‹ Prequel: Revenant

The Sanguisuge and the Eidolon.


Come find me.

Three little words stared up at Morris, scrawled in an undefined script; three little words glared up at him while the gentle but distinct scent of perfume emanated from the white sheet. It was something floral; floral but not too overwhelming, soft and subdued like daisies in a field, a nonexistent breeze blowing the aroma towards him. He frowned, heaving a sigh as he rubbed his forehead. That was all she had given him to go on, nothing else, no clues at all. Just a scent.

He had almost thought she was gone; it had been three nights since he’d seen her, after all. Those had been strange evenings, too. His hunger was ebbing to the front of his mind, it was about time for her to bring him something—he’d entirely given up on the notion of warding her off, persistence and pigheadedness seemed to be her strong suits—but she wasn’t there.

After the first night he had assumed perhaps she had ventured further than usual; her normal fare were becoming increasingly hard to come by, and the ghost of a girl had displayed some frustration over the matter in the recent weeks. He took that night to relish the silence, the rare alone time he found so hard to come by since her appearance. But by the time the sky had begun to take on a slight hint of color, the quiet had become… unpleasant; loneliness nibbled at its edges.

The second evening he had once more awoken to find she wasn’t there. Uneasiness had begun to roll in as he looked for her in every room of his solitary home, and then he had found himself wandering the streets, searching for any trace or inkling of her whereabouts. He had found none, retreating back to the confines of his darkened house once dawn had begun to close in on the horizon. And then he had done the only thing he was able to; he had slept once again, despite the growing concern as to just where the little phantom may have been. Uneasiness permeated his dreams.

She was his first thought when he finally awoke on the third night, a knot seemed to take up residence in his gut upon discovering her ethereal figure yet again, wasn’t waiting for him, smiling that unnaturally cheerful smile he had come to find somewhat endearing. Instead, he had found an envelope slipped under his front door; the light scent of the perfume had caught his attention at the top of his stairs.

Irritated or relieved, Morris couldn’t quite decide just which he felt. His jaw had clenched, but he had found himself throwing on clothes rather quickly before he left his residence. Find her? Find her? She had delivered his meals in some interesting ways before, but never like this. He had only briefly wondered how he would go about that; she could have been anywhere in the area, but, as he stepped out of his front door he realized that the revenant had left him more than just a clue, she had left him a trail. That same floral scent that had clung to the paper, called from the base of the rail of the front porch stairs. Morris had blinked; all he had to do was follow her smell. Once he had locked on to it, it would be impossible to miss. This wasn’t so much hide and seek as it was a scavenger hunt. And so off he went.

Morris walked in silence, hands in his pockets and eyes down as the scent led him through the busy little ocean town; pockets of it seemed stronger than others, and it was easy to tell where she had stopped to spritz a bit of it onto a sign, or wall, or post. It almost surprised him to find the bar he had first spoken to her in was on the path; but it wasn’t there. She wasn’t there. The scent continued on through the streets, eventually the smell of ocean intermingling with traces of the perfume as he approached the pier by the beach. He wasn’t precisely fond of crowds, and a warm spring evening pulled a fair number of tourists and locals alike to the area. The scents were going to get muddled, and finding her would possibly prove much more difficult. A pang of irritation began to rush through him at the idea of it; Greer was proving to be ever the handful.

But then, the breeze off of the ocean reached him; the fragrance he was hunting rode on it gently. Carefully the vampire picked his way through the crowd, and towards where the walk and pier met the beach. Morris managed a scoff as he approached the railing; it seemed Greer had found a way to continue her little trail of bread crumbs, perhaps she had managed to open the bottle, dotting the scent of daises with a bit more potency down the railing as she went. Or perhaps the trail was still just that fresh. He let his fingers run lightly across the metal as he walked along its edge; towards the shops and trolley line. It was near the trolley stop that the trail turned, into the crowd. The corner of his lip twitched up as he followed it; she was close by.

