For Humanity: Chapter 1

April 15, 2013
There’s one thing about Vampyres which I really hate.
-Actually, scratch that. There’s two things that I really hate about them. The first is that before they turned, they used to be normal, with jobs and homes and pets and families. Then some Vampyte bites them and they’re turned into a monster. Which I have to kill.
My name is Alex. That’s it. Just Alex. I used to have a last name, used to have a family too. Well, I had my Dad, who took me to baseball games and scared any boyfriend I brought home and was teaching me how to drive. But now he’s in hiding with a few select families who’ve managed to avoid the bite. One day, when this is all over, I’ll be able to see him again. But until then I have to keep fighting. For my cause. For humanity.
It’s morning at the abandoned mall. I step over a body with my leather boot, trying not to slide in the blood on the floor. Trying not to make any noise that would bring out the rest of the cavalry. I’d been watching this place for weeks, and knew there were about a hundred Vampyte sleeping inside.
There was a time when going up against those numbers would’ve been suicide, but I’ve gotten pretty good over the past two years.
The first thing I did before entering was throw a couple of my homemade-garlic-stink bombs in the air vents. They hate it, they absolutely hate the smell, drives them completely bonkers. It also puts them to sleep for a couple of hours, so all I have to do is walk in, preferably when there’s still a little sunshine, and then stake them through the heart.
Now it sounds easy, but here’s the catch. There are some Vampyres who have started building an immunity to the stuff, and they’re the ones I really have to watch out for. They’re not newly dead Vampyres either, they’ve actually been around for a while, and they want to kill me just as much as I want to kill them.
Don’t get me wrong, the stink bombs are useful, but it mostly helps me get rid of the foot soldiers, the grunts. If I could stop say, the generals, I might actually have a chance at cleaning up this world. But since I haven’t figured out a solution yet, I’m here hunting in this abandoned strip mall and getting Vampyre ick on my new leather boots. Sigh. We all have to make sacrifices.
One of the Vampyres lying on the ground stirs, and I go over, stake held ready. She looks like someone’s granny, with white hair in little tidy curls around her head, and wearing a pink pantsuit; rather worse for wear. Even her sneakers are those orthopedic ones, for people with bad arches. She looks so peaceful lying there, I bet she used to clip coupons and bake cookies for her grandkids. I hesitate for a second, and then her eyes open, and the sweet, wrinkled little face turns into a feral snarl. I plunge the stake in home before she has time to tear my eyes out with her little granny nails and she vanishes into a pile of slippery ooze.
It’s a side effect of being a Vampyre. The way it works is that when someone is bitten, a virus enters the body through the saliva and into the blood stream. It enhances certain qualities about them, gives them speed, strength, and the need to kill anyone who doesn’t smell like them, who isn’t like them.
All that extra takes a toll on the body, rots them from the inside. If they’re fresh newly dead, sometimes I can stake them and nothing happens. Except of course, they give off the smell of a Thanksgiving turkey Dad once accidentally left in the car for a week when we went to visit Grandma. If they’ve been Vampyre for at least a few months, their bodies resemble a more gooey texture, like a smashed pop tart or cafeteria pudding. But then there are those who have been Vampyre for a REALLY long time, ones who have been like that for two years or more. Those ones will turn to dust. Like Colin. When I finally catch him, he’ll look like the powder on the bottom of a bag of Cherios.
I’ve walked around this mall twice and no one else is stirring. Then I notice a blood trail on the floor and hear sucking noises. Something has dragged one of the bodies into the shadows and is feeding. My heart speeds up a notch in fear-could it be Colin? But then a pang of disappointment hits me as I realize he wouldn’t do something this stupid. Like me, Colin’s gotten smarter over the years. And more experienced.
By nature, Vampyres prefer the sweet tang of normal, human, Homo Sapien blood. But considering that’s harder to come by now, Homo Vampyrus works just as well. It’s like the difference between a fresh loaf of bread that just came out of the oven versus something that’s been pushed to the back shelf for a few months. Fresh is best, but if you’re starving, who cares that there’s a little mold growing on the crust?
The sucking noises are coming from a darkened shop, something that used to be an old Kids Gap. Man, I miss those days. Every year, a week before school started, I’d drag my Dad in there and leave him standing uncomfortably by the neon couches with pop music blaring from the speakers and pick out some new outfits for school. Afterwards we’d go to the batting cages and work on my swing. Dad would buy us hot dogs from the street vender and we’d stay there until the manager yelled at us that it was closing time.
In those days all I had to worry about was making the softball varsity team in the spring, or passing a math test, or getting a date to the fall dance. Now here I am, wide awake on a Saturday morning, busting my butt to stay alive and wishing I could just sit on the couch and watch cartoons.
