There was autumn. Of those that savours of pavements and tobacco smog. Though different was the time: people wore gowns and elegant suits, their roads went in cabs, and only the silence of secrecy inks kept their heart testimonies.
Gloomy London had used to the needling rains long ago. Addict against his own will, he laughed at reflections of streets in the autumnal puddles. Here and there: in a bakery and grocery store, jewelry and antique, and, of course, in a pub - people swallowed dreary whiskies, complaining that rain today's pouring more cats than before. And London - high sinewy old man in an old-fashioned jacket - sullenly nodded, fetching them a new pint of weary hops.
That autumn rains poured cats and dogs, indeed. The city turned deserted. Balls ran one after another (to let the rain-mood off), but the fun'd die with umbrella's curve. Those days people rumoured a ghost: haunting eventide alleys and parks, dancing with lanterns to the music of cloudy skies. Someone saw him sailing by Thames in a maple leaf boat; some closed tight the curtains, being afraid of his look, chanting grey; some even - faltering - told that they'd met him, but then couldn't remind any words, just the music of splashes, composing the ghost, and his colourless eyes - full of rain.
In those days there appeared a man, who'd come oft in a pub not afar from the forsaken garden, adjoining the decrepit chapel. He didn't wear any hats or umbrellas; his coat was thrown open, and he always preferred to look down, avoiding the curious sights. He'd order rum or whisky and sit for hours near the window, listening to rain drumming on the wan lone glass. It seemed his coming ever brought the wind and dampness: then people'd move to the fireplace, reaching for warmth; but he'd still take place right at the door and breathe in the fragrance of weather. Bartender'd shrug his shoulders then: judging by accent, strange guest was Irish, and all Irish for him sounded «far from this world».
When the guest'd leave, people sighed of relief, as they'd do if rain, burst under the roof, again is returned in embraces of winds and lamenting pavements.
No one knew him by name, but those who met - called him Rain: he was so much alike to the wet English autumn…
Bartender nodded and reached for the ice.
"No, no. No ice… 't makes me winterish…"
"You're enjoying this rain?"
"He's alive…" Stranger smiled, yet down were his eyes.
Bartender shook his head, pouring rum into glass.
"What, in your smell, is the fragrance of rain?" Stranger whispered.
"And the smell of wetness?"
"Why should I know?" Bartender hemmed and turned back, returning to his work, but stranger went on, as speaking to himself:
"Today is rummy - for my smell. Rain has beautiful taste, but no fragrance at all. I enjoy granting him an aroma…"
He smiled and sipped from a glass.
"Drop after drop - rummy rain fills the veins…"
Leaving the pub, he was gathering wetness, breathing in rainy freshness through rummy fumes; kissing his beloved autumn with the blackened eyes, drunk by her ecstatic beauty.
Most likely, he could be the sole who loved rain: ghost, haunting alleys and parks, laughing, welcoming hugs to the kisses of cloudy fairies. Gloomy London - acquainted to wetness had blown away people from streets - became his cursed castle, where autumn and rain shared the couch of mellowing leafage.
That day, while the park promenades, he heard cries.
She was there, sitting on the bench: trembling, sobbing, burying face with hands. And, generally, he'd pass by - being hostile to people - but something caught his eye, made him come closer and sit beside her. Watching her from under the soggy eyelashes he tried to find out, what's wrong with the girl, while she cried on her bitterness, as if never noticed his coming.
"You are like autumn… that beauty and sad…"
She was startled with his words, but, looking at him through the hazes of tearful eyes, sadly uttered:
"Go away. I don't need any pity."
"But… You are the beauty. You can make the rain…"
Girl bitterly smiled to a thought that she bumped into mooner - then reached for a handkerchief to wipe off the tears; but he took her hand gently, and his rainy eyes imbued with pray…
"What kind of gentleman are you, letting out your hands…" But she wouldn't finish, as stranger came kissing her cheeks and lips, licking off salty nectar of her tears.
Oddly, she wouldn't resist, like being charmed by his sudden endeavour. In an eventide park under cover of rains she felt panting inside and, unable to hold back the passion, instinctively yielded, surprised, to his sudden caress.
"Who are you?"
"I heard someone calling me Rain…"
"I love it… Rain…"
"I will be calling you Fall."
