Season Two – Episode 5 – “Dark Alliance”

By: B.A. Holland

Production Notes:

Started: 5/02/2012

“Air Date” 06/02/2012

Published by: Abyssal Books

www.abyssalbooks.com

Copyright ©2012

All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer

This series is a work of fiction. Characters, names and incidences are either productions of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Chapter One

Loss

Tom paced the office nervously as he waited for his star detective to enter the office. Finally, after about an hour, she appeared. Anna kept combing her hair as she slammed the door behind her and spun around.

“Sorry captain.” Anna’s blonde hair was still soaked and her shirt looked as if it had acted as the sole towel for the water that dripped off of it.

“You’re an hour late for work. Usually I give detectives a little slack because I would like to think that I don’t have to treat you people like kids but in this case, I have to say something.” Tom ran his hands through his short grey hair and shook his head at the detective. “Please, don’t come in late anymore or I’ll have to write you up for something that will – just plain look stupid.”

“Sorry sir,” Anna’s reply was quick and snappy. Tom liked it when he made his point and it was clear that Anna would try not to do it again.

“It’s alright. Now that we’re on the same page, that’s all I want to know – for now. I would like to hear about what’s going on in your life that causes you to be so late so often, but you don’t have time for that.” Tom pulled his laptop to the center of the desk and typed on the keyboard. “I sent an address to your e-mail. I want you to get to your car, take that address, and go to it. Zak is out there without backup because of your tardiness.”

“What case is he working on?”

“None… He was called in on a man who is, at this moment, attempting to jump off of a building.”

Anna’s eyes widened.

“What is he doing? We’re homicide detectives.”

“You’ve cleared your cases last week. Congratulations by the way. Victims of your own success, you are. Now get out there,” Tom said.

“Zak’s not negotiating is he? He’s not a negotiator.”

“He’s all we’ve got because you didn’t get out of bed this morning. Are you going to stall any more, detective McKenzie?”

The detective shook her head and walked out the door.

Zak pulled up to Amsterdam Avenue and west 79th street to find that one block of Amsterdam had been completely cut off. The air was filled full of persistent car horns and pedestrian chatter near the police line tape. Zak’s tall near-seven-foot frame seemed to take command of what was happening despite the fact he wasn’t all too sure what was going on. All he knew was that this wasn’t a homicide and he was a homicide detective. In the middle of the street was a SWAT van and a set of police cars. There was a sergeant with an interior map of the building laid out over the hood and several other boys in blue had the map lit with several flash lights. It was the third of May and it was still coat-weather. The cloudy skies threatened to bring rain and Zak caught himself thinking about the brand new suit that he had bought. He had just finished wiping a thin layer of condensation off the sleeves while he sighed with agitation.

“What’ve we got, sergeant?” Zak flashed his badge as he walked up to the man; it was clear that the man with the map was first on the scene and was waiting for a senior officer to receive a briefing.

“One man on the roof threatening to take a dive,” the sergeant said. “We got his history on the computer if you want to take a look.” The officer pointed with his thumb and Zak looked to the police cruiser that was singled out to him. Zak shook his head.

“No sir, I didn’t come here to play computer games. Give me the rundown. Do you know why he’s going to jump off the roof?”

One of the swat members keyed in on that before the Sergeant could answer.

“This isn’t the first time he’s done this. He’s had a record of threatening to kill himself with a knife. This is his first time attempting to jump off a roof.”

“Any medications?”

“None…”

“Was it always a knife?” Zak crossed his arms and looked up at the roof and whistled out loud. “Damn… That’s going to be a long drop.”

“No medications and no, he’s threatened to take a plane down once too because he’s afraid of flying. Back in ninety-nine they had to escort him off a plane. Then a week later, he threatened to take pills according to the records. In two thousand and two, he tried cutting himself but he couldn’t even break the skin.”

“This guys a joke… Give me that thing,” Zak said while referring to the bull horn. He squeezed the plastic trigger and an audible hiss came out the large cone at the other end. The sergeant stopped him before he could boost his voice with the device.

“Sir, are you an experienced negotiator?”

In one word, he replied simply “Yeah!” And clicked the microphone again.

“Terry Phillips,” Zak caught his name from the sergeants notepad. “I know that I can’t hear you because you’re so far up there, but here’s the deal. I’m going to step into that elevator! And if you aren’t off the ledge, and in the stairwell of the building before it starts raining, I’m going to pull you off the ledge and beat you to death with a fire extinguisher. I’m on my way up.

Zak slammed the bull horn into the sergeant hands and took his coat off revealing his shoulder holster and extra magazine pouch. He handed the jacket to the swat team member and then pointed to the sergeant.

“What’s your name?”

“Sargent Donald McDonald,” the man said as he put the bull horn back on the hood of the police car. Zak blinked a few times to make sure that he heard him right.

“Donald McDonald?”

“Please, sir…” The officer crossed his arms and clenched his jaw. Zak smiled slightly and shook his head.

“Alright… Alright, come with me Donald McDonald.”

“Why you want me to come with you, sir?”

“Because,” Zak started as he began his jog into the building. “If his dumbass falls off the roof, I don’t want his family suing me if they think I did what I just told him I would do if I got to the roof and he wasn’t waiting for us.”

The two cops double timed it through the lobby and called for the elevator. While they waited for one of the doors to open, the sergeant watched as the tall black detective pulled a fire extinguisher off of the wall.

“Sir, what are you doing?”

“What? Just in case…”

“I thought you were just saying that you were bringing me along just in case I um,” he stopped talking because the there was an audible bing that echoed through the evacuated lobby entrance. To say that the ride to the top of the building was awkward would have been an understatement, especially to the woman who called for the elevator on floor ten. The sound of the The Girl from Ipanema flowed fourth from the doors as they opened; An elderly woman and the puppies under each of her arms were startled when met with the sight of a seven foot tall man with a fire extinguisher in his arms and a glint in his eyes that seemed to say, get the next one.

