Red Viper: Chapter 2

A simple tactic, really. He’d fallen for the ‘broken tail’ method, as most always did. The vampire blinked, seemingly confused for a second. It was as if he knew something about me that even I didn’t.

So suddenly did he lunge forward and bite into my hand that I had no time to move away. A pained gasp came from my mouth, and I wrenched it from his grasp. Boy did the bite hurt, but luckily it wasn’t my neck that had been chomped into. My eyes lit up in fury. I’d not been bitten for a decade, so how this one managed to do so was beyond me. I needed to get my act together, that was for sure.

Now he would die like the rest! My mouth twisted into a snake-like grin as I brought my other set of claws out and quickly sliced into his arm. Instinctively, the vampire backed off with a cry of surprise. He stumbled, hitting the wall then sinking to the ground. Wincing as I stalked closer, he gasped, “Wait! I wasn’t planning on harming you further. I wanted to see if the rumors were true…”

But a snake doesn’t wait. I lunged for his neck and sank my teeth in, quite like how vampires feed on their prey. Karma’s a bitch. I leaned away and wiped my mouth of his blood(gross), staring into his eyes. 

My own were glowing a bright green as I observed the vampire. Making a decision, I drew my bloody snake on him with a silver-edged nail as he was dying. Silver slowed their healing, after all, meaning the wound wouldn’t fade in his final moments. I preferred venom over silver, but venom wasn’t used for this process here. My little mark of death was to prove my point loud and clear. I didn’t feel like waiting for him to die this time, for I was impatient.

His eyes closed as he cringed, convulsing, so I thought, from the venom. I wasn’t alarmed so much by his talk of ‘rumors’. I knew that most vampires here were aware of my venom immunity, which was why they tended not to try and bite me during battles; they just went right to hardcore attack. Even though this guy happened to be different, he would just perish.

The vampire’s breathing grew ragged. It was my time to leave. I turned away, slipping into the night. I figured I’d never see that vampire again other than the obituary. 

If only I knew how wrong I was. 

Perhaps I should have unmasked him before running off.

»»—– From the shadows—–««

You see, this one was an excellent actor. As the huntress got up and turned to leave, his red eyes opened once again, and a small smile formed on his face.

“See you later, then, Sam Viper,” he whispered to himself. What an interesting one she was. He knew now that it would be futile to kill her off like the rest. He had no desire to, honestly, and cared little for the orders of his father. She was very strong, though; maybe she could be the key to his opposition to the hunter corruption. No doubt she’d prove to be a problem in the uprising.

Regardless, the first step was getting to know her.

»»—– Sam’s Perspective—–««

Joy, oh joy. After a tiring night of killing those bloodsuckers, I could finally sit back at home and relax.

I was just closing my eyes when I felt a smooth, scaly body slither over my hand. Opening them, I spotted a long green snake with huge eyes staring right at me. The snake opened its mouth wide, leaning towards me. He had two rear fangs that glistened with saliva. What did I do? Why, I gave a smile back of course.

“Boomey!” I giggled, playfully poking the Boomslang on the nose. As it happened, Boomey was the son of the snake friend that helped me escape the slavers. I took him in when I found him outside in the cold winter snow.

In my eyes, Boomey’s kind was beautiful and not a danger at all. Sure, they were one of the most toxic snakes on earth. But…well, they were just so cute!

Anyway, Boomey stopped smiling and slithered up my arm and onto my shoulder. “How was hunting?” I heard him hiss into my mind. Snakes couldn’t speak aloud, they only connected with the ‘chosen ones’ via telepathy. One of them happened to be me, apparently. I didn’t get into snake history much; I just knew that most were my only friends. The snakes had never really explained to me how I could communicate with them. I was pretty sure they had no idea as well.

“It went rather well. Killed two…well, three if you count a vampire who tried to catch me on my very last kill,” I added. Before I arrived home, I had wrapped a bandage around my hand. The mark would fade over the next few days. The vampire’s bite had been very minor compared to what they usually did. It was best to hide any marks from the snakes, since they tended to be, well, protective.

Boomey gave a satisfied nod. He hated vampires too since they’d killed his father and neglected him terribly when he was kept as practically a display piece by them.

Not many knew, but even snakes found family extremely important. Most humans just think that they grow up and leave, but I knew in reality they stayed connected their entire lives, often making visits. I was happy to be a part of his family now. “Where’s Copper?” I asked curiously. Copper was my other resident snake. She happened to be a copperhead…shocker, huh?

Hunting. She told me a few hours ago that she was worried about you…” Boomey began. He peered into my eyes, pupils in slits. The snake’s tongue flickered in and out of his mouth, gently touching my nose as he stared. “Something is amiss. Someone is watching you now, hunting you even. We began sensing it a few hours ago,” his voice chimed.

I frowned. A few hours ago I had killed my last vampire, the one who’d grabbed my arm and bitten my hand. No one had been around. I’d have sensed them. I’d been paying more attention since that surprise from that final vampire. So what could it be?

“Perhaps you are thinking too much into it. We need some rest, maybe we can work it out tomorrow. Listen, I need to shop tomorrow ok?” I sighed. Boomey hissed in disapproval.

Dangerous. Sam, you know how we hate you going out. A snake should never show itself,” he snarled in disapproval. I shrugged, grinning to reveal my pointed teeth.

