If you've enjoyed my short stories, I hope you will enjoy these first six chapters of my full length novel, and consider purchasing the full novel to support an independent artist. I appreciate you!
This is a work of fiction and an erotic kink fantasy intended for an adult audience. It is not intended to be a portrayal of healthy BDSM practises. The acts portrayed in this fiction should never be done without enthusiastic and informed consent. Please read with discretion.
The blood is the life.
And as hers drained from her body, rushing out of her veins to feed his hunger and his lust, she could not conjure any anger or fear. They were joined now. She was tied to him more deeply and more intimately than she had ever imagined could be possible. And he to her. His power sustained her, but it was her very life that sustained him. One could not live, or breath, without the other.
The sun was up, shining a warm kind of light on the rustic buildings that were scattered across the hillside. Trees wove in and around the town, the leaves bright and green in the peak of summer. It was a soft sort of day, the kind of day that made village life seem cozy and slow. Idyllic and simple. But despite the brightness of the day and the good natured warmth from the sun, there was a heaviness that hung over the town's people.
A little ways out from the main bustle of the town, amidst the trees in a forested glen, two young girls paused. One of them leaned over the side of a stone well, while the other busied herself turning a wooden crank to pull the ropes upwards. There was a creaking sound as the contraption worked; likely it would need some work done on it soon before it began to wear with time. The first girl reached down to catch the bucket as it rose towards her.
"Don't you think it's strange, Lenore?"
The words were blurted out, the crank stilling in the second girl's hand as she spoke. It cut through the anxious silence that had hung between the two of them, both of them avoiding the subject like a lingering secret. Lenore's eyes turned up to her friend as she wrestled with the bucket in hand, straining to lift its weight out of the well. Symi rushed to aid her, hands gripping the opposite side of the bucket and carefully the pair of them brought it up and out. Setting it down on the grass for a moment, the girls looked at each other. There was apprehension in Symi's eyes as she waited for her friend to respond.
"You mean Aunt Liza's... passing." The words were a statement rather than a question. It was more than clear what was troubling the younger girl; it had been weighing on her own mind as well. She brushed a stubborn and unruly lock of dark hair out of her face before she stooped to get a grip once more on the bucket. Hoisting it up until it could rest on her hip, she started walking. The younger fell in step beside her, insistent eyes watching her.
"She's the second in a month! People... people don't just.. die!" Symi's voice was laced with a tone of anxiety, and Lenore could sympathize. She wasn't the only one who was rattled by recent events.
"People die. Elders die." She gently reminded her friend, keeping her eyes on the path ahead of them. It was a windy pathway, and tripping on a wayward stone or bramble would mean starting their task over again. The long braid behind her back swayed as she walked, the warmth of the summer air making it frizz around the edges.
"Well, yes, Elders die." Symi considered, tilting her head and looked up at the sky. The day was bright, the sun warm on their skin. "But Elders get taken away to die in peace and comfort... we never see people die. Especially not younger people! The last time I saw anyone under 60 die was when I was a child! And that was a carpentry accident... not... this. This seems strangely like an.. an illness." Her voice got quieter here as she asked in hushed tones, "You don't think its.. a plague, do you?"
Lenore watched her out of the corner of her eye as they moved through the wooded area before briefly shaking her head. She paused to lift her skirts as they came to a particularly muddy portion of the forest pathway. Symi did the same. "Don't be ridiculous. It's impossible, plagues were wiped out centuries ago. They're the stuff of legends. I'm sure it's just a freak coincidence, that's all. Nothing will come of it." Her friend seemed unconvinced at that. Finally their feet came to land on more regular gravel, and the pair looked out into the village centre.
"Alright..." Lenore put a hand on her friends shoulder gently. "Enough speculation. It's only going to worry you and upset your stomach. Run along, I know your mother has more than enough chores to keep you busy for the rest of the day. And I have to get this water away. " As the girl turned to go she called after her, her voice softer now. "And don't worry. It's all going to be alright."
