I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.


    ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Share
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Sat May 14, 2016 4:45 pm

    It was difficult to measure the passage of time in that room. The lack of windows made artificial light a necessity and the shadows crept in with dark eyes and black tongues no matter the time of day.

    Fabien was forced to keep prisoner’s time, teasing guesses as to the hour and the day from the light glimpsed in the corridor when the door was opened and how often he was fed. Still, certainly at least a full day had passed since he had woken for the first time in that cell, although it could have been two or even three. It was undoubtedly long enough for his muscles to ache with disuse if he had not found an opportunity to stretch them.

    The boy had doubtless become accustomed to the dreary routine. Colombe’s attitude was surly, that of a child forced to care for the family dog for a week as punishment, but she tended to the boy as she had been instructed. It was difficult to find fault with her care. However, anything the boy had to say on her frequent visits went unheeded as she performed a plausible imitation of having fallen deaf as well as mute. Despite her resistance, there was no real cruelty in her gestures; his meals were often delivered hot, the food clearly the excess of her own freshly-made repast.

    Tariq had only slipped into the room once, briefly, and only then when the urchin was asleep. He was proficient as any doctor as he scrutinized the boy’s vitals, his hand cool against the bare skin of his chest. If Fabien had awoken during his administrations, he found the vampire had little interest in discussion and had departed swiftly.

    Mostly, it was a lonely vigil for the involuntary invalid. Colombe made an attempt to accommodate his requests and he was given free reign of the room, should he have gained the strength to roam, but his freedom ended abruptly at the solid wood of the perpetually locked door.

    Now, however, that door swung open with rare urgency. Colombe entered with her usual silence but her hands were empty. This in itself was unusual, as the girl did not make a habit of social calls, but even more disquieting was the palpable distress that shed from her like molting feathers. Her dark eyes were as wide as they’d been when she had bandaged his throat, fear that threatened to grow into terror glinting wet within them. She stepped inside swift enough to nearly trip over her own feet and stopped in the middle of the room as though at a loss, wringing her hands in front of her. Her gaze was intense, almost frantic, on the boy.

    The house was, as a rule, exceptionally soundless as though blanketed in a death-shroud that muffled all noise. Both inhabitants that walked its halls were soft of foot and of voice, and the boy was as likely to overhear the faint rustle of shivering leaves as he was the murmur of the vampire’s voice on the infrequent occasion he spoke to the girl in his service.

    Now the source of the girl’s worry became clear, floating up from the ground floor like a tendril of smoke. The vampire’s voice, unmistakably, ash-grey and serpent-soft, was raised in genial conversation. And in answer, as faint as the scratching of a mouse in the walls, a fluted response. It was too faded to easily discern the gender or age of its speaker, but it certainly did not belong to any of the usual inhabitants.

    There was a stranger in the house. And, judging from the tightness of the girl’s lips as she worried her hands together, their presence did not bode well.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sun May 15, 2016 8:03 am

    Fabien was found stretched languidly across his luxurious prison cot, his legs raised and bare feet pressed up against the wall.The scent of smoke still lingered faintly on the air, casting the room in a dull haze which clung and misted around the lamp-light.  One of the boy's arms was draped over the edge of the bed, while his long fingers skimmed over the polished boards. His other hand was held aloft, the wrist flexing and fingers gesturing into the empty air as though he were conjuring invisible coins. His movements cast serpentine shadows across the walls, filling the empty room with an audience of silent demons. He had been caught singing softly, just under his breath, no doubt practising to this imaginary crowd.

    The girl’s sudden and unexpected intrusion shook the urchin from his stupor, and his heart thudded miserably against the back of his throat. This initial terror was short-lived, and a wave of relief surged through him when he realised it was Colombe, and not her master. The vampire’s absence had began to gnaw into the youth's bones, haunting his sleep and burning holes through the fibre of his thoughts. This constant and unrelenting anticipation had affected him visibly,  for the the shadows beneath his eyes were still dark, and his appetite had been all but stolen away.

    This time Fabien did immedately greet the girl in his usual eager manner, it appeared he had grown weary of begging scraps of information from her. Instead, he merely arched his neck so that his eyes could find her face, and explore her troubled features.

    “Something wrong, chérie?” he sighed, and began to lower his legs, one foot after the other. “A bad dream?” Despite the smirk pulling at the corners of his lips, there was nothing neither cruel nor scathing in his tone, only the usual gentle teasing she was sure to expect of him by now. When he sensed she intended to linger, the boy began to sit up. He was now able to move with much more ease, though there remained a dull ache deep within his muscles, which were still bruised and tender from where his skin had been punctured. The youth stretched his arms towards the ceiling, clicking his restless joints with groaning satisfaction.

    As the boy continued to keep his eyes upon the girl, his expression became graver, more evidently concerned. “Qu'est-ce, Colombe?” He breathed, as the reason for her unhappiness began to dawn on him.

    With his cat-like eyes still trained firmly on the girl, he began to abandon the bed, and to make his way towards  the middle of the room. He took a few careful steps into the centre, his head a little angled to the side like a dog and muscles tense beneath his fresh shirt. The boy lowered his voice to a secretive whisper. “So he has a guest? “He enquired, lifting a brow towards her before rolling his thin shoulders dismissively. A clear lack of comprehension remained evident upon his face.

    “It is not so bad, surely?”
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Sun May 15, 2016 3:41 pm

    Colombe took a quick step back as the boy approached, fear clearly etched in the swift gesture. Her back met the closed door with a thud. She remained against it, her legs trembling visibly beneath her dress.

    The voices beneath them drifted lazily, growing fainter as they entered the same kitchen in which Fabien had eaten his first meal.

    For a few minutes the pair would have to strain to catch the slightest sound of them. Colombe’s legs were shivering with such force that she put out a hand against the wall to steady herself. Her dark eyes remained on the boy but now there was something distant in them, as though the fear had devoured a part of her.

    Fabien's gentle question roused her and she shook her head fiercely. She bared her teeth at him in a soundless display of frustration and wrapped her arm tightly around her stomach, sagging against the door. It was the pose of a creature nursing some unknown ache, the wound that bled such distress into her motions invisible to the eye.

    She remained that way until the voices returned and began to rise. The stranger’s was boisterous now, bold with drink, and it was clear enough to make out as belonging to a young man – older than either of the pair huddled in that room, but not by much. His timbre was youthful, his inflection brimming with a guarded delight that spirit had loosened. It was a chilling contrast to the despair so violently painted on the girl’s features.

    Colombe flinched at the closing of a door. It was followed by a glad laugh. A few words became distinct, drifting ghostly through the floor – the vampire’s silky question was answered with another trill of laughter and an amused, “Oui, Monsieur, je vous assure.” Whatever he followed it up with was blurry, made hazy by the distance and the slurring of his tongue.

    The stranger’s next exclamation was punctuated by a sharp gasp that rolled into a low moan. A breathy protest bubbled through but it was quickly cut off by another gasp.

    Then another. And another. Then a groan so deep it could have been of pain. Colombe’s hands went limp at her sides. The distance in her gaze lengthened. Wherever she was, it was far from here.

    A high shriek pierced the air before being abruptly cut off. It seemed to echo in the house, over and over, a surprised scream of hurt. Then there was nothing but grim silence.

    It tore a low groan from Colombe’s chest like the despairing cry of a wounded animal. She covered her eyes with her hands. Her cheeks shimmered but her sobs were perfectly, miserably silent.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sun May 15, 2016 4:59 pm

    The boy made no attempt to close the space between them, at least not at first. He was rooted to the floor, his head still slanted and a frown pinching the muscles of his brow. Despite his confusion, Colombe’s palpable terror had started to affect him more deeply. The youth’s breath had begun to quicken, and his fingers had begun to quiver lightly against his sides. Soon his breathing grew so swift that it rocked his narrow shoulders and chest.

