Hunted : Part 1
As she waited for him to reach her, she allowed herself to relive the fateful night that had resulted in nearly a hundred years of running. She gloried in the resentment and self-righteous anger.
The room was dark, not a single candle burning. Yet, the room was not empty and its inhabitants were not asleep as she stepped through the doorway. Although the darkness was complete with the moon and stars hidden behind a heavy curtain of clouds, she could easily see every detail. Her
nocturnal eyes noted every detail of the painting on the wall, the small chip on the edge of the wine glass, and even the pattern of the grain on the tabletop. Yet, she paid these things little heed. She was not interested in the room. The man was all that mattered.
He was not exactly handsome. In fact, had he been other than what he was, he would be considered only average in appearance. Average height, average weight. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Nothing extraordinary in his bone structure. Yet, he was not average. An animalistic allure drew her to him, making her forget all the other men she had ever known.
His back was the room as he sat at the small table. He was smoking, something he did with predictable regularity after he satisfied the thirst. His skin was flushed with the effects of the fresh blood coursing through his veins. A sated lion in the safety of his den. “Elizabeth. You’re late.”
She nodded, looking curiously past him to their bed. The small flat he had rented for them with the interest made from a lucrative investment contained all their worldly
goods. The table, two chairs, a bed, and a chest filled mostly with clothes dominated the space. Nothing could be hidden from view for there was nowhere to hide it. Tonight a woman lay sprawled unconscious on the bed. “Who is she?”
“You should see her. Very beautiful. Perhaps even more beautiful than you, my dear.”
His words stung. Never before had he compared her to another woman. She struggled not to let her hurt show. She pulled out a chair but did not lower herself into it because even as she was about to sit, he stood and moved to the woman’s side.
Gently, refusing to allow her growing ire to show, she put the package she had been carrying onto the table. However, she could not remain behind, forgotten, as he savored this new beauty he had found. She joined him, standing close
enough to press herself wantonly against his side. Her arms snaked around his neck, her fingers stroking the sensitive region of his neck. She stood on tiptoe, straining to bring her lips to his neck, ear, cheek. His flesh was warm beneath her lips.
He did not respond to her invitation, “Look at her.”
She didn’t want to. She wanted to make him forget about this unwanted competitor. She ran her hands over his
back and chest. Lower her hands ventured. Tugging gently at the waistband of his breeches.
“Look at her.”
His voice was a whiplash. It was painful in its intensity. Her head rang with the command, her desire squelched by his displeasure. She was powerless to do other than he commanded, especially when he forcefully used the psychic link that enslaved her to him. She obeyed his command wordlessly, her eyes focusing on the woman on the bed despite her most fervent wish otherwise.
Jealousy burned through her eternally damned soul, adding yet another layer of corruption. The woman was beautiful, just as he had said. Flawless skin, delicate bones, slender but shapely. Her hair was the most arresting feature. Sunlight. A blond so pale and silken it almost hurt to look upon its wavy length. The thick strands
framed her sleeping face and graceful neck, spilled over shoulders to rest to the sides and in the valley of her breasts. A curtain of hair cascaded over the edge of the mattress.
“Her name is Jasmine.”
Jealousy consumed her. Jasmine, she knew, was a threat. Even without the unnatural sexual prowess of a vampire, this woman was temptation. No man, be he human or something much more powerful, would be immune to such delicate beauty. “Why is she here?”
He was still looking at the prostrate woman, studying her much as an artist would another’s masterpiece. Awe mingled with desire. His hunger for this woman was not only tangible through his expression and body language, it filled her body as he allowed the link between them to carry his growing passion.
She moved away from him, hoping the loss of physical contact would lessen the impact of his lust. She glared at the woman, at him, furious that his surging passion was not for her. She could sense that he was hardly aware of her, much as a cat would disdain its human when luxuriating in
the sun. It enraged her. It frightened her.
“I had to have her. Much as I once had to have you,” he admitted, undisturbed by her growing animosity. But, why should he worry? She was no threat to him. He could easily crush her with little effort and they both knew
“You have fed already,” she stated, purposefully choosing to misconstrue the implication of his statements.
He nodded, “Of course I did. I couldn’t chance damaging
her. She will be live in perfection for eternity after this night. She must be unmarred and you know how I am when in the grips of the thirst.”
