Look for the flash to post every Monday. Fair warning: there are some scenes of dubious consent. If you've read any of my books, you know I don't do rape, but this *is* a Halloween flash. It *is* going to be a bit on the dark side. I *am* going to push the boundaries.
And it's not been edited since I waited to the last moment to write the chapter lol. It's Sunday and football! I'm in front of the TV all day. ;)
Caleb set up in the bed, gasping.
Oh God, oh God why was it so bright in there? He jerked himself from the bed and yanked the curtain closed. Jesus, his eyes were watering they stung so badly. He fell back on the bed and grunted.
What was wrong with him? His body ached, ached in a way it had never before. Was he getting sick? He rolled over and jumped. His ass tingled and… holy shit. Everything came flooding back.
Scrambling out of bed, he rushed into the bathroom and flipped on the light. “Arrgh!” Caleb yelled, slapping his hand over his eyes.
Holy shit, had Raleigh put new bulbs in there? Panting, he removed his hand and opened his eyes again. Yup, the light was as bright as before. Squinting, he stared in shock at his reflection. His hair stuck up in every direction, and there were deep shadows under his eyes. The boxers he didn’t remember putting on last night hung low in his hips.
Leaning closer, he stared intently into the mirror. Was he already losing his tan? He most definitely looked pale. Haggard. Tired. Hell, who was he kidding? He looked half dead. And he felt it too. He was so tired. All he wanted to do was go back to bed and sleep.
But the two holes in his neck demanded every shred of attention he had. They looked bigger this time, redder. Slowly, almost in a trance, he raised his hand and ever so gently run the tip of his finger over them. They tingled, and he shivered.
Brone had fed from him. Again.
There were so many vampire myths, it was hard to tell which ones were accurate, but one thing he knew for sure—this time Brone took more blood. A lot more. God, if Brone drank from him again like this, he wasn’t sure he’d survive.
The thought struck fresh terror into his heart. One myth was a vampire had to feed three times, and on the third time the vampire drained the victim. After the last heartbeat, a vampire had minutes to feed the human his blood so he could turn him.
Caleb had no idea if there was truth in that myth are not, but there was no escaping the fact Brone had fed from him twice… and the second time he took much, much more. That meant there was only one time left then… he would die.
If he believed the myth, after he took Brone’s blood, he would rise. He’d be a vampire. And dead.. A killer. Suddenly the glamour that surrounded the mythology of vampirism Immortal faded.
He’d have to take a life to ensure his continued. Actually, if there was any truth to this the particular mythology, as a fledgling he wouldn’t be able to control his hunger. There would be more than one life lost in order for him to live.
Caleb braced his hands against the counter top and glared at his image in the mirror. Why had he never stop to consider that? All he ever thought about was how sexy vampires were, how mysterious, how cool it would be to have power and live forever.
Caleb never once thought about the price.
He damn sure was thinking about it now. What have I done? Shoulders slumping, he turned from the mirror and flipped off the lights. Darkness surrounded him, and his eyes stopped hurting.
Caleb staggered out the bathroom but paused in the hallway. He wasn’t hungry, but he hadn’t eaten last night. Then there was the blood loss. He probably needed to eat something so he could…. He leaned against the hallway wall and closed his eyes. Brone planned to kill him, and he was worried about eating?
“God, what am I going to do?” Well, he wasn’t he going to do anything until he had coffee. Opening his eyes he turned and walked to the kitchen.
Caleb got the coffee maker going, and leaning against the counter, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. There was a stack of mail left next to him so while he waited, he went through that. It was mostly junk mail so he tossed it in the trash can. He didn’t remember seeing that last night, so Raleigh probably checked the mail when he came in.
A quick glanced at the microwave told him it was midmorning, but he wasn’t surprised Raleigh wasn’t up yet considering he didn’t get off until midnight last night. When the coffee was done, he fixed a cup and sat at the kitchen table. Sipping it, he shuddered as its warmth filled him. He hadn’t realized he was so cold.
Frowning, he glanced up.
A moment later Raleigh shuffled into the kitchen, yawning. He made a beeline to the coffeemaker. “Hey, man.”
Raleigh fix a cup and turned around, taking a sip. His eyes widened as he glanced at Caleb. “Holy shit, man. You look half dead.”
