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The forest swayed around me in an ancient dance. Their branches bent and swung, their leaves rustling together. I called out to the keepers of the forest, asking them to share with me their collected sun. They joyously complied, and I felt the warm life pouring into me. I brushed my hands against their rough bark, thanking them. I flitted further into trees, my feet skimming across the grass.
Run forest child. The trees whispered. There is darkness here. A beast walks amongst us.
I stopped, looking intently through the trees around me, their fear snaked into my skin, alighting my need to flee. Running was normally a joy for me, but not now, I could taste the danger in the air. I was so consumed by the need to run, I didn't hear the trees cries,
No child! Not that way! The beast!
And then something was wrapping around my shoulders and waist. The things slammed me back into to wall. I tried to break away, I had to run. The trees were weeping, their branched started lashing out at the thing that held me against it.
'What do we have here?' a voice hiss next to ear. My heart pounded in my chest, the beast, he rank of death, I started thrashing, I had to get away.
The beast slammed me against a tree, all of the air rushed out of my lungs in a whoosh. I looked up to see the palest blue eyes staring back. The pupils were slits in the icy wash. I looked in surprise at the face the ideas belonged to. I was expecting a hideous beast with horridly sharp crooked teeth, an animal. But this'this was a man. Human, at first glance, but I could sense the power coiled in tightly within him. And those eyes, they shone with animalistic intent. He looked at me, and I couldn't help taking him in. His strong jaw and high cheek bones, his raven colored hair only chin length.
He smiled, did he notice I looked at him? But thought flew out of my head when I noticed his teeth. They were elongated sharp points.
Vampire! The trees cried.
'You smell absolutely'delightful.' He slowly moved closer to my neck.
'NO!' I screamed, but my entire body was frozen.
'I, Alaster Williams, take you'girl, as my Cuore. I claim your blood and body, and put my life in your hands.' He smiled at that, a cruel smile. A shiver ran down my spine, his head lowered to my neck. His lips lightly caressed my neck and then his fangs sank into my flesh. Pain burned through my veins, it was like liquid fire. My neck felt like hot pokers were slicing through my skin. I cried out as the trees wept.
My eyes were still closed, but I tried to take in what I could. I was on something soft, a bed, with covers over me. I couldn't feel any plants or earth near me. Must be inside. That wasn't good. My neck'it still throbbed.
Slowly I opened my eyes, and quickly looked around. The room was lavish, the bed had a canopy above it and a huge armoire with ornate carvings around a full length mirror. There were wide double doors and then another door on the other side of the room, light spilt through the large window, with a seat below it.
I hopped out of the bed only to fall back. I felt so lightheaded I could hardly stand. My neck throbbed as I could feel my pulse pumping in my head. Anemia, damn vampire.
I had to get out of here. I walked over to the window, but it was locked and the ground was much too far away. I would only attempt that if I was desperate. So I tried the door, he was a vampire he shouldn't be out during the day. It was locked. I rammed my shoulder against it but it didn't even budge. I looked around for some sort of blunt instrument to use. There was a fire place in one of the walls. It wasn't lit but there was a burnt log in it.
I walked over to the fireplace. It was terrible, the burning of trees. Why do people have to cut them down? Can't they hear them screaming? At least when they are burned the trees have already passed on.
I grabbed the burnt log, sent up a prayer that the spirit of the tree found peace as it was reborn into the earth, and stood up with it. I took a few steps to the door and then threw the charred log at the door with all my might. It shattered into ashes and little burnt chunks of wood. I cursed under my breath. The only thing the wood did was leave a black smudge on the door and ash on the ground.
Suddenly the ash started to swirl around on the floor, a thick, sickly green smoke was billowing from under the door. Slowly it started to take shape into four crooked blobs. Slowly the smoke dissipated to reveal four bent over women. No hags. They had crooked noses and scraggily hair. Their skin seemed to just hang on their bones and they were at least a foot shorter than me. But their eyes, they were dead looking, blank stares, all the same color, a stormy solid gray.
They looked at me, all of them, staring at me. They looked me up and down. And then they frowned. They turned to each other, and one said, in a crackly and dry voice,
'Dear she's too pretty. Probably lacks a brain though.' One wearing a dirty blue scarf that said this.
'Pretty sure but not nearly as pretty as I was.' Said the one with a mottled green dress that was too big for her.
'Oh Maureen you ugly witch, you think you were the most beautiful girl that walked this earth. And where did that so called beauty get you?' snapped one with a tattered gray sweater.
'At least I had soul to begin with, you heartless harpy.' Retorted the one I took for being Maureen.
'Umm,' I cut in before one of them could start again, 'Who are you? And what are you? I know your not human' no their energy was wrong to be human. 'Where am I?' I was so frustrated. The four women looked at me, seeming irritated by my interruption. Honestly I couldn't care less.
'Nasty little girl. You should respect your elders.' I snorted at that. Elders. But she ignored it. 'If you had any intelligence in that brain of yours you would have figured out all that already.'
'Oh you little twit, you were just as confused when you first came here.' Snapped the one with the blue scarf.
'I'm Ruby,' said the one with the gray sweater, 'That's Maureen, and that's Nerina,' she pointed to the one with the blue sweater, 'and that's Janice.' She motioned to the last women. 'We are that bastard Alaster's previous Cuore.'
'You stupid hag, she's not even going to know what a Cuore is.' Snapped the one named Nerina.
'It's simple though, you're basically his heart. You're the only one that he can feed off of so then if you die so does he.' Said Ruby.
'Then how can you be his previous Cuore?' I asked, confused.
'If you were paying attention then you wouldn't need to ask.' Nerina sneered.
'How would she know? You didn't. He found a way around the rule. Cuore need a soul, if it is taken from her than the bond between them is broken. Alaster, the ass, found out that during sex he is able to rip the soul from your body. He ripped out our souls when he bored of us. Our bodies withered without our souls. We're empty shells, but of course being without souls makes us immortal, so we can't even die with some dignity.' Ruby's smile was cruel, but her eyes were sad.
'That bastard took my beauty! He took my soul along with my lovely face.' Cried Maureen.
That was why they were so bitter, it was because they didn't even posses their souls.
'So that is what will happen to me?' I asked.
'Of course you stupid chit, why else would he have you here?' Nerina, it was her that said this.
'I am not a child.' I ground out. This was getting irritating.
'Please girl, you can't be more than twenty.' I was surprised, this was the first time Janice had spoken.
'You may think you know the world, girl, but you still have much to learn.' Janice's voice was even, unlike the scathing tones of the other women.
'Really how old are you women?' I asked, amused.
