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June 20, 2022

The Building 36

By Lydia Manx

"No, I didn't offer to help Ben Richland," Celina Holston finally spit out after trying to find Jerry Cooper with her eyes and also looking to gage his intentions towards her.

He hadn't exactly hidden his purpose for grabbing the Vampire Council's pet enforcer. The now-rogue vampire was currently residing strapped to an ambulance crash cart locked in place in a warehouse in the middle of Nowhere, Florida. The blood that Jerry had drained from her he'd replaced with bunny and sheep blood which gave her a voice, but little more. Her face was still ravaged from the day of exposure to the brutal Florida sun.

"No? Didn't you say that you'd follow in a month or so?" Jerry recalled the email between the two Vampire Council henchmen. With Ben leaving Florida, and after having seen Celina on television he knew it was now the time to act. It was his due. He'd decided that he wasn't going to return to Michigan and be the Master of the City again. He'd done that already. No, he intended to get back monies, and make one of them give him other lands. His minion were gone, as were his fledglings, from everything he'd found out since he had been freed from the trap Celina had sprung on him. Now it was his turn to bait and switch a few vampires to their ruination.

He continued to fondle the trocar. He finally worked his way around the cart and she could see him again. The gray-black skin was still disconcerting to Jerry, since only twelve hours ago he'd left a lush, lovely Southern belle strapped to the crash cart. Her lips were white with bits of blood spatters she'd yet to lick off. Her fangs were still flashing in the shadows, as Jerry had yet to turn on a light. The vampires didn't need much light to see and Jerry liked the way Celina's own fears filled her mind without much prompting from him. The vampire blood box made an odd noise as Celina's worries fed the magical device. Her blood ran the contraption and the blue light that came from the box served to make an eerie glow in the warehouse.

The trocar was used in mortuaries for finishing a body in preparation to be displayed at the various services surrounding burials. From the waves of terror coming off Celina he was positive she knew exactly what the device was used for, and that if he used it on her while still alive, she'd die true death. That would be the least of her problems if Jerry had his way with her. And he planned on having his way.

"I may have said I'd try to visit him out on the West Coast." She trailed off as Jerry's gaze caught hers. She read easily that he doubted her, which he did. He was getting frustrated by her inability to answer a simple question honestly.

"Funny, my reading of that email of yours seemed to imply you were eager to touch base with him soon, and that you heard nice things about California these days." Celina's lips curled and she snapped out, "I was lying!"

"You seem to do that often," and he tossed the trocar from hand to hand before tapping her chin with the point of the end. She froze and waited to see if he was teasing her or if he was going to plunge the tool into her jugular. She slowly gulped and shook slightly. She dropped her arrogance as Jerry smiled.

He knew it wasn't a particularly uplifting smile, but he wasn't feeling very heartwarming. She continued to shudder and shimmy on the crash cart as he watched her, while still holding the trocar at her throat. The beeping and flashing lights on the blood box went faster as her terror scented the warehouse.

"Not lying," she said through nearly closed lips.

"Fine, but you should know that I don't need you, Celina. You are just as good to me dead or alive. Ben will still come running either way." She gulped and fished around in her mind for something to keep Jerry from killing her.

"Ben will come to me if I ask," she finally came up with as Jerry continued looking at the wrecked vamp.

"And?" He waited to see what more she was offering.

"And he won't be afraid or suspicious if I contact him," she hopefully.

"Might be if you use a code word," Jerry grinned, knowing he had her.

"Fuck you!" Her eyes flashed anger as he'd caught her in another lie. She'd meant to tip Ben off and try to flip the tables on him.

"Already asked and declined, Celina. Besides it's not like you'd win any beauty contests." He not so gently reminded her of her burnt face and body. He removed the trocar from her throat and walked back to the tray of toys he had assembled. They were going to be used to extract details from Celina, but now he wasn't so sure it was worth the bother. Her ability to lie hadn't diminished with his draining her of blood. If he hadn't known her so intimately, he'd have been easily fooled by her answers.

She breathed out a sigh and said, "Master."

It was the first time she'd acknowledged his vampire honorific. He wondered if she now thought it would make a difference.

"What, Celina? You think your recognizing my title will now give you anything but death? You left me to die in Michigan in a silver lined coffin. Hell, if I hadn't drained you of some of your Southern blood, I wouldn't have ever made it out of your trap." He admitted and watched the horror sketch her broken skin.

