Friday, March 1, 2013

Dark Flame Chapter 1

I transformed into a raven and flew out into the rainy night. I had to work hard to stay airborne as the wind fought to push me to the ground. The rain reminded me of the sadness I had felt one thousand years ago as I had said goodbye to my humanity and accepted the fact that I was a vampire. Over the centuries I had learned to accept what I was and didn’t fight it anymore. It was hard work trying to fly in the rain. I don’t know how to describe it to a mortal. Imagine trying to climb Mount Everest and all the time Mother Nature is throwing everything at you in order to make you fall to your death.
The eyes of all my kind turn black when we die. I had never found a mate but I had forty fledglings of my own. Shadow had died at the hands of another vampire so in reality I had thirty-nine. I alighted on the clock tower and looked at the ground beneath me. The rain and wind splashed against my body, soaking my feathers.
I was lost in my own thoughts when I saw the person who was to change my life forever. She was a girl of about fifteen years of age. Blond hair hung loosely around her shoulders. I could see the faint traces of black highlights in her hair. My first thought was of the tiger. Such a beautiful creature, which had long ago died out at the hands of humans. Only a couple vampires had the form of a tiger. I had the forms of a raven, a wolf and a rat.
Silently I spread my wings and followed her.
“Azul what are you doing here?”
I turned and noticed the vampire, a man named Darkling standing under the single street light in the dark alleyway. I flew down to him while keeping one eye on the girl. My beady eyes peered through the rain at another of Ruby’s fledglings. I preened my feathers and spoke with my mind.
I’m exercising. What do you want with me?
Ruby wants you. She’s missed you.
Tell Ruby I have no wish to see her. She stole my life from me. I was only seventeen when she killed me.
Yeah she kept bragging about that. I don’t know why she was so enchanted with you in the first place. She never showed me any of the affection she does when she talks about you.
I have no idea myself. But you’re obviously here for other reasons.
Jazlyn wants to know how to direct lightning.
After one hundred years she still hasn’t figured that out? I scoffed.
Jazlyn was my thirty-sixth fledgling. A twelve year old girl who had the bad luck to get in with the wrong crowd. That bad crowd had been a pack of rogue vampires. A rogue vampire was a vampire who liked killing people for the fun of it and doing things to expose the rest of our kind. Like Nantucket. The idiot had actually thought it would be cool to write a book about his life as a vampire and expose our kind to the mortal world. Naturally he had been eliminated. And the copies of his book had been destroyed.
I had saved Jazlyn from the rogue vampires and escorted her home. Shortly after leaving she had landed in the hospital when her crack addict boyfriend nearly beat her to a pulp. Sensing that she was dying I went to her and offered her the gift of immortality. The chance to become a vampire and never be weak again. She had accepted rather quickly without giving it much thought.
I always stayed with my fledglings for four years to teach them their powers and the ways of our bloodline. Others of my kind turned people and then left them to fend for themselves. That was exactly how vampires died. They were too young and often didn’t know anything about our ways so they did mistakes that cost them their new life. I sighed inwardly and looked once again at Darkling.
Where is she?
In town. She’s living in Holiday Inn, room 123.
Well I suppose I better get over there to see what she wants. Thank you Darkling.
He nodded and disappeared. I spread my wings and flew over to Holiday Inn. I flew in through the open window and resumed my normal form. There was an elderly man lying on the ground. Obviously a pedophile.
“Azul!” Jazlyn cried and ran over to me.
“Darkling told me that you wanted to know how to direct lightning. Why didn’t you come visit me yourself?” I asked with a hint of anger in my tone.
“I didn’t know this was your territory. And I found Darkling the other night up near The Gardens so I asked him if he knew where you were and if he could send you my message.”
The Gardens was a zoo and amusement park combined into one. Admission was $7.00 per adult, $5.00 per child, free for children 3 and under. I could no longer sense the girl who I had seen earlier. It wasn’t unusual for my kind to hang out at The Gardens to hunt. It was easy to pick a human and then lure that human into a dark corner and feed.
I was annoyed. Jazlyn you could have come to me before this to ask how to direct lightning. Why wait a hundred years to contact me?
I thought I could figure out how to direct lightning on my own. But ever since Shadow died I lost the courage to try directing lightning.
It had been well known that Jazlyn had a crush on Shadow. Indeed Shadow himself had seemed to like Jazlyn and had often discussed with me about choosing her as his mate. He hadn’t had the courage to ask her but when he had died at the hands of Shade it had been over who would win the right to have Jazlyn.
I was hungry both for regular food and for blood. Trying to ignore the growling of my stomach Jazlyn and I appareted outside to a small forest on the outskirts of town and began the hour long training on how to direct lightning.
“Set your feet apart like you’re going into a karate stance. Now bring your right arm back slowly and smoothly until it reaches your elbow. Good. Now bring your right arm forward again with your fingers spread apart, pointing at your opponent.”
I demonstrated the technique to her and then generated some electricity which I directed at her. She was going to learn how to direct lightning even if I had to stand here all night passing electricity through her body. Exhausted I transformed once again into a raven and flew home where I crawled into bed just before the sun’s rays filtered through my window.
