The street was in darkness, save for the pools of light cast by the
streetlamps that stood alongside the road ... like a line of strange,
barren trees alongside a black river. No cars passed, no light shone in
the house windows. All was as it should be at this late hour, not a single
living soul left outside.
Except, that was, for a single, solitary girl strolling along the street.
She was calm, showing no fear of being alone and outside with the dangers
of the modern world. She passed beneath one of the streetlamps and the
light fell over her, highlighting her dark hair, her light blue eyes;
accentuating her thin frame and her pale skin.
Too thin, too pale ... no human ever had skin that shone as white as the
full moon, or that was tinted with green and blue.
The girl paused; looking up at the light source ... her pupils did not
contract. Her lips twisted into a smile and she raised a bony hand,
shielding her eyes, adjusting the position of her hand to cover the light.
Then she closed her fingers, as if ensnaring something within them. The
light dimmed, then faded completely.
She needed darkness for what she was about to do.
She began to move, silent as a shadow, along a line of hedges. Damn this
village! Why did everyone have to be inside at this time? And yet it would
be harder in a city or a town ... where there were so many people about
that it would be impossible not to be seen.
Suddenly she paused, listening. Was that footsteps she heard? Yes ...
finally someone was coming. She sank into the shadows, almost melting into
the hedges as the footsteps rounded the corner. She heard whistling, saw a
beam of torchlight and, in it, the crisp, clean uniform of the local
Who said there was never a policeman around when you needed one? The girl
moved forward, licking her lips. Ah, he was young, too ... probably new to
She waited, sensing his fear. He hated this, he was afraid ... he'd heard
about the deaths ... the strange deaths that left no evidence save the
corpses, drained of their blood, expressions of absolute terror etched on
their faces forever.
She couldn't take it any longer, she stepped forward, screwing up her face
and forcing tears to stain her cheeks. Time to play the poor, defenceless
young girl ... again.
"Oh ... help me ...please help me!" she wailed, running towards him.
"Ok love, what's wrong?"
"He's after me ... please ... help me!" she was trying to seem as
distraught as possible, hoping he would take the bait. He reached out to
her, put a comforting arm around her, pulled her close .
It was the moment she had been waiting for.
Suddenly she snarled, drawing back her lips and displaying her fangs; two
sharp, pointed white needles. Bat like wings with clawed tips erupted from
her shoulder blades and a demonic, red light crept into her eyes. The
policeman let out a startled yell and tried to pull away from her, but she
held him in a deathly strong grip.
Suddenly she sank her fangs into his neck, relishing his agonised scream.
Blood welled up, filling her mouth, running in a warm stream down her
throat. He struggled and she held him fast, gulping down his blood,
suddenly realising just how hungry she had been.
After a while he ceased to struggle and went limp in her arms. She let him
drop and looked down at his crumpled, drained form dispassionately. There
was that expression of pure horror that all her victims wore. She
carelessly wiped a dribble of blood from her chin and crouched down, using
her wings to balance herself.
"No fear, human," she said, "Scarla the vampire kills to feed ... never to
She left him, spreading her wings and leaping into the dark night sky. She
paused only to wave her hand at a street lamp and restore the light, then
swooped away over the treetops.
She was silent as an owl in the air, as unnoticeable as a shadow. And
anyway, who'd ever believe that vampires existed. Stupid, ignorant humans!
Hunting was getting harder and harder, she thought, lowering herself
gracefully into a sitting position in the branches of a tree and using her
wings to keep her balance. Drat this modern day and age where there were
either too few or too many people on the streets! She, Scarla, had often
gone for days without feeding. She might be dead, but she needed to feed
to gain strength ... and to grow.
She gently, almost lovingly, ran a finger down one of her wings. She had
only had them for a couple of days ... she'd been longing for wings for a
hundred years, ever since she received the bite and passed into this world
of utter freedom.