He could smell her, much stronger now, the scent pulsating from the skin of whatever host she inhabited for the time. He nudged his way through the crowd, keeping silent as he tried to focus on just where—or who—the sweet aroma radiated from. And then it hit him, hard, like a slap in the face. The faint costal breeze rustled the short-cropped hair of a young woman near the trolley, and with it, came the fragrance he had been chasing since he had awoken. His eyes immediately locked on hers, grey irises against an olive skin, and dark circles below them. The host’s hair was dark, almost pixie cut, a sharp contrast to Greer’s own soft golden brown waves and pale skin. But it was her, nonetheless, he knew those eyes, and the Cheshire grin she threw at him upon his recognition.

He did his best to focus on those eyes as he quickly made his way to her. There was something that bothered him about seeing them in the faces of others; it never quite felt… right. But finding her after a few nights of nothing was a stunning relief, relief he found, that wouldn’t last long. There was something disconcerting about this host, even from a quick survey. She looked tired, more than just sleep deprived; her face was almost alarmingly sallow, and her pulse? It sounded unnatural. He found himself suddenly moving a little more quickly to reach her.

The host’s voice was raspier than Greer’s. “That didn’t take you too terribly long—“

It happened in an instant; a pale hand—paler than that of any human—shot out from the steps of the trolley which had begun to move, and grasped for the girl’s arm. Those unnaturally long fingers managed to take hold of her, and with a swift jerk, pulled her stumbling onto the steps. Its other hand stifled her voice, and a pair of dark eyes looked out at Morris from just behind her. The creature’s gaunt face was still somehow handsome, yet his dark eyes were far deader than any other of their kind Morris could recall; his name was Wickham.

They had met some years back in passing; cordial yet wary, despite the fact that Vivienne had done her best to smooth the meeting between her two acquaintances. No one wanted to interfere with someone else’s prospective prey, or their territory. So Morris had been on his way after dealing with Vivienne for as long as he could; she had been desperately adamant he needed some sort of companionship—her belief was that it wasn’t wise for their kind to be all-alone against the emptiness of eternity. He knew without her saying that she had thought herself to be a good match of company for him; Morris had never agreed. He had left the self-proclaimed succubus without a word, and considering that had been half a century ago, it seemed to have gotten the point across well enough. He hadn’t seen Wickham since then either.

Watching the other vampire drag the ghost and her host off, he had no doubts it was him. Morris had idly listened to Vivienne’s prattle about him all those years ago; whereas most vampires had a preference of flavor, driven by emotions usually, Wickham strictly seemed to prey on those who were terminally ill. It didn’t take much to put two and two together; if he had taken the girl Greer was in, that girl had to have an approaching expiration date, factoring in the abnormal heartbeat and the other unsettling details…

No. Morris gave his head a shake, that wasn’t an acceptable thought at all. Once more he had to give chase for Greer, but the stakes suddenly felt a bit higher. He did his best to focus on her scent, and the concerning and unnatural heartbeat Wickham had sent skyrocketing. The trail took him away from the ocean once again, and back into the darker parts of the growing town. Eventually the trail did stop, at a decaying structure that had been condemned years before.

He had waited for Morris, idling just inside of the abandoned building; hand still over her mouth. Even in the dark Morris could see her eyes; Greer remained inside that body, by choice or not, he wasn’t certain, but those grey eyes were definitely hers. Preservation must have kept her stock-still, or perhaps idle warnings from the vampire behind her had done their job; either way, Morris didn’t like it. His fingers clenched into fists, jaw set tightly as he waited. Wickham finally looked up.

“She promised herself to me, I needed to clarify that first and foremost. And then this little… parasite… took her over.” The other vampire gave a bitter sneer down at Greer. “I don’t kill those who aren’t dying, I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now. And even then it’s usually only those who give their consent. Mariah had agreed, weeks back. But then, yesterday when I was making my rounds, she wasn’t there.”

He looked up again, and Morris knew just who he blamed for that; Greer. The one time she didn’t pick a victim who fit her typical pattern she managed to pick one already claimed by another undead. He’d never had these problems before her arrival.

