Damn, where did I put my extra memory card? I asked myself as I tore through my little backpack, trying to find a thin little card that was less than an inch wide. My camera was full, and I was power walking toward Broadway to cover another story.
This is what happens when work for a small weekly paper that nobody even reads. There were three full-time reporters, two part-time columnists, a blogger, a photographer, and three unpaid interns to cover everything. I was one of the full-time reporters that often doubled as a photographer, and my camera card was already full because I was on my third story of the day.
It was nine at night, and some lunatic was in Union Square preaching about vampires breading with their demon brethren, producing the evil that would bring about the apocalypse. As far as I know, vampires aren't related to demons, and I know for a fact that they can't reproduce. No, I'm not bedding one. I have a friend who is though, and the most exciting part for her was no babies and no STDs. I was terribly jealous a month ago, when I was crying over the fact that I had to get an HIV test because my ex is a moron, and couldn't keep it in his pants.
The street was pretty empty, even though it was only nine. Ever since the world discovered vampires, New Yorkers had been turning in earlier. They were all afraid of becoming a late night snack, and with good reason. Vampires are like anyone else; some are friendly, others smart, jokesters, playboys, and yes, some are evil, wretched scum. The difference was that they don't have to get a gun or a knife, they have fangs, and they have bloodlust. Vampires aren't always in control of themselves, and that's what makes them especially dangerous.
I moved over toward the side of a building, and concentrated on digging deeper. If I couldn't find a fresh memory card, I wasn't covering any story. I whipped my little backpack-purse off, and all but stuck my head into it, as if I could really see anything. Then I felt it, small, slim, and rectangular. I sighed in relief as my hand slid around it, and pulled it from my bag.
Suddenly something was on me. It came out of nowhere, arms around me, a hand over my mouth, and then we were gone. His fingers dug into my arm, as he held me in his tighter, painful grip.
So fast, oh god, he was moving so fast. He was flying. The sonofabitch was flying.
My stomach was in my throat, and my chest was heaving violently, trying to compensate for my terror. Oh god, oh god, I didn't know what to do. If I wriggled free, he'd drop me from who knew how many feet up, but if I didn't I was vampire food.
As if reading my mind, his grip tightened on me and he seemed to move faster. It was going too fast, I couldn't think of what to do, and I was trying not to panic. He was holding my arms plastered to my sides, so I couldn't even have the comfort of holding my pentacle. Shit, oh shit.
We dropped from the sky.
Then it was like he started speeding toward a building, so fast, so incredibly fast. It was getting closer and he wasn't slowing down. As we got within feet from the building, I squeezed me eyes shut. Then it felt like my stomach was going to come out my mouth.
He dropped again, and I opened my eyes just in time to see him dive into a hole in the ground. Finally he landed inside with a gentle thud. I heard two loud bangs and a chain jiggling, then he took his hand from my mouth. I stumbled and fell to my knees, vomiting on the floor.
"I don't think she enjoyed the ride," a man's nasally voice commented.
"Good, she'll be easy to break, but not too easy. I'd like a little fun," another man said, his voice deeper, smoother, almost sensual.
I finally looked up to see them, the two men talking about me. One was in black slacks and a black sweater, disturbingly similar to my own attire. His was more expensive, down to the shiny buffed shoes, and gold watch on his left wrist. The other guy was in jeans and a maroon t-shirt that proclaimed him 'lazy by choice'. His sneakers looked worn, so I was betting he was the nasal one, the lackey. Rolexman was the one who abducted me. And, they say only the lower classes commit crime.
I looked around the room, and I almost threw up a second time. Chains, so many chains. There was a set attached to the wall, to a bed, to the ceiling, and there were some strewn over a wooden box not far from the bed. It looked like a cheap homemade coffin from the 1700s. The bed was in the center of the room, not even ten feet from us, which meant that box was closer than I would have liked.
I grabbed the pentacle hanging around my neck, and squeezed it in my shaking hands. I called to the sun and the moon for their protection, and asked that they grant me strength to survive all those chains. I'm an independently practicing Wiccan, and these deities are what I chose six years ago to guide me. I trusted them now, though I was afraid. No, I was more than afraid. I was flat out terrified.
