Jude’s Apartment

This story contains violence and other mature content. If you want to know more about the content before reading it then send me a message. I just don’t want anybody to be taken by suprise.

***

Jude stepped out of the night and into the bar, looked around, then walked directly to a man smoking at the bar counter.

“Hey, Jim.”

The police officer nodded to Jude in greeting. The lawman wasn’t in uniform.

“We’ve got a vamp on the east side of town. Two homicides in a week. Both bitten on the neck and drained.”

Jim took a long drink while he gripped his cigar between his clenched fingers.

“How much money?” Jude asked.

Jim laughed, a short bark.

“Right to business,” Jim said. “You’re a real bloodsucker, you know that? What would you be doing if you weren’t killing vamps?”

Jude shrugged. The police officer slowly inhaled a lungful of smoke.

“Five-thousand,” Jim said after he exhaled.

Jude nodded.

“Let me see what you’re got.”

Jim reached into his coat and pulled out a folder. Jude took it but didn’t look inside. He pointed at Jim’s cigar.

“Thought you were going to quit.”

The policeman shrugged and said, “You know how it is.”

Jude nodded and left the bar.
__

Jude stepped into his apartment, locked and bolted the door, and flicked on the lights. The apartment had a kitchen/living room area and a bedroom.

He dropped the folder on the kitchen table and walked to the refrigerator. A bottle filled with dark red liquid sat next to the milk. He picked it up, unscrewed the top, and took a long drink. He sighed. After drinking it all, Jude put the empty container back.

He sat down at the table and opened the folder. He flipped through a police report. Two young women were killed within fifty miles of each other, and an examination of the bodies suggested it was only one vamp. Probably a male.

Jude picked up a photo. Grisly. The picture showed a young woman sprawled on the ground, blank eyes staring up. Her neck was a mess. Almost unquestionably a vampire attack.

He had seen it before. Much worse, actually, and in the flesh too.

Jude noted the location of the two nightclubs the women had visited. The vampire was young in his power and predictable.

Jude was good at finding vampires. He knew how they thought, and he had a good idea where the vampire might strike again. But the vamp would have to wait. Jude had other business. He stood.

A digital clock on the kitchen counter read: 9:45 PM. Plenty of time, Jude thought.

He unbuckled his gun belt and left it on the kitchen table and grabbed his backpack on the way out.
__

Jude drove to Riverside Park and started walking on one of the paths. The night was quiet around him. He walked for a long time and, finally, he saw a figure ahead of him. Jude increased his pace.

As he got closer, he saw it was a young woman. Early twenties. She was stunning. Long brown hair. He could tell by her sauntering walk that she was no stranger to physical movement. Young and innocent and unblemished.

She heard him and swung around her head like a startled deer, hair swirling around her face. Her dark eyes were wide.

He smiled.

“Hey. Beautiful night for a walk, isn’t it?”

The girl stood still and stared at him. Jude slid his hands into his pockets and shifted backwards.

“I’m sorry I startled you. My bad.”

“It’s okay,” she said. “I just didn’t hear you.”

He hesitated then said, “Um, you’ve got something in your hair.”

The girl reached up to touch her hair.

“Where—?”

Jude darted forward and bit her on the throat. The girl let out a little gasp. The warm blood flowed down Jude’s throat and an electric pulse seemed to flow through his body. Euphoria. The girl was struggling in his arms, but it was too late. Too late when she had woken in the morning. Just a matter of time. Her heart was pounding but it became weaker until, finally, Jude felt it stop.

After he had slated his thirst, he lowered the limp form to the ground. He unzipped his backpack, pulled out a large syringe, and then stabbed it into the girl’s arm. After filling the syringe, he emptied it into a bottle. He repeated this several times. Finally, he put the syringe and bottle into the backpack.

Jude picked up the body and carried it off the path. Then he walked back to his car and drove back to his apartment.
__

The next night, Jude parked a block from the nightclub The Last Drop and walked the rest of the way. The Last Drop was not a place he would usually hang around.

The two murdered women had each been found behind nightclubs. Jude believed the vamp had lured the woman outside, and it hadn’t ended the way the ladies had planned.

Jude camped out on the roof of a nearby building. He had perfect view of the nightclub’s exit. And so he waited.

It was after midnight when the exit door burst open. A man darted out, pulling a young woman after him. Jude caught a glimpse of the woman’s reddish hair. But Jude’s attention was on the man.

Jude had seen enough vampires to recognize them by sight. It was something about how they moved, a cat-like grace and lethality. It was hard to explain.

The vamp led the young woman down the alleyway, way from Jude and out of sight.

He knew what was going to happen. It was just like a cheap horror flick. He jumped to his feet and started down the ladder then leapt down. He landed in a crouch and started running.

The gun felt very cold in his hand. Jude ducked into the alleyway, legs pumping under him. Time running out. He heard them. If he didn’t know any better, Jude would have thought it was a couple making out. Then he saw them.

The vamp had pinned the young woman against the wall and his face was buried in her neck. As the vamp turned, Jude stopped and fired. The bullet hit the vamp in the shoulder and knocked him to the ground. In a moment, the monster was on its feet and rushing forward, a blur of motion. Jude shot him twice in the chest. The vamp jerked, a surprised look on his face, and slowly dropped to his knees. Blood soaked the vamp’s shirt. Was all of it the vampire’s blood? Or the girl’s too?

Blood bubbled from the vamp’s mouth as he opened and closed his mouth. The vamp met Jude’s gaze.

“Please,” the vampire blubbered. “Don’t kill me.”

“No mercy for the wicked,” Jude said.

He shot the vamp in the forehead.

