I knew even then, in all my horror, what a bloody, evil thing she was.
Knew it, and went still, knowing what she would do to me, with me, if I couldn’t defeat her.
I couldn’t defeat her.
In this cold, post-midnight silence, looking at the setting crescent moon cleave a path down the sky for the burgeoning sun, my blood steaming on the hard, snow packed soil, I try to feel regret, sorrow, and anger.
I close my eyes and try to pray, and the cold flicks my ear like a seductress, renders my prayer a moan as blood spurts when I try to speak.
I stop, and roll onto my back, and the pain grows worse when she smiles, her mouth red from rending me.
“Soon, lover,” she whispers, but her red mouth never moves.
The night, and everything about it, seems brighter, sharper, clearer than before.
They said there’d be fire. Why is there no fire?
My exhalations into the freezing cold leave in white, tattered ribbons, and the effort to draw air is taking a toll.
She reaches for me, pulls me close, but there’s no warmth in her, no tender flesh, just a corrupt perfection.
I didn’t want this.
Even as I think it, I remain uncertain.
We were walking, hand in hand. She said she loved me, I felt her arms around me…
She’s cradling my head against her cold shoulder, and I turn to look at her face, and see the gates of mortality closing, see the fire there in her eyes.
Ah, there it is. Who’s screaming? Who’s crying?
I see a vortex of screaming, burning souls in her irises, and my own is swept up with them; a sudden wash of blood floods them over, and the fire flares beneath it, burning the image away.
The screams stop.
My breathing stops; if my soul was tossed into the fire, I never felt it.
Is it a shadow of life, or just a different one? I’m the same, yet I’m changed.
Her cold fingers trace my lips, her lips open, and her gore-speckled fangs gleam.
I kiss my maker, my lover, my demon-bride, and my own red mouth smiles against her neck.
Death leaves me, a petulant child whose parents ignore him; he will gather his toy soldier hunters and send them for us one day, one by one.
And one by one, we will gather them to us.
But tonight I bleed, and watch the red fires burn…
*art by Vintion