tagSci-Fi & FantasyGhosts Ch. 06

Ghosts Ch. 06


"Drink this, Pieyla."

My eyes fluttered open to the dim, bluish glow of the room illuminating Lex's alert features, but the image never quite came into focus. Pain exploded behind my eyes, and I squeezed them shut. As soon as the light was gone I began to slip almost immediately back into sleep.

"Pieyla. Wake up, come on." He snapped his fingers and then I was looking at a fuzzy glass of water that was suddenly the most delicious looking thing I'd ever seen. I grabbed for it, my head not processing much of anything yet. He laughed as I began gulping it down, but it was slightly distorted over the ringing in my ears.

"You've had a reasonable amount of blood loss," he said conversationally. "And you might still be tripping a little bit." He removed the drained glass from me with one hand and tipped my chin up with the other, studying my eyes. The vision of him vibrated oddly in front of me, but I couldn't bring myself to be overly bothered by the strangeness of the situation.

"Yup, she's still trippin!" he said cheerfully to Jack, and then I realized Jack was beside me and threw my arms around the big dog's neck, running my fingers through soft fur.

"Hey." Lex was snapping his fingers in front of my face. "This drug is cyclic. At this point it's probably going to hit once every six hours or so for..." he frowned and shook his head, then shrugged. "fuck, I don't know," he muttered, "I've never seen a human ingest this much ifuale before."

His frown suddenly looked way too frowny and I snickered, pointing at him.

"Ifuale," I mimicked, giggling, and he shook his head, bopping me on the nose with his thumb.

"You're a monster," he said dryly, and it was such an absurd statement coming from him that I started to giggle harder. Then he slipped something out of his pocket and grabbed my leg, and before I could start to struggled he'd clicked a thin, circular device around my ankle. I could have mistaken it with a funky-looking anklet if I hadn't known better, It was bright pink. Blood Money was all about flashy accessories.

"Do I need to explain what this is?" His voice had a warning tone and I sobered enough to stop laughing. I shook my head.

"Good. Do not-" he took me by the shoulders and shook me slightly as he said it "-leave the apartment, and do not do anything stupid. I don't want to come back to a dead slave, you were expensive, and I don't want to come back to my home and find any of my valuable possessions consumed or destroyed. Is that too much to ask?"

His face was suddenly scary, and I shook my head enthusiastically, trying to will him to believe me.

"Good girl." He patted me on the head like a dog, and when Jack whined at him he took the mutt by the head and scratched behind his ears affectionately. "You watch her. I'm done babysitting."

He pointed at me as he shut the bedroom door on his way out. "Go back to sleep. You need it. I want you sober when I get back."

More sleep sounded like a really good idea at the moment, and I sank into the soft comforter, burying my face in red and gray fur as I drifted back out of consciousness.


I woke up to a pounding head, and empty bed, and a bunch of disturbing memories that I couldn't quite sort out. I stumbled into the bathroom, squinting, and after taking care of my needs I started to fill the black, giant, Jacuzzi-sized tub. I didn't imagine Lex would care-who wants a dirty slave? And he'd already set out the girly bath stuff that he picked up from Blood Money. I grabbed a bright red bottle with way too much French in cursive on the label and smelled it. Mmmm, raspberry. I squeezed a generous amount under the tap before half climbing, half falling into the tub. Luxury was something I wasn't used to at the Center. Or...possibly ever. Who knows.

I sank up to my ears in bubbly raspberry goodness and tried to tell myself things weren't so bad at the moment. I wasn't hungover, which was nice. Esterwine doesn't really have a lot of the negative physical effects of alcohol. I felt like shit, but that was to be expected. I was familiar with the ringing in the ears, the feeling of my body as both airy and like a bag overstuffed with wet sand, the too-bright, disconnected look of everything that accompanied this much blood loss. It would go away within a few hours if I kept hydrated. I turned the water off with my toes and drifted for a bit, trying to sort out the events of the past day.

I probably shouldn't have drank the esterwine, I admitted to myself. I get impulsive sometimes. In my defense, my brain wasn't functioning at top level before Brent cut into it and fried it with an electromagnetic field. I have an exceptionally hard time with rational decision making when sobriety is imminent...I get too panicky, and everything seems so innocuous compared to having to face one moment of my existence with complete awareness of my surroundings. All of a sudden, I remembered Lex's mandate just as he was leaving, and I groaned. He wanted me sober when he got back. Why? Did he have plans for me?

