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July 04, 2022

The Building 6

By Lydia Manx

The guard masquerading as the human Jerry Cooper recalled his rescue from Detroit. The daylight had been painfully streaming through the lid of the casket when the humans broke into the house to save him. The first one approached him stupidly and fearlessly offering him blood once the drapes had been drawn and the coffin opened.

"No more. You aren't able to feed me properly." The former vampire prince said while still tasting the human's blood on his lips.

A stunned look crossed the boy's face. His attire was city dreadful. The black on black clothing that was ill fitting and worn by all angst ridden teens worldwide. His makeup was the common black ringed eyes and white matte finished pale skin. The eyes were light blue and he had thick black lashes that were probably the envy of all the girls he knew. The vampire wondered how old the boy was; he didn't look old enough to legally drive.

The harsh words from the vampire shocked him into saying, "The fuck I can't."

With that the vampire looked directly into the boy's angry eyes and said, "You want to die? Fine, jump off a bridge. There are plenty around the city rife with decay and rats. Your blood is bland to me and brings me no sustenance." His voice was hoarse as the opportunities to speak were far and few in between. The blood freely given had slid silkily into him giving him a glimmer of hope that he'd actually survive his capture. The survival rate for vampires from the clutches of the vampire council was exceedingly slim he'd always heard. Given how they'd cleared out his own clan so quickly and ruthlessly he didn't doubt it at all.

One of the other of the four humans who'd been standing around the coffin came forward and snarled, "We thought you were a Master vampire. We'd heard also that you were some sort of prince of the city. That's a laugh, you look like a pathetic fool to me."

The human speaking was looking into the coffin at the naked, starved vampire with a sneer on his face. He was a bit older than the other three humans who'd broken in to save the tortured vampire. His clothing was along the black on black theme but somehow his features raised his appearance above the common. His cheekbones were cut sharper into his face than the others giving him a hungry, edgy look. His eyes were also ringed with kohl but the deep inset shadows that surrounded his light gray eyes weren't from skilled application of make-up but earned through pain and anger. A smile broke on the vampire's face and his fangs snicked out from his lips and he said, "Now you, on the other hand, will do fine."

When the humans had come in, the daylight had been streaming into the mostly empty living room. Once they'd pulled blackout curtains over the glass, there was welcome relief from the heat and sunlight for the vampire. The drapes that had kept the sun from coming inside the home were useful and the screams and pains of death were brief. The rescuers didn't survive, but he did. He wasn't, unfortunately, able to find the vampires anywhere in the home and tore apart the house until he found the small pinpoint cameras. He literally ripped the cameras out of the walls and stomped on them until they were little more than bits of tattered electronics he'd rendered useless. They'd seen him, and knew that his blood was up, and he could possibly be more difficult to recapture -- leastways that was he rationalized about the missing vamps. He left before midnight dressed in black, slightly blood-spattered, clothing. He fed off the fears of the one he'd rejected initially before simply snapping his neck. The fears of humans were nectar for him. He'd been isolated too long. It had been a successful rescue from his point of view.

His regret was that in his haste to fill his fangs he'd neglected to ask the rescuers any pertinent questions, like who'd sent them to the house? Were there others on the outside waiting? And most importantly where were any vampires?

Once he left the bodies in the makeshift jail, he found outside a beat up, rusty, old car parked near the curb. It smelt like the boys he'd just slain. But there weren't any other scents in the car, not vampires or even minion -- a vampire's human slave. He distained using the vehicle and instead stuck to the shadows and made his way carefully back to the city. The air smelt cleaner, fresher and less polluted than half a year ago. He knew it was a delusion on his part. Just the freedom to go where he could gave a newness to the city he hadn't remembered for decades. He savored his newfound liberty.

That he was able to hide in the city and never saw or felt another vampire made him finally conclude that the council's axe men had decided that he was actually dead and hadn't survived the escape. For a less powerful vampire it would have been true. In the state they'd left him it was all he could do to walk upright at times. The burns from the silver weren't rapidly healing but he'd yet to drink his fill of blood. He wasn't as weak as they'd thought.

