Tag Archives: #darkangel

Silently Watching at the Storm Moon

dark-angel

Finally, the pungent aroma of decaying flesh became too much to bear. Grimacing at the pain it caused her, the dark angel dragged herself up into a sitting position. After the warmth of the animal furs and the velvet blanket that she had been shrouded in, the air of her mausoleum home felt icy cold. Reaching out a withered hand, she pulled herself onto her knees and then finally, her balance unsteady, she stood naked in the middle of the floor. Her weeks of enforced dormancy had left her severely weakened and somewhat vulnerable. Unnourished, even vampires wither and age.

Blood!

She needed blood and she needed it urgently. But, did she have any strength left to hunt? She was going to have to try then she needed to check on her fledgling. Had the blood from his mother tamed the Rabbia Sanguigna?

Dressing sapped more of her limited strength but, eventually, just as the sun rose over the horizon, she was ready to venture out into the world again. Drawing her cloak around her for warmth, she set out in search of much needed sustenance.

 

A lone commuter stood on the platform at the station, engrossed in a news article on his phone. Her fangs found his jugular vein before he even realised that he was no longer alone. As his warm blood flowed smoothly down her throat, the dark angel felt life seep back into her ravaged body. With the businessman’s body drained dry, she pushed him off the platform onto the tracks, kicking his bag and phone after him.

If she could feed again before the sun set, she might just recover before the full moon.

A glance at the newspaper the man had dropped informed her it was 20th March   confirming she had been dormant too long.

 

Eleven long weeks and two full moons had passed with no sign of her. Eleven long weeks since she had delivered the two flasks of blood with her gentle kiss. It had been a rare show of tenderness and that kiss was imprinted on his memory.

Every Friday night he had checked the tree for his expected blood ration only to find the hollow empty.

He had been left with no choice but to hunt for himself. The blood from the flasks had sustained him for almost a week before he felt the now familiar hunger start to grow. Before she had vanished, the dark angel had promised that he’d “know” if the blood from his mother had calmed the rage of his Rabbia Sanguigna. Within twenty-four hours he’d noticed a change in himself – a subtle change. He had still craved blood as badly as before but he felt more in control of his desires. Over the next few weeks he learned if he stayed calm and relaxed, the desire melted into the background; as soon as he became angry or frustrated, the urge returned instantly and the desire to taste the warm ferrous nectar from a live creature pulsed more overwhelmingly than ever.  Once, when he’d almost lost his temper while driving, he’d felt a sudden craving for human blood. That thought had chilled him to the bone.

Calm……how could he stay calm when the angel had abandoned him and vanished without a trace?

Hunting during the months of winter had proved challenging. He had taken to hunting on his way home from work, feeding from the livestock in the fields behind the village. There had been plenty of sheep to choose from but the blood of the expectant ewes soured his stomach, leaving him nauseous. After a third day of vomiting rings round himself, he decided that sheep were off the menu. At the back of his mind, he recalled the angel’s warning about drinking from expectant mothers and deduced that this must hold true for expectant ovine mothers too.

Cows’ and horses’ blood sustained him. Deer, despite tasting divine, proved too quick for him. A feast of deer blood was a rare treat obtained through sheer dumb luck rather than hunting prowess.

The day before March’s full moon fell on his scheduled day off from work. With the kids at school and nursery and his wife out running errands, he decided to treat himself to a long run along his beloved forestry trails.

It was a clear crisp Spring day, perfect for a long run. He’d hunted on the way home the evening before and, with his music playing through his iPod, was content just to allow the ground to pass under his feet without the need to watch for a possible victim. Deciding to deviate from his usual route, he set off in search of a small remote reservoir far up in the hills behind the village. His plan was to circle the small loch then head east along the trail to the larger reservoir that served the area before doubling back and returning home via the remote B class road that led into the back of the village.

When he reached the trail that led down to the small reservoir, he found that it had been washed out in a storm and was unpassable. Changing his plan, he stayed on the trail he’d been following. The reservoir was about fifty yards off to his right. A movement caught his attention and he paused to gaze over at the shaded expanse of water. For a split second he thought he’d seen someone bathing in the icy water. He could have sworn it was her.

Deciding that his mind was playing tricks on him, he returned his focus to his run and set off again, upping his pace.

 

Breaking through the surface of the cold water, the angel came up gasping for breath. That has been close! Thank God for that infernal noise he chose to listen to. If she hadn’t heard it, she would never have known he was close. That thought triggered a fresh concern for her. He might be oblivious to it but her fledgling had developed a new vampire talent – silent footfall.

As the water stilled around her, she glanced down at her reflection. Her skin had rehydrated after her breakfast of human blood. There were still dark shadows under her eyes with deep wrinkles around them. A wide white streak had appeared in her raven black hair.

Her trip to Spain had certainly left its mark on her.

There was no time to dwell on things beyond her control. She had neglected her fledgling for too long. It was time to resume his education.

 

Next morning dawned wild and wet, a strong gusting wind sending wheelie bins flying across the roads. When he left the house, running late for work, he almost missed the sign that had been left on his windscreen A white pebble had been balanced on the wiper blade and a small black feather with a purple tip was tucked under it.

She was alive!

He let out a long, relieved sigh, releasing weeks of tension that he hadn’t realised had built up.

But where and when was he to meet her?

First things first, he had to get to work.

 

It was growing dark when he finally logged off his pc and gathered up his belongings. His last conference call of the day at four o’clock had over run, ending with an action for him to revise a paper he had prepared before the end of the day. He’d managed to pull the figures together in record time and hoped they met with the approval of those further up the food chain. It had been a long day and it was now an hour and half past the end of his shift. Pausing to wish the security guard goodnight, he left the building and headed across the car park towards his car.

As he unlocked the car, he felt the air move beside him.

“Son of Perran,” whispered a familiar voice. “You ignored my sign.”

“I didn’t ignore it,” he replied as he spun round to find himself face to face with the angel. “I didn’t understand it.  I needed to get to work. I was planning to look for you in the cemetery on my way home.”

Staring deep into his soul, her green eyes locked with his brown ones. Unable to look away, he felt her probing into his mind uninvited.

“Praise be” she sighed. “It worked.”

“Eh?”

“Your Rabbia Sanguigna is under control.”

“If you’d asked, I could’ve told you it was” he snapped, his hand clenching tight around his car key. “Don’t enter my mind uninvited again!”

“My apologies. That was unforgiveable,” she said, bowing her head. “I needed to see for myself. Needed to know for sure.”

“Yeah and I’ve needed you. Where have you been for the past eleven weeks?”

“Indisposed,” replied the angel softly.

Looking at her properly for the first time, he saw that she had aged. Without thinking, he reached out to touch the white streak at the front of her hair. “What happened?”

“My trip to find your mother took its toll,” she replied evasively. “I drank tainted blood on the way home. That and the effort of keeping the blood warm for so long almost ended me.”

“You ok?”

“I’ll recover,” assured the angel forcing a smile. “And you, Son of Perran, are you well?”

“I think so,” he replied sounding a little unsure.

“Is the blood rage really under control?”

He nodded, “As long as nothing winds me up. If I get frustrated or pissed off at something, I can feel it rising. I’ve not reacted to it…. yet.”

“Well done,” she praised. “You’ve shown maturity.”

“You didn’t leave me much choice!”

“True,” she conceded.

“Look, I need to get home. I’m late,” he began awkwardly. “Can we talk later?”

“I need to hunt later.”

“Get in,” said the runner impulsively as he opened the passenger side door. “We can talk on the way.”

“I can’t sit in there,” answered the angel, rustling her wings gently.

“Shit! Forgot about those,” he muttered slamming door shut then not to be thwarted said, “Get in the back. You can lie along the back seat.”

“How undignified,” complained the angel as she slid into the backseat of the car.

“Sorry. It’s the best I can do,” he apologised as he climbed into the driver’s seat.

As he exited the car park, he could feel her eyes boring into him. She watched him in silence for a few minutes before saying softly, “I saw you yesterday.”

“So, it was you I saw at the reservoir?”

“Yes,” she replied. “If it hadn’t been for that awful noise you listen to, I wouldn’t have heard you approaching.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You run soundlessly, son of Perran.”

“Pardon?”

“You’ve developed some new vampire traits while I’ve been absent,” she observed. “Some full blood traits.”

“I still don’t understand.”

