Kahlen had heard the rumor in the bathroom from a siren who was telling a Fae girl with mossy hair. A thrill had run through her. Being undead wasn’t as exciting as the movies made it out to be and tonight was supposed to change that. She was going to embrace the weirdness, and get a piercing, or a tattoo or dance with a stranger. She bounced around in the drink line. She was also going to get a drink, an alcoholic drink, for the first time.
“There’s a unicorn her tonight,” Kahlen told the tall brown haired man next to her, excited.
He had the bright sheen to his pale skin that indicated he was either Fae or Incubi. He had been shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip with her for the last five minutes as they jostled for position at the bar. His warmth had seeped into her cold skin, making her feel a bit connected to him in a way she was forgetting after her time undead. His blood would be amazing if she could convince him to donate some. Not that blood donation was the reason he was here. It was a piercing/tattooing event for the Others, the ones that couldn’t go to a human place because of blood colors, skin tones or otherworldly features. It was also a massive party, complete with open bar, loud music, and flashing lights.
“Pfft, that’s ridiculous,” he said and turned to face her. “What are you new?” he asked.
Kahlen would have blushed if her heart still pumped. “Yeah, this is my first supernatural anything.”
Grinning brightly he ordered for both of them, politely asking her preferred blood type. He ordered a drink for sylvans. He tipped the satyr and handed her a glass. Bold, he took her by the elbow. She let him lead her away from the bar and back to one of the corner booths. The music was loud and electronic. Once they slid into the booth, it was tolerable. He lifted his glass and they clinked. Kahlen watched him take a sip of the syrupy looking green drink. It was probably light on the alcohol and heavy on the chlorophyll. He definitely had to be Fae. His eyes were a rich walnut instead of the normal grassy green but she hadn’t met many wood nymphs or Fae or anything before tonight.
“How long since?” he asked and waved at her.
“A year,” Kahlen responded. “Woke up on the football field.”
Grimacing in sympathy, he took another sip and explained why he asked. It was considered rude to ask a vampire how they died. Kahlen had learned that the hard way when she had come across her first old vampire. Her wrist still hurt from the break. “Everyone here knows about unicorn blood,” he murmured, leaning in close in case anyone was close enough to listen. “I didn’t want you to embarrass yourself.”
Kahlen reached out a hand to shake his formally. He gripped her hand with his warm one and let loose with a toothy grin. “Kahlen Jenson,” she introduced herself.
“Kahlen! Great name! Very modern,” he enthused. He didn’t give her a name in return. That was very Fae. Names had power. She grimaced. She shouldn’t have given him her name. He noticed and winked. “It’s just hard to pronounce,” he remarked and elaborated when she blinked, “My name, it’s difficult to… You can call me…hmm. What name do you like?”
She rolled her eyes. Tilting her head to exam his bright eyes, straight nose, and silly grin, she thought she’d tease him a bit. “How about Fareed?
The humor drained out of him. “Oh, you might be a bit of a seer, Kahlen. Fine, but shorten it to Reed, alright?”
Kahlen placed her hand over his. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
His smile re-appeared and he said arrogantly, “I am unique, that’s true enough. But I’m not alone right now, am I?”
“No,” she replied and giggled as he downed his drink. His eyes seemed to glow silver for a second before fading back to the same walnut brown. “So, unicorn blood?”
“Right, oh, forgotten that already,” he murmured and looked offended when she giggled again. “Yes, right okay. Can’t bleed in public.” He waved his hand around the dance floor where werewolves, Fae, sprites, and vampires were dancing under the undulating lights. “Smells fantastic, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic, and any number of these would rip one apart to get a taste. You can’t have unicorn blood without the unicorn’s permission. It does bad, very bad things to you.”
“What sort of things?” Kahlen asked.
He rolled his eyes and reiterated, “Bad things. Can’t get piercings or tattoos.”
“Because they would bleed,” Kahlen said, puzzling it out.
“Yup and the poor unicorn would get torn apart,” he agreed. “Let’s dance!”
Her strange new friend had pulled her onto the dance floor before she could protest. He didn’t get too close to her. He kept a hold of one of her hands always as if he was afraid she would disappear if he let go. Kahlen had never been to a human rave before she was murdered. She was forever eighteen and she had been sheltered. The press of bodies around them was exciting as heat radiated off of the live things. A few vampires nodded in her direction. Most of them were islands, dotted around the ocean of people, in the water, but not a part of it. She let herself move with Reed. She grabbed his other hand when he was in danger of being pulled away by an aggressive weregirl. He slipped into her arms gratefully, hugging her.
