Blood Rose Ch. 01byicehead©
Six years ago...
As of this particular moment, the single general thought flowing throughout the house was relief. The interrogation would surely come later, but right now everybody was just happy Anthony was home. Everyone had been beside themselves with worry; he was supposed to have returned from his camping trip five days ago. But the worry was over now. Anthony was back.
Or was he?
Elizabeth knew there was something...different...about her brother. What it was, she couldn't even begin to guess; but then, she was still so much younger than him. She was still only a child at twelve years old, and there was a lot she didn't know. But she couldn't deny there was something about Anthony that seemed very not right.
Mom and Dad had been both overjoyed and on the verge of tears at the same time when he'd finally come parading in through the front door with a big smile pasted on his face as if he was expecting a party. The smile on his face had been the first thing that struck her as wrong. Because... well really, wrong was the only word that really described it. That smile was just plain wrong. They kept asking him questions about what had happened and where he'd been, but he just kept telling them to relax and not worry about it. He said that a miracle had happened to him; that he'd been changed for the better. That was all. That was the second thing that seemed amiss; Anthony had never been cryptic and mysterious before. It was just an anti-Anthony thing. But more than anything else, she could feel it around him, that something was different.
And she was still dwelling on it, sitting alone on her bed amongst her stuffed animals, when Anthony asked her to come with him into his room. "Elizabeth, come with me. There's something very important I want to show you."
Elizabeth hesitantly rose from her bed, thinking he was just continuing to grow more and more suspicious. When did Anthony ever have anything he wanted to show her? Since when did he view her as anything more than his obnoxious kid sister? Suspicious as she was, she found her curiosity taking precedence, and she proceeded into Anthony's room.
The room was lit only by the bedside lamp. He stood looking out the window into the night, his back to her. "Shut the door behind you," he said, not bothering to turn around. She hesitantly obeyed. "Sit down," he said then, gesturing with a hand to his bed. He still hadn't turned around.
A moment of silence passed; Elizabeth was starting to get a bit nervous. Finally, still keeping his back to her, Anthony said, "You've never been afraid of the dark, have you?"
What kind of stupid question was that? "No," she said curiously. Technically, that was a lie; she had been when she was three. But that was a long time ago.
"Good," he said, finally turning to look at her. "Because that's what I wanted to show you. The Darkness."
"What do you mean, you want to show me the darkness? You want me to see the lights off?"
He chuckled. Something in his laugh made the nervousness that had started clutching at her heart grip tighter. "No," he laughed. "There's more to the Darkness than just lack of light. There's so much more." She just stared at him, not understanding. He added, "It especially becomes more when you become one with the Darkness. I have, and I want to share it with you."
"What are you talking about?" she asked, steadily moving across the border from being nervous to being actually scared. But his wordless answer was what really frightened her. All he did was look at her. And there, in his eyes, she saw the source of her fear. What it was, she still couldn't name. But it was there. Whatever it was. And somehow, on some level, she was beginning to understand.
"There's nothing I can say that will explain it for you; you have to experience it for yourself, and I want you to have that chance. But I'll only show it to you if you let me. And you should know right now that if you decide to accept this, you can never go back." Elizabeth fearfully shrank back from him. She still didn't really know what was going on, but whatever it was, it was drawing her in and scaring her off at the same time. "It's okay to be scared right now," he added. "I was too. But when I accepted it, I learned to love it. Do you want it?"
Such a simple question. "Do you want it?" And those four words were what made her realize something at that moment: she wasn't just scared, she was excited. She wasn't feeling drawn to the darkness around her brother in spite of her fear; she was feeling drawn because of it. And she knew then that whatever the darkness coming off of her brother was, she wanted it. She wanted to taste it.
Slowly, Anthony bent down to her. With his hands, he gently tilted her head to the side and brushed her hair off of her neck. As he leaned in towards her neck, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
She felt the warmth of his breath on her neck, and then the sting of his teeth... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Elizabeth's eyes snapped open, and she sat bolt upright in her seat. Harrison stood looking down on her, arms folded and an eyebrow raised. "Checking our eyelids for leaks, are we?" he jibed.
She gave him an awkward smile, brushing her dark hair out of her eyes. "Um, yes sir," she said hesitantly. "They're... they're clear, no leaks."
