In the third book of the Vampyre 2000 Series, Vampyre 2000: No Rest for the Wicked, Rita and Cornelius appeared to be living their afterlife happily ever after. Months after becoming vampyre, Rita had become well-adjusted to her new nocturnal lifestyle. They were both enjoying the relative peace and quiet of an undead life together when a violent and brutal murder, which had been captured by a security camera, was broadcast on national television. The news media quickly dubbed the vicious murderer 'The Vampire Killer'. However, no one would have ever imagined that she was anything more than just a psychotic and deranged killer.
But Cornelius knew exactly what she was. She really was a vampire.
As much as he would have liked to forget, Cornelius once had a history with this woman and they had been romantically involved. But there would be no joyful reunion; memories of her brought only pain and suffering to his troubled mind. Her reappearance symbolized the darkest period in his long life of two hundred years. Because of her the life that he once knew had come to an abrupt end. With the aid of a Police Officer (Detective Simpson), Rita and Cornelius leave The Old Victorian behind and embark on an exhausting journey that would take them from one side of the country to the other. With some unfinished business and an old score to settle, Cornelius was going home for the first time in over two centuries.
Vengeance has a name and it knows no boundaries.
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Vampire 2000: No Rest for the WickedBook III
By Christopher F. Benson
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Christopher F. Benson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWHAT IS THE REWARD for a hard day's work? For many, the reward is a simple one; a paycheck. Understanding that, in return for services that they rendered for someone else, appreciation will be shown by giving them monetary compensation. For some, it may be as simple as a thank you. On the other hand, there are those that need no recognition, no compensation and no thanks given at all for the time and effort that they have provided. Is it the reflection at the end of the day on what has been accomplished? Observing how something has gone from something less or maybe nothing at all to something greater. It could be the satisfaction of knowing that what lies before them was done by their own hand. Perhaps it's the gratification received from observing the quality of one's craftsmanship and the pride earned from the feeling of accomplishment. Of course, it could be any combination or all of these things, but sometimes the reward for a hard day's work can, unfortunately, be something completely different.
The hot August sun traveled its daily path and had now taken its place in the clear south western sky. Much like everyday at this time, Warren DeSoto was more than ready to knock off for the day and go home. Even though he wore gloves his hands were aching and his backside was numb after sitting in the cab of a back hoe all day. Wet with sweat, he was fatigued and had hit the proverbial wall. Warren worked for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and was employed as a heavy machinery operator. He was part of a construction crew and he had been operating that back hoe doing site preparation all day. He and the crew were involved in a new road project that had been slated to pass by the small city of Manomet, Massachusetts. Today had been a day like so many others; Warren was an experienced operator and had been doing it for years. His day was shaping up to be rather ordinary until he had encountered a problem while digging earlier that afternoon. As Warren was clearing soil, one of the members of the crew had noticed some exposed cables that he had uncovered deep within the hole. These cables came as a complete surprise to the men as they had not anticipated finding any buried utilities in this area. He remained in the cab while one of the men went in search of the job foreman. Arriving momentarily the foreman took one look into the hole and flashed Warren the kill sign. While he was inside of the cab he wasn't able to hear anything over the noise of the heavy equipment, so sign language of that type had developed into the normal form of communication. When he saw Randy, his foreman, drag his finger in front of his neck, he killed the engine immediately. The issue had the potential to become a big one, it could have meant that the new road could not pass through this area and would have to be redesigned. That would take a lot of time and cost a good bit of money, not to mention, that the site work would have to be suspended at least temporarily. Understanding the importance of the matter, Randy wasted no time in taking action. He immediately got the main office on the phone and had someone review the subsurface drawings. Fortunately, nothing showed on the plans for this location; it must have been a short trunk of cables left behind from a previously demolished structure. Having no difficultly in resolving the problem, it turned out to be more time consuming than anything else. However, with the job came a certain amount of pressure. This project Warren was working on, as were all of them, was for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. That meant that it was being funded by state and federally mandated money. It had a projected completion date and anything that would delay that date had the potential to put them dangerously over budget. Needless to say, Warren's little issue had created a small setback. Because he was a hard working man that wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty, his years of experience were no accident. Knowing that the work needed to be completed on time, at the end of his shift, he told the crew foreman that he would be willing to work late until he had finished. He also knew that if he hadn't of volunteered, he most likely would've been told to do so anyway. Besides, because he had gotten permission from the foreman his overtime was now authorized.
