The Silver Cross ~ Excerpt
Charlie’s tip about a vampire nest here on the waterfront gave Lacey hope. This could be the break she was waiting for, but her gut told her these killings were more complicated than one nest of vampires. The murders had something too precise about them, like someone was directing them toward one particular direction. That’s what she was afraid of, charging off in one direction while the real crimes were committed behind her back. As much as she wanted to ignore it, her gut was not usually wrong. A third girl had been found, but she’d been drained. This one had been homeless, not exactly the same MO as the other two dead girls, but she was a blonde. That had to be a clue, but for what, exactly, she wasn’t sure. Maybe the vamp just liked blondes, but something was definitely going on. She hoped that her team could at least take out one vamp tonight. If she could get one less monster prowling the streets, she’d be happy and hopefully, so would the captain.
The Boston Globe had broken the story about the dead girls. The only good thing was the article had reported that their throats had been slashed, not ripped apart, but people were getting spooked thinking there was a serial killer on the loose. Well, they were right, but not in the way they thought. People believed vampires were something they watched on television. Most would never encounter one. It was Lacey’s job to make sure they didn’t.
“Head’s up! I see some activity on the far side of the warehouse. Three bodies just came in from the east,” she whispered into her headset. “I have no shot from here, but they’re moving way too fast to be human. You two grab the Betties and circle around back. Flush them my way so they can’t escape the way they came.”
Lacey was referring to a pair of HK M1014 semi-automatic 12-gauge shotguns affectionately called Betties. Each shotgun held seven rounds, and each round was packed with 20 silver-tipped fléchettes. The fléchettes had an effective range of about 50 meters, but when fired they created a wall of deadly, pointed, steel projectiles. Anything caught within the blast would be decimated.
“We’re on our way,” Jackson replied. “We’ll send them your way unless they want to dance with Betty.”
“Roger, I’ll be waiting.”
“What the…,” the first vampire muttered. “These people are already dead. What’s going on here?” He turned around to his companions with eyes widened in surprise.
Victor was looking at the gruesome sight of the bodies piled in a heap. “I don’t know. They were supposed to be camped here, living like squatters, not already dead.”
“Something doesn’t smell right and I don’t mean these bodies,” the second vampire said, looking at Victor. “This looks like some kind of set up and I’ll bet you’re in the middle of it.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Victor said. “I’m standing in the middle of this right beside you. Whatever this is, we’re in it together, and I suggest we get out real fast. Let’s go, this way.”
They all headed back out the way they came in, but one of the vampires spotted a shadow outside through a side window. “Somebody’s out there. I just saw them move.”
“Well, they can’t be as bad we are. Looks like we won’t be going back empty-handed after all. Let’s move.”
The first vampire hit the back door hard, knocking it off its hinges, and rushed through. Before Victor or the other vamp could follow, there was a loud blast followed by the flying body of their shredded companion.
“That’s Fringe outside. We’re totally screwed!” the second vampire yelled. “Make for the side door, quick. If we move fast enough, they won’t hit us.”
“Wait,” Victor said trying to grab his companion. “Don’t go out that door.”
The second vampire ignored him and hit the side door running. Unlike the other vampire, as soon as he was outside, he ran hugging the wall avoiding the shotgun blast. He continued around to the front of the building in his effort to get away.
Victor had hung back from the door, but still caught a stray fléchette in the leg. The silver-tipped fléchette doubled him over with horrific pain until he reached down and yanked it out. “Crap, that sucker hurt.”
His eyes frantically searched the warehouse, looking for another way out, but there wasn’t any. He had no doubt that Fringe covered every exit now and was waiting for him to exit. He had to find another way out. That’s when he noticed a garbage chute in the floor. The warehouse smelled like it was an old fishery, even after years of neglect, and the chute probably led to the harbor. Although he was not a big fan of swimming, it was a way out that did not involve getting shredded and dying permanently.
Victor ran to the cover, lifted it up, and dived in without a second thought.
Lacey was tracking the conversation between her teammates. Cole was first to report he had one coming out the back and hit him with a blast that landed center mass. Lacey didn’t think they would find too much left of him. Jackson was ready when the left side door flew out, but vampires learned quickly and the second one avoided the shot by moving laterally through the door. He was moving so quick that he avoided most of the waiting blast, but Jackson thought he hit him with a few fléchettes.
“Team leader, one coming straight at you,” Jackson said into his headset.
Lacey took a breath, let it out halfway, laid her finger on the trigger, and took out the slack. She focused her scope on the front edge of the warehouse and waited. Within seconds, she saw a blur speed out into the street and with one, slight pull, the shot was off. She knew it was a perfect hit before the recoil from the rifle even settled back. When she looked up, the vampire was lying dead in the middle of the street with a hole clean through the center of his forehead.
So much for speed, she thought. Of course, no one else could have made that shot. She made it because of her the heightened abilities. It was strange that the vampire blood she had accidently ingested should have killed her, but instead made her as strong and quick as one of their kind. She didn’t understand it, but used it to every advantage she could in her job.
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