Vampire dancing, p.5

Vampire Dancing, page 5

 

Vampire Dancing
 


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  “Room 101 again,” she cautions.

  “Okay, I get the hint.”

  Amber kisses him again.

  Michael returns Amber's affection. She has a quality he finds intoxicating. He turns her around, removes her leather jacket and throws it across the seat. He wraps his arms around her waist.

  The lights in the car briefly flicker.

  Amber lifts Michael's hands and places them over her breasts. She pushes her rump against him.

  “Tease,” he says, and kisses her on the neck.

  She tilts her head to one side and moans with pleasure.

  The reflection in the window catches Michael's attention again. He closes his eyes. A flood of memories wash over him. He attempts to resist, but they're so overpowering that, before long, he finds himself lost to another time, and to another woman.

  FIVE

  1701; Kovolosia, Eastern Europe

  Levagnion ran into the forest clearing with his female companion. He held her hand tightly; never wanted to let it go.

  “I am out of breath,” she gasped, slowing to a halt.

  “I can see that,” Levagnion said, and gazed upon her heaving bosom.

  “Keep your eyes guarded,” she chided, and pulled up the bust of her long dress.

  “You are not going to be able to hide those,” he remarked.

  She placed her hands over the tops of her breasts. “Oh no? And why is that?”

  “Because I am going to do this!”

  He began tickling her.

  His companion cried with glee and backed away from him.

  “You think you can escape me?” he said, moving forward, his hands like claws, poised to strike.

  “I shall die trying,” she replied.

  Levagnion pounced. The woman cried again with delight. He slung his arms around her waist and spun her until they both toppled to the soft forest carpet.

  They lay supine, breathing heavily. Overhead, clouds drifted idly across the moonlit sky, like nomads, doomed to wander and never to settle.

  The woman sat up and wrapped her arms around herself. Her exuberant chestnut hair spilled across her shoulders. “It is getting cold.”

  Levagnion propped himself up on an elbow. “Is this an invitation, my darling, Rinnae?”

  “An invitation to what?”

  “An invitation for me to envelop you.”

  Rinnae looked amused. “I have no need to hide my intention, Levagnion. If I want you close, I shall command.”

  Now it was Levagnion's turn to look amused. “You shall command?”

  “I shall command,” she said again, faltering in her attempt to keep composed.

  “Has anyone ever told you, woman, that you are such a tease?”

  “Ummm, let me think ...”

  Levagnion could contain himself no more. He reached forward and brought Rinnae's head close to his own. Her lips were warm and moist. He could feel a stirring in his loins.

  After some moments, Rinnae pulled back from Levagnion to catch her breath.

  “Your father,” Levagnion said. “Do you think he will give blessing for your hand?”

  Rinnae looked to the surrounding forest. The wind was getting stronger, and caused the treetops to sway. “Does it matter?”

  Levagnion placed a hand on Rinnae's cheek. He turned her gently to meet his gaze. “Of course it matters. It is everything.”

  Both fell silent, their eyes conveying so much more than mere words ever could.

  “I know how much you wish for father's blessing,” Rinnae eventually said. She ran her fingers through Levagnion's shoulder length hair. “But what he wants is irrelevant. I am yours, regardless.”

  Levagnion took hold of Rinnae's hand. It felt so delicate, like the petals of a rose.

  “What have I done to deserve you?” he said.

  “Everything,” she replied.

  Their lips met once more.

  Noticing movement from his peripheral vision, Levagnion brought an end to their interaction. He looked across the forest clearing. Three men came strolling from beyond the treeline.

  Rinnae, too, observed their approach. “Perhaps we should leave.”

  “It would be so obvious of us,” Levagnion said. “And besides, there is nothing to suggest they mean us harm.”

  Despite this, Levagnion raised himself.

  Rinnae followed his lead.

  Arriving before the couple, the man at the head of the group said, “No need to get up.”

  Levagnion and Rinnae said nothing, merely surveyed the men.

