Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction
The Call of Blood By Rebecca Read
Alistair knew he wasn’t allowed her.
He couldn’t be with her, and God, he wanted to be with her. She was close all the time, but never within his reach. He could map out her face; draw her better than anybody else ever could, and so he had millions of times.
The thing was she didn’t know. Those emerald green eyes of hers were oblivious when she looked at him. No emotion in them. Not for him. They were replicas of what he could create on paper.
Desire ran through his veins at the sight of her, how alive she was. She made him hungry, her throat so fragile, the skin soft. Blood underneath: fresh blood. The fragility was what made it all too easy.
Yet, he didn’t want to want her like that. He just wanted her in the way that any man wanted a woman. He wanted to kiss her, to be near her, to hold her. It was driving him to madness.
She broke him.
He threw his painting palette across the room in frustration and it cut swiftly through the air. It broke through his window, the glass shattering into imperfect crystals, their jagged edges as sharp as his own pain.
Alistair was left with his sketch of her. The young woman’s likeness captured, her head turned to the side with her hair falling over one shoulder, emphasising her gorgeous throat and elegant neck. No, he could not have her.
Was it love Alistair felt? He knew he felt alone, that his still, dead heart yearned to beat again, maybe it was only that, a craving for simple company, nothing else.
Beauty moved him, but blood called to him. All beauty was wasted when he was done. Emptiness was all he had left.
Living a life dead, it seemed, was complicated, but maybe understanding the living was the greatest difficulty.
That was his curse, to spend eternity on the edge of life. The edge of humanity.
Only when he took life did he come near to another living soul, as he stole that life and saw the light leave his victims eyes. In that moment, when he drained that force, he would see himself plainly, reflected in the mirror of their eyes. See a pale human face that was beautiful, but coldly beautiful, savagely so. Everything about him was designed to deceive.
Though, the only one he truly deceived was himself, when he told himself he could distance himself from what he was: a monster. The worst kind of monster for appearing human.
He was deceiving himself now, in pursuing art, his hands covered in paint instead of blood. A distraction.
Slowly he added colour to the sketch, for once giving life instead of death.
She was marked. The young woman only had so much time before he lost control.
Only the painting would remain, an unmoving, unchanging memento of what had once been alive.
Alistair wished it had been love. It would have been easier.
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