We hope you’re enjoying your weekend!
This week’s prompt was: You’re immortal, married to a mortal. Today is the day to come clean. (Prompt courtesy of blog.reedsy.com)
Two of our writers explored this prompt, each taking it somewhat loosely and going in two very different directions!
Karen Blakely returns to the dragon-shifter she introduced in last week’s post.
I’d always enjoyed being a dragon shifter; an immortal member of the Order of Drakon. I’d never considered the possibility of choosing a mortal as a mate, but the bond had snapped into place the moment I’d set eyes on Nora. I’d despaired that I could lose her in the first desperate days as her fragile body fought to live. I’d rejoiced in her will; her determination to survive, though the doctors had been sure the days of exposure in the desert heat had caused too much damage.
Others in town were furious that I’d brought her here to Dark Seighly. I’d violated the primary rule to hold the town secret. But I hadn’t been willing to lose her. Not once I’d found her.
No one knew what to do with her once it was clear she would survive. But I knew.
I’d worked for months to convince her she wanted to be here. That she was meant for this place. That she was meant for me. But everything was complicated with her memory loss. The doctors thought it was related to the severe exposure she’d suffered. Perhaps they were right. But she kept saying she needed to find her other life, though she didn’t know where it was. She worried there might be someone looking for her.
I kept telling her those memories would come back when they were meant to. But since no one knew when that might be, she couldn’t put her life on hold indefinitely. She’d cried the first time I’d said that. I’d waited for weeks before saying it again. I was immortal, after all. What were a few weeks to me? But she was not, and it hurt me to think of her throwing away her already short life waiting for something that might never happen.
Eventually, she’d agreed. She began to make friends, to settle in. Her worry that she’d come to this area for a reason – for something important – came less and less often. Now, after months of patient courting – I did understand that humans don’t have a mating bond like the Drakon – she’d agreed to marry me.
It was Mel – my best friend, who had become friends with Nora as well – who’d told me I had to confess the truth. Before the ceremony took place. Because I owed her the opportunity to walk away. I’d been sweating over how to tell her ever since. I kept finding reasons to delay telling her, and now I was running out of time. Our wedding was just two weeks away.
How do you tell the woman you love that you’re immortal? Although it was more than that. How do you explain the mating bond? Or should I leave that part out? Perhaps it wouldn’t be fair to let her know that much of the truth. If she refused me, I’d still be tied to her, irrevocably, until the day she died. I would feel that when it happened, and would mourn her the rest of my long, long life. Drakon only have the bond happen once.
Gods, that sounded like one of those teenage love stories Mel was always reading me.
But I’d sworn that tonight would be the night. I would tell her everything and accept whatever she said. Because what else could I do? Her happiness was like my own breath. Absolutely necessary to my existence.
(This story is recommended for mature audiences)
We are lying in my bed when I decide it’s at last time to tell him. With most of my dalliances, I revealed the truth sooner than this, and so, of course, they ended sooner. But when this man holds me in his arms—well, he’s very skillful in certain arts, and I am weak enough to let that make me regret the thought of losing him more than most.
Still. It’s time.
“There’s something I should confess to you,” I begin, running one fingertip along his bare chest. “I’m much older than I appear.”
He catches my hand and kisses it, mirth in his eyes. “Oh? Are you…twenty-six? Twenty-nine? Thirty?” He says the last like it’s obviously far older than I could possibly be.
I smile. “Ninety-seven, in fact.”
For a moment he keeps the same smile. Then it broadens. “You’re joking, of course.”
I shake my head, my black hair whispering across my skin. “I’m not. Enchanters can be very long-lived, if we choose. There are spells…means… We can extend our life indefinitely. Almost into immortality, I imagine. Though only time will really reveal limits.”
His smile has disappeared, but his expression is thoughtful, brow furrowed. “You extend your life with magic,” he says slowly. “Could…the same spells be cast on someone else? Someone like me?”
I’m a little impressed. Surprisingly few think to ask that question. “Yes, I expect so.”
He’s smiling again, an eager look in his eyes I’ve seen many times. Though this time it’s not because I’ve just unfastened my robe. “Is that why you’ve told me? Because you’re going to extend my life too?”
I laugh. “I hadn’t thought of that. I just wanted you to know the truth. Even if it means our time together has to end.”
He’s still smiling, the adorable boy. “But nothing has to end. It doesn’t make any difference to me. I don’t care how old you are.”
“Aren’t you sweet,” I purr, and draw him toward me. I even feel a twinge of gratitude.
It’s not usually this easy. Of course, it’s quite different with the ones I use enslaving magic on—but when I’m bored or want a different challenge, sometimes I like old-fashioned seductions. And usually those require at least a little magic at this point.
“The tricky part is,” I murmur, as I clasp him to me, his chest pressing against the rune tattooed just below my collar bone, “extending a life requires a sacrifice. The right kind of sacrifice. One with an…intimate connection.”
I watch his eyes go wide in sudden understanding just an instant before my lips are on his.
I kiss him as he goes rigid, kiss him as he shudders in my spell, kiss him until he has collapsed limp and cold in my arms.
I push the body aside and slide out of bed, full of the ecstatic energy I always enjoy at this moment. I touch the rune on my chest, feel the tingle of new life coursing through me. This ought to be good for another two, maybe three years of life.
I might be able to gather more energy if my victims remained lulled until the last moment—but I so enjoy watching the horror enter their faces as they realize at last why I’ve granted them the favor of my attentions. It only means I need to harvest more victims than I otherwise might, and that’s not even a drawback.