I should have found time to feed before coming here, but I was so worried over escaping with what I could salvage that even feeding was pushed to the back of my mind. The time spent discussing furniture with Aaliyah and Emma left me hungrier and hungrier. I was acutely aware of their blood, but I wasn’t about to ask Emma to be my meal, not when she had lost her father to a vampire. She was sleeping now and wouldn’t necessarily know, but I couldn’t do that to her. I didn’t trust Aaliyah’s blood, given that I didn’t know what she was other than dangerous.
“I really should get something to eat before the sun comes up.” I announced, not really wanting to leave but unwilling to risk weakness here.
“You said you don’t kill people, so how do you get food? Blood banks?” suggested James.
“Well, no. From people, generally. I just am careful about how much I take and from whom I take it.” I explained.
“Oh. I suppose that makes sense. Isn’t that dangerous for them?” he asked.
Shaking my head, I said, “They certainly feel tired afterward, but I don’t think it’s too dangerous. I always watch after them for awhile after feeding. They really are safe, at least as safe as I can keep them.”
“What about the bite marks and their memories? I’d certainly go to a hospital if someone bit me, so there must be a strangely high number of reports.” he insisted.
“Why don’t I just show you?” I suggested, wondering why I was being so forward even as the words came out. There was something about James that made him seem extraordinarily trustworthy. I’d fear I was under some spell if my kind were resistant to those tricks.
“What!?” he exclaimed in shock. “Sorry. I wasn’t meaning to pry too much. I am really curious, but… well…” The shock faded from his face, replaced by a sort of fascination as he seemed to be working through the idea. “I suppose, but you have to bite me somewhere that I can hide. How does this work even? You don’t seem to have long fangs or anything.”
I smiled reassuringly and took hold of his hand. “Don’t worry.” I insisted, preparing my magic to puncture his skin. “You won’t feel a thing. Or… Maybe.” I stated with a frown. James’ hand was soft and felt perfectly human, but I didn’t have the strength to make the smallest hole through his perfect skin. I felt as if the blood that touched him became void of magic. “What are you?” I asked.
“Umm… Human.” he claimed.
“No, you’re obviously not.” I replied, wondering what he was keeping from me. Who was he?
“The master is far more than a human.” commented Mila, humbly standing to the side as if waiting for instructions.
“Yeah…” started Aaliyah. “You won’t be able to use your magic on him, Cosette. Sorry. He really is human-ish though!”
“I’m missing something here.” stated James. “What magic? What did you try to do?”
“I usually don’t bite people. My parents taught me all of their tricks. When feeding, I touch a person’s skin and send some of my blood inside them, using it to cut off their sensations temporarily as I create an opening. Then I take a little blood and heal their wound.” I explained.
“Oh. That’s… different. Sorry, I seem to be pretty good at blocking magic by reflex now.” he bashfully announced.
“I noticed.” I replied, still shocked by it while forcing myself to smile.
“Is that how most vampires go about feeding then?” he asked.
“No, I’m afraid not. Many do bite people, literally drink their blood, and kill their victims. It’s more efficient, you see.” I replied, frowning to show my distaste for it. I needed him to understand I was different from those vampires.
“Well, not really. How’s that more efficient? Sounds messy to say the least.” he insisted.
“They don’t use up their magic to feed, boss-man, sir. The whole point of feeding is to get energy. How Cosette feeds uses up energy, so she’s getting far less from any given person than she could.”
“I’ll get better though.” I assured him. “My father was really skilled at it. My kind tend to hone their skills a great deal over the years, making the use of our magic far more efficiently than when we start.”
“Pardon, but Portentia would like to enter.” announced Mila.
“That’s fine. Please let her in.” I told her, surprised by the arrival.
The pure white girl had her hand raised as if she were about to knock. She quickly lowered it with speed rivaling my own. “Hi. Mila told me Cosette was hungry, so I thought I’d save her a trip.” she announced, smiling as she looked to me with those faintly blue eyes.
