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Vampire Murders Part 14

Vampire Murders Part 14

Leona and Andrei are missing. Eran, Connie and Slade look at the case. The search for Leona starts.

The Step Van with the sleeping vampires cruised through the city to another area away from the warehouse district. It left the city behind and entered the suburbs, where very large estates dotted the landscape. The truck entered an estate surrounded by a high wall made of stone along the front and natural barriers around the rest. Built into the natural barriers was a very high chain link steel fence. Cameras scanned the whole area recording and watching for trespassers. They also kept the occupants locked in the estate.

The truck entered the estate slowly and drove around to the back of the main building. There was a small loading dock there, which the truck backed up to after opening its back doors. The loading dock allowed the coffins to roll easily onto a platform, which descended to the basement of the house. When the platform stopped, the coffins rolled off into another room that was dark and void of any decoration. The site chosen for this estate was on a very deep bed of rock to provide a stable base and the chambers carved there for special 'guests.' The rooms resembled dungeons carved from the bedrock and blocked off from the rest of the estate. Special platforms sat waiting for the two new coffins. The men carried the coffins and carefully placed them on the platforms. They left the room, closed the heavy oak door and locked it tightly. The men said nothing, quietly ascended, returned to the truck and left the estate. The two new residents slept soundly as if they were dead, which they were.

The dungeon had no visitors, not even a solitary rat visited the isolated place. The room shut off the occupants from night and day. No sound penetrated down to tell them it was night or day. The other cells contained more coffins, but the doors were unlocked and open. The cameras suspended from the ceiling scanned every inch of the area transmitting any movement to the house above. When something moved, an alarm sounded and the staff sprang into action. They stepped up patrols near the entrance and made sure no one entered or left the estate without authorization.

Although the estate looked new, it was very old. The founding family of the city built it as a showplace of their wealth and prosperity. Over the years, it underwent several changes as the family grew. In fact, some of the original founding family still resided there. As time went on, the building changed inside to contain modern features, such as running hot and cold water, electricity, natural gas, telephone, cable television and finally computers with Internet connections. The grand and glorious parties diminished in number as the human family members died or moved away. Currently only the staff was human and they never left either.

Slade woke around noon, showered and ate a hearty breakfast. He anticipated a busy day with Eran and wanted to have enough energy for his activity with Leona, later after hours. He sat watching the news, pleased that there was no mention of the kidnapping and rescue of Eran. He picked up his cell phone, pushed the speed dial number for Eran. When it connected, Eran answered, before the first ring ended.

"Good afternoon detective Slade." She answered cheerfully. She really wanted to say 'My hero' but squelched it. "What is going on?"

"Not much, just checking on my new partner." He replied warily. "How are you doing today?"

"I am raring to get back to work and get the vampires who kidnapped me." She replied excitedly.

"See you at the office then." Slade closed and hung up his phone. He whistled a happy tune as he went about getting ready for work. Before he left, he placed a call to The Main Artery and left a message for Leona to call him back.

Slade left his apartment, drove to the hospital and walked into Connie's room. The officer on duty inside excused herself and went to get some coffee, while he visited. When the officer left, Slade moved closer to the bed and took Connie's free hand. As he held it, Connie squeezed it tight and pulled him to the bed. She made him bend down, planted a kiss on his lips and giggled afterward. Slade looked at her and smiled. The partnership still bloomed with more than just work. After the kiss, Slade sat on her bed holding her hand and stroking her face. She smiled brightly and hugged his arm. He slowly filled her in on all the data collected by Eran.

"Can we get her to come in and see me?" Connie asked.

"I can bring her by later if you are up to it." Slade replied.

Connie shook her head in response. She really wanted to meet the young woman who was so resourceful and gathered all this data. She wondered if Eran would replace her on the team. She had a few weeks left to recuperate before she returned to limited duty.

They talked about the case for another forty-five minutes, before Slade had to report for duty. Connie was happy with the progress on the case and not surprised that the vampires eluded capture so easily. They talked about what they needed to know about the now six identified women. The requirements were simple and Eran should gather the data quickly and have it organized in a week. Connie asked if Slade would bring the data by so she could keep up with the case. She itched to get her hands into the case again. Lying in bed drove her crazy with nothing to occupy her mind. Helping on the case freed her mind to work on something worthwhile and the case needed her eyes and insight. Slade agreed with her about bringing the case notes to her room. He had to remain with them though as she worked on them. They were his property and if he lost them, his job was lost with them.

When Slade returned to his office, he walked by Eran and asked her to join him in the conference room. When she arrived, she sat down and placed what she found on the table in front of her. She gathered a lot more information about the six victims. The case garnered a lot more attention. The data piled up and a case against the vampires grew more solid every day.

