VII. Night of the Bride

A young plowman named Mihail listened in the dark to the rain, the thunder, and the soft breathing of Magda, his wife. She slept next to him, facing away on her side, very heavy with child. They hadn't shared the marital embrace for many weeks, and Mihail lay awake, burning for release he couldn't have with her.

Magda wasn't pretty in a way that caught other men's eyes, but she pleased him perfectly well. Her enthusiasm matched his own in bed, and satisfied him deeply. Their nights together made him happy like nothing else in life. He thought back to their wedding night. No soldiers had come to drag her off to Castle Volfric, so he had her all to himself. She'd been a virgin--nervous, but loving and eager to learn. That was probably the night she conceived, and what a night it was. They'd have a night like that again, he vowed, as soon as she felt up to it.

Mihail's thoughts took a strange turn, then. He caught himself thinking of a woman outside the cottage. She paced. She circled--seeking, searching, ravenously hunting for a way in. She didn't crave only shelter from the storm. She'd come for him, determined to satisfy lusts and hungers so intense they frightened him a little. He had no idea how he knew any of this. He simply knew it, the way one knows things in a dream, and so he guessed he must have finally dropped off to sleep.

He looked over at Magda, still serene in her own dreams. Surely it would be no betrayal of her to indulge in such an imaginary tryst? He'd merely awaken to the stickiness that came of dreams like this, somewhat relieved of his urgent need for sex.

He made no move to open the door. He didn't move at all. As is sometimes true in dreams, he found he couldn't. He could only lie still and make a wish, that this thrilling, slightly threatening fantasy of a woman would come inside and do exactly what she threatened.

A lightning flash revealed the flap of butterfly wings above the bed.

At once, Mihail understood the dreadful enormity of his mistake, but no sooner had the thought formed in his mind than the vampire formed on top of him. Her corpse-white face hovered inches over his. Her long black hair hung down, a curtain that cut him off from Magda. The monster's red eyes blazed into his. If they were windows to her soul, it already burned in Hell. Her weight pressed him into the mattress, more deliciously than he cared to admit. He cursed his foolishness for inviting her inside, dooming not only himself, but Magda and their unborn child, for surely none of them would live to see the morning. This was no dream, not even a nightmare.

The vampire hesitated, as if unsure how to proceed. She nuzzled him under the chin. He waited for the bite, expecting it to rip his throat out to the bone. Instead, with black talons, she shredded sheet and nightshirt away to bare his well-muscled chest. She raked the flesh. The furrows filled with blood. He stifled his cry, hoping against hope that if he didn't wake Magda, the vampire might not kill her.

The demonic creature straddled Mihail. Her face pressed to his chest, she lapped and sucked at the wounds she'd inflicted. He blushed for shame at the excitement she provoked in him. He caught glimpses of her body, utterly nude and pale as a sepulcher beneath her black cape. That stirred him all the more. Her crotch pressed against his as she fed. She started to rub, without seeming to realize it. He stiffened in response, and she rubbed harder, until the layers of fabric between them dampened unmistakably.

Magda mumbled. She rolled onto her back. For a heartbeat, Mihail saw the outline of her swollen belly, just visible against the night, before she rolled the rest of the way to face him. She frowned in troubled slumber. Her eyes darted disturbingly beneath the lids.

The vampire sat up. Mihail tore his gaze reluctantly from Magda's face to hers. She wiped her arm across her mouth, which left a blackish-scarlet smear. Suddenly, savagely, she kissed his lips, cutting them with her fangs, forcing his head deep into the pillow. She slipped her tongue into his mouth. He tasted his own blood on it, and nearly gagged.

She lurched up again to look down on Mihail. If she hadn't seemed aware before of rubbing against him, she ground down now with a purpose. She kept catching herself on the tip of his prick, and it would have penetrated her if his nightshirt and the sheet weren't in the way.

She pointed a bloody claw at Magda, and in a dark voice, tremulous with arousal, said, "Is this what you do with her?"

The question puzzled Mihail. He'd noticed a wedding ring on the vampire's finger, and assumed she knew what husbands and wives did in bed. He found his voice--the kiss, apparently, had broken the spell of paralysis--and said, "N-not exactly."

"Well, whatever you do, let's do it."

To think, he'd wished for that only moments ago. Now the idea made the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Apart from the horror of embracing a corpse--for so she was--he feared that the sex act might bind him to this creature in some fate worse than death.

Magda groaned in her sleep.

Mihail whispered, "What if she awakens?", and prayed she wouldn't.

The vampire unclasped her cape, and draped it over Magda, covering her face in a way that horridly reminded him of a burial shroud.

"Who are you?" he said.

