Chapter Five Part One
The sun was starting to set when Leisa realised how hungry she was. Resisting the sun did that, especially on a bright day like today. The sleepiness decreased with age but the ravening hunger brought on by the sun’s kiss remained the same.
She went into the kitchen and stared at the bottles in her fridge unenthusiastically. Cow’s blood was so insipid, but it was too close to her last visit to feed on David again. She didn’t want to hurt him accidentally. And with his mind in such a hypersensitive state, it would be hard to make him forget again. Anyway, it was his move.
Leisa winced at the thought of hunting. Hopefully it wouldn’t be necessary for much longer. Having only just moved back to Haventon, she wasn’t sure who to trust yet. A few more months and she’d have gathered the network of trusted friends which would rid her of the need for it. She liked her food to be consenting – but she had to be careful. A mistake could prove fatal.
But where to hunt tonight was the problem.
It would be easy enough, if she wanted, to pick up a homeless person or prostitute. It was amazing what desperate people would do for money. But it was a last resort. Not only were they often ill or strung out on booze or drugs which marred the flavour, but it made her feel grubby. Or she could pretend to be a prostitute, but trading sex for blood – even when the client didn’t know – made her nauseous.
Which left the pubs and clubs. She didn’t like them either, all noise and flashing lights. Sometimes she really hated the 21st Century.
She sighed and decided to head for the Town Centre. It was a fair distance away. She could have walked it easily but a human couldn’t, so since her car was off the road she decided to catch the last bus. Maybe she’d find someone at the bus station.
* * *
This was not a good hunt, Leisa decided after about an hour. Not only had she failed to find a suitable meal but she was hungry enough to be eyeing up homeless people to see if they looked healthy enough to feed on – never a good sign. Worse, she’d gotten the distinct sense that someone was following her, but no one was there when she looked backed. No human would be that good, so either hunger was making her paranoid or her stalker wasn’t human. She suspected the latter.
She slipped around a corner into a dark alley, ducked into a doorway, tightened her shields to the point where her stalker wouldn’t be able to sense her psychically and waited. About five minutes later a young vampire woman, probably no more than two or three years turned by the look of her entered the alley and looked around, frowning. Leisa waited until she passed the doorway where she was hiding and then stepped out behind her.
“Are you following me?” she asked mildly.
The girl jumped and gave a strangled squeak. She turned and gave Leisa a wild-eyed look.
“You were, weren’t you?” Leisa continued. “You’re good, but you’ll need to get a lot better before you can sneak up on an elder vampire, kid.” She studied the girl thoughtfully; she bore a noticeable resemblance to David. “Ah, I see. You’re Emma Carter, aren’t you?”
“I- yes…” The girl hesitated and then visibly steeled herself. “I don’t want you to hurt David.”
“Well, that’s good, since I don’t want to hurt him either,” Leisa said. She turned and walked out of the alley, pausing at the exit. “Come on, kid. Let’s go somewhere more comfortable and talk about this. Hopefully somewhere I can find something to eat.”
“You’re really not going to hurt him?” Emma asked hesitantly as she followed her.
“If I hurt him, it’ll be self-defence. And I’m good enough that I can defend myself with hurting someone.”
“Oh, good.” She looked down. “I-I know someone who’ll probably be willing to feed you if I ask.”
Leisa turned and gave her a warm smile. “I wouldn’t object if you don’t mind sharing.”
“I don’t.” Emma fished out a mobile phone, flicked through some numbers and then speed dialled someone. A brief murmured conversation later in which the word blood didn’t come up once, Emma ended the call with grin. “He says yes. Come on, he lives in that new apartment block by Morrisons.”
* * *
“Thanks for this, Ian was it?” Leisa said as she examined the young man’s wrist to check the bite mark had healed. “You taste good, you must look after yourself.”
“You’re welcome.” He smiled at her. “I’m just glad Emma is finally finding some friends of her own kind. She gets lonely on her own.”
Leisa turned and looked at Emma, who was sitting on the sofa hugging her knees. “You’re alone?”
“Yeah.” The girl hugged her knees to her chest. “You’re the first vampire I’ve got to talk to.”
“The first? Really? What about your blood master?”
“Him?” Emma gave a snarl that made Leisa blink. “I feel him in my head sometimes. He doesn’t want anything to do with me. I wasn’t supposed to happen. He wanted one of those zombie like things – he keeps them as pets. But I fought back and must have somehow ended up swallowing some of his blood. I didn’t realise.”
“He keeps revenants as pets? That’s sick.” Leisa felt like snarling as well. “If you didn’t know you’d swallowed his blood, he probably didn’t either until you turned fully. But he shouldn’t have abandoned you; accidental turnings happen. Then again, anyone who deliberately makes revenants is obviously lacking ethics.” She gave Emma a bright smile. “But you’re doing really well on your own, though perhaps you should have left town since your brother is searching for you.”
Emma pulled a face. “I’ve tried several times, but somehow I always end up coming back here. I just can’t settle anywhere else.”
“Ah, yes, that happens sometimes. Most affected people don’t get it quite so badly, though. There’s something about the area draws supernaturals to it. I usually end up spending a few decades here every couple of centuries.” She paused. “A group of us get together on Saturday nights at one of our homes. Why don’t you join us? There’s safety in numbers.”
Emma studied her hands for a few moments and then nodded. “I think I’d like that.”
“Good! Now, what are we going to do about your brother?”
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