Book 4, Chapter 34

I shoved Bonbon into the furthest back unoccupied booth I could see and then yanked the curtain shut behind us.  She cried out as the force of being thrown made her phase through part of the table — but the back wall was solid enough that she just collided and stopped.  I’d let go of her, but my geas was firmly in place and I wasn’t concerned that she would escape.

I didn’t so much slide into the seat beside Bonbon as I stepped onto it, falling into a crouch as I did so I could keep facing her.  Well, looming over her more than facing, really.  She was sprawled out beneath me, her tear-streaked face upturned and her arms curled defensively in front of her.

It was a very different experience from when I’d been in one of these booths last, with Emma.  For one thing, I wasn’t remotely frightened by or uncertain of what to do with Bonbon.  For another: Emma had been shy — almost timid.  Bonbon was terrified.  I could see the despair in her eyes.  She recognized the futility of trying to fend me off, but couldn’t help laying there with her hands in front of her as though she could do anything to prolong her existence.

If Emma’s uncertainty had been enough to make me play the aggressor when I’d been alive then Bonbon’s terror — combined with the fact that I could so clearly see how meaningless my living fears and anxieties were — was driving my predatory nature wild.  I was going to have to make Emma frightened for her life sometime.  Or, more likely, Emma’s replacement.  In retrospect trying to fight Director Lewellan and all of his allies, as well as Archarel and all of his, just for some witch who wasn’t even strong enough for me to drain more than once in a day just didn’t make sound sense.

Emma was expendable, and if I ever wanted a cute, terrified, tasty young woman to replace her then all I had to do was head to the college campus, check the sororities for which one had wards, and then grab someone from the next open invitation party.  I’d fantasized about being abducted often enough that I was confident I could pull one off.  Especially since I had supernatural powers.  Hell, all I had to do would be to bite someone, and they’d come with me willingly.

Of course, that would ruin the whole ‘I like my prey terrified’ thing I had going on, so fuck that.  Why employ subtle persuasion when brute force would be so much more satisfying?

Bonbon couldn’t have known why I hadn’t taken a bite out of her yet, but I still almost laughed in her face when she broke me out of my mental circles for the future by reminding me that she was right there in front of me now.  Talk about a survival mistake.

“Please,” Bonbon said.  “I’m sorry!   I didn’t want that vampire to take you.  I tried to stop him.  I was trying to help!  I… I don’t want to die,” she sobbed.

I gave Bonbon a disbelieving look.  Before long it turned into a hungry look.  I tilted my head to peer past her trembling fists and at her neck.  I was almost affronted that she was trying to talk her way out of this after stealing my aura in the first place.  And using such a weak excuse, too!  Bonbon’s  jugular pulsed slightly with the blood pumping through it.  It was just an illusion, I knew, but it was a very realistic one.

“If you didn’t mean me malice when I was alive,” I asked, “then why did you accept my offer?  I agreed to be taken by whomever destroyed Salvatore, and I’ve been using the countervailing debt to find those who failed me.”

Bonbon stared at me.  I could see the glimmer of hope in her eyes: I was talking to her, not ripping out her throat.  I looked forward to transforming it back into fear.  If she could see my thoughts now, she would probably be even more terrified than before: I was wondering, since her body — including her clothes — were just a phantasm, what would happen if I tore them off of her?  Melvin’s sword had been able to exist independently of him, but I’d never tried to break it.  If a faerie’s phantasmal existence was a manifestation of their aura, then physically damaging it would probably be just as agonizing as breaking a geas.

It might be fun to find out.

Plus, Bonbon was kind of cute, and the whole ‘terrified damsel expecting to be eaten by a monster’ thing she had going on seemed really appealing to me now that I was the monster instead of the terrified damsel.  I could sink my fangs into her throat and drink my fill while tearing open her shirt and abusing her body — I could enjoy every predatory aspect of myself and every available aspect of Bonbon’s existence.  Right up until I ended it.

