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Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

2041 A.D.

The sound of the phone ringing woke Lucien from his nightmare. He buried his head down into the softness of his pillow wishing for the incessant noise to go away. When the ringing continued he conceded that the call must be important, and he began to fumble for the phone. He only succeeded in knocking a stack of books and magazines to the floor which set off an irritated string of cursing. After what seemed like ages, but was only a few rings, he answered the call.

“What!” Lucien demanded in a tone that expressed his tiredness and irritation at being woken at what he assumed was an unreasonably early hour.

Just to be sure he took a peek at the clock he had also managed to knock onto the floor. The blinking red digits only read seven o’clock. With a sigh of disgust at being woken at seven in the morning he tried to concentrate on what the person at the other end was trying to tell him.

“I’m sorry sir, I know that you just got back into town after being in Denver, but there is a Police Chief demanding your presence at his crime scene. He is insisting on you specifically. He asked that you be told that this is the third victim. If that wasn’t enough, he also said to remind you that you owe him a favor.”

“Just who do I owe a favor to,” Lucien started. His tone had dropped to a menacing growl at what he viewed as some sort of threat. It was far too early for anyone to be demanding anything. As it might be suspected, being a vampire tended to mean that he was more of a night owl. Just because the light of day didn’t harm him, it did not mean that he preferred to be up and about during the morning hours. He was never able to understand those people who woke up every day at six in the morning and liked it.

“D-D-D-Dom-Dominique Bra-Bra-Brakas sir,” the voice on the line stammered at the malice in his tone.

Hearing the name of his old friend, Lucien relaxed and started to laugh. Leave it to old Dom to be the one to wake him at such an early hour. With a final bark of laugh, he informed the officer to tell Dominique that he would be on site as soon as he had breakfast and dressed. His mood lightened some at the assurance that the demand was no threat from some overzealous commanding officer.

Dominique was as demanding as they come, but he was also one of the best Police Chiefs that Lucien had ever met. Years ago, they had met on a case where the killer was emulating Jack the Ripper. The only difference was that this particular killer had a penchant for targeting male prostitutes instead of women. Lucien had admired the determination within Dominique for justice, and Dominique had respected Lucien’s need to shield the innocent. A kind of professional friendship had developed between the two of them, and they often worked together on cases which required Lucien’s specialties. In the years they had know one another their friendship had moved to a more personal level that just business, and Dominique had become the Chief of Police for Santa Fe. Dominique made many demands upon those in his charge, but he did so with a quiet and kind authority that earned him the devotion of those who served him. It is part of what made him so efficient at his job.

As he showered, he contemplated why Dominique would summon him at such an early hour. He was aware that Lucien had been gone to Denver for these past two weeks on a case, and he also knew that he had only arrived back home in the early morning hours after making the 6 hour drive between the cities. The case he had been working in Denver finally broke the day before, and Lucien had left after the killer had been arrested. He would have to return to testify, but trial for the killer was a few months off. Until then he had returned home for a bit of rest and relaxation. He had decided to take a week of vacation to recuperate from the two months of 16 hour days he had spent on the job, and the plan was that he would return to work following that time. For Dominique to have called during his vacation the situation must be serious.

Lucien and Dominique had worked together many times over the years, but in the fifteen years they had never imposed on the other’s personal time for anything work related. Thinking again that this must be something highly critical, Lucien hurried through his morning ablutions. Before leaving his studio apartment, Lucien made sure to grab some packaged blood out of his refrigerator and eat it. It would not be good for his image if the thirst came upon him while at the crime scene. Even after three centuries, he was still a slave to the devil inside that demanded he feed. Crime scenes could be especially tortuous. The lingering scent of fear combined with the smell of blood always taunted his hunger to rise. Lucien had taken to feeding immediately before going to a crime scene so that he could better control himself. It was imperative that he keep his peculiarities a secret from the rest of the work, and he had to follow certain precautions to ensure that they were.

It was a little strange that Lucien pursued the line of work that he did. Lucien walked a line somewhere between private investigator and profiler as a career. He was involved with the local police, and was often the first called in when things began to seem as if the local forces did not have the resources to handle the situation. He also did work for people willing to pay for his services in looking at a case. Wealthy parents, spouses, friends, and family were all too willing to pay him large sums to look at murders of their loved ones when the trail had gone cold for the police. Most of his work, however, stemmed from the boys in blue. He was renowned nation wide for his ability to ferret out killers, and it ensured he was kept on retainer with many cities. Lucien believed that it kept his life from becoming too dull.

It only took Lucien forty-five minutes to get ready and to the crime scene. The body had been found on the stairs to St. Francis Cathedral. When he first arrived, Lucien was shocked by the lack of activity at the crime scene. Normally they were teeming with people moving around and chatting. Today everyone was milling about with their eyes cast downward. More than a few people looked wan, and Lucien knew what he was going to see would be bad. You could often tell by the way everyone behaved at a scene how horrific the crime was. Judging from the reactions that he was seeing, he expected this to be high on his scale of bad things that he had seen.

“Luc, glad you could make it,” Dominique’s voice boomed out at Lucien from behind him. With a hearty slap on Lucien’s back, Dominique added, “This one is ugly, my friend. The body was discovered by a seventeen year old debutant. Our killer has been sending her an eye from his victims, but this time he told her where to find the body. Rather than calling the police immediately, she came to investigate, and she found the body. There was also one of the eyes left with a note addressed directly to her.”