Allegedly, by Bryan Carrigan
She was out of his league and most nights he wouldn’t have bothered, but after shoveling dog shit in the public defender’s office for eleven months, plea-bargaining possession down to disorderly conduct and representing drunk drivers destined for community service, Buddy had finally landed his first real case.
“Murder,” he said.
“It’s all fun and games until somebody loses their life,” she said. She said her name was Scarlett; he immediately thought of Scarlett O’Hara and Scarlett Johansen. She had movie star looks and a touch of old Southern charm about her. He wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that she was an anchor for one of the local affiliates. Not surprised, but maybe a little disappointed. Local TV news wasn’t nearly glamorous enough for her. At least not in his imagination. “What did he do, your killer?”
“Alleged killer,” Buddy said. “He allegedly drove a wooden stake through a guy’s heart and cut off his head.”
“Why on Earth would he allegedly do a thing like that?” Scarlett asked.
It was a question Buddy had asked himself. “The guy, my client, says he’s the last in an ancient line of vampire hunters. A regular Buffy Summers, not that you’re old enough to remember that show. The guy he allegedly killed, he says he’ll swear on the holiest of holies that the guy was a vampire.”
“A vampire? You don’t say.” Scarlett plucked the olive out of Buddy’s martini and did things to it with her tongue that made him want to loosen his collar. “What’s going to happen to him? Your alleged vampire hunter.”
“I told him, if he wants to go the insanity route, that’s his call,” Buddy said. He held up two fingers and the bartender poured them a matched pair of martinis. “But as a defense, insanity only holds up in four or five out of a hundred cases. Juries tend to not give a shit about the mental health of the accused; they’d rather think all murderers are crazy and I tend to agree with them. But if he hears voices, if God is telling him to kill people–”
“To cut out their hearts?”
“To cut out their hearts,” Buddy agreed, “then maybe an insanity plea is the right call.”
Scarlett traced a curlicue in the condensation on the side of her glass. Buddy wanted to bend her over and fuck her sideways, right there in the bar with everyone watching; he brushed a stray wisp of hair away from her eyes. Her skin was cool to the touch. He wanted to touch her in ways she hadn’t even imagined.
“I’m good at what I do,” he said. “I’ll attack the case on its merits; I’ll get him off.”
“A vampire hunter.”
“I know. It’s crazy.”
“Suppose you win and he gets off,” Scarlett said, “what would he do? Hunt more vampires?”
“He says the guy he allegedly killed was the last,” Buddy said. “The weird thing is, you can tell he genuinely believes what he’s saying. I mean, he is fully committed to the idea. The living dead walk the earth drinking human blood. Now that it’s all over, you can hear it in his voice, he sounds relieved.”
Scarlett’s hand found his. He would take her back to his place. They would get sweaty under the sheets. Do it again in the shower. The things he’d do to her. She leaned in close and nuzzled against his neck. “Do you believe him? Do you believe there are vampires out there?”
“If there were,” Buddy said, “he killed the last of them.”
“No,” Scarlett said. He realized too late that he’d never get the chance to argue his case in front of a jury, but she did things with her tongue, her lips, and her teeth that more than made up for it. “Not the last.”
Bryan Carrigan hasn’t quite figured out what his biography should say. He’ll get back to you with more, later.
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Tags: crime, murder, supernatural, vampires