Breathless Ch. 04byEvil Alpaca©
This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.
The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between these character and events and any real person or events is strictly coincidental . . . and pretty darn impressive seeing as it is a science fiction story. Do not reproduce or copy this story without the consent of the author.
This story is based in an alternative universe, where history took a different course than the one we are used to. In this world, the creatures which we now believe to be legends have walked alongside man for the duration of our existence. Vampires, werewolves, wizards, witches, sorcerers, and a host of other beings share our world.
The following story contains, in one chapter or another, lesbian and heterosexual activity in different proportions.
"-- and the white line's getting longer and the saddle's getting cold. I'm much to young to feel this damn old --" Sadie sang along softly with the music coming from her boombox, but she wasn't feeling it. She had a pile of lumber in her yard which was slowly being transformed into a deck for her mobile home. She'd picked up Mary and her tools and brought her over to help, but it was just the two of them. Mary only needed a ride because she couldn't take her tools to the nether-realm that wraiths used to navigate around the world.
The wraith, normally a solitary creature, had apparently been perfecting her home-building skills for decades, so she took the lead on construction. Others who had promised to help had not shown up.
She understood why Vladimir wasn't there. Ever since her ill-timed kiss with the married werewolf, Vlad had avoided speaking to her. She had tried to apologize to him for her forwardness, but he had simply grunted and turned away. She saw hurt in his eyes, and wished that she could take that moment back. She'd also tried to get her friend Terrence to come over, but her fellow vamp was seriously creeped out by wraiths. That and once Lord Frost had found out that his bodyguard had gotten close with Sadie, the two-thousand year old bloodsucker had found "chores" for his employee to do. Fitzpatrick also had issues with wraiths, and Devlin . . . well, her relationship with Devlin was still tenuous, but improving.
The one that had surprised her was Mel. Almost a week earlier, the girl had just stopped talking to her. She always had an excuse to avoid Sadie, and she never came over to share a meal or a bed. The vampire had no idea what she'd done wrong, and Melissa wasn't talking.
"Would your rather I come back another time?" Mary emanated from behind her, almost spooking Sadie out of her Daisy Dukes. Wraiths made no sound unless they meant to. "You don't seem to be enjoying my company."
"No Mary, it isn't you at all." Sadie had to be careful not to run her last friend off. Wraiths were shunned by most of society as just being too creepy to be around, but Sadie was able to get over it. The only other members of the undead club still had feelings but unlike vampires had little by way of support groups. The isolation often drove them to depression or madness, and sometimes they just faded into nothingness. Mary seemed like a decent sort, and Sadie didn't want her bearing the brunt of the vampire's frustration.
"Sorry," Sadie continued. "I just keep thinking I've done something wrong but have no idea what it is."
"You mean with young Melissa?" Mary asked.
Sadie nodded. It was weird seeing the wraith in normal work clothes. Blue jeans and a sleeveless shirt actually flattered the woman's trim figure and bluish-white skin. She was as beautiful in her second afterlife as she had been in her first one.
"Did you have a fight?"
"No," Sadie muttered. "Everything was fine until Monday and then . . . poof." She maneuvered her end of the board into place and raised the nail gun.
"Wait until I've got my end in place," Mary said shortly. "You're rushing things." The wraith's voice and face softened a bit. "I'm sorry. I'm not used to working with other people."
Sadie smiled. No reason to alienate the one person still talking to her. "Sounds like you're used to getting your way too."
Mary went back to work. "I am . . . or was. I used to be nobility, you know? Before being a vampire OR a wraith."
"Really? Anyone I might have heard of?"
"Probably not. We were minor nobility in England. Enough to have servants and land, but we never had much political clout."
Sadie wasn't sure how far down this conversational path she wanted to go. She didn't mind listening to someone's life story, but she wasn't sure she wanted to share much of her own. "Are you sure you want to talk about this?" she asked. "You being a wraith and all, I know it has to get painful at some point."
Mary looked away. "You're right. I shouldn't be troubling you with my rantings."
The vampire cursed herself. She realized that Mary wanted to talk. No one had probably taken the time to listen to her since her second death, and some burdens are hard to carry alone.
