One of the first things I saw as I came back into our little clearing in the lot, was Trevor. He was leaning back against the trunk of an old Buick, and Michael was sitting on it behind him with legs spread. Michael, as usual was tending to Trevor's every need and desire, by kissing and suckling at his neck. One of his hands was running small circles under Trevor's shirt, just around his navel, feeling the smooth creamy skin underneath. His other hand, was submerged down the front of his half fastened jeans. The obvious motion letting you know what activity was going on down there. Trevor's eyes were half closed, and he reached back to run his fingers through Michael's soft brown head of hair. Watching them out of the corner of my eye as I walked, they both seemed blissfully happy. But something about it wasn't....'connected', you know? It was a true sense of loving satisfaction, I'm sure. I mean, I won't pretend to know what love is all about or how to manage a relationship. Hell, this is my first real shot at it, and so far most of my good fortune has been based on dumb luck. But what I could see in Trevor's eyes, and what I saw in Michael's...they didn't match. They weren't on the same wavelength. Michael seemed to be totally, head over heels in love. Willing to do anything and say anything to make Trevor feel good. He worshipped his blond bombshell. Trevor was cute, he was one of the most sexually 'potent' people that I've ever met, and while it pissess me off nine times out of ten...his 'bad boy' image added a bit of an edge to his charm. I think Michael was truly wrapped up in him in ways that no one else could possibly hope to decipher. To him...Trevor was everything he needed to feel complete.

Trevor, on the other hand...he didn't seem to feel it the same way. Trevor loved the sex, he loved the kisses, he loved the playful banter back and forth and the occassional slap on the butt. He loved the attention Michael gave him, and the fact that he had this brown haired cutie wrapped around his finger so effortlessly. But it never felt like it went any further than that. Like...Michael was only there to complete Trevor, or fill a void, until he found something more. Until the sensation that only 'Gyro' had ever given him....that only Gyro COULD have ever given him...could somehow be restored. He was 'attracted' to Michael, he 'cared' about Michael...I'd even go so far as to say that he truly appreciated Michael's love. But it wasn't shared as strongly from his side of the equation. Something special was missing. The admiration, and the awe, and the humbling realization that this one person brings to life...a piece of you that no one else on this planet could ever hope to reach. A piece that even you yourself could ever hope to reach. The kind of spark and excitement that he had only gotten with Gyro, and later with Taryn. There's a specific 'tingle' inside when it comes to true love. A shared love is something that you can feel in overwhelming doses to the point of actual agony. You can see it in a person. You can feel it in the air around them, catch glimpses of it in their smile, hear the 'lift' it causes in their voice. Love combines two people on a level that no one else can compete with. Not with friendship, not with super good looks, not with mindblowing sex, not with shared pain, not with general concern. Love exists as a seperate entity all its own. And when I looked at Michael and Trevor...I wasn't fooled by love's illusion. Every attempt at love for Trevor has ended painfully, from the time he was human until now. I don't even think his original 'concept' of love and what it feels like has survived the many gutwrenching heartbreaks he's been through. I suppose that's why his situation with Michael works for him. Because he's able to reap the benefits of a loving relationship without having to give in to the helpless, hopeless, and hapless, vulnerability that love needs in order to operate flawlessly between two people. Trevor wasn't in love, and Michael is eventually going to realize that. I almost felt bad for them. Because that's really gonna hurt Michael when that situation comes to an end, as it inevitably will someday.

Despite my conflicts with Michael as of late, I wouldn't wish that kind of misery on anybody.

I walked further into the lot, not really making much contact with anybody else. My ody had lossened up an awful lot, but was still a bit traumatized from the healing process. I didn't know whether or not I was going to be able to appear 'normal' in front of anybody else just yet. I DID, however, catch a glimpse of Dion and Dylan talking while sitting on a short stack of tires. Not only that...but they were smiling. Maybe even 'giggling' a bit here and there. I didn't say anything, or even let on that I noticed them at all. Besides, I didn't wanna jinx it. If they thought for a second that someone else was watching...they'd get self conscious and it would ruin their comfortable 'environment' altogether. Unlike Trevor and Michael, unlike Taryn and myself, this was a possible relationship in the making. It was so cute to watch them interact for the few brief moments that I allowed myself to look. It's like watching a flower blossom, or a caterpillar emerge from its coccoon. It's the emotional 'birth' of something special, and it touches you when you notice it for the beautiful experience that it is.

I got back to the trailer and stepped inside, making sure to walk in a straight line to avoid Doc, Kid, Max and Jun. Just in case they decided to make conversation. I had been so moody as of late, I doubt they noticed anything strange about me keeping to myself every now and then. I shut the door behind me, and removed my shirt to take a closer look at my chest in the mirror. Rain had definitely healed almost all of them. Only a few minor scratches remained, and nothing that was visible once I put my shirt on. She must have really taken on a lot of pain for me to be that crystal clear again. I always wanted to reach out to her, make her feel better. In some strange way, I always wanted to understand Rain beter than I did. She purposely shut me out every time. I guess...with me stealing Taryn's attention away and all, I can't blame her. But although I hadn't really gained that much understanding of her and her problems...I had gathered a great deal of love and respect for her as a person. A level of love and respect that had tripled, the second she set her conflicts aside tonight and helped me.

