Necropolis, Part 1

(by, 09 December 2000)

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Part 1/2
hunting vampires series

    Lisa struck the match, applied the tip of the flame to her cigarette, and 
then stepped up, next in line to the bouncer as she looked at the plain white 
text on the black matchbook cover. The Necropolis. Yes, this was the place. 
She slid her license out of her pocket, opened her leather jacket and shirt 
collar to show the bouncer she was good to go, and stepped in front of him as 
she exhaled.
    First he checked the license closely. Satisfied, he reached out, tried to 
slip a finger under the thick leather collar, and then nodded wordlessly as 
she handed him a twenty, after which he gave the license back.
    The sign over the door read 'Enter at Your Own Risk.' She knew the risks.
    Inside, the DJ was playing the 'Sin' CD. Techno beats and Trent Reznor's 
distinctive angst overcut the noise of the place. She looked at the faces, 
the hunters and the ones who wanted to be hunted, but all the black leather 
and the sign over the door and the menacing bouncer- it was all just show. Oh 
yeah, they came here, that was why she was here, but unlike her, they were no 
more really here to hunt than the humans in crowd were here to be fed on. It 
was all show and games, rich bored vamps and poser humans, rubbing elbows in 
a controlled environment. The vamps knew if they fed here- not played their 
little fucking biting games but really fed- they would be dust before they 
hit the door.
    And she would never walk out of her alive if she staked any of them 
either. Those were the rules, which was not to say the rules didn't get 
broken, but when they did you didn't want to be the one on the wrong side of 
this place's primal law. She'd seen it go both ways, all nice and quiet and 
quick- never any cops, never even a whisper of the worst of it.
    This was neutral ground and everyone knew it.
    She made her way through the place, picking out the vamps because they 
were the well-dressed one, the relaxed one, the ones who never quite got 
drunk. There was a mix of nervous hopefulness and downright fear in the 
humans, and she could smell it on them and she hated them for it because she 
would give anything to never feel that fear again and they- they were paying 
twenty bucks a head when they should have been shitting there pants.
    It might be neutral ground, but it was also really hell.
    She pulled hard on her cigarette, trimmed ash onto the floor, and kept 
moving. She wasn't here just to face surf, although it was fun.
    An hand closed around her shoulder and she fought her instincts, the ones 
which made her a very bad person to touch uninvited.
    'Lisa McDonough. It's nice to see you without a stake in your hand for 
once. How'd things work out with the girl ?'
    'She's still above ground, Monica. What brings you here ?'
    'Well, I'm mostly looking for the right boy or girl to take me home. 
Don't suppose that's why you're here ?'
    'Only if you're interested in finding out what it's like to turn into a 
pile of dust.'
    'Come on now. You and I had fun when last we met. But can I get serious 
for a moment ?'
    Lisa sighed. She was beginning to get the distinct impression Monica 
actually liked her or something.
    Monica tilted her head, tossed her perfect strawberry blonde hair, and 
smiled an out of place co-ed's innocent smile. 'Actually it's more like I'd 
gladly fuck you than I like you. But seriously, I am dying for a cigarette 
right now. Can you oblige ? I'd be ever so grateful.'
    Rather than take the sarcasm route, Lisa just pulled one out of her pack, 
handed it to Monica, and then lit her up. The vampire drew deeply on the 
cigarette and then let her fangs show as she exhaled. She smiled at Lisa 
again and the vampire hunter felt that same dyslexic sexual attraction she'd 
felt before. There was no doubt how Monica came by her meals.
    'I assume you're here to hunt and this isn't a social visit ?' Monica 
    'That's between me and my stakes,' Lisa said. 
    'Don't be so sure, my human friend. I'm not just here to window shoppe 
myself, and I think we may be working towards the same end.'
    'I certainly hope not. Look, if you're going to insist on forcing me to 
have a conversation, you could at least buy me a drink.'
    Just then, a young man who looked to be in his late teens sauntered up to 
Lisa. He was holding a Corona with a lime in it and stoking his jaw in the 
area where an older man or a vampire who'd died a few years older might have 
been able to grow an actual goatee instead of the pencil shading he had. He 
smiled in a way that all vamps though was sexually appealing, but he didn't 
have it down yet. There was too much hunger in his eyes and not enough common 
sense between his ears.
