“My Phantom Traveler”

“Darling, Darkness, lover of mine, with my bite I’ll drink your wine. Pierce thy flesh beneath the skin and allow the flow of your sweet crimson.” ~ Sheila Renee Parker 

 

 

People call it, “Land beyond the hills.”, but not me. I call it home. Sona, Romania is where my family has lived for generations. Some as traders, some as farmers, and then there’s my father. He’s a dignitary who answers to the King. As far as my mother goes, I never got to meet her. She died during childbirth. The day I was born was the last day she took breath. My father still speaks of her often, fondly with tears in his eyes. Even though it’s been nineteen years, I know that his heart continues to beat only for her.

The evening was filled with a dusk colored sky as the sun slowly vanished behind the trees. In my carriage, I was on route to pick up my father from the castle where he was discussing politics with the King. I’ve always found the meetings to be rather boring, so every time he attended was when I’d have our driver take me out for a ride.

The air was damp from the late afternoon rain and the carriage’s wooden wheels jolted with every mud puddle they splashed. The atmosphere was soggy, and yet, there was still a certain calmness that I felt to be quite serene.

As we trailed through the woods, nearing the village, just up the distance was a figure walking ahead to the side of the road. With my parasol I knocked on the ceiling of the carriage to tell the driver to stop. My curiosity was oddly drawn to this peculiar character wearing a dirty brown, hooded robe that dragged the earth with each step that he took. It was stained with mud from the feet up. However filthy as he was, there was something undeniably alluring about this strange man.

I called out to him as the horses were coming to a stop.  “Need a ride?”

He didn’t respond and for some odd reason that bothered me.

“You, peasant!” I forcefully spoke, demanding his response.

Obviously, I had struck a nerve because he came to a halt. His pose stiffened as he raised his head, turning his face in my direction. Through the long, fallen hair in his eyes, and just past the edge of his hood, he looked at me with a savage glare in his eyes.

“What do you want?”  He growled.

“I….. I…..” I stammered to speak for he caught me off guard with his harshness.

“Ah… now you can’t speak.” He grinned heinously.

“Ma’am?” The driver interrupted. “We must be going. You’re father…”

I hushed the driver to stop and pleaded for another moment.

“Mustn’t keep your father waiting.” Toyed the hooded one.

I froze, couldn’t understand what I was doing. Normally I would have never stopped for a complete stranger, especially one so unkempt and impudent, but there was something about him that made me extremely inquisitive and I had to find out why.

“Get in!” I demanded. “We’re heading in that direction and you appear to need a ride.”

“Well, my feet are worn and I have grown tired.” He mumbled.

Without saying another word I opened the carriage door and motioned for him to come inside. He hesitated, then gathered his composure. While taking the seat across from me I warned him to keep his distance. His gaze began at my feet and his eyes eerily went all the way up my body to meet mine. He slightly shook his head as he grinned, “Can’t make any promises.”

“I’m warning you!” I urged.

“Relax.” The hooded vagrant said. There was an uneasy calm that immediately overcame me as he continued to speak. “Now, tell your driver to drive.”

Quietly, I obeyed his command and knocked on the ceiling of the carriage to do so. Suddenly, it was as if this bizarre character was in charge of me and I was no longer in control. What just happened? One minute I felt strong and then the next, I felt completely powerless.

“What’s your name?” He asked while making sure to keep his eyes locked onto mine. It was making me feel uncomfortable and regretting picking him up.

“Your name?” He asked again. His eyes darkened as they bore deeper into my soul.

“Angelika.” My lips whispered cautiously. I slowly pressed my back firmly against my seat, an attempt to get far enough away from him as I possibly could. He immediately took notice of my move and snickered. His eyes continued to stare into mine as if he were trying to figure me out, read me like an unwritten script.

And then….. “Ahhh….. “ a malefic grin stretched across his face. “Like an angel.”

“Pardon me?” I quickly responded.

This nasty, foul person leaned towards me and callously continued. “Ha! Your name. It means ‘like an angel’. Ironic, don’t you think?”

“What do you mean?” I snarled, advancing his lean with the same inconsiderate attitude he was giving me.

His harsh breath filled my nostrils and I could literally feel every word that he spoke on my face. “You. Me. Together in this moment. An angel and I.” He laughed. “It amuses me.”

“I’m far from being an angel.” I protested abruptly.