“I’ll make this easy for you to understand, fledgling,” began the angel sounding irritated. “Your partial transformation has failed.”

“Failed?”

“Yes, and I am truly sorry about that,” she apologised sincerely.

“So, what does that mean?” he demanded as he stopped the car at a red light.

“From what I saw in your mind, the blood from your mother calmed the Rabbia Sanguigna but it also disturbed the delicate balance of your transformation. Your full blood faculties are developing. You run and walk without making a sound. You could already read minds. You had perfect vision. Now, you also have perfect hearing over long distances, if you choose to listen.”

“I don’t get it,” he said as the traffic lights turned to green.

“Visualise your home, son of Perran,” she instructed. “And listen.”

He did as she asked then felt a chill run through him as he heard his wife talking to the kids as clearly as if he was standing beside her.

“How?” he spluttered, not fully comprehending what was going on. “Why?”

“It had to the blood from your mother. She must be more of a full blood then I detected.”

“Christ, I don’t believe this is happening!” he growled, slamming his hand onto the steering wheel. “So, now what? Am I going to grow a set of wings and go around killing people to survive?”

“In time, most likely.”

“You have to be kidding me? This is not what I agreed to……. You promised me!”

“I know,” she interrupted him. “And you have no idea how dreadful I feel about all that has happened. Maybe if you spoke to your mother. Found out about her history.”

“No way!” he declared loudly. “Besides, she’s disappeared.  I’ve not heard from her since Christmas. She’s not been home since her trip to Spain.”

“Disappeared?”

“Yeah,” he muttered sourly. “She’ll turn up. She always does.”

“Has she vanished before?” quizzed the angel sharply.

“Many times, but, sadly, she always turns up.”

“Where does she go?”

“No idea. She never says and I don’t care enough to ask.”

In the rear-view mirror, he could see the dark angel looking thoughtful and he wondered if his mother’s vanishing acts were somehow important.

They drove on in silence for several minutes and, as he indicated to turn off the dual carriageway to take the back-road home, the angel said, “Stop when we are out of sight of the farm.”

“Sure,” he said as large drops of rain began to hit the windscreen.

A loud peel of thunder rattled over head and the rain instantly grew heavier. As he pulled off to the side of the road, the sky lit up with a flash of fork lightning.

“Do you want to wait here till that storm blows through?” he asked as he killed the engine.

For a moment the angel hesitated then said, “No. I need to feed and the storm will afford me some cover. People die easily during thunder storms. Unexpected unexplained accidents.”

A chill rattled through him as he realised that she intended to dine on human blood when she left his car.

“What’s the plan here then?” he asked, still struggling to process the information she’d given him

“We need to resume your education,” she answered simply. “You need to learn our old ways, how to feed properly and how to live unseen and undetected in the human world.”

“How long will that take?”

“Years, I hope,” said the angel quietly. “The partial transformation enchantment should slow your maturity. We can work together to slow the changes. Double your mugwort. That should be strong enough to prevent your wings from budding.” She paused for a second then added, “You need to continue to hunt for yourself. Hone those skills. Not too often. Vary your targets. Choose different locations. You’ll learn in time what your body needs most.”

He ran his hand through his hair and yelled, “This is all a fucking nightmare! And it’s all your fault!”

“Yes, it is,” she agreed reaching through to touch his slender shoulder. “This storm will pass though. You’re young. You’re strong. You’ve matured since the start of the year. With a bit of luck, your life can continue as normal for many years yet.”

The touch of her cool hand was comforting. While it rested on his shoulder, he felt an energy from her easing into his blood. With each breath, he felt his anger abate.

“When will I see you again?”

“Soon,” she replied evasively. “If I leave a pebble for you, meet me that night at dusk by the tree.”

“And if I can’t make it?”

“I’ll come for you,” she said bluntly. “Regardless of where you are. Now, I need to depart.”

 

Next morning, the area was littered with storm debris. Wheelie bins and tree limbs were scattered around the village and surrounding areas. As he was preparing to leave for work, his wife asked if he would drop the kids off at school first.

“Right, you two, out to the car,” he called as he drained the last of his coffee. “We’re leaving now.”

With the kids safely buckled in, he started the engine and pulled away from the kerb.

“Dad,” said his daughter. “Where did this feather come from? It’s pretty. Can I have it?”

Glancing in the rear view mirror, he saw that his little girl had one of the dark angel’s long wing feathers in her hand.

 

 

image sourced via Google- credits to the owner

 

 

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Silently Watching At The End Of The Year

dark angel

The year was rapidly coming to an end …. only five hours left. Part of him was going to be glad to see the back of it; part of him was looking forward to a fresh start, a new year. It was never an occasion that they celebrated much as a family but this year was going to be different. They’d been invited to see the new year in at a neighbour’s house.
While his family were getting ready upstairs, he had seized the opportunity to slip out to the garage for his daily dose of mugwort tea. Running his tongue over his teeth, he reasoned that his “fangs” hadn’t developed any further and were still fairly unnoticeable. After his son’s innocent observation, he had tried to curb his hunting instincts and had stuck to the regime laid down by the dark angel. It hadn’t been easy but, on the whole, his will power had held strong.
As he drank the daily measure of mugwort, he wondered where she was. Five weeks and one day had passed since she had left.
He’d spoken to his mother on Christmas Day. He’d almost been relieved to speak to her. She hadn’t mentioned anything out of the ordinary other than an infected bug bite on her wrist that refused to heal. As ever, their conversation had been brief as she had cut the call short to dash off to join her friends for Christmas lunch.
Part of him wondered if the “bug bite” was the angel’s doing…….

Travelling didn’t agree with the dark angel. It took her ten days to reach the Mediterranean coastline of Spain. As a rogue vampire, she chose to avoid flying too close to London and Paris en route for fear of attracting any undue attention from the vampire elders who resided there. Avoiding Barcelona had proved to be more of a challenge as she searched for the runner’s mother in the unfamiliar territory. One young Spanish vampire had crossed her path but, after an exchange, they had reached an accord, with him promising to keep her presence in the area quiet.
It took her until mid-December to locate the woman she was seeking. From a distance, she observed her for a few days to establish her routine and to try to determine her vampire strengths before working out a plan.
Deciding to keep it simple, she opted to obtain the blood while the woman took a nap on her balcony in the afternoon. It was unusual for vampires to sleep outdoors and even more so for them to sleep during the day, causing the angel to wonder if her transformation had also been a partial one. For three days she watched the runner’s mother take a swim after lunch then retire to her shaded balcony for a siesta. On the fourth day, she made her move. Rather than biting her, the angel decided to use a sharpened thumb pick. Almost as an afterthought, she smeared a sedative and some of her own blood onto the point to numb the “pricking” sensation. With next to no knowledge of the woman’s powers, she wanted to be as discrete as possible.
Reaching the balcony unseen posed a further problem and the dark angel had no choice other than to risk exposing herself to direct sunlight during her rooftop approach. Stealthily, she slipped onto the shady balcony from above, pricked the inside of the woman’s wrist, acquired the two flasks of blood then retreated to the shadows.
Drained and slightly burned by the Spanish sun, the dark angel sought refuge in a nearby church until dark.
Keeping the blood at human body temperature was her next challenge. With no other option open to her, the angel used an ancient incantation to raise the temperature of the flasks themselves. By heating the metal, it would keep the contents warm. She just had to be mindful of where she stowed the flasks in case she burned herself. Sustaining the heat spell however sapped her energy.
On the return journey, she had to stop to feed three times. Her first two victims were elderly residents in remote mountain villages. Fortunately, both of them had been in good health despite their advanced years and their blood of a surprisingly high standard. She selected her third victim at one of the French channel ports. In her hurry, she chose poorly. Her victim had been high on opiates and their blood contaminated by a cocktail of drugs. The effects hit the angel hard as she drained the last drop of blood from the now lifeless body. Instantly, her stomach began to cramp and her vision blurred. It took all of her energy to crawl into a safe hiding place in an empty container in the freight yard. With the last of her strength, she reinforced the heat spell then lapsed into unconsciousness. She remained that way until Boxing Day, awakening to find herself ravenous but severely weakened.
The first thing that she checked was the blood. It was still warm. With a sigh, she sank back onto the floor of the container and tried to figure out her next move. As dusk fell, she fed on several large rats that she caught running between the containers. Their blood helped to revive her but she needed to make a fourth human kill to get enough blood for the last leg of the journey home.
Soundlessly, she prowled the ferry port in search of a suitable meal. As she slipped through the rows of trucks and lorries that were waiting for the early morning ferry, she identified one truck driver who was going to Manchester with a load of furniture. If she could hide in his trailer, she reasoned, it would get her closer to home quicker than she could fly in her current weakened state.
The last lorry in line was being driven by a woman in her forties. Her trailer was full of clothes destined for the high-end fashion boutiques of London. Carelessly she had left her cab unlocked when she had retired to her bunk for the night. The angel bided her time then struck shortly before dawn.
Her hunger satiated, she had returned to the furniture lorry and slipped into its trailer to stowaway for the trip back to England.

