In recent days, Jack and I had acquired the habit of taking long walks at night. And for reasons unclear to me, my new best friend always chose such areas in which I myself would never have appeared at night, even with a shotgun. However, after we raided the drug den, I felt much more confident, so I did not mind. Still, I repeatedly tried to find out why Jack chose such routes, but she only smiled in response. But then it all finally made sense. To my greatest regret…
We walked down some dark alley, barely lit by a couple of dying street lamps.
“Hey girls! Looking for a good time? There are four of us! Two for each will be just right!” male voices were heard from behind followed by disgusting laughter.
I turned around and saw a group of guys – the oldest was no more than twenty, the youngest was no older than me. They were obviously drunk, and all but one were holding a bottle in their hands. I'd already prepared a bold retort, but Jack got ahead of me. Her reaction left me dumbfounded. In the blink of an eye, she rushed up to the guys and in a second, all four of them were already lying on the ground.
Only this time Jack didn't stop there. She started kicking the guys with brutality I'd never seen before. Scared that she would beat them to death, I ran up to her and grabbed her hand.
“Stop! Stop it! Leave them! You've already taught them a lesson!” I screamed, pulling her aside.
“It's not enough! They are all scum! They are all rapists! Didn't you hear what they were shouting to us?! They were going to rape us!” Jack screamed back, trying to free herself from me.
I had never seen her like this. She was always so calm and level-headed, even when we were in real danger. And now Jack was filled with rage.
“Jack, I understand. I understand everything. What happened to you. In foster care, with Chad. It was terrible. It was incredibly awful. But you've already taught them a lesson. They are not rapists. They're just a bunch of drunk assholes! Yes, you did the right thing to kick their asses, but that's enough. You don't need their blood on your hands!”
An ominous smile ran across Jack's lips. Strange as it may sound, but this smile scared me even more than when Jack attacked those assholes.
“Actually, my dear Sam, their blood is exactly what I need. Only I need it not on my hands, but on my fangs.”
“What? What are you talking about? I don't understand,” I let go of Jack's hand and took a step back in utter disbelief.
“Oh yeah, you do. I can see it in your eyes. Do you think I was taking you for a walk in this grim neighborhood just because I admire the local scenery? These are my hunting grounds! I am a vampire and I need to feed myself. But unlike this scum, I don’t hunt the weak and defenseless. I only prey on those bastards who aren’t worthy to be called human beings. I hunt those who humiliate, insult, harass, abuse, and kill women. I'm not a killer. I’m not one of them. I’m the judge, jury, and executioner.”
“But... But you don't drink human blood. You only drink animal blood!” I could hardly speak, utterly crushed by this confession.
“I drink human blood. All the time. And you do it too, Sam!”
“What?!? What do you mean?” I asked confusedly and took another step back.
“Yes, what I was giving you was mostly animal blood, but I always mixed human blood into it. When I gave you my special cocktail at the club, do you remember how amazing it tasted? Because it was the purest human blood!” Jack laughed even harder. Her laugh sounded crazy.
I took a few quick steps back, almost stumbling and falling to the ground. Jack kills people?!? Jack kills people and drinks their blood? I drink their blood!?! I drink the blood of Jack's victims!?! Taking advantage of my confusion, Jack turned back to her potential victims.
“Damn it, Sam! Look what you've done! While you were distracting me, three of these bastards ran away! Thankfully, at least one has stayed!”
Jack walked over to the guy lying unconscious on the ground and bent over him. I followed her. It wasn't even a guy, it was a boy no older than me.
“What ... What are you going to do with him?”
“I'll bite his neck and drink all his blood,” Jack replied in a businesslike manner and added. “You can wait for me over there, around the corner, if you don't want to watch”.
“Jack, please don't do this!” I prayed. “He's just a boy. Stupid, stupid boy. It was surely one of the older ones who shouted those nasty things. And he's just a boy! He's harmless!”
