The temperature in the auction house was set too low- most of the other girls were able to hide their shivers, but it was a continuous struggle for me. I’d been sensitive to the cold ever since I could remember. I closed my eyes, trying to envision myself on a warm, sandy beach. But it was hard, since I hadn't seen a beach since I was five years old, and I wasn’t even sure what sand felt like anymore. My body began to shake, despite my will, and I felt a sharp claw dig into the base of my spine. I hissed, as she dug into my skin and pinched, scraping and pulling on what I’m sure was a mural of bruises.
“Quit moving,” the female handler growled in my ear, and her warning was enough to make me momentarily forget the cold.
I opened my eyes a tad, to make sure she’d moved on, before looking around at my surroundings. All the other girls stared straight ahead, with blank faces. They were all much better at appearing numb than I was. I looked ahead too, to see a vampire a few rows up, pushing a cart in front of him as he peddled up and down the rows, taking and testing blood samples from each girl. Something that apparently had to be done before the auction could start, to make sure we were free of any disease or sickness. To determine our blood type and get rid of anyone who had any kind of impurity.
This was my first auction. We were cattle - bred and raised, only to be sold to the vampires who could afford it. We were sent to auction when we turned 23. I had heard rumors - nightmarish rumors - of what happened at the auctions, and what happened after. But I wasn’t sure what to expect. It couldn’t have been much worse than growing up the way we did. But when you were sent to auction, you never returned to the dorms. So we had no one to ask, and our handlers weren’t inclined to tell us.
The dorms were vampire run jails for us cattle. It was the only home we ever knew. It was where we were educated with the bare basics, and given enough space and food to just barely survive. We weren’t allowed to be fed on by our handlers - that was one plus. But that didn’t stop them from torturing us in other, more creative ways, whenever they thought we misbehaved.
The vampire taking blood samples was finally making his way down my row. He moved at such a slow pace, and I was the second to last girl in our row. When he stopped in front of me, he took up my left hand, pricked my ring finger with a small needle - something I gasped at - and squeezed the blood onto what must have been a small test strip. He took the strip, placed it in a cartridge, and stuck the cartridge into a small machine. After pushing a few buttons, the machine whirred to life, and a few seconds later, spit out a small piece of paper with the results on them.
The man squinted down at them, frowning slightly, and I felt fear begin to climb up the back of my spine as he took a little longer than he had with the other girls.
“This is your first auction?” he asked me in a dull voice, setting the results down and rustling through the equipment on his cart.
“Yes,” my voice was raspy from months of disuse, but he heard me.
“Are you on your cycle?” he asked flatly.
“I- what? No, I’m not,” I stuttered out, glancing up hesitantly at his stern gaze.
“When was your last cycle?”
“It ended a week and a half ago,” I answered, my voice growing stronger the more I spoke. What did my cycle have to do with anything?
He reached his hands up toward my face, and I flinched, involuntarily. I heard him let out a frustrated noise at my reaction, but he placed a thin silver chain around my neck. I stared down at the bright blue chip attached to the chain with wide eyes and he moved on without another word.
I glanced to my left and right, the handler's stern warning forgotten, and saw only one other girl in my row with a chain on. Her chip was yellow, though. And he hadn’t just put it on her, she’d come in wearing it. I wasn’t bold enough to turn around to peer at the girls behind me.
Footsteps sounded behind me, too quick to be the vampire with the cart. The handler. I looked forward again, unmoving. The handler passed, and I breathed a little easier, but still didn’t move anymore.
Soon, I head the vampire with the cart rattling through a door in the back, finally done inspecting all of the day’s auction pieces. The doors toward the front of the large room opened, and I heard footsteps, several of them. They echoed around the room, bouncing off the concrete floor and clean, white walls. The vampires.
My row was toward the back, and it took a few minutes before I could see them slowly strolling in my direction. It was so silent, except for their footsteps, which bounced around the room, through my chest, matching the thud of my heart. They didn’t speak, except to themselves. Their lips moved silently - I could hear no words. Most of them didn’t even really look at the girls as they passed, so how any random one drew their attention, I wasn’t sure. My blood ran cold as I wondered if they could smell our blood, and didn’t pay us any mind until they caught onto the scent of someone who smelled… appetizing.
I struggled to swallow, and waited, uncomfortably aware of a cold sweat trailing down my spine. Eventually, the first couple of vampires began to pass me. They did glance at me, scanning me up and down just once, from the corner of their eyes. But they continued on, not even sparing me a glance. I let lose a breath I’d been holding. A few seconds later, the next vampire passed. She too gave me a cursory scan before continuing on.
Just when I wondered if I would be able to relax - just a fraction - a blood curdling scream filled the room. The command to be still forgotten, I stood on my toes, craning my neck to see the commotion just a few rows up. A handler had one of the girls by the arm, and was dragging her behind him, following another vampire. A beautiful, raven haired woman. The girl screamed down the entire length of the room. As they reached the front row, her screams faded into feeble cries, desperate begging.I wasn’t the only girl who had turned her head to watch. Even the handlers stood off to the side, their eyes on the purchased pet. The small group stopped at the window near the front entrance, the cashier, and the vampire completed her purchase. The vampire in the office, who had received the funds, nodded to the raven haired vampire. Without warning - before I could even process what was happening - the raven haired vampire turned and had the crying, begging girl in her hands. She held her by her upper arms, gripping tightly, and held her up, her toes dangling in the air just above the ground as she seemed to admire her purchase.
I felt my heart stop as the vampire bent her head forward, toward the poor girl’s neck, and dug her fangs into the girl's neck. The girl screamed again, so loud I brought my hands up and clamped them over my ears. The vampire was making grotesque sounds; growling and purring all at the same time, as the girl struggled to push her away. The vampire was making a mess. Even from my distance, I could see blood dripping down the poor girl's arms, falling to the floor. I was a good fifty feet away, but I could have sworn I could hear the tiny tap each drop of blood made as it hit the concrete.
The woman in the office pounded on the glass, “Hey!” I could hear her muffled command. “You can’t do that here, take it outside. You’ll spook the rest of our girls!”
Handlers stepped forward to separate them, but with one last growl, the vampire stepped back, letting the girl fall to the floor. She didn’t move…
Is she dead?