Ever wonder how Dahlia got her street name (aka the Blushing Death)?? Well, here’s your chance to find out. This short has not been professionally edited and contains graphic language and content. Read at your own risk. Enjoy!
What the hell was he doing here? He’d better things to do than watch over some imbecile who wasn’t intelligent enough to take his meal behind a dumpster or into an alley before he ate. Patrick closed his eyes and let the night breathe into him, fill him, and energize him. Waiting for Dmitri to exit the bar, he hadn’t fed yet and his fangs throbbed from want of a meal.
As Ethan’s right hand, he had too many responsibilities to be sitting on a roof top, monitoring Dmitri’s hunt. Ethan must be losing whatever sense he had left. Being 400 and some odd years old, Vampire Liege, and almost half a century without Margo – his mate of more than 300 years – had finally destroyed the last vestige of sanity his father had.
The breeze whipped around Patrick’s hair, pushing the scent of alcohol, oversexed college students, and grease from the nearby campus bars through his nostrils, barraging his senses with debauchery. Why Dmitri hunted the incredibly inebriated young coeds was understandable, however, why he couldn’t keep from drawing attention to himself and feeding in public was beyond his understanding.
Patrick sat on the ledge of the roof along High Street watching young men and women stumble from bar to bar, laughing, touching, fondling each other. Patrick watched them with envy. He hadn’t touched someone with abandon in decades. He’d occupied himself with quick fucks and blood whores, as those were the only ones safe and allowed him to hide his true nature and power.
“What are you doing to yourself?” Patrick whispered into the silence. He shouldn’t envy humans. Ever. Leaning over the edge, he kept his eyes open for Dmitri. The young one would have to come out sooner or later.
The wind shifted and brought a familiar musky scent to his nose. “How’d you find me?” Patrick asked without turning, knowing full well who was standing behind him.
“Wasn’t hard. You stink,” the deep, bass voice rumbled with what Patrick thought was a chuckle. Patrick smiled to himself without turning. Dean, werewolf, alpha, Pack King, and friend was nothing if not precise. He never said two words when one would do.
“So you’ve said,” Patrick said as he turned to face his friend of decades. The two men were complete opposites in every way. Patrick was tall, lean, and muscular with a runner’s body, his movements were lithe as a cat’s. Dean was older than Patrick by almost fifty years, but you couldn’t tell to look at them since vampires and werewolves didn’t age. Patrick had dark hair and dark eyes that stood in stark contrast to his pale skin.
Dean, on the other hand, was tall and bulky like he could lift a car over his head as he would a sack of potatoes. He had deep olive-green eyes, dark Mediterranean skin, and a completely shaved head. He was kind, loyal and had the ability to read people in a way that staggered Patrick. In Patrick’s mind, everyone had an ulterior motive. He’d lived too long and seen too many vampires he’d trusted turn on him with the merest hint of power.
“Pat?” Dean’s deep voice rumbled behind him. Dean sounded unsure and Patrick knew it was his fault. Patrick had been avoiding his friend for weeks, months really. It wasn’t safe. Ethan didn’t approve of his friendship with Dean. His Liege also didn’t appreciate that Dean had a power Ethan couldn’t control and couldn’t curtail. The old vampire was threatened by Dean, and he should be. The werewolf was more powerful than any Patrick had ever come across. But Unlike Ethan, Dean seemed content with what he had. That’s why Patrick trusted him.
“Yes,” Patrick answered, keeping his gaze on the street below.
“You alright?” Dean asked, stepping up beside him. Patrick glanced over at his friend.
Dean watched the street below, avoiding eye contact.
“Perfectly,” Patrick said. “I’m babysitting this evening. And you?”
“Looking for you,” Dean mumbled.
“Is something wrong?” Patrick asked with dread filling him. Ethan was hiding more and more from Patrick and he suspected it was only a matter of time before his Liege made a move on the Pack and Patrick would have to move his timetable forward.
Patrick looked back at his friend with sudden understanding. Dean had been worried.
“It wasn’t safe,” Patrick said. “It still isn’t.”
“Is that why you’re babysitting?”
Why was he babysitting? Ethan had been acting strange. He had been like Patrick’s father since he rose that first night but in the last few months, Ethan had been treating Patrick like he didn’t trust him. He’d been with Ethan for the better part of a century. Why would the man second guess his trust now?
“I don’t know why I’m babysitting, actually. Dmitri should have been put down long ago. He’s a danger to all of us and much too public,” Patrick scoffed.
“Hmph,” Dean snorted.
