So to round out everything about The Big Bad anthologies, I thought it would be fun to take a look back…and forward. While this story takes place after A Family Affair, it actually appeared in the first Big Bad anthology. This story follows Rave and Asha as they attempt to get away from Amanda, meet a strange human that’s more than she seems, and try to deal with Rave’s impending unlife crisis. Sound typical for a vampire story? Trust me, it’s not.
There was a certain feeling of accomplishment Rave got every time he watched a victim’s corpse crumple and fold in a trash compactor. The teen perched carefully at the edge of the contraption and watched it go to work while he fished a cigarette out of his pocket. It had been a blessing when the Addington city council had the machines installed at key points throughout the town. Below him, the girl’s arm snapped and twitched with the compressions. Probably should have stuffed her in better, he sighed and ran a gore-drenched hand through blood-slicked hair. Between his tall and lanky build, his long chestnut curls, and his tattoos, he looked like just another disenchanted youth looking for a good time. It was the truth, but he wasn’t after the type of fun the cops approved of.
The girl had been a real beauty. Her camisole top barely held her in, and her shorts left little leg to the imagination. If only she hadn’t layered on the body splash and self-tanner; things like that wrecked a good feed with a foul aftertaste. It’s not like she got shortchanged, the vampire reasoned. He’d picked up the coed in a local diner and mistakenly let her talk him into going to a movie. After two damn hours of that lame-ass excuse for vampire romance, I’m entitled to a little of my own. Not my fault she didn’t think my way was romantic. Rave grinned down to his fangs as he recalled how the glazed look in her eyes turned to all-out terror when their little session up against the back theater wall turned into mealtime for the night crawler. It was a good memory that he’d look back on and smile over for at least a week. He wasn’t particular about his company or his meals, but he got a certain thrill from wrecking a vampire fangirl’s fantasies.
Part of the chick’s scalp jabbed up through the top of the juggernaut, putting a bad taste in Rave’s mouth when he recalled the sticky feel of hairspray against her neck when he’d bled her out through the jugular. Still, her blood was hot, young, and did the job. Rave leaned over lip of the dumpster and admired his handiwork like an artist appraising his own masterpiece. “Not bad for a night’s start.” The damaged body of such a young woman, the shocked surprise that was her final expression—both had been gorgeous and almost as succulent as the hot copper taste that coated his throat. Twenty minutes ago she was a stacked blonde in the prime of her life. She just wanted someone more exciting than her boyfriend, just wanted some validation. And then she met me and all she got was a quick round up against a dirty wall. Now she’s a discarded human fast food wrapper. Her blood’s in my stomach and her spirit’s probably all huffy and feeling betrayed somewhere. It was a heavy thought that came out of nowhere.
“Awesome.” Rave laughed around the cigarette and wiped his hands on his hole-riddled jeans. It’s little moments like this that make the whole undead lifestyle choice worth it. I can lay who I want, eat who I want, and no human can stop me. I don’t have to answer to anyone! The body lowered into the trashy stew in the dumpster, taking the remnants of the girl out of sight. He sighed and stretched, determined to enjoy the last few moments of what had been a good appetizer.
“Are you done yet? I swear, you’re worse than a twelve-year-old boy with a porno,” a quiet voice sniped from the alley’s shadows.
Rave bristled and silently jumped down to the concrete. And it was looking to be such a good night, he thought. “I thought you had plans.”
Asha sidled out from the theater’s back doorway with a put-upon sigh. Although she’d been eighteen when she was turned, she’d always been able to pass as younger. Her wide blue eyes drew attention to the round, innocent-looking face that hid the demon that lurked under her skin. Her long hair was up in a ponytail, but she flicked it in indignation anyway. Blood droplets flung from the dirty blonde mane and spattered across Rave’s nose. “I have to run an errand and I need you to come with me.”
