Communion night at The Temple nightclub, had accelerated into a maelstrom of chaotic hedonistic ecstasy. Good pills were available in abundance, the atmosphere was wild and free, and the dance tribe were in high spirits.
All around Katerina Reynard revellers writhed and swayed to the pulsing trance of electronic dancehall music. Arrays of brilliant multi coloured lights flashed on and off, synchronous with the throbbing primal beats. And at the heart of it all, Kat sat alone at a small round bar table minding the others drinks.
At first Kat had been a little nervous. To be back in the old environment with it’s all too familiar temptations had made her uneasy. She was after all an apex predator moving freely amongst an unshepherded flock. But the sensation of unease soon passed, and now? Well, now she was just plain bored.
Coming to The Temple had been an experiment, a trial of her spiritual integrity and material resolve. Kat had tagged along with friends to test the waters, to try having fun without inflaming the passions of her inner beast. To see if she could actually be somewhere like this and keep her wilder instincts at bay.
And it was turning out to be something of a failed experiment, although not entirely. Here she was amongst the flock, and she hadn’t felt the slightest urge to….
It was the having fun part that was proving problematic.
Kat had discovered to her satisfaction and relief, that she was fully in control of impulses, both natural and supernatural. And so she should be, she’d spent long enough practicing meditation and yoga, learning to focus her spirit and mind. Learning to keep her baser instincts securely chained.
‘Living in abstinence like a nun’ she scorned inwardly.
But no, that was resentment. And resentment and self pity were poison to people seeking serenity, and freedom from dangerous impulses.
‘From murderous impulses’ Kat admonished herself a little harshly.
Katerina Reynard had enjoyed her beast self immensely in her youth, she had revelled in her powers of animal magnetism and her heightened carnal impulses. Those early years had been wild and wanton indeed, an unrestrained orgy of animal licentiousness.
Indeed in the early days of her zoanthropia, Kat had been more beast than woman. She had delighted in exploring the extent of her abilities, and the limits of her endurance and stamina. Running wild and free, bound by no man’s law.
Once she would have picked three or four of these humans, taken them to her bed and driven them all wild beyond their fantasies, with lust and carnal excess. Cast herself into a well of ravenous sensual indulgence, and driven her body to a frenzy of unbearable libidinous delight.
But that was the point, the very reason for her vigilance in abstinence. For in the earliest and darkest of those days, she may have even have taken their flesh and blood. Taken their lives.
It had happened more than once, and the horrifying memory of it reverberated down the decades even now. Sending shivers of terror down her spine, accompanied by the dull ache fathomless regret even now.
It mortified and appalled Katerina that she could commit such horrors as she had, when her beast was dominant. It tormented her even though decades had passed, to recall those times when her personality was entirely departed, and any form of humanity or restraint gone with it. Those bloody and terrible times.
But it had been those same horrors, that galvanized her decision to contain herself, and ultimately to commit to a life of abstinence. To deny her beast and thus preserve both her sanity and her humanity.
It had been difficult at first without doubt, but ultimately the experience had proved liberating. Kat lived on her terms now, by her own rules. No longer beholden to her supernatural condition, with its savage impulses and bestial appetites. Yet still the terrible memories of blood and feral viciousness were there. And so was the grief and remorse.
But that was then. More than a lifetime ago, when she was a very different woman. The bitter truth was that ultimately, her powers had brought her nothing but loneliness and isolation. Even putting her savagery aside, to be at the centre of a maelstrom of sated desires and fulfilled fantasies was to be horribly alone.
But again, this was self pity, a self centred and utterly useless state of mind that begat nothing but sorrow. And Katerina Reynard didn’t want to feel sorrow, she wanted to be happy and free. To live life on life’s terms, whatever they may be without fear or regret.
The vamps Kat had come out with were going wild. Dancing like maniacs, laughing and revelling in the press of human flesh and mortal souls. Kat knew the feeling all too well, she remembered how it felt to let herself go wild. To be carried away on wings of ecstasy by the pounding of human hearts, and the coursing of mortal blood. And to allow full rein to her inner beast.
She remembered how it felt to allow ones glamour to radiate through the ‘still bloods’, to bewitch their minds and captivate their lustful cravings. Driving away the undesirable, and then basking in the heat of their collective adoration and arousal, as it made their blood race and their hearts pound.
The still bloods had no idea how irresistible they were to those of ‘other blood’. Whether vampire, were creature, hellion or puck, all the ‘other’ species were irresistibly drawn to the ‘still bloods’.
The sensuality of their flesh was, to the ‘others’ senses more gorgeous than the richest silk. The coursing of their hot blood more intoxicating and arousing than the most potent aphrodisiac. And the rhythmic beating of their hearts as mesmerizing and glorious as the most exalted symphony.
