Blood fellow - Book One - Separation Chapter 7

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 7 (v.1) - THE KING OF COINS AND THE NINE OF WANDS

Submitted: October 28, 2018

Reads: 40

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Submitted: October 28, 2018

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THE KING OF COINS AND THE NINE OF WANDS

7

 

Cott was the boy's name, the only name he knew.

He had seen the pale face in the window through the dried lace of decaying vines along the bay ledge.  Had observed the handsome visage dissolve like a snail when you salt its slimy body.  Something crazier than his Momma going on here, and she was plenty loony.

His back blossomed welts and bruises.  She planted those crazy flowers all over his tiny frame.  Imprinted her right to abuse him, slap by stinging slap.  Well, thought the boy.  I'm probably as worthless as she says.  Why else would Daddy have left so suddenly? A father loves his only son, right?

Course Momma said Daddy wasn't much of a man, he split without so much as a sayonara.  Now he's stuck here with his wacko mother ranting about hair cuts again, and boxing his ears.  All a kid needs to convince himself to fall into alcoholism and drown.

And If this shit wasn't enough, that banana-smelling social worker kept snooping around, waving papers and asking embarrassing questions.  Even when he told her his Momma pounded him, she didn't do anything about it.

Well, the pounding stung all right, but still, a kind of touching, right?  Momma was tooo much, with her long radish red air and all them mean freckles speckling her whole mean body, even the backs of her hands.

He realized his mother wasn't standing behind him any more.  Her shrieking sermon had apparently maxed out and the house was suddenly serenely quiet.  He sat down slowly onto the green dusty carpet, rubbing his eyes, hot with tears.  Mucus bubbled from his nose.  He bunched his T-shirt in his hands he blew hard into the folds.

"E-yecch," he whispered as he tore off the faded yellow Tee, thrusting it aside where it landed atop a three foot pile of old newspapers.  A silverfish skittered out from beneath the stack and paused, its antennae vibrating.

"Ugh, bugs."  Cott hung his head and wept very, very controlled tears.  He did not want his Momma to hear him.  Sometimes his tears seemed to ignite, rather than dilute her directionless anger.  He made a game of weeping, allowing the tears to well and spill, soundless as the rage within him.

His back throbbed less and less.  He began to feel oddly purged and humiliated at the same time after one of Momma's chastising sermons.

"I must a badbadboy, " he confided to the silverfish.  His mother always made it sound like one, universally recognized word.  BADBADBADBADBADBOY.

The crazy lady must be upstairs in her red bedroom, no doubt thumb-tacking another Queen of Hearts to her wall.  Momma loved to steal packs of playing cards, slipped them right into her big carpet bag purse.  For some private, demento reason she tacked up only red-headed Queens, Cott figured that there must be a hundred lined up along the wall.  She stored the remains of the decks in her metal file cabinet, along with her large collection of sharp and shiny brand new scissors.

Seventeen pairs of different sized shears, their edges notched and wicked sharp, glowing like ghost mirrors.  She was a hairdresser at Linda's Quick Cut salon, but Cott had never seen her use those bad boys on anybody.  What did the scary old bitch do with all those jagged scissors?

 

Maybe that had been his father at the window, checking up on him.  That sure would be neat.  It would be great to see his Daddy.

 

 

Wolf unfolded five streets west, back in the creme de la creme of middle-America.  He forcibly shut his mind against the unpleasantness he had witnessed in the house on Crossover Place and trudged unhappily through another neighborhood, distressingly similar to the one before.  Inside each home the horrors happened---abuse, neglect, addiction, adultery, murder---and if not those extreme manifestations of man's confusion and exasperation then other more subtle sins occurred---subtle perhaps, but certainly no less damaging.

The family dynamics that leave the middle-born child ignored.  The sibling jealousy known to persist until the grave.  Power wars between husband and wife; professional competition that fails to stop at the door to the marital domicile.  The politics of survival invaded everywhere, destroying the enjoyment of truth, of beauty, of life and reducing man back to his primal heritage at every opportunity.

To kill or be killed.

To do unto others before they did unto you.

Ah, but what if a man deeply desired to kill himself?  Oh, he knew the legends: fire, roses, garlic, decapitation, stakes.  These elements could dispatch him violently into the afterturf or so man's myths claimed.

