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Author's note: The Vampire Diaries became an inspiration for this piece.
The night creatures are and always will be natures most deadly. Their sharp and penetrable fangs are a memory left within your mind for decades on end and they carry a plague of death; holding a disease known to haunt you for eternity, for the disease itself is eternity. One bite, that is all, and your immortal self will be left behind; a ghost of the self you were before. You will thirst, for a red liquid known as blood, and no matter how hard you fight, the thirst will creep up on you until the end of time. The curse of the Vampyre is itself a hell on Earth.
They came today. I was not sure how they managed to get by my guard, but they did. Intentionally, perhaps not, but they brought with them the atmosphere that normally followed a hurricane.
Despair. It was felt across town by everyone. A pack of, what I might have called, the “undead” walked with the stature of high class citizens. Aristocrats, I called them. They caused a riot of preposterous size. Well, to be frank, the riot was a group of neck breathing, self captivated and self obsessed teenage girls who only wanted to be bitten by a sexy and mysterious vampire.
They were marked for death from the moment they started to stick their necks out to them.
But were they frightened? Not on the surface, but underneath, you could sense the terror these girls held between them; and I was worried about the price that they were paying for the pleasure of it all.
Out there, somewhere was that man; he was what many called the saviour, the god among all gods. An original; he was the first ever vampire. Not created by any being; just the first and the most powerful of them all. No one really knew how or why he was created, just that his purpose was to be there; to travel the length of the world as a guardian for all his night children.
Katarina placed the diary down onto the table; page opened at the previous year and took a step forward, reaching out towards the window sill. Heftily, she took a glance at the setting sun, opening the window. The time was coming. As soon as darkness fell, she would venture out into the darkened and almost twilight night. The things that awaited her were blocked from her mind. All she knew was that he’d be waiting, ready to strike her weak body at any given time. And then she panicked. Stress brought the newly awaited fangs out; and with no haste, she was crying out in pain. The pain of hunger, of terror and of the gut wrenching abnormality that she held in her womb. She promised herself she would not dare drink the life-force of another human being until she was a) at the point of death or b) giving birth to the creature inside her. Pain-stricken, she turned towards the bed. Bloodstains still haunted the sheets and the stench of death lingered in the air. There was no escape from her fate. She would die where she was sown with the seed of evil. He would laugh as she died; as her blood trickled from her mouth and movement ceased. He would poke her, to check for life; and if she still groaned, he would erase the life from her. All he wanted was the beast within her.
Katarina’s tears began to well up behind her gorgeous green eyes. Cries of sorrow and unmentionable horror swept through the room. Maria, the old hag who was to take care of Katarina burst through the door at the sound of the young girl’s tears. There were tormenting yells and the piercing screams of a girl in extreme pain. Maria opened her mouth and groaned in pleasure at the sight of Katarina’s blood; which was running smoothly down her neck. Within one tense moment, Maria bent her head back in one swift movement and then flung her head forward to bite down as hard as possible on the neck of the girl. As Katarina shrieked, the flock of birds sitting on the tree outside raced into the sky with the force of a Boeing aeroplane. And the beautiful girl sat heaving in the corner of the room; a stream of red liquid running neatly down her pale neck.
She could hear his voice as she woke from her painful dream. He spoke to the hag as if she was his only and this enraged the animal within Katarina. She tried her hardest to stand up from the grim corner, but all she managed to do was fall onto her side, which caused her to cry out loudly. She spat the remainder of red blood from her swollen mouth and listened again to the conversation down stairs. It seemed as though he was taunting her with the time she still had left to live. She wanted the pain to end now; she did not want more of the aches and the hallucinations and the damage to her body. She did not want the headaches to continue and the thirst for blood to linger on the edge of her mouth every time a neck was exposed.
She was already dead and on the verge of changing; of becoming the beast she despised. What she needed was just a drop of both vampire and human blood to begin her new life in this world of the undead. A few little drops and her body would become a rock; white, hard and forever belonging to the night. She did not want that to happen. No, she wanted the beast removed from her abdomen. She wanted it gone and as far away as possible from her. It was the beast that turned her into this monster, this being that lived off of her own blood. It ate away at her, until nothing was left.
Katarina murmured to the abnormality, “Just a while longer and you’ll be out and I will kill you myself”, but even though the words were spoken, some part of her wanted to show it what she really meant. To kill it, would be like killing a part of herself, she needn’t be hasty with this decision; let it come out and then we’ll deal with it, she thought.
There came a knock at the door and in the arch stood the one; chivalrous and glad to be there. Just as handsome as the first day they met. It was a distant memory; a sort of caged animal that wasn’t allowed to be released. Hatred spread across Katarina’s face as he stepped forward and smiled willingly to her.
“Go away,” she wanted to mumble, but nothing seemed to escape her lips. All that came out were some muffled groans and a stab of pain. He had leapt at her with all his force and sunk his large, white fangs into her pallid neck. As much as this pleasured him, he stopped and remembered that his child was inside this pathetic excuse for a woman. She was, after all, the mother of his child, even if she were a weak human.
She reminded him of his mother; tough, frightened and gorgeous. Nothing could change this memory. But the insignificant little monster had bitten him. Katarina had put all her force into the bite, pressured herself to cause some pain to this rapist, this power-hungry prince of darkness. He laughed it off, but she could see his pain as he turned around and winced. He was weak; weakened by the lack of sustenance inside him. He needed a decent meal. And Katarina seemed to be the only one in sight.
