Please welcome Kallysten to my blog today. I know there several people here on my blog who like flash fiction (and may be missing it since I have been very slack about posting any recently). Thankfully, Kallysten is here to share some prompt inspired fiction featuring the characters from Demons & Lullabies.
Now, over to Kallysten....
Thank you L.M. for giving me these flash fiction prompts. I couldn’t choose, so I ended up picking three (What made you think this was a good idea?, steel and destiny). I wrote a short scene from the point of view of each character in Demons & Lullabies. The book tells the story of vampires Andrew and Nicholas and their son Jacob through snapshots broken down according to the child’s age, and I’ve done the same thing here with these three glimpses. I hope your readers will enjoy them…and you, too!
L.M. grins evilly at the prompts. And yes, I love the glimpses. My m/m vampire collection has been sorely lacking and I see I do need to remedy that pretty soon.
Three Years Old
Andrew pulled his sword free from the demon’s side and shook it once, flicking blood as dark as ink off the blade. It stained the demon’s crude tunic. Its eyes were staring unblinkingly at the tree canopy above them.
When Andrew turned around, the carpet of fallen leaves crunched under his feet. They crunched under Nicholas’ back, too, when he rolled over and sat up. He looked up and said deadpan, “You’re welcome.”
Barking out a laugh, Andrew held out his free hand to Nicholas and helped him back to his feet.
“I’m welcome? For what? You tripping over your own feet?”
Nicholas glared at him and brushed leaves off his arms and ass. “I didn’t trip,” he huffed. “I jumped at him to distract him.”
Taken aback, Andrew stared. He’d been about to tease Nicholas about his clumsiness, but this was even worse.
“You did that stupid move on purpose?” His voice rose with every word. “What made you think this was a good idea? He could have beheaded you!”
Stepping away, Nicholas went to the tree next to which the demon had fallen dead. He picked up his sword—or rather, what was left of it. The blade ended in a jagged shard just a foot from the hilt. The rest of the steel was embedded in the trunk of the tree. Nicholas returned to Andrew and showed him the broken sword.
“What else was I supposed to do?” he asked, his annoyance all too obvious. “You were stuck, you needed a distraction, I provided it. Again, you’re welcome.”
A torrent of recriminations rushed to Andrew’s lips and he had trouble holding them in. Why was he even surprised? This was Nicholas’ modus operandi, after all. Act first, think later.
Fisting his free hand in Nicholas’ shirt, Andrew pulled him closer and all but snarled in his face.
“If you ever try something so monumentally stupid, I… I…”
Nicholas raised an eyebrow at him, looking absolutely unfazed.
“You’ll what?” he drawled.
Andrew shut him up with a kiss that was more fangs than tongue. It absolutely was not a thank you.
Five Years Old
Jacob knew he wasn’t supposed to go down the steps to the office by himself, but he was sure it would be okay just this time. He wanted to say good night again before his daddy left to go battle the boogiemen. Just in case he was wrong, he snuck past Nicholas clearing the table in the kitchen and tiptoed down the staircase.
The first floor was dark except for his daddy’s office. The tiles were cool under Jacob’s bare feet when he ran to the half-closed door and pushed it open. His daddy wasn’t behind the desk, though. He wasn’t there at all. Was he gone already? Jacob pouted. He’d been so sure he could get another good night hug, and now his daddy was gone and wouldn’t be back until Jacob was asleep.
Jacob had tried to stay awake and wait for him before, but it never worked. It just wasn’t fair. They’d reached a really good part in their evening story, too, and sure, Nicholas would read with Jacob too, but it just wasn’t the same as with his daddy.
He started to turn back to the door, but something out of the corner of his eye stopped him. He looked around to check that no one was there and walked around the desk to the wall behind it.
Jacob’s daddy kept plenty of things on the wall, attached with little pins: drawings, school reports, Jacob’s best writing practice sheet with the two gold stars at the top, pictures of Jacob in his Halloween costume from last year, and with his hockey team, too, when they had won the tournament. The best thing on that wall, though, was the sword.
It was right in the middle of the wall, held up by four hooks. The blade was long and thin. It was made out of steel, Jacob’s daddy had said. Jacob wasn’t sure what steel was, but he did know it was very shiny, and very, very sharp. All the weapons were, and that was why he wasn’t supposed to touch them, or at least, not yet. But one day, when he was big and strong…
“What are you doing?”
