Family Secrets II
By H. M. Garber
Brent assumed the secret remained with his family. He figured his cousin Viktor was the last vampire. Viktor talked about his isolated, lonely existence. How he needed his family with him to ease the burden of immortality. He concluded that Viktor was a law unto himself. A dark force of nature, free of all constraints except those which he chose for himself.
Brent learned that one should never assume.
Training to use his new vampire powers was exhilarating. Living with a family member that cared and wanted him surpassed amazing. The pain of loving and leaving Robyn, of missing her presence, remained bitter. The training took all his effort and most of his time, both waking, and in dreams. Euphoria and depression tore at his emotions. His mental state resembled a ravaged war zone. It mirrored the part of Prague where Viktor and Brent now lived.
Viktor’s building was an abandoned, Soviet-era relic. He maintained a luxurious suite of rooms on the top floor.
Brent explored the rest of the city and discovered he loved living in Prague. It matched his disposition. The dirtiest, most squalid corner of the city held a rich history. Back in America, even the garbage seemed plastic and fake.
Techno dance clubs sprouted two, three, or five to every littered street. The joints Viktor and Brent visited were usually in basements. Each individual needed a unique glyph for entrance. They were all dark and smoky with strobe lights, loud synthesizers, and heavy bass back beat. These clandestine night spots were perfect camouflage for a vampire to slink through. He seduced a tender doe-eyed boys for a quick drink. He never drank from girls. They reminded him too much of Robyn, so deep in his heart that biting women felt like adultery.
Aunt Agnes’ letter crinkled in Brent’s pocket. She wrote him about Robyn’s disappearance. He worried Robyn would hurt herself. She was never spontaneous.
Brent took a deep breath, feeling cigarette smoke scratch at his lungs. There was a familiar scent of cinnamon in the air, coming from the press of bodies in the center. His favorite prey was here.
The boy wore a black t-shirt scrawled with silver Cyrillic characters. His black BDU pants hung three sizes too large. Silver spikes covered his forearms, but his neck was bare of any matching collar. Thick black eyeliner encircled his innocent blue eyes. Brent didn’t know his name, but he found the boy in four different spots four weeks in a row.
Brent slid behind him, matched his rhythm and whispered in his ear. The other couldn’t hear him above the pounding beat, but it didn’t matter. Brent knew only a few words of Czech. He projected thoughts of sensual pleasure into the boy’s easy and open mind. The prey swooned back into his arms and ground against him as Brent bit into the boy’s sweaty neck. Cinnamon spiced cologne flavored the blood. The pounding of the boy’s heart and the beat echoing in his chest overwhelmed him and he fed.
Brent’s mind morphed the young boy into Robyn. Her clove/cinnamon scent filled his senses when she moaned and ground back into him. He sucked harder pulling her essence from her body; he wanted to drain her blood and make her like him. He needed to possess her completely and forever.
Stop now, Brent. Take a small bit. Just a taste. Only
enough to quell the hunger. Viktor whispered in his cousin’s mind. He stood off to a corner of the dance floor. Viktor’s aura wrapped around him, making him appear like any other dancer. He was a bit old for this club. People paid no attention to him. They avoided physical contact as they danced and writhed to VNV Nation’s primal beat.
Brent knew the dangers of taking too much blood. If a vampire didn’t want the human to die they must take only a small amount. Making a human into a vampire was risky because the human body could reject the gift of immortality. Viktor always instructed Brent toward disciplined feeding. Brent hoped he learned fast enough, but the way his thoughts kept straying back to Robyn told him he had a long way to go.
Thank you, Viktor. Brent thought back, and after licking the neck of the young boy moved to kiss his ear. The boy loved that and tried to twist around to dance face to face. But Brent stepped back into the throng, using the crowd to mask his own presence. Viktor said it was better that the boy not become too attached and seek him out, and Brent believed him.
Dance now. I will find my own food. Then we must return to our chambers.
With Robyn still on his mind, Brent danced deeper into the crush of writhing bodies. After living half his young life in a wheelchair, being able to dance was ecstasy. He wanted to grin like a madman but held himself to the half-smile. Viktor taught him to quirk is lips friendly and open but hide his fangs. Half-blinded by flashing lights, Brent just recognized Viktor. He finished his drink from a small blonde girl. As he swam with the human currents toward Viktor, a hand grabbed his arm and spun him around.