“They are all the same. It all starts with boys like this. And this must be stopped before they harm any woman.” Jack unbuttoned the boy's shirt and ran her hand around his neck.
“Jack, please! Please don't do this! You're better than that! I know that you are strong, I know that you can live without it! You don't need to kill!”
“Oh, you probably think you are better than that? You think that you can live as a vampire and not kill anyone? Let's see!”
Jack picked up a piece of glass from a shattered bottle and with a quick and dexterous movement made a cut on the boy’s neck. It was not a deep cut, nothing life-threatening, but drops of blood immediately appeared on the skin and quickly turned into a thin line. All of my attention was drawn to this incredibly bright red strip, dropping lower and lower along the boy’s neck. It was beckoning me. So desired and so forbidden.
“Stop it! Leave him alone!” I shouted and suddenly felt an abrupt weakness. My knees started trembling and my stomach was squeezed by a sharp spasm. An odd feeling paralyzed all my internal organs. I dropped to one knee and bent over, grabbing my stomach with one hand, and my head with the other. The blood was pumping in my brain, making it ache as if squeezed in a vise. Rhythmic sounds ‘boom-boom-boom’ were growing louder in my ears.
I heard the heartbeat, and this sound was becoming stronger and stronger. But that wasn’t my heart – it was that poor boy’s heart. His blood was calling me. A sharp strong scent hit my nose – it was salty like a sea breeze and at the same time metallic like the smell of water, flowing from an old rusty tap. I raised my head, and a wild roar erupted from my chest. I opened my mouth wide and exposed two pairs of large and thick fangs, each an inch long.
“There you go, Sammy! Show me who you really are! Enough of being ashamed of your nature!” Jack’s voice was shaking with rapture.
She ran her fingers over the trickle of blood that ran down the boy's neck and licked them. At that moment I could hardly hear her. All my attention was drawn to that thin scarlet trickle, crossing the boy’s neck. The sight of blood, its scent, and the rhythmic sounds of the boy’s heartbeat allured me like the sound of an eastern fakir’s flute hypnotizing a deadly cobra. Jack followed my entranced gaze and laughed.
“Come on, Sammy. Come closer.”
I got up off my knee and slowly as if in a daze, came up to Jack and her victim.
“Yeah, Sammy, c’mon! Do it! He deserves this!” Jack shouted impatiently.
Her rude tone and the notes of madness in her voice sobered me.
“No, he doesn’t!” I replied in a hard voice. “I won’t let you. He's just a stupid boy! His only fault is that he’s friends with those idiots.”
“You won’t let me?” Jack said with a fake laugh, “Try to stop me then!”
Jack had already bent down to sink her teeth into the boy's neck, but I grabbed her by the shoulders and tried to pull her away. Jack turned around and hit me. She punched me in the face! No one had ever hit me, especially in the face. And it was not an ordinary punch, but a vampire one. I flew back a few feet, hit my back on the ground, and felt severe pain in my jaw, where Jack's fist hit me.
All of my teeth seemed to have remained in place, but blood was pouring from my cut lip. I ran my hand over it and brought my fingers to my eyes. To my surprise, it wasn’t the usual blood that I had expected, but something black and much thicker. The color of the substance was similar to crude oil and thickened literally before my eyes, turning into something like rubber.
“Don’t worry about it,” Jack said insolently. “It’s just your new vampire blood. It’s much thicker than human blood and it clots several times faster, that’s why we can’t bleed to death – our wounds close up by themselves and immediately begin healing.”
“Good to know,” I replied, spitting the black liquid on the ground.
I got up and raised my clenched fists.
“You think you can beat me up?” Jack laughed.
“I can try. I don't want to hit you. You are still my friend. But I won't let you kill this boy.”
I cautiously approached Jack.
“Well, it’s your decision,” Jack motioned for me to come closer.
