Blood Muse

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A biting winter wind cut through the flimsy silk of Oliver’s suit as though he wore nothing at all. Of course, the ‘almost wearing nothing at all’ look was the point of the garment. The rich fabric clung in all the right places, showing off his well-toned figure, while the V-neck of his undershirt left just enough skin exposed to be inviting without giving everything away.

At least, that’s what he was told. He wondered what it must be like to have vision… but his mind shied away from that thought and the headache it would inevitably induce.

He leaned back against the street light, striking a nonchalant pose. The pole provided precious little protection from the wind. He could feel the cold metal radiating through the back of his jacket, but he schooled his features into a pleasantly inviting moue. Trial and error had taught him this was the best way to attract the wrong sort of attention. Exactly the sort of attention he hoped for, tonight.

Occasionally, he heard footsteps passing by on the sidewalk. A pair of men’s loafers. The click of a lady’s heels. The heavy clunk of some kind of work boots. Mostly, they moved subtly away from him as they passed, giving him a wide berth. That was fine by him. It wasn’t their attention he was seeking.

He waited patiently for hours as countless people passed by. He had just about given up hope when he finally sensed what he was waiting for. The goosebumps, skin crawling, sound of snakes slithering through the grass, smelling of rotten earth… It was all of these and somehow none of them, but it was exactly what he had been waiting for.

He shrank back against the light post, making himself look smaller, more helpless. He smiled nervously, then caught his lips between his teeth as each heavy footstep brought the sour smell/taste/sound a bit closer.

Just as the footsteps were about to pass by, Oliver caught the light pole and leaned out into the creature’s path. He gave a cheery little leer and called out, “Hello, handsome. Looking for a good time?”

The footsteps stopped. Oliver could feel the subtle slime of eyes studying him and fought back a shiver.

“I got places to be,” a husky voice growled. He passed so close that Oliver caught a whiff of expensive cologne, mixed nauseatingly with the scent of decaying flesh. He knew a normal person wouldn’t smell it, but that baffled him. How could anyone miss that stench?

Oliver ignored the smell and gave a vapid titter. “Oh, come on, honey. I can make it worth your while.” Boldly, he reached out to grab the passing creature’s arm.

It worked like a charm. Faster than Oliver could process, a vise-like grip caught his wrist and pushed him back against the light pole. The creature pinned him there by virtue of his greater body weight, and Oliver’s stomach did an excited flip.

“Oh,” Oliver breathed. “So you like it rough?” He gave a taunting wiggle against the pole.

“Mm, you could say that,” the target purred. He dropped his face to the blind man’s neck, inhaled deeply, and gave an animal growl.

He was much taller and probably broader, as well. Oliver traced a free hand over the hard-packed muscle of shoulder and chest, feeling the expensive weave of a tailored suit. In contrast to the suit and cologne, the hand on his other wrist felt broad and chunky, with nails clipped rough and unevenly.

Recently turned, maybe?

Perfect, Oliver silently thrilled.

“What do you say we take this someplace more private?” He leaned his head back to expose his throat. “There’s an alley not far from here.”

The creature was too far gone to do more than growl an assent. He didn’t stand on ceremony, either. He dragged Oliver by the wrist away from the light post and down the sidewalk.

Typically, Oliver could handle himself, but even long practice didn’t save him from stumbling awkwardly on bumps and cracks in the pavement he couldn’t see. It was all he could do to remain upright as he was pulled along.

They took a sharp turn, and he heard the rustle of something small skittering away. Probably a rat, by the smell of the garbage. Then, the creature shoved him roughly against a brick wall and pinned him there with a powerful grip on his shoulders.

Sandwiched between the implacable presence of the wall behind, and a body like cement bricks in front, he felt very small.

The creature sniffed at his neck, and he feigned another titter to buy himself some time.

“You’re not a man of many words, are you?” he murmured.

A wordless grunt answered in the affirmative.

Awkwardly, Oliver felt behind himself, struggling to reach the back of his belt. It was a tight fit, pinned against the wall as he was, and the more he twisted to reach it, the tighter the creature held him.

The vampire snuffled at his throat. A familiar panic tightened his chest, while some small, dark part of his mind reveled in the feeling, knowing what would come next. Teeth sliced his throat, barely breaking the skin with needle-sharp pricks, just as his hand closed on the wooden handle tucked into his belt.

With a practiced flick of his arm, he brought the stake up and around the vampire’s back, sliding it neatly between the ribs and deep into its heart.

The vampire gave a dry, startled hiss. “Bitch–!”

The insult was cut off as all six feet of muscle burst into a cloud of dust.

Oliver coughed spasmodically as the dust choked him for a moment or two until it finally settled and he was able to take in a full lung of garbage-scented alley air. He spat to clear his mouth of dust, with a grimace.

“Back ‘atcha, sweetums,” he muttered.

Another flick of his wrist, and the stake unfolded conveniently into a walking stick, a long-ago gift from his old mentor.

Satisfied with a job well done, Oliver turned his feet toward home and the bliss of the hot shower waiting for him there.

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