Infernal Hunger; A Tale of Gluttony

Infernal Hunger; A Tale of Gluttony

Back when I started the Seven Deadly Sins project, I joked that there were probably enough off-shoots of Domerin that I could write a prompt for each sin featuring him. It’s taken some time but I have, indeed, found a Domerin for every sin.

So far we’ve covered Wrath, Pride, Envy and Sloth. Next on the list? Gluttony.

Gluttony is always particularly hard for me. It’s not a vice many of my characters have. And to personify this one, I had to reach for another new Domerin. One I haven’t written anywhere before, but one which has been lurking in my head for a long time. So I introduce to you, Domerin’s vampire incarnation. And his mission to eradicate Vampires from existence.
. . .

He had gone hungry before, but it had never felt like this. Like a yawning chasm in the depths of his gut, twisting and clawing as it demanded he consume. His body seemed to be collapsing in on itself, drawn toward some all-devouring void, and he trembled with the effort to keep the urge contained.

“Why don’t you just do it?” Though the question was spoken in a terse hiss, barely more than a whisper, it sounded far too close to his ears.

But when he snapped his eyes open, his fellow captive was still on the far side of the room, rubbing her wrists to relieve the raw rash left by the ropes that so recently bound them. Domerin had removed himself to the farthest point in the room, crammed himself in a corner and braced both arms against the walls to hold himself in place. Lingering long enough to loosen her bonds had nearly driven him insane, and he had been forced to close his eyes when he reached this haven, lest simple knowledge of her presence overwhelm him.

Now that she had spoken, he could smell her. Smell her sweat and fear. But most of all, her vitality. He could hear her heart beating, see a tiny throb in her neck where it connected with her jaw, a cadence that called to him. He bit the inside of his lip in his attempts to resist, but when the iron tang of blood graced his tongue that only made everything worse. His senses were so much keener than he had ever imagined they could be, and all of them focused on the same thing.

Food. Hunger.

“Because that’s what those bastards want,” he growled, ignoring the crimson flecks that flew from his mouth when he spoke.

Because they had spent hours torturing him, bringing him within inches of death before they used their black magic to drag him back from the brink. And when they had tired of that game, they had bitten him, drained him until he was little more than a husk and then forced him to drink their foul, poisonous blood. Because they had believed that he would succumb the moment a food source became available. That’s what newborn vampires were supposed to do: mindlessly gorge themselves until they emerged from the daze. And gods only knew it was desperately difficult to avoid falling into that haze.

But he’d be damned if he gave a single one of those demons the satisfaction of besting him. Their dark magic flowed through his veins now, and no slayer worth their salt survived as long as he had without learning all there was to know about how vampiric powers worked.

They were pounding on the hatch in the ceiling again, the only exit from the brick-lined cellar, laughing and cackling while they demanded to know if he had finished his dinner yet. And what was he waiting for? It wasn’t like they were going to let him out until he did the dirty deed and came over to their side.

Wouldn’t they just love it if they managed to reduce a proud slayer to shame? Create a soldier for their side, as if simple understanding of circumstance made up the difference between their foul breed and what he used to be.

“You’re weak,” the young woman in the far corner protested. She must know something of the demons above because she had yet to tremble with terror, even when his newly formed fangs had been mere inches away from her flesh. She also seemed to understand that he could hear her plenty well if she never spoke above a whisper, which would hopefully keep their captors from overhearing their conversation. “You’d have a better chance if you drank even a little.”

The mere suggestion was enough to send a ripple of starvation tearing through him. Some plaintive rumble rose from the depths of his gut and, by the time it reached his throat, it had become a groan. He countered the urge by tensing every muscle in his body, but already they had begun to ache with the strain.

“You know as well as I do that I won’t be able to stop myself when I start. I am not going to sacrifice an innocent life to save my own.”

“It’s a mistake, slayer-“

“Domerin,” he interrupted. “Don’t think I can consider myself a slayer anymore.” Not that it was going to stop him from doing the work.

“Domerin, then. It’s a mistake to assume that I am innocent simply because I am a woman.”

That hiss brought a smirk to his lips, though any good humor he felt at the moment was tainted by bitterness at their present situation. “You are innocent of my affairs, or should be.”

