Danger After Dark
(Sequel to "In the Dark")
"Mmm, you are fantastic," Bodie said, when he was finally able to talk.
"So're you," Doyle replied contentedly, leaning over to give him another kiss.
They lay in satisfied silence for several long moments, then Bodie turned on his side, propping his head on his hand to better look at his lover. "We've got to talk," he said warily.
"No." Doyle's face became very closed in. "Nothin' to talk about."
"Ray, we can't go on like this."
"Why not? Gone off me, have you?"
"You know I haven't. That's not the point." Bodie put his hand on Ray's shoulder.
"What is the point, then?" Doyle tried to shrug Bodie's hand off , but it didn't move.
"It's been three months, that's what the point is. Longer than that, actually. And you refuse to talk to me at all."
"Told you everything about me the first night. What more d'you want?"
"I want to discuss it with you. I need more than just the basic facts. Dammit, Doyle, I was drunk, I thought I was hallucinatin'. Seeing little pink Doyles."
"Well, you were, weren't you? Sod off, Bodie. I don't want to talk about it. Not now." He rolled over and pulled the duvet up around his shoulders, mumbling, "Love to spoil things, don't you?"
Ray ignored him, burrowing deeper into the bedding.
"Bloody hell, Doyle, I'm tired of having a partner who disappears for three days every month and refuses to discuss it." Bodie reached over and forcibly pulled Ray back so they faced each other. "Now talk to me!"
"No!" Doyle shouted. He threw the covers back and started to get out bed. "Ask Cowley for a new partner if you're that unhappy."
Bodie grabbed Ray's wrist before he could leave and pulled him back much more gently, then took him into his arms. "No," he said softly. "I couldn't do that. " Ray lay stiffly, head averted. Bodie kissed his ear and the corner of his mouth, and Ray began to relax. "I do wish we could just talk about it, though, sometimes. Not constantly, and not even a lot, necessarily. Just...don't make such a big secret about it all. If I know all the important things, as you say, why can't it just be like any other topic of conversation, like the weather or football. I know it's important to you, but...when you won't even talk about it...well, I feel like you don't trust me."
Doyle lay silent for a long while, until Bodie thought he'd fallen asleep. Finally, just as he was almost asleep himself, Ray mumbled, "Do trust you."
"What?" asked Bodie, who hadn't quite heard what he'd said.
"I do trust you," Doyle said, more clearly. "But I don't like to talk about it. It makes me too aware of being different than you. I liked it better when you didn't know anything at all about what I really am, and thought I was just another man. Why can't you simply accept me as I am without asking questions?"
"I do accept you. You know that. And I never thought you were 'just another man.' You've always been special to me. " He turned Doyle over to face him and kissed him thoroughly. "I just want to know all about you and it hurts me when you won't discuss something that's so important to both of us."
"All right," Ray said resignedly. "We'll discuss it. But not right now. I'm really knackered, love. And if it's waited this long, surely it can wait a little longer."
"Of course it can." Bodie was prepared to be generous, now that he'd won his point. "Come on and snuggle up." He pulled Doyle over so he lay half across him and cuddled him close until he fell asleep.
THIRTEENTH SLASHER MURDER IN THREE MONTHS, the headlines blared. POLICE BAFFLED. QUESTIONS ASKED IN THE HOUSE.
"Been another one last night," Doyle commented to his partner as they drove to work.
"Yeah," Bodie replied. "Heard about it on the news this morning. And what're the coppers doing about it? Bloody all, that's what."
"Be fair, Bodie," Ray defended his ex-mates. "A random killer is the hardest kind to catch. They have no connection with their victims."
"Yeah, I know. But try explaining that to their families," Bodie answered as he pulled into the CI5 carpark. He glanced at the clock in the car as he turned off the key. "We'd better hop it, Doyle. The Cow wants to see us in five minutes."
Doyle was already out of the car and on his way into the building. Bodie hurried to catch up with him.
"What? Vampires? You've got to be kidding!" Bodie looked at the controller, then shook his head. "You're not kidding."
