Just as Justine was about to bring her hand down into my face, a whip wrapped itself around her wrist, holding her arm in place. Her head jerked to the side to find the culprit and I allowed my head to do the same. Surprisingly, I found that the person holding the whip was Alexander. Aubrey and Fin sat squatted off to the side, both of them looking beat, though Aubrey’s eyes told of the fire that was driving him now. He could go on for hours more.
Alexander snapped his wrist and the whip let go of Justine. “Just as you have your toy,” he said, referring to Ulric, “I would like mine. I chose her. Do not harm her.” A sly grin crossed his face as his eyes fell on mine. I wanted to rip those eyes from his head and hand them back to him on a silver platter. I hoped Aubrey would finish him off quickly.
Justine let out a whine, but lowered her arms, content with just sitting on me and pinning me to the ground. I found it very uncomfortable to be below Justine, and I had had just about enough of her. With Justine distracted by Alexander, I realized that it was my opportunity to free myself. My knife lay to the side a bit and I snaked my arm out to get it. Justine turned her head back to me, but not quite quick enough. My fingers wrapped around the hilt and quicker than I had ever moved before, I brought the knife up to meet the side of Justine’s head.
I had never killed anyone before. I never thought that I would kill someone. When Fin had given the knife to me, I hadn’t really expected to use it. How could I possibly have gotten close enough to a vampire to use it without them turning on me first? But now that I was what I hunted, I found that shoving the knife into someone’s skull wasn’t so difficult. Justine’s eyes continued to watch me even as blood started to tear down her cheeks. She was crying her own crimson life source. I ripped the knife out, sending spurts of blood from the wound. Next to us, I heard Alexander give off a sort of terrified shriek of anger. I ignored him, let him have his lamentation for Justine, the cruel bitch.
Justine’s body fell forward and I rolled over, bringing her to the ground. Her mouth was moving as if she were trying to say something, but then her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she was quiet. The blood seeping from her head formed a pool beneath her body. I was used to the blood by now. I wiped the knife off on her sleeve before looking up. Aubrey had gotten back into the fight, or more likely, he was trying to keep Alexander away from me. I was, in fact, the vampire who had killed his lover. There was a certain hatred that comes along with that title. I wanted to laugh in his face just to spite him. But there were more important things to take care of, most importantly: Ulric.
I stood up and brushed myself off. Then I made my way to Ulric, who had managed to prop himself up on his elbows. I kneeled next to him and cradled him like a child.
“You took away my lover,” Ulric said with a smile. I smiled back at the joke. “How does it feel to be a vampire?” He asked, looking up at me. I was hurt to find a little fear in his eyes as he watched me. There weren’t words that I could say to prove to him that I wouldn’t hurt him. I guess he had just been hurt by Aubrey so many times when he was blinded by the bloodlust. But I wouldn’t hurt Ulric, not even if I craved his blood.
“It feels great.” I smiled wider. Ulric chuckled with me, but his chuckle turned into a cough. I rubbed his back gently and then sat him up and turned my attention to the fight going on between Aubrey and Alexander.
Fin was out of commission. He was nursing some very sore looking wounds which would have normally been fatal on mortals. But these wounds just left Fin weak and in need of blood. He was of no use to Aubrey in this condition, no use at all.
Aubrey stood towards a wall, almost backed completely into it, but he knew better than to take away his area of movement. Alexander could come at him at any minute and he’d be dead if he didn’t have room to move out of the way. But Alexander wasn’t charging Aubrey. Instead, the ancient vampire was standing on the other side of the room, his feet planted firmly on the ground and the whip that had been at his side was now loose and trailing on the ground. There was a look in Alexander’s eyes that I didn’t like, especially because it was aimed at Aubrey.
With the snap of his wrist, the whip came forward and lashed out at Aubrey, who neatly side stepped it. It cracked into the wall, sending chips spraying on Aubrey’s back. But Aubrey paid it no attention, he stepped out of the way of the backlash of the whip, swearing under his breath when it caught the side of his sleeve. Alexander brought the whip down again, but it was a dance that would never end. Aubrey kept side stepping and Alexander kept sending his whip out again. Neither one of them would get anywhere with this except to tire themselves out. Ulric must have known this.
Alexander was very skilled with the whip. He wrapped it around his body without hurting himself and then he sent it out again to strike like a deadly snake. But each strike missed Aubrey. Only the first backlash had made a mark on him.
