Les Femmes Noires One-Shot Contest

Title: Long I Lay In The Ground

Your pen name: Astranza

Characters: Bella, Alice, Jasper

Disclaimer: Characters property of Stephenie Meyer.

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Long I Lay In The Ground

Long I lay in the ground asleep, long I lay in the ground

Asleep I lay in earth's close hold as she danced spinning round

Sister mine beside in dirt enclosed as deep as I

Soil for coffin lids and sides; no moon nor sun nor sky

Long I lay in the ground, dreaming. The only way I can dream is through a kind of sensory deprivation although I didn't know this until it happened. I am in absolute and heavy black, comforting. I can feel a little, and smell and see nothing. It is good, and has suited me.

Long I lay in the ground, remembering. My palaces and the ages that I ruled, the glory and the gold and the grandness, the way I was worshipped. Orgies that lasted for days, when I would kill everyone in sight, would seek out every heartbeat and take the blood and stop the pulse. It was an honor to suffer death at my mouth - the young heroes would line up for it, presenting themselves, hoping to be chosen. I turned some away for their lack of worth, and they slunk back to sink onto their own daggers, unable to bear the shame.

Long I lay in the ground, listening. I hear everything but I couldn't understand the new noises after many decades of slumber, and knew my time was coming soon. Coming again. Time to rise and elevate the sublime, and ensure that all the world would know my name and love me, as all the world had known and loved me before.

Long I lay in the ground, waking, my sister beside me. She is not my sister, she is but a poor fool but I made her to be my companion and her loyalty is unswerving. She performs tasks necessary to me, and sees to it that I am fed and clothed and amused, she prepares the way for me and deals with what humans we may need to deal with from time to time. She reminds them that I am their Lady and that to please me is to die in ecstasy, because I am the bestower of beautiful death.

I clawed my way up through solid rock, always the stronger, reaching as I went for Al-ys and pulling her with me. We were on a hillside on a silent night, stars winking overhead and the smell of trees heavy in the air. Al-ys had brought me here a hundred years ago, to rest. We are ageless, yet we rest.

I rested still while Al-ys went to the city nestled at the mountain's base. I needed to get used to air again and used to the movement of my limbs. She returned after two cycles of the sun, and she was attired in outlandish garb - trousers, such as men wore! Tight they were, clinging to her fine slim legs, and she had lopped her hair at the neck in such a way that instead of hanging, it flicked up and outwards.

"This is the fashion of the moment?" I asked her. "Men's clothes and strange hair?"

"Men's clothes for women, yes. The hair I did on a whim. We have plenty of money, mistress, I have secured us a place to stay, and I have found where we might go this evening to feed. Things are different now, we will need to be cautious at first."

Things are always different when we arise from the ground. That is part of the reason for our periods of withdrawal. I do not enjoy gradual change, I like to be startled by it.

"Mistress, you will be pleased, for there is music and dancing and laughter, and young men of beauty. I have found places where the young congregate and the air is rich and full with their enticing scent - it is lovely here!"

And we are happy, at first. Al-ys has found us rooms which are opulent, and while not palatial, they are adequate. I am very wealthy as I have always been gifted by slaves and admirers with gold and jewelry, and Al-ys trades these whenever we need money. On one hand alone I have rings worth enough money to buy this country. There is a bizarre invention called the television which we look at all day, to educate ourselves about the modern environment and to practice speaking in the parlance. I find it hard to believe mankind has sunk into a sort of deliberate stupidity I never witnessed before, but apparently that is what has happened. We also investigate the internet, and I see with relief that there is still poetry and art and literature, although surely not nearly enough to stop the descent into meaninglessness. At night we go to the places Al-ys recommends and enjoy thumping, pounding music that excites the heart and speeds blood flow. I feed in the way I always have, and Al-ys takes the bodies once I have finished with them, she has her share and then hides them so as not to leave a trail pointing to us. Apparently these days killing people is illegal. Back in the days of palaces and orgies I set my own law, and to receive death at my touch was an honor.

These days, amongst the many things that are different, something else is apparent. There is much more mingling of men and women than we are used to. I don't feed on women, but I love to watch them, and Al-ys and I sit in dark recesses of these clubs, and observe the interplay between the sexes. I slowly become aware that Al-ys is feeling a curiosity when she sees couples show intensity towards one another, and she hisses and leans forwards, eyes bright, when she witnesses certain kinds of touching. I kill by a type of kissing, so she has seen plenty of it, but when these people kiss one another on their mouths, Al-ys begins to look longing. She watches intently as hands slip along sides and hips and thighs, and the boys and the girls press themselves together.

