Prerelease chapter 1 of Tainted Blood

Little vampire

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The sky was still overcast and the forest seemed to go on forever. Brian absently brushed back the errant black hair that dropped down over his right eye as he knelt down to examine the fading tracks. Birds squawked and screeched all around him, making it hard to hear anything in the distance. The prints were old, but still fresh enough for him to follow. They had to, otherwise this entire trip would be for nothing. He wasn’t too sure how far ahead she was, or for that matter, how long ago it had been since she passed by this place. Tracking was something new for him, something he hadn’t thought he would ever be able to learn. This place was full of surprises however, least of all the fact that he could track.

 

Twigs showed the path she had taken. The sheer number of them that were snapped and hanging indicated how quickly she’d been moving as she passed by this place. He was going to have to move faster if he hoped to catch up to her. That shouldn’t be a problem. This place lent itself to his unnatural strength and speed. With just a little exertion he would be able to catch up to his prey before she got too much further ahead. He had to admit, however, part of the fun of doing it was never knowing what could happen or what was around the next bend in the trail. The adventure was always new, and he had to admit, it would always bring him back for more.

 

The forest around him passed quickly by him as he picked up the pace and ran as fast as he dared to. He barely felt the broken twigs and branches as they tried to grab and hold onto him or his clothes. His outfit of choice for tonight seemed to be a green leather woodsman’s outfit. It was something he was sure he once saw on some old classic movie somewhere. If he had a bow and some arrows on his back he was sure someone would take him for Robin Hood, if they could actually see him blurring by. The sound of dogs, no, wolves yapping made him pause for a moment to get his bearings.

 

“Figures,” he said under his breath. “It’s never easy is it?”

 

The fact that they were heading in the same direction he was, albeit a bit further off to the north, made it a good bet they were hunting the same quarry he was. Very little in this forest seemed to happen by coincidence. Most of it was under the control of one consciousness; he was the sole exception to that. He was free to make his own decisions, and to play whatever part he chose. Whatever forces that were at work here, he was not a part of it, and yet he did shape and mold the events by his own actions as well.

 

“I suppose I need to try and head them off first.”

 

The thought was an irritant. All he really wanted to do was catch up to his quarry. He hadn’t seen her at all tonight. Everything seemed to be working against him catching her, and yet there were obvious signs like the trial he was following that said she wanted to be found. Perhaps she was toying with him. It was always possible that she knew he was out here, stalking her, and she was baiting him, maybe even daring him to continue. Maybe he should just leave the wolves. They couldn’t be faster than him, and after all, wasn’t she already so far ahead of him that the wolves didn’t stand a chance of catching up to her?

 

He wasn’t entirely sure if that was true. Things changed without warning in here. He had to be on his toes at all times, otherwise he could be taken unawares, and that wouldn’t do. After a quick decision, Brian decided to move on and trust his own speed. He was sure he could easily outdistance the hunting pack. If he couldn’t, then he would just have to deal with it when the time arrived. Miles passed beneath his feet over the next few minutes, yet strangely the forest seemed to continue without pause. The wolves had definitely been left behind. He could still hear them, but now only as a faint annoyance.

 

 

“Where does she think she is going?” he mumbled as he brushed the hair from his face again. A nearby sound caught his attention as he studied the ground again. This time the prints were much fresher, the imprints from the soles of her shoes were still noticeable in these ones. They were a good sign that he was gaining on her. The sound of something moving in the nearby bushes caused him to pause and stare in their direction.

 

“What now?” There was no way the wolves could have already caught up to him, they weren’t even on his path. They seemed to be making their own trail to hunt by. Whatever it was, Brian could make out a small shadowy figure moving about in trees to his right. It wasn’t large enough to be a man, so it had to be an animal of some sort. Then again, anything was possible in this place: one had to be careful at all times. The last thing he needed was to be taken by surprise. That just wouldn’t do, not to mention the delay that could cause. Day time had to be approaching soon, so that meant his time was severely limited.

 

“Fine, I can’t take the chance.”

