Chlorophyll

Mae's Mazes 
#1
The new moon was close.

Beauregard could sense it in his appetite. His mood was perhaps best described as "toothy," and he was nosing about away from home evening.

But he was also cheerful, a potentially troublesome mix of feelings.

Hedge mazes were no new attraction, and yet he could not recall the last time he'd visited one. Many decades, surely.

He'd worked his way quite deep into the greenery, occasionally rising on his toes for some teasing peak over the walls. Though breathing was no ordinary necessity, he did it here, seeking any scent of dinner or danger.

Running his fingers through a twisted topiary as he passed it, Beauregard hummed to himself, alive with the terrible energy that came with such dark skies.
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#2


Anything above thirty degrees Celsius was too damn hot in Julie's opinion.

Having spent most of her life in a largely semi-arid country, the young woman had no qualms whatsoever dressing to make the heat as tolerable as possible. Outfits that could breathe usually involved a showing off generous amount of skin, but Julie was hardly averse to doing so anyway. Stripping down with a bunch of people every month made short work of any bashfulness in that department.

As for something to do with her Friday night, Julie hadn't the slightest idea.

With it being so hot, most indoor endeavors were a quick and resounding no. Ergo, spending her evening out and about was really the only option. Such possibilities as strip malls weren't in the cards tonight since Julie had no real interest in crowds or places frequented by them, which narrowed things down even further.

Short of simply wandering through the woods, Julie couldn't think of much else besides the hedge maze of Avondale.

It was quite the neat little place, secluded and peaceful. Few vehicles had been parked outside its entrance upon her arrival, appealing to her solitary disposition, and she was quick to brave the hedge and let her thoughts wander.

Although, her quiet evening was eventually disrupted by the reek of carrion, unpleasant to say the least.
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#3
outfit something like this but a less heavy jacket finding outfits is hard :<


It would be a time before he sniffed it out. Truly, he thought at first that it might be an actual animal. Shifters sincerely did smell like beasts, and Beauregard had passed a dog on the street enough times to recognize the stench.

He could not see it, though he could hear it. There was the option to simply flutter into a bird and seek her out, but what was the fun in that? They were in a hedge maze, after all. Perhaps they'd bump into one another naturally.

Or, alternatively, he could try to coax it into his path.

So he did, whistling a few times in the way that one might summon a dog, though it was hard to maintain the sound with a smirk.
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#4
The odds of finding days-old roadkill in a hedge maze were unlikely, but there was hope.

Rather, the hope was there until the roadkill started whistling the sort of tune normally reserved for dogs.

Apparently Julie had stumbled upon a corpse with a sense of humor.

She rolled her eyes. "Hijo de puta."

Still, curiosity got the better of her. Unless a vampire suddenly sprang from the surrounding foliage, she didn't see any cause for immediate concern. For better or for worse, Julie's inner wolf also had little say in the matter, lurking deep inside her head with the full moon so far away.

Continuing her stroll at a leisurely pace, it wasn't that difficult to follow the scent and sounds, the maze's twisting corridors posing the only real obstacle. One corner led to another, and the scent steadily grew stronger.
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#5
Sharp ears could pick out some hint of language, but not well enough to identify the words. It sounded female, at least.

He continued through the greenery, letting his fingers brush against it as he walked. She smelled quite certainly of another dog, and he thought back on the one he'd seen only the other day.

And the snake. His skin crawled a bit, and he cast a brief glance to the ground as though there might be one near his feet. Naturally, there was not.

Continuing to wind and twist, bumping into an occasional dead end, eventually she sounded very, very close. He turned the corner to find... well, a woman dressed for evening activity, surely, though not the type he was interested in. His eyebrows rose in exaggerated surprise.

"Two monsters out for a nighttime stroll, it seems," he said, gaze and voice mirthful.
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#6
Julie thought she heard footsteps before the two suddenly came face to face.

He looked like an old man and was dressed like an old man, and there was a teacher look about him that quite frankly didn't do him any favors in current company. Teachers had never been Julie's favorite kind of people. Nevertheless, he had quite the dramatic, bewildered expression on his face, one that the young woman reciprocated with a mildly incredulous look of her own.

