Between Heaven and Hell:Part One
 

I have been to Hell. Hell is cold, dark. Like the ocean.

I have been to many places and loved many people in my lifetime. I am old, but not ancient. I am an immortal living in a mortal's body. I have experienced innumerable pleasures in this body and killed several thousand people.

A murderer, you ask? Ah, yes. In defense, and for the sheer carnal delight of it. The blood of those I have killed would create a river a million miles long. I choose to feel no remorse for those I have killed, however; death simply changes the form of an energy and sends it traveling.

Do I believe in God? Yes. But not the God that most silly mortals worship. They bow to a being they have never seen, take part in a cannibalistic rite (which they call communion) as they eat the body and drink the blood of “Christ”.

They make me laugh!

I have seen him with my own eyes, you see, and he would appear to the casual observer as ordinary as your local gas station attendant. His human form, though beautiful, bears little likeness to the paintings that hang in chapels and museums and cathedrals.

He is only a being.

If only others could see what I have seen! Perhaps, with my knowledge and experience, I could change the world. Imagine: no more wars, no more discrimination or hatred or abuse. Humans would have a chance to destroy their weaknesses and become a race of beings one step up on the evolutionary ladder.

All this could come about, if only I cared.

Alas, I do not. Because the deity that mortals pay worship to has damned my soul. Mine, and others like me. And that is why, for the past five hundred years, I have respected and worshiped only one god. Under his tutelage, I have strengthened in both mind and body. He lives far beyond the boundaries of time, and Earth, and the garish sun that weakens me with each passing decade.

His name is Lucifer.


****



In New England, summer dies and autumn rushes in with glorious colors and smells. Trees sway their red and gold leaves in an almost macabre dance with the brisk wind, and the moon is fully risen by seven p.m. Darkness comes not on silent cat's feet, but seems to swoop down and draw heavy curtains across the sun.

My home is located in the countryside, a hundred miles from nowhere. It is a huge, five-bedroom Gothic style house with a peaked roof and a rose trellis that is now completely overrun by ivy.

It has been a habit of mine for many years now to take long walks in the forest surrounding my property. I enjoy seeing the creatures I share my environment with on a daily basis. Most animals do not know what to make of me. My human appearance throws them off, but more often than not, their keen sense of smell allows them to interpret the difference between a human being and myself; they smell the predator in me. My blood is a thousand times stronger, my immune system impenetrable. I believe my age has great impact on my strength. A vampire one hundred years younger than me may receive a wound that proves fatal, such as the ever-popular stake through the heart; however, if my speed, strength and agility should fail me in the exact situation, I would survive.

I speak from experience.

But I digress.

It is upon returning to my home from one of these routine walks that I find a stranger sitting upon my front steps. He appears to be human, though I sense immediately that he is not. He is rather large, muscular and broad, with a strange 50's style crew cut that, oddly enough, suits him. Although he isn't mortal, I feel he isn't a vampire, either. I approach him with caution and flash a disarming smile.

“Can I help you?” I ask. He smiles, his teeth blinding white and ruler straight. Something in his gray eyes seems familiar to me, and a spark of recognition ignites as he begins to speak.

“Do you mean to tell me you don't recognize me, Gabrielle?”

“Hello, Nicholas,” I say, losing my smile.

“Has it really been so long that you do not even have a friendly greeting for me?” He clucks his tongue in the manner of a grandmother shaming her grandchildren to visit more often. “Have you anything to say for yourself?”

I march up the steps past him and open the front door. I do not invite him in. He will follow on his own, the rude little prick.

“I have many things to say, but I'm afraid I can't express them in under five syllables,” I say, turning to smile sweetly at him. He grabs at his heart, pretending to be hurt.

“Such rudeness. Is that what they've taught you here?”

“Only when in the presence of ex-lovers.”

He chuckles and I discover that his laugh is the same, full of condescension and ego. I long to smash in a few of those perfect teeth.

