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NATHANIEL

The pain began to throb more and I felt it burn through my veins as if there were matches burning beneath my skin with a sinuous motion.  I wanted to reach up and pull the dagger from my chest and end this, but no limb would move when I commanded it too.  Not a part of me would twitch, all at once fear and dread overcame me and I tried so very hard to push through the darkness to find the light, to find a familiar face.  Oh how I just wanted to see my Emily, to kiss her and hold her all at once, but no part of me would give me such freedom and care.  I wanted to scream, to cry, and to flail my appendages away from my being but not a movement was allowed.

         ‘Nathaniel’

         Her voice was soft and disappeared into a light breeze that tousled my hair and my eyes felt light and I opened them so sweetly to find a face that I had not expected.  She looked so old, yet so beautifully young, no lines, spots or hair graced her face.  Yet her eyes were a dull gray, with no life beyond them and the hair that escaped the tie that hung over her shoulder was a bland ash, blonde with no light or beauty to touch it. 

          “Ah, so he does live.”  Her lips were rosy, like a flower just before the frost, so pale and slender as she spoke to me.  I watched them, as they seemed to brighten before my very eyes into a brilliant red shade, the color of roses on a hot summer day or blood.  I retraced her features, they were so young and her skin was so flat and pale, with pink stain on the apples of her cheeks. Her eyes were silver, so delicately aligned with a small nose that made her look even younger, and her hair was not ash, but the color of straw at night. 

          “Are you just going to stare at her or are you going to say something?”  There was another in the room, definitely male and young to be more enlightening.  I slowly turned my head, expecting pain, but I felt nothing.  I gazed upon his face with great shock and awe.  His hair and eyes resembled the girl’s almost as if they were mirrored images, but he himself was much younger, his face was heart-shaped with an angular nose and butt chin.  Also, this one was short, maybe five feet tall and wearing a gray sweater and black trousers that were held up by some unknown force.

          “Maybe he’s frightened Marcel.  He will not know who we are.”

          “Get her then, she will know what to do.”

          I watched as they exchanged dialogue and let my eyes follow the girl as she floated from the room and it seemed as if the walls themselves depressed as she left.  Fear overcame me once again, only my head would move so I could not explore the room in more detail, but it was not long before the girl returned.  This time however, she was not alone.  Another woman entered the room silently and as if she carried a candle with her, the room was alight with a scent of raspberries and golden sun.  I caught her face and my breath stopped in mid glance.

          “Emily” I whispered beneath my own heartbeat.

          She smiled and looked me straight in the eye and then I knew it was not she, only a young woman who was just as tender and mild as Emily was once.  Her strawberry blonde hair was pulled away from her facial features and fell down her back in lifeless waves.  Her hallow eyes, as dark a blue as the night sky, were all but welcoming.  

          “No Nathaniel, I am Rebecca.  Do you know where you are?”

          I shook my head with great care, my eyes never leaving her face.  Her voice was melodic and so beautiful that she could have hypnotized me with a hello.  I tried to lift my hand yet, it still refused to move, and I sighed heavily.

          “Marcel, please release the restraints.”  Rebecca ordered kindly towards the blonde boy.  He moved with a flash of clothing towards me and I heard buckles clicking.  He leaned over the bed and just as quickly he moved back to the side of the wall.  I lifted my hand freely now and touched my face and my chest.  There was no longer a dagger protruding from my heart; only bandages covered the bare flesh. 

          Rebecca smiled sadly in my direction and moved just as gracefully to my side and ran a hand through my hair in a soft motion.  “I am afraid to tell you this Nathaniel, but you are no longer within the land of the living, nor are you a part of the dead.”  Her eyes fell away from my face and towards my chest and then out towards the window on the opposite side of the room.  There was no snow covering the trees, but instead they were blossoming with cherries and leaves so green it was as if they were painted there.  My eyes flew up to her face, now realizing that it had been months I had been lying here in this bed bandaged and bonded. 

          “How long have a been slumbering?”

          “More than a year, I am afraid.”  Rebecca removed a strand of hair from my face.

          “What has been done to me?”  I demanded in a voice that did not sound my own, it was deep and dark though power resonated through the room from within my chest cavity.

          “You are one of us now.”  The younger girl smiled, her eyes so hopeful and yet as dead as Emily now was and I knew at that moment I would never get to join her. 

          “Excuse me?”

          “Nathaniel, Catherine and Marcel are my, ‘children’ and we have spent many a night watching over you.  Poor Emily, we could have sought to save her, but you were so adamant in holding her as she died and now you have done something truly remarkable.”

          “What is that?”  My skin pricked with the rise of goose flesh.

          “You have killed the human part of your being, a task neither Marcel nor Catherine have been able to accomplish in all their years.  You, my dear Nathaniel, are truly a remarkable creature against God.” 

          “Against God?  What make of monster are you?”  My voice raised higher until the rafters were quivering in its wake.

          “I, Nathaniel, am a born Succubus.  A demon of seduction, a vampire that feeds off of emotions such as fear, lust, and all sins in between.  Catherine and Marcel are only half of what they could be, part mortal, my lovely Cambions”

          “And what am I?  What have you made me?”

          “I,” she narrowed her glass eyes on me, “have done nothing to you, dear.  You are the foolish man who struck himself with a gold dagger and murdered your own mortal soul, forever you shall walk amongst the demons of this realm as an Incubus and my male counterpart.”

          I narrowed my eyes and pushed myself into a sitting position and traced over the three figures in the room with my new eyes and cursed to myself.  A soulless demon, one who feeds off of mortals’ fears and dreams and lives forever but forever deemed a sin to all mankind and a danger to any that approach them.  I flung my legs over the side of the bed, staring down at the white cotton sheets that reminded me nothing of my old room where I had lived once.

          “I will not live this life you have tricked me into and I will certainly not be yours”

          “Nathaniel you may not have a choice.  Once this life has been given it cannot be taken away, not for any suicide attempt any of us have tried to free ourselves.  As for being mine, in time you will see how we need each other”

          I stood quickly from the bed, towering over them all with a dark shadow and all at once they clumped together, evident fear filtering through their dead eyes.  “I will not!  I have loved but once in my life and shall love no other, especially not a demon whore.  Why be so cruel to a mortal who only wanted to die and join his true love?  Why are you monsters so damned cruel?”

          Rebecca’s eyes turned cold as stone, hard and unloving in all but a second and she bared her teeth in my direction and crouched before the two youth members as if she were protecting them from me.  She was only a woman, I could have taken her and left freely and gone to destroy myself but her words echoed through my head.  There were several others of them, what if there were more in the house? They may not be the only ones, and if what they were saying about death being impossible a truth, then I would need them to teach me to survive in the sinned life I would now be leading. 

          I relaxed and turned my back to them and wandered past them in a smooth breeze towards the window.  I could smell flowers and the fresh smell of summer, and the heat seeped through the window but that I could not feel.  It touched my skin and just as quickly it evaporated into dense air. 

          “I will not stay”

          “We never believed you would, nor had we planned to ourselves” Rebecca’s voice was once again a lovely song from behind me.

          “I shall leave for the new world”

          “We know”

          With that I turned back to them and the young girl handed me a jacket and shirt to wear along with new pants and a pair of leather boots with ties and a place for a knife.  I grinned with great malice and accepted the clothing and pulled on every item and without another word I left with my three acquaintances and walked down to the harbor to board the next ship sailing to the cold New World, without any items but those I wore and the dagger in my boot I would start anew without guidance of my heart or that from above.

The End

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