Title: Predator of the Night

Author: Keysuna

Rating: PG-13

A/N I've become really intrigued by the world introduced in Bloodstained Thyme, but couldn't think of a way to continue it with Sophia. So instead I wrote another short story in the same universe, this time with a vampire. (You don't need to read Bloodstained Thyme to understand this one, don't worry) I'm planning to write at least six of these, but feedback is always needed and appreciated!

*~*~*~*

Darkness is the antithesis of light.

It is not a symbol of sin as many humans believe, but a representation of power, though, humanity always misinterprets that as evil. The sun is only a false illustration of safety; really the two sides of the day are both equal in danger. They are only dominated by different species and the one that belongs to the light is afraid of the unknown.

The dark is fraught with mystery and only those who are born to it can pull apart the blinds and see what is truly is.

And it truly is a magnificent thing.

In the beginning stages of the night when the sky has just been washed over with inky sable I climb up the small hill separating my house from a forest. It's here that I let my human disguise fall in the safety of solitude. My canines grow large, stretching my cheeks. Ripples form across my forehead and my eyes turn from brown to black.

I am the human definition of a demon, a predator of the darkness and feeder of blood.

My heightened senses notice movement from my right and I crash through the forest in silence. The deer bounces through the trees in graceful strides that would outrun most any animal.

But I am not an animal, I am a hunter.

Life pounds quickly through its vein as it picks up its pace. Most any creature can sense when it has become prey, and this creature is no exception.

I trace its steps with ease, my thoughts focused on the chase. The blood I receive for dinner is packaged and given extra nurturance for healthy living. I get the recommended number of vitamins and minerals, sure, but my instinct is still to hunt.

I fall far enough behind to lull the deer into a false sense of security and now approach as it pauses to nervously take a sip from the running stream. Its ears are pricked, ready to panic.

I don't give it time.

I pounce and sink my fangs into the deer's neck. It's legs give out under shock and falls to the dusty ground. Tasting fur and the tang of animal blood I feel its heart begun to quicken and then slow. The wound I gave it was a deadly one; it won't be rising to its hooves again.

Wiping the blood from my mouth I let my fangs retract and allow my face to rest back into normality. Glancing downward I'm captivated as the deer tries to struggle for breath and am disgusted.

I can convince myself I am not a demon but a hunter. That my need for blood is a necessity. That I hunt only from instinct.

But I am still a killer.

*~*~*~*

Olivia Eddings moved to Bangor last week in the middle of April. I've met her once, at a dinner party my parents threw for her family. She's 5'6 and lithe with an athletes body. Her dark brown hair bounces to her waist in soft curls. She has green eyes that flash to gold when she smiles and flawless pale skin.

But all of our kind does.

She was quite that night as I told her about my school because she would be enrolling that next Monday. Her attention seemed far off as she nodded to my babble and the only time I caught her interest was when I spoke about our gymnastics team.

She's an award winning gymnast from North Carolina where she's originally from. Chances are she'll make captain easily because our team doesn't even place in the league.

Olivia starts at my high school today and my mom reminded me to show her around and introduce her to everyone before I ran to catch the bus. I keep an eye out for her as I reach the front of the school and meet up with Andrew, Kyle and Justin. Kyle and Justin are human; ones that are fascinated by magic and trading cards. Andrew is a werewolf. Just as I'm about to give up looking for her and follow my friends to first period I catch sight of her stepping out of her mothers car in a green skirt and white top.

I explain to my friends that she's new and our parents are old friends, but I think they're a little to distracted with her appearance to mind about her name.

Suddenly the warning bell rings the halls become alive as students rush to class. I trade goodbyes with my friends and start off toward first period. As I pass by Olivia I catch her eyes and smile in greeting. She waves back and I'm surprised to see that she's nervous. She's in a new environment so of course she's uneasy, but the emotion doesn't seem to fit her.

Shaking my head I head toward class.

*~*~*~*

"Hey, asinus!" Sean calls from behind and I have to reign in my anger with a sigh. Maybe if I had more self control I wouldn't turn around but as it stands I've let my irritation get the best of me. Sean stands laughing with his buddy Tony, they are dressed in their basketball uniforms and smirking widely.

"Yeah donkey!" They both crack up again and I try to keep my face placid.

Both had been in Latin class last year and as usual I kept my head low and ears closed to both the mindless yammering of conversation and the teachers instructions. So when Mr. Snider asked me how to say 'donkey' I was at a loss.

"It's asinus." Someone, maybe Tony had hissed from behind.

When I announced that as my answer the whole class laughed until tears streamed down their cheeks.

