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November 28, 2022

The Complex 39

By Lydia Manx

Jerry Cooper had been a Master vampire for a very long time before the Vampire Council even came onto the scene. That they had been able to slay his family, minions and nearly him was a testament to one of his own kin betraying him. His blood was used to bind him with a magically constructed box that drained him of any of his powers. Coupled with the blessed icons in silver and loved religion imagery that lined the coffin he'd been kept in outside Detroit, there hadn't been much of him left to fight off the enforcers sent to torture and torment him. It had taken him many restless nights to figure out that the only way the Council could have ever captured him was with the help of someone near and formerly dear to him. The sun and silver drained out his fight and clouded his mind as they kept playing with him. He'd been released by some misguided (now deceased) humans and he had left Detroit without a name, but the time had finally come to get that answer. For far too long he'd stayed out of the politics of vampirism and existed in his own kingdom. Once that had all been ripped from the fabric of his life, he'd fled the snowbird path to Florida to lick his wounds both mentally and literally while getting a toehold back into the dark world of vampires.

That night was finally here. Granted he would have certainly preferred a bit less dramatic weather to accompany his efforts, but realistically the crashing and thundering of the hurricane attempting to hurl humanity back to the Stone Age was pretty sweet. Julia, his fledgling, had shrunk into herself once he'd finished the spell that tore both Ben Richland and Leonardo's souls free from their barely warm bodies and bound them in front of him. The shadow vampire was shifting back and forth between Ben's face and Lenny's with pain-filled features lashing them to the form. If Lenny thought Jerry's creation of Julia had broken a few Council rules, the fact that he was now enchanted in between the lines of reality and the spirit world had to be shaking his views about how powerful and strong the Vampire Council was just a tad. Ben and Lenny had once been closely tied together in hunting and other vampire games, but never as entwined as Jerry'd made them.

Jerry was relieved that the spell had worked properly. There had been a distinct possibility he would have simply killed them had they not been as close. He'd worried that they no longer had the mental tie, but thankfully it had still been there. The bond had been verbally severed perhaps and mentally diminished over time but they were linked. Now more than ever.

"So you are both bound in one form until I decide differently. Do you both agree?" It wasn't a real question, more like a statement of fact, but Jerry was enjoying the look of sheer horror etched into both of the flickering faces. The hurricane winds were howling loudly but he didn't bother to speak too loudly. They heard him in their thoughts as well as with their lifeless bodies strapped down next to the shadow vampire.

"Yes," the sibilant sounding word went into the warehouse softly with a light hissing sound. It was part illusion, part reality as the shadow form wasn't a true body but something other. Very other.

"You both are tied together with your past and now your future. If one of you tries to tell a lie the other will know. I already know you both are perfectly capable of lying through your fangs and personally I see no need for me to waste my time to play a guessing game with you two. No, here's what will happen." Jerry leaned down slightly until he was able to rest a hand on each of the two vamps bodies and staring straight at the ghostly vampire in between. He pinched both of their mouths open showing the shade vampire their fangs exposed by his touch. His fingers bit into their skin and with no blood pooling in the creatures the imprints were bone white against already pale skin.

"I will take a pair of pliers and snap out your teeth. Starting on the bottom and working my way to your fangs." He removed his hands with a slight look of disgust and added, "And if I find you lie and your friend doesn't tell me I will remove teeth from both of you. As you can easily see we can play this little game for quite a while."

Something occurred to Julia and she asked, "How are you going to know if they lie?"

Smiling with his fangs exposed he said, "Easily."

He quickly popped into her thoughts and said in her mind, 'Like this.'

Puzzled she arched an eyebrow and he could see that she didn't know how to ask the next question. Jerry continued to think into her mind, 'Because they don't realize how much of their thoughts I can hear and this way I can pressure them more to give details due to fear.'

The truth be known was that Jerry had no desire to again be sucked back into both of their memories. As it was he found he could hear them both fighting inside the shared body and it wasn't aloud but like frozen whispers floating in the back of a dark hallway. Goose bumps raced over his fledgling's arms and she rubbed them briskly asking, "How can I be so cold when it has to be over ninety degrees in here?"

The storm had heated up the entire warehouse and with limited power coming from the noisy industrial generator Jerry hadn't bothered to run any fans or spot air conditioners to add to the sound. He had very little running because he never intended the warehouse to be much more than a spot to quickly torture Ben's clan and assorted minions should the need arise and the hurricane hadn't helped the setting any either. Most vampires didn't care about the weather as blood taken from humans was what controlled how hot or cold they felt. As a rule -- the current weather was definitely most stifling than the usual hot Florida night and the two captured vampires didn't have much in the way of blood flow to regulate their bodies.

