mastin2 -> RE: Hunters Slain (11/16/2008 6:38:00)
“Capitol of Bloodshed”
A single figure walks down the street. The night is filled with activity, vampires running around the city doing their various chores. The streetlights brighten up the path with their dim glow, allowing him to see the sights around him, the things that he hates so much. This is his new home, the place where he has come to do his work.
I can’t stand it. This area is the most peaceful when it comes to conflict; there is absolutely no fighting in this city. Disgusting, that the vampires are slowly taking over the city. But this is where I shall do my work. My comrades will all be here within a month, so I have until then to select my targets.
Very few humans remain on the street. Most of the people in the area are moving too fast for him to register, proof of their vampiric blood. The streets are surprisingly clean in comparison to what he is used to. There is no smell, no decay. The streets are clean with the smell of the fresh night air. The cold breeze briefly relaxes him, before he continues his stroll.
An inn catches his eye: The Bloody Fang. A suiting name for a location that he is sure is vampire-oriented. A perfect location to select a few victims. His plans rest on him causing chaos and disorder, something which no random murders can do. These would have to be well-placed.
His eyes glisten with his sinister intent, his wicked grin reflecting his thoughts. The location would be the perfect place to do his work. He crosses onto the left side of the street to investigate further, in the process, removing his grin. While the smile is natural, it can attract unwanted attention.
He touches the wooden handle for the door, slowly rotating it, slowly permitting him to enter. The smoothed wood gives him no resistance, allowing the doorknob to turn with no effort—another surprise, considering he was expecting nearly vampiric strength would be needed to accomplish the task.
The door creaks as he enters, met with only a few glances. The warmer air of the inn catches him off-guard. He had been expecting it to be…colder. Weren’t vampires supposed to enjoy the cold more than the heat? He takes a mental note of how further study would be needed. While he knows a great deal about vampires, the inn is proof that he does not know everything.
The smell of the place isn’t that of blood, as he had been expecting. Instead, it smells of flowers, the beautiful fragrance comforting him a little. The inside is better lit than the streets, with candlelight and torches providing a more warm feeling to the area than the dull yellow street lights.
A young vampire instantly greets him, bowing to acknowledge his presence. Her long brown hair shines in the light, making her look all the more gorgeous—all the more disgusting, in his eye. Her red eyes shimmer with her friendliness, no doubt an act she had practiced thousands of times. If he were any other man, he would have submitted to any wish the vampiress would make. But he shakes the hypnotic draw of the girl away, knowing such thoughts are deadly to someone in his future line of work.
Maybe he was wrong; maybe they do have human customers, or maybe he just isn’t used to the city version of open-armed greetings, of gullible fools who trust any who come, human or vampire. The greeting is something which he imagines most humans would absolutely love. If it were her doing the greeting every time…
He marks her as a possible target, a death that would no doubt devastate the area. He takes another quick note of the fact that she would only be vulnerable if she left, since killing her inside the inn would be impossible. But he thinks it will not be a problem, as that is something he can see any vampire doing with no fear at all.
“Welcome, good sir, to the Bloody Fang. Please come with me. It is a pleasure to have you here. It is not that often that we get human visitors, but that—by no means—implies we are not capable of treating them to the best stay in the entire city. Now, what can I get you at this time of night? A room, perhaps?”
“I might consider it later. It looks like a lovely place to stay, but I have other business to attend to. For the moment, would you mind just giving me a drink?”
“Very well, sir. Despite the name of this inn, we do have a rather large variety of drinks. What shall it be?”
“Hot coffee would be appreciated, thank you very much.”
He gives the most genuine smile he can, but it is still faked. The area is not one he wishes to stay long at. The orange glow of the area is almost too comforting. Vampires might seem like good company, but just because of their pleasant aesthetics, they aren’t automatically cleared of what he knows they are: scum.
