Float

The boat floated, becalmed and stinking, under a blank hot sky. Ned stood on its aft deck somewhere between the old world and the new, staring into the seam of ocean and air. Most of his crew was dead. Some had run mad before dying, driven by despair and thirst, by the heat and the total lack of wind. One man had thrown himself into the depths screaming that he would be cool once before he died. Nothing to be won by wasting their strength hauling him out further dehydrated by the salt water, they had watched him drown, flailing at the air, cursing the water.

Ned gazed into it now. Gods, this was about the spot the man had sunk, the boat had moved that little on the still sea. He looked again. Surely he hadn’t just seen flesh beneath the swells. His eyes weak from salt and sun, he strained them into the darkness below him. He knew he had seen a human form and the dull shine of skin. Perhaps he was slipping into madness himself. He knelt, looking hard into the water. A glimmer of eyes looking up at him from beneath the keel, rising slowly; Ned was suddenly afraid. Eyes and then a face, a woman’s face, red lips, bare breasts just visible as her head broke the surface and she smiled into his astonished eyes. She floated, her face and shoulders above the water, beautiful green hair flowing down her back, the swells of her breasts buoyed, bobbing gently in the ocean.

“Who are you?”, his voice barely a croak with disuse and wonder. She laughed- a woman’s laugh, a sound Ned didn’t realize he had missed in the weeks at sea, and was suddenly gone, her arms lifted dripping from the water only to arc back into it, in a leisurely dive that brought first her back above the water, and then her bottom, beautiful and full, but strangely bluish and unending. Ned gaped as he realized what he saw. Her legs were joined, blue, and tipped by a flipper. She had no legs. She had a tail. A mermaid.

He could not breathe, waiting for her return, doubting his vision. “Come back” he whispered to the still ocean surface. He could see her beneath the surface moving with an astonishing grace through the water. Breasts, hips, belly, lips, he’d glimpse darkened hints of her flitting beneath him, beneath the boat, out into the open water, and yet he knew she could not hear him call. Once, away from the vessel, she’d jumped, her body arching away from the water, breasts lifted to the sky, her back bent impossibly backwards.

Ned had never seen anything so astonishing or lovely in his life. He wanted to tell someone, started to call out but stopped. She shimmered through the water, lithe and fluid and he understood why he would not share her. He desired her, wanted her more even than he wanted wind or rain. He could see the coral of her lips and nipples, the pearl of breast and belly, the deep green of that magical hair, and the shimmering blue of her hips, her full ass, each buttock ripe and smooth tapering into her long slender tail.

She moved through the water the way a woman moves beneath a lover. Her motions were slow, her eyes were closed, the water was touching her, sliding over her skin, awakening the flesh, slipping over her throat and across her breasts. He watched her face, the lips parted, the flush rising. She knew he watched her. Knew he wanted her, and she allowed her body to roll in the water because it pleased her. She floated upwards towards him. She opened her eyes and looked into his. There was absolutely no difference between her eyes and the ocean. He leaned over the railing, holding his arms out across the water and saw her leap.

Ned staggered back a step. He had caught her in his arms and held her. He felt her naked back against one arm, the other crooked beneath her tail, supporting her where knees would be on a girl, but rather than bending only in that one spot, she wound over his arm and around his leg. He fell to one knee and the tail unwound and wrapped about the other way, pressing gently against his thigh. He was supporting her ass with his leg and he could feel it undulating against him, sinuous and snake-like beneath surprisingly human blue skin.

He bent his mouth to hers and kissed her. She tasted like water, not salty, but clear and cool and clean, like the water from a well, like nothing he’d tasted for weeks. He could not take his lips from hers, sucking, licking, tasting them. He placed her body gently on the deck and stretched himself beside her. Her green hair billowed out across the boards and floated above them, moving still as it had in the water- each strand distinct and free. He ran his hand up her arm but the water seemed to cling to her skin, she was still so cool and moist beneath his touch.