I examined myself pretty closely in that mirror for another few minutes. Maybe longer. And then stepped back to finish undressing. Although the pain and the slices were gone, there was nothing that could be done about my already 'deficient' blood supply. And I felt more shivers inside of me as my body hungered to be full of life again. It only lasted a little while, and I tried to ignore it as I kicked off my shoes. Taryn came to the trailer door shortly afterwards. His cheeks red and puffy from crying so hard, his shirt stained with Rain's blood.

"Is she gonna be ok?" I asked, after a few moments of silence had passed between us.

"Yeah...yeah, she's gonna be fine. I think the added emotional baggage hit her pretty hard, but she'll be out for the night and her balance will return to her tomorrow night when she wakes up. She lost a lot of blood though. She'll have to feed again soon." Taryn said, removing his shirt as well, being careful not to get the soaked through bloodstains on his face. He wrapped it up in another dirty shirt, and put it in a sack for laundry tomorrow. "I think...I'm gonna spend some time with her tomorrow night. I mean...just to talk or something. It really has been a long time, and we haven't just 'talked' to each other like we used to for ages..." He explained, but I didn't let him finish.

"I understand totally. Ok? Please do. I don't want to get in the way, I mean it."

"You're not 'in the way', Justin...we just....we relate to each other. You know? Like...we had to lean on one another pretty hard for the first few years that we were here. She's not comfortable doing that with anyone else." He said. "In fact...until you...I wasn't comfortable doing that with anyone else either. Even Jenna and Dion, as much as I love them...they didn't have access to that missing piece of me like Rain did. It was like I could tell her anything, and she had the ability to understand. She was the only one who could really soothe the pain inside...and it felt good to be able to take advantage of that once in a while. I owe her a lot for being there for me when I was so very alone out here. I just allowed myself to forget that for a while." Taryn walked over to me, and let his fingers softly trace over my skin. "How are you feeling? Better?"

"Much. Thanks." I told him.

"Are you gonna tell me what happened? Or is this one of those questions I shouldn't be asking?" He said. He presented it as though he would respect my secrets if I didn't ant to talk about it. But I could tell it wasn't genuine. He'd twist it out of me if he had to.

My only concern was causing him to worry about me even more than he already did. But honesty seems to have worked miracles so far between us. "There's....some vampire running around town....somebody new. He's evidently hurt a lot of people." I said softly, and then told him the rest. "There are some people out there who think it's me."

His eyes widened, and he froze. "But WHY? Why would they think it was YOU?"

"I don't know. He's...he's young like me. He's a newblood, and he can fight. Most people don't know much more than that, and since I fit into that description, they just assume I'm him."

"Well...I mean....What...?" He was beginning to let a light panic settle in, and I put my hand on his shoulder to calm him down. He tried to compose himself by masking his concern. "What are you gonna do? These people can really hurt you, Justin."

"I'm gonna have to find out what's going on and make sure people know it's not me. If I don't clear my name, they'll be coming out of the woodworks to get me. Especially after tonight. The rumors will get blurred and morph into stuff about ME. And that'll only make things worse."

"How are you going to find out information about somebody who's only a rumor to begin with?"

It had only crossed my mind a few times, but I held on to the idea from the moment Jenna took me to the church to shower. When it came to rumors, I had a pretty good idea of who to go to. "I have a friend that might be able to help me. Somehow...I'll get to the bottom of this."

In conflict with himself, Taryn set aside his worry momentarily, and did his best to trust me. He came close and gave me a sweet boyish kiss on my lips. "I hope you know what you're doing, Justin."

"I hope so too." I said, and Taryn moved to the other side of the mattress to get undressed for bed.

As he casually raised his feet to pull off his shoes one by one, I stared at his untouched beauty and was dumbfounded. It took my mind a second or two to focus and remember that what I was seeing was real. This was my boyfriend. He was a vampire. He'd be young for all eternity. And the most gorgeous, most charming, most adorable teenage boy in the world was getting half naked right in front of me. It was so awesome that I was taken aback, and gazed dreamily in his direction. I've never had such a joyful feeling erupt from my every pore with such an amazing balance of love and confusion before. I didn't know if he'd ever get more beautiful than he was at that very moment.

All of the sudden, however, I felt a tremble inside of my stomach. A tremor that spread quickly throughout my entire body and my vision seemed to go blurry for a second. Then...'flash forward'. I found myself holding Taryn tightly against me, my member stiff and pressing against his own. My fingers dug deeply into the spongy softness of his ass, my hands lewdly shoved down the back of his boxers. And my lips were pressed firmly against the side of his neck. My teeth itching, my eyes burning, my tongue licking out at his tender flesh as I sucked on his neck with a lustful passion that threatened to take me over the edge of orgasm. What had happened? I must have blanked out for a moment. I might have only lost a minute or two, but I had somehow found myself in a tight embrace with my boyfriend that I hadn't caused. Not 'willingly' anyway. Again...just as instincts had taken over where my mind was not aware. My body's needs had led me into a seductive action that I could not control. And as I continued to suck at his neck, I felt my fangs slowly begin to protrude from my gums. I could feel the gentle throb of his pulse i the side of his neck, his jugular engorged with life giving essence, and for a split second, I entertained the thought of biting deep into his throat. Not to kill him...just...just for a taste. That's all. Taryn loved me, right? I'm sure he'd understand if I just gave him a little good-natured 'nip'.

