Chandler: Books 4 The Witch and the Vampire (9 page)

BOOK: Chandler: Books 4 The Witch and the Vampire
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Chapter Seventeen

 

 

Well now he could stop trying to second-guess
Johannes
. The old master knew of his presence and his newfound ability to walk in the daylight. He combed one hand through his hair. He dragged in a deep breath. The urge to feed suddenly came over him. He glanced about the alley, turning his gaze to the street at its end. There were numerous people milling about the streets, coming and going through the doors of the businesses now open for the day.

He was shaken but relieved that
Johannes
had only issued his warning and not attacked him. Having only discovered that he could stay out in the light, he didn’t need a deadly confrontation so soon.
Fuck! I don’t need a confrontation with
Johannes
at all!

Chandler
replayed their encounter over in his mind.
Johannes
was still the vicious master he remembered from centuries past and he still held the upper hand over him. Part of his threat cleared up any notion that Jada had tried to communicate with him mentally. It had been
Johannes
’s voice he had heard impersonating Jada, teasing, perhaps laying a trap. He released a long breath. His blood hunger gnawed at his insides. Perhaps the sudden encounter with
Johannes
was to blame for his needing to feed again so soon. Unable to resist the temptation of fresh blood in his mouth, he strode toward the opening of the alley.

A tall dark haired woman with two shopping bags was coming down the street. She made eye contact with him as he observed her. He stared at her, tuning his senses. He could hear her heart beating, heard her breathing quicken as she held his gaze. He sensed her sexual interest in him. He smiled slightly, amused that the woman should be so hasty in determining sexual lust, after all, he was a stranger, having just emerged from an alley in the city. She knew nothing of him or his intentions.

The woman slowed her steps as she drew near him. She shifted one of the bags she carried to the other hand and grasped the strap of her shoulder bag with her free hand. She bit her bottom lip and smiled. “Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”

Chandler
cocked an eyebrow.

She stopped in front of him, stared at him for a moment, then looked surprised. “I’m sorry. I thought you were someone else.” She giggled. “You look exactly like
Richard
Mallory
.” She studied his face. “The resemblance is uncanny.”

Chandler
stared at her, then suddenly raised a hand and grasped her by one arm. “You will obey me.” He whispered the words as he pulled her into the alley.

She gave a brief gasp and dropped her shopping bags on the sidewalk.
Chandler
lifted her off the ground and leapt to the rear of the alley. A second later, he held her pressed tightly against his chest while he bared his fangs and sank their sharp points into her vein. He drank, sating his bloodlust.

His thirst was quenched shortly and he retracted his fangs, pushing the young woman away. He swiped the back of one hand across his lips, wiping away the blood drops that had escaped his mouth. He had only taken a taste of blood from the victim, yet she stared at him as though he had drank his fill. He gave her a little shake before sending her scurrying toward the mouth of the alley. He leaned one hand against the brick building and thought about what he had done. He had only sunk his fangs into her vein and momentarily he felt his thirst sated.
Perhaps I didn’t need to feed after all.

A bit perplexed, he contemplated his decision to take from his victim, then hurried to glance over his shoulder in the direction he had last seen her. She was gathering the contents of her shopping bags on the sidewalk, her butt turned toward him. He leapt in her direction, landing silently behind her on the sidewalk. For all his vampire powers, the power of persuasion was the most unique. He stooped beside her and shoved the last few items belonging in her bag, into her hands. She glanced at him, a quick smile on her face, as though she was seeing him for the first time.

“I’m such a klutz sometimes.” She shook her head, spilling her long hair across one shoulder. “Thank you.” She stood and smiled at him again. “Do I know you? You look so familiar.”

He knew instantly why he looked familiar to her. She had seen him in the nightclub. She was one of the exotic dancers at The Royal. She had been on stage most every time Jada had danced.

“I’ve been told I look like
Richard
Mallory
.” He shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
Tell me who the fuck
Richard
Mallory
is.

“Yes! You do! You look exactly like him.” She giggled. “I suppose one banker looks like the other.”

He laughed and stepped around her, ending the conversation.
So Mallory is a banker.
He rubbed his chin contemplatively. A plan began to take shape in his head. It would be within his powers to find the banker and assume his identity. He could live in his house, go about his daily existence as though he were really
Richard
Mallory
. He shoved aside the uneasy feeling that suddenly rose up inside his body.
Johannes
has to be dealt with first.

