Vampires with disastrous private lives…
I sat there for a good little while feeling sorry for myself. I was guilty. I felt guilty. It’s times like these when I think that if I hadn’t run away I’d be at home with Anna instead of on some forsaken mountainside waiting for demonized anti-venom bats to stop attacking. I could be sipping bourbon with my cousin in front of the fireplace or drinking some of that old fashioned hot chocolate she makes. I’d rather be there.
I should kick myself everyday with those words. Because I should be there, and I could’ve been if I hadn’t left.
As I stood up and surveyed the surroundings a little more keenly I found that I wasn’t the only one deep in thought. My soldiers made a little campfire and cooked some of the leftover chicken and rabbit we’d packed from the monastery to gather their strength. Deacon sat where he could gawk over Belle discretely.
I wanted to puke. I remember that feeling. That emotional high of wanting somebody and I hate it. It just makes me sick because in a lot of ways I broke my own heart and doomed myself to staying in the never ending limbo of longing. You’d think I’d man up and either go home or get over it, but somehow I always find a reason to just stay miserable instead. I guess I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to Anna.
At least if I stay miserable with her then it’s like I’m trying to pay for my mistakes a little bit.
Belle was snoring lightly and resting her head on Elle’s shoulder. I’m going to mess their names up. I feel it. Ryan sat with Elle and thus Belle in his arms completely content to just be there with his wife. Why couldn’t I be like that?
Again, because if I had been like that I’d be at home right now.
The bats flew above us in circles. The ravine below was filling up with their carcasses and I’m not sure if they are forming the circle above us like birds in order to attack or retreat. Just the same, a small breeze blew through our little dome of protection whispering “Get up.”
Everyone stood up slowly, looking around for the voice just in case it wasn’t coming from the angels. Nothing else was around. Belle rubbed the sand out of her eyes and began to grab for the blanket Deacon had laid over her thinking that was her outfit. She smiled when she found that she had actual clothes on again, folded the blanket and yawned as she surveyed the land.
How could she sleep during a time like this anyway?
The sound of marching feet surrounded us and the bubble around us started to move forward slowly. Well, I guess that’s a good sign. Maybe we’re sitting ducks out here.
We moved up the road about a mile and a half before I saw a stray set of wings that seemed to appear out of a plume of black smoke. That’s no bat.
“Hey. You see that?” I asked everyone and pointed to the road behind us where the plume of black smoke had just been.
It dissipated and reappeared in front of us.
Belle froze, Elle’s jaw dropped to the ground, and Ryan looked like he didn’t know if he wanted to stand in front of the girls or hide behind them. The marching footsteps of our angelic entourage didn’t skip a beat. They were obviously not worried about whoever it was.
“Well?” I asked annoyed.
“It’s Primus.” Elle said unsure of what to do.
We just kept putting one foot in front of the other. At the very least, if he could have gotten through the shield of angels around us, then he would have killed us all by now.
Primus was a tall man, with mocha skin, bald, not bad. Except for the whole demon wings thing he looked like the kind of guy I’d hang out with. He must have caught me underestimating him because he quickly bared all of his gleaming silver shark teeth.
Hmm… never mind about hanging out then.
His mouth was moving then he seemed to lunge at the shield and thought better of it. We couldn’t hear what he was saying. But, he was mad and seemed to taunt the angels around us trying to pick a fight. Nothing worked.
In a plume of black smoke he disappeared. But, I had a feeling that he wasn’t really gone.
The longer we walked and didn’t see him the more anxious I became. I knew that he wouldn’t give up so easily. We kept going though. A strange moving mist of green smoke that seemed to have a face hidden in there came and encircled the dome. The marching stopped. As the smoke seemed to swallow us whole we could hear the clanging of swords, the grunts and yells of the angels around us. One lone white feather fell, which Belle caught and put in her hair.
