Saturday, October 2, 2021

How not to stalk a vampiress

This reminded me of a scene from Huntress Prey. Only it's a fangs-to-the-neck instead of a blade-to-the-heart situation. 



The door of the vampiress’ apartment was made of steel.

I cursed under my breath. While steel didn’t hinder my magic as much as pure iron did, it wasn’t easy to get it to bow to my will either. It would heat the metal and leave a trace she would notice.

But I needed to know who she truly was.

I placed my palm against the cold metal and sent a mix of mental force and magic with a murmured spell. The heavy bolts clicked open.

I pushed the door, closing it behind me quickly. The apartment was tidy and as impersonal as a hotel room. Decorated in a mix of deep green and white, with a plush sofa and a 40-inch flat-screen TV on a mahogany shelf, bracketed by two other shelves containing books. A quick browse placed most of the titles in the science fiction and informatics genres.


I looked down at the vampiress’ tricolor, fuzzy cat. He was walking towards me, eyes narrowed in suspicion.

I arched a brow. “Are you going to attack me?”

The cat sat down and flicked his bushy tail.

“I’ll take that as a maybe,” I muttered, heading towards the immaculate, near-sterile kitchen and opening the stainless steel fridge. Glass bottles with water, a couple of bottles of wine, and six bags of A+. Curiously, there were also eggs. I saw from the corner of my eye how the cat jumped to the counter.

“Are those for you?” I inquired.



I walked to the bedroom. The door slightly creaked when I opened it. Strange, considering the borderline obsessive neatness. The bed was made with a pine green duvet; a genetics book on one of the nightstands and two small lamps. I turned one on. The bulb gave the same soft, buttery light as the one in the living room. Vampires have hypersensitive, eagle-like eyes that suffer under fluorescent lights and sunlight.

I opened one drawer, spotting something I was certain she didn’t want a stranger to see, but nothing that said anything about who she was. The dresser was the same story, with neatly folded clothes, and clean shoes.

The cat—who had followed me into the room—also entered the bathroom. With a jolt of surprise, I noticed she used the same brand of organic products we did. The company was run by fae. Behind the mirror, in the cabinet, she had little bottles of mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, and hand sanitizer.

There was hardwood across the entire place, except for the bathroom. She could very well have a stash of valuable information somewhere. I went back to the bedroom and crouched near the bed, deciding that was a good place to start.

The sound of a key tinkling and a muffled curse made me stand.

“What the Hell?” came the feminine voice.

The cat, now sitting on the bed, gave me a smug look.

The bedroom window was too small, so I bolted for the one in the living room. The same she had jumped through before. I caught sight of the vampiress, of her wide teal-sky eyes and ruffled long, dark hair just before crawling through the open window and jumping with more force than intended, which sent me several yards ahead—beyond the corridor of grass and the iron fence of the apartment complex several stories down—before falling. I turned in the air to break the fall, landing in a half-crouch on the road and seeing the bright lights of a large truck a second too late.

Something, no, someone, collided against me with enough force to steal my breath, getting me out of the way of the truck and tossing me to the ground a few yards from the road, into the tree line.

The vampiress was standing a few feet away from me, gaze wide and breathing hard as she looked back toward the road, where the massive truck loaded with logs passed by faster than it should have. The crash wouldn’t have killed me, but the recovery wouldn’t have been pretty either.

I stood, facing her, keeping my eyes on her as I slid my hand to my back and summoned my stake from one of my many inter-dimensional pockets. The vampiress didn’t notice the slight flash of green magic. I closed my fingers securely around the stake.

“You could have died,” she said, her melodic voice showing surprise. She pressed her lips and frowned. “Which is what you deserve for breaking and entering and damaging my lock.”

“You’re exaggerating a tad, don’t you think?” I asked, holding the stake tighter.

She narrowed her eyes. “Who are you, really?”

“Is your memory that bad? I am your genetics professor,” I retorted.

Her fists clenched. “I didn’t know sneaking inside a student’s apartment was part of the duties of a college professor.”

