Do Not See Me

Please feel free to pass this around. This is my first vampire story of any kind and I may turn this into a novel or novella.

Jimmy sat in the back of the cruiser, waiting for the cop to take him in. They’d had them dead to rights, he wasn’t sure what he would have done with that gun even if he’d had the time. But this guy, this police officer, was some kind of magician. He’d appeared out of nowhere and all but plucked the gun right out of Jimmy’s hand.

He hadn’t even noticed until the gun was moving in his grip, the knurled metal handle wedging against his palm, and then saw the officer with a hand on it. Jimmy had panicked, felt himself reflexively squeeze—both his fingers and his guts—but the officer must have put the safety on with a bit of slight of hand. Fire had exploded across Jimmy’s cheek then and though he hadn’t seen it, Jimmy instinctively knew he’d been slugged. He spilled to the floor, his eyes rolling around in his head like pinballs, hearing the cries of the woman he’d been holding hostage. There was gunfire coming from the other room and that was either the guys shooting or being shot at.

Jimmy lost consciousness, but felt himself being hoisted up—out of the inky blackness and by the arm, and though he couldn’t see, knew he was being moved by the wind on his face.

But wind didn’t make sense unless he was flying or something. Jimmy hadn’t felt his feet on the ground, but didn’t have awareness of his extremities at all. He was more or less in a numb, grey area. He’d fully come to in the back of the cruiser with these cuffs on.

There was an officer sitting in the front.

“Morning, Sunshine,” the officer said, meeting his eyes through the rearview mirror. Jimmy said something, realized it was completely unintelligible, shook his head, and tried again.

“You the one that hit me?”

“The one who hit you,” the cop corrected. “And yes.”

Jimmy forced a smile, though the ache in the side of his face ratcheted up as he did so. “You’re gonna hear from my lawyer. You violated my Constitutional rights when you put your hands on me. Don’t you know anything above the collarbone is off limits?”

The cop’s eyes went wide and his eyebrows shot up out of the reflection. For a moment Jimmy thought he’d scared him until he saw the crinkles at the corners of his eyes and realized he was smiling. He adjusted the mirror so Jimmy could only see his mouth. Yeah, big ol’ toothy grin. Smug bastard. Jimmy made up his mind right then if he got the chance to headbutt him he would.

“Jimmy.” The cop shook his head, the mouth weaving in and out of the mirror. “Constitutional rights are for humans. You’re no human. You’re a wad of chewed up gum or some miscellaneous gunk sticking to somebody’s shoe. I’m just to finally scrape you off. Did you know you pissed yourself after I knocked you out? Me and Sylvia had a real good laugh after that.”

That pissed the Jimster off. He didn’t like being made fun of, dammit. He was a big deal.

Be cool, he told himself. Be cool. He looked down at his handcuffs, forcing the hard truth of his situation into his brain. He was cuffed. He was going to jail. They would take his freedom, but nobody got to take his pride.

He sniffed, smelled nothing and leaned forward and sniffed again. Jimmy had been in the sweltering heat of a building with no air conditioning for seventeen hours before he wound up in here and he stunk. But he didn’t smell like no peepee.

“I did not,” he said, flicking his eyes back up to the rearview. The cop shrugged. Jimmy looked at the back of the man’s head. It was like this person and the piecemeal rectangle he saw in the mirror were two different people. For a moment, he got a weirdo feeling like when he climbed up too high and looked down. Jimmy blinked and it was gone.

“What’s the matter? Still a little woozy?” A hand rubbed the chin underneath that mouth. “Maybe I hit you harder than I thought. You might have a concussion. Wanna go to the hospital?”

No,” the Jimster growled.

“Serious. I could have broken your brain or something. Might want to get that checked out by a professional.”

“I’m fine. Can you take me to jail now? What are we waiting for?”

“Eight forty-seven.”

Jimmy had no idea what that meant and had no intention of giving the cop the satisfaction.

“What’s your name, anyway?” he asked. “So I can tell my lawyer who hit me when I sue.”

The cop turned around for the first time, a slow, deliberate maneuver, and stared at him. For a moment, it was the most alien thing Jimmy had ever seen. There was absolutely no life to his features, like he had the head of a mannequin. The cop gave him a non-stare across the steel mesh between them for an interminable minute like he could have been looking at Jimmy or a thousand other spots in the rear of the cruiser. But then a smile broke across the cop’s face and but it looked too animated. His face twitched in places Jimmy didn’t know there could be muscles. His ears wriggled as his lips parted. The declining light of the day danced in his eyes, age lines deepened at the corners of his mouth and he could have tucked pencil erasers into his well-deep dimples.

“You can call me Bruce,” the cop said. “Because I’m the boss.”

And that’s when Jimmy heard the music on the radio that had to have been playing all along. It was “Pink Cadillac”, the only Springsteen song Jimmy had ever been able to stand. The Boss was really twanging it up with that pseudo-southern by way of New Jersey accent and as Jimmy twirled the words in his head—not what Bruce the cop had said, but the tone and depth of his voice—he knew he was in trouble.

