I sat on the rooftop and watched the sky turn from black to purple to pink. I sighed to myself. This sun was coming up again. Not good. Not for me anyway. The city below me was starting to wake up so that was my cue to leave. The first rule. Do not be seen. Keep the secret. Be inconspicuous. Didn't matter how you phrased it, I could not be seen here. Not by the humans. And if that sunlight hit me, I would be pretty hard to miss. With one last look at the coming sunrise, I turned and walked towards the edge of the roof. One quick look down and to both sides. Not being watched, no one to see. Despite the miserable mood I was in, I was looking forward to this part. I smiled to myself. I love this bit! It never got old. Half a second passes and I took one quick step out and off the edge of the roof.
I loved this part, I really did. The air rushing round me, hair whipping against my face- but it was over quickly. Too quickly. I landed, whisper quiet, on the balls of my feet. Perfectly balanced, no-one knowing what I just did. Brilliant. I looked back at the building I just walked off and smiled. A hundred and fifty, maybe, a hundred and sixty feet. I would need a taller building next time. The rush lasts longer.
I know what you are thinking. I walk off a building that high onto concrete... liquid me, right? Nope. Just another perk of the life that was chosen for me. I did not ask for it, I did not want it and for several, quite unstable years, I tried to end it, on more than one occassion. In no way did it help me or change what I was. Nothing I ever did helped me to be human and normal. So I learned to survive; live with what I was. Accept and adapt. I was good at it and I should have been. I had centuries of practice.
I was six hundred and two years old and I hadn't physically changed for five hundred and eighty-eight years. It was difficult for me to remember my first life- My human one. The new memories push out the oldest ones. I do remember some of the details leading up to the change and of course the change itself was definitely etched into my brain. I was never going to get rid of that memory. Ever.
I was twenty years old. A young girl in a village in the highlands of Scotland. I was Kallie Douglas then and I was happy enough. My life was pretty close to perfect. But there were rumblings amongst the village leaders about a monster in the area. A demon. A blood drinker. Everyone was to travel together. No-one was to be left alone, especially the women. I remember thinking that they were all superstitious fools. Turns out, not so much.
I was working in the garden, just outside my hut at the edge of the village, next to the woods. My husband was farming sheep and my son playing with others from the village. The sky was overcast, looking like it might rain so everyone around me was in their home already, preparing for the downpour. That's when I saw him.
He was just standing there at the edge of the woods, staring. Stood still as stone and staring. Staring straight at me. I looked straight back at him. Snow white pale skin, long shiny black hair that hung to his shoulders, which were broad and strong. His face was perfection, an angel. But there was something wrong. The eyes. His eyes. Bright crimson, the colour of blood. The dim sunlight broke through the grey mass of clouds and shattered off his skin. He sparkled like the most priceless jewel. He was beautiful. I closed my eyes tight, knowing I had imagined him. When I peeked through my eyelashes at him a second later, he had shot forward twenty feet. He was so fast. I blinked and he shot forward another ten paces. It horrified me. His whole image, his body language, everything about him screamed dangerous.
I couldn't move. I was rooted to the spot. Frozen solid. I could not fight, scream or even think. I just watched as he took the final three steps towards me. He stopped about two feet away from me and smiled. It was pure evil. The rumours of monsters, blood drinkers, demons...they were true. This was it. The Blood Drinker. The Demon. The monster.
The monster held out his hand. An invitation to go to him. Some small voice in my head told me to take its hand and let him lead me. The greater, more sane part of my head told the little part to shut the hell up. I stood frozen, like ice. The demons smile faded just a little before turning into a full grin, flashing teeth at me that sent a shiver from my head to my toes.
"You're going to be special, young one. I can tell." It said.
It had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. Soft and smooth and I distrusted it immediately. Whatever was coming was coming soon and I couldn't stop it. Death incarnate had found me and I couldn't escape. My heart hammered against my chest as the monster took its last small step towards me.
I don't remember much of the last moments of my first life. I remember two very hot slashes of pain on my neck and being knocked to the ground. Everything went black as the slashes grew hotter. A lot hotter. Way too hot. Someone was burning me from the inside out. The monster, the demon was burning me. This wasn't part of the horror stories. Death came quickly in the stories. This was torture.
"Just let me die!" I screamed "Kill me!"
I never wanted anything as much in my whole life than I wanted to die in that moment. Death would have been heaven compared to this. Every fibre of my being was scorched and burned and raized to ashes. It was horrific. For what felt like the longest of days, I continued to be held at the stake, flames charring my very soul, destroying it. I Blacked out sometimes. It was like the world was split in two. When I blacked out, that part was hot, and painful, but I could survive it. The other part was when I came around again and the screaming and searing agony comtinued. It was hell. Literal, fire and brimstone type hell. The pain was too much like this. I couldn't bear it. I knew I would die, I just had to suffer first. Despite the pain, I discovered that, though it didn't decrease in any way, I could think through it. I could hear things and smell things I shouldn't be able to.
