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August 15, 2022

The Complex 35

By Lydia Manx

Julia hefted the hammer and abruptly walloped Ben Richland on his right leg slightly above where Jerry Cooper had struck him just a few moments before. The all-too-human weapons of hammer and chisel took on a whole different layer of pain when in the hands of a vampire. Julia bit back a smile at the feeling of satisfaction that ran through her from striking the vamp. She'd pulled her blow just as she'd seen her Master do yet still it was a hard strike.

Ben screamed out, "What the fuck? I didn't do anything."

"Oh, my bad, I thought my Master told me to hit you if you did anything stupid." She smiled with fangs dropped, reminding Ben who had the upper hand.

Sucking in air Ben said, "But I didn't do anything stupid." His tone was nearly a whine. His body was strapped to the gurney in the middle of crates while a hurricane raged outside -- there really wasn't much more he could do than whine since Jerry had him frozen in place. He had allowed the captive to talk and feel his leg -- the little things that meant nothing in the long term. As far as Jerry was concerned Ben was a corpse in training.

"Sure you did. I saw you breathe. Pretty stupid to me since you are a vampire." She looked over to see Jerry bite back a grin of his own. His fledgling had an off-sense of humor he was starting to appreciate.

Allowing his fledgling to gloat over Ben, Jerry turned back towards Lenny crumpled on the concrete beneath the trunk of the car and evaluated his next steps.

Leonardo was quite the problem. He'd been sent by the infamous Vampire Council to bring Ben back in line right before Jerry had created Julia. Julia's construction hadn't been the normal fang-in-fang-out game, but instead he'd employed a long-forgotten and rather powerful ancient ritual that cut through the fabric of time and drained the surrounding vampires of their gifts. That in turn gave Julia her 'birth' and Jerry a rather large base of skills and talents to pull from while all the donating vampires were little more than humans with long memories and an even deeper thirst.

Lenny had taken a risk of getting discovered as a vampire when he drained the blood of a few humans before he met with Ben, but it hadn't brought back all of his vampiric powers. It had just made Lenny stronger than most humans, but not anywhere as strong as typical vampires. Jerry -- on the other hand -- was stronger than any Master Vampire for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. From everything Jerry'd heard and felt it seemed that earlier the Council had spoken to Leonardo and Ben separately by phone so they knew the issues facing the region, but with the hurricane hitting the coast they weren't able to simply call back to check on the situation. Besides losing electricity, many of the phone lines were down throughout the state, and with the winds picking up and whipping the downed power lines around there wasn't a rush to get the phones fixed. Cell phones were fairly useless as more than one set of towers had been damaged by flying debris and the little bandwidth available was supposed to be for emergencies only. A chit chat over a cell phone wasn't smart during normal times but with the storm and the state of emergency nearly declared they would be stupid to call now. That Ben had even been contacted by landline for the meet was a risk that meant the Council was worried.

And all in all it was a delightful situation. Jerry and Julia had easily captured both Ben and Lenny when they had met up to 'chat' over by one of the drawbridges in Boca Raton. At the time the storm had been slowing down and the hurricane seemingly had skipped that part of the coast. During the lull in the winds and rain they had struck, both Jerry and Julia had used one of the vampiric abilities they possessed to control the vampires and then simply walked them back to the car. Once they'd arrived at the warehouse Jerry had rented a while back, Jerry had drained Lenny nearly dry and figured that it would take the blood of a human or two for the vampire to lift his eyelids much less open the trunk hood. He'd been mistaken. Ben's screams had roused Lenny and given him a push of strength.

Too bad for the Council's enforcer, it turned out, since it was little more than just that -- a gentle push of strength, not a full feeding worth of blood. Jerry mentally slammed back into the vampire's mind, cutting his strings, causing him to fall from the bed of the trunk and drop onto the cold concrete flooring of the warehouse. Now Jerry had to create something to keep Lenny from moving while he got Ben to talk. The wooden crates had offered Jerry an idea and he casually yanked Lenny off the ground by the scruff of his neck and hauled him over towards the area he had Ben corralled with boxes and shipping crates.

"Master, can they be this close?" Julia asked while still eyeballing Ben. She had both the chisel and hammer in her hands poised to strike Ben should he move. She seemed to relish the task and her fangs still filled her face.

"They can, but I will make sure Lenny doesn't spring up." With that he dropped Lenny's nearly lifeless body. The thud his flesh made when hitting the ground was meaty and wet. Lenny's eyes were wide open and they both could see he was fighting Jerry's control to no avail. Arching an eyebrow at Lenny, Jerry commented, "What did you expect? I mean really? Oh, wait, cat got your tongue?"

He mentally released Lenny's vocal cords and allowed the vampire to speak. At the same time he pointed a finger towards Ben and said, "Your turn to play dead." And just like that he mentally severed Ben's ability to speak. Ben's eyes went huge as he tried to spit out a curse.

