All being well the pixies will return next week, but in the meantime, here's a new vampire story starring the same character as in last week's #FridayFlash, A Rude Awakening. He's gone a bit noir in this one, you have been warned!
I'm 'Up North' for the first time in ages, delivering a package for Lucien, and it's been a ball-ache of a journey so far. Having to travel by night places a fair few restrictions on a trip of any length, and it doesn't help when the van gets a puncture and I have to spend valuable time changing the wheel in a lay-by, my arse inches away from the traffic in the slow lane. Oh yeah, and it's raining so I'm bloody soaked. 'Triffic.
No Aston for me this trip either, too conspicuous according to Lucien, so here I am, playing at being “white van man,” with my rear end twitching faster than a ship's cat in a barrel every time one of those artics thunders by.
And then there's Plod. Never around when you bloody well need him, which can be a blessing in my line of work, but by God doesn't he always show up at the most inconvenient of moments? Just don't ask to look in the back of the van. No, really. Don't.
Here he comes now, a black rat, a traffic copper. All spit and swagger, tapping his pen on his pad of traffic tickets and moaning something about the van's tinted windows. He goes back to his patrol car, pulls a gadget out of the boot and puts it up against my driver's window. I reckon he can smell a ticket in the offing for the tint on the glass being too dark. As he takes his reading I thumb the button on the key fob in my pocket and the little device Lucien had installed adjusts the tint to just within legal limits. Not too much mind, just enough.
Plod does not look happy. He packs his kit away and I wish him a cheery good evening as I throw the jack onto the passenger seat. Trouble is, now I'm stuck with one of those bloody “space-saver” spares, it'll be like driving on a feckin' ice skate, and I'm limited to 50mph. Bollocks. This is going to put a serious crimp in my evening.
About half an hour later I'm starting to feel peckish so I swing the van into the motorway services' car park. Well hello, what do we have here then?
My headlights splash over a little car tucked away almost out of sight in among the trucks in the HGV parking area. Steamed up windows and rocking like there's a high wind, which there isn't. I hop out of the van and stroll over. Tapping on the passenger window stops the rocking. Stops it dead. There's some scuffling then the door opens a crack. Bugger me, it's the copper from earlier, all red-faced and sweating with his trousers round his ankles, and some tart young enough to be his daughter in the back seat.
She squeaks something unintelligible and flings an arm over her naked breasts while he climbs out and starts blustering, fumbling with his belt. I reach into my back pocket and flash the DI's warrant card at him. That gets his attention. I can see the look in his eyes as he mentally chews over whether or not his career's fucked. It's not a real warrant card, just a little insurance policy Lucien suggested I carry, he has them run up in bulk by some bloke in a lock-up somewhere. It's not brilliant, but it's good enough to fool the copper. I don't give him time to read it properly either, just long enough to register my supposed rank. I keep my finger over the name.
The wedding band on his fingers gives me an “in,” and he's soon on his way, mightily relieved he (a) didn't nick a senior officer earlier in the evening, and (b) that I've agreed, after some persuasion, to say nothing to his Inspector about the position I've just found him in. I did suggest transferring him to the dog section, or was that dogging section? Just my little joke.
He'll have more to worry about than that soon enough I reckon as I climb back into the van's driving seat. As soon as the SOCOs find the girl in the car, her throat ripped out and full of his semen he'll be screwed. Literally I shouldn't wonder, once the old lags get their hands on him. A life sentence on Rule 43, your arse kept firmly against the wall, it's enough to give a bloke the shivers. Silly sod should have used a condom.
My fangs retract as I throw the van into gear and roar out onto the motorway. I can still taste her. Eighteen years old if she was a day and very fresh, like one of those juicy green apples I used to like. Used to.
I'm not going to make it before dawn, so I pull the van off the motorway and manage to get parked up in a quiet spot down some faceless country lane just as the sun's starting to come up. This is going to be tight, I think as I sprint round to the back doors and throw myself inside. I can already feel the heat in my skin as I haul the doors shut. The sunburn's going to hurt like a bastard by the time I wake up.
I chain the doors tight shut behind me. Can't have the package getting loose while I have a kip, and there's no way I'm hunting about the countryside for it, not during daylight at any rate. I'll go up like a Roman Candle if I try that.
Just before I settle down I check the cable ties keeping the woman trussed up in her sleeping bag. She rolls frightened eyes at me and tries to wriggle away, not that she's going anywhere, strung up the way she is like a Christmas turkey.
“It's alright pet, I'm just the driver. You've nothing to fear from me.”
I curl up on the other side of the van and drift off to sleep. No, I have no idea who she is. Pays not to ask, know what I mean? I'm just the driver.