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World of Darkness: Attrition - Death in the Family [Complete]

Adrian Moss

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The young Vampire stood over the girl, watching her with hungry eyes. Her arms were restrained with cushioned straps. She lay in the grasp of a drug-induced slumber. Her nightmares were filled with dark creatures that fed upon her hopes and dreams, as well as her blood. Her prisoners told lies to her parents. Their eyes were filled with a hunger for the pleasures of her young flesh. They lick up tears as they sponged away the evidence of their violation. The taint of this place ate away at her and must have felt her mind slipping away.

They told him this and more. They told him the reasons, their reasons, for doing this to her. This was one of their many experiments that delved into the nature of the human mind that was the foundation of every vampire's existence. If you understood the fractures that could develop in the mind, you could better combat the Beast. If you understand how the mind evolved under incredible stress, you could find a road to self-enlightenment.

They told him this. They told him it was true. They told him that they were better than he was because they were farther down the Dragon's Road. The enjoyment they took in their tortures meant nothing. Adrian couldn't believe any of this, no matter how seductive it appeared at the time of night like this. The Hunger whispered to him. The hunger for approval was the lash upon his back. The knowledge he sought fed the weakness in him to accept this as Holy Writ. The fear of failing and the punishments that were to follow pushed him to the precipice.

It was a lie. Adrian knew it was a lie. These people were f**king EVIL.

"Well Slave, it is her time. Feed upon her deeply. Take her to that point were Life hangs by a thread. You have been there with her before. Now take the next step. Drink further ... drink and understand."

Adrian hovered over her, not knowing what to say. It would be so easy to drink. Hell, he was hungry. She would not be missed. She was a ward of the State, with no family. No one would come looking for her. His fellows among the Dragon would hold him in higher esteem.

Adrian looked down at his chosen victim. The girl's face faded. It became Her face, the unknown kindred who had shared her last moments with him. That faded into Sam's face, with that sparkle in her eye that came when things came together. Then it was Sarah's face when she faced that impossible uphill battle against all this world had felt like dumping on her. Finally, it was Oneca's face, right at that moment she had chosen to trust him.

'No one makes you do evil. You choose to do evil.'


"What?", his instructor queried. "What is wrong with the girl? Do you see some undetected flaw?"

"No. This is wrong."

"Wrong how?"

"The only thing I have learned here is what not to do with my existence," he said barely above a whisper.

"Adrian ... Adrian," she cooed. "All knowledge comes at a price. Evolution is painful. You can't hold anything to be sacred to shed the mortal form and ascend."

"I'm not going to do it this way." He continued looking down at the girl, even as his instructor laid her hand upon his shoulder and patted it lightly.

"Her life is nothing compared to one of us. Her only purpose in this life is to be a lesson for one of us. You must experience death to know what reaching for life is like."

Adrian pulled away.

"Who get's to decide that? What makes one life any more, or less, valuable than another? When did we steal that right?"

She only smiled.

"There is no place for me here. I'm going home."

"You can leave, Adrian Moss, but escaping is another matter. You have a lesson to learn and I'm going to teach it to you. Blood flows into is as Life flows into Death. It is a lesson no one escapes."

Not knowing what to think, the Mekhet turned and hurried away. In his room he found his luggage, packed up, and headed for the door. On the desk sat his journal, his record of his journey down the Coil of Blood to date. In it were all the horrid lessons he had learned here. He grabbed it up angrily, hating himself for clinging to any bit of the past few months of his unlife.

His car sprang to life, seemingly urging him away from this tragic place.

'I'm going home. I'll find another way. I swear it, and I'll do it without this place.'

His home was a welcome sight after so long away at another's haven. Gwen had kept the place up wonderfully. It was very late. He let himself in and stopped in the doorway. It smelled of bleach and ... blood, the one scent no vampire could forget, or mistake.


"Gwen, I'm home. Come on honey."

No answer.

"Gwen?" he called plaintively.

Nothing but the crickets.

Adrian ran up the stairs to their bedroom, two at a time. No heartbeat, quiet snoring, or shuffling of the sheets. He didn't even have the comfort of his own heart pounding in his chest.

Adrian spun around in a panic, initially missing the note atop the bed's rumpled sheets. He looked around helplessly, afraid and feeling oddly abandoned. He sat down and the note's crumpling sound woke him from his fugue.

Dearest Adrian,

Death is the deepest lesson I can impart upon you. You would not grasp it, so I have thrust it upon you. Your Gwen is dead. Her body has been dealt with and you should not be bothered with her again. We are the Arbitrator of events, not only it's victims. When you are worthy of that lesson, you may be allowed to return.

Tabitha, Scholar of Hunger

When you go over the litany of the things you might miss when you become one of the kindred, rarely does the inability to shed tears come up. It really should. Tearless, Adrian sobbed into the heels of his hands and shook with grief.

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