Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 15 - Installment: i

     Fifteen dollars and fifty one cents. Sarah had expected there would be more. The donation box had one ten dollar bill, two two-dollar coins, one loonie, five dimes and a penny.

     What kind of cheap bastard ditches a penny in a collection box? There’s a fine line between ‘every penny counts’ and insult. Of course who am I to judge?

     There had been three cheques as well. Two for five and ten dollars respectively, the third for fifty. But she had no way of cashing them. Certainly no legal way, not that she’d acquired them legally.

Eleven dollars had bought a cheap single gig USB drive at a convenience store. Two dollars paid for an hour of time on their back-room computer. The rest had paid for the ubiquitous soft drink and bag of chips special. She pocketed the chips for later and sipped at the rootbeer while she worked.

     She used the internet connection to connect to the University server and download from her account some code she had been working on. She ran the program from the USB stick and really got busy.

     The program was the current version of something she’d been tinkering with for a directed studies course she was taking. She had already staked out territory, intellectually speaking, at school as the girl who knew more than anyone about searching the internet. Clearly it was her specialty, and her advisor was already talking about the potential for the digital gizmo in question to be the cornerstone of her graduate studies. That was still two years away.

     Complex search strings were a game for her. A puzzle. How could she craft a query to ferret out precisely what she was looking for with as little search noise as possible? Of course there was also interesting information to be discovered in the noise. Sarah’s understanding of searches had developed to the point where she could glean nearly as much useful information from the background data in some cases as from the most relevant hits.

     The program bordered upon breaking privacy laws. It accessed her standing accounts with over two dozen general and specialized search engines and compared the data on who – or at least what IP addresses – were searching for what and looked for patterns.

     First she honed a search for vampires, eliminating as much obvious fiction as possible. Of course to the world at large everything to do with vampires was fiction – and that was the catch. What she had to find were people who, like her, knew vampires were real. Making this even more complicated were the large number of deluded and fantasy prone people – like far too many of Ruthven’s peers – who couldn’t tell the difference between their imaginary vampires and the real world. Developing segments to filter out those hits could only be marginally successful in the time she had.

     Sarah had no idea what to do with the vast number of recent news items about the “Vampire Virus Outbreak” at VGH, fortunately it was easy to filter out with a simple time-based function, so she could run comparisons both with and without. It was a good thing she did.

     There was a natural spike in relevant worldwide results over the past forty-eight hours. The local results were understandably above the mean due to the outbreak being Vancouver based news. Focussing even closer on those results revealed a minor spike from one related set of IPs. Some pedestrian investigation revealed that the results came from the downtown head office of the Lancaster Corporation. Someone in the Lancaster building was following the outbreak developments very closely. This in itself was not remarkable. It became more interesting when she compared the historical results. This is where the time she had spent crafting her program paid off. The automated comparison search she had built into the code ferreted out a result that wouldn’t have seemed too remarkable if it were not for the outstanding recent spike from the Lancaster Corporation. She would not have given much more than curious notice to the number of searches that were attributed to companies across the lower mainland – barely statistically significant – that were owned under the umbrella of Lancaster Holdings.


Installment ii



Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 14 - Installment: i

      The decision had been made.

      “You’ve never done anything like this before.”

      “We’ve never had an opportunity like this before.” Marcel answered Lancaster. “You have no argument.”

      “I don’t make it my business to dictate your choices. I merely fund the organization and make suggestions as they occur to me.”

      “Very well. I’ll release the Nosferatu once we hang up.”

      “What do you intend to do with him?”

      “Do? I don’t think we should pretend we can control him. I expect he will set his own agenda.”

      “Indeed. But we should have plans of our own. How and when do we reconnect with him?

      “He is a public figure. Sylvette has been to his apartment. Contacting him is not an issue. Our priority has been making a decision so as to get him back into the world before his absence is conspicuous. He went to rather extraordinary lengths to bring us to him. I anticipate he has spent a long time considering how he will benefit us. Once we’ve extended an olive branch he’ll provide us options. We will have the relative luxury of an extended duration to consider our options.  Right now, we have to act in order to preserve the opportunity.”

