the bath – vampire fiction

the Bath
A tasty short vampire story. (Fiction.)
by Stephanie Robyn

hungary – december 1996

The interior of the bath chamber on the first floor of the Xapolya home was thick with steam- hot, sweating fog that filled the long room from end to end. The black tiled floor was set with a sunken center, little more than a foot deep, and hot water eddied slowly through the shallow pool, propelled by the delicate push of jets set into the submerged walls. Tall mirrors ringed the enclosed room, their shining glass obscured by the haze of misty fog. Prowling along the edge of the pool was a young woman, her alabaster skin gleaming in the soft overhead lights. Bare feet paced the moisture-slick tiles restlessly as she let her arms swing freely at her sides. Every inch of her naked body glowed with the heady scent of jasmine oil, massaged painstakingly over every sculpted curve of her figure by the knowing hands of her young thrall. The steam clung to the loose curls tumbling about her slender jawline, dampening the ash-blonde streaks to darkened sunlight among their more plentiful cousins of rich cinnamon color. She paused before one of the fogged mirrors, brushing a palm over the glass to clear it slightly. Droplets of water obscured the image that stared back at her; she stared long at the ebon sunburst radiating from her pupils to splinter the slate-grey irises. Mina Xapolya did not like to wait. She ran a hand over the taut swells of her breasts, fingers slipping in the fragrant oil, and smiled very faintly. The indistinct sounds of struggle and muffled cursing carried to the steaming womb of the bathchamber, mingling with a soft mechanical creak from overhead.

“Get your hands off me!” The angry, indignant cries of a young female echoed jarringly in the silence of the tiled room as a door swung open at the far end. A string of expletives followed this command as she cursed him for bringing her to wherever she was, screaming that she wanted her clothes back immediately.

Pressing a shoulder lightly into the cool surface of the mirror, she closed her eyes in the sea of mist and listened. A strange placidity took her exquisitely chiseled features as the delicate nostrils flared slightly in an unnecessary deep breath. The door closed with a resounding slam, stirring the thick, blinding field of fog, and she straightened. Rolling back the sculpted shoulders, she paused briefly to regard their perfect form in the glass, admiring the clean outline of collarbone in its alabaster casing of skin…and then she stepped forward, moving once more along the edge of the shallow pool.

The fog parted before her to reveal two equally nude forms. One was George, his roughened hands clasped firmly over the wrists of a lovely young girl, holding her arms painfully behind her back. The expression of righteous indignation on the girl’s face turned to one of puzzled astonishment as she watched the ethereal creature drifting toward her out of the haze in the bathchamber, grey eyes sparkling coolly. Shaking her amazement at the sight of the flawless glory of the nude woman, the girl began to twist again in George’s grasp. “What the hell is this, some kind of weird Satanist ritual? Let me go!”

A throaty chuckle rose through the echoes of the captive’s cries as Mina raised both hands to rake the damp curls back from her face. She stepped forward again, grey eyes rifling with quiet amusement over the attractive young body. The child couldn’t have been older that seventeen. Her rich brown hair was stylishly cut, falling in a graceful shag to the slim shoulders. Mascara streaked her rosy cheeks, the mauve lipstick fading in patches all over the trembling pout on her lips. Her small breasts were high and firm, pink nipples erect with the shivering and gooseflesh brought on by the removal of her clothing and transport through the cool house to the bathchamber.

Mina tilted her head slightly, a look that would have been almost whimsical if not for the cold glitter in her charcoal gaze. One hand darted out to snatch the girl’s chin with a painful jerk forward, her fingers as ice on the rosy skin. The girl gasped, a squeaky cry in her throat as she stared with teary anger and fear at the celestial beauty of the creature who held her so cruelly. “This is a lesson, my sweet.” Soft murmurings of the voices of Eastern Europe touched the vowels of her quiet words. Twin hisses of steam exploded from the jets overhead, lending an untold sharpness to Mina’s speech. George’s grip on the girl’s wrists tightened as she twisted in a vain attempt to free herself, a set of taloned nails digging into the soft flesh of her chin at the renewed endeavor to escape.

“Let me go!” the girl screamed suddenly, her voice piercing torturously in the warm silence of the steamy room. She drew a shaky breath as if to scream again, that sound abruptly cut off by a thunderous slap delivered to her face. Her head snapped back with the impact, eyes blinking rapidly as she staggered, stunned by the unexpected pain.

Stretching the fingers of each hand out before her, Mina dropped her gaze to the smooth skin of her fingers, the backs of her hands, not looking up to the girl as she began to speak again. “Who tells you you’re beautiful? Your mother? Your father? Your boyfriend?” She fell silent, the mahogany curls tumbling to cling damply to the strong, high cheekbones. Waiting a moment, she merely listened to the shaky breathing of the girl before her voice reached out to her again, deceptively soft. “When I ask you a question, child, you answer me.”

“M-m-my mother,” the girl quavered, shaking her head slowly in a futile effort to clear the ringing in her ears. “Y-yeah. My father, my boyfriend. They tell me that.”

“Do you think yourself beautiful?” she inquired softly, taking a small, circular pace away from the captive. Curling her toes on the slick tiles, she looked back to the trembling girl with smoldering grey eyes. “I shall not warn you again about answering my questions.” “Um…yeah,” the girl replied shakily. “I guess so.”