"Rain and Fall…"
"Fall and Rain…"
After park, they had long promenades by the quays, and Fall happily cried, as Rain kissed off her tears, and she felt that his cold eyes came warmer.
Later he got her on cab and then watched, in the middle of watery road, how she vanished - his Fall - in the mysterious shade.
Her rain - is another. Salty, knocking off feet, drugging with a peculiar fragrance. I could go kissing her on and on, drink her delicate nectar... disparate with rain, which had become my shadow… And now when she's gone, I am boiling within. My obsession - oh, maddening Fall!
That night he didn't go to pub, wishing for the taste of Fall to last for ever.
But with the morn, of sudden, clouds scattered, and the rain-drops dried. People ran out into the streets, smiling at the blazing sun. Only he - alone in damp grotto by swampy swan-pool, tried to sleep, until sun would extinguish. Though the feeling inside wouldn't let any rest… as rough opium of human tears set his hunger on fire…
Names do not mean much in this story. This is why you will never know the name of the girl he called Fall or, like, mine. Doesn't matter at all. And even if might - will just hinder from considerate reading.
That girl, as you could've guessed already, had befallen disgrace. Which led her in rainy autumnal park, where she found a hope that happiness still could be happened. Where she met a vampire, summoned with the call of her tears…
Like a newborn, she greeted the sun, which had torn through the bulwarks of sorrowful weather, hoping that this - is another good sign for the end of all dismal and dreary, and cold of her life being. The whole day she could just dream away in their promenades with Rain, waiting for the evening, when they promised to meet again; and she bantered herself, smiling: 'Above all, there should be no rain…' And before going out, whispered, wagging at mirror: 'Hence, no mo tears, hear me! No more tears!'
But there happened more tears. He didn't come. Passersby watched her with pity, as she cried on the bench. One even tried to address her with sympathy, but she wouldn't hear or see anyone, craving for the Rain to come, cherishing the hope, which hurt - and heavier poured ringing tears.
He lied in agony on the heartless stones of world-forsaken grotto, unable to break his refuge. Parks and alleys dried out; calmed down the winds. Clear sky promised not any clouds, thus he knew that he couldn't abandon his ghostly place… hence pierced on and on skin with claws, eager to silence the echoes of cries of his fair Fall, whose tears - must appertained to him - wasted dead in the rustling leaves, withered. His drug - rough opium of rain, salt morphia - did call, allured, but when he tried to get out of the grotto, dry wrinkled London injected his soul with the summery liquids, burning, choking his throat, as willing to squeeze out his life. Then vampire crawled back in his prison, where faint underground brook from the swans' pool kept feeding his rain-coat shade.
He loved to watch how black swans in the greyness of rain sailed like ancient barks ripping storms by the flow of autumn, raising flags from their sable feathers, hailing him - the sea captain of morion smokes. They were so alike: black swans and coated in clouds autumn vampire. Just like him, they enjoyed when it rained and would hastily hide when it shined in decrepit chapel, long forgotten by men. There he built artificial pond, filled with water from mourning heaven; there loved to spend hours himself, listening to the wandering wind howling through the time-worn walls. Though in shine days still brightly was there. He felt sun stretching out his hands everywhere, spitting dryness, so then would escape to his grotto: dark and thick, solid as coffin, accustomed to creatures like him, though hungry for blood.
He wouldn't tell what is Seasons or Calendar. He lived with special understanding of his own Seasons. When it rained - the autumn reigned over his world. And thus, he'd lust to last for ever. But then, alas, at sudden, summer'd come. Skies'd dry, rains'd die, flesh-eating sun'd crawl out, and people… many people. The world around would turn into a dreadful orgy of voices and sounds. In those days even there, in his forsaken garden, he could hear the steps. Once happened: some kids tried to enter his refuge, but he frightened them, playing a ghost, spreading rumble and moans all over the grotto - and they ran away. He grieved that summer couldn't be frightened, as well.
But mostly he feared of winter. Shuddered at every crunch of snow under passersby' legs; shivered in his light coat; and worriedly watched the underground brook being shrouded with thin icy scales. Then he smashed it, ground with stones into ashes, protecting his faint spring from horrifying wintery breath.
At summer he was frightened to dry; at winter - to freeze. Only at autumn, when poured are the rains, he would have promenades, filling London again with the rumours of ghost, dancing 'midst puddles, swallowing cloudy tears.