“I’ll get the next one,” the woman said.

“Damn right.” Zak’s voice managed to slither through the cracks of the doors just before they closed.

Once on the roof of the building, Zak’s confidence seemed to wain as he carefully approached the ledge. He looked ahead to see Terry’s ghost white knuckles extended behind his back as his fingers clamped for dear life over the concrete safety railing. Zak motioned for Donald to stay back as he made it to the ledge with a crouch.

“Let me guess,” Zak said while braving a peak over the ledge. “You came out here thinking you’d be all badass and now you can’t even get off the damned roof?” He looked into the profile of Terry’s pale gaze. “You looked down didn’t you?”

In a moment Terry slowly nodded. What Terry didn’t see was that Zak had already motioned for Donald to hold onto his belt behind him.

“That’s alright, Terry… Do you want me to help pull you back in?”

Zak put the fire extinguisher down once he got the okay from Terry that he wanted off the ledge. Anna arrived just in time to watch a pair of legs be pulled from the outer cropping of the building’s safety barrier. She was secretly surprised to find that Zak was capable of anything other than beating people up and solving homicides. When Zak came down from the roof, he was followed by another police officer who had the would-be-splat in cuffs.

“Nice job, Zak.” Anna proceeded with the fist-bump which Zak gratefully returned. “Looks like we have the rest of the day off as long as nobody gets killed.”

“Did we solve everything already?” Zak said as he playfully wiped his hands together. “Damn…”

“Nothing else but non homicide in our district right now; unless you want to dig up any cold-case files or anything.”

“I’m sure Tom will give us something to do.” Anna found where Zak had parked their car that they now had to share since destroying their second Dodge Charger. The car, Anna’s Crown Victoria, somehow managed to survive all the horrible incidents she had to drive it through on a regular basis. The worst of all incidents was Halloween when a kid threw a flaming pumpkin at the windshield and set the entire vehicle on fire.

“So why were you late?”

“I slept in a little, sorry.”

Zak took the passenger seat while Anna drove off into the city.

“Did Jordan call to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day?” Zak was genuinely curious.

“No, not yet… Still a few hours more before Midnight. I just want her back. Sixteen more days – well, nights.” Anna still had to keep correcting herself.

“We got some ballin’ to catch up on.” Zak nodded his head slightly.

“Just be careful. I think she’s still mad about what happened last month.” Anna said.

Just then, she felt a hand brush past her thigh. Zak used the barrel of the shotgun as leverage to pull himself in closer and kiss his partners neck.

“Oh yeah? She said she’d get over it if we gave her some siblings.” Zak had to be joking. Anna knew he had to be joking because partner or not, it was way too soon in the relationship to be talking about kids and thus required an elbow to the chest of said boyfriend whom suggested any such thing.

… which is why Zak said ouch and returned to his upright and locked position in the passenger seat of the unmarked patrol car.

“Dispatch to Detective McKenzie and Jones.”

“Homicide called in at 428 Devoe Avenue. Possibly gang related.”

Zak looked to Anna to see if she wanted to take it first and she gave him a nod.

“This is Jones, we’re on it.” He pulled his laptop lid open again and looked at the information sheet that was being set to them wirelessly and then clicked the mic again. “It’s going to take us about fifteen minutes. We’re coming by way of the Hudson to get to the Cross-Bronx Express.” Zak kept reading the information as it came in.

5/14/2012 – Deceased on Scene

Three Victims

Victim (1) Name: Travis Ford

DOB: 12/17/1990

Family: Nick Ford (Address on File)

Victim (2) Name: Derrick Ford

DOB: 3/12/1998

Family: Nick Ford (Address on File)

Victim (3) Name: Nick Ford

DOB 9/01/1957

Family: N/A

Anna felt Zak’s hand squeeze her’s a little tighter. She took her eyes off the road for just

a moment to see that the color was draining out of his face and he wasn’t breathing. She looked back to the road just as she heard her partner finally take a breath. By the time they pulled onto the murder scene, the rain began to pour in buckets. The blue and red flashing lights coming from the Crown Victoria showed prominently in the rain droplets as they raced for impact against the pavement. The umbrella seemed to roar as she extended it outside of the door and approached three other police vehicles that were lined up against an old rusted out building so that a tarp could be straightened out between their hoods and the chin link fence.

“We did what we could to keep the rain from the evidence, detectives.” A female officer said. The back doors to two of the cars were open and people were sitting in the back seats to avoid the rain – most likely witnesses. Anna took a deep, shaken breath and her eyes averted from the officer, to her partner. Zak was quick to place an arm on her shoulder for a moment.

“What do you want to do?” Zak bowed his neck slightly to be more on his level with her and then looked to the officer. “Could you give us a minute?” As he waited for the officer to walk off, he rubbed her shoulder a bit more. Anna nodded but didn’t look to him.

“You get the questions out to the witnesses. I, I’m going to go to –,” she stopped herself and walked away from her partner and hunched down to get under the tarp. There, she was met with two white sheets covering bodies. She lifted the corner of the fabric on the sheet with the smallest bulge and her heart sank. She brought her hand back to her mouth and closed her eyes in hopes that when she opened them, it would all be an elaborate hoax of some kind. Sadly, the reality of what happened stared at her, with the lifeless face of her daughters beloved boyfriend. The rest of his family lie beside him in equally lifeless heaps. Zak couldn’t see because of the tarp, but his partner was now crying uncontrollably. The sound of the roaring rain around them sufficiently shielded the officers nearby of the plight which she had been thrown into. The thought of giving news like this to her daughter, and seeing her hurt so badly kept running through her mind as she sobbed and bit the back of her fist.

Anna was able to control her breathing and blame the tears as rain by the time she got back to him. The one thing she didn’t do was speak; she didn’t want to give away her connection to the case by way of a broken voice. Zak was quick to take the nots via recorder. They returned to the car quickly and Anna leaned into his arms and finally cried.