"It's no trouble." Sadie thought carefully about how to phrase this. "I shouldn't assume that everyone shares my burning need for privacy. I'd like to know you Mary, it's just --"
"It's okay," the wraith replied, securing her end of the board. "I won't ask anything you're not willing to tell. But . . . but I'd like for someone to know my story. Someone who might remember me if I fade into the great oblivion."
"I'm listening," Sadie said softly.
Mary's mouth cracked a thankful smile, then her words floated through the void between them. "I was Turned by a vampire named Lord Andrews. I apparently caught his eye at court, so he made my father a deal. He would try to help elevate my family's status. He had the clout to do it as well. My father encouraged me to 'accept' the proposal, which basically meant I had no choice. The local vampire Council approved the Turning, so I accepted the blood and spent my day below the earth."
"Our people are ever the romantics, aren't they?"
Mary shook her head. "It wasn't so bad actually. Lord Andrews, while arrogant and conceited beyond all reason, was actually not unkind to me. I was to be his mistress, as he was already married to a human woman. It turns out that she had not approved, and knew that I was to be her replacement. She was angry that he had Turned me instead of her. She kept her feelings mostly concealed from her husband, but not from me. She had no problems letting me know how she felt. Then, Lord Andrews died during a war with France, leaving all of his riches and resources to her. And even though I no longer had any claim or even a chance at a claim to his wealth, she still hated me." Mary's hands were trembling as she hauled another board into place, and Sadie saw those delicate fingers form claws that buried themselves into the wood.
Sadie nailed her end into place. 'Here comes the bad part,' she thought. 'The part that would invoke such a need for vengeance that a wraith could be born.'
"She started by chaining me up in irons, stripping me of all my clothes and leaving me in rags. I was her servant . . . her slave for a year. She used her influence to ruin my family, making sure they knew that it was somehow a result of my actions. I heard that I was disowned by the father who had put me into this position. Even if I were to escape, I had nowhere to go. She had her guards rape me at their leisure --" Mary stopped, put her tools down and stepped away.
Sadie wanted to comfort the girl, but she knew that Mary was just gathering her thoughts. The wraith needed to get the story out. Finding someone who would listen was such a rarity that she was probably afraid to that moment that Sadie might leave.
"Finally, she came to me in my cell, acting as if she were my friend. She told me that the pain would all end if I would give her what her husband had denied her . . . immortality." Mary's face became a sinister mask. "She had made my life hell because of a gift that I had never wanted. It became my only weapon, the only thing that I could hurt her back with. I spat in her face." Now Mary's face looked pained. "I sometimes wished I simply given in."
"What did she do?" Sadie asked in spite of herself.
"The next day, she had a party. I was bound and put on display for every sick friend that she had. Publicly whipped, tortured, and used as a sexual plaything for anyone who so desired. She and her friends had very twisted imaginations."
Sadie just wanted to vomit. That, or she wanted to break someone in half. The Gift wasn't worth this much pain. Nothing was.
"They ended the evening by securing what was left of me to the dinner table and bleeding me dry."
Sadie actually snarled. To bleed a vampire dry was the ultimate in agony as every cell in the body screamed in constant pain once the blood level got to a certain point.
"They just left me there as they went to their homes and their beds, laughing at the upstart woman who had got what she deserved." Mary's eyes were shimmering black now and her face held an unflattering cruelty. "That night, I rose for the second time. I didn't know what it meant at the time . . . wraiths never do. I felt a thirst for something besides blood, and it was a thirst that could not be quenched. I simply stepped out of my bonds and sought each of them out, one at a time. I knew . . . I just KNEW where they were, and from each of them I took my pound of flesh. But when I came back to her . . . I waited until the last to settle my score with her." Mary looked down. "I will not tell you what happened to her," she said. "I do not wish you to think less of me than you probably already do."
"She deserved whatever it was," Sadie said softly. "I don't think less of you. You would not have been allowed to come back as a wraith if your need for vengeance had not been justified." Sadie decided to walk over and give her new friend a hug. She understood better than Mary could possibly imagine.
