1

 

    Light glinted across the undulating ocean. Elijah Albastru walked down the pink, sandy beach to the water’s edge, looking out at the purity before him. He was dressed from head to toe in black: fedora, coat, shirt, gloves, pants, socks, and boots. The only difference in color was his white sunglasses, glowing in contrast to the rest of his outfit.

    Elijah’s coat was unusual; the opening for the head extended upwards from the neck, covering him up to his nose. And his sunglasses covered from between the top half of his nose to the bottom of the fedora, like a mask. But the system worked to protect his skin from the sun’s mortal rays. He could actually see the day, something not many of his kind cared to do.

    Elijah turned away from the water, and made his way back towards the municipal portal. A Seraph flew down, landing in his path.

    “This portal is for Seraphs only.”

    That was false, but Elijah said nothing. The best way to end the situation would be to avoid confrontation. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself by making a scene; he wanted to leave.

    “Why don’t you take your little mask off, Vampire?” the Seraph said.

    Elijah knew he was just trying to assert his authority, now that a Seraph was Prime of the Inter-Species Council. What a pointless thing to do.

    Elijah put his hands in his pockets and stood his ground, staring upwards at the belligerent. He looked tall and strong, relative to other Seraphs, but with the same naked, greenish-turquoise body emblematic of his species.

    It only took the Seraph a few seconds to get bored and take off, probably to go belittle someone else with blatant bigotry. Elijah walked through the portal and appeared in Cyrus, the capital of the ISC. 

He saw Humans walking in their colorful suits on one side of the street—their side— on their way to their upper-class jobs. As far as the species went, Humans were his favorite. They were the epitome of balance. They were reasonably sized, reasonably tempered, reasonably intelligent. Humans were steady, an admirable quality.

    He walked down 7th Street and turned left at the derelict coffee shop and down a back alley, where a secret portal was hidden. Elijah stepped through it into a valley in the Northern Territory—Vampire territory. In front of him was erect a windowless, marble block of a building with a massive, amethyst circle (the symbol of Oculus) above the entrance. He walked in, taking off his fedora and sunglasses, revealing his slender, white face and vibrant, violet eyes. 

    “Good morning, Sir,” said a brown-eyed Vampire standing in the entrance chamber. “I thought you left for the day?” 

    “I left some things downstairs.”

    Elijah walked through the vestibule, avoiding eye-contact with the brown-eyed receptionist—those with brown eyes were of the lowest rank of Vampires, known as Marronos—and got in the elevator, getting off on the -13th floor. He entered the worship chamber illuminated solely by candle light. The chamber was empty, but Elijah thought nothing of it at the time. He walked across the vacuous space to a large glass door on the far side, each footstep reverberating of the white marble walls. He swung the door open and breathed in the oh-so-familiar air. He poured himself three fingers of viscous, red liquid and collapsed into his massive leather chair. His eyes caught the photograph, framed on his desk.

    “I saw the sun rise this morning. It was beautiful.” He raised the glass of red liquid toward the photograph and drank. It slowly poured into his mouth and down his throat.

    The woman in the photograph smiled at him, her violet-red eyes beaming. She had her arm around a younger version of Elijah. He smiled back her.

    Elijah’s eyes began to well up, staring at the photograph. 

    “I’m sure the one you saw was even more beautiful.” She had committed suicide a month ago.

    He hung his head and let out his sorrow. Today, he chose to sleep in his office, to be alone with the memory of his wife.

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    Moses rolled over in bed, reaching for his Tab on the nightstand. He pressed the bottom button and it illuminated.

    “Hello,” said a voice from within the device.

    “What’s the big stuff on my agenda for today?”

    “For today, you have two meetings planned. First is with General Hannibal Grey, the Seraph representative from the Eastern Territory, at 12:30 this morning, and the second is with a Elijah Albastru, Head of Oculus, at 7:45 this evening.”

    “Message my secretary to clear the chaff from my schedule so that I only have those two meetings. I don’t want anything getting in the way.”

    “Of course, sir.”

    Moses checked the time on the Tab’s screen: 7:45 AM. He pressed the bottom button again, and the Tab went black. He still had time to sleep. He rolled over on his other side, and closed his eyes.

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    Judas landed in front of Central Pier at the southern tip of Cyrus. He walked down to the end of the pier, wooden planks creaking with each footstep. He stood next to Hannibal, who was staring out over the water at the horizon.

    “Another good day to be a Seraph, am I right?” said Judas.

    “It always is, Judas. But it could be better, much better.”

