A mysterious horrifying tale of a rich family and the cursed staff that serve them.
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[i Come little children, I’ll take thee away...]
The blue-eyed child looked up at the black shape, peeking out from behind a tree, a single red light emanating from the monster’s face. The boy knew he shouldn’t have followed the voice into the midnight forest. He knew he shouldn’t have brought Hop with him.
[right [i Into a land of enchantment.]]
He gripped the stuffed bunny in his hand tighter, lifting it up to his chest. Maybe he would be protected. Maybe nothing would hurt him like this. The black shape almost moved invisibly in the darkness, using the natural cover of the forest to creep closer.
[right [i Follow sweet children, I’ll show thee the way. Through all the pain and the sorrow.]]
The child swallowed hard, too scared to run away, silent tears running down his cheeks and pooling at his chin. Hop will protect him. The creature paused just a couple steps away tilting his head at the boy. It mused in silence, watching the heartbeat of the young one increasing by the second before finally moving forward.
[right [i Rest now my children, for soon we’ll away...]]
The shadow shape grabbed the boy by the shoulders, lifting him up slowly, the gap in the monster’s chest opening up wide to a row of pointed teeth and blackness. The blue eyes looked up at the red light, the tilt in the monster’s head unwavering as it pushed the child into the starving cavity, the stuffed toy falling at its feet. The blood gushed into his system and only at the last moment, did the shadow realize its grave mistake.
[right [i Into the calm and the quiet.]]
It was a rather gloomy day in the Hollows forty miles outside of Amsterdam. The country had been seeing a lot of rain the past week, making the rolling hills vibrantly green and fresh with life. Norman appreciated the landscape, as one should if he was to be a fair groundskeeper. He took a moment to sink in the view whilst he finished his cigarette.
The manor, located in the heart of the Hollows, stood tall and wide, littered with windows and gothic architectural design. The Harte family was known for being private, often preferring the remote location despite their business being settled another twenty miles out. They managed a specialty hospital where the care of the patients was greatly sought by many wealthy families all across Europe.
Having recently cradled another child into the manor, the head of the family decided to expand his staff with strict specifications. From Norman’s understanding, he only acquired the position based solely on an incident that happened with his last employer. [i Saved by a mad man who simply trimmed the hedges, Arthur Reese survived a vicious attack by a monster that hid itself away in the surrounding backwood mountains.] Or something like that...
These ‘shadow beasts’ weren't as uncommon as one would think. In these olden lands, creatures born of darkness were more than folklore, known to most of Europe as changelings. Once taking a host, they lived solitary lives for the most part but some, though rarely, go beyond taking a life by living a better one. Unfortunately, changelings were not cute or stubby faerie like creatures. No... they were monsters. They were [i all] monsters.
Norman dropped the cigarette butt and crushed it into the gravel beneath his boot. Leaving his rusted underwhelming Beetle near the edge of the extended curved driveway. Checking his unkempt hair in the side mirror one last time, the landscaper walked up to the grand front door and knocked, shifting in his wool coat. The ebony door clicked open, an older gentleman in a black suit bowing briefly before stepping aside to let him in.
Norman ran his fingers through his black hair, drinking in the grander of the main foyer. He’d been in reputable homes before but nothing close to this. [b “We are waiting on one other to arrive, sir. The head of the family appreciates your patience.”]
[#722aa8 “Yeah, sure, no problem,”] he mumbled, distracted by the large painting of the family to his left. Two parents and four- now five children... Interesting. ]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The hunger was too much to bear. There had to be someone around here somewhere... Not much longer to wait now. It was barely morning and the fog was thick. The perfect setting to find someone. Not much longer to wait, you'll find someone soon.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" There on the swing. They will have to make do you can't hold on much longer it has to be now, quick while there's no one else around. Adults will be getting up for work soon, no one can see you.]]
[right[size16[i[font "Candara Light" "Hey sweetie are you okay? Where's your mommy and daddy?]]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The child hesitated until the woman in front of him showed him her nurse's badge and after all who's going to be afraid of a nurse who is there to nurture and care for people?]]
[size16[i[font "Candara Light" "I- I don't know... My mommy told me to wait here and said she would be back in a minute but she's not come back yet. I'm scared and cold Miss and I want my mommy".]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The stomach cramps began. Not much longer to wait now. He trusts you, you just need to convince him to come with you to the hospital so you can check him over. Persuade him with cookies. Kids love cookies.]]
[size16[i[font "Candara Light" "Maybe something has happened to your mommy. Say why don't we go to my hospital and see if she's there, she may be hurt and can't get back to you. Your mommy might be really worried about you. I'll stay with you the whole time and hey while we wait for your mommy how about some cookies. I have some in my car right over there. It's better than sitting in the cold right?]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Just as predicted as soon as the child heard cookies it didn't take long for him to stand up. Not much longer to wait now, don't move too quickly or it could ruin everything. This is your first chance to devour a child, I've heard they're delicious. Now get to the car so you can fill your tummy.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The child grabbed the trusting nurse's hands and began the slow walk to the car. Not much longer to wait now. Keep calm you're almost there.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The car door opened and the heat began to leak out into the cold as the two bodies quickly clambered into the car for warmth from the cold daybreak approaching. Not long to wait now, you just need to move away here. Why don't you make your way to the hospital it on a long secluded road, nobody will even know.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The silence was deafening between the two as the warm friendly nature of the nurse began to disappear. She knew this when she looked into the child's eyes. The look of excitement of being reunited with his mother soon began to fade and now it was a nervous look with a hint of terror which only made the hunger worse.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The car came to a stop. The kind caring nurse was no longer seated in the driver's side but a creature resembling that of a spider. The terror in the child grew more every second, you could tell he wanted to scream for help but part of him knew it would be useless. There was no way something of this monstrosity would let him go. Who would have thought something so hideous could have been hiding behind the mask of a kind nurse wanting to help a tiny child.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The first spider's leg hit the child followed by the other eight. Finally, the wait was over. The hunger would be satiated for a little while. The child had been devoured and the familiar nurse stepped out of the car.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The stomach pain only continued to worsen as the nurse vomited up blood and the remains of her victim. Staring down at the bloody mess on the floor she kicked some dirt to disguise it and looked up at the sky in anger.]]