“I had to take it,” Bonbon gasped desperately.  “If I hadn’t accepted your deal and the vampire had been driven off, then they would have had the sole claim to you.  You would have been taken to Archarel’s kingdom and tortured for…  There’s no time there.  You would have been in fear and agony until the day they got bored and one of them traded you to another kingdom for a new toy.  But if I had a claim, too, I could at least keep them from taking you out of this world!”

My eyes narrowed.  True or not, I didn’t care: my hunger had overcome my curiosity and proclivity toward wool gathering.  I wanted blood and it was time for Bonbon to die.  If I thought of it later I could try the clothing thing on Melvin or Megan.

Emma might be expendable, but Megan and I shared a soul.  If Lewellan could track me using a bit of my old blood then I hated to think what Archarel could do if he knew he had the woman whose soul kept my own affixed to my body.  That was an unacceptable risk.  Megan was mine.

But first?  Dinner.

I lunged forward, fangs bared.  I couldn’t move at super-speeds because of being too close to Bonbon, but I could move fast and there wasn’t exactly room in the booth seat for her to struggle… Not that her shadowed pseudo-invisible phantasm form had the mass to struggle.  Not effectively, anyway.

Bonbon shrieked.  She flailed at me, and I was caught completely off guard by how effective it actually was.

Bonbon didn’t need room to struggle.  One of her arms phased through the edge of the table just before her entire body snapped from shadow-substance to physical reality.  Her suddenly entirely-visible and far too real-seeming fist smacked into the side of my head with enough force to throw off my lunge and plow me into the booth’s backrest.  At the same time she kicked with her now-solid legs, hard.

I felt one of my lower ribs crack.  The unexpected force heaved me up and back from her.   Bonbon immediately went back into her shadowy, semi-insubstantial state and threw herself sideways before I could grab her again.  She let out a pained gasp as she phased through the table and caught herself against the back of the booth seat on the other side.

Then Bonbon bolted for the opening of the booth — only to come up short before she could hit the curtain.  She cried out in pain that trailed off in a sob as my geas rent more slashes through her shadow form.  Trembling, sobbing, she collapsed against the curtain.  It held up her nonexistent weight as though it were a wall.

I twisted around on the seat and clucked my tongue at her.  “Tsk tsk, Bonbon,” I said.  I brushed my fingers over where she’d punched me.  The pain let me know I had fractured cheekbones as well as a fractured rib, but neither of those injuries were anywhere near enough to put me down.  “No escaping, remember?”

Bonbon sobbed and turned to face me.  She sank down along the curtain and the bleeding rents in her body closed up.  This time I was less fascinated.  I scowled.  That was my essence she was wasting.

Then, abruptly, the privacy curtain was torn open.

A very angry-looking Fumiko stood on the other side.  She was oblivious to the quivering pile at her feet that was Bonbon.  Instead, Fumiko’s attention locked on me.  “Abigail,” she snapped, “What the fuck?

I shifted my gaze to meet hers.  “I could ask the same thing,” I said.  “I told Mark to let you know I had everything under control.  You really should listen when I tell you to keep the fuck out of my way, Fumiko.”

Bonbon slunk behind Fumiko.  It seemed like Fumiko couldn’t see her shadow form, but really that was to be expected I supposed.  I’d only been able to spot it by using the leyline between us; that had to have been what let me see through the invisibility that accompanied its other immaterial properties.  It also seemed like Bonbon couldn’t go further because of my geas, so I wasn’t terribly vexed that she was trying to hide behind Fumiko for now.

Fumiko scoffed.  “Yeah.  Well, with a warning like that how could I not interfere?  I know you.  The only times you ‘have things under control’ are  when your vampire side is in control, and…”  Her eyes narrowed as she took in my appearance and stance.  “The faerie drained you, didn’t she?”  Fumiko’s hands curled into fists.  “Goddamnit, Abigail, I should kick your ass.”

