|Up in Flames
Author: Indravyn PM
My name is Aerie and I am an Other. After meeting Camille Black, vampire and CEO of Dynasty Records, my world comes crumbling down when I am forced to choose between the woman after my soul and a group of Others seeking to recruit me to murder the vampire who has offered more than just immorality. Rated M for sexually explicit contentRated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Drama - Chapters: 18 - Words: 87,508 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 12-08-12 - id: 3081214
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The sun was high overhead when Camille's driver dropped me off but it wouldn't last for long. Angry grey clouds circled from the west, riding on the wind that blew strongly from the ocean and down the building laden street. I squinted after the car as it drove off and disappeared around the corner before breathing a sigh of relief. It had taken a whole fifteen minutes to get back to the garage from the lavish hotel Camille was staying at a mere five city blocks away thanks to Saturday tourist traffic. It was cold outside, gooseflesh peppered my arm and I wished I had my jacket. Damn Camille and damn me. It was my fault my favorite jacket was ruined. I should have thought about the repercussions before I launched her off of me in my haste to get away. Now I needed a new one before heading home. It was the middle of April and don't get me wrong, beautiful, but it was damn chilly. Riding on the freeway for the forty five minutes it would take to get home in jeans and a tank top was just asking for trouble.
I walked down the steep incline feeling better than I should have after the events of the previous night. Camille's blood had really worked to remove the aches and pains inflicted on me. I stretched out, relieving kinks in my back, satisfied as my spine cracked in a loud pop once I reached my motorcycle to find it safe and unmolested. My phone started to ring, playing the familiar tune set for Jesse but I silenced it, not quite ready to talk to him. I had too many mixed feelings and conflicting thoughts running through my mind.
The worst part? I had loved every minute of Camille's domination and it shamed me to feel that way because it felt like I had cheated on Jesse, even though I hadn't necessarily wanted it. Maybe I had been asking for her to prey on me without even realizing. It wasn't like I could just tell him I'd gotten into a fight with a thousand year old vampire and said thousand year old vampire had kicked my ass. I threw my stuff into the satchel and locked it. My helmet went on and I revved the engine to life before pulling out of the parking garage, shivering as the cold air hit my bare skin and headed for the mall.
After a couples hour of retail therapy and one new jacket later, I felt a little better. The food court was filled with people, their energy swirled around the large room that smelled predominately like greasy burgers and last night's Chinese food. It wasn't the same amped up energy like the previous night, this energy was relaxing and easier to wade through without a headache or bloody nose as a result. It was so loud, I almost couldn't hear myself think. The Westfield Mall was always busy and because it was Saturday, there were even more people than usual.
I sat at one of the long lines of plastic tables and chairs centered in the stadium sized room munching on a sandwich, the paper wrapping crackled beneath my nail bitten fingers. It felt like I hadn't eaten in days, but it was to be expected after using my ability so much in less than twenty four hours. Any large display of power on my part always required me to eat almost directly afterwards since my body was the reservoir my ability drew from. I finished my sandwich and made my way to the trash bin, careful to avoid the rambunctious children running around without supervision from their conversation driven parents. It made me wonder if I would ever settle down enough to be a mother or if my possible future children would be Other like me.
As far as I knew, no one else in my family had abilities. I was the only one, the only Other. If I accepted Camille's offer, I would never be a mother. Made vamps didn't have the ability to procreate like those born of the dark species. I needed to stay away from her, vampires were dangerous folk and nothing to be trifled with. I had learned my lesson. My life would be in constant danger and the possibility she would choose to change me against my will was very real.
Monday, I promised myself as I wove through the maze of tables towards the west exit, I would talk to Henry and get any assignments covering any of Dynasty Records bands switched to someone else. I was sure Laura would take them and if she wouldn't then, Angela would definitely be more than willing. There was only so much I could tell Henry, he was after all human just like everyone else in my life and couldn't possibly comprehend just how deep last night's assault had gone. He would at least understand it if I dumbed it down to harassment.
The noise level dropped as I walked through the west exit towards the elevator and hit the down button. Now there was Jesse to think about. Mentally, I decided as I waited for the elevator, that I would tell him I was still in San Francisco. I wouldn't tell him the truth, but a very different version with a lot of details omitted. The door dinged and opened up to emit people riding to my level to get off. I entered with several other's and pulled out my phone. I was alone by the time I hit the parking garage and headed to my bike four rows down with the intent to call Jesse.