“You’re a big girl. You don’t need a chaperone,” he huffed and blew a thin tendril of smoke up toward the flickering streetlamp that lit the dismal inlet. His jeans and band shirt were drenched with blood. Not only was it hard to move once it started to turn brown and crusty, but he’d be noticed the minute he walked out onto the main drag. Humans never thought about what was under their nose, but walk around covered in blood and suddenly they made it a thing. Luckily, Asha’s cami top and fluttering summer skirt were plastered to her, as well, and it wasn’t from jumping in a pool. “How much did you feed, anyway? You look like you’ve been in a serial killer’s wet T-shirt contest.”
She rolled her eyes and fisted her hands on her hips. “Two, but they were taller than me.” It was easy to believe; everyone was taller than Asha. “And you’re changing the subject. C’mon, bro. I need you to take me shopping.”
Rave groaned and fell against the wall. “It’s nearly midnight. No place is gonna be open.”
“I need a new outfit!” his sister pouted. The tilt of her head and the little bat of her eyes probably worked for most of her victims, but he knew better. If he gave her an inch she’d take everything she could get and then some. He’d suffered at her hands for over sixty years and her tricks hadn’t changed that much.
“You should’ve thought of that before you rolled around in a pile of frat boys!” he shot back.
“Don’t be disgusting. I was hungry; there’s no way they could’ve kept up with anything else,” she snickered and her eyes glittered orange at his reaction. “You play with your food enough. Why is it a problem when I do it?”
“Because you’re my baby sister and I don’t need those gross images tainting my brain,” he growled and busied himself with the task of scraping the drying blood where it had nearly covered the intricate tattoos that ran up both arms. The dark ink was starting to fade, an expensive quirk of being a vampire who’d been turned before tattoos became acceptable. He’d have to get them redone soon.
Asha smirked. “Then take me shopping and I won’t describe what all went on…or mention the slut in the trash compactor.”
Rave sighed and ran a hand through his hair. The metallic smell of lingering gore in his curls didn’t make him feel any better. When she was feeling high and mighty or wanted something, his sister could be a pain in the ass. She wasn’t going to let his habits or her mission go, which meant she wouldn’t let him bust out of there. “You have enough clothes. It’s a pain to move them when we have to skip town.”
He knew he’d hate her reply when her grin nearly blinded him. “A new outfit will fix that problem. I need it for Amanda’s party.”
Rave’s irritation blazed to all-out fury. “No.” His arms folded tight over his chest and he fought the urge to eviscerate her. Fat lot of good that would do; she’d heal overnight, sulk about it for a month, and then try to castrate him in his day sleep. Siblings who could heal catastrophic wounds had no business living together.
Asha raised a delicate eyebrow. “You thought by hiding the invitation I wouldn’t find it?”
Well there goes that hope. “It’s too dangerous.” He’d learned about Amanda’s incoming presence only a few weeks ago, not that there’d been anything he could have done to stop it. Addington only had about seven thousand people at most; a vampire turf war would immediately draw suspicion. Besides, being on the run made it hard to even declare town ownership, even if it was a boring excuse for a town.
“She’s caught up to us, bro. She’s just gonna keep following. She knows we’re here,” Asha insisted.
He turned away and tried to ignore her. “We’ve been running from Amanda since what, the eighties? What’s a few more decades—?”
Before he could blink she had stepped in front of him. Not for the first time he cursed her equal speed and agility. Little sisters were irritating enough, but give them preternatural powers and it was taken to a whole new level. “That’s bull and you know it!” she snapped, expression so intense that her features twisted into her true vampire face. “I’m tired of squatting in warehouses and storage units, Rave. I want to actually have a place. We aren’t getting any younger,” she reminded him. “We may look like teens, but we shouldn’t have to live like them! Besides, Amanda has allies in the large cities. How long do we have before one of her friends stakes us as we’re passing through? We have to deal with this.”
The older vampire rolled his eyes. “Has it occurred to you that she invited us so she could get rid of us?”
Asha’s features slowly faded back to her human form. “You don’t know that.”
“I think I know our sire pretty well.” His throat contracted around the words. There wasn’t a cigarette in the world that could take away the bitter taste of calling Amanda by her title. “If she doesn’t kill us, she’ll try to take us back. And I’m not going back. You’re not going back.” It had been hard enough on him. Amanda’s expectations and jealous tendencies had been ten times worse for Asha.
