Deborah wasn’t sure how long she had been in her concrete cell. The cold manacle clasped around her neck would’ve been uncomfortable if she had to breathe or sleep. She tugged at the chain connecting her neck to the wall out of habit, knowing it hadn’t given way since she had started.
Ultraviolet light from above stung her eyes, as usual, hindering her ability to thoroughly examine the walls, ceiling and floor. She still didn’t see any cracks or dust, no signs of a weak spot. The steel door had a clean coat of glistening black paint.
She rolled her eyes before closing them. So quiet. Deborah occasionally rattled her chain just to hear something besides her own thoughts. Her bare ass and legs felt glued to the cold concrete. Turning her hands over, Deborah noticed her skin seemed to be tightening. The light above never turned off, its purple ray constantly steamed her skin. Opening her mouth released steam as well. Good thing I don’t talk to myself.
The week Deborah had taken find the Red Bone tribe was the week she found out how often she had to drink. A mouthful of blood a day helped her focus and move at an average range of motion. Two drinks a day made her feel sharper, faster and more flexible.
Judging by her slightly wrinkled skin and the way the room seemed to sway, Deborah felt she must’ve skipped two days at least. The lack of blood reminded her of dehydration. She vaguely remembered what cottonmouth felt like, how her lungs heaved and her head ached.
Thirsting for blood reminded her why she used to hunt vamps in the daytime. If Deborah had ever scouted a nest running low on victims, she waited a day. Feral vamps put their bodies at risk just for a taste of blood. When they were hungry, they were easier to shoot, trap and decapitate. Adding daylight to their weakened state was an easy day’s work.
Deborah smiled at the irony. She knew she was easy prey.
Examining her hands was the only indicator Deborah had for gauging time. She was sure she noticed her bones poke out a little by the time the door opened again. Anxious for the change in scenery, Deborah tilted her head to stare at the dull gray hallway outside.
A smaller woman with loose brown hair and a fresh white t-shirt walked in. Deborah remembered releasing her from the Red Bones’ oasis. She has two children. In love with what’s his name… Gonzo.
Deborah rolled her head back to meet the woman’s eyes, “Megan.”
The door clicked shut behind the quiet young woman. “Tate said we can do whatever we want to you.”
“I let you live. You should let me go too.”
Megan stepped into the center of the room. Deborah knew she couldn’t reach, and Megan probably knew it too. Megan crossed her arms, “You let me walk my two babies into the sand in the middle of the night. We didn’t get but out of the driveway before we got snatched up by these people.”
“You don’t sound impressed with your new friends.”
“A pretty cage is still a cage.”
Smarter than she looks. “So what brings you to my cage?”
Megan scanned the room without shifting her feet. “What happened to Gonzo?”
I drained him, made sure he would turn, and tied him to a toilet. “What do I get if I tell you?”
Megan reached into her dark jeans and removed a pocketknife, unfolding it to a hand’s length. “A drink.”
“You’re not afraid?”
“Bitch, do you want some blood or not?”
“Of course I do. Why do you trust me not to drain you dry?”
Megan revealed what appeared to be a large black coin in her other hand. “I push this button, the guards rush in and beat the shit out of you. No questions asked.”
“Clever girl,” Deborah nodded, “Kinda funny, here I thought I’d have to convince someone to let me drink them.”
Megan released a dry chuckle, “Ha. We have a deal or what?”
“Absolutely.” Knife’s too big to pick a lock.
Megan carefully gripped the round device and knife hilt in her right palm. Without hesitating, she cut a slit in her left palm.
Deborah could smell sweet copper hit the air. Maybe I can use the knife on the guards. She felt her skin peel off of the floor as she stood up.
Megan inched forward with her arm extended, “Keep your hands back or I hit this button.” She seemed to hesitate, but followed through.
Deborah’s mouth slid open everything past the slit in Megan’s palm blurred out of existence. Her escape plans faded away as her tongue gathered a small streak of blood. Kissing Megan’s palm, she sucked the wound as hard as she could.
The only sound Deborah was aware of was the satisfied gulps in her throat. Her eyes rolled open, and she was suddenly aware of Megan angrily yelling. Two clean-cut, masculine guards in black long sleeves and gloves were prying Deborah’s arms off of Megan. I left my hands at my sides, didn’t I?
Deborah felt her whole spine thud against the wall behind her as the guards lifted her off her feet. Megan backed away with a bloody rag in her left hand. Deborah pleaded, “I’m sorry! I, I didn’t realize—”
The slimmer guard clasped Deborah’s mouth shut and turned his head to Megan. “If you’re going to feed the prisoner, we have safer methods.”
Megan shook her head, “Sorry, no one told me that.”
“Just a heads up next time, okay? These red eyes don’t know how to hold back. Nothing but goddamn animals.” With that, the guards let Deborah fall to her feet, and walked past Megan to the hall.
Megan huffed, “You get enough?”
Deborah wasn’t sure if Megan was completely sincere or a little sarcastic. She still answered honestly, “No, but I’ll tell you what happened.” Deborah gathered the blood around her lips and chin as she leaned backwards. “You saw me tie him to the toilet before I led you out, right?”
“Yeah.” Megan’s eyes widened a hair.
Deborah thought she saw a sign of subtle hope in the young woman. Good. “As you said before, you weren’t gone long before these blue eyed vamps arrived. They wiped out my pack and came in for me. Did you people even have an idea how stupid it is to have a town placed at the bottom of a crater? That is the worst tactical position you could possibly have for a—”
“We didn’t build it, we found it. And we never ran out of water.”
