Wednesday, 25 July 2012
02:19:10 AM (GMT)
Sabellina walked swiftly through the iron gates, her teeth clenched, Cherrine at her
side. I struggled to keep pace. Sabellina was more than her usual tense self. Today
she was really on edge.
"Okay, so, do you remember what I told you?" Sabel pulled me aside under the shade of
a scrawny tree. I felt my cheeks grow hot. I hated to look ignorant in front of her.
"Um, don't look anyone in the eye. Walk straight. Follow Cherrine," I recited.
Sabellina took an irritated breathe. "Vampires."
I just looked at her. Vampires? I should have suspected as much.
She continued. "The vampires have light, but not much. Only street lamps. Thankfully,
they aren't allowed to hunt inside the city. But unfortunately, not all of them
follow the laws. Rules are always broken. So, yes, keep your eyes straight ahead. Try
to avoid people's gaze, but walk with confidence. For the most part, vampires are
like spiders. If you don't bother them, they won't bother you. Unless they're
hunting, of coarse."
I shuddered. "Did you have to compare them to a creepy little blood sucking insect?"
Sabellina just smiled. "Vampires, while they are typically more attractive,
annoyingly intelligent, and a bit larger than most insects... Well, they're just
I shuddered again. I didn't like spiders.
Cherrine, as always, seemed to know exactly where to go. She walked stiffly along the
muddy brick sidewalks, as if she too knew the danger we faced. She stopped every few
minutes to clean her paws, which were becoming quite filthy. Each time Sabellina
urged her on, promising a bath once we reached the river.
The people that passed -if you can call them people- all seemed to have either their
heads down, or their noses in the air. They were graceful, but it wasn't an
attractive kind of grace. They reminded me of cats, slinking along silently, moving
with such self assurance it seemed they each beleived that they were the most
important. It was a kind of grace that made me sick.
They didn't wear dresses and capes and gothic-style jewlery as I had expected them
to. Instead, they looked more like 'normal people' then I had seen in a long time.
Most wore long, fitted, dark coloured pants and some form of scarlet, navy blue,
ashen grey, or eggplant purple jackets. The women wore their hair up in complicated
hair do's and the men either wore their hair short and tousled or long and sleek,
tied back in a pony tail. Compared to Sabel's exotic get-up, and my borrowed clothing
(which included tree-climber's gloves, a worn leather jacket with broken buttons, a
loose velvet skirt, and Agredoux-style boots that went up past my knees) these people
looked down right normal.
Strangely enough, I saw no children. The youngest seemed to be at least sixteen years
old. But then, these where vampires, and what did I know about vampires.
One girl, with silky white hair cascading around her face in ringlets, and an olive
green jacket, stopped to watch us. She looked about out age. She pursed her lips, and
narrowed her eyes. I tried not to look, but I couldn't help it. I stopped and stared
at her. Sabellina noticed I had stopped right away, and she turned around. Cherrine
barked impatiently. The vampire girl approached us cautiously, looking up through
long lashes. She seemed almost curious.
"Excuse me, but I must ask; Who are you? I don't recognise your scent." The question
seemed directed towards me. I watched the girl's face grow nervous. She was
absolutely lovely. Her skin was an even tone of white, and her eyes were the
brightest blue I'd ever seen. Her every movement, every facial expression seemed
planned and perfect.
"We're just passing through. The river, if you must know. That's where we're headed,"
Sabellina whispered stiffly.
But the girl kept her eyes on me until I realised she was waiting for me to speak.
"Oh, yes," I said, "We're going to the river."
"I thought that was where you were going. But where did you come from?" she
"Oh. Well, a village, far away, on Louve Hill," I answered. I wondered if she would
beleive I really came from Sabellina's village. She didn't.
"Yes, Louve. I've heard of it. But you don't smell it."
"Well, I've been travelling alot you know."
"Oh, I know. You reek like the Nekocian camps." She made a face.
"We really do need to be going. Honestly, if we don't get to the river by sundown..."
Sabellina let her voice trail off, but Vampire Girl got the message.
"I understand," she assured us. Her voice sounded weak and thin, and I had the oddest
compulsion to comfort her. She sounded so sad. Vampires aren't beautiful, Sabellina
had said. But she was wrong. Even if this girl was a shadow creature, she was
gorgeous. I wanted to reach out, to touch her, to embrace her. She looked like a
porcelain doll. I cursed myself for being so ignorant.
"Well, goodbye," Sabel said lightly. She motioned to Cherrine to keep going. Cherrine
barked happily and trotted on down the sidewalk. I followed reluctantly.
I turned. Vampire Girl was standing there, conflicting emotions playing across her
"You won't make it, you know," she whispered.
Sabel was indignant. "How would you know?"
"The city goes on for miles. And the street lights go off in a couple of hours."
"Miles?" I asked, anxiety rising in my throat.
"Three, to be exact."
I looked at Sabel. She stared daggers at the vampire girl, gritting her teeth. "We
don't need your help."
Anger shot through the girl's eyes. "Oh, don't worry! I wasn't offering it! Just
thought I'd let you know you're going to die!"
She must have seen the fear in my eyes, because she turned to me and whispered, "I
don't know about your friend here, but I can get you to the river, fast, if you
want." I could have hugged her. Thankfully, I didn't.
"Sabel!" I hissed in her ear,"Be nice! Do you want to make it out of here alive or
"You do realise this girl only wants to suck our blood?! Don't be so...ignorant!"
The girl burst out laughing. She had heard Sabel.
"Suck your blood? For one thing, that's against the law. Not everyone follows the
law, but I do. No hunting in the city limits. And, just so you know, you don't look
very appetizing. Not at all. Besides, I just ate. It was a--"
"Stop! I don't want to know! Fine, if you think you can help us, fine, but still. I
don't really believe you. But, I suppose, if we're going to get our blood sucked
tonight, it might as well be you."
"Well," Vampire Girl said, taking my hand,"I would be glad to take you, Ashlen, but
Sabel here may have to walk."
"What...?" I stammered. She knew my name. That was weird. "How do you know my name?
Can you... Wait, can you read minds?"
She made a face. "No, not really," she admitted. "Not yet. But I'm learning. I can
tell basic things though, like names. My name, by the way, is Valerie."
"Valerie?" I asked, stunned. 'Valerie' was a normal name. Not like 'Sabellina' or
'Cherrine' or 'Kii-Aiko' or 'Taniika' or 'Saleish'. Just Valerie. Well, that was
Sabellina was unimpressed. "Look, are you going to take us or not? Or are you just
wasting out time so that the lights will go out and no one will see you carry us
"Fine, fine, enough introductions, let's go. But you could at least be polite,"
And so, holding hands with a shadow creature and a Louvenian princess, following a
white wolf, I travelled deep into Dacisgradoux, the Vampire City.