Hunger

The Prompt: Write a story about someone trying to escape a subterranean space.

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cant go out… the sun’s still up. the siege continues. captured here by wants and needs. figuring out how to tunnel to others parts of this putrid smelling tomb. is there anybody out there? waiting to hunt, to sate the need, unless you got one tiny tidbit on ice in a cage or dangling from the tethers that secure them spread eagle to the cross of intoxication…

i hope in the future world they have some clean-up crew that comes right after dining like some maid service clearing a table. just take the body and whisk it away. would be sweet. no muss, no fuss. twenty-first century’s got a long way to go before we get to that point though.

hunger hangs like a second skin on the body, sniffing at the passing scents, the pulsing blood flowing through veins that still beat with warmth in them.

time
tick tocking by
slick licking of lips
the fever boils inside
the need
hunger

i tunneled thru to explore… the walls are crumbling and the sounds from the other cells are like obscured thoughts where momentary images crawl up from the base of the spine, sucking at the marrow of my bones; all that’s left. but I can feed on these images and on the mewling in the foul air. its not only blood upon which we feed, but essence, energy, like leeches latching onto a fat plump succulent limb, sapping it of all. symbiosis. its all there is in life. don’t think anyone escapes that path. you cant. we all feed on each other.

a long winding passage brings me to a bevy of cells. listening. there’s breathing on the other side. crying in that one. I touch a finger to the soft clay and rub, closing my eyes as if feeling the clammy flesh of the one who inhabits that chamber. the crying stops with an intake of breath. it waits to feel. i can see it in my mind’s eye, crouched in its corner, arms hugging drawn up legs to its body. i think spider; wrapping this one in a cocoon for later consumption. it feels me here. it holds its breath and reaches out tentatively with its mind. i turn and move on, leaving it wanting, letting the craving build, slowly, filling it with the essence i need.

wait for the return I tell it within my mind.

i am gone.

we are all asleep dreaming dreams of the coitus of blood love. here in the dark in my cell i listen to the stirrings as my companions wrestle with their sleep demons; some moaning, others groaning and occasional gasps… exclamations of terror. of what are they afraid? the little squeaks and scampering feet of our rodent visitors? it’s just their memory of that fear since we now might sup on them if they come too near.

i stare sightless at the ceiling through closed lids, hearing, smelling, even tasting the scent that comes to me. thoughts roam backward to treasured memories; the seductions, the takings, the draining. the thrill of the chase, not for the sake of the chase but for the sense of the thing being hunted. its heart beats a booming sound into the air. it hides when there are no hiding places for sight is not what finds them but their smell draws us to them. as all animals hunt so do we. the sound of the precious blood flowing through them, the prized odor of essence emanating out from them with each breath. remembering perching above staring down at it, crouched behind a wall of stacked boxes. it shivered so visibly and i felt myself growing hard  with excitement, fangs descending, eyes flashing bestial colors and the last sound it   heard before it was snatched up, a guttural purring. down quickly like a hawk swoops at its prey and grabbing it up, finding a suddenly compact universe of skin and breath and hair, making love to it for it has known that the end is exquisite agony erupting from it as it releases, unwilling at first. the flow filling me brought me the lifetime of this one, its tears and fears and joys and ploys and wild amorous fuss when held within the clutches of passion. hands lash out at me but i feel the flower blossom within its loins; higher, nearer, almost there. i pause feeling the raging climax flood the very fabric of its being, enjoying my own exultation.

but it is not just a memory. waiting for the killing light to disappear below the horizon. taunting.  what if the sun were to never set? if the earth stopped turning with the death rays searing the very ground under which i lie. would I die? would the soil crack deep, a fissure zig zagging down, letting the life draining light slice into my flesh with its razor sharp teeth?  my eyes snap open, and had i a beating heart it would be hammering. a dream. just a terrible dream. which makes one wonder what dreams may come when you ‘shuffle off the mortal coil?’ and what of those without the mortal coil, draped instead in a soulless shroud which looks every bit human until the beast arises, glowing eyes, descending fangs and hunger; a deep dark abyss of hunger, never ending hunger, need of bloodlust.