“What does that mean?” Patrick snapped.
“Just . . . hmph.”
Patrick turned his gaze back to the street. Where the hell was Dmitri?
Two women stumbled from the bar beneath Patrick and Dean. They both seemed unsteady, inebriated as the dark haired woman with hair down her back and hips just a bit too wide for Patrick’s tastes slammed into her friend. The other woman was tall, muscular, and voluptuous in a way that Patrick knew would overflow his palm with thick thighs and hips that swayed when she walked. She had shimmering blonde hair that caught his eye in the street light overhead. She seemed irritated as she aided, practically carried her friend down the sidewalk. Her steps were steady, sure and Patrick knew she wasn’t intoxicated in the least.
The wind shifted, blowing the scent of the two women up. Their scents mingled together like vinegar and oil. One was deeper, musky, tangled with the acidic scent of alcohol. The other was soft, carrying the scent of jasmine oil and something else . . . something old.
“What is that?” Dean asked, leaning over the edge. He took a deep breath, filling his nose with her scent again.
“She smells of magic,” Patrick whispered.
“None that I’ve smelled before. It’s old. Too old for either one of them.”
Patrick watched the blond as she and her friend crossed the street toward the university dorms.
“Dmitri,” Dean growled low in his chest.
Patrick’s eyes shot back to the sidewalk and the vampire he’d been following all night lurking in the shadows like a common vagrant. Dmitri crossed the street, following the two women down the sidewalk into the darkness. The streetlights grew farther and farther apart, snaking shadows across the parking lot.
“Stop him,” Dean growled.
“Why?” Patrick asked but a twinge in his gut agreed with his friend. He should stop Dmitri. Magic still tingled in his nose, pulling at his brain and his being for recognition, as if he should know it, know her. The magic seemed basic, primal, complex, and new all at the same time. What was she?
“I don’t know,” Dean answered, confused. “But something’s gnawing at me to stop him.” Before either could move, Dmitri was already on them.
Damn her! My plan for the night had not been to carry her drunk ass across campus. I’d just met her a few weeks ago for Christ’s sakes and this was not my responsibility. I wasn’t her mother. But I couldn’t leave her either.
“I love you,” Lisa slurred up at me.
“Yeah, yeah,” I said. “Sure.”
She stumbled into me, again. Damn, she was heavy. I tripped on her clumsy feet but caught myself before both of us hit the ground. If we fell, I wasn’t picking her back up. I wasn’t. Okay, I probably would, but I wouldn’t like it.
We stumbled through triangles of shadows cast by the street lights as I tried not to break my neck on something unseen or uneven pavement. The street lights were getting farther apart, keeping us in darkness longer and longer which didn’t sit well with me. A chill swept up my spine that sent the hairs on the back of my neck on end and my heart raced in anticipation.
“I do, you know,” she slurred again.
“That’s great, Lisa. Now, hurry the hell up and get your ass moving,” I snapped. I had a bad feeling churning in my stomach and I wanted to be back in our rooms.
“Can I help?” a man asked behind me. His voice was rough, filled with gravel that rumbled around his thick Eastern European accent. He was too close. Much too close.
“Stop him,” Dean growled again, low in his chest. This time, it wasn’t a request.
“I think we’re too late,” Patrick whispered, panic filling him and he couldn’t even say why.
I dropped Lisa and turned.
“Hey,” she snarled as her ass hit the cement, hard.
“Shut up!” I snapped. We were in trouble. I could feel it down to my toes. I didn’t have any cash on me but then again, this guy didn’t look like he wanted cash.
“You should listen to your friend,” he said, smirking at Lisa and then fixing his gaze on me with a singularity that tightened my stomach in dread.
“What do you want?” I barked, stepping in front of Lisa who still sitting on the sidewalk.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Lisa groaned behind me, just before she retched a few times, spilling the foul smell of vomit into the air. Perfect!
The man looked down at her and then back up at me with a disgusted expression and his lips curling into a sneer. He turned his nose up at the stench. “I will leave that one.”
“You’ll be leaving both of us,” I said, thrusting every ounce of confidence and malice I had into that one sentence.
“I don’t think so,” he cooed as the corners of his mouth turned up in a lecherous, hungry smile.
He lunged at me.
He was quick. Too quick for my eyes to follow. His hands gripped my throat, squeezing until I couldn’t breathe and my lungs burned with the lack of oxygen. Lifting me from the ground with one hand as if I weighed nothing, my feet dangled from the ground. I kicked out at him, clutching his hand around my throat as I tried to wedge my fingers in-between his grip and my neck. His grip was iron tight around and pain surged through my entire being as his fingers dug into my flesh.
