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In the traditional myths taught before the Revolution changed so much, Nymphs were minor Goddesses who manifested themselves in human form as lovely, innocent and above all unattainable maidens. So to my adoring eyes seemed Dominique Benoit!

Cascades of soft brown hair framed a fair-complexioned face which showed a slight degree of north-south angularity—just sufficient, to my way of thinking, to balance the tendency toward the excessively oval that suggested in the other village girls a vapid nature, at least to my Paris-bred preferences and/or prejudices. Said face was multiply blessed, indeed—with warm wide eyes, a sturdy but by no means masculine nose, pixie-like dimples and full, ever-laughing lips.

A pair of high-riding breasts swelled appealingly beneath an array of brightly colored peasant blouses and contrastingly plain shifts. Of modest size they were, yet as near to perfect as nature would allow in both contour and degree of firmness.

Her hips flared outward most adequately, though their curvature was of a subtle nature—thus lingering on just the proper side of vulgar invitation. And yes, my mouth went dry as the proverbial bone, even as a fantastic yearning to feel her toned thighs locked tight around my lower reaches made me sweat that fateful early summer when our briefly restored Emperor led the nation toward final and absolute defeat far to the north—even as Dominque and I both turned eighteen in isolated and blissful ignorance.

I was not alone in admiring her, of course.

Seemingly every male of a certain age in that village—if not in the entire Department, as the Provinces have been styled since 1790, according to the old calendar that would itself soon be restored—felt drawn to her, sure as the compass needle is compelled to seek magnetic north!

Faced with such legions of self-assured competition, the humbled and often tongue-tied son of an equally humbled minor aristocrat turned political refugee and struggling high-country barley farmer that I was, considered my chances almost negligible.

Still, if he is to avoid drowning in despair a youth must dream his dreams; hope his bittersweet and hopeless hopes. Only later, if at all, when faced with ultimate disappointment, must he grow past and beyond them.

This natural process was abruptly deranged for me on that too-warm 15th night of what today is again known as June—even as our ‘Little Corporal’ prepared to lead his doomed army into the Belgian sections of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.

That was the night, in the foothills unimaginably far south of Waterloo, that one of the mountain-dwelling Vampires whose existence I once confidently scoffed at paid my adopted village a visitation. What news of the nation’s latest spasm of martial lunacy that had so far filtered to this distant outpost preoccupied all those not as love-struck as I. Additionally, the unseasonably oppressive heat that normally cool region had suffered under that entire preceding week rendered the lot of us at once restless and lulled to near-insensibility.

In short, our guard was down and the legendary creature had all-too-easy a time of it.

In the morning, we took stock of our losses: Old Madame Le Clair and her grandson Henri dead—utterly drained of blood, the both of them—and our beloved Dominque gone missing. “Carried off,” it was whispered in appalled fright by all and sundry.

A search was mounted, armed parties plunging deep as they dared into that region of the central Pyrenees beyond the village. But of course, as per the too-familiar pattern of such infrequent yet recurrent tragedies, no clear trail was in evidence.

Soon enough another potentially deadly night drew near.

The others had to forcibly drag me back toward our homes.

I struggled futilely, not soothed at all by their insistence that by now Dominque “must surely be dead.” I fought them, shaking bodily and crying out—exclaiming that I would not believe it till I beheld her lifeless form.

The one true friend I felt I had among the unschooled country folk I was interned with clasped me by the shoulders. Gaston, who like so many had formerly harbored his own hopes regarding the girl, shook me with uncommon violence. Then he looked back, across his shoulder at the looming, nearly unchartered peaks.

I saw his fear, heard it in his voice.

“Wyatt,” he used the diminutive I’d long outgrown and would’ve never tolerated from any but him and my parents, and very possibly Dominque, should she have ever deigned to speak intimately to me. “Wyatt, you had best pray she’s merely dead! And that you never see nor meet her again! I would have had her too, you know—but not now, my friend. No, most assuredly, I say it—not now!”

