Dirk and Amy stumbled out of the club and into the intense New York night.
“So, where do you wanna do this?” Amy whispered into Dirk’s ear. “Your place or mine?”
Dirk knew he was in for a real treat tonight. It had been his roommates’ idea to go out to The Rock nightclub, but Dirk just wasn’t feeling the club scene on this particular evening. Besides, Tim and Jared had girlfriends. They would get some regardless. Dirk on the other hand would probably be stuck with another night in with his Jergens and Miss October. In the end, he knew he would give into his friends.
But that night at the club, after three hours of nursing Coronas, running his fingers through his shaggy, dark hair, and talking to various other losers without dates, he saw her, or maybe it had been her who saw something in him, because when Dirk looked up from his beer she was staring at him. He stared back, sure that he must have the wrong idea. This girl was way out of his league. Long, honey blond hair. Flawless skin. Beautiful lips. Everything that a guy like Dirk spent his nights dreaming about.
He shook back into reality as she stood up. The girl’s low cut burgundy top was teasing his imagination. Dirk thought he must have been dreaming. There was no way she was coming over to him.
“Hey,” she called out over the heavy beat of the song Dirk didn’t recognize. “What’s your name?” Her voice was mellow, but definitely confident.
“Umm…” he stammered. Tongue-tied idiot, he thought. Quickly, he found his balls. “Sorry, I’m Dirk. And you are?” He wanted to sound cool, but was sure he had failed.
She took another step toward him as she giggled. He caught her scent. It was better than the sweetest honey he had ever smelled and at the same time, he couldn’t help but think of jasmine as well. It turned him on. “Amy. Amy Lancaster,” she said.
Amy was a Theater major at NYU. She had a little apartment in the Village which she shared with her sister. She seemed to like Cosmos enough that she had four in less than an hour and she had been with the same guy for two years until he had recently decided to cheat on her with his math tutor. Dirk tried not to think of the words “revenge fuck” as she told him about this. He wanted to have fun tonight.
“So, where do you wanna do this?” Amy whispered into Dirk’s ear. “Your place or mine?”
“I’m not picky,” Dirk said coolly. “It sounds like your place is closer.”
Amy smiled. “Sure. Let’s go to my place. It’s only about ten minutes away. Can you handle walking?”
Dirk had pounded a few back after he began talking to Amy, hoping the she would reciprocate. “I think I can manage a ten minute stroll.” Amy grinned even more and stumbled forward.
Dirk barely noticed the walk. He didn’t think about what Jared and Tim would say when they noticed that he had left the club without them. He didn’t hear the combination of noises that flooded the busy New York City streets. He didn’t even care that he hadn’t bothered to grab a condom from the box that he had bought three years ago. All that mattered was that he would have the time of his life with this golden haired goddess who stumbled gracelessly beside him.
“It’s just through here,” Amy said, as she pointed toward a short alley between two apartment buildings. A man in a dark overcoat standing near the street took a long drag from a cigarette. Rusty fire escapes rose the five or so stories to the tops of the two brick buildings. A single lamp illuminated the center of the walkthrough. Dumpsters and trash cans on either side of the alley filled the air with a smell like ground coffee beans and rotten fruit mixing with steam from a nearby sewage vent. Dirk tried to focus on the sweet smell of his angelic date, but to no avail. He held his breath.
Amy slowly turned and smiled at Dirk and he couldn’t believe his fortune. Here, in the middle of this dark, New York alley, he knew that Lady Luck must be smiling down on him.
Then it all changed.
Dirk looked over to see that in an instant, the man in the dark overcoat had seemed to materialize between Amy and himself. He faced Dirk, no longer holding his cigarette. The black overcoat was unbuttoned, revealing an untucked, white silk dress shirt and black slacks. His smooth, pale skin sat in deep contrast to his long dark hair. Through the wavy locks, Dirk could make out the most brilliant green eyes he had ever seen and a curved scar on his right cheek. The man’s strong jaw tilted as his lips formed a tight smirk.