"It only took her a day to die," Mary whispered. "Sometimes, I think of that and it doesn't seem fair. I recovered a great deal of the wealth she had stolen from my family, and I burned the rest of her estate to the ground."
'Note to self,' Sadie thought, 'Don't piss Mary off.'
They stood like that for several minutes, letting the darkness and silence envelop them. Mary had needed to speak . . . to confess . . . and she had found a friendly ear for the first time in ages. But reliving those moments, even after centuries had passed, was no small matter for her. Sadie accepted her and didn't judge her, and that made the vampire worth more than gold to Mary's tortured soul. Mary slowly pulled away and smiled, and then the two of them got back to work, with no more words needing to be said.
Across town . . .
Officer Matt Devlin sat very much alone in the recesses of the Starbucks just inside the boundaries of West End. He had a mountain of research materials on his desk, involving every aspect of vampiric existence. In order to be chosen from the Registry, you had to be able to explain vampire physiology, laws involving Turning and registration, laws involving feeding, and the history of the vampire race. Knowing the lineage of the great families didn't hurt either.
"Officer Devlin?" came a smooth voice from behind him, making him jump. It was a vampire to be sure, dressed like he was an FBI agent. He also had an charismatic air around his handsome features.
"Hi, I'm Terrence McDermott."
Devlin let out a sigh of relief. On Sadie's suggestion, he had called the (relatively) recently Turned vamp, and Terrence was happy to oblige. Devlin was pretty convinced that the vamp was just trying to get brownie points with the Arbiter, for which he couldn't really be blamed. "Thanks for coming. I didn't realize how much studying there was going to have to be."
"It's harder when you're trying to come up through the registry. If you can get invited to some of the upcoming official events, it may give you a chance to meet more of the higher up and see if they're looking and/or able to expand their broods. I'd invite you, but I'm not allowed."
"Yes, as Lord Frost's employee, I can't bring guests."
"Oh! I thought it was some vampire rule I hadn't read yet."
Terrence grinned. "There are a lot of them, aren't there? No, it's a more mundane problem. I'm sure Lord Frost and the mayor will try to make Sadie show up to more, so see if she can score you an invite."
"By my calculations, Arbiter Hewitt is going to try and avoid those events like the plague, and I'm not exactly her favorite person. She probably just wanted me to talk to you so that you might scare me out of wanting to go forward with the process." He frowned. "I don't know what her problem is."
Terrence shrugged. "That woman dances to her own drummer, and the rest of us can only imagine what the beat sounds like. But it isn't a decision you should make lightly. Just ask me your questions, and I'll give you honest responses."
"Okay . . . is it as hard as she says? Losing friends I mean?"
"Kind of a difficult question. I was just Turned five years ago, so most of my friends and family are still alive. I was turned by Lord Frost, seeing as he was looking to expand his brood and needed someone to keep the riff raff in line. Anyway, I'm military, so I'm not entirely unused to the idea of my friends dying around me. But my niece just turned seven in January, and it occurred to me that I might be a pall bearer at her funeral. It was a sobering thought. I've wondered if I should just start cutting myself off now, or enjoy them while I can. I think I like Miss Hewitt's stance of embracing mortals. It might be heart-breaking, but it'll help keep things in perspective for me. My boss thinks I'm being silly and sentimental, but hey . . . he can't control my thoughts."
"Does being a vamp help with the chicks?" Matt asked, giving a smile.
"Oh yeah!" Terrence leaned back and put his hands behind his head. "And the guys too."
"I'm not into that."
"You will be."
"I don't --"
McDermott was shaking his head. "Sexual attraction for all species is to help ensure reproduction and survival. Sometimes the wires get crossed a bit and a same sex relationship happens, but it's not a real threat to the species as a whole. Vampires can Turn either male or female, so gender doesn't enter into the equation for us. In order to help propagate the race, we need to be more open. I used to be just like you. I was a man's man and while homosexuality didn't bother me, it wasn't my thing. After a year or so, my way of thinking changed." He leaned forward. "Sexual attraction helps keeps potential vamps in thrall and helps with casual feeding. For a while, my old self kept trying to hold on to my former prejudices, but finally I just gave in. Found out that I could get just as much of a thrill from being with a guy as a girl. Now, it doesn't matter. I like playing lady's man, but I won't turn down a handsome young man either. It's an idea that you'd better get used to."
