Sanguis City by Morgan Jane Mitchell
Coming July 29, 2013
Ever wonder what happens after the world ends?
Lilanoir Rue did. A mere by product of the destruction, she never knew what happened before hand either. Banished from the only place she called home, the Human Reservation, she wipes her tears and never looks back.
In a world gone dead, life has never been so good, for some. While others live in chaos, the chosen call Sanguis City home. The rich and powerful found a way to survive The End and to enjoy every minute of it, for eternity. On the brink of a gruesome death from starvation, disease or a hungry mutant, humans flock to sell their blood for peace.
The city of blood, made for and by vampires welcomes Noir, her kind are in high demand. Neither Human nor Vampire, Bleeders take care of the city in the daylight. Draining humans by day and dating Vampires at night leaves Noir little time to think about her past, or much else, until it finds her.
After three years in the city, Noir's life is finally on the right track. But when she falls for her new Professor, an Authentic Vampire, she also falls into a web of nightmares. Unable to escape painful memories, she uncovers more than her own secrets. Some secrets just won't stay dead and others are bound to kill her before finals week.
A chapter from Sanguis City by Morgan Jane Mitchell (subject to change upon release)
I dated a few bleeders and a few vampires in the last three years. All complete mistakes. They weren't much different than the boys on the human reservation, after they got the prize, it was all down hill from there. Aubrey was the first vampire I didn't have sex with immediately. I thought about the Aubrey I had fell for, he hadn't been cold at all. Being in this city had changed him. I remember seeing him the first day of General Human Studies class. He was new to the University, I heard that he transferred from up North. It was if he scanned the whole class for my eyes and locked on them for the whole lecture. I kept a constant close lipped smile on my face, obedient and listening. The girl next to me smacked her gum and rocked her feet checking her nails but I was being watched. After class I tried to file out of the building in the crowd but I kept hearing my name.
“Noir, hey, isn't that you?” A random student asked me and I turned around to see the new Professor calling my name. I halted, nearly causing a dozen others to trip over me. Embarrassment spread through my face and my cheeks felt hot.
“Noir, is it?” I nodded smiling. “This is a Senior class, and you are a Junior. Can you explain to me how you made it onto my roster?” He was calling me out. I gave myself a mental slap. I had imagined he was attracted to me, he was at least overly friendly during the lecture.
“Keanton, the professor of this class last year gave me a special permission.” I looked down at my feet briefly and back up to his pale blue eyes. He wasn't too much taller than me, but I felt like I needed to look up. “Because he thought I would have something to add,” I shrugged uncomfortably. I knew I already stuck out like a weed in a rosebush. Of course, this new professor would know something was different.
“Meaning?” He prompted as he searched me up and down, pausing at the neck and the hips and back up. I had seen it a thousand times, it meant he was checking me out.
I fought the urge to cover myself, not that I wasn't used to it by now. “Didn't he leave a note or something? We applied for schedules last year, I really don't want to change,” I almost whined.
“That won't be necessary, I am merely curious,” Aubrey said quickly as he urged me to walk along with him toward the doors.
Curiosity, one of a vampires biggest faults, I thought. “I grew up on the reserve with humans. The one in North Carolina, the old Cherokee one,” I explained. “But I don't see why it matters, every Bleeder here in the city grew up around humans too, they're all over the place.”
“Yes, but humans here pay the price, they eat what they are told, work were they are told, you take their blood once a month, a vampire says jump and they say how high,” he spoke over his shoulder as he escorted the final students out of the huge auditorium. The door closed.
“Yes, I know, the humans that raised me didn't take shit from anyone. And they really, really don't want to take orders from vampires,” I said waiting to see his reaction. Some of the vampire Professors didn't want this spoken of at all, they would dismiss me right away and I would get a note in my box saying I need to think before I speak or something.
Aubrey laughed, “I know now why Keanton wanted your company. Meet me in an hour for drinks?” He stepped in close with his hands on his hips and looked around like he didn't have time for this.
My back touched the door. I put my books between my chest and him. “Sure. Where?”