Perhaps she had been expecting Dracula. Maybe she had been expecting Luke Evans.

Two monsters by moonlight, or the lack of it.

"Looks like it." Julie wasn't sure what exactly she had been hoping for, but she found herself feeling the slightest bit disappointed.

Looking him over once more, she raised her brows, waiting to see if he had anything else to add.
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#7
In the seconds it took her to assess him, he did the same of her. She was terribly, terribly tall, made gawkier by how little clothing she used to cover such long legs. Beauregard could sense disappointment, and perhaps she'd wanted some aggressive interaction.

A tilt of his head, and he sought the casual sort of eye contact that came with conversation. The accent was unpleasant, and he had never bothered to learn Spanish.

But her dog friend had performed him a service, so perhaps he could start polite.

"A long way from Cedar Creek," he mused thoughtfully.

That was, quite abruptly, when he was reminded of Katya. She was hardly so dreadfully tall, but they both had overly pretty features.

"You are part of that..." A wave of his hand. "Pack, I assume?"
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#8
He was so average, for lack of a better word; this man, this vampire, could blend into just about any crowd, and most would be none the wiser for it.

That sounded like the most dangerous kind of vampire.

Julie was silent as he flaunted what he knew about her, or wolves in general. As irksome as it was to hear one taunt after another come out of his mouth, the young woman supposed that the pack must have been notorious among the undead when such efforts were made to keep them out of Cedar Creek.

"I am," She said, flicking her wrist in a parody of his own gesture, "You seem well-informed."

Sure, she would throw him a bone, acknowledge his omniscience if that put a stop to the theatrics.

Although she was used to it, the difference was somewhat amusing as she looked down to meet his gaze.
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#9
She thought herself clever, it seemed, and Beauregard was happy to handle clever mutts.

"I do try to be," he said. The dog met his gaze, a handy thing, and it was difficult not to smile. "It pays to be informed when there are so many animals at your heels."

His next words came laced with the power he'd become so good at, though there would be no change in his demeanor or gaze.

"You'll forget all of this as soon as I insist, I'm afraid. Though you don't seem especially enthused, so I imagine it is a small loss. What were you hoping to find here in a maze after dark, dear?"

Beauregard hoped she would give him some reason to be ruder.



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1

#10
Julie simply rolled her eyes at first.

She honestly didn't give a shit about his heels, or any other part of him for that matter; he did have an annoying smile, though.

Then he went on to spout nonsense like he was some hypnotist, and Julie's incredulous look deepened into a frown. Suffice it to say that she was skeptical, but there was no telling what these leeches could actually do. "Right."

"I come here for the peace and quiet," she said, figuring she could at least answer that, "Normally there aren't ancianos whistling for me."

Let him figure it out.

With a raised brow, she crossed her arms and threw his question back at him. "Why do you come here?"
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#11
It was a strange choice of women who thought themselves clever. They dipped into other languages, some sort of bilingual Tourette's. Her doubt was a very, very kind thing, and Beauregard felt a giddy rush of anticipation for what could follow.

"Near the new moon, us vampires do get a tad restless, not unlike your group and the full moon."

He was so informative! How kind.

"If you are part of the pack, you must be quite familiar with its members. Do you know a Jane Smith, perhaps?"

Beauregard was entirely convinced, still, that the name was fake. He listened to every bit of her heartbeat, every flux of her emotions, in hopes that he could read some form of acknowledgment or bafflement.
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#12
How very informative indeed; Julie couldn't help but raise her brows.

"Fascinating," she said with a touch more energy since it was one of the more noteworthy things to fall from his lips.

Yet, for every scrap of information he gave, the old man probed for twice as much. Julie openly scoffed at his assumption that she was all that familiar with the entirety of the pack. Beyond knowing names and the faces they belonged to, the young woman didn't feel as though she knew many of her packmates that well.

Then he asked about Jane, one of the few wolves Julie really considered a friend, and Julie's protectiveness of her immediately rushed to the surface.

Her gut told her to walk away.

Whatever this was, whoever he was, Julie's gut told her to take it straight back to Cedar Creek. Some vampire asking about Jane was a step too far.

"Don't think so," she said, turning to double back the way she came, "How about John Smith?"

