Author's note: Well, there you go, a new original fiction. I hope you enjoy this fic, and I am deeply sorry if there are any grammatical or spelling error, I've tried my best to proofread this. So, Hayley's POV is written by Vione, while Strauss's POV is written by me, elfrances (with the help of Vione). Enjoy! You could see their picture in my profile.


CHAPTER ONE: INCEPTION

Hayley Brown

She brought me to the Church. She said I should bring myself closer to God. Yeah, whatever. As if that could happen to me. I was a heathen already and I couldn't care less.

"Hayley," my so-called mother said. "Pray to God with all your heart and you will be saved."

I nodded solemnly, only to make her happy. I scrutinized my mother who was praying with all her heart with her eyes closed. Her long red hair was fixed in a braid. She had heart shaped face and pale complexion. Her full red lips only added her perfection even more. Her clear green eyes that made her look so sincere was what that attracted my father to her in the first place. However, she was actually a vixen, and I was glad that I resembled nothing of her.

The others finished praying and began singing a hymn to praise the mighty God. I just sat there motionlessly; I didn't know what to do. The last time I went to a Church was three years ago when I was fourteen. Ever since, I never went to a Church again. It's not like something bad happened to me. Maybe I just lost my faith that day.

I sat there, watching the others pray, watching like a moron. I didn't belong here, nor would I ever belong here. I had no faith at all, and would never have any faith to religion.

"Hayley, can't you please stop fretting? This is a Church. You're supposed to pray, not fretting like this." My mother sighed, a sigh she often let out when she was telling people about my faults. I used to feel bad when she did this, but not anymore.

I nodded meekly, not making any effort to do as she said. She shook her head in defeat and returned to whatever she was doing before.

I closed my eyes. Even if I prayed to God, I would still end up in hell. Why should I even bother repenting for my sin? If sinner could never end up in Heaven, then nobody would end up in there. Every single person in this world had sin, so why bother praying?

After the Communion was finished, I dashed out of the Church in a hurry, leaving my mother behind. It was customary of her to talk with other people first and be the last few people left there. I couldn't stand being inside that place any longer, so I opted for waiting in the car.

They said that a devil wouldn't be able to stand in a place blessed with holy water, that they would be burned if they tried entering the place. Now maybe I was the devil herself. Haha.

I climbed into the driver seat of my old beat up truck and immediately closed the door. I put on the stereo and Paramore blared from the speaker. I sat there, watching people coming out from the Church. I could see little kids smiling at their parents, or couples who looked exceptionally happy. I closed my eyes and leaned against the car seat, trying to block those images. I knew there was something wrong with me, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

The sound of the passenger door being opened almost made me jump. It was only my mother. We drove home in silence, none of us bothered to fill the empty silence.

"How was school?" she asked, finally breaking the silence.

"It's fine," I replied. It was always like this, two strangers unwillingly trying to know each other better. It wasn't like this when I was younger. Time really did change people.

I dropped her off in front of our two-story house. I told her I was meeting Megan, my best friend. I watched her as she entered the house, my eyes fixed on the BMW parked at the front porch. It was my father's. I loathed my house, especially when both my parents were home.

My house was like a showcase, with those see-through glasses replacing the front wall of the house. It was like living in a doll house, and the people living inside were Barbie and Ken. The house was beautiful actually, but it was too surreal for me to call it home. It was a house, but not home. People could see what we were doing in our house; it was like we had no privacy at all on the first floor of our house. Blame my father for that.

For strangers, my house looked so perfect, with a beautiful house and a family living in harmony: a calm father working as an architect who designed our own house, an outgoing journalist as a mother, and two perfect daughters. The older sister was a very beautiful and gentle girl, while the little sister was a charming and smart girl. That was my family from the eyes of an outsider: a perfect loving family. Little did they know how broken the little perfect loving family was.

I completely hated my family, except my sister who was three years older than me. My sister was the one who kept my sanity all this time; she was the one who helped me through the ups and downs of life.

