Drake (Book 1)

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ACT III-The Andromeda effect

10:15 p.m.

Drake departed the bar after a candid and almost whole-hearted conversation with Serina Ackner. They exchanged numbers, and Drake kissed the top of her hand as a gentleman should before going about his night. Serina headed west towards Baker street and the university while Drake went East towards main street and the circus. A cast of full black clouds hovered over the city and the smell of ash and cinder lingered in the air.

He took the maze of back alleys going through the city, dimly lit by dying lamp posts or a few open windows from nearby flats. Dogs barked in the distance and a few drunken fools stumbled on the sidewalks. Drake carried on, his expression blank and eyes focused forward down the street where he would turn and take the subway to his townhouse. On the corner of the street, three patrons left the comfort of a pub.

“Come on! Let’s hit one more bar!” the man said, spinning in circles and slurring his words.

A much fuller man and a woman sauntered behind him, laughing as they crossed paths with Drake. The woman wore tight denim shorts and black boots with curly red hair. She was petite and thin with eyes like a dove. Her boyfriend resembled the stereotypical jock, with broad shoulders, a chiseled jawline, sharp blonde hair, and wore a rugby jersey. His face was as bright as the rear end of a peach.

The girl guffawed. “You feeling okay?”

“I feel great!”

He stumbled into Drake as he was walking past a red phone booth. Drake stopped a moment, and without acknowledging him continued on. The man gritted his teeth and clenched his fists.

“It’s not polite to bump into people, mate!”

Drake glanced out the corner of his eye. He and the man stood parallel to a brick wall. His blue eyes glowed and the drunken little shit before him tilted his head.

“You’re pissing me off!” he continued, spit flying from his mouth. “All you rich blokes with your fancy clothes and-!”

Drake swatted him like a pest, hurling him headfirst into the wall. His cracked skull painted a red flower of blood as his body slid down the broken wall. The girl shrieked and rushed to his side, though it would not matter. The poor lad was dead before he could even feel the full impact. Blood cascaded from his wound like a small waterfall, bathing the sidewalk and the small bush growing in it.

“YOU BASTARD!” the jock yelled, charging forward like it was another rugby match.

The girl heard a terrible crack, and the next thing she saw was her boyfriend some ten feet in the air, with Drake’s leg extended outwards. His body came down, making a loud thump as he hit the sidewalk face first. She glanced at him to see his body stiff and jaw open wide. His eyes were blank and twitched uncontrollably. Blood seeped from the wound on his head into a bright puddle.

She stifled a scream as Drake knelt before her. As she looked into eyes, she saw beauty in them but also hysteria and a yearning for blood. His primordial instincts took over at the first sign of danger, replacing the charismatic lawyer he was known as for a feral beast and apex predator. His gaze ensnared her in a trance along with his pale face and dangerous smile. Her body shook as he placed a savage claw to her forehead.

The streets were empty save for the homeless man sleeping down the alley beside them. She heard the metal doors slam shut as the store owner closed down for the night. Then Drake dug his claw deeper into her forehead, drawing a trickle of blood.

“Do you want to know what the Andromeda effect is?” Drake asked.

“Please- please don’t hurt me…”

His voice was hollow and grim. He pressed his claw deeper into her forehead and the girl shrilled from the pain.

“Most humans die within thirty minutes of being exposed to my blood,” he said. “The human body cannot tolerate the parasitic organs that develop upon transformation. So, in a nutshell, they consume themselves from the inside out…”

The girl’s words turned into nothing more than gasps. Black veins formed on her forehead and spread across her face down into her body. Her red hair turned gray and withered away like a dead flower. But she wasn’t dead yet, as Drake continued pumping blood into her body.

She clenched his arm with all the strength she had left and pulled. But his iron-like grip didn’t budge.

“Only those who are a direct descendant of Ulysses can survive the transformation. Those who don’t will simply turn into dust. This is called the Andromeda effect…”

Her body sizzled and the skin from her arms and legs ignited before becoming dust leaving no trace of her. Only her clothes remained, filled with dust that blew away from an oncoming wind. Drake licked the blood from his finger.

“I should have eaten her-”

He shook his head right before his mind went blank. Then he bent over and hurled before stumbling into the narrow alley. He gasped and hurled one more time, sitting back against the wall behind him. Sweat drenched his body, and he found breathing difficult. The homeless man across from him, covered in a soiled blanket and newspaper grinned.

“What are you looking at?” Drake asked, still panting.

The man smiled. Gold replaced most of his teeth. He reached for the bottle by his side and tossed it to Drake.

“You look like you could use some of this my friend,” he quipped.

Drake waved him away. Blood covered the sleeves of his jacket and pants. His stomach felt nauseous. Then he felt a wetness on his palms. More blood. He laid there petrified in shock.

“What- what the fuck just happened?”

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