Blood Runs Thin: Part 1
‘Everyone’s allowed to slip once. Right?’ that’s the only thought Michael had as he stood at the broken out window on the 37th floor of a building he’d ducked into while running from hunters, staring at the expanse of night and much shorter buildings before him. The warm blood still coursed through his veins, though he’d fed over four hours ago. The door at the other end of the empty floor burst open with the help of a few bullets to the lock that had been thrown closed behind the man fleeing. Michael’s short hair fluttered around in the updraft of the unhindered wind up so high, his eyes that saw better at night watered from the dry gust. Heavy boots fueled the growing panic welling up in him as his clothes whipped against his body like it wanted to escape the situation he was currently in. Apparently fashion designers are afraid of heights, too. Shouted orders to stand down cinched the decision.
With a grunt Michael threw his thin body out the window, spreading his arms and legs in a hope to steer him onto a nearby rooftop. ‘Birds must be mad.’ A thought screamed as he squinted his eyes against the force of the gale of wind caused by his falling. The overpowering howl in his ears wasn’t enough to drown out the gunshots that rang out from the window he’d just left. None of the bullets touched him as he descended, rocking his body back and forth against the invisible force in an attempt to steer himself. As fast as he knew he was going down he couldn’t help but marvel at how slow it seemed to feel. He took a minute to consider how he’d gotten here. The man was sick, beyond helping by any medical profession, and suffering. From the short conversation between them the man confessed he’d have to suffer in his condition for months to come. Then he begged Michael to end it. Michael obliged, making it quick. Even in the most profoundly intimate moments one tries to have eyes are ever watchful. A hunter had been passing by the park bench, where the man that suffered no longer, had been laid to rest for the final time. Michael was in the middle of saying a prayer when the screaming started, quick barks of orders, shouting for his compliance.
Michael tried to explain, but the laws were ironclad. One man chased by many tore through the giant park in an attempt to flee, knocking people over, kicking up dirt and grass alike. Normally Michael would’ve been able to outrun any normal man, but the ones chasing him weren’t normal. They were bred and trained to hunt Michael’s kind: Vampires. Half of downtown was in an uproar over the stray bullets and smashed windows, parking meters, cars, marble pillars, and one poodle. Although, Michael admonished, the poodle was the hunters fault. And all for an ancient law made thousands of years ago between vampires and humans dictating that any vamp that fed on humans was considered rogue and due for termination. The methods have advanced from wooden stakes with a silver tip to bullets filled with liquid silver, garlic, and a powerful anticoagulant. A single bullet in the right place could leave a vamp a smoldering, smoking, pile of ash. Thus far none had hit their mark, luckily. After near an hour of running at top speed the men chased the vampire they pursued into an abandon building. They probably thought they’d trapped him. Had it not been for the combination of opportunity and fear, they would have been right.
437 years on this earth and it might end tonight because of an act of mercy. Funny. Michael marveled at how fast his landing was upon him. With a body shattering slam he met the hard gravel roof, just missing the unforgiving ledge, of the building across from the window he’d just jumped from. His entire body was on fire. Bones were broken. He was bleeding. But with that warm blood still in him he would heal in a few minutes at the sacrifice of a few of his usual abilities. He managed to twist his body to look up a the surprising distance he’d just fallen, his eyes straining with agony. He was able to see the men pursuing him curse and go back inside, none able to do what he had just done. He let sleep take him for a minute or two, bones cracking back into place, wounds sealing, pain still present and blazing, but ignorable. When he regained his senses he stood and limped down the stairs, dark thoughts clouding his thinking. If they want a war they got a war. He was committed to the idea. War on the humans. In the name of a misunderstanding. Blood will run. Immortal and the like. He would see to it.
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