Stephen unlocked the door and stepped inside the room. He beckoned for me to follow him and I did so, wrinkling my nose as the sour smell of urine mixing with the sweet sickly smell of blood.
The vampire did not even look up as we entered but from here I could clearly see the bruises and cuts that marked his bare arms. His ankle was a furious red where he was manacled to the wall and his feet were blood-stained and encrusted with dirt, particularly around the toes.
“Dinner time, fuck-face,” smiled Stephen and then the vampire did look up, staring at us through his greasy knotted locks.
I couldn’t help but swallow when he laid his eyes on me. They were a startling blue and reminded me of another pair of blue eyes that I hadn’t seen in months. The vampire ran those blue eyes over my face and then down my body, only resting momentarily on the cat that continued to purr softly in my arms.
“Do I get the cat or the girl?” the vampire said with a soft Irish lilt.
“Think of it as a fast food dive, not Gordon bloody Ramsey. You only get the cat, I’m afraid,” Stephen laughed.
“Shame,” remarked the vampire, shrugging his shoulders and resting his head back against the wall, still not taking his eyes from me.
“Go on then,” said Stephen nodding is head at the cat and then over to the vampire.
“You do it,” I quickly said, thrusting the poor creature into his arms.
Rolling his eyes, Stephen took the cat and holding it by the scruff of the neck, walked over to the vampire who held up his thin, pale arms and took the animal, not once looking like he might attempt to grab his captor instead. He held the cat in his arms, much like Stephen had, stroking it gently and holding it up so he could look intently into its big, saucer-like eyes. The cat miaowed sweetly.
In one quick movement, the vampire buried his face into the cat’s neck and the animal shrieked as its throat was pierced and the sound was so like a baby’s cry that I wanted to put my hand over my ears and squeeze my eyes shut so I wouldn’t see it struggle in his grasp. The sucking noise was almost too much to bear but the whole time Stephen just stood, leaning against the wall with his legs crossed at the ankles and arms folded across his chest, never taking his eyes off of the feeding vampire.
When the cat stopped moving and the vampire was done, he tossed the poor thing’s body into the corner, wiping his mouth and chin with the back of his hand.
“Your new recruit is squeamish, Stephen,” said the vampire, smirking. “Where is Nathaniel finding these people? Or maybe his training isn’t quite what it used to be?”
“Oh she’ll learn, don’t you worry,” Stephen replied. “Anyway, she’s not as fragile as she looks. Feeling better, Fergus? I can see a little colour coming back into your cheeks already.”
If there was, I couldn’t see it. The vampire – now known as Fergus – looked just as pale and deathly as he had when we had walked in.
“I’d feel better if I had the girl, but I guess the cat will have to suffice for now,” replied Fergus.
“Good,” said Stephen and before I could register what was happening, he walked quickly over to the vampire and kicked him hard in the kidneys. The vampire fell to the floor, clutching at his side and breathing heavily as he fought to control the pain he so clearly felt.
“What the hell are you doing?” I cried, grabbing hold of Stephen’s arm and trying to pull him back. Instead, Stephen kicked him again, this time in the leg and the vampire rolled onto his back, knees drawn up, his eyes squeezed shut and teeth set in a skeletal grimace.
I stared at Stephen, horrified. “What is wrong with you? He wasn’t doing anything. He was just sitting there. You didn’t have to kick the shit out of him!”
Stephen shrugged as if it were nothing but then I heard croaky, wheezing laughter and looked down to see Fergus still on his back, hand melded to his side, but laughing as he looked up at us. He carried on laughing until finally he sat up very slowly, shaking his head and smiling.
He’d just been kicked twice and he thought it was funny?
“Oh dear,” he chuckled. “Oh dear, oh dear. I’m starting to think Nathaniel is losing his touch. If this is the calibre of sensor he is now training, I think we vampires have very little to worry about.”
Stephen said nothing now to defend me, not that I thought he would mind you, but I at least expected him to jump to the defence of his leader. Instead he just leaned back against the wall again and smiled.
“A sensor who hates to see a vampire in pain,” Fergus grinned. “Now this is a very interesting development indeed.”
“More than that, my twisted Irish beast,” Stephen laughed in return. “Get to know her a little better and she might give you more than cat blood. This one has a thing for you animals, believe it or not.”
I stared at Stephen dumbfounded. What the hell was he doing? And how dare he bring that up?
Fergus looked at me, his eyes widening as he took in Stephen’s words. When he ran those eyes over me this time, he didn’t look like it was my blood he was interested in.
“Oh, so you’re that sensor are you? I’d heard about you. Marcus’ daughter, right?”
God how I hated hearing his name spoken out loud.
“How on earth did you end up with this lot, eh? Last I heard you’d taken off with your fella. Sebastian has had people out over most of the south looking for you. Where’s your boy now, eh? Where’s Michael?”
Hearing that name felt even worse. I felt a stab of pain rip through my chest, one laced with the unmistakable touch of guilt. I tried to ignore it but heard Stephen snort with laughter.
“Nathaniel thinks he can get her to join the dark side, Fergus. Can you believe it? The great Michael’s girlfriend a fully-trained vampire killer?”
They both laughed now and I stood between them, feeling my cheeks flush angrily.
“I’m glad you both find me so amusing,” I hissed.
