At the conclusion to the story, Heather succumbs to her thirst and learns what happens when she loses control.
Heather lost track of her dreams, memories and reality. She thought Teri tried to wake her up twice but she wasn’t sure whether she was dreaming it or remembering the morning before. She dreamed she was flying and it was as glorious as she remembered. Wind buffeted her face and fur and she spiraled down to the ground before swooping back up. Catching prey in flight. Claws rending flesh. The smell of blood filling the air. The rush of excitement from the chase and the kill. The near sexual pleasure she felt as she drained the-
“Heather,” Teri whispered. An echo of the day before. “Hey.”
“No,” Heather rasped. Her back was to the other woman. She’d curled up in a fetal position under her covers while she slept.
“Heather, it’s almost 1 pm. Tell me the truth. Are you sick? Or just tired?”
“Tired,” Heather said faintly. The young lady could barely think and she was sure she couldn’t move. Her body didn’t exist to her; only her mind was there and that only faintly.
“Oh, Heather. I’m worried about you. You’ve gotten worse since yesterday. I’ve got the room for another day but I think I’m going to ask for a doctor. I’m really seriously worried about you.” The bed moved as Teri sat beside her friend.
“No,” Heather said again. She pulled her knees closer to her chest and the move tired her.
“I’m sorry, Heather. I have to. You haven’t been right since-” Teri screamed. Her hands flew to her mouth as she stumbled up and away from her friend.
In her sudden fear of being found, adrenaline surged through her and Heather found the strength to face her friend. Heather’s eyes were an endless black and her fangs glistened in the dim light filling the room. Her long, curved ears twitched in irritation.
“Jesus Fucking Christ!” Teri screamed.
“Be quiet!” Heather hissed.
Teri slumped to the floor. Her expression and will drained from her, leaving her staring far into the distance. Heather sighed. The outburst had cost her dearly. She hated the way her friend looked. She hated what she’d done to her, even if it so far appeared to wear off without a trace. Heather swallowed and her throat clicked.
“I’m tired, Teri,” Heather rasped. She closed her eyes. Her mind was sluggish and she barely realized what she was doing or saying. The world felt no more real than a vivid daydream. “Tired and weak and so thirsty. So…”
Heather slipped back into her dreams.
Teri was there with her. Smiling, happy Teri. They were chasing each other, running and laughing through a brightly lit forest. Heather slowed, leaning against a thick tree trunk. She waved breathlessly at Teri and then sat on an old, gnarled felled tree. Green moss and huge, flat mushrooms spiraled around the massive log.
“Are you okay?” Teri asked. She had flowers braided through her curly black hair. Her eyes glistened with amusement and her dimpled cheeks wore storybook rosy red.
“Yes,” Heather answered. Unlike her friend, her cheeks were chalk white. “Just tired from running. Worn out. That’s all.”
Teri grinned and knelt before her friend. She cupped her hands and Heather was unsurprised to see clear water shimmering in the sunlight.
“I brought water for you,” Teri said. Her voice was as steady as her hands.
“Thank you. I am thirsty,” Heather told her. She bent to her friend’s hands and sipped the water being offered. It was cold and sweet and terrible. A faint grimace flickered across Teri’s face but Heather didn’t notice. She hadn’t realized exactly how thirst she’d been. She reached for her friend’s wrists, tilting her hands to drink more easily. Her claws (claws? A part of her mind wondered) dug into her friend’s soft wrists while her heavy black wings shaded the kneeling woman. Teri gasped, pleasure and pain mixing on her face.
Heather woke to the deep, rich scent of blood. Teri lay cradled gently in her arms, writhing and moaning as Heather drank deeply from her. Pain and anguish cut through Heather’s heart as she realized what had happened. She could feel her friend’s heartbeat slowing.
Teri was dying in her arms. Heather tried to pull herself away but her body refused. She railed and cursed herself while savoring every single moment.
Please, Heather prayed. Please, I don’t want this. Not Teri. Please. No one answered her. There was no small voice arguing against her. No tiny devil sitting on her shoulder, forcing her to kill her friend. It was just her. She was the one doing it. Please.
Heather struggled against herself. Again and again she threw reasons at herself. Reasons to stop. And, still, still she drank.
