My eyes fluttered shut as I inhaled deeply. Oh, so sweet… the fear makes it so… I licked my lips in anticipation, my eyelids opening slowly so I could survey my surroundings. I could hear them, hearts beating wildly, pumping precious liquid through their veins; soft whimpers, hushed words of comfort and reassurance that all would be well.
Oh, it will be…just not for you.
I grinned, calling out softly – too soft for any of them to hear. “Come out, come out, wherever you are, James. I know you’re here.” I could feel he was close by – very close.
My tracker had lured me here – laid out a trail for me to follow, leaving little… clues… along the way. I licked my lips again in appreciation of the last morsel he had left me. Ah, but she had been so sweet, so innocent… so very frightened.
James’s snicker met my ears, and I leaped down from the rafters to land in front of him. He stood in the shadows, hidden from the group – but I could still see him. Even if I’d been blind, I’d have been able to find him – we were bonded: mates. The pull was always there, but never stronger than when we feasted.
And what a feast awaited us now.
I straightened from the crouch I’d landed in, my eyes flickering briefly to the group – men, women, and children, all of various ages. James’s arms wrapped around me as he slipped to stand behind me, and I leaned into him. He dipped his head, nuzzling my hair as he whispered in my ear, “Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweet. I hope you’ll enjoy my little… gift. I hunted these down especially for you.”
I purred as he nipped at the skin on my neck. My eyes were black as pitch, as I knew his would be, too. The smell of their adrenaline-spiked blood in such quantities as this – I stilled and counted seventeen hearts beating – was almost too much.
Oh, James, my love, you know me too well…
The sound of glass breaking.
Both James and I inhaled deeply, growling low under our breath as the smell of freshly spilled blood, pungent and warm, filled our nostrils. James released the loose hold he had around me and spoke quietly, his restraint evident in his voice as he said, “The first is yours, Vicky, as always.”
I gave him the briefest of glances before I ran to my victim: a poor girl who looked to be around fifteen, her dark, wavy hair reaching to her chin. She cradled her bleeding hand to her chest, her breathing frantic, her fear palpable – especially now. Oh, I could almost taste it already, so sweet was the smell in her blood.
I’d moved too quickly for anyone to see, and the girl gave a startled cry when I crouched right behind her and touched her cheek with a gentle finger. I wanted to drink, to have my fill of her, but first…
“Shh,” I soothed. “Shh, it’s okay. What’s your name?”
My throat burned, the flames fanning higher as I spoke. Every instinct urged me to take what was rightfully mine, but this was part of the game – and it was just as strong as the urge to claim my kill.
The girl shuddered as she half-turned to look at me and stammered, “B-Bree… Please, please don’t hurt me… I promise, I won’t tell anyone. Please… I want to go home. I promise, I’ll go home… I didn’t mean to run away… Just… please…”
“Shh,” I said again, gently wiping her tears away. “I know you won’t tell anyone, Bree,” I crooned.
She sagged, relief flickering in her eyes before they fixed on mine, and she recoiled instinctively. She began to shake her head, muttering, “No, no, please!”
Bree’s pleading stopped as my teeth sliced easily through her skin, the silken warmth of her blood flowing into my mouth. She screamed, and I closed my eyes – euphoric from blood and fear.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Bree. Thank you for your present, I thought as I drained the last of her blood from her body.
Pushing her now lifeless body away from mine, I licked my lips, my eyes scanning for my next victim. Slowly, I raised myself up, grinning wickedly at the sight of James crouched over a boy, toying with him. Now that I was no longer focused on my kill, I could hear the screams of agony that came from him, broken only by sobbing pleas for mercy.
I walked calmly over to the two, ignoring the pitiful cries and whimpers from the people scrambling to get out of my path. We would get to them, soon enough. Stopping slightly to the right of James, I crossed my arms over my chest and peered down at the blond-haired boy. He had a slightly angular face and the bluest eyes I’d seen in a while. They were wide as he turned to look at me, tears staining his cheeks as he sobbed, “Please, stop… please, I’ll do anything. Just make it stop…”
Reaching my hand to James’s hair, I ran my fingers through the strands and purred, “James, can we keep this one for a while? I want to play with him.”
James’ eyes peered up at me, the grin on his lips wicked as he said, “What did you have in mind, Vicky?”
I leaned down, more for effect than anything else, my eyes fixed on the boy. “Oh, I don’t know… I can think of a few things. What’s your name, boy?”
“R-Riley… My name’s Riley Biers… please…” Riley’s eyes flickered between me and James, and it was obvious that he wanted to run. Unfortunately for Riley, James had broken both his legs.
I purred again, my lips next to James’s ear, while my eyes were locked with Riley’s. “I think Riley here would be up for playing with us; wouldn’t you, Riley?”
Even as I spoke, I let my fingers roam my body sensually. Both Riley and James took notice, though one was still scared out of his mind and the other wasn’t even facing me. James could smell it, though, just as I could – and he knew me too well.
James’s own purr fell on my ears as my fingers dipped between my thighs – over my clothes, but still in promise. I bit my lip in triumph; James, at least, wanted to play. Riley would play, too. He had no choice. Still…
“Wouldn’t you like to play, Riley?” I asked, pretending he had the option to say no.
He nodded, whispering hoarsely, “Anything… anything to make him stop. Please…”
“James,” I whispered, “make me a new toy?”
He nodded, and before Riley knew it, James was biting him – his wrists, his neck, his ankles, his thighs. Riley screamed – he was burning. When James was satisfied, he stood and pulled me to him, ravaging me with a kiss that almost made me forget where we were.
Riley’s screams filled the air, a melodic composition more stirring than any notes crafted by a master. James and I looked down at the boy with matching grins, then turned to each other again. James tilted his head to the other people in the room with us and said, “After you, my love. I think dinner before play; wouldn’t you say?”
I growled, nipping his bottom lip, and then ran to my next victim.
The next few hours were spent satiating our thirst with Riley’s burning shrieks providing our ambient music.
Oh, the fun we will have…