      “Very well.”

      “Do you wish to be here? Would you like to meet him?”

      “Let’s not. Best to keep some cards close to our chest. I too am a public figure. Better he not know that, should this turn into some imbroglio.”

      “As you wish.”



      “This is separate, but relates. It would render my connection moot.”

      “What are you thinking?”

      “I want you to consider the possibility of going public.”


      “Absolutely.  I’ve been thinking about it for some time, and this hospital outbreak only strengthens my line of thinking.”

      “We don’t believe the outbreak has any connection to our concerns.”

      “Nonetheless, if we were public our perspective could influence the proceedings and should it prove that it is related... do you not think that being involved could be critical?”

      “How am I supposed to argue against that?”

      “Think about it. I am planning to run for election. ”


      “Yes. For Mayor. Anchoring my candidacy on an announcement of this magnitude would be a political coup of enormous proportion.”

      “Very. Manipulatively so.”

      “If you are surprised by my ambition, Marcel, I am surprised by your observational failure.”

      “Not surprised by your ambition. It just strikes me as a cynical way of achieving it.”

      “I’ve been planning this for some time. It hadn’t intersected with your interest ‘til now, so I haven’t mentioned it. This opportunity is just good timing. It would be ridiculous not to capitalize on it.”

      Marcel drew a long breath as he considered his patron’s expression – a visage of solid commitment.

      “I cannot make such a choice without grave consideration.”

      “I wouldn’t expect otherwise.”

      The difference in air pressure equalized with a hiss as the cell door opened. The metal rods that prevented the door from opening more than a crack had been removed and the old vault opened wide.

      The nosferatu stood facing the door as if he had been waiting with eternal patience for the door to open. He certainly would have had the required patience, but it could be just as simple for him to have leapt into position as soon as the door began to cycle.

      Marcel found that through the roil of his loathing he had nothing to say. The conflict he felt between his compulsion to destroy the vampire and the strategic logic of keeping it alive bound his tongue.

      Nikolai cocked his head curiously as if inviting, if not challenging the leader of the Lazarus to engage him. But there was no response forthcoming. He almost shrugged, then with an amused twitch of his mouth that approximated a sly fragment of a smile he stepped out of the cell and stepped around Marcel.

      The Lazarus’ commander raised his hand, and placed it forcefully on the vampire’s chest.

      Nikolai looked coolly at the hand, then up to Marcel.

      “The human touch is so unique. Are you a dualist? Do you see the vampire’s absence of soul as being at the core of our curse? I don’t see how that can be. If we require mind and soul to operate, then how is it I am still here?”

      “Do not be distracted from our deal, vampire.”

      “Hmmm... and what of morality? Good. Evil. Am I inherently evil if I have no soul? Or am I simply in an irresolvable position? You cannot tell me that men with souls commit no evil. How can I not be capable of good? Ah, but that is your gamble, isn’t it? You look into yourself. You measure your capacity for good and evil and you see there is hope for me.”

      “Don’t waste your time getting around to paying dividends on our trust. My patience will be short.”

      Nikolai looked back at Marcel’s hand and shrugged it away.

      “I have no doubt.”

      As he reached the door that led into the night the vampire turned back to Marcel.

      “The Trinity is meeting... here. I trust you understand the implication.”

Chapter 15


Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 13 - Installment: i

Simon’s first foray into the world had been cut short by the call to action from Lazarus dispatch. Sylvette had decided upon a random impromptu mission which had served as his first field experience and had resulted in the capture of a vampire.

Truth be told, Simon had been rather relieved. His first taste of the world at large with his new senses had been a bit overwhelming. Not frightening. He had no resistance to getting back on the horse the next evening and heading back into society.  But his first taste, that previous evening had overwhelmed him quickly.

This time was already different. He wanted to get out in the world, but he also needed to cool his jets. Perhaps he was being unreasonable, but being left out of the loop of the Lazarus’ plans for the vampire, Nikolai, rubbed him wrong.

