A Hunt in the Night

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by That Butler, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. The night was oddly calm for so large of a city. Perhaps it had something to do with the bad weather, but there was very little activity out on the streets tonight. Most of the movement that could be seen was from the homeless, trying desperately to keep themselves at least somewhat dry as the rain poured down without mercy. It didn't quite help that the temperature was dropping rapidly. The forecast was for snow by morning. It raised the unsettling question of just how many of those homeless people would freeze to death before the sun rose anew.

    Reza Khan had been wandering the streets earlier that evening, trying to familiarize himself with his new surroundings, but the start of the rain ushered him inside a nightclub. Not that he particularly minded being soaked to the skin, but it was certainly his preference to stay dry. And so he'd ended up sitting at the bar of this particularly strange club, listening to the usual club music and watching people in strange, Goth outfits dancing while a black-light made any white in their attire fluoresce.

    The bartender was starting to get a little annoyed with Reza for not ordering anything, but Reza didn't notice. Perhaps the bartender was also getting a little concerned over Reza's attire and skin tone. It was clear at a glance that Reza wasn't from the United States. He was, in fact, from the Middle East. Iran, to be exact. And he looked it, with his olive skin, dark hair, and brown eyes. He looked young, though. Perhaps just barely old enough to order an alcoholic drink. In point of fact, he'd looked this age for a little over a decade now. He'd been Embraced when he was twenty.

    The most visible part of his attire was a black trench coat, which was kept closed for the time being. Not a strange sight outside, considering the time of year and the weather, but indoors in a warm nightclub? That was a little odd, and it was making some people uncomfortable in conjunction with racial stereotypes. The bouncers had half a mind to kick him out, but they were taking no such action yet. Reza wasn't showing any signs of meaning them harm, after all. He was just watching people dance. And perhaps looking for someone to feed from, if he could manage it.
  2. The sound of raindrops against cold, hard streets seemed unfamiliar, even after a year of living in this place. Reina's grey boots and raincoat made her nearly invisible as she navigated the city's sharp edges. She kept her gaze steady -- straight forward, lest she be forced to look at the shivering homeless men and women who littered her path. On her first trip to the city, the young woman had freely handed out money to those in need. Since then, she had become somewhat hardened. Worrying about paying for one's own meals always trumps compassion. The pale hazel color of Reina's eyes was the only part of herself she recognized anymore.

    Tonight's bad weather was a welcome distraction from an ongoing struggle with identity. It made the girl feel uncharacteristically nostalgic, wishing for the comforting feeling of sitting by a fireplace. She resolved to write a letter to her mother when she returned to her apartment, but something inside her didn't want to go back just yet. Up ahead was a lesser-known club that a friend had once recommended. Reina didn't care to drink, though she had recently become of age. Alcohol was bitter and those who abused it were even more so. Still, the cold night air and her own curiosity urged her to walk inside. Just for a moment, of course.

    Despite the blaring music and unusual company, her manner was composed upon entering. Everything about this place should have made her uncomfortable, but the burst of heat that greeted her at the door felt wonderful against flushed skin. Not wanting to attract attention, the girl took a seat at the far end of the bar, leaning her head back so that the hood of her raincoat slipped off. A mess of dark crimson waves became visible, which she ran her fingers through with a satisfied sigh.

    Before long, the bartender came to take her order. Reina shook her head politely, remaining silent; she worried her voice would betray her. Speaking to strangers made her flustered and prone to saying the wrong things.
  3. Reza took no particular notice of the girl when she came in. His eyes had remained on the dance floor, though as fate would have it, Reina had taken a seat near his own. He saw her out of the corner of his eye, and he gave a glance in her direction. She was definitely here alone, and perhaps she had just come in to get out of the rain like he had. She might make a decent meal tonight. Maybe. He was still on the fence about whether or not he should even feed tonight. He wasn't particularly thirsty, though he didn't know if he'd need some extra energy or not soon. This was not a safe city, after all. Not for him.

    He looked back at the dance floor, his eyes shifting from their natural brown shade to more of a honey-gold. His perception of the room changed with his eyes, each person starting to emit an aura that changed colors based on their emotions. Most were very bright, with colors befitting those who were having a good time. He got the impression that one dancing couple was actually having sex out there, discretely. There were a few auras that caught his attention because of how pale they were, and he paid those persons a little more attention than the others. They didn't seem to have taken note of his presence, and that was certainly for the best. They were vampires like him--well, not exactly like him--and he doubted they'd be too happy having him around. So long as they didn't realize what he was, then he had nothing to worry about. For now.