“What am I going to do?” Anna wrapped her arms around Zak while her partner closed his eyes. “How am I going to tell my daughter – that the… That her boyfriend was killed? He wasn’t bad.” She wheezed the last part of her sentence out as she tightened her grip.

“I can’t believe it either. Anna, it will take time. If you want, I’ll do it when she gets home – I’ll tell her, okay?” Zak secretly wiped a potential teardrop out of his eyes before Ana had a chance to look at him. If he concentrated on the sadness of the tragedy, he knew he would soon be no help to the woman he loved as she clung to him for support. So he focused on the one thing that could get him to stop crying and help ana as well.

“Let’s get the sonovabitch that did this to poor Derrick.”

From the street corner, Rodney, the ancient Vampire smiled as he watched the two humans in the police car pained and tortured by the events he bestowed upon them. Fidgety due to the amount of cops and people around them, Nickey kept sticking his hand in his coat pocket to make sure that the gun he used to kill the three family members wouldn’t suddenly fall out. He was still nervous from the kill and Rodney knew that he wasn’t ever going to be cut out for such things. It didn’t matter to him though because he was the perfect firewall between him and the Gamboni family. What he loved about this was that he could easily lure Jordan into the open by playing the age-old rage card and there would be no physical evidence linking the crime as soon as Nickey was drained dry and turned to dust. As far as the murder weapon went, the police would soon find it but they could only link it to a man that they would never find – a man with very little connection to the mob. Nickey was a crime-family wannabe who could never amount to much as far as actually joining one. As a teenager, it was the poor boy’s dream. Rodney knew this because he wouldn’t shut up and he had to listen to his life story. Ultimately it was his big mouth that got him into the situation he was in, and it was his big mouth that got him killed as soon as Rodney realized he could use him. As far as Rodney was concerned, Nickey was scum for aspiring to be a murderer all his life – he got his chance and now he could finally die happy.

At the police station, Zak and Anna bowled through the front door with a purposeful stride. Even Tom looked up from his telephone conversation to see that both officers had a renewed vigor that couldn’t be doused with the largest of fire extinguishers – which was what he knew he would have to talk with Zak about at some point in the night but he knew from the looks on their faces that now wasn’t the time. They passed him without saying hello and instantly turned their laptops on at the desk and fired up a projector that was given to them out of some unknown charity. Several of the other police officers around them looked up to see the first largest display of modern technology that their particular police department had seen since the late eighties. From a distance, Tom watched as the two detectives started pulling up pictures of local street gangs. He could hear them talking only about their case as they transferred recorded witness statements to text on their computers, and from the computers, they ended up in the investigation database which strung statements to pictures and pictures to red lines that led to other pictures. There were hundreds of small empty slots they could fill in with statements, pictures, and trails. Anna picked up a phone and started making demands from the morgue. Fax machines and printed documents started surfacing around them as the projector displayed a pictures of 9-millimeter rounds. The next picture that went up on the screen were those of the victims and it was at that point Tom saw Anna forcibly look away from the screen and hold her hands over her face. Tom’s brow raised at that and he walked over; it was never a good sign.

Tom returned to his office and shut the door. Anna’s daughter, Jordan, was such a whiz at setting the computer network up and helping the department with upgrades, that he now had the ability to check in on investigations assigned to his detectives instantly. His eyes skimmed the files and he remembered Jordan mentioning a Derrick before. Tom, being the outstanding officer that he was, was easily able to put two and two together. He backtracked the recent activity of Derrick’s family in particular and found out that the detectives were not strangers to responding to calls in which this family were key witnesses. Tom took a deep breath and shoved off with his feet to roll his chair back against the wall behind him. The world felt too heavy for him as he stood up and walked to the windows that faced out to the interior department. Through the thin cracked blinds, he peered at the two detectives as they worked harder than ever.

Tony Gamboni’s mansion was fairly modest considering what he could have chosen from. It was also his way of hiding under ground somewhat literally and of course, that appealed to Rodney and allowed him to better embed himself into a life of crime with them. Part of the house was above ground on the other end of Chinatown. The other half, the unseen portion of the residence, resided underground. With carefully placed money, he was able to make the facts of the old place vanish from the cities zoning files, digging restrictions, or of course, their building plans. The extra money also went to mark the property as under several false names as to avoid the city digging into the house. The subterranean hallways echoed their footsteps as they moved further into the castle style interior. The Gamboni family had seen themselves as sub-rulers of New York for almost a hundred and fifty years. Nickey took the back of his palm and used it to rake the beads of sweat away from his forehead until the collective wetness formed a streak down his right cheek. It was a cold sweat that he couldn’t contain. The mixture of acceptance and the fact that he had just killed to gain status with the Gamboni family was something he couldn’t just shake away like it was nothing.

The corner rounded into a great room filled with old books that probably hadn’t ever been read. The family was so rich with both money and illiterate criminals that the books were probably just for show. Nickey and Rodney were face to face with Tony Gamboni, who sat behind a a large hardwood desk with nothing on it but a macintosh laptop. He waved them in and pointed to the two chairs. The fireplace cast warmth on their wet skin as they got closer to the desk. Nickey carefully sat down while Rodney simply plopped into the padded cushion of the seat and crossed his left foot over his right knee. He perched his elbows on the armrests and looked to Tony’s dry, aged face. Something in his eyes were conveying messages that confused Nickey, yet went completely understood by Rodney. Rickey looked to Rodney and tried to control his nervous tick where his leg would shake uncontrollably.

“Congratulations Rickey… Welcome to the family.”

Rodney’s jaw clenched hard when he heard it. For someone as old as he, it seemed that it was still hard to maintain emotional control under such surprise. His knuckles went white as he squeezed down on the wooden chair just enough to emit audible cracks and snaps. The young man twitched as the wood seemed to cry out in pain. It left him wondering why Rodney would be angry.

“If you’ll excuse us. We will pay you handsomely at the door. Please remember though, if we find out that you bragged to anyone about what you did, anything at all, we will kill you. Do you understand?”

