Half-Light - Chapter 1

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Half-Light

by Saigith

Libraries: Action, Adventure, Angst, Fantasy, Gothic, Original Fiction

Published on / 4 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)

Updated on

Haunted by a bloody past, tolerated and rejected by society, and relentlessly pursued by a hunter, a young elven man journeys across the land in search of the means to rid himself of the tormenting demon lurking inside him.

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Chapter 1, Forward

Half-Light

           The night was young. The shadows were long and deep like a river under a winter’s night sky. The trees were soundless as if they were holding their breaths. There was nothing but silence and shadows, and the smell of fresh, warm blood. A pack of wolves felling a deer perhaps. That would have been anyone’s first guess. The sick sweet scent of the kill continued to waft through the silent and dead woods like an omen of ill fortune, drawing out the carrion eaters if it was a dead deer. Soon they too would have their turn to feast. That is, if that sick sweet smell of blood did belong to a dead deer. It was the smell of living blood, blood that was still being forced throughout the body by a beating, living heart. The blood belonging to something, nay, someone that was alive and breathing.

            A cloud that had been standing still finally moved, uncloaking the moon behind it. The unearthly silver light illuminated the leaf-littered floor, and the dark silhouette of a town emerged from the shadows. Yellow eyes peered out into the woods, and quickly closed their lids for the night. One by one, the other buildings followed suit. Once more the shadows reclaimed the town as their own. Except for one building.

            Its wide, yellow-orange eyes stared into the woods with fear, but no shadows came to claim it. It stood in a circle of its own dim light, the darkness gnawing at the ring’s edges. Its door was closed, but not closed tightly. Its thatched roof ruffled, and its sign swung in the softest of breezes. Noises oozed through its closed mouth and rattling teeth. Noises that rose and fell, and ranged from pleasure to sorrow, from laughter to whispers. All of those different noises rolled into one produced a loud, single voice. Its breath reeked of smoke, ale, and sweat. There was another scent, and it was sweet. It was the smell of fresh, warm blood belonging to someone living.

            He forced the door open with his slender hands, and he walked past it into the main room. The innards were busy with life while the outside was as silent as the forest. The noises were louder, more clearer, as he skulked inwards. The smell of smoke, ale and sweat was more sharp and sickening as he walked through the heaving throng. The sight was much better. Pillars made of oak wood held the roof up, and rafters helped hold the roof together. Dim but comforting light pulsed from the lanterns that hung from hooks on the pillars. The stools at the bar were taken by men who had to keep readjusting their lower halves so they would not topple off. The tables were scattered throughout the large room, and most of them were claimed by more large men.

            The dark stranger worked his way through the crowd, keeping his gaze averted and head down. Yet he remained aware of his surroundings. He remained alert for her. He found an empty table in the far and darkest corner of the room. He took a seat and positioned himself so that his back was resting against the wall, but so that he could get an excellent view of the whole room. His slender frame was lost in the folds of his worn traveling cloak, and his eyes were hidden in the darkness cast by the hood and dim light. He kept his head down, his face hidden in the shadows, but his veiled eyes flickered from person to person, from face to face. He did not recognize most of them. But now and again he saw someone he had seen before during his short stay. Yet he did not see her.

            His gaze quickly drifted across the crowd, landing on faces that he knew from earlier. Or on faces that he thought he recognized. Or on the face that he thought belonged to her. Perhaps she had already left for bed. But he knew she was not sleeping. She retired around eleven-thirty, and it was only ten sharp. He could not help but wonder where she was.

            The dark stranger’s eyes continued to pierce the crowd, looking for her. It should not have been that difficult to locate her. She should have been seen by now, and he was starting to grow anxious. But he could wait. He had been waiting for most of his life, and waiting a few more minutes would not harm him. Yet, he had to complete his plan quickly before his time was up. And his time was approaching him on swift, black wings.

