Abby rounded the corner, crossbow cocked, but no vamps were standing there. A flicker of shadow caught her eye, and she looked down, crossbow tracking the movement. Her fingers teasing the trigger, she took a cautious step out of the doorway. As she moved out of the light, it spilled into the room, illuminating the man.
He was stripped to the waist and chained to a wall beside a large bed. The chain was long enough for him to be on the bed, she could see, but for some reason, he chose the floor. From a brief inspection, she didn't see any bite marks on him.
Abby took another cautious step forward, and his head shot up. His sweat-soaked bangs partially hid his eyes, but she could feel them watching her.
"Please-" he rasped.
"Please what?" she asked cautiously. "Please free you?" The Talos gang hadn't yet thought to tie up a vamp as a victim, but there was a first time for everything.
"Don't- don't free me. Please shoot me."
She saw the fangs and had her finger cocked again before she fully heard the words. No vamp she had ever met had begged to die. Even the ones they had captured on occasion threatened to escape and drain her blood right up until the moment she killed them.
But this, this was different. Still cautious, ready for the trap to spring, Abby let her finger relax a fraction of an inch. "What?"
"You're hunters, right? Well, hunt me. Kill me. Put me out of my fucking misery."
"You're a fang," she stated a little unnecessarily.
"Yeah, that's kind of the point," he replied bitterly.
"Look, you don't even have to do it yourself if you're squeamish or something. Just roll a stake my way and I'll take care of the rest."
That decided her, and Abby reached for her ear comm. "Ray, my position, now. I've got our target," she barked out. Still keeping her crossbow ready, Abby then reached for her belt. She pulled out a small capped syringe and held it up between two fingers. "Easiest way out?" she asked, already knowing the answer.
"Door behind me," he replied quickly. "Two rights, second left, and you're in the alley."
"Good." Abby heard footsteps approaching and hoped that it was her backup. She placed the syringe on the ground and nudged it towards him with her boot. "Inject yourself with that – all of it," she instructed.
"Do I want to know?" he asked.
"Still got that death wish?" she retorted, tightening her grip on her crossbow.
"You have no idea," he muttered, grabbing the needle. He quickly jammed it into his leg, and then promptly slid to the floor, unconscious.
Abby spun around to cover the door and seconds later, Ray and Andrew came around the corner. "He's out," she announced. "Cut off the chain and get him out of here before he wakes up or any of the others come back."
They hurried to obey, and then the group quickly headed out of the club into the alley, where Otto was waiting with the van. Tossing their vampire captive into the back, the Night Stalkers sped off into the night
Hannibal groggily opened his eyes and looked around. The wide windows above him, curtained gently as they were, meant that either Danica had finally tired of him or he was still dreaming.
Time after time, in the last few hellish years, he had woken up in a place like this, but it was always a lie. He was a vampire now, and worse than that he was Danica's play thing. He was never going to see the light of day again.
Sighing softly, he closed his eyes again. He'd thought there had been a girl, but clearly that had been a delusion too.
Never again, he vowed, and not for the first time. Never again would he pick up strange chicks at creepy dive bars. of course, his vow was meaningless, because Danica would never let him go, but that was beside the point.
The point was that he had learned his lesson, like Ebenezer Scrooge, and if there was any kind of benevolent deity out there, Hannibal was entitled to get his "It's A Wonderful Life" ending now.
Instead of finally waking up, Hannibal drifted back into his hellish dream world.
"What's the verdict?" Abby asked Sommerfield.
"He's got some pretty bad injuries, internal bleeding and the like."
"I didn't do it," she replied a little too defensively.
Sommerfield chuckled and patted her arm. "I know. Some are old, repeated injuries. They're much less serious for a vampire than they would be for a human, though, so I'd like to let him heal for a little while longer before we try it."
"Okay." Abby wasn't sure why this information surprised her so much – she'd found him chained to a wall after all – or why it bothered her so much. Maybe because of the way he'd looked at her last night.
After the hunt, she'd taken a long shower, but she still couldn't scrub out the memory of his dead-looking eyes.
She'd never seen a vampire with such blank eyes, or one who begged for death. There was still so much human in this one, so maybe Sommerfield's drug really would work on him.
Hannibal woke up in the room with the large windows again and sighed. Was this going to be the new thing? Dreaming of this place that was relatively peaceful, as a backdrop to the rest of his life?
Was this his mind's new way of making the rest seem so much worse by comparison? Or was this some new torture thought up by Danica? She was certainly twisted enough to think of it.
Although, he didn't think Danica would bother to make him not hurt anymore. All of his bruises and breaks and aches and pains had faded away, like he was on really good hospital drugs.
Suddenly the girl reappeared in his view. "Look alive, little man," she teased.
"Am I alive?" he asked, disappointed. If she had been real, then why hadn't she killed him when he asked?
For some reason, the girl grinned. "What's your name?"
"Welcome back to the world of the living, Hannibal King."