Warnings: A bit of language, nothing major
Characters: Edgar Frog, Alan Frog
Spoilers: Majorly for the Thirst
Synopsis: Edgar finds himself fighting a war on two fronts when a power vacuum leads to an explosion in the vampire population at the same time as he finds himself learning how to cope with his own set of fangs
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10
“No! Edgar, wait!”
Alan realized a split second before Edgar opened the door what he was going to do, but his human speed was no match for the half vampire strength in Edgar's muscles as he turned and began to run. Alan watched in horror as his brother appeared to trip over something on the floor. He fell forwards, but never hit the ground.
He flew shakily at first, uncertainly; keeping low to the ground as though he were afraid that he might drop out of the air. Even as Alan watched, his confidence seemed to grow and he increased his speed and altitude, quickly disappearing out of sight into the expanse of blackness that was the night sky.
Alan called his name again, bellowing it into the night in the hopes that Edgar was still close enough to hear. Nothing happened. He stood alone outside his trailer, staring upward at the stars without seeing them. He waited, hoping that Edgar would return. When it became obvious that he wasn't going to, he went back inside, sat down on the couch and resisted the urge to break something.
Edgar had been right. He had given up.. He hadn't been able to deny it because it was true, and Edgar knew that because he had seen it with his own eyes.
By the time that Alan had returned, he had spent years hunting the head vampire, learning how to survive as a half vampire and how to live with what he had become. He had been forced to accept that humanity was lost to him. It had been that or lose his sanity. Years more of hunting, searching for something he no longer believed he would find, would have driven him mad. He had chosen to survive as well as he could, create a life for himself, or some semblance of a life.
When he had left, he had vowed to himself that he would not to return to Edgar as a half vampire, but once he accepted that he would never be human again he had been forced to decide between the conflicting desires to keep his vow and to see his brother again. His choice meant that after years of separation while he searched desperately for a cure, he had returned to Edgar a shadow of the man he had been, a half vampire no longer clinging to the hope of regaining what he had lost, and concentrating all of his efforts instead on maintaining his current state, of not taking that final leap over the edge and into the eternal darkness.
So, yes. He had given up. But not without a fight. That was what Edgar had never seen.
He left the door to the trailer open as he waited, glancing out occasionally, hoping to see his brother returning, but there remained no sign of him. He continued to wait through the night, keeping one eye on his watch and the other on the door.
Perhaps as he waited, he slept. He had no memory of closing his eyes, but he was still recovering from his head injury, and before he knew it the sky on the horizon was beginning to lighten from black to the deep, rich blue that signaled the beginning of the end of the night. Dawn was approaching fast. He glanced around the trailer, hoping that if he had slept, Edgar had crept inside, but his brother was still missing.
He got to his feet and walked to the door, worry gnawing at his insides, and looked around. The air appeared stained dark blue by the retreating night time, but the dark was fading fast and there was still no sign of Edgar. He considered going out searching for him, but he knew it would be hopeless. He had had hours to get away, and vampires – even half ones – moved fast. By now, if he wanted, Edgar could be anywhere within a hundred miles of the trailer. And even if he had only gone into town, the chances of finding him miniscule. Hopefully, as the sky continued to lighten and the sun edged closer to rising, he would be driven home by the daylight. If not, Alan had no idea where he would stay.
He stepped outside and sat down heavily on the step outside the trailer, playing back their final conversation in his head as he watched the world grow lighter. Despite what the coming daylight meant for Edgar, he still couldn't help but love watching the sunrise. As a child, it had meant safety; that the monsters would have to flee. Then, for years, he had dreaded it as a reminder of what he no longer was. Now, it was simply wonderful, no matter what else was happening, the fact that he could watch the sunrise made things better. For a few moments, at least.
Edgar's accusations had hurt. The idea that he in some way wanted Edgar to stay a half vampire was ridiculous and offensive. It was the last thing he wanted; the last thing that he would ever want for anyone, his own brother least of all. And Edgar knew that. If he was himself, he would have known that. But Edgar had always been a little paranoid, it just his nature and considering what he did with his life, maybe even a good thing. But vampire in him was clever, and it was twisting that trait, making it worse; Making him see enemies in the people that wanted to help him and isolating him from his allies.
Edgar would never had said these things to him without the vampire twisting his thoughts and emotions. But even now, after everything, Alan still wasn't sure whether the monster inside was another entity entirely, or just the fears and innermost thought and feelings of the person infected being dragged closer to the surface.