I heard the sound of indivual trees and branches and leaves blowing in the soft breeze. I heard the scurryings of animals. I heard the birds in the sky beat their wings in flight. I heard their heartbeats? That couldn't be right. I could smell the sweet and damp scent of rotting foliage, telling me I was in the woods somewhere. I could smell a delicious cut wood and apple smell nearby. It definitely wasn't human. It was the Demon. He was close. I heard his footfalls on the soft mulch under his feet; each one sounding like a symphony. Despite this progress, the burning raged on.
Then there was a change.
The fire started to retreat, gathering in my chest. next to my heart, which grew impossibly hotter with each second that passed. My arms and legs were free; cool now. I tried to remember what cool felt like before the burning, but it never felt like this, this was new. I was only distracted by that thought when I felt my heart beat. I honestly thought my heart would explode. It burned and hammered against my ribcage, threatening to crash right through it. The fire eased around my body. It was dying out. The fire and my heart were dying. Even when i was half crazy with pain, I knew both would give out eventually. Then as suddenly as the fire came, it left. My heart stuttered twice, paused and with one final limp thud, stopped.
I heard nothing then. not my breathing, not my heartbeat, no movement, no nothing. I was so shocked by the silence, my eyes flew open, and I saw the world for the very first time. The first thing my new eyes registered was the demon. I sought him out, ignoring everything else. Suddenly, my throat was on fire. It reminded me of the burning and I cupped my throat. I was thirsty. I could tell. I heard a stream bubbling away nearby but it was completely unappealing. It wasn't what I thirsted after. I knew of course what I needed; what I craved. Blood. What did that mean? Was I one of them? A soulless blood drinker? I glared at the Demon and screeched. It was an animal, feral sound, unlike anything I heard before. It terrified me. I turned to the angel-faced monster
"What did you do to me demon?" I screeched.
My voice was piercing and menacing. As i advanced on him, my hands curled into claws.
"What I needed to do, young one. You are special. I gave you this new life." he replied evenly, as though expecting my fury.
"You have damned me!" I snarled.
I kept my even pace towards him, breathing heavily and furious to the point of insanity. Strength that I had never known before coursed through my muscles, desperate for a release. I was about 10ft away from this abomination and I decided to get the answer i needed before I attacked.
"What am I? What have you done to me?" I asked.
My voice was even and quiet. More resigned. This monster would die, or I would die trying to kill it.
"You are a vampire. A blood drinker. I gave you immortality." he said.
Completely thrown by change in tone. Lost for words, a growl escaped from my mouth so unnerving that all the world's noise seemed to disappear leaving only that sound. With the sound still ringing in the air, I lunged for his throat.
I shook my head to clear it. As I walked through the deserted city streets, I kicked myself internally. I felt miserable enough without that crap coming up again.
"Stupid. Bloody stupid! You know better Kali, you idiot!"
Scowling at myself, I walked slowly towards the edge of the city center. Seattle was starting to buzz with people. commuters, delivery guys, the news stand vendors. Time for me to floor it. Once i was well outside the city, I started running. REALLY running. God, I loved to run like this. I never tired, needed a break to catch my breath, just running until I felt like stopping. I hit the forest, never slowing, taking in the wildlife around me. Smelling the air, trying to catch the scent of my prey. Nothing today. Damn it. Hunting trip tonight then. I broke through the trees and hit the front lawn of my house. I liked this house. It was bigger than the last one, three stories and lots of room. Way too big for one person. Good thing I liked the extra room, just not the loneliness that came with it. The sun broke the horizon and flooded the world with yellow light. I reach the door just before the light creeps up the front steps of the house.
Inside, everything is as I left it. TV on, CNN news channel was running through the mornings headlines. Human news. I didn't need to know this stuff, but I wanted to know. I missed the human world a lot. I could be out in it and communicate with humans, of course, but only immediately after hunting. I was too dangerous just now for humans. Leaving more than three weeks since my last hunt was a dangerous move on my part, it made me more tempted. I would have to hunt tonight. I had a look through some old maps of the area, looking for a half decent hunting range when I was distracted my the news reader again.
"A total of seven young people have mysteriously disappeared in the last three weeks as Seattle police were informed of the disappearance of twenty-seven year old..."
