Flash Fiction No. 23


The Taste of Lust

The corners of my mouth lifted with feline delight but I pressed my lips tightly before anybody could guess. I nodded at the cafeteria attendants, carefully placing the food on my tray. It all looked wonderfully prepared, delicious even, but I knew that it would taste like ash on my tongue.

My shuttered eyes explored the seated crowd of chatting cattle. If only they knew who was in their midst. They wouldn’t be so blithe.

I seated myself near the windows, gazing out at the clear day. It was cold, another November morning seeping into winter. He knew that I didn’t like to be disturbed on cold days. After four hundred winters, it wasn’t something I looked forward to. Summer wasn’t any better. It was the in between times I preferred. Not too hot or too cold.

Today it was too cold and I had been ‘summoned’ to this wretched cafeteria to meet him.

I brushed my hand over my cardboard skirt. Nylon made my skin crawl, but he’d said I needed to fit in with the depressing working crowd. So I’d done it. For him.

My fingers wound around the flimsy steel fork, nudging my food. The charcoal taste was something I was used to, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eat it. My stomach was tight with knots. He was the only mortal that got me worked up like this. The only one I hadn’t finished off.

I should have finished him. I should have let him bleed to death in that alleyway, but I couldn’t. There was something about the taste of his blood that had made me want to… keep him.

But you can’t keep mortals. They’re not pets. They’re food.

And you shouldn’t play with your food the way I’d played with him. I’d saved him and then I’d kept him around to amuse me before letting him go.

Letting him go…

I’d pushed him out. You can’t keep an immortal. You just can’t. It wasn’t acceptable. If the others heard about it they would think I was weak. They would think that after four hundred years I was no longer a threat and challenge me. It was hard enough keeping younger vampires in line without giving them a reason to get under my skin.

My tongue tracked over my teeth. But he had tasted so…

I swallowed. It was a mistake. I’d just mistaken lust for bloodlust. It was easily done. Plenty had gotten it wrong before.

But I hadn’t.

I’d never allowed myself to mix up the tastes of food and desire. And I did not desire him. He was dangerous.

A dangerous mortal; what a joke.

I balled my fist underneath the table. I could see him across the cafeteria, heading for the table. His blonde hair was neatly combed. His body was pressed into one of those tight suits. The animal instead wanted to leap over the table, bury my teeth into his throat and my body against his. It made me nauseous. Stupid human.

Blood pooled in my cheeks when he sat down.

“You came.” He sounded surprised.

He ought to. I wasn’t at his command. Something fluttered in my chest and the words spilled eagerly forth before I could cut them.

“Because you asked me to.”

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