Okay, I was going to stay with the name Dragonspirit, which Tasting Desire was originally posted under, but nobody was paying any attention, and like most authors, I like attention. *g* So, even though these stories are completely different than you might expect from Shadowriter, I'm going to post them under that name anyway.
And no, for all those wondering, there is no update for Shadows of Justice.
This is a work of original fiction. Any similarities between this and reality are mere coincidence.
Blood Vengeance is a sequel to Tasting Desire. While you can read this story and not be completely confused, it is recommended that you read Tasting Desire first. Otherwise you might find yourself going, "huh?"
Warning: These characters are the kind of people your parents warned
you about. There is blood and violence, though neither is graphic or gratuitous.
This story also has sex between women, some of which involves elements
of bdsm. If you can't deal with that, don't read the story. If you choose
to read the story, don't yell at me about the subject matter.
Feedback is welcome. Encouraged. Requested, even. Okay, demanded -- let me know what you think or I'll track you down and torture you with bad poetry!
The Janx was just as smoky as ever, and the music seemed louder since there were less people. For a Tuesday night there was a good crowd, but still no where near the hoards of people the club saw on the weekends.
After making the rounds of four bars every night for three nights in a row, I was getting tired of loud music and the smell of cigarette smoke and sweat. I hadn't had enough sleep, and my nerves were on edge. Tonight it seemed as though every loud noise or scrape of a chair against the floor set my teeth to grinding.
But tonight I'd found my quarry. She was on the opposite side of the room, talking with a brunette in a leather jacket, who was leaning against the wall, one booted foot planted against the stage. Nix stood between her legs, leaning in close.
I made my way across the room and took a deep breath before tapping the blonde vampire on the shoulder. She turned and smiled at seeing me.
"Hey, Trey. Good to see you."
"Yeah. Need to talk to you outside, Nix. Now."
She glanced at the brunette, who was looking a little disgruntled. "Um, give me about ten minutes, hm? I'm -- "
Leaning in close, I told her, "No. Now. Outside. Or I'll start a rumor you've been spreading herpes and we'll see how long till you starve to death." I turned sharply and left, heading for the front door. As I neared it, I glanced back to see her slowly withdrawing from the woman, apologizing.
I wasn't really that angry with Nix, but it had been a long couple of days, and I was tired. Besides, with Jesse waiting for me, I didn't have time to explain things politely in a crowded bar.
It was only a minute or two later that Nix appeared outside, her eyes flashing in anger.
"What the fuck is your problem? You have no right --"
Her words were cut off as Jesse grabbed her from behind and slammed her against the building.
"Fuck that." Jesse had her hands on Nix's upper arms, pinning her against the brick wall.
"What the fuck is going on?" The vampire's voice was very low, and she stared daggers at Jess.
"Kruise was attacked, Nix."
She turned her head to look at me. "Attacked?"
Jesse curled her lip into an angry snarl. "Attacked by a vampire."
Nix's eyes went wide and she looked back at Jesse. "No fucking way." The look on Jesse's face didn't change, and it was me Nix turned to. "Are you sure?"
I nodded. "Kruise said she has no doubt. Whoever it was had a tremendous amount of strength, and they wanted blood."
"Not unless there's another female one besides Cam."
She was silent for a moment, her gaze focused somewhere on the sidewalk near my feet. Then she turned her head and glared at Jesse.
"Let me go, or I'll show you just how strong a vampire really is."
Her captor didn't even flinch. "Go ahead."
"Jess, come on, ease up. After all, she's not the one who attacked Kruise."
"No, but she probably knows who did. And I'm not letting --"
Her sentence ended abruptly as Nix put both hands on Jesse's shoulders and pushed her away. Jess landed on the sidewalk next to a parked car.
Nix slapped her hands together then brushed them on her jeans as she turned to me. "Tell me what happened, Trey."
