You know those stories people write for themed anthologies? Well, if you don’t, these are stories on a specific–you guessed it–topic. Although sometimes they can be reworked for other purposes, other times they cannot. So I’ll be putting my little themed rejects here. I like them too much to refuse them any audience besides myself and the editor who decided they lacked something or other.
WARNING: This particular story is 18+, I think, although I suspect it was rejected because it didn’t have enough explicit sex in it. Oh, well, I like it just the way it is.
By Irina Slav
Carla brushed a speck of dust from the fake wood table and made herself smile at the people gathered around it.
“Are we still waiting for someone?” she asked, hiding her impatience under the usual mask of polite indifference to the world around. Emergency meetings were the worst. Carla suspected her inferiors—not that she would ever call them that publicly, of course—sometimes met just to remind themselves they are important people, which they weren’t.
The woman to Carla’s right, Fiona, shrugged nervously and glared at the man across the table who held a phone to his ear and listened intently.
“All right,” the man said now. “Thank you. Yes. Much appreciated.”
Carla swallowed a sigh. She could be home now instead of here, in this stuffy conference room in some third-rate hotel downtown. This meeting was a secret one.
“I’m so sorry for the delay, Carla,” the man said. “I had to get a confirmation. So!” He clapped his hands. Carla cringed. The man was young, slim and handsome in a way that bored Carla to tears with his always freshly cut dark hair, smooth face, and regularly trained body. His name was Daniel.
“You know Elliott is giving us grief,” Daniel said. Carla penalized him by taking away 5 mental points for stating the obvious. She was beginning to doubt she will be able to endure this meting to the end. “So Chris here and myself started looking for a solution.”
This sparked a tiny flame of interest in Carla. Elliott Management were a bothersome bunch of heart attacks and ulcers waiting to take their carriers to an early grave as far as she was concerned.
“I assume you have found it?” she said. Daniel needed a prod. Otherwise he would talk for hours, approaching his subject from all sides before the big reveal.
“Yes, we did,” he said and beamed. “We approached several investment funds with an offer to increase their holding in Aurelia and one of them agreed. Pureline Equity has just bought another two percent, which gives it a total six, which is more than what Elliott has.”
Daniel looked around the table, basking in the smiles of his co-executives.
“Is that why we’re here?” Carla said, her tone clearly suggesting she was not happy about being dragged here for an announcement that could have been made over the phone.
“No, we’re meeting our new board member from Pureline,” Daniel said quickly, glancing at his watch. “He should be here already.”
“Are we doubling as the board now?” Carla inquired. Her bones were beginning to hurt from boredom. She was also getting hungry and that made her even more argumentative and caustic than usual.
“No. Pureline insisted he met with the executive team first,” Daniel said as someone knocked on the door. He jumped from his seat and rushed to open it.
“Hi! So good of you to come. Please, come in.” The young man stepped aside. Carla’s bones stopped hurting as her eyes fell on the figure towering over Daniel. A wave of heat and urgent need she had almost forgotten engulfed her in a warm, sizzling cocoon that rendered her temporarily incapable of moving or thinking.
“This is Soren Andersen from Pureline Equity.”
The tall blond man with the glacier eyes and the sharp cheekbones looked around the room, nodding slightly. The left corner of his thin-lipped mouth curled up. When his gaze fell on Carla the curl disappeared. His eyes lingered on her for a few seconds before he strode straight to her extending his hand.
“Ms Palmers? It is a pleasure to meet you,” he said, face impassive except the eyes. The eyes burned. The slight hiss that accompanied his s’s struck deep into Carla’s core. With a huge effort, she arranged her features into a welcoming expression and lifted a hand that felt like it weighed a ton.
“Hello,” she said. The touch of his skin sent a painful shot through her arm and down her body. The pain dissolved the cocoon that prevented her from thinking. “This is quite a surprise but welcome to the team.”
