The Raven

The Raven

A Story by Lacie Gray
"

Might be a book at some point, but I don't know yet. If you don't mind vampires and gore, you might like this. I'm just going with the flow right now, so let me know what you think! [updated regularly

"

I liked him alot when I was a nobody. I liked him so much it hurt. But I was a nobody and he liked someone else, so I eventually came to terms with the fact that he’d never look at me twice.

But seeing him now, when everything is different, I can’t help but wonder why life hates me.

He’s in the corner of the alley, backed up into it like a cornered mouse. He’s breathing fast and hard. The warm air from his lungs fogging in the air in front of him. He’s hidden in the shadows, but less so than the rest of us, our black cloaks hiding our pale skin. We have no breath to fog up the air and reveal ourselves with. He already has scratches on his face and hands, and the sweet smell of blood is already everywhere in the air.

They’re only toying with him now, sniggering from the shadows. We can hear his heart pounding, making his warm blood flow fast beneath his skin. The adrenaline is singing through his veins, coming out in his sweat. I know they’re revelling in the scent.

They finally begin to approach him, slowly, hissing and chortling. He presses himself farther into the corner, a whimper barely audible from his throat.

I hesitate for a moment, then spring into the air, jumping up the wall to his left at an angle and landing in front of him, facing the others. My back is straight, my jaw lifted slightly in defiance. “He’s mine,” is what my body language declares. I hear some of them growl in contempt. They know they can’t challenge me. I’m William’s favorite. Air whistles between their teeth, and I can smell the hatred pouring from them. But gradually their posture changes to that of submission, and I turn my back. I grab his shirt in my fist and jump, landing on the roof above, hauling him behind me. I make the jump effortlessly, but I’m not surprised when he yelps. I throw him down onto the roof and he cries out faintly.

I’m just standing there, not knowing exactly what to do. He gathers himself, sitting up on his knees, and looks at me. I’m ever so grateful for my cowl, which hides my face from recognition.

“What are you doing?” he asks, his voice surprisingly strong, considering the fact that he almost became vampire food.

I step up to him, jerking him to his feet. “I’m saving your life,” I tell him.

“Why?” he asks me as I pull his hand up towards my mouth. He watches me, and I wonder at how he’s not flinching away from me.

I don’t answer, but instead put a finger to my lips, and then before he can question me, I dig my teeth into his hand. He shouts, and I’m satisfied that it will assure the others that he’s quite dead.

I keep my teeth in his hand long enough that his blood is around my mouth, then I let go. It’s hard to do so, as I want to drain his body of its blood now. But that’s not at option. He pulls his hand away from me and cradles it. He looks at it, still bleeding, and then back at me. Again he asks, “Why?”

I ignore the question, looking around us to see how he might escape. There’s a door on the far side of the roof, and I point at it. “Go through there and get away from here. Be quiet about it too. And don’t come back to this part of town at night. Got it?” He looks at me, hesitates, and then nods. “Good,” I say shortly, then turn and step onto the edge of the roof. I look back to make sure he leaves, and when I see he’s making his way towards the door, I jump down into the alley. It’s empty. I walk out and see a few of them wandering around, looking for anyone else who might be out.

“How was he?”

I look to my right and see Elody, leaning against the wall, arms crossed. She didn’t look too happy. Her small mouth was set and her large red eyes were hard. I didn’t care if she was mad though. As small and simple as she looked, she had quite a temper and we had all learned to not let it get to us.

I lick my lips. “Perfect,” I answer, letting myself all but purr. I make my way down the middle of the street and suppress a groan when she follows.

“You know everyone hates you,” she says, her voice all but challenging.

“It’s not my fault,” I say simply, like I don’t care. But I do.

“You don’t have to keep feeding the fire though,” she persists.

I roll my eyes, but she can’t see. “Elody, what are you getting at.”

She speeds up the tiniest bit so that she’s walking right next to me. Out of the corner of my eye I see her studying my face and I try to ignore the discomfort it causes me.

“I wanted him,” she says finally.

I let out a short, wry laugh. “Sucks to be you, then,” I say lightly.

Then she’s in front of me, her lip curled. I stop, looking down my nose at her. Even as a vampire, she’s too small to seem threatening. At least to me. Some of the younger vampires don’t dare upset her, but most of us know she’s just a haughty bully.

“You are detestable, Charlotte,” she hisses.

I have to keep myself from laughing at the irony of that statement. “Says who?” I demand.

She snorts. “More than half of us.”

