Memories

A lonesome howl, riding on a swift breeze, ascended to the cloudy sky. It bounced along the blanket of clouds, plummeting into a valley nearly twenty miles from whence it had originated. A young male, the only of his pack awake, lifted his dark head. Black ears swivelled atop his black skull, playing with the weary sound. Realizing it was not a familiar voice, his head dropped back to his paws. A soft, disappointed sigh escaped his muzzle as his doe brown gaze drifted to the clouds overhead, his mind wandering over the past seven suns...

Seven suns ago, the pack had lain down to sleep after a long hunt. One of the young females, a favorite with the sole young male, had confided in him that they hadn't even needed to kill for their supper. They had found the meat, piled in the middle of the frozen tundra they called their territory. Once they had their fill, they had journeyed back to where the young male had been pupsitting. The Alpha femme had fed her pups, warning them not to stay awake for too long. The young male, she said, could eat when another member of the pack awoke. They were exhausted. Besides, even if they slept for days, he could survive on snow and mice until then.

For two, maybe even three suns, the pups had awoken to play as they should. Even with full bellies and tiring play, they seemed to be fine. Then, after the fourth sun, none of the pups woke. When the young male had nudged their tiny bodies, trying to wake them, they were as cold as the snow in which they lay. The young male was terrified. He tried to wake their mother, but to no avail. Her body was frozen solid to the ice beneath her...

The young male, too scared to try to wake the others, had lain himself down and forced his tired body to sleep...

The same lonesome howl rose on the wind again, jerking the young male from his terrifying memories back to his reality. The force almost crushed him. His grief tore at his heart, forcing him to his paws. His muzzle lifted, nose pointed to the sky. The sound started as a deep rumble in his chest, building and forcing its way up through his throat. His song reached long fingers up to the sky, gliding across the bottoms of the clouds, racing back toward the lonesome howl. The two tangled as they crossed paths. His floated calmly to the top of a mountain, running through the femme's fur, caressing her, fondling her, causing her to start.

The female's ears flicked forward, pivoting atop her white head. That howl was familiar... It was the male her own age that pupsat for his pack. Why would his howl be so full of mourning? What could possibly have happened to him? Large packs like his found protection in one another. And when one wolf mourned, the rest mourned with him... So why was his the only voice she could hear?

A sigh escaped her muzzle. Unaware of it, she slid slender black paws through the snow, first into a walk, then into a trot. She eased her way down the mountainside. As she reached the bottom, she broke into a ground-eating gallop, racing for the sound of her own loneliness echoed in another's voice...

The pack was breaking. Even as a young pup, she could tell. They were bickering all the time. Her brothers were even bickering, with each other and the adults. She sighed. The strongest females, each as strong as the others, practically tore each others' throats out. The five of them were constantly at it...

One morning, the sun rose on a blood-covered valley. The youngest of the five bitches had been killed. The pup mourned for her mother. Her brothers each blamed the others. In their anger, they fought each other constantly. Finally, each boypup, haggard and torn, lay down and died... The girlpup was alone... Except for what was left of the pack...

For a few seasons, things got better. Then, one evening, several adults grouped together to wake her. Sleepy and upset, she staggered to her paws and followed the six adults out across the snow-covered ground...

After six more suns, she could keep up with the pack at a dead run. On their journey, they picked up a boypup her age. He flirted, nipping at her tail and chasing her around whenever the pack took a break. She flirted back, happy for the first time in more than a year...

A loud noise shattered the day's silence as it rang through the air, followed by a sharp yelp. The sleeping wolves jerked awake, fear in their eyes. The young female, no longer a pup, looked over at the young male. Still he slept... No... He had moved... She rose slowly, sniffing at his body... The scent of blood filled her nose...

The male's eyes snapped open, and he staggered to his paws. He swayed on the spot, then turned to bite at his side. His eyes, wild with pain and fear, darted about. He leapt, trying to run... Another shot rang out, and he collided with the ground with a sickening crack. He didn't get up again...

