September 13th, 2002 – Damien Hills University – Chicago, Illinois
A rough hand smacked solidly against the shorts-clad backside of the dark-skinned woman who had been bent over to reach into her car in the parking lot of a pool hall and lounge positioned at the very edge of Damien Hills University property, itself sitting right on the outskirts of Chicago.
“Whooo!” a boisterous, soundly drunk voice bellowed then while the twenty-one-year-old blond boy it belonged to pumped his fists in the air at the sound of the yelp from his target. The red muscle shirt that he wore threatened to tear at the seems. “Shouldn’t stick that big, beautiful ass out if you don’t want someone to take ya up on the offer, babe!”
Straightening out of the car while turning to face him, the woman, who looked to be in her early to mid-twenties, arched an eyebrow while replying smoothly, “Who said I was complaining, Craig?”
“Who the fuck is Craig?” the boy retorted then, lifting his chin challengingly. “I’m Joey Fantine.”
“Eh.” The woman offered him a shrug. “It was worth a shot. You look like a Craig. And speaking of being worth a shot…” Her hand moved up, pressing lightly against his impressive chest as a slow smile crossed her face. “You certainly took yours, didn’t you?”
“Hey, babe,” Joey drawled with that confidence brought on through a combination of intoxication and a life spent being given anything he set his sights on, “you wanna see me take a shot?” With those words, his hands moved around the woman, catching her backside once more. That time, rather than simply smacking his target, the boy held on tight while using that grip to pull her to him. His smile widened at the feel of her body pressed close to him. “Here’s my shot.”
“Oooh.” Returning Joey’s smile, the woman shifted her weight against him. “You’re pretty confident. What’s your secret?”
“Secret? Ain’t no secret, babe.” The boy flexed his pecs, grinning as the shirt strained to hold in his impressive frame. “It’s just one hundred percent all-American beef. You like that?”
“Oh, I like it,” she replied. “I like it a lot. And I have a secret too. Do you wanna hear it?” She leaned in closer, putting both hands on his shoulders while her lithe body was pressed tight to his. Bringing her lips close to his ear while getting him to lean down a bit so that she could whisper under her breath, “I knew your name was Joey.”
As he made a confused sound and started to rise, the woman’s face narrowed and contorted. Her skin turned a faint blue color, with the slightest impression of scales, while her face became a bright orange as it elongated into the distinct shape of a serpent. Before the boy could jerk his way free, her mouth opened and a forked tongue shot out before she bit into his exposed neck.
She stepped back after that quick bite, folding her arms while the boy collapsed to the ground. Behind them, the party continued to rage on inside the pool hall, while the parking lot remained dark and quiet. He was trying to speak, but his body was locked up, jerking in uncontrollable spasms there on the ground while pathetically mewling for help.
“Calliophis bivirgata,” the woman informed him, her face and body returning to normal. “Blue coral snake. There’s no known antivenom. Their bite makes all of your nerves fire at the same time, causing paralysis, spasms, and… well, a really quick death. I believe they timed it at about five minutes once.”
“Wh-wha–wh-who–” the boy managed, his body completely out of his own control.
The woman continued as if he hadn’t made any sound at all. “Do you know what they call the blue coral snake?” Receiving no answer, she smiled faintly. “They call it the killer’s killer. Because it kills other venomous snakes, you see? Their venom has to work quickly, faster than most, or they’d die every time they went hunting.
“Killer’s killer.” Her voice had turned contemplative, as she put a foot on the boy’s chest. He was struggling to breathe, and losing that struggle. “That’s a pretty apt name for what we’ve got right here, isn’t it, Joey?” Her eyes narrowed. “Because you killed that girl. Sue-Ellen O’Lattery. Remember the name? You and your friends drugged her, raped her, and when she tried to go to the police, you killed her. Then you buried her body in the forest by mile marker eighty-two.”
She crouched then, pressing her fingers against the boy’s chest. “Her mother wanted you to know that she knows what you did. She knows what all of you did. And you, and that piece of shit assistant coach who helped you cover it up, are all gonna get what’s coming to you.”
“Twister.” The voice came from the shadows, before Asenath stepped into view. Her head nodded back the way she had come. “He’s done. Come on, there’s more to deal with.”
