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The radio went dead a little while ago. I think Paishel has cut off power to the house. I am still in my coffin, and I am hungry. Without lust to sustain me or blood to feed me, or the sunlight to tell me when to hibernate, I no longer know how long I have been in my coffin. It’s been probably a week. I don’t think I have used a coffin this extensively in a long time. It’s really just for transport and for emergency purposes. Most of the time, a good bed and a deep comforter will do. Or a shallow grave. Just so long as it blocks out sunlight. The sick thing is that this closed area is messing with me. I knew it would, but it was a risk I had to take. The sounds outside my coffin are muted, but I can still hear human minds in the area, and occasionally I can feel the hard void that must indicate the reanimates. There are others too, vampires of the Phobos pact. I wonder if Zach knows about their participation. Zach is my mate. Yeah I know he’s Phobos pact, but call it kismet, or whatever you like, we have been together for over 500 years. If I concentrate, I can feel him. He fled with the others, running when the others mutinied. He is not close enough for me to link with his mind, but I always feel his emotions. He is frustrated and angry, and quite a bit scared. I am dying to know what he is thinking. I hope he is keeping tabs on mine. Also, I have decided that I will punish my dear flight for their methods. It was uncalled for. I am sure that they are beginning to see what has overtaken our safe house. They are not dim. Entry 3: All I can think about is blood. Lust doesn’t even appeal to me anymore. I am drying out. I just need. I have lost my mental connections in my all consuming hunger. I think I have been sleeping more. That tends to happen. I regret trying to do this. I don’t see a way out. Any outcome that I do, I wind up a slave to that demon downstairs, or
dead. Both are terrible. The last option to me is to stay here and languish. I am sure that someday I will be exhumed. It’s not like I can die from being buried. Entry 4: I can smell humans in the house. More humans. . .more blood being smeared somewhere in here. Now that I am too weak to actually lift the lid on my coffin, I can’t. . .
“Mary, come forth!” the commanding voice shuddered through me, and I rose from my coffin, jerked into motion like some demonic marionette. I could feel my eyes blazing as my body followed the command like a rat to the piper. “Come Mary.” Called the voice again, seductive this time, igniting my hunger and lust. Before me, Meyers stood, his arms open to welcome my body, and shameful and horrid that it was, I came, shuddering against him, a total slave to my passions. “That is right, child. Oh, you were so clever to hide in your coffin, but that is over now. See? I mean you no ill!” “P-Paishel?” I stuttered, unsure of myself. I tried to remain strong, but the demon’s influence overshadowed me. “But of course my dear, would you have it instead be useless and trembling ghoulish Caldwell? Come my dear, I know what you need.” The door to my hiding place opened, revealing a timid teenage boy, dressed in ratty clothes and reeking of drugs. He could not see into the shadows, but he stood, trembling, sensing danger. In my hunger I leaped at him, unable to stop myself. “Ah!” Paishel began, and I froze, just inches from the boy’s neck. Oh god! The boy seemed rooted to the spot, unable to move. “So thirsty, my dear. Ah, I was going to give him to Janice, but if you would.” He released me, and I bit down like the feral beast I was, blood leaping into my mouth, singing as it jetted down my throat. I had to have all of this boy. I stripped him down with my hard nails, shredding the fabric from his body. He shuddered against me, his animal reaction bathing me in the scent of his hormones. Lust and blood together mingled in my form, revitalizing me, and I knew that I was going to kill him. Suddenly.
the demon Paishel took my hair and separated me. I roared in pain and frustration, seething and panting. Darkness fell across my vision, cutting off the scene. The zing of steel across my throat cut off my howl, and I was cast to the floor. My head gave way slightly against the floor, disorienting me. Then I felt lips against my wound. These were mortal lips. No. God no, not this. “Paishel! You bastard! Not this!” I flung my telepathic voice at his shield. Paishel laughed. The boy began to suck harder now, drawing my sustenance from me. The effect was nearly immediate. I felt him tremble from head to toe. His scream pierced my ears as he began to convulse. I was lifted to my feet under Paishel’s spell. “Ah, my little moonflower. How long? Fifty, sixty years since you changed Sakura? And how long since you made a male? Hmm? Oh you should be proud my dear.” He ordered me out, and I could do nothing but follow. He chained the poor boy, even as with a dual pop, the child’s eyes came loose from their sockets as the pressure built in his body. Every vein stood out on his tortured skin. I could hear his poor heart, already thrumming as if he was running a marathon. He writhed and screamed as Paishel dragged him down the stairs, each bump cracking bones. I was too sickened to be elated. Why had I ever thought I could do this? Oh, it was too late now. The boy was going to change, and I had the sick feeling that the child had not chosen this fate. This was wrong, wrong, wrong. What a fool I was. “Oh, little Innocence. I am surprised that you don’t remember, I wore your father Ashur for a long, long time.” He said, as he hummed to himself. “Liar.” I said through my teeth. “Oh? Is that so? I suppose you would think that. Ah, we get so little credit for all of our troubles.” He sighed. “I suppose after a thousand years I wouldn’t expect you to remember anyway. Not considering I wore him the night I made you into the little slut you are. Do you remember how it felt as I ravished you that night? Ah I have never had so much fun.” I gritted my teeth. Yes. Yes I remembered. How could I forget that? I remembered differently though. “You possessed those men.” I hissed. He laughed.
