I did manage to keep up a solid pace beside him for a while...but in his mind, I doubt that I was even there anymore. My presence was simply 'unimportant' to his conscious while his blood-starved body searched frantically for an efficient method of getting its nourishment. Taryn's senses shut me out, and I must admit to being a bit curious as to how this would go down once he made the leap towards his chosen target.
Actually, there was a certain sexual allure to his menacing approach. An excitement that burned inside of me as he aggressively moved closer to a moment of attack. My God...watching him do that was making him so HOT in my eyes. Hardly the reaction I expected from watching my boyfriend plot out the execution of another human being. But my nostrils flared, my lips curled up into a flirtatious grin, and my eyes remained glued to his slim, waifish, frame as increased his speed slightly. Completely lost in the thirst now...Taryn's brilliant green eyes turned a deep, murderous, shade of scarlet....and I was left behind to lean against the brick wall on the side of the alley as he continued moving forward.
The man sounded like he was mumbling to himself. In either Russian or Polish, from the sound of it. But clearly a Chicagoan, born and bred. I could tell by the accent. Don't ask me how though. These extras just kinda take on a life of their own after they've been recognized. Taryn moved in closer, his pace now slowing down, little by little. I couldn't help but stare. With the exception of the night that he actually sunk his fangs into my own flesh, Taryn had been very careful about letting me see him feed. In fact, MOST of the people at the lot treated it as some kind of secret ritual that they almost always snuck off and did alone.
Doc almost always had someone go with him. He'd pretend to be hurt, or he'd fall out of his chair...and the moment someone came over to help lift him up...he'd have direct access to their throat, biting deep to drain as much as he could before they began to fight back. By the time they realized what was going on Doc had already drained too much for them to put up much resistance. He was an extremely fast drinker, and his arms would clutch onto their shoulders with an unbreakable vice like grip. They didn't stand a chance.
Dylan would have someone go with him, simply because he feared the confrontation. He was too much of a pushover to really intimidate his donors into position to be fed upon, but once the thirst took hold of him...Dylan was just as much of a savage as the rest of us. And Kid? Well Max would have to take Kid out on a regular basis and pretty much force him to feed when it was time. He'd never tell us when he was getting hungry. And when he went for too long without eating...well, we'd have a repeat performance of what happened around Navy Pier a few months ago. That little boy...wow. Once he got hungry, he was VICIOUS! The hole those little teeth could bite out of human flesh was painful to look at. Keeping him under control would be impossible if we didn't keep charts on when he was supposed to hunt.
But Taryn...my sweet Taryn...this was a wholly different experience for me. And I watched with great interest...feeling some of my own dark shadows creeping up to the surface to watch the fireworks.
The man turned around and saw Taryn standing there. A young teenage boy, walking around in the darkened alleys of Chicago in the middle of the night. I'm sure the sight of it caught him temporarily off guard. "Boy? What are you doing out here?" He said, his heavy accent making it almost hard to understand. He was holding a large set of keys in his hand, standing outside of a large metal door. His thoughts were easy to scan. He was there to rip off his employer, sell stolen electronics on the black market. Not really a 'bad' man as much as he was an 'opportunist'. Either way...he was now spending his last remaining moments on Earth asking stupid questions. "Go home. No need for you to be out here. Where's your papa?" He asked, as Taryn smiled gently. It was the loosely hanging strands of his reddish brown hair that covered his crimson eyes. Keeping the hidden as his mental process became perversely corrupt with thoughts of murder. Taryn made it look so easy. Despite the regret he may feel later, he knew that he had to be soulless in order to get the job done. He had to be quick, he had to be quiet...the sooner it was over and done with, the better.
I could feel an ice cold sensation worm it's way through me as my emotions linked themselves to his...and Taryn made the final decision to slaughter him where he stood. He used his senses to scan the man's blood for any dangerous infections or toxins that might be harmful to us. He had Doc's technique down to a science. And just as the man was about to tell him to get lost, he looked up...and saw me standing not more than twenty feet away. "What's going here? What do you think you're..."
