I dream of her again. This time, I see her face. But when I wake up the image slips through my mind like silk, becoming more and more blurry as I wade up from a deep sleep.
The memory of her laughter, distant like a windchime lost in the roar of a storm, is the last to leave me as I finally surface completely.
I feel a headache building, and the ever present pain in my left leg decides now is the perfect time to fight for my attention.
Groaning, I grope blindly for the phone resting somewhere on the side table. I startle when all my hand finds is an expanse of unfamiliar cotton sheets.
My bed isn’t big enough for this much room. Now wide awake, all I can hear in the silence is my heavy breathing and the pounding of my heart in my ears. I tense, slowly opening my eyes and letting them adjust to the dim light.
The first thing I notice is my arm still outstretched, and a canopy of red curtains wrapping down from an ornate wooden frame that informs me this most definitely isn’t my bed.
Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I’ve been kidnapped. Me. Me. I have no secret identity, I’m not the heir to any enormous fortune, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t offended anyone on the wrong side of the law. I mean. I don’t think I have.
My racing thoughts halt as I notice movement from across the room. I try to even my breathing and peek from under my lashes, hoping to hell that whoever it is doesn’t realize I’m awake. I've gotten used to the darkness now, and I can clearly make out a figure lounging on a couch.
Her face is just out of reach of the moonlight streaming through the windows. The rest of her, however, is not. Even as I admonish myself for the completely inappropriate timing, I can’t help but feel a slight blush at the sight of her bare legs, one crossed over the other, so smooth and bloodless that I almost mistake them for marble.
She wears a gauzy blue dress that reaches mid thigh with butterfly sleeves. The fabric seems to be woven through with tiny sparkles that glint in an almost hypnotizing manner as she casually bounces her foot.
A soft chuckle breaks the silence and I realize that I’m blatantly staring, forgetting that I’m in the middle of pretending to be asleep. Coming to the conclusion that there’s no use keeping up the ruse now, I gingerly rise into a sitting position. I’m at a loss of what to say.
It’s not like I can start with, “Hi. Nice to meet you. Have you by chance kidnapped me? If so, could please hand me my phone so that I may call the police? And if you’re feeling extra nice, could you get me my wheelchair and an uber so I can escape? Thanks.”
Luckily before I can blurt out anything stupid, she gets up from the couch and makes her way towards me. Her footsteps are so soft I can barely hear them. Logically, this would be the time when I should start asking questions. Or perhaps screaming for help. But all I can do is stare dumbly.
Long, lushious, waves of golden hair tumblr down her back and almost reach the floor. Her soft blood red lips are titled up into a gentle smile. I meet her eyes, light brown like honey, and suddenly wish I was a poet instead of a highschool math teacher so I could do her beauty justice.
For whatever inexplicable reason I don’t move or recoil as she reaches up a hand and softly cups my face. I lean into her touch as her other hand goes to my leg. I’m still in a daze as she lifts my cat printed pajama pants up past my knee, tenderly caressing the jagged scar that runs the length of my left leg.
There’s a hint of sadness and another emotion I can’t quite place in her expression. Her scent fills my lungs, so comfortingly familiar and unfamiliar at the same time, and I wonder if I’m still dreaming. Sheer adrenaline was the only thing keeping me awake, and as it fades the lull of sleep sings to me.
“I have found you again, my love. And this time I will ensure it that you do not leave me.” She whisper into my hair, with an accent I can’t place. I hum in agreement, unable to truly register her words. She could ask me anything right now and I would say yes.
This is a nice dream, I decide. A very nice dream. I long to melt into this strange woman's arms, fall back to the bed with limbs wrapped around each other. She rubs reassuring circles on my leg, the cool sensation and pressure a relief to the pain. The hand cupping my face drops to my waist. She begins to press a path of light kisses up my throat and I sigh in pleasure.
The quiet moment is interrupted as the door flies open with a bang. I push her away in panic, grabbing at the blanket to cover me. A flush of embarrassment heats my body as my frantic heartbeat starts up again with a vengeance.
The distinct flick of a light switch sounds as light floods the room. I squint in the sudden brightness. The woman, meanwhile, is unfazed. She climbs off my body and huffs in annoyance.
“Really now, what have I told you two about privacy?” She appears angry, but her voice has no bite to it. Two girls stand in the doorway, eyes bright with mischief.
“Aw, come on mama. It’s not fair that you get to hog all of her attention.” The older of the two says, arms thrown around her younger sister’s shoulder. My jaw hangs open as I recognize the twins. How could I not? They sat front row in my class all of this year.
