Red Viper: Chapter 4

The next night, I awoke with a sigh. I really wanted to see that guy, Goliath, again. He seemed so much like me, yet so different as well.  Luckily it was a hunt night for the snakes. Boomey and Copper left together after warning me to stay home. The consequences would be huge, they said. Did I really care? Nope!

I took a deep breath and entered the forest. The air was cold and crisp against my skin as I wandered along, careful to listen for any sounds of slithering. If I was caught now, I’d be shut in my room for weeks. Arriving at the park, I took a seat at the bench and waited. It seemed like a few minutes had passed when I heard the crunch of a leaf behind me.

I’d been about to turn when two hands came from behind and blocked my eyes. I tensed like a snake ready to attack, preparing to rip away and face my enemy. A voice stopped me. “Guess who?” came a smooth male voice, one belonging to none other than Goliath. I held in a hiss as I gritted my teeth.

“Don’t surprise me like that. I’m sorta quick to attack,” I gasped. Truthfully, one more second and he’d be poisoned by my nails. I heard a laugh and all of a sudden the guy was sitting next to me, staring down with laughter in his eyes. Today he wore a black T-shirt with a fancy, warm looking overcoat and a chain necklace, with black jeans and combat boots. Hmm…he looked familiar. Not because I’d seen him last night, but I knew I’d seen him before somewhere. His eyes put me off, though, because I’d never seen that venom green on anyone but myself.

“Good morning, erm, I mean evening, dear. Sorry, I take night classes so sunset begins my typical day,” he said smoothly. I shrugged and gave a smile. Couldn’t be any worse than ‘homeschool’ I supposed.

“Ah same here. I usually work at night. More shadows to hide in,” I replied. Goliath smiled back, silent for a moment. His eyes seemed surprised.

“Your teeth…are they…?” he asked. I was confused for a second before a realization dawned on me. Crap. I usually hid my teeth while I talked, but this time I hadn’t been paying attention. So many slip-ups lately, perhaps I needed a break!

“Yeah, uh, the dentist made them like that so I can eat more easily. I need more meat in my diet due to a condition,” I lied. In reality, I did eat a lot of meat, but my teeth weren’t sharp because of that.

Goliath stared for a moment, curiosity clear on his face. “Interesting. I’ve never heard of such a procedure. Well. We can walk around the park if you want,” he offered. Goliath stood and offered his hand, flashing another smile. I obliged, giving a nod and accepting the gesture.

We walked for a while, talking while it got colder and colder. I began to shiver, which gained the notice of my new friend. He took off his jacket and offered it to me. “Here you go. Wouldn’t want you catching a cold,” he muttered. I stared for a moment, confused.

“Wait, won’t you be cold?” I asked. Obviously, I wasn’t used to interacting with guys. Goliath just laughed and helped me get it on. It was cozy, and I daresay I appreciated it. 

I’d love to say all was well, and that we had a wonderful night. And sure, we did, up to a point in which a woman’s laugh sounded out behind me and caused me to freeze. Goliath heard it too and whirled, only to be thrown into a tree before he could react. Vampires using their powers in public?! They were supposed to remain hidden. What was going on? This one probably was trying to end the both of us.

I stared at a woman with long white hair and red eyes. She was smirking, showing off jagged fangs, and I could tell by her pointed ears that she was a natural vampire. Her stare lingered at my neck. Unfortunately, I recognized her as a royal vampire from a nearby kingdom. “Princess Anivia. Fancy seeing you here…” I growled. Figures I would be caught unprepared.

The vampiress let out a loud hiss. “My father’s assassins haven’t vanquished you yet, Viper….you killed all but one,” she chuckled. 

First of all, how did she know I was the Viper? I never showed my face to anyone at all during my hunts, like I always emphasize. Second of all, why were royals sending assassins to me, and who was the survivor? Was my past catching up finally?

I suddenly remembered Goliath, and turned to look only to see that he was gone. Well, maybe he ran for it out of fear. I hoped so, since I honestly didn’t want him to get hurt. It would be rather inconvenient if he went for help, though. The police were not that understanding, they didn’t know, like much of the rest of the world, that vampires existed. They’d also take one look at me and haul me into custody due to my odd nails and sharp teeth for being crazy

I wasted no time to strike. Leaping forward, my claws sliced into Princess Anivia’s arm. The vampiress was too fast; she dodged at the last second and darted behind me. I whirled, only to be slammed down by her shove. It wasn’t over yet. I went limp to form the assumption that I was hurt or in shock. Playing dead or feigning a wound was a nice tactic that usually worked. I was right about this time, too; the vampire princess bought it, and she lunged down toward me right as I decided to slice upwards with my nails. I felt them go through soft flesh. Oh, that would be a very painful wound.

She screamed and held her bleeding eyes, staggering back. “How’s your brother?” I taunted, wanting to make her angry. It worked, but I didn’t expect one thing. The princess drew a knife and pounced on me, sinking it into my shoulder.

I cried out and grabbed the handle to pull it gently from my flesh, but I took too much time. Lady Anivia, despite getting weaker, had me pinned down with my arms behind held by hers. “He’s not doing so well in Hell, thanks to you,” she hissed smoothly. Her blood dripped into my face, much to my disgust. Even a blind vampire could be a deadly one. “But now of course I can avenge him, slave.”