But the man never got a chance to finish his broken English. Instead, the gentle lift of his chin, the slight turn of his head in my direction...that ONE moment of distraction where he forgot to be on guard concerning the mysterious boy in front of him...was all the opportunity my lover needed. With an animalistic hiss, Taryn's jaws opened wide, his fangs glimmering white...almost silver from the reflection of the moonlight above...Taryn grabbed a hold of both of the man's shoulders and lunged forward! It only took a fraction of a second for his piercing fangs to hit their mark, and the man was already beginning to go into shock by the time his body realized what was happening to him. Taryn bit DEEP...swiftly jumping up to wrap his arms around the man's neck and shoulders...his coltish legs wrapping around his waist. Taryn's reflexes were much too fast to be denied, and although he was slim and deceptively frail in stature...once he began to really 'drain' his victim of his precious fluids, there was no escape from his grasp. The man started to scream, spinning around with Taryn sticking to him like a second skin. The man pushed desperately back on Taryn's shoulders, but his fangs were lodged so deep in his neck that he couldn't get Taryn to let go. When he tried to pry his face away...Taryn's hungry 'daggers' stretched out stringy pieces of torn skin and muscle from his neck. It was so painful for him to peel back the layers of flesh that he would let go, and Taryn would smash his face back into the side of his neck all over again. It caused the poor bastard more suffering to struggle than it did to simply submit....and let his life fade away into the ether.
He spoke in his native tongue, tears running down his face, his fingers clutching and clawing at Taryn's backside hard enough to tear his shirt. But he was locked into a death grip that refused to let go. Taryn's powerful legs squeezed around the man's waist, forcing the air out of his lungs like the trappings of a jungle python. The man fell forward, laying on top of Taryn's delicate frame as the younger boy clung ferociously to his meal. From a distance...it almost looked as if the two were embraced in the act of desperate lovemaking. The way Taryn constricted around his prey..something about it made me miss his naked embrace. Many a night I had enjoyed those same boyish legs wrapped around my waist, his lips pressed against my neck, chest to chest...grinding in a union that was just as passionate...and provided us both with the same level of sweet gratification.
I heard the man gasping again, hollering out with rapidly fading breath, reaching with fingers that could touch nothing more than the cold stale air around him. He rolled over, and then fell back against the metal door, as Taryn worked to finish his meal. The man's heart pumped furiously...working itself into a frenzy, trying to get the blood flow out to the rest of his body. But Taryn intercepted nearly every drop, the scalding hot liquid of life spilling thick from the corners of his sucking lips. And that's when something hit me.
As my extra worked to decipher the man's foreign babblings...I wondered who would come to a warehouse in the middle of the night to rob it by himself. I noticed the presence of a van around a nearby corner...and when his words became clearer...I realized...
He was calling for 'help'.
I don't think Taryn was even aware of the presence of two more men in the back of that van, no doubt waiting for their friend to open the door for them to help him load the stuff up and go. Likewise, I don't think the other two men were aware of the fact that their companion was having his very essence drained from him convulsing body at that very moment. Not until now, that is.
By the time my mind had processed it all, one of the two men had jumped down from the back of the van, and hurried towards him with a sharp object in his hand. Taryn was so lost in his thirst that he didn't even see him coming, and the man charged forward...switchblade in hand.
My body took no time at all to react. It took no thought at all. No hesitation. With just a small series of quick movements, I eliminated the distance between me and him...appearing in front of the man as a swift gust of wind and litter followed behind me. My fangs had already dropped. My eyes had already turned. And in a blur, I grabbed a hold of the man's wrist, and turned it counterclockwise until it broke open, shards of bone poking through the skin. The man's brain attempted to calculate the damage done to him...but by the time he even began to feel the pain, my impulses were already telling me to do what needed to be done to protect the boy I love. I didn't have time to rationalize. The deed itself was automatic.
My hand grabbed a hold of the man's face, and with the same speed that I used to stop him from attacking my boyfriend...I swung him around...bashing the back of his head against a brick wall! Feeling it split open like a ripe melon, spatters of blood peppering my face as the gore of it decorated the wall in a giant red splash. The man flat lined instantly, and I held on to his face, a demonic snarl on my face, until his spasming muscles went into a series of full blown seizures.
"Oh my God!!!" Came a shout from behind me. The other man got out of the van, his eyes wide with horror. "JESUS!!!"