I’m still frozen in disbelief as Anna turns her sight to me, sunny and cheerful as ever. She grins, displaying a beautiful set of sharp fangs. “Hey, mom. Welcome home!”
You are kidnapped by three female vampires who claim that they’re your wife and two daughters from your past life, who miss you and have been searching for your reincarnation for a hundred years, so that you can be a family again.
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I loveeeeee it! @thepenultimateword this is amazing. The characters are so well written and vibrant, it was such a fun read! Also thanks, I now have another great song for my writing playlist. 😆
Waste of Time
I was inspired by the first dynamic suggested by @nixylubouv ‘s post, so thank you for that! Also “Just What I Needed” by The Cars came on just as I was finishing. And “I don’t mind you coming here and wasting all my time, cause when you’re standing oh so near, I kinda lose my mind,” is the perfect lyric for this ship.
“And when the clock reaches noon, I’ll possess the full, unrestrained—"
“Power of the sun,” Hero finished. “Yeah, that’s already been done.”
“It’s already been done,” Hero repeated. “A few years ago Flare had the same idea. Rigged up a fancy machine, not as nice as yours, mind you, and harnessed the noon day sun to hold a massive gun to head of every person in this city.”
Hero snapped their restraints with a single shock and stretched as they stood up. “All I have to do is fry the power box which I started before you even got here, so we’re basically done. I thought I could make it through the monologue, but I just can’t anymore.”
“I…uh…” Villain stumbled over the syllables in their mouth.
“If you’re going to make me fight you, at least be original.” They ran a hand through their thick nutmeg hair. “Start-up villains are such egoists. We done? Or should I put you through the jail experience?”
“We-We’re done,” Villain said unable to meet their eyes.
“Thank goodness. I need a nap.”
Hero walked toward the machine, and the Villain actually hurried out of their way. Their hair curtained their face as they hung their head, but Hero caught a glimpse of the pink blush warming their pokey ears. It was refreshing to be so straightforward for once. It got so tiring going through all the customary etiquette of a fight. There was the banter, the monologue, the hero’s speech, the fighting, the breaking of the machine/saving of the hostage, the arrest, etc. By time someone followed the proper pacing of it all 2-3 hours may have passed. Hero just wanted to lie down and catch up on their shows. Admittedly, they did feel a little bad for bulldozering this Villain’s expectations. When they’d started their monologue, they’d been practically, no, literally alight with bold passion—perhaps it was part of a power? — but now, they looked like a drab little sparrow avoiding a cat.
Without hesitation, Hero grabbed the narrow barrel of the machine and sent a jolt of electricity through the contraption. Something popped on the inside and began smoking out through the cracks in the paneling. Hero kept their hand there until the metal started dripping in sizzling droplets on the ground. With a brusque wrench, he yanked the melty barrel right off.
Hero tossed it across the tile, and it skidded just in front of Villain’s feet. “There. I’m doubly sure its broken now.
No response so Hero started for the door. “I’m just going to leave through here, yeah? Yeah. I’ll see you around, Villain.”
The last time they glanced back Villain was crouched on the floor with their head between their knees.
“Trust me just this once,” Braylen said, waving their hand up and down for a taxi. “They are perfect. Completely your type, cute, on the smaller side, tawny eyes, and they’ve been auditing my physics course at the community college, so you know they’re smart.”
Braylen finally caught a taxi’s attention, and Hero dragged their feet to duck inside after him. “I don’t need your help finding a date.”
“Really? Where would you be right now if I didn’t beg you to keep the day open?”
“In my sweats, watching Chopped, eating a personal pizza.”
“My point exactly, how do you expect to meet anyone spending your evenings like that?”
“Uh…I don’t? I’m perfectly fine being single.”
“Hero,” Braylen clapped their shoulder, “you’re like a sad, old wolverine—”
“—chasing everyone away, acting happy in your independence but secretly very lonely.”
“False advertising. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Braylen raised their eyebrows. “I borrowed your Netflix password. Finished the romance section yet?”
Hero spluttered, face warming. “I—That’s just—How could you steal my Netflix?”
Braylen snorted. “Oh, another thing about your date, they’re really, hm, what’s a good word… Ah! Exuberant. Hopefully they can fix…this,” He waved at Hero in a generalized motion.
