New Orleans. The City of Saints and Sinners. A city bathed in neon light and encompassed in darkness. Tonight was Mardi Gras. Throughout the city people caroused, partied, and did things they would likely forget, or want to, by tomorrow. In the Treme District, just a few short blocks from the madness of the French Quarter, however, there was no celebration. Riddled by years of poverty, the city’s historic Creole district had nothing to celebrate. Tina Baker awoke here in Louis Armstrong park not knowing how or why she ended up here.
The night was cool, but it didn’t seem to effect Tina despite being dressed comfortably for a night clubbing. The edges of the city were fuzzy. The streetlights less brilliant. Her senses seemed heightened, yet fuzzy. Except for the hunger. That was sharp. And another thing…three other people were dragging themselves to their feet. Along with her, they made a rough circle around a statue of Louis Armstrong.
They all seemed to be suffering the same effects…and Tina feared all of them, except for the kinda, cute older guy, who seemed to fade in and out of her view. That was creepy, yes, but she felt threatened by the others. The realization that fear overtook their faces as they gazed upon her, however, eased Tina’s fears.
She heard a group of people. Drunks. Stumbling toward her from a side street. She felt her hunger grow, but the thought of food turned her stomach. Something in that group fueled her hunger. They stopped unseen at the sound of keys dropping to the ground.
Tina approached the alley.
She saw a group of college students, about her age, swilling whisky. Two men, two women. One of the women bore a fat ringlet of Mardi Gras beads around her neck. Her blouse was unbuttoned several buttons.
“Slut,” Tina thought. But more important, look at the throb of those veins in their throats. Tina felt needle points jab her lower lip. She realized that they were her elongated canine teeth. And she realized that the sustenance she needed pulsated in those jugulars. She was vaguely aware of the ‘shadowy-one’ following her. She did not care.
She had to feed.
She grabbed the man holding the whisky bottle. She could her his heart hammering away in his chest. As her fangs broke through the skin of his neck, she felt the rush of blood spreading through out her body. The man wrapped his arms around her, as if he were leaning in for a kiss. Tina heard a scuffle beside her, but was too enthralled with the feed to pay any attention. She felt strong…like she never had before. But a voice, a meak voice, spoke to her. “He will die.” Tina realized this was her voice…her voice before she had changed. The new Tina shouted, “Feed!”
But Tina resisted.