After twilight, p.1
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       After Twilight, p.1

         Part #6.50 of Dark series by Amanda Ashley
After Twilight

  Los Angeles, 1993

  He was a very old vampire, weary of living, weary of coming alive only in the darkness of the night.

  For three hundred years he had wandered the unending road of his life alone, his existence maintained at the expense of others, until the advent of blood banks made it possible to satisfy his hunger without preying on the innocent and unsuspecting.

  And yet, there were times, as now, when the need to draw warm blood from a living, breathing soul was overpowering.

  He stood in the shadows outside the Ahmanson, watching groups of happy, well-dressed people exit the theater. He listened to snatches of their conversation as they discussed the play. He'd seen the show numerous times; perhaps, he thought wryly, because he could so easily sympathize with the Phantom of the Opera. Like Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's tragic hero, he, too, was forced to live in the shadows, never to walk in the warmth of the summer sun, never able to disclose his true identity.

  And so he stood on the outskirts of mortality, breathing in the fragrance of the warm-blooded creatures who passed him by. They hurried along, blissfully unaware that a monster was watching, drinking in the myriad smells of their humanity, sensing their happiness, their sorrows, their deepest fears.

  He waited until the crowds had thinned, and then he began to follow one of the numerous street beggars who had been hustling the theater patrons. There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homeless men roaming the streets of Los Angeles. On any given night you could find a dozen or so lingering outside the Ahmanson, hoping for a handout that would buy them a bottle and a few hours of forgetfulness.

  A faint grimace played over his lips as he drew near his prey.

  After tonight there would be one less beggar haunting Hope Street.
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