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September 25, 2023

The Building 40

By Lydia Manx

Jerry Cooper had been a vampire for hundreds of years but he'd never come across a human like the one in front of him. She was resigned and yet defiant at the same time. Sitting cross-legged on her bed with tissues gripped in her left hand she took one look at his fangs and told him that she'd taste like bad beer. From the evidence littering the nightstand and the kitchen, she wasn't exaggerating. He'd taken victims before that had been drunk but none of them reacted like she did. Her bedding was tear-stained and mascara smeared a face that was blotchy from the heartbreaking sobs he'd heard earlier, but she'd pretty much stopped crying since she'd seen Jerry.

And she had truly 'seen' Jerry since he'd flashed his fangs at her in an attempt to generate a bit of tasty fear. Instead he got mild sarcasm with a healthy dose of resignation. The lack of curiosity, not to mention she didn't even exhibit a sliver of denial, caught Jerry completely off balance. Humans didn't act like this woman, judging from those Jerry had tasted and drained in the past. In fact thinking about how odd his nights had been lately, he pushed softly out with his vampiric senses to see if she was a different sort of supernatural. All he found was a very drunk, human woman with a broken heart ready to die.

She said, "Yeah, fanged dude, I'm going to taste like crappy beer and sorrow. Guess you aren't going to rape me, huh?"

Pausing she looked at the wadded up tissue in her palm and the mascara stains on the pillow cases and sheets, "Don't blame you at all. I mean look at me, I'm a hot mess. Damn William. That should have been the first clue. Who the hell calls themselves William? Will, Bill even Billy -- normal. But 'William' like he was flipping royalty. Not to mention that he never would stay the night. Because we all know men like their own beds, right? Then there was the whole thing with making me call his penis Thor -- like it was something special? It wasn't. And then there was that bit with his phone being always off when I called, and he never left it unlocked. I was deluded enough to think that 'in a relationship' on Facebook meant me -- but he never linked my name there. Oops, guess the 'real' girlfriend didn't know about me." A sob, then, "Well, she certainly does now. If that little rant I heard at the grocery store is any indication. Boy, William wasn't happy when we ran into her. Did that mean he had to run after her and leave me there holding a carton of milk and a loaf of bread like some dolt? And the tramp walk of shame home didn't exactly make me feel pretty. He took my car! How wrong is that?"

Her self-absorbed litany struck something funny inside Jerry. The woman really didn't care if she lived or died. There was no fear flavor on her anymore. The scent that had pulled him to her had dissipated once she'd discovered he was a vampire. It wasn't like she had mentally checked out and was having a psychotic break, but she really didn't care. The fears at being alone and abandoned by her lover were gone.

"Come on now, what's the delay?" She sounded impatient to Jerry and a bit frantic. Not fearful, but more like his not immediately fanging into her neck was making her nervous about something.

"You actually want to die?" Jerry asked incredulously, looking at her tilting her head -- literally offering him her neck.

"Beats the shit I've just been served. Dead I won't have to pay back all the money William stole from my friends. Dead I won't have to beg a ride from someone to go get my car from the impound lot where it ended up after he parked it in a no parking zone. Dead I won't have to worry about running into William and his new slut. Oh wait, that's right -- I forgot -- he's known her for ten fucking years! I guess she thinks of me as the slut." Another sob escaped from her trembling lips, but Jerry saw that it wasn't fear causing her to cry but anger and disgust.

Jerry found himself uncharacteristically hesitating. There was something about the human before him that challenged him to think of her as something other than a slab of meat. She wasn't kidding about looking like a mess. The makeup she'd been wearing earlier hadn't weathered the crying fit or her swiping tissues over her face when mopping up her tears. She wasn't unpleasant to look at from what he could tell, but it was just a guess given her emotional state and the amount of beer in her veins.

Something dark slid into Jerry's mind. This woman had nothing to live for and he had something he needed besides her blood. He'd not made a single fledgling in so long it was nearly a forgotten art for him. It surprised him how quickly the ritual slid through his mind and tugged at his thoughts. Her being drunk and heartbroken weren't deal breakers, but they would make her very uncomfortable as the vampirism over took the humanity. But it was definitely something he could work with when changing her.

"How would you like to be more?" Jerry was intrigued by her and knew she could help him with trapping and killing the Council's dogs. He'd have to create her faster than it usually took. He'd definitely be using some ancient vampiric rituals that would certainly rattle the nerves of all the vampires within five hundred miles. But it wasn't like he planned on staying around to be 'punished' as a rogue. By the time the Council sent someone strong enough and wise enough to know what had hit the local vamps he'd be long gone. No, it was absolutely a brilliant idea, while being able to tweak the Council he'd also have a tool.

