“I don’t like the idea of you goin’ through all of this alone, man.”
“I’m good Phil, I mean it.”
I heard Phil sigh, surrendering to my stubbornness. ”So how long do you need again? Hold on, let me get some pen and paper.” There was shuffling around in the background before he returned to the line.
“I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know how good I am at it; but for now let’s say a month.” I estimated roughly.
“Didn’t you say it took you almost three years to get to the point where you could see Roxy again?” He said, hesitation in his voice.
“Yeah but we don’t have three years Phil.”
“Now hold on, we can’t have her going around killing people. Accident or not, that’s gonna look bad for all of you. If you have to be on hiatus for three years, go.” He insisted.
“I just got back into the swing of things, I’m not leaving my fans again like that.”
“Ok so she can show up at your show and wipe out half the crowd, that’s cool too.” He fired sarcastically.
Unfortunately, he had a point. A point I had been avoiding for too long now. Rox would surely need to be trained extensively before I could safely allow her out of my range. ”Alright, let’s do a year off from concerts, and award shows. A month off of producing and writing. And a month off from press.”
“That sounds more realistic.” He agreed, “And what about her?”
“Let Dave know that she’s on hiatus for three years from everything. I’m sure he’ll sort out all of the details. Atlantic can take it up with the American Vampire League; but I doubt they wanna fuck with them.” I explained.
“Careful about that, the CEO of Universal Music Group just got turned.” Phil revealed.
A shock ran through me unlike any other. ”Are…you…serious…?” Immediately my thoughts went to the Elitists. Why would they turn someone in such a high place of power?! This was beginning to get more and more serious by the second.
“Yeah, it was on the news today. I mean, that’s not our territory; but it’s just a heads up in case the head of Warner gets turned.”
I knew Phil didn’t understand the true danger in his statement. I would speak with Jason about it later. ”Thanks for tellin’ me…”
“Of course. Shouldn’t I get the address of the spot you’re gonna be at?”
“No, it’s too dangerous if someone gets a hold of it. I’ll be back in a month.”
There was a pause before he spoke, “I’m always here if you need me, Bruns.”
“Thanks Phil.” I grinned as I wandered aimlessly through the cemetery. I had come out right as dusk hit for a little fresh air. “I may need you to babysit for me, now that you mention it.” I added jokingly.
He snorted loudly, “I’m always here if you need me, with the exception of babysitting your wife.”
I laughed in response; until I felt a soft buzz throughout my body. Hearing my sudden silence, Phil spoke out in concern, “Bruns? Everything okay?”
There was a warmth that started in my chest and spread throughout my body, wrapping me up in comfort and happiness. I had to stop walking, almost like I was forced to pay attention to this feeling.
“I think…Phil…I think she’s awake!” I exclaimed.
“Then what are you waiting on?! Go!” He yelled. I stuffed my phone into my jean pocket and bolted towards the mausoleum. This feeling within me was unlike anything I had ever felt. The closer I got to Roxanne, the happier I felt, the calmer I felt, the more in control of my life I felt.
As I opened the burial chamber and laid my eyes upon her, I felt as though I had just witnessed the miracle of childbirth.
“B-Bruno?” I stammered, looking at him in an entirely new way. I loved him before, of course, but now…now he was my everything. He was perfect in every way, shape and form. I just wanted to be around him, be with him, touch him, love him.
The pit of my stomach disagreed with my timing, as it pulled at me, nagging, bothersome, painstakingly apparent. “I’m so hungry…” I said, noticing my inability to speak very well.
“O-of course, right!” He seemed just as thrown as me as he grabbed the nearby bottles of blood.
I carefully reached up to touch my long, sharp laterals, shivering at the feeling as I felt a twinge through my body that ran straight to my pleasure zone. I snatched my hands away, embarrassed at how easily I had gotten aroused by touching my fucking teeth.
Was this seriously how it was for him?!
Bruno knelt in front of me, handing me the bottles and I saw absolutely nothing wrong with seizing the blood hurriedly and chugging the whole fucking thing. I leaned back against the wall and endlessly drank, and drank…amazed by how quickly I could do it because of my lack of needed oxygen.
“More.” I gasped, throwing the bottle aside and wiping my mouth. I licked the leftover smeared blood from the back of my hand and he quickly gave me another, which I devoured. I felt more sated; but not quite. I held my hands out and he handed over another bottle.