Rickey nodded furiously and got up from his chair while nearly tripping himself.

“Thank you sir – thank you so much!” He walked backward and then spun around to round the corner as fast as he possibly could without looking too scared, however, he was much too late for that.

“We had an agreement.”

Rodney turned to Tony Gamboni who complacently sat in his chair behind the desk and lit a cigar. He puffed on it until the tip glowed red before responding.

“He’s still useful. I want to send him on a few – errands first. You can look after him while he’s doing what I need done. You don’t off him until I tell you to, understand?”

“I was to get rid of him after this hit.”

Tony looked at Rodney. His skin seemed to be a bit whiter than usual now that he was obviously pissed. Jaw clenched, the eyes glared, and his forehead wrinkled with concern on the young man. Still, there was something about him that let Tony know, this man… This man was a killer.

“Alright… Just one hit with him. It’s all I’m asking. One more. I need it to be public and that’s why I need him. It’s a public statement and I’m sure you don’t want to be the one doing it, am I right?”

“What is it?”

“Remember that gamer, What’s his name…”

Rodney rolled his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his pale white fingers.

“… Leeroy Jenkins?”

Chapter Two

Underestimation

Jaime Jax was the first to knock on the door. Nero stood behind her and looked along the rooftops and the street corners to make sure that they weren’t going to get jumped by this mysterious vampire that had been making their lives difficult for the past three months. Behind them, Zak stood there wondering why they were giving each other odd glances.

“What?” Zak was half tempted to smell himself to make sure that he wasn’t putting off any odor.

“Nothing. He’s not answering the door,” Nero said as he leaned against one of the brick pillars of the old rundown house. The neighborhood was a dump and it was on the boarder of gang territory. Zak kept checking his gun holster to make sure that there was indeed something there that he could go for if need-be.

“Well, maybe he’s not home.” Zak shrugged his shoulders and pointed toward the Anna’s Crown victoria car with the young blonde detective behind the wheel. Even while running side-jobs, she was still fully on the case to find out who killed her daughters boyfriend. He could see her intently typing away on the keyboard of the laptop in the car from roughly five yards away.

“He’s home… I can hear him talking over a microphone to his World of Warcraft buddies. I hear swords clashing and people complaining.”

Zak reached between them and knocked on the door again after they had already knocked. Zack knocked so hard that the school of hard knocks was sure to come for him over copyright issues. After a few knocks, Zak looked to the car to see that Anna had finally looked over her laptop computer and then nodded toward the purple sky above. Zak understood. He didn’t want to meet this new vampire on the block tonight.

“Stand back, I’m going in.”

“Hey chief, probable cause and all, buddy.” Nero smiled more to himself than at Zak because as a former New York Police Officer himself, he knew that detectives could easily come up with bullshit to fake probable cause if they ever needed to.

“Man, his probable cause is that his door is kicked in,” Zak said just before coiling his foot back.

Jaime quickly reached forward and turned the knob and the door opened… And Nero laughed. Zak put his foot down and rolled his eyes as he walked into the door. They had to walk through the kitchen to get to the living room of the small home. The floor seemed to claim the soles of their shoes as a sacrifice just for walking into the place. Empty Mountain Dew cans, Wal-Mart bags, and pizza boxes were strewn everywhere. The two Vampires that were with him held their nose as they advanced onto a permanently stained carpet littered with mold, roaches, empty soda cans, pizza boxes, computer parts, plastic bags, and a papers with character stat’s. They rounded the corner and went further into the living room to see Leroy Jenkins yelling at his computer. The grey haired man was sporting a three-day growth beared, and shoulder length grey and brown hair that Nero and Jaime could smell above all the other smells in the entire house.

“Oh my god.” Jaime sounded like she had been breathing helium because her fingers clamped her nose. The house was a complete bachelor pad nightmare. There was so much to Leroy’s house that could serve as the picture next to the definition uninviting in the house, that the only problem would be choosing which part of the house to use for the example.

“Hey! Don’t mind the rats. But I can’t come with ya anywhere. Ima raid in in like, ten minutes with the boys.”

“We need you to come with us.” Zak reached down and therw his computer monitor to the side with one swift blast of his left hand. Leroy found that Zaks face was now where the monitor used to be. “Don’t say another word about a raid. I might be in front of you now but trust me when I tell you, I ain’t nothin’ to play wit.”

“You broke into my house, n’ broke my computer!”

“Nah, Nah… I still got the recepit for your computer. It’s my computer, walked into your unlocked home and broke my own monitor. If you want me to by me another one, you’ll come with us.”

Jaime and Nero forgot about the stink of the house while they watched Zak justify tresspassing and destroying property like a boss. The World of Warcraft junkie had nothing else to do so he willingly walked out of the house.

“What do you want?” Leroy said while walking down the steps.

“We need you to come to a lineup and we need you protected before we gather the appropriate people for you to identify,”Zak said.

Several people dressed in gothic clothes kept walking to Pedro and demanding an explanation as to why Jaime Jax wasn’t around, and why her club was closed for the night. Pedro slammed his hand so hard against the metal railing that led up to Club Pandora from Club Proton’s dance floor, that the metal bent under the pressure and the entire stretch of steel hummed like a tuning fork over the techno/ambient test-track he was using to tune his speakers.

“I don’t fucking know dude! If there’s a sign out front that says she’s closed, I don’t know. We might be in the same building but she’s a different club than me bro! SAME as if she were next door; if her club was next door, you wouldn’t walk to my place and ask me where the hell she was, would you?” Pedro leaned forward and yelled louder when he finished the sentence that got the skinny, long haired kid’s mouth to drop open.

“I uh… No?”

“Of course! Get the hell out dude!” Pedro pushed him aside unceasingly until he fell on his ass and went straight to welcoming in a group of people in wife-beater attire and glow stick necklaces. The gothboy watched as Pedro slapped his right hand in the other man’s right hand and used their muscles to pull themselves together until their shoulders bumped and they slapped each others backs.