“Things were going so well, we bonded,” Wickham muttered in his gravel-like voice, stroking a few pieces of the host’s hair with the hand that didn’t have her head in a vice grip, mouth covered. “And I was going to give Mariah exactly what she wanted, what her family had denied her for so long. Yet, this little witch of a shade distracted her, stole her from me—And then I come to find out she’s ensnared you in her charms as well, you, of all things, a loner and an outcast, trapped in the captivating snares of this little ghost witch—“

For the first time, Greer let out a sharp series of grunts in protest, Morris could see the girl’s short nails digging into his forearm as he held her in place, and she somehow managed to wrench her mouth to the side. “You—You are an absolute liar—you told her you were going to turn her instead when all she wanted was to die—you were going to take that from her when she just wanted release, you pathetic cretin—“

“Silence, you damned ghoul,” Wickham hissed, cutting her off again with his hand. The rage in his eyes was a sharp contrast to their dead quality, and it unsettled Morris even further; only Greer could drive someone else so far out of their normal state of mind. “I was going to change her, she was mine, my companion, and now I can’t even do that without dragging you with her, if she’s even still in there. You ruined it, you ruined everything.”

With that, the elder vampire pulled back far enough to allow his teeth to be seen, harshly jerking her head to the side and exposing the soft curve of her neck as he prepared to finish off not just Mariah—But also Greer.

Something in Morris snapped.

What he felt in that instant was hot, bitter, and boiling over; enough so to drive him forward, grabbing Wickham by the hair with one hand, and ripping Greer’s current body from his hold with the other. It all happened in a split second, and he shoved her hard, hoping to propel her as far away from the impending scuffle as he could. He only faintly heard the little cry she let out, taking full advantage of Wickham’s surprise long enough to maneuver both of his hands to the other vampire’s open mouth. He had never killed one of his own kind before, and as he pried Wickham’s jaws open, hearing bones, muscle, and everything else crack and tear, he was shocked at just how easy it actually was. He didn’t stop until the upper part of Wickham’s head was completely detached from the lower jaw, tossing it roughly across the run down building before letting the rest of the body fall. He’d need to burn that if he truly wanted to dispose of him, but that wasn’t the first thing on his mind.

It was Greer.

He was on her in no time, gently, carefully grasping at her arms as he checked her for wounds; nothing that seemed too serious on the outside. But the heartbeat; the heartbeat was frantic, and just… wrong. The adrenaline must have knocked the potential pain to the back of her mind; her grip on his arms in return, though, was startling.

“Greer,” he spoke softly, calmly. “I’d ask if you were okay, but I’m not sure that body is going to hold up much longer. It’s time to come out, please.”

“W-why did you—Why—“ Those grey eyes were wide, surveying what of the mess she cold see behind him. He wasn’t sure she’d heard a word he said, and carefully, he picked her up, distancing them from the carnage he had left behind.

“Greer, I’m going to need you to focus on me, it’s okay. It’s over. But that host isn’t okay, at all.”

She did look at him then, bright eyes still akin to a deer in headlights; it was always such a lovely expression on her. “Why did you—Rip his head off—“

“Because you are not his to kill,” he cut her off in a low, quiet voice. “Wasn’t it you who said you’ve accepted that I’m going to be the death of you?”

The look on her face was… strange, alien features not betraying much except that she was certainly taken back by his words. It was a rare treat to see her so off her game, so genuinely vulnerable to anything. The walls were down for the moment, and he wasn’t sure just how much time he had until they went back up. “I. I did, yes.”

“And so I will be. But not yet. And I won’t let another creature steal your final moments from me, so until then, you aren’t allowed to die again.”

It only took a moment for a shift to take hold of her, eyes suddenly and unusually guarded as the girl’s brow knitted together. She held her silence briefly, watching him. He tried his best to focus on her eyes; the body wasn’t her and it still bothered him on some level.

