Chapter seven is now up for reading.
Also, Monday’s post will likely be delayed until about Tuesday or perhaps later due to family events, a trip to Ohio, a possible lack of internet and Athena (the computer) remaining back at home.
Enjoy what is the longest chapter of this novella!
CHAPTER SEVEN- WE ARE ALWAYS SEARCHING
He awoke not long before the sun sunk beneath the horizon. From his spot in the shadows of the church’s loft, he sat and watched the last rays hit Anahita from the opening that was left in absence of the stained glass. Her wings weren’t pulled back for once, but rather open and soaking in the warmth before the cold of the dark night.
Koios turned his attention to his other senses. There was no one else in the sanctuary aside from them. There were no other heartbeats that he could discern with his ears. Smelling the air only showed him that some places needed to be dusted more than others, and the corner where he was sitting was one of them. There was no taste of blood in his mouth. He left the rest of that thought alone. There was no time to go hunting tonight. Perhaps if he ignored hunger long enough, it would go away and he would not need to. Touch only showed him that he was sitting on stone and it was beginning to become painful.
Darkness became a shroud around him and the angel as the sun finally disappeared, taking warmth with it, but leaving safety behind. He stood and walked to the edge of the window, looking down at the ground below. The glass shards had been cleaned up, leaving nothing but this hole as a sign of his passing. He could see and hear children below, running around. Their faces were obscured with paint or masks and bodies hidden beneath layers of clothes in order to ward off the chill of the night as they moved from house to house, ringing bells and knocking on doors. Parents with flashlights stood at the ends of the driveways, lending more light to the already bright night.
Before this year, he had loved All Hallows’ Eve more than anything. It was a shifting in the natural order of things, when dark became more active than day. When night was not feared. And it was so very easy to eat his fill on this night. Now, staring down on them, with an angel next to him, it felt different. He couldn’t say how, it was so subtle. Something about being able to protect them.
Shaking it, Koios tried to clear his head. Where were these thoughts coming from? He was still a vampire. That was prey down there, and easy pickings at that. He should be down there with the rest of his court, engaging in the fun they had every year. He should be there with Diu…
Diu. That name again. Latin for day. He was anything but. It also meant for a long time. That fit better.
He snorted and stopped thinking altogether. There was nothing to be worried about now. One goal and one goal only: stop Diu from killing others.
“Are you ready?” Anahita asked him quietly, still looking out at the world.
She looked at him. “Truly?”
“Is this the last of our hauntings then?”
There was a smirk on his face as he looked over at her. “I haven’t heard your word for our dates in a long time.”
“I hope that you’ll be able to hear it many more times in the future.”
“That will only happen if we both survive and manage to see each other again. And, as I am a demon in a man’s body,” the grim face and voice was back, “I doubt that will happen.”
Anahita only nodded, not knowing what to say. Anything that she said at that point would only sound like a lie to him. “Where will he be?”
“Diu?” She nodded again. “Out in the city. He and the court will be together on this night. It’s the one time we can all travel as a group and not be noticed.” He looked back out of the window and down at the children wandering around once more. “I never thought I would say this, but for once I’m praying again.”
“I pray that we find Diu in time so that we don’t have even more carnage to deal with tonight. There is enough done in his name already.”
“I have said it before. You are a good man, Koios.”
“Good demon, perhaps. But no man.”
“Be that as it may. You are none the less.” She turned from the window and began to walk towards the stairs that lead down from the choir loft and out into the church. “Shall we go then?”
“Yes. I will need to eat tonight though. If I’m going to have strength to face Diu and the entire court, I will need blood.” He paused in his words as he saw the look of horror on her face. “I’m sorry. But I need to.”
“On who? There are only children out tonight!” Anahita yelled at him
“You have not seen me feed before, angel,” he growled out at her. “I do not take from children and I do not kill them. I never let my demon out to reign over me completely until two nights ago. I might have killed that, but that was it.”
“You’re telling me that you did no lasting harm to anyone?” Her voice was tinged with astonishment. She didn’t believe him.