I didn't go to Megan's place. I knew she had a date with her boyfriend, and I wouldn't want to impose. I thought of going to Reynald's place. Reynald was my boyfriend, and my best friend. However, I decided against it in the end. I wanted to be in a solitary place, not a place where I had to smile to please someone.

My cell vibrated, and I answered it immediately without looking at the caller ID. "Hello."

"Hayley? Oh, please tell me you don't have any plan for today. You see, Marcus fell sick and I had to visit my mother. There's nobody else to look after the store while I'm gone, and you see, my mother will be very mad at me if I –"

"Jeez, I'll come now, Susan, no need to yell," I said as I turned my car around to the direction of Suncrest bookstore.

"Thank you, Hayley, you're such a lifesaver!" she said and hung up. Susan was my employer, the owner of Suncrest bookstore. She was a plump woman in her fifties, with two sons away in college. Her husband died of heart attack three years ago. Since then, she managed the store all by herself.

I skidded to a stop once I saw the familiar yellow sign of Suncrest bookstore. So much for my sulking at the corner of somewhere. I parked my car and immediately got out of it.

Susan was at the counter, waving frantically at me. "Finally! Thanks a lot, Hayley, I owe you big time. I'll be back before six, please look after the store till then. Bye!" She ran out of the store, her eyes fixed on her wristwatch.

I sighed, putting on the ugly yellow apron with the bookstore emblem on it: an opened book and a sun. The apron was the only bad thing about this place. I had been working in this bookstore since I was fifteen, and I was glad to say that not many people went to the bookstore, so it wasn't such a busy job.

I sat on the stool, humming a familiar tune to myself. I noticed an opened book on the floor which seemed to be Susan's. She had a habit of leaving her books everywhere. I bent down to pick it up and I was right, it was Susan's. I looked at the title: Mental Illness. Jeez, what was she doing reading books like this? However, the title of the book intrigued me, and I began flipping through the pages.

"Excuse me, may I get a discount on this book? It's very dusty and pretty worn-out." I tilted my head to see a reddish brown haired man standing in front of the counter with a very dusty book in his hands. He put the book on the table, causing the dust to be blown everywhere.

"Let me clean that first," I said, taking a tissue to wipe the dust off the book. I recognized the title of the book immediately. I remembered joking to Susan about the book, that only a rue art fanatic or a psycho would buy the book. She only ordered twenty copies of the book and so far we only managed to sell three of them in the last two years. The book contained disturbing images. I knew because I had a copy of it too, which ended up as a present for presents exchange during Christmas last year. Whoever got that book was very unlucky.

"Can I get a discount or not? I demand for one," he insisted.

"Unfortunately, the owner is away so I can't just give you a discount," I explained.

"Come on, this book is worn out already." He was indignant, and I knew that he wouldn't back down. I sighed in defeat and dialed Susan's number from the phone on the counter. She wasn't answering her cell. Dang.

"The owner isn't answering her cell and I know that you won't back down either. I'll just give you an employee's discount, okay?" I was tired of arguing, I wanted my peace back. This wasn't such a fortunate day for me.

He seemed pleased by my offer. "Fine by me," he said easily. I glanced up to take a better look of him. His eyes were a brilliant shade of green, very tantalizing. He was tall, around 6'2, and it seemed that he was barely walking out under the sun since his skin was sickly pale.

"What do you want this book for, anyway?" I asked him as I scanned the barcode, entering my employer's ID for the discount.

"It's … for my assignment," he replied rather nervously. I looked up and found him looking at the yellow wall behind me, as if something about that color fascinated him.

"That'll be nineteen bucks, please," I said as I took a paper bag for his book. I didn't realize that there was a cutter near the paper bag, and I ended up with a cut on my finger. It was no big deal and it didn't hurt at all. "Here is your purchase. Thanks for shopping here and please come again," I said, giving him my best smile.

I was taken aback when I saw him looking at my bleeding finger. He stared intently at it, as if it was a very interesting thing to look at. I took a tissue and quickly wrapped it around my bleeding finger. He seemed to finally regain his composure, snapping back to reality.