The vampiress lunged down and sank her fangs into my neck. The painful poison didn’t affect me, but the jagged fangs did. The vampire’s bite from a couple nights ago didn’t hurt so much since it was a very fast strike. A prolonged vampire bite, however, was horrible for me. My mouth was open in a silent scream as she slowly began draining me. I heard a chuckle, though just barely.

“Y’know, it’s not nice to randomly attack one’s new friend, princess,” came a male’s smooth voice. Was that…Goliath? I gasped as the princess tensed. Suddenly, she pulled away and her expression became horrified. Her hand flew toward her chest, I saw it wrap around what appeared to be a silver stake. I was too weak to even stand, but I rolled away from the dying vampiress. She had taken a lot of blood in a very short period of time. Damn, these royals really wanted to see me dead.

Goliath bent over me, gently checking my pulse. With my eyes narrowed weakly, I probably didn’t look like much of a threat. I gave a warning hiss and raised my arm. “Stay back,” I muttered, not trusting him. Something was…off.

The guy stared down at me, amused. “Well, love… Frankly, I’m the only one you really can’t kill,” he responded. With that he brushed away some cover from his arm to reveal five long gashes. Then, he lifted his head to show me his neck. He had a huge bite and the symbol of a striking viper. Shit, that was my symbol.

I stared, horrified, as Goliath’s eyes slowly shifted to red. His ears changed into being pointed and elongated. As the illusion continued to fade, I noticed all of his teeth sharpen to points, with the canines of his upper and lower jaw displaying the longest fangs. 

Blood loss made me dizzy, but I could still think and talk. “How…is…that…possible?” I gasped. The vampire gave a soft smile. Ah great, I was in for it now.

“As it turns out, you’re not the only one who is immune to venom. Very few of us are. You happened to stumble upon someone who can’t be killed by your methods, hunter,” he murmured. He bent down and took me into his arms, never taking his gaze from my eyes. I cringed and tensed, knowing I was in huge trouble.

“Why not kill me when I tried to kill you?” I asked in a small voice. Goliath’s eyes sparked in thought.

“I…don’t know, really. Your blood drew me to you. You see, I can sense unique blood from a mile away. Very few can, but since I have some myself, it was easy to find you. I didn’t kill you because you’re like me in a sense, dear,” he responded. There was something in his voice that told me this explanation wasn’t the entire gist of it.

I hissed at him, my eyes lighting up in fury. “I’ll never be like a leech like you!” I spat. Goliath looked hurt, but his gaze never thinned.

“Maybe not. But, Sam, there’s something about me that you don’t know. I’m like you in that I’m a hunter myself. Not of vampires, but of vampire hunters. Anyone who kills the truly innocent deserves to die,” he hissed.

I blinked, thinking for a moment. “So you’re saying I kill the innocent every time I hunt?” I asked in bewilderment.

Goliath shook his head, frowning. “As a matter of fact, no. You target the true parasites of the streets that grab innocent humans off the road. You’re an independent hunter, but most aren’t. Most will kill any vampire on sight, including children,” he replied.

I tensed, just wanting to get away from him. “So you’ve been hunting me? Otherwise, how would you know this?” I asked in disbelief.  Now that, in my opinion, was creepy. Sure, I killed street urchins, but I’d never before tracked a particular vampire down to kill. 

A vampire actually hunting specified targets, though, was probably a lot more specialized and dangerous. Especially a royal vampire. I didn’t underestimate their power, no, I just never thought I would be a target. Hopefully I wasn’t in the arms of one right now.

Goliath shook his head, focused. “Not at all. I wanted to find out more about you, Sam,” he responded with a smile. “You’re so alone, like I am. I originally thought all vampire hunters were savages, until I met you. You kill with venom rather than stakes. Most importantly, you target the truly bad rather than the innocent. I saw you spare that child, love.”

Oh wow; he’d even been watching me a few months ago? I remembered that I’d been on a hunt, and had found a child with a literal bag of blood sitting in an alleyway. She had no home, and obviously was a vampire. 

I had approached and debated whether or not to kill her… but really, the decision was easy. I merely told her that a safe-haven house for children like her was a couple of blocks down. Yes, I knew the location of a vampire orphanage, though I’d never gone there. I grew big-girl pants and took her there, too. The people there accepted the child and thanked me, but I didn’t stick around long enough to learn more.

And yes, vampires could have children. Like I said before, born vampires were a natural species just like humans or shapeshifters. They were also apex predators with a diet specialized specifically for human blood. Most myths coined them as undead, but nothing was farther from the truth. Plus, since they had no need of any type of food other than blood, the ‘two fangs’ and just that with human teeth was a myth likely founded on the fact that their canines were longer than their other sharp teeth. Their dentition was very similar to that of felines. 

“Alright then, so what are you going to do now?” I asked with a sigh. Goliath stared at me for a moment as if debating the next thing he was going to say.

“I was thinking we could work together,” he replied simply.

PROCEED TO CHAPTER 5

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