He moved over her and felt the dampness of her flesh press against him. It reminded him of a summer pudding his mother had made once- white bread soaked in berry juices until it was saturated and spongy. As he pressed his spoon against it, it would yield little wells of sweet juice floating and sinking back in. His kisses grew deeper, more demanding and she turned her face from him and he sank his mouth into her throat. Her hands trailed down his back pulling at the rough fabric of his shirt. He felt he could truly drink from her, her skin was so sweet and cool, his mouth forcing a deep pink from her flesh of her neck.

He sat back to pull the shirt over his head and looked down at her. Her breasts were buoyant, rising high and full off her chest. His hand looked too rough to touch them but she shivered as he ran his palm across her shoulder and over the beautiful swell. He lowered his mouth to her, touching the nipple first, tasting it with his tongue, lightly licking it, so small, so maddeningly hard and smooth. He wanted to bite it, to sink his teeth into the unutterable softness, but only opened his mouth against her, taking in as much of her as he could, tasting water that seemed to well from her, sucking hard. Her back rose from the deck, bringing her body closer to his, and he slipped an arm under her back and rolled onto her.

Her body arched and rippled, her entire length undulating beneath him. He grabbed her by her tiny waist, feeling the hardness of her hipbones and the smoothness of the blue skin. He lowered his head to look at her, his hair grazing her belly, her breath trembling. The whiteness of her belly faded to the lightest blue growing darker and he bent his mouth to kiss the gorgeous blending of color, kissing lower, following the darkening blue, until his mouth rested in the center of her, just where legs would separate if she had them. He pressed his tongue against her there. Above him, it seemed miles away, she made a sound and a quiver ran through the length of her body. He kissed her again, and it seemed to him he could feel a nub beneath the surface, a hardening that shook her like a clitoris buried a quarter inch below the skin.

The idea of it, of the little pleasure-giving kernel buried seized him and he kissed her again, harder, licking with long, deep strokes against the smoothness. She moaned again and raised herself to him, her hands grasping at his hair, pulling him closer. He felt almost mad with the wanting of it and attacked her with his lips and tongue, burrowing his face into her, feeding on her, hunting for that small hardness within. He could feel the water rising from her flesh and slurped it thirstily, drawing more and more of her into his mouth, feeling her giving way beneath him. He was eating into her, creating an opening for himself. She spoke, somewhere between pleasure and pain, and he knew he had found the seat of her sex, her body twisting and arching, and tightened his lips around the tiny hardness and flicked at it with his tongue.

He felt driven by something deeper than lust or thirst, slurping at the spot deep in her that twisted her so. Her hips lifted off the planking and smacked down again. He would not stop. He kept stabbing at the little spot with his tongue, again and again, relentless, until suddenly her breath caught in her throat, her hips froze; he sank his fingers into her and felt the pulse of her orgasm pour through her. His mouth filled with the water that came from her. As the last spasm quaked through her, with a tremendous effort, he felt her tail split in half beneath him.

She was momentarily limp, panting, the two halves of her tail like blue legs sprawled on either side of him. He bowed his head to her body again and began so gently to lap the space between. She murmured something he could not understand, her hand weakly trying to pull his head away from her, but then relaxing. He licked slowly, uncertain if the newly formed places hurt her. But her breath was quickening again, her eyes drifting closed. She wrapped her divided tail around him, the halves entwined across his back, smooth and muscled against his bare skin pulling him closer.

He kissed her gently and then dipped lower, pressing his tongue into her. The very smoothness of the space between drove him. He wanted her so badly, and again felt the deepest blue flesh give way. Pressing his tongue deeper in, he knew that he was making the opening he must soon posses, making it with every lick, every stroke, with his lips, his tongue, his teeth, and he felt wild, desperate. He had to have her.

Her tail was wrapped hard around his back and she used it and her hands on his arms to pull him up to her. Beneath him her body writhed, white and pink and blue, her nipples lightly grazing his chest, her mouth on his neck, nuzzling, biting. Her flesh was so cool, still dripping sweet water, that just to lie over her in this way was ecstasy.

