Riding in a car when blind except for the strange flickers of what I was becoming accustomed to as the flames of the life force of the beings around me was a very unnerving experience. I could feel the world moving beneath me, even the Earth itself seemed to have a life force of its own.
It was distracting and the thrum of life from below in concert with the flickering flashes of red and gold flying by us at speed made me feel almost dizzy. Or intoxicated. I was hungry.
“Focus!” Vladimir had been speaking to me for some time and I’d been ignoring him. Partially out of principle and partially because I hated the sound of his voice. “This is important damn you, if you don’t remember-”
“Oh shut up you old windbag!” I said, “If you wanted me to know anything in advance you should have told me, oh I don’t know IN ADVANCE!”
“It does not really matter in the end does it? Either you will die for my cause and be a martyr or else you will win and kill my enemies.” Vlad said, his annoyance fading into smug satisfaction.
“There’s a third possibility.” I said, my voice a gutteral animal growl. “I just might decide to eat you and damn the consequences.”
“What did you say?” He demanded, “What language was that?”
“I have no interest in your petty revolution. I don’t care about your personal issues, your vendetta or the Tribunal.” I said, fixing him with what I’m sure was an unsettling stare. “And what I said was that I might. Decide. To. Eat you.”
The car hummed on in silence for a few moments. “So you figured it out did you?” He said with a mixture of hesitation and fanatic glee in his voice.
Now it all came together. The pain. My Dark Gift fleeing. Not being able to heal. The lack of vitae in my veins. He had infected me with … I shuddered in revulsion and anger.
“You gave me the gods damned virus.” I said flatly.
“Yes!” He said with insane fervor, “You will be my triumph where they failed! I changed it so that the Hunter carrier gene would mutate inside an Undead body instead of a dead body and you, my dear sweet Renyovalia are my crowning achievement. The ulitmate predator, the perfect weapon!”
“Why shouldn’t I kill you right now?” I asked, my fingers flashing out to close around his throat.
“Because I alone have the ability to change you back.” He said, barely able to get the words out as I increased the pressure around his neck. “You do want the antidote do you not?”
I shook, every animal instinct screaming to kill him and it took every ounce of self-preservation not to. “If you are lying to me I will stake you out for a sunrise Vladimir.”
He laughed as I forced one finger at a time away from his cold, lifeless flesh. Was I making a huge mistake? Probably, but this old fossil didn’t have nearly enough life force for me. His fire was buried deep and stoked low. I wanted something more.
“When do we arrive?” I asked, licking a mouthful of razor sharp needles. “I’m starving.”
Vladimir’s laugh cut off as though it’d been severed by a knife. Perhaps he was having doubts about his ultimate creation.
The two guards standing outside the doors of the Tilton Corporation’s main headquarters knew to expect extra traffic tonight. They’d already seen several limousines and a few high end sedans drop off unfamiliar but distinguished guests. The Bentley Mulsanne was a far cry from the other cars that they’d seen tonight though.
It glided to the curb nearly noiselessly and the driver who exited was wearing an impeccable white suit and chauffeur’s cap. The large buttons on his jacket gleamed with a color that could only be real gold. He opened the door with a bow and a man in a flawless grey suit stepped out and offered his hand to someone within.
An arm with all the pigment of a snow drift save for the strange nail polish the color of a day old bruise extended to accept the assistance. A leg of the same pale color with a small foot clad in a red silk slipper daintily stepped out and a woman emerged with boneless grace. She wore an embroidered Kimono, obviously modified for comfort, and a pillbox hat on her head with a veil that covered her face.
Unconsciously straightening to an even more rigid ramrod stance, they watched with interest as the pair approached. Just as his counterpart was extending his hand to ask for their invitation, the guard on the left experienced a slight twinge of pain on his neck.
His Dark Gift flared in response and he moved with unnatural speed, twisting to bring the long knife from his belt so quickly that it appeared as a single arc of steel to the naked eye. When he turned to see what had touched him, nothing was there.
Turning back with the same blinding speed, he saw only the man and woman. The man was handing a simple card of embossed paper to his partner and the woman was slithering up to him with that same sinuous grace she had exhibited when exiting the Bentley.
“Excuse me Miss, I’ll have to ask you to wait until your invitation has been verified.” He said, sheathing his knife.
She smiled and looked at him then. One of her eyes was sewn shut with tidy, even stitches of black thread that contrasted with her pale, bloodless skin. The other eye had no iris and no pupil but instead was a sphere of unblemished white. Her smile was a forest of needles.
“Shit!” He yelled, drawing the knife again and slashing at her throat. Instead of trying to duck or block the strike, she glided forward and his forearm struck her shoulder instead of the blade hitting her neck. It hard enough to shatter her bones anyway, but she didn’t even flinch.
“Oh yes.” She said, her voice musically beautiful. “You are much more to my liking.” She had grabbed his knife hand with her undamaged arm and now she bit his wrist hard.
He stared at her in shock, his muscles were getting rubbery and unresponsive. His face even slumped as though the flesh was made of gelatin. When he tried to speak, it came out as a gurgling, bubbling noise. Then the pain started.
The woman’s hand punched through his tailor made suit and the reinforced Kevlar vest beneath. He barely felt the pain on top of the agony that was already making him blind and deaf to everything around him. The last thing he saw before entering Final Death was his heart vanishing between those spiked teeth.
“Fuck the hell YES!” I said, ecstasy thrilling through my body in a rush of pleasure and, more importantly, Power. Unlike Hex who had been alive when infected, I had been dead for a very long time. The only strength I still retained was dedicated to keeping my body functioning and the ‘meals’ I’d had weren’t sufficient to do more than keep me moving.
This young vampire had been healthy, full of vitae and vitality and I felt his strength fill me. He had clearly been chosen because of his destructive strength and speed; both Powers that were now mine.
To my frustration, I found that I still did not have much in the way of healing. The bones in my left arm grated and scraped but even though they were broken it didn’t hurt and I still retained some of the motion in it. Maybe one of the other food inside the building would have what I needed.
Something changed within me with this influx of Power. My consciousness narrowed to exclude the unimportant details, a process made much easier by my lack of normal sight. The bits of flame around me were like Willow-the-Wisps. I wanted to follow them to their source.
I turned to look at the flames next to me. The smaller one wasn’t interesting but the larger one was beginning to flicker and fade. I had to consume it quickly or it would be gone. I removed the guttering flame and ate it with relish. It was delicious, but already I craved more.
The things between me and my meal shattered beneath my touch. The tread of my feet would shake this place until all of it broke into pieces. My hunger would consume it all.