The sun set and the world shimmered into the ocean.
Gant was walking down to the lab when he felt the sunlight fade. Deep within the corridors most people couldn't detect that little shift in the universe but his blood made it part of his nature. His laboratory was naturally staffed with stupid but very necessary humans. He wasn't going to be able to complete his experiments without some volunteers. The money he offered was so good on their initial work contracts that most of them never got much past the first page except to sign on the bottom line. They effectively signed away their blood, bodies and very lives with a casual slide of the ink. The oh-so-few 'rocket scientists' who bothered to read tended to have tragic accidents. It was surprising how many of them were organ donors.
One way or another.
The mad scientist wasn't above using anyone and everyone in his path. Not that they suspected anything. The money he'd built up over the decades afforded him a certain level of protection from discovery. That and his blood-sucking lawyers -- the ones that actually weren't vampires. He bit back a chuckle as his latest receptionist bounced towards him. They did tend to abandon the job rather quickly and never were part of the culled. They were too empty and vacant for him to bother. Not to mention they talked to all their friends and who needed them calling? He shuddered at that thought.
"Doctor Gant, there you are! I've been looking all over for you," she tugged at her thigh length white smock that was ill concealing her impressive form. The snug slinky black dress hugged her body and revealed her lack of undergarments. But then, he didn't hire the help for their brains, and Tiffany was no exception. Her light blonde tresses were carefully flattened and sprayed making her look about fifteen and fresh off the farm. The black rimmed eyeglasses were another affectation as she didn't need them, but she had thought they made her look older. Instead of fifteen she passed for seventeen when wearing the glasses.
"Yes, I am here. What's wrong, Tiffany?" he shuddered a bit saying her name. He couldn't believe how far humanity had fallen with names. Nobility and family lineage meant nothing in these times. Anything seemed to go from what he'd seen in the past few years. Naming a child after a jewelry store struck him as odd. However, all those saints and Bible-related names hadn't thrilled him much either.
"Oh, like there is this lady who has been like calling all day saying like she needed to talk with you. And she's coming over to meet you. Something about global warming like I think." Tiffany Sparkle smiled revealing she'd recently begun the absurd whitening process and Gant didn't have a clue what she was babbling about and no way of redirecting her. Any time she began flinging 'like' into her conversations he tended to tune her out. Tiffany wasn't good with messages but easy on the eyes. He still couldn't believe that was her given name, but his investigators confirmed that was her birth name. Tiffany Sparkle. He never asked about her middle name because he wasn't sure that vampires could survive severe sugar shock. Somehow he was sure her middle name was either Amber or Crystal. There was no need to go there.
"Thank you, Tiffany." Gant didn't bother adding anything more or he'd be trapped in a conversation with her for hours. Instead he headed to the main lobby. Anyone showing up to talk with him would end up there with or without an invitation; everyone was always carefully scrutinized. Not that Tiffany did the vetting. She was just the messenger. He dialed up security on his cell while he headed up to the lobby. Catching his reflection in a mirror he tilted his head and groomed.
"Bruno, you got my visitor?" There was no need to introduce himself since caller ID did the rough stuff.
"Sure do, boss. She's carrying a gun lower left ankle and middle of spine. Her stats match her badge. Nothing in her records and she's unmarried, living in the city." Bruno wasn't given to embroider on the information, which is why Gant liked him.
Relieved, Gant headed up to the top. Nothing human could harm him. The idea someone wanted his opinion on global warming intrigued him. He'd been around long enough to see more than a few blips and dips in the climates.
The elevator slid open with a bare whisper of sound. Nevertheless the woman spun towards him. The woman momentarily froze Gant, as she wasn't human. She was another vampire. He didn't believe she was so stupid to show up and confront him so brazenly. Assuring himself she had to be under some delusion he was human, he smiled back and walked forward.
"Doctor Gant, I presume?" Her voice was sweet and bitter at the same time. The lanky figure slinked forward and Gant wanted to step back. Stiffening his backbone he continued to exit the elevator.
