Gem eaters 2

She watched the car hit him, green glistening gems scattered across the road. She carefully collected the blood spattered gems from the edge of the scene carefully making her way closer. The ambulance came in the bustle she continued her collection. They started CPR and administered shocks, but she knew it was too late. The driver of the car was crying. Her pockets were full of the green gems, there were more to be collected. She pulled her bag off her shoulder and carefully started to fill it. The man was hauled into the ambulance, all his gems left behind. She had collected her dues.

She walked away from the scene as the police showed up, to them she was just another witness. A shrug, and a passive answer later they left her alone. She pulled a gem out of her pocket and crunched on it. It reminded her of a granny smith apple.

They were her sustenance, and she ate until she was full. She kept her eyes open for the omen of tiny drops of green crystals.

“I see you are still successful.” A silky voice said from the shadows.

“Have been for hundreds of years now.” She replied watching gems start to fall as an old man collapsed at the park.

She began collecting them. The presence was close behind her watching her work.

“Two in one day, impressive.”

“Its fairly normal for this city,” She filled her bag. “Sometimes four or five.”

There was silence from the darkness, then the presence disappeared. She shrugged and finished collecting the gems in silence. She munched on them in the park a ways away from the dead body. They were bitter, she gagged as she choked them down.

She finished them and sulked away trying not to throw them up. The presence returned.

“Every soul you return to me is always a surprise.”

“Why? You watched him die.”

“Its so quick and they are complete.”

She arched an eyebrow at the shadows.

There was some guilt when it spoke again, “I have over burdened you, being the best vessel in my employ. I did not realize you were returning three or four souls in a day.”

“Four or more.” She corrected rubbing her upset stomach.

“To assist you.” A teenager stepped out of the shadows. “He is new to the order. Please teach him.”

“Okay,” She agreed, the pain lessening when the presence disappeared.

“Are you okay?” The boy looked terrified.

She smiled the best she could. “Yeah, sometimes the souls are a little difficult to process.”

“We process souls?”

“Keep up kid.” She ruffled his shaggy dyed black hair. “Lets walk and talk.”

They walked out of the park and onto the packed sidewalks. There was an awkward silence. They watched a opossum chose an inopportune time to cross the road. Blue crystals scattered as the car continued on its way.

“Those are for you.” She said leading him across the crosswalk. He picked up a couple. “All of them.”

He gathered up all of them and stood looking up at her with confusion. “I’ve seen these before.”

She nodded, “Not everyone can. To do this job you kind of need to see them.”

“What do I do with them?”

“You eat them.”

He gaped at her. “But these came out of a dead thing!”

“Just do it.” Her face hardened and he listened, popping a gem into his mouth. She watched his face transform from disgust to wonder. He quickly ate all of them. She patted him on the back, “Good job.”

He followed her around, eating any all of the sapphire blue gems that fell.

 

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The Great Return

She heard the voices of dismay as she clawed her way from the water. They hoped she had drowned, like the innocent women before her. She kept the curses from spewing from her lips, destiny would find them soon enough. Her magic bubbled though her bloodstream wanting release, revenge. She choked the words down as mud caked her fingers and soaked clothes. She relished the sweet taste of the air, and stood up her legs weak, but functioning.

“She’s a witch!” She heard the holy man shout over the noise of the crowd. A pinch with her hand silenced him. If a witch was what they wanted a witch they would get.

She looked the woman at the front of the crowd in the eye, “Mistress Mary, I helped you deliver three healthy babies and this is the thanks you give me?”

The woman cowered from her withering gaze.

“All the good I did for this pitiful town and you decide to kill me?” She addressed the now silent crowd as a whole. “I eased your pains, cured your ills, and kept you safe, more often with knowledge than magic.”

A glance at the holy man told her he was still trying to argue with her, in spite of not being able to talk. The whole town had turned up to watch her dunking, and now they all cowered before her. It was as if they knew that one word from her lips could kill them all. They didn’t deserve that easy of a death, she thought, she had seen the things that would come to the town in her absence.

“Remember all the death you have caused.” She whispered and trudged away with her soaking wet clothes. An unnoticed motion released the holy mans voice. She went into the woods, it would be a new town a new name, and hopefully a different fate. Her house had already been burned, with her magic makings still inside. It would be difficult to recover all of the supplies, but not impossible.

The road to a new life would be long, her clothes drying on her back as she walked along with a little bit of magical help. A little more magic produced enough coins for her to rent a room for the night, she would have to keep moving for now.

On the road she found a poor man who was lying injured on the road. She healed him with a few words, he paid her with a coin for her help. She wished him safe travels.

