The Long Game

Siren Song of Blood

Mina and Alexander remained close together after their captors' slinking departure, each taking comfort from the other's presence. She, quiet and still in his arms, her tears, her fear run dry, leaving her a hollow and empty husk. He, clasping her gently, doggedly fighting his weakened, blood-hungry form one moment at a time. Trying to think past the snarling, salivating creature clawing his guts to shreds within him.

After a time, Mina rose slowly from his arms. He let her, supposing she meant to remove herself from him while she still could. The chemical sickness she had experienced upon awakening had dissipated and she felt stronger, clearer. Angrier.

Positioning herself as comfortably as possible on the floor next to him, she looked over at Alexander. And beheld the man she loved, sitting trapped in a dark, dank cage like an animal.

Clad only in his trousers and shoes at the time of his capture, Alexander's smooth torso remained bare to the damp, lurking coldness. Handsome face bruised and battered as his vampiric curse ran low on life-giving blood, his supernatural healing ability struggled to mend his wounds. His dark hair mussed and one eye fully bloodshot.

Then her eyes settled upon something she had not seen previously and she gasped with renewed shock, one hand involuntarily flying to her mouth.

Around his neck was a thick metal collar attached to a heavy chain. Much the same as the one the members of the Order had secured him with as they beat him and forced him to watch his Ilona burn so long ago. The chain threaded through the bars of the cage and deep into the wall. Alexander could move freely about the cage but he could not reach the door.


Her hands went to the rough metal and the raw, reddening flesh beneath it, scrabbling to loosen it from about his neck. He stopped her hands with his own, bringing them to still.

"It's okay, Mina. I'm okay."

He gently kissed her scraped knuckles, whitened by her fierce response to his forced subjugation. She remained on her knees in front of him, hands in his, black despair threatening to overwhelm her. Alexander murmured soft reassurances into her hungry ears that neither of them really believed.

Mina let go of him suddenly and sitting back on her heels, dropped her hands loosely into her lap. She looked around at their confines, attempting to contain her desperation and panic with cool sense and reason.

"Where are we?"

Alexander looked down at his now empty hands, ignoring the writhing hunger in his veins and the cold metal clamped around his neck.

"We are in the same building as we were, just a few corridors down. This is the holding cell for the vampires we used for the solar serum experimentations," he confessed.

Yes. The same cell from which he and van Helsing had taken doomed female vampires to first electroshock, then inject with various versions of the solar serum, and then finally subject to reflected sunlight. And watch them, unfortunately, burn.

He remembered soothing one such pitiful, terrified creature. His hands gently stroking her dirty face, his memorizing eyes focused upon her, sending soothing images into her mind with his gentle shushing sounds. Willing her to calm, to have some semblance of tranquility in the few seconds before inflicting unbearable pain upon her body to ultimately no avail.

Holding back his tears as he watched her. Knowing she did not deserve to be made to suffer for his selfish pursuit of life. Knowing that if she was, by some miracle, cured of her vampirism, somehow made human, they still would not let her go. Forever trapped, forever damned, whether by curse or by man. Allowing it to be done in his desperate quest for humanity, sunlight, and freedom.

Mina interrupted his dark musings.

"How are we going to escape?"

Alexander remained silent for a time.

"I don't know. The bars are iron. They were made for holding . . . my kind. Though I am stronger than the rest of my kin, I have not taken blood recently and so I am weakened."

Mina's voice asked aloud the question he had already asked himself while holding her precious, unconscious body in his arms.

"Have you given up?"

Alexander looked down thoughtfully at the rough floor on which they sat. Then back up to her lovely, pale face with its bright spots of color high on her cheekbones.

"No. As long as we exist, there is always hope. You taught me that."

There could be no extrication from the cell in which they were trapped. The bars, each and every one, were strong. An inspection of the floor revealed no crumbling weak spots. The stone walls were sturdy as well, seeming even more so around the chain attachment. Alexander's collar solid and every link of chain thick and stalwartly connected to the next. The entire thing was built to be inescapable.

And it was.

Hours passed. Alexander's hunger grew, along with his fear and rage. Mina's dread and desperation whittled away, chipping incessantly at her stubborn resolve.

In time, the wraith of a creature Jonathan Harker had become materialized out of the gloom. Alexander smelled him first, saw him second.

"Harker. Why are you here? Come to gloat?"

Jonathan shook his head, keeping his eyes carefully trained upon his former employer. He could not bear to look upon Mina as her intense gaze radiated hurt betrayal and a burning fury that seared his contrite flesh to the bone.

"No. I have come to release Mina. She was never part of my plan and van Helsing . . . he . . ."

Jonathan shuffled, his voice trailing off, and then he came forward. Mina and Alexander rose together as one, the heavy chain rattling around his neck.

"I have a key to the cell. We don't have much time."

Jonathan's hands shook so badly he dropped the key and bent retrieve it.

"And that key opens Alexander's bonds as well?" Mina questioned distrustfully, her mind already locked onto the fact Jonathan only mentioned releasing her.

The trembling man shoved the key roughly into the lock, still not looking upon his former fiancé.

