Infatuation with a Vampire

Chapter 2

Winnipeg 2 - Months Earlier

LaCroix glided silently into the parlor carrying a wine glass in one hand and a bottle of blood in the other. It was well past supper time and Nick still had not fed for the evening. He was once again preoccupied with his favorite pastime. Putting paintbrush to canvass had become his one true pleasure. He was so focused on his current masterpiece that he was completely unaware that he had company. LaCroix stood a few feet away and studied the flow of paint on the canvass. It was an abstract painting, as were most of Nick's fascinations with oil. This one had started out looking somewhat like a sunset with splashes of deep blue and purple. But what had been recently added in brown and red looked very much like a woman with long wavy hair, bleeding profusely from the neck.

"Anyone I would know?" LaCroix asked.

Nick jumped noticeably at the sound of his master's voice, then his head turned slowly, just enough to give him a sideways glance. "How long have you been there?" he asked in a deep, low tone.

"Surely you felt my presence, Nicholas. Or perhaps your attention was elsewhere. Another time, another place?"

Nick turned back to the easel and added another stroke of crimson to the painting. "I keep having these flashes of images. A woman with long curls of brown hair, dressed in white. Sometimes she's smiling, sometimes she's crying, sometimes we kiss, then other times... she's my lunch."

"Speaking of mealtime..." said LaCroix, more to change the subject than anything else. He filled the glass he held with blood and offered it to his protege. "I thought you might like a little refreshment."

Instead of taking the glass of liquid nourishment from LaCroix, Nick simply lowered his head slightly and opened his mouth, indicating that he wanted to be fed. His master arched an eyebrow at the silent request, then slowly lifted the glass to his son's lips. Nick drank messily, causing the red fluid to run out the corner of his mouth and leave him with a blood mustache.

"I realize you've had problems with your memory of late, Nicholas," said LaCroix as he licked an errant drop from his own hand, "but don't tell me you've forgotten how to feed yourself."

Nick licked his lips with his tongue, and grinned devilishly. "You used to like to feed me, old man. You and Janette used to take turns. Remember?"

"I've always been concerned that you maintain a healthy diet, Nicholas."

"Then we should go hunting together, you and I," said Nick as he took the glass from LaCroix and gulped down the remaining contents.

"Hunting?" LaCroix echoed, unable to believe his ears.

"Yes. Remember the good old days when we were free to hunt every night? The women... all those beautiful, delicious women. The art of the seduction, the taste of their fear as they realized too late that they've just made love to the devil."

"You surprise me, Nicholas," LaCroix commented as he refilled Nick's glass, then set the wine bottle down on a nearby table. "I haven't heard you speak this way in quite some time."

"Yes, Nick Knight has been a bit of a wet blanket, hasn't he? I've been trying to break free of him for the longest."

The elder vampire cocked his head in puzzlement. "I beg your pardon? Break free?"

"Free from that pathetic excuse of a vampire and his ridiculous attempts at mortality. Honestly, LaCroix, I don't see how you've put up with him all this time."

LaCroix was still trying to comprehend, trying to find a connection between the words he heard spoken and their speaker. "You keep referring to yourself in the third person," he pointed out.

The younger vampire chuckled lightly. "I'm speaking of Mr. 'I want to be mortal again,' Nick Knight."

"Ah, I see.... And you would be?"

"I'm Nicholas de Brabant, of course. Don't you recognize me, mon pere?"

LaCroix gazed into the mischievous, dark eyes of Nicholas de Brabant and indeed recognized something he had not seen for more than a century... a touch of evil.

"Nicholas," LaCroix smiled proudly for only a moment, then took a moment to consider what was happening. "But what's become of Nick Knight?" he asked. "Is he now history?"

Nicholas took a swallow from his glass and shook his head disdainfully. "Unfortunately, no," he grimaced. "He's still present. He's fighting me as we speak. But it's only a matter of time before I'll have him under my full control. Things will be as they once were. You'd like that, wouldn't you, mon pere? You'd like to have your old Nicholas back, wouldn't you?"

