Chapter 5: The Fur Flies
Chapter 5: The Fur Flies
David Martinez found out that he had a dirty little secret on his hands. The picture of the kid was posted in the newspaper, and so was her story. Feared drowned, at least, not savagely mauled by a strange dog! Still, the facts were that this one had made the news, and his son was responsible for it.
Two days later, no progress had been made on the investigation. Martinez decided to level with the Commissioner. He knew he should, and he knew that the Commissioner would keep any werewolf angle of the investigation out of the spotlight. After all, Commissioner Vic Erickson was a werewolf himself.
Without revealing that his son had been to blame, Martinez requested a special session of certain City Council members. Something needed to be done about those damn vampires.
The session was called after regular City Hall hours concluded. Only those members that were not mortal were informed of it. This way, the floor was free for any sort of discussion. The Commissioner was invited to attend, as well, though he pledged to remain quiet about any possible involvements concerning vampires and Martinez’s son. For the moment, at least, some things were better left unsaid.
Shelby Trammel Frog took her usual seat at the proceeding, and prepared to call the meeting in session. There were eight council members in attendance including herself; nine if she counted the Commissioner. She was curious about his presence as he usually did not attend City Council sessions, but there had been a serious incident in the last couple of days. She vaguely wondered if he had some secret scoop on the investigation that was being left out of the news.
Seated around her were the non-mortal members of the City’s governing heart. David Martinez, the Lt. Mayor, sat rigidly in a chair at her left. There were four other werewolves in the room, including the Commissioner. There were three ghouls. Then, there was Shelby.
Unbeknownst to anyone else in the room, there was a mortal in attendance. Shelby Frog had been exorcised of her fear demon last June. She still wore an amulet around her neck to prevent another fear demon from jumping into her; or to prevent the same one from returning. The amulet had been made by her husband and her brother in law prior to the exorcism. They also wore amulets, as did the rest of both of their families.
Shelby wondered if the amulet kept the exorcism a secret from the other fear demons she worked with. So far, it seemed that no one suspected that she was altered in any way. Still, it was difficult maintaining a ghoul’s eye view of politics, and she found herself looking forward to the end of her term.
The amulet around her neck grew warm with the presences of the other demons in the room. She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. Then, she glanced at her Lieutenant and made the motion that brought the session in order and gave him control of the floor.
“I have a concern about this investigation that I don’t feel unwarranted bringing up. Some facts have surfaced that Commissioner Erickson will be discussing soon. But, there’s something going on that we cannot ignore any longer. I’ve had too many reports of those damn vampires hanging around the beach and being seen in the vicinity of the boardwalk. Am I alone here?” Martinez opened.
Shelby took in a deep breath. The vampires?
“I’ve heard a couple of scattered reports, but I’ve never seen anything myself,” Councilman Calvert stated. Like Martinez, he was a werewolf.
“I never knew what they looked like to begin with, so frankly, if they’ve been around, I wouldn’t know it. I’m sure they don’t bare their fangs and scare the living daylights out of all the tourists, so no one on the beach or at the boardwalk would know to make a complaint about vampires hanging around,” Councilwoman Pratt said. She was one of the newest members on the board, and was one of the three ghouls present.
“No, Ms. Pratt. Vampires don’t run around baring their fangs at tourists. We know them by their other activities.”
Martinez’s tone was distinctly patronizing.
“What sorts of other activities would vampires be into besides sucking blood?”
“Our local variety is a group of hell raisers. There are four chief members, and though they aren’t supposed to be recruiting any more, one never knows. There could be more of ‘em. Their leader is a guy by the name of..David..uh..”
“Owens,” Shelby interjected.
“Yeah, David Owens, and this guy has been around quite awhile. His birth cert says he was born in 1915. You won’t be seeing pictures of these guys, but Shelby has them pretty well I D’d. I only know the leader’s name.”
“The other guys are Dwayne, Marko and Paul. Dwayne is the only brunette in the group, the others are all blond. They have motorcycles and have been known to ride them in prohibited areas. In the past, about twenty years ago, these guys were almost always on the boardwalk, and almost always causing some minor disturbance or another. They often clashed with a punk gang that the locals called the Surf Nazi’s. Yet, records show that the scuffs they got into were never serious enough to involve the police. None of our local fang gang has ever seen the inside of a Santa Carla jail cell. But, in the summer of ’86, something big did go down between the Boys, their Head, and some locals. This happened up at Old Man Martin’s house. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors…,” Shelby explained.
“Right. I know all that. The head vampire bought a stake. The Boys survived somehow,” Pratt recalled.
