It started as a low buzz that washed through her body. It became gradually stronger. It eventually became a vibration that thrilled through her veins. It was almost orgasmic the way it set every nerve-ending on fire. It was an exquisite crescendo that built from glowing embers to a raging inferno. It took over every sensation that she owned. It became every sensation. The blood throbbed loudly in her ears. Nothing else mattered except for the crimson liquid that flooded her insides with a rush of heat. In time it filled every part of her and she let the remnants of her meal fall to one side. She leant back against the crumbling brick wall and enjoyed the satisfied warmth that flowed through her body.
The bloodless corpse fell to one side with the head resting against her leg. The lifeless eyes stared up at her reproachfully. She looked at it for a moment, still savouring the after glow of her feed, and then casually tipped the head to a different angle so that the eyes no longer faced her way. It was quiet in this back alleyway and the time of night when nobody was around. The only sound was an occasional car passing by in the main street situated a block away. The streetlights didn't even cast their light in this part of town.
She sat for a while longer, replete with the warmth of the new blood in her veins and then stood, sniffing the air. Dawn would not be far away. With calm nonchalance she wiped her mouth on her sleeve and walked off in the direction where she spent her daylight hours. There was no further need be about and the day was only a couple of hours away. She had played and fed well tonight. An amused smile pulled her lips tight against her pointed teeth and she let her tongue play over them as she sucked the last of the blood from around her gums.
Her prey had given her an enjoyable and thrilling chase through the backstreets of the city and she had delighted in playing with his fear and drawn out the chase longer than normal. The smell of him as he sweated out his terror excited her and she watched often from the shadows. He would run looking over his shoulder and sometimes stop to glance fearfully around. He searched endlessly in the darkened gloom for the horror he knew was there. He never knew what it was that stalked him but he understood the evil and death that it represented. He was a weak coward that would have run from a less terrifying thing and this unnatural abomination was too much for him. She moved in finally for the kill, bored with his whimpering and pathetic attempts to protect himself. She smiled now as she remembered the sound of his blood bubbling and gushing when she had taken her first mouthful. She stretched her sinewy body and relished the delicious aftertaste of pleasure and then settled down to sleep through the daylight hours.
The following evening had her walking through throngs of people. There was a street carnival happening and she made her way slowly through the crowds. Occasionally she allowed bodies to brush up against her. She delighted in the fragile softness of their flesh and the smell of their humanity. The colours and sounds washed over her and she soaked in their sensations. She was still content from her feed of the previous night but she knew as the evening drew on she would develop a thirst that would need satisfaction. Anticipation was a flickering flame in the back of her mind as she glanced around at the people that moved through the streets.
She was an old vampire. She had lost count of the years. She no longer remembered how she came into being. She had a clouded memory of a hard mouth and sharp teeth pressing down on her throat. She had struggled against what she had thought was certain death. There had been surprise and initial thankfulness for a reprieve until she realised that it was no reprieve at all but an eternity of damnation. She vaguely remembered a handsome face and cruel eyes as she learnt to take the life giving force needed to sustain her cursed life. Her humanity had died bit by bit and along with it her conscience. She no longer thought of her victims as anything but a means of sustenance. No, that was not entirely true. She enjoyed her hunts. She made a sport of her victims and then finished them off with the final anticipation of being satiated.
The streets started to become less crowded as she made her way into the slummier areas of the city. Prostitutes stood on corners. Some were so young their immature bodies hadn't had a chance to complete their progress of development into womanhood. Others were so old that the pancake make-up merely emphasised their wrinkles, settling with exaggerated accent into the grooves worn by age and hard lives. Drunken bums sat mumbling in the shadows or strewn passed out in the street. Rubbish piled in the gutters and blew about in gusts from the wind. Some of the piles of rubbish housed broken and lost people that had nothing else to make their homes out of.
This down-trodden, wretched part of the city was where she hunted. This was her killing field and she knew every dark, shadowy corner of it. The vampire related to this underside of the city. She understood the dirt and seediness of it. It was a habitat where she felt comfortable. It was her domain. She recognised the hopelessness of it all. She fed on their misery, their inability to be able to move ahead and their lack of motivation. She soaked in their pathetic anguish. Their despair was a breeding ground for her nourishment.
She made her way down under a dark bridge that spanned the filthy water of the river. It whirled in rushing vortexes as it became separated by the pylons and slapped and sucked hard back against the concrete again on the other side. She watched the debris flow passed hurrying on its way to the sea. There was a fetid stench in the air and her nose twitched in response. All the filth of the city seemed to end up in the river. The water had turned to an ugly grey-brown as it swallowed the refuse thrown into it.
The vampire settled down to wait. Someone would eventually come down this way. There was always the possibility that a junkie would be desperate for some dark privacy with in which to have their fix. Maybe a couple who wanted to make out in the dank gloom, a furtive fuck that would mean nothing to either beyond their momentary climax. Sometimes an old drunk would venture down to drink his begged bottle without being hassled and with a chance of passing out in the smelly dark and never waking tomorrow.