LaCroix was in too much shock to respond, especially when his child reached a hand out to his cheek and caressed it almost sensually. As Nicholas lowered his hand, he gave the glass back to his master, shot him a sly wink and said, "I'll be seeing you."

The master vampire watched with utter fascination as the sinister air his son had exuded seconds ago was quickly replaced with a near childlike innocence, laced with confusion. Nick suddenly grunted and squeezed his eyes shut as a fierce pain lanced through his skull. LaCroix helped to steady him as he reeled on the verge of keeling over. The attack was over in a matter of seconds, leaving Nick trembling and slightly disoriented. "What... what's happening to me, LaCroix?" he asked in a shaky, frightened voice.

LaCroix placed a firm hand on Nick's shoulder to help support him. He had an idea of what was causing the problem, but no clue as to what to do about it. "You're just tired, Nicholas," he finally answered him. "You haven't been feeding enough." He offered him the glass of blood which Nick sniffed at oddly. "Something wrong?" LaCroix asked when he saw the slight frown produced.

"No," Nick responded less than convincingly, then took the smallest sip possible from the glass.

"Drink up, Nicholas," his sire gently ordered. "You need your strength."

Nick started to put the glass to his lips but abruptly changed his mind. "Is this all we can feed on?" he asked.

"It is all we need to feed on. However, if you'd like it fresh from the source, that can be arranged."

"No, that's not what I meant. I mean, is human blood all we can have?"

"It is our main staple. If we had to, we could survive on lesser creatures, but I wouldn't advise it."

"Did I use to drink something other than human blood?"

LaCroix wanted to lie, but knew it would do little good. Obviously, Nick's nose and taste buds remembered even if their owner didn't. "You use to dine on cow's blood," he reminded him.


"To irritate me," LaCroix replied with a deep sigh. "Do you still enjoy irritating me, Nicholas?"

The corners of Nick's mouth turned slightly upwards as he replied, "A little, I guess."

LaCroix smiled and patted Nick's cheek in a fatherly fashion. "Be a good little vampire and finish your dinner."

Nick did as he was told, feeling himself calm and the pain recede with each swallow. "I guess you're right. I feel better already."


The younger vampire quickly drained the glass and accepted another full one. As he began to sip from the second round, Nick turned to face his painting and froze instantly.

"What is it?" LaCroix asked when he saw how Nick was staring at the painting.

"Did I do this?" asked Nick.


"Who is she?"

"I believe you referred to her as... lunch."

"I.... Am I going insane, LaCroix?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Nicholas," his father frowned.

"Am I being ridiculous? I do things that I can't remember doing. I wake up in places and can't recall how I got there. I hear voices inside my head saying things to me I don't want to hear. And the headaches.... If I'm not going insane, then what?"

"I told you, Nicholas that you haven't been feeding properly. It doesn't help that you were hung up on cow's blood for a number of decades. Now with all the chemicals they pump into today's bovine to make them unnaturally larger and more productive, and the deadly diseases they've been known to contract, your previous food source was undoubtedly contaminated. When you had your accident, you simply didn't heal as you should have. I feel that your current symptoms are a product of that contamination. Now that we have you on a steady diet of human blood, your internal system should recover soon. The loss of memory, the voices and such will soon be a thing of the past. Trust me."

The tension in Nick's face slowly dissolved as he nodded his acceptance of what he had just been told. He then turned his attention back to his painting, saturated a cloth with turpentine and began cleaning away the unwanted image of the bleeding woman from his canvass. LaCroix stood and watched his offspring in silent contemplation. Ever since that night three months ago, things had not been right with his Nicholas. A gunshot wound through any other part of a vampire's body would have produced little more than a tickle. Injury to the brain, however was a bit more serious. That time when Nick was shot in the head while on duty, had been with an exploding bullet known as a cop killer, designed to inflict optimum damage. It had taken several hours for his wound to heal and several days for his mind to recover from the shock.