"My name is Katia. How do you do?" She knew enough, at least, to pull the sheet out from between them, and rip away what remained of his nightshirt. Her fiery eyes widened at what she thus revealed, as though it were the first she'd ever seen. She moved uncertainly to lower herself onto it. Mihail helped her, with a confusing mixture of resignation and morbid lust he hated himself for feeling. He put his hands on her cool, firm flesh. To his astonishment, he found it more pleasing than not. When he thrust up and she slammed down, her hymen tore. She yelped, more from surprise than pain, he thought. And then he felt her blood, chilly enough to make him shiver.

"But aren't--weren't--you married?" He took her hand, and traced his thumb over the ring.

"I was a bride. The Count murdered my groom."

Mihail couldn't imagine any bride chosen by Volfric getting away with her virginity intact. He wondered how she'd done it, and what strange road led her to become a vampire.

"I never got my wedding night," she said. "But I longed for it. And you long for your wedding night again, I know. That's what lured me to your cottage, to your bed. Maybe we can give each other something close enough."

Mihail stole a hopeless glance at Magda's veiled form.

"You love her," Katia said. For the first time, he heard human feeling in her voice. "I understand. I loved my Jacob, too, but I'll never have this with him." She leaned forward, as if to kiss him, but her eyes narrowed, and something dangerous flared in them. When she spoke, her voice was dead again--colder and harder than before, and more ominous than any living mortal's ever could be: "I mean to know what I missed. Now please, just let me close my eyes and be a bride tonight."

Lightning cast her face into relief, all angles and fangs. Mihail contemplated the afterimage that lingered in the dark. Rain drummed on the roof. He heard it dripping, somewhere in the little cottage.

She started moving.

"Here." He put his hands on her hips to guide her. "You might like it better if . . ."

She figured it out quickly enough, found her own rhythm, and rode him with growing confidence and vigor, luminously beautiful in her sensuality, intent on knowing the pleasures of which she'd been robbed. He responded to her passion, though he knew how little it had to do with him. As he watched her face, even with her eyes closed, he sensed the sadness that darkened her delight. She was sharpening her grief to a bitter point, and stabbing herself on it.

He could feel her crisis nearing--but also his own. He grabbed the sheets and held on with white-knuckled fists. He shot his seed, but fought to stay hard for her anyway.

The supernatural strength of the undead made her climax painfully violent for him. She bathed his crotch in a gush of fluid even icier than the blood from the breaking of her hymen. She cried "Jacob!" with ecstasy, but also with anguish, and this last made Mihail finally go limp.

She collapsed on him, and buried her face in his shoulder. He'd heard before that vampires shed no tears. She didn't, but there was no other word for it--she wept.

He held her, and stroked her hair as comfortingly as he could. He nudged her face to a wound on his chest where the blood still flowed. Shyly, she began to lick and suck, and it seemed to help her calm herself.

When she looked up, her mourning had turned to rage and hate. "Oh, what Volfric stole from me!" Her expression reminded Mihail what she was, and terrified him all over again. At that moment, he would not have traded places with the Count for all the riches in the world.

Magda's hand flopped against his cheek. The contact woke her. "Mihail?" Her fingers probed, grasping all over his face, growing desperate. "What's happening? Where are you?"

He held her hand. "Magda, shh!"

She sat up. The cape still shrouded her. "Mihail, I'm lost! Where are you?"

Katia reached for the cape. Her leisurely manner of drawing it down made Mihail shudder to think of a cat toying with a mouse. At last, she gave a final tug, and the uncanny black veil fell away from Magda's face.

Mihail held his breath. A shocking scene greeted his poor wife, and clearly it shocked her. But he only feared what Katia might do. No matter what he'd shared with her, she was what she was--a bloodthirsty night-fiend.

Magda inhaled to scream. Katia lashed at her with frightful speed.

Before Mihail could even cry, "No don't!", he saw that Katia hadn't clawed out Magda's throat, but had merely clapped a hand over her mouth.

Magda's eyes looked impossibly large. Katia stared into them.

Mihail found no words for his prayer. He just willed his raw, silent desperation Heavenward.

Katia smiled, showing her fangs. Her gaze still locked on Magda's, she said, "Let's talk about this."


Andriel said...

You have a wonderful writing style.

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks, andriel! More on the way . . .

Jaakko said...

Heyy, a new chapter! And a great one, too!

Bonus points for the use of the word "prick". It sounds much more oldey-worldey than "cock" or "penis", and thus is just perfect for your horror fairy-tale world.

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks Jaakko!--some things are especially hard to write about, since the old words wouldn't sound right to modern ears, and the modern words would ring anachronistic in that setting.

Kaushik Karforma said...

Wow, Curt. Thanks for another wonderful chapter.

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks Kaushik--and this isn't even the chapter I was telling you about!