*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*
The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.
The freight train roared above my head, loud enough to drown out my thoughts, as a shower of sparks rained down around me. I could feel myself being shaken free from the trestle, so I held onto the crossbeam with one hand as I cradled my head in the other. My skull felt as though it were literally about to split open, but I reminded myself that the torment wouldn’t last much longer.
Far below, the river rushed around the bridge’s concrete support beams. Silver bodies flashed just below the surface of the water, more and more of them every time I looked. The nixies had become aware of me. When the train finally rumbled off into the distance, I could hear the water sprites chattering at each other in their strange demon language. Their eagerness for my flesh was nearing a frenzy.
My eyes felt hot and dry from staring at the sun as it set, and the tendons in my wrist screamed. Even so, I couldn’t stop writing.
A couple weeks after my mother set me free, I found this dirty homeless guy. He was trying to fight off invisible KGB agents behind a Chinese buffet. I heard a crack when I tackled him next to the dumpster. It was the sound of his neck breaking. I can still feel his matted beard against my tongue, and his sweat was so sour, but his blood was liquid gold. I didn’t drain him dry, yet there’s no way he survived.
I ripped the paper out of my dwindling notebook then let the wind carry it away. I watched as the note drifted down to the rushing water. A nixie leapt out of the river to snatch the paper from the air, appearing then disappearing in almost the same instant. I could hear their breezy, tittering laughter as I began to write again.
The year before I met Justine, I came across a girl as she was stumbling home after a night spent binge-drinking with her friends. She tried to scream when I clamped my hand over her mouth to drag her back into the bushes. She didn’t stop trying to scream until I bashed her head against a rock.
I ripped out the paper. I think, by this point, every nixie in the river had gathered below me, their grey faces glistening and eager. Their mossy hair floated on the water as they stared up with jet black eyes that were too large for their faces. I found my gaze being drawn to one female in particular. Her lips were moving, and I realized she was trying to tell me something. I squinted as I opened my senses, but then her face split into a vicious display of razor-sharp teeth.
A female voice to my left startled me so much that I almost fell. “You know, for a vampire, you are remarkably unobservant. I could’ve killed you five times already, if I were so inclined.”
To be honest, I’d expected a troll; I mean, we were on a bridge. However, the woman that sat on the neighboring crossbeam, just out of reach, was anything but a troll. In fact, for several seconds, all I could do was stare.
She was very pretty, but it was an unusual kind of beauty. At first glance, she was stunning, but then she tilted her head and looked away. From that angle, she appeared almost alien. Her most striking feature was her hair; it was so red and shiny that it could’ve been spun from rubies. More than that, it was so long and thick that it was a wonder her scrawny neck didn’t break under the weight of it. It played on the breeze like writhing tentacles.
Her skin was lily white, while her eyes were bright green and large enough to drown in. She wore an ankle-length, wispy white gown and a light brown hooded cloak. Even with the loose-fitting clothes, it was obvious that she was crazy thin. Her bare feet were hooked at the ankles as she idly kicked her heels, but she possessed absolutely no scent.
My initial surprise faded to nothing, so I started writing again. “Then why didn’t you, demon?”
When I was seventeen or so, I mugged a street vendor on his way to the bank. I beat him so badly that he spent the next week in a coma. There was only seventy-five dollars in his deposit bag. I did it in broad daylight, but the cops arrested a gang member in the neighborhood because he had long hair like me. Word on the street was that the banger got twenty years, but I never told anyone the truth. I didn’t even care. I still don’t.
I ripped the paper out, then tossed it to the wind.
The demon watched me. “I have no desire to kill you. You’re of far more use to me alive. Besides, feeding Disavowed to the nixies is such a Watcher-move, don’t you agree?” She had one of those uppity British accents designed to get on a person’s nerves. “So, you’re Tobias, right?”
I replied with a noncommittal grunt.
“You do the vampire blog?”
Last year, I beat a man half to death then drained his blood after I saw him slap his wife on a subway platform. I think he was in his eighties. “Not anymore,” I said. I ripped the paper out then tossed it to the nixies.
“Pity.” She sounded like she meant it. “You know, I really liked that blog. Well, up until the end. You can call me Gwen.”
“I didn’t ask.”
When I lived with Justine, I fucked other women every chance I got. I lost count of how many. I knew that I loved Justine. Deep down, I was aware that she had feelings for me, too. I knew that when I came home smelling of other women, it bothered her. That’s why I did it.
I ripped the paper out, crumpled it in my fist, then tossed it away.
