Robert could almost taste the blood. Still, after these hundreds of years, each hunt felt fresh and new. He anticipated the sweet thickness that would flow from her veins.
The young woman had fallen deeply under his spell. Her mind and will had already become his, and she'd never remember what was about to happen. No one else knew that, though. They'd see only the couple leaving the club, with her a little unsteady on her heels. Robert started to ask the doorman for a taxi, then saw horror in the woman's face. Just past her, reflected in the door's glass, he saw the truck careening out of control. He shoved her, hard, out of the way. He later learned that she broke her wrist when she fell. The truck missed her, though, so only Robert's body slammed through the glass and metal of the club's facade.
Pain. He woke to pain. Voices, sounds, smells -- his mind couldn't form thoughts, only experience raw sensations, and soon not even that. Even within the pain, he sank into darkness again.
Next time Robert woke, the pain was still with him. Voices had meaning, though; he could make out words in the hall outside. Sounds carried meaning too, medical beeping, footsteps, mechanical sounds. And the smells -- something antiseptic over the dark scent of bandaged blood. His blood.
He shifted and moaned as unwilling joints and muscles resisted. Sounds of fast footsteps, and a nurse's voice: "Rest, Mr. Andrews. You need to sleep." Something with a needle, and her hand on his arm until the world went dark again.
Robert woke again, to daylight this time. He squinted against the brightness as he tried to make sense of the voices.
"This can't be right. Are you sure this is the right chart?"
"Doctor, I've been trying to tell you. I've never seen anything like this. He -- Look, he's waking up."
"Mr. Andrews? Can you hear me?"
Nod, and even that hurt.
"You're a very lucky man, Mr. Andrews. For a while there, your injuries looked pretty bad. I'm happy to say they weren't nearly as bad as they looked at first."
Robert thought to himself, they were bad, OK. If they looked that bad, they were that bad. He'd felt this bone-deep ache before, as his body worked to repair some serious damage. Already, the ache had turned to nagging itch in a few places, a sure sign that healing was well along.
"We'll have you back on your feet in no time, maybe a couple of weeks. For now, you just take it easy and leave everything to us."
He'd leave soon enough, probably a day or two. For now, though, he needed to take stock. Robert knew the feeling of broken ribs, but those were almost healed. Arm in a cast, raised above his head -- there must have been swelling, but the break would be gone soon. Twinges and itches along his side meant some kind of superficial wounds, probably stitched. Something deep inside, too. There must have been internal injuries. That would scare the doctors, he knew, but didn't mean much. For people like Robert, anything that didn't kill him outright would heal inhumanly fast.
As he took stock, his heart fell. People like Robert -- vampires, if you must use the word, or vampyres -- could heal from almost any injury, with one exception. His tongue probed his mouth, and felt only smooth, raw wounds where teeth had been. Impact had shattered his mouth, leaving only broken pieces that couldn't be saved. Teeth never grow back. Without them, he couldn't pierce the skin of his prey and feed on their blood. In ancient times, that had been the ultimate punishment for one of his near-immortal kind: to have their fangs broken off, to starve an inch at a time, until the years left his undead husk comatose, unable to die but with no energy left to live.
Despair lay near by, but it would catch up to Robert later. First, he needed to leave the hospital before the doctors realized his un-human nature, then leave Robert Andrews behind. Even in this world of interlocking proofs of identity, it was still possible to become someone else. He already had papers stashed away that would prove him to be Robert O'Donnell -- not the Robert Andrews who healed in days from injuries that would have killed or crippled a mere human.
Days later and thousands of miles away, Robert swirled deep red wine ("Bull's blood") in its glass. Food and drink did nothing to sustain him, although he enjoyed the flavors. Only blood, fresh blood, drawn from a living body could keep him going. He didn't need that much -- his prey died only when Robert had reason to kill, and that hadn't happened in centuries. And, because secretions from his mouth affected his prey's tissues, blood from knife wounds, for example, could not sustain him. He had to draw the blood directly, his saliva mixing with the human essence.