A final memory came to mind. Five years ago it’d been reversed. Teri had held Heather in her arms as gently as she was now held. There’d been a bottle of pills and a crushing depression that wouldn’t end. Bullying and a feeling of hopelessness for the future. Teri had cried and begged her to stay awake until the ambulance arrived. Heather couldn’t remember how her friend had known. Had she called her after she’d taken the pills? Or come over randomly to hang out? She’d wanted to sleep so badly but Teri wouldn’t stop. And then lights and noise and she woke up in the hospital. Her mom and dad were there and so was Teri. Her friend’s face was puffy and red from crying and so unlike her.
Tears streamed down Heather’s face, mixing with the sweet, coppery taste of Teri’s blood. Heather threw her head back and howled. Everyone within a mile of the inn collapsed senselessly at the powerful scream. Electrical lines surged and popped, filling the air with an acrid smell while starting six house fires. A large jetliner, on descent to Cluj International Airport lost power and rapidly descended several hundred feet before the engines roared back to life. Wild animals fled the area while pets desperately tried to hide.
Teri’s heart beat faintly in her chest. Blood continued to pool down her neck from two large, round wounds that refused to close. Heather bent over her friend. Her lips touched the wounds and she kissed them lightly. Power moved between them.
“Please,” Heather whispered, rocking back and forth with her friend held tightly to her chest. “Please don’t go. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, Teri.”
“I’m,” Teri said faintly. “I’m. Cold.”
Heather cried out. Her friend’s heart was slow but steady and the bite marks had closed. But, more than that, she could feel Teri. As with the bats, there was a place in her head now that she knew belonged to her friend. She could feel the other woman’s pain.
“Cold,” Teri repeated.
“Shh,” Heather whispered. “I know.” As gently as possible, Heather pulled the other woman into bed with her, covering them both with her blanket. Teri pressed herself against her friend and immediately fell asleep. Heather kissed Teri’s hair. She fought against the inevitable and lost, sliding into her dreams once again. When Teri whimpered in her sleep, Heather subconsciously brought her closer. The sun climbed into the sky while they slept.
Heather’s eyes snapped open. She hadn’t moved while she slept. Teri was still pressed against her, soft and warm. Heather’s right arm wrapped protectively over her friend. In her mind, Teri was a bright point of light, warm and happy and healthy. She didn’t need to feel her friend’s heartbeat against her hand to know she’d recovered.
Various animals stirred restlessly as she woke. She felt them more strongly now. Rats had come from far away to join nearby packs, pulled in by her influence. At her unspoken command, they kept their distance respectfully. With her eyes closed and her will focused on them, she caught snatches of conversations and oddly distorted images. The large colony of bats had relocated. Southwest of the inn, she knew. Closer to her.
Bran Castle lay nearly directly south. She felt its presence as a dull pressure at the base of her neck. Heather felt tethered to the castle in some way. As darkness began to fall, the link between her and the castle strengthened. And, in turn, it fed her the energy that she felt racing through her veins.
Teri stirred against Heather. The young woman stretched her legs, murmuring something sleepily. Heather felt their connection shifting subtly as her friend woke.
“Oh,” Teri whispered. She was still but Heather felt her anxiety as it mixed with fear and curiosity. “It really happened then?”
“Yes,” Heather answered quietly. As she focused outside of her mind, she became aware of the activity in the town. Red and blue flashing lights crept through the edges of their curtains. Heather closed her eyes and a thousand tiny black eyes showed her a scene of chaos. Fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles littered the village. It was difficult to tell through the eyes of the rats but it seemed that police or other government officials were interviewing people. Residents huddled under gray blankets with steaming cups held in their hands. Four buildings lay in smoking ruins.
“Does it- does it hurt?” Teri asked.
Heather could feel her friend’s sudden rush of worry. The small woman trembled in Heather’s arms.
“No. No, I’m not dead.” Heather replied.
“Oh, thank god,” Teri whispered. “Thank god.” The young woman relaxed noticeably. “Was it the bats after all?”
“I think so,” Heather said. “I don’t remember anything but what else could it be?”
Teri shook in Heather’s arms. Heather could feel her overwhelming sadness before the woman’s tears fell against the arm she had under Teri’s neck.
“I’m s- so s- sorry,” Teri hiccupped. “It’s all. All my fault. All my fault.”
“Stop. It is not,” Heather told her gently.
“It is so!” Teri wailed. “I made you come on this trip! I made you go out that night! If you hadn’t come this wouldn’t have happened. Oh god. Oh god, Heather!”
