Long Fall to Forever
"Sneaking in these days?" I heard a soft chuckle, although I couldn't see him. The stairwell was pitch black and vibrating with the music coming from the club below.
"Well, you know," I shrugged. "You mind if I flick my Bic?"
"Be my guest," Michel's voice replied gently.
My lighter had a little flashlight built into it and I thumbed it, creating a surprisingly bright beam of light. I pointed it around the stairway and found him on the landing about a dozen feet below me. He held someone in his arms, a girl maybe 20 years old, and her neck and blouse were red with fresh blood. I could smell her rusty life on the air, now that I could see it. Michel's handsome face was stained around the mouth and he kissed her lips briefly, and then placed her on the floor, propped up in the corner like she'd fallen asleep.
"I thought you were going to be hard to find," I said without smiling.
"Moi?" he sighed. "I'm very easily found, all you have to do is look behind you…"
And just that quick he disappeared and I felt the soft breeze, the chill on my face, and Michel was behind me, his arms encircling my waist and his lips on my neck. I could feel his tongue, just the tip against my skin where my carotid artery pulsed, and then his teeth, cold and sharp, making tiny indentations in my flesh, but not piercing me, not yet.
He sniffed my hair and then my shoulder. "You've had another man recently," he whispered in my ear. "I'm jealous."
"He was nobody," I shivered, feeling his hardness against my ass. "You have nothing to be jealous of."
"Hmmm…" He brought his hands to my breasts, massaging me through my blouse, teasing my hard nipples with his thumbs.
"You're the only one I love," I moaned, turning my head and seeking his lips, but he refused me.
"So you say, Ellen." Michel closed his eyes, tilting his head and nodding slowly as if listening to some unheard melody. "What are you thinking, I wonder."
I pressed my body back against him, biting my lip and watching him.
"I'm thinking I want you to fuck me." I reached back, touching his firm body, moving my hand down towards his erection. "I know you want me, Michel. Did you think I'd forgotten you?"
"Forgotten?" he chuckled. "Ellen, why must you torment me so?"
"Tell me you love me," I squeezed his cock, feeling it strong and heavy through his silk trousers.
"I'm incapable of such a thing." He cut away one of my buttons with a razor sharp fingernail.
"Liar." I licked him across his mouth, pulling at his upper lip with my tongue. "Prince of lies."
"Your cruelty knows no bounds, Ellen," he smiled at me, flicking away another button, opening my blouse slowly.
"Tell me you love me and I'll give you what you want," I breathed.
"I'll tell you I do not and take what I desire." Michel cut away another button, so that my blouse fell open and he reached inside, the vampire's hands cupping me gently, lifting my tits upward so that I went to my toes.
"Mmmm…" I shivered, feeling the ache in my breasts as he squeezed them hard.
"Still whoring for the church?" Michel moved his right hand down, under my skirt and he took my sex in his powerful hand, lifting me off my feet.
And we were away and he could have taken me anyplace, for Michel traveled through shadows, through darkness itself, and the feeble light I still clutched could not penetrate it. He was very old and very strong and I loved him desperately.
He pulled me from the darkness and into a church, of course, and Michel let me go, smiling as I regained my balance on weak legs. I put my lighter away as the place was well lit with yellowish lights and candles, and I turned to face him. My skirt had bunched up around my waist, exposing my thin black panties and the tops of my stockings. My buttonless blouse fell open so that my pale stomach and heaving breasts were bare to his eyes.
We were at the front of the church, near the altar, and it was raised on wide steps with the cross behind it, large stained glass windows glowed darkly on either side. Behind us were rows of empty pews, the stone walls decorated with wooden bas-reliefs of the stations of the cross.
I knelt there, in that church, and worked Michel's trousers loose. I freed the vampire's rigid cock, feeling it warm with a dead woman's blood, the tip of it wet with precum, and I kissed it. This was what he expected of me, my adoration, my worship as a betrayal to the masters I nominally served in Rome. A betrayal of heaven itself.
Michel enjoyed corrupting me, and I enjoyed his cold affections.
I took him into my mouth gently, keeping my eyes lifted to his. I liked watching him watch me and he didn't move, but remained still as a statue, letting me service him like a whore.
The church was empty, but it wouldn't have mattered in any case, for that was our nature, and I think Michel was actually a little disappointed that we had no witnesses. He enjoyed humiliating me, or trying to. In truth, I felt little enough of that emotion when filled with my desires.
