Rating: NC 17
Author: Raelene Atwood
Summary: Madison has a strange and embarrassing dream. Meanwhile, Marley has an ugly encounter with a mysterious woman.
The air was still and heavy with tension. Madison walked naked and alone through a green, dew-soaked field in silence as the hair on the back of her neck stood up. Her eyes were cast down to the ground, fixed on her bare feet. The dewy grass tickled the soles of her feet, and her exposed skin was covered in goose bumps and pickled in morning mist.
“Madison,” she heard. She looked up to see Ulrik standing across the field from her. “Come,” he said, baring his white fangs. Mortified, Madison tried to cover up her nudity, but her hands would not move from her sides. She felt as if they were anchored to the ground. Ulrik sneered and gestured for her to approach him, and much to Madison’s shock and distress, her body listened. Her feet began racing, and her heart was beating a mile a minute. Before she knew it, she was inches away from him.
“Why can’t I say no to you?” she said, frightened as much as she was titillated.
“Because your heart pumps my blood through your veins,” said Ulrik. He lifted her chin with a tenderly assertive hand and drew himself closer to her face. Madison shuddered and parted her lips slightly, closing her eyes as she waited for his lips to meet hers. But rather than kiss her, he cupped her breast in his hand. Her face grew hot and red, and though she wanted to recoil from his touch, she could not will herself to do so.
“I’ve never even kissed a man before this,” whispered Madison. “Please…be gentle with me.”
Ulrik scoffed. “You’re a fool if you think I could love you,” he said. He playfully lapped her bottom lip with his tongue. “You mortals are all the same.” Then he put his powerful arms around her and held her against his chest. She was surprised to find that he was soft and warm.
“Why are you so warm?” she said. “I thought vampires were all cold. Aren’t y’all dead?”
Ulrik chuckled and took her face in his large hands. “Don’t speak,” he said. Without much warning, he then sunk his teeth into her white neck, tearing through her flesh and into her muscle. Madison screamed hysterically as hot blood seeped out of the puncture wounds he left on the side of her throat and into his open mouth.
“Rise and shine, Maddy. Wakey-wakey!”
Madison opened her eyes. She was lying in her bed with her window open. She was drenched in warm sunlight, and her grandmother was bent over her with a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast.
“You were mumblin’ in your sleep, child,” said Pearl. “Are you alright? Did you have a bad dream?”
“Um, no,” said Madison. “Well, sort of.”
“Well, which is it, child?”
Madison recalled the heat she had felt in her breast and loins when Ulrik had touched her, and she blushed, embarrassed. “Never mind,” she said. “Gran, you made me breakfast in bed? Oh my gosh, it smells heavenly.”
“Thought you’d like that. Here, you eat up. I’ve got fresh-baked cookies cooling downstairs. Oatmeal raisin. I’m wrapping up a dozen, and I need you to take that over to Marley’s trailer. Poor girl’s nothin’ but a skeleton wearing skin.”
“Sure, Gran. I’ll go just as soon as I finish eating.”
As Pearl left her room, Madison looked down her own shirt to take a look at her breasts. They hung from her chest, small and shapely. She placed a hand on one of them, trying to remember the way Ulrik’s hand had felt in her dream, how his grip had been firm, yet perfectly tender and soft. She caught a glimpse of herself in the full-length mirror across the room, and blushed, seeing the dumb and dreamy look on her face. ‘What am I doing?’ she thought, taking a fork and knife to her eggs.
Marley was sitting alone in the main area of her cramped trailer, cutting a line of heroin at her cluttered coffee table with a razorblade on a pink plastic rimmed handheld mirror when she heard someone knocking at her trailer’s door. She thought naught of it and bent down to snort the fine powder, when she heard her cousin’s high voice ring through the door.
“Hey, Mar?” she heard. “Gran told me to bring you over some cookies. Can you open the door? It’s real hot out, hon.”
