Horror and Thriller Fiction posted October 1, 2012


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
beguiled by her hair, the red of autumn waning

Eternal Flames

by Fleedleflump











"Her hair was the red of Autumn waning. I think that's what drew me to her. Well, that and the wicked twist in her smile when she winked at me." I clinked my can of beer against Steve's and watched him drink.

He chuckled, swinging an unsteady arm to indicate my living room, almost brushing the walls. "You got the mouth of a poet and the life of a dustman, Mike. Tell me this chick at least has a decent house."

"You could say that. Her family owns the mansion up on Shooter's Hill - you know, the one we thought was haunted when we were kids." I grinned at his open-mouthed reaction. "Yeah, they actually live there. They just don't make a big deal of it."

"Come on then, spill. What happened with the redhead, and what was she doing round this crappy part of town? I know you - you're a pussy when it comes to women. Even if she winked at you, you'd never have the balls to ask her out."

I leaned back in my armchair with a sigh, raising my beer in salute to my old friend, who reciprocated. "Touche, my friend," I said as he slurped. "Well, I didn't need to be brave. She saw me looking after she winked at me. Well, to be exact, she heard me fall flat on my face because I was looking over my shoulder at her. She's rented the apartment down the hall." I saw his disbelieving expression and shrugged. "Maybe she works on the high street and needs a pad nearby, or hey, perhaps her folks drive her crazy. Whatever, though, she invited me in for a cuppa." I pointed to my face. "And to fix my bleeding nose."

Steve grinned, crushing his can as I passed him a fresh one. "Okay, I'm in. Tell me more."


*****


I followed her to the door at the end of my corridor. Last apartment on the left. The slinky, jade green dress clung to her hips like a lover's hands, rolling with the motion of pure invitation. I followed her spine from pinched waist to the waterfall of fire across her shoulders, cascading in sultry curves around graceful, elfin ears that peeped through the flames.

She was a looker, alright - way out of my league. But just imagine Steve's face if I'm in here. He won't believe it! I hesitated as she slipped her key into the lock and twisted with a graceful flick of those slender fingers, red gloss glinting at their tips. Had I imagined her invitation - was this the moment when wish became conviction and I turned into a stalker?

She threw me a moment's smile over her shoulder, like dinner scraps tossed to a slavering puppy. "Come on in."

My nose picked that moment to drip blood across my mouth, so my return grin must have looked like an advert for a horror flick. Her eyes widened slightly, but it didn't look like fear, and she led me through the entrance.

"We'd better get you cleaned up," she whispered as the door closed. I swear, her tongue peeped between her lips as she spoke. Caught half way between confusion and arousal, I let my body drive as she showed me to the bathroom.

"I don't usually, I mean this sort of thing doesn't ..."

"Hush," she commanded. "As soon as I saw you, I knew you'd end up in my apartment. I didn't realise it would be quite this soon, but I'm not complaining."

"I'm Mike." I sat on the edge of a pristine white bath while she rummaged in a cabinet over the sink. The dress presented her figure while she moved, complicit in distracting me from the blood that now ran across my chin.

She turned to me, cotton balls in one hand, her deep, dark eyes so wide I could see the whites all round. "I'm hungry."

"That's a funny name," I started to say before my common sense could override my bad joke generator, but it didn't matter because she was kissing me before I got two words out. Plush lips slipped across mine, pulsing in rhythm to our mouths as I responded on instinct. Her arm rested on my shoulder as she leaned down to me, creating a quiet, intimate cove for our kiss between her cleavage and a canopy of hair. I swept a hand through that beautiful warmth, cupping the back of her head, and she moaned softly into my mouth, the sensual vibrations firing my mind into orbit.

She backed up, licking her lips through a cheeky smile, and it was only in that moment I remembered the blood. Her mouth was red, and not from lipstick.

"Sorry." The words escaped between charged breaths, her cheeks flushed and eyes sparkling like precious stones in the bold white bathroom light. She was stunning, and deeply frightening. "I couldn't resist."

"What are you?" I wasn't even certain I'd said the words aloud, but she responded.

"I think you know." She watched my face for a moment, that smile of hers wrenching at my insides with ephemeral hands. She swept her mouth with the back of one hand, smearing crimson across a pale cheek, and something rose up inside me, powerful and arrogant.

"You are beautiful," I mumbled, uncertain what I was feeling. Numbness blossomed in my chest, suffusing my lungs, and my vision blurred slightly.

"We are eternal, and such is our design. You've seen us in films and television - our stories told, of beauty and power and romance. We are not new, but we are mysterious. We drink of the essence of life, that we may be those beings of legend. This is the secret, Mike. You can be one of us, an image of transcendent humanity."

Despite her words, something felt different for me. The nausea I felt spread to every corner of my being, settling into my bones like an acid marinade. I wasn't frightened as my vision refocused. The lustre that so suffused her being was starting to fade. She didn't have distended teeth, and I was pretty sure she'd come in from a sunny day. The shadows weren't clamouring to cloak her, she didn't look ready to turn into a bat, and that porcelain complexion was starting to look a lot like five layers of foundation, applied with a trowel.

What's happening to me - why am I thinking like this? I winced as pain stabbed through my stomach. Something suppressed for years was coming to the fore, and with powerful fervour. What started out like arousal now felt like violence, a terrible combination of excitement and vicious lust. It found an empty place in my heart and set up home, pumping through my veins with inevitable strength.

"Mike?" She looked less confident. I spied a small trickle of blood from the corner of her mouth and felt a rush burgeon across my cheeks. She followed my gaze and slapped a hand to the bleed, stepping backwards as her expression started to change.

"Sorry," I said, standing up and walking towards her, "I didn't know I had it in me."


*****


"So wait a minute, she's a vampire?" Steve looked at me with half-lidded eyes, his fifth can of beer doing its work. I put down my untouched tin.

"There's a new vampire living in my block," I said, nodding.

He chuckled. "It's a bit freaky, but I bet she was great in the sack. Did you indulge it a bit, use it to turn her on?"

"I think she helped me realise something about myself, an understanding of why I've avoided getting close to women. I don't think it's my shy personality, not any more. Who knows, maybe my instincts were trying to protect me from the knowledge, from the difficult path I'd have to walk. I love the curve of your neck, Steve."

"Eh - what about my neck?" He tried to get up, but I reached one leg across, placing a boot in his stomach, and he couldn't move.

"It arcs gracefully between your shoulder and head, smooth as a marble statue but warm as Summer on toast. I want to lick it."

The fear hit him, then. I saw it in his eyes. "I never knew that about you, mate."

"She woke it in me, like a quickening. It's puberty all over again, but ten times more profound. I didn't realise what I truly wanted - what I truly was - until that stupid little girl was standing in front of me, thinking she was being dark and mysterious by drinking my blood. You've seen us in the films, she said. Hah! What we see is Diet Coke when the reality is like snorted gunpowder. It's not like the films, Steve - not like the films at all. Films don't know shit. She found that out the hard way, and I don't think she enjoyed it."

"I don't understand," he breathed, gaze locked to mine, eyes frozen in fear or enthrallment or awe - but he did. He understood perfectly - his mind just wasn't ready to accept reality.

"There's a new vampire in the apartment block, but it's not her." I flew across the room, right into his horrified expression, my tongue extending eagerly between bared jaws. "It's me."

I sighed as I slipped inside him, glorying in the warmth of his juices splashing across my mouth. A new life trickled out before me like a line of blood on a blank and grubby canvas: Salvation, sin, salacious sanctity. Her hair was the red of Autumn waning, and it showed me the way to the true realisation of my power.

I am eternal, and such is my design.





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