Indigo Ink Ch. 02byBelengo©
Author's Note: This is part two in a vampire erotica series - complete with all the tropes associated with that genre (mesmerism, blood, mild violence). If you are disturbed by these, please do not read further. This series is more story than sex, so if you're looking for a quick romp, this probably isn't for you.
Indigo Ink - Part 2: Blood Lust
Ink blinked as her eyes adjusted. Broad shafts of sunlight poured into the room though open windows. Tattered curtains shifted lazily in a soft breeze. Ink sat up. She'd been sleeping on a stained mattress -- one of several scattered around the ramshackle bedroom. Some of these were occupied by other sleepers in various states of undress -- some alone, some in pairs. Even Ink's mattress was being shared by another girl. The room smelled of stale smoke, sweat, and sex. It looked like a nest of junkies. In place of her dress, Ink was wearing an oversized t-shirt that was much too large for her. She couldn't remember where it had come from. Your friend is dead. Babineaux's voice came clearly through the jumble of Ink's memories. All of this is your fault.
The girl lying beside Ink roused. "Oh, you're awake," she said drowsily. Her pixie cut hair was dyed black and accented with swaths of metallic red. She wore threadbare jeans and an open-sided shirt that threatened to expose modest breasts. Two angry looking puncture marks stood out on her neck. Her arms were spotted with purple bruises. Ink guessed she was eighteen, nineteen tops. The girl pulled herself upright and spread her arms out in a luxurious stretch. "I'm Delilah," she said companionably. "What's your name?" Ink stared blankly at the girl. A frown crept onto Delilah's face. "They really did a number on you, didn't they?" Ink didn't answer, but her stomach did, grumbling audibly. Delilah stood and offered Ink a hand up. "C'mon. Let's get you something to eat." You are not allowed to die. Ink accepted Delilah's hand and allowed the girl to lead her away.
"This place can seem crazy at first," Delilah said as she guided Ink through debris littered hallways. "Once you get used to it, it's actually pretty awesome." Ink wasn't really listening. They walked past several other rooms, identical to the one Ink had slept in. Here and there, they passed others in the hallway. "We party hard here," Delilah said self-consciously as Ink regarded them. Strung-out and vacant, their distant, sunken eyes looked right through Ink. So, this was the fate Babineaux planned for her, Ink realized with apathetic detachment. You had your chance to die. It's too late now.
The kitchen was massive. Old refrigerators lined the walls, some seemingly dating back to the fifties. Toasters and microwave ovens competed for counter space. Several large garbage cans stood overflowing with wrappers, crumpled cans, and empty bottles. Delilah ushered Ink onto a stool around a central island. After rummaging through the refrigerators, Delilah served Ink a microwave pizza and soda. "Breakfast of champions," she said cheerfully. Ink ate in silence while Delilah prepared a pizza for herself. "Everything's free here," she said between mouthfuls. "Are you ready to tell me your name yet? No? That's okay. C'mon, I'll show you were you can shower. You look like hell." With a smile, she added, "You smell like it too."
The bathroom was neat and well supplied with soaps and lotions. "They like us clean," Delilah explained.
Ink didn't have to ask who 'they' were. "We're livestock," she said, stepping into a rain of hot water. You should pay for what you've done, Indigo.
On the other side of the shower curtain, Delilah was silent for several moments. When she finally spoke, her voice was a small, uneven thing. "Yes," she said. After another significant pause, she added, "It's not so bad. They take care of us... and sometimes they give us blood." She spoke with an addict's reverence, needful and shameless.
Ink shuddered involuntarily. She remembered the blood, its searing heat. It was like swallowing the sun. She remembered its fire spreading through her veins, over her skin, through her thoughts. Babineaux's blood had burned away Benjamin's smile, burned away the mental image of Felicity's broken body. Everything burned until only a delirious, ravenous hunger remained. What had come afterwards -- the orgy, the drugs -- was an indecipherable blur. Ink didn't care. It didn't matter. The blood made the pain go away. Ink rested her forehead on the shower wall and fought against the craving. It was a losing battle.