    Jésus, what is it?” He whispered nervously.

    As the voices beyond the room grew more distinct, the boy’s eyes withdrew from the girl and were turned towards the wall furthest from them. His frown deepened as he struggled to follow their conversation, or at least draw some meaning from their fragmentary words.

    And then, quite suddenly, something appeared to startle him.

    “Non, but that sounds like...” Fabien breathed, and his eyes found Colombe’s as he continued to listen. Then the urchin’s eyes grew wide in horror filled recognition, and now it was his turn to begin trembling.

    When it became increasingly evident what was occurring in the other room, something akin to repulsion shuddered along the length of the boy’s spine.  He turned away, back towards the bed as thought he desperately sought to ignore what was unfolding.

    But the cries of pain, so sharp and unrelenting, splintered through his skin like fragments of glass.

    “Ah , merde,” he whimpered. His words little more than a broken, distressed sob.
    One of the boy’s expressive hands reached protectively for his ear, but instead slipped into the curling hair at his temple. His fingers eventually tightened through the golden strands, until he had pulled them with painful firmness against his scalp.

    Fear momentarily paralysed the urchin. He was like a fawn made blind and senseless, scarcely able to gather its thoughts. And so it was with a start that the boy shook himself free, and moved with agile speed towards the door. It was the first time he had come so close to Colombe, and the only time he had ever approached her with such purpose. His hand reached for her shoulder, though whether it was to comfort or forcibly push her aside was impossible to discern.

    “We... w-we have to get out of here, Colombe, we-“ The boy’s voice was remained little above a shivering whisper. His other hand remained in his hair, though now it moved in repetitive strokes over his crown. Like a somnambulant, he continued to comb through the curling stands. But his other hand, whether it had alighted upon her or not, still sought the door handle.

    “Now, right now. S’il vous plait, s’il vous plait come with me.”
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Wed May 18, 2016 12:00 am

    Colombe did not shy away from the boy’s approach. She braced her back firmly against the wood of the door in wordless defiance. Despite her bold stance she flinched at his touch on her shoulder, shivering like a baby bird in the palm of a hand.

    Her eyes were still wet as she shook her head silently, miserably at the boy’s frantic proposal. The fingers that reached for his wrists were trembling. She sought to collect his hands in her palms, despair softening the gesture until it was impossible to tell if she intended to soothe the anxious fingers that tugged at his hair or if it was the only thing she could think to do, their mutual hopelessness erasing the impropriety of such familiarity.

    Wretchedly, she bowed her head and raised his hands, still clasped in hers, to her forehead. Her shoulders shook. The boy’s fingers were wet where she touched them to her face.

    Abruptly, her spine stiffened. Her eyes widened without seeing and she released the urchin’s hands to bound away from the door as though the wood had seared her.

    Her premonition proved, as always, accurate. Moments later the handle turned and the door opened as though by the hand of a ghost, the vampire’s soft tread lending his entrance a strange weightlessness.

    His long hair was bound once more at the nape of his neck. His dark skin was flushed and ruddy with health, his lips red. He was dressed to go out, his attire similar to that which Fabien had first seen him in. But now it was disheveled as though hastily arranged. The skin below his throat was bare, exposing the glinting scar above his collar. An obscene splash of crimson stained the breast of his shirt in a vivid spray.

    “My dove,” he said thickly.  The girl’s attempt to swallow her sob was not wholly successful and it came out strangled.  “If you are quite through entertaining—“ A taunting growl of satisfaction snarled through the words. “--I require your assistance downstairs. If you would be so kind.” His blind eyes flashed as pale as the horrible glint of ivory teeth.

    The girl’s dark eyes were glassy. She obeyed the command mechanically, her movements stiff as she walked for the door. Her cheeks shone. She did not make eye contact with the boy as she stepped outside the room.

    The vampire leaned back to allow her to pass. When she had stepped into the corridor his unseeing eyes followed her pensively before turning to the boy. He inclined lazily against the wall, his nonchalance nauseating. The scarlet splatter on his chest was like a brand, a wicked mark of Cain.    

    “I am pleased you are back on your feet. You recover swiftly.” His voice rasped in his throat.  The decorum of his words did not quite conceal their soft mockery.  “I expect you are well enough to be admitted to the rest of the house. Unless you have grown too fond of this room?” He tilted his head as though in polite attentiveness. His pale eyes were like the empty sockets of a bleached skull.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Thu May 26, 2016 5:01 pm

    The softness of Colombe’s hands upon his skin cast some soft enchantment over the boy, smoothing his brow, and relaxing the taut desperation about his lips. For a brief moment, his features seemed carved from marble. He fought no more to secure their freedom, did not seek out the door. Instead he unhappily watched the girl take his hands, watched her hold onto his own trembling fingers with a look of such incomprehensible sadness. The flesh about his eyes had become ringed crimson with grief, and his mouth turned hard with empathy and anger.

    “What has he done to y-?”

    The youth startled at the suddenness of her movement, but he was slow to catch her meaning. Instead his eyes remained firm upon the door, which he studied as though dangerously preoccupied with escape. But when the handle began to turn, the boy pushed back as if a force repelled him aggressively into the centre of the room. He continued to back away, step after step, as the vampire entered.

    Fabien had no desire to look upon his host, but his eyes were drawn to him all the same. When he dared steal a glance, he immediately found the vampire’s mouth, the blood upon his shirt. The youth moved a hand towards his stomach, and began curling the fabric of his shirt in and around his knuckles until it formed a fist. He did not cease his retreat until his hand nervously found the wall nearest his bed.

    The urchins’ breath continued to rock his thin chest, only to become heavier still when Colombe was dismissed. He watched her depart the room in dismay, and once alone with his host, his trembling began to worsen. It had been easier when she was there, briefly though it was, and he did not wish to be left alone with this monster, this devil.
    The boy was so afraid he could barely bring his eyes to linger on the vampire for long. It was only when his captor spoke to him that he met his unseeing gaze without faltering.

    Had the vampire been able to see, he no doubt would have been delighted. The boy’s expression was little but pain and hostility. Something electric seemed to seethe from his skin, and a terrible tension  ran through his lean limbs like poorly wired circuitry. The urchin swayed somewhat from heel to heel as though full of restless energy, haunting his corner of the room like a feral cat.

    “Non, Monsieur,” he replied softly, each word shivering upon his tongue.
    But he paused at the suggestion he might be let out, and grew still. His eyes were so dark beneath his pale hair, that they caught the candlelight like polished pewter. The youth swallowed hard, and took a hesitant step forward.

    “I can leave this room? It will not be locked?” He curled the tip of his tongue thoughtfully over the corner of his lips.

    “Could I go then, Monsieur, to help Colombe?”

    “You have both been good to me, made me well. And I have done little to repay your kindness.”

    “I would like to help, s’il vous plait Monsieur. Will you permit it?”
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Mon May 30, 2016 10:39 pm

    Tariq’s lazy incline against the wall did not falter at the boy’s uneasy withdrawal. He scrutinized him with eyes that did not see, a predator’s cruel humour haunting the curve of his lips. The rich tawny of skin newly darkened with blood seemed to draw recalcitrant shadows from their corners to fawn adoringly at his feet.

    He tilted his head in soft agreement to Fabien’s inquiry as to whether the door to his cell would be unlocked. However, the boy’s offer of help lengthened his spine with a faint ripple of surprise and he straightened. He turned his pale eyes in thoughtful examination.