And now, unexpectedly he realized that his life kaleidoscope had beheld the new season. But he wouldn't know how to describe it, though felt - it's connected to her, whose cries he could hear from afar, as they drove him crazy. But the rain was numb, thus autumn vampire had to suffer the pains of his heartbeat.
She waited for him 'till the sunset, but Rain didn't come. Tears dried, killed the hope, and she couldn't decide, what'd be next. Like she couldn't before, when she thought, no one else ever'd make her heart aching. She got a cab back home. There, in boudoir before the mirror, gulping chartreuse, she feebly whispered, peering into the bleeding aureoles of ink: 'No more tears… any tears… never.'
That night it rained again. Though she slept blue of emerald liquor: couldn't hear the splashes of sorrowful fairies at the closed-shut windowpane.
A handkerchief. Only a handkerchief on the lonesome bench in the nightly grim park - all what's left from her. He picked it up carefully, holding to lips: licked soft fabric, imaging kissing off her rainy tears, tasting her passionate watery nectar, and, couldn't be patient for more (full of violent illness) drank off - ferociously draining silk fabric on the tips of his pale, hungry, dried off pain-lips - her decadent autumn melancholy. That's when he felt again the ecstasy within, as if he partook of forbidden fruit, dissolved in space, moored - after countless seasons of mooning - to the island, where infinite rains have poured lotus haze in crystal goblets. He closed his eyes and could see her - beauteous Fall gowned in fallen leaves, granting him one of the goblets. Like true sommelier, tenderly and slowly, he accepted the gift, smelling the aroma, further making a sip, letting flow by the tongue the thick rivulet of viscid temptation.
"Here is the special wine. Pleurs d'Affe. Which grows in eventide falls from the rarest overcast tears. Which bouquet smells of maple leaves, seasoned in puddles in drowsy sparkles of the last lantern's breath… hurried, floundering glow of dark-roasted tobacco and ashes from beheaded match… subtle blossom of my favored perfume, spread with camellias' petals by the dank winds, blended into the sweetish sativa of misty October. Which taste firstly is salty, weepy, wed with rough and spiced tempranillo, opening further in bitterish duo of opium dusk and scorched almond-heart, with a colouful finish of astringent conifer tar, melted in sighs of ailing kisses. Pleurs d'Affe. Are you enjoying my treat?"
"Then drink more… Drain me…"
And he drank - drained every single drop from the handkerchief; fallen on his knees, craving for more, obsessed with the hungering madness. Nor rain, neither perpetual autumn - but desire to stay on that island forever possessed him. There, in crystal goblets, She was pouring the colourless wine - Pleurs d'Affe - which reflected cold vagueness of his eyes, stranger to the world of men and flesh temptations.
He looked for her anywhere, but couldn't hear the music of tears. Night seemed eternal. He searched for her beyond the windows, but met just his own reflection on the curtained glass. Mooned around the quays, yet rain scared away anyone but stray dogs. The goblet in his hands got a crack, and he smashed it in ire at mourning pavements. Then the following scream grown in gust, clanking lids of the dustbins, fracturing branches, tearing fences away from the shadows of sorrowful lamps.
Exhausted, desperate, the autumn vampire didn't notice his entering the pub, where got habit of ordering the taste for his rainy obsessions. Coming closer to counter he - first time in his life - rose eyes and looked straight at the bartender, tall and sinewy old man dressed in old-fashioned jacket. Amused, he realized the sudden desire to look. But that new sensation felt more like the animal instinct, as if something was telling him to search, to analyze, to feed on anything that hadn't been of interest before.
"Your eyes, sir. Do they shed?"
"Nay… this is just the colour…"
"Of the eyes?"
"I remember, last time they were dark."
"So, do you? That's just rum. Rum makes darken..."
"I say, from that few drops?"
"Aye… just, give me wine…"
"Something spicy… and salty…"
"I may stir up tempranillo with merlot but, afraid, this will bite badly. Can't help with anything better, alas."
"Badly or not - I don't care. Need the taste. I'm looking for the special taste."
"That's hardly it."
"But wouldn't hurt the trying."
Bartender shrugged his shoulders, though started with the stranger's order. The mixed wine colour came as pomegranate rot, and neither smell nor taste resounded like the spell of Pleurs d'Affe. However, despite this, vampire didn't curl or weep - just drank, sip after sip, watering eyes with woeful pomegranate shadows.