My heart pounded in my head, filling my ears with the steady thump-thump, thump-thump of its beat. I stared up into his face and caught his malicious grin spread across his lips, exposing a straight line of white teeth . . . and . . . fangs. SHIT! He couldn’t be . . . could he? I kicked at him again but each time I made contact, he shrugged it off.
“You smell too good to resist,” he drooled in his thick accent. He pushed his thumb up under my chin, tilting my head away, exposing my neck. Leaning into me, he ran his tongue up the long line of my throat in a languorous stroke of saliva. I shivered at the feel of him on my body and something clicked into place.
Alright, I’ve had enough. My instincts took over before I could think too much about it. I didn’t want to think. I wanted this thing’s hands off me and to get Lisa and me back to our dorms in one piece. I wanted this asshole to know he couldn’t just walk up to anyone and hurt them. I wouldn’t let him hurt me or anyone, ever again.
Kill him, a voice whispered in a deep, husky enticement from the back of my mind. Kill him, she said again. He’s not one of us.
No, he wasn’t. My body stilled and I stopped fighting. My mind cleared and a peace I’d never known settled over me. I was going to kill him and I knew it as much as I knew my name was Dahlia Sabin.
He lapped at my neck one last time, bringing his tongue all the way up to my ear. “You taste like power,” he purred in my ear. As the last word left his lips, he reared his head back and exposed his fangs before he lurched at my exposed skin.
“What is that?” Patrick asked in a hush as he watched the blond woman struggle in Dmitri’s grasp. Dmitri was playing with her, in the open, in full view of anyone who wanted to watch.
“I don’t know,” Dean said as his fingers gripped the edge of the roof with white knuckled intensity. The three of them stood in shadows, far from the unnatural light of the streetlamps as Dmitri gripped her by the neck. Even with that fact, everywhere around her, illuminating the shadows like a beacon a soft, red glow emitted. Patrick watched Dmitri lick a long line up her neck, unaware of the blushing glow growing out from her body. Dmitri was a dead vampire. He’d kill that sonovabitch himself.
She stopped struggling.
“What’s she doing?” Dean snapped. His voiced rung with the same fear Patrick felt tighten his gut. He’d pegged that girl as a fighter and something inside him didn’t want her to give in, didn’t want her to just lie down and die. The soft red glow around her became a harsh red slash of light through the darkness as Dmitri reared his head back to strike and Patrick stood in awe of her. It would be a shame if this creature were to perish at Dmitri’s unworthy hands.
I reached out and grasped his head in my hands. Before he could think to push my hands away, I twisted his head sharply, snapping his neck. He released his grip on my throat and I dropped to the ground, crouching low. I caught my breath and waited for the sound of his body to hit the ground.
It never came.
I glanced up at the man still standing in front of me with his head twisted at an unnatural, uncomfortable angle. He should’ve been dead.
“Fuck,” I breathed. He reached his hands up and placed them firmly on either side of his face. The man twisted his neck back into place, and cracked it back, shifting his chin up on either side.
“You stupid little BITCH! That hurt,” he growled. I scrambled backward on my hands, dragging my ass across the pavement as I climbed over Lisa’s passed out, limp body.
Kill him, kill him, through the heart, she whispered like a mantra.
My mind tried to grapple with the idea of a man who didn’t die when you broke his neck. I’d definitely felt the pop.
Through the heart?
Why through the heart? Fangs . . . Fuck! Vampire!
If the attack had happened on anyone else, vampire would not have been the first guess. I was different. I’d seen spirits, ghosts, and poltergeists since the age of five, been attacked by a ghoul in a cemetery and felt the pull of magic too often to count. Just because I’d never encountered a vampire before, didn’t mean I couldn’t believe. Looking up into this guy’s eyes, I believed. Oh boy, did I believe.
“Through the heart then,” I whispered. I had to find something. I didn’t have any weapons, why would I? College students didn’t walk around with weapons. I moved to my right, tripping over Lisa’s outstretched arm. My ass hit hard, spilling into the soft, warm mound of vomit. Fanfuckingtastic! It soaked through my jeans, turning my stomach. Now, I was pissed. The vampire took careful steps toward me, slow, watching.
I reached out, spreading my arms wide, searching for anything that I could use to defend myself. My fingers wrapped around a long flimsy branch from the nearby dogwood tree. It was blunt and would probably snap on impact but it was all I had.
