Michael Stanton was an average man, with an average job. At least that was what everyone else saw. All he saw was pain, misery and stress. The pain came from the look in his wife's eyes every time he had to work late. The misery came from the pain he felt when seeing that look in her eyes. And the stress, well the stress was enough to drive him to the most bizarre solutions.
This was what brought him to his current situation. Sitting at his desk staring at a vampire novel he would read on his breaks and a mostly empty pill bottle. Only two left. It was then that something caught his eyes at the opening of his door. A flash of a person walking by; no one else worked as late as he did. It was a woman, a redhead. Rachael? The buzzing of his phone changed his attention from his door. He smirked slightly as the caller ID showed it was his wife. She was always a worrier.
"Hello?" Michael answered in a cheery tone, much to his feeling of the opposite. "Sure Honey. I'll be home as soon as I can. Don't worry." He tried to soothe her but his heart really wasn't in it. Hanging up the phone his eyes turned back to that practically empty pill bottle.
What a night. The world blurred around him like a swirling mass of stars, like diamonds. The city was bustling as always and he seemed to be going at a different pace. His head pounded, "What a trip." He really shouldn't do this to himself. But that was what he told himself, over and over again. Had he ever listened? No. The need to escape was just too great. He stumbled through the streets dressed in a suit, a suit that used to be crisp and collected. He didn't look in the best of health; thin, tall and his hair in an utter mess. The blurring world hid the true danger for this night, and without even realizing it himself he ran into something. Was it a person? There was a flash of red he thought. There were hands holding him, he knew, when the world lost its' stars and everything went black.
He suddenly found himself cornered in a darkened hotel room. Only the faint glimmer of a single candle, on a solitary table, lit the room. Next to the table rested a slender, pale, feminine figure on a wooden chair. She seemed to have a continuous, amused smile playing on her lips.
A voice softly emitted from her, "I know what you're thinking, your life is flashing before your eyes, isn't it?"
"Why do you say that?" He stated as he tried to stay away from the strange woman. Yet he was unable to help being drawn into the room by the woman's beauty, style and odd familiarity. Did he know her? He could barely see her but that only made him want to get closer. He fought with the need as much as he could for he could sense something menacing about her.
"Oh calm down. I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to talk." Her teeth would sometimes reflect the light, shining, causing him to wonder if he had seen what he thought he had.
"What was that?" he thought desperately, trying to convince his mind of what his eyes glimpsed. "The drugs must really be getting to me."
She smiled a wickedly sweet smile, "You're so cute, you know that? So helpless. Oh, this is real by the way, very real." She knew exactly what he was thinking, it wasn't the first time she had cornered someone. She quietly stood up and slowly walked toward him. Gently, she took his arm into her cold hand, lifting him to his feet.
"Shh, it's okay. Calm down. I was once like you, afraid of the world. Being what I am now, is a lot more than life, a lot more." She paused a moment to let him realize the implications of her offer. Once she figured out he wasn't going to say anything she quietly walked back to the chair and sat down. She smiled. "I know you're confused. Maybe, a story will help calm your nerves."
He stood in front of her warily, not knowing if he should humor this psychopath or get out before she did something rash. His heart was racing; he could feel it pulsating within his neck, as if his veins were going to burst. The walls of the room seemed to throb right along with his heartbeat. Lines were starting to bleed together into large blobs of undistinguishable color. And then they would separate as if nothing had happened.
Intertwining her fingers, she rested her hands on her lap. "It happened not too long ago. Oh, how rude I've been. My name is Raven, and yours?"
"Well Michael," she continued with a rather cheery disposition, "as I was saying there was a girl, a girl a little younger than you actually."
