Prologue, Part I
Nighttime had long since shrouded the town in a blanket of darkness. Scattered in the dark were streetlights and lights coming from houses signifying people who were still awake. In the town's park, the paths were lined with light poles, with the occasional bench for people to sit and rest on. On one end of one of these benches by a light pole sat a man wearing a black long jacket over a white shirt and black vest. His pants were black with gray lines down the sides, and his shoes were black as well. On his head he wore a black fedora hat with gray around the crown. From under the hat, if one looked up close, short, black, straight hair styled evenly back behind his ears was visible, but the hat was casting shadows down from the light above and behind him, and the shadows were concealing his face. He was sitting on the bench with one leg draped over the other while he held an open newspaper halfway up to his face.
You've been busy, but for all this time, how can you have gotten away with what you do? The man thought as he read the section with the obituaries. Some of them stood out to him, and reminded him of someone he used to know, and someone he'd rather not encounter again.
"May I sit here?" a voice said. The man glanced up over his newspaper to see a woman with red curly hair tied into a bun, and wearing a long forest green overcoat.
"Certainly," the man replied in his naturally deep, low voice, turning his gaze back to the newspaper, bringing the newspaper slightly closer to him as she sat down about in the middle of the bench. He tried to ignore the new tickling sensation in his throat.
"Lovely night, isn't it?" the woman asked him. Clearly this woman was the kind of person who would talk to a complete stranger as a first step in making their acquaintance.
"Yes, it is," the man replied, still trying to make it look like he was occupied with the newspaper, but truthfully, he was trying as best as he could to ignore his throat, which didn't feel ticklish anymore, but dry. He started to hope that the woman wouldn't stay much longer.
"Do you come here often?" she asked, adding more of a casual tone.
"Not really. I'm more of the wandering type," he told her just as casually, swallowing some to try to lessen the dryness in his throat, to no avail. "I like to do more travelling at night than during the day."
"I think I understand that," she replied. "I've always thought there was something more peaceful about nighttime than during the day." The man glanced at her. He briefly noticed how from the bottom of her coat there was a length of a red skirt or dress that reached to her knees. Thinking about what she said, he admired how she had a rare admiration for something that was a huge part of his life, but how he cared a little more about her made him all the more worried for her, and he wished that she wouldn't stay there next to him. Not only was his throat feeling very dry, but he could feel a slight ache in his eyes that was sure to grow. He looked back to the newspaper in the hopes he can slow the aching by not looking at her.
"So, anything interesting in the paper?" she asked him, seeming curious as to what was so interesting to him, as he had not turned his head once to meet her in the eyes, instead keeping his head in that position with his face concealed in shadow and the newspaper covering her view of his face, the edge of it stopping at his ear.
"Mostly the usual," he replied, his voice losing the casual tone, reverting back to a neutral tone. He noticed this, and felt the slight hints of a growing iciness in his thoughts and emotions. He was becoming less like himself, and he knew what that meant, and even though he was starting to care less about this stranger next to him, he still wished she would leave for her own sake.
"Good evening, folks," a familiar male voice came. The first man glanced up over the newspaper and saw another man, who was wearing a black coat over a white shirt and a gold vest. On his jacket was a gold "D" embroidered on one shoulder. His lack of a hat showed off his short black hair that was slicked back with some sort of hair product. He looked right back at the first man with light blue eyes that had a knowing look in them. The first man felt the aching in his eyes become more intense as he silently glared at the second man with an irritation at how the one person he'd been trying to avoid had found him, and with the worst timing, in his view.
'May I join you two?" the second man asked. The first man said nothing, glancing back to the newspaper, hoping to distract his irritation from growing.
"Of course," the woman answered. The second man smirked at her, and then sat down next to her, on the opposite end of the bench to the first man, with the woman in between them. He looked past her at the first man.
"So how have you been, Hector?" the second man asked, with a tone that wasn't as friendly as the words, but rather in a false friendly tone that said that he meant to annoy the first man, and that he had a purpose for him that he was going to try to push him into.
"Well enough, Damien," the first man answered, letting some of his irritation show in his tone, along with a level of restraint.
"Do you two know each other?" the woman asked Hector, the first man. Apparently she had sensed some sort of tension between them that could only indicate that they had past experience with each other.
"We go way back," Hector answered simply, almost having forgotten she was there, which was a good thing, as his throat didn't feel as dry anymore, and his thoughts and emotions were under his control again. However, he was also twice as worried for the woman's sake now that the other man had shown up, this man that lived to torment him.
