Isabella and the RatMature


    Konrad walked into the unassuming building. As soon as he passed through the door the mixed smells of alcohol assaulted his nose. He managed to distinguish whisky, ale, even a single glass of red wine somewhere amongst the throng of hot, sweaty men after a long day of working in the factories. Threading his way to the bar, he ordered a red wine, the closest he could get to blood without biting a human.

    He'd come to see Isabella, the person who he'd ever come closest to loving in all his 950 years. He thought she loved him, too.

    He grunted his thanks to the barmaid, passed over a few clinking coins, and then turned around, his back to the woman. He’d been tempted by the roar of her blood, running through her veins. He was hungry again. He couldn’t kill, though. Even with himself being distant from the lower classes, too many killings and being caught out by a neighbour once would lead to the wrong kind of questions being asked, and maybe even a Hunter getting involved.

    The one time he’d come in desperate for blood, Isabella wasn’t there. He pulled up his barriers, blocking the beast as firmly as possible, and then turned to her, flashing her a perfect smile.

    “Hi. Could you tell me where Isabella is? I need to…talk to her about something,” he asked slyly, winking.

    “Maybe. Will I get anything for my troubles?”  Konrad glared at her arrogance, his eyes turning red for the briefest moment. She gasped, looking terrified, and pointed up, upstairs. Winking at her, charming as ever, his normal composure recovered, he sauntered over to the door behind the bar and opened it, slipping through without a sound. Creeping up the wooden stairs, he sniffed, trying to find which room Isabella was in. The scent of her blood, sweet and warm, distinctive among the vinegary stench of the drunken men, was coming from the door to his left. He drew breath, walking to the door slowly, and knocked in a rhythmic patter:

Knock, pause… Knock, knock, knock, pause…Knock, knock.

    There was a hurried scrabbling and whispers in an undertone even Konrad couldn’t hear. Then a creak as the wooden door, grey and knotted, opened, to reveal a beautiful face, haloed by flattering shoulder length brunette hair, in an obvious state of disarray. And then a thin, red, rat-faced man appeared, tangled black hair in a similar state to Isabella’s. Konrad growled; his eyes turning blood red, perfect teeth becoming fangs like a wolf's. Suddenly, he sprung forward, darting like a snake to poison its prey, forcing the door open with the least of efforts. The man’s lifeblood seeped into Konrad’s mouth, lips clasped around the bastard's throat, filling it with the warm, vinegar like blood. Grimacing whilst he drank, he almost spat it out. Isabella had closed the door, but was huddled on the bed, hugging her duvet close. Konrad could smell fear radiating softly beyond the stench of the ale-ridden, piss poor excuse for blood saturating his mouth.

    Eventually, he drained the blood, taking every last bit to make up for the lack of substance to it. And then he turned to Isabella, eyes blood red from anger rather than hunger.

    "What the hell were you doing?" he bellowed, "After all I've said, and you went and got someone like... Him! I thought you had more sense! He's a rat! How much was he paying? 10? 20? 30? You're stupider than you look! You're worth more money than he could pay! More than any king, or emperor, or even a god could give!" Then he slapped her, leaving a red hand mark on her cheek. She whimpered, and Konrad realised his mistake. He dropped to one knee, and gathered up her hand. 

    "It's just... Well, it's that I love you, Izzy, or as close to as is possible for my kind, and I don't want you to waste your time with snakes like him." He had begun to feel stupid about his over reaction. He'd killed again, and if he wasn't careful, one of the Hunter families would be knocking on his door soon enough. He had to destroy the body. All evidence he'd been there. 

    Swiftly, silently, he picked the body up, kicked the door open, swinging down the stairs, blood clinging to the bottom of his fangs, face contorted into a scowl, his face made all the more terrifying by the black liquid that coated his decimated lips . He went down to the ground floor, and then going down to the cellar. Glaring through enhanced eyes, he could see everything perfectly. The rats scampering in the corners, 20 barrels of ale, 15 of red wine and the same of white. Dumping the body in the most discrete corner, hidden between two barrels, he grabbed a rat and almost threw it down the corpse’s throat, until it was squealing and writhing, scrabbling and biting in it’s attempt to get out. Eventually, he knew, the puncture marks in the neck would be destroyed by the frantic rodent.

The End

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