i climb up the wall and peer in through the small air vent at her, huddled in the corner, fear seeping out of every pour. ah yes, she still shudders at the stirring she hears that comes from this side of the wall. she knows what i am, dreams of my entering her chamber, pulling her from her pallet and hanging her from the manacles attached to cinderblock walls. these do not stretch her body taut as the rack had done eons ago.

rather, they allow her to struggle, but only until she realizes it is useless. the tatters of her clothes hide nothing from my eyes and she blushes, sending her scent out to me, not that it is ever hidden. she shrinks back, in her dream, trying but unable to escape as my hands trace across her soft pulsing skin, opening tiny slits on the surface giving birth to sweet delicious drops of the elixir of life. in her dream, my tongue slides across these slivers of rivers of blood. is that a moan? a need growing within her to feel the full flower of being used thus?  her heart beats wildly in her breast.

i will come for you, I whisper.

her sleep is a tiny space into which she crawls for solace, for surcease. i watch the rise and fall of her breathing, hear the sweet sound of her life flowing, if not peacefully, perhaps with anticipation and an uncontrollable longing. kneeling next to her, i reach out caressing her warm flesh, my touch light, as if a feather, brushing across the landscape of her body. the moment stretches out, and then i am upon her.

she is caught between pleasure and pain, her life a moving picture inside my head, as my own fills her mind with the tale of the lives taken that i may live. do we not all feed off each other? is it not a symbiotic union; exquisite in its tenor and at the same time the stunning reality of her end. within those last moments, she knows the famine and she knows the feast as her body screams for the life draining from her while it fills with the eons of all the last moments of those upon whom we sup. i feel the quiver of  release as her body betrays her, convulsing in orgasm.

turning momentarily, i drink in the image of her deathly slumber. her life is not lost for it will be remembered within each fount from which i drink.

outside, the night air is fresh and cool, a wind sweeping across the desert, washing away that which has turned to dust. “well done,” the voice of my sire whispers, and she takes my hand, leading me toward the maze that is her personal domain. each of the three monoliths are but a silhouette against the jeweled sky.

The Cosmic Highway

May 28 – Non Human Character

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“Round and round and round we go, where we’ll stop, nobody knows.” The Stand-up Comet speaker sent out the message. It was the prepatory cue. Everyone had to line up, or, get orderly, or something. The Cloud would know if things weren’t orderly.

“Hey, short stuff, this is your first time. You ready?”

“Uh huh! Rearing to go.”

“Do you know which Shower you’re are a member of?”

“Um, Not sure.”

“Okay, stand-by. Will get that 411 for you.”

Short stuff wiggle-waggled to show understanding.

The Cloud knew that it might have seemed like a chaotic place to anyone who wasn’t an official member. Members had to be all of kind. Those unruly passers-by really caused some rather uncharacteristic shows, true enough. But the Cloud’s annual offering was wholly co-ordinated, contrary to what the miniscules thought.

Here in the Cloud, shows were tightly scheduled events. None of the apathtic, ‘when-I-get-around-to-it’ kinds of affairs, which left too much room for accidents. Though some were fairly consistent. More and more new faces were showing up, and that just tended to confuse the new Shower Members.

“Listen up. Here are the dates for each of your appearances. If you know your Shower Group, head for your sector. Those new to our Cloud locale, gather here for last minute assignments.”

“We all know these official, annual shows have been on the bill for quite a long time. But understand this, your individual participation is applauded by the spectators.

The specifics for each spectacle is posted, with the particulars of each showers.”
“Quadrantids
Active from January 1st to 10th 2015
Peaking January 3 – 4

All Quadrantids Members, you have the potential to be the strongest shower of the year, but don’t feel bad if you fall short. It’s due simply to the short length of maximum activity (6 hours) and the poor weather experienced during early January on the Orb. The average hourly rates one can expect under dark skies is 25. While members usually lack persistent trains, you often produce bright fireballs. Due to the high northerly declination (celestial latitude) it is likely you will not be well seen from the southern hemisphere.