“…Is that a vampire thing? Trying to control when and if you get to lose something that matters to you?” She asked, and Morris did his best to hear the words in Greer’s own voice, not her host’s. Without any warning she shifted about in his arms a bit, reaching up to cover his eyes with one hand. She kept a nice grip on his neck with the other, and the irregular and worrisome beat of the girl’s heart almost seemed like background noise when he felt her lips against his ear. “You don’t get to choose when you take me, Morris. That is, and always will be my call. You’re better than him; please don’t parrot the same gross sentiments he did about Mariah. If there’s one thing we have in common aside from our perfume, it’s that we’re both determined to find away to go out on our own terms. Don’t you dare forget that.”

There was a quick, warm kiss just below his ear, and then Greer gave his head a rough tug forward as she freed his eyes from the darkness of her hand. He could perfectly see the curve of the host’s delicate neck.

“Now finish this job before she dies of natural causes.”

And so Morris did, without further prompting and with a great hunger. It was only as the girl’s arms went limp around his neck and the abnormal pulse of her heart finally stopped that he pulled back, eyes not quite seeing the cooling corpse in his arms. The final notes of Greer’s sweet offering echoed in his mind, a bit of a… punch to the flavor chasing the endnotes, and the soft scent of perfume lingered like a phantom in the night.

The chill of her arms draped across his shoulders sent a sudden and welcome shiver down his spine, Morris glancing to his right to find her ethereal figure with her chin propped on his shoulder, smiling wryly over at him as she hovered there wordlessly. That was his little ghost; fair, freckled skin, wide bright grey eyes, and tousled golden brown hair that held notes of blonde through it. It was really her.

“I might have a question,” he stated, eyes on hers.

“You do. Just ask it and I might give you an answer.” Reaching over, she gently booped the tip of his nose with a cool finger. He scoffed, giving his head a little shake. He would never admit how much he enjoyed what seemed to be her small physical acts of something that felt like endearment.

“Why did you pick her? As much of a pest as you can be, I don’t believe your goal was to piss off Wickham.”

Greer paused again, smile holding, although not exactly reaching her eyes. Those were contemplative. “Was that his name? Sounds old. But if you must know, it was because she could see me without me having to… reveal myself to her. Initially I just wanted someone to talk to, honestly, it was fascinating to have a normal human see me again. So we spoke, and I hung around. And then I learned she wanted to die. She had a heart condition—I’m sure you could tell—all she wanted was release.”

Her gaze fell then, down to the corpse in his arms, and when she spoke again there was something oddly somber in her tone. “She reminded me of someone I once knew. I couldn’t turn down her request for help.”

Morris watched her curiously, patiently. He very rarely pried into the details of her existence on either plane, and she never opted to share unless prompted. He didn’t mind, but he did find himself wanting to learn more about her as the time passed. He just wasn’t sure how much she would want to share.

“Was it your mother or father?” He queried, unable to help himself.

She continued to stare at nothing in particular for a few seconds, before shaking her head. “No, no. It was a… friend. He died a few months after my passing; and I got to watch it happen. Except, unlike me, he never came back. That was the final straw, I believe. The one that made me what I am today.”

Morris could only watch, fascinated by the raw earnestness of the phantom as she shared a bit of her past with him. He almost wanted to apologize; but for what exactly? Her loss? His prying? What had become of her? Maybe all of it. But instead he bit his tongue; given it was Greer, that probably wasn’t what she wanted. And then she glanced at him, tilting her head slightly as she studied his face. Carefully she reached over, raising his chin slightly with the tips of her fingers; Morris let her.

“I think that’s partially why I like you so much; you’re nothing like him at all. And because of that you’re such a beautiful distraction.”

It was an odd feeling, a strange relief he’d never admit really, that she didn’t see him as a replacement for something—or someone—she had lost. He’d been on the receiving end of that before; wasn’t it the very reason he ended up as he was—undead?

“I’ll take it he wasn’t the stoic, brooding type,” Morris said, the corner of his lip twitching up in the rare hint of a smile.

