And there was also a mention of something else. It was simple and to the point, reading, "These important Vampire Scriptures and many many more are all available at the Nifty Archive for your reading pleasure and enlight. (Archive located in Section GC-619)" That was here? The vampire scriptures were here? My mind began to wrap around this idea right away. Maybe...if I could access some of those 'hidden texts' that Zero talked about...maybe I could find out more about my own...'destiny'. Or if it's a destiny at all. The last thing I want to find out was that I was on an unavoidable path towards a brick wall at top speed. But if my fate *IS* all laid out for me...just as the prophecies say it is...
...Then I want to know how this game ends.
I felt a gentle tug at my sleeve as Taryn drew my attention to one of the museum guides, giving a short tour of the place. Gyro was still pouting in a corner of the room, his energy wanting desperately to be unleashed on this place full force before anymore time was wasted 'learning stuff'. Hehehe, it was so cute. To be honest, the intimidation factor on a babyface like that was stuck at absolute zero. But that was part of what made him lovable, I suppose. The guide took us over to a series of glass cases, filled with ancient 'vampire artifacts' and the like. Some of them over a thousand years old. "...In the old days, when someone passed away from unnatural causes, they would be immediately beheaded. Their hands and feet were often bound with rope or chains, and occassionally they would even be nailed down in their caskets. All this to prevent them from coming back as one of the living dead. It was the first of many prevention acts in vampirism." The guide said, displaying a rusty old hatchet, still containing some rough stains of blood on its razor sharp blade. "The idea behind the large tombstones you see today was not originally meant as a 'marker' for where the dead are buried. Small wooden crosses could be used for that. No...the reason behind the heavy slabs of stone was to keep the dead from rising out of the ground. In the old days, if they found a slightly tilted gravestone, it meant that a body was trying to escape. So it would be exhumed from its resting place, and cut into pieces so as to take the creatures power away. However, as time went on and a lot of vampire superstitions faded into mythology...our population was allowed to grow naturally. That is the only reason we survived as a species."
"Absolutely amazing." Doc's jaw was dropped wide open as he listened. And with a smile, I reached my fingers over to his chin to close it for him. He only flashed me the quickest of cheerful grins before wrapping himself up in the lecture again.
"In 300 BC, there are signs that vampires, while rare, may have even been worshipped as gods in some cultures. Respected for their strength, their beauty, their wisdom. It has even been rumored by some that 'drinking the blood of Christ' was born from some of our most ancient historical rituals. However, as our population began to grow, and religious hysteria began to mix with the mythologies and superstitions of the past, we found ourselves the target of extinction." Walking further, he took us into a slightly darker room, with the walls painted black and well lit pedestals displayed briefcases full of weapons. "What you are looking at is not some ficitious movie prop or some plastic replica of something read in a fairy tale. These cases hold actual vampire hunting materials. They look pretty nasty, don't they?"
We looked down, and I had never once thought that stff like this would actually....like....EXIST. The weapons inside, they looked WORSE than anything I had ever seen in a movie! I would have half expected a crucifix, a steak, and a bottle of holy water. Maybe a clove of garlic if they wanted to be cheesy about it. But THESE things were twisted! They were MEANT to really hurt somebody. Sick and torturous blades with jagged edges and curves, spikes with points long enough to drive right through somebody. There were thumb screws and hammers, and barbwired chains made for strangulation. It was painful just to LOOK at it! "Oh sick..." Bryson frowned as he noticed some kind of weird three pronged hook that was used for pulling out the eyes of a vampire.
"And this one here..." The guide said, now getting down on one knee in front of Kid to demonstrate his point. "...Do you know what this wheel was for?" Kid shook his head, his eyes wide in anticipation for the answer. "Well, if a human hunter caught a vampire, even a young one such as yourself, he would chain you to the wall, and he would cut your belly open, here." He used his pinky to slowly trace a line across the bottom of Kid's stomach, while the rest of the audience cringed. "Then...they would take one end of your intestine, and stick it onto this hook here in the center of the wheel. And they would turn it and turn it, pulling your intestines out, slowly...foot by foot...while you watch. And then eventually...right before you died from it...they would cut your head off, and bury it seperate from the rest of your body." Kid's eyes got REALLY big after hearing that, and ducked behind Max. Hugging him close as though he were the only thing protecting him from the 'boogie man'.
"So...how were we not wiped out? If the hunters were killing us all." Gyro asked from behind us. We turned around, surprised that he took an interest at last. "WHAT? I'm just asking."
