An Extract from ‘Urmasi’

The scream was so loud that Rae had to cover her ears – was it really that close? Heartbeat quickening, she searched around in the darkness, knocking over numerous boxes in her path. Then she remembered that her brother was in there with her not long ago, and they were arguing about stupid things. Her legs were moving quicker, now, and her eyes were stinging – partly from tears, and partly from the effort it took her to see, as there was hardly any light at all, only the moonlight.

“Dan!” She screamed, “DAN, WHERE ARE YOU?” Her hair whipped around her head as she sprinted to the door, arms flailing.

Blood. All she could smell was the salty scent of blood. The blood could be ages away, she thought, my sense of smell has increased over the last few weeks. She was right. No, the smell is too strong, she thought, fumbling for her Hood from her belt.

At last she could see clearly through the darkness. The Hood enhanced her senses, it was used for hunting. There was no way that she could see past a couple of metres now – her tears were flooding down her cheek, steaming up the Hood.

She felt something warm and alive gently touch her shoulder, causing her body to whirl around in frustration and surprise. Oh good, she rolled her eyes, it’s him. Go away! She screamed in her mind, wishing to say it out loud. But why would she want to say an insult to the person who had save her life numerous times?

Through the Hood, she managed to blink past puddles of tears around the rim of her eyes to see a man, in his early twenties with a Hood on of his own. His chestnut hair was slicked back with, what looked like sweat, and possibly blood, resulting in his dark hazel eyes popping out. However, his lips were in a tight line, as if he was pained.

He was in pain, she noticed, reaching up on her tiptoes to examine the bloody mess on his hairline. “Ash.” She said definitely, as if she just had to think hard to remember his name, finally thinking past her previous thoughts. “Do you smell that?”

The guy blinked slowly. “Rae.” He pulled her close to his body, looking down at her astonished face. His eyes were longing and sad, as if wanting her to look back. She didn’t. And he only realised this when he remembered her question. “It’s strong, isn’t it?” He spoke, waving off Rae’s arm and stepping slightly back. “I’m fine; I fell on my way in – too many boxes.”

She nodded, but it wasn’t like she believed him, it was more like she wanted to believe him, but knew she couldn’t trust him, not now. Possibly, not ever again.

Though, too soon, Rae began to walk out of the room, crashing into boxes as her Hood was steamed up from the amount of frustration she was holding in, and she could no longer see a thing. Shuffling back cautiously she turned away, taking down the Hood, and was able to see almost clearly through the darkness using her heightened eyesight – yet it wasn’t as good as the Hood. Ash grasped her wrist, strongly, powerfully, and she could feel his soothing breath tickling the back of her neck. “I’m here now, Rae.” He whispered gently. “I’m here for you.” He slowly slid his hand up to her neck, and she placed her hand on top of his, then he wrapped his other arm firmly round her waist. No, she told herself, I have to find the blood. With sudden regret, she pulled herself away from Ash, sighing. “Ash, we need to find the blood. I need to – I’m starving.”

Sliding her Hood back on, Rae could barely see that Ash was looking at the floor, smiling, and if it wasn’t for his perfectly white pointed teeth, she wouldn’t have been able to.

“I get it.” He quickly spoke.

Dan.” Shouting, she sprinted past Ash. “He was in here with me.” Rae called back – she was already in the next room, and had no clue if Ash had heard her, or followed her.

The scent of blood was at it’s strongest in that room, so it was harder for her to keep control of her thirst. The Hood also detected thermal activity, so, using the thermal sensor, Rae could easily see a body lying just around the corner. And it was a dead body. Her pace slowed as she knew she would get out of control if she didn’t… because of the blood; it was too strong, and she couldn’t go back to being a murderer – how selfish she used to be. The body was only a few metres away, Rae reduced her speed to one step every second, which was practically motionless for her compared to what she was familiar with. As she creeped around the corner to the corpse, her hand shot up towards her mouth, trembling violently. Her back turned from it at once, knowing she couldn’t deal with the amount of blood. Ash was at her side in an instant when she screamed for him. “Rae, get out of here.” He sternly said, not able to look her in the eye. “I don’t want you to lose control, not again.”

Of course she obeyed him, she had to, because he was her sire. In fact, Rae always believed he was right, it was hard not to agree with him – he overpowered her.

