Arianna Estrada

Former grad student Embraced to preserve talents


It was an unnaturally warm February night when my life ended. I was a grad student making ends meet as I worked on my thesis, a sculpture that would be my big breakout in New Dagon’s art scene. I would occasionally moonlight as an art model.

This time was different. As I strolled into the empty studio, a shiver worked its way down my spine. A petite woman with fiery hair, not much older than myself stood beside her canvas and easel. The attraction was almost immediate. My back straightened subconsciously.

I clasped her icy hand as I introduced myself. “My name is Arianna, we spoke on the phone?”

She nodded and motioned towards the platform. “I am Naomi.” Her lips curled into a haughty smile. “Thank you for making an exception and coming at night, I know the neighborhood can be…dicey.”

“I suppose one night won’t hurt me, as long as I can get home quickly.” I turned towards the dais and shed my skirt and unbuttoned my blouse, as I folded them neatly and laid them on a wooden chair. I turned towards her, a blush creeping onto my cheeks. “Is there….a particular pose you needed?”

I could feel her eyes inspecting me. I looked down to the floor, for the first time unsure of myself. She laughed and before I knew it stood beside me, using her hands to position me. The air was electric and I tried to contain my heart as it started to make my chest tighten. She allowed her fingertips to graze my shoulder-blades, knowing the effect it had on me.

She walked towards her chair, gathering her supplies. “You are an artist as well, are you not?” she asked. She began to paint. My eyes widened at her rapid, precise strokes.

I spoke quietly as to not move and disturb her work. “Yes, I am a sculptress. I’m getting my Master’s.” All I could do is was stare at her face as she concentrated on her piece.

“I have seen some of your work. Very Neo-Classical.” Naomi looked at her and I could see something….shift. She stopped and stood up slowly. “We’re both creators, you and I. What do you want your art to do, to be? Why do you create?”

My eyebrows knit in confusion. “What…what do you mean?”

“Oh, have you never asked why you must breathe life into your stone? Why Monet and Botticelli and Cezanne put the brush to canvas?”

“Well…” I contemplated. “Sculpture lasts forever….art is remembered. A way to immortality.” I sighed. “Maybe it’s because I’m young but I want the world to remember my name.”

“That’s not naive.” She was next to me now, I could feel her next to my neck. “We all want to make our mark. It’s a shame talent and beauty fade, don’t you think?”

I gulped and could only stare at her, frozen in place. “I don’t know.”

“Oh, but I do. More than you will ever know. " I could feel her fangs break my skin. I couldn’t even gasp or scream. The life ebbed out of me, she drained me and I died. But as she held her wrist to my mouth, I was given new essence. And my unlife has never been the same.

Arianna Estrada

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