“Why are you staring at me?” I asked before downing the third bottle.
He shook his head to snap out of his daze. “I’ve just…never seen this before…”
Finishing it, I sighed happily. But I didn’t stop…I just kept exhaling, my eyes getting wide. “I can keep going!” I said, still blowing out endless amounts of air.
Bruno chuckled at my excitement as he dug through his backpack and pulled out a black tee and sweatpants. “You might wanna throw these on. How do you feel? Your senses, I mean.” He handed the clothes to me and I slipped them on, wiping the excess blood off my face and chin with the sheets I had been covered in.
“Well…” I looked around the burial chamber. “I can smell a lot of chemicals.”
He nodded, “Dead bodies. Formaldehyde.” He gestured to the nearby caskets that were sealed shut and I shuddered at the realization of where exactly we were. Somehow all that had fallen to the back burner of my brain when I first awoke.
“I can hear little scratching coming from…over there?” I pointed to the far side of the chamber and he vamped over to a vase, picking it up. A field mouse scurried away.
“Impressive.” He noted. “Guess what else?”
“There’s no lighting in here.” He pointed to the four lanterns that held unlit candles. That threw me for a loop! I could see him and everything else in the room perfectly fine!
“Night vision without the green tint is pretty dope.” I said, stumbling over my words again. “Um, can you help me out with these things?” I pointed to my fangs.
“Ah, right.” He remembered, standing in front of me. “It takes some getting used to, but all you need to do is drag your tongue backwards down the center of the roof of your mouth and move your lower jaw back at the same time. Like this…” I watched closely as he ejected his fangs and slowly demonstrated how to retract them. Sure enough, as his tongue slid back, they retreated back into his gums, which was odd because I hadn’t known the placement of them until now.
“You never make it look that lame.”
“I’ve been doing this for five years, Rox. Try it.”
I opened my mouth all wide, probably looking like a total lame as I dragged my tongue down the center of the roof of my mouth, trying to move my lower jaw at the same time, and I felt them sink into place. Surprised, I closed my mouth properly.
“See? That wasn’t so hard.”
“Now how do I get them back out?”
He responded with a small, deviant smirk as he put his things away into the backpack. “That’s the easy part…”
I was adamant, “Bruno, tell me.”
“Sweetheart,” He placed a hand on my cheek, “You’ll find out, just relax.”
As the muscles in my tense face eased and my mood shifted, I slapped his hand away, “Why did my body just listen to you like that? Did you feel that?!”
“Not funny! Oh no, I don’t like this at all.”
“Vampire or not, you’re still my Roxy.” He smiled as I crossed my arms and followed him out of the mausoleum. Once the night air smacked me in the face, I smelled and heard a thousand different things at once.
I heard the low murmur of people talking far off in the distance, walking the streets of Phoenix, enjoying themselves. Laughter, clapping, yelling. “How can you ignore all that noise?” I asked as Bruno noticed my distracted state and grasped my hand tightly.
“You get used to it after a while.” He led me out of the cemetery and to his car.
Immediately, once I saw the vehicle, I was visibly jarred by my memories of my death. Bruno glanced over his shoulder at me curiously. “You good?”
I blinked, going totally silent. A part of me wanted to blurt out everything that had happened and tell him what I discovered…what I remembered.
Instead, I found myself a lot more calculating than my usual mindset. “Why did I die?” I asked.
His expression changed to seriousness. “I figured you wouldn’t remember. You were stabbed.”
I kept my tone casual, “Do you know who did it?”
He began walking back to the car again. “No, and I hope for their sake that I don’t find out.” He said as he opened the door for me.
I sat down inside, keeping the information I knew to myself.
I would tell him, but not yet.
I found Roxanne’s curiosity amusing. Something about her was so childlike and innocent as she ran from room to room, trying to use her supernatural speed but failing and tripping over her feet.
“I’ve never been to Maui!” She said excitedly as she packed her suitcase.
“Where I’m taking you is nothing like Waikiki, so I wouldn’t get too excited if I were you.” I watched as she tripped again, but caught herself, deciding to walk normally now.
“Are you abducting me or something?”
I laid back onto the bed. “You could call it that…I’m taking you to a little spot in the Hana Rainforest.”
Roxy stuffed more clothes into her suitcase before sitting atop it in an attempt to close it up. “There’s no clubbing in a rainforest, there’s no fire spinning and hula dancing in a rainforest.”