I was right there when it happened. It’s a lousy secret. Obviously I’m a part of the team, they wouldn’t give just anyone this kind of power.

It had not taken him long to find a willing partner, he could practically smell her interest. Was that an unfair advantage? Certainly not. She wanted him, that was obvious. He was merely obliging her desire.

The sex was a curious mixed bag. On one hand the sensation was in a completely different world from his former life. Not his earliest, uber-excited romps of his late teens, not even the intimate and precisely tailored loving of his marriage at its best could compare to the aurora of sensation he felt now. His own performance, he knew, was Olympic in the least. The vitality he brought to the table would leave his young partner spoiled, and that in its own right was perversely exciting to him. Yet, there remained a reciprocal void. He couldn’t blame her for her perfectly natural human inability to match him. She certainly wasn’t Sylvette.

“Oh my god! Good thing we started early. We have got to do that again.” She confirmed everything he already knew. “It’s like you knew exactly where and how to touch me.”

It wasn’t in fact that way, but it had been close. His ability to sense whether what he was doing was working and how well gave him the right answers practically as quickly as she knew it herself. It was as though he was playing “hotter/colder” with her nervous system. He figured he wasn’t even that good at it yet.

It had been fun. But it was lacking. As he would leave her forever wanting to return to that experience, he too had been left with a new notion of how high the bar could be set and she was not matching up. He would have to try again.

“Hey wait. We aren’t finished.”

He snorted derisively.

“Yeah, Lady. We are.”

Chapter 14


NEWS: The Beast of Bottomless Lake

I previously mentioned that I have been very busy over the past few months.  Mostly I’ve been occupied by finishing the DVDs of the feature film I co-produced.  ...oh yeah... did I mention that?
I probably did, but let’s assume this is the first you’ve heard of it.
So yeah, I made a movie.  I’m multi-talented.  And not just some kind of student/practice/vanity/hack film, which for so many people seems to be the assumption.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say “oh wow, that was a real movie” or similar sentiment.  Yep this is an honest-to-god professionally produced feature film.  Not all my creative endeavours are DIY endeavours like Necropolis.

The Beast of Bottomless Lake if I do say so myself, surpasses the constraints of its budget. We sold the film to SuperChannel and is available on DVD worldwide by order from our website.  Finalizing those deals was an enormous undertaking and it impinged anywhere from profoundly to completely upon my writing (depending on which week you put under the microscope) – which is to say nothing about the ongoing climb up the learning curve of being a new parent, or the distraction of the Vancouver Canucks’ ascent to the Stanley Cup.  In any case it took a lot of attention away from Necropolis.  Fortunately a lot was “in the can” while I lost more and more ground.  But recently I’ve been gradually easing back into it, so all is good.
But I am here to plug the film.

Don’t let the name fool you. The Beast of Bottomless Lake is not a horror film. It’s not even much of a creature-feature (though it wouldn’t be inappropriate to classify it as such). It is, in fact, a comedy.  If you go and look for bad reviews on line (and I freely admit they exist – though they are well outweighed by positive reviews – and many of those are characterized by a similar pleasant surprise to those who have declared it a “real movie”) you will find that they are fairly consistently posted by people who state that they are disgruntled by the fact that the film is not a horror.  So, mea culpa, the name is a bit misleading.   But that was never intentional. I am even going out of my way to steer you clear of that notion.  The Beast of Bottomless Lake is emphatically NOT a horror.  It is a comedy.  You should be  laughing at the antics of the characters and their circumstances, not at the quality (or lack thereof) the make-up and effects. Comedy.
If you are a Stargate fan, our lead actor is David Nykl – Dr. Zelenka from Stargate:Atlantis – and several other faces from the franchise make appearances in Beast...

The DVD is full of extras – a bunch of deleted scenes; two commentaries (one with the director, Craig March, and myself  and a second with David Nykl hosting our science advisor Stan Orchard and the editor of Jr. Skeptic Magazine, Daniel Loxton) there are also three behind the scenes featurettes and a link to additional on-line footage.
So by now, the question arises... what are you waiting for?  Get on over to our web page and order a copy now.


Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 12 - Installment: i

        Sarah hadn’t thought that a night could be more terrifying than the previous one had been, but she hadn’t considered the possibility that a night as traumatic could happen again, let alone the very next evening. What was even more horrifying was knowing that with her father dead ensuring her escape, this time she had nowhere to seek refuge. Her home had been infiltrated, and she had hours before daylight would drive the vampire into hiding. She could not feel more vulnerable. Not even stumbling down the street naked last night.

        Could the vampire track me?

        It must. How did it find her home?

        She had seen how quickly the awful thing had dispatched Hathandra and her Adjutants, there was no reason to think that her father could last substantially longer. The only thing he had in his favour was a thin awareness of what he was up against.

        Sarah had no time to waste.

        She ran down the street shoeless for the second time in as many nights. It was still early, where could she go? There was a church a few blocks away – Our Lady of Something – vampires couldn’t enter churches, she knew she’d be safe there for the moment at least.

        It only took her a few minutes to run up the wet sidewalk to the church, Our Lady of Eternal Rest. The door was open. No one was in the main room – whatever that was called, but she heard voices coming from downstairs. She followed the sound of quiet murmuring. A room – a circle of chairs, a dozen and a half people sitting in them. Sarah approached the door. A grey haired lady looked up to meet Sarah’s gaze. The woman interrupted the younger man who was speaking.

        “Excuse me Alistair... Can we help you?” She addressed Sarah.

        Had she actually been looking for someone? What would she tell anyone? “My father was just attacked by a vampire that tracked me home last night after it turned my boyfriend into one of its own.” No.

        “We’re almost done here, dear. If you’ve come for the meeting you really need to be punctual.”

        Sarah noticed the handwritten sign taped to the doorframe. It read ‘Alcoholics Anonymous.’

        “I’m sorry.” Sarah turned and ran back upstairs.

        She approached a pew and sat down. Safe.

        She looked around. Damn. If there was one thing churches sure had given society, it was opulent decor. Garish, even. Which wasn’t to say that it wasn’t beautiful in its own intricately detailed manner.

        And then she broke.


        She had cried herself out by the time the grey haired woman from the AA meeting found her. There wasn’t any hiding it though. Sarah was still dripping from the nose, her eyes were red and her cheeks hot.

        “Are you okay, dear?”

        “I’m... I don’t-”

        “Okay.” The woman sat down in the pew in front of Sarah.

        “Normally I just lock up and go home after the Sunday meeting. But there’s no rules saying that I have to. I’ll be right here until you’re ready.”

        “Ready for what?” Sarah whispered between her fading sighs.

        “Ready to talk to me - tell me what is wrong.”

        “Oh.” Sarah had been worried she meant ‘ready to leave.’

        “Are you hurt? Has someone hurt you?”

        “No. I’m not hurt.”

        “Have you – are you... are you in trouble?”

She wouldn’t call it ‘trouble’ exactly, even if she could tell a total stranger what had happened in the past two days.

“No. I’m not in trouble.”

“Forgive me dear. I’m asking if you are pregnant.”

“Oh! No. Definitely not pregnant.”

“My name’s Clara. What’s your name, dear?”

“I’m Sarah.”

“What is the matter, Sarah? Have you nowhere else to go?”

“I don’t.”

“I see. I’m sorry, dear but we haven’t a shelter here.”

Whatever she did, Sarah couldn’t leave. She had to keep to the holy sanctuary of the church. She would be safe from the demon here.

Those were the rules...

“Please. I can’t go out there.”

“Sarah, don’t be dramatic.”

Vampires couldn’t enter churches. They couldn’t see their reflection. They hated garlic, holy water and crosses. They couldn’t enter your home unless invited...

Oh my god...

“Sarah, are you alright? You look ill.”

The vampire had broken right into their house. If it could break that rule, what else could it do? There was absolutely no guarantee that she was safe in the church. If she wasn’t safe, if the vampire was tracking her, she was endangering anyone she was with.

