Bite Me: A Love Story Chapter 4


4. Good-bye Love Lair


Triumphant Destroyer of Vampyre Kitties

I weep, I brood, I grieve-I have sniffed the bitter pink Sharpie of despair and mascara tears stripe my cheeks like a mouthful of chewed-up black Gummi bears has been loogied in my eyes. Life is a dark abyss of pain and I am alone, separated from my darling delicious Foo.

But check it-I totally kicked ass against a gang of vampyre kitties. That's right, kitties, meaning many. No longer does the huge shaved vampyre cat Chet stalk the City alone; he has been joined by many smaller and un-shaved vampyre cats, many of which I turned to kitty toast with my most fly sunlight jacket. Right outside our loft, they were attacking that crazy Emperor guy and his dogs and I saved them by running out into the street and hitting the lights.

It was pure techo-carnage, blood everywhere, and a little Japanese guy with a samurai sword doing the serious Ginsu on the kitties as they attacked.

I know what you are thinking.

Ninja, please...

I know, OMFGZORRO! A samurai in Sucker-Free City!

I didn't even try to convince the cops when they came.

They were all, "What up?"

And I was all, "Nothing."

And they were all, "What's all this?" Pointing to the blood and steaming kitty ashes and whatnot.

And I was all, "Don't know. Ask him. I just heard some noise so I came out to check it out."

So they asked the Emperor and he tried to tell them the whole story, which was a mistake-but he's kind of insane, so you have to give him a break. But they put him in the car anyway and took him and his dogs away, even though it was totally obvious that they knew who he was and were just being dicks about the whole thing. Everyone knows the Emperor. That's why they call him the Emperor.

'Kayso, Foo finally came home and I jumped into his arms and sort of rode him to the ground with a massive tongue kiss so deep that I could taste the burned cinnamon toast of his soul, but then I slapped him, so he didn't think I was a slut. (Shut up, he had wood.)

And he was all, "Stop doing that, I don't think you're a slut!"

And I was all, "Yeah, well then how did you know that's why I slapped you, and where the fuck have you been, my mad, manga-haired love monkey?" Sometimes it's best to turn the tables and start asking questions when your argument sucks ass. I learned that in Introduction to Mass Media class.

And Foo's all, "Busy."

And I'm like, "Well you missed my heroic warrior-babe assault." And I, like, told him the whole thing and then I said, "So, now there's a lot of vampyre cats. What's up with that, nerdslice?" Which is a pet name I have for Foo when referring to his mad science skills.

And he's all, "Well, we know that there has to be an exchange of blood from the vampyre to its victim before the victim dies, otherwise it just goes to dust."

And I'm like, "So Chet's smart enough to know that?"

And Foo's all, "No, but if a cat's bitten, what's the natural thing for it to do?"

And I'm all, "Hey, I'm asking the questions here. I am the boss of you, you know?"

And Foo totally ignores me, and he's all, "They bite back. I think Chet is changing the other cats by accident."

"But he drained that parking cop and she didn't turn."

"She didn't bite him back."

And I'm all, "I knew that."

And Foo's like, "There could be hundreds of them."

And I'm all, "And Chet led them here. To us."

And Foo's all, "He marked this as his territory before the old vampyre turned him. He sees this as his place. The stairway still smells like cat pee."

And I'm like, "That's not all."

And Foo's all, "What? What?"

And I totally slip into my dark mistress voice and I'm all, "Chet has changed. He's bigger."

And Foo's all, "Maybe his coat has just grown back."

And I'm all ominous like, "No, Foo, he's still shaved, but he's a lot bigger, and I think-" I paused. It was very dramatic.

And Foo's like, "Tell me!"

I sort of fainted all emo into his arms. And he totally caught me like the dark hero of the moors that he is, but then he harshed the romantic drama of it all by tickling me and going, "Tell me, tell me, tell me."

So I did, because I was close to peeing myself, and I'm totally not into that kind of thing. "I think we have to worry about the little samurai guy turning, which would not be good, as he is full badass, despite his deeply stupid hat and socks."

And Foo was all, "Did he bite them?"

And I was all, "He was full-on covered in vampyre kitty blood. Maybe some drops got in his mouth. Lord Flood said he accidentally turned that blue ho from one kiss on the bloody lips."

And Foo's like, "Well we need to find him, then. Abby, we may not be able to handle this. We need help." And he's all nodding to the statue of the Countess and Lord Flood.

And I'm all, "Do you know the first thing that will happen if we let them out?"

And Foo's all, "Jody will totally kick our asses."

And I'm like, "Oui, mon amour, epic ass-kickings pour toi and moi. But you know what's even scarier?"

And Foo's all, "What? What? What?" Because French drives him mad.

So I'm like, "You still have wood!" And I squeezed his unit and ran into the bedroom.

