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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Demon Vampire Chapter One Online Version 3.5.15.11


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     Chapter 1
     The Abomination and A Tainted Whisper

     So sweet was the wet rain flowing through the throat of life. Kissing the sky, a nimble tongue tithed over a sharp tooth. He was esurient. The demon inside dripped with excitement. Wet senses, tense thoughts played in his mind. He leaned in. Her neck was warm, tender, ready for penetration. This will be his first.
     His hand gripped her delicate left shoulder. She sighed from the pressure laid down upon her, it was celestial. A brown cashmere sweater was all that kept the barrier between the touch. His skin light, a contrast to her tanned olive tone. He stood slightly taller, nearly six feet to her thin five foot eight frame. Her face was oval, feminine, her lips were glass. Her dark green eyes added detail to her perfect expression. He induced a reaction within her. She was attracted to him. His sinewy build appealed to her. His hair was calm fire, down to his shoulders. The dark brown hues were the only link he once had to humanity. A sudden breeze shed light to his black eyes, shielded in thorns. Her mortality had been his muse. The clouds were about to tear open, it was abyssal.
     The field adjacent to them offered little cover to the events anticipated. The century oak was solitary, separated by hundreds of feet in any direction. The sun had abandoned them long before they arrived. His breath on her neck was telling. It was going to happen, she knew that, she demanded it. He pressed, the hard bark pushed into her from behind. It pitted her back with a unique sensation that was oddly pleasurable. This was her time to enjoy him. After many nights of catering to his whims, she was able to purely experience the act. This singular moment was hers.
     Her long brown hair shifted as needles in the wind, exposing her supple veins. “This is what I want.” Her voice almost silent, clarion only to his ears. She panted, waiting, wishing for it. Her lips pale, flush with the idea of what was about to take place.
     A streak of lightning set fire to the night, illuminating the privacy they had sought out so carefully. The shade of the oak held the only mystery as the sky gave away the secrets of all others around them. The area was euphoric, extending far. Just as it came, it was seen and gone. Everything went black in a hush that left a yearning.
     Before he could answer, the demon within had spoken. His fingertips were not his own, stripping the fabric away from sight. Her flesh intoxicating, he grasped the back of her head with intention. His right hand cradled her slender exposed neck. The once gentle fingertips that used to caress, now drove into her, piercing the skin of this clearly willing girl. She tensed, letting the pain subside to her newfound pleasure. This was welcome to her, an essential feeling to getting what she wanted. His face caressed hers in an embrace, a passionate deep kiss led to his tongue drawing a line away and down to her throat. His lips susurrus to her ears. His fangs wet, sharp, he entered her in one motion.
     Her breath was quick with her heart. Red flowed, soaking, flooding the once dry clothing that remained. Her bra the only intact article concealing her well endowed breasts. The warm liquid cascaded down her chest, her long black skirt absorbing the rest of the pain. Her inspiration heavy, she exhaled in ecstasy. Her arms wrapped his cold back, she loved this. With each mouthful he took, she told the experience to the empty shadows.
     The demon spoke without words. She heard his voice in her blood. “You are the sacrifice that will culminate my rebirth. You are the gateway to my desires, your blood the road.” The phrase not meaning much to her completely focused and enthralled mind.
     He smiled as he drank her life. She shifted her hips towards his, attempting to connect them further. He pulled her left leg up high, tight, close to his side. Her quiet moans filling his keen ears with music. He pinned her to the tree with force.
     This was exactly what she had asked for. To be with someone that needed her as she was, as the inhuman monster she really was. This was ephemeral, but needed. She wanted something more than the normal vampire. A difference in power, to be influenced, to be controlled, a pressure that could be felt instead of told. A demon within the nightmare of the world.
     He continued to devour her. She gasped, trying to ask him to stop. Her mouth dry, unable to speak, the words lost on her glazed mind. Her arms failed her, falling as the blood continued to flow. It was terrifying her. It was enticing. It felt eerily good. The intensity climbed, washing over her as he bore deeper. The sensation filled her being. She stared into his black eyes as she lost consciousness.
     The storm descended as her eyes closed. It wet their bodies through the filter of the leaves. The blood spilled, mixing into the roots below. This was not unpleasant in her mind, only unexpected. It was a way out of her existence. She accepted that she was about to die.
     He had consumed her. Her body stood soulless and broken against the tree. He eased back to reveal her torn neck, it flopped to her right in the damning weather. Her stained skin void of life, he held her in place. His eyes examined her up, then down. She was beautiful after all, his tastes were more than appeased, his palate quenched. This was the result to many nights of temptation in his eyes, under his tongue.
     “Amber from the vein.” His voice dark and piercing.
     Her blood painted the tree, a lucid red.
     The night sky bled and obfuscated the loss. With a glass moon high in the heavens, he set her to rest, propped low against the tree where she lost her once virgin life. Turbulence shook the leaves from above, attempting a simple burial. Wind rustled the field, throwing her tattered clothing from her eviscerated body. She lay there, empty. The flesh now a shell of the person who once trusted him.
