He used to love the thrill of the hunt, the subtle almost sensual selection of the prey, the intense anticipation during the stalk, the focus and clarity of thought immediately prior to the fatal act and the sweet surrender of all his faculties to the inevitable act of violence.
Sadly these were just distant memories, lately the hunt had lost its edge and the prey seemed dour and unworthy of his attention. He found himself wandering listlessly looking for someone or something more challenging, something much more dangerous and exciting.
He had started early that pale moonlit night and had carelessly mingled with the growing crowd of excited party goers. He strode majestically through the growing throng as if daring them to challenge him, both men and women eagerly eyed him up, but he looked upon most of them with disdain, he wanted more than just a willing victim.
Very occasionally an individual would catch his eye and he would examine them intently as if scrutinising their soul before discounting them and moving on. He wanted someone fresh, vibrant and spirited, with an intense character that carried a hint of danger.
Then he saw her, auburn hair piled high on her head, exposing her smooth slender neck, and when she turned towards him for a brief moment, his cold heart leapt as he recognised the pride and strength within her. This was the one, someone with passion and dignity, deserving of his time and complete attention.
He watched the couple for a while, focusing on the woman, he knew that she would eventually feel his gaze upon her and that she would not be able to resist returning it, and sure enough she glanced at him and gave a dazzling smile before turn back to her companion.
He was drunk with desire for her, he fought the urge to rush across the room and make her his. He knew that if he did, no one could stop him and he could take this prize beauty with ease, but it would be ugly, messy and over too quickly, he wanted to relish his time with her and savour her final moments.
The unsuspecting couple left the bar and he followed discretely, ignoring the apprising glances of other passers-by, he was intently focused on the woman now, he saw nothing else. He followed them discretely as they left the busy city centre and made their way down less congested streets.
This was like the old days and for a moment memories of long forgotten victims came flooding back to him, the sudden rush of sensuous bloody imagery that filled his mind almost caused him to stumble, he struggled to pull himself together and it was only the thought of losing the woman that brought him to his senses.
They eventually made their way to a five storey tenement and slowly took the short flight of steps to the front door. He hung back in the shadows across the street and strained to hear their doorstep conversation, but all he could hear were the occasional word and her musical laughter echoing down the street.
He watched as she embraced the man and shivered with anticipation as she passionately kissed her lover goodnight. She rested her head on her man’s chest for a few moments, as if gathering the strength to leave, she sighed deeply and then she was off down the street, turning waving and shouting goodbye. Her companion watched her moving off into the distance for a while and then turned and entered the building.
Slipping out of the shadows he followed her, gradually closing the gap between them. He could smell her scent in the air and could almost reach out and touch her, then suddenly she turned and rammed a black stiletto knife into his chest, he looked at her hand on the knife in shock for a moment and then said ‘Foolish girl, that won’t stop me.’
The girl said nothing she just smiled and gave the knife a savage twist and suddenly he felt an impossibly intense burning sensation deep within his body, he opened his mouth to let out a scream, but it was too late, his lungs burst into flames and fire came out of his mouth instead.
The incredible pain was something that he had not felt for a very long time, it quickly subsided, suddenly he was out of his body floating in the air looking down on the woman and his smouldering carcass at her feet, he was momentarily stunned and then he quickly realised that he was dead.
As he watched the woman’s companion joined her on the street below and both looked up at him and smiled broadly exposing their fangs, after his initial surprise he realised that they had found the challenge that he’d been looking for, nothing could be more dangerous than hunting your own kind.
Then the anguish set in, he had roamed the earth like a god for hundreds years, one of the elite among the mortals, he had taken hundreds of lives, mostly willing victims, and all as beautiful as the couple in the street below.
He fought to remain earth bound, he desperately wanted to return to the life he once had, and then as an unseen force took hold of him he came the realisation that his old life was gone, and that from now on he would be the victim.
The last thing he saw before the darkness completely enveloped him was the beautiful young woman smiling up at him as she wiped his blackened blood from her silver dagger.