Nocturne - Urban Fantasy
A sudden hot flash blazed through me. Maybe standing next to Vasyl in a small hall getting married might have something to do with it.
Although the ordained minister, Paul Kostova, wore no priestly robes, he had donned a very nice dark suit with a dark tie and white shirt. No crucifix hung from his neck—which would have been a big faux pas in this crowd. He had thinning brown hair, a long face that might have seen thirty-something years. Black-rimmed glasses perched on his long nose as he read from The Vampire's Creed, and daubed his brow repeatedly. I have to admit the guy had guts to stand up in front of a room full of vampires and werewolves. You wouldn't know the man had done twenty similar marriages by the way his brow beaded sweat, but that's what he had told me when I found him on the Internet. Luckily, his home base, Rockford, was a mere forty-five minutes from my hometown, Moonlight.
In the state of Illinois, once this ceremony came to a close, our marriage would be considered legal and binding. It would also count in the vampire world, and that was all that mattered at this level of my weird life, which seemed to be taking a carnival ride to Hell as of late.
Vasyl and I had both taken a blood test to confirm that no relationship existed between us. Not that I was worried about it.
Marriage? Me? No one ever asked me before Vasyl did a few weeks ago. Vasyl had never been married, although he's lived over one thousand years as a vampire. But then, he had been a priest in his human life. However, I had a feeling in his vampire life he was no saint, because no one can kiss like him and be a virgin.
What would my brother, Randy, say if he knew?
“Sabrina Strong, do you take this man in holy matrimony, to have and to hold till death do you part?” his question cauterizing my vivid thoughts of what my family would do if they found out I was marrying a vampire. Actually, it would be two thunder strikes at once. The whole idea that vampires existed was something I hadn't breached with my brother and his wife as yet. But I knew the day was coming.
“Uh,” I said as another flash caught me unguarded, like someone slapped me with a cold towel. Overwhelmed, I thought I was about to spontaneous combust. I wasn't having a vision—I was certain of it—but suddenly something clutched me in the solar plexus. It hurt initially, but then it simply felt like someone grabbing my stomach and pulling me.
My sudden gasp caught Vasyl's attention. His head jerked as large erudite eyes scrutinized me. Vasyl asked low, “Cherie, you are alright?”
“No,” I murmured under my breath, “catch me.” Everything went black at once, but I didn't fall, at least not in the real sense of the term.
The world around me shifted. A slight chill in the air cooled me significantly. The air pressure had become markedly different, and my ears became full. The pulling became a yank. I became suddenly small, like a speck of dust. I vaguely remember that feeling when I'd traveled through time and space via ley line to land in a completely different place. I simply knew I no longer stood where I had been. In fact, I wasn't sure I remained on terra firma. The certainty of my transportation to somewhere else came in loud and clear to my brain.
Eyes open, I made an effort to see my hand in front of my face, but only darkness met my eyes. My fear ramped up because I thought I'd traveled into Dark World, where vampires and demons ruled. If so I was in a big load of trouble, because I'd been told there was a bounty on my head because of what I had done while there with Tremayne. The Council must have been really pissed at me if they'd put a bounty on my head. I couldn't blame them. After all, I did hack off the twin tails of a major vampire-demon, and killed a designer pet demon while I was their “guest.” They'd left me no choice because it had attacked the three of us, Tremayne, Rick, and me. Besides, it was damn ugly.
My eyes adjusted to the diminished light and varying degrees of shadow against lighter areas began to emerge. I knew I stood inside a domicile, and not outside. I tried to use my clairvoyant abilities to tell me where exactly I was, but I had trouble working through the power that surrounded me. The source of light took me a handful of seconds to ascertain. I decided the lighting was both moonlight and candlelight, since one source undulated like that of a flame, and another poured in from a window beyond the area where I stood.
Someone's presence overwhelmed my senses—a male presence. Since I felt no pheromones, I had to presume he was human. I reached out. His emotions became tangible. Oops. He was very human if he was that excited.
“Who's there?” I asked into the darkness, my voice echoed slightly. Nearly devoid of furnishings, the room felt and sounded hollow. My clairvoyant abilities produced a bedroom in my mind's eye. Yep, definitely a bed in here. My abilities also affirmed I was no longer on Earth, but in another realm. It had another feel to it—a texture only my senses could ascertain. Where, precisely, was still unclear, except I knew I wasn't on Earth. It simply felt different.
“Show yourself!” even I could hear the edginess and distress in the command. I hated my insecurities. I simply couldn't get the bitchy, ass-kicking thing down. My voice gave me away every time. I caught myself twisting the ends of my gloves—another give away I was nervous or fearful.
A slight rustling of material, possibly twenty feet away, made my eyes dart in that direction. The moon's beam angled in through the only window in the next room revealing a figure. I stood in a tiny separate room—a closet or a small alcove—my back against the wall. I rocked away from the wall. The stranger sat in the darkest shadows, at the other end of the next room. I felt no threat from him. At least, not yet.
The seated figure shifted forward, and the moonlight revealed him in gradual increments. Pale hands draped over the back of the dark stained wooden chair, then the shiny white fabric of his shirt draping his arm. His face emerged from the darkness as he leaned further into the pale moonlight. I would rate him handsome to good-looking. The most remarkable thing I saw was his raven black hair, with a swath of blond—no, white—cutting a stripe down one side of his head. I couldn't tell how old he was precisely. Undoubtedly well into his twenties.
“Don't be frightened,” he said in a moderate, to somewhat tenor voice. “I'm not a sanguine.”