            He finally caught sight of her. She was delivering mead to some men who apparently already had one too many. She was the most elegant silnen, most commonly known as moon elves, he had ever seen. Long, silky blue-black hair fell down her straight back in soft waves, her creamy white skin glowed in the dim light, but her large sapphire-blue eyes were dull and lifeless, and her full red lips were deepened into a frown. She was clothed in gossamer pants and a shirt that hugged her curved slender frame perfectly. He watched her movements carefully. She walked like a broken stallion; head hung and shoulders hunched. She was perfect. He stared as another patron called her over, and she hurriedly, though not excitedly, moved over towards the man.

            He remained silent as he watched her. He looked out the window, and saw that it was only ten-thirty. Only an hour to go. He reached into a hidden pocket in his cloak and pulled out a stack of cards. He set up a game of solitaire, and instantly pulled up an ace. He looked up from his game, and to the silnen. She was talking to the man who was in charge of the building, a portly man with a trimmed mustache, and a double-braided beard. Another drunk leaned on the bar in front of her, a lopsided smile on his face as he gazed her up and down with hungry eyes. The silnen averted her gaze but did nothing as the drunk man pawed her, and the tavern owner did nothing to stop him.

            The cloaked man shrugged inwardly and went back to his solitaire game. Slowly and one by one the patrons left for home. Men staggered out into the aging gloom, and he could hear wet coughs and splats and retching outside from those who had too much to drink. The noise grew dimmer and dimmer, and quieter and quieter. The smell lessened dramatically till only the stink of smoke floated in the air. There was another smell. A sick, sweet smell of blood. It was now eleven.

            There were a few other people in the room remaining. The sharp slap of his cards seemed to be muffled by the pressing, suffocating gloom. He watched her even more carefully now. She was currently picking up pewter mugs that had either fallen from the table, or were carelessly tossed aside. The owner was serving a man who apparently was drowning his sorrow with mead. They were the only four left in the deathly quiet room. Where it had once been a place of noise and life, was now claimed by silence and emptiness. The silence greeted them with its cold embrace, and the once welcoming lights were now almost ominous. The building was deserted, and a gust of wind rattled the door hinges and teased the thatched roof, and the building moaned in protest. It now seemed more alive, and a threat.

            He watched her sweep the shards of a shattered clay mug into a pile and gather the brown mud pieces into a tray. He watched her carry them to the burlap bag, and dump the shards into it. He watched the portly owner help the drunk and depressed man up the stairs, and he heard the sharp click of the knob, and following that came the groan of the hinges. He heard the squeak of the bed springs, and another groan, and another click. He heard the heavy footsteps of the portly man coming down the stairs, he heard the creaking of the steps. He remained seated when the owner waddled towards him.

            “Sir, ‘tis thirty till midnight. We’re closin’ down,” the man said, his accent as heavy as his physical weight.

            “I will be leaving shortly,” came the blunt reply.

            “Sir, we’re closin’ fer the night,” the portly man repeated, warning starting to drip into his voice. “Ye best gettin’ yerself outta 'ere before ‘em wolves start comin’ out.”          

            He looked up from his card game at the portly owner, not saying a word. The owner shivered inwardly at the stare, though he could see nothing of the man’s face except for his mouth and chin. Without saying a word, he stood up silently and put the deck of cards in a pocket hidden somewhere within his black cloak. The portly man saw how tall the dark stranger was for the first time, and measured him to be six foot or even a little taller.

            “Very well,” the hooded man said with a short bow of his head. “Goodnight to you both.”

