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


    **There is no love greater than this: to die for a friend

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    Tariq
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    **There is no love greater than this: to die for a friend

    Post  Tariq on Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:45 pm

    It was, as it often was for the dead, a beautiful night.

    The vampire could not see the stars like pinpricks of light through a dark cloth draped over the city, but the cool air that wisped delightfully over his skin sharpened his senses to a fine edge. It was enough to make him ache, in this place where the scent of blood was impossible to escape. Warm bodies swayed from open windows, writhing together in pairs or trios on the street, shoulders bare even with the chill, delicate throats flashing invitingly.

    Women called raucously from doorways. He could taste the salt of their sweat on his lips.

    Some nights, the vampire hunted, picking his way with sinuous animal grace through alleys and along the edges of whitewashed houses until he discovered who was calling to him. Sometimes it was an auspiciously unlocked door, a drunk and lonely sob by the black river’s edge that drew him like a falcon to a lure. Other times it was something harder to detail - a whiff of something almost heartbreakingly poignant that he could not place until he followed it like a line of unspooled thread back to its source, or the skip of a heart from across town that he should not have been able to hear even with his keen senses.

    He could not have articulated these impulses to anyone else, nor would he have wanted to try. It was sacred and it was intimate. There was a significance in finding the proper kill, an eloquent importance to this wordless song that made his victims seem to glow when he clasped them in his hands and took their lives with his mouth.

    Other nights, such as this one, he was less direct. He wandered without purpose, mingling with the aimless crowd. The familiar weight of the wood in his hand was a talisman. He went unseen unless he chose not to be. He was not accosted unless he wished to be.

    La Fête des morts had concluded but the city was still abuzz with excitement. The stubs of candles and remnants of sweet cakes littered the streets, the fingers of those who could afford them still stained with the scent of chrysanthemums. The graves of the familiar dead, the beloved departed, would be wreathed in light and flowers that would soon soak the air with their sweet rot. The vampire had little doubt he had swelled the numbers of lit candles, added to the gravestones carefully tended in tender memory. The thought plucked a faint pleasure from him.

    The lively lilt of a plucked pochette snagged his attention and he followed the sound with idle interest. His eyes were unfocused, lazy, his path determined by his feet’s tread on the stone and the careful tapping of his cane. He found the performers at the intersection of two streets still bustling with activity, the growing crowd they attracted proving a nuisance to anyone trying to pass.

    The vampire paused well beyond the swell of the crowd, sheltered beneath crooked eaves like a brooding blackbird. The tune the man plucked on the kit violin was high-spirited but the lyrics the woman at his side sang in a clear voice were mournful and glittering with grief:

    Il n'y a pas d'amour plus grand que ça:
    Mourir pour un ami.


    He closed his cobwebbed eyes and allowed her sweet voice to wash over him. He listened with cocked head and attentive ear until the song ended and the buskers, flushed with exertion even without the sun, passed through the crowd seeking food or coin for the performance. The vampire roused himself, the ache of the sharp teeth in his mouth urging him onward, and slipped into a winding side street.

    The air was danker here, voices and footfall echoing as within a cathedral. The vampire stepped delicately past a pair who, if their moans were any indication, were shamelessly enjoying their coupling against a wall and toward the entrance to what could generously be called a bar.

    This was not a respectable part of town; the door was little more than a torn cloth, the slanted roof full of holes through which light and laughter and the stink of beer and unwashed bodies spilled. The vampire considered it for only a moment before making to turn away, off to pursue some quieter quarry, when the makeshift door was tugged to the side and a body tumbled out of the den of warmth to the sound of shouting. He was drunk, staggering, and nearly fell headlong into the vampire. His exit was pursued by an exasperated female voice.

    “--knows it better than I do, but pour l'amour de Dieu you don’t have to act so-” She cut off abruptly at the sight of the stranger and her voice when she addressed him switched abruptly to one sugared with a feigned respect.

    “Je vous demande pardon, Monsieur, for my idiot friend. He is upset.”

