Going Under Ch. 03byTang88©
Chapter Three: Resurrection
Sara sat on the window sill glancing across the river to the Arbat district then following the line of the river bank on this side to where she could see the corner of Gorky Park. She loved this time of day as the sun set casting long shadows across the streets. This was the time when she knew things would start changing. Soon Cate would stir from her sleep and come and slip her arms around Sara's waist and Sara would turn and her face to her lover's and dive beneath her dark hair to press lips and entwine tongues. Sara gave a shudder of excitement as she thought that moment would not be far off. Then other thoughts came to mind.
How had it been that she had gone from being a lonely embassy worker in a distant town, gazing wistfully at the café door for an ethereal poet, a male poet to enter, to living, unemployed, with her female lover in a stylish flat? She thought back over the past few months, it all seemed dreamy and indistinct. She knew now that Tatiana had taken power over her and had made her some kind of pet, some kind of milk cow, and that Sara had been close to being sucked into a whole community of creatures that would have exploited her. Her mind went back to that old man, Aleksandr. Even conjuring up the image of him in her thoughts made her feel uncomfortable, but somehow she could not let it go, it was like scratching a scab.
Now she had so many questions to ask Cate. In the days since she had been brought from the hospital, the days since Cate's reappearance had sent Tatiana skulking away and had filled Sara with a burning love of live, Sara had mainly slept. During the day when she had been awake Sara had found ample supplies of food and drink, the latest DVDs to watch, her favourite bands' CDs to listen to, but no sign of Cate. Then last night Cate had emerged to welcome her back. Sara guessed there were rooms in this apartment that were concealed behind seemingly ordinary walls. Though she had tapped every panel, she had not been able to track them down. Their conversation had been limited, really just Cate checking that Sara was alright and that her injuries were healing quickly. However, now that Sara was regaining her sense of herself and some clarity of her memories, questions were bubbling up that she needed to know answers to, and that was even before she began to address the state of her sexuality.
Too much of what Sara believed she had seen, had been wrapped up in, was fantastical. She was rational, not even taken with things like crystals, astrology, rituals that some of her friends back home had gotten into. Sara knew that amazing things happened, but she was coming to recognise that what she had witnessed must seem to most people to have come straight from fiction. Tatiana, Alexsandr and the others were simply wealthy perverts keen to lure a nice piece of western woman into their games, that was all. Sara had been confused, out of her depth, particularly after Cate had slapped her love, itself something new and strange to Sara, back in her face. That had made her vulnerable, easy to manipulate, there was nothing occult about that. For the moment these answers settled Sara's mind, but she knew she would have to have the truth from Cate as soon as she could.
The hairs on the back of Sara's neck prickled and she could feel the grasp of Cate closing slowly around her, pressing her silk-covered sleeves against Sara's silk-clad body. The gentle touch of the lips came, rising slowly up and down Sara's naked nape, making Sara's body go taut with the delightful, unbearable sensation that she could not let go, that sent tendrils of pleasure through her limbs and sparks into her pussy.
Breathless, Sara turned; the silk against silk offering no resistance to her move. She could not believe the sight of Cate's face so close to her own, and bumped her nose gently against her pale-fleshed lover's features, before, being unable to resist any longer she closed her lips tight against the dark maroon of Cate's own. As her tongue probed and entwined, Sara felt she had taken a too large mouthful of red wine, that touched all her taste buds, that she could neither accommodate nor let go, and yet it continued, the impossibly slippery texture of Cate's tongue just reminded her of the glistening rubber and the thought of running her fingers, her tongue, over its slick surface as it hugged Cate's flesh so tightly. The thoughts and sensations were flooding into Sara, lifting her away from the mundane world into somewhere timeless. Then she felt Cate's fingers, gently pushing aside the silk that covered her breasts and Sara could do nothing but gasp and go tight as Cate's fingertips brushed Sara's nipples. The continued light pressure, though, did not allow Sara to do anything but yield and melt to the sensation. As she did, Sara felt a further jolt of pleasure as she realised that this is what she loved, this was how she was pleasured, by the woman she had to be with, the woman she had to have inside her, pressed against her, with her.