I moved my mouth up and down, working my tongue beneath the swollen head and shaft as it slid between my soft moist lips. I washed his prick eagerly, tasting the other woman, the dead one. Michel had been inside her while he'd fed, but he'd been saving himself for me. Waiting for me and I understood that he'd staged all of that for my benefit, killed the girl while he'd fucked her, just so I would see the drama of his pleasure.
I used my hands to free his balls, the supple sack hanging between his powerful thighs, lightly furred and heavy with his sperm filled testes. I pulled them loose from his pants, sliding my mouth off Michel's cock and down, licking and kissing until I was able to take his balls into my mouth. I washed them slowly, one at a time, sucking and playing across his taut skin with my tongue.
Michel enjoyed such attentions, his ego demanded it. I worshipped his balls until he grew impatient, placing a hand on my head and guiding me back to his penis so that I could suck him again. And he was moving slowly, so that I followed him, crawling on my knees with my hands on his hips, my mouth on his cock. Michel sat finally, lowering himself onto a step near the altar, leaning back with his legs open, holding my head as I knelt prostrate on hands and knees.
I heard a voice, soft and light and sounding merrily as it echoed through the church. I began to lift my head, but Michel held me to his penis, forcing my mouth back down.
"Don't stop, my love," Michel whispered. "It is only Paschal."
I felt someone behind me, pulling my panty aside and then a hard cock penetrating my sex easily, piercing my humid folds so that the wetness of my arousal spilled out around it. I moaned while that unfamiliar penis pressed deep and I had little choice but to try and push back, it felt too good to do otherwise.
That would be Michel's new mate, the boy I'd been told of, and like all mated vampires they had no secrets from each other. Michel would share me with him as easily as he would a fresh kill. I felt my heart racing at that thought, at knowing I was alone with two vampires, being fucked deeply now from both ends. I'd opened my throat for Michel and his cock reached far inside me, so that my face pressed against his wiry pubic hair. The vampire's balls slapped gently against my chin with a slow, deliberate rhythm.
And the boy behind me, who was no boy at all judging from the size and strength of his cock, rutted himself into me vigorously, finding my cervix with his cockhead and taking great pleasure in bruising it with his violent jabs. He rocked my body beneath his efforts, shoving my mouth down on Michel's cock and only briefly pulling back, allowing me a quick breath of cool air through my nose.
I came suddenly and the boy knew it, laughing and slapping my ass, telling Michel how my whorish cunt was squeezing his prick lovingly. I shuddered with delight, my body flushed and my muscles weakening. I felt my throat tight and painful, being stretched repeatedly by Michel's long penis. My tongue felt swollen and my lips bruised, but I refused to stop. I wanted him; I needed to taste his dead cum in my mouth, in my belly.
"Enough…" Michel pulled away suddenly, as he was very close to cumming then, and I gasped loudly, drinking air into my burning lungs.
Michel reached for the altar, standing and grabbing at the chalice there, knocking over a small golden platter so that it fell to the floor with a discordant clatter, the Eucharist it had held spilling to the marble tiles. He was stroking himself, masturbating into the cup used for wine during mass. He came quickly, ejaculating into it, polluting the cup with his seed.
The boy was also close and he pulled away from me, his cock leaving an emptiness behind that made me moan, begging wordlessly for more. Michel held the chalice for him, letting the young man stroke his dark prick so that his sperm joined with his mate's, adding to the copious fluids already present.
"Drink this now." Michel put the cup to my lips. "Tell me you love me. Prove it."
"I do love you..." I breathed, feeling the cold metal on my lips and I opened for it as Michel tipped the chalice slowly, "…Master."
I sighed finally as their warm intermingled orgasm spilled across my lips and tongue and I swallowed for him, staring into Michel's red eyes, seeing his sensual lips curled into a triumphant smile. I drank all of it, in five or six swallows, tasting their bitter vampiric semen and feeling it sliding down my throat, settling into my belly like a cold fire.
I licked the cup slowly, while Michel stroked my hair and when I had cleaned it to his satisfaction he took it from my fingers and tossed it aside, so that it clanged unpleasantly across the floor.
I looked at the boy, Paschal, who had a caramel complexion, his face golden brown with large, red rimmed eyes and straight black hair woven into a long elaborate tail reaching the small of his back. He was beautiful, with prominent cheek bones and small soft lips. I thought he was perhaps 17 or 18 years old, and so now he would be forever.
