The Serpent and the Wings of Night

The little girl was no longer a little girl. Now she was a young woman. At sixteen years old, she now thought she understood her place in her unique world. But

something strange happened in those hazy years between childhood and adulthood. The things she desired changed. The things she noticed changed.

Vampires are beautiful people.

This is almost universally true. Their flesh is smooth and soft, their features bright and striking, their voices sweet and melodic. They are often the kind of beautiful that leaves a mark on one’s soul—the kind that visits you again as you lie awake in bed at night, thinking about the shape of those lips.

The young woman had learned to numb herself to this. She had been taught relentlessly to view the beings that surrounded her as deadly monsters. It was only as she grew older that she began to view them as dangerous not for all the ways they were monstrous, but for all the ways they were not.

Let us be clear: she was a smart girl. She knew how to survive.

But all living creatures desire. Is that weakness?

One night, the young woman met a young vampire man. She did not often interact with members of her father’s

court. But this boy, too, seemed like an outsider. He was young, only a few years older than her. He was the most stunning creature she had ever seen—his face the flawless combination of hard angles and gentle curves, rendered in shades of warmth that hinted at what he had once been.

Yes, he had been Turned.

He was a lonely young man. She was a lonely young woman. Is it anything but inevitable that something should form between them?

Perhaps he himself did not understand the weapon of the skin he wore.

Perhaps he was attracted to her because she reminded him of what he once was.

Perhaps he even thought he loved her.

The young woman had never thought much of love. She had not been fed tales of storybook princesses; she did not dream of true love’s kiss saving her from her treacherous life. But the memory of this boy’s mouth still visited her at night. If it was love to want someone, perhaps this was it.

She was so, so young. Hard in some ways. Softly naive in others. She did not truly understand, yet, that vampires shone as the silver teeth of traps shone. Their beauty was a beckoning hand, promising sweet caresses.

The little serpent was so very lonely. She slithered right into those lovely, elegant fingers. She did not even see the claws.

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