"What's she doing?" I heard the lackey ask, looking at me crouched on the floor, head bowed, eyes closed.
"I think she's praying," Rolexman answered.
"It's not going to work," the lackey croaked.
"She'll find that out soon enough," his boss answered.
"I suppose so…sucks to be her," the nasal voice answered.
"Leave now. We need to be alone," Rolexman instructed his highly obedient employee.
I remained where I was, speaking to the sun and the moon, trying not to panic. I heard him move behind me, his shoes slapping the floor gently. I scrambled up to my feet, and whipped around to face him, backing away. He smiled at me, as if he were pleased that I wasn't just going to give in, that I was going to fight. I swallowed painfully, and continued backing away from him as he moved closer to me. Eventually I was going to hit a wall, but until then I was happy to keep distance between us.
"What do you want?" I asked, my voice a little shaky, but at least not squeaky.
"You, Erin. Just you," he said softly.
I was startled, he knew my name, he must have been watching me. I fell my body tense, and my stomach burn with fear.
"Why?" I managed to ask.
He just smiled and lunged at me. I backed up quickly, but he got a grip on me. He was much faster, much stronger, and definitely larger than me. I kicked at him, and dug my nails into the arm that was wrapped around my waist. I screamed as loud as my lungs would let me, hoping there was someone in the building opposed to torture.
Suddenly, he released me. I stumbled back surprised, my chest heaving, my throat already raw from screaming. I stared at him, and tried to focus past my own pulse pounding in my ears. He licked his lips, and I saw two pale, delicate fangs glisten in his mouth. Oh yeah, I was dinner.
He lunged toward me again, and again I struggled with every ounce of strength in my body. Kicking, biting, pinching, screaming, hitting, whatever I could do, I did. My mind wasn't really working, self-preservation had kicked in and I was just acting. Just as I was bringing my knee up to get him in his highly delicate groin region, he released me again.
... ... ... ... ... ...
Hours later, I was still struggling to break free from him, but I was getting so tired. We'd been repeating the same dance for so long; he would grab me, I would struggle, and he was release me, only to grab me and start the whole thing over again.
I stumbled back again, trying to gulp in oxygen fast enough to keep up, and nearly chocking on it. My whole body was aching from the struggle, I could feel my muscles burning as I forced myself to keep moving. I felt hot, very hot. It felt like I had a fever, but it was just adrenaline coursing through me. My chest ached, and the open cuts on my hands and knees stung. Sweat plastered my hair to my head, and my blouse and skirt to my body. My pantyhose were ripped at the knees, and covered in runs, and I'd long ago lost my jacket and heels.
He was grinning at me. Dry and calm as could be, my abductor smiled like he was having a good time. I was scared to death, and seconds from running out of the energy to fight, but he was enjoying himself. He came at me again.
I jumped back, away from him, and tripped and fell to the floor. I tried to push myself up, but I couldn't do it. He walked toward me, and stood in front of me, towering above. I tried to push harder, more desperately, but I couldn't do it. I was too tired to move, my body refused to work anymore. My hands began to tremble, and my eyes began to water. I didn't know how to stop fighting, but I couldn't continue either. I felt weak, dizzy, and a little nauseous.
I collapsed to the ground, and lay there on my side, my heart still beating out of control, and my lungs burning with the struggle to keep working. I was so soaked with sweat, I could feel it running down my body. I'd gone as long as I was able, and now I could only lie there and accept defeat. I covered my face and cried into my hands, ashamed that I was giving up.
I tried to swat him away as he came to kneel beside me, but I didn't have the strength even for that. He took off my black sweater, as whimpered pathetically, and made attempts at smacking that came out more like petting. I expected him to dig his teeth into my neck, but he didn't. Instead, he removed my bra, rolling me almost gently to get it off.
He leaned toward my breasts and I felt his tongue slid over one and shivered. It wasn't a pleasurable shiver by any means. When his tiny fangs sunk into the soft tissue of my breast I screamed, but I didn't even have the energy to make it strong. I gasped and gagged as he sucked blood, his teeth still dug into my flesh.
