Battle for Blood Ch. 02byEliya©
Thanks for your comments! I kept going, trying to incorporate some of your suggestions. I'm still open for much more. Let me know what you think, the bad and the good. I have an idea of where I am taking them though I am always up to hear what you think. Thanks for the support!
He felt her heart slow and stop. The blood that had been flowing into him trickled to a stop. Finally he was able to rip himself away from her. Her body dropped like a wooden doll, crumpling in a heap at his feet. He was delirious. Years without food had ripped his mind from his body. Now life rushed to every fiber of his being. His body tingled and roared with strength and feeling. Nothing had ever felt like this. Her blood coursed through him. He was alive. More alive than he had ever felt. He let his head drop back and roared at the sky. His voice tore from his throat, a voice he had not used in so long, his triumphant voice. The wolves, nearing the pit, felt the ground rumble beneath them. They fled.
He looked at his hands, squeezing them to fists. He was alive. Blood had never felt like this. He looked down at the girl at his feet. She was young, terribly young. Her sweat matted hair stick to her face and armor. He knelt beside her lifeless form.
"You should not have fed me. You silly fool." He placed a hand on her cheek. The wound on her neck oozed slightly. He felt a pang of regret as his reason returned to him. He had not wanted to hurt his rescuer. He had tried to hold back. Whoever sent her into this pit knew she would not come out. He felt for a heartbeat. Maybe he had stopped himself in time. He removed the thick leather plate covering her chest exposing a sweat soaked shirt. His hand rested softly against her body which only moments before had been coursing with deep, delicious life. He held his breath and listened. Nothing. He pressed his hand deeper against her flesh. There. A flutter of life. That would have to be enough. He swung her limp form unto his shoulder. His hands dug into the earth at the side of his prison. The sting of the silver net that had held him for so long could not deter him now. He gazed up to freedom.
It had been three days. Following his nose, he found his way to a small ring of cabins. The smell of humans traveled far into the mountains. The forest had not changed since the time he had been lured there but his memory of that day was hazy. He had begun walking as soon as he hit daylight. The old growth forest offered him sweet reprieve from the rays of the sun. It took a full day to catch the scent of humans. The girl on his shoulder grew colder with every step. He had not stopped to consider what he would do when he reached humans, being too concerned that she would die or turn before he got there. He halted outside the clearing. He could leave her here. He had been giving her small drops of blood for days, not enough to turn her, just enough to keep her alive. If he left her here no doubt someone would call the police, see that she got medical attention. She needed a blood transfusion. He couldn't help her now. He didn't need to stay. He had done his part to repay her.
He lowered her to the ground. Her skin had turned ashen and gray. Her hair, matted when he had begun this journey, was caked in mud that covered them both. He looked into her quiet face. Even like this she was something to behold. Through the muck that covered her pale skin her face was beautiful. She was not quite human. No one could move like that. No one should still be alive after a complete draining. Who had sent her? They must have known she would die. She had not. He needed answers. Where would he start without any idea of what was going on? No, he would not leave. He picked her up in his arms, cradling her body to his chest. He felt strangely comfortable holding her this way, as if he were meant to. He stumbled into the clearing, purposefully putting on an exhausted limp.
"Help!" he cried, his voice coming out in a strangled call. "I need some help here!" He could smell humans in the far cabin. He headed for the door, careful not to move to fast and give up his façade.
The door flew open. A man with a large hunting rifle stood at the door, his eyes went wide at the scene before him: A large man, covered in mud and bits of forest, held a girl in his arms. Her limbs hung limply, no life at all. She had old blood caked on her neck and clothing. He did too. The man staggered and fell to his knees.
"Help," he called again. "She needs a doctor. Help!"
His wife flew to his side of the cabin and gasped at the pair outside their door. "John! What on earth..."
"Gretta, call the doctor," the man said, handing her his rifle. "Tell her it's bad."
John ran to the man kneeling in the dirt, holding the lifeless girl close to him. "It's alright, we got it. The doctor is a short ways a way but she'll be here soon." He slid his fingers around the girl's cold wrist, feeling for signs of life. He shuddered at the dead feeling of her skin. He looked up to the man's face. "It's alright buddy." He tried to be reassuring. The man looked weak and drawn. They must have been in the woods for days. The man's dark eyes were ringed with shadows and his skin was pale, almost as white as the girl's. John felt the slightest pulse under his fingers.
