Lazarus didn’t want to have to go. The cool body beside his was strangely comforting, as long as he didn’t think about how he was hugging a walking, talking corpse. He groaned quietly as the sun began to sink below the horizon. He kissed Melissa’s hair and whispered in her ear that he would be back before she could miss him. He swung his legs out of the bed and picked up a random pair of jeans and a shirt. He put these on, and packed another set of clothes, putting these aside to leave in the back of his car for the morning. The routine was so dull, so repetitive; Lazarus acted almost on auto pilot, packing the usual – food, vodka, clothes. He knew exactly where he was going. He hoped that the murderous vampire left Melissa alone while she was asleep.
In fact, he realised he was hoping the vampire would follow him into the woods. He took one last look at Melissa, alone on the bed, cold under the covers, before picking up the bag with the things he needed and heading out to the car. As he drove, he smoked half of the cigarettes left, nervous about the transformation for the first time in years. As he turned a corner, he noticed a small silhouette figure in the rear view mirror. Grimacing, Lazarus sped up slightly, slowing for each speed camera. The figure stayed in his rear view until he parked in the woods. He left his car by the marked tree and wandered off to the left, finding his way deeper into the dense woodland.
He crashed through the branches, looking for a badger set or something to keep himself busy for the night. He whimpered quietly as the wolf began to stir; the moonlight weakly shining through the leaves in the premature winter night. Damn winter. Longer nights. Stupidest season ever. He stopped, doubling over as cramps seized his body, the moon’s influence strengthening. He screamed, the vocal cords in his throat burning as though someone had set him on fire. Snarling he clawed at the ground that came rushing up to greet his face. The cool, damp ground scratched at his skin as he writhed among the leaves and twigs, fighting back the wolf until he had found something to keep it busy. He didn’t need to look any further.
‘Ah, Melissa’s little guard dog. All alone in the woods. Does it hurt, dog?’ A voice over his laughed, the piercing tone cutting through Lazarus like a razor. All Lazarus could do was whine as the wolf contorted his body, ripping his human form to shreds. ‘You think you can hurt me? You think you can?’ his voice seemed to change angle, but Lazarus didn’t see the movement, his eyes screwed up against the pain. When he next opened them, the wintery blue orbs were surrounded by a thickening coat of fur. The coarse hair sprouted unevenly through the ripping material that encased his body.
‘Catch me, you oversized mongrel!’ the vampire hissed in Lazarus’ ear. The transformation was nearly over, the pain receding from his wolverine body, the muscles knitting together to fit his new shape. Slowly, Lazarus rose, his panting breaths frosting in the air before him. He growled as the vampire flitted around the surrounding space. He watched carefully, able to pick out the vampire’s movement, able to watch every step the creature took. Seeing the vampire moving to the right, Lazarus launched himself at the space he expected the vampire to finish, but the vampire simply fell into fits of laughter, three metres from where Lazarus now stood.
‘Pathetic!’ he cried at the beast. He feinted to the left, testing the beast, cruelly smiling as the wolf fell for every false manoeuvre that followed it. Lazarus snarled and threw himself at the vampire as he was standing still, but fell short as he moved back out of the wolf’s way.
Melissa’s eyes snapped open.
‘Sire.’ She muttered, scrambling to get out from under the covers. The night had well and truly fallen and as she looked at the moon from the window, she no longer saw its beauty, knowing what it did to Lazarus. It didn’t even occur to her to get changed as she sped out of the building, the connection to her Sire pulling her along. The trees seemed to race past her, as she ran, passing her by.
‘Logan!’ She screamed as she came across Lazarus and her Sire about to engage themselves in combat. The name burnt her tongue like poison. ‘Stop this now!’ She spat, unable to stand his arrogance any longer. He looked up momentarily. Lazarus took advantage of the gap to take a swipe at the vampire with his huge paw, the claws protruding like thick knives. The vampire deflected the attack with ease and Melissa’s heart sunk a little.
‘I know you want me. Then come on and get me.’ She growled, ‘I don't see why you won't die. Don't you realise? Nobody wants you here!’ Her sire, Logan, laughed. Melissa had provoked him. He gave chase as she vanished into the woods. Lazarus followed as best he could, but the two vampires had lost him within seconds. He heard Melissa’s voice cry out and a piercing shriek echoed off the trees. His ears perked and he set off as fast as he could move in the direction of the scream.
It didn’t take him long to find Melissa sprawled on the ground, trying to edge away from her Sire, who was grinning, bent over her prone form. She cursed herself for not even getting changed, as her Sire moved towards her, the look in his eye betraying him. Lazarus didn’t pause, letting his instincts drive him forward.
Part of him smiled triumphantly as his claws sunk into the vampire’s back, piercing the creature more than once. The howl from below him widened the grin, though Melissa covered her ears, shutting her eyes against the look of agony on Logan’s face. Logan snarled and tried to throw the beast off him, but Lazarus had a firm hold, dragging his claws deeper into the vampire’s cold body.
‘Lazarus!’ Melissa shouted, moving quickly out of their way. ‘Rip him apart! You need to dismantle his body to kill him!’ she hoped her words would get through – she didn’t have the strength to do it herself. Fortunately, some part of Lazarus had remembered this and he promptly began to tear into the vampire, crunching Logan’s head between his teeth, enjoying every moment. Melissa exhaled slowly and watched her Sire dying at Lazarus’ paws. She moved to a position that made her sure she could watch without getting hurt and felt the connection between her and her Sire slowly crumble.