  The man who had just spoken was the smallest of the three (although he was of average height). He was wan of complexion and had close-cropped black hair. His attire consisted of a white shirt that was ruffled at the neck and cuffs, and tight-fitting breeches. A costly looking pair of brown boots were strapped tightly all the way up his calves. The man standing to his right was the complete opposite. He was built like a bear, had unkempt hair and boasted a shaggy beard. His otherwise bare torso was clad in a tan waistcoat which looked like it had been fashioned out of animal hide. Below the waist, he was clothed in loose-fitting pants and a regular pair of boots. Interestingly (or disturbingly), he had a curled whip clipped to one side of his belt. The third man (they assumed it was a man) made no sound whatsoever. He was an unnaturally tall person, and dressed from head to toe in black. He wore a long coat with its collar upturned, and a wide-brimmed hat. His face was completely hidden in shadow. He stood with his arms folded.

  All three men cast a considerable presence.

  “It is a beautiful night, is it not?” the smaller man said. “Perhaps a little warm.” He flapped the neck of his shirt to fan himself.

  His chest appeared to be completely hairless.

  Rinnae took hold of Levagnion's arm. Levagnion could feel the unease in her grip.

  The man laughed softly. “Where are my manners?” He extended a hand to Levagnion. “My name is Areon. Areon Fae.”

  This Areon Fae person had a voice like velvet, yet there was an undercurrent to his tone Levagnion found displeasing. Shaking Fae's hand, he couldn't help but notice the considerable length of the man's fingernails, and the fact he was as cold as death itself.

  Fae inquired: “And I am pleasured to be in the company of...?”

  “Levagnion.”

  Fae nodded courteously, then extended his hand to Rinnae. “And the name of this delightful creature?”

  Rinnae looked to Levagnion. Fae's hand hovered before her, waiting.

  “Rinnae,” she replied. She took Fae's hand, but gasped and immediately withdrew her greeting.

  Levagnion knew it was a reaction to how cold Fae was. It was wholly unnatural.

  Fae regarded his hand for a moment, then turned to his companions. “Truly wonderful names.”

  The large man with the whip grunted.

  Levagnion exchanged an uneasy glance with Rinnae. Part of him wanted this man, Fae, to bring an end to the theatrics, and just get on with whatever ill he and his men intended to serve.

  “I should be going,” Rinnae said. “It is getting dark. Father and Mother must be worried.”

  Levagnion despised seeing Rinnae intimidated like this, and began to harbor feelings of resentment towards the trio.

  “Please, do not feel you have to leave on our behalf,” Fae said. “I enjoy your sense of style. The tight black corset worn outside of the dress ... particularly enthralling.”

  “The look of a whore,” the man with the whip commented.

  Fae looked amused. “Ignore my friend. He is somewhat lacking in etiquette.”

  “What do you want?” Levagnion asked, his delivery nowhere near as assertive as he had hoped.

  "Want?" Fae said. He looked Levagnion straight in the eye. His gaze was raw and unsettling. “I want for nothing.”

  “Then we shall be going,” Levagnion said. “Come, Rinnae.”

  Fae reached out and took hold of Levagnion's forearm. “It would be a mistake to turn your bac
k on me. This warning I shall offer only once.”

  Fae's digits felt like icy tendrils around Levagnion's arm; and his grip ... a sheer indicator the man possessed considerable strength.

  Levagnion looked to Rinnae. She was poised to leave, but stood firm, waiting for him to take the lead; to do something strong; something capable.

  Regardless of what action was taken from this point, Levagnion doubted this encounter would end amiably. Feeling he had nothing to lose and his dignity to maintain, he said to Fae, “I would be grateful if you would unhand me.”

  Fae said nothing for a moment; merely gazed at Levagnion through piercing eyes.

  “Very well,” he said finally. “You have made your decision.” He released Levagnion's arm.

  Levagnion took Rinnae by the hand. "Come."

  They turned their backs on Areon Fae and his men, and walked briskly. Home wasn't far beyond the treeline.

  “You could have spared yourselves a lot of pain and suffering,” Fae called after them.

  “Just walk,” Levagnion said. “We are almost there. As soon as we enter the forest, run.”

  Rinnae squeezed his hand. She understood.

