Cast in Blood (Morgan Blackstone) by Michelle Rabe @michrabe

NEW ORLEANS SEP 4, 2009

The night air was heavy with the promise of rain; Marcus tasted moisture thick on his tongue. Even though he’d lived in New Orleans for several decades, he knew he’d never get used to the city’s weather. There’s something unnatural about it being almost eighty degrees and the air heavy with rain, at almost three hours past midnight. Marcus thought, as he stepped out of his nineteen fifty–five Corvette into the night, that rain should come with cold, and wind. He paused half a block away from where his Blood Daughter, Elizabeth, knelt over the latest victim of what the human authorities were calling a serial killer.  Marcus’s hazel eyes scanned the area, his preternatural senses searching for clues that the human authorities would miss. Other than its proximity to the French Quarter, the alley was like any other, a dark corridor cutting through the city. It was a place to hide, to forget, and be forgotten.

Marcus shivered, and reached into the convertible’s interior for his sword cane, his gaze drifted back to Elizabeth and the body. It had been a human female with dark hair, fair skin and ample curves. This victim was dressed in casual business attire, and as he’d expected, there was a strand of pearls nestled at the hollow of her throat. What he didn’t expect was the strange angle of her head, indicating that her neck had been broken. In another break from the killer’s pattern, there were several scrapes and cuts on this woman’s arms.

At least this one seemed to put up a fight. Elizabeth doesn’t think this is a human serial killer, and I am inclined to agree. Marcus frowned and shook his head. There’s more to this monster than a mere mortal with a taste for savagery. He closed his eyes and let other heightened senses take over. Despite the distance, he caught the scent of blood drying, metallic, like rust, in his mouth, from the victim, lifeless. Deeper than that, was a biting sweet woodsy scent, clinging to something far older. It’s a vampire, which I expected, but a member of one of the Dynastic lines? I recognize the scent, like it’s in the back of my mind teasing, taunting. Almost as though I should know the vampire it belongs to, but I just can’t place it.

Marcus opened his eyes and caught sight of Elizabeth. A slight shift in her weight signaled like the neon on Bourbon Street, that she was going to come check on him. He shook his head a fraction of an inch, and gestured with his right hand, ordering her to stay. Not wanting to let it go, he took another deep breath, but the scent had faded to the point where his vampiric senses couldn’t detect the cologne any longer. Swearing under his breath, Marcus walked to where his Blood Child waited, her milk chocolate eyes studying him.

“How long ago?”

“About fifteen minutes. Neighbor heard a scream,” she responded as Marcus knelt beside the corpse.

Damn it I always feel like I’m stuffing my hands into sausage casings, Marcus thought as he pulled latex gloves on. “Eric called you?” He nodded toward the human man pacing the entrance to the alleyway.

“Yeah. We’re on a timetable here Marcus,” she chided as he touched the strand of pearls around the victim’s throat.

“He’s playing with them before he kills,” he mused thinking back to the other two victims, the ones he’d seen in grim crime scene photographs. Marcus settled the pearls back on the victim’s neck and rocked back on his heels. I’m not a trained investigator. I can track Rogue vampires, but this one baffles me. “There should be more to go on than this. If he’s playing cat and mouse with these women, there should be something of the cat left on the mice.”

“According to Eric, nothing out of the ordinary has been found on the other victims.”

Michelle Rabe

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Genre – Paranormal Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://paperbackvamp.tumblr.com/

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