Heather pressed her forehead against the other woman’s neck. Something stirred deep inside of her at the closeness of the woman’s skin. The gentle curve of Teri’s smooth neck was so close. All she’d have to do is open her mouth and take her. She’d want you to do it, a small voice said.
“I didn’t have to go,” Heather said. “You don’t control my life. I make my own decisions and I won’t let you have this one. I am my own person. I told you before; I would’ve come anyway. Somehow. So, stop.”
Teri cried in Heather’s arms and Heather felt her own tears fall. She hadn’t stopped to wonder at her loss. And how much her life had changed suddenly. At what it might mean for her. Eventually, they calmed.
“Are you okay?” Heather asked. “Do you remember what happened earlier?”
“Only a little,” Teri answered. “Pieces of it. You- You-”
“I’m sorry. I’m so terribly sorry, Teri. I didn’t know it was happening. I dreamed. I dreamed of us and in my dream you offered me water to drink but… But…”
“Will I die?” Teri asked. Her voice was small.
“I don’t know. I don’t think so. I don’t know what any of this does or what it means. I thought you were dying earlier. It was so hard to stop, Teri. You have no idea. I almost didn’t stop. But, I did and you were so weak and cold but you’re better now. I can feel you. In my head.”
Neither woman spoke for a while.
“I think,” Teri said, hesitating. “I think I can feel something, too. It’s hard to explain. I think if we were apart, I could close my eyes and point to where you were. It’s… it’s oddly comforting. Your presence. I thought I’d be scared but I’m not. Is it the same for you?”
“Almost but more. I can feel your emotions. I can feel how strong you are, how healthy you are. You’re afraid but relaxing a little. And something small is hurting you?”
“My knee,” Teri said. “It always hurts a little when I spoon with people. That’s… that’s crazy. I guess hide-n-seek is out, isn’t it?”
Heather laughed quietly. “Yeah. I don’t think that’ll work. Do you-” Heather stopped. Among all the things quietly living in her head, a new thing was growing. Where Teri was bright and warm, this new sensation was cold and gray. And yet, she felt a small boost of strength from it. And a sense of familiarity. “Oh, no.”
“What? What is it?” Teri asked.
“Last night,” Heather said, hesitating. “Last night I… changed. I couldn’t control myself. I don’t know. Maybe because it was the first night? I killed someone, Teri. A man. I drained him completely and dumped his body deep into the woods. I can see it clearly now but at the time, I couldn’t stop myself. Oh, god.”
“Oh, Heather,” Teri said. Her voice was low and sympathetic. “I’m so, so sorry. You… you weren’t yourself. I know you’ll-”
“No,” Heather interrupted. “I think… I think he’s coming back. I need to go to him. He’s in my head like you are but it’s different. He’s so cold. So full of anger and hunger. Teri, I think he’s dead.”
Heather removed herself from her friend and turned to hide her face when Teri looked over. She felt unusually awkward in her nakedness even though Teri had seen her naked many times over the years.
“Don’t,” Heather said. “Please don’t look at me.”
The bed creaked as Teri stood. Heather flinched as the other woman’s hand touched her cheek lightly.
“It’s okay, Heather. It’s okay,” Teri said. “I know who you are. You could’ve killed me but you didn’t. It’s okay. Please.” Heather turned slowly. Teri’s eyes searched her face as if she were memorizing it. “Your eyes are super creepy like that but I think your fangs are cool. See? I’m not afraid.”
Heather didn’t correct her friend’s lie. She could feel the other woman’s fear through their link. But, it was subdued, almost hidden under a layer of compassion and love. Heather’s heart hurt as she watched her friend subconsciously touch the two faded marks on the left side of her neck.
“And look!” Teri continued, looking down. “You have hips! Is it… is it too soon for a ‘Monster Mash’ dancing joke? Yes? No? Or are you supposed to do waltzes and ballroom dancing instead? Is there a manual somewhere do you think?”
“Oh, Teri,” Heather sighed. “I don’t know how you can do it. How you can live through all of the terrible things in life and still smile.”
Teri blushed. She looked down at her toes while red crept up along the sides of her ears. “It’s all I have. There’s already too much pain in the world, Heather. If all I can do is make people smile then that’s what I’ll do.”
“I,” Heather hesitated. She wanted to tell Teri to wait at the inn while she looked for the man but she worried about her. Alone in the chaos she caused.
Go, she told the waiting rats. Find him. She guided her small army through the forest.
“Heather?” Teri asked.
