Chapter X: LilyKilpatrick stood up from his desk the instant I pushed open the door.
'That was quick pal, ya find him?'
'Yeah, I found him. Don't be expecting him to be coming back though.' I sat on the side of the desk and ran a hand through my hair.
'Found him at Gimble's prosthetics. Him and what was left of McGee.'
Kilpatrick gave me a puzzled look, so I sighed and waited for him to catch up.
'Old man Gimble was really into prosthetics. That and cutting bits off people. I could have brought McGee in for you, but I didn't have a wheelbarrow. As for Carson, well...'
I held out my index finger and made a snipping motion with the other hand.
'Not just bounty hunters.'
'Cost him? Why's that?' I picked up a coffee mug and looked into it. Mouldy. Shuddering, I put it back on the desk. Kilpatrick took the mug over to a coffee machine and filled it up, before taking a deep swig.
'Maybe. You haven't paid me for that first one yet.'
I pocketed the cash. 'I'm listening.'
'That's it? Just find out whether he's here?'
'Yeah, I'm interested. Sounds like easy money.' I could do with some spending money. This .38 was only going so far.
'Alright. What's this guy wanted for anyway?'
'Sounds like a nice guy, I'll make sure I'm strapped. Murietta you said?'
'I hear ya. By the way, I'm looking for someone myself. Mind if I borrow the computer a second?'
'Weeeell, I dunno pal', Kilpatrick mulled it over. 'On the one hand, that's confidential information. On the other, well, you helped ol' Carson out in a big way. Did I tell you I knowed his father too? OK, knock yourself out, but stay outta trouble. Password for the system is 'money'.
Money. How original. Would have taken five seconds to get around.
'Let's see here...Toten, R.'
Toten seemed to be in a bit of trouble here. Nothing too specific, but a bond of $15,000. Said his car was a red soft-top.
'Go back to Germania, we don't take your Euros here!', read the final notes. 'Charming.'
Time to find the car.
The most obvious place to check was the carpark. I figured a vampire trying to escape the city as fast as possible would ditch the wheels. On a hunch, I went to check out the vehicles around the pier side of the carpark.
I used the key from the diner to unlock the driver's door. Sitting inside, I couldn't find anything. No wallets, no clothing, notes, CDs...no sign that anyone had used this car for anything except transport. I closed the door again, frustrated. I didn't want to track this mystery this far only for me to lose it now.
Might as well check the boot. Only thing left.
The door opened, revealing a single item. A diary with the name 'Lily' engraved on the front. Relief filled me, and excitement, as I scanned the pages.
I closed the diary, tossing it back into the car. The blood bank. I had a feeling I was getting close. Invigorated, I purposefully made my way back to the medical centre.
The smell reached me when I opened the door. Blood. Lots of it. Fresh, still warm. I licked my lips involuntarily.
Smells good, doesn't it. Bet you want some of that. I know I do. Drink it down, every last drop, feel the life running down your throat, filling you, warming you, making you whole. Drink it, get some more. Full til bursting. Smell it? Taste it. Taste it on the air...
I forced the voice out of my mind, shaking my head. I slowly regained equilibrium, trying to ignore the shaking in my hands. What was that? Were those MY thoughts?
I walked down to the receptionist, who sat behind a reinforced glass shield. Before I could begin a conversation, he leapt into an animated dialogue.
His bright blue eyes burned feverishly, his tongue running over his lips in an exaggerated manner. He giggled slightly to himself, at some joke only he was party to.
'I don't know what you're talking about.'
He had my number. He'd looked up, and he'd looked right into me, as if I was turned inside out. When I thought that, he smiled, and nodded knowingly.
'Maybe I am, maybe I'm not', I responded in a half-assed manner. 'What I'd really like to do is get through this door.'
The answer was immediately clear. Therese.
'Oh, that's not a problem', I said smoothly. 'Queen Bitch said for me to go through, she wanted me to deal with a matter for her.'
The strange one seemed immune to my charms. I was surprised, and yet at the same time not. The guy reminded me a little of Knox. Putting that together with her comments about the Queen Bitch, and his knowledge of vampires, I knew. He had to be a ghoul. Well, if charm doesn't work, sometimes unbridled threats do...
My voice lowered to an animalistic growl.
'I don't think you heard me right, ghoul. Let me in there before I let myself in.'
