The young boy looked around the crowed downtown street of Philadelphia, and sighed. He wasn't looking for another "trick"; that one last night was too rough, and skipped out without paying. No, he was hungry, sore, and cold. The boy wasn't sure what to do, but he knew he had to do something.
That's when he saw them. They couldn't have made it more obvious they were tourists unless they wore signs. Colt didn't like what he thought to do, but he knew it was better than the alternative. Tourists always have a lot of money on them, and they are usually too busy sightseeing, or are too drunk to notice a kid bumping into them on a crowded street.
He followed them for a few blocks, just getting a feel for what they were doing, and waiting for the proper time to strike. Then he saw it. The man and woman stopped and looked up at one of the murals painted on the wall. Colt moved forward and bumped into the guy, while quickly reaching in and pulling out the man's wallet. Of course, nothing goes as planned.
The man spun around and grabbed his wrist. But what happened next changed the boy's life forever. He watched as the man's eyes flashed a bright red, and huge fangs fell down from his upper gums. "Ahhhh.. good... lunch is served!" Colt was able to break free, not knowing that the man let him, and started to run.
Colt ran as fast as he could; he knew he was in trouble, but maybe he could escape the people following him. He really knew better, but he couldn't help it... the sheer terror pushed him on.
'VAMPIRES!!!! His mind shouted at him, only to be followed by another thought.
'Vampires don't exist.
'Well, then, why don't you tell him that!
Colt turned suddenly and ran down an alleyway, as a guy in his early twenties, with glowing red eyes and fangs showing, hissed at him, then laughed.
He ran as far as he could, but it was a dead end. He turned around panting, and saw six figures standing at the entrance to the alleyway... all of them with burning red eyes.
As they started to walk towards him, the one in the center laughed. "Damn, pretty boy, you really fucked up trying to pick my pockets."
Colt looked around behind him again, pushing his long red hair out of his way, and then back again to the six approaching figures. Colt was pretty small for his twelve years, but living on the streets for the last two had toughened him up. He did the only thing he could think of: he screamed and charged them, hoping beyond hope that he could get around them and out the other side. No such luck.
He ran into the guy that he had tried to pick the pocket of, and instead of budging, it felt like Colt ran into a brick wall. All six laughed as the one that Colt ran into grabbed the boy and threw him backwards. Colt went flying, and ended up hitting the wall almost twenty feet behind him.
The boy saw stars, but could still hear the laughter, and knew that his tormenters were still coming after him. He was just able to clear the stars from his eyes when he saw something small land in front of him. From the size of whoever it was, it had to be a kid. Colt was small for twelve and the person, whoever it was in front of him, was even smaller.
Whoever it was, though, made the six young adults stop, as they sized up this interruption to their fun. One of them started to laugh, as the ringleader spat out, "Get out of our way... half life... or you're next on our play list."
"I am sorry, but I will not allow you to harm this young boy." The cloaked figure spoke in a thick accent, yet a voice still untouched by puberty.
'WHAT THE FUCK! Colt thought to himself. 'This little kid is going to stop six vampires?!?!? But that's about the time the young boy turned his head to look at Colt. Inside the hood of his cloak, the boy's eyes were burning a bright red... brighter than anything Colt had seen before. The boy let the cloak fall to the ground as he took his eyes off the boy behind him, and zeroed in on the people in front. His dress was archaic to say the least: an old oriental robe and wooden sandals. His head was shaved, save for a long black pony tail that looked like it came out of the back of his head. From behind his back he pulled two weird-looking long knives. Because of how small he was, they almost looked like short swords.
This obviously upped the ante, as the six quickly spread out, totally forgetting about Colt, who had scrambled to his feet, and was now pressed into the back corner of the alley, as far away from the vampires as he could be.
"You sure you want to play these games, kid? Just walk away and let us have our fun," the ringleader said again, but as he spoke, he pulled a knife of his own. Of course, compared to the Khukuri knives that the young boy had, the switchblade looked tiny.
