I blinked, dazed, feeling like time had just gone in a giant loop. The very-average-looking vampire was still petting my head. That felt nice. “So, not a spy. Just a resister,” he petted my head, “and a Listener.”
“Waz doze?” I asked. I had meant to say “What are those?”, but my voice was slurring a lot after all those trips in and out of memory and trance.
“No harm telling you, I suppose. What you heard as whispers were our thoughts pushing against yours. Most human minds accept our influence without question. A few resist, and need to be enticed a bit more carefully. We call such people ‘resisters’.”
“‘Fluence. Yeah. Feels nice. Wubout ‘Listener’?”
He petted my head again. “Those are very special indeed, and rare. You could hear our telepathic messages, even when they weren’t directed at you. That’s why I called for ‘radio silence’, in case you were dangerous.” He chuckled. “I’m glad you weren’t. You’re actually really cute, all dazed and drowsy like this.” His fingers played down the side of my face again, sending tingles through my body.
“Mmm,” I leaned into the caress, practically purring. I blushed, but it felt so good. I didn’t want him to stop.
Behind him, Jason coughed. “My lord, it appears Rose planted the stake, though she does not know why, nor where it came from. She is waiting for you in room two, deeply entranced, and Lily is guarding her.”
I perked up at that name. “Lily wuz one with Fae. Where’sh Fae? Fae ok?”
Another gentle caress, another wave of tingles, another purr. “Your friends are safe. They’re sleeping. We’ll send them home again in the morning. We feed off both of them, but only a little now and then, not enough to do any harm. As for Jen, we’re doing what we can to help with those headaches of hers. They’re both resisters like you. Or, well,” he chuckled, and I shivered. “They were.”
I nodded. I thought that that made sense. Once you got to know these vampires, and how safe they could make you feel, the resistance faded. A small part of me, locked deep away, screamed that it did not make sense, there was no proof they were safe, and we should be fighting. Another, sadder part opined that it was pointless anyway: they were too strong and fast. There wasn’t any choice. Another lovely caress, another tingling wave, and my quiet objections subsided into silence.
“I hear you, Jason. As lovely as this is, Felix, it seems duty calls. We’ll have to erase your memory of this place. Can’t have you going around telling everyone the vampires really do have a nightclub. That could get you mixed up with all the wrong sort of people. It’s much safer to just listen to Jason, I’m sure you’ll find.”
I frowned up at him. “Not forget. Like you.”
Jason laughed. “They all do, don’t they, my lord, once you’ve been in their heads.” He smiled at me. “Don’t worry: I can put in a suggestion that you had a great time and you want to come back, so you can see him again. I hear Listener blood is extra potent.” He licked his lips suggestively. I squirmed, uncomfortable, and tried to get myself all the way awake as the manager walked away. It was hard, because most of my mind wanted to relax into more pets.
The door opened, then closed with its final-sounding click.
I looked up at Jason, then at the door. “Don’t even think about it, snack. He told you to listen, and you will.”
I tried to jump up out of the chair, hoping to run for it. I didn’t even get my feet on the floor by the time he had a hand on my sternum, pinning me in place. I struggled, trying to break his grip. “Fuck, I haven’t had a resister in so long. I forgot how good it is when they fight.”
Remember yourself, Jason. You’ve fed tonight already.
My eyes went wide. “How did he know?”
Jason sighed. “He always knows.” Reluctantly, he took his hand off my chest. I made no move to escape. I was dizzy and tired, and had proven to myself several times now that it was pointless. Even fear had no more power to move me. He put a finger under my chin, forcing my gaze up to his. The eye contact made me uncomfortable. Something about the way he looked at me was so different from his boss. Hunger, I decided. He looked hungry, and horny, and aggressive. I looked away. “Ok, that’s actually kind of impressive.” He took his finger off my chin, and I relaxed a little from relief. “That’s right,” he purred. Against my will, I relaxed a little more. “No blood contact allowed, and it seems that both eye contact and touch are only upsetting you. You can just listen, then.
