It’s Tuesday, it’s wet and rainy, and it’s the first of the month – March has come in colder than February, that’s for sure. It’s also #BlogBattle Day, courtesy of Rachael Ritchey, and this week’s theme is ‘Trace’. As has seemed to be happening lately with these challenges, another scene has appeared from my vampire story. And here it is:
The hallway was dark, the moon only a pale sliver against the velvet sky, glimpsed through long windows. Faintly I could hear music from below, the laughter of my parents and their guests.
But I didn’t care about any of that.
Kyle was behind me, walking two paces back as was proper, as befitted a Guard. Then the hallway turned and I felt him take my hand. I stopped, remembering the kitchen, blood and a kiss in the dark.
He came around to stand in front of me, his eyes a silver gleam. He said my name, the words dropping like stones into the deep pool of night. I held my breath. Then his fingers began to move along the soft inner skin of my arm, tracing the path of my veins. Sensation rippled from his touch, his breath hot/cold on my skin as he bent close. His eyes closed and he inhaled, breathing me in as his fingers moved higher.
I froze, my breath coming in short gasps as his hand reached my shoulder and the strap of my gown, sliding under the fabric. He was so close to me, the scent of violets overpowering, heady like wine. Was I ready for this? I managed to turn my head and he kissed me, a quicksilver touch of the lips.
‘There is a vein just here,’ he murmured, his lips millimetres from mine. ‘And it is oh, so sweet.’ His hand left my strap to slide up the side of my neck, so gentle. I curled into his touch, my hair slipping across the bare skin of my back, every nerve ending alive as he continued to trace my human frailty, pulsing through my skin. I felt as though I might fly, or explode, screaming into the night, dissolving to dissipate like sparking embers, gold flickers against the dark. Every hair stood on end, an ache deep inside me. I reached up, his hair slipping like silk through my fingers as I pulled him in for another kiss.
He let me, and I felt him smile against my mouth, diamond sharp teeth nipping me. His other hand came up between us, sliding over the silk of my dress to rest against my pounding heart. ‘And here is where they meet, where your life pulses strong,’ he said, his lips moving across my cheek and down, past my jawline to my neck, his voice a rumble against my throat, his hand heavy against my chest.
I was gone. Caution thrown to whatever wind passed by. He could have done anything in that moment and I would have let him. How would I stop him, anyway? He could kill me before I even moved.
Now, once again this is a very ‘lovey’ sort of scene. So, lest you think this whole book is going to be just a vampire love-in (which, while fun, would make for a fairly boring book), here is another scene I wrote for last week’s battle, the theme of which was ‘Pure.’ Obviously I’m a little late for that one, so please don’t consider this as an entry – rather, it’s just a bonus scene if you’re interested:
‘And then the great families were formed, each with their own bloodlines, their own magic.’
Mistress Galena’s voice droned on and on and I tried not to roll my eyes. Mainly because she would have seen me do it, her vampire eyes no less sharp because of her age. Plus I was sitting in my own little pool of light, the lamp I needed when taking lessons perched on one corner of the small table.
Galena kept well back from it, of course. The latest in a long line of teachers, she sat in the corner shrouded in stiff dark taffeta that rustled as she moved, careful not to let my light touch her skin.
‘And they grew in number, careful to choose those with whom they shared the blood magic, wanting to keep the lines pure.’
Yeah, right. Pure. Whatever. I leaned my head on my hand, pretending to make notes in my book, but all I was doing was doodling. And thinking. About the kitchen, steel gleam in the moonlight. And Kyle, leaning against the cupboards, all muscled black and silver.
‘Of course there were aberrations, throwbacks, our old blood resurging in impure ways. Such children were usually abandoned-‘
What the actual f*ck? I sat up as though stung, frowning. I’m right here. She can see me, right? She knows who I am, what I am? I mean, I got it, that I couldn’t go to regular school. My parents had tried to send me but I’d refused, not wanting to have a guard with me at all times. As if I wasn’t going to stand out enough already.
I’d heard there were schools in the human safe zones. Open during daylight hours, the children given a chance at a normal life, an education. My mouth twisted. Right now, they seemed a much better option that this. Hell, vamp high school with a whole battalion of guards seemed better than listening to this. Galena’s wrinkled mouth curved up as she spoke, her eyes glittering more than usual as they focused on me.
‘-their families finding them difficult to feed and care for, the shame of such an impure birth an unwanted burden. There were some who kept the children, of course, but hid them from sight, their existence unacknowledged outside the home, as it should be-‘
‘As it should be?’
My head whipped around. Mother. She was standing in the doorway, her pale beauty even colder than usual. Her voice was calm, but I could see her nostrils were flared, her iridescent gaze fierce.
‘Do I hear you correctly, Galena?’ she went on, sweeping into the room in a cloud of deep red silk.
‘My lady,’ Galena rose from the chair and sank into a deep curtsey, the taffeta folding like paper around her. ‘I’m sure I did not mean-‘
‘I’m sure you did.’ My mother’s voice was clipped, sharp as she cut Galena off and the teacher bowed her head. ‘Is this what she has been teaching you?
Her voice softened as she came close to me, her violet scent enhanced with spice and flowers curling around me as she reached to smooth my hair, so like her own. I nodded.
‘Well, pretty much,’ I said. ‘It’s history, after all-‘
Her mouth twisted. ‘History.’ She paused then swallowed, her hand soft on my hair. The light must have been hurting her – I could see her pale skin turning red – but she did not move away. ‘History is something we can learn from, I suppose. Mainly not to repeat the mistakes of the past.’ She returned her focus to Galena. ‘I trust you take my meaning? Such thoughts are of the old ways, and I will not have you poisoning my daughter with your prejudice.’
‘My lady.’ Galena bowed her head once more, still holding the deep curtsey, vampire strength making it seem so easy. ‘ I am sorry.’
‘You will be, if I hear of any further such talk. They are always in need of new fighters for the pits, you know.’
My mother’s voice was like steel and I glanced up, wide eyed. The pits? Galena would be destroyed in a night. I mean, she was a nasty old bitch but still, it was only words. I’d heard worse. Galena trembled, the taffeta creaking around her ancient form.
‘I am sorry, my lady,’ she whispered, her voice rough as she sank even lower. ‘I will not-‘
‘You will not indeed. I think perhaps it is best if you go. I do not think you have anything of value to teach. Guard!’
As she called out a guard entered the room. Kyle.
I blushed all over.
His silver eyes widened briefly and he took a sharp intake of breath, as did my mother and Galena.
And once again I cursed my human nature, the embarrassment of my unreliable body, my surging blood letting me down once more. I stood up too quickly, knocking the table so the little lamp rocked and flickered. I reached to steady it.
‘Ow!’ My hand burned as it touched the hot metal shade and I snatched it back, feeling the blood pulsing even more against my skin, my blush endless. I knew it must be torture for all three of them. Even though I couldn’t smell it, I knew the scent of my heated flesh was filling the room, overpowering their violet perfume.
All at once it was too much. I turned and ran for the door, hot tears burning my eyes, clutching my sore hand to me. Kyle reached out a moment too late, his long fingers just brushing the velvet of my sleeve. I didn’t stop, running down the long hall, my mother calling after me. She sounded worried. I knew she loved me. I knew I loved her. But it was too hard. I just couldn’t deal with any of it right now.
But you can’t run from vampires. She was there, all at once, catching me in her arms and holding me close, her hands on my hair, rubbing my back.
‘My darling girl, I’m so sorry.’
Thanks for reading! 🙂