Julia's question caught the attention of the shade before Jerry. The shadow of the two vampires turned hungrily to look at Julia. Her eyes went huge and she tightened her arms embracing her body as if to ward of their shared attention. Jerry saw the reaction and was pleased that she didn't whimper. Her eyes flew to him and she pled for help without a sound.

Jerry practically flew to the cart holding all the embalming and autopsy tools and snatched up a pair of pliers.

"Maybe I'll just cut to the chase and snap off a fang on both of you right now!" His voice boomed above another clap of thunder chased by a bolt of lightning that nearly sizzled it was so close. The vampire shade turned its face back to Jerry and said, "No."

Looking into the eyes of Ben and then Lenny, Jerry nodded and he said, "For now."

He placed the pliers on the ambulance crash cart near Ben's face. It was obvious who Jerry thought would be the first one to lie. Julia retreated cautiously back a small baby step and she kept her eyes glued to Jerry's face. Her Master smiled widely and he nodded to her slightly. She visibly relaxed.

Lenny pushed further into the ghostly feature and he asked, "What do you want to know?"

"Everything." Came Jerry's immediate response. Lenny paled both in spirit and his slack body nearly on the ground to Jerry's side.

The shadow apparition nodded and again it was Lenny in the front, "Where do you want us to start?"

Jerry wasn't surprised that Lenny would be the dominant one but he was somewhat surprised at the lack of concern. The Council's dog was accepting of the rules and not pushing against Jerry but Ben. He could feel the conflict between them even unspoken.

The question was open ended and had it not been so late at night and the hurricane hammering the warehouse so loudly Jerry would have really enjoyed picking through Lenny's brain. But the hurricane wasn't a forgiving act of nature and it could last as long as three or four hours without calming down. Knowing that and how hard it was going to be to travel once he did get the information he needed he wasn't going to use his time to play too much with the two vamps.

Torture was a funny game. It wasn't nearly as successful as most action packed movies would have their viewers think. It was useful in small doses much like arsenic and nitroglycerine. Too much would destroy any opportunity to ask any quality questions. And being vampires they had very little fears left. His threat to snap out teeth was a visceral fear for most vampires along with fire and decapitation. No fangs meant it was nearly impossible for a vampire to feed enough to heal enough to be able to stay alive. Fire wasn't always as controllable as he liked and decapitation would only work once, and on only one of the pair. Death from decapitation was a True death. Snapping off teeth was slow torture and a long term death sentence.

"I'd like Ben to tell me how it was that he was sent to kill my clan in Michigan." It was a rather open-ended request that would be hard to answer by Lenny, but Jerry didn't care. He figured from Lenny's pushing his face first that the vampire thought he was smart enough to settle Jerry down. He wasn't but that tidbit was for Jerry to know and both of them to find out.

The Lenny face flickered and Ben's peeked out. His face was tight and his mouth shut even tighter as if that would ward off Jerry's pliers. Lenny's face pushed back and Jerry could again hear the off whispers of them talking in their shared body.

"Ben's not sure what exactly you want. I told him you want the basics and will ask as you need. Is that acceptable?" Lenny asked.

Jerry found it interesting that Lenny was attempting to negotiate with him given they were both bound physically and magically at his own hands. He had to give the arrogant vampire props for being so bold.

"Start talking Benji boy." Jerry taunted without confirming or denying the request.

A slight look of outrage fell over the face that was a combination of both of the vampires' appearances. Had they not been bound, Jerry would have been more upset at their presumption of his allowing them to even think of being offended.

"I got a call from the Council when Celina and I were wrapping up from our last assignment." The voice was Ben's then interrupted with Lenny's snarl, "Which means they were busy feeding and fucking. Wasn't that your usual 'reward' for a job well done? Hell, even one poorly done from what I remember hearing."

Jerry found it telling that Lenny felt the need to add to the story. His threat of immediate dental removal seemed to reach into Lenny. The snake in the crate thumped its large body against the insides of the box reminding Lenny of Jerry's other options. That vampire was terrified of the snake. Ben's face came back and he snapped aloud, "Fine, feeding and fucking. Not like you were around, Lenny, so I don't get your tone." His own tone mocking the vampire.

Jerry rubbed a spot in the middle of his forehead that throbbed with pain at the childish bickering. It wasn't like he didn't know they fought, but their growing anger was abrupt and seemingly visible in the steamy building. Their shared form was making them lash out verbally nearly as much as they were internally.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-09-03
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