'25' replied Maureen haughtily. 'I was his last Cuore.'
'I am 41. I was captured when I was but 18.' Ruby.
'And I am 64. He captured me at the age of 19.' Janice said, her voice sad. I couldn't help but laugh when I though of their previous comments.
'What is so funny you stupid girl?' Nerina snapped.
'Let's see, my last birthday I celebrated was my 118th.' I smiled sweetly. They stared at me, Maureen was disgusted and incredulous. While Ruby and Janice were just stunned. I let that sink in. I normally didn't get to tell humans, even immortal humans, my age.
'E-excuse me?' stammered Nerina.
'Humans are so dense. Can't even read auras. Do you really think I'm human?' I snickered.
'You're not?' Nerina stammered.
'Of course not.' This was certainly proving to be entertaining.
'Than what are you?'
'Please say you're not another vampire.' begged Maureen.
'Really? That's the best you can come up with? No, I'm not a vampire. I'm a dryad.' I said simply.
'A what?' asked Maureen.
'A dyrad.' I repeated, then continued when their faces were still blank. 'A wood nymph.' They still looked mildly confused, 'I'm a minor forest goddess.' Now their expressions were awed. 'Minor' I emphasized, 'As in all I can do is talk to plants and make them grow. I'm so minor that I need plants to live, that and sun.'
'So you can't do anything but ask a plant if it wants more water?' Maureen sneered.
'That and I can hide in and become, trees and plants.' I added, annoyed by her sarcastic tone. She was a soulless human and she was looking down on me?
'Still it's not very helpful.' Nerina said, suddenly seeming irritated.
'Helpful for what?' I asked.
'For killing Alaster.' Ruby replied simply.
'What?' I stammered, taking a step back.
'We have suffered here in this house for many years. And who knows how many he had killed before us. To release us from our bondage we must kill him and reclaim our souls.'
'He keeps them in tiny vials in his room, and we are unable to get in there because of a barrier. And there's another barrier just beyond the trees that keeps us, and now you, in.' Maureen piped in.
'I am a daughter of the forest. No one keeps me in.' I snapped back, suddenly feeling as if I was in a cell. Where were the plants? The sun. I ran for the window, it wouldn't budge, so I just sat there in the window seat. I leaned my forehead against the glass, letting my body soak in the sun.
'What a strange one.' Sneered Maureen. I didn't care, of course I was strange to humans.
'How do you plan on killing him?' I asked.
'Not us, you must kill him.' Janice's even voice sent shivers down my spine.
'I cannot harm another creature, no matter how evil. And why can't you do it?' Dyrads are taught that every form of life is sacred, from the great oaks to the tiny earthworms.
'He is much too fast for us, and the prick doesn't trust us enough to let his guard down. So when you've put him in a state of ease, take this,' Ruby pulled out a wicked silver dagger, 'And plunge it into his heart.'
'And if you can't get to his heart, wound him enough so that he can't keep the barrier up, then we'll grab our souls and everyone can leave.' Nerina finished. They all nodded, a slightly nostalgic look to their eyes.
'And what of Alaster?' I asked, I felt no kind feelings for the blood sucker, but I certainly couldn't kill him.
'Without your blood he dies, so if you leave he can't survive. And the world will be rid of one more evil.' Janice said, her eyes boring into my back. Ruby walked over to me and held out the knife, I shied away from it. But Ruby pressed it into my hands. The cool blade felt like death in my hands. I tossed it onto the bed, my hands felt like they had been dirtied.
'I do not want to live here anymore with that bastard, I want to go home, get married. And I will not let some tree hugging, little twit stop me.' Snapped Ruby, 'You will kill Alaster and set us free.' Her dead eyes bore into mine. It made me sick. Sullied. I looked back to the now setting sun. But the scant rays did nothing to cleanse me.
'Food will be sent up later.' Janice and the other women started to dissipate, 'You'll only have a few years before he makes you like us.' Her voice sounded hollow as the smoke seeped out through the crack under the door.
I just sat there at the window, looked out at the forest. I couldn't hear the trees though, and that scared me. I couldn't remember never hearing them before. I realized, albeit belatedly, that the hags had not asked me for my name. Odd, but they probably didn't care.
Suddenly there was a grinding sort of noise, like rusty wheels. I looked over at the wall on the other side of my bed. There was a small square cut out of the wall, in it was a tray of steaming food. A dumbwaiter. How clever, that way I could not escape if a maid had delivered it. I walked over to the food. It smelled'well like human food. Good, but not nearly as good as sunshine and trees.
I could eat human food but I barely got any sustenance from it. Just the little lingering bits of sunshine. I had a few bites of the soup but it really did nothing for me. I left it there and looked back at the room. Then blanched, the knife was still on my bed. Quickly I grabbed it then shoved it into the fire place. No one would look for it there. Shaking I went back to sit on the bed.
As the sky darkened it felt as if a coldness descended upon the house. I was wrought with nerves. Would Alaster visit tonight? Would I have to kill him? Just the thought had me shaking. No, I would not be able to kill.
Suddenly the door creaked open. I quickly looked over just as it was slammed shut. Alaster, wearing black pants and black silky shirt, was standing there, a debonair smile on his lips. I scowled at him. The man that had already caused me so much grief.
He looked me up and down, his eyes alight with fire. I scooted away from him, hating that look in his eyes. It made me feel dirty again.
'So pretty.' He murmured. He took another step towards me. 'It was very lucky that I found one so beautiful as you.' He complimented. 'You're not the usual sort of beauty that the time fancies. But somehow that only makes you more appealing.' He smiled wickedly. Yes, I was unlike what the humans viewed as classic beauty. My hair was straight and brown. But a rich brown like earth, or bark. My eyes were the color of leaves in the sun. I wondered if his other Cuore were all blond-haired blue-eyed beauties.
He took another step closer. I froze. My stillness just made his smile grow. And then he was there next to the bed, and then I was in his arms, my back to his chest.
'Mmmm, soft too.' He brushed his nose against my hair. 'Tell me, my Cuore, what is your name?' he asked. I pressed my lips together, feeling stubborn. 'Tell me or I will not be gentle.' His hand brushed against the marks on my neck. I gritted my teeth against the cold chill that ran down my spine. 'Now I ask again, what is your name?'
I scowled, 'Karmiti' I sighed internally, I didn't like people calling me that. I preferred my nickname.
'Karmiti.' He whispered. 'Hmm, no. Too formal. How bout Mimi?' I cringed. Mimi, how'human. I already hated it. 'Yes, I shall call you Mimi.' His arms tightened around me, his lips brushed against my throat. 'Say something.'
'What?' I asked.