"No," Jonathan pulled open the door and, carefully standing well out of Alexander's range, held his hand out to Mina.

She remained close to Alexander, standing very still. Alexander's entire body was tensed, ready to attack. Ready to destroy Jonathan Harker the second he passed the invisible boundary line. Mina looked distastefully at Jonathan's hand as if it was an alien thing.

"What?" she asked.`

Jonathan gestured, glancing fearfully at Alexander, who had already guessed the truth and made his decision.

"Mina, please, there isn't much time. You must come with me. Now."

Mina looked at Alexander and he forced himself to find the grace and self-sacrifice he possessed deep within and nodded to her. A silent admonition, granting her pardon to save herself and leave him alone in this lost, lonely cell. She took a deep breath and moved toward Jonathan as if to take his offer. She placed her hand in his, gazing directly into the blue eyes of the man she had once cared for so deeply.

Then without warning, she slammed a knee into his most tender area and he crumpled. As he fell, Mina kicked him as hard as she could in the face. There was a crunching sound and blood flew from his nose. He lay still at her feet.

Alexander was stunned, even as his mind whispered that he really wasn't, that his Mina was a fighter.

And then his conscious thoughts drowned in the pungent aroma of Jonathan Harker's fresh blood overwhelming his senses, crying out to the creature Dracula.

Mina knelt down quickly and rolled Jonathan's unconscious form over onto his back, searching for her coveted treasure.

"Alexander! I can't find a key to your bonds!"

A familiar scent intermingled through the blood-fog, warning him of danger.

"M - "

"That's because he doesn't have it. I do."

At the same moment he spoke the words, van Helsing materialized from the shadows, cuffing Mina hard across the face, knocking her to the ground.

Alexander roared in fury. He fought against his chain. He raged against it, eagerly relinquishing control to the ravenous vampire inside him. His fangs revealed themselves, hungry for the living blood of this man who s dared to strike his lady. His hands clawed the empty air fruitlessly. His rage bounced off the thick stone walls.

Though his strength was heightened by the feral creature thrashing within him and his effort was extreme, he could not break free of the thick metal tearing at his flesh, holding him powerless to punish van Helsing for his grievous offense.

He gnashed his teeth and he raged, all his muscles straining and clenching.

And he remained a prisoner.

The older man lifted Mina with a grunt and tossed her into the cage, slamming the door shut once more.

He removed the key and departed without a word, leaving the abandoned Harker crumpled in a disgraced heap on the floor.

When van Helsing was gone, Alexander crouched down and gathered Mina into his arms again. She was unconscious but breathing evenly. Either by van Helsing's blow or her subsequent collapse to the floor, a small cut had opened on one delicate cheekbone. A thin trickle of blood marred her creamy skin, mixing with the grime there.

Alexander was suddenly aware that the surrounding air was very quiet and still and cool. And Mina's body was so invitingly warm with her fresh, living blood.

Though the blood on her cheek was minimal and already starting to dry, the metallic fragrance seemed to mix with Harker's to fill his flaring nostrils and awaken his vampiric senses all the more.

His mouth salivated. His pointed eyeteeth, still exposed from his earlier rage, seemed to drip with lust.

Her blood lay upon her. Just a few drops, for that was all that lingered outside her rushing veins. Just a few drops.

Her blood called out to him, singing a haunting siren song to his overpowering need.

He was sweating in the cold, heat pouring off his body in waves.

While he now held her unconscious form, he considered the idea of death. van Helsing meant for them to languish away down here in the lost, forgotten darkness without reprieve, until they died or Alexander drank Mina dry. It was within his power to take this opportune moment to save her from that dark fate.

Now while she lay unfeeling, unresponsive in his embrace, now while she slept, he could grant her peace without pain. The longer they remained unbending, unbroken by van Helsing, the more likely the madman was to perform some dastardly harm against Mina in an attempt to force them to succumb to his maddened will.

He could drink from her now as she lay still, unbroken, unmolested by any more of this evil. Then her blood, her pure, precious blood would surely grant him the power to break free and wreak absolute destruction upon the villainous van Helsing and Harker.

Finally with nothing remaining to tether him to this existence, with her blood essence singing in his fully condemned veins, he could take himself out into the forbidden daylight. Spread his arms wide and welcome the sun one last time to set him aflame.

And release his damned soul to the eternal darkness of Hell.

And if the tiny drops of dying blood outside her body tasted as sweet as she, the humming, rushing, living blood inside her body would be a most truly divine nectar to imbibe.

He drew closer to the alluring red substance lightly painting her cheek, raising her vulnerable form closer to his hungry mouth.

Mina stirred slightly, moaning deep in her throat and that small murmur of a sound cut through his rising madness. For a fleeting moment.

It was enough.

He froze, observing himself in abject horror. Slowly lowered her back down away from his gaping maw of fangs. Closing his lips over his vampire teeth, Alexander Grayson clenched his jaw muscles so tightly that his entire skull ached.

The internal struggle raging within him was fearsome, brutal. Dredging the deepest recesses of his deteriorating consciousness, he held his heart, his soul, his light, his love in a trembling embrace and waited for moment to finally present itself when he could ensure her survival.

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