MidReal Story

Eternal Shadows: Redemption in City of Angels

Scenario: A lone vampire woman moves from New York to L.A to start over after the vampire she sired was killed
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A lone vampire woman moves from New York to L.A to start over after the vampire she sired was killed
I moved to L.
A to start over.
No more vampires, no more killing, and no more running.
It was time to live a quiet life, away from the immortal world.
But when I opened my eyes after the change, I realized I wasn’t alone.
My past had followed me here.
And it was standing right in front of me.
I was a vampire, but I wasn’t a monster.
I’d never killed an innocent human in my life, and I never would.
But that didn’t mean I was a good person either.
I’d been a killer for over two hundred years now, and that kind of thing changed you.
It made you hard and cold and cruel, and it twisted your soul until you barely recognized yourself anymore.
I’d been all of those things once upon a time, but not anymore.
Now I was just tired and lonely and so very, very old.
The only constant was this unyielding hunger that never went away and this overwhelming need to kill.
But I’d learned to live with it.
I’d learned to control it.
I’d even learned to ignore it, to push it down so far that I almost believed it wasn’t there anymore.
But then something would happen, and it would all come rushing back.
Like when I fed, for example.
I was in a dimly lit alleyway behind the Blood Moon nightclub, my fangs buried in the neck of a man who’d been more than willing to let me feed on him tonight.
He was moaning softly as I drank, his hands tangled in my hair, and his cock straining against my thigh.
I could smell his arousal as surely as I could smell the blood pulsing through his veins, and the scent made a shiver of unexpected pleasure ripple through me.
Being a vampire wasn’t all bad, after all.
My skin was still sensitive enough to feel the warmth of his touch and the hardness of his body against mine, but my flesh didn’t bruise anymore, which meant I could enjoy this experience without suffering for it later.
For him, though, it wasn’t quite so easy.
I could feel him fading now, the pleasure giving way to pain as he grew weaker by the second.
His pulse was growing fainter, and his breaths were coming shallower, and his moans were turning into whimpers of distress.
It would be over soon, I thought as I sucked just a little harder.
And then he would forget all about it.
The world would go black for him, and when he woke up again, he would wonder if it had all been a dream.
But for me, the memories would linger.
Forever and ever and ever.
I pulled away from the man at last, my lips and chin stained with blood, and he slumped to the ground with a groan of disappointment.
I didn’t look at him again as I left the alleyway behind, but I could feel his gaze burning into my back all the same.
And I was glad it was over.
Because even though feeding was one of the few things I still enjoyed as a vampire, the act was always followed by an overwhelming sense of dread that made me wish I’d never taken that first sip of blood in the first place.
It was one of the many reasons I’d left New York in such a hurry after that night in the alleyway with Andrew Thornton, and it was one of the many reasons I’d had such high hopes for my new life in L.
A., even though those hopes had been so swiftly crushed.
I missed New York more than words could express, and yet the city held too much sorrow for me now.
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That was my punishment—the loneliness and the isolation and the many long nights spent searching the streets for something to take the pain away—because even though it had been a very long time since I’d killed anyone or forced them to face the darkness without their consent, the guilt hadn’t faded yet.
And it never would.
I’d learned to live with it over the years by refusing to let myself enjoy anything too much or care about anyone too deeply or put down roots anywhere at all.
I was a vampire on the run, and for me, running never stopped being an option.
But even though I’d come to terms with who and what I was long ago, there were some things about being a vampire that I could never get used to—like taking life from another being or sending them to their terrible fate with no hope of ever seeing the sun again—and one of the many ways in which I’d set myself apart from my own kind was by making sure my victims didn’t suffer because of me.
All it took was a few drops of my blood to heal any wounds I might make during the change or while feeding from someone else, but that small act of kindness came at a very steep price.
The price of solitude, in fact.
Because I didn’t let my victims die, they couldn’t be turned into vampires like me.
And that meant they couldn’t stay with me forever.
So they had to go.
