.Gothic Horror comes to Brobdingrag

BY : Keith
Category: Titles in the Public Domain > Gulliver's Travels
Dragon prints: 1187
Disclaimer: This is a work fiction, based on Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift. Any resemblance to person(s) living or dead is purely coincidental.

More disclaimer: Do not repost this story beyond the limits of the Fair Use standards of Copyright Law (quotes, examples, ‘you gotta read this’ excerpts, the usual). the author is not making any kind of profit from this fanfic.


Terrpragoh walked alongside the sledge and enjoyed the early morning. After delivering and unloading the granite slabs for the new observatory, it had been too late to return home. He’d spent the night in the Watchman’s gate house, catching up on the latest gossip from the capitol.

Then he’d risen with the watch section, shared their breakfast, and been among the first through the gate once it was opened.

Now he was watching the sun rise over the ocean, hearing birds greet it and feeling the first gentle touch of the light. It made him feel so light he was practically inside out.

Ahead of him, the two drays seemed to be just as happy.

“You guys feel it, too?” He asked. “Like the world’s just been washed over, ready for a change, waiting for something…wonderful to start?” The horses ignored him and he laughed. They just felt happy to drag an empty sledge rather than a dozen weights of rock.

They didn’t care that this was the more scenic route, seldom used. But there was a holiday race upon the highway and he’d felt more like getting home than in fighting the crowds.

He chucked the lead, just to be doing something, and let the team drive themselves to the stable. They didn’t need any guidance at this point so he was free to gawk like a tourist at the shiny world around him.

That’s how he saw the boat. Just off the shore, a craft wallowed upon some of the usual rocks that littered the littorals. It was unusual to see anyone sailing the ocean. The waters were deep and untrustworthy, and hard to reach, as opposed to the regular sailing on lake and river.

Further proof of the hazard was the condition of the ship. Every single mast was missing, cleared away with all the lines and sails. It rocked in the waves, banging dully between rocks. Nothing seemed to have driven a hole in the hull, not yet, but it appeared to be only a matter of time.

Terrpragoh stopped the team at the point closest to the vessel and waded a few steps into the water. “Hallo!?” he called. The craft was a bit larger than a getter cut, but smaller than a catchfest. It had the room for one crewman and maybe four passengers, or maybe a three man crew if it were for fishing.

No one answered his hail. He waded a bit closer, then climbed up on a rock. Moving from slimy platform to platform, he reached the side of the boat and looked in.

Well, there was no ‘in.’ The hull was covered, apparently to protect the interior from the elements. There were hatches, but they were too small for a decent man to get inside.

Slow suspicions started to come into focus in the man’s mind. He looked for slightly different details and found them. In addition to the tiny hatches, there were absolutely miniature doors. Windows the size of his little finger. Small, unidentifiable controls scaled for a mouse.

He had to conclude that this ship came from the same place the Englishman had been from. Could there be any of them left on board? He called, much more softly, “Hallo? Don’t be afraid, little people. Are you there? Come out. Come out, I’ll take you to the Queen. She’s been looking for Gulliver or his kin for years.”

Again, no answer came. He pulled and tugged, wedging the craft against some rocks. Then he unpacked the line from the toboggan.

It took most of the day, but he finally managed to get the boat up onto the sledge. The team was getting surly by the time he’d finished. They’d expected to be home long before this, and without so much labor.

He promised them a good rubdown , and lots of feed. He spoke soothingly and rubbed their shoulders. They snorted and snapped at him.

With the last of the sunlight, he got the team on the road, faced in the right direction, and headed home.


The boat fit into one side of the barn, but just barely. He’d send word to the Lord that he’d found something Englishman tomorrow. That would get the attention of the Duke, then the Queen. They’d collect the vessel, and all within it, probably adding it to the museum of little people in the palace.

For now, though, Terr had one night to explore the secrets it held. He wouldn’t take anything, but he wanted to look.

The first thing he did was open a cargo hatch. It snapped off. He froze. He’d never imagined stealing from the Crown, so poking around hadn’t seemed like a wrong thing to do.

Breaking Crown property, or what was obviously going to become Crown property, was something he hadn’t considered.

On the other hand, a voice called from the back and bottom of his mind, the vessel HAD been through some terrible damage before he’d even found it. One broken hatch wouldn’t even cause concern.

So, deciding he could probably survive one break, and promising to look no further than this one hatch, he climbed up higher on his ladder and held a lantern over the exposed hold.

And saw the bodies.

With a small scream, he flung himself down from the boat and ran out the door. He breathed deeply, his mind processing what he’d seen.

Stacks of little Englishman bodies, spread across the floor with pools of what had to be their blood. The faces were locked in grimaces of horror and their limbs contorted.

What the hell had happened? Had they been shipping a monster? Had it gotten loose? Was it still aboard?

Was it in his barn, now?

A momentary hiccup of fear rose in his throat. Then he belched. The vulgar sound rattled in his head and popped his terror like a bladder.

What did it matter? The greatest terror the Englishmen knew couldn’t be bigger than his barn cat. And what Mister found in his territory he either killed or mounted. Sometimes both.

So even if the crew of the ship had been slaughtered by something that they found overwhelming and deadly, chances were that it threatened no more than the mice in the walls.

He shook his head and started to latch the barn doors. He’d lost all interest in exploring the death-ship, even if he was no longer afraid of it.

Terrpragoh kept repeating that to himself as he walked up to the house.


Gabrielle woke to the sound of a scream. A gigantic yelp of terror, it rattled the coffin around her and shook her to her very spine.

What the hell? She’d carefully arranged the crew for effect, and been expecting some response, but this? This was an explosion. Were the American’s sending elephants in as customs agents nowadays.

WERE there any elephant in Hawaii? She’d have to find that out later.

For now, she listened carefully for the usual details. There was only silence. No slamming of doors, no sobbing, no profanity… What the hell was going on out there?

Satisfied that there were no witness in the hold, she eased open the lid and slipped to her feet.

The death pile was undisturbed. There’d been some slippage in the waves, of course, but…

“There’s no waves,” she whispered. Not the rocking swells of the open ocean nor the gentle bounces of a ship at anchor or dock.

The ship might as well have been sitting on solid ground. She glanced up through the open cargo hatch. The sight of a moon would have seemed poetic to her right then. Even stars staring unflinchingly down upon the carnage would have justified her sense of the unimportance of human mortality.

The large wooden timber hanging overhead just stumped her.

Much more rapidly than her usual manner, she made her way to the weather decks.

“Holy Mother of…,” she whispered. She didn’t complete the phrase, that would have hurt. The mere fact that she started to use it, though, bespoke her frame of mind. It had flashed back to mortal childhood, when she had still had a sense of wonder. When she still thought she hadn’t seen everything.

When prayer didn't make her blood boil.

Now, though, she was on a sea-going vessel, one that had been set for Honolulu, that should have been steaming straight into the harbor even now.

That was leaning on a wall of a giant’s barn. It was no accident of resemblance, it was a real barn, too. She could make out the forms of three horse and four sheep, all living on the same scale as the building.

“What the hell?” she said aloud.


Just then, she noticed the shadow.  A human shape, but as large as the steeple of a chur-  as large as a clock tower, stood outlined by the light from a lantern.  He reached out as Gabrielle watched and swung the doors shut.

She tried to estimate the amount of blood in his veins.  Her math wasn’t up to an exact amount by gallons, but she was sure there was plenty of plenty of plenty in there.

She took a deep breath.  This was far better than her original plan.  She’d cruise the hotels to suck from many pale tourists new to Hawaii.  They’d think it was jet lag, then set out to cover her tracks by tanning themselves to a crisp.

But once she had this man-mountain under her thumb, she’d never have to worry about capture, exposure, hunger or even having to work, ever again.

Work.  That reminded her.  Parts of the plan still applied.  She went back to the holds and collected her luggage. 