    A silence thick with anticipation met the boy’s timid question. The vampire’s gaze was hazy and vague, clouded with perpetual fog.

    “Do you…” He bit off the remainder of the question with an audible click of teeth and a soft, “Ah, ad rem. Come, Fabien.” Those eyes flashed beaten silver as he gestured for the boy to approach.

    If he did as he was bid, he was swiftly subjected to the efficient inspection of the vampire’s hands. There was nothing self-conscious in his fingers as they reached for him. They slipped beneath the collar of the boy’s loose shirt and effortlessly found the bird-wing beat of his heart. They lingered here a moment before his hand shifted. Delicately, he curled his warm palm around the front of the boy’s slender throat. The grasp was gentle, the tips of his fingers softly prodding the skin in silent exploration.

    Whatever he found must have satisfied him, for the warmth of his hand withdrew to clasp him by the shoulder. “A strong heart,” he said, approval dusting his tongue. “It will serve you well in this house.”

    Abruptly, his hand still on the lean curve of the boy’s shoulder, he bent to bring his sightless eyes to the boy’s eye level. This close, the whirling specks of light in his cloudy eyes were like stars, a cobwebbed galaxy of hazy reflections.

    “Do as my girl bids. She has experience and judgement in these matters that you do not possess.” The stars in his eyes glittered, reeled, bound by laws foreign to their siblings in the sky. The blood on his shirt was already drying, forming a rime of browning rust. “I trust I do not have to remind you that the continued beating of that heart depends on it.”

    His hand fell away from the urchin’s shoulder as he straightened. “Yes, you may help her. But first, tell me what you expect to gain from it.” His voice was cool in his throat, his eyes distant and unclear.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:36 pm

    Fabien regarded his host in mute horror. He did not wish to go to him, not now, not after what he had heard.  

    The boy’s reluctance to close the distance between them was so visible it seemed to rise from his skin like steam.  Despite this, he managed to shackle down this animal desire to flee and cower, and he began to make a slow and faltering approach. But when he had only advanced a mere step or two he suddenly pulled back, and twisted at the waist to retrieve something from the table beside his bed. It was only when the object was secured within his pocket that he fully obeyed the vampire’s summons.

    As soon as the urchin was close enough to touch, he bowed his head, and concealed his eyes behind the curling sweep of his golden hair. It created a veil between them, a shield to protect him from meeting the full intensity vampire’s eyes. But there seemed something almost ceremonial in his gesture, as though he were seeking a blessing, or perhaps a cure. The boy struggled to keep his eyes focused upon his bare toes, but the smear of blood upon the vampire’s shirt lured his gaze away. Soon he could look nowhere else.

    The boy forced himself to remain still, to keep composed, despite the hot terror which still burned through his body. And yet, when he felt the vampire’s hand slide beneath his shirt, he visibly stiffened. Then as the vampire’s warm palm and fingers moved to encase his throat, the boy’s lips parted and his spine almost seemed to lengthen. A soft pant of fear dared to touch the tip of his tongue, before it was hastily swallowed.  He lifted his chin, and closed his eyes so tightly the delicate flesh of his eyelids began to shiver.

    When the vampire’s hand withdrew from his skin, the boy remembered that he must breathe. And he did so, in a low, shuddering gasp.  The gentle pressure upon his shoulder sent relief flooding through every nerve in his slim body. He wavered gently on the spot, so off-balance and weak he feared he might fall. Against his will he was compelled to meet his jailer’s eyes, and he looked upon him in exhausted fascination. He seemed barely able to form the words necessary to reply, they were croaked, rasped.

    “O-oui, Monsieur... I will do as she tells me.”

    Even when the press of his host’s palm had finally lifted, the warmth and weight of his touch lingered on the boy’s skin. He wanted nothing more than to rub the muscles there, to push his fingers into the skin as one would a bruise. Now that they had separated, the boy’s balance was left shaken, and he reached into the empty air for support.

    “I, ah... it would make me feel useful, Monsieur. I like to feel useful. I do not like to be idle.”
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:52 pm

    Tariq instinctively stretched out an arm to correct the boy’s faltering balance, oblivious or indifferent that he had been the cause of his instability. His touch was warm and sure. The splash of crimson below his throat wavered near the boy’s head.

    The boy’s answer elicited a sharp-toothed smile from his host. “That too will serve you well in this house.” The barest thread of a taunt rasped at its edges. “Very well, Fabien. Make yourself useful.” He stepped back to let the urchin into the hall in front of him. His pale eyes were vague but the gesture was unmistakable; he was setting him free, at least from one gilded cage.

    The corridor was bathed in the rosy light of the setting sun, confirming the time of the day for the captive. It draped the hall in warm tones and transformed the staircase into an interlocking pattern of bright light and bold shadows.

    The ground floor was blindingly dark in contrast, the thick curtains drawn tight and the lamps left unlit. It had the advantage of making the boy’s destination easy to find – red light spilled from the crack of a door left ajar, signaling to him like a beacon. He would have to push the door open to reveal the grisly scene within.

    The long window above the bed flooded the room with the golden light of dusk in streamers that illuminated whirling motes of dust. Their piercing rays made the splatters of blood incandescent, burning with a scarlet glow whose beauty did little to minimize their horror.

    The vampire’s unfortunate guest rested on the bed, his sandy head propped up by pillows. But there was no mistaking his sprawl for sleep. His skin was chalky, so white it exposed the ribbons of blue in his wrists and the smudges of purple beneath his eyes in splendid plumes of colour. Those dull eyes were half-opened as though in peaceful languor, his pale lips parted like with a sigh. A trickle of dark blood stained the corner of his mouth.

    A crust of blood had already darkened at his throat, trailing black fingers down his shoulder and chest. It did not conceal the wound that had killed him. The bite was vicious, a jagged chunk of his neck missing as though he had been mauled by a wild dog. His clothes, thin and grimy from wear, were open all down his chest, a bare hip peeking through the tousle of blankets.

    Colombe had already begun her preparations. A large, rough blanket was laid out next to the bed. The girl stood next to it. One hand was occupied with a small jar of dark glass which she was dipping her fingers into and methodically dabbing the waxy oil within on her skin; the inside of her wrists, beneath her nose, on her temples. Her fingers glistened. The smell was strong, that heady whirl of spice and green that was somewhere between aromatic kitchen herbs and stringent chemicals drowning the room.

    Her cheeks were streaked with the memory of tears but her eyes were dry. They did not linger on her task but were fixed to the motionless shape on the bed. Her movements were mechanical, suggesting she, at least, had the luxury of routine.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:39 pm

    The youth’s finely shaped eyes remained fixed upon the vampire with a strange intensity, his youthful expression tight with unease. When he finally began to move, it was with all the trepidation of wild animal. He lingered nervously at the threshold of his prison, half afraid that his host would change his mind and move to force him back. But when it was clear he had every intention of keeping his word, the urchin slipped out into the hallway like a ghost. His eyes were immediately drawn to the glow of the fading sunlight, to the windows and sky.  All at once the world beyond the walls started to call to him anew, to sing so finely that the boy was unable to move.

    When he was able to tear himself from the window, Fabien made his way along the corridor like one awakening from a dream. His eyes drifted up and along the walls and ceiling, drinking in his surroundings with an almost child-like wonder. He had only ever glimpsed into such places for entertainment, watching the happy occupants flit like actors across a warmly lit stage. His enchantment kept his pace agonisingly slow, and grew all the more so as he sank into the gloom of the lower levels.

    By the time the boy finally arrived outside the door, he realised he had no desire to see who lay in that room. He did not wish to set his eyes upon the corpse, to have his suspicions confirmed. But it was much too late, and the boy’s fears were made a painful reality from the moment he entered.

