The New Blood

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story told entirely through one chase scene.... view prompt



A kiss, just one.

That’s all they say I need, and then they’ll accept me. They’ll show me what it means to no longer be forlorn. I dread the thought of failure and the alienation it brings. They send me inside anyway, watching behind like a collection of ghostly shades. They offer me a promise, and these bodies are to be what will make that promise come true.

I am to look around--to wait. To watch and to choose as they meander between one another, conversing about things designed to make them feel better. Safer. They told me it is how they act; it is their nature. I knew it once was, but now it is like fog. Impossible to remember how it felt.

The air is heavy with burnt ash and sweat; it's pungent. Alluring in a strange way, like something faintly familiar. A revisitation of sorts.

It makes it difficult to smell them. Their scent is shielded by the booze and drugs they take to tell themselves they’re alright. They’re protected.

I slither inside like a shadow moving between them. Like a thing that no longer belongs. None think to look at me and question my arrival--not a glance. They’re too foolish.

That’s when I lay eyes on you.

Your gleaming, crimson dress marks you. Soon its color will touch my lips. They told me to find a bold one, and I think I’ve found the boldest. You’re dancing alone, eyes closed, a look of serenity about your young, flawless face. Your golden earrings jangle to the beat of music only your body can make; it’s a collection of music with a tune they’ll only hear the first piece of. You struggle to balance a filled glass of wine. Your third, by the looks of your swaying, free shoulders.

You’re too careless.

You are my everything; you are my new blood. My solitude will then be broken.

Thump thump

Thump thump

Its beat matches the song under my skin and I can feel my lips pull back and my mouth open. I imagine biting into you like how your kind pierce an apple to quell a growling stomach. The sweetness of your nectar is soon too much for me; it pulls me closer like a marionette.

I step forward to meet you, moving through the crowd of sedated flesh and glazed-over pupils. Your eyes are closed and your hips are carrying that boldness that made me choose you. 

I’m so close now. A mere touch away. A gentle meeting and then you’ll be mine. My first.

Just as I move to taste your fearlessness, my hope turns sour as your jade eyes open and face morphs into sheer terror--beyond it. Your eyes lay upon my pale hue and every superstition that’s been weaved into you suddenly turns real. 

I become real.

You notice me--my intentions--and I become elated. Your realization somehow feels warm, like I’m bathing underneath the sun, unburned. I want more of it.

Instantly you are sober.

Your high heel cracks under weighted dread as you collapse. Your wine glass shatters and red spills on the white dance floor. You open your mouth to shriek, but I can’t hear a thing other than the beating that’s pumping panic into my ears.

Thump thump thump thump

My claws extend.

They rake your arm and you recoil, relinquishing the flesh for me to savor like an hors d’oeuvres. It’s disgustingly sweet for seconds, then it turns bitter as I open my eyes to meet yours again. They widen into white, porcelain saucers once you see them. My teeth--my true undoing.

 Frantically, your arms spasm as they search for something to hold and help you upright. I try to ignore how much of myself I see in you, pushing it back like a tainted memory. You crawl like a rat on the floor, pulling yourself through the shards of glass that now make you even easier to smell.

You call to me in between screams, and no one but I comes to your rescue. The rest watch, none bothering to move. Perhaps this is why they hunt here, where they can become illusions and nothing more. Where feasting is like stepping through an apple orchard.

They did say you would show me how to hunt, after all.

You’re back on your feet as you dart past the bar and toward the door in the back. You’re surprisingly nimble with a twisted leg and cut feet, though you’re hardly faster than a shadow, even if it is a newborn one.

Every step you take, I glide behind, moving over the dance floor as if it’s made of ice. Every person shoved is an obstacle kindly removed. You’re making this easier than it needs to be.

Thump thump thump thump

It’s growing louder; it’s becoming unbearable now.

You throw your body into the steel, rusty door and it begrudgingly opens, screeching almost louder than you as it opens. You trip and fall in a puddle waiting by the door. Your scent turns sour, urine-like, but still you run. I understand why--I did.

