"In Times Of Love And War"

I woke up alone the next night in that basement. Wishing that I could have retained enough of my humanity to at least feel Patrick's absence when he got up during the day to leave me behind. I would give anything to feel the warmth of his body heat trapped in the fabric of the sheets beneath me again. To gaze at him lovingly as he walked away from me naked, blushing as he tried to understand why I found him so painfully gorgeous in every possible way. The gently seductive sway of his bleached white cheeks as they wiggled unconsciously to and fro without shame. How he could he look at himself in the mirror everyday and not see the beauty that I saw before me? How could he exist as anything less than an angel of pure untainted light...especially in a world so dark?

As I felt my body coming back to life, gradually reheating itself as it tried to shake off its daily hibernation, I stared up at the ceiling. I remembered how things used to be. How Patrick and I used to come down to this basement some nights while his father was at 'work', and make love until our bodies were too satisfied to crave it anymore. And even then, I couldn't stand to be apart from him for more than a few minutes before I was reaching forward to connect with him again. We were sixteen, sure. Young, horny, even a bit lustful at times. But our love was nothing to scoff at. It wasn't the kind of throw away puppy love that they show on television sitcoms. It wasn't the sexually driven, short lived, mistake that they show in the movies either. We might have been inexperienced in relationships and how they worked, but what we had, what we maintained...was real. And no one could take that away from us. We were as mature and experienced as we 'needed' to be. I'd love to see an adult couple do it any better without falling apart.

But now, as his body is aging...reaching the tender age of 18 while I'm still stuck at 16...I'm beginning to envy him and his natural developent. His shoulders are becoming more broad, his lean, sleek, muscles more defined, his cheekbones more pronounced. He was slowly but surely becoming an adult, more and more every day. It made me wonder when the time would come that our bodies didn't 'fit' anymore. Ceasing to be physically compatible. When his length would become too big to fit comfortably inside of me anymore. Or when my body became too small to stimulate him in the same way. When his height would grow to make our standing kisses awkward and labored, or when he began to look into my eyes, and see me as....'underdeveloped'. A child. Would he want me anymore? Would he feel dirty just being with me...a 'baby' in comparison to his growing physical needs? What would happen when the years passed by, and I was suddenly confined to this basement permanently? I would only be able to use the 'I just look young for my age' excuse for so long. People were going to notice that something was strange when Patrick turned 30, and he had a 16 year old boy sitting at his birthday table. I wonder....would his tastes outgrow me? Would he search for someone to share in his aging, something I could never do? I wonder.

Ahh, what am I doing? I'm not going to be around for that long anyway. This is just....crazy talk. A way for my mind to blow off steam before actually forcing its way out of bed. I shouldn't entertain these thoughts the way I do. It only makes me weak inside.

I heard the door open at the top of the stairs, and heard Patrick's footsteps coming down. I could always tell his steps from anyone else. He didn't stomp as confidently like his father did. Patrick's walk held a slight feeling of delicacy in its flavor. Almost as if he were embarrassed to make his beautiful presence known. They fell softly on every step, his feather weight landing like ballet steps on a soundproofed stage. He turned the light on, and sat down beside me on the bed. I kept my eyes closed, but he knew I was awake. I was in a different position, and the 'dead' don't move while they sleep. "Hey...." He said quietly.

"I thought you were pissed at me." I replied without opening my eyes.

"I am." He gave me a look, but then looked away. "But it doesn't mean I love you any less than I did yesterday, or the day before. So consider yourself lucky that I'm so uncontrollably whipped." He paused while I sat up in bed and stretched my arms.

My gaze landed on him, and with a nearly breathless whimper, I leaned forward to gently kiss his soft lips. Remembering how sweet it was to allow my kiss to linger there. I kept it brief, though. I didn't want to be pulled too close to my humanity again. Not now. His kiss took the hurt away. All the pain. All the rage. Gone in an instant. And while I enjoyd that freedom from despair...I was going to need those elements tonight. They were going to keep me alive.

"I love you. Ok?" I said. "I mean it. No matter what happens to me...I'll always love you, Patrick."

He turned even further away from me than before, sitting sideways on the bed. There was a distress in his whole demeanor. I could feel it. He hid his face slightly by looking in the other direction, fidgeting before asking the big question. "I know you went out last night. I carried your clothes upstairs this morning for my father to wash for you. They were covered in blood." He said. "Lots of it."

"Yeah....I went out. I had to."


"You know why." I answered abruptly, knowing what the next words out of his mouth would be.

"So...you did it then? I mean...you really killed somebody?"

"He was already dead."

"You know what I mean."