[center[i[size16[font "Candara Light" "What a waste of a meal. Whoever said devouring a child was the most delicious thing in the world is an idiot... They taste horrid".]]]]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/729hptV.png]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "I fucking hate this weather..."]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" The weather had been non-stop atrocious with constant rain this past week and Thana couldn't wait for it to be over. Reaching for the dial to turn the heating up on the car Thana punched it once when she'd realized it was already at the highest setting. She wasn't cut out for this weather but Amsterdam was where her newest job contract would be. It paid well so she would have to make do with the shitty weather for now.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" After all this was one of the few places that required a private nurse in a large estate. The others... well let's say Thana left at the right time before they became a murder scene. As if humans didn't have enough to worry about with other humans trying to kill them but there were things that went bump in the night. The things you told your children that were just make-believe, they simply didn't 'exist'. This always bought a smile to Thana's face. Mostly from the look of horror on the adult's face when they now knew that they'd been lying to their children all this time. These things they told them not to worry about did indeed exist and they had every right to live in fear. The stranger with the white van was practically a Disney character compared to the 'shadow beasts' that lived amongst the humans.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The cramping in her stomach had begun earlier this morning. Thana had convinced herself to wait until night but from the looks of things, it would be as early as evening if she was going to keep her sanity. Luckily for her, the new workplace was out in the middle of nowhere and located in a dense forest. People must go 'missing' here all the time. Throwing her cigarette out of the window she pulled up next to a car just as crappy looking as her own.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "Looks like someone is just as desperate for this job as I am".]]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana stepped out of the car not bothering to lock it due to the gated entry when she first arrived. She grabbed her large fur coat from the backseat of her car and quickly wrapped it around her followed by some thick leather gloves. Reaching for her handbag before shutting the car door she quickly made her way up the never-ending driveway. Something that attracted the rich folk, the bigger the house the longer the driveway.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Standing in front of the manor Thana knocked on the door 3 times and didn't have to wait too long before a smart-looking gentleman in a suit opened the door. Thana immediately turned on the charm as she flashed him a huge smile and made her way inside once she had been gestured to.]] [size15[b[font "Candara Light" "If you'll follow me please madam. We have been waiting on your arrival, there is already a gentleman waiting in the main foyer. Once you've been introduced I will tell the head of the manor you have arrived".]]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana nodded as she was shown to the waiting area and just as the suit guy had said there was someone else in there. He seemed lost in admiring the painting so Thana decided to be polite, after all, it wouldn't surprise her if the head of the manor didn't install some secret cameras somewhere and for all she knew this could be some kind of test. She lightly coughed to announce her presence and then opened her mouth to speak.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" Hi there, my name is Thana Reeve. Looks like we're the rookies off this place, I look forward to working with you".]]]]
The fiend’s attention was pulled from the painting, turning to see a sharp woman in a rather over exaggerated fur coat. Their eyes met and, whether it was an ancient inherited ability or a mutual lust, Norman instantly felt, like him, something was terribly wrong with her. Did she see it too? Just now or was it merely his intangible hunger?
Knowing full well that creatures from the dark need to play nice, he returned her smile wholeheartedly. From personal experience, changelings were very protective of their property and he didn’t necessarily want to compete for the family. He had never come across another like him trying to blend into society, at least never this far off from major cities. He’d killed many wild ones sure, but none had a face and demeanor as devious as hers.
[#722aa8 “Looks like it,”] he said, pulling his right hand out of his jacket pocket and shaking hers. His touch was always warm which lured many victims into the Shadow’s traps. He tried his hardest not to seem threatening or unapproachable, though it was a struggle. His smile always felt forced and didn’t look right when he practiced in the mirror. Naturally, he avoided people when he could and while Norman did prefer to be alone, the creature wanted to truly do more good than harm to the humans.
[#722aa8 “Norman Braxton. Hired for the groundskeeper position.”] The man eyed her suspiciously, as he pulled back, noting the pink on her nose and cheeks. [#722aa8 “I take it you’re not from the Netherlands are you?”]
[size16[font "Candara Light" As the man in front of her turned around it was almost as though a bolt of electricity shot through her. It couldn't be... could it? Thana knew this feeling all too well, he was like her. Exactly like her for that matter. Thana couldn't help but feel the excitement in her stomach about it either, sure she'd met other shadow beasts in her life but not many of them tried to blend into society as she had done, so this was something new for her and she was dying to know his reason for it. But that would be for later, for now, she needed to keep up the sweet appearance and play dumb. Which was becoming increasingly difficult from the cramping in her stomach from hunger.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana smiled as he removed his hand from his pockets and shook hers. Then the warmth hit her, it was like the fires of hell had opened and caressed her body. She immediately wanted to drop the only thing keeping her warm and run to his warmth which was far better, it was like a moth to a flame but the only difference is Thana wouldn't be burnt.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Realising she had been holding his hand longer than that was expected, Thana let go as much as it pained her to, she looked into his eyes and flashed a smile.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "It's a pleasure to meet you Mr.Braxton. I hope I didn't keep you waiting long, I got a little lost".]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" By lost she meant she stopped for a quick bite to eat, and still it wasn't enough to fill her, but then again nothing ever was. The next comment Norman made hit the nail on the head and Thana wasn't even going to pretend to deny it, she hated the cold and would make that clear to the head of the household.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "You're exactly right. I recently transferred here from Florida which was a lot warmer. But let's just say I needed a change or scenery and this was the perfect job offer..."]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" Thana smiled once more followed by a slight giggle, knowing full well he wasn't the stupid type and knew what was she getting at.]]
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Playfair+Display] [size15 [Playfair+Display The pull between the pair was intense, to say the least. It piqued his curiosity, Norman studying her mannerisms like a predator sizing it’s prey. The changeling’s instincts always seemed to be tiptoeing on the line of being too aggressive with it’s words and actions that Norman often had a continuous struggle containing those violent urges. With Thana, it was beginning to feel more defensive.
Nonetheless, he smiled at her comment, knowing full well her reasoning behind a sudden drastic move out to Europe. So, she was a hungry bitter? If she knew how far often he starved himself, she might think he was on the verge of going insane. That any day he just might [i snap]. [#722aa8 “Careful now, one might think that hunger of yours is insatiable,”] he replied low enough for her to hear.
There was the clatter of heels to wooden steps descending the staircase behind him and his grin grew wider, giving the ‘woman’ no time to retort. [b “Sorry I’m late you two! I seemed to have lost time in my study.”]
Norman turned, watching the head of the household hurry to down them. Blonde hair and mustache, business suit, red in his cheeks. Mr. Harte reminded him of all the other masters he’d been employed by. All cut from the same silk cloth. He held out his hand as Harte approached, trying out the smile again. [b “Good heavens, that’s disturbing,”] he started, shaking his hand enthusiastically. [b “Let’s try and refrain from smiling, shall we?”]
Norman’s expression turned solemn as Harte greeted Thana next, his eagerness oozing out of every word. [b “I’m so happy you’re here. Come, we shall sit and have tea in the drawing room.”] He snapped his fingers and the butler moved to set the coffee table.
The groundskeeper took a seat in an armchair that felt too close to the floor, lacing his fingers over his raised knees awkwardly. Tiny sugar cookies and opaque tea were placed in front of them, as Mr. Harte began to explain their day to day duties. He zoned out for a moment, studying the tea that had been sitting out too long.
