Not long had passed since I had first seen the girl leaning against one of the adobe houses in this small village where I sat on a still sunwarmed rooftop like a gargoyle.I watched people in all shapes and sizes running two and fro like mice and smiled slightly.
I wonder what the girl was hiding from because I can tell that she is hiding from something.My curiosity is piqued by I make no movement to do anything about it.I know better than to get into mortal buisness.
I lean back on the roof so that I am flat down against it on my back so that I can watch the stars.Tonight the sky was a dark blue and the stars were bright.The moon was hardly visible even to my acute eyes.But I didn't need the moon's light to see.
I must have lain there for well over a half hour before I sat up again.By this time the sky had darkened more,indicating rain or a storm.I sighed slightly unmeaningly.I wasn't prone to staying outside in a drenching rain.If it did rain than I would have to find shelter for the day because I wouldn't sleep in mud.Dirt is fine.But not mud.
When I scanned the narrow,dirt streets again I saw that the girl was still leaning against the house.It puzzled me slightly. The girl peered around the corner of the house,making sure to keep her longish brown hair from alerting anyone who might be there.But there was nothing but some barrels and a wooden stand.After seeing this the girl moved out into the road slightly.Then a little more.Soon she was standing in the middle of the road.She looked both ways before taking off in a quiet run down the darker road and away from me.
It took me a moment to fully comprehend that my night's dinner was running away.When I did you can be sure I took off after her.Although it only took me a moment to catch up to her I didn't let her know I was there just yet.I had a sense that something was going to happen and I wanted to see what it was.I have always been curious by nature and when something interests me and I want to know more I generally tend not to let anything distract or stop me.
Far off in the distance I heard a sound.I looked up but couldn't see anyone.So I concentrated on the sound until I figured out what it was.The sound of horses hooves on the dirt.The sounds were growing slightly louder every minute.Two men argued audibly (to me at least) to each other about where a girl,this girl,could've gotten to so fast.
"I think she went here."Said the first man who had a gruff,scratch voice.
"I don't think she woulda done that.She's smart.She knows that that's the first place we'll look.She probably went on to the next village.It's only a days travel on foot and less if she knows how to ride."The second one replied.This man had a softer more thoughtful voice but it held no less menace in it.
The first man scoffed and frowned."She's a whore.How smart could she be?"**A prostitute?**I thought.Not like I hadn't seen enough prostitutes,killers,rapists and other trash in my prolonged life.But I would never have guessed that she was one.
Suddenly I felt a long dormant feeling wash over me as I continued to hear the hoovebeats get louder and watched the girl continue to try and sneak into hiding or out of the village.Pity.I wanted to at least give this girl a better chance of getting away by killing the men.Besides which,I was hungry and needed to feed.What better person to feed on than someone like these men?
The girl perkered her head up from her semi-hiding spot behind some barrels as the men entered the end of the street.I could hear her breathing increase with her fright.She quickly ducked down and put a hand over her mouth to muffle her breathing.The men stopped in front of the barrels.As far as I could tell they didn't know where she was.So I didn't move to kill them.Yet.
Another person entered the picture.An older man who hummed slightly as he walked down the street.He had white hair and was limping slightly.He must have been in his late sixties or older because it was hard to see his face under his wrinkles and white beared and moustache. The men dismounted their horses in swift movements and looked at each other questioningly.The old man didn't notice the two others until he had almost walked into one of them.
"Oh.Hello there.What are you two boys up to?Mischeif I suppose.That's what boys do."He mumbled tiredly,jabbing a finger into the younger man's gut enthusiastically to puntuate his sentance.The man looked confused and then slightly scared.
"Umm.Nothing much.We're uhh.."The man looked at his partner for words.
"We're looking for our sister."The second man finished.
The first man smiled and nodded."Yes.Sister.I don't suppose you've seen anyone new around here recently?"
The old man scratched his head and thought for a moment."No.'fraid not."Then he continued his trek."Hope you find her soon."He mummbled over his shoulder.
