The docks were full of movement. It was dark, just after midnight, and the blood girls were standing on corners, baring their necks. A lot of vampires despised being reduced to this. Most just dispensed with it altogether, went about their business as though the world were still unaware of their sinister presence.

Bianca made her way down past the workers’ area, into the open streets. Somebody had dubbed it jokingly the ‘blood light district’, and it had stuck. A woman in black- well, they were all in black- with close-cropped hair and a heavily made-up face smiled at her from the corner. She could tell from a glance who was client, who was competition.

Bianca smiled back, but kept walking.

You get to be a regular, here. You weren’t supposed to wipe your ‘victims’ memory, so they remembered you.

Nose to the air, Bianca stalked down the centre of the road. She knew where she was going.

He was young. Maybe early twenties, older than Bianca was when she was preserved, anyway. Craig had a classic model’s face, all cheekbones and smouldering eyes and lashes that women kill for and men don’t care about. She could see why he’d been preserved.

He waited with two others, apart from the rest, his eyes sharp. Tonight he wasn’t acting, wasn’t out to catch you on your way past.

“Evening.” Bianca stopped next to him, matching her gaze to his. “What are we looking for?”

He was unperturbed by her quiet arrival. “I’m keeping an eye on the girls. You’ve heard about the killer hanging around?”

He motioned to the two blood girls behind him, the ones he protected.

“A killer?” Bianca raised an eyebrow. Craig nodded, lips pulled back over his fangs in disgust.

“Mortal. Well, not a Nightchild, anyway. Been picking off the girls for a few nights now, we’ve lost five on this street. A real Jack the Ripper figure,” he told her. He tore his violet eyes from the street for a moment. She saw the worry there, just for a moment.

“And it isn’t in the papers…”

He shook his head. “Not until that waitress up on Dawn. Then they care. She was making an ‘honest’ living. Bah.”

The silver ice was back, filling Bianca’s useless lungs. “You think it was the same guy?”

“Same MO. Well, that’s what I say. Rev says I watch too many cop shows… but at least if it is the same guy, they’ll focus on him now, y’know? S’not like anyone cares what happens down here.”

Bianca nodded, slowly. She wanted to ask more questions, but she didn’t really have much time. And Craig looked harried enough as is. And she didn’t really want to get involved.

“So. Just a pint?” he asked, motioning to the girls behind. She nodded, already feeling the fangs push against her lip.


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