“A thousand years and it never once occurred to you? Oh, my dear, what a vapid, stupid whore you are. They were degenerate human men, but they did such an adequate job of communicating my seed to such a lush virgin as you were. I am an incubus, you know. It was my greatest pleasure. And then I led Ashur right to you as you lay cut up and convulsing in the initial change, all ready to pick you up and sit with you for your first seven weeks. . .” “No! stop!” I cried. “I left him afterward, though. Such a boring fool. But I guess that sort of makes me your father.” “Fuck off, demon. Ashur was my father in darkness. You came back to hunt him. You killed him!” “Of course. It amused me. His death satisfied me after finding out that he never told you about me. We were such good allies, your father and I, but old friendships. . .heh. . .die hard. Of course I realized how fun it would be to hide your origin only after I killed him. Ah, I’m not infalliable, you know.” “You are going to kill me too?” “My own daughter? Hah. Not yet.” He said, forcing me down into the cells. There are only four cells in my basement. They are all about 700 square feet each, and all of them were occupied. They were supposed to be for fledglings. They were the apartments for them while they changed and gradually regained their sanity. That was the best of their purposes. Now, they were being used for incarceration and torture. Both the boy and I were tossed into Dominic’s cell. I did not care, just as long as his control left me. When the door slammed, as I suspected would happen, he severed his control. I peeled off my remaining clothes and rushed to the twitching boy, laying my cool body on top of his fevered one, and calmed him as much as I could, speaking to him through the budding bond between master and child. My throat still streamed blood, which I let him suckle on again. It did seem to ease him slightly, though the change was ripping through him. “Easy son, my son, it will be over soon. I am here, your mother and mistress.”
“H-elp m-me.” He strained. I put my finger into his mouth for him to suck. Sometimes this helps calm one. Instead, he bit down. At first, it seemed as if he would break my skin, but the teeth gave way. His strangled cry echoed in the room. I helped him clear his mouth of human teeth, and removed his dangling, dead eyeballs. All of a sudden, he bucked and heaved, and I turned him over as he vomited and voided himself of his digestive tract, the gristly offal coming out half dissolved. He could not even breathe as it happened, so violent was his ejection. He stared at it, beyond pain and unable to pass out. I wrapped myself around him as the final seizures wracked him. Finally, with a muffled pop, he went limp. “Ahh-hhh. Glorious.” Grated a voice from the corner of the cell. I felt the boy’s heart twitch uselessly and become still. “I am Cody, help me.” He whispered in my head, exercising lips that could no longer draw breath to speak. “I can’t. You are already dead.” I choked. God, this was always hard. Mortals were capable of some pretty strange things when they died. Odd notions flow through their heads. This one felt the need to be known, for which I thanked whatever power watches favorably over my kind. “Tell mama I am sorry.” He said mysteriously as he trailed off into his first death. “Oh dear, a runaway boy. How terrible for him to be out, to die far from his comforts. Thus the destined prodigal instead becomes the damned.” I wanted to look up, but I was still transfixed on my fledgling. As was my duty to him, I would lay beside him until his body cooled, at first stroking his hair and settling him into a comfortable repose until I knew for certain that his consciousness was entirely settled. “Dominic. God help me.” “Not likely.” He said. “But thank you, I will treasure his death. It’s nice to know that even an elder slut such as yourself still agonizes about it.” I finally pried my eyes from Cody. Dominic was bad off. All of his skin was gone, and his flesh dripped with ichor. His dual set of fangs jutted from his jaw as well as his palate, exposed by the lack of meat on his face. The muscles on his belly were thin, distended and on the verge of bursting. He coughed up blood and stood, gliding to my side. His disease did not diminish his
preternatural strength and grace. His stench was appalling. I gagged and pulled Cody tighter to me. His proximity triggered my protective defenses for this new child. “Gah, I do not want him. He’s not really all dead anyhow.” “Don’t touch him.” I hissed. Dominic paused. He understood the nature of the situation. “You should have fled when you had the chance.” “I should have killed you when I had the chance.” “This was inevitable.” “This was your doing. You showed Cal how they are affected.” “It is your fault for bringing them here in the first place.” “It would have happened sooner or later.” I said, turning my attention to licking the blood from Cody’s eye sockets and mouth, drawing the blood from his bruises, and arranging his limbs so that he would sleep comfortably. He was becoming a vampire, so rigor mortis would never affect him. Dominic watched with patience. “I am sure he will be a fine son.” He said. “I truly am sorry he had to be turned under these circumstances.” I gritted my teeth. “There is nobody to help me feed him.” I said, my voice trembling. That meant that there would be a very long, dangerous time for me. As a prisoner I could hardly get out and replenish myself. Dominic sucked a breath in through his teeth. He knew it too. The Charon pact still made one-on-one members like this, but then, it was their pleasure to kill and feed like a monstrous vulture and bring back blood to their progeny. “I could try.” “You are diseased.” “This is not contagious. It is my curse alone. Believe me when I say that the reanimate’s blood is no longer in me. Caldwell made sure of that. What lingers. . .I cannot explain, but it cannot be passed on.” I looked at him, shocked. “You have resolved yourself?” “To die? Yes. I made a mistake. I failed in my hunt. The lion on the bull’s horns indeed.” He said, spreading his arms. As he did, strands of clear fluid dripped from him. “I am dying. It feels glorious. But I am still potent as a vampire.”
