(This is a continuation of the story, THE EMPTY CHAIRS. For some background see that story.)

Barbra got up naked, opened the draperies on the tall windows, and looked into the dark.

She wasn't entirely sure where she was; she'd gotten disoriented in the new city, and had needed a place to sleep through the day. She'd found a real estate sign, hopped a garden wall, and let herself into a vacant apartment. There were cameras for security, but they were nothing that concerned her. Halfway through the day a security car had stopped by for a cursory inspection, but that was all.

She stretched and stood up on tiptoe, looking at the clothes thrown on the floor.

They were baggy and un-stylish. She'd decided on a look of American Backpacker: jeans, t-shirt, hoodie, low sneakers, frayed baseball cap. Cheap underwear and no socks. Logoed backpack. She felt stuck in a bad style, but knew no-one looked at her at all, except for maybe possible pickpockets or purse snatchers. She made her shoulders shrug. It didn't matter, really. One thing did matter, though: she was hungry. Very hungry. And weirdly dissatisfied.

"Hm." The sound reverberated around the clean, ready-to-sell room. The furniture looked like rental. Thinking about what to do, Barbra went in the clean bathroom and washed up, showering with no soap, just wiping off grime. She couldn't see herself in mirrors anymore, and had to settle for trying to wipe every part of her face. The toilet sat on the floor, and she regarded it, propping a fist on her hip: she didn't need that machine any more. She actually couldn't remember what it felt like to have to do that. Periods seemed also to have stopped.


In the kitchen she poked through the drawers and finally turned on the TV, watching some news show about the usual crimes and politics. Frustrated, she got dressed, thought, then hid the backpack in a closet. She could stay in this place for a few nights. She let herself out a back door, and hopped the garden wall into a short stand of woods. An old man wearing an old man cap walked through on a path, led along by an elderly dog on a leash. When she went past the dog did the usual thing and whined and cowered from her. She couldn't pet dogs, cats went berserk in her presence, and her one try at sleeping in a zoo had been an experience: it had made the news in the town where she'd done it.

She felt the old man's blood pumping and moaned. "Guhhhh..." Shit, she was hungry. It was also still up in the air what the ethics of all this was. So far she hadn't faced her state, and hadn't really eaten. She'd done some things, really stupid butcher shop things: sucking blood off meat and other embarrassing acts, to stave off the worst of the hunger pains, but that was all. She hadn't felt good for several weeks. Not since the night. She felt, just... incompetent. She felt like she wasn't managing her needs very well.

"It's not like I got a manual, or a rule book..." she mumbled. At least money hadn't turned out to be a problem; she simply told people to give her money and they did. She could get people, individuals, to give her things: all she had to do was make eye contact. That had freaked her out at first, but now she just did it without thinking. The same with lodging; cameras couldn't see her, so she just slept anywhere to wait out the daylight. The sun was her enemy, she'd learned that, and she slept during the day, often in empty houses and apartments. She smiled; she refused to sleep in tombs or do the graveyard thing. There was also an issue of whether or not she was dead or what. She didn't feel dead; or un-dead; or anything. She just felt strange and right now, starving. Just fucking starving.

The streets led her around, into a warren of little alleys and dirty backs of storefronts. It was not a very safe city, a nasty bastard around every corner, and nowhere for a tourist chick to be at night; but for her, there was no danger. She wasn't nervous or afraid in the least. She'd learned she didn't stay injured: cuts and scrapes healed instantly. People couldn't hurt her, so that wasn't an issue. But she was looking for something, something... manageable? She couldn't articulate it. Irritated, she picked out a neon sign at random and walked into a bar or pub or whatever. The customers looked at her as she entered. It was a dive, filled with rough-looking people.

Pulling a fistful of crumpled bills out of the hoodie pocket she ordered a beer, even though she couldn't drink it. The bartender looked at the pile of bills and his eyes bugged out: she'd dumped a shitload of money on the bar without really thinking. It was probably more than what the barkeep made in six months. He picked through the pile carefully, removed a bill, and rang up her purchase. She stuffed the remainder of the pile back in her pocket.

The crowd's blood pumped in their bodies, most of it diluted with alcohol. She felt the bartender's body: he was older and not well; his heart was sluggish, struggling.