And for the most part, the sensual delights were all that any of the others truly sought. The superstitions that had thrived around the other breeds were mostly born of primitive superstition and fear. Far from the murderous villains they had been portrayed as, the others were generally far less dangerous than the humans themselves. That is with the exception of creatures like Kat.
Were creatures and shape shifters were host not only to human and supernatural impulses, but to bestial craving and hunger as well. And when the beast was dominant…
But Kat had turned her back on that way of living. She wanted to be free of the creature that dwelt within her. Kat just wanted to be herself. To be in control of her wild side, no longer subject to its primal appetites and carnal compulsions. No longer a slave to those bestial cravings.
Katerina broke her moody reverie, and looked around the room at the bacchanalian scene surrounding her, with a weary and forlorn eye. She just couldn’t seem to engage with this anymore, not without summoning up something of her inner beast. It was frustrating, and she was becoming increasingly irritated by the thumping club music, and the seizure inducing strobing of the lights.
Kat began to question whether she could even have fun like this anymore. If she couldn’t bare her fangs and show her claws, it was all just so boring. Perhaps a solitary life of practicing the meditative arts was to be her ultimate destiny, the prospect was truly depressing. Nothing but yoga and Zen, the gym and video games. Counting out her days into eternity, denying the beast that dwelt within her.
Katerina was considering simply slipping away from her friends and going home, until she saw her. The odd girl who seemed to be all alone, despite the presence of her friends.
She was a ‘still blood’, but there was something more to her, something special. It was a feeling that was strangely elusive and difficult to define. But there was something uniquely captivating about this girl, some indefinable something that quite set her apart from any other.
This was a sensation not unknown to Kat, but only half remembered, an old feeling from before she had been turned. This one was different, this one was in some elusive and mysterious way unique.
There was about her, some particular quality that set her apart from the flock. And Kat discovered that she was intrigued, not just by the one who had caught her eye, but by the sensations she was experiencing.
Katerina remembered this now. Gods, it had been so long that she had almost forgotten how it felt. And any notion of slipping away, departed entirely from Kat’s thoughts, the still blood had quite captured her attention.
She risked employing her abilities a little, and allowed her animal senses to probe. Not too much, not enough to ‘awaken’, just enough to get a feel for this anomalous girl, to take in her scent.
Kat’s mind reached out through the clamouring crowd of still blood’s, as they danced frenziedly all around her. She could feel the pounding of their beating hearts, and the richness of the blood pumping through their veins.
Kat checked herself. That was just her beast talking, her wild side seeking dominance. The bestial part of her heart. She didn’t want to be like that, she didn’t want to be the predator and she absolutely did not want people to be her prey anymore.
Kat concentrated and focussed her preternatural senses.
The ‘still blood’’ appeared rather awkward and out of place for this venue. But there was just something about her that had instantly captivated Kat’s attention.
The girl was dancing with her friends, but she did not truly belong amongst them. She was an outsider, a fringe dweller by nature and Kat could feel it. She could sense her discomfort. Kat could feel her otherness, her fundamental alienation from her fellows.
But there was more to it than that. There was strength as well, an independence of mind. A kind of sovereignty of self. Although this one wished she could find a place in the herd, there was a certain pride for her in being other.
Of course all ‘still blood’s felt alienated to some degree, but there were a very rare few who did in fact experience the world through a new perspective. Those with a perception and sensitivity far more insightful than their fellows.
This ‘still blood’ stood out from the flock like a gemstone amongst rubble. And Kats senses thrilled with excitement at her discovery.
To her surprise Katerina’s heart skipped a beat, and even raced a little with excitement. But not in any bestial or ravenous sense, but in an almost human way.
It had been such a very long time since someone had captured her interest in this fashion. Since anyone had caught the attention of that part of her heart that was still human, without awakening the part that was beast.
And she was cute. The way she danced a little awkwardly at the fringes of her group Kat found endearing. An outsider trying to find a place for herself in a world unworthy of her. Someone wonderful and bright, trying to blend into a dull gray world.
Kat empathized with her alienation from this place and these people. She missed the class and the style of previous eras. There was a kind of quiet to the old world which made the clamour of revelry that much wilder. She missed the days when popular culture had real panache.
This wasn’t Kats world anymore, it was loud and flashy to disguise its fakeness. She didn’t belong anymore, Kat no longer had pride of place at the saturnalia.
But neither did this still blood. Maybe they had something in common. Maybe she should find out.
Deep down Katerina was lonely and she didn’t want to be lonely anymore. And deep within her divided heart the seed of a new beginning germinated.