He pulled in a long breath, raised one hand and rubbed his eyes. He needed sunglasses to shade his eyesight. The brilliance of the sun was giving him a headache. He needed to get in out of the light for a time, to rest his eyes and gather his thoughts. He strode toward the intersection as he saw a large number of people rushing toward him. They were four abreast and he was forced to step to the side while they passed.

 
Chandler
turned his gaze on the group, aware that they exuded an uncanny atmosphere of danger as they passed him. He paused and took into account their dress and their manner of walking. They swaggered, as though they were invincible. The four were males, tall, dressed in dark clothing. They each wore a vest with an emblem on the back. And they all four wore dark glasses shading their eyes. They continued down the sidewalk, four abreast, forcing those coming toward them to either step into the street or into a doorway of a business to let them pass.

Chandler
smiled a condescending smile. He had encountered such arrogance before though in his medieval era and the swaggering males had been warriors sporting many battle scars. They deserved to swagger for their bravery, but this small group of young men appeared to be flaunting their power for little more than to call attention to themselves. He had spied no battle scars or craggy features grown from experience on any of their youthful faces. He spun on his heel and followed them, soon catching up to them as they came to another intersection.

The four stood at the curb.
Chandler
stepped among them, separating their number.

“What the fuck are you doing, grandpa?”

He caught an elbow moments before it landed against his ribs. He gripped the bony joint, then sent the youth reeling with a well-aimed push. He toppled against the nearest young man. Suddenly the foursome sprang at
Chandler
, pummeling him with their fists and cursing.

Chandler
grasped the nearest youth and levered him off the ground, then tossed him aside, slamming him against the pavement. He landed an open hand blow to two others, sending them squealing and grabbing their ears in pain. The fourth quickly backed away, holding up both hands in surrender.

Chandler
stooped and picked up a pair of sunglasses one of the pack had dropped during their little foray. The youth on the ground scrambled to his feet, leaving behind a fat wallet.
Chandler
scooped the item up and slipped it into his jacket pocket as he continued across the intersection.

 
He felt no remorse for his treatment of the swaggering four, nor apparently did the others gathered to cross the street. He listened to the low mutterings of the people catching up to him as he stepped onto the adjacent walkway before crossing the street to the next avenue. From the bits of conversation he overheard, the youthful foursome was a force to be reckoned with in the neighborhood and his rebuke of them was greatly appreciated.

The dark glasses suited his eyes quite nicely. He smiled as he adjusted the metal frame across his nose. His fingers touched the wallet he tucked into his jacket pocket. Curiosity grew inside him as he thought of the contents of the wallet. He had as yet to devise a way of getting money but then, his only vampire needs was for blood and a safe place to wait out the daylight.

 
He gazed overhead, aware that the sun didn’t hurt his eyes as it had previously. Now that he had been privy to brave the daylight, he would need to change a few things. He smiled, rejoicing at the knowledge that he was walking in the daylight.

I can’t forget about
Johannes
! Damn!
His joy was suddenly interrupted with the reminder that the master vampire had ordered him out of his territory or face annihilation. He grimaced and clutched the wallet inside his pocket, suddenly distracted by its smooth leather exterior. He looked around for a secure place out of the way of prying eyes. Spying a long canopy on a storefront, he quickened his steps, physically holding his strides in check so as not to call suspicion upon himself.

He turned the wallet over in his hand, then opened it. It was empty except for a thick wad of money tucked neatly between its leather sides. Quickly he took note of the bills and their denominations before folding the wallet and returning it to his pocket.

 
Remembering the youth who had dropped the possession, he felt secure in believing that the item had recently been another’s property, perhaps one of the innocent people walking along the street as the gang pushed their way through the crowd. He quickly decided he felt no remorse at relieving a thief of his ill-gotten gains.

He felt a surge of confidence at having money in his pocket. He chuckled, wondering if all humans felt such emotion over having money in their possession. He adjusted his new sunglasses across his nose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Eighteen

 

 

Chandler
sat at the small table at the open-air restaurant and studied the people eating sandwiches and drinking steaming cups of black liquid. He lowered his gaze to his own cup, challenging himself to take a taste. He had ordered the drink when he saw how many others was indulging in the fare, and because he didn’t want to call attention to himself while he observed those sitting nearby. He needed to blend in with the people of the city and despite the threat
Johannes
had issued him that morning, he continued to try and convince himself that there might be a way he could stay in the city and be close to Jada. He reached for the cup and brought it to his mouth. Anything outside of blood made his stomach churn. He remembered the drink of liquor Jada had given him when he dropped by her house.