For a few long moments, Twister still stood there, looking down at the dying boy. Then she turned on her heel and strode away to join the other woman while muttering, “Piece of shit.”
“I think you enjoyed that a little bit,” Asenath noted, turning to walk away from the lot with her.
“Hell yeah, I did.” Twister’s head bobbed once firmly. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for the sexy fun times. But the key word there is fun. As in, for everybody. You go over that line, you drug, rape, and murder someone?” She made a growling sound deep in her throat. “And they call us the monsters. I’d almost have been willing to do this one for free.”
“For free, huh?” The vampire gave her a knowing smirk.
“Hey, I said almost.” Sniffing, Twister reminded her companion, “I’m not a charity organization.”
“Right, right, you keep reminding me of that. And yet, I’m pretty sure you’d be out here with me even if Mrs. O’Lattery didn’t have two pennies to rub together.” Glancing up and over to the woman beside her, Asenath asked, “Who’s next on the list?”
Twister produced a piece of paper, glancing at it. “Omar Derosa. If the guys back there were right, he should be at the pool right now, doing laps. It’s him, then that Billy Tackett guy.”
Nodding, Asenath turned to head for the athletics department, even as the sound of someone shouting for an ambulance carried across the air from the direction of the parking lot where Joey had clearly been found. Not that it would do them any good. “Those two, then Coach Cook.”
Together, the two of them strode across the dark grounds to the squat building in the distance. The back door was open, and as they made their way down the hall, both could hear splashing in the pool. They stopped on either side of the door, glancing in to find the boy in question swimming away from them as he headed for the opposite end of the pool.
“He’s not alone.” Asenath’s voice was soft, her head nodding up toward the stands where another boy sat halfway up them with his eyes glued to his handheld game system, bitching under his breath about a pokemon he had failed to catch.
“And that would be Billy Tackett,” Twister announced simply, her eyes narrowing in on the boy. “Good, this way we don’t have to go looking for him.”
Nodding slowly, Senny started, “So, you got–” She stopped talking then upon noticing that she was alone. Twister had already shifted her body into the form of a small cat and was trotting silently across the floor toward the bleachers. “Yeah,” she muttered, “you’ve got that one.”
Which left swimming boy for her. Taking a breath, Asenath stepped through the doorway and walked to the pool, moving slowly to time her arrival at the edge for his return from the other end. She knew that he noticed her on the way back, from the way his head stayed up for just a bit longer than usual before he continued his next few strokes.
“Hey there, sweet thing.” Arriving at the end of the pool, the boy hooked his arms over the edge and grinned up at her. “If you’re looking for a future gold medalist, you came to the right place.”
“Omar Derosa,” Senny announced, looking down at the boy. From the corner of her eye, she saw Billy peer over the edge of the bleachers at something, before a large gorilla hand grabbed him by the face, muffling his cry as he was yanked out of sight.
Clueless as to his friend’s fate, Omar gave her a wink while shaking his wet hair a bit. “That’s what they call me. ‘Cept for the honeys. They’ve got some other names for me. Play your cards right, maybe you can find out what.”
Lifting her chin a little, Senny asked simply, “What did Sue-Ellen O’Lattery call you?”
To that, the boy said what was probably the very worst thing he possibly could have. His mouth opened, and a single word emerged.
It wasn’t a false denial. This wasn’t a scheme, or a lie to give himself an alibi. The boy genuinely, truly didn’t remember the name of the girl he had helped to drug, rape, and kill.
“We could go ask her,” Senny offered, “but it’d take a bit of a drive. We’d have to go all the way out to mile marker eighty-two.”
That got him. The boy’s eyes gave him away as they briefly, but tellingly widened and dilated before his head shook. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he muttered unconvincingly while starting to pull himself up out of the pool. “But I’m busy, so get lo–”
“I’m different,” Senny interrupted, moving one step over to stand in his way, blocking the boy from getting out. “You’re kind of lucky that way. I don’t need to play with my food.”
“Play with your—what the fuck are you talking ab–” That was as far as the boy got before Asenath’s foot collided solidly with his face. He jerked backwards, collapsing into the water and sinking deep into the pool as his consciousness left him in an instant. His body hit the bottom and stayed there, a motionless heap. He would never wake up.