    His eyes returned to normal, and he went ahead and ordered a drink from the bartender. For Reina. He figured he might as well be sociable while here. He was new to the city, after all, and talking with a local was a smart thing to do.
  4. The room radiated a strange energy, though it was probably just due to everyone's intoxication. Every corner of the club swelled with music and movement, a stark contrast to the open fields and quiet breezes of Reina's childhood. All the commotion was nearly a sensory overload, but somehow she felt invigorated by it. Bold, even. When the bartender returned, she offered him a smile and strained to hear what he was saying. It took a moment to sink in, though his words were clear: someone wanted to buy her a drink. Pupils dilated, her eyes shifted incredulously toward the generous stranger. His appearance was intimidating, especially his long black coat, but he also looked young. For a moment, as she glanced at his face, she considered accepting the beverage he'd offered her. The last thing she wanted was to offend him.

    Reina wasn't a fool, though. She remembered that she was here alone, late at night, without even a comforting bottle of pepper spray. It was important that she retain her sense of awareness and caution. In the spirit of politeness, she moved to sit directly beside Reza. Suddenly her heart was mimicking the upbeat pace of the music, and her throat was dry. It took a moment before she was able to summon a smooth and relaxed voice. "Thank you for offering," she addressed the unfamiliar man, "but I don't drink." After a pause, she added, "I'm Reina," wondering if she should shake his hand or something. No, it would probably be best not to touch him.

    At times like these, Reina never knew what to do with her hands. As a nervous habit, she often found herself rubbing her palms together. Now, she settled for placing her hands in her lap, fingers interlaced. It was an attempt to seem more casual, but the young woman's elegant posture made her stick out like a sore thumb anyway. Subtlety was not her strong point, but so far stubbornness had served her well in life.
  5. Reza didn't seem offended that the drink offer had been turned down. He just smiled at Reina, accepting that she didn't drink. Either that, or she was aware of the fact that she was here alone and therefore should be careful. The city wasn't safe, particularly for a young woman walking home inebriated.

    "Reza," he introduced in return. "Pleasure to meet you." His appearances may have suggested that he wasn't from the United States, but his accent confirmed it. He spoke English perfectly well, though, and the accent wasn't thick. It was just another exotic aspect of his, to go with the visual ones. "If you don't want something with alcohol, could I buy you a soda instead?" The bar obviously had those, though usually they were for mixed drinks. He was sure the bartender would give up a can of soda if that's what Reina wanted.
  6. At first, his voice caught her off guard. It seemed fitting, however, that her conversational partner was just as foreign as the situation. To Reina's relief, the young man wasn't insulted by her claim, and he introduced himself like a gentleman. "Reza," she echoed the name softly, testing its feeling on her lips. His inquiry about a beverage brought her back to reality, where she replied, "I think a soda would be nice." Normally, having someone pay for her would summon an uncomfortable feeling, but tonight was an exception. Despite herself, Reina found the corners of her mouth turning up.

    She held Reza's gaze with curiosity, abruptly feeling a desire to know more about him. Perhaps it was the darkness of his features that lent him a mysterious quality, or perhaps the ease with which he spoke. Either way, she decided to ask what was on the forefront of her mind. "Your accent -- Where is it from?" After she said it, Reina wondered if she'd sounded too forward. Attempting to soften the question, she tagged on an explanation. "I mean, it's interesting." She tipped her head to the side slightly, almost playfully.
  7. Reza did indeed order a soda for Reina, letting her pick the kind of soda. He paid for it, and still didn't order anything for himself. The bartender didn't mind that so much now, though, seeing as Reza had given him some money. He wasn't just taking up the limited bar space, now.

    At the question regarding his accent, Reza chuckled lightly. Reina trying to soften the question was actually a bit endearing, especially since he hadn't minded the question at all. He knew his accent was a little unusual in America, so it wasn't all that surprising for it to go unrecognized.

    "Iran," he answered. "I was born and raised there." He spent most of his time in the Middle East even now, though he was trying to spend more time in other parts of the world now. This was his first time in America, and he had quite a lot of adjusting to do.
  8. The first sip of cola was perfectly sweet and carbonated, but its real appeal was that indescribable, subtle flavor of the aftertaste. Reina closed her eyes in bliss as her tongue identified a hint of vanilla, a trace of lime. The stranger who generously payed for her soda didn't seem to think much of it, but for a young woman who lived alone in a big city, his simple act of kindness meant a lot. Money was tight at the moment - as usual - and any beverage apart from water was a luxury she wouldn't allow herself to indulge in. It was a shame, because Reina loved to bake, but her budget wouldn't allow it.

    When her eyelids lifted, her pupils focused on Reza again. It was surprising how his quiet laugh made him so much more approachable, as if his exterior was melting away a little. The girl's imagination drifted to thoughts of how nice it would be to have a friend here. Someone to drink coffee with on a lazy Sunday, talk with after work, or just sit on a bark bench beside. Trying to survive on her own had made Reina miss out on a lot of social opportunities in the past year. Plus, even as a kid, she was never good at making friends.