Between the halves of her tail his mouth had made an indentation, no more than a dimple really, but it was to that spot that her hand guided him. He pressed against the spot and she wound herself around him, hands moving down his back, tail twining around his legs, and pulled him into her. He felt the her stretch and give way, yielding to the pressure of his hardness and his hunger. He could feel the flesh opening and knew that no man had ever been there before, knew that with a mermaid every time must be the first.

He pressed the full length of his hardness deep into her. She was still. Ned didn’t move, waiting for her to accustom herself to holding a man inside her. He could feel her entire body soften beneath him. He hadn’t realized she’d tensed with his entering. He looked at her face, looked into her water-blue eyes, so exactly the color and depth of the ocean beneath them. She was so lovely. She smiled, her lids slid closed and her body rolled beneath him, undulating beneath his weight and around his cock. He knew the motion, it was the heave and ebb of the waves. He’d felt it all his life, but not like this. Now it rocked for him, held him in the roll and pull of it and he dropped his face to her throat, shuddering, surrendering to the motion and the pleasure. He was fucking the ocean made only for him, made by him, made to pull and suck and tug like the tide.

Her body seemed to have no bones at all, to wrap around and over and beneath him. He dove into her, frantic, driven. Her body arched and rolled and he could no longer feel the deck beneath his knees. She was above him, her tail under his ass her breasts pressed against his chest, pulling him up. Her body was twisting- almost struggling. He felt pounded by it, driven faster. He would come soon. He could barely restrain it. Her body was maddening, moving, quaking beneath, above, all around him.

Suddenly, with a mighty wave that racked her frame, they were off the boat. In the air a moment and then the water, their bodies plummeting through the depths. He struggled madly, his cock pumping, his hands grabbing. He couldn’t breathe. He was drowning. He pounded into her, his mouth over hers sucking. Water filling his lungs, sinking, he came into her, his cock hammering with the pulse beating in his ears. The orgasm thundered through him violently. He would have screamed, coming and drowning and dying in her, hard and shattering and knew that with a mermaid every time must also be a last.

Paint

My lover is the kind of artist Van Gogh must have been, not cool and smart like Warhol. Nope. Frankie is violently artistic. Addicted.

He was in a slump when he moved in. Depressed, but I kind of dug it I’d come home and he’d be on the beanbag, smoking bongs, watching TV, and we’d order a pizza. Like real life- you come home and your man’s there. When he paints he’s gone- crawling over those crazy big canvases that cost more than rent.

I have this little house in the college part of town. My roommate Ed has one bedroom and Frankie paints in mine. We sleep out here on the couch and Eddie doesn’t bitch, so I guess it’s OK. When he’s painting Frankie hardly comes out. I watch him sometimes. I think he looks like a beetle. He won’t wear his glasses, so he kneels on the canvas with his nose two inches above it and I don’t know how many different brushes in his hand. He pushes a little plate of paint along the floor with the back of his wrist and works on one section at a time. Real detailed, real tiny and up close. He comes out for coffee and to pee and that’s about it. Sometimes he fucks me on his way back from the john. He doesn’t eat, and if he sleeps I guess he just lays his body on that damn canvas and does it there.

Today I come home and he’s in there, door shut. I take off my uniform and go shower the food smell off me, and I stand by his door. He’s kneeling in the corner away from me, his face sideways looking at what he’s just done. Really looking hard at this little piece of a painting he’ll never show to anyone. He says it’d feel like whoring his work out to put it on a wall for just anyone with eyes to stare at. I walk in. I know not to talk to him.

