They pulled up across the street from the museum and Shane cut the ignition. They both watched a man leave, assuming correctly he was a nightwatchman of some sort. All the lights were out in the museum with the exception of a few near the back. She looked at Shane.
“And that is our cue.” Shane stated. He was out of the car and across the street in moments, Carmen right behind him by seconds. It was rare when she got to exercise her powers this way and she was grinning devilishly as they scaled up the side of the building and onto the roof. Shane unlocked one of the windows and went inside, crawling across the ceiling before dropping to the floor, making a slight noise as he did.
“Amateur.” Carmen whispered, amused as she copied his movements, her landing a bit more silent then his. She smirked at him as she pointed to her soft-soled sneakers.
“Isn’t this fun?” Shane grinned. She rolled her eyes at him.
“All right, Indy. Lead on.” she threaded his arm through his as he shined the flashlight around. They had ended up in the Wild West exhibit. “So…which way to Egypt?” she wondered. He turned and lead her down the nearby stairs where she could see the Egyptian exhibit at the end of the hall.
Suddenly a bright light came from the other end and they froze in their tracks.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” a female voice asked. Carmen could practically taste the woman’s fear and her eyes began to bleed red.
“Oh, she smells heavenly.” she hissed to her husband. “May I keep her?” The Queen was starting to come out and she was hungry.
From the darkened end of the hall, the young archaeologist could just make out the outlines of two people that were standing near the start of the Egyptian exhibit. No one was supposed to be in the building aside from herself and the night guard, and Candy instantly thought that these were burglars. But why people wanted to steal artifacts was beyond her. Her right hand that held the torch shook violently, as fear swept through her.
“Who are you? What are you doing in the Museum after hours?” Not exactly the smartest thing to be asking, but it was all Candy could come up with.
Shane heard the delicious hiss of his Queen who was awakening within from the scent of fear that the young girl gave off. His eyes flickered towards her as he too could smell the girl’s fear. “Oh, she smells heavenly.” Shane couldn’t agree more, but he remembered they were there to get answers about the scroll and the box, not feed. He was about to speak, when Carmen asked.
“May I keep her?”
The young archaeologist heard this and started to back up. “I’m going to call the cops!”
Shane hissed angrily and with great speed flew across the length of the hall and seized the girl by the throat, her torch clattering to the tiled floor. His nails sunk into her neck, as his head turned ever so slowly. “That…wouldn’t be a good idea.” He then turned and held out the girl for his Queen, almost presenting her to her for feeding. “She’s even more delicious up close, my Love.” The Vampire then licked the girl’s cheek before closing his eyes and letting out a sensual growl. Candy shuddered with fear as her eyes were now opened wide, the whites clear as day. “We have use for you….but first, you must feed our Queen.”
Vlad was standing in front of the fireplace, staring into the flames when Emilia and Rheksas returned from their outing. He was silent for the longest time, almost as if he didn’t know they were there. Oh he knew they were there. He always knew when his Generals were near. They knew not to interrupt his thoughts and were forced to wait.
The silence was oppressive to one not used to such long silences.
After about 10 minutes, he finally turned away from the flames and the expression on his face did not bode well. He looked at Emilia first.
“Isabella is in this town, somewhere. Find her. I believe she has something that belongs to me and I want it returned. You will deliver my message…by any means necessary.” he emphasized the last four words with a glare that would melt steel, leaving no doubt what kind of message he wanted Isabella to receive. “Go, now, before sunrise.”
Easily dismissing her, he turned to Rheksas, slipping a photograph from the pocket of his suit jacket. He handed it to the dark skinned vampire.
“And you, my cagey friend, are going to find out everything you can about the woman in this picture.” he was pointing to the brunette. “Her name is Carmen. I want to know everything there is to know about her. Who she is, where she works, her family, her friends. Everything.” Vlad demanded. “Do not disappoint me in this, Rheksas.”
Museum, Outside Egyptian Exhibit
Candy finally saw them and Shane was across the room and at her throat in an instant. Candy’s eyes widened in fear and she struggled to remove Shane’s hand from her throat. He didn’t pay any attention to the struggling woman, looking instead at Carmen, who was slowly walking down the hall, eyes on the rapidly beating pulse point at Candy’s throat.
