First, Friday flash fiction response:
by: Dottie Taylor
word count: 830
Marie Devore longed for the days of ease and comfort, before all the political machinations, before vampires had come to the forefront of human knowledge. The days of old when she could sit in the salon, gazing over the day receipts.
She'd never really worried about humans then, cattle to the vampire race. A convenience of necessity.
Now, the world was a different place. Humans were becoming a rare commodity. Her customers more desperate. Her chattel still remained, and she was a good mistress to her herd. Her humans wanted for little and she allowed them all the freedoms she could provide, except for the one little necessity, their blood for consumption. She hoped for it to be given freely, after all, she did provide a luxurious lifestyle. But, she was more cautious than she'd been in the past, what with the uprising. Did they not realize, in the wild, their life expectancy was most certainly void? The wilds were where those without the means for legitimate blood services hunted freely. When prey was found, it was used until it was drained completely. To become dust in the wind. The vampire race, once strong and powerful, would die without the required commodity, yet they attempted to hunt until near extinction. Fools.
As she sat, she let the papers drifted to the floor, and tipped her head into her hands, something had to be done.
“Celeste!” She called out to her assistant. “I need to locate a hunter.”
“One moment mademoiselle.” She could hear her thumbing through files, looking for the one who might save their race, then her quick steps. “Monsieur Hawks was recently released. If you'd like I can send out an emissary to see if he is amiable.”
“Yes, the situation grows more intense. I fear we'll need his services.”
“Yes ma'am, I'll send out Rachel right away.”
Marie gnawed on her bottom lip, worry in her eyes.
***Hawks was tired of the vampires, tired of the politics that landed him in his recent caged stint. If he saw another vamp in his long life, it would be too soon. They were nothing but trouble.
The hunter peeled off the clothing which stank of entrapment, held against his will. What he needed was a hot shower to remove the stink that seemed to soak into his very flesh. He headed for arboretum where the naturally falling water would ease the tension from his muscles.
***Rachel approached the hunter's home with trepidation, Hawks was dangerous. His name fit it's predator status. But, when she arrived, it was to find an open entrance. No wards, no permission to enter required, it sent her hackles into overdrive.
She eased through the door, heard the spray of water, and headed in the direction of the sound.
Hawks picked up the heartbeat of the intruder long before they could make their way to rear of his home where he stood with little between him and the invader. He lifted his nose into the air and sniffed. Vampire. Damn. His only option, the sawed off he carried in his duster. He reached around, feeling for the weapon as Rachel entered the room.
“Mr. Hawks, I come with a proposal from Ms. Devore,” she called into the misting sprays that fell in the live forest. She looked around, it wasn't often beauty was found in this world, and never before had she seen a contained forest. Then she heard the undeniable snick of the trigger, and halted her explorations.
“I've come on behalf of Ms. Devore. She desires your services.”
“I've already had the pleasure of working for the vampire nation. Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Monsieur, I can assure your safety and return if you desire it.”
He watched his prey from inside the leafy interior, watched her as her fingers brushed along the flower petals, as her eyes sought his. He stepped away from the spray, dripping wet and naked.
“Mademoiselle, how do you propose to keep such a promise?”
“With my very life.”
“And what a waste it would be to let your life slip through my fingers. Hello, Rachel. Longtime.”
She cocked her him and turned to the sound of his voice. “Hi Michel. It has been a longtime.” She smiled as she gazed upon his dripping body. With only the sawed off at his side. “Sorry to interrupt your shower.” Her eyes drifted over his familiar body as she stepped forward, until their bodies were mere inches apart. She felt the steam from his shower as it lingered over her skin. Her body tightening in places better left unsaid.
With his free hand, he reached for her, dragging his lips across hers, before pushing her away, his body hardening, wanting. Damn, he couldn't help himself, and she would be his downfall.
Okay, I know I'm in a vampire funk lately....I really do enjoy them! My favorite preternatural creature!!