“I was going to ask what you’re doing up here, but I think I’ve figured it out,” she said. “Good for you.” I gave her a strange look out of the corner of my eye. “Confession is healthy. It’s good for the soul.”
“I don’t think that’s what I’m doing,” I said. Once, I tried to figure out exactly how many men and women I’ve almost killed for their blood. How many have I actually killed? It’s not like I ever stuck around to see if they were all right afterward. Their faces have all blended together, so it’s impossible to know. But it must be in the hundreds.
“Then what are you doing?” she said, extremely patient.
I looked at her at last. “Bragging.”
I could tell that I’d unnerved her, but she hid it well. “I see. Well, let’s get down to business then, shall we? You know why I’m here?”
My hand flew across the paper as though it had a mind of its own, describing the time I’d broken a fourteen-year-old boy’s collarbone because he tried to stop me from stealing his wallet. “I do,” I said. “Never mind. It’s too late now.”
She blinked in surprise, her smile mystified. “Too late? You just sent out the call. How can it be too late?”
“I changed my mind,” I grumbled as I hunched over my notebook like a meth head with his last rock.
“I see.” Her tone was annoyed. “So, are you really going to kill yourself, or are you just teasing those poor nixies?”
I didn’t answer. I just continued to write as fast as I could.
“Wow, you’re making this really awkward.”
When I was twelve, I began to see women as more than just men with boobs. There was this one chick in particular that lived alone in a low end apartment on the east side. She had long black hair, a model’s face, and a smoking hot body. She was a cunt waitress, but she used to walk around like she owned the world.
“Tell me, when was the last time you had any blood, Tobias?”
I began to tell her to fuck off, but then I hesitated. Deep, deep down, in the hidden recesses of my brain, buried under the muck and mire of pain and bad memories, a cup of cold blood splattered the floor of my prison cell. I grabbed Ochoa’s arm, then yanked it through the bean slot until I felt the jarring pop of his shoulder dislocating. His scream echoed down the run when I sank my fangs into his wrist…
But that couldn’t be right. I couldn’t have gone that long without blood. My throat wasn’t even dry. I had to have fed at some point, I just…couldn’t remember doing it.
“Gwen,” she said sweetly.
“Right. Look, I’m a little busy here. So, if you could kindly just…fuck the fuck off.”
Her eyes cooled but her radiant smile was untouched. “Charming. Clearly, everything I’ve heard about you is true. No matter, though, we should keep this professional. Here’s what I need from you in exchange.”
My thoughts were disjointed and incomplete. “In exchange for what?”
“In exchange for finding Karen,” she said with a little laugh, as though the answer should have been obvious. “Don’t you want to find Karen?”
My focus drifted back to the page in front of me. My handwriting was sloppy and almost unrecognizable. “No.” I felt something fall from my eye then a droplet splattered the paper, but my hand never stopped moving. “I don’t deserve to find Karen.”
I waited until she was in the shower one night then sliced through the screen on her bedroom window. She left the windowpane up, so I could crawl right inside. She was asking for it, or maybe the universe wanted me to do what I did. I slipped into her room, closed the window, then hid in her closet.
Gwen stared down at the horde of water fairies gathered beneath us. “You know, vampire, of all the ways to commit suicide, ripped apart and eaten by nixies has got to be the most hardcore. A gunshot to the head would be just as effective.”
“But not as foolproof.” She came out of the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel. She had no idea I was there so I watched her for a long time, until the rock-hard handle of the knife ached in my hand. I stepped out of the closet behind her…
Gwen was suddenly on the beam next to me, her chilly hand on my wrist. “You know that’s total bullshit, right?”
I described the rape in as vivid detail as I could. “What is?”
“That. You know none of that happened, don’t you?”
Her skin smelled like lilac soap, at first. Then it smelled like sweat and blood. The way she screamed against the pillow was so fucking incredible. “Yes, it did.”
“I should rephrase that. Yes, it happened, but not to you. You had nothing to do with this.”
I shook my head at her stupidity. “Then why do I remember it?” I said, my voice empty.
“Because you were there.”
I gave her a hard look. “Get away from me before I tear your head off, poke your eyes out, then skull-fuck you.”
This wasn’t an empty threat, but she was unimpressed. “Not you, Toby.” She touched me between the eyes with the tip of her finger. “You. You were there. Weren’t you?”
I couldn’t tear my gaze away from hers, but my hand flung the notebook away. It flapped like a bird with a broken neck as I shifted my weight to fall forward.