“Well, my uncle, when he was in office, drew up an edict to keep the Boys in line, fearing that they were out of control. Several mort’s found out about them, and some serious damage control was needed to explain away the death of Max Irving. My uncle’s edict declared that the Boys were to refrain from gathering all together within city limits in public domain. They were to refrain from hunting from the local populace with the exception of an occasional drunk or vagrant. They were to avoid contact with any of the mortal participants involved in the events of the summer of ’86….”
“And they were to stay off the boardwalk and away from the damn beach,” Martinez spat.
Shelby cleared her throat.
“Actually, that was never part of the original edict. They can be on Beach Boardwalk property; just not assembled as a complete group. In fact, the edict has their number limited to two in a public setting. That means any public setting in Santa Carla, and the edict did not stipulate that they cannot meet up outside of Santa Carla as a whole group, even if it’s right outside the City limits,” she clarified.
“So then, you’re saying that any one particular vampire can prowl the beach at night and pick off surfers and kids at bonfire parties?”
“No. Any one vampire may prowl the beach, but the only thing he’s allowed to pick off is the occasional bum or junkie. The rules are the same for the vamps as they are for you. My uncle made that clear. Santa Carla had to clean up its image some, or people were going to stop coming. Then, we’d all suffer.”
“What vampire report has you so riled?’ Councilman Aldrige asked. Of course, since he was one of the three ghouls, he didn’t have the slightest idea what was ruffling Martinez’s fur so badly.
This was where Commissioner Erickson made a motion. Shelby granted him the floor.
“The child involved in the alleged drowning the other night was the daughter of Sam Emerson; youngest son of Lucy Emerson, who currently owns Video Max. She bought out the local store, and eventually, she bought out Irving’s whole damn chain. But, Lucy Emerson originally started her career at Video Max as a clerk. She was hired by Irving a few weeks before he bought the big one. Her eldest son, Michael, got involved with our fang gang right around the same time, according to reports. He also got involved with Lt. Chelli’s daughter Star, who’d run away from home and was hanging out with the local flavor. At any rate, while Michael and Star get involved with the vamps, Max takes a liking to Lucy and starts dating her. A few weeks later, I guess the whole damn thing went to hell in a hand basket. This Sam Emerson was reportedly responsible for taking down at least one of the vamps in the massacre at Martin’s place. Apparently, he started getting a clue that his brother’s friends and his mother’s boyfriend weren’t exactly normal, so he contacted our local vigilante squad, who was in business even way back then, and this is what caused the showdown.”
Erickson fastened a gaze on Shelby when he mentioned the ‘local vigilante squad’. He knew who she was married to. So did everyone else. But, everyone else in the room also thought they knew why…to keep Edgar Frog and his brother Alan in line.
“So, you’re playing pin the motive on a vampire?” Shelby asked, “I thought the police report clearly indicated that the girl drowned.”
“That’s just the press release, my dear. You should know that. And, for the record, yes, so far, it does look like a drowning. But, Lucy Emerson was very emphatic about stating that her grandchild knew better than to go out on the rocks or into the ocean. Especially at night. I mean, come on, what brain dead eight year old tries to go swimming or rock climbing at night? We’re thinking something chased her there…”
“Like…a vampire?” Councilwoman Wilson asked. She looked hopeful at the thought, since most werewolves and vampires did not get along. Pinning a crime on a vampire was always good sport.
“We think we know which one, too. The Native looking one. A person questioned on the pier reports hearing a strange noise that sounded like screeching brass wings in the air that night. Another young man reports that he saw a tall, long haired, young looking Native American or Latino man in a leather jacket and a pair of jeans on the beach shortly before the kid vanished.”
Suddenly, Shelby’s stomach lurched uncomfortably. She hated remembering anything that had to do with David Owens or her previous rendezvous with him as a ghoul. There’d been several, but the last one had been…
She focused her mind back to one or two times before. The demon inside of her had jumped into David, and then back into her. Shelby now had the knowledge stored in her brain, of the ghouls’ experience in David’s body. There was something not right about this…
“Dwayne Runningwolf…this is the one you speak of. But, their leader has told me that his injuries from that night were so severe, he still has no memory of the incidents up at Old Man Martin’s house. So, if he can’t remember Sam Emerson, what would compel him to do a swipe, chomp and dump on Emerson’s daughter?” she asked.