"Well that's a disappointment," Harrison said. "I was hoping maybe you'd have still seen everything I just showed the class." Hushed laughter arose from around the small classroom. Elizabeth started to blush a bit as she looked around at the six others gathered there. Not for the first time, she found herself envying humans going to public schools. It was one thing to be embarrassed in front of a room full of twenty or thirty people you barely knew. But in a room occupied by six other students who all knew you personally... Ugh!
For obvious reasons, schools for vampires had to be private schools. They also had to be well concealed; it simply wouldn't do to have a human drive by and read a sign that said "(fill in the blank) School for Young Vampires." About seven or so students for each class was the general norm, particularly considering vampires in a particular area were generally few enough in number that that number was appropriate. They'd found ways to blend in well with human society, but one way or another, they would always be a separate, detached minority.
Her mind drifted back to the dream again... no, the memory. Dreams were things that didn't actually happen. But she'd been asleep, and the actual memory of the night her brother had made her what she was had played through her mind. Every detail about it was still as vivid as if it had happened last night, even after six years. And every time she found herself envying humans, her thoughts drifted back to that night, and she reminded herself of one thing: You chose this. He gave you a choice, and you said yes. Every so often she would hear another voice in her head respond, But you were a stupid kid then, you didn't know what you were doing! Now was not such a time.
No, she was not going to frown on her choice to become a vampire right now. Not with the way Sylvia was looking at her. Sylvia was her friend, and although she had been laughing with everyone else just a moment ago, her look was friendly and affectionate now, and all Elizabeth's embarrassment instantly smoothed over.
As Harrison went back to his lecture, Elizabeth panned her eyes around the room. Most of the students in the room were pureborn; they were born vampires. Most vampires young enough to be in high school were pureborn anyway. A youngblood who was turned as young as Elizabeth was wasn't especially common. In fact, the only other youngblood in the room was...
Nathaniel. Ah, Nathaniel! All she had to do was think of him once, and she would be swept away into her own little dreamworld. The corners of her mouth turned wistfully up as her gaze fixed upon him.
Nathaniel had a fairly decent build; not exactly Pumping Iron, but just a musculature that looked generally good. On any guy, that was a good start, but Nathaniel's appeal hardly ended there. There was also the face to think about, and he had that. He had superbly angular features, with a pair of sparkling brown eyes and a head of wavy dark hair. But above all was his seemingly limitless confidence and utter fearlessness. He'd been a star athlete at his previous high school before he became a vampire. She could just imagine him standing over her, yanking his shirt off of that athlete's body, and unzipping his pants, preparing to unveil his concealed weapon for her...
"So I'll see you all tomorrow," Harrison finished, "and hopefully you'll know what I'm talking about by then; I won't mention any names, Elizabeth." The class laughed again. That's the other problem with having a class so small, she thought, it's a lot easier for the teacher to tell when you're not paying attention.
It was a little after midnight when the class let out. For also obvious reasons, classes had to be at night. Now the task of walking home presented itself. Most humans their age would probably be terrified of walking home from school at this hour, but Elizabeth had been doing it for years. Most of the kids either drove or at least got rides, but Elizabeth liked walking. As always, of course, she wouldn't be walking alone; at least not for a while.
She and Sylvia proceeded off the school side-by-side. Sylvia had blonde hair that was usually tied up in a tail or a fountain or something along those lines, and her eyes were green and narrow and always seemed to be studying something, be it a book or someone's face. Right now they were studying Elizabeth. "So come on, spill, what were you dreaming about?"
"Oh, nothing." She paused, deciding to feed Sylvia a line that would satisfy her. "Just some sweaty romantic fantasy."
"Concerning someone we know?" Sylvia raised an eyebrow. "Someone like... Nathaniel?"
Elizabeth grinned sheepishly. "How'd you guess?"
Sylvia glared at her, yet continued smiling. "Okay, first of all, I wasn't guessing at all, I was just playing along with you, because you know as well as I do that you just fed me a load of horse shit."
Elizabeth gave her a look that essentially asked "How'd you know?" She didn't actually say that aloud, but the meaning was there.
"My first big clue was your pointed use of the word 'sweaty,' when I could see just how peaceful you were right there. But more importantly, it's written all over your face. So why don't you try again?"