Anything could have happened. He could have taken her life away at that instant, but instead he kept a hold on his hunger and didn’t allow it to escape.
“Katarina,” he finally spoke, bearing a heavy English accent, after considering what was to be said in that circumstance. “You cannot bite yet, you are premature!”
She stared at him, with weary eyes.
“Do you not remember me?”
“Not that well,” she mumbled, trembling from the tension.
“Do you not remember that night? Your walk, the house, your death,” he hissed the last word. Strangely, Katarina shook her head. “Well, well, well, don’t we have a quandary in our hands then?”
“I can’t remember your name,”
Katarina shook her head once more.
“Amnesia,” muttered Maria; the first time she had ever spoken. He looked at her, marvelling at her doctorate. “Well, at least I think. The frequent beatings, blood loss and blackouts seemed to have sped it up; it was bound to happen anyway.”
“Hmmm,” he paced around Katarina, who sat watching him with a tad of confusion. “It seems that that is the truth. Better to have no memories at all than the memories to which she’ll end up having in the long run.”
“You haven’t answered my question,”
He turned his head to see the innocence of Katarina’s words. “Why, Katarina, what is the significance of a name? I have frequently called you Woman, and you have not disagreed. So why reveal my name, if it is not of the slightest import?”
“I want a simple answer.”
“AND I WANT YOU TO SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” He yelled, slapping her face with the back of his hand. Her head rebounded and sent blood flying onto the nearby wall. He stood panting, fangs retracted and the essence of her abuse shaking his body. Katarina was left wailing and Maria had hunger pasted onto her face. “Why won’t you ever stop talking back?”
She opened her bloody mouth, like a fish, but closed it knowing that if she spoke, a far worse beating was in his plans.
He lowered his face to her level and breathed in deeply. The smell of her essence was intoxicating, and the taste would be astounding; but he knew that it was out of reach, at least until the child of darkness was born.
“It is Christopher.”
Katarina looked up at the dark figure. “Sorry?”
“You wanted my name. It is Christopher; Christ-o-pher,” he spelled out the words slowly for her.
“You got a last name, Christ-o-pher?”
“Don’t get arrogant with me, Woman,”
“The irony of the situation, Chris, is that you actually want to be called by your name, but you refuse to call me by mine.”
“Who’s the loquacious one today?”
“At least I am not the one that passed their use-by date; I’m guessing by the name, accent, middle age lingo and clothes yours must have been around two hundred years ago,”
“And yours will be soon,” he growled, enraged by her. She winced as his growl echoed across the room. “Once again you, Katarina, as much as it pains me to say your name, have failed to be silent.”
He put his wrist to his lips and bit into the skin. Blood began to flow down his arm. He grabbed Katarina’s head, tilting her mouth to his bleeding wrist and shoved her face into it. She struggled under the pressure of his grip but after ingesting what seemed to be a gallon of blood he let her go.
She screamed. No, she thought, it was soon to happen. She shook her head from the bloating of extra blood pulsing through her. If she died now, again, it would all be over. She would need that human sustenance more than ever, for ever.
Katarina, who had now moved aside, passed by the kitchen counter and picked up a knife. Holding her dirty dress in one hand and the sharp, serrated knife in the other, she made a lunge for Christopher, who as swiftly as though he were wind, moved aside and allowed her to fall onto the ground. Unintentionally, and without the slightest hesitation, she had fallen onto the knife. Katarina let out a low breath, a single piercing note, almost like a scream, and a cough of blood. As her blood oozed alongside her figure, lying sad and crestfallen on the white ash floor, Christopher’s face had turned into a pallid slate full of evil and inhuman thoughts. His hag, Maria, stood beside him, watching the dying female as though she were a freshly cooked steak. Turning around, Maria was jumping for joy because of the death of Katarina, whilst Christopher wasn’t too pleased with the result of his accusations.
Sneakily, and almost as silently as Christopher himself, Katarina hid behind the counter. Shit, she had ripped her locket off when she ‘rose’ from the dead. Katarina was angry; at herself, for falling upon the knife and killing herself, but also because Christopher, as the father of her child could not care less about her death. Although he was scum, and she knew that without fault, he was the paternal side of the little bestial half breed within her. And that made her even angrier.
Christopher sensed something was off when he turned around to check upon the dead bearer of his child, and not only did he find an empty floor but an empty room too. He could feel the prickle of Goosebumps on the back of his neck and he took one, sharp intake of breath to find an eerie silence echoing across the room. Maria, who had not noticed the dead silence and her still Master, turned around to see what the hold-up was. When she discovered Christopher weeping on his hands and knees, holding the little locket and chain that was left upon the floor, she cringed in mere disappointment. The evil and petulant side of Christopher was now hidden deep within his soul, and as vulnerable as he looked just sitting there and crying, Maria knew that she would no longer serve a Master who could not act vampire anymore.
He could sense her, not entirely, but enough to mumble tearfully, “If that is what you want, I will not stop you. But remember: I will hunt you until you are dead and no-matter how hard you try to blend in and hide, I will search for a thousand years if I have to. All that I ask is that you help me find her; help me, resolve this tumult,”
Maria smiled, cruelly and to herself only. “Master Christopher, as you well know, I can’t just help you find that scum. She wants to stay hidden, so be it; finding her won’t help you. She’ll continue to run.”