    His eyes fell first to the bed, and then the recognisable curve of the dead boy’s mouth and eyelids. He had seen those eyes lively and animated once, out on the streets, sometimes in the grimy bars they had frequented. They had laughed together. He knew him.

    “Ah, non... non.” He moaned softly, and his hand moved sharply back toward his stomach in distress.

    He took an awkward, half stumbling step towards Colombe, so that he might linger behind her like a shadow. Soon he had started to work the fabric of his shirt tightly over his hand, pulling it so taut it bit into the flesh of his shoulders and neck.

    Jehan” he murmured, in a voice that was thick with tender familiarity and sorrow.  

    The urchin’s dark eyes studied every part of his companion’s skin. The wretched wound at his throat, the sharp jut of his bones beneath his skin. There were welts of hunger visible at the corner of his mouth. He wondered how long it had been since he’d been able to find a meal.

    A spark of anger shuddered through the length of his body, and the fingers of his hand twitched as though he desired to reach out for the boy’s cold skin. But it was clear he dared not interrupt the girl’s work, nor come any closer until she granted it.

    “Can I... help you... to tend to him? S’il vous plait?” The words stuck to the inside of his mouth like stones.

    Il était mon ami.”He managed to rasp, his voice close to breaking. It was not an explanation. It was too heavy in his throat, too full of meaning.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:01 pm

    The dusky light was already fading to ash as the sun sank languidly beneath the horizon. The vivid red darkened to a rich gold that suffused the room with a false warmth. It lent Fabien’s rasped words a strange gravity, his grief-stricken proclamation as solemn as the sonorous sermon of a priest bathed in the light from the stained glass of a cathedral. It streamed uninterrupted through the broad windows; precious few passersby wandered this particular street to cast a shadow over the scene.  

    “You knew him?” The voice that rose like a tongue of smoke from the doorway was heightened with a delight so sharp it threatened to cut the lips of the one who spoke it. The vampire had evidently stalked the boy to the room, his cat-like tread making it likely he had gone unnoticed. Now he lingered near the door, uninterested in the carnage within. A terrible humour lit the pale eyes trained on the boy with a brilliant sulfurous glow. "My condolences for your loss."

    Colombe had started when the boy’s voice broke the silence. She turned to him with dark eyes that still reflected the light like mirrors. Her master’s entrance gave her a shudder and her eyes narrowed on the grieving urchin as though in reproach for enticing the vampire into her work room. Without answering his request, she silently turned back to the bed. She dipped her finger into the wax and painted a glistening cross on her forehead before capping the glass jar and dropping it into a pocket.

    Tariq clicked his tongue against his teeth in mock remorse. “Had I known he was a friend I would have reunited you before I took my fill.” Another shiver rippled down Colombe’s back but she remained focused on her task. She drew the covers of the bed back to expose a great deal of slender leg and pallid skin that she resolutely did not take the time to observe. Her motions were efficient and sure as she piled the blood-soiled bedding on the floor.

    With that concluded, she bent over the dead boy, seemingly determined to ignore the implications of his state of half-dress, and began buttoning what was left of his shirt together with fingers marked with a quaver. However, a thought seemed to strike her and she paused, flexing her fingers, and examined Fabien from the depths of her dark eyes. She pointed at him and then briskly to the dead boy’s chest before turning to fetch a rag and bucket.  The intention was clear – he had evidently been delegated the task of redressing the corpse for his dismal burial. The girl took furiously to the task of scrubbing the blood from the bed, her hair falling in her face.

    The vampire, for his part, showed no inclination of ceasing his barbed commentary and he continued with a rasp of laughter on his tongue, “I will have to be more discerning in whom I pluck from the streets. It seems your social circle overlaps my hunting grounds.”
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:32 pm

    Fabien remained in Colombe’s shadow, watching her movements in unhappy silence. He barely seemed to draw breath, his head half-bowed and eyes downcast. One solitary mourner at the street child’s wake, the only one who would ever know what had happened to him.

    His host’s words made the boy flinch, but he did not turn to look at him. “Oui. I knew him. And many like him.” The answer was soft, but there was something of a bite to his words. A certain aggression that had not been evident in the way he had addressed the vampire before.

    “He has a younger sister, you know. She is sick. They have no money, of course.”
    The boy’s angry eye’s followed Colombe’s fingers, his expression dark with emotion like a storm cloud blotting out the sun. There was something accusatory festering under his tongue, something unspoken but palpable all the same.

    “I knew he sometimes would offer favours to buy bread.”

    It seemed he spoke not to rouse the vampire’s sympathy, but to remember the boy in some way. To speak for him, now that he was silent.  The youth lazily rolled from his shoulders, and swept the thought lightly away with one hand.  It was a movement full of spite.

    “Ah, but they have only half-lives, his kind, Monsieur. Perhaps now he would thank you, if he could.” While his words were dismissive, the tone was full of blistering resentment. Something burned within him, crackling and spitting upon his tongue. It ran scalding like livewire along his nerves, in the sharpness of his movements.

    When Colombe indicated he could perform a task, the boy moved in closer without a moment’s hesitation. He gathered the pale hand of dead companion to him, pressed his cold knuckles to his lips.

    It was some time before the boy released his companion’s hand. He caressed the skin of his fingers with his warm thumb, as though he sought to offer comfort to flesh that no longer felt him. When he finally he released his friend, he placed two fingers gently upon his fellow urchin’s eyelids to ensure they were respectfully sealed. It gave him time to lean in close, to whisper softly into the shell of his ear. “Je suis désolé.

    Only then did he begin to carefully gather his shirt together, to tenderly dress him again. This did not upset him, and he followed the girl’s instruction efficiently and without further displays of emotion. The boy did not weep.  He was much too angry to shed tears. Instead he slipped the coins he had stolen from out of his pocket, and began to carefully unfold the fabric he had wrapped them in. Then, just as he was about to lay silver upon the dead boy’s eyes, he pulled away and turned sharply.

    “I would prefer you did not make a joke of his murder.” He murmured, his youthful voice dangerous close to a heated command.


    Last edited by Fabien on Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:41 pm

    Fabien’s mournful exposition of the life of the boy who had once inhabited the body before them affected those present in vastly different ways. Colombe’s motions slowed with every word and at the mention of performing favours for bread she glanced at the corpse whose mouth was blackened with blood. Her own mouth softened in something like despair before she remembered herself and it was hurriedly swept away. She returned to her work with renewed vigor, the muscles of her neck tense.

    The vampire did not need sight to see how greatly his words had upset the boy. His eyes were alight with fiendish humour, the glinting points of his sharp teeth bared in a ghoulish grin that seemed to whisper a rough chorus of danger, danger.

    However, he held his peace for the duration of the boy’s sad eulogy. At the last hot appeal that teetered breathlessly close to being a command, Colombe, who was not a small person, seemed to shrink. She stilled, blending unnoticed into the scene. It was a trick that would have doubtless saved the urchin plenty of grief.

    Tariq’s response was immediate; “Then it is fortunate for the both of us that your preferences do not carry the slightest weight in this house, non?” There was no trace of venom in the words – there was no need for it, they were self-evident and the boy was helpless to dispute them.

    The vampire took a step further into the room. He skirted the bed, careful to avoid disturbing the girl’s work. Her head was pointedly bowed, her eyes never straying from her grisly task.

    “Your friend died – I killed him, if you would prefer – with a full stomach, his veins fat with good drink. My food, my drink. It is a good deal more, I wager, than you had ever given him.” His tone was casual, even light, as though they were discussing the state of this year’s flower garden instead of the boy who would soon be nourishing it.

