HEART OF A KILLER - CHAPTER FOUR
Was it electricity, fear, adrenaline, apprehension, or anticipation that filled Lena's essence as she moved through the substance of the pavement on her way to meet her challenge? Physical combat was eminent. She had not felt such a surge of energy since she literally fought her way to earn her wings to be qualified as an FBI agent. Andrew Smith had her fight the top twenty martial artists in the world all at the same time. He figured, since she had twenty times the strength and speed of any mortal woman of her height and weight, she had the potential to beat twenty people simultaneously. He gave her the skills and the knowledge to use them. It was up to her to pull off the feat. When all was said and done, it took Lena three fights to accomplish the goal. If anything, she came out of the ordeal with greater confidence in herself than ever before. Lena felt that confidence emerge within her now as she passed through the substance of the pavement and rose up into the night's air in the form of vapor that transformed into her native human shape.
The slender figure of a woman with long flowing blond hair facing the church was what Lena first saw from a rearview as the government agent appeared a few yards behind the person. The other vampire sensed Lena and turned in her direction. Lena had her arms folded as she faced this lady. "Hi," Lena said calmly. "I'm right here! You didn't need to threaten me with carnage. I'd still face you woman to woman. My name's Lena, Dr. Lena Banks. What's yours?"
"Don't give me that shit, BITCH," the other vampire exclaimed with pulse pounding rage. "You're getting off on the wrong foot with me already . . . keeping my dinner from me. I want it back!"
"Your dinner," Lena echoed with raised brows walking towards the other vampire. "He's a human being. We were both human once. Have you forgotten?"
"Humans have always been vital to everyone," the other vampire exclaimed. "I'm proud that I'm something better. They can hunt us all they want. It is the vampire who shall have the last bite."
"Agreed," Lena replied. "But, it's a shame that we have to live in the shadows of society. Wouldn't it be nice to live side by side with them and work together to build a better world?"
"You're nothing more than a bleeding hearted fool," the other vampire bellowed. "I'll do you a favor and rip your heart out and feed it to those blasted mortal pets of yours."
"How can so much hate be inside of one individual?"
"Honey," the vampire raged. "When you've been hunted by mortals for six hundred years and always called a 'monster', you'll learn to look out for number one."
"Okay," Lena replied. "I can see where you're coming from. But, times are different now. People are more educated. Some of us are better educated as well. We are better equipped to understand each other. If they can get to know us as a people that mean them no harm, the violence can end."
"That's not going to happen. We're the damned! Haven't you figured it out yet? They're our natural food source. We're their monsters. That's the natural order of selection. It's either kill or be killed. I want my supper. You stuck it in that building. Get it out. I can't even call it out anymore. What did you do to my food, bitch?"
"If you're really starving, let's go to the local hospital. I'll look the other way if you take some of the plasma bags from the blood bank. You take another mortal life, and you'll answer to me. There's a woman vampire taking mortal lives in this town. She can't be too bright to leave such a trail of bodies in her path. She's gonna lead the authorities straight to her."
"And what will they do if they catch her?" The other vampire asked. "Arrest her? Stake her? Wait until sunrise to stake her or cremate her body? Tell me, honey. Do you know what will happen if they try?"
"They'll commit suicide," Lena replied, "or worse genocide. Never are we more dangerous then when we seem the most vulnerable. If our bodies are destroyed during the day, the demon that is soul mate to our spirits rises up to unleash the wrath of Hell upon the world of mortals."
"Very good," the other vampire said nodding. "You're not a total fool. You've done your homework. So, what do I have to lose? Let them try to take me."
"Then, it's you," Lena said amazed by the revelation. "You're the serial killer? Who are you?"
"All right, honey," the vampire said. "The name's Donna Tella. And you've got something that I want. What is that strange color doing around you. Wait a second . . . are you really one of us?"
"You mean my purple aura?" Lena asked.
"Yes," Donna replied. "Wait! You haven't made your first kill yet, have you? The glow of innocence is upon you."
"That's right," Lena replied. "There's always another way. Murder is never the answer."
"Then you couldn't have accepted the master as your everything. You still give your allegiance to the mortal's god?"
"God is god over everything. He's always been my God. To accept the devil is to be doomed by evil. Violent people only end up destroying themselves."
