Violence, abusive behaviour
This man had approached Faith within seconds of her leaving the motel. Nothing about him was attractive; he looked like he had been randomly generated by a people machine and plonked in front of her.
But if she closed her eyes, used her imagination he could be anyone…
It wasn’t how this human looked that mattered anyway. It was how he tasted and he tasted… very bad. Compared to the plasma packs she’d been having for the last couple days though, he was divine. Lilith could add all the adrenaline she wished to those gloopy blood bags; they still tasted like shit.
He was so taken with her that it took Mr. Random Ugly one whole minute to realise that Faith wasn’t actually kissing his neck. He panicked for another few minutes before finally falling dazed and heavy against her.
With effort, she pulled away, placing him on the floor. She uttered an apology to him before she set about trying to make it look like he’d been attacked by something other than a vampire.
Satisfied, yet feeling slightly sick and ashamed of herself, she stood back up to check her work.
“An interesting, if rather violent, technique. Though you may wish to kick him harder in the face if ‘aggressive mugging’ is what you’re going for.”
“Seth! What are you doing here?”
“Meeting with you, as agreed. Forgive my tardiness; I wasn’t aware that the venue had changed.” He looked around at their grim surroundings with a bemused expression. “Classy choice, Faith.”
“I’m going by ‘Violet’ now. How did you know where I was?”
Seth grinned. “Come now, Violet. I’m a prime apex predator and you four are hardly skilled at covering your tracks. April must bathe in her perfume; oud and jasmine, I believe.”
“She just smells like money to me,” Faith said. “You’re not going to make us go back to Lilith, are you?”
“No, however I’ll be keeping a watchful eye,” he replied. “On Caleb,” he added, hastily.
“Oh you mean ‘Thor’. Yeah, that dude is thirsty. He’s gone out hunting with ‘Amy’. Said she needed to supervise him so he won’t just empty some poor fucker.”
Seth looked like he was trying not to laugh. He glanced down at the unconscious man on the ground. “I see you’re doing fine, not that I ever had any concerns about your survival skills. Was there much in his wallet?”
“Twenty simoleons,” Faith mumbled. “Don’t judge me. I can hardly go and get a shift at the cinema now.”
“I’m not judging. In fact,” Seth rolled down the guy’s sock, revealing a few hidden notes. “Aha.”
“How did you—“
“It’s a common thing for humans to do in dodgy neighbourhoods such as these frequented by undesirable characters such as us. Here.”
Seth handed the money to Faith who swiftly pocketed it. “I’m not undesirable.”
“Surviving. I understand.” Seth nudged the human with his boot. “You didn’t mesmerise him?”
“No. I don’t know how to.”
Seth looked at Faith for a while, sceptically. She had to look away. She felt the pressure increasing in her head but also a strange, new, thudding sensation.
“That’s intriguing,” he murmured.
“What is?” she asked.
“I thought you were rather quiet tonight but now I realise; I can’t hear anything at all.” He mused, “I wonder if this has something to do with what you did to Lilith.”
“You know about that?”
“Yes. I had to revive her. It was quite extraordinary. Definitely something I wish to explore, incredibly carefully, in our next session. Although I’m not sure how fruitful they will be,” Seth finished quietly, as if to himself.
The stars were spinning before Faith’s eyes as he psychically strangled her; tighter and tighter as if trying to squeeze out the last drop of juice from a lemon.
“Seth, stop!” she groaned holding her aching head. “You really can’t get in at all, can you?”
“No,” he muttered, frustrated. He shifted his attention, awarding her some reprieve. “You surely took a lot from this poor, frightened sap. I did wonder…”
Faith scoffed. “I know when to stop. Unlike you and Fringey, I know my limits.”
“Oh, I know my limits. I can stop, I simply don’t.”
Faith stared at him, wide-eyed. “Wait, you mean you don’t have to kill people? You said you did!”
“I didn’t say that. I don’t have to, no…”
“So why the fuck would you?”
“Convenience,” he answered effortlessly, immediately. Then he groaned, bit his tongue; his next words seemed to be pulled from him with force. “I enjoy it.”
“Shitting hell, Seth,” Faith whispered. “You enjoy it?”
Seth looked like he really didn’t want to form the words, but he did anyway. “I’ve grown to, yes.”
Faith whistled. “That’s one fucked up hobby. I can’t actually believe you just admitted that.” She looked down at the man at her feet for a while, thinking. Finally she glanced back at Seth, grinned. “Didn’t fancy taking up knitting?”
He smiled. An expression Faith couldn’t quite read flickered across his features. Relief? “I haven’t considered it. Perhaps I’ll join the Windenburg Wives’ next Knit and Natter. Hopefully none of the ladies are too appetising.”
Faith laughed, despite herself. “You really don’t do yourself any favours. For fuck’s sake; can you just lie a bit when you meet ‘Maude’?”
“I can’t lie,” he admitted. “Ah, bollocks.”
Faith watched him wave at her. She thought she saw a flash of red. “You can’t lie?” she asked. “Why not?”
“No, I can’t,” he muttered. He was looking at his hand and biting his tongue so hard that he’d likely draw blood, if he had any. “Equilibrium.”
“Intriguing,” Faith said, mimicking him. “So a weakness to balance out your powers?”
