There's a Fine Line Ch. 12byMazuri©
A/N- Again, a warning for the content in this chapter. It's pretty graphic, violent, and bloody. There are some things the human body is not made to withstand, not even after you've been turned into a vampire.
"I've been looking for you, Mr. Mathewson." Blake glanced over at his mate, noting her pallor. A silent message was sent to his Child for him to fetch the others. He was assured that Augustin would bring the two even if he had to throw a pail of freezing water on them to pull them apart.
"So I've heard, My Lord," the captured vampire sneered. He'd been twisting and pulling against his metal and steel bands and felt them begin to crack. "It must be quite the blow to your impressive ego to not have everyone falling over themselves to serve you."
"You were issued a summons by an active Investigator of the Primus. You are required to attend or suffer the consequences." A motion at the edge of his periphery confirmed that his Child had been successful in rounding up the amorous pair. "By the authority granted to me by Hauhet of Saqqara, Leader of the Primus Concilium, I take you, Angus Mathewson, into custody for questioning and sentencing. Will you come quietly?"
"You're a fool, Simons."
With an alarming crack, the vampire finally broke through his unusual restraints and leapt for Blake. They came together with a thud, momentum sending them crashing into a nearby table which splintered beneath their combined weight. Angus was slightly older with more physical bulk, but Blake had spent centuries perfecting both offensive and defensive fighting techniques. He shifted his weight and rolled so that he was on top of the aggressive vampire.
"You're only making things worse for yourself, Mathewson. Attacking a Primary Investigator during the course of executing his mission is a punishable offense."
"How eloquent." In a move too fast to be seen by all but the eldest vampires, Blake grabbed two jagged pieces of the broken table and speared Mathewson through each hand – pinning him to the floor. The vampire's screams were swallowed by the thumping music and yelling partiers. "Now, I ask you again. Will you yield?"
"Go to hell," the bleeding vampire spat. "Malphas will have your bitch soon enough and then you'll know what it's like."
"Don't take that prediction to Vegas."
Blake rolled Angus to his stomach, ignoring the vampire's renewed screams when the makeshift stakes were wrenched from the floor, and placed a knee in the small of his back to hold him in place. He took a rope from August and wrestled his captive's hands behind his back. Using his expertise in Shibari, Blake efficiently bound Angus' hands from wrist to elbow in a series of close knots. The rope's narrow diameter was deceptive. A gift from Lysavar, it contained several enchantments that improved its strength and grip.
"Armentage, if you would, help August escort our new...friend...to my vehicle. He knows where to drop off the trash." Blake rose and moved over to his mate. His fingers lightly touched the healing wounds and fading bruises on her throat. "Alicia? Where all did he hurt you?"
"Just there, my vampire." She winced at the pain in her raw throat. Blake leaned down and brushed his lips and then his tongue over each of the pinpricks to aid in their healing. With a low groan, he pulled her into his arms and held her tight against his chest.
"I died a little inside, Beautiful One, when I saw you in that creature's grasp."
"I'm sorry, Blake," Alicia trembled against him, the shock and adrenaline wearing off to leave her shaken and scared. "I shouldn't have come here. We should have stayed at home and..."
"Shhh." Kissing the top of her head, he loosened his embrace enough to rub her back in soothing circles. "Don't let him ruin this day for you. Remember the fun you were having before. I've never seen such joy in your eyes. Well, at least not while you were fully dressed." Her shaky laugh was his reward and he kissed her head again.
"Can we go home?"
"Definitely. August knows where to take Mathewson." Blake glanced over at his friend's newling. "di Luca, will you drive us?"
"Certainly, Mr. Simons."
Blake climbed into the back and cradled Alicia close to his side while Francisco maneuvered his small sedan though the spotty traffic. The vampire was worried about his mate; she was drifting in and out of consciousness as if exhausted. He'd never seen her attempt to use her abilities in such a way and was concerned that she'd overtaxed herself. Meanwhile, Alicia was thinking of the side of her mate she'd witnessed that night. He'd been brutal, ruthless, almost cold but then he'd touched her with such tenderness. Her vicious vampire teddy bear. She scooted closer until she wriggled onto his lap then nuzzled at his neck.
