“Takers II: Family” by Chris Davis
Summary: LA police detective Kel Langston thought specializing in serial killers was complicated until he was attacked by a Taker, a creature that lives on the blood and souls of its human victims. Now stradding the worlds of the living and the dead as a Half-Turn – half Taker and half human – Kel must struggle to preserve his secret and keep the human part of him alive against the horrific needs of his monster half. In the process he locates others of his kind, and with the help of an unusual ally, a Taker with secrets of his own, uncovers shocking new truths about what and who he really is.
Former loner Kel now finds himself elected to lead his little ragtag family of two Half-Turns and a rogue Taker in the fight against Francisco, the powerful Taker who is sire to them all.
It was like all the air got sucked out of me, out of the space around me. I was aware
of Levi tugging at my sleeve. Aware of him tensing up the closer Ray came. I knew
Francisco wasn’t anywhere near and I knew that at some point I was going to be forced
Then a snarl, a screech, and before I knew it Levi was arcing through the air, aiming
his feet right at Ray’s chest. I heard my voice yell for him to stop, to not attack.
It didn’t make a whole lot of difference. When a Half-Turn’s in full-out ass-kicking
mode nothing gets through.
I made a leap that would’ve caused a Taker to sit up and take notice just as Levi’s
boots connected with Ray’s pecs. Ray hit the ground back-first and for a handful of
seconds I was seeing Ray lying on the dock with his T4 busted, gurgling as he tried to tell
me how to kill his own kind.
And yet here he was, growling, vamped out, throwing Levi off him like he was
nothing more than a mosquito.
“Bzzzzzzt,” the sound had come from Ray’s mouth there in my living room. We had
But he was dead!
Levi came rushing at him again, feral, eyes more red than I’d ever seen them. Ray
hopped to his feet and I stepped in front of him, forcing Levi to skid to a halt that almost
sent him ass over teakettle to the green grass beneath our feet.
“No,” I said, shaking my head.
“He’s a Taker!” Levi’s voice was low, gravelly.
“Yes, he’s a Taker. But he’s also a friend.”
Ray sounded amused when he spoke. “A friend, huh?”
Now that just pissed me right off. Amused. He had no right being amused when I’d
been thinking for weeks that he’d died on that pier. That Francisco had killed him and
taken his body away, disposing of it in whatever way Takers did shit like that.
The only thing I could do was ball my fist, turn and swing it up high. It was satisfying
to hear it connect with Ray’s jaw. Even more satisfying to hear him grunt and see his
eyes flash at me.
“What the fuck, Kel?”
“That’s what I should be asking you.”
“Kel?” Levi whispered. I turned to find he was no longer vamped out.
I took a deep breath. “This is Ray.”
“He’s a Taker.”
“Another of Francisco’s children,” Ray stated, nodding toward Levi and still rubbing
his jaw where I’d hit him, though I know it didn’t actually hurt.
“You,” I seethed, my finger jabbing so close to his sternum it was very nearly
brushing the fabric of his beige trench coat. “You do not get to talk right now.” I turned
to Levi. “I need a minute. Go check on Jess.”
“I’m not leaving you alone with a Taker!”
“Dammit, he’s not going to hurt me!”
“But he’s a —”
“I know what he is,” I said. “I also know he’s got a shitload of explaining to do, so
go. Check. On. Jess.”
Levi threw me a look. As first introductions went, this was not going well at all.