Thursday, July 02, 2015


Placing up right here Chapter One of my Work-in-Play for your perusal. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Sequel to The Sub-TerraneanS ...

An Abe Stroud Bloodscreams Series Title #6
Robert W. Walker writing as Geoffrey Caine

Dear Abraham –

There is a family of demonic origin - that has been set loose in the world by the demon of demons himself, Satan. These are humans turned to his evil cause, and the primary reason for Random Violence. The other bloodlines that produce genius and progress in the world, compassion and social concerns as well as the arts are targets for the Vdoq who survive generation after generation - infiltrating the weaker-minded among the human race. Some Vdoq become were-creatures, others vampires, still others sheer maniacs. The Devil may take a pleasing form or not.

From a letter written to Abraham Stoker, author of Dracula, from Elias Stroud, devoted grandfather.

Abraham Stroud’s mind reeled even as he swept out his .38 police special, realizing that his weapon was no match for the Uzi he faced. In that same instant, the staccato blasts of the automatic sliced the body of the man who’d been pinned atop the hood of Stroud’s police cruiser—literally sliced in two across the waist. The two parts of the poor devil slid off the hood in separate directions, one at the grill,  the other body part at the passenger side front tire. Both parts of the man left a slug-trail of blood in each wake.
Stroud at first thought it all a dream, a nightmare hanger-on from his days as a Chicago cop, long before he was given the wherewithal to follow his dreams of being an archaeologist instead. But this was neither dream nor nightmare. This was altogether different as he found himself inside the mind and body of another cop and this was real time, happening now. Stroud had somehow become the cop in danger as he inhabited the man’s body at this crucial, dangerous moment.
That’s how he saw it even as he leapt from his car when first he’d stopped at the traffic light and the two men outside the cruiser wound up fighting against his—or rather Lt. Detective John Random’s car.
In a flash of thought that only the human mind could accomplish, Random—and so too Stroud—replayed it all in his head in a millisecond where they now crouched behind the vehicle. Stroud saw the lettering on the cruiser, which read: Teays Valley/Hurricane Police Department – We Aim to Serve.
Stroud learned in rapid secession that Detective John Random had just gone off duty, and his mind had joyfully wandered to his two little girls, and John Junior, now playing Pop-Warner football. It had been then that Random had first realized the explosion of violence out his windshield. One man, a slim, angular Abe Lincoln in torn jeans and a long black overcoat on a warm night just looked sinister.
Random had caught the devil’s look in the man’s eyes as the assailant had shoved the second man across Random’s hood when Random had stopped for a red light. A small, impish man was being pummeled viciously by the tall beardless Lincoln fellow.
Random had leapt from his car, his gold shield held out before him like a cross presented to a vampire.  Random had left the engine idling, the headlights working just fine. He believed a good shout and a scare would break up this nonsense and send the attacker running. Such bold and loud action typically worked with lowlifes.
It turned out it wasn’t to be as simple as that—and Random, along with Stroud, ciphered this fact the moment they simultaneously saw the muzzle of a black weapon rise from out of the dark overcoat. Stroud was sharing the same eyesight, the same touch, the same loss of breath, odors, sounds, and fear as Random now. Stroud as Random and Random as Stroud thought the muzzle of the weapon looked like the head of a cobra rising from a basket.
Random had figured the overcoat in the valley in May was for shoplifting; no doubt about it, but he didn’t figure on a concealed weapon of this nature, but here it was, before him. He gave a thought to his wife and children while staring at the damnable ugly end of the state-of-the-art Uzi. Yes, like the head of a cobra.
 “Now just keep cool, and all three of us will go home tonight to our loved ones,” Random said to the gun as much as to the man wielding it, this ‘cocaine cowboy’.  Under the headlights, the man’s features proved dark, pock-marked with two rocks of coal for eyes—eyes set far back below a shaggy cliff for a brow.
            “Ju got people, I dunt got nobody,” said the attacker, whose accent marked him as Hispanic, possibly Cuban or Columbian. Impossible to be sure, as the area was home to both, despite the majority white population.
Random held up both hands, and Stroud worried about his hands being so far from his weapon. “No need for this to go any further, amigo.”
            “I am not your amigo! Do ju know me? No, and I dunt know ju neither, so shut that shit up, man!”
            “You’re hardly out of your teens, aren’t you?” Random asked. “You finish high school?”
            “Shut up, old man!”
Stroud realized that time was not the same in astral journey as he was on, not while inhabiting another being. This incident may well have all happened a day ago, a week, a year. There was no telling. Meanwhile, sequences from Random’s mind to Strouds jumped like bad reception.
Random had just turned thirty-six and thought of himself as eighteen. The little squirrely guy had wiggled out of the attacker’s grasp, and groaning in pain, climbed higher on the hood as if trying to get behind Random for protection.
Random then said, “No need for any more violence, young fellow. Tell me, what’s your name?” Random had negotiated many a good outcome as a negotiator with the local PD, and he was often called into nearby Charleston to help out there.
            “Ju don’t need my damn name.”
            “All right, Paco. I’ll just call you Paco and you can me John.”
            “How ‘bout I call you Random!” the punk replied and opened fire on his victim there on the hood, the torrent of bullets tearing the victim in two. Bullets went through the dead man, tearing through the hood and pinging and ricocheting off the engine block.
Random dropped to the ground the moment Paco opened fire, but when the shooting stopped, hearing the gun jam, Detective Random rose to fire on the assailant when his full attention fell on the victim, seeing his now upper and lower torso disappearing over the front and passenger side of the hood. Somewhere in back of his mind, the detective wondered how this murdering SOB knew his name. In that single moment of hesitation, Paco opened fire on Random as he dove for cover. A round hit Random and Stroud felt the searing pain as it had torn through him as well.