“Layabouts,” she sneered at the corpse pile.  Maybe she should have kept one alive, but she’d planned on there being a work force at the destination.  She lifted a trunk with each hand and hoisted them to the deck.  “A lady does not do work,” she muttered.  The coffin followed.  “A lady doesn’t sweat,” she puffed.  She paused before grabbing the last case.  “Well, I don’t sweat, not any more.”

She kicked the head of the nearest corpse on her way to the ladder.  “But I still shouldn’t have to lift and carry!”

She rose to the deck and started hoisting her loads towards the lifeboats and the davit.  “Might break a nail,” she spat.


Terr ate a quick dinner of cold meat and soft cheese.  He took a quick turn around the house and checked the doors and windows.  He rarely took the time and usually with a single candle.

Tonight he held a lantern and carried a wheel brace.  If asked, he’d say it was because he was real tired and couldn’t expect to deal with surprises, if there were any, you know.  Not that there would be.

As the Lord’s general caretaker and gopher, he was usually fond of living alone in the spare place.  Not now, and he wasn’t really sure why.  His mind popped up a view of those tiny, little twisted corpses.

He shuddered and went to check the windows once more.


Barns were familiar to Gabrielle.  She’d seen her share growing up.  Off in the distance.  The servants went there, with the animals, which they brought back when they were needed.

After the Change, she’d slept in a few barns.  Vampires on the run found them useful.  Slip under a nice pile of winter hay and you’d avoid the sun, the servants and even scavenging soldiers for one or two days.  Any more than that was pushing it.

Now, though, she didn’t have to worry about livestock or their feed.  She just had to worry about really long walks.

A giant-sized scrap of leather provided a makeshift sled.  With her goods piled on it, she put an arm through the grommet and trudged along.

She aimed for some piled crap in the back.  Giant or normal or, she suspected, small, some things remained the same.  Farmers never threw anything away. 

She wedged through some rusty iron plates and found an empty space.  There was no way for sunlight to work its way in, or for any but the most dedicated searcher to winkle out the fact that there was someone living here.  She went back out for her things.

Gabrielle popped out of the pile to find herself face to face with a cat.  No pretty kitty here, the thing was a monster the size of an elephant.  The big scarred face turned from sniffing at her trunks to staring at her.  A low growl started to sound from deep inside the thing.

Her own eyes flashed bright red.  A lighter growl responded from her own throat.  As the cat gathered himself to leap, she jumped forward, popping two fingers stiffly into one nostril.

“So there, puss!” she shouted as the beast departed in the gloom.  She wiped her hands on the leather and started toting trunks.


Mister’s unearthly howl of pain, fright and injured pride rang across the courtyard.  The cat had never made that noise since it was a kitten, so Terrpragoh had never heard the like.

His imagination worked upon the sound as he lay in his bunk.  It drew up a foul, yet small sized beast, with dripping claws and steaming sores festering on its flanks. 

He curled up under the thick quilt and prayed for the dawn.


After the light work, Gabrielle was more than ready for a victim.  She dressed for the hunt and set out for the house.  Sounding her siren call, she alerted the prey to her intent.

Men, even her original Lord Dracula, had to ask for permission to enter a home. 

Gabrielle and her sisters had found that if you were attractive enough, the unspoken desire for your presence was sufficient for entry. 

She had a silky nightgown that highlighted her figure, showing a clear outline with the slightest of light.  She could seduce a monk from a hundred paces with only starlight behind her.  She covered that with a travel cloak. It wasn’t necessary as covering or warmth, just efficiency.  It kept anything from snagging.

Between her hunger and her powers, the distance to the house was quickly covered.  She swarmed up the wall where she smelled warmth.  The wide window sill was a perfect stage.  She lay the cloak down and posed.  The moonlight was practically in the perfect position and the wind drew her gown out like wings.

The vampire raised her siren call another notch and walked slowly across the sill.  Any living thing in the room beyond would be helpless against looking at her.

Unless it was snoring.  She stamped one perfect foot on the wood and crossed her arms.  Now what?


Gabrielle knelt and dug her nails into the weathered wood.  A splinter broke off and she easily ripped it free.  Then she spidered up the glass and started to work the catch.  It popped free and she dropped back down to the sill.

There she dug nails into the frame and started to lift it.  It slid slowly up until she could crab walk under it, lowering it down behind her.  She was so caught up in the process that she was inside the domicile before she noticed.

Nothing had kept her out of the home.

She knew that this would either mean it was a public building or that she’d been invited once before.  She never considered that she was too small to qualify as a threat to the powers that protected the place.

She dusted her hands and turned to her intended victim.  There was a warm mound under a bunched quilt.  The warmth and the rebreathed air had put the giant to sleep despite his fears.  She stopped dusting and started rubbing her palms.  If blood were mere gold, she was about to be merely rich.  As it was, powers to rival more than a few gods were just across the bedroom.

She stepped to the edge of the sill…and fell over on her side.  She kicked out at whatever had attacked her, which sent her rolling over the edge.  She fell about three feet, then dangled, caught up by her silk gown.

Gabrielle realized that it had been caught by the window sill.

Digging her claws into wood once more, she righted herself, then climbed up, then lifted the frame.  Once underneath the glass and wood, she remembered that she wore the cloak exactly to prevent this.  She tried to snag it with her toes, but it was too far to the side.

So.  Lower the window, kicking the negligee free.  Step to the cloak, snatching it up and throwing it on.  Tuck the gown into the secret pocket of the gown.  Lift the window.  Crab inside.  Lower the window.  Step clear.  Mutter imprecations the entire time.  But finally step off the window sill, seeing nothing ahead, in space or time, but that beating heart and the arterial blood that was the golden path to a bright future.

Okay, well, technically, a dark future.  But a fun darkness.  Dark as midnight, dark as fresh blood smeared on a gravestone to make the vampire hunters wet themselves.

She giggled, an earthy noise that sounded like hunting dogs tearing apart a fox.

The path to the bed was more like running across rooftops than anything else.  A table, a stand, a water jug, then the headboard, each crossed by a gliding step, followed by a leap to the next.

She trilled her siren song as she stepped down on the pillow, then the mattress.  The snoring slowed, softened, stopped.  He pulled down the quilt, smacking his lips.

Her own lips curled down in a sneer.  How vulgar.  Obviously a peasant, she deduced from his manners, having never been told that she sucked her fangs when she slept.

Those same fangs extended as she tiptoed around his chin and lovingly stroked his neck.  The pulse was visible before her, in an artery bigger than her thigh.  It was slow, slow as death.  She’d seen dead people with a faster pulse.  But as slow as it was, it was just as strong.  Pounding like a base drum in her ears, she couldn’t have turned away right then if Dracula himself had ordered her back.

She rose on her feet, tilted her head, and struck like a cobra.

An arctic cobra, she thought, wedging her fangs in the blubbery layer of skin.  She chewed and gouged, smelling the blood in her nose, feeling the pulse against her face.  But all she tasted was sweat and dead skin.

“Uuuuuuuuurrrgh!” she spat, digging deeper and deeper.  The victim started to react. 

Gabrielle paused.  One of Master’s lessons had been about the Biting.  She’d never had cause to learn subtle exsanguinations.  What was it he’d said?  There was some narcotic quality about their spit.  It softened the blow, eased the pain, quelled the cattle.

She usually depended on sex, which provided its own chemical covers for pain.  That helped by the fact that naked men take anything, even pain, as foreplay.  So she tended to bite and move on.

Now she licked.  Covering the wound…or at least the gouge, she anesthetized the giant for a space the size of her open hand.  He became restive again, though he turned a bit towards his back.

Keeping her face at the scratch required her to lay her body across his throat.  She stroked him gently to keep him happy and kept on licking.

When the area was so deadened that it looked unappetizing, she stopped.  She raised a hand, extended one finger and drilled the nail into the skin.  It poked straight through and she felt the blood rushing across her fingertip.

