Night Bite

By Frank Dunsmore


Smoke and soot soiled the subway tunnel's walls and curved ceiling. Ventilation exhausts kept dust moving in the air. The dark cracks and crimson graffiti on the walls looked like bloody, grotesque scratches. A black rat zigzagged, fast short movements on the tunnel's floor beside the glistening rail tracks. It chewed on anything in its path. A low hum from the rails became louder. The electric power of the third rail thrust a streaking train past the platforms with a blurring flash and deafening roar. Then all was silent and the air was still.

* * *

Lieutenant Schmidt was about six feet tall and weighed about two hundred pounds. He wore a tan rain coat and a dark brown Fedora. He flashed his badge and said to the two uniform Police Officers, "Good morning, men. I'm Lieutenant Schmidt and this is Sergeant O'Neal and Sergeant English. We're out of Homicide Six. Tell us whatcha know."

Schmidt looked at the young woman, lying on the bench. Her eyes closed and her hands folded at her waist. She was an African-American redhead, wearing a green velvet dress and black high heels.

"I'm Kelly, my partner is Officer Johnson. We were making our rounds and when we came down in the subway we found this woman on the bench, just like she is. I looked and saw the two puncture wounds on her neck. I felt her wrist but there was no pulse. Then I called it in."

The three detectives studied the woman on the bench and pulled on their rubber gloves. Schmidt looked at English and said, "Check again for a pulse." Detective English was blonde, with blue eyes and a very pretty face. She wore a black leather jacket, charcoal gray slacks, and black boots. She placed her finger tips on the woman's wrist for a few moments and said, "There's no pulse." English carefully pushed the collar of the woman's dress aside, revealing the two puncture marks on the side of her neck.

Schmidt thought, Some people actually believe in vampires and some are 'wannabe' vampires.

Schmidt said, "Well O'Neal, what do you think?"

Detective O'Neal unbuttoned his black rain coat and pulled off his Irish, wool cap. He scratched his head and said, "The damned thing is fashionable but it itches like hell. Yes, she's dead. No, I don't think a vampire is the culprit."

Schmidt said to O'Neal, "Such a keen observation. Would you kindly call for a forensic team and have them bring a body bag."

"Yes sir, Lieutenant!"

Schmidt looked beyond the bench. He thought, There's no vertical columns or objects that the perp could hide behind. He might have jumped down on the tracks. But that wouldn't work, he'd be run over by a train, unless he crawled under the platform. Maybe he just got on the next train. Vampires are supposed to have all kinds of powers. They're supposed to have great strength and speed and they can fly and become invisible.

Schmidt turned to English and said, "Sergeant English, what do you make of this?"

"Well sir, the puncture marks on her neck make me wonder what kind of pervert we're dealing with." Sergeant English's eyes became wide. She looked up at Schmidt and O'Neal and said, "I just opened her purse and she has no ID but I found this note. Listen to this." English read,

"THE BOND" by Connie De Palma

How red deep you are,
Drip, drip, dripping
From my self-inflicted wound.
An offering from me to you.
To share life I hold dear,
To offer my very source of living.
To you I offer.
I watch as u hold my hand up to your lips.
Taste, lick, drinking.
You smile.
I am now a part of you.
Living for you and me in you.
A bond no one can break.


Schmidt and O'Neal stared at each other. O'Neal scrunched his shoulders and held up his palms. Schmidt said, "It's a love poem, like the love of one vampire for another." Kelly cleared his throat, and Johnson looked behind himself. Schmidt looked at the uniform officers and said, "Thanks guys, for your assistance."

Officer Kelly said, "You bet, Lieutenant. Let us know if we can be any further help." They walked toward the stairwell.

Lieutenant Schmidt looked at his watch and then at O'Neal and English. He said, "It's two-thirty, the sun will be up in three hours. We'll wait for forensics and then we'll go back to the office."

Schmidt's cell phone rang and he held it to his ear and said, "Schmidt, here." He listened and frowned. Finally he said, "All right, we'll get on it as soon as we're through here." Schmidt looked at O'Neal and English and said, "That was Homicide. They got a call from the Adler Planetarium. A woman's body was found in their Sky Theater."

English and O'Neal scowled and English said, "I don't believe in vampires and I never will, but I'll feel a lot better after we get the autopsy report. Right now, I've got the chills."

"Easy does it, young lady," said O'Neal, "Our Lieutenant, you and me, are gonna take this pervert down."

Lieutenant Schmidt heard voices from the stairs and saw familiar faces of the Medical Examiner and his forensic team approaching on the platform. Schmidt said, "Hi, Doctor Romano, it's good to see you and your team."

Romano said, "How's it goin' Schmidt, O'Neal, English." He and the forensic cops slipped their rubber gloves on. "We were saying what a nice, quiet evening it was. Then we got your call. Whadaya got for us?"