'Pretty girl, pretty voice. It makes me hungry.' Too much, I pushed Alaster away from me. 'Oh no,' he grabbed my wrist and shoved me back into his chest. 'You don't seem to know how this works. You sit here and look pretty, and I take what I want.' His tongue ran over the wounds on my neck.
'No!' I shouted and wrenched myself away. But then I found myself on my back, Alaster over me.
'Yes.' He hissed. And then he was biting me. Pain, it burned through my body, searing me. All I could feel was pain, I could barely remember to breath. I gritted my teeth against tears, and sobs. After what seemed like hours, he pulled away. Smiling. I hated him. With every fiber of my being I hated him. 'Interesting. Most women are crying at this point. Well more like sobbing, and begging. You look like you're ready to kill me.' He chuckled darkly. I froze at that. No, I couldn't kill him. Could I?
But then I felt this unbearable weight press me down. Anemia. He smiled again, 'Looks like my little Mimi is sleepy.'
'I wonder why?' I snapped, but my voice sounded slow.
'Shh' he shushed in a patronizing tone, as if I was a child. He even put a finger over my lips, 'It's time to sleep. And tomorrow we can do this all over again.' With that he left. My eyelids felt like they weighed a hundred pounds. I fell asleep where I was, fully clothed sprawled out on the bed.
When I awoke I had a splitting headache and my neck felt like I had stuck hot needles into it all night. I laid there until I was sure I would actually be able to stand. I had to figure a way out of here. I just had to. Maybe I could just escape, then he would weaken and the hags could get their souls back. He would still die but'but it wouldn't be my fault. I reconciled. Because I didn't ask for this, he kidnapped me. It's hardly my fault if I escape and he consequentially dies from it.
I made a plan, an easy one, and hid behind the door as the sun started to set. He'd come, he said that he'd be back. My heart thumped loudly in my chest. Would he be able to hear it? Oh gods I hoped not. When the doors started to open and my heart jumped. Alaster walked into the room, puzzled, looked around then went to the bed. Quickly, and as silent as I could I sprinted out the door.
I barely made it two steps out of the room before I was thrown, none too gently onto the bed. The door slammed shut. I looked up to see Alaster's angry, amused, curious face.
'Clever girl. No other woman has tried that.' He looked at me more puzzled.
'I will not stay here.' I hissed. 'You can count on that.' He smiled at that.
'But yes you will. I have perfected my strategy for keeping you here. The door is locked and you have no way of opening it. There is a barrier just beyond the forest, one I created myself. The window is impenetrable, and three stories up. The only people, besides me, that come in here are those hags, who can only enter by becoming smoke. And then there's me.' His smile grew taunting, 'You have no hope of getting past me. I'll admit you're resourceful, most of the women just cry and beg me to let them go. But there is no hope.' My heart fell. No hope? Then I would be in this room, without the forest, for the rest of my life? But then a tiny spark of prospect.
'All your Cuore have been human, haven't they?' I asked, trying to hide my almost excitement. The question puzzled him.
'Of course. What else would they be?' he said. I bit my lip to keep from grinning. He was very ignorant for an immortal. He couldn't read my aura either. He stalked over to where I sat on the bed. 'Why is there an amused glint in your eye?' he demanded. 'Are you a witch?' at that I laughed and jumped off to the other side of the bed.
'And if I am? Well, I would summon every demon that lies in the underworld.' I held back a shudder at that. I hated demons. Cruel monsters that had not hearts and were impossible to kill. I would never stoop to cavorting with there lot.
Alaster flinched. 'No, you would not do that. It's clear you don't like demons.' I scowled at that. 'What are you?' I pursed my lips, and shook my head. 'Tell me.' I shook my head again. Suddenly he leapt over the bed, but I was expecting him. I ran around the bed and to the other door in the room, which I had figured out was the bathroom. A bathroom with a lock. But he was already there in front of me.
'You are clever.' He hissed.
'No, you're just used to stupid blonds.' I snapped back. I knew it wasn't a smart idea but I couldn't help myself. He chuckled though.
'But the more you struggle, the more painful it will be when I do take your blood.' He licked his lips at that. I gritted my teeth,
'I don't care, I will not be a submissive prisoner.' He was inches away from me in an instant, his hands firmly on my shoulders. I glared at him. But he was already biting my neck. I just couldn't get used to that pain. Like he was pouring hot tar into my veins. It swirled around my heart and scalded it. Burning a little bit more of my will away. I felt that bitter loneliness, seeing my life if I stayed here. Pain everyday, no trees for comfort, and then a soulless hag. Would I even live? Dryads are also perceived as tree spirits, so without my soul, would I even exist?
Suddenly he let go. I fell to the ground, feeling my spirit crumple.
'Oh come now, I didn't even drink as much as yesterday.' So he said. I still felt that crimpling wave of blood loss. He put out his hand to help me up. I ignored it and shakily stood up. My vision swam, making me nauseas. My legs suddenly gave and I fell forward. Alaster caught me easily. I pushed at him but his hands didn't budge.
'You little fool. Know when you need help.' He snapped, clearly annoyed.
'I don't want your help.' I snapped, but it didn't sound too threatening when I was so woozy.
'Fine' he said and dropped me. I fell to the ground, unable to keep myself up. I heard him snicker. I just didn't care anymore. I laid my head on the ground and closed my eyes. 'What are you doing?' he asked in that annoying patronizing tone.
'If you don't leave now I will turn into a wolf and break through the door.' I was probably making the situation worse but I honestly didn't care. He crouched down and said right next to my ear,
'I will find out what you are.'
'No' I said simply, 'You won't.' he growled low in his chest, and left. I slept on the floor that night.
This was really messing with my sleep schedule. I was only awake for a few hours before sundown and then I passed out. I needed to get out of there. That room, it felt so small. And sterile. I missed the feeling of earth under my feet, the whisper of grass as I ran. And under the suns bright gaze I felt so dirty, for being a vampire's meal.
I had one more plan. Again simple. And a little bit violent. But by the gods I was desperate. Again, as the sun set I hid behind the other side of the double doors. But this time I hid with the fire poker.
When the doors opened I was ready. Alaster walked into the room, he first gazed over to the bed then looked to the other side of the door. As quickly as I could I swung the fire poker at him.
He caught it. With one hand. Easily he tugged it from my grasp, bent it with one hand, then tossed it across the room. He slammed the doors shut before I could bolt. Looking into his pale blue eyes, I felt so cold. I just wanted to cry. But I couldn't let him see my tears.
