The sun could not have set more slowly the following evening. I watched it set through the trees, but felt no particular remorse as it disappeared from sight. Ulrike had certainly not shown me any such courtesies when he tried to relieve me of my life. I should have died already without any goodbyes to the sky or my brethren were it not for my strange new friend. If indeed I could call the demon boy a friend.
When Godrik returned, I felt tremendously relieved. Still too ill to wander far, I had been left yet again with my unsteady thoughts. A weak and creeping concern had nagged me all day. Perhaps he would change his mind and abandon me in that dank cave. Yet as before, he returned. Godrik strolled in casually without acknowledging me and set down an armload of clothing. Not being one to waste wood, the fire I’d made was modest. He glanced at it with a small disapproving frown and chucked more fuel onto it before joining me where I sat in a bed of furs.
“Good evening, child.”
“You look well.”
“I’m not dead, if that’s what you mean.”
“No, indeed. Not dead. Yet.” He watched the fire for a long moment and chewed at his cheek. “Eirikr, there is doing a thing…and then there is doing a thing well. Do you appreciate the difference?”
“We shall do this thing well. We must do it right.”
I nodded eagerly. “Tell me what to do.”
All day I’d wondered what would happen to me. Even in my wilder and more morbid imaginings, I could not have even begun to anticipate how the transformation would come about.
He looked at me then with pain in his eyes and stroked my cheek. His gaze unfixed and his pupils bored into my very mind. “No matter what, you must not give over to death too soon. No matter how painful, how desperate you are, how much you beg, you mustn’t let it win. You will struggle, you will fight, and you will not let your heart cease beating until I decide the moment. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Godrik,” I replied, entirely under his spell.
He caressed my face, pushing my golden hair away from my neck. I saw his fangs descend and he ran a tongue over them. Godrik embraced me, nuzzling my neck and inhaling deeply, as if committing my scent to memory. He kissed my throat and licked it, sending a thrill of anxious excitement up my spine. Then I felt the pressure of his teeth and a searing sting that sent me gasping. He moaned loudly and growled, sucking up my life. I started to feel lightheaded and then a woozy tilt sent the shadowy walls spinning around me. Godric held me with an arm around my back and another fisting my hair and he let me fall back gently, still glutting himself on my blood. Darkness slid over my eyes and I tried to tell him he was killing me, but my disembodied voice came out as a gurgled, strangling sound. There was no point. I passed out.
Consciousness crept in. I felt the cool, sluggish blood of my companion sliding down my throat.
“Drink now. Take me into you.” I stirred, feeling ravenous. His ambrosia sent a fiery electricity through me. “Yes, that’s it,” he guided. I sucked on the wound, pulling his cool blood into my mouth.
He moaned a whisper into my ear. “Don’t let it close. Keep drinking.” I understood his meaning. His body healed almost immediately.
I did as he ordered and dug my blunt teeth into his flesh. As I drank, raw power zinged through my limbs and my hunger grew.
I do not know how long I lay there slurping upon his youthful fount. Finally, he pushed me away, panting. He looked horribly pale – a sickly purple dappled the hollows of his eyes and what were the fine arches of his cheeks now were drawn and gaunt.
“Gods. I have hurt you!” I gasped in horror.
He started laughing weakly, which only served to make him seem all the more ghastly.
“Hardly. Come here and feed me.” I knelt down over him, offering my neck. He latched on, those needle teeth piercing me once again, and he began draining me once more.
And so it went, over and over that night. Each time sapped to the point of death, each time revived by the miracle of Godrik’s blood.
No rays of sun touched the deep recesses of our hiding place. Blood tears began to stream from Godrik’s eyes and trickle from his ears and nose. He explained that dawn had broken beyond the rocky walls of our hiding place and he was not meant to be awake in the day.
“Keep drinking from me, I wish to fight the sun and keep taking from you as well. Bite my flesh as hard as you can and drink. Don’t stop biting or I may accidently drain you. The longer we draw this out, the stronger you will be. Come.”
He pulled me to his firm, cool chest, but did not offer me a bleeding wrist.
“Bite me. Hard.” He stroked a spot on his neck. I obliged, wrapping my arms around his frame.
“Oh gods! Uhnnnnmmm” He cried out, then sunk his teeth into my shoulder. Drinking together in this perfect circuit, I could hear him in my mind and I knew instinctively he could hear me in the same way. I caught snatches of hazy thoughts, and felt like I was drifting through his very soul as I lay there locked in his vice-like embrace. More than anything I felt extraordinary pleasure, coupled with the digging sting of his fangs. This union in the blood was intensely erotic and several times my own orgasmic release washed over me.
I lost all sense of time or place and we lay like this for many hours. At one point I must have dozed off, because he slapped me and ordered me to bite again. Some time later I felt his head slump against my shoulder. I assumed he wanted me to do the same for him, so I whacked him hard and he roused just enough to find the seeping bite again and take hold of it.
By nightfall, my shoulder was screaming horrendously from his teeth and each time he sucked it pulled directly in the middle of my chest. My body felt heavy, deadened, and weak, though nonsensically I didn’t feel sick, save for the hot burn of his bite. It was more like the sluggish weight of a deep sleep holding me down.
