Risingshadow has the honour of publishing another guest short story by Bruce Woods, the author of Royal Blood.

This story is told by the protagonist of Royal Blood, Miss Paulette Monot.

(You can find the previous story here.)

About Royal Blood:

Historical and fictional characters come together and change the future of Africa forever. Renowned actress Lady Ellen Terry, detective Sherlock Holmes, financier Cecil Rhodes, hunter/naturalist Frederick Courtney Selous, King Lobengula, and a mysterious, undead adventuress named Paulette Monot become chess pieces in the Great Game, which takes the form of Africa's First Matabele War.

X by Bruce Woods

He made a face behind Death’s back. And then she turned around.

In tale after tale, from the very beginning of our fictionalization, the undead have been seen as objects of lust. I confess that this amuses me.

Of course, even if I were coy during my mortal years, I’ve quite outgrown that affectation. Those of you who’ve followed my dispatches know that I take my pleasure greedily and indiscriminately.

Such is not the case with all members of what I term the Kin. Some will dally only with their own Kind (a predilection often fraught with danger) while others profess to have no feelings of an erotic nature at all. Yet still the stories persist.

I can, of course, only speak for myself, and so I offer the tale below not so much to titillate as to inform. (Though if my “confession” arouses others, I cannot help if I am pleased by that.)

It began, as such things often do, in a pub. I was passing time, during a recent stay in England, between meetings with Lady Ellen Terry, Mistress of the City and leader of that blessed isle’s Kin. Though I had been discrete in my feeding, partaking of only bottled blood, the Lady had granted me permission to hunt, and I accepted her gift graciously.

I do not drink alcohol, but was enjoying the opportunity to practice feigning consumption in order to better move among the warm, and I knew that liquor was frequently imbibed by the latter in order to boost their courage, a factor that will become clearly consequential as I continue this narrative.

I felt his glance several times before I actually turned to meet it, smiling as I did so. He grinned and raised his glass in salute. I blushed a bit (a difficult task that I practice regularly) but also gave him just a glimpse of partially extended fang. My Kind are not all that well known to the English population in general, but superstition enough exists here, and I was certain that my exposure would evoke a reaction. Sure enough, he jerked his attention away as if burned at this, so I turned my gaze back to the bottles behind the bar and waited for his liquid bravery, and his curiosity, to overwhelm his common sense.

His next glances were furtive and brief. I did not return them (the too-eager angler seldom succeeds), but did raise my heavy blond hair with a hand, as if to cool the skin on my neck (though of course I needed no such comforting), and I am certain that this little display was admired.

So we danced; his quick glimpses touching me like nervous fingers while I studied my image in the mirror behind the bar (which reflected me quite well, thank you, and reinforced my own appreciation of my beauty).

After some moments of this, he spoke.

“S’ Peter,” he said. Perhaps his fear had been muddied by beer, but I was sure that somewhere deep, where the little furred animal within him trembled in long grass as a hawk passed overhead, he knew.

“Paulette.” I answered, still not turning to meet his eyes. But I smiled into the mirror, my mouth lush and painted.

This pas de deux continued for some minutes, and since much of it was not dissimilar to the courtship antics I’m sure most of you have indulged in, I’ll leave it to your imagination. Suffice it to say that after some time Peter overcame his misgivings and invited me to his room.

From the moment he opened the door it was clear that he either hadn’t expected to return with company or had anticipated that, if he did, she would be impaired enough to overlook his lack of housekeeping. Peter’s few possessions were spread about willy-nilly, and the flat had a general unwashed aroma that, I now noticed, matched that of my companion. It’s a blessing that we are not overly sensitive to the various human aromas, so this was not in itself off-putting to me.

Conflicted, I’m sure, Peter put a pot on for tea, and made a haphazard effort at straightening up. On some level he must have known that this was his last chance to step back from the situation he’d placed himself in, but I was not going to allow a fish so perfectly lured to escape.

So as he stood in front of me I contrived to let my fingers trace the front of his trousers, just to the left of their growing bulge. Peter moved, of course, to try to bring my hand in contact with his tumescence, but I managed, again and again, to avoid such intimacy. The pot began to whistle, but was for now ignored.

It wasn’t long before passion overrode his fear and he grasped my hand (chilly skin be damned!) and moved it to where he wanted it. With a little smile of surrender, I closed my fingers around his thickness and lifted my face to be kissed.

(Words were spoken, to be sure, but they were for the most part banal and predictable. Far more communicative were the gasps and shudders and moans we each employed, on my part these were contrived to force Peter’s physical needs beyond his reason.)

My mouth was fierce, my tongue insistent, the sounds I breathed against his lips were calculated to trumpet my arousal. At one point I began to slip to my knees, but Peter growled in his throat and raised me, pinning me against the wall. The kettle was keening now.

Though I was willing, so close was I to the consummation I sought, I was still grateful that this further urging was not required. I thrust my pelvis against him, and, lifting my voluminous skirts, he pawed until he had exposed me. Meanwhile, my hands were busy upon him, and had soon freed him from his trousers.

I locked my legs around his waist as Peter took my weight and pinned me, beyond speech now and only guttural. With a gasp he entered me, and my own little whimper of fear and delight only aroused him further. The chill wet he met with was no more heeded than was the croon from atop the stove.

It didn’t take long. Almost immediately I could feel his pressure building, even as I urged it on with my own squeals of pleasure. When the moment came he buried himself deep, as if he could enter me whole, as if he could batter me with his lust. The scream from the kettle was as ignored as the evidence that would doom him.

The timing had to be just so. Before he could explode inside of me I abandoned all pretense. In that moment my muscles clenched, and what had felt soft and vulnerable against him; pressed to his body, in his hands, around his penetration, was suddenly hard, and strong, and oh, so terrible.

And then I bit him.

The timing is delicate, and it goes wrong more often than right, but there is a magic when it works out. At the moment of triumph, when fear seems momentarily banished, horror lurches into view.

The kettle’s cry was cut short when I shut the door.

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