"Really," Donna remarked. "We'll see about that, you little bitch. I'll bring out the vampire in you."
Donna burst into a thick haze of smoke, from which a bat emerged and flew pass Lena to across the road from the church. Lena kept her eyes on the creature. The bat reshaped into Donna. She picked up a loaded garbage can and levitated herself back to the front of the church. Lena placed herself strategically between Donna and the church.
"You've got a choice," Donna told her. "Get out of my way. Or, I'll beat the shit out of you."
"You've got three choices," Lena retorted. "We can go to that blood bank. Or, you can put that garbage can down and we'll talk. Or, I'll kick your butt all over town."
Donna was not about to yield to a test of wills. She threw the can at Lena. Lena deflected the container with a swift blow from her foot that left a deep dent. The metal container was propelled like a projectile that shot through the air and landed in the front yard of someone's house a long way down the road. Garbage scattered all over the lawn from the fallen receptacle. Donna looked amazed. That was quiet a kick, even for a vampire. Lena got into a martial arts stance. She gave Donna a grave look of determination. Donna had seen it before. The elder had hoped to find fear in the eyes of this youngster. But, no matter, there was other ways to deal with her.
"Stay away from my parish," Lena warned. "I'm not going to tell you twice!"
"Your parish," Donna echoed. "Honey, before I'm done with you, I'll have you watch that place burn to the ground before I trap you in Hell forever."
"You poor depraved person," Lena replied. "If you were mortal, I'd have you committed to a padded room. You need help. It's a shame that mortal medication can't help you."
Blind rage overwhelmed Donna as she charged at Lena. Both vampires moved at the velocity of speeding cars at each other. The impact was devastating to Donna. Lena jumped, drilled both of her shoe heels into Donna's chest with a single slam, and somersaulted away. Lena flipped back to her feet with the ease of reflex. She turned to see how Donna faired. The elder vampire fell to the ground badly wounded. Her chest was bleeding. She held onto herself dazed with pain. Lena knew the injuries were only temporary. Lena's counterattack served as a warning to Donna that this lass was not to be taken lightly. She moved in and stationed herself besides Donna. Lena waited for Donna's body to reform itself. She pulled out her badge and ID and showed it to Donna.
"I'm an FBI agent," Lena informed Donna. "And I will uphold the law even with you. Vampires are not above the law."
Donna took a swing at Lena. She blocked Donna's arm and countered with a palm punch to her kidney that took the wind out of her. Donna breathed rapidly to regain her air. Lena was not getting off lucky shots. She fought like a professional. Donna noticed that Lena eased back after gaining the advantage.
Lena did not move in for the kill. That was her weakness. Donna could exploit it. Donna tried to grab Lena with both arms. Lena grabbed her in a double arm lock rendering both of Donna's arms immobilized. Lena held Donna still. They looked eye to eye. Lena was very fast and very skilled. Donna had never seen such skills of combat in a woman before. She could feel Lena breathing on her flesh, just as Lena must have felt her air. Lena released her. Before Donna could realize what was going on, she felt the sting of her own flesh break open on her cheek as the leather of Lena's shoe cracked her in the face. As Donna was thrown to the ground from the blow, blood sprayed from her opened flesh. She landed on her back and looked up at Lena's feet by her face. Lena gazed down at her with her arms folded. Donna shook her head to distance the pain. Donna was beginning to realize that she was no match for the other vampire one on one, hand to hand. Donna would have to resort to other means at her disposal to gain the upper hand with this vampire.
"You do have the authorities to fear, my dear," Lena informed her. "I'm an FBI agent. Tomorrow night, I'm officially going to have to hunt you down for the murder of those mortal boys. I was told tonight by my fellow agents that I'm being put on your case. If I were you, I'd learn some self control for my cravings to kill. They could get you destroyed. We both know that only the supernatural can kill the supernatural. I may be younger than you. But please, don't take me for a fool. I'll give you a chance to leave town tonight and never return, if, I see some redeeming qualities in you. I believe that you're smart enough to realize that you're no match for me. My advice to you is to forget that young man inside of the church and beat it!"
"Honey," Donna replied. "You have no idea of who you're dealing with."
"Then tell me," Lena said. "I'm all ears."
