The White Death

Vampire Detective Midnight #5

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Nick will do anything to keep his mate safe. Anything.

 

Even if it means selling his soul to his vampire sire, and rejoining the dark underground of vampires known as the White Death.

 

Dimitry Yi, infamous anti-vampire extremist, has been missing for weeks.

 

His rabid followers are losing their minds.

 

Dead bodies start appearing around the city, marked with the symbol of Dimitry Yi. Riots break out in vampire neighborhoods, even as bombs go off at government buildings and cafes. New York grows increasingly violent and unstable, bringing pressure from many to just give the terrorists what they want.

 

The message is clear: give them their leader back, or the killings will continue.

 

Worse, now they appear to be targeting Nick, maybe because he’s famous as a cage-fighting vampire, but more likely from his role as a Midnight, a vampire homicide detective for the NYPD. Someone knows about Nick’s involvement in Dimitry Yi’s disappearance, and they will do anything to get him to release Yi – including targeting Nick’s girlfriend, an obvious “race-traitor” and blood whore to a vampire.

 

In the end, Nick decides he must look to his own kind for help. Even if that means indebting himself to his sire, Brick, a human-hating vampire with a twisted agenda of his own.

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SAMPLE PAGES -

They sat on the dirt, gazing up at the image embedded in the wall.

Mostly, they stared at the man it depicted––a shaggy-haired, lean-faced shadow with high cheekbones, a narrow mouth, and glass-like eyes, wearing a long black coat.

The man stood in the center of the detailed mosaic of a desert not unlike this one, framed by an enormous sun.

The mural covered the entire cave wall, surrounded by burning torches.

Someone arranged each of those tiny bits of colored stone with such precision, with such care––the fact that it existed at all down here, that no one found it for centuries, still blew Nick’s mind a little. He knew scientists had been down to study it in the time since. He knew at first, some declared it a prank, some kind of joke played by a Santa Fe or Albuquerqe artist… at least until it was carbon-dated and found to be over a thousand years old.

It still made no sense.

Nick, who knew more than most, could make no sense of it, either.

Even the man’s clothes looked strangely modern, like they could have come from the current time period, here on Earth.

 

Of course, Nick knew no one from this Earth likely made it at all.

 

Which meant seers had been here before.

 

Moreover, seers had been here, in this dimension, a lot longer than Black, or Charles, or any of the seers here now had guessed.

 

Something about the image being stone, and not paint, made it more real somehow.

 

At the same time, Nick had trouble reconciling that realness with what the male seer sitting on the cave floor with him had just been telling him.

“You knew that guy?” Nick said, gruff, pointing up at the face of the man depicted there, his black hair hanging down his back and over his shoulders, his cold, colorless eyes staring down at where they sat, a bottle of bourbon on the cave floor between them.

“More than knew him,” Dalejem answered.

He turned his pale green eyes to Nick, smirking faintly when Nick glanced over.

 

Nick stared at him, unblinking.

 

Then he understood, even as he kicked himself for being an idiot.

 

An asshole… and an idiot.

 

“You fucked him.” Nick didn’t voice it as a question. An odd, irrational wave of hurt rose in him, even as his fangs extended in overt aggression. “Is there anyone you didn’t fuck, Jem? On that other world of yours? Or do I even want to know?”

 

Then something else occurred to him, even as he raised the bottle to his mouth.

 

“Wait.” He lowered the bottle back to his lap.

 

He turned, glaring at his lover, who still felt like a new lover and a very old one all at once, who still felt strange, not only because he was male and a seer, but because he was the first person Nick had been with who felt more or less like a permanent fixture in his life.

 

Maybe for the same reason, he didn’t hold back when they fought.

 

He didn’t try to make himself seem like a nicer guy than he was.

 

He more or less cut the crap with Dalejem from day one.

 

“Is this that dick you told me about?” Nick growled. “The one whose wife you banged, too? And may have gotten pregnant?”

 

Dalejem, unfazed by Nick’s anger, by his possessiveness, by his obvious jealousy, by his overall desire to pick a fight and possibly lose his shit… gave Nick a narrow smile.

 

“‘Banged’?” he said, obviously amused. “Did you just describe my legendary skills at lovemaking ‘banging’?”

 

“You’re fucking hilarious,” Nick growled, taking a longer version of a drink and handing him the bottle in annoyance. “You’re also a mean, game-playing son of a bitch. Is this our romantic vacation? Taking me out to the desert? Promising me time alone, just the two of us… for what? Did you really bring me out here just to show me a picture of your shitty ex?”

 

“Not only that,” Dalejem remarked, his voice still calm as he took the bottle from Nick’s hands, bringing it to his mouth for a drink of his own. “Although you’re giving me a hard-on right now, with your fangs out, wanting to bite a guy I haven’t slept with in probably forty years… and who didn’t want me anyway.”

Raising the bottle for a few swallows, Jem wiped his perfectly sculpted mouth, setting the bourbon down on the red rock between them.