I took his meaning, gave my aching skull a nod. Yet I did not share his terrified disgust. Somehow, I could not do so. I felt only loss, and the exhaustion born of despair.

Broken with grief, I followed my companions back to the relative safety of the village.

We heard no more of Vampires for a two full years and five months, at which point an especially brutal winter had already fully settled upon us. Then a village to the east was raided.

Though the attacker escaped, her description was suitably vivid.

All the others quaked in fear and said, “Now we know for sure—she is damned!”

Gaston insisted we go to the tavern and get very drunk. We did so, which only led to trouble. My friend grew ever cruder with each cup of cheap back-county wine. Nearing the evening’s end, he slapped my shoulder and exclaimed loud enough for all to hear, “Pity none of us ever got to stick it to her, Wyatt! But fear not, the opportunity might still arise—only this time, we best use actual wood! Sad but true, a fleshy stake is well beyond her interests now!”

Others looked up, stared at us. Many looked dismayed, even appalled. Others grinned, two nodded. One even dared laugh.

I struck that lout then turned and gave Gaston a matching blow.

And so I was tossed out, into the cold mid-November night.

I wandered off, more than half-drunk and weeping.

How could they be so faithless? How could they turn so easily against one they’d once all sworn to adore forever?

The tart bite of a slightly premature winter wind revived and partially sobered me. Yet it instilled no desire to return and see Gaston or any of the others.

No, none at all!

A wild fancy come upon me, I sneaked past the village watch and headed south. I walked perhaps an hour, till I reached the base of the nearest true mountain. I took a deep breath of icy air then carefully picked my way upward—perhaps twenty of the still-new meters we were now expected to measure such distances by. There I encountered a level area too broad to properly be styled a mere ledge or outcropping. Beyond it, the upslope became quite more gradual for a good distance. There I paused. I could not have told you how I knew; why I felt drawn to that very spot—I simply, inexorably was!

With gloved hand I brushed a thin film of snow from a somewhat flat slab of the ubiquitous granite. I sat, lowered my head into my cupped palms.

Rather than linger there to shiver mindlessly, I began musing on an obscure piece of legend I recalled from before my family fled the Terror—the tale that supposedly explained how this very mountain range received its name.

Like so much of the mythic, it was a story full of lustful passion, betrayal and abandonment, tinged with cautionary horror followed by regret and concluding with a measure of vaguely ironic and incomplete, semi-magical redemption.

The legend held my notice for some indeterminate time.

Then I chanced to look up—if indeed any that happened that night or since was mere chance.

In any event, I saw her in the moonlight. Moving purposefully and sure-footed, she practically glided down the slope and toward the copse of stiff-needled Mountain Pines I sat among.

Pinus Mugo,” I murmured, absentmindedly voicing the Latin name for that particular species of conifer. And it occurred to me that the previous spring I had accompanied Gaston and some others to the crique—the semicircular upper end of a neighboring valley which ended in the more typically precipitous cliffs. It was a spot not too far southwest from where I now sat and we’d come to harvest the young cones, which were then sun-dried before boiling what dripped from them to a sugary concentrate—thus producing the pine syrup I still craved with childlike gusto.

I sat patient—and not as discomforted as I should have been—observing her approach.

She came to me, as pale and diaphanous as the soiled and torn nightgown that was her only garment. I marveled briefly that she seemed unaffected by the chill then laughed at my own foolishness.

What did I know of Vampires? Perhaps they reveled in such conditions.

But for her part, the once-mortal found me a marvel, indeed!

She stood over me, her mouth open and fangs exposed. The latter were displayed thoughtlessly, without guile or pride or pretense.

“You’re unafraid,” she whispered as I slowly regained my feet. “You don’t fight, or struggle—or flee, crying out for mercy?”

