VIGIL

A NOVELLA COLLECTION BY ARVIN LOUDERMILK

Officer Grace Kimble is called to the scene of a murder in progress and stumbles onto LA’s dirtiest little secret—vampires are real. A citywide manhunt ensues and Grace finds herself working alongside a group of hotshot detectives who’ve been pursuing these creatures for years. Grace’s time in a patrol car may be at an end, but her nights on the street have only just begun.

Contains all eight volumes of the hard-hitting novella series.

AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK & TRADE PAPERBACK FORMATS

522 pgs.

Published by The Concentrium

Initial release: February 2016

 

ISBN: 978-1-943643-06-6

eISBN: 978-1-943643-07-3

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015955776

A COP ON THE BEAT, IN A CITY FULL OF BLOODSUCKERS

The VIGIL cover

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EXCERPT

It was 1991, and the rain was coming down in buckets.

My partner Angela Chen and I were on patrol in Northeast Los Angeles, just outside of Lincoln Heights, and I was bitching and moaning like I always seemed to do when I found myself not behind the wheel. Add the blinding downpour to the indignity of not being in control, and I was raring to go.

“I moved west to avoid weather like this,” I said, bristling in my seat. “So much for sunny California. I knew I should have picked Arizona or Nevada when I relocated. They have real sunshine there—and droughts. Constant, unyielding droughts.”

Angie steered our black and white into the leftmost lane, her concentration fully affixed on the drenched roadway. “Stop with the martyr routine, Grace. It almost never rains, especially like this, and yet you still have to treat it as if it were some regular occurrence. If you were getting mad at the unusualness of it, then fine. But no, you’re using it to indict the entire city, and that’s just nuts.”

Angie’s jet-black hair was wound back in a braided ponytail, the way she liked to wear it while she was on the job. My own hair was blonde and bright, cut in a bob about an inch or so below my jawline. The light and dark look of us once prompted a dipshit from our station to start referring to us as Salt & Pepper. He only did it once to my face. After I shoved him into a corner and used his head to cave in the drywall, he avoided us altogether. Most of the macho dickheads avoided us at the station—not because of a sweetheart like Angie, of course, but because of me. As hard as it is to believe, I had a reputation as a bruiser, this despite my wispy, 5’9” frame. The rep went back a ways, too. I’ve always had real skills with my hands, feet, and fists—and when necessary—even my head. Back in my Academy days, I beat every comer, no matter their size, and word got around. If you didn’t want to get your ass beaten by a girl, you’d better keep far away from me.

“Sorry about all the grousing,” I said after an extended stretch of silence. “I’m just in a shit mood.”

Angie nodded and tightened her grip on the steering wheel.

Coming up behind us at my five o’clock, I caught a glimpse of a convertible VW Bug with red racing stripes emblazoned on its side. Three idiots were inside, standing upright and screeching. Thanks to all the water spilling down, it took a second look for me to get a complete picture of the stupidity that was on display. These kids were traveling at breakneck speed through the pounding rain, about to pass a cop car, their arms raised high as big, round droplets pelted them across the face and the wind blew back their hair. Like I said, stupid. Rock stupid.

I ignited our red and blue overheads and rolled down my window. The kids had already noticed our presence and were in the process of sitting back down. The driver had reduced his speed by half. I gave them a stern glare as they dropped back behind us.

“Their asses need to be pulled over,” Angie said.

A dispatch call blasted from our dashboard radio. A Code 3 was in progress at the Las Rosas townhouse complex, reports of an assault and possible rape in progress. I unhooked the microphone and confirmed our vehicle number—we were a mile and a half out.

Angie glanced at the driver’s side mirror. “I cannot believe those morons are going to get away scot-free,” she said, initiating a hard U-turn into the southbound lane. Water sprayed everywhere, and yet she negotiated the maneuver with her usual precision.

“They’ll get themselves caught one way or another.” I said, flicking on the sirens. “That kind of idiocy always does. It’s deep-seated.”

We were at the front entrance of the Las Rosas complex ninety seconds later. Angie pulled into one of the empty visitors parking spots and killed the engine and popped the trunk. I put on my cap and got out first, hustling around the side of the vehicle in the rain and retrieving a poncho and a modified shotgun from the opened trunk. I snatched a second poncho for myself and closed the lid with some force. Angie was already outside with her own cap on, and the car was all closed up. Somebody screamed in the distance. I tossed Angie the rain protection and her trusty shotgun as I took off in a sprint in the direction of the wail, slipping on my own poncho on as I ran. Angie was quick to follow. I could hear her footsteps splashing behind me.

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