Here. Here. Here. Here. Here, they told her. Heather couldn’t remember burying the man but he was not as she left him. A small pile of dirt marked his grave. She briefly considered having them dig but if they weren’t fast enough or strong enough to stop him, what would happen?
“We have to go,” Heather told her friend. “I have to find the man from last night. I can feel his hunger and he’s not even awake yet.”
Heather dressed herself quickly, tugging and pulling at her jeans. She was larger but, thankfully, not too big for her old clothes. The claws at the tips of her toes wrecked her socks and her shoes refused to fit. She hadn’t realized but, in addition to the claws, her feet were wider and her soles were tough and leathery. Her toes also seemed longer and she was pretty sure there was an extra joint on every single one of them. They curled in in a faintly obscene way when she flexed them.
“Like this,” Heather said finally. Her nipples pressed against her thin white top. The shirt did little to hide the swells of her larger breasts.
“Umm. Ummm,” Teri said, blushing again. “Maybe a jacket, too?”
Heather blinked. “Right. I, uhh, don’t feel the cold much anymore. I’m going to go without. It doesn’t really matter.”
“Well, now I am jealous. That’s super handy. Won’t people notice? The fangs… they’re kinda… and your ears…”
The two women left their room. The hallway was empty but Heather could hear people talking on the ground floor. Teri followed behind her nervously as they made their way downstairs. As soon as Heather stepped into the open, the conversations stopped. Every single face was turned to her.
“Heather!” Teri hissed. “They’re staring at you!”
“I know,” Heather answered. “Look at their faces.”
Everyone from small children to grandparents were devoid of expression. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. They breathed almost as one, steady and even.
“Are you- are you doing that to them?” Teri asked. Heather felt a sense of awe coming through their connection.
“Not on purpose. Let’s go. We have to hurry.”
The faces turned to follow them as they passed and, exiting the inn, they found the same thing outside. Everyone within eyesight tracked their movements silently.
“Holy crap. Holy crap. That’s… that’s… hey, how come I’m not doing the same thing?” Teri asked, ever curious.
“I think maybe because of what happened to you. What I did to you. You were caught by it yesterday. The effect of it.” Heather led her friend through the town towards the forest. She began to walk more quickly as the dead man stirred in his deep grave.
“Whoa, seriously? I don’t remember… oh. Ohhhhh, okay. That’s nifty. But creepy. But ultimately nifty.” They walked in silence for a while, deeper and deeper into the nearby forest. “Wait. Wait. Heather, oh my god, am I going to grow fangs?”
Heather turned to look at her friend. “No?” she answered, unsure of herself. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. Do you feel any different? Any urges or things pulling at you?” In her mind, she spoke to the rats. Go, hide yourself.
“No,” Teri said with a frown. “Just you. Kind of. I’m not going to lie; I’m a little disappointed. What do you think it’d take to-”
“Shh!” Heather whispered, her hand low to the ground. “We’re here.”
“Where? I don’t- Oh, shit.”
A small pile of dirt lay in a clearing ringed by trees. As they watched, the dirt shifted and moved. More dirt pushed up and out of the ground. A single gray hand reached through the mound. Teri hid herself behind Heather as a second hand pushed through. Thousands of small eyes joined with the two women to watch the dead man pull himself from the ground.
Dirt clung to the man’s lanky, matted hair. Bones protruded from his face and through the holes in his clothes. His eyes were milky white and but they swiveled as he looked around. Sharp fangs jutted from under his top lips.
Heather could feel the man’s rage. And his hunger. It consumed him, leaving nothing behind.
The fur along Heather’s back began to thicken and spread as her body responded to the creature in front of her. Her creature. Small bones popped in her jaw and at the base of her spine.
The dead man screamed as he freed himself completely. He turned to face Heather. He’d known she was there. He could feel her nearly as well as she felt him. The man crouched and ran. Dirt and leaves shot up behind him at his incredible sprint. Long ropes of drool slid from his fangs to his lips as he charged, arms held wide.
Heather lowered herself while her body changed. Her face cracked, pushing out into a flat-nosed snout as red fur raced up and over to cover her head. Claws pushed through her fingertips as her tail pushed at her pants and shirt. A line of skin grew from her arms and down her sides, black and thick. The young woman’s shirt tore as she changed, falling to the ground to expose her wings and thick fur.