In her mind, she saw her move as if she was some sort of vampire coach, grading her.  She saw herself remove the finger, languorously lick it clean, then dip her head to lap up the blood pooling in the gouged out bowl.

What happened was that she pulled back and the blood spurted like a firehose.  She was blinded, her face covered and blood working its way down her airway and up her nose.

She quickly threw herself down to cover the flow, gorging on the crimson geyser even as she coughed blood out of her nose.  She fed.  Blood and power coursed into her in a feast like none she’d ever encountered.  She’d never even heard of something like this, even by that crazy redneck vampire who claimed to have Bitten an elephant.

She felt a glow lighting her up from within.  She also started to feel his life.  His language formed in her mind, and some of his past. 

These sensations would take time to catalog, to understand.  She’d make his knowledge her own, just as she’d rule him.

Quicker than she’d expected, the giant’s body sealed off the flow.  She licked up the last dregs, licked her fingers, wiped her face.  Blood covered her from the waist up. 

She rolled down off the neck, feeling strange as she did.  Something got in the way, but she couldn’t find it as she groped herself in the darkness.

She pat his cheek and left the body.  He breathed on, the pulse still thundering in her ears.  Her own heart beat at the same speed, now, a tantalizing count of contraction and wait, wait, wait, relax, wait, wait, wait.

Gabrielle jumped to his dresser and stood before his mirror.  She was amazed at her new outline.  The vampiric powers had taken all the blood they could handle for the night, then found other places to hold it.  And the adaptable female body had made the most use of it.

Her curves were almost frighteningly sexual, now.  Her waist was unchanged, but the chest and hips swelled up and away from it like croquet hoops.  Her hips looked like saddlebags.  They were fully a hand’s width farther out than she’d remembered. 

And her breasts!  Firmer than an overstuffed sofa, they stood straight out from her chest.  The nipples rested on the top slopes of her bosom, standing to attention with exaggerated wrinkles.

As the light in the room started to rise, she took in the color.  She looked alive, now.  Her cheeks blushed, her lips shone, and…even as she looked, the skin was absorbing the spilled blood into herself.  Waves of vampiric power were even removing the blood stains from her lingerie.

“Good,” she whispered.  This was her favorite nightie.

“Holy chains,” the giant muttered.  She turned to see him, staring straight at her.  “A blond splacknuck!”

Gabrielle now possessed an understanding of the giant’s language, but wasn’t accomplished at using it.  She had to think about the term.  

It was a vermin, she knew.  A tiny thing.  Her fingers automatically gestured at something about six inches long.  She tried to fit the impressions she got from the word splacknuck to vermin she was familiar with.  She never took into account the size difference between her and her host.  So she was still mentally riffling through index cards when the giant picked her up.

Before she knew it, she was caught in his grip and raised to his face.

“What the hell?” he asked.  Then he turned towards the window, muttering: “Let’s get a better look at you.”  He held her up to the sunlight.

She had time to scream.


Terrpragoh flinched at the tiny little scream.  For all that it was about as loud as the rusty gate out in the pasture, it somehow went straight through his body and made his bones shiver.

Then the remarkably shiny splacknuck burst into flames.  There was no warning, just poof.  He threw it away from him, tossing the fire down into his water bowl.  There was no water in it, but it instantly stopped burning.

The giant brain in that great, staggering head, had more neurons in it than many dormitories of major educational centers across the industrialized nations.  He instantly noted the time the fires started and the times the stopped, concluding that whatever he’d been holding, it had been combusted by contact with sunlight, and went out once it was in the shadow provided by the depth of his bowl. 

He grabbed a towel and covered it.

This…this had been a woman.  Not just a splacknuck. She’d worn clothing.  She’d been clean, her hair hadn’t been tangled and…  She must have come on the boat.

He turned to the door, planning to search for other survivors.  Then he turned back to the bowl.  What if they asked about their friend?  Then he turned to the door.  The Lord must learn about this, and thus the Crown.  Others could answer questions about the nature of Englishman women and their sun allergies.

But back to the bowl, he had to ascertain exactly what he had before telling his master what had happened.

He shifted the bowl to the closet and lit a candle.

Slowly raising the towel, he noted no reaction to the candle light and looked closer. 

A blackened skeleton lay in the bottom of the bowl.  The limbs were spread, but loose.  He moved one and it maintained its integrity. 

Aside from the bones, there were two strange lumps atop the ribs.  He realized they were where the woman’s breasts had been. 

Terr prodded one gently.  It burst, spraying semi-congealed blood across the bowl and his fingertip.  He rubbed it clean on the towel.  The towel went back across the bowl and he stared down at it for a moment.

Others would be able to make sense of this.

He began dressing, listing his tasks for the morning.

Feed the stock.

Call for survivors from the boat.

Take breakfast.

Check the corpse for any change.

Hike the distance to the Keep and alert his master to the presence of Englishman artifacts upon the island.

Hope for a reward.

Pray that no one charged him with murder of the little blond.

As he dressed, he glanced down at the window sill.  A small bit of cloth caught his eye, turning out to be a tiny little coat.  He stuffed it into his pocket.

If there were any other survivors on the craft, it may be the only way they could identify the body in his closet.


“Fascinating,” Lord Staistchill kept saying as he circled the boat.  “Just fascinating.”  He tapped at one of the little doors.  “Amazing what such little people are capable of, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is, sir,” Terr agreed.  The Lord had been very excited at the news.  Messengers were galloping across the nation to tell everyone important about the important find.

Lord Stais had given Terr a ride back in his personal coach.  Terr had recounted his discovery and recovery seven times.  Now they inspected the boat and waited for the Royal representatives.

”Such delicate people,” Lord Stais exclaimed.  Terr winced to think about how easily they were killed.  “And yet, they manufacture a vessel to brave the forces of nature rampant on the ocean.”  He reached up to tap at a window on the bridge.  It shattered under his nail.

He yanked his hand back, turning to stare at Terr.  The look of horror on his face reminded Terr of his own mistake with the hatch.  The Queen’s fascination with Gulliver’s world was well known, and her retribution at casual destruction would fall on noble as much as on a peasant.

“Milord,” Terr said slowly, “are you bleeding?”  Stais shook his head slowly.  “If there is no blood on the window…”  They both looked close at the damage.  “Then, considering the state of the rest of the vessel, that window doesn’t really stand out.”

“I will not lie,” the Lord said huffily.  Terr was ready for that and just shook his head. 

“I’m not suggesting you do,” he replied.  “But if no one ever asks…”  His master’s face kept a stern expression, but the body visible relaxed.  No more was said on the subject.

Stais spent the rest of the day examining the find, but from arm’s length.

For his part, Terr spent the day divided between his chores, agreeing with the Lord, and almost working up the nerve to mention the dead woman.  His hand stole to his pocket a time or two, gently touching the cloak then snatching away.

Finally, Lord Stais told his driver to prepare to return to the Keep.

“I expect the Regulators to be at my Keep early tomorrow morning,” he told Terr.  “Be ready to admit them to the boat very soon after that.”  He brushed a bit of dust off Terr’s vest.  “And wear something nice.  Look’s like you’ve had this on for a week.”

Terr nodded, saw the coach off and sealed up the barn.  His thoughts about tomorrow were mixed.  On the plus side, he’d be rid of the death ship and the concerns, but to the negative he’d have to either admit to the little woman’s death…or be prepared to hide his guilt for ever.

Inside, he paused at the door to his closet.  He couldn’t bring himself to open it and see the accusing bony finger pointed at him.  Even covered by the towel, he’d know that those hollow eye sockets were staring at him. 

He shuddered and got ready for bed.

A piercing scream from the closet made him jump just as he removed one trouser leg.  He spun around awkwardly, fell against the wall, narrowly missed being brained by the knob at the corner of the bed and dashed his head against the footboard.  His body settled with the relaxation of a dead man.