"Who the fuck are you?" Were the first words out of Lenny's parched lips.

"I am the vampire pulling your strings, so watch your language around the lady," Jerry offered while physically tearing the slats free from one of the crates with his bare hands. Jerry found it interesting that Lenny didn't seem to have any idea of who he was. He would have thought at some point his picture would have been on the Council's wall and a big blood red target ringing his features. Not that he'd ever seen the Council's chambers -- nor would he -- but he knew that they kept tabs on every vampire they considered rogue, and often left visual reminders of their 'wet work' to discourage any straying.

Julia sparkled a bit and looked at Ben closely, trying to see if the vampire was going to try anything. Ben was frantically blinking his eyes, rolling them up and down and flipping his lashes in an odd jerky gesture as if trying to communicate to Lenny. It was nearly painful to watch, and obviously Lenny wasn't getting a single thought since Jerry wasn't allowing either of them to mentally connect. The vampire telepathy wasn't a myth, but his current gifts allowed him to turn off the tap on any creature he saw with little or no effort on his part. It was nice to be in charge again, but still he was careful to keep them under his power while he worked on making a spot for Lenny to rest.

Lenny wasn't able to move his body from the spot Jerry had dropped him, so he was unable to see what Jerry was doing behind him. The scratching sounds from the wood scraping the concrete was accompanied by the high pitched sound of the long nails bending before snapping as Jerry dismantled the boxes. Julia could see the vampire struggling and trying to move the merest millimeter to no avail. Jerry quickly set about pulling apart another one of the many crates he'd artfully arranged inside the space to give the illusion of business to any stray humans who ventured a peek inside. Given the torturously strong winds whipping around outside he doubted that would be an issue any time soon. Not assuming he was correct, Jerry took a minute to move a few of the large boxes around a bit, hiding the vampires from immediate view. The scraping of the rough wood against the concrete flooring made another loud screeching sound but it wouldn't easily be heard over the screaming winds outside.

Ben was still frantically trying to communicate with Lenny and from Lenny's agitation he still wasn't having any luck.

"Who are you?" Lenny snarled without adding any swearing. Jerry figured Lenny was taking his chastising seriously for the moment. But somehow Jerry knew it wouldn't last. Lenny was used to being in control and the top vampire in the area. Despite Ben's past it was completely apparent that Lenny was above him in the Vampire Council's chart of hierarchy, and probably much stronger when at full power.

"Just a lowly vampire trying to make my way in this rough and dangerous world," Jerry quipped while assembling a makeshift cross out of the long wooden slats.

Julia jumped slightly and hissed, "Can't those hurt us?"

"Depends." Jerry was concentrating on his work and missed the look of fear roll over Julia's face. He pulled some nails from a toolbox he'd stored in one of the crates he'd dismantled and grabbed out another large hammer from inside the box then set to slamming the nails in the wood with a single smack.

While Lenny could see Julia from his position, he verbally pounced, "Oh, a great fledgling. You got permission to turn her, I assume?" He called out over his shoulder while unsuccessfully trying to move. Jerry hadn't given him an inch and didn't plan on. The fact that Ben's fear fed him meant Lenny wasn't going to be docile for the usual methods used to extract information. So be it. Jerry wasn't without his own fair share of methods. The Council thought they'd invented torture and pain.

Once the wooden cross was built Jerry set it on the ground next to Lenny. He took a minute to lift the cross off the concrete with some cinderblocks that were stacked off to the side of warehouse. Once finished the cross rested four inches off the ground and was still in a visual line of sight for Ben on his gurney. The two vampires would be able to see each other if Jerry wanted.

Lenny stopped talking and Julia still watched with huge eyes. As she kept darting her eyes back and forth between Ben and Lenny she shuddered slightly. Lenny cried out slightly as Jerry roughly picked him up and dropped him onto the rough wood. His back thwapped and his body bounced slightly before coming to rest.

"Stop your whining. You aren't hurt -- yet." Jerry shook his head and walked back to where he'd put the toolbox.

Jerry pulled out a roll of rope and a small knife from the stack of supplies next to the toolbox that had been inside the crate. Without another word he began tying Lenny to the makeshift cross not caring that the ropes were cutting deeply into his wrists and legs. With the cinderblocks lifting up the cross he was able to wrap the ropes around both the wood and the vampire easily. He doubled a length of rope and lashed Lenny's head to the top of the cross at Lenny's throat leaving no room for Lenny to move his neck much less his head. The ropes were rough and Julia could see the small fibers were slicing into Lenny's skin in spots and thin drops of blood were surfacing.

Jerry finished up with a complicated netlike binding across Lenny's chest. Even if Lenny got some power back he wouldn't be leaping up easily. Julia watched silently. Once done, Jerry smiled -- it wasn't a friendly grin and Lenny spit out, "Fuck you."

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-08-06
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