Whether or not Edgar really thought Alan wanted him to experience what he had, he had successfully forced Alan into his role, showing him how it felt to be left behind.
Alan rested his chin on his hand and slumped on the step, still staring with fading hope at the slowly lightening landscape around him.
Once, a long time ago, Edgar had dreamed of flying. He had soared over the ocean, approaching the Santa Carla boardwalk. He had swooped low over the heads of the tourists and listened as they shrieked in surprise and delight at the sudden appearance of a superhero. He didn't remember much of the dream, but when he had woken, he had realized that people don't fly. Vampires fly. And he had never again dreamed of flight.
He hadn't meant to take to the air. The idea of using any of the abilities that half vampirism gave him was repugnant to him. But instinct had taken over, and flight had seemed natural. He had needed to get away, and he had gone where Alan couldn't follow him.
It had been frightening at first. Suspended in the air, far above the ground. But it seemed right, somehow, in a way that he couldn't put into words, even inside his own head. It felt as though he had suddenly accessed a part of himself that had been aching to be used. He knew instinctively what to do; how to move forward, to turn left and right, how to take himself higher and lower in the air.
He moved carefully at first, slowly and shakily, like a kid riding a bicycle without training wheels for the first time, but as confidence increased so did his speed and stability, and it felt so good. For the first time since he had been forced to drink he was free and unburdened, able to concentrate on nothing but the action of flying. Even the source of the gift no longer worried him. For a few moments, he was happy.
He dropped lower in the sky and slowed slightly, marveling at the feeling of the warm night air rushing against his skin. He touched the highest leaves of the trees and stared down at the ground like a bird of prey hunting with its powerful vision for those creatures further down the food chain.
That was a sobering thought, and in an instant the joy of flight was replaced by a dull horror at what he was doing. A vampire could hunt like this; patrolling the skies, swooping down on some unsuspecting human like the predator that they were. They did it all the time.
He dropped lower to the ground, meaning to land and walk, but he glanced around himself and realized how far away he was from anything. Flight was fast, and in a matter of minutes, he was more than half way to the edge of the town. He touched down on stony ground not unlike the land where his trailer sat.
He knew, without knowing how, that the road into San Cazador was several miles to the south. Behind him was his home. He desperately wanted to return, to shut himself inside and pretend that he hadn't just done what he had, but Alan would be there. His brother would be furious and worried and fighting the instinct to follow him, but he would have no idea where to go, and in the end he would opt to stay where he was, assuming that Edgar would return. It was what Edgar would do, and they thought alike.
That meant he couldn't go back. Not yet. He couldn't see Alan again. He needed time to sort out the jumble of thoughts in his head, work out which ones were his and which had been placed there by the monster under his skin; which ones were right and which were the product of stress and paranoia. He already regretted what he had said to Alan, but a little part of him still wondered whether he had been right; whether on some level Alan did want him to understand what he had gone through. It may not even be a conscious thought, but it explained completely the way that his brother had been acting and the things that he had been saying.
Edgar glanced back the way he had come. His trailer was sanctuary, he was safe there, but hiding away would accomplish nothing. Ahead of him lay the town of San Cazador, populated by two growing armies of vampires, each determined that their side would win. He had caused the mess, by killing the original head vampire and freeing Alan and the others. Now he found himself an unwilling player in a war that he had started. A war that, in order to save himself, he had no choice but to end.
He could fight, and he would fight. Even if all he could do was save one other innocent person from death or turning, it would be worthwhile. If he could find out something that he could use, so much the better. He had gotten into this to protect the innocent from the monsters, and that was exactly what he was going to do.
Instinctively, he checked his belt for weapons. Only one stake, but that combined with the enhanced strength and speed he had played about with the night before should be enough. He glanced around quickly, making certain that there was no one nearby and then, with a deep breath, willed himself to fly.
Edgar frowned and glanced around again, feeling vaguely silly. He pointed himself in the direction of San Cazador, and jumped, concentrating on ignoring gravity and continuing to rise into the air. He landed about a second later. He scratched his chin and stared upward. Maybe a running jump would do it? He considered it but thought better of the idea. If it didn't work, he was likely to land flat on his face, and although he might heal up quickly, it would still hurt.
