Friday, March 22, 2019

#FridayFlash - Lost Little Lamb the final part


Stay here,” Aidan said as he raced back to the group. I followed most of the way across the room, frowning as I peered through the door. What could Chen mean about them rising?

The bodies on the floor twitched, shifted, drew themselves together. They rose to their feet, standing at broken angles, ichor dripping from open wounds. I stepped back in shock, breath caught in my throat.

Dirk hadn't been joking when he said the dokkalf commanded old magics.

My companions redoubled their efforts, falling back to the doorway. All chance for escape was cut off. We would have to make our way down Albrecht's tunnel with his creatures nipping at our heels.

His scent sharpened in my nostrils, and all sounds faded, just as they had at the tavern. A spot between my shoulders tightened while I felt once more like I was being watched. Stalked.

You don't have to stay with them.” Albrecht's voice, rich and sensual, wrapped around me, holding me close the same as his presence did. “You could leave them to their fate.”

I turned slowly, though I wanted to whirl on the monster, attack him, break whatever spell he used to control the creatures in the entryway. Our eyes met, and I couldn't speak, let alone move. “Why would I abandon my friends?”

Albrecht stood in the dark doorway, embraced by shadows, though his eyes gleamed a vibrant green. The air between us thickened as we stared, though it grew cold instead of warm.

Are they really your friends? They use you as bait, treat you like a child...think impure thoughts while keeping you all to themselves.” His eyes narrowed and his tongue darted out across his lower lip.

Would you treat me any different? Or would you sacrifice and eat me like all your other victims?” I managed to take one step back, though the sounds of combat grew no louder.

Albrecht smiled, revealing sharp teeth, and took a step out of the shadows. “If I wanted to kill you, I've had plenty of opportunities to do so. No,” he drawled, licking his lips again, “I want you for something entirely different.”

The mark on my neck tingled, and my insides tightened as I followed the motion. “What...” I couldn't make any other words come out.

What would I have of you?” I nodded, and Albrecht crooned low in his throat. “So very many things, my darling. Things that cannot be said, only shown. And only if you come to me willingly.”

If I don't?” My pulse raced, but I couldn't look away.

He gestured to the fighting behind me. “Then you and your friends may fight your way to freedom. You may all leave my territory with no harm, and I will send no one after you.”

I turned toward my friends and the fight. They were bunched up in the doorway, fighting with desperation. Aidan tried to close one of the doors, Brenna forcing the creatures away from that side. A wall of darkened flesh, decaying and clawed, seethed and reached for the hunters.

Come to me. Save their lives. Live your own.” Albrecht had moved closer, stood directly behind me, his voice a low purr. “I will call my pets off if you do. Or I can unleash them fully.”

The sharp scent of his magic increased, as did the attacks of the horrors. Dirk's blade was batted away, a claw finding his upper arm. Chen was pummeled several times, and the entire group was forced through the door and into the parlor. Creatures surged into the room, threatening to flank them.

My heart raced high in my throat, blood chilled in my veins. “What kind of choice is this?” I whispered, taking a half step back.

There is a small chance you and yours could fight their way all the way to the road. Very small. So allow me to offer something that has a much better chance.” Albrecht's breath stirred my hair. “If you can all make it back through just the front door, I will let you escape. I will not chase, will not seek retribution, so long as you all leave me alone.”

It really wasn't a choice, no matter what he said. His creatures were too strong, relentless. We were in unfamiliar territory with improper weapons and no knowledge of their weakness.

But my sacrifice could save everyone else. The little lamb could serve one last task for her friends. I couldn't fight a way free with them, but I could find them a path.

Let them go,” I whispered, leaning back, almost touching Albrecht. “Call your beasts off, and I'm yours.”

The dokkalf crooned, lowering his mouth until it hovered just above my throat. “Of course.” He gestured, and the shambling things collapsed to the ground.

The fight was over as quickly as it had begun. My friends halted, stunned, expecting the creatures to stand back up. When they didn't, everyone checked their wounds and equipment. Dirk turned. Our eyes locked, and he smiled in relief.

Albrecht set his mouth on my neck and pulled me into darkness.

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