I covered my face with my hands, “You’re such a tourist.”
“I liked those fire spinning guys on the streets the last time you took me to Waikiki, it was awesome.” She reached out to me, slapping my arm, “Um, help please?” She pointed to the suitcase.
“You don’t need that many clothes.” I protested.
“Look, you’re taking me to some remote rainforest in Hawaii and you won’t tell me how to show my fangs or how to run without falling yet…the least you can do is let me have my vanity.” She argued. I wasn’t sure if her convincing made me agree, or the fact that I had such a dire need to please her and be accepted and loved by her in a fatherly manner; but I found myself zipping her luggage up against my better judgement anyway…
“Mistress Orielle.” JongHo approached his boss, and the leader of the Elitists carefully, his head bowed. “It has been done.”
Orielle stared down at her second-in-command, disgusted with him; yet her face showed no hint of it whatsoever. Her crimson hair, a stark contrast to her dark skin, was pulled back into a tight, slick high pony, traveling down around her shoulder into her lap like a poisonous python.
“The girl has been killed?” She asked, though she was already aware of the answer.
“Your descendent, the little guitarist, he did away with her?”
Again, JongHo nodded. “He has proven to be very loyal to our kind.”
“He is loyal out of fear, not true desire.” Orielle corrected, her attention turned to her long, golden colored nails. “Is he with you?”
“Bring him here.”
JongHo left the room and returned with Kenji, who was a mess after killing Roxanne. She seemed to haunt his nightmares, and he could never stop looking over his shoulder in fear of Bruno finding him…even all the way in Europe.
“Kenji, is it?” Orielle asked.
“Y-yes.” He replied shakily.
“I want to kill you.” She stated casually. JongHo’s head snapped up and he opened his mouth to argue, but couldn’t speak, for he knew better than to go against Orielle’s orders.
She continued, “But for some reason, I will grant you mercy; however, that is all I will grant you. You betrayed one of your closest friends, and betrayal disgusts me in all forms.”
JongHo chose to speak in that moment, “But Mistress, I promised him our protection, that we would turn him.”
“And you had no right to do so.” Orielle stood up, her hair uncoiling down to her feet. “Actually, JongHo, I sent you to kill the young girl, I never asked you to involve this human.”
Kenji looked up at his ancestor, confused. He had been told different, but of course JongHo had lied in order to save his own ass. “I understand Mistress, but you know the girl is capable of easily slaughtering our kind, even one as aged as I.”
Orielle held up her hand, having no desire to hear much else. “She hasn’t harnessed those powers to their full potential, so therefore you could haveeasily ended her beyond any capable rebirth. But you sent a human to do your job for you, and guess what? The girl is not dead.”
JongHo and Kenji’s faces dropped in shock as Orielle continued, stepping away from her desk. “That stupid lovestruck sorry excuse for a vampire of hers, managed to get to her and turn her. It’s all over the press. Do you know what this means JongHo?”
The younger vampire swallowed nervously, “Perhaps now Bruno will embrace his true nature and come to us easier?”
Orielle’s hand came down upon her desk so hard, she sent a crack flying through the wooden surface. Kenji yelped, covering his mouth immediately. “No, it means she is far more of a threat than before! Whoknows how warped her DNA has become!? I sent you to do a simple job, JongHo, and you have failed me!”
JongHo looked down at the floor, quiet. Orielle finally spoke again, breaking the silence. “You, human. Out of my sight.” She commanded. Kenji rushed away, on the brink of a breakdown.
“We will focus on continuing our transformation of the military and government. In the meantime, you’d better get creative on how to bring me that boy, and I mean soon.” Orielle snapped her fingers, “Silver!”
“No.” JongHo whispered as two large guards came striding into the Study, thick silver chains in their gloved hands. He backed away slowly, knowing there was no use in escape. “Mistress, please!”
Orielle ignored him, leaving the room laughing softly as she heard his screams of pain from his burning flesh.
“Good evening, beautiful.”
I blinked, my eyes adjusting to the bright, full moon that shone so clearly outside of our bedroom window in the little bungalow we were staying in here in Maui. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of being isolated in a rainforest; but the beauty was so extensive, how could you not be at peace in a place like this? I guess Bruno was actually right for once, although my pride would never let me admit it.
I looked up at him as he leaned over me expectantly. “I didn’t even know I fell asleep.”
“Soon as we got in, you were out. I had lightproof window treatments put in before we got here, so you were fine.” He explained.
