The night was a crisp one, a still one. There were faces all around, watching me.
Tonight was like every other night where we gathered to be together, to enjoy one
another’s company. This night was a little different than all the others; I decided
to dance on stage. I actually felt like dancing, which surprised everyone, and even
I waited for the flute music to begin, when it did, I brought my hands up above my
head, arms curving into the cobra’s hood pose and looked straight, eyes on Sieve, my
best friend. His bright green eyes never left me on the stage, although he had seen
me dance more the a million times. He was the one I usually felt comfortable dancing
with. Everyone around me silenced and watched, giving me their attention. This was
something I was not used to and made me feel a little uncomfortable, but all of what
I felt went away as the music began to complicate.
The sound that came from the flute was a low pitched one that only grew lower and lower.
Following the song, I swayed my hips in a smooth circular motion. When the drums began
to chime along, I went along with their beat, jutting my hips to each hit of the drums’
beat. I quickly scanned the crowd and found my aunt grinning. She thought I was dancing
for someone. Why was it when I danced, there had to be a reason being connected to finally
having a lover for the rest of my life?
I let my eyes fall back on Sieve. He must have sensed my irritation because he made a face
and blew a kiss to me. He wanted to leave, and at the moment so did I.
“Go,” I said knowing he had not heard what I said, as he read my lips. His lips formed a
thanks and he stood to go. I on the other hand had to stay and finish my dance.
No longer feeling the need to dance, I closed my eyes and stopped moving my hips and
brought my arms down. In the background the music also stopped, people stayed silent,
waiting for my next move. I took three deep breaths and slowly opened my eyes. I
glanced across the crowd and found my Aunt Sofie frowning. I smiled at this, an idea
began to form. My idea involved a handful of dancers.
I looked around and found a boy who looked to be twenty, my age, and pointed a finger
out to him. The dark curly haired boy pointed to himself, a question visible in his
emerald green eyes. I nodded my head. With my pointed finger I motioned for him to come
to me. I looked for my next unsuspecting victim and found him leaning against the trunk
of an old oak tree. I called for him as I had with the first, but the man didn’t move an
inch. I knew, he knew I was calling him. I could feel his black-eyed gaze on me, tauntingly.
Turning my head quickly I called to the band, “Music, please.” I took this time to call
the man who leaned on the tree. Again, he did not budge. I moved my other arm out, so
that both of my fingers were pointed toward the stubborn man, calling for him to come
to me. If he didn’t do what I wanted, my idea would be ruined. Only when many people
turned to see who I was summoning did the man move from where he stood. I almost
gasped when I saw a glance of him but then recoiled, only to see him flash a
mischievous smile and move toward the stage. He moved around the crowd while I turned
away and called for some more people. I had called two twin sisters, and those twins
called others to dance with them. It wasn’t until I was done and satisfied with the
number of people who were dancing on the stage when I tried to make my escape.
Moving off of the stage was harder than intended. People were Snake Charming
practically on top of one another. I pushed my way through apologizing to people who
thought I was being rude. Snaking my way across, I was yanked off of the stage. I was
about to yell out when the scream caught in my throat, caught in mid–air and in the
stubborn man’s arms. I wasn’t able to tell if it was really him but his black-as-night
eyes were recognizable.
“What the hell was that for, you jerk? I could have broken something.” The man put me
down. My hair fell to my face. Not able to see, I moved my hair out of the way and pulled
it into a ponytail, my dark hair cascaded down my back. Glad that my hair was out of the way
I brought my hands to my hips, I asked, “So…what is it that you want?”
When he didn’t answer, I stepped around him and continued making my way out of the crowds.
I made it through to the bonfire where few were roasting meat on large branches. I was about
to sit down, when my shoulder was yanked back.
I whipped around and spat, “What the hell do you want! Are you some kind of a stalk—” I stopped
half way through my sentence. It wasn’t the stubborn man, it was my Aunt Sofie. “Oh, Aunt Sofie,
I’m sorry about that. It’s just that a drunken guy was following me. I didn’t get a good look at
him—I just thought you were him.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” My Aunt Sofie seemed unconcerned. It was nice to know that I could
come to my aunt when I was being pursued by a stalker. “Now do tell me. Who was the man you
danced for? You hardly ever dance, so this must be a special boy.”
Boy…Boy…Boy…who was it that I was dancing for? No one that I recall—Sieve. I needed a
lie and a good one or my aunt wouldn’t bite.
“Oh, it was no one special. I just saw a guy and thought he was good-looking and danced
for him. I was thinking I’d probably bring him over for some coffee.” I was such a terrible
I felt arms move across my waist and they pulled me back. I almost pulled forward until
I caught the familiar scent.
“Ouch, Darling, is that what I am to you now? One rough night in bed and suddenly I’m a
no one special,” Sieve lied, saving me and twirled me over, so that our chest were pressed
together. He then dipped me so low; my hair touched the floor and planted a kiss on my lips,
sucking the air right out of me. My aunt liked what she saw so she left, giving Sieve and me
privacy that was not needed.
When Aunt Sofie was no longer visible, Sieve brought me back up and we both gasped for air.
In between breaths he said, “You’re horrible at lying and you’re welcome for saving you ass
once again, not that this was such a bad thing, especially if it meant locking lips with the
most delicious mouth I have ever tasted.” We both laughed and I punched his arm.
My Aunt for the past two years had wanted me to find a man of my own so that I could move out.
