Kind of getting burned out on the recent political posts, so here’s another snippet from a work in progress:
I woke to a high keening sound. This time I had no trouble recognizing the siren of an ambulance. I was strapped to a hard surface. Backboard. A thick cervical collar immobilized my neck. Something squeezed my legs and lower abdomen, an even pressure that ran from my ankles to just above my hips. A mask covered my mouth and nose, with air, no…oxygen, blowing against my lips. An IV fed into my left arm and another into my neck under the cervical collar. I’d lost a lot of blood.
The bouncing of the ambulance told me that we were moving fast.
“Well. You’re back with us.”
A young man leaned over me. The nametag on his blue shirt said “Grant”. A patch on the shoulder carried the logo of what I presumed was an ambulance company.
“We got to you in good time,” the man continued. “You’re going to be all right.”
His words were meant as comfort but I did not need them. Since I was not already dead, I would recover. The word for what I am is Dhampyre, the child of a vampire and a human. Or in my case of two vampires. My kind is rare. The male in a pairing has to be fresh from a heavy feeding in order to be fertile. And when a male vampire impregnates a human female the woman rarely quickens, and even more rarely carries to term. A vampire female can only carry to term if infused daily with enough blood to leave a string of corpses in their wake. Fail even once and the uterus goes dormant causing a miscarriage.
I am stronger than a normal human, faster, more durable, and I heal better.
“Can you tell me where you’re hurt?” Grant asked.
I drew a deep breath, or started to. The pain in my side reminded me of the rib. So I started there.
“Rib. Right side. Broken I think.” My voice sounded weak, even considering the mask. “Right arm. Stabbed. Twice.” I could not tell him that a vampire had bit me. “Right hand. Broken finger. Heard it…pop. Something…left ankle. Broken? And…lost a lot of blood.”
“Well.” Grant looked at the wiggly trace on a screen. Heart monitor. My heart. “We got most of that. Hang in there, we’ll be at the hospital soon.”
“Guy I…landed on?”
Grant’s expression sobered. “Other team got him. I can’t say more than that.”
I squeezed my eyes tight. People get hurt in my line of work. Innocents. But what should have been a simple takedown of one vampire became an ambush by four with two, maybe three depending on whether the one I hit in my fall survived, dead.
The ride was short but it provided plenty of time for me to imagine what I might have done differently what might have left those three people alive. The options started with letting the vampires have me and went downhill from there.
We arrived at the hospital and I gritted my teeth at the jostling, however slight it was, as the crew unloaded me from the ambulance. Once inside the ambulance crew handed me off to the emergency room staff and then went off to do whatever ambulance crews do between runs. Paperwork would be my guess. That’s the bane of everyone’s existence.
The paperwork on my mission was going to be a nightmare. A fight with a vampire in full view of multiple witnesses. A body with a stake in it and two inch fangs in its mouth. Two bodies if they check the roof and considering how I’d come through that awning, they would.
This was going to be a hard one to keep quiet.
There was a jump in time. It seemed I was still drifting in and out. I must have lost more blood than I thought.
While waiting for someone to take me for additional examination and treatment I ran a more detailed personal inventory. I could not move my head to look so the inventory had to be by feel. The EMTs had apparently cut my shirt off. Strapped to the backboard I should be able to feel my holster against my back. I didn’t. That meant the police probably had it which meant they were looking for my gun.
Yet another reason they would end up on the roof. They would have two vampire bodies to play with. And once somebody had the idea of pulling one of my stakes out? Wouldn’t that be fun.
Life just got better and better.
The doctors and staff in the emergency room were attentive and efficient, I’ll give them that. They had me in the examining room in minutes and connected to various monitors. A nurse drew blood that the fluid they drew was thin, watery liquid, more the stuff from their bags than my own blood was purely my imagination.
I overheard a doctor at the door telling someone I could not answer questions yet. Good. The longer I could put that off, the better. I did not know how Indiana would treat my killing the vampire. After all, the vampire had already killed two people before I staked it.
Some places that would be a clear cut case of defense of self and others. You’d get a “thank you” and be on your way. In others, any killing was prosecuted and you had to prove self-defense in court.
Considering what’s necessary to kill a vampire I really try to avoid having kills come to police attention at all. Look, despite what you see in the movies, a stake through the heart does not kill a vampire. It immobilizes it. Remove the stake and the vampire comes back. How fast depends on how powerful the vampire is. To kill it you have to either burn the body completely to ash. I’ve heard of cases of a few charred bone fragments regenerating. Or you have to remove the head and stuff the mouth with either garlic or communion wafers, then bury head and body separately.
The doctor was asking me something but my head was still not working quite right. I tried to shake my head but the cervical collar prevented my head from moving.
The doctor repeated himself. “You’ve lost a lot of blood. We need your consent for a transfusion.”
I wiggled my fingers. “Can’ sigh’ ‘nyth’ng.”
“Verbal consent will do for now.”
“Yeah. ‘kay. Do ‘t.”
The doctor gave rapid fire instructions. I felt another needle go into my arm and saw a bag of dark red liquid hung above me to the side of my bed. I suppressed a giggle. This time I got to be the vampire.
The doctor leaned over me again. “We want to take you down for an MRI of your head and neck and of your arm. Okay?”
The doctor grinned. “Once we get you out of that collar and off this backboard, we can get you to sign some papers.”
This time I let out the giggle.
“‘lways the pap’rw’rk, eh, doc.”
“Always.” He patted my shoulder. “You hang in there. We’ll get you through this.”
I managed to twist my left hand enough to make a thumbs up gesture.
The doctor gave additional instructions to the attending nurse then swept out of the room, presumably to go deal with other patients. Perhaps he’d have to deal with the poor sucker I’d landed on.
Yes, that bothered me. I really hate it when innocents get hurt. I hate it more when they get hurt because of me.
And on that thought I let unconsciousness take hold of me again.