“But I do,” I responded quietly, making bold to touch her bare upper arm. It was cold, of course yet still soft, still firm and, most especially still—her arm! “Only I fight and struggle to regain your presence. I flee to your side and the only mercy I seek is in your embrace—not in being allowed to escape from it!”

Her eyes narrowed. “Are you a suicide?”

I shook my head. “I love you. That is all. I would be with you, Dominique—forever if it could be so?”

She stared long at me—as if searching memories so distant they might have been from another lifetime. Then she smiled and that first time—I shall admit—was a weird sight, fangs and all. Merciful Jesus, they were long! And they looked sharp, and deadly.

Yet they too—they too were hers.

At last awareness glimmered in eyes that, in contrast to her previous existence, had till then seemed cloudy and somehow remote.

“Guy!” She cried out and I was thankful that she used my adult name. The childlike Wyatt would have been too much to hear, under such circumstances. “Is it you—truly?”

“Indeed, it is.”

Vampiric arms flung about me, I felt crushed in a preternatural embrace of greeting. At length she released me and stepped back.

“But all the others—why aren’t you afraid?”

I ran fingertips across her partially bare shoulders. “I am,” I admitted. “But I’m far more afraid of trying to go on without you!”      

She met my eyes, saw truth in them and nodded slowly. Then she stared into space for a time. “Come,” she said at length, rousing herself and beckoning.

I followed her for hours, upward and around, around and upward and still further upward along winding trail more hinted at than truly evident. At last we approached one of the gaves—the lofty mountain-side waterfalls common here. This one was already frozen by more than half. Behind it hid the mouth of the glacial cave that was now my beloved’s place of residence.

Inside, we sat upon the raw and ragged skins of assorted local fauna—I recognized remnants of ibex, mountain otter and even, to my foolishly shocked eyes, a full-grown brown bear.

I could scarce imagine her taking such creatures on her own, even in her extraordinarily altered state. Reluctantly, I voiced these sentiments.

She admitted it was not all her doing.

The Vampire who abducted and turned her—her ‘Sire,’ she called him with a justification I could not decline to accept though it had an unpleasant temper to my ears, had called this rude and icy palace home as well.

Hearing this, I looked about me with some trepidation.

Dominique laughed at my alarm. She assured me we were quite permanently alone.

Six months after her Transformation—he having overseen her training in her new manner of existence—her Creator had departed for distant climes. It seemed that Vampires, by their usual preference and a practical necessity she did not then explain, were traditionally of a solitary nature.

Even so, I shivered and mostly for my comfort we built a fire using wood supplemented by a few chunks of the low-grade lignite found nearby—for what little good coal there is in these mountains is found to the south, on the Spanish side.

We spoke a few more words then drifted into reflective silence.

I smiled to myself and she inquired as to my thoughts.

So I recounted for her the tale—no more than a side-story to the wider legend, really.

The often dubious hero Hercules once traveled through ancient Gaul in route to the site of one of his Seven Labors—I couldn’t then nor now quite remember which one, but that didn’t seem to matter.

In any case, King Bebrx offered him respite from his journey.

Hercules paused there and that monarch’s virginal daughter Pyrene caught the lusty strongman’s eye. In a drunken frenzy, he raped her and then resumed his latest quest in his usual, thoughtlessly carefree manner.

Pyrene was found to be pregnant.

Worse, when her time came the unholy nature of the situation caused her to give birth to a hissing serpent!

Horrified, she ran off to the woods and hence into these very mountains.

Weeping and crying out, she told her troubles to the surrounding trees. In so doing, Pyrene called attention to herself and wild beasts came. They tore her to pieces.

His task complete, an unknowing Hercules retraced his steps for home and in due course learned of Pyrene’s fate. Now sober and remorseful in his typical manner, the big lout saw her remains properly buried. Furthermore, he arrogantly demanded that the entire locale where she met her fate should forever mourn her and preserve her name.

“And so,” I concluded, “this entire vast mountain range is the Pyrenees—after the tragic Princess Pyrene.”