“We shouldn’t mingle pacts.” I said. “That hasn’t happened since before my own time.” “As you wish. I will watch for you to falter.” I sneered. “We shall see. It is up to Cody to decide to take your. . .do you even have any blood left?” “Not much. Paishel has been starving me. He brings food to the thing next door, and I have drawn off of the deaths, but there is no blood. . .Even though I can smell it. . .” he pressed himself against the wall and began sniffing like a sow after truffles. “Why are you so friendly hmm?” Dominic stopped, catching himself, and shrugged. “Because I am in control of myself again. I. . .haven’t felt like this since I was a living man.” Was he being sarcastic? Jeez. I couldn’t tell. “Don’t kid yourself. Have you looked in a mirror?” Dominic sobered and sat again, leaning against the wall. He jerked his thumb toward the opposite wall. There, Paishel had put up a wall length mirror. Without light to reflect off of it, there was no image in the silver backed glass and so I hadn’t noticed it. “He turns on the lights once a day, I think. I think I have been counting cycles. I may have lost track. At least you sent donated blood my way.” “Focus, Dominic.” I sighed. “I think I made it three weeks while I was trying to spy.” Dominic shook his head. “Just a half. I think. So you’re alone?” I was stunned. Only that long? But I couldn’t reveal my shock. No, he could not be right. He was subtly trying to irk me. He wouldn’t be able to tell the time any more than I could. The cells were as good as a coffin for that very reason. “Yes.” I said, kissing Cody’s forehead. “And no.” “Even Sakura?” “Yes, even her. I am starving.” “Of course you are. Thought you could last for weeks or months without either blood or lust? In this day and age, when lust can be attained just by walking down a crowded street the way you fawning sluts dress? None of the pacts have been as spoiled
as yours. It comforts me to know that you are also weak when it comes to hunger. The rest of the pacts control themselves, but not yours. Never yours.” My god, he had a lot of junk to spew. Jealous? I sneered. “Oh yeah?” I retorted, “what about you Mr. ‘Humans are so much more fun when they go after each other?’ Eh? I noticed you when you slunk back here from the wars in Germany. I wonder what this government would do if they found out that you had been helping yourself to the misery over there. How many did you feed off of then, you gluttonous vulture?” “Hah. Yeah, I am so incredibly blessed. Goddamnit I should have gone to Russia when I had the chance.” “The flights there would have killed you and you know it. I think you just popped back here because you were almost caught by the parent flights. Had a run in with your old master maybe?” He flew at me with blind rage. His glowing eyes were twin streaks in the darkness, and I met him full on, nails and teeth ready to bear. I kicked Cody into a corner to spare his fragile body as we fought, fangs and fists, hate and blood, tumbling and slamming ourselves against the walls, tearing at each other’s bellies and necks. In a fight between us, it is always an attempt to behead one another, exsanguination, or ripping out of the heart. Nothing else would kill us. There was no cursing, no screeching, and no cries of pain or threats and posturing, it was just pure, savage bloodshed. Dominic was still very strong, but I was stronger, older, and recently fed on blood. He leaped away from me, coming to that realization. His frenzied, mad laughter echoed in the cell. “Bloodlust, Mary. We can’t do what he wants us to do.” I leaped against the opposite wall, and spat out a wad of congealing blood. He had knocked one of my fangs out. It would grow back. His blood and ichor painted my body, and it was foul. He started to lick blood off of his own flesh “Don’t ever speak of my master like that again.” “Tsch, right. You’re just jealous because he’s as old as I am. What if I told you he gave you to me?” Dominic surged into rage again, and then just as quickly, he collapsed. “Damnit, it figures. I suppose you knew everything I did over there?”
“Oh yes.” I said, “And what a naughty boy you had been as well. Glad to see that it still touches a few nerves.” He growled at me. Indeed, more than a few nerves. My head pounded with need. “Dominic. . .how do you stand it?” Dominic looked at me strangely and then barked a raspy laugh. “Oh this is too rich! Never starved yourself before, have you? So! An ancient slut asks questions of me now? A Hedone of a Charon?” “Don’t mock me.” “Oh no, Mary. I would never. Not now. You must fight. You must fight and remember that without a secondary source, we cannot last as long without blood. Perhaps you remember that?” “I. . .I had forgotten. You’re right. I have never gone without sweet lust. . .” Dominic shook his head and looked down at Cody. “Yes, well, what a privileged existence that child will have. That is. . .if there is an existence in our future.” We stared at each other, saying nothing more. After a fight like this, we cannot hold grudges. It is not in us, especially with a fledgling in the room. It would be a long time before he would try to attack me again, and I was not ready to put him down. As much as I hate to admit it, during the next seven weeks, I might need him to support Cody after all, and I knew it as much as I feared the result. Mingling pacts always resulted in unexpected results. I went to the corner and picked Cody up again, holding him to my tattered flesh, drawing off what remained of his warmth. I curled up with him in the center of the room and drifted off into hibernation. Cody’s body was cold as my own when I woke. His lips had retreated from his vacant mouth, revealing the thin tips of his fangs which had already penetrated his tattered gums. That basic set would be all he would have for a while. They were fledgling teeth. They were not rooted, nor could they be retracted. The internal structure of his whole skull would have to change first, one of the many, many changes his body was undergoing. His heart was beating again as well, steady and quiet. The change had already healed it. It was a false life, I knew that quite well. None of his other organs were
working. That heartbeat was the tattoo of the change marching through his body, and it would cease when the change was complete. Dominic was already awake and watching me. “You slept quite a while. A couple of days.” He said. “Longer than I have, at any rate. There have been two feedings next door, and your fledgling is nearly ready to wake. Are you well?” “The bloodlust.” I groaned, clutching my head. It pounded in my head as if it were from a living pulse. I was still very weak. The door opened, and the light turned on. Dominic gathered himself to spring, but a force prevented him. In the doorway, Paishel stood with his hands on the shoulders of Janice. Her glassy eyes were haunted and full of despair. It shocked me to see her in that state. I had never seen emotion in her eyes before. She jerked her legs mechanically into the room. Paishel grinned. “Having fun, I see. At least you spared the mirror.” “Fuck off back to hell you bastard.” I growled. “For shame, Mary. Is that how you address your dear old dad these days?” I looked from Dominic to Janice. Both looked at me. Shit. “I’m not yours, fiend.” “Yeah, yeah, denial of the truth is your finest quality, you know. If only I could deceive myself as you do. Charming.” He pushed Janice away from him. She stumbled and fell to her knees. “Daughter dear, will you take care of this one? I must go out for a while.” I looked from Janice to Paishel. “Take care of her yourself.” I growled. Paishel shook his head. “Tsk tsk, after you all but pledged your blood to this one? Come now, be a good girl. Offer her your blood. “No.” I said, and looking into Janice’s eyes, I knew that she was also not willing. Even so, I held out my arms to her, the universal vampire gesture of invitation. My body would not obey me. “even had I any to spare, no.” “Master, she needs it for that boy.” Janice mumbled. Paishel laughed. “But of course, my child. But let’s experiment, shall we? She won’t give it unless I force her to you, but not everything is a total loss here. Go eat that boy.” I flung
myself over Cody, instinctively hissing. Janice took two more steps and stopped. I could see the conflict in her eyes. “No.” she said resolutely, staring at me. Paishel snarled and whirled from the room. The force of his power caused the single lightbulb above us to burst, showering us with hot glass and sparks. Janice crumpled where she had been standing. Sobs wracked her shriveled form. I stayed over Cody. Dominic rumbled deep in his throat. I could not stop him as he sprang. Janice was too weak to counter him. She didn’t even roll over as he began tearing into her. She didn’t even cry out. Dominic’s raving frenzy washed over the whole room, blazing with murderous intent. He dug his fangs deep into her gray flesh and sucked hard, far too hard. Finally, fighting down my maternal instincts, I got up and hefted him, tossing him into the mirror. He shrieked in agony as the mirror shattered and sliced into his flesh, the silver backing made him howl and writhe in pain. Janice lay ravaged on the floor. I went back to my fledgling, crouching over him and ready for her to spring, but she just lay there, sobbing and bleeding. Dominic was bleeding too, his belly finally popped open like a boil, gushing blood and fluid all over. I was so hungry that I almost could not stand to let any of that tainted flow go to waste, but I steeled myself. I would not let myself attempt it. Besides, Janice was unpredictable when injured. I could not risk Cody. The demon had given his order to her, and I knew that she could not avoid that order. “Janice. . .” I growled. She lifted her torn head to me. Dominic had shredded her, even in the short seconds it took me to pull him off. Even so, evidence of her torture was obvious. There were demon etchings and symbols all over her skin and they were not going away. “This does not hurt. . .it does not hurt.” She whispered. “Why did I ever long for pain?” she tried to stand, but for now, her legs would not obey. She stumbled, wobbled, and sat again. “Why did you stop him?” She moaned. “He was going to kill me. Why didn’t you let him?” I stared, shocked. From what I know of her kind, she should not be so lucid.
