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Cross or Coffin
“Alright, ladies and gents, it’s time to play a game!”
The crowd in the room cheered. The announcer, Sam, smiled broadly at his audience.
“Everyone settle down, and we’ll get started. Now as you probably all have noticed, we have a very special guest here tonight. Ladies and gents, please welcome Lady Codragonia Fang!”
The crowd all turned to look as the beautiful young woman stood up. Her hair was black as coal, her eyes as red as blood. She had a thin smile pasted on her face, as if hiding a deadly secret. Her red silk dress was a bit on the skimpy side, but not bad. It complimented her pale skin very well. Her black hair hung over one eye, her right, so that no one could see it. Sam smiled at her, and motioned for her to join him on stage. When she arrived on the platform, her took her hand and kissed it.
“It is truly an honor to meet you, Lady Codragonia.”
“Please, call me Codi. And the honor is mine.”
“Charming, isn’t she?” Sam asked the audience, then turned back as they applauded.
“So Codi, I hear you have an extraordinary escort tonight.”
“I do. Monsieur Rin Black,” she said as she turned her head and smiled at him. Rin stood up and bowed to her.
“It is an honor to serve you, Mademoiselle.”
Sam’s eyes brightened.
“Mademoiselle? You are not married?”
“No, I am not.”
“Ah, then any one of our games will suit you!”
Codi gave him a questioning look. Sam smiled.
“Let me show you how we pick a game around here,” he said as two security guards pulled out a large wheel with three games on it. The names on the sections were “Howl to the moon”, “Blood night”, and “Cross or coffin”. Sam led her to the wheel.
“This, my lady, is our way of picking a game. You just spin the wheel and see what it lands on! Easy right?”
“I guess so.”
She looked back to the audience, where Rin looked uneasily back at her. He seemed to be worried as to what she might get.
“Are you ready to spin?”
“A-alright.” she said, then grasped the wheel and spun it. It span for about half a minute, then landed on “Cross or coffin”. The crowd cheered. The two security guards form before took the wheel back.
“Ok, you saw it, folks! Cross or coffin it is!” Sam said with a sort of smirk towards Codi. She swallowed as the guards brought out a wooden cross and a coffin, which seemed to be made of black diamond and, when opened, lined with blue velvet.
“Um, how do you play this game?”
“Simple my lady, very simple. Would anyone like to ‘teach’ our guest as to how this game works?”
A dozen or so hands went up, all men. Rin had his hand raised too, for he knew how this game was done quite well. Sam looked around, then decided that Rin was the person to do this.
“Rin, come on up!”
Codi was quite relieved that it was someone she knew. Rin seemed to feel the same way.
“Rin,” Sam started, “Cross, or coffin?”
“Coffin,” he replied in a stately manner, and Sam looked with disgust.
“What a surprise, folks, what a surprise…” he said as Rin helped Codi into the coffin.
“You know the rules, Rin. Ten minutes.”
“Yes, I know,” he said as he himself climbed into the oversized coffin.
“Alright then. Guards, close the coffin, “ Sam said as he started the timer. As soon as the coffin closed, Codi asked a question.
“What is this game?” she demanded. Rin sighed.
“It’s a very crude game. You have ten minutes to do whatever you can to the person volunteered either on a cross or in a coffin.” Codi looked at him, terrified.
“What do you mean by whatever?”
“Mostly sexually, and you saw how many hands went up. There are a ton of guys here that want to get their hands on you, and since you’re a vampire, most of them are werewolves hoping to be the one to turn you against your own kind.”
“That’s terrible! Who invented such a game?”
“Psychos, that’s who. Now here’s what I want you to do. If a werewolf does get picked, the first thing that I know is they want you to kiss them. Delay them as long as you can…”
“And how am I supposed to do that?” Rin looked at her and smiled.
“Most werewolves are usually very proud of themselves. They love to be complimented on their appearance. Butter up to them a bit, then after a while, ask them if they still want that kiss.”
“Listen to me. Ask them, and they usually reply yes. Then ease up to their neck and bite. Suck their blood. They will turn deathly white. After the first one, not many will volunteer to go, except a couple vamps, maybe. Vampires I’m not worried about, so just go along with them. But remember werewolves.”
“How the heck will I tell the difference?”
“How long does this game go on?”
“Until no one else volunteers.”
“What do you mean go along with vampires?”
“They now their limit, and they can’t go too far, most of them. Maybe a kiss, touch, whatever. Nothing too drastic.”
“Ok, thanks Rin.” And then it happened. He took her by the waist and pulled her to him, then kissed her gently. At first she was startled, then she began to kiss back. They stayed like that, and then the coffin was opened.
“Ooooh, looks like we have a little romance between escort and Lady!”
Rin and Codi blushed as Sam turned to the audience. Rin climbed out, then helped Codi to get out.
“You know how to play then now, right?”
“Great! Rin you can go. Who’s next?” Another dozen hands went up. Sam scanned the room and then his gaze stopped. He smiled.
“Aha! Lord Secora, will you join us on stage?”
A tall, broad man stood up. He was tan with sort of messy brown hair, and he had green eyes. Codi hardly needed to have looked at Rin, but she did anyway. He mouthed the word “werewolf” and she gave a slight nod. Lord Secora arrived on the stage and bowed to Codi.