In Latin, asinus means ass hole. Mual was the response my teacher had wanted.

Since then I had become Sean and Tony's source of entertainment. The class eventually grew tired of bringing up the mistake again and again, but not Sean or Tony. Still, almost a year later they continued poking fun.

"It's over you guys." I said tiredly as they came closer to me.

More laughter and Tony shoved me softly backwards by my shoulders

It had moved long past teasing and into hatred a while ago. The halls stretched empty in front of us. Most students had already reached the cafeteria as lunch was already a quarter of the way through.

"C'mon asinus." Sean continued. "You gonna fight back."

Can't fight back. I thought miserably as I kept my body still, though my blood rang for a fight, heart pounding in my head for it. I was a hunter, a predator.

I was a killer.

The two jerks in front of me were nothing more then meat on a stick. Even without the aid of night I could tear them apart limb by limb unaided by the bloodlust that came on with darkness.

But I kept from moving, with every breath I willed my muscles to relax and after a few more shoves, a threat and numerous profanities that were not in Latin, they left.

I unclenched my fists and winced as I worked blood back into my fingers. I was angry at the world for being as it was. Angry at myself for not doing anything about it. Sighing in frustration I turned around and caught my breath as Olivia appeared at the top of the hall.

The uneasiness that had gripped her in the morning was now replaced with cool regard. A hand rested on her hip and she seemed to be evaluating me with her composed gaze. It was only now as the sun lit her from behind and she stood with certainty that I realized how stunning she was.

She wasn't gorgeous, but had an unearthly, almost eerie beauty to her.

Later I understood that she wasn't ashamed of being a killer and what made her striking was that she was dangerous.

"Why do you let them do that?" She asks and lets her suddenly hard gaze meet mine. A long stretch of silence and I can't think of how to answer. "Well?"

I take a deep breath, the weight of her eyes suddenly a burden to hold up. "What do you want me to do about it?"

Olivia shrugs and I'm relieved as her attention drifts off. "Show them what they're really up against." Her tone is casual but her eyes show me that she means what she says.

"I. couldn't do that." I confess.

"Whatever." She sighs and I get the impression that she's disappointed and then suddenly her eyes light up and the subject changes. "I don't know where the cafeteria is, can you show me?"

*~*~*~*

At four o'clock in the afternoon the phone rang. I didn't bother picking it up, the only person who calls me is Andrew anyway and I was preoccupied with a television program.

"It's for you." My mother interrupted me half way through an action scene. I took the phone and hugged it up against my shoulder and ear as I muted the TV.

"Hello?" I was preparing to tell Andrew to call me back after the show when Olivia's voice broke over the line.

"Hey."

I completely shut off the television at the sound of her voice. "What's up?"

"I was wondering if you wanted to hang out tonight, there's a club downtown called Blood Dance, you heard of it?"

Of course I had heard of it, Blood Dance was the non human hang out in the lower class part of town. The place was hidden by a glamour maintained by some witches on hire from up north.

It took me a moment to find my voice. "Sure."

"Great." She seemed pleased. "I'll pick you up at seven."

Before I could reply the phone went dead, the dial tone ringing in my ears.

I had never been to Blood Dance before. The crowd was dodgy and the scene corrupt. It was a dangerous place.

But Olivia is a dangerous girl.

And something in me wasn't going to shut up until I proved myself to her. She had seen me as a weak and pathetic boy who couldn't stand up to a couple of scrawny humans. Maybe it's just sexual instinct that had driven me to say yes to her, but the male needs to prove himself to the strongest female as an acceptable mate.

I need to redeem myself in her eyes.

*~*~*~*

The Blood Dance scene wasn't as crowded as usual, but it was a weekday and would be swarming come Friday. I had told my mom Olivia invited me to go see a movie with her. Of course my mother was ecstatic that I was making friends with the new vampire in town so she let me go with few questions.

Which is good because I hate lying.

Olivia stood next to me in a low cut blouse and black skirt. The men that passed us looked her up and down before going on their way, but I don't think she noticed the attention.

"There are donors in here." She told me and walked ahead because the statement didn't need a response.

Donors are humans that willingly allow vampires (and witches or werewolves as the case may be) to feed off of them. It's supposed to leave the victim in an intoxicated state that is akin to stimulants. The practice is frowned upon in most social circles but fully legal as long as the vampire does not kill the human.

I could tell in Olivia's tone that she expected me to feed off of one tonight.
Before I could consider how I felt about the idea my cell phone buzzed and I fumbled in my pocket for it. The screen showed Andrews number.