"All right honey," Donna said facing Lena. "You were honorable enough to show me that you're a G-person. I'm going to inform you that I'm the high priestess of the biggest vampire witch cult in the world. We exist in the shadows, just like all vampires do. But, we're organized and we're strong. The mortals we take are not only for us to feed, but also for us to offer to our master in Hell. You have to be awfully young not to have heard of us. We sometimes use mortals to help us gather our victims for our sacrifices. Maybe you're right! Maybe I was too direct in how I was gathering our prey. We live in different times these days. Stay clear of us, and we'll leave you be."
"I can't," Lena replied. "Human sacrifice is against the law! It's wrong. I will have to come after you if there are anymore murders."
"Why are you so anxious to die for the laws of these mortals? You're not one of them. Stick with your own kind. We will kill you if you stick your nose where it don't belong. Come with me and let me show you the thrill of the power that is within you."
"I'm afraid that I am who I am and you are who you are," Lena said sadly. "We are both looking to change one another. And, neither one of us will budge. Maybe we can still talk this out?"
"We'd both be wasting our time, honey," Donna said with a smile. "We are both bound by principle. I'm sure that in time, you'll see it my way, after these mortals have hunted you down long enough and called you a 'monster' to the point where you believe it. After all, our lord in Hell has given us all of the natural equipment to be the predators of mortals. They should fear us."
"Just get out of my sight and don't give me a reason to hunt you."
"I'll go! And, we will meet again. I can assure you. You will be a little pest that we'll have to remove. It's a shame to waste one of our own."
Donna had the few minutes that she needed to regain her full strength. She knew now that taking on Lena with physical force was useless. But, Donna was a witch and had other ways of dealing with this belligerent young vampire. Donna raised a hand and Lena's body suddenly became frozen. Donna got back to her feet and approached her helpless victim.
"Do you see now what allegiance to our dark master can do for you?" Donna asked Lena moving in on her. "I'm gonna rip out that bleeding heart of yours and scatter it all over the front of your beloved church. Where is your God now, honey?"
The front door of the church was opened and the men inside looked on at the struggle in horror, as their champion was about to fall to this powerful supernatural force of evil. Donna reached into Lena's chest and unwittingly grabbed onto her crucifix. Donna's hand caught on fire. She let go of the crucifix and backpedaled away from Lena in torturous pain holding onto her burning hand. Lena snapped out of the witch's spell. Just at that moment, both vampires were flooded with the lights of police cars and an ambulance racing up the road. Before the eyes of the oncoming mortals, both vampires vanished. High above in the night's sky, two bats made a getaway masked over by the blanket of darkness.
Nearly an hour later, the two vampires arrived in an isolated part of town. Lena purposely stayed a distance behind Donna and kept out of her view. Lena observed from peeking around a telephone poll that Donna went into an abandoned factory off a long and winding road. Lena was by an automobile junkyard on the other side of the road. There were no people in site.
"This is a perfect place for a vampire hideout," Lena thought to herself. "By the time mortals go home for the day, the undead can rise up without observation."
Through the red aura of her eyes, Lena could see everything around her in the total darkness. There was a pay telephone outside of the gate of the junkyard. Lena opened her pocket book and pulled out some coins from her change purse. She walked over to the telephone and lifted the receiver to her ear as she dropped some change into the slot. She dialed a telephone number.
"Hello Mother," She said. "It's me, Lena . . .. No, I'm sorry! I'm not with Daddy, yet. I'm in hot pursuit of a murder suspect. An FBI agent's job is never done . . .. Yes, Mother, I will be careful . . .. I love you too . . .. Don't worry! I know of another meeting that starts later that I can bring Daddy to. Where is he now . . .? Okay, I'll pick him up from the bar . . .. Let's just say over the phone that I'm after a creature that is like what I am . . .. Yes, Mother, you don't have to remind me . . .. Mother, I want to see you again too. I love you too and I will be careful . . .. Don't worry! You'll see me later tonight when I bring Daddy home . . .. Mother, I've gotta go! I love you . . . bye." Lena hung up the telephone.
What were mothers for? It was their nature to worry about their children. Lena could understand that. She loved her family just like they loved her. She had to survive for them. She would be careful as she entered Donna's hideout.
