It began in blood and carried on much the same. Since the night I was cursed, I had felt the all too familiar pulsing coursing through my sinuses, forcing my mouth to salivate and my teeth to sharpen, my eyes to focus, my nostrils to flare. We’d been made for one reason and one reason only: to kill. Bullets still penetrated us, knives still cut us, our bones still broke. But we healed at a speed that belied belief, spat the bullets out from between our teeth as our bodies did the unnatural and soldiered on.
At the start, we were used against enemies of the state. You know, terrorists, serial killers and their lark. As time went on and our creators got bored, they began to send us against lesser targets, political rivals or old grudges. JFK? Yeah that was us. We had to use more conventional means for that one, his throat ripped out and being drained of his blood wouldn’t exactly be ideal for a figure like that.
Eventually, the typical storyline bullshit happened, and one of us got bored. They went rogue and began to turn on our employers. She didn’t last long, most of us were loyal and put her down. Stake through the heart apparently doesn’t work, so the legends are wrong. Seems fire does, though. She died screaming as the rest of us watch impassively, we’d all killed enough to have hearts of stone. But, she’d set plans in motion that none of us could have anticipated. Those plans didn’t come in to motion for years, but in 2001, the bloomed spectacularly.
I’m guessing you’ve all heard about the World Trade Centre? The Twin Towers? Yeah, thought so. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack to shock the world, it was a calculated mission to wipe out our organisation. It WORKED.
I’d like to say I felt some kind of grief at losing my creators, but truth be told I only felt the snapping of invisible bonds that had held me down. I was free! Of course, not only I survived. We all met as the world mourned the attack, made our oaths of secrecy and then left, alone. We never really were friends, just acquaintances. Colleagues. But we all knew what it was like to lose control, to kill to sate the savage hunger that wracked our bones constantly; to do that as we pleased would only enlighten the world that monsters walked amongst them. Some moved to more volatile countries, where fighting was constant and their shenanigans would go unnoticed. Others, more populated ones. More people, more food, more chance of hiding from authorities.
Me, I travelled for a while until I settled for good old New York. Basically a round circle for me, but I saw the other states first so I can at least say I tried.
So life moved on. I didn’t need to work, the organisation had given us our own bank accounts. To say I was wealthy would be an understatement; I was filthy rich. But I’d never enjoyed extravagance, so I bought a nice little apartment in one of the seedier areas of Manhattan. Top floor of course. Doesn’t take much for me to leap off a roof, or leap on to one. Nobody could know when I came and went. Discreet, just how I’ve always liked it. The fact a blood bank was literally around the corner didn’t go amiss, either. It soon became apparent, however, that bags of blood every now and then wasn’t going to cut it. Twice, I nearly lost control.
The first time was walking past a construction site, two casualties. It seemed they’d fell off a badly erected scaffolding, but I didn’t get caught up in the details. All I saw was the blood pooling on the floor. Beautiful, singing, delicious nectar. Sharpened teeth, narrowed eyes, tensing muscles. It took everything I had then to not expose what I am, still to this day I don’t know I did it, but I got out of there. It took a blood orgy in my apartment to get over that one, consisting of more than half of my carefully accrued stock of bags and a food coma for two days. But, I did it.
The second was when I realised my way out, even if I was too late this time. It started with a scream, cut short with an explosion of breath and a gurgle. My eyes snapped open, food coma instantly forgotten. I’d not had this much blood in me since the early years, when they let us loose amongst the Confederates. My entire body was tingling, my senses heightened to an extent that I’d forgotten was real. Dust motes in the air danced in front of my eyes, they fled as I bolted upright as the forbidden smell reached my superhuman nose. The gurgling faded, getting quieter and quieter as the unfortunate human died, but the clear resonating sound of wetness rang through my eardrums as what could only be described as a knife exiting flesh. What came next I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. Bunching my leg muscles I twisted and leapt to the side, spinning like a corkscrew to make my body the perfect shape to power through my closed window, raining glass on to the alleyway below that shattered the serene night in to pieces. The assailant looked up in horror, arms raised in a futile attempt to shield himself from the deadly shards. But it wasn’t the shards he should have been shielding himself from, it was the fifteen stone born and bred killer above those shards, teeth bared and arms outstretched, his hunger overpowering at the fresh stench. My teeth. My hunger.
