Almost time for work. Her big green eyes danced over her reflection as she looked herself over in the bathroom mirror and she tugged up the tank top that was just a little too small. Her sizeable breasts, double D’s, were bulging out of it and the thin, gray material fit like a second skin over her chest, leaving her tight belly bare and showing off her silver belly button stud. The red skirt was also too tight, barely covering her hips and leaving her muscular legs bare almost all the way up. Turning to the left, she ran her hand over her buttock, raising her brow as she was able to confirm that all of her hard work was paying off, and her ruby painted lips curled up in a proud little smile. Her fiery red hair was worn down and completely unrestrained, dropping almost to her lower back, and she knew that this was part of her appeal. No straight man would be able to keep his eyes off of her for long. Most of her makeup was worn light and only to make her look even more flawless. She was a beautiful woman and knew it, but this beauty was something she considered a tool to do her job, and was often something of a liability to her self esteem.
Her bathroom was a modest place with a long vanity, a bath/shower closed by a red shower curtain, and of course a toilet that had the lid covered by a furry pink topping. It was kept very clean, but towels were on the floor and hanging over the shower curtain rod.
With one more check, she turned and strode from the bathroom and into her somewhat messy bedroom. Clothes were strewn everywhere as she had not been able to decide what she wanted to wear this night. The closet door was right by the bedroom door and stood open, and that was where she went, emerging a moment later with two pairs of high heeled shoes. Sitting on the bed, she looked them over, first the white pair with the broad strap, then to the glossy red pair what was little more than well formed soles with very thin leather that would hold them in place. These were the sexier of the two and she dropped the white ones and slipped on the first of the red, wrapping the strap around her ankle and buckling it with much care. As she reached for the other, her cell phone rang and she reached into the one pocket of her skirt to answer. Her cell phone was also pink and she held it to her ear with her shoulder as she worked with her other shoe.
“Hello?” Her voice was more that of a younger woman than one of twenty-seven. She smiled. “Hey, Becky! What’s up, girl?” She finished buckling her shoe and rested her forearm on her thigh. “Yeah that sounds about right. Hey, you’ve got a sweet sixteen coming up, don’t you? I’ll bet you can’t wait!” Wendy stood and strode slowly from her bedroom. “Yeah, you know I will. Wouldn’t miss it for all the tea in China. No, I won’t be there tonight. Got to work.” She rolled her eyes. “I know, I know, but I’ve been working twelve hour shifts all week and I gotta sleep sometime. Oh, come on. The Youth Center can get along without me for a few days. Okay, next Friday? That’s cool. You going to have your party there? Well why not? Oh, your Mom’s planned a blowout at your place.” She leaned against the wall by her bedroom door. “Yeah, moms are like that. Because I used to have one! Okay, so next Saturday?” A knock at the front door drew her attention and she said, “Hey, girl. My ride’s here. Call me Wednesday and remind me about the party, okay? I’ll make sure I’m not working. Okay, girlfriend, I’ll talk to you later.” She hung up and slid the phone back into her pocket, grabbing her purse and keys on her way to the door as she grumbled, “Okay, it’s show time.”
Wendy had never been fond of these humid nights. Just the sticky air, her long, fiery red hair would not behave, it was hard to breathe in, the sweating…
Still her spirits remained high and her senses on alert. Friday nights were always bustling with activity and the traffic was unusually heavy. With the topless bar right across the street, business would be good and she could expect a very busy night. Many Johns cruised by slowly, basically window shopping for just the right girl to take on a date. Sadly, such horny men were easy targets, and with her large breasts bulging from her white tank top and her short red skirt showing off almost all of her long, shapely legs, she found the eyes of many a man on her.
But not the eyes she wanted on her. The one she wanted was across the street, handing out literature for the topless bar to any passerby whose attention he could snare. He was a very shapely man, big chest and back, big boa constrictor arms, small waist, six pack, really tight little butt, and extremely muscular legs. He was not a small man by any means, about six foot two and easily over two hundred forty pounds. He had a very pleasant face, strong jaw and high cheeks. And his eyes… She had never seen eyes so intense in her life, dark blue pools of fire that always lanced right through her when she met them.
Wandering back and forth on the sidewalk, she found herself watching him. Not a good idea.
He looked back at her, those dark, fathomless eyes boring into the green eyes that watched him.
She smiled and threw her head back, shaking out her long red hair, then leaned her head over and turned her attention to him again.
He smiled back, just slightly, and went about his task.
Wendy bit her pouty lower lip, trying to imagine if all of him was so… proportional. Then a familiar feeling came over her, that feeling like someone was watching her. She glanced about. There were many eyes on her, but…
Turning around, she looked toward the alley and there was that fleeting second where she thought she saw someone in the shadows.
“Ahem,” came from behind her.
She turned, seeing another woman behind her in really short shorts, fishnet stockings, black high heeled boots to her knees, and a leopard print blouse, open almost all the way to her navel.
This woman walked right up to Wendy, stopping half an arm’s reach away before setting her hands on her hips and challenging, “Bitch, I told you yesterday this is my street!”
Wendy folded her arms. “Listen crack ho, this is a public street and I’ll work wherever the hell I want.”
The other woman’s eyes flared and her head seemed to float back and forth on her neck as she loudly announced, “I think you need an ass whuppin, ho.”
Wendy smiled and slid a hand around the woman’s neck, saying, “That’s fifty bucks, sweetie.”
Laughing, the other woman pushed the hand from her and ordered, “Get off me, Wendy.”
Wendy also laughed, then glanced around and asked, “How’s business, Cindy?”
“We got eight on Fourth Street and the Captain decided to shut it down and call it a night there, so we moved over here.”
“Always creeping into my turf, aren’t ya, bitch?”
“Just wanna watch you walk, Sugar.”
“You and everyone else.”
“Mmm hmm.” Cindy looked across the street, right at the man handing out the literature. “So, you ever gonna give the goods to Ryan or you just gonna keep drooling over him?”
Wendy glanced at him, feeling herself blush. “What makes you think I’m even interested in him?”
“Baby, if you’re straight, you’re interested.”
