I had trailed the female vampire all the way across town as she led her confused fair haired human companion. Tall and blonde and dressed in a pretty blue dress, she had picked him up in one of the clubs and seemed to have convinced him to go home with her. I was certain that she intended to drink his blood; I just needed a chance to intervene out of view of the general public. I was sure that the police would frown upon me staking a girl in the chest, even if said girl was (unbeknownst to them) already dead.
It came as a surprise to me when they arrived at a small end terraced house and another dark haired guy answered the door. I couldn’t tell if he was vampire or human; he looked deathly pale but in a more… sickly way than I was used to.
Still convinced that the human guy from the club was in imminent danger I hurried around the side of the house, searching for an inconspicuous way in. I was hoping for a convenient open window or unlocked door. Instead I had to settle for breaking the glass in the back door as quietly as possible and letting myself in. There was no time to pick the lock.
The sound of someone crying out in pain masked my entry to the house. I caught everyone by surprise as I burst into the kitchen. The sickly looking guy had attacked the human the woman had brought, biting viciously into his neck. Upon seeing me, the woman launched herself in my direction, eyes turning silver as she bared her fangs and hissed in rage.
Being attacked by a vampire was not unfamiliar to me and I quickly fell into the fight. Although she was stronger and faster than me, she didn’t seem particularly experienced and my well-practiced moves caught her off guard. Her rage seemed more protective than offensive and I could tell her main aim was to keep me away from the other guy, who was still feeding on the human as if we didn’t exist.
Using her actions to my advantage I made as if to lunge towards the other vampire, changing direction at the last minute and bringing my wooden stake up with as much force as I could. In a combination of luck and good timing I somehow managed to hit her in the heart, causing her to release an ear-splitting shriek that finally drew the attention of the other vampire. With a cry of rage and pain he threw the human guy to the ground.
“Eleanor!” He cried, but it was too late- she was already dead.
He attacked me with a sudden severity that I was not fully prepared for, knocking my wooden stake away. I had expected him to be the lesser threat, but his grief was making him reckless and leading him to make moves that could hurt both of us. We circled and I did my best to evade him whilst trying to locate my weapon- I had no hope of winning against a vampire with no way to kill him. A commotion at the door caused him to be distracted for a moment, allowing me to get in a good punch and move closer to where my stake had fallen.
A new voice yelling for Eleanor made me glance away to see who was about to attack me from behind. It came as a complete shock to suddenly find myself meeting eyes with Scarlett. A wave of emotions I was not prepared for flooded through me, freezing me for a second. I had not seen or heard from her for weeks. Her eyes mirrored my surprise.
My momentary distraction was enough for the vampire to suddenly lunge at me, bringing us both to the floor. I hit the hard tiles painfully and for a second I saw stars. Fighting through it I struggled to keep the snarling creature away from my neck as he snapped viciously, baring fangs.
“Enough!” Scarlett’s voice echoed through the room, filled with fury.
Suddenly the attacking vampire was ripped away from me and into the air. Scarlett threw him across the room like some sort of avenging goddess, stalking after him and seizing him by the throat. Her smaller size did not hinder her at all; she was clearly far stronger than him. The scene brought to mind some kind of predatory cat attacking a much weaker animal. He struggled weakly for a moment, fingers pulling uselessly against her hold until finally he went limp with defeat. He watched her in fearful silence as I hurriedly got to my feet.
As my attention had been fully on Scarlett I did not notice the room slowly filling with vampires behind her. My stomach dropped as fear filled me for the first time- there was no way that I would be able to fight through that many. Scarlett’s gaze flicked to me for a moment and then around the room. I knew she had heard the change in my heartbeat. I sensed that she was quickly assessing the situation and deciding what to do. Would she kill me? She had no obligation to keep me alive; our truce was long over. I had obviously just killed a vampire and had been trying to kill another one; something I guessed would be a crime in her eyes and the ominous eyes of the others filling the room.
I had almost decided to try and make a break for it when she finally met my gaze again. Her face was expressionless but something about her piercing blue eyes seemed to be telling me to play along. When I didn’t move her eyes widened slightly and finally I gave the smallest nod. I didn’t have a lot of choice but to see what she was going to do.
The second I agreed her face transformed into a wide satisfied smile as if she had planned this situation all along. “Nick, I am glad to see that you got my message. You acted quickly.”
It took me an instant too long to answer but I made myself nod. “Yes, of course.”
The watching vampires glanced at each other in confusion, their postures becoming slightly less hostile. For some reason Scarlett appeared to be in charge, and they relaxed under the belief that their leader was in control.
She beckoned to a very distressed looking vampire near the front of the crowd. I realised that he was the one who had shouted when they had arrived. His gaze was fixed on the dead vampire on the floor. He took a reluctant step forward and bowed to Scarlett stiffly. “Yes?”
“This is the one you told me about?” She asked, pointing at the dead woman.
He nodded, bloody tears trailing down his cheeks. “Yes.”
Scarlett looked at the vampire she still held by the throat. “So you must be the one she turned. Correct?”
Now the situation made sense- the woman had only recently made this vampire. It explained why she had brought the human for him to attack- he needed fresh blood.
“Who the hell are you?” the new vampire spat vehemently.
She raised an eyebrow, appearing unconcerned although her grip tightened causing him to choke. “My name is Scarlett; does that mean anything to you?”
With difficulty the new vampire shook his head. “Never… heard of you.”
The watching crowd released hisses of outrage. I guessed that he had answered incorrectly.
Scarlett glanced back at the audience. “The rules have long been established. Anyone wishing to create a new vampire, must have permission from the leader of the area.”
I noted the dangerous tone of her voice; this was not going to end well for someone.
She continued, “We have these systems in place for a reason. Without them, chaos would ensue. In this situation, not only was permission not granted… Eleanor has not even bothered to teach this pathetic creature anything. With no knowledge of our customs and no respect for his elders… I judge that he would only be a threat to our kind.”
The crowd murmured in agreement, a few of them casting malicious looks at the vampire in question. His anger had turned to fear now and he was trying to shake his head. “No- no plea-“
In the blink of an eye, Scarlett released his throat and pulled him towards her. The move was almost an embrace until her grip suddenly turned hard and she tore his head clean from his shoulders. Her eyes blazed red for a second as his blood sprayed over her and his limp body fell to the ground with an unceremonious thud. I swallowed, resisting the urge to flinch or back away. I realised that I needed to put on a confident front if I hoped to get out of this situation. They needed to believe that I was supposed to be there.
After the silence stretched out for a moment she straightened up and addressed the room. “Let it be known... this is what happens when the rules are not followed.” Her voice was cool and confident; as if there was no doubt she would be obeyed. “If anyone steps out of line again, my response will not be nearly as kind. Eleanor and this boy have experienced relatively quick deaths; the next person to cross me will be staked outside to burn at sunrise.”
She spoke as if Eleanor’s death had been her plan all along. She was covering for me by making it seem as though I was under her command, I realised. I remained silent and did my best to appear calm and in control. Really, I just wanted to run.
Scarlett was not quite done issuing orders. “Now, somebody deal with this mess. We cannot have the human police seeing this. The rest of you are dismissed, get far away from this area.”
A tall slim dark haired woman dressed in black stepped forward, followed by an older looking man. They began the clean-up process. The rest of the vampires filed out silently. Scarlett approached the human man still cowering in the corner. I followed silently, concerned for his safety.