So Vein by Bruce Lockhart 2nd and Suzie Lockhart [horror]

So Vein by Bruce Lockhart 2nd and Suzie Lockhart

Violet Sinclair was accustomed to standing out in a crowd. She was, after all, the epitome of beautiful; flawless skin the color of honey, and a silky dark mane that flowed behind her. What she was not used to, however, was frequenting nightclubs in this sketchy section of the city. Exchange LA or The Colony were the types of establishments where she could normally be found, dancing under the purple lights. Her father was an interior designer with an impressive clientele list, including celebrities, so Violet had no problem gaining entrance to these hotspots. Even amongst the rich and famous, she could easily make jaws drop as she glided past the notable patrons.

She was here on the fringe of the city tonight for a particular reason. She was searching for a man named Nico.

If the rumors were true, then Nico could help her. If he was willing. If not, she’d find a way to convince him.

Tentatively, Violet stepped across the threshold. It took several moments for her eyes to adjust to the darkened interior. Once she could see, she strutted over to the bar in her stunning black outfit, the bodice embroidered with black roses and tiny rhinestones twinkling like hundreds of little stars. It hugged her curvaceous body, the neckline plunging low enough to reveal a bit of lace from the expensive lingerie underneath.

Every man at the bar stared at her, hoping she was looking at them. In reality, however, Violet was admiring her reflection in the mirrored wall behind them, grateful that she could still make out the crimson lipstick on her full mouth and her periwinkle eyes sparkling under the flashing strobe lights.

If the Retinitis pigmentosa continued to progress at its present rate, it would not be that way for long. The thought of never being able to see herself again, to have the assurance that she looked as perfect as she did today, haunted her. Being blind would drive her insane, of that she was certain.

Violet sat on the barstool, crossing long, tanned legs for her admirers. Instantly, a drink appeared. A businessman with a rumpled suit and garlicky breath slid next to her and began chattering away in her ear, trying desperately to hit on to her.

She withstood his offensive interest, scanning the crowd for the one she was looking for.

No one needed to tell her that the man sitting alone in a dark corner near the back exit was Nico Ambrosi. Violet knew the minute she laid her eyes on him. Even though his image wasn’t very distinct from across the room, she knew from his commanding presence and the dark glasses he wore that it had to be him. Opening her purse, she fished out her compact, checking her makeup. She was determined to find the truth out about this mystery man; if he was a man.

Or was he something more…?

Straightening, she brushed off the minion who had bought her a drink and headed in Nico’s direction.

As Violet closed the distance between them, she couldn’t tell if he was watching her from behind those damned shades. Suddenly, she grew nervous, so she stepped onto the dance floor at the last minute and began writhing suggestively for Nico’s benefit.

Was he looking at her?

How could he not be? She was certainly the most desirable woman in the entire club. Maybe even the world?

Still…it was hard to tell behind those dark glasses.

Maybe he liked to play the brooding, hard-to-get type, or maybe it was something else?

The something else was what Violet was hoping for, but she figured it would be easier once he was interested. Then he’d be putty in her hands, just like all the others.

To her ever-growing frustration, Nico did not move from his spot.

Before she rendered herself completely out of breath, she worked up the courage and sauntered over to his table, where Nico sat alone.

“Hello,” she purred seductively. Although impeccably dressed in an Italian designer suit, Nico was not an especially handsome man, but attractive enough. He had jet-black hair and a strong jaw, lined with a closely cropped beard connecting to a thin mustache. His nose was a little large, but not enough to be a distraction. There most certainly was, however, an undeniable aura surrounding him.

He turned slowly to face her, his eyes appearing almost black in contrast to his pale skin when he slid his glasses down the bridge of his nose to assess her. His expression was a mask of indifference as he stared into her eyes.

“I said hello!” she stammered loudly over the blaring music.

He set down his scarlet drink and said, very distinctly, “I heard you.”

It was as if the world stopped rotating for a moment.

Violet was absolutely stunned, intimidated by his cool demeanor. Nobody had ever responded to her that way, treating her as if she were insignificant, nothing more than an afterthought.

As if she wasn’t the very definition of desire.

Snorting indignantly, she turned to leave, considering for a moment that maybe it wasn’t worth it, but he grabbed her arm, spinning her around to face him. It surprised Violet to find Nico no longer wearing his shades.

