Beneath the silk.

 

Continuing on from “The Cards Never Lie”, Nick is now requested to have dinner with the Fortune Teller as payment for her services.  But is he to be the main course?  Read on and see.

Scene setting – Nick’s chambers

Written with SA.

 

RB:  -They say the eyes are the windows to our soul.  But with the Fortune teller’s eyes being masked by the black bandanna and her in her own words being told that she was without sight, it was hard to read what the woman was thinking as she lifted the last card.  The card for the reader only; not the Vampire.  For a moment, the woman sat motionless.  If she could stare at the card, she would.  In her mind’s eye she was.  Nick was oblivious to what the importance of this last card was, but for a woman who had been all too eager to explain each card in turn, her body language projected that this card was not one that she wished to divulge about.  The silence between the two became almost deafening.   Nick’s brow creased and he tilted his head slightly as though being on the edge of his seat for what she was about to say.  Then…it happened.  The woman simply snapped out of whatever hold the card had over her and she resumed speaking as though nothing had happened.  Changes occurred to the table however.  The black symbol that had been crafted from what must have been her own blood simply faded away, the timber looking as though it had before.  Nick was unaware of the importance of what this meant.  She had withdrawn the pact.  Again, she reminded Nick that the cards never lie.  “So you keep saying, Ma’am.”  Now, it was time for the price.  Nick had willingly agreed to pay the price that the woman asked, and so he waited in readiness for her word.  He would of course oblige her.  He was a man of honour, regardless of what others thought of him.  His word was his bond.  “Dinner..”  Did he hear her correctly?  “Dinner?” he repeated what she had said, questioningly.  It was unexpected, to say the least.  Pausing for a moment, Nick nodded.  “I can’t imagine what a woman of your standing would have a taste for, but if the price is dinner, than that is what you shall have.”  Nick pushed himself up and swung his leg off the chair, turning it around so that he may place it back normally.  –

~RB~

 

SA:   It was as if it never happened, the entire Reading she previously performed, as each trace of it vanished: The timber regained its natural carvings in the wood, with no trace of black lines from the little droplet of blood as even her palm seemed to be missing the scar created only minutes ago. The cards turned back to being blank as she one-handedly shuffled them once more, in quite the bored manner, the Reader herself taking a more casual stature upon her seating, leaning back in her chair. Though the deck was back to normal, whatever she used as vision kept darting to one card only, each time it popped up from the deck in its shuffle. “You can keep that.” She pointed lightly to the card that was still on his side of the table. Strength, the card which assumingly represented him. “It’s yours. Keep it, even if just as a reminder of this encounter. Or just as a reflection – This card is your mirror, after all.” As she explained, her attention darted once more to her own card, one which she did not reveal to others, before eventually placing it back with the rest. His confusion only brought a bit of her own, snow white brow quirking lightly. “What? I told you my price is something idealistic… There is a lot more you can gain from a dinner invitation than a simple material prize. What did you think it was? Souls?” To that, she couldn’t help but grin – a Cheshire-like spread grin across alabaster features which only created such a heavy contrast, between the delicate features of the femme and the brutality of the sardonic grin. Souls were… a different story for her.

 

RB:  -Nick wasn’t expecting to be given the card that she had dealt him.  The first card in fact; the one of strength.  The vampire reached across and prized it off the desk with a flick of his fingers – holding it and turning it to see that the imagery was still there.  Nick graciously nodded and placed the card safely into his jacket pocket, patting the flap down to seal it in.  “Thank you…uhm, I don’t believe I caught your name, Miss.”  Nick felt that since he had agreed to her terms of payment, that it would be fitting if he knew just how to address her.  Nick had showed intrigue in his expression, rather than some sort of amusement.  He did tend to take things seriously, when it came to payment of a deal.  Nick rested his hands on the back of the chair in which he sat, his fingers strumming the wood almost as though he was placing his fingers on the keyboard of a piano.  Sharp black fingernails, if one was to notice.  Hearing the fortune teller say that there was more to be gained from a simple dinner invitation than an item of value or net worth.  The mention of souls had Nick actually scoff.  Was that a little premature on his part?  Probably.  But with her Cheshire cat like grin, he began to wonder if she was being half serious.  Glancing about, Nick then said. “I don’t think the kitchens in the castle would be operating at this hour.  Did you have a certain place in mind?”  Nick was not actually knowledgeable of the area, and perhaps the Fortune teller had her own secret place to dine. –

 

~RB~

 

 

SA:   “Sophia” She muttered that one single word out, with her own uncertainty, as if it was unclear to her whether or not it was her name. The creature did not remember her real name, amnesia taking its toll upon the femme’s former life as most of it stood under the sigil of memory loss, a perpetual fog dwelling in the depths of her mind. She’d only remember her given name, the one ~he~ gave her, the moment she was reborn, although still unsure if she should consider it a Rebirth. “My name is Sophia.” It had to be repeated, for her own sake, really, to make sure she, herself, grasped it entirely. “I don’t believe I got yours, either.” – Not that she’d really care for one, usually names only overly complicated her doings and yet, he got this far as to gain a Dinner invitation from the Blind Fortune Teller to which, in her mind amounted for the worth of knowing his name. Eventually, she’d rise from her seat making sure there was no fickle of dust on her attire, walking only to circle the table (and him) like the little Predator she was, always playing. She reached up, placing her hands on the back of ~his~ chair, leaning her body in to hover her head just merely an inch from his shoulder. “I have a place… Wear something nice.” In a teasing tone, she whispered out before each trace of ~her~ as well as her doings simply vanished in thin air, like it all would’ve been characteristically to a simple dream. Or, a nightmare, depending how he’d see it.

 

RB: -The fortune teller gave up her name, though for some reason she felt the need to say it twice.  “Sophia…the perfect name for you, it seems.”  Nick knew that the Greek meaning of the name was Wisdom.  The vampire was now ready to formally introduce himself.  “Savage, Nick Savage.”  His name rolled off the tongue, and as he said it, he did a little bow from the waist.  So now they were on a first name basis, and about to embark on a dinner date of sorts.  Though he was unsure of just when or where that would take place.  The woman rounded the table after standing, only to come around behind him.  His head followed her movement till he watched her place her hands on the back of the chair that he had been sitting in.  She had a place all worked out, but she stipulated that he had to wear something nice.  “I think I have something that would fit the bill, Sophia.”  There, he actually used her name.  But as he was about to turn and face her, the woman simply vanished into thin air.  Nick froze and then glanced about him, searching the room for her.  She was gone.  “Right…guess she didn’t need to use the door.”  The vampire shrugged his shoulders lightly, and straightened his stance, before leaving the Queen’s royal court room.  He had a chamber that was down in the bowels of the castle where few dared enter.  Striding down the long hallway, he stopped and pressed his hand to the door to open it, before waltzing in – the door closing behind him by itself  ~What to wear?~ the vampire asked of himself in his mind.  Going to a large chest that was covered in dust and cobwebs, he kicked it open and started to rummage through the clothing he had acquired over the centuries.  He went with something nostalgic.  A Black suit with black shirt, matching tie and scarf.  He already had boots, so why change those.  When he had dressed into the suit for dinner, used his fingers to rake his hair back.  It fell forward again, rebelling against his attempts for it to be what would be called neat.  Now, all he had to do was wait….-

~RB~

 

SA:  And there, there was Darkness. A perpetual state of darkness, where nothing else but it lingered, like somebody instantly flicking the switch over to let all the lights turn off as illusions took the place of everything surrounding him – Molded the earth itself to their own will as if warping his surroundings. A force that was namely otherwordly, one that could almost be able to cast shadows where there were none, but Darkness. And from the Void, everything created itself, like a Big Bang, in which illusions eventually settled into material grasp, tangible once more for the man and yet so, so very intangible. It would’ve been hard to distinguish illusion from reality at this point, a point where there were both existing at the same time and yet, none at all. One could almost call it a dream, a place where nothing was at it seemed to be and yet it created a visage of nature, the miasma of sweet red roses lingering in the air, a place surrounded by water. The Reader’s special hiding spot actually looked like something pulled out from a gothic fairytale, the romantic touch lingering softly around his surroundings; a small breeze carried the echoing words which escaped the woman, soon finding her place behind him, waiting until he’d turn back. “Welcome.” And when he’d turn? He’d be welcomed with a completely new sight, a new glance of the woman he previously encountered. There was white. A contrast between what she wore when they met and what she had on now – A long white dress, fitted to envelop her curves beautifully and to let the prominent bones even stick out a little. She was no beauty by society standards – A tall woman, almost grotesquely anorexic in built, as those snow white tresses were pulled back in a simple bun, away from alabaster features. Skin stark white pale, completing the visage, letting a reverse snake necklace dangle at her back, to complete the look. There was a simple detail, still present. The mask, always hiding her optics from vision of others, as if protecting them from view. There was no smile, but a simple small smirk, awaiting his turn.