Bruce had some kind of accent. Or rather, a lack of one. Jimmy guessed he was American, but Bruce could easily have been somebody from somewhere else who’d practiced the foreign accent away to in theory sound like anybody else in this country, but in actuality, not like anyone at all. Kind of like that blonde chick who was in all the movies nowadays. Charlie-something or other.

But there was something else about Bruce too. Maybe it was the hair that was a little too long or in the set of his face or how he seemed supremely confident in some secret Jimmy would never be able to guess, but it was clearly there. Jimmy had been arrested somewhere north of a dozen-and-a-half times in his lifetime and all of those cops had had something indescribably unnamable in common that Bruce did not. Maybe it was a looseness of manner, though several of them had tried to get buddy-buddy, giving him the off-the-record pep-talk, particularly in his younger years.

Bruce was no cop. And at 8:47, if that were a time, Jimmy would find out exactly what that meant for him.

But it begged the question, how had Bruce come with the other police officers? When they’d stormed the building, clearly he’d been there, otherwise Jimmy would not be here. He looked around out the windows of the cruiser. They were at least fifty yards off from the building, parked in the growing shade, a few stones’ throws away from the nearest police car.

“Where are you taking me?” Jimmy asked Bruce. He wouldn’t have believed it possible, but the horizontal hold on Bruce’s already wide smile lengthened, his lips tightening as if they would split in their middles.

“I’m gonna eat you,” the man in the front of the cruiser said matter-of-factly. “Split you up the middle and gobble up your insides. Poke out your eyeballs and pop ‘em like grapes between my teeth. Tear off your limbs and let you watch me drink you down.”

Jimmy’s reflex—per usual—was to be combative. He was about to say, “I can’t watch you tear off my limbs if you already poked out my eyeballs,” when something told him to hold his tongue. It was the absolute conviction in Bruce’s tone. And perhaps the hot plastic non-smell of his breath. Sure, the guy could be a cannibal, but more than likely he was just some sadist trying for a scare. Considering Jimmy was handcuffed and at the man’s complete mercy, he figured it was appropriate to be scared. The possibility of actual murder at that moment was a minor thought for him, but it was still on the list.

“What are you gonna do to me?” Jimmy’s voice was much smaller than he would’ve intended.

“I just told you,” Bruce said. He threw his head back and gave a hardy laugh. Maniacal or no, it didn’t seem like proper time to do that, but maybe that was the point for a maniac. To be inconvenient. It wasn’t like anybody made an appointment to be kidnapped. He pressed his nose against the hard mesh separating them and flicked his tongue in and out through one of the holes. That hot plastic non-smell almost burned in Jimmy’s nose. “I’m gonna eat you.”

Jimmy’s pulled back against his seat, his mind racing to the blank period between when he’d been in the building and winding up here. Had the police given him to Bruce? Were they trying to cover this up? There had to be a reason, this just wasn’t right. There had to be a way out. Bruce turned around in his seat.

“Right now,” he began, readjusting the mirror, “you’re thinking something like ‘how the hell do I get myself out of this?’. You’re wondering who the hell the psycho you’re locked in the car with is and how did he get me. Something like that. Probably how you’re not that bad a guy and you don’t deserve and blah-blah-blah-blah.” Bruce held up a hand and flapped the four fingers against his thumb in poor mock imitation. “Well, I don’t need to tell you life is unfair. Bet nobody needs to teach that girl you had the gun on, either. Or all the people you robbed. Or hurt. Did you know four of her friends died because of you people?” Bruce shook his head, disgust plain in his voice. “And what would their parents say? Do you deserve to be right here with me or with them?” He inclined his head in the general direction of where the police were. Jimmy’s blood ran cold at that moment.

“How did you… how did you get past them?” Jimmy dared to ask. Bruce turned around again and his face was entirely different. The eyes were darker and weren’t set in his head the same; the ridge of bone above them had even reoriented, becoming sharper. His cheekbones had risen, given him a mildly Asian appearance and his skin had turned almost blood red. Bruce didn’t look inhuman so much as he looked like he’d traded ethnicities, but the effect was terrifying in a manner Jimmy couldn’t quantify.

“You should have an idea how this all went down by now.” Somewhat-Asian Bruce gave him a look. Whether it had just appeared or Jimmy had only now noticed it, Bruce’s smile had one particular tooth—a canine—digging into a pocket behind and beneath his lower lip. It made a pinprick bulge and looked like it would poke through the skin of his face were he to clamp his teeth together. Bruce spoke without moving his mouth, looking like the lid of his rage were barely contained beneath his skin. “You didn’t see me because I didn’t want you to. I caught your eye across an incredible distance—a pretty fine trick even for me—and I told you the same thing I told all those cops I walked right by: ‘Do not see me’.”

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