Could anything have changed since he did try the spicy opium of tears, but no winds or dampness accompanied him then into the pub: just stranger warmth of overwhelming passion - a current rearing up the waves, whilst instants of blinding coition. This is why (as there's no other answer) she got drawn to him - the night lady, being one of those patrons of pubs, who lives for a bite of some casual feeling. She sat down next to him and, smiling, following with artful hungry eyes, tasted his wine.
"What is that drink you sip, despondent beauty?"
"Both salty and spicy, yet fruitless…"
"Can you rain?" All of sudden he asked, gazing through the pomegranate cloud.
"What?" Surprised at first, girl laughed, then giggled. "Ah, I see! Believe me, I can surely cry, if thus are wishes…" And she playfully reached for her plump mellow lips.
"Don't beat around the bush? I hope in bed you're not that hasty!" She smiled again, taking his hand. "Come! I will show you..."
Camellia, torn into shreds by the smoky wind, salt paint and shade of burnt nut, green poisonous tea and swollen anise star - more spicy and rougher the wine, like a cheap table liquid, diluted, served there, where's no space for the elegant concord. Thus tasted her - the lady of the night - traded her simple casual delight for the ticket to last lamented destination.
When she - naked, caressing his skin - cried at last, he went kissing her madly, licking tears, calling her my fair Fall; but with each further sip disappointment had grown: for her rain was another, not even a bit like the haunting heart Pleurs d'Affe. Then she screamed, tried to run, spat curses and coughed, but vampire had wrapped his embrace - drinking her tears in a hope that somewhere within might reveal that inspiring bouquet. Alas, dried her to death, thrown in anger her goblet at ground, only whetted by drearily distant and elusive aroma of his loving drug… subtle blossom of my favored perfume, spread with camellias' petals by the dank winds...
Sadly he looked at the girl, who lay breathless beside. He drank her rain, all her tears, delivering into arid world, where red-hot wasteland sun devours spirits. And, watching her dead withered body, he feared himself, understanding not, why had killed, though felt that even those tears'd given him something special, dissimilar to habitual bore-pouring rain. He even sensed that if autumn is gone, he could wander in parks by the sunlit alleys, 'midst the crowds, not fearing the drought, not returning to his gloomy and swampy lacklustre grotto.
That night the storm enveloped city. And lasted for the day, thrusting madness of needling rains in the avenue skins. When me, the narrator of this eccentric story, stayed on the balcony of aged forsaken house, unsealed to the pulsative rhythms of ravening skies, mixing, like autumn vampire, spiced rum with rainwater, spectating, how favourite artist smudged paint at the dark English anguishing canvas by threatening string. These times I would always be anxious to leave my still trembling shades, ceasing the lamp, and walk into the rain, set promenades along the sodden pavements, bidding farewells to men that extinguish at any wet trifle 'neath the sheds, 'yond the doors.
We've been ever alike with my hero in these aimless drifts into the rain. But that night he felt different, untouched by the thundering lay…
There I stayed for a while, leaned against the ancient wall, listening to the autumn vampire disclosing those heavy soul-shattering sounds, as if willing to break his ringing-sad xylophone. As if he could hear rain no more - his mesmerizing rate - but made his own, vigorous and loud: to drown the hunger within. Thus wearisome women are raped. Thus rush from the brink to the riffs. To delirious knocking of bells at the head…
He tried to remember his song, but tears swallowed the sanity, stealing concord bygone. I could hear his scream, then the cymbals of thunder rebounded; was being hunted by torn leaves vertigo 'till the end, when anew blinding withering sun burst through clouds, breathing out lilac smoke to the housetops of grey.
That endless, ambiguous October… the season of rhythms and snakes, zeros and infinite wars. When else but this timeless exterior could happen the story, which spells draw autumn to windows and harvest the rains - like the roses, the colourless dames, wearing wounds wherefrom thorns are blossomed. Yet, this is not another fairy tale (of those that people tell), and I won't hush the blood by cutting down the deaths... still there magic rains, and my beloved hero, despite all, excites the sympathy. Maybe now he watches you through the autumnal tears...
He never lived as a human before, was hiding from the world, aside. Thus hardest thing was: to become like them. When meeting they saluted one another, then spoke about weather for somewhy. No poetry of heart, no word of mind, no eye-admiring touched them - at theatres might be, but on the city streets they didn't care much but weather and the captions of the daily news.