She'd never counted on seeing him again, especially not with him having the upper hand. He stood at the tray and pondered where to go next. He couldn't trust her to tell the truth -- at least not the full truth -- and he couldn't trust her to not tip off Ben. Surprisingly enough, he took no pleasure in making his decision. He'd waited so long to find her and fantasized how they would spar before he executed her. Many a night while bored sitting in the office building, he plotted and planned his revenge. All of it had been inevitable from the moment she'd taken him on and not killed him outright all those years ago back in Michigan.

He picked up the antique bone saw and silently turned back to her. The saw wasn't used anymore in autopsies because of the risk of infection from the cadavers. The teeth threw up a remarkable amount of torn flesh and blood when used and fears of contamination colored the usefulness of the tool. He didn't much think Celina's blood could harm him. The fact was that her blood already ran through his veins, and vampires didn't exactly pass on viruses and diseases.

She looked at his hands and moaned out softly, "No, wait."

Jerry wasn't sure why he paused, but there was something in her eyes different than her normal arrogance and self-assured demeanor. He knew it was like pulling off a dressing from a wound, no hesitation but speed and a steady hand was needed to tear free the tape from the injury. Seeing him slow gave Celina a jolt of energy and she began talking quickly.

What she didn't realize was she was only confirming what Tricia had already told Jerry about Ben. There wasn't any new information being blurted out as the hourglass ran down. Ironically her Southern soaked words were what convinced Jerry what was necessary. Her drawl had come back stronger than before as she pleaded and spilled out Ben Richland's secrets.

"Ben is going to be at the Boca Raton Camino Real drawbridge tomorrow night around eleven o'clock to meet with one of the new Council enforcers. I'm his backup in case it's a trap set by the rogue element in Southern Florida," she spit out and said, "And he'll know something's wrong if I'm not there."

Jerry sighed. She'd just told another lie. He knew that she was part of the rogue element in Florida, and she hadn't said she would be able to back him up but that she'd 'see' if she could get away from work. Tricia Sanborn hadn't just tapped her email but also had tracked down her cell phone records, both text messages and actual voicemails. Celina really wasn't very discreet and Jerry found all the data useful in triangulating the vampires. Ben was going to be there, as was the other unknown vampire, but it definitely seemed that Celina was going to miss the fun -- leastways in her present state.

Without replying, Jerry picked up the bone saw and covered the distance between the tools on the table and her body strapped down on the cart. Then he ripped the saw-toothed blade brutally through her neck with vampiric force, tearing her neck open and sawing her head off with a rapid see-sawing motion. She didn't have time to say another word aloud. Her mind reeled from the unexpected action, while a small part of her brain accepted her death as deserved and inevitable. He could feel her fears at facing the unknown in true death warring with her sense of indignation at dying under Jerry's control. She screamed inside her mind as it eventually dawned on her that he would be using her body to trap Ben. She frantically tried to push past the blood box to find any of her minions, fledglings or enforcer cohorts, to no avail. The machine made frenzied, haunting noises echoing around the nearly empty warehouse and the blue light flashed rapidly.

Once her head was completely free from her spine the blood box stopped making noises and the blue light winked out. The charred remains didn't disappear or disintegrate any further ... which was in keeping with what the creature had guaranteed Jerry would happen when he used the vials and the black blood box it had constructed upon a vampire. He was told that he would have to dispose of her body personally -- which was something he really wasn't looking forward to doing. The grisly task of partitioning the flesh and bone into bits and pieces was usually something in the past that his minion did for him when necessary. His intentions were to use the head to bait Ben and the rest of the remains were going to be dropped off at the troll's pond near his job.

He wasn't sure that Ben would immediately recognize Celina's head given the sun-burnt skin and the aging that had taken place. He decided to worry about that later. He pulled two of the plastic bins out from one of the wooden boxes in the warehouse he'd brought just for that purpose. It dawned on him that he was having more fun doing the manual work than he'd expected to have. Humming a song he continued to condense the dead vampire into a jigsaw set of pieces that he fit into the containers on the cement floor.

There was a large industrial drain in the middle of the warehouse and once he'd reduced Celina into Rubbermaid parcels he pulled the hose out from the restroom and began the laborious task of washing away the blood and scraps from the scene. He'd known he ran the risk of getting blood spattered on him and had stored a spare set of clothing in one of the other crates. He stripped down and tossed the clothing in the biohazard container that littered the warehouse. There weren't any spatters of blood on him because as a vampire his skin simply absorbed the ruby droplets without him even giving it a thought. He splashed bleach over the flooring and let it seep into the floor while he moved the bins to the trunk of his vehicle. The body really didn't weigh much as she'd lost most of her blood and all of her essence.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-10-10
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