“A man in Oregon kidnaps children and sells them to people outside of the country.” The Ghost Toasty, Doctor Death, hovered over Sean the Vampire.
Sean sat at the large, oak desk in the library of the mansion, Mount Olympus. He sucked on a tube inserted in a bag of blood. Sean chuckled at the thought of TV vampires drinking blood from crystal goblets. In reality, they would die of malnutrition if they fed that way. Blood could not be touched by air if it was to retain its nutritional value for a vampire.
Doctor Death floated in front of Sean. He stirred the papers on the desk. Sean looked at him.
“What do you think?”
“The child trafficker in Oregon.”
“Horrible,” Sean said.
“Are we going after him?” Doctor Death tried to squeeze Sean’s bag of blood. Affecting the physical world whenever he wanted required more effort and concentration than the ghost could yet muster.
Sean shrugged his shoulders and continued to suck.
“A woman, known as ‘Mom’ physically abuses her foster children. She’s killed three so far and gotten away with it.”
“I never felt comfortable targeting people for dinner.” The bag compressed and squeezed together as Sean sucked out the last of the blood and air. He tossed the tube onto the desk and stood up. “Now that I have all this money, I can buy blood. With the rest, I just want to help people. Carry on the work with the orphans. Maybe expand to homeless families.” Sean wandered around the room as he spoke.
Doctor Death became dense. He thrust himself at the book shelves over Sean’s head. Books rained down on Sean, striking him about the shoulders until he moved away. He picked a book up from the floor and threw it at Doctor Death. It went through the spirit and struck the shelves.
“We made a deal,” said Doctor Death. “I expect you to stick to it.”
“Judgment and punishment should be left to someone else.”
“Don’t be such a wishy washy wuss. The rabid vermin of this world need to be put down and you are the perfect exterminator.” Doctor Death floated over the desk. “Come look at this article in this Oregon paper.”
Sean drifted back to the desk.
“Look at the faces of these missing children and then tell me you can’t go after the monster stealing them from their families for his profit.”
Sean spread out the front page of the newspaper. Pictures of five children covered most of the page. The headline read, “Missing From Three States. Authorities Baffled.” Sean looked at each child in turn. His eyes reached the little girl in the fourth picture. His back stiffened and he grabbed the edges of the paper in both fists bringing it closer to his face. He held his breath. He became whiter than usual and his fangs extended.
“Are you ok, Sean?”
Doctor Death smiled as Sean dropped the paper and rushed from the library.
John Smith was a parasite covered in rose colored, fluffy toys. The pink stuffed animals that draped his naked body made him seem even more obscene than the serial killer he was. He slept peacefully, not even snoring.
Doctor Death wafted into the bedroom and hovered over him gesturing for Sean the Vampire to get on with the retribution intended for him.
Sean hesitated. It felt wrong to kill a sleeping naked man; somehow unfair.
Sean looked around the bedroom. Next to the bed sat a wheelchair. In a corner stood several canes. The components of a black tuxedo littered the floor. An empty bottle of vodka and a water glass stood on a table by an overstuffed easy chair.
Too much time passed for Doctor Death. He wanted to see Sean rip the serial killer apart. He wanted Sean to sever the bastard’s head from his neck. He thought Sean spent too much time thinking.
Doctor Death entered John Smith’s body at the base of his exposed spine and spread his molecules throughout the man’s cells. John Smith shivered. The ghost moved completely into John’s brain hitting his pain centers.
John Smith screamed and clutched his head. He rolled over and moved to the edge of the bed. Doctor Death left his head and floated before him.
“You again,” said John. “Will I never be free of you?”
“You will be tonight,” said Doctor Death. “Meet my friend, Sean.”
John looked over his shoulder. He grinned when he saw Sean.
“So the burned marshmallow spook found a stooge,” said John. He stood, hobbled around the bed and held out his hand to Sean.
Sean grasped the man by the back of the wrist and pulled it to his nose. He sniffed, closing his eyes as if he were checking the bouquet of a fine wine.
John watched him without pulling away, swaying on unsteady legs.
Sean led John to the wheel chair and helped him to sit. He locked gazes with John.
“Don’t hypnotize him,” said Doctor Death, “he doesn’t deserve such kindness.” The ghost swooped between Sean and John Smith breaking the contact of their minds. Sean fell onto the bed, rolling over and burying his head into the pink stuffed animals.
