Saturday, August 29, 2009

Response to Last Week's Story Prompt

Last night just under the wire someone sent in a story based on last week's prompt, and here it is.

I could here the voices through the walls.
“Excuse me sir, this area is off limits,” said a voice I didn’t recognize.
“My name is Shane Donovan. I’m here to pick up my baggage,” I heard Shane inform the man congenially, “I was told that my name would be on list of some kind.”
I could hear pages being flipped and then the man exclaimed, “Yep, Shane Donovan,” and as the man continued I could here that they were starting to move closer, “Delta Airlines Dallas, Texas to Buffalo, New York. Four checked bags. Lets see, they should be somewhere over here…”
When the man stopped speaking they were almost on top of me. It had been a long trip and I was hungry, and as I pulled in a deep breath I realized just how good they smelled.
The next thing that I heard was the man’s startled exclamation, “They’re coffins,”
“Yes,” replied Shane sounding taken aback, and then more self assured, “It was my mother’s last wish that she be buried with her family in New York,”
“Oh,” said the man apologetically but obviously still shaken, and then after a second, “but there are four of them,”
“There was a car accident. Her three brothers were with her at the time,” replied Shane sounding legitimately sad. I assume it was because that was actually how his mother had died.
“Oh, I’m sor-” but then the man abruptly stopped speaking. I could hear a rattling noise coming from somewhere to my right, and the man’s surprised voice saying, “What the…”
Vladimir and Wladimir must be awake, and they sounded hungry. So was I, but if they didn’t get a grip things would get very messy very quickly.
“I’d like to leave as soon as possible. Is there any paper work…” said Shane, and I could tell that he was desperately trying to get the man away from us.
“What the hell is in there?” demanded the man, and by now he was almost on top of us.
“The change in temperature must have warped the wood,” but Shane didn’t get to finish his excuse because at that moment I heard Vladimir and Wladimir tare through the lids of their coffins.
Vlad and Wlad should have had more control, but they were hungry so I could hardly blame them. As the smell of fresh blood permiated the coffin walls I wished more than anything to join them. But I had missed my chance. The kill hadn’t been mine, and anything I did would just seem like a threat.
Having resolved to wait until they had had their fill before I joined them I relaxed back into the padded interior of the coffin. But then I heard a crash, and I could smell Shane’s blood in the air.
I shoved my open hands upward, and they hit the lid with enough force to send it flying. Then I stood up taking in my surroundings. Vlad had the worker pinned to the ground, but Wlad had moved on to Shane.
Wlad reared back, his fangs running out and dove for Shane, but I was faster. Ignoring Vlad and the worker I crossed the 20 feet between us in an instant and rapped my arms around Shane putting myself between him and Wladimir.
That didn’t stop him. His fangs dug deep into my shoulder. I let go of Shane and drove my elbow into Wlad’s stomach as hard as I could. Then I pivoted to my right, catching Wlad off guard, and wrenched my shoulder from his grip.
He recovered in an instant and dove for me. Just as he was about to hit me I dropped down into a crouch, and he just about flew over my head. As he went I rolled back onto my back and kicked out with my legs. They struck him in the chest causing to go sailing up and over my head.
As he landed with a crash behind me I was already on my feet and moving towards him. I stooped and grabbed him by the neck dragging him to his feet. I snarled deep down in my throat, my fangs running out. Then I tossed him aside and moved off to check the fourth coffin.
Still intact. I gingerly tested the locks. Still tight. Thank God. Henri would have finished the job he started 400 years ago if anything had happened to it.
By the time I finished testing the locks Vlad and Wlad had gotten up off of the floor and I could feel them standing behind me.
Instead of looking at them I turned to Shane, “You got a car?”
“Yes,” he said still trying to shake off his surprise, “It’s, uh, it’s over there.”
I followed his gaze and saw a double cab pickup sitting just inside the hanger.
“Put it in the truck. It’s time to leave,” I said as I started walking towards the truck.
They nodded without a word and picked up the coffin as easily as if it were made of cardboard. Heads still bowed they carried it towards the van.
Phillip’s house was on the outskirts of a small town lying just off of the highway. The house was a beautiful modern mansion. As we drove up the driveway lights blazed from every window. Not the sort of place you’d expect to find a clan of vampires.
As we pulled up in the truck a servant came out and opened the door for me. As he moved to help me down I could hear his heart racing. He loved being this close to us. It excited him. It disgusted me. It was such a human response so… weak, and worst of all it reminded me of my own human life.
The man didn’t move to help as Shane came around the truck to stand next to me, but he stared as Vlad and Wlad went around the back to get the coffin. I watched him watching them. They fascinated him, and for that I couldn’t blame him. Henri had turned the brothers in their prime, and even after a hundred fifty years they were still every inch the Russian soldiers they had been the day they died. That was part of the reason that they worked with me. I was the only one other than Henri who was strong enough to handle them.