Of course, his brief, accidental flight a moment ago had almost been a very ungraceful trip over an unexpected rock. Flight had been an instinct that had taken over when he wasn't thinking. Now, on the ground and staring up at the vivid, star-covered night sky, he couldn't stop thinking, and the thought foremost in his mind was that he didn't want to use the abilities that his misfortune had granted him. He needed too, and he intended to, but he didn't want to. His own obstinate refusal to accept his reality was keeping him earthbound, stranded in the middle of nowhere.
He continued to stare upward, remembering the sensation of flight; the wind rushing around his ears the freedom he had felt as he controlled his speed and the height at which he flew, looking downward and seeing nothing but air between him and the ground so far below. It had been exhilarating. He forced himself to concentrate on the wonder of the experience, forgetting everything that he didn't want to remember as he looked up into the night sky in all its beauty and willed himself to rise up and become a part of it.
Slowly, he felt himself begin to move. Experiencing it now as a deliberate action rather than an accidental one allowed him to feel himself rise into the air. It was a strange and impossible motion. The weight of his body didn't appear to decrease, nothing lifted him and he didn't even have to move his limbs. The fact that he could do it went against everything that he knew about the world so jarringly that he almost fought it instinctively, but he forced himself to ignore the apprehension and let instinct take over once again. Within moments, he was in the air, flying toward his destination.
Common sense told him to come to a landing outside of town where he wouldn't be seen and walk to a populated area. Impatience and eagerness to prove himself told him that walking all that way would take too long. He stayed in the air all the way to the beach, where he landed carefully on the sand, looking around in all directions to ensure that there was no one around to see him. Even if there had been, the night was dark to human eyes. In an unlit place he could land ten feet in front of someone and they wouldn't know.
He walked quickly over the sand and climbed the wooden steps built every ten yards or so to allow access to the beach for the hundreds of tourists that, for whatever reason, flocked there every day. He had never understood the point of the beach, other than as a barrier between the ocean and the land, of course. He had nothing against it, it was nice enough to look at on those rare occasions when it wasn't overfilled with sweating tourists and screaming kids, but if he was looking for something to do with his downtime, laying on a towel baking in the sun wouldn't be it.
He smiled to himself in an ironic way as he climbed the sand covered steps. It wasn't like sunbathing was going to be something he had to worry about for the time being, anyway.
Alan had never liked the beach either, but five years in the dark had changed his opinion. Now, he went there most days, just to sit in the sun and watch the world happen around him, with this strange, content smile on his face. As he climbed the final step up onto the concrete of San Cazador's woefully inadequate boardwalk, a stab of jealousy surprised him and Edgar turned and looked out over the gray and black nighttime beach. He wondered, when – if – he was human again, whether he would find himself equally drawn to this place. He doubted it, but then, who knows what is going to happen in the future? The universe had certainly conspired to surprise him up to now.
Edgar turned around sharply and found himself face to face with a kid of maybe twenty. He was taller than Edgar by a head and shoulders, muscular and tan. He grinned in that stupid, open-mouthed way that only drunks can achieve.
“Late night swim?” he asked, “Left any pretty girls down there for me, or was it a solo mission?” The drunk laughed out loud and Edgar almost recoiled as the smell of beer overrode the scent of his blood. He turned away and walked down the boardwalk to the busier end, where the clubs that had proved successful for Alan and Zoe were located.
A tactic occurred to him. One that frightened him, and one fraught with danger, but one that would work as long as he could remain in control. The kid now making his way noisily and clumsily down the steps to the beach had smelled like food. The blood of a vampire would provide him with no nourishment. Using another one of the hated yet so very useful abilities half vampirism granted him, he should be able to effectively differentiate between human and bloodsucker without having to rely on his usual, time-tested but not foolproof, human methods.
It was late, and several of the bars and clubs had already stopped admitting new people, others had closed down and locked their doors. Edgar stood, shrouded in shadow, watching one of the few remaining open clubs. Inside, it sounded like there was heavy construction underway, a slow, rhythmic thumping, the beat of what passed for music.
The whole area reeked. A combination of human sweat, vomit, urine, alcohol and, of course, blood. He had been here before, many times, and he had never been aware of it. Vampire senses. The other smells managed to mask the frighteningly tempting scent of human blood pumping through the veins of ever person that passed. He felt nauseous, almost as badly as he had when he had sniffed the garlic. It was a good thing, it served to suppress his unnatural appetite.
