PREMATURE ALOHA

                                                                                By B Huff

 

October 1969

 

“I don’t wanna talk to her, Jenny.”

 

“And you want ME to tell her that?” The executive secretary of Hawaii Five-0 stood in the doorway of Steve McGarrett’s office, disapproval evident in her body language.

 

Detective Dan Williams, seated on the corner of his boss’s desk, looked away from the woman as he tiredly returned, “Can’t you please just tell her I’m in a meeting?”

 

The head of Five-0 sighed loudly to register his impatience with the non-work-related interruption. He’d stopped his meditative pacing to witness the exchange between his secretary and his second-in-command. Chin Ho Kelly and Kono Kalakaua, who were seated in front of the big desk with notebooks opened and pencils poised, exchanged smirks as they listened.

 

“Danny Williams, I will do no such thing! She says it’s important and, since you clearly did not bother to call her back after I gave you the message this morning, you need to take a minute and speak with her!”

 

Dan looked up to frown at the petite, auburn-haired woman, who had an accusing glare beamed right back in his direction, but before he could respond, his boss intervened. “Danno! Please! Take the call so we can get back to business!” McGarrett nodded at the phone on his desk. Jenny’s displeased countenance turned to defiant triumph as she snapped a that’s-better nod in Dan’s direction. Williams sighed and reluctantly leaned over to collect the handset from the phone and push the blinking line button.

 

“Tracy,” was all the detective said before his ear was obviously filled with the voice on the line. The other three detectives traded amused expressions as they eavesdropped on one side of their young colleague’s private conversation. The taut set of his jaw reflected his anger.

 

“Look, you don’t have to explain anything to me. Last night was a little too strange for my taste, but if that’s what you’re into—” His head cocked skeptically and he took in a deep breath slowly. Ten seconds later, he came to his feet and slapped the pencil in his hand onto the desk top. “OPEN MIND? I’m sorry, but my mind wouldn’t open that far with a crow bar---“ Williams jerked the phone a couple of inches away from his ear – the reason was obvious as the indistinct sound of the woman’s voice became audible even from McGarrett’s distant vantage point across the room. Dan snapped, his voice now almost a shout, “MY friends? At least all of them are from around here and not… not Transylvania!”

 

With that last intriguing retort, the head of Five stepped closer and confirmed silently with his other two detectives that he was willing to forestall their interrupted conversation long enough to ascertain a few details about their colleague’s romantic misadventures.

 

Dan looked exasperated as his eyes panned haphazardly across the room, and the other detectives came into his line of sight. Their mirthful stares brought him to the sudden remembrance that he’d pay for the call as soon as he hung up. He turned his back to the men to give himself at least the illusion of privacy as he addressed the woman a little softer, but no less intensely. “Tracy— I’ve gotta go, and don’t bother calling back – I’m NOT changing my mind!” Williams dropped the phone handset onto its cradle and braced himself for the teasing he was certain would ensue.

 

Several seconds of tortuous silence followed as Williams re-took his perch on the corner of the desk. Finally, Dan, despite the fact that he already knew the answer, shot a defensive glance towards McGarrett. “What?”

 

Steve’s smile remained as he shrugged. “So the surfer girl who’s had you wrapped around the axle has fallen into disfavor?”

 

Dan furled his brow slightly at the admittedly accurate goad, but hesitated as he considered how much he wanted to share at that moment. The pause gave the big Hawaiian detective an entrance to press. “What happened last night, bruddah?”

 

“And EXACTLY what’s too strange for you?” Chin added.

 

Williams looked troubled as he silently stared at the cover of his notebook. Finally, a frown masked his distress. “I don’t wanna talk about it!”

 

Kono wasn’t ready to let go of the subject. “We don’t get to know what happened?”

 

“No.” The answer was short and emphatic. Now, can we get back to business here?“ Dan roughly flipped the page on his notebook and began to write.

 

Steve strolled around behind his desk and launched the next salvo. “Transylvania, huh? Did she bite you?”

 

The young detective snapped his head in his boss’s direction, but did not turn his head far enough to make eye contact. He wavered for a few seconds before he heaved a sigh and responded with resignation. “We went to a beach party on the North Shore last night. That was the first time I’d met any of Tracy’s friends.” McGarrett slowly moved where he could see his second’s face, and Williams shot a furtive glance in the man’s direction before he diverted his eyes back to his notebook.

 

“Odd crowd?” The head of Five-0 encouraged.

 

“That’s an understatement,” Dan admitted, and then went on to describe how Tracy had cycled him through the crowd of about thirty people and introduced him as “Danny the surfer.” Everyone was friendly enough on the surface, but over the course of the evening, the detective grew to have to the distinct and uncomfortable impression that he was being watched… sized up. He tried to shake it off though, deciding that his job made him more paranoid than he needed to be, even under the most innocuous circumstances.

 

It wasn’t too long before Dan expressed an interest in leaving, offering the excuse that he couldn’t be out too late on a work night, but Tracy was not anxious to go. He reluctantly stayed, and mingled as he nursed a beer. As the evening progressed though, the revelers seemed to feel more free to hang on him or touch or rub against him in what he considered to be an inappropriate manner. The detective decided that he might be the only one present who hadn’t had too much to drink.

 

“So, everybody was jovial and got a little too familiar – at least they were friendly drunks.” McGarrett offered, but he knew they hadn’t heard yet what caused the falling out between Danno and his new girlfriend.

 

Williams met his boss’s eyes. “Oh, they got friendlier all right – I was sitting on the sand, and the weirdo host of the shin dig, Zack somebody, and his girlfriend plopped down on either side of me, so I’m sitting there sandwiched in between the two of them. At this point, I’m thinking it’s time to get outta there. I started to excuse myself, so while I’m looking at the girl on my right, I feel this… this tongue on the back of my neck!” The other three detectives reacted audibly as Dan, now completely agitated as he recounted the event, continued quickly. “I turn to push Zack away from me, and I see the guy is grinning like I’m supposed to be expecting this, and I can suddenly feel his fingernails digging into my wrist. Well, before I could yank my hand away from him, Lulu practically knocks me over into Zack and SHE BITES me on my neck!”

 

Kono and Chin whooped. McGarrett’s lip twitched, but he refrained from displaying any overt response, thinking his detective might be discouraged from continuing, but it became clear quickly that Williams now wanted to get the whole story off his chest.

 

Dan ignored the two seated detectives, who were in the throes of near agony as they attempted to stifle their amusement. The incident was still too close to be funny to Five-0’s second-in-command, and he pressed on with the tale, the seriousness of a murder case in his eyes. “I push them both off of me and jump up – Tracy comes running over shouting something to her lolo friends about me not knowing, and then she starts explaining to me that she and her friends are into biting each other – that I should relax and not be so uptight!” Williams, realizing that his respiration rate had increased in direct proportion to the fervor with which he’d regaled the Five-0 men with his tale, took a moment to take in a deep breath and run his hand through his tight, sandy curls. When he spoke again, his voice was softer and his meter slower. “So we’re standing there – surrounded by all these people – and she comes onto me like we’re alone in a hotel room – like that would make what happened okay. Anyway, I said I was leaving, and she said she wasn’t leaving, so I left alone.”

 

“Biting? Like nice-and-easy biting?” Kono wondered.

