David’s body still ached from last night. The open wounds on his face pulsated with white hot pain everytime he tried to muster a smile or a wince and he wanted nothing more than to sleep off the shame of letting Draven escape. He blocked his eyes from the early morning sun and crept into his house as quietly as he could. There would likely be hell if his wife was awake.
As soon as he opened the door, the ruse was up. There was his wife, leaning patiently against the counter as if awaiting his arrival. She held an unfamiliar bottle in her hands, examining it with great interest before snapping her head up in response to his footsteps. He’d learnt not to ask about her business, otherwise she would threaten to arrest him. David could never tell whether she was joking or not.
“Janet. I can explain – ” He started confidently, but then his words dissipated into senseless mumble beneath his wife’s glare. She was so intimidating, but he loved that about her.
Frowning, Janet examined the markings on his face. They looked fresh. She had always been opposed to his career choice, urging him to reconsider and change before it was too late. But he was always so stubborn about not abandoning his gang. However, the one time she needed his skills to help her out – they had failed and here he was empty handed.
“What happened to your face? You said it would be an easy job.” She pushed herself off the counter and strode towards him, placing the jar down on the counter beside her. The contents of the jar looked either sickly yellow or deep red, depending on the way the light shone through it. He didn’t even want to know what it was. She got within arm’s reach of her husband and touched a cold hand to wound, ignoring how he jerked away. Janet examined the blood, rubbing it between her fingers and resisting the temptation to taste it. Surface blood never tasted too good. Blood sourced from deeper down was much cleaner.
David sighed, angry with his own inability to get the job done, “He got away. There was a girl with him. Another vampire.” He swallowed thickly and looked into her eyes, trying to predict the most likely reaction. He hated upsetting his wife because he was, admittedly, a little afraid of her. “I didn’t expect her to appear… I hadn’t prepared for both of them to be there.”
“Hush,” she touched her bloodied finger to his lips to quieten him and gave him a kind look, “It’s alright. You had no idea this would happen, David. Calm yourself.”
As he gradually submitted to her calming tone, she drew closer towards his neck. Her eyes wandered along his jugular, searching for the spot she always drank from. When she found it, Janet wasted no time and plunged her fangs in, enjoying the warmth that flowed into her mouth.
When she pulled away, she supported him until his legs stopped their shaking. It was normal that humans should experience some weakness after feeding; however, Janet knew she had been a little mean by drinking from him after he’d been injured. “Go rest now David, regain your strength.” She directed him towards the steps and kissed him hastily on the cheek.
Once she was sure he had gone upstairs, she sighed heavily and pulled out her phone. Since her husband didn’t take care of it appropriately, she would have to arrange another way to get rid of those vagrant vampires.
Though the lack of progress annoyed her, Lilith took up painting as a way to pass the time. There wasn’t much she could do right now. They lacked the numbers and she was still feeling a little disorientated. With a little begging, she had convinced Draven to nick an easel from the school. He said he didn’t like stealing from kids. She said she didn’t care what he liked because it wasn’t a request. Lilith though her skills were becoming quite refined, so she decided to take up painting full-time (when she wasn’t conquering). The vampire used the phone the way Draven had taught her and registered herself as self-employed.
The curator on the line didn’t sound convinced that she was quite up to standard.
“No, no, my paintings are really good. I assure you. Don’t even worry about it.”
Draven, on the other hand, had decided that he needed to practice his ‘getaway run’ just in case the car wasn’t working. He was still anxiously awaiting a call from the higher-ups to inform him of his employment status now that he’d defied his boss, but he managed to put the phone down for a few hours to visit a desolate gym.
The place was completely abandoned by the time Draven rocked up. Good thing too because he slipped and fell on the treadmill a number of times. His exercise plan wasn’t going too well.
Lilith grew bored of painting as the night tired on and decided she should get to know he town a little more. She took a trip to the library, visiting the place more for a snack than a good book. But still, she at least made an effort to blend in, running her fingertips over a neat line of books.
Her prey wasn’t hard to find, considering there was only one other person in the entire building at such a late time. Lilith tried her best to restrain herself, thinly veiling her hungry words with a charming smile. She’d been practicing her charisma too, using it to persuade Draven to steal the easel for her. She put on her most pleasing smile at approached the woman, striking up a conversation about whatever first came to mind. She hit her with that age-old vampiric charm and it wasn’t long before her victim offered her arm.
Her thirst sated once again, Lilith departed from the library without having read a single word. The next stop on her pseudo tour of the city was, of course, the cemetery. She had been taught that tombstones revealed a lot about a person. What they were like when they breathed, what the town thought of them. It was like getting to know them in person… only they were dead. The cemetery proved to be quite a while away, but when she reached it, Lilith could appreciate the obscured ocean view it provided. She entered in silence out of respect. Thankfully, there was no-one here at this ungodly hour. Humans had this thing about graveyards and nighttime, a silly paranoia of the living dead. The vampire made her way through the maze of graves, coming up to a pole that she lent on.
