Chapter 1.36 – Easy Prey

Lilith closed April’s bedroom door and tried to fight against the desire to lie on the floor; she was drained. Feeling her way along the banister, she descended the stairs. Faith and Melinda greeted her at the bottom.

“Did it work?” they asked, together.

“Yes, but it’ll take a day or two for her to fully—” Lilith didn’t finish her sentence, her eyes rolled back into her head and she dropped like a lead weight.

Melinda managed to reach her, just before her head hit the floor and the two girls carried the exhausted vampire to the sofa. Lilith blinked her eyes open, the room swaying. Two concerned faces swam back into view and she immediately sat up. “I’m OK,” she lied. “Don’t fuss. Do you have any plasma packs?”

Faith nodded and headed to the kitchen.

Melinda sat beside Lilith, took her hand. “Thanks, for saving her. It was such a selfless thing to do. I know she’s not exactly your favourite person.”

“It wasn’t selfless. I did it because she’s important to Caleb. To you.”

Melinda looked away. Only because I’m an idiot.

Lilith wasn’t sure if Melinda intended her to hear that, or not. So she pretended she hadn’t. “Your hair is different,” she said.

Melinda turned back, smiled. “Yeah.” Something to keep Faith’s hands busy while we waited. “Do you like it?”

“I do. Really pretty.”

Melinda felt the colour rush to her cheeks, but before she could respond, Faith had returned.

“I have no idea how long to heat this stuff for, so I’m sorry if it incinerates you,” she joked, then she realised what she’d said. “Not incinerates! I mean burns you. No! Ah, fuck.”

Lilith laughed and took the glass she was offered. It was rather on the hot side. “Thanks. I like what you did to Melinda’s hair. And April’s.”

“Yeah, think I’d have a good career as a stylist if it weren’t for, y’know, being undead and on the run and everything.” Faith looked awkwardly at Lilith. She remembered what Melinda had told her about Lilith being able to read minds and was trying not to think.

The more she tried, the more she was sure Lilith could hear her. She might as well just do an ‘April’ and blurt it out…

“Lilith,” Faith asked, “do you cut Caleb’s hair?”

Lilith stroked her fingers through her fringe. “I do. I do my own, too.”

“Why?”

“We don’t have a lot of choice. The last time I visited a salon was in 1951 and the hairdresser freaked out so much at my lack of reflection that I had to mesmerise her to stop her screaming. That pales in comparison to Caleb’s last experience at the barber. Only he could go for a haircut and end up causing an actual fire. I’m still not quite sure how he did it. I take it you don’t approve of my skills?”

“Your hair isn’t bad at all. It’s very smooth and soft looking…” Melinda said. Then she cleared her throat, trying to remember what it was she was going to say.

“Yeah, yours is sort of OK, but what the hell is his?” Faith laughed.

“He likes it that exact way, I really don’t know why. Good luck trying to change it. I once ‘accidentally’ cut his fringe short and he completely lost his mind; he talked to me even less than usual for almost a year,” Lilith sighed. “I’ll let you do mine, though.”

Faith rubbed her hands together in maniacal delight. “Next time you come over, bring your scissors and some rope. I’ll sort you both out.”

Lilith smiled and sipped her scalding hot plasma. She was imagining Faith pinning Caleb to the floor, scissors in hand, as was Melinda. Lilith spent a few moments enjoying Melinda’s stream of thought, trying not to listen to Faith’s.

Faith had someone else on her mind. A hundred questions that Lilith hoped Faith wouldn’t ask.

Damn it. Here they come.

“Lilith, who’s Seth?”

“Seth?” Lilith responded, nonchalantly.

“Yeah. I met him last night, after April vanished. Well, I say met him, more like he told me his name and then disappeared.”

Yes, that’s very Seth, Lilith thought to herself.

“I don’t know a Seth.” Lilith lied. “Likely a passing oddball. We get a lot of them around here, especially on that corner.”

“Really?” Faith asked, deflated. “I thought you might know him because I’m pretty sure he was a vampire. He didn’t have a pulse and the feeling I got in my head is sort of like the feeling I get when you’re around, but much more intense.”

Showing off. Also very Seth.

Lilith’s face might have started to betray her, but her voice was still icy. “If there was another vampire around here,” that I thought you should meet, “I would introduce you. Whoever he is, probably best to forget him.”

Faith whistled. “Forget him? You should’ve seen the guy! Talk about handsome stranger. I hope that’s not the last I see of him. I’d like to see very much more of him, in fact…”

The gorgeous bastard never changes.