     His eyes shined black in the solid midnight beneath the oak. The crack of the thunder marked his soul, the spark of the lightning his memory. There was a small, seemingly insignificant remnant, willing to accept the evil he had done. Convincing him the blood was a necessity, that she had to die, that she had wanted it. It was persuading him to eat, to feast and siege conquest on the world for more. Its insatiable will whispered softly to the dreamer inside, it influenced him with this vision of things to come. His voice echoed through his lips, staring at her with all his guilt. “This is what you are. The intriguing flavors you secretly salivate and intensely lust for.” He smiled, it was becoming a part of him. It tasted pure, coating his mouth. Silky, it quenched his thirst.
     Viewing the once animate youth ravaged before him. It was done. His fists shut tight against himself. He knew this was wrong. He wished his closed lips would obey. He wanted to prove he was not the monster he had become. There was deception here. Deep inside the corners of his mind, he enjoyed the depravity. He sweetly craved it, aching for its presence. His mind torn to the solace of the finished sanguinary act.
     His eyes closed. The red apparition somehow soothed and calmed him. It was speaking directly now. It was murder. He could hear it above the raging storm coursing through him. It forced upon him glimpses of her dead body, a sight of torment. “The vast ocean of power I can grant you. The encompassing absolution of being I offer, to walk without equal as an abomination among monsters. To be feared as no other.” The voice sighed inside him. It's breath warm on the back of his thoughts. “Am I truly so disgusting? Is this not what you asked for? Do I not tempt you? Offer you what you need? Do I not wet your tongue with my invitation?”
     Fear swept him, his choices were not sovereign. His gut knotted in indecision. The hot blanket of seduction that had cloaked him was convincing. It was generously welcoming. He hesitated, not knowing the demon's destination or his own. He could feel his soul slipping, a grip once tight, now failing him.
     “Let it happen, give yourself to me. All you ever have to do, is acknowledge me. Your soul will satisfy my desires, my requirements.” The voice was commanding. It spoke as a god dwelling in the recesses of his senses. It continued. “Rip, tear, rend, and swallow the blood like milk.” The demon inside beckoned with a sadistic suggestion.
     He was unsure, the deal was tempting, even acceptable in a sick flight of fancy. The power was enthralling. His confliction was disturbing, he was not a murderer. He knew as much, as he doubted his own integrity. It was tempting, wet in his mouth, keen on his fingertips. Absolute strength on a level unrivaled. The knowledge that no other being would ever be able to contest him. It was a spectacular promise. It was seductive.
     The voice posed its question a final time. Its confidence was unrelenting. “Is my simple price so steep, so dire, costly, that you would die a fool's death to deny me the path fate has allowed me to etch in the stars?”

* * * *

     Sleeping silently in a single twin bed tucked tightly away in the far corner of a small room was a young boy that quickly roused from a bad dream. Sweat beaded off his forehead to his short black hair as his breath eased. He believed this nightmare was behind him. Opening his dark brown eyes to a white ceiling. He lay motionless for moment. Thinking about the dream he had. The seductive nightmare that he couldn't look away from. He felt each sensation, every caress, every bite. It was a visceral dream.
     The young boy sat up. His sheets fell to the end of the bed. His clothing the only layer keeping him cool through the prior night. A black cotton t-shirt, dark blue cotton sleeping pants, and a pair of white socks clinged to his thin, average physique. His five foot seven frame small for his age. He lived in a mostly normal room for a teenager. Complete with a black study desk, a silver low-cost nineteen inch television. Some video games placed on a few small white shelves. A brown clothing dresser in the corner, rounded out the room. A single closet next to the foot of the bed held his limited wardrobe. The room was painted a light sky blue with a white ceiling for contrast.
     Three pictures were hanging up on the wall by his small bed. The first was framed in a dark cherry wood frame. It was of his parents when they were younger. A tall young man with brown hair and a small thin woman with short nearly pure white hair. The flash of the camera gleaming red in her eyes and not his. The second was framed in a newer, cheaper case. It was of him as a boy, riding a blue sport bicycle for his birthday. The kind you might find at a local garage sale. He was eight, as it proudly proclaimed at the top of the photograph in black crayon. The third was in the same type of frame as the first, an expensive cherry wood. This one was of him and his father in a large field of farm wheat. He was ten. They were running as the picture was taken at the length of his father's arm. He appeared to be very happy and content in the scene. The wheat went on for miles past the view of them in the foreground. It was surreal compared to the other two ornate decorations on the wall. It calmed him.
     It was the last days of May, spring had loosened its grasp on the season. Summer had come and begun to set in. It had been four days since the middle school he attended had let out. The temperature had risen, breaking into the high nineties on an average northern Florida day. The light had fled from the sky, though it influenced this boy's room little without a window present. He had been asleep through most of the day. The near absolute black providing a wonderful environment for rest.
