You crouch in the shadows, listening as the footsteps pass by in a hurry. Once again, you were on the run, and the Church couldn’t find you. Your dagger is drawn, its blade glittering in the moonlight.
You aren't going to be caught.
You aren't going to take the blame.
“I don’t see that monster anywhere!” a man shouts with frustration.
The term “monster” isn't new to you.
“Keep looking! That unholy, demonic being is around here somewhere!” another shouts back.
“I think I saw her go that way!” calls a woman. Your face gains a sly grin. You always out-run the Church.
Their footsteps die away. You wait silently, until the last shadow is out of sight, before you stand and pull your hood over your head more. Casually, you step out of the shadows and sheath your blade.
With a glance down the street, seeing no one there, you walk in the opposite direction: you’ve escaped yet again.
Feeling rather bold and defiant, you decide not to take shelter and stalk in the darkness. You walk down the silent and deserted street. Making a left and looking back, you waltz down a familiar alleyway; you climb up the emergency escape latter and onto the roof.
The full, sliver moon is there to greet you. With a skip, you make your way across the rooftop to the edge where the building overlooks the forest—where the werewolves dwelled—let the Church tell it. Sitting at its edge, you dangle your legs; the sweet night breeze kisses your skin. You are alone, as usual.
Ever since you were a child, you’ve lived on the streets. Your parents loved you, that’ll never be doubted: they gave up their lives just to protect you the night those monsters came…
Vampires, they’re called. Those are the monsters that took your parents from you, and you hate every single one, down to their last drop of demonic blood. Well, because it was “impossible” for your parents to have been killed and not you, the Church labeled you as the monster that murdered your parents. And after months of arguing that you were not, you gave up on it. The Church offered you salvation, even though the people would call you a murderer, a monster, some vile creature.
You ran away.
They’ve tried to catch you for the past three years now. They’ve never succeeded. In fact, their chasing you was a very good workout. As for food and water…you always found a way.
Tonight is a dazzling night, indeed. You can’t help but smile a little as the werewolves begin their 12 o’clock howls. You don’t have a problem with monsters…only the Vampires. You can handle any troll, nymph, furry, werewolf and fairy…even a behemoth if you needed to.
“Nice night tonight, isn’t it?” asks a high, merry voice. You jump up and unsheathe your dagger, eyes falling upon a stranger.
“Who are you?” you growl. This may be the first being you’ve talked to in about a month.
“Why did you draw your weapon? Do you feel threatened?” the being asks, frowning slightly.
“Answer me or I’ll kill you now.”
He shrugs, his short blond hair blowing in the breeze. “My name is Vladimir.” You can easily tell, by the pointedness of his teeth, that he wasn’t human; that doesn’t sit well with you.
“Why are you here?!” you ask angrily.
Vladimir stops laughing and frowns again. “What do you mean? You don’t own this rooftop.” He walks past you and sits on the edge as you watch him keenly. “You can put the knife away. I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Do you really think I’m worried about that?” Your voice comes out cold and bitter.
Vladimir, looking up at the moon, says, “I guess not…after all, the Church is after you.”
“How do you know that?”
“Oh…well…it’s kind of obvious…Why don’t you take a seat next to me, human?”
“Okay, you don’t have to sit next to me…But do you have to point that at me? No, not the knife, I mean your gaze. It’s chilling.” Vladimir makes his body shiver; you roll your eyes and lower the dagger.
After a moment of eyeballing the vampire, you sit next to him, but at a distance. “What do you want?” you ask sharply: you still have a firm grip on your blade.
“I wanted to see if you needed help, [Name],” Vladimir says with a smile.
You almost let his words fly over your head…until you realize he said your name faultlessly, as if he’s known you forever. “W—wait a second! How do you know my name?!”
“I’ll never tell~!”He laughs now and claps his hands together once.
“You’re annoying, you know that?” you spit and move to the other end of the rooftop.
“Am I more annoying than the Church?” he doesn’t give you a chance to reply, seeing the look on your face. “Listen, I want to help you. I know you didn’t harm your parents that night…” his voice trails off, as if he wants to say more.
“How do you know so much about me?” you try to mask your voice in disgust, but the slightest bit of awe slips out.
Vladimir hears this and shrugs casually. “I’ve followed you around a little…why do you ask?”
You scoff loudly. “There’s no way!”
“Yeah, it isn’t that hard to follow you around a little,” Vladimir admits smugly.
Your eyes narrow at him. “Why do you want to ‘help’ me? So you can suck me dry? Nope. I don’t trust slimy vampires.”
“I’m not slimy.”
“Or sparkling ones…”
“I don’t sparkle.”
“Regardless, I’m denying your offer. I know you only want to drink my fresh, pure, succulent—”
“I don’t think your blood is all that pure.”
You scowl as he laughs at his own cracks. “Very funny, sparky.”
“I don’t sparkle!” he insists as he laughs. Now he wipes away a tear at his amusement. “Any anyway…I’m guessing you want to live outside for the rest of your life?”
“I don’t mind.”
“Listen, I really do think that you should accept my offer…you don’t have to stay forever…you can stay as long as you like, though.”