"Is this something you would like to try?" I ask her one night, my voice carrying easily despite the volume of the music, because she and I hear so well.

"Yes, mistress, forgive me," she whispers.

"There is nothing to forgive. Why should I mind? Please - go and amuse yourself and come back and tell me if it has been pleasurable," I tell her.

Al-ys moves off away from me, a sylph in black, more graceful by far than the humans who appear lumpen next to her. She begins to dance and men turn to watch her, and in no time several are attempting to gain her attention. No doubt some offer to buy her drinks, as we have seen that is part of the courtship ritual, but my Al-ys doesn't drink. Not something that comes in a glass anyway. She selects a skinny boy - they all seem to be skinny - I have heard they take powder that stops them eating and keeps them awake all night. I have fed on boys who've had this powder, it's quite pleasant and makes my mouth tingle. Al-ys and her boy find a table and sit down to talk. I don't know how long it will be before the touching begins, and I hope she enjoys it, and it is what she has been hoping for.

After a while I see the boy has reached out a hand and stroked her cheek tenderly, then he moves his hand to the back of her head and pulls her closer so that he can speak directly in her ear. She smiles with what looks like sheer delight. His other hand reaches for her knee under the table, and begins to slide up her thigh. She is not so delighted, perhaps a little taken aback, and I wonder if I should go and pull his arm out of its socket, but Al-ys is nearly as strong as I am and she could more than hurt him if she wanted to. I shouldn't interfere. Besides, maybe it is just the unfamiliarity causing her expression. He stands then, his hand reaching for hers, and she goes with him willingly. I have been witness to the sexual act many times, and when it takes place standing up in a dark alley it doesn't appear to take very long. I assume that this will be what they are doing, and I'll give them ten minutes before I go and check on her.

After ten minutes I go outside to the rear of the building to find Al-ys distressed and the boy at her feet, his neck bent at entirely the wrong angle and his ribcage crushed.

"I didn't mean to..." Al-ys says to me, eyes huge. "I was just trying to get closer, but he was so fragile! I didn't want to kill him!"

He's not even any good to eat in the state he's in, as his heart must have been punctured by his splintering ribs, and he died immediately. The blood isn't pulsing out.

"I'm sorry, boy!" Al-ys whimpers to him, picking him up.

"Next time be more careful," I suggest, and she nods, taking the body to wherever she takes them.

Al-ys selects someone else a couple of nights later and this time she doesn't go outside with him, she just teases and smiles and talks and shimmies around him, and by the time we go home she hasn't let him touch her at all.

"Are you playing a game?" I ask her smiling. "Cat and mouse?"

"No," she answers. "I'm just taking it slowly so I don't get so carried away."

She meets the same boy again night after night and each time she comes back to me a bit wilder and a bit more subdued. He is a pretty thing, a little unusual. Eyes, nose and mouth all too big for his fine face, and hair a blond tangle falling into his shirt collar. He is very tall and bends over her tenderly, smiling. She basks in him, though they are still not touching.

"Mistress, I want him," she says after a week of it.

"I know you do. So have him," I nod. "Just remember not to break him in half beforehand."

She pauses, her lovely lashes sweeping to her cheeks then brow-wards again as she swallows. "I mean I want him. I want him to be mine. He and I are meant to belong to each other, I know it. I want you to do to him what you did to me, so that he will be my companion."

"Al-ys!" I exclaim, shocked and angry. "You are mine! I am your companion! Entertain yourself with this trifle, and then we will feed on him, or we can spare his life if you are really that fond of him. But you cannot give yourself in eternity to some mere boy! I forbid it. I will not grant your request, and we will leave this place. Forget your foolish whim."

"Mistress, I have served you faithfully. I beg you to give him to me," she pleads, little fingers on my arm, eyes imploring. "I will not leave unless he is with us. I do not want to be without him."

My angel has never had a mutinous thought as far as I know. I am nonplussed that she could harbor such strong feelings for this ghastly, bony human when I gave her life everlasting, a bounty of wealth, the chance to wander the world and experience everything it has to offer in art and culture, and all the while asking for nothing but loyalty. So this little boy will touch her and kiss her and then fuck her, which is something I can't do. Is that all she wants? Any of them would fuck her, she doesn't have to ask this preposterous thing of me.

"Let me think about it," I murmur and retire to my room.