I’m alive!
Ish.

Am I dreaming?
No, if I was dreaming there would be candlelight… rose petals… fewer clothes.

He’d be looking at me not staring at… whatever he’s staring at.

“Caleb? What are you doing in my room?”

He whipped round suddenly at the sound of her voice and was beside her in a flash.

“Holy hell, April.” He took her hand. “I thought I’d never hear your voice again. How are you feeling?”

April felt only slightly like she’d been through a blender. But she kept her face in the dazed expression she’d woken with and feigned floppiness. A performance Mother would’ve been proud of.

“I feel so awful. What happened? I remember lying in the forest, sunlight, that guy… How did I get here?”

“I brought you here,” he clenched his jaw, trying not to think of that guy.

“You saved me?” she answered weakly, her eyes glittering at the thought. “My hero.”

He looked at her for a moment, before tentatively speaking, “No. Lilith did.”

April sat up, shrugging off her ill act. “Lilith? How?”

“She gave you some of… her.”

“Some of her what?”

“Herself. The black fluid that replaced our mortal ones.”

“I drank her blood?!”

“No. You weren’t conscious. She had to inject you with it.”

“And you let her?! Why didn’t you give me yours?”

“I’m afraid of needles,” he said.

“Are you kidding me?!”

“Yes, I am. I like needles. I would have needed to give you almost all of mine. I would have, of course, if I’d had to. Melinda offered, too. But then Lilith arrived and she took over. She’s a lot more potent than we are.”

“Yuck! I have your potent sister inside of me? I mean, I am grateful but… that’s just… nasty. Will I turn into her?”

“No. I didn’t when she had to do this for me. Although she probably wishes I did turn into her; would have solved a lot. You’re currently in your dark form and it looks nothing like Lilith’s, for example, which is a huge relief because you’d probably send me screaming from the room if it did.”

“I read about dark forms. What does mine look like?”

“You have silver hair.”

“Like an old lady?”

“Like an angel. Your eyes and skin are just like how Lilith describes mine. Pale, fine fractures, light irises.”

“Can you show me yours?”

He hesitated. “I can. I probably shouldn’t.”

“For me?”

He sighed and let go of her hand. “Alright, for you. Watch closely because it must be brief.” She watched as his eyes glazed over; a sombre expression crossed his features and his face changed before her. Fine cracks appeared across the surface of his skin, chasing themselves towards his eyes that were glowing the palest blue.

She was momentarily stunned at how striking he was. He shook his head, his appearance reverting, his expression briefly remained. “I don’t like doing that,” he murmured.

Then why did you? She paused. A heavy new feeling washing over her. The one she’d had as she lay in the sun. Guilt. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I shouldn’t have…”

“It’s OK.”

Is it OK?

“I like your new hairstyle,” he said.

“You do?”

“Yes. Much easier access to that elegant neck than those long tresses you used to have,” he said, grazing his fingertips lightly along her collar bone, up her throat until he reached her chin. He tilted her head up towards him, gazing at her intensely with those pale blue eyes. “You’re so beautiful, April.”

“I’m not.”

He chuckled. “OK, you’ve perhaps looked better. But you’re ridiculous, you know that? How can you not believe me? You’re enchanting.”

“Prove it,” she whispered, wondering how she’d made any noise at all with how restricted her throat suddenly felt. “Kiss me.”

If she’d had a functioning heart, this would have been the precise moment it would have stopped beating.

The exasperated noise she made was far from elegant. “What the hell was that?! Did you just kiss my nose?!”

He pulled back. “Too much?”

“Too much?! Are you serious?”

“Yes?”

“Oh my gosh! Aren’t you ever going to kiss me?!” she blurted out.

“I did kiss you.”

“On the lips, Caleb!”

He sighed. “Of course I will, one day.”

“Why not now? Don’t you want to?”

“I do. You’re just…”

“I’m what? I’m ugly, aren’t I? I’m stupid? You don’t even like me?”

“No. Holy hell, no. April, is this really the right time to be making out? We’ve been through a lot today, you’re not well, you’re emotional—”

“Because you won’t fucking kiss me!”

He ran his hand through his hair and got to his feet. “Look, you should rest and I really, really need a drink.” He crossed the room, turned off the light and paused in the doorway, not looking at her. “I’m going to stay here tonight so I’ll be downstairs, if you need me.”

“But I need you now,” she whimpered. He ignored her, closing the door softly behind him.

She thumped her fist into the bedding and heard her mother’s voice in her head.

You’re pathetic, April.



