23

My Last Breath

Blood. It is the essence of human life. It is the essence of my life. It sings to me with its secret, dark voice, appealing to my primeval nature in the way that only blood and sex can. The young human woman hasn't noticed me yet but she will. Soon.

The club is alright, I suppose. Its dark and loud, people meet other people, they drink, they kiss and some even leave to indulge in the carnal pleasures that come naturally to humans. There are tables and chairs scattered near the bar area. Lights flash out of the dance floor boundaries and into the seating area. The humans are dressed in alluring clothes; all of them intent on attracting a mate. The last thing they are trying to appeal to is the prowling vampire in their midst.

I sit at the bar. Mortals rub their bodies against mine in their eagerness to order drinks. I hardly notice. I don't care. I'm to busy watching the woman hungrily.

She sways slowly to the cool, calming music, letting it wash through her and control her movements. Her long, silvery blonde hair shimmers in the dazzling white light like an old Victorian wedding veil. Her eyes are emerald, flaring with a fierce dark flame. The moving curves of her beautiful body hypnotize me and many of the young human men who are drinking nearby. Her lips are painted an outrageous shade of deep red and her smooth, translucent skin reveals her thin blue veins. The dress she is wearing is pink and shows daring amounts of that perfect flesh. To mortal men she is a stunning beauty but to me she is delicately delicious.

The song ends but she is still pumped full of life and energy. Her hot blood sings to me, a mysterious song. It's the blood song, the song of life and of death. It is enthralling and yet deadly to any human who emits it.

The humans around me chat over the loud music and I focus in on the conversation of the three young men next to me. They are discussing the latest local news, that of a ghastly downtown murder. A young woman, throat mauled as if by a wild animal. No blood left, the body completely drained of life. It had been dumped in the Freshney River.

It had been one of my best and most enjoyable kills.

I turn my attention back to the young woman I had been watching before, the one I hunger for right now. She has left the dance floor. Her blood is still hot and her cheeks are flushed from the heat. Tantalising scents of her young mortal flesh fill the air. I can imagine the taste of her sweet blood in my mouth but I know it it's only a morsel of the wonderful thing to come.

My mind is drawn back into the thought of killing. I have done it a thousand times and I will continue to do it until I am destroyed. The thought of killing excites me and I can already feel my fangs prick the bottom of my lip. I long to embrace her passionately in my arms, to whisper her name in her ear, my fangs, elongated and sharp would sink into the soft flesh of her throat. Then there would be nothing but the total bliss of the blood. She wouldn't scream. I would influence her not to. Screaming somehow spoiled the whole experience of stealing the life from the veins of a human being.

My victim has vanished. I can still smell the remnants of her luscious, fragrant blood. Maybe it can lead me to where she is. I drain the glass of tomato juice and slam the glass down on the wooden bar. It looks a little like blood but has nothing of the taste. Nothing can compare to that powerful and sweet elixir of life.

I follow the trail of that beautiful scent. It leads me across the dance floor, between the couples of writhing bodies. My shoulder's rub with theirs but they are none the wiser of what I am- or what I can do to them. I follow the scent to an open fire door.

I step out into the alley. It is cool and dark. The only light comes spilling from the orange street lamp over the moss covered wall. The light flickers occasionally but it doesn't bother me. My vision is perfect. My eyes were created for darkness.

There are trash cans close by. One of them has fallen over and rotten rubbish litters the damp ground. The stench of decomposing food drifts across the alley. I wrinkle my nose at the disgusting smell and glance up. The sky is black with the white stars twinkling, the ever watching eyes of the night.

I can sense the young woman.

Something moves to my left, slipping through the shadows like a shape shifter contorting its body. I turn, quicker than any human could. Though the darkness is my usual hunting ground there is something about this that I don't like, which is ridiculous. No human woman can fight me and live. I always like to boast that I was sired by one of the ancient Egyptian vampires.

The young woman emerges out of the dense shadows. Her eyes glow so brightly that if it wasn't for the distinct fragrance of her human blood I would have though her other worldly. Her beautiful face is expressionless and her body moves carefully, with great control and seductiveness. She is teasing me, leading me on. That's what I'm meant to do to her.

"Hi," I say casually. My voice is deep and gritty. I can use it to seduce and entice the female mortals. Sometimes it works on the males but I naturally reject their advances.