    Reina had never met someone from Iran before; her face lit up with interest at his reply. "Wow," she beamed, "You traveled a long way." It was stupid to point out such an obvious fact, but she was too enthralled to notice. Seeing the world was what she longed for more than anything else.

    Suddenly remembering to keep her cool, Reina crossed her legs and tossed her long, scarlet hair over one shoulder. "So, what brings you to America?" she inquired out of genuine curiosity. This time her voice was softer, more controlled, and she was satisfied.
  9. Reza was very careful how he chose to answer that question. His real reason for being here couldn't exactly be said aloud, seeing as it certainly wasn't legal. No, it certainly wouldn't be smart to outright tell anyone--even a cute girl like Reina--that he was in the United States to kill people. Well, not ordinary people. Vampires. Like him. That seemed like the sort of thing that would end a conversation real fast and send him somewhere very unpleasant, so he took the vague route. Outright lying didn't appeal to him. He was an honest person by nature. Not entirely suited to be a vampire at all, in that sense.

    "Looking for work," he said. "My family moved here, as well. We probably won't be in the city for too long before moving on to the next, though. Crazy wanderlust. I've been to many countries." Even before he became a vampire, he'd done a lot of traveling. He didn't really see much of a reason to talk about it anymore, but he'd been a champion fencer. He'd even had a shot at qualifying for the Olympics, but that fell through. Because he became a vampire, in fact.
  10. Reina listened attentively to her new acquaintance, who explained that he'd made the trip to America for the same reason she moved to a big city -- in search of employment. With his apparent confidence and class, she imagined that he would have found an good job here. According to Reza, though, he wasn't going to stay for long. She frowned only slightly, not wanting to make her disappointment evident.

    Aside from minor sadness caused by losing a potential friend, she felt a pang of jealousy. How many nights had a younger Reina lay awake in bed, staring at the stars through her window and wishing for a chance to explore the world? How many afternoons had she spent pouring over the local library's limited selection of books on foreign countries? Now, the 21-year-old wasn't restrained by her guardians, but by her wallet. If she'd been a little less shy and cautious, she might've become a hitch hiker by now.

    Leaning a little closer toward Reza, she remarked, "You must have some pretty interesting stories to tell." A nervous expression took over Reina's face for a moment, when she added, "If you have time, or... if you want to, you know... I would like to hear some."
  11. Reza took note of how Reina was leaning closer to him, showing quite a bit of interest. He wasn't the kind of person to take advantage, but he was seeing the possibility of feeding increasing tonight. It was something he'd have to be very careful about, though. He wouldn't kill her, but he also didn't want her to realize what he was. That made it difficult sometimes to get what his body needed, as one could imagine.

    "I have many stories," he told her. "Some more exciting than others, of course." He wouldn't mind telling her some of them, though he'd have to remove some of the illegal activities from them. They still made for interesting tales, especially considering the exotic locations. Deserts, old cities, ruins... He'd been around.
  12. Reina smiled at the man's ambiguous response, eager to hear more. From their conversation thus far, she could already tell he was worldly and interesting. Very different from the other city-dwellers she had met since moving; It was hard to connect with anyone while living such a busy life. Maybe because she was craving some meaningful interaction, or maybe because Reza's personality was refreshing, she wanted to keep talking to him. If only it weren't so loud in the club, the girl mused to herself. Momentarily, she wished to be alone with her conversational partner. Still, he was a stranger and a male -- it was a bad idea. Probably.

    The club lights illuminated Reina's face, which wore the smooth expression of someone who had experienced peace and content. In contrast, her eyes were those of a restless spirit, giving her an intensity that didn't quite match the rest of her appearance. Taking another careful sip of her drink (wanting to enjoy it as much as possible), her ardent eyes found Reza's. "Well, where was your favorite place to visit?"

    Before his answer, she was already guessing in her mind. Maybe he had stories of elegant France, or beautiful Rome! Maybe he'd slept under the stars, breathing the spiced air of India -- or maybe he'd watched cherry blossoms in Japanese springtime. The suspense was killing her!
  13. Reza had to think about that one. Though he'd always be fond of the sights in Iran, one place did come to mind as being a clear favorite. And it wasn't in his home country. It wasn't too far away from there, though.

    "Egypt," he replied with certainty. "The pyramids and ruins are beautiful. There is so much history there." He'd been in Egypt for less-fun reasons than seeing the sights, though. There was a particular group of vampires that hailed from Egypt, and Reza had been tracking one of their number down for stirring up trouble through local human terrorist cells. That vampire had had to go, and Reza had been the one chosen to take the snake down.