I recoiled and blinked.  Then it clicked, and I smiled.  I’d already drained Fumiko.  Not entirely, but enough that she wasn’t operating in her usual state of mind: whatever her greatest fear was, it was absent.  And apparently that fear had been whatever it was that caused her to keep her true, aggressive nature in check.

It was interesting, because I knew that Fumiko wasn’t a viable meal since I’d already depleted her aura.  And at the same time, I also recognized myself in the strange scenario taking place within her: when my aura was intact I was a wuss, too.   We were, in a way, kindred spirits like that.

On the other hand, I was a fucking vampire and Fumiko was in my way and I could damn well take her.

“Leave now, Fumiko,” I ordered her.  “You’re useful to me, but not so useful that I won’t break you if you keep standing between me and my Bonbon.”

“Bonbon?” Fumiko asked.  “Is that like one of those stupid names Jack makes up for people who haven’t given him theirs yet?”  Her eyes widened.  “Is the faerie still here?

To her credit, Fumiko didn’t try to look around for Bonbon.  If she had, I probably would’ve used the opportunity to jump her.  As it was, I decided to take her understanding as an opportunity to make her understand, one predator to another, that I would end her if she didn’t get the fuck out of my way right now.

“Yes,” I answered.  “Cowering behind you.  So move, or I will kill you to get what she stole from me.”

“Son of a…” Fumiko started to mutter.  Then she abruptly stopped, and said loudly:  “Faerie, you’re a fucking moron.  Holding onto that aura isn’t worth it, so push it back.  Abby is a crabby bitch when she’s hungry.”

I lunged at Fumiko, but Bonbon was already responding to her exasperated instructions.  The leyline between myself and Bonbon shifted again, and my aura rushed back in a burst.  I tried to recoil, horrified that I had been about to seize Fumiko and snap her neck — but I had too much forward momentum and I was caught up in the sudden vertigo of my emotions trying to resettle my aura.  The horror came in waves that washed over and around the urge to just kill Fumiko and eat my damn Bonbon already, but then the waves stilled and my vampire side was submerged once more.

It took only an instant, and as Fumiko had said when Megan had pushed energy into me, the power exchange wasn’t even.  I couldn’t quantify it, but my aura was far thinner than it had been before I’d sat at the bar, and that began to thin even more as my healing kicked back in.

Then the instant passed and Fumiko expertly slid aside, avoiding my lunge and catching me, then twisting around to drag me out of the booth.  Before I could react she had me on the ground and pinned.  “Give me one good reason that I shouldn’t just break your neck before you start running around making trouble for everyone,” Fumiko demanded.

“The faerie listened to you,” I answered swiftly.  “I’m in control now.”

Fumiko hesitated, and then eased back, letting me up.

“In that case,” she said, “we should get out of here before the cops show up.  That means you, too, faerie.  I have questions for you and you owe me.”

I gawked at Fumiko “The cops?” I asked — and then I realized that the club’s patrons were gawking at us.  Gawking, and clearly keeping their distance.

Fumiko shrugged.  “I may have had to break Bob a little,” she said as she turned.  A still-invisible and insubstantial Bonbon practically clung to her side, keeping Fumiko between us.  “And a couple other guys who thought being big was all that mattered,” Fumiko added.  Then she glanced over her shoulder.  “Well?  Let’s go already.”  Fumiko stalked toward the club’s entrance.  Bonbon continued to cling to her.

And I scrambled to my feet and followed.

Midnight Moonlight, Book 4

21 responses to Book 4, Chapter 34

  1. Eren Reverie

    Hi everyone! I’m posting this one ever so slightly early because, frankly, I just finished it and I didn’t have the heart to schedule it for eleven minutes from now. >.>

    Enjoy, everyone!

    And now I must collapse into sleep. Good night, morning, afternoon, or whatever time it is wherever you are.

