Excerpt - Cowgirls & Vampires

My name is Samantha Carter, Sammy for short, and the man I’m
following stepped like a shadow from the alleyway and out into the drizzle. He glanced back only once and pulled the collar of his knee-length coat up about his throat. I pressed myself flat against the wall and gripped the bottle of holy water which I held in my hand. The other held the police scanner, and I placed it against my ear.
“We have another one,” a voice crackled.
“What is your location?” another voice hissed, as if coming from
another time.
“Braham Street, at the back of Sedgwick Court,” the voice wavered.
“Oh, Jesus, he’s taken the head this time. The body doesn’t have a head.”
I stepped out of the shadows and watched the figure hurry up
Mansell Street. There was very little traffic. The only sound was the shrillwhoop-whoop of sirens approaching from the distance, and the blue and white glare of flashing emergency lights from behind Sedgwick Court,where the killer’s latest victim lay strewn across a square patch of grass in the dark and falling rain.
I watched the man head in the direction of Aldgate High Street and followed. I’d had a pretty shitty week to be honest, and something told me things were only going to get worse. Karl, who I had been seeing for the last six months, finally got so mad at me that he left my flat, slamming the door behind him, and I hadn’t heard from him since. Not even a text. The sex had been good, not mind-blowing, but he had been kind and had made me laugh with his goofy ways. Was I upset? Not much. I had other things on my mind – like the man I was now following.
Anyhow, I’m only twenty-two, and who needs to be bogged down
with someone else’s demands? Not that Karl was ever really demanding, but he did get pissed off with me, as I always had a cigarette dangling from the corner of my mouth, my head in a book, or I was searching the Internet, trying to prove that they really do exist. I’m not a cop or anything like that – no such excitement for me. But I do study criminology at the City University in London. My other thing is the study of Vampires. Now, as far as I know there isn’t any university in the world where you can study such things – shame really, as I know it would be my dream. Karl would say in a jokey kind of way, that I’d only take my head out of the books if he were as white as a bar of soap, had fangs, and
a set of claws.
But Karl just didn’t get it – not really. I didn’t want to shag one of these creatures – I just wanted to capture one. I wanted to capture the one who had killed four women in the last three months across London.
The press said that ‘Jack was back’ as they believed that the murders were being carried out by a Jack the Ripper copycat. But that was just crap. Sure, the murders had been brutal. Each of the women had been mutilated; their throats slashed open to the point of decapitation, and then all had been stabbed several times in the abdomen. A lot of similarities, but that’s where they ended. The original murders had taken place in 1888, when there was little or no forensic science. Offender profiling was a science yet to be dreamt up. But today was different –very few serial killers got away with their hideous crimes, but not this killer. He left no clues. In a city with over sixty-thousand CCTV cameras, the killer hadn’t been captured on one of them. Not even a glimpse or a
shadow. It was like he had just disappeared. There were other
differences, too.
Apart from the fact that the murders had taken place on different dates and locations than the original killings, the wounds inflicted on the victims hadn’t been made by knives, and there was no blood discovered at the scenes of the crimes. How did I know this? Sally, who I shared my flat with, had been dating an officer from the Metropolitan Police Force.
He was a search officer who had been placed on the inner cordon after the second killing. During a drunken night of shagging, he had let slip to her that the forensic teams at the scene had been puzzled by the fact that the victim had been completely drained of blood. It was as if whoever had carried out the frenzied attack had licked up every last drop of blood. He also confided in Sally that the wounds looked as if they had been made by
a set of claws, instead of a knife or other sharply-pointed instrument.
Why he felt the need to tell my friend this while they were shagging, I will never know. But Sally was writing her first-year paper on forensically aware killers, and she was real pretty – and she probably seduced the information out of him.