I look to the sky, almost wishing fire would come down and burn her up. “Elody, do you really think I care?” I look back down at her, letting her know by the look on my face that I was very bothered by her. “There’s nothing I can do about it anyway.” I push past her and walk faster than I had been before, hoping she won’t use her vampire speed to catch up with me. She doesn’t.

I walk down Vine Avenue, looking through the shop windows at the antiques, the empty bakery displays, the furniture emporiums, and wondering what the lives of the owners were like. Normal? Peaceful? Or were they all hiding misery under their polite business smiles. That might have been me before.

I turn onto Fleet Street, then down an alley to the center of the block, where our hideout - the Hole - resides. Away from prying eyes, the entrance is a rusted door that opens to a misplaced, dusty room that looks like it should be a utility closet in a school. But if you get past the cobwebs, you’ll find a little door that you wouldn’t normally notice. Through that door is a staircase that takes you under the block, and there you find about twenty rooms of space.

They found it about a hundred years ago and have kept it secret by either killing or wiping the memory of any human who managed to find it. William was the first to find it, so he’s pretty much the leader. He’s about three hundred years old, and moved here around a hundred and fifty years ago, from London. He’s built up an unstable community of just less than one hundred vampires, of which I am the newest addition, and his latest favorite.

I hate being his favorite. For one it means everyone is jealous and hates me, and for two, I don’t like him.

I became a vampire just two months ago. William had spotted me one night from the street below my window while on a hunt. I wasn’t dressing or anything, just brushing my hair. For whatever reason, he was fascinated with me, which I don’t understand. I didn’t think I was all that interesting, but he did.

He actually introduced himself at a nightclub a week later. I thought he was beautiful, and quite sweet, but I was experienced enough to know that boys aren’t always the darlings they seem to be right when you meet them.

But he persisted, seemingly bumping into me many nights when I was out and about. It was enough that I was eventually suspicious, but, not gonna lie, I liked the attention.

After maybe three weeks I finally asked him why I only saw him at night. He just looked at me, his face hard. I didn’t even know what to think. I hadn’t ever seen him mad. But he had brought me out of the house we were partying at, away from where anyone could see. It was dark, and I was struck by how he seemed to fit so well in the dark.

Then he bit me.

I suppose I haven’t forgiven him yet.

I step into the main room, where the majority of furniture and entertainment is. It’s empty, since pretty much everyone is either hunting or off by themselves. I move through the rooms towards the library, not wanting to go to my room yet because I know he’ll be there waiting.

We have a lot of books, since we’ve been in this place so long. It’s not like the Library of Congress, but there are plenty of options. I tend to lean away from horror, I’m already pretty much in a fantasy novel, and romance just makes me sick anymore, so for the most part I read history and a simple novel here and there. Not much interests me anymore, but reading is often my only escape.

As I find a book and sit down, I think for the hundredth time how ironic it is that so many people want to be special, to be able to do something or be something to set you apart. Now that I have something, I want my mortality back.

I’m not reading for long before Mollie and Abbot burst through the door, tongues down each other’s throats. I lift my book up to eye level so I can’t see them, but my vampire hearing betrays me. Growling, I stand up and leave the room, slamming the door behind me, but I doubt they care. I head for the art room, but Arthur and Teresa are already there, so I try the unfinished room in the back of the Hole. It’s all concrete and rotting wood, but if you know how, you can move through the rafters without breaking anything and falling. I’m back here a lot, so I’m quite good at it now. I move as far up and back as I can, which isn’t much, but vampires are experts at hiding in the dark, and I still have my cloak, which helps.

I manage to read for a little over an hour without interruption, even laughing at some points, until William finds me. He usually does find me after a while, since he knows all of my favorite spots. Sometimes it just takes him a while to look through them.

“You recluse,” he says softly, teasing, and I jump. I was so engrossed in my book that I didn’t hear the door creak. Of course, as a vampire, he is more silent and swift than a viper.

“You know why,” I say, closing my book. I don’t look at him. I keep hoping that if I push him far enough away he’ll give up. But I know there’s little chance of that.

“Why don’t you come to bed?” he asks lightly. He always used that smooth tone with me before the bite. It enchanted me before, but now it just irks me.

“If you’re not in it,” I grunt, jumping down and landing noiselessly. “You have your own room, unless you forgot.”

He chuckles lamely, shaking his head. “Please?” His dark red eyes feign innocence and have a puppy-like quality, but it does nothing to win me over.

I’m in front of him now and I fix him with a halting glare. “How about this: You want to sleep in my room, fine. I’ll sleep in yours, then we’re both happy.”

