I’m posting this short story for J.A.Mes Press’s Rebirth anthology. The idea is to post a short story around the theme of ‘rebirth’, whether that means traditional forms of rebirth or more supernatural ideas, such as vampires or werewolves. All proceeds from the anthology will be going to a charity to benefit stroke patients.
Author: Jo Hart
Word count: 565
Cyprus buzzed with early morning trading. Usually Danaos would have been right in the midst of it, bartering with the goods ships from Rome, but this morning he strode towards the temple. If this didn’t work he feared his wife would be dead by morning. What would he do then, with three young ones at foot and no mother to tend to them?
A handmaiden of Aphrodite led him to the stone dais that housed the six foot statue of the beautiful goddess. Danaos knelt before it with clasped hands.
“Oh beautiful Aphrodite, help us in our hour of need.”
To his surprise a woman, more beautiful than any woman he’d ever laid eyes upon, stepped out from behind the statue. Her pale skin glowed under the flickering flames of the lanterns. Golden ringlets tumbled over her shoulders and reached nearly to her knees. Her pink lips resembled a cupid’s bow and the rest of her face was smooth and unblemished. The curves of her body dipped and swelled in perfect proportion. With a jolt, Danaos realised this woman was the exact likeness of the statue before him.
A soft smile appeared on her lips, “Yes, I am she.”
Danaos bowed low. “My lady, Aphrodite. It is an honour to be graced with your presence. Please, I beg of you to save my wife.”
“Do you love her? Love is my specialty and I can only help if your love is true.”
“I love her with all my heart. And my children love her as dearly as any child loves a mother.”
She walked full circle around Danaos, studying his form.
“You are a beautiful man,” she noted. “I appreciate beauty. Such a strong masculine form and thick golden locks.” She ran a hand through his hair and over his broad shoulders. “Tell me, do you love your wife so much that you would you do anything to save her life?”
“Would you trade your human life for one of immortality and become the companion of Aphrodite?”
Danaos hesitated. This would mean leaving his wife and his children. But the children needed their mother. His wife’s family would ensure his wife and children were cared for when he was gone, of this he was sure.
“I accept your terms. I will become your companion.”
Aphrodite smiled. She came around behind Danaos and laid gentle kisses in the crook of his neck. “This might hurt a little. Don’t panic. It will be over soon.”
Two fangs penetrated his neck. The piercing pain subsided as soon as the fangs withdrew. A dribble of red blood ran down Aphrodite’s white chin. Danaos felt the world around him turn black.
When he woke he felt different. Stronger. Healthier. Hungry.
“You’re not a god,” he mumbled, still a little drowsy.
“I am vampyr,” she said. “Pretending to be gods is less frightening to humans and comes with added benefits. We appreciate the sacrifices.” A sadistic grin twisted her beautiful features. “And now you are vampyr, too.”
“What about my wife? We had a deal.”
“She is alive and well. Vampyr saliva has healing properties. I never break my word.”
Danaos sat up. His previously tanned skin now appeared paler. He wondered what other changes had occurred during his transformation. “What exactly does being a vampyr entail?”
Aphrodite licked her lips and laughed. “You have eternity to find out.”