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Old 01-28-2013, 08:24 PM
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Zombie Sammael Zombie Sammael is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie Sammael
Comments and critique welcome. I hope you like it.
A bed, half empty. She reached out, but she already knew what she would find. It had happened again. She lifted the torn sheets from her body and stood in the cold light of the moon.

For most women, finding themselves deserted so meant one thing, a certain kind of pain. For Samantha, it meant something else entirely: a greater fear, a sharper hurt.

Somewhere outside, a wolf howled. There had not been wolves in this part of England for hundreds of years, but there was one tonight.

She dressed silently, and made her way outside. The cold ground was sharp against her bare feet, but she ignored the pain. She had tried for years to make her heart as hard as cold as that ground. It hadn't worked. Nor had anything else.

She crossed the road to the church grounds. Any other church would have been closed at this time of night, but Father Mackenzie had given her a key to St Eleanor's for exactly this reason.

She sat at a pew and waited. A few moments later she heard footsteps behind her. Her heart began to beat faster, and her head whipped around.

But it was only Father Mackenzie, as bleary-eyed and tired as she was. He sat down beside her. “Again, Samantha?” he asked, then simply sighed at her nod. “It is a sin, you know.”

She gave him a hurt look. “I know!” she barked. “I tried! You know I tried! But it happened there, and to Marcus too, just as surely. Even when we waited until after the wedding.”

Mackenzie looked at her apologetically, but she was on a roll now, venting her anger and sadness. “How long has it been, Father? I've tried so hard. But I just – I get so lonely.”

“Peace child.” The priest said. He put an arm around her. “Have you given any thought to trying the other solution again?”

She shook her head. “To shut myself away from the world completely? No. I can't do it Father. And you know as well as I do that it didn't work last time, either.”

Father Mackenzie shook his head. “And yet that very world you wish to be part of gives rise to the temptation that leads to this situation.”

Samantha could only nod sadly. “Is there no hope for me at all?” She asked. “Anything I could do to end this?”

Mackenzie just held her tighter. In the night, the wolf howled again.

*

She had tried something approaching the priest's solution once before. She'd entered the convent, taken the vows, lived apart for as long as she could.

But as time passed, her and another novice had become closer and closer. They had never even so much as touched one another, but that, it seemed, was not the trigger for her curse.

Thus it was that she had awoken one night to find a room full of novices ravaged, all except her. When she'd made her way down to the chapel, the Mother Superior, too, lay dead, her neck torn open, crucifix pressed against her closed palm.

It had been Father Mackenzie who found her, investigating the disturbance. At first, she had refused to speak, too numbed by her culpability and afraid that no-one would or even could believe her. But it was clear the only known survivor had to know something, even though the attack could never have been the work of a human. Even when the body of one of the other novices was gone, presumed torn to shreds or dragged away by the beast.

Eventually she had given in and told him the whole sorry story. He had brought her here – run away with her even, or at least so rumour said – and she had returned to living in the world, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

She'd kept Father Mackenzie at arm's length for both of their sakes. She was grateful to him, even affectionate towards him, but she did not love him.

*

Outside St Eleanor's, the wolf howled for a third time, closer now.

“This happens because I'm evil, doesn't it Father?”

He shook his head, standing. From behind the alter he picked up the shotgun, began loading it with the shells tipped with silver. Samantha hated the weapon. She had murdered so many with her love.

“From all that you have told me, it did happen because you sinned. But that does not make you evil.” He walked back towards her, holding the gun. “Sins can, after all, be forgiven.”

Once again she looked daggers at him. “I have begged on my knees for forgiveness a thousand times. What more can I do to earn God's reprieve?”

“God forgives you.” He told her. “I have studied your problem day and night since I found you, and I am certain of that.”

“What, then-?” she started to say, but she was interrupted by the sound of inhuman footsteps outside, this time assuredly the clicking of claws upon stone. The sound grew faster and she could hear the beast's ragged breath.

The door crashed open, a snarling wolf stood dribbling frothy saliva in the doorway. In a flash, Father Mackenzie was on his feet, aiming the gun. He fired both barrels. As the first shell hit, there was an almost human cry of pain, followed quickly by a whimper at the second.