All Sara's senses, starved of attention and of affection, were soon simmering strongly, so that there was little more Cate needed to do. However, she was not going to let Sara escape and in place of a more delicate option, she slid to the floor, her head's passage parting Sara's robe, leaving her body naked to whatever attacks Cate made. Her assault was direct but pierced Sara to the core. Cate's mouth, her gentle teeth found their mark on Sara's erect clitoris and in seconds Sara was tumbling backwards, her body weightless, incapable of doing or experiencing anything bar the pleasure that Sara's tongue was firing into her. In minutes Sara had been turned from a beautiful, demure woman dressed in a silk robe to an abandoned woman, half-naked, screeching at the pleasure that shot through her body, provided by her lover's most intimate attentions. Sara let go, shrieking, rollicking in her pleasure, her love.
Sara stroked at Cate's hair, the strands stuck down by the sweat of their love making. They lay on the rug facing each other, a number of small glasses of vodka lined up in front of them, but tonight they sipped. Yet, the row of glasses made Sara go cold, cold with a delight as she thought back to when they had toasted each other in the club, Sara guessed that was when she had first come to love Cate. Of course now it was something else, something deeper, something more animal but also more refined. Sara guessed that was what true love was about: encompassing the whole spectrum of interaction with one's lover, knowing that their existence was an integral part of your own. That thought pinched Sara, as she thought about Cate's life, and really how vulnerable it was.
"So, if you're exposed to sunlight, you crumble to dust?" Sara asked suddenly with her curiosity apparent in your voice.
Cate shook her head slowly. "It's not as simple as that." She took a couple of sips of vodka as if steeling herself to answer.
For an instant Sara wondered if she should not have asked, but then reminded herself, this woman was her lover, that was not something to be dismissed by a simple mistimed question, and anyway she had rights too, she had to know as much about Cate as she could.
Cate took a quick swig of vodka, finishing that glassful. Then she continued. "Think about what the sun is - a huge nuclear reaction. It gives off radiation..."
"Yes, heat and light." Sara added to see she was getting Cate's drift.
"So, if you stand in the way of something which is giving off radiation, what happens?"
Sara hesitated for a moment. "I suppose after a while you'd get radiation sickness."
"Right, and if you stood close to a nuclear reaction?" Cate continued.
"You'd be blown away, you'd just leave those shadows on the ground." Sara said seeing where Cate's explanation was going.
"Right, well it's the same for us, just we don't have to be quite so close. I could walk around on a dull Moscow day and get the equivalent that you would handling radioactive material, after a while, maybe a few days, I'd get sick. If I stepped out into the Sahara, it would have the same effect on me as you would have if you stood in the blast zone of a nuclear explosion, nothing of either of us would remain bar some dust."
"But you can wear radiation suits."
"Well, that's not going to protect you much from a nuclear explosion, but yes, we can cover up. High-factor suntan lotion can help a bit, but prolonged exposure or high doses is still going to wreck you. Though saying that, we recover a lot quicker, our bodies rebuild damaged parts far more quickly than they would for you, especially if we feed."
"Yes." Sara said quietly and self-consciously rubbed her neck, though no marks remained there.
"So you drink blood," Sara said at last, "just like Tatiana, Alexsandr and the rest?"
Cate nodded slowly.
"But you're not like them, you don't play with your food," Sara smiled weakly at her statement, "you don't cultivate it and toy with it, enslave it, stick it into some contraption for harvesting slowly." As she said it, Sara's memory of the house's large stainless steel crucifix came back and she knew now what its function was.
"You're more like a lion in the wild, pouncing on food because you have to." Sara said with a degree of enthusiasm, but then checked herself, knowing she was justifying Cate's lifestyle because she loved her.
"I don't even do that. I don't even hunt down tramps or prostitutes or others that people think are worthless. We are the 'lonely ones', but you can't harvest people and expect to survive; without humans we would cease to exist. Not because of them as a food supply, but because they provide the structure in which we live. It's far easier to be a vampire when there are stone crypts and dark-windowed apartments to live in, far harder just haunting caves or huts with roofs that leak sunlight."
