"Give me a minute," the detective said.
He knelt next to the victim's body and carefully examined the wound.
"I've taken photos; whatever else will be picked up when forensic sweeps."
The detective turned to the rookie and gave a cutting stare. It was clear he wasn't fond of his interjection.
The rookie held his breath, annoyed because he thought his time was valuable but in this detective eyes, he was but an errand-boy.
"78th and Grove, we need to get moving. Now."
"There no tape up, no lead?" the rookie was dumbfounded; in practice this detective seemed a loon.
Sirens flooded the alley along with beat cops; red and blue lights danced against wet pavement and policemen spread caution tape as if it was their only duty.
The pair hardly spoke to anybody, they let the department do their part, assured every stone turned would be included in a report.
And so it was, the detective and his partner found themselves headed toward an undisclosed location pulled from thin air.
"Listen, kid. Keep your eyes peeled for a white male, mid-40's, red blazer, on foot."
The rookie made no sense of it; where was this coming from? It took him by surprise when the detective broadcasted the description over the CV.
"You need to tell me what's going on," the rookie said.
"No, you need to trust me. Been doing this a lot longer than you, kid."
"So, what? You can tell a murderer by the face of his victim?"
The detective reiterated his instructions.
They approached the crossroads of 78th and Grove. Reluctantly, the rookie scanned the area, doubtful of the detective’s capabilities, and to no surprise, found nothing. The air was still and the streets even more so, not a soul to be seen.
“This a waste of the precinct's time.”
The detective hushed the rookie then handed him a large, heavy-duty flashlight.
“If you see the suspect, turn it on, point it in his direction.”
The rookie felt flustered, infuriated by the detective crypticism and lack of trust.
“No. Absolutely not!”
The rookie wouldn’t have it, he got out of the car, and stormed off with the flashlight in tow. He flipped it on and pierced it's beam directly into the driver's side window. He danced and mocked his partner, not taking the situation seriously.
The detective quickly exited the car and drew his weapon.
“Behind you, kid!”
The rookie spun around in time to find a seven foot man with protruding teeth in a red blazer, mid-40’s, but it wasn't truly a man; he couldn't tell what it was.
He swiped the light into the beasts skin and it shrieked and then tumbled back.
Scared senseless, the rookie dared not relent the beam, no matter how much his hands trembled.
The beast folded in pain. It shrunk down to the size of a regular man and it's teeth receded and reformed into regular incisors.
The detective was quick to throw the culprit to the pavement. He clicked cuffs onto the wrists of the once-beast.
The rookie shook. He shut the flashlight down.
The detective rose with the suspect and slammed him against the trunk of the cruiser and then began to read out his rights.
The once-beast snarled and bucked around like a horse.
Startled, the rookie turned the flashlight back on, and threatened the creature.
“That’s enough,” the detective said. He peeled the once-beast from the hood, opened the car door and secured the suspect into the backseat. The detective got back in and the rookie reluctantly joined him.
With the once-beast lingering behind them, they drove off.
The rookie trembled, scared and exhilarated; he didn’t understand what was in the backseat, it certainly was not human. This couldn't be something the precinct dealt with regularly, but the detective handled it with such calm demeanor, that maybe it was. He wondered how the station would react. His mind plagued him with questions the entire journey.
“So, what is that?” the rookie asked.
The once-beast growled.
“A murderer, nothing more, nothing less,” the detective said.
“That's not what I mean.”
The detective sighed. "He’s a vampire.”
The rookie was taken aback. Could that really be true?
“How did you know where to find him?”
“Particular species of vampire are identified based on the wound they inflict from feeding and, like any respectable gang-affiliated individual, species stick to their own stomping grounds.”
"And how did you know what he was wearing?”
“I asked the corpse.”
“You asked the.. corpse?”
“Just because someone is dead on their backs doesn’t mean they never have something interesting to say."
"Okay… so - vampires exist?"
The detective huffed. He had been in this precinct for years, and could only wish to forget half the things he'd seen.
"You're no hope, kid. Might as well have been eaten alive back there."
The rookie suddenly felt a stranger to the world of which he's spent his entire life. He tried to wrap his head around it, and repeatedly pinched his thighs thinking he'd wake up, but he didn't.
They arrived at the station, with the once-beast as a delivery. The detective removed the vampire and drug the perp up the walkway and through the entrance.
The rookie stayed back and leaned against the car, the air damp and cold, he still couldn't process it. He was exhilarated by the thought of the supernatural, but the eeriness of not knowing it's totality gripped him equally as tight. He lit a cigarette and took a deep drag.
A woman was dead and a vampire in custody due to what? The paranormal prowess of a detective the rookie hardly is acquainted with? It all sounded so silly as he ran the facts through his head. But he was curious to see what was true about the world that stood idly in the shadows around him his entire life.
He smoked his cigarette down to the filter and walked into the station.