'Hello Mimi. Nice try. But it would have been terrible if you had hit my face.' He patronized, 'It's what I use to woo my Cuore for the first few weeks. You are the first to be immune to it.' He smirked. I just glared at him.
'Because I can see the darkness that cloaks your heart and it makes me sick.' I spat. If he was going to hurt me again than I at least didn't want anyone to say I just laid down and took it. His smile vanished in a second. His eyes burned with cold fury.
'What are you?' he snapped.
'Karmiti' I replied.
'No, what manner of being are you?' he demanded again. As if I would really tell him.
'Your Cuore.' I smirked, egging him on. Truly not too smart but I felt so damn empty and bitter, as if he was stealing my soul already. His body slammed into me like a wall, his arms wrapped around me like steel bands.
'What. Are. You?' He hissed each word. I had to say something, anything, but the truth.
'Human.' I gasped, 'I'm a human.'
'Liar' he spat and his arms grew tighter.
'My mother was a witch, I learned much about the supernatural world from her.' I whispered, it felt as if he was crushing my lungs. But suddenly his arms loosened, and he pulled away so just his hands were gripping my shoulders. I took a great gulp of air.
'You little fool. Pretending you are some great sorceress, when you're just a Halfling. More human than magic.' He laughed at that.
'But you're even more foolish for believing me.' I retorted. He scowled at me.
'Such a mouth on you. I'm beginning to think you were a mistake. I prefer my women humble. Even the crying is better than the fire you spit. Maybe I should just find a new Cuore.' He smirked at that, an evil smile. I shuddered. A new Cuore. That would mean him having sex with me, taking my soul and leaving me a bitter husk. 'There now, if you stay in line I won't have to steal your soul.' He smiled. I looked up into his eyes, just staring into them. They were cold and bitter, mocking and angry.
'Then should I cry?' I asked.
'No, stupid blubbering women, I hate that. You should do your job. Give me blood, and look pretty.'
'And in return?'
'What do I get in return?' I asked.
'Nothing. You are my heart, you live for me. I may do with you as I please.' As if to prove his point he let his fangs sink into my neck. More mind numbing pain. More of my heart gone. I didn't say anything when he pulled away. Or even when he lifted me up and laid me in the bed. I didn't look at him either.
'What no fiery comment about how I have no heart?' he asked. I didn't answer. My heart felt so hollow. He just glared at me and left.
I lay there. He hadn't taken enough blood for me to pass out right away. It was a curse. I wanted the abyss of sleep. So I could just escape. If I was in the forest the trees would lull me to sleep. But I was alone. So alone.
I didn't fall asleep until late into the night.
The next day I hid. I hid in the bathroom, with the door locked. I knew it wouldn't work. But at least it was something. The walls started to close in on me. I was gasping by the time Alaster broke the lock on the door.
'Idiot' he snapped. 'Did you really think this would work?'
'No' my voice so was so blank, devoid of emotion, that it made me shiver.
'You don't like small spaces. This was stupid.' He held out his hand for me. I couldn't seem to figure out how to make my hands work. He let out a frustrated huff and leaned over, he lifted me up in his arms and laid me gently on the bed.
'And I thought you were strong, how easily your will is broken.' He jeered at me.
'How about this, you drink and then leave. There's no need for talk, it's clear you never listen to your heart.' I snapped back. He glared at me but there was a tiny glint of humor in his eye.
'Why should I listen when it has nothing good to say?'
'It has plenty good to say, you just won't listen. In fact your real heart is so black it's rotten, that's why you have to make due with random women you find. But you grasp them in your fist and squeeze until there's nothing left. Then you toss them to find a new one. It's hardly my fault if you're a soulless bastard.' It felt good to finally vent, but I knew I would pay for it. His eyes grew steely and his jaw clenched. 'What did I touch a nerve? Maybe you should find women that actually reflect you're heart. Decaying, cold, in fact, I think the hags fit that bill.' I couldn't stop.
'You overstep, little Mimi. If you had just stayed quiet maybe I would have been gentler.' His face held anger, and maybe even pain, as I stared into his cold eyes.
'Liar' I spat, 'If that was so you wouldn't goad me into an argument.' Instead of appearing in front of me in an instant, he slowly stalked over to me, letting the fear sink into me slowly, the anticipation tear at my nerves. He stopped but inches away. His fangs glistened in his mouth.
'I think I prefer the unfeeling mess you were in the bathroom.' He inched closer still.
'Yes and I prefer men who aren't so stuck up that they actually believe their life is more important than any others. We can't always get what we want. Deal with it.' I was going to pay for that. He growled low in his chest, and animalistic sound. Then he grabbed me and sunk his teeth into my neck. It was like that first night. My body felt like it was on fire from the inside and slowly searing my skin. That newly healed scars on my heart tore open and new ones were burned it.
'I always get what I want.' He whispered into my ear. I couldn't even think to answer. My heart had shriveled up. He made a scornful grunt and left the room.
I couldn't remember much of what I did the next day. My mind had shut down. I forgot to flush my dinner down the toilet, so he would think I'm really human, and I think the hags came by. They tried to convince me to kill Alaster again but left with a lot of sneers and threats when I made no replies.
I think it was the glint in the fireplace that snapped that last nerve in me. The knife. I let out a piercing scream when I saw it. I had to get out. I had to get out. Where were the trees? Where were they? I couldn't breath. It was stifling. I flung myself at the window. It held. Again and again I threw myself against it. Thud. Damn. Thud. Damn. Thud. DAMMIT!
The sun started to set. My mind went into a frenzied panic. I went to the fireplace and threw a log at the window. Not even a crack. I grabbed the bent fire poker and stuck it between the closed windows. I tried to pry the windows open with that. I heard a none too healthy 'snap' and the windows swung open.
I stared at the forest such a sort distance away, blanketed in twilight. I could hear the faint whispers amongst the trees. I needed to be there. But I was three stories up. But did that matter? I was going to die here anyway. I was already half way there. And if I died the hags would be free. I almost took a step forward. But I couldn't do it, I couldn't'
Suddenly the door slammed open. I looked back to see Alaster. He looked at me first in confusion then anger. I was afraid. I couldn't let him bite me again. No. No. I took a step back, but my foot found no purchase. And then I was falling. I saw the window become further and further away. I closed my eyes. Happy. I was outside. Finally. Happy.
But then something wrapped under my legs and shoulders. My decent was slowed until we landed softly on the ground. I looked up to see it was Alaster who had saved me. Tears, they started to streak down my face. Because I was saved. And I still couldn't hear the trees. Just the faint murmurs of the grass, but they weren't talking, not with a vampire so close.