The part of the canvas by the door is still blank. He’ll do it next. I’m real quiet. I put the towel down away from the canvas and I make sure I’m dry. I kneel like he does on the canvas, then I turn over and stretch out on the untouched part. He hasn’t heard or seen me. I’m real still. I hear him moving over towards my part of the floor but I keep my eyes closed. I’m scared. He might get mad, might tell me to fuck off- he’s working. I open one eye just a little. He’s looking at me. Really looking at me, like I’m something he can’t quite figure out. I’m so still I can feel his eyes moving over me and I realize I’m liking it. It’s like my skin can feel his eyes on me, like his looking is touching me. His eyes are sucking on my body, moving slow but hungry over my face, my arms, my belly. He looks- looks like he looks at his work- hot and fierce.

He kneels over my left foot, his lips so close I can feel his breath on my arch and he touches the tip of the brush to the space between my littlest toe and the one next to it and I bite my lip to keep from making a sound. He drags the brush slowly down my instep to my heel and it’s so slow, so slow but so certain and firm that it doesn’t tickle at all, but runs all the way up my leg like something hot straight to my pussy and hums there. He’s painting something tiny on the sole of my foot, something with little biting strokes that move the hum in my pussy up a notch. I can feel the paint moving up over my arch. He’s painting my anklebone with a brush that looks like a fan, using it slow and steady and starting to bring it up my leg. I move the leg he’s not painting a little so he has space to crawl between.

He paints the top of my left thigh for a long time, his concentration never leaving my leg. The humming in my pussy sinks deep into my belly, low and hot. I’m starting to drift, feeling high, dreaming something strange about each of the tiny hairs on my thigh when I feel him touch my face. He’s moved around my side now, and he’s turned my face away. That I can’t see him anymore scares me. He’s painting along my jaw, the brush light and teasing, moving down my throat. My belly tightens as he leans in close, his mouth right at my neck. I can feel him breathing. I want him to kiss me, to bring his lips to my throat, to run his tongue down where the paintbrush tickles, to sink his teeth into me. I’m starting to feel not real, and I want the hardness of his teeth, a kiss that bruises my neck, but he’s painting, and I don’t interrupt.

He’s moving lower now, dragging the paints across my chest and down onto my tits. I feel my nipples scrunch up as the paint comes closer to them. The brush he’s using is so soft and he strokes it so gently down the center of my chest, under my right breast and spirals it up to the nipple. God, when he tips the nipple I almost make noise. He’s very still. I can’t quiet my breathing. He does it again, slowly, my nipple is so hard, and he takes his time, slowly painting the entire thing. The very slowness of him makes me crazy. He’s totally absorbed in painting me. I can feel the paint drying on my skin, tightening and pulling a little. The heat in my pussy is getting too fierce. I can’t move, can’t press against his thigh between my legs. He shifts to paint the other breast and I can feel his pants just brushing against my pussy lips. I’m soaking wet and I’d give everything I own to have him move that knee two inches closer.

He moves to the other tit, and I’m about to go out of my skull. I’ve given up trying not to roll my hips, but I’m still trying not to make any noise. He’s kneeling over me and I’d grind my pussy against his leg if I could. I roll my head over to the other side. I can see him bent over my left breast. The heat in my pussy is driving my hips in these wild circles and my tits feel like they’re going to explode. He strokes my nipple with the brush, slowly, so gently around the base in a fat stripe. He gets a new brush and paints wavy lines from the stripe to just where the skin starts to go pink. Oh god, I wish he’d grab it in his hand and suck it, wish he’d bite into my breast, suck hard on the nipple and fuck me quick. All around my breast he paints these crazy lines always stopping just before the nipple and I’m lifting my hips clear off the canvas now. A moan comes out of me and he stops for just a heartbeat.