She sighed to herself as she watched her friend go. In truth, she didn't know that it was going to be alright. Everyone in the village was shaken by the recent deaths. Both were eerily similar in nature, and Symi wasn't the only one fearfully whispering of plagues and illnesses. Lenore was unconvinced that it was an illness, but she too felt a gnawing fear in the pit of her stomach. It was extremely rare for someone to die before they reached that age when they were taken away to live at the Manor for the duration of their old age. As she moved through the village her eyes went to that strange old building, far away from the town on the hillside, as they often had throughout her life.
She smiled and waved at people as she made her way through the town centre. It was midday, and the village was bustling with people going about here and there, running their errands and getting things done. Everyone was steadfastly ignoring the fear that had coloured their lives recently, putting a brave face on it and making the best of it. As she reached the communal water supply she took a moment to steady herself. For a moment, she considered she should have asked Symi to stay with her long enough to help her lift and dump the water, but it was too late now. She hadn't wanted to converse on the topic Symi was so keen on, and besides, she knew she could do it herself. It was difficult, but not impossible.
With a deep breath she lifted the large bucket and managed the task, water splashing into the villages main supply, the bucket suddenly becoming lighter in her grasp. When it was done she fell back from it in relief, the bucket falling to the ground with a thud as she leaned against the wall beside her, wiping her brow from the strain. Deep hearty laughter made her turn her head to see the local blacksmith watching her as he passed by. His big arms were crossed across his chest, an expression of amusement upon his face.
"You know I know it's your turn on water duty today, but you can ask for help if its too heavy. Lots of the girls work in pairs for it." She smiled and shook her head, straightening herself as she placed the bucket back in its resting place.
"You know I'm fine. I got a handle on this." She patted her bicep, flexing to make it bulge slightly. "See? You're not the only one with pipes around here mister." He only laughed again, shaking his head as he continued on his way.
She had plenty more to do today, but she could not help her mind continuing to return to the hillside. As she paused in her walk she once again looked out towards it, taking in the view of it. Nobody knew much about the Manor, save that in it lived the Lord, supposedly, who owned the land the village rested on, and that from it came emissaries only when Elders were taken away to live out their final years. Nobody in the village had ever actually been to the Manor, although sometimes children would get bold and attempt to make the trip. She remembered such games and dares well from her own childhood, but for some mysterious reason nobody could ever make it there. She had tried once, herself, only to find herself wandering, confused, and eventually finding herself back in the village, as though she had somehow temporarily lost all sense of direction and time.
For all it was a mysterious fixture at the edges of their lives, it was always spoken of in good cheer. The Manor was a nice place, they said, and it was kind of the Lord to allow the Elders a sort of retirement, a resting place to be at peace for the final years of their lives. Only one person in her lifetime had ever had a negative picture in their mind of what the Manor might be like. But Old Johnathan was quite senile, people said. Lenore was the only one who paid his crazed stories any mind. Whenever the subject of the Manor was brought up he became quite agitated, and started talking about strange creatures of the night, creatures that looked human but would hunt you down with intent to eat your flesh and drink your blood.
The stories tended to frighten the younger children, and on more than one occasion parents had given him a stern talking to about minding his words. But Lenore had always been fascinated by them. Of course, she never gave them any ounce of credence... not until the day came for Old Johnathan to be taken to the Manor himself.
When the emissaries came with their horse drawn carriage and the Departure Ceremony began, he had been gripped with a sudden fear that had shaken her to her core to watch. The hooded figures with their violet eyes had always struck her as sombre sorts, but this time they seemed almost menacing in light of the man's reaction and unwillingness to depart with them. He had been physically dragged off with them, the usual farewell ceremony quite interrupted, and people had chuckled at his stubbornness and senile fears. "Doesn't know what's good for him!" they had said with a laugh. "Old Johnathan... we'll miss the crazy old guy... hope he gets to rest some, he deserves it."
