A crisis in early England. Many villagers are being attacked at night. The fearful peasants claim it to be the work of a vampire. The Lord of the land sends for a group of hunters to clear away any suspicion and perhaps catch the evil doer behind the attacks.
A lone crow squawks in a tree of rustling dark shapes. The pale moon tries mightily to lance its cold light through the tree. Alas, the tree’s billowy figure holds stout and firm and does not reveal what is nestled within its moving form.
The sound of a window slamming closed interrupts the eerie song of the crow. The night goes still, taking its cue from the dark avian herald.
The crow quietly cocks his head to and fro, watching a sleek figure clothed in a thin white night gown. The girl walks half stumbling as though beckoned with great purpose and need from her home and sleep.
As the girl walks nearer and nearer the crow becomes more and more agitated. His feathers ruffle and he walks up and down his perch. The whole while, he never emits a squawk. He just watches.
The wind rises, carrying a voice to the gentle ears of the girl.
“Come to me,” it says, “Come my child, I have the world to show you and not much time. Come to me.”
The voice fades with the wind but the girl hears its desperation and need. She hears the promise of adventure and high living. She hears the seduction and she yearns for more.
She moves with renewed vigor in her sleepy march. Half stumbling at times she reaches the rustling tree that houses the crow. It ceases to move, seeming to tense in a moment of intense anticipation.
The girl, Marisa, had always been afraid of this tree as a child. With her half closed eyes she cannot seem to remember the source of her fear. The tree seems innocent enough with its think trunk and still branches.
The voice comes from beyond the tree.
“Child, come here. I have found such a wonderful seat for us to watch the stars,” it says, “Come to me child. Follow my voice and I shall bring you peace,” it promises. The voice betrays the hint of a smile in its tone.
Marisa’s breath hardens. Each intake of air seems labored. Her heaving chest reveals her emergence into woman hood. Had she been seen like this in the town square she would have nearly doubled the number of suitors she already had.
Her breathing labored, she walks toward the old marble bench. The same bench her father made to honor her mother’s memory.
When Marisa reaches the bench she pauses. For a moment she begins to wonder at the absurdity of this whole situation.
Why was she in her night gown trouncing through a field? What could have possessed her to do such a flighty thing as this? She turns from the stone bench and looks at the tree as she had not before.
She sees the tree with wide open eyes. Eyes now filled with fear.
Beneath the tree stands a man in a well fitted suite, supporting the figure of a woman Marisa knew well.
It was her mother, half a year dead.
“Your mother has told me so much about you, Marisa,” the man says as he allows the corpse at his side to crumple to the ground. He steps toward Marisa.
Marisa inhales to the best of her ability and readies herself to scream.
The scream never comes. She tries but is unable to release her pent up breath.
“Now now now Marisa, we wouldn’t want anyone to come stumbling in on our fun,” smiles the man. “I promised to show you the world didn’t I?”
Marisa finds that she can exhale and releases her breath in the form of a sigh; seeing that the man was staring at her, she nods in answer to his question.
“That’s better,” he says as he takes Marisa’s hand and pulls her close to him. She can feel his cold stiff body against her warm supple self. She can smell his rot and decay. None of this prevents her from leaning further into his embrace.
“My dear sweet Marisa, how much I have to show you,” comments the man as he begins to dance with her. “I have so much to show you and so little time.”
Marisa buries her face in his chest. She breathes deep, reveling in his scent. His sick dying scent to her smelt of roses and summer.
The man ends his dance by sweeping Marisa low. He bends down after her and kisses her throat gently.
After a long moment he pulls her up with him and they stand facing each other.
“There my darling, we have covered: fear, revulsion, hate, love and lastly lust,” the man smiles as he ticks of each subject with a finger. “I have but one last thing to teach you before the sun rises.”
Marisa is hanging on his every word, seeming to take adversely everything and nothing in.
“Come to me,” he beckons, “Receive your last bit of the world.”
Marisa understands that to go to him is to die. She can feel the blood draining from her face. She feels her hands trembling. She feels her legs moving to bring her to him. She has no control.
Soon they are beneath the dark tree. Marisa stands next to her mother’s crumpled corpse.
The man looks at the heap he made of the mother, “Pity I could not have had her before she was so horribly ruined,” he comments, “but you, I will have,” he says as he clears the bouncing brown curls off of Marisa’s neck.
Marisa closes her eyes and waits.
She hears the man’s intake of breath. She feels him close to her. She knows she is about to die.
The man bites strongly down on her throat. She lets out a soft, feeble cry of pain and shock. She struggles, but only out of instinct; logically she knows there is nothing she can do.
She faintly wonders at the sound of baying hounds while she drifts to black.