The pack leapt into motion, the young femme in the lead. Another shot rang out, and a wolf at the back fell. Her mate whirled on his heels, rushing to her side. He dug frantically at her, trying to urge her to move, to get up and run. His other mate stood off a few feet, whimpering, urging him to leave the fallen wolf. He snapped his jaws at her, the clamped his teeth gently into the fallen femme's nape... Two more shots rang through the air, bringing the total to four dead wolves...

The four remaining wolves refused to look back as they ran. A male, two fully grown females, and the young female leading rushed through the snow. A loud sound echoed continuously above them, as loud as a falling tree colliding with the ground. The three adults dove for cover, huddling beneath a thick bush. Three more gunshots... The young femme was truly alone now...

As soon as the first shot grazed her flank, she tore into the cover of trees. Two more shots, and she was forcing her limp away as her leg bled openly. The loud sound above continued for a few more miles before it began to fade away. Only when it had vanished completely did the young female throw herself to the ground. Her breath came in ragged gasps as she tried to clean the wound on her flank. She whimpered quietly, drifting into a deep sleep to avoid the pain...

The young female tossed her head, shaking off the memory of the pain. That had been twenty-four seasons ago. The snow flew beneath her dark paws...

The young wolf's head snapped up to look around as feet crunched through the fresh snow. Aside from her eyes and nose, which she quickly buried beneath her tail, she was impossible to see in the snow that covered her body. She growled, fur bristling with fear.

An old woman stepped into view, walking stick clutched tightly in her wrinkled, withered hand. The wolf whimpered, staggering to her paws in an attempt to flee. As soon as the old woman saw her, she rushed to help...

The sun was rising. The young femme slowed, then stopped. A fresh snow had begun to fall. She shook her coat, then dug herself a den to spend the day in...

Fifteen miles away, the young male did the same...

Death lingered menacingly in the doorway, traces left behind in every corner, every crevice, touching everything within the still building. Raw blood still stained the age-worn furniture, a rust red against the time bleached fabrics. Dust coated every inch every long-abandoned room, with nothing but a single trail of fresh footprints to indicate that anyone had been there at all.

The thump of a heavy, booted foot broke the dim, echoing silence. The creak of a worn sofa spring slowly followed. Deep within the old, run-down building, a girl settled slowly onto a dusty couch, gazing silently around the room. Dim red eyes slowly fluttered shut, and the elegant head dropped forward to allow silver hair to droop into her face, the red tips falling to gently caress underdeveloped breasts. Memories began to invade the girl's thoughts, sending her back a century and more into the past...

A small girl, six years of age, sat in a gutter, crying loudly. Her tiny dress, made of ratty fabric, was smeared with dirt and garbage, so filthy as to almost resemble the gutter itself. Not that the rest of her was any better... Her face was so smeared with dirt and tears that it almost matched the dress.

A boy, hardly older than the little girl was, heard the pitiful crying and went to her. He gently took her hand, pulling her to her feet. Her crying ceased, and she sniffled fearfully as she began to follow him. When he stopped outside one of the nicer homes in the village, her fear seemed to vanish. He led her inside, smiling and laughing as they raced down the long, magnificent hallway...

Soon, the owner of the wonderful house had his servants washing and drying, primping and preening the poor little girl. She was ecstatic. Here she had been, thinking no one could ever care for her, since her own mother and father had abandoned her, when suddenly along came a man who didn't even know her name, rich enough to have servants, caring for her as her parents never had...

Once the little girl was clean, the servants once more brought her before the rich man. This time, there were two others with him – a man and woman so pale that they looked to have never seen daylight! The two terrified the little girl, so she hid behind one of the servants' skirts, trembling. But the rich man made them bring her forth, passing her to the couple with no regards to her screaming protests. The three left, the older two oblivious to the crying of their young new charge...

The creak of a door jerked the girl from her thoughts. Her eyes scanned the empty room, ears straining to catch any other sounds. Hearing none and seeing nothing, she allowed herself to drop back into her memories...

It was ten years later now. She was living with a large group of the freakishly pale people, in a building with no windows, who called themselves a Coven... She had no idea what the word meant, but people feared it, and so she was alone except for the older Coven members. There was no one her age withing miles and miles...

For ten years they had lived in the old abandoned theater. The adults slept during the day and performed magnificent plays and operas at night. Never once did the girl see the adults practice, yet they always knew all their cues and lines. The girl believed that the people in the outside world must think there were hundreds of them living here, yet there were only twenty adults and herself...