“Ha! Of course you are.” He added while leaning back into his seat.

Suddenly, the moment grew quiet and still with a sense of wickedness that I couldn’t overcome.

“Should you tell your driver to stop and let me off?” He quietly mouthed while watching the trees as we passed them by.

“No.” Was all I could reply. It was as if however vile this rugged character was, I didn’t want him to leave. His presence was captivating and I wanted him near. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. His hair was long and dark with a certain wave about it. The straggly whiskers on his face concealed an age that I couldn’t quite collect, but that didn’t stop my inquisitiveness about him.

“Why are you looking at me?” He asked while staring out the window.

“What? I’m not.” I was too embarrassed to be honest with my response, so I sheepishly looked down at my dress, pretending to brush off road dust that obviously wasn’t there.

“Your eyes, I can feel them on me.” He smiled, slowly turning his head in my direction.

“No.” I quickly interjected, but before I could speak any further, he was across the carriage leaning his brute body into mine. Through his robe I could feel his chest muscles press against my bosom.

“You like that, don’t you?” He smiled gloriously like a victor claiming his prize.

With all my will I wanted to deny his advance, but was well aware that I physically wouldn’t be able to. He towered over me, conquering my every rejection.

“You can’t resist me.” The words whispered from his icy lips as they lingered down my neck. His breath became cold like death and yet, I still wanted him more.

I shivered from his touch. “Please!” I begged.

“Please, what? Stop?” He looked into my eyes with an enraptured darkness that continued to lure me in.

“Or would you like for me to…..?” His kissing persisted as his hands began to explore my body. He unlaced my bodice, exposing the skin beneath my dress. I had become utterly vulnerable to him as he proclaimed my innocence. He penetrated me, taking what I could no longer take back, and I loved it, every sensual moment of it! He made me feel things I had never felt before. A defeated fear that had completely disappeared. He replaced it with a voracious need that made me desire more. My legs wrapped around his waist, inviting him even deeper into me. Without hesitation he quickly obliged, causing me to moan uncontrollably.

The driver apparently heard us because he called out. “Ma’am, is everything all right?”

“Faster!” I screamed in ecstasy.

“Keep going!” My bearded flame demanded the driver.

We could feel our carriage gathering speed which only intensified the atmosphere. Our mood became more fierce, more sensual and totally adulterated. His carnal spell had me undoubtedly under his control and we were making love like two wild beasts. It was erotic in every sense of the word.

His kisses became harder and more fervent. I could feel the sharpness of his teeth as he nibbled my neck. There was pain, slightly, but with an invitation that tingled with anticipation. I gladly exposed my neck even more, welcoming him to take me.

With his deep voice he softly spoke. “Darling, Darkness, lover of mine, with my bite I’ll drink your wine. Pierce thy flesh beneath the skin and allow the flow of your sweet crimson.”

And it was in that exact, beautiful moment that I could feel my old life end and a new one begin. Confidence, elegance and even arrogance brought on with strength, wisdom and power was immediately bestowed upon me. Was I still under his spell or were my eyes finally opened to a reality unveiled? What had this stranger done to me?

I looked deep into his eyes for answers. “Who are you?” I begged to know.

With a charming smile he replied. “To some a monster, to many a prince, but to you, my love…. “ He quietly paused. “I am Vlad.”

I gasped in disbelief. And just like that he was gone, vanished from the presence before me. His hooded robe, his smell, his very essence were all gone within an instant. I sat there in that vacant moment, clutching my disheveled dress, questioning the mere validity of my sanity. Was it all simply a dream? I quivered at the thought.

We drove a ways down the road. The streets were becoming brighter as the light from the lanterns illuminated the impending night. We were entering the village where my father was. When we arrived at the castle, the carriage came to a stop and I found myself not being able to move. I sat there with my head against the seat, asking myself, “Did I really spend the evening with a man named Vlad?” And if so, how did he vanish into thin air?

Then I thought, “Vlad the Impaler?! Prince of Darkness?!” But that was impossible because he died almost a century ago and the legend of him being a vampire was merely just that…. a legend. Right?!

The driver opening the carriage door suddenly broke my confused concentration. “Ma’am?”

“Huh? Ah, yes.” I quietly said while taking his hand as he lead me outside.

“Where’s the gentleman that we picked up?” He asked, looking throughout the carriage.