Wendy smiled. “Yeah, well he’d better make his move pretty quick or I’m finding myself some new eye candy.”
“What makes you think he’d want you, anyway?”
Stepping back, Wendy extended her arms to show off her body and simply said, “Duh!”
The other woman laughed. “You work it, girl. Listen, I’m going into the alley and make some adjustments. Don’t let the action happen without me.”
“The action’s wherever I am, Cindy.”
Cindy walked away, laughing. “Just remember I have fifty of the take on my street, ho.”
“It’s my street, bitch!” Wendy called back. Suddenly feeling anxious, she added, “And keep your eyes open down there!” She turned and looked across the street, first noticing that Ryan was no longer there. Feeling a little more anxious, she glanced around and found him on her side walking toward her. A smile curled her sensuous mouth and she swaggered toward him, walking right up to him and bumping him with her breasts as she looked up into those intense eyes. “So, you looking for a party, mister?”
He tried to fight off a smile but found himself unable to. “Yeah, maybe.”
She slid her hands up his belly and chest and pressed her body against his. “I know where the action is.”
He kept his hands at his sides, but could not look away from her. “And where would that be?”
“Right in front of you.” She turned her shoulders, dragging her breasts across him. She could tell she was arousing him and enjoyed every second of it.
“Well,” he started, taking a half step back, “I heard the party’s moving down town in a half hour.”
She frowned a pouty frown and said, “Oh, poo. I wanted to party here all night.” She stepped toward him, pressing her body to his again.
“Yeah, I know you did, but the powers that be are calling it off.” He was getting agitated.
Wendy smiled again and grasped his thick shoulders. “So, are you interested?”
“In what?” was his response.
She sighed, feeling a little frustrated. “A date. I’ve been a bad, bad girl and I think Daddy might have to give me a good spanking.”
He cleared his throat. “So I see.”
“I need discipline,” she drawled.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m with you there. Your ride will be here in thirty minutes.”
He shook his head. “No, someone else is coming for you.”
“Well,” she drawled again, “that means you’ve got thirty minutes for a date.”
He snickered. “Okay, how much?”
“How much you got?”
“Not much on a cop’s salary.”
She rolled her eyes and pushed away from him, loudly informing, “I need more than that, sweetie. Come around again when you have more in your pocket than frustration.”
“Whore!” he shouted to her as she walked away.
“Cheap-wad!” she shouted back, then looked forward and said under her breath, “I am so raping you later, dude.”
As she approached the curb, a white Cadillac pulled up and its tinted window came down.
Wendy smiled as she approached and leaned into the window, making sure the men inside got a good look down her shirt. She could see two in the front in business suits. A third was in the back seat in the shadows, puffing on a cigar.
“Hi,” she greeted. “You boys looking for a party?”
“Maybe,” the driver answered. “Where is the party tonight?”
“Right in front of you,” she replied. “Whatcha interested in?”
The man closest to her finally spoke up as he stared down her shirt. “Anything you got.”
“Into handcuffs?” the driver asked.
She turned her eyes to him. “The last guy who asked me that turned out to be the Man.”
He shrugged. “Hey, do I look like the Man?”
Wendy raised her brow and nodded. “And I also don’t see any money.”
“I think we can afford you,” the man in the back seat finally said.
His voice tugged at her memory, but she refused to even hint at showing any fear as she looked to the back seat and informed, “I charge group rates.”
“Not for just me,” he said dryly. “Get into the car and we’ll talk.”
His voice really tugged at her, but she just smiled again and informed, “Maybe when I see some money.” She heard a familiar series of clicks and looked down, seeing a rather large nickel-plated revolver aimed right between her breasts. Her breath went in—and stayed there. Slowly, she raised her eyes to the man.
He stared back coldly.
“Get into the car, Officer Shaw,” the man in the back seat ordered sternly.
Finally, she knew the voice and the name with it. She was able to tear her eyes from the gun and slowly turned them to the man in the back seat, greeting, “Hi, Carlos.”
He took a long puff of his cigar and blew the smoke toward her. “I’m touched you remember me, Officer Shaw. Very touched. Happy to see me?”
“A little surprised,” she admitted. “I didn’t think you would be out already.”
“I won my appeal,” he informed. “Apparently, some of your colleagues got careless when they collected their so called evidence.”
She nodded. “Sorry about that. I should speak to them about being more careful in the future.”
He laughed. “Of course you should. Now get into the car. We have something to discuss.”
Wendy glanced down at the gun, then asked, “Like what?”
“Like how you are going to compensate me for ten months of my life you stole.”
“Nobody made you kill those girls,” Wendy pointed out.
“You know as well as I do that they were hookers. They took their chances and they knew the risks. Besides, you should be thanking me. Just think of the paperwork I’ve saved the city cleaning them off the streets.”
“You generated twice as much killing them.”
He shook his head. “Always the glass is half empty, isn’t it? Now get into the car. I’m not going to tell you again.”
Wendy’s eyes narrowed as she slowly braced for flight. “Do I look that stupid, Carlos?”
“You look that afraid, Officer Shaw.”
The man in the front bumped her in the chest with the muzzle of the gun, ordering, “Get in.”
She looked back down to the gun, starting to breathe heavy. “Don’t think for a second you can actually get away with this.”
“And don’t think for a second that Mister Renos won’t put a blow hole in that beautiful body of yours.”
Wendy’s brow arched and she looked back to Carlos. “Please, you don’t have to do this!” She took a heavy breath and leaned hard on the car.
“Oh,” Carlos said with mock sympathy. “Don’t tell me you are going to faint.”
She looked back to the gun. “No, I think I’m going to be sick.” She covered her mouth with one hand, closing her eyes.
The man holding the gun shrank away from her, but when Wendy heaved, he almost jumped into the driver’s lap.
Before he could react, she bolted toward the alley, running with some difficulty in her high heeled shoes as she shouted, “It’s hot! It’s hot!”
She could hear car doors open and knew they were giving chase.
Not wanting them to have a clear shot at her, she darted down the alley, hoping to find an open door or a waiting officer who might have his sidearm. Stacks of pallets and boxes blurred by and she soon found herself confronting a brick wall and a locked door. She tugged hard on the door handle, then swung around—and winced.