I gave her a faux smile. “It depends on the student.”

I could practically see smoke coming out of her slightly pointed ears.

She inhaled, staring at me. “You’re not human.”

“Neither are you,” I shot back.

She took a step closer; I backed down, measuring the space, pondering whether to use my power or see if I could take her down without it.

Her pale eyes—bright in the darkness—widened. “Did—did he send you?”

Whoever he was, evoked a shiver of fear so strong in her I could sense it as if it were mine.

“Funny, I was about to ask the same,” I admitted.

She clenched her teeth, stepping closer. “I’m done with your little game. Tell me who you are and what you want from me, now.”

A wave of invisible power slammed against my forehead and curled around the nape of my neck. Her hypnosis was strong, ridiculously so. Only once before, in my nearly six centuries of life, had I felt something like that.

“No, I don’t think I will,” I said, pretending nonchalance even as my spine tingled and my heart raced. “I’m a gentleman, you see, so ladies first.”

She growled and moved to grab me by the neck.

I swung the stake and missed slicing her neck by half an inch. She was fast, more so than I had imagined. Still, I didn’t stop, but launched an attack. Her eyes widened, and she dodged each attempt, looking over my shoulder and hers, seeming tempted to run away instead of fighting.

Her defense faltered, and my stake sank into her right shoulder.

“Ouch!” she cried out, surprise and indignation in her voice.

She hit me, open hand against my chest so fast I barely saw it and I flew back, stopping as my back hit a tree. With a low growl, she tore the stake off her shoulder and tossed it aside. Moving fast enough to be a blur, even to my eyes, she grabbed me by the neck.

Her strength was colossal.

Many human hunters had assumed female vampires were weaker than male vampires, by the logic of their biology. They’d soon discovered they were sorely mistaken. Female vampires have a small edge in strength and twice the viciousness of their male counterparts.

Her irises changed from clear blue to bright teal-silver, pupils enlarged and vertical, like a cat’s. Her hand tightened around my neck as she curled her lip, exposing pearly, almost-inch-long fangs.

“You can tell me what you want with me or I can drain you dry and figure it out on my own, which is it?” she snarled, an inch away from my face.

“How about neither?” I managed to say, hitting her solar plexus with my knee.

Her hand loosened slightly, and it was enough. I twisted her right arm behind her back, eliciting another scream, and tried to break her neck. She tossed me over her shoulder with a snarl. I rolled to break the fall and summoned the stake back to my right hand. She hissed, face transformed into a mask of anger and pain, and launched herself at me. Instead of just dodging like before, she fought back. Each blocked and landed blow reverberated in my bones. Her strength nearly doubled mine.

It wouldn’t be the case if I let out the hot power stirring in my core, demanding an out.

A blast of my light could stop her enough if the stake was not an option, and it was looking like it wasn’t at all. But if she managed to dodge me, if others were watching, using my light would be a terrible idea.

If her vampire allies found out about me, about my true power, and what kind of fae I really was, they would torture me until I confessed my mother’s whereabouts. And I couldn’t jeopardize Alanna or the others.

I needed to know if she’d been sent by that vampire beast.

I had to read her, and since her mind was armored, in such a way I had no hope of breaching her shields easily, I’d have to use my empathy. But the rage and despair—the fear and wariness coming from her were revealing nothing. I’d have to touch her to properly gauge her intentions.

My survival instincts blared in alarm, but I fought against them. I slowed my moves just enough, allowing her to breach my defenses in a way that wasn’t obvious, but put her closer, even as every cell in my body screamed in protest.

She kicked out the stake from my hand and tackled me. Her legs came around my waist and her hands clenched around my wrists in an iron grip that threatened to break my bones.

She let out a tiger-like growl just as I breathed in. To my surprise, her breath didn’t stink. A swathe of her long mahogany hair fell over her shoulder and tickled my neck.

“Who the Hell are you, you pointy-eared psycho?!” the vampiress demanded.

I blinked. The glamour wasn’t working with her?