Lyrids
Active from April 16th to 25th 2015
peaking Apr 22-23

All Lyrids Members, you will produce medium strength shower that usually produces good rates for three nights centered on the maximum. Don’t worry about lack of persistent trains, because, say it with me, you can produce fireballs. You will be best seen from the northern hemisphere where the radiant is high in the sky at dawn. Activity from this shower can be seen from the southern hemisphere, but at a lower rate.

Eta Aquariids
Active from April 19th to May 26th 2015
Peak May 6-7

All Eta Aquariids, you are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator northward, and you will produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity. You are swift that produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs. You are a strong shower when viewed from the southern tropics. From the equator northward, you will only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity. You are swift and produce a high percentage of persistent trains, but few fireballs. From the equator to 25S you can produce rates of 40-60 per hour just before dawn at maximum. The longer nights in the southern hemisphere allows the radiant to rise higher in the sky. South of 25S the radiant altitude actually decreases. Activity is good for a week centered the night of maximum activity.

Delta Aquariids
Active from July 21st to August 23rd 2015
Peak Jul 28-29

All Delta Aquariids, you another strong shower best seen from the southern tropics. North of the equator the radiant is located lower in the southern sky and therefore rates are less than seen from further south. You will produce good rates for a week centered on the night of maximum. You will usually appear faint and lack both persistent trains and fireballs.

Alpha Capricornids
Active from July 11th to August 10th 2015
Peak Peak Jul 27-28

All Alpha Capricornids, you are active from July 11 through August with a “plateau-like” maximum centered on July 29. You won’t be very strong and rarely produce in excess of five shower members per hour. Notable, however, are the number of bright fireballs produced during your activity period. You will be seen equally well on either side of the equator.

Perseids
Active from July 13th to August 26th 2015
Peak Aug 12-13

All Perseids, you know why you are the most popular. Because you peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. You are active from July 13 to August 26. You reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum. Remember, you are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during your numerous returns to the inner solar system. You know you are called Perseids since the radiant  seem to originate the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.

Orionids
Active from October 4th to November 14th 2015
Peak Oct 21-22

All Orionids you are a medium strength shower that sometimes reaches high strength activity. In, a normal year you produce 20-25 shower members at maximum. In exceptional years, such as 2006-2009, the peak rates were on par with the Perseids (50-75 per hour). Unfortunately, we are unable to predict exactly when you will be exception.

Southern Taurids
Active from September 7th to November 19th 2015
Peak Oct 23-24

All Southern Taurids, you are a long-lasting shower that reaches a barely noticeable maximum on October 9 or 10. While you are active for more than two months, you rarely produce more than five shower members per hour, even at maximum activity. All Taurids (both branches) you are rich in fireballs and are often responsible for increased number of fireball reports from September through November.

Northern Taurids
Active from October 19th to December 10th 2015
Peak Nov 11-12

All NT members,  you are like your sister shower, Southern Taurids, though active a it later in the year. However, when you are active simultaneously in late October and early November, there is a notable increase in the fireball activity. Yes, you have a seven year periodicity with these fireballs. 2008 was the last remarkable year. Perhaps this year, 2015, will be the next?

Leonids
Active from November 5th to 30th 2015
Peak Nov 17 – 18

All Leonids, you are best known for producing great storms in the years of 1833, 1866, 1966, and 2001. These outbursts of activity are best seen when your parent comet, 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, is near perihelion (closest approach to the sun). It is not new members seen from the your parent, but rather debris from earlier returns that also happen to be most dense at the same time. As you know, it appears that the orb will not encounter any dense clouds of debris until 2099. Therefore when your parentual unit returns in 2031 and 2064, there will be no meteor storms, but perhaps several good displays of activity with rates in excess of 100 per hour. The best we can hope for now until the year 2030 with peaks of around 15 shower members per hour and perhaps an occasional weak outburst when the earth passes near a debris trail. You, Leonids members, are often bright with a high percentage of persistent trains.