It’s hell. I want him to stop and I want him to keep touching me. I’m trying so hard to be still. He starts again, lowering his head over my left nipple. I can’t help but shiver- waiting for the next touch, but he doesn’t touch me. My tits feel huge; my right nipple aches under the paint, and my left feels completely exposed without it. My hips are moving out of control and I’m inches from coming right here on the fucking thousand dollar canvas and damn it all, he’s stopped. I’m thinking that if he’s gone to pee or get a different brush and I can get one finger on my clit, I’ll come in about one second flat. I open my eyes just a little to see if he’s gone, but he isn’t. He’s looking at me. Moved back a little, eyes tracing the paint, up my leg, down my throat, around and across my tits, and it’s like his eyes call to the paint. I can feel every stroke his brushes have made glowing under his stare. I’m being touched in every one of those places all at the same time. It’s so intense, every nerve beneath his paint, every stroke in his eyes, and I know I can’t stop it. I’m going to cum and I can’t stop him looking at me, can’t stop him painting me, seeing me now panting, my hips thrusting, coming, helpless, disembodied, fucked by his eyes and art.

I almost scream when I feel the brush touch me again. He’s been studying me all the time and doesn’t even wait for my breathing to steady down once he’s decided where to paint next. It’s my wrist. He’s turned my hand up and his nose is inches from skin. He’s painting rapt and calm like I haven’t just cum screaming under him. He’s using something that looks like a cooking tool now, almost slapping my wrist and up my arm. I wonder if he’s angry, the way it stings when he does that, but I don’t think so. I don’t guess he thinks about how different paint applications feel.

He slaps the mean little metal thing all the way up my arm, down my side, and across my waist like a tiny sharp belt. He loads up with paint again and reverses the pattern, across my belly, up my side and down my arm. The bite of the metal feels first cool and then hot on my skin, but it feels sharp and real too, different from the hazy, dreaminess of the soft brushes, and it wakes my skin up. And it turns me on again too. Not that I’d ever really come down, but different now. One more time the little biting slaps start up my arm and they’re really starting to burn. He finishes the line across my belly and I’m starting to go a little crazy real quiet in my head. If he starts another line back across, I’m going to have to tell him to stop and God I don’t know what will happen then. I open my eyes again a slit to peek, but he’s put it down and picked up a brush. He stands up, staring down at me. His eyes aren’t moving across me now; they’re boring right into my pussy.

He looks huge, standing over me like this, one foot on either side of my hips. I try to quiet my breathing, but the way he’s staring at me is so intense and my skin still burns where he slapped the paint on, and my tits still tingle with the it drying on me. I open my legs a little. God, if only he’d unzip his pants and lay down on top of me, grind into me.

Instead he pushes at the inside of my right thigh with his boot to make me open my legs more. I do, but he keeps pushing till my legs feel impossible wide apart. He kneels down then and starts to paint. He’s making something in a triangle with its base across the top of my pussy hair and the point right under my belly button and he’s working real intent and close. His Adam’s apple is so close to it that I can feel the heat of him on my clit. I can feel his breath in my hair, and I swear I’m starting to hallucinate. I’m seeing all kinds of colors and shapes in my mind. I can feel each stroke of paint in my pussy, on my tits, across my lips. I can taste it. He’s painting slow and even, the steadiness of it driving me on, his even breath against my mound, the pulse in his neck almost touching my clit. My belly is so tight under his brush. My eyes are shut so tight that I swear I can see what he’s painting on me, and not just what he’s painting, but what he’s seeing as he paints. I’m seeing all the colors that there are, feeling all the brushes and strokes and slaps. I’m going wild. My hips are pulling off the floor, trying desperately to reach something to press against, my breathing is ragged . My nipples are like diamonds hard and brilliant. My hips lift impossibly high and God, my pussy makes contact with his throat, presses against him. There’s nothing that could keep the orgasm from taking me now. I feel his pulse pounding against my starving pussy, bumping strong against my clit, and I become color. I am the paint he uses. I am what he paints and what he paints on. I am art- everything he sees and makes. He drops his head and covers my pussy with his mouth, kissing, sucking, drinking me. The orgasm explodes in me and he sucks it. Wild and lost and smashed against it, I am his art. He whispers, voice raw, “I love you”, but he isn’t talking to me.