Taryn snapped his head back, so utterly SHOCKED by what I had done He tore his fangs from his donor, and quickly rose to his feet...looking at the twitching body as it slid to the ground, it's busted head slumped over to the side. "Justin....what did you do?"
But my focus was on the other man by the van. The cold instincts of a protector had taken over. And I found myself a mere spectator in the actions taking place around me. This was my Taryn. Did they understand that? He's MINE! I'm not going to let them take him away from me! I'm not going to let them take what's mine!
The man fumbled around with something on his belt, and I saw him pull out a gun. Terrified at the sight of his two comrades lying dead on the alley concrete...and Taryn's mouth and chin covered with blood...he panicked. He pointed the gun at Taryn, and with a horrified curse, he pulled the trigger!
The sound of it was more like a 'pop' than anything else. Not what you usually hear in the movies. And even with hysteria flowing through him, he probably could have easily hit Taryn right between the eyebrows with that shot.
However...the bullet didn't make it that far.
I didn't have to think. I didn't even have to LOOK! The moment he pulled that trigger, my hand shot out from my side, reached out, and caught the bullet in the palm of my hand!
I left my arm outstretched, my fist shaking slightly as a slight trickle of blood dripped from my hand to the ground. And my eyes stared at him with a fury that he had never seen before. He wanted to hurt him. He wanted to hurt my angel. I tightened my fist, feeing the burn of the bullet as the heated metal cooled in my grip. Taryn's eyes were wide as saucers, staring at the back of my hand in front of his face...paralyzed by the awe of what I had done. I had a few quick visions of being back in Soren's warehouse...pounding Natpea unrecognizable...over and over again. And felt some of his energies flow through me. What do you know? The son of a bitch really could have been faster than a bullet...if he was as powerful as *I* was.
The ego took a hold of me, and the anger returned. Not just from this offense...this insult...but from years of repressed suffering. Years of abuse. I had to grit my teeth hard to hold my emotions back. When I finally opened my hand and dropped that bullet to the concrete...the man in front of us was almost too scared to breathe. His knees fell weak, his heart pounded in his chest, and tears welled up in his eyes as he came face to face with a creature from far beyond the world he knew existed. A nightmare. A boogie man. A dark fairy tale that had somehow manifested itself outside of God's watchful eye. He tried to keep from getting sick, his stomach heaving with terror. And I slowly stepped in front of my boyfriend to...continue 'taking care' of the problem.
"Justy...?" Taryn whimpered softly, frightened of what was going to happen next.
I fought tooth and nail to keep my composure...but felt myself slowly stepping forward anyway. Relax, Justin. Pull it back. Hold it in. Suppress the rage and THINK!!! Think about what you're doing!
The man whispered a small desperate prayer to himself, and quickly moved to raise the gun again. But I was able to mentally freeze his muscles in place before his hand even left his side. The man cried, his face contorting in the most agonizing ways as I increased the strength of his contracting body. I looked at the gun in his hand...and rapidly raised the temperature of the metal until it began to burn the flesh right off of his palm. He tried to drop it, but I refused to loosen his muscles enough to allow him to let it go. He wanted the gun so bad...let him hold it. I stared into his hysterical eyes...still increasing my power over him, still tightening the muscles of his body until they were ready to snap! He tried to scream in pain, but his jaw was locked shut, his throat constricted until he could only make high pitched squeals of agony. The veins in his neck strained, the muscles in his arms flattened themselves out from the tension. Just the slightest suggestion from my mind...and he was all but ready to break his own back from the way his body twisted.
"Finish your meal." I said.
"JUSTIN!" The sound of his whine was so...urgent. So helpless. When I turned my head to see the despair in his eyes, I found the extra strength needed to restrict myself. If only for a little while. "Please? Let him go. He doesn't have to die like this." He pleaded.
There was a darker part of me that wanted to continue with his torture, but I was swift to agree. There was no need for more bloodshed. I saw smoke rising from his blackened palm, the gun handle almost turning red...and I released his arm muscles so he could let it go. And then...with a simple look in his eye, I took a hold of his mind...and I simply shut it down I pulled the blood flow away from it, cut off its supply of oxygen, and rendered him unconscious as he fell to the ground in a heap. "He'll be ok. I promise." I told him...but, funny thing...it almost seemed as though Taryn didn't want to believe me. As if he didn't trust me as much as he once did. It had only been a few months, but darkness has a way of eating up so much of your true self. It seems like an eternity had passed since we shared that first kiss on the LaSalle street bridge.