A rich fresh scent assaulted her. It was like a hot fudge sundae, and chips, and pizza, and she felt her mouth start to water. An image of ripping into his throat flashed across her mind’s eye. She jerked back, but he held tight to her. He whispered in her ear. “So what did you come here for? Tattoo? Piercing?”
Kahlen shivered as his breath brought more of his scent to her and warmed her skin. She missed being warm. Wherever he touched, he left a glorious trail of it. Her fangs descended and he spun her out and back. She blinked, pulling back on the need to feed. Reed watched her with a rueful expression. She fought the urge to apologize. She was trying to make a friend, not kill him. Bloodlust wasn’t something she had ever gotten used to in the last year. It always freaked her out and made her buzz with guilt.
“Piercing,” she replied, resisting the urge to inhale.
He let go and disappeared into the crowd. Kahlen searched for him as he bounced away. Left on her own, she became her own island as the crowd continued to dance around her. Had she offended Reed? Maybe. She had been flashing fang and entertaining the idea of having him for dinner. She bit into her lip in frustration. She didn’t have any supernatural friends yet. She had barely had any live ones left after being turned. She saw a Fae disappear into the back booths as a were came out with a large silver hoop in his ear.
She slipped through the crowd like a shark. If Reed wasn’t coming back, she may as well get the piercing she had wanted. Her mother had never let her pierce her ears. Now she was beholden to none, as sires rarely stuck around after turning someone. It would make her look more grown up. It would at least make her fit better into this crowd.
A bored Fae gave her a once over. “Vampires can’t tattoo. Piercing? Let me guess earrings?”
“Yeah,” Kahlen said, affecting the same bored tone as the pretty Fae with her long pink hair in complicated braids.
“Second booth,” the Fae gave her a light shove but sniffed her as she went.
Kahlen frowned, walking backwards to see the Fae leaning toward her, inhaling again. Slipping into the curtained booth backward, she spun to face a tall elegant vampire dressed in royal purple from head to toe. He even had purple latex gloves at his station.
“Ears please,” Kahlen said, unsure what she needed to do.
He sniffed disdainfully as he approached. The vampire sniffed again in earnest. In a blink, Kahlen was pinned to the table under his powerful right hand. Fangs descended and eyes glowing brilliant scarlet, the vampire sniffed again. “You smell…”
“Delicious,” he finished.
Uh oh, Kahlen struggled against the steel grip of the bigger and considerably older vampire above her. Did vampires kill and eat younger vampires? Eyes wide, she kicked out, knocking the older vampire off balance. He was back in an instant, claws slashing into her leg as she scrambled off the piercer’s table. The scent of her own blood, bubbling up thick and dark, terrified her. Kahlen tossed the table of surgical instruments into the vampire’s face.
The privacy curtain was ripped open. Reed stood there gasping. “My fault!”
The tall purple vampire spun to face him.
“Me, not her,” he said. “I’m the one you want.”
“You smell,” the vampire said, eyes red but glazed over. “I have to taste you. I have to-”
Reed glowed a brilliant silvery blue. Kahlen watched that light explode out of him and knock the piercer across the room. He collapsed in a heap. Reed knelt down next to her, radiating the scent of pepperoni pizza and a chocolate milkshake. Kahlen’s fangs descended. She hadn’t had anything to drink but blood in a year.
“You’re hurt,” he cried reaching out to her.
“You’re the unicorn,” she said, fighting to keep still.
“The one and only,” he said. “I only came out tonight because I was lonely. I’m the last one. I’ve been the last one for decades.”
Losing a lot of her blood was helping slow her down but her hunger, her hunger was growing. Hissing, she curled in on herself as the pangs in her stomach made thinking harder and harder to do.
Reed touched her arm. She flinched away. He gripped her arm. “Kahlen, I went to get a drink for you, so you wouldn’t be so focused on me, on my blood. You were gone when I got back. I was stupid. My scent was all over you. I masked it, but I touched you, hugged you…
“I-I don’t want to kill you,” Kahlen hissed, trying to block out the tantalizing scent of roast turkey and mashed potatoes that he was sporting now. “So hungry. You smell like Thanksgiving.”
“Oh, well that’s one on me, Thanksgiving? Really?” he asked, eyes glowing silver.
Kahlen nodded, squeezing her eyes shut to fight harder against her own body. “Now leave before…”
“No. It’s fine, I can heal you. My blood can heal you,” Reed said as he snatched a dropped needle off the floor.
“Bad things,” Kahlen grunted.