“Oh shit,” muttered Marley. She cleared her throat and called out, “Just a minute! I um, I’m not dressed!” She quickly picked up the mirror and razor, moving it into her bedroom. She moved swiftly, but with care, so as to not inadvertently waste any of the rather expensive powder. She moved back to the living room and without thinking, stuffed her glass pipe and bong underneath her couch, spilling the bong water. She cussed under her breath. The dirty, resinous water soaked into the carpet under her sofa and stunk up the room, but she figured that her cousin would be none the wiser, or too polite to say much, and looked around to make sure that nothing else illicit was out before opening the door for Madison, who was standing outside with a big smile on her face and a brown paper bag full of warm and fragrant cookies in her arms.
“Hey, Maddy,” she said, nervously wiping sweat off her forehead. “Wow, you brought me cookies? Thanks, I had nothin’ else to eat around here.”
Madison let herself in through the door and set the bag of cookies on Marley’s coffee table. She looked around the cluttered trailer and sniffed at the air, which reeked of cannabis. ‘Weird,’ she thought. ‘It smells like Deacon’s old college dorm room.’
“Uh, listen, Maddy, I have to go to work in an hour and I uh, have some stuff I need to get done around here,” said Marley. She gently put a hand behind her cousin’s waist and led her back to the door. “Thanks for the cookies, though. I’ll talk to you real soon, doll. Okay?”
“Oh, sure,” said Madison, halfway out the door. She turned around to face Marley and hugged her neck. As she pulled herself away, she noticed what looked like a puncture wound peeking out from behind Marley’s yellow bandana. Before she could open her mouth to ask about them, Marley abruptly closed the door in her cousin’s face. Madison furrowed her brow in curiosity and irritation, her feelings a tad bit hurt. She shrugged and walked off to her car, muttering, “Weird…”
Marley sighed and walked back into the bedroom. She bent over the mirror she had placed on her bedside table and methodically insufflated the line of matte white powder sitting there with a rolled up dollar bill. She noticed her inflamed neck wounds, and wondered if perhaps her cousin had seen them. But she thought nothing of it and threw her head back, slouching in her seat as she felt the drug overtake her and fill her with a pleasant numbness that spread throughout her face and body. She sighed in contentment, a hand over her nose and mouth. She smiled quietly to herself, her eyes rolling into the back of her head as her body melted away. Her body felt like an overturned vat of warm molasses.
“Goddamn,” she said to herself, slack jawed. She laughed and stumbled over to the boom box in the corner of her room. She turned on the radio to her favorite oldies station and began to dance, swaying back and forth and snapping to the beat of the music. Her eyes were half closed, and her lips were slightly parted. “This is…good shit…” She fell back on her bed and lay there, just breathing with a dopey grin on her face.
The phone was ringing off the hook when Marley awoke, and she ignored it, initially shuffling over to the bathroom to splash cold water on her face. It was already dark out. She let the answering machine pick up the call, plopping down on her ratty living room couch and reaching into the brown paper bag sitting on her coffee table for one of her grandmother’s famous oatmeal raisin cookies. As she took a sizeable bite, she heard the beep of the answering machine, and the ensuing message.
“Marley, this is Robert. Are you there?”
Marley scoffed and shook her head. “Fuck no,” she muttered to herself.
“Alright, I guess you’re not. Listen, Marley, I didn’t want to do this over the phone, but you leave me little choice. I’m afraid we’re going to have to let you go. You didn’t show up for over a week, without any notice. Then you have the nerve to beg for your old job back, and you don’t even show up for your shift? Marley, you’ve been working for me since you were in high school, and I care about you as a friend. You’re not just any employee to me. But I can’t keep letting you screw me and your coworkers over like this. So I’m sorry, but you no longer have a job waiting for you over here. Goodbye and good luck. Sorry.”
Marley scowled in frustration and bent over to pull her bong and pipe out from underneath her couch. She set the bong back upright on her coffee table and pulled a baggy of weed out from beneath one of her couch cushions. There was about an eighth of an ounce left in the clear plastic bag. She carefully packed the bowl of her glass pipe and produced a lighter from her pants pocket. She put the mouthpiece of the pipe to her mouth and took a hit.
Just then, she heard an ungodly screech outside her door.
“The fuck?” she said. She set the pipe down and went over to the door to investigate. When she opened the door, there was a bird sitting on her front porch. It was the same snow white falcon she had seen outside her window. Intrigued, especially by the bird’s strange eyes that she was only just now noticing, she stepped outside to approach the bird. She was surprised to find that the bird did not recoil or fly away.
