The taste of her blood was bitter and cool on his tongue, and his jaw clenched.
It was in that moment he knew she was fully aware of what he’d done, and in his eagerness, he played right into her trap.
He made no sound, and she did not stir.
A contest of wills, then.
The aftertaste was sweet like raw honey, and his spine tingled as the sugar infected his blood.
His stomach roiled, but it was too late.
What did you do to me, Janyris?
Her father stood there, mute, dumbfounded that she would walk out on him.
“Janyris, who will take care of me?”
“Mother has taken lovers from the Underworld; you have choices, father. Exercise them. I will not stay here tending you in your dotage, I don’t want her crown, and I have my own life to live.”
Her father’s voice was gruff from grief. “How have you come to be so selfish?”
“In much the same manner as you came to be impotent: gradually.”
“Your mother, it seems, was a whore at heart. They are voracious creatures.”
“Mother enjoys sex; that does not make her a whore. She married you, and had none before you. Whatever perverse delights you introduced to her, she took a liking, and has now chosen to indulge.”
He hung his head, remembering those long, lust-filled nights when his own voraciousness had exhausted them both.
“Go then, and return not. I will die alone.”
She gave him a pitying look, reinforcing his.
“And you will die unloved; that’s what truly sad.”
She closed the door on him, and jumped as an axe blade split the door, heard him roaring damnation at her, the power of his words seeking to bind around her soul, and she felt them hit, and soak in. Her heart twisted in her chest, and doubling over, she retched,
Staggering out into the sun filled day, wiping her mouth on the sleeve of her gown, struggling to breathe, she began running, her father’s curse on her life pursuing her, running effortlessly alongside, filling her ears with mocking wrath.
“Is that what brought our paths together, dear Janyris: I in you, and you in me, in a way far more intimate than physical love?
“We hold each other’s strings now, and the better puppet master will win this fight.”
What a tawdry, common life. No wonder she fled.”
He returned to his own tower, the effects of her blood still at work in him, not quite making him intoxicated, but doing things to him that he remembered distantly feeling as a mortal.
His walk was unsteady, and he was shivering, but he felt flushed with heat.
Rest, I need to rest.
He stumbled, and grabbed a lamppost, sagging, but trying to pull himself up.
In reaching out, he saw his skin was changing, the veins prominent and shades of bruises against his flesh.
The tower was too far away, and the sky was turning pale.
He saw lights begin to come on in windows, for those who had to start early.
If they saw him, if they called the authorities…
With the last of his remaining strength, he saw an alley up ahead, and as his vision blurred, he shuffled past a couple of vagrants already in occupancy.
No one will pay attention to me here, except these vagrants, but I’ve nothing to steal, and they can’t murder me.
There was cardboard, dirty, wet, and doubtless crawling with things.
The alley, being what it was, and where, reeked of things best not considered.
Covering himself as best he could, the infection took him under, and what it would do, for good or ill, he would not know until he was awake again.
It’s like a virus.
Then it came to him, her new name, partly what she’d done, partly to show ownership of her. It was a term used by the young when something was widespread in their world of technology.
Vy Rill. That will be my name for her, and I will make her embrace it, and me, until fate claims us both.
The illness pulled his eyelids down; darkness took him under to let the infection have its way, and he had one final thought before he surrendered.
I will be a new creation.
© Alfred W. Smith Jr. 2015