Borrowing a Bite
Chapter One: Unlikely Friends
Vela groaned with a hand on her belly as the white blur that was her legs carried her at break-neck speeds through the seemingly unnavigable darkness of the dense woods. A human wouldn’t be able to outpace her on open terrain in broad daylight, so she would have no trouble running one down while they blindly felt their way through the labyrinth of trees in the utter blackness of this moonless night. Not a single star could be discerned beneath the dense canopy of the tightly packed conifers. That hardly mattered, however, as these days, there didn’t seem to be any humans left to hunt, and that was proving to be a problem for her ever-insatiable appetite.
In spite of the fact that she had maintained a relatively low profile since coming to this area, she supposed that it was only a matter of time before rumors and superstitions made their way through the meager local population like a creeping disease, and every night she would arise to find the people fewer, and the vacant houses more abundant, their occupants having packed their belongings and fled for the safety of a city under cover of day while she was powerless either to stop them or give pursuit.
Not that she would have tried. While Vela was a little possessive of her human treats to the point of almost considering them her pets as opposed to simple blood-dispensers, immortality had taught her that, as far as humans were concerned, everything was fragile and fleeting, and all good things, including dependable sources or nourishment, entertainment, and even companionship must come to an end. And even though she was kind to her little cluster of country folk— never praying on the sick or on children, never drinking more from one person than someone with a healthy constitution could reasonably handle, and certainly never killing— they always collectively and inevitably responded to her infrequent nighttime callings (what she considered a display of light affection) with distrust, fear, and eventual abandonment.
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe her feelings towards this inevitable abandonment as devastation. No— she had outlived too many humans for that. But her emotional capacity had been deepened, not stunted by her many years, and in some ways, she still suffered the sudden and painful attacks of moods befitting the youthful woman she appeared to be. So, when she would find that one of her recent favorites had finally elected to vacate the premises, it did sadden her.
She loved them all in her own way. She would remember each and every face and name, often wondering if they remembered her in their new home, and if they spared a kind thought for her as she so often did for them. It wasn’t very likely, she knew. Often, the more squeamish ones were in a trance for every interaction they’d ever had with her, the night barely seeming more than a beautiful, strange, and perhaps somewhat disturbing dream. And she had met so very painfully few who weren’t squeamish.
The house she had just paid a visit to held one such soul: a younger man who was fool hearted enough to willingly partake in a relationship that was more than a little one-sided in terms of benefits. Though, she’d be lying if she said she only liked him for his blood. He was charming. She hadn’t visited him often, or in a while, but she could tell once she was within half a mile of his family’s cottage that he, too, was gone.
Her feet continued to carry her swiftly away from the source of disappointment with a mind of their own while her mind nursed abstract feelings of dejection, a feeling of growing emptiness plaguing her un-beating heart, while her empty belly nagged and pushed the beating of her bare feet.
She wasn’t paying attention to where she was running. Subconsciously, she was aware that she had picked up on an old scent and her body was automatically driving her towards the prize— the meal— that might have lied at the end of the trail. She wondered, though, whether she was really hungrier for a warm drink, or some warmth of spirit. This location was drying up with regard to both. She would have to abandon this place just like the rest soon enough, and that, above all other forms of abandonment, had a tendency of saddening her.
How long had she been here? Vela glanced backward introspectively to determine the answer. It hadn’t seemed like a very long time. Certainly, it was less than the last place she’d called home. People were much quicker on the uptake these days it seemed. She didn’t exactly keep a calendar, but her memory was impeccable, and she was a very fast counter. She quickly played back through all of her memories of this little spot of country and counted every single dim dusk and warning dawn she had seen in these wooded hills. Thirteen thousand, three hundred and seventy-two nights. She slowed to a walk, her body realizing it was close to the source of the scent. Had it really been that long? She probably should have left a while ago. Maybe it was perfectly reasonable that the locals were running away. She’d have to leave soon. No matter. She had arrived at a cottage in a little clearing she hadn’t been to in a long time.
There didn’t appear to be any signs of life within. She spent a brief moment observing, feeling, smelling, and listening, and was almost certain that the place was abandoned like so many others. So many others that she had driven away by over-staying her welcome. But the scent of lifeblood was strong here. Perhaps they were merely away. Maybe they’d return. Should she move on to the next lead, or linger here, risking another night without sustenance in the slim, vain hopes of... something. There was one easy way to be sure. She knew this place. She knew that she had never been invited in.
With trepidation in her still heart, she approached the threshold of the front door. In otherwise utter stillness and silence, she slowly extended her right hand and placed it firmly against the door. Closing her eyes, she felt for it— that feeling of inanimate yet willful repulsion inherent in all inhabited human structures. A form of precious magic they didn’t even know they possessed: what they called, ‘the value of labor,’ was a powerful protective charm that could be transferred from one human to another in the form of property through contracts which could be no more than a handshake. Perhaps the charm itself wasn’t as powerful as other protective forms of magic by species more conscious of their craft, but it was certainly marvelous that humans were still capable of such things without even being aware of it. It sure kept out creatures like Vela, that is, unless she obtained even implied consent to enter— a verbal exception to the contract, like having her name added to some hypothetical manifest.
This building, however, offered Vela no such resistance. Abandoned buildings lost their protective charm, dissipating like a planet’s atmosphere once it lost the magnetic ability to retain it. She would be able to feel it in the palm of her hand by merely applying pressure to the door. It would send chills up her spine and force her to step back. But nothing happened. This was merely a building. The prior owners would not return. She knew she should move on, so she couldn’t quite explain why she reached for the door handle and pushed her way inside the empty husk of humanity. Perhaps it was because the scent was so fresh, and she wanted to live in it for a moment. Revel in it. Pretend like she was living among them still.
She hadn’t really known the family that resides here, only having called on them twice over many years, and both times on a different individual. But the scents and artifacts they left behind told her a lot about them. She took them all in very quickly as she passed through the doorway and closed her eyes to imagine their day-to-day life here.
Standing there in the center of the living room, she heard a faint scratching somewhere behind her and at about knee-height. Her body reacted like a spring-loaded trap, pouncing on the sonic stimulation without the need for any conscious thought. This allowed her mind to wander wistfully while her body did the work. She wondered what the sound was. Human was out of the question, though she’d have given anything to have caught a burglar here. Perhaps it was a rat. Or, even better, a raccoon or opossum! One of those would certainly tide her over. Not like a man, but almost anything would do in a pinch. But even as these thoughts crossed her mind, she knew it could not be so. In the seven-tenths of a second it took her to turn around and glide silently over to the wall where the noise was coming from, her godlike ears had determined the source had to be too small for even a rat to be in there. Unfortunate. She could never bring herself to drink from anything smaller than a rat. For one thing, even rats were almost certain to die from more than a sip, and she wasn’t keen on killing even those diminutive creatures. Aside from that, anything smaller than a rat was simply too small to sink her teeth into. At that point, she’d be eating, not drinking, and the few licks of blood she’d get for her efforts were in no way worth the disgust she’d feel at all the rest.
She stared at spot on the wall behind which she had echolocated the origin of the scampering and followed the progress of whatever small creature was moving about within the space. She was only half-listening, as her mind was already returning to thoughts of leaving in pursuit of other horizons, no longer content with dwelling in this disappointing place. The hopes of a small animal had made her abandon thoughts of humans tonight. She could probably track down a deer. That would tide her over long enough... long enough to go somewhere new. This village, like this house, had nothing left to give.
Vela willed her body to forget about the noise and move on, but she found it difficult. Her hunting instincts were strong, and they could be a little reluctant to give up on something so near, even if consciously she knew it to be of no use. But in her minute hesitation, Vela recognized something odd about the sounds being produced by the tiny creature’s footsteps behind the wooden wall; namely, it seemed to have the distinct pattern of a two-legged being. It sounded almost... human? She closed her eyes and listened intently. There could be no doubt. Whatever was making its way about in there was walking on two legs, not scratching along on four, clawed feet. It was some kind of mouse-sized man!
Curiosity got the best of Vela. She knelt down by the wall and placed the tips of her delicate-looking fingers on the solid wood and followed the location of the presumed man with them, and then she spoke.
“Excuse me,” she said, pitching her voice in exactly the necessary tone and volume necessary to be heard clearly through the wall. “If you could just stand still for a moment.” The footsteps halted immediately, her sudden and unexpected address having the desired effect. That was all she needed. Before the tiny thing could have time to react, or even make sense of her words, her open palm collapsed into a fist as she punched through the two-inch thick wooden panel. It happened in the blink of an eye, though she was careful to be gentle. The instant her fist cleared the barrier, it opened up again and surrounded the little person without touching it. Then, she softly wrapped her cold fingers around the being, and quickly, but not violently, extracted it from the relative safety of the wall.
