Warning! This is a horror/dark fiction story so may be disturbing to some. There is strong language and sexual situations.
City Mouse – Country Mouse
He sat at the end of a bar that had been hurriedly though artfully constructed of packing cases, and watched the frantic hustle of moving flesh packed onto the dim, smoky floor of the abandoned dockside warehouse. Green lasers slashed through the dense air, imparting ghastly shades of color to the sweating faces of the dancers. More light; intense rays of cold blue, violent red and vivid violet, was being pumped into the dark space from somewhere behind the slowly turning blades of three giant overhead industrial fans.
The band, a slick Euro-punk revival group fresh out of Manchester, was wailing a fast melodic tale of urban crisis, the high, sweet notes of the lead singer’s untrained soprano vocals punching nostalgic holes in the dull consciousness of the gyrating crowd.
They called it a Sosh Party, and it was the latest trend in L.A.’s constantly shifting club scene.
Tonight the Party existed for a few brief hours on the floor of this empty warehouse. Next week it might have moved to the hold of an abandoned San Pedro freighter, the waiting room of a defunct hospital in Westlake, the lobby of a closed hotel on the old Miracle Mile. Kids handed out flyers along Melrose and Hollywood Boulevard listing the time, the place and, sometimes, even the name of the band…if the band had a name. People came together to drink and dance and couple, then scattered again like blown leaves to the far corners of the city.
It was pure L.A., hot and fast and dangerous. Everybody at a Sosh was young and high. Nobody knew anybody and anybody could be groping anybody else in the dark; a rich kid from Bel Air, a legal secretary from the Valley, a Disnoid from Burbank… or Straight Razor Dan.
He loved the Parties.
Followed them like a religion.
The choicest bodies flowed into the discarded and abandoned spaces like water into a whirlpool; spaces that were always surrounded by dark streets of vacant lots and empty doorways.
He looked up to see her standing before him, her long black hair cascading down across naked shoulders, the tiny black tube top she wore barely restraining the full dark swell of her breasts.
He smiled. She had come to the bar twice before to look him over, once brushing deliberately against him. Now she perched on a padded packing case and leaned close to make herself heard over the noise of the band.
“You do this much?” she asked, aiming a deliciously tanned shoulder in the general direction of the swirling crowd.
He shrugged, the rich fabric of his fashionably loose silk sports jacket shimmering in a sudden splash of violet light.
“Yeah, me too,” she said.
He raised his hand and one of the three sweating bartenders appeared as if by magic, anxious to please the weird dude who’d earlier left the crisp new fifty lying on his side of the bar. He inclined his head toward the girl, noting the tiny droplets of sparkling sweat beaded on her upper lip.
She smiled a beautiful smile and batted her long, dark lashes at him. “Vodka tonic.”
The bartender hurried away to fill the order and she moved closer, allowing her breast to brush against the skin of his exposed forearm. “My name is Erika,” she whispered. “I model.”
“Dan,” he said from behind his dark, dark glasses. “That must be fascinating work.”
She made a face. “Don’t tell anybody I said so but it’s really a bunch of bullshit,” she confided.
He looked genuinely surprised.
She pulled a dark cigarette from a ratty handbag and he lit it with a gold Dunhill electric from the 70’s that seemed to materialize magically from his pocket, as if he had simply been waiting there to light her cigarette. She looked at him more closely, noticing for the first time how handsome he really was. “Yeah,” she said, carefully blowing a thin stream of smoke away from him. “I mean it’s a total no brainer.”
He seemed to consider this. “Possibly not if you work in the very highest levels of the profession,” he finally said. “At that level you have to be concerned with international travel, currency exchange rates, foreign languages…”
“You’re not in the business?” she breathed.
He shrugged dismissively.
“Oh my God, you are. I knew it the minute I saw you. This is wonderful… Maybe you could give me some ideas. I mean, I haven’t really worked a lot here… yet, but I did loads of department store work in Denver.”
He took her chin in his hand, turning her head into the glare of the lights as though examining her profile. Behind the dark glasses his eyes were gazing down at the soft, pulsing spot on her throat… “You’ll do very well, Erika.”
He released her after a moment, pretending to glance at the gold Rolex on his wrist, then reached into his pocket and laid another fifty on the bar.
The girl’s face fell. “You’re not leaving?”
He smiled regretfully. “I’m afraid I must. I promised to meet some very boring people from Paris Vogue.”
He stood, taking her dark hand in his pale one and shaking it formally. “It’s been very nice meeting you. I wish you the best of luck…”
“Look,” she said, leaping to her feet and digging in her ratty bag for a scrap of paper and a pencil stub, “could I maybe call you sometime? For some career advice,” she clumsily added.