“At this time of night? Well, I shall not question your decision, but…I could’ve sworn I heard something about coffee keeping humans awake during the night and them losing valuable sleep…it’ll be ready in five minutes.”
“You listen to too many rumors.”
She smiles and departs, leaving him in his thoughts. While waiting for a drink, it would be perfectly acceptable to look around, take in the scenery. But doing so when even just a few eyes could be watching is too much a risk for him to take. There would be time to mark targets.
I’m not going to sleep tonight. There is too much for me to do, especially tonight. While I will act like a normal human and work during the day, I shall tag targets during the night. I’ll get sleep in the time between when they feel secure and when they are our slaves.
Sure enough, he receives his drink only minutes later. He doesn’t drink it at first, instead taking in the aromas of the steam coming from it. The smell is something seductive, something addictive. He can’t help but smile at the pleasant smell. While he may despise them with a passion, he has to admit that they make a good pot of coffee for a bunch of bloodsuckers.
The taste was just as luring, just as much of a distraction. A single sip had him addicted. He swirled it around in his mouth a few times before swallowing, his tongue dancing with delight. He didn’t notice that the coffee was still steaming hot; the taste had absorbed him. He lets out a hum of content, satisfied with his drink.
A few more sips and he is certain that he looks like just any other human enjoying a late-night drink. But he forces himself to observe the scenery, taking things in he had not noticed earlier. He marks his choices of the best possible targets between sips, jotting down notes on the appearance of the future-victim when he is convinced no eyes are watching him.
A vampire leaves the inn. Again, he writes down notes on his possible target. Appearing to be middle-aged, messy brown hair, old clothing; by vampire standards, he is in the lower class. Killing just high-class vampires would do him no good, but killing a variety of them makes a difference. He notes another male vampire, short golden hair, purple suit: an extraordinarily high-classed vampire, but nothing impressive by his standards. Yet another note is made before taking more sips from his drink.
After finishing his drink, he leaves the inn and pays for the drink, leaving only the minimum tip possible. This was just the first of many planned places to visit that night. However, something catches his eye as soon as he exits back into the cold, slightly dark city again.
Across the street in the alleyway, there lies a single figure, obviously alive and well, just watching him. He feels unnerved, possibly in danger. Does this person know something? He can’t make out the details. The eyes of the figure remain unseen, a sign that either this person isn’t a vampire, or hasn’t drunk a meal in a while. At the very lest, it is something worth checking out.
Curious, he walks across the street. The figure still is not clear from the distance he is at. He steps into the alleyway, throwing caution to the wind. After all, he is just supposed to be a normal human; a vampire wouldn’t care about his presence…unless that vampire somehow found out about what he is and what he plans to do.
A few steps closer and he can now see the features of the mysterious figure more clearly. On the figure is a grin that unnerves him, but he doesn’t know why. How come he is grinning like that, and why does it disturb him so? Vampire charisma? No; it feels different. Then he realizes why the grin is bothering him so much: it resembles his own.
The figure is obviously male and appears to be in his middle teens. Nothing unusual by itself, that means nothing; vampire and human alike can easily appear that way—the difference is how long they stay in that form. More details are needed, so he scans the boy further.
Dirty brown hair is something more common in humans than vampires, another hint at who the boy is. But that, itself, is not enough; just because something is more common doesn’t mean that it is an absolute rule. His clothes are decent, but that, alone, is not enough to determine the difference.
What makes him believe the boy is human, though, are the eyes. Amber eyes stare into his soul, something which he tries hard to block. Vampires should have red eyes. He has heard stories of humans keeping their eye color when turning, but he had never seen it before; every vampire he has ever seen had some shade of red. Further evidence that the boy is human is the color of his skin. In the dim alley light, it is hard to make out the details, but the tanned skin is visible. Vampires stay out of the sunlight for fear of shortening their lifespan. Such an act causes their skin to turn pale. Even humans turned vampire have this tendency. So, either this is an extremely stupid vampire, or he is just a human.
