This is a Mini-Story I am writing about a young woman who is on the run from a man she once, and still does, love.
The quiet, but harsh sound of a distant breath. I can sense the way it's getting closer. The inevitable shriek in the night is a dead giveaway. A howl pierces the once-comforting silence.
My heart matches the distress signal, beating rapidly to signify what, I don't know. Perhaps my mere existence?
The confusion is as great as the anticipation. Will I be caught?
Sometimes, I hope so.
Others, I just want to escape.
I am hiding, but as the beast approaches, I get a burst of sudden courage seemingly from nowhere.
I take off, my feet flying under me, surging me forward.
The chase has always been exhilarating, but tonight, it's just what I've needed.
Sounds follow me...footfalls, loud ones, pounding against the earthen forest floor, as my legs propel me faster, the need to escape my pursuer driving me to unparalleled speed, at least for me. I've never gone this fast. It's my top record, seventy-miles-per-hour.
The excitement flooding my veins is palpable. This is the most fun I've had in years. I smile, slowing up. I'm ready for this chase to end. I idly wonder if the one chasing me is male or female.
If female, I'll eliminate her...maybe. Wouldn't want her mate following me forever, seeking revenge. How weird would it be if we became friends? What if we roasted marshmallows over a bonfire and regaled one another with stories of our past victories in battle? I laughed at the irony of that situation.
That's if it's a female.
If male, I'm not sure what I'll do. It's a decision that'll have to be made when all the facts are known.
A growl interrupts my train of thought, and I'm strangely glad for the intrusion. My thinking tends to get me in trouble.
I laugh as I come to a standstill, and laugh harder when the beast runs headlong into me.
A louder growl reaches my ears, and I whip around to look at my challenge for the evening...
It was a male...with my uniquely advanced sense of smell, I could tell that about him. He was bigger than I thought. Somehow, his footsteps hadn't sounded that heavy.
His big, round eyes were bright green, whereas normal versions of his kind had yellow ones. That was unnerving. So, what kind was he? I only knew I'd never encountered one such as he.
His body was moving lethally fast, (had I not had great reflexes, I would've died) as he lunged at me, but I saw every movement, each detail clear to me: his paws lashed out, his muzzle dripping with red saliva, (that was strange) his razor-sharp teeth bared, his ears acutely alert.
I dodged to the left as he jumped towards me, and I heard the skid of his paws as he tried to regain his balance. I turned a split second before he attempted a second lunge, and dodged to the right.
However, he seemed to anticipate this action, because his teeth ripped the edge of my coat, as he just missed me.
Weird, I'm thinking. If he knew which direction I was going to go, why did he only bite at my coat? The answer hit me before I was able to do anything about it.
A second beast, one I hadn't heard, moved forward to take the piece of my coat, and darted away faster than I believed possible. How had I not heard that there were two? I figured that out real quick. They'd been running in perfect synchronization, mirroring one another's steps. That's why he had seemed so heavy to my ears, because I was hearing them both, at the same time. That takes practice, to run together in that way. Who am I dealing with? Talk about a powerful hunting technique. I'd have to watch out for that one from now on.
I inwardly cursed. I'd have to change clothes, and rid myself of the scent, else the whole pack of beasts would tear me to shreds next time I encountered them. I knew there would be a next time. There always was.
This was an inconvenience I did not have time for!
So, instead of fighting, I fled, running with a new purpose: to actually escape. It was this that saved my life that night. Not fighting, but knowing when to retreat...I memorized his scent as I ran.
Next time he chased me, he would die...
The escape wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be, which was mildly disappointing for me. A part of me thirsted for the fight that should've been, even as my throat burned with the thirst of another kind.
The latter was easier to deal with, I reminded myself, not ever being one to forget common sense, especially in an already precarious situation. I couldn't afford any mistakes.
I quickly got over the bloodlust. As my feet carried me farther away from my adversaries, I angled them so I was heading towards town.
I was more in a rush to feed than to eliminate my scent. Evasion was my specialty. I'm confident, not cocky, about my ability to get as far away from the beasts as possible. I was far away enough that they couldn't track me, so I wasn't worried. Not now, anyhow.
