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Mankin Snippet

This third story in my Channeling Morpheus series lingers more on horror elements than the previous two. I was looking at some South Dakota reference books, and the Sioux Falls architecture seemed a lot like the old part of the village I live in now, from the early-mid 1800's when we would've been a pioneer town. In writing Manikin, I was thinking of the opera house here, which is owned by a printmaker, who restored it. Sioux Falls looked a lot like it, those flat-fronted "old west" buildings. I thought they deserved to have a really creepy vampire in residence. Maybe one who's been there for decades.

Blurb:
Marushka loves pretty things: lace and velvet, porcelain and pearls. She sews elaborate costumes for all of her dolls, and she spends hours arranging their hair just so. Her collection is growing; she’s added a very pretty trinket, and his name is Michael. She can’t wait to dress him up.

Michael always suspected mentally-ill vampires grew worse and worse as the years went by. He’d never realized how unhinged they could get.

Now Michael is in way over his head. Will Wild Bill save him? Or was it only wishful thinking on Michael’s part that their connection ran deeper than sex… or blood?


Excerpt:
The straight razor slid along the tops of the toes on my right foot. “Shoosh, shoosh, darlink. If you tremble, I might nick you. We mustn’t ruin your skin.”

I rolled my eyes down in my head, which I couldn’t move even a fragment of an inch, and told myself not to freak out. The vampire would keel over any minute. I’d slipped her three tablets of Rohypnol, and I knew from experience that three was more than enough.

Part of her, the edge of her hair, was visible in the dim streetlight that threaded through a window high in the bathroom wall. Her hair was flame red, in long, smooth curls like Shirley Temple. It was so dim in the bathroom that the red looked brown, or even black.

I swallowed. The metal apparatus that she’d clamped around my head and neck put so much pressure on my Adam’s apple, even that small motion was painful.

The razor slid up my calf. The steel was cold. The tub was cold, the water was cold, too -- and I couldn’t stop shivering. “Marushka? Can we take a break? I’m freezing.” If she let me warm up for a second, I’d probably still be shaking from the realization that the Rohypnol was taking its sweet time in knocking her out. But I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.

“I know.” Her voice oozed sympathy, and she was probably even sincere. “But this is better for your pores. Once the gooseflesh smoothes out, your body will be like silk.” She wielded the razor around the curve of my knee with such delicacy that it was only the merest whisper of cold metal.

I ached to shove her away -- she hadn’t strapped down my arms, even though the ancient leather restraints were in plain view, because I’d managed to convince her that I was just as crazy as she was. That I was into it. Whatever it was she was doing.

It wouldn’t have mattered if my hands were free or not. She was so much stronger than me that I’d never be able to fend her off, even if she didn’t have a length of freshly-honed steel in her tiny white hand.

I grit my teeth, and I waited for the Rohypnol to do its job.



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