She brought her closed fist containing the little thing up just below her face and spoke once again.
“Now just stay calm. Don’t try to go anywhere. I promise not to harm you in any way. I just wanted to have a look at you,” she said in her most soothing voice, reflexively lacing her words with the usual hypnotic undertones that she so often used to paralyze men twice her size. She slowly unfurled her fingers to reveal a tiny man who, to her surprise, didn’t look terrified at all. Rather, he wore an expression of dignified perplexity, as of that of a professor whom had just been told something ridiculous by one of his novice students and he was prepared to refute it. He had a sideways smirk, and one of his eyebrows were arched dramatically. His arms were crossed on his chest, and as soon as she had released the pressure on his little body, he crossed one ankle over the other to complete the visage of one totally relaxed and slightly put-off little man. All at once she forgot about both her hunger and her melancholy, transfixed by this delightful little creature resting easy in her right hand.
She instantly took in all of his features and found him to be ruggedly handsome in an adorable way. He had short-cropped hair on the sides that was longer and shaggy on top. It was mostly dark brunet with highlights of blonde that practically glowed with an orange-old in contrast to the rest. His nose was abnormally long and rounded at the end, with a soft slope that was set between two turquoise eyes that glinted under his strong brows. His lips were thin, but still appeared to have a softness to them, and his jaw was sharp and strong as it hooked back into wide and high cheekbones. He had a very distinctive face which she found extremely amusing in a man so small, though her sharp eyes closed the size gap in a way no human’s possibly could. She smiled unthinkingly with genuine elation at the little man, showing her full set of pearly whites complete with abnormally long sharp canines. Usually she tried to hide those from newly-met acquaintances, but she couldn’t help herself— he was just so precious. His brilliant little eyes flickered down to her fangs and then back up to meet her own gaze, and he spoke, taking her by surprise.
“Well, you’ve got a funny way of knocking, don’t ya?” Her eyes widened and her smile retracted into a closed-lip smirk as she tried to contain both laughter and surprise.
“Well, I didn’t see a door, you see, but I was very interested in introducing myself,” she said, placing her left hand on her chest as she referred to herself.
“Well, now we’ve met. I’d over you something to drink, but I don’t suppose you take your tea the way I do. Ya know, two lumps of sugar,” he said, nodding toward what she presumed to be her fanged mouth, taking his implication.
“Oh, no. I’m afraid I don’t have much of a sweet-tooth,” she said, once again flashing him a very toothy grin, closing her eyes and cocking her head forward while turning her face from side to side, putting her arsenal on display for dramatic emphasis.
“I’m sure the former tenants wouldn’t mind if you got into the pantry and borrowed whatever’s left. They won’t be returning, and if you don’t mind particularly, I’ll need to be getting on my way as well. Long journey ahead of me. Lots to pack.”
“Oh, but I don’t eat. I only drink blood,” she said matter-of-factly. She pretended to look around the place a moment, then continued. “Don’t suppose the former tenants left any of that lying about?” She gave him another smile, looking down at him with her head turned to the side. He gulped nervously, showing a little concern for the first time, though he didn’t betray it in his voice.
“No, I don’t suppose they did, and I’m afraid I’m using all of mine at the moment.” She gave him a pout, feigning disappointment.
“Awe, are you sure? You couldn’t spare even a drop?” She clacked her teeth and licked her lips, playing up the suggestion. His face turned almost as white as hers, and she decided she couldn’t keep up the act. He really was too small to safely offer her anything resembling a meal, and the conversational stimulation he was providing her had all but made her forget her appetite for the moment anyway. “Oh, don’t fret, little guy. I’m only teasing. I promised not to hurt you, remember? I’m a woman of my word.”
“That’s a relief,” he admitted, visibly relaxing as some of the color returned to his face. “For a second there I thought I was going to have to act in ways unbecoming of a gentleman and put you in your place.” She laughed loudly at the unexpected jest.
“Oh? Were you going to hit a poor little woman?” She asked with exaggerated concern.
“Only if raising my voice and using foul language didn’t get the point across,” he insisted. She laughed again, and walked across the room, setting him down on a side-table that had been left behind in the family’s haste to leave.
“Please, don’t run off. I would catch you. I’m very fast,” she said. “I hope you don’t mind being temporarily detained. It’s just been so long since I’ve had anyone to talk to, and I’m a little starved for conversation.” She had noticed a small oil lantern hanging by the door on her way in, and in a flash, she had retrieved it and was back by the table. The little man could barely keep track of her swift motions as she retrieved the lamp and lit it, setting it down gently on the windowsill above, before she sat down cross-legged and gazed at him with her cheek resting in one hand. He figured she was right. She was very fast. He was confident he could outstrip a human in these close quarters, but she was something else entirely. But that was a good thing. He got the impression that she was an honest species. But that also meant he would have to entertain her for better or for worse until she’d had her fill of him. He sighed, supposing that his journey didn’t exactly have a strict timeline. If he lost one night, so be it. He’d play along and be polite. She could borrow his time.
“So, do you have a name?” She asked.
“Leo,” he offered, and extended his right hand to shake. She giggled, taking his hand delicately between her thumb and forefinger.
“I’m Vela,” she said while ‘shaking hands,’ and then released her grip. “Were you also named for a constellation?”
“Not as far as I know. I wager my mother just liked it,” he admitted, scratching the back of his head.
“That’s sweet. And what sort of man are you, Little Leo?”
“I reckon I’m a dashing, morally upstanding one.”
“Ha! Oh, you truly seem to be. But I was asking after your background. Who are your people? I’ve never met a tiny man. I didn’t know there were any.”
“Well you didn’t seem to have much trouble ‘meeting’ me. You just never looked before.”
“True. I don’t spend much time indoors. And the place has never been quiet enough for me to discern your tiny footsteps.”
“You heard my footsteps?” He asked with obvious surprise. “I didn’t hear yours. And that’s saying something. I’ve never been snuck up on before.”
“Well I’m sorry for startling you. I can’t help that I tread so lightly. And, um, sorry for extracting you so unceremoniously. I didn’t think I could convince you to come out of your own free will, and I really had to get a good look at you.”
“Well that’s alright. No harm done,” he said, pretending to dust off his shirt and shoulders. “I’m known as a ‘borrower.’”
“A borrower, you say? And why are you called that?”
“Well, because we borrow things. We sort of make our abodes in the floors, ceilings, and walls of human residences, and borrow the things they don’t need in order to get by.”
“Do you return that which you borrow?”
“Erm, well, sometimes.”
“Do you ask for permission before you borrow?”
“Now listen here— “
“That’s alright. I don’t ask to ‘borrow’ what I take from humans either. Though I do have to ask for permission to enter if I want to ‘dine in.’”
“I don’t understand. Didn’t ask me permission before you came inside here. Nor did you ask for permission to, uh, invade my home.”
“Well that’s probably because this space doesn’t belong to you; you are merely borrowing it,” she said with a wink. “Besides, it only keeps me out of human residences. You could claim this building, but that wouldn’t make its magic yours.”
“I never thought of it like that.” He admitted. “My people have always depended on the human race for a kind of safety. Maybe there’s good reason for it. Though I think that the relations used to be a little more open. I think my people are also borrowing old good faith. A long-forgotten understanding that one side might not be as keen to maintain nowadays as the other.”
“That’s understandable. Humans are much more prone to change as a species than most others. Their structures, their beliefs, their enemies and allies, even their hearts and minds,” she said, her voice trailing off a little bit near the end as her gaze turned toward the lantern.”
“You speak of them like they’re entirely foreign to you,” Leo said, recapturing her attention from whatever sad thoughts he could tell she was slipping into. This ‘Vela’ seemed very susceptible to sudden and deep mood-swings, and though she barely portrayed them, he was very sensitive to such things. Aren’t you a, well, vampire?” She looked back to him and smiled, bearing those tell-tale fangs.
“Why, yes, yes I am. What tipped you off?” She asked and tapped her right index finger on the tip of one of her fangs.
“Well, other than the fact that you’ve got simply a perfect, nigh-platinum complexion, I’m not really sure,” he joked.
“If I could only blush,” she teased. “But what’s your point in asking?”
“Well, aren’t vampires human? Or, didn’t you at least start out as one?”
“No, silly man. I suppose you would think that having spent all your life around humans. I guess you’d adopt some of their superstitions, though how that myth got started I’m really not sure. What an interesting thing to fear! The idea that a visit from one of us carries the risk of ‘turning you,’ and at the same time, I’ve bitten so many people in this very town, and has such a thing ever come to pass? How can they hold such contradictory fears to be true? I’m both a killer and a recruiter? When, truth be told, I’m neither.” She sighed.
“You’re not a killer?” He asked sincerely.