     The solitary boy that lay in the bed was Zack Giver. In the past weeks, he'd felt different from his callow history. At fourteen, there was a longing in Zack that needed to be filled. Something that he had to do, unknown to him that was pulling at his mind. There was no pressure, no consequence to his life choices. Zack required a calamity to challenge him. He wanted to get out of his own world and pursue a goal, a hobby, a person. Zack didn't want his life to become atrophied.
     Zack had been going through a sudden change, a cultural shock of sorts. He had grown very little during the previous summer. His two best friends moved away. They had grown faster than Zack, nearly a foot taller. He was due for some catching up. Zack was developing a stigma against the idea of entering high school. He would be picked on because of his height, his frail nature, and his silver rimmed glasses. It was gnawing at him.
     Zack sat up on the edge of his bed. He tried to remember the dream he had. Knowing that it was important, only Zack didn't know why. He was feeling restless, unable to stay in one place for too long. Zack thought he needed to be somewhere, to be doing something.
     The alarm clock on Zack's old mp3 player kicked in with an agenda. It blasted a fast paced song that he had loaded into it a week ago. It was by Buckethead, it was not a song you could easily ignore. Zack leaped to hit the snooze button on the music station. His concentration was lost. The moment of remembering the dream was gone. Zack felt he had something greater to do than sleep all night or wait for school when autumn came around again.
     There was a knock at the door. It was Zack's father, John.
     John Giver, was a pool designer that learned to be a landscape architect. With the decline of pools in the greater Gainesville area, he found it hard to pay the rent as of late. John was good at his job, too good in fact to not get any repeat business. His pools didn't wear down, they didn't need maintenance. All of his work was done so perfectly that when John finished, he never needed to come back. Florida already had all the pools built it would ever really need.
     Forever optimistic, John trudged onward. His new career in landscaping paid well, however sporadically. Living each month with newfound opportunities in mind, John recently turned to Zack to help with a part-time job for the last few weeks of summer. He had told Zack that it will build character. Not to mention keep them from being evicted if business didn't pick up.
     Zack squinted his eyes and sighed. “Coming. I just got up.” Zack drug his hands over his face, attempting to claw himself awake.
     Zack wasn’t opposed to the idea of a part time job. He just had reservations about working a day job. He had no clue what type of occupation he wanted to pursue, or even what was available in town. Zack didn’t own a car, he couldn't even drive it if he did. Zack didn't own a bike, since it was stolen from him on the last day of school. He didn't have a way to get around town at all. Zack wanted to help contribute to rent, thinking it might help his father relax when it came to each bill that arrived in the mail. It was a problem. Zack worried what it meant for their future. He wondered if his dad would need him to work this side job permanently. Zack didn't want to hold a job into high school. He didn't need that level of responsibility. Zack was hoping he could quit at the end of summer. He had a lot on his mind. So many thoughts about what could be and what might be soon.
     Zack took a deep breath, then laid back down in his small bed.
     Three weeks earlier, Zack was pulled into the counselor's office. He was asked the simple question of what he wanted to be when he grew up. Zack didn't answer. He thought of everything he was interested in, but nothing came to mind. Zack recalled every grueling moment as the counselor disapproved, stood up, and told him to think about it over summer. Zack liked art, he was good with a pen. The career of an artist wasn't something that appealed to him. Zack was accomplished with a little poetry, he just didn't think he was good enough to sustain himself as a writer. Thinking it would be a good job to write poems for a living, he still researched it. Zack decided it wasn't for him when he found out it didn't pay well for even the most talented. That the best he could get would probably be at a greeting card company. He loved the guitar, but didn't like playing in front of people. Zack had no clue of what he would be happy with. In the back of his mind, he wanted to do something with his mind, but he couldn't figure out what. It was beginning to stress him more as the summer had already come.
     Zack had to relax, take a breather. Go somewhere that he wasn’t used to, someplace to clear his head. He wanted to be alone for an hour with no one bothering him, that was his short term aim at least. There was a local Gothic night club open at 8pm. It came to Zack's mind because of a flier advertising that it allowed minors. A place where a person could just sit and watch someone else play a game of billiards for the cost of a soda. Zack wanted that kind of solidarity. He wished for it. To be alone in a crowd of people. It sounded nice to him.
     Physically, Zack was not mature. He lacked the necessary body to be attractive to the opposite sex. At five foot seven inches, he wasn't tall for his age. He wasn’t muscular, or athletic. Zack was merely lean, thin, and lengthy. A sharp, gaunt face with dark brown eyes and black hair gave him slightly above average looks aesthetically. His chin was broad, making a very masculine face that more older women liked than younger. He was always getting complements from the mothers of the girls in his class. When Zack would wait to be picked up by his dad a few years ago at the car loop at school. Thinking it was purely ironic that their daughters wanted nothing to do with him. Zack was fed up. At the time, he was too young to know what a cougar was. Later, when he was told about it, he still didn't like the idea. Zack's view was that people should be within about a year of each other. It sickened him to think that the girls in his class were dating guys four to five years older than him. Zack thought that if he did that with girls younger than him, John would be the first one to arrest him for doing something weird with a minor. Zack felt the entire dating scene for his age range was stacked against him. Put bluntly, he wasn't planning on meeting anyone any time soon.
     “Zack, you didn't fall back asleep, did you?” John called out to Zack.
     Zack rolled towards the wall. “No. I'm up.”
     Since Zack was six, bad vision had plagued his life. He could barely see his hand in front of his face, or even the detail in his fingertips at arm's length. Unfortunately, Zack had wonderful hearing, a fact John knew well. Eventually, Zack would have to get up. The round silver framed glasses he wore were on the nightstand next to his bed. Not the most stylish pair, it was given to Zack by his dad from when he was younger. It was a hand-me-down pair with the latest prescription in it. It was a family heirloom originally passed down from his grandfather. Zack's father said that they were made of nearly pure silver. Zack considered them priceless and kept them in good condition because of it. Polishing them with a special cloth each day.
     When it came to Zack's looks, his complexion was the only thing he was proud of. It was pristine. It couldn't be made fun of. Not that it would have any effect on the outcome of this night. He wasn’t there to put himself out, only to get out of his little apartment. As Zack sat in his bed, trying to remember the name of the night club on the flier his friends had given him the week before school ended. Zack drew a blank.
1 John finally walked in. “Zack, I know that look. You can't remember the address, can you?”
     “Maybe.” Zack wasn't admitting anything.
     “You’re going somewhere tonight aren’t you? Do you need a ride?” John offered.
     John Giver wasn’t a traditional father. He was more of a friend to Zack than a strict parent. Offering him transportation and money for odd jobs around the house. Doing the dishes or vacuuming the carpet instead of a weekly allowance for mandatory chores was the norm around the Giver household. Regardless of his parenting, John knew his son, perhaps a little too well for Zack’s personal comfort level. They had been there for each other as friends and family since Zack’s mother left when he was two. Zack had helped John out of the deep depression that his mother left him with. Without knowing it, Zack was there for his dad. Later when Zack got older, John always knew what to say to calm him down and stop the tears from whatever had upset him that day. John chose to never speak of his ex-wife, only omitting to her when he needed to answer a question about what she was like. Zack never nagged his father too much about it. Zack’s perception was that he didn’t have a mother, only a dad. Living with a single parent made Zack more self reliant in his own mind. Able to stand tall in the face of events that would normally emotionally damage the average individual.
     John looked almost nothing like Zack, begging an answer more times than not of what his mother looked like. John was six foot three inches tall, and had naturally light tanned skin. Distant Italian as he described it, ran through his blood. There was barely a trace of it in Zack. No clear feature to show how John was connected to him. Zack did have John’s sharp chin. John had very light brown hair and blue eyes. A stark contrast to Zack. Followed by years of small scars from young to adult acne, John did not resemble anything near to what one would think when picturing Zack’s father.
     “So what are you going to wear out?” John walked over to Zack's closet. He opened it wide and thumbed through the many dark shirts and pants in Zack's wardrobe.
     “What do you mean? I’m going in th-“ Zack pulled on the chest of the black shirt he had slept in. His voice was a mild lull, innocent sounding. It hadn't dropped to a lower tone yet. A fact that Zack didn't like.
     John interrupted Zack. “-That? I know you have no time for a girlfriend right now, but one day you might.” John sat down next to Zack.
     “I don’t get it.” Zack didn’t understand what his dad was talking about, what he was trying to talk about. Usually Zack knew John had a solid point to anything he mentioned, so he prepared himself to listen for an eventual result.
     John laid it down. “In a few months you’re going into high school for the first time. Over the next four years, there’s a good chance girls will be on your mind. Trust me.”
     Zack wasn’t tracking, just nodding.
     John continued. “I don’t plan on moving in the next four years, at least not out of town that is. The impression that you make at this school will endure until you graduate. It’s important you make a good one.”
     Zack wasn’t nodding anyone, he was completely lost now. Somewhere his dad made a quick left turn in the conversation, and Zack kept driving on forward. “But it's summer.”
     John realized the expression and sought to make his final point. “The night club you are going to will probably have some kids from your new high school. Your first impression might be tonight, well before school starts. You need to wear something that will help you to stand out, in a good way.”
     “That’s exactly what I don’t want to do. I’m going there to relax, to be able to think. Not to be bugged by random strangers that might like me.” Zack peered down at his clothes. “What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” Zack was wearing a short sleeve black shirt. The same sleeper pants he had slept in, which completed the ensemble. Zack wasn't wearing socks, only white sneakers. He hadn't even thought about taking a shower. He didn't see anything wrong with going as he was.