Gabrielle woke with the darkness, back arching with remembered pain.  She finished the scream that had been burned out of her lungs that morning.  Then she relaxed.

Actually, she felt pretty good.  The cool porcelain beneath her was refreshing against the memory of fire.

She noted that she was naked and swore.  That had been her favorite night gown.  In the middle of cursing the fool giant that had slain her, she realized that she should still be dead.

Sunlight and more ordinary fires didn’t cause permanent death to her kind.  She had witnessed more than a few of her fellows brought back from being reduced to ashes.  The application of a drop or two of a virgin’s blood was sufficient to raise them.  They came back as a shadow of their former self, but they came back.  A few nights of fat victims would complete their recover.

She felt along her sides.  Her ribs weren’t sticking out, her pelvis wasn’t a shelf she could hold thimbles on, her legs tapered down to her knees rather than looking like soup bones with skin.

She was fully restored.  “It must have been the excess blood,” she said softly.  “How wonderful an adaptation.  Stored against future need, which was sorely needed.  I guess the-”  A momentary thought brought her hands up to her chest.  The fertility-goddess features had faded.  Her breasts were restored to her natural state, although one seemed unusually tender.

She shrugged.  “A plentitude remains where that came from,” she said with a smile.  With that in mind as a goal, she climbed the side of the bowl and slipped out from under the towel. 

She was in a closet, on a shelf surrounded by shoes, belts and purses.  The styles varied in a manner that was very familiar to one who had lived for centuries.  Nothing in this house was ever thrown out.  Some of these items were probably generations old.  And there was no telling how long a giant’s generation was.  These might represent centuries of change and hand-them-downs.

She strode to the side of the shelf and walked down to the floor.  There was only one door, which she ducked under.  Before her lay a foot.  The sole stretched up over her head topped by toes the size of a statue’s head.

“Hmm,” she murmured, walking slowly around the foot.  Crumpled pants made a wall in front of her.  Rounding that she saw the head of her future slave.  “Oh, dear.”

Gabrielle inspected the giant by the light of the lantern up on the table.  There was a swelling but no blood.  She shrugged and went looking for his throat.

His head had ended up tucked to his chest, blocking access to his arteries.  Try as she might, she couldn’t shift it out of her way.

“Dammit!” she bit through clenched fangs.  “How am I supposed to Bite him now?”  For mere survival, any blood would do.  But for her goal, to dominate him, it had to be straight from his heart.  Unless she was willing to tunnel her way into his chest, that had to be an artery.

But wait, she thought.  The only reason vampires went for throats was that was the most convenient place for a victim that was nearly your own size.

There were other arteries.  She traipsed down alongside the body, aiming for the conveniently uncovered legs.


She was getting the hang of pressurized containers now.  Blood only covered her from the neck up when she was done.  Her ultra-feminine enhancements were back and she felt giddy from the power. 

Gabrielle felt so happy she thought she might float her way back to the coffin.  Looking down, she realized that she was a foot up in the air.

“Flight?” she giggled.  “I’ve grown so powerful as to fly?”  With a little experimentation, she learned that she had access to full vampiric powers.  She could fly, turn into a mist and twist metal objects into appealing shapes. 

Appealing for her, anyway.  She turned a scrap in the barn into a spleen with a bite taken out of it, another into two halves of a ripped heart and one into four feet of intestine with knots tied along the length.

As she tossed the last one aside, her feet grounded.  She realized that using the powers had burned through her extra blood as if it were the fuel for her mystic engines.

Older vampires had their own pools of power that let them perform such magics at will.  Well, even it was a shortcut, perhaps by having the power by the blood she could learn the skill to do it herself.

With that happy thought she crawled into her coffin and prepared for the sunrise.


“Are you trying to embarrass me?!” Lord Staistchill muttered darkly.  “You look drunk!”  Behind him the Regulators swarmed over the boat, calling out discoveries and theories.

“I hit my head,” Terrpragoh explained, touching the lump and wincing.  Stais winced with sympathy, but still had a good mad going.

“And I thought I told you to change your clothes!” he hissed.

“I…I think my wardrobe is haunted,” Terr explained.  Stais stared, finally bursting into laughter.

“Good one,” he guffawed.  “And you’re right.  We could dress up as ghosts, pop out of the boat and go ‘BOO!’ and these men would just say we were blocking the light.  Come on, let’s see if they need anything.”

He joined the Crown’s men, Terr limping after.


Technically, Terr only told his tale once that day, to a rapt crowd of senior Regulators..  A Royal scribe took everything down, handing each page to assistants who copied it and handed the copies around.

They then interrupted Terr to hammer out the details and expand upon the fine points.  Notations were added to the originals for inclusion in the final report.

After that, three men took him by carriage to the spot on the coast where he’d recovered the boat.  He walked them through the events as well as he could remember.  Nothing further was found in the mud or rocks after a few hours of searching.  Finally they returned to the barn.

There, Terr stepped through the door to come to a portable worktable covered with glass jars.  Each one held a tiny Englishman corpse floating in preservative.  A Regulator used tongs to slip the last one into place.

“A lucky find,” he said as he screwed the lid on.  “We were never allowed to perform any invasive procedures upon the Gulliver.”  He placed the jar beside the others.  “Now we can autopsy these men, find out many things about them.”  He rattled on about relative biology and the elements of scale.  Terr turned away, staggering towards the back of the barn. 

He took deep breaths, trying to think of anything except slicing up the horribly deceased.  Or worse, slicing up the deceased while smiling widely.

He knelt at the back wall for a moment, barely managing to keep his quick lunch down.  He relaxed against a large piece of scrap wood and watched the Queen’s men pack away as much of the boat and cargo as they’d collected.

Lord Staistchill invited them back to the keep for the night.  This group was headed back to their headquarters at sunup.  Engineers of the Royal Cavalry would secure the boat itself within a week.

Once he was alone, Terr lifted himself to his feet and took care of his animals.  Then he stumbled off to a short dinner and bed.

Sitting at the table and walking through the halls, he considered the corpse in his wardrobe.  He knew she was beyond caring, but he’d never surrender her to those philosophers.  They’d just take her further apart to see what there was to see.

He sat on his bed, staring at the wardrobe door, his mind full of the brief image he had of her face before the flames.  Loyal to the Crown as he was, he still felt that he owed something to the nameless woman he’d killed. 

He decided to take care of her himself.  If a decent burial was all he could offer the woman, that’s what he’d give her. He’d have to wait until after the boat was gone, after all scrutiny had died down.

With that firmly in mind he fell back on the mattress, still mostly dressed, and was soon asleep.


Gabrielle woke to a strange sensation.  The smell of her giant filled her nostrils.  Was he here?  Was he looking for her?  She lifted the lid and slipped to her feet.  Outside of the scrap pile she found a warm spot where her intended target had spent some time.

The smell reminded her of his blood, still coursing through her veins.  That reminded her of poking holes in the man.  She smiled, fangs displayed in a frightening visage.  The woman returned to her hide and selected her dress for the evening.


In the bedroom once again, she found the man arrayed quite conveniently.  He lay on his back on the bed with his bare feet still flat on the floor.  The pulse point at his ankle drew her and she easily drank her fill.

She’d discovered that after she was sated, all of her vampiric powers were enhanced.  A single sweep of her tongue on the wound sealed it shut, almost fully healed.  Then she rose in the air, flying up and over her victim.

Gabrielle landed lightly upon his chest and sang to him.  Wake up, she trilled, wake and kneel before my power, my beauty, my peachy-keen wonderfulness.

He snored.

Once more, she stamped her foot.  His sternum flexed beneath her.  The giant coughed and started to wake.  She’d have lost her footing except for her reflexive lift into the air. 

At the sight of the woman hovering over him he froze.

“Are…are you here to punish me?”

“Punish?” she asked.  “What would I punish you for?”  Honestly confused, she lowered herself to his chest and stalked towards his face.

