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I remember his aged face when I was five, his unsettling stare, his cold kiss as he greeted me.Although he had to be in his seventies, his hair was dark and wavy and strong.Above his lip was a line of a mustache, dashing and debonair, always perfectly trimmed.My mother would take me to see him, and his house left me uneasy.I would be sent to bed in the guest room in the attic, and I would feign sleep, while I heard the adults carrying on downstairs.I didn’t know what they did, not until I was an adult myself.But the strange items in that bedroom were more than enough to keep me frightened awake, let alone the noise that came from downstairs.
Sometimes I would see my friends Amanda and Laura, who were about the same age as me.We would play together while the adults had their forbidden party below.Then one day at the party, Amanda was asked to go down and join the adults.This was one of the loudest parties they had ever had.Laura and I talked about how we wished we were at the party too, because it sounded like they were having such a great time, instead of being up in the musty old attic playing with old things.The next day I was curious to talk to Amanda about her time at the party, and I asked my mother if Amanda would be there next time because I really enjoyed playing with her.I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that I really wanted to find out what it was like down there.She smiled at me and said that Amanda would no longer be attending the parties at the Buckrest’s house.This was very confusing as her parents continued to attend.I wondered where she was while her parents were there.Laura stopped showing up there too, but her parents were also absent from the get-togethers.Therefore, it was just me by myself in the creepy, dank attic, while the grown-ups reveled below.
As I became a teenager, my mother and I would see him less and less, until finally we stopped going there.I’m not sure why this was so, but when I was fifteen we went there one last time, and he looked so frail, so gray, the times had not been kind to him.The pencil thin mustache was now ragged, with patches missing, and his once glorious head of hair was depleted, with wild dirty-white sections sticking up unkempt.He sat in bed against the headboard, seemingly in his own world, looking out into the distance, as I approached him.I approached the bed to greet him, and the same odd look in his eye arrested my heart.I staggered, then moved forward to give him a greeting kiss, and smelled the aroma again.I felt his icy cold skin on my lips, papery thin from age.The same familiar feeling of unease overwhelmed me again.This weird house I practically grew up in brought back the same strange feelings of dread and the weird, frail old man was not helping my disturbance.
Then it was only a few short weeks after this incident that I heard he had died, and the feelings, hard to describe, came back to me.I was sad that a soul had left the earth, but at the same time indifferent, maybe even happy, that this forbidding man was no longer a presence.Yet I also felt a deep longing to see him again, to feel his tender, cold touch, to inhale that odd aroma he had, to feel his pallid lips on my face again.
I thought he was gone for good, of course, buried in the ground and never coming back, until just recently, when he sent his messengers to captivate me again.He had returned for me, and his sweet words of undying desire caught my heart, and I was able to look past his unseeable appearance and see the true heart.He wanted me, to hold me in his hands, for me to be his forever.He would take care of me, and I would feed his desires in return.He spoke of the ceremony he planned, and the feast, which would join us as one, undying, unending, forever and ever.It all seemed so unusual to me, things I had never heard of, but in my entrancement, in my disorientation, I agreed to go forth with the plan.He had my heart, and it was his to do as he pleased.I could not say no to this creature.
Upon the high places of Charleston, the old church spires, the high tree tops, he took me and professed his endless devotion to me.He took me up high into the clouds, so high that it was hard for me to breathe, and said “I will breathe for you.”We rode the wind with the foggy clouds beneath our feet, and sparkling stars above.He told me to look at the stars, how endless they were, and that he was endless too, and as long as he was, my heart would be his.He pricked my finger, drew blood, and let a drop fall onto his tongue.He shuddered and then recomposed himself, then smiled.We went back down and told me to rest in his mansion, the same place where I would stay as a child, except now I was betrothed to Nicholas.

Submitted: September 20, 2010

© Copyright 2022 Peter Amaral. All rights reserved.


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