“Last time I went, well, the Lutchkins tried to harpoon me. Then, a deer ran by the river and I chased it. By the time I got back to fishing, the racket of all my exploits had driven the fish deep, too far for the nets. So, I had to capture them my own way, which is why they’re all ripped and chewed up.” Lucious said. He was on his back, atop a half-toppled brick wall, which was glowing with bits of moss and ivy. It was just a few feet from the moat surrounding Calamity’s Keep. Back when Calamity actually cared about the cosmetics of his home, before the Lutchkin’s time, he’d host vampires from across the Island of Chronos. That was a mere century ago. Lucious would’ve been a pup the last time guests were entertained beneath the singing halos of candelabras and violins.
“You know, if you could control your appetite just a little bit, Scylla, we’d have a whole population of pike and sunfish to devour at your leisure. You wouldn’t be stuck eating my leftovers all the time,” Lucious said. He stretched his sable fur across the rubble. His hair was sharp and spiked, like a hedgehog. He had muscles corded to his frame between the patches of iron-hard hide. His color was almost a blue in the sun, but at night it mixed with shadow perfectly.
They were made for each other.
His head was that of a wolf, with a gray muzzle and yellow canine teeth poking out like icicles. His eyes were red with an obsidian orb in their center. His voice was so deep and hollow, it could cause the leaves to fall from a tree whether it was autumn or not. Lucious was about six feet tall hunched over, but if his primal spine extended completely, he’d be closer to ten. The only thing human about Lucious were his trousers, which were a bygone relic from before he was turned. He could pull new pants off a trespasser, after he’d carved out their chest like a melon, but there was something sentimental about holding onto this one antique before his mutation. They had human memories attached to them. After all these years of protecting Calamity’s Keep, they were all he had left of what he was before the claws and howls.
“It wouldn’t matter if I could control myself, you’d still have to transport them in water so they live. That is quite a hike between the keep and river.” Scylla said. Her voice was low, hollow, but still melodic. It was soothing and omnipresent, like it was a thought behind your eyes and not an ordinary sound. She didn’t even have to poke her mermaid head above the water to use it.
“You should just convince the machine to go with me. He could balance a tub or river water better than me,” Lucious said. He sat up and cracked his neck. It was morning. The summer sun was baking the green forest like a verdant cake. Heat was rising off all the surfaces in ghostly trails. He’d have to take a dust bath soon to cool off.
“You can talk to the machine all you want. I’m not saying a word to him,” Scylla said.
“Afraid he might scorch you with his beam?” Lucious retorted.
“Aren’t you? You don’t wander into the interior too often. When’s the last time you walked openly in those courtyards?” She said.
Lucious crawled towards the moat.
“I don’t need to, I’m an outside the walls sort of werewolf,” he said.
Lucious stopped at the edge of the moat. The water was a clear blue, with lily pads, flowers, and dragonflies darting between the jade ornaments like fallen stars. The sounds of fountains playing splashes inside the keep’s black walls echoed everywhere.
“Don’t you dare drink the waters from my moat, I don’t want you sick with anything, nor do I want to get sick,” Scylla said.
“I’m thirsty,” he said.
“Don’t be a brat; go find a rain barrel or something. You’ve got them all over the inside and outside of the keep.”
“I’ve got them? You make it sound like I own and manage them, but really they’re just another piece of Calamity’s property.” He said.
“Do you not take care of them? Empty them, or give them to the machine to water its gardens?”
“Yeah, yeah, I do.”
“Well then, you exert more control over the rain barrels than anyone else, which might say they’re yours,” Scylla’s hidden voice said.
Lucious straightened his back out one last time. The vertebrae snapped in clicks of calcium and marrow.
“I’m supposed to be a werewolf, not a groundskeeper. Calamity didn’t hire me for that.” He said.
Scylla didn’t say anything.
“We’ll figure out the fish soon, I promise,” Lucious said. He jumped over the moat in one clawed leap and landed on the wall. He scampered up it like a snarling bug.
“Thank you, my love,” Scylla said, with a hidden smile.
I got this one done. I was a little concerned because I’ve been sick the last four days, and while I was editing this one, so if something seems off I blame my haze of DayQuil and Vicks Vapor Rub. This is not a shameless plug for those products. Nobody pays me anything to do this blog. Anyways, this is the third part in the story. I’m introducing two of the primary characters in Lucious and Scylla. They’ll be centerpieces for the future when it comes to this whole thing. I don’t know if I mentioned this before with all my talk, but I normally map out the whole story ahead of time. This project I’m just riding the wind, floating around like a feather. Hope you’re enjoying it. Here is Part One: The Lutchkins and Part Two: The Crossbow if you’re curious. Thanks for reading.