Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “vampire stories”

Flash Fiction Friday: THE WICKED ONES

TODAY’S BREW: More hot beverages than you can shake a stick at before that stick freezes. It is 9 degrees out.

By Julie

For this Flash Fiction Friday, I dragged a chapter of THE WICKED ONES SAGA out of my good friend, Mr. Jackson’s, grasp for today. He keeps his work a little too close to himself for me. Once you read this, you’ll wonder how fast you can get your hands on more of his words, too. Enjoy this excerpt, and be absorbed.

THE WICKED ONES

The tears began to flood out of me. Attempting to hold them back proved ever so futile. As I held her in my arms, I knew my existence would never be the same. Never. She was absolutely, the most beautiful wight I’d ever laid eyes on. 
“I would love to name her Elizabeth.” My eyes now focused on the only being that could have brought such euphoria. My love, my partner…
“Please, don’t stop. Go on, I’d love to hear more.”
I opened my eyes seeking to shake the memories from my mind like it was an etch a sketch, I could only respond with the cold reality, the truth. “Those were of happier times. We need not speak of those moments.”
 Although my voice was firm, inside I was still reliving the pain I tried for so many years to erase. “I do apologize Iris, but I must beg your pardon. Perhaps we can continue this another time.”
Confused and discontented, Iris responded weakly, “Sure, no problem, Justin.” I watched from the parlor window as she entered her car and drove off.
Tonight was not the night for such emotion. I needed to feed and get Iris as far away from me as possible.
“Why did I agree to a meeting in the first place?”
Smarten up or deal with the consequences’.” The voice of my grandfather was so clear. It had been days since I last fed and the memories I was conjuring up would not mix well together. I needed to be alone.
  I have never spoken to another being regarding that day. For years I’ve pushed and pushed, until the pain was buried deep within my cold heart. I circled the parlor glancing at the piano, that once played such beautiful music. Soft melodies that encased raw emotions, allowing the soul to dance and swell up with such revelry, it would almost feel felonious.
I closed my eyes to listen closely to those amazing notes. “Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful, Eliza.” The smile on my little angel’s face was more than enough to illuminate any corner of the world. Moreover, it never failed to melt the ice around my heart.
“She has your ear for music.” I welcomed the words being whispered into my ear as two warm, loving arms slid over my shoulders to embrace me from behind. “I believe you may be correct in your assessment of our little angel. She’s progressing quite rapidly. However, it pales in comparison to the heart that she has, which is all your doing.”
 As I turned to face my queen and thank her for the greatest gift in the world, I was met by my dear old friend, loneliness. Here I stood, staring at my reflection in the mirror, not sure who was the man staring back. The black in my eyes served as a reminder that I was in dire need of feeding or I was going to lose myself. Losing myself was not an option, not in this town, or anywhere for that matter. I’ve managed to stay under the radar of people’s suspicions of my kind, or any other being for that matter, for quite some time now. I was simply a young man who loved music and would teach all who desired to learn. No one needed to know what I really am.
However, tonight a few unfortunate individuals would find out. Lamentably, they would not get the chance to tell another soul of their discovery.
