Shreiber and Tome: Unlucky Vamps, p.1Andrew Day
Shreiber and Tome: Unlucky Vamps.
By Andrew Day.
Copyright 2015 Andrew Day
Thank you for your support.
Notes on Cover Art.
Images utilised in this book’s cover art were used under the creative commons licence 2.5. For more information, please look here.
The cover art was made by adapting the following images:
"Wings of the fallen." by Garrette.
"Sunset." by Diego3336.
Chapter 1: Well Dressed Vampires.
Chapter 2: Obedient Corpses.
Chapter 3: At Least the Neighbours Are Quiet.
Chapter 4: That is a Nice Dress.
Chapter 5: Bad Time To Lose Your Head.
Chapter 6: Undead Jerks.
Chapter 7: I Seriously Would Not Order That.
Chapter 8: Science Makes My Head Hurt.
Chapter 9: Pieces Of Me.
Chapter 10: Things To Do In Chapter City When Your Soul’s Enslaved.
Chapter 11: Not The Face.
Also by the Author.
1. Well Dressed Vampires.
Lil did a double take when she saw the vampire. He was dressed in an immaculately tailored and undoubtedly expensive suit and wore dark glasses over his light sensitive eyes. He stood unmoving in front of the door to her office. It was not so much the undead man that made her apprehensive, as much as the suit. Lil rarely had visitors who could afford Italian fibres. Rich people made her far more nervous than the living impaired.
She walked calmly up to the vampire, briefcase in one hand and coffee cup in the other, wishing she had a wooden stake handy. Or in the very least, a bank statement, not that either item would be much of a deterrent. The vampire regarded her calmly as she approached.
“Can I help you?” she asked irritably. Lil was not a morning person.
“Don’t mind me,” the vampire replied. He stepped back to let her pass. “Are you Lilijana Shreiber? Go in. They’re waiting for you.”
Through the glass window in the door, labelled Shreiber and Tome Private Investigators, she could see that the lights were clearly on. Since it was only eight thirty, it was doubtful that her secretary or her partner were already inside. Both of them made a point of never coming to the office before nine. She would be lucky if either of them bothered to come in by ten.
She turned to the vampire, but he was already staring blankly into space. Lil sighed. It was going to be one of those days. She went into the office. Her secretary’s desk was empty, unsurprisingly. In the office she and Michael Tome shared, there were two more vampires sitting opposite her desk. Alarmingly, their suits were even more expensive.
The vampires stood as she entered. They were both men, attractive in a pale, fanged, only half alive way. The taller of the two smiled politely and held out his hand.
“I am sorry for the intrusion,” he said. He spoke with a slight European accent that Lil could not place. “I am afraid my companions did not wish to wait outside, and the door was not locked...”
“It is customary to make an appointment,” Lil said, setting her case and her coffee onto the desk. “Or to at least try leaving a message before breaking and entering.”
“I would have called, but visiting you this late in the morning was obviously a last minute decision. You are Lilijana Shreiber are you not?”
“Yes,” Lil said, finally shaking his hand. It was deathly cold. “Who are you?”
“I am Karl Von Drais. This is my... assistant, Mister Evan.”
Lil ignored Mister Evan as he nodded curtly. She tried to place the name Von Drais. It came to her. Prince Karl Von Drais. Vampire royalty. Great, she thought.
“And what exactly can I do for you today?” she asked sitting behind her desk.
Von Drais and his companion sat. They regarded her for a moment, as if trying to decide exactly what to do. Then Von Drais said, with what Lil thought was just the tiniest amount of reluctance, “We wish to make use of your services.”
The prince nodded, and Mister Evan took a newspaper from his jacket and placed it on the desk in front of her.
“I take it you have read today's paper?”
Lil had not had the chance. She glanced down at the front page, where bold headlines read Three Found Butchered In Inhuman Bloodbath. In smaller writing below: Vampire Slayer strikes again! She read through the article quickly. Three bodies had been found. Vampires, ripped apart and left for dead in their den. It was suspected to be the work of a serial killer who had already killed two other vampires in the past week.
She looked up at the prince expectedly.
“As you can imagine,” Von Drais said, “the vampire community is rather upset. Five deaths, and so far no leads as to who, or what, is the cause. I have been hearing rumours about your little business. Good things,” he added quickly. “I wish to hire your services to track down this fiend.”
Lil frowned. “I'm sorry, but shouldn't you be talking to the authorities?”
Von Drais scoffed. “The authorities? I have just come from a meeting with the Mayor. He assured me that the FBI is doing everything in their power to identify the killer. But let's be realistic. No one cares about what happens to a few street vampires. It may get the front page because of the pure brutality that makes editors salivate and the readers excited. But do you think anyone truly cares about the five dead people? They're just vampires. If it were humans being torn apart, there would be task forces and committees and no end of pressure from city hall. All five vampires get is a single inexperienced agent. Hardly inspiring I think you'll agree.”
“Really? One agent?” Lil found that hard to believe. Anything that could take apart a vampire was dangerous. Anything that could take apart three in a single night made Buffy look like an amateur.
“Just street vampires,” replied Von Drais. “It may surprise you, but they had families.”
Lil considered this. “And what exactly do you care? I mean, your highness, your family never took much interest in the lower classes before.”
The prince's face hardened. “My family may have old fashioned ideals when it comes to the... lower breeds. But here in Chapter City I have to consider my position. People look to me for leadership, and protection, regardless of their breeding.”
“You need to keep the peasant masses happy right?” Lil said.
