"Please. Please, if you would just help me ta-"
"Don't touch me!"
Evangeline lost her balance and stumbled to her knees as another stranger dodged her. She desperately tried to cover her battered body with the torn, dirty sheet she had been shielding herself with.
Mortals were scum.
The lowest of scum.
That was probably the only thing she felt inclined to agree with that monster about.
Her bloodied fingers grabbed onto a cold metal pole as she tried to pull herself up. She couldn't remember the last time she had fed. She had never felt so weak.
She glanced around the darkened street barely illuminated by the street lamp posts. People bustling about going to and fro, minding their own business.
It was as if she were invisible.
It was as if she didn't exist.
A battered, bruised woman on the brink of death.
And no one gave a shit.
Her humble form crawled towards the corner of a building just so she could rest without another person tripping over her.
Leaning back against the cold brick wall, she heard a squeaking sound. Her eyes immediately transitioned to the dark crimson red and her fangs elongated. She quickly jutted out her hand and grabbed a dirty, wet rat before it could escape.
Evangeline sunk her sharp fangs into the rodent and hungrily drank from its squirming body.
Blood tears streamed down her face, making her look more like a monster than she already felt.
Not because she had reached such a low. But because she missed them.
Her boys. Her sons. Her children.
How could she leave them? She didn't mean to. But she needed to escape.
She needed to escape him.
Evangeline dropped the dead rat and wiped her bloody mouth with the back of her hand.
The pain in her heart was enough to make her vomit.
Elijah would understand. He was the most sensible. He would forgive her.
Cole would not. He was already so fragile. So emotional. So attached to her. He probably already hated her for abandoning him as so many others already had...
Alexander was probably already searching for her. In Alexander's eyes, his mother could do no wrong. He had taken William's brutalization in her stead so many times before. It tore at her insides what William might be doing to him now...
And Peter... the most troubled of souls. Her youngest in body but oldest in mind. He was already on the brink of insanity. She should have taken him with her. She wanted to. But...
Evangeline dropped to her hands as she wept. Her blood tears staining the cement ground.
The faces of her sons haunted her.
She squeezed her eyes shut as unbearable pain surged through her body.
Death would have been better than this.
What kind of mother was she? To abandon her sons? The family she created? To leave them with...
Evangeline tried to swallow but it felt like sand in her throat.
She sat back against the corner of the building and pulled her knees to her chest.
"...au clair de la lune, mon ami Pierrot. Prête-moi ta plume, pour écrire un mot..."
Evangeline immediately looked up. A soft melodious voice floated in the air.
"...ma chandelle est morte, je n'ai plus de feu..."
She struggled to her feet, wrapping her sheet tighter over her shoulders as her foot steps slowly led the way to the melody.
"...ouvre-moi ta porte, pour l'amour de Dieu..."
Evangeline turned the corner, her eyes eagerly searching until she suddenly froze in her tracks.
"...Au clair de la lune, Pierrot répondit..."
She had long, wavy black hair that fell past her exposed shoulders. Her ragged dress hung loosely from her body that indicated she was not wealthy or of royalty. But then... few mortals that looked like her often were...
Evangeline could only see her silhouette. But even from her distance she could tell.
This was the most beautiful creature she had ever seen.
"...je n'ai pas de plume, je suis dans mon lit..."
Evangeline didn't understand why she kept walking. With her horrible appearance, she was certain she'd frighten the girl.
But her voice.
It was enchanting.
"...va chez la voisine, je crois qu'elle y est..."
As she got closer, Evangeline got a whiff of her scent and it nearly knocked her off of her feet. It ignited her hunger and in that second she froze again. Not daring to take another step forward for fear of what she might do.
Her blue-grey eyes followed the girl who looked to be gathering water from off the dock.
She tossed her hair back as she bent down with her bucket, and the smell immediately invaded Evangeline's nostrils.
Her hunger increased twenty-fold.
Evangeline stumbled backwards and knocked over a barrel as she fell to the ground.
The girl immediately stopped singing as she looked up in surprise.
"Hello?" she spoke up suddenly. "Qui est là?"
Evangeline scrambled back on her butt, hiding herself behind the barrel so she wouldn't be seen.
"Someone there?" the girl spoke up again. There was a French southern twang in her accent that made her sound so much more endearing.
Evangeline pulled her feet back as she heard the soft footsteps of the girl walking in her direction.
Suddenly the footsteps stopped. Evangeline waited to hear anything else, but nothing.
She leaned over, peeking from the side of the barrel when suddenly the girl's face popped up from the top.
"Oh!" Evangeline said startled.
"Were you followin' me?" the girl asked.
"N-no. I-" Evangeline started when the girl's eyes widened.