I wonder who that girl was. If Darkling hadn’t interrupted me I would have found out. I growled low in my chest and shot a blast of fire at the curtains on my mirror. They quickly went up in flames and in a matter of seconds there was nothing covering the mirror with a pile of ashes on the floor. I would have to feed tonight before I decided whether to punish Darkling or pursue that human girl.
I woke up later that afternoon and looked in the mirror at my reflection. The only things that had changed about my outward appearance were my two viper white sharp fangs that pressed into my bottom lip, my pale skin and my black eyes. Everything else remained the same. Inside I was a monster. But I still had my memories. Memories of my humanity before I was turned even though I had pushed them to the deepest parts of my mind. Memories of my becoming a vampire and those first four years as an insane animal.
I walked flew out my window and alighted on the ground before I resumed my human form. I knew where I was going. A vampire restaurant where they took in the lowlifes of human society and kept them in cages for the vampires that ate there. Ambrosia. It was run by one of my fledglings, a young vampire named Jasper. Jasper was a lad of thirteen but he was only two hundred years old.
As I walked toward Ambrosia I saw two vampires grab a struggling man and drag him inside. I knew they were taking him to one of the cages in the back. I shifted through the human’s mind as he was dragged away. A womanizer. I snorted in disgust and opened the door, letting the single red strobe light shine down on me in the entryway.
Jasper looked up as I entered and quickly spoke to one of his workers. The worker immediately cleared a space at the bar for me. I smiled at Jasper and he jumped quickly back.
“How are things here at Ambrosia Jasper?”
“Doing well Azul. We haven’t had many problems with catching prey. Sometimes we have to import them from other places though to avoid being caught by the human authorities.”
“And what about your mate Lilith?”
Jasper smiled at that. “She’s expecting.”
“This would be your first child?”
“Will you be able to manage your duties running Ambrosia and taking care of a child?”
“Shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll let you know if I can’t manage.”
“Do that. I noticed a human outside earlier with Jason and Fayla.”
“Ahh that. They just caught him a few hours ago. It’s a little drunk but he’s not a problem.”
“Jasper calm down. I’m not going to bite you. You’re like a jack rabbit. Actually I have something to ask you.”
Jasper looked surprised that I would ask for his advice but nodded.
“Did you know Darkling and Jazlyn were here?”
“No. They haven’t come anywhere around here and my human workers haven’t spotted any vampires around here minus the usual crowd. What did Darkling want?”
“To give me a message from Ruby.”
“Why don’t you just kill Darkling? He’s a big nuisance from when I met him fifty years ago.”
“That he is. Still I suppose he could be of some use to me. After all he did help Jazlyn kill Shade in revenge for Shadow’s death.
“Anyway do you know anything about a young human named Jasmine?”
Jasper shifted through my mind and came up on the picture I had of her. He withdrew and shook his head.
“What about any of your pets? Do they know anything about her?”
“I can ask. Wait here.”
Jasper went in the back and came back with a terrified twenty-year old human. He pushed the human in front of me and turned to get an order for another vampire. I flipped through the human’s mind and found what I was looking for. Nodding I let the human go back. Jasper must have guessed I had found the information because he gave me a menu.
“What do you plan to do to her?”
“I’m not sure yet. I think I might enroll in her school and see if I can discover anything about her. What’s the connection between your pet and the girl?”
“He tried to date her. Her parents didn’t agree with a twenty-year old dating a fifteen-year old.”
“Humans are so picky about who they let around their children. But some of them can be pretty stupid.”
Jasper nodded in agreement. Do you want to feed Azul? You can go back and have your pick. Your food will take half an hour to cook.
Thank you Jasper. Keep my seat for me.
I stood up and walked into the back room where the humans that were to feed the vampires were kept. They were packed ten to a cage. I inspected the cages as I went searching for something to feed on. I discovered the man I had seen earlier and bent down to look at him. Quickly I unlocked the cage and dragged the human out before slamming the door and locking it.
“One thing I hate about humans is how they mistreat women. My kind treat vampiresses more decently then you humans do.”
I shoved the human up against the wall and sank my fangs into his throat. I watched visions of his life flash before my eyes as I fed, draining every last drop from the pathetic human’s body. When I finished I wiped my mouth on my jacket and dropped him to the floor. Jasper’s pets could clean up the mess.
The humans were silent. They had sensed my hidden anger and were terrified of me. I laughed which made the few nearest to me crawl back to the center. I noticed one of Jasper’s pets standing a few feet from me.
“What do you want?” I snarled.
“Jasper says your food is ready.”
“Clean that mess up,” I said motioning toward the dead human.
“Right away.”  I watched the human run past me and lift the human up and then drag him away. I leaned against the wall as my strength returned. It had only been five seconds since I had finished my meal and already I was feeling better. I walked back into the main part of Ambrosia and ate my food before returning home to sleep.
Tomorrow I’ll enroll in that human’s school and discover why she attracts me. Be afraid young one. I’m coming for you.

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