"How do you do, sir! Marvelous weather it is!"
"What a sun! Such a pleasure to sight! Finally, fine weather spell after cloudy sorcery - what news could be that much delightful!"
"But the Queen! Haven't you heard? How courtly is her choice of wine!"
He couldn't sense this life, as couldn't tell why people prefer sunny brightness to rain. But that he knew: those people one and all desiring to be happy, having proclaimed their rituals as festivals and church, hid storm-clouds inside - of special rain - the drug of pure ecstasy, which'd given him the power to trespass the seasons' verge, to burst through dungeon of eternal autumn and wreck askesis, abandoning the grotto in rumours of legends gone by.
He stayed in modest but spacious flat of camellia girl, trading her place for his former being. Got some money, purchased cane and hat, and black velvety gloves matching colour of dark round glasses, which helped his eyes endure the brightness of afternoon sun. And more, what is much curiosier (being characteristic to young cherub-like beings) - obtained small secret diary, wrapped in black leather, which entitled by blood of the rain with his magical spell: 'Pleurs d'Affe'.
Despite the tears that soothed vampire's hunger (yet haven't dried) still filled his granite veins, he realized, they couldn't be enough to struggle with that lifeless summer. Thus, forcing to forget his deep obsession to find her - his fair Fall, the first he tasted - he went out, mingling with Londoner-dandies on the even boulevard, searching for another prey-tears, their sorrowful limbo.
People gathered in pairs or companies, gossiping nonsense and captions of recently news. There, amidst the great numbers of motley assorted devotees of simulated hearts, 'twas hard to find someone who cries out his burden sincerely. Vampire perceived this when drifted through pomaded fates, and as the hunger grew stronger he felt - still despising himself for the killing - that could kill again for the opium tears, which would comfort his roaring spirit.
Despondent, he nestled on the fallen leaves' plaid, spectating at distance, from under the oak canopy, how silhouettes fade with the creeping up night; looking out, subdued to the instinct, for the prey that would comfort his mind. At a sudden he thought he'd gone mad hearing voice of a child reaching out from thickening darkness. But, as listened, having forced hunger to rest for a while, he was sure for real: little girl, rung of lament and pain, spoke to him.
"Sir… can you hear me, sir?"
"You're odd, sir... beautiful, well-dressed, sitting on the dirty soggy leaves."
"Just tired, need a rest…"
"Odd. Why not rest on the bench?"
"Indeed… but that's for them…" Vampire smiled. "Say, have you ever wondered what do leaves think of?"
"Look…" He took the pallid leaf, lost in the side of his coat. "This little leaf had a family before and lived right there on one of those branches above. But one day his family forgot him, or he'd gotten lost by himself, carried away by hunting the wind, splashing in heavenly bath, thus, like a tear down the cheek, had befallen to ground. There, 'midst many of other stray leaves he tried hard to live longer, yet just suffered more from kicks of heartless heels. That's how he lived, hurt puppy, licking old and freshly wounds. But then one day when he abased before the face of death, he was taken by passerby stranger, and warmed under his canopy."
Smiled again, he put leaf in the pocket and looked at the girl. In her eyes - tears were shaking to melt.
"You are like pain... which I never would heal, as I can't blow away stormy clouds. But I could become rain that will wash away tears, ceasing hurts of your weary shrouds."
"But… I don't like rain…"
"You shall love him…" And he sheltered her under the coat, giving hair a tousle.
Then she couldn't refrain any longer and burst into tears, though - had used to control herself during the seasons of streets - hurried to wipe them away, but vampire grasped dead her weak hands, and the breath of rain slid like a knife on her watery cheek.
Which bouquet smells of maple leaves, seasoned in puddles in drowsy sparkles of the last lantern's breath…
Tenderly, almost rocking to sleep, he recovered from under the cloak dry petal of neglected joy, letting fall - living sorrow - to bottom of puddling stars. Some believe children have their own heaven and hell. But that tearful pain had dissolved in the season of universe. With ever sky'd spread canopy of rain.
Fall sadly watched her shadow in the window being slowly covered by the rain. The skies - couldn't have held the pain - endured no more, hence shed their grief upon the grave of gentle youth, from grey and hazy veins, broken by thorns. London put cigarette heart at the flesh of soporific lantern; then, thoughtfully staring below, stiffened still in expectance of last tardy cab. And though his shade gave away: with his bound wrist pricked by a nonchalant needle; yet he acted the same - lonesome sorcerer who tied up crossroads, alleys, side streets of arterial wheel-tracks and steps with tight noose of his resolute will.
