Beyond the Sunset

This story and characters, locations, and anything else contained herein belongs to MM/Spleefmistress. Resemblance to real-life persons, either living or dead, are entirely coincidental.

Welcome to 'Beyond the Sunset', my vampire novel! I see this story as a step to achieving my dreams as a published novelist. When you are reading and enjoying this story, keep in mind that I crave feedback. If you see an area that could use expanding on or improvement, or something you would like to see, a question you would like to have answered, or just a observation, do not hesitate to use the review feature or email me at regina_noctem AT yahoo dot com.

The reason why I ask for this is because this is the first original novel that I have published online, and before I seek out a actual publisher to turn this into a book, I want to receive as much feedback as I can so that I can hone my writing abilities and learn what I should do more of, and what I should do less.

Please enjoy my writing!

o0o0o

Under the cover of darkness, a lone thief ran through the alleys, cradling his ill-gotten gains under his hooded sweatshirt. He chuckled to himself at just how easy that had been. It was a classic...the break in the window and grab whatever caught his fancy before the police would have time to respond. These little mom-and-pop stores were easy targets for one such as him, since he had no scruples whatsoever about striking at hardworking businessmen who kept their neighborhoods alive through their efforts.

He truly was a selfish person, never having done anything for anybody in his entire life unless it benefited him in a significant way. Despite efforts to correct this behavior throughout his adolescence, he was so willfully self-centered that he was willing to rob a little jewelry store in the neighborhood that he had grown up in. But this certainly wasn't the worst thing he had ever done in his life.

When the alley he entered turned into a darker and narrower one, he finally stopped to catch his breath. Only when it calmed did he decide to look at his prize. It was hard to get a good look at them, but the glints he did see made him grin. The fence would without a doubt pay him decently for such a haul. That money he would earn would last a lot longer than what he had made last time.

Sucking in gulps of cool air, the thief's eyes roamed over the large bag full of diamonds and gems before chuckling to himself. Stupid old bitch. Didn't she know better than to have a little shop full of jewelry out in the open ready for the taking? Well, it was the stupidity of other people that was so beneficial for someone like him! Well, it didn't matter. It was his now, and it was going to put him on easy street. Fine wine, nice clothes, a fast car, and faster whores. He'd have it made – as long as the money didn't run out, at least. He was never able to hold onto his money for too long, so he was prepared to make bigger hits...

...For some strange reason, he felt as if he were no longer alone in that dank alley. He didn't know why, but he felt an animal-like terror all of a sudden, the urge to run pounding through his body. Slowly turning around with the bag to his chest, he met a pair of bright hazel eyes.

"I believe that these items do not belong to you." the stranger stated disdainfully. His vampiric senses picked out the small things that humans would have missed, and identified the thief by these small indications as a person who was fully aware of what he was doing, and didn't give a damn otherwise.

Unnerved by the young man whose eyes seemed able to read a person's soul, his free hand slowly moved to the gun in his pocket.

"I don't know who the fuck you are, and I don't know what you're talking about." he stated firmly, his hand steady as he held the gun. With a speed that could not be human, the man found himself grabbed and dragged further into the shadows, the younger man having a strength that seemed inhuman.

That screaming terror raced through the thief's body as he struggled to aim his gun properly, petrified by the blinding speed and strength the young man exhibited. He aimed for the chest and three shots rang out through the cold, dark night. Expecting to see him disabled at least and perhaps even slain outright, the crook's dull brown eyes reflected amazed horror as his assailant remained unharmed, a disdainful look in his eyes.

In his hand were three bullets, plucked out of midair almost as if by magic. This youth – at least he assumed it was one due to the smooth lips and jawline – slowly shook his head, staring at the bullets for a few moments before slipping them into his jacket. Without warning, he bared his fangs – wait a minute, fangs? What the hell – going for the older man's jugular.

The scream that burst out of the thief's mouth died with a whimper, as he felt himself growing more and more light-headed. He was so stunned that it took him a while to realize that he was being drained dry, and he lifted his hands – one of them still clutching to the bag – and tried to beat away his attacker even as he became nauseous from the disorientation.

Only when every single sense he possessed told him that the thief was dead did the younger man let the corpse slump to the ground. He dropped to his haunches, lifting the man's chin to examine the wound on his neck. Quickly biting his own thumb, the hazel-eyed man let two drops of blood fall on the dead man's flesh – one for each puncture. The small holes in the grimy skin quickly closed up, healing instantly and offering no evidence to indicate the cause of his death.