"I love you, Sir."
"Alicia." Blake breathed her name like a prayer as he tightened his arms around his precious female. Her even breathing alerted him that she'd succumbed to her exhaustion before he could reply. Burying his face in her feathered-streaked hair, he allowed his joyful tears to fall. He'd suspected her heart had finally given in to the pull of the mating bond but it felt like heaven to hear her admit it. Though she slept, he whispered into her hair, "I love, cherish, and adore you, my beautiful angel."
Following the older vampire's directions, Francisco parked the sedan in the private parking area. Blake gathered his mate into his arms and they rode the elevator up to his suite. Only after he'd settled Alicia into his bed did he address Elizabeth's newling.
"August and Armentage will be up soon and then I have a request to make of you and the young Councilman." Keeping the door open to the bedroom so he could watch over his mate, Blake poured a glass of blood and offered it to Francisco. "Here. You might need to replace what Armentage has taken."
The younger male would have blushed if it was possible and took the glass with mumbled thanks and a change of subject. "Is Alicia all right? I haven't seen her pass out like that since the first time she explored her abilities."
"I believe it's merely exhaustion, though I want to keep an eye on her just in case. She tries hard to make us forget she's not invincible, doesn't she?"
"That she does." Francisco sipped from the glass and watched the intimidating vampire pace the length of the living room and back. "What will become of Mathewson? Should I contact Elizabeth?"
"Mathewson's fate was sealed the moment he laid hands on my mate." Blake's growl raised the hair on the back of the newling's neck and he shivered at the barely restrained violence that wafted off the elder vampire. "Since he also attacked an Investigator in the fulfillment of his duties, I'm allowed a bit of leniency in the methods of obtaining information from an obviously hostile source."
"Excellent news, Monsieur Investigateur." Devereux strolled into the penthouse suite and straight for the wet bar. Blake poured August a glass and then passed the flamboyant councilman the carafe of Sangue Vino. "We've left the infuriated traitor chained up in the dungeons below and awaiting your convenience. I'm assuming the council will have to find someone for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut?"
"You assume correctly, Armentage. The Primus wants to know his reasons for working with the demon as well as how he managed to usurp the drop box system for his own uses. For myself, however, I need to find out what Malphas' plans are for my mate and how I can thwart them."
"Sounds like a party. I do so hope I'm invited; I even dressed the part." The flashy vampire struck a pose that teetered on the brink between ridiculous and sensual.
"Neither the time nor the place, Armentage," Blake hissed at him in frustration, including the newling in his glance. "If you're both certain that you can keep your clothes on, I need you to keep an eye on Alicia while I'm busy with Mathewson. It wouldn't surprise me if Malphas came for her tonight while my attention is elsewhere."
"Is there a way we can call you if it's needed?" Francisco pulled out his cell phone and started creating a new contact. He plugged in the information as Blake relayed it to him. A quick glance showed him that Devereux had done the same. "We'll watch her, Mr. Simons."
Blake stared at the newling and the flamboyant older vampire, knowing he was placing a lot of trust in the pair. He'd feel better if August stayed with his mate but the once-pacifistic monk had learned much in the art of interrogation and torture over the centuries and would be invaluable when dealing with Mathewson. With a final nod, the intimidating vampire and his Child left the suite and locked the door securely behind him.
Blake stared through the one-way glass at the naked vampire suspended in the center of the blindingly white room. White padded shackles wrapped around Mathewson's ankles and wrists and anchored to hidden rings in the floor and ceiling by white chains kept the vampire suspended a foot off the floor. A special coating, as well as their tautness, kept the chains from making any noise whenever the vampire struggled against his bindings while the padding prevented the shackles from cutting into tender flesh and breaking up the colorless monotony of the room. The lights were bright white LEDs that shone from every conceivable angle and allowed no shadows to break the glaring expanse of nothing. Even the window through which Blake and his Child watched their prisoner was nothing more than another sheet of white against the starkness of the room.