"She was a frail girl, barely a woman in her own right, wandering the streets. She drifted down the allies and stayed to the dark. This girl wasn't homeless nor did her appearance look like it. She was a runaway, a sick runaway. Her parents fussed over her so much, it started to make her emotionally ill. She had run away, just to rid herself of their anger and pity. She ran down a desolate alley to avoid the police, knowing it could be searching the streets to take her back home. Stopping quickly, her eyes stared in disbelief at the dead end in front of her. Her heart raced in panic, hoping the police wouldn't catch her. Slowly she turned around to see if she had been followed. A sigh of relief escaped her lips followed by a short yelp, as dark figure suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
He smiled at her, 'Are you okay?'
She agreed slowly, though the sparkle in her eyes had left them long ago, she still watched the man suspiciously, 'Yes.'
'I can cure you.' He said.
He nodded, 'Yes, you'll never be scarred with loneliness again.'
She gasped in hope, 'Are you sure?'
'No, but I can heal you, if you'll let me.'
She ran to him, suddenly unafraid, 'Yes, please, please help me!'
He smiled to her, 'Of course.'"
Raven paused gently folding her hands in her lap, "That girl was me, and now I'm giving you the same chance to rid yourself of your problems."
Michael stared at her in disbelief, "I don't have a disease." There was something about that story. Something that was oddly familiar to him. Perhaps she was right; perhaps she was going to make his story like hers.
"On the contrary, you have the worst disease of all. Humanity. Those drugs in your system destroy your very being. You've lost everything, your family, your house, even your dog. Don't you want to escape the agony?"
"I, I guess so."
She stood up from her chair, "Then I'll help you. Just hold still." She placed her hands on his shoulders.
He stood there, unsure if this was what he really wanted. Part of him just wanted to suffer in the hole that he had dug himself. He didn't deserve a second chance, did he?
She made it quick and pierced her fangs into his neck. The emotions ran wildly through both of them. For a few moments the two had become one, sharing thoughts and emotions as they embraced. What a trip. She felt complete with his warm, young blood. He, on the other hand, felt odd as his blood drained from his body. This odd feeling, spreading throughout his body, also felt strangely intoxicating.
"Quickly," she spoke softly as she pulled her fangs from his neck. With a small dagger she cut her wrist and offered it to him. "Take it; drink it now, before it's too late. And then we'll be together."
The fear of death and being without this woman now filled his emotions as he took her wrist. He watched the blood ooze for a moment, then drank whole heartedly. Michael was suddenly overcome with a desire, a desire much like the addiction of the drugs that had loomed over him for so many years.
After a few seconds she pulled her wrist away saying, "Now try to relax." She knew how he would feel and she hoped he could handle it.
A sudden gasp of agony came from him as he fell to his knees. "What's, happening to me?"
She answered softly and with a saddened tone, "You're being cleansed."
"What?" he looked at her, his eyes showing his reaction to this betrayal. He gasped and groaned in enormous pain.
"Your body is dying but you'll survive, maybe."
He fell onto his back still suffering through the gut wrenching pain. Raven was disturbed by this act, she usually would turn her back but his pain was different. To watch his pain made it so much worse for her. She knew this was the way they were made but she wasn't prepared for what suffering he was going through. She barely remembered her own suffering when she was changed. Her ears were relieved when his screaming stopped and he laid silently still on the ground.
When he awakened he stared at the dark ceiling of the room, his eyes were now brighter than before. He rose to his feet slowly, once steadied; he looked at her with a smirk. She smiled at him, thinking that she finally wouldn't be so lonely anymore.
"Are you ready to learn your new life?" she asked him quietly.
He nodded, "More than ready!"
"Are you sure you're all right?"
"You worry too much." He seemed to enjoy the new feeling that flowed through him, "But, can we get something to eat first?" The hunger he felt wasn't just normal hunger. No it was the same feeling he had when he needed his next fix. It seemed now he had simply switched from one drug to another.
Suddenly a bright light caused Michael to wince and refocus his eyes. What just happened? Where was he? He looked around to see such ugly pale white walls with a large window on one side. The door next to it was open and the bright fluorescent lights above him were shining down on him so violently. They felt like hot stabbing rays of the sun against his skin. He tried to move but found that he was strapped down to a bed. "Where am I? Who are you?" He thrashed within his confines as he questioned the silhouette that approached him.
