Birth of the Undead – Being Undead 10
Written by kshoo :: [Sunday, 20 March 2022 01:23] Last updated by :: [Sunday, 20 March 2022 09:15]
BEING UNDEAD - Chapter 10 – The day after in Adelaide
<The next day, Adelaide>
“And here I was thinking to myself how should I wake you up. Looks like food does have an effect on you.” Luke remarked cheekily as he watched Kara cleaning up everything that was laid on her plate. “Hey, superheroines should also be able to enjoy food whenever and wherever they maybe, no?” Ravenous, Kara merely looked up and grinned contently as she chewed and swallowed another piece of that wonderful pork chop, before going back to attacking the rest of her food.
It wasn’t only Luke Livingston who had conked out mere moments after his body touched the bed. His houseguest who had proven every bit as super as her moniker had also quickly drifted off into deep sleep the moment her own head hit her pillows on the spare bed in the basement.
This time her sleep was thoroughly refreshing and uneventful, as if the previous evening’s exertions were just what her body needed to wear itself out so that she can get a restful night. When she stirred, it was due to her sensitive nose having picked up the wonderful smell of meat cooking that wafted through the door cracks. Still with tousled hair, she tossed on another one of Luke’s oversized T shirts and the ubiquitous pants before coming out into the main hallway. The lack of rays shining directly into the room through the windows indicated that it is already around noon time.
She smiled as she heard the sizzling sound from the kitchen, her x-ray vision immediately active as she saw her host frying some bacon, and as she took in the wonderful smell it took her a few moments later until Kara realised she was literally floating a few inches off the floor. She walked over to the counter just in time to hear timer chime, and Luke went over to the over to extract out the grilled pork chops.
Laying them onto the two dishes, he remarked happily “Well look what the cat dragged in. I thought heroes and heroines are always immaculately dressed everytime?”
Kara merely plonked herself down at the seat at the counter, just in time for her stomach to start growling. Luke laughed as Kara merely replied “Hey, I just work up anyway. And whose great idea was it to send all of us out last night to catch a bad vampire?”
“Well, luckily you were there to save the day. Or night. Or whatever. You definitely saved me that’s for sure.” Luke remarked as he laid out the meat on the plates. Putting the vegetables and corn, and lunch is served. “So is this how you thank your hero then? By cooking them a wonderful meal?” Luke grinned on that cheeky question. “That, and given that I don’t even charge you for room and board makes me the perfect host, no?”
Truth be told, Kara had silently flown behind Luke the moment he left for the university yesterday evening. With her superhearing and incredible vision she had no problems whatsoever in pinpointing and hearing everything that was conversed at the chapel, as well as the happening at the lab.
But Luke doesn’t need to know that.
That Luke actually thought about asking her to come to the university as backup was just unnecessary, she was already at the scene anyway observing the entire situation unfold from her position high up in the evening sky. Hence when she got Luke’s text together with Ash’ photo, she could already start looking around with her powerful baby blues for his lab assistant at the Hall.
As she followed Mike and Ash, Kara realised that Luke and his party would be delayed. Playing on a hunch, she supersped towards Luke’s workshop lab, and coincidentally, found that she could fit into Grace’s clothes given they are about the same height. A quick change into a blouse and skirt, Kara then waited in the next room in preparation for Mike and Ash’s arrival, aiming to stall for time.
She almost pulled it off too, but Mike’s familiarity with the entire building meant that he saw through her ploy partially, though before he had really found out about everything Luke, Rita and Grace had all turned up. While it was a tad uncomfortable and a slight blow to her ego to be tossed to one side in that manner, though she had to act convincingly enough. The ensuing commotion also meant that she was able to superspeed away with no one the wiser, waiting for the right moment.
And then they came, running right smack into her as Mike tried to use Luke as a hostage while trying to get away. Kara was WAY faster and her body much more durable than the vampire’s, only feeling a gentle bounce away on her front body the moment Mike and Luke tried to go through her.
“To be frank, I was worried that you will get hurt, since, you know, I’m basically invulnerable. And Mike’s much more durable than a normal Terran man now.” Kara said while attacking the bacon. “I’m just glad you are ok.”
“Yeah. No worries about that, so I admit my forehead is still sore though. Probably another day should do the trick.” Luke grimaced slightly as he ran his left hand on his forehead’s lump.
