Vampires of the World Weekend Part 2


My flesh ignited with the sweetness of the drink, the sweetness and the saltiness and the pure, tawny wholeness of it.  I could feel the rough ridges where my pantyhose had run as I stumbled through the hallway — when was it?  A lifetime ago?  I could feel a hangnail on my right thumb, sense it tingle before it closed itself up, before it disappeared.

And I could feel the mangled mess beneath my jaw.  My torn vein was weaving itself together, knitting itself back to health.  The flow of blood was restored beneath my skin, and the smooth stretch of my neck was new again.

With the healing came full awareness.  Full comprehension.  I knew that I was on a leather sofa.  That I was cradled against a body.  Arms were wrapped around me, holding me close, spoon fashion.  My face was pressed against one of those arms, against a smooth, muscular wrist.  My lips were suckling at the edges of a wound.

I was drinking Mr. Morton’s blood.

I pulled back, horrified.  My motion, though, only moved me closer to his chest, closer to the body that sheltered me, that protected me.  Closer to the vampire who was my boss.  “Let me go!” I demanded, but I was still too dazed to put actions to words, to actually push myself away from him.

In a moment,” he said, and his words reverberated along the length of my spine.

I should have been petrified.  I should have fought for freedom, given my life to escape to the human world, to the sane world, to the normalcy that waited somewhere outside this office.  But the energy inside me — the alien blood inside me — soothed me, calmed me as if it were a drug.  I sank back, dazed by the sensation that all was right, that I was safe.

I licked my lips, and I realized that the blood carried information.  I knew things that I’d only imagined an hour before.  A lifetime before.  I understood vampires — who they were, what they did, how they lived, year after year after year, forever, unless they were killed.

Vulnerable to silver:  check, as I’d already witnessed back in the courtroom.

Destroyed by sunlight:  check, if “destroyed” meant increasingly severe burns tied to the length of exposure, culminating in brutal, cindery death.

Killed by stake:  check, but only with a direct blow to the heart, with a weapon made of oak.

Teleporting, mind-reading, turning into a mist:  nope, nothing that cinematic.

Garlic, crosses, and other pathetic human folk remedies to protect against fangs:  forget about it.

Vampires didn’t need to sleep in coffins, and they didn’t salvage earth from some distant homeland.  They did require an explicit invitation before they could cross the threshold of a home.  And somehow, creepiest of all, they had no reflection — not in a mirror.

All of that was crystal clear inside my head.  All of that, and one more fact:  vampire blood healed humans.  Healed humans completely, from whatever physical harm we suffered, from whatever illnesses our weak, flawed bodies harbored.

Vampire blood had brought me back from the very brink of death.

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The door jerked open and Jorick stood in the doorway, framed in a glaring blaze of light. His black hair was wild about his face. Blood splattered across his pale features and his dark eyes were filled with anger. As if to make the scene more surreal, he brandished a bloodstained sword.

Without a word, he pulled her from her attacker and threw her behind himself. The intruder lunged and Jorick lashed out at him with the blade.

Katelina’s screams had stopped, replaced by someone else’s. She looked around to find the basement bathed in the brilliant light of flames. The pile of wooden crates looked like a miniature bonfire, as did a screaming man. He danced around and tried to beat out the fire that engulfed him. Two bodies lay slumped some distance from him, face down on the basement floor. Dark puddles spread beneath them.

A new cry sounded and Katelina looked in time to see the attacker in the corridor fall. Jorick paused indecisively over his body, and then quickly turned away.

Come on!” He grabbed Katelina’s arm and tugged her after him. The wooden beams above their heads began to catch fire and the thick smoke rolled against the ceiling.

The stairs,” she cried and pointed desperately to their only escape.

No. There are more of them upstairs. This way.”

He pulled her to another padlocked door. Though he didn’t bother with his keys, he only kicked the door to shreds in one smooth motion and dashed though it. The darkness quickly swallowed them as the tunnel twisted and turned, going ever upwards. Katelina glanced over her shoulder time and again, eyes scratching the darkness for signs of pursuers, but she saw nothing.

At last Jorick stopped. He released her hand and threw open a trap door above them. Cool moonlight spilled down into the corridor and she shrank back from it.

Jorick pulled himself through the opening. He motioned for her to stay where she was, then disappeared from her sight. He was back in a moment, crouched at the edge of the opening. “It’s clear, come on.” He held his blood stained hand to her and she took it, too numb to care. He pulled her up into the night where she collapsed on the dewy grass and gasped mouthfuls of fresh air.

We must not linger; we may yet be followed.” He slammed the trapdoor shut and busied himself locking it from the outside.

Katelina sat up and nodded mutely, all of her limbs shaking. She tried desperately to catch her breath and gasped out the question, “Who… who were they?”

Jorick sighed. The moonlight made his skin gleam white and turned the blood splatters into splotches of black. “Vampires,” he said quietly. “They were Vampires. Just like Michael.”