Different cities inhabit the world. Some - alike friends, do all their best to help people live happily. Others - of grey eminence - spectate and study, seldom intervene in time, being "I"s that selfish: they consume the creatures alike them. Some - wild cats, and on their own they oftly stray abroad: never thence return, leaving abandoned homes and road-spines - un-live. As for London - the ever-coughing spectre, Albion reaper had imaged a tired escapee, finally wilfully came to his sentence, strangled by his own heavy rust breath. He was matured in sickness: respiratory, cardial, osteal, psychic. Some of them he could hide, but all had to be lived with: thus people accustomed to lame shut-in old man, whose chronic coughs have seasoned the nursery halls of soot-streets with nicotine ashes and blood of Byronic disorder.
Fall tasted wine, losing sight of the late London cab; then - having the candle beheaded - she listened to rain, closing eyes. To the tune so tearfully nigh, which had carried to park: there on watery bench she would find him - the autumn vampire, a bitter illusion of her pointless waits - kissing her salty lips. She tried to forget him, but sorrow of night-gowned clouds hurt spirit again: then she left home, muffling in shawl, being led by faint calling of fatuous heart (always aching ineptly) to the place, where in maple languor and wetness of nocturnal void Rain granted… though afterwards plundered her candour.
An orphan alley bade her gloomy welcome; and silent bench, which mouth unsealed but once, bent to her feet. Its branchy figure, lachrymal, spread shivering 'neath the maple crowns, raising the skirts, to stop their wetting in the puddles, changing to the blackened mirror wells of rainy spell. There blossomed silhouettes of nightily lampions, half-shielded by the palms of new moon rising; with feeble cries of wolves - old wails, ramming off distant doors and walls, kicked the heralds of autumn around, casting malady wreaths down-rods.
She waited, but the time stood still in pouring land; therefore she left behind the ghosts of musty lanterns, as following some instinct - in a trance - catching at the echoes of faraway elegy: burst on the lash-tips, dissolved on the alkali tongues, interred beyond the tombstones of desolate brooks. There, in obsidian casket black swans swallowed tormenting pain, laid in deathbed of rain. There in cradle of storms cherub ceased, choked with feathery clouds. Decayed Cupid had portrayed the curving of merriment…
She sat down by the edge of swan pool, letting feet into lacklustre water. Autumnal tortures reflected in flowers of pain; lilies tangled in hair - the weeds - had been peacefully nibbled by proudly birds. By their necks, as by delicate windings of bridges - waterfalls of ethereal regions - down the showery goblet trickled lunar-strain drops, blending into the season of fade, making liquor for those whose names are recorded in tears.
His elegy died at the moment she entered the grotto. He cherished her view - such desired, expected - covered by darkness of pain; yet resisted the urge to come out from stony embrace. From the niche, unseen and still, he spectated his beauteous Fall, biting lips, holding crescent insanity, awoken by novel sensation of morphium rain. He could drink her to dregs, drain the goblet of tears, but had feared that finished at once he would never partake Pleurs d'Affe - the deific nectar that'd shown him the world rich with plentiful patterns of haunting desirable scents. Thus he, motionless, wished her to leave: just to trace her again through alleys and parks, wouldn't have let her known himself as a wild mad-howler, a killer, vampire of rains.
It seemed almost an aeon had passed till she left off with nightly inclemencies. Curtained newly born sun, taught the piano to lament and dream, covered crescendo-strings with frayed coat, casting rivers of boiling veins flow by crystalline beds from the cloudy tops - with elegiac sounds. Alike autumn vampire she wished to neglect - to leave rainless behind. She'd imagine the sea-line: there behind her - hypnotics of Ireland; there before her - below the dusk-bow - turquoise sonnet wrapped in terra-cotta plaid hung over the land; and revealing through the razors of light, guiding overcast swarms (like a kite - by the Sethian thread) would a stranger approach, whose name knocked with rain at the windows of her unsealed heart.
"What are these?" She would whisper.
"What a beauty… fresh cloudy bouquet…"
"Of best blooms from the palace of rain…"
"Take me there, I beg you!"