    The boy - and the vampire could see now that he was a boy, and something in the way he moved, shivering with cold or anger or some impious combination of the two reminded him abruptly and clearly of the boy tucked safely in his house and his mouth filled suddenly with water - took a step closer to the stranger, away from the girl. The defiance in his voice was a youthful jutting of chin, a tight clenching of fists.

    “Tu me gonfles. I don’t need you to tell me what to do.” He turned toward the vampire, swaying softly with the drink. “Hé, Monsieur, do you look for company tonight?” The girl in the doorway made a sound of disgust.

    There was little of breathy seduction in his tone despite his fumbling attempt to inject it there, but the vampire heard something else in the attractive slur of his words, glinting like golden motes of dust.

    He was courting death. And the vampire graciously accepted the invitation.

    “I think I just found what I was seeking,” he confirmed in a voice like warm resin, his hunger shifting like a living creature in his belly. He raised his arm and the boy eagerly stumbled to the warmth of his side. His arm encircled the vampire’s waist and a faint shiver went up his spine at the touch.

    The anger radiating from the girl in the doorway was hot enough to sear and she nearly spat out the words, “Fine, Jehan! I wash my hands of it.” She disappeared into the lively bowels of the bar, the fabric swinging like an irate cat’s tail behind her.

    The boy shrank at her words and the vampire reached with the hand holding the cane between two fingers to tip his chin up. “Pay it no mind,” he said softly, teeth aching in his jaw. “She will forgive you, oui?” De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, a wicked voice whispered in his head. He had to refrain from showing his teeth. “I will show you where I live, we will drink good wine, and you will show me how delightful your company can be.”

    This perked his companion up and he murmured an enthusiastic assent. The pair stepped out into the gloom of the night, Tariq throbbing in sweet anticipation of tearing the boy apart.
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    Re: **There is no love greater than this: to die for a friend

    Post  Tariq on Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:01 pm

    Jehan was trilling with his good luck.

    This stranger - were his head not so muddled with drink he might have admitted that he gave him the creeps, but that was unimportant when faced with the truth that he was very clearly moneyed. It trickled from him like rivulets of sand in an hourglass, wealth made manifest in the way he moved and spoke and dressed.

    He was certain a thin sliver of that abundance would soon be clutched in his hands. If he played his cards right. If he made use of every trick he had ever known to prey on these rich deviants and the depraved tastes they paid good money to unloose behind closed doors.

    The warmth of the liquor that had brazenly bolstered him had begun to fade, revealing beneath it both a pounding in his head and the chill night air that bit at his dirty fingers and uncovered feet. He had kept up a steady patter of what he felt quite sure had been witty observations but his newfound companion seemed preoccupied and replied in monosyllables. Panic had crept with the cold up his spine in fear that the stranger had lost interest in him - until he had shaken himself from his distraction, moonglow hair pale and loose about his shoulders, and quietly pointed out their destination.

    Jehan’s delight was rekindled. The stranger’s house was grand, all dark windows and bashful arches, and the idle thought flashed through his mind that he should return after noting where the smaller valuables were stashed, convince Fa- but no, he clamped down hard on the thought and quickly murmured an appreciative remark instead, - “Magnifique! And it all belongs to you?”-  one which seemed to find its mark as the stranger smiled and replied, “Yes, it is all mine.”

    The dark that stained the walls inside would have unsettled him more were he not so absorbed with the hand his host had ostensibly placed on the small of his back to guide him but which had slipped much lower.

    The stranger unwound once they had settled into the kitchen. His voice was easy and warm as it had been when he had first agreed to join him. The single light he had kindled diminished the shadows enough that Jehan’s bright smile at the offer of a drink was a genuine one. He had tried to refrain from gawking at the darkened rooms, suddenly conscious of the dirt on his feet, but it threatened to overwhelm him that luxury was so easy to obtain, so close to where he spent his nights in rags. Carpets on the floors! Gold threads in the curtains! Mon dieu, what did they need it all for?

