Psalm of Vampires Chapter Two

Psalm of Vampires Chapter Two
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Chapter One can be found here. Trigger warnings: grief and raw language

Chapter Two — Rude Awakening

I was thinking of Charly’s slovenly ways as I drifted off to sleep. The night’s previous hunt with Charly had been enjoyable until the end when he again got a little sloppy. On second thought, no. He wasn’t being sloppy. He had clear intent in this case. Let me explain.

There had been a brazen murder in Piedmont Park. A local woman walking her dogs was killed in the middle of the day. So were her three dogs. The police were useless. “We have no clues,” went their lament. Charly visited the taped-off crime scene and sniffed out the killer in seconds.

While the sun was setting, we found the killer in the attic of a three-story apartment building that had six nice units and one dilapidated attic apartment. How do I know they were nice units? We checked out each one. When you’ve lived for as long as I have, there isn’t a dwelling you can’t easily break into.

We checked out the cretin’s attic apartment when he went for a walk. I hoped he wasn’t out looking for another woman to kill. “Serial killers seem to have gaps between kills,” said Charly when I expressed that concern.

After we checked out the attic, we were able to confirm that it was the attic man who had killed the woman. We could smell traces of her blood. Not much, but enough.

We ran like hell chasing the killer’s scent. One woman who saw us barreling down the sidewalk on Highland while pushing her baby carriage stopped and watched us. She’ll probably never try to tell the story.

What would she say? “So, I saw these two guys running really fast. Like faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.” That’s a no-response type of story. We were gone before she could have whipped her phone out to record us.

We found him at an ice cream shop full of kids. They must have all been coming back from a soccer game because they wore blue uniforms with shorts and yellow sports shoes of some kind. He looked like he was trying to talk to one of the girls, maybe even buy her something, but one of the adults pulled her away. The killer gave the adult a dirty look, then turned toward the counter to order. We decided to make a scene.

Two gawky teenage boys were running the counter. I went in through the front door, and Charly went in through the back. Charly found the electrical box and switched off the lights.

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One of the things I haven’t mentioned is that vampires can yowl in almost any octave. With enough decibels to rattle the store windows, I screamed in a thick, muffled baritone, “GET OUT!”

The kids scrambled through the door and piled onto the sidewalk outside, screeching for their lives. Charly and I knew that the killer wouldn’t run out with them. We didn’t know why; we just knew he wouldn’t. Charly hid his face with one hand and gently escorted the teenage counter clerks outside through the back with his other hand while I kept my eyes on the killer.

The killer stood staring at me with a half-pint tub of ice cream, holding one of those flat little wooden spoons ice cream shops give you. He was a big guy. Not afraid. He had a long bushy red beard and 137 freckles on his face. I counted them. I don’t know why I counted them. I was curious, I guess. It only took me a second or two as we stood staring at each other. “Hi, freckle face,” I smiled.

“Who the fuck are you?” he snarled.

“Doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is who you are.”

The kids outside were staring through the window by now. That wouldn’t do. I pulled down the shop’s sunshades.

“Oh yeah?” said the killer as I pulled the final shade over the door window. “And who the fuck am I, you twat?”

I spun around and smiled. “You’re dinner. Charly!” I yelled. “Dinner is served! Hurry, we have about a minute and a half before uninvited guests with guns let themselves in.”

Charly came rushing in. “So sorry. The counter help was being difficult.” I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that his mouth wasn’t covered with blood.

Charly glared at the killer, who threw his ice cream at Charly as if it was coffee or, God, I don’t know what he was thinking. He probably panicked because Charly suddenly filled a room that had seemed comparatively empty.

He tried to run between Charly and me because it was his only escape route, but I caught him and threw him over the counter. Charly used one arm to leverage his hurdle over the counter in a way no modern human could imagine, and I went around to the other side of the counter to meet him.

I opened the display case. “Do you mind?” I asked Charly.

“Go for it,” he said.

I took a tub of pistachio ice cream, turned it upside down, and pushed it into the top of the killer’s head, giving him a crown of sorts.

“Save some for me,” said Charly. He was talking about blood, not ice cream.

“Always,” I replied. I always went first because, as I said, Charly’s a slob.

I prayed briefly. The man screamed as my jaws fastened to his neck. I delighted to the way his delicious, oxygenated blood pulled from his arteries into my mouth, creating an almost uncontrollable desire within me. But we had so little time. I’d have to tamper my impulses.

I stopped, stood up, and waved my hand palm up toward the sunken body as an invitation to Charly. Charly dug in on the other side, tearing at the man’s neck like a lion finishing off a wildebeest.

