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April 15, 2024

The Complex 32

By Lydia Manx

Benjamin Richland wasn't really looking that healthy. Julia had asked a good question. Had Ben been human he would have been beyond any cure but with vampirism still a part of his nature given enough blood Ben would be back in fighting shape in no time. Not that Jerry Cooper planned on allowing much blood to drip into the vamp's mouth.

Sighing, Jerry looked at Ben strapped to the ambulance crash cart and had to mentally admit that he possibly had held the vampire's throat a tad tighter than even remotely needed. He couldn't say that he hadn't known his own strength -- he was well aware of the sensual tension and taut movements of his enhanced body radiating power and sheer ability. The way he felt was wickedly empowered to use a few of the buzz words over worked in advertising and self-help programs.

The panes of the warehouse windows rattled and shook as a strong gust of wind and debris slammed into the dark building. The generator had automatically turned on when the power grid went down in the region but he hadn't switched on any lights. The only illumination was coming from the soft emergency lights that pointed the way out of the warehouse -- a safety requirement when he'd leased the building that he hadn't bothered to correct, not having planned on being in the place much and definitely he hadn't figured on being inside during a storm. The sky was gray-black and morning was still a few hours away. It didn't matter because both Jerry and Julia could see rather well in the dark, one of the talents in their vampiric natures that he always appreciated. Ben, on the other hand, was unable to see much beyond a few inches from his face. Jerry knew this because earlier he'd seen through Ben's mind the little that was illuminated with the door of the car open. The interior light wasn't visible to Ben from behind the crates and boxes but for Jerry and Julia it was a beacon shining brightly in the cavernous building.

Jerry did wonder if a bit more light would make Ben fearful or arrogant. The vampire wasn't like him in any manner, and it wasn't easy for Jerry to anticipate the creature's reaction to what were normal situations in Jerry's worldview. Julia's fledgling status and her sense of self hopefully would give Jerry some balance as he questioned the vampire. If not, he'd pull Leonardo from the trunk and use the comatose vampire as show and tell for Ben.

Another gust of wind struck and rattled the whole building. The warehouse wasn't old and he'd been assured that it was hurricane resistant. That word resistant was running through his mind, and it dawned on him that he hadn't been told 'hurricane proof.' The idea that the building could come crashing down on them hadn't been figured into any of his plans. Julia gasped as a large, green coconut crashed through one of the upper windows and slammed into the other side of the interior. Wind howled through the opening and the noise that had been slightly buffered by the thick pane of glass now filled the space without mercy. With the blowing winds came rain, bits and pieces of the surrounding trees and bushes and bugs. Florida was a breeding ground for mosquitoes the size of small birds and they thankfully didn't bother vampires, but they did make noise. The vampiric-enhanced hearing picked up the call of every whiny insect that flew through the broken window. Julia put her hands to her ears and winced.

"Tune it out," Jerry suggested, fully knowing it wasn't that easy. Even for him, after centuries of life, the drone of insects could make him want to scream. But he knew it wouldn't do to show weakness in front of his fledgling nor Ben. Even with Ben strapped to the crash cart he didn't want the vampire to feel any flicker of hope.

"Yes, Sire," she didn't seem convinced that she would be able to but she was respectful of her Master's wishes -- as it should be, Jerry thought with a hopeful feeling of his own.

Ben's eyes were still shut and he wasn't even attempting to breath. Not that vampires needed to breath but as Jerry had first instructed Julia it was necessary to inhale and exhale as to appear human. Nothing caused a human to panic faster than when they noticed the creature in front of them wasn't actively breathing. If Julia thought bugs were noisy the first time a human began shrilly screeching in hysteria would make a more lasting memory. It was obvious to Jerry that Ben was aware of both the vampires regarding him, but he was too busy trying to plot his escape to bother with the niceties.

Sighing, Jerry wanted to slap the enforcer but he instead went to the small refrigerator that held the animal blood he'd given Celina. The blood held no appeal to him but he noticed Julia's eyes dilate and she inhaled slightly. Her body quivered and she gave herself a slight shake. The call of blood wasn't something to be ignored by a fledgling; he knew it could cause the new vampire to either go rogue or mindlessly feed until it had to be destroyed. Jerry reached into the back and pulled out one of the small containers of human blood. He handed it to her and pointed towards the microwave. Cold blood was an acquired taste and his fledgling was still too young to appreciate the difference or have developed a palate for the icy treat.

A puzzled look ran over her features and he took the container from her hands and pushed the correct button to warm the blood to body temperature. Her nostrils flared as the microwave ran. The second the bell rang she pushed the door open and removed the container with both hands. Her fangs dropped down and she slowly drank the blood. Her eyes closed and she muttered softly, "So rich and yummy."

