The most disgusting and disturbing medical cases all involve parasites. This fact alone gave rise to flea killers, bed bug removal specialists, louse shampoo, and all of the hundreds of thousands of ways humans killed the lesser species that considered warm blood a fresh meal. Vampires, ontologically speaking, were in the same order as tapeworms and ticks. They were parasites, spreaders of disease, and downright disgusting. The human mouth was already a haven for bacteria. Add to that the dirty-needle psychology of fangs sinking into flesh and your perfect storm of filth and corruption was realized. Really, he would be doing the world a favor if he kept up his hunting. This could go beyond revenge and into disease eradication. Public health, vampire sector.
Eben smirked at the thought as he buttoned his dark silk sleeve over his spring loaded assassin’s wrist blade. The drape of the fabric would conceal the weapon while the spells on the device would hide it from most searches. He gave himself a once over in the mirror as he finished the cuff. His shirt was a bit looser than fashion was trending, but the black silk and unbuttoned collar made a bold and sensual statement. Add to that the black pants and the black boots, he looked sleek and predatory. The prey he was after used sensuality to lure in their hosts, so he needed to appear like a prime candidate for their temptations. His neck was bare of necklace or shirt collar, jugular enticingly exposed. Add to that the dab of ‘nip’, a synthesized musk that was lightly scented with blood and endorphin scents like would be given off during a feeding while blended with vanilla and sandalwood to masquerade as a cologne, and he’d be a billboard for bloodsuckers.
Eben watched his own eyes in the mirror, trying to find a weak spot or vulnerability. He had the nip, the potion that made his blood poisonous, his wand, his blade, the kit in his pocket with the oil and garlic, and his courage. There was nothing left, was there? With a subtle nod of conviction, he left the apartment and walked the four blocks to the nightclub he’d been frequenting. There were enough tells with the clientele to make him think that he’d find a target tonight. The walk was enough to energize him and get his heart pumping. That was good. The exertion with send the nip’s chemical signal farther out to advertise his availability as a feeder, the heartbeat would call them in, and the warm up would make him ready.
It would be foolish to assume that he could stay warm and ready all night for the inevitable fight. He’d need to mingle in the crowd, dance, and get involved with the patrons in order to separate the sheep from the wolves...or the sheep from the ticks, as it were. And boy, wouldn’t that be the hardship, he thought with a grin as he eyed a sweet honey blonde in a red dress making her way past the bouncer. He waited for his turn to enter, flashed his ID as proof of age, and made his way into the darkened dance hall.
Flashes of colored lights, throbbing drum and bass tunes, and the overall press of humanity greeted him. People were shouting to be heard in conversations, pressed up too close to each other in faux-intimate knots. Eben let himself be absorbed into the flow of people heading to the dance floor. He was a good actor. The girls he grinded against thought he was lost in the music and enjoying himself just like they were. The bartender thought he actually drank the martini he ordered, rather than vanishing it, and the innuendo laden conversations were merely promises made in the dark. There was no prospective predation until nearly two in the morning.
Her hair was dyed too-black, her pale skin was too creamy and flawless, her black leather corset offered her breasts up on a more lascivious platter than the red-plaid school girl skirt could allow without seeming pornographic. The wide, blue eyes made her look like a fragile doll that needed someone to take care of her. The black lipstick and platform heeled knee high boots said that she wasn’t afraid of men. The gothic Lolita look was perfectly executed.
By this time, he had taken to leaning against the bar and people watching. She had slipped his attention somehow until she was before him. As was expected, he gave her a very obvious lookover. Even with the platforms, the bow restraining her hair would only come up to his nose. Her serious expression was one of hungry want, and she had mastered the innocent posture: one foot was cocked up onto the toe, heel rocking back and forth like a student wanting to ask teacher for a favor, hands clasped behind the back, breasts thrust forward like that would be all he cared about. Flesh for flesh, mister? A bit of me for a bit of you?
She spoke in candy-sweet tones that carried over the thumps and sirens of the currently spinning song.
”You look lonely.”