There was no purpose to her question than perhaps to irk him. Regardless, she was done with his games.
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#13
Delightful.

He could hear it in her little heart, feel it in the twist into discomfort. Such confidence failing her, and as she turned her back on him, he felt very tempted to grasp her by the hair.

There was a hint of regret, now, that he wasn't close to home. This would have been a good dog to test with Taraneh, but he was doubtful she lingered all the way out here.

Beauregard did not follow, not immediately. He would allow her to put some distance between them before calling out in a thoughtful sort of tone.

"For such a demure name, I've heard she has a rather whorish streak, turning humans with what I'm sure is a pretty little mouth considering her partners."
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#14
Leave this roadkill behind and go straight to Alina—if there were vampires looking for one of their own, then the King needed to know.

No sound of footsteps followed Julie as she turned to walk away, which was promising at first, but she only made it a few steps before more words spilled from his rotten mouth. His taunts stopped the young woman in her tracks, anger rising in her veins; the old man made sport of flaunting what he knew about Jane and her progeny.

How did he know about them?

Julie's better judgement told her to keep walking, but it wasn't in her nature to let blatant disrespect go unanswered. In the ring, anyone who talked shit with her deserved nothing less than a painful lesson in humility.

The young woman turned on her heel and attempted to close the distance with inhuman speed, hurling a fist toward his ugly nose and hoping to shatter it with all the strength she had.



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#15
He could sense her anger and it delighted him. Decidedly, Jane Smith was very real, and she apparently was known well enough for her sloppy-mouthed efforts on Katya.

The girl was no beast, not yet. She could kick and punch and scratch with her little human nails, but it would take time for her to turn into a beast, if she was anything like the fat jaguar he'd seen. In a minute of writhing and changing, he could kill her. If it took several minutes, like it had with the cat, she could be dead many times over.

And in a single word, he could make her forget everything she'd seen here.

A stupid animal in the wrong form, alone deep within a maze. She struck at him, an effort easy to see coming and side step, and that was all it took for a hair-trigger so close to the new moon. Claws sprouted from the ends of his fingers, and mindful to keep her at an arm's length, he swiped toward her face, hoping to claw into her eyes and blind her as his jaw popped noisily out of place to reveal growing fangs.

miss!


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#16
It was one thing to practice on slow, blundering humans at the Cage day in and day out, and it was something else entirely to dance with something as quick and deadly as her. The vampire easily evaded her first throw, sprouting claws and fangs as it lashed out at her in kind. In that precise moment, Julie was exceedingly thankful for her training as she stepped backward and narrowly escaped those claws.

This thing was was getting uglier by the second as its jaw snapped open like a snake's.

The wolf in her felt a supreme desire to kill it and rid the world of one more abomination.

However, she didn't pose as much of a threat to him as he did to her at the moment. Julie didn't have fangs or claws capable of ripping his head off, and shifting would take too long.

So she gave him a bras d'honneur and bolted into the maze.
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#17
There was an unfortunate reality of bloodlust. While its name certainly implied a desire for any blood, the gangly bitch in front of him was no meal. A more civilized part of himself had been hoping she would fight back, to start shifting and engage him for a quick and focused end.

Instead she waved her hand nonsensically, taking off with a quickness he did not expect.

Beauregard was a very intelligent man, but ferality helped no one's intellect. He tore after her, but a maze was an ugly task, and he clawed furiously at shrubs and hedges as he went.

Eventually, it was clear he was outpacing her. Starving and finding little use in chasing something inedible, he gave a single ugly screech into the night air, loudly enough that she would surely hear it.

"Forget it all!"

Enough to wipe her mind, but regrettably not enough to get himself out of the maze any faster.
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#18
Putting as much distance as she could between herself and the thing that was after her, Julie belatedly realized how sinister a maze could be when trying to escape it and the monsters it held. Then came that howling screech, a command which caused Julie to quickly come to a halt, out of breath without any recollection as to why.

What was she doing?

Wiping a bead of sweat from her forehead, the young woman looked around, trying to piece together why she had been running. In the absence of memory, rational thought latched onto the first explanation that her mind could conjure up.

Julie had been spent long enough in the maze. The infinite twists and turns were playing tricks on her, so it was time to head home.
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