Blood of AnterosGeorgia Cates
Blood of Anteros (The Vampire Agápe Series #1)
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Blood of Anteros The Vampire Agápe Series #1
Copyright 2011 by Georgia Cates
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
July 11, 1989
Los Cabos, Mexico
Humans chased eclipses so they could say they were witnesses to them, but we chased the darkness of the moon covered sun because it coincided with spectacular supernatural events for our kind. The greater the eclipse, the greater the outcome, and this was predicted to be the grandest total solar eclipse since 1955.
We arrived at our resort, under the cover of darkness, the night before the eclipse. Marsala, my maker and eternal captor, studied the prediction of the paramount eclipse, along with the history of others, to predict the best location for us to experience it’s projected greatness. Because the narrow path of the eclipse was limited to tropical locations, we were required to leave the safety of a cooler, darker climate and she carefully chose Los Cabos, Mexico as our location. She never revealed the nature of her rationale, but her secrecy came as no surprise; it was her way. Unlike other guests at this tropical destination, pleasure wasn’t what drew us to this all-inclusive beach resort; Marsala had ulterior motive in mind.
It was no surprise to learn Marsala made arrangements for she and I to share a suite. She assigned the other half of our foursome, Wythe and Madon, to a suite down the beach from us and ordered them to remain there while she and I experienced the eclipse together, as a couple. She was shameless in her show of partiality for me, but her efforts to win my heart were pointless; she refused to see my deep loathing for her.
Wythe and Madon were captives like me, with one exception; they loved Marsala unconditionally. She always chose me first, leaving them to battle for second place, while the loser settled for third. Both were completely unaware it was a competition I had no desire to win.
She sought their love and intimacy, only after failing to capture my heart. She toyed with them, playing one against the other as she coaxed them to fight for her affections, promising her love as a prize for the winner. She used their competition as entertainment and it was one of many cruel ways she made herself feel wanted and worthy.
Wythe and Madon shared a common loyalty and devotion to Marsala, along with jealousy and hatred for me. They were furious because she had chosen to experience the supernatural event with me, while they were ordered to not interrupt, and her wrath was the only reason they didn’t kill me. I wished they would, but they weren’t kind enough to put me out of my misery, leaving me forced to do it myself.
I spent the evening avoiding Marsala, along with her romantic advances. She finally conceded and left the suite, giving me a few hours of peace before she returned, shortly before dawn. From refuge in the bedroom, I smelled a human and recognized it as another one of her games. The warm, fresh blood was intended to taunt and punish me for resisting her romantic advances.
I spent the day in the dark bedroom, away from the sinister devil that refused to release me from her hold, and waited for the moon to cover the sun. Eclipse watchers gathered on the beach and their excitement could be heard inside the safety of our suite as the darkness approached. I left the bedroom and entered the living room to find a young, Mexican woman sitting quietly on the couch. Marsala stood across the room and said, “Curry, I have something special for you.”
I looked at the woman sitting on the couch and saw no fear on her face, a sign she didn’t realize Marsala was a vampire with plans in store for her.
“I don’t want your gift,” I replied, dryly.
“You can be so inconsiderate at times. I went to a lot of trouble for this one and I know you thirst for her blood; I see the desire all over your face,” she taunted.
“You know how I feel and I grow tired of repeatedly explaining the fact that we no longer need to kill humans to survive.”
She ignored my words and attempted to taunt me further by saying, “Can’t you smell the richness of her blood?”
“Why is it impossible for you to take no for an answer? It’s exhausting. You are exhausting.”
“Curry, we’ve waited for this total solar eclipse since 1955. Something spectacular is about to happen and that means this is a time to celebrate.” She walked over to the young woman sitting on the couch and lifted her wrist in my direction, offering the first drink to me. “Please join me in drinking from her. I chose her, just for us, because I know she will be delicious.”
Bewilderment flooded the young woman’s eyes as she looked to me for some kind of reaction since she didn’t understand English. She was confused by Marsala’s gesture, but I gave her a false smile of reassurance and was glad she didn’t comprehend what was about to happen to her.
I was powerless to stop Marsala, but I refused to watch her prey upon this innocent woman, so I stood to leave the inevitable scene and heard Marsala whisper her patented line. “Know the truth, but whisper lies.” It was what she always said, the moment before she devoured her prey.
I entered the suite’s bathroom and shut the door before the young woman’s screams invaded my sensitive ears. I looked at the stranger in the mirror staring back at me and wondered who he was. His image stood just under six feet tall and his hair was dark, nearly black, like his heart. I leaned closer to the reflection, attempting to see a glimpse of myself within the monster standing in front of me and searched his eyes, the so-called windows to the soul. I looked beyond the flecks of light blue and gold of his irises, but found no trace of the soul I was told no longer existed and wondered, “Who is this demon mocking my every move?”
