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Red Viper

By Desiree Burhans All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Fantasy

Blurb

Sambuca isn't human... Despite her venom-green eyes and teeth all ground sharp, she convinced herself that she was. Eventually, her past begins to catch up, and she finds herself in a complicated mess. Her world gets turned upside down upon meeting a mysterious stranger known as Goliath. From there she starts to learn her true nature. On top of that, when a series of events leads to a corrupted king taking over not only a vampiric kingdom, but a human city as well, hell breaks loose. Battle sparks even in these modern times between forces most humans only dreamed of. With the help of a rather odd pack of shapeshifters and a very traitorous ex-vampire-hunter, she tries to put a stop to this madness.

Chapter 1

I do hope you believe in monsters... because if you’re not careful, we’ll strike when you least expect it. And we sure as hell believe in you...Take it from me.

It was the dead of the night when the smell of blood hit my nose; right away I knew that my prey was near. My grin widened as I slipped into the shadows, intent on ending him. What’s that you say? Me, a leech? Hah... far from it, actually. What gave you that impression?

I had no weapons... I didn’t need them. Other hunters had plenty, be it stakes or knives. I was satisfied with venom. Often criticized by my fellow hunters, I learned to distance myself from everyone else. It was hard being an outcast among my own people...but I learned to deal with it a long, long time ago.

Covered head to toe in black, my own face hidden under a thick scarf, I knew I was ready to hunt.

Slipping from shadow to shadow, I spotted him crouched over an innocent girl. Disgusting... he was drinking her dry, eating her alive. Vampires were just as bad as those damn shapeshifters, except their murders were a lot less grisly.

After a pause, I determined that it was the right moment to strike--I leaped from hiding and sliced cleanly into the vampire’s back with my nails. That might sound strange, but it was my typical way of killing--for a peculiar reason. The vampire whirled, his mouth twisted into a scowl... Yet I was nowhere to be seen. Time to watch...and wait.

He looked very confused, and suddenly held his head. His bloody, blonde hair fell into his eyes that were suddenly glowing with pain. He gasped and fell to the ground-- and I knew this was my chance. I emerged from the shadows with a grim smile, my fingers spread and fixed like battle-claws. The vampire stared up at me, obviously growing weaker.

“How...?” he whispered. I yawned, pretending to put a finger on my lip in thought. Not having shown my teeth before, I decided to display them now. They were unnaturally sharp, each one having been ground to pinpoints. This struck fear even into the Bloodsucker’s heart; I had the satisfaction of seeing his pupils dilate to their maximum.

“R-Red...Viper..” he gasped. I gave a thumbs up and slowly bent down over him.

“My fellow hunters are so unoriginal in their killings. I love to weaken my prey, then end them slowly...” I whispered. I drew my needle-sharp nail down his cheek, watching blood well up in the wound. The vampire was growing weaker by the second.

“But...you’re only human... How is this possible?” he hissed.

I smiled and gave my most simple response. “Venom.” With that, I swiftly bit down onto his neck, chuckling as he screamed with pain. My vemon seared him, made the entire death experience extremely painful; which is exactly how I loved it. I was gone before his screams died down.

Now, I suppose I should explain myself. No average eighteen year old girl could possibly have venom naturally, the mutation would be too strong. Which is true, my venom wasn’t my own--rather, it belonged to a couple of the most toxic snakes in the world, who were housed right at my tiny hut for a home. So. How didn’t I die from my own snakes’ venom?

While I wasn’t able to produce my own(come on now, that would be ridiculous), I was unique in my immunity. Somehow I was immune to every bit of snake venom that entered my blood... interestingly enough, I was also immune to vampire venom.

The vampric venom was designed to do one of two things--weaken/paralyze, or provide excruciating pain. I’d found out the sickening concept of pain in blood...appearently, the more painful the bite, the more delicious the blood, so I heard. Disgusting.

My venom worked the same way; when I scratched, it acted immidiately to weaken my victim. If I decided to let them survive, the weakness would fade in a few days. My bite was just as deadly as a snakes... It provided a very painful, but short, death. The mix of venoms I used specifically targeted the nerves and heart. If I wanted to be really nasty, I could use my store of hemotoxins, which basically would cause my victim to bleed out of every pore and opening of their body. No worries; I rarely ever used that particular venom.

So, how did I get it on my nails and teeth? I had specialized hollow nails, somehow I was born with that as well. I had a large supply of toxins in my claw-like nails since just a small amount would suffice to kill; this meant that I rarely needed to refill. As for my teeth, I ground them down myself with several files of my own. Very painful--but worth it. I made several tiny holes in the tips that held my killing venom; again, a certain amount was released when I broke skin with my bite.

Heh. Well now you know how I do it....You might be wondering why.

------

My story begins with my parents literally selling me as a vampire’s slave... at the time, I was only ten years of age. No, I don’t know why. Perhaps they didn’t like how I always dressed in black. Perhaps they didn’t appreciate my strange, vemon-green eyes that pierced into their very souls when I stared them down. Regardless, I was given away--for that, I’ll never forgive them.

