Karmic Circle                            

  The music faded into a new song as the vampire slipped past the people who remained on the dance floor. Tossing her hair over her shoulder, she headed for a table that afforded a good view of the lounge. Just as she turned to sit, a face out of the crowd caught her attention and forced her legs to a sudden halt. Rage lit her eyes. She was not aware of the growl in her throat as she changed direction, Beast locked onto the face she knew. Alarmed looks flashed unheeded across her mind as a path cleared itself before her ire.

  A surge in the crowd blocked her view, causing the Beast to halt as it sought out the prey. In its moment of confusion her Will snatched gasping control. She stood there trembling while she forced a plan like handcuffs upon the living rage clawing at its cage of flesh. Shifting direction once more, she glided with grace to the ladies' room. She steadied shaking hands by running a comb slowly through her fine blonde hair. Wild green eyes stared back at her from the mirror, the Beast lurking angrily behind them. She closed her eyes on the creature within, plunging them both into soothing darkness until an armor of calm could be forced upon them. When she dared look again, she almost recognized the girl she had been in the face peering back. She wondered if he would. When she stepped back into the lights of the lounge, her step had purpose and she let the Beast focus its senses on him.

  Igniting Presense like a torch, she walked slowly to the bar. The moth would come, she knew, as her mind quested for it. Reaching the bar, she leaned her back on it, eyes ever scanning the room. 'There!' she ground her teeth as he came into view. Willing teeth like daggers back into their secret pockets of hate, she looked at him and smiled. She took in every detail of his face as he walked casually but purposefully toward her. Fifteen years of lines could not hide his face from her, who could never forget it. Only half those years showed on her face in spite of the ages of hate that lurked within. He smiled at her, the grin of a predator unwary of its fate.

  "Hello there, can I get you a drink?" he stepped smoothly beside her.

   Blood clouded her thoughts for a moment. "You certainly can..." she purred. "Scotch, neat...Dalwhinnie," she ordered, turning her body so as to casually brush her thigh against his leg.

  "Whatever the lady wants," he said, sketching a mock bow, as if he were some kind of gentleman.

  She smiled lightly behind poker eyes. 'Oh yes, whatever I want...' She took the drink, when it came, and followed him to his table, noticing with pleasure his fumbling for speech from the mere sight of her. She turned her head to hide a grimace. She could smell his desire, as etched into her mind as his narrow face and light hair. He'd put on weight but was was still smallish. The vision of his body snapping easily in her Cainite hands lifted her to near euphoria.

  "What's your name?" he asked, his eyes feasting upon her body.

  She slammed down her drink instead of answering, to avoid ripping his throat out at the question. He'd asked it before, 15 years ago, after he had finished with her. He'd probably forgotten it before she'd even walked all the way home from where he had let her out of his car.

  "Guess," was her offhand answer.

  He shrugged and sipped his beer. "Maybe you'll tell me later."

  He had an odd sensation of chill as she leveled her eyes at him. "Maybe," she said. 'Definitely!' her mind howled.

  She leaned forward, eyes locking his like a vice. From nowhere her hand was behind his head, pulling him close. Her mouth crushed against his so hard he struggled for freedom. When she released him, her lips were red with his blood.

  He sat back, staring. She could see the pulse racing in his neck. "Damn, woman..." he muttered, a confused look in his eyes. "Why'd you do that?" He lifted his beer to his lips, resting the cold glass against bruised flesh.

  "You looked like you wanted it." She leaned slightly closer. "Didn't you?" She stood, not waiting for an answer. "Come on, why don't we get out of here?"

 Her trim belly was so close to his face, tight jeans and a simple flowered shirt so innocently enticing. He squirmed as his body answered, his own pants suddenly too tight. He rose and followed her silently out into the night.

  She stopped in a moonbeam and sighed. Her long supple stretch reminded him of a cat rising from a long nap. In the lamp of the night, her pale skin and hair gave her a ghostlike quality that rippled the long buried places of his memory.

  " I used to love the night." she said softly. "Now I need it." Her smile was haunting in its sadness. She stood still as a statue waiting for him to step alongside her, then past her. "You got a car?" she asked.

  "Sure, right this way..." he gestured, then led the way to a smallish foreign car. He got in the driver's side then leaned across the front seat to open the other door for her. She wondered that he couldn't feel her wrath as she looked at a moment that still tortured her in nightmares. How could he not realize?

  She slid into the seat, remaining silent as the engine growled to life. She pretended to listen to him chatter while he drove. Familiar streets raised hackles of memory as they flew past. He was heading, she realized, toward the suspension bridge. She smirked at his lack of imagination. His voice interrupted her thoughts.

  "Hey baby, why don't we get started right now?" One hand strayed to his pants while the other remained on the wheel.

 She stared in mute, fascinated horror as he freed himself from his pants while driving. She could feel her grip on the beast slipping. 'Too much...wait, please wait...' The plastic of the door handle snapped in her hands as she fought the tide of hatred and memories.

 "No, I don't think so...we might crash," she rasped, barely recognizing her voice.

 "No we won't. You'll see." His hand reached for her head, starting to push.

 The panic of a teenager took hold, freeing the Beast from her desperate control. Her head jerked back as she choked on a growl. Suddenly the car was turning, throwing her off balance. Glass flew out the window as her hands struggled for purchase with inhuman strength. The scent of blood seeping from her cut hand only thrust the hungry Beast more in control as the car crunched to a halt in the shadow of a tall hedge.

  He turned toward her, excitement warring with disappointment at the shattered window. He reached for her, but she pulled back, forcing her back flat against the car door.

  "Hey, take it easy. I'm sorry," he lied.

  "So you said." She reached out to touch his face, cupping his chin in her hand. His expression showed puzzlement. "Fifteen years ago..." she explained. She was pleased to see his eyes widen. Perhaps he did remember after all. "Remember my name yet?" The voice was no longer hers, but that of the Beast in all its fury.

  "Oh my God..." Tears stained his voice. Her eyes strayed between his legs. He'd gone limp with terror. She grinned, feeding on his fear.

  "That's right. Say my name," she ordered as her hand tightened on his face, squeezing.

  "I don't...I can't remember," he stammered.

  She squeezed harder. "Try."

  He choked as her hand shifted from his chin to his throat. "I can't..." he gagged.

  Never loosening her grip, she smiled, letting him see her extended fangs clearly in the moonlight. "Maybe this will help you remember." She leaned down and clamped her lips around him, holding him in her sharp teeth like a vice. His blood filled her mouth as hatred and horror had choked her in a rush of effluvium all those years earlier.

  He shrieked, then was silent as her hand choked off the sound. His tears fell on the back of her neck as she fed the vengeance that had haunted her through the years. She bit harder hoping he wouldn't pass out from the pain. Releasing him suddenly, she met his eyes once more.

  "What's my name?" she asked again.

  His voice trembled as he mumbled name after name. With every mistake he took another wound. Bite after bite, she took his body as justice for his use of hers. Her name was unusual. It took a long, long time for him to remember that one vulnerable young girl on a dark street one summer long ago. As the last blood trickled through his swollen purple lips, he finally remembered. She smiled a calm peaceful smile as the life faded from his eyes. Justice had finally been served.

 -Sonja Torres 1999

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