"I can't…" He would shake his head turning from her to the darkening sea. "I will waste you. Some-rain you'll just end up being one of those clouds, who follow me as a dreary shades."
"Like that girl?"
"Like that girl… or another…"
"Not to stop… loving you…"
"Killing… for loving…"
"Damn sun again… Does he annoy you, sir?"
"Oh… aye… indeed."
"Still mixing wine?"
"The taste is all the same…"
"Perhaps, you haven't known the taste you love."
"I have… though couldn't drink. The more I sought, the more I craved - the more had fear to waste. This wine could be the fairest in a million. And if I empty her - then just a bottle left, recalling sadness. What's the sense? Next day I shall want more, but won't find any better: and my life will become just an endless nostalgia for taste, unique above all. Unhappily, all vessels dry…"
"But this is life: finding sole unique wine amidst any - and, tasting her ideal art, live the best of your time."
"To drink… perchance forget… and thereupon? To hide in coat and steal away at night into the storm, shedding the rain - the tears - as shadow fading with the clouds to star of day? Can't bear this, nay…"
"Me either. Though open aye."
Their sights collided: old 'tender and autumn vampire - grey stone and colourless blood.
"I wish the rain be timeless…"
"Then neither spell of prelude nor postlude would cast. That same arrested life, as if Londoners would pester me with continuous rounds of pints, of a different kind, losing taste and minds. But everyone prefers his own sort, but wouldn't even constantly consume it: because the sorts' variety exactly helps to better understanding how full and rich is his own personal beloved nectar, which - as the anodyne to woe - can rest his soul…"
Autumn vampire, beleaguered with agonized lust, had abducted the numerous vessels of rain, one by one. But the more seduction he'd devoured, the more he'd remembered the taste - astringent opium of Fall, which had been beckoning thus much and tortured his unrest, abruptly turned into a humanly-possessed spirit. His diary of rainy ink had put on bloodstained leathers - vampire of tears had shifted in vampire of men, whose life from sensuous eclecticism now filled with wasted captions from the buried widows…
Since time they met again, by may-be-luck, at one of balls that people'd have as lawful mask for vicious congregations. They danced throughout the evening, and left with holding hands. One day they stayed at his place, another day - at hers. While in-between had promenades along that alley, where had firstly met, in rain.
He cursed himself he wouldn't leave. She reproached with herself wishing him near. Together they dreaded of time, when the clouds would fade…
Which happened, as always could happen in life. Sun fell upon streets of the city, and no single cloud had blackened London's grey hair for three days by then. Autumn vampire felt drought. He was losing control, powers waned; she, beside, watched his sufferings, fearing to leave him alone, as a human, acquainted with love, would afraid of her near departure.
With hungry sight he scoured the land in search for faces, sadly close to shed, but nothing could break through the perfect scent of his jealous Fall. He tried to be alone, but every time her eyes poured tears, he couldn't leave, not to increase her pain… but not to drain, like orphan girl he'd killed in compassionate will to give comfort. Though every day vampire weakened, famished, paled like a lantern, crippled on the bridge across the dried-up riverbed, and Fall wouldn't refrain from shedding more, as dying candle sheds her viscid nectar.
He rushed to her, kissed, licking off her salty drug, partaking maddening bouquet of Pleurs d'Affe. Thereafter, being self anew, spectated how she dried - how withered at his sight his fair Fall, becoming waterless enfeebled vessel. But he - seasoned to pain tearless vampire, born under canopy of storms in bed of rain - yet drank her life, her will, her grief, her loving.
"I drank the wine…"
"I see. No disappointment?"
"Why, the fairest taste!"
"No mixing further then?"
"But what's the taste? Can you describe your wine?"
His eyes, just full of life and colour, clouded. Odd feeling within made confused. The taste that he sought, that he loved - he forgot it, abandoned. As he never had known strange spell Pleurs d'Affe, never met that rain revelation, which had torn him out of the sullen grotto, breaking the shadow chains.
"From your pensiveness, sir, can tell thus. You've forgotten to taste, just drained to the lees, simply pleasing the caprice of hunger; thence no memory - nothing is saved of that precious vessel, which has been so dear to you just a while ago, as you felt."