Teri stepped between the two, mere seconds before the man reached Heather. Teri’s arms shot out lightning quick and she shoved. As quick as the young woman was, the man was faster; he gripped her wrists and pulled. The two crashed to the side, slamming against a huge old tree. The man howled, clawing and snapping at Teri but the young woman held her own until the man’s hands raked down her chest. She screamed but latched onto the man’s wrist. Her arms trembled as she fought to contain the immense strength of the vampire above her. Slowly, the insane creature’s hands reached closer and closer to Teri’s chest.
“STOP!” Heather screamed.
Although her face was reshaped into a bat-like snout, the words were clear and loud and mixed with undeniable command. Her long, curved ears picked up the tiny angry shrieks of bats as they flew into a rage, racing toward her to offer their support. Thousands and thousands of rats surged from between the trees, only stopping for further commands from their mistress.
The male immediately dropped to his knees with his head bowed and his body bent, cowering before her. Teri rolled to the side with one knee bent. Her shirt was in ruins and her bra hung between her bloody breasts. Four livid lines of red split her skin and she winced, holding her hand against the raw, open wounds.
Insane hunger burned through the link between Heather and the vampire. Her command was the only thing holding him in place. The male threw every ounce of his willpower against her and she could feel each useless effort. The smell of blood permeated the air but Heather’s pure, black eyes focused on the male. She screamed again and the sky became pitch black, the moon and stars hidden behind a cloud of swirling bats.
Heather took a step and found herself instantly standing directly in front of the vampire. He trembled in front of her, words pouring from his mouth as he perhaps begged for his life. Anger and rage and hate burned through Heather. Her deadly claws ripped the man’s head from his shoulders in one quick, savage motion. She lost herself in her bloodlust as she tore the man apart. Only when she burst his gray, shriveled heart did the dull light at the back of her mind blink out of existence. Heather screeched triumphantly and her eyes locked on Teri.
Teri held a bloody hand to her mouth. Horror and relief flooded into Heather from the other woman.
“This!” Heather screamed. “This is who I am! Now tell me the world makes sense. Now tell me it’ll all be okay!”
“It’ll… It’ll be…”
“LIAR!” Heather screamed. Her red furred muzzle was wide, black lips pulled back to expose her fangs. “I can smell your blood! Even now… even now all I want is to take it all from you. It’s taking everything I have not to drain you like I drained HIM! You have no idea. NO idea!”
Tears fell from Teri’s eyes but, despite it, Heather felt her resolve. Teri stood and pulled at her shirt, easily tearing the rest of it away from her. She stood exposed and bloody in front of her friend. Her new strength and speed weren’t her only gifts as the marks on her chest had begun to slowly heal. The young woman’s huge breasts hung low on her wide, curvy frame.
“I trust you,” Teri began. “I-”
“You shouldn’t!” Heather screamed.
“I do. I trust you,” Teri said. “I… take it. I trust you not to kill me. If you didn’t before, you won’t now. I trust you.”
Heather raised her clawed, furred arms wide, thick black wings spread. She screamed her frustration and anger and fears. The bats overhead fled from her and the rats followed, terrified at their mistress’s rage.
Teri took a step towards her friend.
“Don’t!” Heather warned.
Teri took another step.
“Stop!” Heather commanded.
Teri grunted, grimacing through the sudden urge to stop moving. She slowly forced herself another step forward.
“Please,” Heather begged. “Please don’t.”
Teri stood in front of her friend. Heather fell to her knees. The smell of Teri’s blood was overwhelming. She could feel the woman’s heartbeat without touching her. The part of her that was still human wept as her claws dug into Teri’s hips. She leaned forward and her black lips brushed against the other woman’s wounds. Heather closed her eyes and her long, thin tongue reached out to lap at her friend’s blood.
“Oh,” Teri groaned. “Oh. That’s. Oh.”
Heather’s claws dug further into Teri’s skin, holding her tightly as she cleaned the blood from Teri’s stomach. Teri reached out, gripping the thick tuft of fur along Heather’s neck.
“That’s. Should it. Feel like that?” Teri moaned. Her hips worked in a small, slow circle as Heather cleaned her.
The bright point of light in Heather’s head flared. Pleasure. Overwhelming pleasure. And trust. And love. Heather almost lost herself as her tongue licked slowly along the healing cuts in Teri’s chest. Teri hissed above her friend, strong hands pulling almost painfully against Heather’s fur.
“Yes,” Teri sighed. “Oh. Yes.” Her small, pink nipples stirred and hardened. Biting her lip, she fought the rising lust burning within her. Heather is my friend, she told herself. “F- fuck.”
