You know what’s bullshit? Running through a forest, you always see that in movies, people running wildly through the woods in a panic and getting away. If you try that in a real forest, you’ll break a leg from an exposed root, a stone or a sudden drop in the ground level. Despite being in a complete panic we ran as fast as we could, I hit a rock and was about to trip when the vampiric reflexes kicked in, I was quickly back to my feet.
There was something predatory in the blood’s effect, setting me on edge, on the lookout for a vulnerability and I didn’t need to think about attacks or dodging, it came to me naturally. If it hadn’t I would have been dead three times by then.
We didn’t have any direction but we kept going, soon followed by the angered screams of the creature, it had recovered it seemed and was coming after us.
“There!” Kaleb yelled and pointed. In the darkness, he’d managed to spot a clearing where a small cabin was standing. We didn’t hesitate, we ran toward it. The door was left hanging open and we jumped inside. Nobody had seemingly been there in months if not years, everything was in a state of disrepair, covered with filth and leaves carried in from the outside. But most of all, I could feel a chill down my spine and an almost heard whisper.
The boys barricaded the door, putting what little furniture that was still around in front of it The lock had broken sometimes in the past but it opened inward. I however started to look around. The windows weren’t very big, not big enough for that thing to crawl through, hit us through was however a strong possibility. I walked around, looking at every corner of the room, trying to ignore the tugging I felt in my guts. In one corner I found something; A small torn strip of police tape. This place had been a crime scene, it explained what I felt.
Something I’d gained from entering the Covenant was an additional sense, to perceive the unseen. I hadn’t used it much, it was overwhelming and hard to understand without training. Some people would call it opening your third eye, but the way I felt it, it was more about letting in the feelings you kept at bay.
Supernatural sense override your mundane one, I could still see the boys at work but the colors had been faded, leaving everything gray except the purple wisps escaping from Kaleb. He was scared, no terrified. Simon on the other hand didn’t exude anything, his aura for lack of a better work didn’t exist.
But there was something else in the room. Your average ghost was nothing but an echo, an imprinted image left on the world, like static on an old recording. But several figures shared the room, pale emancipated caricatures of a human being, a woman and two men. There was something odd about the former, a streak of red in a sea of dull gray. Due to some cosmic happenstance I didn’t understand all ghosts seemed to wear similar outfits, dark suits for men and black simple dresses for women, always tattered. Their expression were sorrowful, distorted to the point of being barely human.
That was what those who died violently looked like. Coil hadn’t said much about ghosts but I knew there were certain categories, specters were the victims of violent and sudden deaths, Wraiths were what happened when one of them hated the living strongly enough while revenants were those twisted by their desire for revenge. It seemed our companions were the former.
“Lauren?” Kaleb’s voice was distant.
“What?” I answered, snapping back to reality.
“It’s nothing.” I was lying, dumb move.
“Let me help.”
“Okay...” I answered after a moment.
Truth be told, I was a little hesitant. It felt wrong having a guy touch my chest, especially now that I’d once again lost my boobs, the bra had snapped when the monster had hit me, leaving with most of my shirt and hoodie. I had a feeling this lifestyle was going to cost me quite a lot in term wardrobe fees. Kaleb’s hand gently touched me and I couldn’t help but feel degraded, losing my breast made me feel vulnerable…
The same humming I’d felt in the subway tunnel happened, but now that I was on the receiving end, it was much stronger, I felt it fill my body. I saw the flesh heal, getting back together. It left a faintly paler sets of stripes were the skin had been torn but it was good as new.
“Don’t mention it.” He said.
“We wait for the others, I guess. Simon any idea?”
“That sounds applicable.”
“Great. Since we’re staying put…” Kaleb went to the central wall of the building, sliding down until his butt hit the ground. Out of his pocket the took out a small plastic case, from with he retrieved a razor blade. He didn’t hesitate or flinch when he put it to his wrist, cutting the skin. I on the other hand winced.
“Do you really have to?” I reluctantly asked. I didn’t mention it, but the sight and smell of blood stirred something within me.
“I need to charge us if I’m going to be doing magic.” He explained, as he did, he continued. I turned away, biting my lip. “The more I do, the more juice I have.”
“That’s kind of a hefty price to pay.” I said, my hand started shaking.