So, he sat, swirling wine in his glass. Young and vital humans, his needed prey, bustled around him, arm's length away but forever beyond his reach. He could feel their warmth, smell their human scents -- rage and frustration kept depression at bay, at least for the moment, but Robert didn't know how long he could last. The young woman at the next table, her rich scent tugged at his hunter's instincts. Blood, the scent of blood called out to him. His animal senses, far keener than humans', picked out the odor of her menstruation. That aroma launched urges within him that his broken mouth could never fulfill.
Robert could give in to despair or fight it. For a time, at least, he chose to fight. He knew he could never feed, but he could still enjoy the thrill of the hunt. The woman, reading as she dined, would be his. Robert closed his eyes and summoned his power. Glands in his mouth opened and sweet musk flowed over his tongue. The scent on his breath wafted outward. A few minutes later, he saw its effect. Voices around him relaxed, took on happier tones. Couples nearby touched more. The woman next to him set her book aside, unable to concentrate, and gazed off to nowhere in her distraction.
As she looked around, her eyes touched Robert's momentarily. When she realized the contact, she looked away. In a friendly tone, Robert asked, "Is it any good?" He named the title he saw on her book. "I've been meaning to read that forever."
His hunting scent made his prey more trusting, easier to approach. She looked up, smiled, and answered. Robert kept up the conversation, even though the words meant little to him -- only the womanly scent of her blood really mattered to him. Soon, he joined her ("I'm Nora") at her table. The chemical mix in his saliva changed again. He casually wiped his mouth, wetting his fingertip. When the waiter came by, Robert lifted Nora's water glass for a refill, and touched his finger to its rim. Nora sipped, and her lips touched the spot he had wetted. They talked a while longer, and Robert soon recognized signs that meant she would succumb. Her eyelids fluttered as drowsiness set in. They paid, then stood to leave. She tottered, and Robert caught her arm in support.
Nora made some excuse about the second glass of wine, and Robert offered to get her a taxi. Anyone else would see a gentleman offering a friendly gesture to a lady. For Robert, though, the hunt was nearly over. He neared his prey, driven nearly to distraction by the warm aroma of inaccessible blood. As they stood at the restaurant door, he kissed her hand, a gesture she found old-fashioned and charming. A little wetness from his lips remained on her skin, though, and started to soak in. Part of the hunt, his body made sure she'd never remember him or the feeding that normally would have followed.
Keeping futility at bay, Robert followed his prey into the taxi, then walked her to her apartment. Drugged by the subtle chemistry of his lips, she allowed him in and closed the door behind them. Like Pavlov's dog, Robert's mouth moistened at the prospect of feeding. He pulled Nora close for a kiss, and she yielded. He held her close as the sedative kiss took effect, and felt her slump into his arms.
He laid her sleeping form on the couch and knelt next to her. The hunt had ended, Robert had his prey, and he sat in silent sadness. She was right there, ready for him, the scent of blood wafting up from her hips, and he couldn't do anything about it. Robert never molested his prey, he owed them that much respect, but couldn't help himself. His nose led him down her body. He lifted her skirt and swam in the scent of her monthly blood. For the first time ever, he touched his prey's underwear and pulled it down her legs. The bulky, reddened pad in the panties caught between her legs. Robert caught sight of her labia. The red stain across them and the lush scent of womanhood called to Robert's instincts. His animal urges took control, and he bent to taste the blood.
The taste! That first drop drove him nearly mad. The underwear tore in his grasp, and he parted her thighs. He lapped the stain from her outer lips, then licked more deeply. He licked the blood from her inner folds, then pressed his tongue into her vagina, the source of this richness. A human tongue would barely enter her body, but Robert's had evolved to lap blood even from deep crevices -- the slick muscle reached nearly to her cervix. The flavor intoxicated Robert, but he realized that something more was happening. He felt the glow of energy that came from feeding on blood. Like a man pardoned from a death sentence, Robert understood that he could live, he could feed -- just not the way that he used to.
Soon, the taste of blood was gone, consumed. Warm vaginal flavors lingered, but Robert had what he needed. He arranged Nora's legs comfortably on the couch. She'd sleep for a while, then waken with no memory of being his prey. He let himself out of the apartment, taking care to lock the door behind him. Nora would never see him again, but she had given him a new lease on life. Unknowingly, she had given him life itself.