"Please. Please don't be afraid," Evangeline said weakly. "I'm just-"
"Y-you're... you're a..." the girl walked backward in fear. "You're a vampire?!"
"N-no. I mean yes, but I-. Please," Evangeline said reaching out to her as the girl stumbled backward tripping over another barrel and falling on her butt.
"I won't hurt you!" Evangeline said quickly. "I promise. I just- you were singing. And I-..."
The girl looked at Evangeline who was struggling to find her words. The woman's strong English accent informed her that she wasn't from around here. She wondered what her story was. How did she end up in New Orleans?
Her dark brown eyes roamed over Evageline's form that was barely covered by the sheet wrapped around her.
"You're hurt?" the girl asked.
Evangeline looked at her without saying anything.
"I thought vampires healed quickly," the girl said.
"The less we feed... the longer it takes to... to heal..." Evangeline said.
The girl looked at Evangeline curiously. She crawled towards her and Evangeline quickly backed up.
"Don't-" Evangeline started.
"I can heal you," the girl said.
Evangeline looked at her confused as the girl took her bruised hand between her palms. Her touch was so gentle and soft, it sparked a wave of goosebumps over Evangeline's skin.
She felt a tickling sensation before she looked down at their hands to see several bright blue lights floating around their hands.
"...you're a witch?" Evangeline said looking at her wide-eyed.
The girl looked into Evangeline's eyes before a small smile crept across her face.
Evangeline felt herself sinking into that gaze. Her dark chocolate eyes seemed as if they were looking into her soul. She had a small round nose and plump puffy lips. Her skin was a rich dark mocha brown that felt even softer than it looked.
She felt a warmness coat her body when suddenly they heard footsteps.
The two women immediately looked up to see a rather large man in a suit that barely buttoned around his large belly. His face was flustered red from anger as he looked at them both with fury.
"WHAT THE FUCK YOU DOIN'?! THIS WHY YOU AIN'T DONE YET?! YOU FUCKIN' 'ROUND WITH PROSTITUTES, YOU BLACK WHORE?!"
"N-no, Masta Martin," Melissa said quickly. "I was just-"
"I DON'T WANNA HERE NONE YA DAMN EXCUSES, MELISSA! GET YER BLACK ASS UP HERE OR I SWEAR I'LL BEAT YOU TILL YOU BLEED! YOU HEAR ME?"
"Y-yes, Masta Martin!"
Melissa swallowed hard as she quickly let go of Evangeline's hand and scrambled to her feet.
Evangeline felt a rage inside her as she watched the fat wretched mortal storm away. She could end his life with one blow.
Evangeline looked at Melissa who had grabbed the heavy bucket of water.
"He's my only way of livin' right now. If you kill him... I'mma have to look for another job an'... it ain't easy for coloured folk to find work 'round here," Melissa said.
Melissa twisted her mouth as she diverted her gaze. "...'specially coloured witches..."
"Who said I would kill him?" Evangeline asked defensively.
Melissa smiled. "You vampires ain't that hard to figure out. It's okay... it's sweet."
"MELISSA IF I HAVE TO CALL YOU AGAIN!"
"I have to go," Melissa said rushing down the dock when suddenly she stopped and turned around to meet Evangeline's longing gaze.
"What's your name?" Melissa asked.
"... Evangeline. My name's Evangeline," Evangeline breathed out.
Melissa smiled. "That's a pretty name... Evangeline."
"As is Melissa..." Evangeline smiled weakly.
Melissa bit her lip before she quickly turned around and hurried after Master Martin.
Melissa absentmindedly scrubbed the porcelain dish as her mind wandered.
Wandered to her vampire lover.
Every time her name fell from her lips, it brought a smile to Melissa's face as an unspeakable joy overwhelmed her.
That someone could make her feel this way...
Feel this... loved.
It had been months since that night Evangeline followed Melissa home after their encounter on the docks.
Melissa thought Evangeline was crazy.
"It's you I'm crazy about..."
Evangeline was always so unapologetic about her feeling towards Melissa...
At the risk of Master Martin catching them, Evangeline claimed she only wished Melissa would finish healing her so she could go about her way.
But as Melissa soon learned, Evangeline was conniving.
And she found that trait so attractive about her.
Melissa allowed Evangeline to hide in her room for the time being until she felt healthy enough to continue on her journey.
But days passed. And then weeks.
And the two only grew closer.
It wasn't until the two were nearly caught in bed together by Master Martin that Evangeline finally decided to find another place to live.
Melissa missed seeing her lover 24/7. But distance does make the heart grow fonder. As if she needed anymore of that.
