Terry woke into a dream. He was floating, he was sure, laying on a soft cloud.
His hands stroked across it, the only movement he seemed capable of. Somehow, the fact that the rest of his body was frozen didn’t bother him. There was sensation from his extremities. They’d come back to him soon.
He carried on stroking whatever it was he lay on.
No, it wasn’t cloud, he decided. It was material of some sort, sheer and smooth. A sheet, maybe? If he was in a bed, the white above him must be the ceiling. His upper arms had loosened up now, so he traced his hands over his head and found something light and fluffy. A pillow? He still couldn’t sit up, so he lifted the cushion up so he could see it and confirm it was what he thought.
So, he was in a bed. A luxurious bed, with incredibly soft sheets. He stretched out, but neither hand found the edge of the mattress.
It wasn’t just the bed that created the luxurious feeling. He was naked on top of the sheets, and his skin felt wonderful. It wasn’t just that he was clean for the first time in weeks, free of the horrible oily feel that had built up in that time. There was more to it, a deeper cleansing. He had been bathed, oiled and pampered.
But he didn’t remember any of it happening. Nor was he sure, at first, what his last clear memory was. Surely the beautiful pale woman hadn’t been real. But if she was imaginary, what, of all the build up to meeting her, had been real?
There was a sound, the gentle clip of flat soles on stone floor. There was someone in the room with him.
Struggling up, Terry tried to looked around. The strange paralysis that had held him down was dissipating, and he could push up and twist his body to look around. There was a man in the room. An older man, very well dressed, standing by a door that wasn’t immediately obvious. He was staring at Terry, and his expression wasn’t pleasant.
It could have been jealousy, disgust or straightforward hate, Terry didn’t get the chance to read the nuances. When it was obvious that Terry had seen him, the man forced his face into a reassuring smile. “You are awake. Good, so good. The mistress will be so pleased to hear that. Can I help you? Can I get you anything?”
Terry couldn’t get that flash of negative emotion from his memory. The man was looking down now, carefully studying the floor as he talked to Terry, his shoulders drooping. The body language of subservience.
“Would you care for a drink, sir? Something to help with your revival?”
“Who are you?” Terry still had trouble moving his legs, but he could lever his arse off the bed and haul it up until he could lean back against the wall. He wasn’t looking at the man as he asked the question, but studying the room.
The floor was marble, again, with walls and ceiling a similar creamy shade of white. Paintings in ornate gilded frames were all over the walls. Across from the foot of the bed was a large stormy seascape. The door frame and skirting board were similarly decorated, and the light switch and lamp fittings were plated in gold as well.
There were no windows.
“My name is Leech.” the man at the door said.
“Who are you?”
“I am here to provide for you. The mistress asked that I see how you are feeling.” Leech moved closer to the bed. He still looked down, and stapled his fingers before his chest, the very image of subservience. “Do you feel ready to drink? Has the thirst taken you yet?”
Leech talked strange, Terry thought. But his meaning seemed obvious. “A vodka and coke. If you’re serious about the drinks.”
“That, I think, would not be appropriate. But I can get you something more…. Suitable.”
“What, is it too early to drink? What time is it? And why isn’t there a window?” Terry was beginning to get the feeling back in his thighs now. He rubbed his hands over them, to see if it would speed the recovery up. His skin was so cold, he was surprised he could feel anything.
Leech dared to look Terry in the eyes again. “This is the mistresses repose room. It is kept safe from sunlight for her protection. And it is too early in your transformation for you to consume alcohol without serious side effects.”
“Like, I’d get wasted? I drink to get wasted.”
“It would be somewhat more…. Serious than getting, as you put it, ‘wasted’.” Leech had a smug little smile, happy to have more information than Terry.
“You would be very sick. Your body needs time before it can consume anything but blood again.”
Somehow, she had entered the room and walked up to stand close to Leech without he or Terry spotting her. Terry jumped, shifting across the bed with the surprise. Leech flinched and cowered away from the sound of her voice.
Terry looked at the woman. She was just as pale and beautiful as the night before, but wore sequinned hot pants and a tie dye top that was out of character but somehow suited her perfectly.
“Where the fuck did you come from?” Terry’s voice was squeaky with shock.
