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Vampire Murders Part 12

Vampire Murders Part 12

The detective team gains a new member and the victims are identified.

Slade drove to his office and entered the basement of the building looking for the Coroner's office. As he walked, he mentally questioned, why do they place them in the darkest place of the building. It was so tough to bring next of kin or other people down here. He turned a corner and the light was so bright, he squinted until his eyes adjusted. He arrived at the offices and walked in where the intern sat at her desk. She was on the phone, as he entered her office. Her nameplate read Eranthe. Slade thought what an unusual name.

"Hello Eranthe. I got your voice mail about more results that you found for my six cases." Slade greeted her.

"You can call me 'Eran'. It is a lot easier. Yes, I have results and three more names for you." She smiled at him.

Slade wanted the data, but was curious about her name. It was unusual but a very pretty name for a woman. "What kind of a name is Eranthe and what does it mean?" He asked.

"The name Eranthe is of Greek origin. It means 'A flower of spring'. Thank you for asking. It is so refreshing, having someone ask about it." She volunteered.

"Yes, I have a lot of data for you about your six cases. Here is some lab results, which were interesting, but not significant. Each victim had the same last meal. There were no drugs or alcohol in their systems. Their muscles had high levels of lactic acid, meaning they had been running or performed some high level of physical activity before death. The cause of death was the same in all six cases, 'Quick loss of blood.' They had several sexual partners as well before death. We have DNA profiles of five different male partners in each case and they all match in each victim." Eran read from her report.

"Wow that is a lot of new data that gives us some things to examine. That is great news, thank you very much." Slade cheerfully replied.

"There is more. I have names for victims one, four and five. Victim one was Marilyn Stone, victim four was Cheryl Johnson and victim five was Tiffany Washington. Now we have all the victims' names and can develop histories and time lines prior to their deaths." Eran read from another report. "Can I ask a work question?"

"Sure, what do you need to know?" Slade replied.

"My internship here ends this week and I want to continue on this case. Can I transfer into your group while Connie is out for medical leave? I still have several weeks left before I have to go back to school." She asked.

"You have been very helpful and very complete on your data gathering. I could use your help. I will ask my boss, but I cannot promise anything. I will head upstairs now. Come up in an hour and I will let you know." Slade told her.

"OK, see you in an hour." She replied with excitement.

Slade left the office happy, walked swiftly to the stairs and took them three at a time to the third floor squad room. He entered the squad room, which was abuzz with noise and activity. Something big happened, but he was not part of it. The captain's office door hung open with the captain at his desk talking on the phone. Slade entered and the captain waved him to sit. He sat quietly waiting for the call to end.

"What is on your mind Slade?" The captain asked.

Slade spoke haltingly, "Captain, with Connie sidelined, I need help cataloging and researching data for my murders and Connie's 'accident'. There is an intern in the Coroner's office whose time is up. She has helped me a lot identifying the victims and gathering data. I would like to get her up here with me, please."

The captain turned in his chair, looked out the window over the squad room, stroked his chin and turned back to Slade. He spoke softly, "OK, I have some funds available to pay her what she made downstairs. Bring her up and she can use Connie's desk and computer until she returns. What is her name?"

Slade perked up smiling, "Her name is Eranthe, 'Eran' for short. I told her to be up here in an hour. I will try to keep her in the squad room, but she might be a good set of eyes in the field. Thank you, Captain." He stood up and walked briskly out of the office to his desk.

Eran walked into the squad room an hour later, Slade stood at his desk and met her inside the door. He took her to meet the captain and showed her where things were on the floor. He put her at Connie's desk. She adjusted the chair and reset the computer the way she liked. In a very few minutes, she moved in and logged into the network. She printed out four copies of the data she read to Slade earlier. He taught her the method used to maintain the chain of evidence for the later trial. He walked her through the squad filing system. He took her to the Evidence Locker and set her up as an authorized user, allowing her to check-in and checkout case evidence.

When they returned to the squad room, Slade opened the conference room. He showed Eran all the accumulated evidence, reports, photographs and DVDs. He explained how he reviews it and condenses it down to a single page. Now with all the names, he was able to have Eran gather more information about the victims and build biographical data packets. The investigation required creating a timeline of activity for each of the victims. Eran had that as her primary task. The three female students' timelines were easy. She gathered their class schedules, their dorm room stuff and records of phone calls and texts. There was a plethora of data on their three lives. The other three victims were a big mystery. Not much was available about them. Eran liked the challenge of digging through their lives. She sat at Connie's desk with her fingers dancing across the keyboard and data flying by on the screen in front of her. In less than an hour, she narrowed down where the victims were born and how they came to be in the city. Now it was time to pull together their lives while in the city.