     Thankfully Zack's dad did see a problem with it. “It’s fine if you want everyone there to think you’re homeless.” John partially rolled his eyes. “You have a hole in the left pant leg, Zack. You need to get changed.” John reached into Zack’s closet and tossed out a dark gray long sleeved shirt, black slacks, and a pair of black dress shoes he'd worn once for a funeral last year. “Here, you’re going to wear these.”
     “But I'm telling you it won’t matter. I’m not trying to look good, I’m trying to blend in.” Zack’s logic was sound, except that he didn’t realize exactly where he was going. The Gothic night club was all about what you are wearing and what your attitude was. The people there didn't have to approach you. The idea was to blend into the subculture by standing out in a unique way. Going plain was as bad as wearing a dunce hat to a formal dinner party.
     “The kids at this club are going to be dressed very well. Some will be in elaborate costumes. To blend in, you need to dress accordingly. Trust me. I was your age once.” John had a smile on his face, a sense that he was steering his son in the right direction. John had his younger days. “How do you think I met your mother?”
     “Dad, that was in 1990. Things have changed a bit.” Zack contested.
     “Put them on. You'll thank me later.” John told Zack. He stepped out while Zack changed in his room. “Hey Zack.” John said through the door.
     “What is it?” Zack answered as he was peeling off his shirt and shoes.
     “Why don't you go with your friends?” John suggested.
     It was a Friday night. Normally Zack would be out with friends. Last year they both suddenly announced they were moving away so that their dad’s could get better jobs in different cities. Leaving Zack in a lonely situation. Most kids lost a few friends making the transition from middle to high school, in Zack's case, he lost them all. He had no one to hang out with anymore. Bringing someone was impossible.
     “You know the answer to that.” Zack sighed.
     “Yeah, sorry. I keep forgetting they're not here anymore.” John apologized.
     Zack wanted to clear his head about it all and get there. He slipped off the sweat pants and old underwear. Popped on the new pair and took his time in putting on the pressed clothing his dad picked out. As busy as John was, he always made sure Zack’s clothes were ironed and put away. Zack even went the extra mile and went to the mirror to put some gel in his hair. A slight spike to his already short black hair cut was the final touch before heading to the night club. Though he still hadn’t remembered what the name of the club was yet. Zack's mind was too scrambled to think of it.
     John waited in the space between the bedroom corridor and the kitchen of the apartment. The decoration was minimal. It lacked a woman's touch. Something that hadn't been in the Giver home for many years. The living room was adjacent to the kitchen via a breakfast bar. John had prized his movie collection and its entertainment value over a big screen television. A fat twenty seven inch tube television lay in the center of the room on an old coffee table that had been passed down from John's father. A tan fabric couch situated on the other side of the kitchen bar faced the TV. The carpet was a dark brown, stain-absorbent color. The only appealing feature of the whole apartment were the windows. Four large panes covered the entire gap from the kitchen to the far wall where John's movie shelves were. Their view was of the Gainesville tree line and the surrounding apartment complexes that littered the horizon to the east. The third floor offered sunlight that flooded the living room each morning and a sunset was in perfect view every night.
     Zack opened the door. John examined him. Checking all the little details a father could. John noticed Zack's fly was undone. He coughed, looked down at Zack's pants and back to him.
     “What?” Zack checked his pants. He immediately found the open zipper. “Oh, right. Thanks.” Zack fixed it and straightened his pants at the belt line.
     “You look good son.” John complemented. “What’s the name of the club?”
     Zack didn't answer, his face blank. He knew he had the flier somewhere in his room. Possibly under the stack of video games he was playing the day before.
     John noticed Zack didn’t really know. “It's Club Sauger.”
     “What? How do you know what the name of the club was?” Zack was confused on how his dad knew this obscure and most convenient fact when he didn't.
     “Your friend Ron told me to not let you forget when he called recently. He said he had a feeling this might happen.” John told Zack. Everyone seemed to know Zack a little too well. John pulled on Zack's pant leg.
     Zack wasn't wearing socks.
     “You own socks, I know because I bought a new pack for you last week. Go back and put them on.” John ordered Zack.
     Zack turned to finish getting dressed to his father's standards. John whistled a game show theme while waiting. He was quirky that way.

* * * *

     On the top floor of a nearby hotel, a tall young woman was lacing up the half-corset of a rather unique outfit. The room was dark, nothing was cast in any great detail. The shadows letting only shades of gray hues escape to the naked eye. Her long back was fully exposed, the shape of a white angel's wing tattooed across the right side. Its detail was soft, due to the cascading distant street lights pouring in from the open windows. A single light from the hall shed a small glimmer of her true figure. She was a vixen in black, if only in shape. She had long black hair gathered over her bare chest, covering any angle from indecency by view of the wide windows amongst the apartment. Her face was beautiful, that of a teenage goddess. Shimmering blue eyes glowed from behind her straight flowing hair. Her oval face that of a movie star. Light, sunless skin, well attuned to the variety of dark hued clothing she was embellishing graced her body. A knock on her open door was answered by no one as a young man in a black suit walked in.