“My bro… You got the tracks tonight? Mad mixing.” Said the other guy.

“It’s gonna be off the hook,” Pedro promised. By now, gothboy leaned his head forward as he lie on the stairs, wondering what the hell they were talking about. As soon as Pedro noticed he was still there —

“I said get the fuck out of here bro!”

Pedro shook his head at him like he couldn’t belileve his commands couldn’t be taken. He rushed out of the club after bumping into a few men in striped suits. They too, pushed him to the ground. It was safe to say that he would never return the club again. The suits came in and spotted Pedro talking with the two DJ’s he invited. They grabbed Pedro by his flashy blue and black suit and pulled him aside.

Pedro didn’t shake his head at them. He knew all too well he could tear them apart but for anyone to have the audacity to pull such a stunt, he humored them just to see how deep down their stupidity went.

“You Pedro?,” asked a man with a thick italian accent. He was a skinny young man with an ego he tried to sell as ‘much deserved’. They were almost the same height which made it even more comical for him to stand in front of him as fearless as he was.

“Who want’s to know?”

Pedro almost lost his temper when he felt a glove slap him in the face like a little bitch. Actually he did show al ittle bit of that temper because at that point, he threw his big, tall friend trough the double doors so hard that he landed in the middle of the street where he got hit by a bus. Then, he gripped the little guy by his throat, ran him into the corner of the stairwell where nobody could see his face, sprouted his fangs, and asked.

“Why did you slap me like a little bitch?!”

“I’m.. I’m here to –,” he stopped breathing so Pedro let him back down while two DJ’s made all sorts of animal sounds over the volume of the trance music that sounded like a computer farting through a straw connected to a whistle. When he was able to catch his breath, he regained his ego somehow and looked Pedro straight in the eyes.

“The Gamboni family wishes to extend their hand in mutual friendship and understanding. You’re under our protection now and you’ll be paying a fee from now on. Twenty tho’ a month.”

Pedro’s fangs retracted. He was partially confused that the man didn’t simply run for his life after seeing him with pointed teeth. The only other reason Pedro didn’t throw him out the door to catch the next available bus was that he was amusing.

“Does it look like I need protection?!” Pedro began to laugh along with his DJ’s. The short young man pulled out a Colt 1911 and patted it like it was his puppy. Pedro looked down at it and rolled his eyes.

“I tell you what bro…”

The next thing poor Rickey saw was Pedro snatching the gun out his own belt so fast that he didn’t have time to react. By the time he realized he was in big trouble, Pedro had him tied to the stairwell railing with his own socks.

“If you want to live, get me out of here!” Rickey yelled.

Pedro took Rickey’s gloves and slapped him across the face like a little bitch.

Zak and Anna arrived slightly late after dropping Leroy off at the station. To their dismay, they arrived just in time to see the fire fighters pull the fender off of a city bus to see a large man in a mafia-style striped suit that had reeled into the wheel-well.

“Well, that’s – just about the nastiest thing I’ve seen in a while,” Nero stated as he stepped out of the Crown Victoria police cruisers back seat. Once again, there was a crowd of police officers questioning Pedro. Three months ago, Pedro was left answering questions about a drive-by shooting on his club, and now, he was answering questions about a drugged up club goer who claimed to be part of the mafia who entered his club. The drugged man also claimed that his friend was thrown through the double doors and then got hit by the bus – a claim that almost seemed supernatural and therefore instantly discredited. Once Zak gathered all the information about what happened, he returned to Anna with his professional opinion.

“This is bullshit.”

“Which family did he say he was a part of?” Anna asked.

“The Gamboni family.” Zak sat on the hood of the Crown Victoria and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“Are you okay?” Jaime asked.

“No… No. Tonight is the night from hell and when Jordan gets back…” Zak looked away from Jaime and Nero and wiped his eyes on the cuff of his jacket.

Anna flashed her badge as she squeezed past the front door to the club. The place smelled clean which meant that the party hadn’t even started before all hell broke loose inside. There wasn’t even a crowd of witnesses, which was good for Pedro’s defense. Nobody would believe a couple of DJ’s and a stoned self-proclaimed mobster from the Gamboni crime family; especially with what was being said as the young blonde detective walked up to the questioning officer while Rickey talked away.

“I’m telling you… That Columbian had fangs… And he threw – he threw Terry through – threw through the – he threw him… and…”

Anna actually felt bad for him for a moment because she believed him when nobody else would. That was, until she noticed the gun in a plastic bag that happened to be the same caliber that killed Jordan’s boyfriend along with his entire family. The two DJ’s stood next to the doorway to the main club on the first floor while Pedro gripped the metal handrails as he sat on the steps to the second floor. The questioning officer stood at the base of the stairs while Pedro responded.

“You’re high, dude… He freaked out when he saw me coming, ran out the double doors and right into a bus. They were telling me that I had to pay protection money.” Pedro rolled his eyes and checked his watch. “Dude… You’re costing me business now. You’re – all costing me business!”

“I’ll take it from here. I want CSI down here to check for GSR on Rickey’s hands,” Anna said while scrolling through her Ipad that she pulled out of a pouch that was strapped behind her back. “Rick Vaiano?” Anna asked. “I’m Detective McKenzie with the New York City Police Department. I see you’ve been cuffed and therefore see that your rights have been read to you. You’ve been arrested for criminal trespassing, harassment, and being detained for suspicion of another crime following a lineup.” Anna thought, that, secretly, this night may have gotten better. If Leroy Jenkins identified Rick Vaiano as the prime suspect in a previous murder, she could solve two cases in one night and get Rick out of the city before Jordan returned home from Iowa to hear the bad news. She didn’t want to hear about her daughter killing someone. She’s killed too many mobsters already and it was all out of self defense so far. Anna assumed that, by now, it was probably getting easy for Jordan.

“I ain’t sayin shit until I get my lawyer.”

