This story, Dark Blood, is an original work but is heavily influenced by many vampire and werewolf movies. Be warned that I am only a casual writer. Don't expect a masterpiece, but I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Also, any constructive criticism is welcome, please help me make any improvements!

-Lauren "Ricochet" May

Anthony Matthews walked through the crowded streets as gracefully as a ghost, his black trench coat swishing in his wake. It was night but he wore dark sun glasses to conceal his unnatural electric blue eyes. It did not impede his vision at all. His short black hair had a Romanesque appearance. His skin was very fair; it hadn't seen the sun in many, many centuries. Under his coat he wore black BDUs, black boots, and a dark gray tee-shirt that accentuated his well defined torso.

People glanced warily at Anthony but never spared a second look, assuming he was a typical 'goth freak'. But in fact Anthony was the real thing. He had once been known as Antonius Metellus and was well over seventeen hundred years old. Anthony was a vampire. Vampires were a small race. Anthony was one of about five hundred in the world. They had spread all over the planet in past century but tended to remain in groups, mostly in large cities where they could blend with mortals more easily.

The oldest and most persistent problem Anthony and his kind faced was the unavoidable need for blood. It had long ago been forbidden for a vampire to feed off of an unwilling mortal. Some had overcome this problem by finding humans willing to be food source in exchange for money, food, and housing. These humans, known as Donors or sometimes 'Blood Banks', had contracts with their vampiric benefactors. Most would be free to go after a set period of time. Others, specifically chosen, would be turned and become vampires themselves.

Anthony however had never utilized a Donor. The idea of biting into some one's neck still turned his stomach. For centuries he had survived off the blood of livestock, but in recent years a new option had become available to him. He had access to a Red Cross warehouse where a massive supply of donated blood was 'guarded' by the night watchman, a vampire named Daniel.

Daniel was quite young by vampire standards. He had been turned in the late nineteen twenties. But despite the massive time gap, he was one of only a few vampires Anthony kept in regular contact with. Daniel didn't look the part of a vampire with shaggy blond hair, a skinny build, and wearing the black and white uniform of a security guard. The only indication was, like all their kind, his eyes. Like Anthony, he wore sunglasses to hide them. Daniel had the appearance of a nineteen year old, and always would, just as Anthony would forever look the age at which he was turned, twenty-five.

"Hey, Anthony. You're early." Daniel greeted.

"Let's just get this over with, Daniel."

Anthony and Daniel entered the warehouse, completely aware of every security camera and careful to stay out of their view. Anthony picked up a blood bag and read the label. Blood type meant virtually nothing, but things like medications the donor was on could be vital. Not only did drug-laced blood taste even worse than clean blood, it could kill a vampire. The preservatives in donated blood were bad enough. Having found a satisfactory bag, Anthony pulled a knife from his belt and slit it open, pouring the contents into a large thermos.

"Make it last. If too many of these go missing, the humans will notice. I'll lose the job and we'll both lose our free meals." Daniel warned.

"Don't worry. I won't be back until next week."

"See you then. And don't forget, the Convening is being held in this city. About a month to go."

Anthony gave a nod and moved on.

Anthony returned to the small apartment where he had resided for thirty years. It was very basic with very few ornamental items and only the essentials. One reason for this was that it was somewhat difficult to make money as a creature of the night. He put the thermos of fresh blood into the otherwise empty refrigerator and flipped on the TV.

"Another body was found mutilated last night in an alley off of Ninth Street," said a news reporter, "The man has not been identified but police say he appeared to have been in his mid to late thirties, Caucasian, and may have worked in the construction industry. He is the latest in a string of brutal killings in the past year which now stands at nine victims. Like the previous eight bodies this victim appears to have been mauled by a very large animal, but police have no leads on where this animal may have come from or where it is now. They advise the public to use extreme caution while traveling at night and to carry pepper spray or something similar as a repellent. Well, be ready for a chilly weekend, the first snow of the season could be on its way. Here's Ted Miller with the weather. Ted?"

Anthony turned off the TV. He had been following this story for sometime and the details disturbed him. He had seen attacks identical to these ones many, many years ago in Europe. He thought the culprits had been eliminated but this made him wonder.