"Oh, don't be so modest about it, Hector," Damien told him, trying to sound as casual as if they were old friends. "I practically made you what you are today."
Hector noticed how he said "what" he is, when he just as easily could have said "who", and he knew that Damien had done that on purpose to make Hector think that "what" he was, was the same thing as "who" he was, and at the same time, taunting Hector with reminding him of just what he was.
'We should really catch up sometime, Hector," Damien went on, still keeping the casual, buddy-buddy tone, "How about over a bite to eat?"
"No thank you, Damien. I'm not hungry," Hector replied, hoping politeness would make Damien lose interest and leave him be. The tension between them was growing, and anything less than politeness might break the uneasiness and drive Damien to do something brash.
"Are you sure? Not even a little bit?" Damien asked, his tone obvious with mock disappointment.
"I'm sure," Hector replied bluntly yet politely. He heard Damien give a sigh of disappointment and slight exasperation.
"Well, I think I better leave you two gentlemen to…um, catch up," the woman spoke, nervousness obvious in her voice as she started to get up from the bench. Damien suddenly grabbed her by the wrist. She turned to look at him.
"No, please stay a little longer," he asked her, but his tone was dark and commanding. He tugged at her arm, forcing her to sit back down on the bench. The look in her eyes became one of fear at this unexpected turn of events upon her.
"Let me go," she pleaded Damien, her fear showing in her voice. Hector turned not only his head that time, but his entire torso to look over at the display once he had heard the woman being forced to sit back down. He lowered the newspaper away from his face as he tried to keep calm, but his fear for the woman had escalated.
"What are you doing?" he asked Damien. Damien looked at him with a mischievous expression on his face as he continued holding the woman by her wrist with a firm grip.
"Don't you want her to stay with us, Hector? Maybe join us for some takeout?" Damien replied, giving hints in his words and tone so that Hector would understand what he was intending to do, but so that the woman wouldn't understand right away.
The woman looked back at Hector, noticing how the shadows had moved on him when he turned his head. The light from the light pole now shone on his face, revealing his left eye, dark brown and agape with fear, and the left part of his lips, from which she could see a white, sharp tip visibly sticking out. The woman's eyes widened even more in horror, and she made a sharp gasp.
"You-you-you two are-" she started to say out of fright, but Damien slapped his other hand around her mouth. She started to struggle, reaching her free hand up to try to pry his hand off her mouth, but his hand didn't budge. He looked at Hector with a composed, passive look as if their situation with the woman wasn't a big deal, but must be taken care of nonetheless.
"Well, Hector, now that she knows, we're going to have to silence her," Damien said, with a tone of voice that made it seem like he thought she had become a small inconvenience to them. Hector glared at Damien.
"No. No way am I doing that to her."
"Come now, Hector. Don't you feel even a little bit thirsty? Is your throat dry being around her?" Damien taunted, his tone making it apparent that he knew his questions wouldn't be answered.
Hector looked at the woman. She was looking at him, with fear strong in her green-brown hazel eyes, that were also pleading him for help, or for that matter, praying that anyone will show up to help her. What he didn't like most in that moment, however, was that Damien was right. The dryness was returning in his throat; he only had a small snack earlier that evening, and still needed to completely satisfy himself for the next few days. He also felt the small aching return in his eyes. He slowly took off his hat, placing it beside him on the bench, and then he glanced away in thought. The way Damien was muzzling this woman, asking what he was of him, seemed familiar to him. Memories flashed in his head of a woman with light brown hair that was blindfolded and assumedly under the threat of death in order to keep quiet; she had been dragged through Hector's door, but lived to tell him about it later…later…Another memory came to him of the same young woman convincing him to look her in her olive green eyes to calm his urges to harm her, reminding him that it wasn't who he was.
"Cassie…" Hector whispered while he closed his eyes at the memory of her, before another memory appearing in his mind of his shame at what he had almost done to her.
'No…" Hector muttered, his low voice filling with seriousness and resolve as he was reminded of the vows he made to himself that night all those years ago. "…That will never happen," he said, as he glanced back at Damien, and met the light blue irises with an annoyed glare from his own dark brown ones.
"How disappointing, Hector," Damien replied, his voice coming out as a sigh, with the slightest bit of genuine disappointment in it. He then used his muzzling hand to pull the woman in front of him. She looked up at him and saw that his top canines had grown into sharp fangs, and his eyes had changed to a shade of gray.
"No, don't!"Hector pleaded, reaching a hand out, but Damien paid no attention.