Vaughan and Nicola have survived a vampire turf war, now they face a much greater threat.
“So, when you say you need to go to Egypt and find The Creator. What does that mean exactly?”
After 66 years as a blood drinker, Vaughan makes moves to regain the mortality that was stolen from him.
“It is time for you to show your loyalty to me. I have a task I wish for you to undertake in exchange for what you request.”
He and the seductress Cleopatra embark on a doomed mission to find Clara and take her to Egypt for punishment.
When you make a deal with the devil, there’s sure to be consequences.
We drove in silence for an hour into the desert before Bari stopped the car at the side of small square shaped building. From the outside it appeared to be abandoned and run down. The mud brick was in ill repair and cracks were strewn through the walls. Pieces of brick were missing or chipped away, and there were no offerings to the goddess at the foot of the steps as one would expect. Even the carvings were worn with age and neglect. The sand and rock terrain crunched underfoot as I neared the broken steps of the temple. Hot night air blew over me and made my mouth feel gritty and dry. Bari stood beside me on the threshold as I tried in vain to calm my raging nerves. I was really about to do this, my hands began to tremble with anticipation. So many outcomes could eventuate from this one encounter and my life one way or the other would be changed forever.
“Are you ready?” My guide asked me giving me an encouraging nod.
Tentatively I moved forward into the shrine, ready to accept my fate. The hot wind died away the moment I set foot inside the temple, which was no larger than the shell of a modest house. The cool shelter of the shrine was welcome and the air much easier to breathe. A sense of calm came over me. Bari stepped ahead of me and knelt on the ground in front of the two stone thrones in the centre of the room. He bowed his head and touched it to the floor as he muttered some words in a language I did not recognise, then stood and made his way back toward the door we had entered. He nodded to me in a way that assured me.
My eyes adjusted to the change in light and I looked around the room. The only furnishings consisted of two thrones made from stone that were flanked by statues of the goddess herself and her consort Ptah. The smell of sandalwood wafted from the braziers at the entrance from which I had passed. The walls of the room were lit with torches in bronze holdings and they flickered with the breeze that whispered through the doorway. The ancient hieroglyphics depicted the rise and fall of the goddess, the seasons, battles of time long past.
My eyes befell a woman who stood just behind the throneslightly out of view. Her long dark hair and heavily made up eyes gave her away against the pale interior of the room. Slowly she stepped forward and her hips swayed seductively from side to side as she swaggered toward me. She was looking me up and down, absorbing me. An Egyptian cobra was draped around her neck, its head craned toward me with the long forked tongue flickering in my direction. The woman seemed familiar to me, yet I knew we had never met. She wore a long gold silk dress that clung to her womanly curves, her presence demanded the attention of the room and my eyes were fixed on her as she seductively made her way towards me. Her skin was pale like all blood drinkers, but still a warm caramel with hazel eyes staring out from long dark lashes. Her fringe was cut sharply across her brow line, she was breath takingly beautiful and from the way she seemed to carry herself she knew it too. Her arms were adorned with gold bangles, one of which was around her upper arm and in the shape of an asp with rubies for eyes. The snake around her neck hissed and my hand clasped to my mouth in realisation of the woman before me. “Cleopatra!” I exclaimed.
Triumphantly she smiled and lowered the snake from her shoulders and placed it on the floor where it slithered toward me, making slow deliberate sideways motions and then circling around my feet. Hissing seemed to erupt from all sides of the shrine, the sound was almost deafening but I did not show the discomfort it was causing. Before my eyes I watched as the snake arched itself upward, its hood flared and a violent hiss escaped its slit of a mouth. It rocked methodically from side to side and my vision swayed with it. The snake began to swell and take form. Its long slender body appeared to almost become upright and bulged as womanly curves filled out the creature. Arms and legs became prominent and the hood fell over the shoulders into hair as the face filled out with humanlike features. This metamorphosis continued until before me stood a woman; The Creator, Sekhmet. The power of speech seemed to evade me, I could not form a comprehensive word or thought. Power emanated from the ancient vampire before me. Her broad shoulders and muscular arms contrasted with her flowing red feminine gown. Her hair was worn in long braids; golden threads had been worked into it. The face that looked back at me was feline; this was the only word I could possibly use to describe her. She stepped back toward the throne, not speaking, her crimson gown billowing behind her. She placed herself in her seat, looking much like a model posing for a painter. I bowed my head to the goddess. A heavily beaded gold menit necklace hung around her neck. When the goddess made herself known to me I had forgotten about the other woman in the room. She joined Sekhmet, standing next to her throne and placed her hand on the goddess’ shoulder. Both women stared at me and I felt them both moving around inside my head. I tried to close my thoughts but Sekhmet raised her hand “That would be both useless and foolish. I know every thought that has ever entered your mind, opened or closed. That trick is powerless on me. I am the Creator of this divine race. You have no secrets with me.”
