In the Coppice
Adam, foolish Adam, sought to free Quinn from her sorrow. He was no longer afraid to approach her. He had fallen in love. And after all that they had shared, he only hoped that she would love him back. The fool ran to her panting heavily, barely breathing the air that so rapidly escaped his tiny chest—young fool.
Reluctantly, Quinn agreed to see him once more. She had planned to end everything. She knew that by allowing Adam to be her lover, he would be welcoming eternal death to bed down with him. But for once, she would have mercy.
She waited unenthusiastically. Quinn knew exactly what he had planned to do, and she thought of every possible alternative to keep him from learning those critical things about her which she so desperately tried to hide. His young, foolish heart aided in constructing his untimely demise, but she had decided that she would be the savior of his body.
“I know what you have come for,” she replied listlessly, staring somberly at a maple leaf drifting down from a tree.
“And what do you have to say about it?”
Quinn seemed to ignore him for a while. Then with lazy enthusiasm she responded, “Go home. You won’t find love here tonight.”
“Quinn, I could end your sorrow. I could end it all if you would only attempt to love me back.”
“Love,” Quinn spat out derisively. “Tell me, if there is indeed an ending to sorrow, couldn’t something just as easily bring an end to love?”
“Nothing could bring an end to love,“ he exclaimed, “not even death.”
“Death! Good answer, boy. Death ends all!”
“But, death is also a beginning. So, maybe after death, love is also present?”
“Therefore after death, there is also sorrow...”
“Well, what? Is this logic not true?” Quinn retorted sharply. But, the young man found it hard to add anything further. “And, when life cannot be met by death, what then?”
“Nothing. There is no beginning. There can’t be one. Life becomes one long and painful ending.” Adam looked up at her, puzzling over her visible angst. “I am the sorrow after death!”
“What could your foolish heart possibly know…”
“Only that you’re an angel,” he said, an innocent smile gracing his thin lips, “or maybe… a beautiful rose of some kind—”
“A black rose,” she bitterly retorted with sickly humor. Then, she readied herself for a confession, “I never sleep. I bloomed in the dead of night years ago… many years ago.”
Quinn tilted her head back slowly, then even more slowly… her slender fingers ran alongside her arm, slinked upward across her shoulder, and hesitantly caressed the margin of her neck. She no longer seemed to notice Adam standing there…
For a second, she closed her eyes slightly. Then a sign of discomfort suddenly flooded her peaceful face.
Her eyes fluttered open, and very slowly, very dreamily, she resurfaced.
“I don’t care what you are or who you may have been… you’re welcome to sleep in my bosom, eternally, if you pleased…”
Quinn sighed. She could see that he didn’t understand, and she didn’t want to be forthright and reveal herself too soon. But if she wanted to save Adam from herself—from himself—she had no other choice.
“I’m--a predator, Adam. You can’t tame me with your so-called love. No bed of yielding roses lining your juvenile bosom can lull me to sleep.”
Adam smiled. “Is this a game?” he inquired smirking. But upon seeing that Quinn appeared to be more vicious than amused, a sudden air of fright washed over him. “You won’t hurt me,” he said. “You don’t have it in you.”
“And why don’t I…?”
“Because your heart won‘t let you… Surely those times that we spent together haven’t been for naught… have they?’
Quinn sighed thoughtfully. This era was too complicated, and no matter how much she looked and listened, she could never fit into their world.
When she first arrived in town, she told herself, “This would be the last time…” She would start anew; she would reveal herself to no one else, and she would leave in the spring. She sighed; it was only September…
“I won’t harm you—at the moment. My heart has grown fond of you… But it is not so fond that I would spare your life if you insist upon being killed. So, run and don‘t look back.”
Quinn was agonizingly beautiful. So, it pained Adam to hear such ugliness drip from her lovely lips. But, he wouldn’t give up so easily. He couldn’t…
“If you can’t control your thirst, then I don’t care! Do what you have to!” he shouted pulling down the folds of his collar to reveal the fleshy, wan undertone of his neck.
Quinn flinched, “Run,” she said sternly.
“No,” shouted the rebellious lad. “I love you! I want this! …Even if it means drinking me into your body, to course through your veins for all eternity…”
“Eternity…” she whispered to herself, hesitant with memory.
“Consider this a victory and just bite me, damn it!” Adam yelled impatiently.
“Foolish boy,” she painfully whispered to herself, hurting even more to turn him away. “Do you even realize that I have had many loves before you, and that I have lost those same loves this lifetime? I can’t even count the few I’ve cared for apart from the many I’ve killed as a result of foolish thirst! This is no storybook and this has nothing to do with romance!”
Adam looked up at her. His transparent, blue eyes danced in the light of the moon as if he were about to cry.
“I—I can kill you,” she stuttered.
“But, you won’t,” he retorted boldly.
“Yes,” she snapped, erupting into pure ire. “I will!”
In the quickness of her rage, she pinned him to the maple tree—the tree that they had shared so many memories beneath—her teeth, bared and shining fiercely.
She was only inches away from his face, and she was as still as stone. Adam looked at her ferocious, beautiful face.
Her eyes trembled with spite against her perfect skin—skin which still seemed as if it had been crafted from the finest of silks.
Her gorgeous mouth—the mouth that held the sweetest lips; the mouth that he had tasted many times—was contorted violently, seeming too small to support such massive fangs. Her jaw seemed to unhinge itself from its original position, hanging open in loose control. She was intent upon mangling his frail body.
“Now, get out of here!” she demanded in an unfamiliar, rasped voice.
She moved aside slightly to free him, and he ran—without looking back—through the darkness of the coppice.
© Copyright 2017 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.
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