“Possessed?” I asked. She shook her head. “He’s mad at me about that. He tortures me. . .Abe and Tony have given in, but I won’t. I. . .I didn’t choose this.” Even Dominic went still, hearing what she said. “What? Say that again?” I said, my voice trembling. “He tortures me. He can hurt me.” She said, burying her head in her hands. “I won’t give in to him.” “You can. . .break his control?” Janice nodded. “And Abe and Tony could not?” Janice shrugged. “They could, they did at first, but they gave in when he put these marks on us. Seven so, he still cannot hear inside our heads unless we drink from vampires. They have three of them in the fourth cell. Phobos pact. They drink every night. Can’t you smell the humans here? They are in the third cell. They are in cages like monkeys. Don’t make me drink from you.” “I won’t.” I said, astounded. “As long as you are not going to eat Cody.” Janice looked from me to Cody’s corpse. “You said you would never make one alone.” “Paishel. . .forced this.” Janice grimaced, looking from Cody to Dominic. “You should kill me. Please.” Janice pleaded. “It hurts so much to disobey.” She traced the remaining marks. I knew what those were. He had tried to claim her and had evidently failed. “No.” said Dominic, ripping bits of glass out of his body and clutching at the contents of his belly. With a grimace, he yanked, drawing all of his abdominal organs out. “You haven’t felt pain in sixty years. Why die after a small taste?” “You bastard! Do you dare mock me? You don’t know. . .you can’t fight him.” Dominic scoffed. “Yeah, and you’re failing too. Just look at yourself. How many times have I seen you in my minds eye? How many has he made you kill already?” impact. Janice lunged at Dominic, but I caught her foot. She thudded against the floor, her ribs cracking with the
“By god, are we animals? Fighting each other is not the answer. This is not the way to do this, Janice. You’re talking nonsense. Defy him? You? You’re undead! The undead cannot fight a demon’s order. It is not possible.” “I will kill that bastard!” she screamed. “Let me kill him! It’s his fault. His!” So. My warning fell on deaf ears. I looked at Dominic, who got up and knelt in front of her. “Oh? As if you could stay away from me. I know the lies Paishel feeds you. I hear them echo in my own head every time he has a session with you. You’re strong to have lasted even half a week without—” “Half a week? Half? It’s been two months!” she whined. “I know because I can’t always. . .I can’t always fight him. Don’t you know? He lets me out whenever I mind. He lets me be free as long as I obey. I check the date every time. But I don’t want to. I don’t want him even touching me.” “You are lying!” I shouted. About everything! Two months? She could fight him? It couldn’t be possible! There was no hope! “I am not.” “She’s not lying.” Said Dominic, strangely calm. I think he was just as amazed as I. Jealousy was eating at me. I hate demons. If this little new reanimate thing can fight them. . .jealousy gave way to desperate scheming. “I only wrote three journal entries. . .I planned to write more.” I said, my thoughts going to the contents of my room. Two months? Dominic laughed. “Poor baby! Poor princess, locked in her bedroom.” He chided. “But it was the only place I could hide from him.” I said. “You failed at that. You did! Even I sensed you toward the end.” Said Dominic. “Starvation’s a nasty fate and you lost yourself. Maybe you should be thanking Paishel for commanding you.” “You don’t know what he really is. . .” “Your father? Yeah, I knew it. I knew it the moment I smelled him. You always did have a demonic funk about you, didn’t you know? Never had allies, I suppose. Not even your own flights told you in all these years. Me? Mess with a demon bred
vampire? But of course you’d take it as your due. Never questioned why you’re so goddamn pampered.” “As if there is some club.” I said, miserably. Now I understood why I was named Innocence by the elders. God. . . “Oh, but there is, mistress Innocence, and you know it. All dead now, just as you should be.” He cackled. That was true. Demon bred vampires were supposed to be nothing but a distant legend. The last one was killed a long, long time before I was turned. Secrecy is a drug amongst us. Of course Dominic’s father would be quiet about that. Of course nobody brought it up. One thousand years, and it finally clicked, why the elders had always preferred me. Of course they wanted it a secret, even from me. Of course they would be able to command the others to silence. He sneered. “I didn’t figure it out at first, but yeah, I’ve known. At first I thought you were just a favored ride, y’know. . .just like Ashur. Then I found out the truth. But I wasn’t expecting Paishel to be it until I connected the scents. It’s not exactly a placeable scent, especially with you all pampered and perfumed as you always are.” “You wrote in my journal?” Janice asked tightly, on a completely different train of thought. It was a welcome distraction. “I tried.” I said; glad to change the subject, trying to wrap my mind around the passage of time. “Okay, fine. It’s been two months, and the world. . .” Janice looked away. “It’s building.” She said. “They are still hiding it, but it’s already escaped our power to deal with it, even if we were still on the strike team. The WHO is all worried about other things, and Wilkinson has been busy in the third world this winter. He knows we are weak in the cold. It is only a matter of time now. Paishel mutters about the summer solstice.” “I heard of outbreaks on the shortwave.” “You heard preliminary ones. You heard the ones that they have put down. They are not willing to say what it is in public though. Dismissed as an April Fools joke.” “The third strain?” I asked. She shook her head.