After months of traveling she settled down in the city. A few modest healing spells on children and mothers quickly got the word out about her amazing skills. She would keep a lower profile here than in her old town. Most people didn’t know her name or where she lived. She would just appear when people needed the most help. Sometimes she even helped without people’s knowledge. Keeping a board from falling on someone with a flick of her wrist, stopping a child from running into the street, alerting someone to danger before it got too close. Small things she promised herself, only small things.

Character: Lim

Lim was born low in elven society, to a castle cook and a Fletcher. He was small for his race, when he was fully grown he was just over five feet tall. Always being the smallest had its disadvantages, bullies being the worst of them. He often found himself spending more time with the woodland creatures.

He rescued many a critter from snares set by human hunters in their sacred woods. He knew his destiny would be to be a Fletcher like his father. He spent most of his childhood in the woods. Childhood was important to the elves, they felt the short time they were allowed to be children was a time that could not get back.

He started to learn his craft in adolescence from his father. He spent time in the kitchens with his mother, gathering knowledge from her as well. The castle was an interesting place to be, full of hustle and bustle. On several occasions he caught glimpses of the royal family. They were the most beautiful elves in the whole kingdom. They never stopped to look at the kitchen staff when they brought food out, so Lim went wholly unnoticed.

As he grew older he felt he could accomplish more than his birth rank would allow. He started to talk to other elves who lived around him, trying to learn more skills. He soon mastered metal working, and paper making. He learned them quickly, and took up more, script, potion making, healing, spell casting.

Word of his accomplishments traveled to the royal family. He received a letter with the royal seal on it. He could either stop what he was doing, or be killed. He didn’t see anything wrong with what he was trying to do. He left the city taking his skills with him. He went into the forest to learn without the threat from the crown looming over his head.

His friends in the kingdom would bring him books so he could continue to expand his knowledge. After many years of exile he started to get visitors he wasn’t expecting. Young children were turning up in his yard. He didn’t chase them off, allowing them to play their games in his wildflower beds.

He watched them grow in his yard, knowing this freedom would be a very small part of their lives. He got a knock on the door. On his doorstep was a boy, old enough to start learning his trade. The boy wanted help mastering a particularly difficult technique of stripping feathers for arrows. Lim obliged, having many techniques to teach the boy.

The boy came by often asking questions about everything imaginable. Lim shared his knowledge willingly. Teaching the boy everything he wanted to know. He did not know the boy visiting him was the prince until a royal battalion showed up at his doorstep demanding his appearance at the castle. He complied because he had no choice.

The hearing was quick. The princess sat on the throne with her parents and her husband beside her. The boy stood at his mothers side, pleading loudly for Lim’s life. They spared his life, and allowed him to be part of the community, seeing how much better her son’s life was with his satisfied curiosity. He would be part of the court if he wished, as a honored scholar. Lim chose to stay in his cottage in the wood, but he would take on any students that wished to know more. The prince was the most excited about the decision and hugged Lim, much to everyone’s surprise.

He spent the rest of his days teaching anyone who chose to visit him about a variety of topics, and learning more all the time. He often traded knowledge, skills that he had for skills that he lacked. He understood he was not a master of all things even with his extensive knowledge.

Witching Hour

Her laugh reverberated through the cold dark room. Her high heals clacked as she paced. He long floor length dress picked up the dust that clung to the ground like a blanket. She knew she would have to go back upstairs to the party soon. She looked over at her captive, who was struggling to free himself. She walked over and kissed his forehead his muffled screams coming through the fabric. He would die tonight.

She swept up the stairs and out the door. The music covered his struggles in the basement of the opulent castle. She took her husbands arm and he swept her around the dance floor. His innocent smile made her eyes sparkle with secrets. With every twirl her smile grew. The applause was deafening when the song was done, she didn’t remember any of the steps they had done. She remembered her plan to murder the man in the basement, perfectly orchestrated.

She gave her husband a kiss on the cheek and politely excused herself. After some refreshments and small talk she retreated to her liar once again.

Her captive had knocked himself over, but accomplished nothing else. She removed his gag, he screamed but the walls of the castle were thick and the music was loud. She sneered at him. He fell silent, tears of fear glistening ready to escape.

“What are you going to do to me?” He asked his voice cracking like a child.

She crouched close to him, so her face was close to his.  She took in the smell of fear, the look of terror growing as she stayed silent. She touched his cheek with a long fingernail and the tears broke free. She chuckled softly, unable to contain her joy.

“Please let me go…” He pleaded through the tears.