[b “Your quarters will be in the employee hallway on the far east side of the building where all the other help boards, your rooms across from each other and if there’s any complications whatsoever, do let me know, of course. Do you two have any questions?”] Norman shook his head, looking over at the other fiend curiously.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana giggled quietly to herself at Norman's comment. Looks like she'd been found out but who cared? It's not like he was gonna go to authorities and report her. They would either laugh at him or admit him for being insane. Either way all Thana needed to do was flick the switch on her charm and they wouldn't be able to control themselves around her. Men were always the easiest to lure away, although Thana was partial to the occasional woman depending on their smell.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Just as she was about to make a witty reply she heard footsteps heading in their direction. It looked like her comment would have to wait for now. She was positive she would be running into Norman again rather soon...]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" A male with blonde hair and mustache entered the room and the wealth was practically leaking out of him. Thana smiled, he looked like every other rich person she'd come across in her lifetime. But no wasn't the time to turn her nose at him, what she needed to do most of all was impress him, maybe even flirt a little.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" As Mr. Harte made his way over to Norman, Thana quickly ran her fingers through her hair and moved her coat down so it was resting on her shoulders. Luckily the building was warm, but it wasn't warm enough to her liking. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Normal pull the most awkward smile she'd ever seen, it was an expression that almost made her burst out laughing and Mr. Harte's comment only made things worse.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Desperately trying not to laugh she clenched her stomach which made the pain even worse. Hopefully, this meeting wouldn't take too long so she could settle in before finding something fun to eat. Now it was her turn for introductions. Thana flashed him her biggest grin as she took his hands in her own, just from touching she knew he could easily be seduced which was tempting to do so, however, she needed this job more.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "I'm happy to be here Sir! Thank you for this amazing opportunity. Also, that suit is divine! Correct me if I'm wrong but I do believe that's Alexander McQueen is it not?"]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" Judging by the expression on his face Thana had guessed correctly. Simply too easy as a smirk appeared on her face. As he gestured for them to make their way into the drawing-room Thana hooked her arm in with his much to the astonished look on the butler's face. But it seemed Mr. Harte didn't mind, in fact, he somewhat enjoyed it. Oh, she was going to get away with murder in this place.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" As everyone took their seat Thana instantly reached for the freshly poured tea and wrapped her slender fingers around the delicate cup. The warmth sent a tingle down her spine almost making her shiver. Bringing the hot liquid to her lips she realized it needed a lot more sugar. Thana leaned forward and grabbed the sugar tongs on the table and began dropping cubes of sugar into the tea. After about the ninth or tenth cube, she stopped herself realizing that both Mr. Harte and the butler were giving her a puzzling look. Thana laughed making a light-hearted statement.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "What can I say? I'm drawn to sweet things, I simply can't help myself".]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" Thana looked at the blonde male flashing him a smile, seeing his cheeks turn even more red almost made her laugh, instead she buried her mouth into the teacup smiling to herself. Thana glanced at Normal who seemed to be in his own little world as Mr. Harte began the boring process of explaining their duties whilst being here, Thana found herself almost drifting off deep into thought until he asked if they had any questions which Thana did, well it was more of a statement than a question. As she set her cup on the table she leaned forward and smiled.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "I actually have one Mr. Harte. I'm feeling the cold terribly here and would need a portable heater to keep me my room and office warm. Of course, I have prepared this myself so you won't need to go out of your way to provide one. I do hope you understand".]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" Thana again flashed another dazzling smile as she looked a Norman wondering if there was anything he needed to get off his chest. Although she couldn't help but feel an excitement brewing knowing that they were going to be across rooms from each other, it was almost like they were roommates. Thana bit her lip at the thought.]]
As the introductions droned on, Norman picked up on the subtle predatory style of the other changeling. A very sensual kind of creature that used her charm and physical appearance to lure in her victims- like a fly to a web...
[b “Of course, such arrangements can be made,”] Harte replied, trying to cool the heat in his cheeks.
[#722aa8 “Then I need wax,”] Norman spoke from his low corner chair. [#722aa8 “Candles. I like the scent of candles.”]
The blonde raised an eyebrow. [b “Sure, if you need more than a ceiling light, I’m sure wax is easily obtainable. Please see that you talk to the head of the employee quarters, Mrs. Shelley. She’ll be able to get your items of request. Now go off and gather your things, make yourself comfortable and feel free to explore your offices. Your duties start bright and early come the morrow.”] The master clapped his hands, the butler following him out of the drawing room and back of the wooden steps.
Noting that Mr. Harte failed to tell them anything about the immediate family, Norman presumed that was how they were to be treated whilst working in the mansion. Creatures that were hired to mind their own business.
The groundskeeper followed Thana back out to their vehicles, reaching into his rusted buggy for his faded gray duffle bag and swinging it over his shoulder. He closed the car door, pausing to study the other as she gathered her things. The odds that the two of them were employed simultaneously was entirely too coincidental. There had to be a reason. [#722aa8 “I’ve never worked with another of [i my kind] before,”] he started, holding a hand out to aid with her luggage. [#722aa8 “But it goes without saying that you are [i not] allowed to eat our charges or I will annihilate you.”]
Norman’s voice was firm and nearly monotone. He didn’t want to give the other any sign of weakness or a shred of doubt. Killing changelings was a hell bent goal but she didn’t need to know that. [#722aa8 “The obvious out of the way, don’t come into my territory,”] he gestured to the landscape surrounding them. [#722aa8 “And I won’t come into yours.”] He nodded to the house. [#722aa8 “Do we have an understanding?”] ]]
Hearing him make such a peculiar request Thana quickly brought the delicate teacup back to her lips in fear everyone would hear her laugh, he was a very peculiar one indeed. By the look on Mr. Hartes face she could tell she wasn’t the only one who thought the request peculiar, but he also couldn’t make it blatantly aware that he already had a favourite either, so he went along with Norman’s request.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Knowing the meeting was coming to an end Thana quickly finished the remainder of the tea left in the cup which was now lukewarm and had lost it’s delicious taste. Standing up she reached for her coat and placed it around her shoulders, not seeing the point in putting it back on for a few moments only to take it off again. Taking the lead with Norman closely behind her they both made their way to their rust buckets that they called cars.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" She opened the trunk of her car and stared at four or five rather large and expensive suitcases which were mostly filled with clothes, makeup, jewellery and shoes. With the occasional odd bottle of perfume here and there, Thana was never really one for perfume. It dulled her natural pheromone which made it difficult to attract her food. Thana sneaked a glance at Norman as he lifted a large duffel bag out of his trunk with one hand.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Strong, warm and handsome? Aren’t I the lucky girl?”]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana smirked as the two of their eyes met. She lifted the first suitcase with two hands and made a little helpless grunt as it dropped to the floor. Knowing that Norman had noticed and offered to help Thana smirked. The sentence that came out of his mouth Thana thought on it. Did she continue to play dumb or have it all out in the open now, that way things wouldn’t become complicated later on. But still it couldn’t hurt to tease him a little.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Your kind? Whatever could you mean Norman. I am simply a humble woman looking to just simply survive in this man’s world.”]]]
[size15[font "Candara Light" Thana put her hands to her right cheek and looked up at him innocently for a few minutes before bursting out laughing, placing her left hand on her hips she waved her right hand.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Oh calm yourself Norman, as long as you don’t hit me with the power trip of how much stronger you are than me we’ll get along just fine. I can’t stand men that do that…”]]]
[size15[font "Candara Light" His next comment made Thana’s smile soon drop for a few seconds, enough time for Norman to realise the expression on her face had changed. Then as soon as it had disappeared it was back, the charming but devious smile.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Do you honestly believe I’d be that stupid. I know a lot of us are soulless eating machines, myself included but stupid? No no no this is something I am not. I was foolish once but quickly learned from my mistakes. I take my business outside of the grounds so there’s nothing to worry about.”]]]
