The night was a cool 60 degrees but the chilly wind did little to disturb the dancers on the corner of Midnight Avenue. The men stood on the other side of the boardwalk, trying subtly to keep their glances and money to themselves. Gerard took little notice of the rabble as he walked on by the gypsies and whores that danced in the candlelight under a near full moon. He had places to be. Dark alleyways passed by and the smell of moss and filth near overwhelmed those of keener senses who passed by.
The door to his favorite tavern opened with a quick jerk and a creak of swollen, aged wood. Kip, the barkeep gave a nod and returned to shining his glasses. Gerard nearly smiled at him but took a seat in the corner; his corner, and waited. "What'll it be?" The cheerful, overly sexualized waitress asked, leaning close enough so he could smell her cheap perfume. He cupped his scruffy cheek in his palm, leaning away. "I'll have a whiskey." Gerard scanned the patrons with disinterest as the waitress stumbled off, flashing her butt in every direction. "At least she'll get good tips." He head Kip laugh from across the small space. "You really are too much Gerard. Have some pity; at least she's not on the corner." Gerard nodded, and picked at the splinters on the table. The air was hazy with incense and cigarettes but the smell was sweet and reminded him of happier times.
"Here's your whiskey sir." She gave him a copious eyeful of breast before moving away again. Gerard picked up the glass and smelled the alcohol. The glass was almost warm, fresh out of the steamer in the back. He appreciated the warmth, having none for himself. He tipped the glass to his lips, not opening them and enjoyed the tingle of whiskey on his mouth. Kip wandered over, squeezing in between the close quartered wooden tables. "How've you been?" Gerard enjoyed watching his mustache twitch when he talked. "You know that's such a silly question to ask Kip. My kind never has much to say about how we've 'been'." Kip's chair creaked as he shifted and placed his over sized hands on the table. "Force of habit I guess. Been anywhere interesting?"
"Not really, I spent a few days in Pyramid till they caught on. They're a superstitious folk in that region. I couldn't linger there." Kip watched Gerard tip the glass back and drain the whiskey. Gerard's black hair looked longer and he looked much more strained. The black velvet coat did little to hide the thinning skin or the darkened pallor. "Are there many hunters there?" The question was a whisper but Gerard snarled unhappily. "Too many!" His eyes flashed red with venom. "It was impossible to rest, to just…exist! It was horrid." Gerard ran a cold hand over his face, massaging the stress from his eyes. The bubbly waitress strolled closer with another whiskey. Gerard took it with grace and drank it quickly. "I'll never understand the appeal of alcohol to your kind." Kip shook his head, running a hand over his beard.
"Why, it keeps the blood warm of course." Gerard gave a sick sort of smile and cocked his head to the side playfully. "That's not funny Gerard. You know I hate hearing about your…condition." Kip's gnarled hands wrung the moist dishcloth at his waist nervously. It was no surprise to Gerard, he'd known Kip disliked talking about it, he just didn't see any point in avoiding the issue and enjoyed making a joke of it now and again. "If it makes you feel better," Gerard smiled so his teeth showed; he looked more predator and less man than ever. "I haven't fed in a long while." He watched as Kip shuddered, and looked away. "I liked you better when you were human." Kip frowned at him, twitching his mustache. Gerard let out a sigh and leaned back into the creaky old chair. "It's not like I had a choice." He pulled a 20 from his billfold and laid it on the table and turned away. "Thanks for the company," he said, and strolled back into the night.
Gerard stood outside the old tavern and leaned against the brick wall, deciding his next move. Now that he was back in town he supposed he could visit a few more old friends, but his patience had already worn thin from Kip's criticisms. It was still hours till dawn and Gerard knew there was nothing interesting to do in his dingy hometown; besides feed. He ran a slick tongue over his canines and nearly moaned with the thought of sinking his teeth into something…or someone. Pushing himself off the wall he walked back the way he'd came.
The crowd on Midnight Avenue was thinner, now all those that lingered were the street walkers and drug dealers. Gerard moved on, past a motel and several broken street lights until something caught his attention. He smelt them before he saw them. Muffled cries and a horrible scuffling sound had him rounding a corner into an alleyway filled with filth and vermin. Near the dead end a man wearing rags and smelling heavily of gin had his hand around a woman's throat. Gerard snarled and moved in silently behind him. If there was one thing he couldn't stand, it was scum like this. The woman's pale blue shirt was smeared with mud, her jeans torn and pulled down to her thighs. Her nails desperately clawed at the man as his other hand attempted to undo his belt buckle.
Gerard blended with the shadows, moving quick and silent until he stood no more than a breath away from the assailant. The woman noticed him first, her eyes grew wide but she ceased to scream and struggled still harder to break the man's grasp on her throat. "Now sir," Gerard whispered coolly into the man's ear, "that is no way to treat a lady." The vagabond started and began to turn when Gerard gripped him by the throat, nearly crushing his windpipe. His grip slackened and the woman slumped to the floor, gasping for breath. "Who the hell are you?" The man rasped and jerked, kicking to try and escape. Gerard picked him off the ground and flung him against the brick wall, enjoying the sound of cracking ribs.
"That's none of your damn business now is it?" He grabbed the man by his collar and dragged him to his feet again. "Apologize to the lady." He snarled.
"Are you out of your mind man?"
"Do it now, before I rip your throat out."
The man turned, shaking, to the woman slumped on the alley floor. "S…sorry." His fingers attempted to pry the hand away from his throat as the woman spat at his feet. Gerard smiled, "The woman still has some spunk!" He lowered his lips and sank his fangs into the hot pulse below the thin barrier of skin. The last thing he remembered was hearing the girls screams as he sank into the bloodlust.