~ 600 YEARS AGO ~
She stood next to the edge of forever. Sprawled at her feet were her last moments written in water. Calling for her. Sensing her time to join beyond the infantile, undeveloped world she sauntered amid now. Not all of them sleep. Some rise again to relish and delve into the living barriers that are set up to filter out unwanted numbers. Others rise again to continue living the way they once did…only finding out the hard way that the sleep that consumed them the night before was meant for eternity.
She crept up to the edge of cliff, the certain dread informing her of her whereabouts. The swan dive was easily 600 feet. She looked out into the ocean, feeling the wind that carried the moisture from the sea. It caressed her face and invited her to join the new and everlasting life that lay just under the ocean. She closed her eyes, yielding the moments as long as possible–working the dusk into a feverish throttle. She threw her head back, her perfect chin facing the velvet sky that casts the light of the moon through to her perfect features. The sky was a splash of charcoal gray and deep blue, with the crashing of the waves making the atmosphere absolute. Her ideal lips parted to reveal the identity she meant to distinguish forever.
A glistening, odious scream escaped her mouth. Lightening flashed and thunder rolled. And then she leapt. Falling like that of a banished angel out of heaven, anger and sadness entwined to create the perfect recipe for revenge. She fell silently now, her dress cutting through the wind to parachute her to her final cadence.
When her swan song ended, the wind howled no more. The waves crashed no more. The sky cried no more. And the beautiful swan diver lay below on the jagged rocks and oceanic debris, accepting who she was and knowing now as she always had that she could not rid her curse. She screamed once more, louder and with more guttural resonance so that both Heaven and Hell could hear her displeasure simultaneously.
She was a vampire.
The air was cold and on the verge of dusk as Damone climbed the steps that lead from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), San Francisco’s subway system. He was instructed by The Council to get off at the Embarcadero station and then make his way to Old St. Mary’s Cathedral, where he would be stationed until further notice. As he traipsed across the last few steps and stepped into the cold, busy surroundings of Market St., his ‘traveler’s high’ began to diminish. The trip from Seattle to San Francisco, nonstop, required much endurance.
Of all the cities within the free 52, The Council chose San Francisco as his landing pad. The city had a lot to offer. Most people he came across were personable. Every corner and cross-section of Market Avenue sent gulfs of ocean mist through his sinuses as he carried his guitar case by his side and his black full-size canvas bag on his shoulder. Beautiful as it was, daemons nonetheless strolled the streets in search of easy and forgotten prey .
The life that Damone had anticipated was far beyond anything that he could recognize today. He strived to usher in positive reinforcements attached to his cover career as a traveling studio musician, but in the end his sinking reality fell through like a bowling ball through a sodden paper towel. Fate almost always had a way of screwing him over; stabbing him into a regretful oblivion. But instinct followed closely behind…and his instincts never failed him.
Back in Seattle, he was immune to what these reprobates had done to the innocent when the sun melted into the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Irrational murderous deeds that took no silhouette or structure as to why the hell they were being committed as well as no solid connections between any of them. One night, the victim happens to be a 19-year-old blonde; the next, an 80-year-old great-grandmother of 10.
The vampire hunter in him was uprooted in Washington. It was best to stray to another city and the Council, for which he worked for, saw fit to move him to the sister city. He was too well-known in Seattle and its surrounding suburbia as something of a brutish hunter. He knew that. He knew that when it came time to eradicate the daemons of the night, it was a task meant for forever. And because of the infinity involved, the execution had to be lineal and extreme.
With the changing of his environment, Damone was clueless to know that as he would move to San Francisco, someone in the higher ranks of the vampire community would follow him–and try her hardest to seduce him into submission. The submission of his life.
Layla never wanted a life outside of Santa Cruz. She had everything she needed to have a go at a long, prosperous life: a lovely home, her terrific boyfriend Kyle, and a great paying job as a paralegal at a small law firm. Whatever aspired her to make the move to attend the art college in San Francisco had done so without much hesitation. Before finalizing her move to the city, she had plans to visit her uncle Jacob, who was a priest at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral located between Chinatown and the Financial District.
As she packed her bags, Kyle came from the den and into their bedroom. Their house was a 3 bedroom stucco on a dead-end street that overlooked the Pacific blue. He embraced her from behind as she continued packing, smiling now.
“This seems so…final.” he said. ” I’m not sure how I am going to react to an empty bed and no poached eggs for breakfast.”
Layla maneuvered around to face her beloved. His blue eyes held an expression she herself had never seen beforehand. She kissed him and put her arms around his shoulders, running her fingers through his amber-colored hair.
” It’s not final at all. I’ll be back in about a week. You mean to tell me that a week without poached eggs is the end of an era?”
Layla glanced into his eyes once again. Into the foreign eyes she did not recognize. Something agitated her about that look. But then and there, like always, she loved him.
“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do. But I also feel that this could be a new chapter. Regardless of the outcome, you are definitely a recurring player within my life…our life.”
Kyle sighed and looked into her eyes.
” Yeah I understand. But man those eggs…”
Layla smiled big. But her true sentiments were very much more difficult to comprehend. She couldn’t bring herself to tell Kyle that what began to unfold within her was a need for change. Whether that change meant a career, environment, or Kyle she did not know. Her intuition began to speak to her with much sincerity as of late. The time to decide what was to be her life–her truth, was now. Something ruptured within her quintessence. And as she stood there embracing the man she had loved for the past 5 years, her heart began to beat faster at the thought of change. A change that came unbiased and aphotic.
Silent shadows crept across the floor as day progressed to night. The old oak pews were tall, dark, and silent as they sat in the shadowy cathedral, awaiting her presence. Awaiting her soft, meticulous hands to brush athwart their sides on her promenade to the altar. The floor beneath the pews awaited the buoyant hover she brought across its surface.
Across the center aisle that split the pews, remains of orchid petals rustled in the light breeze from the open entrance doors. Echoes of the soft patter ran away with the moonlight. And then she appeared beyond the entrance door from the shadow of the pillars, lustrous and divine. Her gaze was one of a lost mariner looking into the horizon for a lost, foreboded island.
She drifted over the floor, her feet never touching the ground, her gaze alluring with silver-colored irises. An iota of perspiration glazed her lips, making them appear ravishing and deadly. Her arms were outstretched like that of Christ while he lay on the cross, as she mutely but effortlessly glided towards the altar. The petals that lay strewn on the floor inexplicably conceded from under her, as if afraid to lay below. Afraid of those lips. The lips that embrace the skin of man and seduce him to her dominance. The lips that penetrate and kiss the very part of him that cannot be infiltrated by mortal women. The kiss of Lady Foncé
She lifted into the air and gently glided over the altar. The air smelled of decaying flowers and stale Holy Water. With her arms still outstretched, she slipped to the stone floor with a soft patter of her bare feet. She turned to face the vastness of the cathedral. Sitting in the center seat of the vicar, she placed one of her beautiful anemic-pale legs onto the arm of the seat and rested her elbow on the other. Her long, black form-fitting dress parted to show her beautiful skin. She smiled, her full lips stretching into a beautiful arch. Then she spoke, the exquisite words piercing the night air so sinfully.
” Soon, I will have you. Soon, we will be together again my love. Soon, Damien Marques. So very soon.”
TO BE CONTINUED…