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This was a piece of Vampire Fiction that I began as an exercise, in collaboration with Emily Palmer, in 1999. Gradually Rayne Wylde developed a life (or perhaps I should say, an UnLife) of his own. People have asked me how he came to be a Vampire. This is his story.
CHAPTER ONE – TURNING THE PAGE
21.30: June 26th, 1999 – MANCHESTER
It was time…. the others had gone ahead and now they were out there, waiting. Waiting for him.
The dense column of swirling, white smog descended slowly, wrapping Rayne Wylde in its chill, clammy folds. He tasted it, bitter and dry in the back of his throat and coughed to clear the choking sensation that invariably threatened to strangle his voice on nights like these. It was time. They were out there, waiting and he felt their keen anticipation, though the thick, cold mist muffled virtually every sound and reduced his vision to an all-consuming, opalescent greyness that swam and shifted around him like a thousand ghosts. On his left a towering block of solid darkness loomed up out of the fog and he used it as his guide. Picking his careful way through the impenetrable gloom, he trailed long fingers against its pitted flanks, feeling the vibrations run through it like the rapid heartbeat of a living thing. A shiver of anticipation ran through his whole body; a surge of sudden adrenaline – fear and longing combined – that tightened his gut and made his own heart pound faster.
Through the shifting mist a single, piercing shaft of ultra-violet light sliced upward, cutting through the curls of smog like a blade made from pure energy, etching sharp-edged, cavorting patterns on the impenetrable field of silver-grey. He dodged backwards, avoiding it, pressing his spine to the wall behind him, sliding sideways into the gloom. Another quickly joined it, cutting across at an angle – parrying it – then a third slashed through the cloak of fog, sweeping the scene like a searchlight. Now the screaming started.
Rayne’s blood raced. Shrill, disembodied cries stabbing through the icy mist goaded him on. Fearless, he stalked from the shadows to meet them – a king coming back into his realm – striding through the dancing light-beams, bolder with every step. Then dodging them like a fugitive as they strafed the rolling, silvery pall that hid and protected him. The sudden, staccato rattle of sound in his ears was deafening; like the crackle and thunder of repeated gunshots. He paced onward, a seasoned warrior on the field of conflict, unperturbed by the noise, calm and ready in the eyes of all that observed him – and there were plenty of those!
Rayne heard the screams intensify as he glided gracefully through the swathes of dry ice and let the tendrils of light sweep down over him like a falling net. He was not trying to hide. Let them find him. Let them see him at last in all of his lean, wasted, street-glam glory. He stretched out a pale-skinned, long-boned hand for the only thing on this platform that was thinner than he was. Towing the mic-stand to his black-clad body, he hugged it tight as the pounding rhythm of Simon Hathaway’s drumkit drowned out even the most ardent screamers. Behind him, Ciaran Hart’s bass kicked in; pulsing a rich, resonant counterpoint to the percussive rattle of noise. He kept his eyes fixed forward, oblivious to everything but his own breathing. Away to his right little Sean Courtney huddled low over his precious, blood red Stratocaster and made it scream far louder than any member of the mainly teenage crowd below.
A speculative smile haunted Rayne’s generous mouth. He straddled the stand provocatively, rubbing his whole body along its length, taking his time. Closing pouting, bloodless lips over the bulbous head of the microphone, he wooed it like a lover as the Strat’s wail keened in his ears, setting off his breathy growl to perfection.
“’She… Comes… like the Night…’” Rayne Wylde snarled seductively into the mic, and Whipsnade slammed headlong into ‘Dark Paths’. It was the track he had always considered the strongest on ‘Drowning Fields’, even if the Board at SOLD Records were too damned scared to put it out as a single.
Going by the reaction of the Whipsnade Party Faithful down below, the record company could go to hell tonight!
On the periphery of the bouncing, thrashing crowd within the decaying, art-deco theatre, a single, silent, motionless figure observed the night’s events with a sorrowful, speculative smile. At least in here it was warm. This country was a mess, Jabez Everman thought to himself sadly. For a hundred and fifty years, he had dwelt here and he was yet to experience an appreciably warm summer. Of course, compared to Egypt, the land of his birth, even its warmest days were unsatisfactory. And Manchester, quite rightly, was famed for its chill drizzle in summer and winter alike.
