Breathless Ch. 01byEvil Alpaca©
Sadie poked her head up to see, then blushed a bit and sunk back in her chair. Vampires could blush, but it usually had to be very arousing or VERY embarrassing to make it happen involuntarily.
The Captain scrutinized a number of images the same way, then stopped to read a memo. "What is this about Austin and --"
"I don't want to talk about Austin," she grumbled.
"Miss Hewitt, an entire tour bus and --"
"I . . . do . . . not . . . want . . . to . . . talk . . . about . . . Austin! No charges were pressed so . . . so let's just write that off as an unfortunate occurence. Okay?"
"Unfortunate occurrence?" he replied. "The eruption of Pompeii was apparently an 'unfortunate occurrence as well, at least by those standards." Captain Grom closed the file and sighed. "Very well. Have you got a place to stay yet?"
"I'm crashing at a hotel today, and my house and the moving truck should be here tomorrow."
"You brought a house with you?"
"Mobile home . . . trailer really. I'm attached to it. Worked with a realtor and got some land to put it on. Got directions in the truck. Everything will get hooked up tomorrow.
"Excellent. Well, I'll let you go get some rest and I will see you in a couple of days. We'll introduce you to your team and -- "
"Team? I'm used to working solo."
"Sorry, but it's city policy that field personnel work in teams. And even if they didn't I'd insist that no one goes into the Gravestones without backup."
"Your new beat, as it were. It's a . . . charming little area. Nothing you can't handle."
Sadie was getting suspicious, but she chose not to let in bother her. She sprang to her feet, vigorously shook the Captain's hand and started to leave.
"Oh, keep your moving and hotel receipts and give them to Melissa when you come in. She does the expense reports around here." The Captain was trying not to start counting again.
'She helps me get my money back? I really like her.' Sadie headed towards the door, watching as Melissa tried very hard not to look back. She slapped the girl on the butt and said, "See ya soon Mel." In her wake, she heard the grumbling of a very confused goth.
The next night . . .
Sadie was working out in her yard, digging post holes for where she wanted the deck supports to go. It'd be a while before she got around to building it, but she liked staying busy. The lot was as beautiful as her agent had told her it was, surrounded on all sides by evergreens except for a little path overlooking a tiny town. She'd have to find out the name of the town later. She guessed it must be a really small town, because she only saw a couple of lights flickering down there.
Her trailer was actually on ten acres of land, and she was about a hundred hards from the otherwise empty road. The movers had put up the pre-fab steel building that she used as a garage and work area, and all the utilities were on and running. Moving was one of those times where Sadie dropped some extra cash to make her life so much easier.
She heard tires on gravel and the peek of headlights coming down her brand new driveway. She really didn't want trouble, hoping it was just somone who had gotten lost.
'Just in case,' she thought, going to the garage and grabbing the double-barrel shotgun off the rack in the truck. It was loaded with silver shot, which meant she'd kill just about any big ugly that came her way.
Even in the cloak of darkness, her eyes could pick out the little green Mini Cooper slowly winding its way down the drive. She'd seen that car parked outside the precinct when she'd dropped off her receipts shortly after sunset. The car came to a stop and someone got out.
"Mel?" Sadie asked. "What the hell are you doing out here?"
"I needed to get your signature on some things." Melissa stopped. "Uhm . . . do you have any light?"
"And it couldn't wait until I got into work?" Sadie was actually a little disappointed. The girl was making it too easy. She ran up the stairs, opened the door to the trailer and flicked on the external light.
Melissa was treated to an eyefull, and she seemed to be having difficulties keeping her face calm. Sadie was dressed in her "work around the house clothes," which consisted of a cut off pair of denim shorts, a sports bra, her working boots and . . . that was it. Her curly hair was pulled back in a ponytail, all nice and tied up with a red ribbon. To Melissa, she looked more like a trailer-park housewife than a vampire . . . a very, very gorgeous trailer-park housewife.
"I was going to try and get everything submitted right away so you could get comped." Melissa looked at the trailer. "It's a giant silver twinkie."
Sadie grinned. "Yes it is! Casa de Hewitt! Complete with everything a hot vampire needs!"
"A bed, a fridge, and a place to sit and watch television after sex."
Melissa raised one eyebrow. "Yeah. Right."
