A chilling breeze whistled through the night sky sending a shiver through me. I was pulled down an alleyway. Not simply by sheer force; but by my eager, unconscious willingness.
Numbly, my bare feet carried me through broken sidewalks and drying puddles. I wasn’t in control as I stumbled over overgrown tree roots and passed the stop signs that simply weren’t good enough to hold me back. I couldn’t slow down, just kept stumbling my way down empty street after empty Street, the moonlight guiding my way. I wasn’t in control.
I could feel the presence of something. I could sense the darkness; feel the evil. It kept growing closer.
A chilling whisper echoed in my mind as it tugged me further down the alley. Thisssss wayyyy…
I continued forward without a second thought, not that I really could think on my own at this point. My mind was transfixed on whatever was drawing me forward. Nothing could stop me from whatever my purpose was for being drawn down this terrifyingly dark alley. I couldn’t even question my sanity for any of this. I was helpless to whatever evil lied in my way.
My senses pulled me out of my unconscious state the moment the putrid, rotting smell of death lingered around me. I sucked in a breath as my foot stepped in something wet. That didn’t hold my attention for long however. I was too shocked to see the darkness of the alley around me.
It was beyond dark, it was nearly pitch black. Haunting my innermost being. The area didn’t have anything about it that stood out to my surprise. A dumpster casually crowded the side with scattered blue trashcans and recycling tubs tossed up against it. There was a light pole next to the dumpster, but the light looked broken as the moonlight glimmered off the scattered broken glass wedging their way into the gravel ground.
“Not again.” I moaned at the inconvenience, trying to decipher where exactly I was. I inched my foot forward only to have it slide through something thick and gooey. My brows twitched together as I hesitantly glanced down at what I stepped in. A part of me really didn’t want to know, considering an alley was one of the least clean places you could possibly be in. Of course, what was I thinking! Nothing I glanced down at would be pretty. It was an alley for darn’s sake! An alley… the place people were trapped down when running away, the place where trash collected and broken glass threatened to give people nasty infection, the place where bodies were dumped and police checked frequently, the… oh gosh, forget it.
I rolled my eyes, forcing my gaze down as I popped the light of my phone on.
“What the…” The words died off as I took in the filthy path of pooled up blood. The color was nearly black and just as intoxicating. My hand flew up over my mouth, trying to stop the gag reflex from kicking in.
I couldn’t stop the gasp as the unpleasant liquid gushed between my toes. Obviously shoes weren’t a priority when I drifted out on this nighttime hike. Regretting everything, I stepped backward, attempting to shake off anything that was sticking to my feet. The attempt was futile as I felt dirt clumping up on me instead.
“Gross! This is just plain disgusting!” Scrunching up my face, I tried to blink the vileness away but it couldn’t be hidden from my voice.
A moan deeper in the alley stopped me in my tracks. How could anyone still be alive with this much blood loss? And why did it smell so bad? I squinted to see if I could see anything. Whoever it was was not in my view.
Avoiding more of the blood puddles, I moved forward. Being as cautious as possible, I tiptoed around the loose trash and broken glass. I had absolutely no desire to sift through my blood and the blood of someone else’s if I had gotten cut. It was a complete safety violation, and one that I didn’t want to deal with tonight. Bed and sleep sounded awfully fulfilling right now.
Inching forward, I made my way around he large dumpster. A gasp zipped through my lips before I could stop myself. Crap!
A man was slumped against the grimy, brick wall. His face was hidden from my view, but I could tell by his build that he wasn’t female. The trail of blood led right to his dirty boots.
Jumping into action, I raced forward, dropping to my knees. The gravel dug into the soft flesh of my legs. Ignoring it, I kept my full focus on the injured man in front of me.
“Hey? Hey, are you okay?” Man I could kick myself right now! Obviously he was far from being okay, but I didn’t know what else to say to him. I mean, you can’t exactly say, hey, mister, did you notice you’ve lost a crap ton of blood? No, no that probably wouldn’t bode well. Besides, it was rude to state the obvious.
The dark, sticky blood covered his equally dark jacket. His thick hair looked a mess, but then again what did I expect? He clearly had gotten in a tussle of some sort to end up this way. I can’t even imagine being him and having to clean up all of this mess. Gosh it would be a time-consuming process!
Swallowing hard, the realization of everything dawned on me. Sleepwalking and being led somewhere wasn’t anything new, but finding a body had never happened. A shiver shook my body as I thought about it. I never remembered how I got places. Nothing had ever made any sense.
