|A Perfect Family|
Marshall is newly arrived to the city. Originally from Chicago where he lived with his wife and daughters, he left them behind only about three years ago. Married for almost ten years, he and his wife have raised two girls, Megan and Sarah, as part of a happy and loving family. Being close to both his parents and hers, they were part of a tight-knit, Catholic family on Chicago's south side. He was part of the fabric of the community, a fine and up-standing cop that kept their streets as free from crime as possible.
About four years ago the local force had a slot open for a Detective II in their Vice division. Since that's what he was wanting to do since he became a cop, he put in a call to his old Captain - a friend of his father's, to smooth the road for him to get the job. By the time he and his wife, Anna a nurse, had squared away their new house and the girls were enrolled with school he received a call from the chief of detectives for the local PD and was offered the position. Their life was nearly perfect. Two working parents. Two great kids. Church on Sunday and family dinners with the folks.
Vice is vice, generally speaking, but there were a lot of weird, unsolvable cases that he came up against in his first few days. Prostitutes or pimps would turn up missing or bodies would be found that looked like they were attacked by an animal and the other detectives would just toss the file into a 'Cold Case' bin. They weren't even going to try and look for any details of the crime; almost like they knew that it would lead to a dead end before they started.
Then, about three years ago, he was on his way home from work, late, and his wife called to ask him to pick up some milk on the way home for the girl's breakfast. It had been a long day but he didn't mind - he even planned on picking her up some of those chocolate things that she liked but would never buy for herself. The 'Sleven' looked fairly empty when he went in but not deserted. It was just another night and he was just another guy grabbing milk on the way home.
Slevens are always getting robbed. Most store owners will ensure that the cashier will do hourly drops of money into the safe just to make sure they don't loose any big bills. It's not a matter of 'if' it will be robbed - more a matter of 'when'. Security cameras are a nice touch - if they work and if the images actually show their faces - and if anyone will actually testify against them. Usually such things happen without anyone getting hurt or maybe some stuff thrown off the shelves but everyone walks away. But not that night. That was the night the Sabbat came to the 7-11.
Is Anyone Thirsty?
Marshall walked up to the register with the milk in one hand, chocolate ho-hos and a pack of condoms in the other. The cashier just looked at him blankly and was obviously slow about looking at him or even taking the items to scan for prices. When he asked the guy 'how much' he just shrugged a little and said 'no charge' and told him to get out. It didn't take Marshall long to figure out what was going on and spied one of the robbers behind the register with the cashier holding a knife against his leg. Marshall pulled out his pistol and leveled it at the guy and began the process of talking him out and leaving the cashier alone when the doors to the Sleven swung open and a loud, booming voice called out "Is Anyone Thirsty?"
Marshall wheeled to face the crowd coming in - not sure if they were accomplices of the robber or just rowdy kids. The instant they saw his pistol - it was immediately apparent they were much more. The guy behind the cashier jumped to his feet and grabbed what cash he could from the drawer and tried to make it around the edge of the counter and towards the door while Marshall was distracted. The crowd that entered didn't seem to pay him much notice as he moved. Rather than let him pass or congratulate him on his score, one of them just grabbed him and held him in place; two feet off the ground.
Marshall ordered them to put him down and back away from the door. He yelled at the Cashier to call for the police and tell them that he needed back up but he didn't get a response. Turning for a moment to check on him he saw that he was unable to move - one of the people who was just at the door was standing behind him and holding his face flat against the counter. Again, Marshall ordered them to let go of their prey but they just laughed.
So Marshall tried to pull out his cellphone to call for backup while moving to a more defensive position to keep the group and the woman holding the cashier in place in direct sight. Backing up he heard the call connect to the dispatcher and then a black form materialized behind him and struck him on the back of the head. The floor of the Sleven reached up and smacked him without so much as a warning and the world went fuzzy and dark.
He barely felt himself being drug out of the carryout and tossed into the back of a van. Light and sound mashed together in his head as he tried to move but felt only other bodies on top of and under him in a huge pile. Most were struggling or squirming to move like a passel of puppies in a cardboard box. The van stopped - he could feel the lurch of the breaks as everyone shifted forward a little within the pile of bodies. Strong arms pulled him from the van and threw him to the ground and he smelled old dirt around him. He was in a park or something. There was grass and dirt under him. His senses started to come back a bit but his vision was still blurry. He tried to ask what was going on when someone stuck an arm against his mouth and liquid fire ran down into his throat like bad whiskey. He fought to pull away or spit it out but it was taken away too quickly. He collapsed back on the ground, and realized that his hands and feet had been tied with zip-ties. What the hell was going on?
