My feet hit the ground on contact. Several pairs of feet landed all around me rather softly, like they were used to this. Faint glimmers of light traveled along the walls as the fire reached our part of the room. Ancient braziers ignited with golden flames and I gazed around at the splashes of color on the walls. Murals depicted a race of people that worshipped the night, and lived in the darkness. But instead of spotting demonic influences as I first suspected, it seemed that the creatures themselves were a part of the darkness of the underworld, and lived only on the surface during the night time hours.
Several red robed men gathered up the corpse of the caretaker and laid him on a stone table. Bowls were passed around containing what looked like small blue and pink round candies. I didn’t take one, for I could smell what they were; blood packaged in a candy shell form. All of the teenagers took theirs and held the candy at bay, readying their hands for the signal to devour it within this strange ritual.
The blond-haired boy took a hold of the bowl and went over to the man. He dropped three of the candies into the dead man’s mouth, and set the bowl down on the raised platform.
The outer circle of robed men chanted over and over, words I could not understand. The teenagers took their pills, one by one and shouted the chant after the others. The light on the walls died, plunging the room into darkness. Even in the shadows I saw them, faintly. Their eyes glowed amber, a bright yellow against the blackness. Before this little chant their eyes had seemed so normal. Amid the others I didn’t spot the blond headed boy in here; he had disappeared from my sight. But his absence didn’t encompass my focus; it was elsewhere, on the body.
The corpse’s eyes glowed crimson. They smoldered atop the face like tiny fires as the body moved and stretched. The man that was once dead rose up from the stone table and faced me. He looked devilish and deathly ill. His skin was blackened like the night, and his veins gave off a sapphire glow. He didn’t at all look like he was a friendly creature, but a devious one. The man I once knew turned his attention on me and lunged.
I dodged his attack, skittering out of the way. I surmised quickly that was why I was here. I was meant as fodder for this creature. I barely had time to think anew because he recovered from his mistake and lunged at me again. Nevertheless despite his agile quickness, I skipped away from him as this kind of fight was easy. I was a warrior and trained for situations like this. I didn’t normally fight if talking was an option, but in this world, my skills came in handy. Like the others I had dealt with, I would find this creatures’ weakness and exploit it.
I moved backwards and hit the body of one of the teenagers by accident. They had moved into my way, blocking me from an exit. The kid pushed me forward, just as the wolf-like creature leapt at me anew. This time, before I could retreat, the creature caught me and opened its jaws wide. Sharp canines protruded from the upper and lower decks of the mandible, aiming for my neck. The man grabbed at my head, while I tried tearing the claws away from my torso. His neck bent as he turned to the side and leaned in for the kill. I half expected him to rip out my veins with those menacing teeth, but his face met the porcelain shell of my skin and the extreme glassy façade of my organ penetrated his mouth, not the other way around.
He let me go quickly and staggered backwards with renewed fury. Once he nursed his wounds he glared back at me. I noticed that one of his upper canines was gone, shattered upon impact with my neck. The voices of those present stopped chanting, and I felt everyone’s eyes on me. I wasn’t supposed to survive that attack. If it wasn’t for my skin, I’d be dead.
The beast didn’t go silent like the others. It lunged at me again, preparing for a devastating assault, but someone flew into my way before I could react properly. I saw a blur of gold and brown. There were two people, stopping the beast. The golden-haired man shoved the beastly figure of Roberto Roderick onto a teenager with the brown hair and yellow eyes. Roberto’s fangs pierced the skin on the neck of the boy instantly.
I ran forward, so I could rip off the beast and help the kid out. This was not normal. But someone strong grabbed my torso and pulled me into their arms, keeping me away from the grisly scene. The kid didn’t cry out, but he let the beast drink deeply from him. Eventually Roberto stopped and let him go. The kid fell to the ground, as one of the girls ran over and fed him several of the blood filled candies. He was breathing, regularly now that he had sustenance.
Meanwhile, the beast fell back onto the table and lay back on the stone. The eyes that were once red with fury dimmed and turned orange. Eventually they were gold. The man arose once more, and he looked normal again like the Roberto that I knew. The golden flames spread around the walls of the room, dousing the basement with its light again. And as the several pairs of eyes stopped glowing amber and returned to pairs that I recognized from the street, I noticed they all stared at me - every single one of them. They all wore the same expression. Even Roderick stared at me from his seat on the table, curious as to what happened between us.
The man that held me in place let go and fell back behind me. I stumbled slightly, regaining my balance. The blond haired kid entered my vision and he smiled happily at me. “Well,” he stated humorously. “You do exist after all.”