Caleb sputtered. If only Raleigh knew how accurate that description actually was. He looked at Raleigh.
“Are you sick again? I—oh, fuck me.” Raleigh dropped his coffee cup on the counter and stalked to Caleb. Caleb blinked and tension rose in the kitchen. Why did Raleigh suddenly looked so… menacing? Raleigh grabbed Caleb’s chin and forced Caleb to turn so that he fully faced Raleigh.
“What the hell have you done, Caleb?”
Caleb batted at Raleigh’s hand. “What the fuck, man?” He had enough problems this morning without Raleigh acting like an ass. “Let go, moron.”
“Be still.” Raleigh growled.
Caleb stilled. He gulped as his heart skipped then began to pound. The hair on the back to his neck stood up. Every instinct he had screamed at him to run. To flee. But even he had enough sense to know not to run from a predator.
Suddenly that’s what his best friend had become. A predator.
Raleigh growled—honest-to-god growled. Like a dog. Or a… wolf. It was low, and mean… and frightening. He shivered. It was a sound he’d never heard Raleigh make. Ever. It was damn sure one he never wanted to hear again.
Caleb sat frozen as Raleigh tilted his head. He didn’t move when Raleigh leaned down and sniffed his neck. Sniffed him. He didn’t so much as twitch when Raleigh’s long fingers suddenly sprouted claws.
His heart pounded like it was trying to beat of his chest. Little dots of blinking light danced before his eyes. His breath exploded from his lungs. He’d been holding his breath and hadn’t realized it.
“P-please don’t hurt me,” Caleb whispered, afraid to move. Everything he thought he knew had turned into one big lie. “Please.”
Raleigh sighed and released Caleb’s chin. “Oh, Caleb.”
Turning, Raleigh picked up his coffee and sat at the kitchen table. And just like that the tension dissipated. Caleb sat at the kitchen table and stared at his best friend. The claws he knew he felt were no longer in evidence, but there was no mistaking the slitted pupils Raleigh was now sporting. Nor the amber color of his eyes… eyes didn’t come in that color was all he could think. Not human eyes.
He always thought because of his looks Raleigh would have been the perfect vampire. Funny how he’d had the wrong paranormal. “What-what are you?”
Raleigh ran a hand through his hair. “Werewolf. Look, I’m not going to hurt you.”
An irresistible need to giggle hysterically wormed up his throat. Caleb clamped his lips closed. He was deathly afraid if he gave in to the urge, he’d laugh himself silly. Or scream endlessly. How had his life turned into this? Right. Spell that would turn me into a vampire. Can’t forget that.
“Werewolf?” Caleb squeaked. “Like… werewolf?”
Raleigh sipped his coffee, calm as could be. “Yes, werewolf. I can shift into my animal anytime I wish, but at the full moon I have no choice but to change.”
Just how blind was he? He’d been living with a werewolf for how long now? “My God, I can’t believe I never noticed.”
“I took steps to make sure you didn’t.”
Caleb’s rapidly beating heart began to slow. “You… you’re not going to hurt me?”
Raleigh rolled his eyes and thankfully Caleb noticed they’d turned back to normal. “Have I ever hurt you? Ever?”
“Well… no.” Caleb thought about for second. “Okay. No, you haven’t.”
“Seriously? You actually had to think about your answer?”
“Hey, give me a break, will you? It’s been a shit couple of weeks.”
Raleigh had never done anything that would make Caleb question Raleigh’s humanity. There’d been no hint to what he was. None. And Caleb had never been uncomfortable around Raleigh. In fact, it was right the opposite. Raleigh was the one person he felt truly comfortable with.
His best friend was a werewolf.
“I’m fully coherent in my other form too. And before you ask, no, it doesn’t hurt to shift. Yes, I was born this way. And yes, I can bite a human and turn them. We all can, but we don’t run around randomly turning folks.”
“Holy shit. We’ve been friends for a long fucking time. How did I never know this?” Caleb demanded.
He couldn’t believe Raleigh had kept such a secret from him. Even more frustrating was the fact he never noticed anything even remotely off about Raleigh. Had he been living in his own little world his entire life?
Raleigh tilted his head, staring at Caleb. “I have to say you’re taken this much better than I thought.”
Hysteria threatened to rise again. “If you say so. Tell me why you hid this from me.” Focusing on this kept his mind off of the panic of what was happening to him. “Please?”
