The distant clock tower is tolling midnight.
The bayou snaking by my apartment complex wears a shroud of fog.
Writhing fingers of mist reach up from the masked waters to the dying full moon
as if begging for mercy ...
or for answers.
Only Bu, the owl, replies. And if you hear him call you name, it is your death knell.
I sigh in relief. My name was not uttered.
Francine and Denise have given us the FRIDAY ROMANTIC prompt_BOUQUET :
My entry is from THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. Victor is chained to Maija's throne of gold by steel cables. She is torturing the boy.
His first Sin : McCord cares for him.
Second Sin : He has found love.
Third Sin : Victor will neither beg nor bow.
But Maija has lived millennia. She knows how to hurt a young man. We join her now :
Maija flashed a smile a shark would wear as it glided next to a bleeding swimmer. “You expect your precious ….
She made the words into razor blades, “… ghoul friend, Alice, to rush to your rescue, do you not?”
I shook my head. “Not hardly. She showed some good sense and left me.”
Maija chuckled, “Oh, I know. Scurried back to her mold-infested crypt.”
She clapped her hands. “Poor child, I had to do something to truly sever her heart.”
My own heart stopped. “What did you do to her, you bitch!”
Maija smiled without an ounce of sanity. “Samuel was quite right. My traps are works of precision : no avenue of rescue remains unblocked.”
“W-What did you to do to her?”
Slanted eyes without mercy speared me. “Nothing obscene. Nothing bizarre. Nothing cruel.”
Maija laughed like an insane little girl. “I lied about the cruel.”
She sighed, her eyes closing in recall, then opening. “I knocked on her crypt, leaving her a parchment letter with one black rose attached.”
“W-What was in the letter?”
Her face was a cruel mockery of false concern. “Oh, I made sure it was quite fitting. I even wrote it in your own hand.”
“M-My own hand?”
Maija giggled, “Yes, I can copy any talking ape’s handwriting.”
“What did you write?”
She smiled demurely. “It was a work of art let me assure you. No part of her heart did I leave untouched.”
“What did you say?”
“Merely a ‘thank you’ from you.”
“A – A what?”
“Yes, in your hand, I wrote a thank you. How she had lifted such a great burden from you. Yes, you had shown pity to the undead, rotting thing she was at first out of pity.”
“I even quoted Mark Twain for you :
how no good deed went unpunished. I had you thanking her for taking her loathsome presence from your sight :
how you had come to loathe the way she smelled, the way her clammy flesh felt, to loathe how she … tasted.”
Maija clapped happily and long. “Oh, you should see your face, Standish. Your heart! Your heart is your weakness.”
I went dead cold inside. “If revenge meant becoming a ghoul for eternity, would you still choose revenge?”
Maija sneered, “Of course.”
“What nonsense are you driveling?”
I played my ace-in-the-hole no longer caring what it did to me so long as I could make Maija pay. My blood became acid. My flesh became living fire.
I was no longer solid. I was mist. And it hurt like hell.
I passed through the steel cables and drifted closer and closer to Maija. I could flat no longer stand the pain. I became solid again.
Damn. Damn. Damn! That had hurt. Victor, old boy, let’s not do that ever again, shall we?
Maija stepped back clumsily, her right palm outstretched as if to fend off a ghost. This time it was her face that was drained of blood. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer monster.
“What? You can’t. It’s impossible!”
“I’m Victor Standish. And there is no impossible for me.”
My voice cracked. "Except to ever be loved by Alice again."
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