This is my first draft of Hunters Chapter One for comparison, and for an example of the extent of changes during the editing process.
This chapter was totally revamped. I started with it in present tense (as opposed to Garrison’s chapters, in past tense) since it was happening right now, while Garrison’s were happening in the past. Also, I have it from Tricia’s point of view, which took away the suspense of what she was and planned, plus made her less sympathetic even though her victims were rapists. You can check out the current version of Chapter One here.
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The eternal hunger is my Curse, and it’s a bitch.
It’s not like I don’t deserve it. My mortal life brought this shitstorm of an existence on me. A mortal life I try to atone for, whatever good that will do. I believe in God – who else could Curse me? – and that He can forgive. But I also believe that omnipotent Fucker hates my immortal guts.
And though I say the Curse caused my current mess, truth is it would have found me regardless.
I feel the pounding beat inside the club. The music is so loud the tempo reverberates through my bones. Each throb reaches inside and caresses my heart. The press of writhing bodies, the scents of alcohol and sweat and sex and passion, feed my desire.
My leather midriff jacket is open. The top underneath is not low cut or flattering, and the miniskirt reaches the top of my knees. But both hug every curve of my body. The outfit was good enough to keep the bouncer’s eyes on my tits rather than my license, with its picture of a 40-year-old blonde with glasses and hair three decades out of style. I used to dress for the club scene, whether I needed to or not. The best I can do with my current wardrobe is forgo a bra and panties.
Humanity swallows me, surging with the rhythm. Lasers etch a carpet of shifting light above us. Colors pulse to the music. I can barely see the stage above the crowd, where the DJ spins in front of a video wall playing hentai clips. I can’t make out the bar at the back wall at all. Shadows obscured by smoke move and watch and lust in the balconies. Silhouettes flow together and break apart in passionate tempo. The candle lights at each table flicker like stars in an artificial night.
I close my eyes and stand still, feeling the body heat of the dancers flowing past. Desire, everywhere desire, need. Theirs are mere whispers next to the screaming inside me. Now that I’m inside, every doubt about coming here explodes. The hunger is too powerful to resist. I have no desire to. My mind goes numb.
I reach out into the human sea, grasp the nearest person by the hair and spin her toward me. She lets out a squeal of surprise, cut off when I grab the back of her head and drag her lips to mine. At first she stiffens, her lips pressed tight. But then they quiver, open, and our tongues dance. She tastes like spearmint, cigarettes, cum. Her embrace is sudden and fierce. The world dims. Her supple body melts into mine, scorches like an inferno. Our hands move over each other, exploring, wanting, her rich and intoxicating scent engulfs me as we devour each other, warm and wet and desperate and fuck I shove her away.
She stares at me, gasping. Her short-bobbled blonde hair curls over one eye, but the other stares, the thin rim of her dilated eyes the color of a winter stream. Her cheeks flush fire.
“The fuck,” a guy next to her says, and wheels her away by the elbow. His haircut is a mirror of hers, but brown with gilded strands like wood grain. His designer shirt looks painted on his sculpted torso. Groomed stubble carves out his jaw, and his straight teeth glow in the black lights. My head barely reaches his chest.
I turn my attention to him. I couldn’t feed from another woman, but her boyfriend was another matter. In the old days I would seduce them both and have my way with them, him as sustenance and her as a playtoy. But I stop myself before I indulge the thought further.
“Thought she was someone else,” I say.
“She’s not. Fuck off.”
His biceps strain as he holds her back from me. Her eye hasn’t left me the whole time.
God damn it. I spin on my heels and bolt through the crowd toward the bar. In a moment I can’t see them anymore. Some level of sanity claws back. Losing control like that would undo all my efforts in an instant. It’s the reason I cut myself off from this scene in the first place. A few more seconds and I would have enthralled that girl whether I wanted to or not. I’m trembling with desire, but I can’t give in. I convinced myself I could slake my hunger without returning to my old ways, ignored the doubts I could control myself. I wouldn’t be able to look at Pastor Tom again if I fucked it all up now.