    “I can’t wait for that day, General Grey.”

    “Where have you been? You’re late.”

    “Making trouble for annoying Vampire scum down on the beach. They have no right out here, during the day.”

    Hannibal shook his head but changed gears, “I’m meeting with a Human from the ISC soon. We’re going to lay the foundations for the alliance.”

    “I still don’t understand why it’s necessary. We have the strength in numbers to do this on our own!”

    “You are still such a fool! If we don’t have an ally, we would run the risk of Humans joining forces with the Vampires in the north, which, no matter how many of our own we have, would lead to our defeat. Let alone the mere fact that the Vampires could probably defeat us on their own.”

    Judas waited to reply.

    “But what about after this purge?” Judas said.

    “We do the next logical thing, turn around and destroy Humanity. Divide and conquer. Win.”

    Judas nodded in understanding, still unaware of truly why the Seraphs needed Humanity’s help.

    “So what am I to do?”

    “I’m promoting you to Lieutenant, Judas. You’ll be my bodyguard from now on. I am going to become quite central to this little operation, and I’ll need protection. I hope you can handle that. Nothing can happen to me, or else we fail.”

    Judas nodded and said, “Understood.”

    “Now, the two of us are meeting with Council Member Moses Dorian this afternoon. Be on alert, and do not say anything during our discussion.”

    Hannibal took off. Judas followed close behind. A new world was in sight, a world dominated by the righteous and just, a world of heavenly flight and peace.

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    “Sir, your 12:30 will be arriving shortly.”

    “Thank you,” answered Moses.

    He finished knotting his yellow and blue striped neck-tie and and looked around his office. The room had floor-to-ceiling windows with a panoramic view of Cyrus and beyond that the Transland Mountain Range that divided the Inter-Species region from the territories. 

    Moses ran his hand across the top of his leather desk chair and looked out onto the city. Men in the sky and men on land and men underground. That was the reality of Cyrus, of the Inter-Species Council: divided together. 

A woman’s voice boomed from the speakers in the ceiling, “Mr. Dorian, your 12:30 is here. Would you like me to send them in?”

    Moses pressed a button on his desk and spoke, “Yes, send them in. Thank you, Debra.”

    He grabbed the chrome handle of the office door and opened it out into the ash-colored, marble reception hall. Two Seraphs, one seven-feet tall the other at least a foot more than that, were walking towards him. Their bare, green-blue bodies glinted in the harsh light of the hall.

    “Hello, Mr. Dorian. I am Hannibal Grey.” He held his hand out in greeting, a Human custom that all of the species now used.

    Clasping the shorter Seraph’s hand in his own, Moses returned the introduction, “It is a pleasure to meet you, General Grey. Please, call me Moses.”

    He thought to extend his hand to the taller, more muscular Seraph, but he stopped himself after remembering that Seraphs do not often introduce subordinates. This big one most likely is here to protect Hannibal

    “Please, do come in.”

    He ushered them in to his ellipse-shaped office, but the large Seraph stopped in front of the door and stood, crossing his arms. Moses was made nervous by this unnamed Seraph. Was it truly necessary to bring such muscle to a meeting the Seraphs themselves organized?

    Hannibal sat down in a deep, leather chair in front of Moses’s metal desk, and soon Moses sat on the other side, facing him.

    “So let’s get started, shall we?” said Moses.

    “Yes, of course.”

    “What exactly can I help you with, General Grey?” said Moses, leaning back in his chair.

    Hannibal twiddled his thumbs in his lap. “As you probably are aware, my kind has not been on the greatest of terms with Vampires. The ISC was established in an effort to assimilate the sentients into one society and grow together. And I think we both know it’s failed. There is barely any inter-mingling, and if anything, there has been a drastic increase in speciesism.”

    Hannibal paused to check if his audience followed. 

    “Continue,” said Moses. 

    “Moses,” Hannibal said leaning forward, “I come from the Eastern Territory, where our lands are being consumed by our population growth. We need room for expansion.” 

    “So you’re asking what exactly?”

    “Where have Vampires been for the past few decades? They’ve been hiding under the spiritual protection of Oculus for decades now. What do the they even provide for us? Our two species innovate and advance, thrive. Those parasites scurry underground and barely communicate, preferring to intimately connect with nature.  They are unnecessary, worthless elements to an otherwise streamlined world.” Hannibal took a breath.  “And what do you do when there’s dead weight? You cut it off. Get rid of it. Dispose of all traces, making room for ourselves.”

