Short Story Sunday: Prisoner of Love

Tangled Tales

Prisoner of Love

It wasn’t as if Andy had planned on being locked in a basement. No windows. It wasn’t like he’d turn into a bat because he couldn’t do that, but he could make them think he wasn’t there. Or at least he hoped that was true, considering he had no idea who had locked him away.

He thought about the Count of Monte Cristo.

How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.

But unlike Edmond Dantes, Andy didn’t have a mad priest to show him the way to treasure so that he could get revenge on his captor and win back the woman he loved.

Andy thought about the woman he loved for a bit. Did she love him? Or was she rejecting him simply because he was a Vampire and she was not? Or was he just thinking about it way too much.

It would have been nice to be back in his own comfortable home, playing the piano, entertaining friends or curled up in a chair with a good book and a nice goblet of wine or blood or…

A sudden noise brought him out of he reverie. A brick popped out of the wall and a pale hand came through. What could this sudden event of fate mean? Was he to be rescued?

He reached for the hand. It pulled back at his touch.

“You’re like ice,” hissed a quiet voice.

“I run a little cold. Who are you?”

“I am but a prisoner of love.”

Andy took a deep breath, at least a deep one for a Vampire. Why did he always find himself in situations like this with someone who was bat shit crazy?

“Where are we and why? No stupid answers.”

He was answered with silence. That wouldn’t do. Andy went to the hole in the wall and looked through. It was dark but he could see a slight shadow. “Answer me. Where are we? Do you know?”

Something jumped on his lap and shook him awake. Andy let his book (The Count of Monte Cristo) drop and nearly tipped over the goblet on the table next to his favorite reading chair. A small black kitten curled up and started to purr. What a crazy dream. What a strange and bizarre dream he’d had. But he didn’t have a black kitten.

Sitting still and quiet Andy listened for noise of a visitor. He’d hear the slightest breath or an excited heart beat. If they were close enough he’d smell blood.

There was no other living thing in the room except Andy and the kitten.

“Where did you come from dear kitty?”

The kitten only purred. She was tiny, maybe 8 weeks old at the most. A sense of unease overcame him. Someone was in the house. Making his fangs ready he stood and turned around. Standing behind him was a pale form – a woman in a long silken dress and platinum blonde hair. She held out her hand.

“I am but a prisoner of love,” she whispered.

“Is this your cat?”

But Andy never got his answer. She vanished in a wisp of smoke with the smell of sulphur.

The next morning he walked the exclusive old neighborhood and asked if anyone knew who the kitten belonged to. He even put up posters. Nobody had lost a kitten. Nobody had an answer for him.

What is it with Vampires and cats and love? He laughed then said aloud, “If you’re going to haunt my dreams and my house you might as well tell me who you are.”

He felt a cold blast of air then heard a soft laugh then the soft sound of a woman’s voice “When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever.”

It was a quote from The Count of Monte Cristo.

A prisoner of love. “Not me,” thought Andy, “not me.”

 

~ End

Short Story Sunday: Stranger No More

“What are you? You never grow old or change. You made love to my great grandmother. She said to my mother that women took you as a lover because your seed would not give them children. It would be like a cat with a dog. Nothing would come of it. You were brought here to be our spiritual mascot, an oracle, a healer, but since we’ve arrived here you’ve been shy about your feelings and observations. You’ve turned within yourself, or maybe within a world mortals like my troops are not privy to. You’re tall, but as beautiful as a woman. You’re lithe, but stronger than the largest gladiator. You evoke joy into the hearts of those who know you, yet you can freeze the soul of a man and bring fear that makes a heart stop. What are you? ”

So I answered him. “I am a man, like you, only different. But we are all different my dear  Quintus. My friend, you treat me like a freak of nature or a vessel of evil. I am neither. Let me be. Let me do my job, or I will leave you here in a strange land with spirits you cannot understand or even fathom.”

He went on with his half drunken blathering. I know, I know, I should have just called him out but it wouldn’t have done any good. Anyway, I’d volunteered for the job.

Contrary to his opinions I had not been shy about observations, just cautious. Unlike many of the men I’d come with I studied and thought about my conclusions before I spouted off my mouth.

After leaving his lavish tent I walked through the camp, greeting the men I passed. They looked upon me with a cross of caution and awe. I wasn’t a god, but I wasn’t a man to them. I was the one who healed them, showed them the future, said wise things, and gave them courage.

Nobody else was like me. I tried to think of my family but the memories were vague, like watching the will-o-whisps in the distance. You aren’t sure if you are seeing anything or not. It is a trick of the mind, or a trick of the heart? You never know because when you reach that point nothing is there, and you’re alone.

The men I walked past and greeted smiled at me and bid me to sit with them. They were Romans. We were on an island far from home. One day it would be called England, and Great Britain, and the history would be rich and wonderful. Right now I wasn’t thinking of any of that because I didn’t belong.

I muttered a friendly blessing at them and kept walking into the night. The louder the sound of the waves on the shore were the closer I walked. I wanted to go to where the ocean met the land. I wanted to dive into the surf and wash away the annoyance and clean my mind of all of the chaos and bull shit.

As I made my way down the narrow path down the cliff to the beach I could see a fire in the distance. When I got closer I saw two men in animated conversation, drinking from goblets and eating roasted fish and root vegetables.

I could hear one of them laughing and saying, “I kid you not Morcaht, she said she wasn’t afraid of the Romans or anyone else. You know, if they saw her each and every one of them would die of a broken heart, or limp back to their own land half the men they are today.”

Then they both looked up, turning to me. Normally I can approach a situation with nobody knowing I’m there. I can be nearly invisible, but they knew I was there.