Relieved at the news that April was awake, Faith and Melinda headed upstairs to see her.

Caleb placed himself on to the sofa next to his sister and stared straight ahead at the fireplace. Something was wrong. It wasn’t that her face bore the slightly twitchy expression it always did when she was trying to restrain her anger, it was more that the room was full of static. Even he didn’t usually get her that angry. He didn’t look at her just in case she changed.

Although thinking of Lilith in dark form was certainly helping him to not think about April. In her slip of a nightdress. Wanting to kiss him.

Maybe he should go back upstairs…

“Faith met Seth last night.” Lilith’s voice had that sharp, glacial edge that went straight through him and instantly killed any urges he might have had.

“At Hook Corner?” he asked, still staring at the fireplace.

“Where else?” she said, bitterly. “Easy prey.”

He forced himself to look at her. Phew; still mostly human-looking. “Did he say anything to her? About… us?”

“No, I don’t think so. Ugh! I’m going to have to go and see him, aren’t I? Last thing I want is him thinking I’m introducing new vampires on to ‘his turf’ and it seems he’s taken a liking to Faith, if he’s let her remember him.”

“I’ll go, Lil.”

Lilith looked at her brother, surprised. He’d never volunteered to do anything for her. “Goodness. You really are changing, aren’t you? Thanks for offering, but no. You should stay here with the girls. I’m not having him picking through your brain, not now you finally seem to be getting somewhere.”

“He’ll mess with you, Lil.”

“Yes, he probably will, the swine. But I can’t avoid him forever, however much I’d like to.”

23 thoughts on “Chapter 1.36 – Easy Prey

  1. Well then, looks like April made it, and retained the the tiniest smidgeon of self awareness of how ridiculous some of her demands are… though not all that much. She already disregards the huge sacrifice Lilith made for her. Because of course she does. I doubt she’ll even thank her. But I’d love to be proven wrong.

    Hmm I feel like lying about Seth might come back to bite Lilith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey come on now, a smidgeon is way more than she had before. And she’s in dark form so clearly still experiencing some anguish. Early days, Plumbob, early days. Also, Lilith probably doesn’t give a shit if April is grateful or not.

      Yeah, probably. None of the other lies have worked out great in the story so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So that’s Lilith’s type, huh? XD

    April’s first thought upon regaining consciousness for some reason made me picture a cartoon zombie rising up with its arms raised yelling “I’m aliiiiiiiive!” xD Also, one second into coming back from near-death and she’s already putting on an act. I know it’s a very tough habit to break but darn it, April, didn’t you just go through a huge bit of introspection where you admitted you hated modelling yourself after Sandy?! *angry grumbling* Lilith needs to abduct a therapist and hire them for… well, pretty much everyone there, actually.

    Aaaaand she immediately disregards Lilith saving her life. I wonder if she’ll even thank Lilith for what she did. Sigh. I wonder why Caleb is so hesitant to kiss her. At first I thought it was just teasing, but now it seems to be something else entirely. He didn’t seem to have any issues falling in love with someone who is barely an adult, so what is holding him back from kissing her? Does he think it has to be reserved for a special moment? Does he believe people don’t kiss unless they’re absolutely certain they want to be together for eternity or something? Or is something blocking him mentally?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. People with hair are very much Lilith’s type. 😂

      I was going for that! I had Frankenstein’s monster in my mind. Yes, straight back to old habits… then a small pang of guilt. But if Caleb’s so happy to go along with her drama… well, why would she change?

      Who knows what goes on in Caleb’s head? Even Lilith can’t get in any more.

      Like

  3. Melinda ❤
    She’s so cute … and now I must think something’s going on between her and Lilith.

    April is still her own stubborn, spoiled self when she wakes up and she immediately starts a scene when Caleb does not kiss her as she expects. Damn April!! 😠
    Will you ever be more humble and grateful for what your friends sacrifice for you?

    As Lilith says … you can not avoid your ghosts forever … they will take power over you until you face them.
    Seth has a past with Lilith and Caleb … we already had a clue about that.
    But what exactly is their connection?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I kind of hope April stays in her dark form. Actually, I was kind of hoping that she would be permanently scarred in some way, so that she has to learn to not rely on her pretty face and that she has some consequences (I know I sound evil in saying this). Right now, she hasn’t had any consequences. She gets saved by Lilith, doesn’t need to thank her, wakes up to a handsome vampire guy that tells her she’s beautiful, gets doted on by her friends. Everything is pretty much the same as it was before. I actually don’t know what would be good for April. It’s clear that a near-death experience isn’t going to change her. And it’s also clear that she is very emotionally damaged, so I still have some sympathy for her. But she has built her life around throwing tantrums and manipulating people, and that’s all she knows, so I think it is probably going to be hard for her to change. I might be jumping to conclusions. Maybe she just needs some time and she will make small changes. Only time will tell.