I had a hazy memory of him in bed the night before...it was definitely the craziest orgasm I'd ever had (that I could remember). Granted, it was all so mixed up with his savagery and my fear and confusion that nothing about the experience had made him any less terrifying, but it definitely could have been a lot worse. I was sore as hell, and purple and gray bruises had blossomed on my skin under the grip of his fingers, but it could have been a lot worse. But- oh, God. I didn't think I could do it if I wasn't on anything. I held my breath and submerged my face in the heat of the water. I wasn't going to think about it right now.

When I was satisfyingly clean and raspberry scented I grabbed a big, fluffy black towel off the rack next to the tub. It covered as much as a summer dress once I cinched it around me, and as I stepped out of the water I tried not to consider the various reasons that a vampire might have both black towels and black sheets on his bed. I opened the bathroom door as if an angry mob might leap for me as soon as the barrier between us was breached, but I stepped out into a mercilessly silent and empty living room. There wasn't even a Jack in sight, though the window over the fire escape was open, a slight breeze rustling the curtains. I could hear cars driving by and doors slamming and the general murmur of human voices just a few stories underneath me. Something leapt in my chest. It was so close. I glanced at the device around my ankle. I would have to take a closer look at it in a few minutes, but I wasn't going anywhere naked.

The door to the second bedroom was conspicuously open, and I found the bags of clothes from Blood Money on the floor around the bed. The sliding door to the closet was also open. Was I expected to put the clothes away? Was this going to be my room? I looked around at the small room, which had a twin sized bed with a purple comforter and almost no decorative items or other possessions gracing the walls or surfaces. Maybe...but it was silly to get my hopes up about anything yet. I dug out jeans, tiny pink boy-shorts, a white bra and a cutesy but longish t-shirt, which was about the most conservative outfit I was able to put together. I ran my palms down my newly shielded sides appreciatively. I loved clothes. When you're kept naked as an animal for the better part of a year, with nothing between you and anyone who might want to put their hands upon your flesh, you start to appreciate them for the novelty they are. I had an absurd, comical impulse to keep layering more clothes on top of these ones, shirts on top of shirts and skirts over top of pants, but I pushed it aside. It might make me feel better but it wasn't going to accomplish anything. With a sense of purpose I sat down on the bed and rested my left leg over my right, studying the tiny pink tracker.

Within a few seconds I knew it was useless. I wasn't overly familiar with Vamp tech, and sometimes it looks pretty different from human gadgets, but there were no on-board controls here. The only way to hack it would be via remote, and he had that. I gave a frustrated groan. My guess was that this was pricier than any of the trackers I'd ever seen before, on me or on other girls. Somewhere on the inside of it, nearest my skin, there should be a tiny hole where a needle would come out and stick me with enough tranquilizer to drop me for between 2-4 hours, should I surpass whatever boundary Lex had set it for, which in this case must mean going anywhere outside the apartment. Damned if I could see the hole, though, and I suspected running my fingers along the inside of it might trigger it. Why not, after all? Most Ghosts don't have the self-direction to explore anything, not even in such a simple way. I stood abruptly and rubbed at my eyes, abandoning my efforts.

"I guess I'm stuck here for a while."

Two things happened then: Jack padded into the room with a wallet in his mouth, and the next wave of esterwine drunkeness began to roll over my consciousness. I brushed past Jack and headed into the kitchen, poured a glass of water and gulped it down for another round of much-needed fluid replacement while I still had the presence of mind to do so. I might have actually preferred to have a little more of my wits about me at the moment, to evaluate my situation while the vampire was out, but I wasn't one to deny myself enjoyment of a good high, either. I grabbed the remote and lay down on the couch, flipping the channels until I found something that was visually interesting, because I wasn't going to be capable of following a plot very shortly now. Time and space stretched and twisted pleasantly as I devoured a documentary about coral reefs, and all the pretty things that lived in them.

Something plopped onto my stomach and my eyes snapped open. I hadn't realized they'd been closed. A soggy wallet was disgracing my new shirt and Jack's face was in my face, his doggy breath battering damply against my cheek.