    'You're new- and you're hot. Any chance you'd let me buy you drink, 
maybe get to know one another.'
    The tone is his voice made it all too obvious that he was just playing 
the conversation game in hopes of getting into her veins later. She hated the 
type- all he saw was a blood bag with two legs, two arms and a pretty face.
    As Lisa was deciding between two or three of her best retorts, Monica 
stepped in.
    'She's mine. Beat it, Hector.'
    Monica had had her back turned to him, but even before she had spoken, 
that first moment when she turned around, she had intimidated him entirely. 
He slunk off without another word.
    'These goddamned kids have no respect for the traditions, you know ?' 
She led Lisa over one of the bars and they pulled up stools. 'I mean, look at 
these- I hate to even use the word- vampires. Everything has changed so much 
just in the last twenty or thirty years. Now that must of us are immune to 
the effects of the sun- they work nine to five jobs, trade stocks over the 
internet, live in nice suburban houses. They're just humans with odd dietary 
needs. My sire would have gutted me just for coming into a place like this, 
where hunting is prohibited.'
    'Your sire has been dust for thirty years,' Lisa said, her voice cold 
and flat. She took out her cigarettes, lit one, and then passed the pack to 
Monica without being asked. The truth was, rules or no rules, she felt better 
with Monica watching her back for the moment. But just a moment. She still 
had a job to do and it wasn't rubbing elbows with a vampire. And you could 
never trust them.
    Monica lit her own cigarette and prepared to resume her screed. Lisa 
looked at her reflexively as Monica's cheeks drew in, her mouth filling with 
smoke, her upper fangs protruding slightly but not preventing her from 
sealing her lips around the cigarette. Her neck was arched, long strawberry 
blonde hair running along its length. She was running her left hand through 
her hair by her ear and as she exhaled, she met Lisa's eyes and smiled, full 
of teeth and the promise of orgasm like no other.
    Lisa broke the look. It was really time to take a few days off and get a 
    The barmaid set down two Newcastles and looked at Lisa to make sure 
Monica's usual was all right. She nodded and the woman winked at her as if 
knowing they shared some secret.
    'My point is this. These new ones, they can't even do the math. They are 
indiscriminate about who they turn. A place like this is full of people who 
want it, and that's a recipe for disaster. My sire would have gutted me and 
feasted if I'd wanted it before he-'
    'My sire, my sire,' Lisa mocked, because she was angry now. 'Is that all 
you can talk about-' She pulled hard on her cigarette, met Monica's eyes 
again, and exhaled.
    'You get so tense over a little sexual tension. It's really too bad. If 
I ever met anyone in need of a good hard fuck, it's you, Lisa. But I know the 
next best thing-'
    She pulled a card out of the inside pocket of her jacket. 'My massage 
therapist,' she said as she handed the card to Lisa.
    'Talk about how vampires don't appreciate irony-'
    Monica shook her head, trimmed ash, inhaled, held the smoke, and then 
went with a nose exhale.
    'I find that I can do my job more effectively when I'm not tense. Oh 
never mind. Just give her a try, would you ?'
    'Does she- ?'
    'Jesus, no. I generally don't just blab it to everyone. I did have to 
lie on a few of the health screening questions, though.'
    'Look, Monica, it isn't that I don't appreciate the beer and the advice, 
but I didn't come here to make small talk with someone that I would just as 
soon stake-'
    Monica just smoked for a moment, ignoring the flush discomfort and 
impatience of the human because underneath it all, she really did, for 
whatever reason, like her. And unlike Lisa, Monica understoond that was 
allowed. It might not be encouraged, but it was allowed.
    'I'm getting to a point here. They don't accept that you can't just 
going turning people almost at random, that we can't stay hidden if the 
demand gets too far out of line with the supply.'
    'These ones here aren't hiding.'
    'This is a controlled environment, and it works because it's so out in 
the open that no one- none of those good sensible people who wouldn't believe 
in you or me, with their portfolios and their private schools and their 
Martha Stewart cookbooks- thinks it's real. You could bring them here and 
they would still think it was all just goth angst and pretend, right ?'
    'What is your point, Monica ? I have a lot of work to do.'