He stood, waiting, carefully assessing every person that walked or staggered past. Each one appeared and smelled completely human. Despite the stench of the other smells in the air, he felt the hunger rising higher and fought to suppress it.
He stood in the darkness, observing unnoticed for hours, the crowd thinned little by little, and eventually the music was silenced and the doors to the club closed. Edgar sighed, his human side frustrated by the lack of opportunity for a fight, and the vampire in him hungry and distressed as so many potential meals had walked by.
There were no visible signs yet of the coming dawn, even to his overly light-sensitive vampire eyes, the sky remained dark, yet he could feel it coming. It was a nervous, itching feeling underneath his skin and a compulsion to seek shelter before it was too late. The vampire in him making its presence and its fear of the light felt. He ignored it. Soon, it would be impossible. When the light began to brighten, the need to seek shelter would become too much to bear. But for now, he remained in control.
He walked out of the shadows, into the well lit area of the boardwalk and walked slowly, keeping up his careful observation of those around him. He paid particular attention to those walking alone, especially when they appeared sober and in control. Not that there were many that fit that description.
As he walked, he felt eyes on him, a creepy, pervasive feeling of being observed. He turned his head slowly, attempting to appear casual, and scanned the surrounding area. There was no one around but a young man standing alone by the railing topped wall overlooking the beach. He appeared to be no older than nineteen,with short, styled hair and the kind of clothing typical of the others Edgar had observed throughout the night. He leaned one shoulder against the wall, and glanced around him casually, as though he were waiting for someone.
Edgar continued to walk, slowing his pace slightly and keeping half an eye on the man, the only other person nearby, as he neared him. He inhaled slowly through his nose, only half hoping not to detect human blood. He was itching for a fight, but this would be the first time he fought a vampire as a fellow monster, he didn't know what was going to happen. But he knew, even before he was close enough to detect the scent, that he would not find it. The monster in him could sense its own kind.
The vampire watched him as he approached. He remained completely still. If he knew what Edgar was, and Edgar's ability to sense him meant that he probably did, he obviously didn't anticipate that the half vampire approaching him was any threat. Edgar touched the stake at his belt, ensuring that it was still hidden from view.
“Go away, newbie,” the vampire told him in a disinterested tone as soon as he was within earshot. “I was here first, and it's slim enough pickings as it is.”
Edgar ignored him and continued forward.
The vampire sighed and rolled his eyes. “Look,” he said, “you'll get the hang of this stuff once you've turned, if you live long enough, but for now just take my word for it, yeah? When one of your superiors tells you to get lost, you do what they say. And if you're wondering, right now we're all your su...” he broke off abruptly as Edgar pulled out his stake and flung himself forward, half running half flying, both with vampire strength and speed, toward him.
The vampire ducked and stepped clumsily out of the way. His shoulder hit the metal railing with a loud clang and he cried out, not in pain but in anger.
“What the fuck? What are you doing?”
Edgar struck again, kicking with his left foot and then immediately swinging the stake. This time, it made contact with the vampire's body, piercing the fabric of his t-shirt and plunging into the flesh of his stomach. This time, the cry was one of agony. Attempting to escape, he half flew, half fell through the gap in the railings and onto the beach, where he handed in a heap.
Edgar jumped. In one leap, he cleared the four foot barrier and landed with surprising grace on the sand below.
The vampire began to back away, still on the ground. His injury was no doubt painful, but left alone and able to feed, he would recover quickly. Edgar threw himself forward and pinned the vampire on the damp sand. The creature struggled pitiably, but in vain.
“Where do I find the head vampire?” Edgar said. He brandished the stake above the vampire's heart, high enough that he would be able to see it. “Who's in charge, where do they sleep?”
The vampire gasped in pain as Edgar pressed his knee into the the stake wound. Agony contorted his still human-looking face. He hadn't even had the chance to show his true self.
“Where?” Edgar said again, low and dangerous. He moved the stake closer to the vampire's heart, and the vampire watched it with wide, terrified eyes.
He shook his head, rolling it from side to side in the sand. “I'm not going... to tell you anything,” he said. His voice was thick with pain, but underneath that, Edgar could hear a mocking tone. “You'll kill me anyway. You're a hunter...you want to be human.” Every few words, he paused to draw a deep breath, which he used to continue speaking. Edgar didn't even know if a full vampire needed to breathe, but air was a necessity when it came to speech. “I won't tell you, that way... I still win.”
