Friday, February 8, 2019

#FridayFlash - Lost Little Lamb part 3


 
My blood ran cold and I stiffened, frozen with panic. I couldn't think, couldn't react, couldn't do anything that I'd been trained to do. I'd been this close to monsters before, but only when we had a trap set, when the others were close by.

Now that I was alone with a killer, it turned out I only knew how to be a lost lamb.

He didn't touch me, but his presence surrounded me completely, just the same as if he'd swaddled me in his arms. “Don't scream. Don't fight. I'd just like to talk.”

No one reacted to us. And why would they? We were just two people talking in a tavern, something that happened all the time. Nothing unusual to pique their interest. The barkeep smiled and winked when he brought me the full flagon, then returned to his other customers.

I still couldn't speak. My skin prickled with goosebumps as I forced myself to turn my head and look at the vampire, heart in my throat. He moved to my side, seemingly so I could get a better look at him.

Tall, slender, pale skin, red hair, with long pointed ears and refined features. His clothes were plain but tailored, black linen and suede, and he wore many silver rings and pendants. Emerald green eyes studied me, uplifted at the corner, surrounded by scarlet lashes. He wasn't smiling, but there were the hints of dimples beside his mouth.

“You're not a vampire,” I whispered. The noise of the crowd surely drowned me out, but I didn't try to repeat myself.

“Not as your hunters think of them,” he said. He either read lips or had managed to hear me. “I certainly won't die as easily.”

I couldn't look away from him, my mouth dry, heart thundering in my ears. The crowd meant nothing to me, faded into the background as I stared. He was beautiful, and eerie, and captivating, and inhuman. The vampire that had so recently attacked me had been beastly and frightening, but he hadn't scared me like this.

He cocked his head, his unblinking gaze boring deep into my soul. I flinched when he moved, but couldn't put any distance between us. He simply touched a medallion, one eyebrow rising, and the noise of the inn faded to a background hum. “Conversations work much better if both parties can hear.”

“What are you?” I could still only whisper. Surprisingly, I didn't stammer.

He snorted briefly, eyebrow rising higher. “What, not who. I expected that from the others, but you seemed different. Which is why I wanted to talk to you. Mayhaps you're more hunter than I realized.”

“Of course I'm a hunter. I fight monsters like you.” My words had no vehemence, were unable to echo the rage in my soul. Why couldn't I look away from him?

“The 'monsters' you hunt are nothing like me. They are mindless beasts, slaying indiscriminately, with no sense of loyalty, no ability to protect what is theirs.” He moved a fraction of an inch closer, looming over me, though there was still no contact between us. “I own this town, and I will take care of them no matter what comes.

“And you're going to tell your friends that I want them to stop hunting me.”

I stood up straighter, clenching my jaw. I wasn't a fighter, but I wasn't a weakling to remain in fear of our target. “And why would we do that? So you can kill more innocent people?” A spark of anger colored my voice.

He lifted a long-fingered hand to trace the air around my face, never actually touching me. A sigh escaped me, and my heart stumbled, though my shoulders stiffened. His eyes consumed me, drawing me into their depths, becoming the whole of my world.

“When you return to your friends, when you tell them you have seen me, that we spoke, be sure and tell them how I never once touched you. I caused you no harm, though I could have bundled you out of this inn with none of them the wiser.

“Let them know that I would like to meet with all of you, make you an offer. There will be a truce between us. I will not lift a finger against any of you, so long as you all do the same. Here are the directions to my lair.” He held up a slip of parchment between us. “Tonight, when the moon is at its highest. If you all do not arrive, I will take it as a declaration of war. All will suffer.”

Another icy shiver raced down my spine, and wondered what he would do in retribution. “Who are you?”

He smiled then, dimples deep, eyes sparkling. “My name is Albrecht. Tell your leader he faces a dokkalf.”

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