Dancing Crow: Chapter 5

The streetlights whirled on by as we rushed past the cops closing in on the club. Pretty sure some tried to pursue, but we lost them in any potential chase after some smooth, sharp turns onto side roads. Eventually we found ourselves in the outskirts of town, and would be arriving at the mansion soon. I had to wonder if Clarice would scold me for this incident, but I couldn’t help feeling my reaction was entirely warranted.

We entered the mansion, now known as the ‘clubhouse’, and Clarice gently placed the wounded human upon the couch, letting out a breath. I could feel Clarice’s stare upon me, and finally turned to address her. “Look, she was askin’ for it–” I began, but she cut me off. 

“No, that’s fine boss, that bitch deserved it anyway. What exactly do you plan on doing with that human? She needs hospital care, and I sure as hell don’t know healing magic. Not even sure if such a thing would help in this situation,” Clarice muttered, staring at the widdle human with pity. 

I gulped, pondering this with no real answer. Seeing my expression, Clarice snorted and shook her head. “Right, well good thing I have connections boss. Let me make a few calls, I’ll bring her to a safe spot and get her where she needs to be. ‘Aight?” she asked me, to which I gave a nod. I had no experience with this at all, so it was best for me to step aside. 

Wandering into the bathroom, I let out a soft groan, inspecting the blood covering me and realizing that I should probably take a shower. Removing my jacket, I noticed so very many stab and slice wounds. The slice wounds from his claws were closing up from my natural healing. The stab wounds, however, well… they weren’t. The damn knives of those bastards had been silver. I could feel the poison slowing the mending and sending jolts of pain through my muscles, especially now that I could focus on my condition. 

One hot shower later, I was laying in bed again, my clawed hand covering my face as I shuddered from the pain. Yep, this would sap my strength for at least a couple days. That scuffle was a bit more detrimental than I thought. The sound of my door opening and closing caused me to let out a sigh. “Whaaaat?” I muttered, feeling exhaustion settle on me further.

Clarice’s voice hit my ears, and I opened an eye to peer at her curiously. She said, “The human lady is taken care of, boss, in safe hands and all that shit. Your antics are already all over the news, you know. My people can only take care of so much, you’ll have to be more careful in the future. They didn’t catch what ya looked like, and things like this happen and are erased from time to time. But… I can understand why you snapped. Shit, I was gonna rip the bitch apart if you didn’t, at that point. Still though, we gotta be careful.”

“Ya ya, I know. Well, glad yer not too mad about it,” I replied, once again yawning and flashing my fangs. “Can I have that nap now? Did I earn it? Do we have to do that shit again soon?”

“Yep!” Clarice confirmed with an evil smirk. I sighed, and then lightened up a bit at her next words. “But you look like you could rest for a while, and I mean beyond just a nap and a day. So we’ll get back to it when you’re feeling better. That first day out scoping out some potential members was.. Well, a failure. But we’ll get better hits, I know it. You probably have some enemies now, by the way,” she added, tutting a bit with her tongue. 

“Yeah what the fuck else is new?” I replied, to which she chuckled and shook her head. 

“Get some rest boss, I’ll be checking on you in the morning,” she finished, turning and leaving me to my peace. Well, I wasn’t going to complain. I was actually pretty honored that she cared enough, and she did have my back tonight. She saved my ass once again, and this time I very well might have been offed due to being weakened by the silver prior to being cornered. 

***

Awakening, I let out a yawn and sat up, rubbing my eyes and rolling out of bed. Faceplating with a thud!, I realized I should probably wake my ass up a bit more. I didn’t need another shower, but a cold washcloth on my forehead should do the trick. I dragged myself to the bathroom and examined my wounds in the mirror once more, running my hands over the deep puncture marks on my chest and abdomen. As expected, the silver had taken its toll, and I was sluggish today.  

I wouldn’t need any fancy-shmancy medical intervention, since they weren’t deep enough to warrant it, and vampire healing generally left scars as opposed to gaping wounds after the poison of the silver faded away.

Slowly making my way into the kitchen, I approached the fridge and stared into the bags of blood we’d been collecting from the hospitals–expired, of course. Clarice had connections, so she said. Still gave the nutrition we needed, but most definitely didn’t satisfy that hunting instinct. I groaned at the prospect of having to guzzle down some warmed stale blood and let out a sigh. Well, I needed my strength, so I worked up the willpower to do so. 