Something wasn't right. I hadn't paid close attention to the human news for the past couple of weeks. Snippets here and there but nothing interested me, or caught my attention, shall I say. People going missing, new reports of horrific murders and animal attacks every other day. There was something VERY wrong going on in seattle. I decided to update the journal I had written for as long as I had been able to write. I had a photographic memory of course, but I liked to write things down. As I wrote, my mind drifted to my lost family from centuries ago. I knew I had a husband and a son. I couldn't remember their faces. I couldn't remember their voices, further lowering my mood.
I waited inside till the sun began to set behind the trees. Staring at the ten hooks on the wall next to the front door, I was left with a rather serious decision to make. Which car? I thought of where I was hunting. A forest just at the edge of the Olympic peninsula. Not far from a quaint little town called Forks. Thirst winning out over automotive choices, I grabbed the second set of keys. The Lamborghini. Brilliant! I head down the stairs at the front of the house, checking the light situation. The sun was falling quickly. The sunset had changed the world again. Instead of the bright yellow light from this morning, the whole scene is ablaze in the most stunning red and orange glow from the setting sun. My favourite time of the day by far.
I opened the car, climbed in hit the ignition and was flying down the drive at a hundred miles per hour before ten seconds had passed. I thought about my quarry as I navigated the quiet driveway. I knew the forest near the peninsula held elk and black tailed deer, but I was lucky enough that the forest butted onto the Olympic mountainside. Bears and mountain lions too. Carnivores. Makes a change. Something with a bit of fight in it. I hadn't hunted humans after the first hundred and fifty years. I knew that's how the demon fed. The one who created me.I wanted nothing to do with him. I didn't want to hurt people. I just couldn't do it! I couldn't justify the death, the cost of life on my hands. I hated the screaming, the fear I could literally smell off of them before I took my first bite. I shook my head again, remembering all too well that those screams sounded like. I hated them. Internally kicking myself again, I put the accelerator to the floor and opened the engine up, letting the car buck and stabilize before really taking off.
I was on the motorway (refusing, even mentally to adopt the American colloquialism for the road) and half way to Forks in about thirty minutes. I likes this car. Fast enough. Faster than the Porsche anyway. Twenty-five minutes later, after driving well above the legal limit for most of the way, I slowed down just outside the town. It had been about forty years since I had been here. It honestly hadn't changed that much. Small place,maybe fifteen hundred people. The sky was nearly always grey and the weather mostly cold and wet. The place was also impossibly green. It reminded me of Scotland. It reminded me of my home.
I parked the car next to a small police station (safest place I could see for a 200,00 car.) and got out. One small breath through my nose was enough to freeze me to the spot. There were others of my kind here. A lot of them.
In my six hundred and two years, I had obviously encountered others of my kind. None like me of course. All hunted in the traditional way. Most of them looked at me with pity. The poor immortal that lost its mind. My choice of diet confused them, but most ignored it and passed on through. There had been others though. Those who saw me as a threat to the secret. I walked amongst humans. I talked and laughed with them. I was dangerous to them. A risk to exposure. A number of them tried to destroy me at some point or another. The same number that had been destroyed in the attempt. I had the scars to prove it.
I did have an advantage though. When I was human, I had the ability to pick up skills very quickly. A fast learner if you will. This seemed to have carried through to this life. Vampires on the whole are remarkable predators, but some are born with extra abilities to compliment the glut of already impressive hunting tools. I had encountered many different talents through the years. Mind readers, telekinetics, precognitives, reality manipulators - which under normal circumstances, would give them an advantage.
Not with me though. Their gifts, were my gifts. I could feel and use the gifts they had as if they were my own. They were my own. It's a heady tonic knowing that you are as powerful as the person attacking you. I knew my kinds. They existed in covens of one or two at the most. This was different.
There were several scents here. Five, six, maybe seven. If this was one coven... I was in trouble here. This town was in serious danger. The scents were old, maybe a week. I might get away with hunting here. The thirst was scorching my throat just thinking about the hunt. If I was fast. Eat and go, I should be alright. I moved quickly and silently towards the edge of the woods. I closed my eyes, reaching out with my other senses, allowing them to take me further into the forest. No other immortals, just deer. Black tailed and sprinting through the woods. I slipped down into a hunting crouch. Ready to spring at the first chance. Not the ideal prey but it would be enough for now. I sprang at the buck of the herd, zoning in on the warm spot just above the jugular. My teeth sank into the flesh, cutting through fur, skin and sinew and allowed the warm blood to wash over my charred throat. Relief and warmth started to spread through me. Suddenly, my hearing pricked. I threw the half drained stag in my arms about fifty feet behind me into the forest and shot straight up through the branches of a huge Sitka spruce. I landed on a branch about twenty-five feet in the air and waited, trying to locate what sparked the defensive instinct.