The law here on Serpent Island was that women couldn’t leave their guardian’s home unless
they were engaged, had a lover, or were married. At times there are exceptions to this. We
Serpent shifters loved attention and if young female serpents learned of the attention they
could get—let’s just say many young girls would be pregnant. Putting that aside, I could live
with Sieve, but he was not my fiancé, nor was he my lover, only my best friend. Sieve knew how
my Aunt Sofie wanted me out of her house. After what she saw tonight, she would be waiting for
Sieve to pop the question, which he would never do because we didn’t see each other that way.
“So, why were you in a hurry to leave, while I danced for you? Was I no longer appealing to you
taste,” I joked.
He stayed silent. What would make him this way? He was the more talkative of the two. Hell, there
were times when I couldn’t shut him up.
“Come on, you can tell me,” I softly elbowed his arm. He only smirked, this told me everything.
He didn’t have to say a single word. “Who is she?”
The smile on his face returned. I knew were both nearly twenty-one, but this man, who called himself
a man, acted like a ten year old boy, especially when it came to women, not that he could never find
one, but when he did, he was always so bashful. He could have known the chick for centuries, since he
was born and still never summon up the courage to ask her out and when he did the poor guy always backed
out of the relationship. He wasn’t afraid of commitment, I really wasn’t sure what he was scared of, but
commitment was not one of the reasons. I had always wondered the reason why but I never asked, some things
were too personal to ask, even as a best friend.
“Does she dance better than me,” I began the questioning.
“I don’t know, haven’t seen her dance.”
“How long ago?”
“I met her about a week and a half ago.”
“Where?” Sieve had a habit of picking up women in the weirdest places sometimes.
“A little before we danced at the Coils,” I tried remembering, Coils, the same place where we left.
Coils was the location on the island where most of us serpents spent our time during the night, evenings
at a time. Coils was well know, even to other small towns on the island. Many people come, like today’s
earlier event, which was staked upon stacked of serpent shifters. Of all that went, all fit in, except for
stalker boy earlier who yanked me off of the stage. There was something about him that was different.
Forgetting all about his new girlfriend, I was about to ask him when he asked a question himself, his
talking mouth was getting ready to say more than a hundred words per second, “So, who is he?”
“He? You mean boy friend he, right?”
Sieve nodded, looking past the bonfire, into the dark forest, that never slept.
“There is no he.”
“No, there isn’t a she either.”
“There has to be. Come on, Belinda.You know you want to tell me why you’re so
suddenly distant— just like I get when I try to tell you who the girl is. I know
there is someone,” Sieve pleaded, calling me by my middle name which irritated me a bit.
Sieve turned to look at me and tried to give me the puppy dog stare. It was working but
the answer he would get was one he wouldn’t want. I decided to take advantage of this
moment and fun with it, as usual, “Well… there is someone,” I started. I watched Sieve’s
face expression change. He really thought there was someone. “He’s kinda tall, and he has
beautiful onyx colored eyes…but, I don’t know him. I was gonna ask—”
“No, you can’t see him. You don’t know the guy. For all we know, he could be a stalker,
a thief—a vampire!” Sieve turned my way, and wiggled his fingers in my face, trying to
put a spooky effect to what he said.
“Okay, how did vampires get into this subject,” rolled my eyes.
“You know very well, as I, about the story. Do I need to tell you a bed time story?”
“No, thank you. I wouldn’t want to have nightmares while I sleep, I might wake you. Remember,
I’m crashing at your place tonight.”
“Right, I almost forgot,” he rolled his emerald eyes at me. “I think I should marry you already,
you practically live with me already.”
“Don’t you go putting all of this crap on me. You know the law. If staying with you rids me of
my Aunt Sofie’s nagging for me to find a man, then so be it. Besides,” I made my voice silky and
soft. With a finger I slowly brought it up his arm, teasing him, “You know you want me.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s exactly what I want,” he laughed. “You gonna go out with the stalker? Remember,
he could be a vampire.”
“For your in formation, the myths aren’t true. That’s why they’re called myths.”
“I’m not even going to reply to that. You don’t know who stupid you sounded just
now, saying that, and being what you are.”
I understood what he meant. My saying myths weren’t real was like saying I didn’t
exist, and neither did the rest of rest of the snakes. The myth here on the island
was that vampires came to the island to live off of. When the story meant live off
of, they meant the serpents. It was said that vampires came on to the island only
when they stopped producing venom for eating their prey, or turning others into
vampires. The only way to regain the poison was to feed from a snake shifter. Only
then was the venom in a vampire returned. Snake shifters’ venom was deadly, even
more than that of a vampire’s poison. If a vampire were to bite a human, the human
would be paralyzed. With a drop of our venom to a human, it would be as bad as
getting bitten by a real cobra you would find in the wild parts of Africa. If the
vampire drank our serpent blood, his poison would be as strong as ours.
Even if the stalker man was a vampire, we wouldn’t be able to tell him apart.
Vampires had fang, as do we. Our fangs are smaller in size, but deadlier. Their
skin was as cold as ours, feeling for heat would not help, and this included
sensing them too. Although we have stronger venom, we were not invincible.
Vampires could be stabbed to near death and they would most likely end up
surviving. If serpents were stabbed to near annihilation, we were surly to
die. Serpents healed quickly, but not as soon as vampires who could heal,
just as fast as they were hurt. I wasn’t mortal but I wasn’t immortal either,
and this went for every type of shifter, not only the serpents.
A small gust of wind hit my bare back making me shiver. This was not the only
thing I shivered about.
“Let’s go home, Bells. You’ve got bumps all over,” Sieve draped an arm around
my shoulders, as soon as we stood to leave. We said our good-byes to the people
who shared their fire with us and left.