Everyone had a story to tell, and this is mine. My name is Marnie Belle Collins. I’m a house slave to Prince Silas Zephyr, and I’ve been here since I was a little girl. Sold at an auction, I was brought here after my parents were killed by vampires. When I arrived, I was taken care of by the ladies who were already in the employ of the prince. We became a small family; our only consolation for slave life. Raquel, the head maid, taught me everything she learned over the years. I took her example and made myself very useful. She always warned me never to roam the corridors at night when the vampires were awake. “Any excuse to drain you,” she would say.
The prince did not have a sparkling reputation. He was leader of the whole country of Arronia, and his crimes against humanity were always excused. From what I understood, he inherited his fortune from his parents. Even I saw, over the years, girls who came to work and disappear within a week or two of arriving. Seldom, would we be able to bury the girl in question. Most of the time, it was covered up. Those of us that were left, strictly followed the rules so we could survive. Very rarely did we ever see him. All work was done during the day, while he slept. The only person to have spoken to him was Raquel. Though, she would never speak too much about their interactions.
“Marnie, can you please make sure that everything in the laundry is dry before it’s brought upstairs?” Raquel asked, over her shoulder.
Nodding, I made my way down the creaky wooden steps, careful to avoid the weak spots. They had been repaired in pieces, but as servants, our areas were never taken care of, unless we did it.
There was always the faint smell of blood in the air. At first, it used to burn my nose, but after smelling it for so long, it became my normal. Nothing fazed me.
Grabbing up the laundry, I headed back up the stairs to hear hustle and bustle amongst the ladies. When I laid my eyes on my companions, they were running around like mice in a cage. “What’s going on?” I asked.
Alina, my best friend, since we were children, ran up to me, stress plastered on her face. She was a pretty girl with chestnut colored hair, hazel eyes, a slim waist, curvy hips, standing at about five foot two. Like me, her family had also been killed by vampires. “We just got word there is going to be a massive auction where vampire royalty and nobility will be in attendance.” Her tone told me that she wasn’t sure how she felt about the news.
Theresa, a lady around Raquel’s age, interjected. “It’s that magical time of year when girls of age are picked by vampires to serve their masters in a different way.” Theresa was a slightly plump older woman, more salt than pepper in the hair cascading down just below her shoulders, the wrinkles in her face growing each day, but there was still life left in her dark eyes.
Confusion consumed me, and I searched my mind for what she could possibly have been going on about. “What does any of that mean?”
“It means, sweetheart that you will no longer be down here with us. You will be sold off, at the highest price, to a noble, basically for his amusement.” Raquel was pained to speak those words. Having always taken care of me, there was conflict in her light green eyes.
Finding a seat, I took a deep breath. “Holy shit,” I breathed out. “It’s actually happening now. What you’ve always said would happen.” A painful knot formed in my stomach. Raquel had briefly spoken of the auctions before, but now it was real. Reality staring me in the face.
Alina placed her hand on my shoulder, trying to comfort me. “At least we’ll be together.” Despite her words, she failed miserably to comfort me. But when I looked in her eyes, I couldn’t decide if she was trying to comfort me or herself.
I scoffed slightly. “There’s no guarantee of that. We don’t even know where we will end up. This country is vast. The only reason we don’t know that is because we’ve been confined to this place.” My words came out much harsher than I intended them, and Alina’s expression dropped. “I’m sorry,” I said. “We’ll just have to stay close to each other as long as possible.” Gazing at the older ladies, their expressions were just as grim.
The youngest girl, Grace, chimed in. She was no more than nine or ten years old, with gorgeous green-blue eyes. She was the picture of innocence. “Does this mean we won’t see you anymore?”
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I don’t think so.” Her bottom lip quivered, and I saw tears gathering in her beautiful eyes. She ran over to me, squeezing the life out of my waist. I kissed her blonde hair, sad that I would have to leave her. “Everything will be just fine. I promise.”
But, despite my words, I already knew everything would not be fine. Not even close. My heart broke lying to the young girl. At her young age, she wouldn’t know exactly what vampires were like. Brutal, unfeeling creatures, with an insatiable thirst for blood. Underneath it all, I was shaking beyond belief.
To keep my mind off things, I went about my daily chores. Grace stuck to me like glue. She, like us, had no family left. Vampires had killed them, at least, that’s what we were told. Having taken pity on the young girl, they brought her back to work as a slave. All of us lost our families to their brutality.
“Marnie,” Alina said, poking her head around the corner where I was folding laundry.