By late afternoon on New Year’s Eve, she as within reach of home …. and, by some miracle, both flasks of blood were still warm.
She prayed that her fledgling had managed to stick to the plan and fretted that she had been gone so long. Leaving him to fend for himself at such a young vampire age had been a high-risk strategy but she had had no choice. His Rabbia Sanguigna needed to be calmed as a matter of urgency before he became a danger to his friends and family and himself.
The church roof came into sight and she sighed.
“Home sweet home,” she muttered to herself as her feet touched the soft ground outside her mausoleum.
Exhausted, the angel reinforced the incantation one more time then settled down to rest for a few hours.

As New Year’s Eve parties went, it had been a good one. There had been plenty of food and alcohol, the kids had had fun with their friends and he had got on well with most of the neighbours. There had been worse ways to end a year.
Shortly after one, he led his tired family across the street and home to bed. While his wife put the kids to bed, he stayed downstairs, hoping to grab a few moments for a first cigarette of the year. When he entered the kitchen, he filled the kettle to make a cup of tea then stepped outside for a smoke while it boiled.
He had just lit the cigarette when he felt the air stir beside him and heard the familiar rustle of feathers.
“Son of Perran,” she said softly, her voice barely above a whisper.
“What are you doing here?” he hissed, horrified that she would visit his home.
“Sh,” said the angel. “Two minutes. Less. That’s all I need. I’m exhausted. I need to hunt then rest.”
Before he could comment, she brought the two flasks out from the inner folds of her cloak.
“Drink,” she said calmly. “Both of them.”
“But,” he began anxiously.
“Just drink, son of Perran,” snapped the angel, “My patience is worn thin. Time is short.”
Hearing the kettle come to the boil, he drained the first flask then opened the second. As the kettle clicked off, he drained the second flask dry then handed them both back to her. The blood had tasted sweet and somehow familiar.
“Now what?” he asked.
“You go back indoors and make your cup of tea and I go and hunt before going home to rest.”
“How will I know if this has worked?”
“You’ll know,” she replied cryptically.
She turned to leave then paused. Gracefully, she stepped forward and brushed a kiss on his cheek, “Happy New Year, son of Perran.”
She spread her wings then soared off into the night.

Silently Watching On The Night Of The Mourning Moon

dark angel

He stood gazing out into the pitch-black November morning, trying to quash the urge rising rapidly inside him. It was Friday. Seventeen weeks had passed since his partial transformation at the hands of the dark angel. As the weeks had passed, he found himself eagerly awaiting Fridays. For seventeen weeks though there had been no sign of the angel. He hadn’t caught so much as a glimpse of her. As he stood drinking his coffee, he wondered where she was hiding and when their paths would next cross.
“Daddy!”
The shrill wail from his young son brought him hurriedly back to the present.
“The cat scratched me!” sobbed the little boy, eyes brimming with tears.
“Well, if you’d leave her tail alone,” he began then stopped dead in his tracks.
There were three long red scores on the back of his son’s small hand. Drops of blood were oozing through the damaged skin.
“Go and show Mum,” he instructed as calmly as he could. “She’ll clean it up.”
As the first tears escaped down the child’s cheeks, he turned and ran from the kitchen screaming, “Mummy!”
Heart pounding, a cold sweat beading on his forehead, he let out along sigh. Inside, he was on fire, fighting back the urge to run after the child. Even from where he stood, he could smell and almost taste the fresh blood.
“Only a few more hours,” he thought. “The flask’ll be there. I’ll be fine.”
As time had passed, the effects of his limited blood rations were wearing off quicker and quicker.
A movement beside the table caught his attention. It was the family cat. In a flash, he grabbed her. Without a second thought, he bit deep into her shoulder and began to drink.
“What are you doing to that poor cat?” scolded his wife as she entered the kitchen with their still sobbing son on her hip. “Put her outside.”
Keeping his back to his family, he opened the door and set the stunned cat free. She shot off into the darkness with an indignant hiss.
Discretely wiping his mouth clean, he muttered, “I’m off. I’ll see you after work.”
“Bye bye, Daddy,” called the little boy as he watched him march out into the hallway towards the front door.

Once in the car, he leaned over the icy cold steering wheel and groaned. That had been close! That had scared him as much as the family’s cat. Her fresh tangy blood had tasted divine. But, he’d bitten the family pet without a thought……. the thought of that made his blood run cold.
Subconsciously, his hand went to his trouser pocket, seeking the velvet bag containing the crystals and the feather. He needed to talk to the dark angel. He needed her reassurance and some answers. He needed them now!

Hoping that no one was watching him, he drove down the hill then turned into the narrow unlit single-track road, coming to a halt beside the gates of the cemetery. Without bothering to take the key out of the ignition, he abandoned the car and slipped into the graveyard. In the dark, he managed to find a small white pebble then carefully placed it on the bench as agreed. As he climbed back into his car, he prayed that she would see the sign and be waiting for him when he returned later.

From her vantage point on the church roof, the dark angel watched him place the pebble on the wooden bench. Something about the scene troubled her. Something felt out of balance. Her fledgling had appeared distressed.
Swiftly, she swooped down from her perch in an attempt to follow him. Deciding to break her own code of ethics, she sought to catch up with him to listen into his thoughts. If he reached the dual carriageway before she caught up with him though she wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the car. Luck was on her side and he was stuck in a queue waiting to join the fast-moving traffic on the main road. Keeping to the shadows high above the line of cars, the dark angel filtered through the melee of thoughts until she tuned into his.
Instantly, she recoiled and flew back to her preferred spot on the church roof. She needed to think.
“Rabbia Sanguigna,” she whispered as she watched the first streaks of daylight emerge. “But how to calm it?”
With no time to waste, she left her perch to return home to seek a solution.

On the drive home, he cranked up the volume on the car’s stereo, hoping futilely that some loud music would drown out the day he had just endured. The few mouthfuls of the cat’s blood had calmed him somewhat by the time he had arrived at work. Riddled with guilt at attacking the family pet, he had kept himself to himself all morning. He’d gone through the motions of meeting his work commitments while his brain tried to work out what had caused that morning’s incident. At lunchtime, he’d phoned home to check all was well and discretely asked if the cat had come back. His heart sank when his wife said that she’d returned scared and with a nasty wound on her shoulder. She commented that she thought perhaps the cat had got into a fight with the ginger tom cat from across the street. Muttering something about it “being natural for cats to fight,” he’d made his excuses and cut the call short. The rest of the afternoon had dragged on endlessly.
As he drove towards the village, he began to wonder if it was actually safe for him to return home…..

As had become his usual Friday routine, he parked the car at the local convenience store and walked up the hill to the graveyard. He’d slipped easily into the routine of visiting the cemetery then visiting the shop to buy a small treat for the kids before driving up the hill and home.
An icy wind was blowing and he shrugged himself deeper into his warm jacket, still chilled to the core by the morning’s events. Stuffing his hands deep into his pockets, he trudged up the steep hill, praying that the dark angel had got his message and was waiting for him.