He tilts his head and sighs, looking weary. I don’t understand how it hasn’t gotten through to him yet that he isn’t going to earn back my affection.

“Come on, Lottie.” He touches my arm and I jerk away, hissing. Now he looks annoyed. “Come. On,” he says tersely.

I glare at him, chin up in defiance. “When are you going to get it?” I demand. “I don’t love you, William, and I never will.” I slip past him, and he doesn’t follow.

I know it won’t do much good, but I lock my door when I get to my room. I throw myself down on my bed, still hugging my book. I bury my face in the duvet, growling softly to myself. I don’t know how many times I’ve told him what I just did, but he’s ridiculously persistent.

I roll over, looking up at the dried lilies woven together and suspended on the ceiling. They hide how dirty the ceiling itself is. The walls are also covered in an assortment of paintings, engravings, wrought iron pieces, and other such miscellaneous pieces of art, in an attempt to hide the grime and mold. The smell doesn’t escape our enhanced sense of smell though.

I wrinkle my nose, trying not to miss my clean room at home

Home. The thought enters, unbidden, and I try to shove it away, but, like always, once it’s in, it doesn’t want to leave. I sit up and chuck the book across the room in frustration, but the sound of it smacking into the wall and then falling to the floor doesn’t help.

Someone knocks on my door. “You’re not throwing a fit in there, are you?”

“Aice,” I breathe, relieved. I run to the door and open it, smiling at the kind face before me. “Where have you been?” I demand, but there’s no edge to my voice.

She walks into my room, a tray with three mason jars of blood in her hands. She moves with a perfected grace that I don’t see in any of the others, and it makes her all the more wonderful to me.

She sets the tray down on the table by my bed, straightening and brushing off her skirt - an habitual motion. She turns to look at me, flicking her black hair absently. I walk up to her and we embrace. She rocks a little, and I laugh softly.

“What would I do without you?” I ask her once we let go of one another.

She taps her chin in mock thoughtfulness. “Hm, let’s see. Crash and burn?” She looks at me and we laugh. I throw myself down on the bed, and she follows suit. “Did Will piss you off?” she asks after a few seconds.

“You know he always does,” I answer, my voice absently agitated.

“I pity you for your plight,” she says.

I laugh wryly. “Thank you. I feel so much better.” A minute later, “Is that from your dinner?” I’m referring to the blood she brought in. She nods. “You didn’t have to.”

“And have you starve?” Her voice heightens and she sits up, looking down at me, reprimanding me with her glare. We both know I would rather starve, but she won’t let me.

“Why can’t you just leave me be?” I ask, my voice low. I roll over on my side so I don’t have to look at her.

“You know why.”

“It’s not fair.”

I feel her hand on my back. “I suppose it’s not meant to be fair.”

“Well that in itself isn’t fair,” I retort.

She sighs empathetically, and then stands up. “Make sure you eat, dear.”






“Geez, I hate you!” I snarl.

Elody’s small mouth is set in a firm line, her eyes looking up into mine in disdain. I find myself noticing how her red hair makes the red of her irises look more dull.

She spits back at me, “Screw you, princess. It’s your fault anyway.”

“My fault!” My voice is rising in indignation. “You brought him in here! How is that my fault?”

She scoffs, and it’s all I can do not to slap her. “It’s no big deal, you know. You’re overreacting.”

I shut my eyes so I don’t roll them. She feels like she’s won if you roll your eyes. “We have rules here, and children are on the ‘Don’t’ list.”

“Hell if I care,” she retorts. She tries to push past me to get to him again, but this time I shove her. I’m stronger than she is so she almost goes flying. I almost laugh. She screeches as she rights herself, the tendons in her neck standing out. Her claws are ready, but I’m not worried; she’s no good and hand-to-hand combat.

She lunges, but I grab one of her wrists and move it ever so slightly to the side, then slam my palm into her sternum and she goes flying again. Some of the others watching help her up and I almost fling myself at them, knowing they wouldn’t help me up.

“Enough!” I hear the order and am almost glad. William walks into the room, Alice right behind him. She must have fetched him. “What is going on?” he demands.

Elody immediately points a finger in my direction. “The wench brought a child in here!” she shouts, her eyes bulging as she does so.

William looks at me doubtfully and asks, “Lottie?” All I have to do is quirk one eyebrow and look at him like he’s stupid, and then he’s looking back at Elody. “I should throw you out, Elody, for all the trouble you cause.”

She blanches. “B-but it wasn’t me!” she protests.