“Treat him like meals on wheels, you wuss.” In his agitation with Sean, Doctor Death fluctuated like heat waves on a hot tarmac.
“The crows have finally come to bring me home,” said John. He looked from Sean to Doctor Death and laughed.
“You may rightly call me Death’s messenger,” said the ghost, “for I have brought Him to devour your filthy soul.”
“I have no fear of Death and I have no fear of you and especially not him.” John Smith gestured to the prone and still Sean.
“It’s my fault,” said Doctor Death, “I have not set the stage properly.”
Doctor Death vaporized and seeped into John Smith’s head once again. He was not capable of moving things (even though he kept trying) but he could take over the essential building blocks of matter, confusing their function and thus affecting the physical world.
In this case, the pressure on John’s brain caused him to bleed from his ears, nose and tear ducts.
The metallic scent of fresh flowing blood roused Sean. His canine teeth grew to their killing length. He sprang onto John Smith’s body, tearing open his neck and ripping out his voice box just before a scream bubbled to John Smith’s lips.
The serial killer died too quickly for Doctor Death’s taste but by the slurping and gulping sounds Sean made while feeding, Doctor Death could tell at least Sean would be satisfied and full.
Sean had been so hungry and depleted that he drained John Smith’s body in record time. He had also been an usually sloppy feeder. The entire front of his body was covered in blood. He looked around and did not see Doctor Death, so Sean went into John Smith’s huge bathroom and took a shower. Wrapped in a towel after drying off, he gathered his filthy clothes and went in search of a laundry room and Doctor Death.
The washing machine was off of the kitchen. He put his clothes in to wash the blood off. Good thing he dressed in black, he thought to himself. There would be no stains and no need to buy new clothes in order to go out in public again.
He found Doctor Death in an elaborate office.
“The man was very organized,” said Doctor Death. “I found his will. He left everything but the kitchen sink to his brother.”
“You did not tell me he had living relatives.”
“Then the government will put all of his possessions on sale,’ said Sean, “and his estate will be viewed as a great act of patriotism.”
“No,” said Doctor Death, “I have other plans.”
“What have you to do with it?”
“My name in life was David Smith,” said Doctor Death. “John Smith was my older brother.”
“You had me kill your brother?” Sean paced around the office. His urges wanted him to lunged at Doctor Death but he couldn’t be killed a second time. “Family killing runs deep in your family.”
“For the love of my life, he needed to be stopped,” said Doctor Death.” He tried to move a library card laying on the surface of the desk. It didn’t budge. “You needed to feed. The situation was just common sense.”
“Your latest idea,” said Sean, “what is it?”
“Being dead, I couldn’t even blackmail anyone here in California to bring me back from the grave to inherit,” said doctor Death.
“A stethoscope to your rotting corpse will prove the fact simply enough,” said Sean. He paced the room looking at the well stocked bookshelves with envy.
“Don’t look so smug.” Doctor death swooped around Sean’s head. “It will work.”
“You will be my resurrected son.”
Sean stopped moving and stared at the ghost.
“John killed my infant son but the death was never reported. John wrapped his lifeless body in bubble wrap, put it in a box, slapped postage on it and mailed it to me when I was in South America working. My son’s death is what drove me to do crank and ultimately kill myself. You will take over my son’s identity and inherit my brother’s wealth.” Doctor Death nodded at the incredulous Sean.
Sean the Vampire decided he could live with the bad muffler on Doctor Death’s sport’s car. Sean felt weak from lack of food and now a gentle spring rain began to fall. He climbed back into the driver’s seat and started the vehicle back up.
The Ghost Toasty, Doctor Death, floated into his car and above the passenger seat, the singed edges of his astral body vibrating from the noise of the malfunctioning exhaust system.
“The first serial killer we go after,” said Sean, “tell me about him.” Sean put the car in gear and drove out of the alley.
“John Smith wrecks havoc across the country and has never been caught. He inflicts pain of Biblical proportions while evading authorities in the forty-eight contiguous states, Alaska and Hawaii.”
“Why doesn’t he get caught?”
“He disguises himself as an upstanding citizen. He has wrinkles on his face and paralysis of his left leg that makes people take him for granted to their eternal grief.”
“How do you know him?”
Doctor Death let out a ghoulish howl of operatic volume and length. Sean took his hands off of the steering wheel and covered his ears. The Mustang began to slide on the rain slicked road.
