The Good Vampyre (522 Words)
‘You knew she was a vampire.’
‘I swear I didn’t.’
She met his wild glance with pain of her own.
‘Then why are you here?’ she asked. ‘Robin? What are you doing?’
‘I found out as you did. If I had known, could I have kept it from you? Have I hidden anything from you? Sissy?’
She still held her mallet ready, the wooden stake at his heart. She did not know why. But like someone who feels the boards shift under their feet, she was afraid to move, afraid to allow him even a hope of reprieve. At his endearment, her hand shook and her grip was suddenly uncomfortable.
‘You’d hide this,’ Mabel said. ‘You’d hide a vampire.’
Robin surprised her. He was not angry or proud–but he did something that hurt her very much. He went down on his knees to her. And seeing him there, her brother, playmate, and friend, Mabel almost forgot the coffin behind him and the coldness of the crypt. She almost forgot everything but his white face and clasped hands.
‘Mabel, don’t,’ he said. ‘Oh God, for my sake, don’t.’
‘She is a—a—’
‘I love her.’ Robin looked to her with naked eyes. ‘You are wrong about her somehow. I feel it in my soul.’
The young woman was trembling. When she spoke, her voice was like someone else’s, it was so frail and thin.
‘You are in thrall,’ she said. ‘You don’t know what you’re saying.’
He lifted his hands. It was supplication; it was defiance.
‘No,’ Robin said. He undid his cravat, his collar. ‘Not once, never has she tasted my blood. Look at me and see. Look—look. There is no mark. Do you see it, Mabel? Are you afraid of me, too? Please, Sis, look.’
She did look.
It was true.
‘Lay the crucifix on my brow,’ he said, ‘set it to my lips—I am my own, and my soul is secure.’
Mabel took out her necklace and unclasped the chain. The little wooden cross was warm in her hand. Carefully, flinching, she pressed the crucifix to Robin’s forehead. His skin remained whole and healthy–there was no reaction, no blister. Ashamed, she pulled away, but he took the crucifix in his own hand. He kissed it, and Mabel knew that he wept not only because he could not quite breathe, but because she saw the moisture on his lashes and the large clear drops that fell in his palm.
She gasped, ‘You’re hurt—are you hurt? Robby—?’
He raised his head and held out his arms. She flung herself into her brother’s embrace, pressing her face in his shoulder.
At length he drew back.
‘I love her, Sissy,’ he repeated again, more softly, less painfully than before. ‘It is not an unnatural love. I know you, you baby, you bad, bad thing, and I want you to know—if you harm her, it’s my heart you are killing. Think of this, please—I know you do not like her, but think.’
She rubbed her eyes.
‘I don’t know what to do.’
‘Do what you must,’ he said. ‘Help us. Please.’
Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. Check it out! The beautiful picture made Wallie and me think of vampires–to our shame–and consequently there isn’t really a vampire in this flash scene. Oh well.