Eternity Will Burn
Short Story by Alisha Bartrum
Blood is warm. When freshly spilled, it takes on the heat of the body it is leaving. It could keep that heat much longer than water could, making it most enjoyable to soak in. Nothing compared in the feel of the sensuous liquid as well. It felt at times to be silk, and at the same times it felt to be smoke. Beneath her fingers it would slide by, silky against her skin, only to disappear as if smoke to leave behind a tint of its presence on her alabaster skin. Sighing contentedly to herself, she moved one long leg in the crimson pool. For over an hour she had set herself in this tub, relishing in the substance she believed to retain her incredible beauty. Long ago the screams from the new girls had died down, allowing her the peace she needed now.
A few strands of her raven black hair fell about her slim shoulders, dipping into the bath she lay in. One slim, perfect hand moved a lock of soaked hair, letting it rest over the gold trim of the porcelain tub. To ease the strain of sitting on such a hard surface for so long, she moved her position again, drawing her naked body from the blood for but a second. A flash of perfect flawless skin, and large breasts set against a voluptuous form. Amber eyes glowed slightly in the candlelight, their shape almost feline in form. Hanging from one end of the masterful and grand tub was her hand, clutching a small hand held mirror. Smile pulling the edges of her rose red lips into a smile, she once more checked her visage in the mirror. Oh, what a beauty she saw there!
A noise from the other side of her chamber caught her eye, disturbing her. One eye lazily moved to the corner of her eye, set on the shadows in that corner. After a moment, the shadows moved once more, a form beginning to materialize from the inky depths of the shadows themselves. One long gloved hand shot from the dark, followed soon by the full body of a tall and well built man. Long white hair adorned his head, flowing in locks about his shoulders. A perfect face of the most pure white, he had an almost ethereal look about him. Such perfection was not human, and it shone in his solid black eyes as he looked upon the woman that lay naked in her porcelain tub.
It was she who called to him, reaching one blood soaked hand to him. Beckoning him to her side, she smiled. "Apollyon, my love. What brings ye here to disturb my bathing?" Faster than the eye could move, he was at her side, bent on one knee. Gently he pulled her hand up, smiling at her. In the flickering candlelight of the room, everything reflected the flame of the candle. Everything except his eyes, already shining with some dark light from the most ungodly realms. A set of pale lips pressed themselves against her hand. Looking up at her, Apollyon then pulled her arm toward him roughly, delighting in her gasp. Tongue protruding from his lips, he licked a few of the crimson drops from her skin. A high pitched laugh rang through the stone room, bouncing from the walls.
"Such a chivalrous man you doth be, my dearest!" she cackled. "Now tell me, what is it that draws you here at this hour?" the smile disappeared from her face, and she shifted uncomfortably in her bath of blood. He spoke, overgrown canines glinting as his lips moved.
"Another beautiful young woman for you has been found." He spoke low and slowly, pronouncing each word in an accent she could not place.
"Another one? So quickly after the last ones?" she laughed, eyes fluttering at the man on his knee beside her. "How you doth spoil me!"
"Not true. Nothing is too rich for a beauty such as you, my Erzebet." One gloved finger rubbed against her hand as he spoke, further soaking the once white glove in red. He smiled, the smile taking on a quality that one might see on a shark. "She is only of the utmost beauty, and purest blood. I can deeply assure you of those truths." Again he kissed her hand, awaiting her response.
"Is this one..going to last?" she paused, thinking of a way to phrase it. "The last one faded too quickly, was to small. I did not enjoy myself, Apollyon." her voice grew bored, and once again her eyes cast themselves on the mirror in her hand.
Something dark glinted in Apollyon's eyes for a second, then disappeared. The black pools of his eyes remained still, as he bowed his head. "Thy must forgive this fool for that my love! It was my foolishness, and the full responsibility for it rests only on me. Thinking only of her beauty at the time I was, and that never once crossed this damnable mind." He began to lay it on thick, knowing the only way to appease this Narcissus was to praise her. "Tell once more how I may once more set myself in your good graces!"
For but a moment, she tore her eyes from her own image to look at the man pleading to her. "Doth thou desire it so badly?" A smile formed once more on her face, and she stifled it by pursing together her plump red lips.
"Without it I shall fade from this earth as a breath from a dying man!" he drawled, keeping the sarcasm he felt from his voice with the expert skill of a liar.
"Fear not, for thee are already back in them. Thou hast never left." Erzebet looked at him, eyes half lidded in a look that had cowed so many men before.
"The girl is prepared for thee. Thou, I doth think to warn thee, she strong of will."
"I have broken more girls with stronger."
"Yet, I tell thee lest thee end up harmed."
"Fear not, dearest Prince of mine." she ran her hand over his face, tracing his chiseled chin aimlessly. "Nothing on this mortal plain can harm me."
"Ye can not truly think that to be truth." he asked, eyes closing.
She nodded, eyes flashing. "Not can harm me, I am beyond everything."
"There is one who could knock thee from that pedestal my dearest."
Erzebet sat up, growing angry. Two fine brows knitted together as she stared at her lover. "Just who doth thou think can? WHO?!" she snarled, yanking her hand from his grasp and placing it over her heart.
"The highest king, my love." he drawled, getting off his knee, and pulling himself to his full height. Black clothes fluttered about him as he moved, trying to control himself with this intolerable woman.
"God?" she shrieked, laughing. "Doth thou truly believe God may touch me now? I have flown far above his powers now.....so far above! No need is there for me to fear God..." she spat the last words, watching as Apollyon flinched visibly.
"Hush that tongue of yours you wretched girl!" he hissed, turning to face her. For a moment, his face grew inhumanly long, something darker shinning beneath the pale skin for a split second. She recoiled, drawing herself deeper into the safety of the heated liquid about her. "Hush..." his voice softened, face returning back to normal. "Such uttering will bring his presence on thee. Believe me, my love. The wrath he possesses for those who doth fall from his graces....tis too much to bear, it is truly." His voice grew thick, and both gloved hands clenched slightly.
Seconds passed, with her saying nothing, then she moved slightly, sloshing the blood that was now losing its heat. Finally she spoke, voice shaking slightly. "The villagers, their tongues do move. Such falsities they spread about you." He stepped closer to her, and she began to speak faster, nervous. "They say you are Vampyr. An ungodly creature come of the night to steal their breath and blood."
Slowly, he set his hands on her shoulders, snaking them slowly to her throat. Erzebet shuddered, trying to think. "What is it you doth think....? Tell me oh love, what manner of beast doth you believe me to be?" he asked, voice husky, yet sharp. Danger wrapped every word that spilled from his lips.
"I am assured that you be no mortal man, but WHAT you doth be escapes me so surely." she whispered, holding the mirror to her face to see if the man behind her reflected in its surface. He did. Apollyon's face smiled at her, fangs flashing as the light hit them.
"Vampyr I am not. Of that I can give you the deepest assurance." He set one large gloved hand over hers, and lowered the mirror into the pool beneath her. The other hand moved some of her raven hair from her neck. Slowly he began to kiss her slender neck, delighting in the shudders that ran through her body as his lips touched her.
"I am as you my love." he smiled against her neck, mouth moving lower and lower. "Dracule, a dragon in the borrowed skin of man."
"Dracule...." she whispered, eyes glinting. "Not a tangible thing can stand in our path. Yes?" Her lips quirked upwards in a full grin, and she pulled the mirror from the pool. Crimson red liquid poured from the glass, slowly revealing her beautiful face.
"Yes." Apollyon smiled, looking at her tinted reflection in the blood soaked mirror. "Even eternity will burn."