He smirked. “Are you just afraid to be seen with me, is that why you won’t help?”
“Is that a yes?” He asked, concerned.
“Then I hope you burn in whatever hell you encounter in the near future.” His rage could not hold back. Maria’s ghostly memory was left behind. He could smell the air around the room and knew at once that she was gone. He would find her alive, and kill her, or laugh at her dead figure otherwise. She was marked for death.
He was angry at this hag, angry at himself and most of all angry at Katarina. Katarina; his first love, his hidden love and his slave girl – was he losing his mind? How could he, master and prince of darkness, be ever-so infatuated with a mortal female. It had been years, decades; no, millennia, since he had loved another so much. His vampirism was wearing out, was it the mark of a failing vampire, surely not?
And whether Katarina knew the love he held for her, or not, he was sure forgiveness would be promising. And then, within his mind he pictured her; her pale figure, the dark shadows beneath her eyes and the enticing allure of her womanhood. But she was dead, or at least, that part of her was. She was now a child of the dark; like her own beastly half-breed offspring. Amazingly, though, Katarina would be the ideal weapon; the perfect weapon, for his master plan. She was, to be frank, a newborn; a powerful, newly created vampire. She would be hungry, thirsty and she would be seeking revenge. She would be perfect.
What a shame that the dress was ruined.
Katarina stood in the middle of a clearing, bloodstained and anxious; holding her dress tightly in her fists. What would the beast be now, seeing as she was no longer mortal? Would it die; she hoped too much for that, or would it be a half-breed, a child both mortal and immortal. Perhaps, it would be normal, but that was out of the question. More or less, Katarina knew what was to come soon, and it was painful just thinking about it. What was the lonely, dark night going to do about it all, surely not aid her in the process of childbirth? No, she needed a guardian, someone or something to tend to her as she pushed that thing out of her new body.
And then she felt it, the spur of the moment; that aching and heart pounding feeling. Was this how it felt to be, as much as she hated to think it, a thirsty vampire? It was a throat-burning sensation that would not allow her to forget about the aching hunger.
In the distance, somewhere was Maria. She was there, to take care of business, as usual. The business of an execution, one might say. The newborn; she would cause an uprising, a deadly battle for her blood, and Maria would not stand to allow it to take place. No, she would kill the thing before it took her life and her Master’s life.
My master, he won’t be pleased, she thought. No, he’d be out for her blood too, but better to remove the threat towards the population than to let it get out of hand. As much as human life meant nothing to her, she would need it to quench her undying hunger. No, the death of Katarina Ulger would be quick.
Katarina drew in one, deep breath. She could taste the unusualness of it all on her new tongue. The pure odour of the trees was there and she was not sure how, but all she knew was that this fresh body was different, and as much as Katarina hated being the creature of darkness, it came in handy at times.
Something was caught in the intake of breath as well, something different and evil.
She was jumped by a pale figure with long, wavy brown hair. The face was filled with evil and malice; was this Katarina’s prowler? The woman sunk her fangs into her neck, and with one large draw of breath, began to suck. Katarina tried to throw the woman off her back, and from the outside this would’ve looked like a ridiculous dance.
The pain was unbearable; the force of the jump, the weight of the immortal body on her back and the sharpness of those fangs began to weaken Katarina. She could not hold this any longer.
And all of a sudden, the weight was gone; vanished with the wind. Katarina, who had fallen to her knees, now dirty and bruised, stood up. She sensed the presence, still there; still watching her.
She turned towards the soul. The woman smiled, presenting those sharp fangs and widened her large, brown eyes.
“Katarina Ulger, I have heard some remarkable tales about you,” The figure began to pace and she held a locket, Katarina’s locket, within her hands. “…how you got yourself knocked-up by an original; smart, that’s gonna leave a mark. How you inadvertently set his heart on fire. But what really got me, Miss Ulger, was the fact that I was sent here to do his dirty work; to bring you back into his safe arms with forgiveness.”
“Tell him to get lost,” Katarina spat. She shook her tousled blonde hair. “He did this to me, and now all of a sudden he wants forgiveness?”
“That is what he said.”
“And who the hell are you, anyway? I thought he would have sent Maria to do his dirty work!”
“Hmmm, you are an undeveloped vampire, aren’t you?” The woman chuckled.
“You’re avoiding the question…-”
“Santana Fernandez. Just ‘Santana’ will do, though!”
“Mexican?” Katarina asked
“Hmmm, no, but close.”
“So what does he want done? Does he want me dead, or alive?”
“He just said ‘I want her here. I need her. I need our child’. He wasn’t really specific on how to have you there. I mean I could just rip that monster right out of your womb and have you laying her, bleeding to death and hungry, couldn’t I?” She smiled; hungrily with menace.
“I could just heal couldn’t I? - ”
“You’re in the process…, well, more like in transition. You aren’t a vampire yet. As soon as you consume human blood, you’re as good as immortal. But, until then, I have you to toy with until Christopher gets anxious. Your blood, by the way, is to dieeee for!”
