When Erica managed to calm herself down and clear the traitorous thoughts running around in her head she started to plan the next move she’d need to make. It was unbelievable to Erica that fate would pair her up with a Hunter. Erica was an empath even before she had been turned and the change from mortal to vampire altered that gift as well. The ability to feels other emotions while difficult at first became useful once she had learned control over it. The change granted her the ability to feed off of the energy created by strong emotions and thereby reduced the amount of blood she needed to consume. There were other advantages of what the change did to her gift.
All vampires were apex predators, the top of the food chain as far as mortals were concerned. Erica could track prey by scent and sight even in a dark forest on a new moon as easily as she had detected John, the Hunter she corrected her wayward thoughts, as he walked in under the bright lights of the dance club. She had a greater advantage in her hunting in that she could sense what her targets were feeling; letting her avoid those that were wary or dangerous to her. At least that’s how it had worked until she met him, Erica thought. How could a gift she’d trusted for the last century fail so miserably that she had kissed a hunter?
Erica wanted to deny her feelings about the handsome young man even though she’d never had cause to doubt herself. The bigger issue she had with the situation as a whole was the fact that she knew what John was feeling for her right up until the moment he dropped her on her ass and ran for the hills. She had felt lust for sure, but that she got from the men and women on whom she fed from. Underlying the lust was a strong surge of emotion she wanted to deny having felt; even with all her desire to forget the feeling, love was an emotion she so rarely felt that she couldn’t help but to luxuriate in on the few occasions she felt it. This had been the first time in Erica’s long life she had felt it directed towards her.
John finished his breakfast before using the showers at the truck stop. He was back on the road heading for the cabin in the mountains. He turned the music up and tried to focus on it at first. After that he started looking at the license plates on passing traffic to count the states before moving on to counting mile markers. No matter what he attempted John was unable to get thoughts of Erica out of his mind. He’d already given up on try to think of her as an It or a thing because his mind refused to form those thoughts. John admitted to himself that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen; let alone had met personally. The problem existed in that it was his life’s mission to protect those who were ignorant of their existence from the creatures that lived in the shadows. He pushed the thoughts relating specifically to Erica to the back of his mind and focused on the crisis or identity or faith that he’d had right before stopping for breakfast.
Where all of the monsters automatically evil simply because they weren’t human anymore? Not all of them started off as humans as far as he knew but many had. He had been fighting for his life since he started hunting a decade ago; never able to go a day without thinking of the danger they were to him. Now last night he walked right up to her and kissed a Vampire, kissed Erica. He pushed the memory of her lips against his from his thoughts again. What happened to ten years of training and survival instincts when he’d seen her across the room? The thing that bothered him the most was that any other time he’d been in the presence of any kind of monster he’d know they were supernatural even if he didn’t know the type of creature he faced. Last night there was no sense and no warning.
John’s thought shifted to the night, five years ago, that he had found his parents had been turned. They had sought him out after they’d been changed; they hadn’t attacked but then again he didn’t give them a chance to do so. The minute he was in their presence he’d had that same feeling of danger he’d get from the monsters. He pulled out the machete and sidearm he used for hunting and attacked. I should have died that night, John thought. But he hadn’t; he’d taken on two trained Hunters with all the powers of vampires and lived. Had they come to him to die? Was he that good of a Hunter? What had happened that night?
Thoughts of Erica wouldn’t stay in the back of his mind. The feel of her skin as his hands slid down her arms and around her hips. The memory of the weight and feel of her body against his when he lifted Erica from the floor with her firm ass resting in his hands flashed though his mind. The smooth texture and pressure from her lips when the kiss started pushed into his mind followed by the sensation of her tongue against his as the kiss deepened. Part of John wanted to turn the truck around and head back into the arms of a predator. He thought that he might finally be going crazy because of the knowledge of what existed in the shadows. He forced himself to continue on for the cabin.
Erica came to a decision on what to do and implemented it as the sun set that evening. She employed another aspect of her gift that had been changed with her. In addition to feeding and sensing the emotions of others she was able to track them in a way similar to dog and other vampires hunting by scent. Erica rushed back to the club’s parking lot in order to detect a trail. She found the imprint of his emotions quickly enough and she had two trails to follow. The first trail was the freshest as it had all the emotion she had felt in the club with a heavy dose of fear and confusion added to it. The second trail she found was older and the one she had been looking for; it didn’t have the feelings of lust or love but had his emotional flavor, for lack of a better word. This one Erica chose to follow back to where John had come from. She’d chosen this tactic in for several reasons. The first being that by following the older trail she’d be able to tell if the newer one joined up with it; telling her if she’d be walking into his home with him there. The second reason is that she really didn’t see herself as ready to face John; her emotions were still conflicting with each other. She feared for her life in seeking out the Hunter but wanted nothing more than to have him hold her in his arms again.
The trail she followed never crossed with the newer one as it led her to John’s home within the city. She entered the building without fear as she already knew that John wouldn’t be there. Climbing the stairs quietly as not to disturb his neighbors Erica’s heart began to race, pounding away in apprehension. She had no fear of death, but of what she may learn about the young man she was hunting. Hunting was the right term but not in the traditional sense. Erica wanted him more than she was comfortable admitting to herself; the last century of her life had been very lonely because she didn’t let anyone close. She closed off her heart as she was afraid to fall in love just to watch the person age, wither and die or for her to need to move away from the area as to hide her nature. Erica broke into the apartment simply by turning the knob with her enhanced strength until the lock broke in her hand. She spend the rest of the night looking for anything she could find that would help her understand John.
John arrived at the cabin just about the same time that Erica was breaking into his home in the city. He was unaware of her actions even though memories of how she looked and felt in his arms assaulted his mind and heart. He hung his jacket on the coat rack and headed to the back of the cabin to cut firewood. The sound of the axe driving its wedge shaped head into the wood was deafening in the quiet forest. That was his meditation; the method he chose to aid in clearing his mind. He’d split enough logs to last for an entire winter before his thoughts had calmed enough to allow for decision making. He came to a decision in regard to Erica and began his preparations for the most important hunt of his life.