Someone must have knocked over the universe’s bucket of irony on the day I was turned into the thing I was sworn to protect the world from.
Five years as a member of the Royal Guard, undone in one night.
We were betrayed, had to have been. The horde of vampires we had been tracking for weeks knew we were coming. They were ready, and they were hungry. It was wholesale slaughter, and I lost seven good people before I even had the chance to call a retreat.
Tessa had fallen in her rush to escape the warehouse. I ran back, helped her up, made sure there was no one else falling behind. And just as I was about to make my own exit, he found me, pinning me and smashing my sword hand into the wall.
I did not cry for help. The vampires were already giving chase, having drained the fallen and now ready for more. To call my team back would be asking them to commit suicide.
So I stared defiantly into his red eyes, and waited to die.
“You’re not afraid?” He cocked his head, amused. Playing with his food.
“Nah. Only angry that I couldn’t slay more of you before this rather unfortunate turn of events.”
The vampire actually laughed. A melodious sound, damn him, designed by nature to inspire trust, to lower guards. Look: I’m human, and attractive, won’t you let me in? “Why are you so keen on murdering us? What is our crime, except being different?”
My sword hand twitched at the audacity, and everything in me wanted to plunge the blade into his heart. I knew it was futile to try; rage and adrenaline is still no match for superhuman strength. Instead, I looked at him in angry disbelief, and looked past him to where my teammates lay, exsanguinated and very dead. I had only met them for this mission, but they were brave and good and did not deserve this.
He followed my line of sight and gave an almost sheepish shrug. “You attacked us without provocation. We were defending ourselves.”
“Without provocation!? You’re murderous vermin! Leaving nothing but drained bodies and broken families in your wake, a threat to everyone in this kingdom!”
“Is that what you think?” he hissed, pressing back harder and looking hard into my eyes. His own blazed with a strange, righteous anger. “There are those of us who are evil, yes, but how is that different from humans whose morality has as many variations as there are people? This horde kills only in self-defense. We drain only those who are willing, and never to the point of illness or death. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? Because you’ve lumped us all into one, and came in here only with intent to kill.
“You would think you’d remember the days when your people faced similar persecution,” he grazed his eyes over my dark skin, (low blow, you vampiric asshole) then glared back at me. “But maybe you ought to be reminded.”
I was given no chance to retort before he plunged his fangs into my neck. My sword fell and I cried out at the agony of the bite, my veins and arteries protesting the intrusion. I knew that vampires sometimes secreted a potent anesthetic in their saliva when feeding, so the human would be too high to struggle or feel pain. Clearly, this one had no such intentions. He wanted me to feel it, and every moment of it hurt.
Instinct had me clawing at his arms, pushing at his chest, kicking my legs and trying anything to get him off, even though some rational part of me – drifting further and further away – knew there was no point. I’m going to die, I thought, and the struggling stopped. I gave into it, almost looked forward to it, the throbbing in my neck a distant sensation as I began to lose consciousness.
Everything that happens next, I remember only in flashes.
Falling to the floor, the vampire’s boots walking towards me.
My head being lifted. Tasting iron. Trying not to swallow his blood but being too weak to resist him forcing it down my throat.
His sardonic laugh as he left.
Curling up on my side in the darkness, ringing in my ears, muscles twitching.
Shouts of, “She’s here! She’s breathing!”
Jerking awake for only a moment, gasping, only to hear, “Oh, fuck!” and then a significant blow to the head.
And now I’m here. In a prison that I had helped design, chained to the wall, with a brand new set of fangs and a hunger that I know won’t be quenched by food.