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Blood. It use to be the only thing on his mind. The only thing he could ever think about and the only thing he wanted to think about. How long would it be until his next feed? Where would it come from? How would he get it? These thoughts spun him around and around until he was sure he was going insane. He was so close to the edge, the point of no return. So close to becoming the mindless monster even his kind despised, but he never thought about that, couldn't think about that. Being considered a monster was better than having to feel. Pain and weakness. The blood washed that all away.

Until one night, right on the brink, right at the point where sanity ended and madness began, something came for him. After all he had done, after falling so far, someone was still willing to risk their reputation, their freedom, their life, to save him. Someone thought he was still worth it, that there was hope for him. He was given a second chance.

That day, covered in blood, he staggered into the harsh light. The contras was such that he had to shield his eyes from the sudden brightness. Behind him he dragged a body, limp and lifeless. He hadn't meant to kill her, hadn't meant to drain her so completely, but the thirst had taken over. She had put up such a fight, so much of that beautiful crimson liquid had been wasted in that futile struggle, but fear had taken her and she hadn't realised how pointless it was to resist.

Skin and eyes burning in the morning sun, he looked for a place to hide from the light. Even in his current state, elated, full, but strangely unsatisfied, he knew this was it. The end. His actions, that day and the years that came before, would destroy the progress of generations. There were those who worked so hard to erase the fear that he lived off, that kept him tied to his grotesque life.

There should have been shame, guilt, panic. There should have been something.

But the blood! The fear! The screams and the trill of knowing it was him that cultivated such intense terror in others. It felt so good! It was the only time he was truly alive. It had always been so good. Right up until he saw the last spark of life leave the woman's body and felt the last of her blood being drawn out of her veins.

Suddenly he felt resistance from his companion. Her torn clothing had become entangled on a wire protruding from a broken fence. He pulled at her, but the sun was causing the world to spin and he lost his footing, fell and lay sprawled on his back in the dirt and gravel.

On his third attempt he was able to rise and crawl over to the body that was now bathed in brilliant sunshine. It was at that point he saw himself clearly for the first time. Looking down at the woman he had killed his mind seemed to clear and it was in this moment of clarity he came to understand what he really was. A monster, mindless, bloodstained and uncontrollable, but he no longer knew how he should feel. There was nothing left in him but thirst. Nothing. The blood drove him on, drove him to his next meal. Craving. There was nothing he could do to stop the craving. It had a hold over him that was absolute.

Stumbling to his feet he staggered over to the deep shadow made by the building he and his companion had just exited. As he slithered into the shadows, away from the suns burning gaze, he once again looked down at the limp body he held in his pale hands.

The woman had been young, not quite beautiful but attractive. Her thick brown hair was tangled and matted with dirt and blood, her large brown eyes stared up at him unseeing. She would never feel the fear he had inspired again. Never feel anything again. Just like him.

A sickness overwhelmed him then, coming over him suddenly and powerfully. He had fallen so far, gone so deep and lost himself in his never-ending search for his next liquid meal. He felt physically ill with it. Turning away from the corpes, he threw up all the blood he had just consumed, the once sweet smell of fresh blood in the air turning vile.