Here’s the difference between Charly and me. I left Charly with a nice, pristine neck. If Charly had taken a bite on my side, he would have barely noticed I had been there. I leave two clean puncture marks that a surgeon would die for. My mouth and lips are always clean. I don’t even need a napkin when I’m finished. Charly, on the other hand, well, perhaps he just enjoys tearing up flesh more than I do. When Charly was done, his chin looked like it had been dipped in red paint, his scarlet grin dripping with bloody pleasure. The killer’s head was nearly severed from its neck.

“Time to go,” I said as a cop entered the shop with his gun drawn. I hadn’t heard any sirens. I had no time to think, but I realized later he had probably arrived by bicycle or motorcycle. Luckily, he was alone, so I jumped over the counter and wrapped my arm around his neck from behind before he could react. I pushed him so hard out the door that he rolled sideways for several feet. This gave us time to run out through the back.

That’s what I was thinking about as I drifted off into sleep. I fell asleep to a mixture of the cop standing there looking at me, Charly’s bloody grin, and the sound of my violin from a few hours before.

The sleep didn’t last long. I normally only sleep about an hour per night anyway. Sometimes, I’ll go for a week or more without sleep. I don’t think I was asleep for more than a few minutes when I was startled by a sound in my bedroom.

There was a time when my bedroom would have been filled with artifacts from across the world. These days, there was a large round bed, enough for several people if the occasion warranted it, a large navy down-filled sofa, and an original Picasso painting called ‘Guernica’, which I obtained in the 1950s from the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid with the help of the world’s best art counterfeiter, who happened to be a vampire named Rafael. Rafael and I snuck his counterfeit of ‘Guernica’ into the Museo Reina Sofía, where it sits today. And I, of course, borrowed the real one. I may give it back eventually. A large chair upholstered with alligator leather sat across the bedroom against massive display windows.

That was it. The carpeting was plush, the walls were painted a reddish-brown ochre. I was able to control the ceiling’s recessed lighting with a remote I kept on a nightstand that curved along one part of the bed. There were two bedroom doors, but they shared the same space closing against each other, and a large bathroom to the right of the doors. There was a 120-inch video screen hooked up to streaming TV services, but it was hidden within the wall thanks to some carpentry and electronic wizardry.

My point in bringing up my boring bedroom décor is to emphasize that there weren’t many places for someone to hide. The couch and chairs were both pressed against the wall or windows. The bathroom had an extravagant alarm system because I didn’t want downstairs male influencers taking a piss in my bathroom. The security system of the home itself was world-class, but it didn’t much matter because the influencers living in the home were constantly partying. If someone walked up the stairs to my bedroom, the influencers would just assume it was a welcome guest. That was the Achilles heel, of course, of the home’s security system.

So, I shouldn’t have been startled when I was awoken by a sound, considering how easy it was to enter my room. I reached for the remote to turn on the lights, but it wasn’t on the nightstand. “What the hell?” I said out loud.

“Looking for this?” came a female voice from the doors. I didn’t need lighting to know who it was. Besides, Moreland glows faintly in the dark because she comes from the Obayifo line of vampires from Africa, an offshoot of the same subspecies as Charly.

I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping I was having a terrible nightmare, but as insurance, I said, “Go away.”

She didn’t. She launched into a diatribe like she often does. “What were you thinking?” she yelled in her high-pitched voice. She was wearing her usual translucent white robe and nothing underneath. I never figured out how she walked around in public like that. Or even if she did. She possessed methods for traveling that I didn’t.

Her hair was usually dyed dark black, just the way I like it, but naturally curly, not the silky straight stuff that I loved most. Now, it was a rose-colored red and straighter than usual.

Her almond-shaped blue eyes were glaring at me. Her normally subtle blue phosphorous glow was pulsating, so I knew she was pissed. Sometimes she faked being pissed because she liked to yell at me about things, but she has a tell that she can’t escape from, so I always know if she’s genuinely mad. She was mad.

“First you make a spectacle of yourself with this ridiculous streaming thing you do. Which is bad-stupid enough. But then you get all over the internet with this violin bullshit. And then, then, you do a bloody ass kill in broad daylight.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s all over the bloody news is what I’m talking about. The ice cream shop vampire murder is what they’re calling it already. What the hell is wrong with you? An ice cream shop? Full of kids?”

“Nobody believes in vampires. They’re just fun and games to these people. The Cullens and the two Bellas, Bela and Bella, and Lestat de Lioncourt. Besides, what makes you think I did that? Not exactly my M.O.”

She ignored me. “And then… You know, our people spend thousands of years mastering the art of stealth and discretion, and you blow it all up in two days. You’re a shit. Do you have any idea how good forensic technology is these days?”

“Good enough to catch vampires who can shape-shift their fingerprints?” I smiled. “Can you leave now?”

“You’re smarter than this. You know better, too.”

“Again, I ask you, why do you assume it’s me?”