As Vlad and Wlad came to stand next to me I snapped out of it. Without another glance at the servant I turned and led the way to the front door. Shane walked at my right hand taking care to stay a few steps behind me. Vlad and Wlad followed carrying the coffin.
I didn’t break my stride as I reached the large front doors. Right on cue they open just as I had known they would. Death is a very strong incentive for high job performance.
The servant led us through the foyer and then through another set of doors into the great room. The room was full of vampires, and there were bodies littering the floor. We had just missed dinner.
One vampire in particular caught my eye. His name was Phillip, and he was my maker Henri’s brother. After Henri made me the three of us had traveled together for a time, but Phillip was reckless and blood thirsty. Finally, 300 years ago after a particularly blood incident in a village in France Henri decided that it was time for us to leave Phillip's company. After we had parted Phillip had made his was to the new world and founded a clan of his own here in New England.
Without even a hint of surprise at our unexpected appearance Phillip rose from his place on one of the room’s many couches and came to greet us, “Aurora, I did not expect you so soon.”
“Henri wished us to come as quickly as possible… so we flew” I said as we embraced.
At that a murmur ran through the crowd, and even Phillip looked taken aback. Vampires don’t fly, ever.
“We would have returned your emissary while we were here, but he refused to accompany us,” supplied Vlad in thickly accented English as he reached out to grip Phillip’s arm.
“I think he preferred to stay in Texas until he knew it was safe,” added Wladimir, and although it sounded like a statement everyone in the room knew it was an insult. Some Phillip’s newer vampires even started to show their fangs.
“He wished to accompany us, but if he had it would have been even more difficult to bring you this,” I said, forcing myself to keep my fangs in, as I motioned to the coffin.
With that Vlad and Wlad gently set it on the ground. I moved to the front of the coffin and started undoing the locks. As Vlad and Wlad moved to lift the lid Phillip moved in closer, like a child watching a present being opened. Even the crowd seemed to lean in a little.
I nodded to the brothers, and they pulled the lid back to reveal the man lying in side. Vlad reached into the coffin and removed the mask that had enabled the man to breath while in the coffin, and Wlad dragged the man upright.
Once standing it was easy to see that man had been something of a misstatement. He looked about 17, the same age I had been when Henri turned me. Even though we had been as gentle as possible when we captured him hunters are never easy to take, and the way he stood showed that we had obviously done more damage than intended.
The most impressive thing was that even though he reeked of fear everyone in the room recoiled from him.
Phillip motioned for two of his own guards to come forward and take the boy. As the guards took him all of the vampires in the room broke out in applause.
Under the cover of the noise Phillip said in a voice so soft that it was barely more than a breath, “Thank you, Aurora.”
“Of course, Henri said to tell you that anything his brother asks is our honor to provide,” I breathed, but then I noticed that the guards were taking the boy out of the room, “You’re not going to kill him.”
“I will, eventually,” replied Phillip still smiling, “but first I want to have a little fun, and when I get board then I’ll kill him, maybe.”
“Henri only agreed to help you because you told him you wanted to execute the Hunter for his crimes.”
“Well I tell Henri a lot of things that I don’t mean,” he breathed and before I could object he added, in a much louder voice, “I’m sure you want to freshen up and feed. Jerrod will take you to your room.”
The man who had opened the door for me, Jerrod I assume, had just appeared at Phillips elbow, so I smiled and replied, “thank you for your consideration. It was a long trip and we are quite hungry.”
As we followed Jerrod upstairs the sent of the air around us changed. I inhaled deeply savoring it. By the time we reached the sweet it was so thick that I could almost taste it, blood. But not just any blood. This was the blood of someone fearing for their life. The fear was making their heart pound and increasing the oxygen content in the blood, and the more oxygen there was in the blood the sweeter it tasted. Blood like that represented everything we lived for: the chase, the hunt, the kill. The feeling of pushing someone to the brink, letting them think they’d escaped, and then out of nowhere you appear.
As Jerrod pushed open the door I could see three people lying on the floor of the room bound and gagged. As they caught sight of us the whites were completely visible around their pupils and their hearts raced, and it took everything I had not to lung through the doorway. To their credit this time Vlad and Wlad also stood their ground behind me, but I could tell that it was taking everything they had to stay in place.
“Go,” I said, and I wanted more than anything to follow them through the door. Instead I closed the door and turned to Shane, “You should be hungry.”
“I am,” he replied carful not to get too close to me, and I realized that I was showing more than a little fang.
“You will take him to get something to eat,” I told Jerrod.
I could tell that he was hoping that he would get to stay and watch, but I had given him an order and unlike Shane he had no choice but to obey me, “Of course.”
As they turned to leave I thought again and called them back, “Jerrod, in 10 minutes send up six more.”
