“Virgin Astraea, nurse of the whole universe, cherisher of the Golden Age, received Beroe from her mother into the embrace of her arms, laughing, still a babe, and fed her with wise breast as she babbled words of law. With her virgin milk, she let streams of statutes gush into the baby’s lips, and dropt into the girl’s mouth the sweet produce of the Attic bee; she pressed the bee’s riddled travail of many cells, and mixed the voiceful comb in a sapient cup. If the girl thirsting asked for a drink, she gave the speaking Pythian water kept for Apollon, or the stream of Ilissos, which is inspired by the Attic Mousa when the Pierian breezes of Phoibos beat on the bank. She took the golden Cornstalk from the stars, and entwined it in a cluster to put round the girl’s neck like a necklace.”
“I think I’ve always been in love with the idea of you. You know, you’re so perfect and beautiful and… smart, and… But, you know, I don’t want to love an idea, I want to love a girl; and I think, in all of this time pining after you I forgot to just hang out with you and know you as a person, and I’m sorry for that.”
You had to be dreaming, just had to. There’s no possible way this could actually be happening to you. It wasn’t uncommon, of course, but still. There were thousands of females roaming around the city tonight and you just so happened to be one of the unlucky ones. In a way it was your own dumb fault. Everyone had heard the ghost stories about the crumbling stone structure in the center of the cities infrastructure. Hell it was the city’s main tourist attraction with shops, restaurants, and a museum dedicated to what all the archeologist and historians had decided was a temple built to worship some pagan goddess. Though no one really talks about the so-called goddess you’ve seen paintings and statues the museum that have been preserved and restored. She didn’t look like much of a goddess to you, just a beautiful woman.
On the rare nights that you and your friends snuck out back when you were all still curiously reckless teenagers, you’d break into the old building and dare each other to go further inside without the aid of your flashlight, even phones were left with the group. Not being one to back down from a challenge, you were always the one to go the furthest. Disappearing until the cracks in the sagging ceiling no longer let in beams of moonlight. On your last trip inside–the night of senior graduation–you saw a pair of glowing red eyes, then and there you swore you’d never return.
That plan is out the window now as you lay amongst the rubble that is undoubtedly inside the ruins. This is a part you never got to, where no one seems to have gotten to. There are too many items around you for it to have been scavenged by greedy museum curators. In fact, the only disturbance in the room besides yourself is the pair of blood red eyes glaring at you from the shadows. You flinch away, scooting back until you slam into the wall. A hung painting is jostled by the impact and comes crashing down beside you. The heavy frame nearly flattening your fingertips. The same gorgeous woman you see all over the museum–whom the conspiracy fan’s have named Lady Tae Yeon–is in the painting next to you, but she looks much different.
Instead of the dazzling smile and bright eyes with modest gowns you’ve grown accustom to, this Lady Tae Yeon is wearing a torn dress that borders on the line of obscene as her smile has been curved into a snarl, bright white fangs tinged in blood curl over her lips. You bolt upright. Everyone always said on her birthday Lady Tae Yeon chooses a girl to become part of her ladies-in-waiting. You always thought it was an excuse for teenaged douchebags to go around and kidnap some poor girl, but now you’re not so sure. Maybe this Lady Tae Yeon did take the girls, but not for her court as the corpse painted at her feet shows. The poor woman’s eyes are wet with tears as blood gushes in torrents from the huge gash in her neck.
Of all the things to be afraid of being kidnapped on Lady Tae Yeon’s birthday has always been at the top of your list. Your town always has a huge celebration for her in hopes of attracting all the pretty women for her to choose from. You always attended with caution and returned home before all of your friends, but apparently that wasn’t going to save anyone. Lady Tae Yeon is not the loving, caring, merciful goddess you see her depicted as. No, she was a monster.
“A vampire.” You whisper into the stale air before turning to run for an exit. Maybe this is still just part of a fraternity’s cruel tradition for Lady Tae Yeon’s birthday and they’ll let you return home, then again none of the past girls ever showed up back home, so why would you? Still firmly in denial you bolt for the doorway, ignoring the floating red eyes in hopes that they’re just a silly light trick. You have to kick a few artifacts out of the way before you can get out the door, but once you do you break into a dead sprint. The flashlight on your phone does little to assist in the avoidance of scattered statues and books, and those eyes seem to be around every corner.
Finally you find a flight of steps, but it only leads up. Hopefully, there will still be stragglers outside at such a late hour. Once you reach the roof you’re met with the same haunting red eyes, but they’re matched to a face, a body, a woman.
“Lady Tae Yeon.” This can’t be. Goddesses aren’t real. Even if they are why would she return to a temple that’s being used to support the economy of a tourist trap city? You’ve heard of cities around yours finding remnants of Lady Tae Yeon as well. Perhaps she really is here to steal away some lucky girl, but then you remember the apathetic looks that sent a jolt through you even from paint on a canvas. This woman is going to kill you, but hell if you lay down and accept that as fact.
“Why are you doing this?” You demand. Your voice sounds as shaken as you feel. She could easily brush off your remark, but she doesn’t.
“You’re a fiery little minx aren’t you?” Her voice sounds like honey, but her glowing eyes and the sharp glints of white that poke at her bottom lip scream venom. “I do this because I can. The weak are crushed and the strong survive.” There’s a sharp gush a wind and she’s suddenly standing before you. “But I may make an exception for such a beauty.” Her fingers are ice cold as they trace the contours of your face.
“If that means I’ll live then I think I can accept whatever it is you’re offering.” It’s stupid, like signing your soul over to the devil, but the satisfied smirk on her lips says that she’ll make it worth your while. Her breath feels chilly as it ghost over your lips, but it’s easily overpowered by the fire in your chest when her lips touch yours.
“Seal it with a kiss.” Her fangs lightly scrape over your lips as you wonder exactly what you just signed up for.