Laurissa continued cleaning the manor and the chambers late into the night. It was near dawn when she finally finished. It has been two days since she had slept properly. Laurissa collapsed onto her bed and immediately fell asleep.
The next morning, she woke with a start. She did not realize how long she slept. It is already mid-morning, and there is much she wanted to explore this day. Laurissa hurriedly got dressed and quickly walked to the front door. Several women were in the sitting room, talking amongst themselves as usual. Laurissa stopped and looked at each one. Keres is quietly talking to another woman. One of the women seemed to notice her. Laurissa bowed her head and quietly walked out of the manor and down the gravel road to Madwell. She still felt tired from the amount of energy she used the last two days. She did not let this stop her.
Laurissa never returned to the Madwell since that fateful day when she followed Lord Dunkan to his manor. The town has not changed much. Vendors are still calling potential buyers to look at their merchandise. The town is extremely loud. The further into the town, the louder it became. Laurissa’s book said vampire’s hearing is exceptional, and the vampire had the ability to filter the noises.
Laurissa stood still in the square of the market. People are buzzing all around her. Some were bumping into her as they passed by. She concentrated on one voice. A man called out to see his fresh bread. “My family’s recipe passed down three generations. It is the sweetest bread you will eat.”
Everything else faded away. Laurissa opened her eyes and the crackle of the crowd of people lessened. Laurissa decided to visit each booth. Bread, vegetables, grains, livestock, feed, linens and trinkets, and, to her horror, human. No living thing should be made to serve another. She will find a way to end this trade.
With disgust, Laurissa approached the linen booth. “Hello, dear, interested in some new material?” An old woman greeted. She has thick brown hair streaked with grey, which is unusual for this area. Her brown eyes sparkled with life and laughter. Laurissa instantly liked the woman.
“What do you have?”
“I have the finest cotton here. These are wool if that is your fancy.” The old woman pointed with knurled fingers.
Laurissa inspected the wool. It is very well made and will keep its wearer warm. She touched the cotton. It is smooth and almost seamless. This came from a master seamstress.
“Where did you get this?”
“I acquired it from a traveler who came by it honestly.”
Honestly? A foul stench like dung came from the woman. Do people continue to steal? Of course. She was only away for six years. It seems like a distant memory long forgotten.
“They are beautiful…”
“The names Maranda.”
“They are beautiful, Maranda.”
“Thank you, dear.”
Laurissa went to the next booth, which sold all sorts of jewelry, daggers, and housewares. The man quietly watched Laurissa. She could sense his suspicions. He is a dark-skinned man with a dark mark around his right eye. The image looked like an eye with his natural eye in the center. The darkness in his eyes gave Laurissa a chill. They seemed bottomless and cold.
“Fear, not. I do not see anything worth stealing.”
“I am sorry, milady. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
Milady? Strange way to address someone. “I have acquired a new metal. It came all the way from Egypt.”
“Yes, it is a grand country in the desert south of here. I had this brought by boat.”
“May I see it?”
The man brought a beetle made of bronze. It had a green jewel on its back with the wings were spread out.
“What is it?”
“The Egyptians call this a scarab. It’s a beetle known for eating the flesh off the dead. It’s crafted of bronze. And emerald.”
“It’s the new metal they discovered. Very rare and precious. I can see you wearing this on your shoulder.”
“Not today. I am only visiting. It is stunning, I have to admit.”
Laurissa thought to visit Egypt one day. They craft such wondrous things and, it seems, new species exist. “I will be here the rest of the week if you change your mind.”
“Thank you, kind sir.”
Laurissa continued through the town until she reached the edge of town. Something very is familiar about this place. The homes are run down and the people wore torn clothing. This place made her feel angry and sad at the same time. At the very end of the road rested a small barn that looks like humans turned into a living space. Her emotions grew uncontrollable. She does not understand what is causing her anxiety. Laurissa decided to continue on and leave the area quickly.
The woods across the prairie called to her. She walked to it and found a place to sit. She closed her eyes and allowed her hearing to run wild and tell her about her surroundings. Many birds chirped in the canopy of the trees while trillions of insects skittered about. Laurissa could tell which tree was infested with termites. She could hear carpenter ants cutting through fallen logs and sticks. Worms inched along under her feet. Spiders strung webs to catch their prey. The woods are so alive she had a hard time imagining it is not sentient. A cat lazily yawned, making the birds quieted down.
She wondered how far she could hear. Laurissa opened the book and read the pages that described a vampire’s hearing. The author only said vampires could filter the noise. He used his hearing as a tactical advantage while spying on another house. He needed to know how many vampires lived in the house and if the master really did sleep with men. Disgusted, Laurissa continued listening to the woods. It was a pleasant sound that lulled her. As the sun began to set, she continued listening to her surroundings until she could clearly hear a human speaking. She guessed she was half a mile away from town.
Laurissa noticed the sun is setting faster than she anticipated. She hurried to the manor. Dusk approached just as she reached the front door.
The other vampires are in the sitting room as before. Laurissa ignored them and quickly went to Lord Dunkan’s chambers. He was not there. She breathed a sigh of relief then realized she somehow knew the women in the sitting room were vampires. That is what was different about them! How did she know? Laurissa opened the book to look for answers when the door to the room opened. Lord Dunkan quietly walked into the room and went to her. His mouth covered hers, demanding a kiss. She returned his kiss and began undressing him.
“You do learn quickly, my dear.”
“You told me this would happen, master. I am only doing as you command.”
Lord Dunkan allowed her time to finish undressing him, then walked around her caressing her shoulders with his hand and allowing her hair to fall over his arm.
