Ivan:A Vampire's ThirstBy: Marissa Farrar
The creature scented blood on the cool night air.
A low-lying fog crept over the barren land like a lover’s fingers across their partner’s skin. With no towns or cities nearby, the breeze carried with it the aroma of boggy peat and animal dung, and underlying that was the faint sweetness of the yellow gorse bush that covered the ground. The lack of pollution meant it was able to pick out the slightest variant in scent, its nostrils twitching, its upper lip pulling back from its teeth.
The massive granite outcrops of the tors of Dartmoor towered into the night sky. Trees were scarce out here. The ones that managed to grow in the inhospitable landscape were stunted and bent against the wind.
The creature used the rocks as shelter to move from place to place to keep from being seen. With its belly low to the ground, it slunk across the moorland.
Animals sensed it coming. The wild Dartmoor ponies kicked up their hooves and galloped away, snorting their fear in hot plumes of air which turned white against the cold. Grazing sheep bleated their alarm. The creature had made plenty of good meals out of the sheep, but it was developing a taste for something bigger.
A river burbled somewhere nearby. The creature’s ears pricked and it slowed its pace.
What was that smell? Human. It had resisted for so long, but the time was getting near, and it didn’t know if it could last much longer. Hikers, camped out for the night. It heard their easy laughter over the babble of the river, the cracks of cans being opened, the scent of meat being cooked. The campers had to make do with a barbeque rather than an open fire. Open fires weren’t allowed on the moorland, the risk of it spreading too great.
A darkness churned at the creature’s soul. It wouldn’t be the first human it had taken, but others had been more happy accidents. They’d been lost people who’d happened upon its path. The sort of people no one would notice missing.
Hunting them, however, was something new …
Ivan Sokolov stood on the London street outside the club, his hands jammed against his hips, and a frown marking his face. Cheap plyboard had been used to block up all the windows, and someone had already spray-painted graffiti across the wood. Barely a week had passed since the owner of the club, Deacon Thorn, had been arrested and put to death by The Directive for his part in people trafficking, and yet the place looked as though it had been shut for months.
On the road behind Ivan, numerous cars, including black cabs, drove by. On the other side of the street, a group of drunken youths staggered arm in arm, calling out loudly to each other, despite being close enough to be attached.
Guilt snaked through Ivan for not getting down here sooner. He’d tried calling Michaela—Deacon Thorne’s daughter—after her father’s arrest, but she hadn’t answered any of his calls, and there had been no sign of her at her flat. Perhaps he should have tried harder, but there had been too much to deal with, and the members of The Directive had only recently left.
Maybe Michaela didn’t want to be found, yet her face kept playing on his mind. What they’d shared hadn’t been anything like what his vampire offspring Nikolai and his Bloodmate Lauren had together, but they’d had some good times, and he hated to think how she was now left without a father, and her family’s business had gone under in part because of him. It wasn’t his fault her father had been involved in trafficking and The Directive had been forced to step in, but it hadn’t been her fault either.
Ivan didn’t like how they’d left things, and he wanted to make things right. She’d probably call him every name under the sun and punch him in the face, but if that went some way to helping her heal, then it would be worth it. The Directive had interviewed her after her father’s death and come to the conclusion she hadn’t been aware what Deacon had been into, and that was good enough for Ivan. He knew there was no chance of them still messing around together, and he didn’t want that either, but a sense of responsibility lay on his shoulders. Deacon Thorne had been her father, no matter what he’d done, and she was bound to be grieving. He hated feeling as though he’d just abandoned her.