    “I suppose I could have let him live out the remainder of his half-life, as you say, allowed him to starve in a year, or two, or five.” He waved his hand dismissively, the distinction between them clearly meaningless. “But then, ah, I would have starved alongside him, deprived of my drinking but not of my thirst. I am sure that would have warmed your heart, such a pretty portrait of suffering from all, but your joy matters just as little as your preferences.”

    He cocked his head in an exaggerated gesture of idle curiosity. It was an unsettlingly bird-like motion and for the first time a calculated menace bled into the gesture.

    “I do wonder how many of your missing companions have fed me. I would suggest we compare, discover how often my influence has unknowingly brushed against yours, how many of your friends fell to my teeth and not to a stranger’s blade, perished to sate my hunger instead of succumbing to their own aching starvation but, alas, I do not make a habit of introduction when the knowledge of my name will soon perish with its owner. And besides—“ Here his words became pointed and he turned his pale gaze to the boy. “It is a foolish child who is so easily lured to so simple a trap, isn’t it, Fabien?

    Colombe took this opportunity to stand, bloodied rag limp in her hand, and silently leave the room. The blades of her shoulders stood out sharply beneath her thin dress from the taut tense of her muscles.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:34 am

    Fabien’s sharp eyes grew wide with hurt, before narrowing upon his host in dark contempt. The muscles of his narrow throat flexed, over and over, as he struggled to swallow down the words that rose to fill his mouth. The boy’s spine was rigid with displeasure, and he kept his gaze steady upon the vampire. It was only when he no longer trusted himself to meet those sightless eyes, that without a word he turned irritably back to his task.

    But the urchin’s calm, his tender and quiet focus had now been entirely corrupted. His fingers trembled as they carefully plucked open the makeshift pouch, so that he might select a glinting token. It was lowered carefully into the dark hollow of the dead boy’s eyes, easing him into rest. Paying for all the contentment and peace he had never obtained in life.  

    He was not foolish. He sought at first to ignore the vampire, to close his ears to him and focus on his friend’s pale skin. But it was too much. His words bit into the boy’s flesh, leaving behind open sores that wept. He became fixated on the bloodied throat, the gruesome brutality inflicted on the soft and vulnerable flesh of his companion's neck.

    The youthful curve of his upper lip began to twitch softly, to curl away from his clenched teeth. The boy paused with the second coin caught between his conjurer’s fingers. He began to tuck it slowly away, to curl it into his palm and seal it within a trembling fist. Every part of the tired, aching creature’s body expressed struggle. His entire body shook with the effort it took to keep his angry tongue pinned behind his jaws.

    “And I am sure he died grateful to you, Monsieur. That his final thoughts were good ones.” The soft and steady rhythm of his voice did little to conceal his irritation. It trembled between his teeth in low hiss.

    To speak, to say anything was mistake. And even this simple remark proved infectious, provoking further outrage until he could restrain it no longer.

    “That he received your kind charity. Your fine meal, and the little time spent in your sheets.”

    He began to step away from the bed, to meet the vampire’s eyes with terrible boldness. The sound of his voice, and the tension that came with it, seemed to electrify the air around them. As heavy and pungent as the scent of rain on the air before a  storm. It was little wonder he did not see Colombe leave, he had not seen her for some time now.

    “Such a fair arrangement, when he had nothing, nothing to give you but his life. And that is too much to give. ”

    The boy paused, and his spine straightened, incredulous at the vampire’s remark.

    “And you ... speak to me of suffering? Being what you are, and living in this house?”

    The youth took a single, strong step in the vampire’s direction. Forgetful of his position, of the feathered line of bait dangled before his eyes. When he spoke again, it was not with the soft, tailored politeness he had so carefully applied. There was only rawness, impatient and demanding. It leapt forth in the low growl of a caged animal snapping at its keeper’s hand.

    “And when can I expect to be there in his place? Why must you even keep me this long? And tell me I am not allowed to leave. Just to wander your rooms, waiting politely for you to kill me too.”

    His voice threatened to break with emotion. To crack like fine glass crushed under a heel.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:26 pm

    Dusk had truly fallen over the city. The room was blanketed in a feather-soft coating of gloom that was only thinly punctuated by the dim light of the sole candle Colombe had kindled before abandoning her task. The motionless body of the urchin dead-and-not-sleeping on the bed seemed to breathe an ethereal peace into the room that neither of its inhabitants could currently appreciate.  

    Tariq met the boy’s bold step forward until they were close enough to touch. His spine was razor straight, his height allowing him to loom over the urchin. The spray of blood at his throat had been drained of its colour in the dark.  Now it was a cancerous blot, a lewd black slash.

    His crocodile smile did not waver. However, the baring of his teeth held something of a snarl at Fabien’s incredulous remark. He lifted his hand in a strange, abrupt gesture, his fingers grazing the skin of the boy’s injured throat, before he rapidly took a step back. The thin sliver of space between them immediately filled with shadow. Doubtless it would take the boy a moment to realize how perilously close he had come to having his torn throat fastened in those dangerous hands.

    “You would do well not to suggest,” he said softly. The words were velvet on his tongue. “That there is no taste of suffering yet to fill your mouth.” The threat wavered over his words like the blurred ghost of hazy heat rising above hot stone.

    The boy’s final despairing interrogation drew the vampire close once more. Now he resisted the temptation of his throat to instead roughly grasp him by the hair and wrench his gaze to the bed.

    “Look at him.” His own sightless eyes glittered dangerously with the command.

    The dead boy was impassive to the scene playing out before him. The silver coin over his bruised eyelid winked in the light of the flickering candle. The blood that caked his throat had darkened to soot. The skin beneath his fingernails was so vibrantly blue, starved of blood, that the colour could be distinguished even in the dim light.

    “It is you who ought to be grateful to him. Comme vous vous en souviendrez, my teeth also found your throat. But you are alive and he is dead. Did you think there would be no consequence to my being denied my fill by your death?”

    He allowed the terrible implication of his words to linger in silence. An awful menace dripped from the curve of his long eyeteeth that the warm amusement thrumming in his voice did little to alleviate. His hand remained clenched tightly in the urchin’s hair.

    “If he had not died, it would be you on that bed. It would be your throat torn open between my jaws. But if you want to scorn what he gave for you – what little he had to give -, if the tension of waiting politely is too great for you to bear, I can kill you now. Speak your desire and I will honour it, and bury two tonight.” The grip in his hair did not loosen.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:13 pm

    The heat of anger which had burned so energetically over the youth’s sharp features was quickly doused. The boy immediately recognised his mistake, the hastiness of his approach. Suddenly wary, he took a sharp backwards step, his entire body braced in anticipation. When his host reached for him, the boy recoiled. He swallowed slowly, fresh shadows darkening the haunted hollows of his eyes.

    When the vampire seized his curling hair, the boy’s slim body stiffened in raw terror. The muscles of his shoulders and the smooth line of his marred throat grew hard as stone. He released a sharp pant of fear, and bent forward as though he hoped he might simply shrink into himself and disappear.

    But the boy did not respond wilfully. He did not struggle against the blind man’s grasp, nor reach for his hand and pull against him. Instead, the urchin’s eyes lowered, and found again the miserable sight upon the bed.

    The approaching darkness had turned the scene more ghoulish than it had been in the soft light. The youth suddenly was not sure he recognised the dead boy, with his greying skin and blackened throat. The thin flesh stretched over his skull already appeared wasted, and it required little imagination to insert his own body there, in his companion’s position. The boy shuddered violently, his breath a harsh rattle within his chest. It seemed for a moment, subtle and almost impossible to detect, that the urchin inclined in towards his host. That he drew closer, as though fearful the corpse might reach for him.