She moved in next to Shane, her body pressed against his as she ran her fingers over Candy’s skin.
“We could use her, darling.” Carmen hissed. “I won’t kill her.” Carmen bent and sniffed at Candy’s neck, moaning in delight at the smell. She brought her head back and caught Candy’s eyes with her own. “You have nothing to fear.” she whispered, her voice hypnotic. “Just give in…you know you want to. I can make all your fears disappear. You will never have need for another thing ever again. I will take care of you as if you were my own.” Carmen’s voice was very soothing and hypnotic and she could see it was having an effect on the young museum curator. Candy’s eyes glazed over as she began to fall under Carmen’s spell. “That’s it…just let yourself go…you will never fear again…yessss….” Carmen bent toward Candy as the woman slowly tilted her head back. Carmen licked at the thick vein, bringing the blood to the surface before she bit into the woman’s skin. Candy let out a gasp of surprise before her eyes slipped closed, giving in to Carmen without the slightest protest. Carmen drank deeply, monitoring the young girl’s heartbeat and pulse. As she drank, the spirit that had been lurking nearby saw her chance and moved quickly, sinking herself into Carmen as she was at her weakest when she was feeding. Carmen’s skin rippled as the new presence slowly began to take over and she moaned as she got her first taste of blood in several thousand years. Carmen, sensing that her body was no longer under her control, tried her hardest to get back to herself but the unknown entity was much stronger then she and she was relegated to the farthest reaches of her mind, locked away from her husband’s thoughts before she could warn him.
“I am…freeeeeee….” she heard the Other’s voice exclaim just before she was locked away.
The eyes snapped open and for a moment, they were a stunning blue before Carmen’s normal brown bled back into them, unknown to Shane. The Other slowly withdrew from Candy, letting the unconscious woman slip from her arms to the floor as she licked her lips with a slight moan.
“You shall be my servant in this world.” she whispered, letting the words sink into Candy’s subconscious. She suddenly remembered the man Carmen had arrived with and looked through the woman’s memories for his name. Shane. Her mate.
“Weakling.” she mentally scowled. Plastering a pleased look upon her face, The Other looked at Shane. “She shall do. Let us continue our quest.”
Standing in the foreground, Emilia and Rheksas awaited their orders from the Count. As usual, he was deep in thought and kept them waiting, probably on purpose. Emilia stood stoically with her hands at her sides, while Rheksas had his arms folded over, his face rigid like stone. There was no warm greetings, no expectations of acknowledgement till the Count was ready to speak. Minutes seemed much longer as the only sound was the crackle and pop of the kindling on the fire place. Emilia knew something was up, as the message they had received to come back to the manor at once was rushed almost. Her steel blue eyes kept on the ground in front of her, till finally he turned.
The Count’s face was one that showed he was clearly angered by his finds, and now set the tasks to each in turn. First, Emilia.
“Isabella is in this town, somewhere. Find her. I believe she has something that belongs to me and I want it returned. You will deliver my message…by any means necessary.”
~Isabella?~ Emilia thought. That name was one that she had long since forgotten. Her misdeeds against the Count were well known. An ancient in this part of the world. The Count was certain that Isabella had something that belonged to him and he wanted it back. No if’s no buts. The tricky part would be in doing all this – finding her and then delivering the message before sunrise. It was a dangerous task considering the time of night. Rheksas glanced at her as though she was hesitating to respond. For a moment, she did but then gathered herself and simply nodded, before walking out of the room briskly.
This left Rheksas alone with the Count, who now was ready to give over the next set of instructions.
“And you, my cagey friend, are going to find out everything you can about the woman in this picture.”
Rheksas took the picture in his right hand and studied it for a moment, before returning his gaze to the Count.
“Her name is Carmen. I want to know everything there is to know about her. Who she is, where she works, her family, her friends. Everything.” The General gave a very curt nod coupled with a grunt. But the Count cemented his intention…with a threat.
“Do not disappoint me in this, Rheksas.”
“I shall not fail, M’lord.” The gruff man said, before bowing and placing the photograph into his jacket pocket and heading out of the den. Now both Generals were on separate missions. Question was, who would come back with what the Count wanted?
