Watching a thick patch of fog drift lower, I noticed it covered the two cameras closest to our current location. Taking a deep breath, I jogged in between them and into the yard of a house I knew was currently unoccupied due to the death of the previous owner. There was a section of the chain link fence that had been clipped free of the posts and allowed access to the backyard for those in the know. I slowed long enough to listen and see if there were any squatters in the back or inside the house. The estate hadn't been through the probate courts. I did my research when I was buying into my new neighborhood and had found out that nobody was keeping up the lawn maintenance or weed abatement in any manner, as the heirs were all too cheap and too bitter to donate time or money before the estate was completely settled.
Once we'd gotten through the alley undetected, I stood at the edge of the overgrown yard and waited to see what waited in the foggy night. William and Pauly couldn't utter a sound as my grasp hadn't loosened since I'd grabbed them by their throats and yanked them away from their flannel-coated pack. Stilling myself, I focused my senses to the structure and back of the house; other than rats and mice scurrying throughout the weed-filled yard and inside the decaying walls there weren't any humans around at the moment. I knew the remaining fuckwits weren't stopping before heading to the fort they preferred, but I wasn't exactly in the mood to haul William and Pauly through the various yards and side streets to find the others. I knew that they weren't going to be that hard to find, but I wanted my hands free to correct their behavior. I had come up with another idea while dragging their asses down the back street cloaked by heavy fog.
Most of the entrances and windows were heavily boarded up with plywood and two-by-fours making any house breaking obvious to police or real estate agents. But what many folks failed to realize was this particular home had a fully finished basement. Due to earthquake fears and the years of simple, fast, and half-assed flip-styled construction that was always hampered by building fees and obscene taxes it was difficult to find finished much less any basements as they were pretty rare in most of California. This home was constructed back in the mid-1880s with all the East Coast amenities from that era. As it happened, over the decades, the entrance to the basement had been shut off from the interior -- I seem to recall seeing the ugly faux wood paneling covered the upstairs door in the middle of a narrow hallway during my unauthorized tour of the house - and was now only accessible from the outside short of a sledge hammer and foreknowledge of the door. In her declining years, the lady who owned the home hadn't been capable of maintaining much of her property inside and out so over time the pathway from her back door to the basement door had been overgrown and hidden from discovery.
During my venture into real estate purchases in the area I'd actually looked at the paperwork for this home during my sojourns, but quickly discovered that the legal entanglements weren't anywhere close to done -- dying without a will or trust leaving no clear lineage guaranteed a lengthy battle for all the heirs. One night, I had done my own exploration but wasn't able to see the property becoming available anytime in the foreseeable future, so I mentally shoved it into the possibility for future purchase and ended up with my current work in progress that had me frothing at the mouth. A few weeks ago, I'd been bored and explored this very property extremely late at night and, yeah, I'd been the one to clip the chain link fence for my easy access.
Okay, here I digress, vampires do sleep but we do not need to have a solid eight hours to recharge when a pint or two of OB negative or some such blood type will do perfectly fine. So, when I have time I tend to plot and plan things -- note I have already admitted that I was paranoid and a planner. Thus for a few, late nights I worked on my own little project remodeling the basement of the uninhabited house.
The old home had great bones and even the long-abandoned basement had been no exception. Over various evenings I removed trash and debris while cleaning up the space to my specific needs. The shrubs and vegetation surrounding the home had overgrown the small basement windows as had the addition of raised flower beds. The few windows that allowed any light inside were promptly painted by me with a thick coat of a black latex paint denying even a bit of light to enter or escape the dwelling. With all the crap my contractors and sub-contractors were giving me on my remodel in the area, it was nice to have a cubby hole to come play inside and clean up to my tastes, no questions asked or maddening suggestions given, much less any prying eyes to notice my talents and endeavors. After decades of remodeling homes to suit my needs, I actually knew my way around construction.
Sound proofing isn't nearly as hard as construction dudes want you to think. It takes time, money and skills. I had plenty of all three and that had been my first step. The hardest part was getting the materials in without being noticed. I used a few of the sketchier sub-contractors along with some nasty migrant coyotes for the heavy lifting. I am not going to lie to you -- nobody ever survived "helping me" with my little remodels this time or any time before. But it was worth all the time and effort. I dropped the unconscious Pauly just a foot from the hidden basement door and held William out from my side while I opened up the darkly shadowed door. He was getting a face full of thorns from the bougainvillea that surrounded the entrance, but I had cut a thin pathway allowing access to the door, so I remained unscathed. I tightened my grip rendering him unconscious long enough to open the basement and toss him down the stairs. The other man was starting to stir when I got back. I quickly picked Pauly up and he too, joined William at the bottom of the stairs. I did leave a tired, old mattress on the floor at the base of the stairwell so my 'guests' weren't necessarily dead from the fall. Not yet.
The entire basement was lit by small discreetly-placed electric motion sensor lights. The power came from illegal lines I'd had installed by the long departed -- aka dead -- sub-contractors who tapped into the power lines from the city that were supposed to keep streetlights functioning. As most of them had long been smashed or damaged, the power draw wasn't noticeable and so far, went undetected. I really didn't need lights to function, but from experience I knew that it helped screw with my "guests."