“Oh, and before I forgot, Larissa came by just now. She came to check on me and find out how I am holding up, after yesterday’s adventure. She also told me that since it’s an unofficial group, I can decline to join herself, Merrin and the rest if I choose to.”
“So what did you say to her?”
“Well… I haven’t really decided yet. All three of them – Mike, Grace and Anita are my students, and being in the group could give me a bit of leverage to try and help them out. Not sure what I could do, but being inside definitely is better. Then again, after yesterday…” he touched he forehead again. “ In any case, there’s no rush for a decision.”
“My advise? Don’t get involved in that. Never know what you’re going to turn up, professor.” Kara remarked, eyeing Luke who just shrugged.
His phone started to vibrate, and Luke reached over the other side of the counter to get it. “Huh.” Kara looked up again. “Rita just sent me a text. Didn’t even know she had my number.”
“Oooohhh… looking for some action tonight with the vampire vixen tonight?” Despite her comments, Kara felt a sense of … rising heat within herself? Is she feeling a little jealous?
Luke put it down and looked at Kara. “Action, yes. Me? No. She’s looking for you, actually.” Kara’s eyes widen at that remark. “Are you up for a date with a vampire vixen at half-past four, Supergirl?”
Kara landed gently on the rooftop of the twenty-floor office tower at the corner of Trent and Purslow at exactly 430pm, looking around trying to spot Rita Campbell. Dressed this time in a full costume set of blue top and red skirt, she opted for the more modern version of <S> insignia. Not that Kara had any other choices though – this is the remaining closest version to her own usual getup; all the other similar costumes are either torn, or are now in dire need of a wash. After going through Laney’s treasure trove of costumes like she did tissue paper, it was obvious she owes Luke. Big time.
“Right on the dot. And some say superheroes tend to be tardy. Guess it doesn’t apply to you.” Supergirl turned around to see the petite red-head standing up from her seat in the shade around the side ledge. Kara was slightly amazed at how could the woman actually appear from the corner without her own superhearing picking it up.
“Rita Campbell?” The woman nodded. “I got your message. Is there anything that I can help you with?”
“Actually, it’s more like if there’s anything that I can help you with, Supergirl.” Dressed in a loose purple blouse and skin-tight jeans, Rita looked every bit as casual as the next patron who was just in town picking up a cup of flat white at her favourite barista, unlike yesterday where she seemed to be dressed to kill. Coming closer to stand in front of Kara, Rita cocked her head to the side “I brought some things which I thought might be of use for you. Some are from me, others from friends.”
With that, she swung the small sling bag that she brought along over her head and opened it in front of Kara. The Girl of Steel gasped when she saw the contents. They were blood. Bags and bags of blood. Human blood, of different types, the writings on the front of the bags legible even without her supervision.
The moment she laid eyes on the blood, she suddenly felt an unconscious yearning for it. The desire was akin to a person who saw an oasis for the first time in weeks after wandering in the desert. She wanted to have a taste of the liquid. Badly.
It was all she could do to control of her own desire and bring her focus back to Rita.
“Wh… what is the meaning of this? Why are you carrying this around?”
Rita gazed steadily at Kara while replying “I thought I sensed something different about you yesterday when I first saw you down there at the lab. The moment Mike collapsed after you have shaken him, when I came round to help? I saw the glow in your eyes and what's in your mouth. That was when I was sure.” Kara gasped again, and Rita saw a sense of… nervousness?”
“As I said, I’m here to help. I’m a vampire too. Normally it takes one to know one, only creatures like us would know.” Leaning against the ledge, Rita continued “If I were to venture a guess, I would say that you haven’t fed for some time, at least a week. Am I right?” Kara just continue to look at the petite red-head, slightly dumbfounded how the woman would know so much.
“There are certain signs to look for. Even though being a vampire means we are more durable… though not AS indestructible nor invulnerable as you are… but nonetheless we are quite sturdy and can heal, and we can go without our normal liquid diet for a prelonged period of time. Water is required still and get us through partially, but eventually we do need to consume blood for our body and senses to regenerate and replenish ourselves, enabling us to function at peak condition. If we are denied it long enough, it could go two ways – our body will start to slow down, our healing becomes weak, yada yada yada. You know how the story goes. So.” Rita reached into the bag again and took out a pouch to offer it to Kara again “Consider this as my personal thank you for all the help yesterday.”