She went to the small table where her book was kept along with the only lit candle and her blade. She picked up the slender knife twirling it skillfully in her fingers as she approached her captive.

“I don’t want to die..”

She lifted his chair from the ground, with surprising strength for someone of her stature. With swift flicks of her blade she sliced his arm from his wrist to his elbow, avoiding his bonds. He screamed in agony. The blood sluiced down his arms to the floor. Dripping and filling the design on the floor drop by drop. She waved her hand over him and retied his gag. She placed the bloodied knife back on the table and blew out the candle. She could feel his life draining and revitalizing her. She blew out the candle and made her way to the stairs and back to the party by the pink glow of the spell.

Random Roomie

He was lounging on my throw pillows in all his vampire glory. I would like to say you eventually get use to it, but you really don’t.

“Human, I require sustenance.” He demanded from his ‘nest’.

“There’s blood in the fridge.” I said sloughing off my outer layers of clothing.

He flopped back dramatically. “It’s not fresh.”

I started cleaning up the pillows, putting them back on the couch where they belonged. “Its what you’re going to get.”

He hissed halfheartedly and went to the fridge. He dug past my food and grabbed a bag I snagged from the blood bank where I worked. It was always the stuff that was going to go bad soon and they couldn’t distribute to people. If he had half a brain he would use some of his riches to get into the billion dollar blood bidding industry. But since he pays my rent I figure its worth the risk of stealing a bag or two every now and then.

Now that the sun was set he was free to leave the house. He pulled on his pea coat and headed out the door.

“Don’t kill anyone.” I reminded him.

He smiled, his fangs glinting in the porch light. I grabbed my stake from the umbrella stand and did a quick once over of the house. He had taken to bringing in stray vampires while I was at work, I did not want to wake up to a stranger trying to bite me in my own bed again. Ready to strike I pulled open every door, and shower curtain. Thankfully today he didn’t bring any friends home.

I passed out on the couch. He came home before dawn.

“Good morning sleepyhead.” He said dropping his wet coat on my face and ruffling his red hair.

A quick glance at the clock told me it was about four thirty. I rolled over to face the back of the couch. “How was work?”

“I resisted temptation, greeting those blood bags is literally the worst.”

I arched an eyebrow at him, being one of those blood bags in question.

He leaned against the arm of the couch. “I guess you are literally the worst. Since I have to smell you all the time.”

“I’m not that bad.” I said sitting up and kicking at his leg.

He crossed his arms his black tee shirt crumpled. Showing his pale white stomach and a tattoo that said 1759, the year he turned. “Literally the worst.”

I flopped back down, pushing his coat onto the floor. If he was going to say I was the worst that it what I would be. I got up and went to the bathroom, I heard him head into the kitchen and dig though the fridge. After washing my hands I opened the door and he was lurking outside of it, with his blood pouch.

“You need to get more.” He warned me.

“I will today. Let me get ready for work.”

He had that look in his eyes again, like he wanted me for dinner. I hurried to my room to change.

He was outside that door too when I opened it.

“What do you want?” I pushed past him.

“Something fresh.” He pleaded.

“I’ll do what I can.”

When I came back that night I tossed several bags at him. He looked at them with disgust.

“Just eat them.” I scolded, I felt like his mother.

He ate the first one with so much gusto he got blood on my couch.

“Do you feel better now?”

“Yeah…” He curled up around his pile of blood packs.

“Are you going to work today?” I asked scrubbing the arm of the couch.

“I have the night off.” He got up and touched my cheek, the packs in his other hand.

“You know this isn’t part of our arrangement.”

“I know, I was wondering if you had changed your mind?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“But it will be pure bliss for you.”

“And then I will be dead, because you have the self control of a opossum in a pastry shop.”

“I could bring you back.”

“I like being human.”

“Just a little sip.” He whispered his eyes huge and pleading.

“No.”

“You heartless monster!” He sobbed into my shoulder.

I pushed him away, “Says the one with out a soul.”

Much to my surprise he laughed. “You are the worst.”

“Whatever…” I checked for unwanted visitors. “Why is there a dead girl in my room.”

He sheepishly came to the door, and looked in over my shoulder.

“You have to clean this up. I am not cleaning up another dead girl. You know I risk my job every time I bring you blood, and you leave a dead girl in my bed?!”

“Sorry.”

“Sorry isn’t good enough.” I wanted to punch him, but I know he would overpower me in moments if I tried. “You are the worst. Not me, you.”

“I was going to clean her up.” He twisted his hands together, trying to look innocent.

