My eyes fluttered open as the sun rose, and its warm yellow rays wafted through the small window above my cage. It thawed my cool skin and brought some light into the usually dark room. I flattened my palms against the bottom of the cage and slowly sat up. There wasn’t much room to stretch, so I just twisted my hips to loosen my stiff and achy muscles. Once the cloud of disorientation lifted, I became more alert to my surroundings and the screams in the distance.
The rouge. Again.
“Let go of me, you filthy bloodsucker!” she snarled at the two vampires.
I admired her bravery, but it was stupid to challenge vampires. They were more powerful than any human. They had super speed and could snap your neck like it was nothing. Assuming they didn’t plunge their fangs into your neck and bleed you dry first.
“Brutus,” the pet master was talking to his muscle.
Brutus was the one who got to ‘punish’ us pets if we were inadequate. Which meant he dragged you down to the cellar and beat you without mercy. He didn’t stop until they covered you in your own blood, and the only signs of life were your ragged breaths.
Martin was the pet shop owner or master until they sold us; he was reasonably kind as long as you listened and didn’t give him much trouble.
All of my memories comprised of living in this pet shop, in this cage. I struggled to imagine being the rogue and living outside these concrete walls. My heart longed for the day I would step over that threshold to the outside world and walk in the warm sunshine.
“Take her to the room. Please don’t kill her. The auctions are in two days, and we’ll discard her then,” Martin shouted at Brutus.
She kicked and screamed at him as he dragged her down the steps by her bright red hair. Going downstairs only meant one thing: he would whip and torture her until she passed out.
“Don’t touch me, you fucking vamp. I’m not scared of you! Puss-” was all I heard before the large metal door slammed shut and my body jumped.
Her screams became fainter and fainter with each passing minute until finally, they ceased.
Martin began his rounds of opening the shop, passing out our breakfast, a piece of toast, and maybe a piece of fruit. But, unfortunately, clean water was a luxury we didn’t always receive.
The human auctions were coming up. It was an event where vampires could sell humans to other vampires. Martin never took me. He said there were regulations about age and health. This year I was nineteen and seemed in good health; it had been a long time since I felt sick. It probably seems insane to be excited about being sold to a creature that could kill you in seconds, but the outside world was so close.
My teeth scraped along with the juicy red apple, its sweet juice dripping down my chin when the metal door swung open, hitting the wall. Martin ran to the back room, his shoes stomping on the ground as he made his way to the cellar. Martin looked thoroughly annoyed but not surprised, while my face held fear and utter shock. The apple was trembling in my hand. Brutus stood there holding a very unconscious rogue girl. Her shirt was drenched in blood, dark-colored bruises scattered along her arms and legs.
“I thought I said not to kill her?” Martin sneered at Brutus.
“She’s not dead. She’s breathing. She’s a strong little bitch. I’ll give her that.” He chuckled.
“Here.” Martin pointed to the cage next to mine. “Put the rogue in this empty cage.”
The front door dinged as the customers of the day were walking inside. Martin dashed through the door and put on his usual charm. While Brutus dropped the rogue in the empty cage, her body thudding against the metal bottom. I watched him intently as he strolled past me and sucked off the blood on his fingers before he descended back down the cellar.
Hours passed, and the rogue girl still hadn’t woken up. If her chest weren’t rising and fallen, I would have thought for sure she was dead. I glanced towards the window, and the sky was turning into a light orange and pink color. The sun was setting. My body felt exhausted; my eyelids drooped down as the events of the day wore on me. My hands ran over and smoothed out my worn-out brown blanket that covered my cage’s floor. I curled my legs up and felt a heaviness of sleep start to flow over me when the bell rang one last night. My eyes stared out; my curiosity always peaked when a new person came into the shop.
“Miss Annabelle! So happy to see you again. Do you need some accessories?” Martin asked the woman.
“I need a new pet, Martin. The last one was such a bore.” Her voice was cold and mincing.
“Well, you know I always keep the more entertaining ones in the front here,” Martin replied, and a sigh of relief left my lips.
We all knew Annabelle was a regular vampire customer. She was constantly stopping by and buying another human. A shudder traveled through me just imagining what she was doing to them.
“Fucking leeches. Fuck! Is this my blood? “ The rogue was finally awake, and my eyes darted over to her.
Our eyes locked as we stared at each other for a few minutes before she broke the silence.
“How long was I out? My name is Raven, by the way.” She asked me.
I looked at her for a moment before speaking up, my voice barely over a whisper.
“My name is Olivia. It’s nice to meet you. Um, I’m not sure. Brutus brought you back shortly after breakfast. I’m not sure how many hours or anything.”
She just nodded at me, and then her brows furrowed.
“What do you mean, Brutus? Are you talking about that disgusting vamp that tortured me? Are you on a first-name basis with those fuckers?” she growled at me.
“I’m not friends with them or anything, but I’ve been here for many years and know their names.” Her eyes softened, but our conversation ended there.
Annabelle’s heels clicked against the concrete as she and Martin walked over the doorway threshold. My eyes closed tightly, and I wished the ground would open and swallow me up.
“Ah, here she is. I know you like a challenge, and she is quite the challenge. Brutus gave her a good beating this morning,” Martin spoke to Annabelle like we weren’t even there while gesturing to Raven’s cage.
“Are you sure? She looks fairly pathetic and filthy. Her blood doesn’t even smell appealing.” She sounded disgusted.
Raven’s chest puffed out.
“Fuck. You. Open this cage, and I’ll show you pathetic, you nasty blood-sucking bitch!” Raven shouted, her fingers wrapped tightly around the bars and knuckles turning white.
Annabelle appeared at my cage and slammed her hand against the bars, causing a loud bang and the cage to vibrate. I jerked up and shrieked. My eyes widened as she just stared at me and sniffed the air.
“Martin!” she screeched, grabbing his attention.
“Who is this delicious creature?”
Martin’s eyes grew wide as he saw her gesturing at me. Please no. Please, no. Please no. I chanted in my head.
“Oh, Miss Annabelle, I’m sorry, but this human here is not for sale at the moment.” He spoke calmly, but I could tell he was nervous about telling her no. Beads of sweat started to form at the top of his forehead.
“And why the hell not, Martin? This is a pet shop. She’s a pet, and I want her.” She growled at him without ever pulling her eyes from me.
“Get the fuck away from her, vamp bitch!” Raven shouted.
My eyes stayed glued on the beautiful yet terrifying vampire in front of me. I feared if I looked away, she would snatch me up. Even if I longed to be out of this place, in her hands was the last place I would ever want to be.
“Shut up, rat!” Martin sneered at Raven before focusing on the blonde-haired vampire in front of me.
“Annabelle, her paperwork is incomplete. Therefore, I cannot sell her until those are ready. You know the laws.” He spoke again calmly.
She finally stood up straight and smoothed out her dress.
“Very well. I’ll be back in three days, and Martin? Keep good care of my future pet,” she spoke calmly, but there was something sinister about her words.