“Crude, but more or less correct. The happier a society, the more compliant they’ll be.”
Compliant. Lil didn’t think the vampires of Chapter City had an official leader, and if they did, somehow Lil figured this guy would not have been high on the list of candidates.
“So, why me?” she asked. “Why can't you find the killer yourself?”
“Well,” the prince smiled. “Certain... elements, shall we say, would prefer it if myself and my kind kept on their best behaviour. There are some who would feel threatened if I were to use my position to exert pressure on the wheels of justice, if vampires were to start taking matters into their own hands. You, however, could easily undertake an investigation without attracting unwanted attention.”
“Which brings me to another point,” Lil said quickly. “You would expect me to find this guy, and then, what? Turn him in to the proper authorities?” She saw the look on his face. “I didn’t think so.”
“All I require from you is an identity. Once I know who the killer is... Well, let us say we have our own methods of dealing out justice.”
Lil sipped her coffee, pretending to mull things over. In truth, she was going to say no. Dealing with some psychotic serial killer was a
“I would pay generously for you time,” the prince said. “I realise you do not come cheap...”
That was a joke. Devoid of any current cases, Lil would have worked for peanuts. Literally.
“But if you take this job, I would be willing to pay three times your usual rate. Plus an additional fifty thousand when the killer is located.”
Lil spluttered into her coffee. Fifty thousand? That had to be a joke. She stared at the prince, trying not to look shocked and failing.
“Fifty thousand?” she repeated. “Dollars?”
The prince smiled.
“And all I have to do is find a deranged serial killer for you?”
“Well, I must admit, that is a very tempting offer. I mean, the only reason I'm not jumping at it is because we have a very large case load as it is,” she lied. “Obviously our current clients are our priority.”
“Okay I'll do it,” Lil said coolly after half a second’s thought.
The prince smiled again. “I’m sure you are worth every penny.” He and his assistant stood up. Mister Evan pulled out a card and handed it to her. “Call me, and keep me updated. Anytime.”
“I certainly will. I’ll have my best people on it. Don’t worry. We’re on the case.” She shook his hand a little over-enthusiastically.
“Good luck,” the prince said with amusement. He turned and left, Mister Evan giving her one last scowl before following.
Lil waited a safe period until she was sure they were gone. Then she jumped up excitedly, yelling, “Sixty thousand! Yes!”
At nine thirty, Michael Tome, ex-warlock and natural scryer, and Amy, their secretary, finally graced her with their presence. Lil flung open the door of her office and bounded out.
“Amy, I need you to call the FBI and find out which agent is in charge of the Vampire Slayer case,” she ordered.
“Good morning to you, too,” Amy said grumpily. “Can I get some coffee first?”
“Just do it. Mike, we gotta talk.”
Amy and Tome exchanged looks. He followed her obediently into the office, yawning. He had been out on surveillance all night and was tired. His normally crisp shirt was actually wrinkled, and his garish orange and green tie undone. He collapsed into his seat.
“You have got to lay off the caffeine in the morning, Lil,” he said.
“Guess what? I got us a huge job.”
“Oh great. Shall I jump up and down in joy, or just die of exhaustion right here?”
“Take it easy, grumpy pants. You’re going to love this.”
“I have been out all night, you know,” Tome said irritably.
“Oh right. So?”
“Well, turns out Mrs Dresden was right. Her husband is having an affair.”
“Mrs Dresden is three hundred pounds of pure nag. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. Guy or girl?”
“A three headed, tentacle-beast named Frank, you tell me.”
“That’s great,” Lil said impatiently. “Can I tell you my news now?”
“Can I shoot myself first?”
“Ha ha.” She told him quickly about her visit from Prince Karl Von Drais, and about the job offer. Tome’s expression went from tired worry to confusion.
“Wait a moment,” he interrupted. “Are you saying that a member of the Von Drais family offered you a job, and you took it?”
“And not just any job. They want you to track down the Vampire Slayer.”
“They want you to track down the most mysterious and dangerous serial killer in the city. And you agreed?”
“Yep,” Lil smiled. “Ask me why.”
“I know why. You’re a complete bloody lunatic. I mean, come on! I don't know what I find more alarming. The vampires that hired you, or the nutter they want you to find.”
“They offered to pay three times our rates...”
“Oh, Lil,” Tome gave her his best dealing-with-a-completely-deranged-moron smile. “Dear, sweet, naive, dim-witted Lil. Do you really think a vampire like this guy is going to pay us? When he can just snap us in half with his pinky? You really think he would hesitate for a second before sucking the both of us dry if it was significantly easier than paying a pair of low rent dicks a few extra dollars? Because he would. In a heartbeat. He’s crazy. No, worse than crazy, royalty. They're all inbred.”
“I realise our cash flow is a little limited right now, but things will pick up. There’s no reason to go taking jobs from every eurotrash creature of the night that stops by just because they give you a charming, pasty smile.”
“Mike,” Lil said forcefully. “We need the money.”
“Oh fine,” Tome conceded. “Take the job. But I want no part in this. Don’t come crying to me if you get eviscerated, desiccated or any other -ated. You get yourself all vamped up, you're on your own. I draw the line. And don’t bother asking, because I will have absolutely, positively nothing to do with-”
“When we catch the guy, Von Drais will pay us sixty thousand dollars.”
“When do we start?”
Shreiber and Tome: Unlucky Vamps by Andrew Day / Fantasy / Mystery & Detective have rating 2.8 out of 5 / Based on17 votes