“Only if I don’t want you to do it. I give you permission, okay? But it might have side effects,” he said as he stabbed his arm multiple times to get his bright pearlescent blood to rise to the surface. “We’ll worry about that after. Trust me…Oh, okay, you be careful.”
Kahlen latched onto his arm and her fangs sank into his skin, popping it and blood sluiced into her mouth. Reed grunted but let her hold on. The blood, oh it tasted exactly like Thanksgiving, mixed with hot chocolate, and mint chocolate ice cream, and every other food she had been craving for ever a year. It was all sliding down into her stomach and filling her body with so much warmth.
“Stop now,” Reed told her.
Kahlen couldn’t. She needed more. She growled in protest.
“Now Kahlen,” he begged.
She tried, she really tried. Her fangs felt like they were hooked, locked into place. A sharp pain lanced through her and finally, she released, sliding bonelessly to the cement floor and into unconsciousness.
“Probably shouldn’t have done that,” Reed’s voice was worried, and weak near her left ear. “I was trying to heal the leg wound, not get myself killed. How would that help us? Hm? Think you drank too much though.”
She opened her eyes. They weren’t in the underground rave anymore. She rolled her shoulders. Kahlen was on a bed, a soft bed. Reed lying next to her stretched out alongside. His hand was in hers. He grinned when her eyes met his.
“Hello!” he exclaimed.
“Hello,” she muttered, her voice dry and scratchy.
“Here,” he sat up and turned away from her. In a second he was back with a cup. It had a bendy straw in it. “Drink, you had a rough night.”
Kahlen sipped. The taste that exploded on her tongue was not blood. The urge to gag rose for an instant but vanished. It was water. It was plain water. Kahlen pushed the cup away. “I can’t drink water!”
“Think you can,” Reed argued, “think you just did. Side effects, remember?”
Kahlen glared at him before scanning the room. She turned away from him and saw the open window. She was sitting in a bright room full of sunshine. She hissed and held up her arm. No smoke, no pain… “What?”
Patiently, Reed grabbed her arm and moved it into a sunbeam. He had a bandage on where she had savaged his arm. Her skin was warming in the light, but not burning. He took the same hand and placed over her chest. Kahlen felt a beat. It was sluggish, but it was a heartbeat.
“Side effects?” she asked. “What sort of side effects?”
“Healed you,” Reed said smugly.
“Healed?” Kahlen glanced down at her leg, the skin was smooth, if a bit pale and a little shinier like a Fae.
Reed was embarrassed. “I ah, um, gave you permission. My blood has healing properties. I’m not prejudiced. My blood, it ah, it just seems to see vampirism as a disease. So, it cured it. I’m sorry. You’re sort of human again.”
Amazed, Kahlen put both her hands into the sunlight. When it wasn’t enough, she slid off the bed and put her head out the window to stare up at the sun. Clouds obscured it a bit but even they were lovely, all puffy and white in the bright blue summer sky. “You healed me. I’m human.”
“Sort of human,” Reed reiterated. “Close to human, almost human, mostly, almost human.”
Kahlen bounced back onto the bed next to him, giddy. “Fine. I’ll take it, if you promise me I can eat chips again, oh and candy, and ice cream, and a hot fudge sundae with nuts…”
“Sure, but you’ll get a stomach ache. I mean, that’s an awful lot of sugar,” he replied then grinned. “You’re really okay with it? I was sort of afraid you liked being a vampire and I ruined it. Well, I tried to stop you before you drank too much, but you were insistent. Had to hit you with a tray.”
Kahlen grabbed for his bandaged arm. “I’m so sorry! I couldn’t control it. I don’t mind. I wasn’t getting the hang of the ‘creature of the night’ thing anyhow. But what do I do now? My family thinks I’m dead. I was dead. Do I go back to school? Wait, did you say mostly, almost human?”
“Might be a teensy bit unicorn now,” Reed said and held up his fingers to measure out a pinch. “I could help you with that if you want. Show you some stuff, some magic stuff. Only if you want me to do it.”
Kahlen grinned. “Friends?” she asked.
“Yeah, okay,” Reed said, sitting up straight, looking pleased. “I’ve never had a friend before. What do um, friends do?”
“They get pizza.”
“I love pizza,” he told her. “What about your ears? Did you still want to get them pierced?”
“Eventually, think I’m traumatized. Maybe I’ll just get clip-on’s for now.”
“I’m pretty good with a needle,” Reed told her. “Saved you with one, didn’t I?”
“Not a chance,” Kahlen told him.
If you like this story support me Ko-Fi.