    The vampire’s words had turned anger to sorrow. Soon the boy’s youthful mouth was shaped by grief, a grief which trembled upon his lower lip, and manifested in his aching throat and misted vision. The silver coin, trapped within the boy’s trembling palm, was squeezed so tightly it pressed the metal deep into his flesh.

    Fabien’s tongue had been sufficiently stilled. He gave no response, only a soft sob of discontent escaped his clenched teeth. But when a response was demanded of him, the urchin spoke again. His head shook sharply, stirring the strands of pale hair within the vampire’s grasp.

    “Non, non Monsieur. I... I’m sorry, Monsieur.” He rasped softly, and words hastily spilled from between his teeth. He barely paused to draw breath.

    “I did not mean to speak out of turn. Je suis désolé. S’il vous plaít, I do not wish to die. I do not wish to die.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Fri Aug 12, 2016 10:25 pm

    In the soft light of the candle valiantly penetrating the twilight gloom, Colombe’s pale face was like that of a ghost as she peered around the doorway. It was impossible to say when she had crept back on silent feet. The smell of her had so infused the room that her presence was camouflaged within that fragrant cloud. Her dark eyes were wide and wet as she mutely witnessed the encounter between the pair in the room. Her lips had parted in a guileless expression of dismay like one who was not accustomed to being watched in turn.

    Tariq disregarded her mute presence. His sightless gaze was slanted vaguely towards the boy held close against him. The painful grip on his hair had loosened when it became clear he had no intention of fighting against it but it remained steadfastly in place, impossible to ignore. Fabien’s hurried answer drew his lips back from the clean white of his teeth.

    “Better,” he said lightly. And then, as an idle afterthought; “If your pretty tongue becomes familiar with words like those, perhaps I will not have to cut it out of your head.” The girl haunting the doorway flinched as though she’d been struck, the violence of the motion slopping water from the bucket in her hands onto the floor with a wet slap. A trembling took her like the quaver of a spider’s web in the wind. The vampire ignored her.

    He leaned in close to the boy until his breath pooled warm against his ear. Its coppery scent was stronger now, sweet like black earth. “No,” he agreed in a low purr. “You do not. And you certainly do not wish to die by my displeasure. You would blister with want for the quiet slumbers of your friend.” He released the sheaf of pale curls in his fist. However, his touch lingered as though loath to depart, the pads of his fingers softly stroking his scalp as though he were a timid cat. That touch slipped boldly down the back of his neck before retreating.

    Without turning his head, he gestured for Colombe to enter and she did, casting furtive glances at Fabien as though to determine whether he still possessed all of his limbs. She skirted the both of them instinctively, returning to the relative safety of the motionless silhouette on the bed. There was still a tremble to her fingers as they renewed her labour with fresh rag and clean water. Her luminous eyes remained pointedly downcast.

    The vampire’s corpse-white eyes were fixed on the boy. There was something of tense contemplation in the set of his brow. He took a step toward the door and it was as though a sudden breeze drew fresh air into the room as it was clear he intended to leave.

    “Finish your farewell and leave the girl to her task. I do not care for you startling my dove.” There was reprimand in his tone. He took another step for the door and paused. “Meet me in the kitchen when you are done.” He did not stay to see how this command was received as he slipped out the door and into the unsettling dark that crouched over the house. The shadows swallowed him with glee.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:49 pm

    Long after his departure, the vampire’s touch lingered like smoke upon the boy’s skin.

    The urchin had been left petrified in place, an unhappy silhouette by the side of the funeral pyre. In the pale light he looked like a ghost. In the growing darkness, he could easily have been mistaken for the spirit of the boy in the bed. As if in turmoil, he had sprung forth, lost and lonely. His skin and hair pale as bleached bones, his arms quivering against his sides.

    The urchin slipped his fingers through his hair, combing free the residue of his host’s touch. He smoothed him from the velvety skin at the back of his neck, past his narrow shoulders. There was something cleansing in the gesture, like old rituals used to banish bad spirits. Eventually his hand lowered, bony fingertips slipping into the fabric at his hip. He withdrew a single cigarette, secreted away from the silver case which remained hidden in his room.  

    In nervous contemplation, the boy turned the slender stick of tobacco over in his fingers. And then he withdrew, turning to seek one of the candle flames near the bed. He lowered the tip of his treasure with trembling, bony fingers. The sound of his breath, so sharp and ragged with fear, bit through the stillness of the air.

    The boy clung to the source of the warm light like a moth, his slim figure hunched in torment. He spoke not a word to Colombe at first, not until the sweetly scented smoke had begun to calm his nerves. Then when he had at last sought composure, he turned to watch her work, threads of smoke dancing impishly about his hair.

    “We had a bet between us, this boy and I. Who would come to fortune first.” His voice was low, its passion deadened.  “But I don’t know now which of us is richer.”

    The boy opened his palm to regard the coin which now bit into his flesh. When he plucked it free, its impression continued to haunt his palm.

    “It is a stupid tradition. That even in death, he must pay his way.”

    The boy tentatively moved closer, careful not to disturb the girl. He made his intention clear, hoping she’d allow him room to place the final coin over the boy’s eyelid.  As he did so, he whispered into the soft shell of a bloodied ear.  “Dormez bien , mon ami.” He hesistated for a moment, then pressed his lips to the cold, pallid flesh of his cheek.  

    Once he had completed his farewell as  instructed, the boy lingered behind Colombe like a shadow.  It was clear he had no intention of hurrying on to the kitchen, to greet whatever fate awaited him there.

    “Where will you lay him?” He enquired gently. And then, with a nervous whisper “Does he always make you do this for him?”

    The youth's eyes flickered like candle flame towards the door, fearful his host might remain lurking there.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:22 pm

    Colombe’s shoulders seemed to sink when the vampire departed and she glanced up at the empty doorway when he’d gone. She resumed her work more slowly in his absence, carefully working the rust of blood from the wood of the bedframe. The dead boy’s curled fingers impeded her progress and she very gently moved his arm by the wrist, the dark depths of her eyes vacant.

    She dutifully ignored Fabien’s attempts to calm himself. Her nose wrinkled at the warm fragrance of tobacco but she refrained from comment as she stepped over the bundle of bloodied linens she’d gathered to work on the other side of the bed. Her gaze was drawn to the body again and again and soon her eagerness to remove the bloodstains began to look like a desire to put off moving the corpse for as long as possible.

    She tensed at the boy’s approach but mutely allowed him to impart his last respects. Something of his explanation of the ritual seemed to disquiet her and she turned her gaze to the dead boy’s silver-laden eyes. She examined them a moment in unhappy silence. Her fingers had coaxed the red from the black smears of blood that she had scrubbed and it coated her hands in a thin, watery sheen. She delicately used the edge of her palm to wipe the hair back from her forehead.

    She grew still at the boy’s question. When she turned her head it was not to look at Fabien but to peer into the shadows beyond the doorway. Carefully, she stepped to the door and swung it shut, stopping just before it met the doorframe so only a crack remained. She quickly turned to the chest of drawers beside the door and rifled through its contents before producing what remained of a wooden pencil and a sheet of paper with spots of yellow age. Like most of the house, it had clearly remained disused for some time. She brought both of these finds to the table where the lone candle burned and carefully smoothed them out.

    Colombe seemed to guess the futility of writing out letters and instead, brow furrowed in concentration, she drew a series of straight lines. They became a modest copse of thin trees with the addition of a crown of branches dotted with leaves. A watery smear of blood marred the paper where her palm grazed it and she frowned. Among the trunks she added peering dark eyes and stopped to scrutinize her handiwork. It was an impressively brief sketch that clearly depicted the corpse-white aspens that shivered at the side of the house.