“Godrik. Godrik. It hurts unbearably.”
He looked at me through half-opened, so groggy and disoriented. He slashed his tongue healed the wound.
“You’re in rough shape,” I offered, truly concerned at the effect this was having upon the boy.
He laughed, rubbing at the dried stains of blood on his face.
“How are you holding up? Your heartbeat is still steady, though slow.”
“I can’t really move and I’m starving.”
Stumbling onto two feet, he brought me a dipper of water.
“Nothing more. You’ll just puke it up.”
I swallowed it down but it caught in my throat and I sputtered, coughing.
“It doesn’t taste so good anymore, does it?”
Hacking, I shook my head. “Blood. Give me more of your blood. I’m so thirsty.”
“Ahh…” he chuckled, stepping back and holding his arms out with an impish glint in his eyes. “If you want it, you’ll have to take it from me then.”
I tried to get my legs beneath me, but they were like wet rope. “At least help me up…”
He offered me a hand, but instead of taking it to pull myself up, I grabbed it and tried to bite his arm. He found this hilarious and effortlessly yanked free, letting me fall on my ass.
He grasped my neck then parted my thighs, pointing to the spot where I’d been stabbed.
“After the neck, the blood flows most freely here.” He bit into the sensitive flesh almost meanly, making me cry out. “Never bite into the actual artery. The human drains too quickly and is certain to die. Unless, of course, you intend to give them your blood. Which you won’t.” He slurped at the wound with several greedy gulps before sealing the puncture with a lick. Then he pulled my wrist towards his razor sharp fangs.
“The wrist bleeds slowly but steadily. It’s a solid place to drink from, always reliable and easy to access.” I gasped as he took a bite there as well. He nosed the inside of my elbow. “This spot too has good flow, though a little awkward to get at in a pinch.” He traced his fingers over my breast, just above my heart.
“There is great pleasure in drinking so near the heart, where the strong pulse sends your meal gushing right in your mouth. Take care, however, if the human is a wiggler. It’s easy to snap a fang on a rib. Not fun.”
I gasped as he ran a hand over my hip into the crook of my groin.
“Anywhere close to a man or woman’s pleasure is delicious at the height of their passion.” He licked his lips and released me, just as I felt myself start to become aroused.
“Where else?” I asked, fascinated by his lesson.
“Hmm. Depending how long your fangs are and how particularly vicious you’re feeling, you can hit the artery in the belly…here. You’ll gorge, but again, it’s a death blow.” He paused, thinking. “Now, the tongue is very nice, especially another blood drinker’s. It tells you many things about the person.”
“You drink blood of your own kind?”
Godrik’s eyes glittered. “Oh yes, but only occasionally and not for sustenance.” He slashed his tongue and leaned in to me, offering it. I hesitated, then let my tongue slide over his and sucked. He sighed through the kiss and gently pulled away.
“Eirikr, are you ready to begin again?”
“Again?” I asked, shocked.
“Yes. I want you to be perfect. We must continue.”
“How long…” I whispered, unsure whether I wanted to hear the answer.
“Another full night and day, and another night more. You can take it, I know you can. It will not be easy, but you are strong and my blood is ancient,” he replied full of determination.
I cursed and fell on my back in resignation. “Alright. Let it begin, then.”
“You may go first.” He settled next to me, resting his head on a bent arm. “Just try not to drain me entirely, you bloodthirsty mongrel. I’m only half your size,” he teased with the hint of a smile.
Taking his wrist, I went for the spot I’d tried to bite earlier, just to see if he’d allow it now. He watched me curiously and made no indication that he would stop me, so I bit down hard. It took a surprising amount of force to break the skin. Digging my teeth in to keep the bite open, I drank and drank until he started getting that sickly look again. I let up.
“Keep going,” he mouthed, eyes closed. I took several more big gulps before he pulled away, looking positively dead.
“This is hurting you too.”
“Of course.” He shrugged, then rolled me over roughly and sent his fangs singing into my skin.
It went on like this as he predicted. It was grueling, beyond excruciating. By the end of the third night, I was barely clinging to life. I did not know until then that such agony existed; nothing in the preceding nights had ever prepared me for such a trial. My heart lugged in great thuds, in time to each shallow, labored breath I managed to draw in. Godrik’s glamoured order to live forced me to endure it.
He, on the other hand, was suffering more greatly than any creature I’d ever seen; in truth nothing living could be alive in such pain. He shook violently as though in a fever and was covered in a sheen of blood sweat. His compact frame had grown so emaciated, it looked like a skeleton wrapped in papery skin. I would have told him as much, if I could speak. In the back of my mind, I knew I should be afraid of him, but I wasn’t. I could already feel his own essence stirring in my breast, as if he were a part of me. I only feared now that he might perish in his fervent attempt to transform me.
Finally, trembling, he took hold of my face and whispered into my ear.
“It is time. When you arise you will be the blood of my blood. Good night, Eirikr.” He kissed my cheek and said something that seemed like a prayer in a strange language, then bit into my neck, draining me dry. I knew my life was slowly stilling and a felt a white fuzziness take over my vision. My heart made a final lub and then went silent.
It was then that I truly died.