The following is the ‘Origins’ story of Sarah Chase, the lead character in the “Prophecy Trilogy”. These events take place about a year-and-a-half before the first book in the series, Hallows End.
Detective Sarah Chase watched in her rear view mirror as the pick-up made its way down the gravel driveway toward an old farmhouse. She had been following it for nearly three miles along the rural country roads that fell just outside of her precinct’s border. The vehicle belonged to a couple of young men whom Sarah suspected might be part of the “Nosferatu” murders (as named by the press) that had been plaguing the city of Portland for the last several months.
The first murder had taken place at summer’s end of the previous year. A female student from the local university was found hanging naked in a tree with the blood almost completely drained from her body. The killers had attempted to make it appear as though the young woman was the victim of a vampire attack, evidenced by two small puncture wounds in her neck. Since the initial killing, five more women from the university had all been murdered in the same way, each one occurring when the moon was at its fullest.
Sarah waited until she was well out of sight before parking her Camaro on the side of the road, a half-mile past where the pick-up had turned off. She took a deep breath and turned off the engine, knowing what she was about to do could seriously jeopardize her career. Chief Reynolds had denied her request to be assigned the case, making the actions she was now taking a dangerous turn back to the vigilante lifestyle she had tried to leave behind.
It had been almost fifteen years since Sarah was nearly raped and murdered in the front of her apartment building in Eastern Los Angeles. Following a couple of days stay in the hospital, she soon began training at a local mixed martial arts dojo, determined to never be someone’s victim again. Sarah spent most of her twenties hiding in the shadows, taking vengeance upon men who attacked innocent women. Though she was 33 years old now and a respected police detective, there was still a calloused place in Sarah’s heart that called for justice, regardless of what the law permitted.
The grass crunched under her feet as she squeezed through a barbed wire fence and made her way across the frozen field that surrounded the farmhouse. The low-hanging fog provided just enough cover that it was unlikely anyone would see her. She promptly spotted the pick-up and three other cars parked in front of a faded gray wood barn, located about 50 feet from the farmhouse.
Sarah crouched down, her heartbeat picking up speed over the realization that she was greatly outnumbered. To make matters worse, the sun was starting its descent toward the western horizon, causing the already cold air to tighten its wintery grasp around her body. As she got closer to the barn Sarah recognized one of the cars, a steel gray Cadillac with a slight dent in its rear bumper. It belonged to Bishop Morgan.
Earlier in the week, Sarah had visited Bishop Morgan’s church, the Brothers of Night, in order to question him about his church’s recruitment activities on the university grounds. The church was under investigation for providing unlawful incentives to its all-male constituency, including prostitution services and narcotics. During Sarah’s visit, the Bishop had been extremely uncooperative, citing “religious freedom” and threatening legal recourse if she tried to search the premises.
Unable to secure a search warrant, Sarah instead took it upon herself to follow Bishop Morgan and a few of the other members of his church around town. She soon discovered that nearly all of the ‘Brothers’ were students at the university. Sarah also learned that two of its members, the same men she had been following in the pickup, had been identified as close friends of Angelica Ruiz, the third victim in the Nosferatu case.
Sarah heard voices coming from inside the barn as she made her way over to the dilapidated structure. She swiftly ducked under a broken window and peered through a crack in the warped planks. One of her suspects, a tall blonde guy with a severe scar on his right cheek was talking to Bishop Morgan.
“Everything is set for tonight, Master.”
“As it should be,” the Bishop replied back, the arrogant tone in his voice grating on Sarah’s eardrums. Bishop Morgan was a short man, with silver hair that barely covered half his head and a permanent scowl that accentuated his harsh demeanor. “The moon’s cycles must be observed,” he stated coldly.
Sarah looked around as best she could, counting five men total, her two suspects, Bishop Morgan and another pair of young men who were carrying a coffin into the middle of the room.
“Open it,” Bishop Morgan ordered impatiently. The lid of the coffin was lifted off to reveal a young woman tied up and struggling. Sarah couldn’t actually see the woman from her vantage point, but she could hear the muffled cries coming from the wood casket. There was no doubt in her mind that Bishop Morgan and the Brothers of Night were indeed the ones behind the Nosferatu murders.
‘Scarface’, as Sarah nicknamed in her head, walked over to the coffin and proceeded to inject the girl with a needle full of clear liquid. “That should keep her calm until tonight, Your Excellency.”
“Good.” Bishop Morgan appeared to be quite anxious as he had already taken his black gloves on and off twice in the short time Sarah had been watching.
“I must return to your fellow brothers to make the rest of our preparations. Scott and Michael will stay with the girl to ensure she stays quiet while you two watch the perimeter. Call me immediately if you see anyone.” As soon as the Bishop had issued his orders he began marching hurriedly toward the double doors at the front of the barn.
Sarah’s breaths quickened. She drew her gun and hid behind a couple of rotting hay bales. Since it appeared that the girl was safe for the moment, she pulled out her cell phone to text for back-up. Sarah was only half way through her text when she heard footsteps approaching. She tried to hurry, but before Sarah could hit ‘send’, a pale hand reached over the bales of hay, grabbed her left arm and launched her several feet into the air.
“Detective Chase,” Bishop Morgan snarled as Sarah landed on her tailbone, the cell phone flying from her hand and out of reach. “I thought I recognized your cheap perfume.”
Before Sarah could say a word, the Bishop lunged toward her; his hallow eyes filled with uncanny rage. She took aim at his chest and fired, but the Bishop moved so fast that she missed his heart, hitting him in his left shoulder instead. The impact hurled the Bishop back several feet, leaving him sprawled out on the ground, his black robe smeared with dirt and ice.
