An Undeserved Punishment
Author's Note: And finally, I have reached the end! This is the last story I'll be writing about this werewolf. If you haven't read the others, just enjoy this one. Or go read the ones before it. Whichever you'd prefer. Either way, enjoy!
"That's it?" I asked, my gray eyes following the man as he crossed the room, his back to me. It seemed rather arrogant of him, considering I was a werewolf, and a rather dangerous one at that, but he was a vampire, and there was a chance that he was tough enough to hold his own in a fight with me. It was a small chance, of course, but a chance nonetheless. "I just have to get my hands on this poison, then I'll...die?"
He turned his young face to me, the features remaining emotionless. "Yes."
That single word sent excitement flitting though me. I could finally die. I could finally leave this world and go somewhere else. I could finally see them again, my brother and my lover, both taken from me far too soon...
"Where is it?" I asked, taking a step forward. A mixture of annoyance and fear flashed through his brown eyes and disappeared, but I barely noticed. "Who has it? How can I get it?" I moved to take another step toward the man, but he held up a hand, and I stopped.
"You killed a man," the vampire began, turning from me again in order to face the warmth of the fireplace, "one of my kind. Do you remember him?"
I let my head tilt slowly to the right as I began to think. It had been months since I'd killed a vampire...I'd been feuding with a few other Weres and their packs lately, but no bloodsuckers. The last time I'd killed one of those was when it was still warm outside...the night that I'd finally decided to kill my master. He'd taken everything from me, my life, my love, my family, so his death had been necessary. But, now that I'd gotten my revenge, all I wanted to do was go be with the males he'd taken from me. The fact that I couldn't die made that a bit complicated, however...That was why I was here, speaking to this centuries-old vampire. I'd heard that he knew how to kill anyone and anything, thus I'd sought him out. He seemed to be just as wise as the rumors claimed.
"Gabriel?" I asked, looking at the back of the male's blond head. His hair was the same pale color as mine, cut shorter. I'd noticed that odd similarity long ago. "The vampire who used to rule part of your kind's army?" When he nodded, I allowed my head to tilt the other way. "How did you-"
"Everyone knows. And that's why his wife has developed this poison I'm telling you about." He turned to me once more, a frown on his pale face. "There's no guarantee that it will work, however. She knows very little about your body and how it became this way. We can only hope that it's enough." He looked away, the fire dancing in his dark eyes. "Do you remember where the man lived? His wife should still be there."
I thought for a moment, then nodded. I couldn't forget that place. It had no true significance to me, just another place where I'd been ordered to go to kill someone, but it was such a beautiful house...
"Go there," the vampire told me, his eyes on my face. "Fight her. Don't ask her to kill you, for she wants you to suffer. Every vampire in the city knows that. Make her believe you don't want to die, and you might finally meet your end."
I nodded. "All right, Darius. Thank you for your help." He bowed his head, but said nothing. After watching him for a few long seconds, I asked, "Is there any way I could repay you?"
At this, he turned again, his arms resting on the fireplace's mantel as he gazed into the flames once more. "Just...try to kill her before you die." I cocked an eyebrow at him. His explanation came quickly and oddly flatly. "What? The uppity bitch annoys me."
I left the house without another word, something oddly close to a smile on my face, the closest thing to a smile that had graced my countenance for a long while. I could only hope that I'd soon be wearing a real smile, as I passed out of life and into the waiting arms of my love, Ian.
Only minutes later, I was standing between the open gates in front of Gabriel's mansion. The place was just as I remembered it, big and dark with an oddly haunting look.
I went to the door and raised a hand to knock, then I remembered that I wasn't here to pay this woman a friendly visit. I was here to pretend to try to kill her. I lowered my arm and turned the handle, pleased to find that the door was unlocked.
I entered to find myself in the familiar dim light that could be found all around this house. Most of it was from candles, though I knew that some rooms also had small table lamps and old chandeliers.
As silently as I could, I closed the door behind me, then sniffed the air, trying to locate the scent of the female I was after. There were many different smells here, however, so guessing which one belonged to my target was impossible.
I crept up a staircase silently, then turned and began walking down a hallway. I found nothing until I heard a feminine voice coming from a nearby room. I tiptoed to the half-closed door and listened.
"No, Allen," the woman growled. I cocked my head, recognizing the name. I had been sent to kill him once, but all I'd managed to do was slaughter a woman who loved him and end up dying myself a while later. Of course, the death hadn't been permanent, and I'd gotten punished for failing to kill my target. That hadn't been a good week...