Backing away from me slightly, keeping his eyes glued to me the whole way..Taryn gently crouched down beside his bleeding donor, and sank back into his neck to retrieve the last few remaining reserves of blood. Or to at least fill up on what he had left. I stood watch, just in case anyone else came by to interfere in what was going on. The thought did cross my mind that it was strange how little seeing Taryn feed disturbed me. In fact, even with blood staining his soft porcelain cheeks and thin ruby lips..I couldn't help but find an unnatural beauty about him. A delicate nature, so fragile in its presentation. There were times when he looked like he would simply 'break' if you handled him too roughly. Crumble to pieces in your hands if you held onto him too tightly. But something about that tenderness, that vulnerability, made him soooo angelic to me. To be able to look upon him and try to capture his heart was like gently catching a butterfly in flight...trying so hard not to damage its brittle wings. How strange...that he was gorgeous enough to even forgive the act of murder itself, here in this dark alley.
I could hear the depleted blood supply giving way to small suctions of air as Taryn reached the end of his late night snack. It reminded me of the sound a straw makes when reaching the bottom of a thick milkshake. Weird picture that put into my mind. And then...my senses suddenly put their defenses up.
It was subtle at first. Hardly noticeable at all. But the feeling got stronger. I raised my head, looking up and down the alley around me...and seeing nothing. I checked the rooftops, just in case. Still...nothing. I couldn't hear any breathing, detect a heartbeat, or sense any foreign presences in the immediate area around us. But...something was definitely 'reaching out' to me. Something was seeking me out. And my little display here in this alley had somehow tipped them off.
"I think...I think we should be moving soon." I said. Taryn had all but finished draining the man on the ground, and when he stood up, he wiped his lips on the back of his sleeve. He already looked a thousand times 'healthier', a brand new level of blood flow being pumped back into his face. I looked at his hypnotic green eyes, so dazzled that I almost couldn't see the few spots of blood still lingering on his lips. I gave him a slightly tilted smirk, and used my thumb to wipe the remaining excess from his tender lips. "Feel better?"
He nodded. "Mmm-hmm..." He grinned. Then he looked down at his feet, hiding his bashful eyes from me. "I'm sorry. That's gross. I really don't like doing 'this' in front of anybody. Least of all you. I was just..really hungry..." He said, and I lifted his chin to kiss him on the lips
"You could never be anything less than beautiful, Taryn. You could never be less than perfect." I said, and his eyes squinted a bit from the emotion, a soft whimper escaping his lips.
"You certainly know how to make this kinda thing a bit less horrifying." He said, then looked at the blood on his shirt. "I should change..." He walked back to where I was standing earlier for the extra shirt he brought with him. Then he put it on top of one of the dumpsters and began to undress. It was a really inappropriate time to be horny...but I had almost forgotten how soft, sleek, and smooth Taryn's shirtless body really was. My God...everything about him was literally spellbinding.
But that 'invasion' of my senses was still growing strong. We didn't have much time.
I wanted Taryn to hurry up so we could go, but I didn't want to alarm him by telling him why. It was better that we just leave before this other entity finds a way to successfully track me down by using my signature against me. However...as he was getting changed, I noticed that he was being extremely quiet. And occasionally...he would glance over at one of the other two bodies laying on the concrete. He peeked up at me briefly, but averted his eyes quickly as he tried to hold his emotions in. He may not have said anything for the sake of keeping the 'peace' between us...but the tension was there. And I felt ashamed.
"I'm sorry..." I said, lowering my head a bit. I was trying not to be a total MONSTER...I just...I didn't want...what was I gonna DO? They were gonna HURT him. I think he's trying to understand my outbursts, but he's doing so at the sake of sacrificing a certain level of trust.
"It's ok. You don't have to be sorry..." He lied.
"But I DO have to be sorry. I just...I wasn't thinking..."
