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The bat glided to the small cave swiftly as the sun began to descend into the night. As it hovered above the cave’s opening, a stream of more bats followed it, all perching atop the shelf of a thin, black rock. Striding out from the darkness of the cavern was a tall, slim woman. She reached up her hands to the glowing orb of the sun and gazed enchantingly at the bats which crowded around her outstretched palm.
Her skin was as white as paper, thick, wavy strands of ebony hair cascading to her lower back. Pale, red lips smirked faintly as a soft mist crept forth from the woods surrounding her and trickled onto the shallow water which smothered the ground in opaque griminess. The woman’s lithe body was covered by a strapless thin, dark chocolate silk and lace gown with elegant ripples folding down the sides. Sitting on her neckline was a brilliant hand-crafted necklace with a link of three large diamonds, each in their own setting of luscious rose-gold. Black velvet armbands wrapped around her wrists and lower-arms.
The cold water didn’t seem to affect her, as she waded further out and looked out into the distance with alert copper eyes, and moved gracefully beside a tree, the water lapping at her ankles.
Suddenly, she heard a panting, and peered to her right to see a strange man leaning against a tree, his tunic and breeches ripped and torn to strips of dirty cloth. His breaths were labored, chest heaving rapidly, and his eyes wandered to the direction of the staring woman.
He jumped slightly, jaw quivering with fear. “Hello?”
The woman stared at him, mesmerized by his disheveled appearance. “Yes.” she said, almost in a hushed whisper.
She examined his short, brown knotted hair, light hazel eyes, and scratched face. Her eyes finally fixated on his left leg, which was bleeding heavily due to a large crescent wound on the calf.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I-I was taking a walk through the woods not far from here, a-and I guess I-I invaded some bear’s territory, so it attacked me.” he spoke, clenching his teeth in pain.
“And so you ran away and ended up here?”
“Yeah. But the bear-I think it’s still chasing me. But I dunno how to get home from here.” he collapsed onto knee as his leg throbbed painfully.
“Let’s get that leg cleaned out and bandaged.” the woman said, starting toward the cave.
“W-wait!” the man yelled, but the woman ignored him, and vanished into the gaping darkness.
“Goddamn it.” he muttered under his breath and hobbled to the cave, hands pressing down on the wound.
Inside the cavern, torches flickered to life and the woman ushered him onto a narrow cot. He laid down, squeezing his eyes shut from the stinging sensation surging through his entire leg.
She poured a white liquid onto his leg and dabbed the blood off with a soft ball of cotton. Then the woman knelt down and ripped a long band of the thickest part of her dress and bound it around the wound tightly. The man cried out as she pulled the bandage into a knot and smiled.
“There.” she breathed satisfied.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
The woman’s face brightened up. “Drink this.” she lifted a bottle of a clear, fizzy potion to his lips and he drank it down without hesitation.
“This’ll make you go to sleep. You have to rest and not walk around so much with that wound.”
The man’s eyes fluttered lazily and he managed to ask in a slur, “What’s your name?”
He heard the words die out as sleep embraced him.
The man woke up to the sun gleaming through on him in a dazzling golden light. He sat up quickly, and gasped. His leg didn’t hurt anymore. The bandages were off, and the wound was all healed up.
“Hey! Thanks again!” he yelled. The woman wasn’t in the cave.
He ran out and checked the surrounding trees, the outside of the cave, and the inside again. She was nowhere. He decided to give up and head on to a dirt path not far from the cave.
As he walked back home, he didn’t see any bears or Lilith. Something was rattling in one of his pockets, and he stuck his hand in to bring out Lilith’s necklace. Stuck to it was a note that read, “Please accept it. Give it to your wife and be careful when taking that walk next time.”
“How kind.” he uttered to himself, then resumed walking.
The man halted when his foot hit something hard, and he glanced down to see an old, worn tombstone riddled with vines and dead flowers. He smiled to himself, a single tear sliding from his eye and walked on. Engraved on the front was the name, â€˜Lilith.”
Virginia Beach, Virginia
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When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then sit back and wonder how the heck you did it.