One of the younger men must have heard her because he looked over at the barrels suddenly.He signaled for his partner to come over.He did and the men each grabbed a barrel and picked it up quickly. The girl jumped up and tried to run away but one of the men stuck a leg out and tripped her.She rolled and got to her feet.She had only gotten a few steps before the second man was on her,tackling her from behind and taking them both to the ground.Their was a brief struggle before the man pinned the girl on her stomach.
"Get off me!"The girl growled angrily.She had a slightl French accent.Perhapse her mother or father had been French.I wondered briefly where they were and if they knew what their child was doing.
"Shut up you trollop!"The man ontop of her hissed as he tied her hands together behind her back with a thin rope.The girl bucked and kicked and struggled but she could neither break free of the ropes or the man.
I knew that I had to decide what to do now.Save the girl or leave.Of course I went to save the girl.
I dropped down into the darkness behind the first man and pulled him into the darkness before he could make a sound.I drained him within a minute,savouring the richness of his blood.I didn't bother to dispose of the body.I didn't have the time. By this time the second man had pulled the girl to her feet and slung her over his saddle.He hadn't yet noticed that his partner was gone,confident that nothing could stop them.
**His confidence will kill him.**I thought wickedly.
The man slung his leg over his saddle and was promptly pulled off the other side by me. He made a sickening "thud" as he hit the adobe wall and cracked it.I was suprised that he hadn't broken throught the frail wall.
"What the-"The man wheezed as he caught his breath that had been knocked out of him.He hadn't seen me yet.
The girl wiggled around in an attempt to get herself off the saddle.She did but landed on her back in the road,hitting her head on the ground.She moaned softly and curled up as best she could against the pain.I didn't notice the man pull out a rather large throwing knife until it had hit me in the shoulder.I snarled in pain and surprise.You never want to surprise a vampire.Especially me.I still remember the look on his face as I pulled the knife out and the wound healed in seconds.It is forever etched on my memories.
I looked up at him with an evil leer on my face.I had perfected it over the last few centuries.The man nearly wet himself but he was a determined type.I admire him for that.It's a rare person indeed who stands up to a bigger predator when they know they'll probably loose.
His eyes turned bloodshot and he charged at me,issuing a yell in the process.I wondered if I should let him hit me but decided against it.Instead I grabbed his arm as he came within a half-foot of me.With a fluid catlike movement I flipped him onto his stomach and wrenched his arm behind his back.Bones crunched and snapped audibly and the main yelled and wailed under the pain.But I didn't let his arm go.
"Please..."The man whined."Let me go.I'll give you money,my horse.Whatever you want.Just name your price."
I thought for a moment before remembering why I had come upon this village.My search for the cross of Berzier.The artifact used in my exorcism (Author's note-you find out about that later on in this chapter).
"You're a raider aren't you?Sort of a pirate some would say?"I asked him.
He twisted his head to look up at me slightly."Y-yes."He replied in a questioning tone.
I placed a dark,leather booted foot on his back and leaned down."I'm looking for an artifact."
I stopped,gauging his reaction.
Not hearing the answer I was hoping for I pulled on his arm slightly.He winced and gasped."There's some in the next village!"
"It's a cross of sorts.It's over four hundred years old and called the cross of Berzier or more commonly the Berzier's Cross.Have you heard of it?Tell the truth now because I can tell if your lying.I hate liers."I punctuated the last bit of my sentance by pressing my boot hard against his shoulder blade.
"There are crosses.."He stuttered."In a town a few days travel.The town called Jezzuah.That's all I know.Please."
(Authors note-I can't quite remember whether I killed him or not because I was caught up by the hope of finally finding the damned cross.I can safely say that I most likely did kill him for those of you who want to know.)
I turned my attention back onto the girl who was still lying in the street.She tried to wiggle away from me as I approached.Rightfully so as well.She had just seen me slightly torture a man.She probably thought that I would do the same to her.
Her eyes were wide with fright as I knelt down and looked at her.I reached out a taloned hand and sliced through the ropes binding her hands.They had been tied tightly and all of her wiggling had caused the ropes to rub against her skin.Now it was cracked and red.But she didn't seem to notice it.
