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The King's Flower

Chapter Text

 

 

Well, it's too late tonight
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other

One U2

 

 

Prologue

"My bountiful winepress."

That's what Doctor Lemmings used to call me. He'd say it sweetly like it was a term of endearment. He'd then pick me up and hold me in his arms. His claw-like fingers would smooth down my hair and he'd carry me to his bed, wrapping me in blankets so I wouldn't get too cold. He then fed on me through the night, slowly, gnawing at my neck, his icy teeth piercing my jugular.

I was just a little girl so I didn't completely understand. I felt like I was being buried alive. I could feel my heart pounding very fast in my chest, working double time trying to keep the oxygen circulating through my limbs. My arms and legs would become numb, and it was difficult to breathe. I'd get so weak, I couldn't move, and my mind would turn to mush. That's when the cold would set in. Not like the cold of winter where the icy wind blows in your face. No this was different. This cold came from inside and it filled my chest, spreading across my skin, my bones, and my veins. It was the cold of death.

But the coldest thing of all was Lemmings, holding me in his arms, kissing my cheek. He was the only person who ever held me in their arms or whispered sweet things in my ear. I sort loved and hated him all at once.

But then my heart would stop beating and my vision would go black. I'd gasp for air, suffocating, and then my body would just stop. Yet my soul was still in there, screaming, begging to be set free.

It's a hell of a thing dying every other night.

..

My name is Amaryllis. At least that's the name the doctor gave me. I'm not sure how old I really am. I don't have parents. I don't have a home. I may have been human once, but I'm definitely not anymore. At least not really. Yes, my bones break, if you cut me I will bleed, and you can snuff the life out of me. But I always come back. Humans don't do that.

Lemmings liked to use surrogate mothers for his creations, which he purchased from slave traders, but he never told me who my mother was. I suspect she wasn't human. So this basically makes me a Frankenstein monster. Only Lemmings didn't create me from the pieces of dead human corpses. No, he used spliced DNA and different serums to mold me into the perfect blood donor. A creature who could be sucked dry and still live. A creature whose blood was absolutely irresistible to vampires. In effect, he created a new life form.

There were many others like me. We were a motley crew of circus freaks trapped in the world of Doctor Moreau. But Lemmings always told me I was special, his crowning achievement. His secret weapon that he would use to vanquish his enemies.

However, if I was his greatest success than Featherlight was his greatest failure. She refused to do his bidding, no matter how much he beat and tortured her. He couldn't even drink her blood because it mutated and started producing hemocyanin instead of hemoglobin which made it kind of blue. She escaped often, disappearing for days, only to have Lemmings' goons drag her back, fighting and kicking.

Everything that was unhuman about Feather and me, we shared. We were molded and crafted together inside the same womb, sharing consciousness, memories, and nightmares. We could feel each other's pain, detect each other's desires. We shared one eye. She was the right and I was the left. We shared the element of water. Lemmings even thought that if one of us perished, the other one would cease to exist. I think that's the only reason the doctor didn't destroy her. Yet while we were one, we were definitely not the same.

Of course, Lemmings preferred me. He was a vampire so he wanted blood, my blood. However, he wasn't like other vampires.

You see, most vampires are beautiful. It's part of their make-up. They use beauty to lure in their prey. But Lemmings was hideous. He had an uncanny intelligence that some might find compelling, but he was almost eighty when he was changed, and this gave him a somewhat thin and gangly look. His fingers were long and thin with fingernails that extended out. His smooth, white vampire skin looked like rubber latex grafted onto a skeleton. His face was gaunt. His eyes were dark hallows with blood-red irises, and he had this mop of long grey hair that looked like spun wool that was unraveling.

He told me once that he paid the vampire that changed him a hundred thousand in gold bullion, a fortune at the time, to change him. But once he was immortal, he ripped the other vampire's head off and took all the money back. Miserly as human, he was even worse as a vampire.

He had a bunch of crony scientists that hung out with him, each trying to top the other. Each planning the other's demise. They were so morally bankrupt and socially depraved, I always felt like I had to go take a bath after being in the same room with them.

And Lemmings was just like them. He was revolting and sadistic, using mind control techniques like disassociation brought on by torture and trauma to get his creatures to do his bidding.

Feather told me it was inevitable that I would kill him and destroy the lab.

He's scared of you, you know, she said.

Are you scared of me too, Feather?

Yes.

You don't need to be. I would never harm you.

I don't believe you, Amary. You're much too unstable.

Like she had room to talk. It hurt though that she didn't trust me, especially when she knew me better than anyone.

When we all escaped, the survivors banded together, running from Lemmings' crony friends, trying to make a life for ourselves in South Africa

However, Featherlight went her own way. Just like that. She kissed baby Lilith on the forehead and then disappeared without a word.

Yet she's always with me, along with all her nightmares.

The others knew that and it made them uneasy.

I suppose it was inevitable that I would have to leave others too.