“Nothing and no one,” Raven said. “The rain kept them away.”
“Too bad it can’t rain every night,” Robin said. “Well, one less stinking job of the day.”
Raven chuckled. “Indeed. Thank you, my friends.” He bid them farewell. “I cannot remember a time I was so tired! Too much more of this, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
“You need some time in the soft arms of a talented woman,” Uriah said. “And Lilly’s sister, Rose has volunteered.”
“Her mother is fond of flowers.”
“Trust me, they are as fair as flowers. Though Lilly bears a mark, she is as pretty as her sister.”
“Believe me, I would enjoy that. Do you think she’d mind?”
“My friend, she begged me.”
That settled, Uriah stayed at the office and Raven went to the brothel. Anticipating a good romp brightened his spirits and he whistled as he walked. Heads turned and folk smiled. It was a different atmosphere from a few days ago, when people walked in fear. Now, they had something new—hope.
Arriving at the door, he was greeted by a bevy of lovely ladies. Rose was easily picked out by the roses she wore in her hair and on her robe. Taking him by the hand, she led him to the back, where a bath waited. It was the most luscious, and decadent, time he’d ever spent in a tub. Once they were both clean, Rose led him, naked, to a secluded alcove that had a cushion cluttered bed. Raven lay upon it, enjoying the cool cloth against his bath-warmed skin. Sinking to her knees, Rose plied skillful lips to him, until he roared his release.
While they waited for him to be ready once more, she kept his interest with a variety of techniques. Each more delightful than the last, soon he had recovered. This time, he wanted more than just her lips upon him. Insistent, he grasped her in strong hands, spearing her from below. Rose moaned softly, closing her eyes.
“So hot,” she breathed. “So firm!”
Raven had feared that making love to Osceola had spoiled him for human women, but he’d been wrong. It wasn’t as wild and uninhibited with Rose, but it was surely satisfying. She worked him well for several hours, finally allowing him to rest. Content and surfeit, he fell into a deep sleep.
To his chagrin, Osceola visited him once more. “Is this how you repay me, lover?” she snarled.
“My love, might a man relieve his need with another, when the object of his greater lust is not around? Surely, you have not been without a man’s touch since we parted.”
She had no answer, but she covered him in kisses, getting him good and hot. Raven woke with a start. Rose was once again giving him the special treatment he’d found so entertaining the first time. This time, he finished the way he wanted, and both of them were satisfied.
“It’s five o’clock,” she said softly. “It will be dark in a couple hours. Can you stay?”
“As much as I’d love to, I dare not. The rain kept the beasts at bay last night, but there is nothing to keep them away tonight. But I go about my job with renewed vigor, thanks to you. I must go.”
“There is food waiting for me there. If I can, I will be sure to stop again.”
He reached into his pocket, but she stopped him.
“I don’t require payment, this was something I could do, to thank you.”
“May I leave a gift?” He dangled a pretty silver bracelet in front of her.
Rose’s eyes widened as she gazed at the delicate piece. “It’s beautiful! Is that a tiny rose?”
“It is.” He had chosen it by accident, with the intention of giving it to his bed mate, whomever she might be. The fact it bore a rose was incidental, but he didn’t say so.
“This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever owned.” She kissed him deeply. “Stay.”
“I dare not. I will return.”
“But you could die!” she teared up.
“If I do, I die happy, sufficiently loved by a beautiful woman. What more can a man ask?”
He finished dressing, gave her one last kiss, and left. He arrived at the office far later than he’d intended. The bar had hardly fallen in place when he heard the first shuffling footsteps. They were distinctly faster tonight. Raven shuddered. He had to find the source of these creatures, and destroy it. He didn’t know how many more nights of this he could take.
Even more arrived, battering at the press until he thought it would come down. It held, but he perceived cracks in the wood. Rather than tempting fate, he retired early. Like before, the zombies followed him. Unlike before, they beat at the door and windows relentlessly. Their moaning sent chills up his spine. Dawn could not come soon enough, but the hours slipped slowly by.
The clock was just striking three, when something in the atmosphere changed. A quickening, with flashes of heat lightning, though this was hardly the season for that weather. The battering grew louder, steadier, more focused as if something had taken them in hand. Guided by some awe inspiring power, the zombies hammered at the outer wall. To his dismay, they moved to the sides, beating against them, too. Glad that the men had seen fit to reinforce these as well, he sat in the middle of the front room, praying.
Raven wasn’t a religious man, though his aunt had insisted upon Sunday services in the small parish church. He’d given up on Divine Intervention long ago, counting instead upon his own skills to forge his destiny. But when the first glass pane broke and the zombies set upon the wood behind it, he found himself uttering every prayer he could remember, making some up, to boot.
©2021 Dellani Oakes