The continuous lightning lit up the whole dark sky. The clouds have been ruling over the weather for days now. The rain poured down without an end creating lakes on the roads. It was daylight though you could get lost it was so dark. Just like the future. The whole world was at war. An unnecessary and futile war that started a long long time ago. Niiko pushed the heavy wooden door open with raindrops spiraling down her raven dark locks onto the floor. The chamber unfolded in front of her waking memories. Memories that she wished she could forget. Memories that were meant to be revenged. And that is exactly why she was now pushing the door open. She stepped in sucking in the dull air, filling her lungs before exhaling loudly. Just as she remembered. The throne room they called it, however, it was more of a council chamber. There was a throne in the back, true, but nobody sat on it. Instead, a long table stood in the middle with about twenty chairs placed around it. Only twelve of them were occupied though. The table was a simple dark wooden table, nothing decorated it and so it seemed rather naked. Only some candles danced in the wind that was brought by the woman as she revealed herself. All of the twelve men seated jumped up at the opening sound of the door.
’Gentlemen!’ – With a wide grin stretching on her lips she held her arms to the sides greeting whoever was busy in the chamber at that moment. Her appearance made everyone freeze. All eyes glued on her some with shock, some with fury and some with fear. – ’It’s good to be back!’ – A light laughter rang from her stomach spending chills down on everyone’s spine who heard her.
Yes, it started a long time ago. It was a mistake, however, no one realized it until it was too late. Humans had lived on earth for thousands of years evolving, but with them evolution gave way to a new species. One that was stronger than the human race, but at first meant no harm. Vampires were born as a mutation caused by unknown events. What was known for certain was that they appeared and slowly, but surely their number grew. They had to accommodate and they did it well. They were different and at first they kept their distance from the humans. This new species had its ups and downs. They became stronger, yes, however, the sunlight was a nuisance. They did not die in the sun, but the sunlight burnt them slowly and painfully. This meant they could survive in the sunshine but not for too long. As the world improved and innovations changed the lives, the vampires followed the growth and they even took their part in it. Many of them became inventors, scholars and later doctors. Nobody knew they were different. Nothing from the outside gave them away. They appeared to be normal, no fangs, no strange looks or anything. The blood was the only downfall of the vampires. They fed on animals at first until they realized how much better it was to feed on humans. It was not just the taste, but the fact that it gave them more energy, power and life force. They soon accepted that they needed human blood to live a full life. And so, vampires found a way with which they could maintain human blood without busting themselves. Only a small cut that remained after each attempt. They called it the ’borrowing’. They never killed. If anyone of them went mad, or the bloodthirst shaded their judgment and ended up killing the human, the vampires did not hesitate to eliminate their partner. They could not risk their existence.
’Why…why are you here?’ – The first man to wake up from the shock uttered the first words. He was tall and lean, however, the iron teeth of time have already left their marks on him. Small wrinkles around his eyes and mouth gave it away that he had seen better days.
’I heard you needed my help.’ – The woman tilted her head, brows raised as if asking and not stating this fact.
’No.’ – A calm voice rang from behind her. She lazily turned to face the person. – ’Nobody called for you. And nobody needs…your help.’ – The man talked slowly, tasting each word with a small mocking smile twitching on the corner of his lips.
’Oooh? Is that so?’ – The woman took a step towards him with a faked surprised expression.
’Yes-’ – The answer was interrupted by a yelp.
’Not entirely…’ – A young-looking blond man chirped from behind the table as he tugged his shirt into his pants, trying to compose himself. The older one shot him a deadly warning, but the blondie approached the woman anyways.
’Niiko, you arrived at the best god damn time!’ – He stopped in front of her with an uncertain smile. The woman’s grin has faded and she stared at the man in front of her, doubt in her eyes.
’Hmm…What am I to believe now?’ – She sighed as if she had a dilemma. Niiko shook her head slowly as if considering her options. – ’Am I welcome then? Or not? Who is there to tell?’ – Her voice seemed troubled however everyone in the room tensed at the words. They knew exactly who stood in front of them and the hint of irony did not escape their ears.
’Silence! We have enough trouble, woman, don-’ – The older man was cut off by the sudden fierce glare Niiko gave him.
’Watch your mouth, Ariel, or I will shut it for you. These are not the 1700s. Do not talk to me with that tone.’ – She looked back at the young man standing nervously in front of her.
’Tell, Rami, what’s up?’ – She reached for the man who squeezed his eyes shut expecting something much worse than what he actually received. Niiko patted his head and within seconds Rami relaxed under her touch.
’We are losing, Niiko. We cannot hold out anymore. Please don’t leave.’ – Ariel snored disapproving the younger man’s words, but kept his mouth shut. He crossed his hands in front of his chest and rolled his eyes glancing at the other men present in the chamber.
’Where is he?’ – Niiko’s soft voice surprised Rami. He looked down at the woman with slightly wide eyes and mutter incomprehensibly. – ’What was that? Speak up!’ – Niiko’s voice filled the room even though her words were low as if murmuring.
