``A last fire will rise behind those eyes...''
Epiphany slowly stepped out onto the club's main stage, as her chosen second song started. Giving her audience a dazzling smile, she slipped her dress off her shoulders, letting it fall to the floor. Clad in only a thong, she took hold of the pole at the center of the stage and swung around it.
The stage lights gave her a clear view of herself and the stage, but everything else was shadow. Still, she could see enough where she knew the club was less busy than usual. She sighed inwardly, even as she straightened up and threw her head back, then ran her fingers through her long curly brown hair.
``Cry, little sister... come to your brother...''
She gave a sultry walk to the stage edge, her lithe pale frame almost glowing in the stage light. Unfortunately, she couldn't see anyone standing at the edge, which meant no tips. She stepped back, and begun dancing slowly, moving her body to the rhythm of the song. She smiled to herself; she knew this would probably get her some guys interested in lap dances. Unlike the other girls who would just stand on the stage and maybe walk around a little, she had actual experience in dance from a young age and enjoyed doing it on stage. The other girls tended to be catty about it, but she didn't care. It was money in her pocket, so to speak.
``Cryyyyyyyy..... little sister.......''
Knowing the song was over, she gave the audience a final smile. She turned, and walked back to the stage entrance, stopping to pick up her dress. As she kneeled to pick it up, she heard the DJ over the loudspeaker. ``That was Epiphany, coming down to give you guys some private attention! Next on the main stage is Jasmine!'' As she walked off the stage, she passed Jasmine, who gave her a scowl before stepping into the limelight.
A few minutes later, Epiphany stepped through the door into the main floor, and looked around. The prospects were worse than she had thought when she was first on stage. Only a third to half of the tables were occupied, and many of them already had girls sitting at them. She sighed to herself, and walked over to the bar. As she slid into a barstool, she turned to Jack, the bartender.
``Can I get a mojito?'' she asked.
Jack turned to her, and smiled. ``Sure thing, Piff,'' he replied. Epiphany felt better; while things looked bad out there and the other girls hated her (which meant no joining their tables), at least she got along well with the bartenders.
Jack sat a drink down in front of her, and said, ``Here you go, Piff... it's on me.''
She looked up, and smiled, ``Thanks, Jack. It's really bad out there, isn't it?''
``Yeah,'' he nodded. ``Just about all the tables have been hit. Although...''
She perked up, ``Hm?''
He smiled, and pointed to a table in the far corner. ``That guy over there is by himself, and he seemed to be watching you pretty intently when you were up on stage.''
She turned, and looked at the table. Sitting there was a handsome young man about her age, with a drink in front of him. He was sitting alone, and not looking at anyone in particular. Worth a try, she thought to herself.
``I owe you one,'' she smiled at Jack, as she slid off the barstool. Behind her, Jack just chuckled and said, ``Don't mention it. Go get him.''
She walked across the club floor, as she smoothed down her black dress with her free hand. She slowed as she reached the man's table, and leaned up against one of the free chairs. As the man looked up, she turned, smiled, and said, ``Hi there. Would you like some company?''
The man looked up at her, and she was momentarily taken with his blue eyes. He gave a small smile, and said, ``I believe I would, thank you.''
She felt a thrill run through her at his words, though in the back of her mind she didn't understand why. Still, she smiled wide, pulled back the chair, and slid into it. Setting her drink down on the table, she extended her hand to his. ``My name's Epiphany.''
He took the hand. ``I'm Taris.''
``It's nice to meet you,'' she replied. The name sounded foreign to her, so she decided to look him over closely to see if she could figure out where he was from. He was tall, had short blond hair, with a medium build. He wore black slacks, a blue shirt, and a black leather jacket. His face was even more handsome than she had first thought, and his eyes were a soft blue. He could have stepped out of any American home.
She smiled, ``So, Taris, where are you from? Are you visiting from out of town?''
He nodded. ``I don't think you would have heard of my home. I'm just here on... vacation.''
She smiled again, taking another sip of her drink. ``Are you here long?''
He leaned back, and gave another little smile. ``No,'' he replied. ``I'll be leaving soon.''
She nodded, setting her drink back down.
Taris leaned forward, looking at her intently. ``I must say, I liked watching you dance up there, and your second song was quite nice.''
She smiled widely. ``Thank you!'' she beamed. ``That's one of my favorite songs.''