"Very good question." The guide stood back up and smiled. "Many of us were forced into hiding. Wherever we could find to escape the wrath of those who hunted us and wanted to do us harm. One of the least likely places to be bothered, of course, were in constructed mausoleums and graveyards. Sleeping in coffins to protect us from the sunlight during the day while we slept. For many years, we stayed hidden away. But...in the 1500's, once the Bubonic Plague hit many villages around us at that time, the humans found themselves looking for a way to survive themselves. And they used our dark gift to do it. We would bite them, transform them and their families into one of our kind, and in exchange they would give us shelter from the daylight and protection from those who were hunting us. We had a huge growth in population during that time, and soon were able to evolve and begin networking with one another to build a society and a culture of our own." He showed us a painting of a well dressed man in his 20's from the looks of it, and showed us the name at the bottom. "This is Dietrick VonLegas, and he was the first known vampire to have a sactuary of his own making. A place where other vampires could come and stay, share ideas, and embrace one another as a family. He had the powerful ability to bend light waves in such a way that it was presumed he could make himself invisible. It was one of the first records of a vampire teaching his 'extra' to other vampires that stayed in his commune. It was also this particular extra, as it the knowledge of its use spread to many others who needed it to help them hunt, that gave birth to the legend that vampires have no reflection. This is, of course, untrue. But for the mere purpose of hunting, a vampire could move in such a way that he or she could sneak up behind you, even while looking at yourself in the mirror." He told us. "Now...our population remained pretty contained to Western European and North African regions of the globe, as well as settlements in much of Asia and the Soviet Union. However, we experienced our first rather large growths here in America during the Gold Rush, and the Great Depression of 1929......" The guide kept talking to a captivated audience, but I suddenly noticed that Taryn had wandered off from my side. My attention was drawn away, and I went to search for him. After a few minutes of searching around corners, I saw him standing in a room full of tv's, all playing different images, but this one section of wall that Taryn was staring at was playing all sorts of vampire movies. Some were showing Bela Legosi films, or Christopher Lee's portrayal of 'Dracula'. Others were showing more updated movies like 'Lost Boys', 'Fright Night', 'Interview With The Vampire', and 'Blade'. He didn't hear me walk up behind him, and I lazily draped my arms over his shoulders from behind. He didn't have to turn around to know who it was. He could tell by my scent, my touch, my very presence. He smiled, but as I kissed his cheek, I noticed a stray tear falling from his eye. I looked forward at the screen in front of him, and saw the cinematic simulation of a sunrise illuminating the screen. He couldn't take his eyes off of it, and I squeezed him tightly against me.
"You ok?" I asked.
He sniffled, and wiped his eyes, now knowing that he had been caught. "Aw, I'm alright, baby. I'm just...being weird. That's all. Thinking about....my dad and all." I gave him another squeeze, and he bent his head down to kiss the arms surrounding him. He looked forward again, another sniffle escaping him. He really did miss the sun. He's been missing it since the very beginning. "They...they got it wrong. It's....it's more yellow...and brighter...and there should be more...'orange' on the sides, or something. And green. I distinctly remember a shade of green." He said to himself, pleased, and yet unsatisfied with the vision before him. "They just....they didn't get it right, you know?"
"You miss it a lot....don't you?"
More tears dripped down from his eyes. "More than you know, Justin. More than you know."
"Hey...cool!" Jenna said, walking over to join us. Taryn straightened up quickly and I turned to see the others coming to join us as well. They were amazed by the many different tvs, playing at once.
"Hahaha, omigod...Taryn, look! They're playing 'Howard The Duck', dude!" Dion pointed happily, and despite his puffy eyes and rosey cheeks, I saw his eyes brighten up.
"No way! Hehehehe, oh wow...where did they even GET that movie???"He replied.
I was a bit confused. "What's 'Howard The Duck'?"
Taryn and Dion both looked at me. "It's a movie!" Dion grinned.
"They made a movie about a duck? Like....a guy in a duck suit?" I asked. "It doesn't even look like a real duck."
"Sighhh....'Matrix' generation." Dion shook his head and left it alone.
Taryn then walked up to me and patted me on the chest. He gave me a kiss and said, "Don't worry, hon. It's before your time." I shrugged my shoulders, and we began to leave the museum.
"I am blown away. Really blown away." Doc mumbled as he rolled passed us.
Gyro was right behind him, "Yeah...I never would have thought that Jimmy Hoffa was a vampire."
"Well he had to go somewhere. People don't just VANISH, ya know?" Max added. "Besides, I figured you would have known EVERYTHING about the guy who organized all the underground vampire clubs in the city, party boy!"
I shared a giggle with Taryn, and we went back out into the insanity outside of those peaceful white walls. There was a TON more to see here afterall. We hadn't even scratched the surface yet!!!
Walking out from under the noise cancelling speakers was a shock to the system. It was as though the peace and quiet of the museum stopped abruptly at an invisible wall. Once we crossed a certain line, the bone rattling, bass pounding, music of the club came crashing down on us like Niagra Falls! It took a few seconds of disorientationbefore we could get swept along in the madness again. The crowd of people flooded the space around us instantly, and we had to fight to keep ourselves in line. The lights were almost blinding, lasers and strobleights creating such a distortion that it was impossible to tell what was what. I couldn't even distinguish my own hand in front of my face from the dancing hands of the partying vampires around me. Then...I watched as a 7 foot tall man-faced drag queen kissed his fingertips, and blew it to me from 3 feet away. When he blew the kiss, this sparkling 'powder' exploded in a small cloud in my face, fillin my eyes, nose, and mouth. I blinked and rubbed my eyes for a moment, coughing for a second or two while inhaling the twinkling dust into my body. But the effect had taken hold of me almost instantly. My vision seemed to turn technicolor, and my head began to spin. I was disoriented for a moment while the foreign substance heated up and sent a burning fever through my skin all over my body. Everything tingled...everything. It was a sexual rush of adrenaline that made me so hard that I could hardly stand.