There would be plenty of time for worry later, with me being so close to them. I was always in the same location they seemed to be in, and I knew it was only a matter of time until our paths crossed again.
Although the prospects were unnerving, I was looking forward to the next time, already planning the beast's slow, tortuous death.
He'd pay for taking my scent, whoever he was. Where was the honor among enemies? Had they really become so underhanded to have to take my scent with them, just so they could find me later?
Maybe they viewed me as a threat, as they very well should. They clearly didn't know exactly who they were dealing with, when it came to me.
I came across a group of men, who were drinking, the stench of alcohol permeating the air in a thick, disgusting fog. I can't stand the smell, but felt it was necessary to get sustenance immediately. I was already starting to feel weak, and that just wouldn't do...
I never killed them, just got enough blood to last me a few days, until the next feeding. I wasn't mentally able to kill humans, not after I'd lost my parents. They'd been human, and I refused to take out any humans as a result of that tragic event in my life, just as the transformation which changed me into a blood-thirsty monster ended my own mortal life. I wouldn't be the reason anyone lost a parent, mate, sibling, or other relatives.
Even though I wasn't capable of taking a human life, I was still a force to be reckoned with. I was still the one they called if they needed to hunt someone across, territories, cities, states, and even continents. "They" being my superior and fellow hunters. Even though they had numerous kills under their belts, of both human and beast alike, it was still to me where they turned for guidance, and advice.
For they knew, without a doubt, that they could trust me. I knew secrets, about each and everyone of my clansmen, and women. I kept those secrets always, but never, ever divulged my own. It would not do well for my weaknesses to be known, as I trusted absolutely no one.
Therefore, as other hunters formed groups of two or more, I'd chosen a long time ago, to hunt completely alone. I had a number one rule for myself: never show vulnerability. I had lots of rules, that I constantly recited to myself in my mind, and that helped keep me strong.
I hated feeling helpless, so this thirst annoyed me, to no end. I prided myself in being strong, not wanting to accept or ask for anyone's help, and just handled whatever situation arose with my own judgement and planning. I didn't ever pre-plan more than thirty minutes in advance. The rest of my choices were spur-of-the-moment decisions, made at a half-moment's notice, I thought with a smile.
Quick thinking was the key to dealing with these unpredictable beasts. It was that which had saved me on more than one occasion.
I'd not been around long, but I'd survived enough to know how to take care of myself.
I stepped forward, circling the men as I switched into hunter v.s. prey mode. Thirty seconds later, I'd fed, and they'd kept on walking, none the wiser about what had just happened. Later, when they sobered up, they'd notice the bite marks, but they wouldn't know what they really are. Like all the others I'd fed on, they'd assume it's only an insect bite, which insured I'd be safe to feed next time, without fear of any consequences.
I ran towards home, getting there in ten minutes. Upon entering my small apartment, I showered and dressed for my night out, putting on a skin-tight red pair of jeans, over a fresh pair of panties. One bra and blue t-shirt later, and once I'd added sandals to my ensemble, I was ready to go, but where, I did not know yet. I planned to just take a walk, letting fate guide me to where I was supposed to be...
I headed to a favorite haunt of mine, a saloon on the west side of town. It was called "The Barn Owl," and they were quite famous for what I wanted and needed now: a smooth, red-velvet cupcake milkshake.
It's strange how we, the vampires, digest food. Well, sugar mainly. It doesn't give us any nourishment, unless eaten immediately after blood consumption, but it gives us an enormous energy boost, without a crash feeling later. Plus, I have the mother set of all sweet-tooths, or hind fangs.
I have three sets of fangs, which are evenly spaced between the pairs. There's the four in the normal spot, and the upper and lower wisdom teeth I'd never gotten taken out as a human. Six fangs, and each set has their own purposes.
The front ones were the sharpest, used for the deep pierce marks that were needed for thick, muscular necks. If the "donor" was on the thin side, I retracted the main set, and used my back set, to go in directly above the bone. The blood that flowed there was richest, in my opinion. In a heavier person, the richest was in the neck, right under where the jugular vein flowed. Of course, I never pierced that vein. I still had my rules to follow.