With her wings drawn round her to ward off the cold, the angel stood deep in the shadows beside the tree where she had placed the flask of fresh blood. Her acute senses detected his presence long before he climbed the worn steps and entered the dark graveyard. She could hear his heart pounding; she could feel the confusion raging inside him. Her heart went out to him. There was no denying that this setback was going to be a challenge for him.
“Good evening, son of Perran,” she greeted softly as he reached into the hollow in the tree trunk to retrieve the flask.
“Jeez, you scared me,” he gasped almost dropping the pewter flask.
“You summoned me, so surely you expected me to be here,” commented the angel calmly.
“Yeah, I did,” he acknowledged wearily.
“Drink then we’ll talk,” she commanded.
Hungrily, he drained the flask of every drop within seconds. The blood as usual was still warm but this week tasted thicker and meatier than usual. Almost instantly he felt the craving diminish.
“Needed that,” he said as he screwed the lid back on.
“I noticed,” commented the dark angel taking the empty flask from him. “Now, do you want to tell me about what happened this morning?”
Sensing that she already knew exactly what had happened, he bowed his head and confessed quietly, “I almost bit my son. He had a scratch. It was bleeding, I came too close to biting him for comfort. I bit the cat instead. Drank some of her blood.”
“I know,” said the angel, her tone soothing and filled with understanding. “The cat survived though. How did she taste?”
“Are you seriously asking me how the cat tasted?” he snapped, anger surging through him. “I almost bit my own son!”
“Did the cat’s blood satisfy you, son of Perran? Yes or no?”
“Kind of,” he admitted. “It tasted tangy. Not sweet. Not sour. It was only a few mouthfuls.”
“And you didn’t drain her dry?”
“No,” he replied. “My wife interrupted me.”
“You managed to show some restraint then. Would you have killed the cat if she hadn’t interrupted you?”
Silently, he nodded.
Almost tenderly, she reached out and touched his arm.
“Rabbia Sanguigna.”
“Pardon?”
“Blood rage,” translated the angel calmly. “Not uncommon in fledglings. It’s dangerous though. Unpredictable.”
“Great,” he muttered sourly. “So, now what do I do? What does it mean?”
“Two things, son of Perran,” she said staring deep into his soul. “You need blood more regularly than planned.”
“I’d worked that bit out.”
“And, secondly, you have developed a desire to hunt. You’re craving fresh, living blood.”
“Human blood?” he asked, dreading the answer.
“Not necessarily.”
He sighed and ran his cold fingers through his hair. “Ok, how do we sort this mess out? I thought partial transformation meant I didn’t need to kill things?”
“And you don’t. You just need to feed from a living being. It’s part of the condition.”
“And how exactly am I going to do that?”
“Calm down, son of Perran,” she cautioned firmly. “The blood you just drank was stronger. It should quench your thirst for a few days. I need time to work out a compromise here.”
“Time?” he spat angrily. “And while you work it out, am I meant to bite the cat every morning to stop me hurting my kids or my wife?”
“If you feel you must.”
“Christ, this is not happening,” he muttered, turning his back on her as a cold wave of fear rose up inside him.
“Meet me here on Sunday morning. Early. Just as the sun rises,” she commanded. “I’ll work out the solution by then.”
“Are you sure you will?”
“Quietly confident,” replied the angel. “But, as a precaution, I’ll bring another flask of blood for you.”
“Fine,” he sighed, realising that it was the only option open to him.
“Till Sunday, son of Perran.”
With a swoosh of her wings, she was gone into the darkness.

The dark angel didn’t retreat very far, flying only as far as her mausoleum hidden deep in the woods near the cemetery. As the clouds parted to reveal the full Mourning Moon, she perched on the roof of her home deep in thought. She wasn’t inhuman enough to be oblivious to the runner’s pain and fears. He was a mere hundred and nineteen days old, a baby in vampire terms. Where had her original partial transformation gone so wrong? Seventeen weeks before, she had been so careful and precise with her preparations. From her observations, he too had obeyed her instructions to the letter. There had to be something she was missing – something obvious.
It was almost dawn before the realisation struck her. She already knew they were blood related through her creator but for the Rabbia Sanguigna to be so strong there had to have been another vampire in his bloodline more recently. It had to be someone directly related to him.
With this revelation clearing her thoughts, the dark angel entered the mausoleum to prepare for her Sunday morning rendezvous with her fledgling.

Rain was lashing down on Sunday morning as he left the house just before eight on the pretence of going for a long run. The single-track road was slippery underfoot and, in his hurry, he fell twice, ripping the skin from his knee on the rough road surface. A warm trickle of blood ran down his shin.
Limping slightly, he reached the graveyard then sought shelter beside the tree. Optimistically, he reached into the hollow hoping to find the flask waiting for him. Nothing.
“Good morning, son of Perran,” she whispered in his ear. “Come.”
Obediently, he stepped forward then felt her wings embrace him as the world darkened around him.

When he opened his eyes, he looked round, immediately recognising the angel’s candlelit mausoleum home. As before, a black velvet cloth was spread out on the bench with various objects carefully laid out on it, including the goblet and the dagger.
“I need your permission to determine something,” she began, her voice soft and soothing. “I fear something in your more recent history has corrupted the transformation and triggered the blood rage.”
He stared at her in silence.
“May I read your thoughts, son of Perran?” she asked. “I may need to probe far back into your memories. I feel it only fair to advise you that nothing will be hidden from me.”
Remaining silent, he nodded.
The angel’s presence in his memories felt like wisps of smoke gradually wafting through him. At some points, he knew exactly which memories she was analysing. At others, she was deep inside memories he had gone to great lengths to bury. The sensation wasn’t unpleasant but knowing she was reading his entire life story unsettled him.
“Thank you,” said the angel eventually. “I’m sorry I had to do that to you. There really was no other way. I am uncomfortable scrying souls in that manner. I find it invasive.”
“Did it help?” he asked, feeling emotionally and mentally violated.
“Yes, son of Perran, it did,” replied the angel, still processing the information that she had gleaned from him.
“And?”
“There is a living vampire in your blood family,” she revealed plainly. “The blood DNA that you share with them is what has led us to where we are.”
“A vampire in my family? My side of the family?”
The angel nodded.
“I’ll keep this simple,” she began. “I cannot guarantee to rid you of the Rabbia Sanguigna. I can however try. This will need to be done in stages though.”
“Just tell me what we need to do here!” he snapped, his patience wearing thin.
Gazing longingly at the fresh wound on his knee, the dark angel replied, “Three things. First, you will drink the blood potion I am about to prepare. Second, you will need to learn to hunt for yourself. I need to take a trip. I fear it might be a long journey.”
“And the third thing?”
“When I return, you will need to drink the blood of your family member.”
He stared at her, his large brown eyes wide but darkened by an intensity she had never seen before, an anger that she never knew he possessed.
“There is no other way,” explained the angel. “Unless you want to live with the blood rage.”
“Fine,” he conceded. “But, I’m not killing anything.”
“If you can demonstrate some restraint then you don’t need to kill anything,” she assured him. “Now, quiet, while I prepare something for you to drink.”
For a few minutes, the angel busied herself preparing the blood draught for her fledgling.
“Pass me the opal and the moonstone from the bag you carry,” she instructed bluntly.
Without a word, he handed her the two crystals then watched as she shaved off a few particles into the same ornate goblet as before. Her hand then reached for a third crystal, a turquoise, and she did the same with it.
Handing him the three small stones, the angel explained, “I’ve added more opal to counteract any physical changes, the moonstone to support the intermingling of species and the turquoise for protection. Turquoise heals and promotes inner calm. In combination, they should reduce the effects of the Rabbia Sanguigna. I’ll add a little oak to give you strength.”
“Do you need blood from me?” he asked, an air of resignation to his tone.
“A few drops,” she replied, passing him the dagger. “Prick your thumb for me. I need five drops.”
He flinched as the tip of the dagger pierced the pad of his right thumb but maintained a stoic air of silence. The five drops of blood fell easily into the goblet. Lifting the pewter flask, the angel poured a small amount of blood into the cup then stirred the contents with the tip of the dagger.
“Drink.”
In one long mouthful, he drained the goblet.
“And this,” she instructed, passing him the flask.
As before, the blood tasted warm and gamey.
“What is this?” he asked as he handed the empty flask back.
“Deer’s blood,” revealed the angel.
Getting to her feet, she reached for his hand, “Time to teach you how to hunt. Come.”