“Of course,” he said agreeably. He took the pencil from her, poised to write, then looked up. “I don’t suppose you’d care to join me this evening. I must warn you, it will be terribly dull, a late supper at the beach…”
Her eyes widened. “Oh my God, do you think it would be all right? I mean, I look like shit and all.”
“Nonsense,” he said, taking her arm. “With a face like yours I could take you anywhere.”
She was miserable.
Huddled in the crook of a tree with the din of the nearby freeway in her ears and the stink of exhaust fumes in her nostrils, she had been lying dormant for hours.
There was no hunger in her belly yet, for she had drunk deeply of the prey in the vehicle, catching the second spurt of arterial blood from his open throat, letting his strong young frantically pounding heart pump the sweet hot liquid directly into her throat for several seconds before dropping his body.
From her vantage point in the trees she had watched all day the comings and goings of the humans in the habitations of the small working class subdivision backed up to the freeway easement.
For now she was desperate to learn.
While it had still been light she had seen females tending their young in the grassy yards, and later, males arriving in vehicles to eat the food they had cooked, then settling before flickering boxes to watch flat, moving images of other humans traveling and laughing and coupling with one another. It had all been very confusing to her untutored hunter’s brain. She wondered why the humans did not do all of those things themselves, rather than sitting in stony silence before the boxes to watch poor imitations of the lives they might themselves be leading.
It had occurred to her then that for all the marvels of their machines, this new generation of humans were far less accomplished than their ancestors, who had at least lived in the clean open air and worked with their hands to fashion the things they needed and harvest or hunt for the food they ate and the garments they wore. Perhaps, if that were true, there was renewed hope for the survival of her own race, which, even though its numbers were greatly diminished, had always remained strong and self-sufficient.
The lights in the habitations had begun to go out some time ago and she considered leaving her crude sanctuary to search for a more suitable den.
She was on the verge of dropping from the tree when she caught sight of shadows moving against a window that had previously been dark. A human female suddenly appeared in the lighted square and stood gazing out into the darkness.
The maiden’s pulse quickened as a male stepped up behind the woman and slowly stripped the silken garment from her shoulders, reaching around to cup her full breasts in his hands. The woman arched urgently back against him, and the creature in the tree understood that they were preparing to couple.
Excited, she felt a warm surge of desire flooding her own loins and slipped quickly to the soft ground, creeping down the slope of the embankment until she stood within a few feet of the woven metal fence dividing the grassy enclosure about the house from the wooded strip of freeway border in which she had been sheltering.
The humans had moved away from the window, pausing only to discard their garments entirely. The virginal vampire watched transfixed as the male, a tall, well-muscled specimen with curling facial hair, lay on a raised pallet in the center of the room. The female stood over him for a moment, raising her arms to fasten her long dark hair about her head. Then crossing to the male, she climbed onto the bed and, gracefully lifting one long leg across his belly, mounted him in a single flowing movement.
The untamed maiden beyond the chain link fence of the modest house in the Silverlake district of East Los Angeles gasped as the woman in the rear bedroom lowered herself and began to move rhythmically over the passive male, very obviously taking her pleasure at her own chosen pace and speed.
The young vampire had never imagined that such a thing was possible. And nothing in her lonely and isolated experience had prepared her for it.
She turned away from the house and loped away into the night, following the long, unbroken strip of the freeway easement, needful of a dry quiet place in which to lay up and consider all that she had learned and all that she must do if she were to survive.
As she ran, the image of the dominant human female played and replayed itself in her brain and she began to imagine herself exerting such wondrous control over a male of her own species.
The thought was delicious.
The girl named Erika had been wonderful.
Straight Razor Dan sat comfortably in the soft leather cocoon of the Ferrari cockpit, staring out at the white line of booming surf and replaying each and every detail of the night’s hunt in his mind.
He had done something completely different with the prey this night, and he wondered if it might not be wise to adapt the experience into an entirely new modus… The reaction on the streets to the killing of the girl in the dark Hollywood theater had been massive and it seemed an appropriate time to retire Straight Razor Dan. Besides, tonight’s kill had been extraordinary.
His ears thrilled to the sound of his own voice as he softly repeated her words to himself.
They had been lying together in the cool sand of the tiny cove fronting the darkened Malibu beach house of a film star he knew to be working in Europe. Her long, brown body was pressed close against his, her sweet, boozy breath whispering in his ear.
