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The Nightling’s Tale- Flash Fiction

I’m excited to share my writing on here. It’s a place where I can collect and display the nonsense floating around my head. This is the first of many. This story was inspired by a picture prompt. I hope you enjoy and any and all critique you are willing to give is greatly appreciated!

The October air hung heavy around the Nightling. Smoke, tinged with burning flesh, saturated the midnight air and filled his senses with an unearthly thirst. He breathed in the sweet aroma, letting it transport him home to the streets of London, where death and ruin mingled into the perfect perfume for a creature such as him. A normal night, he would indulge in the mayhem. But this was not London. These were the waters of Chicago Harbor, and the fire devouring the ship in front of him was no mischance.
The vessel creaked and crackled in front of him. Plumes of smoke billowed up from the where the licking flames absorbed the head of the ship and mixed with the pure light of the stars overhead. Whorls of orange and white tasted the salt soaked hull before it’s hunger urged it forward. His lip curled into a primitive smile. He’s known hunger such as this. And the satisfaction of quenching it.

Passengers aboard kept to themselves, never posing questions to the one who walked the night, and he was gratified. Questions led to lies, although lies were his specialty, they allowed further prodding which he would not permit in such confined quarters. He ate only what was needed for the voyage, keeping suspicions to a minimum. A fire was an unfortunate occurrence for the harbor and other ships at berth, but a necessary one. It seemed a waste though; fresh blood, now boiling through charred veins. All those morsels for the biting. Perched at the end of the dock, he fostered the thought a moment, then turned his ear toward the blaze.

Their screams were distinguishable, but he had to be sure. He waited a century to leave the banks of England and would not be stopped by two Hunters. Damned those bureaucrats and their overbearing efforts to bring their brothers to heel. His unexpected departure threatened resurgence of the Dark Ages no doubt, but his want was simple: to live when death was all he knew. His plea did not go unanswered. The council sent Hunters, either to procure or kill.

He sensed them before the ship docked. Their stench of rot was undeniable, he carried it himself. Though weakened by the journey, he managed to disentangle the Hunters’ plot by staging a feeding (a gutted squealing pig worked nicely) and locking the unbeknownst pursuers in a cabin, before setting it aflame. Nightlings were not so easily crucified. He had to be certain.

His lids slid closed over obsidian-colored eyes as he focused on his first task in this new world. Screams interloped with percussions of hoof beats and echoes of waves; an angelic chorus fit for any Nightling. But he quieted the melody, finding the shadows beneath. His heart thumped; darkness ruled this young land. His ears pricked at the residual pleas of the forlorn; his tongue slithered unto his lips, tasting the sweat of sinful lust on the air. Chicago teemed with creatures of the dark. Unlike him, but still, their mortal hearts were chiseled from the same ice from which his own formed. He pulled the shadows closer, prodding the interior depths of the night, until zeroing in on the nucleus of his search.

The charred flesh of those long dead filled his nose, bones as hard as steel cracked in his ear, and the breeze of two forgotten souls riled his curled locks. He was free of the Oligarchy, for now. He reeled himself back from the umbrage, lurking in it too long did the mind a displeasure. He was no longer a man, but a beast of sound mind, and a thirst for the unknown. Chicago was alit with life tonight, and he intended to taste the lot of it.


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