Ursids
Active from December 17th to 23rd 2015
Peak Dec 21-22

All Ursids, you are often neglected due to the fact you peak just before Christmas and the rates are much less than the Geminds, which peaks just a week before you.  Observers will normally see 5-10 of you per hour during the late morning hours on the date of maximum activity. You have produced occasional outbursts when rates have exceeded 25 per hour. These outbursts appear unrelated to the perihelion dates of your Parental Unit 8P/Tuttle. You are strictly a northern hemisphere event as the radiant fails to clear the horizon or does so simultaneously with the start of morning twilight as seen from the southern tropics.”

“Short stuff, you’re with the Orionids Shower Members.”

When every member had joined their group, and the Cloud was quiet, the final announcement was made.

“Start your engines,  good luck, and be careful out there”

A Bird On The Wire

May 27 – Character Study – Fill In the Blanks

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Boredom. It curled around Vachon like the tendrils of a vine, numbing the senses. The people who filled the warehouse-turned-nightclub, aptly named Blood Ties, were mostly spectators, seekers of adventure, who conned themselves into thinking they were living on the edge. Some flirted more closely with disaster than they could imagine but willingly gave themselves over to their own need to walk that line, placing themselves in the hands of those who would care not if their feeding brought the demise of the former.

Vachon had seen it so many times through the ages, though more so in the late decades of the last century, that it became a grotesque caricature of Lore, little meager vignettes acted out, sometimes as a spectacle on the main stage, but more often in the dark back rooms where the seeker actually paid to meet their Reaper.

Just before midnight, Vachon left the club, wandering the lonely streets on the West Side that were within a block of the piers which berthed the ocean liners and other ships sailing into New York harbor. There must have been something to the saying, ‘the good old days’ because he found himself reminiscing about Urs, and Screed, even Nick, Janette and La Croix, his time spent in the smaller city of Toronto. And Tracy. All gone.

Maybe six months was long enough to give a place before moving on. It wasn’t as if hadn’t done that after a day’s visit, where he would find himself moving on. But the one thing that the City That Never Sleeps afforded was anonymity; the ability to fade into the woodwork, to become one of faceless millions. Sometimes, that felt good. Aimlessness, currently, did not.

Vachon was a shape shifter, often taking the form of a crow or a wolf, depending on the area, or the circumstances. As he had on Urs’s last night, sitting behind the large chimney, watching his beautiful daughter waiting for the killing orb to float above the horizon, triggering memories of Angel, his Master, his Mayan Princess, he felt his own flesh begin to sear when light filled the sky. It was more reflex than anything that Vachon had morphed into The Crow and dove down into the darkness as far down as the basement of the church in which he lived that morning.

Now, taking wing, not that he needed to change form, he flew above the city, the light sparkling like the jewels which graced the night sky. His flight took him down the West Side Highway, crossing Manhattan Island near Battery Park and he glided across the East Estuary to a borough of the city called Brooklyn. Landing on a roof above a street where people drifted down darkened alleys, Vachon watch a group of women he knew were ‘of the night’ who sold their bodies for money. Urs came to mind again. Flying down to get a closer look, he saw two in what he would have called a stand off: hands on hips, sneering, one at the other, hissing out threats. The one who was solo, was lying, he knew. She was playing a part, though he didn’t know for what reason yet. If he had to guess, and near to five hundred years of life – regardless of its quality – gave a person the ability to pick up nuances in body language and speech patterns, that lone pigeon was on a different kind of job, was probably setting the stage for a sting operation. She was too classy to be a common whore. In the dark, just out of the glow from the streetlight, Vachon watched, no longer bored.

Perched above the hookers, Vachon watched intently through the eyes of The Crow as the scene played out below in the street. It seemed to him that it was almost predictable that the lone pigeon would be sought out, taken. Did the guy in the car know?

The conversation, heard by Vachon, as the beast which resided inside easily picked up the words spoken by his pigeon and a voice which spoke to her from inside her head, bickered briefly, urged him to take flight again as the car pulled away from the curb, the woman now sitting shotgun next to the john.

