Continued from Punishment
An Unexpected Reunion
by Lisa McCourt Hollar
Veronica pushed her way past Lucas, the relief on her face to see me still alive evident.
“Come,” she said, holding her hand out, ignoring Lucas’s irritation at her presence.
“Do you even sleep anymore,” Lucas asked, his displeasure creeping into his voice as she led me past him and back down the passageway and the skulls embedded in the walls. I had noticed them on the way to my imprisonment, but being dragged by Raul and William I hadn’t had time to inspect. Now, walking of my own accord, I had time to see the objects embedded in the passageway. There weren’t just skulls, but bones from various body parts, arms, legs, fingers wrapped around crosses and I even saw a bony foot sticking out from the dirt.
I gave Veronica a questioning look, but her eyes staring back at me seemed guarded and I took the hint…don’t ask.
After a short distance my surroundings became familiar to me and before long I found myself in the ‘feeding’ chamber surrounded by the emaciated bodies of the human prisoners. The smell overcame me, assaulting my senses. I wasn’t repulsed as I had been since the moment I awakened to this life, but enthralled by the aroma that tickled my throat, enticing me to breathe in deeper. Something called to me in the corner, something familiar, although I admit at first I wasn’t sure what it was that I found so tantalizing. Behind me I heard Veronica curse at Lucas, her anger barely contained.
“What have you done,” Veronica growled. So evident was her anger that I thought she was going to strike Lucas. She was visibly shaking and it was only with apparent restraint that she managed to hold back her hand from his face. Lucas only chuckled; whilst behind him I heard Linda suck in her breath, then howl with laughter at this turn of events. As weak as I was, I remained clueless, but only for a moment as I tried to determine the new smell in the room.
It was delicious, not as ravaged as the rest of the bodies writhing in the putrid waste and rot that permeated this chamber. My throat burned, wanting a taste of the nectar that was teasing me, tempting my resolve not to partake in the immoral depravity that surrounded my new life. It was the smell of lilac that finally reached me through the fog, penetrating my senses and waking me to the horror that Lucas designed for my benefit.
“What evil is this,” I asked, turning on him, my voice strained against the tightness of my throat. I was beyond angry, I was furious. If not for my weakened state, I might have challenged him at that moment, but I was aware enough to know that he would have snapped my neck before I could lift a finger to do harm to even one hair on his head.
“James?” Her voice called to me, pleading with me to come to her aid. This was not the voice of my wife, long since departed, her disembodied voice calling to me from the depths of hell or wherever the spirit that had taken on her guise had been whilst I was chained, but that of my neighbor, Martha, the woman I had been reaching out to with my mind when the lycan attacked. My punishment was not yet over.
“James, is that you? Why have you brought me here?” Poor Martha’s voice was shaking with fright.
“You can’t expect her disappearance to go unnoticed,” Veronica said.
“It will be noticed,” Lucas said, “but it will also be explained. She has been more and more irrational lately, claiming James is still alive. Veronica, you are in town every day. Is it not true that she has been consulting a psychic?”
Veronica nodded, her eyes looking past me, over my shoulder at Martha. The look she was giving Martha was one of pity. It seemed she had resigned herself to Martha’s fate. I had not.
“Okay, I understand,” I said. “I will be on alert from now on. I will not let my mind wander anymore. I will avoid…reaching for Martha’s mind.”
“It’s too late,” Veronica said.
“It’s not too late,” I said, pleading with her to help me save a woman I hadn’t realized I loved until I was dead. “You can change her memory; make her believe I am dead. You can make her forget everything that has happened today.”
“No,” Veronica said, “there are some things I can’t fix.” She nodded her head towards Martha, urging me to go to her and see for myself. Reluctantly I turned, not wanting to see whatever horror waited for me.
“James,” Martha asked, turning her head towards me when my foot knocked a pebble loose from the ground. Her eyes were black, the lids fused shut from where hot coal had been placed on them.
“Who did this?” I choked out the words, bile rising in my throat as the acid that churned in my belly fought to expel what blood remained from my previous night’s meal.
I knew the answer as soon as the question left my mouth. The answer was on Daniel’s face, the twisted glee in his eye as he reveled in the memory of torturing a woman who had never done anyone harm. Next to him, Drake smiled wide, his rotting teeth showing as he too relished the memory. They didn’t even bother hiding their thoughts and I saw how they had knocked on her door, Tamara telling Martha she was a psychic and could help her contact me. Drake and Daniel forcing their way in as soon as Martha unlatched the lock. They had taken turns raping her; even Tamara had joined in, using a hot poker from the fireplace to assault the woman.