Heather stopped. Her friend’s blood sang through her body and she wanted more. It wasn’t enough. It could never be enough. But, the bond forged earlier saved them both.
“It’s enough,” Heather gasped. “Enough.”
“Oh. Are- are you sure?” Teri stuttered. “It was… I… It’s…”
Heather pushed herself away. Her long tongue made a quick circuit around her muzzle. Teri’s wounds were already half closed and no scar was left behind. Unlike earlier, when Heather fed from her, the young woman’s bleeding stopped as soon as Heather finished cleaning her.
“I-” Teri tried to say. The young woman sat heavily and then lay down. “Holy shit. Holy shit, Heather. I… I almost…”
Heather leaned back with her eyes closed. She had to adjust herself to make her tail more comfortable but, eventually, she found a good position. Her thirst was nowhere near sated but, unlike the night before, she found she could ignore it. She felt at peace, almost. The forest was utterly silent. No large animals remained anywhere near her and her own creatures had left, giving her the space she needed.
Teri touched her chest lightly. “Whoa,” she panted. “I’m a superhero. Look. Look at me. Healing factor. And. And I was strong! And fast. And. Holy shit. Hooooly Shiiiiit. I was like, bam! I’ll be good in a minute. Just need to lay here. Oh. Hey. I guess I can see pretty good in the dark now, too. That leaf looks like Abraham Lincoln smoking a crack pipe.”
While her friend rested, Heather ripped her jeans from her body. Her heavy, larger breasts lay against her chest but were now little more than curves under her heavily furred body. Even her sex was covered. The fur above her mound was darker, brown and black mixing with the tuft of red. She felt ashamed at the way she felt instead. At the way her nerves stood on end deep within her body. At how excited and turned on she felt. Teri was her friend but the experience had been highly erotic. Still, she wondered. Why wear clothes at all when I’m like this?
Eventually, Teri pushed herself up. She looked at her friend. Heather braced herself for the loathing she was sure she’d feel through their bond but, instead, found her friend’s familiar curiosity.
“Does that hurt?” Teri asked.
“No,” Heather answered. “I think it takes a lot to hurt me. It just feels different.”
“Yeah. It looks different. But still, a bit. A lady bat. Oh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Can you fly?”
Heather nodded. “I did last night. It’s-”
“Can you take me flying?!” Teri blurted out.
Heather’s wide, black lips curled into a mockery of a smile. “Maybe. I can’t hold you and the wings are attached to my sides so I don’t know how you’d hold onto me. But, I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”
“Oh my god, please? Please can we try?” Teri begged.
“No,” Heather said. She stood, brushing sticks and dirt from her fur as best as she could. “I need to see something. Will you come with me?”
Teri stood. Her chest was whole and unmarked. Heather looked away, both out of respect for her friend’s naked body and because the memory of what she’d done came back to her in vivid detail. Her mouth watered at the thought of it. Between her thighs, muscles relaxed and tightened, rubbing wetly against each other. Heather grit her teeth, fangs grinding against her lesser teeth.
“Will I need a shirt wherever we’re going?” Teri asked. “I shouldn’t have ripped it. Lost in the moment, I guess?” She glanced down at herself and blushed. “It’s, umm, a bit cold out. That’s all.”
“No, you won’t need one,” Heather said. “Nobody would notice. Not while I’m there.”
“Oh?” Teri said sweetly. “Your figure fills out finally and suddenly you’re the bees knees and think you’re prettier than me? Psh. You’re just a jumped up hussy. My boobies are-”
Heather stepped to her friend, wrapping her in her leathery wings.
“H- hey,” Teri complained weakly. “Oh. You’re warm.” The young woman slid her arms around her friend’s waist. Heather looked down briefly as Teri pressed her face happily between Heather’s furry breasts.
Turning slightly, Heather faced the unseen castle. She closed her eyes, remembering what the castle looked like. She pulled details from her mind until they were as clear as the forest around her. Heather stepped through the darkness, emerging on the ground floor of the castle. She spread her arms, uncovering her friend. Teri was smiling happily as she rubbed her cheek lightly against her friend’s soft chest.
“Um,” Heather said.
“What?” Teri said, blinking. “Oh. Oh! Whoa! How… how did you do that?”
“I did it automatically earlier. I thought I would try it again. I guess it wasn’t a fluke. I,” Heather blushed. “I walked through the shadows I think.”
