AN: I have finally finished Chapter Four of Vampire!Taylor! It's only taken me weeks of fiddling with it...It's still shorter than I would normally prefer, but it was a good stopping point.
A Late Night Walk - Part 4
"No. No, this is gross. I can't drink this."
Lisa frowned as she looked between me and the blood bag. "I don't get it. You were able to drink some of this the other night. I mean it wasn't ideal, but you could still use it for sustenance."
"Well it tastes like charcoal. Maybe it's doing something for me, but it's…I don't know. It's like it's dead or something."
Lisa sighed. "Well, it is a blood bag. So if you want to get technical, it's not living blood. Or at least not blood directly from a living critter. Man, there goes the easy option. I was hoping that 'not ideal' wouldn't be 'almost entirely unsuitable', but hey, we work with the hand we're dealt. Onto the small furry animals!"
"Wait, what?" I asked, my eyes widening and my nostrils flaring. Now that she mentioned it…I could detect a whiff of…fur and…fear in the air. I blinked. "I can smell fear?"
"You can - of course you can. Bullshit powers are bullshit." Lisa grunted and lifted a small carrier cage onto the kitchen counter. There was a partition in the middle separating it into two section. Inside was a rabbit on one portion and a large white rat on the other.
"I'm not killing a bunny." My mind rebelled and I took a step back even as my hands spasmed and lifted towards the cage on their own accord. I glared at my hands and dropped them back to my sides.
"Let's start with the rat," Lisa said gently. She opened the carrier and reached in to pull out the rat, leaving the rabbit secure.
The rat took one look at me and clung to Lisa's hand. I felt my fangs itch as I stared at it. "People have rats as pets as well."
"True. But I tried to get the ugliest one of the bunch. And, to be perfectly honest here, Taylor, while I would love to play mobile blood bag for you every once in a while if it gets rid of my power for a bit, it's not realistic. We both know I can't do that enough to sustain you; not if you can't eat regular food. I'm petite. I don't have enough blood in me. And I don't want to fully give up my power to you; just saying. A bit of peace and quiet is one thing, full on normality? No thanks."
I grimaced. "Well you'd be living with a vampire cape, 'normal' is out the question even if you didn't have powers." Shutting my eyes and trying - and failing - to suppress my groan, I reached out. "Fine. I'll try the rat. I'm sorry little guy." Even as my hand closed over it.
"Oh, I forgot to ask, you don't mind that I'm staying here for now do you?"
Lisa rolled her eyes and playfully slapped my shoulder. "Sweetie, you're like a live-in bodyguard, friend, and pet project all rolled into; no, I don't mind you crashing in my pad. Now stop stalling and eat the lab rat."
"I hate you," I muttered. She had the nerve to chuckle at my consternation. Taking a deep breath, I could feel my fangs itch as the blood pumping beneath the skin of the small creature roared. It pulsed against my fingers, it raged against my ears, the heat was like a furnace in my hands, and I could even see the small pumping movements through my dilated eyes.
Leaning down, my teeth touched the back of its neck and the rat stilled in my hands. Warmth surged into my mouth. Shuddering, I gulped it down. This was nothing like the minty scent or the syrupy nirvana that Lisa's blood had been. This was…dull. There was life there, and satisfaction; but it was dim. It was leagues better than the blood bag, but this wasn't bliss.
Pulling back, I set the still rat onto a paper towel and quickly stepped away from the counter. Wiping my arm across my lips I tried to ignore how things were suddenly ever so slightly brighter and sharper. How the sounds around the apartment were so much clearer and louder.
How I felt more alive.
"Oh that definitely helped."
I nodded, looking everywhere but at the still rat. "Yeah. It wasn't as, um, flavorful as yours and I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be hungry again a lot sooner, but yeah, that does work."
"Okay, so we don't need to prey on the homeless or the Nazis. Good to know!" Lisa crooned, her grin disturbingly fox-like as I snapped my head around to stare at her.
"Well it wasn't Plan A, Taylor, but it was like…Plan D."
"What?!" My eyes widened enough that any further and they would probably be falling out of my skull.
"Blood bags, bunnies," she said ticking off her fingers. "A harem of Renfields, homeless and Nazis! See, definitely bottom of the list."
"You are a horrible person," I whispered, my hands covering my mouth.
She laughed and slung an arm around my shoulders. "And yet I took home a vampire. Seriously, Taylor, I'm just trying to look out for you here. If you couldn't feed off of animals, you would've needed people. Willing donors would probably be hard to find outside one or two broken people." She gestured to herself. "And weirdos off the internet would need to be vetted first. So our options would have been limited. Acceptable targets is really the only decent stop gap solution to keep you alive in a worst-case scenario."
I moved my hands to my eyes and whimpered. "I don't want to eat people to live, Lisa."
"Hey, hey, it's okay, sweetie." She squeezed my shoulders and ruffled my hair. "You didn't hurt me when you drank my blood and we just figured out that animals are good to go. You'll be fine, Taylor. I promise."
I sniffled, leaning into her and letting her keep stroking my back while I breathed in her scent.
The minty smell of her blood was just so…relaxing…
I swallowed, my hand shaking and shivers running up and down my back. I couldn't look away from the shaft of light streaming into the room from the window. It was too close. Too close, too hot, too close, too bright, too close.
"This is a bad idea, Lisa."
"We have to know, Taylor," she murmured, her steady hand on my arm felt like a vice. "Come on, just a few seconds."
"Everything in me is saying that this is going to hurt."
"I'm right here, sweetie."
"Please," I whispered.
"Taylor." Lisa stepped in front of me, standing between me and the ray of sunlight. I breathed out, letting my eyes slide shut for a moment and my shaking stilled. She covered my hand in both of hers and she gripped me tight. I opened my eyes again and she was holding my gaze, a small sheen over her green orbs. "If you don't want to do this, I'm not going to force you. But, Taylor, we really need to know how dangerous going out into the daylight is for you. You hit most of the vampire tropes: you're mildly allergic to garlic, you need blood regularly, you're pale as hell, you're more or less undead, you don't show up in silver mirrors…about the only classic thing that doesn't affect you is running water."
"So sunlight is going to be bad. Let's skip it and call it done." I kept my focus on her. I refused to look past her to the light. I wouldn't look at that brightness. I wouldn't.
"Tay, we need to know. There's a huge continuum here. Maybe you'll only have a few issues, a bit of loss of power like with the original Dracula. That wouldn't be so bad at all would it?" She waited for me to shake my head before she continued. "And on the opposite end, maybe there's things like your hand bursting into flame. That's important information if that happens and a very big safety tip to watch out for. That's why I have the fire extinguisher here, just in case." I nodded again, still not looking away from her eyes. "And right in the middle we have things like really bad sunburn, but sunburn can be blocked with strong suntan lotion."
"I'm scared, Lisa," I whispered.
"I know, sweetie, I know."
"Promise me that you won't run away - no matter what happens?"
I clenched my jaw and jerked my head. "Okay. Okay, let's-let's try."
Lisa smiled at me and moved her palms up to my bicep. "Remember, Taylor, don't panic. I'm right here."
I nodded. Then breathing in her minty scent, I stepped forward, pushing my hand into the light.
And everything devolved into pain.
AN: I have a Pa tr eon and Ko-fi now! If you want to support my efforts and see some work-in-progress chapters a bit earlier as well as have a say in what I focus on please feel free to take a look. Both are under my other pseudonym 'Slider'. More descriptive links are in my profile.