He gestured towards the closet.  “Your death.  I swear,” he spoke quickly, “if I’d known that you burned in sunlight I would never have let that happen!  You have to believe-”

“Silence, gawky one,” she said with a smile.  For the moment, she remembered to keep her fangs hidden behind her lips.  “You didn’t kill me.  It hurt, but it was only a temporary set-back.”

“Oh, thank the MAKER!” he shouted.  She cringed, expecting the prayer to sting.  Nothing happened.  Obviously, the religious traditions of this land had no concept of a vampire.

Her confidence rose even as the giant hand swept up to grasp her.  Terr lifted her into the air and sat up.  She shifted in his palm to find a comfortable position.

“You have no IDEA how worried I was!  How guilty I felt!  I was sure I’d…  I’d…”

“Yes, yes,” she said.  “I get the picture.”

“I’m so, so, so sorry,” he went on.  “Is there any way I can make it up to you?”

For an answer, she stood, grasped the collar of her dress and ripped it open to the waist.  The largest virgin she’d ever met stared like a mule-kicked dockworker at her stunning breasts.  “You can taste me,” she said in her most innocent voice.  She drew a fingernail down her chest.  Blood welled out of the wound. 

She pressed her breasts together, rubbing them back and forth to spread the fluid across them.  Letting them go, she spread her arms in invitation. 

“Taste me,” she repeated.  The giant leaned forward, lips pursed for his first kiss. 


Gabrielle gently grasped the nose as it approached, leading the lips to her bosom.  The man began lapping at her blood without hesitation.

“That’s it,” she murmured.  He stopped. 

“What did you say?” he asked, moving his head slightly to look her in the face.

“I said, ‘that’s it!’ You’re doing great,” she shouted.  He nodded and went back to licking.

She pressed her breasts firmly against his lips.  She squeezed his cheeks together, pursing his lips and silently urging him to suck at her chest.  He did.

In all her centuries upon the planet, Gabrielle had never attempted to dominate a human being.  Dracula himself would have paused before attempting to seduce a person so big as Terrpragoh.  He would also have kept the blood in his system for a day or two, making it his own, so the victim wasn’t just getting his own blood back.

And most important, Vlad Dracule knew to say, ‘drink of my blood.’  Never, never, encourage them or allow them to ‘drink all of my blood.’

Terr got a lip-lock on the vampire lady’s breasts, and the wound between them, and sucked hard.  She felt her very soul stretching out towards her intended and thought it was part of the process.  Her limbs withered and her ribs started to stick out as all the blood in her body flowed into the great mouth before her.

He moaned in pleasure and she groaned in triumph.  Her legs clamped onto his cheeks and spasmed as they shrank.  He took it as an attempt to spur him to greater efforts and complied.

Holding her body to his mouth with both hands, he rolled back onto the bed and stretched out.  His erection pressed against his trousers.

Gabrielle tried to caress the face beneath her and noticed her skeletal hands.  “STOP!” she shrieked.  But she forgot to use Brobdingragian, and he just thought he was finally pleasuring a woman. 

He kept working that woman until he couldn’t find her breasts any more.  He lifted the woman up and away from his face, thinking to ask something suave and sensitive, like ‘Did I do you good?’

Instead, he found a pale, wrinkled, staring corpse that reminded him of the bodies in the glass jars.

Terr screamed and threw Gabrielle away in a flinch of horror.  She sailed out of sight over the foot of the bed.

“STUPID!” he shouted, slapping his forehead.  “Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I killed her again!”  Then he paused.  “Again,” he muttered.

Something about the waterbowl brought her back to life once.  Maybe…

He turned up the lamp and started searching the floor for his victim.  He’d hide her from the sun and wait for a day.  After all, she’d come back from the fire, and she’d looked a lot worse than-

Terr’s helpful mind flashed an image of a glass jar and the body within. He shook his head to clear it.  There was nothing in sight on the carpet.  He dropped to look under the dresser.  The light wouldn’t penetrate so he started to reach in.

His mind fashioned an image of the little woman, back when she was alive, being held by tongs over the jar.  Blood dripped down inside and the philosopher smiled.

“Arrrgh!” he shouted, snatching his hand back from the dark space.  No.  No, he had to find her.  To help her.  He took a deep breath, tried to think of flowers and reached into-

The image returned and he pounded his skull.  Finally he remembered licking her breasts.  He remembered those breasts.  The sight of those breasts grew to fill his imagination.  He reached into the darkness, hoping to find those breasts once more.

He did.  Sort of.  The pale shadow of the woman that had seduced him was next to the wall.  He lifted it gently, spreading it into a more comfortable position in his other palm.  The fragile remains looked so lost, so little and forlorn. 

Okay, really she looked dead.

She looked like a dead thing that had lost a fight with Death and bet him double-or-nothing for a rematch.  And been caught cheating.

“I wish I knew your name,” he whispered.  “And I wish I knew what the hell that thing with the blood was all about.”  He could still taste her on his lips.  The weird part was that he didn’t mind, nor was he in a hurry to rinse it out.

He lay her gently in the washbowl, covering it with his best shirt.  Then he sat on the bed, watching the closed door and waiting for the dawn.

The new day was Market.  Terrpragoh usually spent the entire day at Market.  Everyone that needed his help, with a job, a repair or an unusual task found him there.  For the first time since taking the position with Lord, though, he dreaded attending.

But it was a term of employment, so he went.  He walked in a daze, his mind on the little woman, his heart alternating between fear and hope.  He was sure that it was going to be a long, long day.

In fact, it went far quicker than he could have expected.  No one offered a complaint or a request, at least not for his skills or his shoulders.  Instead, everyone wanted to hear the tale of the Englishman boat.  He ended up with almost a throne at one end of the tavern, talking and answering questions, then beginning again when new customers came in.

Before he knew it, the sun was visible through the doorway as it touched the horizon.  He cut off the last few listeners, finished his ale, and ran home.

He took one single candle into the closet and crouched by the shelf.  There was a strange moan from the bowl.  A week ago, the noise would have raised the hairs on the back of his neck. Now, it merely confirmed that the Englishman female wasn’t entirely dead.

He reached out and slowly slipped his dress shirt off of the top of the bowl.  She looked up at him.

At first he thought she was a skeleton again.  But maggot-pale skin still covered her form.  Whatever process her body had performed to heal the damage he’d done, it had used her flesh for fuel.  There was almost nothing left but skin and bones.  And fire.

Her eyes were glowing sockets above a stretched-skin smile of slender fangs.  She opened that smile at Terr and rasped something.  He leaned closer.  She repeated it.  Finally, he lowered his ear to the level of the bowl’s rim and finally made out the words.

“Stay th’ hell away shom me!” she ground out through a lipless mouth.

He lifted his head and turned to smile down upon her.  “You’re alive,” he said softly.

“No shanks to ‘ou!” she grated. 

“I was so afraid that I’d killed you.”  He reached down to the wretched looking figure, but she staggered along the bottom of the bowl, keeping away.  He relented and removed his hand.  “Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Vlood?” she asked.  He raised back and away.  He didn’t notice his hand moving to touch briefly at his throat.  She misunderstood the gesture and shook her head.  Gabrielle didn’t need arterial blood right now.  No rituals, just enough to rebuild, to recover.  To survive.

Terr considered it.  Actually, it was decided the night before.  He owed the woman whatever she needed to put his mistakes to right.  He lifted his hand over her and pulled out his work knife. 

She fidgeted slightly as she looked up, watching close.  He drew the blade across the ball of his thumb.  Blood welled up behind the point.  He clenched his hand into a fist and the drops fell. 

Gabrielle leaned back and caught them in her open mouth.  Terrpragoh watched.  He noticed that each drop brought a marked change.  Her color returned, skin stretched, bulk grew.  The bony structure disappeared beneath a rapidly swelling feminine form.

