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Chapter 8.0 - YOU WERE A MISTAKE

Cain took slow, deliberate strides around the purlieu of the dancefloor. He would occasionally stop, his fingers tracing the back of a seat or table surface as if inspecting the cleanliness of the place. Then he’d turn, retrace his steps, secretly using his senses to probe the young vampire who watched him, avidly.

He recalled Luke enjoyed confiding in him all those years ago. But the echoes of ones’ deeds and inner depravity also flowed in the blood; the fluid carried so much more than just oxygen, DNA and chromosomes. It preserved the truth of self. Cain had smelled the rot in the boy back then, and he had no doubt the level of degradation in him would taste even more vitriolic now.

“Why did you seek me out?” Cain’s voice cut through mottled darkness.

The young vampire shifted, his movements articulated, sharp as he turned to follow Cain in his unsettling circuit. “I wanted us to become reacquainted,” he replied, cool.

“Really! Why?” Cain lifted his head, affording Luke a fierce glare. Then his eyes followed the moving beams, their light aiding his surveillance of the room and the upper walkway.

“I am like you. Your blood flows in my veins; it shaped me - made me extraordinary. We are now family,” Luke said, finding a surge of self-assurance.

Cain sneered. “I think not.” He stared at him, hard, eyes brimming with distaste as he continued the circuit of the dancefloor.

Luke stiffened, his attention shifting to specific locations within the room, gauging the reactions from his brood. Inside he was bristling. The infatuation he’d developed for this mesmerising creature half a century ago, had impelled the notion Cain would have been happy to see him again. But no. This god- this titan of men - was so cold and harsh; he showed no measure of compassion to his ‘creation’.

Uncertainty shimmered in Luke’s laser-lit eyes - he could not afford to lose face by Cain’s less than favourable reception. His jaw tightened, then he nodded, subtle, first to his left then his right.

Cain caught sight of someone moving behind the PA system. They disappeared behind the curtain which concealed the hallway he’d emerged from minutes before. Another figure vanished into the shadows near the bar.

Luke’s eyes darted upwards. A faint smile tweaked the corner of his mouth. At least he never left things entirely to chance, and this was no exception. He backed up, assuming Cain would step forward.

And he was right.

Cole remained leaning against the washroom door, watching as the two humans made their way to safety. ′It was the right thing to do,′ he told himself, ′no need for innocent bloodshed’.

It was strange to think he had been tracking Cain for years, biding his time, waiting for the ‘right’ moment. Oddly, the time never seemed to present itself.

He could pin down a location where Cain roamed easily enough; it was his prerogative after all, yet, the father of vampires managed to remain elusive - by a mere whisker at times. Cole grinned; Cain had simply never sensed his presence. Convenient, advantageous, he supposed; or was it?

The watcher was cunning, fast, probably as lithe as Cain himself; but he did lack his courage. Well, not any more. There could be no more prevarication or delaying the inescapable. He had to face Cain.

Confusion reigned as he contemplated Becky’s words, the inference. Her conviction that she recognised him was puzzling.

As Cole’s pursuance of Cain had continued down the years, so he came across Becky one night. It was almost 23 months since first he saw her, and from then he’d occasionally noticed her in Cain’s company at various locations.

It seemed she had not listened to his warning of months before when she’d sat - alone, sad and beautiful - outside a pub in a North Yorkshire town. “Look not upon him, for he is marked," he’d said. She was startled, spinning round to see who had spoken; but she didn’t see him, he was too fast. He smiled at the memory.

Chance, however, had intervened several weeks before that night in Whitby; he had met Luke and his brother Tony.

To begin with, Luke did not know what to make of Cole. Here was an immortal and from whence he came, Luke knew not, but he was intrigued. After a while, he ultimately told Cole about his family and the massacre of decades ago. And there, an unexpected link presented itself. The young pup was Cain’s ‘creation’ - but there was something in Luke’s tale which did not add up.

Keeping his own pursuit of Cain secret, Cole decided to become an active member of the brood. He was readily welcomed aboard and assigned, with Tony, to locate Cain.

Over time, he discovered Tony had no love for his younger brother. Even less so when Luke turned Fergus, proprietor of Nitelife and friend to Tony, into a vampire. Luke desired a ready supply, a living, breathing, walking larder on-hand; the popular club would serve that very purpose.

Luke’s faithful four, Christine, Mia, John (Hobbit) and Axl followed his lead, each enjoying the ready meals. They fed on the victims over time, until eventually, they killed them in favour of a new item on the menu. And still, the numbers of clubbers increased.

Both Tony and Fergus had an aversion to Luke’s bloodlust - he killed a lot of people merely for their possessions - hence his name Magpie, lover of all things shiny. The other two leaned more to the criminal element of society and had no qualms on ridding the populace of such individuals. Cole encouraged this, and with a noticeably superior ability to hunt crooks down, the three of them soon formed a secret bond.