He lay on the ground as he heard the others whimper and struggle in a dazed confusion that was starting to clear up. He couldn't tell what they made him swallow but he must have bitten his lip as the whole of the inside of his mouth tasted like blood. One of his eyes came into focus long enough to see the kid who was the cashier laying next to him. He had blood trickling out the corner of his mouth too. A pair of hands grabbed him by the back of the neck and the belt and lifted him off the ground and tossed him in a nearby hole like he weighed no more than a sack of cat food. Before he could protest he too was tossed into the hole and soon felt dirt brush against his face as they were burying them all alive. Before long there wasn't nothing around him but blackness and the squirms of the others that were buried with him.
Everything Was Black
He could hear the others around him. The dirt muffled them a lot but he could hear them struggling to free themselves. One of them seemed to wriggle or break free of the zip-ties and start to crawl her way out of the ground with the screaming cries of a new-born child. He could somehow hear the group above him cheer loudly and then her scream was silenced suddenly with an equally loud thud. All he could assume was that they were waiting on them to crawl free and were picking them off with a shot gun or something. He managed to twist himself around in the loose soil so that his mouth wasn't completely covered. He needed to get out and get out soon but he didn't want to crawl into another ambush.
Another cheer went up from above him and he assumed that one more of the survivors, maybe that cashier kid, had crawled out and with the same 'thunk' was ended. He tried to wait a bit longer and seconds passed. Another bunch of sound invaded his dirt prison but it wasn't the cheers he had heard before. This was different; more like a fire-fight. Gun fire? He couldn't wait any more, the panic of suffocation started to grip him and he flexed his wrists to start to crawl. He knew the zip-ties wouldn't break so easy but maybe if the others were able to do it so could he. He felt his arms free themselves from the restraints and he started to crawl. With any luck, he might be able to get out and move to cover before they realized he had made it out.
When he felt one of his hands break free from the dirt and it encouraged him to crawl and wriggle faster. He scrambled for the surface and finally broke through and gasped for air as though he were deep under water and had suddenly broke free. His muscles screamed and his body ached but he was quick to scan the grounds to find cover. Although it didn't, initially, register in his mind, there was no van nor group to hide from. He scrambled behind a tombstone and ducked his head out to scan the area quickly. No one. He was alone. He could see where a set of tires drove away from the open grave and there was a lot of collateral, ballistics damage on the local statues and things but no one was around. He rolled over on his back, taking a few, much-needed breaths to calm himself and plan his next move.
And that's when he saw her.
She was young, maybe only a few years past her teens, with short, chopped, black hair and was grinning down at him with a smile straight out of a horror movie. Young people just don't smile like that - at least not real ones. He started to speak but she raised a finger to her mouth to 'shush' him. The finger was long and pointed almost like a claw but sharper. Each of her fingers were stained red and black as though she had crawled out of the grave and ripped her fingernails off to do it. Something wasn't right. He started to turn onto his knees to crawl away when she leapt from the tombstone perch and landed on his back like a rabid dog. She grabbed his shoulders and sunk her claws into his flesh so she could not be shaken off as she bit at his neck again and again until she finally found purchase. He felt her teeth sink into his neck like two icy needles. He tried to claw free, tried to move but she was unbelievably strong. He felt himself grow week as he felt her nuzzling his neck, the slurping of his blood filling his ears. She seemed to finish and flipped him onto his back with as much care or effort as one might flip a pillow in their sleep.
"Don't think I forgot about you. You're all mine." She said and bit into her wrist and held the wound over his mouth. The blood poured in and was hot. It was one of the few things he could fell as he felt himself slowly slipping away from his body. The hot blood filled his mouth and he swallowed to try and speak. "Anna..." he muttered. She repositioned her wrist so that more of the blood flowed into his mouth - preventing him from speaking and he was able to swallow again and again before her heard the shot ring out.
The shooter, wherever they were, hit her square in the chest from where she sat straddled over Marshall's chest. The bullet ripped through her dirty 'hello kitty' t-shirt and tore a hole the size of a soda can out of her back. She bounded off of Marshall and rolled for cover behind a tombstone. Marshall suddenly felt a rush of energy within him. His arms and legs didn't hurt as badly and the gashes in his shoulders barely registered as he pushed himself up and started to run through the cemetery. He heard another shot and then a third and what sounded like a girl screaming out and then suddenly silenced. With any luck that was a sharpshooter from a SWAT team or maybe a passing cop. He had to get out of the graveyard.
