My goal lived on the other side of town, a dull, grey patch of earth. Those who stood to stop me became crimson stains on the ground. Fight wounds covered my body. I knew this only by their unmistakable sting. Even the bottoms of my feet were bleeding, leaving a bright red trail behind me in the form of slow-moving feet. A way back home, in a sense.

Mercedes lived in a shabby apartment, to my mind unworthy of such beauty. It was rank with the smell of mildew and muck, alcohol and narcotics. The article had said nothing about this type of housing…I had expected it to be more…extravagant for my Mercedes. Happiness should shroud her home…not the despair that polluted the air.

"…this room." The door was unlocked, giving me access to the rundown living area. "…do you really linger here?"

I heard a scream behind me, after I had walked into the kitchen. The voice was familiar, yet it caught me off-guard. I twisted around, looking into my goal's eyes.

"V…Viper!" She was startled, though she acted as if she knew I was coming. "…what are you doing here?"

Her voice sent a gleeful chill down my spine. Her voice was cold, unemotional… "I missed you. Wanted to see you."

"You idiot!" She charged me, pinning me in a tight tackle. I doubted that it was anything at all affectionate. "They'll kill you now! You screwed yourself this time; condemned yourself to death!" It was a harsh whisper, one that made me grin and nuzzle her cheek with my own.

"I was already dead without you." She pushed herself away. The coldness was still there. "Stop it!"

Her anger was immense. It made me grin wider, with more passion. "Do you hate me for leaving without attendants…?"

"…you need to go back to the asylum, Viper." She was avoiding my questions, giving no answers.

"I won't go where I cannot be with you. Do you hate me for that?"

She wanted to break down, I could tell, but her will proved yet again to be cast of steel. All she did was move me towards a light, bringing a washcloth to the drying blood. "…you killed again."

"I painted myself red for you. Do you not see the day? Valentine's Day…"

Her expression remained mask. "…this is why you can't stay here. You're not well…"

"Do you hate me for it?"

"…can't you even remember our past?"

Mercedes was nervous, jittery. The Venion had ever right to be, though. Not only had she just found out that her element was water, but she was about to meet her secret admirer. For months, he left her presents and other trinkets; notes and money. At first, the idea frightened her to the point where she wanted to call the police. Then, she had begun to respond to those notes, giving them back…he seemed sweet, yet she wouldn't know what he looked like.

"I'm sure he's a nice guy…why am I panicking like this…?" Her light blue fur rippled slightly with the breeze that picked up at the park she sat in, giving here a serene look. After a few moments, the Venion gave a sigh and almost went on her way.

"I…I don't think you'll want to be leaving yet…" The voice was shy, deep, withdrawn. She was surprised at the gentleness behind it, yet it had some hint of darkness lingering along the edges.

Her admirer slinked out from the shadows, head down in a submissive manner. His main body color was a dark grey, his underbelly and tail were pitch black. Passive grey markings covered his face, back, and top of his tail. His eyes, even though they were cast down, were a warm yellow, almost orange. Never had she seen such coloring on another of her kind, at least not the coloring of shadows.

"…Viper, I presume?" She smiled thinking his timid ways to be cute.

"…that's me." He sat next to her, looking uncomfortable. It seemed that Mercedes wasn't the only one anxious about this meeting.

He was handsome, she noted. Defiantly an elemental creature, but exactly what element she could not place. She smiled again. "…I guess I should thank you for the gifts."

Viper shook his head. "No, no. The thanks that you came will be enough." He caught a glimpse of her eyes, as she did to him. Turning away quickly, a blush came to his muzzle.

"You don't get out much, huh?"

He shook his head, becoming quiet. For a moment, they just dwelled in the silence, not knowing what to say. A tug at the dark-colored Venion's shoulder broke it.

"C'mon, let's get to know each other better."

"…your eyes were warmer then…" She said to me, wiping the cloth along the cut above my eye. I only grinned, which in turn made her look away.

"Now they're cold, aren't they?"

Mercedes tilted my chin, wiping away more dried liquid. "…" The matter was not pushed farther.

"…why do you do this to yourself, Viper? You were getting better when I wasn't around…"

A tear had streaked down her cheek, falling to the floor without much noise. "I'd rather stay like this than to be away from you forever."

"It's not going to work between us! You have to let it go, like I did!"

I pretended not to hear her. "Your room is very nice…"

She slapped me, perhaps out of frustration. "Stop it! I know you heard what I said!"

"…do you hate me for what I've done?"


"The killing, the torment…"

"Just st-"

"Do you hate me for it all!?"


She withdrew, eyes widened in surprise, as wide as I'm sure mine were.

"Viper…I…I didn't mean…"

Her previous answer was all that I needed. I just grinned widely, feeling a sense of decay beginning to spread through my soul.

"That's all I needed to hear…" I wanted to hate her, to forget. I couldn't though…I love her enough that I'd be willing to end my life to please her again. Even the air around me grew cold with a sense of loneliness and dread, the sense I had felt when she had left me back there with my friends. Dead inside…

"That's all I needed to hear…"

I turned to leave, only to find that another Venion had pushed me to the ground, slender yet masculine. His eyes were like hellfire to mine, his snarling close to my throat. I could only hear Mercedes yell out.

"Red, no!"