The night had half expired before there was any sound of movement. The vampire could hear soft steps coming across the concrete and looked from her shadowy hiding place at a small figure that moved into view. It was a child. A skinny, wan faced little girl who would have been pretty were she fed properly and given a bath. The little face turned from side to side as if looking for something and then it turned in the direction of the vampire. The vampire didn't move thinking she remained hidden from view in the murky dimness. She became momentarily surprised when she realised that the little girl was looking straight at her and had started to move towards her.
The child stopped only a couple of feet from her and looked up into her face. "Have you seen my mum? I've been looking everywhere and I can't find her. She went out to get us some dinner and . . .". The voice ended in a quaver and the dirty little face turned up towards her was serious and questioning.
The vampire stood and studied the serious little face wondering why she was bothering to even think about answering. "No. No, I haven't seen your mother. You shouldn't be out alone by yourself you know. Lots of bad things happen to little girls who go out by themselves at night." Here the vampire stopped. She felt a brief flicker of emotion that was alien to her and then she looked down at the dirty waif again wondering what she should do now. She had no real desire to make a meal of this little one. It would have been sweet to drink from something so young. Yet there was an absence of fear and a hesitant trust emanating from this little person that spoilt the idea of the usual sport she made of her meals.
The little girl had been staring as the vampire spoke and now she seemed to forget all about her mother. "But you're out here by yourself. Aren't you afraid? You're not very old either. How come you're down here anyway?"
The vampire felt some stirring of irritation and knew that this particular territory had become ruined for the evening. She was going to have to find another place to find her prey and make her kill. "You should go home. Your mother is probably home already and worried about you. Go on, shoo. I can look after myself. I'm a lot older than I look." The little girl stood and stared a moment longer and than turned and ran off into the dark.
The vampire followed the edge of the river until she came to where jetties trailed out into the water. Various boats floated in the ebb and flow of the tide pulling against the ropes that attached them to their moorings. It was quiet by the river tonight. There was the occasional echo of laughter and shouting. Music came faintly from across the water. The vampire moved into the shadows again and waited to see if anybody was going to leave or return to any of the boats. The folk who lived on their boats were different. They drifted through life, as well as with the tide, and let the river take them where it would. They let it take the directions for them and so held very few responsibilities other than to themselves and their fellow boat dwellers. It was a suitable place for a person to go missing.
She was getting impatient now. More than half the night hours had passed and she was starting to feel a fierce hunger beginning in her stomach and spreading through into her veins. It was an aching cold emptiness that she needed to fill. She hoped that something would turn up soon. She was starting to feel light-headed from the hunger and began to fear that she would rush her meal instead of giving it the slow enjoyment that she normally did. A few minutes later when she thought she was going to have to go searching elsewhere, a stumbling figure headed down the wharf towards a jetty. It was directly in front of the shadows where she stood. It was a young man who looked like he was making his way home after the carnival. He held a bottle that he swigged on occasionally and he sang a piece of a song over and over in an off key monotone. After a few attempts at trying to remember the rest of the words he returned again to the same chorus he had started with.
As he drew level to her hiding spot the vampire stepped out of the darkness. The movement drew the young man's attention to her and he stopped walking, swaying a little as he tried to focus on her. He seemed to like what he saw and as she made a provocative gesture running her hand down over her breasts to her hips, he grinned revealing white even teeth in his delight. He threw his bottle off the wharf into the water and moved in her direction. She drew him on, moving them both back into the shadows, and then allowed him to close in on her. He bent his head to bury his face between her breasts and she could see the artery that throbbed at the side of his neck. She decided that she had been patient long enough for the night. There was no need for prolonging this one. She was hungry, thirsty and aching for the fountain of crimson that she knew was just under his skin. She licked his throat gently at first. He groaned in pleasure only to have the groan change to a hoarse cry of pain as she ripped through tender flesh to the inviting blood that moved below it. Bright, burning red blossomed around her mouth and ran down her chin as she drank. She sank to the ground with the body as its life left it. This was hot and sweet and abundant. She could feel it spreading like an exquisite fire to the very tips of her fingers and toes. She drank until the body became an empty husk and then sat hunched over it as she waited for the ecstasy to fade.
After a while she became aware that she was not alone. Startled, she looked up and straight into the eyes of the little girl that had been under the bridge. The little girl was standing in absolute horror. Her grubby little fingers pressed against her mouth as if to hold back screams and the tiny figure trembled from head to toe. The eyes were open wide and round and tears streaked the dirty little face. The vampire just returned the stare as she wondered what she was going to do.
Witnesses to the deeds of vampires were rarely believed. This was likely to be more so for a child. She watched the terror and horror on the little girl's face and wondered at the familiarity she felt. She found herself remembering some human emotions. She wondered what the sight of herself killing and drinking the blood of this man would do to this child for the rest of her human life. She thought of her own life that stretched on into eternity with death and madness as her constant companions.
Moving swiftly across the now cooling body she reached the child's side. She was almost gentle as she broke the fragile neck. She would take the body to under the bridge where she had first seen her and place it in the water near the pylons. The water would be swift and deep there. With an indifferent tenderness she scooped the little body into her arms and walked off down the wharf in the direction she had come from before.