Though the girl was trying to play it cool, Sadie wasn't buying it. The girl had driven all the way out here in tight leather pants, a silky white blouse and leather vest. She looked like a vampire television dinner: all wrapped up, and just waiting to be warmed up before being eaten. Anyone who'd been around vampire knew that they were a pretentious bunch of snobby aristocrat wannabes, and they loved the whole "tortured soul" crap. Vampires often developed "broods," or groups of followers, lackeys, and sexual toys, and there was not race or gender limit on who could join. As a rule, the older and more powerful the vampire, the bigger and more prominent the brood. It seems the older a vampire got, they greater presence they were able to exert on the world around them.
Sadie decided to play it cool for a bit. As much as she'd like to have some fun with this lean little kitten, she didn't enjoy herself with someone who didn't know her rules. "So, where's that paperwork?"
Melissa reached back into her car and grabbed a clipboard. Sadie noticed that she stretched and leaned in more than she needed to, showing off her slender legs and tight butt. And when her shirt rode up, Sadie saw the girl had extensive tattooing.
'I wonder how far up it goes?' she thought idly. She waited for the girl to bring her the clipboard. Sadie started leafing through the papers while Melissa descended to the next rung of the stairs. 'She's making sure her head is below mine. And she's cocking her head . . . I'll be damned.' Melissa was doing exactly what most people would do if trying to make themselves more appealing to a potential vampire master or mistress. 'Her neck does look good,' Sadie thought, admiring the girl's slim, pale neck. She could hear Melissa's blood running through her veins like a freight train, making her dedication to a stoic facade all the more admirable.
"Well, that's about it. Thanks I guess," Sadie said, giving the girl no visible signs of interest.
For a moment, Melissa looked . . . frustrated. Not angry or depressed, just frustrated. She turned around and walked back to the car. "No prob," Melissa said.
That time, Sadie could hear strain in the voice. "Hey." Sadie decided to cut the girl a break. People who came to deal with a traditional vampire tended to have no idea what to do with Sadie Hewitt. "What's that town down there?"
Melissa stopped and looked puzzled. "I dunno. You got a place out in the middle of nowhere . . . I'm not familiar with the --" The girl stopped, her brow furrowed.
"Holy crap," was the reply, lacking the coolness expressed earlier. "I DO know where that is. It's New Plymouth. It was supposed to be the one of first towns settled when the darkworlders hit the west coast."
"Hunh, cool. Thought a place like that would be busier. Tourists, hotels and the like."
"Not New Plymouth. It's been a wraith town for over a hundred years."
Sadie stomped her foot and growled, "Dammit! No wonder the property was so cheap! I'm gonna ring my agent's neck." Wraiths tended to give everyone the wiggins, even vampires. A wraith was the spirit of a creature who had died a horrible death or with tremendous rage in its heart. The soul was able to remain physically manifested in this world in the general shape of its owner, and it became a ghost of vengeance. They were physically incredibly powerful that immediately sought out those that had wronged them and enacted upon them the most unpleasent revenges imaginable. Sometimes that was enough to quell the spirit and they slipped away. Strong wraiths created by strong needs for revenge stayed corporeal. There own vengeance satisfied, they acted on the feelings of those around them. Wraiths were often sought out by those who had been wronged, and wraiths were drawn to act on those needs. Some came to enjoy such work, while others sought refuge in quiet places where the draw of the mob would not weigh on them.
Besides being devilishly strong and having the ability to appear in both physical and ethereal forms, wraiths had the unique advantage of being nulls: they were untargetable by direct magics and undetectable by most darkworlder senses other than normal sight. This made most darkworlders incredibly uneasy. People tended to stay away from wraiths if they could help it, and it wasn't uncommon for a town to die out if a wraith moved in.
"Sorry," Melissa said.
"Hell, it's no big thing. May go down there in a couple of days and introduce myself . . . get to know the neighbor."
"You're going to go talk to it? A wraith?"
"They's usually a 'him' or a 'her,' not an 'it.' I ain't got no hate in my heart, so there won't be a problem."
Melissa nodded and started to turn away. Before Sadie could say anything, she turned back. "You . . . you're not like any vampire I've ever met."
"Does that bother you?" Sadie asked. "Melissa, why'd you really come out here tonight? Don't take me for a food girl. No one dresses like that to get someone to sign papers."
