Forever, an excerpt

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I thought maybe I could tantalize you with a few words from Forever.

This comes from Chapter four:

There came a time when I decided that I wanted him, in all the ways I can want.  I was no longer content to watch from the shadows.  I approached him, tantalized him with the ability to translate a text from my homeland, drew him close to me.  It was a slow process of gaining his trust, of sharing ideas, thoughts.  His belief was strong, but not entirely that of his people.  Something had altered him significantly in his youth.  He never did say what it was, but it was always there, somewhere beneath the conversation.  He was charismatic, passionate and argumentative. I started out trying to seduce him, but in the end, it was I who was seduced.

We would sit for long hours discussing some obscure text or a bit of poetry.  Or, we would debate the nature of life, or evil, or gods. Other times we would each be caught up in ourselves and pay little attention to the other.

“Is it so difficult for you to believe that there is evil so dark that it cannot stand the light of day?”  he asked, exasperated one evening when we had been debating around and around the subject.

“Of course not, Jesse, I only think you shouldn’t hunt it so closely.”  The last rays of the sun had long since vanished, leaving heavy shadows hanging in the room where we debated, our table filled with texts of contradicting theories regarding the Clans. “There are some things better left to the night.  Come, let me take you to dinner.”

“No.”  He was sullen that night, not exactly depressed, but adamant in his refusal to be cheered.  “I have more work to do.”

“Let me help then.  Where were we?”  I shuffled through the gathered papers until I found the scroll he had been reading from when our discussion had erupted.  It was a text from a land not far from the place where it all began, where Bestin created the first of the Family.  It was not old, perhaps twenty years or less.  “There is then, hidden by the darkness, an evil which drinks the very life of our people, stealing through the night and leaving in its wake a trail of death,” I read to him.

I had seen the words before, though couldn’t place where.  “It was once as we are, but the demon rose within it, and changed it forever.  It cannot die, it cannot be stopped.”

I put the scroll down.  “It sounds to me like the ramblings of a paranoid mind.”

“Perhaps,” he conceded.  He was thoughtful, his handsome face almost blank as his thoughts swirled around the words.  I found it fascinating to watch, I was holding my breath.  “Perhaps the author was paranoid.  Perhaps he was demented.  Does that make his words any less true?  Slanted, maybe, but he must have seen something to make him write this.  Here, what about this one?”

He pulled a much older clay tablet to him and tilted it to the flickering light. He licked his lips, and read haltingly, translating as he read.  “I am Darious, priest and teacher.  I serve his Highness Dukant.  On this night, I have seen evil with my own eyes.  He came from the mountain and fell to prey upon two men.  He had eyes of coal staring out of the whitest face, and teeth that were long and sharp, cutting the skin on the necks of his victims easily to drink from their blood. When he was done, the demon raised his bloodied face and took to the skies.  I pray I never see such evil again.”

I shivered.  Something in the words or his voice as he read them conjured the image of Crenoral.  I willed it away, but my face betrayed me.  “See, your heart knows the truth,” he said, his dark blue eyes lighting up.  “What would you say if I told you that I too had seen this demon, this blood feeder?”

1 comments on “Forever, an excerpt”

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