Authors: Duncan McGeary
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Gothic, #Vampires
And then, as he felt the last of his energy disappearing, Fitzsimmons was falling. He’d tipped the coffin off the table. As it hit the floor, he fell out of it and rolled. He landed on his stomach, and, raising his head, found he could slither forward, inch by inch. Only a few feet away, he could see Chloe on her back, her head turned his way but her eyes unfocused. Then her eyes cleared, and they filled with hatred as she saw him. She started to rise to her knees.
Thinking about it later, he wasn’t sure how he’d managed it, but somehow, he slithered over to her and sank his teeth deep into her left ankle. The bones split and the foot fell away. As she screamed, he turned his head and sank his fangs into her right ankle, and bit that foot off, too.
Even without feet, Chloe tried to stand, but she immediately fell again, her head hitting the edge of the table as she went down. She lay moaning, half dazed. Fitzsimmons wriggled his way toward her throat, the new blood and meat giving him renewed energy. He reached her throat as she regained consciousness. Her eyes flared with hatred and pain, and then, as he latched onto her open wound, he saw fear in them.
He bit down again and again, finally reaching her spine, which he snapped.
She stopped moving.
He lay silent, luxuriating in the feeling of both his body and his hate being fed.
Then he ate the rest of her.
Fitzsimmons could feel new arms beginning to sprout, but it was happening slowly. His legs were coming back even more slowly. He had consumed all of Chloe, and had even broken her bones and sucked the marrow. Now he was contemplating trying to eat her bones, though he wasn’t sure how much good that would do.
It had been two days since he’d killed her. He wasn’t sure how much longer he had before they came to check on her.
After three days, he had four stumps, with which he could maneuver himself around the room. He reached the door, and to his surprise, found it was locked.
Why would they lock it?
he wondered. But Peterson had always been a careful bastard.
He positioned himself near the door and waited.
That afternoon, he heard the lock begin to turn. One of Peterson’s bodyguards came in. He was looking at some paperwork he had in one hand and holding a tape recorder in the other. He was relaxed, and obviously unaware that Chloe was missing.
Before the bodyguard had gone two steps, Fitzsimmons had his fangs sunk into the man’s shins and was tearing at the tendons. The guard stumbled and fell.
If anything, he was easier to kill than Chloe had been. He lay screaming, his hands clutching his legs, as Fitzsimmons scrambled like a crab toward his throat. At the last minute, the guard threw up his hands, but it was too late. Fitzsimmons had him by the throat and was tearing away, gulping down the meat of his neck and face. The frenzied screaming turned into gurgle, lost volume, and then stopped altogether.
It took another day to completely consume the guard. Since this latest victim had obviously been sent on a task, Fitzsimmons doubted he had much time left. His arms and legs continued to grow, but far too slowly.
He decided to commence his escape even though he wasn’t yet fully reformed. He had short, stubby hands with tiny fingers and the beginnings of thumbs, so he was able to grasp the guard’s keys in one hand and hold the trigger of the gun with the other. He probably wasn’t going to be able to use either, but if he could somehow manage to find one more victim, he was certain that his healing would be complete.
Just one more meal.
Fitzsimmons reached the end of the hallway. The door there was unlocked, too. He opened it a couple of inches and looked out.
He tried to slam the door closed again, but it sprang open, pushing him back into the hallway. He landed on his back, and struggled to turn onto his side and get back onto his stumps.
“Impressive,” he heard Peterson’s voice say. “We’ve had cameras and microphones on you the entire time, but I needed to see it with my own eyes.”
Fitz’s nemesis stood a safe distance away, with two of his guards between them. The other vampire, who had the appearance of an old man, was smiling down on him.
“I wanted to see how far you’d get,” Peterson said, “though it’s a shame about Chloe. I warned her to be careful. You’ve always been a tricky son of a bitch.”
He motioned for the guards to hold Fitzsimmons down. Only then did he approach. “Well, now we know. Vampires can grow back limbs. I always wondered. However…” He removed the sword from his cane. “I don’t think we can allow that.”