Nora woke the next day, not remembering how she got home. When she saw her ripped underwear on the floor, she panicked. What had happened? Had someone been here? A fingertip probed between her legs, but showed no sign that she'd been raped. Then she realized, it showed no sign of blood, either. The day before had been her heaviest day, so there should have been at least a little color on her finger. She went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet, and felt inside herself more deeply. Nothing -- just the clear moisture she'd see any other time of month. So what had happened? Nervously, she decided it must have been nothing, just that second drink hitting her harder than she expected. At least, that's what she hoped.
Robert felt like a new man, revitalized by feeding on Nora's sleeping form. It had been months since he had fed, and the taste of blood made him reckless. He hunted often after that, often at the dance bar just outside of town. The "meat market" atmosphere didn't match his usual style, but meant there would be no questions if a woman left with a man she hadn't come in with.
Robert got the night's prey, Jill, back to her studio apartment. They kissed once, and he held her close. When he felt her weight fall against him, he lifted her in his arms. He laid her on the bed and removed her shoes. Then, in the low light, he folded the skirt of her dress up to her waist. He tugged her underwear down, lifting her to slide the cloth past her rear, then down and off her legs. She shaved! Well, he'd seen that a few times recently. When he parted her legs, a small white string peeked out from between her lips. Finger and thumb spread her labia, and he tugged the tampon free. He almost licked the heady scent from it, but dropped it in the trash can next to the bed. With the source of that rich aroma in front of him, he knelt, spread her legs a little more and fed. After cleaning her labia with his tongue, his mouth attended to her vagina. Even the first touch at the outer edge yielded rich, thick blood.
Robert probed deeper, softly sucking the precious blood that her body gave so willingly. Jill moaned as he licked. His mouth wetted again with the natural potion that brought sleep, and he spread it across the pinkness of her vulva -- it would seep into the the soft skin there as easily as it would enter her mouth, and he wasn't done feeding. Jill moaned again, and the taste deep within her changed. Robert remembered, he had heard her say something about cramps. She wasn't waking, she was responding to the contraction deep within her. Robert responded, too, since the contraction expelled another few drops of blood through her cervix.
The alchemy of a vampyre's oral glands has many effects. It can subdue prey, keep blood from clotting, and help to heal the prey's wounds after feeding. Robert had learned some control over it. Still, he was well aware that this body function ran largely on instinct. After Jill moaned again and expelled another few drops into Robert's waiting tongue, he could feel instinct stirring in his oral glands. He didn't recognize the taste of this pheromone, but trusted his body's knowledge. The new drug flowed into Jill's thinnest skin as he fed. Soon, she moaned with a new cramp, and again. Somehow, his instincts had created a drug to cause contractions in her womb. He regretted her obvious discomfort. He never wanted to hurt his prey, but she was asleep and wouldn't remember the feeling. He, on the other hand, would be sure to remember this way of feeding more deeply from a woman's body. Robert finished, left Jill in a comfortable position, and left.
Jill woke up with a furry mouth, as so often happened after a night out. She still wore her partying dress, the flirty one she wore dancing, and was a bit disgusted with herself for going to sleep in her clothes. When she sat up, she realized that her skirt was flipped up to her waist and she was bare below that. She saw her underwear heaped on the floor, and her bloody tampon in the garbage can -- eww. She would never have just dumped it like that, so what had happened? Jill couldn't remember, and that scared her. Did she bring a guy home? Since she was still wearing the dress (really wearing it, now that her skirt was around her legs), so that couldn't be it.
She called Mary, the friend she'd gone dancing with. "Mary? It's me. ... Yes, I know what time it is, but this is really important. Did I leave with someone last night? ... No, I really don't remember. ... Don't make fun of me, this is serious ..."
Next week, Robert found himself alone with Amy. They kissed, she slept, and he laid her out on the couch. He carefully removed her tailored slacks and underwear, and threw her blood-soaked menstrual pad in the trash. He opened her body, inhaled its aroma, and fed. Once his tongue was deeply implanted within her pelvis, his oral glands produced that new taste. Soon Amy moaned as her uterus cramped and squeezed its blood toward him. A different flavor mixed with her blood, though, the taste of a woman's excitement. Even in her sleep, the stimulation affected her body.