“Of course it wasn’t,” he says absently, then jerks his head at me, letting me know he wants me to follow him out. I grab the boy, who was cowering behind me, as I go. As I pass her, Alice winks at me, and I mouth a thank you at her.

I follow William back to his room, the boy in tow. He closes the door behind us when we all get in. I let go of the boy’s wrist and then he’s back at clutching at my skirts.

“Ah, geez,” he sighs, leaning against his door. “She’s such a bother.” I don’t say anything, even though I’m in agreement. “What to do, what to do,” he says absently, walking towards me and the boy.

I put a protective arm in front of the boy, giving William an almost pleading look. “Please don’t.”

He looks at me for a moment, then says, “Who said I was going to?” After a moment I lower my arm, slowly, and William crouches down in front of the boy. “What’s your name?”

He doesn’t look much older than 9. He has a soft face and nice brown hair, and his face is covered in freckles. I see why Elody grabbed him though. Well, smell why.

“E-elliot,” he answers, his voice cracking. He’s clutching my skirts so tight I’m afraid they might rip.

“Elliot,” William repeats, using his smooth voice. He could win over a nation with that voice. “How old are you?” He says he’s 10, and then William asks where he’s from. The poor dear is visiting all the way from Ohio. William straightens and gives me a pitying look. “It won’t do,” he whispers, so low a human wouldn’t be able to hear.

“Please,” I whisper back. “Can I keep him?” I have an arm around Elliot’s shoulder now. I forgot how much of a mother I can be.

William’s eyes tighten. “You know it won’t work.”

I look down at the child, who is fixing me with a hopeful gaze, and I almost break. I look back at William, my eyes pleading.

He gives me the most piteous look I’ve ever seen on his face, and then looks away from me. I swallow my tears, knowing I can’t cry in front of either of them.

I have to peel Elliot off of me in order to leave, and I know by his protests that he has an idea of what’s going to happen. I don’t look at him again, but leave the room quietly, my heart breaking.

I break my eardrums so I won’t have to hear him scream, knowing they’ll be healed in less than half an hour.





Even though I’m his favorite, and I’m spoiled, I don’t always get my way.

But there is one thing I can do.

Redemption isn’t an option for me, so I don’t see the point in trying to be a goodie-two-shoes. It’s pointless.

I set my mind to doing it only seconds after leaving William’s room, but I knew the wait was going to be awful.

It was.

4 hours pacing in my room, biting my nails till they bled, hugging myself so hard I should have had bruises. But finally the noise outside my room subsided, and I knew mostly everyone was asleep.

Now I’m creeping through the halls, a knife in one hand. Elody is most likely sleeping with Brent and Lewis, who were like her personal guard dogs. Why they do it I’ll never understand.

I find them in the music room, squished into a corner, Brent’s hand on her hip, Lewis’ nose in her hair. Lucky for me the boys are heavy sleepers.

I grab the back of Elody’s neck gently, cradling her head and lifting her up towards me.

“Lewis, what are you doing?” she mumbles, stirring a little but not opening her eyes. Deciding it might get her to keep her eyes shut, I wrap another arm around her waist. She’s quiet again. I move my hand slowly up her scalp a little, then grab a fistful of hair, careful not to pull yet. I get her close to me, gradually tightening my grip on her.

Then in one burst of movement, I squeeze her waist, yank her head back, and dig my teeth deep into her throat. She doesn’t even have time to scream.

I rip through layer after layer of cold flesh, feeling her blood run down my face and neck, knowing it’s soaking into my bodice. Once I reach her esophagus, I pull back, spitting sinew out onto the floor, then yank her head all of the way off. It comes with a satisfying ripping noise, with the added snap of her neck breaking.

I drop her body and am satisfied by the sound it makes when it hits the wood floor. Then I bend over it and dislocate the head and hips, just for good measure. I pick her head back up and carry it back towards the entrance. The sun isn’t up yet, so I don’t have to worry about getting burnt. I open the door and throw her head out, revelling in the smack of skull on concrete.







It’s three hours before either of the boys wake up. I don’t know how they didn’t smell her blood almost right away, but I’m not complaining. They would have torn me to shreds, William’s favorite or not.

Everyone is woken by one of them howling in fury, and it’s only moments before everyone is awake and trying to get to the music room to see what happened. Almost immediately, a thick cloud of hatred and repulsion fills the Hole. I hang back, waiting for someone to point a finger at me. Before anyone can, William is behind me, hand on my arm.

“What happened?” I don’t answer, but shrug and crane my neck so it looks like his guess is as good as mine.