She sniffed, her eyes moving to my forehead. Just then, I felt the slight sting of an open wound. It would be closed in a matter of seconds, but one drop of blood was more than enough to tempt a vampire. She made a strangled sound and shook her head, pinning me harder.

My power core stirred, hot and demanding an exit as a reflex of the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I reined it in, wary of letting her see the true extent of my skills. But I could summon my stake and drive it right through her heart if need be.

“What are you?” she asked, her voice holding more wonder than rage.

I snorted. “As if you didn’t know already, as if that’s not the reason you took my class.”

She blinked. “Excuse me? I was in that class before you showed up. And I’d not be asking if I did know.”

“I don’t believe you,” I snapped, carefully sliding my empathy toward her, taking advantage of her unexpected questioning.

Her upper lip curled, displaying those blade-like fangs. Her eyes slid to my neck. My heart hammered, a curling, cold sensation wrapping around my chest. I honed my power into an invisible blade and summoned my stake.


The scent of his blood was the single most delicious thing I’d ever inhaled.

Why did he have to be so tempting?

Part of me wanted to bite him just to taste him, and that’s why despite the sharp fear that he was sent to capture me by that beast, despite his trespassing and stabbing me, I held back.

I had never killed someone simply because I craved their blood. It had always been a case of hunting perverts, self-defense, or taking revenge for someone who couldn’t.

So I stayed as far away from his neck as I could, considering I was straddling him and pinning him to the damp forest ground. Despite the fresh air, there was no escaping his scent. A mouthwatering combination of dark chocolate and spices I couldn’t name. Warm, heady, and achingly enticing.

I sensed invisible but mighty power coming from him. It felt like a burning blade aimed straight at my heart, and I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of might he possessed. Carefully, I loosened my tight leash on that force that dwelled inside me, and I feared and hated in equal measure.

“Tell me what you are, who you are,” I tried to demand, but it sounded more like a plea thanks to my fear, bloodlust-addled brain.

Like before, my hypnosis was wholly ineffective, repelled by a burning shield.

Part of me wanted to end him then and there, but I needed to know if he’d been sent to capture me.

“Only if you tell me why you’re hunting me down,” he bargained. Despite his fast heartbeat—and the slightly citric tang that I suspected was a telltale sign of fear—his voice was steady, confident.

“I was not hunting you down,” I said again. “You are the one who broke into my apartment. If someone is the hunter here, that’s not me.”

He snorted. “Bit ironic for the people-eating, fanged creature to say that, don’t you think?”

How did he manage that infuriating tone while being at the mercy of a people-eating creature, as he’d said?

I arched a brow.

“I came to stop you before you tried to kill me,” he added, the duh implicit.

“I hadn’t considered killing you until you broke into my home and scared my cat,” I testily confessed.

He scoffed. “You’re more frightened than your cat ever was.”

I glared at him. He was right, of course. “This is a very bizarre conversation.”

“And one I’d rather have without you on top of me, no offense,” he drawled.

I’d calmed down enough to register the rather suggestive position, to feel the pulsing heat and raw power emanating from him in waves. To be very aware of each point of contact, even through the barriers of our clothes.

I moved at full speed, locating the stake near his feet. Weird, I’d thought it was a few yards to my right. The crystal was hot in my hand. It felt curiously alive; as if it buzzed with power.

Alexander, if that was his name, stood fast; rubbing his right wrist as he gave me a reproachful look. A swathe of dark golden hair fell across his forehead, and I had the crazy impulse to put it back in place for him, imagining how soft it would feel between my fingers.

Just in case I needed any more confirmation that I was going crazy.

“So, what are you?” I pressed.

He rolled his shoulders, looking regal and nonchalant despite his messy, blood-stained clothes.

My blood, I remembered, quenching the instinctive impulse to bite him in revenge. The last person who had ever managed to make me bleed had died long ago. And he’d begged for his life.

“Are the pointy ears not enough of a hint?” he asked, locking those unearthly eyes with mine.