That seems like a million years ago.
Chandler
chuckled at his own words. Only a few days had passed since he had been at Jada’s house and attempted to mock her drinking habits. He adjusted his body in the metal outdoor chair. He preferred to remember the heated sex they had shared rather than the liquor that had burned his throat. He touched the coffee mug to his lips and sloshed the hot black liquid into his mouth. It scalded his tongue, almost causing him to hurl the cup into the street. He hurried to sit it down instead, glancing around to see if anyone nearby had caught a glimpse of his sudden reaction to having his tongue nearly burned out of his head.
Damn! That was hot!

 
Chandler
was finding it rather difficult to pretend to be mortal. He had no taste for their food or drink and had, as yet, found a place for himself within their society. He thought then of the young woman he had taken blood from earlier that morning and her comment that he looked like a banker named
Richard
Mallory
. He should find
Richard
Mallory
and have a look at him. Confusion blanketed his mind. Or should he leave the city for his own well-being?
Johannes
hadn’t leveled an idle threat toward him. He would indeed kill him if he chose to defy his command. Suddenly he was overcome with rage at
Johannes
’s threat. He levered his body out of the chair and marched off down the sidewalk, his hands shoved deep into his jeans pockets and his teeth clenched.
Perhaps I’m more of a threat to
Johannes
than I realize.

His thoughts took a sudden turn toward the secure side. The master wouldn’t levy a threat he had no intention of keeping, but on the other hand, why would he threaten a fellow vampire who he felt was inferior to himself? Should he hold little threat to
Johannes
, the master would not have bothered to search him out and warn him.

 
Chandler
scratched his head. Since
Johannes
had seen him walking in the light, perhaps he figured he was as powerful as him.
Fuck! No one is as powerful as the old master!
His inexperience suddenly raised up to haunt him. He walked faster, gritting his teeth. Then abruptly halted his feet as another thought assailed his mind.
If
Johannes
felt him to be such a threat, why hadn’t he attacked and killed him that very morning? Why bother with threats and acts of violence?

There was something about the situation he didn’t quite understand, but just the notion that perhaps
Johannes
was more fearful of him than he should be gave him a sense of renewed security. The idea of finding the banker and having a look at him returned to his brain. He shrugged his shoulders. Even if nothing came of the idea, he would at least get an idea of what a professional businessman looked like.
If I don’t go into banking, maybe I’ll go into something else.

 
Scanning the street in both directions, he observed the businesses. There was a bank at the end of the next block, but he had no way of knowing whether
Richard
Mallory
was employed there or not. He started walking, an idea springing to mind. Perhaps if he inquired of
Mr.
Mallory
’s presence, someone would know him and where he could be found.

Entering the bank, he spied a pretty woman standing behind a low partition and went to her, a smile across his face. In a low kind voice, he asked about
Richard
Mallory
’s whereabouts. She smiled and politely informed him that
Mr.
Mallory
wasn’t an employee of that bank, but rather the main bank downtown. She scribbled the address on a slip of paper and handed it to him, her eyes assessing his face with immeasurable interest.

“You could be his brother. You look so much like him.”

He smiled and turned to leave.
I’m beginning to think I might take Mallory’s place with little trouble.
He exited the bank building and studied the address on the paper she gave him. The main part of the city was a considerable distance to the north. He glanced around, looking for a place to hide while he transformed and took to the air. He had money in his pocket to pay a car to drive him to the bank, but able to traverse at will had its advantages. He walked to the nearest alley and ducked inside. He transformed into a bat and rose above the building, taking to the air in the direction of the downtown bank.

 
Arriving within minutes, he perched atop the building roof and searched out a likely place on the ground to transform. Deciding on the upper floor of a parking garage, he flew to the structure and located the floor without people milling about. He changed into his vampire body, straightened his leather jacket and took the stairs down to the street. A short jaunt and he stood in front of the bank building. He stared at the plate glass windows flanking the street. An uncanny feeling passed through his insides. He raised his nose in the air, scenting.
Vampire!

