Catalina sobbed quietly as the pale stranger leered at her with undisguised hunger. In desperation, the young immigrant had agreed to be sent to Vibora Bay in the hopes of a better life, but when the crate she had been shipped in was opened she found herself in a dirty alley, hemmed in by an elegant woman. At first glance at the refined stranger she feared the coyote had sold her to some slaving brothel madam, but the truth had been worse: the woman had grown long fangs and now was prepared to make a meal out of her!
"Please... do not do this!" Catalina begged, but the vampire only clucked her tongue.
"Come come dear, 'tis nothing personal. You were never destined for anything more than this..." Lilith Knight gave the cowering immigrant a cruel grin. She pinning her against the alley wall and forced her chin up to expose her delicate neck. "And besides, a girl's gotta eat."
Lilith moved her lips toward Catalina's throat, and her fangs had just begun to dimple the girl's tender flesh when a loud ruckus erupted at the mouth of the alley. Cursing the vampire turned and saw a plainly inebriated woman staggering in, leaning over into a dumpster with the sounds of retching before
straightening and regarding the two with bleary and bloodshot eyes.
"Hey now... what... what's the... what the Hell is goin' on here, then?"
Scowling, the vampire dropped Catalina to the alley's grimy floor and swiftly seized the interloper. "Dinner, and you're the new second course. No witnesses, you understand!"
She plunged her fangs into the stunned stranger's pale neck, and drank deeply - then she staggered back, spitting and heaving at the foulness that had filled her mouth and throat. Suddenly far more lucid, the newcomer's voice pierced her nauseous haze.
"Oh, poor thing can't handle her ectoplasm? Shouldn't drink from containers past the expiration date, honey." The woman pounced upon Lilith, and the vampire was shocked at the strength of her victim-turned-captor. Lilith had often considered herself supremely strong, an apex predator who had spent decades preying on the innocent and unsuspecting, but the stranger was stronger and her body was as cold and unrelenting as Lilith's own. The cold woman plunged her inhumanly-sharp nails into the vampire's back, piercing Lilith's unbleeding flesh and elegant gothic fashion alike; the vampire screamed as the stranger crushed her spine into splinters. Withdrawing her claws, the cold woman rose to her feet and looked to Catalina.
"There, that should keep her from goin' anywhere, for the minute, anyway. Hey, y'alright, honey?"
Catalina looked to her rescuer numbly, but managed a nod. The stranger was pale and haggard, her skin a bare shade warmer than her wild, stark white hair and her lithe form clad in leather, fishnet, and metal alongside a torn metal band t-shirt. She had heard that America had a great may superheroes - was her rescuer one of them? She asked the woman that very question in a trembling voice, and received a weary chuckle in reply.
"I'm no hero, honey. Now here." The stranger shoved a crumpled wad of U.S. dollars into Catalina's hands, then pointed her down the road. "One of those heroes runs a dojo not far from here. Big sand and rock garden out front, hard to miss. You go there, stay in the light and out of the alleys, tell him you were attacked by vampires. He'll believe you. Now get goin' before our bitey friend here heals up."
She gently scooted Catalina toward the exit of the alleyway, and watched as the immigrant began to depart; the girl had reached the mouth of the alley before she turned to look t o the stranger one final time.
"I.. gracias. Thank you. Who.. who are you?"
The stranger smiled ruefully and shook her head. "Just another tourist, honey. Now go."
Catalina complied swiftly, and the stranger turned her attention back to where Lilith lay mewling on the pavement, desperately trying to will her sundered backbone into shape once more; as if expecting this, the stranger slammed a steel-toed boot into the vampire's back at the site of the injury, eliciting another shriek of pain, soon followed by rather unrefined blubbering.
"What are... you..?"
"Right now? Looks like I'm the universe's sense of karmic irony," the haggard woman quipped, and Lilith felt her elegant Gothic dress being ruined as the stranger's sharp claws tore it from her back and exposed her immortal flesh to the muggy night air.
"What are you..why are you.. please..."
Julie Romero pressed a gentle, long-nailed finger to the terrified nightstalker's pouty lips, pinning her undead prey beneath her dead body's weight and letting her teeth brush Lilith's ear. "Ssh.. nothing personal, honey, but a girl's gotta eat."