 

Launching himself as fast as he could into the nearby bush, Brian pulled out a large knife from his belt. He wasn’t sure when he had put it there, but right now wasn’t the time to be asking these types of questions. Right now he needed all of his senses alert and ready. A dark owl like shadow leaped into the sky just as he broke through the foliage. It’s large wings flapping in the air above him as it paused and looked down at him with it’s large unblinking red eyes. The entire scene was surreal and caused Brian to give pause. Had it not been so other worldly, he might have thought to leap up and try to grab the thing. As it was, he found himself staring into the things unblinking eyes as it rose up higher into the air. The last thing he noticed as it finally turned and flapped off out of view was the fact that its rather large wingspan never seemed to affect the nearby tree branches, almost as if it wasn’t really here.

 

The sound of wolves howling jerked him out of his trance like state.

 

“What the hell was that?” He wondered aloud. The sound of the wolves now came from in front of him rather than behind him. Somehow in the short time he had spent investigating the dark shape, the damned wolves had caught up and already passed him.

 

“I really hate that when it happens.” He shook his head as he dashed off in the direction of the sound of the pack. From the commotion that they were making, it sounded as if they had found their quarry. He couldn’t help but wonder what the appearance of the dark owl like thing could mean. Its absence from his life was a happy thing. That had meant that he could live his life as if he were actually normal, well at least somewhat normal. Now however, its presence here complicated things. It was a bad omen.

 

A small clearing opened up as he came upon the pack. Several gray and black wolves circled two people in the center of the clearing. A blond young woman dressed in flowing almost transparent white dress that reached to the ground and would have made it almost impossible to run let alone walk in stood cringing behind a young strapping man who held a ridiculously long sword out before him. The two of them spun about in place in an attempt to keep the entire pack at bay. The young man’s shiny armor somehow looking more like metal jeans and a red letterman’s coat.

 

“Chuck? What the hell is he doing here?”

 

Sure enough, Heathers old boyfriend was here guarding Heather who cringed behind him in the flowing dress. A strong breeze seemed to be blowing only on her, so that her hair and dress blew wildly about her as she hid behind her champion. Brian paused and leaned up against a nearby tree and watched as the first wolf leaped at the armored Chuck. A part of him wanted to help the two of them, yet the truth was, he hadn’t come here to share time with her old boyfriend. He had come here in her dream to be alone with her, which he hadn’t been able to do since their adventure six months ago. Since that time the only chance he had of ever being with her or even getting to talk to her was here.

 

The stupidly large blade cut the first wolf clean in half, and made it disappear as if it had never existed before. In a sense it never really did. This was just a dream after all. Heather was never in any real danger, but she didn’t know that, and he really did need to be where Chuck currently was. The problem was, he had been replaced once again; First in real life and now even in her dreams. This was the one real place that had always been his, and now a phantom from her past was killing the last real hope he had of being with her. Another wolf died to Chuck’s blade.

 

“What’s wrong with these stupid wolves? If they all attacked at once they could take him down. Instead, they keep coming one at a time, and stupidly from the front. If real wolves hunted like this, it’d be no wonder they were almost extinct.” Brian grumbled to himself. No this was getting him nowhere, he thought. He needed to do something now rather than let that fake Chuck take his place and his girl. Brian began to look around for something he could use to steal the scene. Anything that would work. His eyes locked upon a large stone behind a nearby tree.

 

“Well,” he thought to himself, “That’s going to have work.”

 

A second later he had retrieved the dull gray thing. It was quite heavy, and larger than his fist. He suspected that if it wasn’t for his enhanced strength, the task he was about to use it for would have been impossible.

 

“Listen to me,” he thought. “Here I am in a dream world, and I’m talking about what is impossible.” he chuckled to himself.

 

A second later he was standing in the clearing again, watching the scene playing out. Two more wolves were gone, obviously killed by the dream Chuck. The stupid wolves were still coming at him one at a time, and a sense of jealousy rose up in Brian as he noticed how desperately Heather clung to her champion. He wanted to be there, it was his place and this faker was taking it from him. Chuck had no business taking Heather away from him again, and he was done putting up with it. Brian pulled his arm back then threw the large stone with all his might sending it careening at the phantom Chuck. The rock exploded Heathers champions head just as he killed another wolf.

