Sabretooth: Overdrive – Chapter 2 – It Consumes

I wanna feel your last breath
Before we suffocate
A kiss you can’t forget
Like a wedding on a rainy day

The chills keep shootin’ down the back of my neck
Like a freight train poundin’ in the pit of my chest
‘cuz when I got a taste of you
I found somethin’ I can sink my teeth into

It’s the hurt that never heals
It’s the deepest cut you feel
It’s the thing in you that feeds
The animal in me

It’s the darker side of lust
It’s the other side of us
It’s the thing in you that feeds
The animal in me

~ Animal in Me (Mötley Crüe)

*****************************************************************

“Come on, people. American police aren’t that slow,” the voice of the bald man admonished.

Aleksander replied, “All I’m saying is, dead weight is harder to transport.”

“What,” Piotr, argued, “you want to listen to her whimper the whole time?”

Aleksander’s chuckle was part amused and part frustrated. “I guess we could gag her.”

“You geezers make me physically ill, you know that?” the bald man protested. “Should’ve left you in the rest home.”

“Say now,” Piotr retorted to him, “you’re not much younger than we are, Leonid –”

“Save it, old man,” bald Leonid answered. He sounded dismissive, but with authority.

As the voices began to pull Victor back to full consciousness, he was placing them around him, by speech, breathing, and heartbeats. The closest one to him held one of the Russian compact submachine guns. When he started to lift his wounded arm and turn, the heartrate and scent didn’t change – no one was watching him.

He lunged up and grabbed the man, his claws hooking in his opening mouth before he pivoted on his feet and smashed the man’s head through a dresser, splintering it in half.

“Bonnie! Hit tha floor!” He launched for a red metal lockbox. “So claws didn’t do it, eh?”

One of the other men knocked a chair over to get behind him and opened fire with a submachine gun, but Victor ignored it. He was already so full of lead, the bullets hit more bullets than they did flesh.

Yanking up a loaded Glock 17L from the box in each hand, he called out, “Try these.” The hand cannons went off as loud as mortar rounds in the small room, the muzzle flashes bright as he made undead men scream.

Bonnie was huddled in the sheet at one end of the couch, trying to cover her head and watch for other threats at the same time. Victor’s attack threw Piotr and Leonid off of their feet and Piotr landed on the couch and nearly onto Bonnie.

He had emptied out the Glocks and let them fall, raising clawed hands to face off with Aleksander, one the few who had already struggled to rise.

“This is pointless, Creed. We’re going to shut you down no matter what.”

“Yeah, right.”

The moment he began shooting his submachine gun, Victor grabbed his wrist and swung his body up to crunch inside a wall in a burst of broken drywall and dust. A vicious kick sent another man flying into others and they toppled into the table and chairs and fell in a tangled heap. He leapt to grab his keys from the floor by the couch, his bullet-riddled body looming over the huddled girl.

“Bonnie, go get tha car.”

She took the keys and struggled up in the sheet, heading for the door. Bending down along the way, she grabbed a shotgun one of the men had dropped.

Victor picked up one of the men by his leg and used him like a baseball bat to smash others across the room. Their submachine guns fired at the ceiling, tearing the place to shreds.

One man grabbed her ankle. “No you don’t, bitch!” He pulled her foot up to unbalance her and rose with a knife. She ripped her arm out of his gloved grip and swung the shotgun up. Her expression of pure hate was as glorious as the fiery boom of the weapon going off point-blank in his face.

When he saw her get away, Victor plunged his grasping hands into the hole in the wall that Aleksander had fallin out of.

Leonid came up behind him. “Oh, for Pete’s sake, Creed, give up already! You’re just prolonging the inevitable!”

Aleksander got up and Piotr came to stand beside him, both of them brandishing submachine guns.

“Thought ya guys were soldiers at first,” he spoke to Leonid. “Had some gear, had some moves.”

With a fierce grin, Victor ripped a broken electrical cable out of the wall and lunged in to eletrocute Aleksander and Piotr with it. Their bodies lit up with snaking blue light as they screamed. When it released them and dissipated, he began to beat them to a pulp with fists.

“But not tha right moves an’ not tha right gear neither or I’d be dead already. Then I hear that ‘geezer’ crack.” He grabbed Aleksander and shoved him down as he lifted his knee, crunching it up under his chin. His body flew backward. “So who are ya? How come ya smell like corpes, an’ what’s it gonna take t’ kill ya?”

Leonid moved up from behind him, holding a knife. “You don’t understand what’s happening. You should be helping us.”

Victor crouched halfway, claws up and ready. “Yeah? There’re smarter ways t’ ask fer help – than stabbin’ a guy in tha throat.”

He jumped with claws outstretched, but Leonid moved fast to block it, pushing his arm across his body and side-stepping his attack.

“Speaking of which,” the bald man retorted, and slashed Victor’s throat open with the blade.

As his momentum drove him on, Victor grabbed the man’s wrists and pushed him in front of him and right out of one of the windows.

Glass exploded around them, they began to fall, and as his throat healed, Victor ground out, “Bastard.”

Falling from the third-story window, they flattened the roof of a car parked at the curb in a burst of glass and grinding metal just as Bonnie drove up in his Cadillac. Victor leaped off of the destroyed car faster, snatched a grenade from Leonid’s belt, and ran to her.

“Move over,” he called out, “I’m drivin’.”

The others had run down the fire escape and were coming up fast. She scooted across the wide leather seat and Victor jumped in, slamming the driver’s door a second before they started shooting again. The bullets ricocheted off of the metal and glass without a scratch.

Grinning, Victor rolled down his window and pulled the pin. “Need t’ give that guy back ‘is grenade.” He tossed it at the clustered group of them, rolled up the window, and stepped on the gas as the satisfying firebomb hit the crushed car behind them and lit up the night, throwing them in every direction.

*****************************************************************

Leonid rolled off of the car just as his lieutenant cried out, “Hey, that’s –”

A grenade struck the car Creed had flattened him on and the explosion threw them all to the concrete and asphalt as the firebomb bloomed overhead, roiling into black smoke as Creed escaped.

Regrouping by the car fire, Leonid looked over his men. They were haggard and demoralized, but alive.

The lieutenant, singed but upright, approached holding an assault rifle. “You know, I really hate that guy.”

Leonid sighed. “Dumb son of a bitch has no idea what he’s doing.” Turning away from him to stare down the street where Creed had disappeared, he asked, “Can Piotr and Aleksander walk?”

“I don’t know. They took a hard jolt.”

“Carry them if you have to. I’ve got to report to Kalashnikov.” He looked grim as he unclipped his radio.

“Lucky you.”

~ ~ ~

Kalashnikov sat in the lab at the Infectious Diseases Research Center and observed as Cyril worked, his hands in the gloves that reached into the clean room as he stood behind the protective glass.

The radio buzzed and Leonid’s voice spoke into the quiet of the lab. “Sir … we’ve temporarily lost Creed and Hale…”

Kalashnikov frowned as he picked up his handset. “Define ‘temporarily’.”

Cyril moved away from the work and came up behind him. He could almost hear him gritting his teeth at the field team’s inept handling of the mutant complication.

“We have make, model, and tag number of their vehicle. We have all known lines tapped for the girl, and as soon as we’re in range, her standard tag from the lab can be tracked. I’ve reached out to our contact in the NYPD and he’s put out a BOLO on them as an APB. We’ll locate them, sir – well before red hour.”

“I’m sure you will, Leonid, but keep Danilov in mind while you’re looking.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Also, no more of this one-on-one action film nonsense. When you’ve located them, bomb the entire area – everything … down to the ground.”

“Yes, sir… Out.”

The report was barely over before Cyril stepped in front of him, agitated and eager to mop up Leonid’s mess. Kalashnikov never tired of seeing his good work in Cyril – the young and strong body was almost indestructible, while housing the brilliant mind and experience of the old man he used to be.

“Let me go after them, Kalashnikov.”

He looked away as he set the radio down. “No. I need you here in the lab.”

Dressed in a black military tank shirt that made him look like an Army grunt, the man gestured widely in frustration. “But I can do this! I dealt with Danilov, and he was one of us. This … this mutant, I could –”

“I know how anxious you are to prove your manhood, Cyril,” Kalashnikov cut him off. He turned to his computer and set his fingers to the keys. “But don’t forget, I knew you when you were still Dr. Philip Krantz, microbiologist, and it’s Dr. Krantz’s scientific acumen we need right now.”

As he called up the footage of the mutant captured by Leonid’s bodycam, Cyril leaned over his shoulder to look at it as the mutant launched himself into the air at Leonid on the monitor.

“All right, yeah. Fine.”

With the touch of a button, Creed’s image was on every monitor in the lab: wild, fierce, hard to kill – and a snag in the timetable that they could not afford.

Kalashnikov glared at the image in front of him. As science attempts to advance, the brutish animal nature that still lurks in mankind rises once again and tries to end it all, to drag us back into the dark. Not this time, you base creature…

*****************************************************************

Victor growled as he tried to sit comfortably in the small white car. He’d driven his Cadillac into the garage of the shop that often kept it running, and locked it up safe. Retrieving his phone and wallet, he’d tossed them between his legs for the drive in the stolen car.

Bonnie hadn’t commented on why he had a key to the place, or on his plan to break into, hotwire, and steal the rollerskate with a roof that had been sitting a block down the street. Yet as she began to unclench in the passenger seat, she had immediately looked with raised eyebrows at the stereo.

“And this, on the radio … we’re listening to…?”

“Joe Cocker – an’ get yer hand away from tha dial.” He leaned back in the seat, one hand at the top of the steering wheel. The back of the seat was pressing into the one behind it. “Had this on CD back in tha Caddy… Damn. Hated t’ ditch that car – armor job cost me a mint.”

He glanced at her and then back to the road, keeping his driving and speed in the nice and boring range, to stay off the radar of any cops. They drove in silence for a while as Victor headed out of the city.

Gotta go someplace where she won’t be alone an’ we can both get what we need. If I don’t get tha lead outta me soon, it’s gonna start diggin’ in deeper. Those bastards ain’t gonna quit, neither. Ruth is our best bet, so upstate it is, out in tha semi-boonies.

Taking advantage of the silence on what would be an hour’s drive, he mulled over everything that had happened. The argument he’d heard while they thought he was dead had proven they wanted the girl – Bonnie Hale – dead. They’d whined about transporting her easier alive than dead, so taking her body with them was another part of their plan.

I was obvs an unexpected monkey wrench, so … she can’t be a trap they planted t’ bring me down. He smirked a bit, amused and annoyed at once at his overblown paranoia. Ain’t never heard o’ a beaver trap in quite that sense – but fuck, that means she’s a genuine enigma an’ neither o’ us knows why they want ‘er dead.

The fingers on his free hand twitched and he was tempted to put it on her thigh, but that was a sure-fire way to start a chat, and he wasn’t ready for that yet.

Paranoia aside, she ain’t a trap or a threat, no matter how freaked out ya got, moron. Wanna quit bein’ a pussy an’ just enjoy what’s on tha fuck menu? Hellfire, she’s got tha best snatch ya had yet, with or without rentin’ it, an’ ya don’t even gotta threaten, truss ‘er up, or knock ‘er out t’ fuck ‘er? Win-win, dickhead – pure an’ easy. Stealing another look at her, he drew in a deep breath and let it out slow. Damn pretty thing … turned on by tha violence an’ not afraid t’ deal some out – say hello t’ yer dream girl. Hope nobody pinches me before I get t’ fuck up int’ that again.

The girl remained quiet as she watched the night go by outside of her window. He half expected her to pass out from exhaustion, but she remained awake. Her fear scent was almost gone.

“Ya seem pretty calm,” he told her, not sure why he abruptly wanted to talk to her. Most skirts were better when they shut up.

She put a hand to her head and looked over at him. “I think I’m going into shock – or maybe I’ve been in shock. I – uh… I don’t really know how to process everything that’s happened tonight.”

Victor smirked. “Ya processed that shotgun pretty good back there. Nice, right in tha face. Heh.”

She sat up more and took in the sights as they entered what passed for civilization upstate. “May I ask where we’re going, and if we’ll be driving much longer?”

“This here’s Sleepy Hollow, New York, so if ya see a guy with no head on a horse, don’t stop t’ say hiya.” He tossed her wink. “Goin’ up t’ Riverside, right next t’ tha Hudson River. We’re nearly there.”

“Is this … your home?”

“Home away from home, maybe – ain’t been there in a while. It’s just a safe place t’ land.” He kicked the speed up a bit when he saw her shiver in her makeshift purple toga.

“Are you really not hurt? I mean, anymore?”

“Mighta gained a few pounds o’ lead an’ that shit’s gotta come out, but don’t worry yer pretty head ‘bout it – I’m dandy.”

“I can’t believe I shot that man. Did it kill him?”

“Dunno. Ain’t never seen guys harder t’ paste that weren’t wearin’ a cape.”

“A … a cape?”

“Long story, not important. Glad ya didn’t catch any o’ tha bullets that were flyin’ ‘round.”

She fell silent again until they turned onto Riverside. Sinking a little lower in the seat, she looked guilty. “I – I hope I killed him, because he was trying to kill us.”

Be still my beatin’ loins… Aloud, he only said, “Atta girl,” and grinned at her.

She turned her head to stare at him in wonder. “You … you saved my life again, I –”

“We’re here,” he interrupted. He pulled up into the winding rear driveway of a red brick and gray stone mansion surrounded by trees.

“Are you serious? What’s here?”

Victor stuffed his phone and wallet into his jeans pockets as soon as he unfolded himself out of the driver’s seat. “C’mon, we’ll go in tha back way.”

The white paint accents and white balconies appeared to float in the dark, and he supposed the whole place could seem a bit spooky with a full moon casting odd shifting light here and there through the trees.

272 Kelbourne sat on the corner lot of Kelbourne Avenue and Riverside Drive. On the outside it looked like a rich man’s home on the Hudson, and it still pretended to be, but after Victor had bought it, the caretaker had had different ideas on how to put it to use. Considering the nature of the business she wanted to run, he’d had no objections.

He put his arm around her and led her up the white wooden backstairs. The door wasn’t locked, and the moment he ushered her in, he was greeted with excitement by two of the girls.

“Victor!” Samantha called out, making Bonnie jump. Samantha had been giving Paige a neckrub while the blonde relaxed on a couch. Both of them were in bras and panties.

Paige chimed in with, “Long time no see, sweetie!”

“Get Ruth out here, girls. Now.”

Samantha went to fetch the short older Madam, and when she arrived, she sent the girls out of the room.

Bonnie didn’t seem to know whether to stare around her at the opulent old house decorated with animal heads and modern décor, at the retreating half-naked girls, or at Ruth in her silk suit.

His caretaker had chopped her light brunette hair off since he’d seen her last, but she looked just as feisty as ever.

“Victor Creed… You didn’t call, did you?” She crossed her arms and smiled up at him.

“Nope. Surprise visit, Ruth. I’ll be needin’ my room fer a while – can’t say how long.”

“Well, it’s ready. We got the cable fixed, so you can watch CNN again.”

“Good.” Victor took Bonnie by the shoulders and turned her to go upstairs to his suite. “C’mon up a minute an’ listen up, Ruth – gotta situation.”

He opened the door and led Bonnie in and then returned to speak to Ruth, who was leaning in the doorway and clearly amused.