Without warning, he punched Dirk in the stomach with the force of a sledgehammer. Dirk felt his feet lift from the ground as the blow connected with a loud cracking noise. The stagnant air rushed past him as he soared through the darkness of the alley. His head hit something hard and metallic. Dirk collided with a dumpster some twelve feet from where his attacker stood, arm still outstretched in a striking position. Surely, Dirk knew, the attacker had broken one of his ribs. The stranger swiftly turned toward Amy. Her mouth hung open as she gazed into the eyes of the man. She shot Dirk a concerned glance and then returned to her fixation.
Run! Dirk shouted; or maybe he just thought it. He couldn’t be sure. His head felt cloudy as he sat against the dumpster. The last thing he noticed was the stranger pushing his mouth to Amy’s neck. Dirk heard the girl let out a frightened cry as he fell into blackness.
It was the sun that woke him. Or was it?
The bright street light above Dirk blinded him as he blinked into consciousness. He was still lying in the dark alley. No longer resting against the dumpster, Dirk was now propped up against a brick wall. Dirk checked his watch. The illuminated display read 10:07p.m.
Hadn’t he left the club with Amy around two? Had he really lain there all night? All day? Amy?! At that moment, he remembered the stranger. Where was Amy? What about their attacker?
Dirk jumped to his feet and tried to remember what had happened. We were walking to Amy’s apartment when someone attacked us and threw me against that dumpster. Dirk recalled the loud cracking sound in his ribs. Pulling up his t-shirt, he rubbed his side but felt nothing. No pain, no bruise, not even a bump. But how could that be? The force of the stranger’s attack had thrown him across the alley. Had he imagined that? Dirk thought back to the bar and tried to count his drinks.
That’s not important right now, he thought. Right now he needed to find out what had happened to Amy. She had said that they were close to her place when they had been interrupted by the stranger. Dirk glanced out of the alley, the opposite end from which he had entered, and saw a row of buildings – a laundromat and two nicer looking apartment buildings. He couldn’t be sure, butsome sense drew him the first housing unit on the right. Slowly, Dirk ambled out of the alley.
The first thing that seemed out of place was the sheer brightness that filled the night. The street lights seemed brighter than normal. But worse than that were the headlights on the cars. Dirk had installed LED headlights on his brother’s truck last year and recalled how much brighter they seemed than the normal ones. Tonight however, the vehicles’ luminescence seemed to tear at his retinas. Then there was the sound. Everything was sharper, more enhanced. Everything was louder, but Dirk could easily distinguish individual sounds. Across the street in an adjacent alley, a homeless man snored while a long city bus wailed its horn at an oblivious pedestrian.
It was then, staring at the Asain woman who had nearly been run over, that Dirk noticed something far more pleasant. He didn’t smell the fumes of the bus or the rot in the dumpsters behind him. Instead, he smelled something so sweet, so tempting that everything else was forgotten. Dirk locked his eyes on the woman. He watched her neck from the other side of the road. Her veins pulsed with her heartbeat. Boom, boom, boom, the sound echoed in his ears. Even this far away he could hear it. Dirk wanted her. He needed her. It would be quick. He would just rush across the street and…
A tall black kid in baggy clothes bumped into Dirk and broke his obsession. Dirk looked quickly between the boy and woman. Before the boy could say anything, Dirk ran, faster than he ever recalled running, across the street. He ripped open the door of the apartment building and rushed inside, slamming it behind him. The door shook violently on its hinges.
“What the hell was that?” Dirk whispered to himself. His voice sounded different. Raspy. Like he hadn’t had a drink in days. He then noticed a strange feeling in his stomach. It was like being both famished and parched. Dirk tried to focus on something else. Anything to distract him from what he knew he had nearly done…
Dirk took a deep breath and let the various scents of the room fill him. He quickly caught one that he recognized. The familiar scent of honey and jasmine. Amy. Not taking in the building around him, Dirk flew up the stairs to the third floor, where the smell was strongest. A single door on the left seemed to pull him in. He took another deep breath and sighed. Amy wasn’t here. He wasn’t sure how he knew, but he was positive. Maybe the woman inside (once again he wasn’t sure how he came to this conclusion) would know where to find her. Dirk knocked on the door.