The sucking noises continue and I creep closer, picking up a mannequin’s arm that is lying on the floor as I go. Now here comes the tricky part, because if this goes wrong, I’m hamburger meat. Pricking my finger, I rub a thin line of blood along the plastic arm and wave it around like a piece of steak. I can hardly smell the coppery aroma but I know the Vampyre can, because the sucking stops. Remember that bread simile I used a while back? That brief prick of my finger -to the sucker in the corner- is like opening the door of bakery to a starving person. Except in that case, a beggar wouldn’t go charging for my jugular vein. Well, maybe, if my neck was made of fresh bread.
A guttural growl can be heard from the corner and I adjust my grip on the arm. Whoever it is, is too hungry to be sneaky, which is good for me, because I can hear it. On the other hand, if I mess this up, I’m dinner. Some of the clothes racks are thrown out of the way as a dark shape hurtles towards me, fangs bared in a snarl. I swing the arm, timing it perfectly so I hit it in the throat and tip it over onto its back. I drive the stake into the male Vampyre’s chest before it has time to react, and the body dissolves into a pile of stinking ooze.
I step back with a grimace. I’ve done this many times now and it’s still disgusting. Poor sucker. He was probably some normal guy who had a family and dog before he was bitten. Now he looked like a large pile of frozen chocolate custard on a hot day.
I twirl the mannequin arm like a baton and nod in approval before tossing it aside. Dad would’ve been proud. I had hit my target with a strong swing that continued into a good follow through. If the Vampyre’s head had been a baseball, it would’ve been in the outfield, or over the fence. I chuckled quietly. Vamp head ball. That would be an interesting sport.
The mall was quiet now. I stop in a patch of sunlight, listening for other noises. The light would keep me from seeing them, but if anyone tried getting close without me knowing, their flesh would fry like bacon in a fat fryer. So I’m relatively safe. In theory.
I know the moment I think that I should probably knock on wood or something but I freeze in motion as I hear the sound of slow clapping echo through the emptiness. Crap, too late.
I yank my sunglasses out of my pocket and fumble, as I put them on. I know who it is, but unlike a stupid grunt, I actually need to see this bastard.
“Glasses look good on you Sexy” says a familiar voice.
Even with the sunglasses on I can barely make out the shadowy figure standing out of the sunlight.
“Wish I could say the same thing about you, Colin. Maybe you should try and get some sun.”
“That’s funny. How long have you been waiting to use that remark?”
“Oh, I couple weeks.” I reply. “I’m sentimental that way.”
“Not sentimental enough to stop killing my children.”
“Well, what can I say, if something bites me, I bite back. Or stake them, actually. I’m very particular about what goes in my mouth.”
He steps forward with a hiss and I steel myself to hold my ground. His hood is pulled low, protecting his face from incineration; his gloved hands tighten and loosen in fists at his side.
“I like the gloves Colin. You borrow those from Gucci?”
“The owner is a friend of mine. Makes it easier to go outside.”
“Gotta love Vampyre discounts I suppose.”
“You should try it some time. Join us.”
I laughed coldly.
“You should know my answer by now.”
Colin nods, and I catch a glimpse of ice blue eyes under the hood. Fangs show in a hungry smile.
“Well, I tried.”
He claps twice and I hear the sound of multiple footfalls landing around me.
“I believe you know the drill by now?”
I try to keep my voice casual even though my hair is standing on end. Carefully I let my hand stray into my jacket pocket, feeling for the circular object among the other items.
“Yeah, yeah. We banter, I insult you, you send in your babies to do the dirty work while you escape, I stake them, then I try and find you again.”
“It would save us both a lot of time if you would just submit.”
In answer I flip open the circular mirror compact, catching him full in the face. He hisses in anger as the reflected sunlight burns a good-sized hole in his cheek. I smile. The sucky thing is, given time, his wound will heal, courtesy of the virus. But it still pisses him off.
“Almost hit your eye that time. Would you like me to try again?” I taunt.
He starts to make a run at me and I hold the stake up, ready. He stops, eyeing me warily.
“Go on,” I say. “You might actually get me. Or I might stab you. Sure would save us both the effort.”
“Not this time.” He says, and backs off, gloved hand covering his scorched face.
“Finish her off.” He orders his minions. “No mistakes this time.”
“What, no good-byes?” I yell after him. I can see the hordes circling closer and I try to stall for more time. “Don’t forget to call me! We’ll have dinner some night and catch up!”
He looks back at me coldly.
“You’re wasting your time stalling. Your luck has finally run out.”
“Whatever you say, sweetheart. What is it? 200th time is the charm?”
Colin snarls in reply and points to me with a gloved hand. Vampyres surge past him, licking fangs eagerly. The fight to the death had begun. Again.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Racond13 said...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm
I think that submitting it a chapter at a time would keep up a nice amount of suspense. I liked how you fully fleshed out the main characters personality in the first chapter.
Cantrella replied...
Apr. 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm
Thank you so much! I really appreciate it! The second chapter should be coming out friday!
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