A Taste of Blood

byEdge23©

"Yes, Mr. Mangum? What can I do for you?"

"Water," he croaked.

She nodded and walked to the bathroom and brought back a glass of water and held it to his lips, telling him to drink it slowly. Tyler nodded and took small sips. As he leaned his head back, he felt an ache in his shoulder. First things first, though.

"Why am I strapped down?"

"Orders from your employer, Mr. Smythe. He said that they were a good precaution.

"Smythe? He's here?"

"Yes, sir. He's down the hall, speaking with someone on the phone. Would you like me to get him?"

Tyler nodded and the nurse left, leaving Tyler to try to fight off the headache and try to decide what happened at the lingerie store. He decided to leave out talking to Grace, but then changed his mind. Mr. Smythe had been a good employer and deserved the truth. Smythe chose that moment to walk in.

"Tyler! My God. What happened?" Smythe was understandably in a state of panic. He started pacing, trying to figure out what to do. His hand automatically went to his hair.

"Mr. Smythe," Tyler said quietly, getting his attention. "Please sit down and I'll tell you what happened, though some of it you may not believe." Smythe sat down and waited for Tyler to start, and start he did. Not leaving out a single detail, except for what happened the night before with Grace, though it seemed fairly obvious, he explained everything. Mr. Smythe was quiet the entire time, even through Tyler's description of Grace's change. At the end, during the silence, he asked Mr. Smythe what had happened to him. Smythe explained that it was a slight concussion and what looked like an animal bite on his shoulder.

"The straps were my idea," Smythe said with an embarrassed smile. "I figured you would try to get up and take care of everything." Tyler smiled back and closed his eyes, a wave of nausea rushing over him, probably from the concussion.

"Tyler, I'm going to have to released into my care and custody. There is more to this than a simple kidnapping and ransom. Hang tight and I'll be back soon."

Tyler nodded and slept, all of the energy draining out of him. His dreams were a mishmash of images, none of them making any sense. When he woke back up, Smythe and a doctor were having a discussion in the corner. He heard the doctor say 'It's an infection that we don't understand yet,' to which Smythe replied, 'Doctor, you will never understand it. I'm taking him home.'

The matter was settled apparently, because shortly thereafter, Tyler was presented with his release papers as well as the doctor's statement that Tyler was being released against the better judgment of the doctor and the hospital. Tyler walked out under his own power to Mr. Smythe's limo. The driver, Edward, opened the door and told Tyler that it was good to see him again. Tyler nodded and climbed into the back seat with a sigh. He sat across from Smythe, who looked both angry and scared at the same time. When he spoke, his voice was soft but showed that it would brook no interruption.

"Tyler, don't apologize for what happened. I don't blame you. No one I could have sent in there with my daughter could have kept her safe." Tyler started to speak by Smythe glared at him, Tyler closer his mouth. "Let me finish. What we are up against here is something that most people think is a legend or a fairy tale or a myth. But you have seen them with your own eyes. I wouldn't believe it if I were in your shoes, Ty." That was the first time in two years of service that his employer had called him Ty.

"Sir," he said as his boss went quiet. "I'm not sure what I saw. What was she?"

Smythe looked into his eyes as if he were judging Tyler's mental state and ability to believe, which was exactly what he was doing. He stared for a long moment before speaking.

"Tyler, this is going to be hard to believe, but I want you to know it's the truth." He waited for Tyler to nod before continuing. "They were werewolves, Tyler."

Tyler looked at his employer before shaking his head. "Sorry, boss. It must be the concussion. It sounded like you said werewolves."

"That's exactly what I said. Werewolves."

"Mr. Smythe," Tyler said, his brows furrowing. "No disrespect, but are you out of your mind?"

"No, Tyler, I'm not. There are things in this world that most people are not privy to, Tyler. You don't see them unless you know where to look or they come looking for you. Have you ever wondered what happened to Mrs. Smythe?"

"I have, sir, but it didn't seem my place to ask."

"Werewolves. They took her. They have something against my family, something from the old days. They've taken my daughter, Tyler. I want her back and I want this curse ended."

"I understand," Tyler said. "But where do I come in?"

"You are going to be the warrior we have against the Wolves. You will become our fighting machine. I know what you're going to say. You're not strong enough or fast enough. We can remedy that. I just need your full cooperation."

"Of course, Mr. Smythe. Just say the word."