NO!!! No...this has got to STOP! As I willfully released Taryn's neck from my suction, his skin a dark shade of pink and bearing soft indentations where my teeth had nibbled into him, I felt my heart tremble and my stomach pierce me with an uncomfortable shot of pain. Not enough to double me over, just enough to make me hiss quietly through my teeth and fade away. I lifted my head from his neck, and Taryn smiled at me. "What?" He grinned. "Don't stop. I was enjoying that."

Somehow...I had lost my senses again, and I had coaxed Taryn closer to me so that I may get the opportunity to drain him of his blood. Strange...after all the vampire movies I've seen where Dracula hypnotizes his victims into willingly giving up their seemed now as though *I* was the one who was under an irresistable spell. I was too far gone to even raise the question of whether or not it was right or wrong. Jenna and Bryson were right. There could be no more waiting around this time. As much as it turned my stomach to contemplate the idea of murdering another innocent person...I knew that I had to start looking for another donor, and soon.

I kissed Taryn softly, and he smiled as our lips were still connected. The sensual embrace of our love enhanced by the feel of his visible enjoyment. His smile only coaxed out a grin of my own, and we were giggling softly to ourselves while trying to keep our lips locked together. His bare chest came closer in contact with mine, and I used my index fingers to grab a hold of a belt loop on either side of his pants. I pulled his slim waist close to me, his waifish, almost feminine frame, coming into full contact, as our smiles faded into passion. I took two healthy handfulls of his soft globes, and crushed his body against me...his taste filling me as our tongues slowly twisted around one another. I could kiss my lovely Taryn forever, but instead, we made our way to the bed, and held each other close until the sun began its rapid journey back to the Chicago horizon. We were only able to steal a few more loving smooches before our bodies went cold, and the sleep came to take us away for yet another daytime slumber.

When I woke up...or at least thought I woke up...I was standing in what looked like an infinite junkyard. It went out into eternity in every direction. But this junkyard was different somehow...more personal. The stacks of garbage were at least twenty feet high, and I was surprised that they were even standing in some sort of stabl fashion. From the way everything was thrown in a heap, you would have thought the mighty towers of trash would have tumbled over with the slightest breeze. But....looking closer at the pile in front of me, I saw a piece of paper with my name on it. I focused on it and moved to take a closer look. Pulling it out of the heap, I saw that it was a test paper from my old school. Graded with an "A", and had some sad drawing of a crying statue on the back of it. I remember drawing that...but that was almost two years ago. Why was it here? I let the pice of paper go, and it floated away from me. As though there was no gravity at all except for what existed beneath my feet. Looking back in the pile as the test paper glided away from me in slow motion, I saw other things that belonged to me. Old photos, lucky shirts, my first skateboard, baseball cards, action figures and broken toys. In fact, looking with more interest...I noticed that everything in the whole damn HEAP was mine. I spun around and saw my possessions filling up every pile of trash in the yard, and it was stacked up high just like the damaged goods Bryson had us stack up in the abandoned building after the raiders attacked us. Was this another dream? Was I doing this?

I saw an old gym shoe float past my field of vision, and a few video game magazines. It was like my whole life was here, every memory, every possession that I ever was stacked right here in mountans like discarded waste. When I saw my old teddy bear float past, I looked up to see an entire army of floating objects from my past. And that's when I heard it...a low rumble...a sinister growl.

I peeked very carefully around the corner, and not far in the distance...I could SEE it. The Beast was here! But it wasn't paying me much attention this time. Instead, it was rummaging through the piles of memories. MY memories. It was searching for something. Very angrily, I might add. It clawed its way through my things, using its hulking black wings to fly from mound to mound, trying to find something specific. Possibly something it could use against me. As it ripped through the piles of stuff, tossing it over his broad muscular shoulders, the many objects and articles went floating away peacefully into the distance. Most of the debris slowly drifting by my face as I watched, and identified each article and what it meant to me while I was alive. What was it doing? What was it looking for?

I must have tipped it off somehow with my thoughts, because it suddenly raised its monsterous head, and turned slowly in my direction. My first instinct was to hide, but why bother? This creature was inside my head...there was nowhere I could go where he wouldn't find me. The roar that left it's mighty lungs shook the ground beneath my feet, and its wings spread wide...its powerful legs tensing in preparation to lunge forward at me in anger! As soon as it sprung off of the ground, I felt my mind become 'self aware'. As though I had suddenly realized the power of being in a dream. And with pure thought...I commanded the piles of discarded objects to collapse inward on the creature before it could reach me. It felt as though I could control each object seperately, and the mountains buried the Beast under its weight. The whole environment got deathly silent. The many different piles of rubbish, now just a huge mess in the center of this 'inner junkyard' of mine. There was no movement at all. And when I walked closer...I couldn't even sense the monster's presence anymore. Standing on top of all those old relics...I let out a sigh of relief.

That's when the Beast abruptly *BURST* through the garbage with an ear splitting shriek, and violently sent me FLYING off of it along with what seemed like millions of other objects!!!