'You idiot! What were you thinking? I mean-' he stopped abruptly, seeing my face. 'Are you crying? Why the hell are you crying? I saved your life.' He snapped, angry but clearly confused.
'Why?' I whispered.
'Why? Why?! Because I don't want to die with you!' he shouted, more angry now. I didn't care.
'That isn't your choice! If I want to die it's my right.' I almost sobbed the last part. I buried my face in my hands.
'You want to die?' he said it softly, but his voice was still hard.
'I want to be able to feel my heart again, and if that means dieing, then so be it.'
'Idiot you have a heart.' He sneered.
'Please just take me over to the trees.' I begged.
'So you can try and escape? Not a chance.' His muscles bunched and then we were sailing up through the air. He landed lightly on the window sill of my room. I wasn't even surprised. No. I was too crushed. He laid me on the bed then studied my face.
'Stop that. Stop crying!' of course I didn't. 'What is wrong with you? I send fire through your veins, that would make a grown man weep, but not a tear graces your face. But when I save you, you're blubbering like a baby.'
'You would never understand.' I whispered. I felt lost. I didn't so much want to die as to be free. My only objective was freedom, and my heart was so torn and bloodied that it didn't see a problem with death.
'Ugh, with all this damn sadness your blood'll taste too bitter. I've been drinking well enough that I'll be fine until tomorrow.' He said briskly. Then he walked over to the window. He picked up the fire poker and wrapped it around the window handles like it was made of clay. Without even looking at me again he left.
I sat in the corner of the room the next day. On the opposite wall of the window. I felt sullied under the sun's pure gaze. As if Alaster had poured venom into my heart and it was slowly darkening it. But this was the problem of the dryads, we are too emotional. If we think we are tainted them our bodies do not except sunlight. And if we are depressed, then it can kill us.
I sat there, unmoving, just out of the sunlight's reach. I had stopped touching the food that was sent up as well. I couldn't really remember why I didn't want him to know I was a dryad. Where was the upper hand when your power centers around the forest, and you are in a cold, dead house?
'Mimi?' It was Alaster's voice. I hadn't even noticed him enter. I looked then, not even really registering what I was seeing. He saw me and his eyes grew wide for a second then narrowed. 'What are you doing over there?' he asked. I didn't answer. He scowled. 'The cooks tell me you haven't been eating. Can you explain that?'
'Not hungry.' If I wasn't so gone I would have laughed. I was never hungry. I just grew weak and drained without sunlight and plant energy.
'You aren't hungry?' he repeated blankly. 'Are you trying to kill yourself?' he was more severe now, and incredulous. I didn't answer, I wasn't precisely trying to kill myself, I was just letting it happen. 'You idiot, you do realize I'm not going to let that happen.'
'That isn't your decision.' My voice was soft, dead.
'Damn straight it is!' he snapped. I'd lived 118 years without him and he suddenly decides my life for me? On some level I was upset but I couldn't seem to be anything but unbearable sadness. And the hunger for freedom. He seemed to be waiting for my outburst, almost hoping for it. His hope was in vain.
He started to scowl, then full out glare. He gripped the tops of my shoulders and shook me, none too gently.
'Snap out of this!' he growled. I stared at him with blank eyes. He hissed, a not so human sound, got up and left.
I couldn't remember the next day either. There was no sun, it was raining. I used to love the rain, I think, dancing in it. But now I only felt dreary, and more boxed in. I was shaking when Alaster came in. His scowl was becoming familiar. He let out a hard sigh.
He yanked the blanket off the bed and draped it across my shoulders. My heart almost warmed. I looked at him, almost curious. 'You are my heart, you die so do I.' He said, trying to sound stern and soft. He frowned when he saw I was still shaking. He tugged it closer around my shoulders.
'I'm not a very good heart.' I laughed once without humor. His frown deepened.
'No, your'fine, just not a good heart for me. I mean, I'm beyond the work of a heart.' He said gruffly, as if sentiments like this were hard for him to say. I stared into his eyes, they seemed less cold. But when he looked back and saw nothing his eyes stole over. Suddenly he lifted me up and tossed me on the bed. His hands went to my hips and started to hitch my dress up.
'I won't let you die and take me with you.' He growled, hitching my skirt up further. A whimper escaped my lips, I turned my head away from him, I didn't fight though. It would be futile. Tears started to run down my face.
'Stop crying.' He groaned, his fingers slowed.
'You are about to take my soul from me, the last thing I have, and you tell me not to cry?' I said in a heartbreaking tone. My skirt was now around my hips. His hand slid up my bare thigh. I quivered.
'UGH!' he groaned and moved away from me. I looked at him, he seemed angry and exasperated. 'Why can't I just fuck you?' he growled. I quickly pulled my skirt down, sat up, and brought my knees into my chest. My entire body shook. 'It's not like you aren't pretty.' He threw his hands into the air. Then turned to me, his eyes sharp. 'I know what it is, it's your damn eyes.' He stalked over to me and put his hands on either side of my face. 'Everyone else is screaming and wailing. Their eyes look like they have the intelligence of an animal. But you'you have such intelligence and fire. I look now and they're so dead. And why the hell should I care if I'm the one whose done that to you?' he sounded exasperated and even confused.
'I've seen the horrified looks on the other women, so why should I care if you're the same?' he snapped at me. And took a few steps away.
'Because, I'm not the same.' I whispered. I wasn't the same, I knew now that if I did not have a soul then I would die. My heart could not take it. But his eyes flashed at my words though.
'What do you mean?'
'Their human, they see their lives before them. They're short, not even a century. They have to shove a lifetime into maybe 80 years. They don't want to die. Ever.' I said. It was the first time I had ever voiced my views to someone.
'And how are you any different?' he looked at me intrigued.
'I have so much longer. But also, they are run by their brains. They are logical and yet when their hearts speak to them it overruns them. My heart controls me, and life'isn't the end.'
'What do you mean?'
'When I die, please bury me amongst the trees, and bury my soul with it. I just hope the goddess will take my tainted body back.'
'The goddess?' he took a few steps towards me. I shuddered.
'Please, I'm already so contaminated, the sun even rejects me. Don't touch me, please. Not again.'
'And now you beg? After I stopped?'
'Don't you dare give me hope, then dash it completely.' I glared at him fiercely. His eyes sparked.
'So you're not going to give up?' he asked. I felt the misery crash back down on me. I closed my eyes, beating it back, but it was a lost cause. Eternity stretched out before me, eternity with a man I hated. A heartless man. I fell back on the bed, curling up into a ball, trying to hold myself together.
