Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Whilst you may not agree with everything I post, if you respect my right to my opinion I'll respect your right to disagree with it and we should get along just fine. :)

Disclaimer: the views expressed by the characters in these works may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.

Right then, on with the blog...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

#FridayFlash: Answers Part 2

As the long velvet curtains closed behind Lucien I considered my options. On the one hand, he did tell a good story, on the other hand...

In a heartbeat, ironic turn of phrase don't you think, I'm sprinting through the long hall, hoping I can find the exit. It's not going to be back up those stairs, so I plunge through the ground-floor door and skid to a halt in a tiled-floored lobby.

I have a quick look round – there's a door ahead of me and one to my left, but it's the big iron-bound oak door to my right that looks like my best best, I reckon. I dash past a rail of coats and muddy boots and throw my shoulder against the door. And bounce off. It's locked. Shit.

Oh, hang on, this door's got one of those posh locks on it that means it's locked from the outside, but has a latch on this side so you can always get out. I flick the latch, haul the door open – why do you always push a pull door when you're panicing – and dive through.

There's the brief sensation of gravel under my bare feet. Next thing I know, I'm going arse-over-tit, coming to rest upside down in a flowerbed. I'd expect to be winded, but I'm not. Odd, that. Lucien's leaning against the front wall rubbing the scuff mark off his shoe where he tripped me.

'I told you you'd never make it,' he says, helping me to my feet. 'You'd best come back inside, the sun will be up in an hour.'

The sun? What the hell does that have to do with anything, I wonder.

Lucien slings an arm around my shoulders and propels be back into the house. I mutter every curse I can think of, and he chuckles when I get to, “may his ears turn to arseholes and shit down his neck.” I glare at him out the corner of my eye.

'Aren't you going to lock that?' I tip my head towards the front door as Lucien kicks it shut behind us.

'No need. Once the sun rises, neither of us is going anywhere.'

So, the part about sunlight and vampires must be true, but why's he including me in that statement?

Reality dawns with a suddeness that makes my legs turn to jelly and my stomach turns over. Lucien catches me before I fall, but can't stop me chundering a mixture of whisky and bile all over his expensive-looking carpet.

I swear, if he says, 'Better out than in,' I'll swing for him.

'The Purge has begun. Good,' is what he says instead and I still want to take a swing at him, but I'm feeling decidedly wobbly so he half-carries me back to the armchair and sits down opposite.

My head's spinning and I'm not sure I'm taking this all in. I only dimly notice Lucien placing a bucket next to my chair before the rest of the whisky comes back up.

'How long?' I croak.

'The Purge?'

I nod, weakly.

'Twenty four hours, or thereabouts.'

Looking back on it, I'm quite surprised it doesn't take longer to remove every last, lingering shred of my humanity. You'd think it'd take longer.

'You will feel better once the Purge has run its course. You might even feel like eating something by tomorrow.'

Did he say eating someone? I'm having real trouble keeping up. Feels like my brain is being extracted through my eye sockets with a blunt teaspoon.

'Rest, don't try to talk. You will need all your strength later.'

Rest? No kidding! I'll put my plans for running the London marathon on hold for now then, shall I?

'Since you seem to be prepared to listen to the rest of my story, I shall continue.'

Prepared to? Prepared to?! And just what else did I have on my social calendar for this evening? As I feel as weak as a kitten and probably couldn't stand even if I wanted to, I decide it might be better not to mention this out loud.

Lucien's eyes narrow. Oh shit, he thought-heard me again.

'As I was saying,' he continues, 'it was dark when the woman came. I know this for there were no chinks of light through the rocks which entombed me and it was cold. From her speech I thought her a Saracen woman. The only part of me left exposed was my left forearm. I never saw her face, just felt a stabbing pain in my wrist and began to feel weak, so very weak. I thought she had opened my veins and left me to bleed to death when I heard her piling rocks over my arm.

I know not whether I slept or was unconscious but, as I later discovered, I lay beneath that pile of stones for two days and nights until my strength returned and I was finally able to claw my way out. I was still weak, as you are now, but I was alive. Or so I believed.'


Friday, 25 March 2011

#FridayFlash: Answers Part 1

Where was I? Oh aye, I was telling you about Lucien wasn't I? So there I was, sitting in one of Lucien's high-backed leather armchairs, a fine single malt sloshing round my glass because I couldn't stop my hands from shaking, and there he is, peering down the length of the blade of that sharp-looking broadsword he has pointing vaguely in the direction of my chest. I remember thinking I wish he'd put that bloody sword down.