"Justin?" Taryn asked, but his touch literally almost drove me to a dry orgasm. My emotions for him, mixed with the sensational physical reaction to this dust made his affection almost unbearable. I grabbed a hold of his face tightly and kissed him deeply on the lips. DEEP! My tongue pushing as far and lustfully forward as it could while he fought to keep up. My passions were set ablaze, and I started sucking on his neck so hard that my lips hurt. People were moving all around me, and every touch was beyond a sexual climax. It was like being removed from your body entirely, leaving only your libido behind to take control. For most vampires, that would be an immense feeling. But for a teenager who's hormones are already out of control...it's a freaking mind rocket to total oblivion! "Justin? Justin...???" Taryn had to fight off my kisses, and I began to giggle uncontrollably. Everything tickled, and I guess it was a momentary thing, because it started to wear off slowly as I stood there. I broke out into a sweat, and attempted to calm myself as the dust ran its course, and the effects began to slowly fade away. Thank goodness, because another few minutes of that feeling, and I would have been on my knees sucking Taryn off, and anyone standing in line behind him. JESUS, that was a wild sensation! It may have only lasted a minute or two, but it was the best damn couple of minutes I've ever spent on this planet!
"We have GOT to get some of that stuff for the lot! Hehehehe!" I shouted with a grin, and kissed Taryn again on the lips while grabbing two healthy handfulls of his squeezable ass.
"LOOK!!! Maria's playing soon!!! LOOK!!!" Gyro screamed, seeing another poster on the wall. Ths one had dates and times on it. "I've GOTTA find her! I've GOT to! I LOVE her stuff! It's so fucking awesome!!!"
"We'll make it a point to go over and catch a show, ok?" Bryson promised.
"Oh man....do you smell that?" Dion sniffed the air around us, and I think Jenna could tell what it was too.
"Holy shit! Is that what I think it is???" She said.
They both turned their heads and saw a large catering truck slowly making its way through the crowd along the wall. And it had 'Demon Dogs' splashed in big letters across the side. "WHOAH!" It was the first time I had seen Dion fascinated with anything more than Dylan's smile all night. "Jenna....? Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Oh Gawd, I hope so!" She responded.
"You feel like spitting out a nice junkfood dinner tonight, honey bun?"
"Only if it's got extra onions, and extra cheese." She replied. Dion took her hand, and then took his new beau by the arm, and they started off to go towards the truck. But Bryson stopped them.
"WAIT! Wait, wait...hold on for a second or two, and we'll all go over." He said.
"Maria's gonna play two shows in a row! She's amazing!" Gyro bounced on his heels, his energetic smile seemingly lighting up the whole club.
"Demon Dogs, Bryson! You KNOW how much I love Demon Dogs! I am NOT letting that truck get away!" Jenna said.
Kid began to tug on Max's arm frantically, pointing out at the skatebarding ramps and the many vampires doing tricks off in the distance. He was so antsy that he practically wiggled out of his pants. I was almost expecting to hear him shout his needs outloud! "WHAT??? What the hell do you want?" Max scowled. "Where? Skateboarding??? Why do you wanna go there?" Kid just kept pointing, trying hard to pull Max along with him in that direction. His boyish muscles and coltish legs straining with all their might to make his giant companion move with him. His face was scrunched up with effort, and I don't think Max could have stopped him if he tried. "Alright! Alright! Geez! Can you skateboard?" He asked, then he turned to the rest of us. "Can he skateboard?" We all exchanged a quick look before shrugging our shoulders. How the hell were WE supposed to know?
"Nobody is going ANYWHERE by themselves!" Bryson put his foot down, but as he looked over to the left, he noticed Jun was missing. "Sighhh....dammit, you guys."
"Bryson, chill out. It's ok. Really. We're here to have FUN! It's not a field trip dude." Gyro told him.
"You know...he's got a point." Rain actually AGREED with her brother. A moment in history, I'm sure. "Besides, we've got these pagers so we can locate each other later. What's the big deal?"
Bryson was fighting it. He really was. But with Jun gone, Doc already drifting off to examine some of the graffiti on the wall, Kid yanking Max determinedly in his direction, and Dion, Dylan, and Jenna hungering for some chilli dogs in the worst way...he didn't really have much say in the matter. Although, if he had demanded that we stayed together, we probably would have done it. We would have hated every minute of it, but...we would respect his wishes. I'm pretty sure of it. "Fine. Whatever. But you all meet me HERE as soon as you come out of the sleep tomorrow night! You hear me?"
"WOOOOOOO HAAAAAAH!!!!" Gyro jumped up, and took off running into the sea of people as soon as his little feet hit the ground! We all nodded briefly, and then everybody split up into smaller groups, leaving a worried and stressed out Bryson behind.
"Don't worry, Bryson. We'll be alright." Taryn grinned, trying to comfort him a bit.
"Yeah. It's just a club. Get out there, shake your tailfeather a bit. 'Booty-screw' with somebody if ya want." I giggled.
"Later!" Taryn and I found a break in the crowd, and waded our way through as well. Free at last.
"Now...about those private 'rooms' they're supposed to have here..." He grinned, and kissed me on the lips. Someone bumped us from behind and knocked us a few steps back. I gritted my teeth and balled up my fists, but Taryn directed my attention back on him instead. "Hey. Look at me. I'm fine. K? Don't go getting into trouble, slugger." We resumed our kiss, and the sensual vibrations of his love ran through me. Gently. Tenderly. It was like being filled up with a limitless energy...working to take over every last piece of you. And to give in to that energy...was magic. But, as he leaned back from me for a moment, I saw a strange look in his eyes.
"What?" The look didn't go away, and he let me go. "Taryn, what is it?"
It took him a moment or two, but he shook himself free of the silence, and his smile returned slowly to his lips. "Nothing, I...I just....could have sworn that I saw...." He stopped again, looking through the crowd behind me. "...Forget it. Stupid."
"Was it somebody cute?" I teased.
"Cuter than you? Not at all."
"Was it somebody important?"
"Knock it off. It was nobody." He giggled.
