Are You Hungry For Blood?
Something far more potent than chicken excrement and straw filtered through to my quivering nostrils. Light crept in between splintered cracks, scarring my face with strange shadows. One eye opened to light and one opened to dark. Feathers were stuck to the side of my mouth, glued there by sticky, red cement that tasted bitter dried. I preferred it warm and fresh.
When I was human, I used to like milk that way too. I guess some things never change.
I turned my head to one side, mindless of the feathers. A glazed over gaze stared back at me. It hadn’t suffered. Its limp neck stretched across the hen house floor, completely void of blood.
My stomach growled for more.
Chickens weren’t the best food source, but they had been the first thing I’d come across after so long. My gaze returned to the patch of vivid sky through the hen house ceiling. Fingertips ran absently over the feathers stuck to my lips as I pondered the lateness of my rest.
My night had been entirely undisturbed. Nothing had woken me.
I shifted from my heap on the floor, peering out through the cracks in the wood. The house beyond was still. All was undisturbed. I wet my lips and sniffed the air thoughtfully. A farmer would have woken and discovered me by now. That was how it had happened to me hundreds of years before when I had been mere mortal flesh and blood. So where was the farmer that I’d expected to rouse me with his terror?
There were no vehicles. The sound of dogs had ceased in the night as if they had never been there at all. Adrenaline pumped through my veins.
Perhaps they had found me.
The vacant space usually occupied by a weapon found my fingers fumbling. It takes a lot to make me nervous, but there was something out there and it wasn’t good.
We’re not supposed to go in bright sunlight. It doesn’t make us shrivel and burn. It just feels like burning a bit like bad eczema. Despite that, I was considering sprinting across the dusty yard to the house.
I hadn’t planned this, you see. It was just a game that got out of hand. I was warned not to toy with him, but it had been a slow half-century and I’d needed some entertainment. I should have chosen better.
I scanned the shadows for any signs of them. They would have followed me on his command just like the dogs they were. They would show no mercy, just as he had shown their pack wolf no mercy for his betrayal. Sleeping with your master’s possessions is a big no, especially if that possession is his fiancé.
Not that I was going to stick around for a wedding.
However, that wasn’t an option any more. Tarq had incarcerated me. He thought he was teaching me a lesson on how to be a good vampire wifey. He was wrong.
One of my hunters appeared from the cool shade of the house. He stared straight at me, willing me to run at him. He didn’t know what he was messing with. I had no intention of being captive again.
I picked up the first weapon to hand, scrabbling to the hen house exit and hurling my missile with enough force to take out a wall. He didn’t crumble like I hoped. His body swayed, supported by his inhuman muscle strength.
They called werewolves cursed. Werewolves weren’t cursed. They were just like us.
But not everybody liked it when you said that. The old vampires were far too stuck in their ways. To them, werewolves were servile creatures. They did not deserve to be given the same status as vampires. These old beings were what my ex-betrothed descended from.
He hadn’t been turned like I had. He’d been born this way, a prince amongst vampires.
The werewolf I’d struck blinked back in shock. Surprised eyes moved down to his chest where the beak of my midnight meal was embedded deep in the heart of his chest. He choked, fell forward and dropped his shot gun.
Light feet carried me to his side in milliseconds. The shotgun slipped smoothly into my hand and deadly against the side of his head. “How many more?” I hissed. He spluttered and choked, not answering until I turned him onto his back.
Terrified eyes stared up at me. Beautiful terrified eyes.
The gun loosened from my fingers, thudding beside us on the dusty earth. Blinded by the essence of fear and the steel glare of sunlight I had mistaken my lover for one of the prince’s men. My chest constricted, blocking my airway.
Tears stung my eyes with the pain of immortality without him. My betrothed had not killed him as I’d been cruelly informed. Instead, he’d been sentenced to death by my own hands.
There was nothing I could do for him. The wound was too deep. The blood was too thick and fast. His life was seeping away in my hands. Soon he would be gone.
He reached towards me, breathy whispers barely audible from his dying lips. His palm curved against my cheek. Salt water invaded my lashes as I looked down at him and warbled words that had suddenly become meaningless.
“I can’t… I don’t understand… I’m so sorry…”
He shook his head. Finally I heard. “No… I’m sorry…” Something flickered out and was consumed by the forever falling blackness of his eyes. It was the first time I had seen life extinguished so close.
“Sorry for what?” I whispered to his corpse as if he would answer, but he didn’t move or speak.
Perhaps if I hadn’t been so concerned by his death I would have noticed the shadow fall across us. It wouldn’t have taken me long to figure out what he was sorry for, then. But I didn’t see and the ricochet of pain through my skull plunged me into the stifling darkness of sleep far from his bittersweet slumber.
But I have no intention of being captive again…
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