"It isna a thing I'd be likely to 'kid' about, now, is it?" Cowley said. "What else fits all the facts? Blood drained. Marks on the neck. Attacks only during the full moon. Here's the file." He handed it to Doyle. "You can access the police computer to get all the information they've gathered."
"Why us?" asked Bodie, taking his life in his hands. Cowley had been known to flay agents alive for less.
"You should be able to work that out yourself," was the reply. Ray had told Cowley months ago that Bodie knew he was an elf. "Fight faerie with faerie."
"Well," said Doyle, after they'd spent several hours reading the records on the thirteen victims, "from the police reports, it seems that all the attacks have taken place in or around Soho."
"Yeah. And on the rare times the perpetrator has been seen and chased, he disappears in that area," Bodie agreed.
"The police have stationed extra patrolmen around there, but it hasn't helped."
"No. And what Cowley expects us to do that the entire Metropolitan police hasn't been able to, I haven't the foggiest."
"Me, neither," said Doyle. "But we're going to have to check out the area for ourselves tonight. So I suggest we go out for a bite of lunch, then get some kip this afternoon."
"Sounds good to me," Bodie said. "Especially the lunch."
After they'd eaten, Bodie dropped Doyle off at his flat. "Pick me up at dusk," Doyle said. "And don't forget your torch...and some extra batteries."
"Right." Bodie waved and drove off, remembering what had happened the last time he'd broken a torch.
It was just getting dark when Bodie arrived at Doyle's flat. Doyle was stuffing his torch into his zipper when Bodie walked in. He stopped, went over and gave Bodie a thorough kiss.
"Hmm, you taste good. Been eating choccies, haven't you?"
"Yeah. And I saved the orange creams for you. Here." He held out the bag to Ray who took it and popped two pieces in his mouth at once. "And you talk to me about gobbling goodies," Bodie said in mock protest.
"'S ony orj crms," Doyle mumbled thickly, a blissful expression on his face.
"I know. I know," Bodie, grinned indulgently. His partner looked about three at this moment.
Ray finally swallowed the candy, at which Bodie grabbed him and kissed him. "Mmmm. Doyle and orange creams. Best combo around. However," he said, letting his lover go, "we have to go off and look for this will-o-the-wisp."
"Vampire," Doyle corrected with a grin.
"Whatever. Might as well be a will-o-the-wisp for all the luck anyone's had in catching him. Um, Ray," he said hesitantly.
"Yes?" Doyle asked, after a long pause.
Bodie looked away, refusing to meet his partner's eyes. "Uh...do you have any of that stuff left?"
Ray looked puzzled. "Stuff? What stuff?"
"Y'know. That stuff you took to Wells."
Doyle was no more enlightened by the additional information. "What are you talking about, Bodie?" He stared in amazement as his partner blushed.
"The stuff you used in the cave," Bodie mumbled.
"Oh," Ray said in sudden understanding. "The holy water. I thought you didn't believe it helped. Didn't even believe in witches, as I remember."
"Yeah, well, I don't believe in vampires, either. But if there are witches, and it worked for that, then it might work for vampires, too, if there are such things."
"Actually, that's not a bad idea. And I hadn't thought of it. I do have some left, too." He went over and dug through a drawer, coming out with a small plastic bottle which he held up to the light. "Wouldn't be a bad idea to get a refill tomorrow, but this should do for now." He tucked it into a pocket of his zipper and looked at the window. "Better go now. It's getting dark." He started towards the door, then stopped and went into the kitchen. When he came back out, he tossed Bodie a papery white object.
"What's that, then?" asked Bodie as he caught it.
"Garlic. Almost forgot about it," Ray replied. "Might as well be safe as sorry."
"Garlic? C'mon, Doyle."
"C'mon, yourself. You want me to bring the 'stuff,' so why not garlic? You can't have it both ways."
"Oh, all right." Bodie tucked it into a pocket. "Let's go."
The night was completely without incident. They didn't see anyone suspicious and there were no attacks, anywhere. It set the pattern for the next several evenings until the moon began to wane.
They were both bored to tears after the first night. It wasn't quite as tedious as being on stakeout, but cruising around the dark streets of Soho was bad enough. They couldn't decide which was worse--the early evening, when there was a lot of foot traffic going to and from restaurants, or the late night and early morning hours after the last tubes had run, when the streets were virtually deserted.
