Chapter 2.10 – Search The Earth

Lilith hadn’t felt this good in a long, long time. A completely different woman from the sapped misery who had headed down to breakfast. A hundred worlds better. Lifted. Spirited.

It was amazing how a fresh feed could do that.

Despite being initially controlled by her thirst, Lilith had managed enough restraint to limit her intake; to stop immediately when she’d consumed the bare minimum required to regain control.

Naturally.

Chuck was currently sleeping on her sofa, under the influence of a light trance; it was all she could muster. She had taken the opportunity to fling his untouched dish into the forest, solving two problems at once; hopefully it would stop that damn cat from trying to get in every time she opened the door.

Chuck might not have been in the best health, or the pinnacle of pulmonary perfection, but he was still utterly delectable to her palate. So full of life, so enriching. So very full of humanity.

Painfully, almost.

He’d thought about his wife and his daughter as she’d drank. He thought about them a lot. As she brushed the bloodstains from her teeth, Lilith could still feel the fondness he held for his family; a driving passion to protect, to love, to remedy. Nothing she could say to him would convince him not to pursue Melinda. He would search the Earth.

It reminded her so much of how she used to be.

Her quest had been prompted by a single entry in an old botanic tome; a fruit with blood-like properties, able to successfully sustain hematophages. Lilith had searched for two centuries for the location of this fabled fruit, meeting dead-end after dead-end. Almost like someone didn’t want her to know. Which had only made her more curious. More determined.

The original scientist and his assistant had met a unknown fate shortly after his paper was published. Any additional research or samples they may have had vanished when they did.

Lilith had her suspicions about what may have happened to them.

At the time of this discovery, a group of rogue vampires terrorised the area. Unlike the society vampires, who increased their numbers by selecting and raising infant offspring, these wild ones targeted adult humans from the dregs of society; the more isolated and morally bankrupt, the better. They seduced these forgotten, desolate humans with the promises of eternal life, inclusion and boundless power.

If the rumours were true, that this fruit could not only sustain but could ultimately cure vampirism, it put the gun firmly in the human’s hands. No corrupt, megalomaniacal vampire would be able to entertain the idea that they could be bested by a scientist with a fruit.

The rogue group had, predictably, destroyed itself and as the years had passed, Lilith’s hope had wavered, her desire to find a cure lessened as the world had changed.

Humans didn’t believe in vampires anymore let alone fear them or hunt them. It was easy to hide in plain sight, to bury her head and make her excuses; she wasn’t really that different to the humans. She had her surgery, she had time, finding this fruit could wait.

Couldn’t it?

She didn’t know whether it was because of her invigorating breakfast, her sudden desire to pursue her cause or simply because she’d gotten blood on her other blouse and it wasn’t a good look for a surgeon, but Lilith selected a different outfit this morning, left her fringe down.

Time for a fresh start.

Chuck was still sleeping when Lilith entered the living room. She gently lifted the trance and awoke him from his disturbing dream about trash cans and heart print boxer shorts.

As he gathered his senses and remembered his surroundings, he smiled at her.

“You look lovely,” he said, kindly. “Melinda always has a fringe and getting it to lie flat when her wild hair was determined to fight me was always good fun.”

Try doing it blindfolded, Lilith thought. She’d often considered growing it out, especially when first-time visitors to her practice refused to believe she was the surgeon with her fresh-faced looks. But ultimately, in a glitzy world obsessed with eternal youth, it worked to her benefit. She could fob off any old bullshit treatment as the secret behind her wrinkle-free skin and have her clients falling over themselves to pay for it.

She remembered how Melinda looked the last time she’d seen her, with her fringe braided into the rest of her hair, trying to grow it out. Lilith wondered if Chuck would ever find his daughter; if he would even recognise her.

“Ready?” Lilith asked. She hadn’t changed her original plan; she was still going to be taking Chuck to Joe’s. The odds of this sensible man believing that she was a vampire were slim, believing that his daughter and her friends were vampires even more slim and his chances of finding them before authorities did were almost non-existent.

She felt a pang of guilt but they would have no one to blame but themselves. The wayward vampires had built their pyres and as far as Lilith was concerned, they could all burn until she was ready to save them.

Let them learn their lessons. Nothing would distract her now.







