Tides of Sorrow

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1.5 - THE PREY

As the evening progressed, so the frivolity increased both in volume and the number of bodies.

Cain wandered through the streets, stopping at various venues where the proprietors had brought in entertainment for their clientele.

Even ramped-up amps could not drown the underlying chatter of punters; their vocal demands be it to the bartenders or each other, rising above the music. It was punctuated by clinking and sometimes the smashing of a rogue glass or two which slipped from a clumsy hand or an overloaded tray. Overall, the atmosphere was charged with good camaraderie, a meeting of minds and tastes.

It was strange to think that for all a high number of people made - in some cases - an exorbitant effort to ‘look the part’, each one drew the fascination of others. Having hoped to simply blend in, he had underestimated the absurdity of the human race. Although there appeared to be no harsh competition, there was nonetheless readily offered congratulations for the efforts made by all in attendance.

He subtly acknowledged the admiring remarks and glances sent his way. Their comments did not sit comfortably with him in the slightest, but he had to ‘mingle’ as the saying goes, by adopting some of the courtesies and polite reactions to flattery. He no longer warranted love of self or pride; they were things from his past. All that was left was the relentless drive to do his Master’s bidding.

And therein lay another battle. His bone of contention - was the Almighty truly a god in which all He created and sanctioned was just, or, was He merely a slave-master binding His ‘chosen’ to do His bidding? The agony of such debate burned constantly within Cain, making him hate himself even more for inviting such treacherous thoughts. They in themselves were a further betrayal - another sin.

He had wondered over the centuries if there were more like him; sinners who had been ‘marked’ by God to live forever carrying out His orders, and in so doing, were served a ceaseless reminder of their own fall from grace. He had never met any, so the question remained unanswered. The world was a big place after all.

With a tightening of his jaw, he pushed such consternation to the back of his mind and focused on the matter at hand.

He’d sensed the arrival of those destined for release from this life the moment he had wakened. Their presence was now stronger and one, in particular, was nearby. Like a magnet, he was drawn to the left of the bar, near the door.

And there it was; the unmistakable scent of sin. His eyes settled on a man leaning against the door frame. This one had not embraced the weekend theme and was dressed in simple attire - jeans, T-shirt and leather jacket.

Cain zoomed in on the man’s features. Blue eyes - a little glazed - no doubt from the effects of the contents in the glass he held - fair hair, short, well enough groomed and he was clean-shaven. No different to any other man really, the everyday punter would never know what he was capable of by merely looking at him. But, to Cain, he was rancid. Depravity oozed from his every pore assaulting the vampire’s otherworldly nostrils. The stench was building.

Cain followed the man’s line of sight. A pretty girl had just come down the stairs, tweaking the netting of her short petticoat and adjusting her corseted steampunk dress. She teetered slightly on the bottom step, the pheasant feathers on her top hat trembling as she tried to gain her balance.

The man grinned, eyes dilating. He shifted his weight, pushing himself away from the door frame.

Cain’s throat tightened as the hunter’s urge rose from his core. The need to feed was running rampant. And his prey was just within reach. Ordinarily, he would bide his time and wait for the crime to commence. But, the girl, probably in her late teens, did not deserve to be at the mercy of such a man, however fleeting, before the ‘wrath of God’ was visited upon him. Cain’s selection process had always served him well and his savage hunger needed to be sated.

He strolled over to the man and stood in front of him, blocking his view of the girl. The man’s eyes narrowed as he looked up at the stranger. He grunted displeasure.

“You like her too?” Cain asked, with a subtle nod of his head in the direction of the girl.

The man took a slug of his beer before answering. “Maybe. What’s it to you?”

Cain moved to the side, nearer the doorway. “I know where there is plenty like her. And they are willing to entertain.”

The man sneered. “Fuck off, pal. I don’t pay for my pleasures. Go pimp somewhere else.”

Cain kept his voice measured. “I said nothing about paying and I am no pimp.” He cocked an eyebrow.

After a moment, the man relaxed. He finished his beer and placed the glass on the window sill. “That’s different then,” he said, hitching his jeans and straightening his jacket. He offered his hand. “I’m...”

Cain fought a sneer at the man’s offer of comradeship and dismissed it with a feigned smirk, pressing his forefinger to his lips. “Names are not required. They matter not. Only pleasure does.”

The man seemed momentarily stumped, but quickly recovered as Cain gestured the way out.

As they crossed the threshold, a plague doctor bumped into them. “Hoi! Watch it, pal.” The man growled.

A transvestite accompanying the plague doctor quickly responded. “Oh, lighten up, big boy. No need to be so feisty.”

“Fucking faggots!” the man hissed.

Cain pushed the man forward onto the pavement, determined to avoid any further confrontation.

“You are very rude,” a woman said to the man in the leather jacket. She stepped up beside the other two costumed individuals, obviously a companion.

Cain caught a pair of warm brown eyes as they turned from the man to himself. A small spark of recognition seemed to flare in those irises, but he looked away from her, disinterested. He had a pressing matter which needed to be dealt with quickly.

The man grunted and walked on, muttering under his breath. “So where are we going?” He clapped his hands together.

The vampire grinned. “Not far and I guarantee you will feel drained after.”

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