“Still haven't gotten over me,” he says. It isn't exactly a question.

“Unfortunately,” I say, brushing past him toward the kitchen, “I can forgive but I can never forget. Which brings me to a good point. Why are you here?”

“You don't beat around the bush, do you?”

“I never have.” I open the refrigerator door and pull out a bottle of red wine. If this night is going to require me to catch up with my ex, I think, it's also going to require some fortification. “By the way, what's with the college football player look? I would have thought you more the Russell Crowe type.”

He laughs at that and helps himself to a few pieces of candy I have sitting in a dish on my coffee table. “Russell Crowe is a bit conspicuous, don't you think? Anyway, football players always get the squirrel.”

“Fuck, Nicholas, why is it that no matter what form you take you're still an asshole?”

He ignores me and sprawls on my couch, and I sense there is much on his mind. He has the lean look of someone who hasn't slept or eaten much for several days in a row.

“It gets worse with age. Which, I see, hasn't taken its toll on you. You're still as beautiful as you ever were.”

I pour us each a glass of Merlot and take them into the living room. The sun, a bloated orange ball, seeps into the room through the slats of the blinds at the window. It turns the wine in my hand a sinister shade of crimson and I remember that it was around this time of day, almost twenty years ago, that I last saw Nicholas.

There are days when I wish I could forget. I, of the eternal memory.

I sip my wine and sit across from him on the couch, imagining what I must look like to him; if he has changed over the years physically, than certainly I have, although of course I have not aged. My dyed hair, a particularly violent shade of fire-engine red, shimmers in the rapidly dying light like a handful of brilliant jewels. My eyes flash like chips of emeralds, my skin so pale it appears almost translucent. I unzip my leather motorcycle jacket and shrug it off, revealing a tight white t-shirt that I'm sure he can see my nipples through. He watches me and suddenly I feel horny. I wonder if it's a reaction to the wine or to Nicholas.

“For someone who used to be an angel, you know how to bullshit pretty well.” I watch his face carefully for a reaction, but he disappoints me by hiding it behind his wine glass.

“I never bullshit about beauty.”

I lean back against the arm of the couch, stretching my arms above my head, knowing full well he is watching me and remembering what it used to be like. I can't help but tease; he makes it so easy, the way his eyes are all but devouring me. It could be the wine making me react this way to his visit, or it could be loneliness. I opt for the wine.

“Why are you here?” I ask again softly.

He puts his glass on the table and leans in close to me. His breath is warm and sweet against my cheek. “Do you want me to leave?”

There is sadness in his voice and suddenly I regret being so mean to him, despite the way we left things. “That's not what I said.”

His full lips are so close to me I can see tiny droplets of moisture from the wine beading up on them. He smells of cigarette smoke and soap and of the pines surrounding my house. I bring my hand up to his face and caress it gently. His laugh is not the only thing that hasn't changed; those gray eyes seem to darken as he looks at me, just as they always used to right before we made love. My mind can't help but remember what it used to be like between us, the tension that used to build in the room right before he fucked me, and suddenly it is hard to swallow past the lump in my throat. I want him.

“What do you want?” he asks.

I move my hand down to his stomach, sliding it across the front of his well-worn jeans. “You know what I want.”

He pulls the hem of my shirt up and bares my breasts, taking a nipple into his mouth. He bites gently and I sigh, pushing my fingers through his short hair. It is surprisingly soft and I use it to pull his head closer, making him take more of me into his mouth. He sucks my nipple into a taut point and moves to the other, unsnapping my jeans at the same time. I wiggle my hips and shimmy out of them. I am not wearing any underwear and Nicholas sighs against my breast as he discovers I am naked and completely shaved, soft and smooth and as pale as the silky underside of a lily.

He moves down to kiss the delicate skin there and I buck my hips up against his mouth uncontrollably as his tongue teases me. Outside, dusk has fallen as swiftly as the swirl of a magician's cape, and I watch purple shadows form bruise-like on the ceiling and walls.