As she became more attractive, Terr unconsciously squeezed harder.  She ended up in a veritable shower of blood.

He stared down as the tiny woman enjoyed herself.  Her hands rubbed across her breasts and belly, then she extended her arms and spun.  Blood sprayed across the bowl, crimson spattered against the white porcelain.

Oddly, he found it more attractive than revolting.  He wondered if he’d been changed by drinking her blood.  Then he just watched her.

After a while the flow stopped and he couldn’t squeeze any more out.  She slowed and stopped.  He leaned down as she wiped her face and drew her hair back.

“What is your name?” he finally asked.

“Babbree…”  She spat out a mouthful of blood. “Gabrielle,” she said. 

“Boy, that’s a weird freaking name,“ he replied.  “I’m Terrpragoh.  Son of Terrsimwebst.”  She smiled, licking her teeth here and there.  He started to reach down for her again.  She waited patiently.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

“Well,” she said…then collapsed.  He moved forward in concern and scooped her up in his hand.  He held her to his face.  “Too much…too soon,” she said weakly.  “I need…my earth.”

“The land?  Do I need to bury you?”  It seemed logical when he asked.  She’d died at least twice, that’s what you did with the dead.

She slapped his hand beneath her.  He was amazed that she possessed the strength to hurt him.  “The barn!  Take me to the barn!”  Her breath was starting to rasp as it had when she was skeletal.  He stood and started walking out.

“The boat is gone,” he warned her.  She nodded.  So he knew that she wasn’t after something in the Crown’s possession.  “Oh!  Speaking of possessions...” He pulled something out of his back pocket and draped it across her.

The warmth from his body and the familiar texture of her favorite cloak made the little body visibly relax.  She smiled and buried her face in the hood.  A second later she coughed and threw her head back.

“What did you keep this in?” she croaked.

“My pocket!”   He sounded defensive.

“What ELSE do you keep in the pocket?”  He reached back in and took out two wrapped bundles.

“Horse laxatives.  Why?”   She pinched her nose and ignored him.


Gabrielle woke to an overwhelming sense of giant.  “Terrpragoh,” she breathed through a smile.  She could still taste him.  His scent filled her nostrils.

She brushed her hands down along her body, finding it dry and smooth.  Once again, every random drop of blood had been absorbed into her body.  Even her satin cushions remained, well, satiny. 

She tried to remember the night before.  Most everything after the blood bath was a blur.  She remembered exchanging names with her giant.  She remembered being carried to the barn.  Then…

“Did I show him my hide?” she wondered.  With a brief surge of panic, she threw open the coffin and sat up. 

The first thing she noticed was that she wasn’t in the barn, under a pile of scrap.  Wooden walls of a large rectangular chamber surrounded her.  Her trunks and cases were arrayed about the coffin just as she’d left them.  Something new was at her feet.  Her cloak seemed to float in the air.

There were no other clues as to where she was or what was happening.  She rose and stepped towards it.  A clever assembly of toothpicks jammed through bits of soft wood held it up.  It smelled faintly of her giant, and of soap, but it smelled strongly of lilacs.  “Flowers.  Stars above, that’s so lame.”

Then she remembered the horse pills.  At least, she hoped they were pills.  The smell had been reminiscent of…  “He cleaned it!” She stroked the sleeve.  “That’s great.”  She turned to her trunk to get clothes for the evening with a lightness in her step.  “I’ve never had a servant before.”

Dressed in a silk dress, high heels and a studded leather collar, she headed for a small door she’d noticed in one wall.  It had huge brass hinges and a simple rope-operated latch.  She stroked the latch nostalgically. It reminded her of the home of her first victim.  Add some blood and a burn mark, it’d be a perfect match.

She shrugged off the happy memory and strode out confidently. 

Gabrielle wasn’t too surprised to find herself under the giant’s bed.  He’d made her a secure box and placed it under his headboard, against the wall.  Then he’d moved her and her things into it.

She adjusted her cleavage to present her breasts to their best advantage.  Her intent was to reward his initiative on her behalf.  Then she looked around for feet.

Terr seemed to be sitting in a chair by the door, near the only light source in the room.  By the shadows, she guessed it was a candle.  Of course, if she’d seen that much light a month ago, she’d have assumed it was either a bonfire or a barbeque big enough for a boar.

The vampire made sure to click her heels upon the wooden floor so that Terr would hear her coming.  She thought he deserved an announcement this time.  In the future, she could always just appear at his side, silent as death.

Or appear at his ankle, she amended.

When she stepped out from under the edge of the quilt, Terr was smiling directly at her.  She smiled back up at him.

“You’re beautiful, Gabbishella,” he said softly, and as close to her name as his tongue could accomplish.

“Damn straight,” she acknowledged. “Thank you, Torr.“  At her gesture, he bent over to offer his palm.  She climbed aboard as if mounting a carriage.  She disdained sitting or holding a finger as he lifted her.  Her natural balance and reflexes kept her standing no matter how his hand moved.

“Excellent progress,” she told him when his face was within decent range for a conversation.  She had acted in Paris, and projected her voice as one playing for the balcony.

“Progress?” he asked.

“On becoming my creature!” she said. “Two more nights of sharing and we’ll be as one.”

“One what?”

“One being,” she explained.  Gabrielle had problems expressing mystical concepts in the Brobdingrag’s language.  Even the usual metaphors of love, of two beings sharing a soul, were difficult to translate.

It made sense, she thought as an aside.  The image of two giants joined in a loving embrace struck her as closer to two ships colliding than a bonding of people.  Terr just stared down at her.

“Okay,” she explained. “I drank your blood for three nights.  You have to drink mine for three nights and then you’re my human….  Then you’re my living servant, for all eternity.”

“What?  What if I don’t want to be?”  He winced, lightly touching his throat once more.

She cupped her breasts and leaned forward slightly.  “Of course you want to be,” she purred.

“Those are nice, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be a slave.”

“How can you not?” she screamed.  “You drank my blood!  You’re mine!”  He raised one eyebrow.  “I’ll prove it!  One drink is enough to put you in my thrall, as long as we’re in the same room.  Raise your left hand,” she ordered.  He complied.  “Now make a fist.”  He shrugged and did so.  “Now, punch yourself in the face hard enough to blacken your eye!”  He paused.

Her eyes flared red and she aimed her will into his brain.  “DO IT!” she shouted.

“No!” he shouted back.

“Aw, please?” she asked, eyes fading to her natural colors.

Terr looked down at the stunning beauty.  Knowing that she was okay put his fears aside.  That made room for a number of other concerns.

For the moment, though, he looked at  the length of the candle and estimated the time.

“Hey, I have to be over at the next farm in a few.  We’ll talk on the way.”

“We will n-MFFFF!”  He closed his fist around Gabby and made to drop her in a (clean) pocket.  She twisted and pushed. 

“Wow,” he said.  “You’re stronger than you look.  There was this guy, at Market?  He comes around every year or so.”  He held his fist up as he talked, watching her kick and struggle against his fingers.  “He had these rocks, they were magnatomic?  Turn them one way, I  could hardly pull them apart, turn them the other way, I could hardly push them together.”

He smiled as she tried to push his fingertip away from her mouth.  “You’re nearly as strong as the power of Magnatomic Force.”

With that, he dropped her into his shirt and picked up the candle.


“And another thing,” he said as they approached the chicken run.  “What’s up with the dead bodies?  Did you do that to them?  Or is that what they got for trying to do something to you?”

He felt some movement in his pocket.  Gabby was laughing again.  He smiled, waiting for her to explain.  The walk had proven quite educational.

He knew that his little friend was absolutely insane.  He’d have to watch out for her or she’d get herself hurt.  “Well, we’re here.”

She climbed up the stitching of the seam and hung her arms over the edge of his pocket.  “Where?”

“Tunnennderenstel’s chicken run,” he explained.  “A fox or something’s been snatching his fowl and he asked me to stop the thing.”