Ink sat, drawing up her knees and wrapping her arms around them. Streaks of hot water snaked down her face and back. Babineaux's phantom voice was relentless. The sound of the water drumming against her head could not drown it out. Ink increased the flow of hot water, shutting the cold off completely. Clouds of dense steam gathered around her. She flinched as the scalding water poured over her, but the voice carried over the pain. Only the blood silenced it. Delilah threw open the curtain, swearing as she reached through the stream, and shut off the water. "What the hell?" she asked, draping a towel over Ink's shoulders. Ink didn't respond. Her body shook, but no tears came. Delilah sat on the edge of the tub and gently dried Ink's shoulders and hair. "You're really not okay, are you?" Delilah muttered under her breath. "Wait here, okay?" She took Ink's silence as acquiescence.
Delilah returned a few minutes later with a bundle of folded clothes. These she placed beside the sink before returning to Ink's side. "Here," she said, offering Ink a small blue pill. "Take this. It'll help."
"What is it?"
"You're a disaster. Does it matter?"
Despite herself, Ink barked a single, desolate laugh. "No," she admitted, accepting the pill. "Ink," she said after swallowing it. "My name is Ink."
"Thanks. That's a cool name," Delilah answered, smiling warmly. "Now, let's get you dressed. That mop on your head could use some attention, too." Ink slipped into a summer dress and sat while Delilah delicately brushed her hair. The pill's effect came in subtle increments, slowly chipping away at Ink's consciousness. By the time Delilah finished sorting out the knots, Ink could hardly keep her eyes open.
"Why are you doing all of this for me?" Ink asked groggily as Delilah escorted her into one of the mansion's communal bedrooms.
"I didn't want to be here either," Delilah said, helping Ink onto a mattress. "Last night I found you huddled in a corner, crying. I guess you probably don't remember. I was the same way my first night. A girl named Ally took care of me. I don't think I would've made it without her. I guess I'm just honoring her memory."
"What happened to her?" Ink mumbled.
"Get some sleep, Inky. You'll be alright. You'll see."
Ink's unseen tormentor chased her into her dreams, telling her otherwise the whole way.
The music started about an hour before sundown. That was when Ink first saw them. Delilah called them 'handlers'. They moved through the mansion, dispensing narcotics and inspecting their herd. Ink sat on the floor, her back against the wall, in the converted ballroom. When she'd woken, Delilah had greeted her with a joint. The marijuana didn't silence the voice in her head, but it did make it a little easier to think beyond it. They were on their third joint when a pair of handlers walked past them, selected a tattooed boy that Ink vaguely recognized, and escorted him away. He offered no resistance.
"Where are they taking him?" Ink asked.
"There's another house out back," Delilah said, gesturing towards the rear of the mansion. "Every night they take some of us back there. You know, for them."
Ink nodded, having guessed as much. She took a long drag and held it as she scanned the room. Here and there, others were also being sequestered and led away. Some even solicited the handler's attention in the hopes of being selected. Ink supposed that she could understand why. When Lavinia fed from her on the dance floor, the pleasure of it had been indescribably intense. And then there was the blood, the searing, mind-numbing blood. It was a drug in its own right. Ink suppressed a slithering hint of envy for the ones being led away. Exhaling a cloud of pungent smoke, she asked, "Do they always come back?" Delilah didn't answer. "I thought not."
"Most times they do," Delilah said at last. Her hand self-consciously moved to the bite marks on her neck.
"Is that where the bruises come from too?" Ink asked. Delilah's sinking gaze was all the answer Ink needed. "Why don't they heal you with their blood?"
Delilah's gaze remained fixed on the floor. "They only give it to you if you please them. Even then, they might not. A lot depends on which one you get."
Ink took another hit as she considered the ballroom. A crowd was forming in front of the speakers, dancing wildly. Some gathered around the furniture in small cliques, drinking and smoking. Couples paired off, kissing, holding hands. Others wandered in and out of the room as though adrift on psychedelic tides. There had to be at least forty or fifty people, not counting the handlers. "How many vampires are there?" Ink asked.
Delilah shifted uncomfortably at the word 'vampire'. "I've only seen four. There's the one that brought you here. Babineaux. Do you remember her?" Ink nodded that she did, and Delilah continued. "She likes to make people perform for her first." Her emphasis on the word 'perform' left a sour taste in Ink's mouth. "She can be pretty generous with the blood. There's Valentine. He's usually pretty straightforward. Sex first, and then he drinks. He can be a little rough sometimes. He almost never gives blood. I had him last time," she explained, folding her arms protectively around herself. The expression on her face was thinly veiled repulsion. "He doesn't bother enthralling you first."
"Enthralling?" Ink asked, sliding an arm around Delilah's shoulders and drawing the girl against her.
