It has been twenty years since the awakening, magic was rediscovered and unleashed upon the world, bringing disaster as well as wonders, it is a world were creatures of legends share the day with mankind.
The world changed, humanity hasn't.
Story One: Shadow over London
London and nice weather have never mixed well in the same sentence. But ever since the awakening had struck twenty years prior, it had only seemed to get worse. The rain seemed to want to eclipse the sun and give the land as a gift to the creatures of the night.
And the rain wasn't the only thing that had changed in that time, those that had haunted humanity's nightmares had also came back. HVV-Positive was the politically correct term, Vampire the colloquial, leeches the more common one...
That's what I am...
If I had a business card, it would probably say; "Aidan Kelly: vampire, social recluse, contract killer for the McKensey firm."
The wind swept the roof of the building facing the Bloody Harvest, One of the city's greatest poseur club. I stood there, watching and waiting. There was something about vampire and rooftop, an instinct buried into our psyche as we woke up from the transition, the need to see everything; potential prey and other predators maybe.
The traffic flowed smoothly, but slowly, visibility being so poor in the downpour, at least for normal humans. On the other side, of the street a pair of women exited the club, crossing the street. My eyes focused on something other than sight, amidst a see of dull shades of grey, I saw their essence pulse, beating at the rhythm of their heart. It was a sense that only those touched directly by the awakening could manifest. Even at this distance, it felt sweet and inviting.
Hunger was the first thing a vampire had to master, even with all our strength, there were only so many bullets we could take before being pulped.
"Why did you drag me along for this, Aby?" One of the girl said, their words coming to my ears as they passed through the alley next to my perching point.
"You said you wanted to meet vampires." The one called Aby said, her hair colored a bright shade of neon blue.
"Exactly, I didn't talk about poseurs." The other girl looked more conservative, with long dark hair, she spoke with an accent that betrayed her Spanish ancestry. "All there was were idiots in black talking about how they were going to be turned or how mysterious they were."
I repressed a chuckle, I wasn't supposed to make myself noticed. Just watch for the owner and have a polite talk with him. But she was right, there was a reason no self-respecting vampire hung around those clubs.
"Why do you even want to meet bloodsuckers, anyway?" Aby said.
They continued moving and out of curiosity, moved along the roof's border, keeping an eye on the club.
"Well, I figured it'd help with my midterm paper if I could talk to the real deal instead of just doing research with archives."
Interesting. I thought. Probably a Cryptozoology, Thaumaturgy or Arcane science student.
I continued following them for a while, watching like a hawk from my vantage point. I took the time to examine the student's essence. It didn't exhibit the signs of awakening; no swirling, no multiple pulse, no tether.
They changed subject, the Aby girl talking about the potential of seventh generation cybertechnology. I scanned her essence next and it was layered with grey veins. She didn't just like cybernetics academically it seemed. Probably the kid of a rich person, tech wasn't cheap to put in, even with all the miracles of modern medicine and magical assistance.
They took a corner and I lose sight of them. I couldn't follow them any longer. I turned around and started going back to the street side when I heard them yell.
I grumbled. As always, it happened at the worst moment possible. I glanced at the Club. No movement, just the bouncer standing around.
I jumped down on the nearest fire exit and leaped down one story at a time. Vampire or not, four story weren't something you walked off if you jumped down carelessly.
When I arrived in the alley, I found the two girls cornered by a pair of guys dressed in black, one of them bleeding pretty badly from the nose.
"You bitch..." He muttered, holding his hands to the geyser that was now his nose. His eyes were fixated on the short haired girl.
The other raised an hand and I saw the long neon green lines that raced along his arms. There was a visible build up of power in them and even from far away, I could feel his essence stir up.
"In my days, criminals had a bit more of style." I announced, stepping forward, faster than normally possible, although not blurring level of speed as was shown in movies. Another quick motion and I brought a pair of handguns to their heads.
"Tell, me, how fast can you trigger that little trick? At this range, it'll take 1/9325 of a second to reach you. Human reaction time is around a third to a tenth of a second, HVV-Positive is a twentieth. Do you want to try your luck?"
The two stopped and I carefully watched their essence, the buildup stopped and slowly faded.
I lowered the guns and they simply vanished from place, stepping in the shadows of the world. I turned around when one of the girl shouted.
"Who the hell are you?" It was the blue haired chick. Gratefulness oozed out of every pore of her body except not really. "We didn't need your help."
I kept walking, I didn't have to listen to her, she was probably going to spew some slurs like she did earlier.
"Wait!" It was the other one talking. For some reason, I stopped. "Thank you." She took several steps forward. "I'm Aldonza Rivero, I'm sorry about Abigail's rudeness."
"It's alright. I'm used to it."
"Is it true you're HVV-positive?" She asked, there was a spark of hope in her eyes.
"Yes." I bluntly said. "I'm Aiden." I then said, remembering I hadn't introduced myself.
"Is there any way I can repay you?" She asked. Her friend sighed. As she was closer, I could smell her, partly washed by the rain, hidden by the subtle perfume of deodorant and the cold sweat of fear. The smell lingered, but she wasn't afraid, she was genuinely grateful.
"No, not really."
She smells good. I found myself thinking. My stomach growled. Too much standing around, not enough feeding...
"Well, then. Maybe we'll see each others again." She said.
"Maybe we will..." I said with a shrugs, trying to act as nonchalantly as possible as I turned my back.