“No,” Dalejem added. “I’m not just being a dick. I wanted to tell you something about me, about my world.”

Pausing, he added,

“Did I ever tell you the story of who he was?”

 

Seeing Nick scowl, Dalejem interjected.

 

“…Not to me, dumb-dumb. To the world I came from? The world of the seers?”

 

“No,” Nick growled.

“Liar.” Dalejem leaned closer, putting his hand on Nick’s cock and kissing his neck. “You really are fucking adorable when you’re jealous… but kind of a brat.”

 

“Just tell me who he is,” Nick grumbled, pushing the other’s hand away. “Wasn’t he some kind of serial killer?” Grunting, remembering he was somehow related to Black, Nick muttered, “Must run in the family.”

 

“More like a quasi-mythological deity-slash-world-species-killer.” Leaning back, Dalejem smiled, unfazed by Nick pushing his hand away. He leaned back on his palms, frowning up at the image of a man made of colored stones. “They called him Syrimne d’Gaos… Sword of the Gods, in my language, the language from Old Earth.”

 

“Sword of the Gods,” Nick muttered, looking up at the wall. “Sounds like a pretentious asshole.” Something else occurred to Nick. “Unless he was he some kind of god? Did you have gods on that world, too? Real ones?”

 

Dalejem smiled, shaking his head. “No. He was a seer.”

“So what was the big deal about him?”

“It’s complicated,” Dalejem said, frowning faintly. “But the short story is, they saw him as a kind of holy figure, who came to free the seers from slavery.” Thinking about that, Jem shrugged. “I suppose he did… in a way. But it’s complicated, like I said. And most humans were deathly afraid of him. Terrified, really.”

Nick frowned, looking up at the mural, in spite of himself.

“Why?” he said finally.

Dalejem shrugged, taking another swallow of the bourbon as he did.

Setting down the bottle with a light gasp, he shrugged again.

“He was telekinetic,” he said simply. “And highly trained.”

Nick’s frown deepened. He waited for the punchline, for some kind of clarification.

None came.

“So?” he said, throwing up a hand. “He could move shit around with his mind? Bend spoons? Throw ceramic cups against the wall? What? And how did that freak out the humans of your world, given there was already a whole race of mean, pervy, sex-addict seers who could fuck with their heads, and basically enslave them just by thinking at them real hard?”

 

Dalejem gave him a sideways smile.

 

Clicking bemusedly under his breath, he shook his head. Picking up the bottle, he rested it on his thigh as he gazed up at the mural.

 

His pale, light-green eyes grew thoughtful.

 

The violet rings around that green reflected fire from the torches.

 

“I never understand how people of this world view telekinesis with so little respect,” he said, his faint accent growing more prominent as he gave Nick a mock-disapproving look.

 

Taking another, shorter drink, he added casually,

 

“You know what he told me once? My friend? He said he was bored… so he messed around with his telekinetic powers until he figured out a way to split atoms.”

 

Nick had taken the bottle from Jem’s hand by then.

 

Now he choked on the bourbon he’d been in the process of swallowing.

 

Lowering the glass container, which he held by the neck, he stared at the other male.

 

“What?”

 

Dalejem kissed him again, smiling. “Gods, you’re beautiful––”

 

“Jem.” Nick continued to stare at him. “Your friend could really cause nuclear explosions? With his mind? That’s like… a thing with seers? That’s possible?”

 

Still looking Nick over in his beat-up jeans, boots, and black T-shirt, Jem shrugged.

 

“Yes,” he said simply. “Exceedingly rare. Even on my world, telekinetic seers were like a once in a generation event. Sometimes a once in ten generations event. Not common. At all. But they were a damned big deal when they showed up. A highly-illegal, super-dangerous, genocide-producing, war-causing, shit-your-pants scary anomaly that generally had all the kooks and wackos ranting about End Times.”

At Nick’s disbelieving look, Dalejem shrugged.

“Like I said… no one on this planet understands telekinesis. Or respects it properly. Probably because you haven’t had a telekinetic seer nearly wipe out your planet yet.”

“Gee,” Nick said. “Is that something we should look forward to? Now that you’re all here?” Thinking, he growled, “Is your buddy still alive? Is he planning on coming for a visit?”

Taking the bottle back from Nick, Jem smiled.

“My friend trained for years. I mean years. His guardian, this twisted seer who used him to fight a war… he taught him how to study schematics, to learn how things worked, to find the combustible material of just about anything. My friend could make a plasma rifle explode in the hands of a soldier carrying it… then rip out the man’s spine before the guy could yell. He could ignite jet fuel… gasoline… veer a plane off course. He could open dams, destroy electrical grids, down phone lines. He could cause a torpedo to explode in its tube. He could launch a nuclear attack, even apart from splitting those atoms himself. He could wreck supply lines, explode ammunition, detonate bombs, cause pilots to fire on their own cities and soldiers. He could spoil crops, drain water supplies, light forests on fire, explode natural gas deposits and ignite oil fields.”