  2. Ben

    Thanks for the chapter~

    Bonbon is a shapeshift right, like Megan? Wouldn’t that make her someone important in the Fae world?

    • Eren Reverie

      All fae are technically shapeshifters: they are beings of magic and as such their ‘physical’ form is a phantasmal representation of themselves. According to Melvin Tophat, way back when, most fae don’t shapesgifters too much, however, because the more strongly they identify with their representarion, the harder it is for someone else to affect it with their own magic or use it as a point of vulnerability.

      That’s why he makes a big deal about the dangers of trying to use someone else’s image — they have more claim to it and stronger associations with it, so a fae who is impersonating someone else without securing the right to, first, is extremely vulnerable to whomever they are mimiccing should that person be at all familiar with magic.

  3. I’m not sure I made sense of this one. Fumiko knew they were there fairy hunting, finds Abby in a booth with… someone, and protects the fairy?

    Did Abby make a scene or something to tip Fumiko off? Otherwise, I’m not seeing how she made the decisions she did. She seems to have information she shouldn’t. I would have expected her to back Abby more, not get in between her and Bonbon….

    • To be clear, I’m not talking about this:
      ““Son of a…” Fumiko started to mutter. Then she abruptly stopped, and said loudly: “Faerie, you’re a fucking moron. Holding onto that aura isn’t worth it, so push it back. Abby is a crabby bitch when she’s hungry.””

      That part made sense. I understood it. Where I’m confused is *before* that, where Fumiko steps into the scene.

    • Eren Reverie

      Fumiko can’t see Bonbon — Abby can because she’s focused in on the key line that connects Abby and Fumiko, but ‘shadow form’ fae are invisible and insubstantial to those who aren’t aware of them. So Fumiko came in on Abby, apparently by herself, vamping out. At that point Fumiko doesn’t know that Bonbon is there, let alone that Bonbon is actually hiding behind her for protection.

      Fumiko’s initial arrival and anger with Abby stems from something entirely different. Specifically: Fumiko showed up because Abby ‘being in control’ raises a red flag for her, and she is pissed at Abby for appearing to have been suckered b the fae (who, to Fumiko, appears to have drained Abby and escaped, leaving a mess for Fumiko to deal wih) and having Mark tell the bouncers to forcibly throw her out. At that point Fumiko was probably working on the assumption that vampire Abby was trying to get rid of her so that she could go on a feeding rampage through the club, or something similar.

      When Fumiko does realize Bonbon is still there, she acts to protect the faerie because she knows Vampires-Abby is a killer who probably doesn’t care about the information they need to get in order to try to rescue Megan. This is something else that would piss off Fumiko, since the entire reason they went faerie hunting was to try to find one to interrogate, and with her reduced emotional capability Fumiko isn’t in the psychological space to deal with other people’s antics — that has always been a place where she has lacked patience, but now she also lacks the emotional state to not follow up on her urge to kick the asses of anyone who’s being stupid or otherwise inconveniencing her.

      That’s all a kind of vague recap of things from Fumiko’s supposed point of view, but I hope her actions make more sense with that context spelled out more. I’ll probably address this in a little more detail
      in-story, so I don’t want to try to explain everything here. I’ll let Fumiko do that for herself.

      • Ah. ::smacks forehead:: I completely forgot about the invisibility. Or rather, I forgot that Bonbon was never *not* invisible.

        Thanks for the clarification.

        • Eren Reverie

          No problem. 🙂 Does that detail make the rest sensible, then? I try to be careful about not writing people with extra knowledge, but it would be pretty easy for me to lose track of who knows what when I’m in the middle of a scene — and it was late when I was writing the end of that one, heh.

  4. Nice.

    Minor detail: Wouldn’t Fumiko call Tophat “Jack” instead of Melvin? Or is it because she speaks from Abby’s perspective? Anyway that’s good.