I slip on to a barstool still warm from its previous occupant. Multicolored slashes of spilled drinks, blurred with smudged fingerprints and discarded napkins, glow in the underlighting. I lean to avoid the wall of mirrors behind the bar without conscious thought. The two bartenders, one of each gender and wearing emo outfits that reveal more than they conceal, are both occupied with other customers. I’m in no hurry. I’ll have a drink before they notice me.
“You look a little young to be in here,” a masculine voice says, so close to my ear I can feel his breath on me. The sound is smooth like chocolate melting on the tongue, as only practice can achieve.
I don’t turn to look, but push my stool along the bar rail to open up space beside me. “That’s a lousy line. Hear it all the time. Makes it even worse. Your next will be about my stunning eyes.”
The man slides in to the space. He is at least six feet tall, and wears a red v-cut sweater over a purple tee. A seashell choker glows around his neck. His deep brown eyes, cradled under dark eyebrows and short cropped hair, take in every inch of me. “It’s no line, sweetie. You’ll have to tell me who did your ID.”
“What do you need with a fake license?”
He grins, dimples kissing the smooth skin of his cheeks, and he leans closer to me. He smells like bottled leather and spice. “I’m only twenty,” he says with mock conspiracy. “You going to turn me in?”
“Hardly. I’m seventeen.”
His eyes go wide, and he starts to laugh. No shock, disgust or horror on his face, even though I can tell he believes my every word. Good.
“Sweetie, no seventeen year old has curves like you,” he says, his stare continuing to drink in my body.
“Whatever you say.” I lean back in my stool to give him a better view. “You going to turn me in?”
“I’m going to buy you a drink.” He tugs the bartender’s sleeve as he passes by. “Lemon drop?”
I purse my lips. I loved the chase, drawing out the pursuit as much as possible, making my prey so overcome by lust that the final payoff was a feast. A brush of my hand against his, a purr, a moan of acceptance as I lean forward to display my neck to him in submission. But this isn’t about the chase anymore.
“Only if the lemon drop is yours,” I say.
He flashes his teeth at me again. “Wanna play with the big boys, huh? Two vodkas. Neat.” I notice his eyes flick across the crowd. He’s not alone. Even better.
He says, “My name’s Derek, by the way.”
“Tricia. Never met a Derek before.”
“I’m one of a kind.” The bartender places the drinks in front of Derek. Derek takes my glass by the rim, palm cupping its mouth, and scoots it in front of me. Smooth.
“Cheers.” Our glasses clink together, and he lifts his drink to his lips.
I throw my head back as if laughing and drain my shot in one swallow. The liquid, hot and biting, slides down my throat, a pleasant warmth descending with it.
He laughs. “You keep drinking like that, you’ll be on the floor.”
“You keep drinking like that, I’ll look for someone else to get me drunk.”
“Not if I can help it, sweetie.” He nods to the bartender and taps in front of him. Moments later another vodka fills the empty space. He passes the glass to me with the same motion as before. The fucker’s doubling down. “Let’s go.”
He slams his vodka, his eyes fixed sidelong on me as he swallows.
“Shit.” I down the drink, letting a little dribble out of the corner of my lips. I remember to cough this time. “God.”
He pats me on my back, and his hand drifts up to massage my neck.
“We’re in the advanced class now. You took those like a pro.”
“I’m not as naïve as you think.”
“Oh, I’m sure. Seventeen year olds don’t sneak into bars alone if they’re naïve.”
“They don’t flirt with twenty year olds if they’re naïve, either.”
“Sure they do. Teens sneaking in to bars like to live dangerously.” He nods with his chin at the wooden cross hanging around my neck, nearly lost in my cleavage. “Or you expect that to be your protection?”
“More than you know.”
He snorts a laugh, and his eyes stay fixed around my cross. “You’re not like any of the teens in bars I’ve met, sweetie.”
I nod my head back at the video wall, showing an anime girl with huge tits fucking a demon with two cocks. “Because most aren’t in bars that show shit like that?”
He turns to the wall and his breath catches.
“You’re too young to watch this stuff.”
“But old enough to be here? This is tame compared to the shit I watch. And you’re tame compared to the guys I normally flirt with.”
I see a flush of excitement on his dimpled cheeks. “We need more drinks,” he says.
“You need another one to catch up with me.” My words tumble together.