  However, at that very moment, an inexplicable thing happened: Fae's men came walking from the forest treeline in front of them.

  The couple stopped abruptly and turned to one another.

  Time seemed to slow for Levagnion. Rinnae's every movement, however imperceptible, suddenly became meticulously detailed to him. The ends of her hair lashed her striking features then settled around her exquisitely sculpted shoulders. She blinked. Her lashes flapped like the wings of a butterfly and her glorious blue eyes shone with confusion ... and fear. Her lips parted to say something.

  A question, perhaps?

  An ominous shadow rose up behind Rinnae. It was Fae. He raised a hand high above his head and splayed his fingers. His long nails looked entirely lethal in the cold light. He met Levagnion's gaze. His eyes twinkled with malevolence. Pallid lips curled back over porcelain-white teeth.

  Levagnion looked on with a mixture of incredulity and dread. He opened his mouth to cry in protest, but only a nightmarish drawl surfaced.

  Fae struck with relentless savagery, raking Rinnae's back and rending her soft flesh; spilling the very essence of her life onto the forest floor.

  The wind howled in harmony with the sound of Rinnae's agonized scream. Overhead, dark clouds began to gather, like silent witnesses to the horrors unfolding below.

  Rinnae stumbled forward into Levagnion's arms, but before he could embrace her, Fae reached out and stole her into his possession.

  Fae's men appeared on either side of Levagnion. They grabbed his arms and restrained him. He struggled fiercely to break their grip, but his expense was to no avail.

  Fae threw an arm around Rinnae's waist and gripped her delicate throat. He squeezed it, breaking skin.

  Rinnae cried with pain. A rivulet of blood trickled from the wound on her neck.

  Levagnion looked upon Fae with loathing. “I shall kill you if it is the last thing I do!”

  “Perhaps I shall give you the chance,” Fae replied. He intensified his grip on Rinnae's throat. “What say you, my dear?”

  Rinnae, clearly in discomfort, said nothing.

  “Revoke your emotional contract with this man,” Fae said to Rinnae. “Come freely with me ... and I shall let you both live.”

  Rinnae looked to Levagnion. Her eyes were filled with tears.

  “Do it.” Levagnion said.

  Rinnae shook her head and offered a resolute, “No.”

  “Admirable,” Fae said. “But this only makes you more desirable.”

  Levagnion pulled on his arms.

  “I shall present you with the offer one last time,” Fae said. “Join me willingly, or you both shall die here.”

  “Rinnae,” Levagnion said. “I am begging you. Live!”

  Rinnae looked to Levagnion. “Levagnion...”

  Levagnion fought with everything to free himself. “No, please, Rinnae!”

  “… I love you.”

  Areon Fae grunted, then drew his razor-sharp nails across Rinnae's throat.

  Levagnion screamed with a mixture of pain and fury. At that same moment, the sky split open and rained woe upon the Earth.

  Fae withdrew his arm from Rinnae's waist. She dropped to a curtain-fall of Heaven’s tears.

  Levagnion held Rinnae’s unshakably loyal gaze until she struck the ground and her eyes fell shut.

  Fae looked into the sky. He took pleasure from the sensation of raindrops striking his face.

  “You shall die here tonight,” Levagnion said to Fae through gritted teeth. “If it is the last thing I do.”

  Fae snapped his head forward and hissed like an incensed serpent. His exaggerated canines glistened in the pale moonlight.

  He pointed at Levagnion. “Release him!”

  Fae's companions did as compelled.

  His arms now free, Levagnion wasted no time. He rushed forward and caught Fae in the chest with his shoulder.

  A gush of air escaped Fae's lungs. He twisted to one side and staggered backwards.

  Levagnion struck Fae across the jaw with the back of a clenched fist.

  Fae's head snapped to one side. Blood flew from his mouth.

  The large man with the whip motioned to intervene.

  “Stop!” Fae commanded.

  The man backed off.

  Levagnion knelt beside Rinnae's body. Her throat was bleeding profusely. He slid a hand below her head and raised it slightly. Blood trickled from the side of her mouth. He wiped the fluid away with a thumb and felt air pass her lips. He placed a hand upon her chest. Her heart was still beating, albeit with diminished fervor.