"She's alive!" he said. "Bring her inside. We have to get her warm." John reached over to take the girl from the exhausted man but her hugged her closer.
"I can manage," he said as he got up. John noticed his legs shook a little but he stood back and let him carry her into the cabin. He set her down on the couch next to the fire and collapsed next to her on the floor. Greta hung the phone up and raced in from the kitchen.
"She's on her way. She'll be here soon." Greta rushed over to the couch. The poor woman looked more dead than alive, as did her companion. "What happened?" she went and took a large quilt from the closet and draped it over the woman's body. The man held one of the woman's pale hands in his. Squeezing it miserably as if seeking her to respond.
"We were in the woods, hiking. She fell and I heard the most horrible sound." He stopped, taking a labored breath. "When I got to her the dog was on top of her. He bit her. I managed to chase him off but she wouldn't wake up. She hasn't woken up since." His voice sounded choked, wooden in his exhaustion. "I heard the pack of them and I ran. I was lost. That was three days ago."
John came over with a glass of water for the man. He drank it all in a moment. John went to refill it. Greta stroked the girl's hair from her face. "The doctor will put her right. Don't worry. We'll take care of you."
John came back with a large bottle of water and gave it to the man. "Now sip this," he said. "You don't want to get sick." The man nodded and complied. "What's your name, buddy?"
The man's eyes flashed to John's face. If he didn't know better, John might have thought the man was suspicious of him.
"Cole," he said finally. "This is Amy."
The doctor arrived an hour later, sprinting in from her car whose door she had left open. After a brief exam she hung fluids from the clothes tree John set up next to the couch and she cleaned the wound on her neck to find it clean and healing nicely. She did not like the amount of blood loss though. She had brought her pack with blood packs. The doctor hated doing emergency blood transfusions but it looked like she was going to half to. She set the girl up and went to speak to John and Greta. Cole had collapsed in the chair next to the couch when the doctor arrived and hadn't moved since. Rain started pouring outside. Thunder rolled in the distance.
"She's in bad shape. It looks like the fall was pretty rough. She's got bruises everywhere. I would have guessed she fought the wolf from the looks of things. The blood loss was extensive. I'm hoping the transfusion takes and she recovers enough to take her to the hospital in town. Right now, I don't think we can move her. The best thing to do is get her on a bed and keep the fluids constant."
Greta nodded. John put his arm around his wife. It was shocking to see someone in these conditions. She trembled. "Those wolves moved in a few years ago and we've never heard the end of it. Why can't we do something about it? If they get close to here again I'll shoot them myself. Fuck the endangered species list." John squeezed Greta's shoulder. He was angry too. The doctor sighed.
"Well, once we report this they may change their tune. This girl shouldn't be alive. If the wolf did that, then people have a right to protect themselves."
"What do you mean 'if,' Shelly?" John asked.
"Oh, no, nothing," the doctor said as she cast a glance at the two sleeping bodies in the living room. "It's just a real bad case. I've never seen a bite that bad or that much blood gone. I swear, in all my years, I've never seen someone come back from the brink like this. Something is strange. But she is one lucky woman. I can't explain it."
An uneasy silence settled over the room. The three humans jumped at the sudden crash of thunder above them. The lights flickered and then went out.
"Well, you best not be driving back in this mess. Let me make you some tea." Greta left for the kitchen. John jerked his head at the man.
Shelly shrugged. "He didn't want me to take a look at him. He's okay, from the looks of it. He needs rest and food though. You are good people to take them in. I'd say they need a few weeks to get back to normal. We'll play it by ear about bringing her to the hospital."
"You staying up here with us?"
The three of them had gone to sleep. Cole could hear their hearts beating softly in the upstairs room. He had convinced them to leave them in the living room and head to bed. The doctor took longer than the others. Finally they were asleep. He was practically twitching with hunger. Lying there, unmoving, while bag after sweet bag was dangled right in front of him was too much. The humans were lucky he needed them. He would have fallen on one of them a log time ago.