The night air was crisp. Seeing my breath in front of me reminded me of Elizabeth. She would always, with a tilted-up head, blow up to the sky and say, “Did you see that, Daddy?”
I shook the image from my mind and continued down the lane, which led to many businesses. Most of which were closed to patrons many hours ago. Only the taverns and nightclubs would be open at this time of night.
It took all of a second to pick up his scent. Around the back of the White Pony stood the lead guitarist of the local band chosen to open up for Cold World. I recognized the face from the town flyer promoting tonight’s concert. The burning began in my throat. My eyes seeing the horror about to unfold. It was too easy to get what I was craving.
I drained him of every last drop. Quickly and quietly.
Wiping the blood from my chin, I ventured inside the White Pony for course number two. My recent meal had awoken quite the frenzy in me. A jolt of adrenaline was flowing through me. Trying to not rip through the throats of every single person in here was becoming increasingly difficult. All efforts were proving to be pointless until I heard her voice. “Justin? I thought you wanted to be alone tonight?”
Sounding ever so unhappy, with the posture to match, there stood Iris.
Truly surprised, I connected my eyes with hers and tried to excuse myself. “Hey, wait a minute. Where are you going?” Iris would not let me just cut this chance meeting short.
“I do apologize for earlier Iris. I just needed some fresh air and as I walked, my feet led me here. Must have been the music.”
Looking to seize the opportunity for more conversation Iris asked, “Wanna go outside?”
“Sure, Iris, lets do that.”
“So what’s the deal? Do you always push people away?”
The words were sharp, yet genuine. Iris was an amazing woman to me, and I knew she would not benefit from having me in her life.
“Iris, I’m rather complicated. You should keep a healthy distance.” If only she knew that I was referring to my desire to rip her throat wide open and indulge in her sweet smelling blood. Her blood was singing to me and I was loving every note.
“I can’t do that Justin. I am completely drawn to you.”
A feeling of regret flushed through me as the words hit my ears. What she wanted I could give her, but she would need to know everything. Everything.
“You wanted to know why I push people away. Truth is, I’d rather push than have them pulled away. You should know that I wasn’t always so cold and distant. I’ve loved and knew happiness. The world isn’t as good as you think it is. There are many faces of evil among us.”
Iris never moved her eyes away from mine and her body seemed so relaxed. No fear in her body for me. “There is no evil with you Justin.” So innocent was Iris. It kind of scared me.
Stepping closer to me, Iris was not making my desire for her blood go away. I was fighting with all I had. “What are you fighting to protect? What scares you?” As her eyes began to slightly water up, Iris began to speak again. “You can tell me everything when you are ready. I just need to tell you that I love you. I’ve loved you for some time now, Justin.” Softly crashing into my chest, Iris softly rubbed her head just under my chin. “You are always so protective of me. I want to take care of you. I just feel so attached to you. No harm or hurt will ever find you again. I promise.”
Finally overcoming the desire to drain her of every last bit of her sweet, melodic blood, I was now filled with a new emotion. As I held her close, Iris whispered softly into my ear “I would die for you.”
A small grin formed as I responded, “Are you ready?”
GO FOLLOW @FANOFBLOOD RIGHT NOW ON TWITTER, AND TELL HIM YOU WANT MORE.
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Flash Fiction Friday: BLOOD BORN by Chynna Blue Scott