When Rita saw Kara still standing there, looking at her uncertainly with arms over her chest, the vampire just went ahead and digged up one pouch, slashed the top open with her fingernails and started sipping in front of the Girl of Steel. Rita heard the slight ‘gulp’ from the young woman as Kara’s azure blue eyes opened wide at the red-head’s actions. She almost laughed.
So powerful and indestructible, yet still so innocent. At least in the ways of a creature.
Not that Rita blames her though. Too much misinformation and disinformation through all the novels on print and the Internet. Not helped by the fact that all of them are trying to stay low-key.
Rita then turned around and skipped onto the top of the ledge, drawing a sharp intake of breath from Supergirl, before sitting down with her legs dangling over the edge. At this angle, her place offered a less impeded view of the setting sun towards the horizon. As she continued draining the pouch of its contents, she waited patiently for the familiar rustle behind her back, and then moments later felt her guest taking a seat to her right along the ledge. She could hear a contented moan as the Maid of Might took the first large sips from the pouch, before she went back to drinking the rest of the content.
After finishing a bag each, they each held their empty pouches and sat in silence, watching the orange rays shining across the city as the darkness approaches.
“Is it that obvious?” Rita glanced at Kara. “That I need blood?”
“Not really. As I said, it takes one to know one. When I saw you in person, I had an inate sense, a feeling that you are different from all other people. I suspect that was also why Mike attacked you down there in the basement, because he regarded you as a real foe, at least someone who might be just like him, rather than another tasty morsel that can become his next meal.” Kara winced at that thought. Seemingly reading the young woman’s mind, Rita continued “Oh, I’m just teasing. We don’t go around regarding each and every walking person as our next meal. That’s why many of us rely on this” she held up that empty bloodbag “as a viable alternative, or trusted donors, to get us through. Even if we drink, we drink enough to sustain, not to take a life. In fact, for many of our unwitting partners, it is also quite a buzz of an experience. Or so I’m told.”
Another pause, before Kara ventured. “Why are you telling me all this? I mean, we’ve not formally introduced ourselves even. ”
Laughing at that, Rita extended her right hand, and Kara shook it. “Rita Campbell. Vampire un-extraordinaire. And” holding up her hand before the blonde replied “I’ll just call you Supergirl, is that alright?” Kara nodded.
“I have met a few superheroes and superheroines throughout my lifetime, and given that we vampires tend to live very long, we find out too many things and keep too many secrets. I have had enough with just those that relate to creatures, so I hope you understand that I am also opting out of knowing any of your personal ones. Hopefully that is fine with you?” Kara nodded again. With how conversation is going, she is starting to like this straight-talking redhead.
“Welcome to Adelaide, Supergirl. While we love tourists here Down Under, you are a little far from the usual places which you are spotted.”
“Just visiting. I thought it would be nice to see someplace else. Earth is after all a large planet.” Rita noted the slight pause before the reply, but nodded politely. “Given that I’ve been away for some time, it might be time for me to return soon.”
Another pause. “How?” Rita glanced at Kara. “How what?”
“How are you able to walk in the sunlight? I thought that vampires couldn’t stand the sun?”
Rita paused. “I am not sure about the answer to that question, though I personally have not encounter any issues in doing so since the day I was turned. However, I am aware that this might not be the case for those who are made more recently. Some say it’s because of the waning of the vampires’ own abilities to turn new beings after many centuries, others say it is could be down to evolution of human kind genetics, whereas others ventured that it could be down to changes in environment and pollution. Who knows? Maybe it could all be down to the will of God. If you believe in those. So… I don’t know.”
“How did you learn to control these urges? How do I know if I am about to lose it?”
Rita pondered the question for a while. “Normally for any newly turned vampire, there would be another who is around to… help… with the transition. Usually that would be their maker.” She noticed another wince by the blonde, and again Rita let her curiousity slide. “So the senior vampire will be around to teach and guide the newly made vampire on how to hunt, to feed, and to manage these urges. Some adapt to it readily enough, others take longer. It really depends on each individual actually. For me, I should be able to go longer without needing to feed for a maybe a fortnight, but it would be cutting things close.”
“But how long though? Can one actually last for days? Or maybe even weeks? I still want to enjoy the wonderful food that is available, though I don’t think I could eat as much anymore.” Kara sounded crestfallen, for she so loved food. The fact that she can pile on and consume so much without gaining much weight was icing on the cake, and the envy of many peers.