“I’ve never killed a human, no. That would be very poor-mannered of me considering I need them to survive. Not to mention, unsportsmanlike. If I drink two pints or so of blood from an adult man, he’ll hydrate and recoup his losses in little more than a day, and all he’ll get is minor bruising. I try to make it as painless as possible, of course, but some superficial damage is inevitable. And two pints is more than I’d typically need.”
“Wow. I must confess, I’ve been given to believe that vampires are much more menacing. But, despite your rather overwhelming apparent strength and speed, if you’re the rule, your kind is a pretty mild-mannered bunch. I’m charmed to have made your acquaintance.”
“You’re a very sweet fellow, Leo.” She smiled. “So, why is it exactly you’re about to embark on a long journey, and to where, if I may inquire?”
“Well, we borrowers need someone to borrow from. And the residents of this house packed up and left this morning before I even woke up. Else I could have stowed away in their belongings. I’ve had a few others warn me that their hosts were packing up with short notice lately, but I seriously underestimated just how quickly they’d go.” He sighed. “I’ll miss them. They were a good family.”
“Were you close to them personally?” Vela asked with interest.
“What? Oh. No. I’d spoken with the children a bit when they were younger. More attentive and intrigued. But they forgot about me in their teenage years. They were just good folks. It was a pleasant environment. I’m sorry they had to go.” Vela frowned and looked away. “What’s the matter?” Leo asked.
“It’s just... I fear that my extended presence in this town has scared off all the locals. I’ve uprooted many families be recklessly lingering too long, and now I’ve discovered that I’ve upset an entirely different race of their little companions as well.” Leo looked at her with confusion.
“What on earth do you mean? You didn’t drain the wells and the mines, did you?”
“Excuse me?” She asked, not understanding.
“You think that humans are perceptive or organized enough to all up and leave at once because of one little vampire? Without even forming a single hunting party? No way. They’re way too stubborn. Oh, sorry. I mean. I’m sure you were terrifying and all, and it’s not like the hunt would have worked. But. You know what I mean.”
“So why did they leave?”
“This town was formed around a mine. Good minerals. Guess it used to bring in a lot of money a long time ago. But the mines have been on the decline for decades. And lately, they can’t even tap for water. The second they realized everyone was going to die of thirst pointlessly clinging to a barren ore mine, they all decided to split.”
Vela, normally so sure of herself, found that she was flabbergasted by the news this tiny man was bringing to her. She just stared at him with her jaw dropped, unable to process this sudden change of worldview. Leo could tell that what he considered common knowledge had made a real impact on Vela and was about to offer something else up to either change the subject or otherwise distract her from her emotions when she suddenly snatched him up in both hands. She hugged him against her bosom, stood up, and began spinning around the room.
“Oh, Leo! That’s wonderful news! All along I thought I was the reason that they were all leaving! I felt so guilty! But I just couldn’t bring myself to leave!” She extended her arms, holding him high above her head. He looked a little dizzy, but no worse for wear. “Oops. Sorry!” Lowered him slightly. She didn’t mean to jostle the poor man so. She was just so ecstatic at this revelation. She trusted his opinion on the matter. He did live with humans, after all. He’d doubtlessly heard many of their conversations. But learning this made her wonder if she had in fact ever been the cause of a town emptying out its population, or if people simply had their own reasons for leaving their homes, stubborn though they were.
“It’s, ugh, it’s quite alright,” Leo said, holding a hand to his head to attempt to steady the lingering vertigo. He didn’t think he’d ever moved that quickly in his life. What a ride! “Just took me off guard is all.”
“Oh, Leo. I’m so glad I met you! If you only understood how you’ve soothed my spirits with the simple, caring act of conversing! I could just...” She hesitated, and then gave in to glorious abandonment and brought Leo up to her lips, and kissed him square on the face, her cold, pillowy lips practically engulfing his entire head in the process. She hadn’t kissed anyone in many years, but no one had made her feel such refreshing relief in just as long, and she simply had to allow these unusual emotions to play out in the way she felt natural to honestly express them. His skin was so warm compared to her own. Her body usually formed an equilibrium with that ambient temperature of her environment, but his little body was like a tiny flame in her hands and on her lips. It was intoxicatingly pleasant. She kissed him thrice more in quick succession, and then pulled him away from her face, holding him a few inches back so she could get another look at him.
Leo was in a complete daze and at a loss for words. He had been given to fear when she brought him swiftly towards her enormous lips, ashamed to admit that he had feared the worst. Images of her razor-like fangs flashed in his mind, but the shock of what followed erased all of his fears and left him feeling... something else. Her hands had been cold, so it stood to reason that her lips would be as well, but the slightly damp, soft texture invigorated and chilled him. It was like being pressed against a granite slate that was more forgiving than downy pillows. What’s more, it was completely unanticipated.
Granted, Leo had found Vela to be absolutely gorgeous from the moment she had snatched him up. Here was this relatively petite, though surprisingly curvy, black haired, pink-eyed vampire vixen with pearl-white skin and a pixie-esque facial structure right down to the perfect slope of her tiny nose and wide, full lips. Even her fangs gave her a striking, distinctive appearance that he found attractive if a little frightening. He’d never dream of making it with a girl this lovely even if she was a borrower like him, let alone a vampire many times his size, and who he had believed to be asexual. But he realized his mind was running away with him, and just because she had kissed him didn’t necessarily mean anything else. After all, this woman seemed to be spontaneously unpredictable. He decided to try and collect himself and play it cool.
“I, um, you...” he began, and cursed himself for losing his usual wit. Vela looked suddenly mortified.
“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! That was extremely forward of me. How rude! I just, I need to express how happy you’d made me feel and didn’t know any other way. It won’t happen again.” She apologized while quickly moving to set him back down on the side table. He cursed himself again. His dumb stammering had made her feel somehow at fault for an act he quite enjoyed.
“Vela! No! Wait.” She froze in place. Really froze. He was amazed at how quickly she could transition from movement to stony stillness. He cleared his throat.
“Don’t put me do— I mean. You don’t HAVE to put me down.”
“Oh? I just thought.” He held a hand up to silence her.
“It’s my fault. I really liked it, what you did there.” His face was turning bright red. She must’ve noticed.
“Oh-h-h. I embarrassed you! But I didn’t offend or hurt you?”
“N-no. Not in the slightest. And I’m not embarrassed. I’m just...” he trailed off.
“You just liked it?” She offered.
“Yes. I just liked it. Thank you.
“Well why didn’t you just say so? I liked it too. That’s why I did it, silly little man.” She placed a hand upon her cheek. “Granted I liked it a little more than I thought I would... you’re so warm.” She licked her lips while looking up and to the side thoughtfully. “And a little sweet!” I may ‘borrow’ a few more if I feel so inclined,” she said sweetly.
Just then, her stomach let out an audible groan with a “blorch,” and a “gurgle.” Vela sighed, her elation appearing to drain a little as she once again looked out the window.
“Everything alright?” Leo asked her. She paced over to the window and squinted her pink eyes, observing something thoughtfully. After a moment, she answered.
“Yes. It’s fine. It’s just... the night is getting on. At this point, it would be too risky to go out and continue hunting, and as much as I’ve enjoyed this conversation with you,” she gestured around the room, “this place won’t be safe for me in the morning. I’ll have to be going. If I don’t leave soon, I won’t have time to make it back to my... well. I’d have to bury myself. It’s not my preferred method of slumbering.”
“Oh!” Leo exclaimed with sudden understanding. “Of course, sunlight. Vampires aren’t fond of it, aye?”
“To put it ‘light-ly,” she admitted.
“Well, I would totally understand if you’d rather sleep where you’re used to, but if you’re in a bind...” he pointed down at her feet. “This place has a little hiding place underground. There’s a hatch beneath the carpet. It’s totally safe from the sun, and actually quite comfortable! They designed it to be safe from the elements so they could store food and supplies in all seasons, as well as themselves if they ever needed to hide for some reason. I’ve... erm... borrowed a lot from it over the years.” Vela looked at him and then the ground skeptically, and then smiled brightly.
“Little Leo, are you inviting me to stay? What an outrageous little man you are! No one has done something like that for me in ages!” She brought him back in for another kiss, this one lasting much longer than the last few. She held him against her lips for what felt to Leo like an entire minute before pulling away. At first, Leo felt like the heat was being drained from his body through the point of contact, but after a moment, her lips actually began to warm to his touch. It fascinated him, and he closed his eyes and kissed her back, choosing to enjoy the strangely apportioned affection regardless of its intention. When she finally did pull up from the kiss, he could swear there was a strange glint in her eyes. What was he getting himself into? “So deliciously warm... well let’s have a look at my accommodations, shall we? How delightful! Gods above, I haven’t stayed with anyone in... a lifetime!” Leo took note of her choice of words, ‘stayed with...’ and pondered whether she thought he’d be willing to share the subterranean cubby hole with her, and he seriously wondered whether he was.
