• Standing in the shadows, Elva sighed. She looked out at a world she could no longer touch. It had been taken away, ripped from her grasp with the advent of the Turning. It stirred something in her, but the feeling was too far away for her to touch. There were some who said she would never be able to feel again, never be able to fully grasp again what she had lost.
    When her Sire had Turned her, he had not only taken away her ability to interact with the human world; he had taken away her emotions. All those years ago, she had been cursed in such a way, and ever since, she had been looking for a way to change that. She wanted to become what she once was. Wanted to give up immortality for the intensity of mortal life.
    The vampires could not match that. They existed, but theirs was a parody of life. They were the Everlasting, but the cost was emotion. To become such a killer, they had to give up the emotions that would hinder their ability to survive in their dark, bloody world. Emotions gave them a weakness, the Elders said. Had they been 'cursed' with human emotions, they would not be able to kill their prey to gain sustenance and power. They would soon be dead should they not be able to do that.
    Elva thought otherwise. She was haunted by the memories of her mortal life, the emotions that had been taken away from her in another's fit of rage. She had not been meant for the Everlasting life. Raphael had formed something that few vampires ever did; a blood feud with a mortal. Her father had been the one to die, while she had been cursed forever. She thought he had the better option. He no longer had to live a life. He did not have to live her half life.
    What was a life without emotion? What was its purpose? You did not feel, you did not experience. It was a waste. And because of her life, many others had to die. She, like all the other Everlasting, took blood from their victims and killed the host. It was an inescapable fact in a shadowy world. It was something she could not do anything about. At times she wondered why she was still alive, why she still allowed herself to plague the existence of the mortals she fed from. Why would such a creature live if it was only there as a bane? What was her purpose? She knew she had none. What purpose could she have, after all?
    But she knew, deep down inside. She knew that she wanted to find something worth living for. Wanted to see if there was a higher purpose to her existence. Maybe, if she lingered long enough, she would be able to find something and help it. It would at least be something worthwhile, something better than what she was doing now.
    As well she lived because she was a coward. She could not stomach the thought of killing herself. She would try, sometimes, but then realize that it was beyond her strength. To kill herself meant to form a shadow. Destined to wander the depths of the Underworld where nothing was as it seemed, and where nothing escaped the pain. It was the harshest punishment one of the Everlasting could go through.
    And so she was tapped in this body of hers, addicted to the deaths of her prey, and holding a damaged soul.
    Shaking her head slightly, she moved from the shadows into the street. It was time to feed again, a fact of her life she could no longer put off. She had not fed in three weeks, something none of her kind could conceive of. The demon in her was roaring for nutrients, straining against her grip. She had to be careful. One slip and the demon would rage out of control and attack indiscriminately. It had happened before, in her youth, and she did not want it to happen again. Mistakes like that were a hard lesson. But a lesson she knew she would not ignore.
    Catching a scent, she raised her head. Across the street, she could see a man in the shadows, his shoulders hunched as he leaned back against a building. His eyes were watchful, and she could smell the violence and alcohol on him. He was most definitely a criminal, and her preferred prey. If she had to kill to feed, then she would at least try to have a benefit.
    Slipping downwind of him, she kept to the shadows, making sure she would not see her until the last moment when it would be too late for him to escape her. Having spent hundreds of years hunting her prey, she knew when to stalk and when to pounce.
    Getting close, she held her breath, not letting the air move around her. Anything she did could set him off. He was tense and ready for action, ready to attack his next victim and drag them off. His nerves would be ready for anything, making this kill one of the harder ones she would usually have to make. But she had centuries of experience behind her, where he only had a few years. The greater predator always won.
    Flipping a knife into her hand, she struck, holding the blade against his throat and pulling him further back into the shadows where no one would see them. He struggled against her, but she was possessed of a supernatural strength, and held him easily. There was no escape now for him.
    Letting the change come over her, she let her fangs lengthen and her eyes go black. His gaze widened when he saw what she was a moment before she went for his throat.
    Her fangs pierced the skin there, and hot, thick blood washed into her mouth. The sticky sweetness of it made her have to fight off the urge to gag. Blood was distasteful for her, but it was her only way to survive. Drinking deeply, she felt the man in her arms weaken. She kept feeding. The demon in her reveled in the blood-letting, and roared out for more. Everything in her cried out for the blood, and it filled her starved cells, nourishing them, empowering them.

    She grew stronger quickly, gaining the power she had lost in the last three weeks without blood. And as she grew stronger, her victim died. His heart stuttered, and then failed. His body could no longer support his life without blood, and he went limp in her hands.
    Draining the last of the blood from him, she lifted her head and let her fangs recede, her eyes return to their normal color. She looked down at the criminal she had just fed from and closed her eyes. She had taken another life. Regret and shame should have washed through her at what she was, at what she had to do, but there was a curious blank where those emotions should have been.
    She felt nothing. Experienced little.
    She was a shadow. One of the Everlasting.
    A plague.