If I’d hoped to impress the relatively unschooled country girl turned Vampire with the piteously small fruit of my Parisian education, my smug self-assurance was instantly dashed.

She knew the legend as well as I.

“But you tell it well,” Dominique said, kindly stroking my crestfallen ego.

“My one true love,” she said next and sighed, looked at me. “I probably should have known!”

My fingertips met her hand. “Now you do.”

“I could kill you in one blink of the eye,” she reminded. “You and one-hundred like you.”

“But you won’t—will you?”

“By rights, I should.” There was profound sadness in her eyes. “I can’t let you go back, Guy. You’d never betray me of your own will, but—”

“I don’t wish to go back. Simply make me like you! Why else do you think I sought you out?”

“But it is not a simple thing,” she insisted. “The Transformation—I’ve never done it. I’d have to take your blood repeatedly—and just the correct amount each time. It must be enough to make you ready for the Change, weakening you again and again but never quite enough to kill you—until the final stage. Then I must open one of my own veins and feed you my now-tainted blood, and you must suffer through the Change—which is, I must tell you, intensely painful for long hours at a time.”

“I understand.”

“No, you do not!” Her eyes blazed, with no trace of the remote character they now typically presented. She pushed my hand back and glared meaningfully. “Our nature is such that, once feeding there is a powerful urge—no, a compulsion—to continue until the source is exhausted! Each time would be an enormous risk—and one you would face each night for a solid week!”

“The legends speak only of being ‘thrice-bitten,’” I observed, but this drew a scornful snarl.

“As if you mortals know!”

I noted the phrase ‘you mortals’—a reminder that this was a no longer a sweet French country girl—no longer human, even. But still, she was Dominique.

“I agree. After all, you came through it!”

“Under an experienced Vampire’s attention, yes. But Guy, I am uncertain—”

“I, on the other hand, am quite certain.” A firm hand placed upon her shoulder, I continued speaking. “I’ll face the danger, with thoughtful concern but no qualms. And besides, your only other alternative would be to kill me outright. But I do have one request: Love me, Dominique. Let us do so before we even begin, so if it goes badly—at least my greatest desire and hope will have been satisfied?”

Despite her great new powers, I now saw that she was in some ways still strangely vulnerable. She looked aside and spoke softly

“I—have never—”

In some sense I should have felt relief. Yet I was more puzzled than otherwise. “But—the other one, he who made you Undead—surely he—I mean, all the stories—?”

“Mortal guesswork again,” she sniffed, almost haughtily. Then her tone softened; she stroked my face. “He is as a Father to me, now. We have no other means to reproduce. The Change takes away the other possibility—though sexual congress itself is still possible, I surmise. So on occasion, when one of us feels the need and an acceptable opportunity presents itself—”

I nodded, understandingly. “And he would no-more lie with you than with his own natural child,” I said and instantly regretted my choice of words. “But what of you and I—?”

“Different,” Dominique admitted, ignoring my unwitting reference to her current, supposedly accursed condition. “We’re the very same age. And I have known you for some years—ever since your Father came among us, in order to avoid the possibility of a Shave, as they say, from our infamous National Barber! I could never feel as a Mother to you!”

I was glad to hear her speak thusly and gladder still when she did not dismiss my proposal out of hand. Nor did it win immediate and full approval, I must add.

“Stay with me a fortnight or two,” she said. “Observe all that this novel existence entails. Then—should it still be your desire—we can proceed. First as lovers—though I admit such intimacy itself carries great risk, with me not knowing quite how I might respond and the degree to which I can retain self-control. And then—if that part goes well—we can attempt the other, even greater Change?”

Now Dominique paused. Her expression remained thoughtful, yet her voice now conveyed a tangle of emotions—an uneasy mix of awakening desire, honest hope and great fear of the unknown and unknowable.

