Submitted Date 09/06/2019

Ivy clutched her suede black gown restlessly. How many times had she done this? Enough times that she shouldn't be nervous anymore. She gave herself credit: it was the first time she was hunting alone. Keenan was usually right up her ass, and she noticed how nice (and awful) it felt to be away from him. Still, she was scared at the thought of messing this up.

She sighed and shook her head. She had to do this on her own. Was she going to rely on Keenan for the rest of her life? The thought made her cringe. No, she was a big girl. She could do this without screwing it up. She had been a vampire for nearly a month now, and it was time she started hunting on her own.

Hunting was no easy task for vampires in this day and age. Concealment was their greatest priority, and it wasn't always easy to corner a victim alone. Plus, young vampires such as Ivy had trouble manipulating their newly found strength and skills. She was no exception. Control was key, or a vampire could end up decimating an entire city population.

Ivy stood crouched atop a pharmacy building where she waited, hidden. Below her, a tall man with sandy blonde hair stood against the building lighting a cigarette. She eyed him for a moment. No, she thought, glancing at the lit cigarette, his blood will taste disgusting. Smoking was a nasty habit, and Ivy wasn't about to share the taste with her victim.

Sighing, Ivy glanced around from her vantage point, searching for more people. She was restless. Her body was weakened from lack of blood; she had been putting this off. Keenan had warned her of this, but she hadn't heeded him. She felt lightheaded, and the smell of blood from below made her even dizzier. Thirst manifested itself as a deep, burning emptiness in her core.

A memory of when she was first changed—and first felt that thirst—assaulted her. When he had told her what he was, she had laughed in his face. He promised her a world full of pleasure, power, and immortality, and she had laughed incredulously. She could hardly believe it now, but he had proved her wrong. He showed her monsters did exist.

Ivy's vision darkened, and her fangs descended as she thought of killing the monster who had turned her. Keenan, her mind spat his name. His face flashed in her head, and she sighed. No, she could not kill him. She never could. She was his slave, thanks to a blood-binding spell he had cast when he changed her. She was his to do with as he pleased. And he'd taken great pleasure in that, she noticed.

The blood bind worked both ways. While she hated him, she also loved him, and could not stay away from him. It was why she had stayed with him this entire time, learning from him. She couldn't be away from him for long; she had tried when he'd first turned her.

Movement out of the corner of Ivy's eye roused her from her memories. A petite woman walked briskly down the sidewalk with her head down. The scent of her blood flared Ivy's nostrils, and she held her breath to focus. As the woman passed the man, his lusting eyes followed her. After a moment, he flicked the remnants of his cigarette out, then began stalking behind her. Ivy watched them silently.

The man followed the girl, but not too close for her to notice at first. They continued down the street. The woman took a turn, and Ivy could see that she had taken notice of her stalker. Her pace sped up. Slowly Ivy slinked along the roof of the building, watching the pair.

The man continued behind her, and the woman began to walk even faster. She rounded another corner and gasped when she saw it was a dead end. Ivy sighed as she watched. With a graceful leap, she jumped to the next building and crept closer to the two.

"Hey, sweet cheeks, where do you think you're going?" The man called in a surly voice to the woman who backed further into the alley. She didn't answer him, and he stepped closer. Ivy knew she needed to act quickly, or soon the woman would scream.

With a quiet thud, she landed on the sidewalk and strode towards the man. He turned, and his eyes widened when he saw her.

"What the—" He began, but was unable to finish. Ivy leaped the distance between them and landed on him. Tall and hardy, he caught her without falling. To the frightened woman, it looked as if the two were lovers in an embrace. Then, Ivy sank her fangs into his neck. The man's grasp on her tightened in surprise, and for a moment he struggled to pry her off him.

Ivy didn't care about the sour taste in his blood anymore. The semi-sweet, crimson liquid filling her mouth sent her into a craving frenzy as she continued to drain the man. His hands twitched, and suddenly their weight buckled beneath him and they fell, Ivy still latched on top of him.

A piercing scream from behind her filled the air. Breaking from her meal, Ivy stood and turned towards the cry. The woman met Ivy's eyes and looked as if she was about to let out another screech. Ivy strode towards her faster than the woman could react and laid her hand on the girl's breast. With a seemingly effortless shove, she sent the woman flying into the wall behind them. Her back met the bricks with a clunk, and the woman was knocked out from the blow.