The bullets in Nick's gun weren't as destructive. LaCroix pumped three shots into his son's head before Nick lost consciousness. When he awoke a full twenty-four hours later, he was disoriented and suffering memory loss. Physically, he seemed well on his way to recovery, but over the past several weeks, LaCroix had begun to notice subtle changes in Nick's emotional status. It appeared that he was warring with himself, the evil side of him wanting to gain dominance. This evening had been the first time that Nick's darker side had broken out and made contact. Perhaps it was for the best if the evil inside of Nick won over, allowing him to forget about the nonsense of regaining his mortality, and concentrate on being a vampire. It would be like old times, when Nicholas enjoyed the perks of being a vampire and relished a good hunt with his family. In time, LaCroix thought, it would soon be that way again.

Oct. 9, 1996 - Black Eagle, Montana - 1:40 a.m.

The day had been a long one. Luckily, Scully had gotten a few winks of sleep on the plane and an extra hour on the road as Mulder did the driving from the airport in Billings to their current location. After conferring with the local sheriff and talking with a few of the ranchers in the area, Mulder concluded that the Olsen ranch was likely to be the next target of the cattle stalker. That was the name used by the locals, although everyone had their opinion of what was really after their cows. The theories ranged from bears and mountain lions to Big Foot and beings from another planet. Mulder had also spoken to an elderly Native American who put the blame on an evil spirit he described as the dead who lives by night.

After accepting the hospitality of the Olsens, which included farm fresh, home cooking and a chance to change into some more comfortable and warmer clothing, the two agents proceeded to set up for an all night stake out. Mulder chose the hay-filled loft of the barn which overlooked the large corral that was home to thirty head of cattle. He stationed himself at the window over the barn door, seated with knees bent towards his chest and his back resting against a bale of hay as he peered outside with high-powered, night vision binoculars. His partner was seated next to him in the chilly darkness, bundled up in her heavy, hooded jacket, with her legs covered by a pile of lose hay for added warmth.

"Tell me again, Mulder, why we're hiding out in the loft of a barn in thirty degree weather with night vision binoculars trained on a herd of cows?"

"What's the matter, Scully? I thought you'd jump at the chance to have a roll in the hay with me."

"Dream on. You really think he's going to show up here tonight?"

"The other attacks were three nights apart. This makes the third night since the last attack. Apparently, your average cow only yields a three day supply of blood. And judging by a map of the surrounding area, this ranch is the next in line. If he keeps to the pattern, he'll show."

"But wouldn't he know that in leaving such a recognizable pattern, that someone might be apt to set a trap for him?"

"I don't think he's worried about being caught. Could be he's even looking forward to it."

"You know, I think you may be right about that."

Mulder grunted. "What was that? Did you say I was right about something?"

"Don't let it go to your head. But yes. I think that Mr. Knight is crying out for help in a way. He wants to be caught. He probably wants to be punished as well because he feels guilty about surviving that car wreck that killed Dr. Lambert."

"I'm not so sure that Dr. Lambert died as a result of that accident."

"What makes you say that?"

"I have a new theory, but I don't think you'd like it."

"You mean I won't believe it."

"That too."

"Well, tell me anyway."

"I think that Detective Nick Knight is a vampire," Mulder announced in a matter-of-fact tone.

Scully chuckled at the statement and shook her head. "Okay. Can't say that you didn't try to warn me. A vampire, Mulder?"

"Yes, if you'd just consider the facts. We know that he has an aversion to sunlight, he kept bottles of blood in his refrigerator, and he didn't die in an accident that would have killed any normal human being."

"And we still don't know that he didn't, Mulder. The body was never recovered."

"My point exactly. The body was never recovered because it's no longer at the bottom of that lake. Who else do you think dug up Lambert's grave? Who else would have had a reason? And if you don't believe he's still alive, then why are you even here?"

