Is she dead?
Everything around me came to a halt as I stared at the girl’s form crumpled up on the ground. Her long, blonde hair covered much of her pale, wide eyed expression. Now tangled up in her blonde hair was a long, silver chain, with a red stained blue chip at the end. My hand came up to my own chain, and I clutched the chip tightly, the sharp edges digging into my palms.
What does that mean?
A cold hand wrapped around mine and I jerked backward- or I tried to. They jerked me forward, with equal force, and pried my chain out of my hand. Cold, black eyes inspected the chip.
“What have you found, Markus?” A low voice purred from behind the vampire. I looked up over his shoulder, frozen in place by fear. They both had cold, black eyes and hair so blonde, it could have been silver. They could have been twins, except for the insignia that ‘Markus’ had tattooed on the side of his neck, starting below his ear and trailing down to his shoulder, beneath his shirt. Even for vampires, they looked so unearthly -
“What are the odds, Lukas?” Markus asked him, his black gaze still boring down at me. “Two blue tags in one auction?”
“Less and less likely everyday,” Lukas replied. His tone was much too sing-songy for my comfort.
Markus raised his free hand in the air, snapping his fingers. I flinched, finally coming back to my senses. Two handlers appeared behind me, grasping my arms and dragging me between them. The two vampires who had taken interest in me turned, leading the way to the office.
The raven haired vampire woman and the blonde girl from before were gone. Only a large smear of blood on the concrete left evidence of what I’d just witnessed.
My breath quickened as I stared down at the blood stain, as I realized what was happening.
I’d been bought. It can take weeks, months even, for some girls to finally be auctioned off. But I’d been bought on my very first day.
I wasn’t prepared.
I should have been more prepared.
My chest seemed to be working faster than I could breathe, and I realized, too late, that I was panicking. Something vampires didn’t really care for. I tried to keep quiet, as Lukas and Markus stood shoulder to shoulder at the cashier’s window, but my breath was becoming more audible, laced with small whimpers.
“Cut it out,” one of the handlers warned silently, digging yet another claw into my lower back.
I yelped, trying to slow my breathing. The longer I continued to panic, the more he dug his claw into my back which, quite frankly, wasn’t helping.
Lukas turned to look at me. As soon as he met my eyes, I looked down, staring at my bare feet as I counted backward from ten. One of the many things that had been drilled into us was that most vampires would take offense to making eye contact with cattle - unless they were the ones who had initiated it. So it was safer to just not.
I blinked, and the points of his shiny black shoes were suddenly inches from my toes. I jerked backward in surprise, and was met with another merciless jab from the handler. I still didn’t look up when Lukas spoke.
“Once the property has been claimed, they are no longer yours to abuse,” he sang, his melodic tone suddenly laced with venom. A growl came from my left, and the claw disappeared from my back. I held in my sigh of relief, almost mistaking him for being kind.
Vampires were notoriously selfish - they wouldn’t want someone else toying with - and possibly breaking - their things.
Lukas remained facing me for the remainder of the transaction, as though to make sure the handler didn’t lay their hands on me anymore than necessary. I glanced up from under my lashes when I heard Markus join him. He clapped a hand on the other vampire’s shoulder.
“We’re set, let’s go.”
I wondered with brief horror if they were going to jump me once we set foot outside - the way the raven haired vampire woman was supposed to have done it. The handlers shoved me forward, as though I had been a great pain and they were glad to be rid of me. I almost stumbled into the vampires who had just purchased me- almost. I let out a gasp as I managed to get my feet under me without having to grab anyone's sleeves for support. I glanced over my shoulder, at the handlers, who seemed slightly disappointed that I hadn’t caused a scene.
He noticed. “What are you looking at, you low level piece of-”
I turned away quickly, just in time to catch Markus staring at the handler with a not so pleasant expression. I flinched, when he turned it on me, and quickly looked back to the ground. Lukas just turned, walking toward the exit. Markus turned his body sideways, holding a hand out to the side, indicating I should follow Lukas. I did, and Markus fell in line behind me.
I was herded through the doors, out into the moonlight. It was a struggle to keep pace with Lukas’ quick stride. Markus was right behind me. They walked down the sidewalk briskly, and in my struggle to keep up with them, I almost didn’t notice the city around us. I stared up at the tall buildings lining the sides of the street, almost identical to the one we’d just exited. They were dark, towering structures, glowing in the night with so many different LED signs. Cars whizzed past on the street, and I realized we were just three figures in a crowd of many - mostly vampires,other supernatural creatures, and a few humans.