"Jesus." I looked at the dog, holding up the chewed-on piece of leather. He looked so earnest, and it was funny. I giggled, shaking the wallet at him.

"Why do you do this? Lex is obviously really fucking rich."

The dog made a frustrated whining sound and half-scratched, half-stamped his front paw on the carpet.

I groaned. "Maybe I wouldn't be confused if I wasn't high," I admitted to him. I opened the wallet and pulled out a thick wad of cash, then replaced it.

"That's a pretty good steal." I patted the dog on the head and tossed the wallet onto the coffee table. "Um. Good boy."

That didn't appease him. He barked this time, and it almost sounded irritated.

"Dammit. Okay, okay, I think I get it."

I rose on wobbly feet and traversed the too-long, windy-looking path to the kitchen. I opened the round dog bone container and tossed it in his general direction, but the drugs made me vastly overestimate my throw and it landed at my feet. Jack didn't mind, though. He grabbed the bone and, wagging his tail in what I thought was a satisfied manner, trotted over to his corner and dropped it there. Then to my surprise he was back by my side in an instant, taking my hand gingerly in his mouth and leading me back towards the couch. I guess when Lex told him to babysit me, he'd taken it to heart, and I was grateful. The fifteen foot span to the sofa looked like an impossible journey to undertake alone.

Once I was settled, the dog surprised me again by jumping and snuggling up next to me, half-laying on top of me as we both stretched on the length of the couch. But it only took a moment before I had my arms wrapped around him and was squeezing him close to me. In general, if given the choice between being touched and not being touched I would always go with not, but this was totally different. Cuddling up next to a big furry animal was so harmless and comforting, it was almost like wearing more clothes. I dropped off into a deep, surprisingly contented sleep.


When I woke, it was completely dark in the apartment except for the substantial glow of the television, and a gigantic mongrel was snoring on my chest. Now that I was in full possession of my senses, it was super uncomfortable, and I extricated myself from him gently. As I turned off the TV and started flipping on lamps Jack opened his eyes, yawned and stretched, then just lay there watching me, making no further moves to change his position. Lazy-ass dog. I smiled at him fondly and then surveyed my surroundings.

I felt like I had pretty thoroughly scoped out the place on the previous day. There were two bedrooms, a bathroom with a separate shower and tub, that was overall way too big and fancy in proportion to the rest of the apartment, and a mysterious locked room that didn't even have a doorknob, just something that looked like a fingerprint reader. That was weird, because I didn't even think vampires had fingerprints.

I didn't quite know what to do with myself. I was mildly hungry, but I was kind of afraid to consume anything else in the apartment without permission. I made a face. My mouth tasted awful. I walked into the bathroom and opened the package of toothbrushes Lex had set on the counter, set on fixing that problem. After I was sufficiently minty and protected against cavities I ran the water hot and splashed it over my face a few times, then studied my reflection.

My hair was such a strange rainbow of otherwise natural hair colors. I knew about the physical genetic markers associated with the F-virus, I just didn't know why I ended up with so many of them. When the Vamps released their world-conquering supervirus around 50 years ago, it rewrote the DNA of the offspring of around 2 percent of the population, so that they produced more of the mysterious compound that Vamps apparently burn like calories. 20 percent of the population it killed outright. You want to conquer a species quickly? Take out a fifth of their people and turn a significant number of their children into foodstuffs. That helps the process along nicely.

I grabbed the black hand-towel over the sink and wiped my face down with it, then replaced it. I tried to keep my breathing steady and my mind mostly blank. I was starting to feel upsettingly sober again- I could practically feel the absence of mind-altering chemicals in my system, and I didn't like it one bit. But freaking out over it wasn't going to help me. I turned to head towards the door, then froze.

Powerful vampires can somehow psychically bend light around themselves, and sometimes sound, as well. I think I'd seen a few demonstrations of that, but nothing anywhere close to what had just happened. He'd completely obscured his reflection in the mirror, and he'd entered the apartment without the slightest noise. The first indication I'd had that I was not alone was a very visible, angry-looking, and bloody Lex standing motionless in front of me.