“Normally though…” the red-head looked skywards pondering before turning back to Kara “… well, just like how ordinary beings eat and drink at regular intervals? We still need to do the same. Just that our diet becomes more liquid driven, rather than solid food, so it does make sense that your . Not sure if you are going through the same given that you are Kryptonian after all.”
Kara frowned at that comment, but when she recalled how the other orphans and the orphanage’s house mother kept complaining about her eating habits, supposedly finishing enough in one meal that is fit for an entire football team. Maybe it is not such a bad change on that particular point.
“Oh, and it doesn’t have to be human blood, by the way.” Kara’s ears perked up at that comment, her interest increased. “We can go with animal blood too. Cattle, deer, elk and the like. There are many who consume a balance of both, since as hunters we might not always be able to choose.” Judging from Kara’s sudden change in facial expression, Rita thought she hit the nail on its head. “I have to warn you though. Hunting animals is hard work even with enhanced abilities, even more than the normal humans out there. So consider yourself warned.”
Kara smiled at Rita’s comment, before turning back to look at the bag behind them. Seemingly lost in thought, Rita remarked “Don’t worry about those. I am part of the Congregation, and we always have a good supply for these to tide us over.”
“Yes… I mean, I see… but you also mentioned… donors…” Rita smirked at that non-question. “Larissa, Father Merrin and even George DeMatteo donates their blood regularly to keep the backup pool well-stocked, for emergencies. After all, it might sometimes be tricky for us creatures to stumble through the door of the A&E and seek medical attention right? But normally each of us would have our usual hunting areas for some fun, and then a snack on a regular basis.”
Kara looked confused. “I don’t get it. You just said that…” Rita cut her off. “It’s like different kinds of food. If we go for these blood bags, they are still good, but it’s like fast food, you know? The fresher the better.” A lightbulb went off in Kara’s mind again on that.
Pondering that comment, Kara remarked “So basically if Mike had actually worked with Anita and Grace, and tried to manage his own desires, he wouldn’t have to do the things that he did. Right?” Rita shrugged. “Perhaps. That’s where the individuality comes into play. I suspect that he took things a little too far. Feeding takes a bit of practice, some readily adapts to it while others will take time. From the looks of it, I think Mike rather enjoys partaking the blood AND the life. That’s why when I saw the pictures, I concurred with the group that he must be found and stopped immediately.”
Silence for a moment, and then Rita saw wetness forming on Kara’s left eye. Reaching out and patting the Girl of Steel on her shoulder, she remarked “Hey hey. What you did there yesterday? That meant that you have what it takes to control yourself. You were amazingly focused yesterday. Enough to intimidate and convey your intentions, still holding onto yourself but at the same time prepared to pounce immediately should it need be. Maybe it’s a Girl-Power thing.” That brought a small laugh from the female alien, who wiped away the small streak down her cheek.
“The interesting thing though, is that you seemed to have done a psychic attack on Mike. How did you do it?”
“Did I? I didn’t even realise it. It was that he was really getting on my nerves as he was just not listening to us, and I got frustrated that I just wanted him to stop all that nonsence…” then realisation hit her.
“Uh huh. That’s not what us ‘normal’ vampires can do. That trick would be more of a witch’s ability.”
“But I’m not a witch. So how did I do it?” Rita shrugged again. “The world is a big place, and even though I’ve lived for quite some time there are still things that I don’t understand about everything that happens around me. And I don’t even mean the latest science and technology. Maybe it’s a mutation that came through your own alien blood? Or something else, I don’t know. What I can tell you though is that in North America and Europe there are a few creatures who are also studying our own genetics to try and figure out what causes us to be, well, us. Perhaps they could also be a source of reference for you, should you be heading that way.”
As the sunlight gave out for the day so too do many of the lightings around the city came on. Looking out towards the city, it looked as if the entire place is like a fairyland with all the illuminations, some blinking while others static, seemingly chasing away the chill of night.
“Oh, before I forget.” Rita stood up and jumped back onto the rooftop. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out another small pouch and handed it to Kara.”“This is something that I was asked to pass to you. A gift for you and you alone.”
A quick peek with her microscopic vision on the seal confirmed Rita’s comment, though she purposedly held back on using her x-ray vision to take a peek inside. “From whom?”
“From an esteemed member of the Congregation, who got it from another esteemed member of the Congregation.”
“You keep on mentioning that word. What is this Congregation that you keep talking about?"
