Friday, December 2, 2016

(61) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



I read the info Frank has on Dalca. It’s scanty at best. There’s more on the gang itself. Frank’s right. They’re into everything. And very organized. But drugs are their main source of revenue. Everything from grass and club drugs to the real hard stuff. And illegal weapons. No wonder the Feds are on their case. But this gang is so widespread throughout the city that picking up some here and there doesn’t make a dent. Or so it seems.

I’m not sure getting Dalca will make a difference. But that’s not my bother. He’s my prey. The rest are someone else’s business.

And that means getting to him. At least Frank’s info lists his residences. He gets out a map. Shows me. The Vampyre owns a lot. Five different houses. Several businesses. None in his name, but the Fed’s say they’re his. His and the gang’s. He could sleep at any of them. Or somewhere else. Honestly I’m betting the latter.

That means I get to play hide and seek. With a Vampyre who no one sees. His lieutenants are more available. Four of them. Each an overlord of one part of the city. Start at the bottom and work up? Or take my chances on finding Dalca? Questions, questions.

“This one might be your best bet.” Frank points to a name. “He’s more out in the open than the others, and most likely to lead you to Dalca.”

“Out in the open how?”

“He has a house in a nice neighborhood of the city and makes no secret about knowing all the gang members in that area. The problem is, despite the fact that the members hang at his place, he can get away with it. He tells everyone he’s a priest and is trying to reform them.” Frank snorts. “Reform them my ass. But the cops seem to believe it and keep hands off.”

“Bet most of them are on his payroll.”

He nods. “Some are from what my man says. Mostly higher-ups who can keep the others from bothering him. The Vampyre’s clever. He never does anything that would give them a reason to roust him, or gain entrance to his home.”

He shows me where this bastard lives. I’m about to ask another question. His phone rings. He answers. Frowns as he listens. Hangs up.

“There’s a new Vampyre in town.” 

“How do you know? You keep that close track of their comings and goings?”

“I wish we could. This was just luck. One of my people has contacts with several covert groups. He was notified by one of them about this Vampyre’s arrival. Apparently he is to be left alone for whatever reason.” He radiates anger. Frustration.

I’m sure I do too. “Since when do we ignore one of the bastards?”

“When I find out why I’ll let you know. At least we know where he is, which makes me really wonder what’s going on.” He taps the map.

“Hold on. That’s too much of a coincidence him showing up there.”

“My thinking exactly. But if he’s hands off, I wonder if he’s working for the Feds. If they didn’t know what he was… Naw, they do too many background checks. But he obviously works for someone.”

“So I’ll check him out. Give me an exact address if you have one.”

He shakes his head. “Not unless you swear hands off—at least for now. I hate this, them, as much as you do, but whoever is protecting him must have some chops for my man to warn me off.”

“OK, I’ll promise to behave. Beside, this sort of tweaks my interest.” He cocks an eyebrow. I shrug. “I want to see what kind of Vampyre would earn some group’s trust is all. Be interesting to find out how he wriggled his way into their confidence.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

(60) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



Next morning. Shower. Shave. Feel like a new person. Follow my nose down to the kitchen. Bacon. Eggs. The works. He looks up from the stove. Waves towards the table. When I offer to help he shakes his head.

“Got it in hand. You can do clean-up though.” He adds that with a laugh.

After we eat I clear up. Go into the living room. He takes a chair. I settle on the sofa. Look at him.

“Ok Mr. Larkin, let’s talk.”

He smiles. “Call me Frank for starters. I stopped being ‘Mr. Larkin’ when the Home closed down.” Leans back. Sips his coffee. Thinking. “Alright. As I told you on the phone, this Vampyre is deadly. More so than most which is saying something. What I didn’t tell you was he runs one of the biggest street gangs in the city from behind the scenes. One comparable to the ‘Satan’s Disciples’ or the old ‘Blackstone Rangers’. His particular gang is well organized and into everything. Some of the top leaders are Vampyres that he made, although the rest of the gang has no clue about this.”

“Damn. How come no one’s done anything to stop them?”

“Oh the cops, and the Feds, have been. But they don’t know anything more than anyone else about what the creatures are who run it. They think they’re dealing with normal, well as normal as any gang member is, humans.”

“And you or someone else hasn’t let them in on the true facts? Why?”