Anna's husband, Marshall, managed to get about two blocks away before the thudding in his ears became too loud for him to focus. His gut started to twang and cramp in pain that seemed to get worse with each step. His mouth and throat felt dry with only the faint, copperish after-taste of her blood as a reminder of what he had done. A van drove was coming down the street and he wasn't sure if it was the same group - coming back to pick her and him up or not. He ducked down an alley to try and hide but knew that they'd spot him easily from there. One of the buildings had a side-door he tried but found it locked or stuck. He gave another dug and the door opened with a metallic groan as though it hadn't been opened for a while. Parts of the door's latch fell to the ground as he stepped inside to hide.
It was an old store - or maybe a storage building. The walls were bare and there was nothing inside but he could suddenly hear what sounded like a bass speaker. Thump-thump. Thump-thump. It wasn't exactly loud as it was resonant. He could almost feel the double-pulse of the speakers as he shambled around inside the building until he found the stairs that down to the basement. The thump-thump grew louder as he turned the corner and saw what appeared to be a guy in his late teens sitting on an old futon mattress. He was a squatter; a homeless kid getting off the street for a while. Marshall had seen dozens of guys like him only this time it was different. The thump-thump wasn't coming from a speaker but rather from the guy's chest.
The guy jumped from the futon as soon as Marshall entered the room. He held a kitchen knife out defensively and yelled for Marshall to go away. Marshall's blue eyes seemed to scan the skinny guy in search of the source of the thumping - he was sure that it had to be some kind of speaker for him to hear it so loudly. He blinked a few times to clear the haze that started to blur his vision with the next series of stomach cramps and as they opened he could see the source of the thumping. Marshall's vision focused on the guy's neck and he watched as a large vein throbbed in perfect harmony with the thump-thump of the invisible speaker. The knife was nearly ignored as his instinct kicked in.
The guy slashed wildly with the knife but Marshall grabbed him and clamped down with all of his strength on the guy's wrist. The knife clattered to the ground and Marshall slowly leaned in to sniff at his neck - and felt his lips pull back as his canines elongated into fangs. He couldn't help himself. With the next gut-punch of stomach cramps he seized the guy's neck in his jaws and clamped down to rip open the flesh. Blood poured into his mouth and down his chin as he greedily slurped it up as fast as he could. Eight seconds later the pain in his gut was gone, he felt one-hundred times better and the guy was dead.
A Whole New World
He was panicked. He had just killed a guy for his blood. He needed help but it was late; only an hour or so until morning. He couldn't stay there with the dead body so he crept upstairs and looked around the alley for the van. Sure enough - a van was parked only a block away - near the entrance to the cemetery. They might be looking for him. His best bet was to lay low until they left and then head back home. He went back down to the basement and wrapped up the body of the guy in an old tarp and tried to clean himself up as best he could. He worried about what Anna would think once she saw him - once she knew what he had done. He couldn't think about it. Not now - just get back home.
An hour later he went back upstairs to look back down the alley and discovered the van was gone and the first light of dawn was starting to give everything an odd, grey shadow. He was suddenly seized by a wave of fatigue unlike any he had ever felt before. He could barely stand let alone run home. He sluggishly pushed the door closed and found something to push in front of it before he headed back to the basement. Maybe the adrenaline of the night's chaos was finally spent and he just needed to sleep for a while. He curled up on the guy's futon and before he knew it - had passed out.
When he awoke it was night again. He had slept through the whole day. He managed to get home within an hour but paused after he got the corner of his block. There were two uniformed officers talking to Anna at their front door and she was crying. Maybe they thought that he was dead? He wanted to run to her - to tell her that he was ok and that she would be alright. He almost yelled out for her when he saw that same, white van drive by their house slowly. It was the same van that he saw while he was in the building last night. They were searching for him. He would have to find another way to make contact with Anna - he couldn't put her or the girls at risk.
This must have been some kind of mob hit - but why was he targeted? Why did they grab the cashier? None of it made any sense. He would have to lay low and try and sort things out the best he could. All he could do then was just watch his wife and daughters cry at the front door. It tore him up. He had never felt so helpless before then. Slowly he slunk away and decided to go find a cheap hotel to crash at while he made phone call. If it was the mob or some new gang - he didn't want to put his family at risk but he needed to get help for them and himself.
It turns out that there was another body discovered at the cemetery that matched his general description. There wasn't much to go on for an ID because the body's head was nearly blown away by a shotgun blast. He was wearing almost the same thing that Marshall was and carrying the wallet he lost while crawling out of the grave. A buddy of his in a different unit was able to tell him that the whole thing looked like a new gang hit and that if it was the gang that he had heard about - it was better to let everyone think he was dead for a few more days. He told his buddy, a guy who had gone through the academy with him, to tell his wife to take the girls and go stay where they first met. No one would know where that was and then he'd be able to make contact.
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