Lucien crosses to the fireplace and hangs the sword on some sword stand-type thing. My shaking hands step down a notch. He pours himself a drink while I go to sip mine, miss my mouth and pour half of it down my front. Shit.

There's a smile on Lucien's face as he turns. It's like he heard me or something, but that's daft, I never said a word.

'My name,' he announces like a music hall impresario, 'is Luc de Senniere.'

He bows. All I can think is, Oh God, not only is he a paedo, he's French too. No hint of an accent, mind. I start wondering if I can make it through those open doors to the garden before he can stop me, he seems a bit nifty on his feet. I'm so caught up in that thought I almost miss the next bit. Almost.

'And I am a vampire.'

That last word knocks on my brain to attract attention like a bloke with a sledgehammer. I go all hot and cold at the same time. It's like I'm not really in my own body. I hear myself giggle, then laugh, then guffaw so hard my sides ache. Lucien looks genuinely hurt. I don't think that's the reaction he was expecting. I don't think he was too impressed with my next utterance either.

'Bollocks!,' I hear myself say, still fighting to get my breath. 'You're French.' I still don't know why I said that.

Lucien sits down in the chair opposite and broods for a while. I desperately try to get myself under control while still eyeing the doors out of the corner of my eye.

'You'd never make it,' he says and I believe him.

'Alright,' I reply, 'Presuming for just a moment you really are a vampire, where's your fangs then, eh?'

A half smile crosses Lucien's face, then his eyes roll back in their sockets like a shark's and his fangs slide into place.

'Fuck me!' I'm on my feet now, wreathed in a cold sweat.

'Thave yourthelf the trouble,' Lucien lisps round his fangs, 'Thit down and allow me to exthplain.'

I sit down. I'm about to be shagged up the arse by a French vampire, can this get any worse?

Lucien's face returns to normal and he fixes me with those grey eyes of his.

'You have nothing to fear from me--'

I'll be the judge of that, I think.

'—especially not in the way you seem overly concerned with.'

I do my level best to stop thinking. It's not easy.

'As I said, my name is Luc de Senniere, I am indeed French,' his eyes narrow for just a second, 'from a small village in Bretagne, which sadly no longer exists, and I am a vampire.'

I'm not laughing this time.

'I was born in the year of Our Lord 1163, and Awakened in the Holy Land during the aftermath of the Siege of Jerusalem in 1187.'

I've gone cold inside, very cold. My brain's desperately trying to do some quick maths here.

'So that makes you--'

'847 years old. Yes, that is correct.'

I'm still having trouble taking this all in. I did mention history is not my strong point, didn't I?

'So what were you, some sort of knight or summat? A Templar?!'

Lucien laughs, puts his head back and roars with laughter. It's infectious, and soon I'm giggling along with him, until he stops dead and says, 'No. Not a Templar.'

No-one's laughing now.

'I will tell you my story, but you must promise not to interrupt.'

Oh God, don't tell me there'll be questions at the end, I wonder.

'No, there will not be questions.'

I wish he would stop doing that. Gives me the willies, so-to-speak.

'To cut a very long story painfully short, I was born the youngest of four brothers to the lord of Senniere. My family's holding was a poor place so there was no chance of land or wealth for me as the youngest. My father had designs on the church for me, though I had other ideas and determined to make myself, unattractive proposition for our bishop. On the day of my twentieth birthday I took the cross, my father having no alternative than to arrange the confirmation of my knighthood. His pride would not have allowed him to do otherwise. With horse and armour I set off for Jerusalem in the Spring of 1183.'

There's a sadness about Lucien at this point so as I almost believe him.

'Jerusalem was not how you might imagine it. An ancient city, yes, but not the place described in history books. I could not believe I had been so naive. The heat, the flies, the smell, the sanitation, the Templars under the command of that bastard Gerard de Ridefort,' he pauses, 'and that devil's whelp Reynaud de Chastillon.'

Lucien almost spits the names so I reckon there must be some history there. I watch as he composes himself again before continuing.

'I was able to find myself a place in the retinue of Guy de Lusignan, and that is a story in itself, but soon I became ill. Leprosy. My lord sent me to the hospital of the Order of St Lazarus outside the city walls, though when Salah ad-Dīn laid siege to the city I, and nineteen of my brother knights similarly afflicted were recalled to duty.'

He pauses and sips his drink. 'Six days and nights we fought. I was next to my lord Guy when the wall came down on September the twenty-ninth. If I had not pushed him to safety he would have been crushed. Of course if I had not acted as I did I may not have ended up buried in the rubble myself. I was hurt, badly, but not dead, though I wished to die before the enemy found me.'