The rest was a blur. A few crunching bones, an attempt at a shriek of terror that was choked off by his carotid artery being severed and it’s juices gorged on. I’d forgotten how good it felt to have fresh blood dripping off my chin, it’s warmth giving me life as it leaked life out of it’s former owner. As I dropped him to the ground, now a dead husk, reality flooded back in with sickening crash. I started to hyperventilate, darting eyes checking every window to ensure nobody had seen my lapse in control. No lights flicked on, no curtains twitched. The rattling breath of the drained murderers victim almost made me jump out of my skin; instead I span around ready for the typical squealing that accompanied my kills in the past. A sigh of relief escaped my stained lips as I realised it’s source, followed by a twinge of guilt that I hadn’t given the stabbed man a thought, then an even bigger twinge of guilt at the sense of satisfaction that the man had died.
“One less pair of eyes that know me,” was my only thought at that point. Then my mind went in to overdrive. I’d paid for my apartment in cash, so my current alias was safe; nobody in the building knew me, except by sight. Another regret, that really was an excellent apartment. But the kill was too close, the window broken outwards would instantly lead the cops to my door, as would a burnt out body in a dumpster. One last shower to wash the blood off was all I permitted myself, then I took my precious blood bags and left that life behind. The life of anonymity didn’t suit me anyway, it was time for something more.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the Batman franchise? Or Spiderman? Any of those worked. In my head, I became some sort of superhero. It started small at first, to brush up on my skills. In the past, I’d only been involved in full blown massacres, no subtlety needed. Get dropped in to a known terrorist village, eat the bad guys, job done. But now, I had to make sure I looked like the good guy, a role I hadn’t played much in my extra long life. Dressing up in a Batman suit seemed too cheesy though, so I opted out of that one. My signature move became shoving their attackers face towards them, rasping in a horrible voice to remember that face, whilst hiding my own behind a balaclava. That way when they saw the attacker on the news, found dead, they’d know it was me. We can’t all be heroes after all, but a heroic villain would do. I never did the deed in front of the victims, instead telling them to flee before sating my appetite. I wanted to save their lives, not give them nightmares.
When I’d gotten fully in to the swing of things, I started to enjoy myself. Seeing ‘The Masked Vigilante strikes again’ started to resonate within me, bringing up a proud feeling at my work. They interviewed the victims each time, and each time they spoke with a mixture of fear and gratitude. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be terrified if the man who saved their lives then moved on to slaughter their assailant?
It was the ones who killed for no other reason than hate, that I enjoyed the most though. Racists murdering, whichever way the racial hate went. The ones who beat the homosexuals, or trans people. As if being different to their views warranted death. Oh I really enjoyed those. Especially when I enlightened them that all humans bleed the same blood, all humans are the same. None are special. They didn’t like that, spat all sorts of insults at me for that comment. Until I ripped out their throats of course, and showed them the truth of it.
Not that I myself have anything against any human, you are all food to me. But I do have a sense of right and wrong, now that nobody is giving orders above me. The only problem is, I have only one punishment for any infraction, which is to give me lunch. Some good deeds, I do without any recognition. See a man following a woman as she walks home? Watch him. See the man make a move as she fumbles for her keys? Eat him. She doesn’t even know she’s been saved, which suits me fine sometimes. Women go through enough shit from arsehole males without being terrified over something they didn’t know was coming. C’mon lads, be better.
It wasn’t long before I was first priority on the cops list. They didn’t care that I was cleaning up their city, they just saw the body count rising. They knew I was doing good, but it was their job I suppose. How they thought they’d catch me was anyone’s guess. I’m the world’s apex predator. Faster, stronger, smarter than all of you. With great power comes great responsibility. Wasn’t that off Spiderman? Meh, I just wanna eat and figured I might as well be the good guy for once.
Soon, women felt safer walking home at night. People stopped carrying weapons, since there was nothing to defend against. Gangs stopped fighting openly, terrified that they’d be next. I’d have to find a new city soon, I’ve clearly been doing my job too well. But I’m still prowling the rooftops, hunting my prey whilst you go about your normal lives all fine and dandy.
Rest easy, little humans. For now.