Somehow she figured out that I wasn't going to hurt her so she sat up and rubbed her wrist slightly. "Thank you."She whispered to me as she looked up.I didn't reply because I really wasn't sure what to say.I was spellbound by her dark royal-blue eyes and how they contrasted with her pale skin and dark hair.
If she noticed that I was staring at her she said nothing.If she really was a prostitute she was probably used to being looked at.But never by a vampire.Though she didn't know I was one yet.She didn't even know what one was.
"You're welcome."I replied finally,standing up and starting to walk away.
"Wait!"She called to me.I stopped and turned around and looked at her expectnatly.She jumped to her feet.
"What are you doing out so late?"She asked."You don't look like an Astonomer.You must be an actor.I didn't know they liked to watch the stars."
"What makes you say that?"I asked with a raised brow.This was new.
She indicated to my hands.More so to the owl like talons at the end of my fingers that I had made blantantly obvious."And then how you made it look like you had been stabbed by that man's knife."
I hadn't known that she had seen that.At least I hadn't used any of my real "powers" so she didn't know that I wasn't human.
"I do like to act in my spare time."I told her."What is your name?"
"Alyssa."She replied quickly."And I'm in debt to you."
I smiled slightly at her."So some would say.But I don't,and will not,ask anything of you.Consider your debt repaid in full."
I turned and walked away.I heard her footsteps behind me after a minute and turned around again.She was standing there puzzled and slightly disbelieving at my last staments.I guess that she wasn't used to being treated with kindness and being released from debts.
"Where are you going next?"She asked hopefully.
"Let me travel with you."
"Impossible.I only travel alone."I said.
"Well.There's a first time for everything.I won't slow you down and I can help.I'm a decent cook and cleaner.I want to repay my debt to you.This way I can.Please."She pleaded.
I felt my resolve melting away as I looked into her depthless eyes.I turned and walked a few steps away to think.She waited patiently before I turned back to her with the answer.
"I have..things to do tonight that I must do alone.Stay in the village for th day and I will come and find you tomorrow night if you still wish to travel with me."I stated,unknowing of what I was getting myself into.
She nodded."Thank you.I won't dissapoint you."
Then she headed towards the tiny inn down the street.
**I'm sure you won't.**I thought before I took off into the night air.
France the next night
I stalked rather anxiously through the low-ceilinged doorway of the
village's inn.Inside I could just barely stand to my full height which annoyed me somewhat.
My nervous and anxiousness to get this trip underway was easily
visible.Having never traveled with a mortal since I'd turned I was
justifiably scared of what I might do to her without meaning to.
There were a but a few people lingering around the hallways of the inn but they quickly made way for me.Probably scared away by my glare.None dare to confront the pale,ebony haired giant that loomed menacingly in the narrow hallways.
Just as well.If they had I probably would have killed them.
With a disgusted eye I noticed that the inn seemed to be so infested with small creatures that the rooms were just metaphores for rocks under which the little vermin hid.I could see cockroaches,rats,mice,ants and many other unnamed flying,buzzing little beasts.The people seemed to take no notice of the creatures.Indeed some seemed to be wallowing in the filth of this decaying old building.
All this only contributed to my need to get Alyssa and get out of this
place.Out of the inn,the streets, the village and this foul and dirtied
land.It was all too disgusting and decaying and I felt as though I would
decay as well if I stayed even a minute longer.
I found her room easily.There were only a dozen or so rooms in the entire inn.She was sitting on a frayed,red woolen blanket that covered a
hay-mattressed bed.They hay was dirty and unchanged.
Just like the rest of this filthy inn.I thought miserably.Alyssa didn't
notice me as I slipped silently in the door of her room.Only when I shut the door audibly did she startle and turn around.
"Oh,hi.I'll just be a minute.I didn't expect you so early."She said quietly
and almost apologetically.My mood softened somewhat just by being in her presence.I wondered why she had such an effect on me,disliking it because thus she could be used against me somehow.
"That's alright.I didn't sleep well so I rose early."
She turned back to me.I could tell that she was slightly disappointed."You really don't want me to travel with you do you?"