A week after her sixteenth birthday, on the night of a full moon, one of the younger gentlemen pulled her aside at 'breakfast'. (He wasn't much older than her... He still looked only eighteen, though by now he had to be at least twenty-eight...) He smiled as he sat her down on a sofa, taking her hands in his. His teeth were so dazzling that she couldn't help but stare. She didn't hear a word he said... Until he mentioned vampyres...

The girl's head snapped up from her chest, dark eyes filled with tears and fear. She glanced behind her at the faded rusty blood stains, shuddering as chills raced down her spine.

As she noticed the dust that had collected on her black clothes, she sneezed. Her breath sent the dust particles flying, letting them dance through the air once more. She coughed, settling back once more...

At the mention of vampyres, the sixteen-year-old snapped to attention. Her body stiffened as his words reached her ears...

"And now you shall become one of us..."

Her body began to tremble. She snatched her hands from his, too afraid to even scream. He smiled again, laughing. She was shocked and confused. He didn't have fangs like a vampyre...

"I was kidding, Zeal, dear. We've all just decided that it is time you became a part of the theater," he chuckled.

She stared at him, eyes wide. Her? Part of the theater? She could never memorize lines like they did! Never! And yet... It was all so very tempting...

The young man leaned forward, arms thrown wide.

"How about a hug for celebration, Zeal?"

She laughed, flinging her arms around his neck. His arms wrapped around her, pulling her body close against his. Her heart-rate sped. What was he doing? She choked back the fear that bit at her insides... She felt his lips move to her ear...

"I always loved you, Zeal," he murmured into her ear, his voice husky with emotion. "Please forgive me..."

The girl bolted from the sofa, her heart slamming in her chest. No, she had to remember everything! She wouldn't let herself chicken out this time... She wouldn't, couldn't run away from the memories...

She felt his lips move across her ear, chills running down her spine. His tongue darted out to play with her earlobe, and she almost moaned with the feelings it created. She shivered as his mouth moved across her cheek to meet her lips in a passionate kiss. Her arms dropped, trying to push him away. Still he kept coming. His lips slid from hers, down her chin, across her throat...

Then it hit her... He hadn't been lying!

She gasped, trying harder to push him away. His tongue slid out across her throat, stopping at the side of her neck. She shuddered, whimpering now. She felt a prick, then a wave of pleasure washed away the pain... So this was what the kiss of death felt like... She could handle this... It was knowing what came after that finally pushed her panic off the edge...

She pushed him away forcefully, strength lent to her limbs in panic. His teeth ripped through her skin, tearing a huge gash in her neck and throat. He yelped, panic racing onto his face. Her blood fell like rain, splattering the couch with vicious red drops...

She leapt to her feet, racing from the room. To her own room she ran, where she threw her weight against the door, slamming it shut. She slid the bolt into place. She forced herself to calm, forced her panicked heart to slow. Once she regained her breath, she sat and listened...

Nothing... No fury, no panic... Did they really care about her?

"Zeal?" came Arik's voice.

"Go away!" she screamed, panic filling her voice.

"Zeal, I will NOT leave until you hear me out."

"F-Fine!"

"Thank you... You know we all love you... More than you really think, you know... And we can't stand watching you die... But, since you're mortal born, that's all we thought we could do... But we learned recently that we could change you, could make you one of us... And we thought you happy... Not only would you have a real family, but you'd have one for eternity...We thought you'd want to be with us... I guess we were wrong...

"If you'd still like to live with us, that's fine... And if you change your mind and want to be like us, that's great! But it's up to you now... Come find me when you're ready to talk..."

She heard his footsteps heading away, listened to them fade. As soon as she was sure he, and everyone else, would be away from her for a while, she sank onto her bed. She pulled her knees up to her chest, wrapped her arms around her legs, buried her face in her arms, and wept...

It took a few days, but she finally thought it all out. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have a family for eternity... Maybe she should... She decided. She would talk to everyone and tell them that she was ready now...

She approached Arik, tears streaming down her face. She looked up at him, and in that moment he knew. They all knew. He slipped his hand into hers and led her up to his room. He'd make it more erotic, more pleasurable for her this time...