“But what,” she added with evident pain, “if you should find all this intolerable? If you choose not the Vampiric way, I should be required—”

“Unlikely,” I replied. “But if so,” I added in a rush, lest my courage fail me, “you shall be spared such an unpleasant task. I—I shall—do the deed for you,” I concluded, though I admit the last words of the promise came forth hesitantly and with a quavering characteristic.

The silence then between us was profound and long-lived.

She finally broke it with a sigh, followed by a nod. “You must love me truly. I regret not sensing your dedicated passion beforehand. Though I never acted upon them with another, I have long felt certain impulses—desires?”

A shy smile passed her lips and I felt warmth that had no connection to the crackling fire.

I rose to my feet and circled the fire. She rose to meet me, but did not face me as I positioned myself behind her.

Dominique sighed as my arms encircled her middle.

I lifted my hands to her breasts. I clasped and squeezed them.

She sighed again. “Please don’t,” she whispered.

My hands persisted where they were as I kissed her neck.

“No, Guy—please!”

“Pleasing you is exactly my intent,” I whispered in her ear and one of my hands slowly descended her torso. I found the sweet, sweet place between her thighs and caressed it through her minimal attire. My gentle stroking grew more intense and she moaned; her bottom began to rotate—grinding against the growing prominence in my pants’ front.

“This is dangerous for you,” she gasped.

“Worth the risk,” I gasped with equal passion and began to lift the thin garment with flexing fingertips.

“All right!” she snarled through flashing fangs and turned her head to meet my gaze. “Take me! Fuck me!” Her eyes glowed red with inhuman lust. “But do so from behind. Do not meet my eyes, nor come near my mouth—I doubt I could control myself!”

“Understood,” I growled and she let me ease her down, onto her hands and knees.

She directed her vision toward the flickering campfire as I yanked the soiled cloth up to the small of her back. Her naked backside captivated me and I cupped the perfectly rounded though unnaturally pale flesh-globes with eager palms.

My mouth watered as I contemplated tasting of the folds of flesh protruding from amid her dark curls of womanly hairs. And yes, for an instant I also thought of applying my wanton tongue to the other opening for her enjoyment.

For an absurd instant I wondered if that puckered orifice still expelled solid waste as a mortal’s did—and what form it might be take, given her liquid-only vampiric diet?

“Fuck me, Guy!” she demanded again, breaking me from this bizarre reverie. “Do it, while I still retain enough self-control—so that you might survive it!”

“Immedaitely, my love!”

My hands abandoned her buttocks and thrust my own garments aside. My member was painfully rigid with a droplet of the preliminary fluid already glistening in the pulsating opening at its tip. I guided it against her with both hands then slapped eager fists into place around her flared hips.

My lower body drove forward. Her love-flaps opened around me and we cried out  and I together in bestial joy. I thrust myself in deep, taking her ‘cherry,’ as they say with ruthless abandon. Balls-deep, I ground against her for a long, delicious instant.

I pulled back, but not out. And from there, we rutted together for all-too-short a time—back and forth, in and out—we fulfilled our destiny with a gasping, groaning and mutual frenzy.

I climaxed in her depths and ground my lower body against hers yet again.

We collapsed together and my member slipped from her. I saw it coated with a mix of my mortal semen and her bloody, vampiric fluids.

I joked stupidly, asking if she would care to lick it clean and her head jerked around in fury. Her eyes were even redder than before and her fangs bared.

“Idiot!” Dominique snarled and jumped up, quit our sanctuary before she could do something most regrettable. She was away all that night, returning only just in advance to the dangerously imminent dawn.

“Not again,” she said then, just before throwing herself down to rest. “Not till the matter has been decided, Guy—do you understand?”

I said that I did and hung my head in shame. I tended the fire as she slept away the daylight hours.        

Thusly, our time together began.

The agreed time period passed slowly and yet in another sense too quickly, if you take my meaning?

Now a creature of the night, Dominique slept almost the entirety of each day.

