I have to admit, I didn’t remember very much from the night before. I came to the conclusion that my lack of memory and the stinking headache I’d woken up with were signs that all pointed to having a good night out.
Well, that’s what I thought before I opened my eyes and realized I was not at home where I should be. Instead of waking up to the poster of Lauren Cohan pinned to the ceiling above my bed, I was greeted by the sight of some garish, cheap motel décor.
I moved my head slowly and fumbled for my glasses on the side table.
Sliding them on, I scowled, noticing a crack in the left lens. Great.
That did remind me, though. There was that fight on the way home. Not that much of it came back to me – just that I’d been landed a pretty solid blow on my cheek that turned the world black.
Eventually, I felt just about well enough to sit up slowly. Propping myself up on my elbows, I noticed a woman I vaguely recalled, though I couldn’t tell you for the life of me where I recognized her from.
“Where am I?” I winced, partly from sitting up and partly from the angry throb my brain gave me as I spoke.
“Star Sky Motel,” she replied, only briefly looking at me over the edge of her laptop before her eyes darted back to the screen.
“How did I…? What happened last night?” I groaned, rolling out of bed to deal with the taste in my mouth.
“You don’t remember anything?” she called as I slunk into the bathroom with my tail between my legs.
“Not much,” I admitted through a mouthful of motel toothpaste. “I remember getting in a fight, but nothing after that.”
“You were attacked by a vampire,” she said bluntly, “I saved you.”
“Vampire?” I repeated, confused. I didn’t understand. I’d either been drunk enough to come back here with a crazy, I was the crazy one, or she was telling the truth. There was no other way to explain the tone of her voice or the sincere look on her face.
“Yeah. Y’know… sharp teeth, drinks your blood.”
“You must be insane,” I muttered, going for the scenario that didn’t see me considering checking into a mental hospital. I spat and rinsed my mouth under the tap, feeling at least a little bit better. My mouth didn’t taste of butt anymore, and that was always a bonus, whatever the situation.
“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that one before,” I heard her saying. I moved back into the room, my hands flying out to catch the folder the crazy woman launched at me. “Go on, have a good look and tell me that’s normal.”
I flicked through the folder, sinking down onto the edge of the bed. The photos inside were showed me teeth that belonged to a man that was no longer attached to his head.
“Well,” she said, watching me, “how do you explain that?”
I shook my head and smiled dryly at her. “You’re very good at photo shop.”
“Fine,” she snapped, “you want to come see the body?”
I thought about it for a moment. I’d never seen a dead body before. Well, I’d seen my grampa’s at his funeral, but not a proper one that hasn’t been dressed up by an undertaker. And if it meant proving which one of us was the insane one, then so be it. “Sure.”
“In that case, you need some ID. Then I’ll take you to the morgue.” I followed her out to the car, settling in the passenger seat. It seemed kinda familiar, but I shrugged it off, glancing around the interior. I should really have used that time to put the seatbelt on, but I couldn’t remember the last time I’d worn one before now, and old habits die hard, even when your driver is a fucking lunatic.
I dug my fingers into the edge of my seat, clinging on for dear life as she sped around corners too quickly for me to memorize them. Maybe that was the point.
“Stay here, unless you wanna get shot,” she barked the warning at me, already halfway out of the car. The door slammed shut and I waited, squinting around at the area we were in. We were just outside the main town, as far as I could tell, somewhere north of the industrial estate, by the smell of it. I pushed my glasses back up the bridge of my nose where they had slipped in the speed of the car, huffing.
How the fuck did this woman think she was going to pull this off? I mean, really? Vampires? She might as well have said that angels and demons were real and be done with it. Surely if there was more on this planet than humans and animals, we’d have noticed. Humans are very good at noticing things.
The car door opened, sucking all the warmth out and replacing it with the cold mid-afternoon air.
“Here,” she tossed an ID badge at me – an FBI badge at that – “keep your mouth shut and let me do the talking,” she told me before I’d even had a chance to speak.
I nodded, turning the ID over in my hands, looking for signs of forgery. There were a couple signs I could spot, the holographic marks weren’t quite authentic and the feel of the material the ID had been printed on wasn’t entirely up to state standards, but I figured it’d get us into the morgue at least. Until we came up against some real FBI agents.
I wasn’t worried though. I was good at hiding my tracks; if we ran into trouble I could wipe myself off the grid and relocate. It was part of my job anyway.
By the time I looked up from inspecting the ID and contemplating all the ways I’d get myself out of this if it turned bad somehow, we were at the morgue.
The fact that these ‘vampires’ were after me didn’t seem to have sunk in yet. Instead, I found myself morbidly fascinated as we stepped over the threshold.
“Hi, Daisy,” the woman I’m with says, approaching the desk with a confident ease that I tried my best to mimic. Given that, at this point, I still wasn’t afraid for my life, the façade was easy enough to maintain as I followed a step or so behind. That way, I could see what she was going to do and I could copy or respond properly without having to look sideways every time I needed a prompt.
We flashed our badges, and I hung back a little as the woman leant forward on the desk, resting her elbows on the edge of it.
“My name is Abby Mallard; I was here about a week ago to see Doctor Phillips about the John Doe. You know, the one with the teeth.” The reply we were given from the girl at the desk was a quiet, but firm ‘no’. Apparently the doctor in question was away. That didn’t put us off, though. Leaning forward a little more, ‘Abby’ smiled charmingly. “Oh, come on, Daisy,” her tone had turned flirtatious, and I raised my eyebrow a little, a little surprised, and curious to see if her method would work on another woman. “I’m sure he won’t mind; it’s just a little follow up check.”
Daisy bit her lip, going all doe eyed as ‘Abby’ charmed her into giving her what she wanted: the key to the morgue.
“You cool with this?” I was asked as we waited for Daisy to return.
I shrugged, “yeah.” The idea of seeing a dead body didn’t bother me in the slightest. It was just meat on a slab, right?
“Thanks, beautiful,” ‘Abby’ winked, taking the keys from Daisy as she returned.
She pushed me forward into the morgue, locking the doors behind us before pulling the body she wanted to show me out of its fridge. The sheet was tugged back and the box that had the head in was opened. She lifted the head out and opened its mouth, pushing at the gums to bring down a second set of deadly looking teeth that were almost certainly not human.
I bent forward to peer down at them, still more curious than anything. I was, in my mind, still convinced that it was fake, and I was searching for a way to prove it. I frowned, prodding them and tapping them to try and see where they were attached and how it had been done so cleverly.
“Now do you believe me?” she asked while I was inspecting them.
“Looks like I have no choice until I find a way to disprove it.”
“Good luck with that,” she replied tersely, watching me.