Colt wasn't able to see the grin that came to the boy's face, but the other six were. "You may all back away now, and I shall not send you to your final death."
Before anyone else could speak, the boy's voice took on an almost demonic tone as a fierce wind started to kick up dust and small debris, causing it to swirl around the seven of them. Colt wasn't able to see much of what was happening, but he heard the young boy's demonic voice loud and clear. "MY NAME IS RUNIHURA!!! I am the Destroyer! Face me, and you shall feel Ra's embrace!"
The swirling was so intense by now that Colt could no longer really see what was going on, but from the sounds of fighting, and the screams that came from inside the whirlwind, Colt knew that someone was getting hurt... and hurt bad.
He wanted to run, but he stood there, transfixed on the swirling vortex in front of him, and the screams coming from within.
Almost as quick as it started, the wind died down, and the only person left standing was the young boy. The six others were littered at his feet. The boy bent down and wiped his knife blades on the shirt of one of the dead men, then turned and calmly picked up his cloak. He calmly slipped the knives back into the sheaths he had on his back, then put the cloak on. Not bothering to pull up the hood, he walked over to where Colt was standing.
Colt was visibly shaking as he watched the small boy walk towards him. The boy's eyes weren't blazing red anymore; now, they were a beautiful yellow color that seemed to reflect the light. Colt almost felt like he could see his own reflection in the boy's eyes. His darkly tanned skin glistened in the moonlight, wet from the blood of his fallen foes.
He quickly cleaned his hands off on his cloak, and extended a hand out to Colt, who had fallen backwards on his butt, and now sat there staring up in shock at this little boy who had just saved his life.
"You will be safe now; they who were after you are dead," the young boy said waiting for Colt to take his hand.
Very hesitantly, Colt reached up, and the other pulled the bigger boy easily to his feet. When Colt was standing, the young boy took a step back, and bowed to him, in a way of greeting. "My name is Runihura, but you may call me Runi."
Colt stood there still shaking like a leaf; he wasn't sure what was going on. "Are... are you going to kill me?" he asked in a quiet voice.
Runi laughed in a clear boy soprano voice. "My young friend, why would I kill you after defending you from those six?"
"'Cause... 'cause you're a vamp..." Colt never finished his sentence as everything was just too much for his young mind Suddenly his eyes rolled up, and his knees buckled. Runi moved forward quickly, and easily caught the boy before he hit the ground.
With great ease, Runi lifted the older boy into his arms, and sighed. "Well, I guess now I will have to bring you with me." With that, Runi moved out of the alleyway, and away from the bodies of Colt's six attackers.
It took Colt almost three hours before he woke, and at first he didn't remember what had happened. All he knew was that he was in a dark place, with some light coming from what looked like a fire down the hallway, and the torches that were placed around the room. He looked around at what he could see and was astonished. Everywhere around him were antiques hanging on the wall.
Colt used to love watching the History Channel, and learning everything he could about ancient history. What he saw on the walls were things he had only dreamed of seeing in a museum. He saw bronze swords, stone hilt axes, very old paintings, some sculptures, and even some weapons that he knew were old, but had no idea what they were.
He got off of the fur covered pallet he was laying on, and got up to look around. He was in a room that had dirt walls, floors and ceiling. He knew then that he was underground. He still had no idea what was going on, but he was so entranced by what he saw in the room, any and all thoughts of anything else were gone.
He ran his hand over a golden statue of some Egyptian god; he couldn't remember exactly which one, but knew it was Egyptian. The statue stood about two feet tall, and as far as he could tell it was made entirely of gold. His fingers traced the falcon headed statute, while looking around at everything on the walls.
"His name is Ra."
Colt almost fell over as he spun to look at the person who interrupted his musing. That's when it all hit him. Looking into the yellow eyes of the young boy in front of him, he remembered what had happened, how he was almost killed, and... and the vampires.
He stumbled back a few feet, bumping his back into the cold earthen wall. "Please... please don't hurt me."