John Random and Abe Stroud next heard the maniacal laughter; together they heard the killer’s footsteps rounding the car to get to Random where he lay helpless and bleeding from his check and from behind his right ear where the slug had exited, leaving a hole large enough for an iPhone to pocket.
“Now old-old man, Random, you can go to hell,” Paco said in a sneering voice.
Random, in great pain, tried to turn over, feeling his gun below him. If I can turn over like John Wayne in the old movies and fire,” he was thinking when he heard and felt the second bullet  rip through his flesh. Random mercifully wafted off into a coma. He did so to the sound of Paco’s satanic laughter.
Paco was about to put another bullet into Random’s head when a close-on siren sounded, followed by a second, along with the sudden onslaught of strobe lights:  two police cars racing toward the scene from two directions.
Stroud, terrified at what might happen should Random be killed outright with his astral body inside Random, trapped in a death spiral, had released Random and he now hovered over the scene. He saw Paco race off, taking his weapon with him, leaving behind his senseless act of seemingly random violence behind. As he did so, Stroud heard the he ask in Spanish something of the night sky, “Did I do good? I got Random. Now I want payback.”
Paco was not on a cellphone as he spoke. He seemed to be speaking to some voice inside his head, like a man possessed. The night sky failed to answer him. From the confusion on his face, Stroud guessed that the voice or voices inside his head also failed to answer him. In an attempt to understand the gunman’s motivation, Stroud’s astral self entered the killer as he had entered John Random, but this time he was fully conscious and making the decision himself. In Random’s case, some force outside him had sent him here.
            “Ju wanna take time, eh? Caution. I know, but I put two bullets in the hero.”
Paco had re-attached his Uzi to the interior of his long coat. It anguished him that THEY had gone silent, but perhaps this was THEIR way once a mission was carried out. Maybe the beings he only knew as Vdocqs had to hold some sort of ritual or silent vigil when an enemy was killed…maybe, just maybe, but who knew? Then a creeping little fear for his own life seeped into his consciousness and Stroud shared his palpable fear.
Paco eyed a man walking a dog coming toward him. Jus’ a man and his dog, nothin’ to trouble myself over. Didn’t see nothin’. Knows nothin’. Might’ve seen me talkin’ to myself is all. No matter. Still…being close, the man had to’ve heard shots— unless deaf. Maybe I need do this guy. Leave nothin’ to chance. No witness to ID me in a lineup.
His fingers went for the still hot touch of his weapon, but before Paco could whip his monster gun out, the dog—a German shepherd that had morphed into a hound from Hades itself and leaped, knocking Paco over and thrusting huge fangs into his throat. Stroud rushed from Paco’s body as the hellhound ripped out Paco’s throat.
Hovering above the bloody scene, Abraham Stroud recounted in his own mind what had happened. All in an instant, the old man had released his hold on what appeared a harmless dog, and dragging the leash, the monstrous hound devoured Paco’s throat. Actually, the single bite threw Paco into a paroxysm of pain and trauma, and as he bled out, the dog walker stood over him with the grin of a satanic imp.
“Yes, Mister Cruz, you fulfilled your end of the bargain,” the impish fellow said, and then to the hellish creature, “Dante, stop it now. Come away. You can’t be lapping up so much. You know it makes you ill to do so.” Then the imp again addressed the dying Mr. Cruz. “Now you can become one of us in spirit over flesh.”
Back at the scene of the shootings, uniformed police had fanned out in an effort to locate the shooter. All this while EMS workers were doing all in their power to save Detective Random. One said to his partner, “I hear he was supposed to be promoted to captain status next week.”
            “Won’t be at that ceremony,” replied his partner.
            “Think he has a chance in hell?”
            “Hard to say. Sometimes when they go into coma like this,” the partner began and shrugged, “it’s like the body’s way of shutting off the trauma. Hard to tell.”
            “Coma…such a weird thing.”
            “Likely the docs would’ve induced a coma if he hadn’t done it himself.”
            “What do you think goes on in a person’s head when he’s…you know…out there in Coma-land?”
            “Anyone’s guess. Science knows shit about that landscape.”
            “Wonder about that, too,” said the first man.
            “What’s that?”
            “How it is that some people go into shock and die with such wounds, and others go into coma and live?”
            “Not everyone who goes into coma lives either, Pat.”
            “I know, Steve…but some do.”
            “This cop-shooting across the country, and now here, in our city’s sucks man.”
The man’s partner, nodding agreed. “It’s gotten like some kind of carnival game for the gangs.”
“It is getting old fast.”
Loaded into the emergency medical van marked Putnam County, on IV, the comatose John Random found home, his wife, and his children. He had never felt so warmly welcomed, so at home, and so alive. But it was as though there was something gnawing, scratching at his door…at his consciousness. Some sort of danger and disharmony wishing to be visited upon him, upon his family, upon his city, upon his country, and perhaps upon his world. Yet a powerful opiate-like desire to focus only on his family now overtook him, banishing the thing at the door of his home here in the Teays Valley-Hurricane area, a bedroom community for both Huntington and Charleston, West Virgina; a place that hadn’t seen a murder case in six years.

“Where am I?” Stroud had wondered when he first entered the comatose John Random where he had begun his journey through Random’s mind. It had been Random, lying on the street, bleeding and comatose who had astrally entered the shooter’s mind. Stroud had only entered Random in his hospital bed where he remained in deep coma. All the time that Dr.Abraham Stroud, archaeologist and vampire slayer, had seen and felt the entire incident only through contact with the comatose patient’s memories. Stroud knew it was time for him to pull free of Random—at least for now. He did so with a swirl of questions left in his own mind.

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