Elizabeth's head hung. "I was remembering being turned."
"Oh, yeah... your brother, wasn't it?"
"Yeah. Really big moment that comes back to me in my dreams sometimes."
Sylvia sighed. "I kinda envy you sometimes, Elizabeth."
"I always hear youngbloods like you talking about how incredible turning into a vampire is, and when you've been one since you were born, you're just kinda stuck never knowing what they're talking about."
Elizabeth chuckled. "Well maybe you should consider yourself lucky, 'cause being turned isn't all fun. I still remember feeling completely drained, and lying sick in bed all day."
"But then when you wake up isn't it supposed to be like you're suddenly more awake than you've ever been or some Zen thing like that?"
Elizabeth looked at her friend with a raised eyebrow. "You get used to it."
Sylvia scoffed and rolled her eyes. "You're such a party poop!"
Elizabeth grinned. "I know. Isn't that why you love me?" The two girls glared at each other a moment, then burst into laughter.
They reached Sylvia's house first. As she usually did, Sylvia invited Elizabeth to stay a while, but Elizabeth decided she just needed to get home right now. So she went off walking, on her own. She never would have admitted it, but this was what she considered to be one of the simple joys in her life: walking alone at night. Yes, it was a bit frightening—certainly less so than it would have been if she was human, but frightening nonetheless—but she still reveled in it despite that. No, it was because it was frightening that she reveled in it. She felt alive walking alone, vulnerable, on the dark and at this moment foggy streets.
As chance would have it, she didn't stay alone long. A rumbling motorcycle pulled up by the curb next to her, and the rider stepped off, running his lecherous eyes up and down her body. "Hey there, pretty thing," he smirked, removing his helmet. "You lost, baby?"
"No, just on my way home," she said simply, barely sparing him a look.
"Well hey, don't go yet, maybe you could use some company, huh?"
"No thank you."
The scruffy-looking man in the leather jacket moved around in front her, attempting to block her path. "Hey, don't be like that, sweet cakes!" She moved around him, eager to be gone from his presence. But he wouldn't have that. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled. "I said don't be like that!"
"Let go of me," Elizabeth commanded, her simple coldness steadily giving way to anger. She felt no form of intimidation at all.
"I just don't want someone as cute as you to be alone," he said, reaching to grab her with his other hand. He didn't get that far.
"I said let go!" Elizabeth snapped, lashing out with her claws at his face.
The man reeled back, still holding onto her arm with one hand, while putting the other to the four bloody streaks that had appeared on his face. Rage flashed across his face as he reached into his jacket pocket. "Oh, now you're dead, bitch!" he roared, flipping out his switchblade.
The average human girl would have been screaming in terror at this point. Elizabeth hardly batted an eyelash when that blade appeared. His hand began thrusting the blade at her; it would reach her in less than a second. That was far more time than she needed. Her free hand sprang up and grabbed the attacking hand by the wrist, and she swung him over her shoulder onto the ground.
Her attacker lay at her feet now. No... not her attacker. Her prey. He was at her mercy now. Her vampire instincts knew exactly what to do, and she needed no further incentive to obey them. She dropped to her knees, pulled her lips back from her teeth, and proceeded to indulge in the pumping fluid under the flesh of his neck. She ignored the way he grunted and squirmed beneath her; she remained oblivious to everything except the sweetness of the thick, coppery liquid running down her throat. She didn't even notice when he stopped struggling.
When she had fed to her heart's content, Elizabeth let her victim drop, and raised herself up and leaned her head back with a passionate sigh. It was always the same when she killed someone; the thrill of the moment as she fed, the blissful calm that followed, and then her conscience started talking. There had been times when her conscience had screamed at her; heck, the first few times she'd actually flown into a panic, especially since it was her friends she'd been killing. But right now, she could barely hear her conscience at all. She tried very hard to feel some smattering of pity for the dead man at her feet, but ultimately all she felt was triumph. This man had tried to assault her, and then kill her for God's sake! He got exactly what he deserved, and she got a meal out of it! All was right with the world now.
"You look like you enjoyed that."