Oh, yes. She knew. On those rare occasions when she had fed and he had not, the intimacy between them often led to his nearly draining her to the brink of oblivion. Where he might be gentle with this frail human, he had no concerns for her recovery. She was a vampire, after all, and death could not visit her again in such a manner. No, she would heal and there would be no scars to mar her pale skin. His nails could cut to the bone, his fangs and teeth gouging her flesh wherever he felt the need to rip and tear. His crushing grip cracking her arms and ribs.
She had fought him the first time, thinking he had meant to
kill her. Soon she had learned he was her master in more than one sense of the word. He could do almost anything to her and even make her enjoy it. His bloodlust and the pleasure his frenzy brought him were shared with her as her skin was destroyed and her bones broken. A hellish combination of agony and ecstasy.
“You’re going to make her one of us?” She asked, her temper beginning to overrule her common sense. She knew better
than to anger him.
He smiled. It made her heart pound in anticipation and dread.
“I don’t think three of us would be a good idea,” she stated. “Even in a city this size, we would draw too
Hazel eyes moved regretfully away from the slumbering visage to focus on her. “I agree.”
“Then you’re not going to make her one of us?” She asked, confused. Perhaps he had meant something else when he had talked of eternity. Was he going to kill the woman despite his wish to preserve her loveliness?
“Oh, yes, I am going to make her a vampire,” he replied, his eyes emotionless as they stared into her damaged soul. There was no warmth, his thoughts and feelings closely guarded from her. Whereas she could not prevent him from using the link between them, he could. If he didn’t wish her to know how he was feeling, what he thinking, then he would block her from his mind.
Uneasiness twisted her stomach. Something was not right. “I don’t understand.”
He smiled at her, a sad turning of the corners of his mouth. Pitying, would aptly describe the expression. “You’ve served me well, Elizabeth. But you’re growing
too strong. I never anticipated such power in you. I cannot tolerate it, my dear.”
Instinct forced her into motion. She dodged his first blow, ducked under his arm and made for the closed door. Before she had gotten two steps closer to the exit, he was before her. He swung; she back-pedaled. He lunged at her, catching her around the waist. They crashed to the floor. Breath knocked from her lungs, she lay motionless beneath him. Before she could recover, he had her effectively pinned to the hardwood floor, his lower body pressed intimately against her as he used his hands to keep her arms immobile.
Ordinary features had been cast aside as the creature within him assumed control. His eyes glowed, his fangs protruded, and his long fingers ended in deadly talons. The block on his innermost thoughts and feeling was gleefully released as he revealed to her the depth of his treachery. His waning desire for her, his triumph in finding a suitable replacement, the thrill of ridding himself of her unwanted presence, his anticipation for this final confrontation, his smug assurance that she would die while he stole her lifeforce and the power he had watched grown within her. All of these thoughts and emotions washed over her, devastating her pride and leaving her weak with terror.
She bucked beneath him, her nails growing into talons just as deadly as his. Her fangs had emerged so quickly the gums had torn and blood flavored her mouth. Had he been a human she would have torn his throat out without much
effort. However, he was not a human and she was not his equal by any measure. He was the master while she was the fledgling. Despite her astounding strength and willingness to kill, she was no match for him in hand-to-hand combat.
She was going to die. Again. Only this time, he had no intention of allowing her to return to the world of the
undead. He would not simply be content with her apparent demise, he would assure himself of it. Her heart would be cut from her chest, her head decapitated, and her body burned. Only when he was certain she could not return, would he be satisfied.
She screamed her rage.
He backhanded her, splitting her lip open and leaving a wide, gaping wound along her jaw line where his talon had gouged her. Blood did not gush from the site, it swelled and seeped, her body reclaiming it as quickly as it could. She had attempted to return the favor but the speed of his actions was astounding. Her wrist was once again pinned to the ground, effectively demonstrating her inability to best him.
She shrieked as he tore at her neck, his fangs scraping her collarbone. His tongue delved into the wound, lapping at the blood even as the long incisors siphoned away her
lifeforce. When she fell silent, struggling uselessly against his superior strength, he savagely deepened the wound. Her body could not recall the blood quickly enough. He began to drain her, and as a result, her strength ebbed and soon she was limp beneath him.