A quiet smile touched Mina’s thin lips at that response, and she crossed the space between them in a few lazy strides, sliding her body to press up against the girl’s, staring into the frightened and confused eyes as their bodies were crushed together. “And what,” she whispered, nose-to-nose with the terrified girl, “do you think when you look at your mother naked?” She held up a hand as the captive began to object, her eyes wild. “Don’t lie to me. I know you’ve seen your mother naked. How old were you? Thirteen? Fourteen?” The slender fingers drop in a languid caress of oiled skin to the young girl’s small breasts as she continues, standing back a bit. “Did you look at those dry, flapping gourds and realize that some day, your breasts would look like that? See the sagging flesh, the swollen veins, the deep lines of time on her face, in her hands, the thick deposits of fat in her thighs and at her belly, quivering like some fattened larva?” The girl’s eyes widen in horror as she listens to Mina’s soft words, her mouth dropping open. Mina nods slightly, the slight smile spreading to a knowing smirk. “I know, my child. It’s a horrid thing to realize, isn’t it? The universals that are true for all people- life, old age, and death. The forces of gravity, tugging at your elastic young skin, pulling wrinkles in your flesh with its greedy fingers.” She paused slightly, slender fingers stroking gently over the soft down between the girl’s legs, feeling her terror and confusion spreading through the room as thickly as the hot steam. “That,” Mina pronounced softly, “will never happen to you, my little darling.” Her fingers tightened abruptly, and a pained choke sputtered in the girl’s throat. “Never.” The captive screamed, jerking and sagging against the rangy chest of the young man who held her prisoner. Mina’s hand lifted slowly, streams of warm blood running in rivulets down the alabaster sheen of her forearm. Held lightly between her fingers was a thin slab of flesh, grasped by the soft hair she had used to tear it away from the girl’s body. The slate grey gaze flickered incuriously over the bleeding slice of flesh before she tossed it away to the floor behind her. Sailing through the fog, it landed with a quiet, wet thunk on the moist tiles.

“No more screaming,” Mina whispered as she leaned in close to the near-fainting young girl, ignoring the twin rivers of blood that now streamed down her thighs. Touching a bloodied hand to the damp hair at the doomed creature’s forehead, she pulled the girl’s face to her own, thin lips parting the trembling pair of her captive. The appearance of the movement was that of a passionate kiss, and behind the wilting girl, George closed his eyes briefly, forcing his grip to tighten on her wrists. Her body stiffened suddenly in his grasp, knees buckling as Mina stepped away, turning her back on the pair of them with an arrogant toss of the wet cinnamon curls. Sucking absently at her bloodied lips, she dropped one hand in a flickering gesture to her thrall. “Drop the wheel, George. I’m not in the mood, somehow.” The young man took a deep breath and proceeded through the fog to the panel in the wall, hidden by a clever set of ordinary-looking tiles in the wall. The head of the fainting girl lolled about like that of a ragdoll, a steady gush of blood pumping from her parted lips. The severed whole of her tongue lay on the black tile where Mina had leaned over to kiss her. Steam continued to hiss from the ceiling jets as a soft creak of mechanics echoed to the walls. Mina waded to the center of the shallow pool, grey eyes alight with the rusty sweetness of the vitae that stained the interior of her mouth. The hunger clawed insistently at her insides, and she looked to the approach of George and the half-conscious girl he dragged at his side, briefly contemplating merely taking her right then and there and being done with the foolish games.

Parting the fog above their heads, a cylindrical steel cage lowered on its chain from the domed ceiling. Shining spikes of iron protruded from the round sides of the device, and it paused in its descent, lingering at chest level. Mina nodded her chin briefly to the cage, turning away from it to take an impatient pace through the steaming water that lapped about her calves. George carried the horror-dazed girl to the round cage of steel, snapping it open with a deft familiarity that was disturbing to himself. The sides of the device fell back in pairs, and he slid the girl’s limp form onto the flat iron center, moving to one side as his lady once again advanced upon them. Pushing the girl’s legs apart, Mina leaned her elbows into the captive’s flat stomach, plucking up one of the slack wrists and taking the warm flesh between her lips. Ivory fangs extended from their sheathes to pierce the arteries and veins within, and the charcoal grey eyes slid closed with a rapturous shiver as the hot blood sprayed the insides of her cheeks. George turned his eyes away from the narrow, sculpted planes of his lady’s back as she took her fill of the now dying girl, and stepped away from the cage a few moments later.

The young man swallowed tightly as he moved to the open device, smacking the girl roughly to rouse her and pulling her to her knees before he slammed the spiked sides of the cage closed. He hastened back to the panel in the tiled wall and pulled the lever to raise the cage. George closed his eyes to the tongueless, animal cries of agony that filled the room as the cylindrical steel device began to rock back and forth, impaling the girl’s slender body on its rows of iron spikes. He could not see what was happening through the thick steam, but he knew well enough, for this was far from the first time. Mina stretched out on the floor of the shallow pool, letting her head float lightly in the hot water as the rain of blood sprayed overhead. Soft laughter mixed with the girl’s dying screams as she poked out her tongue to catch some of the droplets. The steaming pool took on a ruddy tint as the water swirled through the filters and soft jets. She floated to the pool’s edge, draping her arms to her sides upon the lowest tiled step, and called to her boy. The young man appeared through the mist at her side, knowing well this ritual as he waded into the hot, bloodied water. The cries overhead ceased suddenly, only the iron creak of the chain audible through the hiss of steam jets. Mina lifted her eyes to the thick fog overhead as she stretched languidly upon the slick tiles, letting her head rest upon the stair and her lids slide closed as her young thrall lowered himself to pleasure her body. It was strange, but somehow the game never failed to entertain her, never grew old over the centuries.

In a distant, muddy pocket of the netherworld, the spirit of Stephen Bathory merely sighed in wearied tolerance as he watched his immortal daughter, her smile shining through the jealous shrieks of Elizabeth’s envy.

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