When you have lived as long as I have you tend to appreciate the beauty in life, the finer things; for you know that they cannot always last. My companions tease my love of glamour, for they do not see what I do. Neither Seth nor Paige can see the whole beauty that the world has to offer. But then, neither of them have been around for as long as I have. Seth's tastes are poor, cheap and tacky. Paige's are more refined. Much like their personalities. I have travelled with them for well over two centuries, and yet they still do not understand me. They mock and ridicule me; (though I return the favour) they are unable to see as I do.
Perhaps I had better introduce myself, dear reader, for what is the point of writing this tale if you do not know the one who had started it all?
My name is Pyrites – at the risk of sounding cocky and arrogant, and if you ever spoke to my dear friends they would agree that I am both these things – I am tall, strong and devilishly handsome.
I can hold my own in almost any situation, and like most of my kind I can always persuade mere mortals towards my way of thinking.
However, even the best of us fail at times; I have made a fatal mistake, one that could mean the end for so many of us. It can also mean salvation, but the way things have been going I can not see this being the path she chooses to follow.
Perhaps I should rewind my tale slightly, go back to a mortal I had been tracking for a week or so before I moved in.
I am a creature of curiosity, and I love to study and watch my prey, judge their character and plan what will befall them, based on my findings. In all my hunts I have a constant companion, and I do not mean Seth or Paige. My pet always knows when I am looking to feed, and he will always find me on these nights. Craven is a bird of beauty, a large black bird with sharp talons. As the old saying goes, one for sorrow, and those nights where mortals witness my bird are, for them, the most sorrowful of them all.
The mortal I had been tracking – like all of my prey – was beautiful, stunning even, though vain. She was using her precious gift to climb that pitiful ladder of fame that so many of you desire, using it to charm and hurt, disregarding those that had helped her and served their purpose like a piece of meat.
She was nasty, vindictive, and did not care who she hurt.
I needed to get close enough to lure her away from her usual posse, and I knew exactly how to do it.
In a well known fashionable club I selected a booth next to the table she had picked as her own, the one on permanent reserve for her. I was followed by my own gang of hangers-on, girls I had picked up in small, tatty bars with the promise of a good night out.
These girls sat around me, hanging onto my every word as I kept an eye on the door, waiting for her. I weaved a tale of grand proportions, name dropping every so often, using experiences from the last century but of course, and updating them to match the celebrity obsessed culture mortals are currently caught up in.
It was getting late when she arrived, and as I knew she would she settled on the table with her group. After half an hour she leant over, eyes watching me carefully.
"I couldn't help but overhear your exquisite conversation." She drawled, looking at me hungrily, seeing exactly the mask I had placed on myself. She believed that I was yet another who could help her in her hungry quest for fame.
"I'm sorry dear," I replied, rolling my eyes at the girls as if I had this all the time "I don't deal with nobodies, especially those who like to eavesdrop."
Anger flashed in her pretty eyes, before she took control of herself and stretched out a hand. "Then maybe I should introduce myself. Annabelle Vandal."
I waved away the girls, and subtly they slipped away to spend the money I had given them. They knew they had served their purpose. "Ah, Miss Vandal. Apologies, I did not realise." I shook her head, saw her shock at the cold touch and smiled.
"So you have heard of me then?"
"You could say that." I replied, withdrawing my hand and indicating the booth. "Please, join me." I could see she was intrigued, and she left her group to sit at the now empty table. "I'm looking for a good British actress you see, can't give away too many details but your name did come up in conversation."
"Really?" She looked happy at this, though it was only detectable in her eyes, her mouth remained still. "So you can't tell what you need an actress for?"
"Not somewhere this public." I leant forward, knowing I had her full attention. "Perhaps if I could walk you home..."
"Maybe I should know your name first?"
Clever girl. "Richard Williams."
She brightened up, recognising the name. Poor Richard Williams. A British acting agent who had made it in Hollywood, who had indeed been over here searching for a pretty actress, if she wanted to clarify with her own agent then she would find out he had indeed been making enquiries. But for him it was too late – I had killed him two nights previously, and thanks to his hatred of being disturbed, he would not be found until his check out date, another week at least.
"Well Mr Williams," she folded her arms on the table, head tilted to one side. "I would be most honoured if you were to walk me home."
So out I led her, allowing her to link her arm in mine as I offered her a cigarette.
"Oh I really shouldn't, but seeing as it is you...go on then." Another time, another place and her sweet, faux innocent smile may have charmed me. But not tonight. I laughed along with her as we walked, let her believe she had convinced me she was a kind, naive actress just trying to land a good, solid job.
"I do believe my hotel may be closer than your home." I offered, stopping our walk near an empty lane that wound between two tall buildings. "They have a decent bar there. Perhaps we can grab a night cap?"
She let out a squeal of delight. "Well, it would be rude to refuse."