“Fine,” Anna said. She looked to the police officer. “Take him to a vehicle and get him to the station as fast as possible. As the uniformed officers pulled Rickey out of the club, she turned to Pedro and nodded to the top of the stairs. Pedro rolled his eyes, got up, and allowed her to follow her to the empty floor where Jaime Jax would usually be hosting her goth-club. For now, the lights were out, the dance floor empty, and the place was eerily quiet. Anna leaned over and whispered in the hopes that her voice wouldn’t carry.

“Did you throw him through the doors?” Anna put her hands on her hips while waiting for Pedro’s reply. Pedro nodded a nod large enough to be seen in the dim light of Jaime’s shut-down club.

“Yeah… He slapped me like a little bitch.”

To Pedro, that was a justifiable excuse to throw someone under the bus.

“I’ll spin this as an accident as long as CSI doesn’t find anything that I can’t lie to. Either way, their results couldn’t possibly point in the direction of you throwing him over thirty feet. Right now, all your witnesses can be thrown out. So just – hold onto your temper next time.”

Anna stepped away from Pedro but he stared daggers into her back as she walked away. He then looked to the next person that showed up and it was his turn to complain.

“Jaime! What? You close your club and don’t tell anyone about it? I have a line of gothic people wanting to dance to my trance! I can’t have that! Next time you go out on one of your adventures, leave a notice on facebook or something! That way I can leave a big sign on the front of the club that says Attention Gothic Pricks – Your club is closed. Go home!”

Jaime couldn’t help but stifle a giggle. It was horrible what had happened, but she understood that in the end, the world might have been made better now that a bus eating a mafia enforcer. She looked to the front of the club and sat down on the hood of a police car. Pedro joined her and sighed.

“All the vampiric powers in the universe and we have to deal with the mafia.” Pedro shook his head and looked over to Jaime. “Do you think we’re going to lose a lot of customers. This is like – the third problem we’ve had this year.”

“Yeah,” Jaime said while nodding. “Yeah, people are going to eat this up.”

Pedro’s concerned gaze changed when he thought about it from her point of view. He laughed slightly and Jaime smiled at him and patted his back. She would have been laughing with him had it not been for knowing the sorrows that awaited her when her friend, Jordan comes back to town.

From the rooftops, Rodney scowled down at the sight of Rickey being hauled into a car. Rage flared through him as he watched the crime scene disperse and the cars drive away one by one until the street cleared. Rodney smiled to himself after the first few minutes.

“Time to give you something you’ve never seen before.”

Chapter Three

Battle Cry

The lineup room smelled like stale coffee, the old, scratched fold-out tables that lined the room that served as a makeshift cafeteria most of the time were in dire need of replacement, and the air conditioning was nonexistent. Leroy Jenkins sat in a plastic chair as his long brown and grey hair dripped with sweat. The first thing Anna and Zak did when they joined him in the oven of a room, was take their jackets off. Zak took a seat next to Leroy. Even over the coffee, he noticed the stench of a man who probably hadn’t taken a shower for days. Still, out of politeness, he pretended it was just the stale coffee and the hot room that caused him to lean to one side and hold his nose. Anna didn’t even bother standing near the man. Leroy watched as eight people lined up on the other side of the one-way mirror. Even before the men stopped, Leroy pointed at a man in a striped grey suit before he even stopped at the lineup board to be identified.

“That’s him right there.”

“Are you sure?” Zak asked.

“Sure as hell… He’s the guy that told me to be quiet about what happened. He’s also told me straight out he was from that – Gamboni crime family and that he was their hitman.”

Zak crossed his arms and raised his eyebrows. He couldn’t believe it was that easy. He leaned into a microphone that stuck out of the wall and clicked the transmit button.

“Number Six.”

An officer walked in and took the man away. Leroy reacted in fear when Rickey began yelling at the one-way. He threatened his family and his health but it wasn’t until he threatened his computer and internet connection that Leroy recoiled in terror.

“Maybe I – Maybe I shouldn’t. I mean… I could have been mistaken about the man on number six.” Leroy stopped when the Blonde detective patted his shoulder reassuringly.

“If they do anything to your internet connection, you can instal World of Warcraft here and play all you want.”

“Yeah, yeah it was number six.”

The detectives checked the hallway to make sure that Rickey was taken to the holding cells before they brought Leroy out into the busy environment of the intercity police station. As they took Leroy out, Tom stood in the doorway with an Ipad in his hands.

“Detectives,” Tom greeted.

“Sir,” Anna and Zak said in unison.

Tom shook the iPad at the two officers and looked down at them both despite the fact he couldn’t really look down at Zak due to his being nearly seven feet tall; either way, he got the mood across with his expression.

“This report looks too thin to be accepted as a homicide report, or even an accidental death report. You didn’t even take your own pictures. Usually I never have to go searching for the CSI reports when it comes to you two. What’s going on?”

They pulled Leroy into the main police station’s office areas while Anna looked over the stinky man’s shoulders at the same time Tom held his nose.

“Sir, it was an accidental death so we didn’t bother to get too many extra photos for the report. CSI is checking it out. So far, they have done a reliminary that suggested that he was running when he hit that bus. Nobody can push someone hard enough to reach the average person’s maximum running speed like that,” Anna said.

“What are you guys talking about?” Leroy asked.

“What about ballistics,” Tom asked while ignoring Leroy.

“They aren’t in yet,” Anna said.

“She’s got me checking my E-Mail every ten seconds for that, sir.” Zak held his phone up and shook it for emphasis.

“And him, he pointed someone out?” Tom stretched his arms in Leroy’s face.

“I have a name you know… Leeerrroyyyyyy Jeeeenkinsss!” And he yelled it so loud that everyone in the police department stopped what they were doing. Some people even laughed behind their desks. A young uniformed officer walked by them and told him the joke was getting old.

“What joke?” Tom asked.

“It’s a World of Warcraft thing. Come on, Leroy…” Zak turned around pushed him along until he was met with another plastic chair positioned next to Anna’s desk. He sat down in it while Anna and Zak sat facing one-another across their desks that were pushed together in the center of a large room full of cops.