At first, I attempted to keep watch for the vengeful intruders I was certain would come—though in fact, none did. Absolute exhaustion took me after three days of that and I joined her in deep, untouched slumber on the opposite side of the low fire we maintained to shield my mortal form from the cold.

Each night thereafter we prowled for food, traveling in a range of many hundreds of square kilometers and occasionally sighting the tracks of humans in the snow.

Whether any were searching for me—or I dare say us—I could not say.

And now, quite frankly, I hardly care.

She did not go among the humans at all those nights—and that, I learned, was not merely a nod to my still-mortal sensibilities.

Her former brethren were too organized, too dangerous to be standard prey. Foremost on our bill of fare were the wild creatures. In that time she took ibex on three occasions and I roasted, feasted on and quickly developed a hunger-fueled appreciation for those wild goats’ flesh, even as she drained every drop of blood from the animals.

We scouted out the hiding places of future prey, large and small alike, on the other nights. I noted that, if a given meal was substantial enough, she felt no need to sup as regularly as I did.

“We’ll turn to the smaller creatures later, so as not to unduly cull any particular kind of food’s number,” she told me. “A predator must not become focused exclusively on one sort of prey—otherwise eventual starvation beckons.”

I noted my relief that, though she’d also made certain to locate the winter dens of the greatest wild creatures found within her range, she had made no effort to confront any of them.  

“Yes,” she remarked matter-of-factly, “the bears are of course the single greatest source of food—of either the solid or liquid variety—in this locale. In the grasp of their winter sleep, one can catch them unawares. But I know if I chose to take one, you would insist on attempting to help—and I will not risk you, in your present vulnerably mortal state, in such a circumstance.”

I was dismayed to think that Dominique felt obliged to protect me from danger.

She shook her head at the complaints my male pride brought forth.

“Perhaps later,” she said to pacify me, “after the Change—we shall attempt it.”

I grumbled but bowed to her will.

Toward the end of this period, we finally observed what I took for far less dangerous prey, but again she warned me off.

“The Basque herdsmen and their dogs guard their sheep well—especially at this time of year.” Dominique gestured as to a foolish child. “If the winter proves as long and hard as I fear, we may find it necessary to take the risk—but not now, not yet!”

“You raided a human village,” I pointed out. “And before, your Sire—”

“On both occasions, scouting was done, Guy. He and then I noted a laxness in their defenses. Village life can be a challenge, but is for the most part more stable and safer than a herdsman’s existence. The Basques tend to be more wary—and more determined in exacting vengeance for the loss of their property, when it occurs.”

I shrugged and she looked closely at me.

“Why do you think my Sire left this region? Why are vampires—especially ones in areas such as this—mostly solitary?”

I shrugged again.

She sighed, disappointed in me. “I hoped you would see that we must never overtax one district’s resources. To do so leads to desperate measures—which can in turn arouse mortal anger and prove dangerous, even fatal to us!”

I saw her point and suddenly it occurred to me that she might send me away at some point—to forestall such an eventuality.

“We shall be careful!” I exclaimed. “We’ll be all right!”

“One vampiric raider, rare and singular, is a nuisance. A dangerous and deadly one, I concede. But two or more—it becomes impossible for mortal men to put such a threat from their minds. They shall band together, gather their courage and hunt us down—so my Sire claimed and I tend to accept his wisdom.”

I shook my head, finding it a reasonable argument, even as I knew I could not live without Dominique—especially now, having been truly with her once and then spending every waking moment at her side for so long!

“Time for your decision,” she told me the following evening.

I nodded, answered her with a kiss.

She trembled slightly then returned the tender contact.

With no further words, we began to remove one another’s clothing.

Dressed as minimally as she was, my task was far simpler than hers. Yet I compensated by moving extra-slowly, willfully restraining my eagerness by lingering for long moments over each bit of cool, pale and perfect flesh that I exposed.

I trembled as much as she, even my male pride must admit.

Oh, I loved her—I desired her so!