Amanda had ruled over Asha with an iron fist, making sure the teen girl behaved like the charming lady heiress their sire imagined her to be. It got to the point where neither one of them could function in their roles, so they ran and tried to keep a few towns ahead of their maker. Neither one had expected her to give chase and keep it up for a good twenty years.
And now she’s found us. His skin had crawled when Amanda had sent the invitation to her upcoming shindig via human messenger. She must have promised to pay him a lot, because the guy’s grimy skin and dirty clothes weren’t her usual immaculate style. Maybe she’d anticipated that her childe would gut the Renfield as soon as he saw who the invite was from. What kind of lunatic throws a house-warming party for themselves, anyway? It’s just like her to be arrogant enough to welcome herself to the neighborhood. He could already feel the tie around his neck and the walls of her house closing in.
“You think I want her arranging my whole life for me? Please, I don’t need to be told who to feed from and who to get on. There’s a third option,” Asha pointed out. “If she’s throwing a party, then she hasn’t officially declared Addington her territory yet. There wasn’t any real opposition when we first pulled into town, so it’s probably just going to be whatever lackeys she’s dragged with her.” Rave already knew where she was going with it. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t considered and battled with before. “You could easily rule this town. Our bloodline’s good, you’re old enough, savvy enough—”
“Sure, put it all on me. I don’t want that kind of responsibility. That’s why we left in the first place!” Unfortunately, it was still the best way to finally be left alone. He sighed and shook his head. His cigarette was finished, and it had been his last one. Wish I had somethin’ stronger, he lamented. “I’d have to take her down to do it. How the hell am I supposed to get rid of a two- hundred-year-old, let alone our maker…” he trailed off at Asha’s smug expression. She loved that she could get in his head and bend his thinking to what she wanted. “You’re such a bitch.”
“I’m tired of living like animals, Rave,” she sighed. “Please. Let’s just end this.” He started to voice his apprehension, but she brushed him off with a wave of a sticky hand. “You’ll think of something. You know what always helps me think?”
His growl would have terrified the most badass human. It didn’t even make Asha blink. “Shopping.” The hated word was strangled out of his throat despite his attempt to swallow it down.
“What a great idea! I know just the place!” she laughed and stretched her lean arms over her head. As a warm breeze ghosted between the looming buildings, the girl’s skin dissolved into a tan haze. Soon, her silhouette was nothing but a dust cloud and she was fast on her way to riding the wind to her destination. It was the only real way for them to travel safely. Any vehicle could be traced, a wolf would be noticed in the small Indiana town, and turning into a bat took a lot more skill than most assumed. Since it was relatively warm out, dust was a lot less conspicuous than mist. “Hurry up!” her voice snapped as the wind carried her away.
Sighing, Rave closed his eyes and relaxed his mind. Soon, his own body was nothing more than a mass of tiny particles that reluctantly rose up to catch the breeze.
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Kerlak Enterprises, Inc.
Everybody loves bad guys, and these are some of the baddest of them all. Forget the rules. There aren’t any heroes. No one is going to save you from the wickedness in the darkness. Monster hunters can easily become the hunted. Twisted perverts can find themselves on the receiving end of their own deviant desires. No matter how big and bad someone or something may be, there is always something bigger and badder just waiting. Even the classics like a dragon, werewolf, or supernatural being can fall victim to something even more evil. Take a peek, if you dare, inside the malevolent world of super-villains, monsters, demons and just plain evil folk. Be careful, what you see there might be disturbingly familiar …
Real Wild Childe
Rave isn’t interested in examining his soul or atoning for his misdeeds. He’s a bad-boy vampire and determined to enjoy every kill. The only romance he’s interested in is the kind that gets him laid before getting his fangs into an artery. Unfortunately, he and his sister, Asha, are on the run from someone older, someone that they barely escaped once. To make matters worse, Asha is determined that they settle down in Addington, Indiana, once and for all. When an unfortunate invitation leads them to Sin, resident outsider and human seamstress, Rave’s life is about to get a lot more complicated as he struggles to sort out his feelings and decide if he’s finally ready to grow up and stand his ground.
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