I couldn’t answer him. All I could do was shake my head while stumbling for the words.

Then, the immediate shock on the driver’s face as he looked at me. His eyes trembled with fear. “Your neck!”

“What do you mean?” I asked him while reaching for my neck with my left hand. It was wet and warm. Puzzled, I looked down at my fingertips. They were covered with blood, my blood. I could feel the bite mark where my dark lover had bitten me. I smiled because that was the confirmation that I needed for it wasn’t just a dream, it was definitely a reality. A beguiling one shared intimately with my phantom traveler.

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“The Change”

“POW!”

The loud sound of gunfire exploded just feet away from my head causing my eyes to pop wide open. Panic stricken, I immediately jumped to my feet.

“Ma’am, are you ok?” The rifle toting man frantically asked.

“Huh? What?!” I spat the words out as my heart raced with fear. “What the hell’s goin’ on?”

“You were being attacked.” He continued while oddly looking my body over as if he was checking for something.

I shrugged him off with a harsh, scowled expression. “Get off me!”

“Hey, I was only tryin’ to help!” He abruptly growled back.

“Huh?” The confusion was still running rampant through my brain, but then a brief second of clarity began to occur. The night was pitch black, so black that even the moonlight couldn’t be seen through the thick cover of trees. I honestly couldn’t even see me waving my own hand in front of my eyes.

Then suddenly, my estranged hero started snapping his fingers in a rude attempt to get my attention. “Hey!” He exclaimed.

“What?” I shouted back.

“Look around you!” He yelled while shining his flashlight throughout the woods like a deranged lunatic.

“What the hell are you…….” My voice trailed off with a weakened tone as I started to see what he was referring to.

In my stunned state I had become paralyzed with fear. For what I had seen before me, in the flashed glimpses of his light, was the vanishing of ravenous creatures scurrying away. Their bellowed groans diminished into the air along with the foul stench that wreaked of rotting flesh from their bones.

I freaked, “What are those??!!”

“Calm down.” The hunter said.

“How can you tell me to calm down?” The tears welled my eyes and rushed down my cheeks like a busted dam had given way.

“Take a breath. Are you all right?” He added.

“I dunno, I guess so.” I began to feel my body, checking to make sure that everything was still intact. However, I did feel some soreness, maybe bruising in my lower back on the right side, but I wasn’t about to tell him about it. There was absolutely no way I was going to let some creeper lift up my shirt, even if it was to help me. His rough, unkempt appearance made me feel uncomfortable enough as it was. So, I casually lowered the bottom of my shirt and pretended that everything was ok.

“What’s a girl like you doing out here?” He asked, twitching around towards every little sound amongst the trees. His trigger happy self was armed and ready to fire again.

With a shameful tone I answered, “I’m homeless.”

“Homeless?” His annoying questions continued as he finally took notice of my make-shift campsite not far behind me.

“Yeah, had it out with my folks. Haven’t seen them in months. I guess with all the sleepless nights I’ve been having, that I finally passed out hard enough and didn’t even realize I was being attacked. Or maybe it was the drunk induced coma…. who knows? Or better yet…. who cares?” I spewed the words out with pure sarcasm. The harsh taste of last night’s whiskey still lingered on my lips.

“Ya know, you’re pretty nosy for an old man.” I snapped.

“Whatever, I gotcha. None of my business.” He backed off with his hands waving in the air.

Then, it was my turn to quiz him like he did me. “What’s your story? Why ya out here in the middle of the night carrying around a gun? Who goes huntin’ this late?”

“I’m a hunter.” He boastfully replied.

“Well, duh… I can see that.” I scoffed.

“Uh huh…..” He paused, looking around, guarded as if waiting for those vile creatures to return. “Those damned things. Whatever the hell they are. I hunt them.”

“Zombies?” The word blurted from my lips before I had a chance to even rationally think about what I was about to say. Suddenly, I felt a wave of embarrassment sweep over me because I knew that mentioning anything so bizarre was completely and totally insane.

“Yeah, somethin’ like that.” He quickly answered, still looking around, paranoid with every twitching sound. His trigger happy finger on his gun continued to be ready and waiting upon command.