“Stay,” he ordered as he pulled her close. “I am Nico Ambrosi.”

His whole demeanor enticed her, mesmerized her, and suddenly he appeared all the more attractive than he had moments ago.

“I’m Violet,” she told him breathlessly, lost in his eyes.

“You’re very beautiful, Violet.”

She nodded.

Nico laughed and Violet wanted to push him away for laughing at her, but her strength was waning under his imposing presence. She found herself unable to break away from his gaze.

“Would you like to dance?” she implored. On the dance floor, she would be in her element. Her carefully practiced movements would fill him with desire, then she would take back control of the situation and approach him with her request.

“I’m afraid I don’t dance,” he whispered seductively in her ear. His breath was as cold as ice, causing the hairs at the nape of her neck to rise. His voice lowered conspiratorially.

“Besides, my dear Violet, I don’t think it was a dance for which you sought me out.”

Her eyes widened. Nico was so close, too close. He completely unnerved Violet. His unique scent was clouding her thoughts. A spot of the red drink he’d been sipping remained on the corner of his mouth; it was all Violet could seem to focus on.

“W-what are you talking about?” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“Don’t play dumb. It is a very unbecoming trait.” His voice was forceful, making Violet cringe slightly.

He grabbed her chin lightly with one hand, one long finger stroking the side of her face. As he gently turned her head to look in the direction of an older woman who was attempting to hit on a guy far too young for her, the sensation of his cool hand on her face was causing tension to pool deep inside her core. Violet stared at the woman, noting the wrinkles on her face and the way her breasts sagged. She gasped.

“You yearn to remain just as you are. A beauty such as yours should never dim; it should burn forever.”

Violet nodded.

“Ah, yes. I can see you desire to be beautiful forever.”

“Beautiful? Forever…” she repeated like an obedient child.

“Yes,” he hissed.

Then he took her hand and led her out of the back of the club, where a black limo waited. Violet felt a little disappointed that they didn’t go past the bar. She would have enjoyed seeing what they looked like together.

***

Back at her place, Nico wasted no time. He carried her effortlessly to her bedroom and tossed her onto the bed. Looming over her, he deliberately began undressing her. He’d approved of her choice of lingerie, right before he tore it off her.

As she watched him methodically undress, she found herself feeling abnormally uncomfortable, so Violet pulled the bed sheet over her naked body.

Nico was magnificent from head to toe. He looked like a perfectly sculpted statue, made of marble. She hadn’t realized until now, as light from the full moon casted its glow on him, how pale he was.

He stood unabashedly in front of her, grabbing her hand and pulling her close. She watched as his mouth began to painfully pry itself open from the inside out. His pupils dilated as an inky chocolate color covered the surface of both his eyes.

Violet was shivering with uncertainty, afraid of the creature that stood before her. His firm hand on the small of her back secured her firmly in place, but she was so entranced she couldn’t move anyway. It was as if he had cast a spell over her.

She was unable to divert her gaze from this distorted version of Nico, standing before her.

“Violet, I shall be your Maker.” His voice resonated in her head, making it seem louder than it was.

Violet felt dizzy, but Nico’s ethereal sounding voice continued. “We will always have a special connection, from here into eternity.”

A sense of euphoria washed over her as he continued. “You do want to be as you are now, forever and always? Those lovely eyes will remain just as they are today.”

“Yes.” She wanted this. Violet wanted her sight. To be able to see her beauty, always.

“Regardless of the cost?”

What cost? Violet paused for a moment. Surely no cost was too high to preserve her sight and youthfulness?

“Please, Nico….” she whispered urgently. He yanked the sheet off her, and then grabbed a handful of her silky locks, pulling them roughly so her head tilted back.

His fangs danced along the tender flesh of her neck as their skin molded against each other, her body quivering in response to the intoxicating pleasure. Slowly, he sank his fangs into the protruding vein on her soft neck, and Violet let out a moan of sheer pleasure as he drank her life essence.

Blood was trickling down her left side, leaving her incapacitated as it dripped onto her clean sheets. Still, Nico did not stop.

When he finally released her, leaving her cold and drained, he asked unexpectedly, “Violet, how old do you think I am?”

“I…I don’t know,” she murmured faintly.