    The girl paused and glanced through her eyelashes at Fabien. She continued hesitantly, deliberately marking the roots of the trees with a bold X. Slowly, silently mouthing each number - sept, huit, neuf - under her breath, she drew more until the space beneath the stick-straight trees had been filled up with 12 small Xs like a macabre treasure map. She pointed the end of the pencil at the dead urchin on the bed without looking at him and carefully marked one last X on the paper.

    This grim denouement was followed by silence. Colombe gathered the paper and carefully put it in the urchin’s hands. Her movements were skittish and uncertain, her cool hands barely touching his. Her eyes did not meet his as though unsure as to how he would accept this in memoriam.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:49 am

    A faint tremble still lingered in the boy’s fingers as he lifted the cigarette toward his mouth. His attention was entirely devoted to the corpse, he watched the lifelessly body with an obsessive interest. It was only the girl’s rummaging that caused him to turn, and anxiously follow her route from door to cupboard. Then, when she paused by the table, the urchin slunk forward like a nervous alley cat, a thin trail of smoke spiralling in his wake.

    The sight of paper and pencil caused him to pause, to shift his weight awkwardly from foot to foot. His lips parted as though he intended to speak, but when no letters emerged, he swiftly relaxed. His grey eyes then followed the flow of her wrist, and he leaned in with eyes that were bright with curiosity. As recognisable shapes emerged on the paper, the urchin glanced briefly up at the girl’s face, as though he sought something there.

    But it took little time for Fabien to understand the meaning of the girl’s drawing. When he met Colombe’s eyes once again, this time it was with a look of dull horror. Then as each tree began to be marked, a visible shivered passed through his thin limbs. The boy’s eyes darkened as he watched her pale hand mark further crosses, and muscles of urchin’s throat flexed as he swallowed unhappily. He straightened his spine, and took a half-staggering backwards step into the gloom.

    The boy’s hands were still shaking as accepted the paper from her. His eyes scanned the page, flitting from tree to tree, from cross to cross. When he was at last able to remove his gaze, his darkly ringed eyes did not leave Colombe. He raised the bitter end of his cigarette to his lips as he looked at her thoughtfully, drawing fragrant smoke into his shivering chest.

    Merde” he croaked, his throat tight with fear. He ran his thumb and ring finger back through his hair.  

    “And this is outside here, non? Outside this house?” He struggled to recollect what he had seen. What glimpses he had stolen from the windows, from his arrival. “And you do this always alone?”

    Il est vraiment un monster.” He breathed, and then parted his teeth as though he had further questions. Instead he sped a nervous glance back towards the door, and stowed such thoughts away.

    “D’accord, Colombe.” He rasped softly, before nodding in acknowledgement. “D’accord.”

    He gestured towards the bed, and then flicked the yellowing paper with his fingers.

    “This time I will help you. This time I will help you to move him, oui?”

    The paper remained clenched in the boy’s hand, as though it had become sealed to his palm.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Sat Sep 10, 2016 5:08 pm

    The sweet smell of death had begun to slink into the room like a scavenger trailing after its next mouthful of flesh. The room was heavy with it, like rotting flowers and black earth all overcast with the coppery bite of blood. It crept vengefully into the nostrils. It was easy to be thankful for the heady scent that clamored over the girl and trailed her movements with the intimate fingers of a ghost. It kept the cloying smell of decay at bay, even if only just.

    Colombe’s hands were flighty. She nervously picked at a dark scab of blood over one fingernail with her thumb. She glanced up at his question and tipped her chin in confirmation before gesturing vaguely to one side of the house – yes, here, out.

    There was a brittle edge of trepidation in her gaze as she watched him, her eyes luminous and wide. It was clear from her tense stance that she did not trust him not to react unpredictably to the ghoulish news, not to lash out at his confinement. Her body was taut with the unconscious expectation of violence. Her eyes were always wary.

    She nodded her head in response to his next inquiry and turned up her palms as though to say of course me, of course alone. Who else? Her gaze steadfastly refused to drift over to the bed and the miserable task that awaited her within it.

    At Fabien’s pronouncement they looked nervously to the door as one as though in expectation of that monster darkening the doorway but her eyes dropped quickly to the floor. She was silent and still. It was as though this confession had tapped into a black well inside her chest and to move would threaten it to overflow.

    However, she looked up quickly at his offer to help. Her pupils dilated to wet black circles and she shook her head fiercely. She parted her lips as though to speak but abandoned this notion, and instead went through a series of gestures that were too incoherent to quite be understand – a brush against her chest as though pulling something from a breast pocket, a flit of fingers in the air that bordered on frantic – before moving to stand bodily between him and the bed. Her chest rose and fell as quickly as that of a hunted deer.

    The suggestion had clearly alarmed her, but there was no tremor in the finger that pointed to the door and the gloom that waited beyond it. She shook her head again, dark eyes closed in distress.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:00 am

    Fabien watched the flit of her fingers. He followed each quick movement with eyes that were as glazed and empty as glass beads. In the trembling light, their shadows were stark against the walls, jagged limbed like leafless trees. The boy continued to mechanically work his hand through his hair, the muscles of his jaw tight, and his expression stiff with disquiet. It was not until she gestured towards the door that he showed signs of recognition, and then something within him seemed to shrink. The boy turned his exhausted eyes in the direction she indicated, and then simply nodded in pained understanding.

    “D’accord. Alone then.” He rasped, and caught the soft flesh of his lower lip between his teeth. “I’ll leave you.”

    Almost immediately after he had spoken, the urchin began to retreat from centre of the room. His pace was slow and agonised, each movement as laborious as one trudging through quicksand. The youth did not offer his deceased companion a single further glance. It seemed there had been sufficient finality in his goodbye, in his small ritual. No further acts of mourning were necessary. It would not do to become overwhelmed by grief when it was so cruelly frequent.

    As he approached the door which led beyond that miserable room, the boy’s pace began to slow until he came to a complete halt. He regarded the wall of darkness before him in mute horror, the labyrinth of rooms and whatever awaited him beyond. Without looking back, he questioned the girl again.

    “Do you think he may still be angry with me?” His voice was soft and small, it seemed to break at the edges. As the boy spoke, he continuted to tormented the paper within his grasp, scrunching and folding the edges with the fine points of his fingers.

    It was however a brisk question, and he allowed little time for her to answer. Instead, he shook the notion from his thoughts, and attempted to straighten his spine and proceed with more purpose. The boy disappeared quickly, slipping nervously into the hall like a stray shadow.

    It was not long before he returned.

    He retreated slowly, lingering by the threshold with his knuckles trembling along the smooth edge of the doorframe. He then backed further into the room, and turned his eyes back towards the girl.

    “How far is it, Colombe? To the kitchen, from here?”

    It was a small plea help. Something in his voice that suggested he had not yet found the courage to slip from that room alone.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:36 pm

    Colombe’s taut shoulders grew less sharp as the boy began his agonized retreat from the room. They seemed to sink lower with every step. She opened her eyes to watch him go, their liquid depths dark as a doe’s hesitant gaze. His question caused an unhappy crease to form in her brow and she shrugged, not unkindly, palms spread as though to suggest it was anyone’s guess what the vampire was feeling. She watched him leave silently, her hands clenched at her side.

    When he returned from the dark in which the house slept, she had resumed her terrible work at the corpse’s bedside with head bowed. Her shoulders shook softly. She looked up at his entrance and hastily wiped her eyes with the side of her wrist. The girl stood with an air like anger, approaching him as though to scold but his pitiful question and demeanour like that of a lost child stilled her.

