By: Kalyn Laboure
Nothing has changed since my last attempt at prayer. I am afraid I have yet to succeed in resisting the temptations that night brings. I continue to find myself drawn to the shadows. I still play that wretched game, that sport that has condemned me so, that hunt for those from which I was transformed.
Each night is a different fancy. Just last night I swept an old mare from her perch atop a carriage and led the giggling woman through a cluster of trees where none would see. The night before, a young, pampered dandy who was easily lured into a deserted courtyard. Occasionally I have even taken a young, ripe pauper for my catch. None have ever bore witness to these treacherous crimes, and none have ever escaped. For that, I cannot say I am proud. In fact, I hate myself for it. And yet I cannot escape the urges that take over when dusk approaches. I cannot betray the nature of my being.
A revered writer and thinker of this time stated, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature.” He was under the belief that one’s impulses are sent from above. I once was told that what you feel in your heart is Godsent. If this is true, then it is impossible that the former is as well, for in my heart (what is left of it) is a conflict between bare instinct and my own repulsion by it. My soul, although I do not believe I have one, is in constant turmoil for the mere reason of my paradoxial existence.
Tonight’s was the worst emotional episode I have yet encountered. I was roaming through these empty, echoing halls and harboring on the realization that I am alone, an idea that had crossed my mind occasionally but had never, before this day, struck me like the chorus of the midday chimes from the bell tower. I glanced outside to be sure that night had yet to fall before stealing out of my residence, whose echoing halls only mocked my lonesomeness, to brood as I walked among the villagers. An old maid cringed at my translucent complexion and remarked that I would do well with an afternoon spent basking in the sun. I would agree with her were my skin and the blue veins that crawled visibly throughout indeed due to a lack of sunlight and not the loss of circulation and, consequentially, oxygen in the bloodstream. So I merely smiled and nodded politely.
The bustle of the town does little to improve my mournful disposition, but it does help me to distract from it. I found myself weaving between peddlers and through shops and even came upon a street performer. I noticed a huddle of people, all sighing and fawning in unison. I approached curiously and, upon discovering the nature of the spectacle, something within me bubbled up, yearning to escape. It felt as if I was inflating from my core. The moment I realized it could be laughter–I had not laughed in centuries!–it perished before it could reach the surface. Disappointed at the prospect of what might have been, I resorted back to my brooding and stalked down the cobbled streets.
Preoccupied with my depressed thoughts and morbid inquiries of my existence, I was unaware of the people walking briskly past me. That was until I collided with one. She was a lively young dame, modestly clothed, in the monetary sense, with long, flowing dark hair and warm brown eyes that regarded me light-heartedly. Unabashed at the ungraceful encounter, she laughed–a refreshing melody like wind chimes–and made a remark that I could not comprehend for the clouded effect on my mind that her presence had caused. Before I could utter a response or an apology for the incident, she had taken my hand in hers and led me in the direction whence she had come. All was concealed in a figurative mist, the scenery had been lifted away, the ground had dropped from beneath our moving feet. All that I knew at that moment was the maiden walking before me and the hold she had on my hand and, in that instant, my heart.
I knew nothing of what occurred as we sat and talked together, my mind entranced, as in a dream, unaware of the day wasting away. There was only her, so simple, and yet so complex. She captivated me, and I foolishly fancied her a companion, mindlessly forgetting my true nature at the possibility of no longer being alone, of filling the empty, echoing halls of my manor. It was a tempting prospect, and I could not bring myself to deny my heart what it truly wished for, and, not heeding the familiar warning screaming in my gut, I suppressed my conscience and invited the young girl to accompany me back to those dim, lonely halls. Regrettably, she agreed.
We walked slowly, each savoring the company of the other, paying no mind to the hours that whisked away before us. I found myself so consumed by her beauty and the life in her eyes, the life that I desired a part of and, moreover, desired to be a part of. My mind was so mystified, my judgement so clouded, that I failed to regard the passing time or make notice of the darkening sky. However, in the ongoing phenomena of the sun’s drifting path across the sky, night was undoubtedly inevitable. So was the urge that overtook me with the coming of the shadows. My mind, clouded though it was before, became overcast with a new, yet not at all foreign, desire, a much more raw and impulsive one. The warmth of her eyes no longer reached me, though I now lusted for the warmth of her skin. The melody of her voice was no longer heard over the sickening growl that prompted me to take her by the wrist and through the door of my manor. I no longer wanted this girl; I hungered for her.
The door slammed behind us and I whipped around to face her, my eyes intensely boring into hers. I detected an innocent concern and a hint of fear in her face. One brush of my hand against her skin and she was mine, completely under my control. As I trailed my gentle touch down her face, I was struck with remorse, but–forgive me, Father–I did nothing to stop myself. In an instant, I was relishing the taste of the sweetest of all nectars, my arms enveloping her increasingly limp form. She dropped, lifeless, from my grasp, and my eyes flickered from her, still beautiful, even in death, up to the tarnished glass on the wall above her. In this I witnessed a despicable creature, eyeing me and baring its fangs, stained and dripping with the darkest red wine.
If only the myths and legends were true. Then perhaps my time constantly spent lurking in the shadows under the cover of night could be justified by the danger of my ghostly pale skin being brushed by the light of a glorified star. Perhaps I could face my true abominable nature with the burns of crosses in my eyes, rather than burden myself with a faith I fail to keep alive. Perhaps I could avoid the prospect of facing what I cannot hide from, instead of looking up and being struck by the frightening and intensely animalistic flash in the eyes of my reflection. For, when I finally realized what I had done, I fell on my knees and gathered her in my arms. Her life, her innocence, and any hope for that of my own had all been destroyed. I whispered a farewell and a eulogy for each, and I left them in Your care.
I find myself now asking, nay, begging for any guidance You can spare for a withered being. I will accept any mercy, even if that constitutes my ceasing to exist. Please, do unto me as You see fit, according to my circumstance and those of all the souls who have been victim to my nature. This I pray, as You are my Father, although I fear I can no longer be counted among Your children.
This is a story done by my friend, I asked her if I could share this on my blog and she said yes. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.