Katarina stood motionless, scared for her life. The little trickle of blood left over from the fight continued to run down her neck. She noticed the hungry look directed to her neck and wiped the remnants away before Santana disposed of her; for good.
Santana gripped her arms tightly. The strength of the vampire holding her was remarkable. If only Katarina could possess such strength, she could easily kill or maim Christopher.
The dusk approached, and Katarina stood no chance of escape. The forest in which they stood was filled with life: whether it was green or blue, it was there and it made everything seem even more frightening.
Santana looked on the verge of attacking her, no matter how much she struggled; Katarina would not be able to escape the clutches of evil.
And then it happened: blood was trickling down her legs, onto her bare feet and down, onto the earth below her. The pain started to caress her abdomen, and reach its way up her spine. She knew what the pain was; it was coming. The next contraction sent shivers up her arms and possessed her hips. She lurched forward, in the attempt to hold off the pain, but her attempt failed and she was immediately hauled back to her feet by the hungry vampire.
“What’s wrong?” Santana snarled.
“The baby…” Katarina cried, lurching forward once again.
“Oh crap,” Santana muttered; looking down at Katarina’s bloody feet. “We better get you to Christopher before…” She was interrupted by a low growl. “…you die.”
In the clearing beside Santana stood a snarling wolf; large amounts of saliva escaping its mouth. A flock of heavy white birds left their trees to escape into the darkening twilight as the beast reared back onto its hind legs and howled at the sky. Santana was gone the instant the wolf began to howl, and Katarina was left to fend for herself.
The pain was too much for her; she didn’t care about the wolf or the impending darkness. All she cared about was herself, and this beast slowly pushing its way through her. She cried out to the wolf as she fell to the ground, “help,” but all it did was growl and snarl at her. She was left alone; and she would die alone.
She lay on her back, legs propped up against the trunk of a tree. The last contraction brought about a new wave of pain. The wolf decided to lay its large body on the damp ground and then its head beside Katarina; which stunned her. Sweat covered her face; droplets that cooled her skin as she shrieked into the empty clearing. She placed both hands onto her thighs, noticed that they were covered in blood, and removed them quickly. Blood was everywhere; on her hands, legs, her clothes and on the damp leaves lying underneath her. It was a lure for all night creatures; vampires and werewolves alike.
The wolf’s ears pricked up, as he heard something rustle in the nearby bush. His snarl was loud, and Katarina, laying there still crying from the pain, was alerted with danger. But she also realised something: the wolf was her protector, that’s what he must’ve been there for, she thought. Another ripple of pain spread across her hips, up her abdomen and into her chest.
She howled in pain, the wolf howled in protection and the bush rustled more violently. A cold wind blew in from somewhere close by and the large grey wolf lunged at the figure that emerged.
The wolf’s cries mixed with the cries of his victim were heard as far away as the nearby town. The wolf, injured and heaving, continued to attack the prowler. She was cursing, screaming and even biting at times, but all she wanted was the bleeding woman lying on the ground. She tried, on many occasions during her fight with the wolf, to get past and kill; kill that girl, murder her, watch her bleed. It was the evil that no-one would ever encounter; for it was the evil of jealousy, of anger, of the will to destroy someone who had gotten in the way of everything.
The fight lasted at least a hefty fifteen minutes.
Maria yelled in frustration at the wolf. He would not stop attacking, and she feared too much for her life to try to go around him. She was sure that he was a creature of the dark; she could hear the thoughts running through his head, human thoughts. A werewolf, she thought, just the type of enemy I don’t want vengeance from.
She fumbled, her first fault of the struggle, and the wolf’s muzzle caught around her neck just in time for him to snap it in half. What Maria wanted, and she wanted it badly, had cost her, her life.
The bloody mess of Maria’s body lay underneath the largest tree. The wolf, proud and absolute, sauntered over to Katarina, who lay still and exhausted. The little bundle, almost certainly made from Katarina’s clothes, lay in her arms. The wolf sat next to her body, snarling from the fight, and yet managed to whimper. He was injured. His hind legs showed visible bite marks, and his large heaving body revealed many grazes.
He had won, but furthermore he was defeated.
Katarina smiled reassuringly at the large wolf. He gave her, what seemed almost like a grimace, and opened his mouth, allowing saliva to drool from it. She showed him the little baby, giving a little chuckle when he moved away, obviously frightened of the creature in her hands.
“Don’t worry,” she muttered to the wolf. “He won’t hurt you.”
The wolf continued to stare in wonder at Katarina.
“You saved my life,” her eyes wandered with his, trailing the mass which still lay underneath the oak tree. “Why? I wonder.”
He got up, pushing his weight onto his other, unscathed legs and made for the bushes.
“Thank you,” Katarina called after him.
He was gone.
She sighed, pressing her fingers to her ears to stop from hearing the noises of the forest. She would die if she did not feed. It would all end.
Perhaps I should feed, she thought, but not tonight!
Christopher sat at the table. He kept thinking about her; was she dead, injured? Could the progeny be dead, too? No, that wasn’t possible, he sent Santana to keep her safe.
A low knock echoed around the room. He moved to the door, almost like a ghost, and wrenched it open. Santana stood in the doorway, dirt and a pained expression covering her face. He let her in, looking after her for his child and the woman, Katarina. No-one followed her in, and he looked confused.
“Katarina; where is she?”