“Right, well, I don’t know how good you are with knots, but when I got back inside, Gonzo was missing. It wasn’t long before these Wayne Manor clowns broke in around the mansion.”
“That’s it? You don’t even know where he went?” Megan slightly raised her voice towards the end of her question.
She’s really buying it. Deborah shrugged, “I didn’t have time to run upstairs. Didn’t you ask your new friends if they found him?” Deborah noticed Megan look to the side, like she was adding something together. “What’s wrong?”
Megan subtly nodded to herself, “Tate just got called back to our home. If Gonzo’s alive, Tate will find him.”
“And kill him.”
Megan locked eyes with her.
“I’ve seen those two together long enough to know that they won’t hesitate to kill each other. Add that to the fact that Tate’s in love with you…” Deborah waited for Megan’s cheeks to blush, “If Tate doesn’t kill Gonzo himself, he’ll just ask Gian or someone to do it.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Wait a few years, you’ll start seeing the same patterns in other people’s lives too.”
Megan looked like someone hit her in the stomach as she turned to the door.
“Megan, who do you think will come back?”
The young woman stopped short of the door and whipped around, “Tate’s an asshole, but he won’t kill Gonzo.”
“I told Tate the same story I told you. Did he at least tell you why he’s going back?”
Megan just stared back.
“How long ago did Tate leave?”
“Hour or two.”
Deborah leaned against the wall, “You best get your own vehicle if you want to see Gonzo again.”
Megan was clenching her fists so hard her knuckles were white. Deborah could also smell more blood fill the rag in Megan’s left hand. “You already know I’m a prisoner too.”
Deborah smiled, “We don’t have to be.”
Megan insincerely grinned back, “How far do you think we’ll get?”
Deborah nodded to Megan’s pants pocket, “Give me that knife the next time the guards rush me and you’ll find out.”
Megan’s grin faded, “Then what? You selflessly rescue me and my kids?”
Deborah pushed herself up, stared Megan in the eyes. “I kept my word last time. I promise I’ll get all three of you out of here if you free me.” She shrugged, “I don’t expect you to shake my hand right now.”
Megan narrowed her eyes, “You will not touch my children. If you do I will kill you.”
Megan exhaled as if she were holding her breath. “I feel like I just made a deal with Deimos.”
“No offense taken.”
“Okay, fine. What do you need?”
Deborah grabbed the manacle under her jaw, “The guards should have a key to my neck. Did you notice if they did?”
“Not the ones outside, they just walk me here. There’s another guard that patrols the hall, she always twirls a key ring on her finger.”
“Do you have a good idea when her patrol is?”
“No, but she helped grab me from you when I hit the panic button.”
“Good to know.” Deborah crossed her arms and held her chin, “We’ll get out faster if you bring your kids to visit me now.”
Megan tilted her head, “They’re outside now. I don’t trust anyone here.”
“Me neither.” Deborah thought some more, “The elevator, do you know how to get it to the garage?”
“Top floor. Not sure how many cars are up there… You really think you’re up for this?”
“Are you lightheaded?”
Deborah nodded, “The guards with you are human, if I can get my hands on them, I’ll be good.” She looked Megan up and down, “If you’re ready, give me that knife and hit that button again.”
Megan took a deep breath, “Don’t make me regret this.”
“I won’t.” She held her hand out.
Megan sighed and pulled the pocket knife out. Deborah could almost smell the hesitation as she grabbed the knife. Megan held up the small device, “Ready?”
Deborah unfolded the knife and flicked it from hand to hand. She spun it for an underhand grip and motioned Megan closer. The woman wasn’t much shorter than Deborah, but Megan seemed to shrink as she walked into Deborah’s arms.
Deborah tried to reassure her, “Megan, your kids won’t be cattle here.” Deborah felt like she might actually care if the kids escaped or not. “Hit it.”
Megan clicked the black button and Deborah pressed her lips to Megan’s neck. Don’t bite. Don’t bite. She pulled Megan closer to the wall.
The door flew open to the same two guards from before. The slimmer one yelled, “Stupid bitch!”
As the two men reached out, Deborah stabbed the slimmer guard through his neck and pulled him across her ankle to trip him. The other guard’s eyes widened, and in that instant, Deborah shoved Megan into him. Off balance, the second guard corrected himself, but Deborah was already pulling him towards herself.
Deborah slit the man’s neck at the side and began drinking. The guard’s arms flopped at her face, or elbowed her sides. Deborah felt her vision sharpen, more aware than before. The guard on the floor was crawling away.
A female guard with ice blue eyes filled the doorway, a keyring dangling at her side. Megan ran to her yelling, “Help! Help!”
The guard motioned Megan into the hall as she drew a shock club from her belt. “Fuckin’ red eyes.” She darted forward in a blink.
Deborah dropped the man and just as quickly as the vampire guard, slashed out with her knife. The new guard let the knife strike her palm, the fabric of the glove didn’t give way at all. The blue eyed guard managed to grab the knife by the blade and throw it across the room.
A surge of electricity dropped Deborah to her knees. The guard stood above her and clubbed Deborah to the floor. “Haven’t killed a red eye in a while.”
Deborah heard another crackle of electricity and winced. The guard fell next to Deborah in a spasm with a very angry look. Megan stood behind her, continuing to shock the guard until her eyes rolled in the back of her head.
Megan pushed herself away and dropped the club. Deborah forced her hands to work at removing the guard’s keyring. “Good work, partner.”