    Aww, Melinda is so adorable. She and Lilith are so cute together. I’m still not shipping anyone. I still don’t completely trust the Vatores, we know so little about them. Caleb is so strange, like why doesn’t he kiss the girl that he is infatuated with? I hesitate to say love because he has only known April for a short time, and he’s an old vampire with his own demons. I still am not 100% convinced that Caleb or Lilith didn’t kill boxer shorts guy. Caleb would have motive to keep guys away from April. Heck, April is on my list of suspects because her perspective could be a case of an unreliable narrator and she could be manipulating everyone, including me as a reader.

    Haha! And I hope Faith cuts Caleb’s hair.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, only time will tell. I know this is very vague in response to your lengthy comment but if I elaborate I’ll be spoiling my head off.

      Still no ships, eh? Hard to trust the Vatores for sure, Lilith is lying here and Caleb is strange. You’re not wrong.

      Oh she will certainly try. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh what is happening!? This chapter got me so excited. I can’t wait to find Seth and Lilith’s history. Sounds like they had quite a history there. If Lilith and Seth used to be a couple, they’d be the most explosive couple in the world. Just by nature of the way Lilith thinks about him. Idk it just feels that way. Like an all or nothing lol. xD Ahem. And Caleb wouldn’t kiss April again? He’s really shying away from intimate acts there. I wonder what’s up. Is he afraid of losing control? Why doesn’t he like his dark form? That really was really brief. Why doesn’t he want his fringe cut? Does he have a tattoo there? Or scar? Or just likes hiding a part of his face?

    April looks positively mad. >_> I hope she finds a healthier outlet to get rid of her anger..

    I bet the poses in this chapter are yours right?! 😀 They’re fab!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seth and Lilith certainly have history…

      Caleb has a lot going on in his poorly-styled head. I’m sure you’ll find out answers to your questions soon enough.

      Yeah, the poses are mine. Thanks 🥰

      Like

  6. So… is Seth Lilith’s ex? It would make sense. It was probably his influence why she lost great deal of her humanity.

    Why won’t Caleb kiss his porcelain doll April? Let me guess, he’s afraid he might ruin his fringe? About time Faith did something to his hair.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww ehehe nothing better than girls bonding about hairstyles 😊💖

    Lol Caleb, idk what’s wrong with him 😂 Uh he may look like an adult, but smh he’s acting more like he’s.. 7 ? I have theories.
    Anyway I like the cracks on April’s face, and since Caleb has some too I wonder if he got burned too. Literally.
    The girls didn’t have any so far.

    Yes for Seth! Pls come around more often and cause some chaos, it’s getting a little bit too peaceful now.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So, to distract ourselves from the dreary stuff. 😀 Yes, I like Melinda´s new hair a lot. It can finally show it actually has some volume… dang, girl. I´m a little bit jelly, here.

    Heheh, “do an April.” That totally should be a thing. XD

    Causing an actual fire? Huh. Did the barber freak so much he caused a fire? Or… is causing a literal fire a thing Caleb can do? That would be… an unexpected power for a vampire.

    Faith is really interested in this makeover thing, ísn´t she? Faith the stylist… the idea grows.

    The whole exchange about Seth is funny too. Quite priceless, actually. I bet Faith didn´t buy Lilith´s bs there. I sure didn´t… waitaminite. Faith saying all those things about how she´d like to see more of him. She was winding Lilith up, wasn´t she? Trying to get on her nerve? I mean, with a sour face like that, even I think there´s /history/ there. The sort that has Lilith bitter still. *snort* Well, yeah, Lil. Haven´t you ever heard that you can´t tame a cat?

    But, there was something else in there. Showing off? Does that go to say Lilith could do the same thought-rifling thing if she wanted to? *narrows eyes* So suspicious. Their powers /are/ pretty similar, aren´t they. Hmm…

    Dang, Caleb and April are such a trainwreck. He knows nothing, she feels rejected. I mean, of course she does. I guess he´s just trying to prove that she´s special because of how he used to be, but… yeah. Trainwreck. Also, Caleb´s dark form makes me think of how we said he could have had potential, once. He sure doesn´t look like such a kicked puppy that way. But ech. Still is.