Finally, someone pushes back through and stops in front of me and William. It’s Lewis. His face is so taut with rage that it looks like it might explode. His eyes are bulging, his teeth bared, and his hands in tight fists.

“You!” he snarls at me.

William puts a protective arm in front of me. “What about her?”

Lewis doesn’t even look at William. “Elody is dead!” he spits, and I slowly, deliberately, wipe his spit off my cheek. “We all know it was your spoiled pet who did it!” Now he looks at William, defiance burning in his eyes. “You ought to put a leash on that wench, William!”

“I’m as much his pet as you are a mortal!” I bark. “You were more her pet than I am his!”

Lewis screeches, but William holds up a hand, and Lewis’ mouth snaps shut. He considers Lewis with calm regard, which clearly just pisses Lewis off even more. “No, I should have put a leash on the little redhead,” he says absently. “She broke the rules anyway.” Then, he turns, hand on my shoulder, leading me away, saying, “But now I don’t have to.”

I hear Lewis snarl behind and look over my shoulder - not at all worried - to see him launching himself at William. William turns and deftly catches Lewis’ throat in his hand and snaps his neck. The motion is so fluid that it was just barely perceptible - a human wouldn’t have been able to see it. Lewis’ body falls to the floor, hitting the wood with the lack of grace you only see in a cadavre.

“Throw him outside,” William orders, turning back around, hand on my wrist, and walking away. He’s not shaken at all. I follow him absently, not wanting to be alone, and not noticing right away that we’re headed for my room.

“William?”

He doesn’t answer.

I’m screwed.

We get to my room and he closes the door quietly, locking it. He turns, leaning his back against the door, resting his head on it, eyes closed.

“Why do you try me like this?” he asks quietly.

The quiet before the storm. I can’t answer for a moment, then say, “I’m sure you can guess.”

His eyes snap open and I flinch. I hate it when it’s like this, but times like this, when I feel almost liberated, are the only moments that keep me sane.

I know he’s mad, but he acts differently every time he gets mad, so I never know what to expect. It must be a product of being three hundred years old.

He looks at me, his head still resting on the door. “Why did you kill her?”

“Why did you kill Elliot?” I retort.

His gaze is even, and I can’t read it at all. I hate it when I can’t read people. “I had to.”

“No you didn’t,” I respond. “There were other things we could ha-”

“No, Charlotte,” he says sharply. I flinch at the use of my whole name. He pushes himself off the door, continuing tersely, “It couldn’t have happened any other way.” His eyes look heavy, like he feels sorry for me at the same time that he’s mad at me. The fact that he would feel sorry for me makes my blood boil, but also makes me feel guilty. “It had to happen that way, or everyone here would be in danger.”

“That’s of little consequence to me.” My voice is tight. I look away, not wanting to see the beast in his eyes. That beast that sleeps in tight coils, almost invisible, but ready to strike at a moment’s notice - the beast that just killed Lewis. I sigh heavily, wearily, and continue, “Besides. I hated her. And she knew it was against the rules, and she also knew that I’m partial to children. She did it to get at me.” I look at him again, and he’s about to say something, but before he does, I say, “And, she tried to blame me.”

He sighs. I know he hates arguing with me because I make a good argument. And I’m stubborn. “I can’t keep covering for you, you know,” he tells me, looking at the wall absently. I follow his gaze and see that he’s looking at my drawing of my cat. Even though it’s on my wall to be seen, I realize I don’t want him to see it. It’s mine, and I don’t want him to have any part of it.

“Then don’t” I say softly, yet obstinately.

He looks at me, his eyes sharp, and almost, I think, fearful. He mutters, “Lottie. You know I can’t.”

“No, you can,” I tell him. “You just won’t.”

He touches me face and I jerk away, but he pulls my chin up with his other hand. I know what he’s about to do, and I know he won’t let me go until he gets a little. As always, his lips are cold, and I feel goosebumps on the back of my neck. He starts soft, and then gradually gets more into it. I kiss back only so he doesn’t fuss, give him about three minutes, then push him off. My cheeks are hot as if I just drank too much wine, but it wouldn’t have been good wine.

He touches my hair and I swat his hand away. “Go tame your bloody mutts,” I mumble.


                                ***

For the next week I was walking around the Hole expecting to be assaulted at every turn. Although I couldn’t walk through the rooms without feeling like a vat of boiling hatred had been dumped on me, no one tried to hurt me. I suppose their fear of William outweighs their hatred for me.