Vlad, Wlad and Shane were all still eating, but I had already finished and gotten cleaned up. Now I was trying to find Phillip. After Henri had made me we had traveled with Phillip for a time, and even after all these centuries I could easily separate Phillip’s familiar scent from all of the alien ones.
When I found Phillip’s rooms I paused at the door. I could smell two vampires. One was Phillip, and the other was unfamiliar. I exhaled all of the air in my lungs and stood their simply listening. I could hear the hunter’s heartbeat; it was racing but still strong. Every few seconds I heard a wet thunk, and he’d make an almost inaudible noise. I focused harder, and the next time the object hit I could hear the tones spread out and separate. There was a quick snap and then the thunk was spread out: a whip. I didn’t hear a body fall, so the hunter would have to be suspended.
Having gathered as much information as I could I straightened. Now was as good a time as any to pay Phillip visit.
I didn’t bother knocking. I simply turned the door knob until the lock broke, and then I walked into the room.
As I entered the second man whirled and lashed out with the whip. It would have struck me in the face if I hadn’t raised my arm in time to block it. Instead it rapped around my wrist like a snake. I grabbed it giving it a sharp tug, and it came right out of it’s owner’s hands.
I whirled as Phillip, who was sitting on the bed starting laughing, “You always did know how to take my breath away.”
“I know,” I replied as I tossed the whip in a corner, “Dinner bored me, so I thought that I drop by and see how things were going.”
The second vampire interrupted us, “Sir?”
“I thought you didn’t approve of torture,” questioned Phillip ignoring the other man.
“I don’t approve of lying to Henri,” I replied as I walked up behind the hunter, “there’s a difference.”
I slid one arm around the hunter’s waist as I propped the other on his shoulders. He smelled so good, even better than dinner. I moved in as close to him as I could, and inhaled deeply. His whole body went stiff as I leaned in even further and ran my tongue along his skin.
The hunter’s blood tasted even better than is smelled. Hunters believed in living pure lives, so unlike dinner this blood was untainted and pure. The taste made me want more. I wanted to drain him. But that wasn’t the point, so I made myself let go and move around in front of him.
I ran a finger around my lips, and it came away bloody. Then I ran the finger along his cheek as I asked, “Want a taste?”
His heart was pounding, and the fear came off of him in waves. He was fighting to keep it all in check, but I could still smell it. But he still kept his mouth closed and looked me straight in the eyes.
“Too bad,” I said as I leaned forward and licked the blood off his cheek, “Your blood tastes amazing.”
I turned to look at Philip, who was sitting perfectly still watching us, “The question you should really be asking yourself is would you rather watch what I’m going to do to him or have him watch what I’m going to do to you?”
“I thought you preferred Henri,” said Phillip not answering the question.
“It’s been 300 years. Maybe I changed my mind,” I said as I let go of the hunter and moved to stand in front of Phillip.
“Sir,” asked the other vampire again. Maybe he had been asking it all along, but neither of us had been paying attention.
“Leave,” Phillip ordered the other vampire. Looks like I had my answer.
Once he left I moved so that I was straddling Phillips legs. Then I climbed onto the bed, so that I was almost sitting on his lap. He reached out and took my wrist, the one that I had used to stop the whip. He kissed the bloody tracks, and then as he glanced up at me he bit through the skin and into the vein, a vampire’s kiss.
For us it is the most personal thing you can do with another. Blood gives us life, and for one vampire to share blood with another vampire is the ultimate show of devotion and of… love. For an instant two bodies become as one.
As his fangs dug in my senses stretched, telescoping. All of my senses became more acute. I could hear everything, feel everything, see everything. It felt as though I could break an I-beam in two. I wanted to do everything at once, but all I could do was throw my head back, letting my fangs run out, as Phillip's memories flashed through my mind.
When his fangs retracted I shoved Phillip backwards onto the bed. I reached up and pulled off my top. As it came off I tossed it out of the way and leaned over him. Then in one swift movement I drove the silver stake that I had hidden in the band of my jeans into his heart.
I shoved it in as far as I could and twisted, “Henri said to tell you that you shouldn’t have underestimated him.”
Then I rolled off of him and stood up. I walked over to the bed side table, and pulled a key out of drawer. The same place Henri would have kept it, brothers.
“You might want to leave now,” I said to the hunter as I reached up and unlocked the cuffs, “Phillip’s clan won’t be too pleased that you just killed their master.”
“You planned this?” asked the hunter stunned as he rubbed his wrists.
“No,” I said as I started to walk towards the door.
“Then why?”
I paused, and looked back at him, “Phillip was becoming a problem. I took care of it.”
I started to turn back towards the door, but I turned back. I had almost forgotten something important.
“Do me a favor,” I said as I tossed a pack of matches at the hunter. A silver stake was almost always fatal for a vampire, but I couldn’t take any chances, and neither could the hunter. As he caught them I grabbed my shirt off the bed and walked out of the room trusting that he’d know what to do next.

1 comment:

Steph Bowe said...

love the new blog design, btw. :-)