She grinned in response. “He was as charmingly outgoing as it got, and I was… I was a lot like you then, actually. Less dead, of course. But more intent on maintaining a guarded demeanor. It didn’t work, I’ll be honest.”

“I can’t imagine you acting anything like me,” he scoffed. In turn, she drifted around him, hovering an inch or two off the ground as she cupped his face with fingers that felt like a breeze on a snowdrift.

“Death changes everything, it seems, be it my own, or his, or a combination of the two. I wasn’t near this much fun in life, I’ll admit. But god, when there was nothing left to care about, what did I have to lose anymore?”


Morris knew that answer all too well, but he didn’t say it. He didn’t have to. “I almost wish I could have seen you in life.”

“You at least got a whiff of how I smelled with Mariah. I wasn’t joking when I said we wore the same perfume. It certainly dredged up some feelings and memories,” she offered with a shrug, keeping her hands right in place. “On the topic of Mariah—kind of—is it customary for your kind to use such archaic and pathetic insults? Your friend called me a witch more than once, I feel as though vampires of all things would do better than that.”

“Witch of a ghost.”

Morris blinked, Wickham’s words coming back to him with sudden fervor. He stared silently down at Greer for a period, studying her features. Wickham had never been one to use such terms… unless he meant them. Witch; he had called Greer a witch, not once, but twice. Witches were certainly beings he knew of; a lot of them didn’t even realize it. They didn’t have the same aura as normal mortals; they stood out in a crowd, almost like a beacon. At least that had been Morris’s experience. And Greer? Hadn’t she shone brightly from the moment he laid eyes on her, hadn’t he been drawn to her on some level? Approaching her had never been exclusively about Christine, although he’d never admit it, even to himself. There was something about her, undoubtedly, and Wickham had been around much longer than himself.

“Speaking of, it seems something is… missing.”

Only then did Morris notice she was peeking around him, eyes keenly set on whatever was or wasn’t there. He turned, breaking her soft grip on his face.

Wickham was gone; both pieces of him. The body in his arms hit the ground with a muffled thud as he lost all focus on it. That wasn’t good, at all. He should have finished him sooner. He stayed quiet as he studied where the other vampire had been, only for a minute or two.

“I think it’s time we move.”

Morris had never relocated out of concern over another vampire, but if Wickham sought out revenge, he couldn’t help but feel that it wouldn’t just be against him. He certainly wasn’t going to let him get his hands on Greer. Regardless, the sooner they cleared out of town, the better.

“’We’?” He could almost hear the smug pleasure in her voice.

“I know better than to think you’re not going to follow me at this point.” Morris gave a quick survey of the musty room; Wickham really was gone. With that, he turned and left. She was at his side in no time.

“You can admit you like my company, you know, it isn’t going to hurt you. And I’ll only rub it in a little.”

“I haven’t known peace since I spoke to you that first night,” he scoffed.

And in turn, she laughed. “That wasn’t a denial, though. If you didn’t like having me around at least a bit, you wouldn’t have found me tonight, and you certainly wouldn’t have interfered with what your buddy was about to do.”

“He isn’t my ‘buddy’, Greer. In fact, I’d say he’s quite the opposite at this point.” Morris knew what he should have felt; some trace of anger at her upsetting his quiet life so quickly and easily. But, the more he thought about it, the more he wondered if he could really say he had much of a life before she had showed up. It had been mundane, hardly anything of note, going through the years and decades with an inarguable monotony. When was the last time something had pushed him to action? He honestly wasn’t sure. One glance over at the ghost by his side and he had to at least admit to himself he liked finding something that made him want to act; even if she was unpredictable and brought a vein of chaos into his existence he hadn’t experienced in a long while. It also hit him that she had put him in a position he hadn’t been in for decades, perhaps even longer. When was the last time he could say he sought someone out—meal or otherwise—rather than letting them come to him?