For over two hours, the angel patiently talked him through how to choose a suitable target; how to stalk his prey; how to catch it and how to drink from it without killing it. The only exceptions to the “no killing” rule were birds. “Too little blood to survive the hunt. Weak hearts,” she explained dismissively, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
He proved to be adept at catching rodents and rabbits but birds remained a challenge. Methodically, the angel coached him through where to bite to avoid being bitten then she suggested that they turn their attention to larger prey- sheep and cows. Initially, he balked at the thought. However, when the angel explained the volume of blood they offered, he could see the attraction.
By late morning, he had more than drunk his fill and was tired of chasing unsuspecting animals.
“Enough,” he said, pausing to catch his breath. “How often will I need to do this?”
“You’ll need to drink at least a flask full twice a week until I return,” advised the angel. “I’ll leave tonight but I can’t guarantee how long I’ll be gone. My senses are telling me that the family member I am seeking is not at home. Reaching them will take time.”
“Will there be any new side effects that I need to watch out for?” he asked, not wanting a repeat of the cat incident.
“Maybe. I’m not sure,” she admitted honestly. “Be vigilant. Stick to the prescribed ration, drink your mugwort tea, keep the crystals close and all should be well until I return.”
“How long will you be gone for?”
“Impossible to say. Three weeks. A little more perhaps,” she guessed. “Keeping the blood warm for the return journey will be the challenge. It needs to stay human body temperature to prevent it spoiling.” She paused then added, “When I’m back, I’ll contact you.”
“And if you don’t come back?”
“Stick to the regime.”
Feeling a little overwhelmed, he nodded.

As the angel prepared to depart, he finally found the courage to ask the question that had been burning inside him all morning.
“Who is it?”
Staring deep into his troubled soul with her green eyes, the dark angel said simply, “Your mother.”
Before he could reply, she spread her wings and soared out of sight.
“She’s in Spain,” he said to the space where the angel had stood seconds beforehand.

Hunting proved to be more enjoyable than he had expected. In an effort to divert attention away from his vampire needs, he’d started to run in the evenings on a more regular basis. He varied his routes, seeking sustenance from the local fields of sheep and cows and from the woodland rabbits and mice. Quickly, he established that mice and voles were not to his taste – too acidic. Rabbit had a similar tangy taste to it that the cat had had. From the options open to him, cows proved to be his preferred blood source.
The thrill of the chase was proving to be addictive and, after almost three weeks, he realised he was hunting almost daily. Was he drinking too much blood? How could he tell if he was? Mentally, he filed the question away, vowing to ask it when the angel finally returned.
On the third Friday night since the full Mourning Moon, he returned from his run just as his wife was chasing the kids upstairs to bed.
“I’ll see to them,” he offered.
As he helped his young son to brush his teeth, the little boy commented, “I want teeth like you, Daddy.”
“How do you mean?” he asked curiously.
“Sharp jaggy teeth,” replied the little boy innocently.
Instantly, he looked up and stared into the mirror above the basin. Sure enough, his canine teeth had begun to stretch into sharp points. – fangs!
Out in the hallway, the family cat sat watching warily.

Silently Watching on the Blessing Moon- seven days later….

 

dark angel

Exactly one week later, he entered the graveyard as the sun began to set and took a seat on the bench. He had feigned a headache as the excuse to go for a walk and now felt slightly guilty for lying to his unsuspecting wife.
Subconsciously, his hand went to his jeans pocket and fingered the green velvet bag containing the three crystals. He had slipped easily into the habit of handling them whenever he felt something was “different”.
The dark angel had been right about one thing. He had slept soundly and dreamlessly the night following his transformation. In fact, he had slept right through his alarm and had almost been late for work. That morning he had noticed the first change in himself. Having had a hurried shower, he had gone to put his contact lenses in before getting dressed. Following his usual routine, he had settled the squishy discs into place. Immediately the world about him went fuzzy. Assuming that he had put them in the wrong eyes, he switched them over and the bathroom blurred even further out of focus. Somewhat confused, he had removed them and put them back in their plastic case. The world around him came back into focus. For the first time in many years, he had 20/20 vision.
Over the next couple of days, he spotted a couple of subtle changes. At work, instead of reaching for the calculator for the necessary arithmetic calculations his role required, he was doing them mentally with ease. He also realised, during a meeting with his boss, that he could read her mind. Despite what she had written on the appraisal document lying on the desk between them, he “heard” her true thoughts and had to bite his tongue to stop himself from commenting to her. The same thing had happened with two colleagues later the same day. At home that evening, he did discover that this new skill had its advantages as his young daughter tried to plead her innocence as to how the TV remote had been broken.
Mid-week, he had gone for a run to try to clear his mind and make sense of it all. As he ran, he found a new turn of both speed and stamina, not dissimilar to how he had felt after the angel had attempted to bite him. Another definite plus point to his new-found self.
One thing that scared him was the thought of sprouting wings. He became almost paranoid about taking the small measure of the mugwort tincture. Fearing that his family would discover it, he had stashed it behind a loose brick in the garage then used the excuse of stepping outside for a smoke to slip into the garage to take the daily dose. He had brought the small jar with him. After seven days, it was almost empty and his paranoia about wings sprouting overnight was growing rapidly.
To the best of his knowledge, his nearest and dearest hadn’t detected any changes in him and for that he was thankful.

A subtle movement in the air behind where he sat caught his attention. Turning round, he wasn’t surprised to see the angel standing in the shadows.
Another thought immediately struck him – no pain in his tooth and no throbbing at his neck. Putting his fingers on the spot on his neck, he smiled when they came away clean. No blood.
“Good evening,” said the angel as she came to sit beside him on the wooden bench. “You are well?”
“Yeah. I’m fine. Good actually,” he replied. “You?”
“Restored,” she said cryptically before smiling and revealing both her sharp fangs.
“It grew back,” commented the runner.
“It did. The moment your transformation took place. Have you noticed any changes?”
“No toothache or blood running down my neck when you arrived,” he said with a grin.
“And apart from that?”
“A few subtle changes. Not as much as I had worried about,” he answered then added, “And food still tastes the same. I’m not craving raw meat!”
The dark angel laughed, “You’ve watched too many vampire films. It’s not all about a craving for blood and meat, son of Perran. Some experience cravings for different things.”
“Like what?”
“Sex.”
Eyes wide, he almost choked before looking away to hide his embarrassment.
“Your transformation was only partial,” she continued. “So, you might not experience any unusual desires for years or even centuries.”
“I’ll bear it in mind,” he mumbled, conscious that his cheeks had flushed scarlet.
“Before I forget,” said the angel, reaching into the inside pocket of her cloak. “Your mugwort tea.”
She handed him another glass jar, a slightly larger one, and a piece of paper.
“This is the instructions for how to prepare it and on where to find the mugwort. You’ll spot it easily. You run past several patches of it on your trails.”
“I do?”
“You do,” she echoed with a hint of exasperation. “I’ve drawn a picture of the plant. There is a large patch of it ten paces east of the oak tree at the end of your trail.”
“I’ll find it,” he promised as he read over the instructions. Her handwriting was beautiful, he noted, and closely resembled Gothic script.
“And you need to drink this,” she ordered as she handed him a slender pewter hip flask. “I will leave this once a week on this day in the hollow of the tree to our left.”
“What is it?” he asked, already pretty sure of the answer.
“Blood.”
“Whose?”
“Does it matter?” she quizzed. “You need it to thrive, son of Perran. Drink!”
Without argument, he drank the flask dry, surprised to find the blood was still warm but with a tangy taste to it this time round.
“Once a week. Don’t forget,” she cautioned as he handed the flask back to her.
“And if I miss a week or am late?”
“Don’t,” she stated. “The desire to kill will mount quickly. You may not be able to control it.”
Slowly, he nodded, recalling her previous warning about the possibility that he could harm his children.
“Do you have any questions for me before we part?”
“I don’t know,” he confessed quietly. “It all feels a bit different. It all feels good. A bit different. Nothing major. I guess it’s too soon to say.”
The dark angel nodded, understanding and remembering the “newness” of those early post transformation days.
“Let’s keep this simple. Live your life. Enjoy your life. Drink your mugwort. Drink your blood ration. If you need me, use the white pebble code we agreed on and I’ll find you. Otherwise, I’ll leave you be for now.”
“When will I see you again?” he asked, realising she was about to leave.
Getting to her feet, the angel said, “When the time is right.”
“Are we talking days? Weeks? Months?”
“When the time is right,” she repeated.
In the blink of an eye, she was gone. All that remained was a small black feather with a bright purple tip. On impulse, he picked it up and slipped it into the green velvet bag with the gemstones.

