“O, come back sweet angel,
For thou art more wond’rous than the twinkling stars,
That fill the sky,
Like a thousand diamonds,
Resting on a cushion of black velvet.”
The words rang in her head like a nightmare, the softness and smoothness of his voice echoing in her ears as she closed her eyes, the tears seeping from beneath her lashes and falling slowly down her soft cheeks. She sighed and then wiped her tears on the back of her hand. Opening her eyes she saw once again the cold, barren whiteness that surrounded her, her blue eyes glittering like jewels in her pale face that was set like porcelain. Her raven hair was covered in the soft white flakes, the snow still falling. Her wet eyelashes were frozen, encrusted with ice as she starred up at the sky. She couldn’t feel anything, only cold, the chillness of the soft flakes that continued to cover her. Her clothes were torn from the trees in the thick woods, her face stinging from cuts and scratches, the thirst burning in her throat. But she felt nothing but the cold, only the cold. It surrounded her like a blanket, like a chill embrace, holding her tight.
She heard the footsteps approaching, moving across the snow slowly, the snow crunching beneath the black leather boots, the toes white with snow. She saw in the corner of her eye the tall figure fall to his knees in the snow. He swept the snow from her face and hair, lifting her limp and broken body in his arms. She feel against his chest, her body motionless as he got to his feet and began to walk in the direction from which he had come. The wind was chill as he walked on and on, finally the small cabin was in sight. The cabin lay nestled in the small valley, the cliffs on each side steep, with only the stars and snow above. She heard the door open, smelt the wood in the fire heard the low crackling as he carried her down the three steps and through the open living room. He carried her slowly down a flight of stairs and then another and another, descending lower into the rock. She could hear the water trickling down the rock, but it wasn’t cold down there, it was warm, she could feel the warmth of a fire, smell the wax of the candles, hear the soft murmur of the TV.
He laid her gently on the bed, her body sinking down into the soft mattress and covers, her eyes open a little, her vision blurred. She heard him walking around, adjusting the volume of the TV, extinguishing a few candles. She felt his warm fingers begin to unbutton her shirt, he paused for a moment as the fabric fell to the side revealing her breasts, and then as if nothing had happened, proceeded. She lay silently as he continued to remove her clothing and then gently ran a warm, damp cloth over her limbs, taking care to clean the dried blood from her arms, legs and face. He pressed the cloth to her cracked lips, the liquid soon softening them again; her gently removed the leaves and twigs from her hair and then slowly brushed it until it shone like ebony. She felt the cold a little, but she began to warm up, the warmth of the fire and his kindness moving through her limbs, it was as if she could feel the heat flowing through her veins.
A soft sigh rolled over her lips as he lifted her gently and slipped the satin gown over her pale limbs, she struggled to help him by moving her limbs but could not. His voice was soft and gentle as he said,
“Don’t move, its okay” she relaxed a little as he gently laid her back against the pillows. Lifting her legs he slipped them beneath the covers, pulling them up around her chest, she looked at him, his face a blur as he leant forward and patted her hand. He smiled at her and then ascended the stairs up into the cabin, moving her head she looked around slowly, observing her surroundings, which were simply a blur of light and color. The sleep tugged at her limbs, beckoning to her as she lay there, perfectly still, perfectly silent, perfect. Closing her eyes she let her mind wander and opened them to darkness, nothing around her except darkness, she felt the fear creeping over her like a spider, its long legs covering her slowly. But she still smelt the candle wax, could hear the distant crackling of a fire, hear the muffled sound of music from above, she still felt the satin around her, the warmth of the bed, the softness of his touch lingering on her skin. Closing her eyes again she knew she was safe, knew that he would take care of her, who ever he was.