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin Spice because cliches.

By Julie
poetic
You are familiar with our honorary third member of The Undead Duo, Chynna-Blue Scott. This young woman has writing chops like nobody’s business. Her words are sorta crack-like for me. Not butt crack, the other kind. I never did crack, but you know. In any case, this beautiful girl mentioned that she wanted me to read a novel she has finished, BLOOD BORN, and she tells me constantly how awful it is. Literally, my fingers could not move fast enough to tell her how much I wanted to read it. She is such a diamond of a thing, and I guarantee her book is, too. I am absolutely honored to give her my input on how to make it gleam and rise above anything else in the genre.

But still, she worries. So I am doing THIS. Here we have an excerpt from BLOOD BORN, the second she has released into the world, and since ignored. I’m posting it because she does amazingly well hearing what people think, and really takes criticism to heart in the right way. Please, leave your comments, and be honest. She wants this, and I know it will hearten her.

Soeth beginneth the excerpt…eth:

The blonde man came to face me, his gaze predatory. His eyes had taken on an ethereal shine, a deadly quality that made their grey seem like ice.
Bloodlust, my brain idly concluded. That was what was causing that sheen, that glow.
“Just a case of wrong place, wrong time, love,” He reached towards me, a cool finger tracing a line down my cheek, stopping at my chin – though his eyes wandered further. “I do hope you don’t hold it against me.”
Oh, no. I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of showing how afraid I was. Adrenaline made me reckless. I looked him in the eyes. “Bite me.”
Michael stopped, a look of incredulity spreading across his undeniably attractive features. “Well, would you listen to that! A bleeding invitation!” he laughed.
Jacob also chuckled, the first time that I had heard him make a sound since they had entered. “Interesting choice of words,” his gaze was fixed on me, a small smile playing about his lips.
Michael leaned forward until he was just inches away from my face, cool breath washing over my cheek. Then he smiled. His teeth were pearl-white – perfectly even, excepting two extended incisors that sharpened to glistening points. Darkness threatened to swallow me and I felt myself sway. My God, but he had fangs.
I barely had time to blink before Drew had spun me behind him, one hand holding me still, the other pressed lightly against Michael’s chest – lightly, but dangerously. The air around us grew heavy, as though it had been charged with electricity.
“Don’t even think about it, mate. This isn’t what you came for.”
Michael’s eyes went flat, his nostrils flaring. Right then, I wanted the knife more than anything. It must have flown from my grip when Drew moved me behind him. Then again, who knew what use it would be against a vampire? He might just laugh and then use it to pick me out of his teeth later.
“You want Jim to cooperate with you? Think he will if you bite her? Normally I wouldn’t object, but –” Drew cast a glance at me, “– you need him. And it will be a lot bloody easier to persuade him if you don’t make a meal out of his…waitress.”
I glanced at him, evaluating the pause – did he know Jim and I were related? It wasn’t a secret, but still, the thought made me feel cold inside.
“Christ on a bike, Drew, I wasn’t going to kill her. Hell, she’d probably enjoy it.” He grinned lecherously at me. Not on your life, I hissed mentally, disgusted. Outwardly I stayed silent.
“Even so. I’d rather Jim helped you willingly than unwillingly. It’s not worth the hassle just to satisfy your fancy.”
The two stared at each other, both evaluating the other, tension seeping into the atmosphere like so much testosterone. Then Michael’s gaze cleared, and an easy smile returned to his face. “Right you are then mate, if you feel that strongly about it. Can’t say I care for redheads, anyway. No offence, love.” He tipped me a wink. I blanched, which made him smile even wider.
Drew relaxed, taking his hand from Michael’s chest. They both turned to look at me. Michael’s expression was puzzled, Drew’s thoughtful.
“So, what do you want to do with her?” Michael wondered.
“Nothing. Jim will help you, if you offer him the right price. Let me deal with the girl.”
I followed the conversation with my eyes, oscillating between outrage and wanting to throw up on their nice leather shoes. My mind spun into dark and dangerous places on hearing those words. Let me deal with the girl.
“Don’t let me interrupt your evening then, mate.” Michael grinned at Drew. To me he said simply, “We’ll be back.” He turned to leave, whistling. Jacob was already holding the door open. He was grinning, joking about some club that they were going to later and the girls that would be there. It was evident it wasn’t just a hook-up they were looking for, but I could barely hear what they were saying, the blood roaring too loudly in my ears.
I turned to stare at the dark-haired vampire. How would he deal with me?
He looked at me apologetically. God, his eyes were pretty. “Sorry, love.” He sighed.
My chest gave one final, painful squeeze as I forgot how to breathe. Then everything went dark.

Follow Blue at @chynnablueink on Twitter, and love her blog http://t.co/lgf7zrdInN.

The End of it All by Richard Ankers

TODAY’S BREW: A lot.

By Julie

I was so excited when Richard Ankers told me he was working on a vampire novel, I screamed at him through the Twitterverse to send me what he had written. See, this guy wrote this book called The Snow Lily, an amazing piece of literature that astounds me is unpublished. You can find out more about it here. http://t.co/Fp7MLhTUBz and follow Richard @Richard_Ankers.

A wonderful man and a wonderful writer, he sent me this, the first chapter of his latest work, and I fell in love. IN LOVE. This is classical vampire writing done well. This is absolutely stunning. Enjoy.

 

I took her cold, dead hand in mine and led her out onto the balcony. A slight breeze stirred the silks of her gowns and tousled her flowing, raven locks. Geranium bushes emitted the faintest of pomades into the night circulating in the air currents and mixing exquisitely with Chantelle’s own luxurious scents. She was everything a man could desire, perfection personified. I pulled her to me and felt her hidden curves press against my flesh. If I could have remembered what it felt like to be happy, I imagined this would be it.