Their hosts were gracious. John and Greta had tried to take care of them the best they could. They ran this cabin retreat far from the closest town, deep in the woods. John had ranted softly the entire time the doctor was tending to the girl, cursing liberals and animal lovers. Business was bad after all the rumors of vicious wolf packs. Apparently, Cole's guards had become quite the terrors in the woods these past few years. Cole had refused the guest room they offered him. He wanted to stay with her. The doctor decided against moving her until the morning. They had left him in their cozy living room with a small fire burning to keep her warm. Their world was quaint and orderly. The two disheveled bodies in their living room were terribly out of place in the tidy wooden house.
Silently he slid from under his blankets. He stopped, gazing at the sleeping girl next to him. Her skin was flushed from the fire. He could feel her heart beat, strong and steady in her chest. He doubted she would need a week. He could feel her healing already. His mouth tingled with the memory of her taste. She was the sweetest, more intoxicating thing he had ever tasted. He could feel her blood running over his tongue and he closed his eyes to relish the memory. His eyes snapped open. The initial feeding had been so frenzied, so brutal, he had not noticed how strange she tasted. Human blood never tasted that way, or gave him so much energy. After years of starvation he should have been ravenous for days. There was something else. There had been a familiar bitter taste, small and fading in the overall sensation of her blood but it was there nonetheless, something he couldn't quite place. He looked at her again, the warm light of the fire dancing over her soft cheeks and long interlocked lashes. She still had not moved. He wished she would show outward signs of life. He needed answers. He slipped his shoes off, walking barefoot across the floor, discarding his clothes. He slipped outside, the cold rain washing his pale skin. He heard the breathing of forest animals all around him, beating hearts and warm blood coursing through their veins. Tonight he hunted.
In the morning, Shelly awoke sharply, clearing the sleep from her brain as she stumbled downstairs to check on her patient. The man, Cole, sat next to the couch with the woman's hand in his. He looked better, almost healthy. At some point he had rinsed off though his clothes were still filthy. She could see more color in his face as he turned to her. She was glad he was doing better, but something about him made her wary.
"How's she doing?" Shelly asked as she moved next to the couch.
"Better, I think." She could hear the worry in his voice. He was hopeful. It made her feel a little better. She couldn't shake the feeling that there was something else in his head when he spoke but he sounded sincere. She checked her vital signs. Her eyebrows went up. "She is doing a lot better. I thought it would take longer but she's improving quickly." Cole let out a sigh of relief.
"Thank you so much. I don't know what would have happened if..." he trailed off. She could almost feel the memory of despair he was reliving. She put her hand on his shoulder. When she drew her hand away it was covered in dirt from his shirt. He noticed her wiping her hand on her pants.
"I know. We fell while we were walking, trying to get around a stream. I've never been so disgusting in my life."
"I'll find you some clothes. John won't mind. They'll be up by now." Shelly started back to the stairs.
"Doctor?" She stopped and turned back. "Could I clean her up? Do you think I can move her to the tub?" Shelly considered his request for a minute.
"I think she'll be okay. She's much stronger today. Give me a minute and I'll help you."
"No." His voice sounded hard, terrifying. She saw his face close and harden before changing back into the concerned loving look he had just a moment before. "She wouldn't like that. I can manage. I'll be very careful." Shelly nodded. He was just protective of her, she said to herself. She couldn't shake the feeling that something else was going on but she let it go. Though they had been through a lot.
"Okay. Keep in mind that though her ribs have been bruised pretty badly. There is a bathroom at the end of the hall to your left. I'll bring you both some new clothes.
He carried her like she was made of glass into the bathroom. There was an old-fashioned claw foot bathtub on one wall and a more modern shower on the other. He had laid down towels on the floor where he placed her now. Her thin shirt had bore the brunt of their trek through the woods. It was practically in tatters. He had discarded the leather armor she had worn long ago and she was left with thin silk leggings. They had served her well to keep her agile and comfortable beneath her armor but they were not enough to keep her warm in the woods at night. He'd thought that she would freeze before they got here. He'd left her leather boots by the couch. They were laced up to her mid calf and still in good condition, though also covered in mud. He left his clothes in a dirty heap by the door and began to undress her.
