps covered my arms.
“How do you know I’m from the North and not Canada?” I asked, almost shouting to be heard over the band.
She shrugged, “Your accent. Kinda like a Canadian, but still not exactly like it.
, ya hoser.”
Her smile was sly. “So you look like you could use a shot to catch up with your pals.”
“No, one of us needs to keep his wits about him in this wicked nest of vampires.” I shot back, half joking. I was beginning to have serious questions about this place.
“Oh, you’ll be safe enough Officer.
We don’t eat
our civil servants.
She smiled, spun in place, her tray of empties not even clinking, and swished gracefully away, glancing over her left shoulder once to catch me watching her walk. Entering a pool of darkness, her eyes glowing, she swerved to miss a drunken ass grab from a patron on her right, her eyes
still locked on me
. Okay, she was officially weirding me out. This place had a serious commitment to creepy. I’m fairly comfortable with creepy. You could say that it’s pretty much been my life, but this was outside my realm of experience. Gramps always said the other supernatural creatures (vampires, witches and werewolves) were real.
I always thought he was kidding me. Hard to tell with him sometimes.
The existence of other supernatural beings was n
ot a big stretch from what I normally dealt with. But vampires wouldn’t advertise as a vampire club if they were real, would they?
Actually, Plasma didn’t bill itself as vampire owned at all, but every ad featured shots of the
beautiful, preternaturally pale staff. The vampire part was mostly spread by word of mouth. Clever!
The vision hit me as I put my head back to take a long pull on my beer. Thankfully, my visions never hit while I am driving, because I can’t see a thing until the vision passes. This one hit really hard, about three seconds of
violence involving a girl, a corridor, and, of course, one of the demon-ridden. My eyesight returned as I choked on my mouthful of Mexican beer. Coughing the rest of it out, I immediately scanned the room for the source of my blackout.
We were on the second f
loor, so I moved to the railing.
Pella had joined Scott with the t
wo girls he was hitting on. My new
view covered most of the dance floor, stage and main bar. At about that time the band finished their song, and the lights dimmed, shrouding the stage in blackness.
Fantastic! I need every
sense I have to find the monsters I hunt.
Some of the more serious Goth types started to chant a name, but it was too indistinct to make out. I stopped my scan, getting caught up in the club’s theatrics. More of the crowd by the dance floor started to pick up the shout, repeating something that sounded like tat. Still in darkness, the band began a new song, one with a really heavy beat. The regulars went wild and now every floor’s railing was crowded with screaming people as the female lead added her voice to the burgeoning song.
A punky girl and her acne ridden boyfriend shoved up against me, trying to see the dance floor.
As if by common agreement, the center of the dance floor cleared, leaving two indistinct figures standing motionless
in the dark. The song
, music and vocals both stopping dead for three heartbeats, and then suddenly exploding in full sound. A pool of light
blasted into being, illuminating
the lead singer, but centered on two female dancers in the middle of the dance floor.
It was like nothing I had ever seen or heard of before. More than anything else in the entire club, these two
pushed me over the edge of belief. It didn’t seem possible that any human could move the way these two did. One was blonde, wrapped in a curve hugging red dress, cut low in the front and high on the side. Her bright eyes scanned the crowd as she spun and wove around her companion. The other was raven haired, wearing white, spinning with her head down, lost in her own dance. She finally lifted her head and electric blue eyes knocked the breath out of my chest. The blonde was gorgeous, but the brunette had to be the most beautiful woman in existence. She was also the girl in my vision. I can’t begin to describe their dancing, not in any way that would portray it accurately. It was alluring, primal, sensual and utterly captivating.
Fluid, athletic, and well beyond the grasp of any ballerina on earth.
I was reluctant to tear my eyes away, but now that I had found the victim, the Hellbourne couldn’t be far away. Pretty much the entire club had stopped to watch the show, crowding the rails three people deep all the way around. Closing my eyes for a moment, I opened my mind, just a little, feeling for the vile, oily essence of the Hellbourne. After a moment I got it – below -- near the dance floor. Opening my eyes I scanned the main bar, skimming o
ver the people crowded there
, then back a second time.
One man caught my eye on the second pass, mainly because he was exceptionally unexceptional. Bland. Average height, dirty blond hair, slim build, and plain ordinary face. He stood out to my Sight because he was so unnoticeable. That and the greasy blackness of his aura.