Rita sighed. “Well, to put the long story short, it functions like a board of directors, comprising of three representatives from each parties. Three parties in total, making it nine members. Vampires are one. Witches are another. Daemons are the third. Centuries ago, all three parties become too involved in humans’ own politics and their own style of insanity as each struggled to influence humans to each’s benefit. That creatures are intermixing and coupling is also attracting lots of undue attention. And so… a few big boys and girls decided to come together to become the ultimate parents to all of us creatures, like it or not as long as our roots are traceable. For vampires at least, they ARE traceable.
“That’s so… so…”
“Dictatorial? Conservative? Archaic? Old-fashioned? Tell me about it. Let’s just say that when it all started they might have meant well, but things change with times. Maybe that’s why quite a few are trying to do something different.”
“Wait. So if what you’re saying is that all vampires are part of their control, does that mean that I… ?”
“Now THAT is an interesting question. It would depend on your maker however. Again” Rita smirked as Kara’s mouth opened “Not my right to pry. I would however venture that given your amazing abilities and your extremely visible profile“ gesturing to Kara’s costume from top to bottom “you would have a choice in that matter. Simply because, as you might have guessed, the Congregation is not known outside of the small circle because it is purposedly done that way. You are such a high-profile person, not to mention a superheroine, that staying low-key would be extremely difficult. And we do value our privacy.”
"Ok. But I don't know anyone who happens to belong to that organisation. Other than you, and we just met ten minutes ago.” Rita just laughed. "I did mention that this came via the witches right? Trust me, even I am baffled sometimes with regards to the things that they do or the stuff they know about. Let's just assume for now that your reputation precedes you, and that it's a little symbol of trust."
Taking hold of the bag, Rita zipped it up and handed the entire contents over to Kara. This time, the Kryptonian just took it, and was about to slung it over her shoulder when Rita stopped her.
“Hang on.” Kara looked at her in puzzlement.
“I noticed that you’re going a little modern today with your top. Let me try something.” Rita searched within her jeans pockets before coming up with some velcro and some thread and needle. Then, she asked Kara to remove Laney’s cape, and then got to work on the edges, sewing on some velcro on the cloth before putting them back on Kara. Instead of tucking the cape into her top, the velcro allowed the cape to fasten over the front of her top and drape across both her shoulders. As she got Kara to model the new look, Rita took out her phone and turned on a mirror camera mode, allowing the Kryptonian to have better look at it.
“I love it! It looks even better than the original setup!”
“I’m glad you like it. Part of my habit actually. Maybe if you want some new fashion ideas, you can always look me up again. I’m on Instagram and Facebook. Satisfaction guaranteed, and am always looking to expand my clientele.” Rita grinned.
As they prepared to part ways, Kara turned back and looked at Rita.
“For not asking.”
Rita merely smiled, though this time it was slightly sad. “We all have our secrets Supergirl, and I have lived long enough to leave certain things as they are, until it is meant to be unturned. Also, I rather have you on our side. Consider making friends with some of the other creatures too. Networking helps.”
Though like an elder, Rita tend to drone on. “Given that you are young, do remember one thing. Experience had taught me that you should be very selective on who you trust no matter how well you think you know that person. Once given, you cannot take it back; and when it breaks, it will be extremely difficult to mend. People say that time heals everything, but I can assure you as one who has lived long enough, I do not always agree with that comment.”
Rita was pleasantly surprised when the blonde came over and hugged her. With Rita declining the offer to be brought anywhere fast and safe Supergirl style, with a gentle kick upwards from the ground, the Last Daughter of Krypton flew off into the night sky.
“How did it go?” Luke asked as Kara came down from the shower upstairs. She saw that there are two chilled cans of beer laid down on the coffee table in the living room, both unopened as yet.
“Pretty interesting. We didn’t go after each other’s throats, if that’s what you’re thinking.” It was only after she sat down opposite her host that she realised how her comment was really bad taste. “More like trying to figure things out together? She spoke more than me, definitely. I was more confused than anything else.” Kara then took up the two unopened can of beers and blew a sheen of icebreath to chill it further before opening hers to take a swag at it while tossing the over to Luke.
Luke stared amazed at the newly chilled beer. Opening it up and taking a sip, he remarked “Well, at least she warmed up to you faster than I did.”