Colt looked confused as the boy... Runi, he suddenly remembered the boy's name being... simply laughed, and moved over to sit in a very old chair. When he spoke, all Colt could think about was a very young boy.
"Colt. I am not sure about your mother, but mine taught me very clearly that it is not right to play with your food," Runi said, all the while grinning at Colt.
"What... what do you mean?" he asked uneasily, then rushed on, "and how do you know my name?"
"I mean that, if I had any intention of using you for food, I would not have brought you here, and for your second question. I must apologize, but humans' minds are much too easy for us to read."
"Us?" Colt asked, not really sure he wanted to know.
"Yes... Us, those you call Vampires."
Colt just stood there in shock. Yeah, he kinda figured out what those guys were last night, but he never thought he would hear someone say it. Colt could feel the icy grip of terror and tried to fight it down. He knew from his times on the streets that he needed to keep his head if he wanted to survive. 'Calm down, Colt, you need to be calm if you want to figure out a way to survive.'
"You're right, being calm is essential to getting out of a bad situation However, I can assure you, you are not in any danger here." Runi almost smiled at the shocked look on Colt's face.
"How... how'd you know?"
"If you remember what I said a few seconds ago, you will have your answer. Humans are very easy for us to read their minds."
"Riiiiight.. oh boy." Colt said, suddenly finding himself sitting on the floor.
"What... what are you going to do to me?" he asked in a very shaky voice.
"Well, first I thought I would let you eat what I've been cooking, then I figured you'd wanna ask some questions, so I figured we'd talk. After that... well, I have no idea. That is up to you," Runi answered while standing and starting down the hallway to where the fire was. He looked back and saw that Colt hadn't moved. "I am not all that good at cooking human food anymore, so you may want to come and make sure I don't burn it."
Colt sat there eating some of the deer that Runi had cooked up. He wasn't used to eating freshly killed animals, but when you live on the streets, you learn to eat whatever you can.
He was trying to figure out who this kid was, and what he wanted from him. He used the time while he was eating to try and organize his thoughts. He couldn't help but look around the earthen rooms; everywhere he looked was like looking into the past.
Spread all over the walls were ancient weapons, old paintings, and the statues. Colt could now tell by firelight that Runi was obviously Egyptian, not only from the bronze tone of his skin, but also all the different artifacts that had Egyptian roots.
He let his eyes run over the little boy one more time. Runi was dressed in a simple loincloth, with wooden sandals. His head was completely shaved, save for the long pony tail out the back of his head, black in color, that went down almost to his waist. The yellow eyes contracted beautifully against his bronze skin, his face almost like a porcelain doll. He looked no bigger then four foot nine or ten inches, and was maybe nine or ten years old.
"What are you thinking?" Runi asked, causing Colt to jump a bit. He had been so lost in thought he didn't realize that Runi had caught him staring.
"I... I thought you could read my mind," Colt answered not really ready to make eye contact. He knew Runi was just a small boy, but he couldn't help but remember what this small boy had done to save his life. He looked almost frail, almost like a perfect doll that would break if touched the wrong way. But Colt knew better.
"I can read your mind, but unless I need to, I usually do not. It is considered rude to read the mind of someone you are friends with." For the first time, Colt saw uncertainty in those yellow eyes. "I.. I mean, if you want to be friends, that is."
"Is that why I am here?" Colt asked softly. "Is that why you saved my life? You want a friend?"
Runi's eyes dropped to the floor; he wasn't used to feeling unsure of himself, not for a very long time. "Yes... No... what I mean is..."
Runi got to his feet, and walked over to where a statue of Isis was sitting on a pedestal. Colt waited for Runi to speak again; he wasn't sure, but he had a feeling this was important to the young boy. "I saved your life because you remind me of someone. I brought you here because I thought maybe... I thought that maybe we could be friends... yes."
Colt let that sink into his brain for a moment, and watched as the boy still fingered the statue, almost reverently. "I... I haven't thanked you yet... for saving my life. So, thanks."
Runi turned and smiled at Colt. "Think nothing of it. It was actually good exercise. I haven't had a good fight in many years."