She grinned. In vampire society she had been considered a fledgling,
having only been a vampire for one hundred years. But maybe her wings
would change that ... not all vampires had wings. What she needed right
now, she mused, was power, a bit of status ... to be able to order about
very young fledglings, at least. Then she could claim her share of
whatever kill they made, she needn't go hungry again.
Scarla allowed herself to smile and inspected one of her nails. Tomorrow
night she'd fly to the Vampire Queen's lair, grovel if she had to, to claim
her right as a winged vampire. She cast her eyes at the sky ... it would
have to be tomorrow night ... there wasn't much time left before dawn and
all vampires, despite their rank, were vulnerable to sunlight.
She stood up, spreading her wings, but a rasping voice stopped her before
she could fly off.
"Retiring so soon, Scarla?"
Scarla leapt from the branch and landed neatly, like a cat, on the ground.
A tall figure stood before her, the figure of a male vampire with glowing,
red eyes and wearing a swirling, black cloak. He had dark skin and there
was a rotten look about him ... lumps of flesh hung from his face and his
finger bones protruded from his fingertips. He smiled at Scarla ... a
smile that would have sent shivers down any humans' spine.
But Scarla felt nothing.
"Hello, Ara'at," she said calmly, folding back her wings and sinking into a
slightly sardonic bow, "I would stay and talk, but the sun will be up soon
and I must return to my lair."
Ara'at grabbed her chin and tilted her face up to his.
"Don't you take that tone with me, fledgling! I sired you! I demand some
"You want respect, Ara'at," Scarla barely flinched and her voice never
wavered, "Then leave me alone."
"I have just made a kill," Ara'at let her go, changing tact, "Are you
"I have eaten."
"So I see," he wiped a smear of blood from her cheek, then tasted it, "Not
bad. Young. Strong. You haven't lost your touch. In fact..." he reached
out and gently extended on of her wings, examining the webbing, the bone
structure, "Nice ... you didn't have these when we met up last week."
Scarla twitched her wing out of his grasp, "What do you want from me? You
never claim your right to my kills ... in fact you offer me yours. Why did
you sire me?"
She already knew. She had seen the way his eyes roamed over the red dress
she was wearing . the red dress that had the splits over each hip, so that
her legs were free to move, the one that had the front that tied around her
neck and left her back bare from the waist up. In her ears hung two blood-
red crystals that winked in the moonlight and around her wrists hung gold
bangles with similar inset red jewels. Her feet were bare, save for a
jewelled ankle band on her right calf.
"I sired you to save you," Ara'at replied, "I saw you, I saw the way you
feared life, the way you were always looking over your shoulder, watching
each side of the road as you crossed, jumping at every sound. You were
afraid, afraid that something would come and rob you of your breath; your
life ... that everything around you would vanish and you would spend
eternity in nothingness. You were afraid that the afterlife everyone told
you existed wasn't real. Now Scarla, thanks to me, you're invincible.
You're immortal, strong, confident..."
"I'm alone!" Scarla replied, "All my friends, my family ... they died a
long time ago, never knowing what happened to me, what I'd become!"
"You don't need them! They were human, weak. But you..." he brushed his
hand along her cheek,
"You were always strong. And you needn't be alone..."
Scarla flinched away from him, "You can't have me ... I don't want you.
You took everything from me!"
Ara'at suddenly looked dangerous, "Tell me, Scarla," he growled, "What was
your human name?"
Scarla sighed and shook her head. The truth was that the only name she
could remember was the one he had given her when he had changed her. She
didn't even remember the names or faces of what she had once called friends
and family ... the only family she knew now was her fellow vampires. The
human she had once been had died a long time ago.
"I have to go," she said bitterly, turning away from him.
"Go then. Run, Scarla ... but you can't hide. Not from me, not from any
other vampire. You're one of us now, don't you forget that!"
How could she? Scarla wondered when she arrived back at the old, dead tree
where she always spent the day. She wasn't sure what kind of tree it was,
but it was enormous. The inside had started to rot away, even though the
roots still held, and a cavity had formed in the ground directly below it,
a small cave ... deep enough down that the sun didn't penetrate it.