     The young man spoke from the shadows that spread from the hallway lights into the apartment. His face shielded in darkness. His voice was young, impatient. “Remember, you were the one that asked me for this assignment. He is a target, nothing more, nothing less.”
     The gorgeous half dressed girl answered, now sitting on the edge of the dark living room sofa. “I know he's supposed to be the next incarnation of a demon, but look at him.” Her voice astute yet solicitous. She pointed to a black and white photo partially hidden by the poor ambient light. “He's only a boy. No older than you when you were turned.”
     “And look how far I've come in two hundred years. Have you forgotten the story of the child that succumbed and awakened the demon? Seven thousand years meant nothing against merely ten years of pure blood lust in its hands. He holds the polar opposite of a true god in his flesh. Remember why you're doing this, why he needs to die.” The young man spoke with purpose and urgency. He believed what he was saying, that this boy's death was necessary. “He is a monster, remember that.”
     “I know, it's to save humanity and all. Kill the teenager and save the world or some appalling shit like that. But seeing his face, he's so innocent. He's just a kid.” She raised the photo, examining it with detail. “You're sure Marin will follow through with the assassination order if this all goes bad. You're sure I won't have to do it?” She tied up the corset, lacing it in front. It exposed her delicate arms completely. A white shirt acted as a slip to the black corset over top her skin.
     “Of course. I'd never ask my own daughter to kill someone I was responsible for. However, contractually speaking, you are the one signing on the dotted line for this. If, for some reason Marin doesn't follow through, then it will fall back on you to cause an accident leading to his immediate demise. At the very least you'll be required to give him some bad advice that could be potentially fatal. At the most, you will have to end his life.” The figure in the doorway stepped into the room and opened the kitchen's refrigerator. The light illuminating his face, he was a young boy himself, no older than fourteen. His short dark hair appeared black in the dim light. He took out a glass of dark red liquid and placed it on the breakfast bar counter. He closed the refrigerator door.
     “What do you mean? An 'accident'? Are you serious? Should I tell him he can walk on water and try to drown himself to death? Or some other outlandish attempt like that?” She laughed as she slid a black partially laced stocking up her right leg.
     The boy returned to the archway next to the hall. “No. I mean that if you are placed in a position where you have vital information about a current situation, you could possibly tell him to travel down the wrong path instead of the safe path. That's all.”
     The young woman pulled the left stocking up. “And about my background?” She unfolded a long white slip.
     “Two of your regulars are already set up to play along as friends, but I doubt he'll have the guts to walk up to them after he sees you. I shudder to think he'll be able to move away from you. You make a very convincing sixteen year old.” He swirled the glass, preparing to drink it.
     “I'm only as young as I can afford to be, you know that more than any one, David.” She put the white slip on.
     “I told you to call me father, Kyli. Sometimes I think you are your mother. You're so similar after all.” David replied.
     “But I'm not a drug addict, dad.” Kyli unfolded a long black skirt.
     “You're correct as always.” David continued to swirl the glass in his left hand.
     “So he's not going to suspect me at all? This will be nothing like the last time, will it?” Kyli stepped into the opening of the skirt while on the ground.
     “No, he's book smart, not street smart. I do want to warn you though, he's quite intuitive for his age. He hasn't turned and he's already feeling people out. So don't get on any subjects that are close to home, got it. Stick to the script and everyone will go home happy and alive.” David popped the closed top and sipped from the glass.
     “Except for him, right. Everybody lives and he gets to be the one that picks up the check at the end of the party. Payable upon death for the greater good, right? What a fate for an unknowing random kid. To be the host to a demon of all things and he doesn't even know it yet. Poor Zack Giver.” Kyli pulled up the skirt and zipped the side.
     “It's sad, but necessary. His death will protect billions in the end. We just have to document it and let their man do the rest.” David slammed back the remainder of the glass. His lips slightly splashed with a dark red color. David's left hand wiped away the rest as he turned back into the hallway.
     Kyli gazed at the photo of Zack as she put it down on her coffee table. “Too bad, he's cute.”

* * * *

     Zack planned his route with the bus schedule and told his dad that he’d be back around 10pm. Zack arrived at the stop. It was partially filled with people from all ages mingling about. There was a small group of five slightly older kids pushing around a younger one in the distance. Zack knew that he had a little time. He wandered over to check it out.
     Five guys were bullying a middle schooler. From what it sounded like, they wanted money from him. A cell phone, an mp3 player, a portable gaming system, something of value that the kid didn't actually have. Zack had stumbled upon a grade school mugging. The five guys looked like they were in a gang from the area. They were definitely in high school. Zack recognized a school sweat shirt on one of them.
     As Zack approached, one of the bullies called out to him. “Hey! Turn the hell back and get lost!” The kid had a short buzzed hair cut, like the rest of them. A gray hooded shirt, and white high tops.
     Zack knew what was going on and he didn't like it. Somewhere deep inside him, he wanted to stop this from happening, he wanted to protect this innocent middle schooler from getting his ass kicked. Zack played dumb. “What? What was that?” Zack stepped closer. He knew exactly what the guy had said.
