Falling Into Darkness Ch. 13byElianna©
She screamed and screamed in agony the sounds mimicking those heard in torture chambers long ago. Her skin was burning her blood was boiling her heart labored, her lungs seared, her eyes wept bloody tears. Her anguished cries echoed in the small room and she writhed and thrashed as she literally felt her body being burned alive from the inside out. How long she screamed and cried in misery she didn't know, but finally she passed out.
She awoke again in the dark, but strangely it wasn't all that dark; it seemed almost like a gray dawn. The thought didn't register. It was pitch black; she shouldn't be able to see the outline of the small cot and the bricks in the wall, but she did. Curious she tried to sit up. It was then she discovered that she could barely move; she was exhausted, weak and the idea of sitting up left her gasping. She wondered at this.
Why was it dark?
What was happening to her?
She tried to move again, but she just didn't have the strength. She moaned a little miserably.
Had she been sick?
That must be it. She must have been sick for a long time and was now weak. She closed her eyes. She just needed rest. Then she'd be strong again.
Mara pulled her beat-up SUV about a hundred yards away from the gates of the massive property. She couldn't imagine that they'd cut off security, so she made sure her approach wouldn't be noticed from any cameras on the walls. Rumors of what had happened at the place were still running rampant in town. They were saying that the Ancient One put down an uprising here; brutally. She didn't care either way. The house was opulent, and from what she'd heard, they'd just boarded it up leaving all the little treasures inside.
She smiled. Getting through the security would be worth it if this place paid off the way she hoped. She could take the stuff she collected from the mansion and start over in a new town; somewhere no one knew who she was, who her creator was, and what she'd done. She made her way through the woods towards the gate keeping her eye out for cameras and other forms of deterrents.
That had always been her 'gift' which was why she'd been turned in the first place. Obviously her creator hadn't turned her for her beauty or her stunning intellect. No, he wanted her because she had an supernatural ability to outsmart every security system on the market. As a human, the talent was uncanny, and when she became a vampire, that ability only got better.
What he'd made her do with those abilities... she shuddered as she thought about it. He wasn't interested in stealing, he was interested in real crime; violent, murderous crime. There had been nights Mara had cried herself to sleep as she relived her creator brutalizing his enemies, using her abilities to get to them when they were comfortable, in their homes, unaware. He'd even murdered children.
She'd been on the run from that bastard for nearly 2 years, now, and she thought she'd finally eluded him. Get far enough away and even a Little One could hide from her creator. Mara wasn't young or foolish anymore and she was determined to make something of herself. Tonight would be it. Tonight she'd be able to steal enough to start over; a new city, a new life, hell- maybe even a new name. This was her chance.
She felt for the security; cameras, electrified gate...that was it?
She swept the area visually, trying to find out what else was protecting this rich treasure trove, but... there was nothing. The perimeter's security was pathetic; any imbecile could just walk into the place.
Maybe it was a sign.
She easily avoided the cameras and leapt the fence. After searching around for about ten minutes, she found a control box that linked all the cameras and the fence on the interior. It was easily disarmed. She didn't dare bring her vehicle in, though. The house would most likely have a security system, too.
She made her way across the grass noting that there was a strong smell of blood in the place. Even though it had been nearly a week since she'd heard it was abandoned and it had rained twice, she could smell it.
So the rumors were true. A lot of dying happened here.
Mara had seen more death than she cared to think about.
The house was boarded up and upon closer inspection, there was no power; nothing to support the type of security system needed to protect the place. She looked at the boarded up windows and doors; it looked like someone had literally blown up the front of the house. For the first time in a long time, Mara's skin crawled. This place looked like it had been at the gates of hell. She swallowed and remembered her purpose. Supposedly it was loaded. It had to be.
She needed it to be.
She dashed back out to her SUV and pulled it to the front of the house. In it she had all the necessary tools to get into the place: a crowbar and hammer. She decided that the front doors looked like the easiest way to gain entrance, so she began to work on them.
