A Choice of Devils

Sharon’s note: This story was built around the first line. If the rest of the story sucks, that’s fine, but the first line is solid. 🙂 Warning: Swearing and a not nice protagonist.

“You are going to die here. Whether or not you walk away from that is up to you.” Annabel wiped the blood off her knife in short, angry strokes. She hated this. She hated doing this. She hated herself for doing it, but she didn’t have a choice. Maybe if she kept telling herself that, she’d believe it.

The man known as Drop spat blood on the floor next to where he sat. She had knocked out one of his teeth while interrogating him. “What the hell are you talking about? Dead is dead.”

Anna put down her tools and really looked at her captive. When she’d snatched him off the street, he’d been dressed nicely, black slacks and a silky red button down shirt that contrasted amazingly against his dark skin. Well, it had. Getting splattered hadn’t improved it, since red didn’t actually hide blood. There were also smudges of grime from the various times she’d thrown him around. Even though it was currently empty, it had been a storage room, and the smell of cooking oil lingered like a ghost. Some must have spilled, because it mixed with the cobwebs and dust to give the floor a light coating of slime.

She walked towards him, the heels of her cowboy boots clicking against the floor. He braced himself and lifted his chin in challenge. “Go ahead. Hit me again, bitch. I’m not telling you anything.”

“I knew that five minutes in, but I had to try.” She leaned down, studying him in the light of the single, bare bulb. “You’re tough, I hit you pretty hard. You’re also brave, and didn’t even flinch when I pulled out the blades. According to your file, you’re also smart.”

“Too bad you’re not.” He surged forward to headbut her, cracking his forehead into her nose. Stunned, he fell back on the floor, eyes unfocused. That had been a good shot. She rubbed a hand across her face. It hadn’t hurt, but it hadn’t been comfortable either. 

Time for a demonstration.

Anna snatched the front of his shirt, balled it in her fist, and lifted him into the air. Drop’s eyes focused and widened. She’s allowed him to see a little of her strength before, but now she hid nothing as she brought him close to her face and bared her fangs at him.

“Fucking cowgirl vampire!” he howled as he kicked at her. She chuckled as she dropped him. 

“Right on the first try.” She backed up a few steps and allowed him to scramble back to the wall. To his credit, he wasn’t just staring at her in terror, but his eyes were flicking around the room, looking for aid or escape. There was none. “Look, Bremen said that I was to kill you whether you give up where Sid is hiding. I have to do it. Bremen made me a vampire, so I don’t have a choice. I also can’t hurt him. What he didn’t tell me was that you had to stay dead. Here’s the deal; I turn you into a vampire, and you kill him for me. You get to live, for a value thereof, and I get my freedom.”

His look turned calculating. Anna’s guess had been right. He was quick. “And how bad does being a vampire suck?”

She considered the question a moment before shrugging and answering honestly. “It has its upsides. Strength, speed, and powers that I’ll teach you. You have to drink blood, but that’s not as hard to come by as you might think. You’ll develop a very bad sun allergy, but as I understand it you work mostly nights anyway.”

“What about you and me?” His eyes bored into her, and it was more uncomfortable than the headbutt. “You’d have the same control over me that Bremen has over you, right? What if you and I get crossways?”

She chuckled humorlessly. “Then you can do what I did, and wait a hundred a fifty years to find a loophole and do exactly what I’m doing now.”

Drop was silent for a full minute while he thought, then nodded. “You got a deal. How do we do this?”

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