"It's alright. Really. K?" He said, his eyes still not focusing on me directly. He paused, and he saw the look on my face. I must have looked awfully pathetic to him at that moment, because it practically broke his heart. He came close to me, and lightly placed both of his hands on either side of my face. Then he leaned in and gave me the most comforting lovable kiss that I have felt in a long long time. He stared into my eyes, and he said, "I know you can't help it, Justy. I know you're trying. We're gonna get you through this. Just like we got you through everything else. Ok?" I nodded, but jerked back from him as I felt the lock on my presence trying harder to pinpoint my location. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing. You ready to go. I don't like it here." I said. "Besides, we need to get as far away from this mess as possible before somebody finds us here."
"Yeah, you're right. Let's get outta here." He said, and we turned our backs on the bloody scene behind us, and all the unforgivable sin that it contained in its horrific display. Still...something was on Taryn's mind. I could feel it.
"Are you still scared of me?" I asked quietly.
"Oh God, Justin...no. It's...it's not like that, exactly..."
"You can tell me if it is. I don't blame you. Sometimes I scare myself."
"Don't TALK like that." He said, taking a hold of my hand. He calmed his voice, and brushed some of my light blond hair to the side. "I just want you to be ok. It hurts me to see you miserable like this."
"It won't be for much longer." I told him, getting a quizzical look from him in return. "I talked to that 'Jeweler' guy again. I told him...I told him I'd meet him. Maybe find out what this Vampire Mimic thing is really all about."
That seemed to make Taryn smile. "So you think he can help you?"
"I hope so. He sounds like he's got a much better handle on this than I do, that's for sure." Taryn was quiet for a few seconds more, and then peeked over at me again, as though he were wondering whether or not to say what was on his mind. Thankfully, he did.
"Justin...if I ask you something...will you tell me the honest truth?" Taryn said, as he slipped on another t-shirt.
"I mean, you don't HAVE to answer if it's 'weird' or anything...I'm just..curious, you know?"
He hesitated a bit, but looked me in the eye when he got the courage to just spit it out. "What does it feel like? I mean...doing what you do?" I wrinkled my forehead a bit, not sure of the answer he was looking for. "I'm saying...when you're...all fired up like that, and you...you can do practically anything that you could think of, anything that you want...how does it feel? What's it like?"
I looked down at my own hands for a moment, and I told him the truth. "It's like...exploding on the inside. You feel like...like you can hold the whole world in the palm of your hand. It's kinda scary at first but..." Do I say it? Should I? "...Sometimes...when I'm REALLY angry, and the moment calls for me to beat down anybody who stands in my way...I start to like it."
Taryn's face dropped slightly. "You liked hurting those people?"
"It wasn't the 'hurting'...it was the power. The control of the situation. The ability to change events in my favor without feeling helpless. THAT'S what feels good." I told him. "When I was growing up...my dad beat me until I had no spirit left to fight with. I had to just sit there and take it. Day after day. I had nobody to help me. And I couldn't help myself...so...I took that feeling of helplessness and I just weaved it into every part of me by swallowing the pain and just trying to survive. But...I don't have to do that anymore. I can fight back now. For you, for me for ALL of us. I never have to lose another piece of my soul to that feeling of being so...impotent. Not ever again. I've never felt anything like it."
For a moment, even though it was a brief one...I felt a subtle vibration coming from Taryn that I never felt before. It was like this...soft 'push' of sorts in my direction of thinking. Almost as if...he envied the power I had bubbling deep inside of me. Maybe...in some dark corner of his mind...Taryn was tired of feeling helpless too. I suppose we've all got demons that we'd love to face without fear.
Then, just as we started towards the end of the alley, a car swiftly turned into it. The bright headlights blinded me, and it raced towards us. It was strange, the car made almost NO noise whatsoever, and the windows were tinted so dark that I was surprised that anyone could even see out of them. My first instinct was to stand in front of Taryn, and spread my arms out to keep him safe behind me. Ready to push us both to the side if necessary. But the car screeched to an abrupt halt right in front of me, the radiator grill of the car heating my legs, like the snarl of a dragon. Both doors opened wide, and my instincts instantly kicked into defense mode. My hands opened, palms up, and a hostile web of electricity began to surge and pop from my fingertips...ready to deal with the possible threat
Two men in black suits, wearing dark sunglasses stepped out of both sides of the vehicle at the exact same time. They saw me waiting for a fight..and the driver reached in to hit a button on his steering wheel. The intensely bright headlights suddenly turned from white to a greenish tint, and this loud, extremely high pitched frequency siren rushed through my mind! Both Taryn and I tried to cover our ears as the sonic wave instantly cancelled out 90 percent of my extras and caused my BRAIN to ache!