            With that, he turned and exited the building, closing the door behind him. But he did not walk into the woods. Instead, he turned around and listened carefully, his sharp hearing picking up the sound of the lock clicking into place, and the creaking of floorboards. He smiled under the shadows of his hood as he straightened himself. The lights in the windows dimmed and faded into blackness, and he could smell something warm and deliciously sweet. And he could also smell mounting fear. She knew that he was still standing outside. He heard her hurried, light footsteps growing faint as she retreated to the safety of her private room, and again he smiled. He looked around as if making sure that no one was watching. He reached one black gloved hand into his yet another cloak pocket, and from it he withdrew a copper lockpick with a bent end. This he carefully slipped into the keyhole, and with a quick flick of his wrist, he heard a satisfying click. He turned the knob as he gently replaced the lockpick in his cloak, and the door silently opened into yawning darkness. He slowly, silently followed her, walking down a small flight of steps behind the bar that led to the private rooms. He followed the passageway downwards, following the sweet scent of her blood.

            He slowly pursued her, shadowing her. The gloom welcomed him, pulled him into their cold, loving embrace. The darkness would help him, excite him. He found the door that led to her private room, and he felt her cowering within. He reached for the door knob, and tried to turn it. Not to his surprise, he found it locked. His gaze drifted down from the brass doorknob down to the keyhole. He could feel the blackness on the other side; he could feel and smell her fear oozing through the door. Again he used his lockpick to open the door, and open it he did.

He pushed open the door, the hinges groaning in protest. Again the darkness greeted and embraced him, and he appeared to be a darker shadow against the inky blackness, his frame outlined in pale silver.

            His eyes scanned the tiny wooden room slowly, eventually landing on the hunched and quaking silnen in one corner of the room. Her eyes appeared larger in her face as she watched him step into the room.  He closed and locked the door behind him, the room once more cloaked in shadow. The moon elf’s silvery white skin made her very visible in the dark, making her appear to be a ghost.

            He took another step and another, his booted feet silent on the hard wooden floor. She tried to make herself smaller, tried to make herself invisible. But he continued to stalk closer to her.

            “Keep away from me!” she hissed in a strange accent, glaring up at him. “Leave me alone!”

            He did not answer. Both hands went slowly up to the hood and grasped it. He flung the hood back, some of his face revealed. Two golden yellow eyes glittered from the shadows like a cat’s, his revealed face deathly pale gray but unnaturally handsome and young, appearing to be no younger than twenty and no older than twenty-five. Long, silky blue black hair cascaded out from the hood and over his shoulders to his chest, and he brushed it back and tucked it behind a slightly pointed ear. The silnen drew in a quick breath as she realized what he was. He stepped closer, his face an expressionless mask. She tried to become smaller, but she did not succeed. What was left of her anger and courage was replaced by more ever-consuming fear. He was less than a foot away from her now.

            He stopped and kneeled before her, and he tilted his head so he could see her face better. The emptiness that had been on his face was gone. It was replaced by gentleness and comfort.

“I am not going to hurt you,” he said slowly and softly. His hand lifted and he went to stroke her hair. She flinched away from his touch, which was as cold as winter’s grip. He respectively drew back his hand and simply sat there, looking at her.

            “What’re you doin’ ‘ere in me room?” she demanded angrily.

            He paused briefly, as if the question was a blow. “I…need your help,”

            “Why should I ‘elp a vampire?”

            The vampire did not answer right away. He turned and averted his gaze, as if the question pained him greatly. “I never wanted to be a vampire,” he whispered, his soft, warm voice dropping. “I was once a human, a rancher. I bred and raised horses in a town far from here, and everyone in the town was very kind to me. I even had a dear friend that I loved, and I was going to offer her my hand in marriage that autumn. But, one night, something happened…” he shuddered violently as memories resurfaced. “One night, there was terrible storm, the worst I had ever seen. My horses were panicking from the thunder and the wind, and I feared that they would harm themselves if they continued. So…I ran to the barn, slipping in the mud and dropping a candle I had taken from my house. The horses were fine; none of them had injured themselves. But…”

            “But what?” the silnen asked quietly, her eyes wide with fear and something else.