I looked over at Patrick, seeing such a vulnerability in his blue green eyes as I laid a hand on his shoulder. It broke your heart to stare at him for too long when he was hurting inside. It was like his pain could sweep you up in its cold embrace, and carry you away against your will. "I did what I felt needed to be done. I'll leave it a that." I told him.

There was a silence in the room at that moment. I rubbed his shoulder a bit to loosen the mood, and he managed to give me a half hearted smile in return. But I could tell that his concerns were building over my recent actions. "Did they hurt you at all?" He asked softly, trying to be as understanding as his heart would allow.

"Hurt me? Hehehe, please. None of them have what it takes to hurt me. Not anymore they don't. Last night was even easier than I thought it would be. It'll probably only get easier as I find the rest of them."

"You're going to do it AGAIN?" He said, turning to me with a shocked expression.

"Patrick...." I sighed. "...You KNEW this was coming. We've talked about this. It's the culmination of two years' worth of planning and training, and..."

"You CAN'T be serious!" He said with a sniffle. "That was just...'talk', Luke! ALL of it!"

"Not for me, it wasn't."

"Stop this! What the hell are you doing? You're actually taking people's lives now!"

"I've been taking people's lives for years now..."

"Only because you had to survive! Not because of some sadistic vendetta! This is totally different, and you know it!" He stood up as I attempted to rub his lower back. Hoping that my affection could somehow bring us back the peaceful atmosphere we had only moments before. "Luke...why can't you just forget about this? Why can't you just put it behind you and start your life over again? Right here, right now....with me."

I stopped talking, seeing a single tear slide down his cheek. I was hoping to have his support in this. To have him stand by my side and give me the added emotional strength that I needed to continue my efforts. Just once, I'd love to have him tell me how badly he wanted me to hurt the others. How much he wanted them to hurt for ruining everything I had in life. But he didn't. Never once. And a part of me secretly resented him for that. I loved him dearly, don't get me wrong. I loved him more than I loved myself. But it hurt to think that he wasn't just as bloodthirsty as I was over those demons taking away the so called boy of his dreams. Maybe his dad has been feeding him with the same psycho babble that he's been feeding me since I've been here. And probably for a lot longer. But society itself has been 'turning the other cheek' for far too long, while vile opportunists and merciless bullies run over them unpunished. I've had enough. And it's going to take a lot more than a lover's quarrel to prevent fate from doing its job.

I swung my legs to the other side of the bed and stood up, walking over to the closet to get to my clothes. "What are you doing?" He asked me.

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm getting dressed."

"Where are you going?"

"You know where I'm going, so why ask?" I said coldly. Shutting down my emotions as I tried to block out the warmth of his once inviting embrace.

"Don't do it. Just stay here with me, and we'll spend some time together. It'll be like...it'll be like it used to be." He pleaded. "Come on, Luke. You don't need this madness in your life. It's driving you crazy, and you're honestly starting to scare me." It hurt to hear him say it, but I kept my face solid. My feelings hidden under a thick lead blanket where his love couldn't affect them anymore. "Lucas....please? You can let it go. All of it. All you have to do...is choose me instead." His voice was trembling, his sniffles getting louder. I didn't dare look at him. I'd cave in if I looked at him. And this is more important than caving in. This is destiny. My purpose. It's the only reason that I survived that horror. Fate is testing me to see if I'll be strong enough to finish. Well, I AM strong enough! Stronger than any temptation. I am not going to attempt to live in 'comfort' with this sickness in my veins, pretending that everything will be ok. I can END this suffering, once and for all. For me AND for Patrick! Afterall...he'll be better off without me.

As I took the saber out of the closet, and sheathed it on my side...Patrick moaned with a gentle sob that weakened my very spirit. But I couldn't let him know that. "This isn't about you and me, Patrick. And it's not crazy. This isn't some nutty post office worker on a rampage. I'm not some pissed off high school student, randomly plugging away at my classmates with an Uzi. These vampires had it coming to them. They EARNED it. And I was chosen to bring it to their doorstep."

"That's BULLSHIT!!!" He shouted. "That's total BULLSHIT, and you KNOW it!!!"

I pulled on a pair of black pants, to match the black tshirt, boots, and trenchcoat. "Can we not do this right now? I need to get focused."

"FUCK your 'focus'! I HOPE you get hurt! I hope they rip your fucking heart out and you NEVER come home!"

"If that's what happens, then so be it. But I can't let that stop me. I have to follow the plan I was given." I told him. "Nothing else matters."

