Red Viper: Chapter 1

July 20, 2019

I do hope you believe in monsters, because if you’re not careful, we’ll strike when you least expect it. And we sure as hell believe in you. Take it from me.

It was the dead of night when the smell of blood hit my nose; right away I knew that my prey was near. My grin widened as I slipped into the shadows, intent on ending him.

What’s that you say? Me, a vampire, a leech? Hah. Far from it, actually. What gave you that impression?

I had no weapons, for I didn’t need them. Other hunters had plenty, be it stakes or knives. I was satisfied with venom. Often criticized by my fellow vampire hunters, I learned to distance myself from everyone else. It was hard being an outcast among my own people, but I learned to deal with it a long, long time ago.

Covered from head to toe in black, my face hidden under a thick scarf aside from my eyes and mouth, I knew I was ready to hunt.

Slipping from shadow to shadow, I spotted him crouched over an innocent girl. Disgusting. He was drinking her dry, eating her alive. Vampires were just as bad as those damn shapeshifters, except a vampire’s murder was a lot less grisly.

After a pause, I determined that it was the right moment to strike–I leaped from hiding and sliced cleanly into the vampire’s back with my claw-like nails. That might sound strange, but it was my typical way of killing for a peculiar reason. The vampire whirled, his mouth twisting into a scowl. Yet I was nowhere to be seen. Time to watch and wait.

He looked very confused, and suddenly held his head. His bloody, blonde hair fell into his eyes that were suddenly glowing with pain. He gasped and fell to the ground, and I knew this was my chance. I emerged from the shadows with a grim smile, my fingers spread and fixed like battle-claws. The vampire stared up at me, obviously growing weaker.

“How…?” he whispered. I yawned, pretending to put a finger on my lip in thought. Not having shown my teeth before, I decided to display them now. They were unnaturally sharp, each one having been ground to pinpoints. This struck fear even into the bloodsucker’s heart; I had the satisfaction of seeing his pupils dilate to a large degree.

“R-Red…Viper..” he gasped. I gave a thumbs up and slowly bent down over him.

“My fellow hunters are so unoriginal in their killings. I love to weaken my prey, then end them slowly…” I whispered. I drew my needle-sharp nail down his cheek, watching blood well up in the wound. The vampire was growing weaker by the second.

“But…you’re only human… How is this possible?” he hissed. His nostrils flared and his jaw dropped as if he’d realized something. “Wait…” 

I had no time for games.

So, I smiled and gave the most simple response, paying no mind to whatever revelation had struck him. “Venom.” With that, I swiftly bit down onto his neck, chuckling as he screamed with pain. My venom made the entire death experience extremely uncomfortable, which is exactly how I loved it. I was gone long before his screams died down.

Now, I suppose I should explain myself. No average woman could possibly have venom naturally, the mutation would be too strong. Which was true, my venom wasn’t my own–rather, it belonged to a couple of the most toxic snakes in the world, who were housed right at my tiny hut for a home. So. How didn’t I die from my own snakes’ venom?

While I wasn’t able to produce my own(come on now, that would be ridiculous), I was unique in my immunity. Somehow I was immune to every bit of snake venom that entered my blood… interestingly enough, I was also immune to vampire venom.

I’ll teach you a bit about that. Vampire venom is designed to do one of two things–weaken/paralyze, or provide excruciating pain. In rare cases, there were other types that I didn’t care to know about because it wasn’t important. I’d found out the sickening concept of pain in blood. Apparently, the more painful the bite, the more delicious the blood, so I’d heard. 

Disgusting.

My venom worked differently. When I struck, it acted immediately to weaken my victim. If I decided to let the vampire survive, the weakness would fade in a few days. My bite was just as deadly as a snake’s because it provided a very painful, but short, death. The mix of venom I used specifically targeted the nerves and heart. If I wanted to be really nasty, I could use my store of hemotoxins, which basically would cause my victim to bleed out of every pore and opening of their body. No worries, I rarely ever used that particular venom.

So, how did I get it in my nails and teeth? I had specialized hollow nails, somehow I was born with that as well. I had a large supply of toxins in them since just a small amount would suffice to kill; this meant that I rarely needed to refill. As for my teeth, well, they were the same way. Both grew back if one broke off in combat, which is strangely similar to how vampires’ worked too.

But I definitely was a human. I had to be. There wasn’t anything in this world but vampires, shifters, and humans… Right? 

Otherwise I’d be a freak or something. 

That’s what I kept telling myself over and over and over again, anyway. These oddities had to be just mutations. I was just a woman with long red hair that shined like fire, skin pale like ivory, sharp teeth, and snake-like eyes. 

Perfectly normal!

Anyway. Now you know how I do it. But the real question is why.

I’d go into detail with a convoluted backstory, but no one wants to hear a full life story in Chapter 1 of any tale. 

The important thing to know is that I was a vampire’s blood slave for a time before coming upon a Boomslang snake, likely obtained from the exotic pet trade, finding out that it couldn’t kill me, and realizing I could use its venom to my advantage. Made friends with the snake in one second, saw a vampire kill it in the next. Killed the vampires through sheer dumb luck, ran off, you get the point.

Whatever, back to reality.

I bent down and carefully drew a snake about to strike with my nail, ripping into skin to form a design. Specifically, I drew it on his neck. Any vampire knew that it was a challenging mark. I grinned, my sharp teeth flashing.

What a satisfying night it had been. I was ready to go home and relax. Perhaps I would kill even more vampires tomorrow, for those gangs were getting awfully rowdy lately. More and more humans were vanishing, and it was up to me to control them. Rarely did I let vampires go, but when I did, I was confident they warned others about me. Truly a prideful and stupid mistake on my part that I didn’t care about at the time.

The other hunters didn’t seem as intimidating, oddly. I didn’t know if maybe the ‘Hunter Association’ in this city was the issue or what. But I was the only one around here getting rid of the vampires that captured and killed tons of people. 

Normally you’d expect to see fellow hunters around at night somewhere, especially in a big city like this. Were they being lazy? Busy elsewhere? Ah well. It was time to make my exit, there wasn’t time to dwell on such notions. I was tired and needed my rest.

Well, I would have made my leave, hadn’t I heard chuckle behind me. I whirled, coming face-to-face with blood red eyes. A male vampire stared me down, his dark shaggy hair partially covering his eyes. He wore all black, like me, and had on a masquerade mask. I wasn’t impressed. Instinctively, I leaped away and managed to place my back against the wall.

The vampire advanced on me, seeming simply curious. I could see the question in his eyes…who was this huntress? Why was she so afraid? I would prove the second question to be quite the contrary, and would find out the first one he knew the answer to already. Regardless, cornering a snake was a terrible, terrible idea, one that he would soon learn. I narrowed my eyes in wait.

Making a decision, the vampire lunged forward and grabbed my arm. His red eyes met mine as I peeled back my lips and let out an angered hiss. He tilted his head, trying to distinguish some features and finding none since most of my face was covered with a thick black scarf. His nostrils flared as he took in my scent.

I had enough of this, no more playing games. I’d tolerated his existence up to this point.

With a snarl, I hissed, “Wrong move.”

PROCEED TO CHAPTER 2

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