“WHERE IS SHE?” He spat and Santana winced.
“It was all quick. A wolf came out of no-where and I scrammed; I’m not gonna be the victim of a wolf attack…”
He slapped her, and the sound reverberated off of the walls; an echo in the silence. “How…dare you? You just left her alone, in the forest with a wolf?”
“A werewolf…” she corrected, wincing again when he gave her a second blow.
He growled, almost a snarl, and then asked, “Where did you leave her?”
A short pause and “I’ll take you…” she smiled, apologetically.
Katarina was tired, exhausted from the travel. The town was small, but big enough to hide her from the original that would most definitely be searching for her.
The wolf never returned. It left, without a trace, and she had travelled kilometre after kilometre to reach the small town.
The smell of her blood had attracted a vampire and a wolf, what else could she attract? Until she was a vampire, she would be hunted by every night creature out there in the world, and it would be too hard a task to stay out of the line of sight.
The child stirred within his little wrap of clothes. Not once had he cried since he had come into the world; quiet and starry eyed was all he could manage.
And he was gorgeous.
The little child had green eyes, the shade of healthy grass. His hair was light brown, and barely visible on his little head. He looked nothing like the vampire. He looked so much like Katarina, however.
Santana stepped into the clearing, followed by Christopher. She moved like a ghost towards the bloody mass underneath the oak tree. Then her eyes trailed towards the large circle of blood up against the other tree, just on the other side of the clearing. Christopher examined the third bloodstain; the wolf’s. He grimaced.
“It was a werewolf. You were right, Santana.”
“Was he the one who killed her?” She pointed toward Maria’s broken body.
“Yes, so it seems; but why?”
She had no answer to his question. And then it hit her.
“Maybe he served as a protector for Katarina…”
“You might be onto something,” he agreed.
“So she is alive, then?”
He didn’t reply.
Katarina lay on the floor, heaving. She couldn’t, it was too hard.
The stench of blood flowing through the town’s veins was too much to bear. Katarina’s urges were getting out of control, she needed to feed to complete the transition, and without it she would die; either by monster, or by blood loss.
The child started to weep.
It was the first time that the little green-eyed creature had let out a single tear, and Katarina was worried about him.
“Shh bubba, it’s ok,” she cooed, and then wondered, “Perhaps you’re hungry, like I am?”
The baby continued to weep. Its tears were like diamonds that had shattered into tiny little shards when they hit the ground. That’s when Katarina noticed the difference in her child; he had little fangs sticking out from his little mouth, which were like razors, and they were itching for some blood.
Katarina looked both appalled and disgusted. She had known that the child wouldn’t be normal; had hoped for some normality within the child, but it seemed that the child was indeed a hybrid, just as she had dreaded.
That’s when she heard the howl. It filled the room with noise, drowning her little monster out. Katarina’s first thoughts were simple: it was her wolf, the one that had saved her, communicating to her. But as the howl continued to echo, she knew that it wasn’t her wolf saying hello, no, it was warning her; something was coming, and that something was coming for the beast that continued to cry; both starving and abandoned in the clamour.
Katarina’s instincts were quick. She pulled the screaming child from the bed, grabbed anything loose that was lying in arms reach and leapt out the back door, into the forest behind the motel.
The motel room burst into flames the moment Katarina entered the freezing night forest. A figure; tall, dark and loathsome stepped through the burning rubble to sense the air around him. He yelled in anger, hatred spreading from one side of his face to the other and turned for the forest, eagerly letting his anger burn inside him as he disappeared into the undergrowth.
The wolf emerged from the darkness. Its long legs and body made him look somewhat like a monster. He was, to be precise, not a monster, but in fact a guardian. As much as he hated tailing the woman beast and her little bestial child around, he knew that it was for the good of the night creatures.
But not all wanted her alive.
No, there were many immortals that wanted that ‘thing’ that she gave birth to for themselves; to aid in their attempts to bring down the humans. The little hybrid was not natural, it was more powerful than any of them put together, and it contained something that every vampire wanted: a soul.
Katarina, puffed and legs throbbing, sank to her knees on the cold and sodden earth. The rain, passing by ever so quickly, had covered her trail; for now. The screaming child that once was, had now fallen asleep; the bouncing escape from the burning motel must have lulled it into slumber. Its breath was calm, steady and unnaturally warm. Everything in the forest began to blur as Katarina breathed deeper and deeper.
And then, without hesitation, a trio of adult humans waltzed past the spot where Katarina sat heaving. They weren’t aware that she was there, and stopped for a quick breather.
“Anyone got some water?” One of them asked.
“Check the front pocket,” the other replied, pulling off his pack and throwing it to the first person.
“And while you’re there, make sure to pull out some of them muesli bars; I’m starving.” The third muttered.
So was Katarina.
The lure of their essence burned through her nose with each intake of breath and she could not contain her hunger, or the animal within, for much longer.
One of the humans wandered away from the others, and Katarina found it the perfect opportunity to jump him. He began to wash his face when her body leapt onto his back, and eagerly she sunk the unquenchable fangs into his jugular with huge force.
He gasped, almost tumbling forwards into the stream in front of him, and then screamed; choking as his deep red blood flowed into her mouth. She could feel it gradually strengthening her; running through her arms, legs, into her abdomen and she could feel it end in her toes.