Jude walked over to the girl slumped against the wall. He looked at her and the blood on her throat, and he wanted to finish the work the vamp had started. Vivid scarlet on white skin. Tantalizing. He felt a burning in his throat like an alcoholic in a liquor store.

He was confused. Was he here as the bounty hunter or the vampire? Can’t remember.

Can’t get mixed up, Jude told himself fiercely. Not here. Not now. I am the bounty hunter, the lawman. Come on, man, hold it together.

He realized the woman was talking.

“—then he bite me and I thought I was going to die!”

You don’t know how close you were to death, he thought.

Jude called Jim, and the lawman soon arrived at the scene. The two men watched from a distance as police officers and other personnel scurried around the scene.

“Do you always leave a mess?”

“The world is a messy place,” Jude replied.

He walked back to his car and drove back to his apartment.
__

Jude entered the apartment and locked and bolted the door. He unbuckled his gun belt and tossed it on the kitchen table then stripped off his t-shirt. He walked to the refrigerator and opened it. The harsh light bathed his torso. He picked up the container of blood and drank for a long moment. He stopped drinking and sucked in a deep gasp of air. Blood dribbled over his chin.

He looked at the clock. 4:27 AM. Time to sleep.
__

The next day, Jim called him and asked to meet at the bar again.

This time Jude walked straight to the bar counter. The lawman was leaning against the counter, drinking and smoking.

“Got another body,” the lawman said. “Found her in the Riverside Park yesterday.”

Jude blinked. The police officer was talking about the brunette from the park. This couldn’t be happening.

“But I bagged the nightclub killer last night,” Jude said.

The policeman shook his head.

“The vamp didn’t need to feed two days in a row. Anyway, the method and location are totally different. No, we’ve definitely got another vamp out there.”

Jude felt lightheaded. He was being hired to catch himself. He took the folder from Jim reflexively, opened it and flipped through it.

A crime scene photograph of the girl made Jude’s stomach flip. Her eyes were wide, and fear and pain were etched on her face. She had been so beautiful and full of life.

I killed her, Jude thought.

“How much?” he asked.

“Five-thousand, just like the last one.”

Without a word, Jude left the bar.
__

Jude entered his apartment and secured the door. He dropped his gun belt on the kitchen table as he walked to the refrigerator.

He grabbed the blood container and sat down at the table. His backpack lay on the table beside his gun belt.
He opened the police folder again and took a long drink. The photo of the girl was on the top.

Blood dripped from his mouth and landed on photo. He stared at it for a long time. He felt a tension deep inside of his chest, building and mounting. This could not continue.

Jude looked around the apartment, letting his gaze drift. His eyes settled on the kitchen table with the gun belt, the backpack, the blood, and the police folder.
__

By the time Jim reached the scene, the fire had been put out. He stepped out of his police car and walked over to Jude.

Jude was sitting on the curb in front of his apartment building.

“What happened?” Jim asked.

Jude shrugged.

“It was pretty late. I spilled some grease on the stove, and it went up in flames. Couldn’t put it out.”

“Did you get anything out?”

Jude motioned to the clothes he was wearing—t-shirt, jacket, jeans, and belt missing the gun holster.

“I grabbed this too.”

Jude held up an empty backpack.

“So you lost the folder for the new case?” Jim said. “I can get you another one.”

Jude shook his head.

“I’m done with vamp hunting. You’ve got guys better suited for it than me—younger and more zealous. I’ve chosen a different path.”

“What are you going to do?”

Jude shrugged.

“I’ve got to get into the world.” Jude said. “See if there are others like me.”

He stood and walked over to his car.

“Promise me you’re quit, okay?” he said.

The lawman nodded, “I’ll try.”

Jude nodded. He hopped into the car, started the engine, and drove away.

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9 Comments

  1. Comments? Concerns?

    What did you guys think?

    Reply
  2. Kells

     /  March 23, 2010

    The thing about this story is that i came out of it wondering if Jude was a “good guy” or “bad guy” it isn’t completely cut-and-dry which i figure was done purposely.

    i especially like this part:

    “Vivid scarlet on white skin. Tantalizing. He felt a burning
    in his throat like an alcoholic in a liquor store.”

    i feel that the word choice caused me to be in his body as time stopped. i felt his struggle, temptation, desire.

    as always i love pretty much everything you write, maybe i’m biased :]

    Reply
    • Yeah, I wanted readers to realize that Jude wasn’t good or evil … he is a mix of both just like all of us. (I’m trying to bring that out even more in the next draft.)

      It’s wonderful to have a loyal fan. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Zachary L

     /  March 23, 2010

    masterful

    i hope to see more installments in the future!

    Reply
    • Thanks. I wrote this as a stand-alone work, and I haven’t thought about continuing this story but you never know. 🙂

      Reply
      • Zachary L

         /  March 24, 2010

        sadness. it is awesome as a stand alone too though. i just want more 😉 keep on writing! I call dibs on early copies when you publish your book whenever that may be

        Reply
  4. Nina

     /  March 27, 2010

    Wow. I’m going to have to agree with Kells and Zachary (especially about the “alcoholic in a liquor store line”).What an interesting idea for a character, and what opportunity for depth in Jude’s struggle over right and wrong (I can’t wait to read the second draft!). I really hope that you continue this story in the future because that was absolutely captivating, and I was disappointed when it ended.

    So, I also read the rest of your March blog. You truly have a gift! I really enjoyed your poetry and your first short story as well.

    I hope that you post some more soon.

    Reply
    • Thanks. I really want to bring out Jude’s struggle in the second draft … we’ll see if I succeed. And you never know, I might choose to continue the story.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my work. I really appreciate it.

      Reply

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