"That's what they call it. When they play with your head, you know?" Delilah answered, nestling into Ink's comforting embrace. "They can make you forget things or remember them all wrong. They can make you feel however they want you to feel. Valentine doesn't do it. He just takes you as you are. When he's finished, he bites gently -- the way that feels good. They don't have to, you know?" Ink did know. There had been no pleasure in the way Benjamin had torn into her wrist. "When he bites you like that, you forget about the other stuff, so he's not all bad." Nothing in Delilah's tone or posture lent much credibility to that.
"Tell me about the other two," Ink said, hoping to draw the girl out of her painful memories.
"Sierra is the nice one. She's very pretty and she never makes you do anything too weird. She never leaves you all marked up and she always gives a little back when she's done. She's everybody's favorite. Sometimes she even comes here to pick for herself. The only thing is, she likes to take the same people several nights in a row. After a while, it gets hard to keep up, you know?" Delilah looked up and studied Ink's face for a moment before continuing. "Ally was one of Sierra's favorites," she said, gaze returning to the floor.
Ink cradled the girl and kissed her multicolored hair. "The last one is Benjamin?"
Delilah nodded gravely. "Sometimes the others have to give you blood when he's finished. It's worth it though, for the blood."
She was serious. The realization turned Ink's stomach. Her revulsion darkened quickly, yielding to something more volatile. Anger, like a sharp knife, cut across her inebriated haze and the underlying misery it was meant to conceal. Babineaux's voice echoed in her mind. But you did hurt people and you deserve to be punished for that. Yes, Ink decided, the guilty did deserve to be punished. Your friend is dead. Ink's fingers tightened around Delilah. No, she thought, not this time, bitch. The specter of Babineaux had no answer for that. Ink would mourn Felicity, but that would have to wait. She needed to avenge her first.
"There's another one, but nobody knows much about him," Delilah continued. "I don't even know if he's real. They say he makes you forget him if you see him."
"If that was true, how would anybody know about him at all?" Ink asked.
"Sometimes things come back to you."
"Yes," Ink agreed. "They do."
On the third night, he came to her again.
When the doorbell rang at 4:06 AM, she had answered it armed with a tennis racquet. "May I come in?" the man outside asked. He was exquisitely androgynous. His voice had an airy, musical inflection. Night black hair was slicked back in a style reminiscent of the twenties. Dark eyeliner framed stormy pools of murky blue. Moist, red lipstick drew her eyes down towards tantalizingly supple lips. Unable to force her tongue to perform the complex maneuvering required to form actual words, she had merely stepped aside to permit his entry. It wasn't until he asked her name that she rediscovered the faculty of speech. She told him and he repeated it. "Felicity Monet." He made her name sound like poetry. "You are in grave danger." His words rang with perfect, compelling sincerity. "You must trust me. Please, come with me." She did both without reservation. Still clad in Mickey Mouse pajamas, she followed him out into the night, leaving the racquet leaning against the doorframe, forgotten.
"What is going on?" she had asked in the back of the stranger's limousine.
He fixed her with sapphire eyes and smiled. "I will explain all in good time," he said, taking her hand. Felicity held her breath. "You do trust me, don't you Felicity?" She nodded slowly, never breaking eye contact. "Then for now, it is best if you ask no questions. Know that you are safe and all is well. Nothing else matters."
Two days had passed since the man who called himself Illivander brought her to his luxurious penthouse. Each night he came to her, enfolded her in his arms, and ensured her that she was safe and all was well. Felicity's days slipped away with her lost on a cloud of daydreaming bliss. Servants dressed in finely tailored suits served her gourmet meals, prepared her baths complete with floating rose petals, and dressed her in clothes from exclusive, foreign designers. They called her 'Ms. Monet' in tones of respectful deference. For a girl raised in a rural trailer park, it was like living a fairy tale. She was, she decided on the first day, dreaming. By the second day, she was less certain on that point. Still, Illivander's words -- in good time, you are safe, all is well -- hovered there on the periphery of her thoughts, consistently soothing away her concerns. Now, on her third night in the penthouse, as she sat waiting for her beautiful host to arrive -- as he always did shortly after sunset -- Felicity once again began to innocently question her storybook circumstances.
"Good evening, Felicity Monet," Illivander's singsong voice felt like a caress.