Outside the Manor
Both Rheksas and Emilia met up again as they were now about to head in separate directions. Rheksas had the keys to the truck, while Emilia simply stared out at the grounds with her arms folded. There was a pained look in her eyes, which stopped Rheksas from getting on with the job.
“What are you waiting for? You don’t have much time.” Rheksas was talking about the night hours, and Emilia knew the risks. She had seen the wine splattered painting in the den and it had made an impact on her. In the worst way. What did this woman have that Emilia didn’t? Aside from the artifact which was clearly what the Count wanted back. It was then that Rheksas showed Emilia the photograph of Carmen to her. Probably the worst thing he could have done.
“Who is that?” Emilia asked as Rheksas as he pocketed it again.
“The woman I have been told to find out about. And more.”
Another woman? Emilia closed her eyes tight as she fought back her rising jealousy. It was going to one day be her undoing. Opening them again she took out the car keys from her pocket and pressed the lock button, the car’s headlights flashing as it showed it was no longer locked. She didn’t say another word, strutting over to the car and reefing the door open, only to get inside and turn the ignition over, before speeding off leaving a spray of small rocks and gravel in her wake.
Rheksas shook his head as he watched her go, before then finding a reason to smile. He got to go and break into a government agency, and the guards there who always fed on donuts, were ever so tasty.
Shane licked his lips as he watched his beloved Queen approach. With the finesse of a jungle cat and the beauty that was intoxicating, he found himself falling for her once more. Almost like a loved starved puppy as he watched with large blue eyes as she compelled the young archaeologist to bend to her will. Candy was like putty in the Queen’s clutches, and soon was under her hypnotic spell. Shane stepped back to allow the Queen to enjoy her meal as he waited patiently for the feeding to be done. Course, the woman then fell to the floor at their feet when she was drained of her blood, but thankfully she was not dead. Not yet. Shane crouched down and felt her pulse which was weak but stable. Glancing up at his bride he answered her in regards to their quest.
“I say, we take the young Miss back to the house and start to get her to tell us about the scroll and the rings. No point hanging around a bunch of stiff old Mummy’s.” Shane was his usual joker self, as he rose to standing and then picked up the unconscious woman in a fireman like lift and ushered his darling wife with one hand.
“Home darling? I do recall you were rather keen to play “Tie me up and whip my bottom.” Little did he know that the new Carmen, might not take a liking to that. He did have the box of rings and the scroll in his coat pocket. Both of which his bride would want….well at least, the new Owner of her vessel.
Outside Isabella’s House.
Now your probably wondering, how did Emilia manage to track down Isabella? Well, turns out that after the night at the Rock Concert, she got in good with some of the local vampire covens, and they made mention of a shadowy Queen that lived at the far end of town in a home built by a mob boss in the 1920’s. Sure enough, when Emila parked out the front, it matched the house described in detail. Getting out of the car, she closed the door gently before zipping at speed across the road, and leaping well clear of the perimeter fence. Within the grounds it was a matter of making it across the gardens undetected, and Emilia was a master of the Shadows. She slipped in and out before finally coming to a stop on a balcony. Inside, she could see….HER. Cuddling some blood doll, or so it seemed.
Emilia’s eyes narrowed as she got a closer look, and that was when she saw it. The key necklace. Long ago she had read about the fabled key and what it opened, but she had not put two and two together before. So, that was what kept her going all these years. Having seen enough, she leapt down off the balcony and to another floor. Inside the kitchen was Isabella’s long suffering and faithful servant; Luther. He was preparing a meal for his Mistress and her mate and had his head down as he was cutting up meat for the pot.
The shutter windows burst open and before he could see what was happening, Emilia had him pinned to a wall. She was growling as she took the butcher’s knife from his hand.
“You…are going to give your Mistress a message.” She hissed through gritted teeth. Luther was terrified as he suddenly felt her plunge her fist into his chest and rip out his heart. Tearing it clean out she held the pulsating muscle in her blood soaked fingers. His face was one of shock as she rammed the knife right through his forehead and pinned him to the wall. She then tossed the bloody heart into the pot behind her, before dipping her finger in his blooded face. She then scrawled a message on the wall.
“The Count wants his gift…back. Return it, or this will be what I do to you.”
Stepping back she licked her fingers as though a cat grooming herself, before turning into a swirling mist of black and spiriting off back out into the night.