The man put a hand over his brow in a theatrical manner, his voice becoming a whine. Somehow, I knew this wasn't an act. Although he seemed to see a lot, his mind seemed to be fragmented, large fractures running through his personality. I regarded him with a cold stare.
'It would mean nothing to me.'
The man went from despair to unbridled fury immediately. He smelled wild, but not caged. No man's emotions could flux so rapidly, so strongly. There was definitely something not right about this one.
I stepped through the door.
An initial scout of the medical rooms led to nothing. No sign of Lily, no sign she'd ever been there. A quick scan of the computer system gave me the temperatures of the freezer system.
'Passcode for freezer one lock: 1969', flashed the message onscreen.
Why would that freezer have a passcode?
I closed the system, and made my way to the freezers.
I opened the door and stepped in. The room was filled with highly stacked boxes lining one side of the wall. Shifting them to one side revealed a keypad.
As I entered in the number, the wall swang back to reveal a small space in between the walls. On the other side was a lever. Curious, I pulled it, and the wall on the other side also swang forward. I stepped into the room.
That's the girl from the photo. It must be her.
I stepped forward, looking at the prone form. 'Lily?'
The head raised, drawn and pale, eyes animalistic, lips curled.
A drip feed went from her arm to a bag by her side. Rather than fluid going in however, drops of bright red blood dripped slowly into the bag. She was almost drained dry, and her skin was beginning to wither.
'Calm down, I'm going to g-'
I leant down, pulling the feed from her arm. She winced, yelping like a wounded dog. Next, I forced open the clasps that fixed her wrists to the seat.
As the clasps shattered in my grip, a voice called out.
'Hey, what the hell are you doing back there?'
Another nurse had walked into the room. Lily immediately looked up, sniffing the air. With a growl, she vaulted from the seat.
The man shrieked, trying to fend the girl off. Even in her weakened state, Lily's inhuman strength and feral rage overcame the man. He began to moan more weakly, whimpering, as his movements became slower...slower...
His hands dropped to the floor, his head rolled back.
Lily looked back up, fixing me with revitalised eyes. She slowly stood, wiping her mouth with a finger. Delicately, she stuck it in her mouth, sucking the last droplets from her now smooth skin.
The girl went from exultant to confused, suddenly unsure of herself. She looked down at the body, and then to her hands, as if seeing for the first time. Her lip began to quiver.
'It's not your fault. Someone told me about it. The Beast took over.' I said the words slowly, gently.
Lily started to shake, falling to her knees.
'You were drained. Hungry. When you get weak like that, instinct takes over, you need to feed. It was survival. That's all it was.'
I pulled her to her feet, placing a consoling hand on her cheek.
'Why don't you tell me what happened?'
'All in good time Lily. E sent me to find you.'
The hope and feeling in Lily's face at E's name was touching.
'Like I said, he sent me to find you. He's having a rough time, being a thin-blood. He doesn't understand what it means.' I, of course, played down my own ignorance on the matter.
'Lily', I said kindly. 'E doesn't hate you. In fact, quite the opposite.'
I laughed. For some reason, I recalled my first meeting with Jack, the only vampire I'd met so far who'd given me any real respect or guidance.
'Your secret's safe with me kid, now get going!'
Lily ran out of the room as I closed the freezer door. The receptionist opened the door as he saw the thin-blooded girl running from the blood bank and up the stairs, the door to the alley opening and then shutting with a metallic clank. He fixed me with his wide-eyed stare.
'I was doing you a favour, lunchmeat', I growled. 'Her friends were on their way, I just happened to get here first to avoid bloodshed.'
The madman mused for a second, his eyes narrowing. He giggled again, jumping up and down on the spot.
I was furious. This man...this MORTAL! I was coming to the realisation that for vampires, the drinking of the blood of men was a necessity, something needed for survival. Those who knew of it, warned against the unnecessary violence, the Beast that lurked for those that killed the innocent. Those that did, paid the price. Even amongst the so called creatures of the night, I hadn't seen the sheer disgregard for life and the enjoyment of suffering that I'd seen in humans this night.
'I'm no killer', I growled. Rage made me lose control. I grabbed the fool by the front of his surgical scrubs, and threw him against the opposite wall, where he crumpled from to the floor, a look of shock on his face.
'You want to hear about bloodshed?', I opened the exit. 'Talk to a human!'
Even with the door closed, his manic laughter followed me into the cold night air.