The Cliff Dwellings #fridayflash #Vampires

Via Flickr by Tom Simpson

The Cliff Dwellings

      Lis shifted in her clothes, pulling at the seams that pressed into her cold skin. Now why did I opt for modern clothes again? She pulled off her tennis shoes and socks, then slipped into a pair of leather sandals. Ah, that’s better. Now if I could only get rid of this newborn.

     Lis looked to her right. The newborn, Andrew Parks, sat next to her fidgeting. His eyes were wide as every small sound in the desert exploded in his ears. She knew he could hear snakes zigzagging their way across the sand, the owls flying down upon their prey and the mice scurrying across the desert floor. She remembered those days, but dreaded spending the next couple of weeks with Parks. A newborn was easily distracted and she didn’t want to babysit.

Lis looked at Andrew. “You ready Parks?”  

His face turned to her, lit with enthusiasm. “You hear that? It’s amazing.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’ll get used to it.”

Andrews face shadowed. “God, I hope not.”

Lis frowned slightly. “God has nothing to do with it.” She stood in front of Andrew and looked him square in the eyes. “Ok, now put your arms around my neck, or waist, whatever is most comfortable and hang on tight.”

     Andrew slid one arm around her neck and the other around her waist. Seconds later Lis was in the air covering ground that nor mere mortal could in one night. Andrew was full of ooohh’s and ahh’s next to her. Lis rolled her eyes. This newborn was a like babe that needed swaddling.

     Lis swerved through the desert canyons dodging any obstacle that came into view. The moon was bright, but she did not need it. Her vampire eyes magnified everything. She saw her destination and flew towards the ancient cliff dwellings her ancestors had made centuries ago. As her feet touched the ground a familiar scent filled her nostrils. Ah, yes, this was where the old ones came to perform the ceremonies in the Kiva. When they returned they smelled of smoke, sage and some other herb Lis could never pinpoint.

Lis gave Andrew an annoyed glance. Andrew was staring dumbfounded down the cliff face into the gully. “Well, here we are. You know what to look for right Parks?”

Andrew quickly turned around and lost his footing. Lis reached out and grabbed him before he tumbled over. She pulled him further inside, her face firm. “You can’t fly yet, so I suggest you stay away from the edge newborn.”

Andrew nodded and straightened his t-shirt. “Thanks. It’s just I’ve never been to one of these before. I always wanted to. I saw them on National Geographic and Wonders of the National Parks, but never actually went to one. I always imagined I would come here with my…” Averting his eyes he looked back down towards the gully. “Hard to believe they didn’t use any ladders, just etched holes in the walls, to get up and down. Can you imagine carrying water up to one of these?”

Lis turned to face the dwellings, they had fallen some since she was here last. “Yeah I can. You do what you have to, to survive and protect your people. Only certain people are destined to live in the desert.”

Lis walked to the center. “Ok, I’ll take the left end, you take the right end.” Andrew nodded obediently and walked away.

Via Flickr by Albert de Brunjin

     Lis walked towards the circular kiva built in the center of the dwelling and jumped in, in one swift movement. The smell of smoke and blood immediately hit her nostrils. She turned, taking in a full sweep of the room. She was alone, but someone had been there recently. Bending down she picked up a small white object near her toes. What in the world? This looks like a vampire tooth. Lis inhaled a couple of deep breaths searching for the source of the blood. It did not smell like an animal, nor did it smell quite human. Lying to her right was a blood-soaked cloth. She bent down to pick it up and was immediately repulsed. She knew that cloth. She had given it as a token of affection, to him, the Flute Player, the changer of her destiny.

     She thought back to the last time they saw each other. They were outside the hills in Taos, New Mexico walking in the starlight. He told Lis he was tired. That he could no longer be her mentor, her friend, her lover. He just wanted to be nothing, no one. The next evening he was gone, left without saying a word. She had not seen him since, but thought of him often. She closed her hand around the tooth, jingling it in her palm. If anyone can find what Natalia is looking for, it’s him.

     Her brows furrowed as she tried to piece the scene together. A tooth, a bloody scarf? Did he do this to himself? Or did someone do this to him? The smell of cloves blew in through the opening of the Kiva. Was he still here? Lis moved up the ladder, poked her head out and peered back into the darkness. Hmm…nothing, but Parks.

“Hey Lis, look what I found. It’s a piece of leather with some markings on it. I wonder how old it is. Pretty cool, huh.” Andrew held up a piece of mangled leather.

Lis jumped off the ladder, landed next to Andrew and swept it from his outstretched hands. I know these markings. “This is not leather newborn; this is a human skin with tattoos.” She scanned the dwelling again. The hair on her arms raised. Something was not right.

“Grab a hold of me, we need to go now.”

     In a flash the two flew out of the dwelling into the night sky. Looking down Lis thought she saw a dark shadow, hunkered amongst the trees. Was that him?

 ***

This flash fiction is a part of a vampire series I am doing for #fridayflash.

Vella and Jeremy Vampire Tracker Part 2

Vella and Jeremy Vampire Tracker Part 1

Ammon The Moon Flute Player The Cliff Dwelling Part 2

Lis, Andrew and the Flute Player The Cliff Dwelling Part 1

Lis Desert Vampires.  

Natalia Confession of the Vampire Natalia

Natalia Vampire Natalia Searches the Jungle

Andrew Vampires in the Jungle 

Veronique Vampires at the Moulin Rouge 

Veronique and Natalia Snow in Paris

Vampires ~ Flash Fiction ~ Friday Flash

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. John Wiswell says:

    “Now if I could only get rid of this newborn.”

    One of the better closes to an opening paragraph in recent memory. I kept smiling over it for the whole story.

  2. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Love the way you drop backstory into the flow of the narrative so it doesn’t over power, but tells us what we need to know. Ace.

  3. Aidan Fritz says:

    I like the touch of the tooth; it increases the danger and makes me care about her. Like how this plays with the other ongoing segments.

    Note: I think “she did want to babysit” would be “she didn’t want to babysit.”

  4. KjM says:

    Oh dear, this bodes ill.

    Excellent descriptions throughout and the pace of this piece is terrific. There’s a very rich world here in which your characters are operating. It make for engrossing reading.

    Excellenty done.

    The “babysit” line at the end of the 2nd paragraph has already been mentioned.

  5. dannigrrl says:

    Nice job this week, Lara. I love how you left it on a cliffhanger (no pun intended). Lots of questions left unanswered. The perfect was to keep us coming back for more.

  6. Lara, a great chapter as usual. The hightened senses and the presence of danger. Not to know what happened and be left with nothing but questions.

    Excellent. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. 🙂

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