     “You know him?” Another one of the bullies asked Zack. “You know this kid?”
     “Yeah, he's my little brother's friend. Is he in some kind of trouble?” Zack said the wrong thing.
     The two bullies immediately pulled Zack forward. They held him by the arms and drug him to the rest of the group. They pushed him down on his knees. Another gang member frisked Zack for anything valuable in his pockets.
1 “Hey, what the hell are you doing?” Zack spoke up.
1 The larger high schooler in a white sweat shirt punched Zack in the left side of the face. He went down as they forced his face to the ground. Zack was regretting his decision.
     “We're takin' what you got. You have a problem with that?” The other bully asked with an attitude. He was dressed in black with dark blue jeans on. The lack of light hid their faces well being so far away from the bus stop lights.
     Zack thought they were smart to pick the location and that he was dumb enough to walk into it. Zack's left cheek was being pressed into the road by one of their white high tops. Zack looked over to the middle schooler. He was small, round, and about eleven. He was crying his eyes out. “Please don't hurt me anymore. I don't have any money. I've got nothing, I'm poor. Please, just let me go.” The small boy's voice cracked, straining under the stress of the situation.
     Zack looked back at the two bullies in front of him. “Hey I don't have anything either, but I'm not going to let you beat this kid up. Let him go and do what you want to me instead.” Zack was standing up for his morals and it was about to get him killed.
     The small gang didn't know what to think. They stopped kicking the young kid. Zack was acting as if he knew the young boy just to get him off the hook. A noble, admittedly stupid act. Even though he was a complete stranger, Zack felt this was the right thing to do. The thugs looked at the one guy in the blue jeans, not knowing what to do next.
     “So? I don't have all day, I've got a bus to catch. What's it gonna be?” Zack pressed them for an answer while they held him on the gravel median next to the road.
     The larger bully in white huffed and squinted his eyes at Zack. “Go ahead. Let him go. We'll take out our frustrations on this guy instead. We'll make sure he gets to where ever the hell he's going with a few extra colors.”
     The gang let the middle schooler go. The kid ran away crying and flailing his arms. The five gang members immediately turned to Zack. For the next seven minutes, they kicked the crap out of Zack. In a sick twist of irony when the bus came, the gang was the one that hailed it for Zack. They walked him to the steps and shoved Zack onto the bus. He stumbled up the stairs and walked onto the bus with a busted lip, a black eye, and some bruises. The gang promptly ran off as the doors closed.
     “Hey kid, are you alright?” The old bus driver asked Zack. His beard thick and worn. His light blue jumpsuit contrasted his silvered hair. He was concerned for Zack.
     “I'll live.” Zack replied. His lip bleeding from the left side. He stumbled in and sat down in the middle of the bus on the passenger side.
     Zack rode the bus and got out four blocks from the club. He walked slowly there. Taking his leisure. Zack was tired, only wanting to sit and enjoy a little peace for himself after what happened. Zack's left cheek was swollen and turning purple as he walked up to the doorman.
     The black door was a welcome sight behind the very large bouncer. It was decorated with simple tones of red, gray, black, and the occasional strips of white. The actual dimensions of the club were misleading. The club had bought out the space adjacent and bricked up the only door. They demolished the wall between and used both lots as one combined area. They had dancing, arcade games, drinks, food, and billiards. The very thing Zack had come to watch. The idea of seeing two people think out each shot was fun to him. It calmed Zack's mind, especially through times of stress. It was something he needed.
     “One of those days?” The tall bouncer asked Zack, looking at his busted lip and face. The man's muscles were larger than his head. He was wearing a black tank top with a painted white skull on it. Black faded pants with silver chains and piercings on them. A single black and orange Mohawk topped his head. Zack had clearly arrived at the right place.
     “Yeah, you could say that.” Zack replied with a nod. He fished out a ten dollar bill he had in his sock and gave it to the bouncer.
     The large man waved off the money. “Just promise to buy a drink at the bar and we'll call it even. Looking at your face, you seem like you could use a break.” He undid the velvet rope barring the black door. “And ask the bartender for a bag of ice. Tell him Bret said it was okay.” The bouncer felt sorry for Zack.
     Zack went directly to the bar. “Soda.” Zack put down a five dollar bill.
     “You sure that's all?” The bar tender asked Zack. His suave appearance insulting to Zack's split lip. He had black wavy hair down to the end of his ears, it was shuffled about his face. He had a soul patch of facial hair. The bartender was wearing a white and teal vertically stripped shirt that somehow suited him.
     “Yeah, Bret said I could have some ice.” Zack spoke up, tending to his lip. “And a napkin.”
     “Sure.” The bartender gave Zack a white cloth napkin with ice, then a large soda with a straw.