Devlin just couldn't imagine it, and he felt a twinge of nervousness.
"I mean, I wouldn't stress out about it. Just go ahead and deny that it would ever happen to you but if you get Turned, it'll change. Of course, the change will happen easier if you don't try and fight it. I know one woman who tried to keep her religious views intact, and it almost drove her insane. Pleasure is pleasure, Officer Devlin. In the dark, it all feels good."
Devlin badly wanted to change the subject. 'But this is what you came here for,' he reminded himself. "Uhm . . . let's talk about laws."
That subject was easier for him to handle, and the young human was confident that he knew the rules for Turning and registering Turns. Then they discussed the ritual itself, the hierarchical nature of vampire society, and how to identify the great families.
"And how much history do we need to know?"
"Not much. Just the basics, like when the Book of Names was created, major turning points in relations between vamps and the other species, and that sort of thing. Oh, and the Provenance."
"I thought that was just hocus pocus and superstition."
"Oh, don't EVER tell one of the Lords that. They take the creation legend seriously. So let's hear what you know."
"Okay. Let's see . . . about seven thousand years ago, a human woman named Lillith, via immaculate conception, gave birth to the first three vampires. These were Adam, Eve, and Solomon the Blood Saint. The three siblings grew up and were granted by the Lord immortality. Adam and Solomon wanted to create a vampire homeland, or Paradise, where they might live in peace with their mortal neighbors. But Eve was jealous of her brothers and made war against them. Eve, also known as the Betrayer, and Adam were both killed in the conflict, and Solomon was struck with the wound that never healed. He believed it was a sign and punishment from God for not being able to bring peace to his family. That's why they call him the Blood Saint, because he bleeds constantly from a scratch on his forehead and has a large brood to help keep him replenished."
"Good so far," Terrence said with a nod. The boy had done his homework.
"Solomon wept over the destruction and fled to what is now Moscow, living amongst nomadic tribes while praying for forgiveness and feeding on whatever he could to stay alive. Finally he made friends of the local people and discovered that he had the ability to create more of his species. But he was afraid that if the wrong people were chosen to be Turned, that it might lead to another conflict. So the race has built slowly up, controlled by dictates of the Vampire Council, the Blood Saint himself, and the mortal races."
"And that would make the Blood Saint --" Terrence looked over the young man carefully, waiting for a reply.
"The oldest creature on Earth?"
"More importantly, the oldest VAMPIRE on Earth. Remember, vampires tend to care more about history as it relates to them than the other races. We're an arrogant people, and remembering that and appeasing it might help your case."
"Thanks." Devlin was feeling better. He would've been tempted to ask Terrence to sponsor him, but you had to have been a vampire for at least ten years before you can Turn someone. It kept new vamps from going out and just Turning all of their friends. "I guess I owe Sadie an apology. This isn't quite so easy after all."
"It can be traumatic, but it has its rewards." Terrence looked a little misty eyed. "I feel the world in a way I could never imagine before. But if you want to walk in Paradise, sometimes you have to tread on the grounds of Hell."
"I'll keep that in mind."
A few days later . . .
Sadie pulled the SUV into the parking lot and switched off the engine. She'd gotten a call about a breaking and entering in the warehouse district on the outermost edge of the Gravestones. These were mostly human owned businesses, so there shouldn't be anyone poking their heads around at two o'clock in the morning.
She was once again partnerless, but this time by her own design. Vladimir was still in grunt-and-avoid mode, and Devlin actually had the night off. She'd considered riding with Fitzpatrick, but he had already gotten a partner for the night. And she didn't mind being alone: she'd been alone before.
"This is Arbiter Hewitt," she said into her walkie talkie. "I've arrived on the scene. Don't see anything yet. Found where someone cut through the perimeter fence. Got a name or contents for this building yet?"