“I’m sure it is,” Soren said, his fingers wrapped around her palm, long, strong and dry, like a soft armored glove for her hand. Warm. Carla couldn’t help but shiver. He let go. Carla clasped her hands trying not to squeeze too tightly.
“This is Fiona Haynes, our chief financial officer, Daniel you already know, and this is…” She continued presenting everyone around the table to Soren without listening to her own voice. She barely registered Daniel’s crestfallen face. She had apparently stolen his spotlight but she couldn’t care less. Soren. Here and now. Daniel should be happy he was still alive.
“So, my job as I understand it would be to stop Elliott’s puppy from having his way with your company,” Soren said after the introductions were finally over.
“Her way,” Carla said. Soren had settled into the one empty chair at the other end of the table, which she judged as very sensible. She wouldn’t have been able to live through the meeting if he was any closer.
“My apologies,” Soren said with a slight nod. “Still you do understand, madam chief executive, that I cannot compromise the interests of my own company to service yours.”
The heat raging in Carla’s chest intensified by a hundred degrees. She suspected he picked words containing s deliberately but a second later dismissed this suspicion as silly. All she wanted was for this meeting to be over, so she could go home. Run home. She was afraid any other course of action would tilt the world out of its orbit.
“I understand that and I’m sure so do my colleagues,” she heard herself say through the throbbing heat. His hand had been so warm, so hot. “We wouldn’t ask you to do anything that would harm your company.”
“Thank you,” Soren said with another nod. The glacial blades that were his eyes pierced her again and again every time he cast them in her direction. Carla couldn’t stand much more of this.
“Would there be anything else, Daniel?” she said. “I’m afraid I have a plane to catch.”
“Oh, well, I thought we could talk about strategy, get Soren up to speed with our latest…”
Carla started to get up.
“I’m sure you don’t need me for that.” She was not going to stand another second of this torture. “I’ll see you next week.” She nodded sharply at the table without addressing anyone in particular and walked out of the conference room resisting the urge to look back, to see him one more time.
There was no plane to catch. There was just her loft, which now felt like a shirt two sizes too small. Carla sat in her favorite armchair, half-full glass in her hand, and stared out through the window to the city. She felt constricted, despite the panoramic view, despite the spacious room she was sitting in. All this empty space was closing in on her, pressing her, ready to implode. All because of Soren and his warm fingers.
Carla shivered and told herself it was disgust. It had to be. She gulped the rest of the glass’s contents and threw it at the window. The sound of the glass shattering almost drowned the quiet knock on the door. Almost but not completely. Carla knew who was knocking. She tried to stifle the vicious eruption of joy and the throbbing between her legs with bitterness but failed.
“Hi,” Soren said. He had the audacity to just stand there at her door, in the coal-black three-piece suit he’d worn at the meeting, as if he was coming home from work. Carla felt a brief urge to claw his eyes out, to make them stop looking at her this way that made her prickly, made her horny, incapable of restraining herself.
“What took you so long?” she said in hopes sarcasm will help her get through this unscarred. Soren’s eyes slid down her body and she remembered too late she had changed when she’d come home and was now wearing only a black Penguins T-shirt, two sizes too large but still only a T-shirt.
Soren leaned on the side of the door. She had not yet invited him in but she knew she would, eventually. They couldn’t stay at the door forever.
“I wasn’t sure you would want to see me.”
Carla crossed her arms over her breasts. Her nipples were hardening and irritating her. They had to be stopped.
“I assume you concluded that I would.”
Soren raised his hands, spreading his fingers in a you-got-me gesture. Carla followed the movement like a cat watching her prey. It took some effort to look away but she did.
“Okay, come in,” she said, turning back. She had to put more distance between herself and him. That heat he had brought upon her was playing more than one trick on her body.
She stood with her back to him, gazing through the window to the kaleidoscope of lights below.
“You’ve aged,” she said.