“Well, maybe she too needs a little bit of time to warm-up.” Kara smiled. “It’s really quite surprising really. I never expected for her to want to talk to me and tell me so much, given that we have only just met.” Luke’s eyes raised in a way which conveyed his disbeliving her comment. “Which reminds me, did you receive any news about Grace and Anita?”
“Well, Grace agreed to Father Merrin’s arrangement, which meant that she will work with Rita to get herself into better control before returning to university. Given that Anita has taken her out a few times for feeding with no new bodycounts, I assume that it would just be an extention of her initial training and that she would be back in time when the new semester starts. Not something I can do about, but I think all of us will have to start getting used to. So I guess I will definitely continue to be their professor for the forseeable future, and helping to keep an eye out on things.”
Leaning back against the back of the sofa, Kara looked at Luke with a slight raise of her eyebrow. “And here i thought you might need more time to process everything that has happened for the past 48 hours, but here you are, the way you’re talking about it seems to indicate that you have readily accepted everything.”
That brought a laugh out of Luke. “Give me a little credit, Kara. I have a girl sitting in front me who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and lift said building with just one hand. So it isn’t THAT much of a leap to accept that there are other beings out there.” Fingers pointing to his forehead, he remarked “Scientist, remember?”
Kara smirked at that comment. “Point. Truth be told, I am still trying to wrap my head around this, about the Congregation that operates in parallel to everything. Are you taking up any of the responsibilities? Or have they assigned you anything?”
Luke ruffled his hair nonchalantly. “Not really. Given that I am still new to everything, Father Merrin suggest that I tag along with him, or Larissa first. Not that there’s anything formal to all this. Given that I am just another regular human being, it’s more of helping and supporting people through tough times. They thought that because I have gone through a tough phase personally with Laney’s death and have pulled through, that it might make me much more better at counseling and consoling.”
“What about Mike then?”
“Supposedly the vampires will ‘take care of it’. From the way she looked at me, I think it’s not far-fetched that they will, you know…” he then did a beheading gesture, drawing an invisible line across his neck. A gruesome, but not far-fetched idea if the desire to stay out of the spotlight is of utmost importance.
Still. “So. No discussion nor arguments. Just some guys sitting in a room somewhere to conduct court and decide a person on whether he or she will die?” Kara’s mind is churning, for she can still recall her own feeding frenzy when she turned not that long ago came to mind. But somehow, she was spared. Why?
“At least not in this court. Again, I’m just sharing this third-hand, so I can’t be sure I’ve heard everything right. Seems like a normal practice for them. But there are still the victims that need to be accounted for. Even if they want to bury the issue, someone has to be responsible?”
Silence ensued, as another thought came into Kara’s mind. There no mention about the bodies around the university where she fed. So… no bodies, no evidence, no way to trace back to her? Why?
“Will you still be staying here long Kara?” That brought her back to the present.
“I think I’ve kept away long enough. Not that I don’t miss being on vacation, but I need some clothes that fit me properly” gesturing to the oversized t and the cargo pants that seemed to be her regular fashion here. “Besides, I can’t keep on tearing Laney’s costumes.”
“Well, since they fit you, why don't you can keep it?” Kara’s eyes widened at that offer.
“Luke, Wow… I mean, I couldn’t possibly… I mean…” Luke smiled at the girl’s stutter. Despite having the strength to move mountains, the way Kara acted sometimes is just damn cute.
“Keep it. I know it’s nothing like what you’re used to wearing, but at least I know that it would really make Laney happy, even if it’s just knowing that you’re having it as a keepsake.”
Kara kept silent for a while before looking at her host. “Let’s do this then, Luke. I will pick just one or two items this first time around, and then whenever I come for a visit, I will swap it for another set. That way I will be sure to come back to see you, Anita and Grace regularly. Deal?”
Luke just grinned at that comment. “Making future plans already Ms Kara Zor El? People might think that we are having a long-distance relationship.” He laughed loudly as he saw the Girl of Steel blush. ‘Not bad, Livingston, not bad!’
Then, the professor moved over to sit next to Kara. Reaching to the side, he brought up a small first aid kit and placed it on the coffee table, before turning around and held both of her hands. Looking directly into the confused eyes of the Maid of Might, he said “Kara, I know what you are. So I’d like to be your donor.”
Her confusion gave way to realisation, Kara quickly withdrew her hands when she heard those words coming out from Luke’s mouth. Credit to herself, she still managed to pull herself together despite the shock, resisting the initial temptation to quickly get out from the room and fly away from the house.