Vela sat Leo back on the table, moved a couple pieces of abandoned furniture, and walked to the edge of the carpet. In one effortless motion, she sent it rolling across the room, and in a second, the entire heavy rug was rolled up against the wall across from her. Then, Leo saw that there was a heavy pad lock on the hatch in the center of the wooden floor. He was about to tell her he knew where to find the key when he realized there was no need. She simply knelt down, held the lock in one hand with her fingers hooked through the metal loop, and pulled the lock in two with a metallic “clang!” He marveled at her strength, wondering how she was able to handle him so gently with power like that. She tossed the pieces aside and lifted the heavy hatch to reveal the stairs to the area below.
“It’s so charming! Such fine masonry, and a plush looking rug to boot! Oh, I’m sure I could sleep very well in here, indeed!” She made her way down and out of Leo’s field of vision. He chuckled quietly at how she could find a little storage charming, let alone fit for comfortable sleeping. Then again, he had no idea what her usual accommodations were. She was willing to bury herself in a pinch. Maybe vampires really did sleep in coffins and crypts. He shook his head, and hopped easily off the table, making his way to the edge of the stairs.
Upon arriving at the edge of the stairs, she suddenly reappeared, immediately noticing him. He gawked up at her, this being the first time at her feet, and fully appreciated their difference in size. She wasn’t large. By human standards, she was fairly small, but he didn’t spend a lot of time this close to humans either, even though he lived with them. So, this particular perspective of a woman her size was Leo’s first. In spite of himself, he was utterly smitten. He shook his head as if to try and clear it of pointless thoughts. Vampires couldn’t read minds, could they? No. That had to be a myth.
“Well, hello, Leo. How’s the weather down there?” She giggled are her own lame joke.
“You know. Drafty. But the view is great!” He instantly regretted saying it and wanted to bite off his tongue to abate the physical cringe he felt at delivering the compliment, but she appeared to take it well.
“Oh-h-h, Leo. I had you pegged for a charmer the moment I met you.” She said, kneeling down before him. “It’s a good thing you don’t possess the hypnotic voice, or I surely would have been your dinner by now.” She continued giggling and offered him her hand. He didn’t see any harm in it and climbed aboard. She stood up and brought him back up to bear with her lovely face and seemed to scrutinize him. “And yet, you appear to be oddly resistant to mine. Are borrowers immune to charms?”
“What do you mean?” He asked her, puzzled.
“Well I only tried to charm you once, and thought it worked; that is, when I told you to stay still behind the wall. But you weren’t under my enchantment when I pulled you out, so I just assumed I’d have to keep track of you manually.”
“Oh, then. You were trying to enchant me? No. I stood still because I was startled. I didn’t hear you come in, which was a first for me. Humans are much louder.
“That makes sense.”
“Wait, why did you try to charm me? I mean. I’m not offended. But it doesn’t seem... um... necessary.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, it’s just that you’re unbelievably strong, blindingly fast, and, well...” his blush was returning. Staring into her abnormally large, pink eyes was a little enchanting.
“Well you’re inhumanly beautiful as well. I don’t mean to come on like such a flatterer, but it’s a veritable fact by about any species’ standards. You’re gifted.” She flashed him her biggest smile yet, and it made him want to melt in her cold hands.
“I’ll try not to let it go to my head. Though you’re rather handsome yourself. I have an eye for these thugs. Handsome men are almost always tastier, you see.” She clacked her teeth at the air to make her point. It gave him chills, but in a good way. “So, your point is that with all of these ‘gifts,’” she gestured at her body with her free hand, “with which I am endowed, why do I need to enchant people to get what I want?”
“Yes. Precisely. Any one of your assets should make conning men out of a little blood a pretty simple matter, so I don’t see the need for hypnotism.” She frowned.
“It’s not a con, Leo. It’s... an intimate experience. Well, at least it is for me. I don’t have to feed exclusively on humans, I merely prefer to. It’s much more pleasurable. That’s just not always... mutual.” She appeared to ponder for a moment. “Look. For instance.” Suddenly she tightened her grip on Leo and held him close to her mouth and bared her fangs terrifyingly. They seemed to actually extend a little as if they were the retractable claws of a cat. Then she spoke to him in the most soothing tones he had ever heard.
“Leo. I want to bite you and drink your blood. Would that be okay? It won’t hurt. Just a little.” Something about her voice made him shiver. It was terrifying. He could tell that this was her enchanting tone, but she was correct. It most certainly did not work on him. Then, she loosened her grip on him, and closed her mouth. When she smiled again, her fangs appeared to have returned to their normal, only slightly larger than human size. “It’s not an appealing request, is it?”
“N-no. I suppose it isn’t.” His heart rate would need a minute to return to normal. She gave him a half-hearted smile.
“I’m sorry I scared you, Leo. With all my being. But something tells me you’ll recover. Once humans see that side of me, though, something takes them. Humans possess an immense capacity for fear, while some of them are very courageous. But many are controlled by that fear. And if my will isn’t stronger than their fear, it’s very unpleasant. Things are just a lot tidier if I take their fear away at the get go, so it doesn’t have a chance to grow into something ugly. That’s what my voice does. It erases fear.” Leo thought he understood. It wasn’t so much a form of mind control as a form of emotional sedative.
“So, when you enchant someone, you do it like you just did for me? You ask them if it would be okay for you to drink their blood.”
“Yes, exactly. Once I’ve had a chance to adequately explain the situation, most mortals are willing to part with a little blood so that I may remain animate.”
“And if you go too long without it?”
“I’ll become inanimate.”
“Does that kill you?”
“Of course not. It just dries me out. I’d go into a corpse-like repose. Only the sun can kill me. But it certainly makes me vulnerable. But a little bit of blood properly applied is enough to bring me back from an inanimate state. Though you have to trust that one of your own knows where you are, or you could end up stuck that way for a very long time.” Her belly let out another loud “grrrrk!” And she placed a hand over her protesting abdomen.
“Are you going to be okay, Vela?” He asked gesturing down towards her groaning stomach.
“Hmm? Oh, that. Yes, I’ll be fine.”
“Not going to go inanimate on me, are you?” She smiled.
“No, no. Nothing like that. I’ve got plenty of time before I’d have to worry about that. But I graciously appreciate your concern. It just... hurts a little. I feel somewhat weak. You didn’t meet me at my best.” Leo frowned. He had just met this woman, but he felt already growing attachment to her. He didn’t like knowing that she was in pain.
“That’s a little hard to believe.”
“That you’re not at your best. I’m almost afraid to see you at your best.”
“Heh, you rascal of a man. In a way, I am at my best. Meeting you. Talking to you. Learning from you that I’m not half as big of a deal in the minds of men as I presumed I was. It’s been spiritually invigorating.” She paused for a minute, chewing her lip. “And kissing you. Well.”
“It’s not a big deal, you don’t have to say anything,” Leo insisted, fearing she was regretting her displays of intimacy.
“Was it not a big deal to you? Do you often kiss?” At first Leo thought she was asking a different kind of question, but then he realized she was being utterly sincere. He chose to answer with the same level of sincerity.
“It was a big deal to me. I don’t often kiss. I’ve only had one intimate relationship. I’ve lived alone— with just humans, I mean— ever since I left home.” He bit his tongue, once again feeling regret for over sharing, but this time for a different reason. He had never been alone, but it was true that he had been living a lonely existence up to this point. If times are hard on humans, they’re harder on borrowers. He really wasn’t sure what he was going to do about his present situation. But the very day he had been abandoned by his hosts, this beautiful vampire turned up out of the blue. He was intent on somehow befriending her if that was possible. If she would allow it.
Vela was having thoughts along the same lines as his. She had been feeling a keen sense of loneliness unbecoming of her years. By this point in a vampire’s life, most of them had outgrown such sentiments like wistful attachment issues. Most roamed as they pleased. And the very night she was feeling the spurn of abandonment by her local humans, she discovered her first borrower. He was immune to her vocal charm, but he wasn’t at all afraid or put off by her anyway. That was a rare treat. She didn’t know if they were all just like that. She hadn’t met any, but something told her that was for a reason; namely, they were a shy and elusive race. Leo seemed special. She wanted to hold onto him, but she feared to be overbearing of an independent young man. But she had to explore a little. Prod a little. She was surprised at herself for having kissed him. Kissing wasn’t something she, or any vampire, was known for. But she was secretly regretting not kissing him more at this very moment, and that agonized her, as she truly resented keeping quiet about her thoughts and feelings in the rare event that she was keeping company. Dishonesty wasn’t in her being. She would address her feelings. She would pace herself. The night still had a little longer to go, and there was still oil in the lamp. She broke the silence.
“Where will you go, Leo?”
“You mean when I leave here? I’m... well I’m honestly not sure.”