The vampire smiled, despite his pain. Edgar said nothing. He wouldn't be able to reason with this one, he didn't have the necessary tools to encourage him to speak, all he could do was put him down. He raised the stake once more, and thrust it downward into the vampire's heart. The monster made no sound but a surprised gasp of pain. Edgar felt the body stiffen suddenly beneath him, and leapt to his feet, backing away in case he came to a violent end, but the vampire simply appeared to collapsed in on himself, disintegrating and becoming one with the surrounding beach. He left behind his clothes, still partially filled, as though someone had attempted to build a man out of sand.
Edgar stood for a moment, simply looking at the strange shape in the sand that had been a vampire only seconds before. One slip, one moment of allowing his control to waver, and that would be his fate. That, or something similar. He wondered what form his death would talk, if it ever came to it. He hoped it would be a quiet one.
He took a deep breath of beach air. It was cleaner here, and fresher, then he took once more to the sky.
For a while, he patrolled the sky above San Cazador in a similar manner to how he had once patrolled the streets on Santa Carla; observant, eager. Young. Because in recent years, his thinking had shifted. He no longer saw himself as a young man, and in his line of work old age was practically an impossibility, cutting out the idea of middle age altogether. For a hunter, there was only young, and too old, and for some time now, Edgar had wondered whether he was teetering on the edge of the divide between the two.
Now, with vampire blood in his veins, Edgar felt young and strong and ready to take on the whole world. The fight with the vampire on the beach had proved that it was more than just his imagination. He had never been able to fight like that; go head to head with a full vampire, alone and with nothing but a stake, and finish him so quickly. And that was his first attempt. He couldn't wait to see what he could do when he had had a bit of practice.
Or rather, no. That was a question to which he didn't want an answer.
Somewhere in the streets below him, the silence of the night was shattered by a piercing, terrified scream. Edgar adjusted his course and dropped downward from the sky, following the sound.
He found the source quickly and this time there was no moment of uncertainty as to whether he was dealing with a vampire or not. The monster was showing its fangs, literally, and the woman on the receiving end of the demonstration didn't appear to be happy about it.
The screaming had stopped by the time he landed, replaced by a quiet moaning, whimpering sound. She had backed up as far as she could go, and was on the ground with her back pressed against a brick wall. Her expression was one of abject terror. The vampire was leering over her, eyes glowing red, fangs bared. He could have killed her easily in the time it had taken Edgar to arrive, but this one obviously liked to play with his food. She might not have agreed if he had told her, but that made tonight her lucky night.
Edgar didn't stop to identify himself or give the vampire the chance to defend himself. He struck from the air, pulling out his stake from his holster even as he swooped downward, increasing his speed as he did.
As he neared the vampire, he adjusted his position in the air, holding his stake at his waist in a tight grip, he lined himself up to ram the monster with his shoulder.
It was a direct hit. The vampire, caught unsuspecting and unready for the sudden impact of a fast moving, man sized object directly into his chest, was thrown backwards and landed on the ground. Edgar struggled not to cry out. The impact had hurt, badly. His shoulder throbbed loudly, sending pulses of agony down his arm and through his chest with every beat of his heart.
His target, however, was much less discrete. He leapt easily to his feet and threw himself at Edgar with a roar of rage. Fangs still bared and face still contorted into the true face of the monster inside him. Edgar ducked out of instinct more than anything else. This one was strong. Stronger than the last one, which probably meant older, and further up the pecking order. It was too bad that Edgar wasn't going to be able to ask him any questions. This one had never been going to be an interrogation, it had been all about saving the girl, and now about saving himself too, because if he didn't win this fight, and quickly, it was all going to be over.
His right shoulder was nothing but a mass of agony the whole arm had been rendered useless. By some miracle, he had managed to keep hold of the stake in his clenched fist. He took hold of it in his left, leaving his right dangling uselessly by his side. Fighting left handed was more difficult, but he could do it. He had made sure of that, training long and hard for a situation just like this one. A hunter needed to be prepared for anything that might happen.
He swung at the vampire, but he was fast and ready for the strike. He ducked and sidestepped expertly, making Edgar's speedy, preside attack appear clumsy and predictable. The vampire smiled, showing terrible fangs, stained already with the blood of a previous kill.
Edgar attacked again, this time moving to the vampire's left before swinging at the last second to the right. The stake brushed his side as he avoided him once more.
“What are you doing?” the vampire asked. “We're on the same side.”