“I fed, but I tried to keep them alive when I was finished. I took the memory of my time there from their mind and then left them.” Koios resumed walking and went past her where she was on the stairs. His black clothes were almost swirling around him as he descended down. “I understand if you don’t want to come with. I will meet you back here once I have finished.” She said something then, but it was too soft for even his ears to pick up. He turned back, one foot still on the stairs and one on the stone floor of the church. “What was that?”
“Would my blood work?”
He gave a short and cynical laugh. “I asked once if you would let me take from you. You said no.” Then, he spun back around and shot out of the door of the church at a brisk walk. He stalked through the night, some children scattering out of his way, others commenting on what an amazing and cool and neat costume he had and were those fangs real, mister, ‘cause they sure looked real and other such inane comments until the parents of the children came and collected their young in order to move them through the night to the next house that was full of blood and sugar.
It didn’t take long for Koios to find a bar that was packed full of drunks and had several more tumbling outside every so often for either a smoke break or to head home for more drinks. It was easy for him to convince one such drunkard to follow him into the alley. It also didn’t take much time to subdue her as she was already more than halfway there, though it did take him an hour or so to sober up after feeding from her. He didn’t need as much as he used to, however. Perhaps is had something to do with Anahita’s blood. In that time, he wandered through the city, enjoying not having to care about anything. It was nice, and not something he had done since before he had been turned.
It was soon after he sobered up that he walked into another subdivision. Thoughts were on nothing, cares were not even existent any more. It was then that he noticed someone who looked very familiar to him. “Lupus?” he called out, sure that he was right.
The being turned, showing his face and indeed, it was the member of Diu’s Court who he knew. “Koios? But I thought you were dead. Diu said…”
“Diu lied. He’s the reason that I’m even here to begin with. It was he who killed both me and…and Brigett.”
“I knew that, you idiot. I was the one who killed your precious girlfriend eleven years ago.” Lupus’ voice was cold, yet matter-of-fact. It held no remorse in it, however.
“You killed her?” he replied softly. His voice was barely above a whispers, but it carried easily to the elder vampire’s ears.
“On Diu’s orders. It’s a great honor to be asked to participate in one of his hunts. And even better if one of the hunts turns into a night of turning. It’s something that you should have thought of before you declined his offer to turn one of your own and to have your own Court. It’s an honor to have one. I’ve wanted one for years, yet some little prick is going to get it instead of me, just because Diu likes him better? I don’t think so,” Lupus yelled at him. He launched himself towards Koios, who dropped to the ground immediately. There were advantages to vampire speed.
As Koios raised his head, he saw who Lupus had been feeding on. It was a child. One of the ones who was dressed up as some type of goblin or witch or what not. As soon as that was seen, he felt anger rise completely to the fore until he saw red. He rose, just as Lupus came at him again. “You bastard!” Koios screamed at him. “You go after kids! You’re just a poor little kid yourself, being the good son, in hopes that daddy Diu would finally like you.” He let a punch fly as soon as his adversary was in range. The punch did little to deter the great hulking vampire from coming at him again. Koios found himself on the receiving end of a like punch that sent him reeling to the ground once again, small pieces of brick falling from the building that he was pushed into. He fought back the fog that threatened to envelop him when his head hit the wall. It took him too long to clear it, however, and the much smaller vampire found himself being picked up and tossed once more, this time towards a wooden fence that he hadn’t seen before. As he went flying towards it, he thought about the fact that he wouldn’t be able to help Anahita take out Diu, or stop Diu from hurting anyone else
He landed and closed his eyes, ready for the flames that came to eat at his body and turn it to ash as the wooden slats of the old fence pierced his chest and heart. He was certainly flying at a high enough speed that there would be enough power to drive one of the splinters into his heart. There was no all consuming pain, however. Koios opened his eyes and found that he was more or less in one piece and that one a few wooden splinters had entered his body, and all were far away from his heart. He had lived. What was more, was that he was now sitting in a pile of weapons deadly to his opponent. Snatching a few up, he moved to a crouch, holding the makeshift stakes like daggers had been held in medieval times. He didn’t think to throw them. There was something inherently bad about a strategy of fighting the included throwing away your only weapon. He waited there, patient, waiting for his enemy to come to him. His advantage laid in his speed, not in brute force. It didn’t take long nor much goading before Lupus charged at him again. Koios felt most of the impact in his shoulder, followed by his upper back when he slammed into the very same wall yet again. “I’m getting tired of this,” he growled out, right before, bringing up one of the stakes and jerking it towards Lupus.