His attack left me even weaker, wide-eyed, and struggling to breath. Tears were pouring down my face, but I didn't bother to wipe them away. The world had gone a little blurry, a little dark, and I let myself float away to the safe embrace of the moon and the sun. I didn't fight him when he removed the rest of my clothes, I couldn't fight him anymore.
When he finished with me, he placed thick shackles around my wrists and ankles, and pulled a smelly leather bag over my head. He picked me up, and put me inside of something wooden—the coffin-box. I was naked and moaning when he sealed me in darkness, and the sounds of chains jingling and locks clicking were the last thing I heard before I passed out.
... ... ... ... ... ...
I woke to the darkness of my box. It was my box, the only space I had where no one else entered. I didn't go into my box very often anymore, only when I misbehaved and Anthony forced me in. Sometimes though, when he wasn't around, I climbed in on my own, closed the lid, and tried to feel safe.
It was my box, no one else was allowed inside.
I don't know how long I've been here with Anthony, and his division of vampires. It was a long time though, longer than I ever thought I'd survive here. I was his slave, supplying him with what only a woman and a human good give him—sex and blood. I'd learned how to please him, to keep from being punished with his abuse. I had to fight a little and he'd be happy, he wouldn't hurt me too much. If I gave in too easily, he got pissed and out came the chains and the violence.
My box was his first punishment, and it was terrifying in the beginning, however long it was, but things changed eventually. I felt safer in my box. If I was out in his bedroom, he would be more inclined to take his anger out on me. If I was locked away in my box, he'd find it easier to throw a lamp, or beat on Sam, his nasally lackey. When the box wasn't working as well as he liked, he turned to the chains he sometimes used during sex.
I huddled in closer to myself, chilled from lack of attire. When he really wanted to punish me, he took my clothing and left me naked. Early tonight, I didn't fight him well enough, and because of that, he didn't get laid. That was reason enough for harsh punishment, at least for him. He'd put the hood on and chained me tonight too, more chains than usual, because he was pissed off at the world. It hurt like hell to sleep on them, and I'd have fresh bruises. That was good though, Anthony liked bruises. He was always proud of his work.
I cleared my head, and envisioned the moon and then the sun. I spoke to them as I did every time awoke, and asked for the strength to keep surviving. I plead for salvation from the hell I'd be dragged into, an end to Anthony's tyranny. I let my mind drift off to feel the warm rays of the sun beating down on my back. It was only in my head, but it still felt good. I hadn't felt the sun since he'd brought me here…and no light, no warmth; I couldn't have imagined what that would be like before now.
Anthony was the leader of his division, so he was allowed anything he wanted. If that was a human slave, why should they care? Any moral code they had left wasn't worth Anthony's wrath. Mostly I saw Sam, but others came in now and again. The male vampires generally ignored me, or sneered at me. The females tended to avert their eyes, as if only looking at me would make me real. Some of them sneered to. Anthony was their leader, and I was just a human, nothing more than food.
I was yanked out of the peaceful visions of sunshine in my mind by the sound of voices coming toward my box. I froze and pulled tighter into myself, not ready yet to bear another beating. The voices didn't sound right though. It was hard to hear them through the mask and the box, but it didn't sound like Anthony or his vampires.
The chains jingled around me, and I heard a loud crack, like they broke the lock. It couldn't be Anthony, he had a key, and it wasn't any of his vampires, they didn't have the balls to defy him. The chains clinked and jingled again as whoever it was pulled them off the box. I sensed the slightest difference in the light as the lid came off, and heard their voices clearly.
"Shit, it's a woman," a man's surprised voice exclaimed.
"His servant no doubt. Let her burn with everything else," another man suggested, his voice heavy with caution.
"No. Look she's chained, she isn't a willing servant, we can't let her die here," the first man said.
"Willing or not, she's connected to him. He controls her," the second man argued.
"When he dies, his control over her is broken, Puck," the first man insisted impatiently.
Suddenly hands were on the hood, I could feel the pressure of someone's fingers over my head. They yanked and pulled gently, removing the hood from my head. I curled tighter to myself, remaining silent, hoping they'd leave. I could feel it now that they were so close, they were vampires; they weren't Anthony's, but still vampires.