    “You’re talking genocide!”

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    Genocide was a grim word for it. It was a global cleanse to remove the dirt and filth and muck under the earth. But now the crux of the meeting presented itself: everything beyond this point would be determined by what Moses said next.

    Neither Moses nor Hannibal spoke. Moses had his eyes closed, elbows on the desk, hands interlocked in front of his mouth. Judas cleared his throat in the back.

After a rather long period of silence, Hannibal knew he needed to bolster the offer—make it more appealing—before things turned sour.

“You are young, Moses, the youngest Council Member. It will take you decades to reach Prime of the ISC, if you even can make it that far. I can help you with that.”    

    Moses’s eyes opened, glowing.

    “How? The Prime himself is a Seraph. How would you...”

    Hannibal had sprung the greatest trap to Human emotion: greed.

    “I have my ways. So, that’s my offer. What about you? Can I call you my ally?”

    He watched Moses hesitate, clearly falling into deep, internal conflict. But Humans always took the selfish path over the altruistic.

    “What do you need from me?” asked Moses.

    “You represent the Western Territory, so have Humanity stand beside us while we defeat our enemy in the north.” 

    There was another period of silence. Hannibal, calm and composed, locked eyes with Moses.

    “This won’t go over well in the Council, or even with my people.”

    “You are the most loved Human Council Member in the ISC. You delivered on your campaign’s promise of Human social and economic stability in only a year’s time, and that was after war within your species. They’ll follow you off a cliff, like lemmings. And then you’ll be Prime, free to be loved by two entire species”

    Moses’s cheeks turned red. Hannibal had offered correctly, and Moses had fallen for it.

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    He had always hoped to climb the ladder of becoming Prime, but Hannibal was right. It would take decades to reach that position on his own since it was held by the Council elders. But genocide was not a justifiable means of attaining such a post. Did Hannibal really believe such an irrational offer would tempt him? Moses was slightly insulted by that. But I’ll play along, General Grey.

    His security team was on the other side of the far wall, listening in on their meeting. He had enough information to imprison Hannibal for treason of the highest degree. But he also knew that Hannibal had control over the entire might of the Eastern Territory, so he had to be delicate with how he went about this situation.

    Moses stood and said, “You have given me many things to consider, General Grey. I look forward to working with you. Now, if you’d excuse me, I have other meetings to attend.”

    Hannibal Grey then stood up, towering over him with his menacing, naked body. 

    “I’ll be back at the same time in two days to hear your decision.” 

    The larger Seraph followed him out of the office. The door slammed shut, and Moses fell back into his chair. He swiveled around to look out upon Cyrus. Yes, I have to play my cards right.

 

 

2

 

    Elijah awoke to the Night Alarm, a system Vampires created to alert the population that the sun had set. He was still in his office, his glass empty next to the photograph. He looked over at the clock on the wall. It was 7:15 PM. Elijah pulled a small, metal case out of his pant pocket and opened it. Inside, there were two, yellow-tinted contact lenses. He put them in his eyes. His eyes were now brown, and as a Marrono he would not draw as much attention. He threw his black jacket on and made his way out of the building where he went through a portal to Cyrus.

    On the other side, the streets were bustling. Humans on one side, Seraphs on the other, and Vampires lost somewhere in the shuffle. He pushed his way through the crowds for a dozen blocks until he found himself at ISC Headquarters. It was a soaring, glass skyscraper that towered over all of Cyrus. Elijah walked into the lobby where he was sent through a security scanner before taking the elevator to the 187th floor. The elevator shot like a rocket upwards, slowing down just before reaching the desired floor. The doors opened, and Elijah stepped foot into a gorgeous, grey marble foyer. There was a young woman sitting at a small desk in front of him.

    “Mr. Albastru, correct?” the woman said, without lifting her head to look at him.

    “Yes, my dear.” Elijah pinched the tinted contact lenses out of his eyes and returned them to their metal case.

    “I’ll let him know you’re here,” she scoffed.

    “Thank you very much.”

    The woman pressed a button on her desk and said, “Sir, Mr. Albastru is here, that Vampire from Oculus.” 

    Elijah heard static, then a voice say, “Debra, please send him in.”

    “You can head in now.” She smiled and pointed behind her to a door at the end of a hallway.

    He made his way down the hallway and opened the door. A handsome, dark-skinned man wearing a sharp, chocolate-brown tie was standing beside a large metal desk, peering out at the electrified city in the black of night. 

    “Not a bad way to see the world. Though, I would miss the sun.”