Cindy’s body lay in the corner, concealed from the entrance by a stack of pallets. She lay on the ground as if she had been gently put there, her wide open eyes staring blankly at Wendy. Evident even in this dim light were the two puncture wounds in her throat, right beneath her ear, and the small lines of blood that trailed down from them.
Wendy slowly approached and knelt down, looking for a pulse.
Cindy was still warm, but quite dead.
Hesitantly, Wendy stood and backed away, her eyes locked on her friend as she tried to reason out what it was she saw. She saw something out of the corner of her eye and looked, turning fully as she saw Carlos standing about twenty feet away, a big smile on his face and a pistol in his hand.
“They may just get me this time,” he sneered, “but you won’t live to enjoy it.”
Wendy set herself to dodge when he fired.
A dark form swiftly and noiselessly moved from the shadows between Carlos and Wendy.
Carlos retreated, firing his weapon twice.
The dark form was clearly hit both times, but not slowed. Wendy could barely make out what was happening in the dim light before her, but knew it was a life and death struggle.
One that only lasted a few seconds.
A sickening crunch ended it, and Carlos’ body was hurled easily across the alley, slamming against the wall to crumple to the ground.
Wendy’s eyes were on Carlos’ broken form for only a second before snapping to the figure that was suddenly upon her. In an instant, the tall, shadowy form stood an arms length from her, staring down at her with cold, piercing eyes. Intense eyes. Predatory eyes.
She backed away, stopped by the cold bricks behind her. Police training tried to surface as he approached, defense training… Any training! She could not move. She could not speak. She only stared up into those deep, deep eyes. She felt dizzy and felt herself enveloped, drawn into a forbidding blackness, whisked into a void that she knew to be his mind. Everything she was felt as if it were being swept into a whirlpool of his design. She just could not fight it, didn’t know how, didn’t know if she even wanted to.
“Shaw!” Ryan’s voice called from outside the alley.
Answer him! her mind cried.
“Shaw!” Ryan’s voice echoed again. “Red! Sound off!”
As the dark figure moved toward her, reached for her, Wendy’s eyes slowly closed, her head rolled back, and her body surrendered.
Slowly, her head rocked to one side and a pathetic whimper escaped her. She opened her eyes with much effort, barely making out what it was she saw. Her vision took its time clearing, but when it finally did she found herself lying on a huge, canopied bed. The canopy itself was white, the frame a dark wood tone, the linens that she lay in were red silk. A thick, heavy white blanket covered her as well, yet she was still a little cold. Strength seemed reluctant to return to her, so the issue would have to be forced.
She tried to sit up, realizing that just her head felt like it weighed a hundred pounds.
First effort failed.
With a deep breath, she managed to get there the second time, but felt drained once she did. Fighting to remain conscious, she slowly swung her feet over the side of the bed and to the floor, reaching in front of her to push the canopy out of the way. She was standing and staggering toward the center of the room before she realized.
Blinking, Wendy drew another breath to regain her wits. She was still very cold and felt extremely weak, but she felt compelled to find out where she was, find out how she got here, find out who was responsible….
Find some coffee!
She managed to force her wits about her and look around. This room was huge! Lavishly furnished, it looked like it belonged on a movie set. All of the furnishings looked like expensive antiques. The deep carpet was white, as were the walls above the dark wood tone beaded panel that ran half way up them. It looked like it belonged in a mansion.
No time to think about that. There were more pressing issues right now.
A large timber door was to her right and she made her way to it. Each step was exhausting and she found herself winded by the time she got there. When she tried the handle, she found it locked, and rested her head on the door, whimpering, “I hope that’s not the bathroom.” Looking around, she saw two other doors. One was open and leading into a dark room which had a candle burning within. “And of course it’s way the hell over there,” she complained, turning to walk toward it. After a long walk, she made it and was able to freshen up.
Wendy leaned on the lavatory as her wits and strength slowly returned and she turned on the water to the sink, letting it run over her hand for a time before collecting some in her palms to splash over her face. The water woke her up further and she repeated this several more times, then finally reached for a towel and blotted her face dry. Looking into the mirror before her, she winced as she made a startling discovery. There, on her neck below her ear were two punctures within what appeared to be a large hickey. Slowly, she ran her hand over it. It was sore, very tender to the touch. “Someone is so going to pay for this,” she hissed.
With her long red locks flowing behind her, she wandered from the bathroom, looking around her to find some clue as to where she was. The window provided still another disturbing revelation.
The sun was coming up. Or down. It was just touching the horizon.
“How long was I out?” she asked herself, trying to remember what had happened the night before.
A click at the door drew her attention and she spun to it as it opened.
An old woman entered, dressed like a maid and carrying a large key ring full of keys. She looked to Wendy with pleasant eyes that seemed blank and said, “I see we’re awake.”
“Yeah,” Wendy confirmed. “We’re just not liking it yet. Can you tell me where I am?”
The old woman seemed to become uneasy and backed from the room, replying, “All of that will be answered in time. I will inform the Master you are awake.”
“Wait!” Wendy called.
The old woman hesitated.
“Can I get some coffee?” Wendy asked with a pleading tone.
With her eyes low, the old woman backed out the door and answered, “I shall ask the Master.”
“Now wait a minute!” Wendy barked as the door closed. Her lips tightened as the handle clicked and she just stared at the only way out for a time, feeling herself becoming desperate for a way out. She slowly approached the door and tried the handle, not at all surprised to find it locked. Frustration mounted and she glanced around the room again.
There! Across the room lying on a chair was her purse. Striding to it as quickly as she could, she picked it up and rummaged through it for her cell phone, but it was not to be found there. “Of course,” she sighed, glancing around the room again.
The door latch clicked again and she turned fully to it as it opened.
A tall, blonde haired woman entered, her brow low and her narrow, icy blue eyes locked on Wendy. She was dressed in a tight fitting evening gown, one which showed off her very lean body. She seemed angry and didn’t bother closing the door as she slowly approached.
Wendy could not help but feel something was very wrong. She dropped her purse back onto the chair as she watched the blonde woman approach her, and hesitantly greeted, “How’s it going?”