The smell coming from the boy suggests what he fears. He can smell burnt flesh, something that could be attributed to too much time in the sun for a vampire. He makes up his mind, convinced that he is, indeed, a vampire. It is a hard call to make; vampires differ. Those born human will often keep their scars, their deformities, making the ‘insanely beautiful’ factor useless. Based on what little evidence he has, though, he’d rather kill a human who could be a vampire than let a vampire live. But how could the boy be a vampire? Why is he so abnormal? The only way to know: play dumb. Act like he doesn’t know a thing about vampires other than rumors.
“Who are you, what are you, and why are you looking at me?”
“My, my, stranger, I could ask the same thing of you. But, honestly, I don’t care about you, but it is clear that you, at lest, partially care about me, so I shall answer. My name is Ván. Obviously, I’m a vampire. I wasn’t looking at you until just now, but was staring through you, at the inn. I…have a history with there.”
“Vampire? You look human; why?”
“Don’t you know anything about vampires?”
“Only rumors. Would you rather I tell you those rumors and then laugh at me because of just how wrong they are, or tell me?”
“As tempting as the former is, I would hate to make a fool out of you. So, let me be brief: vampires can turn humans into vampires. I was one, once. Human, that is. Yet I fell victim to the power of a vampire, hence, am now one myself. I hate it. I’m vermin. Yes, being a vampire has many advantages that I love, but others I despise, I loathe, I absolutely hate.”
“Human? You were human? Then how come you have such a name? I might not know anything of vampires, but I’m fairly certain that your name is not human. So, what was your human name?”
“It doesn’t matter, now, does it? I’m a vampire. I might have been born human, but that’s not what I am right now. I’m not worthy of a name. I’m scum, remember? I hold no grudge against vampires, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hate myself for being one. I’m not human; I can’t use a human name. So, for that, I am Ván. It’s despicable, I tell you, how low I have sunk.”
“Why don’t you get cured?”
Ván laughs. He tries to suppress it, but it only gets louder. The man is confused by such a remark; what about being cured did he find so humorous? Was he missing something important?
“What is it?”
“Cure…ha. Cure for vamprisy…I think we both know there’s only one cure for me. While I hate myself, I’m not suicidal. My death would do the world absolutely no good. I might be scum that is only good for sucking blood, but at least dirt, trash, can be a slave to others so another doesn’t end up in that position.”
The answer shocks the man. Was that a vampire with a view similar to his own? Someone who, while with a different belief, had something in common with him? He is too stunned to think about it much further. He tries to think of a distraction, eyeing the scenery around him. What he finds: a stack of water bottles, each filled to the cap.
“Alright, but I’ve still got a few questions. For one, why do you purposely hurt yourself by staying in the sun? Or is that tan something you carried from your previous life? Why do you, a vampire, have a stack of water bottles, and why do you look so…different?”
He curses at himself. He just got a little careless with his question and had to cover it up. An ignorant human would have no way of knowing about the smell of burnt vampire, of tanned skin being a sign of sun exposure. He can only hope that the vampire missed that fact.
“They all have a similar answer. I hurt myself on purpose because I’m a vampire; I deserve to feel the pain that I do. If it shortens my miserable life, then fine by me; I’ve been prepared to die for a rather long time, now. Another reason: It reminds me of when I was human. Tanned skin is something I was rather proud of constantly having. I lost it, and have been trying to regain it. Those water bottles are yet another way. They are a special formula that I made. They are filled with microscopic amounts of silver. No human could notice it, but a vampire can. They are also laced with garlic. I drink them every day.”
“You drink acidic water with allergic silver and sickening garlic?!? Why on earth would you want to do that? Shouldn’t it kill you?”
Another slip on his part. He knows the weaknesses of a vampire; he couldn’t help but accidentally ask about why a vampire would do it. But he takes comfort in another fact: while he knows vampire weaknesses better than most people, it is still something widely known by many humans.