Melissa actually cracked a tiny grin. "I guess not. You knew?"
"Sweetheart, I was born in the dark, but it wasn't last night. Girl, you just met me and you don't even know me. You can't be more than twenty five, so it isn't like you've seen it all."
Melissa turned back to her car. "Well, you're not interested, so I guess I won't --" She stopped because Sadie appeared between her an the door. 'Damn she's fast,' the girl thought.
"I don't want a brood," Sadie said, leaning leisurely against the driver's side door. "Never have. Ain't got time to go wiping their asses for them or any of that. I don't need a bunch of people lickin' my boots to feel good about myself. Hell, if I wanna feel good about myself, I just look in the mirror." She was grinning big time now.
"So you're saying it isn't me . . . it's you? I've heard THAT line before. Listen --"
"Go ahead. What's on your mind?"
"It's just frustrating. I know what I want," she said, her voice sounding normal now, like she wasn't putting up a front. This was one of Sadie's gifts . . . she let people open up to her. "I've been to the vamp clubs and done everything right. I've been propositioned."
"So why didn't you say yes? If this is the life you want?"
"Because I look up, see the vampire's face and think . . . what a poser!"
Sadie guffawed, stomping her foot on the ground and gripping the car door for support. "Damn," she laughed, "that's about as good as I've ever heard it put. The bretheren are a might pompous, aren't they?"
"And it's just so frustrating!" Melissa continued, showing real, unchecked personality. "I want someone to serve. Just want to find someone worth serving I guess." The girl blushed. "You must think I'm a total loser."
Sadie shook her head, that pretty white smile lighting up the dark. "Nah. Known lots of folks that follow the path you're walking, and you've already learned the most important rule: know what you're looking for." She sat on the hood of the car. "As I said, I ain't looking for a brood. Don't mean I ain't looking for a bedmate or . . . twelve. But I'd rather start with a friend than a follower. Get me?"
Melissa cocked her head again, tempting Sadie to lay more than just kisses on it. "You really are different."
"Don't you forget it." Sadie slid forward until her feet were on the ground. "If you're ever looking for a night of no-commitment fun, then we can talk. In the meantime --" She stopped and offered her hand, Melissa took it and shook it, and the girl looked somewhat relieved. Sadie wondered if she ever talked to someone about how she felt. "You in a hurry?"
"No. I'd actually freed up my otherwise busy social calender just in case --" Melissa blushed again.
"Hell, it ain't too late," Sadie replied, brushing her body against Mel's as she walked by, feeling the girl's heart beating like a steel drum. "Or, you could grab a couple of lawn chairs from the garage, I'll grab some Guinness out of the fridge and then you can tell me exactly how much shit I've gotten myself into."
A few days later . . .
"Please turn . . . right . . . in twenty yards," Scarlett crooned. Sadie had gotten a call on her cell when she was in the shower telling her that a liquor store robbery had gone done and they'd cornered the suspects in some low-income housing projects, so she'd be meeting her team for the first time in the field. She had no idea where she was going, so she'd turned on her in-truck navigation system which she affectionately called Scarlett. Whoever had recorded directions had a sexy voice, so Sadie thought she sounded like a Scarlett.
"You got it!" she shouted, happy to have something to do besides work on the house. She'd finally gotten everything unpacked, including her side-arm and extra ammo for her shotgun, also known as Hooters. She'd named it that after realizing that it had a couple mighty barrels that could knock a man on his ass.
"Please . . . stop," the semi-mechanized voice said.
"If I had a dime for every time I heard that," she said. "No, that would be if she said 'don't stop.' Okay, I need a date. I'm getting excited by my GPS system." She saw a blockade of squad cars and she pulled her truck up a safe distance behind them.
"Ma'am," a young human man said, "I'm afraid you're going to have to move your --"
"I can't move it until Scarlett tells me to," she said. The man looked confused. Sadie had put her badge on a lariat and pulled it out from under her Nike sports jacket. "I'm Arbiter Sadie Hewitt. Who's running the show?"
The poor kid gulped. Sadie figured he couldn't be more than a few months out of the academy. He'd pressed his uniform for crying out loud.
"You're the Arbiter?" He shook off his surprise. "That would be Officer Koloff. He's the one over by the gate."