“I am the Master’s favorite,” the blonde woman hissed back. “I am!”
Wendy nodded. “That’s good.” She clearly had a screw loose.
“We don’t need you here,” the blonde woman snarled as she drew closer. “You aren’t needed and you aren’t wanted!”
“Great!” Wendy declared. “I’ll just be going, then.” She tried to sidestep around the blonde woman but was seized by the throat and slammed back against the wall. This blonde girl didn’t look it, but she was really strong! Wendy tried to pry the blonde’s fingers from her throat, but had no success. She slammed her palm into the back of her attacker’s elbow and not even this worked. As she struggled, she kicked the woman hard in the abdomen. It was like kicking a tree trunk. Slowly, she felt the woman’s grip tighten on her throat, and also felt the wall dragging down on her back as she was lifted from the floor.
“I’m his favorite,” the blonde woman sneered.
It was then that Wendy saw the woman’s teeth, the long pointed teeth that looked like fangs. She also realized she could not breathe and punched hard at the blonde woman’s arm as she continued to try to free herself.
“Vanessa!” a man shouted from the doorway.
The blonde woman dropped her victim and spun around.
Wendy crumpled to the floor, reaching for her throat as she coughed and gasped to get her breath back. Turning her eyes up to the door, she saw a tall man with shoulder length black hair standing in the doorway. He had handsome but pale features and was dressed in black dress pants and a white shirt with black buttons that was open half way down his chest. He did not look pleased as his almost black eyes bored into the blonde woman.
“Master!” the blonde cried, rushing to him. “Please. Let me explain!”
He struck her face hard with the back of his hand, slamming her into the wall across the room.
She dropped to the floor, then whimpered and crawled toward him.
He just watched her as she reached him and wrapped her arms around his leg.
“Forgive, Master,” she sobbed. “Forgive.”
“I told you not to come in here,” he reminded with clenched teeth.
“I disobeyed,” Vanessa confessed, still crying. “I only want to be your favorite. Please forgive me.”
He brutally grabbed her arm and easily hoisted her from the floor, then seized her shoulders and held her before him. He was treating her like a disobedient child. “Never disobey me again!” he scolded. He shook her, snapping her head back and forth as he roared, “Do you understand me?”
The blonde woman just cried for long seconds, then nodded and whimpered, “Forgive, Master. Please forgive.”
Staring down at her for long seconds, his features softened and he finally cupped her chin in his hand and raised her face. “I will deal with you later. Go and bring our other guest.”
She slipped around him and in an instant was out the door and gone.
He turned and closed the door, then looked to Wendy and folded his hands before him. “Are you all right?”
Still gasping somewhat, Wendy turned her eyes down and nodded, planting a palm on the floor to push herself up. “Pride’s hurt a little but I think I’ll live.”
She never knew he approached until she realized he was helping her to her feet. He was tall, and as she looked into his eyes, she realized he was the man from the alley. Chills ran through her and she forced the fear from her face.
He gently caressed her shoulders, staring down at her with possessive eyes. “She did not hurt you?”
Wendy forced a smile. “Oh, no. In fact, it’s lucky you came when you did. I was about to make my move and kick her ass.”
He nodded. “I see.”
She glanced aside, then asked, “So, where are we?”
“My mansion,” was his answer.
“And what a nice mansion you have,” she complimented. “You must live in a really great neighborhood. How are the schools here?”
“I wouldn’t know.”
She continued to just glance around the room. “Yeah. Great mansion.”
He took her face in his hand and forced her eyes back to his. “I brought you here to offer you a wonderful gift.”
Feeling herself swept into his power again, she pulled away from him and backed up against the wall, tearing her gaze from his as she asked, “You mean like I’ve won a week vacation in the Bahamas? I’ve always wanted to go there.”
“Then we will,” he assured, stepping toward her.
Sliding along the wall to elude him, Wendy glanced at the door, knowing she could never reach it in time, knowing there was an army of police officers out there somewhere looking for her. “So, I guess I should thank you for taking care of Carlos before he took care of me, huh?”
“You are quite welcome,” was his cold answer.
Her eyes snapped back to him. “And what about Cindy? What did she do?”
“She was there for me,” he replied. “I was hungry, and her blood was sweet and pure.”
Wendy’s breath caught.
“I still feel her coursing through me,” he continued, “as I feel you coursing through me.”
Slowly, she raised a hand to her throat, feeling the mark left by him.
“That’s right, Wendy. I fed on you as well. Will you accept my gift?”
“What gift?” she asked. “Are you some kind of vampire or something?”
“Yes,” he answered straightly, taking her shoulders again. “You seem to understand, now.”
Hesitantly, she nodded, feeling like she was in some kind of Goth nut-house. “And—you want to make me a vampire too.”
He stroked her hair, confirming, “Yes.”
She looked away, trying to reason out what she was hearing.
“Eternal life,” he went on, “eternal beauty, strength and awareness you have never even imagined as a human.”
Her eyes snapped back to him. “Eternal beauty, huh?” A slight smile curled her lips and she slid her hands up his chest and to his shoulders. “So, how do we do this? How do I become a vampire?”
“I drain you to the brink of death,” he answered, “then you drink from me. My blood will take the pathetic life you know now, and you will be reborn as one of us.”
Wendy leaned her head over slightly and moved just a little closer to him. “So, you’re going to bite me again and then make me your little vampire girl?”
He smiled back. “Yes.”
She smiled sweetly at him. “Not with your balls in your throat you’re not.” She kneed him hard in the groin.
His smile faded and he lowered his brow.
Wendy’s mouth fell open. She kneed him again, harder. Still nothing but a sour look from him. A second of hesitation and she raised her brow and asked, “Not gonna work, is it?”
He shook his head.
She offered him a friendly smile. “Well, won’t know ’till you try, right?”
She patted his shoulders. “Okay, then. It’s been fun, but I’ve really gotta jet. Boo-koo paperwork back at the precinct, what with Carlos dead and his thugs under the jail by now. Also have an appointment with my doctor. Monthly herpes shot. Why don’t you give me your number and…”
He clamped a hand over her mouth and scolded, “You talk too much. Will you have my gift willingly or not?”
