All Hallow's Read - MIDNIGHT VISITATION by Deb Whittam

What did Jack and Jill go up the hill for?
Only one witness knows...
Detective Tom Walker cast one last glance towards the building that rose up like a monolith against the moonlit sky before turning to approach the young man who slouched against the police car with his arms folded. He had his suspicions, he had his theories, but he didn’t have his proof, and he scowled as he withdrew a notebook from his pocket, his irritation rising.

“Tell me what happened, slowly.” His words were precise as he fixed his implacable gaze on his witness, who had the courtesy to shift uneasily. Taking a deep breath, Tom staunched the inclination to grind his teeth; instinct declared the others words would be a complete fabrication, the only question remaining was the level of creativity his witness would employ.

“I already told that lot.” The young man’s tone was belligerent as he inclined his head towards an officer who stood nearby; “They went up the hill with a pail.”

“Why did they go up the hill?” he prompted. His reputation for perseverance was legendary. He liked to joke that it was in his genes, that his sixth sense told him when someone was hiding something. Those nearby knew that everything would be divulged, there was no other option.

“I told you before – I assumed for water. Why else would you need a pail?”

While he was used to his witnesses prevaricating, circumstance on this occasion suggested that this crime needed to be viewed from an alternate perspective. The consideration of key aspects prompted questions which might otherwise be ignored. There was the location and time of the attack, midnight excursions to secluded churches weren’t the norm. There were the victims. Jack and Jill were noted crusaders against the unnatural, their reputations were legendary, but more importantly, there was the behavior of the witness, the way his eyes kept darting towards the shadows spoke volumes.

These factors explained his presence, explained why he had been summoned to investigate.   

He was silent for a moment, weighing the others words carefully as he reached over his shoulder to scratch a familiar itch, unsurprised when the other flinched at the not so innocent gesture.

“Go on,” he prompted, with satisfaction. The other’s reaction was all the confirmation he required, and as if he recognized his error, the other continued in a rush.

“Jack and Jill went to the top; they were gone a long time. Then I saw them standing at the crest of the hill, holding the pail between them.” His words were almost infused with desperation.

With a smile, Detective Tom Walker let the response hang unacknowledged, enjoying the escalating tension, and then he gestured the other forward to whisper, “And that’s when you saw the shadow?” The other nodded. “A vampire?”

“I don’t know, it went dark, and then there was a scream. They came down like they had been thrown, ending up over there.”

Some may have chosen to believe him, they may have bought into his fabrication, but he wasn’t that gullible. It stunk of deceit. With a deliberate slowness, he glanced towards the spot indicated. The bodies had been removed, the other believed they had died but that wasn’t the case. Once the paramedics had recognized the cause of the injuries, they had acted and treated the victims accordingly with the old fashioned vinegar and brown paper remedy. They wouldn’t suffer the consequences of the vampire’s bite – their conversion had been averted.

“Can I go now?” It was there in his tone, the other was itching to flee.

He glanced towards the clouded sky; the full moon remained hidden from view, “In a moment, just one last question. You state that you witnessed the attack on Jack and Jill – known vampire hunters, yes?” A quick nod. “So, why did the vampire leave you, a witness, alive? Why weren’t you killed?”

As the clouds slid away, revealing the moon, it also illuminated both of their faces and any truths hidden were revealed in that instant. The other smiled grimly, acknowledging the adept manipulation which had caught him fair and square.

“Got me there werewolf,” the witness stated as his fangs jutted down to pierce his bottom lip, and Tom tensed at the scent of a familiar adversary.

“Let’s see how fast you can run vampire.” His features contorted, as he changed from human to werewolf, leaping at the other who was already fleeing.

The chase was on.
Deb Whittam is a graduated from Macquarie University Bachelor of Arts and is currently she traversing the great continent of Australia in a caravan. She seeks to explore the many forms of reality in her writing and examine how perspectives can alter when life is viewed through an alternate lens.
Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/@DebbieWhittam
And check out her blog at http://debbiewhittam.wordpress.com

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

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