My guest wasn’t dragged in kickin’ an’ screamin’, but this girl sure ain’t nothin’ like tha sorta baggage I usually show up with. Least I know Ruth can keep ‘er opinions t’ ‘erself. “Awright… Number one, nobody knows we’re here. Nobody. Number two, this here’s Bonnie an’ yer gonna take care o’ ‘er – startin’ with some clothes an’ then anythin’ else she needs.”

“Okay … and which of the girls will you be wanting?”

“None. I just want all o’ yer mouths shut – an’ some food.” Victor leaned on the door frame as he held the door open.

“We’ve got a couple of your favorites in the kitchen. You want chicken cordon bleu or sirloins?”

“Sirloins. Tha more protein tha better. Any clients ya got here, cap it off fer tha night. I’ll need Araunya t’ come up, gotta shit-ton o’ lead in me – after I eat. Once she’s done, send all tha girls out t’ a hotel or somethin’.”

“There are only two clients left tonight. Does she like her steak ‘so a good vet can save it’?”

Victor turned his head and called out to Bonnie, “Rare, medium, or well-done, darlin’?”

She looked pale as she turned to face him. “Oh, I don’t think I could eat yet … maybe – later.”

Ruth clicked her tongue. “Poor thing looks ready to pop with stress. Give me twenty minutes to get all of that rolling.”

Victor nodded and closed the door. He turned and leaned on it, watching her. She was staring at him as if she’d just discovered something wonderful – it wasn’t an expression he was used to having pointed his way, unless the person was wearing a white coat and holding a scalpel. The thought made him shudder.

Still clutching the purple sheet around her, she spoke in a soft voice, “Victor… Your name sounds strange when I say it…” She took a breath and let it out slow, as if trying to calm herself. Her tone was as strange as her expression – she sounded possessive but … shy. Her heat was sparking again and hunger for him slowly turned her voice husky. “Come here.”

Victor peeled himself off of the door and moved to stand in front of her, mere inches away. Her heat came on stronger but it didn’t only catch in his loins – something primal was growing with it, ramping up his heartrate. She was afraid, but not of him. He wanted to kill … anything that dared to make her afraid.

“You use this place a lot, huh? Have the run of the house?” she teased, as if trying to hide her fear.

Victor arched an eyebrow at her. “I’m not goin’ t’ explain myself.”

“No, I know. I know.” She wilted and lifted a hand to touch his chest, her body language showing she wasn’t sure of her situation at all. Her fear scent spiked, coating over the heat.

He wanted to … protect… Victor reached to lift her up into a tight embrace, resting his scruffy chin on her bare shoulder. She immediately wrapped her long legs around his hips, her arms around his neck and back, and clung to him in desperation.

“Oooohh… God… Victor … all of this, I don’t know if I… It’s too much…”

He set her back on her feet again, still holding her, and touched his forehead to hers. “Quiet. Just be quiet. I’ll keep ya with me. I’ll keep ya safe.”

~ ~ ~

She had offered to go let Ruth know she’d forgotten silverware, but Victor had smirked, stabbed up one of the sirloins in his claws and let his sharp carnassial teeth shear it up at the side of his mouth.

“Ruth didn’t forget, darlin’,” he told her as he finished it in four bites and speared up the next. “Protein feeds tha healin’ factor an’ I never did see no point in forks.”

He caught her staring as he ate and worked on ignoring it.

“I’m sorry, if that bothers you,” she whispered, looking down at her hands.

“Don’t really, since ya ain’t lookin’ at me like I got two heads. I’m an acquired taste all ‘round ya know.”

“Oh, I’ve acquired it,” she blurted out, and then blushed.

“Fuckin’ blushin’ like that – yer gonna kill me, girl. Yer like peaches an’ cream with nipples.”

Of course, she blushed again and as the fear receded once more, Victor caught another whiff of her rarely absent heat. It was tempting to forget about meat and bullets, but he kept his seat and finished up. He had a plan in mind, and he’d need to be in peak condition to pull it off.

Like clockwork, the knock sounded at the door the moment the plate was empty. To his surprise, Bonnie began to get up to answer it. “Stay there,” he told the girl, “ya ain’t gotta do nothin’ but relax.” He got up and let Araunya in.

She was still too slender for his taste, but that hardly mattered – she hadn’t been brought in as a prostitute. Ruth had found ways to capitalize on her real talents, and Victor wasn’t the only one who came there needing help with bullet extractions.

“Keepin’ busy without me ‘round?” he asked her.

“Yes, Mr. Creed.” She held a square object of thick metal under one arm and a small wooden case in her other hand.

“This li’l river town get shot up that often?” he quipped with a smirk.

“They come from all over. Last week, it was a man from Boston. Oh, hello,” she said to Bonnie.

“She’s my guest. Bonnie, this is Araunya; she’s gonna get tha bullets outta me.”

“Hello…” the blonde whispered, watching the black-haired gypsy girl in her light green silk wrap dress as if she wasn’t sure what she was.

Victor went to the lock box in his closet and locked up his wallet and phone. Pain skated under his skin now and then as the bullets were jostled by his movement. It had been a long time since he’d been hit by that many of them, in a matter of hours.

“Are you ready, Mr. Creed?” Araunya moved to the bed and set the metal down on it. She lifted her hand over it and the metal moved, stretched, and grew until it covered the bed in a silvery sheet with low edges.

“‘Bout t’ be.” He’d caught Bonnie’s anxiety in the air as soon as the gypsy had started her mutant tricks. The scent spiked as he began to strip off clothes and boots on the way over and lay down on the metal. “Damn thing’s like a giant cookie sheet,” he joked. “Might wanna stay over there, darlin’ – this can get messy.”

“What is she going to do?” The girl got up clutching her sheet toga and went around the bed to his head.

“Think I said, ‘stay over there’…”

“She isn’t in the way, Mr. Creed,” Araunya interjected. She took the wooden case to the table and selected a bottle from it and put it in his bathroom. “If you’re worried about hurting her, I can keep her safe as well as me.”

“Ya seen ‘nuff blood fer one night, ain’t ya?” Victor looked up at Bonnie over his head.

“I want to be with you.”

Victor sighed at Araunya’s soft smile. “Suit yerself.”

If the odd mystic gypsy girl had possessed even an ounce of greed or ambition, Victor wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere near her, let alone a patient under her power. It also helped that her mutant ability of magnetism was nowhere near the level of Magneto or even Polaris. Yet for anyone who needed a bullet dug out and couldn’t risk going to a hospital, she was an asset. Normally, Victor knew that Ruth would have been in attendance to use her former medical training, but he had no need for that.

Araunya spoke to Bonnie, “Keep right there. This will hurt him, it can’t be helped. I can prevent him from lashing out if he loses control, but you will make my job easier if you aren’t within his reach. The faster it goes, the faster he can heal and it’ll be done.”

“I won’t move,” she answered, her fingers stroking his tied back hair and the few loose strands of it around his ears. She did manage not to move, but probably out of pure shock.

The gypsy’s power lifted Victor’s body two inches over the metal sheet with only a slight effort, using his Adamantium bones to do it. How she manipulated different metals in different ways at once was a mystery to him, but it worked ridiculously well – even if it did hurt like shit.

He felt her power reaching for the bullets, all of them, at once. With a brutal fast yank, she tore them out of his body from everywhere. The flesh had healed over them and some of the slugs had already started to burrow in more – in a few cases, pounded deeper by new hits.

As the smashed bullets rained down with a clatter onto the metal under him, it was streaked with blood as his body twitched, jerked, and the claws popped and strained to fight. He clamped his teeth together and growled through them, refusing to make any other sound.

Victor fought to keep his brains in place over the raging beast within. He focused on three sets of breathing: his rapid deep sucking for air through nostrils and clenched teeth, the gypsy’s calm breaths, and Bonnie’s short and quick breaths. The racket of the bullets hitting the metal stopped first. He was staring blankly at the ceiling with his back arched, but he knew the strange sheet was absorbing the bullets into it. It was a lot bigger this time, so she certainly had been busy.