That was the first time she had begun to suspect that there was more to his ravings than people thought. And now, even as she reassured her friend that all was well, and waved away suspicions and fears of plague sicknesses as the terrors of a bygone age, she had a more sinister thought brewing in her mind. Old Johnathan had talked of victims, drained of their blood, finally dying from lack of it, falling prey to the man shaped predators of the night.
And both Aunt Liza and Simon, the earlier death this month, had died in weakened states in their beds. And they both had what looked very strangely like bite marks on their necks.
She was running through the woods, along a path that seemed to go on forever. There were turns and twists, but no matter which direction she chose she never seemed to change her position. A fog surrounded her, a chilly mist that permeated the forest and obscured her vision. It hung thick and heavy around her as she ran. Her heart pounded with a fear deep within her, driving her, though she did not know why. What was she afraid of?
Finally there was a parting in the trees, and she found herself looking into a small glen. There were figures, cloaked and dark, with bright violet eyes peering at her. They held between them by the arms the wizened figure of an old man. He was straining against them, attempting to reach out to her. His eyes were wild with terror.
"Don't let them take me!"
She wanted to go to him, but she could not move. She was stuck fast where she stood, and the mist was closing in around her, choking her, and then the figures were gone, all of them. She wanted to run again, but found that her feet would not obey her wishes.
Then she was standing in a city, strange and metallic. Buildings that looked like nothing she had ever seen before sprawled all around her, tall and menacing, grey and unfeeling, rising out of the mist. She watched as the scenery shifted around where she stood and there was an endless march of Elders from the village, old and weakened now. They wore chains around their waists. They had what looked like small tubes inserted in their wrists and in their necks, their eyes empty and vacant. She screamed
She was in her own bed.
Fear slowly subsided as the images from the dream faded from her mind, leaving her with only the fading sense of foreboding and apprehension. Sitting up, she tried to put some sort of meaning to the dream, but it ran from her faster than she could try to grasp at it. Her breath was heavy as she rose from the bed, moving to the small desk where she had left an old book open by the lantern. Perhaps the dark contents of the book had helped to inspire her night terrors.
A smell of sulphur briefly hit her nostrils as she lit the light, glancing down at the open page. A single sentence had been circled in red by a previous owner, jumping out at her from the yellowed paper.
The creature can be repelled with a crucifix or a rosary.
She sighed and closed the book, setting it lightly aside. It had belonged to Old Man Jonathan, of course. A tome she had found in his house after his departure when she had been helping to clean it out for reuse. Although she had poured over it for hours, it had answered no questions, and offered no new insights. She had read it before, out of idle curiosity, as well as a strange feeling that the knowledge within its pages might be of use someday. Premonition, perhaps. But this was the first time she had poured through it with a sense of purpose, and she was finding the slog through it's pages more than frustrating.
It was full of references to things with which she had no knowledge or experience. Crucifixes and holy water, rosaries and priests. None of those words held any meaning for her, rendering the books advice and wisdom useless to her. She knew that nobody else in the village would have answers to any of the books strange riddles either, and even if they might, the purpose of such queries would be openly mocked and given no serious credulity.
No, the book would give her no insight into what was going on within the village, nor would it aid her in combating it. The only uttering of any use within its words was a simple herb, that though not especially commonplace within the village, was at least known to her. Garlic. She knew what that was, at the very least.
She leaned forward over the desk to blow out the lamp, plunging her once again into the comfort of darkness. Her eyes were heavy now from fitful sleep. As she ambled back to the bed, her thoughts were uncomfortably filled with visions of monsters in the night, sickness and decay spreading out into the darkness from the gnashing of their teeth.
"How are you feeling, Symi?"
Lenore opened the door, hands clutching a collection of flowers and herbal arrangements, and peeked her head in the small room where her friend had been sleeping, smiling warmly. Symi's eyes perked up as she gave a gentle wave to the older girl, setting aside the book she had been occupying her time with.
"Oh, I'm alright. I don't know what all the fuss is about, though mother wont let me out of bed. It isn't a big deal, I just have been having some.." A yawn interrupted her here, creating a pause in her words before it ran its course. "...trouble sleeping lately. I'm just tired is all."