“Ah darling, don’t be so snappy,” said Fergus, holding out his hands in a placating gesture and groaning slightly as he shifted his body so he could lean against the wall again. “We’re only playing. I’m assuming your boy isn’t around anymore because I’m quite sure you wouldn’t be holed up with these bastards, would ya?”
I said nothing. I wasn’t about to discuss Michael’s whereabouts with anyone. Not that I knew his whereabouts anyway.
Fergus sniffed and wiped away a thin line of snot that had descended from one nostril. “Well, wherever he is, I don’t think he’ll be too happy when he finds out where you are. Rumour has it he’s quite the big man when it comes to killing sensors. Bet you don’t fancy being on his hit list, do ya? If I were you I’d run from this lot as fast as those shapely pins will carry ya.”
He looked at me now with eyes so solemn that I did want to run, I could feel pinpricks of fear ripple up my spine.
“I’m fine here, thanks,” I frowned.
“No,” mused the vampire. “No, you’re not. Any bastard with eyes can see that, girl. You don’t belong here with them. Something tells me you’re a slightly different breed of sensor. I actually feel sorry for you, darling.”
When he looked at me now, I saw none of his previous mocking stare. His face was serious and somewhat sad. Here he was, battered, tortured and stinking of his own urine and blood and he felt sorry for me!
I was aware of Stephen drinking in this exchange between Fergus and myself, looking from one of us to the other. He laughed softly before gesturing towards me.
“Oh I wouldn’t feel too sorry for this one, Fergus, she isn’t the innocent vampire lover she makes out to be. In fact, she’s far more dangerous than she looks. Didn’t you know she burnt down Marcus’ den? Burned them fuckers alive. Lit a match, poured a bit of petrol and then sat outside, watching as the vamps fried like barbecued pork.”
“It wasn’t like that….” I started to say.
“Oh Sarah, don’t be so modest. You became the poster girl for the sensor cause that day. And lets not forget your achievements since. After all, you killed the big man himself. The head honcho. Your own father. I mean, you’ve got to have some fucking gall to do that!”
Fergus raised an eyebrow, the sadness fading from his eyes as he seemed to appraise me in a new light.
“Wait a minute, that wasn’t me!” I gasped. “I would never….”
“Come on, Sarah. Marcus wanted to make you a vampire and when you said no, he tried to have you killed. Only you and Michael got to him first. We all know that. Nothing to be ashamed of. You killed a den leader. Now that’s a trophy to hang over the mantelpiece, eh Fergus?”
Now the vampire was glaring at me, his face darkening and mouth set in a small, hard line.
“Doesn’t end there either, Fergus. Our Sarah here kills regardless of gender or age. She’s not bothered. Killed a young girl the other week you know.”
I turned on him now. “Stop it! Just shut up!”
He smiled a tight cruel smile. “Hungry as hell this girl was. Picked on the wrong sensor though didn’t she? Got her a good one, eh Sarah? Should have seen it Fergus, a knife right in the neck.”
“A girl?” Fergus said, eyeing us warily. “How old?”
“Eighteen, nineteen maybe. You might have known her. Pretty little thing. Dark hair. What was her name now?” he smirked and scratched his head in mock-contemplation.
I didn’t like the way this was going. I didn’t like the way this was going at all. Whatever Stephen’s agenda was, I was sure it was nothing good.
“Hmm, began with an E. Not Emily but something like it. Give me a second and I’m sure it will come to me,” he said, tapping at his skull.
“Emilia,” whispered Fergus, looking directly at me, his eyes red and watery.
“That’s it!” laughed Stephen. “Well done, Fergus. Emilia! The girl that Sarah killed was Emilia. I think she was from Juliette’s den too. Did you know her, Fergus?”
I looked from Stephen to the vampire, whose chest was moving in and out in great heaves now and I could hear his breath hiss dangerously between gritted teeth.
“Yes, yes I knew her,” he said and his voice trembled. Another small rivulet of snot run down his nose and upper lip, but this time he did it wipe it away.
“What? Wait a minute…” I began but before I could finish, Fergus’ face twisted into a molten mask of hate and with a tortured wail he launched himself with a strength I didn’t think he could possibly still possess. I heard the jangle of the chain, attached to his manacled ankle, as it dragged quickly along the floor behind him and before I knew it I felt his hand grip my shirt and his face was just inches from mine, contorting in fury as he howled his rage at me.
I cried out in shock and grabbed his wrist with both hands, but as I pulled he wouldn’t loosen his grasp and I stumbled backwards hearing the rip of fabric, releasing me from his clutches as I fell to the floor. Desperately I scrambled backwards across the blood-stained floor as he flailed and strained on his chain to try and reach me. The veins in his temples bulged. His fingers clawed at nothing but air as he screamed, his mouth open wide revealing awful fangs and spraying saliva everywhere.
Now I sat with my back pressed to the wall, gasping for air as Fergus continued to fight and struggle to get to me, his face rippling with hatred as he screamed obscenities at me. I was sure that at any moment that chain would break, so powerful was his fury.
Stephen had moved out of Fergus’ reach but his eyes gleamed with that same zeal I saw in the sensors’ eyes the day we went to The Black Cat. He side-stepped towards me and crouched down next to where I sat. With his mouth close to my ear, he spoke, never taking his eyes off of the raging vampire.
“This is a vampire, Sarah. Take a good long look. See them for what they are. Blood-thirsty. Relentless. Evil. Never forget this. Never let down your guard. And never, ever trust them.”
The vampire continued to scream.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013