Listen, and notice how tired you are already. How easy it is to relax back down into trance when you’ve been in and out of trance like that. How calming my voice sounds as you let it in and listen deeper. You’ve been so scared, but you’re relaxing now, letting yourself sink into calm, that’s right.” I was too tired to keep fighting; I had been so scared. Sinking into calm was better. I heard another whispery thought, but was too focused on listening to Jason to think about what it said. “That’s right, just let go.” My eyes started to close.
The manager burst through the door. “Jason! I need you on the service entrance, scan the smokers’ pit. They can’t have gotten far.” I blinked awake again, so confused.
Jason objected, “But they still –”
“Follow my order.”
I blinked, and Jason was gone. I frowned up at my captor, brow furrowing in puzzlement. Looking down at me, his expression softened. “Can you stand?”
I tried, but I was so dizzy. His arm was around me in an instant, steadying, supporting. “That’s alright. I’m sorry about this, but it’s faster to carry you.”
Before I knew what was happening, I was over his shoulder, and we were moving. I barely had time to gasp and squeak before we were stopping and he was lowering me onto…
I looked around. The room was so white, floors, walls, ceiling, different monitors beeping. I was on some kind of bed or table, sinking into the soft foam beneath its smooth surface. It smelled like a hospital.
“It’s ok, I’m going to keep you and your friends safe. This is the best place to do it.”
I tried to sit up, but his gentle, insistent hand on my shoulder kept me down. Looking around, I saw Jen and Fae lying on exam tables like mine, apparently fast asleep.
I could hear a cacophony of thought-whispers now, too many to properly make out.
Main entrance is clear.
No one saw them in the pit, my lord.
That one’s cleared to leave, but we still need to…
I tried to ignore them, but I had never been good at tuning things out. I started at a touch, then calmed. My captor looked down at me, concerned. “Lily and Rose are gone. We’re closing the club early, trying to clear out all the civilians for their own safety.” He gently petted my hair. Now I was sure I should be panicking, but I just couldn’t seem to. “Those we can’t send home, we’re keeping safe in here. This is where we treat your friend’s headaches.” I looked over at Jen. She was hooked up to a monitor with wiggly lines drawing themselves across a screen, wires trailing down to a band going across her forehead and around under her hair. I wanted to pull it off her and get her out of here.
More gentle pets, and my eyelids fluttered. “She’s ok, we’re just monitoring her recovery at this point, for science.”
I giggled. “For science!”
He smiled warmly. “That’s right. You’re safe here. I’ve got you.”
I frowned. “Whas your name, anyway?”
He chuckled. “It’s James. Pleased to meet you, Felix.”
The whispers continued to assault my thoughts, louder and louder, more and more. Sometimes James answered them.
Getting past you at –
The blond might have –
We’ll make him pay.
After a while, I couldn’t make sense of them, and my head was really starting to hurt.
Make sure to –
Those three are clear.
Check the south entrance next.
I whimpered. James blinked. Jason, you have the helm.
I’m not sure I–
You have the helm.
Y- yes my lord.
I could see in his eyes when his focus returned to the room. “Poor thing, so many voices at once are hard for me to contain, and I have training and experience. For you, it must be like a crowd all shouting at once.”
I nodded. Relief spread from his caressing fingers in a wave. I let out a sound not far from a moan.
“That’s right. It’s ok.” He stepped away, and I whimpered, but soon he was back, holding a straw to my lips. I gratefully sipped the cold water he had brought me.
He sighed. “Long night ahead, I fear. No time to adjust your memories while we brace for an invasion.”
He soothed me back down again, but this time, the fear wouldn’t quite drain away. “I don’t know if Lily gave Rose the stake, or someone else, but it’s clear to me now it was only a distraction. Your heroic charge into our broom closet, and then our search of your things, tipped their hand early. I only hope it bought us enough time.”
“Time for what?”
“It’s too much to explain, and you need rest.” He was right about that; even with all the voices, I could barely keep my eyes open. “Let’s just say not everyone enjoys our healing work, our compassionate approach to meeting our need for human blood.”
Again that deep, rich laugh. “You really are adorable. And a Listener.” James went quiet for a moment, looking deep in thought. He reached a decision, and smiled sadly. “I think I’m going to have to keep you.”