As Peterson stood over Fitzsimmons, a look of satisfaction came over his face. He slashed down, chopping off his former boss’s left arm, then his right.
Fitzsimmons was too numb, too stunned, to cry out. He felt a sharp pain as his vestigial legs were chopped away. Then he passed out.
He woke in the dark, back in his little coffin.
He screamed, unable to stop himself though he knew that his thrashing and cries were being observed and recorded. He no longer wanted to die. He wanted to live. Such hate as he felt was like a magic potion, strong enough to manifest itself into reality. He was certain that his time would come.
Kelton awoke to the sound of explosions. Turning on the radio, all he got was garbled messages about groups of people attacking other people for no apparent reason. The authorities wanted everyone to evacuate to the National Guard Armory building at the county fairgrounds.
It didn’t taken him long to realize that this was the best chance he’d ever have to spree kill. From everything he’d read, he fit the definition of a serial killer, but he’d always had the desire to kill a lot of people in a short time, too. Trouble was, spree killers were always caught, most often going out in a gun battle or turning their weapons on themselves. Kelton didn’t have suicidal tendencies. He just wanted to know what it would feel like to kill a bunch of people at once.
He drove to the wealthier side of town, which he usually stayed away from. It was much easier to prey on the poor; fewer alarms, fewer police patrols; but he’d always harbored resentment against rich people, and this was his chance to act on it.
Fires had broken out all over the city, but the fire trucks were in this part of town, taking care of the rich. Kelton caught a fireman between houses and approached him with a big smile, sticking the long blade of his knife into the man’s chest before he could call out, careful not to get blood on his big waterproof fireman’s coat. Kelton put on the coat and the helmet and started going house to house.
With all the activity in town, people were being more wary than usual, but were also knocked out of their routines and easily seduced by the promise of safety. His uniform and his vaguely official demeanor reassured them. He’d ring the doorbell and stand there with his goofy grin, and they’d open the door for him.
He approached this final home like any other. It was a small house near the ocean. It was out in the open on a bright, sunny day, and yet it seemed to be in shadow. It drew him in and repelled him at the same time. He almost turned around and tried the next house.
Are you a coward?
The thought came into his mind as if from some outside source. Kelton had never run from anything, and this mental taunt made him keep going.
He talked his way into the house; the little old lady didn’t even question him. He picked her up as she keened a weird little cry and threw her onto the living room floor. He knelt over her, deciding he’d make short work of it. Kill her and be gone.
Then the room seemed to spin completely around. Someone else was there. He rose and started running for the door.
The command was shouted directly into his mind
. TURN AROUND!
His sense of direction was disrupted, and when he looked toward where he thought the front door was, he found himself looking in the wrong direction. Everything seemed different: the size of the room, the color of the paint, the age of the woman lying on the floor staring up at him with round eyes, as if she, too, had sensed something strange had happened and wasn’t sure if she was more frightened of the change or of him.
Kelton couldn’t breathe, but it seemed as though he didn’t need to breathe, or move, or think. A coldness flowed over him, and he felt his life drain away, everything he had ever liked, every good thing that had ever happened spiraling down a dark hole in his soul. What remained was hate and resentment, which had always been the biggest part of him, but was now magnified a thousandfold.
That’s how he was Turned.
When he awoke, he was filled with a hunger and thirst such as he’d never known. The old woman was gone. Now, as if laid out especially for him, was a young woman, naked and bound. He felt the usual desires, but also something new. His need for sex was overwhelmed by his thirst, and as he fell on the woman, he found himself sinking fangs into her neck and sucking her dry. Only afterwards did he remember he was horny as well; and, to top it off, he was hungry. New and old desires melded together.
It didn’t seem strange to him that he was eating another human being. He only wondered why he hadn’t tried it before.