“Hey, birdy,” she said. “What’re you doin’ out here?”
She slowly bent down and inched closer to the falcon, extending a hand toward its beak. It looked into her eyes, and Marley suddenly felt strange and cold. The bird screeched once more.
“You sure are a pretty bird…”
Then suddenly, the bird transformed into a woman right before her eyes. It was Erin. Marley gasped loudly and scrambled up onto her feet, bolting for the door. But before she could get back inside, Erin grabbed her by her wrist and throat and forced her up against the outside wall of her trailer.
“Where do you think you’re going, human?” said Erin. “You silly thing. You can’t get away from me.”
“Y-you can’t come in,” said Marley, struggling to breathe under the force of Erin’s crushing grip.
“I don’t need an invitation to crush your windpipe right here, right now.”
Erin’s grip tightened, and Marley began wheezing. She started to get dizzy as the blood stopped flowing to her head, and she was about to lose consciousness.
“Invite me in, you idiot,” said Erin. “Or I swear, I’ll rip out your tongue through your throat.”
“C-come in,” said Marley. Erin released her grip and sped into the trailer, where she promptly made herself at home. Marley followed her inside. “What the fuck are you doing here?” she said. “Why won’t you just leave me be?”
Erin smirked in response and sat down on Marley’s couch. “Humble. Very humble,” she said, in a low voice. “Your place could use some sprucing up, darling. Maybe I should bring you over a houseplant.”
Marley stalked over to Erin and kicked the leg of the coffee table in frustration. “Tell me what you’re doing here. What the fuck do you want from me?” she shouted, flailing her skinny arms in the air. Erin shot her an irritated expression and flicked her into the wall effortlessly with one arm. She slid to the carpeted floor, wearing a frightened look on her face. Her eyes were open wide, and as she sensed the danger that she was in, her bottom lip quivered in fear.
“Don’t talk to me like I’m one of your little mortal friends,” snarled Erin. She smiled and slinked over to Marley, crouching down to meet her gaze. She gently stroked Marley’s chin. Her eyes changed from their usual cool gray to a metallic silver and gold. “Marley, darling,” she whispered. “Why don’t you get up off that dirty floor?”
Marley’s eyes grew vacant as she fell under Erin’s spell. She obeyed wordlessly.
“Do you feel my influence?” said Erin.
“Yes, that’s very good. Now, won’t you give me a little taste, darling? Just a little taste to get me by.”
Staring into the dark abyss of Erin’s deep and penetrative pupils, Marley unconsciously removed the bandana from her neck, exposing her scabby puncture wounds. Erin stroked the wounds, which were angry and leaking pus.
“Oh, darling,” she said. “You need to take better care of yourself…” She drew her fangs and pricked a finger before rubbing some of the sacred blood into Marley’s wounds. Marley’s neck magically healed within seconds. “I guess I’ll just pick someplace else to drink from,” she said. She knelt down, pulling down Marley’s jeans and underwear. She spread Marley’s legs wide and sunk her fangs into her groin. Marley cried out in pain as Erin smacked her lips and drank.
“What’s this, now?” said Erin, between gulps. She crinkled her nose in revulsion and spit out half a mouthful of blood, spraying Marley’s jeans. “What’s this? You taste almost…bitter. You’re on drugs, aren’t you?”
Marley did not respond. Infuriated, Erin rose to her feet and slapped her across the face.
“Aren’t you?” she asked once more. Marley obediently nodded, her eyes still vacant. Erin sighed and shook her head. “No matter. Your blood is still…highly desirable. But I won’t drink you dry this time. Don’t want to break you, now, do I?” She then pricked her thumb and rubbed a few drops of her blood into Marley’s new wound before licking the remainder of the blood away from her slender thighs. “There you go,” she said. “I can’t trust you to keep yourself healthy.”
With that, she sped off out of Marley’s trailer and changed back into a falcon, flying off into the night sky. Marley shook herself off, no longer under Erin’s spell. She looked down at her pants and panties, which were near her ankles. Seeing small droplets of blood in the crumpled fabric, she rubbed where Erin had bit her and sighed, exasperated and uneasy. She slid down to the floor and sat in silence for a while, before hitting her pipe a few times more and drifting off to sleep.