She smiles, a soft sweet smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. Nothing extinguishes the green fire. Her smile transforms into a grin, creating dimples in her cheeks.

"Hi," she replies. Her voice sounds musical. I guess that she is a good singer. Her blood certainly sings to me.

"What's your name?" I ask her, jumping straight into it. I am impatient and I like to get the formalities over with as quickly as possible.

"You tell me yours and I'll tell you mine," she whispers slyly.

Something occurs to me about this woman. She has power. I smell it in her blood. I saw it the moment I laid eyes on her in the club. Her power greatly intrigues me.

"Christian," I say slowly, "My name is Christian."

"Christian," she mimics. I nod once, "Do you have a last name?"

"You tell me yours first," I demanded smoothly. That sweet smile returns.

"Ella," she says confidently, "My name is Ella."

"Ella," I taste the name on my tongue. It sounds beautiful. She is beautiful.

I come towards her, moving slowly with the grace that my kind are gifted with. She watches me with her head titled up slightly, those bright emerald eyes fearless. I am irresistibly drawn to her. I've never been drawn to anyone like this, especially not a human.

"What a pretty name," I say quietly. I stop a few inches in front of her. If I lean forwards I can kiss her.

She doesn't back away. Most human woman cannot resist my dark charm but it isn't that way with her. There is something different. It is almost as if she is trying to prove that she is not afraid of me. Her lips are slightly apart and I can feel her warm breath on my face.

I tilt my head to one side.

"Your not afraid of me are you?" I ask.

"No," she says boldly. Her eyes never leave my face.

I smile wickedly. She has no idea, if she did; if she knew anything about me… then she would be afraid.

I close my eyes, allowing the cool night air to wash over me, bringing with it the wonderful scent of her blood. I let it tease me before I allow it to affect me. My bloodthirsty nature is ready to take over and I am willing to let it.

"Maybe you'll be afraid now," I say. My voice is distorted. The smile drops from her face and her eyes flood with confusion.

My lips skim back from my teeth. I let her see what I am; I show her the monster that lives inside of me. The fear flares in her eyes as she sees my two top canine teeth. They have changed. They are longer and sharper and deadlier. She knows what they are for, she would never have thought a creature like me truly existed but we do.

We are everywhere.

I grip her wrists quickly. She is wearing a jacket now, a deep purple one, and the material if soft under my fingers. I squeeze her wrists hard. She struggles, pulling against my strength but her efforts are futile. She cannot escape. I could influence her not to fight against me but I rather like seeing the fear in her eyes at last.

I lean forwards, my mouth stretching open. I get closer to her throat, to that little pulsing vein gushing with hot, vibrant, succulent blood. My lips touch her neck and then everything changes.

My mind is thrown. I am thrown, twisting and twirling, into a new world. My vision shifts and all I can see is bright white light. It encompasses me and flows through me like pure energy. This light doesn't burn. It makes me feel amazing but my mind swirls with confusion. I have no idea where I am. I have never been here before. I know that I am still stood in the alley but my mind is elsewhere. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I can admit to myself that I am a little wary. I did not sense any magical scent surrounding the young woman but she could be a witch and this could be a spell to distract or deceive me.

The lights lessen and then I know that my theory isn't true. She is here as well, bathed in white lights, looking as confused as I feel. We are in a place where our minds are connected. She doesn't know what is happening here but I have begun to suspect what could have caused this bizarre twist of events.

Soul mates.

Soul mates.

I hear the rough voice loud and clear. It isn't mine but I can hear it. It echoes around this space, this strange place of white light where I am. I have no idea where exactly that is but I know I have heard that word somewhere before.

My eyes focus on the vampire a few feet in front of me. Because that's what he is. With odd eyes, pointed teeth and milky skin what else could he possibly be?

He is looking at me through eyes as black as night. His golden blonde hair is glinting in the lights which have no visible origin. There is tenseness to his lean body, something that applies to my own body. I hate it when I loose control.

I have to know what is happening. The vampire is beautiful but he is deadly. He tried to bite me just before we were cast into this new and bewildering space.

What are you talking about?

That was my own voice, speaking my own thoughts. Like the vampire's it echoed around the area of white light for all to hear, though it appears to be only me and the vampire here.