It was late afternoon and the construction crew had gone home for the day leaving Warren alone with his work. If things went smoothly, and he had every reason to expect that they would, he would be finished within an hour, maybe a little more. With everyone gone, he was able to focus on his work and he diligently continued with his task of removing the topsoil in preparation of the new road. There was a significant amount of soil that needed to be removed; the scope of a project of this magnitude was quite large, but he wasn't expected to have it all completed today, only the portion of which that would keep his crew on schedule. After several minutes Warren began to hit a stride and he was systematically completing his work. Then, suddenly, he felt the bucket hesitate for a moment, the back hoe vibrated slightly and Warren immediately knew that he had found something. With the engine running, Warren quickly opened the door of the cab and jumped down to the ground. He was already there working late because of difficulties he'd had earlier in the day. The last thing he needed was another setback. If he had struck a large rock or a bolder, the bucket would have kicked back violently. No, it wasn't a rock, maybe it was just a fallen tree trunk or a pile of buried wood. Warren quickly made his way in front of the large machine to investigate.
As he expected, there was something visible at the bottom of the cleared area, although he could not tell what it was. Uncovered only slightly, he could see only that it was dark in color and it appeared to have an edge. He could tell immediately that it wasn't a rock and it certainly was no tree trunk, he wouldn't know what it was for sure until he could inspect it further. In the back of his work truck was some equipment that Warren used on the job, including a shovel. It was parked close to seventy five yards away and since he had no intention of staying out there any longer than necessary he decided to hurry. It took Warren only a moment to jog over to his truck, retrieve the shovel from the bed and return to the dig site. With shovel in hand, he stepped directly into the cleared area and took a closer look. Only a small portion of the object was uncovered and he could tell that his original assessment was correct; it was something made out of wood. It had been damaged slightly and small chards and pieces of it that had been broken off by the bucket of his back hoe lied at his feet. Warren put the shovel to good use and hurriedly began to clear the rest of the soil away from the mysterious object. Not only was it his job, but his curiosity was peaked and he took special care as to not destroy it. Slowly and carefully he painstakingly removed several feet of soil from above the concealed body. He realized that spending time investigating this thing would keep him from his duties and force him to stay even later than expected, but at the moment he didn't mind. He was intrigued by this obscure lump and what it might be and now he was determined to find out what it was. After several minutes of digging, Warren threw the shovel out of the hole and began clearing away the remaining soil with his gloved hands. Suddenly, Warren stood up on his feet, realizing just what he had uncovered gave him quite a jolt. It had become immediately clear to him what he had struck with his back hoe and what he had been down on his hands and knees uncovering. Through the thin layer of remaining soil, Warren could see clearly that it wasn't a rock, nor was it a tree trunk. He was standing directly on top of a wooden casket.
With both hands Warren let go of the ropes and they fell to the ground. Using the back of his old leather work glove, he wiped the perspiration from his dirty forehead. Quickly checking his watch, he learned that he had now been working much later than he had expected; it was already a quarter past seven. From the looks of things, it appeared that he would be there even longer. Now freed of its resting place, Warren approached the coffin and hovered over it. As he was untying the ropes from its handles he could see that the outside of the coffin was black and the surface was rough. It appeared to be charred like it had been scorched in a fire. It also had been damaged while being disturbed, but only slightly. The foot of the casket was broken and partially crushed. Other than the apparent scorching it received, it survived fully intact. For a moment, Warren stood there puzzled, unsure of what to do next. Even after all of his years on the job and all of the extensive training he had received, he was unclear of how to proceed. Discovering a single coffin, buried no where near a cemetery, was something for which there was no precedence. With his hand on his chin, he went over his options.
He reached for the casket and then slowly pulled back his hand. Afraid of what he might encounter, he thought twice about opening it to see what was inside.
"You know what's inside." he thought to himself. "I mean, it is a casket. What else would be in there?" Perhaps, there was some sort of legal procedure that needed to be done. What if the authorities needed to be alerted and someone such as the police or the property owners should be the ones to open it. Again, he knew no precedent in what to do next, there wasn't exactly a Department of Accidentally Unearthed Coffins to contact and this land had been purchased from its original owners by the state of Massachusetts and had been public land for years. Warren concluded that the best course of action would be for him to call his foreman. He had his cell number and he would let the decision fall upon him, after all, he's the boss. However, before he made that call, it might be best for him to take a look inside of the coffin. What if this old burnt out thing was empty? Then, there wouldn't exactly be anything to report and he would just be wasting his supervisor's time. Warren was actually older than Randy and he received a lot of respect from him and the rest of the crew. Calling his foreman at home and bothering him about an empty casket, like a frightened schoolboy, would jeopardize the respect that he had earned. He had no intention of becoming the butt of childish jokes or turning into a punch line, so the decision was made; he would open the coffin.