In addition to the lack of visual stimuli, Blake had added auditory torments as well. Various short snippets of popular music – anything from thrash metal and gangster rap to Broadway show tunes and traditional gospel – was interspersed with white noise – static, loud pops and crackles, and high pitched whines. It was programmed to be entirely random so the victim never knew what was coming next, a pleasant piece of music or an eardrum-numbing screech. The unpredictability left the vampire's mind with nothing to focus upon and no way to concentrate in order to shore up his mental defenses.
It was sensory assault at its finest.
The Primary Investigator flipped a switch that cut the mind-ripping mix of music and sound. "Good evening, Mr. Mathewson, and welcome to my private interview facility. I hope you're enjoying your stay thus far." Mathewson's feral glare darted around the blank, white room in an effort to pinpoint where his enemy was located. The speakers were strategically spaced along the walls so that Blake's voice appeared to come from every conceivable angle. "How we proceed from this point forward is entirely up to you. I will ask my questions. If you answer them truthfully, then you will be spared further methods of persuasion. If you choose to lie, or not to answer at all, I fear you will only be prolonging the inevitable at great detriment to your health."
"Fuck you, Simons! There's never been a set of chains made that I couldn't break eventually. And when I do, I'm coming for your little half-breed bitch. I'm gonna give it to her real good before I take her head. You hear me, Simons? I'm gonna fuck that demon slut of yours and then drain her dry while my dick's still warm!"
"Are you quite through, Mathewson?" Blake's menacing chuckle raised the hairs on even his child's neck. "One, the chains weren't made by humans but dwarves, and then enspelled by elves. It pays to have good friends on other planes. Two, you will not make it out of that chamber alive or whole. And three, I will take great delight in teaching you the error of touching, and harming, what is mine."
"You think you're so special, don't you, you son of a bitch? Better than everyone around you. Playing at Lord of the Manor even though it's been so much ashes and rubble for all these centuries." Mathewson tugged ineffectively at the enspelled chains but could gain no leverage. "I never knew what Lucinda saw in you, why she thought to turn you instead of just using you for cattle, but she will be avenged, Simons. You hear me? I will avenge my Lady!"
As the captive vampire descended into incoherent ranting and spitting of foul epithets, Blake flipped the switch to swap from the microphone back to the random mix of music and noise. Lounging against the wall, he watched as the councilman frothed at the mouth and struggled against his bindings. With Malphas still at large, he needed to expedite his inquiry and put this matter to rest as soon as possible. A cruel smile played about his lips as he logged into the chamber's computerized controls in order to add a few additions to the sensory torture.
The first addition included randomized lights in the room so that they flared brightly from one to three seconds and then faded back to their normal range. Since there were several dozen in the stark white room wired into the program, Mathewson would be unable to time the delay between each flare, how long the flare would last, or from which direction the flare would come. Unable to anticipate where or when or for how long the flare lasted would set the man even more on edge than he already was. The lack of a set pattern was the key to its effectiveness.
The other addition was the inclusion of brief and discordant bites of sound that fell into the 25kHz to 50kHz range. Outside the range of normal human hearing, the ultrasonic sounds were similar to a dog's whistle – high-pitched and painful to a vampire's sensitive hearing. He then added a randomizer to both the frequency and pitch and then inserted it into the already random sound program currently running. Watching the victim's face, he knew by the pained wince that the first of the ultrasounds had been played.
"Let's allow him to enjoy his entertainment for half an hour before we try again." Blake dialed Armentage's number to get an update on his mate and was relieved to hear that she was awake. He waited impatiently as the councilman handed her the phone. "How are you feeling, Beautiful One?"
"Still a bit shaky but better. Between Dev and Cisco, I think I've drank an orchard's worth of orange juice already. Seriously, Blake, you don't have to support all of Florida on my account. Isn't there something just as good for me that ain't quite so...I dunno, orangey?"
"You need to regain your strength, Alicia. You wore yourself out tonight."
"Yeah, I know. I'm just growing to loathe the stuff. You know...I'd get better faster if you'd come up and let me nibble on you.
"Behave, brat," Blake chuckled softly, relieved to know she was feeling strong enough to tease him. "I'll be up soon, I promise."
There was such a long pause that he thought she'd fallen asleep when he heard her whisper come through the small speaker. "I love you, my vampire."
