Chapter 1 (Taster)
Crouched low on a building's edge, Kaynan's glowing eyes swept across the crowds below; taking in every face as he searched for one of his enemies, one of the Volbloed's.
Tonight was like any other night. The dimly lit streets were filled with intoxicated humans and the stale stench of urine and vomit clung to the back of his throat as he fought not to gag but something was different, something felt different.
Though Kaynan's heart had always beat, his chest felt tight as if the pumping vessel inside him was somehow bigger; stronger and dare he say it, beating for a reason. As a vampire, his eyesight had always been like that of a wild predator but tonight it seemed sharper and the flames that engulfed his irises burned with an intensity he had never felt before.
The stories of his kind echoed in his ears but with a sharp, frustrated shrug he silenced them focusing his sights back on the rowdy crowds below. Tonight’s mission was too important to waste on folklore... even if they were true.
As a Rebel vampire and a highly ranked member of the Order Kaynan had sworn his life to the cause - the complete and total destruction of the Volbloed immortal faction. On the night his mother, father, and brother were slaughtered by them in cold blood along with the majority of the Rebel vampires, Kaynan had stormed into the Orders sanctum, heavily wounded from the lost battle and soaked in his enemy’s blood demanding to become a warrior of the cause. He had given his life that day and to give your life as a vampire is to give forever.
Sharply reminded of his vow, with an intense, heated stare he scanned the growing crowd fiercely attempting to keep his focus on his mission but his otherworldly instinct seemed to whisper in the back of his mind, forcing his body to work on its own accord. She's here, it whispered and with a bitter, frustrated snarl again he attempted to refocus on his mission.
The Order had received word that a blood party was to be hosted within the vicinity, a sick, disgusting party thrown by the Volbloed’s where humans would be compelled to join them and after a night of terrifying torturous games they would be slaughtered, one by one, drained dry until not a drop of blood remained.
Tonight’s mission was too important to waste on folklore.
Kaynan locked his sights onto a group of giggling females that had just stumbled out of one of the bars knowing they would be the perfect prey for the Volbloed’s but his focus was again lost when his trouser pocket began to buzz.
“What?!” he snapped after roughly yanking out his phone.
He listened as Angelous - the leader of the Rebel vampires - released an annoyed exhale of breath on the other end of the line before asking, “Any luck?”
The flames that engulfed Kaynan’s dark brown irises spat with irritation.
“No, and I’m not likely to have any if I keep on having to turn my concentration to my damn phone.”
“Watch it, boy.” Angelous snarled. “Remember your rank.”
Kaynan’s fang pierced his bottom lip as he bit back the words about to leave his mouth. Angelous was not a vampire to be messed with and as the leader of the Rebels, he demanded respect at all times. Though highly ranked, Kaynan knew his place.
“No activity as of yet.” He reported, mentally sealing a lid on his simmering anger.
“Noted. If the Volbloed’s were planning something tonight they would have struck by now, There’s only a few hours until daylight left so bring yourself back to the compound and brief me once you’re in.”
Clicking off the connection Kaynan roughly shoved his phone back into his pocket. Now tonight’s mission was over, there was nothing to distract him from the tug he felt inside him, the instinctual pull he felt towards… her.
Standing up to his full height of seven foot Kaynan thought back to the stories he was told as a boy, stories even now, all immortals tell to themselves and each other. The stories of their mates.
It is said that each immortal is given by the God’s one mate, one other being to be called theirs for eternity. As so few have managed to have found their ‘mates’ to most, the stories are just that… stories, though each immortal who claims to have found their fated fights ferociously for what they know to be true¸ that they are two halves of one soul.
For vampires, the mating process is said to be the most intense feeling imaginable. It is said that when one’s mate is nearby they can sense it and the flames that ignite their irises when feeling emotion burn with an intensity never felt before and even the most controlled of the vampire kind cannot extinguish them until their mate is claimed.
Kaynan’s fire was still burning.
It is said that each of their otherworldly instincts is heightened for the sole purpose of tracking their fated and with each passing moment their mate goes unclaimed all rationality and control fades; in the end, nothing else mattering than being the one to claim what is theirs.
Kaynan’s flaming stare locked onto the drunken group of girls below. Could she be one of them? He thought, then with a snarl he quickly shrugged it off. He didn’t believe in the stories so why would he think such a thing?
If anything, the one thing Kaynan did believe was that all immortal beings were cursed, destined to live forever; fighting eternal wars and seemingly endless battles, so the thought of the Gods blessing them with a mate, someone to call theirs forever seemed improbable.
In Kaynan’s mind, the loneliness that comes with immortality was all part of the curse placed upon them.
