Shadow’s Love : Chapter 10 – Desperate Plea

Lastor was awakened by a knocking at the door of his hotel room. He lifted his head, tasting the brandy. His head spun, punctuated by knocking. Groping his way upright, Lastor scrabbled for the bathroom doorknob, finally found it, cursing, and opened the door. His head did not explode in agony, so he opened his eyes. The blinking red numbers said 10.30pm. At least the sun was finally gone.

But then… who the hell was knocking at his door at 10.30?

“Go away,” he croaked at it. “I’m paid for the week.”

“No, sir,” said the door, polite and calm. “I bring a letter, for your eyes only.”

Lastor rolled his eyes. “From who?”

“The Lady Audrey Spencer.”

The next thing the messenger knew, the door had crashed open and he was suddenly seized by the throat with iron fingers, pulled into the room, and slammed up against the wall as a dark shadow roared “WHO sent you???”

The messenger reached up and adjusted the glasses Lastor had knocked askew. “The Lady Audrey Spencer, sir. She was very adamant about it. I was told –” 

“I don’t care what she told you. Give me the letter, NOW.” Lastor grated, his eyes blazing.

The messenger reached into his pocket and withdrew an envelope. Lastor snatched it and dropped him roughly, breaking the wax seal before the messenger hit the ground. Lastor pulled out the letter and immediately was assaulted by an all too familiar scent that erased any doubts as to the letter’s origin.

Audrey.

My Love

I realize you want me dead for what I’ve done to you. The irony is that I have been dying inside since last I saw you, and if you want me dead, all you have to do is nothing. I no longer understand my actions – their way has escaped me. I know you won’t trust a word of this; you would be a fool to, particularly now, but not half the fool I am for having to say these empty meaningless words: I’m sorry. 

I am betrayed., and now their prisoner. I was first tempted by the answers they dangled before me, only to learn too late that they are nothing more than lies spun by a crafty spider. They will kill me if I try again to escape. Their coldness numbs my aching heart as my blood grows ever weaker and more sluggish. 

Please, Lastor, save me from this. Only you can return me to myself. I do not live without you. I have always been

Yours,

Audrey

***

Lastor’s eyes rose from the letter to the messenger’s face. “Where is she?”

“She is being held in the land below, deep underground,” the messenger said.

“What makes her think I would do anything to help her?” 

“She was your wife before, was she not?”

Lastor crushed the paper and threw it to the side. “I think ‘was’ is the key word there, little man. Now leave, before I kill the messenger.”

The little man brushed himself off and stepped over the rubble in the doorway, stopping to look back at the vampire. “Then you never really loved her anyway.”

Before Lastor could move or react, the messenger was gone. 

Lastor stood with the messenger’s words ringing in his ears over and over, burning into his subconscious. Finally, he moved to the door, barring it as best he could. Going to the dresser, he pulled out a half bottle of whiskey and drained it. Drunkenly throwing the bottle aside and not really hearing it shatter, Lastor stumbled toward the corner which housed the crumpled paper. Unfolding it, Lastor read the letter again, slowly. 

He left the hotel room, barely discernible from the shadows in the dim hall. His long black coat wrapped around him like a shroud, his pale face the only thing to show through the darkness. His eyes, dark and cloudy for so long, now burned with a fiery purpose. The hooker sitting in the stairway saw and hastened to move out of his path, a stained needle still hanging from her arm, teeth as gnarled as her veins. Lastor’s eyes swept over her, noting her indiscernibly. Pausing in his stride, he looked at her. Deaf to her protests, he plucked the syringe from her wasted arm, snapping it beneath his boot. 

“Hey – what the—”

The hooker started upright angrily but Lastor grabbed her face and threw her sideways, knocking her head against the wall. She slumped to the floor, senseless as he stepped over her, wiping his hand fastidiously on his coat.

Stepping out onto the street, Lastor inhaled deeply, tasting the air. Without hesitating, he turned left, following the messenger’s smell.

Lastor pushed a door open and was immediately assaulted by the pounding of industrialized gothic beat. The walls were black with red trim and the babble of voices almost drowned out the music. Different kinds of smoke hung thick in the air. Dimly lit bodies in various stages of undress undulated beneath multicolored lighting. A DJ with a bored face was mixing techno at an elevated console behind a spool of razor wire.

As Lastor’s eyes moved over the room, he spotted the messenger sipping something red from a rocks glass and playing with a cherry stem as he nodded politely at the pretty thing that was chatting him up. As Lastor watched, the messenger stood up and said something to the pretty girl, taking her empty glass, before picking his way delicately through the crowd to the bar. 

Lastor moved between the patrons and materialized behind the messenger, waiting for him to deposit the empty glasses on the bar, before grabbing him by the back of the collar and steering him forcefully through the crowd and out a nearby service entrance. The messenger did not look surprised to see him.

“You will tell me how to get to the land below,” Lastor said. 