Shortly after the woman’s screams stopped, I felt the arrival of the darkness and silence swallowed the noise of the crowd’s loud anticipation. Marsala anxiously called for me from the other room. “Come, Curry, it is time.”
With one last glance, I bid farewell to the stranger in the mirror and walked through the living room to see the lifeless body of the young woman with a large, bulging abdomen stretched awkwardly on the couch. Unaware it was a possibility, my revulsion for Marsala grew greater. “How could
you? She was pregnant,” I disgustedly said.
“Don’t be so quick to judge. She thought she was here to negotiate a price for her unborn bastard.” She offered me a glass filled with the blood of my gift. “Here! Drink it before it cools.”
“Monster! Are there no bounds to the depravity of which you have so freely given your soul?” I asked, as I walked past her. I jerked the terrace curtains open, revealing the darkness of the eclipse and she stepped in front of me to place her palms on my chest.
“Curry, things are going to be different after this; I’m going to give you something you have always wanted and it’s going to change everything. We will be happy, you’ll see.”
“My hatred for you runs so deep it drowns in my very marrow and the only happiness I’ll ever know is when I am released from your hold.” I bit my tongue to withhold from saying more, not wanting to clue Marsala to my plan.
She flashed her familiar, evil smile and said, “We shall see.” She cautiously stepped out into the darkness where she was shielded from the dangers of the sun. I followed her onto the terrace and took my place, propped against the wall with my arms crossed and waited for my beautiful end.
She lifted her fair Creole face toward the moon covered sun with her eyes closed, concealing the pale peridots behind her lids. Two thick braids met just below the crown of her head and light brown curls hung close to her waist. She stood with her feet together and arms stretched wide, like the crucified, with her body motionless in anticipation of something I didn’t dare imagine.
I waited against the wall while the eclipse passed quickly and she unsuccessfully shielded her disappointment, as she wore her crushed hope like a flashing neon sign. We exchanged no words as the end of the eclipse drew closer, and with a last desperate attempt, she ended her silence saying, “I conjure you, Hecate, because you are the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the moon, the night, ghosts, and necromancy. I ask you to wrap your arms of favor around me. I compel you, Hecate, to bequeath me a viable womb. I call upon Rhea, the titaness of female fertility, because you are mother to powerful gods and I implore you to grant me fertility and fruitfulness of my womb.”
As she revealed her dark desire, I realized drinking the pregnant woman’s blood was no coincidence and I recognized her pathetic attempt to make me love her. “You can stop now, Marsala, because a child could never change the depth of my disdain for you. Are you really so far gone that you can’t see how bringing a child into this would be the worst form of evil?”
She raised her voice and began to scream her challenge, “I petition you, Hera. You are the queen of marriage, women, childbirth, heirs, kings and empires and I command you to bestow my body with a supernatural pregnancy. These things I command of you! I demand it!”
The sunlight slowly began to spill from behind the moon and death couldn’t claim me quickly enough. She didn’t want the eclipse to end and I took joy in her disappointment. With only seconds to spare, I gladly said the words she didn’t want to hear, “It’s over, we must go inside.”
Strangely, I was at peace with my plan for an elective demise. I was uncertain what awaited me on the other side, or if there could be anything other than Hell for someone like me. In the unlikely event my lost soul had a place to rest peacefully, I took my last opportunity to repent and although I held my tongue, my heart couldn’t remain silent. “All this time, I can’t make right. I am hollow by what remains inside and I ask to be saved from the nothingness I have become. I ask that my misplaced heart no longer wanders, lost and wounded, and finds it’s way into the arms that love me. I beg the forgiveness of the ones I’ve wronged and of the One listening.”
My last moments were interrupted by Marsala’s words, “The goddesses and titanesses have heard my demands and I feel something happening.” She placed her hands to her abdomen and looked up at me with wide eyes saying, “I know you’ll love me when I give you the child you have always wanted.”
She was happy with herself, believing she had won the battle between us, her obsession victorious over my hate, and she would never understand that this had nothing to do with a child. I could never have feelings, other than hatred, for her because she had taken too much away from me by stealing my life, my happiness, my future, even the light of day.
“Look, it’s a sign,” she said, as she pointed to my crossed arms.
I lowered my head to see the source of her delight and saw a pair of butterflies sitting upon my crossed arms, their bright wings growing redder as the sun began to peak around the moon. They softly, and whimsically, fanned their wings back and forth and I sensed she was right; something was happening. I felt a force of adrenalin coursing through me, along with a euphoria I’d never known, and was engulfed with inner strength as years of heaviness lifted from me. My invisible shackles were unlocked, tossed aside and the bondage holding me to her was dissolved.