“What was your plan before I interfered with your evening?” He chuckled.
“A very welcomed interference, believe me. And I was just going to grab a few affects that I could comfortably carry and head down the road southward. I know there are a few residences along the way. Maybe one of them isn’t abandoned yet and I could hitch a ride.” He didn’t like his odds in that, and it was a long walk if he struck out on the first house. But he had to try. He knew his odds of living alone here were far worse. Vela frowned.
“I came from south, tonight, Leo. There’s no one for miles. I don’t think it’s quite a ghost town yet, but it’s looking like pretty slim pickings for the both of us.” Leo considered that. He resisted feelings of despair. Somehow, he would figure something out. He’d find a new family, maybe get to a city and discover more of his own kind. But Vela interrupted his thoughts.
“I know we only just met. But I have to speak about my feelings when I’m with someone, entranced or not. I’m feeling a little possessive of you. It’s quite a whimsical thing. I don’t quite understand it. But I’m detecting similar, though different, emotions from you. You don’t like to be a burden. Though it seems to be in your species’ nature to borrow help where you can get it, you’re not accustomed to asking. I’m not accustomed to asking for what I want either. So, I’m... insisting. Let me help you.” Leo wasn’t sure what to say. That was a lot, and his heart was doing little flips in his chest. He didn’t want to presume too much. This was a strange breed of woman. But she was imposing a helping hand. He felt he needed to take it.
“You want to help me? How?”
“I’m leaving this place within the week. As soon as I get a very good meal in me, I’ll be making a fast trek to the next densely populated area. I haven’t left these hills in a while, so I’m not certain how far we’ll have to go but come with me.”
“I won’t slow you down?”
“You’re light as a feather, and you make me feel a little lighter when I’m holding you. So, no. I wager you’ll help me glide all the faster. I’ll get us somewhere that’ll have what we need. And in the meantime, we’ll have each other’s company.” Truth be told, she wasn’t sure how deep her feelings of possessiveness towards this little borrower might run after spending more time with him. She wasn’t sure it would be healthy for either of them. But she was in a vulnerable place. She selfishly wanted him. She needed him to want to be had. She couldn’t soothe his fears with her voice, so she would have to plead. “I’m asking if it would be okay if I... borrowed you,” she concluded.
Leo was hanging on her every word. His heart was singing at his turn of fortunes. Earlier in the day, he was fairly certain that his luck had run out. He had missed his ride. He would spend days or weeks roughing it on the roads or in the woods to be picked off by the first moderately-sized carnivore that discovered him if he didn’t starve to death first. Then, he met Vela, and even better, she liked him, and genuinely wanted to help him out! He wasn’t sure what he had done right to deserve this fortune, but he was counting his lucky stars and swore to himself that he would do anything for this woman to show his gratitude, something his kind wasn’t exactly used to doing. But he would make it a paradigm shift. He wouldn’t be a burden. He’d somehow make it up to Vela for borrowing so much of her good will. If he could read her mind, he would know that an opportunity to show his gratitude would present itself sooner than he could have imagined.
Leo realized that she was looking at him expectantly. He had to say something, but he wasn’t sure how to fully express his gratitude. So, he just leapt off the deep end and said what came to mind.
“I really don’t know what to say. It would be an honor to be borrowed by you, Vela.” Her pink eyed seemed to positively glow.
“Yes! Thank you, Leo! This isn’t a one-sided venture. I’m so glad to have someone with me for this journey. It’ll lend some semblance of continuity to the transition, and that means more to an immortal than you realize. So many chapters close. It’s beautiful when new ones contain a small piece of the old. Quite small where you’re concerned.” She winked at him.
“Can I request something in return for agreeing to this mutually beneficial lending of my person?” Leo asked, hesitantly.
“Of course!” She blurted.
“Can I steal another kiss?” She gasped, not taken aback, but charmed that he was instigating an advance when she had been the forward one all evening. She brought her hand containing him up to her face, closed her eyes, and pursed her wide, plump lips. Leo shivered with joyful anticipation, knowing that those cold lips would make him shiver in more ways than one. He took too steps forward and leaned into her soft lips, kissing the top one tenderly. Gods, what lips she had. He felt an electric shock at their touch and couldn’t believe that he was about to embark on a journey that involved those lips.
Vela was elated that Leo had beckoned her for a kiss. She had selfishly stolen the last several and felt right as rain that he had elected to snatch one for himself. But dawn was coming. She could feel it in her bones. She knew that she was not long for this world but feeling Leo’s diminutive lips pressed against her own made her wish that the night could last forever. She reveled in his warmth and wished that she could somehow steal it all and take it deep within herself for safe keeping.
And I’m the midst of that kiss he had so generously requested to ‘steal,’ her belly once again growled loudly, reminding her that she was starving. The volume of this abdominal reminder reached the ears of her little companion, and he broke off from the oral embrace, and her tongue darted after him, unwilling to let him go. The tip of her tongue barely brushed his handsome face as he pulled away, but the reflexive action was utterly explicit. She had licked him. There was no denying that. And his warm face was like fire upon the sensitive tastebuds on the cold organ. She chewed her lip and pulled him away.
Leo wasn’t sure what to make of the light flick of her tongue across his face. It was a bizarre sensation to be tasted by a giant tongue, though he thought it a natural escalation of intimate kissing. It was just strange given their difference in size. The audible growling of her stomach concerned him for her sake. He worried that she was in pain. But his thoughts were being clouded by desire. Flattery was the overwhelming feeling that pervaded his thoughts at what seemed like a subconscious gesture. He thought she was really just getting carried away with him. He was correct. Though he was somewhat mistaken with where she intended to go with this.
Vela was nearly spent. She had put forward more earnestness and experienced more intimate emotions than she had in decades, and the night was old. She needed to retreat to a place safe from the sun if she wanted to relax, but her physical emptiness was still a nagging issue. But it was an issue for which she had thought up a potential solution. There was no way around it. Since she had imagined this solution, she would have to put it to Leo. He would probably reject it, and she would understand. But it was a good idea, she thought, innocently. So, she would have to voice it. She had to prod.
“Leo,” she said breathily.
“Come down into the hatch with me. Spend the day. Sleep with me.” It wasn’t so much a requesting, more imploring. Leo understood that dawn was coming, and Vela needed to hide to survive. He didn’t want to end their intimacy just yet, so he would concede.
“And you sleep all day?” He asked.
“Necessarily.” He thought it was no matter. He was effectively putting himself on her schedule until further notice anyway. And he desperately wanted to be close to her.
“Take me down,” he said. She grinned. The oil in the lamp ran out and they were ensconced in darkness.
“I’ve had an idea, Leo,” she began, as she stood up and began to make her way down the stairs. “Please don’t ask me what it is. I’ll tell you. I’ll explain it. But it’s a rather big favor to ask of you.” He was drunk on her presence and felt that he would be willing to do anything for her.
“Just say the word, Vela. If I can do it, I will.” She laughed weakly.
“Don’t get too hasty, little Leo. I hope you aren’t afraid of the dark...” as she said that, she pulled the hatch closed above them and they were sealed off from the world together in the tiny confined space barely big enough for two humans, but rather cozy for a vampire and a borrower.
It took a moment for Leo’s eyes to adjust. He, like all borrowers, was capable of seeing in near perfect darkness. She held him tightly as she lied down on the soft rug in the cubby hole, and she brought him up to her soft breasts and dropped him delicately on her chest directly above them. The stark silence was broken by a roaring “grrrrrlk!” Her belly reminding them both of its being neglected. Leo decided to break the tension with humor.
“I’m truly sorry that I’m not, well, more of a man, Vela.”
“And why is that, love?” Leo was a little shocked at the term. But he chose not to make a point of it.
“So, I could offer you some means to fill that belly, since I know you’d never hurt a fly if you could help it.” He expected her to laugh or retort in some way, but she remained silent for a moment. He worried about her pain.
“Remember I said I’d never harm you?” Vela asked. Leo didn’t know why she was bringing it up. He’d believed her. Perhaps he was a fool, but he believed that this beautiful creature could not lie.
“You won’t,” he said. She sighed.
“Good. Yes. True. But... maybe you... maybe you can.” Leo was confused.
“Can what, Vela?”
“Offer some means.” Leo peered up at her in the near blackness. He wasn’t afraid. Surely, she didn’t intend to drink from him. He’d just have to make her explain.
“Was this the favor you mentioned, dear?” He could discern her smile in the dark. It was so bright.
“It’s a lot to ask, but...” she began. Then she stopped moving altogether. Leo suddenly felt like he was lying with a statue. He wondered briefly if she had become inanimate. No. She didn’t lie. That wasn’t a danger. He looked up and saw that she was staring up into the blackness with a strained expression. He realized after a moment that she had become paralyzed by her own request, as if it were too much to ask.