Her cheeks got warm as she thought about the first time Evangeline confessed her love for her. Never had she ever felt a joy like the one she felt hearing those words from her lips.
Melissa looked at the clock.
15 more minutes. And then she'd see her again. At their favorite spot.
They had to hide now.
People were getting suspicious.
A white woman and a coloured woman spending so much time together?
Holding hands? Hugging? Touching?
They were getting sloppy. Careless. Throwing caution to the wind.
God forbid anyone see them kiss.
And then there were the vampires...
Melissa was never fond of them. Though they didn't discriminate among mortals because food was food, their treatment of witches was no different than the white man's treatment of coloured folk.
Melissa knew to be wary of them. And Evangeline had become overly protective.
Between the vampires and the humans, their relationship was the very definition of forbidden.
But nothing could keep her away from her.
From her Evangeline.
Melissa looked at the clock again. 10 more minutes.
She dried the last plate with a towel and went to rush out of the kitchen when she bumped into...
"Masta Martin," she said taking a step back. "Forgive me."
"Where you goin' in such a hurry, girl?" Martin said eyeing her suspiciously.
"The market, sir. We 'bout run outta milk," she said diverting her eyes.
Martin looked her up and down, still blocking her path.
"Make me somethin' before you go."
Melissa looked at the clock. 8 minutes.
"That wasn't a question, girl," he snapped.
"Right away," she said rushing to the cupboard.
Martin plopped his large self on the kitchen bench as he watched Melissa grabbing food from the cupboards.
She had been working for him for a while now, yet something was off about her.
She seemed... happier.
He thought it might be because of a boy, but he never let men around his girl.
She was his after all.
It had been a few decades since slavery was abolished, but it's not like her people had had much progress. They still needed work. The situation was hardly that different. They still had little to no control.
Snagging a pretty young thing like her to do whatever the hell he wanted made him the envy of his town.
But still... there was something... different about her.
"Here you are, Masta Martin," she said placing the plate down in front of him.
He looked down at the sandwich she created for him with a side of fruits and vegetables. Not even his wife could make food like her.
Taking a bite of his sandwich he looked up at her to see her staring at the clock.
"You got somewhere you need to be?" he said gruffly.
She looked down at him and tried to muster a smile. "Just the market, sir. If that's okay with you."
He eyed her suspiciously, catching her foot tapping seemingly impatiently.
Melissa caught the way he was looking at her and felt her heart drop.
"Masta Martin-" she started.
"Com'ere," he grunted.
Melissa swallowed thickly as she cautiously took a step towards him. He wrapped his large fat hand around her wrist and yanked her forward until she nearly fell over.
She breathed out in angst as his eyes roamed over her body. Dread tightened her chest as his hand disappeared beneath her dress and grabbed her bare thigh.
"M-Masta Martin," she said again.
"Did I ask you a question?" he said looking up at her. She immediately shut her mouth as she watched him press his face into her pelvis and roughly squeeze her thigh.
Being a coloured witch in a town overrun by vampires at a time when her people were barely seen as human had proved incredibly difficult for Melissa.
She often contemplated what sort of consequences she would face if she used her magic to defend herself. If the vampires didn't come for her then the humans surely would.
Being a black woman.
A black witch.
In love with another woman. And a white vampire at that.
Was such a lonely... lonely way to live.
She looked at the clock. 5 minutes.
Melissa tried to block out the man who had used her body for his own personal pleasure so many times before to think about the one who held her heart.
As Martin pulled her panties down, she thought about Evangeline's smile. The way her eyes would light up and her pearly whites nearly blinded her every time she laughed.
She ignored the feeling of him lifting her dress and flicking his tongue against her core as she thought about the first time she took Evangeline to the beach. Her vampire was so adamant about not touching the water it made Melissa chuckle.
Martin looked up at her with a scowl on his face.
"You lettin' somebody fuck you," he snapped at her.
She looked down at him startled. "N-no, sir."
"You lettin' a nigger fuck you?!" he said shaking her violently. "Don't lie to me, girl!"
"N-no, sir. I ain't lyin'. I swear," she said defensively.
Melissa backed up as he abruptly stood to his feet.
"You lyin' to me!" he snarled at her as he grabbed her roughly by her arm. "You lettin' somebody hav' what's mine!"
"Masta Martin-" she started before he back-handed her hard across the face.
Melissa fell to the floor from the ferocity of his slap and held her palm to her cheek. The pain stung, but she refused to let a tear slip from her eye.
"Get up!" he demanded. "You want this damn job?! Get the fuck up!"
Melissa wanted to run out the door. Why was she still here? Couldn't she find work elsewhere?
A small light permeated around her fingertips.
"Get the fuck up, bitch! You lyin' black whore!" he said grabbing her arm and yanking her off the floor.