And then the loneliness would start again.
But it was a small price to pay—
—or at least it had been until now.
My kind didn’t just kill for pleasure.
We killed for power.
We killed to survive.
And we killed because we could.
Most people didn’t believe in vampires.
And those who did usually thought we were nothing more than a myth.
But the truth was much darker than that.
There were vampires here in L.
A., just like there were vampires in New York or London or Paris.
And even though the vast majority of us tried to keep a low profile by sticking to the shadows or living undetected among humans, there were others who weren’t nearly so discreet about their nature.
Those were the ones who hunted in the open, either because they were too weak to fight back against the humans who tried to kill them or because they simply didn’t have the capacity for subtlety or self-restraint.
They were the ones who’d been causing all the trouble lately—killing humans by the dozen and leaving their bodies out in the open for everyone to see.
They were why the humans were hunting us now.
And they were why even our blood banks weren’t safe.
It had been three days since my last meal, and even though my body was still strong, my mind was starting to grow sluggish, which was something that never would have happened before.
So when I heard about a new blood bank on the other side of town, I knew it was time to make a change.
The building was easy enough to find, but getting inside was another matter entirely.
The place was so crowded with vampires that there wasn’t a single parking spot left anywhere near it, and even though it was nearly three o’clock in the morning, there were still lines out front.
It was a small space with barely any room for more than ten people at a time, and yet there were more than twenty people waiting outside.
My stomach growled when I saw them, and my fangs itched with need.
But feeding wouldn’t be enough.
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But it had been so long.
I’d spent the last hundred years or so feeding on the black market, where the blood had been cheaper and easier to come by.
But the most recent drought had made things more difficult than usual, and the prices had gone up so much that I could barely afford the bags they were selling, let alone the dozen or so that I needed every week just to make it through.
I could try looking for more donors, but that would take time that I didn’t have, and there was no guarantee that they’d be willing or able to help me.
Besides, that was how this whole mess had started in the first place—I’d thought that the donor would be enough, but he hadn’t been, and now here we were.
There were other ways to get what I needed, but most of them were illegal, and all of them were dangerous.
And worse still, they drew too much attention.
So when I saw the blood bank on the other side of town, I knew it was time to make a change.
The building was so bright that it hurt my eyes, and I had to squint against the glare as I stepped inside.
The walls were white, and even though there weren’t any windows anywhere, there were several long florescent lights that hung from the ceiling, making it seem like there was plenty of natural light.
But there wasn’t.
There wasn’t anything natural about this place or what I was doing here.
I avoided blood banks whenever I could, mostly because of what they reminded me of—of my life before, of everything I’d lost, and of everything I’d had to give up.
I kept my head down and tried not to look around, but I could still see everything—the rows of shelves that lined the walls and filled the space with bags of blood, the small lobby that held a few chairs and a reception desk, and the door in back that led to whatever came next.
It reminded me of the hospitals where I used to work.
And just like that, I was back there again—in New York, in 1918.
The hospital had been so crowded with people that there hadn’t been room to move, let alone work, and even though we’d done our best to take care of everyone, there hadn’t been enough medicine or doctors or beds to go around.
We’d done our best.
But our best hadn’t been enough.
And now here we were.
The receptionist at the desk looked up when I walked in and smiled.
“Can I help you?”
she asked in a voice that was so sweet and innocent that it made my fangs ache.
I couldn’t meet her eyes when I spoke.
“I’m here to pick up an order.”
Her smile didn’t waver.
“Name?”
I wanted to lie, but I didn’t.
The technician who took my blood type and processed the order must have heard me.
He looked up from his work and stared through the glass window that separated us.
I couldn’t see his eyes from here, but I could feel them on me all the same.
When he spoke, his voice was steady.
“Who is she?”
“Nobody,” the receptionist said.
“And even if she wasn’t…”
“She’s not doing anything wrong,” the technician said.
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“How do you know?”
He looked back down at the order in front of him and wrote something on a clipboard.