“A misconception, that is. Vampires are perfectly capable of eating food, but they receive minimal nourishment. We can drink water as well, but it burns our throats and provides only minimal hydration. So I can do it without harming myself very easily. It hurts, yes, but I don’t care about the pain.”
“Doesn’t it taste bad, though? I mean, shouldn’t water for vampires be roughly equivalent to blood for humans in taste? Most people consider that rather awful.”
“Not really. I suppose I’m a little biased, though.”
“But why water? Why not some other drink?”
“Other liquids are the same: they might not burn, but they don’t sustain us. Cow blood, for example, would be flavor, but won’t keep me alive. Water won’t kill me, so I drink it. It was my favorite drink when I was human; I didn’t want to give it up, even knowing that it would harm me. Since I became a vampire, I’ve perfected the formula that causes me the most pain and gets me the closest to the taste that I once loved more than any other liquid. It helps a great deal. Not only do I live in constant misery, but I also have to do less work; I require blood once in only a two week period.”
“Why do that?”
“Because I want to. Despite what I am, how limited my choices are, I still have the will to choose, believe it or not, and since I became a vampire, I’ve chosen this life.”
“How long have you been a vampire?”
“That would be…approaching the five-year mark. I’m almost nineteen, at least, technically.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Funny thing about vampires—those that are born vampires choose when they stop aging. They can stop time in their bodies when they’re as young as ten and as old as a hundred. They can also start it up again, become older if they so wish. If they chose to keep on aging, they’d die of old age at roughly the physical age of a hundred and fifty. Unfortunately, those that are not pure-blooded vampires from birth are not as lucky. The moment I turned was the moment my body’s clock stopped ticking. I’m eternally fourteen.”
“You have no idea. It is something not describable in human terms. To know this horrendous feeling, you actually have to be a vampire. I’d show you, but it’s a one-way trip and I get the impression that you wouldn’t want that to happen.”
“How’d you become a vampire? Besides the obvious fact that you were bitten, of course. And why were you staring at the inn?”
“Again, those two are related. It’s a long story, but if you’re willing to listen…well, I’ve got all the time in the world and am in no rush to tell it. I grew up in this area. While—in other parts of the world—fighting was worse and wars were more savage, here in bloodsucker central, it was a better time. The streets were cleaner than they are now, if you can believe that, and it was generally a more peaceful place.
“I went to a school inhabited by roughly twenty percent vampires, thirty percent humans, and fifty percent somewhere in the middle. Again, better times where there wasn’t nearly as much discrimination. It still existed and my family wasn’t exactly the type to support a vampire, but the school was one of the best.
“I grew up fairly close to one of these vampires, a pure-blood. We were best friends. She and I made a good team and would often study together. She was smarter, but I was a natural. Our scores were the highest in the class. We often played together as well. We were, after all, both still kids. We made good sparring partners, once she learned how to pull her punches back and not knock me out in a single blow.
“Five years ago, though, things changed. A few weeks before the incident, I was really, really stupid. I had jumped from a ledge too high and ended up breaking my weak human leg. My friend had done it, so why couldn’t I? Bad logic, big mistake, but I was just trying to be a tough guy. The mistake left me vulnerable. If caught in a fight, my ability to defend and counter-attack would be reduced. I couldn’t run. Both of these things I had to do often, my scores attracting unwanted attention. I was a good martial artist, and a better sprinter, but even with those, I wouldn’t last long when presented with a hostile enemy in my condition.
“I was to meet up with her again in this alleyway, the area I am in right now. I waited for her. She would be there in five minutes. But I was approached by an older vampire, a vampire who obviously wasn’t friendly. He was a criminal—someone who would torture me with a knife before finishing me off with the bite. I tried to run, but he intercepted me. He attacked with his knife; I did my best to fend off the attacks. I actually managed to hit him, but the cost was that a large wound opened on my arm, something which obviously made the vampire thirsty.