Jacob gasped and jumped. He hadn’t heard Nicholas come down the steps. He could be very, very quiet when he wanted to, even quieter than Jacob.
“Nothing,” Jacob said quickly.
“Nothing,” Nicholas repeated, but he sounded like he didn’t believe Jacob. He even looked up at the sword behind him, like he knew that was what Jacob had been looking at.
Jacob almost said he hadn’t touched it, but maybe talking about the sword at all wasn’t such a good idea. Instead, he went to the door, holding his hand out to Nicholas.
“Will you tell me a story before bed?” he asked with his best smile.
Nicholas’ mouth twisted like he was trying not to smile. They went back upstairs together.
“What kind of story?”
“A story about fighting boogiemen? A real one?”
Jacob’s daddy never wanted to tell him about boogiemen, but Nicholas sometimes did—like tonight. But first, he made Jacob promise not to sneak down to look at the sword again.
When Jacob fell asleep, he dreamed of fighting with the shiny sword and helping his daddy and Nicholas fight all the boogiemen in the entire world. It was a really good dream.
Sixteen Years Old
“Do you believe in destiny?”
Andrew tensed at Nicholas’ question, which defeated the purpose of giving him a massage. Clucking his tongue, Nicholas pressed a little harder against the stubborn knots right under Andrew’s shoulder blades.
“What kind of question is that?” Andrew muttered, his words half muffled by the pillow.
“Not a trick one.” Nicholas let out a little growl. “Will you just stop stiffening up already?”
A silent chuckle rocked Andrew’s body. He raised his hips, pressing his ass against Nicholas’ boxer-covered crotch. “I thought you liked it when I stiffen up.”
The pun was horrible, but Nicholas could admit he had stepped right into that one. Bending low, he raked his teeth against Andrew’s neck for a bloodless bite.
“You haven’t answered my question,” he said as he sat up across Andrew’s thighs again and resumed massaging his back in long, deep strokes.
Andrew grunted. “I don’t like that word.”
“I didn’t ask if you like it, I asked—”
Before Nicholas could answer, Andrew shifted under him, pushing until Nicholas gave him enough room to roll onto his back. Leaning back against his elbows, he threw Nicholas a hard look.
“No, I do not believe it’s Jacob’s destiny—” He all but spat out the word. “—to fight demons. It’s hard enough trying to convince him he doesn’t have to fight, don’t you dare go and put that idea in his head now.”
The flames burning in his eyes would have given away how upset he was if his voice hadn’t been enough. Nicholas met his gaze without flinching. All this time together, and sometimes he wondered if Andrew knew him at all.
“I wasn’t asking if you believe in destiny for the tyke,” Nicholas said, glowering.
Andrew frowned. “About what, then?”
Did Nicholas really have to spell it out? Did he have to voice how unlikely their relationship was? They’d spent more time apart than together, but here they were, raising a son together, no longer simply Sire and rebellious Childe but something more, something deeper: true partners, even if neither of them had ever used the word.
Nicholas’ thoughts must have showed through his expression: after a couple of seconds, Andrew sighed and rolled his eyes.
“Idiot,” he muttered, but he was smiling when he reached for Nicholas and drew him in for a kiss.
Title: Demons & Lullabies
Series: Demons Age, Book 2 (Can be read independently)
Genre: Male/Male, Paranormal, Romance,
Words: 107.000 words
Some little boys want to be firemen or astronauts when they grow up. From the moment Jacob understood what his fathers did, he never wanted to do anything but fight demons.
Andrew, Jacob’s father and a vampire, fights demons because it’s a necessity: few others have the strength or skill to kill the strange creatures that started appearing the very night his son was born. He carries with him some guilt, too, and the suspicion that the magic that made Jacob’s very life possible also opened the way for the demons. The last thing he wants is for his son to ever join this fight and get hurt.
As the years pass, however, and Andrew watches Jacob grow up and grow more determined, he slowly has to accept there’s little he can do to deter his son. It doesn’t help that Nicholas, Jacob’s other dad and Andrew’s Childe, starts giving Jacob sword-fighting lessons under the cover of playing, or that Jacob discovers his mother’s diaries and comes to the same conclusion Andrew did concerning his origins and the demons’.