Colt finally had to ask. He couldn't hold it back any longer. "How... how old are you?"
Runi sighed and walked back over to sit across the small fire from Colt. "Many people either do not believe when I tell them, or it makes them leave me. I will not hide anything from you, as I feel if we are to be friends, then we need to be honest. If you ask me the question again, I will answer; just please make sure you actually wish to know."
Colt put the piece of meat down, and sat back with his arms behind him bracing himself up. He looked at the young boy for a long moment; suddenly the boy looked even younger than he had before. 'Could he be telling the truth? I mean I know what he did to those guys, so if he wanted to kill me, he would have already.' Colt decided he would wait to ask that question till later. "You said I reminded you of someone, would you tell me about him?"
Runi closed his eyes, and Colt could almost see the start of tears there. He wasn't sure if he hadn't asked a wrong question when Runi opened his eyes back up. "Many years ago, I had a Childe." Colt's eyes raised in surprise, and couldn't stop himself from interrupting.
"But aren't you too young?"
Runi actually smiled, even though Colt could still see the pain in his eyes. "He was not a child as you are thinking of, he was someone I made into a 'grH-mrt' a Night Weaver. Or as you would know them, vampires."
"Oh, so you meant someone you turned into a vampire, not a child from two parents?" Colt asked interested now.
"Yes, we can make humans into Vampires. I have only made one, but he died many years ago. That is who you reminded me of... my Childe."
"Ahh... you saved me because I look like someone you knew who died. Well... thank you again." Colt actually gave a short laugh. "I really didn't want to die tonight anyways." Runi couldn't help but smile as well.
"But, you said you don't have any friends; won't the other... vampires... be your friends?" Colt still almost felt like this was a dream. He still couldn't believe he was having a conversation like this.
Runi sighed. "I do not think many vampires would really be friends with me. I am different from them. I am far older than any that I have ever met before. Also, many vampires do not like me because of how young I look, and how young I am physically."
Colt sighed, and made a decision, one that would change both of their lives forever. Slowly his eyes met Runi's, and they locked. Colt moved over, and sat right next to the young boy, never losing eye contact. Finally he got the courage up to ask the question he wanted to. "Runi... would you please tell me how old you are?"
Runi closed his eyes, and after a long moment he began to speak. "I was turned into a Night Weaver days before my thirteenth birthday. Three thousand eight hundred and ninety years before the birth of Christ."
Colt couldn't believe how much he had just learned from the boy that was now sleeping. At first he couldn't believe the boy was almost six thousand years old, but he couldn't deny the facts that were right in front of his face. He still wasn't sure if he should just run, or if he should stay. The fact that Runi had been completely honest with him was something that was making Colt want to stay.
After the shock of Runi telling him just how old he was, they spent the rest of the night talking. Colt told Runi everything that happened to him that made him find safety on the streets, and Runi shared a lot of his life story with Colt. There was still much that had to be told, but the sun started to rise, and if Colt wasn't sure about Runi actually being a vampire, he was then. Runi started to get a bit sluggish, then almost before he made it over to the pallet that Runi had for himself, he was out.
Colt had gone over at one point and hesitantly touched Runi's arm. Not only was the small boy somewhat ashen, he was also very cold to the touch. Much colder than he had been earlier in the night.
Colt then went and took a short nap himself. He woke up a few hours later, and since then had had nothing really to do except look around. He was rather shocked at the set-up they had down there. Four different rooms, two of them set up like bedrooms, one set up like a living room, complete with handmade chairs, and even some animal skin rugs to go over the dirt floor. That was also the room that had the ladder to go up top in.
Runi made sure to remind Colt that he had to make sure that he was careful if he went topside. He wasn't worried about the sunlight hitting him as he was in a room far away, but it would be easy to get lost as the entrance was just a dried-up well in the middle of nowhere.
The last room was the only one that actually had a door in it. When Colt looked in there, he could only stare in shock. The room was filled with riches. Gold, gems, jewelry, and the like were set up all over the room, some in boxes, others just lying out on makeshift tables. Colt just couldn't believe what was in there.