“That’s what you do?” Gabby asked.  He gasped as she crawled up to his shoulder.  She didn’t bunch the cloth as he’d have expected, she just seemed to flow upwards like a spider.

He hated spiders.  Her touch, however, gave him a hard-on.  He shook his head to clear his mind.  Out of the corner of his mind he saw the tiny figure pose, like a sailor on lookout.

Then, since she was a hand’s width from his ear, he clearly heard her sniff at the air.

“You smell the fox?” he asked as he started to circle the pen.  The chickens seemed quiet within, but that didn’t mean much.  The stupid birds were always either relaxed or in a tizzy, not much was between the extremes.

“I smell something,” she said, surprising him.  He’d been teasing.  “But I don’t think it’s a fox.”

“You’re new here,” he pointed out.  “There’s nothing else it can be.  We hunted out the wolves a long, long time ago.”

She shrugged.  He appreciated her input but realized it might be a while before she became acclimated enough to actually be useful.  In the meantime, he’d be sure to find an excuse not to let her try to face real predators with her strange powers.

He forgot all about Gabrielle when the wolf charged at him.  Terr was mostly correct.  The giants had spent a lot of time chasing all the big predators out of the civilized areas of Brobdingrag.  All that did, though, was ensure that if they DID meet a wolf outside of the Great Forest, it was a really desperate one.

Terr screamed and spun as the wolf leaped.  Fangs grazed at his upper arm and claws removed his sleeve and a pant leg.  Then the beast was tumbling across the ground.

Terr’s spin left him aimed at the back door of the coop.  It was the only goal he could come up with so he threw himself at the handle.  The latch opened, he swung through and fell against the door.

The wolf slammed at the panel, just a finger’s width away from his back.  He braced with his feet and got the latch to set.  The temporary safety of the wooden bolt let him gulp down some air and take stock.

He had taken a small club to deal with the fox he’d been sure he was hunting.  That was out in the grasses somewhere.  It was dark, he was unarmed, and he couldn’t feel anything from his shoulder down.  The chickens around him were working their way into a full tizzy.   Oh, and the wolf kept slamming against the door. 

“Now what?” he muttered.

“You hold still,” Gabby ordered.  He couldn’t see his passenger, but felt her crawl around his collar to his wound.

“Gabby, don’t drink my blood right now,” he muttered.  “I have real problems to deal with.”

“Like bleeding to death,” she said.  She poked at the wound for a moment, then he heard a horrible slurping sound.  It tickled along the edge of the torn flesh, then pulsed on a path down into the slash.

Suddenly, he could feel his arm again.  It was cold, and heavy against his side, but there was no pain.  “What the-?”

“Fixed that,” she mumbled around a mouth full of…something.  He felt her push down into the tear, but that didn’t hurt either.    “Stopped the bleeding,” she reported when she came out.  “I’ll have to leave the bulk of it to your healers, but you won’t die, and you won’t lose the arm.”

She smiled up at him.  He had no idea how he knew it, all he could see were little points of light shining from her eyes.  But he was certain she was smiling.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she said, “I have to tune the orchestra.”  She walked down his chest and crossed his lap.  As she ducked under the lip of the door, he heard her say, with a strange accent, “Child of the night, you’re supposed to make beautiful music.  Oi!  Bowser!  Down here!” 


Terr ripped the remains of one pants leg off to make a clumsy bandage.  The heavy flow and spurting had stopped but there was still a lot of blood seeping out.

Outside he heard the wolf howl and Gabbishella respond.  She shifted to her own language, but he was pretty sure she was swearing like a candlemaker.

He tied off the rag and climbed to his feet.  The latch gave him a moment of difficulty but he mastered the complicated mechanism with focused mental skills.

The fight raged past him.  Giant eyes took in a lot of available light, so he could see almost as well in the dark as the vampire.  Even so, the wolf was a mere shadow in the moonlight.  He couldn’t see the vampire at all.  He could only follow the flash of fangs as the beast responded to her attacks.

He cast about for the cudgel, finally tripping over it.  Grabbing it and turning back, Terr was  suddenly face to face with the wolf.  He struck blindly, thinking only after the blow that he might hit Gabby.

Pain and fear drove his arm as he swung and he stove in the wolf’s skull.  It dropped suddenly, falling into a thorn-shrub.   Terr watched to see if it was faking.  Also, he could barely move and was gulping in air as fast as he could.

After he was sure the animal wasn’t getting back up, he looked around for his little friend.

“Gabbishella?” he called.  Once he turned his attention to her, he felt something in his head.  He knew where she was, like a tiny voice calling to an inner ear.

She was under the wolf.

He tried to hurl the body to the side, but he could barely shift it.  He ended up rolling it across the grass.

Gabbishella hung in the shrub.  Her clothes were in tatters.  Scratches covered her body and thorns pierced her body in more than a dozen places.  She lifted her head up slowly and gave him a weak smile.

“Did we win?” she asked.

“Yes, dear,” he replied.  “Are you hurt?”  He knelt close, trying to see if there was a way to get her out of the bush.

“I’m dying, Terr,” she replied.  She coughed.

“But, you’ll be back, right?” he asked.  “I mean, you always come back.”

“Not from wood,” she replied.  “Wood kills us.”

Without a thought, he pushed a finger under his bandage then wiped his blood across her face.  There was no surge of strength.  She didn’t rip the thorns from her own body and walk over to kick the wolf’s corpse.  He found himself strangely disappointed in the woman he’d thought needed protecting.

“That’s nice,” she said, “but it won’t help.”  Then her head dropped to her chest.  A black line of fluid dripped down her breast.

Terr couldn’t get her to respond, to voice or tapping.  He thought for a moment, then began breaking the stems of her wooden prison.  He lifted her out, thorns and all, shifting the mess back into his shirt pocket. 

Then he started to limp home.  He paused for long enough to glance at the wolf.   Then he shrugged.  Tunnennderenstel or his boys would take care of that thing.


Most of the thorns pierced her from behind so he couldn’t lay her down flat.  He poured some sand into a pot and tried to dig out pits for the twigs. 

He didn’t want any body part hanging from the stakes, and tried to support her weight with sand instead.

Then he took tweezers and snips and started to remove the thorns.  He broke off the sharp tips as close to the skin as he dared.  Then he lifted each body section off of the piercing, one wound at a time.

He worked as fast as he could; sure that he was racing the sunrise.  Every so often a drop of blood fell from his shoulder to splatter on the table.  That reminded him to swipe her face again.

Her tongue sticking out to lick her lips was the only sign of life.  Unlife?  He shrugged and went back to work.

When she was completely disengaged, he laid her on a folded napkin.  More blood on her face didn’t draw a reaction. 

Terr thought for a moment, then found a toothpick.  He opened a tiny hole in his wrist with his knife.  Then he dipped the pick into the wound and dabbed each puncture on Gabby’s body with it.  There was no change.

“I don’t know what to do,” he muttered, stroking her hair with a fingertip.  He carried her into the bedroom and placed her in the coffin.

Lord Staistchill and Tunnennderenstel found him at daylight, curled up beside the bed with a hand on the box underneath it.

“Passed out from blood loss,” Tunnenn suggested, gesturing at the drops staining the floor.  They were part of a path they’d followed from the wolf’s body.

“See what's keeping the healer,” Stais ordered, lifting his handyman to the bed. 


Ten days later, about midnight, Terr was back in his home, finally released by Lord Stais and his personal physician.  He was in the bedroom, sitting on his bed.  Before him were two cash chests. 

One was the money for killing a wolf.  Everyone had been surprised that the reward was still in effect.  It was enough to buy a trained horse or two stout mules.

The other was the Queen’s compensation for his efforts in securing the boat.  A new wing on the Englishman museum was being built to house it and the many finds they’d unearthed.  Unboated?  Found. 

That was enough money to build his own museum.  He just didn’t know what he’d put in it.

