Amy C at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie atTink’s Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate – you publish your Fiction Flash on Friday – 350 words, give or take. This week the image prompt came a bit too late for me. Did it discourage me? No, not in the slightest. I am continuing because I feel like doing so. ;p
Here is MY pic that suits my story:
And the story continues…
Mark was never one of these hesitating types. If he was told to run, and had it on very good authority, he ran no questions asked. The cemetery was large but he was good at running. He started slowing down near the gates, though. Something was off. Firstly he wasn’t sure whether he really headed north. He thought so but you never know without a compass. Secondly he expected the sounds of frantic pursuit even though he was afraid of it. Deep down he even yearned to touch Lara once again; anyway a chase seemed to be inevitable. However, there was none of it. He heard nothing, just some rustling of dry leaves still hanging on dark trees and being disturbed by wind. The peace and quiet made him more wary than any attack. What was happening? Why nobody bothered to catch him and bring him back so far?
Pursuit or lack of it, Mark crossed the gates and went out of the cemetery just in case; only then he heard a movement. Actually it was strange he heard it at all. A vampire flying is as noiseless as an owl or any other nocturnal predator. It was a vampire for sure – one of Lara’s fanged men finally found him. The vampire approached and landed smoothly in front of tense Mark but he didn’t attack. He was crouching on the ground as if trying to appear smaller, less dangerous. Mark was circling him slowly. The vampire didn’t move. Mark felt that one moment of silence longer and he would go mad. He decided to start a little chat and to make it pleasant, all things considering, in order not to antagonize the vampire. However, he was never one for innocuous chats. Theoretically he could have asked about the weather. He could have commented on the surrounding area. Instead, he blurted out:
“What d’ya want, you ungodly monster? Back off or else!”
The vampire blinked, undoubtedly half-stunned half-surprised by such a finesse.
“You are le nouveau? Trying to escape her, hein?”
He had a strange accent that matched one foreign name Mark remembered. Henri.
“Yes. Back off. Lord Dreane will be here in a moment. I am under his protection.”
“Mais non, you are not, not now. You waived it in the manor.”
“Now I want it back and I will have it. Back off or else.”
“Don’t be afraid of me. I am not here to attack you. I want to help.”
Mark was prepared for any attrocities but not an offer of help. He spluttered slightly before asking:
The question seemed to make the vampire quite talkative if not downward friendly. He spoke slowly, carefully choosing his words.
“It’s not a trick or a deception, please believe me. I want out as well. Lara, cette femme horrible, she is mad. She wants to create her own coven but she doesn’t have the right skills. A disaster. She treats us…elle est folle, je dis! I left France for her. Bad mistake. I was stupid. In love. You are my only chance.”
Even though Mark was still rather wary, he heard truth in the pleading tones of the vampire’s voice. He saw desperation in his dark blue eyes and narrow face. Desperation mingled with fear. He understood. His arms and back stopped being so tense, exuding sympathy rather than a warning. The vampire, Henri, noticed at once. He stood up and smiled shyly. He held out his hand, very tentatively at first, still unsure of Mark’s reaction. Mark took it. They shook hands like two young men in a pub over a friendly pint of beer. At that point Lord Dreane’s coach arrived. His lordship opened the door and froze, seeing Mark’s companion. Then he just shouted:
“Quick, in!! She will be here in a moment!”
Mark jumped, pulling Henri inside after him and still holding his hand.
“Mark, what are you…oh, no time for that. Do you want to work for me again?” asked Lord Dreane, very intense about it but clearly disoriented a bit by the presence of Henri. When Mark hestiated he became flushed and angry in no time.
“Answer boy, quick!”
“Yes, I do!!” shouted Mark. To his utter surprise Henri shouted “oui!” at the same time. Lord Dreane seemed as surprised as Mark.
“What? You? You too? But…she…you are already changed! I can’t…”
The vampire doubled as if hit in his solar plexus.
“Je vous implore à genoux, Monsieur! Please! Take me on or je suis mort, dead and gone! Elle va me tuer!!”
It was evident Henri was in earnest; he looked very scared and pale. Lord Dreane threw him a calculating glance and finally said:
“Very well. I’ll take you on. I still don’t know what I am going to…”
At this point the door of his coach was ripped off its hinges as if it was made of paper. Extremely angry Lara was glaring at all three of them. Her face was so contorted with rage that almost unrecognizable. She reached for Mark and had to recoil as if burned. She shrieked in anguish. Then she reached for Henri and the situation was repeated. It made her lose all the vestiges of a civilized being.
“Dreane, you bastard!!! How dare you steal from me!!!” she bellowed out like mad, flashing her sharp teeth.
Dreane closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
“Lara, you are being dismissed or you will feel the full power of my wrath. Let us go. Now.”
Mark noticed a small, shiny pistol in his hands. Lara noticed it too. She swore profusely and disappeared. Lord Dreane had beads of sweat on his forehead now. Apparently he wasn’t being as calm and composed as he pretended. As soon as furious Lara disappeared in the darkness of the cemetery he gave his coachman a sign and the horses started to move.
“Are we out of danger?” asked Mark, shaking as cold wind explored the insides of the vandalized coach.
“Mais non, elle va revenir, j’en suis sûr” muttered Henri. Lord Dreane translated for Mark’s benefit: “she will return soon.” Mark blanched but gritted his teeth.