Chapter 1: Sulru
“You look tired,” the Earth man observed from his spot across the room.
Lifting my head slowly and shooting him the deadliest glare I could, I growled, “I’m fine.”
It had been going well on five months -our months which were longer- and I was far from fine. The fact that we had made it this long was amazing. Without Malook’s help, though, we would have surely been caught and executed already. My boss had been able to take charge of our case; Generals Sheif, Otahn, and himself all insisting that he was most qualified to snuff out the people who had betrayed him, almost getting him killed in the process. Of course, the only reason we knew about this detail was due to Mote.
I couldn’t really judge him on the ferocity of his attacks during the battle, as it was necessary for our escape. However, even with as much as he had done for us, for me, and was continuing to do, I found myself hating him just as deeply if not more than before. He enjoyed it too much: that was the problem.
Even thus, he had been able to sneak about and get into the Generals’ system again, leaving an encrypted note for Otahn with information about us. It was through his hacking abilities that we were alerted to Malook’s presence in the case. As well, once the secret message was decoded for Otahn upon his normal palm scan to get into work, the General was given instructions on how to respond and keep it properly coded in return.
His reply led us to the discovery of a grand hiding spot. Apparently, several decades prior to my own induction at the academy, there had been a project to move much of the government’s work underground...literally. Many tunnels had been dug beneath the city of Heleckson in this further. Fortunately for us, the project was abandoned and the tunnels were sealed. The original thought was that it would aid in secrecy- keep citizens even more blind to their workings including keeping them less aware of when they were being monitored.
Also, it was meant to be more efficient as there wouldn’t be the regular traffic or natural interference as above. In the end, it was deemed too dangerous, since a terrorist attack could easily devastate such a system.
These entrances had been carefully sealed at their abandonment. That was the biggest hurdle. Mote had attempted to reboot the electrical pulses therein and had been unable, leaving us to use force to get inside. Explosives were something difficult to come by and would likely draw attention anyway. Vampiric strength could not lift the passage door either and prying it apart would not work. It became quite frustrating to open.
Surprisingly enough, it was John who came up with the option that succeeded. It wasn’t a common thought on Galdelier, but on Earth, the idea of using construction tools for nefarious purposes was widely accepted and that was exactly what we wound up doing.
It was much easier to steal from a civilian company tasked with building and repairing structure than it was to keep poking at government institutions. Such a thing wasn’t as focused on and therefore simpler to do without detection. It did leave one complication- that being hiding the damage to the entrance so if someone were to happen by and see it, our position wouldn’t be compromised.
Otherwise we would fall victim to the very reasoning the project had been abandoned in the first place. We did do our best to hide it with dirt, rock, and other nearby substances. At least the location was in the midst of a forest and not closely looked after. We had that in our favor.
“I never expected you to be such a bad liar,” John continued pressing.
I lifted a snarl in his direction, yet said nothing. I knew what he was at and I absolutely refused to allow it. What was the point anyway? We had been sitting in the cold darkness of one of the many offices of the underground tunnel for a few hours now. Mote had taken off searching the areas in hopes of learning more for his little machines, leaving the two of us alone with no sort of buffer.
The tension between the human and myself that had been mostly relieved once he and his wife had become our allies, had sustained a major dent upon his learning how I pinned the blame for everything on him, making him a treasonous outlaw. It had been less his reputation that he worried for and more the fact that I had created a scenario where he might never see his wife again.
The man had even attacked me once we were away from the initial threat. Mote, while seeing this hilarious, also let his bloodthirsty nature take over and actually viciously threw John from me. It had left me to put the other vampire down and force him to calm. So despite the Earthling’s gratitude for my sparing Connie, the relationship was dampened. I wasn’t about to let him do this for me...
“You act like someone who’s given up,” he started again, “Don’t tell me you have.”
“I never expected you to be so naive,” I spat his own phrasing back at him, turning cold eyes, “Tell me, John, what hope is there? It’s only a matter of time until we can’t run anymore. We’re only delaying the inevitable.”
There was a short pause as he watched me look away and lean my back against the steel wall behind me. The tunnels had a minor amount of supplies in them, allowing us to create a couple of makeshift cots and that was about it. He sat in his pile of blankets across the room and huffed despite how relaxed and helpful he had been attempting to keep his tone.
“If there’s one thing I know, it’s that there is never hope if you give up,” John retorted.
I don’t know why I entertained this philosophy of his. Perhaps it was boredom, but I found it difficult not to ask, “What do you propose we do, then?”
“For starters, that you accept my offer,” his brow lifted.
I smirked, shaking my head in half-amused aggravation that he kept on with this, “I’ve been longer without eating before.”
“Maybe. But not when you were on the run, not when you had also been wounded,” the man pointed out, “And we all need you to be as strong as you can possibly be.”