 

Consumed

Vampire couture is a bitch. Dresses from every significant fashion house infest my bed, floor and every flat surface like expensive black moss. I have a taste for the theatrical, yes, but I am loath to tip into cliché. I compromise with classic cuts in decadent fabrics, but anything I wear to the club tonight will be read as a statement about my recent election to IVOC chairman. Modesty rankles.

As human morals trend away from slavery and caste, some immortals began to question our killing habits. Advances in forensic science persuaded the rest that it was time for self-regulation. The organization I now chair protects us, the beautiful, incestuous children of angels cast from heaven for seducing God into a kinky trinity, from a similar expulsion from the world of men. I wonder what we’ll find to fear next.

The Quarry is debuting a new girl at midnight, but I’m more interested in privacy than novelty, so I arrive early, smiling at the paragraph they’ve added to the release I helped draft. In addition to the standard guarantee of disease and drug-free blood, they’ve added the proviso “while there is no additional fee for freshness, Quarry members are reminded that evasion skills are learned over time.” There are initiate connoisseurs, but for what we pay, most of us want at least an hour of pursuit to work up an appetite. I initial promising to take no more than two quarts, to leave no marks beyond a maximum of three sets of punctures, and to call the Quarry Recovery Line within an hour of first draw. The club offers ethical consumerism and identity protection in exchange for eight thousand dollars and our potent solitude. We are not inherently social creatures.

The covert is made of one-way glass, situated in the middle of the lounge like an aquarium. Two of my sisters are laughing at the new girl, rabbit soft, pretending to read a book held in a hand whose wrist pulses pure fear. It is funny, yes, but even the veterans are nervous every time. They never know who’s hunting and some of us like to play with our food, drawing out the pursuit as long as we can or amusing ourselves with the unconscious shell, tasting the cooling body, the pliant muscles, unresisting apertures, the smells still clinging, the vigor of having fed building in us. I admire her belly, seeking to press itself against young thighs as she sits naked, not knowing who, if any, observe her. She does not become available for another three hours, but must wait with the others in the covert until then.
“I should take her” I wink towards Julia “to spare her the shaving.” But it’s an artifice she and Caroline both know it. I have made the same selection every time for longer than I care to admit and fresh has never tempted me.
“No. I’m taking the tall one tonight” Julia shrugs off my jibe, ringing for the quarrymaster. “She’s new to me.” Julia’s insistence on hairless women is well gossiped, if not fully understood. But I know of her desire to incise just over the public mound so that what she has begun between the legs of her prey with lips and tongue, she can continue at puncture with tongue at least in her endless quest to cause orgasm and blood release simultaneously.
“She likes to meet them first, you know” Caroline teases as Julia’s selection descends from view to be shaved and dressed and released through the back door.
“Oh?” My voice thickens surprisingly as mine climbs the stairs into the covert.
“Yup” Julia is playful “I’m a traditionalist. I hunt with seduction- pull up alongside them in the car, offer a ride. But they’re not allowed to get into a car, so they decline, but I get out and they’re so grateful for the company, for the offer of help, for the distraction when I touch them.” “Angelic charisma doesn’t hurt either!” Caroline stage whispers in a mock aside to me.
“No.” Julia admits, “I touch their minds, calm them, lull them, offer the back seat. They are so unresisting and I serve them, worship breast and belly, undress yielding arms and open unprotesting legs. And they give themselves to me so completely. Not asking if I’m the one, not questioning the way their fate unfolds since it feels so good. ”
Caroline slides her hand against my thigh. “Yes, and you taste them, taste the soft and salty, red and white, opening them and opening them again. How many times- how many have you done it- gotten both?”
“Together, at the same time? Never. They’ll come in my mouth before they feed me. But never in the moment that they do. I don’t know, maybe it’s the pain or the surprise.”
“Maybe it’s like keeping your eyes open to sneeze” giggles Caroline, but Julia ignores her, gathering her things and heading towards the door.
“But I can’t find one who can combine her pleasure and mine, be both sacrament and satisfied at once.”

