A lot of things look different to the movies in real life. Radioactive waste doesn’t glow green, fist fights are silent and vampires are neither sophisticated men in cloaks or misty-eyed romantics. No, the closest thing to a vampire you will see in real life is probably a serial killer. But, serial killers are easy to catch, vampires aren’t.
The trick, as Davies keeps telling me, is to look for a spike in suicides, drownings at sea or car accidents. After all, they’re three of the few situations where a body can be drained of blood without arousing too many suspicions. The grubbier vampires will also hang around mortuaries too. They never raid blood banks though. After all, they can only drink blood that comes directly from a body.
Crosses won’t protect you, wooden stakes may as well be toothpicks and they like sunbathing as much as anyone else. The only thing that can stop a vampire is a bullet to the head. Or, it would do if we were actually allowed to carry guns. But, our employers like to keep things quiet. After all, this isn’t America. You can’t just start blasting away in the middle of the street without it appearing in the national news. So, we get poison darts instead.
It had been a while since the last sighting. Despite speed cameras aplenty, the roads near an office in Berkshire had become more dangerous than that roundabout in Paris which insurers refuse to cover. Of course, knowing that there’s a vampire there isn’t the same as actually catching one. We couldn’t exactly drive in ourselves, without turning into food. Vampires are sneaky. This one especially.
He didn’t ram other cars with his own, he didn’t put down nail strips in the middle of the road and he certainly didn’t hitchhike. Investigators would pick up on things like that. No, he was the local farmer. He’d starve some of his livestock and then cajole them out into the road at the quieter times of night by throwing a carrot. The cars would swerve, hit a tree or two and then he’d drink.
We wouldn’t even have known if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d found an emaciated sheep beside the road, rabidly devouring a pigdeon. After that, it was up to Davies to do the analysis. He never worked in the same spot twice, but like crop rotation, he had a pattern. Once he figured it out, we snuck out with our dart guns and dealt with him.
Apart from stuff like this, the job is pretty sweet. You literally spend most of it just sitting around and doing nothing. There isn’t even an office, just our flats and the occasional meetings with the higher-ups in the room above the local hairdresser’s. It was policy not to ask who they worked for. Davies thought they were MI5 or NCA, but I suspected they were DEFRA. I mean, they didn’t exactly seem like the James Bond type, and most coppers retire in their fifties.
This time round, the higher-ups were getting agitated. There had been a three-week lull and, as much as we enjoyed the holiday, it just meant that the vampires were getting better at hiding the bodies. After all, it isn’t like they go on diets or anything. Popular theories were that they’d either gone on holiday or that they’d taken over another hospital. Stranger things have been known to happen.
We’d spent most of the meeting sitting around, drinking coffee and going over old reports. The computer guy thought that there had to be a larger pattern. Davies said that there couldn’t be a pattern, that we’d know already if there was one. The boss merely furrowed her brow and suggested looking at the hospitals again. I didn’t want to get between them.
Finally, the boss suggested calling it a night and getting dinner. Not even the computer guy could argue with a suggestion like that. We went down into the cellar and had a fantastic meal.
As Davies told me when we first met, the word “vampire” is actually an insult. A vampire is the kind of haematophage who gets greedy, who doesn’t follow the old laws. Who makes a scene. Who thinks that they’re better and smarter than the rest of us. Someone’s gotta deal with those people, after all…..