     Zack found his way to an empty table a few feet from the bar. It had two stools and it was near the middle of the room. Zack sat down at the closest. He placed the ice against his lip and left cheek. Blood populated the cloth napkin instantly, staining the once pure fabric.
     Inside, black and red were the main themes of the club. There were a few things lighter, but not many. The patrons followed suit, dressing in intricate Gothic designs and dark clothing. Zack could spot at least five pairs of fairy wings from his table alone. In comparison, Zack’s dark gray, long sleeve shirt almost seemed too bright to be wearing for the venue. There was an even blend of men, women, girls and boys mixing and joining up throughout the busy room. The house lights were still up. It surprised Zack so many people were having fun with the lights up. The club was filled, but not full. Most of them were on the dance floor, swaying to a Scott Peeples remix. Zack instantly recognized the video game it was from. It was a solid trance beat that made Zack feel relieved.
     There was no pool table.
1 Zack was bummed. He began to sulk, sipping his soda. Zack pressed the ice to his face. He thought he was going to at least appear to have a purpose in watching a pool game. Without that one center of attraction, he had no real reason to be there. Not that it was a solid reason to begin with. Now he was only a lonely person in a crowded teen bar. Zack was so self-absorbed in his banal life that when a tall beautiful girl came up to him, he didn’t notice.
     “Hi, what’s your name?” A light, smooth, sensual voice spoke under the music and over Zack's shoulder.
     Zack didn’t turn around. He was too busy complaining in his own head to realize that a tall, young, five foot eight girl about his age was talking to him. Her hair long, straight and black, blue stunning thin eyes and a perfect ovaled face sat atop her elegant slender neck and body. She was pulchritude in flesh.
     Zack looked into the distance to see two girls patiently waiting to see what might happen next. Zack was unaware of why they kept peering his way. Both of them were dressed as dark fairies with black lace wings, white satin dress shirts, and short black, pleated skirts.
     Zack still hadn’t seen the vivacious girl standing close to his left shoulder. Feeling ignored, the girl reached out with her thin, white polished fingers, and put her hand on the back of Zack's.
     “Hey, what’s your name?” The tall young girl asked again.
     A light scent slowly made its way to Zack. After the girl had extended her hand to him, it was apparent. It was mellow at first, yet entrancing enough to catch Zack's full attention with one inspiration. Zack shifted his eyes left to meet just below the line of the girl's shoulders. She was wearing a black halter style corset with blue ribbon interlaced across a thin white ruffled undershirt that hid a hard to hide voluptuous figure. There were no sleeves on her shirt, the fabric stopped at the edge of her corset, at the shoulder. A black lace & ribbon choker held a rather large all-pink heart-shaped buckle at the base of her throat. A long layered black skirt contrasted the rest of her ensemble, showing only the girl's ankles and the black mid heel shoes she was wearing.
     Zack’s gaze had stopped at the girl's prominent chest. He had paused for a moment. Zack was about to speak, he was about to say something along the lines of telling her to go away or to leave him in peace, but he didn’t. He sat there and stared at her clothes. He told himself that he was just staring at her clothes. Her soft hand still on his, Zack drew his attention to the milky light skin on the girl’s arm.
     Inpatient, the girl took hold of Zack's chin and pointed his face up to hers. She smiled, her face scrunched in a half upset manor. “I’m up here.”
     Zack slowly realized where he had been staring. “Yes, you are.” Zack was dazed. He couldn’t look away. This young woman had a glow about her. It was commanding and seductive, sensual and captivating. She was a beneficial vicissitude in Zack's situation. There was a distinctive smell that was intoxicating. It was welcoming. Zack finally placed the aroma. The scent of cherries and lavender swayed over her soft skin. They were two of Zack’s favorite smells. It was very inviting to him. This girl was nothing like any other girl he'd ever seen. Zack remembered what his dad had said about first impressions that night. Zack felt he was about to eat his words.
     “Careful about staring.” The beautiful young woman said with a slight smirk to her lips.
     Zack snapped out of it. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to.” Zack was attempting to make an effort at an intelligent exchange. He felt embarrassed, wanting to redeem himself and make a decent presentation to this girl.
     “No, not you, them.” The black haired girl eyed her two friends in the corner of the room. “Be careful when they’re staring, if they lock onto you, they’ll burn a hole through me to get a better look at what you’re saying to me. They’re like vultures really.” She had a playful tone about her.
     The girl's long black hair danced at the lower portion of her back as she spoke. It was drawing Zack's attention. It was inviting, her entire body was flirting with him. She had purposely avoided scolding Zack about staring at her copious chest for too long. She had chosen to play nice.
     Zack was beginning to like this girl.
     “Now, what’s your name?” The tips of the girl's fingers slid across the back of Zack's hand.
     The sensation was pleasurable for both of them. Zack enjoyed the girl's touch as much as the simple act invigorated her. The contact was enriching, the feeling instant. The connection was strong, fast, arterial.
     “I’m Zack, Zack Giver.” Zack was unsure of himself, gawking more than speaking as he answered the attractive girl.
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