            Again the vampire trembled, and a long, shuddering sigh escaped his lips. Finally, he continued, “I was not alone in the barn. A vampire had hid inside my barn to escape the storm, and then she…she seduced me, and I was foolish enough to fall for it. She…she made me this, this monster! And for three days and nights I lay unconscious in a coffin; I was buried alive. My friends and my love all thought I had killed myself, that I had taken my own life. They saw a slit on my wrist when they found me in the barn, a disguise for what really happened. On the night I awoke a vampire, I realized what a mistake I had made. I turned to the only person I knew who I thought could help me. Abby, my dear sweet Abigail…” the vampire’s face contorted with pain, his voice strained and weak. “S-she turned me away. She…she called me a demon, a monster, and chased me away. I-I never returned, and I never looked back. I lived like this for six decades now, and all that time I have been seeking a cure, a cure besides death. I starved myself. I could not bear the thought of drinking an innocent’s blood. I tried living off animals, but I could not bear it. It made me violently ill, and it made me weaker and weaker till I could no longer stand it. I turned my attention to criminals, but still the thought of drinking a human’s blood revolted me. I even tried eating raw meat, but that too made me ill. Everywhere I had gone, people turned me away with swords and holy water, not even giving me a chance to ask for aid. I was turned down because I was…a monster, a taker of life who feeds on the living like common cattle.” He paused, and the moon elf could see blood-tinted tears starting to mist over his suddenly dull yellow eyes. “During my journeys to find a cure, I caught the attention of a vampire hunter. I have eluded him for years, hiding all over the land to escape him, but he has left his mark.” The vampire traced a scar that stretched from his left eye down to his jaw-line, and he closed his eyes tightly at the memory. “I have foiled him many times; but now I fear he has found me yet again. He is but a few days behind me, and he is nearing as I speak.” He looked up at the silnen, his face contorted with pain. “Please, help me,” he begged.    

            She listened to him carefully, listened to his tone and his heart-wrenching story. She had always heard that vampires were no more than beasts in human form, no more than parasites that lived off the living to sustain their own life. But as she listened to the creature before her, someone who looked no older than herself, she felt pity for him. Though she did not know what it truly felt like, the silnen knew how it felt to be trapped. For generations her family had served the owner’s family, for a mistake or an offer that had long ago been forgotten. Her ancestors had been trapped; her grandmother, her mother, and herself, all trapped in the cold steel bars of slavery, all serving the owner and his family before him. For one thing or another. The haunted creature before her was trapped with his vampirism, and she was trapped in the cage of servitude, and there was no key to unlock that cage.  

            “What do ye want me to do?” she asked.

            “Hide me. Any place where it is dark so he cannot see me. A place where he will not ever look,”

            The silnen chewed on her bottom lip, unsure. The thought of hiding a vampire inside a tavern was unnerving. But, she could not bring herself to throw him out into the woods where the vampire hunter was. She did not want to become the people who had shunned him when he was asking for help.

            “I’m sorry. But there’s no place ‘ere where I can ‘ide ye,” the silnen said at length, guilt plainly showing in her dull sapphire eyes.

            The vampire hung his head, a second deep sigh escaping past his lips. A sigh carrying years of pain and shattered hope.

            “I have thought as much,” he said softly, his voice strained and weak, he slowly climbing to his feet and pulling on his hood to hide his saddened features. “I shall not keep you any longer. I apologize for frightening you. But I thank you for your time, and for listening to me. It has greatly eased my heart that someone now knows my tale.” The vampire dipped his head in a short but respectful bow, and the silnen thought she saw something wet and glistening hit the wooden floor. “Goodnight.”

            He turned to leave, clutching his cloak tightly about his lithe frame as if to fend off a winter’s chilling wind. His boots were silent as he walked to the door, and he did not once look back at her. She sat there in her corner, still biting her lip. Sadness overcame her as she watched the folds of his cloak disappear around the corner, and with the sadness came a heavy guilt. Her heart was torn whether she should aid him or not. But she kept reminding herself that he was a vampire, that he had killed, had murdered, to keep himself alive. But the other half of her told her to stop him, to hide him till the next dusk. She cursed at herself, and silently raced after him, her bare feet padding softly on the cold hard floor. The vampire had just reached the door and was about to open it when she, without thinking, gripped his other wrist and halted him. The vampire jumped violently at the unexpected touch, but he looked down at her with surprised eyes. Eyes filled with pain, but there was something else there in those bright gold orbs. There was the faint glint of hope.