“You haven’t,” Soren whispered, his breath scorching her ear and her neck. Preoccupied with her own sensations, Carla had forgotten how quietly and how fast he could move even now. His arms were around her, holding her tightly but not too tightly, his lean, warm body pressed to her back. He reached up and Carla heard the clasp holding her hair click. Waves of dark hair streamed down. He stroked them gently.
“I missed you.”
There was that hiss again. Carla leaned into him. She couldn’t fight it. Wouldn’t. Didn’t have to. He pressed her more tightly and she felt the familiar hardness against the small of her back. His arms, his voice, this hardness joined forces to erase the last ten years. They were back where they were then, together, hungry, insatiable. Carla turned and pulled his face down to hers. She ignored the itch in her teeth.
Their mouths met violently when the hunger both had suppressed for so long broke the walls of self-control, the walls she had so carefully built around her soul and fortified with years of misery and loneliness. A second later Carla was in Soren’s arms, her legs wrapped around his hips. His tongue, so familiar and so strange at the same time, probed her mouth, conquered it with every thrust and twist, and Carla was happy to surrender. She clawed at his clothes, ripping the vest’s buttons, too impatient to unbutton it. His shirt followed, raining buttons all around. Carla hardly felt her panties rip and she readily lifted her arms so he could slip off the T-shirt.
He lowered her to the floor, her shiny hardwood floor, kissing her relentlessly, biting and licking, stopping only to get rid of his trousers. There was no time for foreplay, no time to prolong the urgency, to stoke the anticipation. He thrust himself into her and Carla moaned in spite of herself. Soren wasn’t gentle. He could sense what she wanted and he was giving it to her gladly. What she wanted now was to be fucked, and hard. She wanted a release and she wanted it quickly. His cock pounded her mercilessly, the unnatural heat he radiated adding its own flavor to the delicious mix of smell, touch and sound.
The itching in Carla’s teeth intensified. She couldn’t bear it anymore. She held Soren tightly and flipped him over, taking a second to acknowledge the pleasure of being strong enough to flip over a man twice her size. He hit the floor heavily and groaned. Carla ignored him. She was stronger than him now. She could do what she wanted. And right now she wanted to come and she wanted to feed. She rode him hard, her body moving smoothly like a piston, the heat from his body taking her over, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.
Her eyes were fixed on Soren’s neck. She hadn’t even realized it until he panted,
“You can have it. You can have it all.”
Carla hesitated for a moment. He squeezed her buttocks, prompting her to resume the ride, as eager as she was for release, for dissolving into her as she was for becoming one with him. She obliged, making her muscles dance around his cock, caress it, play with it as the first waves of pleasure licked the coast of her mind.
“Now!” Soren panted and turned his head, exposing his neck. Carla bit into his flesh the moment when the waves grew higher, engulfing her, causing her to lose all sense of direction or identity, the moment when his seed, as hot as his body, flowed into her. Carla drank thirstily, drank without thinking if she was killing him, drank until she felt his hand grab her throat and push her away. She groaned.
“I don’t want to die yet,” he said. At first, Carla could not understand the words he uttered. His blood was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted and she had tasted a lot of bloods in her lifetime. She had to have more, so she tried to take his hand away, still strung on his cock, still feeling that unnatural heat, now fading to warmth, inside.
“No,” he said softly. “Enough for now.”
His hand moved up from her throat and stroked her face, his fingers caressing her eyes, nose, cheeks and, finally, her mouth. Carla let out a little sigh. She had missed this caress so much. She just hadn’t dared to admit it even to herself. And she was sure as hell not going to admit it to Soren.
Back to her senses now, she stood up and put her panties on. Soren stayed where he was, watching her, making her—amazingly—horny again.
“Are you going to lie there for the rest of your short life?” Carla asked. The words came out sounding more caustic than she intended. Her thoughts were chaos. She hated him—had hated him for the last ten years. But she had missed him, too, she had missed him painfully.
“I need to rest a little,” he said without moving. He didn’t even raise his head. Carla frowned, unsure what he meant. A second later it dawned on her.
“Oh,” she said. “I’m sorry. I guess I got carried away.”
Now he raised his head a little and gave her that crooked smile she still saw in her dreams sometimes. He was a monster but she had loved him.
“It’s fine,” Soren said, letting his head fall back down to the floor.
Carla was at a loss. She hadn’t drunk living human blood for years. She used donated, packaged meals from a blood bank Aurelia controlled via a subsidiary. It was so much more convenient and you didn’t have to worry about going over the top and having to dispose of bodies, which was a serious problem in the past.
Now she had gone over the top and not with just an average human but with her own maker who had willingly turned human ten years ago. This thought fueled her rage, which now burned higher than the flames of desire and tenderness threatening to get out of control. The piquant aftertaste of his blood helped. She knew that aftertaste. She knew it but for now she refused to think about it. Sarcasm came to the rescue.
“Are you planning on telling me what you are doing here, except stopping by for a quick fuck?” she asked. She stood over him, hands on her hips, looking down at his pale, smooth body stretched on the floor. The sight of him lying there so weak and defenseless was a precious one. The great and powerful 500-year-old vampire who had held everyone in awe for centuries was now a weak, breakable human.
Soren slowly sat up. Carla couldn’t help but admire the movement. It was so fluid, so smooth this small, simple movement of sitting up, so gracious. She gritted her teeth.
“I didn’t stop by for a quick fuck as you called it,” he said. “I missed you.”
“Yes, you said that already.” Carla stepped away from him, realizing the panties were not enough of a defense. She grabbed her T-shirt from the floor and slipped it on. “It’s not a good enough answer.”
Soren shrugged, completely uninhibited by his nakedness. The twin wounds on his neck had dried and faded to reddish-brown circles, already scabbing over. He followed her eyes and rubbed the wounds.
“This was something new,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard her question. “I liked it.”
“Any time,” Carla snapped and crossed her arms.
Soren sighed. He had propped his elbows on his knees, hands hanging down, almost touching the floor.
“This is the only answer I can give you, Carla. I missed you. I spent ten years trying to get over it and I couldn’t. I… followed your life. I was happy for you but not without you. So I looked for ways to come back. Hoping you will take me back,” he added after a pause. The last words sound reluctant and unsure—two emotions so uncharacteristic for Soren they shocked her.
Carla swallowed. The memory of his delicious blood had suddenly made her mouth water as she argued with herself whether she could believe him and why did it even matter. Another, stronger memory interfered.
“You killed my brother, Soren. You killed a vampire you had sired so you could become human. You… exiled yourself without ever giving a single thought about me. Don’t you tell me you’ve missed me all these years.”
Soren placed one hand on the floor and stood up, first on his knees, then upright. He swayed a little and Carla felt an urge to help him. She resisted it. He had killed her brother, Marco. Still moving carefully, Soren closed the few steps between them. Carla didn’t move. He leaned down and his face came so close to hers she had the ridiculous thought he wanted to kiss her again.
“I killed the man who raped you repeatedly and called it love. I killed the man who I had made a vampire by his request, failing to recognize what he was. And he was an evil man, Carla. He was not your brother. He was a psychopath incapable of emotions. So I killed him and I bore the consequences. Becoming human was not a whim.”
His breath fanned her face with its soft warmth as his words tore her soul apart.
“You don’t remember?” he said quietly, stroking her cheek with the tips of his fingers.
Carla did remember. She remembered how Marco had declared his feelings for her even though she was Soren’s partner. She remembered how he told her Soren was using her as a toy. He told her he—Marco—was her rightful and equal partner, not the overbearing Soren. She believed. She believed him because she had always had the nagging feeling she was not good enough for Soren.
He was old, smart, and handsome. He was selfish and manipulative like most vampires but he seemed to genuinely care about her. This felt unnatural to the girl who had grown up in an orphanage and had gone into the only profession available to a girl without a family and the means to support herself.
Soren had been a client. Of course he had been a client. He kept himself busy with the various fronts his family used to blend in with the humans so he traveled a lot and he had no qualms about attending to all his carnal needs as soon as they arose. Carla had proved very good at satisfying these. She had no inhibitions to speak of and she wasn’t easily surprised. Besides, she took genuine pride in being good at what she did and she was so good because it was simply business for her. She never felt anything for her clients, neither disgust nor desire. Until she fell for Soren. She fell hard.
Soren was looking at her intently, the glaciers in his eyes now soft and liquid, absurdly warm.
“I remember,” she said. It was almost a whisper. She wanted to tell him she knew Marco was scheming against him. For a second she even felt like apologizing. She resisted the urge.
“I know,” Soren said softly. “We don’t have to talk about it. We don’t…” His voice trailed off into a sigh as he looked away, giving her a temporary rest from the weigh of his gaze.
Marco was persistent, feeding Carla resentment and animosity so ingeniously, she eventually developed a kind of twisted admiration for the boy. And then Soren killed him, drank his blood and became a human, willingly exiling himself from the vampire community. There was no place for vampires who killed their own in this community. They remained outcasts until the end of their miserable human lives. Soren and Carla had never talked about it. He had left immediately after the transformation without saying goodbye.
“It was easier to hate you,” Carla said. “So much easier to believe that you were thinking about yourself and cared for nobody else.”
Soren wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him. She leaned her head on his warm chest, startled yet again by the steady beat of the living heart below the flesh.
“I know,” he said. “I hated you too.”
She looked up.
“You had every reason to,” she said and she meant every word. He had caught them, Marco and her, going at it in his study. Carla suspected Marco had arranged it and her admiration grew. He wanted his maker to suffer and he made no secret of that. His success was, in a sense, spectacular. In another, more literal sense, it was an utter failure since Marco lost his life. Carla shook her head trying to dislodge the memory from its place, to make it disappear.
“No,” he said and pressed her closer to him. One hand slipped down to the small of her back and remained there. The other traced lines along her back. “I had every reason to do what I did but hate you? No.”
Arousal hit Carla like an avalanche, suddenly, without a warning. She stood on her toes wrapping her arms around his neck, finding his mouth, his deliciously warm mouth, and kissing it like a wanderer in the desert who’s just realized the pool of clear water in front of her is not a mirage after all. He took hold of her buttocks and easily lifted her off the ground. The bottom of her panties rubbed against his growing erection and Carla moaned.
“I want you,” she whispered in his mouth. “I want you so much.”
“Not on the floor,” he mumbled, his tongue playing with her, teasing her, leading her on. “The floor hurts.”
Carla found it in her to chuckle at his admittance of weakness.
“Upstairs,” she said. He didn’t wait for directions.
This time neither of them was in a rush. They took their time tasting each other, exploring familiar but long-lost territories, rediscovering each other. Soren made Carla beg with that insistent mouth of his, with his tongue buried deep between her thighs, sucking and thrusting into her, driving her crazy, keeping her on the edge but never letting her cross over it.
She made him beg with her hands and her mouth, and her whole body, keeping him hard but denying him that final suck, that final rub that would make him burst. They teased each other, tortured each other, each feeding the other’s appetite until it was unbearable. This time Carla was more careful when she drank from him and this restraint sang its own melody of pain she couldn’t get enough of.
Later, Carla lay pleasantly exhausted with Soren’s head on her stomach. Her fingers were tangled in the fine light hair. She remembered how his hair glowed like silver in candlelight. The glow had made him look unreal, insubstantial. A sudden sadness wrapped its tentacles around Carla, gripped her insides and brought tears into her eyes. She squeezed them shut and gritted her teeth.
“What is it?” Soren asked without raising his head. He had felt her body tense. Carla opened her eyes. There was no point in putting things off.
“You are dying.”
Soren didn’t move. He lay there, with his cheek pressed to her belly, one arm resting on her groin, his fingers on that place right above the edge of her hipbone that he so loved to kiss and stroke because it got her wet and wild in seconds. Not for much longer.
“Tell me,” she insisted. She knew he was dying but she needed to hear it from him. No. What she needed was for him to say it was not true. That he had drunk something, he had eaten something that had made his blood taste this way, even though she knew no drink and no food could make blood taste of cancer.
“Yes,” he said. His fingers tightened on her skin a little and relaxed.
“How long?” Carla asked. She concentrated on keeping her voice level. Somehow it seemed extremely important and it was—it provided a little distraction from the monstrous reality.
“Six months to a year,” he said after a long pause.
Carla tried to stifle the sob that had risen to her throat but succeeded only partially. Soren finally moved. He sat up, leaving her belly uncomfortably cold, and dragged himself up to face her. She rose, too, and flinched when he touched her back. He pulled his hand away and lay on his back next to her. Carla stared ahead unblinkingly.
“I shouldn’t have come,” Soren said. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s too late, now, isn’t it?” Carla lashed out. She jumped out of the bed and walked to the fine iron railing that acted as the fourth wall of the bedroom. She gripped the ironwork tightly, determined to regain her calm, to stay silent, to keep the screams and the tears, and the sobs from bursting out.
It wasn’t fair. That was what was making her mad with grief. It simply wasn’t fair for him to have gotten sick. Even more unfair was that he had come to her, after all those years, sick and dying, brutally taking her hopes away from her almost as soon as he’d given them.
A warm wave hit her back and there he was, towering behind her, wrapping his arms around her, ignoring the tensing of her muscles.
“I am very sorry, Carla. Do you want me to go away? Tell me what you want me to do.”
Carla swung around, eyes blazing, nostrils flaring.
“There is nothing you can do!” she shouted in his face. “You went away, now you’re back and you are dying! You always did what you thought best. You never ever thought about asking anyone else!”
She pushed him arm, which was blocking her way, and stomped down the stairs. She was furious and this made her feel a little better. Anger was good, it was much better than the grief that had descended upon her the moment Soren had confessed to the truth she already knew.
Carla stormed into the kitchen and grabbed a bag of blood from the fridge. Soren could keep his precious and delicious blood with the cancerous cells that made it so piquant, so scrumptious. She poured the contents of the bag in a coffee mug and took a long drink. It didn’t make her feel any better and that stoked the flames of the fury.
“You are utterly selfish, this is the problem,” she said as she walked back into the living room. Soren was there, putting on his trousers. Carla ignored the sadness that had turned his face into the portrait of a martyr. She ignored the stab of pain she felt seeing this face. This pain made the fury sputter but Carla was not going to give up that easily.
“Go,” she said, looking him straight into the eyes, unflinching.
Soren hesitated with his vest in his hands. He put it on slowly, its sides hanging lifelessly like broken wings.
“I wanted to ask a favor first,” he said finally.
Carla nodded. She walked to the window, ignoring the bits of glass that stuck into her bare feet and the bloody trail she left.
“You want me to kill you” she said. The city lay below her like a huge dumb creature without a brain, electricity running through its veins instead of blood. But there was blood out there, so much of it, and she had been restraining herself for decades because it was safer and easier this way.
“Yes. Now. I’m fed up with the pain.” The corner of his mouth curled in that so familiar, mocking smile Carla loved.
The dumb creature was dangerous because it couldn’t think. It could only follow its instincts and it did not care who or what it hurt doing this. Carla was no dumb faceless, brainless creature. She had been made and raised by one of the most powerful vampires in history, and she had been a good student. An excellent student. This favor he had asked of her was the ultimate proof. He trusted her with taking his life. She turned with a smile.
“Okay,” she said and strolled over to Soren who was standing there waiting. She stopped a foot from him. He slowly pulled the sides of his buttonless shirt apart, exposing his chest. Carla reached up and traced the smooth curve of the collarbone.
“Sit,” she said. She spoke softly, lovingly. Soren looked around and picked her chair, the chair she sat in when she watched the city. A bitter smile rippled Carla’s lips but she followed him there without a word. She straddled him and stroked his face. He caught her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist.