"Thanks, just take the change," he mumbled as he took the paper bag and dashed out of the store in a hurry. What a weird guy.


Strauss Lockhart

The music blasted throughout the crowded bar: bodies grinding against each other, people were making out here and there though they had just known each other minutes ago. Girls with revealing clothes were dancing to the beat, giving the guys a good view. Drugs were everywhere in this place, and soon, the raping would take place.

I was sitting alone at the counter, sipping my liquor when someone approached me with a smile.

"Hi, handsome. Drinking alone?" A female voice rang in the middle of the loud music.

I looked at her lazily, scanning her from head to toe. Sexy would describe her best. Her long, wavy, brown hair matched her dark eyes. She sat beside me, purposely giving me a full view of her tanned thighs. "Hard day, huh?" she chuckled as she examined my droopy eyes.

I simply nodded and continued enjoying my liquor. She smiled and began her move. She snaked her hands to my back, massaging my shoulder. I looked back at her again. This time, she gave me a suggestive look that I knew too well.

We went to her apartment by taxi. Once we're there, she jumped to me, kissing me hard. We entered her room, and I lay on her bed with her on top of me. She unbuttoned my shirt fast and then unbuckled my belt. I lay unmoving, letting her do all what she wanted.

"This is not your first time, isn't it?" she chortled. I ignored her and shut my eyes, I felt rather dizzy from the liquor earlier.

She'd fully undressed me by now. "Your turn," she whispered. I sat up with her help and began removing her pink dress. We proceeded to the intimate stage. Sweat moistened both our bodies and the room was filled with the moans of two aroused people. I nibbled her lower lip hard, harder than I planned. She moaned loudly at first. However it soon became a shriek. It's not because of the love making, but because of the fear she felt as her blood dripped out little by little from her swollen lips. I sucked her blood, and sucked it more so it wouldn't stop flowing into my mouth… so it could thoroughly quench my thirst for her blood.

"AAR!"

That's when I stopped everything. I watched her confoundedly. My mouth gaped, I was aware of my previous foolish action. I cursed myself and left her hurriedly, before she could call a cop for sexual abusing.

***

I opened my eyes and found myself still clad in last night's clothes, lying on my bed. The noon sunlight was already trickling into my dark room from the curtained window in a small stream. I got up and went to the bathroom to clean myself.

I was sharing an apartment with my friend, Paris, who was out until next two days. The place was pretty small for two guys living in it, but fortunately, there's not even a single trash at the place. I was kind of lucky getting Paris, a clean freak, as a roommate. Not that, I was dirty myself, but some people didn't even bother to clean their own room.

I opened the refrigerator and took out a carton of milk. I walked to the balcony and watched the kids playing at the park. I drank the milk straight from the carton till the last drop and squeezed the box afterwards.

"Huff… What do I do now?" I sighed. I needed something to do, waking up in the afternoon made me feel horrible, like I had missed the good time in the morning.

I decided to go out, enjoying the time until the sun set. I changed my short pants into jeans and put on a leather jacket. I took my Harley and went out, driving aimlessly along the road.

Suncrest was just a small, happy town. I moved to the town not long ago, in order to free myself from my demanding family. The town almost had everything, except airport and harbor. They had schools, from kindergarten to university, which I was attending now as a sophomore, in the art department.

I drove until I saw a dull yellow sign of a store. It said Suncrest Bookstore. I had to say that the town was somewhat boring, too. Because all the places in this town had a 'Suncrest' word attached to their names; Suncrest High School, Suncrest University, Suncrest Café, Suncrest Theater. They're certainly not creative, huh?

I parked my Harley at the parking lot and went inside the bookstore. The store was comfortable and loaded with books. As I entered the sliding door, a plump woman greeted me with a warm smile. I smiled back to her and began exploring the store.

I walked to the art section and scanned the books they had and then flipped each of them open (one of the reasons why I said the place was comfortable was because they had unwrapped books displayed). Nothing interested me until I saw a dusty book, placed at the lowest row of the cabinet.

"Finally! Thanks a lot, Hayley, I owe you big time. I'll be back before six, please look after the store till then. Bye!"

