Author Topic: Final Commission of Bastian Freeman - Adult Paranormal Thriller  (Read 167 times)

Offline jvchambers

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THE FINAL COMMISSION OF BASTIAN FREEMAN

PROLOGUE

It was barely two in the morning, and it had already been a night from hell.

The babysitter was asleep on the couch. Jenna was asleep on the beanbag in her room with a game controller in her hands, and Bastian tried to be as quiet as possible when he entered the house and went to the office.

The hair on the back of his head was matted with blood. He knew that he should have gone to the hospital to have his skull examined by a professional, but his night was far from over.

Bastian took his COP .357 out of his coat and set it on the desk. He reached for the recorder as he slid into his chair.

PART ONE

My name is Bastian Freeman, and this is my eulogy. After tonight, I’m a dead man. This is the final account of everything that’s happened this past November.

Everything started right after Halloween.

It was autumn and I was smoking outside the office building. This job gives me anxiety, but it pays too much for me to quit, and I’ve got a mortgage to pay. I had two career choices: this or fast food.

I should have chosen fast food.

I threw the rest of my cigarette into the street, then went into the building and straight to the office suite labeled Vampire Division. We worked for the police, but we didn’t work in the police station, the force thinks we’re a joke.

That day I stopped at the door to Detective David Johnson’s office and looked at my reflection in the two-way mirror, and I know, he always jabs at me for being vain whenever I do that, but I do it because it makes me remember my sister, Jenna, the reason why I have this job.

I turned back to the secretary’s desk and decided that it was best to get the paperwork out of the way early.

Anita was used to me invading her personal space, and she only glanced at me when I crouched on the floor next to her and pulled out three blank forms from the desk drawer.

“Good morning, Bast. Busy night?” Anita asked with a wry smile.

It was three in the afternoon, not morning, and I really shouldn’t have been awake, but David said that it was important.

“Three?” She raised an eyebrow as I set the papers on top of the desk and started on them.

“Would have been four, I dropped the heads off earlier.” I ran over the events of the night before in my head and grimaced. Four vampires in what appeared to be a rogue operation of collecting stolen tools. Petty theft was a new crime for vampires, but I didn’t care. I was given the job and I assumed that the details were already on some classified file; I had just tied up the loose ends.

I wrote the names on the forms: Justin Klebs, William Hayne, and Howard Ogden.

“Cause of death?” Anita asked.

I turned my head to her and glared, her voice is too high for how little sleep I'm running on.

“I have to ask.”

“Gunshot, decapitation, combustion,” I said.

“Your usual. You know I have a pre-filled form for that, right?”

I didn’t know. I miss the days when all I needed to collect a bounty was a severed head, and apparently, she did too. A pre-filled form was just another one of the little things that kept me from snapping at her for being obnoxiously cheery when I was low on sleep--that, and David would kill me if I ever made her cry.

Well, and she’s cute, but it never worked out before she got married.

God, I’m pathetic.

Before she went back to her computer, she paused. “What happened to the fourth?”

“Too pathetic.”

That got her attention. She looked at me with wide eyes. “You got a soft spot now?”

I scoffed. “Very funny.”

The truth was that Adam Cornrell was too pathetic to kill. By the time I had taken care of his friends, he was shivering in the corner looking like he was going to be sick and muttering to himself about the amount of blood. I don’t know if I felt sorry or if I was just too annoyed with him to be bothered. Then again, letting him live was a worse punishment than death, a vampire that was also a hemophobe was in for a living hell.

“No, he hated blood. He was whining the whole time,” I said.

Anita made a face. “A vampire that hates blood? And you left him alive? That’s cruel.”

“And funny.”

“Let me finish those for you,” she said. “All vagabonds?”

Vagabonds, the technical term for a homeless vampire. “I don’t normally stop and have a chat about clan affiliations.”

“Coven affiliations, the buildings, not the allegiances.”

“Oh, that would go great. I’ll do that next time, just hold them at gunpoint and ask them where they live, who their daddy is, what do they do?”

“Or research it beforehand?”

The less involvement that I have, the better. I changed the subject. “So, when are you going to let me take you out for a drink again?”

“I can’t drink anymore.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, me neither.” But it suddenly wasn’t funny, she had a hand on her stomach, and I realized that she and her husband had finally gotten some good news after countless fertility treatments. “Oh.”

“Don’t tell David yet.”

“He’s got four kids; he’s not going to fire you for having one.” But he might fire me if I don’t get the death certs filled out while she’s on maternity leave. “Well, congratulations. I guess I should stop flirting.”

“If you could stop smoking in here that’d be nice.”

I groaned.

“The commissioner came in earlier and he noticed, be warned.”

She gets onto me about my smoking habits every time I see her, but at least she’s not harping on me about dying of cancer anymore. I’m more likely to die from getting my neck snapped.

“You’re going to be a great mom,” I said as I handed her the paperwork.

I went into the office and David was sitting at his desk, drinking coffee out of a kitschy mug that he got for Father’s Day that year.

“You and your damn look,” he said with a scoff.

There was a new poster on the wall, an antique Red Cross poster, ironic. I lit a cigarette and shrugged.

“What look?” I asked.

“Do you pick your sister up from school looking like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like a hitman.”

“Not fat, old, and bald with a black toothbrush under my nose?”

He blinked. “Really?”

“Have you lost weight?”

“f**k off, Bast,” he said, but he was laughing.

I miss when he went on jobs with me and we could bullsh** back and forth, back when the department was new, back before his wife made him stop going out into the field.

“How is Jenna doing in school, anyway?” David asked.

“Better than I ever did.”