"I visited Connie this morning and she would like to meet you and go over some of the notes we have done since she was hurt. Do you want to go with me now to meet her and review what we have?" Slade inquired of Eran.

Eran perked up and replied, "Yes, I want very much to meet your partner. I know I could never fill her shoes, but I want to meet her."

"OK, we can put all this away in the lockbox and take it with us to visit Connie." Slade said. He closed up the box, locked it and carried it out to his desk.

Eran and Slade got to the hospital without incident. They walked into Connie's room and dismissed the police officer guarding her. The introduction went smoothly and Eran set up her laptop computer to take notes. The internal hospital Wi-Fi system allowed her to connect to her account at the police computer system. The banter between the three people got moving fast as Connie looked at the data and asked many questions about different approaches. Eran got a real appreciation of why Connie and Slade made a good team. After two hours of reading and talking about the case, Connie got tired and asked them to leave so she could get some rest. Slade packed up the data again and Eran logged out of her computer and packed it up. They drove back to the station, sat at their desks looking at the computer notes and decided to set back up in the conference room to recap and condense the findings. Eran had plenty of things to do until the end of shift. Slade planned to go to The Main Artery to talk more with Leona.

Before Slade left the station to go visit with Leona, he called her number at the club. There was no answer, but it went to voicemail directly. He left a message and called the club directly. The bartender answered and told Slade she was not there yet. He thought that was strange and asked if Gustaf was there. Gustaf was there and came to the phone to speak with Slade.

"Detective Slade, how may I help you?" Gustaf said.

"Have you seen or heard from Leona tonight? I left her a message earlier but she has not replied and I worry that something happened to her." Slade replied. "I will be there in thirty minutes. Please check for her and tell me what happened when I get there."

Gustaf tried Leona's phone and got no answer. He tried the warehouse where she slept and got no answer there either. He talked to Sam and sent him to the warehouse to get Leona and bring her to the club. Sam drove to the warehouse, entered it and entered Leona's room. Nothing looked disturbed, but her coffin was gone. He went to the next room, where Andrei slept and it was empty too. He went to the small control room, where the electronics were, that monitored the building. He removed the DVD in the recorder and called Gustaf.

"They are not here. Their coffins are gone too. It looks as if someone came in during the day and stole the two vampires. I have the DVD from the security system. I am on my way back to the club now." Sam told him.

"Good job. We need to find them fast." Gustaf replied. "We will make a copy here for the police and give it to detective Slade when he arrives."

"I checked the other rooms here and nothing was amiss. Only Leona and Andrei are missing. It is really strange. Whoever took them had the codes to open the door. It is unusual and organized." Sam added.

Sam returned to the Main Artery with the DVD and gave it to Gustaf. Once they made a copy for the police, they reviewed the footage from earlier in the day. As they scanned, they watched the big black step van back into the warehouse. The men alighted from the truck, moved two coffins into the truck and drove out of the place in less than ten minutes. Gustaf backed up the footage and stopped it when the truck backed in initially. He selected a frame, which showed the back of the truck and focused on the license plate. He blew it up and wrote down the plate number for Slade. He hoped the plate was valid and not stolen. It was not one of the step vans owned by TMA Ltd.

Slade arrived outside the Main Artery and walked briskly down the alley into the club without slowing. He walked into Gustaf's office where Sam and Gustaf looked at the remaining footage. Nothing else happened after the truck left until Sam entered. They handed the plate number to Slade, who called Eran with it to trace the ownership of the truck.

Slade turned to Gustaf and said, "We should have the information we need shortly. My new assistant is very efficient and thorough." He looked around and continued. "We may be looking at stolen plates or another dead end with a shell company."

"I hope we get a break. I see no reason to kidnap Leona and Andrei. This whole Vampire Murder series, the kidnapping of a police officer, Leona and Andrei has pushed this too far. I want to get it solved and the people or vampires behind it punished." Gustaf spoke pleadingly.

Before Slade could respond, his phone rang. It was Eran with the trace on the plate number. The owner of the truck was a private delivery company with offices down the street from the Main Artery. Slade had Eran try to call the company, but its offices closed at 5:30 pm. Gustaf frowned, when he heard the business hours of the firm. He wanted to confront the owner personally, but that would never happen. Slade vowed to go there the next day and find out from the owner who used his truck.

Slade asked, "Who knew Leona and Andrei slept in that warehouse since the bomb blast?"

"Only Sam and I knew, where Leona slept, if she was not here." Gustaf meekly replied.

"I knew too. In fact, it was the only place, I knew she slept." Slade told him. "Can Sam and you ask around if anyone else knew where she slept?"

