Rocks, roots, and leaves dug into my raw feet. Arms pumping, I glanced over my shoulder at the bloody tracks left on the forest floor–and the Bloodsucker galloped after me on all fours, her long, ebony hair straggling like ribbons tied too long in the wind.
My heart hammered.
I whipped my head around as adrenaline thrummed through my body, fueling me to go faster faster faster. Freedom was so close, so close. It was just beyond the tree line ahead, but as the sunshine blinded my world-weary eyes, the Bloodsucker’s claws sank into my shoulders.
I yelped as I crashed into the ground. “Help–help!”
Fingers threaded through my hair. My forehead slammed into the ground, and my world became an ink blot. When I woke up, manacles bit into my wrists. My arms were spread far apart, like a raven mid-flight. I sat on a dirt floor, my back against the stone cellar wall.
The Bloodsucker’s fangs were bone-marrow deep inside me. I was too tired to struggle, too tired to fight her. My blood slowly left my body, flowing, flowing out my veins and into her mouth.
I shivered at those hands now bruising me, that mouth now killing me. Those hands had cradled me when I was an infant. Those hands had also slapped me across the mouth, hard, when I had said something she didn’t want to hear. Those lips sucking against my neck had once kissed my scraped knees. Those lips had also curled with delight when her hurled insult made my gaze tilt downwards, trapping her painful words inside my bodily prison.
“Mother,” I murmured. “Why are you doing this?”
The Bloodsucker’s head lifted, rubies dripping from her fangs. “Because you tried to leave me.”
N.V. Devlin writes speculative fiction and psychological horror to better make sense of the world. N.V. was the 1st Runner-Up for Indecent Magazine’s 2022 Queer Quivers Contest and has had work appear in the Creepy Podcast. Some favorite authors include Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Joyce Carol Oates, Shirley Jackson, and Neil Gaiman, and N.V. aspires to someday write even a fraction as well as them. Find N.V. on Instagram (@nvdevlin).