There was no change to the burial box.  He’d pulled it out just after sundown.  A quick peek inside showed that Gabbishella was still in there, still lifeless.  Maybe even more pale.  He put her back, and had been sitting on the bed since.

He was slowly facing up to the fact that if she hadn’t moved by now, she wasn’t going to.  He considered offering fresh blood, but he’d tried that the night she’d…  That night.

He finally rose, picked up her box, what she’d called her ‘coffin.’  He put her down under the flowers at the top of the garden.  “It’s real pretty here,” he told her.  “You’ll like looking around her.  Not now, of course, but when the flowers bloom.”

Terr visited the grave every day.  He kept working for the Lord, despite the riches.  He really had nothing he wanted to spend the money on.

Six months after he met Gabbishella, a relative of the Queen escorted him to the grand opening of the museum wing.  It was actually amazing how many things the little people had crammed into the space of the hull.

His interest was piqued enough to search for signs of a woman aboard the vessel.  But she’d left nothing behind, except for the trunks he had in his sock drawer.  After deciding that, there was nothing much to interest him at the party.

He made polite noises until the Duchess was ready to return to her own holdings.  She dropped him off at the gate to his home.

The full moon made him nostalgic for the short time he’d had a roommate, of sorts.  He went to see the little gravesite.

Terr knelt at the spot he always used, and started telling Gabbishella about the museum.  As he went on, though, he got a strange feeling.

Much the way he’d known she was under the wolf, he knew she was under the rose bush.  And he knew she was alive, or her version of life.

“Maker above,” he whispered, then began digging with his bare hands.  Roots snagged his fingers and stones cracked against his nails but he never paused.  Dirt flew as he burrowed straight to her resting place.

With quivering hands he raised the little box and rocked back on his heels.  A finger slowly extended towards the lid.

It flew back before he could touch it and a naked little woman leaped up to his face.

“How damned deep do you bury people around here?” she shouted.  He smiled and cupped his hands under her. 

“FOUR YEARS you bury me under the ground, and NOW you come around to visit me?  What do you have to say for yourself?” 

“It was six months, not four years,” he replied.  She sniffed and turned around.  He looked down at her naked back, still smiling like an idiot. “And I visited you every day.”

“Day?” she asked, looking over her shoulder.  “Day?  You remember that little sun allergy I have?”


“Oh, indeed.”  Gabrielle turned back to facing him, hands on her hips.  “I’ve been trapped, waking up every night, waiting for you to come visit, so I could call you to rescue me.  But NO….”

“I’m so sorry,” he said.  “I mean, you told me that you needed the homeland earth in the cushions of your burial box to get better.  You never got better.  You were in the box for a week.”  He sunk down to sit on the ground.  “I thought you were really, truly dead.”

Her shoulders dropped, softening.  Her frown turned up into a slight smile.  “Oh, you.  I AM dead, you dunderhead.”  She jumped down to the ground and looked around.   As she started walking towards the house, she muttered,  “You had better not have burned all my clothes.”

Terr carefully shut the lid and stood to follow her. 

He ended up laying on the bedroom floor, watching her drag a trunk into her box to get dressed.

She shouted out to him as she sorted through her clothes.  “I’m guessing that I’m alive because of you,” she said.  “Drinking as much of your blood as I have, I must have moved my homelands.  Were you born here?”

“Just down the road,” he replied.

“That’s it, then.  Where’s that belt?  Ah.  Anyway, being in the coffin didn’t help until I was surrounded by the dirt of my home.  My new home.”

She poked her head out of the door and smiled at Terr.  “Our home,” she said softly.  He nodded back.  “So what did I miss?”  She ducked back out of sight as he spoke.

He told her a few things he’d reported to her grave during the days he’d visited.  He spoke of the museum again.  And he told her of the cash rewards.

“I feel guilty about the wolf one,” he admitted.  “I only survived because of you.”

“Damn straight,” she called back.   “Maybe I can help you figure out how to spend all that.”

She stepped into sight and Terr’s big heart nearly stopped.   He reached out slowly.  Gabrielle sat in his palm and waited.

She fidgeted restlessly as he lifted her up and out.  After he sat at the chair, he held her under the lamp’s light to see her clearly.

She’d been seen by this giant in her negligee, in a clubbing dress, naked, nude, burning, dead, double dead and dancing in his own blood. But after years of ripping critics’ spines out, she was strangely anxious about his response to this look.

Gabrielle dropped lightly from his hand to stand on the table.  She gave a spin that flared out her dress.  “What do you think?”

He smiled.  She took a rare breath and felt a weight drop off of her spine.  “This is my Halloween costume,” she explained.  “It’s what I wore the last time I saw sunlight.”

Her blouse and skirt were simple (although the quality of materials was higher than even a noble of her childhood could have aspired to).  Her hair was gathered by a brooch, and a light gold necklace graced her neck. 

The crucifix was long gone.  It had been plunged into the eye of a dire rat, if she remembered correctly.  She decided not to tell that tale right away.

“You’re beautiful,” he said.  She listened to his heart as he spoke, but she already knew he was sincere.

“Thanks,” she said.  They gazed at each other for a moment.  She felt an unaccustomed hesitation.  When he moved, she actually yelped in surprise. 

Terr pulled a knife out of his pocket and held it over his wrist.

“So, uh, do we have to start all over again?  You drinking from me, me drinking from you, I mean.  Or, well, what do we do next?”

Gabrielle blinked a few times.  “You want to be my servant?” she finally asked.

“If that’s what you want,” he said.  He gestured at the house around him.  “I spent the last half of a year realizing I don’t have much of a life.  Not without someone in it.  And you’re the only someone I want.”  He tightened his grip on the knife.  “So, whatever I have to do to be in your life…”

“Stop!” she shouted.  She turned and paced for a second, aware of his gaze.  “I don’t need you to be my servant,” she said. 

“Oh,” was all he said.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Gabrielle said, turning to face up to him again.  “We’re bonded, somehow, already.  I want to explore that for a while.  Who knows, maybe this is something better?”

“Yeah,” he said.  “Maybe you’re my familiar.”  She winced at being reduced to someone else’s fetch.  Even if he was bigger than a whale.

“Whatever,” she compromised.  “It’s just…  Well, Terrpragoh, I haven’t had a friend in a long, long time.”  She rolled her eyes up and pouted her lips.  “Would you pwease be my fwend?”

“What’s wrong with your lip?” he asked.  “Are you having problems talking?” 

She crossed her arms and glared.  “Just answer the question, fuck head.”

“Yes,” he laughed.  “I’d very much enjoy being your friend, Gabrielle,” he said, sounding out her name very carefully.  She whooped in joy and jumped up to his throat.  Crushed into his skin by his hug, she breathed in the smell of him.

“Whose perfume is this?” she asked in a tense voice.

“The Duchess,” he said calmly, unaware of the impending explosion.

“The.  Duchess,” she repeated, biting off each word.  “And how did you come to be wearing the Duchess’ perfume?”

His fingers grabbed at her hips, trying to pluck her up where he could see her.  She gripped his throat and refused to move.

“We rode in her carriage,” he explained.  “She was my escort to the opening.”

“Her scent touches your collar,” Gabrielle pointed out.  “How close did you sit in her carriage?”

“Oh, that.  She fell when I was handing her down, I caught her and lowered her to the pavement.”

“How often do you think that a Duchess steps from a carriage?” she asked.  His throat went pale where her grip on his skin tightened.  “Generally, nobility that can’t negotiate a flight of stairs die off, letting the physically competent rise to dominate the gene pool.”

“Gabbishella, you’re hurting me,” he complained.

“I’m barely dead for SIX MONTHS and you’re plucking over-perfumed, slutty aristocrats out of thin air….”  She felt a deep sigh escape the throat beneath her as she screamed about his adulterous ways.

He broke into laughter a second before she burst into giggles.

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