As Lena approached the place, she could sense the presence of several other vampires. So, Donna wasn't alone in there. That was to Lena's advantage. With all of this vampire aura everywhere inside, they would help to conceal Lena's presence. The front door was barricaded close. Lena could smell the revolting stench of death from just outside the front. Lena knew this odor well as both a doctor and a federal agent. She had some nose cream in her purse for visiting morgues. Nevertheless, this horrible odor would serve to keep her on a higher state of alert. Therefore, she elected not to use it. Lena knew of two ways to get through the barricaded door. She chose the quiet way.
Inside the factory, Lena's essence passed through the solid material of the wall as if it were an illusion. She felt butterflies in her stomach as she entered the belly of the beast. In her six years with the FBI and her relationship with Andrew Smith, Lena learned how to transform the fear that she was feeling into weapons for her own survival. She moved through the dark and empty room cautiously; putting all of her senses on the alert. She felt the movement of air above her signaling an impending attack. "Always yield to a greater force," she remembered in her thoughts the words of her friend and mentor.
Lena counterattacked. Her body became a revolving door that used the movement of her attacker to trigger her pivot away from the brunt of his moving force as she stepped aside and turned. She rotated around the man and landed a kick right down his spin as she dug the heel of her shoe into his back as he sailed away. He flew across the room and hit a wall, before he turned around and faced her. He snarled at her with the hideous face of his dark side. Lena bared her own fangs as she got into a fighting stance and hissed at him. The man calmed down when he saw her demonic face sneering back at him.
"You're one of us," the man said. He was dressed up as a security guard. "I'm sorry, I didn't know. I thought that you were a nosy mortal snooping around."
"No problem," Lena replied relaxing herself. "One can't be too careful these days."
"That's true," the man said nodding. "Are you here for the feast? We're expecting quiet a gathering later. You're early."
"I hope that the rest of your company doesn't get the same reception."
"I assure you that they won't. Would you like to look over the menu to see which one would be your fancy. I'll tag your selection."
"Okay, we'll do that! It sounds to me like I'm gonna see some mortals whole before the slaughter."
"That's exactly right! They're still alive. You can play with them before you stake your meal."
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
"What a depraved group of psychos?" Lena thought to herself. "Thank heavens their victims are still alive. I have a chance to rescue them - if I keep a low profile. I'll have to play along for a bit. I hope that I don't run into Donna before I have a chance to free the victims. This man is not very observant. He hasn't even noticed the difference in my aura. I'll have to move fast before the other vampires get here. The longer I wait, the less of a chance I'll have to free them. I'm gonna have to find out exactly how many vampires I'm up against right now first."
"How many of us are here now? I can feel a few at least?"
"Let's see! There's you, me, Donna, Brad, and Roger. Our lord and master, Danco should be arriving within the next hour with a lot of our followers."
"You mean Danco Fludd?"
"Who else would I mean?"
"That bastard Danco is the one, who turn me into an undead and raped me," Lena thought in bitter anger to herself. "I'd like to hold a cross over his heart and watch him burn to ashes. God forgive me. I shouldn't have such evil thoughts even for the man whose made my life a living hell."
"Did I say something to upset you? Is it something between you and our master?"
"Don't worry! I just forgot something. Danco Fludd and I go way back. I hate it when you forget to do something and it's too late don't you?"
"Why yes! Come with me and get a sneak preview of our menu! I'm sure that you'll be pleased."
Lena was led passed a room of decomposed human body parts scattered around a series of tables and chairs. She followed the man dressed as a guard to a room with iron bars around the windows. The room was on the second floor of the factory. Lena counted over a dozen people including teenage children. They were all chained to posts in the room. To Lena’s dismay, she recognized some of them.
The mortals were in a weaken state, due to starvation, no doubt. One of her neighbors, Mrs. Laura Woods, lifted her head and saw Lena.
"You," Laura said. "I was right about you."
Lena walked up to her and grabbed her by the throat. Lena could feel the shaking fear of the woman in her cold hand. Laura gasped, not knowing what to expect. She sneered at the helpless mortal.
"That's right, my dear! You can count your lucky stars that tonight you're gonna find out how much of a monster I really am."
The vampire next to Lena watched with excitement expecting to see Lena rip out the woman's throat. This was excitement. He loved to see the fear in a mortal's eyes in the last few seconds of their short lives. Lena had already placed that fear in this woman's eyes when he got called away by Donna.
