Monday, 15 August 2016

Chapter Thirteen


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In the minutes before the world went a little haywire, Daniel Miller was a happy, if decidedly naked man. It had taken somewhere between thirty and sixty seconds for him to desert the room he had very properly been shown to and make his way to Lucile's quarters and straight into her arms. There should probably have been introductions to be made to fellow guests, formal business to be attended to but instead the couple had been happy to flout such society and were already tucked up in the enormous, flamboyant bed that was Lucile's billet, their embraces heated and their kisses fierce.

"We should hide here," his companion decided between kisses, "All party."

"Debauching each other," Dan decided, hands roaming opportunely.

All night?" he heard the challenge in her tone. 

"At least.” The next few moments were lost in further kisses, the night spent in a barn and the unexpected trip into the village all but forgotten at the promise before them. 

"Debauch me, Miss Wyatt," Dan teased mischievously. "give it all you've got."

"You wouldn't be able to manage all I've got...."

"I'd give it a good try..." Dan moved over Lucile, dipping his mouth to dot kisses on the cool skin of her pale neck, desire for her sending a surge of heat through him, "Very, very hard."

"You are making a joke," she decided, kissing him hard, "But a very true one."

He returned the kiss, savouring the feel of her body as they moved together, the familiar softness of her skin. Tonight wasn't a night for fierce heat, but for languorous hours of lovemaking.  She was, he noticed, in agreement, hands roaming, mouth enticing against his.

She still enchanted him, still left him hungry for her even now their bodies were familiar, their tastes known to one another. He knew how to elicit the sweet sounds from Lucile that made him burn for her, exactly what drove her to the heights of pleasure and she took him there in turn, left him wanting her more with every encounter. 

"No more playwrights and poodles...." Lucile murmured against his lips, the faintest scrape of her teeth as she moved to his jaw. That drew a gasp of anticipation, the sharpness of her fangs just hinted at in the touch. Another hint of pressure and he wondered if she would, if she would go that one step further, crossing where they had not yet gone. How it would be he didn't know, yet didn't the poets write of its decadent eroticism, of the bewitching ardour of it? Heart pounding, Dan whispered Lucile's name, the pace of his movements slow and deep.

She took the encouragement and he felt the welcoming sting as her teeth grazed harder, eyes closing in delicious anticipation. Suddenly though she stopped, tensing. With a frown he opened his eyes again, about to ask her what the matter was.

The words, if words there were, were silenced by an explosion of smashing glass, the room plunged into total darkness for a moment as one of the dark, engulfing creatures that had pursued Alice and Faulkner tumbled down onto the rug, the fire flickering for a few seconds before the flames leaped suddenly higher in its wake. Whatever was hidden in that dense flurry of black let out a scream  likely to pierce an eardrum, howling its fury.

A shriek from Lucile was followed by a loud hiss as she recovered herself, amorousness forgotten now as she told Dan, "Don't touch it!"

"What is it?” He hardly dared move, yet could hardly be more vulnerable, the thing on the rug not a thing of physical depth and solidity, but an amorphous shadow, moving to fast to see yet not moving at all, the sound of wings where no wings could be glimpsed.

"Deadly." Lucile's response did little to cheer him, and he sincerely doubted that the thing, whatever it was, would be vanquished by being smothered in a pillow. 

"Hope it doesn't blush easily..." Dan whispered as he moved slowly onto the bed, sensing that it was watching him, that somewhere in the darkness they were being scrutinised. 

"If you can get to the window," Lucile whispered back, stock still beside him, "Run." 

"You go," Dan took a deep breath, slowly reaching to gather a blanket, well aware of just how vulnerable they were. He moved to kiss Lucile, long and deep and then, as the creature rose, the shadow stretching and lengthening, the scream sounding, Dan let out a bellow to Lucile to run. 

He launched straight at the beast, smothering it in the blanket and forcing it into the fire. It shifted and undulated in the blanket, wings beating unseen but the fabric caught the flame and Dan stumbled back onto the rug as the hellish thing, in an explosion of sulphur, exploded into dust.  Reeling, choking, he was vaguely aware of hands helping him back towards the bed, Lucile's presence as he tried to make sense of what had just happened. There was no sense in it though, nor in the shakiness of his limbs as he collapsed into her arms as still air elsewhere erupted into muffled screams and sounds of attack. "I told you," Dan's voice was a gasp, hoarse and trembling, "To run."

"You should know by now," came the reproachful response, even as gentle hands stroked his hair, "That I am not one to be told." Dan managed a smile, savouring this return, however brief, to contentment as the world outside seemed to be collapsing. "You need to get out," Lucile was telling him then, "Whatever is down there is not good."

"Me?" She made it sound horribly... singular and he lifted his head, kissing her deeply before he said, "We need to get out; throw some clothes on..." For a moment he thought of Faulkner, wondering if he was safe, yet if he knew one thing, it was that the doctor was a man who could take care of himself and anyone who was lucky enough to be in in the vicinity of the man he thought of as a brother.

Eschewing stays and petticoats Lucile located her chemise, dress following a moment later, her expression more serious than he had ever seen it.

"Now get yourself safe," Dressed if more than a touch dishevelled, Dan drew his lover into his arms, kissing her even as his mind reeled, mentally mapping what little he knew of the house. He wouldn't tell her that he had no intention of leaving, of course, that he would stay here and help those innocent souls who likely had less experience at dealing with this sort of drama than he. "And I'll see you when we've sent these things back to hell."

"I am not leaving you," Lucile's tone was one that would not be argued with, "Who knows what trouble you would end up in."

"Then you make me one promise," he pulled open the dresser, throwing various pistols onto the bed before he let a rather hungry look sweep over her figure, "Leave your stays behind more often." With a wink, Dan threw Lucile a pistol, "And don't shoot anyone Scottish."

"I know," she assured him, and he paused to reflect how, even in this crisis, she looked very good with a gun in her hand, "How to handle a weapon."

"Then let's go," he told her with a kiss. "And save the day."

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