“Vela. What is it?” She moved again, her whole body morphing from stone to putty beneath him.
“Okay. I must,” she said. “Leo, May I swallow you?” Leo felt like a fool. It wasn’t because he felt betrayed or lied to by this woman, but he suddenly made sense of their ongoing conversation and somewhat understood what she had in mind. He’d gotten into bed with a vampire. He wasn’t sure exactly what that entailed, but boundaries must be set. Understandings must he reached.
“Should have seen that coming,” he said.
“I thought you didn’t eat.”
“And yet you want to eat me if I’ll consent?”
“What? No. I don’t want to eat you. Merely swallow you.”
“What’s the difference? You said you’d never harm me. Wouldn’t that... well... be harmful?” His tone wasn’t accusatory. It was matter-of-fact.
“Leo, I wouldn’t. I couldn’t,” she began. He realized he was misunderstanding something.
“You’ll have to explain.” Was all Leo could think to say. There was a long moment’s silence. And finally, she opened up about her idea.
“Okay. I’ve been playing it down. But I’m in a lot of... discomfort. I gave up my opportunity to hunt tonight for the much more favorable option of befriending you. But it hurts. The emptiness. It hurts. I’m too cold inside and I need the warmth only a meal can bring. And I’ve never tried this before, but an idea occurred to me when you kissed me. You’re so warm. You’re a little bolt of lightning. And you can’t be a meal, but maybe your warmth would feel really good in there and... and... I...” she trailed off.
Leo’s emotions were in a whirlwind. She wanted to swallow him? But not eat him? She wanted his warmth? He didn’t entirely understand the request. The only thing he knew to do was to keep asking questions.
“What would happen to me if I let you... swallow me?”
“You’d be inside my belly, and it would feel so warm and light...” she said with an air of ecstasy. This was a little disquieting to Leo, but he muscled on.
“And what would become of me inside your belly?”
“You’d remain there while I slept.” Leo realized that she was somehow naively missing his point. He would have to be more direct.
“Vela, if I let you swallow me, will I be okay? I won’t... digest?” To Leo, it was a simple matter of life and death. To Vela, this was an apparently ridiculous question. She laughed.
“No, silly! I can’t digest you! I can’t digest anything! That’s not what my body is for!”
“Then what happens to all the blood you drink?” Leo asked with serious curiosity.
“That’s different. Blood is a spiritual elixir. It’s absorbed. But you’re a corporeal being. You cannot be. I’ve held lots of things for safe keeping in my stomach, and they’ve always come up fine. Just... never a borrower.” Leo was pretty sure that he was missing something here. He thought blood was as ‘corporeal’ as anything else. But she was the vampire. She probably knew what she was talking about. But he was understandably hesitant.
“Leo, you don’t have to say yes,” she said. He felt more at ease. “It was just an idea. I’d never hurt you. I intend to keep you with me on our journey. And you cannot provide me a meal, but...”
“But I could make you feel better? Borrow you some time?” She chuckled.
“Yes, my little borrower. You could provide me a placeholder. Borrowing a bite.” He shuddered. Could he really consent to being swallowed? He thought about the hours they had spent together. He imagined the many days or more they would spend together venturing into the unknown. She wanted to help him. She wasn’t about to jeopardize that by putting his life at risk. She must know what she was doing. He could faintly see her serene facial expression in the darkness. Such a beautiful face. He imagined feeling those lips he had already felt press against him wrapped around him. He could almost feel that tantalizing, cold tongue pulling him inward and downward. Deep into parts of her he had never even imagined discovering with a woman, let alone without fear. Maybe it would be amazing like everything else about her was. To hell with it. He made up his mind.
“I’m trusting you. I think I’d do anything for you... but...”
“What is it, Leo?”
“How long do you have left?”
“Not long. Dawn is nigh.” She looked thoughtful for a moment, then said, “the sun will probably begin to rise in little more than an hour. I’m safe in here, but once that happens, I’ll be quite compelled to sleep. I cannot resist that for long.” Leo thought about that. He didn’t want to rush into this, but he also thought he preferred the thought of her being awake for at least a little while after they’d... done the deed. That way, she would still have time to do something if it went wrong. He stood up on her chest to address her directly.
“Then, dammit, kiss me some more, and swallow me when you will. I’ll keep you warm all day long.” Vela squealed with glee. She grabbed him in both hands and held him above her face. Her elated smile seemed to light up the darkness, and those pink eyes actually appeared to glow with subtle bioluminescence.
“Yes! Thank you! Thank you, Leo! It’ll be fun! And you’ll be perfectly safe, I promise!” She pulled him in and pressed those cool, soft lips against his face, planting kiss after kiss on him. He believed her. How couldn’t he? She was so earnest and sincere. He had his reservations for obvious reasons about spending the day inside her belly, but those doubts were melting away a little with every kiss with which she peppered his person. He tried to simply enjoy the thrill of her affection and let this happen without thinking too hard about the finite details involved in what he had agreed to. She stopped kissing him for a moment and held him inches from her face, ogling him adoringly.
“It’s... the least I can do, Vela. You’re the most beautiful, kind, and intriguing person I’ve ever met. I’m just happy I can help. I hope it’s as good a solution as you anticipate. I hope I make you comfortable.”
“I think you’ll make me feel wonderful. I cannot wait to feel you... down there... filling me up with your hot little body. Your heat will radiate through me. And you’ll keep burning brightly deep within me all day long. You won’t cool off so quickly like blood.” Leo shivered a little in her hands. He was trying hard not to let himself get nervous. He wondered what it would feel like to be surrounded in darkness by the cold flesh of her stomach. He shook the thoughts from his head and tried to focus on her beautiful face. Those eyes... those lips that were parted slightly, allowing him to peer deeper. He shivered again.
“Leo, you’re so quiet. Are you nervous?”
“A little,” he admitted. “I’ve never been swallowed before, obviously. But... I think you’re probably right. It might be fun.”
“I’ll be gentle. You have nothing to fear. I’ll try to make it as enjoyable as possible. For you, I mean. I think that for me, it’ll be very enjoyable. Getting you down might be almost as fun as having you inside me.” Leo felt a little reassured.
“O-okay.” He was shaking now. It wasn’t from the cold so much as it was adrenaline from anticipating this strange, inevitable thing he had committed to. Her mouth was so near, and it was so big and easily capable of consuming him whole and alive at any second. When would it happen? What would it feel like? Was he making a mistake? He couldn’t change his mind now, could he? He was sure she would understand, but she seemed so excited and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. He didn’t want her to hurt at all.
“What can I do to make this comfortable for you, Leo?” He considered this. She was intent on making this as pleasant as possible for him. She would probably do anything. He imagined there were probably several things she could potentially do to put him more ‘at ease,’ but shied from requesting them immediately upon the consideration. He tried to dispel such thoughts, not wanting to push his luck. And they didn’t have much time. Still...
“Well, Vela... I mean... this is just such a strange thing to undertake, but even though it’s not very conventional, I guess it could seem rather...” he hesitated while searching for the right word. “Well, I guess it’s extremely intimate.” Vela appeared to appreciate his assessment of the situation.
“It is, Leo. I feel very affectionate towards you. Perhaps you don’t like the comparison, given the context, but I always feel a rather intimate connection with humans when I... well, you know.” Leo got the gist. “But this is different. In a way, it’s more casual, as I’m not actually gaining any nourishment. In another way, it’s even more intimate, because you’re letting me take all of you into me. I’ve... never even imagined doing something like this before. You’ll be closer to me, in a way, than anyone ever has. It makes me feel... strange. The amount of trust. The closeness...” she was subconsciously drawing Leo nearer to her lips as she spoke, and as she trailed off in her words, her cool, sweet smelling breath wafted over Leo and left him feeling strangely enticed, like he wanted to be closer to her than they had been. He was beginning to feel like he wanted to savor this privileged closeness and trust of which she spoke.
“We haven’t known each other long, Vela. There’s so much I don’t know about you, or you about me, that I can’t wait to explore. And even though our friendship is at its infancy, I have such strong, unexplainable feelings for you. But since there’s so much I don’t know, I’m almost afraid to ask for too much, afraid to misstep.” Vela’s face transformed into a coy sort of smile.
“And yet you’re about to give all of yourself to me to abate my discomfort, to quell my own selfish cravings. Such modesty!” She giggled.
“Well when you put it like that, this all seems a little one-sized!” Leo joked.
“It doesn’t have to be. I don’t want it to be. That’s why I want to know... what you want. Leo...” her voice assumed a breather tone again that had the slightest tinge of her hypnotic undertones. While apparently immune, it was working wonders on Leo now. “I sense what’s bothering you, Leo. It’s partly my fault. Maybe I haven’t been completely forthcoming, my little, handsome treat.” She put individual emphasis on each of the last three words that was dripping with seductive innuendo. Leo got the feeling that she knew exactly how to put him at ease.