Amy, he had called her. The name has just fallen from his mouth, no forethought at all. He'd have to stay by her side till she woke up to avoid confusion. He didn't bother trying to save her shirt and ripped the few remaining tatters from her shoulders. She wore a special designed breast band that was more armor than underwear, specially designed to protect her heart. He undid the laces under both her arms that held it in place. Her breasts pushed against his hands as he worked. He tried to ignore the faint buzzing in his head. He worked the silk leggings over her hips revealing black normal looking cotton underwear. With all of her medieval were-hunting armor he almost smiled to see proof she hadn't just appeared from the 13th century. He hadn't removed the breast band yet and he hesitated. This is silly he thought. He felt strangely protective of this girl, even from his own gaze. Get on with it.
He stepped over and turned the bath water on, finding a good temperature and blocking the drain. She was too muddy to put in the tub. She'd turn the water brown and never get clean. He took off what was left of his clothing and turned to her quiet form.
"Sorry girl," he said as he removed her breast band and panties. He tried not to look at her curving figure, the full breasts the swelled out from her ribs and the small patch of hair between her legs. He knew, somewhere in his head, that he had seen much more desirable women in his time, but none of them looked as beautiful as she did even while she was bruised, half starved and covered in mud. He picked her up, reveling in the feel of her soft skin against him and stepped into the shower. It had been a long time since he had felt another creature so close. He let the hot water run over their bodies, washing away the grime and dirt from the past few days. He resisted the urge to caress her as the water washed over her body. Her skin was back to a healthy olive color, no longer gray from blood loss. Her face curved from high cheekbones to a soft chin. Her lips were full and pink and whispered of vulnerability. He let her feet go and held her close to his body as he worked his fingers through her matted hair, letting the worse of the mud wash down her back. The feeling of her body against his, so alive and warm was almost too much. He growled softly, fighting his arousal.
Finally, he decided the worst of the mud was out and he turned off the water, ignoring the brown sludge that had accumulated on the drain. He scooped her up and carried her to the tub, lowering her body into the water. He rested her head on the side and took the soap from the shower. What was wrong with him? Had all the simpering and acting like a fool for the benefit of the humans gotten to him? Had he gone mad in that pit? Why was such a tiny human making his head spin?
She wasn't human. For all his centuries, he did not know what she was. He steadied himself and began to draw the soap over her body. She had been injured more than he'd initially assumed in the battle. She had fought so smoothly, so effortlessly he had not expected the large bruises that covered her body. He took the soap gently past the larges bruise that spread over most of her left side. Her ribs were just barely visible beneath the skin after days of unconsciousness. Her long legs folded to fit in the tub. He tried not to tremble as his hand stroked the lean muscles of her thighs and down to her feet. Her muscles were hard against her soft skin as if they had been tied in knots. She would ache terribly when she woke up. As his hand traveled upwards, he felt the large vein in her upper inner thigh pulse against his fingers. He longed to stay there, between her legs, feeling her warmth and life pulse beneath him. He forced himself to keep moving. He reached her chest. Cole shuddered as her breast filled his hand, soft and delicious. The small pink nipple puckered slightly from his touch. His hand lingered just a bit too long. He snatched it away, splashing water onto his own naked skin and leaving the soap to drift to the bottom of the tub.
This is insane. I must have lost my mind in that hole. He turned his attention to her hair. As he detangled and washed away the muck from her chestnut waves he began to think about their situation. The doctor had mentioned reporting the attack. He felt secure that his story had checked out, despite the fact that the doctor seemed suspicious. He knew it wouldn't take as long as they thought for her to get better. They could get out of there before the human authorities got involved. As for him, the feast he had had the night before had certainly helped. He felt more normal, steadier. He could not survive of animals forever but it would do for now. His strength was returning fast, his senses were sharper than they had been in years. He felt the power in his body as he drank life from a full-grown deer the night before. He almost crushed the animal to death before he drained it. He'd have to be careful. His performance was going over well. Soon he'd be able to use his sway over the minds of the humans to be able to drop the act. He just wished the girl would wake up. He could be patient. He had waited this long.