The Half Breed
I sensed them before I heard them. Their presence gave off a glow like a deep pink sunset across my eyes. The flash. Scudders. Too easy. Moving with soft footed motion I wove between the reedy trees. The glow of moonlight guided the way but I could manoeuvre at night without its radiance. The group of Scedrows were four and they sniffed the air like red pointers.
Too easy. Their instinctual nature is hunger and this will always distract them. Blood is what they seek, like the vampire they lust but at a far greater extreme. Vampires will attempt to sooth, then play with their prey, Scudders don’t like games. In the distance I can hear thudded footfall as someone ran towards me from the left. Oh, very clever, they’d learnt to hunt in two packs. Unlike vampires they weren’t as fluid and fast.
I debated. Cut off the runner and try to evade the chase or dispose of these four. I too like to play but I don’t tease the mind I go straight for the heart with my Cinquedea. By the time I get to the third, the last has discovered I’m there and is distracted from the hunt. His sharp thin teeth are exposed with a growl. Red eyes absorb me, his blood lust at its peak. Creased yellow skin is stained with crimson and I curse the night realising they must have already fed. While I dealt with a game playing vamp this crew had already begun. The runner is close now so the Scudder’s craving becomes everything and he turns from me. Too easy. The heavy feet get closer and I realise they are running out of steam, crap! The others will be on their tail and mad with the need for the adrenal filled blood.
When the girl comes into view I step towards her and as she runs past I stick out my arm to bring her down in the kindest way I can. While she gasps for breath I dispose of her pursuers. They really were no fun. The girl, probably not much younger than me, sits up and sends a surprised glare my way. Here we go.
“Why did you hit me?”
“To stop you from running.”
I decided to do something useful while she gabbed on and began to stack the Scudders together before setting them alight. Her face repelled against the flame and she flicked her eyes from me to the burning carcasses and back to me.
“What are those things?”
“You don’t want to know. Are you alright?” She nodded wide eyed. “Need a hand?” I stuck out my hand which she took and stood in stunned silence.
I shrugged. “Nothing doing. Can you find your way out?”
“Are there any more?”
“I know the way. Thank you again.” She offered me a scared smile.
The flash this time was somewhere between green and blue. Hard to tell exactly what but it was something demon and somewhere behind me. If the girl went straight ahead she’d be fine. With relief I watch her walk in the opposite direction to where I sensed the movement.
“That was impressive.” A deep not quite human voice startled me.
I gasped as I realised he’d slipped through and stood several paces away leaning with casual ease against a deciduous tree. Winter frost ensured the forest appeared stark and leafless. The spindly branches hung naked around him. I couldn’t tell exactly what he was because he looked human. A lazy smile touched his lips and I cursed the clouds shadowing the moon.
The waning moonlight revealed pale skin which wasn’t quite right for a vampire. Besides, his aura was also the wrong colour. Vampires flash crimson. His pallor had this luminescence that caught me off guard. Sparkling green eyes took me in while I tried to decipher what he was.
“What do you want?” I asked, buying some time. I needed to know what I was up against first.
“I believe I’ve found it.” His smile curled slowly to reveal a flash of teeth before his pretty angular face became reflective and his eyes did another lap from my shoes to my eyes.
“You don’t know who I am, do you?” He asked.
His smirk flashed again and I saw the spark of colour once more, this time a brighter green. Something to do with fire or orbs for this demon. Probably a Capris. Not the most dangerous of demons but they housed a temper that fires without thought.
“Should I?” Then it hit me. Raziel. A flicker of recognition didn’t get past him.
“I knew you would know of me.”
“The half breed,” I said. A wince tarnished his face. “I repeat. What do you want?”
“I need your help.”
I laughed, the fully belly kind that makes your side hurt.
“I should kill you right now,” I said once I’d contained my amusement.
“You can try.”
The grin appeared again and I waited. My curiosity was piqued now. The misty clouds dissipated across the sky and the bright moon beamed down upon the woods. A breeze lapped at his illuminated bronze hair and I stood transfixed for a moment. His ethereal beauty stunned me which warned of danger. I knew enough about Raziel to know that I couldn’t trust him. I also knew I should kill him but something stopped me. I put it down to my curiosity again.
“Tell me what you want, Raziel. This is my last warning.”
“What’s the rush, Phoenix?”
“Stop wasting my time. I should have killed you already.”
“But you haven’t. Perhaps if I took my demon form you would find the task easier.” He chuckled and his eyes flashed amber, the colour of a Capris eyes. If he took demon form he would be harder to catch and kill. Hard, but not impossible. Adrenalin and the thrill of the kill surged through me as I placed one hand on the scabbard at my back.
“Eyes of violet, hair of black, she makes all demons go skittery skat.” Where did that come from? I hadn’t heard it in years.
“That infantile rhyme. I thought you would be better than that, demon.”
“It suits you though.”
“As it did my mother and hers. We all have the same colouring and markings. Seriously, you really should know better than that.”
“So you do have the mark of an assassin too. I thought it was an urban myth.”
In one swift movement I removed my Cinquedea and went to charge. In a flash he was in front of me and my halt wasn’t abrupt enough to avoid slamming into him. Hands came up to steady me and almost seared my skin. His hard body felt scorcing against mine and I shuddered. He may look human but his Capris blood ran hot in his veins. The hand which held my sword at my side was ready to strike the blow that would end the demon. Yet somehow it felt pinned there and I couldn’t urge my hand to lift.
“You are the exception, you have this blue streak here and it’s real too.” He ran his fingers along my hair and I shook him off. “I know everything there is to know about you.”
“I doubt that.” I wanted to move but the chemistry of his scent and the jade of his eyes glued my feet to the moss covered ground.
“Your nail colour is always midnight blue, like the streak in your hair. You listen to Rage Against the Machine before every hunt and you have a secret passion for jelly beans. In fact you probably have some in your pocket right now.”
His hand moved from my shoulder to pat the side pocket of my black fatigues and was rewarded with the bulge of my secret sweet stash. He’d hit home and I was taken aback for a moment. I didn’t think anyone knew about my 'Rage' pre-ritual.
I managed to sidestep but he was still too quick and shifted to stand too close in front of me again. I gave up. “So what? Not that difficult to uncover. At least I don’t kill my own kind.”
The hand nearest my face flared a teal spark which curled into a small dome the size of a child’s rubber ball. It blazed for a moment before he pulled it in and the air became black around his hand again. He lifted it as though to touch me so I stepped back and turned away. I could never forget who he was.
“Neither do I. I can’t say the same for other Capris. I guess it’s the human in me.”
“You will never be human,” I spat out. My anger blazed and I prepared myself to strike. I’d heard enough.
“Before you kill me I think you should know that Valcor is planning an uprising.”