 

RB:  You could never say that the following turn of events were expected.  One moment, Nick was standing alone in his chambers – messing about with his wayward hair, the next he was in a place that could be best described as a gothic romantic setting.  Water that was the colour of the night sky, sparkling with the reflection of the stars.  The hint of crushed rose petals – their scent enveloping him as the breezed picked up and made the leaves at his feet dance all about him.  He would need to smack himself twice to see if he was actually awake or not.  So fanciful, that it had to be a dream surely.  For a minute, he believed it was caused by a bad blood batch.  Nick reached for his sleeve cuffs and gave them both a pull slowly, as though he couldn’t simply stand still.  Was he uncomfortable about how this visage came to be?  All he knew was that he didn’t cause it.  Also, this is the last place he could ever dream up in his imagination.  No, this had a woman’s touch.  And that woman welcomed him with just one word.  Nick turned around to find that his hostess had also arrived, or she had been waiting for him.  Dressed in all white, which matched her long tresses, she was a vision to behold.  The dress doing well to embrace her figure – hugging so close that bone were clearly visible.  Her face was adorned with the black bandanna, just as it had been before.  It was more than just a fashion accessory, for he had never seen her without it.  Nick stepped off to walk towards her, only stopping just shy so that he may bow politely.  Forever the gentleman; regardless of the circumstances.  “Sophia.”  Nick straightened to full height, before adding.  “You look radiant this eve.  White is your colour.” –

 

~RB~

 

 

SA:  She bowed, in return. It was elegant, one hand reaching for her dress to lift it up by the hem only to gracefully bend at the waist, following his. It was then, when she bowed, that a glimpse of blue could be caught beneath the black mask, as it slipped just half an inch along her face before a gloved limb came up to fix it back in place, making sure the accident would not happen again. It was almost paranoia, which guided those long, slender digits to the mask, as one could even take her to be surprised, almost angry at the little slip. “Quite the Silver tongue, you are…” She remarked, up to his flattery of her, a grin playing on her lips, those scarlet red petals curling upwards gently. “I am sorry for kidnapping you on such a short notice… I believed you would’ve been done preparing by the time I was..” It would’ve taken him by surprise, then, when she soon turned around, her back coming to face him as the Mandalla tattoo was placed between her shoulder blades, at the top of her back. The ironic symbolization of the Flower of Life. “Could you help me, please…?” She murmured out as both her hands held onto the ends of her mask, which seemed to be unknotted, asking his help to tie it back over her optics. A test of trust – For he could choose to remove it altogether and leave her without it… or choose to help her tie it back. When he’d approach, he’d take in her scent, even more than their previous encounter. An almost intoxicant sweet scent, so very hypnotic, used to mask what lied beyond it. And when he’d touch her? The flesh on flesh contact would’ve been met with cold, like touching dry ice in the middle of winter, despite that alabaster skin being feather soft, velvet to the touch, and the color of marble glowing in the moonlight-

 

RB:  In a world far away from this one and in another time, there was a man known as Nick Savage.  He was always known to be a gentleman, well before he fell to the charms of a woman that saw to end his human existence.  But one thing about him, he never changed the way in which he would treat a woman.  That was very much a part of his makeup, something that you simply could not erase.  Though there would be those that tried his patience, he managed to contain any negative feelings deep down were none could see.  Sophia had his full attention now, and this was when she had a minor mishap with the black bandanna that covered her eyes.  The fabric slipped just slightly, but it was enough to reveal what was the very hint of blue.  Naturally, Nick tried not to show an abject curiosity, but he was more concerned about her by the way her hand was quick to move to put the fabric back to shield her eyes.  The Vampire then beamed when Sophia called him a silver tongue for his compliment about her beauty.  “You should know by now that I speak from the heart.” If there was one thing about her, he admired the way she recovered and held her own.  It was admirable in his eyes.  A chuckle escaped his lips when she apologized for kidnapping him.  “Oh I wouldn’t call it kidnapping, Sophia.  You can’t really say that if it was consensual. “  He wanted to be her guest, actually.  It had given him something to look forward too.  “Not every day I get to bring out the old tux.”  He pulled on the lapels of his coat in a haughty gesture.  His head tipping side to side, with his hair flopping about.  It really was unruly at the worst of times.  You could say it gave him a roguish air.  When Sophia turned and asked if he could help her with the bandanna ties that had become unknotted, Nick stepped up and then reached out to take the ends as they were offered. Indeed it was loose, probably from when she made her bow.  Delicately, with hands moving like he was conducting surgery, he carefully retied the fabric ties into a firm bow, that could still be pulled apart with some effort.  It was however standing this close to her, that he was able to drink in her scent.  Alluring as it was unusual.  Nick could even say it was intoxicating.  His fingers strayed to her hair, and as he lowered his hands, he couldn’t help but let the tips brush gently over her locks, before finally letting his arms fall to his sides.  He whispered in a coarse voice – almost in husky.  “That won’t come off again anytime soon, Sophia.”

 

~RB~

 

 

SA: “You seem to enjoy saying my name now.” It was almost a mockery, a teasing whisper which escaped her lips as she turned around only to let his hands wander and touch the mask which held one of the secrets she kept most greatly hidden. It even brought a small flinch of her form, one nobody could actually predict from a woman like her, when they gripped both ends of the mask, allowing her own paranoia to seep in – In all honesty, she felt like running away, deep within; A weak spot of the woman, one of the many she rarely displayed. Lips parted to allow a small gasp to slither between them as they half opened, almost anticipating the moment he’d grip the mask off her optics – Because if you were confronted with a mystery, your first instinct would be trying to uncover it, no? And yet, it came as a surprise to feel the mask even tightening more against her scalp, secured over her optics as it should have been in the first place. He spoke from the heart… It was the reason why he was still here, indubitably so. Sophia’s outcome for the Readings was only suggested by the three questions she asked, ever changing for each customer, allowing them to make the final decision over their… Fate, one would call it. Destiny. Or maybe Chance. Whatever it was, those three questions brought him here, still breathing. When his fingers trailed through those snow-white tresses, gently caressing some stray hairs which escaped the neatly secured bun on the top of her head, her mind flooded with memories long forgotten – Blind people see beyond sight, their senses deeply provoked to their full potential, bringing a true synesthesia over this being, despite no longer having a living breath: The simple touch brought a wave of memories through her mind, ambushing her like waves crashing against rocks on the shore, nevertheless without considering that his wandering digits reached a sensitive spot on her body – A weak spot, one so powerful that it brought another gasp from her, this time more audible, like a faint echo carried by the wind: The nape of her neck. She didn’t turn to face him, yet – She only allowed her head to slowly rotate along her neck, offering a gaze beyond that black mask his way. “Thank you.”

 

RB:  When you are standing before a woman who is as much a mystery as is what lays beneath the black bandanna, you tend to forget yourself.  This is what happened to Nick as he tightened the binding of her bandanna and reassuring her that it would not come undone again.  He did however let his fingers stray far longer than what was considered polite, but in doing so, Sophia reacted in a way that was unexpected.  He was sure he heard it – that audible gasp.  When was the last time a man had been so close to her and allowed the opportunity to touch her?  Nick’s face showed a mixture of concern, and also a hint of satisfaction that he could even make a woman sound that way.  It had been so long.  He blinked away the thought from his mind when he captured sight of her head turning – just enough that he could see her cheek.  She thanked him.  The vampire’s eyes lowered till he saw the nape of her neck.  As though sculptured by the very gods themselves.  Delicate…and beautifully curved till it met her shoulder.  Nick’s lips parted just slightly, and then remembering himself he closed it again and took a step back to allow her space to turn to face him.  “It was nothing, Sophia.”  There it was again.  He had repeated her name.  “Your name does so easily roll off the tongue.”  Perhaps she would believe that this was all in his plans, to be gracious to a fault – but he knew no other way.  “Should we have a stroll before dinner?  Or would you rather gaze at the stars afterwards?” –

~RB~

 

SA:   “Whatever you prefer.” A blunt statement rolled along her own tongue now, coming as a response to his question, before fully turning to face him. Face to face, as that mask hugged and entrapped her mystery optics fully in black, allowing it to create such a contrast between it and the alabaster skin of those delicate, feminine features. Plump red lips plucking upwards at their corners to offer a small smirk, as if teasing, provoking him to make a decision. She held her ground – After all, if Nick would’ve realized it by now, he was on her territory, a territory created by her own powers, engulfed into a perpetual illusion of being, the mere existence of this place trapped in a lock of dimension. Reality, he never left his chambers and yet he could feel everything – Each small breeze through his raven colored strands, each rose petal falling on his shoulders, each scent carried by the wind, the miasma of the roses mixed with her intoxicant sweet scent, only to intensify the hypnosis. “I’ve invited you to Dinner, no? It’s your choice how you wish to start off… The night is ours.” She punctuated those last 4 words, so beautifully that her words would’ve created a hypnotic trance on their own, almost inquired of seduction. Soon, her body twisted around to walk by his side only to pass him by with a single small signal, letting the tips of her gloved digits slowly caress over the back of his hand as she turned, walking within the ruins of this room, passing the scarlet curtains. As she walked, she almost seemed to be floating, if not for the barely audible clicking of her heels against the concrete floor, her hips swaying in their own little dance with each step she took as her shoulder blades rolled slightly in her motion. He could see it, now – Her spine, somewhat protruding as each vertebra danced along the middle of her back, curving her shape into a flexible S-shape, rolling each time she turned her body to look back and see him – Hopefully following.

