Friday, 23 April 2010

Kissed By Darkness (Sunwalker Saga) - First Part of Chapter One

“You’re dripping blood on my carpet. Again.” The voice was as expressionless as the face. Only a slight glint behind deep brown eyes betrayed the fact that my boss and best friend was extremely peeved.

I could sort of see her point. Last time she’d had to replace the carpet. This time, though, the blood only went up to my elbows and there were just a couple drips. It’s not like she couldn’t get the place steam cleaned.

“That’s what you get for calling me in right after a slaying.” I dropped into one of the two chairs in front of her massive mahogany desk. She scowled at me. She didn’t like me getting blood all over her fake leather chairs, either. Bad for business, having a client sit down in a pool of vampire blood.

“Here.” She threw me a box of wet wipes. Only semi-effective for cleaning blood off things, but certainly better than nothing. I grabbed a wipe and started scrubbing at my arm. That’s when I noticed a few drops of blood in my cleavage. Gross.

Kabita leaned back in her chair, “How do you like weird?”

As though killing vampires and demon spawn for a living is normal. I tried to raise an eyebrow at her, but I’m no Mr. Spock; both went up. “Define weird.”

“Weird. As in: ‘up your alley’ weird.

Ah, she meant blood suckers. Nightwalkers. Minions of Darkness. Vampires. Right. Except for Kabita and me, vampires aren’t weird. They’re normal, everyday stuff. Or maybe I should say every-night stuff. It’s like saying that making bagels is a weird job for a baker.

Kabita runs a private investigation firm which specializes in hunting down things the government likes to pretend don’t exist. Creatures that would give most people nightmares. The government pays us a lot of money to track and kill the monsters while pretending to be normal PIs who do nothing more exciting than investigate cheating spouses. We get excitement and fortune. The government gets plausible deniability. We all go home happy.

“And how is this weirder than any other ‘up my alley’ case?

She pushed a file gingerly across the desk. Despite being one of the best demon spawn hunters in the business, Kabita found vampires extremely distasteful, not to mention creepy. Go figure. “It’s not an ordinary vamp,” she said. “It’s a Sunwalker.”

I checked to make sure my jaw wasn’t lying on her desk. Nope, still attached to my face. “Jesus, Kabita, what’ve you gotten me into this time?”

“Our new client wants us to hunt this Sunwalker and kill him, but more importantly, he wants us to retrieve something the Sunwalker stole from his family. He’ll fill you in on the details. You’re to meet him at this address,” she shoved a piece of paper across to me while carefully tucking a strand of long, ink black hair behind her ear.

Despite edging on forty, she didn’t have a single strand of gray. I hadn’t quite hit thirty yet, twenty-nine to be exact, but I hoped I looked half as good as she did at forty. I had my doubts. My job isn’t exactly the kind that keeps one young.

I shook my head, “No, way. Seriously, no way. This is insane! A Sunwalker? You do know they’re not real, right? Sunwalkers are just a myth.”

She gave me a look. She was good at “the look”. “Excuse me, oh Great Slayer of Vampires, but you don’t have a choice. Not if you want to keep your job.” Which I did, and she knew it. There’s something so immensely satisfying about going to work and hacking someone or something’s head off. They don’t usually let you do that at, say, the pharmaceutical company or the post office, even if that someone really deserves it. They kind of frown on it, actually. I also get to wear really cool kick-ass boots and jeans every day.

Truth was, though, Kabita knew I loved a good challenge. She wasn't just my boss, she was also my friend and would never give me anything I couldn’t handle, no matter how much I bitched and moaned about an assignment. I was damn good at killing vamps. A Sunwalker would just be a little more… tricky. Not only were they not supposed to exist, but how were you supposed to find a vampire that could walk around in daylight? Heck, he probably even had a nice tan.

“Fine,” I snatched the paper off the desk. “I’ll meet him after I take a shower.”

“Good idea.”

I just glared at her. Sarcastic witch.

Her return smile was annoyingly beatific.

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