"Calm down, it's okay, the Doctor just wants to see you. You'll both have a nice little chat." The silhouette had a very soothing feminine voice, almost sounded like Raven…but it didn't look like her at all. Reluctantly he decided to go quietly, cooperating as the woman unstrapped him and led him out of the room. Confusion furrowed his brows as he watched other people being escorted through the hallways just like him. The woman pulled him into a room, not much different from the one they had left. Except the bed was replaced by a table and the large window was now a mirror. He sat down at the table, his hands nervously tapping at it. "The Doctor will be right in. Here's some water too, okay?" Her voice was so soothing; he couldn't help but smile to her and take the plastic cup from her hands even though he wasn't thirsty at all. What had happened to Raven? Once the woman left the room Michael took a sip from the water, more out of habit than anything and winced at the bland taste. He placed the cup down and pushed it away just as a man in a white coat walked into the room.
"Hello Michael. How are we feeling today?"
"Okay I guess. Who are you? Where am I?" He barraged the man with questions, the man seemed to know him but Michael didn't remember him at all.
"Oh, you don't remember me? Well that isn't good. I was hoping we'd make some progress today." He spoke simply to him as he sat down in the chair across from him. Right away Michael knew he didn't like this man. "I was hoping you could tell me more about Raven. You've told me a lot about her already but…"
"Where is she?" Michael interrupted him as he lurched forward slightly. He had felt so comfortable when he had been with her, so at peace. If they had taken her from him he wasn't going to be happy. How could he possibly survive?
"Now I don't know where she is. You've told me what she looks like. Mid height, slender figure, pale…brilliant green eyes and stunning red hair, those were your exact words, are they not?"
"Y..yea that…sounds like her."
"I'm afraid I couldn't find any woman with those details that drinks blood for a living, Michael. Certainly you understand how absurd this all sounds." The doctor was trying his best to get through to him. They have been at this for days and he still wasn't able to get him to remain coherent.
"No! She is real damn it! You can't just waltz in here and say I'm crazy. I don't even know you. I want out of here!" Michael slammed his hands on the table and swept the cup of water across the surface as he stood up. As soon as his little tantrum was noticed two large men dressed in white stormed in and grabbed his arms. Something was stabbed into his neck then, whatever it was it caused his body to go limp and the world to blur.
"Take him back to his room. Make sure you strap him down."
"No…" He complained and tried to get free but his muscles were useless as the men dragged him out of the room. It was then that he saw something. It was just a glimpse of red but he knew it was her. He turned his head and tried to get a look at her again as they dragged him away. "No! It's Raven…she's right there! Don't you see?! Let me go!"
The doctor sighed and composed himself before he rose to his feet and walked from the conference room. Stopping just outside the door he looked to the woman that lingered there. She was a beautiful woman, with the most amazing green eyes and red hair he'd ever seen. But right now those eyes were more red than green as she had her hand up to her mouth trying not to cry. She was failing at the attempt. "I'm sorry Mrs. Stanton. Why don't you come here and sit down?" He led her to a nearby couch and sat down next to her as she wiped tears from her eyes. "He keeps telling me this Raven woman is going to save him. He's told me that he met her a few days ago. The same time you were helping him get through detox. He said that she was giving him a second chance at life. Funny thing is; she looks just like you."
"But why does he believe this woman is real?" Rachael's tears rolled down her face like pathetic twin waterfalls. It really pulled at the doctor's heart.
"The drugs Michael was taking are hallucinogenic. They warp the world around them naturally. When you found him that night on the street, he was having what they call a 'trip'. From what I understand the drugs are what are causing him to have these flashbacks of his detox. But what he remembers of it seems to be what his brain has pieced together itself. Under these kinds of drugs a person's brain connections separate. They do come back together, but not always where they originated." He lingered for a moment, letting the woman take in the information. It had to be a lot for her to absorb. "Rachael," the doctor put his hand on her shoulder as comfortingly as he could, "we'll get him back. I promise."