Speaking of, I looked at the clock and knew that I was going to be cutting it close in picking her up that day, even with her after-school ballet. The private school she attended had a strict policy on parents--sorry guardians--being late to retrieve their children.

“I was thinking about sending my kids there. Saint Agnes?” He asked.

“Yeah, and while you’re at it, why don’t you just flush the rest of your money down the toilet?” I replied. “And no, they don’t like my ‘look’.”

“How many trench coats do you own?”

“It’s a duster.”

He scoffed, but he was smiling. “God, you’re dramatic. Still, Rayne and Al would have been proud of you.”

He was talking about Ma and Pop, and no, they wouldn’t have been. They had wanted the vampires completely exterminated, that was why they went out to fight in that stupid war in the first place.

“Does Jenna still have her eye set on that college on the east coast?” David asked. “You know the one, Oxford?”

He means Cambridge in Boston. “Oxford is in England, David,” I said.

“Will you put out that damn cigarette? Keane was on me about the smell in here.”

I blinked at him and dropped the cigarette, then ground it into the floor with my heel.

“This is why I don’t have carpet anymore,” he said with a sigh.

I pointed to the Red Cross poster. “Nice decorating, are you giving blood?”

“I would,” he said, “but I hate needles. It’s a shame too, the hospitals are in a perpetual shortage these days. What about you?”

“I don’t feed the animals.”

“Don’t call them animals. I’ve been getting flak about your mouth. You know that blood doesn’t all go to the covens.”

“Yeah, but most of it does. If we didn’t feed them, they’d start snatching victims.” He was glaring at me before I finished. I wasn’t supposed to know about that case, but there had been a small rumble of office gossip. I continued innocently, “How is that case going?”

“Still classified, where did you hear about it?”

“Anita thinks I’m cute.”

“Bullsh**. I kept that one off her desk. That’s why I didn’t tell her why you were coming in.” He took a drink from his coffee, and I could tell that he was nervous.

“So, you woke me up early because you got a break in the case?” I asked.

“No. Sort of. The missing people have started reappearing,” he said.

“Dead?”

“Dry. One or two victims. No bites. They’re getting smart. The coroner found intravenous wounds. It’s looking organized. There’s speculation that there’s a load of bodies we just haven’t found, the number is somewhere in the thousands, and growing.”

“Are we still doing this case-by-case? How many people are missing now?”

“I wish it wasn’t case-by-case, but it has to be because everyone comes in as either a missing person or a homicide. You have no idea how much bullsh** I have to look through before I have enough information to pass the case to a hunter for follow-up on the perpetrator.”

“Pfft, I know Missing Persons helps.”

“Helps with what? After seventy-two hours they’re pronounced dead. Missing Persons has no reason to find people because they can ship the case to us, and half the time I don’t think a vampire is actually responsible.” He made a gesture to a stack of files on his desk and all the cabinets that lined his office. “These are all kids, Bast. Half the time I think they just ran away from home or were reported missing by people they ditched when they were out partying.”

“Is there a connection to the Park Street Homicides?”

“The Park Street Homicides have become the Lower West End Homicides. Thanks for the reminder. Homicide had that case until this morning when they found out that it was gang-related and linked to a black-market operation that was selling blood to vampires that refuse to live in covens,” David said, I knew that he had just inherited the case. “Once vampires are mentioned, they’re out.”

“Did you know Homicide calls us pest control?”

“Alice calls the vampires mosquitos.”

“How is the wife? And the kids?”

He groaned. “I know you don’t like her; you don’t have to pretend.”

That wasn’t a hundred percent true. She hated my guts and I responded according.

“I miss date night,” he said. “I lucked out and found a new babysitter for tonight, one that my kids haven’t terrorized.”

“Now who’s being dramatic?”

“It’s a goddamn symphony of horrors at my place. Are you kidding me? Baxter won’t keep his diaper on, and he’s scared of his new potty chair. Darci tells everyone that she’s the devil, then follows them around while making noises that she heard coming from my bedroom one night.”

Oh, Christ. I could hear the irritation in his voice, and it sounded like he was at the end of his rope. I poured my willpower into keeping a straight face, but all I wanted to do was laugh.

He continued, “Kael discovered lip-gloss and now there are greasy puckers on the windows. Oh, and Royce found those cigarettes you gifted me.”

I was confused, David had been trying to quit smoking and I thought he was doing a good job. “Wait. Not the ones from Cairo that I got you for last Christmas?”

“Yes, Bast, those.”

“You still have those?”

“Not everyone smokes like you do, and real tobacco is expensive. Alice was ready to kill me. She knew where they came from.”

“At least he’s got good taste.”

“You owe me. I’m bringing you in on the disappearance case early. I was supposed to meet a coven leader tonight to gather information. You’re going for me. It’s public, it’ll be a walk in the park.”

“I’m a hunter, not a negotiator.”

“I’m not canceling on Alice, and you need to use this to get back in her good graces. Do you know how hard it is to find a sitter?”

“No.”

“Well, your sitter is crazy.”

He had a point.

“You’re doing this for me, Bast. It’s a high-profile contact and I already cleared it with the department. They’re shelling out triple your usual rate, and your rate is already high.”

“Can you do that? Just get the department to pay for bullsh** when you want a night off?” I was interested. I was very interested. The fact remained that I made it a point to never deal with vampire leaders. I don’t see them, I don’t talk to them, and David knew that.

I don’t negotiate.

But triple pay?

“You have a meeting tonight with Ritz DeWinter.”

He said the name and it made sense. There was no way that David was going to cancel a date night that was hard enough to procure to go meet that vampire. Ritz DeWinter was the reason why Alice used a cane.

“You can handle it,” he said.

Because no one else was stupid enough to.

“Triple pay,” he repeated.

I hate my job.