“Dante's just off Main, on Fourth Street. Do you know the place?”
“Yeah, an hour.” Nerves made me, of all people weak, but I found the strength to push the heavy door open and almost stumbled into the night.
What the hell was I thinking? Clair dolled me up in one of her skin tight black dresses, she was two sizes smaller than me. My breasts were spilling out. “I look like a whore,” I told her as I fixed my hair. It was a ginger red and recently layered. I curled it under but one strand kept poking out.
“That's the point, everyone at Dante's looks the part,” she giggled.
I knew and I hated it, the vampires loved a theme. I applied my makeup one shade darker so I wouldn't be turned away. You couldn't go from place to place at night in this town in the same outfit. Dante's, of course, was Hell and I had never been. My mama told me about Hell and the thought of going there to party was not something I fancied. Plus, there was a strict dress code. I hated dressing up unless it was my idea.
“The heels!” Clair reminded me and I stepped in. Clair was bubbly and happy all the time. It gave me a head ache.
“Off to high class Hell,” I said under my breath as I grabbed the small clutch Clair lent me.
“You have to go, Noir, a professor asked you and you said yes. If you didn't want to, you should have said no and switched your schedule,” Clair beamed with the ability to say anything cheerfully.
I took a deep breath, “Of course I am going,” I gave Clair my best effort and smiled.
It was January and cold, I pulled my black trench coat around me tight as I made my way down the street. The bus had taken forever, it was Friday and this part of downtown was packed. I was late. It was Vampire rush hour, or happy hour by the number of bars. Industrial music thumped as I showed the bouncer my hand. I watched it glow as he waved his scanner over it. He was a vampire, probably an ex wrestler because all the Accidents, people turned by the cure, stayed as thin and frail as they were on their death beds, forever. “Take it off, sweetheart,” he demanded and I slipped my coat off and twirled.
Inside Dante's was dark, darker than normal which meant it was a Vampire favorite. My eyes would adjust a little but I almost walked right by him. I shook from a shiver, I wondered what he was doing to me. What was his special vampire trait? We all had something that made us unique but an Authentic like Aubrey would have a power ten times better than mine. I filed away the fact that, as much as I tried, I couldn't get any straight answers about the Real Vampires.
Aubrey stood as I took my seat. He was dressed in a straight cut leather jacket over more black. I looked around at the crowd and was thankful he wasn't wearing spikes and chains. “Noir, is it?” He asked in my ear before I sat opposite of him at a small bistro table. This bar didn't serve food of any kind, even if it was advertised as a take-out place. The flame in the oil candle in the middle of our table danced and illuminated him in a spooky way. Aubrey lit a cigarette. Yes, vampires could smoke, drink and do drugs, even if those things didn't affect them like it affected us.
I smiled without showing my fangs, because showing fangs would be a sure sign I wanted more. Then I spoke loud enough to hear myself over the music, “Yeah, unofficially Lilanoir Rue,” I put out my hand and brought it back. “I know, people don't do that anymore. Germs.”
“And what does a Vampire have to fear from, Germs?” Aubrey shouted back.
“I know, right?” I said casually before I straightened.
Aubrey smiled briefly then his face returned to politely waiting.
“Yes, it is Noir,” I finally gave in.
“Aubrey,” he said reaching for my hand and I gave him an awkward finger shake. It was customary to tell a vampire your name, your official name before starting any private conversation. Weird, but I should have been used to it by now. It essentially meant we were speaking as equals, unlike our words in class. He scooted his seat close to mine. “So Noir, what brought you to Sanguis City?”
I could finally hear him, I didn't have to shout. Maybe that's why he closed the gap? I tried to act natural when his arm went around my back. I expected this was going to be the normal interrogation all the teachers put me through until his thumb brushed my bare shoulder. Something in me shifted and I found myself even more attracted to him. “You first,” I said full of confidence, I could play the game. If I was to give into him and answer, without anything first, I would be treated just like Jef treated poor Savy. A vampire only treated you as well as you demanded.