I wasn't even afraid. This was shock, this was pre-fear, and I knew that the real fear was going to hit me in one impossible crippling wave in any moment, and I tried to prepare myself for it as my brain processed the image in front of me in an odd, disconnected way. He was wearing a black shirt, which was soaking wet, and the substance would have been mysterious if his arms and face weren't covered in red, bloody smears. I knew there wasn't a chance that it was all his blood, but the jagged wound on his right arm and some cuts on his face made me think that maybe some of it was.

I started to hear the ragged sound of my own breathing and it occurred to me to wonder if I had been holding my breath without realizing it, or if he had been doing some kind of sound-warping voodoo that had only recently stopped. He was studying me coldly, but the bright red stains obscured his features in a gruesome manner. This stuff was fresh.

"Take off your clothes." he growled.

Okay, now the real fear hit. The impulse to scream when frightened had long since been beaten out of me, so instead I backed up until I was pressed against the bathroom counter and then slid down it until I was sitting on the floor. I was beginning to hyperventilate. I didn't know what the fuck was happening or what I had expected from this vampire, but clearly I had been wrong.

"No." He snapped his fingers and pointed at me, then pulled off his shirt to reveal a chest covered in red. "You need to learn to obey me. Do it now."

Just as quickly as I had felt panicked, I started to feel numb. In just a few moments, I'd maxed out on fear. I couldn't feel more at this moment, and somehow because it was no longer rising within me, I could move again. I stood shakily. Part of me had already gone outside. I felt like I was watching myself as I slipped off my shirt and unhooked my bra. In truth I was looking at nothing. My eyes were completely out of focus and my face was pointed somewhere in the direction of Lex's chest, so I saw nothing but a red blur in front of me. I heard him unzipping his pants and I followed suit, not wanting to anger him further. I slipped my underwear off and stood awkwardly, still staring ahead at nothing.

"Look at me."

I raised my head in the direction of his voice and stared pointedly, but kept my eyes out of focus, so I saw nothing but blurry shapes. I heard him growl and he cupped my jaw in his hand, then started to squeeze until I felt like he might crack the bone. I blinked and tried to pull back from him. Tears ran down my face as the terrifying image of him became clear again. He released my face and caught one on a slightly bloody fingertip, bringing the bit of moisture to his lips and sucking it off.

"I do love when women cry." he murmured, almost wistful.

The problem with being clean is that you have to really experience, intellectually and emotionally, every single thing that happens to you. In vivid detail. I wanted the sheer horror of this to go away. I wanted it to be a nightmare. I wanted to be snuggling with Jack on the couch, or I wanted to be playing videogames with Brent, or I wanted to be getting shitfaced drunk in the observation room while I read about random things on the internet. But I wasn't. I was here, with this vampire that I'd very stupidly started to develop hopeful feelings about, and he was just going to continue being scary and traumatizing and I had to deal with every second of it. Sober.

He leaned over me, bracing one arm on the counter as the other opened a drawer to my side. I tried not to cringe too much at the closeness of him, unsure what would anger him further. He produced a small bottle of liquid from the drawer and stood up, pouring some of the oily substance in his hand. He put the bottle back in the drawer and closed it, then rubbed his palms together, warming it. It was some kind of lube, and little bits of blood from unknown persons were mixing with it, and as he began to move his hands between my legs I felt sick and tried to jerk away from him, even though there was no where for me to go.

"Please," I choked.

He smiled then, and it was a thoughtful, un-menacing smile, even as his hands found their purpose between my legs and he began to rub moisture there. I squeezed my eyes shut and squirmed in protest as two fingers worked inside of me, coating my inner walls with slipperiness.

"Please," he mimicked, his voice mocking as he continued to work his fingers in and out of me. "Did Victor make you beg, Pieyla?" he asked, still smiling slightly, then leaned in and spoke into my ear. "Is that why you think it will save you now?"

Oh God, were vampires always this petrifying? I found myself grateful for not being able to remember 90 percent of my time with Victor. But even as I thought it, blurry, appalling memories surfaced in my mind. He had made me beg. And the worst part was, sometimes, if I pleaded and cried and debased myself enough, it had worked. Not often, but enough that I would plead instinctively and pitifully, and it was almost worse than if he'd never indulged my appeals. In the end it isn't the cruelty that tears you down, that makes you truly pathetic. It's the mercy.

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byzombiegirl28© 11 comments/ 7405 views/ 5 favorites

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