[size15[font "Candara Light" Thana turned her attention to the largest suitcase in the trunk and lifted it easily with one hand, glancing at Norman with a smirk, showing him just how decieving she could be when she wanted to. Pulling the suitcase handle up she lightly caressed Norman’s chest.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Oh my dear Norman, I would never be desperate enough to steal someone’s food. Though I wouldn’t mind wondering how you taste.”]]]
[size15[font "Candara Light" Thana bit her lip seductively, eventually removing her hand from his chest she made her way up the steps of the manor, leaving her bags with Norman knowing he was the type of guy to not want a lady to exert herself… A true gentleman. She waved her free hand in the air smiling.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Come darling daylight is burning and there is much to be done. All this excitement has me feeling rather ravenous.”]]]
The woman liked to play conversation like a game which annoyed him greatly. Manulpation was her speciality- he’d have to keep his guard high. Despite her playing coy, Thana dismissed his territorial fear with the wave of her pale hand. Obviously the creature wasn’t afraid of him either, competing for fleshy food or otherwise.
Not that she truly had anything to be cautious about with him. A truth better kept to himself.
Norman adjusted his grip on the bag, rolling off the feeling of discomfort at her delicate touch. He rolled his eyes, grabbing the remaining cases that were clearly left for him to trudge and followed up the steps back towards the entrance of the elaborate manor.
Once back in the foyer, a stubby woman emerged from a branching hallway. [b “There ya are,”] she started, rubbing her hands on the apron around her waist, a strong Irish accent. [b “I’ve been waitin’ for more help ‘round here. Always room for cross trainin’.”]
Oh, he hated the sound of that. Not bothering to hide his displeasure, Norman followed the ladies as Mrs. Shelly, he presumed, led them down an adjacent hall and gave a brief tour of the employee quarters. Admittingly, he lived in worse. Thankfully the mold and vermin were limited in this establishment but the halls were narrow. Comically so that he had to walk sideways halfway through the tour with Ms. Thana’s obnoxious baggage.
[b “I don’t know why ya bothered to bring so much Mr. Braxton.”] He rolled his eyes again.
[b “Here is your room,”] Shelley gestured for Thana to the left. [b “And Mr. Braxton yours directly across.”]
Norman felt a zap of irritation. [#722aa8 “Why do we have to be so close?”]
Mrs. Shelley looked taken aback, almost disgusted. [b “What? Are you sayin’ she’s not good enough for ya? Too much of a nuisance to sleep in a room across from ya? Pull up your britches boy.”]
He watched her turn away, her nose held high. [b “I’ll be back soon with those items you requested. Supper at seven.”]
Norman narrowed as Thana, dropping her luggage heedlessly. Without a word, he turned slightly to peek into the bedroom, narrow and plain. He turned back to her and smiled crookedly. [#722aa8 “Have fun trying to fit all this in there.”] Taking pleasure in a small victory, he stepped into his room with a singular duffle bag and closed the door. ]]
Greeted by a rather small round woman Thana flashed her a smile, there was no point in flattery with this one, there was no need for it. Thana did however giggle at her comment, glancing back at Norman with all of her luggage was comical in its own sense.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Following the woman down the hallway there was little conversation between the three of them, however, every now and again Thana would smirk seeing all the different directions Norman was having to turn in order to fit down the narrow hallways.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Actually the luggage here is mine, Mr. Braxton here was being a true gentleman and carrying it for me, isn’t here a darling, I would go even as far as to say husband material”.]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana gave the woman a playful wink causing her to giggle with a slight blush forming on her cheeks. Giving her a few moments to compose herself they had finally arrived at their rooms, it was a lot smaller than she was expecting but there was an added bonus across the hallway from here. Hearing his complaint only excited her even more, she would find somewhere for her luggage, she wanted to be as close to Norman as possible.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana thanked the woman and after she had disappeared Norman dropped her luggage on the floor, she couldn’t help but grin as he made a remark in which he’d thought he’d won this round, Thana being the kind-hearted soul she was let him win. As his door shut she quickly glanced around for signs of cameras and any bodies on this floor. Fortunately, there were none. With one deep breath, four spider's legs came out from her back. She quickly placed the luggage handles on them and disappeared behind her own door.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Dumping the bags on the floor she retracted her extra legs and they disappeared in her back. The flirtatious smile was now gone and she glanced around the plain dull looking room.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" The light is perfect but this room is much too dull, I wonder if the darling owner would let me decorate to my taste? And whilst I’m asking for favors I wonder if he has a locked room I could access anytime for my clothes”.]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to be able to collapse on her bed, but it wasn’t to her quality, glancing at the clock in her room there was still some time to kill before supper, Thana found this a perfect opportunity to take a look around the grounds. Opening the door Thana smiled at Norman's door and decided to invite him along.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Putting on her most polite voice she gave a quiet tap before speaking.]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Norman? I don’t mean to disturb, there is still sometime before dinner, I’m going to take a walk to familiarise myself with the grounds if you wish to join me”.]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana smiled patiently as she waited for an answer. If there wasn’t to be one then should walk alone, she was sure there would be someone she could find to show her around.]]
Norman let out a deep breath instantly feeling at home in the tiny room. He’d lived in smaller quarters before and in every place previously, he made sure to make the most of it. Though to be honest, he loved small spaces. Intimate, safe... kept the monster at bay.
He ran his hand across the cotton sheets before setting down the duffle bag. He unzipped and laid out the few contents uptop of the singliur side dresser. Two thick yet slightly melted candles, a notebook with a pen, a couple of soft cover novels and reading glasses. He threw in an armful of clothing into the two sets of drawers and just like that, he was done unpacking.
The changeling took a seat on the bed, absentmindedly raising a hand to the trinket around his neck. The weapon was always close and honestly he was too anxious to be without it. He groaned slightly, feeling the hunger twisting in his gut. He would need to eat soon or he would surely perish.
A tap as his door pulled him back to reality, hearing the utterly seductive voice that came from the changeling across the hall. Norman rubbed his temples as he debated her offer but the thought of Thana seeing the landscape first was too much of an advantage to give her if they were to compete in keeping the employers safe. He didn’t have an ounce of trust in her words.
Norman opened the door, not bothering to return her coy smile. He was, however, taken back noticing that she managed to fit all her luggage in her tiny room. [#722aa8 “A woman of many talents I see.”] He sidestepped by the poised Thana, nearly brushing against her. The halls were too damn narrow and that was his only complaint.