“I know, I know. But we’re out of frozen mice for you guys. I know how you like to hunt, but I also love spoiling you. Plus summer’s over and soon you won’t be able to anymore. Too cold. Let me do this for once, ok? For god’s snakes, your venom has made my life possible. It’s the least I can do,” I started. After a stern look from the Boomslang, I continued. “And, I’m out of food for myself. I just want to pick up some dinners to cook on the stove.”

The snake sighed, but it sounded more like a hiss of defeat. “Fine. Be safe, Sammy. You know how much we care about you,” the snake seemed to mutter. I smiled and hugged him gently(well as much as one could hug a snake, that is).

“I promise you I will,” I replied. I stood up and yawned, making my way to my bed. Copper came in some time later. I gave a wave of hello, but was much too tired to strike up a conversation. Before drifting off to sleep, I glanced over to both the snakes staring at me with clear concern.

“For god’s snakes, I’ll be fine!” I chuckled. Copper and Boomey just slithered to me and coil-cuddled as I fell to sleep. I’ll admit, I did sense some hidden danger. Acknowledging it would bring fear, and as soon as I radiated fear, Boomey and Copper would put me on curfew. Yeah, snakes could sense strong emotions.

Yes, yes I know that sounds ridiculous. Snakes making the rules? They were the ones who led me to the hunters, actually. They sensed something about me that I still could not figure out for myself. They also taught me how to survive like a snake, and they pretty much took me in as their own. Yes, I was older than Boomey, but he was wiser somehow. So while I could leave at any time, I really couldn’t. They were my family, and consequently, the leaders of the household.

Some people didn’t believe snakes cared. I, on the contrary, thought that sometimes they cared too much. Be safe, blah blah. There were leeches to kill, goddammit.

With that thought in mind, I ignored the growing uncertainty and began to drift off to sleep. None of us heard the door creak as it opened. None of us sensed the vibration of the footsteps–he was treading too softly. None of us knew he stared for a while, red eyes gleaming, until suddenly he left, after whispering, “So…this is his target, hmm.”…nope. None of us knew what exactly I’d gotten myself into by ‘killing’ the vampire that night.

But…we were all about to find out.

***

I awoke with a yawn, glancing about to find my friends missing. Meh…probably out hunting. I stretched and sat up, leaping from my bed and quickly getting dressed. With a glance out my window, I determined that it was sunset. In other words, a perfect time to go shopping! I entered my tiny living room and stopped. Both Boomey and Copper looked up at me, eyes more concerned than ever.

“…What?” I asked, confused. What could I have possibly done while I was sleeping? For god’s snakes, the glares they were giving me made me feel like some mass murderer(erm…well that term is relative, heh).

“We don’t want you hunting tonight. Shopping is fine, but hunting is certainly not. It is too dangerous,” I heard the Copper’s feminine voice say in my mind. I proceeded to frown. What was she, my mom? Well, she was more of one to me than my biological mother, which was sorta sad.

“But it’s my job to make sure others don’t end up like me!” I hissed angrily. The snakes warily shook their heads; there was no changing their minds. “Fine,” I grumbled. “But I will go out tomorrow. Got that?”

The snakes paused and gave a solemn nod. “That’s fine. But not tonight. I sense…something…unknown,” Copper whispered into my mind. Boomey gave a silent nod of agreement.

“I’ll hurry up then,” I muttered. Without another word, I angrily grabbed my stuff and hurried out of the door. No use letting them worry even though they had virtually grounded me. Grounded by snakes…hah. It was almost funny how that had happened, but I was used to it.

Bolting through the forest, I jumped from shadow to shadow until I reached the outskirts of town. I just needed groceries, that was all. Anxiously waiting at the bus stop, I entered and paid my fee. All was well until he sat next to me.

He looked to be around my age and was wearing a fancy black suit paired with a red undershirt. His hands had white gloves, and his dark shaggy hair fell over his fathomless green eyes. He had a tophat that tilted slightly over his face, adding a shadowy effect. At first, I paid no attention. But then he turned to me and said, “Hello there. You must be new here! Haven’t seen you around much.” His voice was like silk. It reminded me of Boomey’s calm, calculating hiss.

I blinked and gave a slight nod. “I don’t get out much…” was all I said.

The guy cleared his throat. “Well. Want me to show you around, then?” he asked smoothly. His voice was familiar, but it was unlikely I’d met him anytime recently. I stuck to myself mostly, and anyone besides the snakes I struck up conversation with normally ended up dead. No, not humans silly! Vampires loved to small talk, and sometimes I played along until I got bored.

This man was most certainly not a vampire, anyway. Natural born vampires, which were alive and a biological species just like humans, had pointed ears and jagged fangs lining their mouths. Their eyes were a blood red, and they had claws instead of nails. Even humans turned into vampires (yes, natural-born vampires could turn others into their species, but it was a concept I didn’t really understand quite well) had the jagged fangs and claws, missing only the pointed ears. None of those qualities displayed on the man before me, so hell knew who he actually was and why I recognized his voice. Probably in passing.

Instinctively, I shook my head to his question. “Nah, that’s fine. I’m just picking up groceries for my parents,” I replied, shifting in my seat.

The guy blinked, as if surprised. “What a coincidence. I’m heading that way as well,” he chuckled.

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