Scarlet Passion

Some people say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, and they’re right. But they say it as an apology, and that’s where they’re wrong. True love needs no apology, whatever form it takes. I should know, for perhaps I know the strangest love of all; the love a human can feel for a vampire…

***

“Lay back, my love.” Her voice is soft, gentle, caressing. She lowers me gently to the ground, one of her strong hands cradling my head, her fingers stroking the pulse point of my neck…

***

1. At First Sight

I remember the first time I saw Elmindreda. I was captivated in that first moment, as she tore greedily at the homeless man’s neck. It was after 5am, and I had been walking home from a late shift at the hospital (I live a few streets away) and as I passed an alleyway I heard a noise. I’d walked on, assuming it was just a cat or something, but then there was a groan of pain. So I turned back, looked into the alley. There was movement but I couldn’t make it out so I moved closer. Another noise, and two huge shadows were cast on the wall before me, a human shape struggling with something monstrous. And then with a crash two figures tumbled into the light from the street, the largest hitting the ground with a thump and the second, smaller figure landing on top. I recognised the larger one immediately as the homeless man I’d seen a lot in the last few months, always camped down in the mouth of this alley. His thick, tattered coat and many layers of clothing made him look indeed monstrous. The second figure was smaller, crouching over the man, pale hands gripping tightly at his clothes as its face was buried in the angle where the neck meets the shoulder.

I didn’t know what to think, what to do… I took a breath, preparing to speak, but the smaller figure tensed and snapped her head around to look at me. I say her, for it was indeed a woman crouching over the homeless man whose neck was a mass of red. This was my first look at Elmindreda. She wore tight black jeans and a black vest top, with raven black hair framing a white face, her lips were bright red and blood was smeared over her cheeks and dripping from her chin. But what truly struck me was her eyes. They were pale, shining blue, and glowed brightly in the dark alley. I’d never seen such eyes before, and I know I never will again. That was the moment, I think, that I truly lost my heart.

She stared at me for a moment, this strange, elegant creature, and then she bared her teeth and hissed. Her fangs shone white in the dimness, and perhaps my head overtook my heart for a moment, because I turned to run. I pelted for the mouth of the alley, but before I had taken three steps she was already there, leaning sensuously against the wall, smiling at me. I stopped, confused; she couldn’t have moved so fast, it wasn’t humanly possible…
“Going somewhere?” she asked, her voice was a caress of silk. She began to walk slowly toward me, her body swaying invitingly, and I found myself unable to move.
“I… I didn’t meant to… er…” I’ve never been any good at speaking to women, but this was a whole other level of awkwardness.

“Didn’t mean to… interrupt?” She stopped in front of me, looking up at me through long black eyelashes. She was a lot shorter than me, the top of her head was well below my shoulder, but there was something about her that made me feel I was in the wrong for being so tall.
“Exactly,” I stammered, and she reached a hand up to caress my cheek.
“Don’t fret, precious,” she said, and I blushed. “I’m just so hungry, you see. So very, very…”

As she spoke her voice faltered, and then her eyes rolled up in her head and she slumped. Without thinking, I caught her before she hit the ground. I knelt there in the alley, as the homeless man twitched his last behind me, and stared down at the strange and beautiful creature in my arms. Without really knowing what I was doing, I quickly wiped away as much of the blood from her face as I could, then rose to my feet. She was incredibly light, and her body was firm but strangely cold. Wondering what the hell I was doing, I began to walk back to my flat, conscious that the first rays of the morning sun were hitting the roofs of the buildings about me…

***

“Please…”
It’s all I can manage, but she hears me and she smiles. She understands, and her hand leaves my neck, her black fingernails tracing across my chest in a caress both tender and erotic, coming to rest over my faintly beating heart.

***

2. Late Night Conversations

She slept like the dead for five days after that night. Which is hardly surprising I suppose, given that she is what she is. We spoke about that quite early on, not long after she woke up. I’d put her in my bed, and kept all the curtains in the flat closed, just in case. I’d waited each night to see if she’d wake, called in sick to work. Family member was ill, I’d told them. Near enough. And then on the fifth night, as the last traces of the day vanished from the sky, her eyes opened and she drew in a huge, shuddering breath. I’d half expected her to rise up like Nosferatu or something, but she just looked at me. Her lips curled back in a snarl, but somehow even then she was beautiful. I spoke quickly, gesturing at the tray I’d set beside her on the bed.
“I thought you might be hungry.”
Her eyes darted to the tray, and the seven blood bags laid on it. In an instant she’d torn two of the bags open and was guzzling them greedily. Blood ran down her chin, over her chest, splattering onto the bed… I winced slightly at the stains it would leave on the duvet and mattress, but then shrugged. She saw the movement and froze, her eyes on me again. I grinned, nervous. She was so beautiful…

“I’m Alex,” I said, and she raised an eyebrow for a moment, before plucking another bag from the tray. This one she deftly bit into, and then she leaned back on the bed, arching her back and lifting the bag high. She squeezed it, and the scarlet blood poured in a graceful arc into her waiting mouth. She didn’t miss a drop, and I swallowed against the lump in my throat. She dropped the empty blood bag onto the tray, delicately patted her lips with a corner of the duvet and settled herself against the pillows.
“Hello Alex,” she said, and her voice was as silkily caressing as I’d remembered. “My name is Elmindreda.”

And so it began. We talked for much of the night, and I told her about myself and my life. It didn’t take long. So then she told me about her life, or unlife, as she called it. She was made a vampire in 1786, in eastern Europe. She’d travelled the world multiple times over, coming to England for the sixth time only a year or so before. She drank through the blood bags on the tray, and I fetched her some more; I’d ‘acquired’ them from the banks at the hospital. I think I covered my tracks alright, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time blood has gone missing… She told me it tasted okay, but warm blood, living blood was best. But she rarely ate from humans, she was just at a low point, starving. Not so used to city life; she’d spent much of her time in the country, with wildlife to hunt…

We talked and talked all night, and she relaxed in my company. By the time the sun was close to rising we were sitting cross legged on the bed, facing each other. In a weird way it was kind of like those conversations people tell you they had at university, where you just connect with someone and spend the whole night just talking… I’d never had anything like that, till Elmindreda.

But the morning came in the end, and suddenly she slumped and let out a terrific yawn. It was like a tiger yawning, her fangs glinting, her tongue like a bright red snake. She closed her mouth with a snap, her glowing eyes on me.
“Thank you for helping me, Alex,” she said, and smiled. “Not everyone would have.”
I started to say it was no problem when she leaned forward, slowly but intently, and pressed her lips to mine. She was cold, like marble, but softer than anything I have ever known. I returned the kiss, and her cold tongue pressed against my lips, and I closed my eyes and opened my lips, my tongue seeking hers…
Then in a moment, she was gone and I fell face first onto the bed. Her laugh rang out, sensuous as the rest of her, and as I sat up she was under the covers, only her pale, beautiful face showing.

“I have to sleep now, Alex,” she said. “But I’ll see more of you tomorrow night.”
I blushed at that, and she smiled gleefully. I said goodnight, and before I had left the room she was asleep. I sat on the sofa in the lounge, still feeling the softness of her lips against my own.

That was the beginning. We spoke every night, as she drank blood I had taken from the hospital, building her strength up again. After the second week I suggested to her I could hire a car, drive us somewhere out in the country, so she could hunt. She kissed me then, pressing her lithe, slim body against mine.
“That would be exquisite,” she murmured. “Honestly, Alex, I don’t know what I’d do without you…”
I hired a car the next day…

***

“Thank you, my love,” she says. “You know I cannot live without you…”
Her eyes glow silver-blue in the moonlight as she smiles down at me. I try to smile back, but I cannot. Then her smile fades as she speaks again.
“But then, I’m not actually alive am I, dear one?”
Suddenly I feel five points of pain in my chest. I try to scream but I cannot, and then Elmindreda’s hand punches through my ribcage and curls about my heart…

***

3. Forever

She had a lithe animal grace to her; you could see it whenever she moved, even when she wasn’t ripping a deer’s throat out. It was raw, sensual, strange but incredibly erotic. Inhuman, but utterly beautiful. That was what captivated me when I first saw her, and with every moment spent with her I grew more intoxicated. She was like no one I had ever known.

We’d leave the city every few weekends, driving out to the country, sometimes simply finding a motorway services that was far enough out and staying in a cheap room. We’d arrive at night, and the next night Elmindreda would hunt. I watched sometimes, but not often; I’d often scare off the game. She was so fast, like a panther with glowing blue eyes, leaping on her prey and draining it in moments. It was an amazing sight to behold.

I became nocturnal for her; we’d spend the nights together, sometimes walking the city, or sometimes staying at my flat. After she’d been with me six weeks I told her what I’d known from the moment I’d set eyes on her; I loved her. She looked at me with her shining eyes, and smiled. A small, beautiful smile. And then she lunged for me, kissing me hungrily, and we made love for the first time in my bed. As we lay together afterward I looked down at her, her cold body pressed against my warm one. There was a faint taste of iron in my mouth, a remnant of her kisses, and as I savoured this taste of her I knew this was right. I knew that we love each other, Elmindreda and I, and we would always look after one another.

This is forever.

***

With a wrench she tears my heart free of my body and lifts it to her lips. The last thing I see is my scarlet blood cascading over my true love’s face, and as she closes her white fangs on my still-beating heat, I am gone.

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