Slade checked his messages and found one from Leona wanting to spend time with him again. He was not sure if he should go visit during his shift or wait until after work. He called Eran into the conference room.

"You are aware of the case we are pursuing and that some of the possible criminals are vampires. Would you like to meet some vampires? If you are going to work with me in the field, your work hours will have to change. We work the mid-shift every day. We work that way to allow us to interact with vampires. Can you work that shift?" Slade asked Eran.

Eran replied, "I will be glad to work the mid-shift and interact with vampires. They do not scare me. Is there a chance to meet a vampire soon?"

"A request for a meeting with one vampire came through earlier today. I will call her when it gets dark and find out what she wants. Maybe you can follow me and meet her." Slade told her.

Slade and Eran worked the rest of the afternoon cataloging and charting the data she collected. Eran worked quickly and quietly which made Slade pleased. When the sun faded from view, he picked up the conference room and put all the evidence in the case lockbox. He took Eran out for some dinner and got to know her better. She was an only child studying criminology and was in her final year of college. She hoped to get a position in the local Crime Scene Investigation Unit. She felt her intern time helped narrow down her choices. Right now doing investigative work fascinated her, because she used her computer skills and got to work with detectives. They left dinner and drove back to the squad room, where Eran grabbed her stuff and went to her car. She followed Slade to The Main Artery and parked next to him in the club lot. A growing blanket of fog moved in covering the lights and made driving and walking difficult.

They entered the club with no problem and walked to the VIP section where Leona and Gustaf waited. Slade introduced Eranthe and they sat down with Slade sitting next to Leona who immediately took his hand. Eran noticed the gesture but said nothing.

"Eran found the identities of the last three murder victims and some other interesting data on all the victims. We are gathering it all together and building a strong case against the vampires and the human gang members." Slade said proudly.

"That sounds good." Gustaf replied. "Are you any closer to finding them?"

"We are suspicious that they were warned by someone before we raided the building." Slade informed them. "We need to go through the warehouse in more detail to be sure."

"Is there anything we can do to help you?" Gustaf asked.

"Not for the warehouse, but can you keep your eyes and ears open for information about the vampires?" Slade asked Gustaf.

"We will be very happy to help any way we can, detective Slade." Gustaf replied.

Slade looked at his watch and noticed it was close to quitting time. He looked over at Eran and said, "Time to quit for the night. You can go home. I am going to stay for a little while." Eran rose, said goodnight and left the club.

Leona relaxed, sighed, smiled at Slade and laid her head on his shoulder. Slade sensed there was something wrong. He felt Leona trembling inside her body, but not on the surface. That was very unusual, but he passed it off, as being nervous about meeting Eran.

Eran walked through the club, observed the patrons and stopped by the bar to watch the performers dancing in the spotlights. How lithe, flexible and beautiful they seemed, as the music set the beat and their bodies moved with it. She watched for only a few minutes, before she got extremely relaxed and wanted to stay. When the performance ended, she walked out of the club towards where she parked next to Slade.

She walked slowly down the alley wrapping her coat tightly around her. The alley was deathly quiet, cold and damp. A heavy fog, almost a mist rolled in off the rivers and blanketed the city. Eran looked nervously around her, as she walked. With the mist came a deeper darkness, shrouded in mystery and a strong feeling of dread combined with fear. She pulled the collar of her coat up around her head, limiting her ability to see all around her. She clutched her purse closely to her body trying to stay warm. She missed the tall dark figure, which emerged from the shadows, as she passed. He followed her at a discrete distance, hugging the shadows in case she turned around.

Eran entered the poorly lit parking lot. The mist here was heavier and blocked the light. Each lamppost appeared as a glowing orb in the mist shedding no light downward to the ground. The mist deadened the sound and she failed to hear the idling truck nearby. A lone figure sat quietly watching, as she walked by to her car. The tall figure following her knew which car she searched for in the mist. He waited for her approach and planned his moves. He moved stealthy nearer into the row where she stood.

Eran fumbled with her purse, as she tried to keep her coat tightly around her and retrieved her keys. She reached for the lock to insert her key, as a hand came around her mouth and held her closely against a tight strong body. Fear welled up in her mind, as she struggled against the strong arms cradling her. The more she struggled, the arms grew tighter squeezing the breath from her air-starved lungs. Her purse and keys fell from her grasp, as she weakened from the fruitless struggle. A whistle sounded from the man, who held Eran, signaling the truck to move closer. The truck drove slowly to the man trying not to attract too much attention. As the red pickup truck stopped, the driver opened the passenger door and the tall man picked up Eran as if she were a doll and gently tossed her into the truck. A torn piece of paper fell from the tall man's jacket, as he climbed into the truck, grabbed Eran and held her tightly. The truck drove slowly down the row and out into the dark night.

