David Wellington

Thirteen Bullets




Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Incident Report filed by Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley, 10/4/83 (Continued):

“Don’t fucking move!” one of the cross-covered SWATs shouted. The other three dropped to one knee and raised their MP5s to their shoulders.

Lares rolled forward from the waist, scooping his arms through the air like he could reach over and grab them from a distance. It was an aggressive movement. It was meant to be aggressive. The SWATs did what they’d been trained to do. They opened fire. Their weapons spat fire at the rain and bullets tore through the dark air, narrowly missing our unmarked car. Webster shoved his door open and stepped out into a big puddle. I was right behind him. If we could catch the bastard in a crossfire maybe we could do more damage than he could heal.

“The heart!” I shouted. “You have to destroy the heart!”

The SWATs were professionals. They caught their target center mass more than they missed him. Lares’ big body spun around in the wet. The helicopter came roaring overhead and lit him up with the spotlight so we could see better what we were shooting at. I fired three rounds into his back, one after the other. Webster emptied his clip.

Lares pitched forward like a tree falling down, right in the gutter. He put his hands down to try to stop his fall but they slid out from under him. He lay there unmoving, not even breathing, his hands clutching at handfuls of the tiny yellow locust leaves that clogged up the sewer grate.

The SWATs traded hand signals. One of them moved in, weapon always pointed right at the back of Lares’ neck, ready to take a brainstem shot, a traditional kill shot. He was aiming at the wrong place but I didn’t think it mattered at that point. There were no visible bullet holes in the subject—they must have healed instantly—but he wasn’t moving. The SWAT stepped closer and kicked at one overly muscular leg.

Lares spun around on his side without any warning at all, far faster than a human being could move. He got one knee under him and grabbed at the SWAT’s arm to pull himself up. He had no trouble whatsoever getting a grip on all those crosses. The SWAT started to react, bringing his MP5 up, ducking down in a firing crouch. Lares grabbed his helmet in two hands and twisted it right off. The policeman’s head came with it.

For a second the decapitated SWAT stood there in a perfect firing crouch. Blood arced up from his gaping neck like a water fountain. Lares leaned forward and lapped at it, getting blood all over his face and chest. He was mocking us. He was goddamned making fun of us.

The SWAT leader started shouting “Man down, man down!” into his radio but Lares was already up and coming for him. He plowed through the rest of the SWATs in a single motion, his fingers tearing at their armor, his mouth fastening around the leader’s neck. Those shark-like teeth bit right through the SWAT leader’s padded collar. They bit right through a wooden cross and snapped it in pieces. I made a mental note: the cross thing was a myth.

The SWATs died one after the other and all I could do was watch. All I could do was stare. I brought up my weapon as Lares turned and jumped right at us. I would have fired except I was afraid I would hit Webster. Lares was that fast. He went low, diving to grasp Webster around the waist. My partner was still trying to reload his weapon.

Lares tore Webster’s leg off at the thigh. He used his mouth. Blood was everywhere and Lares drank as much of it as he could get down his throat. Webster didn’t start screaming for a long, horrible second or two. He had time to look at me, his face registering nothing but surprise.

When Lares had finished feeding he rose to a standing posture and smiled at me. His half-naked body was caked with gore. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were glowing pink and healthy. He leaned toward me. He was a good seven feet tall and he towered over me. He reached down and put his hands on my shoulders. His eyes stared into me and I couldn’t look away. The hand holding my weapon lost all strength and dangled at my side. He was weakening me, softening me up somehow. I could feel my brain itch—he was hypnotizing me, something, I didn’t know. He could kill me any time he wanted. Why was he wasting time with my brain?

Over our heads the helicopter chewed angrily at the air. The spotlight lit up Lares’ back and made his hair glow. His eyes narrowed as if the light hurt him a little. He grabbed me around the waist and hauled me up to dangle over his shoulder. I could barely move. I tried to kick and hit and fight but Lares just squeezed me harder until I felt my ribs popping like a string of fireworks. After that it was all I could do to breathe.

He didn’t kill me. He had such strength in his arms it would have been easy to kill me, to squeeze me so hard my guts shot out of my mouth. He kept me alive, though. I assumed he meant to keep me as a hostage.

He started to run. My body bounced and flopped on his shoulder. I could only see what was behind us. He was running toward the Strip District, toward the river. When I was planning this takedown I had convinced Pittsburgh Traffic to shut down a big patch of city, to keep the streets empty. I wanted a safe environment in which to pull off my showdown. Lares must have sensed the unusual quiet of the streets. He ran right out into traffic, cars slaloming all around us, steam from the pouring rain rising from their hot lights like the breath of angry bulls. Horns shrieked all around us and I panicked and called out for God—if one of those cars hit us it might not damage Lares at all but I would surely be crushed, broken, impaled.

