WARNING: Adult content.
Charlotte tracks down the vampire from the library.
London – 1841
‘This is a surprise,’ the vampire said, crossing the street from the gentleman’s club to where I was leaning against a wall in an alley. I couldn’t believe he’d named himself Icarus, probably thought he was being clever. ‘You smell like Bran’s whore but I didn’t expect trousers.’ He stopped a foot away and looked me up and down. ‘I saw something in your eyes when I took him from the library. But this I didn’t expect.’
I fetched a cigarette and a box of matches out of my pocket.
‘Has he come home crying?’ He wrinkled his nose. ‘Or does Papa still have him locked up in that hole?’ He smirked. ‘He always was a coward.’
The matchbox rattled and few matches fell to the cobbles. I cursed under my breath.
‘If I hadn’t heard it for myself I’d think he only paid you to cry into your skirts,’ he said. ‘He never told me if he pays you extra for your sweet words.’ He waited. ‘Nothing to say? Have you come to try and scare me, little girl?’
I put the cigarette to my lips and lit it.
‘Papa had this marvellous notion to make Brandon tell us all about it. Disgusting, I thought, but it was hysterically funny. Oh, he’s always been a good entertainment has Brandon.’
‘Do you always talk so much?’ I asked and blew out the match with gust of smoke.
‘I don’t think you appreciate how funny you are in those trousers, with your little cigarette, pretending to be tough. It’s quite sweet, like someone dress up a porcelain doll.’ He clapped his hands. ‘Is that why Brandon likes you? A little porcelain doll for him to defile? I didn’t think he had such perversion in him.’
I glanced toward the street, a scattering of people passed, lit by the gas lamps. You could recognise the ones that had left the club but didn’t have a carriage or a cab to take them home, they could barely stand straight.
Icarus leaned in close. ‘The things I could do to you, girl… Alas there’s no satisfaction without Bran to see. You’re nothing to me.’
I tapped ash off my cigarette and he watched it flutter passed his sleeve. ‘Then why are you talking to me?’
He blinked, drew back and brushed away imagined ash.
‘You’re talking to me because you want to know why “a girl” would come and wait for you in the street.’
‘I can only suppose you saw a vastly better vampire and thought you would try your luck. Perhaps try to go up in the world.’ He chuckled. ‘Well, you’d still be going down wouldn’t you?’
I put the cigarette between my lips and clapped slowly.
‘If that’s not the reason, then what could it be, I wonder?’
‘I want to protect, Bran.’ I paused. ‘I’ve never said that out loud before, I like it. It sounds good.’
He smiled. ‘Very sweet.’
‘Oh, I’m more interested in Richard than you.’ I rolled the matchbox across the backs of my fingers and it rattled like a steam train.
‘Ah, planning to ply me with sexual favours for information on Papa.’ He laughed.
I wrinkled my nose and the box stopped moving.
‘I will tell you nothing and I certainly don’t want to have sex with you.’
‘Oh, that’s lucky.’
He stopped laughing and stepped closer. ‘Do you think you’re funny?’
I exhaled smoke in his face. ‘I think you’re slow.’
‘I am almost three hundred years old and you call me slow? A whore should show more respect to her betters.’ He put his hands on the wall on either side of me. ‘Do I need to teach you respect?’
‘I think I need to teach you a few things.’
He drew his lips back, showing his fangs. ‘Such as?’
‘All you vampires have an enhanced sense of smell, right?’
He nodded, slowly.
I flicked my thumbnail over the match in my hand and tossed at his trousers. ‘Then you should know I don’t smoke.’
His leg ignited and he screamed. The fire rushed up engulfing him. He staggered out into the street, a torch lighting the night. The men coming out of the club stared in horror.
I stubbed out the cigarette against the wall then climbed up the drainpipe as his screams died and perched on a roof. The ashy statue that had been Icarus collapsed and the fire went out.
‘Spontaneous combustion,’ a man was bellowing. ‘Call a doctor, call… call someone.’
‘A doctor won’t do any good. He’s needs a dustpan and brush,’ another slurred.
Nobody thought to check the alley, everyone knew people could spontaneous combust, especially if they drank too much. I wondered if vampires had put that about to explain why the occasionally exploded.
I watched the fuss for a while. People ran back and forth not appearing to do anything because there wasn’t much you could do for a heap of ash.
Satisfied that ‘Icarus’ wasn’t getting up again I retreated into the dark.
Part of Jesse’s Studio’s Fiction Frenzy there will be a new episode of Victorian Mistress everyday from 4th June until 17th June 2017.