    She examined him with that inscrutable gaze that he was no doubt becoming familiar with in silence.

    The girl turned away from him and for a moment it seemed all was lost, that she had turned her back on him and his plea for help – but she stretched her arms out above her and unhooked a lantern from the wall. The tin was whorled with a patina of smoke and soot that suggested it had seen heavy use recently. Mutely, she tipped the tapered candle inside toward the lone candle that illuminated her vigil. The wick spluttered and flared and she closed the hinged door with satisfaction.

    The gloomy room was now lit with pinpricks of flickering light that shone not through glass, but through slits and holes in the metal. It left warm fingerprints on the dead boy’s face and skittered joyfully along the walls. The girl pressed the handle, warm from her touch, into the boy’s hands.

    Armed with his dizzying constellation of stars, she directed him back to face the darkness. At the doorway she paused as if bound by magic to this terrible room. Her face, lit from below by the shuddering pinholes of the lantern, was prematurely aged, entirely too sad. She raised her hand to gesture down the hall. The other hand played the part of a wall, and when her fingers met it they veered off in the direction he should go. Given the circumstances, they were not poor instructions. Her dark eyes remained on his pointedly, as though to be sure he understood.

    The soft touch of her hand where it brushed against his arm veered perilously close to being a squeeze of reassurance.
    avatar
    Fabien

    Posts : 182
    Join date : 2012-05-14

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Fabien on Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:24 am

    Fabien’s expression grew hopelessly despondent as the girl appeared to turn away and seemed to resume her work. He did not begin to retreat from the room, but lingered by the door, his fingers toying with the hem of his shirt. But his manner changed  when he caught sight of the lantern. The boy's hands were empty as he came towards her, the drawing she had produced no doubt secreted away within the folds of his shirt.  He gratefully received her offering, and attempted a soft, if not strained smile.

    “Merci, chérie. I just wish it were not so very dark, you know?”

    Despite the warm, cheerful glow which now engulfed the space between them, the urchin still looked so dreadfully afraid. The rich light carved deep hollows beneath his eyes, and his skin seemed drained of life.

    He dared not tarry a second longer, and departed the room in haste, the lantern rattling softly in his grasp.  The light was a welcome relief, and the boy held the beacon aloft before him like an amulet. It did much to banish the horrors he had conjured in that impenetrable blackness. It also afforded him the luxury of examining the house in more detail. And his eyes slipped with sharp interest up towards the impossibly high ceilings, along and over the decorative walls. The size and emptiness of the place still served to unnerve him.

    When urchin finally reached the wall Colombe had indicated, his courage began to falter once again. He paused where the hall veered off to the side, and turned to glance over his slender shoulder. There the corridor stretched on, gaping endlessly as though it lead a direct route into hell itself. He could still detect the thin of shard of light spilling from the room where Colombe worked.

    It was then he began to panic in earnest.

    The boy was overwhelemed with a sudden, all encompassing compulsion to seek a way free of this horrible house and its master. He began to consider the quickest escape route, the door perhaps, or through a window. Surely there were places he could hide out, places the vampire would not think to seek him? His mind reeled with possibilities, and his heart began to beat so erratically he feared it would burst from his chest. He drew a palm up to smooth across his brow, his skin so hot and clammy it was if he had succumbed to a fever. His vision wavered, and the floor beneath his bare feet suddenly seemed to shift unnaturally. The lantern felt so impossibly heavy in his hand.

    It had all become too much. This house. Jehan’s lifeless eyes. The pale girl weeping by his bedside. He could see her small hand before him still, marking those crosses on the yellowed page. Soon she would be weeping over his bloodied corpse. Carefully preparing his body, choosing the next tree where he would be laid to rest.

    The youth glanced down the length of his trembling body, draped in her brother’s clothes, and shivered.

    Dieu aide moi.” He croaked. And his stomach lurched so fiercely, he feared he would empty what little contents filled his guts right there in the hall. It was by sheer force of will that managed to quell this violent urge.

    Then, and with considerable effort, he pressed on. Thankfully, it did not look as though the kitchen could be much more of a distance, even if every step felt an eternity. But by the time he reached what he presumed was the kitchen door, the urchin had to near support himself against the side of the wall. His back was drenched with sweat, and the fabric of his shirt clung uncomfortably to his spine.  Sadness and anxiety had swollen so thick inside his throat, he could barely force a full breath into his lungs.  He did not know how he would manage to speak a single word to his host. He did not know how he would even remain coherent.

    The boy might have debated announcing his entrance with a formal knock, had he not felt so close to collapsing. Instead, he staggered ungracefully into the room.
    avatar
    Tariq
    Admin

    Posts : 195
    Join date : 2012-05-13

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Tariq on Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:11 pm

    It was strange how ordinary this house of horrors was. It did not reek of death and its walls did not ooze black blood. Its corridors were well kept and its furnishings were wholly unremarkable. It was given to occasional airs, perhaps, that could be glimpsed in the sweeping windows and the stuffy primness with which it kept itself tucked away from its closest neighbours, but such were the purview of wealth. It was otherwise perfectly decent, like any of the hundreds of houses with windows glowing against the chill of the night, and any passing observer would have been safe in assuming its household was just as reputable.

    However, there were signs that all was not well in this house. The golden light of the boy’s lantern shivered on bare spaces on the walls whose edges were darkened by the absence of whatever had filled them. Stolen paintings, perhaps, pilfered in the disorder of whatever calamity had claimed this place? Or did the usurper have a particular taste for interior design?

    Dust was beginning to gather in the corners of rooms that were not often used. The rooms had a ghostly air, as though their inhabitants had gotten up from their comfortable chairs one day and walked out into the street, never to return. They seemed not so much empty as lacking.

    And there were the windows, of course; nearly every one shuttered, boarded up, blinds drawn. Some of them were draped in heavy bedclothes as though to further ensure no wandering eye or sliver of light could pass.

    But the most obvious clue as to the house’s wrongness was the creature that lingered in the dark kitchen into which the urchin had passed.

    The light of a single dim lamp illuminated the space, no doubt tended by Colombe’s careful hand. In the thin light, the vampire’s pale eyes glowed luminescent like an animal. He was waiting, as he had promised, at the kitchen table. If he had sight perhaps he would be looking over a newspaper; were he not dead perhaps he would be nursing a snifter of plum brandy. Instead, he was waiting with the unwavering patience of the grave, his legs crossed at the ankle beneath him, his forefinger on his temple. His gaze was distant, his body languid in its chair.

    He half-rose at the boy’s graceless entrance, more out of surprise at his palpable terror than any courtesy. He made a motion as though he sought to draw near but reconsidered it and eased back into his seat. The light of the boy’s lantern skittered erratically across his face like the crawling of insects.

    “I am not going to hurt you.” The wicked humour had not entirely bled from the words, but he said it as though it had only just occurred to him that the boy might think otherwise. “I only wish to talk.”

    He paused, clearly hoping this statement and his continued distance would ease some of the boy’s overwhelming alarm. And then, quietly, “I do not want you dead.”

    His pale gaze turned to the miserable urchin. His skin was like loam in the shadow, dark and rich and reddened with the blood that fed it. When he spoke again it was in a low, coaxing rasp. “Sit with me a moment, Fabien, s'il vous plait.”

    He gestured to the same seat the boy had occupied when he had first arrived, glowing with pleasure at his good fortune. It had the benefit of keeping the entire table between them, should he choose to do as he was bid.

    Sponsored content

    Re: ** Interlude 2 - Like the stars in the sky separated by millions of leagues, they lived by gazing upon each other.

    Post  Sponsored content


      Current date/time is Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:27 pm