Unlike other vampyres, Robert never molested his prey. Feeding was one thing, but he preferred sex with willing partners. This time, however, he put a finger to the clitoris just above his nose. A few gentle touches pushed Amy's sleeping body in the direction it had already taken, and Robert felt her vagina contract around his tongue. He flexed it within her, not just to drink her life-giving blood, but to stimulate her body even more. Her juices flowed freely, and he felt her thighs tighten around his head. Deep contractions in her vagina clutched his tongue, and deeper contractions in her womb poured more of her blood into his mouth. The tension eased for a moment, then built again. Contractions in orgasm or cramping gave Robert the same result, but he didn't wish his prey any pain, even in sleep.
Robert had never fed so well before, not since he started this new way to feed. He would never molest his prey. Her excitement was only natural, given his action, and helped him to feed. Soon, Amy's body had given all it could, and Robert withdrew. He stretched her legs along the couch, found a blanket, and covered her. Taking care to lock the door behind him, he left.
Amy awoke gradually the next morning, reveling in that fresh-fucked feeling between her hips. Then she sat bolt upright. She wasn't in bed, she was on her couch, and she hadn't fucked anyone -- had she? She still wore her blouse and bra, but found herself naked from the waist down. What happened? She stripped, got into the shower, and scrubbed and scrubbed. Amy knew it was irrational. Whatever made her feel unclean, and she still didn't know what it was, would never come off with water. She almost didn't notice the lack of red tinge in the shower water. Her period normally lasted three days, but having it stop short was the least of her worries.
When the hot water ran out, Amy wrapped herself in a thick, warm robe -- the comforting feeling mattered, even if the warmth wasn't needed on such a hot day. She microwaved a cup of tea, then called her friend. "Jill? It's Amy. ... No, I didn't think I'd be up this early either. Do you have a few minutes?"
Amy told the story, as she knew it. Jill remained nearly silent, saying just enough to keep Amy talking. As Amy continued her story, Jill got a queasy feeling. She'd never told anyone but Mary, whose only answer was that Jill should stay away from tequila. Now, Amy was telling Jill's own story back to her.
Finally, when Amy's nervous chatter wound down, Jill said. "Amy, something did happen," and gave her own story. At Jill's urging, they drove to the women's clinic and got Amy examined. Nothing -- no sign of any sexual activity at all. The doctor took swabs for analysis, but didn't get Amy's hopes up for answers.
Over the next few weeks, two more of their friends, including Mary, had similar stories. "Jill," she said, "I'm sorry I didn't take you seriously. It's an awful feeling."
"Mary, when is your next period due?"
"It just ended yesterday."
"Has anyone noticed that all of us were having our periods when it happened?"
Nods all around, and nervous glances. "So there's some sick fuck out there, hunting down women having their periods, drugging them, and not having sex with them. Is that it?"
"That's disgusting. Exactly right, but disgusting. I mean, who actually wants ..." the thought trailed off, unfinished.
They banded together for protection. They always went out as a group, gave up the one night stands, and watched each other. Still, one by one, more of their friends told the same story and joined their group.
Then, one night, Therese left the nanny-cam on in her one-room apartment. It was all there. You could see her stumble into the apartment, dropping her keys. Robert came in after, closed the door, kissed her, and held her. A few minutes later, she slumped into his arms. He laid her on the bed, undressed her lower body, fed, tidied, and left. She went over it again and again, still not quite believing that she was watching herself. Still not wanting to believe the way her body arched in orgasm after orgasm that she couldn't remember.
Her face burning with shame, she called some of the others it had happened to. Amy and Jill came over and watched the video with her. Therese couldn't stand to watch it again, showing her rape -- was that the right word? - to others. She even showed the unwilling orgasm that the stranger's mouth gave, somehow the thing that shamed her most. She couldn't stand to be seen like that, but this was too important to hide. Jill held her, trembling, to the end of the clip.
Amy growled, "We've got the fucker, right on camera. Does anyone recognize him?"
Therese would have sworn she'd never seen him, except that the camera didn't lie. No one else recognized him either, except in some vague sense as if from a dream. Word went out, though, including a few stills from Therese's video that showed his face. Soon, half the women in town were carrying his picture in their purse. Women left their PC cameras on, and caught him again.