By the end of week, though, everyone - save Brent - had moved on. Elody hadn’t been around very long, comparatively, and it’s not like she was the first. Vampires kill each other all the time, so it wasn’t that odd that I had killed her. It was only a big deal because I’m William’s favorite, so I have him backing me.

A couple days after I killed her, William actually started acting like he was proud of me for doing it. This, of course, vexed me to no end.

Alice has been wonderful since it happened. I haven’t been hunting, so she brings me some of her share whenever she goes. Evidently, she also beats nearly everyone she catches looking at me sideways. She also keeps trying to act like my psychiatrist, asking me questions about what it was like, how it made me feel, do I have any regret, and so on. Most of the time I answer that I didn’t quite feel anything but vengeance for Elliot, or no I don’t have any regret, and sometimes I just tell her I don’t feel like talking about it.

I honestly don’t regret it though. She was a nuisance to almost everyone, particularly me, and I’m almost certain she brought the poor boy into the Hole to spite me. Most everyone knows I have a little brother, so now that I can’t see him, any young boy reminds me of him. Elody knew this better than most because my first time hunting I fought her to keep her from killing a little boy who had gotten lost after sundown. After that she simply hated me, and she hadn’t bothered hiding it.

The fact that she hated me so much really did bother William, but I guess he didn’t care enough to do anything about it. I still don’t get why he didn’t do anything, because I could tell any time she bothered me that it irritated him, but he never said a word. Maybe something happened between them before I came along. I don’t care. It’s over now.

William actually seemed more at ease without her around, which really confused me. He’s more likely to try to get close to me without her around, and I really didn’t know how to process this. It’s almost as if he did have something with Elody, but they never so much as spoke after he changed me.

I finally decide to ask Alice about it.

She’s in my room, toying with one of the angel statuettes I managed to get from home. She stands there for a little while, tracing the angel’s wings, face and figure with her finger. It’s almost like she’s pouting, as if thinking about the question is hard.

Finally, she answers, “Elody and William were a...thing, a little while before he found you. In fact, he found you only a week after they ended it. But they were...passionate, just shy of blatantly erotic. I don’t know if it was real love, or just lust. Either way, she hated you because he never looked at her the way he looks at you. I don’t think anyone had ever looked at her like that. I think it hurt her, but she just lashed out. Silly, when you think of it, because that kept her from getting what she wanted.”

I just sit there for a few minutes. I was stuck on “he never looked at her the way he looks at you.” How does he look at me? I thought I was just something for him to own and obsess over. What if it’s more than that? But if he does care about me like that, why did he ever bite me? Why didn’t he tell me or give me the opportunity to choose for myself? Maybe I could have come to love him if he had done that.

“Do you think he loves me?” I ask Alice.

Again, she’s quiet for a long while. It’s longer this time, and I start to get uncomfortable and fidget.

“I think he might,” she says finally, her voice distant, and my eyes snap up to her face. She’s deep in thought; so deep she looks far away. “But I’ve seen him do this before.” I think I see a look of pain flash across her face, but only for a moment. “It doesn’t always end well, though. It’s usually just infatuation, and that typically hits hard and ends quickly.” She looks at me. “But something about how he is with you is different.” I start. I don’t want to think of what that might mean. “He watched you like a hawk before he bit you.” She’s looking at the angle again. “At all the parties and whatnot, when he wasn’t with you, he observed you. And I do mean observed. He watched how you moved, how you reacted to things, even how you handled your liquor.” She chuckles. “It was as if he really wanted to know what you were like.”

I wonder at how she knows this, as if she’d been there, with him. But I had never seen her around him.

“But I’m different now,” I say. “The bite changed me.”

She nods. “It changes all of us. He knows that.”

“Then why?”

She looks back at me, her gaze reflecting my own confusion. “I don’t know.”







Alice drags me out to go hunting that night, and I know it’s just as much so I will get out as it is so she doesn’t have to share. I got reluctantly, but I can never protect myself from the thrill of the hunt.

Sometimes we hunt in groups, and sometimes we split up. Tonight we split up. Alice and I head east, walking on opposite sides of the same streets. We both know that as soon as we scent a human, it will be a race. She’ll probably win, partly because she almost always wins, and partly because she’s gonna want all six liters to herself this time.

Most people got smart about thirty years ago and started avoiding coming out at night, but there are always those few stupid people, the drunks, the homeless, or the harlots, who still wander in the dark streets after ours.