“She came just in time and managed to kill the vampire herself. She, too, was well-trained in the martial arts. Her skill with weapons was unmatched, so she—at her young age—still managed to turn the fight around and win. But it was too late for me; I was going to die. She was too young to know better. She was desperate. She did the only thing she could, and now I’m here because of her. I’m gracious that she saved my life, of course. It’s some of the other things that I hate. Being immortal sounds really cool at a young age and would, in theory, allow you to do whatever you dream of, given enough time. In reality…”
“You have feelings for her, don’t you?”
“Of course. I was too young to realize that I had them at the time, but over the course of five years, I’ve learned to accept them. She probably returned them and would return them even to this day, but I would be a disgrace to her family.”
“Where is she, now?”
“She owns the inn. She’s the barkeeper. The waitress is an old school friend of hers. I have many of the customers there memorized, which is why I knew that you were new. I work there as well, part time, under her older brother. That’s why I keep on looking at the area. It reminds me of my past.”
“A beautiful tale. I don’t see why you feel so miserable, though.”
“Because of everything. Everything in life is unfair. After I became a vampire, my family disowned me. I lost my identity. The one I love has become older at the urging of her brother, while I remain the same.”
“You don’t look fourteen.”
“My diet might have helped that out a little, but needless to say, I’m still never going to get what I want and will always be vermin, just living a poor life. Given, oh, a thousand years, I might catch up with her again, but I’m still just another lowlife vampire. There are people who are worse off than I am, and I pity them. But I consider my condition bad enough that I really would pull the trigger myself, if I didn’t have microscopic reasons to live.”
“Thanks for answering my questions.”
“No problem, Slayer.”
He looks dumbfounded, confused, having no idea what the vampire is saying. He had played dumb well enough and had shown what he had believed to be genuine normal human emotions and had only slipped twice. What could he have done wrong?
“What’d you call me?”
“Slayer, as in, vampire slayer. That’s what you are, correct?”
His look remains the cold stare that it had been at the start of the conversation. He hides all traces of emotion, keeping himself under control. The shock of Ván guessing correctly caught him off-guard, but it is just a baseless accusation, something which he can just brush off as utter nonsense.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yes, yes you do. You are a vampire slayer. From your controlled emotions, from your hidden facial expressions, from your cold voice, I can tell things. You tried showing genuine emotion, but it was faked. You tried to look dumbfounded about everything I was talking about, but in truth, you probably knew just about everything I said, didn’t you?”
“Rumors can prove more accurate than I believed; that is all. I swear, I’m not that different. What gave you that crazy idea, me, a vampire slayer, anyway? I’m just a normal human.”
Ván laughs. He points two of his fingers to his skull, laughing some more. Even when he stops laughing, a grin remains across his face, flashing his perfect white teeth, complete with four sharp fangs.
“You’re talking to something which has far more charisma than you do, who can feel these things. A little boosted intelligence helps as well. You slipped twice and said things that I doubt rumors could’ve spread. Your voice, your attitude, everything about you seemed to just be so abnormal for a human. Honestly, I wasn’t paying attention to this kind of thing; I’ve been staring through you the entire time. But with as many slips as you gave me, it didn’t take much for the thought to slither through the back of my mind.”
“You’ve lost my interest.”
That’s a lie. He’s got more of my interest than all of the people within the inn, combined.
“Sorry for ruining the moment. If you don’t want me to call you that, could you give me your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Rex. See you when you decide to kill me.”
Rex walks away, heading back into the street. He keeps on walking, not noticing the scenery around him. His world had just been flipped up-side down. While his cause remains the same, the plans behind it just received a little modification. He grins at the thought of the new plan. When confident that he is alone, he can’t help but let his thoughts run wild.
“Yes, yes…this could work. Very, very interesting, that Ván kid is. Yes…he will do nicely. He is a rather fine choice. I see it now…He will make my plan far more affective than I had thought…”