Eben let the conversation stretch to near awkwardness before he shrugged.
”I’m doing fair ‘nough. Takin’ a break from the dance floor to enjoy a drink. You?”
He bounced the question back to her. Her eyes lit in strange humor and she came to the bar to perch on the stool beside him, angled so she could watch him. She sat oddly, knees spread and hands planted on the seat between her thighs like she was ready to do a hand stand if only someone would ask. She leaned forward under the guise of getting closer to speak to him. Eben couldn’t see if she had fangs, but her nostrils were flaring with every breath.
”Ooh, an American! I’ve never been. I go to France fairly frequently...my father’s from there. The shopping is so much better. Have you been?”
She was careful with her smiles and her words to not show her teeth. Eben engaged her in the flirtatious talk, learning that she liked Mediterranean food and men, had thought him Italian at first, and that her name was Estelle. No last name. She like his cologne, his voice his hair, his eyes...she was heavy with the flirting and light on the drinking. When he offered to get her something to drink, she declined, saying she hadn’t eaten yet and didn’t want to make a fool of herself. Was it a tell or just an excuse to not drink? Eben shrugged it off and kept fishing. Estelle was soon snuggled up against him, nuzzling his throat.
”Let’s leave and get a bite together, Ben...I’d love to get to know you more...”
And so, at three in the morning, Eben found himself following either a vampire or a goth girl into the night. Her eager flounce had his hackles up, but he wasn’t going to test her condition yet. They were still in public streets and under city lights. Estelle had no fear of the night and no restraint once she was out of the club. Her spritely steps and agile movements led Eben down a tangle of cobbled lanes and into a darker neighborhood where the lamps were farther apart and not so bright. He palmed an oil dropper in his pocket and dabbed his finger in the garlic infused olive oil. Under the guise of steadying her arm, he touched the oil to her skin and waited.
He reached eight before she had a reaction to the garlic oil. She kept it to a slight hiss and a slap at the location as if a mosquito bit her, but it was all the confirmation he needed.
Eben turned on Estelle quickly, wrapping her hair in his hand and dragging her down an alley. Her manicured fingers flew to his fist and she yelped, trying to undo his grasp on her without breaking her human façade. He slammed her against a wooden privacy fence that lined the narrow lane between the row houses and wrapped his free hand around her throat. When he spoke, it was soft and gentle, quite unlike his iron grip.
”I know what you are, and there’s only one way you get out of this alive, vampire. You’re going to tell me where Moira Darkling is hiding. You have ten seconds before I start popping garlic cloves into that pretty little pout of yours.”
She fought, but she was hungry. Estelle snapped at his arm and punched at him, but his height kept her from connecting with his body. Eben’s arms took her blows and scratches and she gurgled a sound he took for a threat. His dark eyes bore into hers and he let go of her hair in order to produce the garlic he’d threatened her with. The mere sight of the clove was enough to make her eyes water...either that or she was really crying.
”No! I don’t want that! Please! I’ll tell you what I know about the Darklings...but I don’t know a Moir-“
He gripped her throat tightly, cutting her off with a gurgle. He palmed the clove and made is disappear from view, but reiterated her task, emphasizing it with the snap of his wrist that produced the hidden blade. He pressed it against her rib cage, piercing the corset, but not yet her skin.
”I don’t give two fucks about the family. I want to know how to find her.”
The meek nod and streaming tears served as a sufficient enough reply that Eben let go of her throat and withdrew the blade. He ensured her behavior by pulling his wand on her, though, keeping her at spell-point.
”They hunt the south end of the city. Usually the docks on the south bank of the Thames. Let me go, please. Please! I just wanted to feed and have fun!”
Was this bitch actually scared? She was a parasite. They died by getting squished when the host grew frustrated enough by their presence. Besides, through those fake tears, he could see her hot glare of retribution.
He stayed long enough to make sure her flaming corpse wound up in a dumpster. There was no need to burn down an innocent person’s home just because he was doing some pesticide. He reset his hidden blade and walked back to the downtown lights, keen on finding his bed.