He yawned and huddled deeper into his overcoat, watching the dry ice billow across the stage below. As a single, dark-clad, elegant figure gyrated out of the midst of this seeping smog, his smile broadened. poker oyna He was transported back, over thousands of years, to Memphis where he had encountered the original incarnation of the current object of his intrigue. Neferuaten had been beautiful then, as she was tonight, dancing for him in the palace chambers; her back straight and motionless as her hips swayed and her long hands traced elegant patterns in the darkness with the tapers that she carried.
How easily their bliss was rent asunder. For a few short, tender, precious years she had been his Moon and Sun. He would have done anything for her, to see her smile, and glory in the sweetness of her kisses and the hot wetness of her willing cunt.
Back then his people had named him King Amenhotep III and afterwards called him by the name they would later sweep from the face of history; Akhenaten, the great Heretic.
When he was still a boy, one had come to his father’s court that professed to be the Prophet of Atum Re; Lord of Light. Once, Pharaoh Tuthmose IV had been a mighty warrior King but in his twilight years his senses were failing him. His eldest son was dead of the plague and he grasped for any straw of guidance that the Gods could offer, even down to giving the prophet his younger son to be an acolyte and devotee of the Cult of the Light. For all of his teens, the young Amenhotep worshipped the Light. When his father went at last to his final rest and he was crowned Lord of the Two Lands, he took the name that would blight him. He became Akhenaten; meaning ‘the Aten is Satisfied’.
The Mighty Prophet of Atum Re was ‘certainly’ satisfied. The young king had been his student and catamite for many years, slaking his lusts upon the altar of the God of Light each morning and evening until it seemed a natural way of life for him. In the name of the Aten, he built a new city and temple in T’el Amarna and forsook the gods his predecessors had worshipped for aeons. Akhenaten took the princess Nerfertiti to be his bride and she changed her name as he had done, in honour of the new God. Nerferuaten, as she became, bore him six beautiful daughters and he cherished them all. Their life was good.
It took the Pharaoh many years to see the Great Prophet for the charlatan he really was, but even unmasked, he was not a man without power. In all the years he had been at the courts of the Pharaohs, Akhenaten’s Instructor had swayed others to his ear and set in course many plans that would run for centuries, unchecked, until this very day.
When Neferuaten could only bring Akhenaten girl children, who might not inherit his crown in spite of his love for them, it had been his Prophet who steered the Pharaoh’s own mother to his bed. This she did willingly, for the Gods had bidden it – or so she believed – carrying two fine sons, the younger of whom would one day be known to the world as the Boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun.
The Prophet then promised Akhenaten life unending and in his vainglory, seeing a world where Neferuaten was at his side for eternity, the bold Pharaoh accepted his offer. But it was not to be. The old gods who could tolerate most violations or their laws saw this pledge as a gift only to be bestowed by the Deities. Even Maat, to whom he had devoted his most fervent prayers, after his worship of the Aten, turned her face from him and cursed him to walk the earth eternally until such a time as someone loved him for what he truly was and not for power or promises of glory.
By then of course, his precious Neferuaten was in her grave and four of the six daughters she had borne him along with her. He was glad. She would have wept to see what had befallen him; how easily he had been duped and led astray. The one who had tricked and used him now persuaded him in his misery to yield power to the eldest of his incestuously conceived sons, Smenkhare, who had been his co-regent since Neferuaten’s death. Akhenaten did so gladly. It was a blessing to give over his power to another. He wanted only to lie down once more beside his young wife and never rise again.
That was not to be. Maat’s curse had followed him across the centuries to this very day. As his Prophet had foretold, the barbed kiss he gave King Akhenaten bestowed life unending. He fled from Egypt and took another name, wandering in search of Neferuaten’s fresh incarnation. For generation after generation he searched. Each time he found himself thwarted, as Maat had promised he would be if his beloved did not truly love him for what he was.
In that time, he had worn many names and many guises, as had his nemesis. Since 1893 he had been Jabez Everman, an art dealer and multimillionaire. And in this life his foe, the Great Prophet of Atum Re wore the guise of a powerful businessman who went by the name of Khaled Zelarin.
At the Manchester Apollo this evening, Neferuaten danced before him again, in the latest of her numerous guises. In 1999 ‘she’ was Rayne Wylde, lead singer and songwriter of a rock’n’roll band named Whipsnade.
