UPDATE: So, I made some edits here. Mostly little things, but I think they are improvements. I also have a more PG version (i.e., no nudity) because I am considering submission to a site later, and I’m not sure it’s 100% required. This is still the unedited version, in that sense at least. If I do decide to submit that one, I may post the edited version here pending acceptance. Thanks for reading!
So, I’ve had this idea rolling around for a while, and finally got a chance to put it on paper (or, you know, Word Doc). It is, as usual, a preliminary draft, but even after reading over it once or twice, I’m pretty happy with it. There are a few rough patches I’m unhappy with, but I’m not really sure any good way to fix them. And, to be honest, they may not be as irritating to other people. Heck, I probably won’t mind them in a day or two. Enjoy!
Martin looked somberly into the murky gold of his lukewarm scotch. He hated these kinds of functions. Not only was he not particularly good at large crowds, dancing, loud music, and general social interaction, but it only became all the more painful when you combined a room full of people with his same weaknesses and demanded that they play the roles. It was a professional conference, he bemoaned, but he was the only person with the seeming self-awareness to feel abject discomfort at the whole evening’s proceedings. He slumped glumly in the stiff reception chair, his body depending on the unsteady table to keep him upright and appearing engaged. The white table, stained with leftover dinner crumbs and a spilt half glass of red wine, had been empty for what felt like an eternity as his dinner companions—strangers in nice suits and dresses who prattled on as if they were 25 again—had given themselves over to the open bar and dance floor.
He glanced at his watch. Surely after two hours of such nonsense his dues were paid well enough to warrant sneaking back to his room for some sleep and relaxation. Others might jest that he was a stick in the mud for retiring so early, but he would not make a fool of himself as his colleagues were so wont to do.
Gathering his tired dinner jacket and room key, Martin froze. From across the room, he spotted a gorgeous woman slicing through the crowd. There was something predatory in the way she walked. An utter lack of self-consciousness as she strode through the flailing bodies in the crowd. There was a look in her eyes, evident from half a room away, which showed she knew she stood on a level above all those around her. She had the look of a sated wolf prowling amongst unguarded sheep, utterly disinterested in their bleating. She was tall, impossibly slender, with ivory skin wrapped under tight carmine satin. Her hair flowed in sheets of shining black as empty as the moonless sky, waving with disdain as she cut her own path through the writhing masses around her. Almost instinctively, the way parted for her, bringing her directly to Martin’s table.
With indelible grace, she swept a glass of red wine from a passing waiter, holding the delicate glass in her soft fingers. She smiled, pearly white teeth flashing between plump red lips. Her eyes were brilliant green, reflecting Martin’s dumbfounded gaze right back at him.
“Annalise,” she breathed. For a moment, Martin was unsure what to do. All he knew were that those syllables were the most heavenly sounds he had ever heard. He would endure pain, torture, war, strife, poverty, illness, and any worldly ill if only those three sounds would replay again and again. To have those lips speak such beauty!
She smiled again and his mouth snapped shut from its gape. “M-Martin,” he stammered as he collected himself. How dirty those letters sounded on his tongue!
She reached out a slender hand to touch his arm. “So nice to finally meet you.” Martin felt his heart begin to thunder. She knew of him? She wanted to meet him? What crazy fever dream had he slipped into? “I won’t keep you, as it seems you are leaving, but I just couldn’t miss the chance—”
“No, no. Not leaving,” he interjected, eagerly grabbing his chair and planting himself into it. “Just was, uh, getting a better view of things, you know.” She laughed and Martin prayed his ears would ring with that delightful sound for the rest of his life. He would go deaf to the world if only to hear her laugh.
“Then may I join you?” she asked, somewhat hesitantly, betraying the assured confidence Martin had seen so clearly moments ago. He could not imagine having such an effect on a woman, especially not one like her. Martin sat up a little straighter in his seat; keeping his dignity tonight might actually pay off for once, he mused. She must like a serious, intellectual man. Well, by God, she had found her man then.
“Where are you from, Annalise?” He was so smooth, he congratulated himself. Those words flowed like butter.
“Please, I didn’t come all the way over here to talk about me, Martin! Tell me about you,” she purred, her hand falling gently on his forearm as she moved closer. As close as he was, he felt himself absolutely adrift in her marvelous scent. She smelled of sweet flowers opened brightly to the summer sun, and Martin was content to collapse into the field.
So talk he did. Martin regaled her with stories of his groundbreaking work as she eyed him with pure wonder. He shared about his glowing academic career, the awards and showcases that had chosen to honor him and his work in his brief career. He spoke in heartfelt about his calling to the field, the passion and the reward he felt from doing such work. She played her role well, smiling at the right parts, laughing at his clumsy jokes and sighing in awe of his humble victories. Martin felt his chest swell with pride as he prattled on about his meager life, finding his own ego reflected and doubled in her searching green eyes.
Martin likely would have bombasted his way until dawn did the DJ not eventually play the final song while convention center staff ushered out his inebriated coworkers. Martin felt himself fumble in his stride as they were urged to leave. In a final rash of bravery and self-assuredness, he scribbled his room number on the back of the little plastic card, thrusting it into her hands.
“For you,” he smiled. So smooth, such poise he applauded.
“Is this an invitation?” She asked, her eyes flashing with hunger. Martin knew he was good, but he had no idea he was this good.
“Of course it is. Wouldn’t let a specimen like you get too far away, now would I?” He toggled his eyebrows and watched as she blushed, giggled, then hid her eyes. Oh yeah, he certainly had it in him.