"Jesus," the first man breathed, surprised again.
"What?" Puck, the second man, wondered. I had the same question.
"Don't you recognize her?"
"No, should I?"
"That reporter that disappeared eleven months ago, from down by Union Square," the first man explained.
Apparently, my abduction had made the news. I didn't know if that would be good for me or hurt me. I didn't make a noise, didn't move.
"Really? Well…yeah, she does look like her," Puck agreed.
"We need keys to open the shackles," the first man said.
"Yeah, those will be easy to find," Puck answered.
"You look, I'll get her out of there. If we need to, we can break them," Puck's friend suggested.
I heard one of them, probably Puck, walk away, and then suddenly, hands were on me. I began to wriggle and fight him, which was difficult with the chains. Chains came out from the ones around my waist to hook to the shackles around my wrists and ankles, just like a high security criminal, but worse. Still, I thrashed around as best I could with the heavy chains around me.
"Easy, easy Erin. I'm not going to hurt you, I want to get you out of here," he tried to soothe me. He didn't just remember my face, he remembered my name, and I wondered why.
"No! Don't touch me!" I exclaimed, even as he got his arms around me, and lifted, scooping me out of the box. He was a vampire; I didn't trust him.
He laid me on the ground beside my box just as the door burst open again, and another man came in. I didn't look, I curled into myself, bowing my head and hiding my face.
"Puck, Finn, what's taking so long. We have to go, sunrise is coming, and they're already setting the fires," a man's voice admonished them.
"We need keys," Puck explained.
"For what?" The third man asked. Finn moved away from me.
"Oh shit, what's that?"
"We're guessing his unwilling servant," Finn explained.
"He controls her, leave her. Let her burn," the new man insisted.
"No, when he dies, so will his control over her," Finn said.
"So you hope. Let her burn, and hurry the hell up, we've got to go," the other man demanded. I hurt feet charge down the hallway, and assumed he left.
"Puck, keys?" Finn's voice asked, almost pleadingly.
"I don't see any," Puck answered. Finn moved away, and I could hear them both moving around the room searching.
I don't know how long it was, but I began to smell the fire the other man had spoke of. I could hear crackling. They were really torching Anthony's urban palace. I felt happiness for the first time in so long, it brought tears to me eyes.
"Shit. We're out of time, Finn. We have to go, now," Puck said, a tinge of desperation in his voice.
"I know," Finn responded, jogging over to me. He went to touch me again, and I scrambled away.
"Don't touch me," I hissed at him.
"I won't hurt you, I just want to get you out of here before that fire comes," he said.
"No. Leave me here. Let me burn," I echoed his companions words, still tucked into myself.
"What?" He sound so surprised.
"Let. Me. Burn," I said, finally looking up.
Brown eyes. Soft brown eyes were what I saw first, followed by messy brown hair that rested just below the tops of his ears. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, like you'd expect from any twenty-something.
"You want to die?" He asked, confusion and horror in his eyes.
"Yes." My voice was almost drowned out by the sounds of flames crackling and roaring closer, not into the room yet, but nearby.
"Finn, we have to go now. The sun is coming!" Puck insisted frantically.
Finn's head whipped toward him, before turning back toward me. "Why, why would you want to die?"
"Freedom," I said softly.
There was a crack, and something down the hall fell, eaten by the fire.
"Finn, now!" Puck yelled.
Finn grabbed me and lifted me into his arms again, and I twisted and wiggled trying to get loose.
"No! No! Don't touch me! Don't touch me! Please don't touch me!" I pled frantically. I didn't want to go with more vampires, I just wanted to die in this fire.
"I promise that I won't hurt you, but I can't leave you here," Finn said desperately, following Puck toward the window. He held me tight to his body as Puck raised the window, and jumped out, disappearing into the waning night.
"No! Leave me! Please leave me here," I begged desperately, tears streaming down my face.
Finn didn't say anything, but gripped my tighter, and went through the window. He should have fallen, but he didn't.
For the second time, I was forcibly held in the embrace of a vampire as he flew through the night sky.
Theoretically this is a first chapter, so I would really appreciate criticism on it. Thanks for reading!