This short story is a present for those of you who asked me to write something about Vampires. This is also a little snack for those of you waiting for Book 2 in the “Grimoire Chronicles” series (thank you for your patience!) And without further ado… ::a red velvet curtain opens::
With This Blood, I Thee Wed
Mare sat on the edge of the bed and again arranged the sheer fabric of her white negligee and its matching peignoir so they would drape in what she hoped was an enticing manner along the sides of her legs. She delicately crossed her feet at the ankles. Too demure. She leaned back on her elbows. Too sexy. Mare stood. The negligee and peignoir draped around her ankles. She walked across the room and turned off the light. The remaining candlelight was far more romantic. The small flames lit the room, and shadows played along the wallpaper of delicate roses. The old Bed and Breakfast rested on a cliff high above the ocean, and the honeymoon suite was spacious and hopelessly romantic.
Mare sat back down on the bed and shrugged her long, shiny black hair behind her. The hair cascaded down her back like freshly draped silk. She had applied her makeup to perfection — ruby lips, soft blush, seductive eyes. She fought the urge to check her makeup again, and fanned the diaphanous negligee around herself on the bed, making her the centerpiece. She envisioned herself a delicate flower waiting for the untold delights her new husband would bring on his return to their honeymoon suite, and she trembled with delight at the thought of his touch.
The trouble was that Mare’s new husband had now been gone for nearly an hour. They were about to open a bottle of champagne when he left to get ice in the downstairs lobby, along with a promise to return in ten minutes.
“Fifteen at the most,” Liam had said with a wink and a lingering kiss.
Mare knew that Liam wanted to consummate the marriage as much as she. The weekend honeymoon in the old Northern California Bed and Breakfast was all they could take time for.
Mare stood and searched the room for a phone. There wasn’t one, but that wasn’t terribly unusual for a Bed and Breakfast. The young bride spied the elegant blue orchid corsage that Liam had given her. It was pinned to the white linen suit that served as her wedding dress, and it now hung on the door; her white sling-back high-heeled shoes rested on the floor beneath. She could almost see herself standing in the suit. Mare remembered the simple ceremony and smiled.
She tied the delicate satin ribbon of the peignoir at the breast and walked to the door with floor-length negligee swirling around her ankles. She opened the door and peered down the hallway.
The blood froze in her veins.
Her legs gave out, and she clung to the doorframe to keep from falling.
The hallway was a broken down ruin.
Mare’s breathing came quick as her eyes adjusted to the darkness; paint peeled from the walls. The smell of mold and untold wicked things crept through the foul air. The tall window at the end of the hall was broken, and wind whipped filthy tattered draperies into the hall like flailing bony arms. Mare could hear waves that crashed on the rocks below and the pounding sound echoed through the hall.
She slammed the door and rested upon it. Mare was breathing hard. “It has to be a mistake. That must be the wrong door,” she thought.
She turned, and wanted to scream but had no voice.
Mare was in a different room altogether, different colors, different furniture. Old gas lamps made the room dark and shadowy. It was a different time. It was a historical bed and breakfast, but this was a different time.
And then the dark shadows moved. A man rose like a ghost from a wing-backed chair.
“My beloved. You look so beautiful. How I have longed for you.”
Mare’s eyes widened. It was Liam but, God help Mare; it was only Liam in appearance. His hair was longer, parted down the middle. He wore a dove gray suit with a cravat and hat from a century before. Mare found her breath, but it was short and fast with a high, reedy whimper accompanying each exhale.
“Liam.” The name escaped from her lips.
“My wife,” said Liam. He said it with an accent that Mare didn’t recognize, and walked toward her opening his arms. “You’ve been gone so long. So very long.”
Mare kept her eyes on the Liam stranger who called her his wife, and she clawed behind her for the door knob. She found the knob, but her hands shook so badly she couldn’t open the door. She turned around, focused intensely on the knob, turned it with shaking hands, and blindly ran into the hall.
Mare found herself in yet another new landscape. She ran down this new and strange hall with its freshly polished mahogany paneling, rich carpet, and oil paint portraits. Sweet smelling flowers were in a huge crystal vase on a table at the end of the hall framed by the massive windows and blood-red brocade draperies. The stairs were dark at the bottom.
