Sunday, November 03, 2013

Chapter Two: Anna Awakens Vance

In the darkness, the nothingness, Vance felt a pulse.

It was not his pulse. Of this he was sure. He neither knew nor cared how long it had been since he’d felt anything at all, but he knew he felt this pulse. So close, it was like the beat of a beautiful song, just out of ear shot. Never before had his awareness been so completely dominated by a thing.

Then it was gone and there was nothing.

It came again. Vance felt that some time had passed, but it had been all blessed numbness to him, and so, mattered not.

The pulse came closer. So close. Another life beat sounded, weak and timid, in harmony to the first. It was much less interesting. Then, for the first time in so long, he heard sounds. They were words murmured nearby, words of power he’d heard before. Perhaps someone was here to slay him. Hurray to them for finally figuring out where he’d gone to rest. He only cared because of the magic in that pulse. There was a metallic clank, the lock being pulled, and then the sound of crumbled bits hitting the ground; the door took several thumping hits, accentuating the heartbeats, now pounding faster as they came closer to their goal.

Finally, the door to the crypt opened, creaking like the scream of a dying pig.

That heartbeat was so close now. It almost felt like his own. Then he heard her voice.

“Well, at least the groundskeeper’s not around to hear that.” It was musical with a note of sarcasm Vance found instantly compelling.

Someone else spoke, and Vance knew this must be that other, weaker heartbeat he heard. “Jesus, did you have to kill him?”

“Of course I did, Cheri. We mustn’t be interrupted here.”

“You’re not even sure this is the right place! You just… just… stabbed him like it was nothing.” Vance did not like this one. She was whiny and shrill. Weak.

“Get the bag and shut the fuck up. Please.” The rough sound of a match striking stone and flaring to life. She continued, “The coffin is intact. He’s here. I knew it.”

Vance noted enthusiasm in her voice, but it did not sound like the bloodlust of a slayer. His interest grew. More lanterns were lit. He could feel the warmth of their bodies and their lights, but vaguely through the cold stone of his crypt. As something swept across the top of the crypt, he knew it was her arm, her body touching the stone and for a moment her heartbeat really did make his own thump in time, though it wheezed, as empty as the tomb had been of life just a few moments before.

“Here, give me a hand with this,” she said. Vance’s sense of anticipation built. The stone grated aside, slowly. A wave of sensations washed over him. It was true. Something about this woman was bringing him out of torpor. He smelled their scents, the two women, and the beasts and vermin who lived in and around his crypt; the freshly cut grass and the decaying flowers left for the dead. But he did not breath. It was more the dust of these things settling upon him. His senses were blunted, but he could sense the longing in one of his visitors and the fear in the other.

The stone thudded to the ground.

“Damn, you almost got my fingers!” Said the petulant voice.

“Just get a light, ok?” Said the delicious one. 

Vance could also feel the warmth of their fires much clearer now, it doubled as one of the lanterns was brought very near. He should be more afraid of the flame, but again, he did not sense these women were here to kill him.

“Oh my god, he’s hideous. That totally looks like a thirty year old corpse, Anna. There’s no way that thing is coming back to life.”

Anna. So that was her name.

“Of course he looks like a corpse, Cheri”—Anna said the name like a curse—“he’s hasn’t fed in thirty years. I think he’s beautiful.”

Without a sound of warning, blood dripped on Vance’s lips. It was like a sudden splash of color in the darkness. But still he could not move.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” shouted Cheri. Footsteps, running for the door.

“No!” Vance felt something, like a cloud of buzzing insects swirling past him. The door slammed, with a squeal and a boom of finality.

“Anna, please let me go.” Now the other woman really was begging.

“Vance Elias Fitzroy,” Anna spoke his name and continued in the rhythm of a practiced ritual, “I call your blood with my blood, which is also your blood. I bid you back to this mortal coil, for I have answers to your most vexatious questions. I call to you across time and the void of death.” Now vance could actually feel her breath on his dead cheek. “Stalk the night with me, dear Vance.”

At her last words, Vance’s heart did start. He inhaled the perfume of her. His eyes opened. He beheld a heart-shaped face of pale skin and red lips. Her eyes were pale blue, but reflected bits of green and gold in the lantern light. She had ash blonde hair in a bob. She looked as innocent as a lamb. She was beautiful.

“Anna.” Vance croaked. Her face broke in a gorgeous smile.

“I meant all those things I said, Vance. I haven’t awoken you for nothing.” He noted she had swiftly bandaged her arm, though the smell of blood was still thick in the air. Cheri pounded on the door, crying and screaming for help.

“Let me help you up.” Anna reached under Vance and sat him up in the crypt. “Look, I even brought you breakfast.”

The bit of blood and the spell seemed to be working. Vance felt the tiniest bit more himself.

“Cheri is for me?” he rasped and turned his eyes from Anna to the other woman. 

“That was the plan,” said Anna, drawing her knife.

Vance raised a hand. “Hold,” he said. Cheri’s cries drowned him out. Anna sheathed the blade, giving him an inquisitive eyebrow.

He cleared his throat. “Cheri, stop.” He said it clearly, cutting across her panic. She stopped.

“Come to me,” he said.

And she did.

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