The Operative - Part 1: A vampire operative prowls Third Street Promenade for his next assignment ● Urban Fantasy (660 words)
A query. There was nothing quite as exquisite.
That first drop of blood on the tongue. The rush of sensation, the visions and ancient memories pouring forth—of all the assignments given to him by The Omega Group, queries were his favorite. Just thinking about it sent a shiver of intense excitement through him. Especially on a day like today. A day when he was worn and exhausted, nearly overcome by the thirst. A day when he desperately needed to feed.
He caught sight of his reflection in a hazy shop window. Translucent skin, rivers of veins coursing beneath. Angular face gaunt, cheeks hollowed and sharp. Dark half-moons below the eyes—strange, hypnotic eyes that could bend men to his will. Only now, their radiant luster had dulled.
Yes, he definitely needed to feed.
A shroud of fog rolled in, carrying with it the salty tang of the Pacific. It hovered along the Promenade, an icy phantom that clawed at the air, smothering the peculiar dinosaur-shaped hedge where he stood. Passerby tightened flimsy jackets against the sudden chill. Dead men walking, mindlessly surging in and out of the generic chain stores that lined the flagstone street. Totally ignorant of the truth that surrounded them.
They could have so much power, he thought, if they’d only just awaken.
Of course, as an Operative for The Omega Group, it was precisely his job to prevent such awakenings in all but the Keepers. Men were inferior creatures, so frail and corruptible—look how easily they’d been tempted to destroy themselves with erroneous intimations of power. But sometimes, just sometimes, he wanted the stupid animals to surprise him. The monotony of centuries could be exhausting. An awakening was different, at least.
He was rarely surprised.
The faint chime of a church bell some blocks away alerted him to the time. He looked up as Cathleen Farrell exited the bookstore across from where he waited, her auburn hair trailing behind her like a shining beacon in a sea of gray. The fog thickened in anticipation.
He lifted his hood and eased into the crowd behind the girl. She turned down an empty street to her right, swallowed whole by the heavy fog. He followed soundlessly, despite his heavy black boots.
After just a few steps, he jerked to a stop, sensing a familiar presence. He must be quick. The Omega Group weren’t the only ones hunting down the Nine Books.
With a pace too fast for the human eye to see, he moved until he stood behind the girl.
“Excuse me,” he said politely, voice smooth and melodic. Utterly harmless. “Cathleen? I think you dropped this.” He pushed back his hood and removed a pen-like syringe from his pocket.
The girl turned at the sound of her name, looking deep into the boy’s eyes. A smile played at her lips. Her pupils dilated. Her pulse quickened.
She finds me attractive, he thought, returning her smile. Beautiful, even. They always do. Like leading lambs to slaughter. Tragic, really.
Before the girl could respond, a gust of wind rocked them. A murky shadow gathered above them, hazy in the dense fog. Malevolence oozed towards him from the presence, black as the air. She didn’t notice. But he did.
With another inhuman motion, he grabbed the girl, yanking her head to the side. He jabbed the syringe into her neck. She smiled at him still, dazed. Fully under his spell.
A small swish noted the release of a liquid. He heard it gush into the girl’s bloodstream. Felt her heart rate slow. She went limp, but he held her firmly.
A low beating sound filled the air. The presence disappeared, leaving the boy with his arms wound tightly around the girl. Any stranger passing by would have found two lovers locked in a passionate embrace. Such a ridiculous notion, but the idea made him giddy all the same.