Melissa wanted to kill him. She could. Couldn't she?
He dragged her out of the kitchen as he led her up the stairs.
But where would she go? How would she support herself in this world? She had seen so many of her people die trying to make it on their own.
Martin slammed open his bedroom door and shoved her onto his bed.
This was nothing...
"I'll show you who you fuckin' belong to," he said removing his belt.
Nothing she couldn't handle...
Martin climbed on top of her, hiking her dress to her waist.
She looked up at the clock on the wall next to the picture of Martin and his wife and two sons.
She was going to be late.
Evangeline walked along the side of the dock. She pulled anxiously at her fingers and swallowed several times.
Melissa was over an hour late.
She was never late.
And now it was dark. It wasn't safe for her to be out alone at this time of night.
Not as a woman. Not as a witch.
"Where is she?"
Evangeline was beyond worried. She had a feeling her lateness had to do with what wretched mortal she worked for. Evangeline had begged Melissa to let her take care of him. Ending his life could end her suffering.
But Melissa refused. Unless Evangeline could provide her with a better life, Melissa didn't have any other options.
But now she did. Evangeline finally had another option for Melissa. And she couldn't wait to tell her.
Evangeline spun around at the sound of her name. A wide smile came to her face as Melissa ran towards her. She opened her arms and caught her lover in her embrace.
"Mellie! Mon amour," Evangeline said hugging her tight. She heard Melissa whimper slightly and quickly pulled back.
"Are you okay?" Evangeline asked.
Melissa shook her head with a bright smile. "I'm fine. I missed you," she said quickly.
"...I missed you too...." Evangeline felt as though Melissa was trying to hide her discomfort. There was a bit of strain in her smile.
"Come on," Melissa giggled as she ran down the dock.
"Mellie, wait!" Evangeline said as she ran after her.
Evangeline caught up with Melissa who was standing at the edge of the dock looking out over the water. Her long hair blew in the breeze. A solemn expression on her face as the moonlight reflected in her dark brown irises.
"Is there anything more beautiful than a full moon?" Melissa said softly.
Melissa looked at Evangeline and saw love and tenderness in her eyes. She smiled as she turned to her and leaned forward.
Their lips brushed against each others for just a moment as they savored each other's taste. Then Melissa pushed forward and wrapped her hands around Evangeline's neck as her tongue slipped into her mouth.
"Why were you late?" Evangeline said pulling back.
"Chores, Evangeline, just chores," Melissa said dismissively as she kissed her more deeply.
"Did he hurt you?" Evangeline said pulling back again.
"Nevermind him," Melissa said quickly as she hungrily kissed her.
Evangeline furrowed her brow, but decided not to push further. She kissed her witch right back, wrapping her arms around her waist and pulling her soft body against hers. Her lips scoured down her neck as her hands roamed down her back, rubbing in circles and hugging her tighter when Melissa cried out in pain.
"Mellie!" Evangeline said quickly pulling back.
"I-it's nothing," Melissa said rubbing her arms.
Evangeline looked at the way Melissa retreated from her and grabbed the sleeve of her dress.
"Evangeline, don't-" Melissa started but Evangeline already pulled her sleeve up.
Her blue-grey eyes widened in horror at the black and dark blue bruises that marred her beautiful brown skin.
"Did he do this to you?!" Evangeline growled.
"Evangeline," Melissa said pulling back and covering her arm. "I told you it's nothing."
Evangeline snarled in anger. "You can't keep letting this happen-"
"Oh because I LET it happen?! I jus' decided to let him abuse me?!" Melissa snapped.
Evangeline's jaw tensed in frustration. "That's not what I meant, Mellie. There... there has to be another way-"
"What way, Evangeline?! What other way is there?! What else do I have? Who else do I have?!"
"You have me!" Evangeline shouted.
Melissa swallowed hard as she looked at Evangeline with regret. "You are on the run... from one of the most dangerous vampires of our time. You can't help me, Evangeline. You can barely help yourself..."
Evangeline felt a hard lump form in her throat and a harrowing feeling in her gut as Melissa turned away from her.
Melissa rubbed her arms as the tears she tried so desperately to keep at bay fought to escape as they trickled down her cheeks.
This is not how they had hoped to spend their evening.
Melissa wiped her tears as she felt Evangeline's presence behind her.
Evangeline gently grabbed Melissa's arms, caressing them with as much comfort she could muster.
"I'm going back," Evangeline said. "I'm going back for my boys..."
Evangeline gently turned Melissa around.
She grabbed Melissa's chin between her finger and thumb and looked into the beautiful deep brown eyes she fell madly in love with.
"I want you to come with me, Mellie..."