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November 27, 2023
"Mes de los Muertos"

Strange Bedfellows 53

By Lydia Manx

With the scent of the werewolves in the wind I resisted swinging the Civil War sword at the neck of Bradford, the vampire Cynthia's current favorite minion from all indications, which was really tough on me because it would have been so easy to just slice and dice the vamp. She'd commanded him to take the supernaturally compliant Harry and Simon back to an unseen van and kill them. Not something that I'd let happen without some serious bloodshed on my part.

Renee was still out there somewhere with Carlos and Marcus. I thought that her subduing of Marcus earlier had been pretty impressive. Her control over werewolves was crucial to her life in her upcoming role as 'princess' or whatever of the pack. As Carlos' chosen mate and a vampire one at that she'd have a rough road ahead of her to maintain dominance amongst the werewolves he had under his mantle. I wasn't up on the word choices in the packs and she seemed to be falling into the correct position rather well from what I'd seen. But then what did I know given I was a vampire not a werewolf? Regardless of my life and personal opinions on the subject, the bride-to-be vampire seemed to actually be a perfect choice for the first recognized alliance with vampires and werewolves. I wasn't against the union, just more concerned about the long-range effects and wars that were going to result. Carlos' pack had some serious territory in play and with Renee's marriage to the crown prince she'd bring that into the vampire control. And her vampire Master was Kenyon not my Simon or even Harry -- that was really a concern. The territory Carlos was in charge of was massive -- werewolves traveled in packs but they didn't over clutter the scenery with leaders from what I'd gathered.

On the other hand I could swear that there was a Master of the City in damn near every town with more than a thousand human sheep on which they could feed. The vampire council had carved up the world rather ruthlessly making the lines between the haves and the have-nots pretty strong. The backing of folks like me made sure that the council's decisions were upheld. Not all were vampire council sanctioned, like this Cynthia creature currently causing dramas and traumas, but nevertheless there were still far too many vampire Masters out roaming and demanding respect from us.

Just then Renee took a chance and from the distance sighed out my name, "Natasha."

It wasn't more than a whisper on the wind but Cynthia's head snapped upright and she hissed, "Who the hell is that?"

I didn't answer her. I didn't think she even knew that I even had a name. I wasn't going to fill her in and with both Simon and Harry frozen in place they weren't in any position to snap out any information. I kept still and waited. It didn't take long.

The other three vampires who'd been dancing attendance upon Cynthia, the lovely yet stupid rogue vampire from Arizona, shrugged and posed at her question. They had the pout look down well and the affronted teenager wasn't buried that deep in their pasts either. Cynthia didn't turn them into vampires for their smarts, obviously.

Again I found myself biting the inside of my cheek to keep from bursting out in laughter. They would've been positively pathetic if it weren't for the fact that both Simon and Harry were still bespelled. The unseen Jasmine that earlier Harry had me call had yet to make an appearance. I was trying to coordinate in my mind the death dance steps that would slay the most rogues when Renee finally sauntered into view. To my stunned disbelief both Carlos and Marcus were both in their full fur forms on either side of her. As werewolves they were huge with extraordinarily sharp definition of ropey sinew and powerful muscles that rippled with a fur covered promise of total destruction. Their teeth glistened menacingly in the stray moonbeams allowing the baby vampires a ripple of concern.

Cynthia was oblivious to the two large werewolves focused on her. She was too busy distaining Renee's exposed fangs with a curled lip and a severely nasty attitude to notice what was happening around her. She said, "God, what is wrong with Kenyon? He thinks that you'd be a good mate for the werewolf? You're less than nothing." She flipped a hand dismissively at Renee. She still hadn't noticed the 'werewolves' in question were right next to the vampire and getting closer by the minute.

I had to admit she had some moxie. Misplaced moxie -- but moxie at that. I saw the slight gleam of anger pass over Renee's face and she simply laughed, "And what does Kenyon think of you?" Her snarl was more impressive and she added, "Unnamed by the vampire Council and befriended by none -- thus you are little more than just another tool from Arizona coming here to play in the sun."

Cynthia hissed and snapped her fingers at the three vampires, also, not yet named. I mentally figured, 'Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest' as they slinked between the vampires closing the distance between Renee and her two werewolves. They weren't nearly ready for what they were taking on and it made me smile to think how quickly this was going to go wrong for the intruders. The unused sword in my left hand felt heavier as I watched the Arizona vampires edge out of my immediate swing zone.

Marcus lifted his dark muzzle and let loose a bone chilling howl. The zoo animals shrieked and cried in the distance. I heard a deep-throated roar from one of the cats and the yips and barks from various coyotes and other night beasts. Carlos let out his own howl and I watched the three pseudo vampires freeze in their tracks. The human side of Carlos didn't impress me nearly as much as his fur side; as a werewolf I could see why he was royalty.

