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February 19, 2024

The Complex 33

By Lydia Manx

The hurricane winds hammered out the rest of the pane of glass precariously perched in the top of the warehouse. While Ben Richland growled, the shards of broken glass, obviously not the safety glass Jerry'd been assured were in all of the frames in the large building by the absent landlord, fell to the concrete floor along with the stray branch that had finished off the window. Julia gasped slightly as even more rain and leaves followed.

Jerry Cooper looked at the high window frame, now empty and shook his head. It wasn't like he planned on staying very long, but the storm wasn't showing him any mercy. Not that he expected nature to care, but it did seem the weather had picked up dramatically in the past few hours. Dawn was still hours away, but with all the storm debris he wasn't sure how far he'd be able to travel. The voluntary evacuation orders more than likely had become mandatory in the hours since he'd last heard a weather report and knowing Floridians, the roads were a mess.

Hell, the locals couldn't handle typical rainstorms that hit their state; the winds and torrential downfall from approaching hurricanes and the storm bands that surrounded the squalls weren't easily navigated by the best of drivers at times. He worried a bit how he'd get free of the area if the hurricane persisted much longer than a few hours.

His thoughts must have been easily read by his fledgling because Julia sighed and asked, "Haven't you ever been through a real hurricane?"

Jerry had to think. He vaguely recalled some bad storms back three or four hundred years ago, but as for recently, nothing came to mind but a few tornadoes that had blown through Michigan, doing a bit of much-needed urban renewal (in his personal opinion.) She figured out his expression and said, "Well, I have. We could be stuck here for a week or longer if the hurricane hits us directly."

Something filtered into her own thoughts and she asked, "You did have a backup plan right?"

Jerry didn't immediately dignify the question with a reply as he quickly ran through his options. A hurricane obviously could put a crimp or two in his immediate plans, but in the long run he would be able to survive. If the vampires in the region got any of their talents and skills back during that time, he still was much higher up in the food chain any way he looked at it. He'd endured worse situations in his life, but admittedly not recently. He wasn't sharing that with Julia.

Instead he flipped his right hand dismissively towards Julia he said, "Don't worry, my Child, we'll be fine."

Looking down at Ben still strapped onto the gurney he said, "Not necessarily you though, in fact I pretty much can guarantee that this storm will be the least of your concerns."

"The Council will have your head and carve your black heart out of your chest for holding me." Ben was really working to piss Jerry off. The rat blood he'd been given hadn't done much, but pygmy goat blood seemed to have given Ben a backbone. His crushed throat hadn't completely healed, but it definitely was working. Jerry found Ben's absolute arrogance amusing. The vampire strapped onto the crash cart didn't plead for his life, but instead barked out demands and commands while unable to move anything but his mouth.

"You had your opportunity, as did the Council. Now it's my turn." Jerry stood above the vampire and smiled. His fangs were just out of his mouth enough to make a point. It wasn't like he'd feed off Ben just yet. The vampire was still his tool and the vampiric gifts Jerry had were far stronger than anything Ben could touch.

Ben's eyes flashed his fury and he snarled back, "You will rue the night you touched me."

Jerry laughed in Ben's fang-filled face and said, "Hell, I haven't even touched you and nobody says 'rue' anymore. I can see why Lenny left you all those years ago. You are boring and stuck in the past."

The dig struck something inside Ben and his eyes dropped slightly. He didn't reply but instead seemed to drop back onto the thin plastic covered pad on the cart. No quick comeback, but he was mulling over something in his mind. Jerry didn't bother to peek inside but walked to his fledgling.

"What's bothering you, Fledgling?"

"The hurricane is really picking up energy. I can feel it crackling in the distance and I can hear the screams of the air. There aren't very many humans left in the area," she stumbled out with while rubbing her arms with her palms. It wasn't cold in the warehouse but getting steamier and the humidity was rising with the winds blowing into the area. Jerry could tell her human side was pushing fears into her thin frame.

"Child, I won't let you be harmed. There's nothing we can do about the weather but we can take care of this little problem here and move to somewhere less volatile," Jerry stroked her face trying to calm her. She pushed at his hand like a kitten does to its mother's face. She nearly purred as his touch soothed her. Ben made a slight noise causing both of them to turn to him. A disgusted look crossed his face before he dropped his head back onto the mattress of the gurney.

In a leap Jerry was on Ben and gripping his throat in his hand again.

"Maybe I shouldn't allow you to speak. I'll rip your tongue out if I don't crush your throat first." With his other hand Jerry forced Ben's mouth open in a pinching grasp and Ben's fangs tore on his lips at the force of Jerry's fingers.

Ben wasn't able to do much but glare and try to move his lips. Jerry's hand on either side of his jaw gave Ben a fish puckered feature and he wasn't able to bite out a single sound. Julia came behind him and said, "If you do that will he be able to tell you what you want?"