“I’ve already had three. You’re the one playing catch-up, Tricia.”
“Mmm? Don’t remember….”
I slip a little from the stool and let him catch me. He hands me another shot and nods to his friend in the crowd. “Tell you what. I’ve got a private room upstairs. How about you finish your drink and we head up? It’ll make conversation easier.”
Another set of hands wraps me from behind, bigger and rougher than Derek’s. I look over my shoulder to see a block-shaped head, shaved bald. A thick brow ridge shelters black darting eyes.
“Easy, babe,” he says. The smell of rum and chicken wings coat his slow words.
“This is Steve,” Derek says. “He’s a friend.”
“You came with a friend.” I swallow the shot and knock the glass over as I put it back on the bar. “Hi, Steve.”
Steve’s granite brow crumbles into a frown. “All three?”
“Fuck. We’ll have to carry her with three.”
“I can walk,” I protest, but both of them take me by the elbows and steer me up the spiral staircase. My feet don’t touch the ground.
Their desire seethes as they carry me, and I struggle to control myself. I have to let them dig as deep as they want. The passion of the crowd flows around me. Hands, not just those of Derek and Steve, brush me secretly and intimately as we move through the crush. In moments a door clicks behind me. The music muffles, the press of dancers disappears, the air cools. The private room.
“Holy shit.” A third voice says, nasally and high pitched.
I loll my head to get a look around the room. Plush red couches line the walls. Darkened one-way windows overlook the dance floor. The anime demon on the video wall has grown dick tentacles. Liquor bottles and electric candles stack the circular glass table in the center. At least one of these kids is loaded.
The one that spoke is short and at least a hundred pounds overweight. His rolex and thick gold chain scream he’s the loaded one, his body screams why he lets his buddies do the work in the club. His pale, moist flesh smells like he bathed in Axe. A fourth guy sits on the couch smoking a cigarette, his shoulder-length black hair parted neatly in the center. He wears a tailored black suit with a red silk shirt.
The sharp-dressed one whistles through a fog of smoke. “Bravo. She’s built like a brick shithouse.”
“This brick shithouse is in high school,” Steve growls.
“Holy shit,” the fat guy says again.
“Didn’t know you had so many friends, Derek,” I mumble. “Sweet digs.”
“And he dosed her three fucking times,” Steve continues.
“She’s going to OD,” Sharp says.
“Then shut up and let’s go.” I feel Derek’s lips on my neck, one hand pulling my head back by the hair, the other cupping my breast. “You taste delicious, sweetie.”
My self-control snaps. Dropping the act, I straighten and collapse into Derek’s arms. “So I get to fuck all of you, or the other three just watch?”
Sounds of soft laughter, buckles and movement fill the room. Derek’s already hard, but his excitement swells even further. I grab the sides of his head and plant my lips on his. My legs wrap tight around him. His hands are already up my skirt.
“You’re not wearing panties,” he moans. His eyes are mindless with lust.
“They get in the way.” I fumble at his pants. “Like your fucking jeans.”
Derek groans. He picks me up and I feel him slip in to me, small and unremarkable.
“Holy shit,” Fatty repeats again, breathless. “She wants it.” His buckle clinks rhythmically, the fuck is jacking off.
“Come on,” I hiss. The hunger is everything. I don’t hear or see the three others in the room. I grind in time with the throbbing music, the flickering lights on the dance floor. I used to savor sex as long as possible, enjoying the deliciousness of every moment, making them wait for days sometimes for release. But him I need now. Derek’s life force pulses inside me, surges, and my hunger swallows it whole. I pull more from him with each thrust. More, more, I want it all, the ravenous desire is all that matters and Derek is bucking and screaming in ecstasy with the most mind-devouring pleasure he will ever know. His orgasm slaps inside me. I devour the explosion of power that travels with it and moan with the pleasure. God, too long, it’s been too long. Derek drops me and falls away.
I collapse onto my back on the table, shivering. Bottles crash out of my way. Derek’s life courses through every inch of me, power I haven’t felt in years, and I want more. I want every last one of these fuckers.
“Shit, I get her next,” Fatty says, and climbs on top of me.
I latch onto him like I did Derek. “You didn’t have to wait.”