Fifteen year old Daniel Weston canlı poker oyna had never been to a gig before tonight. He supposed that had it been entirely down to him he would not have come to this one either, but Daniel had been given his orders, and if there was one thing that he was utterly proficient at it was following orders. Doing as he was told and not asking questions had kept him alive thus far. Keeping his mouth shut and his nose clean generally meant that he got food and pocket money and a room to himself, and he very rarely got a good hiding. After the first time, he always made sure that he moved fast enough to stay out of trouble.
Having a pretty face helped. The boss liked a pretty face almost as much as he liked obedience. Back home, Daniel had just been one of too many grubby, demanding mouths to be fed and silenced. Possessing neither the power of the oldest nor the cuteness-quotient of the baby of the family, he found himself kicked from pillar to post on too many occasions. After finding himself relegated to punch-bag for yet another of his mum’s regrettable boyfriends, Danny took to his heels and headed for the streets.
Blond curls and big blue eyes made him popular down the back alleys around Old Compton Street and Soho. It also brought him to the attention of the Boss. Mister Zelarin ran a club on the seedy fringes of the theatre district and it was there that Danny Weston learned the finer arts of personal service. At Flesh for Favours, he discovered the darkest of truths. There was truly nothing under the sun that money could not buy.
And Mister Zelarin had bought and paid for Daniel Weston long ago.
At the club he heard all kinds of music. Largely what was played depended upon the client, but he was familiar with Whipsnade. The band had released a video earlier in the year that was popular with certain of Flesh for Favours’ clientele. In it, the singer – a skinny, huge-eyed, ashen-faced creature, dressed in a ripped shirt and tight, black, bootleg jeans – was chased through the underground by two black panthers. When the animals cornered him finally, in a broken elevator car, they transformed into black-skinned men in animal masks and began to rip off his clothes as the elevator doors closed slowly.
In an extended version of the video which the club had somehow acquired (rumour had it that that the director was a member, but Danny had never seen him if this was true) the singer, a guy named Wylde, was violently assaulted by both men. He had seen the film twice now. Even pressed up against the front of the stage, as close as it was possible to be, with about two thousand people pushed up close and personal behind him, Daniel could not swear that this was the same guy. He was charismatic, that was for sure, and good to look at in a wasted sort of way, but Danny could not believe that someone in Rayne Wylde’s position would allow something like that to happen to him purely for the sake of his art.
Daniel had seen plenty of porn in his time. He had even taken part in it, and the scene in the extended video for Animorous had not been staged in any way. The man in the elevator had been fucked, anally and orally and the camera had uncritically observed every last minute of his humiliation. The only reason Daniel could imagine for his allowing its release was that Wylde had not only instigated the assault but also actually ‘enjoyed’ it.
Watching his sinuous, gravel-voiced performance on stage, all Daniel could think of was the way that those two muscular rapists had used him. As his mouth enfolded the microphone seductively, Daniel saw those same sulky lips – cut and bleeding – forced down around a massive, black cock as he struggled to push himself away. When Wylde sank to his knees on stage, then slumped forward as if praying, groaning the lyrics to that same track, Daniel’s mind filled with the close-up image of his tight jeans, ripped urgently down to mid-thigh. He saw the singer, semi-naked, as his two attackers knelt with him and bucked their way simultaneously into his thrashing body.
Before the show was halfway through, Danny had a raging hard-on that would not quit.
Rayne first noticed the boy in the front row during ‘She’s Got Stars To Walk On’. The ballad gave him the chance for a breather after the asphyxiating pace of the opening numbers. ‘She’s Got Stars….’ was a personal favourite with all the band members. It looked likely to be the new single, if Matty Greening, Whipsnade’s long-time manager, could persuade the record company that it was right for the times.
He curled almost lazily atop one of the monitors and crooned huskily into the mic, watching the tiny, blond boy through lowered eyelashes. At first, Rayne had been unsure of the youngster’s gender; a factor that never failed to turn him on. One thing was certain, the kid had a strikingly beautiful face; utterly emotive and alluring. His eyes were long-lashed and pale, the colour of blue topaz in the moonlight, rarely blinking, even in the dry-ice and the flickering shafts internet casino of multi-hued, electronic lightning. The hands that occasionally pushed back the soft, golden curls of his shoulder-length mane from his face and neck were long-boned and artistic; the fingers delicate and the knuckles and wrists prominent. When he tilted back his head to catch a draught of cooler air wafting down from the stage, the bob of his Adam’s apple gave him away.