Cate seemed to realise she was becoming impassioned, saying out loud thoughts she had rubbed around in her mind for decades. She paused and drank deeply from another glass.
"But there are different ways." Cate spoke more calmly. "We are like smokers. These days you can't smoke in public places, not on the street, not in bars or restaurants, but smokers have to smoke. So what is the solution? Some set up special clubs, cigar bars, where they show off their addiction, they savour it, they toy with the cigarettes and cigars, they compare them, sniff and taste them. Then there are others who get by with the nicotine gum and the patches. They still get their fix but not in the way that others can see, not relishing it, just recognising that it is something they have to do to survive."
"So you're that sort?"
"If I wasn't, do you think you'd be here? I'd have had you at the house far faster than Tatiana did. You'd be a dry husk by now. Think about it, you're an elegant cigar, whose leaves have to have been rolled on the thighs of some Cuban maiden."
Sara absorbed the words and blushed knowing this was a seductive compliment.
"A hundred years ago things were different, but now with blood banks and even artificial blood, there is no need to get it on the hoof. We have centuries of investment, we have top scientists working for our interests whether they know it or not and we can grow blood, there's no need for all the mess of tapping it from the body and certainly not ripping out the jugular when you can take it in a syringe."
"So you're a vampire, but you're trying to kick the habit?" Sara said a little weakly.
Cate's answer came a little forcefully. "I'm a vampiress, or one of the Kindred, as we tend to call ourselves, and that's what I'm going to be until I fall asleep and don't wake up, or some bastard puts a stake through me."
Sara hesitated a little not wanting Cate to feel she was being subjected to an interrogation, but Sara was loath to stop the flow, now she was finding out so much more about Cate, so she sought to change the subject but keep the conversation going.
"So, what do you really do for work? Even vampires have to earn money, surely. I know you look after the interests of these vampire companies, make sure no-one muscles in on their property. That's why you're here now, because after decades of stability dealing with the Soviets, it's now all wide open, everything's so unstable, with the gangster economy."
"Partly. You're right, we have a lot more competition than we used to. I was sired, I became a vampire in Russia."
"Yes?" Sara prompted, wanting to know as much about Cate's past as her present.
"Well," Cate shifted a little, signalling she was starting a different story. "it was in 1881 in all the fall-out from the assassination of the Tsar, Alexander II. My father worked in the British embassy in St. Petersburg, but we had gone to a dacha belonging to a Finnish friend of his, well Russian, Finland was part of Russia then, anyway. One night I had gone to bed early with a headache and woke to hear screaming. I was in a panic, but hearing my sisters' voices I forced myself to go down to see what was happening.
"You know we Victorian women were tough but the daughter of a diplomat was hardly equipped to fight off intruders. There was blood everywhere. There were these creatures, like huge wolves, the hallway was covered in blood, the butler had his throat ripped out and one of them was feeding on his body. I froze in fear on the stairs. I guessed there was about four or five of them. I could hear shouts, shots, screams. I think they had cornered the rest of my family in the drawing room. My father had a pistol but it was useless against them. It was the worst time, feeling so helpless, so stunned, how could these things be real? I had two sisters, one younger, one older, my elder brother, and Tom who was little more than a toddler. The house was in uproar and all I could do was watch in terror. I knew I should run and hide, get off the stairs. I was sure that the one in the hallway would tire of eating the butler.
"Then it all changed, it was like madness. Men, dressed in riding gear, swords and revolvers in their hands, charged into the house. At first I thought they were neighbours, but they looked almost like a military unit. The wolf in the hallway was dead in seconds and then they were fanning out through the house and I could hear howls and roars. But then this man was coming up the stairs, speaking soothing words. That was Alexsandr, that was the first time I met him. His presence just calmed me, I remember that, everything he said made sense. I followed him, they had horses, they wrapped me in a blanket. They got Emily, my younger sister out too. My parents, the others, they were already dead. We were taken to some other dacha, and Emily died of her wounds. So I stayed with Alexsandr and the women with him looked after me.