"Thanks hot stuff," she said, giving him a slap on the behind. 'Cute too. I'm liking this precinct so far!' "Officer Koloff!" she said, slinging her shotgun across her back and putting her pistol belt on. She pulled out her Smith and Wesson Model 500 S&W fifty caliber revolver and made sure there was a little piece of hell in every chamber. One of the great things about being an Arbiter was that just about every gun you could imagine was on the "acceptable side arm" list.
"Yeah?" the man said. This was one big dude, standing a full foot taller than Sadie with dark hair, dark goatee and muscles in places where most people didn't have places.
'Now that,' she thought, 'is a whole lot of man. Yummy!' Sadie flashed her most winning smile and offered her hand. "Sadie Hewitt, here to help."
The man looked annoyed and narrowed his eyes to slits. "YOU'RE the Arbiter?"
"Why do people keep saying it like that? YES, I'm the Arbiter!" She took a deep whiff and realized she could have problems besides catching the criminals. This guy was a werewolf, and those furry fuckers were a might unpredictable.
Officer Koloff crushed his coffee cup without even thinking about it. He was not happy about being replaced by anyone, he was not happy about an outsider coming into his beat, and was definitely not happy that is was a woman wearing hip-huggers.
"Listen, we think we know where they are and since you don't know the area, how about you sit this one out --"
"How about you sit and spin?" Sadie replied, her cheerful disposition still unblemished. "Give us a minute?" she asked sweetly to the two other officers. When they delayed, looking to Koloff for guidance, Sadie continued with, "Now! Are you waiting for him to pin a corsage on you? Get the heck out of here."
The two officers left.
"Okay, let's get this over with. I outrank you. We both know that. That being said, I have no desire to take over just for kicks. Like you said, this is your turf and you know the rules. I'm more than willing to take your lead on this for that very reason. But try and keep me from doing the job I was brought here to do, and you and I will have serious problems and I would HATE to embarrass you in front of your men by kicking your ass in front of them. Got it?"
Koloff flushed as red as he could. "Technically," he gritted through his teeth, "they're your men. This is your team and I --" Koloff seemed like he was going to choke on his own tongue. "I am your Second."
'Great way to start a working relationship,' Sadie thought. "Who all do we have?"
"You already met Officer Delvin. He's as green as algae. Officer Fitzpatrick is our spell slinger . . . he's . . . there he is." Koloff pointed to a slightly overweight gentlemen who was carrying a heavy oak staff with a crystal orb embedded in one end. "You've got a full S.W.A.T. unit at your disposal. Oh, and then there's Bart."
"Short for Bartholomew. He's the demon standing over by the hydrant."
Sadie froze. There was, as point of fact, a demon on the street corner. It seemed to be male, covered in yellow scales with glowing green eyes. He was thin, but that didn't fool Sadie. She knew how dangerous demons were.
"Don't worry," Koloff muttered. He'd had the same reaction when he'd learned that he was getting saddled with a spawn of the Nether Realm. Demons were one of the only races on Earth that never actually originated there. Demons sometimes escaped the fifteen levels of their hell dimension and into Earth, where they tended to perform unspeakable acts of evil, as was their nature. Any demon worth its salt would kill you and rape the corpse as soon as look at you.
"Don't worry," Koloff continued. "Bart was bound by the whole Northwestern Coven to obey the Midian police department and enforce the law as directed. He's in year three of a century sentence."
That made Sadie feel a little better, though she still had no desire to work with the damn thing. Demons could get to you in more ways than just hurting you. They always told the truth, but rarely the whole truth. They could twist the concept of "honesty" around on you and make you so confused you didn't know which way was up.
"Great . . . great." Sadie shook her head. She knew her boss at the Federal Arbiters Bureau had something to do with this. He must've been real pissed about Austin to "arrange" for her to have this crew. Just because the demon would physically do everything to keep those he or she was bound to safe didn't mean that he was always safe to be around. There were a lot of ways to hurt someone. She wondered what Bart had been caught doing that got him stuck in a gig that he had to find demeaning. Then she decided that she didn't want to know.
"Think you can handle it?" Koloff asked, smirking just a bit.
Sadie's pearly whites made a reappearance. "Darlin', I'll always pick a challenge over the same ol', same ol'!" She patted him on the arm. "Damn, do you work out? Nice!" She felt his bicep for a second. "Hey, what's your first name?"