He knelt before her, kissing her hands. She swallowed past the fear in her throat, watching as he pulled off his silk shirt. Her eyes widened as he started to unbutton her blouse, but he held a finger to her lips to quiet her. His fingers worked their way from the small of her back to where her bra fastened together. She gasped as a chill shot up her spine. She whimpered quietly as he unfastened her bra and pulled it from her body...

His lips found hers once more, then trailed down her chin, across her throat. She stiffened, but he moved on. His lips traveled down, down, stopping to caress each tender, undeveloped breast. As he reached each nipple, his tongue darted out, flicking across it, massaging it. She gasped, eyes closing as pleasure filled her body. His lips moved on, trailing down to her belly button, then lower. She finally realized that her pajama pants were around her ankles and gasped, her gaze darting down to catch his. He smiled tenderly at her, then let his lips roam farther down, until he could sink his tongue into her untouched body. She gasped again, staggering back to fall onto his bed...

His pants landed in a heap on the floor, and he moved toward her. She trembled, then let her body's eagerness take over for her. He slipped next to her, pulling her trembling body close. She wrapped her arms around him, as he wrapped his around her...

"Are you alright, Zeal?"

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. He pulled her on top of him, slipping himself inside her. She gasped again, then let a moan escape her lips. He rolled her onto her back, pressing in gently. His lips found her, then traveled back down her chin, to her neck. She gave no notice. His fangs slipped in, calling her blood to him...

The next thing she remembered was waking next to him, covered in blood, both her own and his. She licked her dry lips, trying to moisten them. Her tongue caught on something sharp, and she yelped. He woke instantly, gazed at her, and laughed softly.

"You'll get used to them, I promise. For now, let's go shower."

She let him help her to her feet. She tried to take a step, but her body was overwhelmed by how strong her senses all were now. She stumbled, and he caught her gently in his arms. She let him carry her to the bath, where he ran her some nice, warm water. He helped her in, smiling softly.

"By the time you get out, you'll be alright."

He left her then. When she did finally get out of the tub, wrapping herself in a towel, she wandered down the stairs to the living room, expecting to find everyone there, like they normally were. But no one was there. She started to panic, and raced up to her room. After throwing on some clothes, she raced through the theater, every inch of it, searching for them... No one was there at all...

Panic overwhelmed her, and she raced to a window, hoping tracks would still be visible. There was no trace that they had ever been in that building. She let herself sink to the floor, crying once again. She would never be able to find a family who would not desert her...

The girl stood, wiping the tears from her cheeks as she made her way down the stairs. She headed for the front door, then decided against leaving just yet. She wandered into the theater hall, and made her way up onto the stage. Seated at the edge of it, she let herself cry, allowing all her frustration, sadness, and anger leap free of her, for now and forever...

A young girl, 17 years old, crept through the old theater building. She was as silent as a grave, hoping to find the girl she had tracked here. She searched and searched, but the building was so big... Finally, she found her. She was crying, seated on the edge of what must have once been a grand theater stage. The girl crept up the isle, green eyes focused on the vampyre girl as she edged closer and closer...

Zeal's head snapped up, and her red eyes zeroing in one the human girl that crept up the aisle. The girl froze, brown hair rustling as though a breeze had caught it. Assuming the girl to be a hobo who now resided in the theater, Zeal stood and hopped off the stage.

"Sorry to bother you... I'll get out of your home..." she mumbled.

"What?" the girl questioned.

"Aren't you living here?" Zeal mumbled, gazing down at the floor.

"No... I was... I was tracking you..."

Zeal's head snapped up, and shock flooded her face.

"I'm trying to prove to the government that I'm not insane... That people like you really do exist," the girl explained.

"People... like me...?"

"Vampyres," the girl breathed, excitement filling her eyes.

"You've got it all wrong. I'm not a vampyre," Zeal protested.

"Yes, you are. I've been tracking you for a week. I've seen you kill."

Zeal stared at the girl, unable to believe what she was hearing. Who was this girl? And what the hell did she want with Zeal?

"If you don't come with me and prove to the government that you're real, I'll kill you..."