Vampire Dancing, page 24
Amber spots her jacket and purse where she left them. The first thing she does is open the purse, take out her compact mirror and look into it.
“Jesus,” she mutters at the sight of her reflection.
“It's not nice to take the Lord's name in vain.”
Amber drops the mirror at the sound of the unexpected voice. It cracks down the middle. She recognizes the figure standing at the other end of the aisle.
Hadn't Michael killed this person - or thing?
Shirtless Jason Wiley saunters along the aisle. He scratches the five inch scar that has knitted over the area where his heart was pierced by a broken length of handrail. He's still wearing his crucifix, and carries an automatic rifle in one hand. The area around his missing right eye is drooping. There's blood encrusted around the empty socket.
Amber closes her purse and scoops up her jacket.
Wiley stops several feet from her. “Going somewhere?”
Amber offers Wiley a steely-eyed gaze. “You'd better believe I am.”
He raises the M4. “Are you now?”
Amber looks at the weapon. “You know how to use that thing?”
Wiley aims the rifle at her head. “You wanna find out?”
Amber decides this isn't an acceptable way to find out whether vital memories would remain intact after a skull full of lead. “What is it, exactly, that you want?”
“Oh, I dunno. What does any man want?”
Amber folds her arms. “Humor me.”
“I wanna fuck someone,” Wiley says.
“You could always go fuck yourself.”
“Ooh, we got ourselves a comedian. That's just what I need, because I'm in one foul mood, lady. Y'see, not only have I not gotten to fuck anyone so far tonight, but I, myself, got fucked good and proper. The only consolation being that the bitch that fucked me...” He raises a hand to his mutilated eye socket. “...got fucked over herself by someone.”
“It's been some fucking night,” Amber says.
“Y'see, there you go with the jokes again, like you're not takin' anything I'm sayin' seriously.” Wiley takes a step closer to Amber. "Well let me tell you, cunt, I'm the most serious fuckin' person you're likely to meet for the rest of your life.”
Amber bites her tongue. This person is seriously unhinged. And he smells like he's pissed himself.
"What's your name?" Wiley says.
“Because I need to know what to write on your fuckin' Christmas card. Now gimme your name.”
"You got a name like a stripper. I like it."
“Now,” Wiley says, “before we get down to business, I'd like you to fill me in ... on what happened here. Why all these bodies ... all this sweet weaponry?”
“I have no idea,” Amber says. “I had my head in a book.”
“So you just - what, sat on the train, readin' this book, didn't notice there was all these people runnin' around shooting guns and being killed by fuck knows what?”
“It was a riveting read.”
Wiley shakes his head. “See this smile? It doesn't mean I'm amused.” He claws at the scar on his chest again. “This is drivin' me crazy. Dunno how I got it. Last thing I remember was that weird monster bitch staring right into my face. I don't suppose you'd know anything about her?”
“Yeah, yeah, you were reading - you bitches and your fuckin' Fifty Shades.” He looks Amber up and down. “You're a bit rough, but I kinda like that.”
Amber's patience is starting to wear thin. “Are you going somewhere with all of this?”
“Take off your clothes,” Wiley says.
“You got mud in your ears?” Wiley reasserts his grip on the rifle. “Strip or die. I'm gonna fuck you either way.”
Amber puts down her jacket and raises her hands. “Look, can't we come to some sort of an-”
“A what? An agreement? You think I'm gonna settle for a hand job?”
“I was thinking more along the lines of if you leave right now I wont kill you.”
“I've had it with jokes,” Wiley says. “Now take your fuckin' clothes off. I won't tell you again.”
Amber can see she's running out of options. This person looks like a tightly coiled spring.
Reluctantly, she slips the straps of her dress off her shoulders.
“Oh, yeah,” Wiley says at the sight of Amber's black bra straps. “I can feel it rise to the occasion.”
Amber's about to remove her arms from the straps of her dress when Wiley says: “Stop.” He gazes hungrily at her. “I wanna remove it. Make the experience a little more intimate.”
Amber has to resist the urge to smile. She can't wait for him to come closer. Her mood changes, however, when she watches him reach behind his back and produce a pair of handcuffs. They must have been lifted from one of the Unicorn bodies. The steel is particularly strong looking. They're were undoubtedly purposely built to contain Michael, which means they'll certainly be capable of containing her.
“Aw, what's wrong?” Wiley says. “Run out of jokes? You don't look so fuckin' smug now.” He throws the bracelets to her. “Put them on.”
The handcuffs clatter to the floor before Amber's feet. “You do realize you wont be able to take off my dress if I put them on.”
“I'll cut it off. Now put them on, or so help me...”
Keeping her eyes on Wiley, Amber dips her knees and picks up the bracelets.
“Good girl. Now do as you're told.”
“You're a complete low life, d'you know that?”
Wiley snorts. “I've been called worse.”
Amber closes one of the bracelets around her left wrist. She pauses before securing the other one. “Let me guess. Your dad treated your mom like something stuck to the bottom of his shoe.”
“Hey, don't you talk about my fuckin' dad.”
“Why not? You hate him, right?”
“Hate him? I killed him - they way he treated my mom.”