            “If I ‘ide ye, ye need to be careful,” the moon elf whispered nervously, clutching her hands in front of her. “If me master finds out I’m hidin’ someone, ‘e’d kill me. Even if ye weren’t a vampire, ‘e’d still ‘ave me ‘ead. I’d much rather be a slave fer ‘im than…”

            A blood-colored sheen misted over the vampire’s eyes, but a large joyful grin broke out on his face. He clasped one of her hands tightly in both of his own, and red-tinted tears ran down both his cheeks, leaving pink trails on his white skin.

            “Oh, thank you! Thank you!” the vampire whispered excitedly, dipping the lower half of his body into a bow. “You do not know how much this means to me! Oh, thank you!”

            The silnen could not help the smile that was spreading across her face. The guilt had lifted from her shoulders and her heart, and it was replaced by something she never felt before, something that she did not understand but liked. She blushed, her white face turning to a lovely shade of red, and she averted her gaze.

            “Follow me,” she said, and she guided the tall and silent man back the way they had came, back into her room. She felt the vampire’s curious stare, and she answered, “The cellar’s used every day, and there ain’t any closets fer ye to ‘ide in. We don’t ‘ave an attic, and the only other rooms are the guest rooms. We don’t ‘ave many people spendin’ the night, but it’s too risky. Ye’ll…uh…’ave to stay in me room.” She blushed with embarrassment, and trembled nervously. “Only I go in there. So ye’ll be safe.”

            “But, I do not want to intrude!” the vampire exclaimed quietly, his eyes widening. “Perhaps it would be best if I leave…”

            “No! I mean, no, ye’ll not be intrudin’,” the silnen quickly corrected herself, and looked over her shoulder to see the vampire looking at her with wide eyes and a strange, though charming, smile. She could also see that he was likewise embarrassed, but she assumed it was from her sudden outburst. “I’ve a bedroll and extra blanket fer ye. I’ll ‘ave to go and fetch ‘em, though.”

            “You are…comfortable with having a vampire sharing your room?” he asked, amazement crossing his voice.

            “I’m not sure,” she admitted, stepping into the room and moving aside to let him through. “Though I admit, this is the most excitin’ thin’ that’s ever ‘appened in me life. Aside from the time when I stuck a hedgehog inside me master’s washin’ basin.”  

            The vampire laughed, but he quickly stopped for fear of being overheard. But his keen ears could hear a heavy snoring from upstairs, and he knew that they were safe.

            “You pulled a prank on your master?” the vampire chuckled as he watched her move to the bed.

            “Aye,” she grinned half-heartedly as she began to push on the bed. It slid only a couple of inches, and she tried again. “’e’s very cruel. ‘E…’e beat me after that, threatened ‘e’d kill me if I did somethin’ like that again. I’ve lived ‘ere all me life; I don’t remember me family or me ‘ome. Only this.”

            The vampire nodded slowly in understanding, and he moved beside her once he saw the difficulty she was having.

            “Allow me,” was all he said before he single-handily shoved the bed aside. With the bed moved, the vampire saw what the silnen was trying to get at. There was a hidden trap door underneath the bed, and he locked eyes with her. She was looking at him strangely, and he shrugged. “Being a vampire has some benefits,” he replied simply with a sheepish grin.    