“Sarah dear, where are you going?”

I have no idea.

As she approached the end of the nave her eyes fell on a wooden box labelled “donations.” She had nothing. She didn’t know what she might need or when. She was desperate and she knew the church was in business of helping the needy.

This is just making the decision of how to distribute their money for them.

Besides, for all anyone knew Sarah was saving Clara’s life by leaving... that ought to be worth something.

She grabbed the box and ran into the night, kindly Clara’s voice disappearing behind her.

Chapter 13


Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 11 - Installment: i

          The day already could not feel longer. 

It had felt like she had only just filed her report on the CDC and laid her head down when the phone rang again.


        “Bev, it’s Alex.” The over-night producer. “I know you haven’t been home long, but I think you’re going to want this one. Something is happening on the CDC ward.”

        That had been over fifteen hours ago.

        She had barely finished journalism school when the towers fell. She was nothing more than a cog in the media cycle at the time; an intern relegated to research – which pretty much amounted to quote-mining. She watched enviously as anchors held distant public vigil over a crumbling New York, vowing that someday she’d be front and centre on something earth-shattering. She had ambition and worked hard to move herself closer and closer to the centre of the news storm.

        Careful what you wish for.

        Now here she was, the news-face for a terrifying incident that had captured the attention of the world. She’d known abstractly that it was going to be exhausting. She had expected that the exhilaration of the feeding-frenzy that was high-pressure, moment-to-moment reporting would compensate, and to a degree it did. But she had totally under-estimated the emotional toll that being so close to the centre of societal trauma would take on her. But she wouldn’t trade it for the world. This was what she’d lived her life thus far for.

        Then there was that other thing... harbouring a fugitive. Fugitives. Ones whose fate was inextricably entangled with the outbreak at VGH. It had been rash taking him in, all she’d been thinking about was the story and what a coup getting Scott’s exclusive would be. She hadn’t been thinking clearly. Looking at it now, the story might be a redeeming factor, but helping Scott and the girl – in spite of his assurances of their health – was a crime, and probably not a small one.

        She wasn’t sure what she was going to do about it. Give him up, almost certainly. But so long as he was hiding she had some time to pick her moment. As it was, she could probably claim that he’d taken refuge in her house and she knew nothing of it. The first call had been from a pay-phone – no one would ever be able to prove it had come from him. The second call... she’d phoned home to get messages. Explaining how and why he’d gone to her wasn’t really up to her – perhaps she could convince him to keep her out of it if she didn’t give him up outright. He’d have to come out of hiding sooner than later. She just had to maintain plausible deniability.

        The trick was that any time now she was going to be sent home whether she liked it or not. The broadcast manager on duty knew damned well she’d been on this story for over a day with a pittance of rest. It didn’t matter that it was ‘her story’, she’d have to turn it over for a half-dozen hours or more so that she could come back and be fresh for the on-going story. This was a viral outbreak, the story wasn’t going to wrap itself up cleanly and be done overnight – from the looks of things she’d still be writing about this one when she retired. No one had ever seen anything like this.


        There was no way the CDC was coming out of this one unscathed. The crazies had already started tweeting about government conspiracies. Military viruses being tested on the public. Government complicity. Big Pharma’s end-game push for dominion over mankind. Bev wasn’t surprised. Reality was brutal and the weak-minded were always looking for some sort of comfort. It was easy to find the illusion of power in actively opposing the imaginary overlords who had humanity in their thrall. She wasn’t surprised to see that she was already implicated. “Bevyrly Williams is a mouthpeace for missinformation.” Announced one commenter on the NewsNet web forum. She couldn’t be bothered to be mad about it. It was inevitable. Besides, how seriously could you take borderline illiteracy? The conspiracy theories weren’t the story.

        Seventeen people had been killed in Shale’s rampage before he had left the building. The ERT bungle with Shale and Bishop brought the toll to nineteen. One more nurse who had been under attack by Shale when Bishop caught up to him had since died from her wounds. Four others had lesser injuries, were presumed infected and were under armed surveillance.