“Oh. You were serious earlier?” I asked in surprise.
“Well, yeah. I’ve had a few vampire friends, and it’s not like you can hurt me.” she replied with a shrug.
What was she to be so confident that vampires couldn’t even hurt her when she allowed them to feed?
James placed his hand on my shoulder, and I was very aware of his touch as if all of my senses switched to focusing on him.
“Portentia does feel pain, but she regenerates incredibly fast.” he told me.
I tore my eyes from James to look back at Portentia and said, “I see. Well, not really. What are you then?”
“I might as well tell you, since everyone else here knows.” she replied with a shrug. “I mean, Aaliyah trusts you, right? I’m Calamity, the superhero.” she told me with a grin.
Her whole pose changed, and I could tell that she was quite proud of her claim.
I giggled, entirely amused by the idea of a self-proclaimed superhero. What would my parents have thought of this? I noticed Portentia frowning and quickly told her “Sorry. Really. I’ve never met someone who refers to herself as a superhero before. About the name… don’t you feel that’s a bit less than heroic sounding?”
“Don’t worry about it. I like to think of myself as the Calamity that comes to those who do evil. If you’re ever interested in helping people, I wouldn’t mind a vampire sidekick.” she assured me.
I did my best not to laugh again, but I couldn’t manage to suppress my smile when this girl was so sincere about being a superhero. Managing to keep some of my mirth from my voice, I said, “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.”
“So how do you like to do this?” she asked, walking toward me. “Quick bite and be done, or do you like something more elaborate? One of my friends liked to act out a horror scene as often as not.”
She was so casual about me feeding on her that I found myself believing this was commonplace to her.
“Here. Let me see your hand.” I told her, reaching my own out as I stepped toward her.
I was immediately surprised by how cold she felt. Then the complete lack of a pulse struck me. For a moment, I wondered if she might be one of my own kind, but my blood passed into her without too much resistance.
The moment her blood passed into me, my heart hammered to life, pushing the sustenance throughout my body. I felt energy like I had never known before. There was so much, far more than I could store. My mind went fuzzy, and I felt a tingling throughout my entire body, a tingling that seemed to pierce beyond my body.
“Cosette?” asked James, muffled and far away from me.
Everything was far away from me except the energy. I had never felt this good before. I longed for more even though I knew I couldn’t contain it. I was aware when Portentia lifted me from the ground, though I didn’t remember falling.
Portentia calmly said, “Don’t worry about it. She’s fine. Vampires sort of get high off my blood. She’ll be back with us any…”
Portentia, life giver, and being of unfathomable energy was holding me easily in her arms. I knew I should do something, say something.
“Oh my gosh! What are you!?” I blurted, leaning up to stare at her. I hadn’t meant to be blunt, but my head was in too many places.
She easily caught me as I changed position but then set me on my feet.
“Superhero.” she replied with another shrug.
“I’ve never felt anything like that before. I feel like running or dancing. There’s so much energy!” I exclaimed in wonder.
“Dancing! Yay!” exclaimed Aaliyah.
“Dancing? What? What time is it? Oh. Hey, Portentia.” asked Emma as she rubbed her eye.
How could she be tired at a time like this!? I felt as if I could touch her and zap a day’s supply of energy into her without even noticing.
“Sorry, Emma. I’ve been learning about vampires, and Cosette’s feeling a bit energetic.” explained James.
Emma nodded and said, “Yeah. Not really her bedtime, is it.” Then she stifled a yawn in her sleeve. “Well, I’m going to my room. See everyone in the morning.” mumbled Emma as she headed to the door.
Aaliyah was already starting to dance, and to my surprise, there was music! I joined her immediately. Mila did as well, so I couldn’t let them dance without me. James joined us as well, demonstrating an incredible skill at dancing. Portentia seemed hesitant, but I grabbed her hand and got her moving with me. She was such an amazing person!