“What? That’s insane!” Luc shouted.
“Simple discipline. My mistress leads with an iron fist. Those who oppose it are the first to feel its force” Amy shouted back. She had the same shouting voice as Lilith, one that didn’t need to be raised for you to know it was a shout.
“Sounds a little too much like The Union for my liking” Adrianna joined in Luc’s protest.
“Oh there’s a big difference between us and The Union. The Union are governed by the Elders, as I’m sure you know, but they are nothing but senile skeletons who should have returned to the grave a long time ago. We, or rather you, are governed by myself, my junior Travis and our senior Trace. We are the three most powerful and influential vampires outside of The Union. We do not care for the preservation of human life! We are the hunters and the humans are our prey. Why should we hold back when their blood is rightfully ours?” Ren said. It was easy to tell why she was one of the leaders, dramatic speeches seemed to flow out of her like a waterfall.
“If you’re the most powerful outside The Union, what about Apollo’s Children?” Bruno asked.
Morrigan twitched beside me.
“That truly was a tragedy. It scares me to imagine how much more powerful we would be with them at our side. However, they have been dead for decades. I would have thought a Union reject like you would have known that”.
Bruno was about to object but Ren silenced him by raising an irritated hand.
“Speak once more out of turn and I’ll rip your mouth out. Understand?”
Bruno nodded. Ren subtly smiled and paced over to him.
“Some say sharing blood memories is a rather sensual experience” she said, wrapping her hand around the back of his neck.
He was clearly uncomfortable. Whether it was her touch or her behaviour that was upsetting him, she was enjoying it. Then, with unnatural strength, she pulled his neck towards her petite mouth. A flash of white and she had clamped onto his neck. After a minute or two she pulled away, lips stained red and gasping for breath slightly. She then pulled his head towards her neck and he too latched onto her and drank the precious red fluid from her veins. When she pushed him away he looked as if he’d been torn away from his greatest desire and he glared at Luc jealously as she did the same to him. She and Morrigan regarded each other with icy stares and reluctantly shared blood. Then it was my turn. Morrigan was agitated. As if on some unheard command, Luc dropped to his knees groaning in pain. Ren and Amy both looked at him. Morrigan took the opportunity and wiped some of her own blood on the side of my neck. Ren looked back, shrugged and pressed my mouth to her neck. I tried not to drink any of her blood but she seemed to be willing it into my mouth. And with the blood came images, images that chilled me to my very core.
A young, pretty girl in a purple satin dress skipped down a dimly lit street. Her long black hair swung behind her as she moved.
“Better hurry home, Ren, you’ll want to be well-rested for the big day tomorrow” a portly woman said from a shop doorway.
“It’s Jonathan you should worry about, Martha! Last time I saw him he could hardly contain himself!” Ren shouted to the woman in a distinct English accent.
The portly woman shook her head with a smile and disappeared inside the shop. Ren ran through the street until she reached an alley. She looked down it curiously. Faster than lightning, someone hooked an arm around her and pulled her into the alley. Panic flooded through her. Something flashed silver in the dim light.
“I love you, Ren. I’ve always loved you. But you ignored me. Do you think your Jonathan is loyal?” a deep, gravely voice asked.
“Yes! He loves me! And if you do anything he’ll-“
“He’ll what? Hunt me down? The two of you aren’t married yet, you’re not his problem. Well, why don’t we test his loyalty? Let’s see if he’ll still marry you without your pretty face”.
The flash of silver disappeared and all she felt was pain. Whoever the voice had belonged to walked away while Ren sat bleeding in the alley.
The next day she stood in a brilliant white dress. The room she stood in was decorated with white bows and flowers. Ren stood by a handsome young man in a black suit. He lifted her veil and a look of horror spread across his face. The events were blurry in Ren’s memory; there was an argument between the young man and her father; her sister and her cousin tried to comfort her tears as each sob brought with it a new wave of pain from the six slashes on her face.
Ren, scarred from the previous incident, walked nervously down the street. She found avoiding people’s eyes worked best. She no longer wore her expensive satin dresses, her face was not worthy of something so beautiful. She had been to countless physicians to try and heal the scars but nothing had worked. She had learnt to just get on with life. Except today, she was making an exception. There was a mystery doctor in town who claimed he could cure any ailment. She wasn’t too hopeful that it would work, though her maid had been to him with the flu and came back feeling better than ever.
“Dr. Cooper?” she asked nervously as she stood outside a large purple tent.
“Come in” a silky voice said.
She stepped inside and saw a handsome blonde man sat on the floor. Numerous bottles and flasks were scattered around and a stick of incense stood burning on the low table that sat in front of the man. He beckoned for her to sit.
“You must be Ren. I’ve heard a lot about you” he said.
“Look, doctor, I don’t want to waste your time. Can you help me or not?”
“Well, it all depends on several pressing matters. How clean cut the wounds were, how badly the scarring is and how willing you are”.
“No price is too much”.
The man laughed. “I didn’t mean money, my dear. There is only one way to fix a problem like this and it will be excruciatingly painful. And it will change you. The Ren you are now will cease to exist. So, Ren, how willing are you?”
“Whatever it takes”.
The man smiled and stood. The next thing Ren knew was pain. It started dimly at her neck and spread like fire through her veins. No, not fire. Ice. As the pain coursed through her, she felt herself drifting away from consciousness. The last thing she saw was the doctor, a light trickle of crimson rolling over his lower lip. Just before she blacked out, she faintly heard him say “Sleep well, my princess, for a new dawn awaits you”.
Pain. An aching everywhere. And a longing. A longing to see the one who changed her. She tried to move but ached. She stayed still but ached. Nothing seemed to dull the pain. But then she saw him. The mysterious Dr. Cooper, leaning over her with a smile. The taste of his blood, all the more sweet because he gave it willingly. He looked tired. But Ren could move now. She looked in a mirror and saw her scars were gone and she was more beautiful than she had ever been. She wasn’t sure if it was because of what Dr. Cooper had done for her or if it was some otherworldly force, but she wanted to be with him. But first he had to feed, even she knew that. So, she waited for him…
Blood, delicious crimson blood straight from the pulsating jugular of her ex-fiancé. Alexander Cooper at her side, trying to ease the pain she felt. She felt no desire to find the person who had slashed her face. Without them, she would never have met her Alex. But that pig Jonathan deserved to die.
Pain. An aching in her heart. She clutched at the dying body of Alex while the men in black robes encircled her with crucifixes and burning torches. Alex had tried to save her. She wouldn’t let him die for nothing. She charged at them, ignoring the burns and the grazes. She tore throats, broke necks. Some of them ran. She chased. She wouldn’t give up until they were all dead. But Alex’s voice bought her back. It always did. He said he’d be fine if he could only feed. Ren gave him her blood, as much as he was willing to take. It was useless. The men in black robes, priests, had pierced his heart…
The last of them was no struggle. By the time she found him, he was an old man with no fight left in him. With her challenge over, she felt worthless, like she needn’t exist anymore. That was the day Trace found her. The day she had a new challenge, something else to live for…