“Did you give him the suite number? I did say it when we got to the door.”
“I think… Did I repeat it back to you?” The chirp in her ear filled her head with the voice of her QB.
I’ll have to go find him for good measure.
Sylvette turned back towards the door of the apartment and was met square between her breasts with a sledgehammer-like blow that would have likely killed a normal human being. As her body went through the window she let herself fall into hyper-time, just in time to confirm that it was her quarry, largely healed from the volley of bullets she had put through his rib-cage, who had thrown her through the glass.
That was sloppy. She thought as she plummeted towards the street. Now
Simon is going to be up there alone.
She looked down to the pavement. Four floors. This is going to hurt.
In her ear the chirp was transmitting to her the first slow cry of surprise from
Jacob. He sounded like the dull drone of a tape playback slowed down to a fraction of it’s recorded speed. Communicating with people outside of hyper-time wasn’t impossible, but it was usually more trouble than it was worth. Sylvette was confident that Jacob’s first words would be something like “What the fuck!?” Followed soon by “Is everything okay?” though somewhere in that second sentence he would register her falling body on his spatial tracker. Before he really had a chance to respond to that new information, she would be in the street.
Three floors now. She twisted to see if there was anything she might do to soften her landing before she hit bottom. Why was it that Buster Keaton would conveniently have half a dozen awnings along the way, but she never did. She wasn’t even close enough to the building to grab them if they had been there.
Two floors. There was a car parked below her. She’d cleared the sidewalk – which was best if there had been pedestrians, but there were none in sight. The car’s bonnet would give in and break her fall, but if it had an alarm it would be far from discrete. Flattening a car roof in itself was hardly discrete but it didn’t tend to draw immediate attention after initial impact.
One floor. She glanced back up at the window and confirmed that she wasn’t being followed by the nosferatu whose night she had ruined by turning the tables on him. She then stretched her arms out before her at an angle to the car-roof to begin the transfer of momentum from downwards to horizontal. As her knuckles touched the roof, she tucked in her head and pulled her hips towards her shoulders. The roof folded underneath her weight, and as she rolled down the safety-glass windshield it cracked into thousands of pieces around her. Her legs came down solidly on the hood of the car, which buckled under the whipping action caused by her roll.
Not bad. I’ll feel it in the morning. She thought as she turned her attention to the droning sound in her ear. She slipped out of hyper-time just long enough to fill
“…ngokay?” He finished asking.
“This one is tougher than we expected. Definitely not a class three.
Simon is going to need some help.”
With that she slipped back into hyper-time, and rolled off the car. No alarm. She took two steps across the sidewalk and firmly gripped the brickwork of the apartment building. In just a few seconds of real-time she was beside the window she’d just been thrown from, looking in. No nos’ in sight. He was quite possibly expecting her return. Best to re-enter fast and wary. She’d lost her biggest advantage. Surprise was no longer on her side.
Swinging through the window, she landed in a crouch, whipping her head around in a flash, taking in the entire room in a fraction of a second. No vampire in sight.
They’d called him ‘the Ripper.’ He didn’t have a habit of leaving mutilated corpses behind. By definition the vampire was a serial killer, but there was a disconnect that prevented them from categorizing one – even this one – as such. All vampires killed at one point or another. This one lived to kill. By acting in the shadow of a serial killer, his one equated himself with the same. It had been forgotten who said it first, but it had stuck, one of the
Lazarus – a researcher, a tech, a QB, someone – had referenced the most famous serial killer in history and the name remained.
Unlike the killer he operated in the shadow of, or his namesake, the Ripper didn’t single-mindedly target sex-workers. But vulnerable women were clearly his MO. It had taken years and innumerable attempts to place a hunter in his path. It was to no-one’s surprise that it was Sylvette who finally set the hook. She had played an excellent game of leading him on – continuing to appear as an easy target, yet never presenting the Ripper with an opportunity to attack with impunity.
One step would lead to the next, gradually forcing him to take her to the one place where he would know for certain that he was safe to pounce – his lair.
‘Lair.’ It seemed a funny term. Out-dated. It implied a domain tucked away in some dark corner of the world – underground or in a stone fortress in a dense forest. It was, out of necessity, a dark place – nosferatu were creatures of the night, that portion of the folklore held true. But vampires were drawn to civilization. They needed actual people to feed upon. Some latter day folklorists perpetuated the myth that animal blood would suffice to sustain a vampire. It was true to an extent, but no nos’ could live at it’s full capacity without a regular source of human blood. Therefore virtually all nosferatu made their homes in the heart of the city.
Destroying a vampire was always the primary objective on any hunt. But, if possible, locating the lair was a secondary goal. Occasionally a co-habitating blood-sucker would share the same lair, but more importantly, if the hunt should fail, pin-pointing the vampire’s lair would force them to abandon it, which in turn would put the nos’ off it’s game. Force it into new habits which would make it more vulnerable as it made choices that it was unfamiliar with. It could put the vampire in a position where it was unable to get sufficient blood – possibly turn to inferior animal blood for sustenance – which in turn made it weaker, and in either case would make it more desperate. With desperation came mistakes. Vampires were no smarter than they had been in life. Only the oldest ones bore the benefit of cunning that came from years of experience – and younger ones often over-estimated the power they gained as the undead. Arrogant and foolhardy, they took chances that made them easy targets – putting them on the run, often made them sitting ducks to someone who knew how to put them on the defensive. On occasion, all it took to destroy a vampire was to compromise its’ lair. Young vampires – class one nosferatu – could not bear daylight at all. Cloudy days and shadows were bare sanctuary, even tungsten glow was unpleasant. Deprive a young vampire of a familiar place to hide from the sun and as often as not it would never be seen again, burned to dust by the light of day.