Everything about her said cop to him, though he knew nobody else would see that or even sense it. Vachon knew exactly why he was following the car, though he would never admit it, if there was anyone still alive from that time to chide him for his actions. But he also heard trepidation in her voice, and that made her one of the innocents, which in turn made her his responsibility.

Vachon would have blamed The Inca for his change of heart, having been forced to face up to his responsibilities, to fulfill his destiny as passed on to them by their Mistress of Darkness when they were both made into Creatures Of The Night. But that would have been a lie. Right or wrong, the decisions he made throughout the centuries were often based squarely upon that foundation and Vachon could pretend all he wanted that it was otherwise, but the truth was the truth. Too much had transpired for him to remain uninvolved.

The wind ruffled his feathers as he followed the car, an apt metaphor for the need to follow suit right now. Destiny would have it’s way and Vachon left the desire to fly the coop behind as he settled into what he knew he must do.

Watching them walk into a building, the black bird came to light on a chain link fence which surrounded a playground next to the apartment house. Cocking his head, he listened as the couple made their way upstairs. A door opened then closed and the man asked if she wanted a drink. Identifying the window of the room they were in, which looked out on the world, Vachon flew over and landed on the ledge. Sure enough, she was a cop, trying to talk her way out of having to put the john down if her partner didn’t show up.

Somewhere close by, a bolt of lightning struck followed by a clap of thunder which rumbled overhead. Lights went out throwing the neighborhood into a semi darkness and Vachon morphed into himself, heading down to the front door of the building, entered and flew up to the second floor. Inside the darkness seemed complete and while she stood there, her gun pointed at the man, the beast inside the man Vachon was, emerged, a low guttural growl like that of an angry dog mingled with the second clap of thunder as another bolt of lightning briefly lit up the world. He was on the man in a second, snapping his neck, the body dropping to the floor and Vachon retreated from the room, his work done, and waited, hovering at ceiling level of the darkened corridor.

Her voice drifted out to him. “Who’s here? Show yourself,” she demanded. Somewhere below them Vachon could hear someone running down on the first floor, crashing into an old trash can he remembered seeing near the entrance. It was enough of a noise to bring her out of the apartment into the hallway. She headed toward the staircase and stopped. Nobody was in sight and she turned on her heel at the moment Vachon descended to the floor and they collided.

“Whoa, little lady,” he said, catching her from toppling over. “Just came out to check  what’s going on. You hear that crash?” She was really pretty beneath all the makeup she had on and her scent washed over him as her blood pulsed through her veins. It had been a long time since he’d been this close to a woman who wasn’t, like himself, a creature of the night.

While the centuries saw little change in most vampire communities, Toronto had afforded Vachon a more civilized lifestyle. The blood he drank was procured from slaughter houses and blood banks. Feeding off the living was for the lesser clans and even while he evaded his responsibility, he also never brought harm to the innocent. Still, her bouquet was intoxicating and the beast stirred.

She withdrew from his helping hands, straightening her clothing out. Not a hooker, Vachon thought. Though he supposed even a lady of the night would feel creeped out when seeing the result of his attack on the john. The vibe was just all wrong. He saw the confusion in her expression at his words, even after she’d sorted it out in her mind.

Vachon saw the guy come up behind her, felt the connection between them and watched as they exchanged a few words and then she turned back, a smile on her face. “Excuse us, please?” Vachon stepped out of the way as she turned back to her partner and dragged him inside the apartment, closing the door behind them.

Standing quietly outside, he heard her exasperation at the situation she found herself in. After another few moments, Vachon heard her mention a bar and headed outside to wait and watch where she went. At this point, he had to see it through.