He looked at me curiously, perhaps wondering why Michel entertained himself with me this way, but Paschal said nothing. He was very new, perhaps a month old, certainly no more than two or three, I thought. Michel loved him, or he wouldn't have turned the boy, but it wasn't sexual affection, not in a human sense.
I knew Michel very well, or as well as a human could know a vampire, and he wasn't excited by his own sex, but that was hardly a requirement for love. They'd share their intimacies with others, with the women that they fed on, or with their devotions, minions and slaves like myself. So Paschal would feel no real jealousy, only the lingering pangs of his recently lost humanity.
"We'll go now," Michel said simply and I knew he meant to take me to his home, to his lair.
I was safe now. If he'd wanted to kill me he'd have done it already. Michel had been more interested in seeing my reactions in the church, for that was the place we'd first met, while I'd still been a young novice. And he'd raped me there, on that altar. Bitten me as well, and I'd been very near death that night, but he'd stopped himself and let me live. He knew what I was, what I wanted, and he'd let me serve him ever since.
I'd been looking for Michel my whole life, or sometimes it seemed that way to me, and every step I'd taken had led me to him. Whether it was fate or destiny, or my subconscious willing me along that path I had no idea, but when Michel had taken me as his own, I'd surrendered completely and I'd remained faithful to him in my heart. Bringing me back to that place, as I knew he would, had been a reaffirmation of my devotion. I'd betray all else in my life to be with him.
Or so I'd tell him, and in his presence tell myself, for he had some small ability to divine my emotions, if not my actual thoughts. It was a dangerous and thrilling game, to play with a vampire thus, but I had certain advantages.
One of them was that I did in fact love him, as I've said. He wouldn't question that, for he could sense the truth of it. He was being manipulated by the truth for I had indeed been looking for him, but only because Michel had been chosen for our purpose. Cardinal Beschi had chosen me as well, and I'd been played unwittingly into Michel's arms, raped and ultimately seduced by him, only to learn the truth of it much later.
Sometimes it was hard to tell them apart, Michel and the Cardinal. I believed they were both evil, existing as they did at opposite extremes. But I'd long given up trying to reconcile my feelings, and I served both masters equally well. Which was perhaps what they most wanted in any event.
"Sacramento," I said, holding a glass of wine and standing in the cold San Francisco night.
We were on the balcony, behind low balustrade of stone and overlooking the city and the bay far below us. It was a grand house, very old and well dressed from ages past. Michel was something of an art collector and his private gallery was impressive. I'd been looking at his latest acquisitions, expressionist works by Klee and Kandinsky amongst others.
But it was time for talk.
"There were two of them," I continued. "Females, a girl and a woman coming from the north. Oregon, maybe Washington or Vancouver."
"Yes," Michel nodded. He had his own glass of wine, but he wouldn't drink from it. He merely held it as a gesture of etiquette.
"You know them."
"I know the woman, she's the older," Michel shrugged. "The younger, I have no idea."
"Who is she?" I asked, turning my back to the city and facing Michel.
"Why do you want to know?" he smiled at me. "They will be gone soon."
"I need to know that you're safe," I sipped my wine. "All of your kind. They were very messy and it makes people nervous."
"We're safe," he offered patiently. "No one can touch us here."
"The FBI has the girl's blood, the one who was shot." I leaned back, folding my arms under Michel's suit coat as it hung over my shoulders.
He looked at me then.
"And the bodies, they'll be making casts of the bites, examining the teeth," I stared at him. "We don't need this."
"And so what would you do, Ellen? Hmmm? Would you kill them?" He dipped his finger in his wine, and then put it to his closed lips, moistening them.
"I just want to find out why," I shrugged.
"You already know why," he tilted his head. "No, you want something else, what is it?"
"I want to talk to them, that's all." I watched as he moved closer, touching my hip with his hand.
"More data for your behavior model, is that it?" Michel smiled, bending his kiss to my neck and I smiled, turning my face away, offering it to him.
"Tell me about the older one," I shivered under his soft wet lips. "The woman."
"I'm thinking about it." Michel tossed his glass over the railing and into the darkness beneath. "Tell me why it happened."
"The murders?" I reached down to feel his penis, once again hard for me.
"Mmmm…" he slid the coat of my shoulders, letting it fall to the smooth stone beneath our feet.