“Stay down or I’ll shoot you again you son-of-a-bitch!” Sarah rose to her feet and pulled out a set of handcuffs from the back of her jeans pocket.
“Ha,” the bishop said mockingly as he slowly twisted his body to get up. “Feel free to continue shooting at me, Detective, but eventually you’ll run out of your precious bullets.” He turned toward her with an evil smile, exposing two elongated canine teeth.
“I said stay down!” Sarah yelled, her mind discounting the Bishop’s appearance as nothing more than a psychopath’s attempt to fool others into thinking he was a vampire. Bishop Morgan stood up defiantly, forcing her to fire another round. The bullet missed his temple by only a few inches as he soared through the air and grabbed Sarah by her throat.
“Stupid girl!” he growled, slamming her body up against the barn. With the gun still held firmly in her hand, Sarah tried to point the chamber at him, but the Bishop anticipated her move. He immediately grabbed the gun with his free hand, breaking two of Sarah’s fingers in the process.
“I think the time has come, Detective Chase,” the Bishop cast aside Sarah’s gun and squeezed her throat even harder as he spoke, “for you to know the truth about me.” Just as he was about to sink his fangs into her neck, Sarah dropped the handcuffs and reached behind the small of her back with her good hand. This time Bishop Morgan was caught off guard as she pulled out her spare gun and fired a bullet straight through his right eye.
The Bishop fell back screaming as he held both hands over his bloody eye socket. Sarah regained her footing and, without hesitation, fired another round into the Bishop’s skull. His body collapsed in a heap upon the dirt and gravel.
“Mother fucker!” Sarah gasped as she tried to recover from being nearly choked to death. She knew the ‘Brothers’ would have heard the gun shots, so she quickly positioned herself right next to the Bishop’s body with her gun aimed at the front of the barn. Sarah looked around to see if she could spot her other gun or her cell phone, but dusk had arrived and her vision was limited.
“Master!” She heard one of the men cry out. Her attention returned to the barn as she watched all four of the Bishop’s minions filter out of the barn and come running toward her.
“Back off!” Sarah commanded. All of them paused, though she could tell they fully intended to rush her. “I’ll shoot anyone who takes another step.” Sarah was ferociously working out a plan for her next move when suddenly the Bishop’s body began to stir.
“What the hell?” Sarah looked down and saw the hole in the back of the Bishop’s head slowly starting to heal. She didn’t believe in vampires or anything of the sort, but there wasn’t any time to consider alternatives. Instead, her instincts took over as she fired all but two rounds into the Bishop’s head, leaving nothing left to regenerate.
The Bishop’s followers briefly looked at one another and charged. Sarah recognized the dangerous situation she was in and decided she couldn’t afford to show mercy. She immediately fired her last two rounds, hitting one of the men in the chest and another in his abdomen. She then braced for impact as the other two men jumped on her, slamming her to the ground.
Adrenaline rushed through Sarah’s body as she struck one of her assailants with a hard knee to the groin. Her other attacker, ‘Scarface’, attempted to stab her with a knife which she quickly re-directed into his partner’s calf. She then thrust her elbow into Scarface, shattering his nose. He dropped to his knees right away, giving Sarah the perfect opportunity to swing her legs around his neck and snap it.
Sarah picked herself up off the ground and shifted her attention to the man with the knife in his calf. He was doing his best to run away on one leg, but had only made it a few feet when she caught up to him. A look of terror came upon his face as Sarah ripped the weapon out of his leg and plunged it into his heart, killing him instantly.
With her chest beating furiously, Sarah paused for a moment to catch her breath. The sounds of violence that had filled the air gave way to a faint moaning that was coming from one of the men Sarah had shot. She walked over to examine the bodies and found that while the man who’d been hit in the heart was already dead, the one who’d received a bullet to the belly was still breathing.
Sarah knelt down in front of the young man and stared into his eyes. He was barely 18 years old, with wavy brown hair and a look of innocence that she seldom saw on the faces of the men she had killed. He softly pleaded for help, but Sarah knew she couldn’t afford to have any witnesses. Though her fury hadn’t entirely disappeared, she did manage to soften her eyes as she leaned over him and suffocated the young man with his own sweatshirt.
After taking a few steps toward the barn, Sarah stopped to look back at the Bishop’s mutilated corpse. His head hadn’t grown back nor had his body turned to ash or done any of the other ridiculous things Sarah had seen portrayed in the movies. Instead it just lay there like every other dead body surrounding her.
Her mind raced as she considered how to cover up the mess. No one would understand why Sarah had fired so many rounds into the Bishop’s skull. And while self-defense could justify her having killed the Bishop’s four minions, she still lacked a valid explanation as to what she was doing there in the first place.
Sarah entered the barn and opened the casket in which the young woman had been trapped. She was completely unconscious, though luckily, still breathing. Sarah carried her out of the barn and into the abandoned farmhouse. There were no furnishings in the house, so the best Sarah could do was lay the woman gently upon the stained hardwood floor in the entryway.
Having collected every bullet she had fired, along with the items she had lost during the fight, Sarah dragged all five of the dead bodies into the barn and set it on fire. After she felt confident that the fire had burned away any incriminating evidence that could possibly point to her, Sarah used a cell phone she found in one of the deceased men’s pockets to call 911. Taking extreme care to cover all of her tracks, Sarah made her way back to her car and waited until she could hear sirens before driving off.
About half way home, the reality of what Sarah had just done began to sink in. Tears formed behind her eyes, but not a single drop rolled down her face. She felt both frustration and guilt, but neither of those emotions was anything new to her. What had her truly rattled, however, was the question that continued to circulate in her mind. Did she really believe she had just killed a vampire?
“Hallows End”, Sarah Chase’s debut novel and the first book of the “Prophecy Trilogy” is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Please click here for more details.