Felicity stood, determined to speak before she could lose herself in his eyes, his lips, his... "I need to make a phone call. My roommate will be worried."
Still standing in the doorway of the dining room, Illivander's effeminate features rearranged themselves into a mask of heartfelt sympathy and concern. "I am afraid that will not be possible," he said apologetically. Around them, the servants laid out the first course of evening's meal -- a rich smelling, creamy soup. In long, graceful steps, Illivander closed the distance to the table and took his customary seat across from her. "Your friend is part of the danger that you are in," he explained, idly stirring his soup.
"Ink?" Felicity asked, a stab of disbelief penetrating her subdued fascination. Ink was her best friend. They were blood sisters -- a pact sealed with an old pocket knife after their first real fight. Ink had a liked a boy named Michael who'd spurned her to pursue Felicity. That was when Felicity first told Ink about her preferences in that department. "What do you mean? Is she in some kind of trouble? Tell me," she demanded. The conciliatory turn of his features and the tugging corners of his mouth conspired to undermine her mounting outburst.
Illivander set his spoon down with the severity of a chopping block. "Your friend has become a monster," he said.
Not wanting to be overheard -- the kitchen became popular in the early afternoon -- Ink waited for an opportune moment to pose the question. "Delilah?" she asked, between bites of microwave burrito, "You ever think about trying to get away?"
Delilah sat bolt upright, color bleeding from her face. She checked over both shoulders before answering. "Don't talk like that," she whispered in a hiss. "Someone might hear you and tell the handlers. The last time someone tried, they beat him to a pulp and brought him to Benjamin. They made us keep the music off so we could hear him scream. It went on for hours. Please, Inky. Don't even think about trying anything."
"Okay. I won't. I was just asking," Ink said, entirely for Delilah's benefit. The answer had been, more or less, what she'd anticipated.
The other girl heaved a ragged sigh of relief. "Besides," Delilah said, after another quick glance to make sure they were still alone, "Where else would we get the blood?"
Ink nodded her understanding and fought to keep her disappointment from showing. This too, she had anticipated. Dependence was the only thing that made any sense. Why else would these people be so complacent about their situation? How else could they party while waiting eagerly for their turn to be tortured or even killed? They were all -- Delilah included -- living in the kind of denial that only the insane or the addicted could conjure. Drink. Babineaux's voice still infiltrated her thoughts. Drink, it beckoned. It feels good, doesn't it? Ink closed her eyes and willed both the voice and the craving to subside. "How do the handlers pick who to take every night?" she asked, hoping it would distract her from the gnawing blood lust.
Delilah's brow scrunched thoughtfully as she chewed. "I don't know," she shrugged. "Sometimes they ask for specific people. The handlers mostly seem to pick at random, but they usually don't take you more than twice a week. Sometimes..." her voice trailed off momentarily and she looked away, unable to meet Ink's gaze. "Sometimes people try bribing the handlers." The self-loathing evident in Delilah's diminished posture left little doubt as to how such bribes were paid.
"Does that work?" Ink asked, careful to filter the disgust from her voice. Lavinia hadn't had told her much about vampires. Ink knew they were strong and manipulative. She knew they feared the sun. Beyond that, they remained a mystery. If she was going avenge Felicity, she would need to learn as much as she could about them. That would require being selected by the handlers as often as possible. Was she willing to use her body as the currency to purchase those opportunities? Ink's revulsion turned inward. The vampires were just going use her for their pleasure anyway. What did it matter if the handlers did too -- especially if it got her what she wanted? Was this how Delilah justified it to herself the first time?
"No. Not often," Delilah said, snapping Ink out of her introspection.
"Good," Ink replied, the word slipping out before she could catch herself.
That night, the handlers took Delilah. As a consolation prize, Ink was given a small, plastic baggie with several pills inside. These, she tucked away. The blood wasn't the only addiction that kept the herd in check. Half of the people living in the house walked around in a perpetual, drug-induced fugue. Ink had no desire to become one of them. Instead, she kept to herself and waited as near the door as the handlers would permit, the knot of worry in her stomach growing with each passing minute. It was only a few hours before dawn when Delilah returned, escorted by a pair of handlers. She wore different clothes -- a man's dress shirt held closed by a single button and a skirt that only just showed beneath it. Lipstick was smeared across her mouth and dark rings of eyeliner circled her eyes. The handlers shoved Delilah into the ballroom hard enough that the disoriented girl stumbled and fell.