Standing on the hinged side of the coffin, Warren bent over and placed both hands on the other side. He grabbed the lid firmly and with no more thought about it, he pulled on the lid. It budged only slightly. He felt confident that he could get it open without going back to the truck for tools once again. Putting his foot on the edge closest to him, he leaned over and placed his hands on the lid of the coffin as before. He took a deep breath and then with all of his strength he pulled up on the lid. Wood snapped and there was a crackling sound, the lid flew open against him and knocked him back onto the ground. As he lied there, catching his breath, he caught wind of the horrendous stink that bellowed out of the open casket. When he climbed to his feet, he was prepared to find what he had been expecting; the very old and emaciated remains of a dead body. However, when he looked inside, he was completely taken by surprise at what he had actually discovered.
He was amazed to find that it was not a decayed or mummified body inside at all, but a beautiful young black woman that appeared as if she could be sleeping. Warren was astounded. How could this woman, who was buried in this coffin for what had to be a great many years, be so well preserved and look so young? It was as if she had been buried that morning, but it was clear to Warren that this was not the case; there was a fine layer of dust that covered her entire body. The woman had been laid to rest in a beautiful full length gown. Now, stained and dirty, the delicate fabric had thinned and decayed over the years and was pressed tightly around her long and slender body. Looking toward the foot of the casket, he noticed that she had been buried without any shoes. Her bare feet were exposed, but were unharmed by the damage to the coffin by the back hoe. As strange as his afternoon and early evening had been, it would get even stranger. The most noticeable feature about this corpse was not how it was found or its apparent lack of decay, but the fact that this woman had been wrapped in chains before being buried. With her arms at her side, this beautiful young woman had been encircled in chains, from her shoulders to her feet, for an untold number of years.
With his questions answered and his curiosity satisfied, Warren DeSoto retrieved a cell phone from the pocket of his orange safety vest and pushed out the number for his foreman.
"Randy, this is DeSoto. Listen, I'm sorry to bother you at home."
"It's alright DeSoto, I just finished my dinner. What seems to be the problem?"
"Well, I don't really know how to explain it."
"You bothered me at home and you don't know how to explain it? This better be good."
"Yeah, Randy it is. Listen, you know I stayed out here late to finish that section before going home ..."
"You mean you're still out there? What the hell's goin' on DeSoto?"
"Well, I need to know how to proceed. Ya see, I found something out here that I think you should know about."
"Spit it out, man"
"I found an old coffin ... I uncovered an old coffin and there's a body in it."
"What? Have you been drinkin' DeSoto?"
"No, sir. And I think there might have been some kind of crime."
"Crime? How so?"
"Randy, there's a woman inside and she's wrapped up in chains and the coffin is kinda burnt on the outside. I drug it outta the hole and took a look inside and now I don't know what I should do."
"God damn it. We don't need this. You just wait right there, I'm gonna come out there."
"Don't you think we need to call the police on this one?"
"What are you, serious? And start some investigation on our project site? That's all we need is to get some injunction slapped on us to keep us from construction out there. You just do like I said and stay put 'til I get there."
"Yeah ... yeah, ok. Just make it quick will ya? It's getting dark out here and hangin' out with this dead body is givin' me the heebie jeebies."
"You'll be fine DeSoto. I'll be out there soon." Randy said as he ended the phone call. Warren knew what Randy had in mind. He was going to come out to the job site and take a look at the casket for himself. This project was an important one, not just for the local economy, but also for the infrastructure of Massachusetts. Not to mention, it employed over one hundred people at this site alone and Warren knew that Randy would protect the jobs of those people first and foremost. The likely outcome for this situation was to dig another hole and return this woman to the earth. Only he and Randy would have any knowledge of the event and the secret would remain with the two of them. Whether it was right or wrong was not the issue, he wasn't going to be the one to shut this project down or put all of those people out of work. It was just the way it was going to be. Wishing that there was more that he could do for this poor woman, he climbed up in the cab of the vehicle and turned on its flood lights. Then he returned to the coffin and looked upon this beautiful woman once again. As the sun was setting and the day was coming to an end, Warren found himself thinking about the mysterious woman. Who was she and how did she die? What kind of life did she live and why did someone do this to her? Just as he was getting used to the idea that he would never know the answers to those questions, Warren saw something so shocking that it terrified him to the core of his bones. The woman in chains opened her eyes.
His heart pounded and adrenaline coursed through his body; Warren was frightened for a moment and he jumped two steps back. As he regained his composure, he realized that this woman wasn't dead and that she was going to need his help. Inside of the coffin, the woman was turning her head from side to side; she was squinting as her eyes were adjusting to the light from the machinery. Struggling against the chains, she wasn't able to free her arms or move her legs. Obviously very weak, it was only a moment before fatigue set in and all movement suddenly stopped. Observing that, Warren rushed back to the coffin and knelt down beside it.
Excerpted from Vampire 2000: No Rest for the Wicked by Christopher F. Benson Copyright © 2012 by Christopher F. Benson. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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