  There was still a chance he could save her; make everything right again.

  He lowered her gently then erected himself before Fae. “I am going to kill you.” He curled his fists into balls and looked at the other two men. “I am going to kill you all.”

  “Words,” Fae scoffed.

  Against the wind and rain, Levagnion mounted a stern stride in Fae's direction.

  The side of Fae's mouth curled into an insidious grin.

  Levagnion threw a punch, but Fae snatched his fist out of the air and twisted his arm, causing him to bend forward in submission and cry with pain.

  Fae exerted further pressure on Levagnion's limb, imparting extended discomfort to the man, then released him.

  Levagnion made immediately for Fae, but Fae no longer occupied the space. Because of this, he stumbled, lost his footing and went down on the wet grass. He twisted onto his back. The tall man in the long coat and hat was standing over him. His coattails flapped fiercely in the wind.

  “Allow me,” he said politely, and extended a hand. His fingers were long and bony, and his wrist, incredibly thin. His skin was ashen.

  Levagnion ignored the gesture and got quickly to his feet. He backed away, making some space between himself and the man.

  “Then straight to business,” the man said. He threw open his coat, revealing a black leather sheath attached to a thick leather belt. The sheath was situated to the right of his waist. It housed a formidable looking blade. He reached across and gripped the haft of the weapon with his left hand, and remained as motionless as a statue.

  Levagnion's gaze was drawn to the blade. It had a fierce, serrated edge, and was at least as long as the man's forearm.

  “All I ask of you,” the Bladesman said, his voice stern, “is that you spare me none of your rage.” His eyes burned like the late evening sun. The rest of his face remained obscured in shadow.

  The drumming of Levagnion's heart filled his skull. His hands were trembling. He was scared. But he was also very angry.

  With a loud roar, he rushed the Bladesman.

  The Bladesman sprung into action, withdrawing his weapon and slashing it upward in a wide, diagonal arc.

  Levagnion anticipated the move at the last moment; dug the heels
of his boots into the softening earth and pulled back his head. The blade cut through the air before his face and lacerated his left cheekbone.

  The momentum behind the attack left the Bladesman momentarily off-balance.

  Ignoring the burning sensation in his face, Levagnion seized upon the Bladesman's vulnerability. He stepped forward and drove a powerful uppercut into the shadowy area below the brim of the hat.

  His fist connected.

  The Bladesman's hat flew off and he stumbled to one side. His head was long and narrow, and completely bald.

  Levagnion motioned to further engage his adversary, but stopped abruptly when the Bladesman drew back his lean lips to form a snarl which uncovered what looked like terrifyingly long fangs.

  Levagnion wondered what manner of demon possessed these men. What he was looking at seemed incomprehensible. For generations, stories had existed regarding hellish creatures which came out at night to feed off the misery of the living. He had always thought these tales to be the conjuration of the ignorant. And yet now, to his amazement, these superstitions seemed so glaringly true. Assuming he survived the night, his life would never be the same again.

  The Bladesman gestured to attack.

  Levagnion leaped to the side in a bid to avoid whatever was coming his way. He landed hard on the ground. Air escaped his lungs in a gush. He twisted his torso. Visibility was becoming difficult. He squinted to see against the force of the wind and rain; could only just make out the Bladesman's arm, readying a throw. Realizing what was about to happen next, he rolled. Moments later, the Bladesman's weapon pierced the earth beside him. Without hesitation, he gripped the haft of the blade and gathered himself quickly to his feet.

  The Bladesman came towards him with long, confident strides.

  Levagnion swung the blade at his assailant's head.

  Instinctively, the Bladesman held up a hand to protect his face. The weapon's serrated edge bit into flesh and bone, severing the main four digits of his hand. But it didn't stop there. Propelled by the sheer force of Levagnion's attack, it carried onward, and became deeply embedded in his left cheekbone.

  The Bladesman's eyes grew wide with surprise. Copious amounts of blood spurted from his disfigured hand.

 
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