Irene Madison, Detective
“You said you lived alone.”
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My left hand slowly brushed across the soreness of my throat. A heavy pressure lingered on it like a phantom sensation, as if Ash still had her hand around my neck.
I doubt it’ll ever subside anytime soon.
The detective, Irene, who was up until this point pacing around the aftermath of my apartment stopped in her tracks, a piercing gaze at my direction.
“Who was she?” she asked.
The only piece of furniture that was spared in Ash’s wake was my favourite armchair. Bloodstained, fabric torn on one end, yet it was still standing tall. When anxiety and worry striked, that armchair would always calm me down.
Right then, I was melting in its soft embrace, but my unease wouldn’t die down.
I took a heavy breath and met the detective’s eyes.
“She’s a friend. She was staying over, just for a few days.”
Irene combed away a loose strand of hair from her face. An unprompted call at 5:30 in the morning about a person’s disappearance wouldn’t give anyone much time to make themself look presentable, even less so for a detective like her. It’s no wonder she looked so disheveled.
“A friend, huh…” Irene marched over to my bedroom and had a look around. “How close were you two?”
“Not that close.”
“Yet close enough that you’ll let her stay over at your apartment, hm? Too pretty of a face to deny?”
Sleep deprived, half-awake, yet her mind was as sharp as ever. It took a while to find an answer to that.
“A favor. I was just doing her a -”
“If you’d like, I can give you some time to come up with a more convincing lie than that,” Irene said, appearing from out the bedroom doorway with a stern look on her face. “Or would you rather prefer to start telling me the truth now instead?”
I felt my lips tightened. Ash was right, I’m a terrible liar.
“What gave me away?”
“A couple of days,” she said, towering over me with her arms crossed. “If she’s staying over, I highly doubt any girl would like wearing the same sweaty clothes for days in a row. No luggage, no bag. I didn’t come here to get lied to. You give me something now, otherwise I might have to add another name to my list of suspects.”
“You think it was me? Yeah, I broke every single piece of furniture in my apartment and kidnapped my friend. Case closed.”
“I’m not thinking anything,” Irene unfolded her arms. “Not until I hear what you really have to say.”
Police officers were beginning to funnel through my front door. I heard sirens, saw the flash of blue-red blinking on my walls. This was really happening. Why was this happening?
Mythical beings, fantasy worlds, magical abductions… what part of any of that would sound like the truth to her? Lies were all I had to give.
“Detective, with all due respect, you’d be far better off interrogating my broken coffee table than to listen to what I have to say.”
I heard her click her tongue and expel a heavy breath. I’ve annoyed her, but I didn’t care. It’s better than having her think I was a crazy person with crazy delusions.
Yet still, she won’t back down.
“Try me, then,” she said. “You’d be surprised at just how far I’m able to suspend my disbelief.”
“Not far enough…”
Her gaze on mine wouldn’t tear away. The way she looked at me, how her black eyes briefly shimmered to a crimson red from which I assume was from the glow of siren lights. It made me want to just let out with it all. The truth was at the tip of my tongue, my lips were trembling with the yearning to speak it.
Her eyes were unusually red.
I sighed and nudged my head at her. “Your guys want to speak to you.”
Irene blinked, then turned the other way. Two other officers were standing awkwardly behind her, evidently playing nice and not wanting to interrupt, that was until I pointed them out to her.
Now she’s got other things to address. Good, I needed some time for myself. 𝗯𝐞𝗱𝗻𝐨𝘃𝐞𝐥.𝗻𝗲𝐭
She groaned and shook her head, but whatever those officers wanted seemed urgent, so begrudgingly she went with them, turning to me before she left, saying, “Stay where you are, don’t move, I’ll be back. I have a feeling that whatever you’re hiding is what I really want to hear.”
Not like I can even move anywhere with all these policemen stomping about all over my property. Nothing I could do besides watch them pour in, examining every speck in the apartment.