Next to me, Ulric started to change into his wolf form. I looked at him with shock. “Ulric, no.” I said, putting my hand on his chest as if that would stop him. He looked at me and shook his head. “You’re hurt.”
“Not bad enough to not help him.” Ulric replied, though the broken arm and ankle screamed at him even as his bones changed and his body turned into that of a wolf’s. I growled at him beneath my breath and was surprised to find my own voice had an animalistic quality.
When Ulric’s transformation was complete, he didn’t give me time to try and talk him out of it again. He raced forward, right after Alexander cracked his whip. Ulric leaped onto Alexander’s back, which took the vampire by surprise. Alexander let out a yell and turned his arm sickly around to latch onto Ulric’s neck. Ulric bit down into Alexander’s shoulder and retained his firm hold even as Alexander tried to scratch up and down his back. Aubrey took the moment to bring himself more into the fight. He lunged at Alexander’s midsection, bringing the pile of bodies down to the floor, where they fought more viciously to be able to stand up again.
They wrestled on the ground like animals. Every once in a while, Aubrey had to step out of the way to avoid being hit by Ulric’s claws or strong jaws. Alexander seemed to be focusing all of his energy on fighting off the werewolf, knowing that Ulric’s teeth could do more damage than Aubrey could. It seemed like the fight would get no where until Alexander suddenly lashed out at Ulric and sent him flying across the room. Before Ulric even hit the ground, Alexander turned around and struck Aubrey across the face, stunning Aubrey for just a moment. That was all Alexander needed. He grabbed his whip and lashed it out across the room. I let out a yell as the whip wrapped itself around Ulric’s neck. Ulric’s eyes went wide as his air supply was suddenly cut off. Blood trickled out from beneath the whip as it dug into the skin on his neck. The blow from the lash had been enough to cut deep into his skin as well. Ulric was down on one knee, his broken bones finally taking a toll on his body. Now with a whip wrapped around his neck, he was completely at Alexander’s mercy. Unfortunately for Ulric, Alexander had no mercy. He flicked his wrist and Ulric went flying. He smashed into the wall and fell to the ground, back to his human form before his body came to a rest. Blood spurted from a long gash on his throat. I growled and turned to look at Alexander only to find him being jumped from behind by Aubrey.
Mitch crawled over to Ulric and turned him on his back. Ulric had lost consciousness, something that didn’t suit me at all. Ulric’s face was so pale, paler than I had ever seen it. He was usually so full of life. I expected him to get up and smile any minute, but he didn’t. He lay still in Mitch’s arms. His chest rose and fell normally, but the blood continued to spurt from his neck. I hoped he wasn’t dying. Mitch put a hand over the gash on Ulric’s neck and looked up at me. “He’ll be okay, the bleeding just needs to stop.” He said, nodding his head towards Aubrey. “Help Aubrey, Alexander has had enough with games.”
I turned around, wondering what Mitch was talking about, but found that Alexander now had the advantage over Aubrey. He had his hand locked tightly around Aubrey’s throat, his fingernails digging into Aubrey’s pale skin. Any second he could rip Aubrey’s throat out. But Aubrey was digging his own fingernails into Alexander’s shoulders, trying to rip his arms from his body. I wouldn’t let Aubrey fight this alone anymore. It was time I played my part in this. I could help as much as anyone else could. I wouldn’t let Aubrey face this alone. From now on, it would be Aubrey and I facing the demons, I began to see that and knew that if I planned on keeping up with him and making sure that Aubrey would be with me always, I knew that I would have to start fighting.
Running forward, with speed I only just begun to know, I leapt at the both of them. Wrapping my legs around Alexander’s waist, I tore at his face with my fingernails. I flashed my fangs and bit down onto the top of his head, ignoring the bitter taste his blood had in my mouth. Alexander screamed and let go of Aubrey, bringing his arms up to catch my shoulders. With incredible strength, he flung me off of him and I hit the wall harshly. Falling to the ground, I had to shake my head to regain myself. Aubrey let out a yell of frustration and lashed out at Alexander, slashing him across the throat. Alexander was stunned for a moment to be caught off guard. Aubrey took the advantage.