Lenore knew that the girl was quite a bit more worried than she let on. Everyone who visited her put a brave face on it, but for the past few days she had been too fatigued to leave her bed, and that was not normal. When Lenore had heard about her friends plight, she had felt like her heart had sunk right into her stomach, leaving her practically nauseous with dread. It was too similar, and too soon, next to the recent deaths.
"Trouble sleeping, hmm? Any idea why?" Lenore gently probed, looking for answers in her friends eyes as she moved across the room to sit at Symi's bedside. There was a smallish chair beside the bed, and a vase upon the night table filled with flowers that were getting a little on the droopy side. "Ah, I brought you some flowers. These ones aren't looking so well." With a soft smile she changed the bouquet with the new one.
Symi wrinkled her nose for a second as the arrangement was set upon the table. "Pretty, but it smells kind of funny." The flowers were of the usual variety of wild plant life from the village, but Lenore had spent all morning crawling around looking for the mostly uncommon shoots of garlic. It was a pretty enough flower, but was generally rooted out as a weed as it had an unpleasant odour... though she had never thought it was strong enough to warrant everyone's dislike of the thing.
“Oh, I don't know, just whatever flowers I could find around my house.” She shrugged as she spoke, waving aside the question with a casual air. "So, trouble sleeping?"
Symi nodded for a moment, pulling here eyes away from the flowers to turn her gaze towards the girl at her bedside. Her forehead crinkled for a moment as though she were deep in thought before a sleepy, dreamlike smile spread across her features.
"Yes... I've been having such strange dreams... strange, wonderful dreams." She sat up a little and leaned towards her friend with a glimmer in her eyes, as though she were about to share a scandalous secret. "Dreams about a strange man... not anyone from the village... he asks me to let him in, so I do, and he comes to me and.. oh! You would blush if I told you the things he does to me... it all feels so good..."
Lenore smiled some, watching with interest her friends expressions and mannerisms. Symi bit her lip as though recalling the steamy dreams that were occupying her mind. Lenore felt a bubble of light laughter on her lips.
”Well that's not so strange. You are after all 18 now. You're of marriageable age, and I'm sure you've started to wonder about all of... those sorts of things. I think we all do." The look on Lenore's face was one of understanding. Although she was still unmarried herself, she wasn't immune to desire and curiosity. "Of course..." she continued conspiratorially, dropping her voice to a low whisper, "I'm not all too impressed with the local boys either. No wonder you're dreaming of a handsome stranger!"
Symi looked relived that the older girl understood to some degree. She nodded eagerly and smiled, "So handsome! The handsomest man I ever saw! He had long blond hair past his shoulders... and.. and such bright eyes.." Symi trailed off wistfully before the girls shared a chuckle of laughter between them.
"Well at least your imagination is working well, but you've got to get some rest because its clearly effecting your health, all these wild fantasies!" She smiled, and Symi nodded in agreement. Then the young girls expression took a turn, her lips beginning to frown as she looked off for a moment, before her eyes rested upon her friend again.
"Lenore... you don't think..." The room filled with silence as the good natured laughter died off, and Lenore considered her friend seriously. "Everyone is being so nice and encouraging, but I'm not stupid. It's the same, isn't it? This is how the others died, this is how it started. Tired, so tired... It is a sickness, isn't it." She looked up at her friend, her eyes shinning with the beginnings of tears yet to be shed. "I'm.. I'm going to die, aren't I?" Her voice wasn't as panicked as Lenore had feared. In fact she seemed almost at peace with the notion, a calm sense of acceptance lingering in her tone. That was almost more disconcerting. Lenore quickly shook her head and placed her hands on the younger girls shoulders.
"No. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. It is not a sickness, and you aren't going to die. I promise." She took a deep breath as she slowly stood up, looking the girl over with some amount of concern. Even to her own ears, the words had sounded forced. But perhaps that was alright.... it was the expected answer anyways, and maybe it would comfort Symi to hear it, even if just a little.