 

RB:  Interesting as to the tone of her voice, for it did not match that beautifully yet disarming smile.  Face to face, he was again caught off guard by the way that the mask only accentuated the subtle alabaster sheen of her skin.  No other woman had skin like it, and the fact her lips were so full, so ripe as though they had been stung.  Nick wondered what they would feel like if he were to nip at them – tug that bottom lip enough till he could release it and let it spring back.  Oh she was a wicked one.  The hint of that smile; only drawing him in further into what must be her web.  Though he himself was a hunter of sorts, he had no doubt in his mind that she was an even greater predator.  But who wants to live in the shadows and hide from the delights of what it was like to dance on the edge of sanity.  Nick had no idea that this was all being projected by Sophia, controlled.  From the very air, the rose petals, and the gentle curtains that swayed softly to the breeze that now lifted his own locks and teased them like invisible fingers.  When Sophia finally answered his question, he hung on her every word.  She had invited him to dinner, and it was now his choice as to how they may start this night off.  ~The night is ours.~  Indeed it was.  Nick exhaled a simple breath and watched as she turned to lead him away to another part of the floor that was concealed by sheer red curtains.  As she passed he felt the touch of her fingers dance across the back of his hand.  It was fleeting, but enough to get his attention to move along after her.  But not before he watched her walk.  It was not walking.  She was gliding, though the sounds of her shoes did reach his ears.  Nick started to follow, rolling his own shoulders back and walking with purpose – boldness in his stride and he was quick to catch her up.  He was hungry….very hungry, but he wanted something more than just a meal.  “As we have all night, I would like to ask you for a dance first.”  This might have seemed out of the ordinary, but Nick was from another time.  He held out his hand as though he wished to lead her out to an open space on the balcony.-

~RB~

 

SA:   A Predator. It was probably the most suitable word for her and yet she was after so much more. Spirits were vengeful on their own and her vengeance ran deep within – Boiled deep inside of her, so intense that it would make blood rush through her veins with the power of a tornado, twisting and twirling the depths of her soul until there was nothing left to bend, but the Void. There mere mention of Void, Darkness which enveloped her being over time, clouding whatever reason left and only letting the burning, searing desire of Vengeance seep in like a savage beast rattling its chains, wanting freedom. There were many names for what she was, many mentions of her: The Doll, the Rusalka, the Black Widow, the Siren, all of them correct and all of them wrong – She was more than met the eye, despite being Blind, in the first place. The Monster, disguised into the shape of primordial Sin. She didn’t have to turn to feel him following her and yet the invitation to a dance only made her body gently roll to offer a gaze over her shoulder, a small, seductive grin playing on her lips as she stepped forward to the other side of the room, on the balcony. And there, the beauty of this room actually came to stand tall: The Moonlight, shining over them, offering her alabaster skin a certain radiant glow. Her body leaned against the concrete balcony, bending gently at the waist just a little to let her arms support against the hard surface.

 

 

RB:  There were no words spoken, not a yes or a no.  Instead, Sophia merely glanced back at him over her shoulder as she continued out towards the balcony.  Nick nodded with a hidden smile as he continued on after her, his hands now stuffing into his coat pockets, his shoulders hunching slightly.  Almost like stalking her.  Chasing beauty to the moon and back.  As he made his way upward, only then did the moon’s rays truly illuminate Sophia’s skin.  It was like she was herself a star.  Bright and glowing in wake of the moon.  The waters that were below shimmered in the offered light, and this only added to the magic of the setting that she had created.  Nick was still lost as to what Sophia truly was, but it really didn’t matter to him.  She had invited him to dinner, and though they had yet to feast on sweet morsels, he had already been privy to touch her tresses, granted permission to even tie her bandanna and smell her glorious scent.  Was he now the fly caught in her gossamer threads?  Maybe.  But in a dance, it is the man that always leads.   Nick approached her and with the roll of his wrist, he reached for her, encircling his right arm around her waist, in order to draw her body away from the balcony and up against him.  His left hand moving to capture her left hand –interlocking his fingers within hers.  “Shall we?”  He asked, gazing down at the face that was now tattooed into his mind…-

~RB~

 

SA: The tug on her form was a pleasant surprise, but a surprise, nonetheless, even for her seemingly lost in her own territory, gazing up at the moonlight. Soon, she found her back gently pressed against his chest, dragged away from the cold concrete only to have one of her hands gripped into his, the petite white limb ever so perfectly cradled by his larger one, almost completing each other. Her body turned so elegantly, reaching to face him one more while her right hand moved upwards. Tips of her soft, feather-like fingers trailed and caressed along his arm, before it locked around her waist, feeling his palm settling at her middle back, right where her spine curved so beautifully into that S-shape. Such a perfect fit to welcome his hand in that small little gap of her slender physique. Her digits kept trailing along his arm, from his wrist up to his elbow and his upper arm only to then slowly trace the line of his shoulder blade, dancing digits on their own before settling gracefully on his shoulder. A dance they will start, as the music began to play seemingly out of nowhere only anticipating for his first step, as their bodies barely brushed against each other once in awhile, making brief contact. Her, the woman in white, so cold to the touch that her skin could freeze anything it came in contact with, absorbing the heat from her surroundings, and him, the gentleman, ever so elegantly about to guide her in his dance. It was his turn, to play the Predator. It was his turn, to lead the stage as she positioned herself just right to easily be manoeuvred by him.

 

RB:  Sophia gave no resistance towards the vampire’s attempt to bring her into hold.  In fact, he could tell that she had danced before.  His fingers curled around to lock in place with hers, and he marvelled in the fact her hand was so much smaller than his own.  Delicate.  His right hand now firmly placed to the base of her back, and he stood very much proud  – like a peacock.  His chin rising as the music began on the very first step taken.  A waltz.  A traditional dance that had been taught to him by his mother.  Sophia was so incredibly light, that when the young Vampire spun her around in the dance, it was practically effortless.  Her dress was sweeping the floor as they moved in perfect precision and in harmony with the music.  Nick did feel however, the chill of coldness from the touch of his hands upon her, and though this sent a shiver through him, he carried on as though it didn’t bother him at all.  They glided around the stone floor of the balcony, the backdrop now a blur in behind them as Nick kept up the pace.  Only when the dance was coming to its end, did Nick look down at his dancing partner.  The music slowing to a point, where Nick dipped Sophia back.  In this hold he was hovering over her, and she was in the vulnerable position.  On her back foot, you could say.  Nick brought her up very slowly, and held her still as the music faded to nothing, and the night’s own chorus began again.  The vampire’s breathing had quickened, and his eyes had changed to a very deep red.

 

~RB~

 

.

SA:   She did dance before, although the memory was mostly a blur, just like the vast majority of her former life, only being able to grasp some fickle visions of it. She did remember dancing, under the moonlight like she was now – And what a beautiful dance they carried, right now, one she allowed him to lead. Each step of hers was carefully calculated, though, even if he indeed was leading, her movements were only meant to entrance, engrasp her partner into a constant hypnosis. Her scent carried by the wind with each twirl and spin, the hem of her dress so gently swaying against the concrete as they moved with each other in perfect unison, harmony. There was a point, where she did something on her own, only to let him know it was still her territory to begin with – Removing her form from his grasp, she only came to spin, moving her body into a pirouette as her slender physique twirled in the air, like the start of a tornado, only to let her scent be carried by a sudden breeze, his way. She came back, soon after. In a way that was so sensual, erotic and yet only meant to entice and provoke him even further. She back into his grasp, in reverse, letting her back bump against his chest as her arms reached up, coiled around his neck into a nice soft grip, running fingers through the raven strands only to look up at him, parting her lips in anticipation until he’d twirl her back to face him. As the dance was ending, she allowed herself to move and lower down as he carried her, keeping her inches hovering above the ground as one of her legs came to arch upwards, loop around one of his, for apparent support. Moments passed like that – just a few moments which seemed like an eternity, staring into each other. Not into their eyes, but into each other, until he brought her up. She noticed his panting. The change of chromatics in his hues, which only brought her body to press against his, chest on chest as one hand curled to trail fingertips along that dress shirt of his. Not saying a word, letting the silence fall over them, as the only audible sound was the wind rustling through the rose bushes.

 

RB:  Sophia knew how to dance, and well.  In fact she mastered it in such a way, that before he knew what was happening, he found her spinning back so that she would come to be with her back to his chest, and her arm like that of a serpent – winding its way up his neck to only tussle with his wayward locks.  His head motioned to move to the side, allowing her fingers better access.  Oh he liked this.  Though up till now he led the dance, Sophia had changed the pace and he was now finding himself moving to suit her.  The ending would have her coil her leg around him as he supported her frame and back.  This closeness only served to want more.  It was why his breathing quickened, as the predator within him was now fully awake.  The eyes were the tell tale sign, that she had stirred much more in him, and she had done it almost effortlessly.  Only when the dance was truly at its end, did the pair stand so close that their chests were touching.  Nick’s head bowed down, just inches from the top of hers.  Sophia didn’t speak.  She didn’t have too.  The vampire could feel it…deep down.  The lure was slowly dragging him in.  Whether she meant to do it; or not.  For the first time in a long time, he was lost for words.  Muted by her beauty.  The time for being a silver tongue was passed.  He could write her a thousand sonatas and yet it would not be enough.  She could see through false platitudes.  All he had to offer her…was his smile.  A genuine one.

~RB~

 

SA:  The dance was all it took – A dance where both body and spirit would come together, lacing with each other to create it, to create this perfect unison between them. A perfect collision of thought and feeling, giving emotion where there was none. And when it came to a halt, all that was left was the silence, as they stood there, facing each other. Her hand, still trailing along his chest as hers pressed against his, feeling how it heaved with every quickened breath he took, while, oddly enough, hers did not – For her, there was no breath to take, but only the cold marble pressed against his own flesh, yet delicate and soft, velvet to the touch. Eventually, her arm went around his neck again, as she leaned in – Tall, yet not as tall as him, having to lift her frame up for their cheeks to meet and the very tip of her lips to brush against his earlobe, to create a small whispered breath. “Take off my mask.” She said that, without departing from him, even resting her head so gently onto his shoulder, to the side, as her arms looped around his form, in a true serpent’s grip, waiting for him to undo his own bindings on the black fabric.

 

RB:  There was no heat to Nick’s frame, but there was one thing to be said.  Sophia was far colder than he was.  As though she had taken all the heat out of her surroundings and chilled it within her form.  Nick didn’t know what to do next.  He just stood there, until that moment her hand began to move and press to his chest.  He glanced downward and was almost about to bring his hand up to cover it, when she draped an arm around his neck and leaned in enough to have her head come to his shoulder – cheek to cheek.  The gentle yet seductive whisper of her voice that met his ear.  She wanted him to remove her mask.  Now, Nick had seen the way her hand had moved so quick to move the bandanna back in place when it became loose earlier.  She was bothered by it and she had asked him to tighten it again – which he did.  Now, she wanted him to take it off.   At first Nick’s brow creased as he tried to digest what she had asked.  But something inside him, pushed him forwards.  If this was what she wanted, then so be it.  Regardless of what lay beneath.  She had hidden it from view for a reason.  That to which he did not know.  Almost as though in a trance, he reached up behind her head, and felt for the loose tie that if pulled, would bring the bandanna undone.  The vampire closed his eyes, and pulled the tie slowly till the fabric loosened enough to fall free from her face.  All the while, he was caught in her hold.  If this was all part of her plan for ‘dinner’ then there would be no escape.

 

~RB~

 

 

 

SA:  It felt like an eternity. The moment when her arms were around his form, tugging at the back of his coat as if tightly gripping onto it, to hold onto him for what was to come. The moment when his fingers gently slipped the bandana off her features, only to keep it settled in his hand as the fabric touched his digits – Soft, yet oddly constricting, like the mask itself was a living creature. An eternity, which only amounted for less than a couple of minutes, until she was bare, stripped of her mask and yet she didn’t move. As if hesitantly moving from his shoulder to face him once more, eyes closed, as lids slowly began to part, like awoken from a deep sleep. And there it was – Her eyes. The abnormal optics she hid so much, the optics which were not staring up into his crimsons. And they were brilliant. Bright azure, such an odd chromatic. Deep, like the vast waters which surrounded them and yet, the anomaly was that they lacked pupils, giving them such a full, strikingly blue shade, like crystal glass. She didn’t blink – He’d find that soon. Her eyes never blinked as though they weren’t normal eyes to begin with. The eyes of a Blind woman, so strikingly, brilliant blue now stared up at him.

 

 

RB : What was Nick expecting to be behind the black bandanna?  He had earlier seen the odd sliver of blue, but nothing could prepare him for what she was about to reveal.  Nick felt the fabric give way and slide down.  He never let go of the end of the tie, but slowly drew it back so now her eyes and that part of her face would become exposed to the night…and him.  He even held his breath as he felt her beginning to move back from him and this was when he saw what was Sophia’s true beauty.  Hidden away from all, Sophia had just revealed the most brilliant azure eyes he had ever seen.  These were striking, a shade of blue that was more dazzling than sapphires.  The vampire simply couldn’t look away.  “Sophia…” her name whispered as though he feared others might hear.  Not that there was anyone else there.  Nick reached up to cradle her cheek with his right hand, as though he didn’t want her to move.  Why had she been hiding her eyes from the world?  He could see that she didn’t blink and that the optics didn’t move.  Sophia was blind, but she could see him.  She could see inside of him.  “You’re beautiful.”

~RB~

 

 

 

 

The Cards Never Lie.

 

Within the darkened halls of a Castle far off in the lands of Blood Rose, a Vampire walks – but little does he know that a woman seeks him out.  To find the answers to his past…his present and his future.

Co-written with SA.

 

RB:   

-It was in the wee hours that most of the Castle’s inhabitants were asleep.  This was Savage’s time to wander the hallowed halls on his night watch.  The Queen had stayed up late to attend to urgent business from one of her lesser allies, and so with the rabble having taken their leave, the Knight had the halls to himself once again.  The echoed sound of his footfalls would alert any that happened to enter the castle grounds that not all slumbered.  Eyes of silver narrowed at the slightest sound.  It was of course just the low whistle of the wind through the tower windows.  The odd clanking of metal chains that hung from the walls within the Queen’s chamber.  This was of course music to the ears of Nick.  Pressing his crimson stained lips together, he hummed to himself, as he walked along with a pronounced swagger.  Shoulders hunched forward, since he was conscious of his tall stature and how it appeared to others.  Onyx locks hung down over his eyes – his head bowed and his gloved hands shoved deep into his trench coat pockets.  Turning the corner, his shadow cast along the wall; almost like he was being followed by a ghoul of malice.  Taking his right hand from his pocket, he placed it up towards the weathered oak door to the Queen’s inner sanctum and let himself in.  Banners of the Blood rose ancestry hung from the walls, along with portraits of the former heads of state.  Soulless eyes staring down at the Knight as he passed under them – without care.  Reaching the middle of the floor, the Vampire tilted his head back and inhaled sharply.  The scent of dead roses still lingered within the air.-

~RB

 

SA:

What else could be said, about the creature that walked in the Halls of the most unlikely? She looked female, but most certainly was not one. More akin to a Monster. There was a presence to her. She wore a dark silk coat over her leather dress, the edges frayed, twisting as if alive. The lower half of her face could be seen, pale skin of alabaster, with dark red set lips. Such a heavy contrast between what was worn and what wasn’t. The coat was adorned with a silver chain, black pearls hung from it. As she entered, each sense held a tell. The sight of her, towering over others, despite an average height. The smell of burning incense, floating in thin air around her. The sound of her obsidian beads clanking together in her movement. Even the feel of her near. The air turned cold as she passed. The astute would notice certain aspects of the woman. Each movement lacked the mouth feel that was reality. When she moved, it was a smooth motion, perfectly done with its intention. And as she stood, or sat, it was completely motionless. The astute noticed she held no sway. Nothing that so attributed to the universal fact, that all are bound by Entropy. The way of Order into chaos, which invariably leads to the involuntary motion of cells fading away to death, only to be reborn, ad nauseam, until nothing but chaos is left. This was her, lacking in that fact. Chest did not rise nor fall. Each white strand of hair had its place, even found her lacking a shadow. There was a feeling of wrongness, however sleight. That which couldn’t possibly be, was. Subtle as it was, many would choose, instinctively or not, to ignore it. This was the Fortune Teller, the Blind Reader. “Fortunes told, for Females bold. Males apply, for a different side. The price is set, as can be. Three questions answered, truthfully.” She spoke in a deep rumbling of a voice, yet with a feminine accent, delicate and suave through a sardonic smile, pearly whites. The only polite way to bare fangs in company and as she spoke, her hand trailed long digits along a silver case in which lied a deck of cards. “Good evening~.”

 

RB:  

The slight sound of the crack of bone, caused by the turning of Nick’s head could be heard by those with sensitive hearing.  This was in response to the sudden arrival of another within the grounds.  The Knight glanced upward towards the time piece – a clock of some five hundred years, and he knew it was too early for dignitaries to grace the castle with their presence.  Turning on the ball of his right foot, yet remaining stony faced, Nick faced the entrance to which a woman appeared.  His brow creased slightly on the sight of her.  Remarkable, would be a word to use to describe her.  But the first thing he was aware of was the scent of burning incense.  Like the kind you found in quaint shops within the Asian markets.  In fact, Nick could not remember the last time he had smelt such a thing, though it brought about a hazy recollection of a woman he once knew.  The woman spoke in rhyme, and it piqued Nick’s interest.  From what was said, he assumed, be it wrong or right that she was a Fortune teller by trade.  Her voice could be described as being rich, yet with a dark quality.  This added to her allure, especially when she smiled.  ~Mmmmm~  The sporting of her elongated fangs, that pressed against her plump lips.  Naturally, it awakened the Knight deep within, and he withdrew his gloved hands slowly from the depths of his pockets.  Eyes like quicksilver traced their way down to the deck of cards that she held in her hands.  A reader of fortunes and dreams.  What price would he pay to hear her wisdom this eve?  The vampire made a curt bow, as he felt that formality was first and foremost of importance when meeting someone new.  “Salutations, my Lady.   Is it not a little late to be out on one’s own?”