As the door closes, Caroline slips her fingers between my legs, but her touch irritates me. In the room beyond us, Julia is already scenting her prey, only a thin wall separating her from the woman who might finally fulfill her. I lean over Caroline and kiss her too hard. I’m older than she is and my new authority puts her well beneath me. “Stay here a while” she whispers “Stay and play with someone your own strength, whom you don’t have to be careful not to break, someone who does not fear you.” Caroline will select the strongest man in the tank and still be fined for damages.
“Fear me” I whisper back and ring for the quarrymaster. “Get me Nicole.”
He fears me.
And turning back, I see that she does too. It is our legacy to desire what we can’t posses. I kiss her again, gently. “Thou shalt not” I mimic Dad “desire to know God biblically.”
“Do you cast yourself as God then, my sister?”
“Nah,” I sidestep politics to tease her about her ex, “but I hear He’s got a comfy chair.” We share a laugh over Lucifer and are friends again. “You should have seen His face” she intones, picking up dad’s story in his voice, scrubbed of all but the faintest traces of Eastern Europe.
“All aflame!” I join in and we recite together “your mother and I cast out to bear you, like Eve’s children, in suffering, outside of Eden.”
“Oy, the suffering!” Carolyn puts in for Mother
“And they- given dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. And you, angel-born, cannot plant vineyards and eat their fruit or take cup and drink!”

“So take these children of Eve, and divide them between you” Carolyn chimes in to finish his story with me “and eat their blood given for you!” “Nicole is now ready” the quarrymaster’s voice interrupts our giggles, and I wink at Carolyn “So mote it be” and sweep from the room to renewed howls of laughter.

Her chin rests in a cradle on the other side of the wall from me. I slide back the bar between us revealing only her eyes through the opening. She doesn’t blink. Her eyes fix deep in me, locating her inside me. I cannot fail to find her now. The window slides shut. They tell her “go!” and she is gone.

The further she can run before I follow, the longer the hunt will last; but I’m restless. Caroline’s vulnerability irritates me and the quarrymaster smells of fried chicken and fear. I circle the building scenting for the door she used. I feel her eyes again as I pick up the trail and follow, holding myself to a walk. I’m hungry.

The Quarry is on the edge of the restaurant district and she’s gone deeper in, mingling with the club goers and first dates, scenting sex and anxiety. She’s learning. I pass the bar where I found her last time, hiding in the back, near the kitchen, trying to mask her scent in food smells. Tonight she has gone right into the busiest street. But she misunderstands, it’s not an olfactory scent we take when the bar slides back between our eyes. My hunger heightens my senses and I isolate her amongst the hunters who seek only a human connection, soaked in longing which she does not possess, and I follow, trying to shorten my stride through my growing anticipation.

The entertainment district ends at the highway, the town’s main north-south artery putting an abrupt end to the nightlife despite repeated attempts to open things on the other side. Car exhaust and dirt on the ascendancy, blood and anticipation declining- where is she? The rules require that she stay on foot. I reach out for a trace of her. I’ve overshot, and retreat. An all-night service station. She’s gone inside and vanished? No. Here’s a trace, terror masked in gasoline, moving north. She’s taking risks- a human woman walking alone under the overpass at night- tempting creatures who’ve signed no contract. I will kill anyone I find touching her. But she’s alone, I see her now. She’s learned not to run. I shorten the space between us too quickly pressing down the hunger and rage. Shall I let her hear me walk behind her? No. She turns quickly. She must feel the shadows moving. She’s wearing a mechanic’s greasy coveralls. Clever girl.