Haven't answered, autumn vampire ran headlong through mazes of walls and barriers of men to see her - who'd inspired the sense that he lost in the blinding defiance of days. There, beyond the window, in expectance of eventide lanterns, he felt her again like that time, when had tasted her firstly under the autumnal rain: slightly caressed her sunken cheeks and sharp arch-brows, thoughtfully touched her dry hands, wrapped in thin cloth of skin; uncovered, turning the pages - the leaves, inscribing with swan-pen the tears of rain-coloured poesy...
Something quavered then in the city of rains, and for a second to storm smoked heaven of heart had serened.
If rain be timeless… nothing shall be changed… and even rain himself will taste of water. It is inconstancy that makes so hard but desirable overcast grief. Myself - the narrator of this - don't fancy constants. Despite all inspiration and dreaming of rain, I accept his ebbs and flows, for them also are enchanting spells. Might have earlier cravingly waited (like the autumn vampire) for the heaven to mope, trading sun for the darkness of shivery grave... but for now, admit that serene sky can do marvels either.
"I love you…"
Fall smiled, from under her eyelids poured tears - small diamonds of most sincere and rainbow dreams. Rain, thundering within, shed over her calmly; and tenderly drew in with lips the debris of her liqueur, mirth-sorrow…
The special wine. Pleurs d'Affe. Which grows in eventide falls from the rarest overcast tears. Which bouquet smells of maple leaves, seasoned in puddles in drowsy sparkles of the last lantern's breath… hurried, floundering glow of dark-roasted tobacco and ashes from beheaded match… subtle blossom of my favored perfume, spread with camellias' petals by the dank winds, blended into the sweetish sativa of misty October. Which taste firstly is salty, weepy, wed with rough and spiced tempranillo, opening further in bitterish duo of opium dusk and scorched almond-heart, with a colouful finish of astringent conifer tar, melted in sighs of ailing kisses.
Pleurs d'Affe - are the tears of love …
This legend came in season of the fall. In one of all, when burning hot are pavements, and people partake beer and cider, hiding in the shades from frenzy of the dusty sun. That time the sudden drought befell quite yet unhealthy London, and even those, who'd used to whine 'bout weather, begged and prayed for the rain.
When the wind from Irish Sea had blown black painful clouds, which enveloped most of the heavenly canvas, people thought, 'tis witchery or God'. Merrily they sprang out on the streets, grateful to rain that played coda to unwonted British drought: and they leapfrogged in puddles, dancing and laughing together with the joyous minstrel chants. Yet, after an hour of infinite shower their ardeur ceased, and men - reborn to sullen - plodded on to their doors, wearing weathery grudge.
They say then had happened one hell of a rain ever yawned above London. And presumably rumours tell sooth: even old man himself, setting soaked wet jacket, couldn't hold quite unwelcoming words to that eerie fall, knocking back Islay scotch. However, I know: in the deeps of his smoked English heart had compassion, being sad with the fate of the one, whose tears had crushed at the crossroads of serpentine chains, ripping rains off his chest with the gust-pains and deathly diffusions.
Later some whispered a tale of clouded figure - a spirit of eventide fog, who carried a woman in scarlet camellia dress; and the scent of her hair - the velvety almond liqueur with a bite of fresh southern sativa - whirled curls into mellowing dormancy of tangoing leaves. Two spectres of dust 'bove the rain-gowned park, on heaven and earth - in the paintings of smog, in the mirrors of rain-echoed elegies. Two autumn-beloved; their eyes - full of rain - streamed with mosaic sparkles, which then, disappearing in greys, blazed with dusk.
Since, the legend is told: there in comfort of smoke and kisses of rain you can come into flowers - their buds are like chalices - goblets of wine, subtly weaved from the autumnal pleasures. They turn to skies, down their bitter tears; and if you try to touch - decay to lees.
A bit farther - neglected mysterious garden, where still in the pond close to decrepit chapel black swans spread their wings in the rain. Here, even if weather's serene, ever clouds lament o'er grave of love, cloaking the grotto in lyrical, delicate, salty and overcast sorrow.
And fair timeless Fall by purling leafage draws the elegy of sails on rainy tides…
 Pleurs 'Affe (composed from French: Pleurs = rain, tears; Eau d'Affe = liquor, spirit).
 Down-rods (poetic abridgement of the phrase: down on the fence rods).
 Allusion to the monologue of Shakespeare's Hamlet ("To be, or not to be..."), composed in the same manner by the lip-drops of autumn vampire.