~RB~

 

SA:

She could be the easiest categorized as a puzzle, the pieces of it scrambled all over the ground as none of the pieces had any connection to each other – They didn’t fit, no matter how much one would try to assemble the puzzle. A black mask placed upon her upper facial features, hiding them from sight as if guarding them away from outside view – Her greatest, darkest secret which laid beneath that mask. The appearance of this ‘woman’ lacking beauty defined by society’s standards, the appearance of a rather anorexic build and an impressive height, making her almost like a walking skeleton, if not for the delicate curves, though very slight contoured. Alabaster skin, porcelain pale, with no blemish on them but a single scar at the middle of her chest, hidden by her dress and a Mandalla tattoo, on her upper back: The Flower of Life. How ironic, for a being who was closer to Death, than to being alive. She made no sense, at all. Her movements, robotic, performed like a true machine, lacking sway and yet feminine at the same time, as if trying her best to enhance and intensify the façade of being an actual living girl. One would almost feel obligated to pity a Blind woman and yet there was something different about this one. A mixture, a synesthesia in all its beautiful meanings, from the scent of incense burning seemingly from her own body, to the coldness which now surrounded the room, most to all of the surrounding’s heat absorbed only to emanate back the cold air. From the mechanical movements of her form to the delicate features to create this beautiful façade to don upon. To his bow, she returned with one of her own, figure bending at the waist like a true machine would, snow-white tresses cascading down over her features, until she rose back up. “You see, I am a Seeker. Many would call me a Stargazer – A Seeker of Knowledge. I travel this realm in search for new discoveries, new ways to push the boundaries which hold life’s limitations. I seek Art, but what is beyond that written on a papyrus or painted on a blank canvas; I seek the Art of being.” She paused. A long pause, as if to take an inhalation of breath, though there was none – There was no breath to take. A hand placed upwards again as index finger pointed, towards her own face. “I wouldn’t feel so threatened. After all, I am Blind.”

 

RB: 

-Nick found himself drawn in by the woman’s charm and candour.  She was so different from the many beauties that had graced these halls in a way that was hard to describe.  Those he had seen before had vitality, and colour to their skins, but he found them shallow and wanting of attention that was never to be gained.  Nick frowned upon such silliness that he had seen and had to endure silently.  This woman was unique and not only intriguing – be it from her scent, but also in the way that she moved.  Call it hypnotic, and in some ways robotic.  A beautiful woman of noble stature who was quite tall, taller than those within the palace walls.   Skin pulled taught over her frame, yet the curves that were shown from the tightness of her bodice and skirt showed she did carry some muscle.  They say that beauty is skin deep, but in the case of this woman, hers was haunting yet refined.  She was…a work of art, and she spoke the words of one that was worldly.  Travelled far, and seen so much.  Yet…that was the catch.  She wore a mask over her eyes, and for reasons that were still unclear, she was by all accounts blind.  A seeker; or a stargazer as she so eloquently put it.  Ever searching the lands to learn more, to drink in what others have to offer and feed her taste for the art of life.  Nick brought his arms up and while his left crossed his chest, he held up his right elbow so he could strum his long fingers along the edge of his chin.  A woman of winter white, pale soft skin that looked to be kissed by the moon’s light.  She did not breathe….her chest did not rise nor fall.  Alive, but not.  Had Nick found her to be a kindred spirit?  She spoke of seeking knowledge within outer realms, but not the kind that are written by scribes, or painted by the masters – but word of mouth.    Lowering his arms without word, Nick took a step towards the woman, regarding her with interest.    “You do not look as though you would be threatened easily, my Lady.  I have no doubt in my mind that you could hold your own.”  This was said with the slight hint of a smile.  He was taken in by her, though he might well wonder why.  “Though, I don’t know if this is the best place to find the kind of art you seek, I know of a tale or two that may interest in you.”

 

~RB~

 

SA: 

They say a certain flame could burn so bright as to steal the heat of its surroundings, giving it the feeling of being no flame at all – but ice. If this was the case, it surely was a characteristic of the woman. The temperature dropped increasingly so, as if her very being there created an upset in the world around her, a state where reality met illusion and tangibility had no grasp on the laws of this earth anymore. An omnipresent feeling of coldness, heat perfectly absorbed by her – She didn’t bring the cold, no – She simply burned so scolding hot for it to emanate from her in waves of cold air, even though her very skin was the touch of ice itself, colliding against flesh, upon contact. That sardonic grin came again to pull up the corners of crimson lips, only to bring a response to the male’s words, a non-verbal communication given by just that simple, yet remarkably complex gesture. And then what? There was no sight for this woman – at least not the certain sight a commoner would be familiar with for she ‘saw’ beyond what others could see and the price for that was her own optics, optics that were kept secret from view. It almost caused a paranoia from her, a tick which soon came into stage as one hand was brought up to scratch along her temples, fixing the mask, keeping it in place. An ordinary tick, performed frequently according to her own paranoia of having the mask somehow slip from her face. Which she could not afford. While he took in her, she took in everything there was about him, like Predators encountering each other on an open field. Each detail, perfectly soon deposited in the depths of her mind, each characteristic of this male simply placed as input, data, stocked like a machine whose sole purpose was to gain…knowledge. As he moved towards her, she moved too, with a step forward and then, one to the side, as if creating a small dance only to soon have them both circle each other. “A tale?” That piqued her interest, slightly and with that, her hand moved to pull and pluck the deck of cards from her silver case, their metal prison, putting it aside to have them in her palm. The back of them, black, with an odd looking sigil cast and painted over the dark backdrop, assumingly the brand of Tarot used – But the front was an oddity. Each card, no matter how many there were, was blank white. “I would love to hear a tale…”

 

RB:

-Walls that had stood the test of time, held within them the stories of the many families that had lived and died.  If only those stone cold walls could speak, they would tell the most amazing of stories, that could captivate the listener into a bright and colourful world that existed long ago.  Over many years, one does acquire a taste for the unusual and macabre.  Nick felt that to tell anything of what had gone on before this woman’s arrival could be the giving away of the secrets to which he had been sworn to keep close to his chest.  However, with all asleep, the Vampire was going to be bold, and tell the tale of the current monarch.  Nick moved his arms back, so as to clasp his hands in behind him, as he straightened his posture.  He did not stare at the girl’s mask, but rather – looked past her to a simple picture that hung upon the wall.  “You would think that a woman of noble birth would want for nothing.  Least that is what some would believe.”  Nick lowered his gaze momentarily, to show a darkening of his irises as he remembered the fateful night.  “Deep divisions within her family had driven her to despair.  War looming, and the constant bickering of children that were old enough to know better drove the Queen to split herself.  One that would feel nothing, the other part of her was to become a simple rose, whose colour changed with that of her mood.”  This may sound fanciful and even farfetched, but truth was often stranger than fiction.  “The children simply did not see the change.  The lack of emotions as the Queen walked among them, while in a special chamber, the petals of the rose were slowly falling.  One by one.”  Nick paused for a moment, before continuing.  “You would expect that the children could see the change…feel no warmth of love from what was once a woman that exuded it so passionately.  They were blind to her sadness, and it was this…recklessness on their part.  The immaturity and selfishness, that was in fact killing her slowly.  Softly.”  The vampire’s voice trailed off….

~RB~

 

SA: 

She listened. It felt like ages since she actually listened to a story that managed to pique her interest and intrigue her, at least, after such a long time when stories were what she lived for, the Seeker – A true Seeker, at heart, yet she had none beating in her chest, despite the pulse that could be heard at a close distance. There was no blood to rush through her veins to create one, but more. A hand came up to make sure the mask was still placed upon her vision, hiding it from sight of others as the story went on. All the while, those wide Cards shuffled in a one-handed almost impossible shuffle given the shape of her petite limb which enwrapped along each card in their dance. As if waiting for something to happen, they obeyed their master, caught in an endless shuffle, anticipating the climax of the story – each card, stark white, with no description at all and yet, there was an aura to them, an energy which only emanated waves of darkness like raging tides crashing against the rocks on the shore. A nearby table was spotted by whatever lied beneath that black bandana as her body soon circled his once more, like a Predator, to make sure its prey would not flee away – and yet, by now, she knew they were both Predators. And the game has begun. With ease, her body shifted to take a seat at the table, as a chair was instantly pulled across from her, with no intervention from the Reader, at all. A chair awaiting him as Cheshire-like grin only came to take its rightful place upon the femme’s alabaster features into a sardonic mockery of sorts as the cards kept shuffling now on the table in front of her. “Poor child…” Was all she could mutter out. Her lack of Empathy made it so she could not resonate with humanly known emotions and yet her intelligence only cast a sense of understanding. She understood emotions, enough to get her way around people in certain socialization situation, despite lacking the skills for them – But she could not resonate in feeling them; Which is why her statement came off rather crude. Mocking, even though it was never her intention.

 

RB:

It was so easy for one to get lost in the telling of a tale.  In a way it revealed a side to Nick that few had ever seen.  While his often cold exterior and being known as a man of few words, he had managed to weave a tale, that was both sad, and romantic even.  Like a fascination with a fairy tale, that may never have a happy ending.  It took the Vampire a moment to compose himself – that was until the woman responded by simply saying “Poor girl..”  It was like a slap in the face, and one that brought Nick around quickly.  Nick had not noticed the appearance of the table that she was now seated at, and it was unusual that something like this would arrive almost unnoticed.  The chair opposite the fortune teller moved outward so that the Vampire might take a seat.  Before making his way towards the table, the Queen does appear.  Nick’s eyes snap open, and he is lost for a moment, till he knows he must show respect.  He had just been telling her story, to the fortune teller, and now she is amongst them.  He changed direction, and came before her so that he may bow politely.  “My Queen.”  Nick notices her take off her mask and that she is wiping something, that he knows right away is blood.  “You have taken ill?”  He is of course, worried for her health.  “My Queen, a teller of fortunes is here.” – He raised his hand to where the girl is sitting at a table with a deck of cards. –

 

SA:

‘Closer…’ She could almost feel him entering her own territory. Her own little game, about to start. She could almost feel how close she was from installing her own grasp as the cards began to shuffle faster now, in an almost hypnotic trance only to drive the man even closer. And closer and closer until he would sit down – But then, the interruption happened, one which only caused the femme to lose focus, stifling a small growl in as the cards fell flat on the table, rearranging themselves back into the deck. “Queen?” She managed to muse out softly, realizing that the odd woman coughing blood was actually the one in the story, slim white brow quirking upward as the male went to greet her in such a respectful matter. She didn’t rise from her seat – but only given a small nod in greeting, those black claws slowly digging into the wood, impatient and displeased by the woman’s verbal approach. “Mi’Lady.” She began, one hand rising up eventually, palm facing them both. “…Reading ones Fortune is far beyond telling ones Future… It’s a far more complex art than just that.. for you see.” Her hand lowered gently, index finger tapping along the now neatly arranged deck. “…The Cards never lie.”

