Asher had told me there was an "art to killing" and that we, as predators, should savour the chase just as much as the actual kill. It was all part of the thrill, to get the victim's fear going and their adrenaline coursing just made their blood that much sweeter. It was quite sadistic, what he was telling me, but I had to admit to myself that a part of it did sound slightly...tantalizing.
It was a Monday night and I was spending it being taught how to kill.
'First,' Asher said in a hushed tone. 'You must alert them of your presence. That sudden burst of fear when they realize they're not alone is the most important part. It's what we look forward to the most.'
I hadn't spoken since he'd taken me out. I followed him in a numb daze, a part of me struggling to keep up with everything I was being told and the other part listening with grim attentiveness. It was like I had suddenly developed split personality disorder. I still had my humanity, I could feel it. But then I had this animalistic side, buried deep within me, scratching and howling to get out.
It was a little overwhelming.
We had begun following a couple down the street. They couldn't have been more than twenty years old, but their scent was just so enticing, so intoxicating, that the age to me really didn't matter. All I cared about was the liquid treasure they contained. Asher sensed my discomfort and kept a firm grip on my forearm.
'All in good time, Mia. You need to learn to control your hunger.'
We were hidden well, keeping to the very depths of the shadows. I felt invisible; there was no way their human eyes could ever detect us.
'Step one,' Asher looked at me wickedly, his eyes flashing with delight. He was really getting into this.
Then he was gone.
That's what it would have looked like to me if I was still human anyway. My heightened senses told me that he hadn't disappeared, he had just moved very, very fast, like a flash of light. He had breezed past the couple in impossible speed, to the very other side of the road a little way ahead. He was still submerged in the shadows, but his movement had allowed the couple to whirl round in surprise.
They still couldn't see me, but I still felt the need to press myself into the brick wall, to halt any movement and to watch Asher from the other side of the road, grinning maliciously.
'What was that?' the girl asked, her grip on her boyfriend tightening slightly. I could see the muscles in his arms clench, whether he was trying to impress the girl or whether he was genuinely ready for a fight I didn't know.
'Probably just an animal,' the guy scoffed.
'Are you sure?' the girl whimpered.
It was strange, watching them I felt absolutely no emotion. I didn't feel remorse or guilt or longing or sadness. I just felt...hungry.
They continued on their journey and I saw Asher step out of the shadows, beginning to tail them. I took my place next to him, keeping my footsteps light and silent. We moved gracefully, with purpose, fixed on the kill.
'Step two,' Asher whispered. 'Can you handle this one?'
'What are we doing?' I whispered back.
'We're gonna have a little fun,' he replied.
He told me what to do, before disappearing for the second time. I opened my mouth, widened my eyes and shouted.
They both turned round in unison, wearing identical masks of surprise. The girl spoke first, her voice soft and her eyes warm. I doubted they'd be that way if they knew what our real purpose was. She was very trusting which only made things a lot easier.
'What's wrong?' she rushed to my side. Her boyfriend followed cautiously.
'My...my...friend,' I cried. 'He's been attacked! Please help!'
My shoulders were heaving with each gasp and sob that tore through me. This was surprisingly easy to do.
'Where?' the guy demanded, getting ready to run in the direction I told him. I pointed to a darkened alleyway - the perfect spot - before he sprinted off. The girl was set to follow him when I grabbed her wrist.
'Please, you've gotta call an ambulance!'
She wasted no time in reaching for her mobile phone and punching in the digits. When I was satisfied sufficient time had passed, I led her back to the alley. There was only a thin strip of silver light from the shining moon overhead, creating the ideal setting.
The guy had already been attacked, I could taste the metallic saltiness in the air.
'Where is he?' the girl whispered.
I pretended to cower back in fear, to let her take the lead, before slinking back into the shadows.
Without warning, something hit the floor with a heavy thud, just a few feet in front of the girl. When she saw what it was, she let out the most ear-piercing scream I've ever heard. Her head whipped around frantically, her hands clutching her mouth. She staggered back against the wall, grasping it for support.
Asher stepped out, looking incredibly handsome and devastatingly dangerous.
He struck with the speed of a cobra. He had her pinned against the wall, his mouth fastened to her throat. It was mesmerizing, watching this. I felt like the prey, caught in the death stare of its killer. Asher's face came away, bright red liquid staining his teeth as he grinned at me sadistically.
'The guy's for you. He's still alive. Barely.' He went back to the shivering, crying girl.
I slunk away from the wall, crossed over to the guy. He looked so pitiful, his forehead was creased in pain, his eyelids were flickering. He was definitely on his way out. As my eyes trailed across his body, I saw why. Something sharp was protruding out of his stomach, torn through the fabric of his shirt, pooling the floor around him with blood.
I had collapsed to my knees, hovered my fingers centimeters above his wound. It was warm and sticky, I took the moment to savour the texture before bringing my fingers up to my mouth. It was like nothing I had ever tasted before. Like the finest chocolate, the finest wine, all sorts of tantalizing tastes and exotic flavours combined together to create the essence of life. The very thing us vampires craved so desperately for.
I could no longer help myself. The blood lust was too strong. All I could think about was the burning in my jaw as my aching fangs throbbed longingly as the prospect of being sated. I bent over the half dead body of the man, my hair covered his face as I inhaled the skin at his throat.
Then I bit him, and it was pure bliss.