Something was waiting in the darkness. Something old, older than time, older than the darkness itself. It had been waiting when there was nothing, and it watched as the universe came into being. It watched as galaxies were created and worlds were formed, and it waited. Decades turned into centuries, centuries turned into eons and still it waited. Nothing lasts forever though, and on one tiny planet in one little corner of the galaxy, events were unfolding that could shake the pillars of creation. And in the darkness, something was beginning to stir....
Francis Kennington, Frank to everyone but his mother, took a sip from his coffee, scratched the three day old stubble around his unkempt goatee and thought about all the reasons to hate Mondays. His wife had left him on a Monday, the IRS decided to audit him on a Monday, hell just one week ago on a Monday his best friend and business partner had died. Not that you could tell that by looking at him though. Ryan Murphy sat across the table from Frank, completely absorbed in enjoying the steam and aroma floating up from the cup he had cradled in his hands.
"It's the little, everyday things that I'm starting to miss." Ryan said while swirling the rich black liquid around in the cup. "I mean, I can smell the coffee and I can feel the heat from the cup, but I can't drink it anymore. I'll never eat another steak, Christ I can't even have a cold beer. I think I'll miss beer the most."
Up until that fateful Monday, Ryan had been just another regular guy. He and Frank were partners in their own detective agency. Sure they took the usual stuff, the missing persons case, or the wife that wanted to prove that her husband wasn't really working late at the office three nights a week, but the real reason they became P.I.s was to take the cases no one else wanted. The weird shit, the stuff that made your skin crawl and the hairs on you neck stand on end, Gravest Investigations catered to all things paranormal and any clients of a preternatural nature.
At twenty-eight Ryan was the junior partner in the business, Frank was thirty-two and they'd known each other for what seemed like forever. Frank was the more business minded of the two and that made his manner come across as gruff, sometimes bordering on rude. Standing 5'9 and a little rounder in the middle than Ryan, Frank looked the part of a P.I. Close cropped black hair that was graying at the sides and a trim goatee around a mouth that seemed to be on the verge of a perpetual frown. His hazel eyes weren't as warm as Ryan's. Where Ryan's seemed happy and welcoming, clients always got the feeling they were being judged when they came under Frank's gaze.
Ryan stood just shy of 6 feet tall and was somewhere in the neighbourhood of 180 pounds and he ran five miles a day, six days a week to stay in shape and keep it that way. Ryan's brown hair was medium length, with blond highlights that hinted his hair had turned that colour. His deep blue eyes and boyish smile gave him a charm that made him the better of the two at talking to clients who seemed to warm up to his cheerful yet calming personality.
That all changed when a vampire walked through the door.
By the time Frank found him it was already too late. She had drained Ryan to the brink of death and forced him to feed off of her, from that point on there was no stopping the transformation.
"Hey Ry, you in there?" Frank asked, snapping his fingers to get Ryan's attention. "There are still plenty of things that you can and will enjoy. So you can't eat or drink, well most liquids anyway, but you do have some advantages now. You'll never have to shave again, you'll never go bald or gain weight." After another mouthful of his own coffee he continued "Sure you've got a whole new world open to you, and I'll help you as best I can, we're still friends. We're still business partners, I'm not going to let your death ruin our friendship."
Downing the last of his coffee and standing to get a refill he added "But if we're gonna stake the bitch that did this to you I need to know everything that happened last Monday evening from after I left up to when I found you in that house."
After one last sigh lamenting his loss, Ryan put down his mug and thought back to the events of just one week ago.
* * * * * *
Ryan was alone in the office when she came in that evening, Frank was out helping to convince the widow Finestein's husband that he really was dead and it was time to move into the light. She was young, maybe in her mid 20s, a little on the skinny side but it suited her five and a half foot frame. Her long fiery red hair and piercing green eyes stood out from her pale skin, and her black jeans and black silk blouse made her skin stand out just a little more. Ryan noticed the paleness but just chalked it up to normal for a redhead. She was newly un-dead, less than a year, so she still passed for human and that was a part of the reason Ryan didn't have his guard up.
The other part of the reason was she was sobbing. Those out of breath, half choked kind of sobs that said she was beyond crying because of her grief. Thinking back on it, she'd put on a great act, if she had been crying then they would have been blood tears and her game would have been up. She seemed to be so upset that Ryan dropped the usual detached P.I. act and felt genuine concern for her and this would prove to be his biggest mistake. He showed her to a chair, put a box of tissues on the desk just in case, seated himself and asked her to tell her story.
She took a tissue, closed her eyes and let out a long, slow breath to try and compose herself and didn't quite suppress a shudder in the process. Picking a spot on the wall behind Ryan to focus on, she started speaking in an almost detached, monotone way: "My name is Kenna Moore and I need your help because three nights ago, something killed my parents and took my younger brother." Kenna buried her face in her hands and started to sob again. After a minute she continued. "I'd been out at the movies with friends and I was late getting home. When I got to my house, I noticed that there were no lights on, which I thought was strange cause Dad always makes sure the house is well lit after dark. When I found the front door open, I knew something was really, really wrong."
"I ran through the open door and realized there was a faint light coming from the living room. The T.V. was on and when I rounded the corner I saw my parents on the couch by its glow. Mom was leaning in against dad and they looked like they were sleeping. I turned on the room light and walked around the couch to wake them up and tell dad he forgot to close the door, and that's when I saw the blood."
Kenna shuddered visibly this time at the grim memory. "I'd never seen so much blood before. The couch was soaked in it, there was a pool on the floor, there was even a line of blood on the T.V. screen as it slashed up the wall. Worse than that was the sight of my parents. Their throats were torn out, and dad's shirt had been ripped open along with his chest. Whatever did this had reached in and taken his heart!"
"What makes you think it wasn't just an animal attack?" asked Ryan. "There are documented were-creature attacks, some have been known to come after people in their homes if they're hungry enough or unfortunate enough to change before getting home or to one of the private feeding buildings."
Opened about eight years ago by various farmers and meat companies, the feeding buildings were setup to help traveling lycanthropes or those who knew they wouldn't make it home, a safe place to change, feed, and wait until morning.
"It wasn't some random attack!" said Kenna, raising her voice to a strangled yell "They were posed on the couch to look like they were cuddled up watching T.V." She then sank down into her chair covering her face with her hands and started to sob once more.
Ryan had been taking notes as Kenna told her story and looked over the major points while giving her time to recover her composure. After a few minutes she took a deep settling breath, looked up and nodded that she was ready to continue. "Okay, so you found your parents, but how do you know your brother was taken? He could have just been late getting home like you."
"No, he was home when I left for the movies. He's sixteen and Dad had grounded him after he came home drunk the night before."
"Well sixteen year olds don't always do what their parents tell them to, he could have sneaked out, I know I did when I was his age." Ryan remarked.
Reaching into her pocket, Kenna passed Ryan a folded piece of paper. "If he wasn't home then the police wouldn't have found this in his bedroom." Ryan carefully unfolded the paper and read;
The parents were a nice meal, but near the end I don't think the old man's heart was in it.
Think I'll save the boy for later.
Think I'll save the boy for later.
The note was written in blood and signed with a large, bloody paw print.