It was a bright, crisp morning and the sun seemed to blind him. Chuck was a creature of the night, his work demanded it. He’d rise as the sun set and be in bed by dawn. That was probably why he felt so groggy today; his body clock was out of whack. After he’d woken in her bed, showered and dressed, he’d ended up falling asleep again on Lilith’s sofa. How very impolite of him.

He was trying to think of a way to repay Lilith for her kindness. It took a special type of person to offer refuge and care for a stranger in need. It often felt to Chuck that there was so little goodness in the world; it shouldn’t be overlooked, kind acts shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Blimey, he was so hungry. He had been having a bizarre dream as he’d napped on Lilith’s sofa. In this dream, he’d prepared dinner for her and she wasn’t very happy about his attempt; she’d tried to kill him. He remembered being confused because he didn’t think his cooking was that bad. Granted, he’d caused a few kitchen fires in his time, but who hadn’t?

Lilith chuckled beside him. He turned to her, hoping she’d share the joke, but she didn’t. The pair carried on walking through the forest in silence. Chuck enjoyed silence and Lilith appeared to as well. He wasn’t usually one to fill empty space with meaningless words, or questions he knew the answers to, but he wanted to know more about his good samaritan.

“Will you be heading to work after you leave me?” he asked. She nodded, he nodded back. “Del Sol Valley, yes? How do you get there?”

“Taxi,” Lilith replied.

“Goodness, that must cost you a fortune!” he gasped. She nodded again. He slipped his hand into his pocket, encountering his car keys. “If my car is still here, I’d be happy to give you a lift to work, Lilith. It’d be the least I could do.”

Lilith frowned slightly, but she nodded, yet again. She clearly wasn’t one for idle conversation. It was like drawing blood from a stone.

Chuck could see the trees thinning before them, the path opening up. He glanced up, noticing one lantern that looked different to the others and he stopped abruptly.

“The bar is just this way,” Lilith said, motioning to the right.

Chuck was still looking at the lamp, at the path to the left. “I think I came from that way.”

Lilith turned around and looked towards the path he was referring to, then back at him with a slightly disgusted expression. “Actually, come to think of it, you’re probably right,” she said. She didn’t elaborate, instead guiding him along the left hand path.

It wasn’t long before this route opened up on to the roadside. Chuck was relieved to see his faithful old car waiting for him next to an eerily familiar fish billboard.

“Yes!” he announced. “This is where I got out of my car!”

“Why did you get out here? The bar is a mile that way,” Lilith said, pointing along the road.

Chuck walked past the billboard, remembering. “I was lost. I stopped here because I was looking for a young lady who had tried to assist me. I was hoping she might give me another hand but, when I couldn’t find her, I came round here to relieve myself. Oh my, that sounds inappropriate! That’s not what I meant at all.”

To Chuck’s great surprise, Lilith burst out laughing. Her laugh was not elegant, tuneful or cute but it was still such a sweet sound coming from such an aloof character. As the music of her mirth hit his ears, something flashed before his eyes.

“That man,” Chuck said gravely and Lilith’s smile immediately vanished. “I don’t remember his face but there was a man. He was dressed like a pirate.”

“A man dressed like a pirate?” Lilith repeated. “Oh my word. You actually remember him?”

“Yes, I asked him for directions,” Chuck said, positioning himself on the path. “I asked him twice and he rather abruptly said he’d ‘heard me the first time’.”

Lilith swallowed, her voice quiet. “Then what?”

Chuck scratched his head. “Then I woke up in your bed.”

Lilith looked a strange mixture of relieved and annoyed. Chuck wanted to ask her why but another memory had come back to him.

“Wait a minute!” Chuck dropped to his hands and knees and crawled into the bushes, appearing a few moments later with a phone. “I’m always losing this thing!” He laughed and pressed the power button. He frowned as the screen remained blank. “Oh, it’s dead.”

“You can charge it at my office,” Lilith offered.

Chuck smiled. A few minutes ago, she’d been reluctant to take his offer of a lift and now she was inviting him into her office. On the car journey he hoped to learn something about her; her favourite flowers or chocolates perhaps, so he could say thank you properly.

Ooh, chocolates. His stomach rumbled. He wondered if she had a nice selection of biscuits in her practice like the ones they gave him after he donated blood. Likely not. Del Sol Valley types probably only consumed salad and vitamin tablets. Although he was so hungry that he would probably eat a vitamin tablet salad. He’d probably even eat another banana sausage surprise and that was really saying something.

“We’ll get breakfast on the way, Charles.”

“I don’t have any money—“

“My treat.” Lilith smiled. “I insist,” she added firmly, before he could voice his protest.

“Oh, you angel,” Chuck said. “All right. But you’re making me feel very guilty, here. Please, tell me about yourself; how do I even the score?”

Lilith shook her head, smiling. He could have sworn he heard her voice inside his mind.

You stop counting.

20 thoughts on “Chapter 2.10 – Search The Earth

  1. I see Lilith is high of Chuck’s borrowed wholesome. I guess I that’s understandable because he is very lovely. But I can’t help but wonder if the sun is really blinding him just because he normally works at night. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lilith pulled a Caleb and is in absolute denial about it. We know Lilith’s a hypocrite (well ok, I think she’s a hypocrite, I know most people love her for some reason haha. Royal we, I guess 😆), and we haven’t actually been there during the feed to see it all play out, so I’ll believe that what she’s feeding us here is not BS once Chuck is safely at home with Barb craving her weird cooking and not blood. Until then, I’ve got my eye on her.

    On a positive note, Robert gets fed! Yay!

    I wonder what the argument between the girls was about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That certainly would be Lilith turning the tables on the patriarchy; binding a man. Maybe she’s on a one-woman mission to bind as many men to her as possible, turning each one into quivering wrecks and piling them up in her basement while she becomes akin to a goddess. You’re not the only one who thinks Lilith is a hypocrite, but if you’re waiting for Chuck to crave Barbara’s creative cooking, you might have a long wait.

      Robert does get fed! Not sure if he’ll be into the garlic and mushrooms, but you know, makes a change from his usual diet of rats and his own bum.

      You’ll find out next chapter then you’ll probably wish you hadn’t bothered. 😕😆

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Are they that headless? April seemed to have retained a good amount of her personality between her death and the, uh, binding completion. Especially in the chapter where she almost got scorched by the sun. But I suppose April’s personality was always a bit… aloof, so hard to judge the difference.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh such a refreshing chapter. Let me gush on how absolutely beautiful and adorable you’ve made Lilith to be! And such a mood lifter. I just binned at least 9 hours of mod work but this chapter makes me all smiley. 🥰

    I’m liking the vampy lore! The middle vamp lead’s jaw looks kinda like Chase’s. Maybe they’re related. I’m pretty sure some of those dreg vampys survived! Oh no, we might have a vamp coven battle in our hands. (Though I’m saying oh no, it’s with excitement hehe. Drama time! 😍)

    Chuck actually remembers Seth? Strange. You’d think he’d erase all evidence of himself so Lilith wouldn’t suspect him. Or did he do it on purpose to rile her up hm. But then he goes on and remembers tiny parts of his memories here and there. Makes me wonder if he’ll eventually remember everything. Up til the point where Lilith feeds on him. And if that happens, why? And how would it tie to Melinda? 😮

    Ok maybe I’m reading too much into your chapters but Lilith’s shirt has a heart accessory on it! I can’t help but think it could’ve been her style before she became sombre Lilith. Gah she looks so sweet. Is that her style of clothing if she’s not being serious all the time? Or is it really simply Chuck rubbing off on her? Still, she definitely selected that shirt and those cute bangs on her own. Now I want her to be happy all the time so she’d maintain those looks. But that might mean she keeps Chuck around as food… 😅

    What did the girls talk about? And what did our deputy-for-a-day find? 😮

    That dark Lilith line at the end. 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Enjoy the sunshine. 🌞

      I think that, by this point, everyone in my game is related, somehow. 😆 Hmm, well if the group destroyed itself, you’d think at least one would survive, to have destroyed the others, right? Who’s your money on? Dreadlock Guy, Red Eyes, Curly Lady, Beard Hat?

      It is strange. Maybe Chuck is particularly resistant. Maybe it’s all intentional or maybe Seth is losing it.

      She’s keeping this look now because effort, but yes, something’s definitely perked her up and now Caleb and Seth are both out of the picture maybe she’ll actually stay that way. ♥

      Next chapter and not next chapter, but that’s only because next chapter is already a huge shitstorm.

      Dark you say… OK. Interesting that you interpret it that way. 😉🙂

      Like

  3. This was really an interesting chapter 😊

    I was so happy to see Chuck alive again. His little involuntary blood donation seems to have done Lilith really well.
    I am full of admiration that she was actually able to hold back and only take what was absolutely necessary.

    Chuck possesses all the empathy and sweetness that we recognize from Melinda. He has been a good father to her.
    It’s surprising that Chuck is able to read some of Lilith’s thoughts and that he has some recollection of Seth. Although he appears a little confused and distraught, he is monstrously sharp.
    Has the last many vein charges had an unintended effect on him?

    If Chuck had not shown Lilith his loving thoughts about his wife and daughter, then one might well think that there is a romance on the way in the relationship with Lilith.

    Lilith makeover has made her immensely beautiful 😍
    She almost glows in her rediscovered optimism. I love her new hairstyle and appearance.
    Lilith revealed another interesting flashback in the history of vampires.
    She knows the plasma fruit exists and she has been searching for it for decades.
    She still holds on to her lost humanity. She is a woman with a goal and with some strong values. I hope she must succeed in finding this fruit.

    When I look at the faces in the pictures of Ralf and Jessica, the TV screen and the computer, I would guess that Chase’s body has appeared to the surface.
    When I look at the following pictures, I would assume that Melinda has announced this news to Faith and April.
    I’m curious if I’m right in my guesses 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chuck lives to see another day! Let’s hope he gets his hard-earned biscuits; he’s made a few blood donations now, I think he’s earned a whole packet of them. Lilith’s controlling nature is finally showing its good side.

      “Has the last many vein charges had an unintended effect on him?” You may well be on to something, here. Not many people survive being fed on by Seth after all, so the results are largely unknown…

      Romance between Chuck and Lilith? Well, stranger things have happened.

      I loved doing Lilith’s makeover – who knew she was so pretty? 😍 It was well overdue and this felt like a good time, when she’s trying for a fresh start. We’ll see how long she manages to hold on to this optimism.

      Interesting guesses! You’ll find out what the girls where talking about next chapter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Lilith’s metamorphosis. Maybe part of it is because of hearing Chuck’s thoughts and him being his wholesome self, but I bet that finally not having to worry about Caleb and Seth (and the three girls now too) also really helps her mentally. I think we’ve seen Lilith smile more in this chapter than we have seen her smile in the entire first book. ❤

    Gah, Chuck is such a wholesome guy, too. His constant thoughts of his wife and daughter are just heartwarming, and he’s got a sweet dorky side to him as well. I half want to see more of him, and the other half of me just wants to turn him around to go back to Babs and leave this flaming vampire runaway train behind… but as Lilith noted already, the chances of him doing that are practically zero.

    I’m wondering about what happened between Faith, Melinda and April to have them all looking so angry/sad/hurt. Also, Jessica’s desk is amazing, lol. I want that knitted turtle so bad. It’s a cupcake and a turtle in one and I love it. xD I wonder what she found – her face definitely hints at her having found something. Unless she finished reporting/following up on leads ages ago and that’s how she looks when she’s playing games.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like, for the first time in 300 years, Lilith has hired a babysitter, sent her husband to the pub and is finally remembering who Lilith is. Ahh. It was nice to actually include some sunlight and flowers shots in AE for a change; makes a change from dirty, dark motels and misery.

      You might get both of the things you want re: Chuck, but in true AE style, they will probably be presented in the least satisfying way possible.

      A desk isn’t a desk without a knitted creature and a jar of buttons.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. /Spirited./ That one word alone makes me suspicious. Makes me think about whether or not “life spirit” is a thing here. Also her good mood. If she´d had “the bare minimum,” would she really be this high? Sure, even a tiny feed can probably lift you a lot if its been this long, but… she´d still be pretty parched. I add my voice to the pile of distrust for Lilith here and am definitely not getting my hopes up for Chuck having passed the worst yet.

    …and lookit that. Rogue vamps do accept girls in their ranks then, ech? Points for them. Also, their ways remind me of how we were talking about having lost a lot of humanity even before becoming a vampire. Rogues seem to count on that, choose those humans for whom the transition will be the easiest. That´s clever. Efficient. One more thing that jumps out at me from the picture. The guy in the middle looks like the boss, but golden eyes and the woman (I´m calling /her/ Medusa) are looking at each other like they´re plotting something. The last one doesn´t seem to want to have anything to do with anything… I smell a backstabbing in the works already.
    …Oh! And then… I can´t be sure from this picture, it´s a really wild idea, but… ey. I´m thinking. Can a vampire´s dark form change? Their eyes, to be specific. Because if they can, then my money is on golden eyes to have survived the fallout. XD

    Lilith does look much better this way, though. I think it was mainly the overdone blush and eyeshadow… though wavy hair does suit her face much better, too.

    However:
    “The wayward vampires had built their pyres and as far as Lilith was concerned, they could all burn until she was ready to save them.”
    …if she can say /that/ while full of Chuck… I really rest my case.

    Uh-oh. Jess found something. And the girls are upset with Mel. Bad news all around.

    Hmm… Chuck has a good reason to be hungry, he hasn´t eaten his breakfast after all, and he is obviously all sleepy from bloodloss… nothing quite out of the ordinary, yet…
    About the memories… Lilith seems surprised that Chuck remembers Seth was there like she has reason to expect the contrary. Now that I think about it, letting Chuck remember him only slightly almost looks like Seth isn´t done meddling here yet, either. Because if he was, he´d either wipe all his tracks or wouldn´t care if the human remembered he´d attacked him. …it´s nothing but a guess, but that´s what I think annoyed Lils.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, so much suspicion. Maybe he just tasted much better than all those vile, self-absorbed Del Sol Valley types. And bare minimum? Well she doesn’t really say how much that is…

      The rogues accepted *that* girl. Clever and efficient methods for creating superb, power-hungry, angry vamps, yes, but probably not great for creating a team. There are oodles of clues in that carefully staged image and you pick up on some really good things. A vampire’s dark form can change. We have seen April gain some fracture lines on hers and yes, eyes can change too. Ooh, what makes you think golden eyes survived? Who do you think he is?

      Lilith couldn’t have really looked much worse, let’s face it. 😂 I was so pleasantly surprised when I scrubbed off all the makeup and saw her sweet, little doll face underneath.

      Yeah, keep working on that sympathy, Lilith. Gina says you’re not there yet. 😆

      …plus Chuck was passed out for a whole day. Poor guy must have been ravenous. Oh yeah, Seth not completing his ‘wipe’ is highly suspicious behaviour to Lilith. Makes Chuck a bit of a loose end, you might say…

      Like

      1. She doesn´t, does she. All these vague, nonspecific things that are being said. All this “twisted perspective.” *le sigh*

        Meheheh, true. I probably shouldn´t draw conclusions from that one girl. Even the society types had Lilith, after all.

        Teamwork, hmm… you´d expect having a common enemy (that is just about everyone else) would help with that. You´d even expect them to value strength in numbers. Maybe even each other´s skills covering for their own weaknesses. But then, maybe vamps are just too inherently territorial and competitive for that.
        Eh… I´m really, really unsure but I guess it /could/ be Seth? He does look kind of that way, it would give us a glimpse of where he came from… and I seem to remember this one passing remark that seemed to mean he´d have /some/ tattoos, so…
        When you say oodles of clues… I do notice some similarities of dark form. Hat guy´s eyes being like Caleb´s and the other two guys having almost the same skin if that´s even important. Boss is dressed pretty weird, too. Not sure if I should be able to pick up anything else… hmm. 😀

        *shrug* I don´t think all that much about the shape of her face, but this hair really does frame it well.

        I mean, this time I do understand. They left her high and dry, quite literally at that. I don´t really have anything against this… except Lilith should, if she was really trying to uphold her own standards. …and that´s kind of a big thing, y´know?

        Oh, he was? I must have lost track of time along with him. Heh. XD
        Yea. And Seth wouldn´t have survived this long if he´d made a habit of leaving loose ends be. Of course, there is the possibility of that not having been Seth´s intention… but what´s the chances of Chuck remembering just a little but nothing exactly incriminating if it wasn´t? Nah, it sure does feel like Seth´s style.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Vague is my lifeline to prevent each chapter being about 15000 words long. 😆 But OK, just for you; bare minimum for Lilith is about two pints of ‘neutral’ blood (plasma packs), so slightly less in this instance as she was drinking straight from the source.

          Ooh, competition was rife within the rogues. You do get some info about them in upcoming flashbacks so you’ll see just how well the team worked together. Yellow eyes is not Seth.

          It’s easy to lose track of time. It’s currently the morning of Monday 8th May 2017 and Chuck arrived in Forgotten Hollow in the early hours of Sunday 7th May.

          Like

          1. Awh, that was a dig at Lils, not you. Thanks for the extra info, though! XD …hm. That sounds… like everything depends on how much Seth took before. Wellp. We shall see.

            Oh. Well, so much for that bet, then. XD

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