Scarla crept in, crawled as far away from the entrance as possible and
curled up, encircling her body with her wings so that they acted like a
shield to block out any sunlight that did manage to penetrate the tangled
foliage at the entrance, not that it was very likely.
She pushed all thoughts of Ara'at out of her mind and started to plan the
next night. Hopefully the bad weather would hold and it would be dark
enough for her to go out before sunset and get a head start. She'd have to
hunt quickly, or not at all, if she wanted to get to the Queen's lair.
Probably the journey would take more than one night and she'd have to find
someplace to stay ... perhaps she could break into someone's house, kill
any inhabitants and sleep there. It would make a change from this mud hole
and she'd get a meal and lodgings on one fell swoop.
A meal ... her stomach growled at the thought of it. She remembered the
early days, when she could easily have made three or four kills per night.
But not any more, not with modern technology, which meant that people no
longer needed to walk. She couldn't get into cars, and to kill someone on
a bus or train, in front of witnesses, would mean risking the exposure of
Every move a vampire made had to be planned with care. Kills had to be
made in lonely places, in utter darkness, they had to move with stealth and
silence, in the shadows, where possible.
Not that anyone was likely to suspect that Scarla was a vampire when they
saw her; she could appear human and she took care not to grow her wings in
sight of humans ... except her victims. She never flew in front of the
moon, even when it was visible, and she knew her bite marks would fade from
her victims a matter of minutes after she had finished feeding. And she
left no fingerprints.
She frowned. Someone else hadn't been so careful. Someone else was
leaving corpses with clear vampire bites lying around ... so much so that
people were getting suspicious.
Ara'at? No, he wasn't that stupid. Then who? There couldn't be more
than two vampires within the village ... it was a recipe for disaster.
There weren't enough inhabitants to go around.
Whoever it was, if they weren't careful they could start a full-scale
Scarla sighed. That was all she needed ... for her future victims to be on
the alert against her. She might even have to move to somewhere a little
more hospitable. How annoying. As if her afterlife wasn't pathetic enough
What was that?
Scarla lifted her head, her eyes twin points of red light in the darkness.
She could hear someone walking around outside; the harsh sound of boots
stomping on the ground above her echoed around her little cavern.
She sniffed ... smoke. Someone smoking one of those damn stupid human
cigarette things. No; cigarettes didn't produce that much smoke.
"Damn humans!" Scarla muttered, creeping to the entrance and peering out.
There was a human boy, perhaps eleven or twelve years old, creeping around
in the darkness, a burning torch clutched in his hand.
"You've got to be kidding ... in this day and age?" Scarla was surprised,
both by the torch and by the boy being out so late at night. What was he
"Come on, where are you?" the boy muttered, holding the torch out to light
up every nook and cranny, "You can't just disappear ... I saw you. I won't
hurt you, I promise."
Stupid human, Scarla thought, he must have seen her. Little matter ... he
was young, no one would believe him if he said he had seen a vampire. And
she could always kill him if he happened to stumble across her hiding
He was getting awfully close too; if Scarla had wanted to she could have
reached out, grabbed his foot and dragged him into the hole with her. She
restrained herself ... it was too close to dawn for her to move the body
and someone was bound to come looking for him. She didn't want to be
"I won't hurt you," the boy said again, "I just want to look at you ...
I've never seen anyone fly like you before. Oh ... there you are!"
He was suddenly peering in at her, his grimy face extremely close to hers.
Scarla snarled and flinched away from the torchlight, throwing her wings up
over her face. The boy barely flinched ... it was if he wasn't scared of
her at all.
"Sorry," the boy said breathlessly, sticking the torch into the ground just
outside the cave entrance, "My name's Danny, Danny Hunter ... who are you?"