And at last the two of us were naked—gloriously, wondrously naked together!

Again, I touched a breast as fine-shaped and firm as I had imagined. I bent my head, folded my lips with care around a jutting brown bead of nipple-flesh. I suckled briefly then kissed its tip.

More kisses followed—there and on its twin, on my Undead Beloved’s cheek and lips and chin and forehead. And soon after, lower—much lower.

On my knees and unashamed, I clasped two mounds of cool bottom-flesh and kissed, licked and suckled upon the most compelling of Dominique’s woman-parts.

Other acts of love followed—as many performed by her as by myself, and with a building urgency, not to mention eagerness and even, in some measure, confidence.

We loved one another deeply, passionately and—better, not as furiously as that first time. Our passion compensated for our relative inexperience. We coupled often and with undoubted, mutual delight. We shared a rich variety of lovemaking activities—excepting only open-mouthed kisses, which she warned that at the present still presented excessive danger to me.

In fact, on only a single occasion did she bare her wickedly gleaming fangs. She leered at me a moment then threw her head aside and sank the elongated canines into her own upper arm—to stave off the impulse to drink from me.

We held one another afterward, she on top of me and our arms interlocked, our eyes focused on the embers of a dying flame that neither of us wished to take even one precious minute to reinforce with fresh fuel.    

“Make me as you are,” I muttered at last.

“Yes.” She sighed. “We shall begin tomorrow night.”

The week of nights that followed were as Dominique had explained to me.

I found being fed upon a strangely giddy experience—which she told me was normal, the sudden loss of blood triggering a unique species of euphoria. Each time she stopped in time, if only barely so and I was left progressively weaker.

Likewise, the Change itself was as painful as she had warned—yet I bore it without, I hope, too much complaint.

And then I was as my Beloved—a new, potentially Immortal and quite hungry Vampire!

At her direction, we hunted all manner of wild creatures and for a time things went well. My skills grew and along with them, my confidence and daring. We hunted as a team, helping and protecting one another. This was, I thought, just as it should be—even as the passionate embraces we also shared were absolutely correct and normal in my eyes.

Yet as that winter dragged on, as cruel and long-lasting as she had feared, Dominique grew moody and taciturn.

“One of us should go away,” she said once and then several more times, her tone reluctant yet progressively more determined. “Otherwise, we two will utterly denude the landscape of wildlife and be forced to seek the other alternatives!”

But like me, she could not face our parting and we went on, till even so unseasoned a predator as I saw that we must reduce the pressure we put on the wild things’ numbers.

“What can they do?” I snarled with too much confidence and not nearly enough experience, as we observed our old village from a safe distance. “A grown male bear, so much stronger than any of them, we have taken in his den and with little difficulty! Such as they—”

“The watch is well-posted this time,” Dominique remarked. “And armed, in ways no mere animal is capable of. We may not age, but we are not—legends notwithstanding—immune to injury and even death. No—this is not the time!”

“What then? I hunger—and so do you!”

I wanted to argue further, yet the look in her eyes cowed me.

We withdrew to our glacial mansion and a night of gnawing, seemingly unnecessary hunger. We quarreled at the beginning of the next night and for the first and last time we resolved to hunt apart from one another.

I, foolish and arrogant, returned once again to haunt the fringes of our old village.

Again well-armed guards were posting, shivering in the cold.

One was Gaston and my eyes narrowed, recalling the intemperate words he’d spoken that last night of our friendship. I sat on my haunches behind a withered bush, observing him with contempt.

At length, another came to his post—a comely gal whom I recognized.

Nicole was Dominique’s cousin and almost as lovely, though with a superior sniff I remembered that her bosom was too large and often too blatantly exposed for my taste. Altogether, I found her quite distressingly obvious—especially now.

Of course, coming abroad in such weather, she was more properly wrapped—at least until she reached Gaston’s side.

