the tales of the daywalkers (week 2)
Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 1)
Claude was the first to speak, or rather laugh. And the louder he laughed, the more incensed Sebastian became. “Walk in the sun? Are you crazy?” Claude clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Ignite in the sun is more like it. I’ll be lighting my cigarette off your flaming carcass.”
Sebastian gripped Claude around his throat. “You need to mind your manners, Human. It is only in deference to my lovely wife that I don’t rip out your heart and drink you dry.”
“Lovely wife?” I snorted. “I haven’t seen you in decades…which reminds me, whatever happened to the little blonde you were cavorting with when I left you?”
Sebastian released Claude to glare at me. “Hardly important compared to something like day walking.”
I heard Claude’s heart thrumming in his chest and a single step placed my body between his and Sebastian’s. “What you’re talking about is impossible.” I said flatly.
We were still standing on the Italian marble floors in the foyer so I could feel the temperature change as Claude slowly backed away. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Although, that’s the second time tonight I’ve had my neck wrung. I can’t wait to see the bruises.” He tried to make light of it, but I knew him well enough to hear the strain in his voice. He was only human, after all.
“It is possible.” Sebastian purred, leaning in until I tasted his breath on my lips. “I came here in daylight, and I can teach you to travel in the day again too.”
My gown whirled around my feet as I turned to follow Claude into the music room. I hadn’t forgotten Claude’s frightened whispers from before. There was some truth in Sebastian’s claims about the day walking. I just didn’t know how much.
Claude was already perched at the keys of the 1927 Steinway baby grand and the bell tones of my favorite nocturne almost drowned out the sound of Sebastian’s footfall behind me.
I turned around to face him. “Exactly why would I want to travel with you in the day…or in the night for that matter?”
Sebastian spread his lips in a wide smile, cupping my cheek in his hand. “Don’t you remember the feel of the sun on your face? There are amazing sights to be seen, Victoria. I want nothing more than to show them to you.”
I swatted his hand away, “I distinctly remember the searing pain as daylight scorched my skin the last time I dared to brave the dawn,” and folded my arms across my chest. “Listen Sebastian, I’m not the foolish young girl you seduced centuries ago. Why don’t you tell me why you’re really here?”
Sebastian averted his eyes. “I told you.”
“You’re lying.” I poked him in his cold hard chest.
Sebastian’s eyes flashed at me, furious. He spun around to stride a few steps away before stalking back again, clasping my face firmly between his hands. “You are bound to me. You cannot refuse my wishes. You will do as I say.”
Claude paused in his playing to mumble under his breath, “Good luck with that.”
I twisted my face out of Sebastian’s grasp. “Claude, would you mind giving me a moment alone with Sebastian?”
“Do you need a stake? You can borrow mine.” He resumed playing while he waited for my answer.
“No,” I bit back a smile. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”
He shrugged, slamming the lid down on the keys. “Your funeral, mistress.”
I waited as Claude fled the room before addressing my estranged husband. “What the Hell is going on, Sebastian? I don’t see you for almost thirty years and suddenly you show up on my doorstep raving about day walking and missing me. We both know you haven’t missed me any more than I’ve missed you.”
“I have missed you, Vic…”
“Enough with the lies.” I cut him off. “Either come clean with what you’re really doing here, or leave.”
“Fine,” he threw up his hands and rolled his eyes. “Do you recall the gold amulet I gave you as a wedding gift?”
Of course, I remembered it. How could I forget? It was a hideous, gaudy piece. The oversized oval talisman made of heavy gold hung like a weight around my slender neck. It was encrusted in diamonds and rubies with a large black onyx center stone that reminded me of a dead eye, staring at me everywhere I went. I hated that piece of jewelry almost as much as I hated the man who gave it to me. “Yes, of course. Lovely little thing.”
“I need it back.”
I narrowed my eyes to stare at him through slits. “Why?”
“It doesn’t matter why. I just need it.”
I shook my head, planting my hands on my hips. “Oh, no. You do not waltz into my home and ask me to hand over a…” the irony was too sweet to pass up, “A treasured keepsake…without as much as an explanation.”
He leaned in, locking his eyes with mine, and bit off the words slowly. “I need it.”
“Well, that’s too bad then isn’t it, because you can’t have it.”
I felt the rage rolling off him in sheets. His fangs were against my throat in an instant, piercing the nearly impenetrable skin. I could feel him drawing what little blood I had left in my shriveled veins. I still hadn’t fed. If I had, he wouldn’t have been able to take such swift advantage over me. I wasn’t the child he remembered me to be.
“You will give me that amulet, Victoria. Or I’ll take your head in its place without a second thought.”
“Fine, I don’t even want it.” I breathed. “Just tell me why you need it so badly?”
He pulled his fangs out of my flesh, and licked the wound clean before stepping back. “Day walking has a price.”
“You can buy this ability?”
He laughed. “I wish.”
“Then I don’t understand.”
“I stole the secret to walk in the sun. The owner would like…retribution.”
“So you’ve traded the necklace for the secret?”
“Not exactly. The amulet is the key to a powerful magic. That’s why I left it with you for safekeeping. It may be the only thing between me and a pile of ash.”
“Oh.” I took a step back and looked around for Claude. I suddenly wished I’d taken him up on his offer of the stake. “Magic, huh? I had no idea.” I tried to laugh.
“Not just any magic. Powerful magic.”
I nodded. “The best kind, I suppose.”
“Stop stalling. Where’s the amulet?”
“I…it’s a funny story, really.” I took another step back, banging my calves against a velvet settee.
“I’m not laughing, Victoria. Where is my amulet?”
“I don’t have it anymore.”
Until the next time…I’ll be working on week three.