"I thought that *I* mattered!!!" Patrick, in a tear filled rage, picked a book up off of a nearby dresser and flung it angrily at the back of my head. But my vampire reflexes were too quick, his thoughts too open. And I spun around to catch it in mid air before it hit me, now forced to look him directly in the eye. "...I guess I was wrong." He sobbed. Patrick walked away from me and headed towards the stairs. But before leaving, he said, "If you ask me, you stole your own fucking humanity. Their bite had nothing to do with it."

For a moment...as I heard him stomp his way up the stairs, slamming the door behind him...I thought I was getting ready to physically explode. Not so much from the anger I felt curdling in the pit of my stomach. But from the intensifying pressure that was nearly bubbling over inside of me. The emotions, the fear, the pain, the confusion, the pride, the love, and the hatred...all pushing outward in different directions while I tried desperately to hold them in. Visions of Spaz as his young body curled itself around that saber, buried fatally deep in his body just above his abdomen...they flooded my mind. The sickening squish of the blade ripping through his flesh. The disgusting ooze of his blood as it spread beneath him in a crimson puddle of gel. I felt myself feeling the fear and helplessness that I experienced the night I was murdered...and began to hyperventilate. I grabbed a hold of my chest as my air came in short gasps and my throat constricted around me. Tears welled up in my eyes, and spilled over, as the emotional damn began to crack and splinter..ready to break. It's happening again. Hold it in, Lucas! Stop it! Get control! Breathe dammit....breathe....just take it all and push it down until it can't reach the surface anymore. You're ok. You're ok. Breathe. There we go. Heartbeat slowing....breathing becoming easier....tears slowing to a mere dribble. The emotions were always at the gates, ready to erupt at any moment. They'd crush me under their weight if I let them go now. I have to keep my head. Keep my focus. Patrick didn't mean it. He didn't. You guys will be ok. He's upset...but he'll understand someday. He'll understand that I'm doing this for the both of us. It's almost time for him to let me go. To move on and forget he ever knew me. It's the only way he'll ever get his life back.

I sat down on the bed, feeling my body returning to normal. A mild anxiety attack. It passes. I just...I've just gotta remember not to think so much. Just concentrate on the task at hand. Concentrate on 'Cylance'...

I hardly made a sound as I left the basement that night. I made sure to be discreet, hoping that they wouldn't hear me reach the ground level. Upstairs, I could hear loud angry music coming from Patrick's room at the top of the stairs. Blaring loud enough to cause the locked door to vibrate with every drum beat. He only plays "Downward Spiral" that loud when he's really upset. When he's on the very edge. Knowing that I was the cause of that outburst made my hands tremble. My forehead wrinkled up as the emotion pushed forward again...but it was a minor tremor. A false alarm when compared to what I felt downstairs. Why is he doing this??? He's WEAKENING me from the inside by being such a BABY! Well fuck him too!


No, I don't mean that. I'm just...upset. I take it back. He's the only one I've ever really loved. I can't even disrespect him in the confines of my own mind. Who needs these thoughts?

I swallowed the sadness, pressing it flat in the pit of my stomach where I could hide it until I had the time to deal with better. Then I wrapped my trenchcoat around me, heading for the front door. Ready for another part of this violent chain reaction to take place. It was then, as I walked past the stairs, that I saw something sitting on the coffee table near the fireplace in Mr. Talbot's dinning room. A small rod, not much longer than a pen. It probably wouldn't have stuck out so much as something worthy of a second look....except for the fact that his slag hunter badge and empty gun holster were sitting next to it. I paused before touching the front door, and went in to look closer. Mr. Talbot must have been in the shower, preparing himself for another night at work. As always, he had a few glasses of brandy before leaving the house. He always said that his job would be impossible to do with a completely sober mind. I imagine it would be. I looked at the badge, which had an almost holographic image imprinted on it. One that could only be seen when you turned it a certain way, otherwise the picture and information was invisible to the human eye. I also saw a specialized cellphone on the table, a hotline to communicate back and forth with his chief on a radio wavelength no one else could detect. And then, there was the pen...

I had read about this his in his handbooks before, but I had never really held one in my hands before. I turned the small device over and found the capped red trigger, sticking out slightly on the side. Does it work? What did the book say? I looked around the room for a second, making sure that I didn't get caught, and I aimed the device at the fireplace. I squinted my eyes a bit as I nervously pressed the trigger with my extended index finger...but nothing happened. I took a coser look, and realized that the safety was on. Right. Flicking it off, a thin laser beam of red light shot out of the end of the weapon. Luckily, I still had it pointed at the fireplace, or I would have burned up the wall for sure. The beam cut right through the center of the logs, and they fell in the center, causing ash and sparks to fly from the settling would. It was quiet, like a whisper, with only a slightly detectable high pitch when activated. So this is what they use to dismember the victims they find. Wow. Efficient. I just...couldn't believe that I was actually holding one.