“Oh. Em. Gee! Heather. Heather, that’s amazing. That’s- What’s that thing? There’s something here.”
“I know,” Heather replied. “That’s why I came. You can feel it, too?”
“A little. It feels heavy. Oh! Like, standing in a big bathtub and feeling the draining water suck at you. Against your body. Kind of like that. Pull-y, suction-y kind of thing.”
Heather tried cocking her eyebrow in her new form. Failing, she instead crossed her arms against her chest and her wings draped around her, covering her from the waist down.
“Is… is that your skeptical look?” Teri asked. “Should I get used to it? It’s kind of hard to tell. Are you doing something with your eyes?”
“I’m… no, not skeptical. It’s my, uhh, ‘where the hell do you come up with these things’ look.”
“Ohhh, that look,” Teri said. “I see it now. It’s different than your normal ‘What the hell, Teri’ look.”
“It just feels like gravity to me. Like the center of gravity is off.”
“Well, you would say that. Gravity. I don’t think you’ve ever had a romantic bone in your body. And that’s why you’re always single. Men don’t want gravity, Heather. They want pull-y, suck-y things.”
Teri laughed loudly suddenly. “Oh my god. They actually do want pull-y suck-y things. You know, with the-” Teri pressed her tongue against the inside of her cheek over and over while jerking her hand back and forth in front of her mouth.
“Yeah. Yeah, I got it, Teri.”
“Blowjobs. I’m talking about blowjobs, Heather. Poetic blowjobs. Not science blowjobs.”
Heather sighed. “I’m a vampire … thing… maybe… or something. I don’t even know. And you’re… not exactly human? I don’t know what you are, either. And we’re sitting in the middle of Dracula’s-”
“Not actually Dracula’s castle,” Teri interrupted. “He was barely here.”
“Dracula’s castle,” Heather continued. Her short, wide red tail twitched in irritation. “There’s something potentially terrible in the castle’s basement and you’re making jokes about blowjobs.”
“And turning myself on a little, too.” Teri grinned. “Mark had the best tasting-”
“All right!” Heather said. Despite everything, she found herself blushing. “Come here. I don’t think there’s an easy way down.”
Teri squealed and immediately pressed herself against her friend. “Gosh, you’re just so soft.”
“Just… Can you not… Augh. Leave my breasts out of it, all right?” Heather wrapper her arms around her friend. She had no images of where she wanted to go but whatever was pulling at her provided enough for her power to work. The young woman blinked and immediately found herself in a massive underground cavern.
Centered in the middle of the area was a gigantic black form. Heather released Teri and dropped to all fours, her arms and wings spread wide. Her small, stubby tail raised and she bared her fangs, hissing as her pitch black eyes shined. Teri kicked herself back, screaming as she caught sight of the figure standing before them.
He, for he certainly was male, had to be over thirty feet tall. Pure white chains, each link as big as a car held his arms, legs and neck in place. The ragged, hacked remains of what could only have been gigantic bat wings slowly worked back and forth. He growled, baring four fangs as his biceps strained against the chains holding him in place.
So, the figure said. His voice thundered through their minds.
“Oh god, Heather!” Teri said, shielding her eyes. “What is that thing? I can’t… I can’t even look at it!”
Heather’s claws anchored her to the stone floor. Slowly, she relaxed and glanced at her friend. Her own behavior and posture had been automatic. Ever since she’d changed, she’d thought she was invincible. That nothing could stand against her. Now, faced with this creature, she knew how wrong she was.
I thought your kind long dead, he said, his eyes locked on Heather’s prone form. My progeny.
“What do you-” Heather began.
Born of my blood. Have you come to free me or mock me, as your ancestor did?
Heather’s ears ached from the creature’s onslaught. Beside her, Teri leaned over and vomited loudly. The other woman pressed her face against her knees with the heel of her hands on her ears.
“Who?” Heather called out.
My Son, Aelius, and his creature, Vlad. Have you come as they did, Daughter?
“I’m not your daughter!” Heather screamed. Rumbling filled the cave and Heather realized the giant was laughing.
You’ve tasted my blood. You’ve received my gifts. You are mine. As eternal now as I am, bound here from before your human kind walked the earth. Are you come now to release me?
“Why?” Heather asked. “Why are you trapped here?”
Silence filled the cavern. Somewhere, water dripped slowly. The figure watched her quietly.
