Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 1 - Installment: iii

Chances were good that he knew she was there. He could hear her heartbeat. He could smell the blood coursing through her veins. A class four was dangerous. Her match in a fair fight. But this wasn’t fair. She had no idea where he was. He could be in the apartment, or he could be closing in on Simon. Simon was the key. With Simon, as inexperienced as he was, she had an ally. But he was also a liability. He had to be protected. If the nos’ was lurking in the apartment, going after Simon would put the vampire behind her, but if it was making a play for Simon, he was probably already a hostage, or dead. Simon didn’t stand a chance one on one against a class four.
Out the door. It was unlocked.
Did Ripper lock the door before I plugged him? Shit. Gun.
She had expended a full clip the first time she took the Ripper down.
Damned fury.
She had no back-up on her. Her purse lay on the chesterfield in the Ripper’s apartment.
Tradition it shall be.
She hit the door on the stairwell and leapt the first flight in one move. Kicking off the wall at the bottom she reversed her direction and hand-sprung the second set of stairs. She hit the next floor at a slower speed than she’d hit the half-level. Grabbing the railing she used it to whip herself in a tight arc and slingshot down the next set of stairs. Knowing she’d come upon Simon – and possibly the Ripper – any moment, she took care to keep control and prepare for anything.
She turned one hundred and eighty degrees to see Simon halfway up the next flight. He still hadn’t mastered hyper-time and was still registering the clamor of her descent when she noticed him. By the time she dropped into real-time he was only just noticing that she as standing in front of him. He had no idea that anything was out of the ordinary.
“Hey. Aren’t you…”
“He reanimated.”
“That’s bad?”
By way of an answer Simon was suddenly jerked over the rail to his left.
Sylvette slipped back into hyper-time, feeling herself come up against its limits.
So soon? She thought. On further reflection it made sense. She had slipped in and out four times now inside of less the last ninety seconds. If she hadn’t had to keep dropping out – initially when she thought all was well and twice more to communicate to Jake and Simon – she would have been fine still, but the transition cost her energy that could be better put to use inside the decelerated temporal space of hyper-time.
She leapt over the rail after Simon. He was already out of sight. The vampire moved fast. Very fast for a nos’.
Vampires didn’t have hyper-time. It was unique to those who survived the serum. But the stronger a nosferatu got, the faster they became. Sylvette had never come across a vampire that could move as fast as she could in hyper-time, but they never seemed to hit the bottom of the tank, at least not the way her talents did. In a protracted fight the vampire had the upper-hand – another reason the surprise was so key.
She couldn’t accurately gauge how long she’d have in hypertime. Not long and in any case, dropping out again would be the last time for a while. She leapt the railing into the next lower flight of stairs and flung herself around the corner. There, on the next landing lay Simon.
What the hell kind of tactic is this?
Simon was conscious, but as far as she was concerned he was down. He was flat on his back – not even drawing his first breath after being thrown to the floor. Simon had yet to master the transition into hyper-time. She couldn’t drop out to ask him what happened, and he couldn’t keep up. He was out of the equation except perhaps as hostage. But even a novice of hypertime made a bad hostage. Much harder to jeopardize than humans….
Sylvette cleared the remaining stairs and the building lobby in time to see the vampire pull open the doors to the QB van. The vampire had noticed her talking to someone who had to be nearby. He had noticed Simon’s seal when he had grabbed him and gambled that there was another – from there all he’d had to do was follow the heartbeat once he got within range.
She ran for the van as fast as she could. As she crossed the centerline in the street she heard the brief catch of breath that indicated Jakes initial surprise as he was grabbed by the vampire and pulled away from his headset. Simultaneously she felt the inexorable whirlpool of time rise towards her. Mere moments left in hyper-time.
She cleared the open door of the van and came into view of the vampire as the last rush of telescoped time trickled through her fingers and she came to a stop.
The nos’ doesn’t know that was involuntary. Justify it.
“Release him.”
Oh, good one.
“You know that isn’t going to happen until I’m safely away from you.”
“Then he won’t be safe.”
