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Rated: E · Short Story · Dark · #2321450
About a vampire, with some traditional elements

The body had been washed and clothed in his best suit, and placed upon a wooden table in the first room of the house. Death had cursed the household, it seemed, as Adrasteia’s grandfather was the third member of the family to be found dead in his bed in the past year. She had a thorough knowledge of the funeral rites by now. She knew his hair and beard would be combed by the grieving widow, she knew she would have to bring the candles out again so that they would light the way for the soul reaching to heaven. She knew she would knead the dough for the knot-shaped bread to be placed on her grandfather’s chest, as he laid there, dead and rotting. I should have stopped, she scolded herself in silence. Oh, I do hope they blame the count. I should have known better. Three is too many, I’ve been too greedy, they’ll know, they’ll know!

But they didn’t know. And they did blame the count. Without any proof, they had no choice but to go about the preparations quietly and subdued, while praying for forgiveness of their sins. They put the food and drinks out for visitors, and they all reminisced together. They wailed when it was time to put him in the ground. They named the people who would check for snake holes around the grave three days after the burial. Then they went home, and resumed their lives, exhausted, drained of energy, and still praying that the dead would not turn. No one said one word to the 13-year-old girl with eyes dark as the darkest night and skin so white it seemed to always glow.

Three days passed quicker than Adrasteia thought. She had almost forgotten about the snake holes when an uncle came by for a visit on his way to the grave. She heard the family talk, and while they ate together around the same table in the first room of the house, she snuck out through the back door and flew across the field, to make holes in the ground and to move the body, so that they would all think the dead walked again.

She did not say a word when her uncle came back from the cemetery, pale looking and gasping for air from having run so fast to ring the church bells and let the family know. There were holes in the ground. There were holes in the ground, and things needed to be done. The elders gathered within the hour, and before the church bells rang again, a small group of terrified men headed for the field of the dead, armed with wooden stakes and holy water.

Fools, they’re all fools, Adrasteia mused as she followed them, unseen. From the shadows she watched them dig up the grave, and she watched the horror on their faces when they saw it hollow. She heard the warning shrills and bellows, and she hoped again they would blame the count who lived atop the hill, right behind the cemetery. Why else would you live in a place like that? Why else would you never be seen in daylight? And why only use copper coins when silver was more precious? They shouted questions at each other, and some wanted to make the count pay.

On their way they went, and Adrasteia followed again. She was curious about the house herself. She wanted to know who lived there. She needed new blood too, and her family was getting smaller by the month. As men walked through the gates, a small, winged creature entered the house through a window and started a tour of her own.

She flew from room to room, until she heard commotion somewhere off a narrow hallway. She listened at the door and soon discerned sounds of going to bed. Blankets were ruffled, a chamber pot sliding out of sight, finally a body falling heavy upon dove feather pillows. She waited patiently until the smallest sounds went away, and then she waited some more. She would take her time, there was no hurry. The household was occupied with other matters, those of a small group of terrified men demanding to know who was killing their loved ones.

She finally entered the room when she was sure she could. Upon the canopy bed, a boy about her age, with curly hair but barely any hair on his face, had settled into peaceful slumber. She looked at his face and found herself drawn to it in a way she had never known before. She leaned over him, and then she hovered for a while just high enough above where her hair wouldn’t touch and disturb him. She couldn’t make up her mind at all. She found herself torn again with painful desire to have someone as herself to share her bed and meals. She yearned for someone’s touch in the night, and who better than this young boy, so unaware, so easy to mold?

She traced the slight smile on his face, and he started but stayed asleep. She took her time removing his undergarment and followed the throat veins to his heart until she reached the place right above it, where she could find the freshest blood. The skin broke under the pressure of her teeth. The taste of iron, the taste of his life sliding into her system was exhilarating. It was a difficult sensation to give up, when she didn’t have that much of it in the first place, but she stopped at the edge between life and death. She licked her lips and swallowed the last drop before she passed her fingers over the corners of the mouth, as if to make sure she hadn’t missed any of it.

The boy opened his eyes in wonder. She watched him turn and remembered all the things that would have to be explained again. His eyes became a clearer tone of green, and his skin began to glimmer in the shadow of the canopy, while his muscles tensed and were instantly more defined. She could feel them through the silk, just as she could feel the hunger in him.

Don’t worry, my love, we’ll feed soon, she whispered, and then sealed his faith with her lips, still tasting of iron.
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