La mia bella, I am over 200 years old.” For the first time, she noticed the vaguest hint of an accent. Right before what he said sunk in. Violet had been transfixed. She’d wanted Nico, wanted this, badly, but in her present state, she couldn’t think clearly.

Violet’s thoughts were muddled as Nico lifted a finger to the tip of his fang and punctured it, before holding it to her lips. He squeezed the darkened liquid from it, letting it ooze into her mouth. Violet felt blissful, unlike anything she’d ever experienced.

The high feelings intensified with each moment, each time he touched her, each time he entered her. Violet was certain she was dying when Nico finally finished, because he placed his other hand gently over her eyelids and closed them.

***

Sunlight crept through the blinds, dancing across Violet’s exposed skin. The sensation made her shiver from head to toe; it felt like someone had replaced all the blood in her body with ice water, right before setting her flesh on fire.

Instinctively, Violet snatched the covers and pulled them over herself. She stumbled across the room to close the blinds as she tried to remember what, exactly, had happened last night. Her head was pounding as she made her way to the kitchen for a drink of water. Every nerve, every muscle, screamed in protest with each movement; the icy-hot feeling was overwhelming. She winced with pain as she took a glass from the cabinet above her and filled it with water. She drank two full glasses, but the water would not quench her thirst.

Violet felt a sharp stabbing inside her mouth. Tentatively, she caressed the inside of her cheek with her tongue. Slowly, her tongue traced over her gums until it reached the source of the piercing sensation.

Fangs…

Oh God, last night had been real…and now she had fangs! Her mind tried to recollect thoughts hidden just beneath the surface of her subconscious.

Nico had turned her into…what? A vampire?

Violet doubled over, feeling like she might vomit.

This had been what she wanted, hadn’t it?

The implications overwhelmed her as her mind began to recall the events of the previous night. Violet had left the club with Nico, in his limo.

They came back to her place, and she’d invited him in. She rubbed the side of her neck, where a slightly raised area confirmed that she had, indeed, been bitten.

Violet accidentally bit her lip thinking about what had occurred after that.

She looked around, to see if there was anything that could confirm he’d been in her apartment. Anything at all.

Immediately, she noticed that her vision had returned to 20/20.

She could see everything with perfect clarity. Her eyes didn’t even need to adjust in the dim light of her apartment.

An overwhelming joy filled her.

She thought back to Nico’s confession that he was over 200 years old. Yet, he didn’t look a day over 30. Would Violet look the same as she did now in 200 years?

What would she tell her Dad? Eventually, she would have to disappear, or people would start to question.

She decided to get dressed and try to clear out her head. She was heading for her bedroom when Violet caught a whiff of a light floral scent, like her closest friend Arianna wore.

Just before she heard a knock at her door.

“Who is it?” she asked shakily.

“It’s me.” How strange…it was Arianna.

“I need to get dressed,” she told her friend through the door, wondering just how much perfume Arianna had doused herself with. The scent was so strong, it seeped through the wooden door.

“Soooo. Can you let me in first?”

Did it really matter if she saw her like this? They were both girls. Violet was sure a string of questions would start the moment Arianna saw her. She pulled her hair over the side of her neck where Nico had bitten her.

Oh, God, she felt nauseated again.

Violet pulled open the door, and Arianna hurried inside. When she saw Violet, she let out a low whistle.

“Girl, you must’ve had some night.”

Violet twisted a handful of hair around her fingers as Arianna inspected her, prying for details.

“Met a hot Italian guy. We…you know.” Instinctively, Violet now knew he was originally from Italy. Apparently he was right about a connection.

“Mmm, girl, you musta hit it good.”

The distinct scent that was her good friend Arianna filled the air around her, encompassing Violet with a deliciousness. Her mouth got dry as something primal, animal-like, took over.

She could sense Arianna’s heartbeat, powerful and young, purring like the engine of a new car; the blood pumping through her friend’s body.

Violet rushed to her room, disturbed by the direction her thoughts were taking. She took some fresh underwear out of the drawer of her dresser, and then slipped into her favorite jeans. They should be her favorite jeans, for as much as they’d cost. Wanting some level of comfort, she dug out a soft cotton blouse, then went into the bathroom, picked up her brush, and began running it through her hair.

Violet had no reflection…

How could there be no reflection? She stared into the empty mirror, searching for her reflection. Her beautiful face! It was gone!