She started grabbing towels, helping me. “How do you think this auction thing will go?” Her voice and hands were trembling.
Pausing for a moment, I wanted to think of a good answer, but none came to mind. “I think we’ll be okay. We just need to keep our heads down, but we will make it through.” Taking her hands in mine, I gave her a reassuring smile,
Realistically, I hadn’t the foggiest clue what would actually happen to us. Having spent my youth as a house slave, the sudden change was enough to make my palms sweat and my heart pound. Last thing I wanted was to have a vampire be my master. As it stood, the status quo wasn’t so bad since we never saw the master of the house. Being scared out of my wits, I didn’t want to think of what would become of my future.
My least favorite job was taking the clean laundry up to the rooms. I hated the sight of blood on the sheets. Not just because they were a crime against nature but getting blood out of linens was such a bitch. I always tip-toed around the corridors, wanting to remain unseen.
Grabbing the clean, folded laundry, I headed toward the stairs as quietly as I could. It was close to dusk and they would be waking soon. With that in mind, I had to be quick about it.
Opening the door gently, I poked my head out, hearing nothing at all. Complete silence always disturbed me.
Walking up the grand staircase, I pictured my mental floor plan, so I would get to where I had to go and get back downstairs. Starting out in the first guest room in the west wing, I decided to snake my way around to the east wing. That would place me where I started so I could get back.
Going over it in my head, I realized that the last room I would be going into was the Prince’s. Instantly, my blood ran cold thinking about even seeing him.
Taking a deep breath, I slid in and out of rooms, leaving towels where needed. My eyes always wandered when I was in the rooms, I was in awe every time. They always looked so decadent.
Finishing up, I wiped my forehead which had a thin veil of sweat. Pausing, I then remembered that I had yet to go to the Prince’s room. “Crap,” I whispered.
With four towels left in my basket, I gingerly opened the door to his room. I was immediately met with two sleeping bodies in the bed. One was the prince and the other was probably the slut he was currently banging. For a brief second, the sight of him with another woman made my blood boil.
Pushing down the ill feelings, I dashed to the bathroom, replacing the towels and straightened up. Light having dwindled, I looked out the bathroom bay window seeing the sun was sinking below the horizon. “Oh shit,” I said, quietly. Opening the bathroom door, I was startled by a freshly woken prince in front of me.
My eyes widened at his beauty. His tousled black hair still looked perfect with his deep, icy blue eyes. His body was chiseled so finely that it took my breath away. Nibbling on my lip, I tried to look away from his six pack all the way down to the V of his slim hips. Backing up several steps, I realized that I never been that close to him before. My heart was thumping like a wild horse in a stable. Bringing my gaze up, I could see the lust in his eyes. “See something you like?” There was a glint his eye that made me uncomfortable. He took a step forward, and I lunged around him and out of the room.
Running out the door and down the hall, I bolted all the way downstairs. Breathless, I collapsed against the door after slamming it shut. All eyes snapped to me. “What happened, Marnie?” Raquel asked.
Catching my breath, I looked up at her. “I-I s-saw the prince,” I stuttered.
They gawked at me, mouths agape. “What’s he like?” Alina, asked, almost giddy.
Raquel slapped her shoulder lightly. “Seriously, Alina?” she snapped. “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s get you up and some food in you.” Raquel was always concerned for me, the way a mother was. I wondered what she would do when I was gone.
“Oh, come on, Raquel. She must feel some kind of way about seeing him. How often has he been seen anyway? At least seen by any of us. I have heard that he is an Adonis though.” She had a dreamy look in her eyes.
Shaking her head, Raquel smacked the back of Alina’s head. “Leave her be. Marnie should thank her lucky stars he didn’t kill her.” Putting a bowl of soup in front of me, she continued. “Besides, you forget, I have spoken to him. You’re better off not.”
Theresa chimed in. “Raquel is right, Alina. You don’t want to know what goes on up there. Frankly, in all my years, I still don’t want to know.”
It was nearing the end of the night when I heard the distinct clicking of high heels coming toward us. Instantly, I was nervous.
A vampire woman dressed in a gray pencil skirt and a white button-up shirt with one button open. Her eyes were hazel with flecks of yellow and an elegant bun on the back of her head, a few strands framing each side of her face. “I’m looking for Marnie Belle Collins and Alina Greenwich.”
Grace went to fetch Alina from the other room, and as I stood there, my stomach was doing flip flops. Tears already streaming down her face, Alina came in. “Which of you is Marnie and which of you is Alina?” We looked at each other, not wanting to answer.
