Blogophilia 18.10 – Daniel Part 1
It’s time again for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog. This week’s prompts are:
Daniel watched the rain roll down the window. Flaws in the glass created misshapen bubbles in the world outside; strange pockets of deformed darkness. Lightning sizzled through heavy clouds and he closed his eyes against the flash.
He opened them again, to turn back to the house. One large room with a fireplace and chunky, rustic furniture. It looked the same as a hundred others in the colonies – except for the pile of corpses.
A man and woman were on the bottom in a puddle of blood, their throats ripped out. On top of them were four children with similar injuries. Their blood was smeared on the hearth, on the rough table and bench, and on Kateesha’s face.
With dark skin and fiery eyes, Kateesha was the most beautiful thing Daniel had ever seen. She wore her ebony hair up, and a black dress left a spill of heavy cleavage peeping out above the tight bodice. She caught Daniel’s scrutiny and smiled, licking blood from her hand like a cat cleaning mouse from its paw.
“It’s cold, but delicious.”
He knew it would be. The air was so thick with the smell that he could almost taste it, but they didn’t have time to indulge. “Whoever did this can’t be far.”
Kateesha moved to him in a swish of skirts, and laid her hand on his shoulder. “And if they are? Of what consequence is it?”
His body tightened at her touch. “We’re supposed to catch them,” he murmured.
“Why? What concern is it of ours if they want to play? Do we not deserve some fun ourselves?”
Daniel closed his eyes and struggled for the power to tell her no. “We have our duty.”
She scoffed and motioned his objection away. “Duty? You mean orders, don’t you? I’ve followed his orders for almost a century, and I tire of it. What does it matter if one rogue, or one hundred, run amuck? So what if they butcher humans and leave them lay? There are many more in Europe, waiting to cross the vast ocean and come to this wild land. Let them come, and die. Besides.” She drew close again and leaned in, so that her words tickled his ear. “It’s raining. Even Malick can’t expect us to ride in the rain.”
Daniel tried to hold onto his resolve; tried to ignore the reaction she caused in him. “The rain will not hurt us.”
“Perhaps not, but it is not as pleasant as feasting here.” The innuendo in her voice hinted at the feast she had in mind; half feeding, half sex, and completely the opposite of what they were supposed to be doing.
Daniel gritted his teeth and forced himself to step away from her. “We must follow our orders.”
Her musical laughter rolled around the room. “I forget that you are new to this life. Two years has it been since I found you in a house much like this?”
Daniel kept his eyes trained on the window, on the rain running down it. He remembered that night in perfect detail, like a painting by one of the Italian masters. The fire had burned low in the hearth, and the men’s blood was still warm in his mouth. They were brothers, and he’d killed them both, ignoring cried for mercy. There was no mercy here; had never been any mercy. He’d been human when he’d come to the new colonies in 1695. Six months later he lay on his death bed, burning up with fever, begging God to spare him, to let him return to England to his wife and his daughters. It wasn’t God who’d answered his prayers, but a demon who gave him tainted blood. Vampiredom cured his sickness, but took away his chance to see his family again. How could he make the voyage? And even if he could, how would be provide for them? Care for them? Monsters did not nurture children, they destroyed them.
And that was what he did. For sixty years he and the demon who’d changed him preyed upon colonists and Indians alike; women, children, young, old, it made no difference. When his master tired of him, he struck out on his own, handing out death and misery to anyone he chose. Until she found him. He’d killed the brothers and was washing in their basin when she walked through the door, her sword drawn, and a smile curving across her full lips.
“Well, well, look at this.” She’d made a show of looking him over, and the gleam in her eyes said she found the view satisfying. “Tis a pity I’ll have to relieve you of such a fine head.”
He’d looked from her gleaming fangs to her dark, dangerous eyes and realized she was the same as he was; a demon of night, left to drink blood and wander the earth for eternity.
Though he hadn’t spoken aloud, still she threw back her head and laughed. “What melodramatic notions you carry, sir. Demons we are not, but something better. Vampire is the word my master uses. And we are not left to do anything, rather gifted to be above the petty mortals. However,” she brandished the sword. “There are laws, however pointless they may seem, and you have broken them. For creatures such as us, there can be only one penalty.”