“It is an honor, Lady Codragonia.”
“The pleasure is mine, Monsieur,” said Codi as she curtsied to him.
“Lord Secora, cross or coffin?”
“Coffin, if you will.”
Sam looked disappointed again. Lord Secora took Codi’s and helped her into the coffin, then climbed in himself. The guards closed the coffin, and Sam started the timer.
“My lady, would you care to kiss?”
‘Rin was right, they do ask right away,’ Codi thought to herself.
“Lord Secora, you have such deep, green eyes. I have never seen the kind!”
Lord Secora raised an eyebrow, then smiled proudly.
“Why, thank you. All my family has green eyes.”
“And I’m sure that they all must be as handsome as you.”
“They are, indeed.”
“I haven’t felt or seen such soft brown hair in my life! How do you do it?” she asked as she ran her fingers through his hair. He put his arms around her.
“It is naturally that way.”
“What about your skin? I have never seen such a perfect tan.”
“I spend much time in the sun, with my job and all.”
“What do you do for a living, Monsieur?”
“Why, I study animals, dogs especially. Their behavior amazes me.”
“Monsieur, do you still want that kiss?” Codi asked him, rather flirtatiously.
“I do, indeed.”
“Then please, Monsieur, close your eyes and relax.”
Lord Secora did so, and Codi wrapped her arms around his shoulders and eased up to his neck, making sure to press her body against his. At first, she pressed her lips against his skin. Then, when he loosened, she bit unexpectedly. His eyes opened suddenly, and he seemed to lose his breath, for he was gasping for air. He, as Rin said, turned deathly pale. and Codi let go. About a minute later, Sam opened the coffin. He himself turned pale. Not as much as Lord Secora, but close to it. He whispered something to a guard, and soon two medical assistants came out with a cot. They lifted Secora out of the coffin, and Sam uneasily helped Codi out. Her thin red lips were curled into a little half-smile, and Sam laughed nervously.
“A-alright, so who’s n-next?” he asked, knees a little shaky. Codi looked out at Rin, who was laughing a bit. He looked at her and smiled, then laughed again as only one hand went up. Sam motioned for the man to come up, and he did. Codi looked at the man, who was a tall, thin young man. His eyes were piercing grey, his hair black and slick. Sam opened his mouth, but the man replied before the question even came out.
“Coffin.” His voice was that of an Englishman. Codi looked at Rin, who mouthed “vampire”. Codi had figured after Lord Secora, but only one vampire? Codi’s eyes met his.
“Monsieur, may I know your name?” she asked.
“Adrenti. Count Adrenti.”
Codi looked at Rin, and his eyes were wide. Codi gave him a questioning look, but he seemed to have his eyes fixed on Count Adrenti, who bowed to Codi.
“Tis an honor, my lady.”
“The same for me, Monsieur le Comte,” she said and curtsied. The Count took her hand and helped her into the coffin. He climbed in himself, and the guards closed the lid. Sam started the timer once again. The Count took Codi’s hands.
“My lady, I know you from long ago.”
“Really? Or do you know my mother?”
The Count shook his head.
“No, Mademoiselle, it was you. You were a small child, a toddler. I was age 7. We were about two years apart.”
“How do you remember such things? I think I should have certainly recognized your face!”
“Ah, but Mademoiselle, you do know a relative of mine.”
“Certainly. In fact, I should say that you know him quite well.”
“Monsieur le Comte, please explain of who you speak!”
“My younger brother, Rin Black.”
‘So that’s why Rin looked at him that way.’ she thought to herself.
“Mademoiselle, I know this may come to you as a shock, but I have needed information for you.”
“Please, do tell.”
“You and I are engaged.”
Codi stared at him.
“Since birth, you and I have been destined to marry. Our parents were good friends, our fathers since grade school, and mothers since middle school.”
“I….I have never been informed of this.”
“I know, and that is why I am here tonight.” Count Adrenti took out a box and opened it.
“My dear, will you marry me?” The ring in the box was gorgeous, gold with a single ruby. Codi looked at it, then at the Count.
“I… I can’t.”
The Count gave her a questioning look.
“But, my dear…”
“Monsieur le Comte, I’m sorry, but…”
“I’m already engaged.”
The Count was enraged.
“Monsieur le Comte, do not lose your temper! I am engaged to your younger brother, Rin Black.”
The Count was stunned. He closed the box and put it back in his pocket. He remained silent for the rest of the time. When the coffin was opened the two got out. When Sam asked, there were no more volunteers, so Codi went back and sat with Rin.
“So how was it to watch me go into the coffin with your brother, Rin?”
“How did you…”
“He told me. He also said that we were engaged, he and I, and he proposed.”
“I turned him down. You and I will be happier together than he and I would be, Rin.”
“How could you tell?”
“It was his eyes, I think. They were very cold.”
“Teh… and so’s the rest of him.”
“He was a harsh brother, I guess?”
“You always manage to guess right.”
“I refused to call him by his name…Adrenti, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. So what’d you call him the whole time then?”
“What I would call any strange Count.”
“And that is…?”
“Monsieur le Comte!” she said, and she and Rin laughed.
“You know,” Rin said, “we can leave now if you want.”
“Can we please?”
And so they left, Codi hoping never really to see the place again.