Araunya lowered him gently back down to lie on it and when he nodded to her, she let his bones go and withdrew her power from him. Every nerve was on fire as his flesh buzzed and warmed with the healing.

“Rest there a moment, Mr. Creed. Bonnie, would you help me? He’ll be fine, now.”

Victor tried to relax and smirked as he heard the gypsy lead her off to the bathroom, telling her instructions for things she usually did herself. She was smart, picking up on Bonnie’s body language almost as well as if she could read her scent.

“Yer tough,” he told the blonde, when she came out with a hot wet hand towel that smelled of sage oil. “I like that in a strappin’ gal.”

“I’m tough?” Bonnie asked, incredulous. “I can hardly believe how you can survive all of this.”

“Wipe the blood away, rub and massage the skin with the oil in the towel,” Araunya told her.

Victor stretched his neck out, moving his head back as the purr sparked with the rubbing. The warmed sage oil on the rough terrycoth soothed mind, senses, and body.

“The sage oil has many benefits,” Araunya’s voice instructed, “most of which Mr. Creed won’t ever need, but it helps with mental fatigue and seems to work very well with his healing factor for erasing the damage and trauma to body and mind.”

“I understand,” Bonnie whispered as she worked. “I like lavender.”

“Not a bad idea. Keep rubbing, all of him.” The gypsy moved off and Victor heard glass tink. He opened his eyes to watch them as she returned. “Here.” Bonnie paused, surprised, when Araunya held bottle and stopper in one hand, poured lavender oil on her palm, and smeared it over Bonnie’s shoulders, throat, and sternum. “Yes, that definitely suits you, and should help him, too.”

When Bonnie got the blood off of his front, he began to roll over, unsurprised that the metal contracted into itself to allow him to lie on the bed. The girl began rubbing blood off of his back, and the mix of sage and lavender around her sweet scent nearly soothed him right to sleep.

“Will that be all, Mr. Creed?” Araunya asked.

He opened one eye to see her standing there with the slightly thicker metal square under her arm and the latched wooden case in hand. “Yup. Lock tha door on yer way out, huh?”

“Certainly.” She smiled and left.

“Yer ‘sposed t’ be tha one restin’, ya know,” he told the girl. She was just about finished wiping off blood and leaving his skin smooth and covered with sage oil. The skin would drink it in, and the healing factor warmed it again as it buzzed through him.

“It’s gotten all over your … fur…”

“Don’t matter none, that stuff can be used like shampoo.”

“That’s all of it.”

“Drop it on tha floor,” he told her. He struggled out of his sage-rubbed stupor and sat up. When she obeyed and came to him, he stripped the sheet toga away from her breasts and pulled her in to kiss her.

Her fingers stroked and pinched one of his nipples. “Are you tired, or can we…?”

“Bit surprised ya ain’t passed out by now, but … yeah…” He lifted his hand and rubbed the shiny lavender oil on her sternum over her heavy breasts. Her body pressed closer, her heat blooming around them to drug him worse than the oils.

“Anything you want,” she whispered. “Anything…”

“Ditch tha toga. Got lube in that nightstand drawer near ya. Li’l bottle called Sylk.”

He watched her obey, drinking in the sight of her body as the sheet fell. When she returned and handed him the plastic bottle, he set it aside and drew her into the space created by one bent leg and the other resting stretched out. She kissed one of his lower fangs again and he couldn’t hide the delicious shiver.

“You like that,” she teased, smiling. “What else do you like?” She rose higher on her knees and set little blunt teeth to a nipple. Pinching it, she sucked at it like he had her nipples. As he slumped into the pleasure, purring, she rose higher and licked up the side of his ear, following the feline curve to the twitching point.

Mid-shudder, he told her, “Suck tha tip.” When she did, he groaned. He captured one of her hands and put it on his swollen dick as it grew harder.

“I can suck other things, too,” she whispered into his ear. “May I take your hair down?”

“It just gets in tha way, but if ya want, I don’t care.” His arms circled her body to hold her breasts against his chest as her fingers worked the twin ties out of his hair one-handed and unwound the bun.

“It’s so long…”

Victor snorted. “Rather ya play with tha dick if ya like long.” One hand slid from her lower back onto her ass. His fingers pushed in between the cheeks and when a fingertip rubbed over her tight anus muscle, she gasped and came in an instant. He immediately stuck the fingers in her pussy and let the slick juices run down them. “Need t’ fuck…”

“Yes, I want it too. I could do anything with you.”

“Gimme time, darlin’, we’ll get through ‘em all. Fer now, I want this.” He rubbed her anus again with slicked fingers from her pussy.

“I’ve never done that, but … if you show me?”

“Ain’t nothin’ t’ show, unless I’m lettin’ ya in mine.” He gave her a wolfish smile, and then was surprised when she giggled. “All ya gotta do is lie back, try t’ relax, an’ lemme fuck it.”

He continued to rub it, letting the tip of his index finger push in. She clutched at him and came twice.

“Yes, I want it…”

“If yer afraid it’ll hurt –”

“I’m not. Is it supposed to hurt?”

He watched her, one eyebrow arching. “Most I’ve shoved int’ were pretty terrified it would. They were mostly right, too.”

She stared at him again with that unnerving soft look. “Do you want to hurt me, Victor? You were excited by pinching my nipples and pricking me with your claws, and it hurt, but it felt so good and it made me…” She blushed and trailed off.

“It made ya come,” he finished for her. “Ain’t gotta be shy ‘bout what ya want, girl. If yer figurin’ out a li’l pain gets ya off, no shame in that. Me, I like pain games, both ways – bein’ hurt can drive me wild.”

“I want to do that … drive you wild; you need to have anything you want. I don’t care if it hurts – if that’s what you want.”

Victor’s breath caught. Twisting his torso, he piled up the pillows against the carved wooden headboard and leaned his back into them, sitting up with his legs bent and the bottoms of his feet on the bed.

“C’mere, face me, straddle my hips an’ stuff yer pussy with my dick.” He gave her his hands to help her balance as she obeyed. He hissed as she grabbed it, as eager as he was, and sat on it. She bit her lower lip as her body settled, her stunning pussy coming and dripping as it swallowed him to the root. “Anythin’, huh?” he asked, and she nodded. “Gonna mark ya. Be still.”

He pulled her forward into his chest, brushed her curls off of one shoulder and carefully set his fangs at the join of neck and shoulder.

“Ooohh…”

He let them prick her, blood beading up, and felt her come again. Lifting his head, he stared into her ocean eyes. “Don’t be afraid.”

“I’m not. Victor please, do it – fuck me, and do it.”

He growled with hunger and dropped his head. The fangs set, and just before he cut them into her, careful and slow, his feet pushed down and his hips worked to thrust up deeper. He bit in, catching the blood with his tongue. His eyes slanted up to watch her face.

Bonnie cried out, her mouth open in a gorgeous pink O that he wanted to fuck. Her body was moved by his thrusts, her nipples shoved up and back through the fur on his chest. She was coming in waves, over and over. Growling, he bit in deeper, his thrusts growing more urgent, rougher.

“Oh my God,” she whispered. Choking on a moan, she began to cry, but when he started to release her from his teeth, her hands reached to hold his head still. He shuddered and began to suck at the flesh, suckling the blood. “Are you drinking it?” she asked, her voice strained. “Yes, take it… I want to feed you.”

Her heat and the tight grip of her rippling pussy was making him feel drugged again, but this time he didn’t fight it, didn’t draw back in confusion or fear. He breathed in deep through his nose as he suckled and swallowed her blood, scenting that she wasn’t afraid. He grew dizzy like he had before, but the healing factor wiped it away. Finally, the fear that the blood loss could harm her drove him to stop. He broke out of the hold of her hands easily. The red drops dotted her skin as he pulled the fangs free. He dropped his mouth once more and let the thick shafts of his lower fangs press against her skin in order to close his lips over the wounds and hold his tongue on them to slow and finally stop the bleeding.