“Wait! No way!! Zombies don’t exist.” I joked, but then was quickly reminded of the sharp pain in my back as it throbbed like that of a nagging toothache. And then, a disturbing thought popped into my head. One so horrifying that I wouldn’t dare speak about it to the hunter. The nightmarish possibility that what if when I was being attacked, I was actually bitten by one of those gruesome things? It was at that moment that I discovered the intensity of the wound on my back. As discreet as I was trying to be, the hunter took notice of my sudden behavior.

“Somethin’ wrong?” He glared.

“Nah, I’m good. Just an itch.” Quickly I brushed it off.

“Uh huh… don’t be such a lady and let me take a look then.” The old man stepped towards me, shining his flashlight at my waistline.

“I sure as hell ain’t no lady, and I swear if you take one step closer, I’m gonna take you out at the knee. Trust me, old man, I know how to take care of myself.” Moving three to four steps back, I stiffened up, ready for my defense.

“Ok, whatever. I don’t give a damn anyway.” He said as he backed away. And as he stepped back, a stick snapped under his foot. Somehow he lost his balance and fell to the ground. When he did, he caught himself, but while landing he scraped his hand, exposing the raw flesh just beneath the skin’s surface.

“Son of a…..” He mumbled.

Then, all of a sudden, I caught the sweet scent of something. It was something I had never smelled before, something sweet like nectar. I raised my head, sniffing the air around me trying to catch wind of it again. But the higher my nose got, the more faint the desirable smell became. Confused, I began to look around for its origin. My mood was changing and the feeling of emptiness started to take over in my stomach. Hunger was beginning to consume me at an exceedingly rapid pace. My stomach growled with a pain that was so intense that it needed immediate satisfaction. It was growling extremely uncontrollably and the need of fulfillment was urgent. My senses were sharpening, my vision and hearing, and my movements twitched. Something was happening, something terrifying!

“Hey, you all right?” The fallen hunter asked. He looked up at me with a puzzled look on his face, well aware of my odd behavior.

“Yeah, I feel just fine.” A malicious grin slowly formed across my face. As I spoke those words, I began to feel a nefarious sense engulf me. It permeated from the spot on my back and grew stronger as it coursed through my veins. Was it happening? Did those creatures pierce my skin with their razor-like teeth? I felt as if I was changing into one of them. The sense of being predator was exhilarating and the sudden urge to hunt was dire. I needed to feed.

And that was when it hit me. I looked down at the injured man on the ground. His scraped hand was bleeding….. ahhhh…. the sweet smell of nectar!

Our eyes locked and we both knew of the imminent danger that he was in. Obviously, his mounted years of being an experienced hunter paid off because he knew with whom he was dealing. The fierce change had been rapid for me. I had just been born into this ravenous world where rage devoured my soul and hunger had taken over. My nostrils flared and my heart raced, pulsating with every beat. I was ready to pounce him and tear him flesh from bone.

“Now, Miss…. ya ain’t gotta do this….” The rough man pleaded. He tried scurrying back while reaching for the long handled blade that was tucked away in his boot, but wasn’t quick enough for my unbridled advance.

In an instant, I was straddling on top of him, pinning his arms down with my legs. He struggled as hard as he could, even spat in my face and called me some “not so kind” names, but he still couldn’t break free. I suppose that with this new change of mine, came an insurmountable strength that I would have to get use to. Whatever it was, I liked it!

“Now, now, now…. I thought you were big, bad and tough.” I playfully teased, leaning in just inches from his face, so close that our breath intertwined. Anger filled his eyes as he gritted his teeth. Tension thickened between us as the heavy moment in time felt like an eternity. I was waiting for the right moment, almost like toying with my prey. It felt so good, almost orgasmic. Then, without warning, the bastard head butted me, busting my nose. The blood automatically started to flow down into my mouth.

“Mmmmm……” I licked it from my top lip. Tasting my own nectar caused the rage to intensify as it surged throughout my entire body. I reared back and bellowed out a wicked howl, then glared into the frightened eyes of my weakened victim. Terror covered him like a fear filled blanket. His lips trembled and his eyes welled while he cried out, “NOOOO!!!!”

I quickly lunged into him with razor-sharp teeth, piercing the warm, soft flesh of his neck like a hot knife cutting into butter. His blood flowed so sweetly into my mouth like the finest glass of merlot. From there, I began to nibble, then taking full bites to satisfy my insatiable hunger. I could feel his dying body convulse between my legs as I devoured him down to the last fiber of his being.

Finally, the hunter had become the hunted…..

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html