Back in his room, Martin suddenly felt exhausted, drained, and worn out. It was almost like the bad hangovers he remembered dimly from his college days. His muscles ached, head felt foggy and bruised, and his face hurt from the ridiculously grand smile he had kept plastered for most of the night.
Light was just seeping through the thin hotel curtains as he collapsed into bed. He needed to be up in a few hours to catch his flight home. He had a wakeup call scheduled since the day he arrived, so surely that would rouse him. But, for now, Martin knew he needed to sleep. So he did, and through his dreams he danced with the beautiful Annalise, first on the dance floor, and then far more passionately in his bed.
As he swam reluctantly towards consciousness, he was initially struck by how dark it had become. A storm must have rolled in, his subconscious suggested, enticing him back towards sleep with slender arms and vivid green eyes. No, he reasoned, it was the wrong kind of dark. And with a start he felt that familiar sinking of waking up well past the alarm. Martin vaulted awake in the bed, snatching at the bedside clock as if he could catch it in time to roll back the hours. No, it was too late, and the numbers dimly stated that it was 6:53pm. Only seven hours too late to catch that plane. Plus he missed checkout, meaning another night’s charge on his already dwindling debit card.
Sighing and tousling his thinning brown hair, Martin stomped towards the bathroom. He never overslept like that. Perhaps he had drunk more than he thought last night. Even now, his recollection of the evening was hazy, and he was beginning to feel quite certain that he had imagined his beautiful woman.
Steam began to fill the cramped bathroom as Martin began a checklist. He needed to call the front desk and apologize, then make sure he was booked for the night. Next, call the airline and see if they could exchange his ticket. He also needed to call David, apologize again for no-showing—
There was a sound from the bedroom. Martin froze, straining his ears to pick up any note beyond the hiss of the showerhead. Yes, there was definitely the sound of someone moving about, subtle yet enough to break the still of the empty room. He reached for the bathrobe hanging on the door and peered out into the entryway. It was dark and shadowed, but he did not immediately see anyone. His hand slipped along the wall, finally catching on the light switch and flooding the room with dingy yellow light. Nothing.
Feeling mostly foolish but still remnants of brave, Martin stepped out of the bathroom and into the main living room, only to have his mouth come unhinged in shock. There, lying across his unmade bed, was Annalise, still wearing that tight red dress. She smiled, holding up the key.
“I was afraid I’d missed you.” The smell of flowers was strong in the room, making Martin feel brave and passionate all over again.
“Not like I’d skip town on a girl like you,” he growled, moving closer to the bed. She smiled at him coyly, sliding off the bed to stand away from him. Slowly, her hand moved to the knot of red at her waist, undoing the ribbon that tied her dress together. Slender fingers pulled apart the thin red strands, then carefully pulled away the dress. Martin was in awe, staring dumbstruck again at the naked ivory body before him.
She was around the bed and kissing him in a heartbeat, so fast Martin felt himself wondering if she had ever been so revealed in the first place. The thought faded swiftly, however, as he swam in the warmth of her limbs around him, the taste of her soft lips, and the scent of her lithe body. In that moment, all he knew was that his lips and hers were dancing together now, their tongues meddling somewhere in between. She pushed him back on the bed, her lips following his steady descent down to the stiff hotel bed. Martin’s heart was a metronome in his chest, trying to keep pace with his flying thoughts. He pulled her close, kissing every inch of that beautifully pearly skin that he could. She laughed and smiled as she playfully pinned his hands down on the bed.
“You know, Martin, there is something delicious about a body excited.” Her tongue snaked its way into his mouth, those brilliant red lips melding with his for a brief moment. “And our bodies tend to act the same for attraction and fear,” she whispered, coming up for breath. Every word she spoke sent waves of excitement across Martin’s body, just to feel the gentle ebb and flow of her breath across his skin.
“Me, personally,” she smiled, leaning to kiss along his neck, “I prefer the taste of attraction.” She ended this with a soft nip at his earlobe. Martin felt a slight stir of discomfort at her choice of phrasing, but brushed it off. Just a turn of phrase, he reminded himself, finding himself again drowning in her green eyes and the soft scent of sunlit flowers.
“And I’m terribly hungry after such a long wait. I hope you don’t mind.” Martin’s face twisted into horror as a new face replaced Annalise in front of him. Where there had been a young, slender, and beautifully pale body that made his heart pound until it threatened to rupture, now there was an old, withered, and gray thing seated atop him. The skin beneath his fingers was dry and brittle, feeling like rough tissue against his hands. Her rich red lips disappeared into a haggard face, her mouth nothing but an ugly scab stretching into a smile. The smile broke, revealing two sets of impossibly sharp fangs seat amongst shattered teeth. Martin no longer smelled the flowers, only rot and decay. She laughed, a horrible wet sound, and then bent her lips to his neck. Martin screamed.
“You’re going to be delicious.” And with that, she unceremoniously ripped into his throat. Blood blossomed on the cheap white sheets as the scent of copper mingled with her own scent of putrescence. Her tongue lapped up the thick, dark blood as she tore into his skin, reveling in the sensation of life flooding her malnourished system. It only took a few moments for him to quit fighting, and then she was able to enjoy her dinner in peace, pausing only briefly to shut his eyes once the struggle had ceased. She never liked it when her dinner watched.
After a brief time, the woman stood from the bed, collecting her dress from the floor. She carefully slipped her arms into it, tying it tightly against what was sure to be a briskly cold night. The sated creature paused to glance in the mirror and then lifted a corner of the sheets to brush away a smear of blood on her ivory cheek. Predatory green eyes smiled at her from the mirror as she left the room, the scent of flowers following in her wake.
PS: Totally my answer to “sparkly” vampires instead of scary. Hope you enjoyed!
This work by Katherine C is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.