’He is away…Should be back soon.’ – Rami spoke a bit more confidently this time, but he could not meet the woman’s eyes.
’Why so scared? Did something happen?’ – Niiko’s eyes narrowed with suspicion.
’Nothing…Well…He should have been back a week ago, but I’m sure he will be back sooner or later.’ – The woman took a deep breath, but did not shake. She nodded and turned to the door. Only then did the twelve men in the chamber notice the strangers standing at the entrance. Two tall man with identical faces, one with black hair and one with white, watching the happenings intensively, ready to leap if necessary. Both of them had a sword hanging by their sides, their hands resting on them.
’Kuro, Shiro! Let’s find a room where we can dry up and rest.’ – Niiko started walking towards the door as she talked. – ’We need food as well, Ariel, make sure you send a feast to our rooms.’- Before she finished her sentence she disappeared with the twins close behind her and only an echo reached the man.
’This is a mockery! And you-’ – Ariel waited until the woman was out of sight then stepped in front of Rami and grabbed him by his collar. – ’You shall not talk out of place again or you can kiss your place in the council byebye. Do you understand?’ – Rami just nodded and soon as he was released he wiped the saliva off his face.
’Disgusting…’ – He muttered as he cleaned Ariel’s DNA from his face.
’What was that?’ – The man spun around so quickly it was hard to follow.
’Nothing.’ – Rami straightened his shirt and walked back to his seat.
The number of the vampires did not grow quickly. It was rather difficult to make new ones. Most of those who tried turning died in the process. Vampires, as they were a mutation, could not create new life. They only could turn humans. At first they stole new borns and they brought them up as their own. They turned them when they reached the age of ten, so they were already big enough to work and take care of themselves. They were told it was a kind of ritual, as they reached the age of man they could become part of the clan, now officially. They never left the new born vampires alone. They needed guidance to learn the new ways, to learn how to control their strength and to try everything they learned in practice. How to borrow blood without ever getting caught, how to shake hands or hug a human without breaking their bones. Then, the new vampires left their ’parents’ and started their own lives. The circle was just like the humans’, except for stealing babies.
The turning process was painful, but not unbearable. It was the human’s system that could not follow the changed the body went through and most of the time it gave up before it was time. The heart stopped from the adrenalin rush or the brain shut itself down from the too much information it was receiving. However, there were some who survived, and they became a significant part of the clan. When they reached a certain number, the vampires decided to found their own hierarchy. They agreed that they needed leaders who would keep their eyes on the clan, they needed a force that kept them in line and also protected them. And so, they created the council which at first consisted of ten, then later twenty vampires. The oldest and wisest occupied most of the seats, however, they always made sure to enroll youngsters too. Fresh eyes were needed as the world changed faster than most of the vampires liked it.
Time flew too fast for the vampires. They did not age as humans. They aged, but slower and even this aging differed from vampire to vampire. Some, whose body and mind were strong aged one year every ten years, others one in five years or three years. Age sooner or later caught up with them. At least back in time. Now, not many vampires reached the old age as they died in the war. They remained younger and stronger for a longer time than humans, however, they were just as vulnerable. A simple knife was enough to kill a vampire. It is true their skin was much tougher so it was difficult to scar them, but it was possible indeed. They bled like humans and they felt pain like humans.
However, they were much stronger. It took three or four men to pin down one vampire. The mutants were also faster; some could run so fast the human eyes could not follow their movements. They were hard to hunt down, but later humans became professionals in this matter. They had to be careful though. The blood of the vampires was a poison, or more precisely, behaved like acid. Once it was spilled and it contacted air it could melt the skin down from a human’s body. It was a weapon vampires did not like to use, but sometimes it was the only tool at hand. Literally.
Niiko led the twins to the second floor of the building. It was a huge stone structure, as she heard, it was once used as a university. Now, it was a stronghold of the vampires. The rooms which were once classrooms now functioned as bedrooms, washing rooms and dining rooms. The woman walked with certain steps knowing exactly which rooms to settle down in. The doors looked identical except for the tiny tables on top of each of them with a number painted on it. Some of them have become faint, some disappeared entirely, but for the twins’ luck Niiko stopped in front of one which still had its number on it clearly.
’Room 101. This shall be yours, boys.’ – Niiko reached up to touch the cheeks of the twins. The boys nuzzled the woman’s hand then nodded and stepped inside. Once they disappeared behind the door Niiko hesitated for a split second then headed to the door down the corridor which read 106. She slowly opened the door and stepped inside. Her eyes observed every single inch of the room.
’Nothing has changed.’ – She mumbled to herself with a faint smile playing on her lips. Exhausted and weak from the journey she stumbled to the bed and let her body fall on it like a sack of rice. She buried her face into the pillows and within minutes she was dreaming, dreaming about a peaceful world she once knew.