Silently Watching on the Blessing Moon

dark angel

 

Midgies were swarming in thick black clouds as he ran back along his trail route towards the road. A warm, damp July evening was the perfect breeding ground for these tiny, vicious, bloodsucking creatures. Focusing on the music playing through his earbuds and on the uneven path in front of him, he did his best to ignore the myriad of miniscule flies that his sweat was attracting. 

In the shade of a tall oak tree that grew on the corner where the trail met the single-track farm road, the dark angel stood waiting and listening. From a distance she had watched him set off on his run and now she was patiently awaiting his return.

It was time to get her answer.

Four months had passed since she had offered him his choice and she had deliberately given him time and space to consider his options. Twice, when she had watched him pounding the forestry trails from a discrete distance, she had almost approached him but her will power had remained steadfast.

However, time was running out and, if he were to choose transformation, the ideal opportunity was a mere seven days away.

The steady rhythm of his feet on the stony path and the rattle of that infernal noise that he called music brought her attention back to the present.

As she breathed in her nostrils were filled with the tantalisingly arousing aroma of his blood and sweat.

 With the oak tree in sight, he picked up his pace, promising himself a hard, fast last mile home. A sharp pain in his tooth and a throbbing at his neck caused him to miss and almost stumble.

She was close.

He hadn’t seen or sensed the dark angel since their meeting on Easter Monday when she had offered him his choice of future. Over the months, he had thought long and hard about the options, weighing up the pros and cons. He had found himself lying awake in the wee small hours contemplating how life would look if he decided to take up her offer. During his all too brief lunch breaks at work and while out pounding the trails, he had worked out various ways to kills her. He’d wasted hours Googling “how to kill a vampire”.

As the tree grew closer, he realised he’d never once tried Googling “how to live as a vampire.”

When he next looked up, he wasn’t surprise to see her silhouette before him.

“Hey,” he greeted her somewhat breathlessly.

With a nod of her head, she smiled then said, “Well met, son of Perran.”

“I guess.”

“Turn off that noise,” she instructed sharply. “It pains me.”

Laughing quietly to himself, he paused his rock playlist and flicked the earbuds out of his ears, allowing them to rest over his slender shoulders.

“I need your answer.”

“Now?”

“Now,” she repeated. “Depending on your final choice, there are preparations to be made and time is short.”

He could feel her green eyes boring into his very soul as she stood facing him in the fading, dusky sunlight. Gently, her wings rustling softly, she took a step towards him.

“Well, what’s it to be, son of Perran?”

“Can I ask something before I give you my answer?” He was stalling for time and they both knew it.

“If you must,” she replied with a sigh then, indicating a small path no wider than a sheep trail, she said, “Walk with me.”

Without argument, he followed her, marvelling at how gracefully she moved. Once they were out of sight of the farm road, she turned and said, “Ask what you must?”

“If I let you change me…. let you make me like you….. how will I be able to live as normal? Won’t I need to kill things and drink blood?”

The words tumbled out and he suddenly felt that his questions where childish and idiotic.

“It’s all about balance, son of Perran,” she began, her tone that of a school teacher. “Your transformation can be partially done at first. If you choose that path then you will need some blood to thrive but I will be here to provide for you, to teach you and assist you until you learn how to care for yourself. If you drink your blood rations then you won’t need to kill. I promise you will only need to kill for survival if you change your mind and opt to be fully transformed. As you have a young family, I’d advise against full transformation for several years. A child’s blood is so tempting and you won’t have learned the skills to resist.”

“I’d want to kill my own kids?”

“You might,” she replied calmly.

Her words sent icy shivers down his spine. Picturing his three children, he couldn’t even begin to contemplate hurting one of them never mind killing them and drinking their blood!

“And if I choose to kill you, how will I do it?”

“I don’t believe that’s the option you will choose,” she replied sounding calmly confident.

Silence hung in the air as they stared at each other.

 Watching the vein at his neck pulsing, the angel tried to read his mind. Her instincts were screaming at her that he was about to choose transformation but his facial expression was giving nothing away. Gazing into his dark brown eyes and wishing that they weren’t blood related, she waited on him reaching a decision.

“Will transformation hurt?” he asked quietly.

“No,” she replied. “Not the way I have planned. You may suffer a mild stomach ache but nothing worse than that.”

“What differences will I notice in myself?”

“Many. Too many to explain and they are impossible to predict. To everyone around you though you will still be the same man.”

A horsefly landed on his arm and bit him before he could swat it away.

One tiny drop of blood oozed up. He noticed the dark angel twitch as she fought to resist the delectable drop of poison.

“I need your answer,” she said keeping her eyes locked on his.

Biting his lower lip, he paused then said, “Transformation.”

“Partial transformation?”

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

“An agreeable choice,” she acknowledged with a smile.

“Now what happens?”

“You finish your run and go home,” replied the angel. “Meet me one week from now in the graveyard. It must be after the moon has risen so around midnight.”

“What’s the moon got to do with it?” he asked curiously.

“Your transformation will be blessed under the full moon,” she replied. “July’s full moon has two names. Some call it the Meadow Moon. Others prefer its ancient name of Blessing Moon.”

“Ah……”

“Till next week, son of Perran.”

With one strong beat of her wings, she was gone.

 

Alone once more, he gazed around him wondering where she had disappeared to. The pain in his tooth was gone. His neck was no longer throbbing. Gently, he reached up and touched the spot where the angel’s fang tip was embedded. His fingertips were instantly coated in fresh blood.

As he turned for home, he wondered for the first time if he had made a wise choice.

 

Alone in the mausoleum, the dark angel began the detailed preparations for the runner’s transformation. Since learning his decision, she had scoured the areas for the items she needed to ensure the ceremony went smoothly and painlessly. Sourcing some of the items had been easy. Others had proved more difficult. Three specific crystals were also needed and finding those had proved to be the greatest challenge. Late on the day before the full moon, the dark angel ventured further afield. Her instincts led her to a small New Age shop in a village some twenty miles from her home. Biding her time, she had waited until the owner, a young woman with long, thick red hair had moved to shut the shop. As she had reached to turn the “open” sign to “closed”, the dark angel had swooped in. The shopkeeper’s death was swift and painless; her blood had proved to be surprisingly refreshing. To the dark angel, it had tasted clean and clear and pure. A virgin’s blood. A rare, very rare treat indeed.

The shop proved to be a treasure-trove of valuable objects. Lifting a large canvas tote bag from a hook on the wall she took her time filling it with crystals and other items that she could put to use. Behind the counter, she found some small velvet drawstring bags. Selecting a few of differing colours, she added them to the tote. Almost as an after thought, the angel lifted some incense and candles then left the shop.

 

As the sun set on the day of the full moon, the dark angel laid out the items she needed for the transformation along one of the stone benches. Anticipating how the evening would pan out, she lit two fragranced candles to improve the aroma in the confined space.

 

Standing in his back garden with a mug of coffee, the runner watched the sky turn gold to red, blood red, as the sun set. Despite the summer warmth, a chill rattled down his spine. There were less than three hours to go until he was scheduled to meet the angel. Much to his own surprise, he felt calm about the impending appointment. Since giving her his decision, he had on occasion pondered if he’d made the right choice. Not being of an angry or aggressive nature, he couldn’t contemplate killing her. There had really only ever been one choice.

 

An owl hooted in the trees to his right as he walked down the single-track road to the graveyard. Behind him, he’d left his family sleeping, oblivious to the fact that he had slipped out into the night. Only the family cat had watched him walk off down the hill.

It only took him a few short minutes to reach the cemetery. As he walked along the narrow gravel path between the graves, he scanned about searching for the angel in the shadows. A subtle movement of the air and the softest scrunch of gravel caught his attention.

“Good evening, son of Perran.”

The angel’s voice spoke from behind him. Slowly, he turned round to face her, his heart pounding in his chest as adrenaline kicked in.

“Come,” she commanded, stepping toward him.

Before he could utter a sound, her majestic wings wrapped around him like a cloak and the world went black.

 

Flickering flames and a delicate perfume were the first things he sensed as he felt the angel’s wings unfold from around him. Glancing about, he deduced he was in some sort of stone temple or mausoleum.

“Where are we?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet for fear of it echoing round.

“My home,” she replied, her own tone soft and warm. “Not as far away as you might think but well-hidden from prying eyes.”

His eyes landed on the black velvet cloth draped along the bench and scanned over the various objects lying there.

