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December 05, 2022

The Building 37

By Lydia Manx

The warehouse was starting to look like a stockroom killing zone. Even though time was of the essence, he took the time to clean up the signs of slaughter. The bathroom in the warehouse had running water and a hose hooked up under the sink. He'd pulled it out and used it to clean up the mess he'd made. Still naked, he padded back to the garden hose and finished rinsing off the signs of death on the tools he'd used to dismember Celina. Once all the visible blood and gore was gone, he turned off the water, rolled up the hose and returned it to the bathroom. He retrieved a plastic jug of industrial strength liquid drain cleaner from the cupboard in the bathroom and poured it directly into the drain while ignoring the toxic, poisonous odors emanating from the hole as the bleach mixed with the drain cleaner. Had he been human the combination would have sickened him if not actually poisoned him quite thoroughly. As it was he found it reassuringly enjoyable because it let him know all signs of Celina Holston's body were visibly gone and at least not readily recognizable to a casual observer. At least until someone searched the car. He popped the empty jug into the biohazard red bag containing his spattered clothing, tied it off and then tossed the bag on the floor in the passenger side of the front seat. Still humming, he dressed in the spare clothes he had stored in the warehouse and drove out into the night. He had another vampire to capture and only a day to plan. Things were definitely looking up.

Jerry Cooper had three immediate concerns. First on his list was safely getting rid of the red biohazard bag with the bloody clothing, the empty labeled animal blood containers and the drain cleaner jug. Second thing to do was sneak into the business park where he'd put the troll in by his work, and giving it the body parts from Celina Holston. And the third issue facing him was finding a place where could he hole up until the coming evening. He didn't think it would be a good idea to head home since the cops were probably still dealing with Edna's missing corpse and the power outage. When he first left the warehouse, he turned on a local radio station to hear that more of the coastal areas were losing power to lightning strikes and flooding.

Before he'd chanced upon the troll in Edna's home, he'd made some preparations for disposing of his intended victims and whatever carnage resulted. He'd scouted out the various hospitals and vet clinics when plotting how he was going to kill the vampires, and what he found out was that was too many of them had guards and cameras, making disposal of the bag a little trickier. He knew that he could use his vampiric speed and zip along, dropping off a hazard bag into one of the unlocked dumpsters without attracting too much attention, but he didn't think it was worth his time. Cameras had gotten more sophisticated and many could be freeze-framed if a good enough system was being used by the security companies. That would mean he risked being exposed. He had many ideas, but hadn't really figured out exactly what he was going to do when he'd made the alliance with the troll. The biohazard bag was one of those things he hadn't completely figured out, and he didn't want to be caught by a cop. It was not a good idea less than twenty-four hours before he wanted to play with Ben Richland to have face time with any more 'public servants.' One of his spots had been the private pill mills, once so prevalent in Florida strip malls, but now nearly all had been shut down by various lawsuits and eager cops, which effectively closed that loophole for disposal of the bag. The few left were being monitored even closer than actual hospitals. As he continued to twist and turn his options, he figured he'd leave the bag on the floor until he caught up with the troll. Maybe the bag could be used as a troll treat.

This brought him to the second concern, getting in and out of the business park undetected to offload his Celina chow for the troll. He figured he'd better do that before he got pulled over by the Broward County police for some manufactured excuse. In the years he'd lived in Florida, he was constantly amazed at how the humans allowed their police force to randomize their job descriptions with petty harassments and sanctioned shootings of various humans with no apparent cause or real reprimands. The Miami cops alone had more corruption cases and lawsuits going than he'd seen anywhere else.

Granted, Detroit had been corrupt, but the Southern Florida cops had taken it to a whole different level. Police officers who got intoxicated on duty while running around with drunken girls and then driving over tourists got off with slaps on the wrist and paid vacations. In one case, the officer was promoted when he slunk back into his job years after the incident that had attracted so much media attention strayed off the headlines and back pages of the news. It made him want to stay in Florida and run his vampire kingdom in the warm palm tree-lined streets. It certainly was tempting.

He decided to take care of the troll first, and he'd worry about where he'd sleep later. The streets were fairly deserted, and the tropical rains of the afternoon had given way to random torrential downfalls accented with rumbling thunder and thick bolts of lightning ripping across the scenery. The scent of rotting vegetation warred with the cloying odor of a desiccated vampire body. Even inside the thick plastic Jerry's vampiric senses easily could smell dead, sun-burnt Celina in the car. The vapors of bleach and the liquid drain cleaner he'd used to mop up the visible traces of her in the warehouse also layered the scents in the interior of the car, as well as his clothing from earlier which was also in the biohazard bag on the floor of the vehicle. Even the most vacuous of officers would be hard pressed not to notice the pungent aromas in the car.