He’d eyed the blade; noted the way the fire reflected on the keen edge, and decided not to fight. What was the point? He’d long ago lost any reason to live. He had no family, no home. Had she not come upon him, he’d have stolen from the house near sunrise to bury himself in the dirt, safe from the sun’s rays. When evening came he would rise, dirt caked beneath his fingernails, to seek more blood, and perhaps a bath if he could manage it before the process was repeated. How many more days did he want to pass buried with the worms?
She’d wrinkled her nose. “Yes, to remove you from such a life would be a mercy.” She stepped closer, the sword raised, ready to strike. He’d closed his eyes and steeled himself, waiting for pain that didn’t come. Finally, he’d opened his eyes to find her face pressed close to his. When he gasped, she sealed her mouth over his and pushed him back against the wall.
He’d never forgotten that kiss, though the amusement in her eyes afterwards said that it meant nothing to her. That was when she told him about The Guild, and The Laws, and the Executioners who were tasked with enforcing them. She’d flashed her silver medallion, and explained that killing humans, and leaving their corpses lying in a heap, was against the laws.
“It could lead to our discovery,” she’d said. “Anything that could cause the humans to learn the truth about us is forbidden.”
When he’d asked her why, she’d laughed and said, “Because our masters say so. And now, the hour grows late. The sun will be upon us soon, and I have no wish to stay the day in this squalid place. ‘tis a pity you’re not a whisperer. I believe you’d have made a good Executioner.”
She’d raised the sword, but again lowered it without striking. “Perhaps Father could be persuaded to expand the Executioners beyond whisperers and dream stealers. Surely other talents are just as important.” She’d paused to look him over. “Whatever talent it is you possess.”
So they’d gone to The Guild’s headquarters in New York. There, Malick had tested him, and declared that he was a Puppet Master; a vampire who could control others physical actions for varying lengths of time. Daniel had known he had the ability, had even used it on occasion, but hadn’t realized it had a name, any more than he’d realized how organized the vampires were.
Two years later, he was still surprised to discover new intricacies to their laws, and their lives. It was a different existence than he’d lived with his demon master, and sometimes it took all of his self control not to go back to the way he’d been. Self control that Kateesha enjoyed testing.
He looked past her to the pile of bodies; the parents and their children, and then to the rainy window. They needed to leave, to find whoever had done this and stop them before they were discovered. That was what Malick had tasked them with doing. If they failed…
Kateesha scoffed. “If we fail, Father will say to try harder next time. Do you think he cares one way or the other? He sends us on these quests because it is the desire of those in Germany that we keep things quiet but, were it in his hands alone, he would say that we should do as we please. And what I please,” she moved closer to trail a finger over his chest. “What I please is to stay out of the rain and enjoy the blood that has already been spilled.”
Daniel shuddered at her touch. Though her words were pretty, he knew Malick would be displeased with them should they return empty handed. Or at least displeased with him. As Malick’s favorite, Kateesha would receive no chastisement, but Daniel was not so fortunate.
Kateesha leaned closer, her words a whisper, “Join me, Daniel. Do not fear your desires, but know your own darkness and embrace it.”
“It is not my desires I fear, but their consequences; if we fail him I shall dread the events of the future, not in themselves but in their results.”
“There will be no results to fear, nor consequences.” She took his hand and tugged him towards the bleeding bodies. “Come. Give yourself to the darkness, and to me,” She paused to take a fingerful of crimson and smear it across her cleavage. “Then all your fears would be as light as a feather in the breeze.”
Though he knew he should resist, the sight of the blood on her skin, on her lips as she sucked it from her finger, was too much, and he surrendered.
Part 2 is coming next week.
And now for guesses:
Topic: Jessica Brooke Miller
Bonus: Christopher Mitchell & Jonathan Harvey
Picture: Salon Newlove
- roses are not red this time 2. flower for a flower 3. a rose by any other name 4. stop and smell the roses. 5. in the shadows 6. every rose has it’s thorn 7. days of wine and roses 8. of thorns and roses 9. roses fall but the thorns remain 10. rose is a rose is a rose is a rose 11. coming up roses 12. no bed of roses 13. smell like a rose 14. all moonlight and roses 15. under the rose 16. blush is off the rose 17. smelling like roses 18. the rose 19. growing in the dark 20. what lies in the shadows