5 Suspicion

Gamli kept himself expressionless as always, still suspicion radiated through him. What did this mixed bag of humans intend? He was, if not exactly helpless, still vulnerable. In his current state he would be far too easy to evade and equally easy to capture.

Getting to Know You

The charcoal burner’s hut had been a real find. Its main timbers were sound but it looked uninhabitable.

They’d have to know how long they might need to be there.. How long before Elder could travel. Meanwhile they were within striking distance of an old track between settlements and the halfway point on the Roman road which also was intersected by a viae vicinales connecting to a market town to the east.

All in all a prime location. With easy pickings. Honey had already been leched after by a wandering slimeball, fortunately, not one that would be missed. She may have led him on, but it was all for the good of the cause. A boon for all womankind when Gamli finished him off in one sitting. Quantity really seemed to help the healing process. There was no way to know how long it would be before his fangs regrew, it was time for an in depth discussion, we all needed to know.

C

The Gamli Tod rose, aware of an unfamiliar place; his gums ached for his missing fangs. Peering, he tried to make sense of his surroundings. One-eyed he was for now and he twisted his body forward and back to take in the room. Something of a hovel, permeated with the scent of old smoke; and yet the bench on which he’d rested was secure enough and there’d been a length of decent linen under him. During his day-death he had been washed and dressed in a clean tunic that smelled of the slight man and the woman. He’d been cared for, but to what end?

A small fire on the meal hearth crackled and licked at the bottom of a pot hanging from a long hook, the scent of herbs and squirrel filled the room. The woman’s arm held the door cloth aside as she ducked back into the hut. The small knife swung free on its neck-cord when she bent to retrieve a water skin, her tunic stretched across her hips. Her shadow climbed the wall as she moved further into the hut and the Gamli Tod watched, entranced, as the knife was tucked away. That simple motion released a warm woman scent into the room and suddenly he was slammed with hunger.

She set the water bag to one side and greeted him. “Ahhh, Gamli, you wake. Let me introduce myself, I am called Honey; my companions are my brother-cousins, their by-names are Horse and Bird. They will return soon and you will be able to feed.”

The Gamli nodded but could not stop himself from opening his mouth to fully take in Honey’s scent. Vampirism had not only given him fangs in upper jaw but also the root of his vampiric sense of smell; one of the great astonishments of his change – he now scented like a wild thing, facing into the shifting air and exposing his newly sensitive mouth membranes to that richness.

Honey was what he drew across his mouth. Yum, healthy, ripe and clean.

Honey was what he watched as his hunger chewed at his belly. She had a lovely neck, creamy and tender skinned, the pulse measuring her life. He could feel himself coil for a strike, settling his haunches deeper for a powerful spring. He was so very, very hungry.

Honey was aware of the Gamli’s focus, a stitch in time, so to speak, might save the situation – and her neck.

“Elder? Are you hungry now? Do you need a little blood to tide you over until my brothers come back?” He nodded cautiously. “Would it be safer for me if it was in a cup?” A pause, and a regretful nod.

“Alright, then, cup it is. It will be better when your mouth heals enough to speak”

She moved closer to the fire where the light was better, picked up a bowl from a stack nearby and retrieved her knife-pendant from between her breasts. Nervously she chattered on as she got ready to fill the bowl. “I’m sure you noticed that we all have a knife pendant, all of the grownups of the Shield clan do.” Honey pierced her right wrist, “ It is a pretty big deal when we get our knives;” holding her arm steadily over the bowl, “some of us choose not to, to move on. My sister left.” she didn’t notice Gamli shifting closer, the pupil of his one eye expanding ’till the iris was but a gray rim. “She wanted to marry a boy from one of the villages we passed through, I still miss her.” Honey stroked her arm to get the blood to flow better. “Our vampire, right before she was ended,” he licked his lips unable to resist, and his hand shot forward, seizing hers “… cleared sister’s memories of the draugr. Eeeeep! Don’t spill!” Honey was just able to rescue the contents of the bowl as Gamli mouthed her wrist.

Placing the bowl carefully on the hearth stone, Honey chided the boy “I was going as fast as I could, I didn’t know you were that hungry. Shhh, shhh, be careful now, I don’t want to have to remind you with silver.” She held the silver pin in her mouth as she stroked his shoulder with her left hand. Horse and Bird will be back soon, there’ll be more for you.

