Welcome! Pull up a seat at my table and enjoy the feast of bloggers who were kind enough to bring along a dish of their own. There's sure to be variety, with something to suit everyone's tastes, so be sure to get a hefty helping from around the table. Hey, could you please pass the dinner rolls???
So my dish features Sen and Rainee, who have survived a crash. They're seeking shelter to wait out the night. Sen's an alien Kindred who doesn't really need food in the human sense of the word, but Rainee's human and needs to eat on a somewhat regular basis.
She made no sound save her labored breathing as she clambered over boulders and downed trees. At least they were leaving the mountainous area for the easier terrain of the forest. Of course, the forest had its drawbacks, too—namely the Vamphyri. She didn’t relish the idea of ending her life as vamp fodder. The thought of food in general sparked pangs in the center of her stomach. Now was a bad time to remember she hadn’t eaten dinner before they left the docking bay. She promised herself to never skip meals again if only she could live through this.
“What is it?” she asked as Sen stopped at last.
“You need to eat and you need water.” The water had lasted about two hours, even with her conservative consumption and his lack of the need for water altogether. Her body had worked so hard, she’d lost much more than what was in the flask to begin with.
“Of course. You’re always fine. Wait here and I’ll get you something to eat.”
“No. Don’t leave me here.” He hesitated at her tone. “Please let’s just get somewhere first.”
“Not much further.” She nodded. They’d hiked another half hour when Sen stopped again. He turned around and walked back a short distance.
“What are you looking for?”
“This.” He pulled back the vines along the steep embankment. She frowned at the yawning darkness behind the natural curtain.
“Ugh. In there? Bugs, snakes and Ursula dogs. No thank you.”
“This is it. Take it or leave it.”
“You’re going to leave me here by myself?”
He nodded. “It’s empty. Pretty much,” he added, smiling down at her.
“Come on.” He led her inside, pulling out his illuminator. “Here. This is dappled moss. It loves caves and water, two things we needed right now. Feel it.” The stuff felt like a plush couch cushion. “Also good to sleep on.”
“You should be a ranger.”
“Perhaps, but that would waste my murderous nature.”
“When I look at you, I don’t see a murderer.”
“I was born to be one.”
“Let me guess—'it’s what you do.'” He laughed, his flawless white teeth flashing in the dim light.
“You don’t need to worry about that. Hurry though.” So he did. He couldn’t have been gone longer than a half hour before he returned with a large cavy, shoving the cream-furred rodent's still-warm body into her hands.
“Awww. I can’t eat this poor thing. It’s cute and fluffy.”
“You’d prefer something scaly and slimy?” Her nose wrinkled. He tapped it with his fingertip.
“Very well. I’ll dress it for you, Princess.” He ducked out of the cave, leaving her standing in wonder. He’d uttered a dreaded pet name. Where was her fury? Missing along with many of her other usual tendencies. His tone had been playful. Playful!
What he brought back wasn’t much more appetizing, though he’d thoughtfully placed it on a wide, cut leaf. She pondered solemnly over the poor thing’s bleeding remains. At least it didn’t have its head, its pitiful eyes looking up at her as she bit into its flesh. Rainee shuddered. Sushi was difficult enough for her to consume. Years of social grace conditioning explained her ability to get that down. After all, a grand gathering wasn’t truly upper-class unless it served sushi and caviar. Ugh. Dead fishy flesh and unborn baby fish.
“Can’t we cook it?” He ignored her, stretching out full-length on a thick pad of dappled moss, his fingers interlaced behind his head. It was probably a relief for him. Too tall for the cave, the colossus had been hunched over as he checked the perimeter and covered the entrance to their hideaway. It was a bad idea, she knew, to have any kind of fire. The smoke would draw the vamps right to their doorstep, the harsh scent powerful enough to travel miles on the night wind.
“You’re thinking about it too much,” he said finally, his eyes still closed. “Just eat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you act like such a baby.”
Rainee bristled. “Some people around here aren’t barbarians.”
“Cut strips from it and pretend it’s soft jerky.” She wanted to throw the thing at his head but admitted to herself he'd had a good idea. Besides, if she didn’t eat soon she’d shrink and wither away. Her stomach cramped like someone stabbed it, and she had the worst headache from not drinking anything.
“Did you find water, Sen?”
“In the flask. It’s full.”
“What would I do without you?”
“You’d be just fine.”
Slicing the meat from the cavy, she did as he suggested. Tonight it was a lovely Carpaccio in a bloo—er, burgundy sauce. With her angry belly assuaged, her thoughts turned to their current circumstances. It never crossed her mind until then they might not be found, might not make it back to a settlement, and might not even survive this strange situation. Somehow the thought didn’t really bother her. It seemed so damned unlikely. Her life wasn’t over yet, and she knew it.
Thanks everyone for coming by and reading!