They found a side door that led to the outside branching from the employee hall located just before the kitchen. Already finding the property convenient, Norman let Thana lead, finding it best to study her and everything else from a distance. The grounds were large and open and, as they rounded about near the gardens, he could see another building tall and white half hidden in the fog amongst the hills. He paused, pushing up his sunglasses. [#722aa8 “Do you recall how the Hart’s fold in their money?”] It seemed too convenient to have a building this close to the manor. ]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Seeing Norman emerge from his room brought a huge smile to Thana’s face, although she knew he wasn’t impressed with her only excited her even more, one thing she loved to do other than eat was to tease and Norman was going to be the perfect plaything to pass the time for however long she decided to stay here.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" The comment about her luggage Thana laughed.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “Silly Norman, if you think that’s a talent then you should see me in the bedroom”.]]] [size16[font "Candara Light" Thana bit her lip playfully followed by a wink, almost letting out an excited squeak when he brushed past her, feeling the warmth on her chest she wanted nothing more than to be lost in his warmth. But quickly controlling her emotions she walked alongside him, she thought multiple times whether she should link her arm through his, but decided she’d teased him enough for now and decided to behave herself.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" After a while of opening doors and walking down long hallways the two eventually made their way outside in the cold air. Thana shivered wrapping her arms around herself for warmth and wished she was back in Florida at this point basking in the sun. As they took in the view of the gardens Thana surprisingly found them rather beautiful, if the weather were warmer she would rather enjoy sitting in the garden and reading a disturbing horror with a glass of red wine. But it was not to be, this country was far too cold for her delicate skin, and would most likely spend 90% of her time either in her office or the huge mansion behind them.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Lost deep in thought she almost missed the question Norman has asked her, Thana thought for a few moments and then shook her head.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “I can’t say that I can, the job paid well and I needed to leave my previous employer ASAP. So I took the dear owner up on his offer and made my way here. Why is there something I should know about? Is some seedy business going on? If so how exciting!”]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" She never really thought about it until Norman asked that question, but the building in front of them seemed rather conveniently placed out of sight and mind which only piqued Thana’s curiosity and made her want to take a look once everyone has retired to their rooms for blissful slumber. But before her curiosity could be filled she first needed food, the pain in her stomach was becoming increasingly worse over time and the last thing she needed was to go on a rampage and have move countries again leaving dear Norman here with all the fun.]]
The fact that Thana didn’t even know what the family did for wealth raised a red flag for Norman. Who exactly were the Harts? He set his jaw tight, rubbing the tip of his chin as he continued the pace trying to get a better look at the building on the horizon.
[#722aa8 “As I mentioned previously, it’s too high of a coincidence that two of our kind are in the same place at the same time.”] A breeze brushed through, pulling up his jacket and tossing his unkempt hair. Had he not glanced back at Thana, he wouldn’t have known it was cold at all. He had to be more aware of his surroundings otherwise the Hart’s might suspect his unnatural nature.
[#722aa8 “We should keep an eye out and watch our backs,”] he told the changeling. [i They might be watching or...] He glanced back at the tall extravagant manor. [i Or I’m just extremely paranoid.] The twist in his stomach reminded him once more of the hunger he detested and slowly he turned to face Thana fully, her silver hair framing her perfect features like it was sculpted by god himself. He hated how alluring she was.
[#722aa8 “How do you plan to eat?”] Norman asked dryly. [#722aa8 “The nearest town is miles from here. Are you going to take a day trip every time you need to curve the craving? Don’t want to arise too much suspicion.”] The question was more for him rather than tracking the eloquent woman. Sure, if he needed to hunt her down, this information would benefit him but frankly, he was more concerned about this single meal. He didn’t want to kill anybody but animals didn’t cut it at this stage.
He lifted his sunglasses to make eye contact with her, hoping she would take him seriously and not dodge the question. ]]
Thana frowned at this comment, why on earth would they need to watch their backs? Surely this family didn’t know about them? It was impossible, there had never been any theories about their kind or news articles, there was no way in hell that this family would know about their kind when the rest of the world didn’t. The family had more of a chance of seeing bigfoot than they did in founding out about herself and Norman. He was being paranoid, but she did agree with him to some extent. They were in a foreign country and their culture could be different compared to the ones they were accustomed to.]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" A smile formed on her lips as Norman mentioned about eating. Silly boy hadn’t done his research, whereas Thana did, she wasn’t prepared to make the same mistake she did back in America.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “I have gone up in the world dear Norman. Years ago our kind would hide in the darkness, like the forest next to us, simply waiting for prey to appear, hoping to get a decent meal. There is no need for that in the present time. Humans are fucked up creatures, who simply kill for the thrill of it, now don’t get me wrong I enjoy seeing the terror on a human’s face when I reveal my true form. However I do not let that meal go to waste, and these fucked up humans that exist work in our favour. People go missing all the time, if there’s no body there’s no crime scene, just a missing person that could have simply wanted to ‘disappear from society.”]]]
[size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" "I have done my research in this area, although we are in the middle of nowhere, unfortunately we are going to have to travel for our food. If we eat on the grounds the other members of staff are certainly going to be suspicious. But my dear Norman in the nearest town, there are multiple bars, families reside there if your delicacy is children, but due to my kind and caring nature, I have made Mr. Hart fully aware I volunteer every evening after my shift to help out at the rehabilitation/homeless shelter they have in town. Of course being a nurse this works in my favour, when in reality I will be going to the bars, it will simply be like an all you can eat buffet. And as I mentioned before, people going missing all the time. If fact this area has multiple travelling people that come through all the time, so no one would be suspicious if someone were to simply ‘disappear’.”]]]
[size16[font "Candara Light" Thana once again closed the gap between the two of them, a flirtatious look in her eyes, a seductive smile on her lips. She lightly ran her long thin fingers across his jawline, shivering at the warmth she felt on her fingertips.]] [size15[b[#006400[font "Candara Light" “I’m not entirely sure kind and caring is your thing. However I’m sure Mr. Hart won’t have a problem with you accompanying me, after all I have my ways…”]
“People go missing all the time, if there’s no body there’s no crime scene, just a missing person that could have simply wanted to ‘disappear from society.”
Norman’s stomach turned as she continued, unconsciously grinding his teeth as he listened in utter disgust as Thana described her “research” in depth. From the town and its benefits to the alibi that she would use with their employer. The changeling was no rookie to the game. She was an experienced predator with the advantage of being desirable to any human. But children..? He gazed hard into her venomous eyes. She had... she’d tried them too.
The woman closed the distance between him, looking up through her lashes in a way that would unravel a normal man in seconds. Her icy fingers grazed his firm jaw reminding him to relax before he gave her the satisfaction of a reaction. Again the allure of Miss Thana was not lost on Norman. He wondered if, like him, this was part of an ability- a trap changelings set for their food. He wondered if his warmth brought comfort to the skin she was wearing.
Norman scoffed at her invitation, finding it grossly ironic how far from kind and caring she truly was. The monster had nothing to hide from him. He took her hand in his, lowering it from his face and enveloping her thin fingers in his palm. “You are... well prepared for this transition,” he said, despite how much he hated complimenting her. Unfortunately, Norman had to accept her invitation. It had to be tonight or he would die in his sleep. “I’ll take your offer this once but this doesn’t mean we’re allies.”
His mind drifted back to the hospital like building on the hill behind them. Maybe the Hart’s were responsible for providing staff..? Then why hire Thana? Norman couldn’t kill her yet. No, not until she exhausted her usefulness. He needed to know exactly what was going on here.
Norman let Thana’s hand drop, keeping his gaze locked on hers as he pulled his sunglasses back down. He leaned in to her slightly, keeping his voice low. “You do the talking, I’ll do the heavy lifting and we leave the town on my word. Agreed? We’re not there for pleasure.” Fun was not part of the deal. A further punishment he bore.