“Well... I think it’s important that we’re completely honest and open with each other... before you let me inside you,” Leo said, attempting to match her playful confidence, though he was still somewhat trepidatious.
“Then I should tell you that I’ve been very much holding back, my sweet.” Vela’s voice seemed laced with more of that hypnotic tone by the word, and Leo was enjoying it. They both knew that it didn’t ‘work’ the way it was meant to, but Leo was still experiencing a small portion of its intended effect— his fear was melting away.
“There shouldn’t be any secrets between friends, Vela. What’s got your tongue?” She grinned.
“I was willing to treat this as a somewhat utilitarian affair. Less ceremoniously. I didn’t let on to you just how inevitably and undeniably satisfying it would be for me, and that was dishonest. Selfish even. Especially if you would enjoy sharing in that... pleasure.” Leo was enraptured by her words. She paused to allow him to speak, but when he just stared at her expectantly, she pressed on.
“Vampires aren’t overtly sexual in the way humans and perhaps borrowers are. We don’t express or experience such urges or satisfaction in the same way or from the same things, but we are still beings endowed with desire, and it is deeply ingrained in our cores. I’ll derive most supreme sexual satisfaction from the act of consuming you, Leo, both in the process of carrying it out, and from the feeling of having you...” she licked her lips and held him a little higher in her right hand so he could observe more of her body, “deep... down... inside of me.” As she delivered the last words, her left hand went up to her lips and dragged down across her chin as she extended her neck. She made a dramatic show of swallowing loudly and then gasped with satisfaction, her long tongue extending as her hand continued down her neck and across her torso in an ‘S’ pattern, settling on her stomach as she wiggled her hips and smiled at him with her pink, luminescent eyes seductively.
Leo’s heart nearly stopped at the erotic display. She had done it. She had crossed the barrier he had been so afraid to, and in so doing had somehow transformed this situation from one of reservations and doubts into one of carnal imperative. His inhibitions were eradicated. He wanted to please this woman in the way she most desired— needed. And he would derive satisfaction from the sensations it would bring in his own way: from the knowledge that he was somehow able to satisfy this colossal, gorgeous woman, from being allowed past her perfect lips, and even from being relished and swallowed down into her irresistible body. He wanted it now. He was more than simply comfortable; he was aroused.
“This is going to feel wonderful for me, isn’t it, Vela?” Her mouth hung open and she exhaled heavily, looking almost frustrated with anticipation.
“Oh my, yes. I’ll make it as sweet as you can handle.”
“It would probably feel better for both of us if...” he looked down at himself, “if all these dirty clothes weren’t in the way, don’t you think?” She cooed approvingly, and the pinks of her irises seemed to flare as her eyes widened with devious appreciation.
“Oh lala! I wasn’t going to insist on such measures, but now that you’ve so generously offered— yes. The more of our flesh making contact, the better. I want to feel your bare skin. I want to taste all of you, my scrumptious little Leo. Dress for the part, precious man.” She held Leo a few inches from her face, and he began to disrobe. He figured he didn’t have many clothes, and it was probably best that they not be subjected to what was about to transpire anyway.
His hands were shaking for a different reason now, but he was still able to make short work of the tie that held his trousers up. He realized as he was attempting to pull them off that he had forgotten to remove his shoes and cursed under his breath as he sat down in her palm and fussed with their buckles. He haphazardly kicked them off, tugged and kicked his trousers away, unbuttoned his shirt, and threw that aside as well. In a few moments, he was sitting stark naked against the cold skin of Vela’s hand, his clothes strewn about around him. She never took her eyes off of him during the process, and eyed him now with a hungry, admiring look in her eyes.
“It seems that you weren’t being entirely honest with me, either, little one. You didn’t tell me you were such a fine specimen of man. Such defined musculature! I’m already eating you up with my eyes.” As she spoke, she picked the blushing Leo up from behind with her index finger and thumb under his armpits. As she lifted him away from her palm, she closed her fist around his clothes and placed them in the corner of their ‘room’ in a small pile with care. Then, she turned her attention back to him, her eyes narrowing to glowing, pink slits.
“And now...” she said with the most hypnotically fervent tone he’d ever heard two, simple words imbued with, “for a much more proper taste of things to come.” She swept him into her kiss with such swiftness that he didn’t have a chance to experience the force until her lips were already pressed against his bare chest. She kissed him with rapacious determination, the tip of her tongue slipping from between her lips and giving him a little taste between each one. Then, she turned him sideways as her snakelike vampiric tongue slithered from its depths and slid underneath him. It hooked around behind his back and pulled him snugly against her upper lip as she sucked on his torso. All the while she was purring like a pleased cat, the muted vocalizations making his chest cavity rumble with soothing vibrations.
Vela was experiencing complete, hitherto unequaled ecstasy at the unfettered access her tastebuds now had to this appetizing little borrower. His bare skin felt like fire on her tongue. She felt that she could actually taste his body heat. She had tasted many men, being a vampire, but she couldn’t remember ever feeling such an electric shock at their mere feeling and flavor, and her memory was very far-reaching. What’s more, that was always a precursor for piercing the skin and getting what she was really thirsting for, but Leo was better than any mere appetizer. That in mind, she couldn’t wait to move on from tasting him to consuming him. But she marveled at what this introductory stage had to offer. She was certain that borrowers had their own magical quirks as did any race, and the ludicrous thought crossed her mind that being delicious could be one of them. How were there any left? Likely because they were so elusive and lived amongst humans who weren’t known for either hyper-sensitivity or devouring smaller humanoids, though they didn’t know what they were missing. She was eager to gobble this one up, but she was not in TOO much of a rush. She had a little time to savor him. And she wanted to make this a lovely for him as it was for her. A naughty thought crossed her mind, and it made her internally giggle. This would make the little man wild.
She eventually pulled him away and gave him a long lick from bottom to top, getting even his face moist with her inexplicably sweet-smelling saliva. As Vela held him close to her face, she grinned toothily, and glanced down at herself and back up quickly, her mouth hanging agape as she made a face as if to mockingly say, “oops.” Leo ventured a look at her body and saw that during their kiss, she had removed her top to reveal her naked upper body. Her modestly sized bust on full display in all of its shapely, curvy glory. She had what he’d estimate to be C-cup, perky, and positively supple breasts with small, pink areola and pointed nipples. His jaw dropped, and he could only stutter to show his appreciation for the view.
“What’s the matter, little Leo? Cat got your tongue? Cause a little lion’s got mine, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Leo grinned devilishly and did something she didn’t expect. He took a step forward and leapt from her hand and landed with very precise marksmanship directly on her left breast. She hadn’t exactly planned for this, becoming quite eager to devour the delicious man and sate herself, but she supposed he was entitled to settle his own outstanding accounts as well... and was surprised to find that his warm body felt unnaturally good against the exposed skin on her chest.
Leo stuck the landing and hugged Vela’s breast flesh lovingly. She giggled at him and used one hand to guide him into her ample cleavage. Then, she pressed them together, smushing him softly between the cold pillows of her pale mounds. She kept that up for a few minutes like a heavenly massage. His body heat sapping into her skin and warming her, making her vampiric skin feel more alive everywhere he was. After a while, she pinched him under the armpits again and brought him back up to her lovely face.
“Did you like that, little man?”
“I loved it. You’re beautiful in every way, Vela.” She made a face as if blushing, but her cheeks weren’t capable of flushing pink, remaining as bone white as ever, but her eyes flared adoringly.
“Looks are just superficial, Leo. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” Leo understood the implication.
“I wager that’ll be as beautiful as the rest of you.”
“It will be once you’re in there...” she kissed him softly on his chest. She kept him close. Her eyes locked onto his. He knew she was ready. He had nearly been inside that mouth not long ago and it had felt wonderful. All his discomfort was like a distant memory. She had really softened his attitude about doing this.
“You really have a way of putting a guy at ease before you eat him up alive, Vela. Thank you.” She smiled in a very peculiar way that showed she found his joke particularly off-color.
“Swallow. I’m only swallowing you. You’re much more to me than a meal, Leo. But I’m glad... I’ve... had the loveliest night.”
“Me too. I think it’s still going to get a little better.”
“I think so, too... I... I’ve never felt so simultaneously emotionally and physically stimulated. This has been wonderful. I’m so enamored. I don’t know what it is about you, but I’m positively engaged. And we’ve only just met. And I think that the best is yet to come...” Leo knee what she meant. To her, this had all been some form of foreplay. And what was up next was more than just a different variety of sex. He was going to both satisfy her and cure a deep hurt. He was so flattered that he could be both just by being himself. He was ready.
