The Cactus Killer – Chapter 2

Welcome back everyone!  I hope you enjoyed Chapter 1 earlier this week and are ready for more.  The email I’ve received has said you have and that is awesome.  One reader asked if he was allowed to copy and paste it and share with some of his friends.  Hey, that’s cool with me.  I’m posting it here for everyone to enjoy, so feel free to share all you want with friends and family.  As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me either on Facebook or shoot me an email (JECebooks@gmail.com).  So in honor of the weekend coming in right around the corner, Two Dudes, Brews, & Books presents…

The_Cactus_Killer

Chapter 2

 Elizabeth (for some reason Beth didn’t suit her) and I were walking down the street from the station to the local bar and grill, The Fox and Hound. From an outsider’s point of view, the historic downtown section of Full Moon must look like a place straight out of an old western movie.   On our walk, we passed the General Store, the Harvest Moon Saloon, and the Post Office. All were lined up side by side, the same as our ancestors built it a long time ago. The only difference now was the subdivisions that littered the surrounding area. Even we wolves got suckered into the home association movement that plagued the southwest.

As we walked down the sidewalk, it gave me time to put my thoughts together. Granted, I didn’t know much when it came to vampires, but to be in the presence of one that old was quite intimidating. She could break my neck with the flick of her finger if she wanted.

“Put your fears aside sheriff, I have no intention of killing you. I can tell you are an honorable man and in my life those are rather hard to come by.”

Did she just read my thoughts? “Ma’am, how on God’s green earth did you know what I was thinking?”

“You are not the first or last in my long life to question my intentions. No, I did not read your thoughts, but I observed your body language. Now, let us get you something to eat so I can make my proposal to you.”

We entered The Fox and Hound to a lot of strange looks. Vampires weren’t frowned upon, but we don’t see them often, especially one in the company of the sheriff. Jocelyn, the young Black wolf who worked the front showed us to a booth in the back. She gave me an uneasy smile and handed us the menus.

“If it is okay with you Vic, I will just order us a few drinks. What would you like?”

“I appreciate that. Since I’m on the clock, I will take a cherry soda.”

She once again disarmed me with her smile and got up and headed over to the bar. Something about her told me I might be in over my mind. Jocelyn came back over and took my order for a burger and order of fries. She asked if everything was okay and I told her I had no idea. Elizabeth came back over with my cherry soda and what looked like a martini for her. After taking a long draft, it was time for business.

“So, what can I do for you ma’am? Is everything alright or is there a problem?”

“Come now; stop it with the ma’am nonsense. You make me feel old and I do not need any help with that.”

“Okay, I will do my best. I was just raised with manners, that’s all.”

She rolled her eyes at me and went on. “Let us get right to the heart of the matter, I am not just any vampire, but someone of importance. The United States is divided up into territories for the vampire community much like yours is broken up into states. I am the ambassador for the southwest. I report directly to the head of the entire U.S. coven.”

I didn’t know how to proceed. “With all due respect, I am just a sheriff, just how in the hell could I help out someone as powerful as you?”

“If you bear with me for just a bit longer, I will get to that.” I nodded and she continued. “Vampires do not live in communities like werewolves. We integrate ourselves into major cities and blend in. We have our issues, but for the most part we live in harmony with humans. However, as of late, a number of vampires have been turning up dead. Staked or decapitated with their blood drained, it has been happening with more frequency. And every single one of them has happened here in the southwest.”

“Could this all just be some awful coincidence? Or maybe even a feud between vampire families that has escalated to a boiling point?”

“That was our first thought, Vic, but as the murders continue and each being committed in the same fashion, all points to one thing. I believe we have a vampire serial killer on our hands, one I think maybe human.”

A serial killer? That would not be good for anyone. If it was a human who discovered that the things that go bump in the night exist, it would only be a matter of time before they came after our communities. “Serial killers tend to be vain. Is there anything, like a sign or a signature at the murder scene to point in that direction?”

“Yes, imbedded into each victims face was a piece of cactus. It is most disturbing to see.”

That jogged something in the memory. I had heard on the news a few weekends ago up in Truth or Consequences about a body found with a face full of cactus. This was getting a little too close to home. “That certainly adds up in my book.”

“I have done my research and I know about your condition. I know you cannot transform into a werewolf like the others but your senses are the best. Vic, I am offering you a job with us, the vampire coven, to track this serial killer down and put an end to this madness.”

“I am flattered you would come to me for help, but this is a lot bigger than just me. Can I have some time to make this decision?”

“Of course, why do we not implore some of the southwest culture and say high noon tomorrow?”

I laughed at her terrible joke and agreed to that time frame. For the rest of our lunch, she went over what the job would entail. She was hoping to get a satellite office set up in Truth or Consequences that would serve as a base of communications. I would have access to all of their intelligence of this care and any cases that were similar in nature and, if needed, I could even bring on a team. Basically, I would have free rein to get this guy as I saw fit. The vampire communities were in an uproar and this guy needed to be brought down.

After lunch, I escorted her back to the station where her car was (a Jaguar) and we bid our farewells. I made a call to both Chaz Freely and Archibald Argent. Both said they would be in my office within fifteen minutes. I also got Billy and told him when the mayor and DA got there to join the meeting.

Sure enough in no time flat, all three men were in my office and the door was closed. I told them exactly what went down with Elizabeth and gave them the run down on her proposal. Once I finished, Mayor Argent took over.

“She came to me this morning when she first got to town and asked for my permission to talk to you. At least she follows protocol and did not go straight to you. I also called your father to let him know. He will be coming by later to get a report as well.”

“Mayor, what do you think about this? I feel it might be prudent to let Vic take the job. Who knows how long before this psycho changes his target to wolves.” Chaz had the same fears that I had. This was something that needed taken care of.

“If we do allow Sheriff Inglewood to assist the vampires, we need to consider who will be acting in his place until he returns.”

“Mayor Argent, I feel Deputy Westchester and Detective Jacobs can run this department just fine. Both are skilled in their own ways and together they would do the badge justice. Besides, I don’t plan on leaving the area during this investigation.”

Argent seemed to think this over for a second. “Alright, we all agree this problem could eventually turn into ours as well. Inglewood, get this bastard, and in the meantime, learn from the vampires. This could potentially be beneficial for us.”

And just like that, the meeting was adjourned. Mayor Argent left right away, but Chaz stuck around for a few moments to give me some encouragement. When he left and it was just Billy and me in my office, I could see the young deputy was nervous.

“Listen Billy, I would not have appointed you to the job if I didn’t think you could do it. You’ll have Talia as well and between you two, there will be no issues.”

“If you say so Vic, but people here respect you. I don’t feel like they really respect me.”

“You think they respected me when I first started? You have an advantage over me, you are a true wolf. Make them respect you, like I did.”

That seemed to cheer him up and he went back to his desk. After the way this afternoon had shaped up, I was looking forward to a few minutes of peace. That didn’t last long. Without even knocking, a very short and stocky man (almost like a bowling ball) covered in red hair, including a full beard that could rival any rock and roller’s, came barreling into my office.

“We need to talk now.”

I sighed. “Sit down dad, I can explain everything.” 

-Jeremy

www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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