The vampire's eyes widen in surprise. His lips remain clamped together but his voice comes through, clear and strong. No, not what he is saying. These are his thoughts being broadcasted just as mine were.

Soul mates. I don't believe. I can never believe in this. It's wrong. You're human…

His confusion isn't identical to mine. He seems to suspect what is happening. I have a niggling in the back of my mind; as if I should know what this is but the information has been buried under years of new information.

Then things start to change. There is a whirl of colour and sound that washes through me, dragging me away from the white light and into something new. The vampire comes along.

We are stood in a dark room. A single candle sends flicking light around a corner of the room. There is the pumping sound of music coming from another room adjoined to this one. I peep through the door and see people dancing to long forgotten music and in clothes that were fashionable twenty years ago.

There is movement. I turn my head to the entrance of the room to see a small, blonde haired boy. He moves cautiously, his wide dark eyes trying to catch all the light in the room so that he can see through the darkness. He is wearing dungarees and a bright red t-shirt. By his appearance I would judge his age at about five or six.

"Mummy," the little boy says quietly. He walks further into the room, his movements slow and careful.

"What?" snarls a voice out of the darkness. The little boy gulps.

"I'm hungry Mummy," the little boy whines.

"What do you expect your mother to do about it?" hissed a male voice out of the darkness.

The little boy approaches the table and picks up the candle. He holds it in his shaking hand as he walks towards the dark corner. I watch, curious.

The soft yellow light creeps across the floor. The candle illuminates an intricately carved table leg and then the bottom of a dark blue couch. The light climbs up the leg of a person and then rests on a golden blonde head buried in the neck of another person. The head whips round to look at the light and I have to stop myself screaming.

The woman's face is horrible. It could have been beautiful if it hadn't been for the face twisted in anger, the green eyes gleaming hungrily and the fresh blood dripping from the fangs. There is a moan from the human propped up on the couch, barely alive, but I am much too afraid of what I see to lend much thought to that. The vampire woman seems to be looking straight at me and I am sure she is going to lunge at me any moment.

But she doesn't. Her focus changes to the small boy. I realise that she can't see me. She can't see me because I am not really here.

"I thought I told you not to interrupt us while we are feeding," she says nastily to the little boy.

"But I haven't had anything to eat all day mummy. I'm so hungry…"

"She heard you the first time," growls the man's voice. The candle jerks and illuminates the face of a handsome man with black eyes. His face is twisted with malice and his lips are stained with blood.

"But…but…" stutters the little boy. The fear of his parents is clear on his chubby face.

The man approaches the little boy. He grabs the little boy's wrist and yanks him closer to him. The little boy is crying. The vampire man tilts the little boys head to the side, exposing his throat. The vampire man tips his head back, his fangs glinting in the candle light, ready to bury them into the little boy's neck…

No!

The shout shakes my body. It is filled with so much fury, so much pain and so much anguish. It makes the vision swirl and we are returned to the space of white light.

I can see the vampire. It was he who had shouted. It is his eyes now that are filled with such anger and despair. I feel something I would never expect to feel for a creature such as him. I have pity for him.

That's terrible. That must have been awful, growing up like that.

My mental voice is kind and gentle. The vampire turns his anger on me and I hear the fury vibrating in his mental voice.

How would you know? You're a human, you don't know anything. You can't understand what it was like.

The contempt is obvious on his face. He doesn't just see me as a victim now. He sees me as an enemy. I don't care. I still feel something for him, other than revulsion. I can't even justify it to myself, never mind him.

My vision swirls again. The image is changing and I am being drawn into another world. No not another world, another memory. My memory.

You didn't think this trip down memory lane was just for me did you?

The vampire has followed me here. We are stood on a downtown street that looks damp and cold. I cannot feel the cold because I am not really here. I glance at the vampire, stood a few feet away from me. He looks amused.

It is night. The street is deserted. Mist rises from vents as hot air meets cold. The buildings by the side of the road are shabby and derelict. The full moon above casts a silver light over everything. The light reflects off the bonnet of a car that is slowly driving towards us. There are spluttering sounds coming from the car and steam gushing from the engine. The car rolls to a standstill.

A man gets out of the car. He is tall, with long dark hair and black eyebrows arched over fierce emerald eyes. He curses and leaves the car door open as he lifts up the bonnet to inspect the engine. The front passenger door opens and a slender woman steps out, her blonde hair silver in the moonlight.