Shaking, she slid down the wall outside of the room, ripping her Hood off. Tears and cries rippled out of her regrettably. And she was weeping because of the fact that she knew who the corpse was. Dan. Her brother for sixteen years, her best friend. Why did she have to argue back at him? He was the bigger brother; couldn’t she have just trusted him for once? Though she was also crying because she couldn’t control her thirst; she hadn’t had any blood for more than three days, and she could only go four without starving to death. Subconsciously, she began to crawl back into the other room, at a faster pace than any human could ever possibly go. Her whole body was quivering, from the tip of her nose down to the end of her big toe. She knew she shouldn’t let the thirst overwhelm her, but­– the blood­– it was just too strong; it was the sweetest, empowering scent of blood she had ever smelt.

Her hair was scrapped back into tight french braids, and now these stuck to the side of her face and neck like plaster, making her want to tear them from her head.

Now only a metre away from Ash, Rae could tell that he had sensed that she was in the room, because she saw him jerk his head to the left, eyes warning. “Rae.” He calmly said, even though it was obvious he was nervous for what her reactions might be. “You don’t want to do this. He’s your brother. You’ll regret it, trust me I’ve been there, so have you; you should remember how you felt afterwards–”

“He was my brother. He’s just a corpse now, and there’s fresh blood – I haven’t eaten for days, Ash. It’s not like you have some blood bags on you?” Through snarls, she managed to get out, saying it in the rudest manner Ash had ever heard. He sucked in a small amount of air through his Hood, worry crossing his face. Yet slowly, and unsurely he stepped out of Rae’s path to her meal, even though he was right that she’d immediately regret it.

Her body pounced to the corpse, involuntarily sinking her teeth into the flesh. The blood was so delicious, making Rae drink more and more of her brother. Her brother. Her fangs were dripping with blood, as she jerked her head back at movement behind her. Ash was tugging on her arm, urgently, but she didn’t care, she hadn’t had blood for ages, and it was just too good for her to ignore it – if she didn’t drink now, maybe she wouldn’t have a meal, maybe she would be dead in a day’s time, possibly less than that.

Rae stared compellingly into Ash’s eyes, telling him to let go, and for her, he did. And then she was back to her meal. Her brother’s body was almost completely drained of blood, now, but she couldn’t help herself, she was just too hungry.

The taste of his blood reminded of her own: fragrant and sweet, almost like strawberry jam. That fact would normally put her off, since she had once tried to drink from her mother years ago – a memory she’s always tried to ignore – so why would she drink from her brother now, someone who has– no, had– the same blood flowing through his veins? Oh yes, that would be because she was dying, and she would be dead any time now if she hadn’t have sucked every last bit of blood from his once-pulsing veins.

At last, finished with the meal, Rae sat back on her heals, not wanting to look over to Ash.

“Rae, are you OK?” He asked, lethargically, sounding extremely tired to her ears. And yes, he also looked tired: His eyes were barely open, and there were purple bags under them. His body was slumped over and he held his head heavily to one side.

Dried blood was encrusted on her skin around her mouth, as well as blood on her hands and clothes. Her eyes darted to the body, now drained of blood. Her brother, now drained of blood. “He’s dead.” She said, looking sorrowful back at Ash, tears beginning to flood from her eyes.

Ash fell to his knees, holding his arms out to cradle her head. “Its OK, he was already dead. You didn’t kill him. You just did what you had to do.” Her fingers tightened around his arms, and he patted her head gently, ignoring the blood that he could see on the back of her blonde braids. The blood that was entwined around each strand of hair, that was smeared all over the back of her clothes, as well as the front.

“We need to get out of here, though. I can sense someone else is in this building, probably listening in on us. Let’s be quick.” Ash stood up, holding Rae’s body up along with him. He wiped away the blood from her face and the salty tears from under her eyes. After a couple of slow nods, he wrapped one arm around her, nestling her into his side, and slid his Hood back on, rushing to get out of the room.

Out of her pocket, Rae retrieved a large, flat charred Rock, just bigger than her tiny hands. Shaking, she put one wrist up to her mouth, and pierced the pale flesh with her sharp fangs. Her own blood dripped out onto the floor, without realising this, but Ash moved her wrist delicately to hover just above the Rock, and the blood sizzled on the surface. The Rock churned like clockwork, moving parts of it to the left, then to the right. She held the Rock out in front her, as she spoke clearly. “Natasha Moretti.” And a life size translucent hologram gradually appeared out from the centre of the Rock.

The hologram grinned: a curvy woman, her straight black hair was twisted over her shoulder, and she was wearing a long navy blue dress. “Ashley?” She questioned, her tone made Ash stop running with Rae and pause. “Where are you? I thought you were at home?” A sense of urgency was in her tone which made Ash worried.

