The Cactus Killer – Chapter 9

Happy Friday and welcome back to all of you following along with the story.  In this chapter we get to meet two of my favorite characters, Reno Tavares and Phil Ruud (I see all you FF VII fans).  As the mystery digs deeper, I invite you all to take a look at…


Chapter 9

 “I do not see any cactus, so am I right in thinking this was an isolated incident?”

“Give me a minute.” I finally pulled myself back into my work and it was time to see if I could pick up anything.

I got closer to the body of the shooter and took it all in. Overwhelming scent of LSD and the crazed look in his eyes told a story of a drug addict who went off the deep end. I was about to right this off as just unfortunate when I took a closer look at his jacket. Sticking out of the left pocket was the corner of a book. I picked it up and it was a pocket version of the King James Bible. I opened the cover and my fears were confirmed. Under name was Rev. Warren Tucker from Holy Methodist.

“Looks like we have another reason to see the good reverend tomorrow. Our drug addict here had a Bible with Rev. Warren Tucker’s name in it. Whoever this guy is, it seems he is getting his word around.”

“If his operation is expanding, what does that mean for us?”

“It means someone is getting a lot ballsier about their operation. I think it is time to put the fear of God back in this guy. I have a feeling he might just know who the Cactus Killer is and he might be the reason he feels the need to kill off our people.”

The doors came flying open behind us and I pulled Roscoe out and pointed it at the two newcomers. Both were dressed in high dollar suits and wearing sunglasses. I lowered my gun, as I recognized these two as vampires.

Elizabeth looked up and shook her head. “Sheriff Inglewood, let me introduce you to Reno Tavares and Phil Ruud. Pardon their enthusiasm; sometimes they forget how to conduct themselves.” She gave them a stern look, but neither man seemed to really care.

With my gun back in its concealed holster, Reno and Phil walked over and we all shook hands. Reno was a bit shorter with dark brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. Phil was a much larger, bald man who looked like he could bench lift a car.

“Gentlemen, it is a pleasure. You can just call me Vic, everyone else does.”

Phil just grunted, I figured he was the muscle of the group. Reno on the other hand was most definitely the spokesman. “Okay Vic, just what are you and the Ambassador doing out here in El Paso? This doesn’t look like protective duty to me.”

“Reno, that is enough. I was taking the sheriff out as a show of thanks for the job he has done so far. Remember your place and the fact that Victor did not have to help us to begin with.”

“You are right ma’am. Sheriff, I am sorry for steeping out of bounds.”

That was the second time tonight she stepped in and made someone apologize to me. No one can resist the old Inglewood charm. “No harm done; you just wanted to make sure I was doing my job.”

Reno and Phil then took in the situation, “Just what in the hell happened here? There’s a dead werewolf and a human?”

“The human was carrying a Bible that came from the same church as the guy who attacked Elizabeth the previous night. I think we got ourselves a religious group that discovered our two societies. Tomorrow we are going up to pay them a visit.”

Reno seemed not to like this. “Ambassador Swansea, you two aren’t going up during the day are you? Ruud and I will be of no help until nightfall.”

“Do not worry Reno, Vic and I will be just fine. We are just going to have a little chat that is all.”

“I promise you two boys we will wait until you can join us before we go busting up the place. I have no desire to bring the locals into this. Speaking of which, I am surprised the El Paso police haven’t shown up.”

Reno started laughing. “Oh, when Ruud and I got here there were two cops pulling up. I kindly suggested to them that there was a meth lab two blocks over they should investigate.”

Huh, another vampire trick I’m guessing. “Well then, if you two want to take a quick look around, I’d be more than interested to see if I missed anything.”

Phil gave a grunt and Reno followed him. As they started looking around, Elizabeth and I took a seat at one of the tables.

“Another exciting night in the southwest it would seem, Vic.” Even though she smiled, I could tell this was disturbing to her.