“True enough.” Smiled the vampire. It was a tight spot for them both so long as the Ripper didn’t realize that she was suffering temporal exhaustion.
“Sylph?” quavered Jacob.
“Shut up, Jake. This isn’t about you.”
“I beg to differ.”
        “I said shut up. Keep out of the equation.” She stopped him sharply.
        “You are the one they speak of.”
        “What do you want for him, Nikolai?”
        He’d told her his name was Nikolai. He hadn’t been lying. The arrogance of the killer. He was so certain of his ability to eliminate his prey he had no fear of giving his identity away. The Lazarus hadn’t managed to find the Ripper’s real world identity. The nos’ had been so good at keeping evidence of his real nature separate from his identity that they had had to find him by trolling, placing bait according to his habits and hope to sink a hook. Sylvette recognized him immediately because he was so good. Nikolai Tarasoff. He was as Western as the spelling of his last name belied – though nos’ had a long time to develop new accents, it was all part of the ever evolving nature of cover. She had recognized him as a candidate vampire by this pale and gaunt appearance. The circumstantial evidence of his presence in a bar that fit the Ripper’s modus was made the case against him better. But it was the fact that he was famous that was the real give away. He had profiled as arrogant, and from the moment she laid eyes on him, the thought of a vampire allowing himself be known publicly struck her as the ultimate expression of over-confident vanity.
        “I want to surrender.”
        You’ve got to be kidding.
        “You have got to be kidding me.”
        He’s stalling until he can get his bearings. The longer he stalls the more likely he’ll figure out I’m down a core piece of my arsenal.
        “Why would I allow myself to be cornered?”
        “You have a hostage. I don’t see that you’re entirely cornered, you have some bargaining room.” She played up the ‘some’ as if she were talking him up – giving him some false hope as a tool to use against him. He of course would see right through that tactic and hopefully not see through the next level – that she was pretending to have strength she didn’t have, but he expected that she did.
        “You had me dead to rights, and I was given a second chance. That is remarkable luck on my part don’t you think? You are the one they speak of. That’s not a question. You are her.”
        What is he on about?
        She knew if she could get him to hold out long enough she might be able to grab the temporal equivalent of her breath and make another charge at him through hyper-time.
        “You had me. I could have simply run. My chances would have been better, don’t you think? But instead I found a hostage. One that might actually make you stop long enough to hear me out.”
        There was a sense to it. She wasn’t ready to go back to hyper-time.
        Looks like he’s going to get his way.
        “I want to surrender. If I wanted to be free, I would have run. I’m going to let go of him now. And then you are going to tell me what I need to do to keep you from destroying me before you take me into whatever detention I expect will be my next lodging.”
        And Nikolai, the Ripper, retracted his teeth and let Jacob free from his grasp.
        “Walk, child.” Nikolai said.
        Nikolai didn’t look as though he’d finished his twenties before becoming locked in the eternal age vampirism set him in, but to be as powerful as he was he couldn’t have been less than four hundred years old and quite possibly much older if he had adhered strictly to vampire custom, which was likely as few vampires survived breaking the ancient laws.
        Jacob would turn forty this December. It added to the sense of condescension that the demeaning command the vampire had given appeared to be being given to his elder.
        Jacob walked cautiously but quickly towards Sylvette. It was only three strides to get out of the van.
        Sylvette didn’t take her eye off Nikolai but she had watched in her peripheral vision as Simon approached. As Jacob stepped behind her, she raised a hand to Simon, halting him as he cleared the open door of the van.
        “We seem to have ourselves a prisoner.” She told Simon. “Jake, call this in.”
        Jacob opened his cell and pressed a single button. The other end was answered instantly.
        “Sylph-QB. requesting assistance.… No. Not back-up exactly. Advice maybe? …Well it seems we’ve got a nos’ who wants to surrender…. Yes, that is what I said…. No we haven’t either, that’s why we’re hoping for some advice.… Yes. I will. But please don’t make us hold for long.”
     Chapter 3  CLICK HERE for an explanation of the non-linearity of chapter numbers.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.