“Mother, I’m fine. But Rae and I need to send a report over.” He took a deep breath, looking down at her with wide eyes, almost to say that she shouldn’t listen to his next remark. “Dan was killed.”

The next few moments were all a blur to Rae. A shadow crept into the room, and she could just make out that it was holding a Sunlight Stone – an instrument deadly to people like her. After all, sunlight killed her. The shadow was female, red hair flowing down over her shoulders. She was around the same age as Rae, maybe a couple years older, and her built figure made her feel intimidated. The girl wore a charcoal grey belt around her waist, which she gripped tightly with one hand, the other was in the clutch of the Stone. In one swift motion she pulled a small glistening dagger out of her belt, and for a moment Rae thought that the girl was going to throw it towards her, but thankfully she didn’t, the girl only slit her wrist, not even wincing as she did so. The blood flowed painlessly onto the stone, as Rae threw the Rock which Natasha Moretti had appeared from onto the floor, ending the call.

Ash aggressively shoved her out of the way, and he drew a lengthy, heavy Blade from his belt, keeping his eyes glued on hers. “Who are you?” He snarled, cautiously taking a steady step towards the girl, his lips in yet another tight line. She didn’t reply, only pulled out a large grin.

Light burst from the stone, like how the Rock had done, the Rock that now laid in the far corner of the room. Rae was now crouching on the floor, to the opposite wall of the Rock. She knew not to interfere, nonetheless she readied herself in case she did have to do something. The speechless girl twitched the Sunlight Stone to the right a few degrees, as Ash flinched – something Raye thought that she would never see.

He jerked the Blade level with the red-head’s heart, stopping before the jagged edge could pierce the skin. “Go,” he whispered, “Before I kill you.”

Carelessly, the young woman ripped the Blade from out of Ash’s grasp, only able to do so in the matter of surprise. In response, Ash immediately paced back towards Rae, shielding her. He took her by the hand, lifting her slowly up. And this was the time her height really did come in hand; her top of her head was just about up to Ash’s shoulder, so she could easily hide behind him in any situation. But not this one. “Rae, you know it would come to this some day. You just probably thought it was going to be later.” Rae told herself not to answer, because that’s what Kristy wanted, to laugh at an answer she had. And she didn’t answer because she knew that’s not what Ash would want. “Any last words?” I hope you die a miserable death, she thought, but didn’t say. I hope Ash kills you after you’re done with me. And she knew that he would, if he didn’t save her first.

With almighty force Kristy nudged Ash out of the way of sight of Rae, knocking him of his feet, envy and desire lit up in her eyes. She placed the Blade, somehow gently on top of Rae’s shoulder, as Ash speedily got to his feet again. He made for the girl who claimed he loved her, taking great big strides across the room, but, before he could get there, Kristy slashed Rae’s shoulder, causing blood to profuse from her shoulder, down her arm and the front of her body, adding to the blood from her dead brother. It burned, and Rae figured that Ash must have made the Blade not long ago straight from the molten silver. She fell to her knees, as though she was just pleaded guilty for something she did not do. Ash searched around for a weapon, then spotted a shiny dagger lying on the floor, where Kristy must have left it after she was done with it. He flung it into her shoulder blade, and Kristy screamed out in agony, flailing the Blade around, more because of annoyance than pain. As she did so, she managed to slash Rae once again, this time across the cheek, not as deep as the long gash across her shoulder, but it still was excruciating. And that gash burned even more.

Ash fell to his knees beside her, staring at Kristy who had dropped his Blade onto the floor. Kristy tugged at the dagger wedged into her bone, shouting and cursing as if to say “Hey, help me!” and then sprinted out of the door, half panting.

Rae closed her eyes, hot tears trickling down her cheeks. The salty tears which had reached her wound on the side of her face burned her even more. But it was more of a pleasure burn, numbing the pain. Ash pulled her closer to his body, as she collapsed in his arms, just as he caught her, hovering over her, holding her head up. She was still conscious, but she couldn’t feel her shoulder or cheek. His hand was clasped around her tiny head, and her eyes slowly closed as her hand reached out for his. She could barely feel his breath on her face. She could barely hear him screaming her name over and over again. Ash lifted her up so her head and limbs dropped over his arms; the movement was so effortless, as if she weighed nothing. And then she fell unconscious in the arms of her sire, her first love.

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