"Was it 'Howard The Duck'?"
"Shut up and kiss me." Far be it from me to deny my boyfriend that. We allowed the rest of the club to fade away while we made out in the middle of the hall. Our tongues intertwining passionately while the rest of the party raged around us. Then, I felt a few more shivers inside of me from that dust I had blown in my face, and began to sweat again. My kissing got hungrier, and my hands began to roam all over his firm body, running up under his shirt to feel the smooth warm flesh underneath. My hands had a mind of their own, and tried desperately to squeez their way inside the back of Taryn's pants while my kissing became breathless. He leaned away from me for a sec. "Hehehe, hold on there, cowboy. You feeling alright?" I couldn't answer. The second I opened my mouth, I began to giggle again. "Ahhh, I see. That stuff hasn't worn off completely yet, has it?" He turned me around and gave me a playful push. "Go. Ask the bartender over there for some bottled water. It should help." He said. "I'll be waiting right here against this wall, ok? Hehehe! Don't KISS anybody else on the way over there."
"I'll try. Hehehe!" I made a kissy face in his direction and then began to move forward, attempting not to really make any kind of physical contact with anyone around me. My body was having these random flashes of intense heat and sensitivity. If there was ever such a thing as something feeling TOO good...this would be the beginning stages of it. I wonder what it would be like to make love to Taryn like this. I doubt I could last very long. Not that I'd stop once I was finished.
I found my way towards the bar, and there was just one bartender for the whole thing. There were hundreds of people surrounding that one bar alone, and it was much too wide for him to navigate both ends of it effectively. Or so you would think. The shelves contained every bottle of alcohol that I have ever seen, and hundreds that I haven't. The shelves were stacked as high as twenty five feet high behind the bartender, and he seemed to jump back and forth easily from bottle to bottle. He was flawless. How he could even balance and pour drinks was out of this world. He had jet black hair, and dark makeup on his eyes. He was dressed in an all black apron and shirt that gave him a ghoulish, and yet 'priestly' look about him. He was moving so fast that I doubt I'd have the chance to bother him for a bottle of water. Then....just as soon as I thought it, the bartender jumped down the full 20 feet from the top shelf, landed right in front of me, and dropped off a bottle of water before cartwheeling away to another side of the bar. It all happened so fast, that I wasn't even sure if this was meant for me. I looked on, as he moved back and forth, dropping off drinking after drink in front of customers that weren't even asking for anything. Geez, are those sunburn shots? I HATE those things! How can that one guy over there take three of them at once.
Before I could even back away from the bar, the bartender flipped over to land three shot glasses down in front of me. He filled them with sunburn shots quickly, and went back about his business. "Um....I didn't order these!" I said, hoping to get his attention. He swung down quickly, and snatched the shot glass back into his hand. Then he left a piece of paper in front of me on the bar top for me to read. It said 'Please...no conflicting thought patterns at the bar. It interferes with my orders.' And it was signed, 'bartender, Frank'. He was reading the minds of his customers so fast that I guess my own thoughts were getting in the way. So I took my bottled water, and backed away from the bar. I couldn't help but watch for a few moments longer though. He really was fucking skilled at that, literally serving ten to fifteen people at once. Sweet. I wondered if my own reading ability would work in this room. It would have to, right? Our frequencies should be pretty much the same...
My mind reached out a moment too late. The first thing I read was a hostile group of vampires that were planning to run up and stomp the shit out of some guy who was dancing with their leader's girl. If I had only thought about reading it sooner...I would have had time to run back outside. I turned just in time to feel the surge in the crowd as a fist fight broke out, almost knocking me off of my feet through the ripple effect alone. Shit! I could hardly move, and the slight panic caused by the crowd was making it worse. I pushed and shoved to get back away from the bar and out to the hall to see Taryn. But no one would cooperate. Everyone was moving a different way. Then, just as the shouts and commotion reached a head, I heard the sound of the giant sirens outside, and the giant walls for that particular area began to close! "TARYN!!! Shit! Move! I've GOTTA get outside!" But people were too busy trying to get out themselves. The thick metal doors were trapping me inside, and I wouldn't be able to make it out the way that I came in. So instead, I pushed my way BACK to the bar, and stood up on top of it. I made a mad dash for the other exit by running on top of the bar, kicking over a few drinks as I went. Frank shouted at me in frustration for getting in the way. "Sorry man!!!" I yelled over my shoulder. The titanium door was almost down to the floor, and I ran as fast as I could through the crowd of running patrons. Then, by lowering to the ground and practically performing a baseball slide on the slick black tile of the floor, I slipped RIGHT under the door with only a few seconds to spare! Jesus, that was close. I was out of breath, holding my chest, and looking back at the wall. The noises and crashes started almost immediately inside the protective cage, and the screens' computerized lady started her standard message again.
"We're sorry for the inconvenience. Security officers are being brought in to handle the situation. Please enjoy the rest of your evening...." They were certainly quick to get everybody back to the festivities. Even when it sounded like World War III was going on inside of those walls.
I got up off of the ground, and dusted myself off, taking a look at my surroundings. I don't know why, but for some odd reason, I was COMPLETELY lost! I was only on the other side of the room I was just in, but unfortunately, the maze like patterns of these constantly moving walls had cut me off in such a way that I was in another part of the IceZone club entirely. Shit. It looks like I'm going to have to take the long way around. I hope this pager thing works. I've got a very horny boyfriend waiting for me to find him in this place somewhere.