Honey’s calm diluted his blood lust; fear and a struggle would have just spun him up into a frenzy. Her hand stroking his back hit a deeper note for him and the herbed food smell, struck an almost imperceptible but plangent reverberation within his deepest memories. There was something there…….his eyelid fluttered as his mind turned inward. Tod the Gamli savored the blood slowly seeping into his mouth; his tongue had healed enough so that the rich flavors were apparent and he was looking forward to getting a sense of the subtleties.

Honey continued to gentle the white one. His ashy skin and gaunt features had gotten better, as yet he couldn’t pass for anything but draugr much less a youth in his prime. Surely he had been starved as well as abused. She hoped his actions were due to that and not the madness that sometimes overtook his kind.

Faint noises beyond the hut jostled the balance within. His chest rumbled at the threat to his food source. Tod surged to his knees clutching Honey tightly to his chest, scuttling back into the shadows.

It took every ounce of will for her to remain limp, any further threat at this point and he might break her neck and have done with it.

As the footfalls approached, Honey recognized the deep tones of Horse’s voice along with Bird’s occasional interjection. “Elder, it is only our friends, I want to see what they brought. I think someone is with them.”

His forearm relaxed slightly, at least she could breathe better; suddenly Tod swept her behind him and took up a defensive position. His growl got louder as Horse dumped an ale soaked countryman on the ground. “He has lice, I’d rather he stay out here. I’ll wash after the draugr’s done feeding and I’ve gotten rid of the body.”

The wretch soddenly slumped next to the door and Horse held the door flap while Bird pushed a pack basket into the light.

Bird declared as he moved the basket to one side “a drunk does not a good pickpocket make. He should have stuck to pimping his mother.”

All eyes turned to Gamli, “let us lay him out for you” offered Horse. Honey wriggled forward “Faugh, he reeks, let me give his neck a wash,” turning back to Tod “ you don’t want to put your mouth on that!” Bird and Horse rolled their eyes in unison, an odd performance to watch if you were one eyed, thought Tod. An odd luxury too, to worry if his meal were clean.

As he crawled and hitched his way out the door he marveled at the turn his existence had taken. From life to death to the sea change of vampirism. He had expected his fate to play out, that this would be the end, the sacrifice would be sufficient. Yet here he was, prospering within this odd family of strangers.

Honey chattered and fussed at him to pull his tunic off so as not to get lousy. Not that that the little devils could live on him, but they might catch a ride on his clothing. It was serious business keeping the bloodsuckers to a minimum. He smiled to himself. No poaching on his territory!

Horse pulled the limbs straight and Bird turned the head enough to leave clear access to the neck. Glancing up at Tod with raised eyebrows. He inhaled once and wrinkled his nose. Bird apologized: “Sorry, Gamli, but he kind of volunteered.” With which, Bird slipped his knife free and plunged it deeply into the thief’s neck.bloody Godric

Tod half-smiled and shrugged; oh, well, food was food. He could be pickier once he had healed.

As Horse was dragging the body off, Honey hitched closer to wipe his face. “Tch, tch, I guess when your tongue is restored this will be a bit tidier. Tch! Your eye is looking much better, it is a wonder how

you heal. I rather thought it might seem scarred but your eye socket looks like a new born kitten’s,

not quite filled in yet and that gash in your cheek muscle is naught but a dimple. May I see your arms?”

The Gamli extended his arms. The reforming joints didn’t ache so much if he wasn’t thinking about them; he only thought about his hands when he reached for something. Which was too often. Even more frequently he missed his foot, he missed running like the wind.

She grasped each forearm in turn, stroking gently, feeling for the little wrist bones. “Better, much better!” she said with a brilliant smile.

“And your foot?” The warmth from her hands actually eased the pain and he closed his eye briefly. “Does that help?”

Tod dipped his head in acknowledgment.

I’ll do it more often then.”

Gamli kept himself expressionless as always, still suspicion radiated through him. What did this mixed bag of humans intend? He was, if not exactly helpless, still vulnerable. In his current state he would be far too easy to evade and equally easy to capture.

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7 comments on “5 Suspicion

  1. Sheila says:

    great ominous atmosphere

  2. allanbien says:

    I can’t wait to read more!

  3. Sarifina85 says:

    I love the slow abatement of his suspicions; still there, but lessening ever so slightly.
    Looking forward to more!

  4. Donna says:

    Honey knows no fear of vampires yet she is very leery of humans. They were very wise in picking the hut.

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