“Oh ok. It’s one of the thousands of other vampires who live around here.”

“Well, we aren’t the only ones here.”

“Yeah, we pretty much are. In this city. There’s that guy you hang around with. Charly? And let’s see, umm, yeah. That’s it. And me when I am stupid enough to check up on you.” She was usually hiding in the woods in upper New York State.

“You’re not my mother. I don’t need nor want you checking up on me. In fact, I’d rather drink battery acid.”

“If I was your mother, I’d have aborted.”

I was still lying in bed. I crossed one leg over the other. “You’re being harsher than usual in your judgments of me, my vampish sex pistol.” She threw the remote at me so hard that it lodged into the wall behind me. I reached behind and pulled it out of the drywall. “Huh. You’d think it would have broken into a million pieces.” I examined it. “Craftsmanship in the twenty-first century? Who’d a thunk it?”

She sunk herself into the chair, which made the sound leather would make if it hadn’t been used for a few years, which it probably hadn’t.

“I guess you’re staying awhile?” I asked. I grabbed my phone from the nightstand.

“What the hell are you doing?”

“I may as well see if we can order some food.”

“Good God, you’re such a sociopath.”

“You think?” I asked as I tapped. “Oh look, an Italian beef place serving until 5 am. Can you believe it?” Her angry glow-pulse was becoming a strobe light. “I’ll order two. We have champagne downstairs. Should I have someone fetch us some?”

“If I can find a way to kill you, yes. I only drink champagne to celebrate.”

I ordered the food, knowing her sandwich would not be eaten, but not caring. I put the phone back on the nightstand. “Look, I’ll admit, Charly got a little rambunctious. But the guy we fed on killed that woman in Piedmont Park.”

She shrugged. “So?”

“So that’s not cool.”

“Of course it isn’t, but we don’t interfere with human stupidity or depravity. Thousands of years have taught us to lay low. Again. I ask you. What the hell came over you? You’ve always been bound to this. This works for us, Atticus. This has always fuckin’ worked for us.” If her strobe-like glow wasn’t telling me how mad she was, her calling me by my real name did. She always called me by my “local” name, no matter the era.

I was being a smartass with her because I knew she was right. Charly and I broke a lot of unwritten rules. I wasn’t willing to admit that to her.

“So what are we gonna do?” she asked me.


“This affects me, too.”

“Not really. We all just lay low, and it will blow over. We kicked the kids out before we fed. They didn’t see anything. The cops probably by now realize that the dead guy is the killer of the dead woman in Piedmont. The first thing they’ll ask is, who is this guy that got himself slaughtered in an ice cream shop? They’ll search his place, find enough clues he’s their man, and that will be that. His death will be a cold case for a hundred years, but they’ll celebrate finding out that the dead guy is their man, and they won’t give a flying shit. The dude was a fucknuckle anyway.”

“Glad you’ve thought this through,” she said sarcastically.

“Not really, but you know how things work.”

“What if this Charly guy is out of control? Have you thought about that?”

“He’s not,” I said confidently.

“All of us feel the lust for blood every time we feed,” she said. I had felt it in a big way in the ice cream shop. We always feel it to one degree or another, but the evening’s pull had been especially strong.

“It happens,” she said. “It takes over. There was Bjorn Petursson in Iceland in the 1500s. Practically took out the whole country. There was Genipperteinga in Germany around the same time. There was half of fuckin’ Serbia in the 1700s, for God’s sake. There’s the leader of Russia today. The fucking plague for God’s sake. Shall I go on?”

“Those vampires caused us a lot of grief, yeah, but Charly’s been with us for 10,000 years, and he’s been a slob his whole life. That’s his only crime. Let it go.”

Her glow began to ebb. As angry as she was, and as much as Moreland enjoyed ripping me a new one, she basically trusted my instincts. “Okay,” she said calmly. “Shit. What a mess.”

“The reason I hunt with him is that he likes to pick on jerks like I do. That’s it. We’ve gone on hunts for ninety years. I’ve seen him in action. He’s cool.”

Moreland shook her head. “We really need to fuck more, Jade. We get along better when we fuck.”

“You mean, you yell at me less when we fuck. Anyway, no,” I said, matter-of-factly. “I don’t trust you. Not after Singapore.” I have probably brought up Singapore a hundred times.

“We have fucked since Singapore.”

“Not happily,” I said.

Moreland sighed and sat silently before announcing, “I’m gonna go.”

“You do that,” I said, turning over. I cringed inside at the stab of the wound I was delivering to her. It hurt me, too, but my cold reply was out, and I couldn’t take it back.

I loved Moreland. But I hated her just as much.

Chapter One
Chapter Three

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This story was written by a human, not by AI or Grammarly GO (More Info)