Another Vampire Story?

Aleck watched the mortals with an amused gleam to his eye. He could read their myriad of thoughts, and he knew that his presence made a number of them uncomfortable on some subliminal level, but he did not care. He also knew that it was more than his 'air' of superiority that bothered them; it also had a lot to do with his attire.

Wearing white jeans and a bright, sky-blue silk shirt, Aleck most certainly did not blend in with the darkened interior of the club, nor with the attire of the other patrons. He stood out like the proverbial sore thumb, a glimmer of brightness in an atmosphere that was otherwise dark, sultry, and tainted with lust.

Ignoring the occasional glances of the other patrons, and unleashing a mental 'push' to the employees not to bother him, Aleck sat peacefully, fully entranced by the movements of the dancer currently on stage.

Amber, or so the DJ claimed her name to be, was a very lithe young girl, no more than nineteen, with dirty blonde hair, and eyes that, to Aleck, shown a hard and dark life behind them. He could sense a level of hopelessness within her that rivaled anyone for miles, and he knew that she had all but given up life.

Gently sifting through her mind, Aleck pulled out her name, Maggie McMullen, and other bits of her life. His accession of hopelessness had been correct, and his lip momentarily dipped into a frown as he learned that she intended to kill herself tonight. She wouldn't even be here if one of the other girls hadn't stopped by to ask her for a ride into work, and now, being here amongst the deprived and perverted of society, she had only strengthened her resolve to take her life.

Maggie McMullen was a perfect target. She had no family, very few friends, and the will to die. Yes, Aleck would have little problem using this one, and no one would really miss her.

Aleck smiled in anticipation as Maggie spun around one of the poles on the stage, her young breasts hanging round and enticing, and she looked up for a moment, her eyes connecting with Aleck's.

Maggie shivered as something flashed through her; a dark feeling of everything that her life could have been, and of every thing that is was not, and her despair seemed to boil and rise to the surface.

It took every bit of tired strength that she had, but Maggie finished her routine, dancing entirely nude to her third, and final, song.

Rushing past Vick, the manager of the club, Maggie muttered something to him about being sick and having to leave, but Vick would have none it. He grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around, growling at her.

"What in the hell are you talking about? You ain't gone anywhere."

"Leave me alone, Vick," she nearly spat at him. "I told you, I ain't feeling good."

"You already got three hours in, what the hell's another two?"

"You will let the woman leave," said Aleck, suddenly standing next to the two, his voice sounding soft and lyrical.

"I don't need your fucking help," cursed Maggie, glaring at Aleck.

"Go ahead, Mag," Vick said dully as he released his grip on her. "Take the rest of the night off."

Maggie looked incredulously at Vick, then to Aleck, then back to Vick. Vick was always a hard ass, and it often took at least an hour of arguing to get the SOB to let you leave early. For Vick to dismiss her so easily, at the urging of a stranger no less, ranked right at the top of Maggie's bizzaro list.

Tonight, though, she just didn't care. Flashing a contemptuous smile, Maggie whirled on her heel and headed into the dressing room, eager to get changed and to get the hell out of there.

As the door to the dressing room slowly closed, Maggie risked a look back at the strange man that had spoken out on her behalf, and was surprised to see him nowhere in sight.

Probably just another perv, she thought, grabbing up her street clothes.

An hour later, Maggie pulled into the ramshackle ten-car garage that sat behind the converted house that was her apartment building, and killed the engine of her '76 Chevy Vega. The engine rattled and pinged a few times before finally dieing, and Maggie simply sat there, her hands locked on the steering wheel, her eyes blankly staring ahead. She might have sat there for hours if not for the soft tapping on her window, snapping her out of her depressed stupor.

Expecting one of her neighbors to be standing beside her car, Maggie was startled to see the brightly dressed man from the club instead, his face offering what was undoubtedly a friendly smile.

Maggie wasn't buying it for a second. She had been in the business long enough to know that once a customer tracks you down outside of the club, it meant trouble.

"I was wondering if I could have a word with you," said Aleck, still smiling, his eyes showing nothing but innocence.

Staring straight ahead, using her body to block the stranger's view of what she was doing, Maggie slid her hand into her bag and slowly withdrew the small, snub-nosed .38 that she carried.