When Eran left, Leona asked about her. She was worried that she might lose Slade to this young eager woman. To Leona, she appeared as a challenge to her pulchritude. Eran was average height, red hair hanging straight to her shoulders, a petite but curvy figure and a bubbling personality. A tinge of jealously crossed her mind, as she thought about Eran. She needed Slade and no other woman alive or undead could have him. She silently wished that Eran would disappear.

Slade and Leona sat watching the dancers, drank a little bit and sparred with quips and pokes. They relaxed and felt comfortable in public showing their affection for each other. Gustaf left the VIP section with Sam to conduct some business earlier. The lights around them dimmed, as the dancers started again. Leona leaned into Slade and nipped his ear as she whispered, "I want to get away from here tonight. Can we get some tea and return to my sleep chamber?"

Slade looked into her eyes and whispered back, "Anything you desire, my sweet woman of the night."

Leona stood so quickly, Slade gasped at the speed. She helped him up into her arms and softly brushed his lips with a kiss. She led him to her area in the back of the club, where she had some of her clothes stored. She changed out of her work clothes into a filmy transparent micro mini dress, as Slade watched. She loved letting Slade see her toned tight body and tried to dress for him each night. Slade liked what he saw and knew it would be a long and active night to come. Leona gave Slade her coat and he held it for her, as she slid into it. She turned out the lights, hugged Slade and walked to the front door of the club. Slade fell in beside her, wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close as she rested her head on him. They exited the club, stopped to pull up their collars as the mist started to fall as light rain. In spite of the weather, they walked slowly to Slade's car. It was two hours after Eran left the club and Leona forgot about her completely. With the mist turning to a light rain, the parking lot lights blanketed the area with a soft light, highlighted by deep dark shadows.

Slade turned Leona to her side of his car. Leona walked ahead and nearly tripped on the purse on the ground. The keys jingled, when Leona's foot moved them. Slade looked down, recognized the purse and looked at the car beside him. It was Eran's car and it was empty and locked. The keys and purse on the ground meant something happened to Eran. Slade immediately turned detective and called the captain. He reported that he suspected Eran became the victim of foul play. He told the captain, he would wait at the scene for officers to arrive. Leona huddled close to him as he made his report over the phone. The sound of sirens approaching, echoed in the distance. Slade moved away from the two cars, held Leona against him and waited. Soon two police cars entered the lot and pulled up to Slade and Leona. Four officers got out, covered the perimeter of the area with yellow tape to prevent crime scene contamination and started to interview Slade and Leona.

Slade picked up the piece of paper from the ground and stuffed it in his pocket. He forgot about it, until after the interviews ended. There was not much to learn about the abduction. There were no signs of a struggle and nothing taken from the purse. Unlike other areas of the city, there were no video cameras monitoring the parking lot. If there was video, it would be near useless due to the weather. Slade felt guilty about the abduction. He should have walked Eran to her car and made sure she was on her way home. He blamed himself, kicked the tire of his car in anger and wanted to hurt someone badly. Leona looked on in shock. She never saw Slade this angry before and stayed away from him, until he calmed down. Slade walked around the parking lot muttering and slowly calmed, becoming human again. He walked to Leona, grabbed both her hands and looked deeply into her eyes.

The CSU people packed up their gear, the purse and keys ended up in evidence bags and everything removed to allow use of the area again. Slade said goodbye to the fellow officers and went to Leona. He asked if she still wanted tea and she responded yes. He helped her into his car and drove to their favorite place Cafe Rendezvous. When they sat, Slade felt the wet paper in his pocket, pulled it out and read it. He looked startled, looked at Leona and smiled broadly. He showed Leona the note and she gasped. He now knew who had Eran and why they took her. Leona looked at Slade with a questioning face as if to ask what he would do next. Slade did not know, but it became more urgent to find the missing vampires and their human gang members. Leona grabbed his hand, looked into his eyes and saw blankness there, as if he were deep in thought. Slade finally had the evidence he needed to get Eran back and maybe close the six murder cases.

Slade thought of many questions. Why did they kidnap Eran? Who helped them evade capture? Where are they hiding? Why can't we find them? He hoped to have the answers to these and many more questions soon.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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