"What do you mean you don't know where she is?" The woman's scream brought me back to reality, and I began listening again. "I thought you said you'd help me track her! We can't kill her if we don't know where she is!" She was on the phone, obviously. But, who was she talking about...? "She killed your little girlfriend! She killed your brother! My husband!" Oh...Me. "Isn't that enough?" She growled a second later, the sound of a cell phone snapping shut following quickly. Apparently, he'd hung up on her.
I pushed the door open the rest of the way and peeked into the room. It was a small study, lit only by the small lamp on the oak desk near the back of the room. The walls were lined with shelves and shelves of books. There were no windows.
The vampire was behind the desk, her back to the doorway. I'd never seen her before. She was a pretty woman, her body having that hourglass shape some men really seemed to like. She was about my height with dark, dark brown hair, pulled back in a tight bun. Her skin was pale, as most vampires' tended to be. When she spun, finally noticing my presence, I found myself pegged with pale blue eyes and a fierce glare. She didn't appear to be a very nice woman.
"You," she hissed, soon pulling her lips back to bare her sharp fangs. She was trying to intimidate me, but I wasn't going to let her.
After a brief moment of thought, I allowed my body to change, going from human to half-human, half-wolf. This was a rare ability among my kind, the ability to stop halfway through the transformation from human to wolf. It allowed one to maintain human reason and functionality while gaining the claws, fangs, speed, and strength of a wolf. The only downfall was the fact that the change lasted for a set amount of time. Mine lasted for only one minute.
Soon, I had the gold eyes and slitted pupils of my wolf, a fang-baring snarl on my face. The woman flinched slightly at the sight of it, then she regained her own ferocity. She opened a desk drawer, her eyes never leaving me. A split second later, she was leaping onto the desk and to the other side, a vial in her hand. I watched the vial as she rushed at me, noting the size of the glass container and the color of the liquid within. The vial was fairly small, the liquid an odd glowing orange color.
That must have been it.
What was in that vial was what I'd come for.
I leapt back when the female swung at me, but she quickly followed and aimed another punch at my face. I knew she wasn't weak when I dodged again and her fist hit the wall, going right through. She yanked it back out and, due to my slight shock at her strength, managed to land another one of those powerful punches to my jaw. I flew clear down the hall, not stopping until I collided with a dark wall. I slid down the now-cracked surface, unable to do anything but watch her approach me. I felt a bit of her blood, smeared across my face by her bloodied knuckles, drip down my chin, but still, I didn't move.
I was faking this, of course, pretending she'd truly hurt me. She'd knocked the wind out of my and given me a bit of a kink in my neck, but that was it. I could've been up and ripping her throat out right now if I'd wanted to. She seemed to realize this, stopping to watch me cautiously from a couple of feet away.
I lurched to my feet after a few seconds of that, rapidly moving toward her using my werewolf speed. She tried to move when I grabbed for her, but I managed to snag her thin wrist, anyway. She was being pinned to the wall in an instant.
My gold eyes boring into hers, a calm expression on my fair-skinned face, I questioned, "What is that?"
"A poison I made just for you," the woman growled, glaring at me once more.
"How do you expect to get it into my body?"
She shoved me away roughly without another word. I growled, not because she'd pushed me, but because she wouldn't answer me. If I didn't know how to properly use the poison, what good would it do?
She swung at me once more, but I leapt back. I moved again when she tried to grab my arm.
With my speed, I could've had her dead by now, just dust grounded into the red rug on the floor. But, would it be wise to kill her now and drink the poison? Just step back and hope for the best?
After dodging a few more quick, powerful attacks, I decided I was too stubborn to give anyone the right to boast about killing me. If I was going to go, I was going to go at my own hand.
I was suddenly behind the woman, a woman whose husband I'd stolen, whose name I didn't even know. In a heartbeat, I had my hand on her jaw. A quick twist and tear had her head separated from her slender body, blood spattering on me and the surrounding floor and walls. The head and body were dust before they even hit the floor.
This was the life I'd led before, with the mindless killing of people I didn't know, the cold-hearted slaughter of strangers who didn't necessarily deserve to die. Only, it was different this time.
This time, I hadn't been forced to kill by a man I hated.
I'd killed of my own free will.
And it had nothing to do with the vampire-werewolf war going on.