Once I joined them, they had begun to stir. The motion sensor lights were up and casting shadows over them, giving both men just enough light to see where they'd landed but not much more information than that. With the door shut any sound was muffled to nearly an undetectable level, and adding in the dirt surrounding the basement it wasn't likely anyone would be coming to rescue them any time soon. They both were ready for me when I reached the bottom step. Stupidly they charged me together screaming.
Before either had touched me, they pelted me with unrealistic notions, "I'm gonna kill you, bitch!" Was William's witty dialogue opener, while Pauly said, "I'm going to fuck you to death, bitch!" Another idiotic verbal gambit not appreciated by me in the least.
Zero score for originality but they both were intense and serious, as well as sorely mistaken who had the upper hand, or fang, as it was. Before they grabbed me they looked into my eyes and face, then both took a full step back as they noticed I was openly sporting said fangs. They hadn't overthought my fangs much less seemed to remember -- stupid men did tend to flock together -- and I hissed out, "I don't think so. William, you first or is Pauly the most expendable from your little gang of thieves and rapists?" Both men stumbled into each other and my words seemed to finally perk through their thick skulls. As one they both stepped back into the remodeled room, not fully comprehending their current situation. Part of their problem was they really didn't understand that their buddies weren't in any way going to be able to rescue them much less help them ... ever.
Pauly's eyes began to swing around looking for possible weapons available and instead finally noticed the large cages lining one wall of the space. I wasn't totally evil, I did have the barest of necessities given to any proper prisoner -- steel toilet bowl, cot bolted into the wall with a thin mattress topping the metal mesh and a tap that dispensed cold water suspended over a small sink. There were only three cages and the doors were all open and they were conveniently empty at the moment. Not being stupid, I waited for William to turn and see what had Pauly bug eyed.
"I will allow you to pick which one is to be yours. I truly don't care. You have exactly one minute to get inside and lock yourself in or I will throw you into which ever one I choose and be warned I will not be gentle. Quickly now. I am not patient." Confusion reigned as it dawned on them, I wasn't joking. "And boys, toss me those pesky little cell phones in your pockets right now." I hissed out with teeth and claws to accentuate my demand. Looking directly into William's eyes, I pointed to his knife sheathed on his belt, and flicked my fingers at Pauly's own little knife; looked to me like that was a thing in their marauding little pack. I loved that these flannel boys all had matching toys. I wondered if he called his knife 'Jack' also? Noticing that they seemed to be mentally drifting, I said clearly, "Add your little friend to the pile or I'm going to rip your arm off just for kicks."
My eyes glowed with promise, not half assed threats, and my tone left little room for argument. They finally took me seriously and tore at their pockets and flipped their phones at me while without a word picking cells on opposite ends. William snarled slightly when dropping his blade on top of his cell phone. It was cute that they left the middle one empty.
It wasn't the first time I'd used the cages and more than likely wouldn't be my last any time soon. Automatically both of their eyes went to the drain in the middle of each small room and their eyes rounded showing most of the whites as it dawned on them the only use for such a drain had nothing to do with anything remotely pleasant. Hey, what can I say, it really made clean up easier on me. The best part was that with the house unoccupied and not even on the market I could easily have the space for years -- I loved using the probate courts for my little surprises and I'd always enjoyed their convoluted rules and laws to my pleasure and recreation. The men who'd unwillingly had a part in reconstructing the space had thought the cells were small bedrooms right up until the moment I added the bars instead of a wall. Seeing how many people had 'rooms' for migrants -- with or without papers -- it was a natural mistake. Some of the men had been plotting on killing me and using the place as a way station for their own nefarious slaving trade -- which was unknown to them the real reason I'd actually selected them to help me -- but alas I didn't give them time to launch their own dark plans before draining them dry. I loved the irony that they'd enslaved so many over their careers and their greed to have just one more big score led to their own demise.
Once inside their respective cells they found their voices despite their current dilemma -- really not the sharpest of tools in the shed, but they amused the hell outta me -- their words weren't carefully thought out, but they weren't used to losing. The wild pack mentality gave them a false sense of security that up until tonight had served them well. Most women when confronted by a slew of menacing men cowered, ran or simply gave into their demands. Gee, guess I would just have to re-educate them one by one if need be. I had some major anger issues to burn off and they so sweetly volunteered for my end of life lessons.
"Fucking bitch. What the hell's wrong with you? Our friends are going to fuck you up every which way." William spit out while looking angrily at me from behind the bars he was clenching while sticking his face in between them like a B-grade actor in a bad prison movie. You know the movies where most of the players ended up spectacularly slaughtered by the hero while righting the wrongs of a bent judge and false imprisonment solved in ninety minutes or less unlike the real world. His belief in his buddies amused me but his whiny tone was starting to wear on me.
Pauly wasn't going to let William get all the threats in said, "Yeah, bitch. This is going to be your personal nightmare. Once Fred finds us, we will have you begging for us to kill you." His face took on an evil, nasty look then he snarled, "And I will personally make you hurt and beg me to stop. I won't stop but I promise to laugh in your fucking face."
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