Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A History Mystery: Day Eight / Part Four

From the Personal Memoirs of Jean Baptiste Morgane

Friday, 31 October

My heart sank, as Morgan dashed toward the door. Her face wrapped in fear, she wrestled with the doorknob. I could easily have rushed to her but her reaction kept me rooted in place. I had been a fool to hope she would blindly accept this. A part of me died in that instant. Seeing her flee, after feeling the love she held for me grow over the past few days, withered the parts of my heart that had begun to grow like spring crocuses pushing through last year’s moldy leaves.

Even as she slipped through to the street beyond, I could not move. Pain held me in place, the pain of knowing I was too monstrous to hold love in my hands. I have never been one given to emotional outbursts yet the sight of her leaving drove me to the brink of one. Standing there, I knew I could not let things stay as they were. The need to go to her was too strong. If for no other reason than to calm her down and explain that, in spite of what she might think, I would never harm her. I would rather die under the fires of the sun than go on knowing she didn’t love me.

Come morning that was exactly what I would do.

Willing my legs to move, I flew from the house. The revelry of Halloween had moved toward the French Quarter and the trick-or-treating children were being put to bed, leaving the street empty but for the drunks who always seemed to find the darkness of solitude a well honed lover. My eyes tore through the haze and saw Morgan as she rounded the far corner. Forgoing stealth, I raced after her. My stride cut the distance and I rounded the corner to find it likewise deserted. So many opportunities for her to disappear presented themselves. Any side street could hide her retreat. Taking one wrong turn could easily lead me further away from her.

Stopping in the middle of the avenue, I let my mind wander. Fragments of thoughts filtered through the heavy air but nothing that bespoke Morgan’s presence. The crying of a woman reached me but it was not her. Apparently melancholy had many lovers this night. I dropped my chin to my chest in frustration. The overwhelming stench of celebrating humanity clogged the air. I’d lost her.

I turned back the way I’d come, when the barest trace of her perfume floated to me. My head pivoted toward a street leading off to the left just ahead of me. Girding myself for failure, I took off. The street was more alley than road. The faint shuffle of hurried footsteps, along with the unmistakable sound of skirts swooshing in time to them, echoed from the opening at the other end of darkness. I’d found her.

Sure enough as I plowed through the shifting refuse calling the alley home, I saw her exiting into a crowd milling in the street beyond. Throwing caution to the wind, I allowed my speed to go past that of mortals. I exited soon after her but she had already delved into yet another patch of shadow. Refusing to give in to failure I bounded after the tell-tale billow of her dress as it slipped into the void.

“Morgan!” I called out as I broke through the throng unknowingly protecting her escape.

Her silence as she dashed away answered my plea. I thought I saw her head twist back for one fleeting second but that could have just been a case of hope blinding me to the reality she didn’t want me anymore. In spite of my self doubt, I followed. The confused rush left me little in the way of direction to my mad dash. My brain and body operated solely on instinct. If asked where I had been headed the answer would have stymied me. I was completely lost until the salty scent of the Gulf of Mexico reached me on a stray breeze.

The halo of lights from the docks blazed noon before me as I broke through the darkness of the city proper. In its center Morgan ran toward the only faithful lover I’d ever had until her. My steps quickened and the space between us shortened with each pump of my legs.

She was nearly in my grasp when the air solidified before me. I staggered back, as the air took shape. My worst nightmare appeared, shimmering like hellfire in the sweltering night. After too many lifetimes to mention, the demon who gave birth to the horror I had become rose to mock me in the shadows of my despair. The witch Diabolique had returned.

Her smoky voice made my dead flesh shiver. “Lover, did you really think I’d allow you to love another?”

I quieted the fear screaming through my brain. “Diabolique, what Hell saw fit to release you from its hold?”

“None but the one I rule, my love.” Her spirit moved through the air, settling in front of me.

“You have no hold over me, anymore. That ended the day I killed you,” I snarled.

Her laughter sang through the night. “Yet here I am to stop your heart from finding that for which it yearns.”

“Damn your black soul. You can’t harm me anymore. Go back to the abyss, where you belong!” I screamed.

“Oh, harming you is not my intention. I simply wished to see your agony when you kill the only person capable of saving your doomed soul. I wonder how her blood will taste as you drain the life from her.”

“You are wrong.” My hands itched to close around her throat once more. “I would never take her life. I will die first.”

A smile spread across her face. “Then that is opportune for me. When death takes you, it will be me waiting on the other side and what pleasures will we share with eternity as our playground.”

The horror of her words stunned me. In truth, I had not considered the reward waiting for me. Yet even an eternity in Diabolique’s clutches would not make me take Morgan’s life. The bitch could do her worst. This world belonged to the sun and its name was Morgan Beauchamp. I existed as a shadow, a passing nightmare to be forgotten and that was exactly what I planned.
I pushed through the spectral form, stopping once past her. “Go back to Hell, Diabolique. I’ll see you when I’m done.”

Without a second glance, I walked toward Morgan. A sudden chill let me know Diabolique was gone.

My attention turned to Morgan. She sat huddled against the rails of a pier that swam out into the river. I sensed the shock rolling off her. If I could alleviate the feeling from her bones, I would have done so gladly. Let her think me a monster, if it made this nightmare cleave from her soul. My steps were slow and measured but they quickly ate up the distance between us.

I stopped a few feet from her. The pain marking her ripped me to shreds. The best way to do this was to make a clean break. I would not have her hurt a moment longer because of me.

“Morgan, I never meant to frighten you, but the time has come for you to know…” Words failed me. Emotions long dormant swelled within me. All the things I wished suddenly seemed inadequate. The things I wished to speak could not be said with mere words. I clenched my hands and locked my knees. I only wanted to fall at her feet and let her end my torment.

“What did you want me to know? That you lied to me? That you’re a monster? Tell me, Jean or John, whoever the hell you really are. What was so important that you needed to tear out my heart? Tell me you bastard!” She broke into sobs that slurred her words. “Just tell me.”

I said the only words that I could.

“Morgan, I love you.”

And may the fates curse me for a fool, because I do, and not even death can stop me from loving her.


Unknown said...

Poor Jean Baptist! Come on Morgan, forgive the guy. It really doesn't matter that he has fangs. Hey, it could get really interesting. *L*



Savannah Chase said...

wow, he needs a break......this is so good by the way