Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Thanks again for taking the time to pay me a little visit. I hope to return the favor, dropping by occasionally, as I can. I won’t bore you with the details; however, work continues to weigh down upon me. I worked another weekend. My wife and I have managed to steal time together, but both work and the writing lifestyle are doing its level best to rob time that should be spent with family. If you don’t hear from me, that’s where I am – with family. Hopefully things will calm down soon.
While I sort things out, over the next few weeks I plan to simply “Let the Music Do the Talking.” I hope Aerosmith will forgive me borrowing that line. What follows is a small portion from my debut novel, Dance on Fire. It is available at Amazon.com for .99. In the piece, our hero, the vampire Nathaniel has just saved a woman’s children from the villain vampire in our story…
“Peace to you,” Nathaniel softly greeted the woman as she came to.
He leaned only so close to her, using the darkness of the room as a veil, as he did not wish to frighten her further, he being yet another stranger inside her home.
She recoiled, pushing herself away from him, sliding back along the carpet. Nathaniel made no effort to follow.
“Who are you?” she demanded to know. She was still much too groggy, and not in any shape whatsoever to be making demands. They both knew it. She closed her eyes suddenly and winced. She brought a hand up to her head.
“Oh,” she grimaced in agony as a sharp pain seemed to take hold of her.
“I happened to be near when I heard your screaming,” he began with a tender voice. “So I...”
“Oh, my God! My babies!” She made a futile attempt to get to her feet.
“Take care!” he said, suddenly out of the darkness and upon her. He took her by the shoulders and pushed her gently back where she lay, careful not to touch her bare skin. “Your children are fine. Nothing at all has happened to them.”
“Swear it!” Barbara surprised him by suddenly demanding.
Nathaniel surprised himself by answering. “I swear it.” He uttered the words without thinking about them first.
In the silence that followed, he found himself contemplating how strange it had been to act in such a way. He wondered why he was still present in the woman’s house.
“Where are they?” she asked, a bit calmer. Nathaniel could feel the woman’s muscles beginning to loosen below his fingers.
“They are safe in their beds, and sleeping.”
“Sleeping?” she asked, incredulously. “How could they be sleeping?” She started to tense a bit. “Just how long have I been out?”
“Not very long. I do not know the exact time, however.”
“What happened to the...the man who attacked me?” She winced again, but seemed to become more lucid.
“I frightened...” The beast, he caught himself about to say. There was no need to go into that with the woman. “I frightened him away just after he had gained entry.”
The woman attempted once again to sit up. She paid dearly for it.
“Ow,” she cried out.
“You are in no condition to stand,” Nathaniel told her. “Please, relax.”
Nathaniel took his hands away from her now. As he did so, he found himself pleased. She seemed to take no notice of his releasing her, just as she had apparently not realized how long he had been holding her down when she had attempted to stand. Could it be that he’d gained her trust in so short a time without even trying to do so?
He watched her for a moment. He was sure she was unable to see much more than his outline, not that she was even attempting to discern it. Her eyes were closed while she dealt with her circumstance. The woman was quite lovely, he determined. This, of course, was not the most optimal time for judging physical beauty. She was disheveled in appearance, both in hair and dress. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying. He detected a trace of blood upon her lower lip, and menstrual bleeding as well, although very faint. Her last day, he surmised.
Yet, Nathaniel could see the woman that she was, beyond this terrible trial. He found himself strangely pleased that he had been able to stop Vincent from shedding blood (at least in this house). Not that Vincent would go to his vile rest tonight on an empty stomach, but he would acquire no blood here. Whether he had desired to kill them all or to simply destroy the mother’s life forever, he was certainly capable of anything. It was a fact that Nathaniel knew all too well, and wished not to think about. He had a great many instances or horrors and degradations safely locked away in the vault that was memory. A vault that recently began to show cracks.
“I must go,” he said softly. A part of him wondered whether she had heard at all. Had she fallen unconscious again? No, there was movement, however slight. Though her eyes remained closed, he continued. “If you must, I will gladly present your babies to you. I assure you, however, that they are well, so you may wish to reconsider.” Barbara could only moan by way of acknowledgement.
“It is settled then.”
Slowly, careful not to touch her exposed flesh, Nathaniel leaned close and swept the woman off of the carpeted floor. In no shape to either argue or attempt to fight him off, she could only interrogate him with the meekest of voices. “Where are you taking me?”
“Momentarily, you shall find yourself in your bed.”
No sooner spoken and it was so. He softly set her down upon it and turned to go.
“Wait,” she whispered after him, as if sensing that she was suddenly alone.
Her eyes fluttered open. He caught her grimace because it seemed even that slight movement hurt.
“I’m Barbara. Who are you?”
“Please, rest,” he said from the darkness of the entryway.
He could have said nothing. He should have said nothing. He could have ignored the woman and simply vanished from her life and the lives of her family forever. Before he could contemplate anything, Nathaniel found himself shuffling back to her.
Conflicting feelings began to emerge. It felt like ghosts—things about him that had long since died and were thought forgotten. He could still turn now and be away from here; away from this house, from this meager room, this woman, this…
However, something was delaying him from doing so. Whatever it was, it was very strong. Was this some feeling of servitude? He knew of customs in the world where the individuals rescued from death or crisis who felt indebted to their rescuer spent their entire existence repaying the life gained. Why then did he feel some perverted twist upon the old tradition? Why did the rescuer suddenly feel as if he had to dedicate himself to serve the rescued?
He found his feet and started to leave. For good this time, although even then he knew he would be back.
“Wait,” Barbara called out to him. There was returning strength there, but it would not endure. “My husband will want to meet you.”
“I cannot,” Nathaniel quietly responded.
“He'll want to thank you,” she continued as if she hadn't heard his reply. “I want to thank you.”
“You already have.” He cocked one ear. Someone was approaching the front of the house with rushed footfalls. What had taken place tonight had aroused interest, of course. In any event, it was finally time for him to leave.
“I am Nathaniel. I cannot stay. Please, tell no one of what has transpired here tonight.”
“What?” Barbara questioned. “How can I keep this a secret? Why would I want to do that?”
“Please,” he began, but said nothing else. Too much had been said already; too much had been done.