"The younger started it..." I unzipped him slowly, "...she was frightened, I imagine. The older was away, feeding perhaps…Except…"
"Except what?" Michel was slipping my buttonless blouse away, so that a breeze caught it, carrying it away like a dying bird.
"There was too much blood." I reached inside, stroking Michel's cock. "It's cold out here."
"You won't feel it, I promise." He kissed my left nipple tenderly and it had already grown hard and long, the skin around it breaking out with goosebumps.
"They were doing something. For a reason," I continued, arching my back slowly. "The younger panicked and her instinct was to kill."
"It's who we are." Michel put his arms around me, pressing his mouth to my breast and I felt his teeth then, stabbing into my flesh and I gasped.
I released his cock as he lifted me easily, without withdrawing his teeth from my breast, drinking my blood as it flowed into his gently sucking mouth.
"Oh, Michel…" I moaned softly, clutching him as he moved us inside, towards his bedroom.
My heart beat faster and the pain was nothing, barely noticed beneath the warmth that overfilled me. I arched myself against his kiss and closed his eyes, only to open them once more when he laid me upon his soft bed.
I was bleeding from his bite, just beneath my left nipples, and without undressing Michel entered my sex quickly, pushing his swollen erection past my panty as he pulled it roughly aside. I held my breath as his cock split me easily, finding the damp remains of my recent orgasms, when he and the boy had taken their pleasures from my willing body.
Michel drove his penis inside me completely and we didn't move. I just lay there, my skirt bunched under my hips, my stockings askew. He bent his mouth to my right breast and took me there as well, drawing blood from deep inside my flesh and I felt my pussy clasping his cock. I wanted him to fuck me, to move with me as I began to rock my hips, but he did not.
"Fuck me…" I breathed.
But Michel merely moved his mouth higher, to my shoulder, biting me again. Never so deep to be truly dangerous, nor long enough to slow my rapid heart, but he was biting me over and over and I had a dozen bites across my body when I had my orgasm, cumming around the vampire's as yet unyielding and motionless prick. It seemed a torturous tease, being so full and Michel's size and strength holding me in place, so that all I could manage were the smallest movements with my ass and hips.
"I should Turn you, Ellen." Michel kissed my face, leaving bloody stains upon my pale skin.
"And what of your mate?" I asked him, bring my left hand to cradle his head.
"I will kill him," he whispered. "He bores me already."
"I would hate you for it." I lifted my knees, wrapping my legs around his waist.
"All the more reason," he smiled and his eyes were burning bright.
"I serve you better as a human." I pulled his mouth to mine, pressing my tongue between his lips and tasting my own blood there.
"I will miss you when you grow old." Michel licked across my lips and he moved, just a little, pulling back and thrusting into me so that I gasped.
"And mourn me when I'm dead," I smiled. "Turning me would spoil the…Ugh…" he pushed inside my tight cunt again, "…romance."
"I would have you hate me a thousand years, before giving you to the earth…" Michel said and then he bit my neck, quickly and without mercy.
He fucked me hard then, as an animal, rushing his cock in and out of my womb so that I would cum for him, my excited heart speeding me to my death as he drank me quickly, his mouth working to swallow my blood as it poured from my open throat.
I was starving to death, my blood growing thin and weak, being pulled from my limbs first, so that even through the fever of my orgasm, I could feel the chill in my fingers and toes, spreading into my arms and legs. I breathed slowly then, my lungs aching and my arms and legs fell away from Michel's body finally and my thoughts were incoherent.
I was dying, finally. My love, my Michel, was finishing what he'd started so long before, when I'd been a child of 18, now at last he was finishing is rape. I was dying and I felt him cumming even as my heart ceased and my last thought, my very last before I died, was that the Cardinal would be very pleased.
All I had to do was survive the Turning.
I was famished and restless and it had become very hard to think clearly. The moon was up, I could smell it. Moonlight smells as an aphrodisiac and my skin crawled with desire. I paced my chambers, the bedroom in which I was locked. The room was made of stone and rock, with no windows and a door of thick oak banded with steel. I clawed it, gouging the old black wood deeply, but I'd found no exit there.
And the voices in my head. There were thousands, all of them incomprehensible and teasing me, like thoughts on the tip of my tongue. Human thoughts, made of flesh and blood just beyond my reach. I'd never been so hungry in my life and I was panting with lust. My breasts felt swollen and my nipples burned with a cold fire. My cunt felt raw and empty and I fingered it continuously, pinching my clit viciously as if I would tear that bit of electric flesh away.