“No! No! No!” she screamed, as she fell to her knees. “What have you done?” she hissed at me. I backed away as she crawled toward me with her hand outreached. The exposure of the sun grew as the seconds ticked by and the time for my death arrived. I lowered my head to meet her eyes, one last time before the sun aided me in my eternal escape of her. I saw the burning pain on her face, along with something else in her narrowed eyes and I recognized her look of jealous fury; it could be mistaken for nothing else.
She hissed, “I don’t know how you did it, but you’ll never have her. I will serve her heart to you on a platter and make you enjoy eating it.”
She had completely lost her mind and I laughed before saying, “You are mad! You don’t even know what you’re saying.”
“No! It’s you that doesn’t understand, you stupid fool! She has arrived, but listen well and never forget my words! You’ll never have her!” she screamed.
I didn’t understand the mystery of her words, but I suspected she, too, felt the dissolution of our bond and realized my intentions. Fortunately, she didn’t have time to act and was forced inside by the sun’s rays before she could drag me inside with her.
Seconds later, the sun was completely unobstructed by the moon and I was entirely exposed to the beaming rays. I felt the warmth on my face and waited for the burn that would end my existence. She frantically called for me from inside the suite, but I refused to answer, allowing her to believe I was incinerated; I would be soon enough. Luckily, her misplaced, distorted love for me would never be reason enough for her to risk her safety in place of mine.
I waited in vain for the anticipated burn as I only felt the mercy of the sun, and didn’t understand why. I was afraid to move, yet afraid to remain still and I had no idea how much longer the sun would show me grace. I took a few steps, testing my boundaries like a child, and gave thanks for the arms of protection surrounding me, then made the decision to run. This was a gift and a blessing I didn’t yet understand, but one thing I knew for certain; now wasn’t the time to understand, it was the time to escape.
It didn’t matter if the bond was broken because Marsala would never let me go. She would begin tracking me shortly after dusk and my only hope was that Wythe and Madon hated me enough to mislead her. I needed distance between us because there was only a few hours until the members of my coven could leave the safety of the indoors. I had a chance, but I had to make the most of it.
I faired a better chance if I stayed in the population of humans. If I was discovered, Marsala wasn’t stupid enough to act out in front of witnesses, so I decided to stick close to the road. Darkness arrived quickly and an old, beat-up truck pulled to a stop beside me with the window rolled down. The driver was a dark haired man that spoke perfect English when he asked through the passenger’s window, “Need a ride to where you’re headed?”
This could be the perfect diversion from my current path to throw off my coven and the chance I needed to divert my scent. I leaned in the window to ask where he was going and when his green eyes caught mine, we both knew simultaneously, so I said, “I do
n’t think I am what you are looking for.”
“What do you think I am looking for?” he laughed.
“You thought you were going to find a meal. Well, you’re wrong; so move on, amigo. I’m not looking for any trouble and you won’t find a meal here.” I leaned out of the window and returned to the path ahead of me as he eased the truck up beside me again. “Hey, I wasn’t looking for a feed. I was just trying to be friendly and I didn’t realize until you leaned in the window.”
Liar. Monsters like us only possessed black hearts and none of them contained goodness. He was up to something, I knew our kind too well to suspect otherwise, but I debated; which path should I choose? Marsala would find me faster on foot and I would probably have a better chance if I took a ride. I knew I could hold my own, so why not? “Where are you headed?”
“North. I’m going to La Paz to catch a ferry over to Mazatlan. I’m making my way back to the states. I’ve had enough of Mexico and I’m ready to go home. Are you interested?”
Crossing water was a good idea. It would help throw the others off my trail, and why not? It had been too long since I was in the states and I had been feeling a growing urge to return home for several months. “I think I am interested. Thanks.”
He lifted his wrist to take a look at his watch. “The ferry leaves in an hour so we better get a move on.”
I got in the truck with my new riding companion, and if it was a mistake, I’d know soon enough. He wasted no time, speeding down the dirt road ahead of us. “Thanks for the ride.”
He extended his hand toward me, a human ritual we didn’t practice. “I’m Solomon Alexander.”
Although it was uncomfortable, I didn’t refuse him and I reached to take his hand in a firm shake, as I introduced myself, “Curry Brennan.” I couldn’t say I was glad to meet him yet because I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t regret accepting a ride from him.
“So, how did you end up down here in good ole’ Mexico?” he asked, pronouncing Mexico with a perfect accent.