Yay! It’s nice to be back at BlogBattle, Rachael Ritchey’s weekly writing challenge. If you’d like to join in, visit the site and check out the next prompt. This week’s prompt is ‘Vampire,’ which ties in with one of my current WIPs. Emelia Raven is the daughter of a great house of vampires, and she’s… a little different. She has lived her whole life under guard in her family’s great house, her world defined by the rise and fall of the great shutters, keeping the daylight out. Left to her own devices most of the time, she explores the house, trying new things – one of those things is wine:
I didn’t drink for a few weeks, not wanting another sick stomach and headache. But gradually the memory faded, and all I was left with were glimmers of how it felt to dance, of the world feeling open and full of joy. And I knew I had to try it again. I watched more movies, trying to learn what I could about the process. I even found a book about different kinds of wine and read it. And what I discovered was that I’d had too much, too fast. I needed to go slower next time. So I tried again, more cautiously, and gradually I learned how much I needed to drink to get drunk. I also learned how much it helped, in the long dark nights when I had only myself for company, blasting music through the library as I danced and whirled, singing at the top of my voice. There was one song I loved by Savage Garden, their name taken, ironically, from a popular vampire novel of their time. They were long gone, but their music remained. And I would dance and drink and wonder about cherry cola, and about wanting someone so much you would die.
And now I needed to get drunk again. The shutters had already closed, but I knew I had some wine hidden in the library, last of my stash brought up the previous month. I left my room, trying not to sigh as the inevitable guard fell into step behind me. I mean, I get it. It’s all I’ve ever known. But lately, I find their presence in my life oppressive. Well, all except for one guard, I guess…
I huff out a breath. I really, really need a drink. I turn the corner, heading down the staircase. Two more guards, standing in the foyer, bow as I pass. I nod to them, wishing I could scream or make a face. As I take the long hallway to the library, the guard behind me flashes past in a streak of silver and black, pulling the doors open before I get there.
‘Thank you,’ I mutter. He starts to follow me in and I turn, stopping him. ‘I’m going to have the lights on, so I can read.’ Plus it’s the only way I can be alone, though I keep that to myself.
‘Then I must check the room, my lady,’ he says, nodding at me with a smile. He is young. Young-looking, at least. Handsome, as all vampires are. But his hair is light brown, not black, his eyes blue, not silver-grey. I try not to roll my eyes as he moves swiftly around the room, checking the shuttered windows, looking behind the furniture as though someone might be curled up on the floor behind a chair. Honestly. But it’s over in a few seconds and he comes back to me. A doubtful expression crosses his face. ‘You are sure-‘
‘Yes.’ I frown a little, and his eyes widen. He bows, leaving the library and closing the doors behind him. Finally. F*ck. Shaking my head, I flick the light switch, golden light pooling on the wooden floor, the velvet furnishings. I wander over to the bookshelves, stopping in front of one containing large encyclopaedias, running my finger along them. Was it ‘D’ for drunk? Or ‘W’ for wine? I grin, remembering. ‘F,’ for fun.
Removing the book from the shelf I place it on a nearby table, blue leather binding smooth under my hands. Reaching to the back of the shelf, I retrieve a bottle, glass and bottle opener. Opening the bottle as quietly as I can, glancing at the door several times, I pour myself a glass, ruby liquid glinting in the light from the wall sconces. Then I drink, welcome heat in my throat relaxing.
It’s a start, anyway. But I need something else. A movie. Or music. Or something. Or both. Heading over to the large glass fronted cabinet containing the DVDs, I peruse the selection, glass in hand. Perfect. Choice made, I crack open the fragile plastic case, sliding the disc into the machine and pressing play. The familiar pounding beat gets my feet tapping as the titles appear on the screen. Saturday Night Fever. I love this film. It pre-dates the Rising by quite a few decades, and to me it’s a glimpse into another world. The accents, the clothes, the idea of being human and living in a big city, trying to make something of yourself. Of sex and dancing and a man and a woman trying to connect. Even though they could live in the day, all that was exciting seemed to happen at night. And I lose myself, finally, in the music, imagining lights flashing, a man holding me that way, as I drink and dance and try to forget.
I must have fallen asleep. Wine does that to me, sometimes. The drunken feeling passing, replaced by lethargy. I woke as arms lifted me, glimpsing a flickering screen, the overhead lights turned off. Bertrand, I thought, closing my eyes and relaxing as we moved through the halls to my room. I opened my eyes briefly as he laid me on my bed, catching a glimpse of glossy black hair, a flash of silver in the candlelight. Odd, I thought, Bertrand has grey hair. And then I slept.