I gazed at the blood that flowed where once turbulent waters rushed, as it made serene passage down the Danube. The river looped around the end of the grounds and formed a natural barrier to uninvited guests. This was exactly the job it had been designed to do. I watched its unctuous form as it trundled past.

My mind was pulled away from the river by the reinvigorated orchestra who started to play anew. There was only one kind of music for such an occasion: Strauss. We waltzed in circles to the ironic notes of the blue Danube. I didn’t think the composer would have been able to generate the same response to his creation if the title had been changed to red. The moonlight shone down upon us like a searchlight as we twirled across the polished, ebony floor. Could there have been anything better? I very much doubted it! Just because you were dead did not mean you couldn’t appreciate the finer things in life.

I had been experiencing the best of life for the last five-hundred or so years and unlike some, I’d enjoyed every second of it. What was there not to have liked? To have wined and dined with those of undeniably good breeding, shared tailors with kings and queens, walked along gothic promenades without fear, this was the life, or death, I had dreamed of. I had never missed the sunlight it was terribly overrated. The sun gave such a false sense of wellbeing to the living. Only in the crystal clarity of the sparkling moon did the reality of an object truly show. The snake was not a slithering, ugly beast, but a sensual, seductive, coil of a creature. The bat far outshone the bird for it required none of the adulation that the avians so craved. And the wolf, ah, the wolf, what was there to say? To see one of the ancient grey wolves of old, backlit by a hunter’s moon, was a thing of surreal majesty. I envied them their freedom the one thing I did not possess.

“Shall we remain out here under the stars, Monsieur?” The beautiful french accent of my partner snapped me out of my musings and I smiled down at her from my greater height.

“What is your wish?”

“To be with you.”

“You can be with me anytime, but only in this moment once.” She tilted her head to one side as if it helped her think. When in truth, all it did was reveal her elegant porcelain neck. It was a momentary thing, quite beyond my control, as I plunged long fangs into her neck and sucked; and savoured; and drank. I did not know how long of her I sated, but it was too long. By the time I had finished, the metallic tang of her blood saturated my tongue, and she was gone. I had taken her past the point of no return where vampire lust and immortality merged.

I had killed Princess Chantelle of the New European Alliance and for the first time in an age, panicked!

I was usually quite unflappable. After all, what was there to get in a flap about when you were already dead? But this certainly qualified. I kept on dancing, holding my partner to me, and edged my way past the double doors we had exited from and to the edge of the balcony. Twisting our conjoined forms around, I surveyed the merriment within the ballroom and once sure of my being not watched leapt over the rails with my burden. It was a drop of about thirty feet, nothing to such as I, and I quickly made my way into the trees that lined the riverbank. Holding Chantelle close to me, as a lover might, I again made very sure of my solitude. We were quite alone. Where my vampire eyes could not see my senses, scent, and hearing, took charge. They all confirmed there was nobody around but me and my corpse. Accordingly, I flung her departed form far into the black liquid and watched her sink slowly below the surface. I would like to say I was sorry to see her go, but to be quite honest I was at best indifferent.

Retracing my steps to below the balcony, I had a sudden epiphany. I could not go back the way I had left for people were bound to have seen me step onto the balcony with the princess. No, I had to think of something else! Not wishing to be found outside I found some sturdy looking climbing ivy and in a reversal of parasitic behaviour, hastily scaled it all the way up the side of the palace. I felt no lack of energy as I hauled myself up and over a particularly hideous gargoyle and onto the palace roof, the princess’ blood had reinvigorated me, if nothing else. Always being one for a spectacular view I took a moment to savour my surroundings. It really was incredible! Class told, and that most opulent of pleasure domes dripped in it. Positioned with a full view of both mountains and river, the Comte de Burgundy, a clever play on colour as he was certainly of no royal heritage, could keep his vampiric eye on all and sundry. I envied him this place. If he had had it built for him, I could neither remember nor recall witnessing, but it certainly showed him in a finer light than he deserved. I could not stand the little runt, otherwise.

