Blackwood farm, p.40

Blackwood Farm, page 40

 part  #9 of  The Vampire Chronicles Series


Blackwood Farm

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  "A BLUE HAZE of cigarette smoke hung over the rooms. The faces came at me as if I were a camera lens. All were beautiful. All were imperfect. The voices were a senseless and deafening babble, the thoughts of so many minds a chaotic hubbub. I lost my sense of balance. I wanted to retreat, but I pressed forward.

  "The smell of the food was revolting, the smell of the liquor strangely acrid and foreign, as if my body had never drunk it. The scent of blood rose from every inch of flesh pressed against me as I worked my way through the labyrinth.

  "I saw the bride beneath the heavily laden pergola. Wraith thin. Pretty. Her bridal gown had long white lace sleeves, and she was smoking a cigarette which she held in her left hand, and when she saw me she beckoned urgently as if she knew me, and I saw in her mind: invitation, but what did she want?

  "I couldn't take my eyes off her as I pushed towards her, and her free arm hooked around my left arm as we came together, and I caught the scent of her blood, strong and pumping alive beneath her olive skin.

  "She pulled me into a large bedroom and shut and locked the door behind her. Her big low-set black eyes looked at me imploringly. Smudged mascara. Pouting red mouth.

  " 'You saw him, that bastard,' she seethed, cursing. 'On my wedding night, he does that to me!' Her face was a breathtaking snarl of rage. She ripped at my coat and pulled me towards the bed. Her black hair was falling loose from its diamond-studded combs. 'Come on, now, let's do it, hurry, I want him to try to break that door down, damn him, the pig. ¡¯

  "I caught her chin in my right hand and turned her face up to me. I kissed her mouth. What was that to me? The blood scent overwhelmed me. I went for her throat. I bit down hard and the artery exploded, the blood gushing down over her wedding dress as I tried to pull away; it was a positive fountain springing from her. She gasped. I closed my mouth over it, cursing myself, my clumsiness, my hunger, my luck. Oh, God in Heaven. I drank and drank. She was limp, in a brand of ecstasy, a litany of banal innocence thudding out of her, no evil, no design, no malice, no knowledge, no pain.

  "On and on I drank the salted blood. I belonged to it, was a slave to it. Wanted nothing more than it. Except that she somehow not die, that there not be blood all over her white dress, her splendid white dress.

  "Her heart went out like a match or a candle. No way to bring it back. I held her, shook her. Come back. Mistake. Awful mistake. I drank again, like a fool, until there was no more to drink. I cringed. I moaned. She had no more life in her, no more blood to give. I tossed her like a doll. A broken bride doll. She was so dead! Look at the diamonds in her ruined hair.

  "Someone took me by the hair of my head and swung me back against the wall. I hit it so hard that I went blind and senseless for a moment, and then in the blinkering light I saw her dead there, sliding off the foot of the bed onto the floor, the blood all over her dress, her pretty lace dress, her lovely white lace dress with its webs and circles of lustrous pearls, her hair fallen from her diamond combs, her face so sweet, no more anger, no more hate.

  "It was Petronia who had flung me back and now she dragged me out the window under the pergola and threw me against the wall again. This time I felt the blood flow from the back of my head. I was in a shock of pain. She pitched me over the railing. I dropped down, down towards the sea. I felt I was dying. I was full of innocent blood and I was dying. I was weeping and I was dying, and the bride, the poor bride, she was dead, and I had left her covered in her own blood, all the brides of Blackwood Farm betrayed, Ophelia Immortal never to be my bride betrayed, blood on her white dress, Rebecca never to be Manfred's bride laughing.

  "We were back in the palazzo and Petronia struck me over and over again, cursing me and herself that she had made me.

  " 'Imbecile, you killed her. Imbecile, she was nothing but a tart, and for that you killed her! In a wilderness of killers, you killed her. She was nothing but a tart. You fool. ' Again and again, there came the blows to my face -- pain, but pain isn't death -- then the kicks to my ribs. I clung to the floor.

  " 'Stop her,' roared the Old Man. 'Stop her, stop her, stop her. ¡¯

  " 'I take you to hunt a wedding, thick with killers, and you kill the bride!' she seethed. She kicked at my face. I rolled over onto my back. She kicked at my groin. 'Stupid, clumsy, fledgling, idiot, clumsy!¡¯

  "The Old Man roared: 'Make her stop!¡¯

  " 'And the blood on her dress, how you did it! Moron, idiot, fool! Where did you think you were? What did you think you were?¡¯

  "Finally Arion pulled her off me.

  " 'It was our doing,' he said. 'We left him alone. He was too young. We should have been with him. ¡¯

  "She was crying. She was in Arion's arms and she was actually crying.

  "The Old Man sobbed.

  "I lay there and dreamt of death.

  "Oh, Lord, how could I have come to this? How could my senses have so richly misled me? How could my greed have led me to this abysmal pass? I am in a place of darkness beyond panic and beyond anxiety. Lord, this is anguish. Yet I cling to what I am. I cling to all that I am.

  "And somewhere very far away, others were searching for me. Rebecca was right. And they must have been saying, 'The gators got him, had to be. Poor Quinn. He's dead. ¡¯

  "And I was. "
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