Greer gave him a little side-glance as they continued on; the smell of rain on the clouds above had become the most prominent scent in the quiet streets of their town that evening. “If you consider Wickham an enemy, I can’t help but wonder what exactly you consider me.”

“Do you really want to know?”

Their eyes met, and Greer’s suddenly seemed to be alight with curiosity. She stopped and stared at him for a few moments, before giving a nod. “I might not say it, but I’m never quite sure what’s going through that head of yours; I spend a lot of time guessing, and hoping I’m correct. A little enlightenment would actually be nice, though.”

Morris didn’t respond right away, turning to fully face her and taking a step closer. Touching her wasn’t an option, or perhaps he would have reached out and brushed some of her chaotic curls from her face. Instead he opted to keep his hands firmly in his pockets; Wickham’s blood was still on them, after all.

“You are an infuriating little pest of a shade, persistent and relentless, impossible and unpredictable. You are a tiny bit of chaos incarnate; it drives me absolutely mad,” his voice was low, and he took another step forward, those wide grey eyes never moving from his face. “And yet, I think I’d still chase you down every single time you asked me to.”

The first few drops of rain fell then; hitting his cheek, nose, and the top of his head. A light breeze rustled his hair, and in the distance a low rumble of thunder filled the silence. Greer was unreadable before him; not far down, the nearest streetlight flickered faintly. She moved forward with an ethereal fluidity, her cold hand brushing his cheek with a delicate motion. She was suddenly—and almost unsettlingly—serious.

“I warned you, you know.”

“I know,” he replied, unable to ignore how much he genuinely enjoyed the feeling of her icy touch. He would miss that, eventually. But it wasn’t the time. Not yet.

“And even though there’s no way this won’t end badly, you’re still okay with it?” She had moved in a little closer, both hands cupping his face as she ever so gently tugged him towards her; Morris acquiesced. Greer’s nose brushed the tip of his; a shiver ran down his spine. She was always close, but never close enough, unsurprisingly always just out of his reach.

“Regretting your presence in some way is an inevitability regardless of what I do, so yes, I’d say I am. And you haven’t really given me a choice in the matter, have you?” She had done this, after all, ingrained herself in his life for the last few months, to a point where her absence—even for just a few days—felt wrong. The rain had begun to pick up, soaking him, and leaving her untouched as it always did. Morris felt her cold thumb gently trace along his lower lip, and then came the sensation of her winter mouth brushing against his. That was always a phantom sensation; a whisper of a late year breeze when the trees were barren and skeletal and the ground was cold and hard. She never gave him more than that.

“I got you into whatever mess may come with Wickham, so, I’ll…” She hesitated, eyes falling as she seemed to fight with herself on the words that were about to leave her mouth. “I hate the word promise. You can break them without meaning to. So I’m not going to promise you anything; I owe you that much, I suppose. But, I’ll do my best to at least stick around until after that is sorted out. Beyond that, it’s a matter of how I’m feeling, I’d say. It’s still going to be you, in the end though, I’ve got my mind made up on that front. But we should get you home; you’re soaked already.”

With that, she let him go; mostly at least. One of her cold hands trailed lightly down his arm, pulling one unnaturally pale, marble hand from his pocket as she gently tugged him along. Despite how badly he wanted to, he managed to refrain from trying to squeeze her delicate hand.

But he couldn’t refrain himself from asking one little question. “What did you do during the day you were inside of her?”

Greer didn’t look back as the rain continued, pulling him steadily towards the place they would call home only for another day or two. “Don’t laugh. I napped for a bit, and then I had a lot of coffee. I think those are the two things I miss most about being alive.”

“What about being touched?” It was out of his mouth before he gave it much thought.

She did stop then, standing stock still for a moment before she cast him a guarded side-glance over her shoulder. “…I don’t allow myself to miss that.”

“For my sake, or yours?”

Greer sighed, her shoulders drooping slightly as she started to move again. Her reply was so quiet he almost didn’t catch it. “Honestly, Morris? A little bit of both.”

Neither one of them spoke another word that night.
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I'm tired.