I meandered across the inclining roof looking for somewhere to gain access to the main halls when I realised I had been revealed.

“Good evening, Jean” came the whining voice of Sir Walter Merryweather.

“Good evening,” I responded, as casually as possible.

“Taking a stroll?”

“No, I am in fact lost. I was looking for the latrine and somehow found myself in front of the wrong kind of pot.”

“Tee-hee, yes quite.”

“And you?”

“Boredom, as always.”

“You could get into quite a lot of trouble for saying something like that.”

“I could! But I won’t.” He gave me a wink and touched the side of his nose with a velvet gloved finger.

“Incredible view, isn’t it?”

“Always. The Danube is a most impressive little stream. I never tire of watching it pulse across the land like some bulging virgin’s jugular vein. Ah, those were the days,” he added, with a stifled yawn. “Ditched Charlotte, have you?”

“Chantelle,” I corrected. “And I would rather say I have eluded her cloying over eagerness, for at least a short while, anyway.” I watched Walter closely, but he did not react and I suspected my secret to be still my own. “Do you wish to return to the ball?” I asked.

“Not really. I deplore all that showy bravado. My fangs are bigger than your fangs, etcetera, etcetera. Have we really become so melodramatic?”

“Well, this is the end of the world, or so they say. May as well go out with a flourish.”

“May as well,” he agreed. “I’d still prefer to be ripping out some human throat and sucking out their soul though.”

“Wouldn’t we all?” I concurred, as he stood brushing the moss from his green velvet outfit.

“Right then, lets be off, rejoin the tedium and all that.”

“After you,” I said, gesturing with my hand. Always smooth under pressure. I smiled to myself and followed him off the roof through a door I hadn’t noticed back to the strains of more Strauss. I didn’t think I’d feel the same way about him again. I’d sooner have Wagner any day of the week.

Merryweather led me through a labyrinthine set of passages, the purpose of which quite eluded me, before we eventually reappeared in one of the royal boxes that looked down upon the twirling throng.

“Makes you sick doesn’t it Jean?”

“What does?”

“All of this.” He spread his arms out wide, encompassing all of the massive hall, without any apparent care for who might see him.

“It provides some entertainment,” I said, whilst wiping a long dark lock from my eyes.

“Bah! Entertainment indeed. We have machines that can move mountains, the ability to create near endless resources, yet this is the sum of our achievements, to frolic.” Merryweather slammed one velvet gloved hand down upon the balustrade. I was sure for effect rather than real anger.

Already bored of the fop despite his sudden leanings to rebellion, I decided to make my leave. “I really should be finding the princess before some other dashing vampire sweeps her away before dawn.”

Merryweather regarded me with something akin to suspicion before doffing an imaginary hat to me. I was dismissed. I didn’t need telling twice either. After a quick check below I jumped over the parapet and dropped the rather long distance to the floor, landing conveniently at the feet of the Marquise de Rhineland. It was a pompous title for a pompous woman, but she did have quite exquisite legs.

“Ooh, Jean, you’re looking particularly delicious tonight.” Her ice-blue eyes shimmered in the light of a dozen chandeliers.

“As do you, Marquise.”

“Oh, Jean, you know to call me Portia.”

“Sorry, Portia, I forget myself at times.”

“Are you not with the princess?”

“I was, but I think I may have upset her and she is punishing me by her absence.”

“Is it really such a punishment?”

I leaned in closer, or as close as I could to someone dressed as a trifle and whispered, “Not really.”

“Ooh, Jean, you are a very naughty vampire lord.”

“I could be!”The glint in her eyes matched the licking of her lips: wanton.

“Would you like to leave this most boring of balls?”