I opened my eyes and sat up in my bed with a gasp! I was covered in sweat, breathing hard, my ears still ringing from the scream of that demon. It was coming after me. It was ALWAYS coming after me. Watching, waiting. Looking for the time when I was at my weakest point, using my own fears and doubts against me. No matter how many times I fought it, no matter how hard I tried to escape it...the Beast was always right there waiting for me in the shadows. Taunting me. Proving to me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that its victory over me would be inevitable. That I was only causing myself more pain by trying to fight it anymore. It was times like this, that I wondered what would happen if I could just 'give in', and let it take me away from all this pain once and for all. If it weren't for the fear of what it would do to me or how much it would hurt...I might have given in a long time ago.

I turned to slide my legs out from under the sheets, and let my feet touch the floor. My shirt was laying on the floor beside the bed, and I picked it up to mop my brow and dry off the sweat from my neck and chest. It took me a minute to catch my breath, and clear my mind of the strange images my last vampire dream had left behind. The dreams were so REAL. It was hard to get them to dissolve into a waking reality, no matter how far fetched they may be. I rubbed my eyes, and stood up on my feet, looking over at our clock. I had slept a lot later than usual. I was still earlier than the rest of our camp, but only by a good twenty minutes or so. That dream must have had me locked in to the big sleep for longer than I thought.

I walked over to the mirror and saw only FAINT traces of the many cuts and scrapes that I had received the night before. My arms were were practically flawless, my face had gone back to its smooth young texture...I think Rain had even cured a few scrapes that I had gotten BEFORE the skateboarders had gotten a hold of me. I turned around to look at my back as well. She had done it. My body was whole again. The only thing that remained were a few discolorations on my back, shoulders, and stomach. But those, I'm pretty sure were going to be permanent. Those were bruises I had gotten from my last night alive as a human being. The night I was beaten outside of my house. I could barely see them anymore, but I knew they were there. And I knew they'd STAY there for the rest of eternity. Better that than the scars I had gotten last night though.

Rain had used both Bryson's extra and her own to save me from days of hiding out and trying to repair the damage done. But it would have all been in vain if I didn't get moving and find some way to keep any other vampires from thinking that I was this 'Rage' character. Who KNOWS what kind of trouble I might run into on the streets? If I meet up with any other vampires searching for the boy suspected of causing this amount of turbulence, my luck just might run out. I had to find out some more information on this kid and quick. Maybe I can use something distinct about him to seperate him from me and let the rest of the vampire population weed him out on their own. Afterall...anybody willing to hurt that many people just to be 'noticed' a threat to us all. And I don't wanna have him out o the strets either.

Taryn asked me exactly how I was going to find someone who existed only as a rumor. Well, if 'gossip' is what I'm chasing...then I need to go to the best collector of gossip that I know. I just hope she's still in the same place so I can find her again.

I got dressed, and gave Taryn a kiss on the cheek while he was sleeping. But I could feel the warmth slowly returning to him, and his stiff body beginning to melt its way back to life again. So I had to get out of there before I caused him to worry even more about the situation. I stood up, and was ready to leave, when I caught a glimpse of something sticking out of the mattress. A corner of a folder. Bryson's folder.

MY folder.

I had hidden it under the mattress last night just in time to keep Taryn from seeing me with it. And it had remained there ever since. I thought about grabbing it and taking it with me, but what if Bryson was awake already? Or maybe one of the others? I didn't want to look at it in the trailer either. Taryn would be up any minute. So I pushed it back further under the mattress and took off before someone saw me leave. Besides, if Bryson had caught a glimpse of me, he might make me train tonight. Or study. And THAT would mean he'd be looking for that folder in order to chart my progress. I just hope I can sneak it back into his truck before Max fixes that lock and my window of opportunity is officially closed.

After leaving the lot, and walking through the city streets, I made my way towards Michigan Avenue, and then further on into Grant Park. It was mostly full of college kids, peppered throughout the dark parts of the park. And I saw one or two vampies as well, their eyes reflecting tiny sparkles of light from the shadows. No doubt on the prowl for a quick meal. I had learned to spot them pretty easily now, and thankfully they had yet to know about Rage. Or at least didn't know enough to connect ME with his harmful actions. For now, I didn't have to worry about being attacked. But I was looking over my shoulder anyway, just in case.

I saw the park begin to liven up with lights and activity as I walked closer to Buckingham Fountain, and began to search for the one person who could tell me the 'word on the street' better than anybody. I found her on the same bench, applying make-up, and smiled with relief. "Well, if it isn't Ms. Divinity James." I said with a smile.

She....he...'it'...turned around, and gave me a warm grin of her own once she saw who I was. "Golden Boy? Mmm-mmm-mmm! You're still a little cutie pie, ain't ya? Come here and give Diva a hug, baby."

This time, Diva was wearing a big blue wig, pantyhose under a leather skirt, and black platform boots. I swear...she certainly knew how to put on a show, even when she wasn't moving. I walked around the bench and gave her a loving hug, some of her caked-on make up sticking to the collar of my shirt. It was good to see her. "I'm sorry I didn't come by sooner. I've been...'busy'." I told her.