Rayne caught himself wondering what the kid’s body was like under the glittering, skinny-rib top and faded jeans that he wore, and how it would feel to lose himself in the tumble of his unruly hair. He looked very young, but when his wandering gaze lifted and met Rayne’s unblinking stare it did not pull away. In fact, the kid just smiled as if he had a secret.
Daniel had been wondering if he would get away with sliding his hand inside his pants and slowly bringing himself off. What with all the screaming and hysteria going on down here, one small climax was hardly going to make a world of difference! It was not as easy as he had imagined. For one thing, he was pressed up against the stage as tightly as a pilchard in a packed tin. He could not even lower his arms, let alone jerk off. When the band finally slowed the relentless pace of the opening numbers and consented to play a gentler track, he managed to get enough space to push his hands into his pockets.
It was about this moment that Rayne Wylde sauntered languidly towards one of the monitors at the edge of the stage and sank down on it. Sitting with his legs half crossed and one foot tucked underneath him, he surveyed the audience almost playfully as he began to croon the lyrics. Automatically, they sang along and Daniel experienced a curious sense of isolation. He could feel his throbbing cock through the lining of his pocket and as his fingers curled around the top three inches of his erection, it felt as though he was the only person in the whole auditorium. No one else was real.
No… not quite… it was at this moment that Rayne Wylde’s huge, pale, knowing eyes settled upon his face and rested there in solemn contemplation. This close to him, Daniel could see the beads of perspiration on his tip-tilted nose and the quiver of his long, black eyelashes beneath the tattered raven’s wing of his sweat-damp, sable hair. His gaze was the colour of some green, herbal liqueur Danny had once tasted at Christmas; translucent as crushed ice in Roses lime cordial. Wylde licked his lips very slowly between lines. He had a petulant, teasing mouth like some stroppy, adolescent choirboy. Danny wondered distractedly how that would feel wrapped around his hot, hard cock.
A smile of purest ecstasy parted his lips as he felt the first spurt of hot, wet relief under his thumb. He kept on rubbing, harder and faster and closed his eyes as his slender body trembled from the force of his orgasm. So it was that he did not see the amused, knowing smile that the singer bestowed on him in return.
The pass for the after-show party had been a moment’s impulsive gesture on Rayne’s part. The entire entourage of the band was issued with them on all dates. It was a perk – one of many – to touring with a rock group of Whipsnade’s calibre. Things had not always been so comfortable. Little more than five years ago – as Rayne recalled all too vividly – they had travelled the country in a defective, off-white transit van for seven miserable weeks. Back then, the crew consisted of Matt, their crazy, teenaged manager and a single solitary Roadie called Derrick. Derrick smoked pot compulsively and told endless, back-to-back tales of his days in the seventies hauling cable for Black Sabbath. Since he was the only qualified driver in their small entourage, they could hardly leave him in a lay-by at the first opportunity! So they careered unsteadily from one gig to another, up and down the M1, whilst bits fell off the van – a perpetual hard-shoulder memorial to their passing.
The Boardwalk in Manchester was one of the better classes of dog’s-toilet venues they had played on that tour. In addition to the open sewers they called lavatories, they had a solid and well-acknowledged reputation as a breaking ground for promising young bands. It had been there that Kris Spedding from SOLD, an ex-session guitarist and A&R man, finally saw them play live. SOLD was a fledgling concern – Whipsnade was to be only their second band – but Kris signed them on the spot. Whipsnade never looked back. They had the freedom with SOLD to make the music they wanted, in the way they wanted to make it.
The rest – as they say – was history.
In spite of the occasional disagreement about releases, the relationship with SOLD had been a good one. It had produced three best-selling albums (the last two of which had hit the top of the charts) and no less than eleven well regarded singles. SOLD’s offices moved to fashionable Notting Hill Gate in 1996 and now employed fifty people and eighteen decent bands. Whipsnade were the best of those eighteen bands, by a long way. Although not, perhaps, at the very pinnacle of the rock tree, they were pretty damned close and tonight, Rayne figured, they owed the Boardwalk some recognition for that break five years earlier.
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