For almost an hour Colt just walked around the treasure room in awe. As he looked closer, he could tell that the treasure wasn't just from Egyptian times, but from many different time periods throughout the ages. He even found something that had to have been from colonial days. An old musket, and even a Civil War-style uniform. However, it wasn't sized to fit Runi. He was able to figure out whose uniform it was, though. He found a rough frame with a VERY old picture in it. There was a older teen wearing the same uniform. He was smiling and holding the same musket that Colt just had seen.
There was even a small box with some current currency in it. Colt could only guess that Runi got it off of someone recently. There was even a small desk with an old-style pen, complete with an inkwell, and a thick parchment book. Colt tried to look in it, but it was written in some strange language. It took him a moment but then he realized what it was... hieroglyphics.
He wandered around for a while longer, just looking at everything, then he decided to take another nap. He knew that Runi would be up all night long, so he felt he'd better sleep now. He figured he would have to change his pattern and learn to sleep during the day.
When he woke up later, he looked and didn't see Runi laying in the 'bed' that he had been in, so he got up to look around. He found Runi standing just to the outside of a ring of six burning candles on the ground. He was wearing a long black robe that trailed behind him as he walked around the circle. In the middle of the circle was a small golden figure depicting a human lower half, with a Jackal's head.
Runi was quietly muttering under his breath in a language Colt didn't know, but guessed to be Egyptian. If Runi noticed Colt, he made no show of it, as he continued to pace around the outside of the circle quietly chanting. Colt couldn't help but be mesmerized by what he was watching.
Runi stopped when he was facing the statue; his chanting got louder as he pulled a small pouch from behind his robe. He never stopped his chanting as he opened up and pulled from inside something that he held high in the air. His chanting got louder until he flung what Colt could now see looked to be a clump if hair. It landed on one of the candles and proceeded to catch on fire.
Runi, continuing his chanting but lowering his voice, started to walk around the circle again. Twice he circled it, until he again stopped and repeated the offering of hair that he pulled from yet another small pouch. He did this a total of six times in the next ten minutes, each time flinging a lock of hair onto one of the candles.
When he was done, he quietly stepped into the circle, then pulled a small knife. Without an expression on his face, he slit the palm of his hand, and held the bloodied hand over the statue until a few drops of blood fell onto the head of the figure... then he pulled his hand back and licked the blood away from his palm.
It was only then that Runi acknowledged Colt;s presence with a small smile as he went around and blew out the candles. Without ever looking at Colt, he started to speak. "Normally after an offering like that, I would allow the candles to burn out, but the smoke fills this place up pretty quick. I am sure Anubis does not mind."
When he looked over, he saw the question on Colt's face, and immediately understood. "Anubis... the God of Death. I just made an offering to him from some of the hair from the people I killed last night. I also asked him to wait just a little bit longer before I were to join him." Runi said the last part with a bit of a grin.
Colt couldn't help but smile a bit at Runi's last line. "I'm sure he's waited a long time; I doubt he will mind waiting a bit longer."
Runi couldn't help but grin at Colt. "You do not find it strange that I worship Gods long forgotten?"
"I guess it is a little weird... but..." Colt said as Runi led him from the room, and over to where the rest of the deer was waiting. He motioned for Colt to sit, and the boy did. "Before I was turned, I was in training to be a Priest. After I turned, I finished my training, and even was named High Priest. Of course, I was not very well known since I was what I am... but. However, due to where we are, and what I have seen so far, I would guess that you worship the Christian God?"
Colt hesitated but then nodded. "Normally I would say no... I mean, what kind of God would let me have to deal with the shit I've had to? But I guess deep down, I do believe. Sometimes it was all I really had to believe in." Runi could tell that the boy was close to tears, so he moved over, and wrapped an arm around him.