“Wh… No! Luke, I already have what I need from Rita. It’s enough. You don’t have to do this.”
Luke was unperturbed by the Girl of Steel’s antics though. It looked like he had given it a lot of thought, and he persisted.
“Well I don’t have to do it, but I want to. I don’t know whether you remember or not, but when I first met you, I can already see you’re different from the rest of the peopl. Your gorgeous blue eyes, the long wavy blonde hair. Then you told me that you are different. Some difference! After these few days though, after spending time with you, I realised something about you. Beneath it all, beneath, you know, all the superheroing, you’re just another person. Being a refugee from a long-dead planet is already bad enough, and what with your vampirism? I think you can do with more friends for a change.”
Taking hold of her hands, he continued “After the time with Larissa and Merrin, I realised not that long ago that you might have been denying yourself your natural needs. Merrin had shared with me before how vampires need to feed regularly, hence the network and support system. I suspect that you have denied yourself for sometime, and given that I’m your host, so…” Luke rolled up his left sleeve to expose his arm. “Please, Kara. Allow me to be your donor.”
Kara stared dumbfounded at Luke. A rolling turmoil of emotions running through herself as she struggle to figure out what to do in this predicament. For the past months or so, she had enjoyed her role helping out the world with her wonderful abilities under the yellow sun, and she had vowed, like her cousin, to help and guide the world that offered a home in any way that she can. Feeding on its inhabitants certainly wasn’t part of the plan of any deal. Nor taking lives.
“Luke… I’ve never done this before. What if I can’t control myself? What if…”
“Never know until you’ve tried right? I assume that’s what you told yourself the first time you attempted to fly? Don’t worry. I trust you.”
Looking at the sincere expression her host is given her, Kara finally gave in to her bodily needs, taking hold of his left arm and placed her mouth over the exposed flesh. It is almost instinctive now, feeling the familiar extension of her incisors as her mouth felt the flow of blood underneat the skin, she closed her eyes and bit down, tasting and swallowing the resultant blood that came through. Kara blinked away tears even as she started drinking the life-giving liquid as if she has been doing this all her life, even though this is the very first time she has ever done this to another human being.
Luke had felt an initial sharp pain as he felt his arm being punctured on two specific points, but very soon the feeling gave way to a gentle numbing sensation, as he observed Kara drinking from him steadily. He sighed, and almost laughed when Kara looked up frantically, then visibly relaxed when she saw him smile back at her.
Even so, it was quite obvious Kara is still on the bottom of the learning curve, for it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes when she stopped. As she lifted her mouth from the wound, she still held her arms tightly to limit the bloodflow while he reached over and opened the flap of the kit. Working together they bandaged the small wounds, though Luke had noticed that the points made by the incisions have already started healing.
“What, no disinfection first?” which brought a nervous laugh from both of them. “Hey, it’s my first time doing this too. Don’t complain.”
With that both of them just sat next to each other, Kara laying on Luke’s shoulder as they just spaced out. Content to just let time past as they snuggled slightly, more as firm friends now then ever before.
<The next morning>
Kara touched down on a side alleyway after leaving the house at touch of dawn, on the pretext of going for an early morning patrol. After the revelation of yesterday, she had only made one pass around town before she decided. Having realised the gravity of things happening with her, and until she gets a grip of herself by understanding thoroughly about everything regarding her new self, it would be close to impossible for her to adjust.
Leaning against the side wall, with so few people in the streets at this early hour she didn’t even bother to finish putting on her civvies when she made the call from the Luke’s spare phone.
“Hi. It’s me. I think I’m ready to come home.”
An audible sigh. Clearly Kal is happy to hear her say that. “That’s great! When will you be arriving?”
Kara thought for a while.”Maybe in a week’s time? At least let me see some other parts of the world first before coming back. I..Something happened to me…” Yeah. A week. That would give her some time to think about how to even start that conversation. Something like “Look Kal, my diet has changed somewhat, you know. I need to drink blood now… ”
“Something happened… are you alright? Do you need help?”
“No no. Everything is ok. Just that I need to tell you something, prefer to do this face-to-face, you know.” Still feeling a bit conscious,
A pause. “Alright. Swing by the apartment when you’re back? If you prefer, we can all go and visit Ma for her wonderful roast and amazing pie. Or, way up north?”
“Thanks for the offer. I think … maybe the city first, See you soon.”