“That thing is a throwback. It animates only the truly dead. Yes, it’s contagious, but only from corpse to corpse, and it was not supposed to be out yet. It was a distraction for us. They’re a cleanup infection. Type II goes through, kills and turns people, then the corpses fall, and the secondary infection type III rises to clean up. The monster in room one is an experiment sent to Meyers as a gift from Wilkinson. . .I mean Bailil to Meyers. I mean. . .” “You mean Meyers wasn’t originally possessed.” Janice nodded. “No. He was just Bailil’s tool. Paishel is here for a different reason, and Meyers interested him.” She said, looking at me. “How long has he haunted here, cousin?” she accused. “I know nothing about it!” I shouted, irritated. “Nothing! I just found out that I am an original!” Dominic snorted. “You really are a dim witted slut.” He said, and then rounded on Janice. “You know a lot about Wilkinson’s demon to know his name, don’t you. You accuse the slut, but what in the nine hells were you hiding?” Janice jerked her foot, and I released it. She took a long look at Dominic, took a deep, useless breath and sighed. “Oh, no. . .I know its name because I was there when Bailil’s agent delivered a message. These demons. . .they are real. All this time, maybe I should have gone to church.” I barked a laugh. “Don’t be silly. Vampires? Ghouls? Demons? Been around before all of that Judeo-Christian nonsense. I think they’re aliens. Yeah, they may have made us, though I don’t even know all the details of whatever happened that made me the way I am. There’s no divine origin about that; nothing I know about anyways. It’s a fat wad of bullshit.” “But how do you know?” she asked, obviously shaken. “Because I have never seen any angels.” I said. Damnit, why did she have to echo my own inner debates? “No voice of god, no pillars of fire, no miracles that can’t be explained. They’re just another race.” Janice looked at me, astounded, and then she smiled wryly.
“A vampire Scientologist. . .that’s a new one.” She said. Dominic dissolved into gales of laughter at that. Janice giggled as well, catching onto Dominic’s mirth, which irked me. Now what? I’m everyone’s big joke? “Hey yeah, Mary Innocence! Hell, this is probably one big stress test for you right?” he quipped in between guffaws. “Yeah, fine, laugh. But at least I have the eternal consolation that I did not choose to be a vampire like you did. It was forced on me.” I held onto that. It was a deep truth, and I accepted it with eagerness. I may be completely of the Hedone pact now, and would not change for all the world, but it was a major difference between me and every other vampire but the other originals. Dominic sobered instantly. “Poor you.” He said. “But so what? You chose to continue. You followed lord Ashur, didn’t you? As damning a choice as any. You could have pierced your heart at any time, you know.” “You first.” I growled. Janice chewed her lip. “Innocence. Just like me. . .” she said. “was I was made by demons, Paishel never mentioned—” “No, Janice. No, if Cal was not possessed when he made your serum, there is a good possibility that humans actually are responsible for your strain. If you can break his control, though you are not conventionally alive—” “reanimated” she filled in. “Undead.” Dominic offered simultaneously. “yes. And also your disease which you gave to Dominic. . .” I could not voice my thoughts any further. There was so much beyond my understanding—beyond anyone’s understanding. “Looking into the abyss. . .” I whispered. But what was looking back? I could not comprehend. In the meantime, a soul sucking silence developed between us. “So Janice, why aren’t you in frenzy?” asked Dominic, finally breaking it. “No. No something is stopping it. A drug Meyers had been working on. He gave it to me and then. . .” Janice said, her hand straying to her right arm. “In his last lucid moment, Meyers. . .Paishel went out to face Bailil alone. He went riding Tony, but when
he came back, he re-entered Cal. I haven’t seen him since. It’s all been Paishel. And he tortured me double ever since.” “He might be gone now, love.” I said. “Being worn by a demon is tough on us, and he’s a weak ass ghoul, not. . .whatever you are. I read your journal about him committing suicide.” “God, he was fucked from the very beginning.” Said Dominic. “No I know that now. He can’t even enter us unless we consume undead flesh or blood..” Janice shivered. “He tried. Oh god. . .” “So we still don’t know what it wants.” Growled Dominic. “I mean, apart from Queen Mary here.” “As if he would share that info. This isn’t the movies.” Said Janice. “No fucking monologue from him. No ingenious plans. Just days and days of pain without reason.” Her voice grew tight. “He’s not even experimenting anymore. I think he’s just satisfying himself before the WMD plague hits.” “Demons don’t usually wear us without a reason. We’ll see.” I said. “It could be just that, it’s in line with the way they do things.” “Yeah, but he’s an incubus. Vampires are his preferred ride anyway.” Said Dominic, “But he’s not acting like an incubus.” “Times are strange.” Said Janice. I nodded. “He does seem desperate. Who knows. We do not want to speculate. We just have to observe.” I said. “But you, Janice, Why did he throw you in with us?” “Hunh. Why not? Why not with the beast that still wants to kill me or rape me; I’m not sure which. . .” Said Janice, looking at Dominic, “And you, his daughter, with your new fledgling when you know I have an order from my master to eat the poor boy.” She shuddered, composing herself. “It’s just another torture. He can make me feel pain, but it’s purely mental. He can’t really hurt me and I know that, even when I am writhing under his ministrations.” She looked at me. “I am expendable. There are two willing specimens out there. I have defied him, and if you are right, that is unique. But I am now severed even from my brothers. . .” she rubbed her arms uncomfortably. “For the first time since my reanimation I am alone. I
have also. . .” her glassy eyes grew distant as she stared to the door. “Looked into that black abyss.” She whispered. “Well, that’s not much to hope for.” Growled Dominic. “Perhaps that the house will fall in and crush us. That would be nice actually.” “Dominic!” I growled, aghast. “There is always hope. You can’t be overtaken. That is a miracle by itself. Don’t you know that no other undead creature can withstand a demon? God, that’s. . .that’s a human thing.” “I told you I’m human-ish. Just reanimated. I keep saying that, even in my journal.” She looked at her hands. “But reanimated still means undead after all, huh.” “No! Reanimated. . .that means alive.” I said, wistfully. Dominic snorted. “Don’t deceive yourself slut. She’s undead, you’re undead, that thing will get bored and kill us, and we can’t do anything about it.” “Better that you kill us all first Dominic?” asked Janice, hopefully. I stood and lifted her by the throat. With my other hand I slapped her hard enough to make her neck crack. She set it right calmly, with a sickening crunch. “No, I’m saying defy him! If you can block him, you can force him out, maybe even kill him! Send him back to hell!” “I. . .I don’t think I can. What if he jumps?” “Yeah Innocence.” Scoffed Dominic. “What if? You wanna be ridden by dear old dad? Bet you’d enjoy that!” I hissed at Dominic. In any other circumstance, I would have attacked him on the spot, but I was barely strong enough to stand and Cody’s preservation was driving my sanity at the moment. I was really grasping at straws and I knew it. I had to get out so that I could feed myself before Cody woke, or before Janice snapped, or before Dominic went even more batshit nuts, or before Paishel or Abe or Tony or perhaps (hopefully) a human came in here. My own plans were nothing in the face of this beast. I knew it from the start. “Tell me Mary, how will I know if he wears you eh? Or that boy there. That boy won’t even know why he can’t protect himself anymore.” Janice said. “Maybe you should let him be eaten rather than face that! Or face the world without prey. . .”