Smythe chuckled, an unpleasant sound. "Before you jump in, you should wait until you hear the bargain. In order to give you what you need, you'll have to give up something very important."

"Give up? Like what?" Suddenly, he didn't like the sound of this offer.

"I'll explain everything when we get back to the house." He put his chin in his hand and stared out the window. That was the end of all discussion.

*

Chapter Five

Edward pulled up in front of the house and cut the engine. He got out and walked around, opening the door for Mr. Smythe. Tyler, hating that kind of thing, opened his own door and got out, still moving slowly. They walked up the steps and into the foyer. Tyler immediately saw a tall, thin man standing in Smythe's office, his back to the open doors.

"Tyler, wait here while I speak to my guest." Tyler nodded and simply stood there, another wave of nausea hitting him. Isabella appeared next to him with a cup of steaming tea.

"Muchas gracias, Isabella" he said, not having the energy for their usual game.

"De nada, Señor Tyler. Now drink. It's a bark, that when ground up and boiled, is good against the bite of el hombre lobo."

Tyler blinked; he had not realized until then that the pain in his shoulder was from a werewolf bite. Maybe it wasn't the concussion causing the nausea after all. He drank the tea quickly.

"Who is that in the office?"

Isabella lowered her voice. "Primo. The first of el vampiro." The first vampire? He was looking at Dracula. He swallowed the rest of his tea and handed the cup back to Isabella, who gave him a smile and walked back to the kitchen.

He turned back to the office and saw Smythe's guest regarding him. Tyler adopted his usual pose of patient waiting. He felt something brush his mind and the pain eased, his eyes unfocusing for a second and then snapping back, seeing Smythe motion to him to come into the office. Tyler walked in, the nausea receding already.

"Tyler, have a seat. I assume Isabella told you who my guest was?" Tyler nodded but said nothing.

"You have guessed wrong, Mr. Mangum." The first vampire turned to face him and Tyler saw that he was looking at a woman, not a man like he thought at first. She was tall and thin, though power rolled off of her in waves. She stood over six feet tall, but Tyler guessed she wasn't quite as tall as he was. Her face was narrow and her nose pointed. Her accent was hard to place, though she looked Mediterranean. Her hair was jet black and pulled up into a bun. Her clothes were black as well, a peasant shirt and a loose dress that barely covered her black shoes. "Good," she continued. "You do not try to cover your mistakes with a lot of male bluster. My name is Lilith."

She held out her hand to him. Her fingers were long and thin, just like a master pianist. Her fingernails were long and sharp like five small daggers. Tyler reached out and took her hand, greatly impressed by the strength he felt in the hand. She smiled at him, knowing he had questions to ask. She had two small fangs that touched her bottom lip from the second incisor, instead of the canines like in the movies. "Ask," she said, her smile heard in her voice.

Tyler released her hand and looked down, not sure where to start. "Lilith," he began. "The Lilith that was Adam's first wife? She was cast out of Eden for..." Suddenly, his memory deserted him.

"I am she and I was cast out of Eden for wanting to be on top but Adam was such a whiny, insecure 'man' that he whined to God when I wanted pleasure instead of five minutes of some bull grunting on top of me before he was finished and wanted to sleep. So, God kicked me out and created Eve to be Adam's 'perfect woman.' That worked out well, didn't it?"

Tyler had to smile. He would have expected bitter hatred or all consuming sadness for being told you had to leave Eden. I guess two or three millennia gave you time to reflect. "Now, obviously I was wrong, but I thought Dracula was the first vampire."

Lilith smiled sadly. "He was a prodigy of mine. Then, his Elizabeta threw herself off of a building and killed herself. He cursed God, rightly so, and God took away his soul, turning him into the monster that Bram Stoker described."

"So, the book was true. Dracula came to England, seduced Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray and was killed at his castle in Transylvania."

Lilith chuckled. "Not exactly as described in the book, but essentially correct."

Tyler felt the world he knew slip away from him. Vampires. Werewolves. All real. He took a deep breath and felt a stabbing pain shoot through his left shoulder. He grimaced but stayed upright. Lilith smiled again.

"I like him, Thomas. He is smart and obviously strong. Just the combination we need." Smythe smiled in return. "I assume you told him about the Pact." She looked at Smythe and anger flashed across her face when he made no reply. He tried to back away and fell back into his chair. Lilith was the only person Tyler had ever seen Smythe back down from. He liked her even more now.