“Because until just recently even I didn’t know. It was pure dumb luck that I found out. I’d heard rumors about this Vampyre, Neculai Dalca. He came over from Romania half a century ago, fleeing his maker it’s said, and vanished. I’ve been researching him, trying to find out if he really existed, and if so where he might be. And low and behold not only is he real but he’s here in Chicago.”

“You’re sure it’s him?”

“Oh yeah. I have many sources, one of them an FBI counter terrorism agent. He happens to believe there is more out there than just human enemies.” Frank smiles a bit. “No, he doesn’t think we’ve been invaded by aliens but he’s does believe in things that go bump in the night. Primarily Vampyres. Seems he’s had run-ins with a couple of them.”

“So why hasn’t he let his people know about them? Damn, Frank, we need all the help we can get.”

Frank temples his fingers. Looks over them at me. “If you worked for a group like the FBI or HLS—the ultimate in conservatism and what have you—and someone said they believed in the creatures, how would you react? You’d probably see to it that that person was, at the very least let go, and more likely you make sure they were locked away for the ‘good of the country’ so they didn’t tarnish the image of the group. He can get more done, and learn more, but keeping quiet on his views.”

I nod slowly. “I guess I can see that but it pisses me off big time that so few actually know what’s out there. They call them fairy tales, myths, or worse write cute little romances making them seem like the salt of the earth trying to survive in a hostile world. Give me a break.” My voice has risen. I know that. Anger does that.

“Calm down.” He waits a beat. Continues. “I agree with you, but there’s nothing we can do about it except to defend humans against them by eliminating them. And right now Dalca is your prime objective.”

“Give me facts. Locations. Everything you have on him.”

Monday, November 28, 2016

(59) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



Two days later. Nine hundred miles from home. Hit the Dan Ryan at rush hour. Just my luck. Pull off onto 51st heading east. My contact lives in an old house. Hyde Park area. Used to be a home for boys he’s told me. Now his place.

Arrive there just as dark’s descending.  

My contact isn’t Dhampir. But a man who knows about and believes in the danger of Vampyres. He doesn’t buy all the crap out there that makes them out to be ‘misunderstood good guys’. He also knows about my kind. Got hold of me through an acquaintance.

I pull up. Park in the drive. Rub my ass as I dismount. Maybe two days on the road wasn’t such a good idea after all. Hear a door open. Look over. My host stands there. Tall. Taller than me I think. White hair. Wire-rimmed glasses. Jeans and a T. He may be older but still in good shape. He comes down the steps.

“Trevor, I presume.” Holding out his hand.

I shake it. “Yeah. In the flesh.” Smile.

“You look beat. Come on inside, I’ve got supper cooking and beer in the fridge.”

Follow him in. Into the kitchen. Institutional looking.

He chuckles. “Never got around to changing things out since these work just fine.” Points to the table. “Have a seat, it’s almost ready.” Gets two beers. Hands me one. “Want to talk now or wait?”

I’m about to say ‘now’. Change my mind. “I think I need to eat and sleep first. Unless there’s something pressing I need to know about.”

“Nothing accelerated, if that’s what you mean, so food it is.”

Sets out bowls. Dishes out a stew. Puts a loaf of bread down. We each cut some slices. Eat. Talk some. Nothing much. Tell him about the ride up. He tells me a bit about the area. We stay off the subject of Vampyres for now.

After supper. We sit on the porch. Beers in hand. He talks about the place. How he worked here before it closed. Bought it.

“Big old house, too big for me, but I hated to think of some corporation coming in and buying the land for an apartment building. So I rattle around it, keep up with what’s going on with our mutual enemies. Let the locals know when a new one appears so they can deal with them. Okay. Sorry, I wasn’t going to broach that subject till morning. You look half dead.”

I chuckle. “I suppose technically I am considering what I am. But yeah, I’m about to fall asleep right here.”

We finish the beers. He takes me inside. Upstairs. Shows me my room. I flop down on the bed. Half asleep before he even closes the door.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Release day for 'A Deadly Homecoming'!

A Deadly Homecoming
 
When Spence Harden and Jeff, his writing partner and sometime lover, move into the house once owned by Spence's murdered parents, they have no idea what awaits them. First, they discover someone is stealing items from them, but have no clue who, or why. And then the unthinkable happens. Jeff is killed and Spence is framed for his murder.

Crime reporter Gregg Rowe wants to help Spence clear his name. All Spence needs to do is decide if he believes Gregg, or if the man himself is the killer. Once Gregg convinces Spence he's telling the truth, the pair set out to discover if there is a connection between Jeff's murder and that of Spence's parents ten years earlier ... while fighting their growing attraction to each other.