    “It’s a simpler life, I find. I feel closer to nature while in the dark.”

    The man turned and looked at Elijah. His face looked as though chiseled from a block of ebony marble. 

    “Violet,” said Mr. Dorian.

    “Pardon me?”

    “Your eyes,” Mr. Dorian said. “From what I know of your species, Violettos are considered holy, closest to God?”

    “We are no more closer to God, or to Enlightenment, than anyone else,” said Elijah, smiling.

    “Well, it is quite an honor to finally meet the Head of Oculus. I’ve been fascinated by your organization for quite a while now.”

    “An honor to meet you as well, Mr. Dorian.”

    “You know, your species is the only one of the three that still has a form of theocracy. You are a reclusive, quiet, peaceful people. Yet somehow you are still as advanced as Humanity and the Seraphs. It’s compelling.”

    “We strive for the continued prosperity of our species at Oculus and encourage acceptance over speciesism. That includes everything from natural spirituality and prayer to tapping into the spirit of the Earth.” Elijah paused. “Mr. Dorian, why have you asked me here?” 

    “Why have I asked you here?” repeated Mr. Dorian. “Would you please take a seat?”

    Elijah sat down in a soft, leather chair. Mr. Dorian walked over to his desk chair, looking nervous. He showed no signs of being uncomfortable in the presence of a Vampire, an anomaly with respect to majority of Humanity.

    “I initially planned for this meeting to be an olive branch from ISC to Oculus, but, as you and the rest of Oculus may know, I met with Hannibal Grey this afternoon.”

    “I was aware of the meeting, but I don’t know about anything that was said.”

    “Well, to get straight to the point, he wanted me to join him in an alliance...to eradicate the Vampires in Cyrus, as well as those in the Northern Territory.” Elijah went limp. “He promised me Prime if I were to join him. But...”

    Eradication. A Human-Seraph alliance. Elijah couldn’t process all of the information. His people could be wiped out. Terror overtook his body, and he gripped the arms of his chair. His jaw clenched, grinding his teeth. Death. Invasion. Seraphs. Bloodshed. Vampires.War. He couldn’t comprehend how he missed seeing a plot to destroy his entire species. How did Oculus miss such a development?

    But then Elijah realized the obvious. There must be more to this. He pulled himself together, swallowing his anxiety.

    “Do you honestly believe that that is Hannibal’s entire plan?” asked Elijah.

    “I don’t know what to believe!”

    “There’s a fundamental principle of war: be stronger than your enemy,” Elijah continued. Mr. Dorian stared at him. “My species is strong. Stronger than yours and the Seraphs.”

    “Yes?”

    “So, if the Seraphs are too weak to defeat us on their own, they’ll acquire more strength wherever they can find it, which is what Hannibal is doing. But what happens if Vampires are gone?” He paused. “Seraphs take over our Northern Territory and have a new border, a border with Humanity. And, I’m sorry to say it, Mr. Dorian, but your species is not powerful enough to suppress a Seraph invasion. This is not about the genocide of my people, but the elimination of both of our species!”

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “So we can assume that Dorian is with us?”

    “I believe so. I told him that he’d be Prime if he joined us.”

    “Smart decision. That being said, I am Prime...You’d be wise to not fall into the habit of making promises you can’t keep.” 

    “Yes, Mago,” said Hannibal. “I won’t.”

    It had been Mago Grey, the current Prime, who had planned this purge. But such an act could corrupt his public image. So he funneled his plans to his older brother, Hannibal, General of the Armies of the Eastern Territory. They had worked in tandem for their whole lives, always helping one another attain higher, more powerful positions, and now they, together, had complete control over the actions of their race.

    “I’m meeting with him again tomorrow to confirm his decision.”

    “Good,” Mago said. “Let’s hope we can go through with this as quickly as possible. Plan to ready the armies upon hearing good news.”

    “Understood.”

    Hannibal tapped an icon on his Tab and ended the virtual communication with his brother. He looked at Judas.

    “And so it begins,” said Hannibal.

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    Moses trembled in shock upon hearing Hannibal’s true plan.

    “I don’t understand, Mr. Albastru. Why Humanity?”

    “Supremacy.”

    “But wouldn’t supremacy require some sort of lesser being to oppress?”

    “Yes, which is why I believe eradication is not Hannibal’s exact objective. Some must survive in order for the Seraphs to feel satisfied.”

    Moses stood up, anxious and bewildered. He looked down at the moving specks on the street below.

