With a rasping voice, he exhaled Her name into her black, scented mane..."Alison."
Their long fingers dug deep into his white, alabaster flesh. Relentless imprisonment. Pain pulsed deep in his arms and his wrists...his wrists...HIS WRISTS! Cold, purplish blood oozed from his arms, pouring down...dripping from the tips of his fingernails and making dark puddles on his bare, torn feet. He tried to pull away, but that just made the stream of morbid rain come down faster with cavernous tears to his skin. They had their grip of death deep inside his body, like horrible leeches. Wishes of quick death plagued him, as their ghoulish, decomposing faces jeered at him through sunken sockets and bony cheeks.
They were pulling him now, deep into their ranks, chanting like a satanic cult. He screamed. He shrieked. He bit. He kicked. But still their relentless pulling went on, absorbing him into the centre, where there would be no escape. Their hands were all over him, prodding him, brushing against his sides, digging their long, disgusting, dirty fingernails into his skull. It was like being some kind of warped celebrity.
Opening his failing lips, which were flecked with his own blood, he cried out Her name. And again. More thunderous this time. He shrieked it so loud that some of the monsters recoiled, clapping their twig-like hands to their ears. He spat up a concoction of blood and chocking saliva. The tears were streaming through his cheeks, leaving stains through the grime on his face. His shoulders shook with sobs of pain and grief. He felt something fall out of his arm with a strange numbness, a disconnection. A piece of his own flesh? Maybe the arm itself? It didn't seem quite real. Nothing did, without Her.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" The monsters looked up and, faster than Frank could detect, dissolved into the oxygen-deprived air. Just like that. Gone. He had no proof to say that they were here it the first place, apart from the gruesome, painful wounds left. He glanced down at the grisly, fallen chunk. It was a mass of flesh, torn from his wrist, feebly leaking blood into the floor of Hell itself. Someone's more delicate hand picked it up and placed it back into his arm. It sat there, too disfigured to ever be repaired.
She kneeled next to Him, tears spilling over Her pale face. Tenderly, She stroked his face and looked at him with her green eyes. Disappointed. "I never wanted you dragged into this." The girl breathed eventually, Her midnight hair tossing about, as if it was part of the beautiful darkness itself.
With a rasping voice, he exhaled Her name into her black, scented mane..."Alison."
Frank sat, curled up in a tight ball of tattoos and piercings, on the steps leading to the regal-looking front door. A coffee rested, growing increasingly colder in the bitter, icy wind, just beside his foot. He reached down to seize it and swallow it down, when Lincoln emerged beside him. The vampire's delicious eyes were closed in bliss and he rubbed his stomach. His normally pallid face was glowing warm with the thrill and satisfaction of the hunt. Frank sniffed the air: it wasn't animal blood...that much was certain.
Frank never did approve of killing people, even to feast. He'd rather sit in the vampires' house, silently gawking out the window, fighting the urge to bite and to break and to rip and to gulp down the blood that rushed out like honey from a smashed jar. Frank knew that if he didn't drink soon, The Grim Reaper would certainly come chasing after him. That was something he was ready to risk. Lincoln had mocked him when he first heard that: "Why did I even blood you? Just so you can die again?"
He supposed that he should be appreciative that Lincoln 'saved' him, but he wasn't. He hoped desperately every night that Lincoln could have found him when he was beyond revival. Just like Bob and Ray. Frank would never forget that night...finding their bodies twisted, mangled, torn open in the gruesome crossfire. Their eyes wide and shocked, surprised, frozen forever in the moment that the two armies of the night bellowed their war-cries. Frank was bitter towards Lincoln and always would be, but vampire rule barred him from departure... perpetually obliged to his tormentor...his 'father'...
"Did you get It?" Frank muttered resentfully, glaring up at Lincoln. Lincoln shook his head, and opened his eyes. They were filled red with someone else's blood: the same blood that caked on his shirt and through his perfect hair. Despite this apparent failure, Lincoln looked eagerly jubilant, like some kind of warped, macabre Santa Claus serial killer.