His pleasure, the heady euphoria only another vampire’s blood could provide, suffused her through the link. While she lay dying in his arms, she found herself smiling in
pleasure. The growing numbness in her body did not alarm her, countered as it was by his growing awareness and vitality. Her talons receded becoming normal nails once more. Her fangs slowly began their ascent, her superhuman strength ebbing with his continued feeding.
Death was not so terrible. She no longer feared it. Had he allowed it, she would have embraced him and the end his determined feeding would assuredly bring. But, he did not remove his hands from her wrists and she had to lie on the floor prone and unresponsive beneath him.
She closed her eyes, awaiting death.
A sound, a movement, and a scream broke the trance. His heady pleasure could not control her for a precious moment. She realized she didn’t want to die, not like this. Not at his hands. Luckily, the same things that had broken the death spell had snared his attention.
Capitalizing on his distraction, she gathered what pitiful strength she could and tossed him off her. He didn’t go far.
She scrambled away from him like a crab scurrying across the sand.
He glared but did not make a move to recapture her. His
attention focused instead on the screaming woman in the center of the bed. Her bright hair fell like a wave over her shoulders. She was clutching the soft material of her skirt and staring wide-eyed down at the two of them on the
Her blue eyes fell on his blood covered face, the gleaming fangs, and taloned hands. Her screaming became even more panicked, the volume increasing in painful decibels.
“Quiet,” he thundered. His eyes were intent on the woman’s face, attempting to draw her into a hypnotic spell.
Elizabeth's fingers touched the wound at her neck, her body trembling with weakness. Yet, for every second he attempted to reclaim his future concubine, her power
replenished. She willed her flesh to heal. The blood flowed less and less as the seconds passed. Hours would have seen her completely healed. Minutes, which is all she had, would see her strong enough to attempt another defense.
“Enough,” he commanded the woman, who continued to scream. She was too frantic, her gaze skipping between the two of them, to be properly snared by his efforts.
Springing like a cat, suddenly determined to thwart him in whatever way possible, Elizabeth lunged at the woman. In a blur of motion she drew the hysterical female against her chest, smiled in smug pleasure, and used a talon to slice the beautiful neck from ear to ear. Yet, one swipe was not enough. As he sprang toward her, comprehension of her intent evident on his face, she succeeded in decapitating the woman.
Blood covered her, the victim, and the bed. The silence in the wake of the woman’s screams was crushing. His own cry of denial and fury pierced her. She laughed, delighted by his anger. Fury, white-hot and uncontrollable, filled her
mind, body and soul. Her laughter sounded demonic even to her own ears, which only made her laugh all the more.
Knowing she was on the brink of insanity, she tossed the woman’s head away from her. Blood and gore turned the gloriously blond tresses pink.
“Damn you,” he thundered, striking her.
She struck back. Once, twice, three times. Surprising herself, as well as him. She had never considered the possibility of attack. He was her Master. The bond between them demanded better of her. Yet, her fury burned through his hold on her. Attacking him seemed foolhardy but no longer unconceivable.
She leapt from the bed, raced across the room, picked up a chair and swung. It crashed into his skull, knocking him sideways but not down. Had she been a second slower, he would have had her once again in his power. She didn’t stop to breath a sigh of relief for the fight was far from over. Instead, she picked up the table and caught him in the side. He stumbled but did not fall. She swung again and again, a blur of motion. When he fell, she tore through the door, leaving it hanging from one stubborn hinge.
She ran, calling on the last reserves of her strength. She maintained her fury, betting that it had prevented him from using the psychic link to control her during the last few minutes.
He was close. If she didn’t find a large group of people soon, she knew he would once again have her under his control.
Frantic, she searched, her ears straining for any indication of a gathering. Certainly New Orleans was not
asleep, not even at this hour. Somewhere there were people awake. She just had to find them in order to take advantage of the safety their numbers would provide. He wouldn't kill her in the open, not with risking himself.
Voices. She changed direction. Safety was only a street or two away. Surely she could make it?
She had made it. The tavern had been half-full of drunken men. Her bloody clothes had made her story seem plausible and she had soon found herself surrounded by a group of boastful, belligerent protectors. Her master had walked into the bar, taken one look, and accurately read the situation. She would be going nowhere she didn’t want to go, not even if he claimed to be her husband. He had stayed until the threat of daylight made it impossible for him to remain. However, his last look had promised her due punishment.