Luke tried his hand at propagating - most was disastrous. His four fawning disciples also joined in the act - the results, no better. Victims either became bumbling, tortured individuals or unhinged loons engaging in sporadic violence, which led Cole, Fergus and Tony, having to incite a cull.

Resigned, Cole sighed, heavy. Tonight. Tonight he would deliver.

Riley pulled Becky along the passageway towards the stairwell. She shot furtive glances at Cole as he continued to watch them making their escape. She could have sworn she saw him smile.

Her mind was still jumbled - part of her considered she was mistaken; the watcher could not be who she thought. But at the same time, as she repeatedly combed recollections, she was pretty convinced of the man’s identity - maybe. Possibly. Impossibly.

Would she let Cain know her thoughts? She kept jumping from being utterly assured to doubting her ability in thinking coherently. But, if Becky was correct, the news was going to hit Cain - hard. She did not know what to do for the best.

Riley yanked open the door to the stairwell. Still gripping Becky’s hand, he pulled her forward and down the steps, encouraging her to move faster. They came to an abrupt stop.

“Well, well. Who do we have here?” Christine grinned at them from the bottom of the stairs.

Cain found his dislike of Luke had not diminished over time. “You sent your lap-dog to snoop; to find out about me. Why? You must want something.” His fingers flexed by his sides, the nails elongating, hardening, becoming more razor-like. His lips twitched, and the extended fangs glinted in the still-roaming laser beams.

Although Luke had witnessed, first-hand, the power Cain possessed, he was not ready to bow down in defeat. He had been used to getting what he wanted from a very young age - right up until daddy decided otherwise. Of course, by then, Luke had come to believe his privileged lifestyle entitled him to all he desired and more; it was his ‘right’.

Theodore’s rejection had generated the building blocks of the boy’s contempt. Disinheritance was the next blow, and it added fuel to a furnace already stoked with resentment. That hate grew and propagated into a more insidious side of the young man’s nature. As for daddy, Cain had been a blessing in disguise when he appeared all those years ago.

“Alright,” Luke said, cunningly disguising simmering unease with a laugh. “Now that we have the niceties out of the way, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?”

“By all means.” Cain continued pacing. “Amuse me.”

Luke was trying to conceal his growing bitterness. This encounter should have been more convivial, pleasant, at least. Their time together in the sixties had not been filled with such...enmity. Or, had he failed to sense it back then? Perhaps his lust had blinded him?

“Things happen for a reason,” Luke said, trying to recapture his confident air, ensuring the others could hear it. “I believe you let me live because you saw potential in me. I was a brat, yes, but I learned many things from you, which altered my perception of life.”

Cain guffawed, loud, stopping in his tracks. “You think I allowed you to survive?” The rattle of chains reached his ears again but phased he was not. “You simply lapped my blood off the floor like one of your father’s hounds, didn’t you? It was not donated, I did not choose you. The monster which already resided within you has simply used my blood to accumulate yet more ill-gotten gains.”

Cain stepped forward again, his irritation evident. “You were a mistake, something I left unfinished, nothing more. Depravity hangs around your neck like a befouled, putrid medallion - I can smell it. Poison runs through your veins, oozing from your pores, seeping into your designer labels. You witnessed your family’s extermination, deserved for their corrupt lifestyle - and you have learned nothing!

Luke moved back a few more steps, battling to keep a composed countenance. Behind and to his left, he heard a scuffle. His eyes darted to Cain; he had heard it too.

"Now!” Luke roared then stepped quickly aside.

Cain was focused on three figures coming through the multi-coloured laser tunnel, the light distorting their approach. He barely had time to register Becky and her companion, Riley, were being pushed forward, before a large weighted, metallic mesh fell over him, forcing him down on all fours. He roared as barbed links bit into his scalp, shoulders and back.

He heard Becky calling out, panicked, agitated. He tried to look up at her, but the spikes sliced into the back of his skull and neck, tugging at skin and hair, constricting how far he could raise his head. Next, pain shot through his hands and ankles. He stared at his hands - foot-length bolts protruded, pinning him to the floor. His blood trickled out from the puncture wounds.

Through a curtain of hair, Cain saw a pair of boots step in front of him. He winced as the metal barbs dug into his skin when he tried to shift.

Luke knelt, balancing on his haunches, his designer 3/4 length jacket trailing the floor. He demanded that Becky be brought forward, then he grinned at Cain. “It seems I have learned much, do you not think?”

“Your ego and depravity will be your undoing,” Cain answered, tight, inflamed.

Luke reached up grabbing Becky’s wrist and yanked her down level with him. He laughed, mockingly, leering at Cain. “And your pitiful toleration of her will be yours!”

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