Here is this week’s chapter of Lover’s Requiem.
In non-writing-related news: job interview on Tuesday. Wish me luck!
CHAPTER TWO- KILLER LIKES CANDY
The world was already dark when Koios and Emaline stepped outside. The scent of the day, of the people, permeated the air. It was difficult to gain even a basic idea of where a night wandering human might be lurking.
After a few seconds that passed as lifetimes, Koios lowered his head from the sky and opened his eyes. “Follow me,” he told Emaline, not bothering to glance back at her. He took off running towards an apartment building and leapt from landing to landing on the fire escape until he reached the asphalted top of it.
From the tar garden, he could pick out the area of the city where all the nightclubs were to the north. To the east, the sky was obscured by high-rises and too many lights. Koios smiled grimly. The humans were trying to turn the night into day with the hope that they would be safe.
He continued his circle, looking out to the outskirts of the city and the start of the suburbs in the south and the lake to his west. The wind that night was coming off of the lake, warming the air just a half of a degree. Still, the cold air sliced through his clothes and on reflex, he drew his coat closer to him in an attempt to ward it off.
The wind carried the soft scent he had come to associate with food. It was from, unsurprisingly, the northern part of the city. People were out there in droves tonight and they would be easy to get alone.
He leapt back down to the ground, landing cat-like and startling Emaline. “Come,” he said simply before taking off to the north. It did not take long to reach the part of the city that never seemed to sleep, even with a few stops to allow Emaline to catch up.
He stopped her on the outskirts of the neon lights, kneeling down beside her. “This is your hunting ground. It is the only one you have, so don’t abuse it. Take only what you need then leave the rest. Do you remember how to get back home?” He waited for her nod before continuing. “Make sure you are back before sunrise. The sun appears over the horizon and you drop into slumber, unable to awaken until nightfall. The only place of true safety is there. Do you understand?”
“Good.” He rose and pushed her into a small circle of blue and green light. “Good hunting.”
“And to you,” she replied. Her instincts took over then and she was gone. Koios waited a moment to make sure she wasn’t going to return for help before starting a hunt of his own.
The hardest part of any hunt was the search for the perfect prey. Not to large, but older than 18. He would not feed off of children. Lupus said it was a sign that he wasn’t a true vampire. Diu also said sometimes that he needed to learn to take the easiest prey, regardless of age.
“We are the perfect killers, indiscriminate in our choosing,” the vampire leader had told him once.
He remembered his answer with a wry grin. “Then I am not perfect.” Then he had left for a hunt.
From the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a girl. No, woman. She was young enough to have enough in her to sustain him, yet old enough that he would not feel anything while taking from her. Silently, he followed her through the streets. He became the sleek jungle cat stalking the tiny gazelle.
Through two nightclubs and three alleys he trailed her before finally being close enough to catch her without effort.
He placed one hand over her mouth and one around her hips and drew her close to him. “Greetings,” he spoke softly. His vampiric nature was as close to the surface as it could be and still not break through. It was with effortless ease that he seduced her and drank from her. He stopped soon, sated for the moment. She was still alive, however. Things such as that happened, but he knew what to do when they did. He captured her eyes with his own for a moment and stared into them. “Forget,” he said softly, willing the memory of the feeding out of her mind.
She sunk to the ground, eyes closing. He leaned her up against the wall and stepped back. It was then that he got a clearer look at the one who had become his food. She was in greys and whites, thin, her face narrow.
She looked like Brigett.
Koios turned and ran headlong down the alley. His thoughts swam in his head, creating a confusing storm of them. He knew he hadn’t killed the girl. He also knew that he wasn’t the one responsible for the death of his love.
His thoughts plagued him, however. And it was all he could do to keep his mind off of them.
When he finally slowed enough so that mortal eyes would be able to see him pass by, he was nearing the suburban part of the south. The lawns were well kept and the trees were high and easy to climb. His senses picked out a few of his Court nearby, hunting that night as well. They were the older ones, those that could go longer without feeding. They knew how to control their hunger and did so often. While the suburbs were not teeming with humans as the other parts of the city were, there would periodically be one coming home from a late night or leaving early in the morning. They were tired then, and easy to subdue and their blood was enough to last the older ones a while, sometimes even a month.