Nicole had brought a steaming pot of tea and a cup—her excuse for this late-night rendezvous. But having looked about to confirm their illusion of privacy, her true purpose manifested itself. She put the pot and cup aside, leaving them to melt the snow around them. She abruptly wrenched multiple layers of garment aside. The grinning Gaston propped his musket against a nearby tree and welcomed her into a lewd embrace with gloved hands flexing eagerly.

Nicole threw her head back as he sank his fingers into her recklessly exposed breasts and the two fur-lined hats stacked upon her head tumbled to the snowy earth behind her. Her mouth puckered open in a silent yet undeniable expression of ecstasy.

Gaston’s mouth, gaping likewise, covered hers and they surged together—as profoundly distracted and unaware as any could have wished. Their hot groins exposed to the cold with sudden frankness, they surged together in frenzied and freestanding lust.

I could easily have eased past them stealthily, yet I had another idea—a mean impulse that I acted upon.

I jumped out, broke one neck and then the other with heartless efficiency.

Yet the second one to die—it was Gaston—did have time to scream in protest.

The balance of the guard came running from the village perimeter—running and, soon enough, shooting!

I snarled in scornful laughter when one musket ball tore into Gaston’s already lifeless form. I had no time to feed, yet I was unwilling to abandon all hope of a meal of rich human blood.

Accordingly, I tossed Gaston’s corpse aside and hoisted Nicole’s body onto my shoulders by the wanton’s dirty-blonde hair.

One of her dangling breasts absorbed most of the force of the next shot, though the ball did pass through to break my skin and painfully damage my left shoulder-blade.

I staggered once then took off running.

I knew from the shouts behind me that more armed men were coming—boiling out of the village, weapons in hand. I pressed on through the snow, but though stronger than any mere mortal and normally able to run faster, the burden of my prey slowed me so that the swarm of angry men began gaining on me.

I was about to decide I was doomed unless I gave up my burden—until a bestial snarl came from my right and in front of me.

Eyes glowing with a fierce and mindless rage, Dominque rocketed from the darkness—a wild and wondrous thing, speeding out to protect her mate!

She took the first man with fangs full in his throat and threw him aside, already dying. The next lost his heart to her—but far more literally than I, as she plunged a powerful fist into his chest and tore the still-beating organ from his body with one mighty jerk.

However, others were upon her by then.

Men armed variously with firearms, torches and, perhaps worst of all, pick-axes and stakes turned from pursuit of me to surround and bring down, slaughter my Beloved even as I staggered to undeserved and cowardly safety in these now-bleak and empty mountains.

Not halfway to our icy lair, I stopped and hung Nicole’s remains upside down from the branches of a tree. And yes, I fed on her. I drained every droplet of what was left in her bleeding, cooling corpse.

It filled my belly, but provided little satisfaction.

Taking two great fistfuls of blonde hair by the roots, I twisted and pulled until Nicole’s head dislodged itself from her neck. “Worthless thing,” I snarled at it—though I might as well have been addressing myself. Then I flung it with all my considerable vampiric might as far from my sight as I could manage.

That done, I trudged home through the snow—making certain that, failing a fresh snowfall that my expanded senses told me was unlikely, my trail would still be plainly visible to even mortal eyes come morning.

Thus I returned to crouch at the mouth of our cave, as I do this very moment. Thus I shall await the coming of dawn and of a pack of vengeful villagers. In the daylight, they will have every advantage and I shall accept my fate—while taking as many as I can with me.

I see no further point to my existence beyond that—not with my Dominique gone.

Yet it is only the rash and foolish act of attacking blatantly when stealth was more properly called for that I regret—that, and what inevitably followed.

I sit reflecting upon all the long, sweet, tender and blood-drenched nights we had.

And I know what the lowly mortals only dimly sense, if at all—that love can make most anything beautiful and right!

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4 Comment on “The Vampire Nymph by Jim Lee

  1. Pingback: The Vampire Nymph by Jim Lee | jimleeauthor

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