tales of the daywalkers (week 6)
Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 5)
“Sebastian, stop. It’s not his fault.” I pricked my finger with a fang and rubbed the bubble of blood over the two new holes in my neck until they closed. “You must remember what it was like when you first transitioned.”
“Nice trick.” Claude pointed to my mended neck, clearly impressed.
Sebastian’s face twisted with rage. He snatched the lamp from a nearby table and hurled it against the wall behind me. “Why is he even here? What is it with you and your fascination with humans.” He spit the word out like it tasted bad. “Was he your valet or your pet?”
“Pet?” Claude barked out a laugh. “Maybe I was her lover? Have you considered that? Or is it really too far out of the realm of possibility for you?”
“Sebastian…Claude…please. You’re both behaving like chil…” I never finished. Sebastian lunged forward, fangs extended. I shoved against him as hard as I could and shouted, “Enough!”
“Down boy.” Claude smirked.
My hair billowed in the gust created as Sebastian exhaled.
“Lover? You wish.” He never broke eye contact with Claude as he spoke to me. “Didn’t you learn your lesson after what happened to the last human lover I discovered you with?”
“That’s enough,” I snapped. He had crossed a line…again. “In case I didn’t make myself clear earlier…my affairs are none of your concern.”
“Victoria, please.” Sebastian’s face softened as he turned to cup my face in his hand. “I searched for you for decades. I hated how we left things.”
“Don’t you mean, how you savagely murdered the man she loved? A man who adored her for who she was without any reservation?” Claude’s eyes flashed with sudden fury and I shuddered. I had never seen him so incensed.
Sebastian exploded in laughter. “What would you know about any of that? It was a lifetime ago. Were you even old enough to write your name back then?”
“Claude.” My eyes gave a silent plea for him to stop. I knew where this was going, and I wasn’t close to being ready for the confrontation that would ensue. In fact, I feared it from the moment Sebastian set foot in my house.
Claude abruptly ended his unspoken dialogue with Sebastian and smiled at me. “Of course, Mistress. Now isn’t the time, is it? Shall I blame it on low blood sugar?” He made an exaggerated sweep of the room with his eyes. “Anyone else hungry?”
I let out the breath I was holding. “Yes. I am a little hungry…not that you weren’t delicious.” I caught my bottom lip in my teeth to keep from smiling.
“Why, thank you.” He leaned in to whisper, “I could say the same to you.”
I couldn’t help myself…I giggled. “Thank you.”
“Come on.” Sebastian threw his hands into the air and rolled his eyes. “You’ve got to be kidding me…Victoria?”
My face sobered quickly. “Yes, come on…let’s go while we still have time before dawn.” I linked one arm with Sebastian and the other with Claude. “We’re going out to find someone for Claude to eat. And maybe a quick bite will help you with your mood.” I released them both to theatrically poke Sebastian in the chest.
Claude tipped his head to peer around me at Sebastian. “I agree. Your mood could use some improving.”
Sebastian glared at Claude for a long moment before shifting his eyes back to me. “You can’t go out like that.”
“He does have a point, Mistress.” Claude regarded a large stain on my gown. “I have no clue how we’ll get the blood out this time.” Claude licked this thumb and scrubbed it over the spot, trailing his fingers along the side of my left breast.
“Very funny.” I rolled my eyes.
He flashed his teeth in a wide smile. “I’ll be here all week.”
I swatted his hand away. “Can I trust you boys to behave while I go change? Perhaps you might consider putting some clothes on yourselves.” I eyed them up and down and resisted licking my lips. It wasn’t easy.
With a single backwards glance and an inward groan, I dashed up the stairs to change. I had great hopes that I would come back to find them both still alive. Or rather, still undead. But I had my doubts. I suspected Sebastian was struggling to restrain himself.
I also suspected Claude was enjoying himself. Far too much if I knew him.
I threw open my closet doors and tore through my clothes, tossing them around the room until I settled on just the right thing. I was used to Claude selecting my wardrobe for me. I was clearly spoiled, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I think I might prefer things that way. The thought made me sad. Nothing would be the same again…not while Sebastian was around. The only solution was to help Sebastian find his stupid necklace and send him on his way.
I just had to decide if I really wanted him to go this time.
I quickly dressed without the benefit of a mirror or a valet, finally pulling on a pair of sharp stiletto boots and wiping a bit of red stain over my already red lips. I didn’t need to see my reflection to know I looked good.
I danced my way down the stairs dressed in black leather from head to toe, like some kind of dark superhero with a new assignment to complete. I started laughing before I reached the bottom.
I was far from anyone’s hero.
“What’s so funny?” Claude asked. He was waiting for me at the foot of the stairs like he did every night since he’d come to live with me. Only this time, he was different. He was like me.
I shook my head, trying to wipe the wistful smile from my face. “Are we ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he slowly tipped his head to touch his lips to mine. It was too brief to be considered a real kiss, but it threatened to relight the fire from before.
There was no need to look up to know Sebastian was approaching. His footfall echoed off the marble. And his low growl hung in the air like distant thunder. “I’m warning you, fledgling…”
Claude ignored Sebastian. “He does that a lot.”
I flashed another silent plea for him to stop taunting Sebastian. He had no idea how dangerous he really was.
“So where shall we go?” Claude pondered with a loud clap of his hands. It would seem he had finally taken the hint.
The drive to the village was tense. Sebastian wound around the backstreets at speeds too fast to be considered discreet, while Claude stared intently at where his reflection should have been in the passenger window.
I carefully watched them both from the safety of the rear seat.
Sebastian parked on a quiet side street; no more than a block from the heart of the little artsy village, where even at this hour, music pulsed and peals of laughter split the air. I know this part of town well. I’ve dined here often. It is the one place where even a hungry vampire can go virtually unnoticed in a crowd of people.
I usually fed alone. It was something Claude preferred to pretend didn’t take place. This time it was Claude pulling me down the street like a poorly trained dog at the end of a leash. But it wasn’t a stray cat or errant squirrel he was after.
It was the scent of fresh blood in the air.
Sebastian disappeared down an alleyway, and I knew from centuries of experience he was trailing a scent of his own. He had a penchant for young girls, and clearly, he’d caught a whiff of something he couldn’t resist. I wasn’t worried. I knew he would circle back to the car with plenty of time. I was more worried about Claude on a busy street. I had no faith in his ability to restrain himself when the hunger grew too great.
“This way,” I said, pulling against his forward motion. “We need to stay away from the commotion this time.”
Claude resisted for a moment, but soon gave up and came willingly. We slipped into a dark alley of our own, heading toward the sound of quiet voices in the distance.
The two men separated just as we approached. The smaller of the two vanished into the building through a heavy metal door and the larger, bearded man leaned against it and lit a cigarette. “Well hello,” he said, as he noticed me advancing forward, Claude close behind. “Are you here for the poetry reading?”
“Poetry? Then you’re a poet,” I smiled. “I haven’t had a poet in ages.”
The man shoved away from the door with a strange smile. “I hate to disappoint you…you are beautiful…” He seemed to take in my appearance with appreciation. “But I’m not looking for a hook-up tonight.”
“Oh, trust…she’s in no need for a,” Claude looked from the poet to me. “How did he put it…hook-up?”
“Yes, I believe he said hook-up.” I bit back a smile.
“Right,” Claude looked back to the confused poet. “She isn’t interested in a hook-up, as you so poetically put it.”
“Well, either way…I can’t help you.” The poet took a long last drag on his cigarette and flicked it to the ground. “I have to get back inside.”
“Oh, please wait. You can help us,” I said, taking careful strides to close the distance between us. “You would be perfect to help us in fact…” I tipped my head to the side. “But I don’t know your name.”
The poet twisted his wrist to look at a cheap watch. “It’s Matt…but I really don’t have time for your games, gorgeous. I have a poetry reading in five.”
“I knew a Matt once.” Claude stepped around me to stand toe to toe with the bearded poet. “I didn’t like him. I suspect I’m going to enjoy you so much more.”
Until the next time…I’ll be working on week 7!