"We're just wasting our time, Doyle. You know that as well as I do."
"I agree, but I'm not dumb enough to tell the Cow I'm not going to complete an op. If you want to, go right ahead."
"Nah," Bodie said. "I know better than that. But it still doesn't make me any happier about it."
Cowley kept them on the assignment until the moon was well past full, then called them into his office.
"All right, lads. You might as well stop for now. But next month I want you to start patrolling as soon as the moon is half full. He can't go longer than a month without at least one new victim." He handed Bodie a file. "Here. You can work on this for now." He explained the new case to them, then watched as they left the office. He knew they thought it was a waste of their time, but he also knew that if anyone could catch this creature, it would be Bodie and Doyle.
The next month found them back in Soho. Bodie was still somewhat upset with Ray because he had disappeared again for another three nights during the dark of the moon, and they still hadn't had any discussion about it, but he was determined not to let it influence their work.
The first several nights were the same as the previous month. Then, just as the moon was nearly full, things changed.
It was 2:30 in the morning and they were near the corner of Greek Street and Manette when they-heard a high-pitched cry. It seemed to come from near the House of St. Barnabas.
As the car screeched to a stop near the building, Ray caught a glimpse of someone turning the corner into Soho Square. He was out of the car and moving before Bodie had come to a complete stop but, by the time he got there, the square was empty. He trotted back to the car, shaking his head at the question Bodie looked at him.
"Nothing," he said as he got close. "It was totally deserted. Not a sign of anything. What did you find here?"
"Just about what you'd expect," Bodie replied, leading the way to the dead body of a young man. "He was still barely alive when I got here, but it's obviously the same villain." He pointed to the marks on the young man's throat. "Unless there are more than one of these things around."
"These things? Thought you insisted these crimes were committed by an ordinary person."
"Well, if Cowley thinks they're vampires, I guess we might as well go along with him until we can prove differently."
Doyle grinned to himself at his partner's about-face as he went back to the car to call the police.
Nothing more occurred the next two nights. But on the third night, at around 3:00 a.m., when the streets were nearly deserted, they were on Charing Cross Road near Sutton Row/St. Giles High Street, when Doyle heard familiar footsteps running towards Soho Square. His elven hearing was able to pick them out over all the other sounds. He was certain they were the same as the ones he'd heard three nights ago.
"Quick! That way!" He pointed west.
Bodie hurriedly turned the car into Sutton Row and they saw a figure running ahead of them. It turned right, into the square. Bodie gunned the car in pursuit and screeched to a halt in the square. They jumped out and swiftly scanned the area. However, in the time it had taken them to drive the one short block, the area was empty of human life, or any other kind, for that matter.
"Bloody hell!" Bodie swore. "How can anyone just disappear like that?"
"That's what I'd like to know." Doyle looked around the square. "What's that building over there?"
"I dunno," replied Bodie. "Storage building?" He raced over to it and tried the door. "It's locked, whatever it is. we can look it up at HQ."
"Good idea. I didn't hear the door shut, anyway." Doyle turned back towards the car. "Might as well cruise around the area and see if another corpse turns up."
They didn't find anything that night, but the next morning, when the tube started runn ing, the supervisor of the Tottenham Court Road tube station called the police and reported a dead body outside the station, up against the gate.
That afternoon, Bodie and Doyle went to HQ to look up the building in Soho Square and report to Cowley. It turned out that the structure, far from being used for storage, was an entryway to the communication tunnels under the city where all the phone and power lines ran. The two looked at each other in amazement.
"'Bingo!" cried Doyle.
"But it was locked," Bodie protested.
"Don't you remember your vampire lore?" Doyle asked. "One of the things vampires can do is to turn into fog, which could then simply seep under the door. Conversely, if it's a person, he could have a key."
"Well, it does seem to be the best bet," Bodie replied. "Let's tell Cowley."
"Good work, lads," Cowley responded when they informed him what they'd discovered. "I'll contact British Telecom and ask them to have a key ready for you to pick up. Then the next time you see this creature, you can follow him."