I sighed and slumped my shoulders slightly as I answered."Alyssa.I have to be honest with you.For myself as much as you.You are in a great deal of danger,even as we speak."
"What do you mean?"
I turned away from her as I continued."The other night.The man actually did hit me with the knife.You see...I'm not human.I haven't been for a very long time.And I never will be again."
She seemed shocked by this then confused and slightly scared."But then what are you?Surely you jest?"
I shook my head slightly."No.Vampire is what I've been called and what I call myself and my kind.You are in danger because I might kill you or one of my kind might.I can't protect you all the time,as much I would wish I could."
With a slightly ponderous expression on her face she sat down on the edge of the bed and thought for a long moment before looking up at me.A decision thought,a decision made.I could see it in her eyes.
"I have nowhere else to go.I trust you Valek.I know you would never
willingly hurt me."
Nodding sightly I smiled almost sadly."I don't trust myself.Not around you.I can smell your blood and it's it hard to ignore.But I will try."
She smiled thankfully before returning to packing things into a medium sized burlap sack.No words were spoken in the next few minutes.We could both hear a verbal brawl going on in the hall outside which seemed to make Alyssa nervous but if anything arose I could easily deal with it.
There was a small window to accompany the small inn's room in which we stood.I walked over to it and looked out.The sky was much darker than when I was out in it.Dark storm clouds brewed overhead.I strained my hearing out and could hear thunder not far off.A storm would soon reach this village.
If we move fast enough we could make it to the flatlands before it reaches us.
I looked back to Alyssa who finished packing her things and slung the bag over her shoulder."See anything?"She asked.
"A storm coming."
"Yes.Although if we travel at my pace we should be able to outrun it."
"Your pace?"She asked curiously.
I grinned wickedly."Very,very quickly."
She nodded slightly worried but ready to go.We hurried through the
halls,stopping only once to pay the bill to an oversized man with arms big as treetrunks.
Once outside I looked around quickly to make sure no one was watching.Once satified that there was no spectators I pulled Alyssa close to me and took off into the air and towards the flatlands.
I heard her gasp in shock as we lifted off and flew through the air at a
"My god!This is...amazing!!How do you do this?"She looked up at me.
"Concentration.And will.It's really not that hard.Most all vampires can.Some choose not to though."
I could feel her nod in understanding."So where are we going?Even at this pace it's to long a distance to Jezzuah to get there by sunrise?And there's no towns on the way."
"No.No villages.There are,however,many caves that will provide adiquite shelter for us when the day comes."
The storm,unfortuantly,came faster than I had anticipated and we were both caught in the downpour of rain. Frowning I pushed myself to go faster.Still,by the time we reached the caves and touched down silently we were both drenched in the rain and Alyssa was shivering.Her teeth chattered loudly and her lips had a blue hue to them.
The cave that I chose was large one with a rocky floor in some places but there was a large flat surface that I sat Alyssa down on before going in search of something I could make a fire out of.
Someone had been here before us and there was a large pile of fresh wood near the back.I picked it all up easily and carried it back.
I fumbled with the wood,making a hasty pile and using two rocks to light
them.They wouldn't catch at first but patience is a virtue and I was
rewarded when a small flame caught and soon a rather large blaze was
She slept peacefully by the fire that night.I stayed watch near the caves
entrance in case any of my children came to investigate.Fortunatly none did.But the strain of flying so fast and for so long had taken it's toll on me and I knew with all certainty that this was the start of my torment.
Bloodscent was palpable in the air as I walked down the crowded streets of LA.The city of angels it was called though in reality is was hardly paradise filled with smiling cherubs.Drug dealers,addicts,hookers and runaways were the norm here.They were everywhere.Huddled in doorways to hide from the cold night air.
It was probably about three or four degrees out right now.I didn't feel it luckily.I had no clue where I was going or what do to when I got there.I just wanted to keep moving.
I eventually ended up in front of a gothic/industrial bar and having nothing better to do,walked in.Loud music assaulted my ears and I watched some goths gyrating or slam dancing on the dancefloor.The strobe light made there movements all the more eerie.My type of place.
