Softly Zephyr, Oh Come Softly
He was taken by surprise at just how uncomfortable this odd young woman seemed to be wearing clothes. She had even shaken her feet like a cat that has stepped into water by accident once she'd pulled on the socks. It was clear that she knew how to put things on, but also that those things, normal clothing, felt strange to her.
“You have worn clothes before?” He asked, then felt stupid for even doing so.
“Yes.” She nodded then got a puzzled look on her face. “But I don't really remember. They wouldn't allow it where I was... Wearing clothes.”
She started shaking again after saying that and visibly got herself under control.
“My god, girl,” Zack whispered while she was going through that. “What did they do to you?”
“I don't remember.” She shuddered and gave him a look that was a look of mixed pleading and submerged anger. “I don't remember. Other than it was bad.”
Blood drinker, dangerous, whatever. The girl in front of him was hurting, bad. Zack slowly and carefully gathered her into a loose hug and felt her trembling in his arms. “It'll be okay. You're away from those bastards. They can't hurt you here. Not anymore.”
“Yes they can.” She mournfully answered. “Every time I feed, they've hurt me again, and worse, they'll be hunting me.”
His arms around me felt good, but wrong at the same time. I was like a newborn, not sure of what to do, how to do it, or even interpret what others were doing. But those arms around me felt better than anything I could remember just now.
But I could smell the blood running through him, hot, salty, spicy, and so alluring. I could hear his heart beating to push that blood through his body and the hunger raised its ugly head again. I got out of his hug, as gently as I could and shook my head.
“Don't do that, please?” I asked him and knew the anguish I felt was showing on my face. “I can smell your blood, even from here, and hear your heart beating. It's like seeing a menu in a restaurant that serves the really good food.
“I don't want to hurt you.” I finished with a heavy sigh. “But being close just rouses things in me that I have trouble holding down. I wanted to rip your throat out there for a second, and drink, bathe, in the hot blood that is running through you now.
“I can't, won't, do that.” I whispered while watching him flinch away again and look fearful. “I'm not a killer, Zack. I never wanted to be a killer, but the blood, the hearbeat, calls like a bell ringing for dinner time.
“Please, I can control it, but don't get too close to me like that again.”
He'd felt the strength of my hands when I gripped his shoulders and lightly pushed him away, and looked afraid again before gathering his wits and nodding. “All right. But you need someone right now, just to be there if nothing else.”
“Knowing me is probably a good way to die.” I almost sobbed. “I'm not a person anyone sane would want to get close to.”
“Well.” He grinned. “Sanity has been said to be overrated, and I've never been accused of having much of that to work with anyway. So what now?”
“Don't ask me.” I let out a sigh and shook my head. “I'm kinda making this up as I go along right now.”
“Aren't we all?” He asked simply.
Dammit! He would die if he stayed around and tried helping me. If not from my appetites from those hunting me. How could he just stand there and smile at me? And just how could I be so sure that people, dangerous people, were after me? But I knew it was so and in spite of how obviously dangerous I could be he simply stood there and looked at me while gently asking questions without a hint of the fear I smelled on him showing in any other way. Idiot.
Infuriating, and more than a little endearing.
But I knew his mind was made up and it would take more than me to change it. And not because I was some sexy babe. He actually intended to help in whatever way he could.
Scary as I knew I was, this man was determined to help me. Without expecting a thing in return. Crap.
I am a monster. How does a monster deal with someone who just takes it in stride and won't take no for an answer when help is offered?
Was I this bad before whatever had happened to me?
I just nodded, and wrapped the coat I'd been given to go with the unfamiliar clothing around myself in an attempt to hide what I felt.
Gods! I had to start remembering sometime didn't I? Who had I been, what had I been before waking up in that awful place?
What had they done to me while I was there?
Why was I a creature out of nightmare? Or a fantasy story?
Just what the Hell had happened to me?
Who had done this to me and more importantly, why had they done it?
Answers, unfortunately, weren't forthcoming at the time.
But I felt it. The answers were there. Just below the surface of my conscious mind and waiting to boil out and scald me with the truth I so badly wanted to know.
I just had to work a chink in my 'not remembering' that would allow all that to come back.
That frighened me as much as what I was now did.
But I had to know.
I had to KNOW.
The truth might not set me free, as some old sayings professed. But it damn sure would clear some things up for and about me.
