Lacey's Luhpynes(3)By: Honor James
Following her to the car, he resisted the urge to open the door for her, barely. It went against every single fiber of his being but he knew she’d just shred him with her razor-sharp tongue if he did. So when she passed him the keys he was shocked but he climbed into the driver’s seat and pushed it back as far as it would go. Thankfully all the AEDA vehicles could accommodate his larger frame so he gained plenty of leg room. She, on the other hand, had to scoot the passenger seat forward, a lot, just to sit comfortably.
Turning the onboard computer to face him, he punched in his code and pulled up the information on where they were going. He happened to love New York, loved the scents, the smells, the energy the city seemed to vibrate from its very core. It was nothing like it had been before the war the humans started, but it was still a lot the same in the little ways.
“East side harbor,” he told her. “We’re heading for the McKinley warehouses near dock eighteen. Looks like there are six dead with another three currently being rushed to the hospital. The uniforms have two potential witnesses they are holding until we arrive. The coroner is on scene and starting to work. As well, looks like the crime scene techs are there too and are getting started.”
He punched on the keys and frowned, “No IDs on the bodies and…” He fell silent as he read what was still coming in on the system. One of the technological advances the Veil dropping had given to the human world was interfaced computers on a whole new level.
Things like cell phones were a thing of the past. Everyone now had a chip behind their ear that worked as a cell phone and recorder as well as ID, which made this unusual. A second chip at the inner wrist held personal information like allergies, medical history and also worked for paying for things. No more cards or cash, everything was now fully integrated into a new version of the Internet. So secure that even hackers couldn’t break through, there was no more identity theft, no more need for banks or financial institutions of any sort. Everything flowed on the new Net system, no glitches, no mistakes.
“Their hands were all removed. ME says that she’ll likely have to do dental records if not DNA,” he added in a low murmur. Odd, very odd. Switching to live feed of the scene, he watched as the Medical Examiner, or ME, moved to another body and bent to pat him down, looking for anything of significance.
She had to get her shit together, Lacey thought to herself. She had to get herself together before she revealed something that she couldn’t, shouldn’t reveal. “How long has it been since the ME has had to try to ID a body by dental records?” she asked quietly, simply trying to keep her shit together as she did so. “Because I can’t recall the last time that we went to a case where the hands had been taken as well as the chips in the back of the ears. What the hell?” She shook her head and sighed. “What the hell is going on?”
Anger, she hid behind her anger. It was the only thing that she knew, the only thing she could think of. Taking a deep breath Lacey closed her eyes when Zhubin got behind the wheel of the vehicle and thought about the first time she had met them.
* * * *
Five years earlier
Fresh from the FBI, Lacey had thought that the world was truly a wonder, even with knowing that there were other beings in the world she was happy to have the life that she had. She had a great family that stood behind her, even when she made the choice to go into the FBI, a family that had given her hope when she had felt as if she had bitten off more than she could chew. No, she truly believed that life was good, that it was perfect. She had truly believed in what she had done…Until the day that she met her first Vhampire, a man that had wanted to take her head off simply because she was a human.
“Hello, pretty one.” The voice whispered from the shadows. It was purely cliché since most Vhampires didn’t have to remain in the shadows, it was more the element of fright that made some sadists want to retain that age-old mystery about them and lurk in the shadows.
Lacey had turned when she heard the voice, her hand going to her weapon automatically. “I’m Agent Lacey Rose. Step from the shadows and identify yourself.” When he did she gulped, she hadn’t been able to help it. She was not a short woman, not by any means, but the tall and far-too-lean and pale man that stepped from the shadows was like the Slender Man of nightmares.
“Oh come now, darling. Rose fits you however,” he said softly, his voice seemingly caressing her face, cheeks, neck. “You are a beautiful Lacey Rose. So lovely. So perfectly splendid. Too bad that you are human, my darling girl.” He inhaled and then laughed, “Oh my, this is even better. Oh this is too delicious.”