He watched her silently from the shadows, hearing her soft breaths, watching her chest rise and fall with each delicate breath. Her ebony hair like a dark crown, splayed on the stark white pillows, her long black lashes curling on her delicate, high cheek bones. He heard a soft gasp leave her lips, a slight distortion to her face as the nightmare raged on in her head, her thoughts a cloud of confusion and terrifying images. Closing his eyes tight he cut off the connection, the silence and stillness of the vast room once again filling his mind. The ethereal sound of music above drifted down the stairs slowly, the light footsteps echoing as the young boy finally emerged beside him. He looked down at the boy, resting his hand on the boy’s small shoulder. Tousling Michael’s he looked at her again, her face calm and smooth once more.
He felt Michael slip his arm around his waist, his small fingers pressing into John’s side as Michael rested against his hip. The man of thirty years, yet in appearance not a day older than sixteen, his loose blonde hair level with his eyes, his soft and gentle eyes the color of almonds. Michael sighed as he watched John’s eyes still locked on the woman, withdrawing slowly he moved back against the wall, hiding himself in the shadows as he watched John, the tears gathering in his eyes. He moved slowly and silently back up the stairs, leaving John in the darkness watching the woman. He cursed his tears as he walked through the living room, opening the door he stumbled back a few paces, the wind striking him in the chest, not really all that strong, it would not have moved a grown man, but he was merly a child and always would be. The sky was beginning to pale in the distance, dawn nearing, his eyes growing heavy yet he trudged on through the deep snow, struggling with each step.
The snow was no longer falling, yet the air was chill, his tears freezing on his cheeks, his hands thrust deep into the pockets of his corduroy slacks as he walked on and on. He could feel the numbness in his feet; the snow caked to his black boots, clinging to the folds in his slacks that were too long, too big, borrowed from John. He stumbled in the snow, falling face first into the chill whiteness, he rolled over onto his back to see the sky paling even more, the stars and moon gone, the clouds in the distance glowing orange with the coming sun. The light made his eyes ache, the sleep pulling at his limbs; he closed his eyes gently, resigning himself to sleep and no doubt death. He knew he would die when the sunlight fell upon him, he whispered to the snow and the sky and the coming sun,
“I love you, John.” Suddenly he felt John’s arms closing around him, lifting his body from the snow,
“Damn you Michael, damn you for making me love, damn you to Hell”
“Hell would not want me” Michael laughed scornfully as he clung to John’s chest, his arms wrapped about John’s neck as he felt the wind rushing past them. He knew they were flying, he closed his eyes once again, the sleep enveloping him quickly, wrapped thick around his limbs like a soft, warm blanket.
Michael awoke the next evening, opening his eyes he saw John looking at him, his black eyes cold and hard, then he slowly softened, his mass of short black curls disheveled, his face weary and strained. Michael lowered his eyes, pulling at a loose thread on the comforter, sighing he looked up at John.
“Why Michael, why?” John’s voice was soft yet full of bitterness and strain, Michael bowed his head again, sweeping his hair behind his ear. He heard John get up from the end of the bed, and walk out of the room, his sigh stinging deep in Michael’s heart. He lay back against the pillows, closing his eyes slowly, letting the sigh roll over his lips. He awoke as he felt John pulling the comforter up to his shoulders, John’s fingers warm and gentle as he swept Michael’s hair out of his eyes, his lips brushing Michael’s cheek. Still leaning towards Michael, John closed his lips around the small, silver ring in Michael’s ear and then whispered,
“I’m sorry.” Opening his eyes, Michael smiled and said,
“Me too.” John smiled softly, his cheeks a little red as Michael pushed the covers down to his waist and then threw them back, beckoning John to lie beside him. Slowly John lay down, the wool of his sweater soft and warm against Michael’s naked chest, his corduroy slacks warm against Michael’s naked thigh, Michael’s fingers gently pressing into John’s buttocks.
“Michael, not now” John whispered as Michael slipped his hands beneath John’s sweater, his fingers tracing the curves of John’s muscles. Slowly he unzipped John’s pants and began pushing them down over his buttocks, his tongue delving into John’s mouth. John pulled back, his cheeks flushed, his eyes down cast as he pulled up his pants. Standing up he straightened his sweater, Michael lay back, a look of abandon and hurt his eyes as he closed his eyes tight, his cheeks red as his tears began to fall, his hands pressed to his ears, blocking out John’s voice.
