Vampire: Dark Ages
From Bad to Totally Screwed
January 15 – February 1, 2013
Hunter wakes up in a dark room. It’s cold and dank. He’s bound by silver manacles and a silver collar, chained naked to the floor and covered in dried blood. He’s severely injured, massive bruises extending down to broken bones and dislocated joints.
He remembers the night he was taken. Trapped in a room with fourteen vampires. He remembers a lingering scent of Jacob being in that room, but doesn’t know if the doc was one of the nine that he had killed in his failed struggle to escape.
He doesn’t know how long it’s been since that night. Days… Weeks… All he remembers since then was being in this new room with Them. Brutal beatings were frequent, as were his subsequent Rages. Periodically they would pin him down and force him to drink blood. He didn’t make it easy, but trying to fight and resist was pointless while constantly restrained. They broke his jaw at one point, often nearly drowning him with the syrupy liquid before he was forced to give in and swallow it.
Not that part of him didn’t want to accept it greedily. It somehow tasted divine. It was also the only thing they gave him. With no food or water, his starved system began to crave the perverse feedings if only for the nutrition they provided.
He had no idea why they were doing any of it. They were keeping him weak and in pain, but keeping him alive for some purpose that eluded Hunter entirely.
Every time he was forced to drink he could feel his mind and body wanting more, a powerful combination of the delicious taste of the substance and Hunter’s own starvation. And every time he drank, HE came into the room. Hunter didn’t recognize him—a particularly hideous vampire with impressive stature and obvious authority. He never said anything, he would just stand from a short distance watching the wet blood drip down Hunter’s body from his mouth, staring into Hunter’s eyes as if looking for something. Then he would leave.
At first, Hunter regarded him no differently from any of the others—just another undead face to remember for when he will have his opportunity to annihilate them for what they were doing. After a while, Hunter realized that many of his negative thoughts and emotions toward the being were now accompanied by feelings of growing respect. He couldn’t rationalize those feelings, they didn’t make sense; he couldn’t find a single reason for why he would develop respect for a captor that was a complete stranger to him. Some form of Stolkholm Syndrome? That was when he realized that’s what they had to be doing—some kind of brain washing brought on by the blood. Over my dead body.
Four feedings… five… six… Each separated by several more beatings and more raging. Eventually Hunter’s attempts to physically fight them off dwindled to only barely trying to keep his jaw clamped as the battle shifted to one of sheer mental willpower. He refused to give in to any temptation to Want the blood, refused to even acknowledge HIS presence. Hunter wasn’t even in this room. He was lying in a comfortable bed talking about complex computer code with a beautiful woman who treated him like a human being. Regardless of his pleasant distractions, Hunter could feel his strength waning.
After the eighth feeding, everything changed. HE walked in the room and Hunter felt this Powerful sense of admiration. It was confusing, conflicting, wholly unnatural and yet undeniably THERE.
As if sensing the change, the vampire smiled. “How’s it going?” he asked, looking between the two vampires still standing near Hunter before looking down at Hunter. “How you doing?”
Hunter glared, annoyed by the vampire’s feigned pleasantry. “Let me go.”
“Sure,” the vampire replied and motioned for the two other vampires to release Hunter. “Let him go.”
Hunter was immediately surprised. He didn’t think the vampire would Actually release him. Without second thought, though with a considerable amount of effort, Hunter jumped up as soon as the last restraint fell from his body, fist curling for the vampire directly beside him.
“Stop,” Duke calmly ordered.
The command gave Hunter only the briefest moment of reconsideration before his fist slammed into its target. In his weakened state, the blow didn’t do half the damage it should have, but the achievement didn’t feel any less satisfying on Hunter’s part. And he wasn’t finished. He turned, his rage and adrenaline quickly overcoming any pain that might have hindered him as he fixed his glare on HIM. His fist pulled back, muscles and tendons coiled for striking the son-of-a-corpse as hard as he could. But nothing happened.
Hunter blinked, his anger staggered by confusion as his fist remained motionless. He COULDN’T will himself to execute the blow. He couldn’t WILL himself to attack.
Meanwhile, the vampire hadn’t moved, still standing calmly watching. “Sit.”
Hunter immediately sat on the floor.
It happened so fast that Hunter had to replay those seconds over in his mind to try and figure out what had happened. He had never Chose to sit down, he never even had the chance to Think about sitting down. He had just sat. He thought it through again, replaying it over and over again in his mind, but came to the exact same conclusion. He had not willingly sat down.