I’ve stumbled upon dead animals in my unconscious state, but a person? A real person! “I think I’m going to be sick…”
I tried to breathe in the fresh air only to have it tainted by the odor of everything in the alley. All I could think about was my childhood. Every foster home I’d been to had called me crazy. They never could accept me and part of it was because of this. Because of the fact that I never could go to sleep without the risk of ending up somewhere lost and in a daze. Not many foster kids had the privilege of getting locks on their doors, but I had been the exception. Of course I had no control over the locks. They had been put outside the door so my foster parents could lock me in at night. I couldn’t blame them. It would have looked pretty bad if they’d lost me all because of an urge that I couldn’t control.
The man’s second moan brought me back into focus. I could see lacerations and contusions forming all over the man’s face. His jacket had been ripped --- or clawed --- throughout most of it. Blood seeped through the wounds that had made it underneath the jacket. I had never had to deal with so many injuries at once. Sure, a scrape here and there was common, but this man had clearly been attacked. Who knew the extent of the damage?
Sliding off my black sweatshirt --- thankfully I had at least put that on for the chilly night! --- I hesitated, unsure where exactly I should even begin to attempt to patch him up.
After carefully eyeing him up, a gouge in his side drew my attention quickly. It looked the worst, and seemed to be bleeding the most. Trying not to gag, I shoved the sweatshirt into the man’s side. I applied tight pressure, clicking my tongue as I tried to think of what else I should be doing right now.
Seeing the man stirred, the thought of reassuring him seemed like the best plan. “I’ve got you… just hand on, okay?” Ugh! Why is my voice so shaky? Think tough thoughts. Come on, Adi, think tough thoughts. You’re stronger than this!
Pushing tighter on the wound, I crept a bit closer to get a better handle on things. It seemed like the obvious choice at the moment. Until he opened his eyes…
The man’s eyes seemed to radiate a bloody red color. It was brighter than anything she’d ever seen.
I couldn’t help but scream. Who wouldn’t? Stumbling back, I tripped. Like the clumsy self I was I barely caught my fall. I did everything I could to ignore those sharp little pebbles digging into my hands like they owned them. I barely could bite back a cry, but I couldn’t let him see my unfathomable lack of comfortableness.
A low growl wheezed from his mouth as fangs grew from out of nowhere. Okay, that’s a little bit dramatic. The fangs obviously grew from his mouth! They obviously weren’t there before though.
“Wha…” Once again I could kick myself for stumbling over my words, but honestly I was at a crossing point unsure whether I should stay and help him or run for the hills. Every vampire I had ever seen in movies or read about in stories flashed before my brain in a matter of seconds. Regardless of that, I couldn’t stop the stupid question from slipping from my lips. “What are you?”
The curiosity of what he was drew me in. I was in no place to say that whatever he was didn’t exist. I was far from being anything but odd. I mean, come on! I sleep walk and stumble upon injured people. I found myself odd! Maybe that was the reason why I was still in the alley when every ounce of my being was screaming for me to get the hell out of there. I couldn’t budge from the place that could resort in my life being placed in jeopardy. I couldn’t run at this point even if I wanted to.
Instead of giving me a real answer, the dingbat simply glared at me.
“Get. Away. From. Me. Human.” His low growl was meant to be intimidating, but the resulting fit of coughs bubbling out of him proved to be of little effect. The red liquid gushing from his mouth and the consistent wheezing was enough to reveal him choking on his own blood. The intimidation factor was no longer there.
“Look, you need help. Let me help you.” Cautiously, I crept closer to him. The least I could do was help him sit up. He’d be able to breathe easier then.
I cringed at the blood coming from him. He was beginning to look a lot paler than he should. His face twisted and contorted in a pain that I’m sure I couldn’t even begin to possibly understand.
“I’m calling an ambulance.” Before I begin to panic. I tried to reassure him, hoping that I’d reassure myself in the process. I pulled the phone out of my back pocket, numbly beginning to key in the nine… one…
With a whoosh, the phone was knocked out of my hands. I watched in wide-eyed horror as the mechanism broke into hundreds of little pieces.
“Hey!” I yelped, my brows furrowing together as my eyes narrowed. “What the hell?”
“No…no help.” He groaned, clutching his side more desperately.
Like I should feel sorry for him right now. He definitely didn’t deserve my pity after that stunt.
I paused when his eyes found mine. The redness had drained from them, quickly being replaced by a hypnotizing darkness. His voice was barely above a whisper as it drew me closer to him. “You want to help?”
Well duh! I kept the comment to myself, now uneasy with the idea. “O…of course I do. What do you want me to do?” I couldn’t keep the uncertainty out of my voice. Something felt off with the way his face had changed. Something in his demeanor wasn’t adding up.
The whole situation was odd and unpredictable. Way more weird than what I had ever known. And that was saying something. Being in multiple foster homes had revealed to me that my version of normal was far from being normal. It was something I truly knew nothing about.
I watched his lips quiver into a small smirk. The motion lacked innocence, and I knew helping him was something I’d grow to regret. Much sooner than I had expected.“Give me your blood.”