Alone, I pace, fretting. Will Al-ys leave me? What is the depth of her attraction to this boy? Her attachment? I am perturbed that she claims they are meant to be together. When I changed Al-ys she was a rambling incoherent, locked in an asylum by fearful people who mistrusted her words. She was thought a witch, the tool of Darkness but I heard her crooning song and knew her to be blessed rather than cursed, and I made her mine. We have been content in our odd and perfect love, until now. What am I to do about her wretched infatuation?

She has served me faithfully, it's true. Her devotion has never wavered. She has been enough for me, but it seems that I am not enough for her. All right. I love her so much, I don't know if she knows it. My mad little protege, my quirky jester. I will do what she wants. If there is hurt ever in her eyes I do not want to have been the cause of it.

"Tonight, Al-ys," I tell her, returning to the large shared room of our suite where she has been anxiously awaiting me. Her gratitude is endearing. "Mistress, mistress," she purrs, winding herself around me like a sinuous cat.

At night we return to the club where she has been engaging in trysts with her sweetheart. Their eyes react to one another, pupils enlarging and they both give off the scent of want. His arm curves around her shoulders to pull her lightly to him, his hand holds hers and lifts it to his mouth and happiness envelopes both of them. I am glad, for he has a terrible shock coming.

Al-ys tugs his hand lightly, eying me, and draws him towards the back door and the dark, dark alley beyond.

"Jasper, this is my - friend, Bel'aa," she tells him in a breathy whisper, leading him to a corner.

"Why is she coming outside with us?" he asks.

"We want to kiss you," she explains, at another corner.

"Alice, I only want to kiss you. I don't want to kiss your friend," he says, and I like this, for her sake. Plenty of boys want two girls at once. Some boys want to share one girl between them.

"She only wants to kiss you once," Al-ys murmurs.

We are now somewhere hidden and away from an area of any pedestrian traffic. No-one will hear us, and no-one will stumble upon us. Al-ys and I can see, but Jasper won't be able to. She reaches up and traces a row of tiny kisses on his neck, her mouth moving quickly to his throat, and his eyes close as he feels her. She is standing to the side of him and pulls at his head until she can reach his face, and her lips move over his cheeks and towards his mouth. We hear him groan softly and I can almost feel his excitement as her tongue flicks at his teeth, her mouth meeting his at last. Then I feel his astonishment as my hands move to his belt.

He drags his mouth back from her.

"Bella, what are you doing? I don't want you to do this. Alice - just you. Just you - "

Her mouth takes his words as I undo his pants and reach for his cock. I believe him when he says he doesn't want me to do this, but his body is reacting to my touch. His cock is beautiful in my hands and I pause to wonder if maybe one day I would hold one under different circumstances, without the intention to do what I am about to do. I've never given more than a fleeting thought to having a cock in my fingers or my mouth or my body in the way that Al-ys wants his.

He moans lightly again and he tries to push me away but he is distracted by Al-ys unbuttoning his shirt to stroke his chest, and by her lips following her fingers, and though he is saying no to me, he will not interrupt Al-ys.

I sink to my knees in front of him, and this is the part I love. This is when I am exhilarated. My tongue seeks the already engorged corpus spongiosum and flickers along it on my way to his glans, which I take wholly into my mouth. To my surprise, this boy wrenches himself from Al-ys and gasps, "No," to me again, but now I have tasted him. Anyway, I never let them go. Why would I? By the time we get to this stage, their deaths are foregone conclusions. They are all different, and without exaggeration he is the most delicious. His velvet sliding skin is in my mouth again, and my hands imprison his hips, pulling him to me as I give him the kiss that will kill him. Because he is resisting, it takes longer than it takes with most men. His corpora continue to swell and stiffen to the touch of my lips, and I thrill to the nearness of the blood inside them, seconds away from my teeth.

I know the instant he is about to climax, I am cupping his testes and feel the tightness of the skin around them, and I feel the pulsing along his length, and I can feel the signals of his body, hear him moaning to Al-ys, feel her tense as she knows what will happen, and at the exact moment his seed spurts from him I move my mouth to the underside of his penis where his superficial dorsal vein lies, and sink my teeth in.

Oh, he's gorgeous. I knew he would be this beautiful, this sweet. I knew the rushing would fill me. In his ecstasy he doesn't know what I've done, they never do, they slip into unconsciousness still in the throes of orgasm and feel no fear or pain. It's the least I can do, give them this gift as they give me theirs. And as this steadfast, lovely boy blacks out, he is whispering Al-ys's name and she is whispering his, easing him to the ground, arms around him and tears on her soft cheeks.