Thana smirked at his comment clasping her hands together in excitement. “My dear Norman, I'd like to think we're more than allies. After all, we share a common ground don't you think?” Placing her hand on his chest she leaned forward biting her lip in a seductive manner, her eyes shifting up and down for a few seconds, her expression then shifted to a friendly smile before resuming her original position.
Noticing the stranger's eyes in front of her shift to the hospital meant only one thing. He was thinking exactly the same as her, surely it wasn't coincidental both creatures such as themselves had been hired at the same time? Thana suspected something suspicious as soon as she knew about Norman, maybe this would bring the two of them together? Thana shivered in excitement at the thought of entwining herself with his heated body.
“It seems Mr. Hart wasn't too eager on explaining the details of the company, perhaps the kind people of the village can share some light on the matter, after all, we need to know if we're working for a mad scientist right?”
When Norman leaned closer and spoke quietly, it sent vibrations through Thana's body, she nearly squeaked like a deranged fan at a concert, but she was a professional and remained calm. “I look forward to seeing this so-called… heavy lifting”.
Thana giggled which was short-lived at his other comment. Thana sighed and rolled her eyes. “I can tell you don't really know how to have fun. I'm guessing when you eat it's just a necessity to you? Norman darling, seeing your meal in pure terror is when they taste the best, the taste is so addictive it can bring the strongest being to its knees”. Thana caressed herself at the thought of tasting human flesh, she needed to eat soon or her cover would be blown.
She turned her attention back to Norman and smiled, "I'll go and sweet talk Mr. Hart into letting you come with me, just make sure you're ready and by the car at sundown, that's usually when the most people are out".
Thana blew a kiss to Norman laughing as she turned around and made her way to the man in charge.
Thana... was something else. Leave it to a seductive changeling to twist all his words to mean something more desirable in her eyes. Norman couldn’t flirt if he tried. Any frivolous emotion was just as challenging as smiling in this human suit. Awful and awkward.
Norman pushed back up his sunglasses, all but giving up trying to intimidate her when all she wanted to do was to get in close to him despite his cold demeanor. Sadly though, she wasn’t wrong. Terror made the taste sweeter in their victims and he was always afraid that aspect of the meal would tempt him back into killing for fun. He wasn’t sure if starving himself was helping that regard either if he was being honest.
The American woman smiled as she passed him, letting Norman know that she would take care of the arrangements and to meet her when the sun kissed the horizon. His sudden itch for a cigarette overwhelmed him, blowing smoke into the air as he surveyed the rest of the grounds and imagining making these rolling hills his own to distract him from the nerves knotting in his stomach.
Norman was shivering and the Shadow was humming irritably in the back of his mind. He shouldn’t have cut it this close. This was putting the Hart family further at risk then the apex predator in the room across the hall. Was this a sign of selfishness or was he just a coward? Too afraid to let the Shadow feed and too afraid to kill himself. He hoped Thana wouldn’t toy with that moral compass but hoping a changeling could be remotely human was ignorant.
He grasped at the pendant beneath his shirt, feeling the heat from the small protected flame as he pushed through the clawing feeling of hunger. Just a little longer, he rubbed his arms in comfort. Not too much longer now.
As if Thana had heard his internal pleading, he heard her heeled footsteps make their way down the hall and he could just imagine the sway of her hips and the subtle wave of her pale hair with every echo. The salvia pooled in his mouth as he thought of her piercing eyes and the curvature of her bosom in some tight dress.
Norman rubbed his face with a frustrated groan before standing and gathering everything one would need for a trip into town. He blew out the candle before heading out, a creature like him having no need for a jacket.
It only took him minutes to reach the large driveway where Thana had her car running with blasting heat. He took his place in the passenger seat and allowed himself a few seconds to judge what she was wearing. “Wearing something that revealing in this weather?” He mumbled as he pulled down the seatbelt, moving his eyes to stare out the windshield.
Practically skipping down the halls Thana hummed a tune to herself, she was going to finally eat and have a good time, if she played her cards right she might get even further with Norman, he was different though, humans were easy to seduce, changelings were a little more difficult but Thana wouldn't consider it a challenge. Norman though was certainly becoming more of a challenge. But the night was still young and she had a few more tricks up her sleeve.
She swung her leg round to face the large oak door in front of her, and with the lightest of taps, she knocked. “Come in”. Thana grinned as she opened the door and just as suspected Mr. Hart was buried in his work, too busy to notice two people missing for a few hours.
“Ah Mr. Hart I'm terribly sorry to bother you when you're so busy, so I'll keep it quick. Following our little discussion this afternoon about my volunteering in the village, you wouldn't mind if I took Mr. Braxton with me, would you? Although I show my confidence, I'm feeling rather nervous about driving into town on my own and would prefer to have someone familiar even if it was for a short time. Plus he looks like a strong fellow, he can help with the heavy-lifting jobs”.
Thana flashed a warm-hearted smile as she half sat on his desk, light running her fingers in between her cleavage, drawing his attention away from his work. Didn't really take much, she could have breathed heavily and the man would have gone to pieces.
“Ah-ah yes, I was going to ask Mr.Braxton to start on some jobs myself, but someone as kind and beautiful as yourself might get some unwanted attention, with Mr. Braxton with you, people would think you more of a couple. Don't be late back though as I want you both to start bright and early in the morning”.
Thana grinned ‘a couple hmm? How exciting. She clasped her hands together and moaned “Mr. Hart you are too kind to look out for me, I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to volunteer, I promise we will be back in time ready for work with plenty of energy”.
Without further delay, Thana removed herself from the desk and took her leave. Before joining Norman she decided to change into something a little more appropriate. With a quick spring in her step, she reached her dorm room and rummaged through her cases for the sexy little number that always got her attention. A black satin dress with a low cleavage and slit up the leg revealing her thigh, the fabric underneath was blood red.
Thana grabbed her fur coat and slipped into some Christian Louboutin heels and locked the door behind her.
The sun had now set and Thana practically ran to the car “This weather will be the death of me…” she breathed out a cloud of smoke formed as she shivered against the cold night breeze.
Finally, as she arrived at her car she started the engine and turned the heat up to the highest and strongest flow. She loosened the coat to fall revealing her shoulders and cleavage. Rubbing her hands together the patiently waited for Norman. The pain in her stomach becoming unbearable, she hoped he wouldn't keep her waiting long.
Just as her thought had finally finished the passenger side opened and Norman sat down “Finally, I was beginning to think you were going to stand me up”.
Thana flashed a quick smile as she lifted the handbrake and made the drive to the village. Glancing out the corner of her eyes she noticed Norman's stares, if it wasn't for the growing pain in her stomach she would have laughed. “Well one has to make an impression don't you think? I'm sure if I get too cold you'll keep me warm. Perhaps I'll even let you have a taste”.
Thana bit her lip at the thought.
Norman ran his tongue over his teeth, fighting hard to keep his comments to himself. Starving like this often had the monster pulling out of the character of Norman. The logical part of his mind couldn’t argue with her in the slightest. That dress did make an impression and he could practically observe every detail of her that should have been left to the imagination. Oh, if I could taste I would fucking devour you.