“I was born in a part of the country you now know as Germany. Before Germany was Germany.”
“I…. No. I meant, how did you sneak up on us like that?”
“It is a skill I have.”
Terry’s brain was slotting things into place out of order to how he was told them. “Blood. You said blood. I’d have to eat it…. Drink it, whatever. And he,” Leech was walking backwards away from the bed, eyes averted again, “said something about a transformation.”
“You drank of my blood, so your transformation has begun. You will properly be one of us soon. But, even then, it is many years before your body can hold down the food and drink you used to enjoy. And then it is only for the sensual pleasure, the taste of it. You need blood now, if you are to stay healthy.”
“Blood.” Terry repeated, the word helping connections form in his memory. “You’re fucking joking. Vampires don’t exist. They ain’t real.”
“If vampires aren’t real, then you aren’t real.” The woman’s smile was so full of certainty.
“Vampires don’t exist.” Terry said again. But it was so quiet, it was obvious he didn’t believe himself.
“Glenn promised you were a pretty one. You do not disappoint.”
Terry stared at her blankly. The change of subject had derailed the few thoughts that had survived the talk of vampires. “You…. Told Glenn to bring me here?” he managed after a while. He presumed they were still in the tower, if only because the tasteless decoration was up to the same standards.
“I persuaded him. He brought me others, in the past. But none were as lovely as you.”
“He said we were meeting a man.”
“A dirty old man who enjoyed boys and young men. I know. A woman seeking such things would still be considered strange. So Glenn saw what he expected to see when we were discussing business. He got paid, and he never said anything when the boys he brought here did not go back to the place he called tent town. It was an arrangement that worked. Whilst it worked.” She sat on the bed beside Terry, and stretched her long legs out so that one of her feet brushed against one of his. To his surprise, Terry found he had a strong, and very obvious, physical reaction to her proximity. She looked down, studied it, and smiled.
“You killed him.” Terry’s voice warbled again.
“I did. I had wanted to kill him for much time. A human who preys on other humans in that way. Well, he felt like…. Competition. He tasted terrible, by the way. I do not know much about drugs, but he had the flavours of several different ones in his blood.”
“You killed him.” Terry tried to sound angry, or appalled. But then he remembered that Glenn had brought him here thinking he would be entertainment for a dirty old man. Used in whatever ways were most entertaining, then never seen again. Glenn hadn’t just sold his body. He had done it knowing it might cause his death.
“And then I drank your blood, and made you drink mine, so the transformation could begin. You are more than just food, like the others, you are to be my lover.”
“What if I don’t want to be your lover.” Terry’s own body had betrayed him on that point, even before he had said it.
“Don’t you?” In a fluid move, the hot pants were suddenly on the floor.
“What have you done with him?” Terry didn’t really want to know. She was lifting the tie dye top up, and that was all he really cared about.
Leech stood by the door and watched. After all, the mistress hadn’t dismissed him. He wished she had, because then he wouldn’t have to watch the disgusting display happening on the bed.
The mistress was beauty itself. Her sinuous body, with its long limbs, formed sensuous sweeping lines no matter what strange shapes she bent it into. How could she waste it on this angular, gangly youth?
They were tangled up on the bed, now. The boy was defiling her now. Leech hated watching it, but wasn’t going to stop.
At least, not until she looked up and spotted him. Anger flashed on her face, the lines etched sharp and dark. Her eyes flicked to the door. Leech averted his gaze, bowed and shuffled backwards out of the room.
The boy might not know what had happened to his pimp, but Leech did. He had swabbed down the marble floor, washing away the blood. The stone surface had been chosen for just that reason, obviously. Before the cleaning, he had dragged the body to the door beside the lifts and manhandling it into a hatch. Then he had listened, with a sick little giggle, as it rattled down the shaft all the way to the base of the tower.
Even so many floors below, the thud as the body had hit the bottom had been audible. It wasn’t as satisfying as the cracking crunch of an empty body bin, though. There must be a few more corpses in it, softening the impact. The occupants of the tower had been busy. It was time for a clean up. Leech made the call.
There were spy holes that allowed peeking into the mistresses room. He was going to look through one. The boy was not worthy, his presence disgusted Leech. But the mistress was always mesmerising to watch.