"I didn't want to pass up a roll in the hay with you. Still, even if he survived the accident, it doesn't make him a Bela Lugosi."

"Actually, I was thinking more along the line of Louis from 'Interview With the Vampire'."

"Oh, the character Brad Pitt played in the movie."

"There was a movie?"

"With three gorgeous hunks. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio Banderas." Scully sighed longingly at the mere thought of the trio of handsome actors all in the same movie.

"Hope you took your drool bucket with you," Mulder teased.

Embarrassed at being caught reacting like a star-crossed teenager, Scully sought to quickly change the direction of the conversation. "So how does believing that Knight is a vampire figure into the picture?"

"Well it ties into what you were saying about him feeling guilty about the death of Dr. Lambert. What if he killed her? He'd been surviving on cow's blood which would indicate he didn't like using humans as a food source. But what if, for whatever reason, he attacked her. According to the autopsy report she suffered severe lacerations to the throat area along with a broken neck."

"Yes, but there was nothing in the report to indicate foul play."

"The report could have been falsified. Remember, somebody got to Knight's personnel records. Who's to say that someone or even Knight himself couldn't have gone a little further to cover his tracks?"

"So you're saying he's a vampire and that he killed Natalie Lambert by drinking her blood, then arranged the accident to cover it up."

"And could be he's the one who sent us the info in the first place so that we could track him down and see to it that he's punished for his crimes," Mulder added.

"So, if he is a vampire, how do you propose to catch him? Do you have a wooden stake, a wreath of garlic and a big cross in your knapsack?"

"Hey, you peeked. By the way, are you wearing your favorite necklace?"

"Yeah. Why?"

Mulder put down the binoculars for a moment and rummaged through the carryall bag at his side. He pulled out a seasoning bottle of garlic powder which he proceeded to sprinkle all over Scully's coat before she had ample time to protest.


"I know, I know. Just humor me, okay?"

'You're really serious about this, aren't you? You actually believe he's a vampire?"

Mulder answered her question while applying the garlic powder to himself. "It would explain how and why the cows had broken necks."

"It would?"

Finished with the garlic powder, Mulder resumed his watch as he answered her. "The how: it would take someone with superhuman strength to twist a cow's head with enough force to snap its neck. As for why: I imagine it's to keep the cow from accidentally turning."

"Turning? Turning into what?" Scully asked. When her partner failed to answer right away, she thought for a moment and drew her own conclusion. "Mulder, you couldn't possibly think that the cows would have become some kind of... what, a werecow?"

"Werecow?" Mulder laughed. "I think you're getting your monsters mixed up, Scully. The cows weren't killed by a werewolf, they were killed by a vampire."

"Oh, a vampire cow. Yeah, that makes more sense."

"Hey, I see something."

Mulder zoomed in on a figure dressed in black as it leaped from the top rail over into the corral. The pale face and blond hair stood out like a beacon as the intruder meandered slowly towards the livestock.

"It's him, Scully," said Mulder excitedly. As those words left his lips, Mulder was shocked to see the man stop in his tracks, turn his head and look in his direction. With the night vision binoculars, Mulder could easily make out the iridescence glow of eyes that glared back at him, and lips that were pulled back into a half snarl, half grin to show a flash of sharp, white teeth. "Dammit, he knows we're here."

The vampire nodded at that statement, then waved a ghostly, white hand in a beckoning motion and slowly mouthed the words, "Come and play."

"He wants us to come play." Mulder put down the binoculars and grabbed his bag. He dug into it quickly and brought out an item which he forced into Scully's hand. "Hold on to that," he told her, before hooking the bag on his shoulder and leaping out of the loft window onto the stacked bales of hay ten feet below.

"Mulder!" Scully called after him, but he was already racing off towards the corral. Scully momentarily fingered the six-inch cross he had handed her before his departure, then stuffed it into her coat pocket and prepared to follow.

Upon reaching the corral, Mulder, pulled a small crossbow and wooden arrow from his bag. He knew it probably wasn't enough to kill a vampire, but hopefully it would slow him down some. He readied it for firing, then cautiously opened the gate and went inside.