Through snapshots covering Jacob’s life from birth to adulthood, watch all three members of this unusual family change, grow up, and find their place in the world.
His father’s car was there, and Jacob tried to swallow the lump in his throat when he saw it was empty. He rested a hand on the hood for a second; it was lukewarm, as though the car had only been stopped for a while. The roof was down, and Andrew rarely left the convertible open if he expected to be gone for long. Dropping the blanket inside the car, Jacob checked the phone again. The pin that represented him was very close to Nicholas’, but as he looked around, he couldn’t see anyone. It was that steady water drip he could still hear that clued him in.
Near the beginning of the trail was a water fountain, with one of those old-fashioned hand pumps and a basin at the base. If it dripped…
Tightening a suddenly sweaty hand over the hilt of his sword, he went over to the fountain. He wanted to run, but forced himself to walk at a steady pace, giving himself time to look around for any sign of life, to listen for suspicious sounds, even smell the air, like the hunter Andrew had tried for so long to deny Jacob was.
Before he reached the fountain, he had already picked up both his fathers’ scents, along with something else, something like sulfur and rotten eggs. He’d smelled this before, lingering on his fathers’ clothes or Craig’s after they had fought hard. This was what demons smelled like.
His heart jumped in his chest at the same time he flexed his fingers on the sword. He had been trained to fight demons since the very first time he picked up a foam sword and played with Nicholas but he didn’t know if he was ready to fight one now.
A gleam, low in front of him, brought his gaze to the ground. He bent down to pick up Nicholas’ phone. His throat had never felt so tight. His eyes searched the ground for ashes and dust, but even if they were there, would he have seen them in such poor light?
He wanted to call out for his dads, but at the same time he knew it would have been a terrible idea. If there was a demon around—demons—the last thing he wanted was to give away his presence. Besides, he had other means to track them down.
Turning off Nicholas’ phone, he slipped it into his pocket and took a deep breath in through his nose. Nicholas’ scent, along with Andrew’s and the demon’s, led him straight into the woods.
He advanced with cautious steps, holding the sword in front of him with both hands, his eyes sweeping around him, attentive to any movement. There was none that he could see, and no sound other than the rustling of leaves above them, or small animals scurrying out of sight. He continued to follow the scents deeper into the woods. Again, he wanted to call out for them, and again he thought better of it.
He was afraid—no, he was terrified—but not for himself. He was afraid of how badly his fathers might be hurt. Afraid it had taken him too much time to come to them. He wanted nothing more than to run, find them fast, find them now, but everything he had ever learned told him to go slow, from Nicholas teaching him how to be very quiet when he had been a toddler to Andrew’s slightly surreal but actually helpful lesson about controlling his heartbeat and breathing, a few weeks earlier. Slow and steady, listening to every sound, breathing in through his nose not to lose the scents he was tracking, he crossed through the woods.
At the end, both their scents and the demon’s led him to a small clearing. A stream passed through, murmuring quietly, the water flowing around the massive body of the demon that laid face up across it.
His fathers’ scents were thicker here, now with the prominent smell of blood like a veneer that tinted everything. More than ever, Jacob wanted to call out to them, but he managed to reign in his instincts. If there were more demons, he didn’t want to draw them to him now. He held the sword hilt so tight that his knuckles turned white and approached the demon. Under a row of small spikes in the place of eyebrows, the demon’s eyes were open, staring straight up at the tree canopy above them. It was dead, and Jacob only needed seconds to find the bloody wound on its side that must have killed it.
He looked around again, and this time caught sight of a glimmer on the other side of the stream, moonlight reflecting on metal. His heart in his throat, Jacob started circling the thick tree that blocked his view, remaining at some distance so he would see before being seen.
He recognized the weapon first: Nicholas’ sword. Two more steps and he could see Nicholas, sitting on the ground with his back to the tree, holding the sword in front of him with both his hands as though defending. Jacob only needed one more second to know what he was defending. Across his lap, the unmoving body could only be—
About the Author:
Kallysten’s most exciting accomplishment to date was to cross a few thousand miles and an ocean to pursue (and catch!) the love of her life. She has been writing for fifteen years, and always enjoyed sharing her stories and listening to the readers' reactions. After playing with science fiction, short stories and poetry, she is now trying her hand, heart and words at paranormal romance novels.
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