“Control the car,” yelled the Ghost Toasty, Doctor Death.
Sean grabbed the wheel and straightened the vehicle.
“What the hell,” said Sean, “What’s up with the noise?”
“I remembered the first time I floated over John Smith while he nibbled on a victim.”
“He eats his victims’ flesh?”
“While they are alive and kicking.”
“He deserves a horrible death,” said Sean.
“Rip his throat out when we find him.”
“How far away is John Smith’s mansion, Mount Olympus?”
“You should get there in five hours,” said Doctor Death. “I will check to see if he is home.” He vaporized and disappeared through the open window.
Sean turned on the radio. An old-fashioned soap opera played on the only station that came in clearly. He listened for a few minutes and then got lost in his thoughts. Killing someone like John Smith for his supply of human blood would be no problem. Society would be better off without such evil scum. Sean would be an invisible hero.
A couple of hours later, Doctor Death materialized next to Sean, startling him out of his reverie of herohood.
“His mammoth ego has him sponsoring a foundation that takes care of motherless children,” said the ghost. He floated around Sean’s head. “He uses the charity as a cover for his evil secret life. He will be home from a fund raising event in an hour.”
Sean gripped the steering wheel, his knuckles becoming even paler. This man made him mad, fatally mad, fatal for John Smith. Sean couldn’t wait to kill him.
“We need to put John Smith down tonight,” said Doctor Death, “he is planning another abduction tomorrow.”
“Will there be any evidence we can pass on the authorities to give closure to his victims’ families?”
“In John Smith’s killing scenario, he covers his play room in raw canvas. The gore dries on the canvas, which he hides with paint splatters. Then, he mounts and frames his work and displays it around his home as part of his art collection. He doesn’t worry about the exhibition as he is a famous collector and great art patron.”
“Tell me everything about his sick behavior,” said Sean. “I really want him to pay for his deeds and I need to know as much about him as possible.”
“He goes to towns far away from his home with no ties to his life. He targets very large men who have been charged with killing their wives, but have never been convicted and go home to their children, where they continue their abusing ways. He goes to their neighborhood bars. He sits next to them. He spikes their drinks. They get woozy and he offers to drive them home. They accept. He looks very innocent. He gets them in his car and they pass out. He drives to a secluded spot. He puts them in a trunk. He takes the men to his private jet and flies back to Mount Olympus. He puts them in his soundproof room, tied to a hook hanging from the ceiling. He stuffs chewed bubble gum in their nostrils. They feel like they are suffocating. He covers their eyes with it. They never see what’s coming. He leaves their mouths free. They scream. Their ears, unstuffed, hear their own panic. He spanks them with a leather belt, the buckle digging fleshy chunks from their backs. He chews on their fingers and toes. After torturing them for two days in this way, he uncovers their eyes. They watch as he ejaculates over their mutilated bodies. He gets most excited over the ones who cry and beg to be set free. Once he achieves his sexual release, he rolls a cast iron, bull shaped oven into the room. He stuffs the men inside (they are too weak to fight him by this time.) He starts a slow fire. He sits in the room watching and listening as the men become ashes, their horrific screams before they cook, feeding his obsessions.”
The scenery outside of the car changed from empty dessert, to sporadic small towns, to rundown suburbs and now to more high-end exclusive gated private homes.
“His pathology seems very auto-biographical,” said Sean.
“Ew, don’t we sound like a doctor,” said the poltergeist-wanna-be, “That’s my moniker.”
“Don’t get all childish on me. I just read a lot.”
“You happen to be right, though. He goes after men who remind him of his father.”
“How long have you been watching John Smith?”
“I was hanging around the night his father killed his mother. I’ve haunted him ever since.”
“Why haven’t you done anything about him before now?”
“You are the first person, um, vampire, I have found who would accept that I was real and not some schizophrenic hallucination.”
They pulled up to the garden gate of Mount Olympus. Sean cut off the car’s engine. The full moon hid behind heavy clouds, but the white mansion sat in the center of a multitude of spotlights like a singer on stage performing a solo. Sean didn’t know if he wanted to proceed with this course he was on. John Smith seemed to be doing the world a favor by removing these family killers and abusers, almost like he planned to do. His conscience experienced a seizure of regret. Doctor Death noticed Sean’s hesitancy.
