“Takers” by Chris Davis
Summary: Detective Kel Langston excels at hunting serial killers in Los Angeles until one night, he becomes a victim himself. He survives, only to find out he’s been turned into a monster. A burning hunger gnaws at him, warring with his human side as he navigates his way through a new life he didn’t ask for. Stuck halfway between the living and the dead with new abilities, a new case and desire he can’t ignore, Kel is pulled into hunting something humans don’t even know exist. Something he hates…and wants…and doesn’t know how to kill.
He’s just standing there. In the deep shadows I can’t see his eyes, but his body language tells me he’s looking square at me. How it can go so deadly quiet in the middle of LA is not something I can spare a thought for right now. Hand’s on my piece, it’s out and pointed right at him. I saw him kill that girl, and if the blood around her body is any indication, he’s the worst kind of murderer. He doesn’t kill out of impaired judgment. He kills for pleasure.
It’s a typical alley at night in this city: long, not lit nearly well enough, full of every kind of trash from rat shit to bums with empty bottles clutched in their hands. The cement is cracked, worn, wet even though it hasn’t rained in six months. Maybe it’s booze, maybe it’s bodily fluids. Maybe both. Johns and girls and sometimes guys get up to all sorts of shit my job doesn’t let me turn a blind eye to, in alleys like this.
Not the kind of place I’d go, or ask anyone else to, under normal circumstances. But go I do, one foot in front of the other. This is what happens when your partner’s just been killed and you’ve got no immediate backup – you go it alone. A cop doesn’t get to choose his path. The crime and the criminal choose for him. In Andy’s case, it was a bullet from a rapist’s gun.
I feel like that old cliché, a fly walking right into a spider’s parlor – and in retrospect that analogy was more accurate than I could possibly have known. But there I am and there he is, down near the dead-end into a skyscraper over twenty stories high, and I have a job to do.
And that’s when he jumps. Jumps, hell – it’s a lot more than a jump. Leaps might be a good word – but soars is better. Like a bat or a goddamned flying squirrel. And even though my gun follows his shadow as it arcs toward me, it’s so fast I can’t get off a single shot before he hits me.
I don’t remember much else after that.