“I’m Marnie,” I shakily replied.
“So, that makes you Alina?” She nodded, keeping her eyes down. “Come with me.”
Holding Alina’s hand, I offered her a small smile. She was trembling, right down to her bones. We saw Raquel, Theresa, and Grace looking at us with tears in their eyes. There was nothing any of us could do to stop this turn of events.
With morning coming soon, the well-dressed woman took us outside to a bus with other young girls. Once we found our seats, she spoke to all of us. “You ladies have been chosen for this year’s auction. You will spend the day at the auction house, and this evening, you will all be sold. In addition, you will also be given something to wear, along with your hair and make-up as well. Each of you must put your best foot forward. This bus will take you there now. So, you can rest, and in the afternoon, you’ll all be prepared.” Deafening silence came after speech. Understanding, she left the bus, and we took off.
Alina fell asleep on my shoulder, snoring gently. Moving the hair out of her face, I smiled slightly. Despite our circumstances, I felt comforted being with my friend. Alina was a gentle soul, and I hoped that whoever bought her would treat her well.
Peering around the bus, I saw the girls were all my age. Some of them were sleeping soundly, others had panic written on their faces. It appeared, others were thrilled at the prospect. My own feelings were hard to pin down. I stayed strong for my friend, but I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to keep it up.
Closing my eyes, I leaned my head on Alina’s, slowly drifting to sleep. For all I knew, this would be the last peaceful sleep I would have in a long time.
The sound of screeching brakes woke me up. Rubbing my eyes, I focused on my surroundings. Realizing where I was, I gently roused Alina. “Hey. Come on. Wake up,” I whispered.
Looking out the window, the sight was something to behold. It was a very old building, clearly just renovated. It had gorgeous brick with beautifully craved white pillars on either side of oak doors. There were more carvings on each side of the door and gorgeous marble steps.
Outside, a woman who appeared to be a half-breed was waiting. The irises in her eyes were red. She was well-dressed but didn’t speak. Half-breeds were not well-received. Most of them lived in squalor, and poverty. After we got off the bus, she silently showed us inside.
In the basement, there were beds lined up, ready for all the waiting girls. Alina and I found spots for ourselves to lay down. I wasn’t all that tired since I had slept the whole way. The journey must have taken a couple hours at least, since the sun was still high in the sky.
“What do you think will happen to us?” Alina whispered.
Rolling onto my side, I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. The only thing we can do is wait and see. No point in overthinking it. At this point, it is what it is.”
“Do you think we’ll get separated?” She hesitated to ask the question, and her words came out shaky.
I wasn’t sure how to answer her. Do I tell her the truth, or do I tell her something that she wants to hear? “I don’t know.” I answered. That was the only answer I could come up with that wouldn’t make me feel guilty.
This was where were staying until it was time for the auction. Mentally preparing myself, I shut my eyes.
~Flashback to Prince Silas’s Room~
I woke up feeling uncomfortable, and I instantly figured out why. Looking over, Julia was beside me, tangled in the sheets. Just thinking about what happened the night before made me feel ill. Deep down, I had no idea why I decided to give in and fuck her. I could only deduce that she threw herself at me so many times that I just gave in. Disgusted, I peeled her off me, and threw on my pants.
The only reason that she was even here was because I couldn’t get rid of her. Though she came from a noble family, she never acted it. Flashing herself around like some common street whore. Hard to believe she was the only child of a high-ranking council member. A member that was constantly a thorn in my side, just like the woman.
Gazing out the window, the moon was shining brightly. It was a gorgeous night. Not a cloud in the sky. Maybe I’ll cause some trouble before the sun comes up. That’s always fun.
Stepping toward the bathroom, an intoxicating smell came to my senses. A mix of vanilla and cinnamon. Where was it coming from? Focusing, I heard a heartbeat coming from the bathroom. A servant? They always cleared out before I woke up. Fear is powerful.
The door was closed, but I could hear rustling around. The steady beat was mixed with the beautiful smell. It smelled better than sex. Inhaling deeply, I felt every fiber of my being tense thinking about how I could take her right now. My fangs pushed through my gums.
Suddenly, the door opened, and I came face-to-face with the most beautiful creature I had ever laid my eyes on. Her eyes were a haunting mix of gray and green with flecks of red and yellow. Her auburn hair flowed to the middle of her back, her skin was pale and flawless, with a small, curvaceous figure.
Almost instantly when she saw me, her heart beat increased. Her whole body was trembling; she was afraid. I never recalled seeing her before. Involuntarily, her eyes raked over my half naked form. “See something you like?” Moving toward her, she snaked her way around me, running from the room.