I breathed out, my brain actually beginning to consider feeding from him, “And what will you do when Mote starts to weaken?” I inquired. The male vampire had remained in full strength, having fed and not sustained much damage during our escape. “I won’t let him fee-” I cut myself off abruptly, realizing that I had begun to speak aloud protective thoughts concerning the human. I certainly did not trust Mote to be careful and considerate should John give the same courtesy.
There was a hint of a grin that flashed rapidly on and off of the man’s face before he settled on a solemn expression, opting not to acknowledge my slip, “We’ll figure that out when the time comes. You’re the one that is tired, hungry, and agitated right now so you’re who I’m worried about.”
I stared at him for several moments, his face barely recognizable in the dark. He was right...and I hated that. Human food was so much easier to deal with. I despised what my body needed; that I couldn’t simply subsist on what they ate or at least blood from the meat of the animals normally killed for human consumption. It irked me to no end how specific the vampiric diet was.
“What after that?” my tone had become somewhat softer.
“At this point, it seems there is no way we go back into society as it is,” he mused, “So our chances of returning must lie within the faction.”
I nodded, “Otahn had been planning a move before the incident. However, with all that has transpired, it’s no doubt had to take a back burner. I suppose we should attempt communication again.”
“They have acquired a new General,” John reminded, “Surely that is helpful.”
It was true. General Sheif, one of the people Cartef had run to, had actually since joined the rebellion. Our understanding was that in addition, she planned on bringing in many more who were beneath her.
Three out of seven of the the Generals on Gelvin were now within our ranks with a steadily rising number of lower officers and civilians, including a large chunk of the vampiric population. Control of this side of the world had been the primary focus and it appeared that we were well on our way to accomplishing this. In such a motion, John’s, Mote’s, and my name would be cleared.
“So,” John rose from his spot on the floor and strolled over, carefully taking a seat next to me, just far enough away that we weren’t touching, “I’m ready when you are. Just tell me what to do.”
I twisted my head to the side, staring blankly as I thought. I still didn’t want to do it...yet I knew I should. It wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience for him, but it wasn’t like he was going to die from my bite. Of course, I’d have to choose a less sensitive area than what was normally done during feedings. The neck would both be excruciating and easily fatal. My eyes fell to his arm though I guessed he couldn’t tell that since he remained still. No, I shouldn’t risk piercing the precious arteries there. I looked back up at his neck, then slowly at his chest.
Uncrossing my legs, I rotated my body so that I faced him entirely, “Can you take your top off? I need a placing that will risk the least damage.”
He took my explanation with a blink and a small tilt of the head as he gathered the fabric he wore and pulled it upward and off, leaving him completely bare save for the thick leggings and shoes he wore, “Shit, it’s cold, isn’t it?”
Though his words were jovial, they were sincere. It was quite chilly in these caverns. My vision scanned the skin around his neck and shoulder. The muscle and bone directly behind his collar and above the blade on his back should properly protect him while giving me a good area to work with, “It might get a little bit colder for you during this,” I admitted, “But I will act quickly.”
“It’s alright,” he assured.
Inhaling sharply, I contemplated refusing this service one last time. Nonetheless, logic and the pang in my stomach kept me quiet. Instead, I inched closer and placed my hands on either shoulder to nudge him to turn his back to me. He was very responsive so it didn’t take much prompting. With one knee bent behind him and the other extended along the side of his lap, I separated my jaws and began to sink my fangs into the white flesh before me.
Anticipating his initial jump at the pain, I kept a hand on each of his upper arms to hold him when he did. Obviously, I would have let go if it had been too much for him, but after the first shock, it was clear that he was fine. Uncomfortable, just not to the extent that he wished to quit. The man had seen my teeth before. However, he was not acquainted with how, like my claws, they extended farther than their normal appearance. I hadn’t bothered to inform him of this either for the plain fact that it would likely only heighten his apprehension of the actual discomfort of the experience.
All in all, he took it well and I did try not to bite too deeply. Even so, I could feel the tension in his body as he fought his instinct to flee from the attack. I couldn’t see his face, but with the grunting noises he was making, I pictured him grinding his teeth and grimacing.
As promised, I moved as rapidly as possible, sucking hard and being careful not to waste a single drop or a mere second. The blood flowed much better than I had expected as per the location. Feedings were usually acute- a great amount of sustenance in one instant and then we were left to get by on it for a long period of time rather than regular small meals such as humans were used to.
That being said, it was odd to be filled and able to stop without the requirement to stuff myself. Though the strangest part was that the human I fed on was still alive when I was finished. I carefully eased my fangs out of his shoulder as not to cause any more damage to the tissue.
The man immediately drew a large breath in, then proceeded to inhale and exhale in a deliberate pattern to catch his breath and relax. There were about eleven puncture wounds on his back that were trickling so I raised my arm and blotted them with my sleeve.
“Are you alright?” I asked.