INSTALLMENT No. 17 #blood #vampire #hell
…God in Heaven, he could cast aside his resolve as easily as he could steal a forbidden taste of her, so he backed off, biting down on a frustrated snarl.
He wanted her as desperately as he wanted to stay in Hell.
Merrick took a steadying breath, then crammed his wanting down into the same abyss where his fury swirled. He gathered their things, then gently plucked Angelia off the ground, sleeping bag and all, and started down the path toward the Ferryman.
Death trailed the Vampire.
Aro could feel it in the throbbing of his veins as he followed his victim.
He was too hungry. He’d waited too long to feed, so his control was a little flimsy at the moment. Putting it off hadn’t been his idea, though. Dealing with the Triumvirate had taken more time than it should have.
So, if Death followed him along this backwater excuse for an alley, then so be it. The specter could belly up and watch. Besides, it wasn’t as if the man he was following could serve Aro’s business purposes any longer. He could afford to drain the victim’s body dry now that the human had played his part in connecting the Vampire to the soulless thief.
Just so long as he didn’t get caught with the corpse stuck to his fangs.
Aro and his kind weren’t allowed to kill their sources of food anymore, not since the Triumvirate had wrangled Vampires into a tidy community of pansy ass do-gooders.
The three Vampyres, older than dust itself, had been more than capable of doing it and, damn them, the strength to maintain the edict.
Except Anton, the rotter. Who grew soft because of his affections for the human child.
Letting that old wound fester, Aro turned his ear to the squish of the footsteps ahead of him. The man he pursued was speeding up, as if he knew he was being followed.
But then, Aro hadn’t hired him because he was an idiot.
Well, the fact the man haunted this pathetic excuse of a town weighed against that, now didn’t it? The Vampire was getting mud on the cuffs of his fine slacks, and all because he had to finish business.
Aro’s own blood slipped fast through his veins as the man broke into a run.
Oh, he loved a good chase.
The damned Triumvirate. They’d all but eliminated that thrill from feeding. Shadow your victims, make sure they remember nothing, heal the wound you leave. Sniveling diplomats. They took the fun out of being Vampire.
Although Aro might be one of the selected Vampires to deal with the Triumvirate on a regular basis, it didn’t mean he was a cowering mutt who did his masters’ bidding.
Quite the contrary. Aro had killed too many of his victims to bother counting. Tonight would be just one more body in a sea of blood. And he was going to happily glut himself till he was half drowned.
As if his dull instincts had kicked it up a notch, the human broke into a dead run. Aro could hear his breaths chuffing in the crisp evening air, his footfalls heavy and slapping. Smoke much? The man wasn’t accustomed to sprinting. But the plus side? His running enflamed his blood.
How glorious. A warm feast that would shotgun straight down the Vampire’s throat. Aro could hardly wait just thinking of how it would spew forth in heated torrents, stuffing his mouth so fast he wouldn’t be able to swallow it all.
Oh, the chase!
His skin tightened, his fangs stretching long, throbbing hard in his gums.
To cap off the excellence of this hunt, the tang of tree resin flowed like floral blood upon the spring night. The kill would happen in a backwater town, which tended to have trees in the unlikeliest of places. Slap-shod buildings were rarely far from some forest, poverty cutting the hamstrings so towns like this one couldn’t quite edge their way out of the primal dirt.
With the lovely scent of spring wafting on the breezes, this was turning out to be a good place to dine, after all.
His dessert? Shutting the human’s mouth up forever.
Stay with me Death, don’t be lagging back.
With the scent of Death in his nose, Aro craved the inevitable, the excess. His vision bloomed red with his lust. Now the slapping footfalls were united with their runner, and in a blur, the Vampire snatched the man’s collar in his fist. The pungent, old-onion odor of the man’s sweat assaulted his senses as Aro tugged him close.
So base are these creatures. Nose curling, his stomach heaved a slow roll before settling. Always it was thus when he dealt with the filth.
But a meal was a meal when one was very hungry. Beggars not being choosers and the like.
“Uh-uh-uh, Mr. Smith. Not so fast.” Aro twisted the collar until the fabric cut into the rubbery skin of the man’s neck.
Bulging his carotid artery.
Salivating wasn’t good manners, but then neither was eating while standing up. His fangs singing so hard they hurt helped to kick his etiquette out on its prissy ear. Like his hunger needed backup?
“Where are we off to in such a hurry, Mr. Smith? To count your money?”
Mr. Smith shook his head.
Mr. Smith nodded.
The fool. Perhaps he’d overestimated the man’s intelligence. It was good he felt Death so close.
“You have the key?” Unfolding his empty hand, Aro thrust it under the man’s crooked nose. “Hmm?”
The human fumbled at the waist of his jeans, twisting his legs to jam his meaty fists into his linty pockets. He was a big man, by human standards. Strong shouldered, muscled.
Stink or no, Aro was going to enjoy this meal.
A skeleton key, pinched between white, shaking fingers, bobbled upward into his line of vision. The rank tang of fear punctured through the old onion, forcing the Vampire to fight his own shivers.
So close now.
Aro plucked the iron key free, and it disappeared into his sleeve as if palmed by a street magician. He tilted his chin so close to the man’s ear his cool lips brushed the slippery skin, so intimate he could feel the slush of his victim’s banging pulse.
His own blood raced through his veins, nearly distracting him from the reason he stood in a filthy alley in the first place.
Business. Ah, yes, there was that. Along with what it all meant.
“The Guardian of Hell may just well be permanently removed, thanks to you and your partner, Mr. Smith. You’ve both done well.”
So they had. Because of Laurel and his sidekick Hardy, the Scriptum was coursing a sweet descent into the bowels of Hell, with the human woman and her Chimera escort blithely chasing their merry way after it.
The Vampire’s plan to remove the Guardian permanently couldn’t have gone better. Aro’s gamble that the Scriptum would lure the Chimera away from that damned Archway was paying off better than even he could have hoped.
He had seen Merrick’s distraction with the human woman, and was glad he’d decided to sacrifice her. Finally she could be put to some use. Another fortuitous break? When the Scriptum literally unfolded itself to reveal secrets of the Kynd to her, and therefore to Aro, head of the Literati.
It was as if God Himself aided his plan!
That the Vampyre’s daughter was the only one within the Literati able to decipher the text? Utterly priceless, and a stroke of luck that carried with it the force of a sledgehammer. Anton despaired, which made him weak.
Angelia could be replaced. But Anton? Never. The Triumvirate would falter.
And now this unexpected cherry on his blood sundae? Perfection.
Aro squeezed his long, strong fingers around the man’s shirt collar, lifting his Wal-Mart boots out of the mud, then pressed the hulk of his victim tight to the plank fence lining the grass clumped alley.
Never mind a preliminary lick of skin along where he intended to sink his fangs. It was a meal he wanted, not a dining experience. Still, the popping of punctured skin dragged a moan up Aro’s throat, while hot blood slid down it in choking gulps.
The Grim Reaper hovered, waiting. Patient.
Invisible to the living, Darken stood at Death’s heels, his huge fists clenched to keep his shrieking silent while the Vampire spoke of Merrick.
Death sidled in tight to the human, preparing to extract his soul from his dead body. Darken readjusted his grip on the scythe.
~Installment No. 18 coming Saturday, March 28, 2015.