The strength was immense. Katarina could feel everything, see everything and sense everything; it was a kaleidoscope of senses opening up.
And then she let go of the feeble human that gave his life to her. She looked at him; so weak, so innocent, and felt a wave of shame. She was now officially a monster; the beast that, for months, she wanted nothing to do with. Behind her, she could hear the bestial hybrid waking from his sleep. She ambled towards him, picked him up and just as he started to fully come into consciousness. She brought him over to the dead human lying on the earth.
The baby stared in awe at his mother, and at the food source on the ground. He reached out his arms to the bleeding mass on the ground and with one feeble attempt at a jump, managed to land himself on the dead man.
It was different, for Katarina that is, to see a baby, newborn, leap at this murdered man and start to feed. To be frank, it was horrifying; unnatural. For a split second, she wanted to kill her child; to maim it and remove it from this world.
This world did not need more horror; it was already full of it.
The wolf could smell her. She was incredibly close. His nose grazed the soft dirt under his own feet and he licked at nearby plants. Her scent clung to every object and plant around him, no wonder it was so easy to track her; she held the scent of a newborn which could be easily identifiable through simple sways of the breeze, or the passing by of animals.
The wolf raised his muzzle as he discovered the dead humans lying on the wind strewn leaves. His surprise was suppressed as he noticed the way these people were killed and he knew immediately that she had been here; no mature vampire would be clumsy enough to leave behind a distinct odour. Perhaps she wasn’t here, but she had left her scent and the wolf growled as he noticed the innocent mistake he had made. As guardian, he wasn’t doing a top notch job of protecting the child, nor was he doing a top notch job of protecting its mother. And that’s when he caught the new trail; it was not too far away, as it seemed. His legs flung the dirt up in the air as he bolted after the vanishing scent.
The town was bustling with noise.
It was different being somewhere where pulses and heartbeats sounded formidable, formidable because they brought out the worst in Katarina; the beast that could care less about the human race would begin to take over.
Each breath caused her canines to retract, brushing against her upper lip or without full knowledge of it Katarina would accidentally bite down on her lower lip, causing it to bleed uncontrollably. It would take quite a large amount of her vampire saliva and patience for it to heal properly, and without a proper feed, Katarina’s powers would become less successful. It could result in the quick degeneration of her body, or worse; it could kill her. She needed the sustenance and she needed it very often.
The child stirred. She’d placed it in the pram to keep it safe. As far as she knew, the baby was only a hybrid; capable of anything and everything. She needed it restrained, especially near these ‘humans’.
And she meant it as though she was never one, and thought nothing of it. But it seemed so different not being one; to call them the ‘other’ being. At times, Katarina forgot that once upon a time she had been this fragile and overly-emotional mortal.
It seemed almost a world away.
The bustle of the street became a putrid noise within Katarina’s ears, and she popped into one of the side street shops for some silence.
It was eerie, in so many ways, the shop that is. As well as being uninhabited and dark, it also smelled of damp wood. It seemed the perfect place for Katarina to hide away in; it was away from all the commotion of the living, and away from prying, night creature’ eyes. Katarina inhaled the strange new fragrance and let her senses extend past her own body. As a human, a place like this would have only smelled of dampness and rust, but it was so much more different to her as a vampire. She could sense the dried lavender in the corner, lying on the side table and she could also hear the rats chewing away underneath the floorboards.
Katarina pushed the stroller over to the counter, glancing at the items sitting on the edge. There were pencils, little music toys and old, abandoned gramophones that were strewn along the wall behind the counter, and each held an eerie history to it. This shop must have been closed for years, thought Katarina; why else would all these old items be lying around?
Katarina turned towards the large window that showed the street and all the inhabitants. The rain had just begun to fall, and many people ran for cover or pulled out umbrellas from their fur coats.
Winter was coming; slowly, but effectively. The little snowflakes would be the last to hit the ground during the season, but they would be the ones that affected the town the most.
It sounded horrific, putting it that way.
A cold wind blew inside the shop, whether it had been a crack in the floor or wall, or the opening of a back door; it blew straight into Katarina’s face, and her immediate reaction was to turn towards the source.
A flutter of a cloak and she wheeled around again.
Someone was there. Someone wanted Katarina, and they were stopping themselves from being discovered all too well. She hissed, her white fangs retracting and grazing against her lower lip. The bloodlust was immense. She wanted this prowler, and she wanted them dead.
And then the wind had gone. Katarina was both alarmed and worried at the haste of what just happened. She had to check on the beast in the stroller, and she had to do it immediately.
But the stroller had been moved; away from the counter and into the little alley on the side of the store, where all the children’s toys were stored. She let out her breath, and moved towards the stroller with no sense of worry. Until she discovered that the stroller wasn’t occupied by her child of the dark.
No, the stroller was empty!
The fear of the chase; fear for the night creature, and fear for himself.
The wolf’s breath was running out, and the thief would escape. Well, not this time. This time, he would chase this bandit until his legs bled, or until he himself died from the pain.
But this man was quick, and his cloak caused quite a distraction when he took it off and flung it at the wolf’s face. The wolf, now shaking off the cloak and backing up for some speed, took off again; and this time he had determination written all over. As he edged closer to the bandit, he noticed that it wasn’t a man; no, it was a woman. It was a female bandit? That was extremely uncommon.
She turned her face, just slightly, to allow the wolf to glimpse her fangs and the mask of hatred that was painted on her beautiful features. So, she was a vampire then, no surprise there. Well, if she wants me to leave her alone, she’s gonna have to outrun me first, he thought.
Katarina screamed in agony. The child was gone. How could she have let that happen, and under her nose, too?
The empty street was cold and dark as Katarina’s figure emerged from the abandoned shop. She was crying so deeply that the sobs shook her entire silhouette. Blood was gushing from her mouth; she had bitten into her gums and cheek this time.
But this time, to stop the flow, she would have to produce a gallon of saliva, and that wasn’t possible until she fed again. So be it, she thought.
Her priority right then and there was to search for the being that ran away with her child. But it seemed impossible to be able to find him or her; the thief that kidnapped her child of the dark. It was just too much of a task. Everyone wanted the child for their own, personal reasons, and although it was hers, no-one cared to ask for permission to ‘borrow’ the spawn.
For now, Katarina would need to think about her priorities. Number 1 was to find the child and number 2 was to feed to stop the flow of blood from her mouth. Seeing as number 1 was impossible at that given time, Katarina would have to go with feeding, but there was no-one in sight.
“Right then,” Katarina whispered to herself. “I’m going to have to hunt for my supper, then, aren’t I?”
As the sun disappeared completely from the horizon, she made her way to the nearest pub, where she peeped in through one of the dusty windows. The pub wasn’t too flash, nor was it occupied by many customers. In fact, the only people in there were the manager (or so it seemed) and a goofy looking drunk man who kept on asking the manager what the time was. He looked hilarious, but all the while quite feeble. He would be perfect, at least, for now. The manager decided she would have to sweep him out, and with the help of her broom, she was finally rid of his scum. When he was outside, he ambled over to the nearest bench, and Katarina, who had now stumbled her way over to him, had joined him sitting down. He turned his head toward her, and, with a look of amazement at her features, laughed.
“He…llo,” he mumbled, grinning with his starry eyes. He let out a deep belch and continued to stare at her beauty. “How’s you tonight?”
“Not too good,” she replied, fervently. “You see, I’m absolutely starving and I can’t seem to find anything to eat.”
“’S a shame, you know? I’m always findin’ it difficul’ to get a feed. ’specially seein’ as there ain’ no street-side buffets…” he let out a low chuckle and with another deep belch, passed out.
Katarina smiled. It was just too easy. And all this time, she had thought it just too damn hard to find something good to eat. Well, that was just a surprise waiting to happen.
“Must I say more, then, sir?” she chuckled at the passed out man. She licked her lips and her beautiful white fangs retracted once more. She then licked them with passion. It was going to be painful for him, but at least his senses were numbed with the amount of alcohol he had consumed.
As she began to lower her head toward him, she noticed the blue veins that ran down his neck. All of them, criss-crossing like they did, looked somewhat like small, leafless trees. She smiled as she closed her eyes and sunk the pearly whites into his warm blooded neck. He jolted, just slightly, but Katarina had a stronghold on him and she suppressed his jostling about. He calmed and as she sucked the essence from his body, she could see his skin go a pale blue, almost white colour.
Growls echoed among the huddled trees, from both the wolf and his prey.
The bandit snarled, piercing the night. “Get away, wolf.”
The wolf’s reaction, plain and simple, was a snarl in return. Clear to him was that the bandit wasn’t going to give in that easily, and the wolf stood his ground without surrender.
“Why won’t you leave me alone, you vermin?”
He snarled, nostrils flaring.
“And will you take your true form, or is that out of the question?” Annoyance rang in the bandits voiced.
The wolf shuffled both paws and then sat down, leaning all of his weight onto his back legs. He shot a cautious glance at the bandit; head tilted lightly to his right side, and let out a deep huff through his nose. Well, he thought, I might as well get this over with.
I can hear you, you know! She responded, mentally. He jumped up in anger and snarled in her face, sending his putrid smelling spit into her mouth. She spat, trying to get rid of the saliva and her retracted fangs confirmed the immediate anger pulsing through her. She kept a tight grip on the child within her grasp; not letting the baby be stolen away.
You want my true form; then here, I shall show you! The wolf muttered.
A deep growl rose in the wolf’s chest and spread across his entire body. The shifting of forms happened almost instantly following a blunt pop. His furry, beastly body ripped apart, like tearing cloth, and each limb began to change into a pale complexion rather than its original brown, hairy colour. A naked man, scruffy and covered in dirt from head to foot stood in the clearing soon after. He held a calm poker face about him, but could not avert his eyes away from the little bundle within the vampire’s grip.
The bandit began to laugh, softly turning into a chuckle.
“Marvellous,” she sniggered. “So you’re hideous as a wolf and as a man. Oh that is just comical. What do I call you, then? Wolf man?”
“Typical vampires, they’re always believing themselves to be the funniest in all the land…”
“You’re deflecting.” She muttered with an air of smugness.
“…and you’re being what all vampires behave like: bossy, arrogant, snivelling idiots who think that they are Gods. May I just say that your race is nothing compared to Gods; you’re outlaws, not royalty.”
“Are both our races not outlaws?”