When she finally opened the door she was overwhelmed by the smell of rancid blood. Sometimes she hated being a vampire with extra sensitive senses, especially right then. She wanted to gag at what she smell and saw. The walls were splattered with it, the carpet was soaked in places with it, and it wasn't human blood; it was vampire blood. Obviously the bodies had been disposed of, but the place hadn't been cleaned, and it smelled awful. For several moments she stared in horror. She couldn't imagine so many vampires dying in one place; they weren't an easy race to kill. Finally though, her eyes saw past all that to...
Holy shit! Look at all of this.
Mara's eyes gleamed with triumph! She'd hit the jackpot!
She picked her way through the house taking the paintings, silver, precious stones, anything of value and loaded it into her vehicle. Some places were more trashed than others. She wormed her way into a living room that was formally decorated with...fuck...was that really a Renoir? She took the painting off the wall and looked at the signature in disbelief. Not that Mara knew much about art, but she'd heard of the big names. This painting alone could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for the right buyer. As she pulled the painting off the gorgeous wood paneled wall, she noticed a strange imperfection in the wood. Curiously she pushed it and to her surprise the wall behind made a click as though it was a cabinet door and then came forward a few inches.
Mara's hands trembled and she pushed on the hidden door a little more. It opened to a small room with an elegant spiral staircase leading down below the house. Her skin crawled as she thought about what might be down there, but her heart also pounded. This could be the jackpot. Putting down the Renoir she made her way cautiously down the stairs and found herself in an extravagant wine cellar. She looked at the ancient brandies and wines and smiled. Some of these were quite valuable, too. She pulled the ones off the shelves that she knew were worth large sums of money and then turned to make her way up the stairs again.
She saw another door. She put down the bottles and opened it, her hands trembling.
How long had it been? She couldn't move, the world was getting darker and she was getting weaker every time she awoke.
What was happening? Was she dead? Dying?
The thought made her shudder. Perhaps she really was dying? She refused to believe it. No. She wasn't ready to die. It was time to move! It was time to get out of this place!
A voice in her mind seemed to scream it at her.
Taking a deep breath she tried to move one last time. With all of her mental and physical strength she rolled and managed to roll and fall right out of the cot. She fell to the ground with a thud and panted miserably.
"Who's there?" called a voice sharply outside her small room.
She couldn't say anything. She found she was too weak to speak.
There was a sound of steps and then a fumbling with a knob.
"The door is locked," said the voice. "Is someone in here?"
She didn't know what to do. She could barely breathe.
"Yes!" she whispered on her breath, knowing the sound wouldn't travel through the wall. "Help me!"
"I can hear you, barely," said the voice. "Who are you?"
She thought about it. Who was she?
She didn't know. She didn't know her own name!
"Help me," she whispered in despair.
There was a pause. "I'm going to open this door," said the voice. It was obviously female. "I've got a gun here. If you attack me I'll blow your head off."
"Please," she whispered weakly.
She heard more noise outside and then something scratching the lock. After the sound of fumbling for what seemed like forever, the door opened. More darkness poured inside the room. There was no light, and her world had been growing darker. She could barely see the silhouette of a body, but it was female and she had a gun.
"Hello?" the woman asked cautiously. "Oh my God," she gasped.
"Help," she mouthed to the woman.
The woman rushed to her side and rolled her on her back.
"Good god, kid," she said. "Your clothes are covered in blood."
She shook her head. She didn't know why.
"I think you were turned," the woman said quietly, "but why would they just leave you here? Why would they just turn you and then lock you up, leave you to starve?"
She shook her head. She couldn't remember her own name.
"It's okay, Little One," said the woman gently. "I'm going to help you."
Mara lifted the blood-covered woman and carried her out of the vault and up to the living room. There wasn't much blood there, so she laid the girl on the couch.
"I'm going to get you some blood, Little One," she said. "I'll be right back, I promise."
Mara dashed out to her car and opened the small chest she always carried with her when she traveled. It had a few blood bags she'd managed to pilfer from the local blood bank just in case she needed sustenance while she was away from town. Grabbing one of the bags, she carried it inside and back to the living room where the bloodied woman lay.
When she returned the girl's eyes were closed and she seemed barely alive.