    “How simple it is killing ants, Mr. Dorian.” 

    Moses turned back to the Vampire, fists clenched, fingernails digging into his palms.

    “What do we do?”

    “We’ll have to get rid of Hannibal,” Mr. Albastru said.

    “And how do you suggest we do that? How do you know that would stop this insanity?”

    “I don’t know if killing Hannibal will stop this, but it will at least give us time. Oculus can handle removing him.” Elijah imagined his strongest Rossos—red-eyed Vampires—handling the job.

“I just want my people safe. I’ll do anything.”

    “As do I. We’ll stop this, Mr. Dorian,” said Mr. Albastru. “But I do need you to continue acting on Hannibal’s side. Surprise is key.” 

    With that, the Vampire stood up and put his black coat on.  He pulled a metal box out of his pant pocket and put a pair of contact lenses in his eyes. He looked at Moses with his now-brown eyes. What a pragmatic form of camouflage. 

    “Good night, Mr. Dorian. Tomorrow is a new day, a day that may just change the world.”

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    Elijah returned to Oculus, where his subordinates had finally shown up. He went back down to the -13th floor and into the natural worship chamber. There, he approached a Vampire observing a dozen Azzurros—blue-eyed Vampires—sitting in a circle in the center of the chamber, praying.

    “Where were the day-shifts for afternoon worship? The chamber was empty,” Elijah said.

    “Oh, sir, they all received a message from you saying not to come in.”

    Panic. Elijah had sent no such message. Something was wrong. Somebody must have hacked his Tab. Why would someone want there to be no worship in Oculus this afternoon? The meeting with Hannibal! Without worship, we can’t connect to what’s occurring with other species, and Hannibal must have known that because he made sure Oculus couldn’t tap into his meeting with Dorian. Elijah interrupted the Vampires praying on the floor.

    “I need you to connect to a Seraph named Hannibal Grey. I need as much information as possible on his thoughts and whereabouts.”

    The Azzurros on the floor nodded and closed their eyes. They clasped their hands together and murmured indistinguishable words under their breath in unison. The candles strewn about the chamber burned brighter, changing color from yellow-orange to green to blue and finally to brilliant purple. When the flames subsided, the praying Vampires opened their eyes.

    “We found him,” said the twelve as one.

    “And?” said Elijah, on edge.

    “He is in the central army base in the Eastern Territory. There are over five million Seraphs ready for combat,” said one of them, his voice distraught. “Hannibal is planning an aerial invasion of the Northern Territory!”

    Horror-filled expressions swept across the faces of everyone in the chamber.

    “Is anyone else working with Hannibal?”

    “Yes, sir. Prime Mago is using Hannibal as a puppet. And he plans to continue on to Humanity after the Northern Territory is captured.”

    Elijah’s suspicion of an attack on Humanity was correct. But the Seraph’s plan also ran deeper than Elijah had anticipated. This invasion was being controlled through Mago, through the ISC. Is Dorian a part of this? No. If so, he wouldn’t have told me about Hannibal to begin with.

    “Brothers, I just got back from a meeting with Council Member Dorian. What Worship has uncovered is true: Hannibal is planning to destroy us. And now that I’m aware of Mago’s role in this, I am even more certain that such an invasion will take place if we do not act soon. Long have we lay dormant, praying peace and integration could flourish in this world, but it’s clear that such a place cannot exist. In order to protect ourselves we must take action. Hannibal and Mago Grey must be stopped at all costs.”

    War and death and everything that Oculus had been trying to avoid for so long was now standing at its doorstep. Those within its marble sanctuary feared for their lives.

    “Brother Elijah, are there no alternatives to conflict? Diplomacy must be possible,” one said from within the shadows of the dim chamber.

    “No. As of now, Hannibal is unaware of my communications with Dorian. But if he were, that would jeopardize his safety, as well as millions of innocent loves of both Humans and Vampires. Pointless death, pointless misery, I—we—will not stand for that.”

    The Azzurros and Rossos all stared at him, waiting to hear what it was that they would do. Elijah took a breath and raised his voice so it reverberated off every wall of the chamber.

“So, brothers, it’s time,” Elijah roared. “It’s time to take action. Let us demonstrate what the true strength of unity is. Let us be swift in the night! Let us end what should never have begun.”

    There was a spirit rekindled by his speech, a spirit that had been lost deep within; the spirit to rise, to fight, to overcome prejudice and win. The eyes of those in the chamber burned with passion. 

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    Moses was conflicted. He paced the length of his office.