“Derek?” Steve says. “Holy shit, look at him.”
Sharp dashes over to his side. “Oh my God. I can’t find a pulse.”
“Holy fuck, look at that bitch.”
Fatty raises his head to stare at me, but he’s too consumed by passion to care that my skin is now obsidian cracked with fire. I can never hold my human glamour after feeding.
Steve shoves Fatty off me and hauls me up by the shoulders. Fatty crashes to the floor with a cry of dismay.
“What the fuck did you do to him?” Steve screams.
I smile and grab his arm with both hands. The crunching and ripping is louder than his scream. His arm explodes in a mass of shattered bone and blood, bent straight toward the floor.
“I ate a rapist.” I grip his neck with my talons. They sink at least an inch into his flesh. Steve gurgles, and I rip his throat free. His blood hisses against my skin.
Fatty gropes at my calf. “God, don’t stop,” he mumbles. Steve’s blood, still spraying from the mess of his neck, splatters across Fatty’s face.
“Get out of the way,” Sharp says, and levels a pistol at me.
His dress pants are around his ankles, his cock still erect and pulsing. I laugh at the sight.
“I will have you all.” I stride toward him.
Sharp’s voice trembles. “Stay away from me.” With monumental effort he steadies the pistol on my chest.
I slide the kukri from the jacket scabbard at the small of my back and lop his hand off.
Sharp screams and collapses into the couch. Blood fountains from the stump of his hand. I leap on top of him.
“Don’t die yet,” I whisper, and slide him inside me. No finesse. I rip his orgasm from him. He explodes in seconds, spurting blood as he thrashes in bliss. He arches his back and goes rigid. His eyes turn white, his cheeks sink, his skin drains of color. I scream with the ecstasy of devouring his soul.
Fatty scrambles over the table, slipping on the blood and alcohol on its slick surface.
“Please,” he begs. His hands stretch out to me, imploring.
I wheel off Sharp and throw Fatty against the window. My right hand wraps around his neck. His cock throbs eager in my left.
I feel his passion, his power, his eager soul. The lasers strobe over the seething dance floor behind him. Lust thunders from the crowd. I tremble as it pulls at me. The power of the two I consumed, the power of the one I’m about to, fills me, and I want more. I want it all. The dancers below are so embroiled by lust I could walk onto the dance floor in my full demonic glory and take every last soul in an orgy of desire.
And I would damn the soul I’m struggling to redeem, if it’s redeemable at all.
“Fuck.” I release Fatty’s cock, but keep him pinned by the neck. “What’s your name?”
His throat bobs under my palm. “Scott.”
“Scott. I’m leaving. When the police come, you say you wanted to drug and rape a girl, you fought over who got her first, and you killed them. Make them believe you. If you do this, I will find you, and you can do whatever you want to me.”
A grin spreads across his face, and he giggles. “I can?”
“Anything you desire, Scott. But only if you do what I ask.”
“I would do anything for you.”
I lean forward and brush my lips against his. “I know.”
He shivers. His cum spurts across my top, and he slumps back against the wall.
I wipe the cum off and flick it in his face before leaving. My glamour is back up. Just another clubber, probably glowing in the black lights with all the body fluids on me. No one seems to notice as I push my way downstairs. The afterglow of feeding lingers, turning down the urges that buffeted me before to a manageable hum. About ten minutes before a waitress goes in and notices the mess. Plenty of time to….
I feel its presence behind me an instant before its sword plummets at my head. I wheel to the side. My kukri is out in the same move. The black sword misses my head by less than an inch and cuts through two guys dancing nearby. Blood sprays over the dancers around them.
The Andrasi demon towers over the crowd. No glamour. Angelic wings fan out behind it. The Cursed’s muscular arms hold a blood-stained sword as tall as me. Its translucent crimson skin glows with the fiery black skeleton underneath. Its eyes blaze emptiness.
“You die, succubus,” it growls, straight into my mind.
“What the fuck….” A girl turns as blood splatters across her face. She stares at the two bodies on the dance floor, shocked in to silence for a handful of seconds. Then she looks up, straight into the eyes of the vengeance demon that cut them down. She screams.
The club goes apeshit.