A woman younger than Amy answered the door. She was unshowered and her green cotton blouse and blue jeans looked disheveled, slept in. She smelled vaguely familiar, like Amy, only different somehow. Perhaps a sister. “Hello”, the girl said quickly. “Are you the detective I spoke to on the phone?”
Dirk tried not to look at her neck as he answered. “Umm… no. Actually, I’m a friend of Amy’s. We met at a club the other night and…” Dirk considered his options and decided that lying might be the safer bet. “…She ditched me for a shady looking guy I didn’t know. I was wondering if she got home okay.”
“Oh. Well, no. She isn’t here. She went out to the club with some friends two nights ago and never came home. You said you met her there?”
Two nights ago?! Dirk couldn’t consider the implications of this as he began to notice the far more enticing scents the girl gave off. He tried to focus on her question. “Yeah. I thought we were having a good time, but then she took off with that other guy. She mentioned that she lived in this area and I thought I would check on her.” He parried her odd stare. “Oh, I live right down the street.” She smiled at that. “Is there anything I can do to help?”
The girl pondered that. Hope filled her eyes. Dirk could tell that she wanted to believe him. “Well, if you don’t mind sticking around, I could call the detective back and maybe he could get a statement from you. Could you give the police a description of the man Amy left with?”
Damn! “Well, actually…” And then it hit him. Hard. Harder than the woman on the street. He felt the same need as before. He could smell the warm, delicious scent. Before he could think the word, he knew what he wanted.
He tried to remain stoic, but his face must have given him away. “Are you alright?” the girl asked.
“Bathroom?” Dirk managed to force out. He couldn’t control it much longer.
“Oh, sure.” She hesitated before opening the door wider and stepping aside. Pointing into her apartment, she said, “It’s down the hall and to the left.”
Dirk smiled and tried to look calm as he walked through the door. He didn’t pay much attention to the sparsely decorated living room as he made a b-line for the bathroom. He barely heard the girl give her name, Rebecca, as he shut the door behind him, not bothering to turn on the light. He could make out everything clearly in the darkness.
That included his face. Even in the dark he could see the differences. While not as pale as the stranger he had encountered, Dirk could see that he was definitely a shade lighter than he had been the other night. Even more prominent were his eyes. His eyes had been blue before but now, they were so much brighter. More vivid. They were the brightest shade of blue he had ever seen. Then, he opened his mouth to see two unmistakable fangs.
And then it snapped. Everything clicked into place. The sensitivity to light. The heightened physical ability. The (he gulped at the thought) bloodlust. The stranger had been a…
“Are you ok?” Rebecca called out, rapping on the door.
“Umm… yeah. I’ll just be a minute.” Amy’s sister let out a barely audible sigh and walked away.
The shocking revelation had left him defenseless to the lure of the mouthwatering smell that leaked in from under the door. Without thinking, without even making a conscious choice, Dirk silently opened the door, slipped out of the room, and made his way down the hall.
Rebecca was sitting in the living room on a small loveseat with a blue rose print. A tiny lamp lit the room, dim even by Dirk’s standards. She was eyeing the small cell phone in her hand, but she gave no indication that she could hear Dirk’s stealthy approach.
Keeping to the shadows, Dirk eyed the girl’s slowly throbbing neck. He smiled. Nothing could keep him from what he wanted. He knew what was coming. This time however, he wasn’t afraid of the instincts which had taken over. Instead, he was filled with the feeling that soon, he would have everything. His grin pulled back into a ferocious snarl as he leapt out of the shadows toward his helpless prey.
Written by RaydiantWon