The Taking of Arianna Grayson, by JC De La Torre
Description: Detective Arianna Grayson takes us through the harrowing chase for the serial killer known as Allister the Annihilator. When she finally catches up to the fiend, she discovers that there’s more to him than being a deranged lunatic. In a struggle for her life, she makes a choice with terrible consequences and her life changes forever.
Death isn’t something to be feared, my dearest. It is the warmest, most welcoming sensation anyone can experience. It’s pure joy, passion and ecstasy rolled into one. As you travel down that tunnel toward the light at the end, you feel the most amazing sensation of belonging. You are finally where you should be – a place with no pain, no horror. There’s no suffering or injustice. There’s just a dazzling light that seems to engulf every single atom of your essence.
Enjoy your death, my friend. Bathe in the light when it comes to you. Be thankful it can come, for not all of us can go down that path. I’ve died. I began my trek down that path but the light was robbed from me; substituted with darkness…terrible darkness that infests you like the worst of cancers.
You see, I was marked by a vampire to become his off-spring – his child of the night. He brought me death but then breathed in an entirely different, terrifying life. Everything that I was and believed in – all that made Arianna Grayson – died with me when my heart stopped and I began my journey to the place of death. It’s gone now. I know and accept it.
All that is left within is a soulless monster that feeds on humans. I never wanted this – unlike so many others. I sought to root out the killer and I became what he was. He raped my soul, robbed me of my decency – my humanity, my ability to die, to love, to have children – real human children.
The monster that I am has become glorified in movies and literature. Thousands of teen age girls would give anything to feel his kiss but they don’t know the truth. The Edwards, Stefans and Vampire Bills of the world don’t really exist. They’re a sexual deviant’s fantasy. Our kind, from what I gathered so far, doesn’t fall in love with humans. We get infatuated, certainly, but not for sex. It’s more about the blood, every single drop of it.
To feel the vampire’s kiss you have to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. When it’s laid upon you, it’s not a simple peck on the neck. There’s nothing sensual about it. It’s a brutal, vicious attack that will leave your body torn to shreds. Our blood rage consumes us, changes our physical features to better serve our diabolical purposes.
Normally, I’m a thin redhead with a decent figure. My hair is about shoulder length, eyes emerald green and my skin definitely shows the need for a decent tan. I may be “ginger” but my body doesn’t show any freckles or moles. In fact, there isn’t a flaw anywhere, if I can be that conceded. It’s one of the few benefits of the affliction.
When the rage takes me, though, any perceived beauty disappears – I completely transform. My nails morph into long, dagger-like claws. My mouth expands and a set of long, jagged teeth come to the surface. My red hair disappears, receding somewhere into my epidermis as my ears elongate and my true form reveals itself. My eyes are no longer green but black – like looking into the darkness itself.
If you come across me in this form, it will be the last thing you will ever see. When the rage takes you – there’s no controlling it. There’s no stopping it. All we can do is surrender to the lust, satisfy it and clean up the mess left behind. It’s all done in the shadows, mind you, to avoid discovery (although some like my maker, Allister, flaunt our power over you).
I don’t want to hurt anyone – I hate that I am responsible for so much pain and death. I have no choice. The affliction will consume your every thought and all that matters is tasting the blood – chewing the internal organs and sucking them dry like a demonic milkshake.
I tried for a while to channel my hunger, to focus it on the murderers I was charged to capture. It worked well for a time but then one of my partners came across me at the wrong time and…well, I’ll get to that.
Just know it’s a terrible existence, my friend.
So how did Arianna Grayson, Special Agent in the FBI, become a monster? I was on a case – one of those career making cases – tracking the most active serial killer in the United States.
I worked to become part of the Bureau’s serial killer task force for several years. I took every assignment in every backward podunk FBI office I could. If it was a murder, I’d do everything I could to solve it. Mostly I dealt with drug related murders, domestic violence that turned deadly and your random prostitute meeting the wrong john.
After five years of experiencing the seedy side of the world, I was finally called up to the majors. I joined the FBI task force to find a Michigan serial killer with a fondness for stabbing black men. Called “The Serial Stabber” in the press, he was caught in an Atlanta airport trying to leave the country. I discovered his Middle Eastern descent from my research into the killings and advised of the flight risk. I found his itinerary through the FAA’s internal computer system enabling us to make the collar.
With my first big case under my belt, my new unit welcomed me on the next.