"You cannot live with vampires and not know something is happening. I soon realised that my food was drugged so I slept through the day like them and only came awake at night. They were loath to let me return to St. Petersburg. They seemed uncertain how to deal with me, but Alexsandr is honourable, I guess he felt there was no point in saving me just then to kill me themselves. They thought they were better than the wolves. I was plotting to get away, but I think they knew my thoughts. I awoke one day to find myself tied to a chair, and then Alexsandr was pressing his slit wrist to my lips and I became a vampire. Well more than that, I became one of their troops, and I knew who the enemy was."
"Werewolves?" Sara asked a little incredulously.
"Well, all lycanthropes: werewolves, werebears, weretigers, not that many of them reach Moscow. We've been enemies for centuries, we compete for the same food source."
"Of course. Most things you have heard legends about are based on fact. Lycanthropes, ghouls, there is a whole range, but it is the wolves who are best organised, the ones that want to eliminate us. That is my task, I fight them off, protect our interests. What has been changing is that previously the lycanthropes were more rural based, the wide expanses of Siberia, the forests of Poland, the plains of Hungary. Vampires have always been more urban. Yes, I know about the lone count in his mountain top castle, but the more common pattern is for them to be city dwellers. This is where we came from, out of the cities of Egypt, Babylon, Ancient China. Now there is more overlap. Polish lycanthropes who have been pushed out of Warsaw and Krakow by other packs have ended up here, and that is the pack we are currently after. Maciej is their leader. All of us need money to live the lifestyles we want. None of us can simply take the random victim without arousing the authorities' interest. Some do live like that, but they're loners. In some ways why we fight so hard to destroy the wolves is that we want exactly the same as them."
"So you work for Alexsandr?"
Cate shook her head. "No, vampire politics is complex. There is no 'nation' just various clans, usually in control of a couple of cities, sometimes more, sometimes less. Big places like London, with its ten million people, has five clans with their own areas within the city. Alexsandr's clan is dominant in Moscow and in the past decade has come to control St. Petersburg. I fell out with him in 1939, when he supported the Nazis, he thought the Nazi-Soviet pact would bring power to the Russian vampires. The Nazis had links with many clans in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, wherever they conquered, well, even before they conquered, yet I knew that they would turn on Stalin when they got the chance, which of course they did in 1941. Alexsandr backed the wrong side, though that wasn't clear until 1943 onwards. Then, when Romania went over to the Soviet side the following year, most vampire clans turned against the Nazis. Alexsandr was in hibernation then, did not re-emerge until the mid-1950s and by then things were very different. So, human politics do impinge."
"So, then if you don't work for Alexsandr, who do you run around Moscow for?"
"Well, I work with some of his fighters, people like Tatiana and Sophia when they can tear themselves away from partying, but no, I am here on the orders of the Cuvant. It's a loose federation of clans in Europe, its aim is to protect vampires in general. Some clans treat it like a government, some couldn't give a toss about it. The Cuvant thought that given my connection with Alexsandr, I'd have fewer problems in Moscow, and so far it has generally been the case. Alexsandr's come a long way, he's getting tired, but his power is on the rise."
"How old is he?"
"Five hundred, six hundred years old, but he's led a decadent life. He had given up on fighting the lycanthropes himself by the late 1890s. We had them on the run in Russia anyway, so he relaxed. He was very influenced by those vampire thinkers of that period who emphasised we had to enjoy ourselves, make the most of the power and wealth that so many clans were accumulating."
"Oh, I can party with the best of them," Cate said lightly, gently nudging Sara, "but maybe I'm still too young, maybe the memory of my family is still too fresh, maybe I've always wanted a mission. So I keep fighting."
"Too young, what are you? Almost 150? Then again, I suppose you're immortal, so a few centuries is nothing in the millennia you've got ahead of you."
"No," Cate shook her head, "nothing lasts forever. Think about it, even the universe has a finite life, one day it'll come to an end. The oldest vampires are probably no more than two thousand years old, any older and they'd almost be in permanent sleep, needing vast amounts of blood even to rouse them, let alone sustain them. We burn up blood and our metabolisms get hungrier as we age. We just live life at a slower pace than humans. Imagine how long you would live if you had a full blood transplant every week, it's much the same."