She pulled his hand from her mouth and asked, “How about Saturday? I have the weekend off and we—”
“Enough!” he roared, seizing her hair and wrenching her head over.
Wendy shrieked as he sank his fangs into her neck once again. Already sore from his first bite, his second really hurt and she pushed against him to free herself. Then she felt her blood draining into him. She grew faint, weak, and soon realized the only thing keeping her upright was the arm he had wrapped around her. Strength completely abandoned her and she went limp. He finally released her and lowered her to the floor.
“I wanted you willingly,” he snarled, kneeling down to her, “but I will have you one way or another.” He took the back of her neck and sat her up, then bit into his wrist until his dark blood came forth. “Know the power of the night, my new bride.” He held his bleeding arm to her mouth, pressing the wound to her lips.
She resisted at first, but as she tasted the blood, she craved it, wanted it, had to have it! She sucked hard from his wound, taking his arm in her hands as she rose to her knees, closed her eyes and drank from him. In only a few seconds, she found herself racked by pain and seizures, still too weak to cry out.
He let her drop to the floor and took a step back from her, watching as her body was racked by tremors. “Yes, Wendy. Know death, and be reborn.”
Wendy managed a scream as the pain lanced through every part of her.
Then it was gone.
Strength she had never even imagined began to surge through her. Slowly, she pushed herself up, opening her eyes and seeing the world around her as never before. She blinked, feeling an awareness she had never known, smelling things she had never smelled, hearing more clearly than she ever had.
He reached down and took her hands, helping her to her feet. With a proud smile, he stroked the fiery locks from her face and asked, “How do you feel?”
She was not sure how to answer, and could only stare back at him.
He glanced at the window. “The sun is down and the night beckons us.”
She looked, feeling a comfort from the darkness outside that she had never experienced before. A strange hunger began to overtake her. She needed to hunt, to feed off of the living. New instincts began to speak to her, telling her how to quench her new thirst for blood, how to get it. Still, her heart clung to the humanity that stubbornly held on. The creature she had become fought it, but she would not let it go. She did not want to believe she had become a vampire, a thing of nightmares. The hunger spoke louder and louder within her and she slowly turned her eyes up to his, shaking her head as she breathed, “What have you done to me?”
“I have given you the gift of life eternal,” he replied. “You will never die. You will never age. You will never again feel the pain of sickness or disease.”
“But I have to kill innocent people to live like this,” she spat back.
He gently stroked her hair. “We do not always kill, and you will get used to drinking blood.”
Wendy slapped his hand away and backed away from him, shouting, “No, I won’t. You’ve made me a monster!”
He just stared at her, then looked back at the door as it opened.
Vanessa peered in, informing, “I have brought him, Master.”
“Bring him in,” he ordered, then turned back to Wendy. “It is time for you to feed, my dear. It is time for you to taste your new life for the first time.”
Wendy’s eyes widened and she backed against the wall, slowly shaking her head as the man was pushed into the room. “My God, no!
No, not a man. More a boy, a teenager, someone whose life had just started. He was dressed as one would expect of someone who lived on the street. Terror was in his eyes as he looked about and finally to Wendy.
“He is yours,” the vampire master informed. “Take him, drain him and end that hunger that wells up within you.”
Staring at the horrified boy, Wendy whimpered, “You can’t make me do this. I won’t do it.”
“You have no choice,” the vampire informed as he turned and strode toward the boy and took him by the neck. “You will have to see them differently now, my pet. They are no longer the people you protect; they are our food, nothing more.”
She shook her head, pressing herself against the wall behind her as the boy was forced to her. “I can’t do this. I can’t.” The hunger within her started to become unbearable and she closed her eyes and turned away. “I won’t do this!”
The vampire held the boy before Wendy by the neck, and harshly ordered, “Drain him, girl. Prove to me that you are worthy of the gift I have given you. Feed for the first time as you have never fed and know the strength of what you are!”
“No!” she screamed. The pain from her hunger was starting to become unbearable. She reluctantly turned her eyes to the boy, seeing that terror in them, terror of her.
The vampire drug a long thumbnail under the boy’s ear, splitting the skin, and the boy winced from it.
A small trickle of blood appeared.
Wendy shook, trying to fight off the bloodlust that grew stronger with each second. She could not take her eyes from the blood. She could smell it. She could hear the boy’s heartbeat.
It was too much to bear. With a wild scream she burst forward, between the boy and vampire and toward the door. Vanessa tried to stop her but Wendy almost easily shoved her out of the way and sprinted out, down the long hallway, down a staircase. Antiques and paintings blurred by. She was moving faster than she ever had, faster than she had ever realized she could. Finally she saw a big wooden door, stained very dark with antique looking hinges and handles. It was very old looking, very well maintained and it had to be the way out! Not realizing that there was now marble tile beneath her bare feet, she sprinted to the door and slammed into it, grabbing the lever with both hands and wrenching it down as hard as she could. She pulled desperately, but the door would not open. It would not even budge.
A desperate sound escaped her, almost the sound of a child in fear and frustration and she tried to tug harder against the handle.
A hand slammed onto the door beside her and she froze, her wide eyes locked on the ring that was worn around the middle finger. She could see her reflection in the huge black stone, could see the fear in her own eyes. Heaving for each breath, she cut her eyes that way as the vampire master leaned against the door beside her and folded his arms.
With a slight smile, he observed, “You are very spirited. I like that. My name is Sebastian, and I expect you to remember it. Now say it.” When she only stared dumbly up at him, he roared, “Say my name!”
Her voice was meek and shaky, but she managed, “Sebastian.”
“Again,” he ordered.
“Sebastian,” she repeated fearfully.
A little smile curled the edges of his mouth again and he stroked her cheek. “Better. I made you. I will always feel you coursing through me, and you will feel me in you. When you are ready to know more about the vampire you are, you will seek me out.” He reached past her and turned the knob on the door’s bolt, then he took the lever and gently turned it, and as she stepped away, he opened the door for her. When she hesitated, he motioned her out with his head and bade, “Good evening, my pet. You will seek me out when you come to terms with this gift. I won’t be far away.”
