The Damned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 49 (v.1)

Submitted: November 18, 2013

Reads: 174

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Submitted: November 18, 2013

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49 

 

Foxwood Hall, Yorkshire, 15th December 1537 

 

“Stop!” Conor’s voice was broken as he beseeched Isabel to be silent. The sound was so bereft, so desperate, that Thomas could hear the torment running riot through his heart. The demon's  beautiful face wore a tortured expression, the blood tears welling anew in his eyes. He fell to his knees before Isabel, wrapping his arms around her waist, his head buried in her stomach. “I should have been there. I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, my poor, beautiful, betrayed love." 

It was a tale from a Grecian tragedy, too sad to be real. There were too many innocent mistakes. Too many moments of tragic sweetness. Had ever the world known a love like theirs outside of the stories they had read?It was incalculable, insurmountable.It was heart-breaking to see: the love; the poetry, the suffering. Thomas could pick up his quill and turn it into a tale to make the hardest of men weep.   

How had it all gone so wrong for them? In the end, he thought that they had simply loved each other too much.Each had tried too hard to save the other from their downfall. They had turned their faces from their own selfish desires to give each other the opportunity to see the very best of life. They had walked away as if it didn't break their hearts to do so. In the end, though, the love they had shared had been too great for them to live happy lives apart from one another. How could they have thought it would be otherwise? The separation had broken them. Theirlove had broken them. It had made Isabel too good and strong and sweet for the corrupt world she inhabited. It had made her devilish lover seek to give her more than he had in him, and more than she had wanted from him. 

And when Isabel's beautiful, dark, damaged fool had given all he had to give, his great sacrifice, all unknowing, had made her a lamb amongst wolves. He had given her up, and in doing so he had given her to them. She had been a delicate, vulnerable, sweet-natured child, and they had torn the soft, tender young flesh from her bones. They had ripped her throat out, ripped her heart out, licking hungrily at the blood which dripped like crimson rain from their sharp teeth.  

Thomas knew her, loved her, and now he knew what they had done he wanted to reach back and tear their hearts from their monstrous chests. He couldn't listen anymore. He didn't want to know anymore. Every ounce of humanity inside of him revolted at her tale. He hungered to see the blood of her betrayers staining his fingers. "I don't want to hear it either. I can't." 

Isabel tugged at Conor's arms, her nails digging into his flesh, drawing blood, as she pushed him away from her. She straightened,stood tall and proud, her shoulders back, chin lifted. "Are you really such cowards?"  

"I love you too much to think of anyone hurting you. It is torturous to make me listen. Please, Isabel, for the sake of my sanity, find a darkened room in your mind, a place of silence and solitude, and lock their brutality away so that I never have to glimpse it again," Thomas implored her.   

She looked at him coldly. "I believe it was more torturous for me to have to endure than it is for you to listen to." 

"I'm dying, Isabel. I know it is selfish of me to ask for your silence, but I beg you, my love; do not send me to my death with such images to torment me." 

"What images would you prefer?" 

Images of you and I, of course.The air was heavy with her haunting, evocative perfume, like roses and honey layered with the sharper tang of spice. That smell could drive him mad. But then hadn't he always been mad for her?  

Isabel looked at him with the impassive grandeur of a queen, or an ancient deity, trapped in stone, ethereally beautiful, her serene loveliness eternally preserved in marble by the hand of a master. To contemplate the exquisite arc of the brow, the delicate sweep of the cheekbones, the impeccable line and proportions of the nose, was to marvel that the randomness of human variation could produce something so divinely perfect. The bones beneath must be finely chiselled, a product not of blunt-tooled, slap-shod nature, but of the very peak of divine artistic endeavour. The skin that clothed those remarkable bones, that work of genius, was white silk, decorated with a flush of pink on the cheeks, a dash of scarlet on the lips. It was ivory and alabaster, made all the paler by its frame of auburn hair, so elaborately twisted and coiled on top, with long, lazy ringlets cascading down about her slender neck.  

And then there were those eyes. Those lovely, inhuman eyes, so unnaturally coloured. Angels and devils must have conspired together to create such a hue, beauty and seduction stirring the cauldron together, slender hands laid over cruel claws as they mixed their intoxicating elixir. Into their heady potion they had tossed the essence of cornflowers, the shredded petals ofa thousand wild bluebells, a stretch of sky, and a spray of sea foam. Last, last of all, they had bottled up the silver of moonlight shining on a midnight landscape, and slowly released a single drop of it into their seething cauldron.  

They looked out at him now with perfect inexpression, as if their enchanting mistress was utterly empty inside. If eyes were the gateway to the soul, then another man might have believed that his beloved had no soul at all. But that man would have been mistaken.  

Thomas caught Isabel's hand and held it over his heart, breathing her in, letting her overwhelm him. "I want to remember how we were. I remember that first night. I remember that you were the most sullen, uncommunicative and beautiful woman I had ever seen. Do you remember? Do you recall the moment that we met?" 

Isabel pulled back, frowning. Even then, with her face darkened by frigid anger, she was exquisite. "So you want to torture me instead. I never wanted you to fall in love with me, Thomas." 

"But you let me, didn't you?" 

"And now I will let you die." 

Thomas took her dangling crucifix between his fingers, tugging her down beside him. He ran his fingers through her glorious hair, placed his lips beside her ear. "I don't want to hear that either."   

Her hand slid beneath the fine material of his shirt, cold on his bare skin. She laid her palm flat, letting it rest where his own cross had lain before she had stolen his faith from him. "Then tell me something that you want to hear. Something which will be painless for us both." 