As Lenore fiddled once more with the bouquet beside the bed, she forced a smile to her lips. "Listen, I have to go... lot's of chores need doing, you know! Another day in paradise!" Symi chuckled and rolled her eye in playful sympathy, nodding her head. Lenore moved towards the door, but as her hand touched the handle she paused, turning back towards the bedridden girl.
"By the way, and just out of curiosity... how many times have you had these... dreams?" She made her inquiry as offhanded as she could, adopting a practised casual tone. Symi frowned at the question, tilting her head slightly as she considered it. "Hmm... three times now, I suppose... why do you ask?"
Lenore smiled gently and shook her head, waving the question aside with her hand. "Ah, no reason. Like I said... just curiosity. You try to get some sleep. Your mother is beside herself without you to help around here!" Symi grinned good naturedly and nodded before Lenore had left the room again.
As she padded down the hall, Lenore ran the information she had over and over in her mind. Handsome and alluring stranger... Three times so far. That echoed some of the stories, stories too fantastical to be real. And although she had been putting a cheery face on things for her friend, she had to admit to herself that Symi did not look well. Her face was pale and she appeared gaunt and malnourished. She had even noted that Symi's movements were sluggish, and she lacked her usual upbeat energy. No, Symi did not look well at all.
And although it was still just a suspicion, Lenore was still convinced that it wasn't due to an illness.
She bolted awake as a door creaked, a sudden gasp of confusion before she remembered where she was. The cool night air on her face reminded her; she was outside, leaned up against her friends house. Mentally she chided herself for having fallen asleep when she had meant to be keeping a lookout. The suspicions brewing in her mind might be nothing, but she would never have forgiven herself if she hadn't followed through on checking them. If her friends mysterious visitor was going to return, she would be there waiting. As the creaking of the door subsided she clutched the kitchen knife she had brought along to her chest, steeling herself to make use of it.
She swallowed nervously, her heart pounding in her chest before she slowly crept around the corner, ignoring the dirt on her legs from where she had been sitting. The sight that greeted her however, was not in the least what she had been expecting. Instead of a grotesque creature of the night come to stalk his prey, was Symi, striding out from the front door in nothing but a nightgown. She frowned and stood up to her full height, and awkwardly made to catch up to the fast moving girl.
"Symi!" She called out her friends name, but it did not elicit any response as though she could not hear her. The girl continued to walk, with long, purposeful strides, away from the house, moving down the street at an alarmingly fast pace. Lenore soon had to jog to catch up, carefully gripping the handle of the knife beside her.
"Symi stop! Where are you going!" The girl continued to walk on, completely oblivious to her friend's calls. As Lenore drew closer to her, coming up alongside of her friend, she felt a feeling of dread crawl across her skin. Symi was moving with a mad kind of possession, the world around her meaningless to her. Her eyes betrayed no consciousness, empty and lifeless as she moved, unseeing, through the night.
Lenore fell back, startled from what she saw in her friend. Her movements, too, were uncanny. Ethereal grace, she seemed to almost float across the ground, bare foot in front of the other up the pathway. Lenore fell into step several paces behind her, her hands shaking in terror as she followed. She didn't know where Symi was heading or why, but she was going to find out.
As the young girl continued on through the village, Lenore's feet began to sting from the rough earth beneath them. Time seemed to slow, and though it was closer to a half hour, it seemed to her as though hours upon hours had passed when she finally watched her friend seem to reach a destination.
It was the now abandoned home of Liza, her aunt, and one of the more prominent women in the village. Her passing had been taken hard, especially as it had come on the heels of a young boy by the name of Simon. Simon and Liza, both had fallen ill with fatigue and restless sleeps, before dying in their beds for no discernible reason. As Symi moved up the steps to the home's front door, Lenore gripped the handle of the knife in hand all the tighter, convinced that something terrible was about to take place. She wasn't sure if she would be able to stop it, but she had to try.