With eating his coworkers off the table, Norman trained his eyes on the misty road, watching the Hart Manor get further and further that it almost made him sick. There was no safety once they reached the closest city and he didn’t want to keep a close eye on Thana the entire night but... for some reason he had a feeling she wasn’t going to let him slip away that easily. With her promiscuous nature, he imagined the changeling was going to push him into having some sort of ‘fun’.
They reached the city of Leiden about forty minutes away, mostly in silence. Occasionally Norman would let out an unsteady breath that couldn’t be heard over the blasted car heaters. Had he been human, he was sure he would have been drenched in sweat.
Thana pulled into a public parking lot near a lively downtown district. There were plenty of bodies and at this hour the sight of children was rare, especially down these streets crowded with bars, restaurants and one or two clubs within a reasonable walking distance. Norman lit a cigarette in an attempt to curve his hunger, already scoping out a victim that he thought would be the least affected by death. Which was no one... No one wanted to die, especially anyone here. Seriously, how long had it been since he’d eaten?
He rubbed his face with a groan, leaning further into the passenger seat. He should just stay in the car until Thana was done.
Seeing the unimpressed expression on Norman's face made her giggle, it was so fun to tease him and he fell for it every time. However, he never denied her offer so maybe there was still a chance for her yet. The next few minutes were slow aside from the heaters blowing and the occasional heavy sigh from Norman. In the distance Thana could hear see the lights and the faint echo of people and music, they were almost there, she squeezed her thighs together in excitement.
Finally, they pulled onto a parking lot and Thana pulled the handbrake up before turning the engine off. She took a deep breath bracing herself for the cold air that was about to engulf her. Grabbing her handbag from the back seat she leaned into Norman shoving her chest near his face, for once it was by accident. Seeing the expression caused a genuine laugh to escape her lips as she patted him on the shoulder “Come on I'm starved".
Thana opened the door and waited for Norman to do the same, locking the door behind her she made the brisk walk to the nearest bar, already noticing the stares from both genders she smirked ‘This is too easy’. With Norman next to her she walked inside removing her coat and revealing her true figure, luckily all the bodies in the bar were making it hot, which was simply perfect for Thana.
Grabbing Norman by the hand she quickly made her way over to the bar and grabbed a seat for the both of them. Instantly a male bartender came over to her and smiled “What can I get you?” Thana leaned forward resting herself on the bar “Bloody Mary for me and whatever my co-worker wants”. Before Norman could answer she leaned forward and whispered into his ear, "Red drinks are perfect for hiding certain stains". She leaned back and flashed the bartender a seductive smile.
After Norman's order, the bartender disappeared, shortly returning with their drinks and a straw for Thana. “Aww, you're so thoughtful! I usually have to ask! How much do I owe?” The bartender shook his head “It's on me”. She smirked brushing her hand against his before he was called away to his dismay to another customer.
Thana turned to face Norman and smiled “So anyone caught your attention yet?” She grinned excitedly awaiting his answer.
There was a shift beside him as Thana reached back for her bag, Norman instinctively curling his lip and rolling his eyes. The changeling laughed playfully before urging him to follow her out of the car. He grudgingly followed suit, pushing the lock down on the inside of the door and analyzing the folks coming in and out of the nearest bar.
The salvia was pooling in his mouth again and the monster hummed as it watched every pair of eyes land on his companion. Her curvature, her inviting aurora and seductive way of speaking. He barely recognised he was staring until Thana turned to him, requesting he order something red. That was easy. He preferred wine anyday. “Cabernet,” he said, not bothering with mannerisms to someone who merely served drinks for a living.
Minutes later, glasses were pushed across the bar counter, Norman immediately swallowing his to take the edge off. Leave it to Thana to make eating people cost effective. “If you flirt with everyone you meet, you’re going to be memorable as a suspect,” he said as his eyes scanned the faces in the room for the fourth or fifth time. He drummed his fingers against the now empty glass, pushing it towards the bartender when he made his round back. “Another,” he ordered without so much as looking at the man.
Norman leaned forward, closer to Thana’s ear and whispered, “The man in the furthest booth to the left or the woman alone at the end of the bar.” Chosen specifically because they were older and looked like they might be single with limited family. If the hunger had its way, his eyes drifted to a more fit outgoing man with a group of friends or the gorgeous woman with the bad date buying her drinks. The younger the flesh, the more delectable.
His eyes met Thana’s, already expecting her to choose for him anyway. “I hate to ask but is anyone catching your attention?” His hand reached for the second glass that was promptly served.
Knowing he decided to order with her advice made her smile, she clasped her hands together happily before reaching for her glass on the side and taking a sip. She leaned her head back and sighed feeling the alcohol run down her throat “What better way to enjoy ourselves before our meal”. Thana smirked as she turned her attention to Norman.
Hearing his comment made her laugh out loud, “Maybe but I plan to stay here for quite some time, therefore the more people that like you, the less chance you have of them suspecting you, plus I have my ways to get out of troublesome situations”. Thana leaned closer closing the gap between them and whispered into Norman's ear “I've been told many times I should have gone into acting”. She returned to her original position flashing a playful wink.
As Norman ordered another drink, Thana lifted her fingers gesturing for another one for herself and she drank the remainder of her current one. Feeling his warm breath on her cheek made her shiver in excitement, her eyes glancing at the humans he mentioned. “They're too old for me, I've tasted older and find them too tough, plus scare them too much and it usually triggers a heart attack and where's the fun in that?”.
Thana glanced casually around the room, smiling seductively at people who stared back at her, she glanced at Norman “As I mentioned previously, we need someone that's traveling, or a group of travelers, that way if they disappear no one will be none the wiser, if we pick an older couple, they most likely live here and have family, therefore they have someone to report them missing. We need someone ideally that doesn't have family or doesn't speak to them. It's not going to be a simple task of picking someone who looks vulnerable, we need to be smart, seeing as we're newcomers, maybe further down the line we can take more of a risk.”
Thana picked up the newly placed drink and took another large gulp, Thana stood up again closing the distance, and leaned on Norman's shoulder. “The best way to get to know people is to make conversation, or you know grab someone's attention by dancing”. With her drink in her hand, she made her way over to the dancefloor, turning back and holding her hand out to Norman, “You coming?”
He hated how right the changeling could be at times and hated even more that Norman would choose someone more appetizing in the end. Too old... sure. His chosen victims were scattered when he was living out in the other side of the country but he wasn’t as particular as Thana.
Norman sipped on his drink as the woman started to complicate the matter. No, you do not need to be an investigator to decide who becomes dinner. It is an unfortunate decision but better yet a random- He stiffened slightly as she boldly leaned against him, reflecting on how soothing it was to feel her cold skin starkly against his. He turned his dark eyes to her and said very simply. “No.”
He finished his drink before continuing. “Again, no. We do not need to talk to anyone, much less dance with anyone.” She ignored him and he stared flatly at her hand as she held it out to him. He groaned, knowing already he wasn’t nearly relaxed enough to talk to humans without sounding like a monotone machine trying too hard to pretend to be normal. He was off putting. He knew that but...
Norman stood, eyeing the bartender for another drink upon his return as he begrudgingly took Thana’s cold yet delicate hand.