Kat examined her motivations before acting, reassuring herself that she was acting out of free will rather than animalistic compulsion. She shut out the beast part of her heart, a skill she had come to master over the past decades. And she shut out the longing of her mortal self, the part that pined for a return to humanity.
Between the two conflicting instincts she found her true self, the Katerina that she wanted to be. The Kat who for more than a century had gloried in excess, but who now sought the simple complications of ordinary life.
She craved the awkwardness of forming a relationship on equal terms, the trepidation of taking the chance. She wanted to gamble with her emotions again, just like before she had discovered that werewolves were more than fabled creatures. And this girl had awakened hope in her heart.
Perhaps this girl…
Kat whispered a silent prayer.
“Grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”
She got up from her seat and made her way through the press of hedonistic flesh over to the group. She danced closer and closer until at last she was dancing with her.
And the still blood welcomed her attention.
Let’s Get Out of Here
Claire Heart didn’t really know what she doing in this place, big flashy clubs weren’t her thing at all. The noise and the heat combined with the smell of sweat was overwhelming to her senses. The feeling of eyes on her body, assessing, judging and rejecting was starting to make her feel angry. Creepy leering eyes evaluated her like livestock, deciding whether they wanted to fuck her or not. And she certainly wasn’t enjoying the electro pop noise the DJ was producing.
But it was Zara’s birthday and Zara wanted to celebrate in, what she thought was style. And she had brought the whole IT support team with her. This club was supposed to be the place to be, the hottest venue. But Claire hated it, she simply didn’t fit.
But, Zara affection for her was genuine, and she had gone out of her way to include her, and she didn’t want to disappoint. Claire liked Zara, she was immensely capable and a big, bright personality. And she was on her way up, propelled by consummate ability and genuine enthusiasm rather than ambition.
Zara had arrived at the IT team like a wind of change, and had single handedly increased the team’s prominence and profile immensely. Claire respected Zara’s abilities and appreciated what she was doing for the department. But she simply wasn’t gregarious like her, she simply didn’t have the knack for networking and building relationships the way Zara did.
Claire was all about numbers and spreadsheets, graphs and chearts. She loved to lose herself deep in structures. Creating order and balance at the fundamental, unseen and unappreciated level. Claire loved to know how things worked, she loved the quiet solitude of the machine, and she wasn’t like Zara at all.
Claire was trying to enjoy herself, trying to fit in but it wasn’t working, she simply was not having fun. This was not her world.
But that was all forgotten, when ‘she’ came over to dance with them. To dance with her.
Claire was surprised and delighted. Kat she thought she said her name was, it was hard to be sure over the horrible noise. She was gorgeous, tall and beautiful with the most striking, almost feral looking amber eyes.
She was lithe and powerful looking, strong and athletic with bright red hair. Claire had seen girls like Kat at the gym, terrifically toned and muscular. She often wondered how they found the time to exercise so much.
Dancing with Kat was quite an experience. The way she moved her body was sensual and sexy, kind of mesmerizing and exciting. She carried herself with an obvious sexuality, but not in any overbearing or lewd fashion. It seemed wholly natural, and without the kind of clumsy affectation of sexiness that Claire found so off putting.
They danced together for some time getting closer and closer, ever more bold and intimate as Claire grew more comfortable.
Claire’s eyes found Zara who offered an enthusiastic look of approval, even encouragement. She was delighted to see the usually insular and shy Claire cut loose at last.
Claire didn’t notice as Zara began to move her group a little away from the girls, giving Claire the space to be free, to be herself beyond the sight of her colleagues.
Claire was a little self conscious at first, she found that her body was responding to the sensuality of Kats movements, conforming to her sexuality. She was pushing herself beyond the limits of her usual comfort zone. Far beyond.
And Claire liked it, she found herself feeling more confident with her body. Kat seemed to have a kind of infectious dynamism. Dancing with her was exciting and liberating. Claire felt free in a new way. Even the music was beginning to sound a little less repellent.
Eventually the strange girl stopped dancing. She nodded towards the bar and shouted over the noise.
Claire nodded her approval.
Kat took Claire’s hand, and the two made their way through the press of writhing dancers to the bar. Kat noticed a couple of the vamps she had come with watching her and laughing, obviously much amused to see her interacting.
Kat and Claire waited awkwardly for one of the barstaff to come over, but they were all busy with crowds of pretty young ravers. Whales to be worked for cash for outrageously overpriced drinks, and possibly lured to their beds. Eventually the strange girl indicated for Claire to lean in close enough to hear over the noise.
“I hate it here! Want to go somewhere else?”
Claire readily nodded her agreement, she’d had more than enough of the noise and the heat, and was glad of the prompt to slip away from her colleagues.