Armed with this knowledge, I knew the murders were the work of a vampire. I know – crazy idea, right? But why? Is it any dafter than those who spend their lives trying to prove the existence of aliens, Bigfoot, the Lochness Monster, pixies, fairies – or whatever else turns people like me on? What I mean is, vampires don’t turn me on – but the thought of proving they exist, does. What lengths would I go to get proof? Standing in a dark alleyway, late at night, with a pocketful of garlic, a bottle of holy water in my hand, a crucifix around my neck, and a police scanner pressed to my ear – that’s how far I would go.
A helicopter buzzed overhead, a single beam of light shining from
its belly, lighting up the streets below, frantically trying to locate the killer.
“To all units,” the police scanner crackled in my ear again, “the
suspect must still be in the immediate vicinity.”
“Do we have a description?” another officer asked.
“Not at this time,” the original voice came back, sounding
The man in the long dark coat reached the top of Mansell Street,
turned left on to Aldgate High Street, and disappeared from view. With my heart in my throat, and the bottle of holy water in my hand, I quickened my step. I reached the end of the street and looked right to find the man had disappeared. Then, as a marked police van raced down Aldgate High Street from my right, I saw the man dart into the entrance of Aldgate Tube Station. Careful not to be hit by a night bus, I raced across the road and towards the front of the Underground Station.
“We have a suspect running on foot,” an officer screeched through the scanner. Even though I knew they were talking about me, I couldn’t give a shit. My sole focus was to catch up with that vampire. From over my shoulder, I heard a police van speed up as it came racing after me.
“STOP!” a voice hissed, it hadn’t come from the scanner this time,
but from the speakers on top of the police van.
I ran on, the entrance to the tube station only yards away now. I
was so close, and nothing was going to stop me. I passed a rubbish bin and threw away the scanner. I didn’t want to be caught with that. Pockets stuffed with cloves of garlic and a bottle of holy water would be hard enough to explain away if I were to be caught, but a police scanner was illegal and I would be in all kinds of shit.
The station concourse was empty, apart from a tired-looking ticket
collector who stood by the barriers. They were closed, and I fumbled about in my coat pocket for my Oyster card. The sound of screeching tyres was almost deafening as the police van stopped outside the entrance to the station. Glancing over my shoulder, I could see the side door fly open as several coppers clambered out. Each of them wore a military-style helmet, goggles, black overalls, and body armour. I gasped at the sight of the machine guns they carried in their hands.
“Halt!” one of them roared, aiming his gun at me.
With a sharp gasp, I looked front and bounded over the closed
barrier line.
“Hey, lady!” the ticket inspector called after me. “You need a ticket to travel!”
I headed down the stairs, my boots making snapping sounds which
echoed all around me. There was a small over-bridge and I peered
through the grating and down at the platforms. Both were deserted. Then I saw him, standing in the shadows at the end of the northbound platform.
With the sounds of the officers’ boots thundering down the stairs behind me, I raced along the over-bridge and down onto the platform. I wanted them to follow me, but not catch me before reaching the man, the killer – the vampire. As I reached the platform, my long blond hair billowed back from my head as a tube train rattled out of the tunnel. It stopped, the doors slid open, and I watched the man quickly step from the shadows and onto the train. I knew that I wouldn’t reach the front of the train before the doors closed or the cops got me. Darting onto the tube train via the nearest set of open doors, I looked back to see the
armed officers charge onto the platform.
“There she is!” one of them barked, raising his gun.
Not wasting any time, I turned and ran through the empty carriage.
There was a beeping noise as the doors slid closed. I glanced back over my shoulder and could see one of the officers racing alongside the train on the platform, his gun trained on me.
“Stop the train! Stop the train!” he was shouting.
The train pulled away, and I watched the cops who were left behind on the platform. One of them started to bark into his radio. I looked up at the tube map attached to the carriage wall and could see the next stop was Liverpool Street. I knew that’s where they would stop the train.
Knowing that I only had minutes to reach the vampire, I turned and raced through the carriage. Reaching the interconnecting carriage door, I yanked it open and paused. For as long as I could remember, I had wanted to prove the existence of vampires and I never truly knew why.
But now, as I was about to fulfil my lifelong dream, I was scared. It was like the realisation of what I was doing – what I was about to find – hit me, like driving your car head-on into a wall.