"Whatever." She replied, flicking some of her wig hair out of her face. "The point is you came back. You should be careful. You got me thinking you want some of my 'cookie'." She laughed, lightly slapping me on the knee. "I might just give you some, too." She made me smile. Diva was a visible representation of the true freedom of thought and action. It was beautiful to see in a world full of strict rules and regulations. "So you out here looking for another 'breather', Justin?" She asked.

", not really." I said.

"Ohhhh...I see. You've got favors to ask for. Am I right?" She didn't beat around the bush. She knew I needed help. "Don't keep me waiting, girlfriend. Do tell."

She lit up a cigarette, and leaned back on the bench. "Well...I wanted to know about some gossip, actually." I said.

"Gossip? No honey...Diva does NOT 'gossip'. I provide collected information." She sat up, and made sure to blow the smoke away from me. "What do you need with gossip, anyway? Don't you have enough to worry about right now, newblood?"

"What do you mean?"

"I MEAN that rumbling in your tummy, girl. There ain't no hiding the thirst, I can tell. We ALL can tell." She said in a whisper. "Instead of sitting here trying to chit chat, you need to go find you somebody and take care of that before you lose your senses and try to take a bite of MY ass."

I giggled at the notion. "Aw, come on, Diva. You know I could never do that to you."

"You damn RIGHT you could never do that to me! I got a knife in MY purse, and I won't hesitate to cut yo' ass!" She said in an animated huff. "Don't let the wig and stockings fool you, bitch! Diva ain't nothin' to fuck wit! You hear me?" I couldn't help but to laugh outloud when she said it. There was no holding it back, it was hilarious. She was just playing around....I think...but kept a serious face on the entire time. "Laugh all you want, baby. But I ain't havin' it. Unh-unh."

I tried to stop the giggles before I got off track. " seriously. I need some of your 'collected information'. It's important."

"Hmmm..." She said, and took a few more drags before putting out her cigarette. "What do you need?"

"What did you hear about some newborn vampire around here causing trouble? He calls himself 'Rage'."

I think I touched a bit of a nerve, because her eyes opened up big as saucers, and she settled into the bench for a very 'interesting' conversation. "Now THAT...has gotten my attention. Let me ask you this...what do you know about Rage?"

"Only...that he's young, like me. And he's pretty new into his crossover."

"I certainly hope he hasn't hurt any friends of yours." She said.

"No..." I answered. "...At least not yet."

"Good." Diva straightened up, and looked me dead in the eye. "From what I've been reading lately, this Rage person is causing quite a stir around here. Breaking into places and beating people up. Experienced vampires more than three times his age. Most of the others think he's just some troublemaker looking to bully the rest of us for the pure pleasure of doing so. But..."


Diva looked around, and lowered her voice. "Well, the Elders have evidently become very concerned with the vampires in this area lately. There's a lot more going on than what they're telling the rest of us."

"They're looking for Rage too?" I asked.

"I can't be sure. Not one hundred percent, anyway. But..." She looked around again, and now was almost whispering. "...I've seen Hunters around town lately. More than usual. They don't usually show up in force like this unless they've been deployed on purpose. Which brings me to another piece of the puzzle."

"What piece is that?"

"Well, I've been catching little bits and pieces of vampire thoughts here and there, and from what I gather...there's a newblood around here, just like you, who is raising quite a few eyebrows with the higher ups. You know what I mean, honey?"

"A...a newblood?" Did she know about me? Was she reading me? No...if she was, I would be able to sense it. At least...I think I would.

"Yeah. Big, BAD, motherfucker! It's got the Elders all tense and worried that some age old 'prophecy' or something is about to be fulfilled. Now, I'm not really up to date on my vampire scriptures, but I know it has something to do with a Mimic being born into darkness and more bloodshed than any of us are ready to deal with right about now. They think this 'mimic' might be the one doing all of this damage. They're looking to have him 'taken care of', and soon." She told me, and my heart dropped into my stomach.

"They think....this 'mimic' responsible for all of the people who have been hurt?"

"Maybe, yes. Maybe, no. There have been conflicting messages going back and forth for a while now. From what I've been reading, some vampires say one thing, other vampires say another. It's all so twisted right now, and nobody really knows the whole deal. All I know is that they're on alert, people are searching, and as long as this Rage maniac is running around town...ain't NONE of us safe. They say he's quick as lightning. Attacks without any real reason or provocation of any kind. It won't be long before they put two and two together and go after this thing. We'll all sleep a lot better when he's gone." She smiled.

"Don't they know anything more about him? Who he is? What he looks like?"

"He looks like your average teenage boy. About your height, brown eyes, dark red hair...they think it's dyed though...."

"Wait...did you say dark RED hair? And BROWN eyes?" I was relieved. At least having people learn that would keep them from chasing 'the blond' down abandoned alleyways.

"That's what the rumors say. But I've also heard blond hair with blue eyes every now and then. So I don't think nobody knows for certain." Diva fixed her wig a little bit, and looked around again to see if anyone else was listening. "I hear, from a very reliable source, that this Rage fella is just from the outskirts of town somewhere. Before all of this 'beating people up' and craziness started happening...they say he was asking a lot of questions. Walking around town looking for somebody specific. Nobody can tell me who he was looking for though. Whoever it is...all this damage he's doin' around town...he's doin' it to call him out. Whoever he's looking for, he's in for one hell of a fight when he finds him."