Not even a minute later a guy came up and started talking to her. He was skinny and had an impenetrable accent. Everything he said sounded like 'garble garble garble'. He smelled funny. Barbra tried to think what the smell was, it wasn't a scent or a perfume or even a detergent: it was something in him. There was something wrong with his blood. He was sick. She waved him away without looking at him. He didn't leave.

She got annoyed and said, rudely, "Fuck off, shithead. Go away."

The man recoiled; he apparently hadn't expected that. He started talking again, leaning in, over her: 'garble garble garble girlie'.

Barbra got angry and told him, "What, did I stutter? Get your stinking body away from me. I'm not interested in you."

She made eye contact, but the crowd was too distracting, the man was drunk, and it had little effect. She picked up the glass and faked taking a sip; the sensation of the beer almost made her gag. The man stunk, the beer was undrinkable, she was starving, and now she was pissed off and frustrated. She got up and left the place, leaving change on the bar.

Several blocks away, Barbra realized she'd been followed.

She shook her head in exasperation: she'd been careless with the money and drawn attention to herself. That was dumb. She walked into a dim alleyway and waited. Three people came after her. One was a big guy, another was a smallish dude wearing a ball cap, and the last was a hard-looking woman, with long hair and a leather jacket. They all reeked of thug. On a whim Barbra decided to allow herself to be 'robbed'. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the money, extending it in front of her. She could always get more.

"Here. Now leave me alone." It was a fair warning, she felt.

The woman walked forward and took the money, smirking. She stuck the money in her pocket, sneered and said, "Smart girl."

Barbra got annoyed with the woman, her stomach churning. She snapped, "Fuck you." She could feel blood moving in their bodies. It made her shake. The big guy moved forward and grabbed her shirt. He grinned, a big evil grin, and pawed her breasts through her clothes. The woman laughed.

Barbra rolled her eyes. "You can quit that."

He didn't stop, and then Barbra lost control of herself. It happened so fast she couldn't keep track of what she was doing, and it was as if another person in her erupted. That person, the other Barbra, exploded.

...and she was someone else, transformed. She felt completely different. She wasn't sure how to handle it. It was all very new. She could sense the blood pounding in the trio, and had a... what should she call it? A craving? A lust? She almost giggled: it was ridiculous. She smiled. Her own smile jarred her. She tried to lick her lips.

As soon as she did she jumped in shock: her teeth had changed. Bizarre; she had sharp teeth, canines. This was brand new. She suddenly remembered the pale woman and how her face had changed. She was that. She'd been denying it, but she was. She laughed nervously, trying to get control of herself. She couldn't, and down deep she maybe didn't want to.

Then the big man reached out his other hand and touched her face. Barbra recoiled without thinking and slapped his hand away. The man shouted out, and the noise made her jump in her shoes.

She looked down at his limb, and it was dangling at a weird angle, his fingers spasming. She'd broken his arm with a simple swat. Barbra laughed, more in shock than anything else, a deep, 'huh-huh!' sound from down in her throat, the kind of laugh people had when they were surprised, not amused. The man staggered back, eyes rolling in total confusion. He looked her over, and Barbra was suddenly able to see inside his mind, and knew the guy thought she'd hit him with a weapon of some kind. The damage was something that would happen with a vicious hit from a baseball bat. Or cricket bat.

Barbra examined her emotions, quickly: she didn't feel bad at all. Not even a little bit. She felt nothing about the man's injury or obvious fear. Before, before the change, she would have been appalled at the violence, but now... now the man was nothing and she had no empathy for him at all. She knew why, too: he wasn't like her, and never would be. She stepped forward, extremely excited, and in a sort of test, wound up a balled fist; she hit the man in the chest as hard as she could, not knowing what to expect.

She felt his sternum crack and his ribs separate. Right after that she felt his heart stop. His blood pumped a little, and then he fell over like a cut tree, landing on his back without even bending at the waist. Barbra stared down in astonishment.

She'd killed him. With one punch.

It was absurd, cartoonish, and Barbra laughed uproariously, unable to control it, a jumping, staccato outburst: "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!" The noise echoed in the alley, then died like the big man.