Once, long ago, Wolf had queried his brother on these matters and Abaddon had laughed maniacally, barely able to catch breath.  "What ails you Wolf, that you pose questions of this troublesome nature?" he had asked.  "You can't die, we were created to persist and infect.  And you are vital to the breed!  Why have you become morose on me, now?  Remove your eyes from so much learning, brother mine, before you fuse with one of your tomes and I'm left with only a book about my brother."

"I am not morose, Abe.  I seek to protect myself.  What danger I recognize becomes a lion in chains," Wolf said to appease him.  "Tell now, how might we know Death?"

Abaddon had laughed again, then suddenly fell silent when he perceived that Wolf was serious.  His chest heaved as he sighed.  "We cannot die, Wolf, though some tell of vampire killed by their own children, male offspring born of vampire and human union.  I do not know if this is so."

"Then we must prohibit the Bloodfellows from having relations with mortals!" Wolf had said then as he paced the floor.  "What we decree they must obey.  And these hybrids must be annihilated."  He ceased his pacing when he felt Abaddon's arms enfold him from behind. Abaddon's jewel-encrusted fingers glowed in the candlelight as stroked Wolf's chest.  "Ah, please," Wolf gasped, wrenching his brother's hands away, "you know I do not like it when you touch me."

Abaddon's dark lips creased into a little smile, he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall, looking at him, Wolf had noticed, a bit the way a wild animal looks at one who has accidently crossed its path.

"You torment me, brother," Abaddon had moaned aloud.  "We can be stronger if we seek the final intimacy.  I can restore your joy de vivre or, at least, stun you into such a state that you no longer care to indulge in morbid ruminations.  Why do you reject me?  Others of our kind rejoice in---"

 

"No, Abaddon!  Are you a man or a singular urge in masculine form?  At times I cannot tell."

"Don't show your teeth to me, beautiful one.  You are anxious with unreleased lust, your pupils dilate so charmingly when you look at me.  How many statues did the Greeks dedicate to the miracle of your perfect physique?  No wonder they believed you to be one of their gods.  You cannot blame me for my attraction."

"Your desire for me, brother, reflects your desire for yourself," Wolf responded.

They had circled one another cautiously in Abaddon's opulent study, its stolen treasures illuminated by a congregation of candles.  As he backed away from his brother Wolf caught sight of a baroque oak carving depicting a boar hunt, fine Arabian tapestries strung along the walls, enameled chinese hawks sitting atop a rare Elizabethan ark, all flickering in the candlelight as if they had been on fire and then doused with shadow.

The light did not reveal the contours of Abaddon's face, it fell upon his skin and drowned in his darkness.  Wolf finally shrugged and settled into a chair by the fireplace.  He yawned and chose to ignore his brother's request for closeness.  He was an intellectual and wanted nothing to do with conversations of the flesh.

"They thought many of the vampire were gods, yourself included, dear Pluto," he had said nonchalantly, as if he and Abaddon had not just been snarling and circling like aggravated beasts.  "And the ambrosia we gods drank to maintain our immortality was their very blood.  Fools.  The more we involve ourselves with humans the more we deteriorate in understanding and begin to assimilate their most horrible aspects.  We reflect them badly, my brother.  You most especially.  I wish to forbid social congress with mortals."

Abaddon took his customary place behind his desk.  "Wolf," he chided, "you are aware that I keep the practice of holding human lovers.  They---" he paused and smiled atrociously, "they warm me, love."  He leaned back in his walnut chair and hoisted a glimmering vessel of blood, which he waved as he spoke.

"Human flesh inspires me.  Like wine stroking the veins or a hot brick in your bed."Bringing the glass upwards, he kissed it, then dipped his tongue into the depths. As he retracted his wet tongue, he spun it around the curve of his lips.

Before Wolf could protest his brother lunged over the top of his desk, landed by Wolf's side and kissed the albino full on the mouth.  Abaddon then leapt into the air, flipped backwards across his desk and fell into his seat, laughing heartily at the expression on Wolf's face.

