I walked into the concert hall with a sadistic smile on my face, my heart rate off the charts in anticipation of this lovely game of cat and mouse. My grin widened as I saw the trail of blood which had been spilled on the ground where I walked. What a dashing contrast blood was against the timeless, white marble of the hall's large expanse of floor. That wounded, beautifully bleeding girl was limping around here somewhere in her desperate attempts to be rid of me.

Oh, I revel in hunts like these; the kinds of hunts where the chasing is almost as exhilarating as the kill itself. A feeling this sublime, for me, couldn't be attained any other way. Just the pure release of madness that ensues shortly after the first drop of blood is drawn is enough to keep me going for hours. The only real satisfaction I am ever able to obtain is from the feeling of a clean, shiny blade plunging into the untainted skin of a helpless victim who's screaming in agony. And, on this most joyous of nights, I am going to get that climax tenfold.

"Mmmm," I took a deep breath and chuckled, my voice echoing around the cavernous labyrinth. "I can smell your fear," I nearly whispered as I licked my lips and began humming a cheery, upbeat tune. By chance, I heard her sobbing grow louder before it was muffled by something—her hand perhaps. Blissfully, I pictured her shivering figure, hand clasped over trembling lips, eyes wide with terror, the tears frantically flowing.

"Why, of all places, did you run inside of a concert hall, hm? After hours, completely vacant... you've closed yourself in with me." I chuckled again and her whimpering became louder and louder, until, I assumed, she just didn't care anymore—she had finally given up and resigned herself to her fate.

"Stop toying with me! What do you want?" The distress and misery in her voice was excellent—just enough fear accompanied by just enough shock to compliment it. I heard her nails scratch across the floor as she frantically crawled further down the hallway of which I was about to turn the corner.

"What fun would I have then, hmm?" I inhaled deeply and shut my eyes. Ah, that sweet, pungent odor aroma of blood and sweat; I was trapped in a moment consumed by pure ecstasy. "This is so sublime," I moaned.

"Just kill me," her sobs nearly made her speech completely incomprehensible, but I deciphered it nonetheless.

"Kill you? Now?" I erupted into such a bought of laughter I couldn't control myself. "I would never do such a terrible thing, my sweet," I said when I had recovered. "I'm free all night, and you have the pleasure of being my object of passion this evening."

I took my time as I prowled down the rest of the hallway and looked around the corner to find my star performer sprawled on the floor, clutching at her bleeding chest. Had I not stopped myself, I would have let go right there with my pleasure—but, I kept reminding myself, tonight is a special one.

Her had lazily turned in my direction, "why?" The tears in her eyes—which had mostly begun to dry—began falling anew and she coughed blood into her hand.

My head cocked to the side, "'Why?' Because I want to. I want you screaming in agony because of me and I want the blood of your being to soak my shirt through to the skin." My lips curled over my toothy grin and the girl whimpered to herself, devoid of wit. She attempted, rather pathetically, to crawl backwards away from me.

I knelt down next to her body, which shook with the effects of labored breathing, and I watched as her bosom rose and fell each time more raggedly than the last. The difficulty with which it took to inflate her lungs was only increasing. But I knew better than to believe she was dying—simple little puncture wounds in your chest certainly won't kill you. She was taken with a sudden coughing fit and I suppressed my joy as fresh, glittering blood spilled from her lacerations.

"My dear," I said, pulling her into my lap, "you are an exceptional beauty. I don't come across such talented young women as yourself everyday, I hope you know." I sighed. "You're a special wonder I've simply had the pleasure of coming across. Think of it, lucky me." Smiling, I looked down into her frightened eyes and saw her pain. It was in the tears which ran over her cheeks and it was in the tiny whimpers collecting at the back of her throat.

Acting on impulse, if nothing else, I bent over her face and liked at one of her tears, whispering, "don't cry, my dear. It isn't that bad, I'm not going to kill you."

She went rigid and asked, puzzled, "you aren't?" The girl began to smile with a lazy, tired twist to her otherwise pristine lips.

"Of course not. Whether you live or die is up to you."

At that moment she laughed with an empty joy and then fell silent. "There's a catch," she whispered in defeat, her face stark white.

"Isn't there always? You can't honestly expect to just be given everything, now can you?" I felt the warm blood of her wounds start to soak into my shirt and I let my head fall back. Oh, not yet. Don't torment me just yet, Elixir. Let the euphoria last a few moments longer, until she gives in, please? I was able to turn my attention back to the girl in my lap for, what I surmised, would be a brief few minutes.

"I'm going to die... Its impossible..." Her eyes shut gently and she slumped into me.