“She’s got a damn fine point there.” He growled. “Good enough to make me wonder why am I allied with you in the first place.” “Don’t make me throw you into the mirror again.” I growled. “We have to stop this.” All of us just stared at each other. Then it dawned on me. The thing wanted us to attack. But it was also the blood all over the floor. It called to all of us, daring us to drink the cocktail of taint that was congealing on the floor. Just congealing there. And none of us were willing to touch it. . .but Cody. . . “God Janice, would you suck up this blood before Cody gets up?” I asked tightly. Janice looked at Cody’s corpse. “So that is Cody?” “Yeah, he’ll want to suck this mess up when he wakes. It’s our nature. The most readily available source. . .” Janice’s eyes widened. “Torture. . .” she grumbled, and refused to obey me. An irrational flash of anger rose up in me. “I swear to god, Janice. It can’t be here when he wakes. You’ll have to lick it off of him too.” “No.” she said firmly, though I knew that her body must be aching with the desire to do it. “Please!” I demanded, knowing full well that it was what Paishel had initially wanted. She slapped me, but it did not affect me much. She was still not much more powerful than a living human. Now it was my turn to attack blindly. I through her roughly against the door and then flew at her as soon as she tried to get up but Dominic’s disgusting arms wrapped around me. “Calm yourself. You figured it out too, finally. No. As as amusing as it would be to knock her off of her little free-willed smugfest, we cannot let her eat this mess. I can’t get rid of my organs, but I can at least clean the blood. . .As much as I want her dead, I cannot have it be immediate. I want to die by sunlight, okay? Immolate myself as I should, her body tangled in mine and drag her into oblivion with me. I can’t, absolutely cannot die in darkness. Not at the hands of a demon. That’s supposed to be after our death right? Demons. . .”
“Mary. I will do it for you.” She said at nearly the same time. “He’ll let me up if I do. Every time I do what he wants he gives me freedoms. I owe you still. At least you tried.” “Yeah, that won’t last and you know it.” I growled. “No. We must maintain your freedom from him. Remember to think like a human if you can. Bowing to evil in the name of the greater good is just an illusion. At least you still have the choice to bow or not.” “Mary. . .” Janice whined my name, and it lanced through me. Dominic grumped and let go of me, folding his arms across his chest. “No. Mary is right for once. Don’t touch this stuff. Let me.” He shuddered and began to lap up the congealing blood, gagging. It was a useless effort. His broken belly was not healing as it should and the blood simply ran out. He realized it almost as soon as I did. He stared at himself in horror and backed against the wall. Janice looked at the injury with fascination. “What, bitch, you like this?” Dominic seethed. “You like it that I can’t digest blood right now?” Janice shook her head and continued to stare at his belly. “You should rest, Dominic. Please.” I said. Dominic began to laugh again. This time, it was a laugh laced with madness. Janice backed into the opposite corner and curled up, leaving me with Cody’s corpse in the center of the gore. Dominic’s mad laughter washed over me. Again Janice giggled, though she tried to stop it. I caught it too, this time and we all collapsed drunkenly. Finally, Dominic’s peals slowed, and he descended into a twitching slumber of sorts without any more protest. These cells were designed to be like a sepulcher, but without any slabs or adornments. It has an effect on us just as coffins do. hibernation with some relief. “You should kill him.” Said Janice. The blood on the floor was mostly his and Cody’s, and there was a lot of it. “Why don’t you?” I asked. She sat up, taking inventory of her injuries, and then curled up and rested her chin on her knees. I watched him settle into
“Because of the glass. If you want me to remain defiant, then I can’t risk cutting myself further and taking blood through my open wounds.” Damn. She was quick. Silver backed glass would even cut into me. Now I knew why she went to the corner. “You’re really something, you know.” I said. “You can trust me with Cody.” She said. “No.” I said. “You won’t be able to convince me until he regains his senses.” We could hear nothing outside the door until flashes of Paishel’s mind burrowed into mine. Dominic shuddered to consciousness as the images burned through him as well. It was feeding time. There were half a dozen humans, all chained into the first cell. Each of them were exotic, and I knew that they were illegal slaves. I do not know how he smuggled them here, but I suspected that they were from the Caribbean. I could not hear their panicked muttering, but they were standing in total darkness. I looked from Paishel’s perspective. He held the reanimate type III from a silver leash and collar. Those were the chains and manacles that were from the cell we were in. It sat obediently at his side like a dog. Light streamed in as the door opened. Abe, Tony, and two of Zach’s young ones--I don’t remember their names, filed in obediently. “Does Zach know about those?” Janice shook her head. “I. . .he can’t know. I. . .he’s dead. Paishel. . .” her voice caught. “Shh. That’s alright. What could you do?” I said, but I wanted to scream in grief and pain. Nothing mattered. Nothing without him. Paishel’s voice echoed in my head, his amused laughter ringing through me. “Scream, my dear, scream. She could have disobeyed me but she did not! Ask her who killed him, who ate every part. . .slowly. Piece by piece. Ask her who drank him pint by pint as he cried out to you, while you were upstairs, too weak to hear his voice! Ask her who consumed him in the flesh while he stared, helpless and chained as I silenced his mind.” I trembled and stared at Janice. It took every ounce of control I had not to tear her apart on the spot, just for the mere hint. Dominic burst out laughing. “Janice. . .did you. . .” “Yes!” she cried. “Every part of him. The last time I gave in. It’s what he wants me to do. Didn’t you wonder why I can see in the dark now?” she pressed herself