“What else do you recall?
“You raped me while I was on my back and told me I am not allowed pleasure.”
“Raped you?” he said incredibly.
“Yes master. The definition of non-consensual sex is rape. I do not consent. You commanded me to lie beneath you, and so I did.”
“I see. I did not know you felt so strongly about it.”
“I see you as a father figure. What child wishes to bed her father?”
“You are vampire, now, my dear. Age and generation no longer have meaning. If you find someone attractive, you pursue him, or her if that is your flavor.” He leaned in and inhaled her scent.
“Do you find me attractive?”
“Oh yes, my dear. Very much. That is not the reason you are here. You are here to learn how to use your body to please a male vampire. As I said, I will have guests from time to time that you will entertain under my consent. Since I will not allow anyone to touch you, I will be the one teaching you. Your lesson four nights ago was not about your pleasure or discomfort. When a male as you in that position, you must invite him in.”
“Four nights ago?”
“Yes you slept for two days after cleaning the manor.
Laurissa bowed her head feeling tired and defeated. “I remember, Master.”
“Good, now for your second lesson. Some males prefer something a little less intimate. They only have a desire and a need for a quick release.”
Lord Dunkan remained behind Laurissa and lifted her gown above her shapely hips. He pulsed power, and before Laurissa knew it, she was bent over the desk with Lord Dunkan’s hand on her back, pinning her down. A sharp pain ripped through her as he entered her butt and viciously thrust until he was satisfied.
Laurissa screamed at each thrust and begged for mercy. It fell on deaf ears. Lord Dunkan kept her pinned to the desk until he was finished, then he pulled away suddenly.
“You are done with tonight’s lesson. You may feed my dear.”
Laurissa wasn’t sure what she was supposed to learn. She stayed leaning on the desk, panting. The fire in her butt slowly went away.
“Shall I show you again?” Lord Dunkan responded to her thought.
“Tell me what you learned.”
“If a male has a need, I should allow him his satisfaction.”
“True. This will be the case no matter the need. As I said, some males prefer only satisfaction. He does not want to be touched or groped, only a warm body.”
“Come to me, Laurissa.”
Laurissa slowly walked to Lord Dunkan. He is sitting on the edge of the bed. Lord Dunkan is aroused by the thought of Laurissa feeding off him. He positioned her on him then gave her his writs. Laurissa bit into his wrist and slowly drank from his vein. “Oh my dear, you feel amazing.” His breathing quickened as he allowed his pleasure to be released. “That is enough, my dear. You are excused.”
Laurissa took her book and went to Lord Dunkan’s study desk.
’I have found that every species of life has a distinct smell or aroma. The individuals of the species fine-tune the dominant scent to show individuality. Vampires have a power aura that we can feel on one another. It is like seeing a real person versus a painting. When looking at a human, they have a metallic or sour smell; however, they look like paintings or illusions. Each human has a unique scent within their sour smell. Some are floral, and some are repugnant. The same goes for many animal species. Most intelligent beasts have a beastly smell; however, upon closer examination, I find each beast has a unique smell as well.’
Laurissa looked at Lord Dunkan. He had laid down on the bed and is watching her intently. She could see the aura the book described. It is only there if she concentrated on it. Laurissa wordlessly stood and left the room. She walked the manor listening to its sounds. The women were in their bedrooms sleeping. One is talking.
“It is too dangerous. Lord Dunkan must know you are here now.” There are two heartbeats in the room.
“I do not care if he knows. Come with me, Zillah. Mate with me. We can build our own house, together.”
“I cannot, Adrian. He will kill me if I leave. You do not live here in the manor. You do not know what it is like under Lord Dunkan’s watchful eyes. His attention is on the new girl. That is the only reason you and I have been able to be together.”
“Then he will not notice we are gone until it is too late. Do not make me beg you, Zillah.”
There is silence for a moment, then Adrian sighed, “I am leaving in the morning with or without you.”
Laurissa quickly hid around the corner and listened to Adrian walk out the door to the manor. Zillah began crying. Laurissa gently knocked on the door. Zillah did not answer. She is unaware of any laws saying she could not enter without permission. She opened the door and peeked in.
“Are you well?”
The room is small and dark. It has one bed, a chest, and a small table with an oil lamp. “Can I help you?”
Laurissa sat on the bed next to her and wrapped her arm around her. Zillah released her pain and sobbed in Laurissa’s neck. She understood the need to leave. Lord Dunkan is a cruel vampire. She was sure she did not truly know the depths of his cruelty. Two vampires mean to leave his home. She hoped they could. Laurissa stayed as long as it took for Zillah to gather her composure.
“If I can be of any help, please ask me.”
“What is your name, young vampire.”
“I am called Laurissa.”
“I am Zillah.”
“It is nice to finally meet you.”
Zillah looked at Laurissa, confused.
“Simple looks of acknowledgment does not truly define who we are.”
“It is what Lord Dunkan requested. You are still training. You should not be here talking to me.”
“You are in pain. I only came to comfort you. I will leave.”
“Thank you for your kindness, Laurissa. I hope to repay you when your training is complete.”
Laurissa’s heart sank. Zillah is staying with Lord Dunkan. She supposed this would please him. “My kindness is mine to give freely to whomever I wish to give it to. I do not want anything in return. Lord Dunkan may command our bodies, but he cannot stop me from caring for others.” Again she looked confused. “Good night Zillah.” Laurissa said and went to her bed to sleep. She wondered if Zillah has ever been shown compassion in her life. Adrian must have shown some kind of compassion. Zillah truly cared for him. It gave Laurissa hope that not all male vampires are cruel and only see the females as a plaything.