When he saw which bar she was heading toward he zipped by her, sight unseen, sliding onto a barstool and ordering a drink even before she reached the door. It wasn’t crowded and Vachon sat quietly, pretending to nurse his drink as she dropped onto a stool two down from him. She ordered and Vachon watched her in the mirror behind the bar. She gulped down the first, and ordered a second drink then glanced around, her gaze finally settling on Vachon. Turning his head after a moment, he met her gaze and smiled, lifting his own drink up, as patrons so often do. “To better nights,” he said. He didn’t actually acknowledge that he had seen her not more than fifteen minutes prior in the darkened hallway of an old, decaying apartment building. It was just a saying one stranger might say to another, as if his own night could have been better.

Vachon could feel the nervous energy wafting off her even as a wisp of a smile touched her lips. She raised her glass in a mutual toast then looked away and downed her drink. In a second he was seated next to her, the scent of her blood washing over him once more. His mind filled with the memory of words he’d spoken once to someone: Every woman has her own scent, her own flavor. The blood is who you are!

She looked back at him, fully expecting he was still two bar stools down, and Vachon watched her physically react, a burst of laughter to cover the shock; her hand suddenly pressing against the top she wore. “Geeze! I am jumpy tonight! I’m sorry. I guess I need more liquid courage than I anticipated!”

He wasn’t feeling in any way mean spirited, though he couldn’t help grinning at her reaction. She ordered another drink and looked back at Vachon asking him what brought him there, voicing the opinion that he must be having a ‘pretty shitty’ evening himself.

He shrugged. It was, in fact, mind numbingly boring with the exception of the last part. “Pretty much like every night.” In his mind he added, for the last five centuries. He thought about what brought him to that hole-in-the-wall establishment. Telling her she did, would likely not sit well with her. Cop or not, an intimation of being stalked, he knew, didn’t go over big with the mortal population. “What brings me here? I’m usually where I’m supposed to be.” A mix between puzzlement and caution filled her expression. “You know, no matter where you go, there you are?” Vachon laughed. He studied her for a moment, wondering for yet another time what she’d look like without all that make up, without the clothes of the trade. “Courage?” he repeated. “For what?”

“You have your secrets, I have mine,” she said in response to his query about why she needed more ‘liquid courage.’ That was an understatement. The thing was, people, especially those who’d seen the ugly underbelly of the world, like she did, more often than most, still didn’t know the half of the kind of secrets that existed beyond the fringe. He wondered what she’d do given the opportunity to see his secret. What would be her first reaction? Tracy had fainted, but then her first encounter wasn’t a one on one situation. She’d watched two monsters fighting it out, flying about the room. She’d come up close and personal with both, Vachon recalled. The Inca had threatened her, full blown out, eyes glowing in the dark of the church and fangs descended, lifting her off her feet as he growled his question, in Spanish. Even after near to five hundred years, controlling the beast once it was in the driver’s seat was hard. Vachon pulled his mind away from the thoughts.

After ordering another drink, she looked back at him. “You here alone?” she asked. Studying her face, their eyes locked, Vachon answered with a single, slow nod of his head. Drawing in a breath, drinking her in, her bouquet was like a fine wine. “You shouldn’t be!” she commented. “The women in this joint can be leaches looking for their sex partner for the night!” He saw her pause, raising her eyebrow. “Unless, of course, that’s what ya came for yourself?”

Life should be so easy he thought. Hunger stirred in him. It was the kill, he knew. “I’m thinking more about dinner, actually.” She’d already looked away, staring down into her drink, her mind gnawing on something. His response drew her back to him, her expression one more closely aligned with disgust than with disbelief. “Not here,” Vachon added. “Across the river. Manhattan has better fare.” He paused for a moment. “That where you’re headed?” Somehow he knew that question only added to her exasperation, but she had asked, after all.

She grinned half-heartedly. “Nah, I’m goin home after this. Don’t think I could eat a bite after everything I’ve seen tonight.” Finishing her drink, she slammed the glass back onto the bar and looked over at Vachon. “It’s been real. I gotta go…”

Where her mind moved, it seemed her body wasn’t willing to cooperate. She wavered as she stood, reaching out to steady herself, her hand coming to rest on his shoulder on the black biker’s jacket he was wearing. Sitting back down, she rested her head on her free hand. “Wow, guess I’m not goin’ anywhere for a while.”

