Playing With Food
Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes. With that soulless gaze, he watched me as I moved my knight. In two more moves, he checkmated me easily, just like he callously defeated the efforts all souls who resisted him. Life was like that…for a Vampire.
He smiled gently, perfectly white teeth revealing no hint of his retractable fangs. He encouraged me and assured me that luck merely smiled upon him this evening. I began resetting the pieces for another game as he knelt to toss two more logs in the ornate fireplace. Across its mantle, Druids and Satyrs cavorted about the Italian marble. The exquisite sculpting was wrought animated by the dancing flames below. On either side of the fireplace, ornate wooden staircases made of oak from the Black Forest wound to the vast rooms above. He returned to our Elizabethan table as servants produced standing trays laden with Duck, Vichy Suisse, and crème fraîche with braised ham from Spain, and they placed it all beside us upon the Persian rug.
He spared little effort to impress. Such is the way with Vampires. They like to play with their food. It’s the way of top predators, I suppose. When in total command of the prey, there is time for sport. Have you ever seen a lion that has captured a baby antelope? It’s too easy for the lion so it props up the terrified animal and urges it to run, just a little, to add pleasure before the inevitable spurting of blood and the crunching of bones. I wondered how long he’d play at me like this before his fangs would rend my veins, before he’d suck at my soul. I wondered if he knew that I’d gleaned his true nature.
“Do you know what makes a con-artist successful?” I said, opening with a pawn.
“Simple,” he said in his rich baritone. “Cunning, wits, planning. An ability to correctly measure his prey.”
“No!” I crowed, slapping the table with glee. “It is the greed of the target. Without the unsavory drives which dwell in the heart of the innocent victim, a con man should wither and die off. He preys only upon those who predate.”
The confident smile which bestowed his manicured looks, slipped a little.
It seemed he detected my hidden meaning, and his eyes turned feral. “A clever mind is a top predator that will never die. There is always something available to consume.” His visage of magnanimous host fading as he focused openly upon my neck. His threat becoming obvious.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have goaded him, but I’d grown tired of the game and wished to bring forth the logical conclusion. “I should think the con artist is something of a weakling really, depending upon others utterly as he must.” I gestured about the room and to the painting of the imposing man above the fireplace. “He relies upon illusion in lieu of true accomplishment. Producing nothing of his own, he is a bottom feeder, a worm, I should say.”
His hand shot out, super-humanly quick, and he pulled at my arm to expose the vein at the elbow. “Then let us see who is stronger, shall we?” He grinned with malice as his fangs extended. He bit down upon my arm, fangs piercing, his eyes turning to gold-leaf, crocadilian slits. Those reptilian eyes searched mine for the horror of helplessness, the pain of watching one’s life gushing away in the clutches of a remorseless killer.
I just smiled.
Vampires are considered dead soulless things, but then, what animates them? Why doesn’t anyone ever ask this question? There must be something there. It is the soul, the life energy, that animates a creature’s body. Plants are alive too, and so are the very rocks. They are simply different forms of life energy, and Vampires have their own flavor. It is then logical that just as vampires feed upon the life energy of humans, something feeds upon vampires.
Tendrils of my flesh, with barbed hooks, extended and ensnared the head of the creature. It was trapped, helpless. No blood passed into its mouth. Instead, my skin began to glow with the energy passing from the creature, to me. I cooed to the thing while its skin dried and began to crackle. I prodded it slightly, urging it to fight back, just little, knowing full well it had no hope. I couldn’t help it. I like playing with my food.
Each week, The Speakeasy posts a writing challenge with a limit of 750 words of flash fiction. This week the story must BEGIN with the sentence, “Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes.” Go here to find other answers to the writing challenge by a terrific crowd of talented writers: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-162-open/