I’d seen blood before but I had never been this bothered… Was it because of previous night, when I’d tasted one of the shifter’s blood?
“Well, it means I don’t have to bargain with demons or be part of a huge coven. Beside, I’ve always done this… It doesn’t bother me.”
I walked closer sitting down next to him. The floor was dirty, but I was already grimy from the walk through the woods followed by the fight. I couldn’t help but stare as he kept cutting, letting out a small grunt.
“Are you okay, Lauren?”
“Yes?” I wasn’t convincing. “It just.... your ehm…” I couldn’t finish the sentence, I’m not sure if I was more bothered by my feeling or too hungry to talk. I might have never have done drugs, but at that moment I felt like an addict in withdrawal.
“Oh.” He’d looked back and forth between me and his wrist, following my gaze. Then he raised it. “Do you want to?”
“I can’t. I… don’t want to...” I muttered.
“Lauren, You’re shaking.”
“Are you sure?”
He nodded. I took his hand and raised it slowly to my lips, waiting for him to stop me, but he didn’t. Rather than just start sucking, I slowly licked the wounds, letting the thin stream of blood into my mouth. Blood tastes awful, the disgusting taste of iron that you can’t shake, yet I found it the most delicious fucking thing I’d ever put in my mouth and that disgusted me…
His arm was soon clean of the blood, the wounds having closed off when I’d licked them, apparently a vampiric trait I’d inherited.
“I’m not sure what to say…” I whispered.
He didn’t say anything, instead his hand found my cheek and he pulled closer. Our lips met and I didn’t resist, going on with the flow he dictated.
A murder cabin in the wood with a monster searching for you outside as you still taste your best friend’s blood is a weird and fucked up set up for a first kiss, but that’s how it sort of just happened.
Kaleb definitely had experience before, I on the other hand was completely overwhelmed. It wasn’t the mind blowing affair people make it out to be, it was just sort of there. Although that was probably because we were on the brink of panic, exhausted, wounded, lost and really needed some comforting...
When Kaleb broke the kiss, we both instinctively looked away, unsure of what to say. Now that the moment was gone, all that was left was a general sense of awkwardness between us...
During all of this, Simon hadn’t reacted. Not to the blood sucking, not to the kissing… Nothing could phase this guy.
“What were you doing during the fight?” I asked him, getting up.
“Analyzing.” Simon answered.
“If you’d have helped, that would have been great.” I said with all the snark I could muster in my exhausted state.
“I was. I now know several things; we’re looking at a fairly ancient creature, the idea behind which is the fear of what lurk beyond the confine of civilization I also know that it becomes stronger the more scared people are of it. I would recommend not being scared while fighting it.” I had no clue how he’d gathered all this information.
“Great, don’t think of elephants.”
“I believe chemical help would be of use.” He then added.
“We’re in the middle of the woods.”
“Not a problem.” He took out a bottle of water, twisted the cap open and dipped a finger in it and it shone a silvery light through. After a second, he removed it, closed the cap and lobbed it our way.
“What did you do?”
“Simple transmutation of matter. I changed the mineral salts within to a powerful stimulant that will override the fear response while keeping the fight-or-flight instinct as well as your decision making skills unaffected. I would recommend drinking half of the bottle each for maximum effect.”
What he’d just done was impossible, alchemists weren’t the type of people who could just clap their hand and do stuff, it was all about laboratories and rituals. He was definitely something else but I didn’t know what.
I opened the bottle and drank my share before passing it to Kaleb. I didn’t feel any different…
I didn’t have time to let the effect kick in when something hit the door with a powerful impact. The barricade held, barely. And the thing outside screeched.
“It found us.”
I opened my bag and took out the tomahawk that Simon had given us. It was my first time wielding such a weapon and I wasn’t sure I would be good with it.
We could hear the bogeyman stalk around the cabin, it broke one of the windows and squeezed it’s head through. My knife was still firmly lodged in it’s skull. It screamed, letting a shower of split in our direction. I put a firmer grasp on the weapon and stepped forward to take care of the opportunity when a new sound filled the air.
“La la la la la la la -- la la la la” It was a low mournful melody, being sung a feminine voice.
“There’s more than one bogeyman.” Simon said.