“Wow, Braylen, you’re such a great friend.” Hero glared murderously through the dark, but Braylen just winked. When they arrived at the restaurant, Braylen took the lead, pulling them through the door, talking to the host about the reservation, finding the table. Ugh, the collar of Hero’s shirt was scratchy. This was going to be exhausting and pointless, they just knew it.
“[Civilian name]!” Braylen said brightly, and Hero’s stomach rolled. They were already here? “This is the friend I told you about, [Other Civilian name].”
Hero shuffled out from behind Braylen’s shoulder and then froze.
Villain sat with their hands in their lap, shoulders nervously bunched, pink ears poking through their sparrow-downy hair. At the sight of Hero their mouth dropped open.
“Handsome devil, I know,” Braylen said, reading Villain’s expression wrong and squeezing Hero by both shoulders. “Well, I’ll leave you to it.” As he turned to leave, he hissed in Hero’s ear, “Be nice, and you pay the bill.”
With his absence a heavy silence settled on the table. Hero stood awkwardly beside their seat, deciding how soon they could leave without Braylen seeing them. Obviously, this date wasn’t leading anywhere.
“Look, I’m sorry about this,” Hero said, shoving their hands in their pockets. “Braylen knows I’m a hero, but he doesn’t really keep track of who’s in the business. And besides, your new. Anyway, I’ll just tell him we didn’t get along. Hope you didn’t waste too much time getting here.”
They only turned halfway before an abrupt clatter paused them. Villain had leapt to their feet, knocking over the salt and pepper shaker when they bumped the table. Their fists gripped the legs of their flared pants.
“Is everything a waste of time to you?”
Villain continued. “I spent an hour and a half getting ready, a half hour walking here, and actually had gall to be excited about tonight. You already saved time by humiliating me at our fight last week, so the least you can do is sit down for an hour and pay for my dinner.”
They’re tawny eyes flashed from beneath their long lashes with a power that contradicted their earlier nerves.
“Alright.” Hero slid into their seat.
Villain followed suit, playing with their roll of silverware for several moments.
“I looked up Flare’s Sun-Ray,” they said. “It was different from mine. Flare wanted to set the east coast on fire, I was going to melt a hole into the capital building.”
“Different ends to the same means don’t make a plan more unique. How long have you been at this?”
“Wow, brand, brand new. No wonder you’re not up to date on the latest schemes.”
Villain curled their lip a little at that but kept their voice cool. “How long have you been a hero?”
Villain gaped. “How old are you?”
“Hey, now,” Hero warned. “I’m perfectly youthful. I got into the game as a kid. Green Knight’s sidekick from 16 to 18, Sundown’s partner for two more years, then solo work when I turned 20.”
“Well…I guess you like it then? Hero work. If you’ve spent so long doing it, I mean.”
“I—” Hero cut off as the waiter came to take their order. When they had a way too fancy frosted glass of water in front of them, and they were alone again, they continued. “I did like it. Until it got boring.”
“How could you get bored?” Villain said, that interesting glow leaking out their mouth, nostrils, and the corners of their eyes. It floated around them like golden glitter caught in a tide pool that pocketed only them. “The wit, the stakes, the thrill of the fight! Good vs. evil battling it out, no guarantees!”
“Yeah, until every monologue became different ways of rehashing the same things. Until wit became endless cliches. And winning battles? Easy. As long as people pull the same schemes, I’ll take the same countermeasures. I feel like a firefighter putting out the same 10 fires every day.”
“Huh…” The golden glitter dissipated out of the air and Villain furrowed their brow.
“Look, I’m not trying to ruin it for you, but—”
“You’re not,” Villain interrupted, flicking their gaze up at Hero’s eyes. “I’m just thinking.”
Honestly, how did they manage to look both powerful and precious at the same time? It was like they flipped a switch, turning them from kitten to monster. And Hero was not too proud to admit they were cute.
The food came and Villain tapped the end of the fork on their plate as they chewed. Hero wasn’t exactly sure why, but they sort of wanted to ask all those small talk questions usually asked on first dates: Where are you from? How many people in your family? Do you like dogs or cats? Favorite color? Favorite movie? What brings you on a blind date?
“What if I came up with something new?” Villain said.
Hero stared at them, taking a couple moments to come back to the present and register what they were saying. Something new? They’d heard that before. “You won’t.”
“But what if I did?”
Hero paused to think about it. “I guess I’d be thoroughly impressed.”
“Then get ready for me, Hero.” Villain’s grin was confident and fox-toothed, daring anyone to step up and defy them.
For once, Hero found themselves looking forward to something.
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