"Kruise was at Mowzer's a couple nights ago. She met this woman, who bought her a drink and they talked for a while. Kruise started feeling kinda out of it, dizzy and sick to her stomach, so she decided to leave. This woman, Stacy her name was, offered to give her a ride. Kruise was pretty much gone --turned out the bitch drugged her drink -- and she couldn't argue. The bitch got her out the back door, and up against the garbage dumpster. She jabbed this thing into Kruise's neck -- it was like an ice pick, only bigger -- and she started drinking from the wound."
"How did Kruise get away?"
"Mowzer's shares parking in back with that straight biker bar. Two guys leaving there heard Kruise struggling and crying out, and they came over to help. The vampire knocked one of them over a bike and tossed the other into the dumpster, but the noises had attracted more attention and she just took off. Kruise said one minute she was there and the next she was gone."
"One of the guys kept Kruise from bleeding to death while the other braved the back door at Mowzer's and told them there was a dyke injured in the parking lot."
"They call the police?"
Jesse snorted. "Sure. But to them it's two dykes beating on each other. They're not exactly in a rush to find who it was."
Nix eyed Jess as she approached both of us. Jess glared back at her, but didn't say anything else. She moved to my side, and I could feel the tension radiating from her.
"We thought maybe you could help us find out who did this, Nix."
The blonde shrugged. "I"m sorry, Trey. I've been in Toronto for two weeks, only got back Sunday night. I can ask around, but at this point I don't know what to tell you."
Jess laughed harshly. "Course not."
"I don't." Nix glared at her a moment, then shifted her gaze to me. "Is Kruise all right?"
"She'll have a scar on her throat, and she has to take iron pills to get her blood levels back up, but yeah, she should be okay. Jace and I gave her the couch at our place till she feels better."
Nix nodded. "Good. Glad she wasn't seriously hurt."
"Not seriously hurt? You fucking --"
I whirled around on Jess and pushed her several feet down the sidewalk. "Knock it off, Jesse. She hasn't done anything wrong."
Jess glared at me, then shrugged. "Fine. I need a drink. Come get me when you're done." She stalked off towards the door to the Janx, giving Nix a wide berth as she passed.
"What the hell is her problem?"
"She was supposed to be meeting Kruise at the bar that night, but she was late. Jess got there just as Kruise was loaded into the ambulance." I shrugged. "She's feeling pretty damn guilty."
"Wasn't her fault."
"I know that. Wish I could convince her of it."
Nix sighed and leaned back against the wall.
"So, tell me, Nix. Tell me who it was."
She shook her head. "I don't know. Hell, Trey, I'm not even convinced it was a vampire."
"Kruise said it definitely was."
"Pretty general. Taller than Kruise, muscular, long dirty blond hair, brown eyes. Scar under one eye."
That brought Nix up off the wall. "What?" Her pale face had turned even whiter than normal.
"Scar under one of her eyes."
"Which one? What did it look like?"
I shrugged. "Not a clue. Kruise just said it was there."
"Fuck." She turned and kicked at the building. "Fucking fuck."
"What? You know who it is?"
She looked up, startled. "No. Not really. I -- I'll look into it, though."
"Nix, if you're lying to me --"
"I'm not." The blue eyes closed, and she took a deep breath. "I'm not. I don't know anything for sure. There was a vampire that used fit that description, but she died in a house fire in the seventies." She leaned against the building. "She was supposed to have, anyway."
"Any chance she lived?"
She shrugged. "Maybe. Doubtful, but maybe."
I watched her carefully. Nix was obviously nervous. Her eyes wouldn't meet mine, and she kept looking up and down the street. Though she seemed to be leaning easily against the brick wall, there was a new tension in her shoulders, and her fingers drummed against her thigh. For the first time, I wasn't sure I believed her.
"What are you going to do?"
She shook her head. "Not sure. I'll start at the Shadowbox, ask around, and then poke my head into a few other clubs I know about. Touch base with a few people."
"You'll let me know what you find?"
"Sure. Soon as I find something."
"Not good enough. You need to stay in touch. I need a call by the night after tomorrow."
Nodding, she stepped away from the wall. "Sure. I'll call you on Thursday."
"Yes. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm heading home to make some phone calls." Raising an arm, she flagged down a taxi.
"What, you're no longer hungry?"
Nix shook her head and opened the door. "Lost my appetite. I'll be in touch, Trey."
I watched her cab turn left at the light, then headed inside to join Jesse at the bar.
I needed a drink.
Jess had already downed one Jack and Coke and was working on a second, staring grimly into the glass.
"You all right, Jess?"
"Yeah, fine. You?"
"Just great." I ordered a Guinness and waited, keeping an eye on my friend.
In the three months since Jace and I had moved to New York City, there'd been a change in Jesse. While before she'd been occasionally moody, lately she'd taken to outright brooding. Her drinking had increased, as had the time she'd spent with her 'family', the vampire society she'd gotten involved in. From what she'd told us, they didn't know about her experience with Nix, and she had no intention of telling them. She'd gone back to wearing her fangs occasionally, but not often -- mostly just around her vamp friends.
Kruise had confided in me that she'd been worried about Jess. She'd been using drugs, and not eating. As I watched her at the bar, I noticed the almost hollow look to her cheeks, and the very slight shake in her hand as she lifted her glass.
"I'm fine, Trey."
"Huh? Didn't say you weren't, Jess."
"But you've been looking at me with that look that Kruise gets. That disapproving, worried, 'I think Jess is losing it' look."
"I am not." For a moment I didn't say anything. "Okay, I am. But it's only because we care, you know."
She sighed. "I know."
I turned away from the bar, looking out over the small crowd in the room. Jess was on my right, and there was no one on my left.
"Do you think you're losing it, Jess?"
Her laughter was soft and humorless. "Trey, babe, I've been losing it for a long time. Didn't you get that yet?"
Jess put a finger across my lips. "Uh-uh. Let it go, Trey." Turning away from me, she picked up her drink. "Just let it go. It doesn't matter anyway." With a flick of her wrist, the glass was empty. She signaled the bartender for another. "Go home, Trey. Stay with Jace. She loves you."
"And we all love you, Jess." I tugged on her arm. "Come home with me."
"Nope." She tossed a bill on the bar and picked up her drink. "Got too much to do. So many women -- so little time." Jess winked and walked away toward the stage where I could see a familiar face -- one of her vamp buddies was there.
I shook my head, knowing there wasn't anything else to do.
I finished my Guinness and left to catch the last train to Huntington.
Jace and I moved to New York three months earlier, two months after her college graduation, and a month after my final project was accepted for my MFA. Unable to afford anything in Manhattan, we ended up on Long Island, in Huntington, less than three blocks from the train station. It was large for a one bedroom, and we'd spent several days searching garage sales and second hand stores to get furniture. Our old apartment had consisted of a double bed, a dresser, a table and chairs, and two book cases. Now we had a real couch, and a king sized bed, and even more book cases, as well as a tv that you didn't go blind looking at, and a computer desk that didn't need telephone books to prop up the missing leg.
When I got home, I almost let the door slam behind me. The silence in the apartment told me people were probably in bed, and I grabbed the handle at the last second, easing the door shut and locking the dead bolt.
"Trey?" The whispered voice was coming from the couch, and it didn't sound like Jace. I peeked into the living room to find Kruise stretched out on the couch, wide awake with a book in her hands.
"Yeah, it's me. Jace in bed?"
"Uh-huh. She was going to wait up but her back was hurting."
"Damn. She take some pills?"
"'Bout an hour ago." She sat up and patted the couch. "Come sit. Tell me what happened."
I dropped down onto the sofa with a sigh, leaning back and closing my eyes.
"Did you and Jess find Nix?"
"Yeah. She was at the Janx."
"What'd she say? She know anything?"
"Nope." But the image of her pale face ran through my mind. I raised my head to look at her. "She did say something about your description matching a vampire she thought was dead."
Kruise chuckled. "Well, let me tell you, if it's the same one who attacked me, she's still very much alive."
I turned my head to look at her, and saw one of her hands reaching up to the bandage that curled around her neck. Her face, as I watched, changed from a sarcastic smile to a sad frown.
"Kruise? You okay?"
She looked up at me and nodded. "Yeah. Fine. She say anything else?"