This woman had been a civilian, not some soldier.
And the kill had benefited me.
As I picked up the small vial the woman had dropped, now covered in a bit of cold vampire blood, I wondered at everything that had happened, everything that would happen.
I'd lost my brother, Xenox, then my lover, Ian, then I'd killed my bastard of a master, survived on my own for months...and now, I was about to receive the only thing I had left to wish for: death. Maybe. If this didn't work, I would have to resume my life of searching for my end, my lonely, empty life...
Taking a shaky breath, I pulled the cork out of the small vial. The scent of acidic chemicals rushed to my sensitive nose, accompanied by the subtle scent of peppermint. My nose wrinkled at the displeasing smell, but I soon became expressionless once more. After eying the glowing orange liquid for only a moment longer, I drank.
The stinging in my throat as the foul tasting substance slid down distracted me, causing me to forget that my minute was up for the change. As I staggered back and hit the blood-spattered wall, my claws and fangs began to become normal teeth and nails again. The glass vial, only half empty, slipped from my long fingers, falling to shatter on the floor.
I clutched at my throat and let out a weak, choked cry, sliding to the floor. Whatever acid was in that poison was burning through my insides now. Or, at least, it felt that way. My eyes, still gold, watered from the pain.
Please, I begged, let this work. When I pass this time, let it be permanent. Don't let this pain be for nothing, too!
My whole body spasmed suddenly, and I let out another quiet scream. The vampire had wanted to make me suffer, and she'd made this poison with ingredients that would do just that. The agony was almost unbearable.
My back slid across the wall as I fell onto my side. My wide eyes still watered, my body still ached, my hand still gripped my throat. A bit of blood dripped from the corner of my mouth, hanging open in a silent scream.
My body gave one final jerk, then I was still. If my soul hadn't been busy fleeing my body, I might have noticed that my blank, wide-open eyes were two different colors. One was gray, one was gold.
I'd died as I'd lived: half human, half beast.
When I awoke again, I wasn't where I thought I would be. I wasn't lying on the floor of a dark hallway, nor was I lying on my bed back at my master's mansion, where I'd always woken up while I'd served him. I wasn't among the fluffy white clouds I'd always pictured laying upon in Heaven, either.
How pretentious of me, expecting to make it to Heaven.
As I sat up and looked around, however, I decided that this didn't look quite like Hell, either.
I was sitting in the middle of an open field, equidistant from all sides of the lush forest that surrounded the land. The sun was setting behind the trees to my right, creating long shadows across the soft grass. I got to my feet and looked around, beginning to walk the moment I caught sight of a narrow path through the trees before me.
The complete and total silence that surrounded me was unnerving. Wasn't there usually at least a bit of activity going on in a forest? It felt warm, too, like summer, so that should have warranted more creatures and noise...right? Either way, it didn't seem normal.
After following the path for almost five minutes, I was out of the forest. Straight ahead of me, across a bridge arching over a fast-flowing river, was a pair of beautiful silver gates. They, along with a fancy silver fence of equal beauty, separated me from...something. I couldn't clearly tell what was there.
The closer I got to the bridge, the easier it was to tell that the sound of the water was muted. It moved at a rapid pace, crashing against rocks, yet it made no sound.
I found myself thankful for this when I heard a far-away call of my name.
"Xenobia!" It was a male's voice, rather familiar, but I didn't know where it was coming from.
"Xenobia!" a second voice cried, this one also male and very familiar.
It took my a moment, but I soon realized that they were coming from behind those gates. My pace quickened, and soon, I could see them, my brother and my love, waving at me. Both were dressed all in white, their skin just barely darker than the cloth. Their hair, their eyes, their smiles...All was just as I remembered.
"Xenobia!" they called again, this time in unison.
A smile of pure joy spread across my face as I broke into a run, sprinting toward the bridge, toward the gates to my Heaven, toward the only people who'd ever mattered to me.
I was almost there. Soon, I'd be where I'd wanted to be for so long now, with the men I'd wanted to be with so badly. Soon. They were so close, now...So close...
I was on the bridge, barely three yards from those shining silver gates. My feet made no sound slapping against the dark brown boards.
But then, suddenly, I was falling, plummeting into darkness through a hole that had been broken in the bridge. I grabbed for the edge, but it was impossible to grasp. I fell and fell and fell, another joyful shout of my own name following me down...
Down into my Hell...
Where I'd be alone for all of eternity.