Identifying the stench of moist earth and old decay, he pushed through the front door of the bank, his senses alert. The odor grew stronger, pulling him toward the rear of the building. He spied a bank of elevators and walked toward them, the stench engulfing his senses and pulling at his brain. He poked the button for the upper floor and stepped inside the box when the doors slid open. The aroma grew stronger once the doors closed, trapping him inside. He rode the elevator until it stopped and the doors once more opened.

A long hallway stemmed out from the elevator. He stepped onto plush amber colored carpet and darted his gaze along the buff colored walls. A single office door lay at the end of the hall. The foul smell of vampire clung to the air and aggravated his nose. Cautiously, he started walking toward the closed door, his senses alert.

 
Pausing mere inches from the door, his keen intuition identified the vampire beyond the door. He felt the creature’s sudden alertness to his presence. Carefully he considered whether to transform and seep beneath the door or burst through the obstruction and make himself known.
Hell! He already knows I’m here!

A noise sounded just beyond the door and suddenly the wooden structure burst open.
Chandler
barely had time to glimpse the shadowy form hurtling toward him before it landed against his chest, knocking him to the floor. Gnashing teeth lunged at his neck and long nailed fingers tore at his clothing.

Chandler
was suddenly on the defensive as he realized his attacker was a vicious vampire and intent on killing him. His rage rose quickly as he met the force with renewed strength. He pushed at the mighty chest pressing in on his body and lashed out at the long clawing fingers that sought to dig into his flesh. He landed a blow against the vicious fanged mouth that drove against his throat, sending the form sprawling across the floor. He lunged to his feet and bared his fangs as his eyes glowed fiery red.

The vampire slid against the wall as he sought to right himself, then sprang once more toward
Chandler
. His face was contorted into a mask of evil with gaping mouth and deep set red eyes.
Chandler
met the force with slashing fists, driving a mighty blow against the vampire’s chest. Caught off guard by
Chandler
’s powerful punch, the creature doubled over.
Chandler
took advantage of the vampire's pause and lunged his body against him with all the force he could muster. The force drove the fiend into the wall. They fell to the floor and
Chandler
landed a crippling blow to the snarling face, breaking the creature’s jaw and bringing a loud bellow from its gaping mouth.

Realizing he had gained the upper hand,
Chandler
rolled atop the undead thing and pummeled his head with crashing fists. Rage drove his clawing hands as he ripped at the vampire’s throat, severing his ugly head from his neck. Hurling the dismembered skull down the hallway, he pinned the flagging body with one knee then he drew back one fist and thrust it into the withering chest of the vampire, piercing its heart and bringing forth blood squirting upward like a fountain of red.

Chandler
levered his body off the being and scrambled back to watch, glancing at the severed head as it came to rest at the end of the hallway before turning his gaze back to the dying vampire. The decapitated body withered and jerked, the legs and arms quivered with the final assault of death as the last ounces of blood gushed from the ripped heart muscle.

 
Chandler
stared at the corpse when it finally lay motionless on the yellow carpet. He heaved a relieved sigh, then went quickly to retrieve the head at the end of the hallway. Once a vampire’s head was severed from his body, there remained a few seconds. If the creature could manage to find his head, he could repair the damage and live again. Luckily
Chandler
had managed to toss the skull far enough away from the vampire making it impossible for him to retrieve it and repair his body. He lifted the skull by the hair and carried it back to the vampire body lying near the office door. Already it had started to smolder, the first step to total oblivion of a truly dead vampire. He gazed down at the corpse, then threw the head atop the bloody chest.

Damn! I do look a lot like him!
He smirked, dragging in a long breath. He gazed at the blood stained hair, long and blond, secured at the nape with a black band. From what he could make out of the features, his nose and chin resembled Mallory’s. His height and weight appeared very similar as well. He watched the corpse smolder and change into a pile of ash.

When the vampire vanished,
Chandler
straightened his clothing and went into the office at the end of the hall. He hadn’t come looking for a fight, but he hadn’t run either. He squared his shoulders. Victory felt good. He kicked the door closed with one foot. The fact that
Richard
Mallory
was—
had been
—a vampire made his plan just a little bit sweeter. He threw back his head and laughed out loud.

 

BOOK: Chandler: Books 4 The Witch and the Vampire
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