Pausing, Dalejem quirked an eyebrow.

“He single-handedly won our version of World War I… and damned-near wiped out the human race. He likely would have, too, but he had a kind of epiphany.”

Nick grunted. “An epiphany? What the fuck?”

He took a longer drink, handing the bottle back to Jem.

“What kind of epiphany? Or do I even want to know?”

Jem smiled, shrugging as he lifted the bottle back to his own mouth.

“I honestly don’t know myself… not exactly,” he confessed. “But whatever it was, the seers tried to lock him up after, to put him away after he more or less surrendered––”

“Why are you telling me all of this again?” Nick said, frowning at the other man. “Are you trying to tell me your ex- can kick my ass? Or just that he’s a dick more generally?”

Dalejem laughed, shaking his head.

“No!” he said, shoving at Nick’s shoulder.

The way he did it told Nick the seer was drunk.

Buzzed, anyway.

Then again, Jem didn’t have a vampire’s constitution. He didn’t have a body more or less designed to consume and burn off alcohol with minimal effects.

Jem, unlike Nick, was also hot as hell when he drank.

He verged on full-blown cute, really.

Even as Nick thought it, he frowned, looking around at the fire-lit cave walls.

He could hear something.

A sound.

A low, buzzing, melodious sound.

It was almost familiar.

“I wanted to tell you so you’d know me better,” Jem admonished, apparently oblivious to the sound. “You wanted to know about my ex-. You asked about him. You asked about his wife. I seem to recall you getting mad at me for not telling you anything about them… so I’m telling you. And I’m telling you about my world.”

 

He leaned closer, mock-frowning into Nick’s eyes, a fainter smile playing at his inhumanly-perfect mouth.

 

“Don’t you want to know more about me, brother? I was going to give you head after. But we can skip to the head part now, if you’d rather––”

 

The sound was getting louder.

More annoying.

Nick wanted it to go away.

 

It was interrupting his conversation with Jem.

It was interrupting his potential blowjob, which was rude.

Damned rude.

“Of course I want to know more about you,” Nick retorted to his mate, rolling his eyes. “I’m just not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do with this information, exactly, that your ex- is a murderous psycho who could rip my heart out of my chest if I ever ran into him.”

 

Frowning, he looked around at the cave.

 

“Hey, do you hear that noise?”

 

Dalejem looked up from where he was unbuckling Nick’s belt.

 

“Hear what, ilyo?”

“You can’t hear that?”

The sound got louder.

And louder still––

 

* * *

 

 

“Fuck.” Nick rolled over, scooping his headset off the dresser.

He’d fallen asleep. Again.

Apparently that was just a thing with him and Wynter.

The alarm was trilling through the pitch-black room.

The person behind him mumbled in grumpy protest, her small hand wrapping around his bare stomach, distracting him all over again.

 

He wrapped the damned headset around his left ear more in muscle-memory than conscious thought, as soon as it made another of those irritating combinations of cascading tones, like someone composing music while drunk.

 

Staring at the name flashing there, the ID code of the call on the inner screen, he scowled.

 

Again without much conscious thought, he clicked over, accepting the call.

 

“What?” he growled at his partner.

 

Jordan didn’t bother turning on his visuals, but Nick could almost see him rolling his eyes.

 

“Vacation’s over, Midnight,” the other homicide detective said. “Move your ass.”

 

Behind Nick, Wynter grumbled again, her warm hand now massaging his cold vampire skin, causing his eyes to close involuntarily.

 

“No,” Nick said, shutting his eyes, even as he rubbed his jaw. “Nope,” he repeated. “Vacation’s not over. It’s only Thursday. I have two more days off…”

 

He glanced over his shoulder, shivering as he looked at a naked Wynter, who was now gripping the back of his longish black hair.

 

“Nick.” Jordan’s voice grew serious. “Come on, man. All hands on deck. The old man says you’ll get a few extra days to make it up. But we need you in.”

 

Nick realized he already understood, even as cold feeling took over his gut.

 

“Another one?” he said.

 

There was a silence.

 

Then Jordan let out a held breath.

 

“Yeah, man,” he said. “We got another one.”

 

Nick looked at Wynter, feeling that cold feeling worsen.

 

“On my way,” he said.

 

He didn’t bother to wait, but disconnected the line.

 

His mate was already frowning.

 

Nick understood the frown, and the annoyance verging on hurt he could already feel emanating off her. Hell, he one hundred percent understood.

 

He also knew he’d go in.

 

Really, it didn’t feel like he had much choice.

 

Remembering the dream, the memory, whatever it had been, he frowned with her, thinking about why he would have remembered that now.

 

It felt a little too convenient, given everything, a little too on the nose.

 

Maybe his subconscious was trying to tell him something.

 

Or maybe it was just trying to warn him.

 

Maybe it was telling him they were already too late.

*

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