That realization sent a wave of pure dread through the length of Hunter’s body. What have they done to me? After a couple of seconds, he stood up, relieved that he was able to do so. At the same time, he wanted to attack again, but he couldn’t even bring himself to TRY. Fear mounting to desperation, frustration building into fury, Hunter decided to do something he’d never done before. I need you he, thought to himself, speaking directly to his Beast for the first time. His last thought before beginning his shift was how EXHILARATED he was going to feel when he reverted to human form to find shreds of vampire decaying in pieces around him… Hunter’s Beast was more than happy to comply, surging forth the moment Hunter began his shift. For the first time, Hunter welcomed it, and for the first time his transformation was almost harmonious in its fluid shift from man to monster. Several broken bones snapped into place in the process, his body using the shift to gradually continue to heal.
The two other vampires quickly retreated, safely out of the room before they could become easy prey. The elder vampire remained where he was as Hunter’s transformation finished. The nine-foot Beast was STARVING and growled, sniffing the air for anything resembling food. His ears swiveled back, eyes scanning the room in hostile anger. He saw his Alpha standing in front of him and sniffed him as if hoping he’d have food. When he didn’t smell any, he gave another irritated growl and looked to his Alpha for directions.
The vampire was fascinated. As far as he knew, he was the first to be standing safely in the presence of a rage-induced gauru. It was unprecedented and quite awe-inspiring, especially when compounded by the realization that he now wielded a power even greater than the savage primal nature of this magnificent Beast. A Beast that was now his. Reaching out his hand, he placed it on the Beast’s nose, slowly running it up along his muzzle to his face. Gradually, the last of his apprehension eased away as he realized he truly was impervious to harm and his curiosity took over. Stepping closer, he began to inspect the monstrous creature, getting a closer look at his teeth, eyes, wounds… With nothing around to attack or destroy, the Beast simply stood there, permitting the contact as he wavered between boredom and simply being content in his Alpha’s presence.
The next thing Hunter knew, he was back in human form. He was aware of everything that had happened as if watching it all from a distant third-person perspective. He had never had this kind of clarity of a rage before, remembering it all as clearly as his own memories. It felt right. Being in that state had felt right, felt good like he was able to stretch freely for the first time.
All fascination he felt over that revelation was gone the moment Hunter looked up from his knelt position and realized things had not gone the way he had planned. The vampire still stood in front of him, perfectly well. He withdrew his hand from Hunter’s head as he took a step back, closely watching Hunter as a psychiatrist might watch a patient, or a scientist his lab rat.
Hunter was beyond flabbergasted. He sat motionless on his knees, staring up at the vampire in complete shock and bewilderment. For more than a minute, neither of them spoke. The vampire waited, apparently content to give Hunter all the time he needed and see what he would do. The entire time, Hunter’s mind was spinning. What happened? Why can’t I attack him? How is this possible? Why can’t I ATTACK him? How can I fix this? There has to be a way out. If only I could KILL him. Between each of these thoughts, he was calculating everything. He was pulling up every piece of knowledge and theory to come to his aid, but came up empty every time. All he knew was that somehow these vampires—THIS vampire—had enslaved his will.
Eventually, Hunter was able to pull his thoughts together, or rather set most of them aside. Not knowing what else to do or say, he started with a simple-straightforward question. “Who are you?”
The vampire almost looked surprised. “Oh right, I’m sorry. My name is Duke Richardson.” Again, his tone was pleasant, conversational, and its hypocrisy only added to Hunter’s anger which quickly returned with a vengeance.
When Hunter said nothing, Duke spoke again. “I imagine this is a very different kind of situation for you, and for that I apologize. I did not ask for this. It was forced on me. I guess we have one other thing in common: we’re both monsters. In any case, we should probably get going, there’s an important meeting we’re expected to be at. There will be lots of vampires there. You will need to be on your best behavior.” As if sensing Hunter’s immediate tension, he quickly added, “No one will hurt you. I Promise. And if they do, you can eat them all.”
Hunter listened, his glare never wavering as he replied flatly with a straight face: “I don’t think I’m dressed for the occasion.”
Duke gave a humored smile, “I have clothes for you.”
“And after the meeting?”
Duke nodded. “And after the meeting.”
Hunter didn’t like the way that sounded— like Duke was reassuring him that he also had clothes for him after the meeting. As if that wasn’t a given. He rephrased his question—he wanted to know Why he had been enslaved, he wanted to know what they wanted from him. “What happens after the meeting?”
Duke looked up for a moment, rubbing his chin as he thought out loud. “I suppose I should feed you…” then he looked back to Hunter. “After the meeting I’ll feed you,” he said decisively.
Hunter felt his anger beginning to boil. The level of condescending ‘benevolence’ this vampire had in abundance drove even Hunter’s tolerance for insult and degradation to new levels. What angered him further was that he was SO hungry that the promise of food sounded like the sweetest piece of mercy. He managed to maintain his composure, but if looks could kill, Hunter’s glare would have done the job a hundred times over.
Duke appeared unfazed. And why would he be? Hunter couldn’t touch him and both of them knew it. “Any questions?” he asked in earnest.
Despite his anger, Hunter wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity for answers. He had Lots of questions. Dozens.