About ten minutes in, I scent blood and liquor. I look quickly over to Alice, who hasn’t noticed yet, and then make a dash for it. I hear her grunt and run after me, and force myself to pump harder. One block, then two, round a corner, and there he is, slobbering drunk at the other corner of the block, leaning against the wall of the bar. I push myself even harder, hearing Alice just inches behind me.

We come so fast he hardly notices. I jump at him, seeing Alice’s outstretched hands right at my shoulder. I tackle him to the ground, covering his mouth as I do so he can’t scream. We hit the ground, and he’s so disoriented he doesn’t even fight. I deftly snap his neck and his body goes limp. It’s easier to get them somewhere hidden this way.

I look up to see Alice in the middle of the street, looking at me enviously, but she’s smiling. She nods at me, as if to congratulate me for beating her in a race. I nod back, hauling the man’s body over my shoulder and walking towards a dark corner. He reeks of alcohol and sweat, and I stop inhaling to avoid it, which isn’t a problem since I naturally have no breath nowadays.

When I get to the darker corner, I see a drainage grate and go over to it. While standing over it, I dig my teeth into his throat, and blood spurts into my mouth, flooding it instantly. I revel in the sensation and then taste, my senses blurring together and then sharpening with intense clarity.

The body is drained within five minutes. I throw the bloodless body back over my shoulders, heading for the Hole again, where we have a special way to dispose of the bodies.

When I get back, a good number of the hunting party are already back as well. I dump the body down the shoot right by the door and go straight to my room to change my dress, which I got a little bit of blood on.

I take off the dark Victorian dress, leaving the petticoat and corset on. I pull out a light blue one, which would have made my once blue eyes pop. Before he bit me, William told me all the time that he loved my blue eyes. He hasn’t said one thing about my eye color since they turned red.

I stand in front of the cracked art deco mirror in the corner, staring at it blankly. I probably look passive, standing here, but my blood is boiling. Vampires don’t have a reflection, which is a well-known fact, but what people don’t consider is how it affects us. For those who were beautiful before they changed, it’s not a problem; their confidence is bolstered. But for those like me who didn’t find themselves to be very attractive before the change,  it’s still near-impossible to accept that your features are absolutely flawless, despite the fact that it’s common knowledge that vampires are the definition of perfection. It makes me mad every time, not knowing how my face or hair looks. In a way, it’s easier to be insecure, but at the same time it’s not. I hate what I am, pretty or not.

William tries all the time to tell me not to worry about it, that I looked perfect to him before, and just moreso now, but he might as well be banging his head on a wall. I don’t care what he says as it is, so why would I care what he has to say about my appearance?

Moreover, the others know I’m not particularly happy with my looks, so they play on that. “Nice bed-head, Charlotte.” “Your eyebrows on fleek today.” They snigger as they say it and then laugh haughtily when I pat my hair or attempt to fix my eyebrows, but I can never stop myself. I tell myself all the time that it’s whatever, but it bugs me more than I ever let on.

Someone knocks on the door and I start a little. “Come in.” It’s Alice. She has blood all over her face and down her front. “Someone had a good time,” I comment, bemused.

She grins malevolently. “Drunk teenagers.”

I nod in understanding. The more intoxicated the person we kill, the stronger the blood’s effect is on our senses, and the more crazy we get while feeding. My “meal” wasn’t heavily drunk, and he was only one person, so the alcohol in his veins didn’t have as much effect on me.

She plops herself down on my bed, flopping back and languishing on the cashmere coverlet. “One of them was cute.” It’s an offhand statement - Alice doesn’t give a damn about what her prey looks like. She’s not one to turn a mortal just because they’re cute.

“Was he?”

“Mm,” she sighs, resignedly. “Not my type though.” She takes a towelette out of my dresser and starts wiping the blood off her face.

“What is your type anyway?” I ask, trying to be interested.

“I dunno,” she says, looking down her chest as she wipes off her corset, “Tall, dark and handsome?”

“Like William?” I ask jokingly.

Alice is silent. I look at her sideways to see her staring blankly at the edge of her skirts.

“Alice?”

She looks up at me abruptly, almost surprised, like she had zoned out. “Sorry. What?”

I sit down on my bed. “Nothing. Nevermind.” She keeps looking at me for a moment and then goes back to cleaning to the blood off her front. “Why don’t you just go change?” I ask her.

She snaps, “I don’t want to.”

I look at her, surprised by the sharpness of her voice. “Okay, that’s fine,” I say slowly. “I was just wondering.” Confused, I ask, “Are you alright?”

“Shut up, I’m fine,” she growls. She’s turned her back to me so I can’t see her face, but her back is straight and her shoulders tense. She’s clearly lying, and I wonder why she’s lying to me about it; we can usually tell each other pretty much anything.