The third set of fangs was a defense mechanism, which could literally grow in a haphazard shape. Sugar was essential to use the ability of the third set. They absorb the sugar, and convert it to a special venom, that when put into a human's, beast's or vampire's bloodstream, created a euphoria which was so great, that they forgot the past few minutes of reality. I'd only used it once, on myself, once I'd seen my parents' bodies. I still knew they were dead, but was able to remember them as they were, normal, happy, not mutilated and bloody. I could recall the state they'd been in, but the image never haunted me, thanks to that venom.
I don't think I could ever function in normal society...not that I hadn't tried. I had, but this far had found it impossible. I could never interact with humans, not while knowing I'd fed on half or more of them, and would probably feed on the rest at some point. It just made things awkward.
As I ordered and drank my milkshake, paying for it with a five-dollar bill, I said goodbye to it, because I'd decided, the time had come for me to move on, and make a fresh start elsewhere. I'd done this before, so I knew it would be easy. I'd pack my suitcases with every belonging I had, (it only filled up two, between my clothes and personal effects) and catch the nearest shuttle bus, leaving this place forever.
Since I never formed attachments, or made friends, the only thing I'd miss from this place, was the milkshakes.
I heard the clink of metal boots, a familiar sound, and an intimidating one as well.
I only knew of one person who ever wore them, and I hadn't expected to, or wanted to, run into him any time soon. It was the Captain of the Vampires, Seifer Greytrael.
There had to be only one reason for his presence here: he was looking for me. And as he walked up right behind me, I had nowhere to run. He was incredibly strong, and the fastest vampire in known existence. I couldn't outrun him. Unfortunately, neither could my heart. He was, you see, my first immortal love, but never returned my feelings. I turned to face him, not able to stop the quick beating of my heart...
My eyes didn't show enough shock as I turned to face Seifer. He should know by now, that his presence would never surprise me, because of the boots. They were definitely his own signature, completely original fashion accessory. I'd heard rumor that his metallic shoes were the only pair of their kind, at least in this town.
His lips were dead set in a thin line, his demeanor as serious as ever. I'd never seen even one smile on his handsome face, as he seemed perpetually furious, no matter what the situation. It bothered me, because I wondered about his sanity level...being sad or upset or mad all the time, with no happiness whatsoever to balance it out? That couldn't be healthy.
Seifer looked me directly in the eye, as he asked in a threatening, yet quiet voice, "Do you know how long I've been searching for you?"
I quickly added up the months since I'd seen him last. It had been eighteen.
"A year and a half," I said confidently. "Why are you looking for someone you care less about than the dirt you walk upon?"
I was angry now, all the old feelings were resurfacing, and I didn't want to remember.
"You will find out soon enough," he replied, not bothering to deny my query, although we both knew it was true.
I looked around the saloon, just noticing now that everyone had gone quiet the moment we began to speak to one another.
"Always with the cryptic words, huh, Seifer?" I asked, throughly irritated with him. "Never a straight answer."
We'd hunted the beasts together a few times before, not as a team, but with him as the initial chaser, (and catcher/killer) and with me as the follow up squad-of-one (and clean-up department, if I was being honest with myself) as was my usual method of being alone. An effective method, but not one I desired. It had forced me into sharing his company, and meant that we had to give reports, together. All that meant for me was more time to ignore my feelings, which was a torture in itself, because I never had the courage to confess them.
I only knew he didn't feel the same because I'd overheard a conversation between him and his underling, which went like this:
"I think I'm going to ask her out," he had said. (He was an admirer of mine.)
"Go for it," Seifer had replied.
"Are you sure, boss? Talk around town said you had a thing for her."
"Talk was wrong. I don't now, nor will I ever, see her in that way," Seifer had said in an icy tone.