As they sat down, a tall, pale man approached their desks. Titus, dressed in his best black attire as always, nodded to the officer who seemed to be in a trance of sorts. It was not the normal thing to do to leave him with the detectives without even asking them if it was alright.

“I just heard from Pedro about Derrick and his family. I came to ask if there was anything I can do?”

Leroy swallowed hard as he looked up at the man. His sharp features, spiked grey hair, piercing blue eyes, pale complection, and menacing demeanor mixed with their close proximity made Leroy shake a little bit. Titus looked pissed. He looked to Leroy. “And for you…” He reached out a pale hand. Leroy didn’t waste time shaking it out of fear.

“… thank you for bringing these men to justice. I understand one of them didn’t make it.” Titus’s lips rose slightly until a grin crept across his face. “Pity.” Titus searched for expression in the man’s face but only found fear. How disappointing, he thought. “I would like to show my gratitude for you. I am nothing if not thoughtful.” He reached into his pocket and pulled a pre-payed visa card out. “In my day, courage used to be rewarded with status, wealth, and recognition.” He took Leroy’s hand and slapped the card into it. “You’ve made a friend today.”

Anna was still shocked that Titus would show up in the police station. She missed out on answering his questions because she couldn’t comprehend how he even got in when he was considered an unknown civilian.

“How did you get in here?” Anna asked. “Usually you’d have to be a cop, criminal, or lawyer”

“I have my ways. So – is there anything I can do?” Titus asked. “If you would like me to contact your daughter… I – wouldn’t mind. I know how you must be feeling right now. Granted, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt such feelings, but the memory remains.”

Anna leaned forward on her desk and placed her chin in the palm of her hand. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before replying.

“Thank you, Titus… But I should be the one to tell her. I’m going to tell her when she gets home from Iowa. I don’t want to ruin her stay with bad news. She really liked that kid.”

“Heartbreak is the inevitability where mortals are involved.” Titus patted Anna on the shoulder and walked away.

“What was he talking about?” Leroy asked.

“Nothing,” Anna replied quickly as she went back to work. Just as the began typing into her latest report, the phone rang. Zak was quick to get up and snag the phone for her.

“Anna McKenzie’s desk, Detective Jones speaking.”

“This is Ginger Owen from CSI. I’m sending some information to your e-mail regarding the weapons match we’ve acquired from the gun taken from Club Proton tonight. We were calling in to let you know that the gun found does match as the murder weapon to the scene in the Bronx today.”

“Thank you.” Zak hung up and looked to Anna. “The gun is a match.”

Anna looked to Leroy and then to Zak. Just as she was about to open her mouth the sound of glass exploding and distant gunfire stopped her train of thought. Zak instantly tackled Leroy to the ground just as Anna’s computer monitor exploded into violent shards of debris. The lights above their heads fell out of the ceiling as the entire police department scrambled to grab their weapons and hind behind something that might be able to stop a bullet.

Titus was almost to the lobby when he witnessed the glass front door tare away from it’s frame while the desk Sergeant was torn to pieces by multiple hard hitting impacts from automatic gunfire. He looked to the captains office to see an older grey headed man gear up. It was obvious that he had done it before. He went from looking like a corporate suit, to looking like a SWAT team member in seconds. A gun slid across the tile floor to Titus as he ducked under the desk next to the deceased desk sergeant. Titus raised a brow and looked to Tom, who was laying on his stomach in full tactical gear with an M-4 in his hand.

“I’m not a cop!” Titus hissed.

“Does it look like I give a shit?!” Tom asked.

Titus rolled his eyes and reached for the gun. The first three people that came in through the front doors didn’t even have a chance. Titus picked the gun up to fire but before he could squeeze a shot off, Tom let loose with a barrage of gunfire from the M-4 that sent limbs flying, heads exploding, and massive chunks of brain matter sloshing onto the walls. The deafening sound, followed explosive clouds of red mist where people’s heads used to be signaled the rest of the attackers they needed to try another door.

In his long existence as a vampire, he had never seen such ruthlessness since he was a general in the Roman army. He wished to give him a compliment but the sound of glass shattering on the second floor followed by copious amounts of gunfire, signaled their need to check their flank.

“Go! Someone’s got to stand ground at the front door,” Tom yelled while changing magazines and chambering the rounds into his rifle. Titus nodded and retreated back into the interior offices. Some police officers were running into the back alleyway only to get shot down by mobsters waiting for them to exit, others ran headlong into the assault taking place on the second floor. Anna pulled Leroy into one of the armory rooms on the first floor and locked the door while Zak teamed up with Titus to scale the stairs to the second floor where the holding cell’s were.

Anna came up behind them and whispered to Zak while handing him a bullet proof vest. Zak was quick to throw it on. Anna strapped herself with a vest her size as well while Titus’s brows furrowed.

“You only brought two?”

“Yeah – well, you know…” Anna trailed off while sticking straps to velcro.

“It hurts to get shot,” Titus stated.

“Then don’t get shot!” Zak quipped.

“You think it’s that easy?” Titus’s blue eyes pierced the human like daggers as they crouched in the stairway to the second floor.

“Guys…” Both men looked Anna who had a look on her face that expressly conveyed this is not the fucking time.

They slowly advanced the stairs and saw that there were a few uniformed officers at the doorway with their guns aimed toward the darkened hallway.

“Anything?” Anna asked a female officer.

“No,” the short young officer replied. “They made a lot of noise and then stopped.”

“What if they doubled back downstairs?”

“Alright,” Anna said. “Zak, go with –,” She paused a moment to take a look at the nameplate on the young officer’s uniform “… officer Connor and check on the people on the second floor. Put your phones on vibrate while you search the rooms.”

“We aren’t splitting up!” Zak grabbed Anna’s arm just before she was going to turn around. She turned back and pushed at him.

“I’m the senior detective here and I’m telling you to go up those stairs. Titus, you’re with me.”