"More? More what?" She was beginning to crash from the massive amount of alcohol running through her body and Jerry had a tight window to create her.

"Everything!" He smiled and began to push into her mind. She really wasn't afraid of him, but the beer was making other bodily needs more important. She turned almost green and flew past him holding her hands over her mouth. The sounds of her violently spewing the rancid brew out of her body echoed around the dark home. The three-wick candle she'd lit flickered and added vanilla to the bouquet of aromas pushing on Jerry. He'd torn his mind free of hers once she began throwing up. After ten minutes he heard her flush the toilet and run the water in the sink.

"I'd suggest you get into the shower instead," he called out using a bit of his vampiric power to make the suggestion more of a command.

She whimpered and said, "Good idea."

Jerry was happy she listened to him and began to look around her room. She hadn't been sharing her home with anyone he had noticed right off the bat even before she'd talked about William and his disappearing act. He heard the shower start and a high-pitched squeal flew from her lips as she went under the spray. It dawned on him that the power had probably been out for hours and the water heater wasn't working. From the continued whining, he nodded to himself that the cold water would do wonders to flush out some of the beer damage. Poking around her dresser he found an assortment of clothes that weren't hers. Holding up a rather graphic t-shirt he shook his head at the stupidity of women. That the missing 'William' had no taste in clothing was fairly obvious to the vampire.

The shower stopped and the woman came out wrapped in a large towel with her hair hanging wetly around her face. The makeup was gone, leaving Jerry to see that she had a surprisingly pretty face. Her lips still trembled slightly, but it wasn't due to fears but that she was ice cold. That actually appealed to Jerry on a few levels. Now that he had decided to make her one of his vampires her humanity was meaningless to him. All he could see was the potential she had to be an exquisite vampire. With the ice cold shower her skin was nearly blue-white and smooth. She wasn't overly tan like most of the Floridians he'd seen. She also was a rarity as her skin was unmarred by ink. The humans he'd seen in the past few decades decorated their flesh like canvases that would keep their glory as time passed. That wasn't the case, and as humans aged, some of the choices made in their teens and twenties came back to haunt them. He wasn't sure about her complete body given the towel wrapped around her middle but from what he saw there wasn't black, blue and red traces of names and symbols punctured into her skin. She obviously had taken care to keep out of the sun most of the time. Her eyes were less bloodshot and he could see they were a light honey brown.

"Sorry about that. I told you that I had bad beer flavor to my blood." She appeared embarrassed. Jerry found it delightful that she had some semblance of manners. He tapped a finger across his lips and nodded. Yes, he definitely could work with this one.

"More what?" He was impressed she asked not forgetting their brief conversation before she'd run from the room. She stood wrapped in the large dark blue towel with a slight scowl on her face. She didn't seem in any hurry to get dressed, but then she still thought he'd come to drain her to death. Ironically, twenty minutes earlier that would have been an accurate assessment of the situation.

"More than a pathetic human, of course." Again he flashed his fangs in support to his reply.

She began to laugh hard and somewhat hysterically. Her towel slipped slightly, exposing more creamy white skin. Jerry was starting to like his idea and had to control his impulse to slam her into the wall and push into her mind to stop her laughing. If he wanted to change her he needed her cooperation. If he pushed her too fast there was the potential for her to go rogue or simply die. Not every human could become a vampire or even a minion despite Hollywood's depiction of vampires in movies. Feral vamps weren't fun to deal with and he really didn't have the time or luxury to toy with her. So he curbed his attitude and waited to see what she had to say once she stopped laughing.

"What are you offering that's better than a 'pathetic' human state? Like you? A damned bloodsucker? Like my world isn't already screwed up enough -- now I get to be severely anemic?" She was still giggling as she insulted him.

Jerry liked her moxie but wouldn't tolerate the disrespect. Carefully he pushed into her mind and began weaving a sensual illusion of the power and benefits of being a vampire. The erotica, mixed with the strengths and the feeling he got when drinking the emotions, the fears and the blood of his victims. Rolling decades of lush living and the sweet flesh he'd dined on while flooding her body fingertips to toes with the mental images. She shuddered and her eyes glazed over as she was barely able to keep the dark blue towel from sliding to the floor in a pool. He hit her with the rich possibilities of what she could become given time and the proper training. He took her to the heights of what a Master Vampire could feel and watched her carefully. She gasped and a tear ran down her face. Glowing eyes met his as she said, "Wow!"

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-11-07
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