“An elf, like Legolas?” I asked, hating that I was playing his game.

He blinked. “Not precisely.”

I clenched my teeth, fighting down the instinctive hiss.

He heaved a dramatic sigh, but his gaze was reading me with sharp intensity. “Fae.”

“A faerie?” I asked, incredulous. “Like Tinker Bell?”

He flashed me a look of mock offense. “Not quite.”

Was he saying the truth?

I wasn’t sure which version had it right; if the stories that claimed faeries to be tiny naughty beings with wings and magical powder, or the ones that claimed they looked… Well, like gorgeous humanoids with pointy ears. The latter was a pretty close description of the striking, annoying, stabby idiot standing two yards away from me.

And who cared if he was lying? He had been trying to kill me just a couple of minutes ago.

My upper lip flickered over my still-lengthened fangs. He cocked a brow in a way that said ‘bring it on.’

And though that baser, violent part of me wanted to throttle him, I reined it in. I needed to know who he was and what he wanted. And I had the feeling he wanted the same from me.

“I’ve answered your question. Now, may I have my stake back?” he asked, stretching out his hand.

“Hell no. Why did you think I was hunting you down?” I demanded.

His eyes flashed. “Because your ilk enjoys killing my kind,” he replied.

I could sense his disdain when saying that.

I blinked. “Why?”

“Because our blood is more delicious, and nourishing, naturally,” he sneered.

I swallowed hard.

If that was true, if he wasn’t fooling me into lowering my guard to kill me, that was a repugnant reason.

“I would never kill someone just because they taste good,” I affirmed.

He scoffed. “Of course not. You are a bookish, animal-lover geek who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Maybe I’d rushed into deciding not to bite him.

“And you’re just an innocent, sparkly faerie who was merely making sure I’m not a mean vampire,” I snorted. “It isn’t quite as simple as that, is it?”

He shrugged one shoulder. “Life rarely is. Now, may I have my stake back?”

A growl rumbled in my chest. “You stabbed me with it, you bastard. No, you can’t have it back.”

He smirked and tutted. “Has no one ever taught you that holding grudges is bad for the soul?”

“Has no one ever taught you it’s rude to break into people’s homes and then stab them after they save your ass from becoming faery-puree?” I shot back.

He shrugged. “I took nothing from your apartment, you are stealing from me.”

“Stealing sounds so rude,” I said, barely resisting showing him my fangs. “Let’s call it a gesture of good faith.”

He cocked a brow. “What a tough bargainer you are.”

I barely held back the desire to throttle him.

“I have questions,” I admitted. “You can’t just say such things and expect me not to have many questions.”

“An interrogation in the middle of the forest, in the dark of night done by a vampiress,” he pretended to muse. “Yeah, it’s a no from me.”

Stabbing him wasn’t the same as biting him. Maybe just a little stab.

“Perhaps tomorrow, after the class is over, we can grab a cup of coffee and have a conversation,” I suggested. That sounded reasonable and not at all as if I was planning to bite him.

His lips flickered. “Asking me on a date already? Don’t you think it is perhaps a bit soon after a murder attempt?”

“It was self-defense!” I cried.

“Tomato, tomahto,” he drawled. I growled. He rolled his eyes. “Fine, tomorrow, at the nearest coffee shop, we shall debate on the meaning of life and whatever else you like. For now, I must conclude our little dalliance.”

I locked my muscles not to kick him. He took a step back, eyes on me, and then turned, walking towards the tree line. Despite the facade of nonchalance, I could feel that he was wary. By far not as much as humans feared me once I showed them who I really was, but still.

He glanced both ways before crossing the road and heading towards the back of the building. I followed him, stashing his stake under my ex-favorite green blouse. His car was a beautiful, elegant sedan. He got inside and winked, before starting the engine and leaving me there, standing in the middle of the road, wondering just what the Hell had happened.

©𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐞 𝐊𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏

Did you enjoy it? This is a scene from HUNTRESS PREY, which you can order by clicking this image:

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