Smirking at her retreating form, I made a vow to myself. She will be mine.
“Come back to bed, baby,” a female voice rang from across the room.
“I want you out,” I growled at her.
She sat up, glaring at me. “What did you say?”
Picking up her clothes, I threw them harshly at her. “I said, get the fuck out!”
Jumping out of bed, her clothes were balled up in her hands with the bed sheet around her. She growled at me from across the room. “You’re going to regret this,” she spat. “Wait until I tell my father what you did to me! He’ll destroy you!” Slamming the door, Julia was finally gone.
Just try me, you little bitch. See how far you get. The only thing on my mind was that girl, and what I would have to do to get her back.
Around six in the evening, the door opened, and the same woman from the mansion appeared before all of us. Once again, she looked impeccable. Hair was done in a perfect bun, with her flawless face on display. She wore creased dress pants with black patent high heels and a white button-down, with one button undone to expose her cleavage.
“Firstly, my name is Veronica, and I will be overseeing the steps taken before you are sold.” She paused for a moment, surveying the room. “For the record, this is part of vampire culture that I do not agree with. Unfortunately, it is your obligation and I must abide by it.” Her words fell on us like iron.
Girls were taken in groups to get their hair and make-up done. Above us, I could hear distorted voices shouting, large numbers being yelled, followed by a loud bang.
When Veronica came back in again, she pointed at Alina and me, along with several other girls. Walking down the hall, Alina grabbed my hand and squeezed. Smiling at her, we continued forward to our fate.
The door opened, and immediately, I saw girls being poked, prodded, and groomed for what was coming. Some looked excited, while others had their fresh make-up running down their tear stained tears. They were all scared deep down; it was written over all their faces. Seeing the display, I was doing my best to maintain my composure, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it together for much longer.
Upon closer inspection, I could see all the ladies tending to us were half-breeds. They were all silent as they performed their duties. Not that anyone was up for talking anyway.
They sat me in a chair to begin my ritual grooming. As I sat, I tried to think of better days when I didn’t have to worry about pleasing someone else. It was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the poking and prodding, but I held my head high. Sooner or later, I would have no choice but to parade around in front of hungry vampires.
Once finished, I caught a glimpse of myself. As pretty as I looked, my heart sank thinking about where I was going next.
There were so many of us standing in the corridor, waiting in two lines. Alina and I were already separated. We were all dressed up in simple, yet elegant dresses, done up with tasteful make-up, just enough to accentuate our features.
The curtain that divided us from the stage finally opened, and I suddenly became the next girl in line to the stage. Seeing a room full of vampires sizing me up, made my skin crawl.
“Next up is Marnie Belle Collins,” the auctioneer announced. Stepping forward onto a small platform, I felt hundreds of hungry gazes on me.
My hands were locked together, and I kept my eyes down. Ironically, my skin was hot in a room full of cold-blooded creatures. They kept spewing numbers over and over. Numbers so large, my head was spinning.
“Five million from Count Braxton West. Five million going once, five million going twice, and- “
“Ten million.” A cool voice said from across the room.
The familiarity of the voice hit my ears, and I flinched Looking up, my blood ran cold seeing the prince.
When the price was set, I was escorted off the stage toward Veronica. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a slave going for as much as you did, sweetie. Well done,” she said, smirking. “The good news is you won’t have to move since you’ll be with the Prince.” By her tone, I could tell that she was attempting to make me feel better.
“Y-yeah, I guess,” I stammered.
Veronica led me down another corridor that snaked back to where we were so someone could take me back to the mansion. To the start of my new life.
There she was. My radiant beauty. Even from a distance, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous she looked in the dress she was wearing. Her hair cascaded down her back in soft waves, and her green eyes dazzled in contrast with the eye shadow. The pale blue dress hugged her curves so nicely. Seeing her again, I knew I had to have her. I shifted slightly, feeling a bulge in my trousers.
Looking down, I could see the hungry eyes of others who wanted her. Something I simply could not let happen. My attention suddenly fixed on Count Braxton West, a wealthy noble who lived not too far from me. From where I sat, I saw him licking his lips. Clenching my fists, I would not let him win.
When the bidding started, I held myself back. My mind went back to the first time I saw her and how scared she was. I didn’t want to make it worse. She was already terrified.
“Five million from Count Braxton West. Five million going once, five million going twice, and-“ the auctioneer announced.
“Ten million,” I called out.