"Would it help you to know that I think we truly worship the same God, just with different names?" Colt gave him a disbelieving look, and Runi pushed on. "In Christianity, you have the three different aspects of the Same God. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." Colt nodded, and Runi continued while staring off into space.
"I have come to believe that God is God, and doesn't really care what you call him. Only man cares what God is called. I really do not believe that God would be that petty. I have studied many different religions, and have come to see that for the most part they are the exact same except for small parts. It is those small parts, though, that man has started wars over."
Colt was silent for many minutes, and Runi knew he was struggling with something. Runi had vowed to himself long ago that he would not read the mind of someone he called a friend, so he waited for Colt to figure out what to say.
"Can I ask something without you getting angry?" the larger boy asked quietly.
"Of course you can ask. I am sure that my beliefs seem strange to you, and the only way to learn is to ask questions. I promise not to get upset by anything you ask."
Colt was silent for a few seconds, then he blurted out so fast, Runi almost didn't catch it. "But... but... aren't vampires like an abomination? I mean you have to kill people to survive... would God really condone that?"
Runi couldn't help but laugh out loud. "You surely do not pull any punches with your questions, do you?"
Colt smiled briefly while avoiding Runi's eyes. "No, I do not believe that," Runi said while still smiling. "I do not believe that God would allow anything to happen like Vampires if he did not have a plan for them. But as with all things, the living, and the somewhat living have free will. The abilities granted to me by my entrance into the darkness have altered me, but it is I who decide how to use them. I can either use this for good or for evil. I choose to use my abilities for good. Never will I feed on someone who has not committed crimes. Nor do I use my abilities to lord over those weaker than myself. I have made those choices, and for that I know I will be rewarded."
Colt simply sat there, looking out at nothing just like Runi was, lost in the words the smaller boy had said. He really didn't want to, but he couldn't help but agree that what he said made sense. He wasn't sure he really believed it yet, but he would say it was a possibility.
After a few minutes Runi decided it was his turn to ask a tough question. "May I ask a hard question myself?" Deciding it was only right, Colt nodded.
"Why do you live on the streets, and not with your parents?" Runi felt the larger boy stiffen up, and hold back tears.
"Please... can we please not go into that now?" Runi nodded and pulled the larger boy into him.
"When you are ready, my friend.. and not before."
Runi decided to just let Colt look around, and Runi went back to the room, and added a few pages to his journal. It took him a moment to realize that when he finished this book, he would actually have finished his one thousandth journal. He thought for a moment and mentally looked at his library that was locked up tight in a city in South Africa.
He smiled briefly as he thought about all twelve of his caches he had stashed all over the world. When you have lived as long as he had, you tend to collect things, and Runi really was a pack rat. Every time before he would take another sleep, he would close up the 'home' that he had been using, travel to someone he hadn't been yet, and make a new place for himself. Then he would go to sleep, and when he was woken up, he had a new home already built. That was one of the many things he had learned from a man he met LONG ago.
After a few hours, Runi figured it was time for them to go out, so he went and found Colt sitting outside just to the side of the stone well that was the entrance to his home. "Hey..." he said softly as he took a seat next to the larger boy.
"Hi," was all Colt said before he leaned back against a tree stump and looked back up at the stars. Runi sat down next to him, and looked up as well.
"You know, I have looked up at these same stars for a long time from many different parts of this world, and I have come to learn one thing. No matter what happens in this world, to one person, it doesn't really mean that much to everything up there. Often I can think about my problems while staring at the stars, and they just do not seem that important."
Several minutes passed easily with nothing being said until Colt sighed deeply. Quietly Colt started to hum a song, then he started to sing quietly. Runi had heard many people sing during his days, but few had the same heart wrenching sadness that Colt put into his words. Runi felt the hot tears running down his face as he listened.
Runi felt the hot tears running down his face as he listened. When the song faded out, both boys sat there silently crying. Runi didn't know the details, but he now knew the reason that Colt was on the streets alone. He vowed to himself right then and there that Colt would never again be alone. 'Of course, he thought to himself, 'the last time I made a promise like that, I ended up having to turn someone.