"Martin," she yelled. "Martin, where are you? We've gotta get the tables set before the company arrives."
"Go ahead! I don't want to get you in trouble. I'll stay and play with this one until you get back. I think that I'll choose her as well."
"Okay! Just don't bust her up until I get back. I don't wanna miss any of the fun stuff."
"Don't worry! You won't!"
Lena waited for Martin to leave the room before she sprung into action. She pulled Laura Woods close and whispered in her ear. "I'm gonna get everyone here to safety. But, you're gonna have to trust me. I really am on of the good guys."
Moving with all of the speed and strength of a vampire, she raced over to the largest window in the room and tore apart the iron bars with her bare hands. She swung back to the mortals and ripped apart their metal constrains. Then, she carried them as she flew through the window to the road below and urged them to run away. By the time Martin returned with the other three vampires, only Lena remained. Donna looked at her crossed.
"You again? Why you little trouble making bitch - what did you do with our food?"
"I'm sorry dear, I got hungry waiting for everyone. I guess that I had them all to myself. Can I interest you in some animal blood?"
"You lying bitch, you let them out through that window with the bars ripped apart. I'll have your head for this!"
Lena quickly whipped out her crucifix and showed it to the other vampires. With four to one odds, and these people being witches, she was not about to take chances. The other vampires turned away from her crucifix, breaking out into blisters with skin that actually caught fire. Lena became a bat and made her getaway. Once Lena was gone, the other vampires regained their composure. Donna pointed at the open window. "What are you idiots waiting for? Get that little bitch! I want her! I want her bad!"
In the form of a bat, Lena raced through the night's sky with four bats in hot pursuit. As she flew, she had a vision in her mind. She saw Andrew's face before her.
"Meet me in St. Anthony's Cemetery," Andrew's image said to her. "I'll be waiting. Right about now, I think that you can use some backup."
Somehow, Lena knew that this was more than a vision. Andrew was really talking to her. She had seen him do things that no one else in the world could emulate. This was another one of those things. He could talk to her directly in her thoughts. He was right. Besides, Andrew was the best backup anywhere. She changed direction and speeded her way to the cemetery. She could feel the life forces behind her. Accelerating to top speed, Lena rocketed away.
Andrew's life force led Lena straight to him inside the cemetery. Her experience gave her the sense to know how close she was to him just by the strength of his warmth and vitality. In the form of a bat, she circled around him to slow down enough before she reshaped into a human. Andrew was standing near a tombstone with flowers at the base. Glancing for a second at the grave, Lena saw the name, "Thomas Smith," scribed on the stone. She looked back at her friend. He raised one hand and the pursuing bats bounced backwards as if they just ran into a brick wall and fell to the grass surface as humans. They shook their heads and gradually got to their feet. An invisible force stunned them.
"Well," Andrew jeered. "Look at what the cat dragged in."
The vampires hissed at Andrew and Lena, baring their fangs. Lena hissed back showing her own animal-like teeth. Andrew held her back. As the four vampire witches tried to move in, they found that they were being held back by an invisible barrier.
"You've come to visit your wimpy brother," Donna said mockingly. "Why don't I raise him up from the dead and let you enjoy the presence of his rotted corpse?"
Andrew raised his hand again, and Donna lost her voice. She held onto her throat as she felt an increasing loss of air in her lungs. Undead or not, something was taken away from her that allowed her to imitate life by breathing. Something supernatural had invaded her lungs and told her body that she needed air. Something was making her body turn numb and senseless. All that she could hear was Andrew's voice.
"Maybe I should raise Lord Garwin from the dead and allow him to have his way with you, witch," Andrew retorted. "Or, better yet, how'd you like to be mortal again?"
Lena looked on in amazement. Donna fell to the ground gasping for breath. Andrew moved in on Donna as the other vampires were forced away by an invisible network of strong arms. He grabbed Donna by the hair and lifted her to her feet. She looked at him with sheer terror.
"Here's the scoop! You've got a little dispute to settle with Lena. I'll allow the four of you to take her on, provided that none of you use any of your witchcraft. The moment that you do, I'll step in and end the fight in her favor. Do you hear me?"
"Yeah," she said.