“Whoever this Cactus Killer is, I think he has bigger goals in mind than just causing some panic.”

“That would make sense, seeing how the murders went from one or two over the course of many years to a rash of them in such a short amount of time. Do you think it is this Warren Tucker?”

“I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I would expect more from a man of the cloth. They take a vow and if it is him, he won’t be answering to us.”

She stared at me for a few moments before responding. “Are you a believer?”

“Of course, I’m Irish after all. Just because I am a werewolf doesn’t mean I don’t have a soul. Even you have one ma’am.”

“Oh Vic,” she started laughing, “I’ve seen many things in my life, but nothing to suggest that faith is any more than a myth.”

“If it was easy, than it wouldn’t be worth it in the end now would it?”

I could see she was still amused with me, “Now I know the lifespan of an average werewolf is about three hundred years, with exceptions of course. You seem to be quite young for your town.”

“My generation is the second youngest in Full Moon. The population was starting to shrink so all three packs asked families to bring the numbers up. They didn’t quite get where they wanted to, so not too long after mine, there was another population boom. Felix, my younger brother, was a part of that one.”

“How old are your colleagues William and Talia?”

“Billy was a part of my generation, so he is just a few months younger than me. Talia, on the other hand, is a little over one hundred I think.”

“It is so hard to judge your ages. You blasted wolves all look the same, no matter how old you are.”

I was about to point out that vampires have the same problem when I heard something, like metal being crunched. “Do you hear that?”

“No, should I be hearing something?”

“I could’ve sworn I heard the sound of metal crunching up. Sometimes my senses are more of a curse; I hear every bloody thing within…”

I didn’t have time to finish my thought. I grabbed Elizabeth and dove to the floor. Reno and Phil turned around to see what the commotion was, but before either could react, a car came crashing down through the roof of the building. When the dust settled, I looked up and saw it was a police cruiser and inside were two police officers. Or what remained of the two officers that is.

“Those were the cops Ruud and I met outside!”

Reno and Phil were okay, which was good. I picked up on a very strange yet familiar scent and it was moving fast towards our location.

“Get ready everyone. I think whatever did this is coming here to take care of us.”

All three vampires did their thing from the red glowing eyes to the kitchen cutlery growing out of their mouths. Me, I just pulled Roscoe out and un-tucked my blasted shirt. It might not have been as impressive, but if it got the job done, that was all that mattered.

I followed the scent and it stopped moving just in front of the doors to the recreation hall. All of us looked at each other. By now the vampires had picked up on its smell and movement.

“I don’t think it’s coming…” Don’t jinx us Reno, for crying out loud!

I don’t know if it was some sort of roar or scream, but the noise that broke the air ruined my hearing. I dropped my gun and had to cover up; the sound was just so terrible.

“Vic, what is wrong?”

“The sound, it’s too much! Oh God, my ears!”

When it finally stopped, the pressure building behind my ears also stopped, but I couldn’t hear a thing. I saw the others talking, but whatever they were saying didn’t matter. I was about to tell them as much when they all freaked out and looked towards the door. I had been so focused on hearing, that I stopped paying attention to the scent. It hit me like a freight train. Of course, it was the same musky scent from both scenes, but this time it was on overload. I looked over and saw where it was coming from; the thing that came barging in looked like Frankenstein’s monster.

I could tell this creature had been human once, from the underlying scent I was still able to pick up. It wasn’t human anymore; from the green skin to the scars everywhere and the black as a moonless night eyes, this thing was a true monster. Either he was a big dude before, or they grew him into the close to seven foot body.

I grabbed my gun off the floor and started firing at the beast but all I did was irritate it. Reno, Phil, and Elizabeth all looked over at me. I couldn’t hear if they said anything but their eyes made it clear, we would be doing this the old fashioned way. I holstered my gun and rolled up my sleeves. It was time for a fight. 


You can find all my work, including “The Cactus Killer,” @


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 to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at (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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