Monday, September 26, 2016


Cressida sublimated out of 'the Annex.' She flew over the trees. They passed beneath her like bullets. Her vampire eyes uniquely attuned to the moonlight. She caught snippets of the world ├žbelow.... a black bear curled up against the wall of a shuttered cabin... a bobcat eating a dead crow.... something feral, furtive and vaguely humanoid, perhaps a 'Jersey Devil?' They were known to frequent the deep woods of Pennsylvania and New York too.

Then she had to land. Her abilities, strong as they are, only went so far. She needed to rest. She needed to feed, if not on humans, something like a human, or even an animal. She ran through the trees, skipping over roots and rocks and all manner of things. Night-folk can do that. It's automatic. It's instinctive. She caught the scent of that feral thing and closed in. He stopped and froze, just like a deer. She studied him... a true Jersey Devil. Not the convoluted creature of colonial penny dreadfuls, but a basically human shaped creature, covered in short, glossy 'horse hair,' though with a slightly long and somewhat equine face. The cranial hair was thick and feathery, continuing down the neck till it stopped between the shoulder blades, rather like a horse's mane. How scared he was. His night vision was nowhere near as keen as hers. She slowly circled him, weaving in and out of the trees. He gasped. He flinched. The vampirina made no sound. Her lack of scent only added to his fear. She saw the wings. Great bat-like things they were. One was carefully folded behind his back. The other hung lose, torn and broken, perhaps from a bear attack. He couldn't fly. He couldn't get away. He was helpless.

She moved in, ready to feed... not human blood, but close enough. Unlike little Horsey Skeezix and his clan, in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, this one was a true wild specimen, probably come down from the Adirondacks up north. Maybe it had a language. Maybe it didn't. Could be he knew a word or two of English. Crypto-biologists might be interested but Cressida wasn't. She just needed food.

Five heartbeats later she was on him and it was done. He moaned a bit. He cried for his mate and young one hidden in a nearby cave. Cressida didn't want to do it, but had no choice. Jonathon was waiting for her. Stupid Franklin thought she was a renegade. Some renegade. But Jonathon and she had a history... all those slow, lingering sponge baths in the dim, hidden passages of the mole-people. She remembered. He did too. So she took the blood, felt it osmotically pass through every part of her body, not through the arteries, but directly into the tissue itself. She absorbed it like a sponge. Soon after, when she was restored, the vampirina rose up, sublimating through the very molecules of the atmosphere and continued on her way. Jonathon was waiting, so he traveled south, roughly following the northern extension of the turnpike and made her way into Philadelphia.

Cressida, the daughter of a mole-king, had family in town, both night-folk and mortal. She missed her sister, silver to her gold, Sylvia to her Aura and stopped into the subterranean, lower level of never used subway tunnels before arriving at the residence on Rittenhouse Square, where the others were waiting.

The vampirina, formerly known as Aura, played both sides of the crypt. Night-folk need spies too. True, she was new to this and her sympathies lie with one side more than the other... but what difference does that make?

Aura beamed when she saw her sister. In the low, orange glow  from the Sterno can it was hard to discern any difference, though she sensed her transformation. Cressida knew that she did. Neither referred to it and their visit was loving and cordial just the same.

Later that night, she 'appeared' in the upstairs sitting room, among those assembled at the consulate and they were very glad to see her.

Marcus Aurelius said something in an ancient Vampire-vulgate (an old basic type of Vampire Latin) and the discussion continued...

Outside life went on. Cars passed. Delivery vans rattled by. An occasional pedestrian crossed the screen... That is it would have been a screen if we were filming this...

Trouble is, somebody was...

<more next time>


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