I stepped forward and took a stance that I’d recently learned from Jack. Much to my regret, I only learned the martial arts that she had taught me. Therefore, I missed all of Jack's punches, which again almost knocked me to the ground. But then I got lucky.
Despite the fact, that my success didn’t last long, I had managed to cause some serious damage: Jack’s nose was swollen, and the whites of her eyes were covered with broken blood vessels, which was a sure sign of a broken nose. Since Jack’s blood was different from human blood, the broken blood vessels colored the whites of her eyes black, instead of red. The effect was bone-chilling. In the dark of the poorly lit alley, her brown eyes now seemed almost black, similar to those of demons in movies.
Jack pinched the bridge of her nose with two fingers and set her broken cartilage right with quite a nasty crunch. And she didn’t even wince.
“There’s another advantage of being a vampire – high pain threshold. However, I’ll try to show you that we can still feel pain.”
Jack approached a nearby parking meter and tore the pipe at the base so that only a piece about 4 inches long remained sticking out of the ground. Then she took the meter with both hands like a baseball bat, approached me with a lightning-quick movement, and smashed me on the head with it. I managed to shield my head with my left arm, but the blow was so strong that the meter’s top had broken into pieces, and hundreds of coins flew in all directions, like confetti, erupting from a party popper.
Jack took another swing, but this time I managed to grab the meter with my right hand and pull it up, simultaneously turning left so that my elbow hit her chin. I snatched the meter out of her hands and hit her temple with its base. Jack staggered to one side, losing her balance a little, ran her hand through her hair, and brought her palm to her face. Black drops of blood were already coagulating on her fingers.
I stood at the ready with the meter in my hands.
“We need to stop. I don’t wanna kill you. Just leave him alone. It’s over. Please leave him alone! Let's go home! Let's forget about all this! You are still my friend!” I almost cried at the last words.
Jack’s eyes seemed to become even blacker.
“It will only be over when I say it’s over!”
A feeling of primeval fear gripped my guts in a vise. The expression on Jack’s face was a look of complete insanity. Her eyes were full of hatred and anger. I tightened my grip on the metal pipe of the meter, waiting for her next move. She jumped up to me, but this time I was faster. I hit her with all my might. Jack flew to the side and fell to the ground with a strange crackling sound. I dropped the pipe and ran to her. Jack lay motionless. A pool of black vampire blood was forming under the back of her head. At first, I did not understand what had happened, but after a second, I figured it out. Jack fell headlong on the piece of the parking meter pipe that was left sticking out of the ground after she tore it out.
It was over. She was dead. I fell to my knees and closed my eyes. Tears ran down my cheeks. I felt sick. My head was spinning. And then darkness started taking hold of my mind. I felt the last of my strength leaving my body as I started falling toward the ground. The falling seemed endless to me, but at the very end, something brought my limp body to a stop…and started pulling me up. But I don't know what happened next…
I had no idea how long I was passed out, but when I came to my senses, I was no longer on the ground of that dirty alley. Now I was sitting in a chair in a small room with white walls. There was a desk in front of me and a chair on the other side of it. I noticed a security camera under the ceiling. There was a door. I approached it and tried the handle – the door was locked.
I tried to remember how I had gotten there, but the last clear memory I had was Jack's face with black bloody smudges on her lips. After that moment everything felt hazy. From that daze, I recalled some sharp siren-like sound and vague colors – red and blue. I finally figured out where I was – in a police station. This was exactly one of those rooms in which badass movie cops crack the suspects.
I was in the police station, and at any minute a detective would walk in and start interrogating me. What am I going to tell him? There came a click of an opening lock. This is it. Payback time.
“I demand a lawyer!” I turned toward the door. “I will say nothing without…” I stopped mid-word.
A tall man walked into the room. He looked about thirty and not at all like a cop. I was so surprised to see him here that I recognized him only after a couple of long seconds.
“Uncle? Uncle Mike? What are you doing here?”
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