“Vela... I want to satisfy your hunger for the night and make you feel full enough to sleep peacefully all day. You’ve held back long enough. Take me. I’m yours.” Her face became the perfect picture of gratefulness.
“Come here,” she said, and she opened her mouth wide with her tongue sticking out. She stuck him against her tongue, his chest and face pressed firmly against it, and she let go of him. Her lips came closed around his waist, and she slurped him into her hungry mouth with a “squelch” and a “pop!”
“M-m-m!” She moaned. The feeling of having him entirely inside her mouth was almost too much to bear. She couldn’t believe that it was possible to have a man so entirely encompassed, and she had yet to send him deeper. She didn’t know if her plan would work and he would really make her feel full like she hoped. She didn’t know for sure if he would suffice for a ‘meal replacement,’ but at this point she didn’t care. She knew she was loving this and that he would be safe inside her. She held him on her tongue just savoring the sensation of his existence before propelling him irresistibly onward.
Leo couldn’t have been completely prepared for being stuck inside her mouth, beautiful though it was. He had always been taught that being small carried the risk of getting gobbled up and that it was something to fear, so he had never imagined that he might one day couple the experience of slipping into a mouth that fully intended to swallow him with pleasure, let alone arousal. But he was into this. He was getting off on it. Her moans reverberated through his bones and chest and all he could think and feel was stimulation. He spared a fleeting thought for the self-conscious possibility that if he enjoyed this too much, she would judge him, but he immediately understood that to be beyond ridiculous and gave himself entirely into the blissful rapture. It felt strange in many ways. Her mouth was wet and dark, and the suction was oppressive, but it didn’t overpower his libido. The sweet smell of her insides pervaded his senses. He crawled forward, compelling her to do what he knew she wanted to. He was fit to burst with anticipation. Her mouth reacted to his pressing against the back of her throat.
Vela felt that Leo was actively squirming into the abyss, and she couldn’t resist any longer. She began to gulp. The first swallow resulted in what felt like his head and chest being lodged in her esophagus. She lingered with him there for a moment. She didn’t need to breathe, so it was no issue. She squeezed him with her throat and tongue with several half-swallows that kept him in place in a last desperate effort to taste him thoroughly and detected a sudden explosion of salty flavor on her taste buds. She smiled with the knowledge that at least ‘little Leo’ was enjoying this as much as she was. She knew it was time.
She gulped hard. She hadn’t swallowed anything solid, let alone something the size of Leo in countless years. Regardless, Leo went slipping down her throat with ease and swiftness. He didn’t struggle. He just enjoyed the ride. In no time, Vela felt him deposited by her esophagus softly into the deepest pit of her otherwise void belly. She stared down at her belly with wide, surprised eyes. If she required to breathe, she might have hyperventilated, but her only physical reaction to shock was to stay utterly still. She remained like that for a while. She could hardly believe it. She felt Leo, a man the size of a large mouse, resting gently inside her stomach, and she felt full. She felt GOOD.
“Gods above,” she whispered. “Moons and stars... thunder and lightning, heavenly bodies, comets and meteorites!” The volume of her voice had risen to a shout by her last words, but then she remembered herself, and lowered her voice. “Leo and Vela.” She finished, rubbing her belly lovingly.
Leo would have been almost embarrassed at how much he had enjoyed Vela’s oral treatment of his person before sending him down her gullet, but he knew better than that, though he supposed there was no way someone as perceptive as she was hadn’t noticed his ‘excitation.’ The initial swallowing was a tight, forceful sensation that made it difficult for him to breathe deeply, causing him to grunt in effort all the way down, but it was very short-lived. In seconds, the tightness gave way to a roomier space, though he had to admit, it was a little more cramped than he had thought it would be. Perhaps it was because she had gone so long without eating, or even because she never partook in solid food, but her stomach was a little on the cramped side. He didn’t mind that so much. Borrowers were quite the opposite of claustrophobic. They loved tight spaces. They felt more secure in them.
His eyes attempted to adjust the his new, pitch black surroundings to little success. There was simply no light in here to utilize. He placed his hands down beside him and gave the folds of her belly a little push to get a feel for the give and spring of the stomach in case he tried to walk. The flesh was slick and utterly smooth. Besides the large, overlapping folds themselves, the flesh of the stomach was virtually without texture. His hands slipped across its lubricated surface effortlessly. He determined that walking was probably out of the question. “Not like I’m going anywhere,” he thought aloud. He could hardly believe it. He was trapped inside the stomach of a gorgeous vampire, and he had agreed to it! He had enjoyed it! And he was still enjoying it. He was fascinated by it. After a bit, her heard Vela’s voice. It was a little muffled, but he could still discern her words with little effort. She was apparently celebrating his presence. He smiled contentedly. At the end of her praises, she murmured their names. He felt a slight increase in pressure as the wall he was leaning against was pressed inwards. He figured she was rubbing her tummy. He felt extraordinarily flattered. He was so glad this was working the way she had imagined. It almost felt like a life-hack! Feeling empty? No food? Swallow your friend for a while! He laughed at the thought, and sighed. He put his hands behind his head, crossed his ankles, and slid down into a reclined position, resting comfortably in her stomach’s smooth folds.
“This is pretty nice,” he admitted with satisfaction.
“I’m glad you think so,” Was Vela’s muffled but audible response. He was startled. She had heard him? Of course she could hear him. Those ears homed in on his precise location behind a wall. That’s how they met. Still, for some reason he had expected this to be a somewhat isolating experience. He thought that even though he’d be this close to her, he’d feel cut off in a way. But this changed everything.
“Vela! I’m so glad you can hear me! That’s comforting,” he knew now that he could tell her if he was having any problems and she would have no trouble answering his cries for help. Though, he doubted he would need help. He was feeling quite cozy.
“I’m glad you’re comfortable. I’m glad you enjoyed your little journey,” she said with some implication. He laughed.
“Well thank you for making it so pleasant. It was... the most exotic experience I’ve ever had. Still is.”
“What’s it like in my stomach?”
“Well, it’s much quieter than I anticipated. Your body doesn’t seem to make much noise. There’s... no heartbeat... and you only seem to engage your lungs before speaking. At first it was cold, but my own meager body heat seems to have actually warmed the small space considerably. It’s become very comfortable. It’s relatively dry, though the walls are moist and slick. Your belly certainly isn’t a puddle of acid like I had initially imagined. Would you even produce acid? I guess not...” he trailed off. He heard Vela giggle. All of her vocalizations had a different timber from his current vantage point.
“It’s not too dark or tight in there I hope.”
“No. It’s dark, yes. But I’m to be sleeping in here, so that’s nice. And I like tight. I live inside the walls after all. I love it. It’s cozy.” Vela hugged herself tightly with both arms, squeezing her stomach a little. Leo smiled. “What’s it like having a borrower in your belly?” He asked.
“It’s amazing, Leo. You’re superb. It’s better than I’d imagined. I only hoped that your presence would take the edge off of my hunger, but you’ve banished it. And more. It feels... felicitous. Like there couldn’t be a more complete feeling. I’d keep you with me inside my belly forever if it were at all possible.” Leo felt very affirmed by her words. He knew she wouldn’t leave him there for good. But he loved that it made her so happy. He felt and heard her sigh and lie down. “But alas, I’ll let you out tonight.” She yawned. “Tonight, after some extremely restful sleep. Will you sleep well in there, my Leo?” He loved being called ‘hers.’ It seemed fitting. She had certainly staked her claim.
“Yes, I think I will. I’m exhausted. I’m semi-nocturnal, but I don’t typically stay up until dawn,” he said. “And I’m very comfortable both physically and spiritually. Today began quite distressingly for me. But you’ve given me a feeling of... home.” Vela smiled contentedly.
“You as well, borrower. I’ll be taking a little piece of home with me. I’m... so thankful for you. I don’t have many friends. None that I see frequently. I’d like to call you my friend, Leo.” Leo got the impression that the term, ‘friend,’ carried a lot of weight with vampires. He felt charmed. Blessed even.
“I am your friend, Vela. Thank you for being mine.” He heard her let out another yawn. Little did he know, for a vampire, yawning twice was unheard of. It meant the sun was rising and she was resisting the irresistible. She needed to sleep, but also wanted to make sure Leo was comfortable before giving in. “You sound tired. You should sleep.”
“I will now. Thank you, again, Leo, for letting me borrow your body. Sweet dreams, precious boy.” She fell asleep immediately.
“Vela?” Leo asked. He chuckled. He wished he could get to sleep like that, but his eyelids were already growing heavy. It wouldn’t be long. He resumed his reclined position and began to replay the events of the day in his mind, something he always did as he fell asleep. It helped him remember the day better in the future, and today was a day he’d want to remember forever.
“I love you, Vela,” he whispered, and drifted off to sleep, deep in the belly of a vampire woman. Sleeping safe and sound with his friend.