1 Rise

The echo of a drum drifts into her conscience. Low and sultry, the sound lazily swirls through her nerves, sparking her base instincts to life. There is no thought. There is only her body's response to the slow, steady beat.

Small flashes of pain barely register on her chest as her nails grow and sharpen into predatory claws. Her arms slowly unfurl from their resting pose as electricity begins to run through her body. A droplet of blood glimmers on her bottom lip, where her fangs bit into the steel flesh.

The sound grows louder and envelopes her in a warm cocoon of familiarity. Her mind flashes to life with visions of pleasure and sweet, sweet pain.

Her eyes open to darkness, and she gently touches her face, trying to connect her mind to her body.

"Is this real?" she thinks to herself, reaching into the darkness in front of her. Her fingers find a smooth, flat surface a few inches in front of them. Suddenly, terrifying images of blank faces, sightless eyes and hooded figures descend on her in the darkness.

"No!" she shouts as violet light begins to glow from her fingertips. She pushes her hands out in front of her to stop the encroaching figures, and is met with a blinding flash of light. Instinctually, she hisses and moves to protect her exposed flesh, but no pain comes.

The drumbeat resonates deeply in her chest now, and she feels a lust bloom deep inside. A smile spreads across her face as she slowly opens her eyes once again. The origin of the sound is straight ahead, but the dazzling display steals her attention the moment her eyes focus. All around her are walls seemingly made of diamonds. Colored light shimmers in the crystal structures and casts aurorae on the frosted floor. She stares, mesmerized at the beauty of this place, while a creeping feeling of unease settles into her chest.

"This is all wrong," she thinks as she turns her body to take in her full surroundings. She is stopped in her tracks by the sight of two humans frozen in fear against a wall. One clutches a silver ankh in both hands in a defensive posture. The other stares wide-eyed in fear. The drumbeat is faster now, erratic. She can feel her instinct kicking in as she laughs viciously.

Without a single thought, she flies through the air and, in one graceful motion, plucks the ankh from the human's hands and plunges it into his chest. She is at once surprised and reassured by the ease in which she accomplishes this task.

The second human screams and runs from the room, his flashlight bobbing an erratic pattern in the darkness that matches the fading pattern of the drumbeat. She looks down at her own chest, and sees the hole above her heart where the silver ankh had once laid its claim.

The first human is too far gone to enjoy his delicious fear, but she can satisfy her lust another time. She leans down to brush her lips against an artery that is barely pulsing.

"Naughty boy," she whispers as her fangs sink into the buttery soft skin below.

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