Suddenly, my ears perked up, my sensitive hearing locked on to the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. He had just turned the shower off and was getting ready to dry off. I had to go. But I took his little tool with me when I left. I can always apologize for it later, but this might just come in handy tonight while I'm battling it out with bitches number one and two. I'll need it more than he does. Afterall....he only has to deal with the dead.

I walked outside, softly closing the door behind me. It was a shitty night outside, where it wasn't quite cold enough to snow, so the clouds drenched us with this freezing shower of half frozen rain instead. It only took a couple of minutes before I felt drenched by it. I trembled gently, but I can't really say that I was all that cold. My body temperature is not what it used to be. I took the long walk to the train station, and sat down on a small bench as I waited for my transport to arrive.

Moments of silence...they give you too much time to think. To dwell. And to regret. Out of all the tortures known to man, I believe that a long period of deafening silence would be the worst.

I swear that I could sill hear Patrick's music blaring at full volume from his room. I could still see the tears in his eyes, and hear the whimper in his straining voice...pleading with me to stay. At times like this, it's hard to reember those warm sunlit afternoons that we used to spend together...wrapped up in one another's arms. Our embrace was enough to keep the evils of the whole world away. The only time I ever got hurt was the night I was murdered. The night our embrace was broken.

I felt a twisting in my guts, and my lungs expanded as a full breath of air got caught up like a lump in my throat. My forehead wrinkled up slightly, and my eyes seemed to burn as a few stray tears were released from their captivity. Sometimes, the physical effects of my emotions would burst forward before the emotion itself could catch up. I don't need this. Not now. Calm down. Relax. Breathe...

I heard some noises, and a group of partying college kids came out onto the train platform where I was sitting. They were all smiling, laughing, having a good time. The connection was so intimate between them. So alive. I turned my head to hide my face, and quickly wiped the stray waterworks from my cheeks, and I waited for them to pass me and walk down to the other end of the tracks. As I looked up at their smiling faces, th emotion seemed to get worse. It was as if they didn't have a care in the world. As if this fearless persuit of joy had blinded them to everything that could possibly be lurking in the dark shadows of this city. Mainly...creatures like me. As I heard them joke around and talk about their good times...I was forced to direct my eyes down towards my feet. I couldn't look at them. I couldn't. I wanted to shut them out completely. Deny their existence. But all I could do was muffle the sounds of their happiness with my own pain. That could have been me. I should have been getting ready to go off to college. Party with friends, enjoy life, persue a career...follow my dreams. Instead, I'm sitting here, all alone, drenched in sleet...waiting to bring two more of my killers to justice. Forcing them to pay for their crime was all I had left. All I had left. All I....had...

My mind was going in circles again. Repetitious thoughts and feelings, recycling themselves over and over again. I have to try harder to stop them from doing that. Keep your head, Cylance. You can do it. Keep your thoughts straight, and your focus on the task at hand. We'll be alright...we just have to finish wha we started. After that...we can finally rest in peace.

The train came, and I began my travel out into the night. I tried desperately to find a train car where I could be alone, but they were all possessed by 'somebody', so I chose the one with the less activity and took a seat. I tried to keep my mind off of Patrick, but the harder I wanted to push him back, the harder his memory pushed its way to the front of my mind. There was one pleasant thought that I allowed to linger though. That one day, the first day of our Spring break, when he came over to my house...and we made love for the first time. He was so gentle. So delicate. I felt as though his butter soft skin would melt right out of my arms when I held his naked body against mine. Our kisses were so deep, so passionate, that the walls seemed to vibrate with the energy of our two auras combined. I kissed every inch of him. Scared to go to fast, but too enchanted to slow myself down. His slim frame was just as tight and smooth and as beautiful as I imagined it would be. Clean, with the warm scent of vanilla, and the taste that made my mouth water for the very thirst of him. The way his body moved was so sensual. So tender. Ohhh, if only I could smother myself in that body once again like I did on that day. With him on top of me, experimenting with different ways to bring me pleasure with his lush lips...sliding slowly up and down, with his tongue lathering me with its warm texture. And his legs simultaeously straddling my head...his hardness dangling down over my open mouth, as I took him in as deeply as I could manage. I remembered the was his soft wrinkled sack hung down to rest on my upper lip, the silken nest of hairs gently tickling my nose. I can remember the heat emanating from his soft supple thighs on either side of my face, and how he moaned as I sometimes released his length to kiss and playfully nibble at the flesh there. I remember looking up to see the bubbled globes of his sculpted ass, and watching it flex as I ran my hands up and down his thighs. The motion used to drive him crazy. And I could feel his passion increase as his suction created an even sexier airtight lock on me down below. We made love over and over again that day. We didn't get dressed for several hours, and even then it was just to get something to eat. By the time my parents had come home, Patrick and I had experimented with every possible position that we knew of. And the rest of that week...we practiced getting even better at it. He was my hert's favorite song. My only angel. Yeah...those are thoughts that I try to hold on to most. Something that I can dettach from...when it came time to put in 'work' again.