Mara approached her cautiously. A starving vampire was dangerous, especially a Little One just turned. They couldn't control the frenzy when they were weak, but she had the feeling that this delicate woman was almost dead and that she might actually have to force the blood down her throat at first.
"Little One," Mara called.
The woman's eyes opened and Mara froze. They were incredible; sky blue, like she remembered the sky during the bright noon when she was a human. She couldn't help but to stare at her for a moment, but then she paid attention to the task at hand.
"I have something that should make you better," she said gently. "I'm going to put it against your lips, and I need you to bite down to puncture the bag. After that you should be okay."
The woman blinked wearily.
Mara figured that was about all she could manage in her half-starved state. Carefully she put the blood bag against her lips and the woman obediently bit into it.
Mara swore to herself. Of course she probably didn't know she had fangs yet. She was newly turned.
"I'll help you," she said taking the bag away from her mouth.
She extended her fangs and punctured two holes in it, then turned the bag so the blood poured into the girl's mouth. Those blue eyes widened in amazement and suddenly she moaned into the bag sucking against the holes for all she was worth.
Mara fed her the entire bag making sure she drained it. Finally when there was nothing left she pulled it from the woman's lips and cast it aside.
"Feeling better?" she asked.
The woman nodded.
"My name is Mara," she said.
"Mara," the woman said in a tiny voice, "what's happening?"
"I don't know if you're ready for that yet, Little One," she replied. "I'm almost finished here. Let me do what I need to do, then I'll get you out of here. You're still weak, and it will probably take a few nights and a few more feedings before you're strong." She stood. "You lay here and rest. I'll be back for you in a little bit."
The woman nodded. "Thank you."
Mara finished looting the house and loading up her vehicle with as much booty she could possibly cram in. Then she went back for the woman on the couch. She'd passed out again, so Mara simply lifted her up again and carried her out of the blood-filled mansion that could have ended up being her tomb. She looked at the heavens and wondered...was there really such a thing as fate?
God the pain!
Her body ached with it. Her stomach seemed to be churning with agony. Her eyes shot open. She needed something. Her body was screaming for it.
"I was wondering when you'd awake," said a female's voice.
She looked at the woman who stood over her. She had brown hair, brown eyes, and a rather square frame, but she smiled kindly.
She searched her mind trying to remember her. It was like a dark dream; shadows, exhaustion and a name...
"Mara?" she asked.
"I'm surprised you remember," she commented. "You were almost dead."
"Mara," she gasped curling into a ball. "Oh God! I hurt. I hurt so badly."
"You need to feed," she said. "You're getting better; last time you couldn't even feel the pain."
"Do you have anything to eat?"
"Yes, and no. You won't eat like you used to anymore Little One, unless you choose to, but it won't sustain you. The only thing that will sustain you is this." She held up a bag full of crimson fluid.
"That's a blood bag," she said in horror.
"Little One," replied Mara. "You are a vampire now. This is what you need."
She screeched and backed away from the woman huddling in the far corner of the bed. "Don't you fuck with me!" she cried. "What the hell is wrong with you?"
Mara smiled then, and it wasn't a pleasant smile. "You don't believe me?" she asked moving closer.
She tried to pull away, but those brown eyes held her absolutely still.
Mara took the blood bag and simply held it under her nose.
Her body screamed in need the moment she scented it, but it didn't smell like she knew it should; coppery, metallic. It smelled sweet, desirable, like the most addictive potent thing she could imagine. Her body responded without her control. She snatched the bag from Mara, felt a tingling in her gums and bit into it hungrily.
OH GLORY! OH GOD!
Her entire being throbbed in pleasure with the first splash of the liquid on her tongue. She drank deeply consuming all the bag had to offer, desperately, hungrily, moaning in pleasure and in need. When she drained the bag and the vicious hunger in her belly seemed satiated, her sanity seemed to return. Her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh my God," she wailed tossing the plastic bag away from her. She buried her face in her hands sobbing brokenly.
It was true. She was a monster.