Mackenzie walked over to the door and knelt, pressing a hand to the body. Samantha stood and turned herself. He nodded to her, and she calmly joined him, kneeling at his side. She reached out towards the body, taking it into her arms. Weeping silently, she cradled the body of her dead lover.

Father Mackenzie placed his hand on hers. “I no longer believe it is God's forgiveness which you require.”

*

The last bus to the cemetery left at six-thirty. She was there by seven, hours to wait until midnight.
She sat down in front of the grave, huddling a blanket around herself.

She did not place any flowers on the gravestone. The old woman had been dead for years, but she did not keep flowers in the house even when she was alive. Instead, Samantha placed a candle atop the stone, then lit it, sheltering it against the cold night wind.

She intended to remain awake while she waited for midnight, but eventually the music keeping her awake stopped, her battery dead, and her eyes closed.

It was the wind that woke her, howling through the nearby trees. Slowly, perhaps nervously, she opened her eyes.

“You.” Hissed a voice from behind, filled with contempt. “Why are you here?”

She almost turned around, but something stopped her. Instead, she addressed her reply to the gravestone. “I came to ask you for... something.”

She had meant to say “forgiveness”, but had found herself unable to. Something, once again, he;d her tongue.

“I have already given you all I am willing to give.” The voice hissed again. The wind dropped.

Despair seized her. Images of lovers, lost or dead, flashed before her eyes: Marcus, who in vain hope she had married; Mary Catherine, the novice whose shoulder she'd cried on; the dead body she'd held just the other night. All the way back to the first.

The wind rose again, this time its howl joined in screaming cacophony by the rustling of leaves. “Beasts!” The voice shrieked. “All beasts, every one!”

The wind beat at Samantha, whipping her hair about her. “Please!” She shouted above the din. She fell to her knees. “Please.” Her voice grew quieter. “Mommy.”

The wind grew calmer again, briefly. “What would you have of me?” The voice whispered. It sounded almost... reverent.

“Forgive me.”

The wind rose again. “Forgive you? I never held it against you. It was them who deserved to be seen as they are, the beasts that dared touch my little girl.”

Samantha felt anger rise within her. “I wanted them to touch me!” She howled. “I wanted every one of them! I loved them!”

Torn from the trees, leaves began to buffet her. “Then you're as much a beast as they are! The child who abandoned me and the beasts that led her to do so!”

The storm roared about Samantha. Somewhere, she heard a tree branch crack. She reached out and grasped at the headstone, the wind tearing at her hair and pulling open her coat. She wept, her tears mixing with the driving rain.

“This I can give you, and this alone: from this day forth, you are as much of a beast as they are.”

Something smacked into the side of Samantha's head, and she felt herself slip back into the darkness of unconsciousness.

*

It had been six months since Father Mackenzie had seen Samantha. The poor girl had disappeared almost without a trace, leaving only that scribbled note, slipped through his door in the night: “I don't need you any more.”

She had gone, leaving him alone to tend to the humble work of a parish priest at St Eleanor's. Increasingly humble, congregations dwindling as they were.

He did not know if, in the end, he would have been safe. Perhaps his vocation, his calling, would have protected him. Or perhaps, as he had said to her before she left, it was not God's protection he needed.

Nor did he know if his feelings could have been returned; she had always kept him at arm's length, perhaps for both their sakes. He supposed it was better, given his profession, that he never found out. He only knew that he had loved her, and she was gone.

He readied himself for bed, climbing carefully into the narrow bunk. He did not know why he had thought of her this evening, after so long. He hoped she was happy, and said a quiet prayer that it be so.

Outside, in the distance, two wolves howled in reply.

- 19/1/13, Upper Gympie, Australia
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Sa souvraya niende misain ye

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm,
wearer of a crown of swords, spinner out of fate.
Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time,
may learn the truth too late.

Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.

The one who Death has known
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2013, 11:25 PM
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Zombie Sammael Zombie Sammael is offline
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BTW, just to let everyone who might read this know, I might take it down after a little while for revisions etc, depending on the feedback I get.
__________________
Sa souvraya niende misain ye

Master of the lightnings, rider on the storm,
wearer of a crown of swords, spinner out of fate.
Who thinks he turns the Wheel of Time,
may learn the truth too late.

Light is held before the maw of the infinite void, and all that he is can be seized.

The one who Death has known
Reply With Quote
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