Raleigh sighed. “The reason I didn’t tell you was because we don’t generally tell humans what we are. Not safe, you know.”
That made sense, as much as anything else did right now. “Why are you telling me now then?”
“Because your ass is in serious trouble.” Raleigh pointed at Caleb’s neck. “You’ve been bitten by a vampire.
Caleb clenched the table as wave after wave indignation rose. “How did you—oh, my God. You knew? You knew there were such things and you never told me?”
How could Raleigh not have told him? He knew Caleb was obsessed, and apparently, he knew Caleb was playing with fire.
“Hey! I’m one of those ‘things’!” Raleigh threw his hands in the air. “And I couldn’t. Didn’t you hear me just say I couldn’t tell you they existed without telling you we existed. And that’s a huge no-no in the paranormal community. My Alpha would’ve been within his right to kick me out of his pack for doing so.”
Caleb rested his head in his hands. “Werewolves. Alphas. Packs. I feel like I’m in another world.”
“I couldn’t come right out and tell you, but I tried to hint. Often. And heavily. But you never listen.”
Caleb only shook his head. “A werewolf. My best friend, whom I’ve known forever, is a were—Holy shit! You said you were born. Does that mean your parents are werewolves too?”
“Yes, my dad is the Alpha.”
“Fuck. I really need to hit the redo button. I can’t wrap my head around any of this. You said I was in serious trouble. What did you mean?”
“I—God. There’s no way to pretty it up, so I’ll just say it. You’re dying.”
Caleb gulped. His body went numb. Hearing it put so inelegantly frightened him clear down to his toes. He set his coffee off to the side, afraid what little bit he’d already managed to get down was going to come back up. “I am?”
“How can you tell?”
“Come on, Caleb. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror yet? The bites are fading, but you’re pale. Too pale. Your skin is beginning to get that waxy look, and you have dark circles under your eyes. You’re eating and drinking less. You’re sleeping more, but when you’re up all you do is complain about how tired you are.”
“Jesus, I never… I hadn’t realized.”
“I hadn’t neither.” A flash of remorse crossed Raleigh’s face. “And I should have. No, what I should’ve done was put an end to your obsession with them.”
“And how could you have done that?”
Raleigh’s shoulders slumped. “I don’t know.”
Caleb let out a breath. That summed it up nicely, didn’t it? Raleigh couldn’t have saved him—nobody could. “I don’t think it’s possible to save someone from their selves.”
Raleigh reached across the table. “Do you know who the vampire is?”
“Yes.” Caleb clasped Raleigh’s hand. “It’s the owner of Midnight Mist and Moondust. You remember me telling you about that shop?”
“Vaguely.” Raleigh scowled. “I didn’t realize a vampire owned it—if I had, you never would have stepped foot in there. I’m going to have to relay that information to my Alpha.”
“That’s where I bought the spell from.”
“If I had known it was more than just a harmless little shop I… I would’ve ripped that damn spell up.”
Caleb blinked as a wave of exhaustion tore through him. “I don’t think it would have done any good.”
“Guess we’ll never know now, will we? So, you know the vampire’s name?”
“Yes. His name is Brone O’Carroll.”
“And how many times has he bit you?”
“Last night was twice.”
Raleigh snatched his hand way and jumped up. “Oh fuck me running, did you invite him in?”
Miserable, Caleb glanced them. “Yes. I-I think he compelled me.”
“Then this place is no longer safe. Come on,” Caleb rushed around the table and grasped Caleb by the shoulders. “We’ll packed. You can’t stay here now that he has been invited him.”
Yawning, Caleb stood. “But, both of our are names on the rental agreement. Can’t you revoke the invitation?”
“It won’t do any good. He’ll just compel you to re-issue the invite.”
Caleb’s weight slightly and rested his hand against the kitchen table to steady him. “Raleigh, running won’t do any good.” Caleb fished the pendant out from underneath his shirt so Raleigh could see it. “I didn’t tell you about this.”
“What the hell is that?”
“Brone told me I couldn’t remove it—that once I accepted the pendant and put it on I accepted him. He also said that as long as I wore he’d be able to find me anywhere I went.”
Raleigh took a step back to Caleb. “Shit. He means to claim you as his mate.”