The scent that wafted through the kitchen wasn’t the most delicious, that was for damn sure. I was reminded of the thrum of a human’s heart, increasing ever faster as they were hunted down before being ripped to shreds by yours truly. Again, only the lowest of the low when it came to the human race, like rapists on the streets and other such scum. Ripping the life from them felt so brilliant and addictive. Far better than what was about to be my first time in a LONG time drinking microwaved blood. Ugh. Ding! Wellp, time to try it. 

I dragged my sorry ass over and poured myself a cup, grimacing at the scent. It just wasn’t the same as the gushing lifegiving liquid that flowed through the veins of someone still alive, no chemicals to spice things up. Taking a sip, I winced and then downed it. I suppose the best way to describe this to a human would be going from mouth watering gourmet steak to saltines in the course of a day. 

As I ate, Clarice wandered into the room, her half-mohawk dripping from a recent shower. She took one look at my expression and burst into laughter, shaking her head. “You look like an upset toddler, boss,” she commented, taking a seat across from me and providing a sneer. “Sucks, you can’t hunt for a couple days, can ya? You radiate exhaustion.”

“Gee. Thanks, ya asshole,” I grunted, baring my fangs at her. She returned the gesture. I noticed something peculiar about her and tilted my head. There was a chain around her neck, and in the center of said chain were a pair of purple plush dice. “What’s that?” I asked, motioning to them. 

Clarice replied, “Women have breasts, did you know that?” Her tone was sarcastic, and I rolled my eyes. She chuckled, and added, “But really, these are my dice, I used to wear ‘em when I played dungeon master a bit more. Say. Now that you’re staying in for a bit, perhaps it’s time for me to teach you the game, badboy.” 

My eyes might have lit up just a bit, because her grin widened. But I played it cool, commenting, “Yeah ok, I migh’ have some interest. Whatcha got to tell me?” Clarice saluted and stood up again, wandering out of the room only to return with several colorful boxes. Apparently, they were for her campaigns. She kept folders of important game-related papers, too. The next few hours consisted of me learning all about Dungeons & Dragons. Let me tell you, it was fucking glorious. 

I made a kobold character known as ‘Forktail’, and he had black and red patterned scales, a split tail, and glorious bat-like wings. Clarice told me that usually kobolds didn’t have wings, but she’d give me a pass because I was nerding out and, according to her, ‘adorable’. She said, “Big tough guy like you, gushing over dungeons & dragons. Fuck boss, I wanna hug you right now. You’re like a big cuddly puppy or somethin’ that happens to want to rip apart any baddie he meets, but eh.” 

Grinning to display my knife-like teeth, I saluted her. “Look, I promise I won’t make my character way too powerful or some shit. But you said you have the power to kill ‘im. Can ya not? I wanna go on a shit ton of adventures and he’s gotta be alive to do that!” 

“I’m not giving you special treatment, boss,” Clarice replied, and to my sad glance, grinned. “I rarely kill off characters in my campaign, though, so your ass might be safe. Maybe. Depends on how badly you piss me off.” At that, I stuck my tongue out at her, which produced some keeling giggles. 

Leaning back in my chair, I gave a satisfied grunt. I was beginning to realize that at times, sitting back and relaxing without the weight of constant battle could be fun as hell. I was so used to constant battle and bombardment from my wandering, so it was strange to sit back and have some fun. I sincerely appreciated Clarice for that. 

Several weeks passed with similar antics, and we at least didn’t lay waste to anymore bars. Clarice taught me how to behave properly, and the amount of incidents of my violence went down. Sure, I had to cut down a few members of suspicious law enforcement who attacked without asking, which might make me somewhat of a bad guy, but I’m pulling the self-defense card. What? We looked like hooligans even when minding our own business, which meant sometimes they got far too aggressive for their own good.

Soon enough, our gang was growing substantially, and I was proud. Several members of the gang jumped on board with our message, and the streets were slowly becoming ever-safer for the good humans, and quite dangerous for the bad ones. Hell, we didn’t spare evil vampires either. Why would we? Everything fell to our fangs from the shadows, and things worked out rather well. 

PROCEED TO CHAPTER 6

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