I leaned against the bar and simply watched,also taking in the appearance of the bar itself.Chains,both plain metal and neon painted,hung from the ceiling.Upside-down trays of glasses were suspended from the ceiling as well.There were only a few tables to a corner but booths towards the back.The dance floor was at the doorway of the bar and a large black,wooden stage stood at the back side.There were two vertical polls attached to the stage indicating an exotic dancer's place.
The song stopped and most people left the dancefloor and headed to tables or booths.The red curtain on the stage parted slightly as a bass-filled dance song came on.A feminine hand with a silver sequened triangular glove on the top of it made a few movements.Men sitting closest to the stage cheered and hooted rediculously.
After a few seconds a woman,she couldn't have been more than 23 or 24 came onto stage dressed in a thigh-long white man's buisness shirt,red tie,black knee-high stiletto-heeled boots and a black Dick Tracey style hat.
The hat was pulled down,shadowing her face but I could tell she was smiling.Normally I would've left but something inticed me to stay.She started to dance and threw the hat to the side revealing the triangular,brown haired face of Alyssa!
I stood in stunned silence as she dance,pulling off the shirt and tossing it into the crowd,revealing a black,silver-sequened bikini outfit.She rolled gracefully across the stage and swing herself sensously around the polls.The men cheered and hooted cat calls of,"Yeah,baby!" and "Come on honey!" as they tossed coins and bills onto the stage.
The woman laughed and taunted them by dancing on stage infront of them,almost close enough to touch but not quite.
"She's quite somethin' aint she?"I heard someone behind me say.I turned and saw that it was the bartender.
"Yes."I agreed distractedly."Who is she?"
He grinned."Her names Cassandra.But she dances under the name Mercury.She's been her for a couple of years now.The crowd just loves her!"
I know why..I thought slightly jelously.Cassandra.The name hissed in my mind like a bullet.
The bass pounded in my chest but I doubt it was more than my heart.I couldn't remember when my heart had last felt like this at first but it came back to me easily enough.
Last time I was with Alyssa.Two hundred years ago.
I turned my attention back to her as she gave a lap-dance to one of the entranced male customers.She glided back onto the stage and swirled around the bar once more before coming to a halt on the last beat of the song.All the men cheered defeningly and she rose,bowed smiling and left the stage.
My mind was a blur as I tried to figure out if by some slight chance,Cassandra was Alyssa's reincarnation.I had to tell myself that even if she was we may very well never be like that again.Cassandra might be married or engaged or otherwise taken.It didn't matter.All that mattered was that my Alyssa might have returned to me.
I managed to slip backstage and found her dressing room undetected.She sat infront of a large vanity and wiped off the sparkle-gel on her face and body.
"You must have some clearance to get in here."She said conversationally.Her voice was slightly deeper than Alyssa's but almost identical.
"No.Just an admirer."I replied.
She turned and rose,walking behind a dressing screen."Well since your here you can hand me my skirt."
I looked around,distracted by her silouhette but found her skirt.Black,polyester.About mid-thigh length.Extremly inticing.I handed it over the screen to her.
"Thanks.So what do you need?"
I almost laughed at that.Need."Nothing.I'm just an admirer."
She came out dressed in the skirt,fishnet stockings,knee high boots and black fishnet shirt over her bikini top.I fought to control anything that might trigger my bloodlust.
She pulled her hair into a quick ponytail and I noticed the small gold band that she wore on her wedding finger.My heart sank.
"Your married."More statement than question.
"Engaged.I haven't set a date yet.My fiance isn't around that much.He is right now for a month or two."
There was still hope!"Too bad."Trying to keep the excitment out of my voice.
IS HE BLIND?!DOES HE HAVE NO CLUE AS TO WHAT BEAUTY HE HAS BY HIS SIDE?!
"Yeah.But when Jack's there he's a real sweetie.It's worth it.Besides which,I'm here most of the night anyway so I don't really have time to get lonely.Everyone here is so nice to me."
Crow?No.It couldn't be.
"Buisness trips?"I asked curiously.