She took a hesitant step toward the door and paused again, her brow low over her eyes this time as she hissed, “Oh, I’ll be back, Sebastian, and not to be your little pet. I’m going to come back and take you down for this.”
In an instant his hand was clamped around her throat again and she shrieked as he pulled her to him.
With a playful smile, he informed, “You aren’t the first one to tell me that, little girl. You are nowhere near as strong as me and you never will be. In time you will succumb to my power and the hunger that is slowly taking control of you. You will come to me to learn, and learn you will. Oh, and before you think about bringing an army of the police you work with here, you should know that we own the police, and much of this city. Report this to them and I’ll make you look like a fool in front of them, and any mortals you bring here to collect evidence to use against me will be killed and drained, so if you mean to bring them, make sure it is those you are not especially fond of.” He pushed her out the door. “Have a good night, Wendy. I’ll be seeing you.”
She just stared dumbly as the door was slammed in her face and stood there for a moment after. Turning slowly, she looked around her. She was not in the city anymore, but on the edge of it. The highway was at the end of the long, tree lined driveway that she could see unusually well for this time of night. Home was that way, and the police station, maybe help.
More importantly, she was being driven by the hunger that was slowly pushing her mind toward madness.
Denial was not working. Wendy was hungry, but for blood. It was hurting her all over.
Several hours of walking found her in the middle of the city in the middle of the night, not a good place to be nor a good time to be there. Despite years of police training and the fact that she usually carried a gun, she was always nervous about being in this part of town. This night she was too preoccupied with other thoughts to consider the danger, the thugs and other bad guys who were lurking behind every abandoned car, in every alley, the fact that she was still dressed as a prostitute and attracting lots of attention from undesirables. This night her instincts were different. While she still struggled to fend off that thirst for blood that plagued her, she found comfort in the night, in the darkness. She could see further into it. Almost pure darkness was more like twilight to her and when she passed by someone she could see the warmth of their body, their breath, and she could smell different things about them that she could not before. A few smelled very pure while others were tainted with chemicals or disease, and she just knew.
Wendy could stand it no more and finally stopped under a street lamp, leaning against it as she reached into her bra and fished her fingers in to her knuckles.
A couple of people stopped, watching her with wide eyes.
They got but a glance and she said, “Lost my wallet in there somewhere.” As they moved on, she finally found what she was looking for, thankful that it was still there. Unfolding the two bills, both twenties, she glanced about, realizing that no taxi would come to this part of town. Pursing her lips, she shoved the money back into her bra and reached behind her, to her waistline, blowing out a breath as she found reassurance there.
Almost as if summoned, an old car with a bright purple metallic flake paint job pulled up beside her. It was huge, built in another era, and had wheels that looked way too small for it.
The fellow who leaned out of the driver’s window was wearing a blue bandana over his hair, a very old button-up shirt that was buttoned all the way up and looked too big for him, and a very thin mustache. Otherwise, he had a pleasant face, bloodshot eyes and unattended teeth as he smiled at her and asked, “Hey, Chica. You workin’ tonight?”
She looked him over, then looked to the blacked out windows on the back door of the car and ordered, “Roll the windows down.” When he did, smoke poured out. There was another man in the back seat and a smaller fellow in the front passenger seat. Not a good situation, and yet she was not afraid. Reaching behind her again, she approached the car and offered a little smile as she leaned her forearm on it to bend down lower to the driver, offering him a good look at her chest as she informed, “Yeah, I’m working tonight. What are you boys up to?”
“Lookin’ for a party,” the man in the back seat replied.
“I see,” she observed. “Can you give a girl a ride?”
They all laughed and one assured, “Oh, we give you a ride, Chica. We all give you a ride.”
She laughed with them and nodded. “Yeah, I’ll bet. So, what did you have in mind?”
“We just go and party,” the driver replied, looking down to her chest again.
“Just party,” she said with her brow high over her eyes. “I can’t make a living partying, boys.”
“How much?” the driver asked.
“Make me an offer,” she suggested.
They all looked to each other, talking it over in Spanish, then the driver looked to her and offered, “How about fifty each, Baby?”
She smiled and whipped her badge from around her back, countering, “How about five to seven for solicitation?” When he looked away from her and forced a hard breath from him, she offered, “Or, I could just forget what I heard, have my supervisor erase what the wire picked up and you give me a ride to Central Hospital. Deal?”
He nodded and finally looked back to her. “Deal, Officer.”
It was a quiet ride and in a few moments they were pulling around to the emergency entrance. Sitting in the back seat right behind the driver, Wendy waited for the car to stop, then she patted the driver’s shoulder and offered, “Thanks, sweetie.” She slipped out of the car and turned to the driver’s window. He was looking up at her and he looked irritated, but she smiled at him anyway and held a twenty to him between two fingers. When he hesitantly took it, she waggled her fingers to him and assured, “I’ll see you boys around,” then she turned and strode into the hospital, not even looking over her shoulder as tires squealed behind her in defiance.
Wendy knew where she was going. Her hands clenched into tight fists, she took the elevator to the second floor, to the blood center, and walked into a very clean, very restricted area. The aches in her body were becoming unbearable. This was not unlike feeling dehydrated, but a hunger in her belly was giving her stomach a sour feeling that she knew only blood would stop.
Walking through the glass doors, which opened automatically in front of her, Wendy tried to ignore a nurse in a clean white uniform and carrying a clipboard who hurried from around the counter on the other end and strode toward her to head her off.
“Excuse me, Miss,” she started, only to trail off as Wendy held her badge up in her face and walked past her.
In the back was what she was looking for, and who she hoped to find.
The technician was not a huge fellow, but many years of relative inactivity had taken its toll on his waistline. He had thinning hair and thick rimmed glasses and looked up at Wendy with a little surprise at first, then he smiled and stepped away from the equipment he was working with to greet her. “Officer Shaw. You look really…” Looking her up and down again, he corrected, “You look like hell, Wendy.”
She offered a little smile and observed, “Well you sure know how to turn a girl on. Listen, I need a favor. Is there anywhere we can go to talk?”