Bodie and Doyle left Cowley's office, pleased that for once things seemed to be going right with this case. They picked up the key, then had dinner, before going out to patrol the area surrounding Soho Square. This time, they parked the car and walked around, never straying far from the square. However, it was a waste of time. Nothing showed that night.
A week passed with no better luck. Finally, the moon was almost on the wane and they had resigned themselves to having to continue their search the next month. Cowley had informed them that, starting tomorrow, they'd be back on other cases for the next two weeks.
The night was almost over. Soon it would be dawn and they could go back to their flats and get some sleep. They were walking down Frith Street towards the square, when Doyle thought he heard something on Bateman Street. He stopped to check while Bodie went on ahead.
"Hi, handsome, it's pretty cold out tonight. I can warm you up for a few quid." The small woman who stepped out of the doorway was beautiful. She had long, black hair and very white skin, and was wearing a blood red dress.
"No, thanks, love," Bodie replied. "I've got my own bed warmer." He grinned at her. "Aren't you out rather late? What's the matter that a pretty thing like you couldn't find a punter earlier on?" He turned to see if Doyle had come back around the corner yet.
"C'mon, just a kiss, then." The woman ignored Bodie's question as she pressed herself against him.
As Ray came around the corner, he saw the glint of fangs in the moonlight as the woman stretched up to bite his partner's throat. "Bodie! Watch out!" He drew his gun and fired as he cried out the warning. The woman turned and was off at a run towards the square as soon as she heard his voice.
Bodie and Doyle pounded after her. However, as before, when they reached the square, it was empty. This time, they didn't hesitate. They dashed for the building. It was but the work of a moment to open the door. They stopped and Ray listened carefully.
"She's down there. I can hear her." He took out his torch, turned it on and looked over his shoulder at his partner. "Got your torch?"
"Right here." Bodie already had it in his hand. "There are lights in the tunnels, though, remember?"
"I know," Ray replied, flipping the switch to turn the first set on. "This is just in case. Remember what happened last time? I don't know how much use I'd be to you if I were only 12" tall. About all I could do would be to bite her on the ankle."
"Right." Bodie flicked his torch on. "Let's go."
Doyle led the way down the ladder to the series of tunnels. Bodie followed him closely. When they'd both reached the bottom, Ray motioned for silence. He listened carefully, then started along the tunnel. Bodie trusted his partner's sharper hearing and followed his lead. It seemed like they prowled through the tunnels forever, stopping at every junction for Ray to listen and decide which way to go.
Finally, they came to a locked door., The key they had was a master key and turned the lock, but the door still wouldn't budge. There was an opening in the door with a metal grill across it. They shined their torches through it and looked inside.
It was an office for the utility men to use when they made their annual check of the lines.They could see a filing cabinet, desk and chairs and, over in the corner, what appeared to be a large box. When they looked down at the inside of the door, they saw that a bolt was holding it closed.
Bodie could get his arm through the grill and even touch the bolt, but he couldn't get a good enough grasp on it to shove it open. "Look," he said, "I'll stay here and guard the door. You go back to the opening and call for backup. Pity our R/Ts can't reach through the concrete and pipes above us."
"No," Doyle disagreed. "We don't know that she's alone down here. She might have an assistant. In that case, they could overpower you while I'm gone."
"Well, then, what do you suggest? We can't get in and I sure don't want to stay here all day waiting for her to come out. Also, she may not come out for another month, if Cowley's right about her."
Doyle looked at the grill, then looked at Bodie. "There is one way we could get in," he said. "I could get through that opening if I were small. You could lower me down and I could throw the bolt."
"I don't like it. You'd be stuck that size until we got back above ground. Who knows what might happen," Bodie replied.
"Think of something else, then," said Doyle, putting his torch in his zipper pocket.
Bodie finally had to admit there was no other way for them to enter the room.
Doyle took a small parcel out of his pocket and handed it to Bodie.
"What's this?" Bodie asked.
"It's the bottle of 'stuff,' you were asking about, remember?"
"Oh, yeah." Bodie hadn't given much thought to the holy water since the beginning of the case; but, after what they'd seen tonight, he realized it just might come in handy. "What's it wrapped in?"
"Clothes," said Ray. "I figured this time I might as well be prepared."