This was tortuous and maddening and I had fears and doubts and I would huddle on the floor occasionally. Did Michel know? Had he learned all of my secrets, and so now this would be my punishment? He'd tricked me, I thought, while I'd been playing him so cleverly, he'd fooled me and locked me away. I'd go mad with hunger and die of starvation. A slow, cruel death like no other imaginable.
But he couldn't know. It was impossible. I was far too smart, too cunning for him. He had a thousand years, but he'd never met me. I was unique and he couldn't have planned for me. Michel couldn't have anticipated me. I paced the room and bit my lips and wept cold tears waiting for him helplessly.
When the door opened, I leapt, as he knew I would. It was what all of his previous children had done and Michel had brought a man for me, tall and strong and fit. He was beautiful and curious and oh so willing. He thought he would be sleeping with Michel, but he was wrong. I ripped into his throat greedily, burying my face in the man's torn flesh and drinking deeply while Michel watched.
I thanked him silently. My love, my savior. He hadn't forgotten me, he hadn't punished me. He'd brought me what I needed and I felt my body filling with desire for him even as I fed for the very first time in my new life.
Michel knew this as well, how feeding and sex are indistinguishable, and most often necessary. The penetration, the intimacy of sharing precious fluids, sustaining life and energy. Feeding might have been a metaphor if it were not so utterly literal.
Michel took me from behind while I held the dying man in my arms, spilling his rich crimson blood over us both. He fucked me violently, much as I'd taken my victim. It was all connected, all interrelated. I groaned as Michel's cock entered my cunt and I fed until I felt my orgasm, a real one and oh! How very unlike those I'd felt as a human.
This experience was dark and deep, like a dragon waking in my belly. My orgasm consumed me as I collapsed on the man I'd killed, kissing his dead mouth, pushing my tongue between his lips. I made love to a dead man, imagining his cock inside me, not Michel's. It was the same with males, with Michel and the others, they'd fuck their victims and most often loose their seed into a dead woman's womb.
Oh, how I envied them for that. I had to content myself with his limp body, with his slack jaw and empty eyes. Only Michel's penis heightened the pleasure and brought me to that lofty plateau of orgasmic rapture. The rest of him was needless and unnecessary. I ignored him, giving that corpse all of my affections, my soft moans and whispered sighs.
I slept again, for I was very weak, and I awoke to find a woman beside me. She was alive and frightened, but willing. I'd grown hungry again. A vampire feeds once every three days or so, but a newborn must feed daily until it is strong.
"I'm for you," the girl told me and she didn't move or cry, or even scream as I closed my arms around her naked form, pressing my aching breasts to hers, and sinking my teeth into her neck.
She made love to me, as much as she was able, holding me in her own arms and bringing her thigh to my sex. I was slower this time, and much more gentle, and the girl lived for a long while beneath my kiss. I stroked her flesh and rubbed my sex against her leg, savoring the sensations that only feeding may bring.
I fingered her pussy from behind, as she was much smaller than I, and I felt her hot and humid. Her cunt was alive then, hot inside and I rather enjoyed that. I held her tightly, squeezing her, drawing her blood only as fast as her heart was willing to give it. When she orgasmed finally, it was just a short while before she fell asleep. She died gently and I felt much better about that.
I held her while I slept, wondering why she would have sacrificed herself so willingly for me.
I awoke on the third day, rising from my bed, and I discovered fresh clothing laid out for me. It was well after sunset, approaching midnight, and I dressed slowly. I felt everything differently, both physically and emotionally as well. The silk dress, black and grey, felt heavy somehow, as if my fingers could feel every silken strand, the texture seemed somehow rough and unfinished. I felt it over my body and it was comfortable, and a good fit, but I felt neither cold nor warm.
There was a thong, black and supple. I stepped into it, pulling it up and smoothing my dress down. The sensation was pleasant, the slight pressure against my clitoris made me smile, and wondered that I'd never noticed such a thing previously. No stockings, just shoes. New ones, in black leather with two inch heels and open toes. They were comfortable and easy to walk in.