            She continued to stare at him, but her face broke out into a small warm smile. She pulled open the trap door, revealing a set of old wooden stairs that led down into yawning darkness. A smell of time and dust blew into their faces, but the vampire had to turn his head away from the smell. The moon elf carefully made her way down the steps, grabbing an old lantern that was hanging from a hook beside the stairs. The steps whined in protest as she walked down, each step she took bringing a groan from the stairs as if her walking on them caused them pain. It was not a long descent, only ten steps, and when she reached the bottom she began fiddling with the lantern. The vampire, curious, followed her, even his silent strides causing the steps to scream. By the time he reached the bottom, the silnen had finally lit the lamp. The sudden flash of light caused the vampire to hiss in pain and fling his arm in front of his eyes. He staggered back, bumping into something in the process, and he retreated to the safety of the nook behind the stairs.

            The silnen hurriedly lowered the shutters, the room now dimly lit. She looked at the vampire, worry and guilt plainly seen in her eyes. The vampire cautiously peered out of his hiding place, and he blinked and rubbed his tearing eyes. He slowly climbed out of the nook, and looked at the room around him in wonder. Unlike the main room of the tavern, which reeked of filth and dreadfully dark, the small room the vampire found himself in was a delight. It was small, only four to five paces from side to side, but it was laden with common objects that he only assumed to be the silnen’s treasures. There was a small old desk that stood on four weary legs, and on its smooth face were several books and parchment paper. There was a faded rug on the floor, but the vampire could still make out the design. It depicted a forest night scene, the moon a sliver of white and it highlighted the emerald trees beneath it. He continued to glance around, looking up at the ceiling and seeing strings with clear beads hanging from the rafters. The dim light of the lantern cast on the objects caused a rainbow of colors to dance about the room, twirling and dancing in reds and blues and yellows and greens, reminding him very much of the fairies he had seen during his travels. In one corner of the small room was the extra bedroll the silnen had mentioned, and it already had a pillow and cotton blanket. A book rested sleepily beside the bed, a faded red ribbon used as a marker lying lazily halfway through the book. The last object was a small dusty mirror, though without all the dust and grime it would have been a very lovely mirror. The room breathed of comfort and solitude, a hidden sanctuary in a terrible place. Like a rose among thorns. The very walls seemed to embrace him with welcome arms, and he let them pull him into their warm and comforting embrace. The dim lighting added to the comfort. The shadows were deep, but the soft orange glow of the lantern made him feel at ease.

            “I’m sorry ‘bout the lantern,” the silnen whispered, dipping her head in embarrassment as she placed the flickering lantern on her small desk. “I forgot that yer…”

            “’Tis alright. That was not the first time that has happened,” he breathed as he surveyed the small wonderful room. “Though it is probably going to be my last.”

            She frowned visibly, and turned her back to him and hugged herself. “I’m very sorry about all this. I wish there was more I could do,”

            He walked up behind her and gently wrapped his arms around her waist. She at first stiffened from his unexpected touch, but she quickly relaxed. He bent his neck and whispered into her long pointed ear, “I thank you.”

            She relaxed more at his words, and she tilted her head back so that it was resting against his slender chest. They stood there in silence, not moving so that they appeared to be statues made of ivory or marble. She tilted her head back more so that she was peering up at his face. She saw his face looking back down at her, and he was smiling gently and warmly.

            “You remind me of her,” the vampire suddenly whispered, his eyes wandering her face. “You look just like Abby…only she was human, but…that sweet face, and that caring nature.”

            The silnen blushed at his words, flattered. “Do ye miss ‘er?” she could not help but ask.

            “Dearly,” the vampire whispered, his voice continuing to drop. She could hear the pain in his voice. “I long to see her one last time, but…she has moved on from this world, this I know. I am immortal, but she was not. I know she had married and had children and lived happily. I have watched from afar. I know she was happy, and that makes me happy.”

            She remained silent, listening to his words. He truly did love her. Even after all the years of being shunned by everyone, after being chased away from her, he still loved Abby. He had forgiven her for what she had done, perhaps understanding why she turned from him. But, now, he would never have the chance to see her. Now, he would never feel loved again, just because of what he was. She had never experienced such a thing. Why was she trembling so? She was not afraid, but she had a longing. A longing to feel what he had felt before he was turned. But what was the strange tightness in her stomach? What was causing her palms to sweat and her hands to quake? Why did she long to feel his lips against hers?