“Sir?” Constanza, his second interupted his thoughts. Or lack of them at that moment.
“Yes, Constanza?” He shook himself mentally and turned his attention to his subordinate.
“Everything is ready to go, sir and Dr. Stewart is waiting.”
He wanted to just say something like 'Fuck Stewart', but didn't. “All right, lets get this dog and pony show moving.”
“Of course, sir.” Constanza, like everyone who worked for him was afraid of him. That caused his lips to curl up just a bit in amusement.
Everyone in the facility was afraid of him, which was good. Things like what were being done in this place needed someone people feared just to keep things in line.
He walked towards the beat up looking SUV that was his ride, and again lost himself in thought.
He'd felt odd ever since that white skinned freak the boffins had created, or awakened as they liked to say, had come into being. His already sharp senses had gotten even more acute. He slept less than he ever had, and was always restless.
And he could smell the familiar scent of blood even if none was spilled.
That filled him with a yearning that he didn't understand, but quelled as harshly as he was able. Besides the scent of freshly spilled blood was nothing strange to him. Not at all. But he had a mission to take care of before he could logically sit down and deal with the odd feelings he'd been having.
He had a freak to find, and kill.
And another 'accident' to arrange.
Willaim Stewart thought about his wife, Rebecca, and his children, six year old Aaron and three year old Olivia with a pang of worry. So far Zephyr had exibited no real agressive tendencies or had actively hunted anyone. She had simply defended herself and secured her freedom even if that had been a literal bloody mess. But he knew without a shred of doubt that when she did start hunting, her target would never be safe. But...
No, she wouldn't go after his family. The people he worked for? Or with? Taggert wouldn't even blink an eye while doing such a thing. That thought caused him to shudder in mixed revulsion and fear.
“We're all set, Dr. Stewart.” The Seargeant assigned to shepard – watch – him, interrupted those worries and Stewart nodded.
“All right, Hodges.” He answered with a calm that surprised him. “Go ahead, I'll be along in a minute, just have a few things to grab and I'm afraid some of them are way above your clearance. Sorry, but it's safer for you not to see them right now.”
“Understood, sir.” The man nodded and turned to exit the room. “I'll be waiting right outside.”
“Who watches the watchers?” Stewart whispered to himself while gathering his things. Hodges was pleasant enough, and a good bodyguard if it came to that. The man had saved his ass that nightmare of a night when Zephyr had escaped and stood ready to be between him and the then ravening monster that had broken her leash and was running loose in the facility. Stewart reminded himself that hadn't been necessary and also that the vampire, or whatever she was hadn't actively gone after anyone not trying to hold her in the facility or tried balking her efforts to get out.
He knew Hodges was as much a keeper as a protector, though. Stewart was uneasy with that and checked one last time to make sure he had the cash, twenty-thousand in uncomfortably large bills, but space was a problem since smaller bills would have added way too much bulk to his things, and the ATM card to an account in Bermuda that was under a name he hoped his employers didn't know about. He was relatively sure that once in the cess pit of 'The Dregs, or whatever the inhabitants called that area of Denver that even the army hesitated to enter, he would be able to disappear quite completely.
Once things settled down, he could get in touch with his family and get them to wherever he decided to relocate. Preferably somewhere far, far away from Project Awake or anyone who knew anything at all about it.
Surviving long enough to make that escape was kind of problematic.
With a sigh, he shook his head and muttered. “Either I will or I'll die.”
Picking up the pack and briefcase he had prepared, he opened the door, gave Hodges a nervous grin and said. “Okay, Seargeant. Let's get this show on the road and see what the audience thinks of it.”
“Sounds good to me, sir.” Hodges grinned back. “Let's go find us a freak and kill it.”
“Yeah.” Stewart grinned back while thinking that it was very possibly going to be just the opposite of that sentiment.
For the first time since he had been exposed to them, Stewart actually felt a little grief for Taggert and his people. If they won, they still lost by ignoring just that much more of their own humanity by killing something – someone – who was only trying to be left alone. If they lost, he thought they might be lucky if simple death was all they had to face.
All at once, because of that thought, his own situation became less dire in the whole scheme. Live or die, he would still be his own man in most respects. Thoughtfully, he decided he could live, or die with that.
For a while, Stewart was actually at peace with himself.
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