My unsexy snickers and snorts were cut off by another sharp pain in my gut. It felt similar to hunger pains, only a thousand times worse, and I wondered if it was my subconscious mind’s way of telling me what I had in store for me in the very near future.
And seeing the still very sexy Viking at my side, I decided my subconscious mind must be my frenemy if they were giving me him in my dreams as well.
“You need to feed,” he said – whatever that meant – and then stood up, gathering my clothes and handing them to me.
It must have meant, ‘Get dressed you unsexy snorter.’
Why couldn’t my dream come with subtitles?
And a shower?
I felt an almost foreign sensation of fortitude come over me and the pain lessened enough for me to stand up, but I could still feel each and every little speck of dirt on my skin. The scent of it filled my nose and I tried to brush away as much as I could before putting on my clothes. Once I was dressed, I looked up at my Viking vampire lover Eric-er and asked, “Does the dirt smell extra dirty to you?”
What could my subconscious mind be trying to tell me with that?
I had a dirt nap in my future too.
My subconscious mind needed a swift kick where the sun don’t shine.
But thinking it I noticed how much brighter the stars were here in my dream. Almost like I had telescopic eyes, but before I could be sidetracked by my dreamy ADHD brain, the stars were suddenly a hell of a lot closer. An ungodly hiss came out of me along with those damn pointy teeth making another appearance, but my Viking vampire snatch-and-grab-flier only chuckled and said, “You are safe with me.”
Dreams about flying. I know we covered them in one of my psychology classes, but I couldn’t remember what they meant.
Was it freedom? Escape? A strong desire to travel?
I supposed any and all of those would be true. I did wish I was free from the disease that was slowly killing me. I wished for an escape from it and every horrible thing it would do to me before it brought about my premature end. And watching the customs agent putting that first stamp into my brand new passport a week earlier, I’d been hit with a sense of bittersweet melancholy.
What I would give to be able to have the chance to fill it up.
Traveling to foreign or exotic locales was never on my radar until I found out I wouldn’t have the time to do any of it, but now my bucket list was overflowing with the things I knew I’d never have the time to get to.
And feeling the wave of sadness come over me, I heard a small purr-like noise coming from my Viking vampire’s chest as he hugged me closer to his body. Placing a gentle kiss onto the top of my head, he murmured words I still couldn’t understand, but they comforted me nonetheless.
That comfort held out until I noticed us approaching a small town. I still had no idea of where we were and didn’t recognize it from any of the places I’d been to before, but my ears were suddenly filled with the sound of voices.
A lot of them.
It made no difference that I couldn’t understand their language because all of them combined into one loud garbled mass. My head began to swim and I covered my ears with my hands, trying to block the sound, but it only got louder the closer we got.
Her fear, confusion, and pain swept away the sadness she’d been feeling. Her hunger for blood was the only cause I could determine for her symptoms, so I landed us in between two large structures where the faint glow and the sound of voices from within told me a meal could be found there.
And by the other scents that were present, I knew humans could find a meal there as well. Ale, roasted pork, and a bevy of others filled my nose, but for now I was only concerned with getting my child fed.
The sounds of music could be heard over the scattered conversations being had inside. Similar to my own language, I thought I understood some of what I heard, but I blocked them out now hearing the heavy footfalls heading our way and I shoved my child behind me to wait for her meal to come to us.
Closer to my own height, he gasped out in surprise when he rounded the corner and saw us standing there, but I quickly met his gaze with my own and pulled his mind under my control before he could yell out. He too was dressed similarly to my new child and looking down at my own garments I knew I would not blend in very well dressed as I was. I must have been submerged for quite a while before I’d been found for so many changes to have occurred, but sensing my child’s building panic, I turned to her and ordered, “Feed.”
She appeared to not have heard me, so I sent her a jolt through our shared connection to get her attention. The fact she hadn’t attacked him as soon as his scent was detectable was remarkable for her age. I’d slaughtered an entire group of hunters upon my first night rising as vampire and it wasn’t until I was sated and my sanity returned to me that I realized they were men from my own village.
It was my first lesson in how sadistic my Maker could be. He’d known who they were which was why he’d led me to them for my first meal.
She stared back at him without seeming to see him, but seeing how his height could be problematic for her shorter stature, I forced him to his knees to give her better access. She still looked frightened, but I could sense no recognition from her to lead me to believe she knew him. So I moved to stand behind her and wrapped my arms around her body to give her strength, whispering, “No one will harm you. Once you feed you will feel better.”
Moving us closer to him, I reached over and tilted his head to the side before running my fingertip over the spot where she should feed from saying, “Bite.”
She’d seemed to understand that one word earlier during our joining when she bit down onto my neck, but now it seemed foreign to her ears. I couldn’t understand the cause for her hesitation, nor could I ask her what was wrong thanks to our language barrier, so I was left with no other choice. It wasn’t something I wanted to use on her so soon, remembering all too well how awful it felt to be forced to comply, but it was for her own good.
So I attempted to temper my Maker’s command with the little bit of regret I felt at having to do so, along with the overwhelming compassion I felt for her at being forced to do anything.
The man’s lips weren’t moving, but I would swear on a stack of bibles I’d heard him speaking. At least before his eyes had clouded over after his initial shock at seeing a real-life dream Viking in his path. I thought I recognized the word ‘home’ and ‘late’ from the few Swedish words I’d managed to glean from my co-workers over the last week, but now there was nothing but…nothing.
A bunch of nothing to go along with his mouthwatering scent.