Sighing John looked at Michael, so much the child yet truly a thirty year old man, his shoulders shaking with his sobs, his knees pulled up to his chest, not caring that he was naked. John watched as Michael slowly took his hands away from his ears, his face relaxing as he opened his eyes, his lashes wet and matted as the color in his cheeks died away. John moved forward slowly, his arms hanging loosely by his sides, not knowing what to say as he stopped by the side of the bed. Michael rolled over onto his side and looked up at John, he saw the sorrow in John’s eyes, like shards of black glass set in his face of marble. Stepping onto the floor he brushed past John and quickly dressed, storming out of the room he walked through the living room and down the stairs into the room below. Michael looked bitterly at the woman who still lay sleeping, he heard John thundering down the stairs after him, taking the knife from his pocket Michael moved towards the bed, placing it inches above her slender throat.
John froze, his eyes wide with shock and fear, and then narrowing with anger and bitterness,
“Don’t you dare touch her, Michael” he said in a hushed whisper, all but hissing at Michael who glared at him, his almond eyes darkening with anger.
“She’s more important to you than I am, isn’t she? Isn’t she!” he shouted, his cheeks colored as his heart began to beat faster. John turned away, sighing in anguish. “So it’s true,” Michael said as he looked at John, his eyes sweeping over John’s back and shoulders. He threw the knife to the floor in rage, his tears streaming down his cheeks, “Is it because she’s a woman?” Michael asked, no reply came from John as he slowly turned around to face him again.
“Is that it? She’s a woman, something I can never be? If you like women so much, then why did you make me!”
“You were dying!” John hissed, his eyes deep yet showing nothing, “Would you rather have died in that cold street on that dark and wet night?”
“If it had saved me from the pain I feel now, yes!”
“So be it” John said, his voice low, soft, yet full of anger, “You wish to end this now?” he asked, his voice growing thick with emotion. Michael stamped his foot, his eyes dark, the anger swelling beneath the surface, gathering in his chest, and then spreading out through his limbs.
“You bastard! You have damned me to this weak body; I can never protect myself, even against a mortal! I am weak, small; I will never know what it is like to take a woman. You have destroyed my life!”
“Be grateful you have a life at all!” John shouted as he turned away again, his fists clenched at his sides,
“Why did you make me?” Michael asked, his voice soft and low as before.
“You were dying” John whispered,
“That’s not much of a reason” Michael said, “You made me, a complete stranger a Vampire because I was dying?”
“Yes” John hissed, his temper rising again, his cheeks blood red, as he became infuriated once more.
“That the only reason?” Michael asked, his voice mocking as he ran his hand over the woman’s face, her skin soft and smooth, his fingers passing over her lips.
“Don’t touch her” John said, his voice cold and harsh,
“Why is she so precious to you?” he asked as he ran his fingers through her hair.
“I said don’t touch her!” John said as he pushed Michael away from her, his hand striking Michael’s cheek. He looked at Michael, stunned, ashamed, “Michael, I’m… I’m sorry… I…” he stuttered as he watched Michael get up from the floor, his hand pressed to his red cheek. He shook his head, dazed as he looked at John, he brushed past him, running up the stairs and into the bedroom, and picking up the telephone he dialed the number of the airport. Just as the lady at the other end picked up, John wrenched the receiver from Michael’s hand and slammed it down, “I’m sorry” he whispered as he stepped close to Michael, feeling Michael’s breath on his face. Slipping his arms around him, John pulled Michael close, kissing Michael’s cheek tenderly, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.”
Michael wept, the tears cascading down his cheeks as he let John hold him tight to his chest, feeling John’s chest against his own, their hearts as always when they were near, falling in synch.
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