“Sit,” instructed the angel, indicating the space beside the cloth. “I’ll explain.”

“Explain?”

“Yes. I’ll tell you about what is going to happen to you. Explain what is involved and why I’ve included it,” she replied, resuming her school teacher tone. “I’ve given this careful consideration, son of Perran.”

From a nook in the wall, the dark angel lifted down an ornate pewter goblet.

Silently, he watches as she poured some clear liquid from a small glass vial.

“Holy water,” she said, pressing the stopper back into the thin tube. “Keeps this pure.”

“I thought this would involve blood,” he commented nervously.

“It will but I want to make sure this transformation is partial so I need to include some preventative ingredients.”

“Whose blood will this involve?”

“Ours,” she answered as she added a pinch of silvery powder. “That was the dust of a moonstone. It signifies that two species are to be intermingled.”

She added a pinch of white powder.

“White agate to signify new life and to nurture your transformation.”

He watched as the angel added a third pinch of powder. This time it was pearlescent.

“Opal dust. Perhaps the most important. It will ensure any subtle changes, physical changes, remain invisible. It will also assist you to be more understanding of yourself. Adds a little self-compassion.”

“Some oak,” she continued, adding what looked like a pinch of sawdust to the goblet. “And some mugwort.”

“Some what?”

With a smile, she said, “It prevents your wings from developing. You will need to drink a tincture of it daily. Just a few drops.”

“And where will I get that from?” he asked a little sharper than he had intended. “I’ve not seen it in Tesco for sale.”

“Sarcasm does not become you, son of Perran,” she chastised. “I will prepare it for you to begin with. I’ll teach you how to make it then it is up to you. If you stop drinking it daily, your wings will bud and develop. Consider yourself warned.”

“Sorry,” he apologised. “This all seems so complicated.”

“It’s preventative and for your own good,” she replied. “And for the safety of your friends and family, especially your children.”

She reached into her cloak’s deep inner pocket and produced an ornate dagger. Unsheathing it, the angel handed it to him.

“I need to add your blood to this first.”

“Mine?”

“Yes. Yours. It will bind these ingredients to you and protect you. Just a few drops are all that is needed. I’ll allow you to choose where you make the cut.”

Swallowing hard, he accepted the knife from her outstretched hand. Holding it in his left hand, he flicked the tip of the blade along the inside of his right wrist. The cut was about an inch long and deep enough to immediately bleed freely. On the angel’s instruction, he held his wrist over the goblet until nineteen drops of blood had been added to the concoction.

“Bind it with this,” she said, passing him a strip of white cloth.

“Once you drink the contents of the goblet, it will heal over almost instantly. There will be a distinctive silver scar left though to remind you of this rebirth.”

Bandaging his wrist tightly, he nodded.

“It’s time,” declared the angel. “Follow me.”

Taking the knife and the goblet with her, the angel led him from her mausoleum home and into the night. She took a narrow path to the left and followed it until she came to a small clearing in the trees. Setting the knife and the goblet on a nearby flat rock, she removed her cloak and spread it on the ground.

“Sit,” she suggested softly.

Above them, through the gap in the tree canopy, they could both see the full Blessing Moon. In the distance, the owl was still hooting.

“Now what?” he asked a little nervously.

“I fill the goblet with my blood and you drain it dry,” she said simply as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do.

Understanding that they had gone far beyond the point of no return, he nodded. Wide eyed, he watched as the angel took the dagger in her left hand and made a deep cut in her own right wrist, allowing the blood to flow into the goblet.

When the pewter cup was full, she murmured a short incantation and the flow of blood stopped instantly.

Passing him the goblet, she said simply, “Drink.”

With a trembling hand, he accepted the cup and put it to his lips.

He was prepared for the liquid to taste warm and metallic and vile. True, it was warm but the taste was mellow, slightly sweet with no hint of the true nature of the contents.

“Every last drop, son of Perran,” instructed the angel.

Feeling the liquid coursing through him, he handed the empty goblet back to her.

“You did well,” she complimented warmly. “Did it taste so bad?”

“No,” he admitted. “It tasted alright. Sweet.”

“Good. It tastes different to each of us.”

“So, now what?”

“You go home. It’s late. You need sleep.”

“Sleep? You expect me to sleep after this?”

The angel nodded. “You’ll sleep soundly. Dreamlessly. When you waken, your transformation will be done. If there are to be any changes, physical changes, you will notice them over the coming days. I’ll see you safely home.”

“That’s it? I go home and go to bed? Act like nothing’s changed?”

“Precisely,” stated the angel. “Come.”

He got to his feet and watched as she lifted her cloak, shook the leaves and moss from it, then fastened it securely. With a smile, she beckoned him to step closer, then, once again, her wings enveloped him.

 

Seconds later, he felt his feet touch down on soft grass. When he looked around, they were standing in his back garden. Reaching into the pocket of her cloak, the angel withdrew two items – a small glass jar and one of the velvet drawstring bags from the shop, a green one.

“Drink five drops of this each morning. It’s the mugwort. Do not forget. Drink it at the same time each and every day,” advised the angel as she handed him the jar. “Carry this with you at all times,” she continued, passing him the small, green, velvet bag. “It contains the three gemstones I used in the drink. The dust was taken from each of them. They must go everywhere with you. Do not lose them. Do not let anyone else handle them. They are for you and you alone.”

Accepting the small bag, he nodded.

“Meet me one week from tonight in the graveyard. We will talk then.”

“If I need to ask anything before then? If I need any help?” he gushed, a wave of panic beginning to rise inside him.

“Relax,” she soothed warmly. “Place a white pebble on the bench we shared in the graveyard. I’ll find you when I see it there.”

“Thanks.”

“You need rest. Sleep,” she said softly. “Good night, son of Perran.”

He watched as she spread her majestic wings then disappeared into the night.

 

Before heading indoors, he removed the bandage from his right wrist, hoping that the angel had been correct and that the cut was healed.  He gazed down at the smooth skin in wonder. The wound was healed, fully healed, and in its place was a silver scar in the shape of a crescent moon.  Stuffing the bloodied piece of cloth deep into the wheelie bin, he reflected back, sure he had made a straight cut with the blade.

  

A few hours later, as the sun rose, the dark angel sat on the roof of the church, her favourite vantage point. The transformation had gone smoother that she had dared to hope it would.  It truly had been blessed by the lunar energies in the air. Running her tongue over her fangs, she smiled. The tip of her broken fang had regenerated.

 

Silently Watching At Eostre – part eight

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Spring was perhaps the dark angel’s favourite time of year. There were plenty of young animals in the fields to provide easy succulent meals for her. If she was careful, she could disguise her lamb kills as dog attacks, easily diverting attention towards any number of local pets who were allowed to roam off their leads. While the fresh lamb’s blood was a delicacy, it didn’t satiate her hunger the way that human blood did.

Meals since the Winter Solstice had been lean. She had risked only one human kill. During a January gale, she had snatched an unsuspecting passenger from the deck of the ferry that traversed the river every hour.  Now, after months of rabbits, deer and, more recently, lambs, she was truly ravenous.

At this time of year, she preferred to seek young blood to rejuvenate her. It had crossed her mind many times over the years to snatch a child but, even in her transformed state, that was a moral step too far. When she had been reborn over two hundred years earlier, her creator had laid down three basic rules to survival.  

1 Never kill a child prior to it reaching sexual maturity

2 Never kill an expectant mother

3 Never drink from the bloodline of your creator. 

The first rule remained the only one unbroken. 

She ran her tongue over her broken fang and allowed her thoughts to linger on the runner. Oh, what she’d give to be able to savour that exotic, rich, ferrous blood of his! If she closed her eyes, she could see him in her mind’s eye and still taste him. Forbidden fruit indeed but what was she to do with him?

 

After a large family dinner to celebrate Easter and several stolen pieces of his children’s chocolate Easter eggs, he knew he needed to set off for a long run to burn off the calories. Time was marching on. Easter already! ..and he was  acutely aware that he hadn’t been following his desired training schedule. The Bank Holiday Monday offered the ideal opportunity to set out for a longer run. Not wanting to miss out on too much quality family time, he’d set his alarm early, leaving the house just before seven as the sun rose over the horizon.

With open countryside surrounding him and his favourite playlist playing in his ears, he ran at a respectable pace towards the local reservoirs. At such an early hour, he passed no one. Everywhere was still. The birds were singing in the hedgerows and trees. The water of the reservoirs was glassy still. It was an idyllic setting for his morning run.