against the stone and began sobbing again. “You should have killed me. Kill me. Please, kill me! I can’t. . .I regenerate now! I regenerate and I can’t sleep or burn like you can. The sun still does not affect me.” “What a baby.” Paishel’s voice ripped out of my throat. Janice sucked a breath and stilled immediately. “If you would just give in and do as I asked, none of you would have to suffer. But it does not matter. You have strong defenses against me, Janice, but in the end you are still a lowly undead beast fit for nothing but the slaughter.” “Fuck off!” Janice cried. I watched her carefully. I wanted to kill her. I couldn’t without pleasing the demon. But I knew it would be pleased if she lived as well. “Come on, Janice, just lick up the blood. It will come down to you or the boy soon, and I don’t think Mary will be quite so loving towards you any more.” “I will prevent it.” I seethed mentally, because the creature had control of my mouth. Paishel laughed. “As if you could. And I know you inside and out, my daughter. As if I could not just command you to release him. How amusing. I think you loved her already almost as much as you loved dear Zach.” His laugh burned through me. “I will stop him.” Said Janice. “Can you really? Can you prevent him when I can just order these three to do whatever I wish? I will get my way one way or the other little girl. You should have just made this easier on yourself.” Janice shook her head. She was tough, I’ll give her that. “Well, suit yourself. Torture your friends all you like. It’s your fault they’re in this now. I suppose it might be interesting to see this particular blood’s effect on a fledgling. It is a worthy experiment you have chosen.” “Order her to kill me!” said Janice. Paishel was not amused. “Order. . .hmm. No that will be an experiment for another day. Besides, I think that she would want to kill you on her own, and that would be a boring sort of death for you. No it amuses me to keep her alive, you see. Dominic too. Come, dear, you should start thinking. Look at them. I deny Dominic his need to kill you. Oh, yes, he is under my order. I leave Mary here the choice, because she loves you and she is bound to love dear sweet Cody as well, but though you killed her mate, his soul is part of yours. She loves you purely, and I can’t stand it. It is my wish that she choose her nature over you
but I will let it be her choice anyway. It’s not as fun to just order it, you know. Now I know how God must feel heh! Oh tests are so much fun!” “I will destroy you.” Janice said. “Oh, you mean destroy poor, cowardly Cal? Can you really kill him? He’s not gone, you know. Please, how boring. Do we have to go over this again? You cannot save the day. You cannot prevent this coming plague. You spoiled brat, you’ve been playing at heroes and monsters for too long, and its time you realized that you are a monster.” “I know I am a monster.” “Bullshit, or you’d just give in. No, you’ve infected my poor moonflower here with the need to be a hero too. She cast herself from her flight and starved herself for you.” “That’s not it.” I countered. Paisel laughed. “Oh, my dear, you give it a delicious, but boring self-centered spin about the food supply, but I know the truth. I can see straight into your twisted, damned soul. Now, watch the pretty pictures my dear.” Paishel ended his control over my throat just as the carnage began in the next room. The vampires went first, draining Abe and Tony. They were already glutted on fear. The whole place was soaked in it. The rooms are mostly soundproof, but I could suddenly feel the pleased, expectant joy of the two reanimates through Paishel’s bond with me as they were sucked practically dry. The pact drained them both, and then the vampires withdrew, trembling in fear. I could tell by the vision that they were starting to succumb to the effects of hemolytic disease. I sucked an alarmed breath and looked at Dominic, but he seemed too enraptured with the vision. I realized that he was well trained to this procedure. Abe and Tony tackled the vampires, biting in with their blunt teeth. They ripped flesh and consumed it as well, and the vampires screamed in pain. Paishel was holding them under his power, forcing them to stay still as they were eaten. When they were thoroughly mutilated and raving with pain and injury induced hunger, Abe and Tony stopped. Calmly, they came over to the humans, removing their shackles and
encouraging them to stand. The humans stood, on the verge of passing out from fear. They did not know what was coming, but they expected death. Dominic leaped to his feet and dashed to the wall, scraping his fingers against the stone. His eyes were full of madness and hunger. There was nothing sentient in his eyes when he did it. “And you thought I was domesticated. . .He knows what is coming.” Whispered Janice, just as I was rocked by his pleasure as the lights in the first cell turned on. Six humans scrabbled against the walls, crying out for rescue, but there was no way they could be heard. Paishel reveled in their sheer terror at seeing the vampires. Paishel released them and they leaped to the humans with ravenous hunger, polishing them off one by one and retreating from the room. Dominic sighed as his belly knit together, his sudden regeneration spurred by feeding off of the deaths next door. The creature at Paishel’s side strained against its leash. He released it, and it joined Abe and Tony in disposing of the bodies. Paishel hummed a tune in his head, pleased. “You could have that, Janice, and you know it. You know what is happening. All of that fresh human meat, still warm. . .” Dominic’s voice carried Paishel’s words. “And bloodless.” Said Janice. “It’s just not as good. And I’d rather eat shit than snack on another vampire.” “Oh don’t be so boring. That’s my little daughter’s excuse. I could let you have it all, you know. Enjoy it while you can. They won’t be as vital ever again.” Janice shut her eyes and covered her ears. “We have done it, love, and you know we’ll let you inherit the pieces. The shattered, deliciously ruined pieces! In the eye of the creator indeed!” “You can fight him.” I whispered, watching Dominic collapse again. I could hear Paishel’s laughter now, even through the wall. I was in shock. Paishel was so right about me. I wanted to kill Janice for what she had done, but I knew that she hadn’t been in control of her body when she did it. But if her spirit was mingled with Zach’s. . .No. No, if her soul and Zach’s were twinned, I could not risk losing what was left of him. insane. . .just mad.” “He’s a demon.” Janice said, and got up, picked up Dominic and shook him awake. Dominic bared his teeth at her, but stopped short of attacking. “And you’re a lawyer! Damnit, demons follow rules too, don’t you know them?” he hesitated. “He’s