That statement had crushed my spirit indefinitely. I'd tried to release my emotions, though time was no kinder than he was towards me. He was never with anyone else, so that gave me hope, I guess, that one day he'd feel the same way about me. It never happened, and I would never reveal what my heart felt, because it was pointless, and would only hurt me further.
So, yes, I'm still in love with him, but still, I remain unable to tell him, even now. That road only led to heartbreak, and I couldn't go through that.
I was brought back to the present by a loud clearing of Seifer's throat.
"I asked you a question," he snapped at me. "Could you be so kind as to answer it?"
I hadn't even heard his question, so caught up in my memories as I'd been. Why does he hate me so much? I could never figure that out.
"Could you repeat that?" I asked, trying to sound cool, calm, and collected, when really terror was gripping my body, as I knew his strength.
"I asked you why I've gotten a report that you were observed running away from a set of beasts?" He hissed the question at me, clearly not wanting anyone to hear what he'd said.
I started to speak, but faltered, as I tried to come up with an excuse, hesitant to give the real reason, that my scent had been taken. That was just embarrassing, and I hated to admit it.
I didn't answer, and that seemed to frustrate him. Good, I thought smugly, though I knew I wouldn't push him too much farther.
"I don't think that's any of your concern," I told him, trying to slink to the left, but he mirrored my movement, and suddenly gripped my left forearm tightly, which made a woman at a nearby table gasp in disbelief.
"Seifer, you seriously don't want to make a scene now, do you?" I asked in a fierce murmur so low only he could hear it. "Because you know I am more than capable of doing just that."
Just because I feared him, didn't mean I'd go down without a struggle, no matter how small my chance of survival was in a fight with him.
"What? Planning to from me, like you did with them? Futile. You can't escape me."
"I wasn't planning to run," I lied.
"Then let's find someplace private to discuss this further," he said with a calm air I could never emulate, but greatly respected.
He dragged me out of the saloon. I cursed under my breath. This was not going to go well...that much I knew for certain.
Once he'd dragged me outside, he gripped my arm even tighter, pulling me toward the woods, not stopping until we were deep within the heart of the forest, surrounded by tall, grand oak trees. He released me, but looked at me sharply, his eyes, as always, hostile.
"Why did you run?" He persisted.
"Tell me something, Seifer," I said with deep sarcasm in my words. "Why does it matter to you if I ran from them?"
His hatred for me was unbearable, both because of my feelings, and because he didn't know how I felt. Maybe if he did...what do I expect? That he'd be less harsh to me somehow? All the pity in the world couldn't make him feel anything for me, except revulsion, and that was never going to change. I need to accept it, and move on, forward, if such a thing is possible. I feel every time I try to see if I could develop feelings for another man, the feelings I still have for Seifer surface to the forefront of my mind, blocking the possibility of finding love with anyone else.
It's illogical to have feelings for someone who has never cared anything for you, but I couldn't help what my heart wanted. As messed up as it was, I couldn't change the way I felt, even if I wanted to. Maybe I don't. Either way, it's a part of me, and I suppose it always will be. Unless someone else can break the barrier I set around my heart for him. I don't think anyone is capable of even putting a small dent in it. My feelings are that strong.
He finally spoke, after having had thought about my question.
"It matters to me, because since we used to work as a team, whatever you do, it reflects badly, on me, as I was the leader of our group. Do you understand?" He asked me.
"Yes, sir," I said quietly.
"The next time, I don't care how long you have to fight them, just get the job done. I'd hate to think you've gone soft. You once had great potential. It's a shame to see that being wasted."
His words, however mean they'd been before, that had actually been the nicest thing he'd ever said to me.
I almost blurted out the real reason I'd ran from the beasts, but I didn't feel he needed to know that. What if he found out from someone else? Then I'd be in double trouble.
As I was at war with myself, whether or not to be honest with him, Seifer stood there a moment, glaring at me. He spoke again, the words surprising me.
"There's another reason I came looking for you," he said, still glaring.
Did my heart just stop? Oh, right. It stopped a few years back, when I'd been changed into a bloodthirsty immortal. But if it still had been beating, it would definitely have skipped a beat to hear those words come from him. I wonder what the other reason was...