“Three down,” Twister announced, shifting back to her human form while stepping out from behind the bleachers. “That just leaves Coach Dickface.”
“Good.” Turning, Asenath started to walk once more.
“Then let’s go get him.”
Benjamin Cook had been an assistant coach for the Damien Hills University football team for the past sixteen years. A tall, gray-haired man with a body that was incredibly fit for someone in his late fifties, he kept up his physique through rigorous exercise and a careful diet. But today was one of his very few ‘cheat’ days, so the man was enjoying a cheeseburger as he stepped into his office for a moment. He just needed to grab a file for a kid they were scouting and leave it on Head Coach Zila’s desk, then he could head back home.
Except, as he stepped into his office, the lamp on the desk flipped on to reveal a girl sitting there with her feet up on it. She looked Asian. No, half. Definitely half. She was turning one of his awards over in her hands, a plaque with an esoteric, jagged metal star-shape attached to it.
“What the fuck?!” The words came before the man had finished swallowing the bite in his mouth. “Who the hell are you and why are you sitting in my goddamn office? And put that down.”
Rather than answer, Asenath replied in a low, dark voice, “She came to you for help.” Before he could say anything to that, she continued while turning the plaque over in her hands once more. “Came right into your office here and told you that two of your best players, and one of their friends, drugged her at a party and raped her.”
Eyes widening, the man pointed a finger at her, blurting, “I don’t know what kind of fucking game you think this is, but if you don’t get the hell out of here right now, I’m–”
Senny pressed on, ignoring him. “She thought–hell, who knew what she thought, exactly. But whatever it was, she came to you for help. This girl, this innocent child, came to you for help. And what did you do?”
“That’s it,” Cook blurted, pivoting to storm out. “I’m getting campus security up here and–”
He was stopped by another figure blocking his path, as Twister stepped into the room. “He sent her home,” she answered Senny’s question for him. “Sent her home and promised they’d take care of it in the morning. Then he told the boys what was going on. Told them they had to take deal with the problem that night. Even gave them the gun.”
“Now, you don’t have one fucking shred of evidence about any of this!” the man blustered, his face turning red. “You can’t prove a goddamn thing.”
“Oh, sweetie,” Twister informed him, “if we cared about evidence, we wouldn’t ambush you in your office in the middle of the night.”
With that, the woman’s foot lashed out, colliding solidly with his crotch. The man doubled over with a shocked, pained cry, the half-eaten burger falling from his hand. Before he could fully collapse, Twister caught him by the hair and shoulder, striding forward to turn him around back to the desk.
“Sue-Ellen O’Lattery,” she reminded him. “Say the name. Say it.”
“S… sue… Sue-Ellen O’Lattery.” It took the man a couple tries, tears filling his eyes as he stayed half-bent over, clutching his injured groin. “Wh–”
His words were cut off as Twister bent his arm back, turning it into a cry. “Nuh uh,” she scolded. “Nothing else.”
“We promised her mother,” Asenath casually informed him, “that her daughter’s name would be the last thing you said.”
Those words sank in, and the man opened his mouth, eyes widening in sudden terror. Before another word could escape him, however, Twister caught the back of his head and shoved him hard toward the desk. At the same time, Asenath casually flipped that award she had been holding forward. The thing hit the desk and balanced there on its end an instant before the man’s throat collided with the upraised, sharp metal tines from the star on the trophy. Blood sprayed all over the desk, as he collapsed with the award embedded deep in his neck.
His body was still twitching as the two women left the office, closing the door after themselves.
“Well,” Twister remarked, “that was fun. But now I’m hungry.” She paused, gesturing back that way. “You sure you don’t want to have a nibble on him? That was a lot of blood to just go to waste.”
“No,” Senny replied with a sharp headshake. “I’m not really in the mood to eat a piece of shit like that right now. Besides, it’s all over the floor.”
Shrugging, Twister reminded her, “Hey, five second rule. You’ve got vamp speed, you could pull that off.”
The vampire girl chuckled despite herself. “I’m good. Let’s just go get a burger. A rare one. Then I’d like to come back here and check out the campus some more.
“I think it’s about time I went back to college again.”