I heard Alaster sigh, an angry bitter sigh. He grabbed my shoulders and wrenched me back, so I was flat on my back. I whimpered. 'Keep alive and I won't need to take your soul. But I do still need your blood.' I squeezed my eyes shut as he pressed his lips to my neck. I felt the sharp sting and I waited for the fire. But instead it was almost gentle. There was fire that burned but my neck just felt sort of tingly but no pain.
I couldn't help the tears run down my face.
He pulled away, seeming smug, but then he saw the wet streaks on my face.
'Why the hell are you crying?' he cried angrily. 'I didn't even hurt you as I normally do.'
'You purposely hurt me?' I looked at him, disgusted and horrified.
'I-I mean'' he stammered, then his jaw clenched, 'You are my Cuore, I may do with you as I please. I have to put them in their place, pain is the way to do that.'
Tears streamed down my face, this was the man I would spend the rest of my life with. I froze.
'Get out.' I growled. He blinked, then it turned to a glare.
'Do you really think-'
'Get out.' My voice was so sharp it frightened me. His eyes widened. I turned away and started to shake. He sighed, but this time it was resigned and almost'sad. I barely noticed when he walked out the door. I finally fell into an exhausted sleep late into the night.
'Hmmm, so that's it for the little twit.' I think it was Maureen that said this the next day. I was so far gone. I could feel it coming. The light in my soul was almost gone, like a candle flickering dimly in the wind.
'I thought she'd last at least a little bit longer.' Nerina, maybe.
'The stronger they are, the worse it is when they are broken.' Janice. Even in my desperate state I still recognized her stony voice. They may have left after that. I'm not so sure. The sun, it was a great gust of wind to my little candle. By the time Alaster entered I was a tiny ember. He hissed when he saw me, laying there on the bed.
'Mimi. Mimi!' he shook me lightly then harder. 'Dammit, Karmiti! Come on! Don't you dare give up on me!' he lifted me into his arms, cradling me to his chest. 'Please, what can I do? How can I help?' he was begging. And I felt warmth seep into my body, it wasn't enough though.
'The trees' I whispered. They would be weeping for me tonight. With me in his arms, he rushed to the window. He kicked the window, shattering it completely. He jumped out and landed lightly on the grass. He stepped swiftly into the forest.
'Here' he said, desperate. I could here them.
Child of the forest, let us heal you.
'Put me down, against the tree.' My voice was weak, but I felt warmth sink into me. He laid me gently against one of the trees.
Suddenly roots surged from the ground they wrapped around me, holding me to the tree.
'Shit, Karmiti!' he grabbed the root that bound me.
'No' I whispered, 'Leave them. Let me rest.' I closed my eyes and let the energy soak into my body. I sighed, it was an almost contented sigh.
'You'll be okay?' Alaster asked. I nodded, letting the trees slowly mend my heart. I closed my eyes. The last thing I heard was his footsteps as I slipped into a healing sleep.
I slept for a very long time it seemed. I could feel the sun's rays on my skin, it was calming and peaceful. The trees whispered in my dreams,
Heal child, the beast is gone for now, heal your shattered heart. Live
Over and over again, like a mantra. I could feel my heart healing, my will to live strengthening. It would be foolish to just die. I could live, I could escape. I could. I would.
But for now I just let the sun except me. It had all been in my head, the sun's rejection, I knew that, it made me feel sick though. The darkness that had leached into my heart was slowly dissipating.
'Karmiti?' I barely heard my name through my stupor. 'Karmiti? Dammit wake up! Please.' I felt my shoulders shake and my eyes wearily opened. Alaster. Hmm, I hadn't even noticed it grew dark. He let out a held breath. 'You had me worried there.' He laughed shakily. I looked into his pale blue eyes, they shone in the moonlight.
'Are you alright?' he asked, anxious again. That threw me off. I had never seen him actually worried. I nodded, still surprised. 'What is all this?' he motioned to the roots, still wrapped around me.
'I'm not human.' I said simply, 'Or witch.'
'Yes, I gathered that. What, pray tell, are you then?' he asked, annoyed, amused and still seeming worried. I didn't really see the point in keeping it a secret anymore.
'A dryad? A forest spirit? Well, that explains a lot. The trees, you need them.' It wasn't a question.
'I can siphon energy from the trees, that's where I can get most of it from. The other half is the sun. But if our hearts are off, it can corrupt us so we are unable to take in the sun. We can die like a flower left in a dark corner.' I said softly.
'Alright then, I'll take you out whenever you need it.' He said, almost kindly. I nodded.
'Thank you.' I said, he could have just taken my soul but he'll actually was going to go to the extra effort for me. He seemed disconcerted by the softness in my voice,
'No problem, I'm really not willing to give up blood as tasty as yours.' He said nonchalantly.
'Tasty?' I asked confused.
'Yes, it's mouthwatering.' He smiled devilishly. I pursed my lips and glared at him. 'You know it was a complement.'
'Really' I said skeptically.
'Sort of.' His smile quirked. I almost smiled back. I brushed my hand against the restraining roots, they slid away gently. Alaster's eyebrows rose. I reached my arms up, loving the feeling of my muscles stretch. I looked back to see Alaster looking at me greedily. I quickly put my arms down and glared at him.
'What, you expect me to look away when your lovingly showcasing your chest?' I almost slapped him, but that would probably be very bad.
'Yes slapping would not bode well for you.' His smile turned sharkish. I stood up and brushed my dress off. Alaster stood, still smiling. 'Come along, we should get you back.' He held out his hand.
'Alright.' I turned back to the tree and whispered, 'Thank you, I'll see you soon.'
Be safe little one
I nodded and turned back to Alaster. His lips were quirked, but he just shook his head and lifted me up into his arms. He walked back up to the house and with one jump we were back in the window of my room. The window which was magically fixed.
Alaster set me down and said, 'I'll leave the window open, if you promise not to jump out.'
'I promise.' I said. No, I would not be trying that again. Even if I did land alright, the barrier would have stopped me. I vaguely remember one of the hags telling me how it was impossible for any Cuore to get past.
Alaster nodded, 'But now, I need you're blood. I'm very hungry.' I just turned my head to the side and squeezed my eyes shut. His fingers brushed against the wounds on my neck, I flinched. 'It's okay, I'll be gentle.' He whispered softly.
Gently, his fangs slipped into my throat. I felt a sharp pang but it then went numb, and a trickle of warmth tingled through me.
He drank deeply, and when he pulled away he cradled my limp body to his chest. He lay me gently on the bed. 'See? That wasn't so bad?' he smirked.
'No, thank you.' I whispered, the blood loss weighing heavily on me. He gave me an odd, confused look.
'Rest, I'll be here tomorrow.' He stepped out and I swiftly fell into a peaceful sleep.