He glanced at the door behind her, then motioned with his head across the lab to an office at the back.
There was not much to the office, only a desk, six filing cabinets against the wall to the right, two more to the left and a few pictures and his training degrees hanging on the wall behind the desk. An old refrigerator was to the left of the door, humming away as they entered. There was an old chair in front of the desk and an even older office chair behind it.
As he closed the door behind them, she looked around her and nodded. “I love what you’ve done with the place.”
“If you mean nothing,” he retorted, “then thanks. They won’t let me bring my own stuff and the city doesn’t have the money for any degree of upgrades behind the closed doors of blood collection. So what brings you to my lair in the middle of the night?”
She was having a hard time looking at him, even as he strode slowly in front of her and leaned back against his cluttered desk. Glancing about, she stammered, “Look, um… I… I need a favor.”
He raised his brow. “Well, you have three or four you can call in. Fire away.”
“This isn’t going to be easy, Cody.”
“Wendy, I’ve known you for three years and believe me nothing about that has been easy.”
She finally turned her eyes to him, wanting to look annoyed, but unable. “Remind me to kick your ass later, okay?”
“See what I mean?” he barked. “Okay, beautiful. Just tell me what you need.”
Wendy drew a breath and folded her arms, turning her eyes down to his white sneakers as she forced herself to say, “I need blood.”
“Finally joined the ranks of the vampires, have you?”
Her eyes snapped to him and she knew at a look he was kidding, but that nervous quake in her stomach would not subside. Forcing a smile, she confessed, “Yeah, I’ve joined the ranks of the vampires.” A more serious look took her features and she went on, “Look, I just need blood, nothing fresh, just something you’re going to throw out. And I really need to keep it quiet. Can you?” She batted her eyelashes at him.
He stared back into her eyes with an expression she could not read, then his gaze drifted downward. He was clearly considering even as he stared at her breasts.
She raised her hand between his eyes and her chest and motioned upward with her fingers. “I’m up here.”
“Do you want that blood or not?” he mumbled.
Forcing a hard breath from her, she looked away and folded her hands behind her, grumbling, “Fine.” Slowly, she swung her shoulders back and forth as she awaited his answer, and when a moment passed she finally prodded, “Well?”
His gaze snapped to her eyes and he barked, “Huh? Oh, yeah. Blood. Gotcha.” He turned toward his desk and rummaged around some papers, looking them over one by one. “How much do you need, Sweetheart?”
“Whatever you can spare,” was her answer. “I can’t tell you what for, though, and I really need it kept quiet.”
He nodded, still studying one of the papers. “Official covert police junk, huh?”
Looking away, Wendy nodded and agreed, “Yeah, something like that.”
Still looking at his papers, he assured, “You, my dear, are in luck. I think I can fix you up.” With a handful of papers, he turned toward the door and ordered, “This way.” As she followed him out of the office, he asked, “You sure it doesn’t have to be fresh?”
“I don’t think so,” she replied. “Just whatever you’re going to throw out or whatever.”
He reached for the door to the walk-in cooler on one side of the lab and pulled it open. “Sounds to me like you’re wanting some authentic blood splatter and I’m going to guess that it’s some kind of investigation.”
Inside, the cooler was lined with racks of blood in IV bags, sorted according to blood type and age. A plastic bin at the back of the cooler is where he went.
“Okay, Officer Shaw,” he said as he arrived. “Here’s what we’re looking for. Now, if you want to keep this on the DL then I’ve got to keep the bags and they have to have something in them for the incinerator. Just so you know, I send stuff down there twice a week.” He looked over his shoulder at her. “Might be important information for you.”
She looked down and nodded.
He took what looked like a milk jug from a shelf behind the plastic bin and pulled the top off. “If you need more then go ahead and bring a cooler with you next time. I throw out an alarming amount of this stuff and it’s nice to see it go to some good use.”
Dressed as she was, she knew she should be freezing, but the cold was not bothering her.
In a few moments, he turned toward her and popped the cap back on the nearly full jug. “Okay, my dear, that’s almost a gallon.” When she took it from him and hugged it to her chest, still not looking at him, he leaned his head and offered, “You need a ride, Wendy?”
Her mouth tightened and she just stared at a rack full of test vials, and nodded in slight motions. “Yeah, that would be great.”
Wendy’s apartment was small and well suited to her simple needs. With only one bedroom, it did not cost her much. A small living room was modestly furnished with a couch, a chair, a coffee table and a little TV on a small bookshelf. Knick knacks were scattered about, her certifications from the police academy, a few pictures, and a hutch under the bar that separated the living room from her little kitchen.
She had a small dining table, a very simple little table with two small metal chairs on each side of it, and here is where she sat, putting down the brown paper sack with the jug full of blood within, and for a moment she just stared at it before removing the blood from the bag. This she sat right in front of her and she drew a deep breath as she stared at it, wondering where to begin. She finally reached to the jug and pulled the lid off, then she leaned to it and took a sniff. She expected to be disgusted, nauseated at what it was, but the smell of the blood was actually very good. Leaning back in her chair, she tried to reason out why, and what to do next. Sliding a thumb between her lips, she felt her teeth, finding that her upper canines were suddenly very long, very sharp, and they had not been before.
Drawing a deep breath, she finally folded her hands in her lap and blew the air out through pursed lips. “Okay,” she started, “so how do I do this? I guess I shouldn’t bite the jug.” She leaned her head. “How much am I supposed to…” She finally sprang up and spun around, reaching for the cabinet and pulling the door open. Sitting back down with a drinking glass, she set the glass on the table and carefully filled it from the jug, and for another moment just stared at the dark red liquid within the glass. Seeing it made the hunger even worse and she tightly wrapped both hands around it. Before she realized she was holding it an inch from her lips. Another deep breath and she took a hesitant sip, then another, then a drink, a gulp, and in seconds half the glass was empty.
Wendy set the glass down and stared at it as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. It was blood, and she was having a difficult time getting past that. Still, she liked the taste, loved it! She felt her entire body strengthening and the pain from the hunger was slowly beginning to subside. The smell of it made her want it even more, but it was still blood! Gently biting her lower lip, she considered and considered hard. She was not sickened at the prospect of drinking the rest, but it still creeped her out a little.