I gestured towards the lane, and although a flicker of disgust crossed her beautiful features, she followed without question. I let her walk ahead slightly, until we were at a sufficient distance away from the street. Roughly, I pulled her arm back, causing her to twirl into me, pulling her body close up to mine. I kissed her, an arm on the small of her back, pushing her into me. She groaned, her pelvis almost grinding against mine.
"Oh Richard." It was a sigh of pleasure, and I took it as my queue to shove her roughly against the wall, our kisses growing in intensity and passion.
She let out a gasp of surprise as I moved my lips to her ears, my tongue moving down her neck until it met the point where the neck and shoulder connect, creating a delicate curve. Softly, I bit her skin, and again she let out a gasp.
"What are you doing?" She questioned as the bite became deeper. Her hands were on my shoulders, attempting in vain to push me back. I lifted my head slightly, curling my lips back and allowing her in the moonlight a quick glimpse of the two white fangs that would signal her death.
"Why, my dear, I'm feeding." I replied, and before she had time to fully register what was happening, I had dug my head back into her neck and served her vain, drinking her blood greedily.
My pet circled overhead as I dropped her pale, lifeless body to the floor, her eyes frozen forever in that state of shock. Time to cover my tracks. I grabbed an empty vodka bottle, smashed it on the wall and drew a shard across her throat. Having done that, I managed to find a brick, and threw it onto her head, enough force to partially dent her skull.
Wiping my hands, I whistled into the sky and Craven swooped down, landing on my shoulder.
I left it a few days before going after her agent. Once her body had been found, suspicion fell quickly on him, claims in all the tabloids that he was jealous of her talent, annoyed that she was carving such a good path for herself and moving away from him. I found him in a horrible state, going crazy in his own flat.
Dust covered everything, and as he cowered in his chair I stood over him with a leather bound Bible in my hands, one I had found in his possession, covered in dust and grime.
"What a way to treat a religious text." I scolded, shaking my head as I flicked through the book. It was a very old fashioned volume, images of pain and torture and redemption on many of its pages.
"I didn't do it!" He cried, hands raking through his hair as he looked at me with crazed eyes. It takes very little to push a mortal over the edge.
"Of course not." I muttered, as if I really did not care. "But who's going to believe you, eh?"
"You do, don't you?" His voice shook as much as his hands as he stared at me with hope.
"Maybe." I let out a drawn-out sigh. "Are you a religious man?"
"Do you believe in God? The devil?" I snapped the book shut, and the noise made him jump ever so slightly. "In redemption? Forgiveness?" My voice was loud, echoing around us both and making him shudder as he squeezed himself backwards, eager to get as far from me as he could. "In divine judgement?" I shouted the last part, as I threw my arms out wide. His eyes were large with fear.
"Yes." The word was a whisper, and he obviously hoped this was what I wanted to hear.
I chuckled, dropping my arms and placing the book delicately on the coffee table. "Good. Yours is coming." With that I leapt at him, pinning him to his pitiful armchair and sinking my teeth in.
In that god forsaken apartment, as I drained the last drop of blood out of his body, the only sound was the cry of my bird as it waited for me at the open window.
Seth was standing with his back to me as I let myself into our own flat, his attention focused on the television. I gazed at the sofa, where a girl, barely older than a teenager, lay with her arm outstretched towards a spilled glass of wine. Craven squawked – he never did like Seth. In his hand Seth swirled a wine glass, full of thick, red blood. He took a sip.
"Is this your doing?"
He gestured at the television, at the breaking news and the shots showing the apartment as I had left it, missing only one feature – the body strung up by its neck with a thick rope.
I twirled my hand, giving Seth a short bow as I grinned at him.
"You are such a theatrical git." Seth spat, and the grin still planted on my face I dropped my arm. With a cry, the bird flew off, heading straight for the red head. He looked over his shoulder, eyes wide as Craven swooped towards him. His arms flew up, protecting his face, and making him drop the wine glass.
Like an expert, my pet grabbed the glass and did a 360 turn in the air, flying back to me. I plucked the glass out of his grip and downed the rest of the girl's blood. I put the glass carefully on the table, running a hand around the rim. "I simply like to cover my tracks. Talking of which," i threw my arm around the room, "clean this up before sunrise. We don't want the neighbours smelling it like last time, do we?" I spoke the last part maliciously, knowing Seth would pick up on the meaning – I blamed him for us having to move from our last safe spot.
"Fuck you!" He cried, as I turned and entered my room, my crow flying beside me and swooping in, landing on the windowsill.
As I shut the door I heard the sound of a glass smacking the other side, and Seth's yell of frustration.
"Charming." I muttered to the bird, and he squawked back before sweeping out of the window, out on his own hunt.
Chuckling to myself, I threw open the doors of my large walk-in wardrobe and stepped inside, closing it and shutting off all light, ready to sleep the day away.