    'My point is that you and I aren't, to pardon a little vampire pun, at 
cross-purposes as much as you think. I know that you do a lot of freelance 
work, but how do your other- jobs- come in ?'
    'I don't talk about that.'
    Monica smiled, crushed out her cigarette, liberally helped herself to 
another, and Lisa fought unsuccessfully against the urge to watch her light 
    'Mine come by email. Same as yours, I bet. Your checks come from a 
different bank every time. The emails are encrypted, and I bet if we compared 
the privacy keys, they would match. The only difference between you and I is 
that I know it's a vampire that signs my check. Well, that and the fact that 
I'll admit to being a contract killer.'
    It was funny how a few sentences could change a person's life. One minute 
you were grounded in the absolutes of your own reality and the next, it was 
all dumped on its head and twisted inside out.
    She had never known who sent her those emails, she had never cared. The 
first time, the payment had come up front and it was something she would have 
done- as with most of these jobs- for free. 
    Thinking back to the last time they'd met, Lisa had chalked that up to 
coincidence, two people- well, one person, one vampire, looking at doing the 
same job for two different sources.
    'It's always some kind of game with you, Monica. I don't understand why 
you'd give me any more reason than I already need to stake you.'
    'That's it, get angry. Feel some real emotion. But all we need to do is 
check those keys- ah, but it would make you feel dirty if you found out you 
were taking money from vampires or working on a vampire agenda, wouldn't it ?'
    Lisa drew hard on the cigarette but it didn't bring the usual pleasure.
    'I stake vamps. Dust to dust. I wouldn't care if it was Satan signing 
those checks. I know what I do, I know why I do it. The rest is all just 
bullshit anyway.'
    In a way, Monica felt sorry for Lisa. She was so self-limiting, so rigid. 
So human. And she would never know any release but death, the sweetest price 
she'd ever pay was when the whole world went away and she took one final dirt 
nap. One day, not too long from now, some lucky vamp would catch her on a bad 
day and rip her throat out or gut her like a rotten fish. She was wound so 
tight she was certain to get sloppy, make a mistake, and mistakes and vamps 
didn't mix. Her sire had taught her that one the hard way.
    'I was like you once,' Monica said.
    'Human ? I know. That's the only common bond between us.'
    'Jesus,' Monica said, drawing on her cigarette. She allowed her fangs 
full show and blew the smoke around them, the white stream broken into thee 
curls arches. 'I can't believe you smoke.'
    Trimming again, Lisa lifted the half-spent cigarette to the side of her 
mouth, drew on it, ached her head and exhaled above them, her eyes never 
leaving Monica.
    'What the hell does that have to do with anything ?'
    'Deciding to start smoking takes an open mind. A leap of faith. I can't 
imagine that you were ever open enough to new experiences to do it. Although 
you did go to Vassar for four years.'
    'And you know that because ?'
    'I told you, I was like you once. When I was sired, I was trying to kill 
him. Wooden stakes and crosses and brooding emotional problems. Oh yes, I was 
you. I still have a little of it in me, too.'
    'That doesn't explain how-'
    'I know where you went to college, I know you have a little business 
venture in the hometown you grew up in. I know that you like to go sit on 
Nathaniel Brown MacDonough's gravestone and drink beer and think about the 
decisions that came out wrong in your life and I know one day you'll get 
sloppy and walk out of your colonial three bedroom and some pissed off vamp 
will open your spleen up with her claws and feast on your angry blood- and oh 
what a meal it will be.
    'Want to try, bitch ?'
    'It won't be me. I like you. I know you. It's a myth you see on Buffy 
that we don't have souls. That's just something arrogant humans tell 
themselves because they like to say that no one with a soul could feed on 
their own kind. They forget names like Pinochet and Milosevic and Nixon and 
they sleep at night comfortable in their own fucking humanity, they sleep on 
a bed of history of torture and slavery and economic terrorism in the name of 
    'Is the civics lesson over ?'