Who are you? What did you do to me? How does it work? Is it permanent? How to I undo it? Why did you do it? What are your plans, goals and motivations? How do I fit into them? Where am I? What’s the date? When can I eat? Are you going to keep me chained in here? Why can’t I kill you? Why can’t my Beast kill you? Why was my last shift so different from the previous ones? What do you know about me? What do you know about my past? Do you know what I’m physically capable of? Mentally? What are you capable of? How much do you know about my kind? How much control over me do you think you have? How much do you really have?
The list went on and kept expanding. But there were two problems—Hunter couldn’t trust Duke’s answers to most of those questions and more importantly, asking questions was giving information. Ultimately, Hunter decided to do what he usually did—keep the majority of his questions safely to himself and figure out the answers on his own. There were at least a couple of questions that were worth asking though. At the very least, he would start to get a sense of how truthful Duke was going to be with him. “What day is it?”
“Friday,” Duke answered.
Hunter wanted to growl. “What day of the year is it?” he specified.
February 1st… Two weeks and a half weeks since they’d taken him. It felt like it had been considerably longer. “2013?”
He would confirm that on his phone.. if he could get it back. “Where are my things?”
“In the next room,” Duke replied casually.
Hunter just glared up at him. He wanted nothing more than to beat the undead shit out of this creature. And still he couldn’t so much as form a fist intended for that purpose.
When Hunter said nothing, Duke asked, “Shall we go?”
Hunter’s glare remained. He knew he didn’t have any choice in the matter, but he wasn’t about to verbalize his admission of it.
When Hunter still said nothing, Duke took that as a cue that Hunter didn’t have any more questions. He snapped his fingers twice in quick succession as he turned and started for the door. “Up. Let’s go.”
Did he— Did he just snap his fingers at me?!? Accompanying that insult, Hunter could feel the powerful compulsion to Obey.
SEETHING in anger and hatred, Hunter considered the option of refusing. He VERY much wanted to tell this creature to go to hell and defiantly fight his control. On the other hand, he also wanted OUT of this torture chamber and his physical, emotional and mention condition couldn’t get much worse than they were currently. Deciding that his rebellion could wait, he pushed himself to his feet and followed.
Hunter was silent the entire way to the meeting. As promise, he had been given clothes and got his things back—though he could easily smell the trace of vampire scent on each and every item in his bag. He noted the date and time on his phone. He noted where they were as they emerged from the basement of Hobo’s Restaurant in downtown Northwest Portland. It was a clear night and the stars were clearly visable. They drove in a pristine limousine—something Hunter might have enjoyed more as a first experience under different circumstances. As it was, he didn’t care much about the limo, if anything, it felt confining. He was just grateful to be out of restraints. He was grateful to be free of that wretched silver burning against his skin. He was grateful to be breathing fresh air. He was grateful to be clean and clothed. And to top it all off, he had far less freedom than what little he’d had in OSP.
Could his life get any more f’d up?
Stepping out of the limo in front of the Court House, Hunter was still trying to pull together a believable facade of composure, but he simply couldn’t do it. His anger was a visible aura of ‘PISS OFF’ that radiated around him in waves of barely restrained violence. He was also still severely injured. Though his clothing concealed most of it, deep bruises were visible just under his collar and sleeves and he knew that a keen eye would observe the way he subtlety favored his injured limbs. He was also saturated by the scent of blood. Technically it was his own, but having been fed nothing but a steady diet of blood over seventeen days, Hunter could smell the tint of something else like a subtle seasoning in his veins. Vampire blood. Duke’s blood. How Hunter wished he could drink it now… he would happily drink Duke’s every drop if it meant killing him. Not yet.
They approached the Court House in what seemed to Hunter to be in a hurry. He had purposefully taken his time getting cleaned and dressed, mostly for time to think, partly because he was happy to make Duke late. As it turned out, they were, but that only gave them their own personal introduction to the entire hall of several dozen vampires.
As they entered the court room, a female voice loudly announced, “Now introducing The Hound, Duke Richardson, and his pet.”
Being told to ‘sit’, being snapped at, and now being formally introduced as a ‘pet’, not only did Hunter have a pretty good sense of his status as the bottom bitch, but he was beginning to realize these vampires fully intended to treat him like a dog. Literally.
Hunter was fuming. He could feel his temperature flare, feel his Beast beginning to get restless. All eyes were fixed on him and he GLARED back. Many of them were visibly smelling the air and he could see a few lick their lips—a couple almost charged him and had to be kept in line. Hunter was actually quite disappointed that they had. As his eyes scanned the vampires, he realized he recognized a few—Kyle in particular. He clenched a fist, vivid memories of his violent capture morphing into visions of all the ways Hunter had thought up to kill the bastard.
Not yet. He would wait. He would heal. He would learn. And when the time was right, he would have his revenge.