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Smashwords – Marion
The dark streets around her quickly turned into the rundown buildings near Southwark and the smell of refuse and human waste assaulted her nostrils. Voices and drunken laughter floated around her from the nearby taverns and the sounds of whores, both male and female, hawking their trade was clearly heard on street corners nearby. She was nearly home.
“Hey Lady. Got any coin you can spare?”
The insistent voice bought Marian out of her thoughts of self-loathing and made her instantly alert. The alley she was in was dark but Marian could clearly see the handsome young boy beside the wall. She stopped walking and turned to look at him, studying him with eyes quick to pick up detail.
The boy was young perhaps not even seventeen and looked as if he had come from a well off family. The dirt that marred his perfect skin was not yet ingrained and his clothes were well made and expensive. A runaway then, what made him come here?
When Marian did not answer him, the boy stepped forward towards her, unable to see her scrutiny in the darkness of the alley.
“Please Lady, have you any coin?” he said quietly.
Marian could hear the shame in his voice at having to beg. He had not been doing this long enough to feel comfortable with it. Shame was something she could understand.
“You should go home to your family,” she said. “This is not the place for you.”
The boy straightened at this and an indignant frown crossed his face. At least he still had his pride, Marian thought.
“That is none of your concern Lady,” He said in a much stronger voice. As he turned his head, a flash of blonde caught in Marian’s eyes. Golden curled locks surrounding such a young face should not be out in this part of the city. Not undefended.
Marian kept staring at the young man, who began to move uncomfortably on his feet from her silence. For some strange reason the boy reminded Marian of herself when she was young. Before she became what she was.
After a few moments under Marian’s scrutiny the Golden Boy took a step away from her. “Sorry for disturbing you Lady,” he said holding his hand out before him as if warding her away.
“I am not a Lady. My name is Marian,” she replied with a laugh. Suddenly a decision was made. She would try and save this boy, try and make him into a God fearing citizen, try and make him into the pure image that she would have liked to have been before she met her Master. “Would you like to come and eat with me?” she asked.
Golden Boy stopped his retreat and Marian could sense him thinking about her offer. She tried not to read his thoughts; it would have been ill mannered. But the look that crossed his face told her exactly what he was thinking.
“There is no obligation attached to my offer. Just a meal if you are hungry.”
Too late, she heard the thudding of boots in the alley behind her and Marian turned in time to feel the blade of a dagger sink deep into her belly. She looked up into the sweaty, unshaved face of the man holding the dagger, who smiled into her eyes as he pushed the knife in deeper. Marian slowly sank to her knees and could feel the point of the blade scrape against her backbone.
From the corner of her eye she saw a large man move around her with more agility then his body looked to have, he tackled the Golden Boy to the ground.
“Got ‘im,” the man grunted as he hauled himself and the Golden Boy from the filth on the alley floor. As Marian sat holding the handle of the dagger in her hands, she watched as the large man dragged Golden Boy kicking and screaming to the thug in front of her.
“This is one the boss’ll like,” he said holding the boy at arms length in an effort to avoid his wild punches. “He likes blondes, but why’d you have to stab the girl? I would have had her.”
“You still can. Dead or alive it’s the same thing,” the thug said as he reached forward and pulled the dagger from Marian’s stomach.
“You’re not serious are you?” the stocky man said as he pushed the boy to his partner. “Here hold ‘im. We’d better get ‘im back to the boss.”
Marian heard all this as she felt the blood seep through her fingers. And as her blood left her body, Marian began to feel a hunger grow in her, a hunger that she had managed to fight for over a year. A hunger that was fed by her anger at being caught like this and anger that they dare lay hands on the innocent that she had found.
She let the Power grow in her and her eyes glowed eerily golden in the dark of the alley. The two men had their backs to her and she could hear the sounds of fists hitting flesh and the boy grunting in pain.
Marian held her bloody hand up to her mouth and ran her tongue along her middle finger. The taste of blood in her mouth felt electric. It was the key that released her inhibitions. An animal hunger leapt inside of her, a hunger that compelled her to lust after the lifeblood of others, that forced her to drain it until she felt her victim’s heart give out. It was hard to control at first but the Master had told her that with time and practice it could be bent to her will and controlled. After two hundred years she had managed to learn how.
The stocky man was closest to her and Marian could smell the blood that coursed through his veins. She smiled.