Schmidt turned and pointed to where the redhead woman on the bench was but she was gone. There was nothing to show she had been there. Schmidt walked to the edge of the platform and looked down along the tracks. He scanned the tunnel but saw nothing resembling the corpse. He looked at O'Neal and English and they both had perplexing frowns.

Schmidt looked at Romano and said, "I don't understand, she was right here. A young, African-American woman, lying on the bench. She had two puncture wounds on the side of her neck. The only thing we did was check for a pulse. Sergeant English found this in the victim's purse." Schmidt handed the poem to Romano. "Maybe you'll find some prints on it."

Romano frowned, raised his eyebrows, and said, "All right Schmidt. We'll check the poem document for prints and get back to you. I hope your body turns up."

"Thanks Doc. I'm sorry you guys made a trip for nothing. I'll be talking with you."

After a few minutes of searching under the platform, O'Neal said, "Nothing down here, sir. Not a trace."

Schmidt said, "All right, come on up. Let's get out of here."

Schmidt and his two detectives climbed the stairs leading up to North Avenue. They got into their unmarked car and drove to the Outer Drive. Schmidt said, "How does a corpse disappear? We were standing right there and she was still on the bench after the two uniforms left. I don't get it."

O'Neal said, "If we believed in vampires, we could say she flew away."

English said, "Enough of the supernatural, partner."

The three rode south on the Outer Drive and the charcoal gray sky silhouetted the black, jutting skyscrapers along the lakefront. They passed Oak Street Beach and the Drake Hotel. They rode by Navy Pier and saw the majestic, downtown skyline with the John Hancock, the Diamond Cutters Building, and Sears Tower.

A few minutes later, they passed the Museum of Natural History, turned toward the Shedd Aquarium, and saw the dome of the Adler Planetarium. O'Neal drove to the end of the peninsula where the dark gray planetarium stood. The detectives got out of their car and met the storm.

A strong northerly wind made the trees sway and their leaves rustle. Lightning bolts streaked across the sky, thunder bursts echoed, and great white capped waves rolled and crashed onto the shore. The detectives grabbed hold of their hats and mounted the thirty granite steps to the majestic star gate. They stood in front of the glass paneled entrance and the wind whistled around the curvature of the Planetarium.

Schmidt looked through a glass pane and saw a guard behind a desk. He clicked and flashed his badge on the pane. The guard bounced from his chair, came and unlocked the door. The detectives entered with a crash of thunder, the door slammed behind them with a thud, and the storm was silenced.

The guard had snow white hair and a ruddy, round face. He stood about five feet eight. His uniform jacket was too small and remained unbuttoned because of his fat belly. He said, "You people with Chicago P.D.?" The detectives all held their badges and IDs for the guard to see.

Schmidt said, "Right, we got your call about the woman's body in the Sky Room."

"Yes sir, our sergeant called it in. He locked the door to the Sky Room and said to let him know as soon as the homicide detectives arrived. I'll call him right now." The guard picked up the desk phone and dialed an extension. A moment later the guard said, "Sergeant Joyner will meet us at the entrance to the Sky Room. Please follow me."

The detectives followed the guard across the floor, through a door that lead down a dark hallway. Black candles in a wrought iron holder, mounted on the wall, gave the hallway a dim glow. They passed a window and saw lightning streaking across the sky over Lake Michigan.

Near the end of the hallway, a husky African-American man, about six feet tall, stood next to the entrance of the Sky Room. The detectives noticed that the man was wearing a sweatshirt and sweat pants. The detectives approached and he said, "I'm Sergeant Joyner, you must be the homicide detectives. May I see some ID?"

"I'm Lieutenant Schmidt and these are my Sergeants, English and O'Neal." They held their badges and ID cards out to Joyner.

Joyner stared hard and long into Sergeant English's eyes and smiled. She blushed and turned her head away.

"Thanks, follow me." Joyner unlocked and pulled the door open to the Sky Room. The detectives followed Joyner along the Sky Room's curved wall that surrounded the rows of seats. The faint light was just enough to see the outlines of the rows of seats and the aisles that led down to the center of the floor where a giant telescope projector stood. The dome was not lit and its curved ceiling was a soft, light gray. Joyner stopped and turned to the detectives and said, "Here she is."

The detectives looked at a woman slumped in a seat of the last row. She was Asian, had black hair, about thirty years old. She wore a royal blue dress and matching high heels. The detectives donned their rubber gloves and English took the woman's right forearm and felt her wrist with her other hand. "She has no pulse." English placed her hands on the sides of the dead woman's head and gently lifted it back so her face could be seen. All three detectives stared and frowned. They looked at the side of her neck and saw two puncture wounds.

O'Neal said, "What the hell's goin' on!"