It hit Taryn pretty hard, and he dropped to his knees, eyes closed, gritting his teeth as he tried to keep his eardrums from bursting. Seeing him in pain was more important than my own misery, and I quickly cycled through what was left of my abilities as quickly as I could! Using what little concentration I had, I was able to mentally lift a rather large chunk of brick from underneath a nearby dumpster, and hurled it a one of the headlights, smashing it and causing the light to go out. Regaining half of my balance and senses back, I felt the electric current build up in my palms until the sound of it crackling filled the air around us!
"HOLD ON THERE, JUNIOR!" The driver said, reaching into his black suit pocket. "Calm down...we don't want this to turn into a 'situation', now do we?" He kept his hand in his jacket, but slowly reached over to turn off the device that was causing us so much pain just a moment ago.
The men watched carefully, and I was contemplating whether or not I should still let them have it, when Taryn was able to get to his feet. "They're not here to hurt us, Justin."
"Could have fooled me." I said, keeping an unflinching eye on both men.
"They're here for our slag. That's all. I must have showed up on their radar as a feeding in progress...that's all." Taryn's head still hurt a bit, but the men ahead of us seemed to calm down once I deactivated my extras.
The driver looked down at the busted headlight and cursed to himself. "Damn kids..." he mumbled to himself. Then he looked at the 'mess' behind us
With a nod, both men walked towards the bodies in the alley with black plastic bags, black gloves, and laser pens. With an emotionless face, they examined the bodies. That's when the passenger side slag hunter looked at the man with his head busted open, and didn't find any 'feeding wounds' on his neck. He looked directly at me. "What happened with this one?"
I didn't answer. Taryn hugged me from the side, and answered for me instead. "It was...self defense."
The two men looked at each other with a sarcastic roll of their eyes. "Self defense, huh? Right..." The driver said, and ordered his partner to cut him just the same. They CLEARLY didn't like our kind at all...but they did their job efficiently as always. However, when he got to the third man, the one who was merely unconscious by the van...he looked over at me again. "What's the deal with this? Huh?" He asked me. "You don't hear me talking to you, halflife? What happened over here?"
"Leave 'em alone, Connors. They're just kids." His partner asked, but the driver didn't seem to lighten his mood any.
I felt Taryn hug me closer as the man pulled out a gun with a silencer on the tip from inside his jacket and pointed it at the unconscious body. "Did he see you?" He asked, his voice strained with frustration. Taryn and I remained quiet...still a bit off balance from their sudden arrival. "Did he SEE you???"
I cleared my throat and told him, "I...he was gonna hurt us...but I let him go. The first guy was an accident, but...I didn't want to have to..."
"That's all I needed to know." And without any hesitation whatsoever, he fired three shots into the sleeping man's body! Two in the chest, and one in the head! The bullets were silent except for the sound of them ripping through flesh, and the body twitched slightly as the life drained out of it. I was horrified, and Taryn turned his head to bury his face in my chest and hug me tight around the middle.
It was so....so HEARTLESS! So cold. The Driver sneered at us, and said, "Next time, kid...pick your 'snacks' a little more carefully. We have a hard enough time cleaning up your messes." With a grunt, he started cutting up the body while his partner loaded the firs bag in to the freezer located in the back seat. What kind of person does it take to DO something like that? What kind of murderous bastards does the government employ to even be a part of that particular profession?
But, as Taryn whimpered softly in my arms, wishing that yet another person didn't have to die tonight...I saw the Driver look back at me, shaking his head. A look of disgust for our very species in his eyes. And it made me wonder if he saw what I saw. When our eyes met...I saw a couple of killers.
But maybe HE saw a couple of killers too.