“Maybe he remembers now,” Erickson growled, “But the facts are plain. Two witnesses, one of whom ID’s him, and the other who hears vampire noises. And, we all know that it wouldn’t be the first time the Boys have snatched a little kid…”
She had to admit, it didn’t sound good. If it was true, then Dwayne had directly disobeyed one of her uncle’s edicts. Shelby knew the Boys were getting a bit more daring since her demon had been exorcised, but surely they wouldn’t be that stupid!
“Well, then, I suppose I’ll be setting up a meeting with Owens,” she sighed.
“Why don’t we all have a little powwow with Runningwolf? Frankly, I’d like to drop his ass in the tank and let him fry….”
“You of all people should know that things aren’t handled like that around here. Werewolves may dislike vampires, but would you be so hell bent if the evidence pointed to one of your own kind?”
Oddly, both the Commissioner and Lt. Martinez squirmed in their seats.
“So, you’re going to question Owens. Maybe I should come along.”
“No offense, Commissioner, but David Owens knows what you are as surely as he knows what I am. He can barely stand me, but we are able to see eye to eye on most issues. However, I can assure you, you’ll get nowhere with him,” Shelby stated.
“So, what does Uncle’s edict say about bad little vampires that break the rules? If we can’t lock them up in the hoosegow until sunrise, what can we do?”
The Commissioner was clearly annoyed with the grey line that separated police work from politics. Yet, in his position, he walked that grey line every day.
“The edict calls for Banishment. Runningwolf, if found guilty, will be required to part from his pack and leave town. And, if his pack can’t bear to see him go it alone, they’ll have to leave with him,” she replied.
Several satisfied smirks followed her parting remark. The werewolves, in particular, liked the sound of that. It would mean more meat for them….
The meeting was adjourned shortly afterwards, with little more accomplished than the usual growling and glowering that accompanied almost all sessions like this.
Commissioner Erickson was a real piece of work, and Shelby hated dealing with him almost as much as she detested dealing with David. She hadn’t talked to David in three months, since things had been relatively calm. Still, sometimes, she heard him stirring around in her mind.
That wasn’t the only thing stirring around inside of her. It was the reason she hated thinking about any of the events that had occurred last summer, even if it had resulted in her own soul’s reclamation of her body. The fear demon had used her like a mortal meat puppet, and David had used her, too. She’d been bitten, fucked, and then chucked back into her own body. But, of course, the fear demon had used her husband, too. ‘It’ had made love to him and conceived of him the children she had now.
But she simply didn’t know who the father of the child she was carrying now was. Worse yet, she suspected that Edgar wondered, too. They rarely discussed baby names together like she remembered that they had with Tyler and Kirsten. Yet, he was never unkind to her. In fact, he peppered her with questions every day, like: ‘How are you feeling? Normal?’
She knew what he meant. Shelby had been bitten by David, and was supposedly subject to his mental maneuverings; a thought that filled her with loathing. Supposedly, though, it didn’t make her a vampire since no blood had been exchanged. Specifically, she did not drink any of his blood. Still, she found herself drinking far more caffeine than her doctor recommended. She slept late on weekends. And strangely, no matter how lethargic she felt during the day, her energy would always resurge after sunset for a little while, at least. Fortunately, her nighttime sleep pattern was unaltered, and though she had a few strange cravings every now and then, she didn’t find that she had an aversion to garlic…
It had been nearly six years since she’d been pregnant, so it was hard to compare symptoms to know if what she was feeling was normal or not. Prenatal vitamins kept her energy levels up some, but she knew she was going to have to lay off the caffeine before too long. It wasn’t good for the baby.
At five and a half months, the fetus within could now kick and be felt. One thing was for certain. The baby was never active during the day. This bothered Shelby to no end, but she kept her fears to herself. In fact, she had kept her entire pregnancy quiet until just recently. Having an extra fifteen pounds on her slight frame meant she could hide the growing lump a bit longer than some sucked up little Nicole Ritchie. Some of her co-workers likely thought she was putting on a little more weight. Though she had finally divulged her condition a couple of weeks ago, she still dressed to hide it. Shelby hated maternity clothes, and it could be hard to find nice, professional work clothes for a pregnant woman of short stature. Hell, it was hard when she wasn’t pregnant! So, for now, she simply bought a couple of suits that were a size too big and generously cut. They wouldn’t last long, but they’d last her long enough to shop for something decent to see her through the rest of her pregnancy.
And, hopefully, her clothing would disguise her condition from David. Regardless of whose child it was, it would be passed off as Edgar’s. If the child was David’s, he could have nothing to do with it. No court of law anywhere would give visitation rights or joint custody to a bloodsucking vampire!