"Hey." I said putting a hand to my other ear to hear more closely to Andrew.

"You're out with Olivia?" He quickly accused and I noticed disbelief in his tone.

I smiled slightly. "We're at Blood Dance."

"Your mom said you were at the movies." His voice was disproving and I felt a pang in my gut.

"Um. nope." I said, nervous at his reaction.

For a moment he didn't speak. "My dad was telling me about her." He paused but then continued when I didn't say anything. "You know why they moved? She nearly killed a boy, he's still in the hospital for what she did to him."

He sighed when I kept quite. What did he want me to say?

"Be careful." He warned and then hung up.

Shaking it off I rushed to Olivia's side and we entered the club.

I noticed that Blood Dance is more a hangout then a bar as I walked in. Soft music played in the background and the walls were painted in swirls of orange and blue. Couches were scattered across the floor but there seemed to be a clearing in the middle where raves took place on busier nights.

There were about forty odd people in a space that could pack two hundred. It was easy to tell the humans from the others. The human's blood sang of heat, making them stand out.

Olivia led me past a couple of witches and toward two female humans. Olivia greeted them with a nod that told them exactly what we were. Both were thin and frail, and their eyes seem sunken into their face. Each wore baggy clothes that hid their figures underneath layers of muted color. When one extended her hand to me her sleeve fell away from her wrist revealing tracks across her arm. I would have mistaken her for a heroin addict in any other circumstance.

Feeding, especially like this, is a somewhat personal experience. We followed them into a backroom where three other vampires were currently enjoying a meal; all were to preoccupied to notice our entrance. The air here reeked of stale sweat and blood and if my nerves weren't so on end from what I was about to do I might have thought more clearly about my environment and what that implied.

One of the girls, a red head, led me away from Olivia and onto an empty couch. She settled herself in and hitched up her sleeve to reveal an arm covered in scars. She offered me the limb and I watched as she leaned her head back and closed her eyes in anticipation.

Allowing my fangs to slide out I felt my face shift. I found a space on her arm that looking unused and sunk my fangs into her pale skin. The blood that swept from the wound was sinfully delicious. This stuff was alive! It tasted like champagne and left me dizzy with each sip from the chalice of her arm. Even as I became drunk on her blood I knew when the time came to retract. Withdrawing my fangs I let my tongue dart out and lick the remaining blood on her skin and at my teeth before fully drawing away.

The red head struggled to sit up and grabbed for a rag on the table beside us and pressed it to the wound. She looked as though she was recovering from an amazing ride by the look in her eyes.

She probably had.

I waited a little while longer for Olivia to finish up and then left the room with her.

Apart of me was relieved to be out of there, but I was mostly too caught up in the way my veins buzzed. Everything spun and seemed to brighten with the borrowed blood that sung in my veins. I didn't even notice it as I followed Olivia out of Blood Dance and onto the dangerous streets of downtown.

But I was with Olivia and everything was dangerous when she was around. The definition of dangerous that is.

Lost in the elation I didn't notice as we walked up to a human bar. Or that when she told me to wait outside the two boys she brought back out were Sean and Tony. The only thing I could sense was blood.

On some level I did realize they were scared of her, but more so they were intrigued by being dragged outside by the new girl at school who had caught their eye from across the hall. And of course they were thrown by seeing asinus with her.

"What's he doing here?" Sean sneered.

Olivia smiled and directed her attention toward me. "You can fight back now." She whispered. "C'mon."

I felt unsteady on my feet as Olivia urged me on. I could pay these jerks back for nearly a year of taunting and torture, for making me their prey when I'm the predator, I'm the hunter.

I'm the killer.

And their blood sang to me.

"Asinus what the hell is with you?"

I snapped out of it.

Tony looked at me uneasily as I broke out of the trance. I glanced from him, to Sean and then to Olivia and the pleased smile on her face. I took in a deep breath to get my bearings.

What had I done?

"Olivia, get away from them." I said in all seriousness and I could see the grin on her face falter.

"C'mon." She nearly laughed and gestured to the two boys. "This is your opportunity to get back at them."

My disbelieving gaze seemed to unnerve her.

"This is your chance!" She cried. "Don't you want to put them where they belong? This is your element, in the darkness. They don't stand a chance."

I shook my head. "No, not like this."

She looked hurt for a moment as though by not taking her offer I was offending her.

I had nothing else to say to her and so instead turned and left. I wasn't retreating because only killers have to run from the scene. I walked away because I would choose when and where I confronted the two humans and I would do it as the hunter.

I'm not a murderer in the dark, but a predator of the night.