"And why do you think you're weak? Because of some blood loss?" When she didn't answer, I felt a flare of anger—I felt it creep up inside of my heart like a serpent into a dark crevice. "Answer me," I growled, squeezing her forearm. The moment I realized she wasn't going to stir, I fished a switchblade out of my pocket and snapped it open. If you're bluffing, I will find out, sweetheart. Lifting her left hand, I drove the knife through it and pinioned her to the wall she sat against. As expected, she screamed.

"There we go! See, you were only unconscious. The easiest thing you could do would be to give in, but I hope you're stronger than that." She answered by summoning what little strength she could muster, and she spat in my face. I answered by stabbing her other hand into the wall with another switchblade. Amused by her piercing screech of pain, I intently watched the blood ooze from the blade in her right hand. "Did I tell you how beautiful you are?"

Her sweaty hair hung in her face as her dark eyes stared in my direction. "Go to Hell," was her only response.

I laughed richly and nestled myself between her outspread legs while I concentrated on the staring contest in which we were currently engaged, and the blood which began to trickle from the corner of her mouth. "No I'm not. I haven't sinned because I don't kill my victims—they kill themselves. All you have to do is persevere. Endure it, and you'll live. Give in... and you die. Become stronger, or commit suicide." Using another blade from my coat pocket, I started to cut the buttons from her shirt. "Its your choice."

"And if I choose to die?" Her shirt hung open and I could see the gashes in the center of her chest, her delicate, lacy bra nearly shredded to ribbons in the middle.

"Well," I started, entranced by the design I was tracing across the tops of her breasts with the knife's blade, taking desperate pains not to lose it and stab her yet. "You commit a sin and go to Hell."

"Then I'll go, and you know what?"

"Hmm?"

"I am going to wait for you down there. And when you get there, I'm going to-"

"Shut up!" I bellowed, pressing the knife's tip into her delicate throat.

When she began cursing me, berating me for my endeavors, screaming about how she would meet me in Hell, I began to see red. I plunged the knife into her chest and felt the blade hit her heart, each beat of the heart sending a shock wave, absorbed by the blade, radiating into the handle which I grasped. The Elixir made its long-awaited appearance and I cried tears of joy and relief. By now, my hands were sticky, red monsters ready to devour everything in sight and reach, everything the girl's body offered. Overcome with my frenzied euphoria I lapped at her blood until it ran down my chin and soaked my clothes.

"Your blood..." I moaned. Her pain was my pleasure and while she had enough of it, it was my privilege to bask in it and take what I could with greedy, monstrous hands. Villainous hands.

I'd been licking the blood from her chest so long that I hadn't realized two things; the blood was already cold and she was no longer breathing. Snarling, I checked her pulse. What a fucking waste. You couldn't last a little longer? Damn you to Hell, sinner. I took a moment to peer into her exquisite, dead eyes—I saw nothing. No happiness, no fear, no pleasure, no pain. As sickening as it nearly was, I felt cheated and betrayed.

You failed me... And I don't even know your name. Laughing to myself, I reached over to her and shut her eyes so she might have some peace in death. Then I leaned in and kissed her open mouth, lingering for moments too long on her bloody, pleasantly cool lips.

Hesitating was something I was neither proud nor fond of, so I stood up sharply and fixed my clothes in a presentable ensemble. What's so presentable about blood? Do you say it out of mockery because you're a sadist and you wear your victim's life on your sleeve as if it were nothing more than a cheap, crimson bracelet?

I chuckled emptily at the sick metaphor. Lives and bracelets: exactly the same. They're easy to make and just as easy to destroy. Some have charms and others are plain. Most have a flimsy core and all of them have twisted knots. A bracelet, that was all the dead girl on the concert hall floor would amount to.

And yet I couldn't remove her from my thoughts. Usually, a victim was forgotten as soon as they finished themselves off—which could take hours—but they never burn out as quickly as the one this night, never. The moment their blood touched me, I was indifferent I was indifferent and it was all just a game to me—they were the dealer and I was willing and obliged to participate.

A bracelet...


I waled out of the concert hall in a very different mood than the one with which I had entered. Gone were my spasms of elation, gone was the treacherous young girl... Gone was a small part of me.

What? Because of some girl you didn't even know? I smirked to myself. I had a point. How much could a stranger possibly effect someone with a mind as deranged and mangled as mine? What effect does anything have?

At the end of the street, I observed a traveling kiosk lit by a single oil lamp blowing gently in the breeze. A small, portly man stood on the other side, asking me if I was interested in his wares. Disinterestedly, I walked up to the counter and peered at the iridescent jewelry which hung from tiny hooks. Then, something caught my eye and, in a trance-like state, I reached into my pocket for a few coins. Not taking my eyes off of it, I handed the man my money and pointed towards the object. "That one..." After placing the coins into the gentleman's hand, I pocketed my prize and walked away, off into the heavy mist of the oncoming evening, fingering a beautiful, cheap, crimson bracelet.

~x~