He had raised his head to look down upon her finely drawn features, running a slim finger down the curve of her upraised jaw, pressing lightly against the throbbing pulse just below her ear, considering taking his fill from the rush of bright, freshly oxygenated blood of the artery rather than from the vein further down on her throat, which was his usual choice. He regarded the oxygen rich blood as a man accustomed to drinking beer might regard Champagne: It made him giddy and the taste was superb, but the cost was great. Venous blood flowed slowly and predictably. The other tended to spurt and splatter, portending the dire risk to a hunter of ruined clothing and ghastly surroundings. And when the victim’s heart stopped, so did the flow, making it far easier for policemen to determine how much had been taken.
He had been pondering these consequences as the female had moaned softly on the sand beside him. “Kiss me! Kiss me!” she had repeated the phrase over and over, shrugging out of the scanty garments covering her smooth skin, reaching out to stroke the thin fabric of the loose trousers he wore.
The sound of her panting grew loud in his ears as she clutched at his sudden erection. Then her hand left him, her grasping fingers rising up to tangle in his long shock of dirty blonde hair as she rolled onto her back, raising her knees and pulling him to her. He rose to his knees, casting aside the dark glasses and staring with golden predator’s eyes at the tantalizing juncture of her silken legs. The thick round trunk of a great artery throbbed like a beacon high on the inside of her right thigh.
The girl named Erika had moaned again, pulling him toward her. His head began to move downward and she smiled, opening her eyes to look at him.
Her scream was lost in the sound of the crashing surf as the eerie death’s head had plunged through the soft skin, severing her femoral artery like a cheap garden hose.
Afterwards, he had walked into the sea fully dressed, letting the cold surge of green water flush the blood from his face and hair. He had returned some minutes later to the girl named Erika, carefully slashing the body in several places and waiting for the outgoing tide before carrying her into the surf and watching her float away into the dark, moonless night.
He wondered what new name the newspapers would attach to him after Erika’s mutilated body arrived at its final destination–someplace far to the south, he thought, given the winds and currents at this time of year. Dana Point perhaps.
The cold sea air on the drive down from Malibu had dried his clothes well enough to pass the idle scrutiny of the sleepy doorman who would wave him into the garage of the Wilshire high rise, and it was growing late. He reached for the ignition key but did not turn it.
“Kiss me!” The vampire mouthed the seductive phrase once more, disturbed by the growing effect the pretty prey were beginning to exert upon him. As with the girl in the theater, he had become easily aroused by the touch of this one. He had left the Sosh intending to kill her behind the dark warehouse, but then, unaccountably, he had led her to the Ferrari, intending?
He knew not what he had intended, although for one brief, wild moment as he had hovered above her on the beach he had struggled with the mad temptation to couple with her. Such a thing was not, he believed, physically possible. The differences in physiology….
And if it had been?
He dismissed the aberrant thought. It was forbidden to couple with prey.
The first precept of the Oracle.
He touched the ignition and the powerful V-12 engine roared to life. Backing the sleek sports car onto the parking area of the exclusive Santa Monica Beach Club, of which Laurence Barnett was a lifetime member, he drove to the electronic gate and inserted a card into a slot. The gate slid open on silent runners and he sped out onto the Coast Highway, heading up toward the tunnel that marked the beginnings of Interstate 10, known at this edge of the city as the Santa Monica freeway.
The exhausted maiden curled comfortably among the soft leaves lining the secure nest she had created, her shallow breath barely stirring the light covering of the breathing hole around her face.
She had trotted south along the wooded freeway easement for several miles, pausing often to gaze down at deserted streets before scampering through drainage pipes or access tunnels to the security of the trees on the other side. Finally, however, the easement had run out and she had found herself perched in the bushes overlooking a second roadway as wide and as full of speeding vehicles as the one she had been following.
Her heart had been filled with despair and she had turned north along the new roadway, with little hope of discovering a place to rest away from the choking fumes and constant noise. Then, within a few moments of having changed direction, she had spotted a brush filled tunnel leading beneath the second roadway. Stepping into the dark, wet place, she had hurried along a garbage choked stream, her ears throbbing at the echoing roar of the traffic overhead.
Emerging from the tunnel, she had been amazed to see a gently rolling vista of hills and trees rising up away from the roadway for as far as she could see. Soft grass tingled against the bottoms of her cut and torn feet as she climbed to the top of the nearest hill. Beyond the hill, thickly clustered stands of trees surrounded a stone pool of fresh water. She had run to the pool, splashing joyously in the cool water and looking up in wonder at the tall metal form of a human rising from its center. Soon after, she had discovered the small dry cave perfectly situated near the top of another hill and screened by a thick stand of flowering shrubbery.
Exhausted, she had made her nest, burrowing down among the fragrant leaves and imagining the sweet taste of a lover’s pheromones on the wind.