"What is the Pact," Tyler asked, trying to fight off the pain. Lilith turned her gaze back to him, the anger vanishing as quickly as it came.

"The Pact," she began, a trace of irritation in her voice, "Is the agreement you and I make to make you more than human. To make you a vampire."

Tyler blinked. And then blinked again. Smythe had said he would have to give up something important and he hadn't been kidding. He took a deep breath and ignored a new burst of pain. "So, I'm going to be a vampire." He looked at Smythe, who made apologetic waves of his hands.

"Only if you agree, Tyler," Lilith said. "If you do not agree, it will not work and you will die. I cannot force you to do it."

Tyler took that in. "I get to think about it, right? I can't make a decision like that so fast."

Both Smythe and Lilith nodded. "You have twelve hours to decide," Smythe said. "I wish we could give you more time, but time is the one thing we don't have. Isabella has made up a room for you."

Tyler nodded and bid them both goodnights. "Tyler," Lilith said, stopping him. "There is a book in your room that will give you the information you need. Read it." Tyler nodded and headed upstairs. He passed Violet's room and felt the anger rise in him that he hadn't had a chance to feel before.

He stepped into her room and looked around, the large bed dominating the room. His knees buckled and he fell to the floor, letting out his rage, along with his guilt. He pounded his fists on the floor until they bled and tears mixed with the thick red fluid. He only stopped when Isabella's strong motherly hands gripped his shoulders and held him, letting him cry. Eventually, she had him to his bedroom and laid him on the bed, brushing his hair out of his eyes until he slept.

Downstairs, Lilith and Thomas looked at the ceiling, listening to Tyler vent his emotions. Quietly, Lilith said, "I think he has already decided, Thomas." Smythe could only nod.

*

Chapter Six

Tyler slept fitfully that night. The things, which he now knew to be werewolves, surrounded him, but a force of will that dwarfed them all put together held them back. Grace appeared and her fangs dripped with Violet's blood. He didn't know how he knew it was Violet's; he just knew. Grace started to laugh and the will surrounding him expanded, pushing them out of his mind.

The dream changed, showing him a castle. He was seeing it from above, similar to TV or movie shots of the Grand Canyon. He started moving closer to the castle, passing through the gray wall and landing in a bedroom. The walls and floor were all made of the same rough-hewn gray stone. A wooden door stood open at the far side of the room. A large wooden bed with four posts topped by a red canopy was next to him. The blanket on the bed was white as were the pillows that lay there.

Tyler felt a presence and turned back to the doorway and saw a woman standing there. He knew this was Lilith, though she was somehow different. She seemed younger, though he couldn't tell by how much. She was in a black dress that held the length of her, showing Tyler the curves of her body. He felt himself react, his penis start to harden and he realized that he was naked. She walked toward him, smiling and her hips swaying. She took his lengthening shaft in her hand and he moaned as her hand felt warm where he had expected cold.

"Tyler," she said quietly. "The time for guilt is over. Now is the time for lust. Please me, Tyler."

She pulled his head down and placed her mouth over his, tickling his lips with he tongue. He moved against his against hers, noting the odd sensation of her fangs against his tongue. He moaned softly as he grew to full hardness in her hand. She separated her mouth from his and he picked her up and laid her on the bed. Lifting her dress above her waist, he leaned down to lick her, but she pulled him up by his hair.

"No," she said, pulling his face toward her by the hair. "I don't like it like that. Which is good, because Adam wouldn't do it anyway. 'It's not natural,' he said."

Tyler smiled and kissed her again, pulling her dress off and tossing it on the floor. Lilith spread her legs and wrapped them around his waist, moaning into his kiss as he slowly pushed himself into her. She smiled into his lips, his bottom lip hitting her fangs, feeling a slight prick as the pierced the skin, her tongue licking his lips and the blood disappearing into her mouth, making her moan again. Tyler began his thrusting, his pace slow and steady, Lilith pulling him in deep with her legs. He arched his back and drove as deep as he could into her, Lilith accepting him easily.

Their lovemaking was unhurried. Lilith took and gave pleasure in equal measure. It was unlike anything he had ever felt, like one continuous orgasm that flowed from one to the other. As he finally climaxed, the scene faded from his mind, Lilith smiling up at him from the bed.

"You have chosen well, my warrior."