After a few miles, something off to the left in one of the fields caught his eye. Several crows were gathered round it and, as he slowed his pace to focus his vision on it, he realised that it was two dead lambs, their throats freshly ripped out. Initially, he thought that they must have met their deaths at the fangs of a dog but, as he ran on, he wondered……

Subconsciously his hand went to his neck, touching the very spot where those deadly fangs had pierced his skin. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about the dark angel for a while. In fact, he’d gone out of his way to avoid her and avoided even driving through the village, opting instead whenever possible to take the narrow country road out onto the main dual carriageway. She fascinated him but terrified him at the same time. The thought that she still wanted to talk with him made his blood run cold. “Forbidden fruit,” she had said to him the last time their paths had crossed. He knew she intended to talk to him at some point but he wasn’t convinced it was a conversation he wanted to be party to.

 

Warm spring sunshine was bathing the still graveyard but the angel sat in the cool of the shadows, picking pieces of sinew from between her teeth with her long, pointed fingernails. Lamb for breakfast had been fine but she still craved human blood.

A familiar scent on the air caught her attention before she heard the rhythmic thud, thud, thud of the runner’s feet as he ran hard up the steep hill past the church. Soundlessly, she got to her feet, crossed the small cemetery and stepped out into the road at precisely the same moment that the runner reached the rusty gates at the entrance.

“Good morning, son of Perran,” she said with a smile.

“Hey,” he gasped breathlessly.

“Come,” she instructed, beckoning him to follow her into the cemetery. “Time to talk.”

“I don’t have much time,” he replied, desperately trying to think of something to stall her.

“You have sufficient time. Come!”

Obediently, he followed her up the stone steps then left along the gravel path towards a bench that remained in the shade.

“Sit,” she commanded bluntly as she herself sat carefully on the wooden bench, mindful of her majestic wings.

Choosing a spot as far along the seat from her as possible, he sat down.

“I need to tell you a story,” she began quietly. “No need to look so scared. You’re perfectly safe from me….well… for now.”

“I am?”

“Yes. We share the same bloodline,” revealed the angel, gazing into his dark eyes as if searching for his very soul. “If I were to try to drink from you, I’d die within a few hours. One of the golden rules. Never drink from the bloodline of your creator or his descendants.  You, son of Perran, are a descendant of the man who made me who I am.”

“I am?”

The dark angel nodded, “The wound I inflicted on your neck proved that. Those few delicious drops of blood poisoned me. Were nearly enough to end it all but, as you can see, I am quite recovered. Well almost.”

She bared her fangs to him. Immediately, he noted the broken tip of one of them.

“The tip is embedded in your neck,” explained the angel, reaching out to touch the spot.

His neck had begun to throb as soon as he had approached the church and the toothache had returned when the stone walls of the cemetery had come into sight. Now, for the first time in weeks, he felt warm, fresh blood trickling down his neck.

“How? Why?”

“How? Because I attempted to drink from you. Those few poisonous drops were divine,” she replied, savouring the bittersweet memory. “Why? That’s what I am trying to figure out. Minor injuries like a broken tooth usually regenerate and heal within a day or so. This has been over nine months and there is nothing I can do to heal it.”

“The place on my neck won’t heal either,” he acknowledged, reaching up to wipe away the fresh blood.

“In over two hundred years, I’ve never experienced this,” she stated looking almost insulted. “However, it means we are connected by more than bloodline. So, I’m going to offer you a choice.”

“A choice?” he echoed a little anxiously, edging forward on the seat ready to escape if need be.

“Yes. A choice,” she repeated, her green eyes boring into him. “The choice to either become like me or the choice to kill me.”

“Why?”

Smiling at his puzzled expression, the angel said, “To kill me would end the loneliness, the suffering, save the lives of the innocent. To become like me, then…. well, who knows what our futures would hold, son of Perran.”

“Why would I want to live a life like yours?”

“You wouldn’t have to live as I choose to,” she countered calmly. “There can be a partial transformation first. You can live your life as normal, watch your family grow up and grow old. You, however, will age at a far slower rate. You will remain fit and healthy. Able to run for more years than you would otherwise. Then, once your family are gone, together we can seek answers to why we’ve been bound together like this.”

He stared at her, struggling to comprehend what she was saying.

Effortlessly, the angel got to her feet, spread her wings and prepared to depart.

“So, I wouldn’t need the wings if I can live my normal life?” Once spoken the question sounded ridiculous and he flushed in embarrassment.

“Reach a decision first, son of Perran, then we can discuss the finer points,” she suggested with a mischievous smile. “Its not a decision to be taken lightly. Not one to be rushed.”

He looked up but the mid-morning sun was shining straight into his eyes. He blinked and looked again.

The angel was gone.

A single black, purple tipped feather lay on the ground at his feet.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

Silently Watching On All Hallows Eve

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Another summer had come and gone. Safe in the abandoned mausoleum the dark angel had been biding her time.

The small village had been in mourning throughout the summer months following the unexplained disappearance of two young waitresses from the local hotel. Both girls had left work at the same time together late one evening. Neither of them had been seen alive again; neither of them had been seen since. A local runner had found a mobile phone belonging to one of them near the entrance to the cemetery and, a few feet away, the Radley purse belonging to the other girl. Nothing else had ever been traced.

As the sun set on a late October evening, the angel stretched her wings, stepped daintily over the desiccated remains of her last two victims and ventured out of the mausoleum. The youthful fertile feminine blood of the two waitresses had restored her strength. With her vitality fully recovered, the dark angel was ready to resume her hunt.

Noise from the nearby church hall disrupted her train of thought.

Effortlessly she spread her magnificent black wings and flew silently through the trees. Discretely perched on the hall’s roof, hidden from prying eyes by the shadow of the trees, she watched as a group of mothers, some in costume, shepherded a dozen or more children, all in fancy dress, out of the building.

“All Hallows Eve,” she thought as she admired some of the costumes. “How sweet would the blood of a child be!”

Licking her crimson lips, the angel watched as the mothers chaperoned the children as they set off guising through the village. In her cold heart, much as she desired it, the angel knew there were fruits that were forbidden even to her.

Flexing her wings, she prepared to head off to the nearby farm estate in search of an alternative meal when her nostrils detected a welcome aroma. Her senses heightened as the ferrous musk mixed with sweat wafted along on the light autumn breeze.

A rhythmic thud thud, thud filled her ear and was then drowned out by music, if you could call it that. How could he bear that infernal racket in his ears?

A second lighter set of footsteps echoed round, accompanied by lighter more melodic music.

There were two of them.

Glancing up the hill, she watches the two runners approach.

A wicked smile played on her lips.

As the two men drew level with the church hall’s driveway, the angel spread her wings and rose soundlessly in flight.

For almost an hour she followed them, soaring high above, keeping close to the tree line where possible as they pounded their way through the marina, along the beach footpath then back towards the village along the busy coast road.

Darkness had long since fallen. Using it to camouflage her, the angel risked flying lower and closer. His heavenly perfume was arousing her every sense. If only he was alone…..

Eventually their route brought them back to the village and, breathing heavily, the weary athletes began to head up the steep hill towards the church.

As they reached the fork in the road, they parted company – one ran straight on up the hill; the other, the source of her desires, ran along the single track road past the cemetery where he’d found the dead girls’ belongings.

She could see the veins in his neck pulsing, teasing her desire to finally taste his rich blood. Could this be her ideal opportunity?

In the distance she could hear the guisers and their chaperones coming down the road, Torchlight was flickering up ahead as they drew closer with every step.

It was now or never.

Silently she dropped down onto the road a few feet in front of him. Spreading her black, purple  tipped wings, she sighed as he slowed in his progress towards her. The beads of sweat on his brow shone like pearls in the moonlight. Feeling an uncontrollable lust stirring deep within her, she licked her lips. Their eyes met.

“Great costume,” he gasped as he was almost within her reach.

She rocked onto the balls of her slender feet, preparing to feast at last on his blood.

Suddenly, out of the darkness a cry shattered the moment.

“Daddy!”

The footsteps of a child were thundering rapidly down the dark road towards them.

“Soon,” hissed the angel, still staring into the depths of his soul.

With one strong beat of her magnificent wings, she vanished into the night.