Flash Fiction Friday: Monsters

Door of a metal cage or cell with bars casting shadows on a cement floor

Part of this is an older piece I’ve had on my computer for a couple of years now, lurking to see if it will become something more. It hasn’t, but with a bit of work, it’s the perfect length for a flash. It’s also a bit morbid, which makes it good for a Friday the 13th post. It’s not a happy piece, so if you need to maintain your happy, perhaps give it a pass. Those who choose to continue, I hope you enjoy.

Monsters

One year, seven months, and nineteen days.

Fiona rested her forehead against the cold concrete wall and wiped the dust from the latest tic mark.  Nearly 600 of them covered the eastern wall of the tiny eight-foot square cell. One mark for every day she’d been held. One mark–such a small groove to convey months of agony and terror. The tiny slashes looked like an army of insects creeping into the stark, empty room. She shivered at the imagery. If her tormentors knew of her distaste for the multi-legged creatures, they would delight in bathing her in them. Pushing the thought away, she scrambled to the far side of the cell as the sun began to rise. Perhaps today, she’d be allowed to feed.

Perhaps today, she’d be allowed to die.

Her screams echoed throughout the facility as the sunlight burned into her skin.  This pain far exceeded that of being branded with a white-hot iron rod or having her fingers removed with dull tin snips. The agony ate into more than just her flesh and bones; it ate into her very soul. Her tears left bloody tracks upon her ashen cheeks as she fought against the silver-lined restraints. There was no escape from the scorching rays; no escape from the cruel and heartless humans who cloaked their torture under the umbrella of scientific research.

No escape.

After more than an hour of excruciating torment, they tossed her into her cell with two small bags of human blood. Barely more than a pint combined, it was a feast to one who hadn’t fed in over a week. The blood was cold and thick but eased the harshest edge of her hunger. Huddling in the corner furthest from the door, Fiona drained the first so quickly the plastic bottom had been sucked three inches into the straw. The coppery liquid soothed her parched throat but wasn’t enough to strengthen her atrophied muscles. The scientists might be soulless torturers, but they weren’t stupid. They’d never risk one of their subjects regaining their full strength. Moaning at the tingling burn in her charred hand, she savored the second bag as her flesh healed.

She carefully opened each of the bags and licked the last of the viscous red fluid from the plastic. What little remained of her soul shriveled even more at her animalistic behavior. She hadn’t always been a monster. One year, seven months, and nineteen days ago, she’d been happy. She’d been human. She’d been in love.

“Caine.” Her whisper eased into the oppressive silence and hovered like a comforting presence. His features had faded from her memories with time and pain, but she’d held onto his name with quiet desperation. He’d been her fiancé before she’d been taken, and now he was her strength. As long as she could remember his name, she knew she retained a shred of humanity.

A cell door slammed nearby, and she huddled tighter into the corner. Peeking through her filthy, matted hair, she watched the guards toss a bleeding and broken body into the cell next to hers. The vampire was emaciated, his papery skin a thin and fragile layer over his skeletal frame. He was an ancient creature whose power licked over her skin like a serpent scenting for prey. She couldn’t fathom the trickery which resulted in his capture.

“We gonna chain him up?” The younger of the two guards kicked the man in the ribs to roll him closer to the restraints but made no move to shackle him.

“I ain’t touching that thing.” The older guard sneered and spit his tobacco juice into the vampire’s bleeding face. “There ain’t enough soap on this planet to clean that kind of filth from my hands.”

“Frankie, you haven’t touched a bar of soap in years.” He ducked the fist that came at his head and kicked the man further into the room. With an evil smirk, he punched in the code for the shutters. They slid open with a faint, pneumatic hiss. “Besides, the damn thing’ll be dead after sunrise anyway. No way he’s moving, and the sun’ll fry him like an egg.”

“Maybe we should give it a bit of help, huh?” The unholy glee in the guard’s voice sent terrified shivers down Fiona’s spine. As she watched Frankie cuff the vampire’s bony wrist to the metal bars at the front of his cell, she remembered the agony of the sun’s rays burning away her hand and knew neither of them would survive the open window come sunrise. “We’ll have to get Lars to turn the monitors on in here so we can watch him sizzle in the sun.”

“Man, I dunno about you, but I’m suddenly in the mood for some ribs. Let’s grab something to eat.” Laughing, the pair slammed the barred door shut and left her alone with the creature.

Fiona waited until the guards’ last echo faded into silence before shuffling towards the bars that separated her from the shackled creature. If the whispers and rumors were true, their captors had made a fatal mistake. If the vampire was truly as powerful as they feared, then leaving him free of his silver manacles could prove to be the last thing they ever did. She’d stopped praying after her first six months of torture. Three months later, she renounced her apathetic god after being forcibly turned into a monster, but she prayed now. She prayed to whoever would listen that this powerful creature would escape and exact vengeance for them all.

Hoping that blood would revive the battered vampire, she sliced her fangs across her wrist and pushed it between the bars. She was rewarded by his hissing groans as he slowly crawled back to consciousness. The handcuffs rattled against the iron bars as he struggled to sit upright and echoed in the small chamber. Fiona winced at the noise still unused to her sensitive hearing.

“What’s wrong, Child?” The vampire’s voice was soft as a duckling’s down and she shivered beneath its caress.

“They’ve opened your window.”

“Have they now? I suppose even predators grow tired of playing with their prey.” The soft voice was weary beneath the weight of his pain.

“You’ve gotta get out of here. The sun…”

“None of us are getting out of here alive. Surely you’ve figured that out?”

“You can.”

“How? I’ve not fed since they forced your turning. Even one as old as I have their limits.”

“Then feed from me.” Fiona struggled to push her arm further through the bars. “They gave me two bags today, nearly a full pint. It’s not much but it should give you the strength to get out of here.”

“I might not be able to stop, Child.” His soft whisper grew even softer, gentler, and she nearly wept at his kindness.

“I know. I don’t care. Take what you need and go. Just promise me you’ll come back and kill them all. Make them pay for what they’ve done to me and you and all the others in this place.”

His pale blue eyes, bleached from pain and lack of blood, locked with her determined gaze and held for a long, silent moment. He knew the torments she’d suffered, the degradations inflicted upon her before she became a creature of the night, the malicious suffering they’d caused afterward. He’d watched her hope die with each tic mark etched into the wall. The evil humans had robbed her of all of her choices under the guise of research. All but this one.

Wrenching his hand free of the flimsy metal, he crawled to the bars and held her as close as the barrier would allow. If he was going to be instrumental in her death for a second time, he was going to do his damnedest to ensure she felt loved and unafraid. His fangs eased into the fragile skin at her wrist as he willed her to sleep. He prayed he could stop before she slept forever.

Author: Elaina Roberts

Author of urban fantasy with a dash of romance

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