Her progress was swift and somehow unnatural. The word "surreal" floated across Seymour's consciousness, and he allowed the rather hopeful notion that he was still dreaming surface momentarily. But no, he knew intuitively that he was quite awake and perfectly sane.
He glanced briefly to his left, where Seoc had stopped, expressions of bewilderment and apprehension battling for control of his features. Seymour felt a rush of emotion--some mixture of guilt, fear and something that he couldn't name--wash through his body and flood into his stomach, cold as ice. The Second of the Three Queens of Time was coming, and she was coming for Seoc. And whose fault was this?
Mother of bloody-fucking Rezyn! Seymour mentally shrieked. You can't hold me accountable for what I say when I'm asleep. It isn't fair!
She swept gracefully past Simon (who promptly fell on his rear, eyes wide with terrified awe) and out of the water. The pouring rain seemed to gather about her like a cloak of grey, or perhaps it could have been, as Seymour's chilled mind pointed out, a shroud. She smiled at him, the tips of her fangs glistening against her crimson lips and dropped one charcoaled eyelid at him in a sly wink.
"The concept of fairness," she replied to his silent protest, " is a human invention. You are not human, nor am I, so let us cast such silly sentiments aside, shall we?"
She silenced him with a low but frightful hiss. "That is quite enough, you sorry little mortal. I am thirsty and grow impatient."
He opened his mouth and closed it again, rain streaming down his numbed face and dripping from his jaw. His mind reeled, flailing for a way to put a stop to this business, but all possibilities seemed spectral and just out of reach.
"I change my answer," he blurted in desperation.
She shook her head slowly, smirking. "Too late for that now, isn't it?"
And so Seymour just stood there, helpless, as she wrapped her cold, slender fingers lightly but firmly about Seoc's neck. He watched, frozen and silent, as the young man's countenance solidified into an expression of abject terror and horrified understanding. Seoc now knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she was preparing to sink her frightful fangs deep into his neck and that nobody was going to stop her. That she would feed off of his blood.
Which, of course, she proceeded to do.
Seoc's face contorted into a silent scream as he felt her teeth puncture his skin and plunge into him, as cold as metal with a coating of frost. Mercifully, consciousness did not stay with him for long. Within a matter of seconds, his eyes had rolled back into his head, leaving only the whites visible between his half-open lids, and he began to convulse violently, his limbs twitching and jerking and his body racked with spasms. Foamy saliva gathered behind his lips and began to trickle out from the corners of his mouth.
After what seemed to Seymour to have been an age, but really couldn't have been more than thirty seconds, Moriba released her unconscious victim, letting him fall unceremoniously to the muddy ground. Seymour found that he could move once more and leapt for him immediately, catching him before his head could strike a nearby rock. The fang-marks on his neck were not bleeding--in fact, they were already beginning to fade--and his pulse was shallow but even. He would live.
Seymour felt tears begin to course down his face again, mingling with the rainwater. He looked up at the snap of a twig and saw Simon staggering through a drift of fallen leaves, his eyes wide and unmistakably lovesick, reaching out towards the Ruler of the In-Between. But she was already fading, engulfed in the torrents of rain. There was a sound like the flapping of wings, and Simon's outstretched hand closed upon nothing but a single, coal-black feather. He held it up to his face for a moment, studying it, confounded, before coming to some satisfactory conclusion and tucking it behind his ear.
When he noticed Seymour staring at him, he shrugged. "Pretty girl," he explained. "Pretty bird. Featherfeather."
With that, he wandered away, leaving Seymour even more baffled than before he had spoken.