The girl moaned, her body still shifting, her breasts rubbing his chest as his body worked hers tirelessly. The thrusts hadn’t slowed or stopped and her pussy hadn’t quit massaging his cock. He growled against her flesh as he came deep inside and she let out a scream when he just kept thrusting.

Victor lifted his head and moved forward without warning, arms around her back to support her. He laid her on her back, his legs spread wide, knees bending as his feet slid back on the blanket. His cock almost left her when he drew his legs in, his hands lifting her hips to keep them connected. On his knees, holding her up, he drove his softening cock inside her until she came again.

He stilled and watched her lie there panting, his cock buried deep. When her eyes opened, he met her gaze, trying to understand the way she looked at him. Why had she started to cry, was she hurt? She didn’t smell afraid at all.

“What are you thinking?” she whispered.

“Mighta forgot how,” he muttered, still staring back at her.

“Would you let me up?”

He offered his hand as he moved back and pulled her up, licking the bite again before she dismounted. She crawled around him and up to the spill of pillows, lying on them with a small sigh.

“Did I hurt ya?”

“No. Please come here?” She settled on her back as he turned and sat up on his haunches and knees beside her. Smiling, she opened her legs and set her delicate feet on his knees. “Will you show me the other? The…” she flushed a beautiful pink that made him grin. Her fingers moved between her legs as she shifted her hips up and the moment the fingertips stroked over her anus, the grin was wiped off of his face. “This… Will you show me?”

Her feet left his knees as he moved and crawled to her, stretching out on his stomach between her thighs. Unable to speak, he began to suck at her pussy to clean her. He licked her wet thighs too, and then his hands pushed her legs wider.

Swallowing his seed and her slick, he whispered, “Careful how ya move, don’t wanna spear yer legs on tha fangs.” He put his tongue to her anus and began to lick and tap the tip at it. Remembering what she’d said before, he kissed her smooth inner thigh and told her, “This can be pain or pleasure or both an’ some folks like any combo o’ that. Gonna open ya up t’ take me, gonna make it good, but I ain’t really most people’s idea o’ a smooth way t’ try this their first time… Ya dunno yet what ya don’t like, but if ya find out, tell me. I will stop if ya ask.”

“I can’t imagine ever telling you to stop. Victor … before, in the apartment, you talked like if I had a problem with anything, you wouldn’t care. So … I don’t know what to say, but … why will you stop if I ask?”

He shoved away the tangled confusion her words sparked again and latched onto the only practical answer swimming in his head. “Don’t always know my own strength or changin’ moods, but I ain’t done fuckin’ ya, so ya gotta be whole fer that, eh?”

“Okay. I’m not done either,” she replied, and gave him a soft smile. “I’m so relieved, just for not having to feel like a freak for wanting and coming ‘too much’.”

Victor smirked at her. “Ain’t no such thing as comin’ too much, doll. This might make ya do that a lot, so ya go right ahead an’ do it.” With a chuckle, he toyed with her ass and shoved his tongue inside it as soon as he could, growling with heat when she immediately cried out and came.

He took his time and worked her open more carefully than he’d ever bothered with in his life. Tongue, fingers, and lube had her moaning and writhing long before he got anywhere close to the main event. As he stretched her with fingers again, finally sliding in a third, his tongue and lips sucked the slick from her leaking pussy until he made her come again.

She touched him anywhere she could when he shifted and moved, as if she was afraid to stop. He greased up his aching cock, the foreskin retracted in vain a while before, and set the head at the opening he’d made.

“Take a deep breath, darlin’…”

When she did, he pushed the head in. He stopped to let her get used to it, but needed a breather himself. It was tight enough to hurt, and exquisite enough to kill for. He was the first male to claim her this way, and that added to his pleasure.

“Aww, fuck yeah,” he muttered against her throat. “Gotta get me one o’ these.” He shifted to look at her. “Ya alive down there, darlin’?”

“Y-yes…”

Victor met her gaze and held it. “Ya can tell me if it hurts too bad.”

“It hurts a little, but … I like it. It feels good, too. It feels … so full…”

He chuckled and nuzzled her throat in the golden cloud of her hair. “Ya ain’t even got t’ full yet. That’s comin’, babe, that’s comin’…”

Every sense was tuned to her and if she tensed, he would slow or pause. He’d figured out that she wasn’t going to tell him if she needed to stop, so he took cues from her body and scent instead. Keeping the lube handy, he added more a time or two until he could start to seriously thrust.

Turning his elbow out, he used his thumb to play with her clit and pussy. The other hand squeezed her heavy breasts, pinching and rolling her nipples. Her scent nearly drowned him when she began to relax and her body loosened enough to let him take his pleasure.

The grip she had on the sides of his thighs was a nice counterpoint to the clench of her ass around his cock.

“Dig yer nails in.”

She was gasping for breath and the sounds she made between those shallow breaths ramped up his heat. Her nails were almost careful at first and then she seemed to remember what he’d said about pain, and they scratched and tried to gouge.

He leaned in to kiss her as he thrust and was caught by her gaze. Tears were standing in her eyes as she watched him, her mouth open and her body shuddering with pleasure. Her scent was nothing but heat layered over his. Victor cocked his head at her when her smile broke free. One hand rose from his thigh to his face. She touched his cheekbone, stroked fingertips along his jaw. The fingers caressed over his brow, and then brushed his hair away from his eyes.

“They’re so beautiful… You’re so beautiful … Victor … oh, please, do it harder…”

He groaned, closed his eyes, and fucked into her deeper and faster. When she gasped, his eyes flew open and saw her watching him again. The tears slipped down her cheeks. He caught one and brushed it away.

The moment he kissed her, he began to come. Throwing his head back away from her, his roar rang out. He could feel her hands on his chest, stroking it. Her nails pinched his nipples and the pleasure of pain stopped his breath, choking him into silence. His jaw was extended and saliva dripped from his fangs, but she didn’t shrink from it.

Victor fell over her, his forearms striking the bed on either side of her shoulders. His jaw snapped closed as she lifted her head and he shivered when her tongue licked his clenched teeth. Carefully, he pulled free from her body and left his weight on his knees and arms as he turned his head and rested it on her breasts.

Her final orgasm shuddered through her as her hands lifted to hold his head and stroke his hair. Her smooth and perfect long legs moved to settle on his thighs.

“Are ya…” he tried to ask, and gasped for breath.

“Shhh… I’m fine. Rest,” she whispered. Her fingers combed through and played gently with his curling long hair as he tried to slow his breathing.

“Bonnie,” he murmured against her breasts. “I gotta find a way t’ kill ‘em… Can’t let ‘em … hurt ya…”

“I’m sure you’ll find a way, but don’t worry about them now. Lie down…”

Victor forced himself to rise, to move. He half-fell to his back and she snuggled in. He picked her up and put her on him, one arm around her. She laid her head on his chest and sighed, every muscle relaxing as she molded herself over him.

He couldn’t think, couldn’t speak. His thoughts fell to pieces as a gentle calm pulled him down into a sleep free of nightmares.

~ ~ ~

Victor woke with a start, not feeling her slight weight on him anymore.

“I’m glad you got a little rest,” she spoke softly beside him.

Her golden curls hung around her shoulders, beautifully tousled. She was sitting on her haunches as he often did, with hands on her thighs. He took in her heavy breasts, a waist and abdomen toned but not too thin, and flaring hips with long legs… She was … so beautiful … and not afraid. Deep blue eyes watched him as he studied her, a small smile tugging at her pink lips.

“How long was I out?”

“Maybe fifteen minutes.”