Katelina stared at him for a moment, waiting for the punch line. When one didn’t come she threw back her head and laughed. “Of course they were!” In that moment it seemed the slender thread that separated waking from nightmares had snapped, and she suspected she’d never see a Twinkie again.

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They cut through the untouched snow, circling the ruins of the mansion. Some distance from the back of the house was a grouping of forlorn trees. Dead, heavy moss trailed from their branches, and at their feet were clustered several old gravestones. As if to make the scene complete, a wrought iron fence bordered three sides of the tiny cemetery and thick, thorny vines grew around the stones and onto the trees; old rose bushes waiting for spring.

Man, it’s like a horror movie,” Loren mumbled. Though he shuffled along casually, his hands in his pockets, his eyes darted around nervously. “Hey, you’re sure this isn’t, like, a trap?”

No one would know of this place,” Jorick answered firmly. He came to a stop in the center of the graveyard and waited patiently.

Katelina moved to stand next to him, but a patch of softer earth sank beneath her feet and she jerked back instinctively. The snow rose in a small mound and hinted at something beneath the surface; a fresher grave, perhaps. She glanced to her left and saw a lopsided stone that had four names roughly carved into it. All but one were names she recognized: Jesslynn, Alexander, Tristan, and Bethina. Tristan? Could that have been the baby? And how had he buried them? Had he picked their bones out from the remnants of the fire and dug the hole himself?

The macabre thoughts made her shiver, and she stepped away, instinctively putting space between herself and that grave. Loren glanced at her uncertainly, uncomfortable fears in his eyes. A chill crept up her spine and she imagined a thousand terrible monsters that might be hiding somewhere. But, there were no foot prints; no sign of life at all except the heavy trees and the mournful winter wind.

Loren caught Katelina’s attention and held his hands out questioningly. She shrugged in reply and he cleared his throat to get Jorick’s attention. “Hey, man, I don’t mean any disrespect, but I don’t think-”

Jorick held up a hand to silence him. He pointed to a distant figure that was slowly making its way towards them. Katelina squinted and thought she recognized Oren’s gait.

Sure enough, it was Oren who joined them moments later, his blonde hair windblown around his face and his hands tucked into the pockets of a long gray coat. He looked from one to the other, then settled his attention on Jorick. “You got my message, then?”

Yes, in a way.” Jorick’s face was unreadable as he studied his friend. “What was so pressing, Oren, that you must send for me? I’ve already made my position clear.”

Yes, of course.” Oren replied impatiently. “That isn’t why I asked you here. I both have something to give you and would ask something from you.”

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He couldn’t pretend that seeing her laughing and smiling like that at that guy hadn’t cut into him. Hadn’t he been watching it all year? Hadn’t he been supportive when she’d been dating that idiot Chris?

Of course he had and that was the problem right there. He was always supportive. He was the friend and she’d never, never see him as anything else.

He was doomed.

And it was his own damned fault because he couldn’t figure out any other way to get close to girls. He didn’t have Charlie’s ability to chat them up. The only thing he knew how to do was be nice. And when he was nice all they thought of him was nice.

Doomed to be nice.

Dammit!

He kicked at some dead leaves on the ground. His pace slowed. There weren’t any leaves on the lawn. He lifted his head and actually looked around. In the gloom, he saw the suggestion of trees all around him. Somehow he’d wandered off the lawn and into the trees off the path. Great, that would be great to get lost in the trees until the sun came up. He still had class tomorrow even if it was later in the morning.

Well, he’d probably walked straight in so he would just turn around and walk straight out again. He spun and headed back. Without his head down, he felt the lower branches brush at the top of his head, messing his hair even more than usual. What did it matter? No one ever bothered to look at him twice so who cared?

Great, now he’d turned into a self pitying whiner.

Someone just shoot him.

He caught a suggestion of movement out of the corner of his eye to the right. Before he could turn, something slammed into him. He stumbled, his legs buckled with the force of it. He landed on his side, his arm pinned under his body. He tried to push up on the ground, his hand sinking into wet, squishy vegetation, but something dark fell over him. He smelled a sour stench. Something grabbed his head and yanked it to the side. A soft wetness licked along his neck then sharp pain pierced his skin. His body jerked and flailed. Something encased him in a vice grip, preventing him from moving. Soon he didn’t want to. Ice seemed to flow into his body from his neck, paralyzing his muscles. Was this what snakes did, he wondered but there couldn’t be any snakes here, not one this big. He tried one last time to kick his feet, thought he might feel a running shoe slip off and go spinning into the darkness. Then the pain didn’t matter any more, in fact it wasn’t pain at all, it was euphoria spreading through his limbs, leaving him weak and jelly-like and the vice grip was a warm blanket, wrapped around him by his mother. He could almost feel her kiss on his neck.

But her teeth… Oh her teeth were too sharp…

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1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Amaranthine by Joleene Naylor and commented:
    Halloween is over but Vampires are always in season! Check out these excerpts from the Vampires of the World bundle.

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