It is beyond even your ability to comprehend now. Release me.
“How?” Heather asked. The young woman crawled over to her friend, covering her with her wings protectively. “What will happen if I do?”
End my existence.
“Will I be human again?”
You will never be as you were. There is nothing in the whole of reality that can remove my gifts save Death’s artful hand and my own release. And even Death will find you no easy prey now.
“Will,” Heather paused. “Will it heal my friend?”
Again, no. Your own death will not free her of you. She is yours and no other will feed of her as you do. She would survive your death and wander, lost forever.
Heather lay against her friend. Pain and suffering radiated through the bond. The creature’s very existence was slowly killing Teri.
Leave me, Daughter. I can see into my own child’s heart. If you will not free me then I shall not suffer your presence. Go! And be wary of the world you’ve crossed into.
With a sharp, loud cry, Heather willed herself away.
Heather opened her eyes. The sky was pure dark blue, aglow with an eternity of stars. She lay with Teri on cool, damp grass at the side of a hill. She knew immediately that if she looked behind herself, she’d find a familiar rock jutting from the top of the hill. Her ears twitched as the bats deep in the cave sang their joyous greetings. The young woman exhaled, unsure of how long she’d been holding her breath. Every time she blinked, she could see the onyx giant.
“Teri,” Heather whispered. “It’s okay. He’s gone.” She felt slightly weaker and she knew it was due to the distance away from the monster under the castle. He gave her power but she was tied to him. Heather sighed. As Teri was tied to her.
“Scared,” Teri whimpered. “Hurts.”
“I know, honey,” Heather said quietly, she rubbed her friend’s back gently in a circle. “I’m here.”
“I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.” Teri repeated.
Heather covered her friend and pulled her closer. Teri instinctively nuzzled against Heather’s chest. Her pain slowly began to fade.
“I think,” Heather said. “I think they have it wrong. Vampires. You know? Cursed to live in darkness while lamenting the loss of sunlight. Why? The stars are beautiful and the sun hides them away.” Rather than tiny, solid white pinpricks of light, the stars were large and opalescent. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever seen someone as visual stunning as the immense field of jewels glittering above her. The moon, nearly full was enormous and bright silver. A halo of pure white surrounded it and she smiled up at the light it gave to her.
Teri shifted against her friend. She held her hands up under her chin like a small child would.
“I’m… I can’t go home, Teri,” Heather sighed. “I’m pretty sure it would kill me. I think… I think the further I am from… him… the weaker I’d get until I just… stopped. I can feel it. I think I’d be okay with that.”
Sadness and anger raced through their bond.
“No, listen. I think I’d be okay with it if it was just me. Maybe. You saved me once, years ago. I thought, you know, after being bullied and told how much of a freak I was because I didn’t wear dresses and all that crap. You stayed with me. You taught me to live because people cared about me. That I mattered to other people. You stayed with me then and afterwards, until I was safe on my own. I-”
“Still here,” Teri whispered. “I’m still here.”
“I know, Teri,” Heather said. She hugged her friend fiercely. “I think I’m going to need your help again. I’m scared, Teri. Scared of what this will do to me.”
“Need you, too,” Teri said.
“I need your laughter, Teri,” Heather said. “I need you to remind me to be human.” Hot tears mixed with the fur along her muzzle. Human, she thought bitterly. Not so much anymore.
“I will,” Teri answered.
“Stay awake with me, Teri,” Heather whispered again. “Watch the stars with me. I’ll keep you safe and watch out for you.”
“Just. Just like you always have,” Teri said, her voice small.
“Just like I always have,” Heather replied, her throat painful with emotion.
Teri shifted against her, turning to face the stars. Heather wrapped her wing around the woman when she shivered. Teri closed her eyes with a sigh and then opened them again.
“Do you-” Teri paused.
“What?” Heather asked, gently.
“Do you think Uranus is out there somewhere?”
“I was just wondering if your anus was out there. You know. Because it’s so big now. Your ass. Star-like.”
“That’s- that was terrible, Teri. Way below your normal standards.”
Teri sighed again. “So are you, Heather. But, I’m still here with you anyway. And I’m not going anywhere. You’d be lost without me.”
“Maybe we’ll even get a house somewhere,” Heather said while they both stared up into the night.
“Maybe. Maybe shutters. Definitely lamps, though.”
“Are you hitting on me, Heather?”
The two friends bickered happily back and forth under the stars, their future as limitless as the night sky.