Amber can't help but laugh.
“What's so funny? You think it's funny? We'll see if you find it funny when I fuck your head off.”
“That's what I'm finding funny,” Amber says. “The irony - that you obviously became him.”
Wiley's clenches his jaw. He looks like he wants to punch Amber in the face. It's precisely the move she wants him to make.
C'mon, you sick, perverted fuck. Do it.
Wiley simmers down. “Put on that other cuff or I swear I'll unload whatever ammo I got here into your head.”
“Okay, have it your way,” Amber says. “You obviously need your women like this.” She motions to secure her other wrist.
“Huh uh,” Wiley says. “Behind your back - and you can quit it with the head fuck dialogue.”
Amber hesitates. This changes everything. With her hands cuffed behind her back, in steel this strong, her chances of preventing him from assaulting her are significantly reduced.
“Screw this,” Wiley says. His finger twitches on the rifle trigger.
“Okay, I'm doing it!" Amber says. She puts her hands behind her back and clicks the second bracelet shut.
Wiley puts the weapon down on the seat next to him and approaches Amber. "Looks like this night won't have been for nuthin after all."
Amber looks straight into Wiley's face. “I don't know how you're still alive, but you're a spineless scumbag, and I'm going to kill you.”
“I told you to shut up!” Wiley squeezes the sides of Amber's jaw. “Whoa, that's quite some teeth you got there. You look like a fuckin' vampire. I wouldn't let you suck me off if you paid me.” He releases her and unclips the belt from his waist. “Gonna have to shut you up and make sure you can't use those.”
Amber watches the belt slide from the hoops on Wiley's pants. “You're seriously not going to gag me with that.”
“As a matter of fact, I am.”
“You misunderstand,” Amber says. “I wasn't asking y
“Oh yeah? And why's that?”
“Because you never checked to see if I'd actually cuffed my other wrist.”
Wiley's jaw goes slack at the realization of his error. Before he can attempt to rectify his mistake, Amber stabs the index and middle fingers of her right hand into his neck.
He drops the belt.
Amber pulls her fingernails out of Wiley's neck. The subsequent arterial spray tells her she struck perfectly.
Wiley slams his left hand over the wound and stumbles to the side. Blood spurts from between his fingers. He looks at Amber with incredulity. “You fuckin' bitch.”
Amber hurries round to the back of Wiley. His legs are faltering and his right arm is flailing around. She holds onto the waist of his pants to keep him steady and goes through his pockets. She has to get the cuffs off; wont feel safe until she does. She finds a small set of keys along with a switchblade in his right rear pocket. She drops the knife to the floor - it clicks open - and sets about releasing herself.
Just then, Wiley stands completely motionless. His hand falls away from his neck. There's no blood spray or visible leakage of any kind from his wound.
Amber drops the handcuffs and cautiously circles Wiley. When she gets near the front of him, she sees something which causes her heart to hammer against the wall of her chest: a single black eye with a yellow elliptical pupil.
Devinniel looks at Amber. “Do you know yet why you have to die?”
Devinniel's voice sends chills down Amber's spine. It's as menacing as ever, but deeper in tone because it's emanating from the body of the scumbag.
“You fall in love with Levagnion,” Devinniel concludes.
Amber shakes her head. “That's ridiculous. I've only just met him.” Despite her words, she knows it isn't ridiculous at all. While it's true she can't be in love with Michael, there's no denying he ticks all the right boxes, and, given a little time, there's no telling what might happen.
Devinniel lunges unexpectedly for Amber. It grabs her by the hair and, ignoring her outcry, moves quickly and with purpose towards the end of the aisle.
Amber tries to free her hair, but it's no use, Devinniel's grip is too strong. She has no other option but to run behind it.
Reaching the end of the aisle, Devinniel crashes Amber's head through one of the windows on the door.
Amber sinks to the floor of the car. A moan escapes her lips. Everything is spinning and there's stars before her eyes. She looks up. Devinniel is standing over her, sneering. It raises its right hand above its head and spreads its long, razor sharp nails.
Amber lifts a hand to defend herself, then realizes there's no point. She can't fight this thing. She drops her arm and begins to laugh.
Devinniel cocks its head to one side.
Amber looks Devinniel in the eye and says: “Fuck you.”
Suddenly, a metal bar protrudes violently from the center of Devinniel's chest. Its mouth opens wide and a hissing sound escapes its throat. It looks at Amber through its one glaring eye, then drops … revealing Michael and Wendy.
“This time I won't pull it out,” Michael says.
Amber’s heart pounds with the excitement of seeing Michael again. Right now, this is the most beautiful looking man in the World.
Michael extends a hand to Amber. “It's okay, it's all-”
The sound of a single gunshot report fills the car.
Wendy releases a startled cry.
Michael jerks at the sensation of a bullet sinking into his upper back, just left of his spine.
Amber cries Michael's name and gets quickly to her feet.
There's a second gunshot.
Wendy's head snaps to the side and she collapses.
Overcome with rage, Michael spins. He locks eyes with the shooter.
It is you.
Areon Fae looks coldly at Michael.
Michael starts for him, but is stopped by an intense pressure at the front of his skull. He grabs onto a nearby handrail. Droplets of blood fall from his nose. He wipes the blood away and shakes his head.
Amber turns from Wendy's lifeless body. The shooter is aiming straight at her. Disregarding the threat, she cries, “I'll kill you!” and breaks into a sprint.
With no measurable hint of concern, Areon Fae fires his weapon.
A gasp escapes Amber's lips and she goes down.
Michael calls Amber's name and pushes himself from the handrail. He makes for her, but the pressure in his head is too overpowering. He sinks to his knees.
Amber lifts her head. Hair spills in front of her face. Through the strands, she watches the man in the trench coat leave the train through one of the exterior doors. It's then that she feels the pain in her right foot - the same unpleasant sensation that brought her to the floor in the first place. She looks back and sees the scumbag's switchblade lying open at her feet. There's blood on the steel. She obviously stepped on it in her blind haste and injured herself. The man with the gun must have thought he'd shot her.
Getting up, she says: “Come on, we can still catch him.” She looks round at Michael. It's then that she realizes something is terribly wrong. “Michael?”
Michael wipes his nose again. It's bleeding profusely now. He looks at Amber, confused, then collapses.
Amber hurries to Michael's side. She can't believe what she's seeing. After all they've been through ... it's just a single gunshot wound. She carefully lifts his head onto her lap and glances over at Wendy. The girl was killed by a single bullet to the head. But she wasn't the only one killed: she was pregnant.
A wave of nausea hits Amber. What the hell just happened here?
Michael coughs up blood.
“It's okay, I got you.” Amber lifts an arm and prepares to cut herself for Michael to drink, but he reaches up and takes hold of her hand, preventing her from making the incision. “What are you doing? I have to.” He squeezes her hand tighter. “Michael- I don't understand.”
But she does understand. Michael clearly wasn't shot with a regular bullet. It was obviously something specially created to kill their kind. He's hemorrhaging at a remarkable rate, and losing blood faster than he could ever possibly hope to ingest. A drop of blood runs from the corner of his left eye. She wipes it away. It's then that she notices blood oozing out of his right ear. She swallows the growing lump in her throat and strokes his head.
Michael looks deep into Amber's eyes and desperately tries to convey something.
“What is it?” she says, and leans closer.
He tries to speak, but the only thing that makes it past his lips is blood.
“Don't try to talk." She clears the blood from around his mouth with her thumb. Her hand is trembling. She can only imagine how badly he must be bleeding internally.
Devinniel's words - 'You fall in love with Levagnion' – return to the forefront of Amber's mind. She stares intently at Michael's face, and it's then that she sees it: something significantly more profound than the initial stages of a forming relationship.
He is in love with her.
Amber opens her mouth to tell Michael she feels the same way, then stops herself. She isn't in love with him, and doesn't want the last thing he hears to be a lie. She squeezes his hand; knows it won't be long now. Her eyes fill with tears.
Michael swallows and attempts to verbally communicate one last thing to Amber. Despite her mild protestations, he is successful, and a solitary word passes his lips: “Verestanias.”
Amber shakes her head. “I- what is Verestanias?”
Michael reaches up with his other hand and brushes the back of Amber's cheek. He regards her one last time, and then his hand falls away. A sigh emanates from deep within him and the muscles around his eyes and mouth relax, smoothing out his features. He is glowing and, finally, at rest.
Amber kisses Michael's forehead and begins to weep. She doesn't understand why her feelings towards him are g
A wave of energy surrounds her, causing her skin to prickle and the hairs on her arms to stand erect.
She hears the word - the same word Michael had spoken – whispered in her ear. She looks round and sees no one - believes she must be going mad - when she's struck by some sort of vision (and only when the vision is over, will she feel the crushing burden of what it is she has lost in the early hours of this new day).
She sees Michael. He's a passenger in the car she's driving. The day is bright, but not to the extent they're forced to remain indoors. The road ahead is long and winding. They're somewhere in Europe - Switzerland, she believes. Michael is wearing a bright t-shirt with a logo on the front. His hair is a bit messy, but she likes it that way. She smiles at him. He returns the gesture. She feels a warmth in the pit of her stomach.
Now they're standing on a wide balcony, below the late evening sky, overlooking a ripe and fertile landscape. There's a slight chill in the air. He's dressed in a gray hooded sweat top and frayed jeans. She puts her arms around him and kisses his lips. He opens his mouth for her. Tongues fleetingly brush against one another. She can feel the pound of his heart against her breast.
“I love you,” she whispers in his ear.
They hold hands and watch sun set below the horizon. The lush valley below is a magnificent burnt orange tint. Only moments remain before it is no more. She feels him squeeze her hand one last time. Like a final curtain drop, the sun dips below the horizon, bringing an end to a vision of what should have been.
One last impression ...
“I love you too,” he says softly.
Reset year 0000; Region 1, District 2
She stands on the edge of a high building, overlooking a pristine and perfectly organized world. The sky is overcast and the air is clean. All around her, office blocks built of glass and steel stretch into the heavens. Below, electric powered traffic, monitored and controlled by on-board computers, come and go in perfect synchronicity.