In the blink of an eye she was on him, her teeth easily finding the artery in his neck and she drank deep from the blood that flowed through it. But she held herself back from drinking fully; Marian remembered that there was another who deserved greater punishment. She looked up from the neck she was feasting on and saw the horrified stare of her next victim. Her appetite was wetted and she did not want to waste it on this filth. A twist of her hand and the man went limp, his body slumping lifeless to the ground.
The thug let the now unconscious boy drop to the ground and stepped backwards, his eyes not leaving the sight of Marian’s blood stained face. She smiled.
“I killed you…” the thug stammered. “There is no way…” the man took another slow step backwards. To Marian he looked like a startled rabbit caught in the lamp light.
“You cannot kill someone who is already dead,” she said stepping over the dead man’s body.
The thugs eyes looked ready to pop out from his face and his facial muscles looked grotesquely contorted. Marian could smell his fear. He turned to run.
Suddenly Marian was in front of him. “Leaving already?” she asked sweetly. The thug fell backwards in terror and began to scramble back towards the unconscious boy and his dead friend.
“Please don’t hurt me,” the man whimpered as he crabbed crawled backwards. Marian watched as the man’s hand suddenly slipped in the blood pooling from his dead companion.
“What reason can you give me not to hurt a murderer and a skin merchant?”
He cried out in fear as Marian stepped slowly towards him. Marian could feel the hunger of the Power burning inside of her, a hunger that needed to be satisfied.
“You try and kill me in cold blood and kidnap my companion. I can think of nothing that can redeem you in the eyes of God.”
On that final sentence, Marian let the Power inside of her take control and she became lost in a haze of blood.
There was something in her arms and she looked down to see that she was carrying the unconscious boy. Thank God that in her bloodlust she did not turn on him. Once the Power is loose inside of her it is hard to control. The mass of golden curls was now matted with blood and dirt and bruises had already purpled the boys face.
Marian turned down the small street that led to the rundown mansion that she called home. The three-storey edifice rose before her out of the darkness of the night. No one ventured here as the people in this part of London considered the place haunted. That suited her just fine. This dead and decaying house suited its equally dead occupant.
Marian felt a stirring in her arms and glanced down to find the boy’s eyes wide open, watching her. She saw no fear in them and she unconsciously relaxed. Golden Boy must have been knocked out cold before her retribution started. He did not witness the release of the Power. That was something she did not want him to ever see. Marian could smell the blood that was on her skin and soaked into her clothes, knew that it was the blood spattered across her face that drew the boy’s attention.
“How do you feel?” Marian asked. There was no light coming from the houses that lined the street and the buildings that stood on either side of her house were long abandoned. In this place they were completely alone.
“I can see that cut above your eye might need to be stitched,” Marian said as she stopped before the old wooden door that was the entrance to her home. “Do you think you can walk?”
Marian felt the muscles of the boy’s legs move against her arms as he tested them.
“I do not think that anything is broken. I should be able to walk.”
Marian nodded and let his feet slowly to the ground, keeping an arm about his waist in case his legs could not take his weight.
But the arm was not needed as the boy’s legs held. Marian looked closely at his face for signs of collapse. A small grunt of pain escaped his lips but otherwise he gave no other indication that he was in pain. She looked him up and down a moment longer. He stood next to her, not quite as straight as he had before when she first met him in the alley, but he did so without complaint. The boy had grit. It was then that Marian saw his eyes slide down to her stomach, to the mass of blood that had clotted into her clothing. The Golden Boy had remembered the knife.
“No need to worry about me. The blade got caught in the bones of my stays, it only caused a scratch to my ribs.”
“Scratches bleed a lot and most of this is not mine.”
“What happened to the two men? I do not remember anything past the beating they gave me.”
Marian stood a moment in thought, quickly thinking up something to say. She decided on a half-truth.
“Something startled them, distracted them, so I scooped you up and ran.”
“That was quick thinking. I don’t know whether I could have done that,” the boy said looking at his feet.
“I’m sure you would have if the situation was reversed,” Marian replied. “I think you better stay with me for the rest of this night, you’re in no condition to go anywhere by yourself,” she said moving to the door. From her pocket Marian pulled a large key that she slid into the keyhole of the large oak door. Before turning it she looked back at the Boy.
“I still do not know your name?”
The boy hesitated a moment before replying. “Adam, my name is Adam Rothe.”
“Adam?” Marian did not believe him. Tonight it seemed was not a night for truth telling. “Well, my name is Marian and you are welcome in my house.” Marian then turned the key and opened the door. She bowed and with a flourish of her hand, Marian gestured for Adam to precede her into her home.