I come once, twice against his mouth before he slides up into me, and it is as if he had never left me, as though twenty years haven't gone by and he is still my lover. He strokes gently into me at first, and I wrap my legs around his and grab his butt to force him deeper. He groans and I kiss him, tasting his taste and inhaling his scent. His muscles tense and relax, tense and relax, and I can feel his hard stomach against the soft curve of my belly. I feel myself sliding into another orgasm and contract my muscles around him, creating a delicious friction that triggers his orgasm in turn. He makes a deep, guttural sound in his throat as he spills into me, grabbing my waist to pull me closer, and buries his hot face against my neck.

We lay like that for quite a while. Darkness penetrates the room, reaching long, creeping fingers in to block out what little illumination comes from my porch lights, which are motion-sensored and flick on automatically at dusk. I am not overly paranoid, but I like to know if someone is prowling around outside my house.

Nicholas is so still and his breathing so even and deep that for a moment I think he has fallen asleep. But then he turns his head to face me.

“I should go.”

I level my gaze and do my best to keep every emotion running through me from showing up on my face.

“Why did you come here?” I ask, repeating my earlier question with more force than I had intended. He shifts slightly and I grimace at the feel of sticky wetness between my thighs. It's funny, but I have always hated the messy aftermath of sex. One would think that matters of bodily fluids wouldn't bother a vampire.

He sits up and begins to dress in the semi-darkness. I remain nude and pad barefoot into the kitchen for a cigarette, waiting for an answer.

“I need your help,” he says finally.

My temper flares and I wing my monogrammed Zippo at him. He never sees it coming as it sails end over end, silver chrome winking brilliantly in the pale light from the window. It nails him right on the bridge of his nose and he recoils with a curse.

“Goddammit, Gabrielle, I'm sorry! How many times can I apologize?”

“I don't know, let's see how many lighters I have,” I hiss, taking a deep draw off the cigarette. Why do I let him have so much power over me?

“You have every right to hate me,” he says.

“Oh, thank you for your consent,” I say icily. “I don't see you for twenty years and suddenly you show up on my doorstep asking for help? That's laughable, Nicholas.”

He sighs heavily and stands with his broad back to me, looking out the window over the couch. He has only his jeans on and I watch ropy bands of muscle flex under smooth, tanned skin. Even in relative darkness, pale scars stand out in stark relief on his shoulder blades. He can change his form all he wants, I think, but he will never be able to escape his past.

“My father has been exiled,” he says, and I am surprised to detect a raw note of emotion in his voice. He has never been very close to his father.

“Why?” I ask calmly. To tell the truth, I'm not sure if I will help him or not, but I am more than a little curious.

“Lucifer has accused him of murdering my mother.”

I inhale sharply and move toward him. “Why? After all these years?”

“I don't know.”

“Where is he?”

“In an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Philadelphia. He's been stripped of all his powers, his title....everything.” He pauses and takes a deep breath, and again I marvel at the emotion in his voice, his body language. “I'm afraid he might fall again.”

I wrap my arms around his waist, my breasts pressing against his warm back. A creeping fog has rolled in outside, blurring the edges of the landscape and bringing with it many secrets, it seems.

It may be a mistake, but suddenly I want to help him. I have always been fond of his father, but it is more than that; I have never seen Nicholas this way. So needy. I know he will not be allowed back into Hell unless I am there to smooth things over, and the thought gives me a heady sense of power, even in my nudity.

He came to me, I think. It's enough for now.

“Then we shall go see Lucifer,” I say.



Comments:
 
Lacuna Eidolon   Lacuna Eidolon wrote
on 5/11/2008 2:00:03 PM
Wow!!! Cool...

mandycrum
Novel / Novella
Super-natural
writing mandycrum
Vita brevis, ars longa.
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