Wow, he had everything figured out.
I broke into a smile, “You’re so perfect.” I giggled like a kid.
He ran his fingers through my hair. “That’s your vampire talking.”
“No it’s not.”
“Babe. Yes it is.”
I sat up and crinkled my nose, “Really?”
Bruno nodded as he replied, “That’s how it goes with you and your Creator, you have this indescribable bond and feeling for each other. To be honest, I’ve been amazed by you since you first woke up.”
“Bruno…that makes me feel really happy. I hope I keep continuing to amazeyou.” I grinned.
He stood up abruptly, ending our sweet exchange. “That’s definitely not you talking, but I could get used to that. Now get up, we’ve got some work to put in.” He left the bungalow and I tagged behind him as he brought me down a long path that led to a secluded waterfall.
“First thing’s first…” He stared up at the tall waterfall before twisting his fitted cap backwards and in the blink of an eye he was atop the waterfall. In another split second he was on the other side of the bank. Another move and he was by my side again. “Your speed and accuracy.”
“Did you just fly up there?” I asked in confusion.
“Nope, I went right up the side.” He pointed to the designated path for people to climb. “The speed grows when you improve your accuracy. You do that by focusing on where you wanna go and then assessing how you’re gonna get there.” He walked me over to the stepping stones.
“So you say to yourself, you’re gonna go to the top of the waterfall, then you tell yourself that you’ll take that path right there.” He pointed up the path. “Then as you take off, you look straight ahead. Don’t look down, don’t look off to the side, don’t look anywhere but forward.”
I listened intently and watched as he demonstrated, arriving atop the waterfall again. “Then you say to yourself, you want to go to the other side of the bank.” He shouted so I could hear him, pointing to where I currently stood. “Don’t be afraid to jump from high places.” I watched as he slowed himself up, only slightly, as he took a bounding leap off the top of the waterfall, but his speed returned as he landed onto the ground effortlessly.
“No damage done.” He held his arms out with a smile. “Now you try.”
Determined to show I was good at this whole vampire lifestyle, I sprinted up the rocky path, but stumbled as I hit the top, eating the ground pretty bad. Immediately he was by my side, helping me up as I spat out bits of rock and twigs.
“Ouch, I scraped my-” I looked down and saw the bad gash on my knee repair itself within seconds. “Whoa.”
“Pretty fly shit, isn’t it?” He dusted me off.
I touched my knee where it had been bloodied just moments prior. “If I can run without falling, that would be great.” I said in frustration, kicking a rock that tumbled down the waterfall.
“It’s not something you can learn in a night baby, practice makes perf—”
I heard a twig snap in the distance and my head jerked up, my body frozen as I felt my sense going into overtime to pinpoint what was going on. Everything around me warped into some strange tunnel vision, as I heard a faint female voice,
“The map says the waterfall should be over here honey!”
A male voice, “I told you that map was old, we’ve been wandering for an hour! Mine doesn’t say anything about any waterfalls anywhere over here!”
Bruno’s voice was the last thing I heard, “Shit.”
I snapped and bolted for the voices, and the closer I got, the more adrenaline I felt. I could feel my fangs had already lowered themselves over my lip as I ran quicker, dodging trees and brush until I had the woman in question pinned to the ground.
Her screams meant nothing to me, her kicking and fighting was worthless to my superior strength and all I could hear was her racing pulse as I readied myself to—
It was a good thing Roxanne was a vampire, because had she been human, I would’ve killed her as I grasped her by the waist and flung her against the nearby tree. She hissed in pain as the tree trunk cracked under her impact and fell backwards.
But I knew her strength and she tried to stand up; but before she could make another rash decision, I, quite unfortunately, had her by the throat to command her full attention.
“Stop.” I ordered.
She reluctantly retracted her fangs, sadness reading in her eyes.
I had no sympathy, Jason gave me strict instructions to be extremely tough when it came to training in the ways of proper human interaction. A little leeway can do a newborn vampire a lot of damage later on when they become less obedient.
“Go back to the bungalow, lock yourself in the closet, and do not come out until I come back.” I said, sternly.
With a tiny sniffle, she ran off.
I turned to see the young human couple staring at me in a combination of shock and fright.
“Um…” I tried to smile genuinely, but when they simultaneously gasped, I realized my error and quickly renounced my fangs.
“…Welcome to Hawaii…?”