Uncompleted sequel to “Her Scent, His Heaven.” Originally written for the fans at JennJ’s proboards forum. Someone is leaving gift-wrapped severed heads for the families and acquaintances of the victims.
“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother,
is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother
abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling
in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and
walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth,
because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
— Christian Bible, 1 John 2:9-11
Nancy sighed in exhaustion as she got out of her car. Walking up the steps, she spotted a cardboard box addressed to her. Perhaps it was that book she had ordered through the book club, and had awaited with high anticipation. She picked up the box, surprised that it felt a little heavy, and snatched the rest of her mail before entering her apartment.
Dropping her mail on the kitchen counter along with the package, she hit the “play” button on her answering machine. Hoping that at least one would be from her boyfriend Jason, she shook her head in disappointment as the messages were nothing more than the usual spate of bill collectors and advertisers.
She missed Jason terribly. They had not spoken in several days, as the breakneck pace of his work schedule prevented him from calling her. Trying to take her mind off him for the time being, she began to rifle through her mail. Not satisfied with any of the things she received, she turned to the cardboard box.
She examined it for the sender’s address but found nothing. Only her address was emblazoned upon it. Shrugging, she snatched a pair of scissors from her desk nearby to break the box’s seal. When she finally opened the box, she gasped in horror.
Inside was Jason’s severed head staring sightlessly at her. She heard a shrill terrified scream, but didn’t realize it was her own. Slamming her back against the kitchen counter in her haste to remove herself from the vicinity of the box, she sagged to the tile floor and began to sob.
Oh Jason! What sick mind could have done this to you?
* * *
Natalie sighed beatifically in Nick’s arms as he kissed her with a tender passion. She felt safe ensconced in his embrace, and her hands trailed along his bare back before tangling themselves in his blonde curls. He nibbled lightly at her throat before beginning to kiss his way down her body.
They shared a frustrated sigh when the bedside phone rang insistently. Nick’s eyes shot up to glare at the intrusive gadget and pondered ripping the cord out of the wall so they could continue their tryst undisturbed.
The answering machine clicked on downstairs, and they both groaned at the sound of Captain Reese’s voice. “Hey Nick, I know it’s your day off, but the Kingston Butcher has struck again. This time, he’s gone farther out of his neighbourhood. I need you at 355 Dovercourt, stat. Oh, and if you know where Dr. Lambert is, we’re gonna need her too. It‘s gotten messy. See you soon.” The only sound afterward was a click as Reese hung up.
Nick sighed. “Looks like we’ll have to continue this later, love.” He sat up, dropping an all too brief kiss on her cheek before darting into the walk-in closet to change into a suitable outfit. Natalie rifled through the bureau and found one of several outfits she had stowed here in the loft for just such an occasion. Since the two had become lovers, they had both gotten into the habit of leaving changes of clothing at each other’s domiciles to avoid any unnecessary trips home or having to wear the same outfits over again. It was simply more efficient that way.
It wasn’t long before they were both fully clothed and running for the lift. When the lift got to ground level, they both rushed into their cars, Natalie pulling out of the garage with Nick right behind her. After breaking nearly every traffic rule and a few laws of physics, they both got there in record time.
Natalie immediately made a beeline for the crime scene, but Nick hung back a little, sniffing at the air. He extended his senses, and felt something oddly familiar about the vibrations in the area. He put the back of his hand to his mouth to conceal the fangs that were extending, and swallowed back the growl that was surfacing.
Nick wandered around, looking at the outside area carefully while Natalie did her work. The scene reeked of the scent of a decomposing corpse, but Nick knew instantly that the victim was not killed here. But there was no mistaking that the killer had dropped the remains here.
Slowly, Nick’s eyes were drawn to a large black garbage bag. It was the kind of heavy-duty trash bag one would expect to see in a kitchen. But it smelled wrong. Producing a swiss army knife from his pocket, he carefully sliced open the bag.
The decapitated corpse lay inside the bag haphazardly. Nick recoiled, and bellowed for Natalie, who was examining the gift-wrapped head inside. Natalie instantly ran out upon Nick’s summons, and her eyes dropped down to the open bag. “Well, now we know where the rest of him is,” she remarked dryly.
Nick backed away from the corpse a few steps, again placing his hand to his mouth. His eyes snapped with amber sparks; the beast within him was threatening to be released. Natalie noticed his behaviour, and leaned in close to him. Her eyes were alight with concern for him. “Nick, what’s wrong?”
He hissed softly, “It feels wrong, Natalie. I can’t put my finger on it, but it all feels wrong.” The volume of his voice dropped even lower, and he leaned forward to whisper in her ear, “and it’s driving the vampire crazy.”
She eyed him closely, noting the sharp edges of his fangs were on display. His eyes were beginning to change their hue. He bowed his head and pursed his mouth shut, drawing a few unneeded yet calming breaths to reassert his control over his vampiric nature.
Natalie leaned down to take a closer look at the corpse. Her eyes were automatically drawn to the cut-off point at the neck. She found two small indentations that were otherwise obscured by the cut. The lack of sufficient blood in the body cinched it for her. This was a vampire’s killing.