"No, dear Frankie Boy," Lincoln said, grinning malevolently with bloodstained teeth. He clapped him on the shoulder, leaving a red print on Frank's grey shirt. Frank found himself recoiling in disgust. "I've found Her! Al!" Frank felt some unknown sensation slowly slide through his stomach. It settled somewhere in his long, white throat, coating his oesophagus in choking, mystifying emotion. Her name resounded deep within his chest, running around his nerves, infinite, rhythmic, melodious ...Al...Al...Al...
"The owner of The Blooded Heart! And she has the most luscious-smelling blood..." Lincoln trailed off, though his voice was already muffled to the tattooed boy. Frank, still twisted, warped, lost in his emotions, looked up in confused despair. Abrupt thought stabbed hard into his brain. /No. Not Her. Not Al. /Lincoln glanced at Frank who rotated his head so that his delicious, perplexed eyes stared despondently at his feet. The apprehensive boy knew what was coming next.
"We go after Her tonight, Frankie Boy! And you're coming with me!"
Al felt a chill run down her spine as she trudged home from the bus stop. Glacial swarms of water droplets pounded her head and face. She halted and glanced around, searching for the source of this unexpected dread. Shaking her head and moving on, the shivering teenager marched into her house and forced her numb feet to carry her to the hot shower. She wedged her head under the steaming jet and waited for the trepidation to wash away with the two-dollar, discount store shampoo.
Frank sat at the long, narrow table with fifty or so other ashen-faced teenagers. Due to the effects of vampirism, everyone unfortunate enough to be blooded shrunk [or grew] into a sixteen year old, to be eternally looked down upon by the grown-ups of civilization. The room was echoing with the flat-emotionless conversation of primordial souls, imprisoned in the bodies of their youth. Frank and his two friends either side of him were the first recruits to be blooded in the last twenty years...and were the only recruits in the history of vampirism to ever decline on gorging on human blood. Outcasts. Recluses. Running the opposite way, when the single means of survival was to flow along with the pack.
How much longer they had left, he honestly didn't know.
The doors opened at the end of the room, and silence washed over the crowd. Regally, Lincoln [/Fucker/, Frank thought darkly.] marched in, dragging a small, shivering six year old girl behind him. Her red hair and freckles shone like beacons in a room full of perfect faces, lily-white skin and dark hair. Frank felt a wave of hungry anticipation sweep through the table, stopping at him and the two attractive boys beside him. Here was dinner. A good one this time. Not like that old man brought in last night. He keeled over of a heart attack the moment he saw the glinting teeth and thirsty eyes. He was no fun at all. Not so much as a scream or a plea.
The two almost-identical boys beside him rose in shared revulsion and walked rapidly out of the room. He was sure the taller one spat on the floor. A slam of the heavy, oak door announced their departure. The girl cowered at the sudden explosion of noise, ducking between Lincoln's knees. Frank gazed after them, saddened. Mikey and Gerard, the only two friends he had left, could never stand to see this. Either could Frank; this sort of thing unwearyingly twisted his once-pleasant dreams into macabre dimensions of Hell. But he had to be there. For that girl. To make sure that her passage into death was slightly less horrible than it would be otherwise. It sickened him that Lincoln would bring a child into this.
"Before we begin," boomed Lincoln, grinning menacingly at the delicate, trembling form he clutched. "I would like to make an announcement." The entire congregation stopped licking their lips in eagerness and was utterly still. Frank moaned silently and knew that he couldn't make a difference for this girl. They would be so excited that they'd tear her mercilessly limb from limb. The silence continued; some over-curious young women rose to hear the declaration, trembling with zeal. It was almost unbearable; Frank's knuckles turned a tense ivory under the table. The girl looked at him with wide, pleading golden eyes. Eyes that should never have even glanced at this horrible castle of death. Eyes that begged him to intervene, to stop her early, undeserved demise-
Lincoln pulled her into his arms, prepared to toss her like a shrieking, kicking shot put. She whimpered a distressed, desperate prayer to a God that had already made up His mind to let her perish. Lincoln inhaled deeply...and bellowed, "WE'VE FOUND 'HER'!" The words echoed around the room...the room...the room...and the congregation burst into a screaming ovation. And, without the slightest hint of mercy, he bodily tossed the shrieking girl straight into the pit of exhilarated vampires to meet her premature, grisly death.