Elizabeth whirled around at the sound of the voice. "Who's there?" she said, finally starting to feel a bit of fear. She saw no one; but there was enough fog about tonight that that wasn't particularly surprising. It wasn't all that thick, though, and when the speaker stepped out of it, Elizabeth could see her clearly. A young woman stood before her, roughly mid twenties she looked like, with neck-length black hair and a pair of the greenest eyes she'd ever seen. She had her hands in the pockets of her open trench coat, under which she had on some simple street clothes. But it was her eyes that truly caught Elizabeth's attention, shining like a pair of emeralds.
"Who are you? What did you see?" Elizabeth asked in a just-this-side-of-panicky voice.
"My name is Annabelle," the young woman said. "And I saw everything."
Elizabeth was about ready to cross into the realm of blind panic, at a complete loss as to what to do next. "Um, let me explain... this guy..."
"Relax, you don't need to explain anything to me, and you don't need to worry about anything." When Elizabeth gave her a curious look, Annabelle added, "Haven't you learned by now how to recognize one of your own?"
Elizabeth said nothing for a moment, starting to breathe easier. "You mean you're a—"
"A vampire? Just like you? Of course I am. And what's your name?"
"Well tell me, Elizabeth, do you usually take your meals off the street like this?"
"Uh, no..." Elizabeth was a bit unsure of what to say, not knowing what kind of answer Annabelle wanted to hear. "I mean... he attacked me, and I defended myself, and one thing led to another, you know, and I just couldn't help myself..." She was suddenly painfully aware of how meek and insecure she must have looked in front of this stranger. Of course if she did look that way, it wouldn't exactly be far from the truth.
Annabelle laughed. "I understand. I understand completely." She slowly started moving closer. "You don't need to explain the urge to kill to me; I know it just as well as you do. Possibly even better than you do. But I know we all have other needs, too. Other desires. Other urges." The closer Annabelle grew, the brighter her eyes seemed to glow. Elizabeth's breathing grew heavier, and she felt her heart starting to accelerate. Something in those eyes... What was it about those eyes? Why were those eyes exciting her so much?
For an agonizing moment, Elizabeth was too nervous to speak. When she was finally able to summon up her voice, she managed to get out, "Wh...what...do you want?"
Annabelle smiled. "I want to help you, Elizabeth. I can tell you need it."
"Help me? W-with what?"
"What do you think?" Annabelle smiled. "Look at yourself. Any fool can see you're not happy. How do you intend to deal with eternity the way you are now? I can show you ways to truly make the most of your immortality. I can show you sensations you've never even dreamed of. I can show you ways to make you feel truly alive."
Those glimmering emerald eyes never stopped boring into her all the while Annabelle was talking. Elizabeth wasn't really sure what to make of her offer, but something about Annabelle herself was just too captivating to turn away from.
"You don't have to give me an answer right now," Annabelle said after a moment passed with Elizabeth saying absolutely nothing. With that, Annabelle produced a small slip of paper and placed it in Elizabeth's hand. "When you're ready to give me one, you can meet me at this address.
And so the mysterious woman turned and began disappearing back into the fog. "I'll see you again," Elizabeth heard her say before she vanished from sight. Elizabeth hesitated a moment, pondering over the slip of paper in her hand. After a minute or two, she finally turned to continue the trip home.
The fog had disappeared.
If one thing was constant about Dorian Steel, it was that his mind was always in turmoil. Anyone who knew him would call him a brooding and unhappy man. He seemed to think of little more than finding and destroying anything that walked like a human but bore a pair of fangs. But right now was one of those rare times when he could stop his brooding and just enjoy the moment. And at this moment, his mind was on nothing but the feel of Jade's lips on his cock.
Jade epitomized the look of the stereotypical bad girl. She had spiky green hair, and piercings and tattoos everywhere. She had five earrings on each ear, she had two rings on the left side of her nose, one on her right eyebrow, one on the left side of her lower lip, one on her tongue, one on each nipple and one in her navel. A spider web tattoo decorated her right shoulder all the way from the neck to the upper arm, with the spider itself sitting in the center; on her left shoulder blade was a vicious dragon, on her lower belly was a flaming skull, and some wicked-looking ornamental designs covered some other parts of her body, such as the underside of her left arm, the out-facing side of her left shin, and just above her ass. Even without her clothes, she really looked more like a punk rocker than a hunter.