She frowned in questioning."I'm not really sure.I don't think so.He works for something called the I-Inqus..Inquisition I think it is.Something about finding people..or weapons or something."
It is Crow!God you have no mercy do you?Why don't you just kill me now and be done with it!Of all the men!Crow..Jack Crow!
"Well.Nice talking to you but I'm exhausted and I have to get home to sleep."
"Yes.You as well."I watched forlornly as she strutted out of the dressing room and out the door.I quickly slipped out of the club and onto to roof.
I couldn't believe that she was marrying Jack Crow!Of all the men in the world!She could have any one that she wanted but she wanted that one!What could he possibly give her aside from some brutal beatings?
I remembered how he beat Katrina.A prostitute I'd bitten who was well into the change.She had been used by him and his remaining slayer companion,Montoya to track me down.
Could he have changed so much?No.Impossible.He hated women.Or at least any that weren't sleeping with him or intending to sleep with him.
I watched as she got into a classy mustang and started to drive down the busy streets.Something possed me to follow her.
She drove for only a short while before stopping in front of a medium sized house,parking the car and going inside.I hear her talking to someone,obviously Crow.
I should've left then.Because what happened next would almost cause me to break my vow of secrecy never to let Crow know I was alive,and rip him apart.But it would also bring me a small mesure of peace and the hope of a future with Cassandra.
I hear the sheets rustle as she stripped and climbed into them,joined only moments later by Crow.There was some talk,which I can't remember) and sounds of their lovemaking.
Incense wafted up to the roof where I perched.Probably her touch.It smelled of cinnamon and apples,like how I remember Alyssa smelling.I breathed deeply,closing my eyes and just remembering the love I had for her.Could I have it again?And if I could,would I?My memories flashed back to Alyssa and I's travels together.
I'm sitting in my small house
in Greece as I write this now.
Valek has gone on his own way,
at least for now.Without saying
goodbye I might add.I should have seen
it coming.But I hold no anger towards
him and wish him well in any travels that
he has.I hope hereturns at least once more
though.For I miss him.
I stayed on in France for a while before
coming here.The Cross that Valek was looking for
wasn't there.Dissapointed and angry he stormed out.
Honestly he frightened me but I know that it is
his nature and I must learn to accept it.
The sites of Greech are as splendid as I could
ever imagine!I have seen the Parthenon and it was
wonderous!!I have also found a connection with painting.
I find that I can sit for hours in the gardens outside and paint
the birds and flowers and trees.I have also painted dozens
of pictures of Valek.But I keep them in a small storage
room in the house.
The small houses' balcony doors were open as I landed effortlessly on
them.It had been months since I had last seen Alyssa.
Soft music wafted from inside as well as the smell of paints.I stepped
silently inside the doors,not bothering to close them behind me this time, and followed the sound down a narrow hallway.
The walls of the hallway were covered in paintings.Each one bearing Alyssa's signature in the bottom right hand corner.I stopped for a few moments to marvel at them.Most of them were of various flowers and trees but a couple of black and white prints of crows intrigued me.
One of the more interesting paintings was of a large black flower with dark bloodred paint splattered all over it.
I could hear her humming softly in the room at the end of the hall and
pulled myself away from the art and towards the room.
It took her a moment to realise I was standing in the doorway.When she did realise she came over to me with a blank expression on her face and promptly slapped me accross the face.
"I suppose I deserved that."I winced.
"That was for not saying goodbye."Now she pulled me into a heated
kiss,startling me and also confusing the bloody hell out of me."And that was for coming back!"She smiled.
Back in the presend I smirked at her wild personality before returning my thoughts to the problem at hand.If Cassandra and I did form some sort of relationship there was always the possibily of her death happening again.Or something else.Would I want to put her in that kind of danger again?Would she?
I was just preparing to leave when a vibration passed through my mind.Images of the room beneath me burst through my mind before all of my memories of Alyssa and our love passed through me in light speed.Somehow I knew she was seeing these too.But she didn't stop Crow as he pounded into her.I almost fell right off the roof as the violent..occurance passed and I was once again in control of my mind.
I felt,heard,them reach their peak and heard her cryout a name.