I could barely see for pain and wet eyes and the stabbing blare of headlights. I was barely cognizant of the fact that Lares had run out onto the 16th Street bridge. I could feel the helicopter above me, following me, its rotor blades pulsing in the dark. I felt Lares bend and flex his legs and then—freefall. The asshole had jumped right off the bridge.

We hit the freezing waters of the Allegheny River so hard and so fast I must have broken half a dozen bones. The cold surged through me like I was being stabbed with icicles all over my body. My heart lurched in my chest and I felt my entire circulatory system seizing up. Lares pulled me down, down into the darkness. I could barely see his white face framed by floating black hair like dead seaweed. Breath surged out of me and I started swallowing water.

We must have been under only a few seconds. I couldn’t have survived any longer than that. Yet I remember him kicking, his legs snapping through the water. I remember the helicopter’s searchlight slanting down through the murk, now this way, now that way, now too far away. Then I couldn’t see anything. Air hit my face like a mask of ice had been nailed onto my skull but at least I could breathe. I sucked a great lungful of cold, cold air down inside of me until my body burned. Lares dragged me up over the fiberglass gunwale of a boat, a boat that bobbed and tilted alarmingly under our combined weight. He dragged me, only half alive, below decks.

25 Responses to “Two”

  1. Donny D

    January 11th, 2006 at 2:32 pm

    Holy crap! Maybe unholy crap is better suited. Sounds like old Lares has plans for new detective friend. Interegation? He wants a new friend? Maybe he just just wants to keep a frsh snack on hand. Hopefully we will find out Friday. Awesome stuff Dave!

  2. Cerati

    January 11th, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    Well at least you keep the tradition of killing chrarcters very quickly. I wonder how long Lares will stay around.

  3. Vlad

    January 11th, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Woo, go Pittsburgh!

  4. Chris J

    January 11th, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    I am sure I read somewhere that this was going to be set in 2003. So are we seeing the end so to speak where someone is reviewing Arkeley’s tapes and then jumping back to 1983 and following the story through to 2003. Or am I just getting confused.

  5. Don

    January 11th, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    He rips through these guys just like a hot knife through butter. Quite formidable. I guess the police will have to do a little more research as to what Vampires are all about.
    Keep up the great scares

  6. Sean

    January 11th, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    Well, we know Arkeley survives long enough to make the report (I’m assuming a “20 years later…” is coming up soon). So our main concern, I guess, is with the monster, which is how horror should be. 🙂

  7. Adrian des Fuhrer of stuff

    January 11th, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Chris I made that point in chapter one but Dave has something up his sleeve! – he didnt reply! =)
    Im worried for our new hero, big bad vampire mans going to suck him off…eh…eat him out…no no no kill him? yeh that’ll work, and we only just got to know him. But Daves tormented me for two years with the games he plays so dont count on anything here, shame about the swat dudes, they always but the farm as soon as they show up to a scene. So are the vampires unholy warriors of satan or hybrid creatures of some description like in blade, thats what i want to know.
    Anyhoo guys talk later, dave thanks for another part! im into this already and its only part two, Ive noticed you’ve progressed as a writer as we’ve hit the action from the word go rather than a slow build up, brilliant!
    see you friday!

  8. digbeta

    January 11th, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    I didn’t care about the whole “incident report” thing until everyone else started to harp on it. Now I’m not sold on the reel to reel thing. Not sure where you’re taking Arkeley but the reel to reel could come back to hamstring you.
    I don’t think doing a, “this story compiled from the notes of…and told by….in his voice….for….” At that point the description gets messed up and ends up getting in the way of the story.
    In the end I have decided to ignore it. I’m getting wrapped up in the story and could now care less if the story came from a collection of pebbles and glass placed around a broken urinal and a statue of a jackelope like braille in the basement of Arkeley’s house.

  9. Jason

    January 11th, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Obviously Special Deputy Jameson Arkeley must survive this, since he’s the one to file the report, but I wonder what kind of shape he’ll be in when it’s over?
    I’m curious as to why the SWAT guys would believe enough movies to think that crosses would work, and yet they’d still attack Lares with bullets? I suppose that’s what you’d call “learning the hard way”.

