Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Donald E. Westlake characters are the property of their original owners.
*This was going to be droll,* Spike mentally sniggered, as he approached from out of the dark hallway towards the open door having the lights on inside the room just beyond. It appealed to his sadistic sense of humor to walk right into the middle of a hold-up, just to see what’d happen. From where he’d been roaming through the deserted office building in a run-down business district on the west side of Philadelphia, the vampire had been attracted by the heartbeats of two people working in the back. From listening in on their idle conversation with his supernatural hearing, those blokes were part of some sort of criminal organization and they’d been totaling up the cash from running a gambling ring throughout the city.
Spike honestly didn’t care about the money. He’d far prefer a bite to eat, which was why the undead creature of the night had been heading en route for his latest meal. However, just a few seconds ago, some other bloke had burst into the back room from an outside door. By the sound of things, he was about to rob the other two men, who weren’t happy about this at all.
Grinning with gleaming teeth which changed into sharp fangs, Spike put on his demonic visage of glowing yellow eyes and a distorted face of pure evil. The vampire then impulsively decided to pop in there and announce in his most cheery tone to everyone in the other room that they were totally fucked. It’d be interesting to see how they handled it, if only to spice up an otherwise boring night. *Right, let’s be on with it.*
Stepping into the doorway, Spike started to open his mouth, except he was immediately shot right between the eyes.
Limply collapsing to the floor, the astonished vampire tried to deal with what’d just happened. Not that he’d really been harmed, in spite of this. The magic cast upon his dead body decades before by the demon which had taken over the personality of a young Victorian poet would handily shrug off any harm caused by a mere low-caliber bullet passing through his skull. Only tremendous damage from any firearm capable of destroying in full his brain or unbeating heart, such as a shotgun loaded with buck and ball, or even an elephant gun, would successfully dust the vampire.
It didn’t mean that Spike would escape at all the fleeting disorientation from getting directly targeted in the head by a gun. Not to mention it bloody well hurt.
Remaining immobile on the ground, Spike started to become really angry about this. Until his attention was abruptly diverted by two other gunshots, followed after this by the separate thuds of a pair of objects also falling down in the other room. A few seconds later, the vampire smelled the sudden odors of blood intermixed with gunpowder.
Still successfully passing himself off as a corpse (well, he was
one, but let’s not get into that right now), a growing-intrigued Spike waited for whatever would happen next. If the bloke who’d shot both him and the other chaps came over to check where his body was lying sprawled in the doorway with his head concealed in the darkness of the unlit hallway, then this berk was going to get the worse surprise of his entire life. Which wouldn’t last all that much longer, because the vampire was getting a touch peckish from the odor of the lovely blood over there. A nice steady draining to the very last drop of hemoglobin while looking into Spike’s smirking face would be a proper punishment for daring to shoot him!
Except…Spike wasn’t getting any sort of smell through the other distracting odors of the normal kind of reaction for humans after performing a triple murder. It was really strange. No fear, panic, nervous sweat, rapid heartbeat-- Come to think of it, there hadn’t even been a single increase in that gunman’s pulse when he’d killed the original occupants of the building.
Spike was now becoming genuinely curious about the other bloke acting like virtually nobody else with a soul the English demon had ever encountered. He concentrated on listening to what the human was doing, and if his eyes hadn’t been closed, Spike would’ve blinked in sheer surprise. From the noise of footsteps accompanied by the rustle of paper, the bloody man was calmly gathering up the money! Beginning to feel actual appreciation for this self-possessed killer, Spike now listened to this bloke moving away, followed by the back door opening and then closing.
Quickly getting to his feet, Spike stepped at last into the room. Casually glancing at the pair of dead men with their contorted lifeless faces of terror huddled on the floor, the vampire headed past them to the rear door. Cautiously pulling it ajar, Spike peeked out into the back alley out there, and he saw a run-down car already pulling away. A blond monster now spent a few quick moments mulling over what to do next. With his inhuman speed, it’d be a cinch to overtake the car and--
And then what?
Judging from everything which had already taken place in maybe the last minute at the most, the gunman wouldn’t bat a single eye at being chased by someone he’d already killed. No, indeed. Rather, that supremely dangerous chap would just shoot Spike again. Only this time, the stranger could have some other firearm in the car with him which might actually have a chance to dust the vampire. This was soddin’ America, after all, with every chappie from childhood on encouraged in their gun-happy ways. All that’d take the cake for tonight was for Spike to be shot through with numerous holes by some bleedin’ Tommy gun.
Oh, bugger it.
Irritably slamming shut the door, Spike turned to glower at the corpses leaking their blood on the room floor. That managed to distract the vampire, all the lovely red liquid there going to waste. Striding over to bend down and grip a slack arm, Spike effortlessly lifted up the body and he sank his fangs into the dead man’s neck. Beginning to enjoy his dinner, the vampire soon forgot all about what’s-his-name out there.
Parker continued to steadily drive his car with the money hidden in the trunk a mile or two under the speed limits of the nighttime Philadelphia streets. The car was clean as to all meanings of that word, both legally and recently washed, and in good mechanical shape. There was nothing to make any cop in their patrol car decide to pull him over. If this still happened, he’d do whatever it took to make sure the encounter ended in his favor, from meekly accepting a traffic ticket to killing any number of policemen and witnesses around.
This was the specific reason for the whole confrontation which had ended in death for everyone else back there. Once Parker shot the guy in the monster mask suddenly appearing in the doorway, it’d been necessary to dispose of the others to make sure nobody talked. In the car, an utterly ruthless career criminal specializing in armed robbery never gave the slightest thought as to why the first man had done something so stupid as to wear that weird face and barge right into the middle of a heist. An entirely different person would’ve at least wondered and come up with possible explanations. Some kind of practical joke? Or, however unlikely it might’ve been, another robber who’d disguised himself?
But then, if the car’s driver had been anyone else, he wouldn’t have been Parker.
Author’s Note: Donald E. Westlake was a prolific American crime fiction writer, usually specializing in comic novels starring his hapless protagonist John Dortmunder, perhaps the unluckiest burglar ever, who in his first appearance had to steal the same emerald a half-dozen times. Westlake also wrote a series of over twenty books involving Parker, who seemingly has no other name. A true anti-hero, this cold, remorseless criminal will do whatever necessary to accomplish his planned robberies, and also to escape the consequences when these crimes go wrong, as they tend to do.
Spike was far luckier than he knew, meeting and surviving a human predator as ferocious and deadly as this own vampire.