Tamara’s thoughts were the loudest. She had enjoyed violating Martha. She was feeling sexual pleasure just remembering the attack. Unbelievably, she dropped to her knees and pushed Martha’s knees apart. Licking her lips, it was apparent what she intended to do. Daniel grinned, revealing that most of his teeth were gone. I thought I saw maggots writhing inside. His hand shot inside his pants and Linda leaned forward, excitement on her face, her eyes full of glee, anticipating watching the woman who had helped raise her be assaulted.
Martha screamed at Tamara’s touch. Veronica put a hand out to stop me, but she was too late. I snapped, reaching Tamara before she could move another inch towards Martha. I lifted her off the ground and threw her across the chamber. Her body hit the far wall with enough force that every bone in her body shattered.
Not one member of the coven moved to stop me. Linda's face was practically full of joy, as I made my first kill. Lucas's eyes gleamed, revealing his willingness to sacrifice his human servants to my wrath. Marcus, his arm bandaged, leaned against the wall Tamara crashed against. He gazed at her body on the floor, amused by the turn of events. William and Raul snickered. Veronica was the only one that looked ill at what had just transpired, yet it was evident she would do nothing to stop me.
Turning, I yanked Daniel’s arm off his shoulder, his hardened cock still in his hand. Blood spurted from the stump and I grabbed hold of his chest, my fingers digging holes into the flesh as I lifted him to me and drank.
This was my first taste of human blood and it was amazing. I drank it all, not leaving a trace behind. When I was finished, I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and turned to Drake. I wanted more.
Drake had watched this all transpire with a mixture of fear and awe. He had been raised in a violent environment and enjoyed witnessing pain, as well as inflicting it. Like any true coward, he feared receiving the same punishment he cruelly dealt out to others. Looking towards his master, he saw that no help would be forthcoming and tried to run. He found me blocking the only exit in the chamber. I ripped his heart out of his chest and ate it before his body hit the ground. The human children that scuttled around the catacombs like vermin set themselves upon his body, fighting for his flesh. I let them have him. Those that found themselves pushed away from the unexpected feast, turned to Tamara and Daniel, tearing their limbs off in their eagerness to feed.
“Now, you know what you are,” Lucas said. “Hold onto that feeling.”
“I am not you,” I said, my revulsion at what I had done making me sick. I had just killed. I told myself it was justified.
“James, what is happening?” Martha’s voice shook. She was terrified and I was amazed at how she was holding together, even after all she had experienced.
“James, why don’t you answer me? I know you are here.”
Linda snickered and Martha turned towards her.
“Linda, is that you? I should have known that whatever had happened to your father had something to do with you. You were always an evil child.”
Linda’s face changed, she was furious at hearing Martha call her evil. “Shut up bitch!”
“Did Satan decide he didn’t want you? Did he send you back to steal your father’s soul? Is that why he’s still here, whilst his body is buried in the ground?”
“I SAID SHUT UP!”
“I never told your father the things I caught you doing. Maybe I should have. It would have been painful for him, but it might have spared him this grief.”
“SHUT UP YOU BITCH!” Linda launched herself across the room at Martha, her intent obvious as her thoughts flashed into my head. I stepped between the two of them, knocking Linda to the ground.
“Enough,” I said, pointing my finger at Linda. She hissed at me, pulling her lips back, revealing her fangs, but she remained where she was.
I turned towards Martha, kneeling beside her on the ground. Inside my heart was breaking. I had held onto my love for Caroline for so long that I had failed to see Martha’s love right in front of me. Now it was too late. Martha could never go home and I could not bear to make her one of us. I couldn’t condemn her soul. But I could not leave her here to rot among the human waste. I touched my hand to her cheek and Martha gasped at my icy touch. Then she sighed, leaning her face against my palm. In spite of the pain she was in, Martha smiled. “I knew you lived,” she said.
I kissed her, my lips covering her mouth. Behind me Linda cried. Veronica was quiet. I could sense Lucas, a smug look on his face. I vowed to myself that one day I would rip that smile from him. Not one of the other vampires stepped forward to stop me, none dared to face my wrath. Perhaps they were all amused by my pain.
Ending my kiss with Martha, I bent my head towards her neck and bit into her throat as gently as I could. As her life drained from her body, I prayed that God would welcome her into His arms.
Continued in A Grave Encounter.
Continued in A Grave Encounter.
copyright© 2011 Lisa McCourt. All rights reserved