Footprints

Blood Legends Episode One

“She had a way of bringing me undone.”


“Did you ever want to step into someone else’s feet?”

I tore my eyes from the gulls screeching above the waves that crashed against the jagged rocks, their wings beating against the briny air as they swooped the water’s surface looking for a meal. A faint smile played over my lips.

“Don’t you mean shoes?”

The breeze captured Scarla’s platinum locks as amber eyes settled on me. Her smile was as meek as mine, dissolving just as fast when she dropped her gaze to grab a handful of sand. My throat restricted. The wind instantly carried a chord of torment as I watched her.

“No.” She allowed the golden grains to fall from between her fingers. She raised her chin toward the sky and squeezed her eyes shut. “Thousands of footprints have marked this beach over just as many years; I’d give anything to step in any one of them.”

My stomach hollowed.

“But then you wouldn’t be here with me in this moment.” I reached to catch a tear as it splashed over her cheek, folding my palm against her smooth skin while my gaze melted into her. She was all I saw in a disintegrating world. She was everything. “You would rather be elsewhere?”

She leaned her chin into my palm, her lashes dewy when she met my stare.

“Yes, with you, Jett.”

“Where should we go?”

My gaze instantly fell to her lips when she smiled. Pale pink and plump. They reminded me of blossoms and lifted my heart in much the same way. She had a way of doing that. She had a way of bringing me undone.

“Florence.” She pulled away from my touch, combing a hand through unruly hair as it wisped across her face. Her white blouse rippled and clung to her breasts.

“Ah, you want to immerse yourself in some Italian Renaissance, Bella donna? Where should we start? The Galleria degli Uffizi?”

She laughed.

“That will do just fine, signor. We’ll spend our days exploring galleries, eating crostini di fegato and drinking chianti while we marvel at the architectural masterpieces. Afterwards, we will put on our best threads and go to the opera.”

I feigned a frown.

“The opera? Hmm…”

“What?” She gave me a gentle nudge. “I’m sure you can conjure up your inner-aristocrat for a few hours if need be.”

“Only for you, Bella donna.”

I shifted, positioning myself behind her on the sand and pulling her between my legs so that her back molded against my chest. I wrapped my arms around her, burying my nose near her ear and breathing in her scent. She stiffened, her voice barely audible over the sound of the rumbling waters.

“Do you think the virus has spread that far?”

I shrugged.

“If it has, we’ll get love-drunk on chianti at the opera with them. I hear the undead love high society.”

“That’s not funny.”

“I’m not laughing.” I pressed my lips against her temple. She tasted salty. Sensually salty. My voice was husky when I spoke next. “Can’t we just pretend a little longer?”

She arched her neck so that her throat stretched beneath the afternoon sun. Her eyes closed as she leaned further into me, reaching to claw her fingers through the dark hair curling at my nape. I wanted her now, but I knew this wasn’t the time nor the place for intimacy. We were alone on the beach, yet that could change at any moment. People were seldom friendly these days. Especially those that we call the hawkers.

My gaze drifted toward the horizon as I held her in my arms. If I could pretend on anything, it would be any place but here as long as she was by my side. It would be some place where the Vampiric virus ravaging the earth couldn’t reach.

They say everything happens for a reason. Yet, I could think of no justifiable reason for the horror our world had become. Almost overnight, the lives of millions of people worldwide had turned into a living nightmare. A harsh reality where those infected by the virus feasted on humanity during the dark hours. Now, it was the kindred that were fast staking supremacy over the earth; humans had become the minority.

My thoughts shifted to my daughter, Avila, who we’d left behind in our hidden cottage; the meager refuge we’d sought after fleeing the city when it became obvious that I could no longer help contain the rapid spread of the virus. We were among the lucky ones who got out just in time.

“We should get back to the cottage,” I said, knowing that she wasn’t ready to leave. It wasn’t often that we stole time away from the cottage. I’d come here for her. Sometimes, she needed to dream.

She squirmed in my arms, swinging around to face me. Her brows creased.

“Just a little longer? I want to trek through some footprints before we go back.” She motioned toward the sand etched with shallow prints. “Will you join me?”

I held her gaze, smiling behind the pain of all I knew she’d suffered and lost to the outbreak. She’d lost her little boy at the hands of a vampire. I shook my head.

“Go find your rainbow, Bella donna. I’ll wait here.”

“Okay.” Her eyes deepened against the blue of mine as her lips slightly parted and she leaned toward me. I groaned inwardly as the sweet taste of promises to come found my mouth with her kiss. They say that the eyes are the gateway to the soul. I think lips are the same for the body. She pulled away and leapt to her feet, casting me a grin. “I’ll be ten minutes. You can watch my rainbow from here.”

I scanned the beach again, pushing away the apprehension that shadowed my every waking hour.

“Stay where I can see you.”

My words were swallowed in the wind and the space between us as she walked toward the shore, but I knew she wouldn’t wander far from me. She was more than aware of the lurking dangers in the form of hawkers. They were the ones who polluted the daylight hours by terrorizing the survivors. The profane remains of humanity who relished the aftermath with unspeakable acts of violence. Thankfully, we hadn’t encountered any hawkers this far from the city. Still, you can never be too vigilant.

I watched Scarla for a few minutes as she stomped between prints, and looking back at me every now and then, smiling. She was safe enough that I took a breath and sprawled back into the sand. The warm grains cushioned my head as I closed my eyes beneath the sun, inviting the false sense of well-being its rays provided.

For the millionth time since the arrival of the V-Virus, I thought about the continuation of life. It isn’t until you are faced with endless death and chaos that you realize the earth will stop for nothing and no one. There are no free rides out of here when evil comes calling. No help lines to pull you from the brink of insanity.

A few moments passed and I became aware of the breeze gathering speed, catching clumps of my hair as the sand sprayed like sharp needles against my skin. Suddenly, I felt cold all over, the breeze blowing in a sense of dread. I sat up abruptly, looking back to the place I’d last spotted Scarla scouring the shoreline but she wasn’t there.

Scarla?

My heart thumped hard against my chest as I stood up and scanned the beach. I was confronted by a stretch of bronze sand in every direction as far as the eye could see, barren of life apart from the gulls that squawked and hovered above the waves licking the shore.

I could feel my head begin to spin as I called her name, but my words were instantly stolen by the wind as panic gripped me and my feet dug into the sand to seek out her footprints. Prints that I knew would haunt me for the rest of my days.


Also published by P.S. I Love you on Medium on 11/15/2019.

Footprints is an urban fantasy set in a post apocalyptic world, and is part of Kim Petersen’s Blood Legends world. Episodes set to publish weekly.


Blood Legends: Episode Two – The Hawkers Available in:

2019-11-22T16:30:00

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The Hawkers


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