Charlotte: Blood Rite

Part One

Forgotten Hollow, as its name suggests, is a hamlet. A quiet place off the beaten track surrounded by dark, foreboding trees. Five homes surrounded an empty park, once a vibrant place; filled with children. Caleb could recall playing there with his sister Lilith. Their laughter echoed in his mind, a life long forgotten when Vlad came to rip the sun from their world.

The mansion, a blackened building from years of neglect, became home to Vlad Strauss. He was a tall, slender, and pale man. Lilith became fascinated with him, and into his blood-driven world, they and this place fell. Lilith left some years ago, no longer able to stand the sight of the master, his heartless perspective. Caleb wanted to remember if the sun shone bright, or it seemed that way in his memories. The hamlet remained dull. When summer came, there was a thick air, as though looking at the world through a dusty lens or at a faded photograph.

Caleb

Vlad suspected Caleb was drawing attention to the protected space they resided in. Humans were rare in these parts. The odd hiker stumbled through lost. They either disappeared or were sent on their way dazed and confused by their experience. Whatever happened, they never returned.

The encounter with Charlotte and the taste of her blood changed him. Caleb rediscovered his darker tendencies, a desire for human blood. The majority here received plasma donations from the hospital. Alongside the plasma fruit, they lived normal lives. Many had jobs and social evenings without the fear of discovery. These blessed vampires had the power to walk in the sun. It was also a curse, to maintain themselves, they were weak, strength akin to a human. Some evolved to eat food laced with plasma fruit making it easier to blend into human society. His sister was the latter.

Vlad noted Caleb was losing that control. An increased order of plasma for a single vampire was dangerous. He would bring the force of the Spellcasters, a group Vlad despised or worse. Vampires who craved fresh human blood needed incarceration. Forced into slumber, a nailed coffin buried in an unmarked grave for eternity. Vlad cut off his supply, leaving Caleb with plasma fruit, a poor substitute. Human blood made them stronger, enhanced their powers, and satisfied their needs.

Caleb wrestled with stories, buried vampires starved to the point of insanity. A resting place disturbed after centuries decimated a third of sim nation. He salivated at the thought of bodies ripped apart, devoured. The slaughter of humans, fae, wolves and llamas in a bloodthirsty rampage. Vlad was a young man, human when to save his village, the life he knew, he chose to become one to stop them. Other hunters, consumed by the demonic virus became the embodiment of living death. Neither human nor Vampire, stuck in transformation, are referred to as zombies. Their bodies were nailed into the coffins and laid to rest at the side of Vlad’s home. Caleb could hear their screams, it added to his torment and the desperation he was feeling to devour a human.

So why did she have to come?

Charlotte and Caleb

Caleb avoided Patrick’s calls. He stopped looking for Charlotte when the hunt took control. Lilith brought him back to Forgotten Hollow, giving him her supply. She encouraged him to order the plasma packs, on the condition he mixed them with plasma fruit. He had ignored Lilith’s conditions needing the purest form. Caleb waited with desperation, wanting a human to pass through.

It was her; the scent waivered through his nostrils as they flared. The blonde hair, teary eyes and puffy cheeks, her arms pulled tight around her body for warmth. He had never brought her here, but she sat in the park. Her presence taunted him. Charlotte’s blood sent him down this road. The intimacy when his veins filled; went beyond hunger and lust; it was all-consuming. The feeling drove him against the setting sun. The final rays blistered his skin; Caleb felt none of that; his focus was on her.

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