Edgar paused, briefly in his attack to glance at the vampire's face. Its tone had been genuinely puzzled, and any other time, Edgar would have taken his words to mean that one vampire shouldn’t attack another, but this was different. It was almost as though the vampire expected to be attacked by another of his kind. One on the side of the other master, for example.
This creature was of the same bloodline as him. Its master was his. Its master's death would free Edgar.
He felt a moment of exhilaration as he moved a step closer to finding the key to escaping from this nightmare.
“There, see,” the vampire said, clearly encouraged by the pause in the assault. “Didn't anyone explain this to you?” He sighed, “No, some new punk turned you and abandoned you, right? That's the way we do it now, apparently.” It shook its head in apparent disgust. On the ground, still pressed against the wall, the girl whimpered again.
Edgar's body remained tense, but he listened intently, hoping to discover a clue that could lead him to the next piece of the puzzle.
The vampire glanced at his victim, and then allowed his face to fade back into a human guise. Fangs retracted, eyes turned from red to brown. “Have her,” he said. “I already ate tonight. Have her, turn completely, and then I'll explain a few things to you.”
The vampire spoke in a completely reasonable tone, as though he were suggesting they have a chat over a beer, not the corpse of a teenage girl. He was offering answers, but in order to get them, he was asking Edgar to do the unthinkable; the thing that would make the answers to his questions moot anyway.
“Go ahead,” the vampire said. “Trust me, things will be a lot clearer once you drink.”
Edgar lowered his stake slightly and edged closer to the girl. She attempted to shrink further into the wall. Her head tucked down protected her neck, though it was more likely to be instinct than any kind of knowledge of vampires beyond what she had read in romance novels. The smell of the blood in her veins was intoxicating. Like the promise of oxygen to a drowning man.
Before he could get close enough that the scent became overwhelming and he lost himself in bloodlust, he turned and looked at the vampire. It looked eager, as though watching Edgar kill an innocent girl would be just as enjoyable as doing it itself. It smiled encouragingly.
Edgar turned back to the girl, readied his stake in front of him where the vampire couldn't see, and in one swift, fluid movement, turned and threw the stake like a javelin.
His aim was perfect. The sharp piece of wood flew through quickly the air in a straight, unwavering line, propelled by his unnatural strength despite the relative weakness of his left arm to his right. The vampire had no time to react to the unexpected attack. The stake struck him directly in the heart, and although his mouth opened to speak or scream, even half-vampire ears could detect no sound.
This one went out in flames. A quick burst of fire that appeared to consume the body from the inside out, spreading from the heart. Within seconds, there was nothing left of him but ash.
Edgar turned back to the girl. She had not moved the entire fight, terror had held her immobile through the escape opportunity his attack on the vampire had provided her, and now that the monster was gone, she remained on the ground, back pushed against the brick wall, chest rising and falling quickly as she hyperventilated her panic, heart pounding much to fast, propelling blood around her body.
He couldn't just leave her like that. Edgar held out a hand to the girl. She appeared not to notice, too lost in the terror to realize that the danger had passed. “Hey,” he said, “you're safe. He's gone.”
The girl's breathing slowed almost imperceptibly, and she glanced up. Seeing the vampire had vanished, she took a deep, relieved breath, but made no move to get off of the floor.
“Get up,” Edgar tried. “Go home.”
She looked at him for the first time. Her expression was full of relief and gratitude, but also left-over terror. She reached up and took his hand in hers. Edgar helped her to her feet. Before he could take back his hand, the girl rushed forward, wrapping her arms around him and enveloping him in a tight hug.
Edgar froze. His entire world contracted and the smell of her blood was all that he knew. It surrounded him, it was the most wonderful thing he had ever known, and her neck, the artery there pulsing in time with the still too quick beat of her heart was only inches from his face.
He felt the monster rush to the surface, pushing its way out of him in the form of fangs and eyes red with bloodlust. He pushed her back, struggling to free himself from her embrace. “No!” he cried. “Get away!”
The monster urged him to hold onto her, his body struggled to respond, but his human half managed to muster a burst of strength that allowed him to push her away. She stumbled as she almost fell back to the ground, and then looked at him, first in confusion and then in abject terror. She screamed.
“Run away,” Edgar told her. He heard himself shout the command in a raspy, struggling voice as the vampire inside him tried to shut down his human half. All it would take would be one second of loss of control, and the monster in him would have its way. If it suppressed his ability to fight right now for even a moment, it would win, and he would be lost forever.