I didn't know what to think, or what to expect. But the first question that came to my mind was this....what if it's ME he's looking for? Even worse...what if he finds me before I'm ready to protect myself? "Are you ok, honey?" Diva asked, taking notice of my silence.

I tried to snap out of it, and nodded gently. "Uh huh...I'm ok." I said. "Just thinking."

"Mmm-hmm...well don't you let these little ghost stories worry you, golden boy. You just make sure you stay out of his way, and you'll be just fine." She had the notion that I wasn't involved in this at all. As though I could take what little knowledge that I knew about him and walk away unaffected. But the truth is, I couldn't. Even if Rage himself wasn't looking for me, the friends and family of the people he hurt would be combing the streets just as much. Even the skateboarders who attacked before had to take a second look at me and decide on whether or not I was the right one. Anybody with a hunch and a bad temper could jump me at any time.

"Are you sure you can't tell me anything else, Diva? Anything at all?"

"Sorry, baby. I ain't got nothing else to tell you. I told you before, vampires don't come too close around me because they don't want me in they business." She said, lighting up another cigarette. "I had to practically wrestle those few thoughts from them. Everybody is trying to keep this on the down low until the elders decide what they're gonna do about him. But I know this, when they find out who this 'mimic' is...chances are they're gonna have him shut down in a hurry, honey. You can believe that."

"What if it's NOT the mimic, though? I mean...what if it's someone else?" I asked.

"That depends on whether or not the elders take the time to figure out who the real killer is. I gotta tell you though, time is one thing they do NOT have. Time and patience."

"They'd have him killed just on SUSPICION???"

"Justin, honey...where do you think you are? This is not 'The People's Court' out here. The humans that know about our existence and turn their heads are only allowing us to remain a secret based on our ability to handle these situations quickly. A rebel like Rage is a definite problem, they can't just let him run around doing what he wants. The elders have an entire species to protect, and they don't have time to think about justice. They'll handle this as quickly and efficiently as they can. And if that means a few lost sould get hurt in the process, then so be it. We don't have any 'diplomats' out here, baby. Just problems and problem solvers. You get what I'm telling you?"

I nodded, unable to truly react to any of this. Once felt like the world was moving under my feet faster than I could run. More obstacles were being thrown my way, and I wondered if I had any more place in this world of darkness than I did in one of daylight. "Um...thanks...thanks Diva." I said, trying not to let any of my troublesome thoughts show on my face.

"I hope that helps to keep you from looking so 'struggled', girlfriend. Cause you was SAD, when you came over here. Get you some sleep."

"Sure thing." I said, and stood up. "By the way, what happened to the last mimic that was born into darkness? You know, all those years ago. Did HE have to go through all of this?"

"Well, you know, Diva isn't too caught up on her history. But I DO remember something about him going plum crazy and being burned alive on the beach." She said. Whoah...somehow, I really didn't expect THAT to be her answer! "I'm not really sure. The last time I had heard about that was some years ago. One of the last vampires involved with all that madness decided to finally have his sun quest somewhere out West in California. But before he went, he wanted to save the history of what really went down. So he allowed himself to be 'absorbed' by some other vampire so he could keep the knowledge with him. All of his memories, his experinces, the whole bag of chips. The transfer of events nearly drove the other vampire insane. But he kept the memories in his head anyway. Probably still has them, if he's still alive."

"Absorbed by another vampire? His memories and everything?"

"Yes. It was the only way to leave the true story behind, I suppose."

"Do you know what the name of this other vampire is?" I asked.

Diva looked like she was trying to remember, but with some difficulty. "I can't quite remember his name. Not that matters anyway. He was one broken cookie, if you know what I mean, honey. Last I heard, that crazy cracker changed his name, and moved into some old secluded house with a bunch of human body guards to protect him from the outside." She said, and I sat up straight with interest. "Now then....what was that name he chose for himself. It was something crazy. Right after he started babbling about 'circles' and shit."


"ZERO! That's it! Zero!" She said, and shivered a bit. "The old fool don't even have enough sense to put his OWN sun quest together and put himself out of his misery. He's too far gone." Diva had taken the last drag off of her cigarette, and crushed it on the concrete under her boot. "I don't suggest you mix it up with him anytime soon. But if you're looking for the real deal on what happened with that last mimic that lived amongst us....he'd be the one to tell ya." She told me. "Just don't look for any straight answers from him. He's been a few teeth short of a smile for almost thirty years now."

I leaned forward and gave Diva another loving hug. "Thanks Diva. You've been a BIG help!" And that's when I felt her pinch my ass.

"Help, nothin'! You just make sure you come to see me when you get some time. NOT just when you need something. You'll never get me to lower my panties that way, sweetheart." I giggled at her and waved goodbye as I walked off. Leaving her alone to 'gather more information'. I wasn't quite sure if her info had really helped me out or not. But it did at least lead me to find what my next destination would be. And that path led straight to Zero. As mixed up in the head as he was...Zero might just have the key to finding this kid and get me out of harm's way.