Hairs on the back of my neck rose, alerting me to something malicious lurking in the area -it wasn't an energy signature I recognize. There were no people around, someone was channeling something that would point the unsuspecting passerby's in a different direction away from the parking garage. Whoever it was wanted me alone with no distractions. The energy floating around me felt wrong and made my skin crawl in the worst way, the malicious intent behind it was as tangible as the air I breathed. I slowed to a stop and twisted my head to see six men wearing black t-shirts, blue jeans and matching sunglasses approach from every possible exit in the garage. I shoved my phone in my jacket pocket and tried to prepare for whatever was about to happen.
The men said nothing as they slowed to a stop six feet away and surrounded me in a semi-circle. What the hell was going on? First the Camille and now these clowns?
"Hello gentlemen, can I help you?" I said calmly but my hackles rose.
"Ah, you must be Ms. Surreal, I've been looking for you."
Another man appeared from around one of the support pillars dressed in an expensive looking suit that could give any rich asshole a run for his money. His eyes were the coldest grey I had ever seen and his hair was silver despite his relatively youthful appearance.
"And you are?"
"A friend. I'm here to talk and make you an offer, if you are interested." He said in a roughly charming Irish lilt.
I shifted my weight to my right foot and hiked my purse up higher on my shoulder before letting my hands rest on my hips like I had seen any superhero vixen do in the movies. "If you wanted to talk, you could have come alone or I don't know, called? Instead you surround me with some macho looking brutes like a coward."
That made him bristle visibly and his eye twitched ever so slightly.
"Merely a request from my employer." He said with a shrug once he recovered.
I narrowed my eyes at him and tried to get a reading from his aura. He was the one responsible for the malicious energy rifling through the air and he thought he would be my friend?
"Send your men away and then maybe we can talk. I don't like being backed into a corner." I said in a voice like iron.
"I cannot do that, Ms. Surreal."
"Then we have a problem." Was the only warning I gave him before I thrust my arms behind me and let my ability flow freely. The men at my back lifted off their feet and slammed into the surrounding cars. Alarms started blaring almost deafeningly in the cramped confines of the parking garage. Good, exactly what I needed.
The other men closed in on me and grabbed my arms, trying to force me to my knees. I twisted my limbs out of their grip, my martial arts training kicking in, and slammed my hands into their chests, fueled by the power now bristling through me. They flew back and I rushed forward at the remaining men who stood there dumbfounded by what they thought was a delicate looking woman. A sickening crunch rent the air but I didn't look to see where their buddies had finally landed.
Whoever had sent these brutes had no idea what I was capable of.
One of the remaining goons cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders before putting his fists up. His buddy pulled a gun and pointed it at me. I threw myself to the floor, my new leather jacket scraped against the asphalt and my knees banged painfully as I dove to avoid the bullet that whizzed past me and took shelter behind one of the structures.
He just shot at me!
The pillar was cold as I pressed my back against it and my mind raced. Adrenaline pumped through my veins, hot and welcome.
"I'm warning you, just walk away now!" I yelled, trying to buy myself time while I figured out how I was going to deal with the gun happy psycho and his friend.
"If you would merely hear my request, then this useless violence would be over, Ms. Surreal." The silver haired man said.
"Go fuck yourself." I snapped and shimmied my way up the pillar.
Rambo came around the corner with gun pointed some distance away and fired again. I hid behind the nearest car and crawled my way around it. The other goon -I had forgotten about him- grabbed my ankle and pulled. I hit the ground with a thump and kicked out with my free leg. The heel of my boot connected with his collarbone and cracked beneath the pressure. He let go, groaning in pain.
Gun guy approached and I felt the cold steel press against the back of my head.
"Get up." He said. I did as I was told, standing carefully with my hands up. His buddy got up as well, eyes flashing amber. Great, a were. There scents had been cloaked before, but now that chaos had erupted, I got a full on whiff of musk and wet grass. The air shimmered around the goon with the broken collar bone, the shadow of a corporeal wolf circled him and I watched in sick fascination as the bone reset itself. He smiled mirthlessly and I doubled over as his fist connected with my gut. The air whooshed from lungs and I struggled to breath as he grabbed my shoulder. I barely had time to roll with the punch as his fist slammed into my lower jaw. Pain erupted in a tidal wave, coursing from the point of impact all the way up into my cranium and I tasted blood.
"Feel better now?" I hissed in a spray of blood. He snarled and went after me again.
"That is enough!" The leader said. He appeared in my line of sight, his cold eyes icy and his expression hostile.
The were backed up at his bosses insistence and crossed his thick arms over his burly chest.