Watching the humans below he couldn’t help but admit that in some ways, he envied them. He envied that death was a natural occurrence for them and didn’t need to be forced by beheading or removing the heart like it did for immortals. Though, after centuries of watching and protecting their kind, in more ways he had begun to pity them.
With such short life spans he had expected the humans to make the most of the little time they had but instead, he had watched as each one wasted the years they had been given. Working almost more hours than the days give, warring over religion and unsustainable resources like fuel and since the immortals moved into their realm to most, the humans were nothing but food and play things.
Yes, Kaynan had pitied the humans for wasting their years but in his seven centuries had he done much better?
He’d been born into the war against the Volbloed’s and for as long as he could remember he’d fought that war with every part of his being. But now, as Kaynan stood on the rooftop staring down into the busy city streets with his vampire instincts desperately trying to pull him towards something, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was anything more than the never-ending conflict that had taken over his immortal life.
Before risking falling too deep into his thoughts Kaynan squatted then leapt off of the six story apartment building landing gracefully on the streets below, out of sight from the drunken party goers.
The pull of his instincts was strong but he had decided long ago that his vow to the Rebels and the Order was his everything and with that last thought he stormed off down the dark city back streets determined that no matter what it took, he was going to fight the pull that was slowly but surely beginning to torture him.
Laughter and the sound of clinking bottles carried through Selena’s partially open window along with the cool October night breeze.
For hours she’d sat, yet again prowling the internet for possible sightings of the supernatural but like all other nights, any leads she’d felt were worth looking into had proved to be nothing but haunting scams and gothic fetishes.
She knew her fixation with the paranormal had become a problem, as she’d been told so many times by her best friend Charlie, but if he’d been through what she had he’d understand that this is something that she couldn’t just let go.
After typing the last few words into her blog, Selena allowed her head to lull back in her chair causing her long black waves to cascade down the back.
There has to be something. She thought, staring up at her ceiling with her emerald eyes glistening with emotion. I know they’re out there; they’ve got to slip up sometime.
Sluggishly Selena lifted her legs onto the corner of her desk and lazed back, sinking into the leather. Almost all her life she’d spent chasing –hunting- all things supernatural and even though she was still no closer to finding the answers she so desperately craved she wasn’t ready to just give it all up. She had to keep looking, she had to… for them.
In the short twenty-five years, Selena had been on this Earth, she had become somewhat of an expert in all things ‘fairy-tale’ as Charlie would mockingly put it. She knew all there was to know about ghosts, vampires, werewolves; even witches, wizards, and demons but one blog, three thousand followers later and years of relentless searching she was still no closer to the answers she needed.
With her eyes closed and her slender hands knitted behind her head, she thought back, as she often did to the night that sparked her tiresome obsession and in turn set the course of her life: The night of her parent’s murder. To this day she still heard their screams and saw the fear in their eyes as they took their last breath, and to this day she still remembered the sick, blood soaked grin of their killer…
The smash of glass followed by a chorus of cheers from the bar below yanked her from her thoughts and with a disconsolate sigh she pulled herself from the comfort of her chair and moseyed towards her window, wrapping her oversized cardigan tighter as the winter breeze sent an icy chill throughout the room.
To most, the view from Selena’s apartment was less than envied, but in a strange way, she found the constant noise and dank, decrepit scenery quite soothing. Even now, as she looked out over the dingy back streets and watched as people stumbled from one bar the other she felt a calm take her over; almost like the darkness was the one place she truly belonged.
Using one arm to lock her cardigan in place she reached out with the other to tug the old, wood framed window shut but as her fingers clasped the timeworn handle she gasped with horror when a man suddenly leapt from the top of the neighbouring apartment building. Though she desperately wanted to turn away, knowing the sight of the man’s body on the ground would be one she could never unsee; her eyes remained wide with shock because instead of falling to his death he landed gracefully on the street below before standing and walking off, disappearing into the shadows.
Selena’s entire body was trembling. How could that be? That building was six stories high, there was no way a person could survive that, and if they did, walk away from it unscathed? Her chest was near exploding from the rapid thuds of her thundering heart and the room suddenly began to spin. Could this be what she’d been searching for, could the falling man be her answer?
Without a second thought, Selena ran for her front door, donning her trainers and throwing her camera strap around her neck. She’d waited nineteen years for this moment and there was no way she was going to let it slip through her fingers.
Her footsteps echoed as she raced down the communal stairs and out onto the dimly lit street. Her head was racing, her heart pounding in her chest and her palms sweating with anticipation. She had to find him, she had to know that what she saw was real…