Bag of dirty tricks

For a moment, Luther expected a swift and brutal response, but Mare held his temper and  walked over to the girl's body on the floor.  He looked down upon her mournfully for a moment and then put his boot to her and nudged her to her back.  The girl's dead eyes stared sightlessly to the ceiling when she rolled into place.  Luther looked away.

Mare caught sight of this and smirked, “Still ashamed of your existence, Luther?”

“Not ashamed.  I just don't like violence.”

“Really?! Well then maybe you AREN'T the one we need to join our army. Because, trust me Luther, this war will be exceedingly violent. Blood will spill, I can guarantee.”

“Which is why I won't join.  I prefer other means of survival.”

“Like hiding away in some remote part of the world, like a rat?  Somewhere the humans will never find you?  That day is coming, too.”

Luther knelt down beside the dead girl and gently closed her eyes.  He looked up at Mare and said, “I understand what I need to do to survive, but I feel bad that to do so requires me taking someone's life.  I suppose there is always a touch of guilt after I feed; she was someone's daughter, after all.”

An evil grin slashed across Mare's lips and stretched them to reveal the tips of his fangs.  His dark eyes suddenly swirled with a Stygian sludge filled with eons of hate as his eyes narrowed on Luther.  A dry wheeze faintly echoed through the basement, like a corpse's song caught in the autumn leaves of a midnight zephyr, and Luther realized with growing gooseflesh which crawled along his neck that it was Mare's laughter.

“It most certainly was someone's daughter,” he chuckled, “and won't you be interested to know whose?”

Luther really didn't want to know anything about the girl, but said nothing.

Mare's tongue lasciviously slipped from behind his lips once again and excitedly licked his lips.  He looked down at the girl's body and slowly shook his head in mock sadness, “Won't the Duke of Enntenwyle be so grievous to learn his only daughter, the Countess Debluois, has passed in a most gruesome way?”

A flood of anger and fear surged through Luther's veins.  He exploded, “And you brought her here, to me, leaving behind a trail that even a blind man could follow!”

Mare ignored the outburst and continued his solemn gaze to the ravaged body of the Countess.  He “Tsked” a couple times and said, more to himself but certainly for Luther's benefit, “Such a waste.  Just seventeen, her entire life before her, only to be cut down by some animal.”

Luther was about to yell again, but Mare cut him off with a look.  With feigned sadness he added with a whisper, “And still a virgin, too. Her blood must have been so sweet for someone to enjoy before tossing her lifeless body aside like some rag doll.”

Luther's vitriol exploded from his mouth in a series of profanity.

Mare's grin was devilish, “What, no 'Sire' this or 'Sa'ak Dote' that?  Where is your respect now, Luther?”

The Old One sighed, “Eh, I suppose manners are so fleeting these days. You only show respect if it suits you, is that right?”

Luther nervously ran to the wall nearest the road.  Could he already hear voices and hoofbeats of the inevitable approaching mob?  He called over his shoulder, “So that's your play is it?  Force my hand with this terrible gambit?  I will be hanged and burned for the murder of the Countess unless I join you?”

Mare grimaced and shook his head, “Only if we hurry.  As you said, a blind man could follow the trail.”

Luther stood immobile as he pondered his options.  There weren't many.

Loud voices were now clearly audible from somewhere down the road.  Mare suggested, “We should probably go.”

The End

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