    PS: Ever thought of registering on aho-updates? …not that I know how that’s done.

    • Eren Reverie

      Oh, good point. That should be Jack and I shouldn’t write updates when it’s so late. O.o

      I’m not familiar with aho-updates, but I’ll look into it.

    • Eren Reverie

      Well, I browsed around on the site and finally found the contact form (it was hidden on my tablet), so hopefully Midnight Moonlight will be added to aho-updates in the near future. XD Thanks!

  5. EmbarrassedReader

    Hmm… So why does the state of Megan’s soul matter? Surely the majority of the people who were a vampires first blood are dead? So what makes Megan living or dying so important to Abigail’s state as a vampire? I get that she was her first blood and the curse is built upon her soul, etc, but that doesn’t explain her well being depending on her when the same doesn’t seem to be true of all the other vampires. :/

    • I think it’s less about her well-being and more about what a competent fae could do with acces to her soul. Abby is “alive” thanks to a portion of Megan’s soul, so technically she ows Megan her life. And since we clearly saw fae “laws” affected Abby, it would be a big issue for her if Archarel finds a way to control Megan.

      From psycho-Abby Pov: The fae kill Megan? Who cares? I’ll lose my best and highly consenting snack, but I’ll manage. But, the fae wants to keep Megan alive and use her? No good!

      Though that’s a bit simplistic, because I also think dead-ish Abby has an even more possessive drive than her alive-ish self, so she probably would be majorly pissed if anyone dared to mess with HER Megan… or HER city… HER world? Mwahahahahaha… Of course!

      • Eren Reverie

        This is a pretty good summation of what vampire Abby may be thinking. 😉 I may have to emphasize it more, but this is sort of what I was trying to get at with Abby’s ‘if Lewellan can do tracking spells with my old blood, what could Archarel do with access to my soul?!’ Even without her paranoia in play, there are a lot of bad possibilities there just in terms of using ‘like Effects like’ magic. Add to that the way we’ve seen Abby’s curse ‘confuse’ Megan’s well-being and Abby’s well-being (back when Abby realized Megan was fae for the first time Abby realized that this is what was keeping her from killing Megan) and, yes, the way the curse amplifies her possessiveness as well as the drive to survive when it is in control, and Abby might have even less of a choice about coming to Megan’s rescue when she’s dead than she does when she’s alive.

  6. Astrum

    Nuuuu caught up. =(
    At least i have the fast updates to look forward to. ^^

  7. Syndic

    Since I think I didn’t mention that as “thing I like about this story” yet: the way you write Vampire-Abby in the same perspective as normal (for certain values of “normal” ^^) Abby without any big breaks in style or narrative or anything when she shifts between those really drives the “it’s the same person, just with a different way of thinking” home, it feels natural that way and makes a nice contrast to the more common (at least in books I read so far) “I am the regular persona and I do this. That is my vampire persona, and he does this” style that maintains a clear barrier between the two.

    • Eren Reverie

      Thanks. 🙂 The trickiest bit, I think, is showing it as a range when Abby usually only notices it (especially at first) after it reaches a certain point. I’m glad you’re enjoying my particular blurring of the vampire-the-monster and vampire-as-person line. ;D

      • Syndic

        Yeah, the range is exactly what impresses – those slight changes in behavior, in how she interprets things, all that. Way better than an on/off switch 🙂

    • fangfan

      There IS a change of style when Eren writes the thoughts of Vampire-Abby, though it is subtle enough not to stand out as an obvious break. Alive-Abby’s trail of thought is like casual chatting, Vampire-Abby’s seems more focused, the structure of the sentences and the vocabulary more formal. Those subtle changes do contribute very well to make the reader feel the changes in personality Abby goes through when vamping out.

  8. star34

    Oh at least BonBon can learn, and listen when it matters. And now that poor farie owes two people in the same place.

    I now hunger makes people crazy but Abigail takes it a bit far sometimes…

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