He stepped over Lisa, too casual and much to focused on me. I hated her all the more for passing out. If I lived through this, I’d have to carry her back and covered in her vomit. I hated drunk people.
The vampire reached down and grabbed the front of my shirt, yanking me to my feet. My head whipped back with his strength. I was going to live. Damn it! If it was the last thing I did!
He snarled at me, exposing teeth and fangs in a glistening white sheen. I tightened my grip around the branch and thrust it up under his ribs. The branch pushed through his thin t-shirt, into his body, through flesh and muscle. The cool, sticky sensation of his blood spilling over my hand, turned my stomach. His eyes widened in disbelief as he met my glare. He released my shirt, shoving me away before he fell to his knees. Gasping for air, he scrambled to tug the branch from his chest.
I took a step back, out of reach as he swung his arms out to me, flailing.
“You stupid cunt!” he yelled. His skin moved over the flesh and bone, weakening to an almost paper thin transparency, stretching from his bones, and shriveling away from his face.
“Christ on Crutches,” I gasped.
His head, take his head that same voice whispered.
“His head? What the hell with?” I called out into the darkness, frustration making my anger seep into my blood and making it boil through my veins. I staggered back another step as he fell forward, trying to grab me. The vampire slammed face-first into the ground, driving the branch further into his chest, and up through his back.
“She killed him,” Dean said with an uncharacteristic smile pushing the corners of his mouth up.
“Yes, she did,” Patrick said as he watched her stand like a Fury over her kill. Her chest heaved with her heavy breath and her adrenaline made her scent a heady mixture of Jasmine, magic and power. The harsh red glow simmered down to a soft blushing pink as Dmitri decomposed on the ground.
“His head? What the hell with?” she seemed to cry out in frustration. To whom she spoke, Patrick didn’t know.
“Do you have your knife?” Patrick asked. Dean nodded and pulled the 8 inch silver plated bowie knife from the sheath in his boot. Dean flipped the knife in his hand, gripping the blade in his palm. “Be careful,” Patrick snapped.
Dean brought the knife back and threw it. The blade soared through the air, across the street, over the grass, sinking it into the ground a few feet behind her. She backed up another step, tripping over the knife with her foot. She stumbled but caught herself and glared down at the knife sticking out of the ground. She seemed frozen for a moment, but only long enough to blink. She grasped the exposed handle in her hand and ripped it from the ground and took the two long strides toward Dmitri.
The woman knelt down at the vampire’s shoulders. She raised the knife above her head without a single hesitation and brought it down hard. Sinking the knife’s blade through the shrinking flesh of Dmitiri’s neck, she severed his head from his body.
Once his head and heart were separated, Dmitri erupted in a puff of ash. His decomposition was sped up and had destroyed any existence that he ever existed.
“She didn’t even flinch,” Patrick said, transfixed.
“Except for the flicker in that red glow around her.”
The woman, a girl really, stood and brushed the ash from her jeans. She shoved the knife in her back pocket and glanced around. Glancing over her shoulder, she evaluated at the mess on her pert, round ass. She released a frustrated, defeated sigh up to the heavens and shook her head.
“Hey, Lisa,” she snapped at the woman passed out on the ground. She reached down and tugged at the woman’s shirt. When the girl didn’t wake, she struck her across the face. The crack of flesh on flesh rang in Patrick’s ears, making his body tingle from head to toe with the violence, the power, and the determination of this woman.
“I’m not carrying your heavy ass after the night I’ve had,” she hissed. The inebriated girl finally opened her eyes and staggered to her feet. Without another work, she strode off, leaving the girl to follow or not.
“That was . . .” Dean started.
“Incredible,” Patrick finished.
“What are you going to do?” Dean asked with a hush still in his voice.
“Nothing,” Patrick said with a mischievous grin cresting his lips. He had a plan that could turn the tide to everything he’d ever hoped. “If he’s stupid enough to get staked by a coed then he deserved it.”
“She’s a little more than just a coed.”
“Yes, she’s the Blushing Death,” Patrick said with a satisfied smile.
“What?” Dean asked, finally turning his glare at Patrick with that Alpha stare.
“Even little children have something they fear. It’s been a long time since we did. Spread the word. There’s a new boogey man in town,” Patrick said.
“No more babysitting then?” Dean asked with an understanding nod.
“No more babysitting. If I can make her a bigger threat, maybe he’ll forget about you for a while.”
“And give you a chance to keep an eye on her,” Dean scoffed at his friends semblance of goodwill.