  10. garth breaks

    January 11th, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Boo-ya-ka! I’m hooked.
    Found you through BoingBoing, I look forward to checking back in on Friday.
    Thanks for the wonderful break in my day.

  11. z0mb13

    January 11th, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    SWAT should know, waterguns with holy water…*that’s* how to take out Vamps…duh…
    Seriously, Dave, this is the literary crack I have been longing for…you forced me to give up cold turkey, but now, like a good little addict, I’m back…and I already got the shakes from having to wait til Friday.
    This totally rules. It’s like the opening of an action movie where there’s tons of shit going down, people getting smoked and stuff blowing up…will it calm and go into the credits next?

  12. bagelgod

    January 11th, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    It feels great to be back into the MWF groove. I’m lovin your new book already. Greatness, greatness, greatness. I can’t wait for friday to see where this goes.

  13. alnjo

    January 11th, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    great stuff dave. i hope you stay in this direction with this story. but knowing you…..
    no mummies right?
    peace out later

  14. joni

    January 11th, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    WOO HOO…..I read my email last night and was so happy to see the start of this!! I have read your writings from the Beginning of Monster Island…and I am hooked!!

  15. Mike

    January 11th, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    Ok, I like the beginning so far.

  16. mendoza

    January 11th, 2006 at 8:09 pm

    This is fucking good!!! I dig the way you’ve set up this character Lares. I’m really looking forward to chapter 3!!

  17. Dave (the Author)

    January 11th, 2006 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks, everybody.
    I don’t want to give anything away… so I won’t.
    Except to reassure Alnjo there will be no mummies this time.
    I promise.

  18. alnjo

    January 11th, 2006 at 11:23 pm

    from the 1st day to the last dave, we still love ya.
    you still the man!!!
    that adriann still wants!!!!!!!!!
    haha to you and your lady
    yo adriann!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    peace out

  19. thomas

    January 12th, 2006 at 2:17 am

    I’ve always liked the play on real world vampires vs. what is known through popular myth (check out Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends). Story is ace. I’m curious to see what the deal is with knowing he’s a vampire, but knowing almost nothing about vampires – they seem to be accepting him rather easily without knowing what will stop him.

  20. Freon

    January 12th, 2006 at 5:29 am

    The problem with real world vamps vs. the popular myth vamps is that the real world vamps are becoming the popular myth. Crosses being a vampires kryptonite became a cliche but so is the character who attempts to use a cross only to see it fail and then references a movie. What would be fresh would be a world with totally new vampire myths. But then again I love Blade, so I’ll take vampire cliches over no vampires any day. Keep up the good work. By the way I’m not complaining, just analyzing.

  21. Adrian smells fart, and it aint his!

    January 12th, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    Vampires that dont die but become undead vampires who regenerate even when smudged into paste! hmm zombie vampire? Zomire?
    Hey Alnjo dude! hows the mrs? hows the store?

  22. z0mb13

    January 12th, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    For the implications of crossbreeding vamps and zombs, see the FVZA website.
    Dave has the link on the sidebar, but here it is for good measure anyway:
    Btw, in a battle between smart zombies and vampires, I’d expect the vampires to get their spiky toothed, bloodsucking, punk-asses handed to them right quick.

  23. Dave (the Author)

    January 13th, 2006 at 1:53 am

    Thanks again, everybody, and especially thanks to everybody who has pre-ordered “Monster Island”–there’s some real buzz building.
    Freon: There is plenty still to learn about our friend Lares and his particular form of monstrosity. If I hadn’t addressed the cross thing early on, though, how many people would have asked about crosses? We need to set some rules before we can get this story really started.
    And by the way, I never mind analysis–or criticism. These comments are as much a part of the book as the text frame.

  24. Zombi13 thanks, why not rename yourself zombi13-bullets? mwahahaha…its adrian

    January 13th, 2006 at 8:55 am

    DUDE! (Dave)Im getting a new credit card (hopefully by monday) and my first action will be the pre-order of Island!!!
    Thanks zombie13 Im heading there just now,
    peace! and WAR!

  25. elle's hearwritenow

    January 16th, 2006 at 5:54 am

    Yeeesss, I so love that the crosses don’t work!
    No mummies?! Damn! Can’t you at least wrap a vampire in some bandages?

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Table of Contents

Thirteen Bullets Part 1: Lares
Thirteen Bullets Part 2: Congreve
Thirteen Bullets Part 3: Reyes
Thirteen Bullets Part 4: Scrapegrace
Thirteen Bullets Part 5: Malvern

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