Since then...things have been....different. We're not even the same species anymore. Patrick tells me he doesn't care, that it doesn't matter. But the few times we do get to be together...I know that he sees the permanent bite marks in my flesh. The ones those bastards left on me. He sees them, he runs his fingertips over the sickening texture of chewed up flesh in the places where they hurt me, and he weeps for my pain. He pitties me. He's turned off by the wounds in my skin, and I don't blame him. Those bites are all I can think about when I'm naked in front of him. They're my worst insecurity, a stigma on my very soul. And our lovemaking has never been the same. I never felt ugly in front of him until that happened. Funny, how they'll soon all be gone. Vanishing. Healing at long last as each one of them is sentenced to hell with as much pain as possible. Just like Spaz's marks did. Too bad they'll heal too late.

My train stop came up, and I was so lost in thought that I almost missed it. I hopped up and darted through the doors at the last minute, and tried to clear my head again. I shook Patrick and his love from my thoughts, and prepared myself to enter another state of mind. Even though I could feel the tingles of a fearful tremble in my chest, I convinced myself that it was more from anticipation than any weaker emotion. Trixie...and her friend Carolyn....they'll both be there tonight, according to Spaz's notes. Two birds with one stone. I'm looking forward to it.

As I got closer to the old Meat Locker club, I could feel the vibe around me changing. The clothes worn by the people in the area got darker. Moodier. The make up seemed to increase as well, on the boys as well as the girls. Dark lipsticks, blacks, purples, deep shades of blood red. Piercings were more evident, more shameless. Hairstyles seemed to further deconstruct as I traveled the short walk towards the abandoned warehouse, with different dyes, spikes, shaves, and sweeps. But, all surface apparel aside...there was one detail that I noticed more than anything.

There was a heavy number of vampire here. Tons of them. On almost every corner. I don't know how I knew it so easily, but I could definitely sense them. I looked around me, seeing them walking among the human population hanging around the parking lot...and realized that I had never actually been in the vicinity of so many vampires at one time before. After being confined to a basement for two years, leaving only to feed once a month or so, I hadn't spent much time in the presence of my own 'kind'. Not like this. It was a frightening feeling, seeing them out there. Almost like walking by a zoo and seeing the lions roaming free in front of the place. Unchained. Uncaged. Unrestrained. Murderous animals that need only desire and opportunity to rip you to shreds in an instant if they saw fit. If it were up to me, I'd make it my duty to see that they all get cut down tonight and burned to ashes in the morning sun. But that's just a distraction. Stay focused, Cylance.

They noticed me as well, some simply looking my way as I tried not to show the disgust in my eyes. Others...they could sense my anxiety, and they welcomed the tension with a wicked smile. I felt uneasy, and had to work on suppressing the feeling even further. They mean nothing. They're not why I'm here. I'm only looking for two. And from the gentle itch I felt growing in both of my legs...I knew that they couldn't be too far away.

There were men at the door that was checking for admission tickets, but they simply gave me a nod as I approached. I guess vampires have a V.I.P. pass in this place. Lucky for me. I didn't think to snatch any money from Mr. Talbot's wallet tonight, and I only had enough for the train ride home. The warehouse was dark inside, with only flashing strobelights and glow-in-the-dark goth make up to illuminate it. The music was loud enough to rattle around in your chest, and there was hardly room to move. There weren't really many people dancing, they were mostly just congregating in small groups. Straight faced, some sipping drinks, others simply scoping out the room and meeting eyes with every visitor they didn't recognize. I let my eyes sweep the room, walking slowly between the clusters of gothic partygoers, making sure to pay attention to the sensations in my legs. My left inner thigh from Trixie's bite....my right ankle and calf from Carolyn's. The itch would vibrate slightly with every step in the right direction, getting closer to its maker. And soon, it became a slow burn. An ache that caused me to look around me more closely. It won't be long now.

Show yourself, ladies. Daddy's waiting.