“Come friend, join us by our fire. We have plenty of drink and food,” said the smaller of the two men.

By smaller I don’t mean small. He was a man of average height with a narrow pleasant face and light brown hair streaked with blonde, coming down to his shoulders. A lavishly woven cape of green and brown was on his shoulders. Next to him sat a larger man with board shoulders and a narrow waist. He wore nothing on the top part of his body, showing off muscles that would make any man envious and every woman swoon with desire. Long black hair cascaded down his back in shining waves.

“I am Druce. This is my friend Morcant. Welcome Tellias,” he said to me.

“You know my name,” I said, somewhat surprised. These men were not Romans. They spoke the native language. I understood their words. Of course I did.

“We’ve been wondering how long it would take for you to find us,” said the man called Morcant. “Come, sit with us. I’d tell you to warm yourself but in your case…”

They both laughed. They knew. They knew what I was.

“You’re not from here, but you don’t exactly belong with the invaders you’ve come with. You’re more like us,” said Druce, handing me a goblet of some sort of sweet alcoholic brew.

After an hour or two I’d learned that Druce was a Warlock – a man of magic. Morcant was a Selkie, a man who spent half his life on the land and half in the water in the form of a seal. They already know what I was, a Vampire in a strange land with no community of my own.

The odd thing, no, more of the wonderful thing, was that however comfortable and privileged I was with my Roman society, I was relaxed with these two odd creatures. They were not like me, but they understood me. They treated me as an equal, not as an oracle or something different. I was just a guy sitting around a fire, having a brew with friends on a Saturday night. It felt good.

Then they told me that there were others like me. I sat there almost numb at that news.

We talked until the sun came up over the hills. I went back to my Roman camp but promised to be back.

This morning, October 25, 2015, I received an email from Druce. Even if we go a hundred years without talking we always catch up as if we’d just talked the day before.

Morcant passed on many centuries ago but I still see his descendants who now live here in California. We stay close.

So that is my story. Druce is coming by for Halloween. We’ll carve pumpkins and turnips. We’ll laugh and be friends.

A friend doesn’t have to be your double. No, a friend has to be someone who understands you and appreciates your differences and what makes you unique. The best part about a friend is that there doesn’t have to be a reason you’re friends – you just are.

You just are, and that is a good thing.

 

 

Tangled Tales
For additional posts about Tellias and somewhat related things click on the links below.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way...and survive.

Finding comfort in others who share your experiences. We live, learn and love that way…and survive.

Your Life of Truth & Lies

I can piece together parts of a life and figure out anything. There are no secrets. All is revealed.

Years of observation and thinking and knowing what is a lie and what is a truth and what is a half truth has made me see things for what they are.

Most people are horrible liars. Their stories change over the years. Photos and documents don’t add up. Confusion layered with bull crap. I can figure it out. What really happens in the real world. Truth is stranger than fiction, but even strange truth has some real truth to it.

The statement “He died at sea,” in reality means “he had another family in another country and went back to them. That is why he is gone. That is why they know nothing of me or our child. That is why I say I am a widow rather than an unwed mother.”

Or the reason someone moves across the country to take a great job, but leaves a more prestigious job. He never wanted to be there. He never wanted to be with her. It was a mistake. Then there was a divorce. No children. He’d made a mistake and now he was going to lead his own life the way he wanted to – finally. There were a few other clues in there but in reality I never spoke with the person in question. I just knew. I was right. I’ve speculated on everything here and I’m right.

The young man joined the army because he was immature and needed to become a man. That is what his parents said. They said it would prepare him for college. He jointed the army because he knocked a girl up and his parents didn’t want him burdened with a family so they sent him away. If their son went away the girl would go away. So the young man learned to run away from his problems. The girl learned not to trust anyone.

She didn’t know why he was so mad. He was an idiot.  But she never got over him. He hated her or so he said. In reality he always loved her. The man she said was just a friend was really a lover who later jilted her.  He loved is second wife but when he couldn’t sleep at night, almost every night, he thought of his first wife – he did this for over 60 years. He died two days after she did.

He never left her because he wanted to prove his family and friends were wrong. She never left him because she wanted to punish him for ruining her life and because he was the only thing in her life she had absolute control over.

Uncle Jack did not die of natural causes. Neither did he die alone.

He still thinks of her all the time but it is too late. Years too late. She married someone else. He lost his chance. She thinks of him but he had his chance. She thinks he never knew that she loved him once. She was wrong about that but is doesn’t matter. Now she loves someone who deserves her – she loves him with a passion.

He never married because he was afraid of being controlled.

She never married because she had fantasies of being controlled.

You dated a man who claimed he killed people for a living and then you went to church on Sunday and everyone thought you were a saint. They never knew your daughter hated you. You never knew what she did at night after she moved away.

He always had a feeling she wasn’t dead but he never told anyone about it. He should have asked to see her body.

She said she was kidnapped as a child. In reality she was abandoned by her mother who was chasing after a cheating husband who had no use for children.

He always thought the wonderful man he grew up with and loved was his father. In reality his biological father was the man in photographs hidden between the pages of a well-worn copy of Ulysses.

They said it was a miracle that she survived the accident. Over and over the story of her car going off of the cliff was told. A slick road, an out of control truck, her small red Mustang, and the long drop into the Pacific Ocean. She told everyone it was by the grace of God and prayer. In reality it was because she cheated at cards. He was so impressed with her skills in deception that he gave her another 50 years.

When life give you lemons plant the seeds and tell everyone you have a rare fruit of kings.  But sooner or later someone might find out they’re really lemons. But don’t worry about it, we’ll make pie.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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