"And you are?" His voice projected over the distance and he watched her eyes flicker. She really hadn't known he was a vampire. He smiled with a slight flash of fangs. She didn't respond. Instead she smiled a human grin and said, "Smith, Jane Smith."
Her tones were arched and sarcastic. He puffed up and pushed a button on his key fob. Thirty humans were heading up the stairs. No reasons need be given. This was his laboratory. She was just another donor. He smiled even wider.
Laughing she covered the space between the receptionist desk and the elevator without a whisper of sound. It was then he noticed Frank slumped behind the front desk. Frank was manning the first reception desk this evening and not doing a very good job from what Gant could detect. He wasn't dead, but adrift in the vampire mystique. The rest of Gant's guards hadn't reached them before her fingers were digging into his throat.
"Ms. Smith, I don't need to breath as you well know." It was just a matter of minutes before he was rescued. His security was well trained.
She laughed. He looked at her bright blue eyes and saw a deeper monster. She wasn't giving in nor backing down. Her dark hair was lingering on her shoulders and she was smiling, her fangs were starting to peek out. Fortified by that he laughed roughly, "You are a fool."
He was rethinking her ignorance. She did seem to realize he was a vampire. He knew this because she was thrusting a cross into his face. Laughing again he said, "Not my deity my dear." He flung her off with little effort. She had mistakenly thought the cross would freeze him. Arching an eyebrow, "The cross isn't doing anything to you, why should it do something to me?"
She growled deeply and ran back towards him with a blade that Bruno had neglected to mention in his report. It was sterling silver, and old. He chanced a glance and saw that it was in fact an ancient relic. Cursing he tumbled away from her and pushed another button on his phone. The thirty guards were still absent and that was beginning to concern him.
Looking to the intruder, he saw she was laughing now.
"Oh, they won't be joining you. They were struck with a need to sleep."
Cursing her ingenuity, he countered her knife with a straight punch to her face. Smacking her in the right cheek he was pleased to see her flinch. Satisfyingly, he felt her mouth give and blood sprayed out; he figured that she must have bitten the inside of her cheek. Vampire or human women really hated to be struck in the face, some things really never changed, thankfully.
Fingering the blood on her lips, she looked at her fingers and rubbed them together.
"You don't play very nice, do you?" She was laughing at him, the relic still held loosely in her right hand. She didn't seem to care he'd inflicted damage but was assessing him and looking for an opening.
Gant snarled, "Why should I? You are just a rogue vampire. I won't allow such as you destroy my mission."
"Mission? Your mission to destroy all the humans? Or your mission to demand billions from all the world leaders to keep vampires as their personal dirty little secret?"
He paused at that and stiffened. "Ms. Smith, you are misinformed. I merely am keeping our kind safe from vicious persecution and destruction." He tugged at his clothing while trying to appear in control. She was moving slowly circling him while her blood dripped off her chin. His eyes watched the drop and he mentally marked it. He'd sample this rogue and find out which master created her. It was there in his face and on his mind.
"Merely? You sent three agents to each of the major G-8 players' homes in the dark of night and showed them films where they had killed the leaders' secretaries with fangs. Once they had seen the deaths they were given forty eight hours to wire transfer the monies demanded or you threatened to play the murders on national TV for everyone to see." Jane Smith was correct yet missing what Gant wanted.
"No, you failed to mention that each of those supposedly powerful leaders has their own cadre of vampires out killing on command. Kept like rats in a cage underground when done. Fed only condemned prisoners' blood if at all. We are the superior race enslaved by these rulers. It must end." Now he smiled.
She shook her head.
"We aren't fed blood of condemned prisoners anymore. Now we are out settling the scores with evil vampires like you. I am not the rogue here. You are." She spun faster than he could follow and a sharp pain alerted him to a difficulty. He was going gray as she hissed, "Now, now Gant. Don't worry, there will be plenty of people waiting for you in hell." Her mouth glistened red. All of his work was going to be destroyed and yet he couldn't lift a hand.
"Damn you, Smith."
"After you. Long after you."
Originally appeared 2008-06-16