Murder is always more fun when the victim is conscious.
I roamed the wilderness for roughly an hour when I came to a halt. Something here was out of place. I peered upon a tree and to my slight dismay; I found large indentations, claw marks, stretching all around the girth of the tree. If I were to guess they must have been half an inch deep.
Having lived in this forest for nearly a decade, I was certain no fauna native to this area was large enough to have done that. I looked around. I had not noticed this before, but all of the trees had been defaced by the mighty claws. This was not a good sign.
Enough people had been slaughtered in this area, at both of our hands.
Having lived for so many years, I had killed a very large amount of people, but in the last century I had decided to change my ways, taking pity on the humans that would never see me coming and would have no way to protect themselves from my wrath, which in truth, they did not deserve.
I have also taken it upon myself to keep any fledglings in check, for they are the most dangerous of our kind. I had already given myself grief for losing control that night and murdering a few dozen, but that was small scale compared to what this child would do.
You could even say I’d grown empathic over the years, after losing it all.
My heightened sense of smell picked up a scent different from animals and people; it was a slightly pungent smell emanating from the slashes in the bark of the trees.
Vincent Best, no doubt, had come by here.
He had undergone his first transformation; hopefully the death toll wasn’t too great. The smell here was faint, Best had been here quite a while ago. I sniffed the air, trying to orient myself as to which way the smell felt the strongest. It led me deeper into the wilderness, where I did not need my sense of smell to guide me, sight was just enough.
Trees had been uprooted and small animals that had been killed in this rampage littered the ground and more slash marks adorned the trees. This trail of ruin cut straight through the growth, slowly getting more and more dissolute as I traversed it.
There was blood almost everywhere now. I smirked to myself at the thought of a human stumbling upon this sight.
Up ahead, I saw a bright light where the forest ended. I followed it, stepping out of the gory trail I had followed and arriving at a more appalling sight.
I found myself at the edge of a high way, red and blue lights assaulting my eyes from police cars and ambulances and other rescue vehicles. They were all swarmed around a pile of charred and twisted remains that would have once been considered cars.
There were numerous body bags laid out among the wreckage and blood splattered all over the road.
Large claw marks were carved into the asphalt. He had most definitely been here.
The cluster of emergency vehicles and law enforcers didn’t notice me, too engrossed in the detestable scene before them.
My intensified perception noted that the gauges seemed to be leading to my left, or up the road. At my inhuman speed, I followed the marks, arriving at a city much larger than the one I had arrived from.
It looked like an aged metropolis, with Victorian style buildings and Earthy toned coble stone paved sidewalks. On the surface, it looked pleasant but upon closer inspection I noticed paint peeling off of buildings and garbage littered on the streets.
My nose could not pick up the acidic scent given off by a fledgling. Too many smells floated in the air, mostly smoke. The sky was slightly clouded with smoke, making this place darker than on the road.
It gave off an air of sadness, as if the entire city was despondent. I pitied this place. I walked the coble stoned sidewalk, noting that the stones were cracked. I passed several alleys with overturned trash bins and colonies of rats. There were faded billboards advertising out dated products. I wondered how people could live in such a putrid place.
I soon arrived at what I assumed was the center of town. This street was a large intersection with a large and certainly once grand fountain poised in its center encompassed by a ring of dingy cobble stones. The fountain was cracked and dried up, only a trickle of water flowing from its spout. Few vehicles passed by here.
To my right there was a large building that I assumed must have been once white, a sign perched near it proclaimed that this was city hall. Here was when I realized that I had not seen a single person outside of a vehicle my entire time here.
This place gave me the creeps, something I thought I was immune to, having lived such a long time.
I kept walking, however, dwelling deeper into this forsaken place, chilled by the silence that I now noticed. The only sounds I could hear were factories in the distance and the hum of car engines. Did anyone even live here? I asked myself this, almost certain that this place was deserted.