Now...Sassy's Sunday Story Starter suggested by Cheryl Rainfield:
The Fallen One
by: Dottie Taylor
word count: 725
I stumbled back, my legs trembling. I knew I shouldn't have opened the door.
My hands shook, my voice quavered, “I...I didn't know. I swear, I didn't know.”
My back slammed against the rough concrete wall, hands clutched my throat. I clawed at the decaying fingers, nothing but bones covered in rotting flesh. I felt a scream building, clamoring for freedom, ready to burst into existence. Swallowing my fear, I shakily released the bony fingers, giving myself to this thing before me.
Breath stinking of rot covered my face as I squeezed my eyes, trying to inhale without taking the festering odor into my lungs. “Please, I didn't understand.”
The fingers tighten, cutting off my airway. Gagging, I staggered, nearly falling to my knees, but the strength in the bony fingers holding me was relentless.
“You were warned, ignorance is not an excuse. You were told to stay away. Yet, you disturbed my rest. A boon must be paid, your life is mine, forfeited.”
“No!” I cried, “please,” I begged.
A wheezing croak met my ears, “I claim your life. It is done.”
Suddenly, the hands released me as I sagged against the concrete, sliding down to the floor. Old leather boots scuffed from years of wear were before my eyes. I looked up to find the eyes of my executioner looking down at me. “Come, it is time to feed my desire.”
“No... no... no...” I sobbed as I scooted back, hugging the wall tighter.
A grim smile spread across his features. His hands claimed me once more. I cringed away as his lips split further still. “I've waited so long, the boon will be mine.”
He stretched my neck away from my shoulders, bringing his fangs to rest upon the tender pale flesh. “So sweet,” he whispered, breathing in my scent. “My life is yours, as yours is mine.” Then he broke the flesh.
He pulled long and hard, my blood pounded as my heart beat faster, pumping strongly at first, and slowly, weakening. My life slipping away, feeding his need, taken completely.
When again my eyes found my executioner, he appeared replenished. His flesh restored, even as my life fought for release.
He gazed into my glazing eyes, “The boon has been fulfilled. Your life for mine.” My heart stuttered one last time, and pity filled his eyes. “My life can be shared with the simply taking of my blood.”
My blood, I thought, slipping into unconsciousness. The last thing I remembered was the press of his flesh against mine.
When next I awoke, it was to the black pitch of night, my executioner beside me. “Why am I still alive?” I breathed in the cold night air, it tasted different, drier, full of a heady scent.
I felt him stretch, making to stand, pulling me up with him. “Come, tonight begins a new life.”
Glancing around, I found myself still in the basement, the smell of moldering concrete now filled my senses. Everything seemed bolder, striking my senses with fists of wonder.
“What's happened to me?”
“You're one with the night. It owns you as much as you own it. I am Gabriel, one of the fallen, and I've claimed your life, you are mine.” He hands were gentle now, his need sated with my life. Escape would be impossible, I could feel his mark burned deep within my soul. He brushed the wayward hair from my forehead. “Forgive me, it had been so long, I took you completely.”
I pulled away from him, gazing into this new world that held me in it's grip. It was no one's fault but my own. I had trespassed without regard, never believing the legends of old. I shook my head, those lessons were finished. Now, I needed to learn to survive in this new existence. One I wouldn't have chosen, but would gladly embrace. Gabriel stood beside me as I gazed into the night. Demons were supposed to be faerytales, but I knew they were real. One stood beside me, revived from the time before man roamed the Earth. One who had follow the Dark Prince, and suffered the consequences. Now, I was his mate, his lifeline to the present, and it could be no other way.
Well, see I did demons...sort of...still with a hint of vampire... couldn't help myself.
Remember to come back Friday to post responses to this week flash fiction!!
PS: If you have entered in the Clarity of Night flash fiction contest in the past, Jason is getting ready to post a new contest. If you like to participate and haven't received an email, please contact him @ Clarity of Night. Have fun if you plan to enter.