My purse lay nearby and inside it my old Beretta 92, my big black Advil, and I wondered if I'd ever truly need it again. But the coldness of it, the weight of the weapon gave me pleasure. I flipped the safety and checked the clip and the breech, 16 rounds altogether, hollow points with mercury tips, painted with red wax on the nose. I could shoot with either hand, well enough to compete with my friends at the FBI and not be embarrassed. But now…
"Are you thinking about me?" Michel's voice didn't surprise me. I'd heard him and smelled him, and someplace in the back of my mind I'd felt his approach.
"Always." I looked at him, the gun tight in my right hand, my finger caressing the trigger with the safety off.
I could do it so quickly, so fast. My reflexes had always been superior and now they were inhuman. I saw it in my mind, the likely actions the possible outcomes. I knew where he'd move and I'd fire a bullet at empty air, knowing Michel would be there in that fraction of a second to meet it. I'd kill him.
"I am here," he smiled, spreading his arms slightly, dressed in a black suit with a red silk handkerchief in his breast pocket.
"I told you I would hate you," I shrugged, safing the pistol and putting it in my purse. "Not kill you."
"And I should regret your mercy forever, my love," Michel said, holding out his arm for me to take it.
"Where's your boy?" I asked him as he led me to the rooftop, which I hadn't expected.
The moon was full and high above us, with one of the planets in close attendance, shining far more brightly than any star. We walked to the edge of the flat rooftop, some 50 feet above the ground, and even more than that on the northwest side. The house had been built on the side of a steep hill, almost a straight drop of some four or five hundred feet into a wooded ravine. The city lay below us, sparkling in the crisp, cold air. In the distance I could hear the low bellow of the foghorn at the Golden Gate Bridge and closer the confused thoughts a million humans, buzzing softly in my ears like insect wings.
"Paschal?" Michel took a deep breath. "Out there, someplace. I told him about you."
I looked at Michel.
"I told him I would keep one of you," he smiled at me. "The one who survives."
"You told me you'd kill him," I pursed my lips, frowning.
"And so I have..." he leaned forward and kissed me, just below my hairline, "...unless I've misjudged you, Ellen."
I left him there, standing alone. I had five hours, perhaps a little longer, to kill the boy...or he would kill me. Paschal would be hunting me already, as soon as I left the house and I tried to get a sense of him, but there was only Michel.
If I couldn't find him, then my best chance would be to let the boy find me. I had no experience with my powers, such as they might be. I wasn't even aware of my weaknesses as such, except I was reasonably sure I wouldn't care for the sun when it came up. Paschal was newborn as well though, being just a few months old, and he'd been young when Michel had turned him, so I didn't think he'd have a lot of experience. But underestimating him would be unwise.
I wondered if Michel had meant what he'd told me, about his faith in my ability to kill another vampire. It seemed very likely Michel might have arranged all of this just to test his new mate. I had extensive knowledge of vampire history, something which they themselves had never appreciated to my knowledge, and so I knew such tests were not common, but neither were they unheard of.
It was true that vampires mated for a life, a fact they took some amount of pride in, as if it both separated them from humans, who were notorious for breaking ties with their spouses, and gave them further affinity with wolves. There was a spark of kinship there, between vampires and wolves, that went beyond mere interest, although that was one secret I'd never fully exposed to my liking.
Having said all that however, it was also known to me that vampires killed their mates, at least some of them did. Michel certainly fit into that category. Before the boy, Paschal, he'd had a girl, a very young girl of 12 or 13 years, and she'd been with him over a hundred years, perhaps longer for I'd never pressed for details. And then one day…She was gone. Michel had told me himself that turning a girl so young had been a mistake. He was not the paternal type and there were complications, as he put it.
But none of that was truly significant. I had one choice if I wanted to survive and that was to kill Paschal. The reasons would become clear later and I could analyze them to my heart's content. At that moment I was busy learning how to fly.
Flying is perhaps the wrong word, as I didn't float on the air or soar like a bird. Or even change into a bat, for which I felt somewhat grateful. Instead, I had inherited some ability from Michel it seemed, which to my limited understanding of vampiric reproduction wasn't entirely uncommon. I was able to use shadows, moving from one to the next as quickly as I could imagine it. I'd step into one and emerge from another, within my line of sight it seemed, although I was trying different things with varying results.
It worked very well, especially away from artificial lights, like streetlamps or a car's headlights. Shadows from the moon were the best, and there seemed to be a texture to them. They were intangible, certainly, but at the same time I could feel the shadows I entered and moved through. They were neither cold nor warm; not heavy or light. They were much like feeling the weight of your skin over your flesh; a thing difficult to imagine, let alone express, but present nonetheless.