“An’ yer not tired?” When she shrugged, he grasped her hands and pulled her down to him. “Watchin’ me sleep?”

“I don’t want to stop looking at you – I’m afraid you won’t be real anymore if I do.” She snuggled into him and he kissed her.

“Need t’ go hunt ‘em down, find a way t’ take ‘em out – they won’t quit, an’ sooner or later they’d find ya.”

“I … wish I knew why.”

“Maybe I can throttle that outta one o’ ‘em – I’m a pretty persuasive guy.”

“I noticed.” Her hand wandered and found his cock. The moment she touched it, it roused for her.

“We can’t just fuck ‘til they find us. That plan didn’t go so well tha last time.”

She rose and grasped it, picked it up and straddled his thigh on her knees. He reached down and rubbed a fingertip teasingly through the little curly blonde patch of hair that had escaped her razor over that amazing pussy. When she moaned and shivered, he grinned.

“I want to taste it…” she whispered.

“Ya’d just end up with it shoved down yer throat.”

“Do you like that?”

Victor smirked up at her. “Pretty fond, sure. Did I miss tha part where we signed up fer some kinda sex triathlon?” He regretted the joke when she slumped a little and lowered her head.

“I’m sorry. You’re tired, and I just –”

“Hush, babe – no shame, remember? Look at me.” She lifted her head, eyes shining with tears, to meet his. “Ya wanna play deep throat, ain’t gonna hear me tell ya no.”

Those soft and full pink lips parted and she confessed, “I don’t know how, but … I want to.”

Victor watched her quietly for a moment before he whispered, “I’ll teach ya.” His finger played with her pussy again and she twitched and moaned.

“I want to pleasure you, though…”

“Need t’ be relaxed t’ learn this trick – yer ass ain’t gotta gag reflex. Dunno a better way t’ relax ya.” He fingered her until she came twice. “Stay where ya are an’ pull tha dick down t’ ya, so ya can take it in with yer neck extended straight an’ yer head back a bit – lines up tha mouth an’ throat. Once ya grasp what yer doin’, if ya wanna rub one out on my thigh, won’t bother me none.” When she obeyed and pulled it down, he groped for the lube and handed it to her. “This stuff ain’t gotta taste, best slick goin’ fer all sorts o’ games. Grease it up good. Then just take a deep breath an’ slide it in far as ya can. When ya hit yer gag reflex, stop, don’t back off. Get used t’ it a bit an’ work on goin’ deeper. If ya try t’ breathe after it’s in yer throat, ya can make yerself choke.”

She slicked up his dick and smiled to watch the foreskin retract. “Are you supposed to push in?”

“Gonna try my damndest not t’ – ya need t’ be tha one controllin’ it t’ learn. This ain’t an endurance test, neither. When ya can put it in yer throat, pull off it a bit t’ breathe, use yer hand or yer tongue awhile an’ then deep breath an’ go again. Fer hands, I like it rough. Hard strokes, light an’ hard squeezes, fast then slow. Squeeze tha shit outta my sack if ya feel brave – love that.”

“Okay… How do I open enough?”

“Stick tha tip o’ yer tongue out onto yer bottom lip an’ open yer mouth like sayin’ ‘ahhh’ fer a doc – it flattens yer tongue. Act like ya gotta yawn. Those tricks counter tha gag reflex. Tha rest is just practice an’ gettin’ used t’ it. Swallowin’ helps t’ pull it down. Once ya can really get it lodged in there, make a swallow motion again – that’s tha killer bit. Makin’ ‘em come straight down tha throat’s tha brass ring.”

She smiled down at him. “The voice of experience?”

He winked at her and smirked. “I like all tha toys.”

Bonnie leaned over and tickled her tongue tip at his slit. When he sucked in a breath, she hesitated. “I hope I can remember all of that.”

“He’s a trigger-happy critter, don’t worry – ya can make ‘im spout easy. Ain’t gotta be a porn star yer first go, just – play.”

Victor saw her stick her tongue out on her lip, open wide, and move down. After that, claws shooting out to stab the bed, his eyes nearly rolled back into his skull. She took the advice of ‘play’ to heart, and he forced himself to watch her – so he wouldn’t forget to keep still.

With many starts and stops, she slowly began to get it deeper. Her hands and tongue, however, needed no instruction. She worked her hands in counterpoint, then one of them gave him a hard sweeping stroke from head to balls, her fingers rippling individually along the squeeze. As that hand reached his balls, she took another deep breath and he felt his head slide in and pop past the resistance at the entrance to her throat. In the same moment, she grabbed his balls and squeezed them hard, her nails digging into the sensitive furry sack.

“Bonnie… Holy…”

She might have been about to pull off, but his voice seemed to spur her on. One swallow dragged his cock deeper and another nearly turned him savage. He didn’t feel his sack draw up tighter because she was almost crushing it in her fist. Instinct destroyed his control and his hips bucked slightly, his cock flexing as it was pushed deeper. Her body went utterly still, the fist gripped his sack tighter and he blew – straight down her throat.

The sound she tore from his open mouth was more scream than roar and he had to fight his body to stop himself from thrusting. Her pussy was dripping into the fur of his thigh.

“Pull off, can’t hold it,” he told her, his voice a rasp. She coughed and gagged when it slid free, but then grabbed it and moved to stuff it into her contracting pussy. “Oh, shit, babe…”

He growled and shoved up with his hips. They both grabbed for each other when she nearly toppled off of him and ended up with fingers clasped on both hands. The claws were curled long and lethal, scratching the backs of her hands, but it only made her moan as she used his hands to help her balance and let him fuck her rough.

Some of his cum had spilled on his belly when his cock had left her mouth. He kept pumping, and she cried out, her heat filling his lungs and hazing his thoughts. He’d stopped coming, but continued to thrust until she’d come more times and sagged in his grip, panting for breath.

“Let go,” he whispered, “don’t wanna cut ya.”

She pulled her stiff fingers free of his and he caught her and picked her up off of his softening dick. She sank down with her head over his hip. He was shocked when her head moved and her little tongue lapped at the thick pearly cum that was slowly sinking into the fur trail that led to his bludgeoned balls. The ache that lingered in his sack was exquisite, even as he felt the buzz of healing begin to stop it.

Guided by his hand, claws retracted, she struggled up to lay her head on his chest. He circled his arm around her back and let out a long breath.

“Was that … good? I-I mean, I guess it was…”

Victor met her worried gaze and the soft smile that bloomed on his lips was something new. “Yer voice is wrecked – didn’t plan t’ shove in like that, but hellfire, girl… Yeah, that was good. Ya almost killed me.”

“I … liked that. It made me … come, when you pushed.” She coughed again and blushed.

“Yeah well, feel free t’ practice again later, but ya should probly be a bit more experienced at it before ya lemme off tha chain t’ all-out face-fuck ya.”

“When I couldn’t breathe at all, it was a little scary, but … it was hot, too.”

“Damn straight – breathplay’s one o’ my fave kinks. Not much can kill me, but still gotta breathe. Avoid suckin’ so hard next time when ya don’t got it shoved in yer throat – wears out yer jaw faster. Ya can just move up an’ down an’ let yer tongue do tha work.”

“I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to swallow with so much of it in there, but then I could.”

“That was tha part that nearly killed me, babe. Between that an’ tha ball torture, felt like ya were yankin’ tha fuckin’ cum outta my nuts by force.”

“Um, is that … a good thing?”

“Yup. I just need t’ remember t’ let ya control tha pacin’.”

“At least while I’m learning? I like the sound of ‘face-fuck’…” She blushed and when he grinned at her, she giggled – which made her cough.

“Go easy on yer voice a bit. Shoulda had some water in reach. Get up here an’ kiss me. I gotta haul my ass outta this snatch trap an’ go kill zombies fer ya. Then we can fuck an’ suck all ya want.”

