OF :: Escape

Title: Escape
Arc: Vampyr
Rating: PG-13
Written: Summer 2005
Summary: Natasja runs away from Arman when she discovers herself pregnant.

These characters, stories, and ideas are the original, copyrighted work of Nicole Sharp and are protected under a Creative Commons License.

The woman collapsed in the forest, her body shaking too hard to go any further, and, as her muscles lost their strength and her eyes rolled back to see the shifting green curtain high above her, she remembered when she’d been here before. With a groan, she curled herself into a ball, unconsciously assuming the position her unborn child kept. She was not bloody and broken as she’d been before, but pain haunted her still, and tears stung her cheeks. Where would she go? How would she protect herself? What would happen if Arman found her? If he found their child? Natasja covered her mouth, struggling to stifle her cries, even as her body cried out for the one who’d done this to her.

“No,” she murmured, “no. It’s his fault. I can’t go back. I won’t.” Her shuddering hand fell to her abdomen, clutching at the child she hid there. Still invisible, but taking a heavy toll on her. Her blood thirst was doubled; she couldn’t hide the signs of her pregnancy any longer from Arman’s watchful eyes; nor could she allow him to know of the child. So here she lay: alone and too weakened by her hunger to rise and hunt for herself and the child. “We’ll die,” she whispered between tears. “We’ll die.”

With a fierce growl, she forced herself onto her hands and knees. “I wouldn’t die before. I won’t die now.” Digging her nails into the bark of the tree above her, she pulled herself to her feet and continued to stumble along. It was sheer luck that brought her into the clearing where the child was playing. The little boy was drawing in the dirt with the end of a stick, zigzagging about a stack of stones. His pale cheeks were flushed and streaked with dirt beneath his black hair, and, for an instant, Natasja wondered if he was real, or if this was a vision of the child she carried: Arman’s son. Then she saw the boy’s eyes widen as he saw her, and he murmured something in a human language.

Natasja lowered herself carefully and beckoned to the boy, reaching into her pocket for something to give him. The child frowned, as if trying to remember where he’d seen her, but he came closer. The lad must have been six or seven years old, and why he was alone, Natasja could only guess. She grasped the ring Arman had given her and offered it to the boy. Closer he crept, and Natasja smiled her encouragement, careful to keep her canines hidden. The boy stretched out his hand to take the ring, and Natasja’s other hand flew out, grabbing the child and pulling him close. In one smooth movement, she snapped his neck and bit into him. His blood was sweet, and there was just enough to give her the strength she needed to last the day.

This was how she would have to live now: from day to day, until she could be delivered of the child she bore within her. Until she could find a life for them both. A life without Arman, as bitter as that might be to her.

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