 

The rest of Chuck’s body exploded into a sparkling mist as Heather fell forward onto the ground no longer having Chuck’s body there to support her. The next wolf leaped at the now undefended Heather, its teeth baring as saliva ran from its open maw. Heather had no chance to raise even an arm to defend herself as she was still looking at the ground in shock at her missing champion. Brian slammed into the air-born beast just as it was about to tear into the defenseless woman, sending the wolf spiraling head over heels away from the two, before shattering into sparkles of light as it impacted into a nearby tree.

 

“I’m here, Heather!” Brian said as he reached down and grabbed the girl by the shoulders and started to lift her to her feet.

 

“Brian?” Heather looked up at him. Her face clearly showed she was startled to see him. Her deep blue eyes caused Brian to lose himself in them as she did so. “What are you doing here? Where’s Chuck?” She asked as she looked side to side as if expecting to see her former champion standing nearby.

 

Brian smiled at her hoping to assure her everything was alright. “It’s okay Heather, I’ve got everything under control here.”

 

“No…Brian, where’s Chuck?” She shook Brian’s hands off of her, as she looked more frantically around for her fallen champion.

 

A large weight knocked Brian off his feet as he tried to calm her. A sharp pain followed in his side as he fell to the ground. Twisting around, he saw the large wolf now standing over him, his blood dripping from its mouth.

 

“I don’t have time for this!” Brian thought as he grabbed the wolves’ ears and twisted the things head till it snapped and then fell on top of him. It wasn’t too hard to throw the dead beast off of him and jump to his feet. Heather was gone as he looked around for her. A quick glimpse of her flowing white dress disappearing in the nearby forest told him all he needed to know. The growls from the rest of the pack filled his ears as they all started to move in on him as one.

 

“Oh now you’re going to attack as a group?” Brian shouted at the closing wolves. Figures he thought. Even in her dreams I’m losing her now.

 

The pack attacked as one, each of the wolves attacking a different part of Brian’s body. Pain ripped through his mind as their teeth sunk into his flesh. He couldn’t help but wonder if this is how it would feel in real life. A stupid thought, he knew. After all, he was quite possibly in some real danger. He had never died in a dream before, and he didn’t intend to let this be the first time. Yet, there had always been persistent rumors that said if you died in your dreams that you would die in real life as well. He wasn’t about to find out.

 

Moving with blinding speed, only available to those in their dreams, Brian flung the offending wolves from his bleeding form. Without waiting for them to recover, he dashed to the forest where he had seen her dress disappear into. He could hear the wolves regrouping behind him as he disappeared into the wooded cover. Panic rose up in his chest as he searched the ground for Heathers track’s and found none. A sound in the nearby bushes caught his attention, sending him to them in a desperate attempt to find any clue to where she had gone. The world around him began to flash and disappear, a clear sign that Heather was starting to wake up. The night’s adventure was coming to an end, and still Brian hadn’t gotten the chance to spend any real time with her.

 

A sense of depression started to overcome him. The sound of the pack was closing fast. Why did she have to reject me? Didn’t she understand that I did it all for her? Was it so hard to love a vampire?

 

The pain that he was feeling began to turn to rage, and he turned in anticipation of the oncoming wolves. He needed them to come so that he could do something with the pain and anger he felt After all, it was partly their fault that he had lost her tonight. They deserved to feel some of his pain.

 

The brush parted in front of him as he tensed ready to engage his pursuers. A large humanoid wolf walked through the parting brush. It’s height towering above him as it’s glowing red orbs that made up its eye’s pulsed as they looked down its large snout, examining him. A hunger seemed to wash over Brian from the gray black werewolf that stood before him.

 

Then it was gone, as well as the rest of the world that made up Heather’s dream.

 

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~ by targoun on November 3, 2010.

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