"We will try to find out if anyone else knew." Sam replied strongly.

"Why don't we take a walk detective?" Gustaf asked. "I want to check out this company tonight. We can walk down there and look around at the offices from the outside."

"As long as we stay outside, it will be all right." Slade said. "I cannot be involved in a break-in. In fact, maybe I should go back to my office. Sam and you go investigate."

"That sounds good detective. Have a good night." Sam said.

Slade left the club, walked to his car but did not leave. He waited and watched the alley to see who came out. In less than fifteen minutes, three men came out of the alley, turned down the street and walked to the transport company. At this point, Slade left to go back to work. He wanted to stay, but knew that if he did, he might have to arrest someone. Beside, Eran needed to see him back at the squad room. His drive back seemed longer than normal, due to Leona missing and the mysterious truck that took her away while she slept.

He arrived back at the squad room and found Eran in the conference room collating more data on the victims and the kidnappings. A lot of data accumulated, but never enough to warrant an arrest or conviction. Somewhere there was a 'smoking gun' waiting discovery.

Eran looked up as Slade entered the conference room and smiled. "Welcome back. How are things at the Main Artery?"

"Gustaf sent three thugs to the moving company to scout the place. I left because I suspect they may break in and search it. I can't be a party to that without a warrant." Slade replied cautiously.

Eran stood and walked to Slade and took his hand. She led him to a sheaf of paper, which he took and read. It listed the owner of the truck, the company owner and his home address. Eran had done some more digging and printed a Google map photo of the owner's home. It was a rather large estate surrounded by a tree barrier and a tall stonewall along the front with tall iron gates. It certainly looked well fortified.

Eran pointed at the photograph, "This may be where they took Leona and Andrei. It has been there for about 200 years and owned by the same family. Rumor has it that the house used to have lavish parties, but the family moved away or died. The people living there are never seen during the day so it could be a good place to hide two more vampires."

"It may be worth a look, but until we get more proof it stays untouched. Right now, the evidence we have is not enough to get a warrant. Until we get more concrete proof we sit tight." Slade told her.

"Ok, detective." Eran sadly replied. "I liked Leona and do not want to see her hurt like this."

Slade's phone rang loudly in the quiet conference room. It was Gustaf calling back. Slade answered it reluctantly, "Hello Gustaf. Did you go to the trucking company?"

"I sent three men over there to scout out the building and environs. The truck used in the kidnapping sat empty in a lot behind the place. It was cleaned up and ready for tomorrows deliveries." Gustaf replied.

"Did your men enter the building?" Slade inquired.

"They found an unlocked door at the rear of the building and entered it. There were crates piled up in what looked like a loading area for deliveries. Nothing of interest found there. The offices were inaccessible. The doors were locked and the men knew that to pry the doors would alert the owner to a break-in." Gustaf said almost apologetically. "I leave it up to you to find out who requested the pick-up and delivery tomorrow. Did you find anything out?"

"Yes, we did. Eran traced the ownership of the business to a single family who has been here for many generations. They were one of the founding families of the area and well respected. I suspect they know you and Leona and maybe Andrei too." Slade slowly said.

"Oh, what makes you say that?" Gustaf asked.

"This family started out growing larger, but lately most of the family has died off or moved away. The current owners only appear at night and remain very reclusive. They used to give lavish parties, but those stopped about the time you arrived here." Slade injected

"Hmm, that is very interesting. There was one family of vampires, who ran the city when we arrived, but they disappeared shortly thereafter, as if they left town. They did own a transport business and kept it functioning. I wonder if they are still living around here and hold a grudge with me. They might try to get back control of the city from me. It is worth checking out." Gustaf speculated.

Slade warned, "Don't go doing anything rash. We need to proceed with caution here, if they have Leona and Andrei. They may still have a lot of power here politically. We need to tread carefully, please."

"OK, detective. I leave it in your capable hands for now. Good night and thank Eran for her able assistance." Gustaf closed and hung up.

Slade folded his phone, looked over at Eran and started putting all the papers, pictures and DVDs away. He turned to Eran and said, "It is close to quitting time. Would you like a cup of coffee and a donut at the local cop hangout?"

Eran perked up and said, "I would love that detective."

Slade put the box in its storage area doubly locked away. He escorted Eran to his car and they drove to DD's. When they got there, only two stools were empty. Eran and Slade took them and the jibes began immediately at Slade. He stood, looked at the group and introduced Eran to everyone. They welcomed her as a fellow cop and made her feel comfortable. Small talk and jokes followed from the group. Eran sat there, watched the cops relax and liked what she saw. To her it felt good being a part of this group of people. This was far better than working in the bowels of police headquarters isolated from everything else. This was the life, she wanted.

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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