            The silnen turned around, her chest pressing against his, and she looked up into his hooded face. Her hand reached up and pulled his hood back, revealing a startled face staring back at her. His long raven-black hair fell down, and she studied his face as her hand, shakily, reached up to stroke him. His pale skin was deathly cold to the touch, colder than winter’s grip, colder than a corpse. But she did not recoil. She did not flinch away. Her hand explored his face, her fingertips touching his cheeks, his jaw, his lips, and all the while he watched her, as if not sure how to respond or how to react to her actions. Suddenly, a thought flared red in her mind, a thought that burned away the curiosity and eagerness and hope. She turned and averted her gaze, her eyes wild with horror.

            “What is wrong?” he asked, his eyes frantically searching her face for the answer.

            “I…shouldn’t be doin’ this,” she whispered. “If me master finds out…”

            He gently cupped her chin and forced her to look up at him. She then noticed the second scar on his face, a scar that started on his right cheek and ended at his jaw. Perhaps caused by the vampire hunter.

“Do you feel that this is right?” he asked gently but with all seriousness. “Do you wish to do this? Do you wish to live? You may never get this chance again.”

            She listened carefully. Her mind screamed at her not to, but her heart was screaming at her yes. She dearly wanted to be held, to be kissed, to be loved. She feared she would never get another opportunity such as he said, not if she continued her servitude. But she said, if her master found it, she would either be thrown out or perhaps worse, killed. She did not answer right away, and he waited patiently.

            She finally nodded. “Yes.”

            He smiled gently, and she smiled back. He bent his neck and she stretched hers. Their noses touched, and she found herself trembling with excitement and fear. They rubbed the sides of their noses together, and they shared small chuckles. He bent his neck more and tilted his head slightly, his lips brushing hers. He opened his mouth, and she instinctively opened hers. He pulled her closer to him, and her hand found the back of his neck. They continued to kiss each other passionately, their bodies pressed against each other’s tightly, their lips pressed hard. The kiss shifted from urgency, to curiosity, to gentleness, and back to urgency. 

            They pulled back in unison to take a breath. They barely had to nudge each other to begin the kiss anew. Once more their bodies pressed together, and their mouths opened and closed in a steady rhythm. He held her close to him, and she rubbed the back of his neck slowly. Her movement caused him to kiss harder, and she responded with a harder kiss of her own. Their clothes rustled annoyingly, and they both thought in the hazes that were their minds that their clothes were more a nuisance than a necessity. They both thought that they would be warmer without them. More comfortable.

            With their bodies still pressed together, he guided her down onto the bedroll. She followed willingly. At first they sat there, hugging and kissing each other lovingly. But they got into a more comfortable position on the floor. He entwined one leg around hers, and she did not protest. His hand now moved. His long fingers slowly, teasingly, went up from her waist and up her back, dancing and tickling her. Then they journeyed around her neck and down her chest, to her stomach, to her hip, her thigh. Her skin jumped and twitched at the electric pulls of his fingers. She pressed her body more against his, wanting to be closer to him.       

            “Are you sure you wish to do this?” he asked, his voice having grown low and raspy.

            She stared deeply into his golden eyes, seeing they were in fact yellow flicked with fiery orange around those slitted pupils, and she nodded.

            “Yes,” she repeated softly.

            He looked at her, his face expressionless.

            “Too easy,” he said, his voice dripping with cold amusement. His voice broke the spell, paralyzing her with fear and shock. His face split into a wicked grin; it was a chilling and cruel smile belonging to a demon, and his eyes began to glow like a hellish fire. She had become too entwined in the spider’s web and now could not escape. She could not do anything except thrash and scream as he was soon upon her and began tearing off her only protection.

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