He didn’t often listen to music but when he did it wasn’t anything that fit a bar or club in these modern times. The man who used to live in this body was quite old-fashioned but... as he looked up across the room to the mirror behind the bar, he realized that Thana made him look approachable. Her smile and sensual nature made Norman, the opposite, seem like he was appropriately her other half. He wasn’t exactly sure how he felt about that.
“I don’t have much rhythm,” he admitted, Thana offering him a great view of her... assets.
Thana smirked at his reply, not taking no for an answer, she had done this before and it was about time Norman was exposed to her kind of fun. Feeling his warm hand caress hers she almost squeaked. Leading him to the dancefloor she slowly began swaying her hips from side to side.
She spun around to face him, with a free hand she placed his around her waist and then placed her own on his shoulder, she decided to start off with the basics as she looked into his eyes smiling, drawing the attention from the humans, which was exactly her plan.
“How close we are, people will think we're a couple, maybe even make a few of them jealous and want to break us apart”. Thana giggled to herself, feeling his warmth she wanted to collapse onto him, if it was the desperation of hunger, she would have given into her temptations, after all, you only live once.
The song eventually came to an end and a quick tempo song came on, the devious flirtatious look appeared on Thana's face as she looked at Norman, taking a step back she caressed her body with her hands, running her fingers through her hair allowing it to fall around her shoulders, closing the gap between them, she wrapped her arms around his neck, their bodies touching as they swayed from side to side. Thana whispered in his ear “Well would you look at that, it seems you've caught the attention of some young women, did any of them catch your attention? Why don't you ask one of them to dance?"
As expected, Thana took advantage of being close, leaning into him and moving his hands so they rested on her waist. She was so small, almost like a seductive doll. Even with the dress, she could have been mistaken for dead with her lack of substantial body heat. If he embraced her, it might have cooled his temperament... but those thoughts only lingered for as long as the song. Jealousy? He glanced up and was surprised at how many eyes were drawn to them. Thana must have had a pheromone of some kind.
The tempo changed and so did the woman’s dancing, brushing her hands along her body and through her hair, Norman almost took her then. He admired his own strength as he leaned into her method of seduction, taking note of the women she was referring to. “Suppose I will,” he replied in her ear, instinctively running his lips along her neck as he made eye contact with a blonde. He nipped Thana’s ear before moving away, almost feeling like he wasn’t in control of his own body anymore but instead the hunger.
The blonde fiddled with her drink as he approached. Wordlessly, he held out his hand and as if she was mesmerized, she took it, letting Norman lead her back to the dancefloor and pulling her shapely frame into his body. She smelled delicious, like rosemary and alcohol. His dark eyes met Thana’s and he fought to control the need to devour. Equally, he fought the need to discard the woman altogether and instead take the other changeling into an intimate embrace. The suspense was driving him crazy.
Feeling Norman slowly slip out of his usual calm demeanor, a considerable smile widened on Thana's face, almost to the point she couldn't control herself. Seeing his attention turn from herself to a pretty blonde in the corner, she took the opportunity to look around the room for a victim herself. Men and women were looking at her, undressing her with their eyes. This wouldn't be a challenge, but then her attention turned back to Norman contemplating giving him a taste instead. She bit her lip seductively at the thought.
Bringing her out of her thoughts Thana felt hot breath travel from her neck to her ear, she shivered at the thought, almost pouncing on him in that moment in time, as he turned to walk away she almost grabbed him to stop him. But they both needed to be smart about this, they needed to eat and if they didn't satiate their hunger soon then things would be a lot more difficult to cover up and they would be exposed.
Turning around to face a tall man in front of her, he held out his hand asking her if she would like to dance, looking at his body, there would be plenty enough for her to eat, she smiled lightly placing her hand in his as she led him into the middle of the dancefloor, smirking at Norman as she did so. It would only be a matter of time before they both got what they wanted and maybe more.
She wrapped her arms around the man's neck as they moved to the rhythm, her eyes meeting Norman's as she smiled seductively. Staring into his soul, wanting him to take the next step, to take control, she wanted to see his true personality, not the calm laid back one he was fooling everyone with, she knew deep down there was a side to Norman she wanted to expose and it would only be a matter of time.
Norman was going to tear the woman apart if he didn’t eat soon. The saliva was pooling in his mouth and he cursed himself for letting it get this bad in the first place. The looks Thana was throwing his way weren’t helping either. The monster was going to have a taste of both and that he was sure of. That meaty of a man didn’t deserve to touch the cold, soft, pale-
He leaned down and kissed the blonde. He could taste the margarita she had been nursing lingering in her mouth, Norman pulling back only to let her breathe and nip her lip. His eyes met Thana’s again before he took the mesmerized blonde from the dancefloor and out the door. The pheromone the other changeling possessed must have been working in harmony with his own comforting body temperature. It seemed she wanted him undressed as much he wanted her blood on his tongue.
The lust on his mind had him a little hazy on reasoning, the monster’s impatience itching to take her now but he realized they still needed to be discrete. His breath was quick as he dragged her across the parking lot, forcing himself to focus on getting to cover behind a treeline- anywhere where people wouldn’t stumble upon him immediately.
The moment Norman could no longer see the lights, he threw the blonde down on the foliage ground and began kissing her again, running his fingers up her stomach as he felt the monster emerge. He removed his button down as the second set of arms grew from their confines, a hand gripping into the flesh as the woman started screaming in his mouth. Her eyes were wide with terror and it was as if a switch was flipped in Norman. Yes, he craved the fear. Craved the wet squishing of organs as they were shoveled into the mouth of his own demon. Alcohol, rosemary and pennies, the blonde’s eyes rolled back and gave his brain a sort of lustful high he hadn’t felt in so fucking long.
He smelt her before he saw her, Thana’s pheromone now more obvious than ever as she brought her own meal to join him. Norman turned and saw the horror etch across the man’s face preparing to scream. Norman stood quickly, pushing Thana against the curve of a nearby tree and gripping the man’s throat with one free hand. With one swift motion, Norman gripped the vocal cords and pulled them out, blood splashing and enveloping the changeling in a passionate kiss as he leaned into her body. One hand kept her imobile and the two others explored, Norman pulling back slightly to offer the vocal cords of the man to her quivering lips.
Thana glanced as she watched Norman escort the willing victim out of the door, the excitement caused her stomach to flutter along with the intense cramping of hunger, she needed to make her move soon. Turning her attention to the meal in front of her she placed her lips on his deepening into a more passionate kiss, he tasted divine and it was only making her hunger worse, she couldn't lose control now. Pulling away she tiptoed and whispered into his ear “How about we take this somewhere a little more private?" The human male nodded as Thana turned leading him outside smirking to herself.
This was too easy…
As a light gust of wind blew Thana smelt that delicious metallic smell she was craving, mixed in with another delicious smell ‘Normans’.
They turned the corner and to Thana's delight there on the grass lay the first victim, seems like Norman had gotten to have his fun before her, that wouldn't do. Hearing a shaking breath behind her she needed to act quickly before the human fled screaming in the streets. But before she had time to react she found her back pressed against the tree, a shower of blood above her, and those hot lips she had been itching to taste since she first laid eyes on them.
Thana returned the kiss eagerly, the taste of blood and Norman in her mouth was pure ecstasy and the night was only getting started.
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