She regarded the body, looking down and tilting her head from side to side. She didn't feel anything bad at all, certainly no guilt, just a sense of finality and a beginning exhilaration. The blood from the other two pounded in her senses, and right then she knew what she wanted, what she needed. She was starving and it was time. It was time. She was going to do what she needed to do.

She stepped to the now bug-eyed woman on her right. This time she moved so fast one of her shoes flew off. She snarled, and made a noise like she never believed could come from a human being, much less herself, and ripped the woman's throat out with her teeth without bothering to use her hands.

Barbra gulped in the blood, lapping it up like some drunken slob eating slop from a bowl, or like a dog gobbling food... like a starving animal. The taste and sensation was beyond amazing, far past exquisite, and she couldn't control herself at all. She swallowed as rapidly as she could, sucking and biting and licking. The woman shook and shuddered, vibrating, arms thrashing wildly. Barbra didn't bother touching her with her fingers or hands, but she clenched her fists, and felt long claws extend from her fingertips.

Blood gushed down her chest, soaking her clothes.

She gulped another mouthful, then let go, excess blood slobbering down her chin, and turned to look at the third person, the last man. He had turned and was running away. Barbra heard the dead woman she'd bled out drop behind her as she went to chase the last one. She decided to catch him, and when she moved it was so fast it sucked the oxygen from her lungs: she'd actually moved too fast to breathe. She was on him instantly, and grabbed his hair, her hands shaking from excitement and breathlessness. Not bothering with any finesse or anything special she stabbed into his throat with her long claws, ripped out, and slammed her mouth on his neck, gulping powerfully before getting so full she felt almost sick. Barbra dumped him on the cobblestones, splattering blood across the pavings. The body's neck pumped out, making a large, dark puddle of thick blood.

Barbra tried to wipe her mouth off, but she was so coated in blood it just smeared. Her clothes were soaked through all the way down her waist. She felt rivulets of blood inside her jeans, and felt blood soak into her panties, into her womanly crevices; the feeling stimulated her. She was trembling violently.

She stood for a few seconds, until her shaking stopped, then headed out of the alley; on her way, she carefully and squarely stepped into a puddle of blood. She noticed her feet were bare: she'd lost her other shoe from the rush to the last man. She laughed quietly, feeling a sense of great accomplishment and the half-drunken sensation of being well fed with an excellent meal.

Barbra strolled away into the dark, smiling to herself. She'd done it.

As she walked she felt something building in her bottom half, and it increased as she moved her legs: she was, honestly, sexually aroused. And not just a little: a lot. Blood was vibrating in her body and especially in her lower regions. After a very brief bit she felt like she was on fire, and would explode if she didn't do something about it.

She finally put a hand in her pocket and touched herself as she walked, unable to stop it, but it didn't help. She was too wound up. Barbra suddenly had the thought, "Is this normal?"

She just as suddenly had the thought that she had no precedent for what may or may not be the 'normal' of her present condition, or state of being, or whatever it was she had become.

Thinking, she stopped in a doorway; her appearance had to be ghastly to people, and she couldn't see herself in window reflections. She put her hood up. She felt quickly with her tongue; her teeth were gone, retracted? And so were her claws. But she was covered in blood and had no idea how to see herself, to clean it up.

"This is going to be a problem," she said, out loud. She shrugged off her hood and looked around; it was chilly, she knew, but the cold didn't bother her at all; she was, if anything, burning up, and really sexually horny. Seriously horny; but she had to clean up, first. She thought.

While she was standing in the doorway a man exited a building across the street; he was young and well-dressed, probably a guy out for a night on the town. He wasn't half-bad looking, with dark, tousled hair, some fashionable stubble, and an angular face. He was wearing a suit jacket and a scarf. He looked like a hip musician. Barbra studied him, and stepped out of the doorway slightly. The motion caught the man's eye and he looked.

As soon as their eyes met Barbra knew she didn't have to clean herself up. She simply willed the guy to her. It was much stronger than anything she'd done before. She couldn't describe it, would never be able to describe how she did it, but it's what she did. As soon as she could see his eyes she could make him do anything for her, sexually; and she knew what she wanted.

He walked across the street to her and said, "Do I know you?" He didn't even look at her blood-covered body.