“So you know why I’m here?” I said.
“Of course” Her face and voice did not change its expression while she spoke. This made me feel ill at ease.
“And?” I prompted.
Cleopatra let out a stifled laugh at my boldness. Sekhmet’s face did not change, nothing was given away “Do you truly believe you can come into my inner sanctum and I will simply hand over what you think you desire?” she bellowed, the sound echoed all around the room “You know not what you ask from me young one. You have much too long to live before you can make such demands to me.”
“I do know what I ask for. This ‘divine gift’ was not given to me but rather thrust upon me unwillingly. And I have had to suffer with it for the last sixty six years.”
“Yet if you did not suffer with it, you would not have met the reason for your visit to me.”
“Nicola is not the only reason I want this. It is something I have wanted since I was made this way.”
Sekhmet considered me for a moment before she continued. “You despise being immortal yet you have not lived it to its full potential or sought revenge on your Maker. Not even tried to locate her. There were always other options to be rid of this existence if you hated it so. You have burdened yourself with such unnecessary guilt since the beginning, when you could have easily switched it off. I’m sure even Ivan taught you that.”
“He did teach me how to control my emotions, but if I switched it off then I would like what I have become and lose sight of what I truly want.”
“Why not embrace it Vaughan!” she raged at me, her claw like hands grasping at the stone alter where she sat. Muscles rippled from her long delicate fingers into her forearms. “You have the passion within you to be a great leader and do so much good, but you let emotions get in the way.”
“I don’t want to be a leader.”
“No, you want a happily ever after. They are the things of modern day fairy tales, they do not exist, for mortals and immortals. You do not know what you ask of me.” Flaming torches on the walls rose in anger, shooting orange flames to the ceiling and I cringed back, shielding my eyes from the painful light. This seemed to have no effect on the two women before me. Cleopatra stepped forward slowly. Circling around me, her long slender hands ran along my back and a shiver rolled down my spine at her touch. She leaned in closer to me and whispered “Stay. Let me teach you.”
My eyes were locked on The Creator and I shook my head “No!”
Cleopatra leaned in closer this time, her warm breath tickling my ear. Her cool hands were now on my shoulders massaging gently. “You remind me of my lover, Marcus Antonius. He was strong willed too, before he was taken away from me unwillingly. Just as you were taken away from your lover Ivy unwillingly.”
I spun to face Cleopatra, waves of rage shook through me and it took every ounce of strength not to lose control. This was a name I had not heard or tried not to think about for over sixty years. Her face lit up with excitement, she knew she had hit a nerve.
“Let me help you get your revenge for Ivy, just like I got mine for Marcus Antonius.”
“Don’t speak that name,” I managed to grit through my teeth.
Cleopatra stepped back and looked at me innocently “What name? Ivy! Your fiancé, I see her face in your memory even now. She was very pretty, blonde, perfect, everyone was so happy when you asked for her hand. But then came the disappointment, she was the first human life you took once you became one of us. You continue to torture yourself to this day when you could have sought revenge for her death.”
“I don’t want revenge.”
“Why not?” Cleopatra stepped closer toward me our bodies almost touching. Power radiated from her in currents.
“Enough!” The Creator was now behind me, I was trapped between the two most powerful vampires in creation. “You come to me with this request Vaughan, and yet you shun what we are. You believe we are evil creatures. Never in your existence have you accepted your fate and embraced it, lived to your full potential. It would be wise of you to take a leaf from your friend Marcus’ book.”
I turned to face her and thoughts of Marcus flashed before my eyes. His relaxed nature, accepting what he was with little regard for anyone but himself and of course now Gerri.
“If you were human you will grow old. You will die. You will have no control over your emotions. You will be vulnerable,” Sekhmet explained.
“I am aware of all this. You cannot deter me. I know what I want.”
Sekhmet’s face darkened “You come here with this blasphemes request and expect me to grant it? You offer me nothing in return. Be gone from my sight at once before I dispose of you.”
Bari was now at my side, guiding me to the door and into the waiting car. A tingling sensation came over me and my body moved robotically, it was no longer in control of itself. I let Bari lead me away, the power of speech and thought gone. My body was left a shell and put up no resistance. Once in the safety of the car everything returned and the emotions of what had just happened flooded into me. I had failed. A thousand thoughts surged into my mind at once, then the sound of a thousand voices all yelling filled my ears and I clasped my hands to the sides of my head trying to hold them out. They grew in force and my brain felt on the verge of exploding, everything turned white and fire burned my skull and I heard the vicious laugh of the goddess. My body writhed in agony on the back seat of the car before everything went blank and fell silent.
About the Author
I am from the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. In 2009 I began writing and have not looked back. In 2012 I self published three titles with many more to come.