Head bowed and eyes red and swollen, Frank found Mikey and Gerard slumped on the wall outside. Mikey was asleep on Gerard's lap, the older brother stroking his beautiful hair with a detached look on his naturally-alluring features. Gerard didn't even look up, but said simply, while gently touching his small-brother's nose: "The horror." Frank nodded once, trying desperately to block out her concluding screams...the utter terror in her bronze eyes...then, while he was quietly cradling her wounded head, the last whisper of :/"Where's my daddy? He said he'd protect me when the monsters came!"/
Mikey muttered something in his sleep: "No. No. R-r-ruby...rub-b-y!" He snuffled and shifted slightly on Gerard's legs. Gerard looked at Frank meaningfully. Every night, when the Others haunted the park, Mikey and Frank slept [out of habit more than a need of rest] and Gerard kept watch. And for the past month, that word was on his soft, innocent, sleeping lips...endlessly repeating itself...like some kind of beautiful mantra. Frank bowed his head further and returned miserably to the hall; he would take the girl's body away to the cemetery and give it a proper farewell. She was stretched out over the floorboards, eyes vacant and staring, every tiny inch of her skin ripped, every drop of blood sucked dry of her body...Frank kissed her forehead lightly and closed her golden unfocussed eyes.
I'm so sorry, little girl.
Frank sat in the backseat of Lincoln's car, careful to smear the odour of death all through the fancy, expensive interior. Lincoln watched him do this in his rear-view mirror with a smile on his thin lips. For some reason, Frank's mutiny pleased him. He called it a 'fighting spirit'; one which the vampire leader made his personal mission to crush. Lincoln eased his foot onto the accelerator, all the while gazing at Frank with an odd look on his face. Fondness?
"We're going to have to be stealthy tonight, Frankie Boy." Lincoln declared over the disc playing: Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Another one of his little things to annihilate Frank's determination; a memento of the life he could've stayed with...a life he /should've /stayed with. "I'm sure you'll enjoy this." The car abruptly stopped before a yellow, crispy lawn that led the way to a red-brick, unsightly house. Lincoln laughed, "Pretty, ain't it!"
Frank nodded, but not at the grass or the house. At the teenage girl, sitting miserably at the lounge room window, drawing silently on the fog collecting on the windowpane. Her black hair hung down onto her shoulders, which were clothed with a thin, grey nightshirt. But, more importantly, draped around her alabaster neck was a thin silver chain...and on that dangled a red jewel.../the /red jewel...The Blooded Heart! Frank felt recognition twirl through his brain and deep into his chest, intertwining with something he couldn't quite pinpoint. His cold, lifeless heart would have been racing, were it not rock solid and unmoving. Frank reached up to the glass of his car window and gently touched the space where he saw her.
"That's Her?" Frank whispered. "Al?!" The word melted pleasingly into his tongue, just like he imagined the taste of blood would be. Salty and good and perfect and satisfying. It felt so wonderful to say her name, as if that was the sole reason for him to have a voice; as if it were the only reason for him to exist at all.
"Yep." Lincoln laughed, turning off the headlights and the engine. "The coward stabbed Herself today! Can't handle the distress of Her comrades falling dead around Her!" he spun around and fixed him with accusatory eyes. "Recognize her at all, Frankie Boy?"
"I should," /Frank thought darkly./"I've seen her enough. Every night for the past year. In my dreams."