I took a look at the device in my hand, attempting to make sense out of it. I saw a few buttons, a speaker, some kind of switch...and a screen with some 'dots' on it. Yeah...it was about as easy to figure out as it sounds. I think I saw a few 'bleeps' that were supposedly a representation of my friends, but I couldn't really tell who was who. I pressed a button, and a small compass appeared on the bottom right corner of the screen, and the name of the sector I was standing in showed up. But exactly how was I supposed to tell North, South, East, and West, in this place? Everything was backwards in here. From the looks of the layout, I was about 25 minutes from running into the nearest 'blip', which I assumed was Taryn, since he was the closest to me when the doors came down. So I started off in that direction. Following the neon strips on the wall, I tried to navigate my way through the many people coming the other way. It was a bit of a struggle, but I was making some decent progress. As I traveled deeper into the midst of the fever, I began hearing faint cheers in the distance. The crowd was slowly getting more congested as the cheers got louder in front of me. Looking up at the wall where I was standing, I saw signs and video screens directing everybody to the series of fighting arenas in the next sector. And a few advertisements for what looked like an indoor circus in the sector to the right of me. God, this place was huge. Not to mention it was EXTREMELY intimidating to try to walk around on your own.
Suddenly, with some weird kinda blink, the screen on my pager went blank. I looked down at it, hoping that it would come back up. But it didn't. I tapped it with my fingers, and tried shaking it a few times, nothing. Fuck! Having that screen gone, they might as well have blinfolded me in this monsterous club. I looked around me at all the people drinking and laughing and having fun. "Um....excuse me?" I asked some people walking past me.
"Scoot over, halflife." Said a couple as they pushed me aside.
"Fuck you!" I grumbled. 'Halflife'...I was REALLY starting to hate that word! Some more decent looking vampires came by, so I tried again. "Um...ex-excuse me? Do you guys know how to use this thing?" A woman in her 30's stopped for me.
"What's the matter, honey? Did you lose somebody?" She was talking to me like I was five, but I might as well use that if it's the only advantage I can get.
"I can't find my friends." I put on a bit of a pout face to accentuate the helpless tone of my whine. "Can you please help me, lady?"
"Awww...sure, let me see that." She took the pager from me and looked at it for a second. "Looks fine to me."
"Fine? But it's not working."
"Sure it is. Just hit this button, put in your code, and it'll locate everybody you came in with." She handed it back to me just as her party friends came to grab her by the shoulder. They shared a scream, and she started to happily dance her way back into the crowd.
"But...but wait! I still need your help! What code do I put in??? I don't HAVE a code to put in! I don't even know what button you hit!"
"Glad I could help, baby!" She giggled and kept dancing, the crowd swallowing her whole. And, pretty much the second she was gone, the screen went blank again.
"DAMMIT!!!" I growled. I wonder if maybe I damaged it sliding out of the sealed off area from before. I hope not. Either I'm gonna have to learn how to use this thing, or I'm gonna have to sit still and hope that one of the others is able to find me instead. I'm sure Bryson won't let any of us go out of his site for too long. It's just not his style. With that thought in mind, I kept moving.
The music was pounding non-stop, one song blending into another so flawlessly that you never even noticed the change. The lights would sometimes flash rapidly, and other times they would drop out completely for a moment or two. It was hard to get a real bearing on where I was. Not to mention, I was beginning to get that weird disorienting feeling from before, and wondered what frequencies were dulling my senses at the moment. I don't think that they made a system to handle someone with as many changing extras a I had. I began to wonder if I was absorbing a ton more without even knowing it. Even if the devices above me were preventing me from USING my abilities...does that mean it's preventing me from absorbing them? I don't know if they even have a technology for dealing with Mimics. The last one existed in the 1400's for crying outloud. Not much to study and create an advanced strategy for. Still, I pushed forward, hoping to reach an area with a different frequency soon. I was beginning to feel even worse as the current frequency drilled further into my mind to shut off all the extras that I had at my disposal. Some places were worse than others, making me light headed and queasy. And some places, I hardly felt anything at all. I suppose it depends on how 'secure' certain areas needed to be. However...through the fog of mental suppression, I WAS able to detect a vampire presence behind me. Something watching, waiting....following. I might not have known about it except for the fact that it had made me the center of its attention. I was a bit too fuzzy to lock in on where it was coming from, but it was there. I could tell. It was the same feeling I got when Trevor was last tracking me. The feeling I got that led me to Richie in the hospital, or that alerted me to the Raiders on the roof. It was a gentle push in the front of my mind, and it forced me to be aware. Much like having 360* vision.
I looked around me, but all I could see was the swirling mass of people, screaming and laughing and dancing like there was no tomorrow. They were everywhere. I couldn't even move without bumping into at least THREE of them at a time. So I simply tried to keep moving through the crowd in an attempt to lose them. It couldn't have been any one of my friends, because the last time I looked at the pager, they were too spread out for them to have gotten to me so fast. I wasn't sure what was going on here, but I WAS being watched. There was no doubt about it. And it gave me a chill not knowing who or what it was. I slid sideways through more and more people, trying to focus. I thought about 'blanking out' and maybe going the other way to lose my 'tail'. But it wouldn't work. Whatever channel this area was on, it was designed to stop that from happening. Not even Jun's meditative state would work to help me locate the other person by cutting out everyone else. Stuck here, alone, in this cluster of strangers, I began to worry a bit. My body was ready to strike if needed. It was like being hunted by a shark in this sea of partygoers. And I was helpless to really swim away. It was a mild panic that set into my mind. Mild...but a panic, nonetheless. And I wasn't quite sure if I'd know how to defend myself in a place like this. I kept looking around me, at every smiling face, every raised eyebrow, every person who was standing still, or possibly peeking at me out of the corner of their eye. But with all this insanity going on, how exactly do I go about picking out the single entity that's acting...'abnormal'.
