THEY FIGHT CRIME

(This is flash fiction I wrote and posted at my old blog at blogger.com. Occasionally I’ll be taking posts I made there and reposting them here to get more eyes on them and so that, eventually, the majority of my online writing work can be found in one place. This is one of my favorite pieces of flash fiction. This will be posted in two parts.)

He’s an old-fashioned chivalrous werewolf from a doomed world. She’s a hard-bitten bisexual lawyer who hides her beauty behind a pair of thick-framed spectacles. They fight crime! (from theyfightcrime.org)
“Frederick, you don’t have to hold the door open for me,” she said, stepping out of the car. She shut the door hard, nearly catching his fingers.
Frederick grunted. “Sorry, Selene, that’s just what I’m used to, where I’m from.”
“Maybe that’s why your world is dying, everyone’s too stuck in the goddamn past,” she said, eyes piercing behind her thick glasses.
“You’re one cold bitch,” he snarled back.
“Somebody has to be.” She walked up the path to the house.
He followed, gritting his teeth. “What are we doing here anyways?”
“Mary Andrews is a single woman living alone on the third floor. She’s been threatened.”
“Why didn’t she go to the police?”
“It was the police who threatened her. That’s why she called us.”
“Nice law enforcement in your world,” he said.
She gave him a scowl before buzzing the third floor.
“Who is it?” A tentative voice spoke through the speaker.
“It’s Selene and my partner, Frederick. We spoke on the phone.”
The door buzzed and Selene opened it.
They walked past faded paint and up creaking stairs.
Selene knocked at the door and it opened an inch.
A woman with frazzled blond hair and wide eyes stared past a silver chain that held the door. She had a black eye.
“Sorry,” she said. “Had to be sure…” She closed the door and unhooked the chain.
Frederick felt anger building within him and kept it buried. It would not do to change now. He took a deep breath.
Mary opened the door and welcomed them in.
A shabby place, the door opened into the living room. A red ikea couch sat in front of a big box television. A doorway led into a cramped kitchen and another hallway beyond.
“I don’t have much but…you can sit on the couch. I just made some coffee…” Mary’s voice trembled.
“No thanks-”
“Coffee would be great,” Frederick cut Selene off with a smile.
Selene scowled as Mary went into the kitchen.
“We need to put her at ease,” he said in a low voice, sitting on the couch.
Selene didn’t respond, which told Frederick she knew he was right.
He noticed her watching Mary in the kitchen. Though the woman wore loose sweatpants and a sweatshirt, her body was still noticeable.
Selene had a thing for the vulnerable ones.
“Hey,” he said. “We’ve got a job to do.”
She turned away. “Just because your mind’s always in the gutter does not mean…” she trailed off, studying the apartment.
He could hear Mary in the kitchen, getting out mugs and filling them up. He listened for anything else, a sign of someone else there. He heard nothing.
She brought in three mugs of steaming coffee and set them on the dusty glass coffee table. She hesitated. “I’m sorry, I forgot to ask if you wanted crea-”
“It’s fine,” Selene said, taking a cup. She even managed to crack a smile, though it looked more menacing than comforting.
At least she was trying. “Thank you, ma’am. Please, sit,” Frederick said, motioning to a faded blue lazyboy chair.
Mary sat, taking a cup for herself and sipping at it. She looked down into the black liquid.
“What happened?” Selene asked.
Mary gulped. She sipped at her coffee.
Frederick followed her example. It tasted burnt but he didn’t mind. Something smelled…wrong. It came from the kitchen or beyond, down the far hallway.
Mary kept glancing that way.
“I saw…something. I-I wasn’t even sure I believed it until…” She took a deep breath. “I should hurry, in case he wakes up….”
“Someone’s here?” Selene asked, eyes widening.
Frederick frowned. With his ears, he’d be able to hear someone even just breathing in the bedroom. That, along with the smell… ”Vampire,” he growled, standing.
Selene put a hand on his arm.
He looked down, muscles tensing.
“Sit,” she said.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could feel the change, feel the beast wanting to come out. Not now. He sat and looked at Mary. “I…apologize.”
“No need,” Mary whispered. “I saw a police man…in uniform. He was in an alleyway and he…he bit this girl right on the neck. She bled everywhere and he…it looked like he was drinking it. I wouldn’t have believed it if…if they hadn’t shown up last night. They threatened me. One stayed over.” She gave a shuddering breath. “He’s still here. They all think…think I’m too scared to do or say anything…” She looked down at the coffee cup shaking in her hands.
“You’re braver than you know,” Selene said. “To call us and meet us with one still here? That takes balls, girl.”
Mary gave a half-hearted smile, then shook her head. “I just want them out of my life. I don’t have much to pay you.”
Selene frowned but Frederick shook his head. “Whatever you can give will be enough.”
Selene gave him a look but Frederick didn’t care.
They couldn’t leave this woman to be preyed on by blood-sucking leeches.
He stood up.
“Do you have garlic?”
In a few minutes, Frederick stood next to the bed.
Curtains covered the windows, making the room dark.
A pale naked man lay on the bed, sleeping. His chest did not move up or down. He did not breath.
“Get ready,” Frederick said.
Selene stood next a window, hand on the curtain.
Mary waited in the living room, just to be safe.
Frederick held chopped garlic in his hand. He opened the sleeping man’s mouth and shoved the garlic inside.
The man screamed into Fredrick’s palms, his eyes wide.
Smoke seeped out from between Frederick’s fingers.
The man struggled, grasping at Frederick’s arms but unable to move them.
Vampires were weak in the day time.
“Shut up,” Frederick said.
The man stopped shrieking, whimpering instead.
“You’re going to tell us where your nest is.”
The man nodded.
Frederick pulled his hand away.
The man spat out the garlic into the bed, dry heaving and spitting up blood. He wiped his mouth and glared. “You’re going to pay for that,” he said. “You don’t know who-”
Selene threw the curtain back.
Sunlight poured onto the man.
He shrieked, curling up, body beginning to smoke.
It smelled toxic, like rotting burning flesh.
Selene pulled the curtain into place, blocking out the sun.
The screaming died down. The vampire shivered.
Frederick gripped the man by the throat. “Where is your nest?”
The man’s eyes widened in realization. “You’re one of them,” he gasped. “A Beast…”
Frederick’s grip tightened. “Where. Is. Your. Nest?”
“24 Lexington st,” the man choked out.
Frederick looked at Selene and nodded.
“Wait-”
Selene opened the curtain while Frederick held the vampire down until he was gone, dust in the sheets.
“Mary,” Frederick called, leaving the bedroom.
Selene watched where the vampire lay, nashes, and took a deep breath before following her partner.
“You need to leave,” Frederick said. “Is there anywhere you can go? Friends, family, the farther away the better. Hopefully, only for a couple days.”
Mary licked her lips, wringing her hands. “My-my mothers. It’s two hours from here.”
“Good. Pack a bag and go there, as soon as you can.”
“What-What’s going on?”
Frederick gripped her wrists gently. “The man in your bedroom is gone. He will not hurt you again. The others are still out there. Until we take care of them, you need to go somewhere safe.”
(end part 1)
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