    And oooh, so much new info right there. So the way I understand this, I suppose it means that…
    1) Seth has some dirt on the Vatores. Or maybe not exactly dirt, but something that could be made to look like it. But Lils has a bad past, Caleb admitted it, so probably straight on dirt. *snickers* I hope he does tell eventually.
    2) He can make others forget him? Could Lilith do that too? Does either of them have anything to do with Caleb not remembering stuff? Eeek. So much to think about.
    3) Seth´s really freaking powerful. If he can mess with Lilith, and she doesn´t want him to think she´s introducing new vamps… she´s talking like he owns the place. Or rather, like she can´t exactly tell him he doesn´t. Figures, I guess. If being ruthless is what lets a vampire´s power flourish, then of course Seth is the strongest one around

    Wellp, this got seriously long. X´D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering that fire can kill them, being able to create it would certainly be an interesting thing for a vampire to be able to do, wouldn’t it?

      Faith’s always winding people up. Can’t tame a cat, hey? There’s definitely history. Bitter, dark, miserable history. 😁 Their powers are similar indeed… probably coincidence.

      Caleb says he ‘shouldn’t’ slip form… maybe that’s for a reason. 😉

      Can I do this without spoilers
      1) You will definitely find out eventually
      2) He can. Maybe she could. Possibly.
      3) “If being ruthless is what lets a vampire´s power flourish, then of course Seth is the strongest one around” is he now 😏

      Like

      1. Yes, it would. But then, thinking about it more… given Caleb´s self-destructive tendencies… I´m not sure he wouldn´t have done something stupid with that ability. And yeah, I know fire´s about one of the worst ways to go so maybe he wouldn´t have, but then again, is sun any better? And he´d tried that, hadn´t he? I don´t know about any of this.

        *waves a hand* Of course it´s like that. Everything about Lilith is bitter and miserable and everything about Seth seems to be dark. /And/ their ways are polar opposites. …ha. Now that I said that, I wonder if Seth is the answer to my earlier question. Maybe he´s what stopped Lilith from hunting. Maybe she saw his ways and realized she didn´t want to be like that. Or maybe she just does the exact opposite to spite him.
        And if you say probably coincidence that way, I instantly get more suspicious. XD Hmm… well. Caleb isn´t very good with the mind stuff, but even he learned to block Lils, because she gave him no other choice. That´s a very interesting example to apply to Lilith vs. Seth here.

        *smirk* Yep, probably a very good reason. But he does it anyway…

        1) Tee-hee. Looking forward to that.
        2) That comes in handy against those pesky hunters, ech?
        3) *shrugs* Isn´t he…? The Vatore´s don´t want Seth around, that´s kind of obvious. But he /is/ still around so he has /some/ sort of upper hand here. Sure, I guess puppy boy could be stronger than he looks, he does have some ice cold in him… but if he does, he hasn´t done anything yet. Wait, that could be why Lilith thought Caleb could loose progress. If Seth got him mad enough to actually use his powers all proper… *shrugs again* Doesn´t really matter. If you´ve got strength and won´t use it, it´s like you don´t have it at all. So yea. I´m still thinking Seth´s the strongest around, even if he technically isn´t. Maybe /especially/ if he technically isn´t. Brain over brawn and all that jazz.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hey, Seth’s only turned up and said his name so far, give the guy a chance. 😁

          “even he learned to block Lils, because she gave him no other choice” interesting take.

          “If you´ve got strength and won´t use it, it´s like you don´t have it at all.” I guess that depends on what you define as strength and also… not all strength is obvious. 😉

          Like

          1. Oh, we may have only just met him in person, but we´ve seen the mess he´s caused before. But don´t get me wrong, “dark” is totally a compliment, coming from me. 😉

            Exactly, that´s kinda my point. I define strength as whatever keeps others from messing with you. And if you can stop others from messing with you, but don´t, for whatever reason… well, then the options you had for doing so are kind of useless, aren´t they? 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Could be, but could also be that having the power to stop someone messing with you, but not using it, might be exactly what’s required. Sometimes there is great power in submission. But I’m just playing devil’s advocate here, probably not relevant. 😉😁

              Like

              1. *hums* There is great wisdom in that. Of course, everything depends on the circumstances. If letting someone mess with you some keeps them from messing with you more later, then doing it is smart. Or if it keeps them from messing with somebody else more. But on the other hand you have situations like April, where she turned into a vampire and, as she admitted herself, didn´t stand up to Sandy still. In a way, she had power but was still very powerless… until she outright snapped.

                Liked by 1 person

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