Aubrey's face had the character I associated with an old Vampire but he didn't look a day over twenty-five. You would never know he was undead, nothing stood out. Pale but no more than your average white man. Imperfect white teeth, no fangs like mine. His would only come out when he needed them too. Neither long, nor short for a guy, his dark hair covered his eyes for a moment when he moved. Aubrey hesitated and drew his eyebrows together, his blue eyes studied me. They were beautiful but wouldn't break me. I didn't waver but waited. He leaned back in his chair and gestured, a waitress appeared. She was a Bleeder dressed as a devil, complete with horns and a tail. “What do you drink?” Aubrey asked me while returning her smile.
“Mascato, please,” I told the barmaid, not him, thinking that wine was a good choice.
“Morgan, on the rocks,” Aubrey told her and suddenly I was craving Rum. “New York isn't what it used to be.”
“Oh,” he had answered my question. “I heard... Zombies.” The elixir that turned humans into Vampires had once sold to the highest bidder until the Authentic Vampires put a stop to it. Now people were producing copy cat drugs trying to become immortal.
Aubrey laughed, “They're not zombies, there is no such thing. These things are way too fast.” I almost choked, I had heard that line before. He laughed again. “Unless you count that drug,” I nodded and laughed a little too, I knew all about that. I shook my head trying to forget.
Aubrey told me that New York has taken the longest to fall and will eventually be built back up like Sanguis City. In the three years I have been here, I learned that the New Vampires had taken over the world. But what else do you expect when the wealthiest, most powerful people could buy immortality, strength, lethality? The Authentic Vampires had opened up Pandora's box giving human scientists a supposedly dormant virus to save them. The vampires had no idea that it was their vampire DNA that humans were really after.
The brunette in red leather strutted back over to sit down our drinks on napkins. Aubrey pressed real money into her bosom. I didn't know anyone still used cash, but he had just come from outside the city. Aubrey immediately held his drink to his nose and sniffed. “Ah, this is why I am here, you can't get a good drink anywhere but here anymore.” He held it up swirling the glass.
“We didn't have much to drink on the reservation, only what we could grow, herbal tea and honey, milk,” I started.
“Real milk, that's something you just can't get anymore.” Aubrey finished his drink as I started sipping my wine. “But what about you, the world is falling apart and you leave one of the most heavily armed, healthiest, purest places?” He shook his head.
“Where else could I have gone,” I pointed at my fangs. “They didn't want me anymore.” I looked away toward the crowd dancing.
“So you never met a vampire until when, when did you leave?” Aubrey rested his chin on his fist truly fascinated.
“When I was Eighteen.” Leaving out the part about Jack, of course and Sander, I had too many secrets. “My mother said it was where I should go. The city the vampires built,” I lied while imagining my mother saying it.
“And your father, did he approve of sending you to the the City of Blood?”
“Dead,” I answered simply. I had no feelings about it one way or the other, he had died from the plague before I was born, like a lot of people.
“And you never saw a vampire until you got here? Amazing.”
I let him answer his own question, then added, “If you don't count the movies. But I have had fangs all my life, it is not like I didn't know Vampires existed.” I lit one of his cigarettes, if you can't beat them and all. Yes, Sanguis City was just like an old movie to me.
“So, you didn't grow up in the dark? It's dark upstate now, real dire conditions.”
I looked around at the neon illuminating the bar at the edges. “No, I am lucky, we had electricity for a few hours every night. Off the grid, of course,” I said a little too proud. My mother had only been invited to the town, pregnant and widowed because she was an Engineer. Then it hit me, a feeling of guilt. Charmed by a handsome man stroking my back, I wasn't being careful. Telling vampires about the reserve was something I did willingly all the time but never the specifics. Life at the reservation was all about survival. We were walled off from the world, by actual wall or by mountain. 56,000 acres of the Qualla Boundary was protected by armed guards, tanks, helicopters, you name it! Even after what happened, I was not about to betray them by giving out too much information.
