“Old Blood” – Excerpt from The Matriarch: Guardians

GuardiansRightfaceebookcover2014The old blood was close.

Just ahead in the starlight, she could make out the shape of a shed; no, it was an old camper overgrown with vines. It looked as though it might have been out there for years, abandoned and rotting away from neglect.

A short distance behind the camper was a tree stump. Janiss moved as quietly as she could so that the forest insects easily covered the sound of her passing. Even being old and of no use, the blood attracted her; had it come from a child? The stain followed the pattern of the stump’s rings. It didn’t look like someone had been killed there so much as it looked like the blood had been poured out intentionally.

Janiss looked around, imagining that it could be bait for a trap. She immediately discarded the idea; while there was no evidence to support it, she imagined a kid playing who might have cut themselves and used the stump while wrapping the wound up. Having been attracted to it herself, perhaps the woman in white had sought it out as well.

With nowhere else someone could hide, Janiss turned her attention to the camper. She could see the tires and wheels had been removed and that it was up on blocks. Holes that had rotted away in the sides near the bottom had been blocked from the inside with bits of wood and a faded STOP sign.

Listening carefully, Janiss concentrated to screen out every other sound that she could. Inside were signs of life – a breath and a heartbeat – only there was nothing attractive about it, nothing that she wanted from it.

What else could it be other than another vampire?

If the one inside could be sensed by her, she was certain it must know she was there and what she was. With her eyes already black, Janiss let her fangs and talons out and stepped around to the side door of the trailer, ready for trouble.

Part of her was itching for a fight, someone she could throw down with and work out a little frustration. At the same time, there was always the possibility she might lose her first vampire combat; Timothy’s words echoed in her ear: “Without you, Cedarcrest fails.” It would have been simple enough to knock the door down and charge in, but what would that do other than force the occupant to defend herself?

GuardiansRightfaceebookcover2014Threat assessment.

With a calm demeanor but still in full vampire mode, Janiss knocked on the camper door.