She screamed as her fingers clawed at her cheeks, as if to pull off a mask as she searched for what was no longer there. Tears welled up in her extraordinary eyes.

Eyes that she could no longer see!

As distraught as she was, Violet felt her body being drawn by an unseen force, back towards Arianna.

Who was pounding frantically on the bedroom door, asking if she was okay?

She yanked open the door and Arianna tumbled inside. Violet grabbed her arm and asked, near hysterics, “Can you see me?”

Her friend’s dark painted brows creased. “Of course I can see you. Did that guy put some shit in your drink or something?”

She found herself unable to tear her gaze away from Arianna’s long caramel-colored neck.

Suddenly, Violet was starving.

Starving not for food, but for blood.

As her appetite presented itself, her friend backed away, asking. “Violet, what’s wrong with your eyes?”

“Nothing…just a long night,” Violet lied as she moved smoothly towards her prey.

Arianna’s scent morphed into all the most magnificent culinary smells she had ever experienced. Her tongue ran over her lips…

“Violet! Your teeth?!” Arianna’s scream never left her throat as Violet reacted quickly, pinning her to the wall and plunging newfound fangs into her neck, draining every ounce of blood from her body. Violet felt invigorated, stronger and faster than any amount of time at the gym could have produced.

When she’d taken all she could, she peered into Arianna’s now lifeless ebony eyes. She searched frantically for her reflection in the girl’s blank, glassy stare.

Nothing.

She went back into the bathroom, leaving bloody footprints on her purine crème carpet as she paced the floor. She searched the mirror for some morsel of herself.

Frustrated and angry, Violent smashed her fist against it, and it shattered, bits of the reflective surface flying everywhere. The little cuts they made all over her body appeared to heal instantly. Frantic now, she searched every broken sliver, trying to find some remnant of her beauty.

Violet began to cry, for herself, and then for her friend. How could she have killed her so easily? She shuddered at the still-fresh memory, even as the urge to feed began to creep to the surface once again.

Her mind was playing tricks on her. How could she still know that she was beautiful? How could she know, if she couldn’t see for herself?

Violet paused, still fully forming the idea that just struck her.

Pictures!

She grabbed her cell phone and pulled up the camera application. Violet snapped a dozen or so pictures of herself. Surely, this would work? She would have to do her hair and makeup from memory, but then she could snap a picture of herself with her phone! There was no way this…this curse, could apply to pictures.

All that showed up were shots of an empty room. A few revealed her friend’s lifeless form in the background.

She slumped down next to Arianna’s body, defeated. How could this have happened? Violet knew she couldn’t live this way. It would slowly drive her insane, of this she was certain.

Her now-unlocked front door swung open, and Nico appeared out of nowhere.

“I…I did something bad,” Violet murmured helplessly.

“Ahh, your first meal. You needed sustenance, la mia bella.”

“She was my best friend, Nico! What the hell did you do to me? I can’t see myself!” Violet began to sob.

“Why, Violet, you look even more ravishing, now that you’re one of us.” There was a sinister quality about him that she hadn’t been aware of before…

Unruffled, Nico stepped calmly over Arianna’s body and took Violet’s hand, pulling her to her feet.

“My, my, we’ll have to get you cleaned up.”

“Damn you to hell, Nico!” Violet spat.

“I don’t understand. I thought this was what you wanted? To be beautiful forever.”

“How would I know when I can’t see myself!” Violet shouted.

“You were a very vain human. I did you a favor, taking away your obsessive behavior.”

No. How could he have done this to her?

Violet knew she could not live like this.

It was in that moment of desperation and anguish that she remembered the Sun, how it had felt on her skin.

It was obvious, wasn’t it? She had to go into the sunlight. It was the only way…

“I saved you from yourself, Violet,” he assured her smugly. The lines between good sense and madness blurred; Violet Sinclair pushed Nico Ambrosi away, catching the vampire off-guard as she dashed towards the big glass window at the end of the living room in her two-story loft. She dove into it, glass splintering around her as her undead body was quickly engulfed in flames. Her eyes searched for her reflection amongst the fractured shards.

A smile formed on her lips as she saw an image of her burning body in a piece of glass.

Nico wouldn’t steal her beauty, no one would.

Violet Sinclair would dance in the Sun, her beauty immortalized forever…

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