With my heart racing and my stomach doing somersaults, I closed
the door behind me and stepped into the next carriage. The lights
flickered off, sending me into darkness. I gasped and gripped the bottle of holy water. The lights came back on and I peered ahead, searching for the vampire in the empty carriage. I couldn’t see him. With the train rocking from side to side, I made my way slowly forward. When I reached the end of the coach, I peered through the glass window in the connecting doors. The next carriage looked empty, too. Where was he? Was he on the train? Had he managed to give the cops and me the slip, sliding back
into the shadows at the end of the platform? Would those cops have even noticed him? They seemed too intent on chasing me.
The train rattled through the tunnels, its lights flickering on and off, leaving me in darkness for moments that seemed to last an eternity.
“Hello?” I called out. Now why did I do that? Did I really think he
would suddenly appear with a big smile and ask me how I was doing? I did it because I was scared and couldn’t bear the sound of my own heart beating frantically with fear inside my chest.
I reached the last adjoining door. There was only one carriage left.
Knowing that if the vampire hadn’t given me the slip and was still on the train, he had to be inside this one, I slowly opened the interconnecting door. The train lurched left and right as it raced over points in the tunnel.
With only minutes to go before we reached Liverpool Street Station, I scanned the carriage. Like the others, it was empty. Half of me felt cheated that I had come so close, but there was another part of me that sighed with relief. Even so, I had to make sure. So, unscrewing the lid from the bottle of holy water, I made my way down the gangway and passed the rows of seats. I glanced back over my shoulder and the other carriages snaked vacantly behind me.
With my heart racing so fast inside my chest I thought it might just go bang, I faced front again. Then I jumped as I saw a brief reflection of someone in the window. For just a second, I thought there was a palefaced man inside the tunnel, but my skin turned cold as I realised he was standing right behind me. Before I had a chance to react, he had grabbed me. With his arm wrapped about my throat, I struggled, gasping for breath. His coat smelt old and musty.
“Why are you following me?” he breathed in my ear, and his breath
felt ice-cold against my cheek.
With my knees just wanting to buckle beneath me with fear, I said,
“I know what you are.”
“And what is that?” he whispered, my neck breaking out in
“You’re a vampire,” I gasped, his arm tightening about my throat. I
struggled against him, trying to twist my neck to the right so I could see his face. With his free hand, he ran one long, white, bony finger down the length of my cheek. His fingernail felt like a blade.
“Oh, Sammy, you don’t remember,” he said softly in my ear.
“How do you know my name?” I asked numbly, raising the bottle of
holy water.
“How quickly you have forgotten,” he teased, and his breath smelt
as stale and old as his coat.
The lights flickered out again, and seizing my chance, I jerked my
arm backwards, throwing the holy water into his face. I heard him chuckle softly, and the lights came back on.
“Sammy, you really don’t know who I am, do you?” he said.
Although I couldn’t see his face, I knew he was smiling, and that smile was full of pointed teeth. “Holy water doesn’t work, nor does the garlic I can smell in your pocket, or the crucifix which glistens between your breasts.”
“What have I forgotten?” I wheezed, as his grip became almost
“Let me show you,” he whispered as the train rattled into Liverpool Street Station and the carriage filled with bright white light...

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About the Author_ 
Working away in the dead of night, Tim has written many short stories, plays and novels. Tim is the author of the bestselling'Kiera Hudson series', the two paranormal romance books entitled 'Black Hill Farm' and the 'Doorways' Trilogy.
The world publishing and movie rights to Tim's latest novel 'Flashes' have just been signed by Chicken House.
Tim is currently working on his new series 'Cowgirls & Vampires'. The first book is now available.
Tim's interests other than writing, include watching South Park, Vampire Diaries, True Blood and listening to Pitbull, LMFAO, Jennifer Lopez, David Guetta, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Adele. Tim is never happier than when reading The Twilight Series, Vampire Diaries and writing his own Vampire series 'Kiera Hudson'.

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