English opened the victim's purse and said, "Lipstick, a compact, some Kleenex but no ID." Schmidt and O'Neal watched as English carefully pried open the victim's right clenched hand. It held a small piece of paper. English smoothed the paper out and said, "It's the same 'Bond' poem."

Schmidt took his cell phone from his coat pocket and dialed. It rang once and disconnected. He redialed but the phone was dead. Schmidt looked at O'Neal and said, "Try your cell phone, call Homicide Six." O'Neal tried to dial but his cell phone was dead. English tried her cell phone but it was dead too. Schmidt looked at English and O'Neal. They scowled and stared at the Asian corpse.

A fluttering sound overhead made the detectives look up. They heard rapid, flapping wings and saw a darting shadow on the overhead dome. O'Neal looked at Sergeant Joyner and said, "Don't tell me that's a bat."

Joyner smiled and said, "As a matter of fact, I've been trying to catch the little beast all week. She wants to make her presence known."

Schmidt said, "Joyner, what time was the last show in the Sky Room?"

"Last night, the last show started at 8:30 and let out around 10:00."

Schmidt said, "Is the person who sold tickets for the show still here?"

"Yes, her name is Margarita Sanchez."

"Sergeant Joyner, please bring Ms. Sanchez here. Don't tell her anything, except that I want to ask her a few questions."

"Yes sir, I'll get her right away."

When Joyner was out of sight, Schmidt said, "I don't think the victim arrived at the planetarium alive. I want to see if Ms. Sanchez recognizes her."

O'Neal said, "Sir, why would the perp plant a body in the subway and another at the planetarium?"

"I'm not sure, O'Neal, but bodies have been found in stranger places."

English said, "Did you see how Joyner stared and smiled at me? He gives me the creeps."

The detectives heard voices and saw Sergeant Joyner leading a tall, slender, woman, who looked about thirty. She had dark brown hair and blue eyes and as she walked her hips slightly swayed. Her skirt hem ended just above her knees. Sergeant Joyner motioned for her to be seated. Her black nylon stockings made a soft scratching sound as she sat and crossed her lovely, curvaceous legs. Joyner said, Ms. Margarita Sanchez, this is Lieutenant Schmidt, Sergeant English, and Sergeant O'Neal."

Schmidt said, "Thank you for coming Ms. Sanchez."

"You may call me Margarita, Lieutenant."

"All right Margarita. You of course know that a woman's body was found in the Sky Room. Would you be willing to look at her, to see if you recognize her?"

Margarita said, "I guess so. I don't like looking at dead people though."

"All I want you to do is look at her face and see if you recognize her."

"All right, I'll look."

Schmidt led Margarita a few feet to the row where the Asian corpse was propped. He said, "This is the woman. Please take a good look and tell me if you've ever seen her before."

Margarita brushed strands of hair from her eyes, clasped her hands, and stared at the corpse. She looked with fixed eyes for several moments and then said, "I've seen her at our shows but I didn't see her last night."

Schmidt said, "Did she come alone?"

"Usually, but a couple of times I saw her with a man."

Schmidt said, "Tell me about the man. What'd he look like?"

"He was a short, white man. His face was without any expression, no smile, no scowl but his eyes could have stared a hole right through me."

Schmidt said, "And you're sure you didn't sell either of them a ticket for last night's show in the Sky Room?"

"No sir, and I was the only person selling tickets."

"Thank you Margarita. Please give Sergeant English your phone number and address in case we need to talk to you again." Margarita left the Sky Room and the detectives were alone.

Schmidt said, "We've got to get to a phone. O'Neal, go to the guard's desk and call for Doctor Romano and some back-up uniforms. Tell them to get here ASAP."

"All right, sir." O'Neal walked to a Sky Room exit and pushed the door but it was locked. He walked to the other exit and the telescope projector burst with brilliant images of stars onto the dome and the lower walls became pitch dark. The detectives looked up and saw the stars on the dome slowly turn clockwise.

Schmidt said, "O'Neal, English! You all right?"

O'Neal said, "I'm fine, sir."

"English, how about you?"

There was no response from English and the two men were silent for a moment. Schmidt said, "He's got her. We've got to move fast, O'Neal." Schmidt dug in his coat pockets and came up with his pipe lighter. He lit it and both men scanned the room for English. She wasn't in sight and the Asian corpse was gone. All they saw were empty seats. Then they heard a loud, bellowing laugh that reverberated through the Sky Room.

A voice said, "Don't exert yourselves, there's nothing you can do. Your cell phones won't work, your pistols are harmless to me, and the planetarium is locked down. I saw both of you with the lovely lady in the subway, about an hour ago. When I saw her, I had to do some quick planning. She's so beautiful."

Schmidt said, "You saw us in the subway. Why didn't we see you? Where were you hiding?"

"I was invisible at the time. It's one of my talents."