He made sure that he kept track of their whereabouts so he didn’t infringe upon their territory. Others had been forced to Greet the Mane for much, much less. There were only a few things worse than territory infringement in Diu’s Court, and those were rarely spoken of.
One of the few places he felt were free was a church towards the middle part of the suburban paradise. Before the older ones could find out what he was doing, he made his way to the church. Across perfectly manicured lawns with no weeds, past houses with the mom, dad, dog and their 2.5 children he went.
Though the night wasn’t lit by the full moon– or any moon– the light from the stars made it as bright as the day he remembered in his dreams. Within five minutes, he had made it to the church and the hallowed ground it stood upon.
The church itself was small, really. On a good day, it would fill to its 100 person capacity. But as it was so small, the builders had time to focus on other aspects of the church, such as the stonework and the windows.
The stonework was breathtaking. Gutters disguised as gargoyles were about the top, green with age. Tiny flower vine were carved into the stones and mixed perfectly with the real ones climbing the church. Even the doors–heavy and ancient oak– were gilded with carvings and hints of gold.
If the walls had been works of art, the large stained glass windows were masterpieces. Each one showed a separate scene from the bible, beginning at Genesis and going through what Koios thought was the end of the world in Revelations. Colors he had never seen with his human eyesight suddenly appeared, brighter than he thought possible.
He was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the place and was grateful that he was still young by vampiric standards. If he had been any older than he was now, the non-existence of his damned soul would prevent him from entering without pain. At 100 years, he wouldn’t be able to set foot inside without bursting into flames. A century later, he wouldn’t be able to even set foot on the hallowed ground churches and other religious buildings were built upon. Ever.
He went through the doors and was immediately greeted by the sight of a cross. He let out an involuntary hiss and moved away. He turned and was faced by yet another cross and let out another hiss. From behind his arm, he peeked out for a place devoid of crosses.
The choir loft, he thought with a grin. And, if his hearing wasn’t flawed, there was a heartbeat coming from up there. His belief was affirmed when a female voice came from above and floated down to reach him.
As a vampire, Koios fed on energy. In order to get that energy, however, he needed the blood. That energy flowed in and out of him and was, to an extent, malleable. That was how he could leap to heights previously unattainable to him, hear and see better than mere mortals, and how Diu could have wings.
From his earlier feeding, Koios has energy in excess. He psychically grabbed some and drew it about himself like a cloak. Then, he began to form it into a pair of black wings and became an angel of death.
With a flap, he rose silently off the ground and made his way over to the shadows of the loft. He landed softy and pulled his wings about him before looking at the singer.
For a second time that night, he forgot that he didn’t need to breathe. He sucked in a lungful of air and he nearly choked upon it. Fighting the reflex, he pushed it back out and kept his invisible appearance. He took another look then, to make sure that he was seeing what his eyes showed him.
She had light blonde hair that fell to her waist. She was tall, thin and wiry. Dressed in flowing white clothes. And had a Celtic knot hung around her neck.
The singer looked exactly like Brigett had before that night.
His fear of that night consumed him. He saw red and moved out into the open. All thoughts of a hidden killing had left him at the sight of Brigett. He would kill her quickly and be done with it. Perhaps then he might finally be rid of the guilt he felt over not being able to save her. The guilt he had carried for ten years.
He leapt out from behind a pillar, ready to strike as soon as he landed. She turned to look at him, shock on her face. “James?”
“I am Koios!” he yelled out as he grabbed her frail body. He not only looked like Brigett, but sounded like her as well.
Perhaps it was her.
But no. He had seen her that night, dead before him. There was no way it could be Brigett standing before him. He wrapped one arm about her neck and the other about her tiny waist. About to yank both in opposite directions, the fake Brigett suddenly glowed white.
And it hurt! Koios dropped his arms and shielded his eyes with them as he scurried into the darkness.
When the light subsided, he looked up again.
There, in the choir loft of the old church was a woman surrounded by white light. Her feet weren’t touching the ground.
She had wings.
“And I am Anahita,” she spoke softly, “if we are to use new names.”
TRIVIA: Anahita means “immaculate, undefiled” and comes from Persian mythology. Koios is Greek and means “of what kind?” As you can see, I put a lot of effort into finding the right meaning of the names I give my characters.