"Just remember too, that the only reason why Tommy aint here today is because it was his time to die. If it weren't, he'd sure as hell be here in flesh right now. You mock his memory again and I'll make your worse nightmare become a reality. And just to make sure that this fight does stay fair, you'll find all of your powers of witchcraft useless."
Much to Donna's dismay, she found Andrew's words to be true. In trying to cast a spell to retaliate, she discovered that her powers had left her. Andrew gestured with his hands to Lena to go get Donna and her lot. Lena moved away from Andrew and smiled. She waved to Donna to come get her. Donna looked to both sides to see if her men were with her. Donna was not about to go after this martial artist alone. Donna and her three companions all charged at Lena simultaneously. Lena moved with uncanny speed with a series of rapid fire combinations to ward them off. Her legs were swift and powerful weapons that slammed into her opponents like the hurling force of a tornado. Her knowledge of the human body and her studies of its' weakness in combat training for years made Dr. Lena Banks a force to be reckoned with. She could smell her opponents upon her. She could feel their bodies brush through the air. Their eyes and movement gave away their planned attack. Her kicks exploited their openings and crippled their tender spots. A hit to the groin, a hit to the temple of the forehead, a hit to the tendon above the knee cap, a shot to the kidney, and the opponents all fell to the ground or rolled back in pain. She dropped the ones left standing by throwing their legs out from under with sweeping kicks. Lena pulled out her crucifix, went over to Donna, and grabbed her in a headlock. Donna closed her burning eyes as her skin blistered from the sight. Donna’s associates turned away from the religious symbol.
"Let it end here and now," Lena told her. "Promise me that there will be no more killing on all that you hold precious in this world and beyond and I'll spare your life."
"I promise," Donna replied. "I promise to stop the killing."
Lena released Donna. Donna and her three associates turned to bats and flew away. Lena turned to Andrew who looked at her with great disappointment written all over his face. She folded her arms and walked up to him.
"Can we talk about it?" She asked.
"That was a big mistake! Donna only holds Donna precious. She could swear to the devil himself, her grand master, and still back down on her word. If I were you, I'd be mighty concern for your family now. If Donna sees that she can't hurt you directly, she'll take it out on them."
"Then, what should I do?" Lena asked.
"Bring that bag of evidence in your purse to the forensic lab. I'll have someone meet you there. Don't worry! I won't let the cult destroy your family like they destroyed mine."
"Hey buddy, when you're ready to talk about it, I'll be there for you. I'll help you in any way that I can. We're friends for always."
"I know that you will, Lena. You're a kind soul. Just remember that all of the pain and suffering in your life now is breading you for better things."
"Thanks for the kind words, but I've gotta get moving. I've gotta take care of something real important even before I go to the crime lab."
"Don't worry about your neighbors. I'll take care of them. Trust me."
"Why do I get the feeling that you were reading my mind?"
"Maybe because I did."
"So, you admit it."
"Yeah . . . why not? You're a friend. You always say that I can trust you with a secret. I'm gonna trust you with information that the federal government considers top secret about myself and my cousin, Susan. They've come to the conclusion that Susan and I use one hundred percent of our total brain capacity. The average human being only uses ten percent. I'm sure that you can imagine the possibilities of people that have the use of one hundred percent of the total potential of their brain power. After all, you are also a psychiatrist."
"Andrew, my friend, that's a most interesting revelation. I'm glad that you're trusting me with something between us. I won't disappoint you. May I share it with my personal physician since she can no doubt read my mind as well?"
"Yeah, why not? You're right! Susan will pick it out of your mind anyway. You can talk it over with her in private. You'll meet her at the forensic lab. I'll help your neighbors forget that you're really a vampire and even stop suspecting you as one. I'll have them remember that you saved their bacon from a cult of vampires out for their blood. That's how we'll present these vampire murders to the public. We'll blame it on a cult of people who believe that they’re vampires. But, they're actually crazy mortals who drink blood."
"Thanks buddy. I owe you a home cooked dinner at my place. You know, I'm a pretty good cook?"
"Yeah, I know. You had me over already, remember? Don't worry! I can see in your mind who your neighbors are and what they look like. I'll catch up with them before they get to civilization while you fly over to that lab. Let's get going. Your old man is waiting for you. Believe me, you haven't seen the last of Miss Donna Tella."
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