``What is it about?'' he asked, still watching her.
She looked at him, into his eyes. Those eyes were so beautiful, she realized, even as a small part of her thought it was an odd question. ``It's from a movie called The Lost Boys,'' she replied.
``What is it about?'' he repeated.
She continued to look at him, lost in his eyes. This time the question didn't even seem odd. She just knew she wanted to answer him. ``It's a movie about vampires,'' she said. She paused, and as if admitting a dark secret, added, ``I love vampires.''
He nodded, smiling. She felt another thrill course through her as he did. She blinked, smiled, and said, ``Would you like to go back for some private dances?''
He smiled at her, and stood. Offering her his hand, he said, ``I thought you would never ask.''
She took his hand, and stood, leaving her drink on the table. She walked around him, and led him to a back hallway, with open doorways down it on either side. She walked down to the last set of doorways, and looked in the left one. Seeing a girl and guy in there already, she looked at the right one, and saw it empty. She walked in, and gestured for him to sit on the comfortable chair in the corner.
``Make yourself comfy,'' she smiled. As he sat, she turned to him, listening to the outside music. She nodded to herself; a new song had just started. She gave him a dazzling smile, and reached down to her dress. With both hands, she pulled it off, and tossed it to the table in the opposite corner. She then approached him, and lowered herself onto him, her body slowly sliding down his. She got up, turned around, and sat in his lap, gyrating to the beat of the music. After a few beats of that, she turned around to face him, and froze.
He was smiling at her, she could tell. More importantly, he was watching her. His soft blue eyes were on hers, looking at her, almost... knowing her. She felt lost in them. She couldn't tear herself away from them. More importantly, she didn't want to.
He looked at her. ``Epiphany is a beautiful name, but I do not think it is your real one. What is your name?''
She stared. She normally would never tell a customer, but him... she wanted him to know. He had to know.
``Eileen,'' she whispered.
He smiled. She felt a deep sensation run through her. In response, she leaned down, and kissed him firmly. She slid her tounge between his lips, and enjoyed sliding it against his. Soon, she felt him push gently, and she let go, rising up, but still lost in his eyes.
Taris watched her, and he smiled widely. As he did, she saw his incisors sharpen and grow longer.
At that moment, she understood. She understood what he was, and more importantly, she understood what she was. She shivered in anticipation, lost in his power, and not willing to fight it. She raised a hand, and pushed her hair aside, exposing her throat.
``Please,'' she whispered.
She lowered herself to him, and she felt his lips upon her neck. When the pain came, she surrendered to it joyfully.
Stryker opened his apartment door, grateful to be home.
He walked in, closing and latching the door behind him, and made his way over to a counter. He shrugged off his shoulder holster, and put it and his firearm on the counter. He then walked over to his easy chair, and sank into it slowly, closing his eyes.
He was exhausted. Even after it was decided to call the feds about the thing they encountered, he still had to go over every detail of what happened with Ramirez. Worse, as soon as he finished talking to Ramirez the captain had asked him to go back to the office and write up a quick report detailing what happened. As soon as that was done, he had called the hospital and made sure Hunt was okay. Then he came home.
He looked over at the digital clock, which was reading 2:30 AM. He grimaced. He really wanted nothing more than a good night's sleep, but on the other hand his thoughts were racing. That vampire thing was not from Earth, he was sure, because it had tried to escape using a portal. He wanted to suspect Shao Kahn, but he was also pragmatic enough to know that if Earthrealm, Edenia, and Outworld all existed, other realms had to exist as well. He made a mental note to call Sonya Blade or Jackson Briggs about it.
Suddenly, the phone rang on the table next to him. He groaned, and turned to it, looking at the Caller ID screen. While he hoped it would be a number he didn't recognize so he could ignore it, he knew it was likely the station calling. Sure enough, the number was from the station. He sighed, and picked up the phone.
``Whoever this is, it'd better be good,'' he grumbled. ``I still haven't slept.''
``Hey, Kurtis, it's Ed,'' Ramirez's voice came over the line. ``Listen... are you SURE that thing you nailed earlier was the one who killed the hooker?''
Stryker raised an eyebrow. ``Of course I'm sure. I told you, it was holding her dead body. Why?''
Stryker heard Ramirez take a deep breath. This can't be good, he thought.
``You'd better come to the Black Orchid, Kurtis. There's been another murder.''
