It’s odd that they have left me and I can’t help but feel a pang of worry. I’ve got used to them and as far as I know they are the only two of my kind in the world. Wending my way through the streets I keep Max’s unique smell with me. He has this scent that reminds me of musk and maleness but at the same time I get something a bit like sandalwood. I can’t help smiling. I sound like one of those wine tasters, he has a wonderful bouquet.
Except that now I can smell something else. It is a sour cloying smell that worries me. Stopping, I scent the air as if I were a dog. The animalistic feeling worries me, but as I close my eyes I try to filter through the different smells. The sour smell is linked with…
My eyes snap open and I snarl. Max made that smell and I can tell he did it because he was afraid. My Max was afraid. Moving forward slowly I use all my senses to detect any danger. Maybe if I wasn’t different I would have missed it, but there on the side is a splatter of blood. I don’t need to get close. It’s Colin.
Running over I follow the splatter to a large bin, so large it reminds me of an American dumpster.
“Oh no…” I whisper. Inside I continually think the mantra that he is alright. Lifting the lid I look inside.
Colin is lying in amongst the rubbish and at first look he appears to be dead. He isn’t moving and his face is a ashen colour. There is a bloom of blood on his chest and I have the impression that there is a large hole just below his ribs.
“Colin,” I say, my voice sounds scratchy and broken.
I stifle a scream as he blinks. He doesn’t move apart from that. Standing I throw the lid open and it crashes against the wall. I stop and crouch looking around to see if anyone is going to jump out of the darkened alley. There is nothing. I wonder briefly if I ought to worry about snipers, but I haven’t been shot yet, so I push it from my mind.
Leaning into the foul smelling bin I grasp Colin around the upper body and pull him toward me. He flops forward, his limbs heavy and his whole body no more stable than a rag doll.
“I’ve got you,” I say.
There is no response. Hauling him from the bin I am surprised at my strength. He flops to the floor with the sound of meat hitting a table. I take hold of his hands and pull him further into the alley. It’s a dead-end and I prop him against a wall near the back. It smells of damp and piss but it is better than the bin.
“Run…” Colin’s voice is more of a breath.
“No,” I say as I take a look at his wound. It’s a bullet wound and has gone through his body. I don’t know much about guns but this must have been a large one, possibly high velocity, but what do I know except what I’ve seen in the movies.
“Dying,” he says.
Bending down I look in his eyes. “Not yet.”
I stand and look about me. What I need is an other… I’m feeling good, and I was able to heal after drinking it’s blood. Colin needs at least one, if not two in order to get back on his feet. And I need him in order to get Max.
I move away and look back. Colin gives me a small smile. I can tell that he is almost drained of blood and he is right, he is dying, I can smell it, but he could survive. Running from him I turn toward the area I saw the other I fed on. I see the body, but there are no others. In order to do this I must become the predator.
Moving fast, as fast as I can, I turn toward the strongest smell of the others. Oddly, I notice that the smell is not pleasant. Running, I turn a corner and see five. I only need one for the moment. I gag at the smell. I wonder if they are different to the ones I fed on. Just the thought of drinking their blood turns my stomach. I hesitate and as I do three see me. Each gives a cry and starts to walk my way.
There is no choice and in a second I reach for the nearest, avoiding the slash of the teeth as I try to subdue it. I shouldn’t know how but it is as if an elemental part of me rises. Taking the thing’s head in my arms I snap its neck, immobilising rather than killing it. Immediately its hands fall as if it were nothing more than a puppet that has just had its strings cut. Picking it up I begin to walk back with its feet dragging. Luckily this one has smooth loafers on and progress is quick. The others have frozen in their pursuit and are making that creepy mewling noise. I wonder if they can learn. The fact they aren’t coming after me suggests they can.
I turn my head to try to escape the smell of the creature in my arms. The succulent smell of blood that was so delicious is gone. Instead I have to breathe through my mouth in order to lessen the cloying smell of death. I just hope that Colin can use it.