There was something bothering her, I knew, but I decided to let it go for now. After all, it hadn't been that long since the attack.
"Not really. Just that she'd check into it and let me know what she found."
"Did Jesse accept that?"
I bit my lip. "Um, Jesse didn't hear that part. She'd gone inside to get a drink."
"She left you alone with Nix?"
"Um, yeah. I think she was a little embarrassed."
"Cause when Nix came out of the bar, Jess pinned her against the wall. Nix finally got tired of it and tossed her across the sidewalk." I motioned with my arm. "Almost no effort. Just pushed, and Jess went flying."
"Damn. Yeah, that would knock Jess for a loop, all right." She chuckled softly.
I picked up the remote to the stereo, but didn't turn it on.
"Kruise, is it my imagination or has Jess gotten a little . . . "
"Distant? Isolated? Angry?"
"So I haven't been imagining it." Tossing the remote aside, I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I don't get it. I thought things were going well. She got her raise at work, she's in line for a promotion, and yet every damn night, she's out drinking and finding someone else to sleep with."
"Um." Kruise bit her lip. "That's not exactly true."
"Trey, she hasn't been sleeping with anyone. Not since June."
"June?" My jaw dropped. "But -- this is September."
"Your point?" She folded her arms and just looked at me. "Does it really surprise you that she's been celibate for a few months?"
"Jess? Celibate? Yes, I'm surprised." I paused. "Very proud, but surprised."
"Which is why she's not telling anyone. The minute she brought up the possibility everyone laughed. She's never mentioned it again."
I had to think about that for a few minutes. We were both silent while I contemplated my own reactions.
Would I have laughed? I hated to think that, but in all honestly, I might have. Jess, in the opinion of many, was a sex addict. We all loved her and we joked about her conquests. The idea of her changing was an unusual one, and I wasn't sure anyone would believe it without proof.
Chuckling, I shook my head. If I hadn't heard it from Kruise, I probably wouldn't have believed it either.
"Okay, so she's not sleeping with anyone. But she is drinking, and you told me she was doing drugs as well. What's up with that?"
Kruise sighed, closing her book and moving it onto the coffee table. "I'm not sure. She's been a little crazy ever since -- well, ever since that date Jace set her up on."
I winced. Jace had played matchmaker and gotten Jesse and Nix to go out on a date. None of us knew what had happened on that date, but Nix had disappeared, and Jesse had gone on a week long binge.
"I told her it might not be a great idea."
She grinned. "I've known her a little longer than you have -- she's never taken no for an answer when she thinks two people are right for each other."
"Yeah, well, most of her matches turn out a little better than this one."
"True. She's used to creating romance, not disasters."
We laughed at that.
I yawned. "Damn. Long day."
"Yeah. You should get to bed. Jace has to be up early; the two of us need to run to my place before heading to work."
Kruise had gotten Jace a job at the theater where she was a lighting tech. Although the latest show there had just closed down, there was still clean up work and other such stuff to take care of.
"You sure you're up for that?"
"Oh, sure, I'm fine. Jace and I even took a walk down to the deli on the corner." She shrugged. "I got a little tired, but not bad."
"Good. You staying here tomorrow night, or at your place?"
I had an idea of the answer when Kruise looked away and started playing with a string on the sheet covering her.
"I -- hadn't decided that yet." Another shrug. "Thought I'd wait to see how I feel tomorrow after work."
I shook my head. "Nope. Wrong answer."
"You're staying here." I leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "I know that face. You want to stay here but you don't want to be a bother."
She gave me small smile. "Sure I'm not --?"
"Uh-uh." I held up a hand. "You're here because we want you here. Besides, there's no one at your place to have midnight conversations with."
That made her laugh, and I patted her leg and stood.
"I'm off to bed. You should get some sleep too."
"You need anything, you let me know."
"I will, Trey. And thanks."
Jace was dead to the world and I slipped into bed beside her, spooning up against her gently. With a sigh, I closed my eyes and let myself relax.
I had strange dreams of Nix and Jess. Something about it seemed important,
but when I woke the next morning, I couldn't remember what it was.
End Part One