Her words served to remind Jerry of his true goal and he released the captive vampire with a jerk and comment, "Maybe."

The admission was reluctantly spoken, but Jerry shook himself mentally and told himself to stop letting Ben push his buttons. Julia had been correct and he would have a harder time getting information from Ben if he damaged his vocal cords any further or actually removed his tongue. His fingertips actually trembled slightly as his mind still focused on the vampire's tongue. The desire to tear out his tongue was completely absorbing his attention even while Julia's words danced through his thoughts. Ben's eyes remained locked on Jerry's as the vampires both weighed their options. Not that Ben had many beyond bleeding and moaning. Jerry decided and resisted sighing and projecting his decision.

Stupidly Ben did allow a small smile to grace his lips as something in Jerry's demeanor must have revealed his answer. Julia reached over lightning fast and slapped the vampire to his utter shock. Jerry stood back and let Julia explain herself.

"Sorry, Sire. He was mocking us." She offered while standing with her head slightly bowed. She was ashamed of her action but Jerry was pleased.

Taking the hand that Jerry had just removed from Ben's throat he tipped her chin up causing her to meet his eyes and said, "Never apologize. You are a vampire. You are mine and there is no reason ever for you to be sorry. You kept me from ripping Ben's tongue out -- for now. Let's get back to work."

Ben's face bore the vivid imprint of Julia's hand. The blood he'd been given moments prior had been absorbed into his skin and her strong slap brought the precious droplets back to the surface with a red vengeance. Julia smiled down at her handy work with her fangs slightly peeking out of her lips.

"Of course, Sire. Whatever you want to do is fine by me. Shall we pull his fingernails out first?" Julia had heard some of the ideas Jerry was shoving into her mind. He didn't necessarily want to yank out the nail beds but hearing her softly ask caused a shudder run over Ben's body. He certainly believed the fledgling without question.

Something Jerry found interesting and useful: Ben didn't like a woman talking, it was obvious. Jerry had forgotten that from his time being tortured by Ben. Ben liked the power and title of head enforcer that he'd been given by the Vampire Council, it was true. When Celina had been around Jerry'd not really been in any position to see all the interaction between Ben and her but from some of her memories, he now knew that Ben had a bit of a complex about women. Thus he was giving him another tool for the arsenal of weapons that Jerry would fully utilize in breaking the vampire and getting his information about the viper who'd been in Jerry's clan.

"Not just yet, my Child. Soon I will let you play with him to your little heart's desire." He offered while walking over to the cart with the torture tools he'd assembled. The slaughter of Celina had been too fast, Jerry had decided and he wanted to be a tad more careful when trying to extract information from Ben. Lenny was starting to try to reach out from the confines of the car trunk, but there weren't any humans for the vampire to summon. Not that Lenny had enough power to pull a baby towards him, but that he was even aware enough to try was disconcerting. Lenny wasn't a weak vampire and he'd been sent by the Council with a reason and apparently some mental reserves.

Jerry lashed out with a painful image of the dead human from the shared memories of the two vampires. He didn't use the one Lenny had savored of the love and lust of the woman, but instead used Ben's rather vicious anger and hunger. He let the thoughts of what Ben had planned for the human to wash over Lenny. Lenny stopped trying to reach out and simply shut down his mind. The trauma had run deep and the images of Ben's view of the woman pushed Lenny back into the abyss. Satisfied Jerry turned back and inquired, "Where were we again?"

He hefted up a rather sizeable hammer used with a chisel usually to separate various bits of humans when being autopsied or in the older age of inhumanity removing legs and arms at the joints after severe injuries. He rooted around in the stack of bright and shiny autopsy tools and other instruments of death casually looking for the chisel. Once he had both items in his hands he said, "Besides nails are boring, while taking off a hand or a foot tends to bring answers quickly."

Ben pushed past his arrogance enough to hiss, "You haven't asked me any questions yet!"

Julia nodded and answered for her Master, "Why would we? You'll just lie. You think you are so much smarter than we are." Her tone was level but her words hit Ben right between the eyes.

She'd picked up on Ben's fatal flaw easily. Jerry was proud of his fledgling. She really was coming along rather quickly. He smiled and said, "That was also my assessment."

He approached the bound vampire and watched Ben's eyes grow round and his mouth gaped open as Jerry put the chisel point against one ankle. The vampire allowed Ben to feel that part of his body only. Nothing more. He didn't give Ben any range of motion or ability to jerk his foot away. He allowed the cold metal to touch above Ben's ankle where his sock stopped. There weren't any clothes to warm the vampire's skin, and the idea of having his foot severed from his body resonated through Ben -- they both could see it in his eyes.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-07-23
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