        No one was allowed into the hospital without bio-hazard protection. Bev hoped that she might get to go in with a crew by the morning. She was first in line amongst the media.

        The logistics of how to maintain care for the existing patients while exercising quarantine protocols, diverting incoming emergency care to the other instantly over-taxed hospitals in the region, and cancelling all non-essential internal procedures, surgery and services was just now beginning to come into focus. It had been havoc all day, even without having to deal with the immediate issue of the outbreak.

        CDC officials had not been able to develop a test for the virus in its early stages. At the moment the only way they would know that anyone was infected was if they started exhibiting a spectrum of symptoms. For the more than two thousand patients and staff quarantined this could be nothing but a terrifying extended wait. Reports coming out of the hospital indicated that none of them were happy about this, and at best begrudgingly accepted their circumstance.

        And then there were the missing pair. It was accepted that they were in fact on the run. Their bodies had not been found at the hospital as had been feared – or perhaps in some cynical eyes ‘hoped.’ Lieutenant Edmond’s apartment had been searched and his banking records checked. The police were confident that he was at large. Everyone was praying that there wouldn’t be a sudden report of maniacal violence from somewhere in the city while the man-hunt went on. News stories on the absence of such an incident were constantly accompanied by an implicit ‘yet’ which did nothing to allay anyone’s anxiety.

        Even Bev had to admit quietly to herself that the details were beginning to blur together when Alex came back on shift.

        “You are still here.” He wasn’t asking.

        “Of course.”

        “Look, I haven’t had much sleep myself, but I did have twelve hours off.”

        “Yeah, I know...” She put up a token tonal effort at defence.

        “You have to go home.”

        To where the story is.

        “I know.”

        “I’m not letting you back on the story if you come back before I’m finished my shift.”

        “That’s not ’til morning.”

        “Most people use those hours for sleep. You should give it a try.”

        She chewed her lip for a moment as if trying to concoct a way around going home. When she looked up, she squeezed what energy she could into a fraction of a resigned smile.

        “I guess if I’m too tired to come up with a good argument...”

        “Then you are going home.”

        “I’ll see you soon.”

        “Tomorrow.” Alex firmly called after her as she stepped out of the news-van.

        “Tomorrow.” She confirmed as she walked into the night.


        When she found Scott lying half off the couch beside her empty trophy-bottle of vodka, she could imagine the circumstances that had led up to the scene.

        “Oh for Fuck’s sake.” Her words belied the genuine feeling of sympathy she had for him. She hadn’t even thought about the liquid land-mine she had secreted in her kitchen. She hadn’t known how strong Edmond was as alcoholics go. Some, like her, had never touched a drop after she’d sobered up. Some slip to the point where they never really sober up at all. Edmond’s problem was public and as a result almost certainly exaggerated, but she doubted he had the self-control she’d developed. Few did. 

        She bent down and picked up the empty bottle from beside his snoring form. Clearly she wasn’t getting anything out of him tonight. A medicinal waft from the bottle met her nose. A pang. Not for the lost memento. The familiar call of its contents. She knew that she wouldn’t replace it. Couldn’t. Too dangerous. Just look at Scott. Either one of his last two days would rank up amongst anyone’s worst. Herself, she’d seen things she couldn’t explain. Things she could never un-see. She was a mess and she’d been the fortunate one of the pair of them. If she’d come home to that bottle.... No doubt about it. Edmond had saved her from the same fate. Taken one for the team. Fallen on the grenade.

        “Scott...” She shook him.

        He vocalized incoherently through a gurgled aspiration. He was completely non-functional. She wouldn’t be able to get him back on the couch herself. Half-off as he was he was in danger of rolling onto his back. So she grabbed his belt and pulled him down herself, making sure that he landed face down so that if he should vomit it would....

        ...End up all over the carpet.

        She lifted his head and spread a several day old newspaper under his head.

        She looked in on the small girl in the guest room. As she found her own bed she thought back to Edmond and allowed herself a small moment of poor charity.

        However you feel in the morning, you’ve got it coming.

     Chapter 12
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.