The feel of her skin against his was a balm and a barb. His nerves were raw. Dying did that to you. It made you feel everything in a way that you had never felt it before. Everything seemed heightened, precious, exhilarating, when you realised that it could be the last time you felt anything at all. His emotions fluctuated between wild, heady joy, because she was there and he loved her, and a feeling of abandonment so acutely painful that every word sounded like goodbye, and every part of him desired to be pressed against her: to feel her touch, remember it, treasure it. It took all of the strength he possessed not to cling to her and beg her to stay beside him always.  

But that would not be painless; it would hurt her, his beautiful, damaged beloved. And so he must be brave. He must not be afraid. He must ask what he had so long been afraid to ask. "Tell me what you are. Say it. Just once." 

Isabel laughed, the sound raw. "Why must men always seek to know more than is good for them?" 

"Why must you forever deceive me?" 

"Because the truth will only serve to torment you. I gave you the truth you sought and you begged for my silence." 

"Very well. Let me hear it all. Let me be tormented. Let me become as damaged and disillusioned as you. That's what you desire, isn't it? Innocence lost. I love you, so I am already halfway there, am I not? I am already damned." 

"As you wish, my love." She placed her mouth beside his ear, so close that he felt the warmth of her breath as her lips shivered across his skin. "I declare you damned." 

"Then tell me all." 

Isabel's tongue slowly explored her teeth, before her top lip curled upwards, revealing the small, savage fangs hidden beneath. Thomas reached out, tentatively exploring the cruel points with the tip of his finger. He pressed down, lightly, so very lightly. Blood blossomed, beaded. She took his hand in hers, licked the ruby droplet from his skin, eyes closed. 

Sheraised her gaze to his, met him stare for stare. "Have you looked long and hard enough at my curse, Thomas? Don't you know all that you need to know." 

"I want you to tell me what you are. I want you to name yourself." 

Isabel's fingers caught at her great, jewel-encrusted cross."Ari calls us 'Rapax Ones' - 'The Ravenous Ones'." There was a serpentine quality to the Latin words which dripped from her painted mouth, slithering from her lips as if they were hungry for their freedom. They dropped to the floor, sat coiled between them, dangerous, watchful.  

"The Ravenous Ones?" 

She reached for Thomas' goblet, drew a deep draft of wine down her throat. "We are vampires, my darling. Spirits damned to walk the earth for eternity, stealing lives to sustain our cursed existence." 

"Tell me about vampires. I must know what you are before I die." 

"I'll tell you one thing. It's the most beautiful death you'll ever know."  

"Then let me die by your hand." 

"I cannot," she said brokenly, her cold cheek pressed ardently to his. "I cannot be the one to take your life. How could I bear to feel your heart stop beating beneath my palm? How could  I bear to feel your death slither down my throat?" 

Thomas placed his hand on her silken cheek, felt her tremble beneath his touch. Her body could not resist his, even now. There had been something there, he knew. He had inspired some feeling in her, even if she had despised her vulnerability, fought her feelings every step of the way. It was a weakness he hated to exploit, but he would manipulate her love, her sense of guilt, her tender feelings, if he must. If that was what it took to save himself. "You've already killed me," he softly accused.  

"That was never my intention, but the things we love destroy us every time, Thomas. I know. I rose too high, loved too hard, dared too much. I tried to grasp a star, overreached and fell, and the falling broke every part of me. 

"Was it worth it? Was what you hard worth sacrificing your life for?" 

Isabel's lips curved, a great crimson slice across her ivory face, but her beautiful eyes were empty. “Our relationship was diamond and it was ash. Who can say? Am I worth dying for, Thomas? She spoke with no inflection, no feeling, as if she cared not at all how he answered.  

Every breath he took was filled with the scent of her, a scent that made his body hungry. He burned. He remembered. All of those nights, so hot and passionate, stirred in his mind, awoken by the smell of her, so deliciously seductive. Such an unbearable torment. Of course she was worth dying for. How could she not know that? "Who can say? You are worth living for." 

She trailed a bejewelled finger down his flushed cheek. "I cannot give you life, my love." 

"Then what can you give me?" 

Isabel took Thomas' hand between both of hers, placed their entwined fingers against her pale breasts. "My tears. I will cry tears enough to water your grave, to turn it into a paradise of roses and wildflowers, each bloom a token of my love." 

"I do not believe you. I do not believe that you will suffer at all," he said cruelly. 

"I will. Who else will ever suffer as I can? Others can mourn for a lifetime, but I will grieve for you for eternity. Our loss is worse than that of mortals. It's more final. I will have to live knowing that you are truly lost to me.For me there will be no promise of being reunited with you when I die.If you die, we will spend forever apart." 

"And you would still let me die?" 

"I must." 

Thomas laughed, the sound as cold and emotionless as her gaze. "Tell me, Isabel, did you choose such a life for yourself, or was it forced upon you?" 

"What difference does it make?" 

"I must know." 

"As must I," Conor murmured, moving closer. "I have never asked. I daren't. Did I choose this for you, Isabel, or did you? Did Ari give you a choice?" 

She stood up slowly, so that the two were face to face, and pulled him close, placing a tender hand on his cheek. "I am sorry, my love. I didn't want to die. I chose to let him save me." 

"Why?" Conor growled, snatching her by the shoulders. His great, powerful body was too rough. If they were human, he would have bruised her. "Why would you choose such a life for yourself?" 

Isabel clutched his forearms with both hands, breaking his grip, pushing him away from her. So angry. So hopelessly sad. "Because of you. You are my folly, Con, and have always been so. He told me that you would never die. I could not suffer an eternity without you, so I chose to join you in hell. Now do you see how much I loved you?"  

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Jordana J Sacks. All rights reserved.

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