“What was that for?” He asks, still slightly out of it.
“Xu! Wake up! You aren’t all here!”
“What are you talking about? I’ve been standing right here listening to the music!”
“Exactly.” I say, realizing that there is something terribly wrong with the tunes coming from the stage.
“I think we’ve been hypnotized.” Teh tells Xu.
“If we were all hypnotized, then how did we break out of it?” Xu wonders. Teh turns to me.
“Well, you woke me up. How did you wake up from it?”
“I was never hypnotized, at least, I don’t think I was.”
“How long have we been standing here?” Xu asks.
Teh pulls out her robot’s controls and taps the screen. It displays the time.
“It didn’t take more than half an hour to get here.” Xu states simply.
“So we’ve been standing here doing nothing for almost fifteen minutes?” I ask.
“Seems like it.” Xu says.
We are all silent for a moment. What was I doing for 15 minutes? I couldn’t have just been analyzing the music. Was that all?
“Look.” Xu says, pointing into the crowd.
The singer is hunched over a person in the crowd, his head buried in her neck. The girl doesn’t fight him, she’s under the same hypnotic spell as everyone else.
The vampire singer finishes his drainage, and moves on, to find a new victim. The music continues to emanate from the stage.
“Did he just…” Teh trails off, hypnotized from the new sight.
“You don’t see that every day.” Xu says, with a mocking humor in his voice.
“We can’t let him keep that up.” Teh says.
“Sure we can.”
“But, it’s wrong!”
“And who are you to judge right from wrong?”
“It doesn’t feel right letting him go around doing that! Look, there he goes again!”
Sure enough, the vampire finds another person to drain, this time, they are much closer and we can see a lot of detail. The vampire’s mouth is clamped to this girl’s neck, and together, they sway and spin very slowly and very lightly to the beat of the music. They are dancing together, feeling the music flow through them. When the girl turns to face us, we see a face of pure bliss, gliding with her body to the trance of the music and the stroke of the vampire’s hands across her back.
“She looks like she’s enjoying herself.” Xu says, tauntingly.
“She’s hypnotized! She doesn’t know what’s going on!”
The vampire breaks the embrace, but the girl doesn’t let go so easily. She rushes in and gives the Vampire a kiss that would be incredibly romantic and emotional if only taken in a different context, perhaps, one that didn’t seem so physically oriented. It is almost like love, isn’t it?
“See? She’s happy, he’s happy, can we go now?”
“She’s not happy, I know it.”
Teh looks around hurriedly. She spots a street light pole and climbs as high as she can.
“HEY, VAMP!! COME GET A TASTE OF THIS!”
The Vampire turns slowly, eyeing us all down eerily. He definitely isn’t pleased with our lack of hypnosis. He isn’t too far away, and he simply jumps out of the crowd and floats down, landing right in front of me.
“Why, hello,” says the vampire.
“Uh– hello…” I stutter out.
“Hiya, mister vampire.” Teh jumps off the lamp post and skips up to the Vampire in a mockingly joyful manner.
The Vampire eyes Teh hungrily, menacingly, yet inquisitively.
“It is a pleasure to meet you…” He trails off, allowing Teh to fill in the blank.
“Just call me Teh.”
The Vampire reaches for her hand, takes it in his own, and kisses it. Teh, shaking from a slight case of the nerves, retracts her hand and blushes. It appears that no one has ever flirted with her.
“Heh, it looks like nobody has ever had the guts to come onto her like that.” Xu chuckles.
Seeing Xu mock her, Teh comes to her senses, standing tall against the Vampire.
“Don’t try to seduce me like the others!” She demands.
“I am not seducing!”
“That’s exactly what you are doing! You are taking advantage of those that cannot fight you off!”
The Vampire turns away, lifting his hands to the air in a gratifying stretch. All he wears is a pair of tight, black leather pants. There is a tribal tattoo spanning the length of his back. On his shoulder is a pierced heart tattoo. The arrow through the heart is dripping real blood down his arm. The Vampire must have noticed this as I did, because he turns and licks his arm with an intimidatingly long tongue.
Teh slumps again in a hazy stare and the Vampire looks her over with his sharp, alluring eyes, then straightens himself, and turns to her with his muscular chest flexed and ripped.