About half an hour later, Stryker pulled his car into the parking lot of the Black Orchid. He parked his car next to a couple of police cruisers, and stepped out, stretching. He looked up at the club, with its two yellow signs on each side saying ``HOT!'', and started walking to the entrance, which was guarded by two uniformed officers. To one side, he noticed two more officers interviewing the security guards.
As he approached the entrance, the two officers nodded and let him pass. He knew them by sight but not by name, but they obviously knew to expect him as he wasn't wearing his uniform.
As soon as he entered, he looked around. All of the house lights were up, and there were no customers around. He noticed a couple of crime scene techs come out of the back hallway where he knew the private dance rooms were located, and started walking that way. As he did, he glanced towards the bar and saw Ramirez talking to the bartender. Ramirez looked up, saw Stryker, and closed his notebook, thanking the bartender. The bartender lowered himself to a drink, and Stryker could see his face was wet.
``Thanks for coming, Kurtis,'' Ramirez said, hurrying over to Stryker's side. ``Come take a look...''
Ramirez led him to the back right room, where a white sheet lay on the floor. Underneath the sheet, Stryker could make the shape of a woman, splayed across wantonly. He stepped over, and raised the sheet. The body underneath was of a beautiful woman, eyes closed. Stryker noted that she was smiling, even though her neck had two large bite marks in it.
``Her name's Eileen Price, age 27,'' Ramirez noted. ``The bartender said she went back here with a customer, and neither she nor the customer came out. The manager came back here at closing time, and that's when he found her.''
``You sure the customer never came out?'' Stryker asked, standing up to face Ramirez.
``Pretty sure,'' Ramirez replied. ``The bartender had been keeping an eye on the hallway. Apparently he had a thing for her. Security guards didn't see him leave either.''
``Please tell me he paid for cover and drinks with a credit card,'' Stryker sighed.
``No such luck,'' Ramirez replied.
Stryker grunted. ``Well, she does have the exact same kind of wound the other victim tonight had. Maybe he came here before we nailed him?''
Ramirez shook his head. ``I'm afraid not. Not only did this murder happen after you killed your perp, the physical description is different. Looks like we've got two Dracula Killers. That's why I wanted you to take a look.''
``Great,'' Stryker muttered. He looked around the room, and then stepped out into the hallway. A thought occurred to him.
``There aren't any other doors here. How did he get out?''
Ramirez shrugged. ``My thought was that he slipped out the side door when the bartender wasn't looking. Although...''
``Although...?'' Stryker pressed.
Ramirez looked uncomfortable. ``Well... you say the other perp tried to create a...''
``A portal,'' Stryker replied. ``Yeah. They're used for travelling between realms.''
Ramirez coughed. ``Portals are normally reddish-orange, right?''
Stryker nodded. ``The ones I saw during the Outworld invasion were, yeah. The one I saw the perp create tonight was blue. Why?''
Ramirez paused, and leaned against the wall. ``That's the other reason I called. The bartender reported seeing a blue glow from this room, but figured it was a cell phone or some other light.''
Stryker shook his head. ``So, whoever did this has already escaped to some other realm. Great.''
He turned and stepped out onto the main club floor. He noted the bartender still sitting stunned by the bar. From the entrance, two men entered with a gurney, obviously to take the victim back to the morgue.
``We're going to have a big meeting about this in a few hours, Kurtis,'' Ramirez said behind him. ``The captain says he wants a task force put together. The press hasn't learned that the Dracula Killer isn't human but you know that won't stick for long. Would you mind joining in?''
Stryker turned and stared. ``Ed, I'm just a beat cop that sometimes does riot control. I'm not a detective. Why me?''
Ramirez chuckled. ``Man, considering you already took one of these things down and you can identify these `portals', you're the best guy for it. I don't buy into all of that invasion stuff, but you're our local expert.''
Stryker sighed. ``All right, then. Just let me get some shut eye, first.''
Ramirez nodded, and said, ``Sure thing. Just be back at the station by nine. All hell's going to come loose then.''
As Ramirez turned back to one of the uniformed officers, Stryker made his way out of the club. I didn't ask for this... he thought to himself.
Author : Scott Bishop
Creation date: 2011-5-27-9-46
Modification date: 2011-5-27-9-49
Kurtis Stryker is caught up in the investigation of a rash of vampire attacks. This story takes place between Mortal Kombat 4 and Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.