This story is by Alexandra Aloia and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I was dreaming about a vacation. A beach vacation. Suddenly, my phone rang and reminded me of all the crime and vamps that bound me to this sweaty, hot city.
It was my partner, Jason Morello.
“What do you want, Jason? It’s 2 AM.”
“Jeanette, come quick – another body. Got a witness. Some junkie. Thinks she knows where the vamp went. Some of the guys are patrolling now looking for him.”
“Ok,” I said, grabbing my keys and putting my coat on. I stretched my neck and shoulders, had a crick in my neck all day. “On my way. Should be there in ten.”
Guess that vacation will have to wait.
All the vampires hung out in dark, tattered parts of the city. Especially where the junkies were. Easy meals; obscured vision.
Jason stood in an area of 112th street and 5th Avenue that had been cordoned off by police tape. I saw a body, slumped over next to one of the bins. It was a male, white, approximately 35 years old.
“Hey, Jeanette.” Jason waved.
“Hey. What do we have?”
“Same as the last two. Vic is a junkie. Puncture marks on the neck; extreme blood loss.”
There had been a massive vampire epidemic in the city this last year. Usually, we could keep the population under control, but they were multiplying like goddamn rabbits. Didn’t know why – Center for Disease Control was on that – but it was our job – NYPD’s job – to contain this situation. It was getting harder. On any given day, I was eyeing up a minimum of three corpses. Didn’t have to be a junkie. Could be anyone. Cops seemed to be especially vulnerable due to the proximity with the vamps. We were trained to treat each other like we’d treat any other vamp. Had to. One of us needed to be killed, we did it.
Naturally, these days, we all stared at each other with fear, one hand ready on the gun at all times.
“Check out those bite marks.” Jason said.
I walked closer and studied the victim’s body. He was gaunt. Track marks up and down the arm.
Clear bite marks. Two perfect little holes like mini cigarette burns.
“What’s the M.E. say?” I asked.
“Doesn’t know yet. Got to do a tox screen and autopsy.”
“Anyone call the Captain yet?” I said, referencing my father, Captain Corey Tanner, in charge of the 10th precinct – my precinct.
“No,” Jason said. “No one could get him on the cell.”
Shit. Where was he?
“Let’s talk to the witness.”
Jason and I walked over to the patrol car. She was a young, anorexic looking thing – matted and discarded, like all the poor souls out here. She was smoking a cigarette nervously, grateful for every inhale.
“Coral, this is my partner, Detective Tanner. Can you tell her what you saw tonight?”
“Look, it’s like I told the other guy – I was in the alley getting a..fix. I was pretty messed up. The dead guy, I’ve seen him around before.” She paused and inhaled her cigarette. “So, I was laying against the wall, opposite the dead guy, I was hidden by some trash bins, you know? And this guy came out…looked like he was older, around 60 maybe. Had an anchor tattoo on his arm. Tall. Black hair. Trench coat. At first, I thought he was a cop or something…but all of a sudden, I heard a scream, so I turned and saw the big guy struggling with the dead guy…biting his neck …it was horrible.” She shuddered. “Then he ran away. He didn’t see me, thank god, or I’d be dead.”
My stomach lurched. Jason and I stared at each other in horror. This couldn’t be real. Potential cop? Anchor tattoo? Trench coat? She was describing my father. Could that be the case? Could he have been turned? It was possible. Anything was.
“He ran that way-” she pointed in the direction of Central Park.
“You saw him run in there?” I demanded.
The radio on my belt crackled.
“Come, in, come in, need back up, suspect running up Central Park and 112th street, copy.”
That was one block from us.
“Morello you stay with her – I’ll go!”
I didn’t wait. I ran. I ran as fast as I could up 112th, toward Central Park.
I heard shots fired and ran in their direction. In front of me, approximately 50 feet, running with his gun out was my father. Tall, black hair, trench coat. Blood.
“STOP!” I yelled, cocking my Glock, at the top of my lungs. “You know the protocol! Don’t move!”
“Jeanette?” My father yelled back, looking confused. “It’s me!”
He began running up the street toward me. I kept my gun up. He had blood all over.
“FREEZE!” I said.
“Jeanette what the hell? You’re wasting time…”
But he just kept coming. Blood on his face, blood on his clothes…
I pulled the trigger. He went down.
In shock, I ran to him. I’d gotten him in the leg. I began to rip a piece of my shirt off as a tourniquet.
“Jeanette, you don’t understand…” he sputtered. “I tried to save you, I tried…”
“What are you talking about??” I said. “Dad??”
“Jeanette?!” Morello screamed behind me. I turned. He stood with his gun pointed up.
“Jeanette…back away from the body…slowly.”
“Jason what the hell are you talking about? Just call 911!”
“MOVE, JEANETTE!” Two shots rang out.
The first bullet put a hole in my father’s forehead. The second bullet put a hole in my stomach, the purpose of which I only comprehended a moment later as I felt two throbbing marks at my jugular pulse with blood.