 

Dan looked levelly at the Hawaiian detective as he loosened his tie and undid the top three buttons of his pale blue dress shirt. With his left hand, he stretched the collar of his partially-exposed white undershirt down past his collar bone. The head of Five-0 stepped forward to get a closer look at the wound on the lower right side of the young man’s neck. A dark, scabbed-over gash in the shape of an overbite marked the top of the injury. The area below was bruised and slightly swollen with the lower perimeter demarcated by small bruises which made an imprint of lower teeth.

 

For the first time since Dan had begun his story, McGarrett felt a twinge of pity and concern. “Danno, this is a serious bite!”

 

Chin and Kono rose from their seats to examine the injury. The Hawaiian detective shook his head, “She seemed so… normal.” Dan had only been dating the girl for only about six weeks, so the observation was admittedly based primarily on appearances. She’d stopped by the office on one occasion a few weeks earlier, and Dan shyly introduced her to the staff. In her mid-twenties, Tracy Peterson was a bubbly hapa haoule Hawaiian woman –  her father was of Nordic descent, giving her exotic pale blue eyes which were incongruous with her otherwise typical Polynesian features.

 

It was apparent to the head of Five-0 that his second was completely enamored with his new girlfriend, whom Williams had met while surfing. Dan had described her as a health fanatic, who refused alcohol and made Williams leave his cigarettes at home when they went out. Tracy had been a welcome distraction to the detective’s high-pressure workload, and Steve was sorry to see that the relationship had gone sour so quickly, but was glad that his friend was not willing to tolerate aberrant behavior even from pretty faces who were interested in surfing.

 

“Your tetanus shot is up-to-date, I presume.” The lead detective was still frowning.

 

Dan let out a single, soft laugh as he re-buttoned his shirt and tightened his tie. “Yeah,” was his only response.

 

“Not very friendly, bruddah,” Kono murmured.

 

“Now that’s a date gone bad!” The Chinese detective uttered.

 

McGarrett brought his hand to rest on his second’s shoulder. “You all right?”

 

Dan nodded slightly, but did not look up to meet his boss’s concerned eyes. The demeanor did not offer a convincing argument as to his friend’s well-being, so Steve applied a little pressure to Williams’ arm as he added. “You think we should arrest Lulu and Zack for assault on a police officer?”

 

The thought immediately brought Williams’ head up to look at McGarrett, whose eyes spoke of everything one would hope to see in the face of a friend after a traumatic incident – support, concern, and desire to make things better for him. The embarrassment of reporting the incident had been well worth the trade-off, Dan decided in that instant. Dan let a crooked smile slip onto his face. “I say we let them off with just a warning… this time.”

 

Steve read the appreciation in Williams’ face and nodded with a grin. “Okay, then. Back to business.” He released his hold on the shorter detective, and started to head back towards the black board, but before he could take more than a couple of steps, Jenny’s voice through the intercom beckoned him to pick up the phone and speak with the medical examiner. The head of Five-0 diverted back to his desk and picked up the phone.

 

“Doc, what’s the word?” McGarrett snapped energetically, and then listened for a full minute. His expression slowly changed from one of mild to intense interest as he pulled a notepad from the top of his desk and jotted something down before he finally spoke again. “We’ll be right over, Doc.” The head of Five-0 picked up the notebook looked up at his second-in-command. “They found another body on the North Shore – near Kahuku Point.”

 

Williams’ brow furled in dismay. “That’s the third body in three weeks!”

 

The lead detective didn’t waver in his scrutiny of his second-in-command as he provided more information. “The victim’s name is Ulu Black.”  Dan reacted with surprise, but his expression quickly darkened with anguish as he looked to Kono, who was also visibly shaken at the news.

 

Williams slowly looked back at his boss. “Ulu’s dead... I saw him just last week.”

 

“So you knew him.” McGarrett was not surprised – Danno had known the other two recent victims as well. “Was he a surfer like Kawena and Ekela?”

 

The Hawaiian detective spoke for the stunned smaller detective. “We both knew him, boss. All three of those guys were good surfers – and good kanakas too.”

 

“Does Doc know a cause of death yet, or is it like the others?” Dan asked quietly without looking up.

 

“That’s what we’re gonna go discuss with Bergman right now.” McGarrett saw that Dan was taking the news of another surfer’s death hard. “If you’d rather not—”

 

The offer incited Williams to respond fervently. “Uh, no, Steve – I’m okay. I’d like to come along… please.”

 

The head of Five-0 skeptically eyed his friend for a few moments before he agreed. “I think we all need to hear what the doc has to say. Let’s go, gentlemen.”

 

*****

 

Erol, Doctor Bergman’s tall, lanky assistant, was just sliding a body into one of eight wall-unit refrigerators in the morgue when the Five-0 detectives stepped through the doors. The medical examiner greeted his visitors and told them to meet him in the break room around the corner. Just a minute after the detectives were seated at the round table, the physician trudged though the door with three manila files. A tab on each file associated it with one of the dead surfers, so before Bergman said a word, all of the men deduced that the doctor now believed the cases were related.

 

McGarrett broke the silence with ceremony. “So, Doc, you say Ulu Black has no obvious cause of death—”

 

Bergman nodded as he injected, “Just like Kawena and Ekela, but now, with a third young man in as many weeks turning up dead within a mile of where the other two were found, I have to examine my original conclusion that the first two were accidents, with yet-to-be-determined causes of death. My gut’s telling me there’s something sinister at work here.”

 

The head of Five-0 made eye contact with each of his men as he addressed the physician. “I agree that this is a pretty suspicious turn of events, Doc. Have you got any theories about the causes of death that would indicate foul play?”

 

The medical examiner grimaced. “As you know, all three bodies were found in the surf, which caused varying degrees of post-mortem damage, which means I’m working with damaged and degraded tissue here. I can tell you with certainty how they didn’t die though. They didn’t drown – no water in the lungs. There were no obvious signs of trauma that would cause any major pre-mortem or peri-mortem blood loss.”

 

Dan spoke up. “What options does that leave open, Doc? I could see a guy being knocked unconscious from a fall of his board, but, unless he smacked his head hard enough to kill himself instantly, wouldn’t he have drowned?”

 

“Exactly, Danny,” Bergman nodded. “That leaves us with three perfectly healthy surfers, except for one thing.”

 

“Their health has been impacted by the fact that they’re dead,” McGarrett mused, but looked up quickly. “What about poison?”

 

The medical examiner shook his head slightly. “Not with anything that remained in the soft tissue or stomach.”

 

The lead detective pondered for only another moment before he’d quickly mapped out a plan of action. “Chin, you and I will take the medical records and the police reports and begin going over those. Danno, I want you and Kono to take the point on the interviews of friends and family. Both of you probably already have some ideas about where to start to find the critical common occasion for all three men.”

 

Williams nodded. “You’re right, Steve. I’m only afraid that we’ll come up with too much commonality. The surfing community is a pretty small circle.”

 

“You think it would be rude if we start at Ekela’s wake this evening?” Kono broke in as he looked in Dan’s direction.

 

“Not if we’re subtle, and besides, we’re doing the guy a favor – I have to believe that he wouldn’t mind,” the smaller detective responded grimly.

 

 

*****

 

 

Dan closed his eyes and let the hot water rain directly on his head as he stood with his hands flat on the wall two feet below the shower spigot. Too tired to follow through with his plan to pick up a few groceries and do laundry, he’d come directly home from Walt Ekela’s emotionally-draining wake at the Pipeline. He dropped Kono off at his car at the Palace after the two-hour event. To add to the awkwardness of asking questions of the bereaved friends and relatives, Dan had the misfortune to see Tracy in attendance. In retrospect, he knew he should have expected to see his suddenly-former girlfriend since she ran in the surfing crowd. But it had still disturbed him. He was grateful that she didn’t approach him – he was just not up to another confrontation that day. Occasional angry glares were the only means through which she issued any communications to the detective.

 

Once home, he’d dropped onto the couch as he unenthusiastically perused his mail. Grateful that he was not on call that evening, he decided that a little extra sleep was in order as he appraised his physical condition. He finally got the impetus to pull himself from the sofa and wander into the small kitchen. A moment of regret that he’d not had the discipline to stop at the grocery store passed as he studied the inside of the refrigerator. Eggs… a jar of dill pickles… mayonnaise… pineapple marmalade… and a pitcher of Tracy’s yellow fruit juice concoction.

 

“Pickles or eggs,” He mused tiredly as he pulled out the pitcher poured a glass of the juice. He took a couple of quick tugs of the sweetly tart beverage before he’d opted to hop in the shower.

 

He suddenly realized that he’d been dozing as he inhaled a jet of water. Coughing, the detective turned off the water and stumbled from the stall to grab his towel. He patted himself down as he wandered into the bedroom and settled onto the bed, which he’d uncharacteristically left unmade that morning. As he began to drift off, he could hear the sound of the doorbell, but it was too far away and did not persist.

 

Danny… are you here? 

 

A lilting female voice called to him. Dreaming…

 

Danny…

 

It was closer now as it called again. He made a feeble attempt to lift his head, but could not quite levitate from the pillow. A shadow appeared over him and he struggled to open his eyes and focus on the image of his very attractive-sounding visitor. That he was in a considerable state of undress at that moment did not particularly bother him. Even the blurry silhouettes of two… no four people hovering over him did not raise his pulse rate. With an uninvolved detachment, he watched through half-open eyes as a woman – Tracy – appeared on the bed to his right. So pretty… her smile… her skin… Her face moved closer to his and she kissed him gently. He didn’t seem to have the muscle control to reciprocate in any way as she ran her hands down his left arm and turned his hand over to caress the fingernail wounds on his wrist. Somewhere in the recesses of his brain, he recognized that he should be repelled as scratched the delicate scab off and began to lick the area, at first gently, and then more fervently as her tongue turned red. He lethargically began to tug at his arm, but the large, firm hand of the dark form pressed his bicep downward into the bedding.

 

“What…” He whispered unable to push the air through his vocal chords to speak louder. Another pair of hands clutched his other arm and a knee came to rest on his chest.

 

Fear finally found its way to his heart as the man whispered back ominously, “Time to feed...” Smooth, dark hair was misaligned with the pasty white complexion of the face which came into focus as it drew new to Dan’s own.

 

Williams’ eyes grew large as the intruder’s lips slipped away from his teeth in a broad smile, revealing sharp, fang-like canine teeth protruding below the incisors. The detective gasped, but there seemed to be hands everywhere restraining him, and with this, came the realization that he was struggling for air. Someone was applying firm pressure to the pulse points in his throat!

 

“Go to sleep, little one.” The creature’s voice had a reassuring tenor that was echoed by one or two other higher-pitched, almost sing-song, voices in the background.

 

Go to sleep… go to sleep, little one…

 

His last awareness as asphyxia took its effect and panic drained from his body was the sensation that someone – or something – was licking his neck.

 

 

*****

 

McGarrett hastily completed his signature on the form before him and then summarily slapped the pen to the desk top as he pondered the time on the clock. Nine twenty… Danno should’ve checked in an hour and a half ago. The head of Five-0 had dialed Williams’ home number before he tried to raise him on his car radio twenty minutes earlier. At eight that morning, Kono, on his way out the door with Chin, assured Steve that Dan had been in no mood to do anything but go home and go to bed when they parted company in the parking lot.

 

Snatching the spare keys to Dan’s apartment from his desk drawer, McGarrett exploded from his office with a terse instruction to Jenny to have Williams radio him if he called. The secretary nodded as her eyes followed the tall man striding away from her with his usual sense of purpose. What she did not detect was his intuitive impression that something was very wrong.

 

*****

 

When the doorbell ring generated no response from inside, McGarrett didn’t bother to knock. He slipped the key into the lock and pushed on the door as he turned the knob. “Danno!” He called loudly enough to be heard by anyone standing anywhere in the apartment. He strained his ears, but still detected no sign of life. The lanai door was open, causing the drapes to wave gently, but that was the only sign of movement. He called his friend’s name again as he moved through the living room and past the kitchen.

 

As he pushed the partially-closed bedroom door open with his hand, he felt a presence, and dread suddenly crept in to join the concern that had been building for the past hour. He spoke again in a softer tone. “Danno?” His eyes took in the still form on the bed. Steve moved to the bedside quickly and pressed his index finger to his friend’s neck to find a carotid pulse. The act of palpating for a pulse did not stir the young man, who was lying flat on his back, draped in the bed sheet. His naked right leg and chest were exposed and disturbingly cool to the touch.

 

“Danno!” He nearly shouted as he gently slapped his friend’s face. His action was rewarded with a soft groan as Williams stirred. Dan swallowed and grimaced slightly before he opened his eyes to take in the scene. Clearly dazed with the typical confusion of awakening from a long sleep, he turned his head slowly until his eyes rested on the human shape nearby. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and seemed relieved to recognize the voice of his boss. “Danno? Are you all right?”

 

“Steve.” His voice was hoarse, and he spoke quietly. Confusion still the order of the moment, he moved his head in the direction of his alarm clock. “What time is it?”

 

“Late… nine thirty in the morning.” McGarrett offered as he studied his detective’s pale countenance. “I got concerned when you didn’t show up at the office, and you didn’t answer your phone.”

 

It was several more seconds before Williams digested the information and made sense of his circumstance. He let his head drop back onto the pillow and closed his eyes again. “I’m so tired.”

 

“Well, I’m calling Doc Bergman right now!” The head of Five-0 reached for the phone on the night stand and grew a notch more concerned as Dan did not object or react to the call for medical assistance. Instead, his breathing settled back into the gentle rhythm of sleep as McGarrett placed the call to the medical examiner, and coincidentally, the official physician of Hawaii Five-0.

 

 

*****

 

Attired in green surgical scrubs, Bergman arrived at Williams’ apartment within thirty minutes of McGarrett’s distressed call. The physician allowed the detective to doze while he performed a basic vital-signs examination, but forced his patient to come to a sitting position after that. Steve solicitously propped his friend up by stuffing a couple of nearby pillows behind him, and then he moved to open the curtains and slide the bedroom lanai door partially open to allow a cross-current of fresh air to cycle through the room.

 

“Danny, your blood pressure is eighty five over sixty – no wonder you feel too tired to stand. Your temperature is ninety six degrees AND I suspect you’re incredibly dehydrated.” As he spoke, Bergman moved from where he was seated on the edge of the bed to a chair which McGarrett had retrieved from the wall and placed near the patient’s head. Williams seemed to be listening with tired disinterest, but did not acknowledge the comments verbally.

 

Steve, on the other hand, was in active pursuit of an answer. He stepped closer and took a seat on the foot of the bed. “So, Doc, what’s the diagnosis?”

 

The physician ran his hand slowly over his face and slowly shook his head before he spoke. “Well, that Asian strain of influenza has hit our shores. It could be that, but he’s missing a lot of the symptoms – high fever for one.” He shrugged and, not taking his eyes off Dan, continued. “On the other hand, not everybody is prone to fevers with illness.”

 

McGarrett’s frustration with the lack of a definitive diagnosis was evident in his tone. “So what’s the next step here?”

 

“Well, I could admit him to the hospital for more extensive tests,” The medical man was clearly perplexed.

 

“Don’t need tests. It— It all makes sense… now… sort of.” Both McGarrett and Bergman started slightly at Williams’ groggy contribution. Dan slowly brought his hand up and massaged his throat as the two men at his bedside diverted glances to each other.

 

“Danno, what do mean?” Steve did not expect a viable and logical explanation to be presented – McGarrett was certain that his friend had to be under siege by some microscopic enemy. But if Williams thought he had information, the head of Five-0 knew he would do well to glean what he could from it.

 

Dan scrunched his nose as he swallowed before he looked into McGarrett’s eyes. “It was vampires… they held me down and drank my blood.”

 

The head of Five-0 maintained eye contact – albeit raised eye brows in place – with his very serious second-in-command long enough – he hoped in passing – to give the impression that he was not outright scoffing at the outlandish assertion. Finally, he rotated his gaze to Bergman, who was already waiting for a silent visual communication from the detective.

 

“More tests,” Bergman mouthed softly with a single nod. He rose and changed the subject as he left the room. “You need to drink something, Danny. Got any orange juice?” His voice trailed into the kitchen leaving McGarrett to stare into his protégé’s hollow expression. If Dan had any clue about how insane his explanation sounded, he did not show it. A pang of guilt struck Steve as he realized that Dan simply expected that he – his friend and mentor – would afford him the opportunity to argue his theory, no matter how far-fetched it seemed. That Danno’s perception might be colored by the dementia of his sickness, McGarrett decided, was beside the point at the moment.

 

“She…” Williams looked down at his wrist. The recollection of Tracy lapping at the wound was hazy, almost like a nightmare reconsidered in the light of day, but his gut told him he hadn’t been dreaming… that Tracy and two or three other… other what? People? Vampires? Whatever they were they had invaded his home and assaulted him. “Tracy drank my blood.” He looked back at McGarrett, who was grateful to see the doctor plodding back into the room with a glass of juice.

 

He reseated himself and offered the beverage to his patient. “Drink up, Danny – you are in serious need of liquid and some nourishment.”

 

“It’s sour and it burns my throat,” Dan complained softly, but Bergman was not to be put off.

 

“When you’re sick, nothing tastes good. I just tried a little glass in the kitchen – it’s not bad. Trust me.” The doctor moved the glass closer to his patient, who reluctantly accepted it. Absentmindedly, Dan took a couple of sips before he continued with his train of thought. “Steve, this explains who killed the guys.”

 

“Keep drinking,” the doctor commanded gently, and Dan complied by taking a few larger drinks. Finally, he’d had enough and pushed the half-full glass back into Bergman’s hand. Suddenly very tired again, he desperately wanted to voice his theory to his boss. His head was reeling with data points and flashes of recollection. He knew his thoughts were muddled – after all, he’d been robbed of who knew how much of his blood only hours ago. But Steve would know what to do with it all.

 

“I have to tell you this – I was in bed and the next thing I know, they were holding me down, and a male… Caucasian… dark hair… with fangs... grabbed my throat and… and… took my blood… I KNOW he took my blood… my neck… my throat…”

 

The head of Five-0 glanced at Williams’ bare neck, unblemished except for the vicious pre-existing bite mark as he did his best to help his detective clarify what he was trying to get out. “How did he take your blood? You don’t seem to have any—” He hesitated, but finally plunged ahead. “Teeth marks or any other wounds that would allow for major blood loss.”

 

Dan looked down at the scab on his wrist, and admitted, “I don’t know, Steve, but I know I’m onto something.” He let his head drop back onto the pillow. “The Pipeline deaths were murders…” His voice trailed off, leaving McGarrett to shake his head at the misguided certainty with which is friend spoke.

 

“So do we need to get him to the hospital, Doc?” Steve queried as he leaned forward to cover Dan’s bare leg with the sheet. “Doc?” The detective looked up from his task just in time to watch Bergman drop from the chair like an insect who’d been gassed in mid-flight. The physician landed with a thud on the carpeted floor by the bed, the glass he’d been holding spilling its contents as it landed an instant after him. “Doc!” McGarrett shouted as he plunged to the unconscious man’s side.

 

“Hmm.. tests…just rejel… Dora.” The crumpled form mumbled and then began to snore.

 

In an instant, McGarrett was transformed from concerned friend to investigator as he tried to ascertain what had just happened. Looking back up into the bed, it was apparent that both doctor and patient were now in deep repose. The commonality between the two – they’d both consumed the fruity drink! The toppled glass came into focus and he collected it and sniffed – pineapple was the dominant scent.

 

McGarrett’s thoughts raced as he got on the phone and called for two ambulances and someone – preferably Che Fong – from the lab to respond to what was now a crime scene. How major the crime in question was yet to be revealed.

 

He retrieved another pillow from the rattan easy chair across the room and gently placed it under Bergman’s head. He didn’t tarry over the physician – instead he leaned forward and placed his hand on Williams’ cool neck to reassure himself that his friend’s stillness was only sleep. Whoever had done this – for whatever reason – would pay. The detective set his jaw and strode into the kitchen to search for the source of the tainted juice. He quickly spotted the nearly empty pitcher, which was sitting in the sink, and used a dish towel to collect it in the faint hope of capturing at least a partial finger print. Careful to set the container out of harm’s way to preserve the teaspoon or so of liquid lingering in the bottom, he cocked his head, baffled at the situation. Had Danno’s girl friend slipped something into his drink? To what end? Was she angry enough to pull a vindictive stunt like this? If so, how far had she gone?

 

McGarrett wandered slowly around the apartment, now looking at each room with a cop’s eye, as he began to review the details of his detective’s not-completely-coherent report. He said he’d been held down by three or four people, who’d bitten him and drank his blood… Okay. He stopped in his tracks and shook his head. The detective knew that, in order to make any progress, he would have to set aside his disbelief, and find a scenario that fit the facts. Perhaps Williams had, in his drugged fog, twisted the events of the beach-party-gone-awry with whatever happened here in his apartment only hours earlier.

 

“Okay, Danno,” he said out loud as he started back towards the bedroom. “Maybe you weren’t bitten, but maybe you recognized your assailants as biters!”

 

Just as he reached the doorway, the front door pushed open, and Kono and Chin rushed in.

 

“Boss, we heard the call on the radio to send ambulances and the lab to Danny’s!” Chin announced loudly. Both detectives were alarmed and full of adrenaline as they joined their boss.

 

The Hawaiian detective didn’t wait for an explanation to be offered. “Where’s Danny? Is he all right?”

 

McGarrett patted the bigger man on the shoulder and offered a marginally reassuring nod. “He’s okay, I think. Do you believe in vampires, gentlemen?” Unsurprised that the bizarre question generated an exchange of perplexed expressions between his two detectives, Steve nodded for them to follow him into the bedroom, where he outlined the sequence of events that led to the scene now unfolded there before them.

 

“Auwe!” Kono breathed as he slipped between the unconscious physician and the bed to lay his hand gently on Williams’ sleeping cheek. “Where’d the vampire bite him, boss?”

 

McGarrett smiled thinly  “Let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet, my friend. So far the evidence indicates that the only blood-sucking fiend in this case is an angry ex-girlfriend, whom you two are going to drag out of whatever coffin she calls home and bring in.”

 

There was a tap at the door as the medical personnel made their entrances. The detectives helped to get the two unconscious men onto stretchers and on their way to the hospital. McGarrett looked up from the outbound stretcher to see Che Fong’s darkening expression as he flattened himself against the wall to make way for the patients. He looked toward the head of Five-0 in for an explanation. “Danny and Berg? What the heck happened, Steve?”

 

“The story’s getting longer by the minute. They’re sleeping off some sort of sedative that somebody – possibly Danno’s new ex-girlfriend – used to spike the juice.” McGarrett offered the abbreviated explanation and instructions quickly. “What you’re looking for is anything that will shed some light on what happened here last night. My only advice to you is don’t eat or drink anything.”

 

The small Chinese man nodded and immediately set about his assignment as the head of Five-0 rushed out the door to catch up with the ambulances.

 

 

*****

 

“Danny, I drop by your place and you let me slip myself a Mickey – what kind of host are you anyway?” Bergman, sporting an orange and gray floral luau shirt, sauntered through the door into his patient’s room to find the head of Five-0 detective hovering with a cup of coffee by Williams’ bed.

 

Partially reclined with an untouched tray of food on the bed table nearby, Dan lethargically turned his attention to the physician, and let a smile slip onto his face. “An unconscious one I guess, Doc.”

 

The medical examiner managed to sleep off the effects of the drug within a couple of hours of his arrival at the hospital. When he awakened, he confirmed that he did in fact have a couple of sips of the tainted juice in Williams’ kitchen before he brought what was left of the drink into his hapless patient in the bedroom. Uncertain how long the pitcher might have been sitting in the bachelor’s fridge, with chagrin, Bergman confessed that his goal in tasting the juice was to avoid forcing his patient to consume anything that might have aged beyond the point of benefit.

 

McGarrett grinned and gently grabbed the physician’s bicep. “Well, Doc, it’s a good thing for Danno’s sake that you did taste the juice. You certainly expedited the discovery of the spiked drink!”

 

With a grin, Bergman responded as he stepped up to the bedside to study his patient. “Anything to help, Steve.”

 

Before the physician could inquire further, McGarrett offered news on Williams’ condition with the gravity of a concerned friend. “Unlike you, Doc, he’s been a little slow to come around.” 

 

The lead detective noted with interest that Bergman acknowledged the news without surprise. “Umm, zat so…” The medical man looked at his co-victim, but addressed his boss. “Any clues uncovered at Dan’s apartment – besides a fat, unconscious doctor under the bed?” 

 

 

McGarrett’s lip twitched as he began to sketch discoveries that had come to light in the hours since the man had fallen from the chair asleep. Tracy was nowhere to be found – Chin discovered that she hadn’t been seen coming or going from her apartment for at least a few days, and the volume of uncollected mail supported the theory that she had not been there for even longer.

 

Che uncovered small blood spatters in numerous spots on the bed sheets, and one of the residents of Dan’s apartment turned in a blood-soaked towel that had been dumped in the bushes nearby. All of the crimson stains, including those saturating the towel, were of Williams’ type. The lead detective had been very surprised to learn of the blood evidence since his current theory did not account for any blood loss on the part of his friend.

 

“Oddly, Doc, Danno has only two blood-producing wounds on his body, and both of them pre-date anything that might’ve happened last night.” McGarrett frowned and addressed his friend with an aside. “How ‘bout eating something?” He flashed a brief grin at Williams as he added, “If you want, I’ll have Doc taste it for you first!”

 

The quip elicited a brief, crooked smile from the patient as he slowly collected a pack of crackers from the tray. “That didn’t help me any the last time.”

 

“Touché, Danny.” Bergman wrinkled his nose as he pulled the pen light from his pocket and checked the patient’s pupil responses. His eyes narrowed slightly as he grew serious. “If I recall, you had the recollection that your assailants drank your blood.”

 

Williams nodded slowly as he chewed the soda cracker and admitted, “It sounds crazy, and I don’t know how it couldn’t have been a bad dream.” He gently ran his hand over his throat and added, “Especially since I don’t have the fang marks to prove it.”

 

“Well, I can’t explain how it couldn’t be a bad dream either, but I just reviewed your lab work.” Bergman shot a glance at McGarrett. “Your hematocrit is very low – that, in conjunction with your vital signs and physical symptoms, indicate to me that you’ve lost a substantial amount of blood in the past twelve hours.”

 

The surprise and dismay on his face was reflected in McGarrett’s voice. “Doc, how is this possible?”

 

Bergman looked away from his patient and met the intense blue eyes of his interrogator. “I don’t know! I’m gonna have him checked for a bleeding ulcer, but barring that, I don’t have an answer for you, Steve.”

 

Dan’s face twisted in momentary discomfort as he swallowed the cracker and spoke. “Doc, did you find any signs that Ulu or Kawena or Ekela had bleeding ulcers?”

 

“The stomachs of all three were pristine,” Bergman responded as he re-pocketed his pen light. “I’m not sure what that has to do with you though.”

 

“Well, Doc, at the wake last night, Ekela’s cousin mentioned that they’d taken Ekela to the hospital a few evenings before he died. He was so weak he could barely stand. The only explanation Ekela could offer was that he thought he might’ve overdone it at a party the previous evening.” Dan reached for a cup of apple juice on the tray and took a delicate sip before he added, “I guess he was scheduled for some sort of test – an upper something – the cousin thought they suspected a bleeding ulcer.”

 

“An upper GI series,” the medical man mumbled with a frown. “They wouldn’t have found anything.”

 

Knowing where his detective was heading, McGarrett’s heart rate picked up as he considered Williams’ question. “Four young men – all surfers, taken ill by some sickness that mimics a bleeding ulcer. Doc, for the sake of argument, were the state of all three of the bodies consistent with dramatic blood loss?”

 

Bergman scratched his head. “Possibly. A dead body will absorb water like a sponge, so how low their hematocrits were at the time of death is hard to say.”

 

“So it’s possible that our victims died as a result of blood loss – yes, mysterious blood loss, but loss nonetheless!” McGarrett stabbed his finger at the doctor, who didn’t look completely convinced, but had no better theories at the moment. “By the way, Danno -- what kind of party was Ekela talking about ?”


Williams’ eyes seemed to be a much paler shade of blue than McGarrett knew them to be as the significance of what the young detective was about to say registered in them. “A beach party – on the North Shore.”

 

The lead detective’s eyes narrowed. “I think we have some holes in our education about what some people do with blood – and how they go about obtaining it.”

 

“And just where do you intend to go to educate yourself, Mr. McGarrett?” Bergman inquired skeptically.

 

“To an expert, Doc. In the meantime, do whatever you need to do to make sure that my friend here doesn’t actually have a bleeding ulcer.” Steve winked at Williams, who was glad to see that his grizzly supposition was being taken very seriously by Hawaii’s top cop. “I’ll be back!”

 

 

*****

 

“You’re telling me that vampires are real, Doc?” McGarrett cocked his head and let a thin, skeptical grin slide onto his face. He’d taken the proffered seat at the Queen’s Hospital cafeteria table, where he and psychiatrist, Doctor Solomon Murray, were seated. The clinical man, who was an expert of some renown in abnormal psychology, had promptly agreed to answer some questions over which the head of Five-0 had been pondering.

 

Solomon pulled his coffee a little closer to him and grinned. “In a sense, yes, Steve. Ever heard of a sanguinarian?”

 

“Well, I know the Latin word, sanguis, means blood,” the detective offered at a measured pace.

 

“From your alter boy days, no doubt,” Murray returned with a nod. “The word has a long and convoluted history involving both French and Old English interpretations of medieval beliefs of the human body and the concept of the four humors.”

 

“Sol, I’d love to hear the history lesson, but I need to know sooner rather than later whether I need hand cuffs or wooden stakes to end a series of rather perplexing deaths.”

 

The doctor’s eye brows rose to almost touch his disheveled brown mop of hair as the importance of the conversation became clear to him. “I suspect all you’ll need is handcuffs, Steve. There are people who crave blood and find willing donors to sate their urges. Of course, they don’t have fangs – at least not ones they didn’t purchase. Of course, movies have gone a long way towards romanticizing the behavior.” Murray went on to explain that an entire crop of blood fetishes had sprung up in recent decades. He’d read of everything from people using theater-prop fangs to draw blood on friend and enemy alike to parties where those of like mind would gather and perform acts of blood letting on the willing -- and sometimes not so willing.

 

“Do these…” The detective struggled to find the right word.

 

“Vampires,” the doctor offered.

 

McGarrett accepted the word and continued. “Do these vampires have an actual physical need to consume blood?” The cop could not keep distaste from his expression.

 

Murray shook his head slightly. “We all have a need for protein and the minerals found in blood, but a steak or a spinach salad would serve that need quite nicely. As far as I’m concerned, the reasons are psychological, more often than not, a result of a blood fetish, and occasionally related to the practice of some non-mainstream religion, like witchcraft or voodoo. Of course, ceremonies which involve the taking of blood from an unwilling – or unaware – human donor are certainly illegal.”

 

“Which brings me to my next question, Sol. Is there a preferred method of blood letting? And let’s say we’re dealing with a group that has taken a victim and does not want that person to know that they’ve been, uh… shall we say tapped.”

 

The psychiatrist frowned in concentration and took a sip of his coffee. “Well, I did hear of a case in Massachusetts a few years back. A licensed phlebotomist, as it turned out, with a known blood fetish, was actually stealing blood from neighbors in his apartment complex. If I recall, he was injecting knock-out drops through the lids of his victims’ milk right after the milk man made his deliveries. The only reason they caught him was because one of his victims died from a reaction to the sedative.”

 

Energized with the possibility that a needle – of the type legally used to withdraw blood from a human being --- could be the weapon he sought, he thanked Doctor Solomon Murray, and rushed off. He wanted Bergman to go over his friend with a fine-tooth comb to locate any puncture wounds, which could have easily been overlooked. After all, they’d all been looking for signs of incautious deliberately-inflicted trauma.

 

 

*****

 

“Nothing? Not a mark?” McGarrett was not only shocked, he was almost outraged. His theory hinged on the existence of a needle track mark someplace on Williams’ body.

 

“I’m sorry, Steve! I searched every inch of my VERY unhappy patient, and the only needle mark I could find was the one from the IV they inserted when he arrived here this morning.” Bergman fired back adamantly. “And no sign of a bleeding ulcer either!”

 

Dan sitting on the edge of the bed, in a white, hospital-issued robe, jumped slightly as his boss slammed his fist down on the neighboring tray table. Instantly realizing the effect his impulsive reaction had caused, he placed on hand gently on the table he’d just smacked.

 

“Sorry,” he offered as he looked at his friend. The young detective’s face was gaunt and pale, but McGarrett sensed that the patient was feeling much better with the sedative now out of his system. That news alone was enough to bring the lead detective back into a more even-tempered frame of mind.

 

With an almost-amused look at his often-quick-to-burn boss, Williams silently accepted the apology by changing the subject. “Any luck on finding Tracy or her friends?”

 

“Tracy – no. She hasn’t been home for several days, BUT Kono was able to get a bead on a guy named Zachary Latrusco. He rents a cottage not too far from where he frequently hosts private beach parties. His girlfriend is Linda “Lulu” Zamora.”

 

Dan reacted with subdued excitement as he absentmindedly let his hand drift up to the healing wound on his neck. “The biter!”

 

McGarrett gave a single nod and raised one eye brow. “The biter indeed, Danno. And I guess they don’t hide the fact that they like to bite. The couple down the street described the crowd that come and go from there as friendly, but strange. They refused to elaborate any further. Of course, biting among consensual adults – while unappealing to me – is not a crime.”

 

“Before we can link them to the surfer deaths, we have to have evidence that they’re into blood theft.” Dan’s expression tightened marginally.

 

The lead detective smirked and sat down on the bed next to his friend. “It’s called blood letting, and you’re right – we need evidence, but I’m afraid I’ll be laughed out of the judge’s quarters if I ask for a warrant to search a premises for signs of vampiric activity.”

 

“I know – until a few days ago – I would’ve agreed with the judge,” Dan looked down as he slowly acknowledged. He licked his lips and looked up at his boss. “I know how we can the evidence, Steve. There’s another beach party tonight – Tracy wanted me to put this one on my calendar as well.”

 

McGarrett stood in preparation for squelching the very bad idea which he knew was formulating in his detective’s head. “If you think for a second that I’m going to allow you to stroll into that party tonight and pretend to be okay with whatever kinky thing those people are into, you’re out of your mind!”

 

Williams’ voice was still hoarse, but he managed to raise the volume as he returned firmly. “Steve, people are dying as a result of something that’s related to what goes on at those parties, and until we understand what that something is, we won’t be able to stop it!

 

“The idea’s not bad, but you’re in no condition to defend yourself if the operation goes south. We can send in somebody else undercover – somebody who’s not already weak from blood loss!”

 

“That would be fine if we could wait weeks for that person to get checked out and finally invited to one of their little shin digs! I’ve already got an invitation – if I make out like I’m there to fall on knees and beg forgiveness of Tracy, they may fall for it long enough for me to gain some insight into what’s happening!”

 

The argument stopped the lead detective in his tracks as he struggled to think of a better alternative. Williams pushed his advantage in a little softer tone. “Steve, you’re right – I’m not in peak form at the moment. But I’ve lost three friends, and who knows what victims are waiting in the wings. Please… I’ll be careful, and I know you’ll have me covered like a blanket.”

 

McGarrett grit his teeth and shook his head slowly before he looked into Dan’s desperate expression. It was frustrating to find himself in a situation that would force him to send his recuperating friend into a potentially lethal situation. But Danno was right. Other innocents could be only hours from falling victim to these monsters. Placing a hand on the young detective’s shoulder, he delivered his agreement with gravity. “Okay, Danno, I don’t see any viable way around this, but we’re gonna play this by MY rules.”

 

Williams nodded solemnly, even as a sense of fear at the prospect of walking into the ghoulish party began to grip him.

 

Steve spun suddenly to address the medical examiner, who quietly witnessed the exchange between the two detectives. “Doc, I NEED you to figure out how they’re extracting blood from people! Put yourself in the shoes of a sneaky, perverted phlebotomist!” McGarrett’s voice was not loud, but the words were delivered with the usual intensity.

 

Bergman frowned and sighed loudly. “A sneaky, perverted…” The sentence died as his eyes met the lead detective’s. “I guess I’ll go back and give poor Ulu Black a more in-depth look. Maybe a needle mark will be easier to spot now that he’s dried out a bit.”

 

 

*****

 

“Okay – there!” McGarrett held up his hand to Chin and the HPD officer helping man the parabolic dish antenna. The head of Five-0 had borrowed the very expensive listening device, which could pick up sound from up to two thousand feet away, from the FBI office, knowing full well he’d have to pay a price with some unpalatable return favor at a later date, but it had been the only way Steve could know what was happening in the secluded cove a half mile away. The sound of laughter and voices came through clearly on the speaker. Marginally satisfied that he would have a clue if his detective needed help, he sat down on the sandy berm and pulled the infrared binoculars – also from the FBI – to his face.

 

It was already growing dark when he got the word from Kono, stationed off the main road below with a team of HPD personnel, that Williams’ old red Dodge pick had just turned down the private drive. The nearest parking was about a quarter mile away, and the last time he caught sight of his friend, the detective, attired in orange swim trunks and an orange and white luau shirt, was trudging over the last sand dune before he would make contact with the suspects. Be careful, Danno…

 

 

*****

 

It was too late to have second thoughts, but Dan was having them nonetheless as he discovered how quickly the walk through the sand tired him. The conversations came to a trickle, and Williams knew that lookouts must have warned of the approach of a visitor. From the top of the dune, he looked down on the rapidly-quieting crowd. He scanned the faces, most of whom looked at him neutrally, but the sun was well below the horizon now, so those who were not near the big bonfire were not easily identifiable.

 

“I’m looking for Tracy – Is she here?”

 

A confident masculine voice called out from the shadows on the opposite side of the flames. “Now exactly why, Danny the surfer, do you want to see Tracy?”

 

An involuntary chill rippled through Dan as he recognized the voice from his vampire dream, but he kept his cool. “I’m not sure whether it’s any of your business, but I said some things to her on the phone yesterday that I didn’t mean. I was a little angry that she didn’t… didn’t prepare me for what might happen at the party the other night.”

 

“And if she HAD prepared you?”

 

This time the voice was female – Tracy, he thought, but he had to admit he wasn’t certain. Dan realized that he had not come down into the circle of partiers, a very defensive – and not very trusting – position. So, with all the casualness he could muster, he made his way down the embankment so that he was within grabbing distance of several people (them-grabbing-HIM distance and not the other way around!). He nodded slightly at a nearby woman, who gave him a friendly eye back, and then he responded to his ex-girlfriend’s question, hoping that his false sincerity did not appear false to everyone else. “If I’d given her the opportunity – and maybe I might be willing to admit that I didn’t – but if I had, and she had said something to the effect of, ‘Danny, you know if you’re willing to open yourself up to some new possibilities about pleasure and pain, I can help you get there.’ But that isn’t what happened. I wasn’t ready and so I wasn’t the most gracious guest at the party the other night.” The crackling of the fire was the only sound for several seconds, but just as the detective was beginning to think that nobody bought his line, the petite Polynesian woman with the blue eyes stepped from the shadows and approached him.

 

She smiled seductively and extended her hand as she reached him. “Danny… you make a good case for me forgiving you.” She reached up and kissed him so passionately that Dan had to force himself to forget that people were watching as he reciprocated enthusiastically. It seemed the kiss had broken the tension in the crowd as people slowly returned to their conversations and the man on the bongo drums picked up where he’d left off a couple of minutes earlier. The detective let the woman lead him past the fire and into the darkness from where she’d appeared. He didn’t want to get too far from where he thought the answers might be, but he knew he didn’t dare risk aggravating her until he could better gauge her mood. She tugged him behind a large outcropping off volcanic rock, making the only light be that from the full moon above. Tracy turned suddenly and clutched him in a kiss, but her lips did not remain on his. Instead, they traveled down to his neck. He tensed slightly at the thought that she might take a hunk out of him as Lulu had done, but relaxed as he felt that her nibble was much more gentle and the pain barely noticeable. The detective didn’t think she’d even broken the skin, but when her mouth found his again, the coppery taste of blood was there.

 

He fought the urge to wretch, telling himself that he’d tasted his own blood before. Instead, he knew he’d found a logical segway from the subject of biting to that of letting blood. “It’s blood… I’m bleeding.”

 

She smiled and brought her fingers up to touch the small wound she’d made on Dan’s neck. “Yes, I’m drawing on your energy.” Licking her finger, she started towards his neck again, but Williams stopped her.

 

“I had a dream last night that you came to me… you and others… you came and drank my blood.” Dan studied her face, appalled by the pleasure he was reading.

 

“Would you like to drink MY blood? The neck is not the best place for a beginner to start.”

 

“You WERE at my apartment? Who was with you?” Dan pressed. Tracy opened her mouth to speak, but her attention was distracted by something behind the detective. Two sets of hands grabbed him roughly and pushed him to his knees. “Hey! What’s going on?”

 

“Tracy, did you know that Danny the surfer is also Danny the cop?” Dan recognized the voice of the toothy vampire that subdued him the previous evening.

 

The young woman looked confused. “Yes, Danny works at the Iolani Palace – not many policemen work there at all. It’s like he’s royalty.”

 

The voice sighed, and barked to someone Williams could not see. “Get rid of his car.”

 

The memory of the fanged creature, his mouth gaping open dramatically as his the hand tightened its grip around his neck made the persistent pain in his throat seem as though it had just happened. But the detective was determined to at least ask the questions even if he never got to hear the answers himself.

 

“YOU were there too -- at my apartment – the one with the fangs!” Dan groaned as the captor on his back right squeezed the bite bruise on his lower neck.

 

“The fangs – yes, a touch of drama, some people expect it. Besides, chicks dig ‘em.”

 

What kind of chicks? Dan wondered silently, but instead, the more important questions came out. “Why? Why do you drink blood and how do you take it without leaving marks?”

 

“Energy… we need human blood to survive… to be feel alive.” Finally, the vampire behind him stepped past and roughly grabbed his face and forced the detective to look up into his own. The fake teeth weren’t there, but Williams instantly recognized the man, who breathed viciously into his prisoner’s face. “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, cop! As for how, I think I’ll make sure you stay awake while I feed on you this evening. That way, you can watch while I drain the life force from you!” Zachary Latrusco’s attention was diverted to Tracy’s whimpering figure behind him. “But before that, I think perhaps our little idiot wanna-be-vampire surfer magnet should drive the cop’s car off a cliff for us!”

 

“I’m definitely ready to wake up now! Dan said as loudly. The detective felt the foot on his back only a second before it slammed him into the sand.  

 

“Wake up? But this is no ordinary nightmare!”

 

His head was reeling and sand had spilled into his mouth, but Williams struggled to his knees, and tried to make the words come out as a shout. “You’re all under arrest!” He braced himself and ran headlong into Latrusco’s legs, knocking him roughly to the ground. “Run, Tracy!” Dan called, feeling the tight grip on one of his legs and his arms – he knew he was too weak to flee. The frightened woman heeded his command and bolted into the darkness.

 

“Get her!” Barked Latrusco as he delivered a back-handed blow to the detective, who dropped onto his back and didn’t move.

 

“I said you’re under arrest,” Dan whispered.

 

“And just who’s going to arrest me? You?” The man twisted his face in a combination of rage and glee.

 

“No – the cop standing behind you ready to make you eat your fake fangs,” Dan smiled.

 

“Wha?” The anger left Latrusco’s face as he turned to look behind him. In fact, he didn’t have time to focus on the figure before a fist smacked him in the face and knocked him into the sand.

 

The sound of HPD officers rounding up shocked revelers echoed against the nearby rock as McGarrett looked angrily down at his prisoner. "The only reason I'm not gonna make you eat your fangs is because I might need them for evidence!" 

 

Three HPD officers and Chin came jogging around the bend and took charge of the prisoner, and Kono plodded from the darkness dragging a weeping Tracy. Two more HPD men brought up the rear with the two men who’d subdued Williams in custody.

 

The scene quickly and efficiently under control, McGarrett focused his attention on his unmoving detective. “Danno! Are you all right?”

 

The detective’s brow furled, but the smile remained. “Yeah – help me up.” His voice was gravelly, and blood flowed freely from both nostrils and his mouth.

 

The head of Five-0 pulled his second to his feet as gingerly as he could and kept hand on his arm to steady him on the trip back towards the car. The two men walked in silence, ignoring the cacophony of noise around them, for about a hundred yards. McGarrett watched where his friend was walking almost more than he watched his own step, as he saw that Dan was beginning to lean on him.

 

“Easy, Danno, we’re almost there,” Steve promised.

 

“You moved before I gave the signal,” Williams breathed. They had agreed before hand that Dan would make a reference to waking up at the point where he felt he’d gotten enough evidence to at least get a search warrant on Latrusco’s place. The younger detective was correct though – McGarrett knew that his detective was pushing for as much in the way of a confession as he could get, but Steve had heard enough when he heard Latrusco command the disposal of the detective’s car. Deciding it was too risky for his friend to continue, the head of Five-0 called the units and instructed them to move in and start making arrests.

 

Placing his arm around Williams’ shoulder to steady him, McGarrett agreed. “Yeah, I did.”

 

“Uh, Steve,” Dan was panting by now.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Thanks.” Williams offered softly.

 

The head of Five-0 smiled. “You KNOW you’re welcome.” That was all that needed to be said between the two men.

 

The cars became visible a few moments after that. Chin, holding the radio mic from McGarrett’s car, looked up to see the two Five-0 detective’s making their way toward him. “Steve! It’s Doc Bergman – he says it’s an emergency!” Torn between continuing at the leisurely pace and rushing to the radio, the head of Five-0 hesitated for an instant, giving his second an opening.

 

“Steve, it’s okay. I’m gonna sit down for a moment.” Dan whispered and McGarrett helped / dragged him the two feet to a small sand bank, where the detective landed gently and slumped over.

 

“I’ll be right back,” the lead detective promised.

 

“Doc – what’s the emergency? We’ve made the arrests!” McGarrett barked.

 

I know how the bloodletting happened without leaving any marks! You’ve got to get Danny here immediately! Don’t jostle him and don’t let him get horizontal! Is that clear?”

 

“Yeah, Doc! We’re on our way!” McGarrett exchanged a panicked look with the Chinese detective, who’d heard the ominous instruction, and both men raced towards Williams as he tipped over face first onto the sand.

 

“Danno!” With Chin on one side and McGarrett on the other, the two men wasted no time in getting the semi-conscious detective into the back of McGarrett’s car.

 

“I’m okay... Just need to rest,” Dan mumbled but did not open his eyes.

 

Steve drove while Chin kept his colleague propped upright, per the doctor’s mysterious instructions. Once on the road, with sirens blaring, McGarrett called the Bergman and asked for an explanation.

 

I got to thinking about Danny’s persistent complaint about his sore throat. So I focused on Ulu’s thoracic area. I had to totally remove the esophagus before I spotted it, but I decided that a sneaky phlebotomist would know this.”

 

The doctor went on to explain that a trained person could insert a needle directly into the carotid artery through the esophagus. Of course, doing that was risky, he explained if one wanted the blood donor to live. The blood evacuation needles are large and a cut or tear – even a small one in the carotid – would require a stitch to keep the patient from hemorrhaging and possibly bleeding out. They would have to exhume the bodies of the Kawena and Ekela to know whether the small stitch held, but it was clear to Bergman that Ulu Black bled out from as a result of a poorly placed stitch.

 

McGarrett glanced in his rear view mirror to see Chin dabbing at the crimson stream trickling from his unconscious second’s mouth. He pressed on the gas just a nudge harder and focused getting the maximum performance from the engine of his Ford.

 

 

*****

 

“By the  way, I emptied your fridge of everything – right down to the last olive – just in case your blood-sucking girlfriend spiked anything else.”

 

“Thanks, Steve,” Dan muttered with a grin as McGarrett held the wheelchair still while he settled into it for the mandatory ride to the front door.

 

Kono and Chin were waiting in the lobby to greet their colleague after his overnight hospital stay. Bergman had been waiting with a surgical team when McGarrett pulled into the parking lot, and Williams was rushed into the operating room to re-stitch and fortify the sloppy operation that had been performed by the vampire squad. Tracy confessed that she’d copied Dan’s key one day just in case she needed it, and when he’d shunned her and her new lifestyle, she’d sought revenge by trying to bring him into the fold against his will. The demented fiend, Latrusco, agreed because it sounded like fun, she reported.

 

“So, Danny, you got bit by a vampire – now, don’t that make you one of them?” Kono smiled broadly and nudged the smaller detective still in the wheel chair.

 

Chin and McGarrett stifled chuckles in wait of a response from their resident vampire, who blinked and then snapped his head in the Hawaiian detective’s direction. He opened his mouth to speak, but suddenly thought better of it. Instead, in a quick single movement, he reached over and sank his teeth into the fleshy tissue his colleague’s hand.

 

“Ouch! Hey – that hurt!” Nonplussed, Kono quickly yanked his hand close to his chest. With a wounded expression, he inspected the assaulted area and then threw an outraged glance in Williams’ direction.  

 

“Now, YOU are VUN of us too!” Five-0’s second-in-command swept his arm up dramatically to cover his nose and mouth as he made the announcement in a dramatic rendition of Bela Lugosi’s accent.

 

McGarrett broke into outright laughter, and the Chinese detective did likewise, but stopped short as Dan look in his direction. Holding his hands up in surrender, Kelly announced loudly, “No need to bite me, man – I admit it – I’m already one of you!”

 

Steve squeezed the Hawaiian detective’s shoulder. “We’re all one of you, Danno – now that Kono’s on board—” The lead detective – and head vampire – leaned around so the other detectives could see the large-eyed look he was sporting. “So let’s save our fangs for the bad guys in paradise!”

 

 

PAU