 

RB:

The Queen dismissed Nick’s concern off the bat.  Something she was prone to doing from time to time.  The Knight did not persist to question her further, as she had just fixed a new mask on to replace the one that she had soiled.  The smell of her blood was still faintly wafting in the air, and Nick’s jaw tightened as he showed restraint.  Swallowing hard, he resumed a more regal stance but then remembered that the Fortune teller was waiting.  Silver eyes darted to the table, where the cards were now neatly arranged again in the formation of the deck; her index finger tapping them as she explained that what she did was more than just telling fortunes.  In her words, the cards never lie.  “If you don’t need me, I wish to see what this woman has to say…about my fortune.”  The right hand corner of Nick’s lip twitched, and there was the flash of an elongated fang on display.  He didn’t think that sitting down with the woman, would hurt.  Much.  So, he wandered over and turned the chair around with the quick flick of his wrist, then straddled it, so he could fold his arms across the top.  “Enlighten me.”  He was to the point, and stared at the woman’s bandanna that masked her eyes. –

 

~RB~

 

SA: 

“To Read ones Fortune entails so much more than the Future. The spreads I used, they are based on the questions my clients put. You see, my most common one is using the 3-star fold, in which there is Past, Present and Future as well as one card that represents my client. So, in all honesty, Fortune Telling is an art – The art of truly –Reading- a person in the deepest meaning, down to their core, regardless of their future. It depends on their question.” A hand came up in the air again and this time, her digits folded together, palm facing the strangers a sign that she had more to say. Another faked inhalation, only to primarily carry on the facade of humanity, for her chest did not rise in normal respiration phenomenon. “Fortune Telling is all about helping my client get an answer. The Future is ever changing, indeed, for Fate’s twisted ways change with her ‘current mood’ so to speak, and so I do not read Future, per-se, but the consequences of my client’s answer, which the cards show. Mi’Lady. The Cards never lie.” And they were odd cards, in all honesty. Completely blank, white, null and void of traditional imagery. “Furthermore…” Pause. “I state my price first off depending on gender. Now, I don’t mean to discriminate, of course…You may find this odd, but Fortune Telling has a much higher percentage of Women customers. Simply put… I tailor my advertising to my largest audience. The price point is also much different. As I do not take money, but something far more… idealistic. Men have much different, idealistically, to offer, then a Woman. On top of all that. . . Then there is the fact that most Men do not wish to pay the price for a Reading as refined as my own” She shrugged again. Her head craned to the side. “Let me put it in laymans terms, that you may know. Men do not ‘believe in bullshit psychics’; and the con that they perpetual on their ‘weaker’ Female counterparts.”; She paused, and leaned forward. The grin went from being Sardonic, to being cruel grin. The only polite way of baring ones teeth in Civilized company. “So, that is the first aspect on which I base my price in. As for the other, the price is decided after all Three questions from the Reader were answered. So, of course… Each price is personal. Individually crafted, to match the one who wanted the pact.”

 

RB:

Nick leaned forward whilst using his arms as a way of propping himself on the chair.  Left arm draped across the chair back, with his right fist poised beneath his chin.  The vampire listened intently to what the woman had to say, but also was taking in her mannerisms.  Noting that although she appeared to be taking in breath, her body or chest were not inflating, the way a humans would.  She moved her hands, like a carnie at a state fair.  Digits moving fluidly as though almost dancing, and mesmerizing in a way that was hard to look away from.  It was like she used her hands to do the talking.  Animated, yes that was how she appeared.  The deception of being life like, when in fact she wasn’t.   Nick understood what she was saying, when she was to name a price, that was rated according to the gender of the customer.  From her point of view, Fortune tellers had more women folk as clients.  He could totally get as to why that was.  His reason however was more of curiosity if anything.  That and he had been kind enough to tell the story of the Queen, and now he wished for her to do the same.  Though, he was to pay a price.  But what would that be?  What could he possibly have that she would want?  Silver coins?  No, not material that was for sure.  It was then she showed a change in her facial expression.  This was a woman who was used to get what she wanted.  Nick made up his mind then and there that he was willing to pay that price, since he felt he had nothing to lose.  “Alright.  You have set the deal.  Now, ask away.”  –

 

~RB~

 

SA:

The Queen left. A shame, for she could’ve shot 2 rabbits with a single bullet, at that, yet she didn’t mind as much – Before going for the big prize one must crawl their way step by step, no? Her attention directed itself back to the male who sat down at her table again – The moment he did, the cards began to shuffle once more, in understandment of his statement, which brought out a small chuckle from her. “So impatient… You don’t even want to know the price.” Yet, she knew what he was thinking of being the price, what everyone with a little bit of working grey matter in their brains believe to be the price and yet the reality was much more grim. But, he agreed. And as she spoke, she took her hand. A solitary black claw, that slipped between the pale lines of her palm. From it bubbled dark pitch. A solitary droplet hit the table. It ate away the wood work like acid. It followed a lined path all its own. A circle, with two diagonal lines intersecting it. Her symbol, the one that was present on the back of her cards, as well. “The pact is made.” Her other hand held the deck of large faced cards, oddly blank. “Ask your question.”

 

RB:

The pact was made.  The two now facing off against each other.  Oh her chuckle showed that she did have the upper hand, as the fortune teller had not revealed a price.  “I’ll take my chances and see what the outcome is.”  Nick’s lips thinned as he gazed down at the droplet that had hit the table, and now created a pattern, that was her symbol, like the backs of the cards.  The vampire drummed his long fingers against his chin, before dragging his fingers downward and finally letting go.  He decided then and there he was going to enjoy this.  Now that the Queen had retired, he had a more relaxed posture and knew he didn’t have to snap to attention anytime soon.  “Right then, my question.   Why didn’t Legion kill me when he had the chance?”  Legion was the one that Rose had chosen to test Nick if he wanted to be a part of her guard.  The creature, that even Nick had a hard time figuring out, had used an attack that was designed as a last resort….a kill shot.  Yet the moment that Nick accepted the strike, and what it entailed….ie, death, Legion offered a vial to counter the effect of his virus.  Nick stared at the woman’s face and awaited her answer.

~RB~

 

SA:

The solitary black droplet of what was supposed to be her blood, if she even had any, soon rearranged all the woodwork on the table and shifted each line carved in the hard surface to mold into her own symbol. It was her Pact, the way to let them know that now? Now they’ve stepped in their territory. “I will read you a 3-Star fold. One card will be drawn first, the card which represents you – That card is ~you~ and each card, later on, will revolve around it. The Past. The Present. The Future.” She didn’t ask if he understood. Whether or not he did, she would still enjoy this game, for she felt this was no ordinary man. His question actually brought back her curiosity. . The Reader heard them all: Questions about Fame, Lust, Power, Love, Eternal Youth or whatever-the-fuck Fortune one might state, believing that Fortune Telling was simply based on the good things. It wasn’t. So, for somebody to ask such a question, so different from the rest, was like a breath of fresh air, finally, after years. Centuries? She almost lost track of time. “I really did hope, my dear, that you do not expect my Reading to be one of those cliches where I tell you that ‘You will meet a tall dark stranger and live happily ever after, right? Because it won’t be – The cards never lie; They always speak the truth, even when honesty is cold heartedly… blunt. So, I thank you. For giving me a change.” Despite such mocking words from the Reader, there was curiosity to it, mainly deduced by the fact that smoke started to come from the card, each time she tried placing them down in a shuffle – The deck itself did not like this man present at the table. The tendrils which looped around her feet, those black cannibals of darkness almost roared, displeased towards the Reader herself, revolting against the one across her. “Hush.” – She bluntly grunted, towards her own shadows of those cards, until they obeyed, stopped fighting against the Teller’s will. “The cards do not like you…”

 

RB:

“What’s to like?”  Nick said with a shrug of his shoulders.  Since his arrival in the Kingdom, there have been those that figured that the vampire wanted something other than just to sit in a chair all day and greet those that entered like a mindless twat.  The truth however was something that no one would expect.  As for resorting to the types of questions like…a romanticized ideal of Miss or Mister Perfect, it was enough to make Nick snort loudly in disgust.  “Please, I am not some hapless fail who is seeking the dream come true. “  Now Nick was being honest.  His face displayed that he thought little of the ones who constantly asked him for a date.  But back to the cards.  He didn’t get an answer to his question.  “My first question was asked, I was not expecting the cards to play profiler.”