Clark Kent placed the phone on his counter. At least one thing seems to be going in the right direction. He has his reservations, and he knows how sometimes Kara tends to be much more headstrong, but it seems like at least she’s reaching out to him to figure some things out.
If she’s looking for support, whether as Clark Kent or Kal-El, he is definitely intent to be there for her in any way possible.
Then he took off his glasses and then slowly removed his outer clothes to reveal his own set of red and blues. Just as he had folded them and placed them on the sofa, he heard the tinkling sound of keys, and moments later in step Lois through their front door.
“Hey Smallville. Going out so soon? I thought we were planning to have dinner.”
“I’ve actually prepped the steak, but I just got a call from Gotham. Batman wants to have a private chat with me.” The way Bruce talked through the phone, it sounded urgent and insistent, hence Clark agreed to meet him at the Gotham PD rooftop.
“Hmm… no rest for the weary? And I though things are more quiet these days.” Lois came to give her husband a hug and a kiss on the mouth. “Well, don’t be too late, or I WILL start without you.”
“Hey, I’m Superman remember? Just pop it into the oven and set the timer; I’ll be back before you know it.” With that he opened the patio doors, and supersped out and upwards into the night sky, flying towards his rendezvous with the Dark Knight.
<NEXGen Pharmaceutical lab, somewhere in the US>
It was getting late when his mobile phone rang. The man in the labcoat was suddenly awake. Reed-thin tall, with salt-and-pepper coloured hair and moustache, the head of the research for FicoLabs had been working on the latest official pharmaceutical drug project. But when he saw the number on his mobile phone, he became more excited, for it meant news back from his other, unofficial project on behalf.
“I see. How many survived the entire test?”
“Interesting. Those that made it, you said that a few are stable, with no abnormality?”
“Ah I see. Well, any news is still good news. I know, I know, you’ve gone through hell to get this back to me. I will see to it you get your fair share. Give me 24 hours before you check your bank account.”
Hanging up the phone, the figure thought for a moment before texting a few lines to a private number, followed by an email to an address ending with “Cadmus.org”. He waited patiently for five minutes until the familiar tones chimed, and he smiled when he saw the responses.
In Adelaide, Ash tossed his phone to the side, and climbed out of bed. Somehow, the policemen had let him go after grilling him for hours on end about what happened.
Not that he was of much help. His own involvement was mainly restricted to being manhandled and being tossed around by a vampire. A vampire that he might have a hand in making, but not that anyone would be able to find out. He had long tossed those syringes away into one of the many large dumpsters in the city, and any of the remaining packaging materials had been burnt.
An interesting and profitable side project for him, though now that he thought about it, potentially hazardous. At least he survived the initial onslaught. Maybe later with the necessary money, Ashley Vale could then leave the university and try out some other things in life. Try a startup, travel the world.
He was just halfway brushing his teeth when he heard the knock. Curious, he quickly gargled and grabbed a face towel to clean-up as as her approached the door. Opening it, he was surprised to se the petite redhead from yesterday standing outside his door, holding a fruit basket.
“Uhh…hi? You’re….Rita right? It’s still kind early though. Anything up?”
Despite her smiling at him, he felt an involuntary shudder when Rita opened her mouth.
“Hello Ash. I’ve brought you a little care package. Given that it’s early, would you like to have breakfast with me?”
“Uh. No thanks. I still have to go back to the lab. Since it’s partially trashed, that means I have to face the music with the management, plus tons of cleaning to go…”
Rita merely stepped forward slowly and Ash started retreating backwards as he spoke. He could see her distrusting look as her eyes locked onto his. A very dangerous look. Despite him towering over her 5”5 frame, it felt as if he was the one being stared down in this scenario, and rapidly being cornered in his own room.
Her eyes flashed red as she continued. “Oh I insist. You see, curious things about beings like me. We have enhanced senses and the lot, including sight, smell and hearing. So imagine to my surprise when I overheard your conversation just now while waiting just outside your door. Not many people around in the hallway nor in the rooms at this time of the hour, see.” Blood drained out from Ash’ face as he realized his unfortunate predicament.
“So, what I want to know now, Mr Ashley Sutton. What type of test were you conducting on Grace Duncan and Mike Kim? I suggest you come clean quickly, because I am oh so hungry for something fresh today…” she revealed her fangs at that final thought, as Ash collapsed on his bed with a whimper.