I stand up, intending to go to her, but there’s a knock at the door. From the other side, William’s muffled voice says, “Lottie? Are you in there?”

I open my mouth to respond, but something shatters before I can. Alice makes a beeline for the door, opening it with a jerk and pushing past William. William and I exchange a confused glance, then I look to the table where she’d been standing.

“Alice!” I shout, running over to the table. My favorite misted-glass statuette is in pieces. “That was my favorite!” I howl, knowing she’s long gone and probably doesn’t care, but she’ll still hear me.

William comes up to my side. “Lottie, stop shouting.” I glare at him. He looks at the pieces of glass in my hands. “What is that?”

I look down at the broken glass. “It was my favorite statuette. Alice smashed it.”

“Why would she do that?” he asks offhandedly. He picks up what had been the angel’s head.

Annoyed by his obvious apathy, I reply sharply, “I don’t know, William, why don’t you go ask her?” He looks at me blankly, and I turn to put the remains of the statuette in a box. “You’ll do more good asking her than standing here asking me stupid questions.” I pull out a small brass box that I use for things I don’t want to throw away, but can’t do anything with. I have a small velvet bag in it, and that’s what I put the glass in.

I turn around, and William is right behind me, his hands full of glass. I look at him for a moment, a little surprised, and then grab the bag and hold it out for him. He empties his hands, and then, before I can turn to put the bag down, he takes my wrists gently in his hands.

“I’m sorry,” he says, his eyes soft. “I know you really value your keepsakes.”

I feel myself flush, and turn my head. He lets go of me, and I take the bag over to the table and shovel the rest of the shards and chunks of glass into the bag. When I turn back around to put the bag away, William is sitting on my bed, cross-legged, watching me.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” I tell him. I walk over to my wardrobe, feeling like putting on pants and a sweater. Randomly, I ask, “Why is it that we all wear dresses and waist coats, William? It’s such a hassle.”

“It’s more fun,” he answers. “And besides, a lot of us are from history, so it’s more natural for us.”

I scoff lightly, unconvinced. I now have a very thick, baggy sweater, and patterned leggings in my arms. I turn around to look at him, and he raises an eyebrow when he sees them. I don’t often wear “normal” clothes because William doesn’t like it very much, and the others ridicule me.

“It’s impractical, if you think about it,” I say, preparing to undress myself, but I stop myself. It wouldn’t be a big deal to undress in front of him, but dealing with horny William is the last thing I need to have to worry about. I walk behind my changing screen, continuing, “Corsets and skirts and all of that are so uncomfortable anyway.”

I hear him grumbling, probably because I’m not stripping in front of him - of course he knows why - but he doesn’t say anything. Instead, he says, “If you want to try to convince the others to dress like typical, mundane mortals, be my guest.” He chuckles, and I moan. I am the absolute last person any of the others would want to listen to. Especially after I killed Elody.

I finish changing and walk out from behind the screen. William is laying on my bed, fiddling with one of my knick knacks - a small snow globe my dad brought me back from a trip to Paris. I walk over, climb over him, and curl up on the bed next to him, but not against him. My back is to him, but I’m pretty sure he’s looking at me, maybe trying to decide whether or not to try to cuddle. I don’t like cuddling, because it makes me want to like him, and that’s unacceptable.

The bed shifts, and I feel him lean toward me. “Lottie?”

I mumble incoherently in response.

He puts his hand on my hip. He hesitates, something he doesn’t do often, if ever. “Do you hate me?”

The question catches so off guard that for a moment I don’t react. Then I turn my head and look at him, and I have to stop myself from gaping at the earnestness in his eyes.

I swallow, trying to think of what to say. I don’t think I hate him, but I don’t love him; that would leave me at very strong dislike.

“No, I don’t hate you,” I tell him.

“But you don’t love me?”

I drop my gaze. “No, William, I don’t love you.”

He flops back down onto his back, but I feel frozen.

He asks, “Do you think you could love me?”

I contemplate my answer, and then say, “Not after what you did to me.” I put my head back down, and he doesn’t say anything else.



© 2017 Lacie Gray



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165 Views
Added on July 28, 2016
Last Updated on September 15, 2017
Tags: vampires, fantasy, gore

Author

Lacie Gray
Lacie Gray

Cincinnati, OH



About
Fantasy, horror, gore, a little bit of romance...and a lot of coffee. more..

Writing
Praelium Praelium

A Story by Lacie Gray