"Now that I have your attention, Ms. Surreal, I would like to make you that offer."
"Shove it up your ass. I'm not interested." I hissed but he merely smiled with a shake of his head.
"Oh, I think you will be interested if you want avoid becoming bound to a vampire as dark as they come."
"How did you-?"
At that he smiled cruelly. "A magician never reveals his secrets."
"I'm not interested in working with anyone that would back me into a corner just to get me to listen. I'm not into those kinds of games, you psycho." I growled but his cruel smile only widened.
"We can help you remove Camille Black from your life, save you from an eternity of torment and bloodletting if only you would come with us." The silver haired man said as he closed the distance between us and took my chin between his thumb and forefinger. His touch felt greasy with tainted power and I pulled away, using the other goon as support to kick out but he was ten feet back before I could even finish the move. "Really, Ms. Surreal. There is no need for violence."
"Tell that to your fucking body guards." I hissed.
The man smiled, a simple smirk, but enough to get my blood boiling.
"Come with us. We can help you deal with the vampire. With your ability and power, you would never have to worry about your neck being marred again. What do you say?" He said in a deadpan.
"I think you need to walk away."
"Do not make us force you, Ms. Surreal."
"You have no idea what I'm capable of." I snarled. Not wanting to hear the rest of this psycho babble bull shit, I pivoted around on my right heel and grabbed gun crazies wrist to pull him into my left knee. His breath exploded from him and I slammed my elbow down onto the back of his neck as he doubled over. The gun clattered to the ground and I kicked it underneath the nearest car. Where the hell were the security guards? There were several car alarms going off now and shots had been fired.
The remaining guy caught me from behind, wrapping his arms around my waist and lifting me into the air. My feet flailed helpless as he back peddled. I jabbed my elbows behind me but he ducked his head out of reach.
"Let me go!" I hissed.
But he wouldn't and that was his mistake. He grunted as my heel slammed into his groin and dropped me. I landed wrong on the cement and my ankle twisted at an awkward. Pain shot up my leg and sent me to my knees. "Ah!"
In the distance I heard sirens and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally!
"Just walk away or you're next, you arrogant little prick." I hissed as I struggled to my feet but my ankle didn't want to support me.
"This isn't over." Said the silver haired man before he disappeared and left me alone with his six injured body guards. I sat on the cement looking worn and dirty with my back pressed to the nearest car as police cars came roaring in through the exits with lights flashing and sirens blaring. My hands went up into the air as three cops got out and pointed their guns at me.
"They attacked me!" I yelled to let them know I was the victim. The officers surveyed the five men out cold and the only conscious one still clutching his groin and moaning. How was I going to explain that?
"Are you okay miss?" The nearest officer said as he holstered his weapon and approached me cautiously. His badge read Aaron and his energy told me he was human.
"I'm ok, but I think I sprained my ankle trying to get away." I said weakly, hoping they would buy the damsel in distress routine. I made a fuss of trying to get up only to fall as I tried to put weight on my ankle. That, however, was not supposed to be part of the show as I fell and pain shot from my ankle up into my calf.
"Did you knock all these men out?" He asked as he knelt and removed my boot to check my swollen ankle. His touch hurt as he stretched it and I cried out.
"Yep, definitely injured." Officer Aaron pressed the button on his radio and buzzed for an ambulance. He glanced at the downed men again and looked at me solemnly. "Did you do this?"
I just nodded my head but said nothing. He looked at me seriously, but I could see in his eyes that he didn't believe me. If he were Other I could tell him, but as it were, he wasn't and neither were the other officers.
"What happened here?" He asked as he helped me to stand on my good foot. I leaned against him for support, feeling the effects of using so much energy weighing on me.
"I was on my way to my motorcycle when these goons came out of nowhere and attacked me. One of them pulled a gun and shot at me, the gun is under that car." I said, pointing at the blue sedan that had a bullet hole in it.
"Did they say what they wanted?"
"There was a another man with him, the leader I think. He had silver hair but a young face and was dressed in a really expensive suit. He just said he wanted me make me an offer of some sorts but I don't know what." I said tiredly.
Officer Aaron glanced at me from the corner of his eye. "How did you take down your attackers?"
Several other police cars showed up with a couple of ambulances and began blocking off the remaining exits while the scene was processed and the unconscious goons were handcuffed. Officer Aaron helped me onto my good foot and put my arm around his shoulders before leading me to the ambulance. EMT's rushed out to check on the injured men and only one stayed behind to look at my ankle.
"I have martial arts training." Was all I said.