The blood, the salt, the broken shards of glass and bits of wood, the torn furniture, my blood-stained bed, all of them raised questions, and all of those questions were usually directed at me.
One by one, they would come and question about this and that. By their tone, I could tell that they don’t buy that I was just a pure innocent bystander in all this.
But what can I say?
A Vampire Matriarch took my friend who is also an Elf-Knight from a video game world and I need your help in rescuing her.
Even to me that sounded stupid.
Those questions that sounded accusatory, I left it with silence. If they decided to push further, I would say nothing more besides, “I will only speak to the detective.” For some reason, that’s the line that gets them to back off.
Eventually dawn was breaking and night was fading. The cops that came at a dozen slowly dwindled down to just a fair few. Irene being one of them.
Curious neighbours passing by on their way to their daily routine would peer at all the commotion. Some would stay and get questioned, mostly by Irene. I think I even caught a glimpse of my other next-door neighbour, the one I’ve never seen before. Can’t tell for sure though, but I think she wore glasses.
Eventually, the police exhausted all that was left to investigate. The only thing left for them to do was to seal off my apartment door. After all, It was a crime scene now.
I knew I’d be told to leave… I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay. But I knew there was no convincing anybody once I saw who’d be the person to break that news to me.
True to her word, Irene returned with a look of resolution on her face. There was nobody else in the apartment now aside from me and her, and judging from the way she carried herself towards myself, I don’t think it was purely a coincidence that she was the last one here.
Here comes more questions.
“You can’t stay here,” she said, bending over to level with me, “I’m sure you already know that.”
“I don’t have anywhere else,” I said, my voice hoarse from fatigue.
“Find a place, anyplace. Rent a motel room, pack some essentials. Give it a few weeks, you’ll get your apartment back.”
“And how about them?” I looked into her eyes, they were black now. “How close are you to finding whoever did this? Do you have a clue?”
“If you want an honest answer, then the answer is no, I don’t,” she said. “But I’m guessing you do and by proxy, I’m guessing your friend did too.”
This again. We’re back to the same question.
“Forget it, detective. There’s absolutely no way you’ll – ”
“There are blood trails everywhere in your apartment. None of the other victims have that.”
“Like I said – ”
Interrupted again, Irene continued.
“Salt too. They seem to go in the same direction. Around your bedside especially… there’s a lot of that there.”
I was starting to get a little annoyed now. “You wouldn’t believe me even if I say it.”
“A vampire ward, is that what you’re trying to get at?” said Irene, looking as nonchalant as ever.
For a moment, I thought my ears were mistaken. Did she really say what I thought she said? I was so taken aback, I couldn’t even form a sentence, all I could muster out of my lips was a tiny, breathless, “What?”
“A Vampire Matriarch to be exact,” continued Irene, acting as if all was normal. “Explains the salt, explains the blood. If I had to guess… your friend spoke some incantations as well, didn’t she?”
The way the tables were turned on me, so suddenly and so abrupt. My mind just couldn’t comprehend it. What happened to having no clue? What happened to having no idea what’s going on?
“How the heck…” My voice trailed away.
The rays of the sun shined past my shattered window, basking her figure in a glow of bright light that momentarily blinded me from sight.
When I next opened them again, I was staring directly at her, face to face, and I saw again her pupils in the color of stark crimson. No police sirens this time to change them that way. Her eyes were now fully red.
That doesn’t just happen. In a normal world grounded in reality, that’ll never happen.
Protruding past her lips, sharp pointed fangs laid bare at either side. It immediately clicked for me and I felt my breath stiffen.
There I was, staring at her, the stern no-nonsense detective, as if I was truly seeing her for the first time ever.
“You’re a vampire…” I muttered.
“Close,” she said, her enthralling red eyes reflecting back my shocked expression. “I’m a demon actually.”
I felt my jaw drop. “What the hell.”
And to continue the streak of first times, she cracked a smile at me.
“Nice pun,” she said.