Rushing forward, Aubrey sunk his teeth into Alexander’s throat. He began to suck the blood from Alexander’s body and even as he did so, I could see smoke rising from Aubrey’s mouth. Aubrey let out a strangled cry, even though he was inflicting himself with this pain.
“No!” Fin screamed off to the side. “Aubrey don’t!” He yelled, trying to come closer to help. I watched Aubrey, trying to find out what he was doing. Suddenly I realized. He was drinking Alexander’s blood, not just draining him, but ingesting the blood. The blood had left a bitter, burning taste in my mouth, one that I didn’t want to taste again. But here Aubrey was taking the blood into his being, drinking it and completely draining Alexander. He was killing himself.
“Aubrey!” I screamed, rushing forward and shoving Aubrey away from Alexander. The two vampires fell to the group. Aubrey’s mouth was badly burned, his chest heaving and his skin took on an unusual red color. He closed his eyes and clawed at his chest. The painful sobs that wracked his body made my heart ache for him. Tears streamed down his face and he arched his back, trying to lessen the pain. It was hard to watch Aubrey be in so much pain. I almost couldn’t stand it. It must have been unbearable. Alexander tried to crawl away. I slashed at his back and he let out a scream.
“I am the leader of the Keepers!” Alexander screamed, turning around and glaring at me. I glared back, showing him that I wasn’t afraid. “I make the rules and I carry them out. You must die for your treachery!”
“The Keepers are dead, Alexander.” I said, standing over him with my hands crossed across my chest. He looked up at me and I saw fear in his eyes. I often look back on that moment and wonder if Alexander was seeing his death in my eyes. Alexander was thousands of years old, one of the oldest vampires we had come across. He had seen so many things, known so many people, had ruled the world in secrecy for so long. Thousands of years of knowledge and experience; it was a worthy life. But now here he was, on the edge of death. I wondered if he was ready to die. It didn’t matter anyway, because he was going to, whether he was ready or not.
“The Keepers will never die.” Alexander laughed and spit blood at my feet. I didn’t flinch. “A new vampire will come along and resurrect them. You’ll never be free of us.”
“Well, we’ll enjoy our peace and quiet while we can.” I said and swiftly kicked Alexander in the face. He fell backwards and stared at the ceiling, just breathing. I leaned down and took a knife from Alexander’s boot. He seemed not to notice me, though I knew he did. Perhaps he had already given in to the fact that he was going to die. “Tell me something,” I whispered to him, fingering the knife in my hand. He looked at me, his eyes duller. “Have you seen all that there is to see?”
Alexander stared at me, wondering if I was going to be merciful. “No.” He said quietly back.
“Thousands of years and there are still things you have yet to see?” I shook my head. “Tsk, tsk. You shouldn’t have wasted your time on petty power battles.” I raised the knife above my head and looked one last time into Alexander’s eyes. I hoped, then and there, that I wouldn’t become him. I didn’t want to be so blind with power that I forgot what it was to be human. Maybe this was what Aubrey had been talking about. This was not Alexander I was killing, it was his monster. It was the monster that had escaped and taken control over him. Alexander had already died. Now I was just killing a vampire.
I brought the knife down, ready to connect it with his forehead. But to my surprise, he brought his hand up and caught my wrist. I didn’t have time to think. He was moving faster than I could think, something he had perfected over his years of existence. I saw his arm raise, ready to strike me across the neck and rip my head from it’s body. I saw my own death for the second time since I had become a vampire. But he never got the chance.
Aubrey grabbed Alexander’s hand and stopped it from hitting me. I watched it all like it was in slow motion. Aubrey pulled Alexander up and pushed him forward, exposing his neck and back. Aubrey’s fangs flashed only briefly before he brought them down onto the back of Alexander’s neck. Both of the vampires let out whimpers. Aubrey whimpered at his injured mouth, Alexander whimpered for some unknown pain that I knew he must have been feeling. The sat there for a moment. I crawled backwards, away from them, watching with utter fascination.
“Do it.” Alexander hissed, closing his eyes in submission. What I didn’t know then was that Aubrey had already severed Alexander’s spinal cord. Alexander had known this the moment his body had stopped working. Aubrey had won before he even ripped Alexander’s backbone from his body. The bone came away easily enough, ripping out of his back and taking with it chunks of flesh and nerves. I turned away, not wanting to watch. It was different when I thought of Alexander as being just a vampire who had lost control over their monster. Would Aubrey turn into that one day? Would I? I heard Alexander’s body hit the floor and then Aubrey kicked it away and leaned against the wall. When I looked back to him, I saw that his eyes were closed.