Officer Aaron stayed with me while the EMT, an older woman with flyaway grey hair and a weathered face rolled up my pant leg to check my ankle. I winced as she gently probed the swollen ligament with careful fingers before taking my foot and rotating it in a circle. A gasp whispered past my lips from the surprising pain and she smiled pityingly at me and the officer dropped my removed boot onto the bumper of the ambulance.
"I'm sorry hun, but it's definitely sprained. I can wrap it up and have you ice it for the next seventy two hours or we can go to the hospital and do an x-ray to make sure it isn't more than a minor sprain." She said.
"Just wrap it. If icing doesn't help then I'll make an appointment with my regular doctor." I said. She shrugged as if to say "your choice" and dug into her pack for a splint and an ace bandage. While the woman wrapped it, an unmarked police car pulled into the garage and two women got out. The EMT helped me to slide of the edge and handed me my discarded boot and went off to help the others check on the unconscious men. I gingerly tested my weight on my injured ankle and found I could stand if I didn't put all of my weight on it.
I watched the two women and knew instantly they weren't human. One woman looked barely over the age of eighteen but carefully applied make up gave her the appearance of being older. She was a vampire and her partner -the shorter one- looked older with long honey colored hair and amethyst eyes. She was definitely Other. They flashed their badges and I noticed they weren't pinned with the normal SFPD emblem, this was different and it made my insides go cold. Just who were these two?
Officer Aaron nodded to me and then to the two detectives before walking off to help process the rest of the scene.
"Hello, I'm Detective Stone and this is my partner, Detective Requeem. We need to ask you a few questions about what transpired here." Said the vampire woman. Her voice had a slight Russian accent and I wondered what part she originated from. Her energy was vastly different from Camille's, tainted almost with a strange aura. She surveyed me with dark brown eyes that were bottomless pits of nothingness and it made me shudder.
Detective Requeem approached and held out her hand. I took it hesitantly and my suspicions that she was Other was confirmed when her scent filled my nostrils and her energy rubbed against mine.
"What happened here?" She asked.
"I was on my way to my motorcycle and seven men came out of nowhere." I began but Detective Stone stopped me.
"I see only six men." The vampire observed as her cold gaze swept the scene before settling on me. The hairs on the back of my neck rose.
"The seventh man ran off as soon as he heard the sirens. They attacked me and I had to defend myself . . ." I sounded tired.
"So you took down six men?" Detective Stone asked disbelievingly.
I nodded. "I'm telekinetic."
"Impressive." But coming from her, it didn't sound like a complement.
Detective Requeen shot her partner a look and took over. "What did the seventh man look like."
"He had silver hair, a young face and was wearing a suit that probably cost as much as one month's rent for my apartment. He was the leader, I'm sure of it." I paused while thinking of what else I should include. "He was definitely Other, worst energy I ever felt."
"I can feel it lingering in the air." The blond haired woman said and glanced at her partner who nodded.
At least I knew I wasn't crazy.
"The case is in our hands now, you won't be required to give SFPD a statement." Her partner said and handed me a business card. "We'll need you to come down to the office to have an image of the man pulled from your thoughts by one of our telepaths."
"Just what I need, someone traipsing through my thoughts." I complained, clutching my boot to my body and wanting this to be over so I could just go home.
"It's a relatively non-evasive process." She said reassuringly.
I lifted my eyebrows in surprise, though whether or not I believed her remained to be seen.
"Am I done here?" I asked hopefully.
"For now," The vampire said. "I'll need your contact information if further questions arise. I'm sure you'll want an update."
I gave it to them and breathed a sigh of relief when they walked away but not before hearing something the vampire said to her partner.
"She smelled like someone I know."
Of course she would be able to smell Camille on me, I briefly wondered what their connection was before I decided I just didn't want to know.
My ankle pulsed when I put weight on it and I wished the EMT had given me crutches. If I had taken up the offer to go to the office I would have gotten some but it was too late now. Instead, I hobbled my way to my motorcycle and got on.
It was so time to go home.
An hour or so later, I leaned against the counter in my kitchen munching on a bag of pretzels and talking to my boyfriend. I moved the phone from my right ear to my left, wincing as it touched my aching jaw and hoped Jesse would forgive me.
"I know, I'm sorry. It's been a really long day and I'm exhausted." I said into the receiver.
"Aerie, it was all over the news about the six guys you supposedly took down in the mall parking garage. What were you still doing in San Francisco anyway?" Jesse said.
