A Cross to Bare…

14 Nov

Another GSP release from Author of the Week; Stephen DeBock.

A Cross to Bare by Stephen M. DeBock

Reporter Lucille Easton’s nose tells her that the full moon murders plaguing the city are the work of a vampire, and thanks to the efforts of the newspaper’s researcher Willi, she learns that the undead do indeed exist.

When Willi herself becomes a victim, Lucille deduces that the vampire is her new boyfriend: he’s the undertaker’s new assistant; he lives in the apartment above the mortuary; and his job guarantees an endless supply of blood.

The reporter plans to stage a seduction of the suspected vampire in his apartment, while hiding a crucifix in her cleavage and a vial of holy water in her purse. She’s already framing in her mind the story she’ll write and the Pulitzer she’ll win. Surely a TV anchor’s slot will follow.

But we know what they say about the best-laid plans . . .


Connie Marx shivered as she stood alone in the moonlight. Spring weather was late in coming this year, and she longed for something warm to cover herself with; but of course that would defeat the purpose of her being here. She needed to display as much of herself as the law allowed, in order to consummate relationships beyond what the law allowed. Business had been slow tonight—make that nonexistent—and Connie needed business, now, in order to transact business of her own later. She wore a long-sleeved blouse to hide the telltale tracks in her arm, but the front of it was unbuttoned enough to show any interested party that she had nothing to hide beneath. Her skirt was hardly wider than the belt that hugged her hips, and her spiked heels made her look taller than her barely five-foot height.

The shadowed alleyway before which she stood gave Connie the creeps. But, she thought with a twist of her mouth, creeps were what she was after. She checked her make-up one more time in her compact mirror. The moonlight was dim enough to conceal the worst of the acne scars, and thick pancake hid the darkness around her eyes. Her lips were blood red, vivid and glossy.

She put the compact back inside her purse and looked around. Where was everybody? Oh, wait, it was Good Friday. Maybe her potential johns were in church, or dyeing Easter eggs with their families. Connie herself had a family, of sorts; in fact, she was carrying on the family trade. At twenty, she had grudgingly taken on the support of both herself and her besotted mother, who at this very moment probably lay in a pool of her own puke, a bottle of cheap vodka on the night stand alongside her stained and sagging mattress. What did Good Friday mean to Connie? She knew it was something about Jesus dying and coming back from the dead, but she’d never gone to Sunday School, never spent one hour inside a church.

Someone was approaching. Connie heard soft footfalls and looked up to see a man, in a dark overcoat, heading her way. The moon was behind him, which meant its light shone directly on her while he was in shadow. She reached into her purse and pulled out a cigarette.

“Excuse me,” she purred, “but would you have a light?”

The man stopped and looked down at her. “Sorry, I don’t smoke,” he said, but he didn’t make any move to continue walking.

Connie replaced the cigarette and smiled. “I’m going to quit,” she said. “Nasty habit anyway.”

“If you were really going to quit, you’d have thrown that thing away rather than putting it back.”

She looked up at the man, batted her eyes. “I am going to quit, I mean it.”

“Oh, I believe you.” He paused. “Tell me, what’s your name, and why are you out all alone this late at night?”

“My name’s Tiffany. What’s yours?”

“Call me John.”

She smiled. “John? Really?”

“Really, like you’re really Tiffany.”

“Got me. My real name’s Candy.”

“Candy. That’s sweet.”

If she got the pun, she gave no sign. “So, let me ask you the same question. What are you doing out all alone? This late at night?”

“I’m . . . looking for someone.”

“Could that someone be me?”

“That could very well be, yes.”

The man spread his coat and dug into his pants pocket. Connie stiffened, then relaxed as he brought out a money clip—not a badge, not a gun, not a knife. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, from what she could see, and his eyes seemed to capture the reflection of a distant street lamp as he glanced from side to side before peeling off some bills.

“This be enough?” he asked.

“For a quickie, right here in the alley.”

“That will be fine. I’m not looking for a long-term relationship.”

She laughed then, took his money, and led him into the alleyway.

“Well,” he said, “where do we begin?”

He was on Connie’s turf now, and her self-assurance took over. “No kissie-kissie stuff, okay? We cut right to the chase.”

“That’s fine with me. I wouldn’t want to smear the paint from those pretty lips. But I do intend to kiss you somewhere else. Would you like that?”

“Oh, honey,” she sighed. “You’ve got me wet already. Feel.” She hiked up her excuse for a skirt. She wasn’t wearing panties, and her wetness came from a light smear of petroleum jelly—a trick she’d learned from her mother.

The man felt, smiled, and Connie saw the glint of moonlight on his perfect teeth. Must’ve had braces as a kid, she thought idly as her body went on autopilot. She murmured, “Ooh, I like it when you touch me there.”

With one hand between her legs, the man slipped the other inside Connie’s blouse. She forced herself to breathe heavily, feigning passion, hoping to get him into her and out quickly. “Yes, oh yes,” she moaned.

The man ran his tongue inside her cleavage, and she felt his teeth brush against her flesh. Connie reached down and fumbled with his belt buckle. He said nothing; instead, both hands parted her blouse all the way and moved up to her armpits. She lost her grip on his buckle as he lifted her into the air and pinned her against the brick wall. They were eyeball-to-eyeball now, and she saw that his pupils were severely dilated. They looked almost vertical, too, like a cat’s. Or maybe a snake’s.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: