Beyond Nocturne Ch. 07bybluefox07©
Before reading this final chapter to "Beyond Nocturne" I highly recommend that you read the previous chapters. The following may be confusing if you don't.
The sun slowly rose from its slumber, the sky turning to a pastel display of soft yellows, oranges, pinks and finally a reluctant blue. The omnipresent mass of Mount Shasta stood quietly and immutable against the sunrise, it's banks and cliffs blanketed with a white layer of snow. The air was crisp and piercingly cold, the first wisps of mist starting to curl and stretch like ghosts out of the cedar and pine trees that surrounded the small city nestled at the base of mountain. The streets of the Mount Shasta were quiet, peacefully muted as the hour turned to seven and the world began to wake up from its slumber.
Maricel shivered, even through the heavy ski-jacket she wore, standing on the handmade deck of Michael's cabin. The cabin itself had been built on one of the hillsides surrounding Lake Siskiyou and offered a spectacular view of the mountain and lake itself. Michael had joked it cost him a small fortune to build the cabin here, but it had been worth the price. Maricel hadn't seen the logic in his investing so much money into this tiny two-bedroom cabin until now. They had arrived at Mount Shasta a month ago, and until this morning, she hadn't taken the time to even go outside, let alone consider watching a sunrise. The pristine beauty of the sunrise somehow made her feel comforted, that there was indeed some greater force at work in the world. But this was as close as she could get to it, for as she watched, her skin began to grow hot.
The first rays of sunlight crested the ridge of the mountain, and she ducked back into the cabin. Painful welts had started form on her face, even in the few minutes leading up to the actually presence of sunlight being too much for her vampiric physiology. She sighed and walked through the silent shadows of the cabin. Michael had built it himself, everything was hand crafted and carefully constructed to meet his simple standards. She removed her jacket and sat down on the large sofa in the living room.
Her stomach felt uneasy and thick. She could feel the thirst needling away at her again. It had been two days since she had last fed, and her thirst had not been quenched. She imagined that Lydia wasn't doing well either with Michael's solution to their unique problem. Since they were hiding in an area with a small population and a less than transitory community, feeding on live people here was impossible without risking exposure. So Michael had gone to Sacramento and used some of their money to buy twenty gallons of blood meant for transfusions. He went through another of his connections in the underworld to make the purchase, and Maricel had been grateful for his generosity.
But the blood had been flat, like soda pop that's gone flat after sitting out for too long. With the connection to it's human host long since severed, the blood seemed to just lose its potency. Still, it nourished her and Lydia enough to keep them alive. Maricel went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. She removed one of the blood packs, poked a hole in it and poured the contents carefully into a glass. Her fangs slid down in anticipation of flesh, and she felt a familiar thrill tingle through her body as she instinctively felt the urge to feed. She drank the blood and slowly the thirst subsided.
"Nothing like a glass of plasma for breakfast," Michael commented, startling her as he walked into the kitchen, his dark blue robe wrapped tightly around his naked body.
"Would you like some?" she asked.
"I'll stick with Folgers, thanks," he smiled and then frowned, looking at her face, "What happened?"
Maricel touched her fingers to the painful raised marks. "Is it bad?"
"Looks like someone slapped you around with a hot poker," Michael said, "Would you like some ice?"
"No thank you," she shook her head and leaned against the counter. She looked to the kitchen window, which once looked out over the lake but was now covered with a think, dark curtain to keep the sunlight out. She looked at Michael, "I wanted to see as much of the sunrise as I could. I guess I waited too long."
"Dangerous," Michael muttered, "You have a death wish?"
"I'm already dead," she sighed.
Michael measured out his grounds and set to work brewing the morning coffee. His once light brown hair, now dyed black was disheveled and wild. He had let three days worth of stubble darken his features. He was a handsome man, and Maricel could see why Lydia loved him so much. She was surprised to find that she herself harbored an attraction for him. Ever since she woken up in the truck on during their exodus from San Francisco to avoid the authorities and... and that other thing.
"Do you think he's still after us?" Maricel asked quietly.
Michael didn't look up as he filled the coffee pot with water. He didn't say it, but she could feel his heart sink at the mention of their pursuer. Michael nodded, "Yes, he's still after us. Lydia can feel it. Can't you?"
"Sometimes I can," she said, "But I'm not as strong as Lydia, so I'm not always sure."
"It'll be a while before he gets here," Michael reassured her, "He's traveling over four hundred miles on foot, through bad weather and trying to avoid being seen. He has to travel at night, so I think we're okay for now. But when he does get here, I've got enough garlic, silver and stakes to make sure he doesn't stay long."
Maricel took a deep breath. "I never said thank you for saving me that night at Tiffany's apartment."
"And I'm sorry all this has happened to you," she added, uncertain of her motives as she looked at him. She knew she felt bad for his reluctant role in all this, and that his life as it had been would never be the same. All three of them were wanted by the police in connection to not only the murder of his former partner Rossetti, but also in the deaths of her best friends Tiffany and Missy. It all seemed so unfair to her, for Michael to have been made a suspect. He was the only one among them who wasn't a killer. Lydia had bitten his brother Steven and turned him into the nightmarish creature that was now following them, intent on killing them out of revenge. Steven had killed Michael's partner Detective Rossetti just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She herself had killed Tiffany and Missy in a blood lust, and what's worse she had enjoyed every last minute of it.
Michael's only crime was trying to find the truth.
"We're all over the news," Michael said as the smell of fresh coffee swirled around her nose, "There's a statewide search going on right now for all three of us. We have enough food, water and blood to make it three months without going to a grocery store. We have enough money to take care of all our expenses for a whole year. We're hiding in a relatively calm region of Northern California with an arsenal that the SFPD would be sweating to get their hands on. We're changing our physical appearances as much as we can. Things could be worse."
"Where's Lydia?" Maricel asked, wanting to change the subject. Talking about Lydia helped remind her that Michael belonged to Lydia, not her.
Michael tilted his head back towards the bedrooms. "She's still sleeping. She's dealing with a lot of guilt over this whole thing. She blames herself."
"I know," Maricel ran her hand through her hair, once long and golden blonde but now cut short and dyed to a deep rich brunette, "In some ways, she's right. In the most important ways, she wrong."
Michael poured a cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table, his bare feet thudding on the hard wood floor. He took a drink and said, "She started it by biting Steven in the first place, but she's not to blame. She couldn't help it. I don't blame her... this all started with that asshole who bit her. She's as much a victim as you are."
"I'm not a victim," Maricel said quietly as she sat down across from him, "I killed two people."
"Did you have any choice?" Michael asked, his blue eyes resting on hers.
Maricel looked away, recalling how she had sought Tiffany and her girlfriend out, seduced them into sex and then killed them. She could still recall their naked bodies, the taste of their flesh and the drugged complacency on their faces as she lured them into her trap. She also remembered the scream Missy had let out when Maricel had lost control over her and she slipped back to reality. And she remembered how violently she had silenced her...
"Did I?" Maricel shrugged, her eyes feeling hot as the welts on her face healed and disappeared, "Could I have resisted what the thirst was doing to me?"
"You can't dwell on this," Michael said, "They're dead, and there's nothing that can be done about it. Honor them as best you can and remember them, but don't carry the weight of the dead. I'm a cop, I know what I'm talking about."
"There's something wrong inside me, Michael," she said abruptly, surprised she even said the words as she placed a hand over her stomach, "I can feel it here."
"Do you think it's possible Steven impregnated you?" Michael asked, the brief and horrible image running through his mind of the snake-like penis that had hung between the monsters legs, and the damage it had done to Maricel when it arrived at Tiffany's apartment. He though of the horrible, black sticky liquid that had coated her thighs and the bed when they had found her.
"I think so," she confided, her voice choking.
"It's impossible," Lydia said from behind them. She stood in the kitchen doorway, dressed in her black leather pants and white shirt, her red hair pulled back and away from her face.
"Why is that?" Michael asked as he held his hand out to her.
Lydia walked over and kissed him, "Why do you think we never use a condom?"
"Vampires can't get pregnant?"
Lydia shook her head. "The virus that causes vampirism sterilizes eggs and sperm. Unless you bite someone who is already pregnant, no one can be born a vampire. As a subspecies, vampires cannot reproduce. Vampire babies are just a myth."
"So why do I feel like I'm pregnant?" Maricel asked.
"I think your nerves are shot," Lydia smiled gently as she sat down at the table, "You've been through a lot. I think we're all a little off our game."
"Speak for yourself," Michael said, taking another drink.
"Maybe I am off," she shrugged and tried to smile, but somehow, the smile didn't reach her eyes. More importantly, she didn't feel it in her heart. Something was wrong with her, and what worse, no matter how bad it might be, she knew that what Steven had in mind for them all was going to be much, much worse.
"Yes baby," Rhonda Hedges moaned against the back seat of her boyfriend's SUV as he pounded her from behind, his cock stretching her ass out with each powerful thrust. Her tits swayed back and forth as they fucked, his hand slapping her ass like he was some kind of sexually-charged cowboy busting in a wild bronco.
"Fuck yeah," Donnie Smith growled through his gritted teeth as he slammed her. He slapped her ass again hard, a growing red welt forming on her left cheek from his enthusiastic encouragement. He looked down at his body, twisting and working like a powerful, well-oiled machine. His cock rapidly sped in and out of her like one of the pistons in the engine of his beloved vehicle. He was almost as turned on by his own body as he was by Rhonda's shapely figure.
They had pulled off the edge of Soda Creek Road and parked in the bushes near the end of the winding road. Interstate 5 ran busily on the hillside above them as they went about their business, the vehicle rocking back and forth in the dark. Donnie had wanted to go to the lake and park, but Rhonda didn't want to risk anyone seeing them there. Soda Creek Road was further down the freeway, about ten miles south of Mount Shasta, and saw little traffic after sundown. They had parked around 10 p.m., started fucking at 10:15 and were still going strong at 11:30.
From out of the babbling water of Soda Creek came a pale, hulking figure. It was dripping wet and wheezing in the frigid winter air. Its carrion breath escaped its lungs in heavy puffs of thick mist. Glowing red eyes regarded the rocking vehicle carefully, studying it as it quietly came up along the passenger side of the vehicle. It slowly looked up into the fogged over window and saw with its keen eyes the broad backside of a young man. It could smell his blood, his virile essence pumping furiously through his body. The girl, equally as fresh and powerful, was moaning loudly as they had sex.
"Fuck yeah, fuck yeah bitch," the young man shouted as he slapped her. The creature cocked its head, understanding the significance of the domineering attitude and yet perplexed as to why the girl was remotely aroused by it. The creature licked its fleshy lips with a long, serpent-like tongue. It clicked its misshapen razor sharp teeth in anticipation as it felt the sexual energy between the two humans. Its long black claws unsheathed and were brought to bear as they rocked the car.
"You like that, don't you bitch?" Donnie hissed as he slapped her again.
Rhonda rolled her eyes, and in between his rhythmic pounding, said, "Don't... call... me... bitch..."
"Shut the fuck up," Donnie thrust a little harder, and Rhonda felt pain.
"That hurt, you asshole!" she yelled as she made to pull away from him.
Donnie forcefully grabbed her and turned her back into position, his hands painfully tight on her. "We're done when I say we're done, got it?"
"What the fuck is your problem?" she yelled as she struggled against him. She turned, felt him slide out with a wet pop and turned, covering her breasts with her arms. Her long black hair hung wetly against her face as she glared at him with her bright green eyes.
"My problem is you're being impossible," he growled and made to grab her again.
"You grab me again and I'll bust your balls, Donnie," she warned him.
"Don't you talk to me like that," he spat, and before he could raise his hands, the side window exploded inward, showering them with plexi-glass. Rhonda screamed and scooted back against the seat, covering her face as the shards sprayed her and Donnie. She heard a muffled scream from her boyfriend, and chanced uncovering her face. Her eyes widened and she screamed.
Two large hands had covered Donnie's head, completely hiding it from view. His body was shaking and his hands pounding against the powerful grip of his attacker. The veins and chords in his neck were bulging out, his hips twisting and penis flopping about wildly. She could hear a muffled cracking sound. It reminded her of when she had eaten lobster on her sixteenth birthday, a strange wet crunch amplified to the power of ten. Blood began to seep through the powerful, alien fingers as it crushed his head. Rhonda began crying hysterically, frozen in fear as Donnie screamed again and then was silenced as his skull caved in under the vice-like grip of the creature. The contents of his brain exploded all over the inside of the SUV in a shower of gore.
A chunk of something hot and gristly landed on her face. Rhonda picked it off her cheek with fingers that shook badly. Her stomach began to heave and her paralysis broke. She scrambled to unlock the door closest to her. The handle wouldn't give, and she realized that the locks were child proofed. She screamed and tried to climb into the front seat, her bare body slipping against the blood-soaked upholstery. A giant bloody hand pistoned out from the dark and grabbed her leg. She felt the bones shatter and splinter as it squeezed. A deafening roar filled the cab as she was pulled towards the broken window.
Her mind toppled off into the abyss as she felt the still warm remains of Donnie's broken face slide beneath her with a thick, meaty wetness. Her hands struggled for purchase as she was dragged through the window. Shards of plexi-glass broke off in her skin and she went through the window, falling to the ground with a heavy thud. She saw a huge, pale monstrosity standing over her. Glowing hellfire burned in its sockets as it reached out for her with a crimson hand, tipped with hooked claws.
She made to scream again, but was silenced as the creature quickly drew its hand back and swiped. The claws hooked the skin of her face, neck and the soft jelly of her right eye. With one powerful motion, the creature tore half her face and neck off. The remains landed with a quiet splash yards away, her spoiled eyeball rolling a few more feet and then coming to a rest near the roadside.
The creature stopped for a moment, it's face upturned to the night sky. It could feel her on the light breeze like a scent betraying prey to the hunter on the downwind. It could feel Lydia in the air, her presence, her essence. She was powerful and undeniable. She was near, as were the others. The other woman and the man were with her somewhere nearby. It looked north, studying the tree-covered sides of the canyon and then looking away. It grabbed the bodies of the two teenagers and dragged them into the woods.
An unholy roar echoed through the forest, causing both animals and human alike to stop and shiver. It began to feed.
"Do you think she's going to be alright?" Michael asked as he stroked Lydia's bare shoulder.
Lydia nestled her naked body closer to his. "I don't know," she replied quietly as she ran her fingers up and down his stomach, "She's been through a lot."
They held each other under the thick blankets of the bed. It was nearing five in the morning now, and while the rest of the world slept, they lay awake, consumed by their thoughts. Michael looked to the window, and remembered how the morning sunlight would shine through the panes of glass. In another time, his ex-wife Barbara would sit in the pools of light on the floor, basking in the warmth. Michael smiled sadly little at the memory, a pain of regret shooting through him as he recalled his wife and son. This was followed by other memories he really didn't want to deal with. Michael shoved them away.
"You alright?" Lydia asked, looking at him and gently kissing his chest.
"Yeah, I think so," Michael shrugged, "The whole world has just changed and I guess I'm just running to catch up..."
"You miss her?"
"Barbara?" Michael asked, and then said, "Sometimes I forget you're a telepath."
"Among other things," Lydia said, "But you haven't answered the question."
Michael sighed. "Sometimes. But only in that I regret the mistakes I made, you know? The morphine addiction, the way I acted. It fucks with your head after awhile I guess."
"I know all about regret," she kissed his neck.
"You know what bothers me the most?"
"Some other guy is going to be a father to my son," Michael said, "I mean, I already fucked myself over, you know? And I knew that I wasn't going to be able to be a part of his life like I wanted. But now, I can't even go back to my old life. He'll never really know me, or how much I love him."
"Things change, Michael," Lydia touched his cheek and looked at him, "They always do."
"Wow," Michael raised a brow, "Since when are you an optimist?"
Lydia smiled, embarrassed. She thoughtfully paused for a moment, and then said, "Since I had something to be optimistic about."
Michael kissed her and pulled her close, his hands running up and down her body. Lydia rolled on top of him and was delighted to find his cock hardening against her wet sex. His hands cupped her large breasts, the soft silky flesh heavy and comforting in his palms. Their tongues encircled one another in a passionate frenzy of licking and caressing as Lydia slid her hand down between their bodies and grasped his cock. It was hot, hard and thick in her hand. She could feel the veins throbbing as more blood pumped into his member, causing it to swell.