Snapping her fingers, she finally declared, “Nutmeg!” and sprang from her chair again to retrieve it.
Sometime later she had tried many ways to spice or flavor the blood to make it more palatable, but the simple truth was it was easier just to drink it straight. With a quarter of the jug empty she finally felt normal again—as normal as she could, anyway. Vampire strength and awareness were still about her, but now they felt heightened.
Wendy showered and dressed in a long tee shirt for bed, but was really not feeling tired, so she sat down on the couch to try and sort out this new life. Believing what had happened was difficult. She was a vampire, a thing of nightmares, and yet who she was inside felt very much the same. She did not feel like a bloodthirsty monster nor did she have the urge to sleep in a coffin full of dirt. Slowly, and with two fingers, she massaged her temple as she tried to reason all of this out. Her thoughts were in too much turmoil to find resolution.
Her phone rang and she flinched, turning wide eyes to it. It rang again and she finally reached to it, checking the caller ID, and her spine went rigid. The call was coming from her own cell phone. Swallowing hard, she answered, “Hello?”
“How nice of you to leave all of your information with me,” the man on the other end said.
Raising her chin slightly, she breathed, “Sebastian?”
“Too soon to call?” he asked.
“A girl likes a little notice,” she replied. “What do you want?”
“Have you fed yet?”
She clenched her teeth, just staring at the front door for long seconds before she responded. “Why? Are you asking me to dinner?”
“I could,” he answered.
“Well, sorry. It’s been taken care of.” When he laughed that deep, seductive laugh she felt her anger roused. “You mind telling me why you did this to me?”
“I told you already, my pet. I wanted you.”
“Those kinds of things work both ways,” she informed harshly. “You shouldn’t go around biting people you don’t know. What if I had some incurable disease or something?”
“Then you would be cured of it by now,” he replied.
“Oh,” she mumbled. “What if I didn’t want this done to me? How can it be undone?”
“It can’t be,” he answered directly. “You are vampire now, and until the end of time or someone kills you, prepare to remain so. It is time for you to begin learning how to be what you are.”
Wendy slouched down and grudgingly listened to him.
“Avoid the sunlight,” he advised. “It will burn you and can kill you if you are in it enough.”
“So much for my tan,” she grumbled.
“You will have to feed every night to keep your strength up,” he went on.
She asked, “How much?”
“Until your hunger is satisfied. I usually only have to feed once a night, myself, and I don’t always have to kill my victims. In fact, there are those who come to me periodically to be fed upon, in return for favors, of course. I have much to offer, Wendy. If you are wise you will come to me willingly.”
“What if I’m not wise?” she countered. With closed eyes, she shook her head and continued, “Scratch that. Look—”
“Pay attention,” he snapped. “There are more of us than you realize, more than any mortal knows. We have our own governing bodies and the laws they hand down must be followed.”
“You just took away half the magic of being a vampire,” she complained. “So let me get this straight. There is a vampire government out there to keep us in line? What fun is that?”
“It’s all very simple, Wendy. It has been that way for hundreds of years. The last thing we need is our cattle waging war on us again. We must live simple, discreet lives away from the attentions of the public. If you are discovered then the consequences will be dire, and you will most likely be killed.”
“Um, aren’t we already dead?”
He loosed a calming breath. “Understand, my dear that we are, but only so far as you know death. We can still die, and it is always horrible and painful. I would wish it on nobody.”
“Well, thanks for that.”
“Wendy, I am prepared to welcome you into my clan. Wouldn’t you rather live in the luxury of my mansion than in some apartment you can barely afford?”
She turned her eyes to her bedroom, snarling, “Exactly how much do you know about me?”
“I know your parents are dead,” he answered, “you’ve been a police woman for six years, you were an only child who grew up with an aunt and uncle, only one of whom enjoyed having you in his house, your favorite color is blue, you like roller coasters and you have very strong appetites for certain things, and we both know what.”
She was even more nervous now and could not respond.
He went on, “Your phone has given me even more information, mostly about those you care about the most.”
Wendy sat up, barking, “You stay away from them!”
“I can see to it they are all protected,” he assured, “but I would want something in return.”
“Of course you would,” she grumbled through clenched teeth. A knock at her door drew her attention and she said, “I’ve got to go.”
“Remember what I told you,” he warned, “and tell nobody what you are now. If the wrong people find out about you—”
“I know,” she barked, “I know.” She pushed end on the phone and dropped it on the couch as she sprang up. She was halfway to the door when a second knock sounded, and she froze. Looking to the clock in the kitchen her eyes narrowed and she mumbled, “Who would come to my apartment at four in the morning?” She darted to her bedroom and retrieved her revolver from the night stand, then hurried to the door and pressed her back to the wall next to it, holding the weapon ready as she sweetly asked, “Who is it?”
“Ryan,” he answered from the other side.
She loosed a hard breath and reached for the bolt lock, the chain, and finally the little lever that would unlock the doorknob. With her gun still in her hand, she opened the door and beamed him a big smile, greeting, “Well hi there, handsome.”
He looked concerned as he stared back at her, and finally he said, “Sorry to come by so late. You kind of disappeared when everything with Carlos went down.”
“Oh,” she drawled. “And you came all the way over here to make sure little me was okay. Isn’t that sweet?”
“I didn’t wake you, did I?”
“No,” she assured. “Just showered and getting ready for bed.”
His eyes narrowed. “You look pale. Are you feeling okay?”
Wendy nodded. “Something I ate, I think. I’ll be fine. I was just about to go to bed, though. Care to join me?”
He raised his brow.
“Sorry,” she teased. “We both have work tomorrow night, don’t we?”
“Yeah,” he confirmed.
“Okay, um, I’d better get some sleep.”
“Are you sure you are okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
They just stared at each other for a moment, and Wendy did not like what she saw in his eyes. New vampire instinct warned that he knew something and being found out would not be good.
“Okay, uh, I’m going to bed. See you tomorrow.” Not waiting for him to respond, she closed the door and pressed her back against it, leaning her head back against it as well as she whispered, “And I thought my life was complicated before.”