The Case of the Haunted Vampire: Chapter 1
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Universe, what part of “I’m having a bad day” were you failing to understand?

I staggered into my small apartment and collapsed on the couch. Just because I’m good at helping out with exorcisms doesn’t mean they are my favorite. So of course, I’d been involved with two of them today. It seemed like spirits were coming out of the woodwork. Literally. One of them wouldn’t stop phasing in and out of a new deck. You know how hard it is to dispel a spirit who won’t stand still?

I was so tired that I was starting to drift off, but I yelped and came bolt awake when I felt teeth nipping at my toes. I kicked (gently) and sighed. “Gimble. Enough already. I know you’re there.”

Without even opening my eyes, I reached down and picked up a squirming white ferret. Her needle-like claws scrabbled at my arm for a moment before she settled down for petting. Her cousin, Gyre, scrambled up into my lap and nosed my other hand with a cold nose. I scratched behind her ears for a moment.

Who am I? Why do I exorcise ghosts, and why do I have ferrets?

One at a time, if you don’t mind.

My name is Dafydd Smith. I’m a warlock and part-time multi-level marketer. By the way, the name is pronounced like “David.” We’ll talk about my crazy parents later.

Exorcism isn’t my main gig. But most of the mediums in Washington, D. C. know about me, as does the one Catholic priest who actually believes and has enough magical talent to do more than chant Latin and cloud up a room with incense. I help them out with the tougher spirits who require a bit more mojo. Divinations are my specialty, and I can find even the most persistent ghosts.

As to the ferrets? Well, I’m a warlock. I need a familiar, right? I’m lucky. I have two. Gyre and Gimble. Not that they do much to help my magic, but they make me laugh on rotten days, and that’s worth a lot. They also leave “presents” all over my floor, but it’s a small price to pay.

Speaking of which, I wandered into the kitchen to grab some paper towels and do my part to clean up the environment. That’s when I saw the piece of paper, wrapped around a key to my apartment. With a sinking feeling, I read:

Dear Dafydd,

It’s been great, but I think we should take a break and see other people for a while.


Peachy. On top of everything else, my boyfriend left me. And he didn’t even have the guts to do it in person. I know how to pick ’em, don’t I?

I was trying to save money (magic doesn’t pay much), but this was too much. I needed some comfort food, and I knew just the place. I topped off the ferrets’ food bowls. They rewarded me with happy “dook dooks.” Then I changed into comfortable jeans, an old white t-shirt and my favorite black blazer before peering apprehensively into my wallet. One thing went right today. Andrew Jackson was staring back at me. I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

Northwest D.C. is usually pretty safe, and I didn’t hesitate before turning down the alley which led to Annie’s, my favorite diner. I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going. My thoughts were on the “Dear Dafydd” letter I’d just received. As a result, I almost missed it. Only the low growl stopped me.

This is not one of those creepy-you-never-want-to-go-there alleys. Just because I live in D.C. doesn’t mean I’m forever dodging bullets and weird street people. This was just your ordinary, behind-an-apartment kind of alley. A few parked cars, one of which should have been towed to a junk yard a year ago, dirty graffiti-covered brick walls and only one street lamp. The neighborhood has been after the city for that since last year, but they don’t listen.

Off to the side, crouched beside a low, two-car garage and barely illuminated by the lone lamp, crouched a tall man. Well, not really a man. Most men don’t have half-inch fangs buried deep in another guy’s neck.

“Hey!” I shouted. “Let him go!” Yeah, real threatening. But it’s not like I was expecting to run into a vampire on my way to dinner.

The vampire dropped his victim, stood up and stared at me. He wiped a drop of blood from his lip and waited. I found myself somewhat at a loss. Sure I’ve seen some weird stuff, dealt with the afore-mentioned ghosts and even stopped a coven of young Satanists. But a real vampire was kind of out of my league.

The vampire cocked his head and asked, “Aren’t you going to threaten to stake me or something?”

Not what I expected. He sounded so reasonable that I surprised myself by answering. “No, I was actually trying to think of an appropriate spell to cast.”

He actually chuckled, which surprised me. Vampires are supposed to be evil. All blood and fangs and the like. Where did it say they had a sense of humor?

Then he stepped into the light, and I almost stopped breathing in shock.

For starters he was easy on the eyes. His dark hair looked thick and soft, just right for running your fingers through. A white jacket framed broad shoulders, and the black t-shirt hugged a very nice chest and tight abs. White slacks completed an outfit which I realized was the photographic negative of my black blazer, jeans and white shirt. He had cheek bones to die for and dark eyes I could drown in.

The face was the real shock. Not the cheekbones. The fact that I’d seen his face before. Many times. In dreams.

Part of being a diviner is prophetic dreams. I get them sometimes, and by the way, they are a real drag. They are never fun, light-hearted, “you’re going to meet the guy of your dreams” fare. Nope. They are usually, “someone is going to die horribly” or “this building is going to fall over” kind of stuff.