He decided to check out the supermarket parking lot where he'd last parked when he met the troll and got it settled into the neighborhood. The recent downpour let up as he neared the back entrance to the store. He carefully looked around and made sure that any possible nearby humans didn't notice him. He could hear the heartbeats of various animals and local wildlife but no tell-tale thumps from a human's heart. Relieved, he backed into one of the many open spots in the rear of the lot when he noticed that the store lights were flickering; then they abruptly blinked out. Hearing the rumbling in the sky he knew the storms hadn't all passed, but it was one of those holes in the Florida rains that didn't last long. When he finally had Celina's corpse cut up at the warehouse, he was able to put her into one container minus her head and right hand. He stored those in another smaller other plastic container, which he left in the trunk. He stuffed the red biohazard bag into the rather full plastic container and rapidly moved through the break in the fence that butted up against the business park. Jerry made his way quickly to the man-made pond where he'd last left the troll.

The large pond was quieter than he remembered. The frog of the previous visit no longer croaked out into the night and he heard no birds. He figured that the troll had been far hungrier than it'd let on when Jerry had left it there. Given it had just consumed the poodle and old lady meant the troll hadn't fed in a long time. Much like alligators, trolls could fill their gullets and not come back out for months to feed. The troll he'd put in the pond was a water troll so it possibly could have simply rested on the bottom of the deep pond and snoozed away time had it been full. That it had started making an immediate environmental impact on the area was mildly disturbing. It made him very glad that he'd convinced the troll to move from his neighborhood to the business park near his work. The thought of a hungry troll strolling up and down the canal with all of the police looking for Edna's body made him a tad queasy.

He went to the same spot that he'd gone to before and saw that a large log had been pulled from somewhere and was hammered into the soil creating a makeshift bench. There were large footprints around and a stack of bones off to one side confirming the quieter environment. He kept calm as he placed the container next to the bench.

Again he didn't hear the troll when it suddenly was standing hip deep in the pond not more than two feet away from Jerry. The creature hadn't improved any since Jerry'd left. The face was still heavily lined and ugly but it was slightly larger. Trolls could actually expand in size when fed and in water. This troll had grown at least two inches since his previous visit.

"You back now." It wasn't a question but again a statement of fact. Trolls tended to not ask much of other creatures, Jerry knew from his past dealings with them.

"Just for a few minutes. I wanted to make sure you are well, Guardian." A lie but some truth. He wanted to get rid of Celina and head out for Ben before Ben figured out something was wrong in paradise. The troll did that odd facial contortion which Jerry knew was a smile. It liked the name Jerry had bestowed on it -- Guardian. Jerry wasn't going to risk upsetting the creature by asking it if it was male or female. Nothing in the appearance of trolls gave away their sexuality and asking about its nature just served to piss trolls off as a rule. An odd noise came from its throat that he'd already figured to be some sort of laughter. The utter wrongness of trolls was something even the Grimm brothers didn't fully explore in their earlier works. Disney hadn't even attempted to sanitize trolls for money which pretty much confired Jerry's opinion that the Disney Corporation had more than a few supernatural creatures on their payroll.

"Fine. Pond very good." The troll plodded out of the water slowly and came towards Jerry. Jerry reconsidered the two inches as underestimation once the troll covered the distance between them. The troll was more like five inches taller and its girth was expanded as well. He shuddered to think of what vampire meat was going to do to the creature's size.

"Excellent. As agreed upon, I brought you the first of many vampires." When they'd negotiated the alliance Jerry had figured he'd be at least two or three nights breaking down Celina, but with her lies and Ben's plans on leaving Florida he quickened his immediate time table.

The troll made another odd rumbling noise that could have been a purr in a feline but in the troll sounded more like the garbage disposal grinding up a spoon. The back of Jerry's fangs hurt from the vibrating sound. He kept his face placid and stood next to the log while the troll plopped down hard on the wood causing it to lift up from the mud on the opposite end with a rather loud sucking noise.

It was trying to not look eager, but the creature's mouth had a thick mucus trail of drool falling from its lip to the ground. Jerry didn't look too closely but he was fairly certain there was a partial frog leg in the slime coming from its mouth. He nodded towards the container and said, "It's all yours."

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-10-17
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