Batting it away, Lupus laughed. “You’ll need to be a lot faster than that, boy, if you want to win.”
“I already am,” Koios said quietly.
Lupus looked down and saw one of the splinters from the broken fence jammed into his chest. He hadn’t even seen the attack happen, nor where the stake had come from. “Where the hell did you get that from? Pull it out of your a–.”
He never had time to finish his sentence before bursting into flames and then fading to ash. The body was still burning slightly as Koios left the alley. “I have been accused of having one there before, yes.”
The streets that had been so full before were now near empty. It had to be close to ten, if the previous year’s Halloween was anything to go off of. It was around then that the parents brought their children in from outside, deciding that they had braved the dangers of the night long enough. There were things that he needed to do, however, and it was best if they were done in the dark of the night. For one, he needed to find Diu. In order to complete that task, he also needed to find Anahita.
It didn’t take him long to get back to the church that had served as both meeting place and sanctuary before. She was no longer present there, which meant that he had to search for her on his own. He closed his eyes and focused on the energy around him, meaning to draw in power to create his wings as he used to do. Almost without thought, he felt his black wings burst from his body, only without any of the disappearance of energy that usually occurred when he manipulated it. Another side effect of the angel blood in him, no doubt. It made perfect sense that he would gain the ability to fly, after all. As he rose into the air, he found that there was almost a pull telling him which way to go. He wondered if this was what angels felt, being told what to do and where to go. He needed to get rid of this blood and soon. He hated feeling like he was out of control.
He couldn’t help but feel as thougt he was meant to follow the pulling and pushing though. So follow it he did, searching beneath him for any sign of Anahita or her passing. It was near the middle of the city, in an empty parking lot, that he felt the push again, only this time, it was pulling him downwards. He landed, wings folded behind him, yet letting them remain in an attempt to show the others who were there that he too had power.
Looking around, he saw that he had landed almost three feet away from Anahita, who had a sword in one of her hands. Across from the two of them was aligned with Diu’s Court, with Diu himself in the middle. “I see you found me,” Anahita told him softly.
“Your blood called me to you.”
“No more searching for one another then.”
“As touching as this is,” Diu called out, “I need to ask the two of you to move. We have done nothing wrong, Angel. Indeed, it is you who has done wrong, by consorting with one of our own. That is against the laws of the magical beings.”
She brought her sword up to rest in a guarded stance. “I reject your laws when necessary to ensure that no more innocent blood is spilt.”
“Koios,” Diu turned to speak to him now. “Listen to me. I made you. I welcomed you and treated you as my son. Did you ever lack for anything while within my care? Did I ever force you to do something that you did not wish to do?” His voice was like silk, but Koios knew all too well the poison fangs that were hidden with that velvet tongue.
“No. You tried to end me, however. And for that I can not forgive you.”
“So then we fight,” Diu sighed out. “So it must be. This ends here and now.” He stepped back, and his court surged around him, closing in on the only two that stood against him: an angel with a sword and a young vampire with no weapons but his fists.
Trivia: This chapter was the hardest one to write. I wasn’t completely sure where I wanted to go during it, all that I knew was that they needed to get to the parking lot where Diu was. The fight between Koios and Lupus was not one that I had planned, but as soon as I placed the two in a street together, I knew that was what needed to happen. This was the last chapter I wrote in my run of writing in 2006. The last few chapters I finished this August with Camp NaNo after struggling with how I wanted “The Ship Of Pills” to begin and end.