"Good girl." His lips curled into a satisfied smile. "I'll be up soon to show you how much I love and adore you, my mate. Never doubt that for a moment." Closing the cell phone, he cradled it against his chest for a long silent moment before slipping it into his pocket. His deep brown eyes quickly bled into crimson and his smile took on a more sinister nature as he moved towards the cipher-locked door that separated him from his prey. "Enough of this. It's time to get some answers."
August nodded and moved towards the control panel. After turning off all the sounds as well as the lights, he triggered a single spotlight that focused on the prisoner. The former monk pulled a rolling cart from a utility closet and then followed his Sire into the bare room. Locking the door behind him, he placed the cart to one side within working distance of the captive and locked the wheels into place. The smile he then turned on Mathewson gave the older vampire shivers.
"I spent the entirety of my human life learning how to be a better person." August began methodically removing his clothing and placing it in a plastic bin beneath the cart. "I was a pious man, a God-fearing man. I had dedicated my life to my faith and the belief that there was nothing so precious on this earth than the sanctity of the human soul. It was all ripped away by an act of violence so horrific and senseless that it changed how I viewed the world and those within it." Now nude, the elderly vampire slipped a midnight-black tunic over his head that fell to his knees. The color did much to hide the stains from blood and gore.
"What's that got to do with me, old man?" Mathewson's snarl had as much effect on the pair as the hissing of an angry kitten. "So life kicked you in the nuts. It happens even to the most faithful cattle."
August continued as if the prisoner had never even spoken. "You see, a coven of vampires – much like your own – decided they would teach my mate and me a lesson. They felt Drouet had forgotten that humans were merely cattle; they thought I was a danger to them because I dared to postulate the truth of the existence of vampires. What they failed to realize is just how stubborn we humans can be with our beliefs; no one would have ever believed me. Their secret was safe and yet they still they came. They mutilated my mate and drained me nearly unto death. Well, as the scriptures say: vengeance is mine; I will repay, so saith the Lord. With the help from my Sire, we showed them just how badly they'd erred. Just as we shall do so today."
"Your sire? My, my, Simons, that's a juicy bit of news indeed. I know several who'd pay well for that information."
"I'm sure you do. It's such a pity that you won't be leaving this room alive to collect on such a valuable tidbit." Blake, who had changed while August was talking to Mathewson, was now dressed in the same style of dark tunic as his Child. Once his clothing was secured, he pulled a set of tin snips and an ordinary pair of pliers from the cart's surface and moved to stand before the suspended captive.
"He is also correct in that Lucinda's coven was a blight upon the earth and would have drawn the displeasure of the Primus upon them had I not intervened. They destroyed entire villages under the guise of the Black Death. It wouldn't have been long before someone survived and talked of what they saw. Before someone believed what they heard. The Inquisition would have enjoyed your Sire, I believe. They always did like the female heretics and monsters." Blake's smile widened, showing his distended fangs pressing against his lower lip. "I find it only fitting that I use all I've learned from them on you."
"You're full of shit, Simons." Mathewson watched the Investigator juggle each tool in his hand as if testing their weight or trying to decide which to use first. "The Inquisition would have had you on the rack within a week if you'd tried to infiltrate their organization."
"You forget, Councilman," August interrupted smoothly while testing the tension on the chains. "I was a very powerful monk in my day. All it took was a letter, dated as being written prior to my human death and later found in my effects, and the Inquisition was eager to welcome a new member into their fold."
"Oh, yes. Don Calmet wrote quite the glowing recommendation of my piety and desire to do God's work." Blake chuckled as he drew the points of the tin snips down the captive's chest, leaving twin trails of crimson that healed almost immediately. "For mere 'cattle,' the Inquisition was most educational."
"Yeah, whatever. You're not getting anything from me."
"I was afraid you'd be difficult." With a sigh, he nodded to August, who dug his claws into the captive's ribs from behind to hold him steady. Blake gave Mathewson a final, questioning glace before bringing up the tin snips and swiftly cutting off the vampire's right nipple. Once he'd ceased his grunts and straining against both his restraints and the monk who held him in place, Blake neatly snipped off the left nipple. "Perhaps you might, now, feel a bit more open to discussion?"