Read Night and Day (Book 2): Bleeding Sky Online
Authors: Ken White
nodded. “Right. Clarke probably dies early.”
they’re firing at each other. Your guys go down. Shuster’s Vee goes
but not dead,” Brenner said, looking at the corpse. He pointed. “Head wound.
Bullet in the forehead. It was the bullet to the heart that killed him.
Probably fired by Shuster.”
do you say that?”
and McKenzie were fighting for their lives. The vampire on Shuster’s team
was out of the fight with the head wound. They could finish him off anytime.
Or keep him alive for the interrogators.” He looked down at the corpse. “Not
that they’d probably get much out of him, but it’s always worth a
head wounds don’t necessarily kill vampires. They only die when their heart
stops. Unless they take a bullet to the back of the head, at the base where
the brain stem is, their heart will keep beating regardless of the condition
of the rest of the brain.
course, beheading also works.
so they take out McKenzie and Reynolds,” I said. “Shuster’s still standing,
his Vee buddy is on the floor, out of it. He puts one into his heart to
finish him.” I paused. “That standard procedure?”
nodded. “On an assignment, sure. I mean, what was he going to do? Carry him
out and take him to a hospital?”
I said. “Then what? Toss the apartment?”
he replied. “He probably did a walkthrough, but there’s not much here.
Weapons, but he’d already have what he needed. I’m not part of the
protection detail, so I don’t have a copy of the security plan.”
wouldn’t need that anyway. He already had a copy.”
the one you revised?”
don’t know. He mentioned that he had seen the original, and that my changes
had made his job more difficult. But he could have observed the changes.” I
paused. “So what’s he thinking?”
do you mean?”
him.” I said. “You planned to come in, take out a couple of guys, two
humans, a human and a vampire, whatever. It’s three on two, you’ve got the
element of surprise. Piece of cake. Only it all turns to shit, and you’re
the only one alive when it’s over. What are you thinking?”
it,” Brenner said. He was silent for about thirty seconds. “Right. So first
thing is, my team is gone and I’m probably not getting any
he said. “We know he’s using Special Collections people. He’s going to
figure, correctly, that we’re watching the airports, the train stations,
even bus stations. Here and in other areas. His only alternative is to have
them drive in. A day, two days before they can get here. He can’t wait.
Heymann might take off to his next destination at any time. So he’s going to
have to go it alone, either modify his original plan or come up with a new
one.” He paused. “Then he decides he might as well try to take you out
shook my head. “No, he planned that all along. Broke into my apartment
during the day yesterday, scoped it out, left a window unlocked to get in.
Only thing he didn’t plan for was Martinez sleeping on my couch.”
So tonight was supposed to be a clean sweep for him.” He paused, then
nodded. “Take out my team, take you out, leave me on my own until I can get
a new team here.”
long will that take?”
idea,” Brenner said. “After what happened tonight, we’re pretty light on the
ground. My advantage is that I can easily pull from other areas. I should
have a three man team together by tomorrow night.”
know that,” I said. “And he’s worried about you having a team, which is why
he took them out tonight. So he’s going to move fast, before you can put
together another one.” I paused. “He’s going to make his move tomorrow.” I
paused. “Or I guess technically today.”
would,” he replied. “Assuming he can modify his plans based on his current
lack of manpower.” Brenner laughed. “You’re pretty smart, Charlie. You’d
make a good Special Collections agent.”
what Shuster said.”
us, Takeda came into the living room. “We found it.”
one-bedroom apartment was on the other side of Grand, about halfway down the
block. Two Security Force troopers stood at the foot of the steps leading to
was quick,” I said to Takeda as we crossed the street.
are fourteen walk-up apartments on this street,” she said. “If there was no
response when we knocked, we forced entry. Some were occupied, others empty.
When we made entry into this one, it was obvious we had found the right
followed her up the steps and through the door. The Security Force hadn’t
been gentle when they forced entry, as Takeda put it. The door hung askew in
the doorway by one hinge.
smell of decomposition hit me as I came through the door. It wasn’t
overwhelming, but it was definitely noticeable.
what’s that smell?” Martinez asked softly.
apartment previously had two occupants,” Takeda said. “An elderly couple.”
She pointed. “The man is in the kitchen.”
apparently tried to cut down on the decomposition odor by wrapping the
corpse in plastic wrap. It helped, but it didn’t do the job
disgusting,” Martinez said.
was a chair by the front window with a small table next to it. The ashtray
on the table had a handful of cigarette butts in it and there were food
wrappers on the table and on the floor around. There was something else on
it too. A saucer with some dried blood.
said they were a couple,” I said. “Where’s the woman?”
the bedroom,” Takeda replied. “She is alive. I called for an
stay here,” I said. Brenner followed me down the hall. There was no reason
for Martinez to see any more. And nobody should have to see what was in the
old woman was spread-eagled on the bed, naked, her arms and legs tied to the
bedposts. Tied tightly. Her hands and feet were already starting to get dark
from lack of circulation. If she lived, she’d probably lose them.
eyes were open, staring at the ceiling. There were cuts all over her body,
most crusted with scabs. A few clearly infected. For a moment, I thought
she’d died since Takeda checked her, but then I noticed the slight rise and
fall of her chest.
walked to the edge of the bed. “Ma’am,” I said softly. “Ma’am, can you hear
response. The eyes never moved from the ceiling.
it,” Brenner said. “Even if she was in better shape, what could she tell us
that we don’t already know. Anyway, she’s already dead. Her body just hasn’t
gotten the memo yet.”
turned to him. “Yeah, tough break for her, right Brenner?” I asked angrily.