You consider this proposal; if you need to, you could always kill him, and it wouldn’t be hard to do. A free meal and a show didn’t sound too bad…Yet, the conflicting reminder that he is a vampire makes your brain numb.
Vladimir sighs. “You should decide quick [Name]. Those people are coming back…and they brought the priest.”
You scoff again and stand; looking back, you see that his words are true…even if he never passed a glance in the direction.
The last thing you want is to become a vampire’s slave: but you would hate to let the Church win. What would be the Church’s full extent to punishment? Surely, you’ve upset the Priest and sent the citizens over a cliff and back for the past three years you have been on the run. Perhaps they would like to set fire to the monster…or hang the monster…or put the old guillotine to use.
“I don’t know…” you begin hesitantly: neither option seems welcoming. Besides, if you left now, you could out run them again; that thought is rendered useless as you see the low, dark shadows of the hounds. It’s been a while since you’ve had to out run the dogs.
“They’ve brought hounds with them. Geez, [Name], they really want your blood, don’t they?”
“Shut up,” you hiss and walk across the rooftop to get a better view; the hounds sniff about, dragging along the Hunters from the Church; even at this distance, you can also see the Priest, Father Lucid; the hunters without hounds where carrying heavy fire arms.
“Son of a whale,” you mumble and crouch down. They really want your blood…almost as much as that odd Vampire sitting carelessly in the night: so what are you going to do:
Stay and push your luck against the army of the Church…Or go with Vladimir and risk having the life sucked right out of you: because Vampires are untruthful with their seductive voices and their swagger…But those dogs look like they could run a mile in minutes…not that you can’t.
You look back at Vladimir, who hasn’t moved. You almost want to take up his offer, but you’d rather push your luck against the dogs and guns.
“Are you going to go with me? Or do I have to make you?” he asks with a hint of joy in his voice.
“No, I’m not going with you. And I dare you to touch me: I’ll throw your head down there for the mutts.”
“Those dogs wouldn’t mind, would they?” he brushes off your treat fearlessly.
“You don’t know if they’re just Trackers or—”
“You know every well that those dogs are Hunters.”
You groan, hating to admit that he was right; you begin to think again, but then you hear someone yell.
“THERE’S THE MONSTER!! IT’S ON THE ROOF!”
Someone returns; “GO GET IT!!!”
“Those dogs can climb, [Name],” Vladimir says with a casual air.
You frown as the Hunters actually let go of the leashes. “There’s no way those mutts can make their way up a 20 foot building.” You race to the other side of the rooftop and kick the escape latter down; it was beginning to crumble anyway, and it doesn’t pose a fight: the latter lands on the cold alley concrete with a loud ring.
“Get down here, you filthy beast!” a man shouts up from the alley. You roll your eyes and walk back across the roof.
“You took too long.” Vladimir stands, patting his crimson coat.
“Well maybe I wanted them to come here,” you say crossly: hysteria spills out from your voice. Vladimir laughs loudly, making the hounds go crazy; they bark and scrap on the building’s walls.
“They can’t climb. You lied.” You shake your head and mumble, “Vampires. Ugh.”
“So,” He extends a black gloved hand. “Will you come with me?”
“I don’t want to,” You insist. At that moment, gun shots ring in the direction of the rooftop. Instantly, your mind has changed.
“Can you get me out of here safely?” you ask quickly, reaching out for his hand.
“But of course! I figured you’d waste all of your time anyway.” His fingers close around yours.
“Whatever,” you grumble. The hounds scrape against the wall. Somehow, it sounds as if the scraping gets closer and closer: it must be your imagination.
“I have to fly us out of here…”
“I’m not afraid of heights,” you return while passing a glance over your shoulder.
“That’s good to hear…Pardon my hands.” Before you’re able to think, he scoops you up into his arms; two (rather large) bat wings have sprout from his back.
The hounds scrape their way over the side of the wall and onto the rooftop; their bodies are larger than you expected: their claws are vicious, their eyes are red, and foam spills over their huge jaws.
“It’s time to go,” Vladimir laughs and breaks out into a mad dash towards the edge of the roof facing the woods; a shriek escapes you. Closing your eyes and regretting agreeing to this, you hold to Vladimir tightly and wait for the plummeting sensation to clasp your stomach and for the pain of impact to claim your body…but nothing happens.
You open your eyes to see the Hounds, the Hunters, the building and the priest shrink to the size of defenseless ants. Vladimir’s wings are silent; they extend the same way a bat’s would and carry on the wind.
You are so transfixed you miss his sentence, so he repeats himself. “Are you listening? I said we’re going to my castle.”
“You have a castle?” you laugh. “So I’m guessing these fancy clothes weren’t for show?”
“They aren’t fancy.”
“Yeah right,” You point at his hat. “This isn’t considered fancy?”
“As I said: they aren’t fancy, you’re just poor.” Now it’s his turn to laugh.
You decide not to reply to him, for he would probably get some enjoyment out of your anger. Still, thinking back to the situation you were just in…you wonder if you should be grateful that Vladimir came…you wouldn’t have made it out if he hadn’t.