A new home for Selda, her new love and the young woman in her care. The dusty wooden rooms would shield her from the glaring rays of the sun.
Settling into their new home was easy and the little family was comfortable there. Selda’s belly was growing large with child. The villagers had a new interpretation of an ancient ritual her Ojas sisters had observed. She chuckled to herself, knowing that this ceremony had originally been about owning a Sheba man’s heart, body and soul. But the happy new arrangement suited her just fine. She loved this man but was confident in the power she held over him.
Her belly growled and ached, her body was swollen and changing and she couldn’t regulate her own emotions. She felt the saliva in her mouth and her teeth throb. She grabbed Raheem, not to kiss him sweetly, not to proclaim her never-dying love, but to sink her fangs into his soft skin.
She feels guilt for drinking from her lover on the eve of their love ceremony, but she needed to feed her growing baby. Poor Raheem is a tasty treat that she drinks from often and he grows weaker and weaker. Selda is disappointed in her own ways but can not fight them. She knows that draining his blood on such a regular occurrence isn’t healthy for him, and when his lifeless body is found in the back garden behind their cottage, she disposes of the body before the villagers can suspect her.
Raheem’s demise is heartbreaking but the joy she feels when her little Roesli is born quickly overshadows it.
Her skin was startlingly blue, soft and sweet. She’s a beautiful child so the initial shock is followed by smiles and friendship. Roesli impresses everyone she meets with her little babbles and silly jokes, and the village one day stops gossiping about her strange skin. She is accepted into the community, even though most people didn’t extend the same warmth towards her mother.
Selda is happy to raise the funny little girl, even happier than she had been raising Maria, who has pulled away from Selda. She eyes her with suspicion now, and Selda feels the most tremendous regret after even the tiniest sip from her luscious neck.
She feels intense remorse, she fights with herself, she screams into the night. She is argumentative and angry. She finds herself in arguments with her beloved Maria. She finds herself in physical brawls with the villagers.
She tries to keep her thirst for blood contained, and tries to feel satisfied drinking from animals. At first just the small ones, then even the larger animals. She encounters a large, furry beast, and anticipates a full meal. She believes the moon will give her the strength she needs to overcome such a large creature, one with rippling muscles and shiny teeth similar to her own. The beast fights back.
The growls and claws she encounters were not worth the risk. She uses all her strength and just barely survives. The beast escapes and she remains hungry.
Her only comfort is her stunningly beautiful daughter, Roesli Brooker. Her long curly hair is proof that strong Ojas blood runs through her veins. She wonders if the girl feels the same strange hunger but the charming girl does not mention it. The girl is close to Maria and her new husband, she is popular.
Both Maria and Roesli are well liked and Selda can’t help but feel jealous of their relationship. Maria is now the lady of the house and is less and less shy about showing her disdain for Selda, the woman who had once rescued her from the fire in the grass. Selda worries that Roesli prefers Maria now. A lady that can take her about town, can throw her nice parties, things that a growing woman of today would enjoy.
It’s a dusky sunset and Selda is about to set off on her nightly hunt. But she is greeted by her beloved Maria, who walks up along the path towards Selda. She is angry. Selda can almost smell how hard her mortal heart is beating. She licks her lips and feels an urge she is too preoccupied to be ashamed of.
Maria has just given birth to a little boy and has been protective and secretive, she doesn’t like Selda to visit the small squirmy bundle of soft skin. But still, Selda is shocked that her sweet girl is now saying that she doesn’t want Selda anywhere near her little boy. Selda strikes her love. She does not think. She reacts. Her thirst is strong and she wants to devour the fiery woman.
But the light of the moon flickers, and Selda is reminded that this woman had been a baby that once survived a fire that killed an entire family. Maria now had something to protect, something to fight for, just as she had when her tiny infant life was in danger. She fights back, and somehow catches Selda off guard and in a lightening fast moment is on top of Selda.
She looks down and her dark eyes are holes of hell in comparison to the flames of her hair. The Baby born of the Flame is no ordinary baby, is no average woman, and Selda feels real terror for the first time in her life. Maria’s boot rises from the ground and is crushingly fast to come down on Selda’s face and things go dark. There is a sickening thud before the darkness is gone and all that remains is a vast nothingness.