The door at the other end opened, and Mare saw Liam striding toward her. Mare took the stairs down into the darkness two at a time, stumbling as her negligee tangled about her ankles. She landed on the bottom, and her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She seemed to be in a servants’ area. Mare groped with her hands in front of her, not knowing where she could possibly go, only knowing that she needed to get away.
Patient footsteps followed her.
“Mare! Mariette!” called the man who looked like Liam, but this man carried a booming, commanding voice.
Mare continued as quickly as she could and ran straight into a large man who caught and held her.
The man held her firmly. “Lady Farington! It’s alright,” he shouted. Everything’s alright. Lady Farington!”
Mare pushed the man as hard as she could, but he held her firm. She knew the man was mistaking her for someone else, yet the name sounded familiar, and it echoed in her mind through a fog-shrouded memory.
“I’ll take care of her, Hanfield.”
Mare felt another pair of hands, and her legs gave out from beneath her. The stranger’s arm caught her at the waist when she collapsed forward.
“I’ll put up some tea,” said the man called Hanfield.
“That would be excellent.”
And with that, Mare felt herself lifted easily off the floor and into Liam’s arms. Near passing out, Mare was too weak to fight. Liam carried her back up the stairs.
“I’ve gone to measures beyond the laws of Nature to bring you here. You belong to me now.” His voice was rich and deep.
“No,” said Mare, her voice soft with terror. She dared her first full glance at this new Liam. His features were the same, but enhanced somehow. The nose a little sharper, the eyes a little darker. And the mouth. As she looked at his mouth, he smiled, and Mare saw that his teeth had an unattractive animal quality to them.
“Oh, yes, Mariette. Oh, yes, my love. You are my wife.”
My wife. My wife. Mare heard the words and tried to remember the events of the day, tugging at the memories to cling to sanity. She and Liam had gotten married at a little chapel with a few close friends – family lived too far away. They drove an hour up the coast of California to the grand Bed and Breakfast…
“Look at me,” said Liam.
Mare looked at him and became transfixed. His eyes seemed to hold the Universe.
“You are my wife,” he said again.
“Yes,” said Mare, but somewhere inside, the strongest part of her stayed alert. She carved out a part of her own mind that stayed true to her own time, and her own reality.
They were at the top of the stairs.
“I lost you once, my love, but I waited until you were reborn, and I’ve brought you back to me.” Liam smiled, and Mare saw the animal teeth changing. The teeth were growing.
“I will stay true to myself,” thought Mare. “I will stay true to my Liam.” She clung to the last shreds of her sanity with the feebleness of a babe.
They were at the top of the stairs, next to the heavy crystal vase of flowers, and Liam gently let Mare down onto her feet, still holding her.
As Mare watched in terror, the teeth grew, and became white fangs. Liam’s breath was hot and close, and he held her tightly.
“I’ve brought you across time to be my beloved. My bride. Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. And with this blood, I thee wed.”
Liam opened his mouth; the white fangs glistened. Mare’s eyes grew wide, and too quickly Liam’s mouth was on her soft white neck. Liam’s fangs easily pierced her flesh.
But there was a piece of Mare that held true. It was a piece that Mare herself didn’t know existed. She opened her eyes and saw the moon outside the window. Time stood still as her very own precious blood was drained from her body. And instead of weakness, strength grew. Mare felt her muscles become strong. Something changed within. She inhaled the memory of her Liam who was lost in time, and who she promised to love until death. Mare became all powerful Love.
She burst from the stranger’s tight grip in a fit of rage, and felt white hot pain when the flesh at her throat ripped as Liam’s teeth were withdrawn. Mare’s warm red blood trailed down her neck, the vein open beyond repair.
Liam was inhumanly strong. He grabbed her arms, but Mare pulled back, and threw the heavy vase through the window. Wind came howling into the hall ushering in the noise of the crashing waves. The draperies flew into the Vampire’s face and eyes, and Mare, who couldn’t endure a life without her Love, leapt into the dark night to the jagged rocks below.
The marriage of Liam and Mare was brief and, indeed, ’til death do they part.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed my story. If you did, feel free to share on Facebook or Twitter!