Chapter 6

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After what had been the most traumatic, terrifying, depressing, and just plain weird event in Scott's entire existence, he really did not want to see anyone else for the rest of his life, let alone right then. However, since the next visitor was a law enforcement officer, Scott thought it was probably best to see the guy.

The detective reminded Scott somewhat of himself—middle-aged, wire-frame glasses on his fleshy nose, a slight pot belly, quite probably a far cry from the young, aggressive go-getter who graduated from the academy so many years earlier. One main difference is that he did not exhibit the male-pattern baldness that had been slowly creeping up on Scott over the years, the lucky bastard. The detective's blue suit jacket was bought off the rack at a department store, worn with khaki Dockers and brown leather wing tips presumably from the same source. And he smelled odd. Scott could notice the smell, a combination of foot powder, Bengay, cheap deodorant that was not very good at masking the musk of sweat, and aftershave, which he may have used to cover the various other odors he secreted. Scott thought it strange that he could pick all those fragrances out as individual, distinctive aromas. But what struck him as most bizarre was that somehow he knew that the odors were not really all that strong.

And he really could smell from a distance. For the first time, he noticed the various odors wafting his way through the hospital. He could smell through the antiseptics to other odors just waiting to be discovered—medicines, cleaning agents, perfumes, and much less appealing things. So this was one of the new abilities he had been "gifted" since becoming a vampire—he could now smell shit from a mile away. Just what I always wanted.

"I'm Detective DiLeo," the brown-jacketed man said as he handed Scott a business card. "I work the homicide detail out of Central Precinct."

"Wait...what? Homicide?"

"We also investigate assaults, which is what we consider happened to you: a hit-and-run vehicular assault. The car that hit you was registered to a Tito Rodriguez. Now, Mr. Rodriguez had been expected to show up at a party that night, but according to our interviews, he never arrived. His place of employment stated that he never showed up for work earlier today, either. We've tried to ping his cell phone location with no luck, so we are considering Mr. Rodriguez both a suspect and a missing person."

"Oh wow. Sorry to hear that."

"Well, it's not uncommon, especially if Mr. Rodriguez was in trouble with the law—which, according to his criminal record, he had been in the past, but there's nothing currently indicating any criminal involvement. Or he could have been under the influence of some intoxicant. Either way, we're looking into it. By the way, you didn't happen to see anyone or get a description of the driver, did you?"

Oh yeah, Detective, I saw who did it, and by the way, he's a vampire, and what's more, apparently so am I now. Somehow, he didn't think that would fly. "No. No, I can't say I saw anyone. It all happened so fast."

DiLeo frowned. "Well, yeah, I guess that's probably true. You were in a very traumatic situation. Apparently, the doctors say you expired on the ER table. I'm glad you didn't, because I'd hate to be investigating this as an actual homicide."

"That makes two of us." But Scott was not sure if that was the truth. He thought of the probability that regular old-fashioned death, and its promises of glory rocking in the bosom of Abraham, was far preferable to this undeath and its distinct lack of promises. He wasn't entirely sure that it was a good trade-off.

DiLeo headed toward the door and then paused. "You know, we're having a hard time explaining how you got that neck injury. The accident investigators pored over the wreck and just could not figure that one out. I mean, there were lots of glass flying around, but that couldn't explain how your carotid artery got cut so deeply. And the frame metal didn't do it, either. So we're stumped on that part."

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