That caused his fellow captive to nod, though she looked less than pleased. “You have to eat sometime,” she muttered.

“Oh, I intend to take my fill,” Domerin replied, his voice low and husky as he turned his eyes upward.

Finally, he heard the creak of the rusted latch sliding aside followed by the groan of ancient boards as one of his captors lowered his head to press an eye to the resulting crack. Perhaps they had taken the silence as an indication that the deed was done. Perhaps they knew his fellow captive was unlikely to scream during her last moments, no matter how violent they seemed to be.

It didn’t matter. It would be their downfall.

“Don’t come out until I’ve gone,” he hissed under his breath, trusting she would hear. He didn’t know what would happen when he finished gorging himself on the blood of three demonic swine. Certainly he didn’t want to drain her by accident after all the effort he had put into avoiding her demise.

He caught the faintest hint of a nod from the far corner before he surged upward. Weak he may have been, but his newly enhanced body still had more than enough strength to drive the thick wooden hatch aside as he broke free of his prison. If they really wanted to keep him at bay, they should have bound him, but then he wouldn’t have been able to feed, which was their greatest desire.

Their shock worked to his advantage and he had pinned his curious captor before the other two had a chance to react. Disgusting as it was, the vampire’s dark blood tasted like ambrosia when it struck his tongue. And the moment the feeding frenzy took hold, his captors had no chance. He tore out the first one’s throat, drinking deeply of his poison, reveling in the surge of power and satisfaction it injected into his veins.

There was little left of the bastards when he was finished gorging himself. He must have looked frightful, gluttonous creature that he had become. But he was shockingly clear-headed. The hunger might never be fully satisfied. It was likely to pulse within him as his now-still heart had beat from the moment he was born. But it was distant now, temporarily satiated by the richness of his first feast.

He closed his eyes, drew a deep breath and tried to ignore the black liquid still dripping down his chin. No time now to contemplate what he had become. There was work left to do.

*   *   *

“Are you sure that’s healthy?”

The were-cat sat on its haunches as it regarded him, ears lowered, though not flattened – which would have been a sign of agitation. Despite his familiarity with the beast, its jade-colored eyes always put him off balance. A creature of darkness shouldn’t be so beautiful. But instead of mangy and flea-bitten, the way he had always imagined they would be, the were-cat’s golden fur almost seemed to glow in the moon light, as if it were a creature of light and faith after all.

“I’ve been at this a few centuries now. Hasn’t killed me yet.”

The remains of Domerin’s latest meal sagged over an empty garbage can the moment he released it from his grip. Vampire blood had never again tasted as luscious as it had that first time, though it had never ceased to sustain him.

“I just can’t help thinking there’s a reason most vampires don’t feed on other vampires,” his companion replied in a tone that could have been considered pointed. Domerin knew Crescent well enough, though, to know that the were-cat was teasing him. In his own way, at least.

“I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I don’t care. If they didn’t want me feeding off them, they shouldn’t have initiated me into their ranks.”

Six hundred years since those bastards had turned him in a little house in the quiet countryside, and he had yet to taste mortal blood. At least not directly from a mortal’s flesh. There were times he couldn’t count on his endless hunt to sustain him. And when the hunger woke, it became impossible to ignore.

Luckily, humans had made it easy for vampires to acquire their vital fluids without leaving a pile of corpses in their wake – not that it stopped them from killing for the fun of it. If a couple medical supply bags went missing from time to time, it never seemed to cause much trouble. Especially since Domerin knew how to keep himself connected to clever allies, both living and undead.

The were-cat grew serious, setting one massive paw against his thigh when he turned, peering up at him with imploring eyes. “I just worry about you. You can’t go on like this forever.”

“I don’t have to,” Domerin replied, stepping backward just enough to spill the cat back onto its own feet. “Just until the last vampire is dead.”

“And then what will you do to feed that eternal hunger you always complain about?” Crescent demanded, laying his ears flat against his skull and bearing his teeth to show how greatly he disfavored Domerin’s response.

“Nothing,” Domerin said, spinning on his heel before the were-cat’s gaze could convince him otherwise. He knew enough about killing vampires that he didn’t intend to balk when it finally came time to end the infernal hunger burning in his gut.

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