Plunging myself further into the pits of this odd little city, I caught an ever so faint whiff of the precise smell I was looking for.
As I followed it, I noticed that the scenery was slightly more attractive, ever so slightly.
I stopped in front of another square, this one considerable more pleasant than the rest of the pathetic metropolis, it was almost appealing.
Here there was what I assumed was a park. A rusted swing set and broken seesaw sat in a patch of dirt surrounded by yellowing, dry grass with several potted plants scattered all over the vicinity. Across the street from it was a small building with fresh paint and big clean windows that were wide open, unlike every other window I had passed earlier that was either grimy or curtained.
Amongst the smoky scent that filled the city, I picked up the soft subtle scent of flowers.
Directly next door to what I presumed was a flower shop was the most rundown building I had seen yet. It was made from bare brick that was chipped in several places and nearly every window was boarded up.
The acidic scent was emanating from that building. I stepped up to the door and knocked ever so softly, fearing entire building would collapse. A stout woman that looked like she could have been born the same year I was. She wore a plain black dress with long sleeves. Her eyes were those of someone truly happy. This was odd to me, considering she resided in such an atrocious building.
“How may I help you?” she asked pleasantly.
“I’m looking for a boy,” I said to her, smelling the putrid sour smell from deeper into the domicile.
“Well then, you’ve come to the right place,” she said, smiling jubilantly up at me.
“Have I really?” I asked, quite amused by her ecstatic composure.
“Yes sir,” she said, beckoning me inside. The inside was dim, but well kept. I now stood in a well furnished foyer with a fine coat rack and a dark wood table with a flower arrangement placed atop it and a mirror set over it.
Floral wallpaper was on the walls and the floors were made of hard wood.
The mysterious mirthful old woman led me down a long corridor lined with photos of children smiling at the camera. She then led me through a heavy wooden door into a well lit living room with overstuffed chairs and a long coffee table with pastries and a large white porcelain tea pots and three small tea cups.
“Please, have a seat,” she said, motioning to one of the large arm chairs. I sat and looked around; more pictures of children decorated these walls that were plastered with the same wall paper.
“What exactly is this place?” I asked the woman.
“You are at this city’s orphanage. Now, you said you’re looking for a boy, do you have legal documents?” she asked.
“Oh no, I’m not looking to adopt,” I said, laughing softly. “I’m looking for my… son. He ran away recently, and I’ve been searching everywhere for him.”
Over six hundred years of living makes you quite the thespian.
“Well,” said the old woman. “We did find a boy wandering outside this morning, maybe he is the boy in question?”
“Oh, I do hope so, may I see him?”
“Of course you may.” She got up from her seat and led me back outside, through a second door that led to a stair case. She led me up six floors before she stopped on the landing and opened the single door there, which led to another corridor with doors on either side. She led me to the last door on the right and opened it.
“Would that be your son?” she asked.
I peered inside, the smell was strong here. The room was bare except for a single wire framed bed with a thin mattress. Atop it lay a boy with thick dark hair and a sallow complexion. His mouth lay slightly agape and I could see sharp fangs peeking out. He wore an oversized grey T-shirt and tattered jeans. He was soundly asleep, which served as more evidence—as if I needed any more—that he had recently transformed.
“That’s definitely him,” I said. “I guess I’ll be taking him then.”
“Of course you may, after you prove you’re his father,” said the frail looking old woman.
This was quite the predicament. I didn’t want to kill this kindly old woman, nor did I want to kill Vincent right there. Rather than lie my way out of this situation, using my inhuman speed, I picked the boy up and slung him over my shoulder.
I jumped off the stairs, landing hard on the first floor and easily escaped the very odd orphanage. I carried the boy to the north edge of town where another deserted main road awaited and dragged him into the cover of the brush, away from the peering eyes of wandering cars and rested him on the ground. I then sat cross legged before him to wait.
Murder is always more fun when the victim is conscious.