The marquise looked about, as though searching for somebody, before grabbing my hand in her gloved own and languidly leading me from the ballroom. Nobody spared us a second glance, all far to advanced in their merrymaking. Out through the gold laden double doors, and into a corridor of polished ivory we strolled. It gave me chance to pretend to admire some of the more dramatic murals that covered every spare inch of the place: a sure sign of overkill and bad taste. Then, out through the crystal front doors of the palace and onto the grand staircase. Taking a dramatic stance, the Marquise beckoned a footman who had her carriage brought forth post-haste. What drew the carriage, I had no idea, unless it was of horses who’s colouring perfectly matched that of the night? With no acknowledgement to any of the scurrying servants she climbed the inlaid tortoiseshell steps into her mobile boudoir and sat with her back to the coachman. I followed her in, doing my best to avoid standing on her gowns and took a white leathered seat opposite.

“It seems a very long time since I last had you alone like this,” she purred.

“It must be the better part of a century, I should imagine,” I replied, combing back my hair from my face.

“I see you refuse to submit to the whims of others, ever the rebel.” The Marquise lifted her chin to my jet black attire.

“You know me. Old habits die hard.”

“I know exactly what you mean.” If the Marquise was about to further enlighten me of her thoughts the juddering start to our drive prevented her from doing it. She never did not like to be anything other than in full control of a situation. In a moment of fang baring, the Marquise bashed twice upon the frame of the carriage and shouted to the coachmen to not jolt her again. The crack in the side panel where fist met wood made me realise just what a facade of decorum she was perpetrating. As always, I found it disgusting.

Turning back to me with the face an angel would die for, again in control of herself, she continued. “Have you missed me, Jean.”

“I’ve seen you on many occasions. This formulated world is too small to miss someone for too long.”

“You know what I mean,” she giggled.

“Not really,” I answered honestly.

“Hm, playing tough won’t work with me. I see through your veneer of disdain.” The moonlight shone through the carriage window and gave a strange look of madness to her eyes, as she lent closer to me.

“There is no veneer with me. My feelings to this life have not changed for centuries.”

Sitting back in her seat again, I can see the Marquise pondering my words with the look of a child completely unable to comprehend a question. “Do you really hate it so?” She eventually asked.

“Yes.”

“But, why? We have everything our hearts desire and even when we don’t we simply create it.”

“That is exactly why.” I gaze out of the window and watch the dramatic scenery sweep past.

“You are a most mysterious man,” she chuckled as she eased her way into the seat beside me. “Beautiful, isn’t it,” she purred into my ear.

“Perhaps, if you like amalgamations of your Alps and Himalayas. It just so happens I prefer the originals.” If the Marquise heard me I do not know, as her mouth closed about my neck. I squirmed a little in my seat at the twin pressure she applied but not enough to break the skin.

“Now, tell me that you still haven’t missed me,” words of honeyed silk poured from her mouth.

“I still haven’t missed you,” I breezed, as our mouths met and, for a time at least, I submitted to her as the toy I once was.

Time and motion blurred together and I suspected the Marquise of having manipulated at least one or the other to her benefit. I wasn’t complaining. Her attentions were a surprising relief from what had occurred at the palace. I was of course used to women throwing themselves at me for one reason or another. However having two quite so powerful ones do so in the same night was a new experience for me. The first new experience in longer than I cared to remember.

I had barely buttoned my trousers back up when the carriage came to a shuddering stop. I was flung head first into the Marquise corsets, for a second time, and was most disgruntled to be found in such a position by the coachman who efficiently opened the carriage door in double quick time. If he thought it odd he didn’t show it, as the Marquise let out a most undignified growl from the back of her throat.

I uncoupled myself and languidly strolled from the carriage offering my hand to the Marquise before viewing where we were. “Very impressive, Marquise,” I said, looking the fairytale castle up and down. “White marble?”

“If you call me Marquise once more, Jean, I shall rip out your tongue,” she hissed. “And no, it is actually polished ivory.”

“That’s an awful lot of elephants that have perished for your pleasure.”

“Always the joker! Anyway, I’m a little sick of the site of it, in truth. I may have it remade on jade. I think that should look sufficiently different to the norm.”

“Is there such a thing these days?” I replied.