Barbra said, "You're about to." She indicated his building with her head, keeping his eyes locked on hers. "Is anyone else home?"

He shook his head, making his hair swish a little. "No."

Barbra smiled and said, "Good. Let's go inside."

The guy's eyes glazed slightly and he said, quietly, "Okay."

She led him by the hand across the street, walking backwards, keeping their eyes together until she was sure he couldn't let go. She told him to throw his phone down the street. Then she willed him to unlock the door and get them inside.

Then something weird happened: Barbra couldn't go inside. She couldn't force herself into the man's home. She held onto his hand and thought frantically. She asked, "Are you going to invite me in?" The really strange part was she couldn't will him to ask her. His mind was gone, on that subject, and she realized he was going to actually have to want to invite her inside, of his own free will. She couldn't persuade him. She waited, anxiety and frustration growing while she got more and more sexually aroused.

The man shook his head, like he was getting rid of something, then murmured, "Yes. Please come in."

She exhaled in frantic relief, and they walked up a flight of steps, Barbra leading. She could see her feet leaving smeared residue on the treads. In the apartment, she willed the guy to take off his clothes. She watched as his nicely-shaped and nicely-sized cock got hard and throbbing. She willed him to turn around in a circle, and she liked his ass and back; he had a decent physique. He had a stupid tattoo on his shoulders, but she didn't mind it.

The main room of the apartment had a guitar stand, a futon, a TV. A cheap potted plant. Posters. She decided to name him: 'Music'.

Barbra shed her clothes and dropped them in a squishing, flopping pile directly on a fuzzy-looking rug, then grabbed the guy's hair and kissed him. Blood smeared all over his face, and Barbra stopped briefly and licked and kissed some of it off. Then she dumped Music down to sit on a futon, and straddled over him.

She heard him gasp and felt him put his hands on her body, tracing the intricate designs in her skin.

Music murmured, "You're so beautiful."

She didn't bother with foreplay; she was far too wet to need it. She grabbed Music's cock with her hand, put him where she needed him, and slammed down, filling herself. He bucked and gasped.

Barbra gauged how rough she could get without causing damage; she had to be careful not to kill him or break his neck or anything. She felt her teeth pop out again, and her claws extend, but she felt no need to, she thought, "Fuck him up." She wanted sex, not blood. She grabbed the sides of his face and gazed directly into his eyes; they were brown and big, with feminine lashes.

Barbra knew there was no possibility of Music hurting her; so she said, willed into him, "Fuck me. Hard. As hard as you can."

Music did it, energized by her will. He clenched her waist and slammed up into her body, fucking her brutally, with all his human energy. As hard as it was it was barely adequate, and Barbra felt herself get frustrated. She willed him not to come until she let him.

She fucked him, feeling his cock slip into her, again, then felt his warm, human hands on her waist, clutching and fucking. He bent her back, into the room, kissed her, and went down on his knees. He held her ass off the floor with his hands and flopped her shoulders on the fuzzy rug. Music grasped her hips and pounded her hard and fast, exhaling with each thrust, swearing under his breath.

Barbra kept his eyes fixed on hers while he moaned, "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck." She reached up a clawed hand and decided to leave a souvenir: she dug two nails into his shoulder and drew blood. Music shouted out and pressed her down, fucking.

He reached out and mauled her breasts, flicking and pinching her inflamed nipples, dragging his hands across her blood-smeared bosom. He moved one hand to her face, grabbing her chin, and clenched her ass with the other, fucking her savagely and cursing. She willed him to use all his strength, and felt his cock pounding in her. She heard herself snarling in an animal outburst.

Barbra made herself come: she brought her claw down from Music's shoulder and licked off the blood, openly displaying herself doing it, lapping her tongue around her fingers. She saw a gleam of fear and some other, unknown emotion in his eyes when she did it.

It put her over the edge and she orgasmed, hard. She bucked and gasped and screamed, once, loudly, and wrapped her legs around Music's waist. She let go of him with her hands, not trusting herself, and ripped up the rug. When she was done she locked onto his eyes, and willed him to come inside her.

Music groaned and gasped, fucking her and bursting out, "Huh! Huh!" shooting come inside her.

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