“Yeah. Yeah. . .but. . .we’re not in a position.” Janice threw him to the floor. “Well, maybe this is a better position for you. Drink. He’s given us an out.” Dominic clutched his belly and smiled. Dominic had finished with the floor just as Cody began twitching. I looked up at Janice. “This is going to be bad.” She said. I nodded and drew Cody to my chest. He came to consciousness screaming. All of his life’s memories flooded into my mind. I ripped my jugular open with a fingernail and held his mouth to the laceration until he latched on, sucking with incredible force. After what seemed like an eternity, I yanked him off of me and he blindly flew at Janice, smelling the difference between us. Dominic got in his way. He stopped, his nose wrinkling. Dominic had a different smell, the smell of a foreign pact. He would not drink on him after all. For that I was relieved. “Cody! Calm yourself.” I demanded, weakly. Cody’s growing but still weak nails scratched uselessly against Dominic’s flesh. I knew what else he needed. Janice seemed to understand too. Of course she would. She’s had my blood after all, and Zach’s. I summoned all the strength I had left to pin him to the floor and initiate him properly into my pact. The door opened just as he was finishing. Cody tensed underneath me. He had no eyes to see the light streaming in from the door yet, but the scents that washed in assaulted all of us. A naked human girl was forced in. The girl was bound with tape to muffle her screams, but I could hear her terrified whimpering. Even Janice was affected. Paishel walked in behind her and closed the door. “Just a birthday gift for my charming grandson.” He laughed. “Too bad he’ll never see how beautiful she is. Such a waste.” He said, looking around. “You’ll pay for that mirror.” He said, grimly. He whistled as he walked up the wall and crawled across the ceiling like a cockroach. His demeanor seamed very oddly pleasant. He pulled a lightbulb from his pocket and screwed it in. He chuckled to himself without saying a word and slammed the door. And then the light turned on.
Pain. Just. . .lots of searing pain. Dominic, Cody and I screamed along with the human as the full spectrum bulb streamed its baleful rays into every corner of our cell. The human pounded on the door, glancing behind her at us as we crouched, trying to think of some way to cover ourselves. A full spectrum bulb is the worst kind. . .it delivers all of the pain of the sun without the release of immolation. It was all I could do to stare dumbly at the human as she voided herself in fear. Cody was quicker to respond. Curse fledgling flesh. It is more flammable, but not as sensitive to the light as mine is, and Dominic, I could tell was even worse off because he didn’t even have the benefit of skin to protect him. I watched my cursed son feed on her and kill her. Lust feeding was not an option available to him yet, and would not be until he was completely changed. I watched with envy, knowing that I should have been the one to eat her instead. I could have fed him for a long time on that single human. Dominic watched and sighed. At least that bastard was well fed. Janice set upon the woman’s corpse with zeal, knowing that she would need the strength that fresh human meat gave to her. Only I was left completely without. . .but at least I had a new somebody to share in lust. Poor boy. . . The light did not turn off. Dominic and I huddled together like monkeys. Cody sat dumbly, reveling in his first kill. Glutted with blood, he was only dimly aware of anything outside of himself. I was aware of his dim, bestial thoughts. He was learning, exploring every single bit of his new existence. His sentient mind had not yet had the courage to emerge from its tortured place. All I could hear was shattered screams and lots of agony, echoing my own, bringing to the surface my own time in darkness and pain. Janice was taking stock of everything in the room, glancing from us to the lightbulb and back. She seemed to be considering smashing it. “Don’t.” I said. “He will just punish you and us for popping it. Do you feel the pain? Does Zach?” Janice shook her head, blood streaming from her eyes. “Zach. . .” she said, thumping her head against the wall. “Mary, I am so sorry. . .so. . .sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it.” I said, squinting in her direction. My voice sounded hollow. “Demons. . .” I hissed. Inside, I felt the abyssal grief of his loss. I knew that she was not lying. “But is he in pain?” “He’s dead, Mary. Really dead. I don’t believe it’s anything more than the sum of his experiences. You can’t talk with him, and he can’t hear you. He can’t feel torment, or pain. . .He’s just. . .this lingering memory inside me. His memories, his love. . .” her voice broke. My still heart surged. “What you think he had a soul left to linger?” Her last statement was steely and cruel. It was evidence that she had been tortured beyond human comprehension and tolerance. It made me want to kill her and comfort her at the same time. Her eyes were emotionless as usual, but they were haunted too. “He’s the reason I fought.” She said. “The way Paishel made me do it. . .Abe and Tony were put through that too with others. Zach. . .Zach wanted to rescue you, but he knew that he never could. Vampires are fleeing the city or allying with the demons. And he made me hunt him down. I will never be a hound again!” Janice shuddered from head to toe. “At least you have a chance. Are you sure it isn’t—“ “Even if it was, do you think I would torture you by telling you?” she asked. “I’ve been under his thumb, but I’m not a thrall, Mary. I wouldn’t do that to you. I’ve done enough. Take my excuse or leave it.” She got up and paced the room like an animal. Now that the lights seemed to be on permanently, we could no longer rest, so we could not put an end to our pain through hibernation.. There is just something about full spectrum light that keeps us up. It’s a protective measure, I think. Usually light like this is accompanied by the burning rays of the sun. I began to wonder how we were going to survive this.
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