“Perhaps, but yours more than mine; do you not remember the Battle of Pyronia?” The wolf-man asked, obviously annoyed as well as angry at the vampire bandit.
“Faintly,” she snarled. “Pyronia is out of the question, wolf.”
“But you know who lost, and you know who won, don’t you?”
“Pyronia is out of the question!” She repeated once more, lunging at the wolf-man.
The wolf-man, knowing full well that the bandit had completely forgotten about the child spawn, leapt at the vampire in earnest. Instead of sinking his sharpened teeth into her neck, he swiped at the child, but missed.
So close, he thought.
“Too close,” the vampire snarled in reply. “You’re not getting him…”
“Why is that?” Their dance had stopped, and now they stood in the clearing, staring at eachother. “What would you want with that thing?”
“He is important. His soul is untarnished, and with it I could retrieve mine.”
“How? The spawn is a hybrid; dangerous to both you and the human race. It would be of no use to you.” The wolf was confused.
“I have my own reasons, wolf, now stand aside and let me pass. I won’t harm you, if you do not wish to be harmed!”
“Screw you, I was appointed protector, and I’m here as guardian for the spawn that you intend to use as sacrifice. As much as it pains me to say, the thing has grown on me and I do not wish it harm.” Rage filled his silhouette, almost shifting him back into his wolf form.
“Nawww, too bad, he’s already marked for death. Christopher intends to turn him to dust! You are familiar with Christopher?”
“I met him once. He angered me with both his stupidity and arrogance. And what would he want with the little boy? I mean, doesn’t Christopher have it all; the sex, the women and the luxurious lifestyle? What more would he want?”
“Obviously, immortality; along with a soul…”
“And, for the record, tell Katarina that she should stop looking. The baby will be dead before she realises that he is. It would be a shame for her to be killed in the process, although, I’m sure Antonio is onto that now. So go, run along and save her. That is what you’re for, is it not?” The question echoed off of the nearby trees.
She bolted for the bushes, running into the darkness. He could not shift quickly enough even if he wanted, she would be as far as Canada by the time he could catch up. The fury and rage that was held within his chest erupted, sending his body tearing and the ground trembling. The animals of the night stirred, sending fawns and deer out from the cluster of bushes and into the clearing where the angry wolf exploded.
He was gone in an instant, the anger pulsating through his body and charging him up for what was coming.
Antonio was already on his way.
Katarina lounged on the gum-stained chair, observing each human as they walked past. The little train station held so many different scents within it; children’s sweet, pure scents, adolescent musk and the pure, deep and tempting smell of the older, adult humans. The expressions of deep hunger and restraint were easily identifiable on Katarina’s face, and she could not close her eyes without visualising the dark, red colour of blood. But she did shut her eyes. And in that brief period, she saw it: the wolf. His muzzle was drenched in blood, which flooded the entirety of her mind. Everywhere was blood; everywhere was the smell of blood, the rusty, satisfying nourishment was the only thing she could think about. And man, did it drive her crazy!
Something brushed past Katarina’s arm, and her eyes flew open.
The figure smiled down at her, holding out his hand for her to stand up. She rejected the gesture and cringed.
“Katarina Ulger?” He asked, watching the expression of both confusion and weariness spreading across her beautiful features.
“Well, then have I found the right person!” He stated.
“You …wait just a second, who the hell are you?” She stood up, unaware of the severity of the movement.
He didn’t answer.
“Alright, then how do you know me, and how did you know how to find me?”
He chuckled, “Alright, alright; one question at a time, please. We’ll start with ‘who the hell are you?’ That one is easy enough: the name is Antonio.”
“Antonio,” Katarina repeated, amazed at how easily and fluently that name flowed from her pursed lips. “Antonio who?”
“I prefer not to disclose. Now, how do I know you? Another undemanding question; I just do.”
“Not very honest now, are you?” She muttered, shifting her weight from one foot to another. She tensed when he gripped her arm tightly, his face inches from hers, and growled.
“I’m being as…honest as I can…” he stuttered over the word ‘honest’. “He told me not to share too much information with you.”
“Who is he?”
“Nobody of importance,” he turned his face to the side, hiding it from my view.
“Then why mention him at all if you know that I would ask?”
His face turned back, fangs retracted and black veins weaving their way down from the rims of his eyes to the edges of his cheekbones. He was malevolent; evil was spreading throughout his handsome body. Katarina reacted, pacing her steps and slowly retreating.
“It’s time to come with me…” he growled leaping for her body. Katarina dodged him and cried out as she landed on one of the chairs. The entire train station erupted in conversation and in alarm as they watched the struggle between what looked like two people. Little did they know that each of them were in the way and could be killed in a matter of seconds!
Then it was heard, the deep growl of an angry beast. Everyone yelled in horror; jolting to the sides or running for the exits. Antonio stopped, for a split second, to see what the commotion was about, and it was enough to give Katarina an advantage. She leapt at him, tearing at his neck with her hungry fangs. She screamed, in both rage and happiness over and over again. He tumbled forward. With the force of the fall, Antonio plummeted down the stairs onto one of the side passenger stations. He rolled until he fell past the yellow safety line and into an oncoming train. The impact shook the station; it was like a boulder clashing with another. His remains splattered onto waiting passengers and onto everything else; walls, magazine booths and food stalls. The new red colour scheme looked incredibly dramatic.