"Mr. Knight," he spoke in a low voice so as not to startle the sleeping herd of cattle. "I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder with the FBI. We really need to talk, sir." Mulder carefully weaved in and out among the cows. There was enough moonlight for him to see the animals with light colorations with ease and to make out the shapes of the darker ones. He considered using his flashlight to help him avoid the cow patties his shoes tended to find with each step, but he didn't want to draw unwanted attention to himself by using the bright beam of light. When he heard the sound of something heavy hitting the ground, Mulder dashed off in that direction. By the time he reached the far side of the corral, he found the body of a Jersey cow on the ground with its neck broken.

Mulder swallowed nervously. Any being that could bring down a one-ton animal that quickly, then disappear was not to be trifled with. It wasn't the first time Mulder had misjudged his prey. Hopefully, it wouldn't be his last. A sudden swooshing sound grabbed his attention and he spun around to find himself face to face with his quarry. The eyes held a slight glow to them, somewhat like a cat's in the night, and there was a low growl that gradually turned into a chuckle when he saw what Mulder held in his hands.

"You know what I am?" he asked.

"I've got a pretty good idea."

"And you think you can kill me with that?"

"No. But I think I can give you a bad case of heartburn with it."

Knight nodded towards the dead cow. "Try it and you'll be joining good old Bossie over there two seconds later."

"What happened to just drinking bottled cow's blood?" Mulder asked.

"Fresh is always better. That holds true for garlic as well. Once it's gone through all that processing with artificial preservatives added, it loses its effectiveness, rendering it merely irritating, rather than lethal."

"Yeah, well... I'll remember that for next time."

"What makes you think there will be a next time?"

"Mulder?" Scully called out to him.

In the second it took for Mulder to glance in the direction he'd heard her voice, Knight had vanished from in front of him. A moment later, the sound that reached his ears next was a muffled scream. "Scully?"

He hurriedly worked his way past several cows back to the main gate of the corral and stopped short when he saw his partner entrapped in a deadly embrace. Knight had grabbed her from behind and stood with his arms wrapped securely about her. He pulled her hood back and cupped her chin, tilting her head to one side to expose her neck. There was no indication of struggling on Scully's part. In fact, with her eyes half closed, she seemed strangely content in her present situation. Mulder raised the crossbow and aimed it carefully.

"Let her go, Knight!" he demanded.

The eyes glowed eerily as the response came with a growl, "Make me."

Mulder instantly realized that he needed to rethink his approach. Vampire or not, Knight had proven himself in his police work to be a humanitarian. It wasn't likely he would purposely harm another human being, but if properly provoked he might just lose that fine thread of knowing right from wrong. Mulder dropped the crossbow to the ground and raised his empty hands to show he was not a threat.

"Look, I'm not going to try anything. Just let my partner go, okay?"


Mulder sensed a sudden change in Knight over the use of the word partner and decided to exploit it. "Yeah, she's my partner. You know what it's like to have a partner, don't you? They look out for you and you look out for them. You do everything possible to protect each other. You know what I mean?"

Mulder paused to let his words take effect, watching anxiously as Knight loosened his grip slightly on Scully, the golden glow fading from his eyes as he stared off somewhere into the distance.

Thinking that he was getting through to him, Mulder stepped a bit closer. "Mr. Knight?"

The eyes snapped fully alert as he replied, "Sorry, but Mr. Knight is no longer present."

"Then who is?" asked Mulder.

"Nicholas de Brabant. Say good-bye, Mulder to your pretty, little partner."

With greater speed than the human eye could follow, Mulder was grabbed by the neck, lifted a foot off the ground, then hurled several yards through the air. Crashing into the lowest bar of the corral railing, he put a split in both the wood and the back of his head. The last thing Mulder saw before losing consciousness was his partner ascending towards the star-filled heavens in the arms of a vampire.


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