Kat took Claire’s hand once again, and led their way through the crowd towards the exit. Claire liked the feel of Kats hand in hers, and her heart raced a little with the excitement of this new adventure. She was thrilled to be going somewhere with this woman, wherever that might be. Eventually they emerged onto the street and out of the din.
“Oh thank god.” Kat said laughing. “What an awful place.”
“I know, right?” Claire replied.
“It’s supposed to be cool.”
“Noisy and sweaty and smelly is what it is.” Claire said pulling on her coat to ward off the cool night air.
“Hi. I’m Kat.” Said Katerina offering her hand.
“Claire, hi. Hey, I know somewhere much better we can go. Want to come and see what you think?”
“Yes, please” Kat agreed.
Kat took in Claire’s appearance as they walked. She was wearing a little burgundy red dress which was kind of appropriate for clubbing, but far too beautiful.
Now that they were out of the club, Kat noticed that it was actually a really nice velvet dress. It was high collared and long sleeved, with a decorative row of buttons running the length of the bodice. It was tailored immaculately at the waist, accentuating the shape of Claire’s hips.
The pleated skirt fell to mid-thigh level and black lace lining was just visible underneath. The ensemble was completed with black stockings and patent leather shoes. And a black velvet jacket without lapels, detailed with matching buttons and black, military style looped piping.
“So why go to a place like that?” Asked Kat. “You don’t really look like the club type.”
“Well, it was kind of a work thing, one of the team leader’s birthdays. I like her, and I wanted to go. I thought it might be fun to go somewhere different, you know. But I hated it, not my kind of place at all.”
“How about you. Do you go to places like that very often? You kind of look like you might fit, but not quite.”
Kat was tall and very beautiful. Superficially a good fit for the clubs, but her style was all wrong. She was wearing a tight black leather skirt, red suede creepers and a striped black and white short sleeved t shirt. Her leather jacket was a beautifully tailored. And her hair was short and spiky rather than long and shiny like the club girls.
“No. Not at all. I guess I was doing the same as you. Out with friends, their thing really, I was just a tagalong trying for something different.”
“So who are you, Claire? What do you do?”
“Well,” said Claire I’m a software engineer. Kind of an architect, I specialize in component based development. I separate concerns, you know, web services.”
“Okay. I think I know what you mean. That’s pretty cool. So what do you do for fun?”
“I like to blog.”
“Oh wow. What kind of a blog?”
“Oh, stuff, you know.” Claire answered a little cagily.
“No. I don’t know. Come on, what do you do?” Kat laughed.
“Well. I have a news and review channel, and I have a let’s play channel, gaming stuff mainly.”
“Claire Heart, right?
“Yeah, that’s me.” She said pleasantly surprised.
“Oh wow, I thought you looked familiar. I’ve seen your let’s plays. Click Heart to play, that’s you isn’t it? And you do that podcast with those guys, Total Teabag and Jesse James.”
Claire brightened. “Yes, that’s right.”
She was somewhat relieved and more than a little flattered at the recognition. Her channel had a big audience but it was spread globally. In her day to day life, outside of conventions she rarely met anyone who recognized her, let alone understood what she did. And she hated having to explain it. She usually kept her alter ego to herself.
“Wow!” Said Kat. “That’s so cool. What are the odds of finding Claire Heart amongst that crowd of randoms.”
“Guess I got lucky.” She winked at Claire.
“Not yet, you didn’t” Replied Claire playfully.
“So what about you, what do you do?”
“I’m a personal fitness trainer. I also run a small Zen meditation group, and I teach yoga. Usually only small groups.”
“Wow, that’s so cool.” Now Claire knew where Kat found the time to work on her body.
“Okay we’re here.” Claire announced.
They stood outside a bar with a large neon sign above the door which read Barracuda Bar. Claire decided to test the waters, to see where she stood. She was pretty sure Kat was interested in being more than just friends, but she wanted to know for sure. A heart too often disappointed or broken had taught her caution.
“I come here all the time, it’s my favourite place. It’s just for us, you know just women. No men allowed, are you okay with that?”
“Claire, I’m very okay with that. I thought you realized.”
“….I guess I just wanted to be sure. Things have gone wrong before, you know? High hopes make….”
“Broken hearts.” Kat finished Clair’s sentence in hopes of easing her concerns.
“Yeah, I get it. And yes, this is exactly my kind of place.”
“Well, come on then.” Claire said beaming.
It was Claire took Kat’s hand this time. She led her into the bar and they danced and laughed and talked until the small hours of the morning. All night long they didn’t run out of things to say, and they didn’t run out of laughter.
And they danced until their legs ached and their feet hurt, to music they both actually liked.
Thank you for reading
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