I could feel the warm sun sinking into my skin. It was lovely. I opened my eyes to the golden rays that coated the room. I sat up, feeling just happy overall.
But something caught my eye. Roses, potted roses, on the table in the corner. I walked over to them, running my fingers against the petals.
'Hello, what are your names?' I asked gently.
Oh, a child of the forest! Hello, we are Shilio.
'Hello Shilio, I am Karmiti.'
Karmiti, why are you living in the home of a monster?
'I'm kept here against my will.'
His heart, it is rotten.
You're heart'it is pure. But we see it softening towards the monster, do not be swayed by his fake charm.
'You have no need to worry. I won't.' I said resolutely. I talked much to Shilio. They were young, but told me how they were in a busy place, a market, and a person wearing much black, a servant I gathered, who brought them to the monster. The monster placed them in my room, while I slept.
Beware Karmiti, he walked over to your bed, I could not see his face, but I saw his heart. It was dark, but confused. He has a hunger for you. I nodded.
'Yes, he's always hungry.' I covered the marks on my neck.
'Who are you speaking to?' said a nagging voice from behind me. I turned to see the hags.
'The roses.' I answered. They raised their eyebrows, all of them. It was almost humorous.
Their hearts are just as black as the monster. I almost laughed.
'You seem to be in better spirits.' Janice said skeptically.
'Yes, weren't you trying to kill yourself only a few days ago?' Maureen sneered.
'I suppose so, but dryads are often prone to emotional bouts, but they are generally logical at least to dryads.' I said.
You tried to end your life? I turned back to the roses.
'It was the monster, he took my will away and my heart couldn't take it.' I explained to it to Shilio.
You poor girl, we will be sure to keep you cheerful.
'Thank you.' I said, smiling. But knowing it wouldn't matter.
'You do realize that is incredibly strange and makes you look insane?' Maureen piped in.
'It's not my fault humans are so limited.' I replied evenly.
'When are you going to kill Alaster?' asked Ruby sternly.
'I'm not, but I will injure him enough for everyone to escape.' I promised. They eyed me skeptically. Janice nodded and they left.
I turned back to Shilio. And started to speak with them again. I was anxious to get out to the forest again. Trees have the best energy, they are strong and vital, plenty to share too.
'Did you enjoy your gift?' a voice said behind me. I turned this time to see Alaster in the doorway. He shut the door, looking amused, and almost cautious.
'Yes,' I hesitated, 'Thank you.' He looked taken back by how kind-hearted I sounded.
'Did you want to go outside?' he cocked his head to the side, a small smile quirked his lips.
'Yes'please.' I said. Alaster walked over to the window and easily swung it open.
'Come here' he motioned with his hand.
'Can't we just use the stairs?' I asked.
'We can't have you knowing how to escape now can we?' he replied. I pursed my lips, but knew arguing was futile with an amazingly strong vampire. I walked over to him. He swiftly lifted me up and leaped out the window. I cringed into his chest. And his arms, they actually tightened around me.
Alaster landed on the ground with barely a rustle of the grass. He immediately let me down. I took the last few steps into the forest.
'Hello' I whispered and ran my fingers against the tree bark.
Welcome, child. It didn't matter that I was probably older than them, they were infinitely wiser, and so I would always be a child to them.
Why have you brought the monster with you?
'It wasn't my choice.' I replied.
'What did they say?' Alaster said much closer than I thought he was. I jumped a little, a small squeak escaping my lips, and spun around. He had a crooked smile on his lips, amused that I was startled.
'You really don't want to know.' I said. He raised an eyebrow.
Tell him his foul presence is almost as black we are sure his soul is. If he even has one. I giggled, and pursed my lips.
'You won't tell me what you're laughing about either?' he asked, seeming irritated. I shook my head and started to walk further into the forest. But I heard whispers amongst the trees. I broke out into a sprint.
A little bit further, quickly forest child!
Alaster appeared in front of me. A furious expression on his face.
'Where the hell do you think you're going?' he growled.
'Ugh! Move!' I snapped back. I ran around him, stopping at a tree a few feet away. I hurriedly shimmied up the trunk into the higher branches to where a nest was. A tiny baby bird, barely weeks old, was getting precariously close to the edge. I quickly nudged the little thing back into the nest then carefully wove the ends together, to prevent this from happening again.
'What are you doing?' Alaster suddenly appeared next to me in the tree.
Startled, I screeched and started to fall backwards. His arm shot out and steadied me.
'Woah! Careful!' he snapped.
'You're the one who surprised me!' I snapped back. He let out a low growl. 'The trees said a baby bird was going to fall out of this tree. I was helping it.' I explained.
'Why?' he asked, his eyebrows knit together in confusion.
'Because he needed help.' I said, exasperated.
'So? He'll die eventually anyway.' Still confused.
'We all will, even us immortals, that doesn't mean those with less years don't deserve everyday that they do have.' I replied. He just stared at me, uncomprehendingly. I turned back to the bird. 'Be safe little guy.' I gave him a little wave, and dropped from the branch to the ground. Alaster was already there. I raised my eyebrows, but said nothing. I turned away from him and started walking.
'Now where are you going?' he asked, closer behind me than I thought.
'The house' I called back.
'You're going the wrong way.' I thought I heard him chuckle. I stopped and threw my hands up. I turned around to see he was barely a foot away. I let out a small squeak of surprise. His lips quirked, and his eyes took on an excited gleam. 'I'm beginning to like that squeak.'
I scowled at him. 'Okay which way is it to the house?' I asked. He shook his head,
'That, I believe, I will keep a secret.' I frowned and turned in the opposite direction. I heard his chuckle and started to run. Alaster appeared in front of me.
'Nope not his way.' I turned and kept running. But suddenly I ran into what felt like a brick wall, but there was nothing there. I rubbed my bruised nose.
'I see you've found my barrier.' I turned to see Alaster, only a few inches away from me. He closed that small distance, pressing me against the invisible barrier. 'You didn't squeak.' He chuckled. I glowered at him. He put a hand on both sides of my head. I flattened myself against the barrier.
'You puzzle me.' His eyes bore into mine, as if trying to see my very soul.
'Because I squeak or because I didn't just squeak?' I asked, slightly breathless. But I wasn't frightened, no. Surprisingly I was curious. He seemed lighter, almost, maybe happier. And that baffled me. He chuckled loudly. Yes, brighter.
'No, that isn't it. Although I don't know how many women I've seen that squeak so much as scream. But I also can't understand your compassion for such insignificant creatures. Baby birds, and plants?'