I walk along the outside of the highway above her. Her heart rate is increasing; she knows it’s me now. I’m only two feet behind, but high, so close. She’s struggling hard not to run, looking over her shoulder for me. Does she hope for a different possible ending? Does The Quarry hint that the hour we have to hunt them is a limit on us, a chance of escape? How could she believe that? How could she try so hard if she does not? I close the gap between us; disciplining my strength into grace, keeping just out of eyeshot as she whips around to look for me again. I shadow her, almost touching, breathing the slippery smell of her, the thrumming beat of her visible through the warm flesh at her throat. I reach my fingers out against the vein and feel it hammer suddenly harder against them. Ah. She makes a strange noise and breaks into a run. I watch as long as I can, her strong body almost flying forward. I slide in just behind her, slowing myself as her endurance fails, her blazing lungs and straining heart echoing through me. I could so easily overtake her, drive my teeth into her now, but she will exhaust herself soon and have to stop. And then- then I will take her. Let her run until she no longer can.

She’s very fit, and she can’t bring herself to stop, so I touch her again, circling her wrist, giving her a focus for her fear. She flails, and I slip behind her, pulling her against me. She can’t breathe from her running, fear spiking, mindless struggle, held to my body and my lips graze the place of first puncture, across last week’s wounds healed to bare bruises, taste her with my tongue. She’s not allowed to scream but can’t help the half cry, even as I whisper to her, fighting to control the impulse which would end her career.

I transfer both her wrists to one hand and glide the other across her hip bone, pressing into the softness it encircles. Her breasts are small, tapering into her chest below a collarbone that I can’t see without wanting to snap and suck, and my fingers press hard into it, not to bruise, no, I can’t leave even a finger mark in the flesh there, the castrating bastards of the council and the quarrymaster all be damned for their godless fear and mortal caution.

She’s still against me now, except for the breathing. Dragged from collarbone to jaw, my fingers finally tip up her chin and she shudders, knowing. My lips open against yielding flesh, my mouth stretching still wider before I allow my tongue to stroke the skin again. A warm release deep in my gums presses the sharper teeth through, lengthening as my lips and tongue work against her until, at full extension and achingly hollow, my feeding teeth catch against her. I force myself through a shaking breath until, pressing my lower lip against her hard, I flex open wider, pulling my mouth away, feel my upper lip curl back, my jaw unhinge, and strike. I pierce and sink into her. The blood delivered against the back of my throat in spasmodic cardiac bursts until I can pull and swallow, draw her into me. She’s completely still, locked in pain or horror or ecstasy, but she will soften as I drink.

The raging blind edge passing, I pull myself away to turn her towards me. Her face is extraordinary, paleness suffusing the flush of her running; her eyes beginning to unfocus, meet mine. I shouldn’t, but I let her look, cradling her head in my hand, holding her against me, her delirium beginning as she gives the weight of her body into my hands and below my lips again, all softness enveloping, warmth feeding, her scent fading, heart slowing, my mind deepening. Her eyes are still all I see, tasting and melting, her body a home for my desire, her blood nourishing and redeeming me, her mind, in the residual flow of body and brain– timeless. I am one with she who feeds me, with the cars above me, each of their minds touching me, for I am open to the whole thrum of thoughts and lives and desires, of things made and things dreamed, of each person unique, each droplet alone in its current. I taste the flood across my tongue, images and memories that aren’t mine, of woman, lover, daughter of Eve, mothering and passion and see, in the reddening haze, drinking, the forgiving face of god.

I will be the bogeyman tonight, a thing half seen, the sudden shiver crawling, ranging fast and silent through your night, my glorious daybreak, strong from feeding. The recovery team will collect her from beneath the ninth street overpass; I called them not too late. Her body will regenerate- miraculous thing, to be ready again within two weeks. Will she remember the face she saw as she slipped away; think of me in the days of recuperation? Everything I’ve done- the oversight committee, the entire structure of government, my steady ascension in stature and power, all as been for this- for her. For more, closer, her human separateness what makes her both the only answer and the unknowable one. I think about her constantly in the days between. I plan our hunts, dream her flavor, imagine her life. My mind, touching her, distracted from my work, my sisters, my life, belongs to her. She consumes me.