“I don’t,” he said.
“But we can figure it out later.”
It wasn’t much, but it was more than I’d expected.
And for the first time since I’d walked into the blood bank, I allowed myself to breathe again as I waited for them to finish whatever it was they were doing behind the glass.
But when the door opened a moment later, and the technician stepped through with a bag of blood in each hand, he wasn’t alone.
The man who followed him out was tall and rugged with short brown hair and piercing blue eyes that held me in place as soon as they met mine.
His face looked like it had been carved from rock—sharp with high cheekbones and a strong jaw that were covered in a thin layer of stubble—but his eyes were soft with something else altogether as he smiled.
I knew him.
Those eyes, that face—I knew him.
He was one of the men who’d been standing outside of the nightclub—Detective Lucas Hart.
But what was he doing here?
What business could a detective possibly have inside of a blood bank?
What was he looking for?
Because he was looking for something, of that much I was sure.
And it wasn’t me.
I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I did.
And as much as I wanted to, it wasn’t enough to make me leave, either.
Maybe it should have been, but it wasn’t.
Not yet, anyway.
“I hope you don’t think she’s one of mine,” he said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet.
I barely heard him.
I was listening to something else entirely.
I was listening to his heartbeat.
It was slow—too slow—and steady, but there was an edge to it all the same.
A sharpness that made it seem like it could turn on you at any moment.
It didn’t make any sense, but it did all the same.
Or maybe it did make sense and I just didn’t want to believe it.
Maybe it would be easier if it didn’t.
“Of course not,” the receptionist said as she took the bags from him and put them into a box on the counter.
“They’re just going to restock my fridge for me tonight, aren’t you?”
Her smile was so sweet and innocent that it made my fangs ache all over again, but he didn’t seem to notice as he shook his head and put away his wallet again.
“Don’t let me keep you up, then.”
And then he turned around and walked out, just like that.
It was almost enough to make me follow him, but not quite.
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And that was enough.
I was still on the rooftop.
I hadn’t moved.
I don’t think I’d even blinked, but I was still there.
And that was okay.
I had a good view of the city from up here.
The best, really.
The kind of view that made you forget just how many people were down there, walking around and living their lives.
It was easy to do, too.
Sometimes, it was even better than the real thing.
It didn’t surprise me that I liked it up here.
Maybe that was why I’d ended up here to begin with, even though I couldn’t remember how or why I’d come to be here.
It didn’t matter, though.
All that mattered was that my bags were still down there, sitting out on the ground beneath me and waiting for me to come back for them.
I was going to have to go back eventually, too.
I couldn’t leave them behind like that.
Not when they’d cost me so much to get in the first place and when I needed them so badly to begin with.
But not yet.
There was no rush.
I had time.
The city was quiet this late—or this early, depending on how you wanted to look at it—and there wasn’t anyone around who could see me or hear me up there on the roof.
And that was just fine by me, too.
I liked being alone, after all.
And as long as no one else decided to come looking for a quiet place to rest or relax, then we weren’t going to have a problem.
I didn’t think that anyone was going to come by looking for a quiet place to rest or relax, though.
The city below was too busy for that.
People were always on the move here, coming and going like waves on a beach and making noise like seagulls fighting over scraps of food.
It wasn’t like that up here.
Up here, everything was still and quiet.
And if it wasn’t always like that down below, either, then maybe that was why they came up there to begin with.
I never did find out for sure.
Maybe I should have, but I didn’t.
I turned around and sat down on the edge of the roof instead.
It was easier that way.
I could see everything from up there.
It was almost like watching TV—only better.
And that wasn’t bad at all.
Lucas Hart stood in the center of the crime scene and scowled at the body lying on the ground in front of him.
He had to admit that he’d been hoping for more from this case—more information, more evidence—especially after what he’d seen last night.
He hadn’t expected to get any less than that, even though he knew that the city had other plans for him.
It always did.
Los Angeles had a way of doing that to people.
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