It was quite enjoyable once I became used to it, although moving through a shadow that disappeared on me was an abrupt stop and left me momentarily off balance and a little disoriented. It was like walking up a moving escalator and then it stops, catching you mid-stride. That next step isn't where you thought it was going to be and you stumble, or even fall. Even with the occasional misstep though, I covered some ten miles in less than thirty minutes. Michel could have done it in less than five, I was certain. But he'd had centuries of practice.
And Paschal would have his own skills and abilities, perhaps similar to mine, perhaps different. I had no way of knowing until I faced him, which made me very wary as I entered a lonely part of the San Francisco waterfront, very near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. There were long miles of dark warehouses, and the occasional office and even a small bar or tavern here and there, especially nearer the bridge itself.
I slipped through a chain link fence as if it wasn't there, moving through the shadow of an adjacent building and I was really beginning to enjoy that trick. And I could smell him then, Paschal, somewhere close, he had to be close because that part of me was weak yet. He was above me, I thought, moving silently upon the roofs perhaps and I drew my pistol, flicking the safety with my thumb, for that cold steel was as much a comfort to my heart as it was to my hand.
I walked along an old brick warehouse, towards the water. It was on my left and I dragged my fingers across the rough stone, holding my Beretta in my right hand, angled down and out. My nails had grown long and sharp without my noticing, and my eyes must have changed as well, I was certain, taking on a red glow. I could feel my teeth long and razor sharp and the hair on the back of my neck felt stiff. I tingled with excitement, my heart beating rapidly and I felt no fear. This was the hunt and I felt a sexual charge flow through me at the prospect of finding and killing my prey.
I had the urge to abandon my weapon, feeling strong the desire to rip into soft flesh with my claws and teeth, rather than merely shooting a projectile at someone. That seemed almost ludicrous, even insulting to some extent, but I kept my pistol even so. I was a vampire, but I told myself I was something more besides. There had never been one such as me, never in all of history and that was to my advantage, I hoped.
I didn't hear him or see him, or sense Paschal in any physical way, but I knew he was there and I was pulling the trigger before I caught even a glimpse of his shadowy form. Brick and mortar exploded next to his head and fragments from my bullet drew blood from his cheek. I fired once more, missing as he moved quickly into shadow, and instinctively I dropped low, sweeping with my leg as he emerged, taking Paschal's legs out so that the boy fell hard on his back.
I might have taken him then, but my stance was poor, my balance off center, and so I pushed myself up, leaving the gun as it clattered from my fingers. I landed a dozen feet away, crouched and hissing at him while Paschal stood up slowly, his eyes burning and his beautiful face turned malevolent with rage.
He was stronger than me, but all he had were his vampire instincts, the boy had never fought anyone in his life and so he hadn't the experience or wit he needed to take me. It was unfair in the end and I had no desire to toy with him. I'd never been cruel, not in that way.
Paschal lunged for me, as an animal would, and it was fast, blinding, but so was I and took him with a throw that even my humorless sensei would have appreciated. He landed hard on the pavement, momentarily stunned as he staggered to his knees. That was enough and I stabbed my hand into his back, fingers stiff and strong as steel so that I could grab his heart in my fist.
The boy's chest exploded with blood and he looked down, but I couldn't see his face. It was the quickest and surest way to kill a vampire and Paschal was dead before he hit the pavement, his body sliding off my arm with a dull wet sound and then the soft thud as he lay there motionless.
I blinked at myself, black moonlit blood covered my skin from the tips of my fingers past my elbow. I felt that soft muscle dripping in my fist, the arteries and veins ragged where they'd been torn apart. I kept it, of course, as a present for Michel, a memento of his young mate. I'd felt great pleasure killing him, but it passed quickly and I felt an empty chill inside me.
It wasn't guilt, but only regret that Paschal had been so young. Michel had taken the boy's life, and I'd taken what remained. My feelings were tempered with the knowledge that Paschal would have killed me if he could, but in all honesty, he'd never stood a chance. Michel hadn't been testing him at all, only me.
I waited briefly, knowing Michel was near. He'd been close to me all night and I didn't turn as I felt his arms encircling my waist, his body against my back. I just held that heart and dropped it only when he kissed me finally, turning my chin with his fingers, and welcoming me into his world.
I was deep in it now.