New York City, September 1988
Kali sees him across the room through the flashing lights and the smoke and the darkness of Club Totentanz. He has been coming here at least once a week for two months, his dark hair slicked back and tied behind his head. His gray suit is immaculate, pressed as if he is going to a wedding, a long coat wrapping his tall frame. A half-finished bourbon is settled into a hand on his knee.
He stares out at the crowd of seemingly mad dancers.
He appears perfect. Kali decides he will do.
As she approaches, slinking between dancing fools, his eyes turn on her, his drink pausing halfway to his lips. He takes in the indigo dress that barely covers her, the short black hair waving atop her skull and the silvered ankh jewelry dangling from her ears.
“Allow me a guess,” he says. “You are a vampire.”
She slides into the chair next to him and stretches forth one of her long, pale legs, slowly resting it atop his knees.
He tosses back the rest of his drink and sets the glass on the bar. Kali hides it well, but she is surprised at his control. Many a man would be frightened by her image, let alone her boldness.
“Vampires do not exist,” he says.
Kali grimaces, then allows a sharp smile. “Do you believe in anything?”
His eyes bore into her. “God?”
“Among other things.”
His gaze of ice returns to the dance floor, but they remain steady as if not following the gyrations and the lights. “Vampires do not exist,” he repeats.
“Perhaps I should introduce you to one.”
He glares at her. “You are… goth?”
He smirks. “Yet another young fool who believes they do not fear death.”
“Perhaps some of us don’t fear death.”
“Then you’ve never faced it.”
“What would you know about death?”
“I know a bunch of children trying to show their individuality by dressing in black, just like the other ten million of you, don’t know a damn thing about death. If you did, you’d scrub that dark off your faces and scurry back to your mothers.”
Kali grabs him by the chin and twists his head so she can look into his eyes. “I know more about death than you would believe.”
Her hand drops into her lap. “What did you call me?”
“Alicia,” he says. “That is your name. Alicia Westerpool.”
“No one knows that name!” She kicks her leg off his lap and pushes away from the bar.
“There is no need to flee,” he says.
Kali’s eyes flare, but she knows she can’t do anything here, now.
She turns and struts out of the club.
Several hours later the night has almost come and gone. The parking lot of Club Totentanz is nearly empty except for the beat-up cars of the employees and one black Lincoln Continental with tinted windows. The rain hammers down as if awaiting Noah’s return.
The man with the dark hair and dark suit limps his way toward the Lincoln. He looks like easy prey.
Drenched, Kali appears from a shadow next to his black car, a silvered knife in her left hand.
At the sound of her steps, he turns towards her, his keys jingling in his hands.
It’s then, right up on him, that she notices he is not wet. He has walked the distance from the club to the automobile, is standing in the rain, but his hair is not plastered to his head and his coat appears as dry as if it had just come from a closet.
Her moment of hesitation gone, she stabs.
Then stabs again.
The knife enters his stomach the first time, then sticks in his chest. Blood begins to ooze from the wounds.
The man drops his keys.
Kali backs away, leaving her blade inside him.
He starts laughing, then reaches up and withdraws the weapon, scarlet shining on the blade beneath the street lights.
He extends the knife. “Care to try again?”
She does not move.
“I told you there were no such things as vampires,” he says. “I should know after two thousand years.”
She lashes out with her nails, but his hands are quick. He grips her wrists, his fingers strong.
“Being a killer does not make you a vampire, Alicia,” he says, his face only inches from hers.
“What would you know?”
“I know you’ve killed four other men, dressed expensively like myself. I know you’ve kept it hidden, moving from one club to another.”
“You don’t know everything!”
“You’re right,” he says. “I don’t know why you did it. With women, it’s usually something to do with power or revenge.”
She tries to twist her arms free, but it is no use. Having no other outlet to attack, she spits in his face.
He chuckles again as her spittle slides from his jaw, like the rain leaving no trace. “I suppose a reason isn’t necessary.”
“Money,” she says.
“What was that?”
Her eyes turn to the pavement. “I did it for money. I’d rob them, then… one slice of the throat got them out of my way.”
His chuckle returns. “How very droll! How insignificant!”
“What now?” she asks. “You going to turn me over to the cops?”
“Oh no,” he says. “I answer to a higher authority.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“God has placed me in your path. It is time for judgment.”
For the first time, Kali fears. Her hands shake in his iron grasp and her knees wobble.
“Don’t faint on me,” he says, shaking her. “I want you awake for this.”
“What are you?” she asks.
“A sorceror,” he replies. “And Alicia?”
“Since I am no creature of the night, your pain will not end when the sun finds us.”
He glances east as the morning’s first rays blossom over the city.
Ty Johnston has been writing speculative fiction for almost 20 years. Most recently he has been working on a fantasy trilogy. Find out more at tyjohnston.blogspot.com.