Your legs won’t carry you long, and as we run down the wet, fetid ally, I can feel a thrill turning my cold chest just the slightest bit warmer. Together, our shadows dance along the dimly-lit brick walls, occasionally interrupted by fire escapes and garbage bags you do your best to avoid. It’s a tragedy in the making.

The man in me hopes my fingers won’t touch you again, but the beast knows it will taste you. It knows it will do anything to be recognized. A premature collision of silky, raven hair slides between my fingers like yarn. I could yank it right now and pull you into my shadow.

We could be together, then neither of us would be alone.

Your gasps for breath, I can feel them thawing my cheeks as if you were beside me. You sound out of breath, like any second you’ll collapse. You’ll collapse and fall, and give up. We can end this little chase; it doesn’t need to be difficult.

But still, you persist. I feel like we’ve known each other forever thanks to this chase. You flee faster than they told me you would. Your speed is surprising--I think you may have a chance. You weave through bystanders walking to their taxis, kissing their dates goodnight while they hope to be invited for the full course.

Not a single one bats their eyes as they hear you squeal and scream. They are too busy to notice you all alone, running from your own shadow. You’re not helping yourself. 

I begin to count the scuffs on your knees and legs, and your palms, too. Every mistake you make is like a flare shot into the air for my eyes to see and follow. I think you even believe you’ve lost me the minute you turn into this tight alley. You fumble with your purse, spilling lipstick and condoms onto the ground as I glide above you and watch, careful to alert you. 

You came prepared, just as I did.

And then you grab it--a phone. It lights up the alley, blasting the cold, dark space with a white, godly glow. And then you drop it and continue to run again. No doubt you saw me, hiding above, looking down at your crimson lips.

I’m beginning to grow exhausted trying to let you win. You’re not the only one with something to lose, you know? We’re both strangers. We both understand what it’s like. I’m trying to help you, honest. But you won’t listen--you won’t even try.

What you can’t see ahead, however, is the end. The place where the bricks form a wall you cannot climb. You’re coming to it now, and you don’t have a clue.

It’s all been planned. Your route, this night, your fate. All of it. 

I was just hoping you would win.

But you reach it. You bang on it and you scream, and even cry some more, too. Your legs quiver and your makeup melts from all of the tears. I think you’ve lost your voice from screaming so much, as you’ve grown awfully quiet.

You hold up your hands, as if to plead. Where does that get either of us?

I look at you as I approach and see how easily I gave in. I could’ve kept running, my legs could’ve gone on, as I’m sure yours could’ve, too. My lungs burned as I’m sure yours do now, but compared to the alternative I would’ve preferred them to be on fire. Anything to make me keep running.

But it doesn’t matter.

Thump thump thump thump thump thump thump

I take your arms, once you stop fighting and I hold you close in mine. I squeeze so hard, not because I’m worried you’ll flee again and we’ll resume this cursed game, but because it feels so nice. So warm. 

To no longer be alone. 

To no longer starve. 

To no longer fear.

I do as instructed and plant my lips against yours, savoring the moment of warmth I’ve yearned for. I suck it in as if I am draining the sun, feeling it heat from my chest to my fingertips. It feels so sweet. So marvelous.

And you grow colder, like the moon that’s watching above us.

This is our kiss, my first and your last. This sweet, ravenous meeting of curses. A binding of the forlorn. You do not know what you are giving me as your arms turn weak and your legs can no longer hold you.

You’ll think it selfish, you’ll think it wicked, but know that I had no other option. Even beasts need company, don’t you think? Were I left alone any longer, I would not just give you a kiss, but an abuse of the blood. I would violate your sense of presence and make you do the same to another.

But I will not do that; I will not make you stalk for a kiss. 

I will help you sleep and sit with you until the color fades from your eyes. I will make sure you are not faced with the same choice I was. You’re far too sweet to be made an animal, but it seems that I am not.

July 16, 2020 20:45

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