Vachon watched, waiting for her to get it all out. Both hands now cradling her head she muttered, “This fucking sucks.” It was like watching one of those old skits he’d seen on television, watching a tipsy character, like a spinning top, in uncontrolled motion, finally coming to rest, though there was always a question of where that just might be.

It’d been so long since alcohol had touched his lips, Vachon could not recall if the intoxication was akin to being sated after feeding. Before he got too far into that thought, the woman looked back at him. “You can go now. I’ll nurse myself a bit more here before heading home.”

“I’m sure you can take care of yourself,” Vachon said to her. “But considering how the night and the drink have combined to, let’s say, throw you off balance, if you have a car, least I can do is drive you home. Make sure you get there safely.” She started to decline with a shake of her head. “You said yourself what the women here are like, so that means the men probably aren’t any pickier and… well, I’d hate to see your night turn out any worse.”

She stared at him for a minute, probably trying to determine what to do. Vachon knew her head was pounding as he heard the very clear staccato beat of her heart, like a drum from a Shamanic journey. “Just a ride. Nothing more. Consider me your designated driver.” he suggested. “Legally, you shouldn’t be driving in that condition.” He grinned, stood and held out his hand.

She was going to resist and that wouldn’t do. She was in no shape to drive, but he also wanted her to talk some about what she’d seen in the apartment. He couldn’t really come right out and ask. The drive home and what ever time they might spend together once there, would accomplish several things: She’d be protected. He would learn if she actually saw anything at all, other than the aftermath. He also would more likely become imprinted in her mind, which he wanted for reasons he wouldn’t bother delving into with himself. Call it guilt. His track record wasn’t the best. Somewhere in the last several decades, Javier Vachon had found the path his Sire desired he walk when she brought him across. Four Hundred plus years too late, but still, he was taking out the bad guys and protecting the innocents.

The ride to her house, after she agreed to let him drive, was quiet with her tilting her head toward the window to let the air wash over her face. “What’s your name?” Vachon asked after a while, as he saw her breathing in more slowly, cringing less. “Mine’s Vachon” he said, pronouncing it the French way so it sounded like Vashon. Her’s was Fiona.

At her apartment, after opening the car door for her, she made it clear that she could get the rest of the way inside by herself. Vachon considered pushing the issue, but the chances of her connecting him to the killing back in the tenement were almost non existent. She had been a nice distraction during the night, and while he wouldn’t have minded getting to know her better, he knew she wasn’t in any condition to be social.

Vachon didn’t think it likely that either of them would probably venture into that bar again, but he just nodded at her suggestion they might meet up again there. Handing the car keys back to her, he waited until she was inside before flying up to the roof of the building, making short shrift of the door lock and heading down to the top floor. The elevator stopped at 5. Morphing back into the crow, he circled the building watching for the darkened windows of her apartment to light up. He could see her through the open drapes leaning against the closed front door, kicking off her shoes and dropping her coat and bag. She would be fine, he knew and took off for the river.

Manhattan, a sparkling sea of lights reflected in the East River, called him back. Walking through the crowds, he realized his mind kept wandering back to her, seeing her in the apartment, then in the hall, with her partner, probably, and finally in the bar. He felt her hand on his shoulder, heard her blood clearly, the beating of her heart, savored the scent of her. She would taste delicious, sweet and he could imagine bringing her back to his new haunt. He might drink from her wrist, or that lovely neck, or more intimately, from her inner thigh.

Heading for the west side highway, down to where the streets from The Village filtered out to the River Front, Vachon entered a bar he frequented; a place owned by, and opened for Night Creatures, like himself, where a particularly willing group of goth kids came to offer themselves up to the endless possibilities. None ever remembered being taken into a back room, being fed upon and staggering back out to the main part of the club, mingling on a euphoric high of their own having experienced only what those who felt a Vampires fangs sinking deep into their flesh ever knew. But their memory was only of being part of something so erotic that they only recalled it being a sexual moment.

