• C.A. Lightfoot

Untitled: Opening Scene


Here is the first scene in my new book. I rather like it. This is super rough, so don't tear it apart. Its new, lets be nice to it.


Ta!


(Warnings: Violence, Gun Violence, Blood, Sexual Innuendo, Its vampires: you know what this is)



 

As they left the little bistro where they’d shared a quiet dinner for their fourth date, Benjamin reached out for Theodora’s hand. She’d finished pulling her coat on at the door, shuffling a few steps with that happy smile on her beautiful face. The scent of strawberries and flowers wafted toward him, the warmth of her hand reminding him of how human she was, how utterly fragile.

The strength he found in the petite lawyer always convinced him she was something more, something stronger.

Like him.

“Let’s walk back to my place.” Theo curled her body into his arm, the heat from her skin matching the change in her scent. “I’ve got a bottle of that red you like.”

Knowing her offer of wine was Theo’s code phrase for ‘take me home and ravish me against the counter’, Benjamin turned his head with a brow lifted in question. Theo only offered a sly, seductive smirk in response, her heels tapping against the concrete.

He would have to tell her, sooner rather than later, if they continued this way. Thus far, she had not questioned to cool touch of his skin or why he ate so sparingly at dinner. If they continued toward serious, if Benjamin felt his preternatural heart beating in tune with hers, he would have to reveal what he was.

Vampire.

With Theo curled into his arm, the prospect of an evening in her high-rise apartment drinking wine and sampling the fragrant delights of her skin, Benjamin pushed that thought away. He would deal with it when he had to, when he could hide what he was no longer. Surely a meager four dates in two weeks was far too soon to even contemplate trusting her with the truth.

“You never told me how court went today,” Benjamin urged. Indeed, over dinner they had talked about old college days and mutual friends in Dallas, allowing her to shed the workday before he asked her about it.

“Very well, thank you.” Theo’s voice was prim, unlike her usual tone.

With his hands in his pockets, Benjamin turned to her. “Let me have it, killer. What’d you do?”

Theo squeezed the arm she had trapped against her chest with a purr of satisfaction.

“I slaughtered him.” They paused at the corner, waiting for traffic to ebb. “I mean, I eviscerated that bastard, tore his story apart. Even his lawyer looked like he wanted to bang his head against the table in despair. I could see the jury siding with me by the time they went into deliberations.”

Pride welled in his heart. “You’re brilliant. Tell me everything, spare me no detail.”

Theo continued on about her case, the criminal aspect of a white collar crime that left several families completely destitute. She did as he asked, sparing no detail as she explained how she’d taken apart the defendant on the witness stand.

Benjamin steered his date toward the skyscraper of shining windows edged in gleaming evening lights. Her apartment was on the 15th floor, tasteful and homey with a touch of vibrancy. It so reflected the woman he enjoyed spending his evenings with that Benjamin always felt comfortable within.

The street cleared enough for them to cross, Benjamin keeping an eye out for anything that might hurt his fragile, human companion. As she continued to explain her triumph in court, her face flushed with victory, Benjamin felt the desire coil in his belly. She enraptured him, kept him thinking about her even when he had business of his own to attend. He wanted to take her up to that four-poster above the city, touch her until she melted under him.

As they reached her building, however, Benjamin slowed their steps. His preternatural hearing brought him the sounds of screaming, of panicked footfalls. Shushing his date, Benjamin pushed Theo’s tiny frame behind him, toward the door of her building’s lobby.

“What’s wrong, Ben?”

“Shh.” He cautioned again, trying to sift through the sounds of Dallas at night to find the source of that noise.

It took seconds.

From the building beside Theo’s gunshots rang out. Ben pushed Theo back further, against her building.

“Go inside.” Ben ordered. “Something’s wrong. Get inside.”

She did not argue, digging into her handbag for the card that would allow them into her building. Ben’s sharp eyes caught movement from the twenty yards away as a male in nondescript clothing stumbled onto the street, a small automatic weapon in his hands.

“Hurry, Teddy.”

Just as Theo found the card and fumbled to swipe it against the reader, the armed male opened fire. Screams resounded as the weapon cracked the night air, disrupting the usual hum of a metropolis at night. Benjamin willed his body into smoke, phasing himself out so he would not be harmed as he prepared to rush the male, to stop the violence he inflicted on the busy street.

As the wild-eyed male turned toward him, Benjamin heard the crack of the weapon as though he were sliding into slow motion.

His body had gone into that in-between place, a trick of the vampire to move too quickly to be seen, to be harmed. In his haste to use his gifts, Benjamin forgot the body behind him, that delicate human whose company he so enjoyed.

Theo.

She yelped as the projectiles slid through Benjamin’s smoky form and into her frail human flesh. Benjamin willed his body back into phase, his ancient heart cracking as Theo fell face-first into the doorway she’d just managed to get open.

In protecting himself, he had allowed the bullets to hit her.