She just smiled and led me onto a moving stairs, rather like an elevator, that somewhat distracted from the overall effect of the place. Hidden servants appeared as if from nowhere and removed the Marquise of her excess outerwear then bade a hasty retreat.

“I see you still rule your home with an iron fist, Mar…Portia.”

“There is no other way, Jean. I work on the principle that if I treat everybody with the same lack of respect those that deserve it will get the message whilst those that don’t will at best complain.” The accompanying fanged smile did nothing to encourage my acknowledgement of her methods. Not that it was asked for.

“May I ask where we are headed at this time of oncoming daylight?” I enquired, with as much disinterest as I could muster.

“Why, the view of course. You didn’t think I had this castle built especially for the sentimental value.”

“I was under the impression your husband was the one who’d had it built.”

“He thinks so! But we all know men have no real ideas of their own, don’t we?”

I had a sudden desire to strike her head from her arrogant, elegant shoulders. I even think the Marquise shuddered a little as the thought showed fractionally in the flash of my eyes. As her birthright decreed, she soon recovered, and continued her gliding passage through the brilliant white halls of her home. I walked slightly behind and to the right of her. This was mostly so that I didn’t have to look at her face, I was already quite bored of her, and secondly so that she was dawn side of me. I much preferred the Marquise to experience the sun on her face before I if it did indeed appear during the course of her showing off.

After a seemingly endless walk of which I even started to whistle to communicate my boredom, the Marquise stood before a pair of the longest, red velvet curtains I’d ever seen which she threw aside with a flourish. The reflex to pull back from what I thought would be my doom was hard to resist but I thought even as big an imbecile as the Marquise would neglect to kill herself off so readily and stood my ground. I think she was quite impressed to turn and see me there when others would, and probably had, previously fled.

“So?”

“So what?” I replied, not wishing to add to her grandeur.

“Is it not the most beautiful of sights,” she pointed across a valley of staggering depth to something in the distance.

I stepped closer, trying desperately to remain nonchalant, but couldn’t help not let my inquisitive side marvel at what she pointed to. It was a palace of some sorts, difficult to be completely certain of, but something ancient and rather spectacular. Of that fact I was quite sure.

“It is Shangri-La, Jean. I have had it moved here. I knew you’d appreciate the grandeur of it.”

I shook my head in disgust, turned my back to the pompous fool, and made my way up to the bed chambers. It would be a long day before I could be rid of the woman.

Speed Dating With The Dead

Julie and I decided to close out Vampire Week with a short story we wrote together. We hope you enjoyed Vampire week!

I always liked a bad boy. But when bad went to worse, and worse still, until bad plunged straight into Hades, I made a decision.

Go straight to Hades to start with. Start with the guys that would literally bleed me dry, and I would have nowhere to go but up.

Happy to be back in the game, I cruised into the posh hotel lobby like a Mercedes of women. The lights twinkled off of my gray glittery dress, making me a showroom piece. My chocolate brown hair was piled high on top on my head in a twist for three reasons:
1. To display my new red streak of hair at the nape of my neck.
2. To frame my face perfectly with curling tendrils.
3. To make every pulse in my neck visible to the many…men…I would be meeting.

My friends and especially my family always had something to say about my taste in men, and none of it was ever complimentary. He doesn’t treat you right, when is he ever going to grow up, is ever going to get a job? Their words bounced around needlessly in my head. They’d faint if they knew what I was up to tonight. For that reason, I was working alone.

A quiet looking guy in a sweater vest handed me my tag, number sixteen, and I sat down, waiting for the festivities to begin. The chair was a supple, soft leather, high backed, giving a bit of privacy at the cafe table.

Privacy was needed. There were at least twenty five other people here, all looking at anything but each other.

Quiet sweater vest guy tinkled a little bell, and everyone else just seemed to know what to do. I realized they probably did. The people here hadn’t come because they’d had an easy time finding a soul mate.

Who knows how many lovers a vampire needs to go through to find the one?