I don’t blame her. Having something to hold onto after what she’s been through is only natural. We waited and listened as the ground beneath us shook. The marching continued and as we continued the shaking only got worse. Snow fell from the mountain peak above us.
The shield acted as a snow plow. The ground beneath us crumbled and fell away revealing the ravine below and the not so dead bats flailing about like bugs that were stepped on but not quite dead. The ground in front of us was gone. We all looked at each other.
If we fell, they’d eat us alive down there. But, the angelic marching continued. If we stayed behind we would be picked off on by one. Only a fool would step out from this protection. I’m sure Primus picked away at the mountain and caused the avalanche.
I wanted to volunteer to take the first step but I was scared. Elle took a step forward but Ryan held her back looking at her like she was crazy. Deacon was watching Belle. As the idea sparked in her mind I saw the whole thing playing out and ending badly. She was going to use her vampire speed and try to jump it.
It was a good twenty feet between the ledge we were on and the next patch of solid ground. I moved to try and catch her arm, but wound up extending my arm and all but punching her in the gut.
“He can get you if you go that far.” I told her.
The angels continued to march and we were huddled up against the edge. Primus appeared at the back end seeming to wait for us to stay put just long enough to come out from under our shield. He looked irritated that he had to work this hard to get what he wanted.
Deacon took the first step forward off of the ledge and stood… midair… with the cold breeze whistling around him. It was like the angles had made an invisible glass bridge beneath us, so we quickly started to cross over. I moved to the back so everyone could go before me. I’m responsible for these people and if we give Primus even one inch, it should be me that pays the price because I was one of the first to hesitate.
Everyone was standing midair as I finally took the first step, only… I could hear what Primus was saying now. Not the marching, not the words Elle, Belle, and Deacon were mouthing. I could hear him.
Fear ripped through my guts as I realized that my own slowness and taking our safety for granted now left me unprotected. The girls ran towards me but Ryan pulled them back telling them not to go. The shield continued to move away from me and I knew that they were over halfway across the broken road now. There was no way I could jump that far to get back inside. There was no way Primus was going to let me try.
My men knew what I knew standing here right now. I was stuck and no one could help me. I messed up. Maybe this is my final payback for leaving my wife and my home. Out on a ledge because I left, about to be killed or tortured enough to make me wish for death.
I didn’t even know what to say to him. None of us had actually met Primus before.
“So, didn’t learn anything did we?” Primus said shaking his head and disappointedly rubbing his temples with his middle finger. I think that was his way of flipping me off.
“Uh, come again?” I said. I was terrified. This is the guy that was coming for Anna. Maybe this was my penance, taking her place.
“You look frightened.” he said charmingly.
“You look angry sir.” I said surprised that he was charming. But, so is the devil I bet.
“Well, I’m not Lucifer. Why are so you scared young man. Afraid that I’ll bite you?” he continued jokingly.
If he wasn’t like, the Primus, I’d go back to my former opinion about hanging out with him. He has a suave, authoritative, yet sort of fun countenance about him.
“Good point.” I answered. I’d better play dumb and stay respectful. Maybe I could pass for a grunt inductee who’s in over their head and he’d let me go.
“Well, you certainly were not the target. But, I’m sure I can make good use of you Linus.” Primus told me as he took a step closer and black smoke began to pour off of him.
Dang, he does know my name. Maybe he read the girls’ lips as they were afraid and running to save me a moment ago.I had serious thoughts about jumping into that vat of demon bats hoping an angel would dive in there after me. I didn’t want to go. But, I had a strange peace over leaving with him. I still didn’t want to go though.
“Shall we?” Primus said as his black smoke began to engulf me.
I take it back. I don’t want to die or be tortured today. While I could still see the snow and the mountains and feel the cold breeze on my skin… I ran as hard as I could.
BLOOD RED GAMES: To be continued later this week.
(Photo courtesy of: gothicart.gothicarts.org)
Music for this episode – Breathe Into Me by Red: