I meant to get this up much sooner, but what can you do?
It feels like a while since I’ve posted a piece for A Vampire’s Bride, so here we have the next part of their hunting trip! This piece comes courtesy of Our Write Side’s Master Class Monday prompt series. For today’s piece, I’ve picked the “Silent disturbances” prompt. It seems fitting for Ariella and Niklaus’ relationship, especially with how much they say silently. It serves as the overall inspiration for the piece, and the title.
This could have gone much longer – I was having trouble finding a good spot to end it, so if it seems abrupt, that’s why.
I don’t wait to see if Soren and his companions do as I say – I can’t afford to. Instead, I immediately turn and face Niklaus. He looks ready to pounce, and I find myself closing the distance between us and taking his face in my hands, forcing him to look at me.
“Niklaus! They don’t know what they’re doing. Relax. Please.” His jaw tenses at my touch, and I can’t tell if my words are registering behind his onyx eyes. “This isn’t you – you’re not like the vampires in the castle. You don’t hurt humans.”
I chance a look behind me, but thankfully Soren is long gone. Niklaus notices too, and his breathing relaxes. “Niklaus?”
His eyes return to normal but he takes a step back. “I’m sorry. I-”
“No – you didn’t do anything wrong.” I finally relax, turning my attention to the scratch on my arm. “I can’t say the same thing for them – what the hell were they doing out here at night?” Even the most naïve among the people in the village know better than to venture into vampire territory at night. Especially this close to the castle.
Niklaus stays silent, and when I look back at him, he won’t meet my eyes. His are focused on my arm – on the blood coming from the wound. My only comfort is that they haven’t gone black again like they did when he was stalking the bear. I take a deep breath, working harder than I should be to keep myself from being scared, or at least acting on my fear. No – I won’t let this get in the way of the friendship I managed to find in my vampire.
After a few moments, I manage to rip the sleeve completely away so I can use the material to cover the injury. Niklaus continues to keep his distance, and I don’t say anything for fear that he might take off. I wash the blood from the skin around the cut. It’s still bleeding a bit, but it isn’t anything serious – I won’t even need to sew it closed. I wrap the wound a bit before holding the cloth strips out to him. “Do you mind helping me? I can’t really tie this with just one hand…”
“Are you sure that’s wise?” He finally looks at me again. His eyes linger on mine, fear and apprehension behind the green. But they’re still green – no hint of that black returning.
“Yes – I trust you.” Instead of waiting for him, I close the distance again, so that he hardly even needs to reach out to take the makeshift bandage. He doesn’t step away, but he also doesn’t move. I’m about to attempt tying it properly myself when he suddenly moves, making quick work of the knot. “Thank you.”
There’s only a faint trace of blood through the material, and his fingers graze over it, lingering there. “You were reckless, Ariella. This could have ended horribly.”
“You’re right – you could have been hurt, or you might have hurt those men. This could have been a disaster. But it wasn’t.” I pull my other sleeve by the cuff, holding it in place as I wipe his lips and chin of the bear’s blood with the heel of my hand. “So was that bear enough, or…?”
Niklaus looks at me like he’s seeing me for the first time, or like I’ve grown a second head – maybe both.
“That didn’t bother you at all? You weren’t scared?”
“No.” I do my best to keep my voice light-hearted.
“You’re lying. I could smell it on you.” He looks away, ashamed. “I smell it on you now – you’re terrified.” Again, he steps back, eyes trained on the ground.
“Niklaus – it -” I sigh, unsure of how to word what I want to say. “Listen. I’m not lying. You don’t scare me, not the way you think.” Shouldering the crossbow, I walk over to him again and take his hand. I focus on it, wiping some of the blood away with my sleeve.
“But you are afraid?”
“Yes – I was afraid those people would get hurt. I was afraid they would hurt you. Isn’t that obvious?” Even though his hand is clean now, I don’t look back up at him. “And now I’m afraid you might not take me hunting again.”
I don’t expect him to laugh, so the chuckle catches me off-guard. His face has relaxed again, and there’s light in his eyes. “You’re the strangest human I’ve ever met.”
Offering him a small smile in return, I shrug. “I’ll choose to take that as a compliment.”
“Of course.” He sighs, running his now clean hand through his hair. “I supposed tonight wasn’t a complete failure.”
“That’s the spirit!” I move to look at the bear. Even though I know it’s necessary, it doesn’t stop me from feeling for the animal. No matter how many times I hunted back in the day, that feeling never went away. “Can we take it back with us?”
“I need to eat too, you know. Bear meat isn’t exactly easy to come by in the castle.”
“Don’t know that anyone will know what to do with it. The cooks only know enough to feed the occasional human guest – and you.” He walks over, thoughtful eyes skimming over the bear.
“I can prepare it.” I glance back up at him, but stop myself from looking away at the look on his face – like something just dawned on him. “What?”
“Nothing.” But there’s a small smile dancing on his lips as he bends down to pick up the bear. It’s almost comical – he actually throws it over his shoulder. He offers me his free hand. “I’ve had enough excitement for one night – let’s go.”
This ended up being much more lighthearted than I intended, but I’m just not in the mood for angst, I guess. Anyway, let me know what you thought in the comments! Be sure to check out Our Write Side’s prompt post for other responses.
Speaking of visiting Our Write Side, did you know they’re going to start publishing a literary journal, OWS Ink? You should check it out! There’s a ton of talent behind the scenes working hard to give you guys something great, so don’t miss out on a chance to show your support 🙂
As always, think happy thoughts!