*

Chapter Seven

Tyler woke up to find Isabella setting down a tray of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and two cans of his favorite soda on the bedside table. "Ah," she said smiling. "Mi hombre grande is awake. It is good to see you feeling better, Señor Tyler."

Tyler smiled back and stretched. "Mi bonita señorita, I feel much better. Muchos gracias. Yo tengo hambre mucho." He slid out from under the covers to start to eat when Isabella gasped. He looked down and realized he wasn't wearing any clothes. He had his morning erection and was very embarrassed. "Isabella, I'm sorry! I..."

"Señor Tyler! Not until we are married!" She smiled and smacked him on his good shoulder. She left the room and Tyler noticed she took one last peek as she pulled the door shut. Tyler smiled and climbed out of bed and stretched again. He found the bathroom on his first try and relieved himself. When he came back out, he spotted a duffle bag on the reading table. He grabbed a piece of toast and popped open a can of soda and went to the duffel bag. He recognized it as the bag he left at the house in case of emergencies. He figured this qualified. Inside, he found two pairs of his blue jeans, two black pocket t-shirts, two pair of black boxer briefs and two pairs of socks. He nodded and laid out a set of clothes and went to take his first shower in two days. He showered quickly, his shoulder still aching.

Once clean and dried, he dressed and finished his breakfast. He grabbed his last piece of toast and ate it on the way downstairs. Isabella, blushing as her gaze brushed his crotch, met him at the bottom of the stairs with a cup of her bark tea. "They are waiting for you in the office, mi hombre grande," she said, a smirk on her face as well as in her voice.

"Gracias, me esposa futura." He leaned down and kissed her cheek, making her blush even more. She took the can as he finished and went back to the kitchen, her cheeks still red. As he walked to his employer's office, he felt the pain in his shoulder recede. He knocked on the door and heard Mr. Smythe tell him to enter.

Smythe looked like he hadn't slept, which was possible. He was rubbing his eyes and running his hand through his hair. Lilith was there as well, looking at Smythe's garden through the window.

"Excuse me," Tyler said, a question popping into his head. "But..."

Lilith turned toward him with a wry smile. "You didn't read the book, so I'll answer your question. Vampires can walk around perfectly well in the daytime. When we do, though, we are all but powerless." Tyler nodded and sat down, trying to put everything together in his head and failing. Over the next hour, Lilith proceeded to fill him in on all of the information he should have read.

Vampires are made, not born. Werewolves can be both. Lilith was the first vampire and Adam's son Cain was the first werewolf, having been case into the darkness and cursed for killing Abel. Both are sensitive to silver, though it makes werewolves revert to their natural form for a brief period. For vampires, it just makes them weak, like sunlight. Born werewolves, like Grace, can change form whenever they want, but created werewolves can only shape-shift during the full moon or when their creator makes them. They are extremely strong and amazingly fast. To kill a werewolf, they need to be shot with silver bullets, stabbed with silver weapons or decapitated.

Vampires are extremely strong and fast as well. They can turn into mist when needed, but only for a short period of time. Lilith is the only born vampire while the few that exist are made and only made by her. They heal fast and are mostly invulnerable. They can walk during the day while the whole native earth thing was a crock. Crosses and holy water did nothing and mirrors were ineffective.

"And the blood thirst," Tyler asked, rubbing his eyes.

"It's not a thirst so much as an ache," Lilith said. "Right here." She was pointing at her heart. "I don't know how or why I pass that on. Probably God's idea of a joke. He always had a bad sense of humor."

"Can vampires be killed?"

"Yes," she answered matter-of-factly. "Massive blood loss, such as caused by a stake through the heart. Cutting their heads off works, too. Drinking blood helps heal wounds as well as making you stronger. Your senses will be better and your reactions faster. When I chose to," she said with a grin, "I can move faster than mortal eyes can follow." As a demonstration, she disappeared and then reappeared by the office door in less than the span of an eye blink.

Tyler looked at her, knowing he was going to go through with it but he had one more question. "Why me? Surely, there are other people out there who are better suited for this job than I am. Soldiers. Mercenaries..."

"Get paid to do their job," Lilith finished for him. "Their loyalty can be bought. Soldiers have families; loved ones that can be tortured. You, sadly, have no one and your display of emotion last night tells me that your allegiance cannot be swayed with money. Your desire to get Violet back is fueled by emotions that will not be compromised by the enemy. I know this because the Wolves would rather die than enter into a treaty with us. We are mortal enemies. They have Violet and we must get her back."

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