Carl Ambrose had been on the S.K.T.F (Serial Killer Task Force) for about four years. He was one of the first African Americans to get the assignment. He had been decorated multiple times with the FBI Medal for Meritorious Achievement, the Medal of Valor and the Shield of Bravery. Needless to say, he was one of the best.
In his forties, he still kept a young appearance, with a close-cropped hairstyle and smooth mocha skin. His frame was fit, muscular and he sported a tiny mustache. He had an air about him…a confidence that made all around gravitate to him.
His partner for the past two years was LaRissa Cantello. Like Ambrose, Cantello had gone through some traumatic murder scenes. She was instrumental in the capture of some of the most notorious Serial murderers with her command of forensics, meticulous data analysis and ability to put pour through the data and see the truth.
She was pretty, in her twenties, with short cropped dark brown hair and caramel skin. She had a tiny nose with a mole near the tip. Cantello always seemed to be trying to prove herself to her partners, even though she already had their full confidence.
Our SAC (special agent in charge) was Panagiotis Nasso. He was older, with gray bushy hair that he obviously struggled with combing every morning. His suits were expensive, more than most government salaries would pay for. Still, “Gio” as he asked to be called, wasn’t dirty. He ran a tight ship, complete with deadlines and expectations placed on all of his subordinates. He also had a keen mind for criminal investigation, able to pick up on some of the minutest detail that most would miss.
As I walked in to the meeting room for S.K.T.F. at FBI headquarters, my senses were assaulted by hundreds of pictures of brutally mutilated bodies – fourteen murders in total, all people of different sexes, races and religious beliefs posted on a large whiteboard. There were young preppy college kids and old vagrants. There were hetero and homosexuals. Each murder was extremely violent in nature but the manner of the deaths seemed to change.
All the victims had their insides torn out by sharp objects and in all of the cases; the organs were gnawed on by some strange animal that we simply couldn’t identify. Even stranger, the DNA recovered from the scenes (that didn’t belong to the victim) was identical, but had the most unusual characteristics. It was definitely human but with something different. Some sort of chromosome or mitochondrial strand was off according to the squints (lab technicians).
They couldn’t definitively identify the perpetrator as human.
Aside from the mutilations and weird DNA, there wasn’t much stringing the cases together. They were all from different parts of the country. The closest thing you could find to a pattern was that they always seemed to occur at night. Still, it didn’t matter which night of the week or the cycle of the moon. Each victim seemed to be chosen randomly.
As I scanned through the evidence on the board, I noticed something peculiar with each. There were strands of fabric – the same fabric – near or on the bodies in each instance.
“Good to see you here early Agent Grayson,” Nasso said as he headed into the room, a cup of coffee steaming from his hand, “Take a seat, if you would.”
I acknowledged with a nod and headed to a chair next to the extremely long mahogany meeting table. The others came in shortly after I had settled in and gave me glancing nods.
“I believe you both know Agent Grayson,” Nasso began, “After her exemplary work on the Stabber case I’ve extended an offer for her to join our team, which she’s accepted.”
Ambrose and Cantello provided a golf clap; I smiled my acceptance of their congratulations.
“Okay, so moving on, this case – 306-HQ-234568 – we’re going to call the Annihilator case,” Nasso continued, “Since we’ve allegedly received a letter from our perp.”
“What?” Ambrose gasped; Cantello’s eyes bulged in shock.
“Indeed, we now have a message from our perpetrator.”
“What does it say?” Cantello asked.
“Here you go,” Nasso handed a one page copy to each of us and I quickly scanned through the hand written letter.
IF YOU’RE WONDERING, YES THE MURDERS OF ALSTAN MORRIS AND MARIA TOCANADO ARE RELATED. I DID THEM, AMONG OTHERS.
TO PROVE TO YOU I AM WHO I CLAIM TO BE, HERE IS A PIECE OF TOCANDO’S LOWER INTESTINE. TEST IT WITH YOUR DNA TECHNIQUES; I ASSURE YOU IT BELONGS TO HER.
I WANT YOU TO STOP ME END MY SPREE – BUT I KNOW YOU CAN’T. SO I URGE YOU TO STOP YOUR INVESTIGATION – YOU’LL SPEND YOUR ENTIRE LIFE PURSUING ME TO NO END. I WILL NEVER BE SUBJECT TO YOUR JUSTICE.
ALLISTER THE ANNIHALATOR
The Taking of Arianna Grayson, by JC De La Torre