Bodie unwrapped the bottle, putting it in his pocket, then leaned against the wall, holding the clothes, and watched Doyle strip. In these circumstances he didn't enjoy it as much as he usually did.
Ray folded his clothes, then tied them neatly into a bundle. He reached for the light switch by the door and flicked out the light, then gave Bodie a long kiss. "For luck," he said. Then, "Turn off your torch, Bodie."
Bodie did as he was told and the darkness closed in around them. Then he heard a small voice down near his feet.
"Turn the lights back on and give me my clothes. It's cold in here."
He turned on his torch to find the light switch, then flicked on the overhead lights. He handed the small clothes to Doyle, who quickly put them on.
"All right," Doyle said when he was dressed, "now help me reach the grill."
Bodie carefully picked him up around the waist and lifted him up to the opening in the door. Ray grabbed the bars and pulled himself through, then hung on to the inside of the grill. Bodie reached through until he could bend his elbow and pick up Doyle, then he lowered him down to the bolt.
Doyle grasped the knob in both hands and pulled hard. At first, the bolt resisted, but then moved so suddenly that he was almost jerked from Bodie's grasp. Bodie involuntarily tightened his hand around Ray's waist.
"Oof," Ray grunted. "Careful, mate. I'm not made out of plastic, y'know."
"Sorry, sunshine," Bodie apologized. "But I didn't want to drop you." He lifted Doyle back up to the grill. "There. Hold on."
Doyle grabbed the bars and hung on to them while Bodie withdrew his arm and opened the door. When he got inside, Ray clambered up and sat on one shoulder, hanging onto Bodie's ear.
When they looked around the office, there was nobody inside. The box, which they had glimpsed in the corner, they could now see was a chest quite large enough to hold a person. The only other thing in the room which they hadn't been able to see from outside was a door on the same wall as the entry door.
Bodie put Doyle down on the desk, then flattened himself against the wall beside the interior door, gun drawn. He reached across and turned the knob--it wasn't locked. He flung the door open and, when he didn't hear anything, stepped into the doorway, both hands on his gun, ready to jump back, if necessary. All he saw, though, was an empty closet. He breathed a sigh of relief and looked over at Doyle.
"It's got to be in the chest, then," he said.
"Right," Doyle agreed. "Take out the holy water and sprinkle some on the top, just to be on the safe side. Then when you lift the lid, sprinkle the rest inside as you lift it--assuming it's not locked--don't take time to look and see if she's in there first--then shut it again--fast."
Bodie did as he was told. After sprinkling the top of the box, he tried the lid and found that it was open. He lifted it in one swift motion, sprinkling the holy water at the same time, then slammed it back down.
The two stared at the chest as if they expected it to explode. After a few minutes, Doyle said, "All right. It should be okay to open it now."
Bodie lifted the lid slowly. A puff of smoke came out. as he did so and, when it cleared, the only thing in the chest was dust.
"Nothing!" he said in surprise. "But...." He looked around. "There's no way out. And the door was bolted on the inside."
Ray grinned at him. "Well, there are two choices. Either it was a vampire and the holy water dissolved it, or it was human and she used a very strong magnet to close the bolt to put us off the track. You pays your money and you takes your choice."
Bodie shook his head. "I'm not happy with either choice, thanks. And what are we going to tell Cowley?"
"The truth, of course. It's what he's going to tell the CID that'll be interesting," Doyle answered.
"Yeah. I'd like to be a fly on the wall during that conversation."
"Me, too," said Doyle. "But, right now, what I wanna do is get into the daylight and get back to my regular size."
"I don't blame you." Bodie got Doyle's clothes, then walked over to the table, picked up the elf and put him on his shoulder. "Hang on." He went out the door, then looked around. "Let's go." And he started confidently off down the tunnel.
"You sure you know the way?" Ray asked.
"Positive," Bodie replied. "No sweat."
"What, you have some special bump of direction so you can find your way back when you've once been some place, or somethin'?"
Bodie laughed. "Nothing like that, sunshine. Look." He pointed to the walls they were passing.
Doyle saw white chalk marks at each corner. "Very clever, mate."
