Fiction Fragment Friday
This weeks story came from the idea of starting in the middle of a fast paced sword fight. I realized very quickly that I wanted to add a few twists into the fight. As usual the details came out naturally as I wrote and were not planned from the beginning. I find I discover as much and in many cases more about my story by writing it than I do planning it out.
Perry, perry, thrust, perry. I found myself on the defensive too busy trying to not get cut to come up with an offense. I had thought I was the best swordsman in the world, but my opponent was quickly showing me that I might be mistaken. Fighting defensively was not ideal, but even the best make mistakes. I just had to wait for her to make that mistake and ensure that I was not the one to do so first. The problem with that plan was that she was moving so fast my eyes could hardly track her. Faster than any human should be able to. Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of her though was her smile. I was sweating and straining, but she was moving with grace and smiling the whole time.
“You really have no idea how long it has been since I’ve had a challenge like this.” I could hear the joy in her voice. “It is almost enough to let me forgive your trespass into my home.” She lunged and sliced across my cheek drawing first blood. “Almost.” She looked me up and down and then did the most disturbing thing yet. She licked her lips.
“You know, witty banter to keep you opponent off balance is supposed to be my thing.” I tried to put a bit of mirth in it to hide my fear, but the struggle to keep calm controlled breathes undercut my projected image of nonchalance. I was struggling and any opponent of her caliber had to realize it.
“Was that witty? It is so hard to tell these days. Sometimes it feels like just keeping up with the parlance is more work than it is worth. I would so hate to disappoint an opponent of your caliber with less than adequate banter though. Then again you are here to take something from my art collection that I suspect would be priceless so I suppose a tiny failing of decorum would not be wholly uncalled for.”
How was she doing this? Despite all the exertion she could smoothly deliver lines without gasping for air. The key to witty banter is typically to keep it short and pointed. As few words as possible to avoid needing to take large breathes in between words. She was delivering lines as if she were relaxing in a chair not moving so fast that I was only processing blurs of motion to react to. My only thoughts were that she could not keep the pace up forever and if I kept her talking it would exhaust her sooner.
“Your decorum is riveled only by your beauty my lady.” Maybe I could get her off guard with flattery. “Your skill with a sword only riveled by my own.” I wasn’t quite sure how to read the expression that crossed her face, but I took it as distracted and made my move. I lunged forward attempting to pierce her shoulder in an effort to end the fight. Instead, she pivoted easily dodging my sword and slicing across my stomach. My shirt was soon soaked in my own blood.
The fight instantly changed. There was no more witty banter from her and instead I found she was letting out sounds more akin to growling than breathing. He strikes came with far more strength but lacking the precision of movement I had come to associate with her fighting style. In short, she went from the most skilled swordsperson I have ever met to a violent lashing brute in a matter of moments. If not for her speed the contest would have been quickly ended because her mistakes started coming quickly. I managed multiple slices and stabs, but they did not seem to slow her down at all. Meanwhile I was getting weak from the blood loss.
The fight was over before I knew what had happened. One instant she was standing in front of me sword in hand. The next instant the sword was on the ground, and she was standing behind me. I felt the sharp stab of pain as she bit into my neck. I could feel her sucking on the wound. My arms and legs started to go numb, and I could no longer hold my own sword. I found that the only reason I was still on my feet was because she was holding me up. Then a moment later I was on the ground staring up at the ceiling. She was there right above my face licking my blood off her large fangs. She seemed to have regained her composure.
“I cannot apologize enough for my improper behavior. A good workout always makes me hungry and there you were just smelling so wonderful.” She ran her finger across my belly wound and then stuck it in her mouth running her tongue around it in a rather seductive manor. “While I hate to waste food, you are just too much fun not to keep.” She then bit into her own wrist and dripped the blood down into my mouth. I gagged and choked trying not to swallow any of it, but I was weak. She poked a finger in my wound and when I gasped in pain, she flooded my mouth with her blood. That was the last memory I would have of my mortal life.
I awoke what I would come to learn was three nights later in a coffin. Thankfully my grave was very shallow as I had to dig my way through the dirt to emerge. My stomach was wracked with hunger pains. As my eyes adjusted, I found myself in a storm cellar with a dirt floor. It was baren except for a man tied up against the wall. I instantly recognized the art broker that I used to unload my acquired treasures to. He was the one that had tipped me off to this score. Attached to him was a handwritten note. It read,” Breakfast is served. You had best eat up if you have any hope of surviving the night. I must thank you for the most fun I have had in over two hundred years. I can only imaging what you will be capable of in a century or two. I will be anxiously awaiting our rematch.” It was not signed but I knew it was from her.
I grabbed my stomach as the hunger pain became overwhelming. My conscious thoughts started to blur and something else took over. A beast within me that knew exactly how to end the pain. My body moved faster than my mind could comprehend as I grabbed my business acquaintance and bit into his neck with fangs that had not been there mere moments prior. His blood tasted better than the finest wine that I had every imbibed. With it came his memories. Memories of this woman paying him to send me on the job. It had been a setup from the beginning to get the most infamous art thief in the world into her house. She had not stumbled upon me stealing her possessions, but instead had orchestrated the entire duel because she was bored.
I lay back against the wall as my former friend died. My hunger was sated, and I could once again think clearly. I was angry for being played as a fool and even more angry about being turned into a monster for her amusement. That was when I made the vow that would consume the next two hundred years of my existence. No matter what I would find her and now that we were on even footing, I would win our rematch. It was only a matter of time before I would end first her undead life and then my own.