I turned to look right, to look left, to spin around and check all sides, and saw nothing. Then...a voice from in front of me. "Well, well, well. What do we have here?" My eyes were lifted, and saw Soren standing in front of me. Martini glass in hand, and Natpea standing dutifully by his right side. He was elegantly dressed, and his grin was just as evil as ever. It was the kind of grin you expect Satan himself to give you when you first step through the gates of hell for your eternal stay there.
"Soren..." I stood back, seeing a few more of his 'people' step out from behind him. It was odd, but the rest of the people at the party seemed to actually walk around Soren and his troops. Instead of sort of squeezing past them and bumping into them. His squad was like a stone in a heavy current of water, stopping the flow of patrons entirely and redirecting their path off to the side of their position.
"The fates have chosen to let our paths cross once again, haven't they 'Renegade'?"
"Yeah. It um...it seems that way."
"How...provocative." He took a slow sip of his drink, but his eyes never left me. He watched me the entire time. The silence began to bother me a little bit, as Soren struck me as the type of person who had a badly intended reason for just about everything.
I broke the pause between us. "You wouldn't happen to know how to use one of these things, would you?" I asked, showing him the pager.
"Perhaps." He smiled. "Why? Are you here with 'friends' tonight?" It can't be defined in words alone, but it is broadcasted through body language, a look in the eye, and the tone of a voice. It was a sinister question he was asking me. Don't worry about how I know this...I just do.
I hesitated for just a moment. "Only the two friends I took with me to your arena that night. That's all. Nobody else." I lied.
"Ahhhh...I see. Of course." His stare hardened slightly, but he didn't answer my question. It was times like this that I wish I could tell what he was thinking. "Are you still competing, 'Renegade'? I haven't heard any new stats on you in the underground rumor mill. I find that very disappointing, coming from a boy wih your gift."
"I don't fight anymore."
"Oh, we ALL fight, Renegade. Each and every single day. The only difference is whether or not we take the rewards we earn from winning." He said. "Or what punishments we accept from losing." Natpea watched me, his dark eyes cold and focused. As though he were daring me to step even slightly in Soren's direction. Soren knew that he was well protected. You could tell by the glimmer of his smile. "I, myself, was actually here to enter my fighters into competition this weekend. The money we earn here is essential to keeping my business running efficiently at my own arena. So it is highly important that we not only come here to fight, but to win. However, due to some unforseen events, plans have recently been changed. Rather drastically, I might add." A few of his guards stepped aside, and I saw a vampire in a wheelchair, scarred, bruised, broken. He was missing small chunks of skin tissue in his face and neck, large gashes on his arms and side. It was a terrible sight. It looked like it was painful for him to just be sitting there. "You remember 'Darkwolf', don't you?"
Omigod...it WAS him. The good looking boy from Soren's underground arena. The one surrounded by all of the sexy young boys in the lounge. It was Soren's greatest gladiator. "What hapened to him?"
"Funny situation, actually. My number one champion and some of my very best fighters were training for a series of matches to take place this weekend. And then...out of nowhere, with no reason whatsoever...they were attacked." He leaned forward to stare deeply into my eyes, his smile barely visible now, but still present. "It appears that some freshly crossedover halflife walked into my gym on the outskirts of town, with the intentions of injuring my prize fighters just days before the big event. They say that he was a young boy...with a fighting ability the likes that they had never seen before. Not even in vampires my age and older. They say he fought expertly, savagely, insanely even." It was a story that had become all too familiar to me these days. "Naturally, it would be safe to assume that another competing arena would want my fighters shut down, and they would be responsible. But their fighters don't even come close to matching blows with Darkwolf. Not a single one of them. Certainly...this was an act committed for other reasons. Reasons I have yet to understand. But I DO intend to find out. From what I hear, he's been leaving a pretty nasty calling card all around town." RAGE! It HAD to be. Soren stood back up straight, and took another sip of his drink. "It's not often that you can find a vampire strong enough and skilled enough, to take out a room full of professional fighters with such proficiency. My sources tell me that they have never witnessed anything so incredibly potent in a newblood before. But then I thought to myself......I have."
"What are you saying?" I said, taking a slight step backwards, wondering if this was going to turn into a sudden beating. I got nervous around him, especially when he was being so polite.
"You'll have to excuse my sudden accusation, my friend. But, you have to admit...." He stepped forward, the strength of his presence practically pressing me against the wall. "...As far as a newblood halflife with this level of ability is concerned, being 'one in a million' is a rare and special occurrence. But being 'two in a million'? Well...that's practically a mathematical impossibility."
While Natpea stayed glued to Soren's side, some of his other guards moved around slowly in a semi-circle to surround me. And despite the obvious threat of danger here, the rest of the party kept moving right past us, ignoring the situation completely. I doubt that I could even call for help if I wanted to. "I didn't do it. It wasn't me. There's another boy running around that's..." But Soren stopped me by putting his hand up.
"We shall see." He turned to Darkwolf, who was obviously still in a lot of pain. Even after what looked like a few hibernations worth of healing. "Christopher...does this look like someone we need to have a 'discussion' with about the events of a few nights ago?" Darkwolf looked at me closely, his blackened half-blind eyes squinted, and he concentrated on trying to see me clearly. Please don't say it's me. PLEASE. Soren asked again, "Is this the one?" Darkwolf could barely speak above a whisper, so Soren had to lean down in order to hear him. What was he telling him? WHAT? I didn't fucking DO it! I certainly hope my fighting instincts work as well in this place, because it looks like I'm in for a tough time if Darkwolf makes a mistake. Soren got the message, and then straightened up. There was an almost eternal moment of silence before he spoke, and his sly Cheshire grin returned to his face. "Guilty until proven innocent. And our young one runs free." I think that means I checked out ok. "It seems that we have some more searching to do. I have to say, they are certainly making you newbloods 'wild' these days."
"I've got to go. My friends are looking for me." I said. Better to put some distance between them and me before I find myself locked into another brawl that I don't want to be a part of. Soren gave the signal by silently nodding his head. The circle of thugs then dissolved, and they moved back to give me an exit out of their path. "I hope you catch him."
"Oh we will. You can count on it." He grinned. I started to walk past, but as I got shoulder to shoulder with Soren, he stopped me with his arm. "Just...one more thing..."
"I'm losing an awful lot of revenue tonight by having my 'goods' damaged. I need to make up for my losses." He said, giving me a sideways look. I knew what he meant, and already began to shake my head. "Listen...I need a high powered fighter to get into that ring and hustle these suckers for every dime that they've got. I've seen you fight 'Renegade', and it's magnificent. You're fast, you're strong, you're instincts are way beyond the average swerve and dodge mechanics of the others...you are a BEAST out there. And the whole newbreed, blond teeny bopper image? It's pretty enough to make them fall in love with you, and deceptive enough to make it dangerous for them to do so. It's an incredibly potent combination."
I was hoping to push my way past. But he held me steady. "I told you...I don't wanna fight for sport."
"Who said anything about sport? I want you to fight for money, Justin. Lots...and lots...of money. Enough to set you and your two young friends up someplace nice for quite some time. What do you say?"
"I said no."
"I'll even go so far as to cut you an extra percentage of what you take tonight. It'll be an even better deal than my best fighters get." He persisted. "If I don't make this money tonight, Justin...then I'll have an extremely rough time trying to make it up at the arena over the next few weeks. This is more than a game, this is 'business'. I am asking you...fight for me."
I looked him directly in the eye this time, to make my point clear. "I said...NO. What part of that do you not understand." Soren's smile vanished. Slowly, but steadily, until a look of subtle anger dwelled behind his eyes. His hand slipped down from in front of me, and I started to walk away.
"If that is your decision." He said in a low tone. "But it really is a shame, 'Renegade'...I would have thought that you would have grown wiser about this decision since the last time we talked."
"I have. And that's why the answer is no." I told him, and turned my back on him. I'm not stupid enough to fall for the same trick twice. Especially with Rage running all over town hurting important people. If anyone here saw me fighting and jumped to conclusions the way the rest of my attackers have...I'd be dead in a week. What am I? An idiot?
But...as I got about ten feet away from the horde...Soren said something that made me stop in my tracks. "You're missing out, kid. You're really missing out. I'm sure that if Gyro and Dion knew that you were walking away from this much cash...they'd be extremely disappointed."
I looked back over my shoulder slowly. "What?"
"Gyro and Dion." He smiled. "Those ARE their names, right? Your.....friends?" I was turned all the way around to face them now, seeing Soren's disgusting grin reach from ear to ear. His brow dented downward with an evil arch.
"How did you know their names?" I said, gently gritting my teeth, taking a few steps closer. "I never told you their names."
"You didn't have to. I know everything that goes on in my arena, Justin, and everything that's connected to it. The streets talk, they do their research well, and everyone under this particular umbrella of darkness washes up on my 'beach' eventually." He said. "Yes...Gyro and Dion. Good boys, both of them. Perhaps they would be able to enjoy the money you'd make tonight if you were willing to assist me in the fighting ring tonight. Maybe you should ask them first before saying no." He wasn't hiding his meaning very deeply. And I tensed up, my fists cracking as they curled up tightly in anger. But my heart began to REALLY burn red hot when Soren quietly added..."Or...better yet...why don't you ask Taryn? I'm sure he'd appreciate a little lover's get away for you two to enjoy. He's SUCH a cute little rugrat, isn't he?" My feet moved forward in a hurry. I wasn't thinking, wasn't even in control at the moment. But my steps rushed me towards Soren with a FURY while he continued to speak. He knew about Taryn, he knew about everything! "Maybe he'd like to get out of the lot for a while, stay a few nights at a hotel. Nice soft sheets. Nice warm shower..."
I stopped him in mid sentence and roughly grabbed him by the collar with both hands!!! "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?!?!!?" I shouted, shaking him. But Soren never lost his smile.
"Temper, temper. You should really be saving your energy for the arena, my friend."
"Don't you EVER...in your motherfucking LIFE...mention my boyfriend's name again!!! Do you hear me??? Ever!!! If I so much as hear the FIRST few letters of his name slip out of your mouth, I'll fucking KILL you!!!" I felt like I could rip him to shreds at that moment! Like I could literally tear him in half! But it only caused him to laugh at me.
"YOU? Kill ME? Hahaha...no, my dear boy...you are already dead."
Looking downward, I noticed exactly what he was talking about. I hadn't even felt it, not for a second. Not until Soren said the right words and I felt a sharp pain poking at my chest. Natpea was standing to the side of me, his arm between me and Soren...and a long sharp shiv was pointing directly at my heart. It was piercing a hole in my shirt, and I could feel its metallic blade scratching across the surface of my skin. How did he do it? He never made a sound. Never made a detectable movement. He was so fast, that I hadn't seen him jump at all. I couldn't even detect the split second moment of arm tension that it takes for him to react to the situation. With all of my abilities and strength working for me, it still wasn't good enough to know what was going on until it was too late. Natpea had already trapped me into a perfectly unavoidable 'checkmate' to my heart. If I made a move, he'd drive his blade right through me without a moment's hesitation. I was sure of it. That's why Soren hired him...that was his job.
"Do you want to let go of me now? This jacket wrinkles easily." Soren smirked. I had no choice...and I turned him loose. "Thank you. You know...Natpea here is a hell of a lot faster than you would think. In fact, he's been training himself to be able to dodge bullets someday, if he reaches his peak." Soren stepped closer to speak softly in my ear. "Personally...I don't think he's quite that fast yet. But don't you find it disturbing that he sees that as a reasonable goal?" His grin only succeeded in angering me more. But, as things were, he had the upper hand. And I was pretty helpless to do much about it. "I'll tell you what, 'Renegade'...I'll make whatever money I can tonight with my remaining fighters here at the IceZone, and you...maybe you can come join us at my own arena sometime later this week. Perhaps you can show us some more of those fancy newblood moves of yours."
I looked him in the eye, infuriated, but biting my tongue as much as possible. "Is that a threat?"
"Threat? No no...I'd like to think of it as...'friendly advice'...to someone who definitely has something to lose by ignoring it." He took a long sip from his glass, finishig his drink. "Do we have an understanding?"
"I'll...I'll be there." I growled. Knowing that he only had the advantage for the moment. Once we're out of this place, and his little body guards aren't around...I'll be sure to show EXACTLY what this 'newblood' is capable of.
"Good. We start at 10 pm, please don't be late." With that said, Soren and his goons turned to walk away. But Natpea was the last one to disconnect his focused eye contact from my own. He stared me down, waiting to see if I'd move. And then, brought up the rear as the rest of his group walked away in safety. He wanted me to try it. He WANTED me to move. Don't worry Natpea....you'll get your chance. I'm sure of it.
I wasn't exactly sure if I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, or if my mind was so occuppied over my run in with Soren and his goons, that I had wandered into another part of the club entirely. But I walked in a straight line for almost twenty minutes and didn't even hit a wall. The pandemonium around me was swelling to an even crazier level than before as the club began its peak hours. The pager, of course, didn't give me ANY kind of assistance at all. Who gives a child a contraption like this and doesn't train them on how to use it in a place like this anyway? Stupid! I even attempted several times to reach out mentally to see if I could maybe send Taryn a message in this place. But no matter where I went, the devices overhead cancelled that particular extra every single time. I guess they were pretty strict about anybody sending messages outside of these walls. Occassionally, I could feel a few of my other abilities switch on in certain areas where the frequency was different. It's hard to explain, but it was sorta like feeling your muscle relax or something. And I just knew that I had it again after a couple of minutes. I might have noticed even more if I was given enough time to focus on anything. But there were fireworks and explosions and lasers and glitter and confetti EVERYWHERE! The walls were practically dripping with adrenaline, and the thousands of vampires around me just gave themselves over to the flow of the party and didn't mind being swallowed alive by the sea of people around them. Maybe I should take a hint. Maybe I should calm down and just...get into it more. Besides, it might help me to find my way around once I start thinking like the rest of the people here.
"Hot DAMN! Are you 'working' boy? PLEASE tell me you are! You are the hottest piece of ass I've seen in the last two hours!" Some guy in a weird rainbow clown wig asked me.
"Am I what?"
"You know...." He stepped closer, and his arms wrapped around me to firmly squeeze my ass with both hands. "....'Working'?" His fingers dug in deep, and he groped my buttcheeks lewdly with a grin. I could feel him push his hardness into my stomach as he pulled me closer, and tried to kiss me on the neck! I pushed him off of me...which was no easy task...and held him off at arm's length.
"NOT 'working'!!! DEFINITELY...NOT 'working'!!!" I shouted, and pried myself out of his arms!
"SHIT! You've gotta be kidding me? C'mon! You are mouthwateringly gorgeous kid!" He said, swaying a bit with a drunken stagger.
"Say...you wanna make some money anyway? I'll pay fucking triple for YOU, sweetheart!" He was already digging around in his pockets for cash.
"Come on! Please? Damn kid...that ASS....Jesus! I've GOTTA have it! You look tight!" He pleaded.
"I'll tell you what..." I told him. "...You head back THAT way, towards the main hall. Look for a boy named Evan. That's E-V-A-N. He'll be very happy to help you out."
"Are you just sending me off, kid?"
"No! I promise! He'll be waiting for you. Trust me."
"Is he as fucking insanely gorgeous as you are?" He grinned, trying to grab me again. I wormed my way backwards to get some distance.
"Even MORESO! Way cuter! And younger! With a tighter ass and lighter blond hair! Vampire virgin...very sweet!" I can't believe I'm acting as an advertising pimp for this kid. But thank goodness, he bought it.
"I'm on the way." The man said. "By the way, if you change your mind...you make sure you give it to me first, k baby?" I sorta gave him a shit eating grin and waited for him to leave. Ewwww...I have GOT to find a way out of this particular part of the club before I mistakenly end up as some pervert's 'temporary fucktoy'.