I banged my head against the fridge door and cursed myself for thinking he wouldn't find out. With everything that had happened I couldn't tell him the details. There were a lot of things piling up that I couldn't tell anyone and it made me feel completely alone. My boyfriend waited patiently for me to say something but I was at a loss as to what to say.
"I'm getting the distinct impression there is a lot of stuff you don't want to tell me." He said wisely and I bit my lip, afraid of what was to come next. "If you've got skeletons in your closet, I'm fine with that, but if you're cheating on me then we have a problem."
That was it? He thought I was cheating? My mind flashed back to Camille's fangs buried in my neck, to the wild pleasure I had experience and I closed my eyes. Oh god…
"Jesse, I'm not cheating on you. That's the farthest thing from my mind right now." I said, grabbing a bottle of water and hobbling into the living room to collapse on the couch. "I was really tired last night after the show and it was raining like a son of a bitch. I grabbed a room and stayed overnight in the city. I really need to get a car one of these days."
"You can use mine, ya know." Jesse said irritably.
I opened my water and took a drink. "I know but I don't want to strand you at home, plus you don't know how to ride my motorcycle."
"And I never will, I hate that damn thing, way too dangerous." He said.
My water left a spill of condensation as I nudged it onto the coffee table before collapsing back on my pillow with ankle propped up and a bag of frozen peas on it. "Yeah, yeah. One of these days I'm going to get you to ride with me. You'll love the thrill."
Jesse laughed despite his misgivings about it. "Yeah, no."
"Oh come on!"
"Moving right along. Do you want me to come over?" My boyfriend inquired.
"Not today, but I was thinking we could go to Half Moon Bay in the morning? I'll even let you drive." I teased and put the phone on speaker so I didn't have to hold it to my ear anymore.
"Aren't you supposed to be resting that sprained ankle of yours?" Jesse asked.
"Rebel is I."
I could almost see Jesse pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. "One of these days woman, one of these days."
I started laughing. "Pick me up at eight?"
"Love you too." I hung up and tossed the phone onto the table next to my water with a sigh. It hurt to have to lie to Jesse like that but the lies would only continue. My mother had warned me to never tell anyone what it was I could do, but there were so many times where I had almost done just that. Knowing there wasn't anyone I could talk to about it made me feel so alone and always had. It wasn't fair keeping such a big secret to myself, but the fear of losing Jesse because of it was too great.
And then there was Camille Black, vampire and CEO. Her offer of immortality raced through my mind and the possibility she wouldn't wait for a yes. I tried to imagine the vampiric drinking of blood but the image was quickly replaced by her fangs buried in my neck. I closed my eyes as a wave of pure euphoria tore through me and delicious tendrils of desire took hold, sliding blissfully to my groin with promise. My fingers clutched the pillow in which my head lay, the fabric rubbed across my skin and snagged on my nails and my cheeks reddened in response.
God, what was wrong with me? I didn't want Camille, I wanted Jesse. I was straight, not some sexually confused teenager to be manipulated, I liked men and I sure as hell didn't want to be a vampire just to lose everything. It was all because she had bitten and nothing more, it was why I had avoided letting any vamp sink their teeth into me; I had see too many people over the years reduced to nothing but a pleasure addicted junky just for the rush of a bite. Last night only proved what would happen if I went down the dark leaky path into the unknown. Camille didn't want me to be a pleasure starved junky, she wanted me to be like her, but vampires were self indulgent, self obsessed, and cruel creatures. Maybe I didn't have to be like that however, everything I would lose wouldn't be worth it. My mom, my best friend, Jesse, my job, all of it would disappear in the blink of an eye. Too much was at stake just to follow a woman I didn't care for.
I would have to disappear completely.
It was already hard enough being who I was, growing up in a world where I had to hide exactly that. My parents had no idea just what kind of underworld my ability had made me apart of. They knew nothing about the Others or supernatural's that thrived under their noses and never would. My father, rest his soul, had sought out professional help for me to learn to control the one thing that set me apart from everyone else in my life. Everyone in my life was human and Camille was wrong, I was still human despite my abilities and it didn't make me any less like them because of it. Right? My mind went back to earlier in the day when I had lost control of my power in a rage so fierce that it had brought out a darker side of myself I had never seen. My voice had sounded inhuman and the red that had clouded my vision had bathed my surroundings in menace. Was that what my attackers had wanted? Had they wanted to offer me something that would take me into an even darker niche of my power that I wasn't aware of? I had hurt those men without a thought, me. They hadn't attacked first, I had. What was wrong with me?
I stared up at the ceiling and wondered when my life had become so screwed up.