    'Yeah, it is. Let me fuck with your head one last time so we can get to 
work. You're here to do two things. The first is to stake the former captain 
of the Saratoga high school's cheerleading team, the young woman with an 
outside chance of being the valedictorian at Skidmore, and when you're done 
with that, you're supposed to take out her sire, who's living in a 
brownstone on Schuyler Street right here in the city. You came here because 
you heard this is where she likes to come when she's not study, a short trip 
down the interstate to her favourite haunt, where she smokes cigars and 
occasionally lures some small-time lobbyist or Albany State student back to 
her place, where she feeds on her victim while he watches, kills them at the 
precise moment of orgasm because the blood is sweetest then and they drink 
together. Maybe one every ten days.'
    'You left out the part where I say why the fuck would I need your help ?'
    'Come on. This guy is over three hundred years old. He was in the Battle 
of fucking Saratoga. He was drinking blood and taking souls when you and I 
were what, thirteen generations unborn ? This isn't a one person job.'
    'No, that's not it. Not all of it. You'd only be here if he pissed 
someone off, if he did something that draws attention-'
    'Simple. He drank the wrong father's daughter's blood. He pissed off 
someone who knew who to call, who's palms to grease with a few hundred 
thousand dollars. You don't turn a town sweetheart and walk away. After three 
hundred years of anonymity, he made the simple mistake of making a bad name 
for himself. Old and sloppy. The old male weakness. Big boobs.'
    'You saw the picture ?' Lisa asked, and then she walled off everything 
she was thinking about betrayal and anger and all the rest. She could deal 
with that later. She might be telling the truth or Monica might just be a 
phenomenal liar, and it didn't matter.
    'She's in the back. Let's go take a look.'
    'Why both of us ?'
    'Well, I've been instructed to do a few things you weren't. Clean up the 
mess. Send her car over a cliff, so it looks like she died a natural death.'
    'Wait a minute. All of this doesn't make sense. My email didn't mention 
the father at all-'
    'I'm motivated by money more than you, and I need to do things you 
    'She was turned at least a year ago. Why didn't Daddy pull her out of 
school, cut her off, do something ?'
    'It wouldn't have looked right. I don't think goodness or justice or 
mercy is behind his motives. He's just a pissed off rich guy. This is all 
about appearances. Why tell you that ? You'd walk away from it-'
    'Maybe. So why did you tell me now ?'
    'I don't think you can walk away from staking a vamp. It's your nature 
and it will be your undoing.'
    Lisa stubbed out her cigarette. 'Let's go find this bitch.'

    Heather placed the cigar between her lips and George took his hand off 
her breast, producing a lighter with which he lit the cigar carefully and 
slowly, correctly avoiding singeing the tip. She drew on it rapidly until it 
finally caught and the smoke reached her mouth. She exhaled a thick blue 
cloud and then moved his hand back onto her breast. She slid on the couch 
tighter to him, wrapped her leg around his, and nibbled on his ear with her 
fangs briefly.
    Then she placed the cigar firmly in her mouth and moved her hand down, 
down past his flat stomach to his eager groin. He wanted her here and now, on 
the couch. Blood sang in his ears, swelled behind his eyes until she could 
see them bulging outward.
    She pulled on the cigar and the tip flared orange.
    'You know what you want, George. I know too. How about we leave this 
place and its silly little rules and go somewhere quiet. I have a room in a 
brownstone for this sort of thing. I'll go slow and you can-'
    'Die in your arms ?' he asked. 'I like it here.'
    She took her hand away and retracted the cigar, blowing another thick 
cloud of bluish smoke.
    'You're not afraid, are you ? Of little ol' me ?' She batted her blue 
eyes and puffed up her breasts and he was lost to the world.
    'Can you promise me I'll wake up tomorrow morning ?'
    'Of course. You did come here after all. You know what this place is, 
right ?'
    'Yeah, I know. But there's a difference between getting a taste and 
eating the whole meal. I'm a semester away from my degree and-'
    She put her hand his hair and tousled it and then turned her other hand 
so that she could offer him an hit on the cigar which he took gladly.
    'Silly boy. Whatever would happen if I went around killing nice beautiful 
men like you ? Someone would talk. I might feed on you a little, and you'll 
like it. But I only kill the homeless, the drunks, the addicts, the people no 
one would miss.'
    'Good. I really, I mean-'
    'You just want a taste. Smart boy. I can give you that, and you can take 
back something that will- I mean, I do have a nice body- and I know how to 
use it. I'll make you cry- but I won't hurt you, dear. I like you. You know 
how to dance.'

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