Before he could ask me another question, I smiled at him showing my fangs. That usually shut Vampires up. Besides I felt comfortable, he was laughing, no one seemed to laugh anymore. No man I had gone out with had ever put his arm around me, like they were just happy to be with me. Aubrey's eyes shifted from my fangs to my cleavage and back to my eyes. He motioned for more drinks and his hand went lower down my back. I arched my back a smidgen in response to his cool touch. I placed my hand on his leg in response and he moved into to me, lightly kissing my lips. It was instant, I wanted him. The moment he locked eyes with me in class, I imagined him kissing me. His cool lips gave way for his forceful tongue to explore my mouth and I melted into his hold. The hand that had been stroking my back moved up to steady my head as he assaulted my mouth. And my hands ran up under his jacket. I could feel his firm body under his cotton tee. Aubrey's other hand went to my hair and placed it behind my ear, his finger ran down my neck and down the curve of my bosom. I literally fought for air, he didn't need to breath but he pulled back. His fangs were out and he looked at my neck longing.
“Not here,” I responded in a whisper. I had never done it in public before, let someone bite me. Yes, Dante's did take out, meaning Aubrey could drink from me at the table. My legs were trembling as he pulled me to stand. He grabbed my coat and purse and quickly but carefully maneuvered us through the crowd.
The cold air hit me and brought me back to reality. Boy, was I easy. I was hot and bothered and he could just be wanting some lunch. “Wait, where are we going?” I stopped just outside the club.
Aubrey's hand was on my elbow. “You said you wanted, privacy.” He motioned toward the street, a black car.
No one drove anymore, only the very well off, or very powerful. No one had access to the gasoline and the solar powered things that passed for cars in this town were rarer than diamonds. We were lucky we had the bus. “You drive?” I asked still astonished.
“How do you think I got here from New York?” He answered as he put me inside. He shut the door to go to the other side. I was suddenly nervous, all the men I had dated had lived at the dorms, except Jack. Here I was getting in a car with my Professor going somewhere so he could bite me, and that was just the beginning of it.
Aubrey got in the car and reached around me to buckle my seat belt. I grabbed the belt from him and clicked it. “I've been in a car before,” I mumbled.
“Yeah, I can even drive stick,” I said seductively, knowing he would get the reference and appreciate the innuendo.
He laughed and I burst out laughing as well. Not one Bleeder would have laughed at that. He grabbed my knee with his hand, “You are rare, Noir, a breath of fresh air.”
We drove further into the city, to the parking garage of a tall tower. Aubrey took my hand and led me to the elevator. “I just moved in,” he said simply as he threw off his jacket onto the couch and I didn't have time to look around before he kissed me again, backing me into his bedroom. My hands found his shoulders and I realized that Aubrey wasn't Jack, a spoiled horny teenager. He wasn't all the others I had dated either, the Bleeders and New Vampires at my dorm. Aubrey was old, ancient for all knew. This was a man, my stomach started to flip.
My nerves, he could hear it in my heartbeat, he pulled back and whispered, “You have done this before?”
I looked around briefly, the walls were bright white and all the furniture silvers and blues.“Can't you tell?” I said coyly, using humor to calm myself as usual. I sat on the bed and slipped off my horrible heels. My feet felt the ice cold floor of stainless steel. I knew he couldn't tell if I was a virgin but I had asked a few vampires in the beginning to their amusement.
Aubrey slipped off his shoes as well. “No, I can tell a lot about you but not that, not this far away at least,” he came closer and knelt in front of me. “How rude of me, would you like something to drink, a tour perhaps?”
I shook my head to answer and to clear all my lingering fears. Aubrey was my Professor, that didn't matter, Clair had told me. His hands ran up my crossed legs to my waist. I touched his face and felt strange. This was getting too intimate, not a casual romp in the hay, at all. Aubrey inhaled, “No, you aren't a virgin, a vampire can dream though.”