I had just started walking back through the dark part of the park, about ten minutes away, when I heard a strange noice from one of the little hidden corners where the park's bathrooms were. It sounded like someone getting sick. Sickto the point of dry heaves, in fact. I walked around a few tall bushes, and saw a young boy, about 12 years old, on his knees and puking in little bursts of fluid. Then...I saw an older man, balding, about 275 pounds with a thick moustache, walking out from behind a tree. He was tucking in his shirt, and zipping up his pants...his smallish, but fat, penis still half hard from the activity that must have just taken place. The young boy was doubled over, crying a little bit at the humiliation from getting sick, and just trying to stand up again. I heard the man say, in a gruff voice, "I told you I was cumming. I don't know why you tried to take it all." He was so uncaring, so deliberately rude. I watched as he reached in his pocket, and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. He then tossed it down to the ground at the boy's side, and used his FOOT to tap the boy on his shoulder. "Here, I'll give you twenty. That's all you're getting." He said.

The boy put up his hand, just now catching his breath. " said fifty. I NEED fifty. Please mister...please don't stiff me."

Oh my God...I couldn't believe that I was watching this. It's none of my business. I should just keep walking and leave it alone. "I'm not paying you to get sick all over yourself! You ruined the whole mood for me now. I'm not into this shit." He said.

"Please....wait...don't...!" The boy pleaded, looking as pathetic as he could while trying to get to his feet. Then...after regaining his balance, he tried to rush the older man and started grabbing at his pockets for the money. Naturally, the man wasn't an easy win. And he effortlessly pushed the young preteen to the ground. When the boy got back up, he backhanded him like he was a grown fucking MAN!

"STAY DOWN, kid! I'll fuck you up even worse if you keep at it!" He had split the boy's lower lip, and a small trickle of blood puddled at the side of his mouth. It triggered me instantly. Not only the horror and disgrace of the man's actions...not only the memory of all the times my father had beaten me up when I was so helpless to fight back...but the sight, the scent, and the mouthwatering allure of the blood itself...caused me to act. My stomach rumbled violently, and I knew that THIS was my chance. The time had come to step one foot further into the abyss of this dark existence. I stepped out from the shadows and moved closer. My instincts firing up and blazing hot inside of me, but doing all they could to mask my intntions on the surface. The man was quite shocked to see me, his mind already sorting through a hundred credible excuses to explain what was going on here. But as those tribal drums began to beat in the back of my mind, I had no need to listen. It was time to 'hunt'.

"I can explain this..." The man looked down to make sure he wasn't 'showing', but his little prick had already gone soft by then.

"What's to explain? You paid good money to be satisfied." I said, a smile crossing my lips beyond my control. "You don't look very satisfied to me." As I walked closer, I stepped over the boy on the ground, paying him no attention at all. Whatever reservations I had about this before were rapidly melting away. This wasn't bloodlust. It wasn't some instantaneous action caused by a desperate need to stop the pain. I was DOING this. Willfuly. Purposefully. God help me, I was deliberately waking towards him in order to find an opportunity to strike. And felt....GOOD!

"I'm not sure I know what you mean, kid?" He said, a slight vision of lust appearing in his eyes as this blond 14 year old boy approached him in the dark of night. He had no idea. Even when my eyes turned crimson. I guess my contacts were hiding the glow from him well enough to not have him notice. At least not yet.

"Then perhaps you need a demonstration." I grinned. I was staring at him face to face now, and reached out a hand to grope the front of his pants. "I'll tell you what? Why don't you give me a try instead? And if I do a better job of putting a smile on your pay me double what you paid him."

"I like the way you think." He said lewdly, and searched the park for any possible police officers or pedestrians that might walk by. And then he pulled me to the side against a tree, and dove for my neck. The scratch of his stubble itched something awful, and his lips kissed me sloppily up and down the nape of my neck. But somehow, it was the disgusting nature of his sloppy attempts to use me and please himself that truly got me worked up inside. Even as his saliva dripped sickeningly down my neck and under the collar of my shirt, I kept a wicked smile on my face. His hands were all over me, gripping extremely tight on my ass as though he could reach right through the material of my jeans and finger me right there n the park. His tongue felt cold on my skin, laving long wet trails everywhere that it landed. I should have been as sick as that boy. But body felt the warmth of the man's body, the feel of his lips and tongue, the pulse of his life giving essence rushing through him with every beat of his heart. THAT'S what made me hard, my organ standing at full mast, erotically stimulated in anticipation for my second meal since I've been in darkness. My eyes rolled back, and I was more excited than you can imagine. Even when he unzipped my pants and reached inside.

He brutally tugged at the opening of my boxers, and in no time, had my stiffened member in his calloused hands. He stroked it roughly, his hands dry, causing me to wince in pain. There was nothing soft or gentle about him. He only cared about his own pleasure, and what he would get out of the encounter. These...were his last minutes on this Earth....and he had absolutely no idea.

My eyes burned hotter as they filled with blood, and I felt my fangs shoot down from my gums in preparation for their feast. The older man was too busy grunting and breathing hard to even notice that I was no longer participating. My mind blocked out all of his unpleasant sounds and smells...and continued to let him feel me up all over. He was whimpering, sticking his tongue in my ear. "So tight...." He babbled on and on, my anger and disgust only causing the insanity inside of me to increase ten fold. I was almost laughing outloud now. Holding back the giggles just long enough to look over his shoulder. I saw the boy laying there on the ground, and he was watching me. A look of confusion and terror in his eyes. He knew I wasn't here to please this man. In fact, the boy could see the smile on my lips, and was aware that a smile like that didn't belong to humankind. I was much more than this older man bargained for.