    His host had the disconcerting habit of touching him in ways that gave him the distinct impression he was being pat like a dog, his fingers in his hair with a familiarity he took silent umbrage at, but he could not help the intrigue he felt as he watched him pour a glass of dark wine. He had been watchful for the signs of blindness that those pale eyes surely heralded. They were subtle, but there they were - the way the tips of his fingers rested on the glass as he poured, guiding the bottle between them, the faint sweep of his hand across the table to be sure of the surface before he returned the bottle to it - performed with such deftness they were easy to overlook.

    He drank eagerly of the glass he was offered. His host watched him intently as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. It was good wine, rich and heady without the sourness to which he was accustomed.

    “You will not have some to drink, Monsieur…?”

    His smile did not reach his eyes. “Later. Have as much as you will.”

    It was an instruction he enthusiastically obeyed. The remainder of the bottle dwindled quickly as they spoke, the stranger’s hands growing more bold with each mouthful. Jehan could not find it in himself to much mind the stroking touches that were soon coaxing hot, panting breaths from somewhere deep inside.

    His vision had grown blurred, the darkness encroaching on them in a bleary haze. He closed his eyes and kept them shut.

    He had murmured something about the house, a topic his host appeared to take understated pride in, and had started at the press of lips to the base of his throat. A faint rustle of laughter encouraged him and he continued indistinctly, “It is not often I spend time in places like this.”

    He felt his host’s body grow stiff. “Say that again.” His voice was stripped of its indolent pleasure and there was something hard underneath.

    Jehan’s good humour died in his throat as he opened his eyes to the stranger. There was a glint in his pale gaze that raised the hairs on his arm. He swallowed hard, tried and failed to recall his smile.

    “I do not… it is not often I spend time in places like this,” and then, his voice rising; “I did not mean to cause offense, Monsieur-”

    His host cut him off with a gesture and tipped the near-emptied bottle into his glass. The crystalline tink of pouring liquid seemed louder than it ought. “Have another drink.”

    --

    Tariq was not here, in this room painted with ragged moans that had begun as a performance but were now being forcefully, sincerely extracted from this nameless boy’s taut and trembling body. It was not his hand pressing so firmly into the flex and jut of these strained ribs, not him inside this delicious thrust and pull, this plunge of hips and filling of spread thighs.  

    He was somewhere else, following a different thread, with another creature altogether. The same creature he involuntarily strained to hear moving about in his locked room, who had called him “gracious” and “kind” through gritted teeth before he had split his throat and taken his blood onto his tongue.

    This memory overcame him. It was far too potent, and it threatened to spill him over. The vampire returned to this room, the flutter and pulse of the boy beneath him a tantalizing distraction as his blood pooled and stirred in his quivering limbs.

    He could still smell him - his boy - the salt of his skin as it had moved beneath his palm, the scent of his hair when he lay exhausted and drained on the bed. The desperate pull of his hands when he pierced the skin was etched into his mind, the way he had choked on the air, stripped of his voice, flayed raw by the penetration of his teeth...

    The vampire’s mouth filled with water, his teeth aching to agony in his mouth. He nuzzled the curve of the boy’s neck. His eyes glowed silver, unseeing. His lips parted, as though for a kiss, his mouth voluptuous, and his sharp teeth came together with brutal ferocity through the unbearably tender skin of his throat. Flesh gave way and hot blood spurted onto his tongue. The boy cried out in surprise at the suddenness of the pain, his body jolting, struggling, writhing indecently beneath him, hands grasping at his shoulder, and the vampire came hard with a shudder and a groan that, to his credit, did not quite form a name in his mouth.

    His mouth was full of blood like the juice of a pomegranate, streams of it spattering in rusted roses on the boy’s pale chest. His cries faded to whimpers. The fingers that clutched at him grew lax.

    Tariq was trilling with his good luck. Were his head not so muddled with wine-laden blood, his ears pounding with the rhythm of a failing heart, he might have heard the choked sob that cut off somewhere on the floor above.

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