Aubrey started kissing my bare legs, there was a lot of them sticking out of this dress. I automatically started petting his hair. His hands inched up my dress and moved my legs open. I was no longer nervous but totally in the moment. I was being worshiped as he kissed higher and higher up my thighs. Suddenly he laid me back, looming over me. I felt his hand enter my panties, his fingers softly exploring my smooth skin. They removed all our hair except for on our head at the hospital every week when we went through decontamination. Aubrey looked down at me incredibly hungry as he slid off my small black thong. His head dipped between my legs and his tongue flicked my sweet spot. I convulsed then tried to relax as he licked me back and forth. I felt little stings as he nicked my skin here and there, tasting my blood as well. I couldn't help but make noises of appreciation, he was very talented. I suppose at one time he would have to be discrete about drinking blood.
He looked almost wild when he leaned over me again, face and fangs glistening. I pushed him over and rolled on top. I sat on top of his very hard lap and wiggled as he caught my hips. He was fully dressed so I started pulling his shirt over his head. He was hard and tone but not bulky. Hairless he wasn't, like my boyfriends that worked at the hospital. Aubrey had enough contrasting hair to develop a five o' clock shadow if he could still grow a beard. A thick ugly scar ran down his middle beside the delicious happy trail into his jeans. I touched the bumpy scar wondering how he got it, then felt the hair so he wouldn't think I noticed. I was slipping my fingertips along the waist of his jeans when he pulled me down on top of him for another kiss. As our tongues danced his hands fumbled with the zipper down the back of my dress and then my strapless bra. He pulled my chest closer to his mouth as he pushed me harder down on his trapped erection. His fangs scraped against my nipple before he pulled me back into a kiss.
Aubrey rolled on top of me. My head spun, my chest fluttered, I ached for him. I had never felt this way about any man, human, Bleeder or Vampire, before. Well, maybe one but I quickly banned him from my mind. Aubrey continued licking my breasts, taking his time. He was taking his time. There had been no penetration yet and it was the best sex I had in a long time.
I started to panic, recalling that all my previous relationships had gone down hill based on the fact we didn't know each other before we had sex. I had promised myself I wouldn't let my passion get the better of me again. To be told by a man that seduces you that your relationship is failing because it is all based on sex is the biggest slap in the face. Especially, when you know that the real problem was that they the man got what they wanted too easy. I looked down at Aubrey's beautiful hair and wrapped my legs around him as he was pressing hard against me. His hand made its way to my wet center and he slipped a finger inside as he breathed on my neck. I had an idea. “Aubrey, bite me now,” I moaned as I moved on his hand. He struck and it hurt, it was a powerful bite unlike the sips I had endured during sex before. Aubrey pressed harder with his hand and began causing me immense pleasure rubbing all the right places as he continued to suck. I stretched my arms out to find his stiff length to stroke. I fumbled with his belt and my fingers wrapped around him pulling and sliding as he drew more blood than I thought I could give. His talented hand was enough to push me to the edge and my body quivered as I a climaxed. Just as suddenly, he jerked, convulsing above me.
Aubrey collapsed beside me and pulled me to rest my head under his neck. He kissed my forehead, “Ah, that was brilliant.”
Speechless, I was still panting and still hurting from the bite. I would heal, quicker than a human anyway but there would definitely be a mark to cover up tomorrow. “Aubrey,” I breathed, then catching my mistake, I opened and shut my mouth. I had almost asked him if he marked me, but I wasn't suppose to know about such things. Instead, I rested my hand on his chest where his heart should have beat but didn't. I would ask Tombs to check for me. “Yes, I enjoyed it too,” I finally said.
“All that and I still have my pants on,” he joked. “They know how to raise Bleeders on that reservation of yours.”
“Bleeders, huh, there was only me,” I said suddenly very sleepy.
“Are you saying you were the only Bleeder there out of 14,000 people?” He sounded oddly astonished.
I barely registered his question, I was half asleep. After a moment of processing and suppressing feelings, I formulated a response. “Yes, the only stinking one, I don't know why they didn't just drown me like a kitten.” I was on the verge of passing out but knew all too well they had tried. “The damn bastards drown kittens all the time.” I wondered what Aubrey would ask me next, I was about to ask him how he knew how many people lived there. But I couldn't, I had fallen asleep.
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