"Ah, I see that my kiss is not so dreadful after all," he chuckled as Wolf licked his own lips, unable to resist the taste of the blood.  "I recommend you acquire a woman, devil.  If I can't hope to possess your soul, find another man if you're so inclined."  He shrugged at Wolf's look of revulsion.  "Whatever pleases you.  How beautiful you were, with the imprint of my mouth upon yours!  Remember when we feed we engorge our bodies everywhere.  You feel desire, I've observed you for centuries.  You thrust with the whole of your need when you take a female victim.  Why do you tongue their sweet, creamery shoulders and press your lips against their necks before you murder them?"

Wolf removed the remains of Abaddon's lip print with a swipe of his hand.  "Because women are soft, like internal organs; vulnerable.  Men possess this exoskeleton of pride and rancor.  I cannot forbid myself the experience of a woman's delicacy.  And they are lenient with me, forgiving."

 

Wolf sighed, stroking his bare belly, oblivious to Abaddon's lewd stare.  "Men are as murderous as I.  But enough of that.  Now, I ask you once again, my brother.  What can halt our perpetual hunger?"

Abaddon flashed the dimpled and beguiling smile that had lured generations of men and women to their unwitting deaths.  His was a handsomeness peculiar to the vampire, an external trap of comely flesh and a sensuous mouth full of lies.

"You and the crypt will never be tenant and lord, Wolf.  Faith, you need faith.  You know how very deeply I treasure you.  Be proud, we are the ablest predators on land.  Here, pull a card."

Abaddon Nox extended his left hand towards Wolf, the Tarot deck's Major and Minor Arcana fanned face down in his palm.  Wolf leaned over the smooth leather desk top and drew a card from the middle.  Quickly Abaddon's right hand came down hard upon his brother's,  splaying his fingers, flattening his hand on the desk top, the unseen card beneath.

"What card have you drawn?" he commanded.  "Tell me, Wolf, because you already know what card it is."

"How could I?  Release my hand and then I shall tell you, damn it.  I am vampire, not a magician."  His eyes watered blood with fear, for he was cognizant of Abaddon's mystic alliance with the Tarot.  The pressure of his siblings hand over his was acute and uncomfortable."Let up.   It is the Knave of Batons."

"Lord Wolf," the deep voice admonished.

"Abaddon!"

"Say it, Wolf, say your true name.  How can you not recognize your own totem?  Look, I beg you to look into my eyes, for there hides the mirror of your own malevolent heart.  Whom do you see there?  Say his name aloud.  If you cannot speak, then submerge yourself, let us fuse, let me speak for you.  It has been ages since you opened to me!  You are blind, let me share my vision.  Grant me your genius and your heart and I shall provide the courage to face what you are.  Wolf, I love you so near to me and I have been starving for this!"

"Hell gave you your hunger, Abaddon!  I do not want it.  Leave me in peace!"

Their gazes locked, Wolf's face a mask of panic, Abaddon's stubborn and diabolical; their arms, their bodies fused by their bonded palms and the ornate gold-backed card.

"Speak incubus, night terror, Nosferatu, vampir, you recall your own name, do you not?" his voice boomed, falsely hearty.  "No more of these ridiculous questions, t'will retire you at the portal of madness.  Your thoughts are craven thoughts.  Who are you, Wolf?"

Silence then, as expansive as silence can be, and as unnavigable.  A canary trilled in a brass and enamel cage near Abaddon's enormous cherry-wood bookshelves along the study's south wall.  Bells intoned in the far distance, muted, like a heart beating inside a chest.  Kicked with spurs, wind whinnied under the eaves of their old French château.

Wolf nipped his own tongue without realizing it.  Hunger: terrible, wonderful hunger tormented him and he salivated and swallowed, tasting his own briny blood.

"Death," he cried suddenly.  A growl came up along with the word, the truth, like a sanction from the mouth of Hell.

Abaddon smiled with grim satisfaction as he released his brother's hand.  He patted it gently, his bituminous eyes gleaming.

Trembling, Wolf lifted the card and flipped it over.

 

A skeleton lurched gleefully forward in a gruesome parody of the joyous life dance, clutching a blue and orange scythe in its bony hands.  Between the pelvic bones, where they cleaved to the spine, Wolf could see a small death's head imprinted.  The Roman numeral for 13 was stamped in black ink along the card's upper margin.  Beneath the skeleton's dancing feet, the French word for death had been inscribed: La Mort.