“Are you ready?” she asked. He nodded and moved his head to expose the side of his neck. Carla took his hand, brushing the inside of the wrist with her thumb. “No,” she said. “I like this better.”
Soren smiled. That’s how he had made her. He hadn’t dared damage the perfection of her neck he had told her afterwards.
“Do it,” he said.
Carla brought his hand up to her mouth and paused.
“One thing before you go.”
“I was the one who told Marco to challenge you through me. He wasn’t a psychopath, just a very obedient, very stupid boy. So I put him to good use. He made me proud.”
Soren’s face remained unchanged, still sad. He made no move to pull his hand away from hers as Carla had expected. She loosened her grip but didn’t let go.
“I know,” he said quietly. He raised his other hand and cupped her face. “You are mine, remember? I made you what you are. I know you as well as I know myself.”
A spark of pride lit up his eyes and pierced Carla to the core, shattering the hard but thin veneer of self-satisfaction she had built around her soft, insecure, fear-ridden soul.
She had counted on shock, surprise at the very least, and all she had got was acknowledgment. Proud acknowledgment. His last words were her last drop. With all defenses down, her soul exposed and shrieking in terror, Carla went straight for his throat, ripping the skin, delving into the flesh.
“There is…” Soren started to say, choking on the words. Carla barely heard him, too busy drinking his life. “A gift. In my jacket.”
The blood was flowing too fast, she had ripped both his jugular and the carotid artery and her mouth was simply not big enough to take the full flow. She could feel his heartbeat under her hand accelerate to a frantic beat, then start to stutter. Soren’s breaths turned into gasps. The flow of blood began to recede. The heart thumped loudly once, fell still, then thumped again much more weakly, for the last time.
Carla drew away. Her face felt wet and it was wet, wet with Soren’s blood. She leaned in to him and kissed his parted lips, leaving a bloody smear. He didn’t respond. His eyes were already dimming, the pupils huge and black, the blue all but gone.
Carla slowly got up and stumbled back. Grief slammed into her, grief she had expected now that the walls were down but not with such force. She doubled over clutching her belly, feeling full, bloated, ready to burst. Soren had said something about a gift, she remembered. In his jacket. She picked the jacket from the floor and searched the pockets. There was a piece of paper in the inside pocket. A note, in his old-fashioned, elaborate handwriting.
My time is running out but I won’t leave without a parting gift for the only one I’ve ever truly loved. Yes, I did love you will all my dead heart. But I see this wasn’t enough and I am not magnanimous enough to let you go unpunished.
I assume that if you are reading this I have convinced you to take my life. I’m sure it did not take long. Soon you will begin experiencing sensations that will surprise you. This is because you are now on your way to becoming human.
It is one of our best kept secrets. We don’t talk about it even amongst ourselves because it is considered embarrassing. I personally see nothing embarrassing in turning into a human if you drink a former vampire’s blood. I see it as fair and just. Humanity will suit you, darling Carla.
With all my love,
Carla stared at the note in horror. She couldn’t move and her brain felt numb. When the first cramp came, it came with such force that Carla wailed with pain. A second followed shortly, a third, a fourth, forcing her down on all fours shivering, her stomach clenching.
A moment later she started throwing up. Blood gushed out of her mouth, splashing over the floor, running into all directions, turning her hardwood floor rich, dark red. The flow stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Carla stood on her knees and hands for a while waiting for another attack. Soren had to be lying. It couldn’t be possible, becoming a human. You had to drink a vampire’s blood to become human, Soren himself was the living—formerly—proof.
He was messing with her brain, that was his parting gift, Carla decided. And she had overfed. Nothing more. She would be fine in a moment. She wouldn’t let Soren manipulate her from beyond. That thought made her feel a little better. Her energy was returning. She started to get up when a loud thump made her lurch forward and fall on the floor, proving her wrong. Her heart had started beating.