Scarla snarled, baring her fangs. The boy blinked, but showed no surprise
or fear. He was small for his age, Scarla thought - thin as a rake, with
sandy hair, pale skin and a dusting of freckles. He was wearing a grimy t-
shirt with a black bat motive on the front, and faded, threadbare jeans.
"Do ... you ... speak ...English?" he asked slowly and loudly, evidently
taking her silence to mean that she hadn't understood him. Scarla swore
foully at him and he grinned.
"That's what everyone says. What's your name?"
"Go away, human!" Scarla snapped, her words crashing into each other in her
"Garwayuma? That's a weird name."
"My name is Scarla and I told you to go away, human idiot! You're lucky
it's so close to dawn, or I would have killed you!"
"You mean, you would have turned me into a vampire?"
"No, I mean I would have killed you! Scarla the vampire kills to feed,
never to sire others."
"Non of your business!" Scarla was taken aback ... normally people had run
away screaming or died by now. Yet here was this boy, never flinching,
talking to her as if they were equals, as if they were the same species.
"Don't you like being a vampire?"
"What does that matter? I am what I am, nothing can change that!"
"I don't like being me, sometimes," the boy said, "Sometimes I wish I was
someone else. Anyone else. I wish I could fly like you."
Scarla sighed. The boy's words had hit home ... she felt exactly the same
way; she hated being what she was. But her human life was far behind her.
She couldn't turn back.
"Careful what you wish for, kid. Vampirism isn't all it's cracked up to
"Can't be any worse than being me."
"Why? What's happened to you that's so bad?" What was this weird feeling
... this ... this ... pity towards the child? She shouldn't be feeling
like this; she was beyond human emotions.
The kid picked at a stray thread on his t-shirt, "Do you have a family?"
"I have my fellow vampires," Scarla replied, asking herself why she was
still talking to the kid, "We're like a family..."
"I meant a real family. Brothers and sisters, parents."
"Not any more."
"What happened to them?"
"They were human, they died a long time ago," her voice was emotionless, as
if she didn't care, "Where's your family, kid? Won't they be worried about
"Not likely. My father died, my mom's gone to her boyfriend's place and
there's no one else."
"Who's looking after you?"
"You mean you're on your own?"
He nodded. Scarla was stunned. What parent would leave their child to
roam around at this hour and in those clothes? She wrinkled her nose;
Goddess, even she didn't smell that bad, and she was dead!
"So what're you doing here? Just looking for me?"
"Cos I've never met a vampire before. Do you really drink blood?"
"Course I do, kid ... what else would I eat?"
"My name's Danny!" he said almost sulkily.
"I know your name's Danny, you told me that already. You didn't say I had
to call you that."
Danny rolled his eyes, "Fine, but do you mind if I call you Scarla?"
"Call me what you want, you won't be seeing me any more."
Man, he was annoying, "Because I'm leaving tomorrow, kid. I'm going to see
the Vampire Queen."
Danny's eyes suddenly shone with excitement. "Oh, wow! Can I come with
Scarla was about to open her mouth, to tell him that it wasn't the place
for him, but stopped herself. Why shouldn't she take the kid? It had
dawned on her that the Queen would be expecting some sort of tribute, and
if she took this idiot human boy no one would miss him ... not if his
mother was as negligent as he said she was. She, Scarla, might be able to
get him quite some distance away before anyone noticed his absence.
She paused, pondering this idea. She'd have to take him alive and having
him with her would slow her down. On the other hand he was willing to go
with her and it would save her the time and energy of kidnapping someone
else and dragging them forcefully to the queen's lair. Plus if she left
him here he might go blabbing and blow her cover. She couldn't afford to
endanger herself like that.
"Sure, kid," she said, making up her mind, "Why the Hell not? Pack your
bags, you're coming with me."
"See you tomorrow!" Danny beamed at her and jogged away over the damp
grass. Scarla rolled her eyes, then retreated into her hollow as the first
hint of sunlight stained the horizon, covered her face with her wings and
allowed herself a little smile of satisfaction.
Things were working out better than she had ever imagined.