She had always seen graveyards as serene. It was a place for old souls to rest. Ignoring the fact that most of the bodies buried here were human, she found herself smiling as she strolled around. But with that dim smile came a hollowing loneliness that struck her at the core. She was just so alone and she never realised how much she longed for companionship until she’d lost it. Lilith must have spent hours just wandering and prying at headstones, but she was jerked out of her tranquility by a familiar voice.
“Ah yes, a nice stroll in the graveyard. How romantic. Have room for one more?” Draven juts materialised beside her and took a seat without waiting for her response.
She didn’t ask for an explanation, but he gave one anyways.
“I was called up for a job. This is my uniform. They even make me wear this dumbass collar just in case I decide to double cross them. Supposedly it gives you a quick jab and then you’re gone, but I think it’s just a tracking device.” Draven pointed to the spiked collar he was wearing, tugging it away from his neck just slightly before letting it snap back. “Talking about tracking… I tracked you here. Sorry.”
Lilith responded with a gentle grunt. She didn’t mind that he had followed her. In fact, she was rather pleased that he had. Feeling the bravery burst and mix with her lonely heart, she turned to face Draven and gave him a sweet little smile.
He sensed a change in her, an anomaly in her mannerisms as he watched her cautiously. There seemed to be a rosy fire beneath her cheeks and an elation supporting her breath. He’d never seen her so happy, but was concerned about whatever had triggered this change. “Someone’s happy today.”
“I want you, Draven.” Her cold eyes quickly darted to the ground and she seemed embarrassed about what she had just said.
In a state of bewilderment, he found his mouth flapping but no words coming out. He suspected that being surrounded by the dead had triggered an emotional outburst from Lilith, but he didn’t know how best to deal with it. “Uh, is everything okay?”
Again, she mostly ignored what he said and moved on impulse. The vampire shifted closer yet again and wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling him into the embrace. This was the closest she’d been to him, and she was dancing between discomfort and bliss.
“Please. I’ve been so lonely.” She was whispering into his ear now, teeth just grazing against his neck.
But Draven wouldn’t accept her sudden affections, becoming suspicious of her motive. He gently removed her arms and took a step back. “I don’t think you’re feeling well. Did something happen?”
The humiliation of rejection slapped Lilith hard and her brow furrowed with anger. “Nothing happened.”
While he was glad to have the old Lilith back, he was sorry he had to shut her down so abruptly. He took the submissive role again, averting his eyes and apologising to her while she stalked off. That was his cue to follow her back to the crypt.
The drive was long and silent. She had spent most of the trip glaring out the window with a sour expression on her face and he made no attempt at small talk. It was awkward. But when they arrived at their destination, she was met with a surprise.
A large stone sculpture sat proudly on the grass, a weeping dairy draped over a marble altar. This was an unfamiliar sight to Lilith and she instantly ran to examine it.
“You like it? I took if from the facility we robbed today. I think it makes a nice addition to the ol’ crypt.” Draven moved towards it, a toothy smile creeping up onto his face. He thought this was a pretty nice piece of art – he just couldn’t resist!
Lilith was less than impressed. This was a vampire coven. Not a fairy house.
The elevator trip was even more awkward. They stood on either side of the cubicle, Lilith practically pressed up against the wall. They were thankful that it was a short ride, though. Draven noticed a new piece of art gracing the bare walls of the foyer area and instantly checked it out. Lilith got stuck in the elevator door.
“Don’t tell me you,” he looked over at her and bit into his lip to contain his laughter, “painted this.”
“Shut up.” She snapped while struggling to slip out of the door’s grasp.
“It’s a masterpiece.”
She finally managed to escape the elevator without any assistance from Draven and stormed over to her tomb. She could hide her embarrassment in the darkness and the sooner she forgot about this evening’s events, the better.
Draven followed with laughter bubbling under his words, “Need some help getting that tomb open?”
“You mean to tell me that one escaped from the crypt?”
“That she wasn’t put down with the rest of them?”
“Ye – ”
“That she’s walking around my town as we speak?”
Janet folded her arms over her chest. She was shaking, but she wouldn’t let anything give that away. She had to protect her reputation – cool, calm and collected under pressure. “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
He sat and pondered for a moment, fist clenching and unclenching by his side. As if struck by brilliance, he shot up and was in Janet’s face like lightning. “It was your job to take care of the vagrant boy. Not only did you fail, but you also showcased your lack of proficiency through finding a surviving Olvera member. I’m starting to doubt your loyalty, Janet.”
But she wouldn’t just lie down and take the blame. She was determined to right her own wrongs and close this issue for herself. With the plasma fruits all wilted, there wasn’t any room in this town for more hungry mouths. Sacrifices would have to be made. But for the greater good, she repeated to herself mentally, it’s for the greater good.
“I’ll see to it myself that they are both eliminated.” She gave him a indignant look and raised her chin. She was no punching bag, and she would prove it.
The man relaxed his shoulders and stepped back, satisfied with what she had promised. “Don’t give me reason to doubt you, Janet.” With those as his parting words, his form dissipated into a cloud of smog and she was alone.
For the future of the vampiric race, she hoped she would be able to fulfill her promise.
For herself and her husband, she hoped those vampire’s deaths would come swiftly.