Ambrose released his second victim.
The hunger had stopped, but it wasn’t gone. It simply lay dormant, waiting for the right moment to spike upwards.
He normally would have worried about when it was going to come crashing back. He would have thought about Barbara.
But his mind was empty. Thinking wasn’t difficult. It was flat out impossible.
The words weren’t there.
Not even one.
A discordant mix of low trumpet sounds drew his gaze up to the sky.
His pupils widened.
A tromp of five young dragons soared overhead, playing aerial games of showing off. One fell completely out of control only to swerve back upwards before its body could hit the ground. Another dove to the ground and landed hard, creating an explosion of snow. It leapt back up into the air and flew circles around the others. Its siblings chased after it, shouting joyously and laughing.
Patches of snow melted. Flowers crept out of the warmed earth and slowly unfurled their lives.
The dragons saw Ambrose and dove straight at him. Maybe they were still just playing around.
Ambrose wasn’t interested in finding out. He ran.
He ran as fast as he could, but the snow over by him hadn’t melted. It was all the way up to his knees. Running through it was like trying to run through a lake.
One of the dragons punched him hard in the back, causing him to fall into the snow.
He struggled to get up. The snow was deep and there was nothing for him to grab to boost himself up.
A dragon, maybe a different one or maybe the same one, wrapped its claws around his chest and soared up into the sky with him.
Ambrose’s heart raced. Especially when the dragon let him go.
He was seconds from hitting the ground. Another dragon grabbed him and brought him back up into the sky.
Only to drop him as well.
This time no one caught him. He landed hard and lay there, panting and hurting.
The dragons landed all around him and transformed into their human forms. They all were young – just barely teenagers. They all had different hair colors, but had similar features. A strong family resemblance without being clones.
“I say we eat him.” That one was a boy – shaggy black hair with blue highlights.
“But he’s a vampire. Vampires taste like black goo.” Girl. White-blonde hair.
“Maybe he doesn’t. I say we give it a try. One bite?” Boy. Spiky green hair.
“Yeah.” Girl. Shoulder length black hair with white tips. “I’ll bite his arm. See if it tastes any good.”
“Arm?” Another girl. Vibrant pink hair. “Bleh. There’s no good meat there.”
Black hair with white tips struggled to keep her expression neutral. “Shows what you know.”
“I know what tastes good.”
“Oh, yeah? What?”
“Tearing him open and eating his innards. Duh.”
“Oh, you think you’re funny.”
“It isn’t a matter of thinking it. It’s a matter of knowing I’m funny. And sister. I am hilarious.” A whole snowball bush burst through the snow right next to Ambrose’s head . Its branches were weighted down with flowers.
Black hair with white tips’ neutral expression cracked. “You wish.”
“Nuh-uh. I know.”
She frowned and the ground began to shake.
“Klinara, calm down.” Black hair with blue highlights crouched beside Ambrose and poked him.
“Forget it. We can’t eat this one.”
His siblings chorused, “Aww. Why not?”
“He has dragon blood in him.”
White blonde crouched beside him. “Is he dragon, then?”
Black hair with white tips clicked her tongue. “Silly. Dragons can’t become vampires. This creep managed to drink from one.”
White blonde looked sad. The snow melted and turned into slick, black mud. The snowball bush went crooked. “Oh.”
Spiky green hair stepped forward. “Let’s kill him.”
Black hair with white tips raised an eyebrow. “With what? The stakes you have hidden in your hair?”
“Hey!” The air around him burst into flames. “My hair is awesome. Don’t mock it.”
Black hair with blue highlights stood. “I say we leave him here.”
Spiky green hair’s flames went out.
“Let him slowly rot to bits. Maybe the vultures will eat him.”
White blonde gave her brother a surprised look. “We have vultures out here?”
“Yeah. Who doesn’t?”
She had no answer to that question.
“Come on. Let’s become skye.”
They all turned back into dragons and leapt up into the sky.
Ambrose watched them fly away.