The man lifted my shirt, and began to sink to his knees...but I stopped him. I didn't want his mouth on me, not down there. I would never let him do that, never let him kiss me. No....that was for Taryn alone to enjoy. As far as this sack of shit is concerned...he's enjoyed about as much of this teen heartthrob as he's gonna get access to. It was time to make HIM the victim. "Hold on there, cowboy." I said, lifting him back up to his feet. I looked him in the eye seductively, and took his right hand in mine. I lifted it to my lips, and kissed the back of his hand....then his knuckles...then...I turned his hand over.

"If you want 'romance', why don't we go back to my house?" He offered. Hahaha! The stupid FUCK! Did he really think he'd ever be able to have a shot with me. He's even stupider than he looks!

"No thanks...I can get what I need right here." My emotions turned to ice, and my mind objectified this man until he was nothing more than a piece of MEAT to me. I scanned his blood for impurities, just like Doc had taught me to. No harmful diseases, no cholesterol problems that I needed to really worry about either. He had a little bit of alcohol in his bloodstream, but not enough to hinder my escape if I needed to run. He was a ripe one. My whole body trembled, begging me to make the final bite and begin draining him right away. I was so erect, just thinking about sinking my teeth into his jugular was an orgasm in itself. But for now, I just kissed the palm of his hand, and then lightly started to suck on his wrist. Feeling his pulse race beneath my lips.

Some of his thoughts opened themselves up to me while I scanned him. They flooded into me, and I was almost angered at what I saw there. Boy after boy...some as young as 8 years old, molested, raped, taken advantage of. He didn't love a single one of them. This man had EVERYTHING...a nice house, loving parents, friends, money, a good job...his American dream had been fulfilled since he was MY age. He didn't have to worry about where his next meal was coming from. He didn't have to suffer the way I did. The way Taryn did. He doesn't have to look at himself in the mirror every morning and think about the awful, soul destroying, ordeals we've been through as children...just trying to survive! He had opportunities laid out for him that I couldn't even IMAGINE up until this very moment! And he used all of his good fortune to torture and harm children??? I had NO sympathy for him at that point. As I sucked more greedily at his wrist, almost leaving a hickey there from it, I thought to myself...

...."I have finally found someone....who truly deserves to die."

"Are you sure you don't want to go back to my place where we can get more comfortable?" He asked, now more excited than he wanted to let on. A boy who was willing to go this far for him, to be his sexual plaything without question or was a dream come true. Awwww, the poor bastard. He really liked me, didn't he? He whispered, "I can make your hot little blond boypussy feel sooooo good. Would you like that? Huh? You want daddy to stretch you out, and fill you up with his hot cum, don't you? You can be my little boy-bitch all night long."

I looked up into his eyes briefly, and smiled wide as my instincts were finally obeyed, and my humanity covered itself under the thick layer of animal savagery that I needed to do this. "Sorry, 'daddy'...wrong fluid." I said, and bit into his wrist like it was a fresh apple right off of the tree! I could hear the crunch! The slippery sensation of having his heated blood swiftly rush to the wound to greet my hungry teeth and wash over my tongue! My head was spinning...finally relieving itself of all of its worries, and just focused on getting the sustenance it needed to survive at last. The man was shaking violently at first, his body going into immediate shock as he tried to proccess what was happening to him. His scream didn't come until a few seconds later, and his pain and fear caused a heavy dose of adrenaline to pur into his bloodstream....making it all the more delicious! I opened my eyes to see the boy on the ground, staring on in open-mouthed horror. Unable to MOVE, not even to run and save his own life. He just watched...his cute young face splattered with dots of blood from the initial bite. I could see the reddish glow from my eyes reflected on his pale white skin, and I knew that no contacts could hold back the shine from my pupils. Not now.

The man jerked his hand frantically, trying to pull it from my lips! But I held his arm with both hands, my teeth locking together underneath a huge chunk of his skin! If he was going to pull away, he was going to take a pretty damn large bite sized chunk of flesh with it! He spun around helplessly, and I spun around with him, the two of us engaged in some twisted dance of murder. He tried to push my head away, but I would not budge. The more he moved, the more I moved with him. He balled up his fist, and tried to punch me in the side of the head, but I caught his fist with my free hand, and held it firm while I continued to drain him. The taste of blood had gotten even better than it was the first time I had examined its flavor. This man's very life was entering me, filling me up inside. His very personality was penetrating my way of thinking, and it made me enjoy his pain even more. So much in fact, that I was giggling at his attempts to get away. Finally, he yanked his arm back violetly, and sure enough...he pulled out of my sucking mouth. He had a big missing piece in his wrist...a piece that I now had sitting on my tongue in my mouth. I spit the chunk out on the ground, and wiped my mouth. My whole body was alive again. Strong, powerful, beautiful. My eyes nearly rolled back with the amount of pleasure that I was feeling at that very moment. My muscles felt almost invinceable, even moreso than before. And everything that I had been taught, everything that I had absorbed, since my very first night in darkness...all came together at once. For the first time, I felt the night whisper my name in fear. For the first time...I felt like a TRUE vampire!