IM02 - Hunters & Prey
popcorn permeated the air, assaulting my senses. My stomached turned and my nose wrinkled. What once had been such a pleasing smell now seemed revolting. I used to gorge myself on popcorn, not so long ago. It used to be my favorite movie treat. I could remember getting the largest popcorn offered and enjoyed it soaked with butter and sprinkled with enough salt to kill a person. Fallon always said I would die of a heart attack if I kept eating that way. A brief feeling of sadness tugged at my heart. I hope I see Fallon again .
    We passed the concession stand, and a pleasing scent teased my nose: the musky perfume of the attendant behind the counter making the popcorn. His satisfying aroma called out to me. I stopped for a moment, taking in a deep breath, savoring his smell. Humans generally had a sweeter fragrance compared to the musk of animals. He was no different. His scent was like warm sugar, vanilla, and spice.
    “Can I get anything for you, Miss?” He smiled, a wide toothy grin while holding up an empty soda cup.
    “Oh. No. Nothing for me.” I returned his smile, making sure my fangs were hidden behind my lips. “I’m on a diet.”
    “Come on, Alyssa,” Crystal said. She waved at me to follow.
    We walked into the theater. Being the first show of the day, it was completely empty, a fact I was very thankful for.
    “Do you know what this movie is about?” Drew asked.
    “Yeah. It’s one of those ‘What if vampires lived in regular society’ stories.”
    “Ah, so it really is a comedy then?” he said with a laugh.
    Crystal giggled, settling herself into one of the seats and propping her sandal-clad feet on the chair in front of her.
    “Maybe someday we could try to live among people. You know, let’s all get along,” I said.
    “That will never happen.” Drew kicked his feet up on the chairs.
    “Why not?”
    “Let me put it to you simply. I saw what you did back there. You were smelling that poor kid. You probably wanted a taste of him.”
    Heat rose to my face. I tried to hide my guilty expression.
    “You think you could get along around people all day, every day?” Drew asked. “Have you forgotten that we kill our food?”
    “Only because we can’t take sips without letting our secret out. I bet there are tons of people out there who wouldn’t mind being donors, if they knew they wouldn’t die.” I turned to Crystal. “Back me up on this.”
    “Sorry, hun. I have to agree with him.”
    Drew draped his arm around Crystal, pulling her close. “If more people were willing to donate blood, the Red Cross wouldn’t have to beg for it all the time.”
    I groaned loudly. I knew there was no way to win this fight. These older vampires were all set in their ways. Vampire law forbids letting our secret out.
    The lights dimmed as the previews started. I gave up the fight.
    ***
    I felt a little sleepy after sitting in the theater for over two hours. It seemed even Hollywood was against my theory of vampires and humans co-existing. The vampires in the movie all ended up moving to a secluded island by the end, shunned by human society after a bloody war.
    So much for my hopes of using this movie as an example.
    “Why do they always have to show us having the ability to fly?” Drew complained.
    “Honey, what did you expect? It’s not like they know what we can and can’t do,” Crystal said.
    I laughed at Drew. “Jealous?”
    “Maybe I am,” he said with a smirk.
    Crystal grabbed a hold of her mate’s hand. “Let’s go check on the rest of the group.”
    “You guys should go on ahead. Lysander is still probably mad. I doubt he wants to talk. I’ll just go up to the room for a bit. I’m a little tired.”
    “Are you sure?” Crystal asked.
    “Yeah, I could use a little sleep.”
    “Okay, we’ll be up to check on you later then. Sleep well.”
    We parted ways and I headed for the elevators. By the time I reached the room, drowsiness had set in. My eyes felt heavy, and I longed for the

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