The bag remained in the man's hand and the gun lay nearby, offering evidence and an answer to the theft. Without so much as a second glance, the survivor of the encounter left the corpse where it laid, to be among the rest of the trash and filth where it belonged.

The young man stalked down the alley silently, becoming nothing more than a shadow in the darkness.

Only after he had traveled many blocks did he slow down, taking a more relaxed pace as if he were someone out for a casual stroll. His shaggy hair covered much of his face and he kept his head slightly turned down, ever aware of his surroundings. When he came to a park – the play equipment completely devoid of children at this hour – he settled down on a bench, feeling the warmth in his belly spread through his veins with new – albeit temporary – life.

The young vampire stiffened as he felt a familiar presence approach. Rather than go on the defensive, he relaxed, allowing the person to approach him. Out of the shadows came a older man, his hair slate-gray and combed back, his light brown eyes scrutinizing the younger male before he gave a slow nod. The younger man continued to sit, though he nodded back slowly.

The older man knew that the youth before him had already fed. That was the entire purpose of these late-night wanderings. As always, he didn't like the fact that the younger man had to feed this way, but at least the so-called Dark Gift was being used for a better purpose than most used it for.

"That's one less thug this city needs to worry about, and we thank you for it. It's so cold out here. Why don't we go home?" he asked calmly in a tone that was not at all patronizing. The youth knew that there was a car nearby, waiting for them. With what seemed like a noncommittal shrug, he rose from the bench, sticking his hands in the pockets of his black jacket. Not a word was exchanged as they walked to and entered the town car. He sat down in stony silence, and the older man shook his head slowly as the chauffeur, a loyal servant and unaware of the youth's special 'abilities' – only that he was a odd person – started the vehicle. The privacy screen slid up from the back of the front seat as the older man pressed a button.

As the vehicle sped along the roads, the youth stared ahead blankly after brushing some of his chocolate-colored hair away from his face. He was aware of the older man's concerns – but at this point, he didn't feel like caring. His view of his own future was fatalistic to the point where he dared not hope for anything. He might be using his gift for good, but he couldn't help but liken himself to the shoemaker who had no shoes of his own. No matter how much good he did for others, he couldn't bring himself that peace that his prey's would-be victims were given when they realized they were now safe.

And who did he have to thank for this unnatural life? A person who he had trusted and admired. His blood boiled with rage at the mere thought of his sire. How fitting a term for him, as he was that to the youth in all senses of the word.

The older man sighed softly as he glanced at his companion, knowing that the youth was in one of his dismal moods.

"How about some tea when we get home?" he asked. Tea was one of the few things that the younger male could still ingest. He was met with that silent gaze for several moments before being given a nod.

"Aidan..." the older man said, his voice laden with paternal concern, more concern than Aidan had ever heard from his own father, "Please don't be like this. You have your health and sanity. You're using your gift for something good. No matter what happened to you... you have a heart." he said. The hazel-eyed man scowled and kept looking down.

"That doesn't matter. I'm going to be alone for the rest of my life. What woman would want... a scarred monster? I have the rest of eternity to look forward to, unless I end myself."

"Never say that, even in jest." The older man's tone became sharp and firm. "Do not even consider such an act. Destroying yourself will do you no good."

To this, Aidan let out a short and harsh laugh. "You have no idea what it's like. Being me." he said bitterly, "People like being around you. And you have your companion too."

"If you were to make an effort, I am confident that you would find those who would enjoy your company as well."

"Don't bother." Aidan replied with a firm shake of his head. "People see this..." he said, gesturing to the scar that marred much of the right side of his face, "And besides, I can't let anyone get close. Not with being like this. This isn't a gift, it's a fucking curse." He had never even seen any woman that he might even consider taking as his mate. And he was sure that if he did find a girl he liked, she would turn away once she found out what he was, if his scar didn't scare her off first.

"It is only a curse if you make it one." the older man replied, placed a comforting hand on Aidan's shoulder., "Think of all the good you do. Think of the many souls who owe their well-being and even their lives to your selflessness and bravery. The world isn't as shallow as you think. Who knows what will come to you if you allow yourself to remain open to the possibilities?"

"I hope you're right." Aidan murmured softly, buoyed slightly by his mentor's words as he leaned back, resting his head against the window as he stared outside.