LOVER IN STONE, Installment No. 6

Cramming his anger deeper into himself, Merrick freed his curiosity from its coffin. He had to see how this unusual sitch played out, so he ventured deeper into the room.
Was the woman the Vampyre’s lover?
His full Chimera seethed to be let loose from its singular Gargoyle form, and Merrick pushed aside the unfamiliar fluttering of his gut. The female put her arm across the ancient one’s back, and gently caressed her cheek along his shoulder.
No. There was nothing sexual about the woman’s giving of comfort. This was Anton’s human child, the one he and his wife had found and raised as one of their own.
Ignoring his relief, he stifled a derisive grunt. Well, not exactly as one of their own. She was human, not Vampire. She had been raised on milk and solid food, not blood. Quite the sacrifice for a pair of leeches, considering the babe would have made a delicate meal.
A smear of blood on Anton’s pallid cheek had Merrick eyeing the ancient one a little more carefully.
The Vampyre wept.
He’d seen many things in his long life, but never that. Maybe he felt a little sorry for the guy.
Just a little, though. He wasn’t about to go overboard with the sympathy.
“Merrick, you’ve come. We thank you.” Godrick’s voice chimed like a crystal bell, arresting everyone’s attention, including that of Anton’s daughter. She lifted her gaze to Godrick while she still hugged her father.
Worry flashed in those dark blue eyes.
What fine, dark eyes they are. Nearly black, but with enough blue to make Merrick think of iridescent ink, reflecting the reds and golds from the flames of the wall sconces.
A man could get mired in those liquid pools.
If one were just a man.
Merrick again rolled his shoulders beneath the heavy weight of his leather coat, and returned his attention to Godrick.
“You summoned. I answered.”
Anton gently extricated himself from Angelia’s embrace to take his place upon the dais with the rest of the Triumvirate. The human woman moved to stand closer to Aro and his nearsighted crones.
She settled herself a little off to the side, and Merrick thought her a flowering apple tree in an orchard of shriveled trunks. She wasn’t tall, but she had soft curves that caressed his sharp eyes. Her scent wafted toward him like nectar, squeezing his ball sac with an urgency he’d never known.
Rather than think on that gripping conundrum and gnash his teeth into powder, he diverted his attention to the dynamic duo, the two Ghouls sitting with the head of the Literati.
Each one had devoted his immortal life to knowledge, and the Ghouls’ bodies had withered in their pursuit.
Would this be the woman’s fate?
He surely hoped not. Idiot. He was being an imaginative fool. What did he care? He may have stood in that room looking like a human male, but he wasn’t.
Not even close.
So he could drag his eyes off Anton’s daughter for two seconds and pay attention to the Triumvirate and the mission they’d hired him for.
Yet, his tongue slid across the bottom of his sharp teeth as he thought about what he’d like to do to that woman’s skin, which seemed creamy as, well—cream. A lustful twinge gripped his balls anew.
Forcing him to adjust his stance to ease the crush of his stiffening erection in his leather pants. Godrick blabbered on about something. Merrick tilted his head to focus on anything other than the bulge growing behind his buttons.
“You have agreed to descend the Circles of Hell to retrieve the Scriptum?”
“I have,” he growled, biting down on the Your Excellency part. The Vampyres weren’t his, and they sure as hell weren’t excellent.
“Good. Then you and the human woman Angelia will depart as soon as you collect the supplies we have prepared for you. We expect you to return to the surface within seven days’ time.”
The room bloomed red before his eyes, his strident erection forgotten.
What? The Triumvirate and Literati expected him to tote a living human through Hell? Were they daft?
Such a risky undertaking had only been done three times before, and two had been under God’s protection. Well, Virgil’s more precisely, but Dante’s guide had been acting with permission from the Big Man Himself. The third brainfart had just been one lucky son of a bitch.
And these morons expected him to lug around a human female as he navigated The Circles?
“You’re out of your blood starved minds.”
Two members of the Triumvirate stiffened, while Anton drew his palm across his eyes, his distress evident. But it was Aro, the scrawny head of the Literati who whined in his ear.
“Our like cannot touch the Scriptum. It will only allow itself to be handled by humans. You will need her, Gargoyle,” he sneered, his contempt for the Kynd advertising like a red button blaring for Merrick to punch it.
Which gave Merrick just the little push his rage needed to resurface. He flashed his fangs, his sheer size cowering the bloodsucker as he lunged, halting a paper’s thickness from Aro’s stricken face. “You take that tone again when you say Gargoyle, leech, and you won’t have eyes to read your precious Scriptum.” His words were barely audible within his guttural threat.
Aro cringed from Merrick’s crushing weight, bending backward on one supporting leg, cutting a fabulous imitation of a café table.
It was all Merrick could do not to twist Aro’s anemic neck in his hands. They itched to do it, too, his claws emerging to better hold the skinny straw in his grasp.
Wresting control from God only knew where, he turned his attention back to the three on the dais, forcing his seething fury back into its cage.
“With all due respect,” he snarled, not caring that he patronized the ruling Triumvirate. He barely respected the ancient Vampyres. He was as old, if not older than those three who presumed authority over him.
Merrick only answered their call out of concern for his Kynd. Because if the Scriptum held the secrets rumored to be etched upon its pages, then they had as much, if not more right to it as the Literati. He would return it to that order of haggard crones only after his brethren had their chance to study it.
Maybe not even then.
“I can’t drag a human through Hell,” he argued.
Even if she smells as good as she does. “It will be dangerous enough without having to keep something–” Merrick ground his teeth and cleared his throat, his derision clear. “I mean, someone else alive while I’m doing it.”
~S.C. Dane
~Installment No. 7 coming Tuesday, February 17, 2015

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