It’s obvious that Teh is lusting for him, despite her strong desire to put a stop to his practices. Her pupils have grown, and she is breathing slowly and deeply. It doesn’t take long for Teh to throw away her inhibitions and just kiss the Vampire as passionately as she can.
“Teh! No!” Xu says, without warning.
I look to his eyes, and they are wide with a desperate sort of fear. I haven’t seen this from him since I met him. Even when his clan was wiped out, he maintained at least some composure. Now, it’s all gone.
Xu sprints the short distance and throws the two apart. The Vampire, obviously irritated that he was interrupted, retaliates immediately with unexpected, blinding speed, catching Xu off guard, sending him flying.
Xu recovers in mid-air though, and lands gracefully on the side of a tall building, letting the hang time sink in. Then, in a blur, Xu leaps toward the Vampire. It takes all of my concentration to pick out what is happening. The fighting is so fast and so furious that the human eye can barely see it.
Punches soar, kicks fly, and Xu’s blade gleams in flashes. The Vampire is obviously strong and powerful. It almost appears that Xu is being challenged.
I take a glance at the band and their crowd of fans. The music has stopped, and now everyone, including the band members, are staring at the spectacular battle happening right in front of them.
Apparently, Teh is the only one hypnotized now. I run to her side and give her a shake, then I yell at her to wake up. She is unresponsive. I take a quick glance behind me and see little glimpses of action. The blurs make their way toward me and I crouch in cover. Instantly, the street lamp above me comes crashing down, cut cleanly through by Xu’s blade.
“Teh, we have to get out of here!” I scream. There is a slight twitch in her eyes.
The sound of battle decrescendos. I am weary of looking again, but when all I hear is heavy breathing, I steal a glance over my shoulder.
The Vampire and Xu are standing about ten feet apart, both resting. Without hesitation, I turn back to Teh, and with a few shakes, some prodding, and a lot of talk, I get her to come around. The clouds in her eyes lift, just as I hear a yelp of pain behind me.
“Xu!” Teh screams, then pushes me aside and runs to his aid.
I know what happened before I turn. Xu is injured. I see the marks in his chest. There are four distinct clawed slices that went right through his gi.
The Vampire merely chuckles.
“Pathetic ninja! Who were you to try and stop me? I do what I want!”
Teh looks up through her tears.
“You have no right to hypnotize people into doing your bidding! You can’t control people this way!”
“You fool. Stop reading so many e-mail chain letters! You don’t even know what hypnosis really is. It isn’t a way to control someone. It isn’t a way to get in touch with their soul for manipulative purposes. All I do is bring out the innermost desires of my subjects. That whole crowd out there wants love. They want lust. Their desires are merely suppressed by their conditioned consciousness. So, you see, it is the world that makes them obsess over such pitiful things as a family and career. It is time to revert to our instincts! We shall go back in time to when people lived as they were meant to, with no preconceived notions and no afterthoughts. No regrets, and no plans!”
The crowd erupts in deafening applause. Some of them whistle and holler. The Vampire simply takes it all in with a confident grin, waving lightly to the crowd like a pageant winner. Then, after it is all over, and the crowd grows quiet, the Vampire continues.
“Now, Teh, don’t try to push me away any longer. You know you want to feel love. You know you desire it above all else. What is the matter?” The Vampire finishes off with a handsome smile. Teh merely turns away from him and looks back to Xu, who has his eyes closed, and is breathing slowly, but deeply.
The Vampire doesn’t bother waiting around, he walks straight for Teh, but is stopped by her robot.
“Teh, you cannot deny me,” he says.
There is a moment of awkward, eerie silence. The crowd doesn’t make a sound, and we are all waiting for Teh to make her move in this game.
“Yes.” She says quietly, slowly looking up to him with her clear eyes. “I can.”
The robot puts a bullet right through the vampire’s head and he wails in painful fury as he clutches his head in both hands.
“THAT HURTS!!” He screams as he falls to the ground, rolling in anguish.
Suddenly, Xu’s eyes snap open, and he leaps into the air, sword poised for a strike. For one majestic moment, Xu’s silhouette is visible through the light of the moon.