He flinched at the word weakness. “Yes.”
“You should be careful who you admit that to. Someone might exploit it,” she said, smiling wickedly.
“That someone should tread very carefully. I would hate to have to silence her.”
“Don’t you threaten me; I’ll blast your brain to pieces!” Faith retorted. “You can’t even read my mind now; you’re as good as powerless. Pfft, silence me. I’d like to see you fucking try!”
Seth’s hand twitched and Faith smacked herself across the face with so much vigour she collided with the wall beside her.
It took Faith a few seconds to realise what had happened. “What the fuck!?” she screamed at Seth. “You asshole!”
Seth roared with laughter. “Consider that a subtle reminder of who exactly you’re talking to, Fledgling.”
“Yes. It was intended to be a light pat but oh you and your chaotic, self-destructive, immature brain. Hysterical! I wonder if you’ll amplify everything? I’ll command you to hop next; let’s see if you go stratospheric.”
“Don’t you fucking dare! This isn’t funny!” Faith rubbed her face. “A light fucking pat?!”
“Yes,” he said, regaining composure. He opened his arms wide, inviting her wrath. “Go ahead. Take a free shot and we’ll call it even. Hey, why not try ‘blasting my brain to pieces’? That should be amusing.”
Faith balked. “What? I can’t—“
“Go on,” he goaded. “Show me your bite, Violet.”
“I… I don’t want to show you! I’ll just kick you in the nuts, that’ll make us even.”
He nodded. “You could do that. Or how about this; I’ll permit you to ask me one question. Anything you like. You can keep your tongue.”
“I don’t need your permission to ask questions!” Faith retorted brazenly, but her mind began racing with all the things she could ask him. He waited patiently on the tip of her knife, probably wondering which dark, incriminating secret she was going to whittle out of him.
She thought about what might have led him to his murderous ways, about his relationships with Lilith and Caleb and kept coming back to the same, burning question.
“Have you missed me today?”
She watched him open and close his mouth, repeatedly. Could see him silently trying out various answers. Finally he replied, hesitantly, “I have.”
“Are you fall—” she started.
“I said one question,” he snapped.
Faith fixed her face into an unbothered expression and let that lack of concern filter through to her voice. “Huh. There I was, thinking I was just a brain to be studied.”
He didn’t say anything. He was clearly wishing that he’d opted to be booted in the balls.
“Shit, Seth,” she whispered. “I haven’t thought about you at all today. Wow, this is super awkward.”
He hissed through his teeth. “I think you’re lying.”
“You think I am, but you don’t know. If only you could read my mind. But you can’t even do that…”
He laughed. “I will again, with time.”
“Look, if you can’t help me with my head then I’m not sure what other use I have for you. I’m not after a relationship,” she said, trying not to grin. “And you aren’t a particularly memorable lay…”
“You’re starting to annoy me.”
“Hey, don’t be annoyed. You weren’t terrible. You’re still in my top thirty, just about. Top fifty, for sure. Maybe once you’re over me I’ll let you have another go at poking around in my brain. Until then, thanks for the mugging tips and good luck with the knitting group. I’ll see you around.”
He didn’t respond, didn’t try to stop her. Yet the pressure was unrelenting in her head as she walked away.
“Oh dear,” April said.
“Why didn’t you stop me?” Caleb shouted. “You were supposed to bloody stop me!”
“Caleb!” April gasped, shocked by his outburst. He was really rather aggressive in his dark form. “You said to stop you after three minutes and it was only two minutes thirty-nine seconds!”
Caleb was still raging. “Damn and heck! You must have been counting too slowly.”
April scoffed, “I know how to count three minutes, thank you very much! Don’t blame me because you can’t control yourself. And don’t shout at me; it upsets me.”
She sensed him mellowing. “I’m sorry, April.”
Caleb took her hand. “I’m angry at myself, not at you; you did everything I asked. I shouldn’t have shouted at you. Forgive me?”
“OK. I forgive you,” April said cheerfully. “Let’s focus on the positive! We don’t need to hunt anyone else tonight, do we?”
“No,” Caleb agreed. “I don’t need anyone else. Agh! I should have stopped. Heck. What is wrong with me? I should really be able to control this by now; every other vampire can.”
“Maybe you’re special?” April gazed up at him, through her lashes. “It’s actually kind of impressive how you can drain a whole man through two puncture holes in a mere two minutes and thirty-nine seconds.”
“I’ve always been fast, but that’s a record.”
“At least we have a benchmark now.” She crouched down to unfasten the guy’s watch. “Tomorrow night I’ll accurately time for only one minute; that will avoid any more fatalities.”
“I’m a monster,” he said sadly. “Look at what I’ve done! These two were a couple.”
“Shush you. This guy insulted her mother, let her wander off alone in this horrible town where anything could have happened to her and couldn’t even describe her to me properly, so he was clearly a massive knob.”
“That doesn’t make it right.”
“No, but now she can go and find a nice boyfriend when she wakes up. You’re not a monster, you just made a mistake. Don’t feel bad.”
Caleb sighed, looking at his little vampire wife with adoration. “You’re amazing.”
April grinned. “Are you ready to head back to the motel? We should try and make it to the next town before sunrise.”
“Yes. We should probably sort this guy out first though, Amy.”
“Oh right, yes. Any ideas?”