Her kiss was soft, but full of passion. Without any effort, it pulled his thoughts away from the hunt and the danger – but he knew their enemies wouldn’t quit. In the end, he gripped her shoulders to stop that mouth from swallowing him whole.

He sat up and she struggled up beside him. Lifting a hand, his fingers brushed at her curls. When she opened her arms, he let her draw him in. He settled his forehead on her shoulder over the fresh wounds of his mark in her skin. Her golden hair curtained his face and the calming scent of lavender lingered there, blocking out the smells of sex, sweat, feral musk, and female heat. Her fingers toyed gently with his hair, and he breathed her in deep, trying to lock her scent inside his damaged brain forever.

It won’t last, his fears whispered. Once tha enemy is gone, what reason would she have t’ stay? Don’t matter, he thought, and pushed the fears away. She has t’ be safe.

~ ~ ~

Victor dressed simply in blue jeans and his boots. The first shirt she handed him from the drawer he pointed at in his closet was a long-sleeved purple t-shirt. He grabbed a red bandana and had her brush out his hair and roll it into a tight bun again at the nape of his neck. He knotted the bandana above it, grabbed the duffel bag he’d packed, and headed out onto the suite’s balcony.

Across the road and the railroad tracks, the Hudson River snaked along, indifferent to the trials they’d faced. The sound of it, and the wind through the trees, soothed him.

He kissed her when she followed him out, wrapped once again in the purple sheet. “Gotta go huntin’.”

“You could have showered with me first?”

“I’d rather go kill undead weirdos smellin’ like yer delicious pussy.” He smirked when she blushed again. “Stay here, relax, an’ be safe.”

“Come back to me alive, promise me…”

“Darlin’, they’re hard t’ kill, but I’m next t’ impossible t’ shine on – ya seen that fer yerself. I’ll be back. Gonna wanna fuck ya more then.”

“I want you to.” She pressed herself into his chest.

Victor slung the bag over his shoulder and brushed the curls away from her bright blue eyes. “Damn, girl – what ya do t’ me…”

He stepped back, turned, and leapt over the balcony railing into the dark. Moving quickly through the trees to the stolen car, he didn’t look back – he was too afraid he wouldn’t be able to leave her if he did.

Work first, then play. Hunt ‘em, make ‘em talk, then find a way t’ make ‘em die. Faster, pussycat – kill, kill…

*****************************************************************

Bonnie hung the damp towel in the bathroom once she was dressed and began to blowdry her hair. The natural blonde curls bounced back to life after she brushed it all out. She put the hairdryer up and touched the wide boar bristle wooden brush. It had been here, but apparently it was Victor’s. He’d let her brush his long curling blonde hair and wind it back up at the nape of his neck before he’d left.

I’ve never seen such beautiful hair on a man. Such a shame to hide it like that…

The bathroom had amused her. It had the look of a very old room, and all the fixtures, even the tub, sink, and toilet, were a pale blush color – almost pink. The tiles around the tub and covering all of the walls were in a checker pattern of the same color with mauve tiles checkered into it. The mauve tiles also covered the floor and matched the towels that hung on towel racks. The shower curtain was pink – with mauve flowers on it.

A tough guy who doesn’t care about remodeling a pink room – that has to be a mark for the plus column.

She set the brush down and turned away from the mirror, going back out to the couch to sit and put on black tennis shoes. The short woman had brought her the shoes and white socks with the clothes – donated by women who were obviously prostitutes. It was also odd to be wearing a tight black tank shirt with tan pants that almost looked like an old military style.

Not what I’ve ever thought a prostitute would own – but nice of them to help. The socks are insanely comfortable…

Hungry and feeling a little more calm, she rose. Her gaze was drawn immediately to the rumpled and messy bed. Some parts of her were still a bit sore, but just thinking about all that they’d done made her borrowed panties grow damp. Flushing with old shame, she frowned a moment later.

Stop worrying about it. They were wrong and stupid. Victor likes how my body reacts and he’s … I can’t even describe him. He’s like me, too – his body can just keep going, and he said they blamed me because they couldn’t keep up. I hope he gets back soon… It feels frightening to not have him here. She hesitated at the door. I don’t want to bother Ruth. I’ll just see what there is in the kitchen. Leaving the door to Victor’s suite open, she crept down the fancy staircase as quietly as she could.

The house was huge and she got turned around a couple of times before she found the kitchen. The fact that it had a pool table sitting in the middle of the large space didn’t seem that strange at all after a few of the rooms she’d stumbled into.

At least it’s easy to tell where the refrigerator is. When she opened it, she shivered in the burst of cold air and then stared at a white bowl with a note stuck to its side. The note had her name on it. Peering into it, she was delighted to find a chicken Caesar salad. I’m liking Ruth more and more.

When her search for a fork was unsuccessful, she gave up. Carrying one of the bar stools over to the smaller window, she set it near the head of a kitchen table where she could watch the driveway through the larger bay window with square panes. When she was perched on the stool, shoes on the lower bars for balance, she held the bowl on her lap and ate the slices of chicken and vegetables with her fingers.

With glances at the window, she looked around the room. In addition to the pool table, one corner near it held another odd bit of décor. It looked like a red leather L-shaped booth from an old bar. It had a little wooden table in front of it covered by a black and white fancy tablecloth. A black boom box stereo sat on the wide top of the leather booth furniture, next to an antique lamp. Two cue sticks were on the pool table with the cueball, but the rest of the balls were racked up and ready for a game. There wasn’t any dust on it, either.

Someone wanted the kitchen to look like an old bistro or pool hall? Mom would freak out and probably offer to redecorate for free, but … it’s kind of … fun.

The kitchen appliances were all in a row on one wall, and the wooden support beams and column posts here and there reminded her of her grandparents’ old lake house. The trash can was even set next to one of the posts, just like her grandmother had hers.

At the entry to the kitchen, a poster of something to do with Don Quixote was framed and hanging on the wall with a little half-circle shelf mounted under it. A mate to her bar stool was pulled up under the shelf, which held a phone.

The phone was almost as tempting as the stunning collection of bottles on one of the counters in the kitchen.

Don’t be silly, you don’t even drink, she admonished herself. Besides, you need to stay awake and wait up for when Victor gets back. The shower had felt amazing, but she was still tempted to have a bath. I hope he didn’t go all the way back to New York, but if he did, I probably have time to relax in a hot soak. She smiled at the thought of him. Just hearing him moan in pleasure had gotten her more excited than anything else in her life. I know what I want to do when he comes back…

“Midnight snack, Bonnie?” Ruth asked, entering the room from a door she hadn’t even seen.

“Oh, Ruth! Sorry, I didn’t see you there. I didn’t get hungry till after he left. Thanks for this,” she lifted the bowl slightly, “and the clothes,” she added.

The woman was dressed in casual clothing now. Bonnie smiled as she watched her cross to a drawer next to the stove and fetch a fork. After handing it to her, she pulled out one of six chairs and sat at the kitchen table facing her.

Bonnie set the fork in the bowl and sighed. “Thanks, again. I’m a mess.”

“Not at all. How long has he been gone?”

“About half an hour. Damn. My brain’s filled with white noise. Did he tell you? About tonight?” Forgetting she had a fork, she nibbled another carrot slice she’d picked up with her fingers.

Ruth leaned her forearm on the table. “No. I’m just supposed to look after you.”

Holding the bowl carefully in her lap again, Bonnie gestured with a hand palm up held out at her side. “Great, ‘look after me’. Like I’m ten years old. He’s so – um… What can you… Will you tell me about him?”

“Why, you didn’t just meet tonight, did you?”

“Yeah. Yeah, believe it or not – and I’m not sure I even believe it. He saved my life. Twice.”