On the second night, he skipped all the preliminary steps and simply burst through the doors as if they were made of paper. He was strong, stronger than anyone or anything. He’d always restrained his urges, knowing that he couldn’t indulge them for very long before he was noticed. Even moving around the country, he couldn’t fully give in to his desires.
But this was different. This was the end of the world. Kelton didn’t stop with the first house. Outside was chaos and death, and he knew that what he was doing was indistinguishable from what everyone else was doing. He was just doing more of it.
In the third house he entered, a shotgun blast hit him, and it hurt, but when he chased down the shooter and tore him apart, consuming every bit of flesh on his body, the pellet wounds were already healed.
After several nights of this, Kelton remembered the girls. Had he left them enough water? Even as he thought it, he wondered if he needed them anymore. It was time to move on, and this was his chance to get rid of them and destroy the evidence.
The three girls were gone. The door to the house was wide open, and he could see the pliers lying on the floor of the hallway.
Should’ve killed that Simone girl while I had the chance,
Kelton mused. She’d been trouble from the moment he’d brought her to the basement. If only she hadn’t been so beautiful. Tall and dark, she’d shed all her baby fat and was starting to look like a model. He’d kept her around for a little spice. Patty had begun to look like an unattractive middle-aged woman, all pinch-faced and squirrely, all mousy limp brown hair and pastiness. Laura was nice, in a dumb-blonde, pimply-faced, busty sort of way, but she had given in to him so easily that she wasn’t any fun anymore.
What can they do to me?
he wondered. Not much. They were vampire now, like him, so they’d be unlikely to show up at the police station. Still… better get rid of the evidence. He took the gas can out of the back of his pickup, went downstairs and sloshed the liquid over the piles of garbage.
The chains had been pulled out of the wall and the links pried open. He shook his head. He should have realized that if his strength had been increased by the transformation, then theirs had been, too.
In his defense, he’d been busy. The complete chaos outside had been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to glut himself on blood and death. He’d fed on the first two victims, and then he’d killed just for the fun of it: vampire or human, he didn’t care. He was sexually charged by the violence.
Kelton felt himself getting aroused at the thought of the coming conflagration of the house, and before he lit the match, he satisfied himself, spraying his seed into the middle of the living room. Then he tossed the match at the gas can and walked out of the house as it burst into flame and practically exploded behind him.
Setting fire to the house was what he’d planned to do anyway, after he killed the girls and doused them with gasoline. But now, with all the fires around town, there wouldn’t be any questions from the authorities. He’d get a nice, tidy two hundred thousand bucks of insurance, with little chance they’d accuse him of arson. And there wouldn’t be any bodies to raise the alarm.
Not that random bodies would have much impact these days. In fact, there would have been no impact. It was his perfect opportunity. Still, he kind of got a kick out of the idea that his sex slaves were still alive and on the run. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to let them go, nor could he have resisted the temptation of one final, brutal rape before killing them, but now that they were gone, he found he was all right with it. He’d had a surfeit of death in the last few days. He wouldn’t have thought that was possible, and he doubted he’d ever have another chance to satiate himself. The thought of the three girls still existing in the world was somehow very pleasing.
Maybe he’d have time to look them up later.
As soon as he figured out exactly what the hell he was and what the hell it meant.
The sun was starting to poke out from behind the clouds, and Kelton was exposed. He glanced back at the house, but he could see the flames already flickering in the windows.
“Hey, neighbor,” he heard someone say. Two doors down, Harvey Stockman was coming down his steps. His mouth dropped open as he saw smoke come billowing out of Kelton’s home. “Oh, my gosh. I’m sorry about your house!”
“Burst gas line,” Kelton said, shrugging. “I was planning to tear it down anyway. This just saves me the trouble.”
He walked over to his neighbor, with whom he’d conversed maybe three times in the last dozen years. Kelton seemed to be twice the size of the little man; he was taller by a foot and a half, and broader in the shoulders and thighs. Stockman had him beat in the belly department, though. Kelton had always been strong, but now he felt as if he could have taken his chubby neighbor and ripped him in half.