"'Course I am," Bodie said. "That's what I've been telling you. Glad you finally agree."
"Well, if you're the brains, then I'm the beauty," Ray laughed.
"I've been telling you that, too," Bodie said.
Soon they were back to the building that exited onto Soho Square. Doyle stripped again and Bodie opened the door to let in the daylight. Ray was back to normal before his partner turned back around, and was dressed soon thereafter. He picked up his other clothes and stuffed them in a pocket.
Back at HQ, they filled Cowley in on the recent events. By the time they'd finished, the controller looked like he'd bitten into a sloe.
"Well, y'did your best, lads. I'll think of something to tell the CID. As long as the killings stop, that's the main thing. We'll know for sure next month, but I'm convinced it's over." He looked down at the schedule on his desk. "Go on home and get some rest. I'll see you back here in the morning. Be off with you now. I've got work to do."
"Yes, sir," they chorused, and quickly left the office.
One large meal and long, hot shower later, they were tucked up together in Doyle's bed. Normally, they would have been making love at this point, with a whole day and night in front of them, but Doyle was too exhausted. Bodie held him tightly as he shivered.
"You still cold, love, even after that shower? I put the heater up; shall I go put it up a bit further?" Bodie made as if to get out of bed, but Doyle hung on to him.
"No. That's all right. I'll be okay. 'S just that redoing a major spell like that takes a lot out of me. I need to 'recharge,' so to speak. Just let me get some sleep and I'll be fine." He yawned loudly and snuggled closer.
Bodie was pleased that Ray had mentioned his needs, and said so. "That's what I meant earlier," he said. "I need to feel I'm a part of your life, not apart from it."
"You know you are. You always have been. You're the whole reason I'm here. You know that. I told you that, too," Ray said, drowsily.
"I know," Bodie said, feeling humble as always that a being as powerful as Ray loved him so much he'd be willing to change his whole way of life just to be with him, and now look at him, a sleepy bundle curled up in his arms. Bodie smiled and ran his fingers through the damp, springy curls. There was one thing he'd always been curious about. Maybe now he could ask without getting his head taken off.
"Where do you go, then?" he asked softly.
"Y'know. When you disappear each month."
"What? Oh, that. I go back to Avalon."
"Avalon?" Bodie immediately thought of the tales he'd heard in school. "King Arthur? That Avalon?" His eyes lit up.
"Yeah. Avalon. Faerie."
"Oh?! Wow!" He looked around excitedly. "Where is it?"
"Hmmm?" Ray was getting very sleepy. "It's here, of course."
"What do you mean 'here'?"
"Just what I said. Here. All around us."
"How can that be?" Bodie asked impatiently.
Ray blinked sleepily and decided he was going to have to wake up enough to make proper explanations. "It co-exists with this world--your world--on a different plane. Usually, you can't see through the barrier. Occasionally, it wavers, though, and that's where your fairy tales come from.
"Once, there was a lot of traffic both ways, but as humans got to be more technological, they forgot how to cress the border. The faerie folk can still cross, of course, but it's difficult for the humans to see them, unless the humans make an effort to see or the folk make an effort to be seen..
"For a long time, children could still cross over, but even they don't have the ability to do it any more. Babies can still see us. But, of course, they can't cross."
"Oh," Bodie said again. Doyle's explanation seemed to him to be like something out of Andrew Lang, but he was sure Ray was telling the truth. "How do you get there?"
"Through the door."
"Door? What door? Where?"
Ray sighed. He knew this would happen. One thing leading to another. "Whenever I want to go home, I draw a door in the air and step through. It closes behind me."
"Can you show me?" Bodie asked.
"Yes," Doyle said. "And I will." He had known it would come to this, eventually. "Sometime when I'm at full strength and we have a day off. Better yet, a weekend. Now can we go to sleep?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Bodie's head was buzzing with all he'd been told. Faerie. He wondered what it'd be like.
"Good." Doyle pulled his lover to him and cuddled him close. He softly hummed an elven lullaby and Bodie quickly dropped off to sleep. Ray stayed awake a while longer, wondering what was going to happen now. Bodie in Avalon. What a concept. He hoped the two worlds would survive.
-- THE END --