Life to begin with was hard. I cleaned for about ten hours a day until I collasped with exaustion. I’d learned that when I was thirteen, I was to become a food source--something that I hadn’t been looking forward to, naturally. I’d heard the mournful screams of the blood slaves enough to be terrified.

That day came faster than it should have. My thirteenth birthday, the day I was due to be bitten for the first time... The first son of the vampire king, or whatever, chose me. He sunk his fangs into my neck with no hesitation--it was like getting two shots. My entire body didn’t feel engulfed in flames though, which was a plus. The venom itself didn’t effect me, maybe? But getting two ‘knives’ shoved into my neck was less than pleasant; an understatement, really.

When the endeavour was done, I was locked into my room...where a snake was sitting on my bed. It reared up, flashing its fangs to me. I took a step back, but it was too late; it slithered toward me and sunk its fangs into my leg. More bites..more ‘shots’. It didn’t hurt that bad, really...but I was annoyed.

I picked up the snake gently, noting how it tensed. It stared at me intently, and I could see the confusion turning to respect in its eyes. I knew, at that moment, that I could read the emotions of snakes--and that I was somehow one of them. Interesting... Such promise. You’ll grow into quite a viper... a voice said in my head. With a gasp, I realized it was the snake speaking to me. I gave a smile that was suddenly interrupted by my door slamming open.

The vampire took one look at the snake in my hand and snatched it. He squeezed the life out of my new friend until the snake hung limp. I stared in disbelief.

“That was a freakin Boomslang. I’m surprised you hadn’t gotten bitten--Lucky I came to save your ass vermin. That worm’s venom is just as toxic to us... This illegal pet trade those idiot blood-bags partake in is getting to be ridiculous. Get to work,” he snapped. With that, he let the snake drop to the ground...dead. He left after that, expecting me to jump to it.

Well. I shed a tear...but there was no time for that. I bent over and gently tore the fangs from the dead snake, holding the tiny teeth delicately. They still had their venom...and I would use it to get away. The snake would not die in vain... no, his death would be my escape. I would avenge him, simply because I knew he had feelings too.

So. I exited my room to discover my two owners sitting at the table. Prince and princess...meant to die together. Gathering up my courage, I walked up to them and gave a sweet smile. “Dinner is ready...” I said, taking out a glass of red liquid. I moved in next to them...it was time to make my move.

Quick as a snake, I plunged one fang into the prince, then the other into the princess. Both were blatantly shocked; I took no time to see their reaction. By the time the prince roared in outrage, I was out of sight. Sure, they could hunt me down...if they had time to live. Screaming filled my ears, dying down slowly into silence. I looked into the room to see two paler-than-normal vampires laying in a pool of their own blood.

Perfect...I was finally free. I stumbled across some vampire hunters, who gladly took me in to teach me. I learned weaponry, but found it clumsy and not fast enough. I created my own venomous fighting style, obviously adapting my nail-claws and teeth to work with venom. For some reason, many avoided me... So, I left and eventually became an independent huntress.

-----

Which brings me back to reality. I bent down and carefully drew a snake about to strike with my nail. Specifically, I drew it on his neck...any vampire knew that it was a challenging mark. I grinned, my sharp teeth flashing. What a satisfying night it had been; I was ready to go home and relax. Perhaps I would kill even more vampires tomorrow; those gangs were getting awfully rowdy lately. More and more humans were vanishing, and it was up to me to control them. Rarely did I let vampires go, but when I did, I was confident they warned others about me.

The other hunters didn’t seem as intimidating, oddly. I didn’t know if maybe the ‘Hunter Association’ in this city was the issue or what. But I was the only one around here getting rid of the vampires that captured and killed tons of people. Normally you’d expect to see fellow hunters around at night somewhere, especially in a big city like this...were they being lazy? Busy elsewhere? Ah well. It was time to make my exit, there wasn’t time to dwell on such notions. I was tired and needed my rest.

Well, I would have made my leave hadn’t I heard chuckle behind me. I whirled, coming face-to-face with blood red eyes. A rather handsome vampire stared me down; his black shaggy hair partially covered his eyes. He wore all black, like me, and had on a black masquerade mask. I wasn’t impressed; instinctively, I leaped back and managed to place my back against the wall.

The vampire advanced on me, seeming simply curious. I could see the question in his eyes...who was this huntress? Why was she so afraid? I would prove the second question to be quite the contrary... and would find out the first one he knew the answer to already. Regardless, cornering a snake was a terrible, terrible idea...one that he would soon learn. I narrowed my eyes in wait.

Making a decision, the vampire lunged forward and grabbed my arm. His red eyes met mine as I peeled back my lips and let out an angered hiss. He tilted his head, trying to distinguish any features and finding none since my face was covered with a thick black scarf. I had enough of this, no more playing games. I’d tolerated his existence up to this point.

With a snarl, I hissed, “Wrong move.”

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