I’ve been dreaming about this guy ever since I was a kid. I think my dream about him was the first one I knew was prophetic. He usually wanders in and out of my sleep a couple of times a year. Lately, however, I’ve been dreaming about him almost once a month. I knew that meant I was going to meet him soon, but funny that the dreams neglected to point out he was a vampire. The dreams told me I could trust him, but seriously? Trust a vampire?

As usual, my mouth got away from my brain. “I’ve dreamed about you!”

Okay, blush time.

Amazingly, he didn’t laugh. (I probably would have.) He just frowned at me. “You have?” His brow furrowed, and he was thinking hard. I was okay with giving him a minute, though I couldn’t help sneaking a glance at the body at his feet. I’m supposed to trust a guy who just committed murder in front of me?

That’s when the body stopped breathing, so I guess it technically wasn’t murder until that moment. Odd what you think about at times like this.

Finally, the vampire spoke. “You’re a wizard?”

Ah, a conversational topic I could manage in my muddled state. “Warlock actually.”

He nodded his head, as if he understood the distinction. I was impressed. Few people do. Really quick. Wizards use formulas, theorems and the like. All that sums up to one four-letter word for me. Math. I do not do math. My power is intuitive. When I control it to cast spells, it comes from within me. When it controls me (like in dreams) it comes from without. I could go on, but that’s enough for you to follow along right now.

“So the dreams are prophetic?”

He’s good. “Yeah.” This was getting too weird, and I shook my head.

He cocked an eyebrow. “What?”

“Umm, I can’t really believe I am having a conversation about magic with a vampire while we are both standing over a dead body.”

He glanced down at his victim. “Oh, him. Don’t worry about him. He was a serial killer. I was doing a public service.”

“I’m supposed to just believe that?” But the funny thing was that I did. I guess it was the dreams. I knew he was right to have killed the guy.

Remember what I said about sometimes the power controlling me? Not a comfortable feeling, I assure you.

“You do believe it, though, don’t you?”

What was this guy? A mind-reader too? I sighed. “Yeah, I do. But… I just had to say it. You can’t just go around killing people.”

His fangs suddenly receded. “Sorry about that.” He actually looked embarrassed. Were all vampires like this? “I don’t go around killing just anyone. I research my victims to be sure they are truly evil before I kill them.”

Great, the vampire version of Dexter.

And then I saw it. No surprise. I knew it had to be there. It was part of the dream too.

Swirling behind him was a shadowy figure. It floated just above the ground, phasing just in and out of sight. The dim light made it hard to see details, but I knew what it was. A young woman, maybe in her early thirties, nice-looking but not really special. Her clothes were straight from the seventies—flower print shirt and bell bottoms. (See what I mean by prophetic dreams not being fun.)

Her hands moved. She touched her throat and then cupped her hands in front of her like she was cradling something in her arms. I’ve seen it before. Many times.

The vampire noticed my gaze, and he glanced behind him. “Oh, you see her too?”

I blinked. “You mean you know about her?”

He shrugged. “Yes. She’s been haunting me for years.”

“And you never did anything about it?” I didn’t like the shrill tone in my voice, but I couldn’t help it. This stuff can get scary.

“What should I have done about it?” He sounded genuinely puzzled.

Good. Something he didn’t already know. I debated for a moment and then decided. “We need to talk. You’re in trouble. And you’re not the only one. Buy you a cup of coffee?”

God, did I really say that?

I guess I did because the vampire said. “All right.”

How’d I know vampires liked coffee? The truth was I didn’t. But I like coffee and when a 20 year old prophetic dream comes true, caffeine is definitely in order.

Annie’s is pretty well known as a gay hangout, but right now all I cared about was that it was nearby and served good coffee. Ghost busting is hungry work, and if I was going to tackle my third today, I needed something to eat.

But as we left, I pointed to the body and said “Uh. Should we just leave him like that?”

The vampire stopped. “Right. Thanks for the reminder.” He took out an iPhone and made a call.

“Benny? How’s it going?” A pause. “Sounds good. Do me a favor, will you? Yes, clean-up. Alley near 17th and Q. Thanks.”

He hung up. “That’ll take care of it.”

Did I really want to know? Well, yeah. “Who was that, if I can ask.”

He shrugged. “A friend. He’s a ghoul. He’s reliable.”

Right. Ghouls and vampires all in one night. It was just one of those days.

Next: The Case of the Haunted Vampire: Chapter 2

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C.C. Winchester      1/18/21 8:17 PM

Oh my gosh, I love this!!! I just stumbled upon it by accident and it's right up my alley! I love a touch of humor with my paranormal/horror stories and I'm trying to add that to my Darkest Timeline series too.

Juli Monroe      1/19/21 3:17 PM

Oh good! I hope you enjoy the rest of the series!

A. S. Deller      3/22/19 10:39 AM

Excellent set up- The world building is right on and it already feels lived-in. And the humor is my cup of tea!

Juli Monroe      4/02/19 2:25 PM

Thank you! I hope you continue to enjoy it! :)

DanielGraham      12/15/17 2:07 AM

I’m hooked.

JuliMonroe      12/15/17 9:15 AM

Thank you. That's what every author wants to hear. :)