“This the kind of thing you’d do on a job?”
stared at me, without expression. “Sure,” he said, his voice calm. “In the
end, you do what you have to do to complete the assignment. That means you
brushed past him without another word and went back to the living
the looks of it, they’ve been using this place since Brenner moved into his
safehouse,” I said. “They used it for observation only. Shuster would have
no reason to return.”
nodded. “Then it seems we are done here.” She looked past me. “Are you
came into the room. “I’ll stay with my team until they’re
will send a detail to remove the bodies,” she said.
fine,” Brenner said. He walked past us and out the door.
guess we’ll hang out at the square till morning,” I said. “The night’s
pretty well shot.”
Takeda said. “We will stop at the command trailer so I can make arrangements
for the dead. Then I will take you back to your apartment. You will get some
sleep and report to the command trailer at zero eight hundred hours. Captain
Bristow will handle the shift change.”
necessary,” I said. “I think he’s going to hit us tomorrow and I want to
take another look at the plan, see if there are any holes that need to be
can do that when you are rested,” she said. “If you are correct about the
attack, it’s important that you be at the top of your game.” She paused. “I
would prefer not to make it an order, Mr. Welles.”
was silent for a moment, then nodded. “Have it your way, Miss Takeda. No
reason to get all official on me.”
smiled. “Shall we go?”
Square was quiet when we pulled to the curb. During the day, shops were open
and people were on the sidewalk, many gawking at the big black shoe box in
the middle of their square. Now the stores were closed and the sidewalks
empty except for a few cops walking a beat past the quiet stores. The cops
Martinez and I followed Takeda to the command trailer, I caught a flash of
white near the hatch of the ambassador’s trailer. Anna Thodberg, in her
nightdress, squatted next to the trailer, watching us.
go on ahead,” I said to Takeda. “I’m going to have a word with
glanced over at Anna and nodded. Her face was impassive, though her glare in
the direction of the other vampire said something else.
you need me, sir?” Martinez asked.
if you want to come along, sergeant.”
hesitated for a moment, then said, “Think I’ll sit this one out, sir,” she
said. She snapped a quick salute and hurried after Takeda.
didn’t seem to notice me as I approached. I realized that she hadn’t been
watching us. She was just staring into the darkness.
to Anna,” I said.
jerked, and looked up at me. “Charlie,” she said softly. “I didn’t expect to
see you here at night.”
didn’t plan on being here,” I said. “Things change.” I paused. “So what are
you doing outside?”
couldn’t sleep,” she said. “The trailer can become oppressive if one stays
inside too long, so I thought I’d come out and get some air when I could. I
don’t see much of the night anymore.”
nodded. “Yeah, Dr. Heymann told me about your job as a sentinel. I guess
that requires you to work human hours and sleep at night.”
else did Konrad tell you about my...job?” she asked.
much. Just that the European vampires, and I guess those everywhere else,
were brought in as...well, I’d call you spotters. You sit there, you make
sure that none of the American vampires infiltrate the halls of
everywhere else, Charlie. Japan, for instance. There were nine vampires in
Japan at the time of the incident here in America. Four with bloodchildren,
one without. The Japanese beheaded eight of them. Only the ninth, the one
without bloodchild, survived.”
had a different concept of how to keep their country safe,” she said. “They
returned to their past, to a time when outsiders were not welcome in Japan.
Their Self-Defense Force was expanded, they expelled all foreigners
including diplomats and they sealed up their country. No international
flights, in or out. No shipping outside the home islands. Patrols on land
and sea to make sure that their purity was not breached.”
why kill the vampires? Why not just imprison them, or deport
were the most extreme sort of outsider, Charlie,” she said with a thin
smile. “Not Japanese. Not even human. They feared that if any vampires
survived, they could infect the Japanese population, do there what was done
in America. The sword was the obvious answer. It was effective and also
harkened back to the past they were returning their people to. The
executions were televised. Very high ratings, from what I am given to
they didn’t get them all. You said one survived.”
nodded. “Yes, there was one they were not aware of. He remains, alone, the
last vampire in Japan.”
do you mean, aware of?” I asked. “The Japanese government knew about the
vampires before what happened here?”
shook her head. “Of course not. No country knew of our existence before the
American incident.” She paused. “Only the Roman church knew. And when
America fell, they shared their knowledge with everyone.”
mean the Catholic Church?”
Catholic Church knew about vampires before the war?”
smiled. “How little you know, Charlie. The Roman church had been aware of us
for centuries. Many centuries. There was, and perhaps still is, a monastery
in Ireland. Monks, priests, a special Papal Nuncio, a Cardinal, though he
had no contact with the Archbishop’s Council or any other official part of
the Roman church.” She paused. “And they had agents. Hundreds of them, who
reported only to the Nuncio. Their job was to locate, track, and watch the
vampire population in every country with a Roman presence. They were very
thorough, though as in Japan, some did manage to slip through the