 

Shadow’s Love : Chapter 5 – Torment

Waking the next night, Audrey’s eyes opened slowly, adjusting to the gloom much more than usual. As she took in the satin sheets and the dried blood caked on her body, her mind flashed back to memories of the night before. Memories of Joe, tearing her classmate’s throat out, and her first taste of blood. She sat up, running her tongue over her teeth to reaffirm the veracity of present circumstances. The sharp sting as her tongue found her fangs told her that she was wide awake. This had really happened. She smiled a demon’s smile.

The vampire [Audrey marveled that she still did not know his name] was no longer lying beside her. She sent her mind out, searching for him, focusing on his dark red glow almost instantly. Reassured that she had not been abandoned, she turned her attentions to an ornate wardrobe in the corner. Her clothes from the night no longer suited her.

Upon opening it, she received a shock. It was filled with gorgeous clothing forgotten by modern fashion from some lost era. There were corsets, dresses, skirts, gowns, gauntlets, assorted jewelry, and accessories. After an agony of choice, she settled on a leather corset, a mid-length skirt with artful tears up and down it, skin-tight black gauntlets, fishnet stockings, and tall black leather boots. She spent a while admiring the collection of jewelry before picking out a silver ring with a modest bloodred stone set into it that reminded her of the vampire’s aura. She selected a plain leather choker, and set it out along with her other clothes on the hangers set into the doors of the wardrobe, grabbing a black silk robe for modesty’s sake in her quest for the bathroom and closed the wardrobe door. 

Finding an amazing black marble bathroom just down the hall from the master bedroom, she slipped off her robe and climbed into the cavernous bathtub, turning the chrome fists to make hot and cold water pour from a demon’s mouth. As the tub filled, she lay back against a black pillow opposite the faucet, closing her eyes and breathing deeply as the warm water climbed up her body, submerging her slowly. As it neared the top of the tub, she raised a foot and curled it around each fist in turn, shutting the water off. Silence filled the marble bathroom, broken only by the sound of water lapping against the sides of the tub and sporadic dripping, echoing off the smooth marble and lulling her into a dreamlike state. 

She lay there, floating between awake and asleep for a while, before rousing from her stupor and pushing herself from the tub, the water running down her body. Watching the water drain, she saw it was tinged red from the blood on her body. Smiling a little to herself, she searched for a towel, finding a stack of thick black linens in a cupboard. Selecting one, she toweled herself dry and wrapped the robe about herself again, loosely knotting the cord before padding down the hallway and returning to the master bedroom. When she opened the door, she received a shock.

Tied to the bed wearing nothing but his boxers was her ex-boyfriend Aaron, gagged and blindfolded, his shaking visible from the doorway. The vampire was leaning over the binding holding Aaron’s left foot, securing him solidly to the bed frame. At the sound of her opening the door, he turned, a devilish look on his face. “Surprise, darling,” he said, gesturing dramatically towards her prostrate ex.

Audrey feigned a look of girlish excitement. “My slimy worthless two-faced ex-boyfriend? You shouldn’t have!” She skipped across and kissed him hard on the mouth. 

At the sound of Audrey’s voice, Aaron started, jerking against his bonds, yelling through his gag. The vampire reached over and hit Aaron across the face. “Shut up.” Aaron went silent, shaking uncontrollably.

“No, no… let’s hear what he has to say,” Audrey said wickedly, kneeling on the bed beside Aaron’s head and pulling the gag from his mouth, untying the blindfold as well. 

Aaron blinked hard as the blindfold came away, shaking his head and pulling at his hands in an effort to rub his eyes. “Audrey!” he gasped as she came into focus. “Jesus, Audrey get me out of here! What are you doing here? If he hurt you, I’ll-“

She slapped him hard and leaning in close to her ex’s red sweaty face, she purred in his ear, “You’ll what, darling? What will you do to him? Are you gonna “kick his ass” for me?” The vampire snickered. Audrey smiled at him before caressing Aaron’s ear with her tongue and nipping. “I would love to see you try.”

She stood back up and put an arm around the vampire’s waist, leaning up against him and looking at Aaron thoughtfully. “What are your plans for this worm?”

The vampire put an arm around her, feeling no clothing under her silk robe. “I have none. He’s your surprise, you can play with him or dispose of him. Whatever you wish.”

Ignoring Aaron’s muffled squeak of protest, Audrey looked up at the vampire questioningly. “How did you know?”

“Your mind is an open book to me. Last night while you slept, I read. I can only imagine the rage you feel when faced with someone like this. Someone who does not treat you with any respect and takes you for granted. I thought you deserved to treat him for a change.” He smiled. “To… reciprocate.”

Audrey pulled away from him and went to sit on the bed beside her hapless ex, stroking his cheek with the back of a hand, smiling placidly at him. “Aaron, Aaron…I never thought I would ever see you again. I must confess, the thought wasn’t all bad. But I’m glad we have this time together now.”