~RB~

 

SA: 

“Good.” – She mused out in a sort of chuckle, pleased by his response even though there was still irony in the skeptical way of the Reader’s doings. She understood, so far, that he was not ordinary, quite far from it and yet she did not have the certitude that he would live, by the end of this Reading. After all, it’s why she based her price according to gender, first, taking quite the discrimination towards men. A living dead girl with a perpetual amnesia of her former life except that of her killing – by the one she loved. But what was she? One would simply mistake her for a bloodsucker, of sorts, like the man across her and yet she was nothing, not even close to it. Oh no… This woman was something else, as the first hint would’ve been those dark tendrils rummaging under the table to soon take grasp of her own being, coiling, lacing and dancing around the table, as if forming a circle around it. Their Pact, their own moment of intimacy. Like having a romantic dinner, under the moonlight – Although he might prove to be the Dinner at hand. “I will ask you 3 Questions, throughout the Reading… If you choose not to answer one, another will be asked to replace it. If you choose to lie in your answer… well…” The grin was back, cruel now, as if to show that he had no reason to lie, for his own existence laid like under a constant swinging pendulum. “The Cards will know. And after their little fit, I don’t think I have to explain further why that is such a bad, bad idea…” They submitted, in the end. Allowed the creature to place them into an odd formation, with one vertical and three other cards horizontally placed, below the first one. Two digits hovered above the vertical one, as she spoke. “This is the card which represents you. It is the one all the other 3 will revolve around. This card, is you.” And while she spoke, she lifted it and placed it face up. It wasn’t blank anymore, no – But the image of a Lion and a woman, tugging at the creature’s maw, the image of an Infinity symbol shaped halo hovering above her head. “Strength”.

 

RB:

Nick watched with a raised brow when the first card was shown, and this was the card of strength.  It was not exactly what the vampire was expecting to see, but then again he was new to all of this.  Once again he rested his chin upon an upturned fist with his shoulders turning in slightly almost like he was hunched over.  With his height and the angle of the chair, he just found the need to sit with an almost casual air.  He was informed that she was going to ask him three questions, which was not at all what he thought was expected.  He still didn’t get the answer to the question he asked of her and her cards.  There was that sinister grin again.  Like a cat that just ate a plump canary.  He half expected feathers to be poking out the sides of her mouth.   Nick let out a heavy exhale of breathe when he was told not to lie.  The cards already didn’t like him, so what point was there in lying.  “Three questions?  Alright, ask away.”

~RB~

 

SA:

‘Ah, Strength. Quite the misleading card of the Major Arcana. This card continues the lesson of the Chariot, showing that once we have learned to control emotion. This is a Fire card, and therefore detrimental to all the emotions. The only qualities that abound in Strength are courage and patience. Courage, the antithesis of Fear. There is no emotion here, but determination. The Symbology of the Lion…The image of the woman opening the mouth of the lion shows both courage and patience. It’s a card which, first of all, explains the Duality between them both. So Strength is not a card of compassion and love, but a card of quiet yet unstoppable power. Such power radiates from the soul, and for a consciousness aware of this power, there can be no resistance, and no defeat. But with Strength and Power, comes responsibility. One must be aware of it, at all times. One might fall in the pits of their extremes. Interesting.” She slid it against the woodwork, until it reached the other side of the table, to him. “How did you die?” It was her first question, which quite bluntly stated that she ~knew~.

 

RB:

“How did he die?”  At the asking of this question, Nick automatically pushed himself up so that his back was straight and rigid.  His lips twisted and he reached up to scratch his cheek.  All this movement, so sudden off a direct question.  It was one that he could answer of course, but it also fostered memories that he would rather forget.  “A woman..”  Nick said, almost flatly.  “One that to this day has been able to hold part of me in a vice like grip.”  There was now a coolness to his voice, his eyes also reflecting the somber change in mood.  “Course, you already knew that.”  Nick’s eyes narrowed as he stared at the bandanna covering the woman’s eyes.  “Promised immortality….but she left out one small detail.”  At this there was an almost haunting smile playing upon his lips.  “That I’d die at her hands to get it.” Nick scoffed, and then looked away momentarily.  “Next question?”

~RB~

 

SA:

When he got up, she felt like instantly pointing to the circle which now grew closer to him, as if making sure he would not leave. This was a Pact of life, one he could not escape until the Reading was over. Even if he were to step out of the Circle, he wouldn’t have gotten far. A small reminder. It didn’t faze her, when he reacted that way. There was no compassion to this woman, nothing but the cold which soon travelled along the entire room. Oddly so, it felt cold, but it felt like the warmth of the room was instantly absorbed by her. “Refrain yourself, please.” It was such a cruel, crude statement and yet never sounded as dismissive as thought it would – It was honesty, such cold hearted honesty that it seemed like she wasn’t much different from the Cards she shuffled in her deck. “You’ve wandered off.” It was such an odd, vague statement from the Reader, as it all was with her. No beginning nor end in everything which concerned her being, a statement left to the man’s interpretation. She did not continue it in order to state from what he wandered off, but it became visible that the Darkness –knew- at least something of this man. In many ways, they were alike, despite being so different – They both had creatures lingering within with which they have created bonds, they both found Death by the hands of people they assumingly cared for and yet, the Teller was… much more grim. Two digits hovered once more above the next card – One of the horizontal ones. And it shifted it around, to become vertical, before flipping it over. The first oddity of this card was that it was Upside Down. The second oddity, being that the card was The Wheel of Fortune. And on the wheel, the image of the Lion, hanging upside down onto it. Each Card revolved around the First One. “Huh.” She stated. Almost surprised by the outcome, given the fact that a wheel, placed upside down, is still a wheel as it becomes regular once spun around. “How ironic…” A few seconds passed for the Reader to make grasp of the situation itself, before musing out once more. “Your Past is represented by the Wheel. You’ve never had balance in your past. Your Past was a continuous spinning motion of the Wheel. A constant cycle. You’ve been to the highest point of it. But soon found yourself at its lowest. You’ve never found an equilibrium to it, and yet you’ve always stayed constant…” She did not pass the card along. None of the others were, except for the first one. “Second question… Why this Kingdom? What made you swear Loyalty?”

 

RB:

His movements may have seemed abrupt, but it was a mere change in posture, from a more slouched, or hunched over way of sitting, to actually sitting up straight.  He hadn’t left the table and so her comment left him feeling somewhat confused.  He answered the question in his own way and spoke of it as though trying to detach from it.  Or stay impassive.  “If you mean I wasn’t direct enough in my answer, I didn’t feel that I needed to give you the ins and outs of the actual act or deed.  Just…who did it and why.”  Watching the turning of the next card, Nick stared down at it and surprisingly knew exactly what it meant.  The teller’s reaction though actually was comical.  She didn’t expect it, obviously.  Now Nick folded his arms across his chest on the asking of the next question.  “Why did he swear loyalty to this Kingdom?”  Nick paused for a moment, as he remembered when he first entered.  “Honestly?  Because the moment I walked in the door, I was asked to be tested.  That has never happened before.”  The vampire’s bottom lip jutted out momentarily; before he sucked it back in.  “I was taken to an arena and pitted against a man loyal…deeply loyal to the Queen.”  You could see Nick’s fingers drumming his forearm slowly.  “I was injured in an attack that I refused to run away from.  I’m not a coward, and I don’t run.  The Queen insisted healing me…even after I told her no.  Something about her selflessness in helping me made me think.  If she was willing to suffer herself, then she was worthy of my service.  If that makes sense?”

~RB~

 

SA:

She remained stoic to both his answers, choosing not to respond in any way – It wasn’t her place to disrupt his train of thought, as long as she was given truthful answers to her questions. She’d keep the feedback, for the end. Her index and middle finger now hovered upon the middle card. Shifted it into a vertical position before flipping it over, to reveal the image. The image of the Lion and Maiden, standing in front of Seven Cups, each Cup holding something, either a gem, a necklace, or even creatures like snakes and dragons. “This is the Seven of Cups. The Seven of Cups represents your Present. Who and what you are now. The Card symbolizes a Decision, one you must make at a certain point in your present, one you are currently confronting with. Careful, for not all the choices are real – Some are imaginations, hallucinations. Some are represented by your own delusions. Most of the times, the card symbolizes Temptation, when confronted with so many options, that you need to have the will to choose the right one. You’re confronting yourself with the decision. Which cup to pick.”There was one more card left unturned, on the table now. One horizontal card, which held his Future and 2 questions by the reader. “If you had a choice to change your question right now, at this moment, before the card which holds your Future is lifted, would you change it? Or would it still remain the same?” It was a test, to determine the price of her Reading – All three questions were in fact little tests in order to place an individual price for the woman across the table. It was how she worked – Each reading was personal and each price was molded individually to match her clients.

 

RB:

“I see no reason to change it.”  Nick was quite serious in his delivery. “It would remain the same.”  He felt he had nothing to gain from changing it.  The last card that had been turned over, was supposed to be about temptation.  While he could not see as how that related to him within the Kingdom, it was clear that the Fortune teller believed that he was going to have to make a decision and soon.  To choose one of the offered cups.  Nick had nothing to say about the card, other than he had sworn loyalty to the Queen after the fight with Legion, if that counted for anything.  There was one card left to be turned, and this was of his future.  Did he even have one? Did anyone?  “Ask your last question.”