“Aubrey?” I whispered, and crawled over to him. He was still breathing heavily and the burns on his mouth looked painful. I kneeled next to him and brushed the hair from his eyes. He turned to look at me and smiled. I took his hand. “It’s over.” I whispered to him as his eyes closed. He nodded to me and then put his head on my shoulder, to exhausted to hold it up anymore.
“There are coffins downstairs.” I turned to see that Mitch was helping Ulric. He carried the beaten wolf over his shoulders, though he barely looked strong enough to do so. I had almost drained him and here he was already carrying someone else. I would never understand the healing abilities of werewolves.
Fin let out a laugh and I looked over towards him. His wounds had stopped bleeding and were now healing. He had his head leaned back against the wall. “It’s over.” He whispered, chuckling at the very words and the very thought of it all. I couldn’t help but chuckle along with him. I looked back at Aubrey, who had his eyes closed, already asleep. I brought my hand to his face and touched his cheek. His skin was so soft. He looked so helpless sleeping the way he was, in my arms, with his head resting on my shoulder. I wanted to stay like this forever, though without the pains Aubrey was suffering from.
I stood up then, finding myself strong enough to carry Aubrey. He wasn’t heavy at all. He went slack in my arms and I carried him behind Mitch, who was walking towards the coffin. Mitch reached out with a hand and grabbed the scruff of Fin’s shirt, dragging him behind.
“Oh this is pleasant.” Fin whispered, trying to sound annoyed, but we all knew how thankful he was.
Downstairs, Mitch put Fin into a coffin and closed the lid. He laid Ulric into one, but left it open. I could only guess how Ulric would have reacted to finding himself in a closed coffin. He then opened another coffin and held the lid as I laid Aubrey down inside. I smiled down at Aubrey, watched as he folded his arms over his chest and went into true, healing sleep. I stood up, but found that Mitch was still holding the lid open.
“Get in.” He whispered. “He would want you to share one with him.” I looked at Mitch and then back at Aubrey. So this was it. This was what my reward was for choosing love and an immortal life. Aubrey was my reward. He looked innocent, lying there. His wounds looked ugly, but each and every one of them had been inflicted upon him because of me. Everything that had gone on this night and the nights previous happened because Aubrey loved me and he wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when I didn’t return the love, he still fought for me, for this.
I looked around at the other coffins. They were all empty. I imagined them being filled with vampires who would come to follow Aubrey. We would make a vampire empire. The power would be ours, but I knew that once Aubrey had power, he wouldn’t let it go to his head. He would remember about Alexander and about the monster inside of himself that was threatening to get out. And if he didn’t remember, I would remind him about it. I would make sure that Aubrey did what was right. I would help him control that monster inside of him. And when my own monster tried to escape, I knew that Aubrey would help me keep it under control. The thought made me smile. Aubrey was the ruler now, he had risen to power. This was what he had fought for. Aubrey had gotten everything he wanted, he had gotten power, respect, and myself. I didn’t know what would happen tomorrow when we woke up. I didn’t know what Aubrey expected of me. But as I crawled into the coffin and slowly guiding Aubrey to allow me some room, I knew that it didn’t matter. I wrapped my arms around Aubrey’s prone form, feeling the heat from his body as Alexander’s blood gave him a fever. He was hurt, but in the morning he would be back to normal. Things would be back to normal, but I had yet to discover what “back to normal” meant to a vampire. Perhaps the fighting was normal? But Aubrey had been just another club goer the day I met him.
There were things I didn’t know. The morning would bring an all new life, one that I was almost too scared of facing. There were things that I didn’t know about the vampire race. I would find it all out, learning about a race that I had only recently found out existed. Now that I had eternity, I could do everything I wanted. There wasn’t a rushed feeling to complete all of the goals I had set for myself. Did my petty mortal goals even matter anymore? Now that I was an immortal creature, would there be new priorities? I didn’t have the answers. But lying there, next to Aubrey, feeling him beside me and knowing that when I woke up in the morning he would be there, I realized that it may not be so bad. With Aubrey there, I was willing to face anything. Even if it meant a new life as a vampire. That was what I was now. I was a vampire, Aubrey’s vampire. Aubrey’s angel.