"Boys -- take them," Cynthia foolishly commanded the baby vamps. I had to give it to them at least they were loyal. Misplaced loyalty at that but nevertheless they jumped at her command. 'Were' being the operative word since Marcus met the first vampire head on quite literally. With his massive skull, it appeared denser in his werewolf shape, he head butted the young vampire. He struck the vampire so hard that I heard the crack of the vamp's forehead and underlying bone and add in a few brittle sounds and pops that came from his neck and spine further dictated more damage had been done than what I'd guessed.

Yes, I'd say werewolf bones were harder in their fur forms than their human given the way the vampire fell seemingly boneless to the ground. The newly made vampire wasn't exactly healing much less moving. Renee and Carlos worked the other two vampires with tooth, fangs, claws and laughter. As the vampires were literally ripped to shreds I noticed that their blood was spraying both Simon and Harry. The witches' spell was falling off my two vampire companions as more of the dying vamps' fountain spray of ruby red blood spattered them.

Cynthia was oblivious again to the signs, but Bradford clued her in rather quickly by emitting a high-pitched shriek. He moved away from the spray of blood towards me, leaving Simon and Harry and getting into my range. I found the continuing shrill screams a trifle distracting and quickly punched him hard in the center of his chest sending him flying bonelessly back a good twenty or so feet. It felt nice to actually do something for a change.

As both Simon and Harry shook off the spell I smiled widely, relieved to see some life come back into them. Not only did we out number the Arizona vampires, but with the two werewolves we were a rather formable team. Yep, we were fearless with fangs and fur to back our threats.

Bradford tried to get up from the ground but Marcus pounced on him and ruthlessly tore open his vulnerable throat. The entire battle was over before Cynthia had even noticed she'd lost all of her minion. Unglamoured, Harry and Simon didn't approach the vampire but simply looked to me to take control of the rapidly disintegrating scene. I was happy to rise to the occasion.

Smiling with my own fangs now extended, I unmasked my blade and put the point at the base of Cynthia's throat with a quick flick of my wrist. She finally looked at me. I guess as 'fang banging bait' I wasn't supposed to be armed much less aggressive and any kind of a threat to such a badass vampire. Taking advantage of her distraction Renee walked up to her and yanked back a fistful of the rogue vampire's hair. Turning the vampire forcibly to meet her eyes Renee said, "Bitch, I think you've over-stepped."

Nicely played, I thought while I made sure to keep the sword's tip poised in the dip of Cynthia's throat. I really liked the feel of the Confederate sword in my palm. Her eyes were huge and still she didn't comprehend the entire problem.

Cynthia tried for a mental vampiric controlling push at both Renee and me. With an army of minion she might have been able to sway us but last count of her 'loyal' minion nearest and dearest tended to be like zero. We'd killed a few out by the beach the hour before dawn when they'd ambushed Harry and me the day before and with the obliteration of the four she'd just brought with her I didn't figure there were that many more Arizona rogue vampires running around town waiting to help the rogue vamp in her mission. I sincerely doubted she had much time since she'd landed a week or so ago to turn another half dozen or so vamps to come at her call. From the frown on her face I think she'd started to do the higher math and noticed her lack of power along with any upright and active minions to carry out her fondest wishes. I really liked rogue vampires ... they were so stupid at times.

"Renee?" I practically giggled out her name.

"Yes, Natasha?" Renee wasn't trying to conceal her smirk. She'd also had noticed Cynthia's amateurish attempt at vampiric Master control over us.

"We need her for now -- right?" I wasn't asking but toying with the vamp. Renee knew me well enough by now to play along. Carlos and Marcus had wandered off towards the nearby bushes and from their scent I could smell the woodsy awareness that marked them for me and earth aroma that they generated whenever they shifted from one nature to another. I gathered that they'd stored clothes out of sight in the brush before they'd come to help.

"I don't think so," Renee yanked harder on the vampire's hair.

Smiling, I looked down the shiny length of my blade and regarded the stupid grasping vampire in her full glory. She'd dressed the part of waif for her boys, the usual khol lined eyes with thick black spiky lashes. Her eyes were dull and dark, the pupils so blown wide as she kept trying to find a minion nearby to pull power. She wasn't having much success. Her hair was the black Goth flat waist length locks currently being easily used to maneuver her by the roots. The vampire wasn't much over five feet tall. The short skirt she was wearing was leather and naturally black. Her hip boots would have been too warm in the fall weather for any live human but we vampires didn't much feel the temperatures the same as them. So they pretty much just looked awkward and unnatural. Her tank top was a half bustier and half fell off her shoulders. She'd used henna and made some vague tribal marks across her skin. She'd been tan when she was turned so the complete vampire dead white look was denied her. Prema-tanned for her vampire lifespan was a fate worse than death for a Goth wannabe vamp. It amused me.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2010-08-30
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