Jerry was glad she appreciated the blood. It wasn't easy getting flavorful human blood without tapping a few veins, but he had volunteers who had given freely their life source. Ben's eyes snapped open as even he could smell the warmed blood. His eyes were focused on Julia as she emptied the container. His fangs were out and he moaned weakly. Jerry walked to the fridge and pulled out a container of blood labeled 'rat' and poured it over Ben's face with little regard to if the vampire could drink it or if his skin simply absorbed the blood.

Ben was whipping his head around trying to get as much of the liquid to his mouth before his body sucked the blood off his skin. Blood was more useful if taken by fang but still it was only animal blood. There wasn't going to be a miraculous instant recovery to full strength from the ounces of animal blood he was being fed. In fact his throat still looked horribly crushed and he was unable to make little more than guttural sounds. Reluctantly Jerry went back to the cooler and pulled out another plastic blood filled cup. This one was a bit larger but labeled pygmy goat. Ben's eyes glowed as he saw the container.

This time Jerry poured the blood into Ben's waiting mouth and watched the vampire's neck repair enough to speak. The entire time not a sound was made by Ben other than the odd slurping and swallowing. Jerry stopped pouring before the container was completely empty. It was meaningless blood in regards to Ben getting anything helpful for his vampire strengths and gifts, but it did basic repairs for the vampire's body. Replacing the lid on the cup Jerry put the container in Ben's line of sight and leaned against one of the large crates.

"So what am I to do with you, Ben?" Jerry deliberately drew out his words, watching an animal cunning backlight Ben's bloodshot eyes. Ben obviously was feeling better than the rat and pygmy goat blood warranted. Jerry didn't bother popping into Ben's mind because he was enjoying the idea that the captured Ben honestly thought he stood a chance of causing Jerry any damage. Had Ben been his normal vampire self he could possibly put up some sort of a fight, but with Jerry's unnatural state of top vamp in the region there wasn't a chance in heaven or hell.

Ben snarled, "Fuck you!"

His words were gravelly and harsh coming through his barely repaired throat. His voice was usually smooth and calm as fitting an enforcer. Not having his glamour to push around anyone human or vampire was making the vampire a bit angry, Jerry noticed. He smiled and said, "No, thanks. You did your best to 'fuck' me a couple years ago and I don't think you have it in you to even come close now."

The double entendre hit the target and Ben tried to move. Jerry hadn't dropped his control over Ben's body, so all Ben was able to move was his head and mouth. Ben spit out furiously, "You are so dead!"

"Again, you are repeating yourself. You must have some brain damage not to have grasped your current situation." Jerry was enjoying the fury rolling over Ben's features. Turning slightly to Julia, who'd finished her blood and dabbed away the droplets on her lips with a brush of a cloth she found next to the sink, Jerry asked, "Do you want to fill in the vampire about his 'state' or should I?"

Julia's eyes were wide as she pondered what her Master was asking. She didn't care either way, Jerry knew, but she was game to play along as he required. Standing firm she decided, "Master, what ever should I tell this creature? If he can't figure it out on his own he's not worth your words."

Jerry smiled and nodded, appreciating her offering.

"True, my Child. But he seems to be confused. Perhaps you can help me educate him?" It wasn't really a question, but Jerry lifted his last word as if it were just to see Ben's reaction, not simply carry in the cavernous space.

And he got a reaction all right. Screaming, Ben's head lifted up just an inch from the cart and he yelled, "Let me go now! I am the Vampire Council's creature!"

Like he thought that the words were enough to release him? Jerry shook a finger back and forth and said softly, "And that is why you aren't being allowed to play with anyone. The Council isn't here to help you and you certainly aren't able to free yourself. I think it best if you relax and reconsider your true options."

Ben screamed louder without any discernible words. The hurricane winds were picking up and more of the local flora and fauna struck the outside of the warehouse and the hole caused by the coconut slamming through was widened by a large branch. The greenery didn't completely make it through the smaller opening but the remaining glass was beginning to crack and fall into the building creating a larger hole for more of the branch to enter inside the warehouse. The leaves were blocking some of the wind but it wouldn't be long before the pane completely shattered and more of the outside world made its way inside. As it was, the noise from the storm was increasing and Ben's screams weren't much more than a whisper in comparison. Nature seemed to be shrieking her anger at them directly. Jerry did pause to wonder if the ancient ritual he'd invoked to create Julia had in fact allowed something else to occur. Magic wasn't as controllable as witches liked to think. He'd used that in the past to his advantage. A growling came from Ben helping him to refocus on what he could control.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-07-16
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