Schmidt said, "Did you kill the woman in the subway?"

"I didn't really kill her. I took her human life and gave her eternal life."


Schmidt said, "How did she disappear?"

"When you people weren't looking, I flew her out of the subway, back here to the planetarium. She's resting over there next to my Asian lady."

O'Neal said, "Pardon me, pal. Who did you say you are?"

The voice said, "You know me as Sergeant Joyner, in charge of Planetarium security but my real name is Alucard."

Schmidt said, "So you killed the woman in the subway and the woman here at the planetarium?"

"Like I said, it wasn't really killing. I took their human lives and gave them eternal lives. In a short while, they will come with me, along with the lovely Sergeant English. We'll make a striking foursome, me and my three wives. We will live wonderful, exciting lives, creating history throughout time, my African-American redhead, my Asian brunette, and my Caucasian blonde. Actually, I'm tired of procuring for humans, giving them beauty they don't deserve. I don't need their action. I can have their blood anytime I want. From now on, my wives are for me and no one else!"

Schmidt said, "Where is Sergeant English?"

"Her name is Brigit and she is mine! In a moment I'll take her for my wife and then she'll have you for her first meal."

The stars continued to spin on the dome and a melodic, woman's voice said, "Oh Alucard, my darling. Please come here." Then a door slammed.

O'Neal said, "Alucard, are you still there?" It suddenly occurred to him and he said, "Lieutenant, It just struck me. Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards."

Schmidt said, "That's a big help!"

The two men heard voices. They got louder and then they made out a woman's voice.

Schmidt said, "That's not English. It sounds like Margarita Sanchez."

O'Neal said, "You're right sir, it is her."

They listened to Margarita shouting, "So you want to replace me with some 21st century whores. You want three classless, stupid bimbos to be your wives. I never cared that you screwed our hookers but that you want to marry three of them sickens me. Alucard, you are a degenerate bastard. You slimy lowlife sonovabitch, I loath you. You're a deceitful filthy little rat!"

"My dear Margarita, you have it all wrong. I have always loved you and I always will. You must believe me."

Margarita said, "We had a nice little business going for over a hundred years and I was your faithful lover for the last one hundred and fifty years. I felt like we were married. I did everything that any wife would do for the man she loved. I lied, I cheated, and I killed for you and never once did I say anything about your little excursions. But this is the end! You have hurt me, destroyed any love I had for you!"

"My dear Margarita, I only want to expand the business for us. With the others and you, it will be a lovely quartet."

Margarita said, "You don't want the business anymore. You said so. You want three wives, without me! You are through, Alucard!"

Schmidt and O'Neal stood with their ears against a side door. Schmidt turned the handle and the door opened to an adjacent dome room. They saw Margarita kneeling and looking down at Alucard. He was lying on his back on the floor and his face grimaced with pain. Margarita bent over Alucard. She had a hatchet in her right hand and a fistful of Alucard's long black hair in her left hand.

Alucard tried to pull out the wooden stake that was stuck deep in the center of his chest but Margarita rapped his knuckles with the hatchet and tapped the top of the stake a few times to make sure it was secure. Then she swung the hatchet at his neck, chopping again and again, until she had cut his head free from his shoulders. She held his head above and smiled. His blood ran down her arm. She laughed and said, "Poor darling, you won't be able to find your head in the morning."

The detectives watched Margarita. She carried the head and walked to a control panel. She pressed a switch and the ceiling began to slowly slide open in the center of the dome.

Margarita set Alucard's head on the floor, next to his body, and the redhead and brunette bodies. Tears filled Margarita's eyes and the detectives heard her say, "I wrote THE BOND for you in 1850 after I first met you, my dear Alucard. I made you a vampire, like me.

'I am now a part of you,

Living for you and me in you.

A bond no one can break.'

Margarita opened a side door and stepped into the dark hallway.

A moment later Schmidt and O'Neal heard the soft flutter of wings in the hallway. The storm ended with the night and the morning sun burst through the dome opening, shining throughout the room. Alucard, the redhead, and the brunette dissolved to dust.

Schmidt turned to O'Neal and said, "God Almighty, I don't believe what I just saw!"

O'Neal said, "Sir, it's a good thing we both saw it but I don't think anyone will believe us."

The detectives heard a soft moan behind them. They looked and saw a canvas cloth draped over a table. They pulled the canvas back and saw Sergeant English lying on the floor beneath the table.

She said, "Oh, my head. I feel like I've got a hangover."

Schmidt said, "You're all right. And no bite on the neck either."

The End

Copyright © 2002 by Frank Dunsmore

Bio:Frank Dunsmore was born and raised in Chicago. He has published two stories in Nefarious Tales of Mystery.



Visit Aphelion's Lettercolumn and voice your opinion of this story.

Return to the Aphelion main page.