Rather than risk the girl passing up another chance to escape, Edgar took to the sky, desperately trying to put as much distance between himself and her as he possibly could.
Away from the temptation, the bloodlust abated slightly. Edgar flew, no destination in mind, his only goal to avoid everyone. He needed blood. Even though taking himself away from the source of the bloodlust had provided him with a slight relief, he could still feel the need; it clawed at him viciously, scratching and demanding sustenance, and only one thing would satisfy it. The moment he got close to another human, he was going to attack. He knew it. He hated it, but he knew that it was true.
That meant that there was nowhere he could go. Even his own trailer, if he could make his way back there before the immanent sunrise, was not safe. Alan may still be there. Probably would still be there, waiting for him.
Even thinking about his brother and the substance that ran through his veins made the monster in him cry out in anticipation. He couldn't go there. Not only because of that. Even if he somehow managed to resist, or if Alan was able to fight him off and he could drink the bottled blood instead, going back to Alan would only mean that their fight would continue. It would only mean Alan insisting on inaction, and Edgar couldn't allow that.
He flew in aimless circles over the city. Slowly, the sky began to lighten. The sun was not yet above the horizon, but exhaustion began to wear him down. His energy began to drain away under the assault of the sun's rays. It was almost a relief; the bloodlust finally fell away, replaced instead by the kind of exhaustion he had only known once or twice in his life before he had been forced to drink.
The ability to fly abandoned him, and dropped lower and lower in the sky. He landed on the beach just as the first rays of sun spilled over the horizon and into the world. His shoulder throbbed harder, and his body demanded to rest, even if it meant simply laying down on the sand and closing his eyes.
He fought sleep now just as fiercely as he had fought the bloodlust. He refused to lay or even sit down. Even a moment of rest would be a surrender to the power of the daylight, and to lose consciousness here would be dangerous. Unfortunately, he reflected to himself as he looked around through heavily lidded eyes, he had nowhere else to go. Now that he could no longer fly, he couldn't even go home if he wanted to.
Fighting to ignore the growing heaviness in his limbs, he struggled to think. Finally, the solution came to him, the only possible place that he could go, where he could shelter from the sun, where he would be no danger to the human population. Where he could get the sustenance that he so desperately needed.
He had been distracted when they had driven to Daniel's strange warehouse home, and practically catatonic when they had left, but he thought that he could find it again if he had to, and he really did have to.
Pushing aside every other thought, the pain in he shoulder, the mind-crushing exhaustion, the still present bloodlust underneath it all, Edgar began to walk. Face cast downward, glancing up only occasionally to check for landmarks, every step a struggle, he walked to the one place where he knew he would be safe.
Under the intense glare of what was, in reality, a weak and watery dawn light Edgar found it impossible to keep track of time. He concentrated all of his attention on the gargantuan task of placing one foot in front of the other and moving himself forward. The streets were deserted; the clubbers – those that had survived the night unscathed – were now safely tucked away in their beds and only the very earliest risers of the daytime people would be awake yet, and none of them appeared to have ventured outdoors yet.
The pain in his shoulder had dropped to a dull but impossible to ignore ache that throbbed anew each time a foot hit the ground. Left, right, left, right, never stopping for fear that he wouldn't start again.
Finally, he reached the garbage-strewn, stinking alley that Alan had driven him to only days earlier. The high walls around him blocked some of the light of the sun, but it did nothing to ease the exhaustion that had settled into every cell of his body. He raised his left fist and pounded hard on the metal door, and waited.
As though stopping moving had allowed the tiredness to catch up with him, a wave of fatigue swept over him and Edgar sank to his knees on the filthy ground. His final thought before he lost consciousness was to curse his own stupidity. Of course Daniel wouldn't answer the door. He was a half vampire. By now, he too would have succumbed to the draining effect of the daytime.
At least laying here in the garbage in this long abandoned place, he was unlikely to be disturbed by some innocent person that he might attack.
At some point as he lay there, maybe hours later, maybe only seconds, he felt hands anchoring underneath his armpits, dragging him backwards along the filthy ground and inside. A metal door clanged closed, and the daylight was blocked completely.
“You're damn lucky I had that surveillance camera installed, Eddie,” said a voice that sounded almost as exhausted as he felt, then sleep dragged him back down and he lost consciousness again.