     If he supported Elijah and Oculus, then he would be putting himself in immediate danger, and sacrifice the lives of millions of his species in fighting the aberrant Seraphs.    Equally as bad was the possibility that if he allied himself with Hannibal, the genocide of an entire species would be engrained into his conscience, eating away at him for the rest of his life. A decision had to be made. But was there a right decision?

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    One of the Azzurros who was in the worship circle approached Elijah, head bowed and hands behind his back.

    “I saw something else in worship.” His voice was quiet, serious. “I saw your wife. Hannibal took her.”

    Elijah’s eyes were wide, shaking with intensity. He had seen her remains on the beach. He thought it had been suicide. Over the past year, suicide rates of Vampires increased by twenty percent, so it was a natural assumption. But this?

    “He took her...and raped her...He lynched her on the beach at dawn.”

    Elijah balled his hands into fists. Fury flooded his veins. Peace and calm were no longer in his view. He wanted blood to flow, Hannibal Grey’s blood.

 

3

 

    The clock struck 12:30 in the afternoon and Moses still had not made a decision. Debra’s voice sounded through the speakers in his office.

    “General Grey is here.”

    “Send him in, please.”

    He opened the door for his guest, allowing him into the office. The tall Seraph was still with him and stayed at the entrance yet again. As he entered, Hannibal saw the back of a familiar head in a chair, facing away from him. Mago.

    “Please, take a seat, General Grey.”

    Moses sat as well, his red tie falling neatly in his lap.

    “So before I state my decision, General, I thought it would be wise to include Prime Mago in our discussion.”

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    Judas saw that Hannibal was silent, as was Mago. The two looked at one another. Moses spoke.

    “So the plan for this Seraph-led genocide, that was your idea, correct? To alleviate the world from the parasitic Vampire?”

    Yes, and soon the world will be a splendid place, Judas expected Hannibal to respond. But noticed that Dorian wasn’t looking at Hannibal. He was addressing Prime Mago. 

    “How did you know?” asked Mago.

    Dorian’s eyes looked upwards toward the entrance. Judas felt a dull pain in his back, then another, and another, intensifying until he lost consciousness.

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“Because I told him,” said Elijah, standing behind the Grey brothers, blades pointed at both of them. The tail of his black coat still airborne from Elijah’s sprint into the office. He was irate, eyes glaring with intensity.

Elijah watched them turn around. Their faces were terror-stricken upon seeing him with blades aimed at their necks. Elijah pressed the blades against their throats. There were six Rossos behind him, who had silently killed Judas by stabbing him in the back. His body lay motionless on the floor in front of the door.

    “Peace and prosperity and equality is all we’ve wanted,” Elijah said, rotating the blades in his hands, pricking their skin. “We are a quiet, simple species, but push us in the wrong way, and we will act. You have shoved rather hard. We are not ants beneath your boot. We are not parasites. We are Vampires.”

    Prime Mago, defenseless, tried responding, but he could not find words. He gripped the arms of his leather chair, trying to lean back away from the blade, but there was no more room. Elijah inhaled and thrusted one of the blades through Mago’s throat and through bone. Blood trickled down. He let go of blade, leaving it in Mago.

    He turned to face Hannibal. He pressed the tip of the other blade into his rigid, turquoise skin, making a small nick.

    “You,” Elijah said, his face now beet red in anger. “You raped and killed my wife. You plotted to destroy my people and another as well. You are scum. You are the parasite.” He punched Hannibal in the face, knocking him to the floor.

    Hannibal pushed himself back onto his knees and looked up at Elijah, mouth bloodied and said, “That whore hated every minute of it. She begged me to kill her, so I gave it to her again and again.”

    Elijah punched him a second time. Hannibal hit the floor. He spat red and teeth. Elijah stood over him as Hannibal brought himself back to his knees. Elijah pointed the blade at the Seraph’s bloody throat.

    “This doesn’t end with my life,” he said, laughing. “Your people will die. My species will make sure of that. Dogs always die eventually...”

    Elijah slowly pushed the blade into his throat until it couldn’t go any deeper. Hannibal stopped moving, collapsing on his back. 

    Elijah let go of the blade handle and placed his hand in the dark, red pool of blood encircling the dead Seraph’s head. He lifted it up to his face, watching the viscous red liquid run down his forearm. 

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    Moses, shaking, watched Elijah stare at his red hand. Elijah looked up at him, violet eyes piercing his. He was crying.

    “Is this chaos?” said Elijah. “Or is this serenity?”