Zak let go of Anna and watched her go back down the stairs. He looked to Officer Connor and nodded to the hallway.

“Alright…” Zak pulled the slider back on his Glock to make sure that a round was indeed, chambered.

Anna made it to the bottom of the stairs and into the area of the station occupied by at least a hundred desks. The back door suddenly flung open. Titus and Anna swung the barrels of their handguns to the doorway and both pulled the trigger over and over. Through the haze of smoke, she saw that they had both dropped three people with at least twenty-five rounds combined. Four more people pushed into the doorway and started shooting into the office. Titus was quick to tackle Anna to the ground moments before a barrage of bullets flew in their direction. The armory door flew open and a man stepped out in a SWAT helmet and ten bullet proof vests. The pile of vests seemed to be walking by themselves with two M-4’s sticking out each side. The shooting stopped for a moment for the attackers to take in what it was they were seeing. The silence was short as a loud, booming voice emerged from the stack of vests.

“Leeeeroyyyyyy Jenkinssss!” It was his World of Warcraft battle cry.

The two M-4 assault rifles that stuck out of the vest-pile with legs began firing away at everything except for the people ran into the station to kill him. Wall clocks exploded, staplers launched off of desks as bullet holes emerged in their surfaces, glass shattered, water coolers danced and sprayed their contents all over the men and women who lie flat on the floor. Once the men he was trying to fire at realized that they weren’t going to get shot, they stood up and unloaded into Leroy. The bullets smacked into him and he fell over behind a desk but the bullets kept spraying into the ceiling, taking out the lights above him.

“I’ve had enough of this,” Titus said with immense anger in his voice.

Anna watched as the tall pale man she knew as Titus turned a very pale white. His fangs extended and in a flash, Titus seemed to be in two or three places at once. The gunmen dropped turned to a pile of dusty clothes as the vampire drained them dry in seconds. Any police officers that happened to be around were still hiding under their desks to avoid gunfire and they didn’t see a thing. Anna was quick to run over to Leroy Jenkins. She lifted the face mask on Leroy’s riot helmet and saw that he was not only alive, but trying to get up. The vest had apparently taken the impact without letting a single bullet through the multi layers of armor he had donned.

With a pained wheeze he got out his first sentence.

“It… It worked in World of Warcraft.”

Titus wiped his mouth and dusted off his black suit to see Zak and Officer Connor descend the stairs carrying wounded officers with them.

“I need an ambulance!” Zak yelled.

“Where’s Rickey?” Anna yelled over Leroy’s shoulder while pulling him out of his vest-armor.

“He escaped,” Officer Connor said as she found a comfortable spot to lay another officer. Tom emerged from the front door while loading in another magazine.

“Paramedics are on their way, along with officers from the next precinct, and probably the news, too… What the fuck just happened here?!”

“They took our suspect is what happened, Boss.”

Zak was too busy giving pressure to another officer’s wound to stand up and face him. The reply to what would mean the first mafia war with the police since the Al Capone days was somewhat hard to swallow but Tom didn’t say so because it was fairly obvious. The captain cursed under his breath.

“Alright. Listen up! Anyone not tending to anyone else go to the front desk and take a look at the login sheets for all civilians, prisoners, and officers on duty. I want three people! One person for each sign-in; grab a magic marker and mark through ever name on the list when you find them! Report back to me with the names unaccounted for and I want this list ten minutes ago! NOW!” Tom’s yell didn’t require an amplifier. Everyone still standing now had a job to do.

“You, you, and you…” Tom pointed and then pointed to the front desk. “Snap to it.” Tom walked past Anna and patted her on the shoulder as he stepped through the rubble to the back door.

Chapter Four

A Match Made in Hell

Dissatisfied with the way that he was being treated, he decided that it was best to take a more active role in the crime family. Those that opposed Rodney regretted it for the rest of their lives – which was more or less a minute. As he sat at the blood soaked desk of the underground hideaway, he twirled a twenty-four carrot gold globe of the planet Earth in his hands. His new minions, what was left of the Gamboni family, stepped over the corpse of Tony Gamboni and approached the desk. They shivered when they were asked what became of Rickey. Rodney was in no mood to play games with the men who could just as easily be his next meal if they treated him with any less than full respect.

“How did it go?” Rodney’s voice echoed in the tiled room. He casually slurped a ripped-off ear into his mouth in such a way that any normal fat couch potato would have eaten a Dorito with no guilt.

“We – couldn’t find Rodney. He escaped his cell after we ran in.”

Rodney looked at the young boy. He quivered in fear. Rodney stood up from the desk and tried to wipe the boy’s father’s blood off the front of his shirt but it only ended smearing across his expensive jacket that would never be able to be worn again. The ancient vampire knelt down with one knee in a puddle of blood and then brought his chin up to meet his eyes. The taller boy behind him looked away while the boy immediately in front of him looked at his reflection in the red pool. It wasn’t until a pale white hand brought his chin up to meet eyes with him.

“Life is about loss. But in loss is opportunity to open new doors.”

To Rodney this was complete bullshit, but he knew that he could get the kid to eat his nonsense like candy. “After all, you are in charge now.”

In a swift, blinding movement, Rodney got up, jumped in front of the kids guardian and pulled the man’s head off of his shoulders. Blood pumped toward the ceiling beat by beat until Rodney’s pale hand grabbed the headless torso and flung it into the library walls so hard that the wood shattered and the bookshelves fell over the corpse. Rodney could smell urine as the remaining boy shivered and stood still. He reached over with his free hand and pulled at his parted hair.

“Hold out your hands.”

The boy didn’t hesitate. He felt the weight of his guardian’s head.

“This is what is left of the man that failed you – that failed us.” He guessed the kid to be about fifteen or sixteen. It was just the right age to be a soldier in the first world war, the perfect age to be a fighter amongst the Spartans, a warrior to the Romans, and a king of Egyptian times. To Rodney, this kid had potential. He had plans for him; for him, and his family.