~RB~

 

SA:

Her digits hovered above the last card. Tapped it a couple of times, as if anxiously anticipating herself the outcome of it. It was soon flipped, after being turned to a vertical position. And to her card, the Reader almost gasped. Froze, before a sardonic grin came across pale nude lower features, a Cheshire-like grin to spread lips apart and bare her sharp pearly whites to the imagery of the card: The Lion, on the ground, stabbed with Ten Swords into its body. “My my my…” She began. “…Your Future is represented by the Ten of Swords.” It was such a morbid visage. It would’ve only taken One sword to kill a man and yet this card had Ten. It wasn’t murder – But annihilation. “This is the Card which bares your Future, regarding to the choice you make in your Present. The ultimate manifestation of the Swords, inevitable result. Those who refused to listen to the Ace of Swords shall, in the end, be impaled by the Tenth. Many take this card for its negative implications and yet…” Index finger tapped along the upper part of the card, against the black night background which held, in the corner, one small ball of yellow. “…The Sun is up, against the black sky. Enlightenment. A new beginning. You will learn from your mistakes. Or you will be impaled by them.” After she was done speaking, she leaned in, forward, having both her elbows on the table and her head resting onto her palms, as if directly looking at him, beyond the bandanna. “Did you figure out the answer?” This wasn’t a question for his prize, just curiosity – With all the cards turned, and the first one closest to him as the other 3 rested to her side of the table, she wanted to see if he would figure it out, before stating her price.

 

RB:

The final card.  Such shocking imagery…macabre, yes, but intriguing and enlightening.  Throughout life, it is all trial and error.  It’s the only way we learn.  Growing in fact through the pain of our mistakes.  This card brought everything back full circle to the question he had asked initially, and that was why did Legion spare him with the vial?  “I believe I did find the answer after all.”  It wasn’t the fact that Legion didn’t kill him, but that he accepted the vial, and thus lived another day.  Or an unlife, if you could call it that.  Legion would have never heard the end of it from the Queen, after she had specifically called the match to be no death.  Nick was prepared to fight to whatever conclusion there was.  It just ended so abruptly.  “I chose my fate.  I agreed to fight…then I accepted his offer of help…eventually.”  After he said this there was nothing but silence.

~RB~

 

SA:

There was one card left, where there were none. The woodwork created by the Pact bond by the Reader seemed to boil down, like acid sinking even deeper into the material. It burned. It boiled and sizzled. It let out smoke, like a furious dragon and made ~one~ card jump from the deck, right in the open palm of the Teller, to which her expression changed drastically into a scowl, deeply infuriated. She knew what it was. “…Blood Tarot is the most consuming system. It always ends with a Card for the Reader.” She wouldn’t show it to her client, but she looked at it, herself, despite already knowing it – The card never changed, despite numerous Readings performed. A perpetual state which leaped beyond tangible grasp only to lay neatly into the creature’s hand. The Card of Death, Upside Down. The Creature who could never find Death. It took her awhile to snap out of it – The trance it created, looking at that card for so long as if desperately trying to force it to change – It never did. One card for the Teller and never a good one. That was the way of Blood Tarot, the price she had to pay in return for the Reading. The card to damn her entire existence, her whole ‘life’ condemned by one simple card around which revolved everything. Darkness itself. Her. With a snap, her body stretched and with it, each joint crackled into a loud noise as if trying to shake off the whole Reading. Detach and cut the strings she placed on the woman in front of her. “As I said…” She began, before leaning forward, against the table which was now slowly turning back to normal. The black engraftments of her blood slowly fading away, letting the woodwork come back to what it originally was. Her pact, written off. The cards slowly went back to being full white, blank, except the one which was left in the man’s hand: Strength which represented her client. “The Cards never lie… Now. For my price.” Pause. A single digit was brought up, to rub against her own chin gently before fixing the mask over her vision once again. “Dinner?”

A Nun’s Habit – GS.

Scene setting : The streets outside St Luke’s Cathedral.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The Sisters of Immaculate Chastity were having a good old fashioned sing song on the small church bus as they drove through town on the way back to the Cathedral. The children at the ward all loved the toys and happy smiles of the nuns, who never missed the chance to spread some of God’s love and cheer amongst the dear little cherubs. Sister Marjorie was especially pleased with herself, since her snappy rendition of “The Lord’s prayer” was a right hit with the nurses and of course the well heeled Doctor Sloane. Now however they had one last stop before going back to help with the bingo night that Father Thomas always did on a Friday night.

“Should we stop and pick up some more cookies, Sister Mary Jane?” A voice from the back called out. It was Sister Stevie, one of the wilder ones of the group. Her face bright and cheerful as she waited for a reply. Sister Marjorie was of course still in high spirits over the hospital visit.

“I’m pretty sure that there are enough there at the kitchen, Sister Stevie.” She didn’t even look back to see the smile fall from Sister Stevie’s face. Little did Sister Marjorie know that Sister Stevie had an ulterior motive. “Well, I am pretty sure that the barrel was a bit low after Wednesday night choir practice. Uhm…why don’t you just drop me off at the corner across the road from the Cathedral and I can grab a few packets.” It was pretty clear that Sister Stevie was not giving up.

“Oh…oh alright. But you hurry along. You know how Father Thomas gets.” This was a warning, since he was known to have something of a short temper, as much as he tried to hide it. Pulling the small bus over the singing stopped long enough for Sister Stevie to get off. She stood on the pavement and waved the Sisters off, as they continued on to the Cathedral – just a few minutes away.

Pleased to be out of the bus, Sister Stevie looked up and down the street. It was an odd sort of night, with many of the usual crowd that you would expect to see. But there was a club that was two doors up from the 7 Eleven that had a group of scruffy looking kids trying to get a rise out of the bouncer. They clearly were not dressed well enough to enter the club, which had a strict policy for their dress code. The bouncer was keeping a stiff upper lip, but the youths were hurling abuse, and using racial taunts.

Sister Stevie kept her head down and tried to walk around the group, but one girl happened to notice her. A red head that was sporting a leather studded vest, a short black skirt with tattered fish net stockings and boots. They weren’t the fancy kind, but more like Doc Martins. Her head turned to follow the nun, who was now on a mission to just get to the convenience store and buy the cookies as promised. But as she was almost outside the entrance, a voice called out to her.

“Nice habit, Sister.’

This had Sister Stevie stop in her tracks. She turned around and came to see it was the same girl that had stood out from the group at the club. “Why…thank you, child.” There was an awkward pause as the girl looked her over. “You don’t look like the flying nun.” That being a character from a vintage TV show classic. Sister Stevie chuckled softly under her breath.“No…we moved with the times. Like you…I guess.” Of course she was referring to what the girl was wearing. The girl bobbed her head, chewing some gum lazily as she took the nun at her word. “Right. Uhm…listen. Me and the gang are heading back to see….a sick friend. You don’t think you could possibly come and….I don’t know.” she twirled her wrist as though she was trying to explain what she meant. “do your…thing. Pray for him. He’s looked like death for a while now.”

Sister Stevie’s face fell at the news that the girl had a sick friend in need of God’s word. She was supposed to be buying cookies for the Cathedral kitchen. But when someone needed God’s care, she had to oblige. “Is it far?” There was a hint of nervousness in her voice. The city could be so dangerous at night.

“A block or two. I promise that you won’t be kept long. It would really mean a lot.”

“Oh…oh okay. Lead the way, child.”

The red headed girl almost skipped at the prospect of the Nun coming down to the group’s hide out. “Just this way. Come on.” The girl reached for Sister Stevie’s hand and dragged her off down the nearest alley. Past homeless men and winos. Sister Stevie almost tripped over a loose part of the road, but the girl had a great deal of strength and kept up the pace. Soon they were standing outside what looked to be an abandoned building. This was getting creepier by the second. “He’s just in there. You’ll find him lying on an old matress down in the back office.”

Sister Stevie hesitated for a moment, before the girl opened the door which had had the lock broken off. She stood silently holding the door.

“He…needs you, Sister.”

Taking a deep breath and trying to summon all her courage, Sister Stevie entered the abandoned building. In the furtherest corner of the building was a light. It must have been the office that the red head had mentioned.

“Hello?” Her voice sang out, but only an echo returned.

“I’m Sister Stevie….from the Cathedral……I was told there was someone here that needed God’s love.”

“Oh I need more than his love…..Sister.”

https://i0.wp.com/media.giphy.com/media/ES7lYiP9Hwha0/giphy.gif

A sinister sounding voice came from right behind her. The poor woman froze as she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. A shadow moved in the office, but who was behind her.

“I’m here to help.”

“And help you shall. Or rather….I am going to help myself to you.” The man tore off the nun’s headpiece and coif, her hair tumbling out long and down her back. She let out a terrified scream as the man bit down into her neck. Feasting on her blood, while she reached out to the darkness. There was nothing sweeter than the blood of an innocent virgin, and the man’s eyes rolled back as he continued to gorge on her crimson life force. The shock of the attack caused the nun to be faint, and soon she fell limp in his powerful arms. Blood ran down her chest and splattered on the warehouse floor.

“Told you I could get you one.” The red head was leaning against a crate, watching the feeding frenzy with a gleeful expression. Only when the man had had his fill did he drop the nun to the floor. She was barely alive.

The Vampire wiped his stained mouth with the back of his hand and let out a wild howl of satisfaction.

“She….REALLY did help after all.”

 

~RB~