I have only given the kiss of life a couple of times before, but it is not something you can forget how to do. Al-ys cradles him, and before his heart stops I am bent over his face, opening his mouth with my thumb. I have plenty of his blood, the blood pressure in an erect penis being much higher than that in the body's main circulatory system. I give him his blood back, my mouth tight over his so that none can escape. His body spasms and jerks as it tries to reject this unnatural ingestion, but my sister and I hold him firm and he swallows involuntarily. When I finish I am exhausted, Al-ys is exceedingly worried, and Jasper is still and unbreathing. He is not alive, but we didn't expect him to be.

Al-ys picks him up easily, and I scan the area. I haven't spilled a drop of blood.

There is no-one about as we take him to our rooms, and Al-ys lays him out the bed to wait. The transformation will take approximately twelve hours and he will wake a new man, literally. She settles herself to watch him, and I retire to my own room, thinking my own thoughts.

No human male has ever shown me that sort of reluctance before. In all my years it simply isn't possible that I've never met a man who was actually in love, yet this Jasper has shown me something. He has known Al-ys only a week, and he tried to stop me from doing something to him that all men desire, because he wanted only Al-ys. It is a revelation, and I wonder for the first time if there could be a love, and a lover for me. I have never even considered it.

I read, I brush my hair - normally a sensuous task undertaken with quiet relish by my adoring Al-ys - I brood and I wait. There are cries from the room next door as the boy burns. He must be thrashing about, and Al-ys must be holding him so that he doesn't arch himself off the bed in his agony, and break bones. They will settle forever into a broken shape if this happens.

After hours and hours, the sounds change. Al-ys is singing lullabies in her soothing voice, and then she calls to him to wake. I hear low murmurs, his deep tones, and her responses, higher and lighter as they talk. Then the other sounds come. For hours. I never knew such pleasure existed in the world. Again, again and again, crescendos from Al-ys and from her newly created vampire lover who is, of course, tireless. What they are doing to each other is unimaginable, although I can imagine it. I can hear it. I leave them and go out, and when I return it is still going on.

Days later, Al-ys and Jasper emerge and they are joined, his arm over her shoulder, from his armpit to their very ankles. I am mildly uncomfortable.

"Jasper, you remember Bel'aa?" Al-ys says, eyes sparkling, lips almost bruised, hair aloft and smile so full of repletion I am startled. She has never looked lovelier.

"Yes," he grins crookedly, his too large mouth alive in his pale face. He is very attractive.

"Mistress," Al-ys begins hesitantly, and her Jasper quirks an eyebrow.

"Mistress?" he asks, still grinning. His unkempt hair looks as though a very small, very strong creature has been tugging at it for three days and three nights. His voice is slow and deep, his shirt open to show bites and scratches on his chest, his hands on his girl. She is mine no more.

"Alice and I will be keepin' company from here on in, Bella," he drawls. "I'm obliged to you for bringin' us together in the way you did, although..." he shakes his head, though the grin is unshakeable. He accompanies it with a shrug. "I always thought there was a whole neck-bitin' thing goin' with your kind. That's what the books say... wouldn't ever have expected to get a bitin' quite like that..."

Al-ys reaches up to kiss him. I have completely lost her, I see it. Al-ys was my only love and now she loves another, and I can see that they will both leave me.

"Bel'aa, there is someone for you here in this town. I can see you with him. You will find him soon," Al-ys tries to soothe me. She couldn't be lying, she never has, but is she just saying this to soften the blow of her abandonment?

"Alice is right. I can feel it," Jasper, her willing accomplice adds. Their hands have not left one another. Their thoughts have not left one another. They are saying things they hope will make their desertion of me more bearable, but it is still unbearable.

"I will see you again, mistress," Al-ys whispers as she hugs me, arms about my neck and hands in my hair, sweet lips to my cheek. "Wherever you are, I will find you. Fiorenza, Darfur, Melbourne, Ushuaia. Jasper and I will have our honeymoon and then we will come to you."

I go out alone, and now that Al-ys is not with me I don't have to go to the thudding, pounding nightclubs she loves to frequent. The city's Concert Hall has a program of classical music and this is where I seek to ease my aching heart amongst the strains of Beethoven's Bagatelles. I slip into a seat in the back row, far from the pianist playing solo, and survey the audience. Al-ys and Jasper both claimed I would find a new love, were both sure of it. The notes ripple and swell, the audience are spellbound. Music has always spoken to me. Can it tell me the answer to my question? Where will he be?




Thank you.