“Saved your – tonight. Huh. So what do I know about Victor Creed…? Well … he likes Monty Python, hates Brad Pitt, and a couple of times I’ve caught him reading John Sandford novels. One time he told me he used to think about trying to make a living building custom furniture … but I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. I could tell you what he likes in bed, but I’m sure you already know.” Her smile was full of honest humor, but no judgment.

Bonnie smiled nervously back and blushed.

“But past that, girl, I don’t know a damn thing about him, except that he can be as mean and heartless as the Devil himself. And if someone had come in here this afternoon and told me Creed would show up tonight and ask me to protect someone … I’d have called that person a liar to his face. Where’d he say he was going, anyway?”

Bonnie nibbled on a cucumber slice and smiled again at the memory of how he’d looked when he said it. His fierce expression and that growling noise had made her feel … safe.

“Hunting,” she replied, and picked up the fork.

*****************************************************************

The lightning storm gearing up over New York City reflected his mood as he closed in on his prey. He’d found the bald Leonid the same way they hoped to find him – by staking out places he was sighted at before. Listening to the man talk into his radio confirmed that they had bought a mole in the NYPD, as he’d suspected.

Can’t fault ‘em there – hell, I own a few myself. Silent as a ghost, Victor scaled the wall of another one of his smaller dens, the apartment the X-Men had once infiltrated when they’d been hunting him.

Leonid appeared to be alone on the roof as he made his status report. “Sir, checking in. I’m watching another apartment building. Our contact in the NYPD confirmed that Creed’s been spotted here regularly over the last five years.” Radio in one gloved hand, he held binoculars in the other and scanned the streets around the building.

The voice from the radio cracked and popped a little, the reception getting dodgy in the oppressive air of the coming storm. “When you go, you may not be aware if he arrives with the girl after.”

“No, we’ve got the usual camera arrays installed – I’ll be moving to the next anticipated target in a few minutes. Just thought I’d hang around, see if I got lucky.”

“All right. Stay sharp.”

“Understood. Out.”

Crawling up onto the roof, Victor lunged at him and slashed his claws into the radio and binoculars, shattering both into a rain of shards. “No more radios!” His attack shoved Leonid down onto his back as claws sliced his weapons belt. “No more guns, neither!” The handgun he wore on the belt and the assault rifle hanging at his back were cut into slices, another grenade flying across the roof – harmless with its pin engaged.

The man tried to punch him, but he reared back, holding his fists together like a wrecking ball. He landed on his knees and thrust his heavy upper body down, striking Leonid’s chin with fists and driving his skull into the roof.

His enemy was fast to recover, twisted, kicked out, and rose to a crouch as Victor swiped claws over the space where his head had been. Leonid drew his long-bladed knife. “If you had a brain in your head, you’d surrender and tell us where she is!”

“Yeah, that’s likely.”

Victor growled and jumped, body-slamming into him and knocking the air out of him. He put him down again, but then realized the knife had been stabbed into his chest. The hilt was sticking out, the blade buried deep. Blood poured from the wound.

“More likely than you getting… uh…” the bravado in the voice faltered as he saw Victor yank the knife out and witnessed the bleeding stopping.

“Ya know … I’m really sick o’ these knives.” He licked his blood from the blade before putting it between his teeth and with a loud snap, forced his mouth closed. The fangs shattered the blade into metal toothpicks.

Leonid froze in the act of rising to one knee. “Oh…” he said, staring with his mouth open.

Victor grabbed him with one arm around his neck to hold him and dragged him off to the short concrete wall at the edge of the roof. His other hand grasped and held an arm out and set it against the edge just above the elbow. “Been thinkin’ ‘bout ya an’ yer boys … how yer put t’gether. Skin’s tough – gotta be, fer me not t’ cut right through it. Reminds me o’ a guy I know, name o’ Cage.”

With a satisfying crack, he broke the arm above the elbow, reveling in the man’s scream.

“But see, I did leave some scratches. Ya ain’t invulnerable, an’ that makes me wonder – given some time an’ some determination…” Another crack, and the elbow joint was broken. The scream was longer, with real pain leaking into it. “Just how much damage I can do.” Finally, he broke the wrist and that scream was exquisite.

“Gnnaah! God!” Leonid cried out.

Victor pulled him back from the edge, bent over him and held him in a headlock. The wounded arm was bent into a strange shape as the man held it with his other hand.

“Time fer twenty questions.”

“You bastard… You stinking pig…”

One thick arm locked around his throat, Victor’s other hand gripped the bald skull, ready to yank and twist at any moment. “Who are ya? Why do ya want ‘er dead?”

In a wavering whisper, Leonid gave in. “I’m going to tell you, but not because you’re forcing me … because I want you to know now. Bonnie Hale is carrying a plague – a bio-engineered stealth weapon. Undetectable for seventy-two hours, but then … instant epidemic. Let the soldiers get back among their own, then take them out. Take them all out.” The man strained in his abruptly outraged hold, gasping as it tightened. “But it gets better… You see, she was infected by mistake – one of our own men made a stupid, stupid mistake and infected a civilian. So we killed him – and now we’ve got to kill her.”

Victor’s hateful hiss dripped saliva on the man’s head. “No. Yer lyin’.”

“There is no antidote for this plague, Mr. Creed – no inoculation, and unless she dies, we’ve got about sixteen hours left before this continent is scraped clean.”

“No! Ya lousy motherfucker, yer lyin’ t’ me!” With a thick crunch, he broke the man’s neck. “Yer lyin’!”

Surging to his feet at the back of the man who had died on his knees, Victor shoved his forearms under the jaw and grasped his wrist in his hand. Rearing his body backward as he yanked the head back, his growl erupted into a roar of hate as he ripped the head off of the body to a chorus of snapping bones and wet, tearing flesh. He held it up as lighting cracked down the street, illuminating the headless body as it toppled to the roof.

He threw the head down at the body’s feet where it landed on its bloody stump and slowly tilted. Horrified, he began to run. “Yer lyin’…” he muttered, as he leapt the wall at the edge and jumped off of the roof into the storm.

 

*****************************************************************

Author’s Note: I have to point out that Kalashnikov’s lab is in a building with a huge sign out front that reads ‘Infectious Diseases Research Center’, which I find very amusing. What a title! Most communities would be in ‘Not in my town’ mode and get that moved to a more remote location. Therefore, while the location isn’t ever really defined, I’m going to say it is in a remote location, or borders landfills or something, because nobody in New York City would put up with it being next to their local schools, grocery store, or water supply.

Also, I simply have to fix a few details, or surrender my self-respect as a researcher: when a sergeant or similar level of authority gathers all the details of an investigation into a BOLO order (Be On the Look Out) and he/she then gets a dispatcher to send it out as an APB (All-Points Bulletin), usually as a text or teletype message, then all points or stations can start looking for a suspect or vehicle description that is described in the BOLO. BOLO designates an order to do something, while APB designates who the order goes out to. If you only say you are sending out an APB, it is like mailing an empty envelope. This information is coming from a person with over fifteen years of experience in law enforcement, and from another person who is a friend of mine, and serves our community in a sheriff’s office as a patrolling officer, to corroborate it. I personally think it is silly that some disease scientists are going to be able to hack the NYPD and send out an APB. Therefore, in my story, the undead scientists have a sergeant on the payroll, and that is who Leonid contacted to get a BOLO sent out on the descriptions of Victor, Bonnie, and the Cadillac.

There are a few other details I’m fixing, such as Victor asking Bonnie if she wants to eat, sending the girls away because he knows there is a risk of being found, and the fact that bullets don’t melt away into thin air when Victor is shot. He would have to get them out. To avoid slowing down the story, I invented a mutant character that can get them out all at once and then he can heal. “Faster, pussycat, kill, kill” is a reference to the Russ Meyer film if the same name, from 1965. “Cage” refers to the Marvel character Luke Cage, whose skin pretty much can’t be pierced or cut. Thanks for reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic)

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