Everyone’s gazed focused on me. Every eye in the house widened with amazement. No one could believe that I, the Prince, would drop that much money on a human.
Marnie was ushered off the stage. My lips turned up in a smile.
Veronica took me back to the mansion, and I made a direct line to the room I shared with the ladies. As I packed my bags, tears started streaming down my face, I didn’t want to go. I just wanted to stay with the people who genuinely loved and cared for me. It all seemed so surreal, my only salvation was I didn’t have to leave the mansion.
As I was finishing, Veronica walked in. “It’s time to go, Marnie. The prince is waiting,” she said, quietly. She exited the room, and I followed.
Nearing the kitchen, I smelled fresh baked bread. I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw everyone gathered. Dropping my bag, I ran over to Raquel giving her a crushing hug. Then Theresa and Grace piled onto us. Tears streamed down all of our faces. “You’re going to be just fine, sweetheart,” Raquel squeaked out. She smoothed the hair out of my face, wiping my tears away. “Just do as he says,” she whispered in my ear.
“Marnie,” Veronica said, behind me. “Come.” I never wanted to let go, but I peeled myself from them.
We walked in silence for a couple minutes.
Finally, I found the courage to speak. “Where are we going?”
“To your room, of course. The prince wants you near him.” Stopping in front of a room with double mahogany doors, Veronica pushed them open. My jaw dropped at the sight before me. “This is your new room. Settle yourself in, and he’ll be in shortly.”
The doors closed, and I was on my own. At least, until the prince arrived. Seeing another door, I opened it. Gasping, it was an immense walk-in closet. Placing my bag down, I couldn’t imagine who needed this much room for clothes. Walking back out, my eyes rested on the enormous bed. It was much larger than the bed I’d spent my life sleeping on. Running my hands over the frame, it was so smooth. The color was a deep mahogany with a carved headboard. The sheets were a deep purple with silk drapery over the four posts. A lush black comforter covered the sheets. Everything in the room was wood. No expense was spared for the furniture and sheets. Looking further, I walked across the room to the bathroom. Opening the door, again, I was taken back. Before me was the biggest bathroom I’d ever laid my eyes on. There was a large white tub, and a separate shower stall. The walls were a cream color, with a big bay window facing out to the woods. Blood red rugs adorned the floor by the tub, sink, and shower. The sink was large ceramic, with beautiful gold fixtures.
Walking out of the room, I jumped seeing the prince standing by my bed. “How do you like your new room?” he purred at me. Frozen in place, I was at a loss for words. In a flash, he had me pinned to the wall. “I asked you a question. I do not like being ignored,” he said, growling, fangs glistening.
“I-I…uh, like my room a lot.”
He backed up, giving me a little space. “You really are beautiful.” He tucked a stray hair behind my ear. “I’ll give you today to acclimate. The sun will be up soon, and I need to rest. Expect me tomorrow night.” In a blink, he was gone.
Finally exhaling, I slid down the door, crying into my knees.
Paying for my prize, my mind raced with all the things I could and would do to my precious treasure. I inwardly smiled thinking.
“Money well spent, Silas,” Braxton said. “She’s quite a catch.” Unleashing a low growl, he raised his hands in surrender. “Take it easy, old friend. You’ll have to pardon my jealousy.”
Braxton always made me uncomfortable. He had been trying for years to worm his way into my good graces, but I never believed his bullshit. He didn’t fool me with his slick three-piece Armani suits, gelled brown hair, and enough cologne to choke anyone within five feet of his vicinity. I hated liars, and cheats; that was Braxton in a nutshell.
Arriving quickly, I hastened my steps to see Marnie. I halted at her door, hearing her move around. Her smell permeated my senses, and I wanted nothing more than to take her right then, and there. Holding myself back, I entered quietly, not wanting to scare her.
Sneaking into her room, my senses reeled. My fingers traced along where she had sat down. When the bathroom door opened, she saw me and froze. “How do you like your new room?” I asked her. The beautiful girl was stuck in place, at a loss for words. But, I disliked her silence, and darted across the room. “I asked you a question. I do not like being ignored.” I growled. Dangerously close to her neck, I was close enough to make her shudder under my hands. I was astonished at how much I towered over her.
“I-I…uh, like my room a lot,” she answered.
“You really are beautiful.” Gripping a small strand of her soft hair between my fingers, I tucked it behind her ear. “I’ll give you today to acclimate. The sun will be up soon, and I need to rest. Expect me tomorrow night.”
Leaving her alone, my mind was awash with the dirty, depraved things I imagined doing to her.