Quickly Ivy stalked back to her meal and continued to drain him. When she finished, she shoved the body away from her in both disgust and shame. The taste of tar and cocaine filled her mouth and clouded her mind. She kneeled on the asphalt, gathering her thoughts. Now that he was finished, the sweet scent of the woman behind her filled her nostrils. She fought for control as her core lusted for the taste of the unconscious body.

"Tsk, tsk. Such a mess you've made." A familiar, spine-shivering voice came from the entrance of the alley. Ivy flinched at the sound. "I know I've taught you better than that," the silky voice purred. Footsteps approached her, and she looked up. Above her stood Keenan, an amused smile on his lips.

"What are you doing here?" Ivy growled. "I thought I was hunting on my own."

"You are, and you did. I was in the neighborhood," the tall man said while glancing down at his long fingers, "and I happened to hear a scream. Certainly not from your meal," he glanced down at the pale, lifeless man. It was clear there wasn't much of a struggle. Her powers seemed to grow more each day. He had taught her well. Then, his cool, grey eyes searched the alley behind them until they locked onto the unconscious woman. He clicked his tongue.

"Messy, messy," he chuckled. Ivy glared down at the asphalt. Yes, it had been sloppy. "Why not the woman? She must have been easier to subdue."

Ivy continued to stare at the ground beneath her and said nothing. Keenan could guess as much. She'd always seemed reluctant, thirsty as she was, to drain the humans he presented to her. He could see the shame and remorse in her eyes after she'd drunk her fill. It was clear Ivy still valued the lives of these humans. Such compassion was rare in a vampire, their thirst outweighing any and all morals. And then, even after that thirst was sated, Keenan found he still didn't care about his prey.

With an amused chuckle, Keenan reached his hand out to Ivy, and reluctantly she grabbed it. He pulled her up with force into his body. He could smell the blood on her lips. Ivy shrugged away from him, but he didn't let her hand go.

"Why do you care for them, Ivy? They're just humans. They die fast enough on their own."

"I don't want to kill them. I don't want to kill anyone, except you." She spat. This caused Keenan to laugh. It was deep and beautiful.

Still holding her small hand, he yanked her close again, and whispered, "Now why on earth would you want to kill someone you're dying to fuck?" Ivy scoffed and pushed away from him, and he let her go. She wouldn't look him in the eye which amused him.

"She saw me," Ivy mumbled.

"I figured when I heard her screaming," Keenan chuckled.

"Can you trance her?" Ivy asked, finally meeting his eyes.

"She'd make better use as a meal."

"No! Keenan, please." She begged. "Spare her. She deserves to live." Desperation was clear in her sad, green eyes, and it turned Keenan on to see it, though he liked to imagine for other reasons.

"Anything for you," he grinned. He walked towards the sleeping woman behind them, brushing Ivy as he passed. The touch sent shivers down her spine. She watched his every move as he kneeled beside the woman and touched her forehead. After a few moments, he lifted her small body off the ground with ease.

"What are you going to do with her?" Ivy pressed.

"Don't worry, I'm taking her home. She doesn't live far from here."

"Maybe I should take her."

"What, you don't trust me?" Keenan asked wryly. He quite clearly knew her distaste for him, but it still spurned him when she showed such little faith.

"Really, I don't mind—"

"Enough." Keenan barked, and Ivy's mouth clamped shut. This was a command she wouldn't refuse. "You've no reason to mistrust me." I can think of plenty, Ivy thought. She said nothing; she knew better than to upset him, especially when he was doing her a favor. Ivy wasn't even sure if she could take the girl far without succumbing to her own thirst. She was most likely better off with Keenan anyway.

He turned without a second glance at her, and in one swift bound he leaped to the top of the building on their left. Ivy watched as he flew from building to building silently. With a sigh, she turned to the man on the ground. She wondered what his name was or if he had a family. Shuddering, she lifted his limp body and hoisted him over her shoulders. She jumped to the roof above her and began sprinting, flying roof to roof as she made her way to the familiar grave.

The black river's current roared as if it was some hideous beast. Ivy stared down at it while she stood at the edge of the stone bridge that loomed above its midnight waters. Her meal lay awkwardly cradled in her small arms, like a mother holding her overgrown child. Large rocks hung from his wrists and ankles.

Closing her eyes, Ivy cast the man's body down to the river and did not open them until she heard the waters swallow it with a splash! Then, she turned on her heels and headed towards her typical getaway spot. After all, she had promised herself a night of fun.

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