With her hand firmly wrapped around the cold metal of the gun, Maggie whipped it around to point at where the man had been standing only a moment ago.

He was no longer there.

The next three stalls were empty of vehicles, and the open garage gave full view to the rear of the apartments, and Maggie couldn't believe that the man was nowhere to be seen.

I'm loosing it, she thought, turning to put the gun back in her purse.

Maggie's scream cut through the silence as she found herself face to face with the man, who was now setting in the passenger seat of her car.

"I don't believe that we're in the sort of neighborhood where your screaming will do you any good," said Aleck.

Maggie raised the gun and pointed it at his face.

"And that won't do you much good, either," he said, his hand suddenly wrapped around the barrel of the gun.

There was a strange sound, one that was ominous in its tone, and Maggie watched in terrified astonishment as the man simply bent the barrel of the gun shut.

"I'm not here to hurt you, Maggie. I think your self-intention of that is enough without any action on my part. No, I'm here for another reason."

"What…what are you?" asked Maggie, her voice quivering nearly as much as her body. "How did you do that?"

"You are not happy with your life as it is," started Aleck, ignoring her questions. "You know nothing but depression. You want to end it all, and have, in fact, decided to do just that, tonight."

"How do you know that?"

"What if I said that I could end your suffering, Maggie? Painlessly end it?"

Maggie gaped at him, her mind still reeling from what she had seen him do, and from the unanswered questions she had asked him.

"You have something that I need. Something that allows me to continue my existence. I could, and have, taken it with out permission, but that is usually from those that are in no state of mine to understand what I seek."

"You…you're not human," stammered Maggie. "You can't be. No one can do what you did. Move that fast. Bend a gun."

"Relax, Maggie," he whispered, his voice as soft and comforting as she knew her mother's had been when she was but an infant.

Maggie felt the tension drain from her body, and in some far corner of her mind, she thought of the old monster movies she had watched as a child. Movies with Vampires in them. Vampires that were faster and stronger than any human could be. Vampires that had incredible mental powers, easily manipulating the minds of humans, just like she had seen him do with Vick. Just like he was doing with her right now.

"Answer my question, Maggie. Answer me with what your heart truly wants. Do you want me to end your suffering?"

Maggie nodded.

Smiling, Aleck slid in close to her, and Maggie's perception hazed from red to black, and her awareness slipped from her.

Sunlight, pure and bright, shown in through the living room window, finally causing Maggie to stir from her deep slumber. Her eyes snapped opened as memories of last night flooded into her mind, and she sat up, looking about in confusion as she wondered how she had gotten into her apartment.

It doesn't hurt, she thought, turning her hand over before her as she thought about the sunlight bathing her.

Rising, feeling more alive than she could remember feeling for a long time, Maggie raced to the bathroom and stared at her reflection in the mirror.

I can see me. Shit, it must have been a nightmare. But I feel so different.

Unsure of what was going on, Maggie shuffled back to the living room, letting out a short cry of surprise as she found Aleck setting on the couch that she had just woken up on.

"Good morning," he said, tipping his head slightly.

"You're real!"

"Yes. Yes, I am."

"But, but, but…the sunlight," she stammered.

"Soothing, is it not?"

"But last night. I mean, you bit me. I thought you were a vampire, but the sunlight, and the mirror."

Aleck smiled and rose from the couch, gliding to her as if he moved not at all, and he took her hand in his and gently kissed it.

"My need was your despair, Maggie," he said, still smiling that peaceful smile of his. "You anger at the world, your depression, your disillusionment."

Maggie let out a small, carefree laugh.

"Everything that has tarnished you view of life, I have drained from you."

Maggie smiled and shook her head, realizing that, for the first time in a number of years, she actually felt happy.

"I have lived up to my part," he said, turning towards the door. "I have ended your suffering. What you do now is up to you."

"Thank you," said Maggie, tears of joy coming to her eyes.

"Just remember," he added, pausing at the door. "There are many, many types of vampires."

Aleck vanished in wisp of hazy white smoke, the door creaking as it slowly swung closed, and Maggie began to think of how she was going to live the rest of her new life.