Wolf ran a long elegant finger over the card's smooth face thinking: Death, be not my name, but yet, you are my only passion.

He moaned. "Abaddon, hunt with me tonight! My own disposition betrays me once again."

"And your rejuvenated verve galvanizes me!" Abaddon returned.  "Yes, Lord Wolf, let us go and prowl together.  Let us celebrate who, and what, we are."

He stepped from behind his mahogany desk and Wolf watched him stride, lean as a panther, to the tall window.  Drawing back heavy, brocade curtains, Abaddon unlatched the hand-blown panes and they swung wide, rattling.

Chill air buffeted his brother's stern face, lifted his long resin-black hair, toyed with the crisp white ruffles of his shirt front.  He stood for a moment, leaning into the breeze, basking.  Beyond him the stars whitened, unreachable. The night stared back at him . . . and through him.

Wolf came to stand behind his brother.  He looked out over Abaddon's broad shoulder, down into the dense forest below and mused silently on the anatomy of forests: wood-limbed, vine-veined, bramble-haired, marsh-footed.

Owls nested in rotted tree stumps and snakes curled under the cold ground like hidden cryptics.  Foxes bolted unnoticed through the underbrush, like rank, dark comets.  Even an occasional torpid black bear staggered about in the springtime.

But Abaddon would never see the woods in this way, Wolf thought with regret.  He would say these are but trees and animals.  And humans are but ephemeral meat, receptacles for blood.  That would have been his brother's prosaic evaluation. 

Wolf sighed.

The wind picked up again; it shuffled the stacked papers on Abaddon's desk and spun the canary's cage on its hooked stand.  A pine bough fell off of the marble mantel over the fireplace and landed in the flames, hissing and popping.

Wolf shivered, not from the cold but from impacted ecstasy.  He placed himself behind his brother and leaned into his broad back, taking Abaddon about the waist.  He clasped his hands over Abaddon's solar plexus, from whence all vampire drew their power.  "Priest, bungler, beggar, maiden, who dies tonight?"

"You know," Abaddon spoke reflectively, still gazing into the dark.  "Two we shall meet tonight who do not believe in our kind.  They have dared, dared, despite the known vicissitudes of chance to anticipate, to calculate a future for themselves.

"How trusting," he purred.  "I find that impossibly arrogant.  Who shall they be, brother mine?"

"I know not," Wolf answered slowly.  "Nor do I care. Only let them yield to my teeth, and soon, lest this hunger you have awakened drive my sanity to sleep!  Whether there is release through death for me, I shall never know.  Whether there is Heaven or Hell hunting for my soul, I shall never know.  Only of one thing am I sure and that is this: Abaddon Nox, you are the devil and I am merely the devil's brother."

"Aye, it is so," Abaddon beamed.  "But I love you beyond my own immortal life, Wolf O'bellod.  And I admit freely that you are by far my intellectual superior."

 

"I love you as well, my brother, and now would you please devise this evening's strategy?  I am also intelligent enough to understand that I must allow the devil first choice when it comes time to choose his victims."

 Abaddon had laughed at that.  "Let it be two innocent women, then.  I feel the need for female company.  Shall we find these ladies in a pub?  Perhaps the playhouse, you love the theater, Wolf.

"I will read their Tarot fortunes and observe their foolish eager faces as I advise them of new lovers, or lucrative investments.  Lured by our charm and grand bearing, we four shall then leave together, though only two shall return to greet the morrow."

He laughed wickedly.  "In my hands the cards can tell false for my purposes, for truly the fortune lies in the interpretation."

"Truly I interpret that you are the Devil," Wolf cried out in exasperation.  "Might we not depart soon?  I starve, brother!"

"Ah, Wolf," Abaddon whispered.  He drew Wolf's cold hands under his shirt and over his heart, blessing them with his heat.  "So much for talk of dying and of death.  Now you ache for the blood that gives you life, and I am pleased to see it!  Are you ready?"

"You left the death card on the desk," Wolf murmured in his ear.

"We do not need it.  I say the deck is stacked well in our favor.  I am Death!"

"And I also, am Death."

Abaddon turned and kissed Wolf's bloody lips and this time, Wolf did not prevent him.

"And Death . . . what?" Abaddon asked gently.

"Cannot die."

They took flight.

 


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