EXCERPT:
    The guys had finished supper and were doing dishes when Spence got a phone call. When he answered, a man asked, "Is this Spencer Harden? Do I have the correct number?"

    "It is. How can I help you?"

    "You probably don't remember me. I'm Franklin Vernon. I knew your parents. I fact ..." He hesitated for a second. "They were at our house the night they died."

    "I know," Spence replied, his hand tightening on the phone.

    "I didn't know you were back in town until I saw you walk by our house a couple of days ago. I almost came out to say hello but, well, that's beside the point right now. This will undoubtedly sound strange. I'd like to talk with you about what happened."

    "Why?"

    "You're father said something to me that night that might relate to why he was killed."

    "I presume you told the police."

    "No. I didn't want to soil his reputation."

    Angrily, Spence replied, "Even if it could have helped find his killer?"

    "I ... I'd rather explain everything to you in person," Mr. Vernon said. "Tonight, if possible, before I lose my nerve."

    "All right. I'll be home all evening."

    "It would be better if you come here where we can talk in private, without my wife or your friend around. She's off visiting her sister at the moment."

    Spence hesitated. Something about this felt off. On the other hand, if he really does know something. "Give me twenty minutes. I need to change clothes."

    "Excellent. I'll see you then."

    After they'd hung up, Spence told Jeff what Mr. Vernon had said.

    "You're not going alone," Jeff replied adamantly.

    "Yeah, I am. If he does have information ... Well, from what he said I don't think he'll tell me if you're there."

    "I can, umm, wait outside."

    "I'm a big boy, Jeff. I think I can handle a guy who has to be at least sixty, if I remember right."

    "Drive. Don't walk."

    "A whole two blocks? Uh-uh."

    "Spence ..."

    "Quit worrying. I'll be back before you know it."

    Spence gave him a hug, went up switch out his T-shirt for a regular one, then took off. It would have been a nice evening for a walk, if that's what he was after. Warm with a slight breeze. He didn't really notice, however. He was too busy wondering exactly what Mr. Vernon was going to tell him. That Dad was in the Mob and they killed him to shut him up? He owed money to a loan shark and was killed because he couldn't pay up? Our damned books are getting to me. Still, if Mr. Vernon hasn't gone off the deep end in his old age, he might know something.

    When Spence arrived at the Vernon house, he was surprised no lights were on inside. It didn't stop him from ringing the doorbell, then knocking when Mr. Vernon didn't answer. That didn't bring any results either, so he went around to the back. There were no lights showing there either, and when he knocked on the back door, no one answered.

    "Okay, where are you? What's going on?" he murmured. Finally giving up, he headed back home.

    He'd just crossed from the path into the back yard when he realized the back door was open and something was lying on the porch steps. In the light coming from the kitchen, it looked like ...

    He raced across the yard. Jeff was sprawled down the steps, blood pouring from a gaping wound in the back of his head. Spence knelt beside him, taking out his phone. When the nine-one-one dispatcher answered he said, "There's been an accident. My ... my housemate fell, I guess, and cracked his head."

    "How badly," the woman asked.

    "It looks ..." He gulped. "Bad."
 

(58) Trevor Wallace – Dhampir



“Why can’t I come?”

“One, because you have a job here you don’t want to loose. Two, because it’s dangerous. Three, because of one and two.” I stop packing to kiss his forehead. “I want you safe, I want someone to come back to besides the ferret.”

He smiles slightly about the ferret. Then says, “Aren’t there enough of them here? Why do you have to run off somewhere else? Let another Dhampir deal with this one.”

“Del, if I took that attitude they’d be overrunning the world. I take care of the big ones and let the others and the wanna-be Vampyre hunters handle the small stuff. This one has to be dealt with before he kills again. Or turns any more. Please understand.”

He nods. “I understand, but I don’t have to like it baby.” He takes off his cross. Fastens it around my neck. “I want this back, so you have to come back.”

“I will. I promise.” Put my arms around him. Kiss him softly. “I have a reason to now, and not because of your cross.”

Del's smile lights up my heart. “Good,” Is all he says. But his face tells me that I do have a reason.

Kissing him once more. Then finishing stuffing what I need in my pack. Locking up the house. On the bike with him behind me. I drop him off at his place. One final kiss.

Then I’m off. Heading out of the city and up the highway. I could have flown but in the mood to ride. And the bike will come in handy I think. Where I’m going.