“You forgot in your food coma. I bet you had sex in my bed too.” I huffed and walked away leaving the house and sitting on the porch.

He came out and put his arm around my shoulders. “I am sorry.”

“Sorry for what?”

“Falling off the wagon, killing again, and doing it in your room.” He said something in his face told me he thought it was my fault, for being a human. “Its just so hard with you here all the time. Working with them at night. That blood bag is nothing like the real thing.”

“You need to leave then.”

“But where will I go?”

“I don’t know, but I can’t work with you on your vices if you keep blaming me.”

He rested his head in his hands. They weren’t blood covered this time so he had at least showered after the kill.

“I really am sorry. I didn’t mean for it to happen this time. I thought I could stop.”

“You know I am a phlebotomist. I take blood for a living, without killing anyone.”

He downed another bag of blood. He was trying to control himself, I could see it, he wanted to eat me.

“You need to go… until you get a hold of yourself again.” I told him inching back towards the house. He lunged at me and I slammed the door, throwing all the locks before he had a chance to turn the handle. I could hear him clawing at the door. Tonight would be a sleepless night. I headed to my room to take care of the dead girl.

It was years before he showed up on my doorstep again. I had moved far away from our old place, but he still found me.

“I’m ready to try again.” He said softly looking up at me with pleading eyes. “Can I come in.”

I glanced inside at my happy family, a husband, a kid, and the dog all playing on the carpet.

“You are asking me to give up everything to help you.” I warned him. “There will be no second chances. If you hurt any of them I will kill you.”

He stepped towards the door, looking exactly like he did when I took him in the first time. I blocked the door. “Now, here are the rules. You can stay for a week. No live blood only bags. Any slip ups and you are not allowed back inside. Got it?”

He nodded. He was only allowed in one day. He couldn’t get in the second day, his invitation revoked. I found him hiding in my garbage bin.

“I can’t any more.” I told him closing the garbage lid. I saw him peaking out from under the lid, just a pair of eyes.

Royalty

She was to be the princess. She couldn’t believe it. She touched the antlers on her head. She had always thought them to be a curse, not a sign of royalty. Now strings of pearls and gems ran between them in sparkling lines. The gown she wore was more opulent than anything she had ever seen. Seed pears and gold thread ran over the whole thing. Delicate lace lined the hems of the skirt and sleeves.

She let her hands drop to the necklace around her neck, a heavy ruby. An heirloom from her royal bloodline. A week ago she had been nothing more than her villages outcast, now she was going to be their ruler.

She walked into the great hall where the royal family was seated on the dais. Her delicate hands held up the front of her dress so she wouldn’t trip as she walked up the aisle of people. She saw a few faces she recognized, people who would ridicule her, and spit on her. She cowered out of habit. Her family smiled encouragingly. The jeweled shoes were had to walk in.

She took her place on the smallest seat on the dais. Her mother took her hand.

“It’s so good to have you back.”

Unicorn

Gentle winds blew across the field where they grazed. Hunters eyes coveted their horns and their hides. Even their bones were useful, being ground up to add shimmer to makeup. Their intelligence was overlooked in favor of their usefulness and value in gold. Often babies were stolen from herds at night to be sold as pets for huge sums. Products made from the rare beasts were the ultimate luxury.

They were aware of their hunters. Often staying awake for days to keep their young from being stolen. The herds could ward off predators at close range with ease, their gleaming horns deadly sharp. Their current pursuers used range to their advantage, their only defense was escape. Arrows often pierced their hides unnoticed until they were safely out of danger. Healing was difficult with their constant running.

Their forests were hardly a sanctuary anymore with the hunting. Its lush trees and foliage left plenty of hiding spots for their adversaries to hide.  They used their magic for camouflage and healing instead of tending to the needs of the forest. They all knew that if they were gone there would be no one to protect the life inside the forest from the gold hungry humans. Precious plants and animals that were just as rare as the unicorns would be exploited.

The most precious and sought after were the gold coated unicorns. They protected them the most fiercely from the hunters. Golden unicorns held the most powerful magic. Their golden babies were the most precious to the herd. Emerald unicorns, had the least magic but blended into their lush forests allowing them to be the most common in the herds. There were also ruby, sapphire, and silver unicorns that had varying levels of magic ability.

The humans were constantly looking for the legendary black unicorn, dark as night, and swifter than the wind. It was little more than a myth among unicorns themselves. Sometimes a dark shadow would distract hunters from their pray and they were thankful for it. The distractions would allow them to escape into the forest away from the humans who were always hunting for the rarest of the rare.