He smelled like apple pie and Gran’s fried chicken and Thanksgiving dinner all rolled into one, so when I was suddenly hit with an overwhelming desire to bite him, I lunged. It was a compulsion I couldn’t resist and when his blood flowed into my mouth, I moaned from the taste.
And then I shrieked and jumped back from him like my lips were on fire because it felt like I wasn’t just taking his blood into my body, but every thought in his head too. Still foggy and muted and in a language I couldn’t understand, it was like I could still feel his fear. Somehow sense his thoughts of not wanting to die and how he too thought he was stuck in a dream.
Or rather a nightmare.
I could see myself clearly in his mind – a beautiful monster, he pictured – and before I knew it, I’d turned and ran away from him as quickly as I could.
It turned out my dream self could move pretty quick.
I’d run towards the darkness, away from the sounds of the voices that were overwhelming me, and felt like I could run forever until my feet stopped all on their own. Like a cartoon character whose feet had turned into cinder blocks, my body swayed forward before coming upright again, and looking down for the imaginary quicksand I was sure would be there, I found nothing but my feet standing on solid ground.
So I closed my eyes and mentally yelled, ‘WAKE UP STACKHOUSE!’
“Why did you run away?”
I didn’t wake up, but I didn’t jump or shriek that time either. And hearing his voice I realized I could sense him behind me the entire time. Like he was somehow a part of me now.
And I could sense his worry and confusion. It worried and confused me.
Join the club, buddy.
My feet finally regained their mobility enough for me to turn around and I felt my eyebrows hit my hairline seeing the Viking dressed in the other man’s clothes.
“You stole his clothes?” I asked, sounding admonishing to my own ears.
Since I didn’t appear to be waking up any time soon and seeing the confusion on his face, I thought a little help was in order. The color blue was my favorite, but The Color Purple was one of my favorite books, so I donned my Celie hat and internally placed his Nettie hat on him. Since I didn’t have scraps of paper to pin up everywhere, I just touched the front of his body and tugged on his questionably acquired shirt saying, “Clothes.”
His eyebrows furrowed back at me, so I tugged on my shirt as well and repeated, “Clothes.”
“Clothes,” he eventually parroted back at me and nodded.
Hopefully that meant he understood.
I thought I understood what she was saying, questioning my attire she likely recognized as having belonged to her discarded meal. I’d quickly healed him and compelled him to return home immediately after I’d stripped him of his clothes, before going after her. But knowing she’d barely fed I’d taken the brief amount of time needed to taste his blood as well, wondering if perhaps he was disease ridden and that was what she found so distasteful about it for her to flee like she had.
But he tasted fine to me.
And seeing the trail of blood still dripping from her chin, I wiped it away with my fingertip and put it into her mouth asking, “Did you not like his flavor?”
Humans came in different flavors, so perhaps she wasn’t partial to his?
It should have made no difference to her as a newborn. She wouldn’t know the differences to be had and even Were blood – as disgusting as it was – should have been appetizing to her right now. Her eyes dilated and she moaned around my finger, holding my wrist in both of her hands to keep my finger in her mouth, while her tongue cleaned off every bit of blood it could find.
So that was answer enough.
And feeling the hunger gnawing away at her – for both more blood and sex – tested my willpower. But my will to be a better Maker to her than I had been cursed with made me temper her sexual urges with waves of calm, so we could return to the village to find her another meal.
But I was more than willing to satisfy her more carnal wants later on.
“Come,” I ordered, motioning back towards the village and slowly moving in that direction, hoping by bringing her there under her own power it would be enough to make her want to go. Perhaps flying us there initially wasn’t such a good idea since I had no way to verbally communicate to her she was safe, but I’d been anxious to get her fed.
Seeming to understand what I wanted us to do, her eyes widened and she shook her head saying, “No. I…I can’t. It’s just too…LOUD.”
She brought her hands up to her ears and gestured outwardly from them as she repeated, “LOUD,” and then covered them both in each hand.
I recalled how disconcerting it was to suddenly have heightened senses upon rising, so perhaps my new child was born with the gift of an especially heightened sense of hearing?
I could understand more now on why she wouldn’t want to be so close to civilization, but she needed to feed. I would not fail her as a Maker by bringing her over only to let her die from starvation.
Thanks to my own Maker, I also knew how painful it could be to not feed.
Not wanting her to flee, and with no other way to communicate my desire for her to stay, I sent her a command and ordered, “Stay here.”
Seeing it take hold of her, I quickly took off into the sky and returned to the village where I found a young woman walking towards a strange looking large piece of metal on the side of the road. I could sense no life coming from within, but it seemed to recognize her approach when it made a loud chirping noise and bright lights flashed from its eyes. Not having my sword on hand to fight off the odd creature, I hoped my quick movements would be enough and I snatched the woman before she could get any closer to her metal guard and took off into the sky. Placing my hand over her mouth to buffer her screams, I looked into her eyes and compelled her to be quiet as I flew us back towards my child.
I could tell by her scent her flavor would be different from the human man. From what I could remember previously, this one was filled with a rarer unique tasting blood and I hoped it would be enough for Soo-key to be able to feed without the distractions of other sounds.
We landed moments later where my child had had no choice but to wait, and seeing the woman I put down in front of her, she inhaled deeply, with her hunger returning to her in droves. But instead of lunging for her meal, she only turned to me with wide eyes and whimpered, “Eric…er…why does she smell like chocolate?”
Well, at least we had our names down.