Using the public library's computers one evening he found that all of the videos featuring his painful incarceration had been removed from viewing by the public. Not that it mattered as he'd gotten his message out. The humans who'd released him had proven that. What told him that there had actually been any videos even posted were the ongoing discussions in one of the forums about the senseless violence in Detroit, and the eulogy posted by one of the vampires about the human who'd first fed him. He found it ironic to see the lamentations of a few vampires about the event. Most vampires didn't give a damn about humans, and to see the rants and sorrows expressed amused him. An inset picture on one of the vampire-run forum pages showed a fresh-faced youth that looked remarkably different from the boy who'd sliced open his palm. He'd been right; the boy was very young. The vampire posting no longer resided in Michigan but had moved recently to somewhere in Ohio. He found it funny that the timing of the vampire's exit seemed to correspond exactly with when he'd been imprisoned and all of his clan decimated by the council's decree. He was sure that had been talked about initially for the first few weeks he was gone. Vampires loved to gossip and the Internet fed that appetite easily and with limited repercussions. The name of the vampire wasn't familiar to him, nor the writing style, so he took it to mean the fleeing vampire had been a rogue.

A check on non-vampire related news websites explained all about the five bodies found in the house, which he knew to be the four rescuing humans and the one council human that had been guarding his casket. The stories said that they'd been caught up in a drug war that had spilled out from the metro area. Drug dealers were allegedly using the house to manufacture the street drug called crank, speed or what was also known as meth or methamphetamines. The highly addictive drug of choice for the urban dwellers who couldn't afford oxycodone, cocaine or heroin. It was also highly flammable when being produced. The subsequent explosion of the house that evening had left no vital clues but the burnt corpses and suspicious equipment.

It seemed that the vampire council had sent the vampire enforcers back well after dark and long after he'd left and they staged the scene to explain the dead bodies. The red hot fire had removed the signs of vampirism along with giving the police a reason not to question the lack of blood in the corpses. The news covered it for a few days never explaining quite how the humans had come to be there all at the same time. Another senseless massacre by one of the various warring gangs that ran rampant through the city, and apparently now, too, at a local suburban shopping mall, bumping the story from the headlines. There had been gunfire and massive injuries to soccer moms and a few teenagers. The number of dead grew with each passing hour and the suspects were still at large. The humans agonized over the dangers in the suburbs, and how it wasn't safe to even shop, leaving the burnt out drug house story to die slowly on the back pages of the papers.

The new Jerry Cooper had tried to find where the vampires sent out by the council were, but it was like they'd gone up in flames with the house. It was at least a few weeks before he'd seen a reference to one of the vampires. It was in one of the council's propaganda-filled sites. He knew that he had to relocate or he'd never get retribution. The council's vampires weren't coming back and he hadn't felt another vampire in the city once he'd been freed.

It was like all of the vampires had deserted Detroit along with the dying automotive industry. His own were dust but there always had been a few minor vampires who lingered on the edges of the town. They had paid him the blood price as was his due but once his fledglings and minions had been slain that all stopped. He didn't dare collect from them himself but as he reached out in the night for other vampires there was a hole of nothingness. As far as all the other vampires were concerned, he was dead and long gone and it seemed like they had disappeared too. There weren't any messages for him anywhere on the net. So he'd put into play his assuming Jerry's identity shortly after the incident.

The incident happened at the Detroit Public Library where he'd been using the computers on and off to track as best as he could the council's vampire enforcers who'd killed his clan and held him captive. The week before he'd found a reference to one of the enforcers and he was eager to see if there was anything else in the cyberspace that made up the net leading to the others. Disregarding his gut instinct to leave it be, he went back to search for more info. Later looking back he figured that even though he'd done some redirection of the computer's ISP trails from the local computer servers to foreign countries and other states apparently it was not enough to stay hidden from the council. The incident made that apparent.

After dark, a different set of humans came to use the large multi-storied library. Some were just people coming out of the icy cold winds while others were students actually trying to complete their various assignments from the nearby college. The age of the library gave many a feeling of safety. The well-earned patina of the wood gave a comfort to the older humans and a misguided feeling of comfort and protection. Coupled with the dark wood and dusty old books it served the city well for decades.

The college down the street had a library but he'd quickly found out it was more of a spot for socializing than a real library. The computers in the college were shiny, much newer and quite a bit faster, but Jerry'd found the close proximity to all of the humans could be difficult for him to handle. He also figured out that the college IT staff monitored the various computers. He didn't need to attract any more attention than he already did. He was still constantly starving for more feedings and knew that a sudden drop in attendance of students due to rapid blood loss would be noticed. He had a hard time curbing his voracious appetite. The sheer mind-numbing hunger was constantly eating at him. So instead he skulked around the streets and supped on drug pushers and addicts when necessary. He thought of it as urban renewal, vampire style. This was something he also blamed on the council. If they hadn't killed his fledglings and tortured him he wouldn't have been on the streets like a commoner.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-02-28
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