“Not having second thoughts are you?” The wraith became more opaque and expanded to fill the car’s interior.
“You can’t back out on me now.”
Sean felt Doctor Death invade the cells of his body. He shivered and clenched his muscles.
“You get out of me, now,” Sean said. His anger management stressed his system, this situation and his lack of nourishment wearing him out.
“Relax, my fiendish friend.” The vaporous MD condensed back to normal.
“If it makes you feel better about going on with our plan, you should know that he once killed a young mother and her baby because he thought the woman had seen him with one of his victims. Another time, he ran over an old man when leaving a bar with another of his psychotic specimens. I have a whole list of the innocents he’s taken in his urge for self-gratification.”
Sean’s zeal for vengeance and sanguine fluid returned. He gathered his energy reserves, stepped out of the car and transformed into a bat. He flew to John Smith’s bedroom, squeezed through the crack of the partially open second floor window and reverted to his humanoid appearance.
John Smith lay naked in his king sized, round bed covered in pink stuffed animals.
Sean took a casual look for a map. He looked around and saw portraits of “The Most Wanted” on the mustard colored walls. He decided to approach his search for bad-men-food like a brigadier general on campaign.
He ignored the greed in his veins calling for immediate release. This would be no slumber party. When you hunted a serial killer, rapist or arsonist, there was no need to be careful or kind. He looked forward to causing apoplexy in someone.
Something rushed by his head. At first he thought it was a hummingbird, but he knew no living beings were in the town. An apparition appeared in front of Sean the Vampire. This was the Ghost Toasty he had smelled earlier. Its vapors were singed on the edges.
“Call me Doctor Death,” said the specter, “I can help you find all of sinners you can eat.” The haunt swooped around Sean’s head.
“How did you die?”
“I went for a midnight swim in my parallelogram shaped natatorium after a day spent snorting cocaine, diving into the shallow end of the pool, hit my head and died.”
“Not too bright,” said Sean.
Doctor Death turned up the wattage and Sean had to shade his eyes.
“I know the first person on your menu lives in a mansion called Mount Olympus, surrounded by birch trees. You will need to go in with iron to protect yourself from his magic.”
“Um, vampire,” Sean said, pointing at his chest.
“Can you shape-shift right now or fly?” asked Doctor Death.
“I am weak right now from lack of blood, but I’ll manage.”
The phantasm floated through the wall at the back of the store. Sean followed through a door into an alley where a cherry red Mustang sat.
“Get in,” said Doctor Death. “Let’s go.”
Sean the Vampire got behind the wheel.
“Why would a ghost need a car?”
“The person before I became a ghost needed a killer car,” said Doctor Death. “Start her up.”
Sean turned the key. A horrendous rumble and a mean growl erupted from the running motor, shaking every inch of the vehicle. The vibrations made Doctor Death’s vapors shift and quiver. Sean turned the car off and got out.
It must have been his imagination, but Sean smelled roasting marshmallows. Ghosts rarely ate sweets, so maybe fresh blood could be had behind the partition of the next building.
Green Power sounded like a store catering to the newest fad to come down the highway. Instead of seeing recycled products behind his mirror image in the shop window, Sean saw the autograph of a famous serial killer.
Next to the John Hancock, a sign read,
“We specialize in the cartography showing where this butcher lives.”
Sean entered the establishment searching for a map. Maybe feeding on evil men could solve his dilemma and be his salvation…
A shadow stumbled across the courtyard only to ricochet back to its owner when it passed the mirrored surface of the glass stagedoor to The Choral Society.
It was not true that a vampire cast no shadow or that he could not see himself reflected in a mirror. These were just fancies some fool with a printing press distributed to the ignorant masses.
It was true, however, that a vampire had no soul. Upon being inducted into the Great Undead, all humanity was lost and the pluralism of craving what one could no longer have warred with the need to feed on that which was forever lost.
Sean needed to feed.
While his long gone but not forgotten personhood knew it was wrong to suck a human dry, the mathematics of counting simple calories told him he needed human blood. He could live on rodents or larger animals, like dogs and cats, but human blood was more compatible with his demonic DNA and the calories were far richer. He even fancied on occasion that he could get some residual sense memories from a person’s venous fluids.
Unfortunately, he found himself in a ghost town and ethereal bodies were not known for containing viscous substances and with no human trash around not even a rat scurried through the alleyways. . . . .