Lucien looks over at me and does that half-smile of his. He must be able to see my eyes are like dinner plates and, despite myself, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear how the story ends. That will have to wait though, Lucien has gone all maudlin and doesn't want to talk any more. He mutters something about the battle of the horns, I think, and wanders back out into the garden.

Please note: the views expressed by the characters in this work may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.


Friday, 18 March 2011

#FridayFlash: In Pursuit of Knowledge

I come to lying on something softer than the usual concrete floor and it takes me a few minutes to realise I'm in a bed. The black silk sheets are a nice touch. Then I realise I'm naked and have a little wobble, okay, a big wobble. I may even have called Lucien a dirty fuckin' paedo out loud, at least till I check round the back and since my arse doesn't hurt I start to relax a bit.

It's a bit of a shock, let me tell you, waking up starkers in a strange bed. The last thing I remember is being in Lucien's car, and the word Rohypnol keeps marching across my mind in pit boots. I'd better go and have a word, just in case liberties have been taken. I'll not stand for that.

There's a wardrobe full of clothes, expensive designer stuff. That's mildly worrying. Presumably he's done this sort of thing before? Well, if nothing else I may as well profit from a new outfit, so I rake out a pair of decent-looking jeans, a t-shirt, hoodie and a rather nice leather jacket. I dress quickly, then check myself in the mirror, only I don't, 'cos I'm not there.

Whoa! What the f--! What the fuck's going on here? I'm in front of the mirror, slap-bang in front of it, but the reflection only shows an empty room. Alright, time for some answers I think as I head for the door, half expecting to find it locked from the outside, but no, it isn't and I'm padding down a stone corridor cursing myself for not grabbing a pair of trainers to go with my new outfit. In my defence, I'd had a shock. It's not everyday you discover you no longer have a reflection.

The corridor gives out onto a balcony overlooking a long room with a high-ceiling. It looks a bit like the reading room at the British Library. Not that I'd know, I've never set foot in the place. Wouldn't want you thinking I was some sort of literary geek or something. There's some posh furniture in here, sumptuous as my old Mother would say, and a bit at the far end separated off by bookcases. I can see a roaring fire through the gap between them.

I head down the stairs and across the room. The carpet's warm and soft on my feet. I can't resist wiggling my toes in the deep pile, I can't remember the last time I had carpet under my feet. I reach the gap in the bookcases and peer through. It's some kind of office-come sitting room, all big fireplaces and leather high-backed chairs. There's also a desk with one of the latest touch-screen computers on it. So, Lucien's not short of a bob or two. I might make a few quid out of this yet.

Stepping through the gap, I stand in front of the fire, which is nice as I can't seem to get warm since I woke up. As I look round the room from this side, my eyes take in the paintings, old ones like the bollocks you usually find in museums, there's also a table with decanters on it, I make a mental note to help myself later. Then there's the book cases, only they aren't from this side. They're glass display cases. Bloody hell! Running almost from floor to ceiling, the display cases are full of weapons and armour – axes, those spiky ball-on-a-stick things and swords, big bastard sharp looking swords. I feel my stomach turn over.

The other one has a horse in it. Yes, a fucking horse! It's stuffed, I think. I mean, it has to be, either that or it's the best mime I've ever seen. It's got a saddle on, and one of those fancy cloth things knights used to have. A Comparison, or something like that. Can you tell history wasn't my favourite subject at school? The cloth-thing is black, or at least it would have been when it was new, and there's a crest on it – a green cross, a bit like the Knights Templar, but not.

I freeze. Hang on a minute, what's the noise? Sounds like somebody chopping wood. The noise is coming from behind a set of floor to ceiling red velvet curtains. Funny, I hadn't even noticed them before., but now I do I can see there's a draught coming under them that makes the bottom ends billow a bit. I pad over and peep through between them.

There's a big picture window behind, with tinted glass, and a pair of French doors, one of which is open. These look out over a walled garden, in the middle of which is Lucien, stripped to the waist and knocking seven colours of shite out of a wooden post with one of those big swords. And it's dark as pitch out there, must be night time. How long did I sleep?

I let go the curtain and take a step back. Lucien appears as if by magic. Christ Almighty he can shift when he wants to, it must be at least fifty yards to that post.

'You're awake,' he says matter-of-factly.

'Err...yeah,' I murmur. God, I could do with a drink. My hands are shaking.

'You'll be expecting answers.'

I nod, like one of those flamin' dogs you see in the backs of cars. For some reason I can't seem to get the words out.

'Help yourself to a drink and take a seat. I shall explain.'

So I do, and he does, but that's a story for another time. Right now I'm more concerned with that bloody big sword Lucien still has in his hand, it looks sharp and it's pointed my way.

Related Posts with Thumbnails