It had been a very long time since Vachon could remember being aroused enough by a mortal that he needed to find satisfaction. All the patrons were younger than he really wanted but he found one who resembled her the most and she was more than willing to go into the back with him. His hunger raged inside like a storm, and he ravaged the young woman, listening to her moan as he fed, feeling her body begging with its own needs.

As he walked outside into the night, the only image in his head was still Fiona. Staring up at the night sky, he wondered how soon their next meeting would be.

Up a Tree Without a Paddle

“Please? Please, please, please.”

“Yeah, sure. Alright already.”

The little girl watched him climb up on the ladder, grasp onto the lowest branch, and pull himself up. He heard the ladder fall, clattering to the ground, and shook his head. ‘Only me,” he thought.

“Up just a little higher,” he heard her voice.

Carefully looking up, he scanned the branches, and saw it, a little fur ball, mewling plaintively. “It’s okay, girl, I’ll get you down.” He reached up, as he steadied himself on the branch, close to the trunk of the tree. The thanks he got was a claw catching on his hand, and he started to pull back, felt gravity begin to pull at him, and thinking as quickly as he could, clutched another branch, just above his head. His heart was hammering in his chest, and he stood perfectly still, waiting to feel more steady.

He made the sound people make when calling cats, then said, “Come here, kitty.” It just mewled back, and he pulled himself up a few more inches, until he was nearer still, to the animal.  Slowly, straining, he managed to put his hand around the little shaking body, and pulled in from it’s perch.

The world began turning, as he felt his foot slip off the branch, and unable to find it, fell, bringing the kitten to his chest, holding it carefully, and landed in a recently raked pile of leaves. It did little to ease touch down, and he felt something break, somewhere, and pain searing through him.  He lay there, lifting his arm up toward the little girl who was now hovering over him, reaching for her lost pet.

“You’re my hero,” she said, taking the cat out of his hand.

“Anytime,” he heard himself say as he lost consciousness.

The Five Squared Neighborhood

I’ve never met a challenge that I haven’t, eventually, taken, even if whining all the way down the street and across town with it. So, it is my pleasure to pick up the gauntlet (I LOVE armor!) thrown down by the lovely Calensariel who resides in the Impromptu Promptlings Realm.

She has called it Five About Five Around the neighborhood
It will be way more difficult to just put down five things… but I shall try.

And I will begin with our Hostess.

Calensariel from Impromptu Promptlings
1. I have rarely met a woman as kind-hearted as Calen.
2. A tremendously inspiring writer, her journeys go far beyond our little boxes.
3. Her interests are hugely eclectic – and personifies variety as the spice of life.
4. Her inquistive comments are some of the most compelling I’ve ever seen.                5. She happily works behind the scenes, bringing community together.

Plato from PlatosGroove
1. His exquisite poetry, shows how to commune with that deepest part of ourselves.
2. He is very welcoming, and gracious as a friend and a man.
3. He is wonderfully playful, bringing smiles through is interactions.
4. His connection to The Earth is awe-inspiring, found in Garden Updates and other thoughtful posts
5. He fearlessly forges ahead into the unknown

Julia from My Red Page
1. Her dedication for bringing LOVE to the world speaks highly of her integrity!
2. She is extremely creative in her approach to presentation.
3. She strives to embody what she believes in a very accomplished way.
4. She is very classy, and is a wonderful role model.
5. Her stories, and tellings are beautifully orchestrated.

PhoTrablogger from Trablogger
1. He is an incredibly talented photographer
2. He is one of the happiest and friendly people I have ever met, here.
3. A very creative journeyman, he shares his excellent adventures through pictures, and words.
4. He invites us along with a joyous heart, and is very attentive to our thoughts.
5. He is a great teacher and shares his information freely.

Badfish from Bad Fish Out Of Water
1. A world traveler, he embraces what he does in the most whole hearted way.
2. As a photographer, his work is breathtaking!
3. His words are wonderfully compelling and fabulously educational.
4. He is thoroughly fun-loving, which it is quite contagious.
5. His tastes as collector of antiquities is outstanding.

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