Bachelor number one slid into the stool on the other side of my table. He wore a confident half smirk which would have normally been off putting if it wasn’t totally overshadowed by his outfit. He was actually wearing a frilly high necked white shirt and a velvet cape. I shit you not. He leaned down, taking my hand as I sat in stunned disbelief and kissed it, his sandy blonde hair falling on my wrist. He then reached into his cape (it must have had pockets) and produced a red rose, which he handed to me as if it were The Hope Diamond.

“For the lady,” he announced.

Oh, this was going to be a long night.

My eyebrow arched in disbelief and I couldn’t stop it. “My Lord,” I said, giving the fool the once over.

“What is milady’s name?” he asked, waving his hand like a god damned magician. Everything he said was in an Ed McMahon style announcer voice.

“Zoe. And you are….”

“I am known by many names. Zephron. Calmix–”

“Okay,” I had to stop him. “What do you do?” I winced, already regretting asking.

“I am in IT support for a major corporation. I’d tell you which one, but I’d have to kill you.” He winked at me. Ugh. “I’m on the night shift.”

Wasn’t he just full of ’em.

“And you…must be a model.” So he was that guy when he was alive.

“I’m a CFO…of a minor corporation.”

He grinned. “Stunning and witty as well? I could sit here until dawn,” he said leaning in. He smelled like Polo.

Ding! Ding!

“Until we meet again–”

“Milady, yeah, yeah.”

I had exactly thirty seconds to catch my breath before my next customer sat his dead ass in the bar stool. My certainty of this plan was dwindling quick. What the hell had I thought I was going to find at a Vampire Speed Dating Service? Edward was already taken.

My second suitor swooshed in quickly and was staring at me hard. His eyes glowed with a barely bridled viciousness. His upper body was hunched over the table inhumanely, as if he was ready to pounce. He was a feral thing, not of this world, no trace of humanity about him. Head cocking side to side, sizing me up, he grumbled, “And you are?”

Anger and need hit me like a heatwave, and I coiled back, pressing desperately into the leather chair.

“Zoe,” I choked out. Fear rose in the form of bile in to my mouth. I was the mouse and he was the cobra. There was nowhere for me to turn.

His words punched me with their undercurrent of evil. “I have been looking for you. Only you. I could smell your heat miles away.”

“I think you’d better go,” I whispered.

Ferocious fangs gleamed in a cheshire smile that would never stop haunting my nightmares. I pulled my dress down to try to cover the goosebumps.

“I could kill you and nobody would ever see it happen. Your blood would taste better than the finest wine. And I will have it,” he spat, and was pinning me to the chair by both my wrists. I squealed and squirmed, but nobody seemed to notice. He buried his face in my neck and…

That was when door number tree opened.

“Buddy, didn’t you hear the bell? Time’s up.” My knight in shining….Oh, I didn’t even care what he was wearing…hissed at Dracula. As quickly as he had pinned me down, he was off of me and on to poor unsuspecting number seventeen.

My hero, as this man would forever be known, settled into the stool. He ran his hands through his dark hair and looked around the room before addressing me.

“This place is full of assholes.” He finally said, half apologetically, half in disgust.

I burst out laughing. “Yeah. So far I’m batting a thousand.”

God, this one was gorgeous. The shaggy hair that fell perfectly into place, the olive skin that hinted of some exotic upbringing, the black jacket and shirt that barely disguised a well chiseled physique. Whatever he had to say, I was listening.

What were you hoping for, coming here tonight, Zoe?” He caught me off guard, using my name. I hadn’t told him, but then again, I had no idea how long he’d been standing there, witnessing the last attack.

What did I want? It was a good question.

“If you were looking for danger, you found it and it didn’t suit you. You need someone who can take care of you.”

I scoffed. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

“Not like that,” Bachelor number three continued. “You are a beautiful woman, and I know just by watching you, you are smart and successful.” He leaned in, smelling spicy and unusual, in an enticing way. “You need someone who compliments you in every way. A worthy adversary.”

“And you think you’re that guy.”

“I would like a chance to show you that I think I am.”

I always did like a challenge.

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