“Teddy!”

Paying no more mind to the male with the weapon, Benjamin swept Theo into his arms and turned on the vampire speed he relied on. The world slowed to a crawl, her increasing heartbeat pounding in his ears. She reached for him, shock written on that lovely face, in her dark, soulful brown eyes. Her mouth formed words, but Benjamin could only smell the scent of her blood, hear the frenetic pace of a heart going into shock.

Without thinking, without heed to the consequences, Benjamin lifted Theo, cradling her tightly against his chest. His enhanced speed carried them, faster than a human eye could catch, toward the staircase and up the fifteen flights in seconds. Theo gasped in his arms, the warmth of her blood seeping through her coat, into his hands.

In lieu of opening her door by finding the keys, Benjamin merely shouldered his way inside with his supernatural strength, kicking the door closed behind him.

Only a few steps to the living room, Benjamin fell to his knees, laying Theo on the hardwood as she gasped.

A yank of her coat revealed the wounds had gone through her back, into her chest. Blood bloomed over her creamy silk shirt she’d donned for their date, the scent of it tickling his senses, teasing out the monster he was. His centuries of life, experience on the battlefield told him the injuries were severe. In through the back, but not out the chest. The bullets were still burrowed inside of her, damaging everything they came into contact with.

“Ben.”

She gasped his name blood staining her lips. Her lung must have been filling with fluid.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered, tears swimming in his eyes. Mortality shone in her eyes, coming for her without preamble. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t…”

“Are you ok?” Theo asked as she shook, as the pain and damage shut down parts of her brain one by one. Leave it to Theo to try making sure he was all right when she had three bullet holes in her back.

“I’m fine.” Ben’s mind raced. He couldn’t let her die, not when it was entirely his fault. He had to do something.

Theo glanced around, as though just now realizing they were not where they ought to be.

“How…”

He hadn’t called an ambulance, hadn’t done anything but remove her from the situation. Broken a dozen laws, Benjamin knew, in one decision. Did that mean he had to watch her die?

Deciding that was not going to be the end to her story, Benjamin grasped her hand.

“I can save you.” He whispered. “I can give you my blood and it’ll save you.”

Confusion crossed that familiar, dark gaze. “What?”

Benjamin swallowed thickly, tears spilling from his eyes and down his dark cheeks.

“My blood can heal you,” he insisted. “Or, failing that, will resurrect you, Theo. It’s my fault you were hurt, you’re dying. Do I have your permission to save you?”

No human may be turned by any of the four factions without consent and consent may not be given on the deathbed.

The Queen would whip the flesh from his body for this, but Benjamin shoved the thought away. Wasn’t it better to ask forgiveness than permission?

“How?” Theo asked, her brilliant mind trying to keep up as her blood pooled at his knees.

“I’m a vampire.” Benjamin admitted in a rush. “You have moments, Theo. Tell me it’s ok.”

She stared at him for only a moment, reaching up to touch his cheek with one hand. Cold, her hand was cold. No. Don’t slip away, not yet.

“OK.” Theo nodded once. “Please. I’m not ready.”

Benjamin twitched his jaw, revealing the fangs that were always concealed in his mouth. He bit down on his own wrist, opening the veins still filled from his meal before the date with Theo. Holding his wrist above her mouth, Benjamin fed her the magical blood he carried with him, a ritual he’d not partaken in since the 1980’s.

His eyes left hers as she fed, as he tried to save her with the magic he carried within. When she pulled away from his open vein, the flesh knitting together neatly, Benjamin turned her over to inspect the bullet wounds on her back.

Her destroyed shirt was ripped away to reveal the holes were not closing, the bullets had not been pushed out of her flesh. Death’s blue pallor was eking into her flesh, a threat to take her away.

It wasn’t working.

“Ben?”

Her broken voice called his name as Benjamin rolled her back, tears snaking down his cheeks anew. “The damage…”

Theo frowned, her body beginning to shake. “Please. Please, Ben. I don’t…”

He leaned closer to her, pressing their foreheads together. Turning her was a crime worse than feeding a human a life. What choice did he have? He had done this to her, forgetting to shield her from the gun, allowing the bullets that wouldn’t have harmed him to tear her flesh apart.

“I have to feed on you.” Benjamin whispered, his forehead still against hers. “And you have to accept to be reborn.”

Theo grasped his hand in hers. “I’m not afraid of you. Do it, Ben.”

He kissed her lips one last time, the smears of his blood and hers a tantalizing mix on his tongue. Benjamin moved his mouth from hers, kissing along her jaw so she might concentrate on him and not the pain of her wounds still trying to heal.

When he reached the thick, slowing pulse point of her neck, Benjamin squeezed her hand in his and bit down.


 

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We all have something that started us on the path toward becoming a writer. For me, it was books like White Fang and Sweetgrass that first made me realize I wanted to tell stories as well. I was a vor