'They are only insignificant to you. I'm sure if you asked them, they'd say differently.' I retorted. His eyebrows knit together again, confused.
'You know, I almost find that endearing, as silly as it is.'
'I don't find it silly.' I scowled.
'You wouldn't.' his lips quirked. I don't know how I felt knowing he thought he knew me. But my train of thought completely stopped when he pressed his lips to my forehead, smoothing out the furrow. It was an amazingly kind, and gentle gesture that I didn't even think him capable of.
'Why'd you do that?' I asked.
'I don't know, your eyebrows needed smoothing out.' He offered, seeming befuddled by his own actions. And I did something I never thought I would do in his company, I laughed. A light, humorous laugh. Alaster's eyes widened, and he stared at me. His mouth slightly open.
'What?' I pursed my lips.
'NO! Don't do that!' he complained.
'What?' I said, exasperated.
'You smiled. I saw you.' He said, almost awed, it seemed.
'Yes, I do that on occasion.' I found my lips quirking on their own.
'No, but I've never seen someone smile like that. So'genuinely happy.' It seemed like he thought the concept strange.
'You're not used to happy people are you?' I asked.
'No.' he said simply, 'I've seen seductive smiles, sarcastic smiles, calculating grins, but never happy.'
'You have horrible taste in women.' I laughed again.
'And what about you?' he said this while staring at my lips.
'You didn't choose me, you found me.'
'Mmm,' he agreed, 'But I'm glad I did.' I froze at that. Not really knowing what to make of it. Was it a good thing that a vampire, who rips out women's souls, is glad he found you? 'Please, don't stop smiling.' He touched his finger to the corner of my lip and pulled up slightly.
'Uh-uh, you have to earn my smiles.' I teased. It was so bizarre, telling a vampire he had to make me smile.
'Earn them?' he scowled, 'How do I do that?'
'By being kind and maybe funny.' I suggested, almost laughing at the idiocy of it.
'Or I could force you.' He sneered.
'Force me to smile? Yes, that'll work great.' He chuckled at my sarcasm.
'Alright, then I'll have to endeavor to make you smile.' I almost smiled at that. 'Come, I will show you back.' He took my arm, and led me through the forest. 'Are you really immortal? I mean before you were a Cuore.' He asked me suddenly.
'Being a Cuore makes you immortal?'
'Yes, vampires are meant to have one Cuore. Having the blood of a human makes us immortal, why shouldn't it make our women immortal? But you never answered my question.'
'Then why did you never just stick with one Cuore?' he turned on me, his face rife with anger.
'That is none of your damn business.' He snapped. I recoiled away.
'Something happened with one of your Cuore, didn't it?' I said softly.
'SHUT UP! Just shut the fuck up!!' he roared, slamming me against a tree. His fangs glistened in his mouth.
'I'm sorry.' I barely whispered. 'I'm sorry.' He froze,
'It's fine.' he said haltingly. He grabbed my upper arm and started towing me to the house. I gave a little squeal as I started to trip. Alaster caught me with a sigh, 'Would you be more careful?' he snapped.
'I would if you would stop tugging me so hard!' I growled back. He glared at me and let go me, but that only served to make me fall to the ground.
'Oof!' I said, as the air was knocked out of me.
'Idiot' Alaster said as he lifted me up into his arms.
'You're the one who dropped me!' I replied indignantly. He growled low in his throat. He sprinted up to the house and leapt into the window. He threw me, unceremoniously, onto the bed.
'I'm hungry.' He said and stalked closer to me. I held back a sigh and pulled my hair off to the side. He lay his hands gently on my back. He pressed his lips to my neck and bit. I felt the sharp pain, then it melted away to warmth and calm. There was no pain. And for that I was grateful. He pulled away after a few minutes and stared into my eyes, his were aglow.
'Was I tasty?' I asked, not completely lucid. He just smiled and laughed.
'Yes, very tasty. You taste even better after you've been given energy from the forest.'
'Hmm,' I mused, 'A vampire who likes the taste of sunshine.' He looked at me bemused. But when he spoke it was barely a whisper,
'Just your sunshine.' I looked at him, but it didn't seem as if he'd continue so I said,
'Oh, right and yes I was immortal before I became a Cuore.' I answered his earlier question. He sat down next to me on the bed.
'Then how old are you?'
'How old are you?' I countered. His lips quirked.
'Let's see, about 80, I stopped counting a while ago.'
'But you're only immortal if you drink your Cuore's blood? And if you don't have a Cuore then you're mortal. You age and everything?' His face became stoic,
'Yes,' but then it immediately brightened, 'You have quite the talent for avoiding questions.'
'I just don't like answering your questions.'
'Are you going to tell me your age or not?' he asked refusing to be distracted. I shook my head like a petulant child. He laughed at that. But then he caught my chin between his thumb and forefinger, 'Tell me' he whispered, barely an inch from me. I pursed my lips, realizing belatedly that that brought my lips near centimeters away from his. Alaster's eyes glazed over. I couldn't breath. He leaned those last few inches and pressed his lips to mine.
Suddenly his arms wrapped around me like steel bands, and his mouth crushed mine. He devoured my lips like a starving man finding a five star banquet. I couldn't even think to move. He'd never kissed me before.
'Kiss me back.' He growled low in his throat. And that was my undoing. The fierceness, and almost desperation in his voice. I leaned into him and I kissed him back. But the blood loss made me weak, I was practically jelly against his brute strength. His hold loosed considerably, and he became gentler. He pressed light kisses on the corners of my mouth.
'You taste so damn good.' He whispered against my lips.
'Like flowers and sunshine.' I said a little breathily. I could feel his smile against my lips. 'You know this is the first time you've stayed after having my blood. And definitely the first time you've kissed me.'
'I don't kiss my Cuore.' He said as he pulled away.
'It establishes messy emotional feelings. All I want is desire. On both sides.' He stared straight into my eyes. But his looked cold and dead.
'And then why did you kiss me?'
'Because I wanted to.' He stood up at that. I was feeling weaker by the minute, the blood rush to my head had dissipated and I was fully aware of my weakened state. I flopped back down on the bed.
'You make no sense.' I mumbled. He walked to the door. I may have imagined what he said as he left,
'I'm beginning to think that's your doing.' And I was asleep.
His heart is black, Karmiti. And your heart is warming to his. You must stop before he can taint your pure heart. Shilio said the next day. I had taken to talking to her because I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts.
'I agree. But I'm just sort of confused right now.' I replied.
About what? It is simple, you weaken him, however possible, then run far away. And then live happily ever after.
'That doesn't work so well for dryads.'
'Because, we're meant to be with one person the rest of our lives, and I've been looki