In my sensory overload, my feet had slowed without my noticing. I did notice, though, when a cold hand was placed against the back of my neck, urging me forward. I hurried to catch up with Lukas, who wasn’t waiting to see if I would follow.
At the end of the street, an oddly long, black car idled. Lukas opened the door and slid in. I stared between the open door and the bright city around me, well aware I was expected to climb in after him. There were so many people on the sidewalk, crossing the street, so many cars… what if I just ran for it?
It was only a brief, sweet thought. I could run. And there was a very small percentage that I could lose Lukas and Markus. But, no one would help me. And cattle were very ill prepared for anything other than to be a human juice box for the rest of their lives. I had no clue where I would go, or what I would do when I got there. So, after just a few seconds of hesitation, I climbed into the dark interior of the car, grappling around blindly, trying to distinguish the floor from the seats.
I could just barely make out Lukas’ dark eyes - they seemed to glow in the dark, making him appear even more demonic than he already did. I pressed myself into the back corner of the car, opposite the still open door, on a bench made of what felt like leather. I was followed by Markus, and the door closed behind him. He took up a seat next to Lukas as the car lurched forward. The two vampires were sitting across from me. There was enough space that I felt I could have laid down on the floor, and just been able to reach their toes.
Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the darkness. I couldn’t wholly see, but I could see their outlines. Their pale skin almost glowed.
They said nothing for a long while, and I didn’t dare say anything either. They just took turns staring at me, as though they were just barely keeping themselves from giving in to their wild instincts.
I sank back into the seat even further, ringing the hem of my dress repeatedly, trying to soothe my nerves.
Whatever happened to cattle after the auction was purely up to whatever vampire took them home- if they even made it that far. I waited for them to jump me-refusing to hope that I might live to see another day.
This was it.
This is how I died.
In the dark, in a car, speeding through the city.
Now out of the city.
Brows furrowed, I leaned closer to the glass. The city lights had disappeared behind us, we were now on a bridge, nothing but the bright white of the moonlight overhead reflecting on the black waters beneath us.Then we were on land again, following a road that led into a completely different landscape than the city we’d just left behind.
Trees lined the road, so dense I couldn’t see anything inside them. The road began to twist and turn, going on for miles. Finally, it slowed to a crawl before stopping in front of a large wrought iron gate. After only a moment of idling, the car crept forward again, the smooth pavement changing to stone. When the car pulled into a circular drive, I got a good look at a large, castle-like estate.
If I weren’t so sure I was quickly approaching the end of my life, I might have been impressed. But instead, I solemnly, if not nervously, followed the twin like vampires as they climbed out of the car. This time, they both led the way, walking side by side up the wide staircase to the grand entrance. By the time we’d reached the top step, I was breathing a little too heavily.
Why so many stairs?
Two large oak doors made up the entrance. I had to lean my head back to see the top of them. They appeared heavy but glided open easily as we approached. Inside was a large, open hall that looked just like something you would find in an old castle. The floors were white marble with a long, violet colored runner running down the center and up another grand staircase a good length away from the front door. A large electric chandelier hung in the center, just before the staircase. Somehow, the hall was empty. No people sitting in the chairs or on the settees sprinkled on the left and right sides.
I stumbled along behind them all the way to the top of the staircase, unsure if I should use the shiny wooden railing for support since it appeared so clean and smudge free. At the top of the stairs, they continued walking straight, rather than turning left or right, all the way to the end of a magnificent hallway with deep purple carpeting and drape covered walls, broken every now and then by doors.
Finally, they stopped at a door, opening it, and guided me inside. I stepped to the side as soon I was through the door, and they followed me. We had entered what appeared to be a large apartment or suite. On the side, through a large, open archway, was a grand dining table. Another archway at the back showed an even grander kitchen. On down a hall in the back, I noticed several doors, all closed.
“What do humans eat?” Lukas had called, suddenly opening the large, stainless steel fridge.
“Who cares,” Markus answered as he laid back on the long, navy settee. “What is it that eats humans?”
I shrunk back, my heart already weary from constantly being on edge.
“We can’t eat her,” Lukas grumbled. “She wasn’t bought with our money.”
“Semantics,” Markus shot back.
“What did you buy with my money?”