“Jaký činit my mít zde? JEDEN Děťátko Krev Doušek.” The words spoken in Czech, but Brent was able to pull meaning from the thoughts around the words. What do we have here? A Baby Blood Drinker. Brent peered closer at the scruffy punk who spoke. He was shorter than Brent, with black spiky hair and a worn leather jacket. He appeared to be wearing contact lenses, making his iris look red with gold flecks. But his elongated incisors were not fakes, no more than Brent’s own, and gave away his true nature. Brent noticed four other punks with similar eyes moving to encircle him.
There were others! Brent thought, excited until Viktor’s furious thoughts shattered through his head.
Stay away! He’s mine! Viktor never used that tone of voice, even when Brent failed and failed again to learn even the basics of levitation.
“Viktor, jaký činit tebe potřeba s takový jeden děťátko? My pocínovat učit jemu až k být jeden fyzický Vampyr.” Viktor, what do you want with such a baby? We can teach him to be a real Vampyr. Spiky said out loud as he stepped closer to Brent. Brent backed into another, who shoved him sideways. A third caught him and dug his fist into the small of Brent’s back as he shoved him upright again. He felt a cold hand encircle his neck and squeeze as Viktor shoved his way through the crowd toward him.
“Jeden, you must learn to be more careful how you hunt. We found you through your cinnamon boy. He was good bait, yes?” The blonde vampire whispered in accented English as he gripped Brent’s neck. Blondie wore heavy black eyeliner and had an ebony sigil tattooed on his cheek. He lifted until Brent stood on tiptoes. Viktor was almost to the group. The other’s grip was so strong tears welled up in Brent’s eyes. He felt trapped and helpless.
“Christoff, let him go! You will teach him to be a killer, Roland. He is not your Child. I will bring the Zarkas down upon your gang. They will take your throats if you hurt him.”
Brent felt power and intimidation in that last statement. Then his attention yanked to a slight trickle running down his neck and into his collar. The intense pain of sharpened nails pierced into his flesh as his feet left the ground.
“Stop hurting him!” Viktor ordered as he raced toward Christoff. The blonde vampire gave a menacing smile as his grip tightened. Brent clawed at his attacker’s wrists with no success.
Viktor tried to rip Christoff’s hands from his child’s neck but his nails dug deeper. Brent collapsed to the concrete floor once released from the deadly grip. He watched in horror as Viktor grabbed the blonde vampire by his throat and ripped it out.
“CHRISTOFF!” Roland rushed to the side of his fallen comrade just in time to see the remains turn to dust.
The other unfamiliar vampires backed away from Brent and melted into the pulsing crowd. Brent looked, but there was no trace of them or Roland.
“We must leave, now.” Viktor tilted Brent’s head and licked the wounds to speed up his healing. Then he lifted him to his feet.
“Viktor, I’m fine. Really. I thought we were the only Vampyr left. Who the hell were they and what the hell is a Zarka?” Brent babbled with relief now that Roland and the other Vampyr Punks were gone.
“Roland and his boys are Vampyr, but not like us. They have no concern for life. They kill their prey and indiscriminately make new Vampyr. No care is taken to ensure the youngling does not become a rampaging beast. Most of the younger Vampyr are like this.” Viktor explained as they retreated from the basement.
“The Zarkas are a powerful family that I work for. I am their Enforcer. Because of me, no stories of Vampyr or unexplained deaths will expose them. They allow me to destroy any Blood Drinker that does not follow the rules the Zarkas have created.”
Brent asked more questions as they neared their haven, eager to get to its safety.
“Why have I never heard of these people? What else have you kept from me?” The truth he knew turned sideways. Nothing was the same any longer. His world no longer consisted of feeling healthy and basking in his joy. Or bemoaning his lost love and experiencing utmost misery.
“The Zarkas are ten times more brutal and cruel than Roland and his pack. I wanted to make sure you could defend your physical and mental self before I introduced you to them. There are many dangers in my world. I will decide when to expose you to them.”
“So will I learn to do what you do? Be an enforcer for this family?” He felt helpless, small and quite naive. Viktor kept protecting him. At least Robyn was safe from all this.
“I will protect you as much as possible. I cannot lose my only true family.”