'Kayso, Foo chased me around the loft a couple of times, and I let him catch me twice, just long enough to kiss me before I was forced to slap him-well, you know why-and run away. But as I was prepared to let him think I would surrender to his manly deliciousness, I'm all, "You could turn me to a vamp and I could use my dark powers to scoop Chet's litter box of destruction."

And Foo was all, "No fucking way. I don't know enough."

Then someone started pounding on the door. And not a little "Hey, what's up?" pound. Like there was a big sale on door pounds down at the Pound Outlet. Buy one, get one free at Pounds-n-Stuff.

I know. WTF? Privacy much? Pounding on the love lair.

It was like perpetual "not quite lunchtime" in her cubicle at the insurance company, back in ancient history, three months ago, before she was a vampire. Every sundown, for about fifteen seconds, Jody awoke and panicked over the hunger and constraint until she was able to will herself into mist and float in what she thought of as the blood dream, a pleasant, ethereal haze that lasted until sunup, when her body went solid inside the brass shell and for all practical purposes, she became dead meat until sundown came round again. But sometime around the end of the first week of freakouts, she realized that she was touching Tommy. That he was in the bronze shell with her, and unlike her, he couldn't go to mist. She should have taught him, she knew, just as the old vampyre had taught her, but now it was too late. Maybe, since she couldn't move enough to tap a message with her finger in Morse code, let alone talk, she could reach out to him, somehow connect with him telepathically. Who knew what kind of powers she might have that the old vampyre had forgotten to tell her about. She concentrated, pushed, even tried to send some sort of pulse to the places where their skin touched, but all she got back was an extended, jagged, electric panic.

Poor Tommy. He was there all right. Alive and mercilessly aware. She tried to reach him until she could bear the weight of her own hunger and panic no longer. "Abby, if I ever get out of here, your narrow ass is mine," she thought before fading to mist and blissful escape.

It wasn't a homicide, strictly speaking, because there was no body, but there was a traffic enforcement officer missing in action, and it had involved the Emperor and a certain block of light industry buildings and artist lofts south of Market Street that Rivera had flagged for notice if anything happened there. And something had definitely happened here, but what?

He lifted the collar of the empty traffic officer's uniform with the tip of his pen to confirm that the fine gray ash was not on the sidewalk underneath, and it wasn't. Inside the uniform, on the sidewalk at the cuffs and collar of the uniform, yes, but not on the sidewalk under the uniform.

"I don't see a crime," said Nick Cavuto, Rivera's partner, who, if he'd been a flavor of ice cream, would have been Gay Linebacker Crunch. "Sure, something happened here, but it could have just been kids. The Emperor is clearly nuts. Totally unreliable."

Rivera stood up and looked around at the blood-soaked street, the ashes, the still-flashing light on the parking cart, and then at the Emperor and his dogs, who had their noses pressed to the back window of their brown, unmarked Ford sedan. Rivera's flavor was Low-fat Spanish Cynic in an Armani cone. "He said cats did this."

"Well there you go, an Animal Control issue. I'll call them." Cavuto made a great show of flipping open his mobile and punching at the numbers with his thick sausage fingers.

Rivera shook his head and crouched over the empty uniform again. He knew what the powder was, and Cavuto knew what the powder was. Sure, it had taken them a couple of months, and a lot of unsolved murders, and watching the old vampire take enough gunfire to kill a platoon of men, only to survive to kill a half-dozen more people, but they had finally caught on.

"It wasn't cats," Rivera said.

"They promised to leave," Cavuto said, pausing in his display of percussive dialing. "The creepy girl said they left town." They, meaning Jody and Tommy, who had promised to leave town and never return. "The Emperor said he saw the old vampire get on a ship-a whole bunch of them sail away."

"But he's totally unreliable," Rivera said.

"Most of the time. This is not-"

Rivera held up a finger to stop him. They had agreed never to use the v-word when others were around. "We have to go see the spooky kid."

"Noooo," Cavuto wailed, then caught himself, realizing that for a man of his size, appearance, and occupation, that whining over having to confront a skinny teenage girl was, well-he was being a huge wuss-that's what.

"Man up, Nick, we'll tell her not only does she have a right to remain silent, it's an obligation. Besides, I called in backup."

"I should probably stay in the car with the Emperor. See if he remembers anything else."

Just then there was a commotion at the crime scene tape and a uniformed officer said, "Inspector, this woman wants through. She says she has to see her daughter, who lives in that apartment." The officer pointed to the fire door of the loft where the spooky kid lived with her boyfriend.

An attractive blond woman in her late thirties wearing paisley medical scrubs was trying to push past the officer.

"Let her through," Rivera said. "Look, Nick, an angel come to protect you."

"Oh God save me from fucking neo-hippies," said Gay Linebacker Crunch.

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