Leaving the apartment again, Anthony walked a short distance down the street and into a popular nightclub. The club was packed with humans dancing to deafening techno music. Anthony made his way directly to the back of the club and into the owner's office as quickly as he could.

"Anthony! Welcome, my friend!" a large, suit wearing man with a Russian accent greeted.

"Hello, Dmitri."

"What brings you here tonight?"

"Have you heard from the Council?"

"About the Convening? Yes, yes, it will be held here as I said."

"Dmitri, what do you know about the maulings in the city recently?"

"I have not paid much attention to be truthful. I doubt any of us have anything to fear from a mere animal."

"You were there during the Eradication, weren't you? You were a soldier, like me."

"Yes, but that was long ago, I am no longer the fighter I once was. The downside of wealth, eh?" Dmitri was patting his bulbous belly.

"Don't these attacks remind you at all of those ones? They are identical Dmitri."

"It is impossible, dear friend. They are dead, no more. Now, why don't you stay awhile, Anthony, have a drink, dance, enjoy yourself."

"No thanks."

"Look at yourself, you hide away in that apartment cave of yours and obsess about long dead enemies and what it was to be human. We are immortal, my friend! We will live forever! Do really wish to spend eternity toiling alone? Enjoy this!"

"It doesn't matter."

"I don't believe you appreciate this gift you were given."

"Gift? You call this a gift? The disease robbed me of my family, of everything I had! I had a wife and two young children. Then I returned home like this. My children feared me. Do you have any idea what it is like to reach out to hold your son only to have him cower in fear and run from you? My wife, whom I loved, banished me from our home and I never saw any of them again. I lost everything, Dmitri. So forgive me if I am not so grateful of this 'gift' as you."

"I am sorry, my friend. But you are one of the oldest of our kind. All of that happened nearly two thousand years ago!"

"That is our real curse isn't it? Having to remember things that happened centuries ago as if it were yesterday? I can never forget their faces. And can never simply embrace what took them away from me."

"I suppose that is your right." Dmitri said with a sigh.

"Goodbye, Dmitri. I will see you at the Convening."

The Convening was an event that took place every hundred years. Every vampire in the world gathered in a city decided by the Council. It lasted only one night. At this time business was done, laws written, and decisions made. It was also during the Convening that one or two carefully selected Donors were turned and joined the vampire ranks.

A month passed. The night of the Convening had arrived. Anthony once again walked to Dmitri's nightclub. But tonight it was not a club, it was the Council Hall. Heavily armed vampires guarded every entrance and exit but let Anthony pass without question. He was well known in the vampiric ranks. Age was directly linked to status. Inside were hundreds of Anthony's kind from every continent, culture, and era. At the head were the five members of the Council: Lord Jonathan, Lord Malcolm, Lady Ming, Lord Kazi, and Lady Freja. Despite the massively crowded room, it was surprisingly quiet.

"Greetings my brothers and sisters," Lord Malcolm addressed, "This Convening marks the fifteen-hundredth year since this Council's establishment. Many of you were there. Tonight we will continue to strengthen the structure that has allowed us to survive for so long. Let the Convening commence."

For hours various subjects were discussed, from the creation of more convincing and in-depth false identities to the acquisition more property in the United States. Finally Anthony spoke up with his own concern.

"Esteemed Council, over the past year in this city there has been a series of killings. They appear to be maulings, but it is not likely the work of an animal, at least not an animal as mortals know them. Is it possible that a werewolf could have escaped the Eradication and made it to America?"

"We are aware of these attacks, but there has not been even the slightest sign of the werewolf species since the Eradication. The Council sees no reason to peruse the matter, Anthony." Lady Freja told him

Dmitri leaned over and whispered, "I told you there was nothing to worry about."

"I'm not so sure. I've spent more time than any of the Council members fighting werewolves. All the signs are there."

"Do not question the council, my friend, that is most unwise."

Anthony remained quiet the rest of the night, but his mind never drifted far from the serial killings. He was convinced they were the work of a werewolf, and he was going to prove it.

Well there you have Chapter One! Hope you enjoyed it! Please review!