I looked at the entrance and saw the plump owner ran out of the store. Was she in a hurry? The 'Hayley' girl who had just come in was wearing her apron now. She had a shoulder-length blond hair, and seemed tired and annoyed.

I turned away from her and looked for the book I saw earlier. There it was, dusty and old. I took the book out and read the name of the book. Art of Malady.The name somehow caught my attention. The cover was plain black, like those old books, simple yet captivating. I flipped the book open and my eyes widened. I saw many portraits and descriptions in it. Some people might say these portraits were disturbing while I found it fascinating.

I flipped more pages and subsequently saw a nude, headless woman holding a beautiful baby. I closed the book and looked at the price. You've got to be kidding me, $24.99 for a dusty, worn-out book? I searched for the same book which was better in shape, but all of them were the same. How long had these books been deserted here?

Nevertheless, I took the book to the cashier where the girl was now reading some kind of book.

"Excuse me, may I get a discount on this book? It's very dusty and pretty worn-out." I said as I put the book on table.

The girl tilted her head to look at me and then to the book. "Let me clean that first," she said nonchalantly and for some reason she stopped for a while, as if thinking of something.

"Can I get a discount or not?" I snapped her out from her trance. "I demand for one," I added.

She abruptly turned to me and said, "Unfortunately, the owner is away so I can't just give you a discount."

Was she saying that I had to pay a high price for a worn-out book? "Come on. This book is worn out already," I disgruntled.

She sighed and dialed her boss' number from the phone on the counter. I crossed my hand, waiting for her answer. It had been half a minute and she was still waiting for the phone to be answered. Don't tell me her boss ain't answering.

She finally hung up the phone and said, "The owner isn't answering her cell and I know that you won't back down either." I raised one of my eyebrows. "I'll just give you an employee's discount, okay?"

I stared at her. She's surely a good employee. "Fine by me," I said, giving her a little smile. She glanced at me again and ignored my smile. "What do you want this book for, anyway?" She suddenly questioned me as she scanned the barcode and entered her employer's ID.

I froze. I couldn't possibly tell her that this book mesmerized me. She would consider me a freak then. I answered her hesitantly, "It's…" I shifted my eyes from her. "…for my assignment." Great, what kind of assignment is that?

"That'll be nineteen bucks, please," Luckily, she believed my lie. I took out my purse as she took a bag for my book. I searched for the money and when I was handling her the money, I stopped… for I saw it, that substance that I craved most, the one that kept haunting me, even in my sleep.

Blood…

I saw her blood, trickling down from the deep cut on her finger. My heart started thumping loudly. I slowly put the money on the table; blood was rushing all over my body now, waking up the evil side of me. My lips trembled; I wanted to drink the red liquid desperately… How would her blood taste? I could feel a watery liquid secreted in my mouth, dampening my maw.

She said something but I didn't pay attention to her. I was too absorbed with the scene. I could picture myself kissing her soft skin, tasting the red wine I cherished most with the desire to draw more out of her, while she screamed for help and writhed in pain, begging not me to suck the daylight out of her. I took a slow and deep breath; hoping the scent could reach my nostril, yet it didn't. I couldn't take it anymore. I need her blood!

Before I could lean to her finger closer, she quickly covered her finger with a tissue. I shut my eyes hard, trying to regain my sanity. What the hell was I thinking? I swallowed my saliva and took a deep breath to calm my heart down, but it didn't help calming my hunger. I snatched the bag and mumbled a 'thanks' to her and then left without taking the change.

Once I was back to my apartment, I went straight to my room and grabbed a cutter. The thirst still lingered in my mouth. I folded my sleeve up, revealing many cuts on my hand. Yes, I'd done this many times before. Slowly, I pierced my white flesh, causing the dark liquid to flow out elegantly. I licked and sucked it, tasting the sweet flavored cherry fluid. I sat down on the floor, closing my eyes.

God, I need more…

To be continued.


THE REVIEW BUTTON SURE IS BEAUTIFUL NOW, ISN'T IT?