She was completely overwhelmed. Her world spun, she took panting, panicky breaths, she couldn't see. A sense of absolute horror, desolation, confusion, repulsion all of them pounded into her, making her heart ache unbearably. It was like an incapacitating panic attack, but so much more; agonizing, horrifying, guilt, insanity. She began to sob hysterically even as she curled up into a tiny ball gasping for breaths her body and soul aching.
"Shh," said Mara's voice gently invading the overwhelming cloud of despair. "It's okay, Little One. You're going to be okay."
How long she'd been repeating it, she couldn't tell, but finally she took hiccoughing breaths in efforts to calm herself.
"Are you okay?" Mara asked quietly.
"No," she cried, the tears she thought she'd managed to stop filling her eyes again. "It'll never be okay. I don't know my name, and...I'm a monster!"
"I thought the same thing at first," said Mara. "Most of us who are turned without consent do."
"Turned?" she sniffed.
"The only way to become a vampire is to be turned into one by another vampire. I'm not sure if it was to save you or to harm you, though. You were locked in a prison cell, but you surely don't act like a criminal, and your body was covered in blood; human blood." Mara put her finger on her lips thoughtfully. "I think someone tried to turn you, but it didn't work, and yet...somehow it did."
"Why don't I remember?"
Mara sighed. "The change process isn't easy. Vampirism isn't what people think. It's like an infection that spreads rapidly through your body and as it speeds through your system it erases many of the things that make you human and mutates them into what makes us vampire. Think of everywhere your blood flows; your limbs, your heart and your brain. A change like that is hard on the body; it's like an invasion and your antibodies as a human can't fight it. You might even remember a moment of absolute searing pain and tortured when you were in that dark cell. You probably thought you were burning alive."
She nodded. It had felt just like that.
"Well, anything that violent, changing and consuming has some rather drastic side-effects. It's not uncommon for newly made Little Ones to have memory loss at first until their bodies adjust to being vampire. Which is why a creator usually keeps the ones they turn close in order to guide them through the first few difficult weeks. It should come back to you in time."
"I don't even remember my own name," she sobbed.
"If it's any consolation, I didn't know mine for two weeks."
She sniffed and thought about it. Even though she didn't really know her, this woman comforted her. There was something about her that was gruffly tender.
"Besides, it's probably best for us that we don't know our names at first. Vampires never reveal their true names to each other. If I had been your creator, I'd know it, but..." Mara sighed and shrugged. "You'll have to wait until the memory of your life as a human comes back to you. Until then, I'll name you."
She didn't know what to say. She felt indignant that someone other than her mother would name her something, but...she didn't really have a choice. Just like being a vampire. Nothing seemed to be her choice anymore. Finally she simply nodded. After all, she couldn't go about nameless.
"I think I'll name you Angel," said Mara thoughtfully. "You remind me of one; an angel that has fallen into darkness."
For some reason the minute she heard the name a face flashed before her eyes. Stunning jade eyes, golden hair, and from those sensuous lips was whispered that very word...Angel.
Alexander sat in the Judge's chair, his advisors flanking him at their own desks and looked at the traitors assembled coldly. He did everything coldly anymore. He didn't have any compassion left, and looking at the vampires before him, they didn't deserve it. How many other than his Anna had died because of them?
Since he'd returned to his opulent home in New York, the emptiness had grown. One day he awoke in horrible agony, feeling like his body was burning alive from the inside, and now the silence in his mind was unbearable . The feeling of her presence that had warmed his existence now left a gaping hole of aching emptiness. There were times he could still smell her hair, and in his dreams he saw her face. She haunted him, and yet she was gone for eternity.
"The council has decided that the evidence of your treachery is sound," he said, giving the verdict after their deliberation.
In his frame of mind, he just wanted to brutally slaughter every suspect, but the members of his council, those that remained loyal to him, had begged that each case be examined. Even Kieran had pleaded with him, and though he was impatient for justice, the little voice that remained of his conscience told him they were right; it needed to be determined whether there was appropriate evidence of treachery to warrant death. He looked at the fifteen vampires in chains before him, two of whom had been sitting on this very council, the evidence against them was overwhelming. He felt nothing for them except...rage.