"What is it?" she asks the man. Her voice is melodious.

"It's the engine," the man says angrily, "Its broken."

The back passenger door opens and a little foot covered in a small pink and purple trainer step out.

"No honey," the woman says gently, "Stay in the car sweetie."

I close my eyes. I know what this is. I don't want to see it. I can't see it. I can't live this again…

I open my eyes and glance at the vampire. The amusement had faded from his features. Instead he looks as curious at my memory as I had been at his.

There is more cursing from the man. He slams the bonnet down and turns to his wife.

"There's nothing I can do…what was that?"

There was a soft, menacing laugh that had come from the direction of one of the derelict buildings. The woman frowns. Something shifts in the darkness. A black head of hair shines in the moonlight. Fangs glint with saliva and the sound of growling can be heard.

No. No I don't want to see this…

The vampire with black hair runs at the woman. She screams and tries to fight him off but it is pointless. He wraps his strong arms around her, rears his head back before burying his fangs into her unprotected throat. Her husband is attacked by a female vampire with flaming red hair.

"Lock the door!" shouts the man, "Lock the door!"

A familiar face appears at the car window. It is a little girl, her face pale with fright and her emerald eyes wide. She hastily locks the door and disappears from sight as she lies on the bottom of the car. I know she lies on the bottom of the car because that little girl is me.

I was only four when my parents were murdered by vampires.

The last screams of my dying parents fade as I am dragged away from the past. I am thrown back into my own body, in my own world, in the here and now, the present where the white lights don't exist.

Things have changed since I was here last. My body is now resting against the vampire's and his arms are around me, supporting me. I am crying. He looks different, the hungry glint I witnessed in his eyes early has vanished and I am left with nothing but a person who has seen my deepest, darkest secret. I am left with Christian. I am left with my soul mate.

"That was…" Christian begins quietly, "That was…intense. Those people, they were your parents?"

I nod, tears cascading down my cheeks. Christian looks guilty.

"Yes," I say emotionally, "I have been an orphan since I was four year old."

He continues to hold me. I realise that his hand is gently stroking my hair. I glance at his mouth. His fangs are still visible but he makes no move to use them.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me before, "Christian admits, "I usually kill and then move on to my next victim, never thinking of the consequences. Never thinking of the ones I hurt."

I look up at him in disbelief. His eyes are wide and honest, a ghost of the little boy's eyes.

"I don't feel remorse for what I have done to them," he says bitterly, "I can't. But I feel bad for what happened to you. I feel as if I'm somehow responsible, as if I've damaged the one soul I'm supposed to protect and cherish."

A cool breeze dries the tears on my cheeks. I hear the distant music coming from the club and I think of when life was simpler. I think of the time when I didn't have a vampire for a soul mate.

Christian smiles sadly. He leans forwards and kisses me. I respond to the kiss, kissing him back. His mouth is warm on mine. His fangs scrape my lips and release my blood. It trickles from my mouth into his and he pulls away from me. When I look at him again the hunger has returned to his eyes.

"I'm sorry," he says passionately, "I'm so, so sorry."

He starts to come towards me again, his intentions flashing in his ravenous eyes. His lips skim back from his teeth and they glint in the moonlight like the fangs of the vampire that killed my parents. I am scared, I feel four years old again and I feel so, so scared of the darkness…

"So am I," I say unemotionally as I whip the wooden stake out of my jacket pocket.

Christian doesn't even see it coming. He never expected that I was in the club, watching and waiting, hunting for a vampire. He had no idea I was waiting for him.

The stake slides through his chest and straight through his back, skewering his heart. Blood gushes over my hands but I keep them firmly on the stake. Christian's eyes widen in shock as he gurgles softly, blood dripping from his mouth. His eyes tell me everything I need to know.

He loves me. He loves me but he cannot help what he is. That is why he was going to kill me and that is why I have to kill him.

I rip the stake from his heart. He collapses on the floor. His body jerks a few times before it surrenders to that which it cannot fight. I watch as my soul mate dies, feeling as if it is my own heart bleeding. I bend down, running my hand over his eye lids to close them.

I give my life, my love, my soul mate one last glance before I stride out of the alley, leaving him in a pool of his own blood.

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