Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Faded Dreams By Serena Cairns

He rose to his feet and watched the grey dawn illuminate the countryside, heralded by waking birds. He needed less rest these days, and found himself lingering longer over the twilight hours at daylight gate. Dangerously so. As other denizens of the night made their way to respective roosts and caves, he realised he was leaving his home less often, his hunger less urgent and his desire less intense.

Straightening and letting his muscles relax, he moved away from the window and over to the fire. He kept it burning day and night now and spent long hours in his favourite chair, gazing into the flames. They showed him images of a distant past, a past so ancient that he needed their mediumship to recall events and faces, all now lost without a trace.

No, not all. He still clung to some memories and, though they pierced his heart as sharply as any blade, he sought their torture rather than forget.

Were he to absorb just one soul, he often mused, then it would be hers. To make her part of him, he would gladly forsake all he was or ever could be. Not just to make her his, but to breathe through her, live through her, be redeemed through her. But it was too late, and now the memories of her threatened to blow away like the dust she had become. This terrible loneliness was surely the eternal punishment for evil of which the priests shouted from their pulpits.

He snarled, drawing back his lips to show the pointed fangs, thoughts of idealistic sermons spouted forth in hypocrisy drawing the taste of bitter bile to his mouth. Who were they, who'd only tasted sin, to preach of damnation? If they feared a Hell for puerile transgressions such as theirs, what hope could there be for him?

A shaft of sunlight moved slowly across the flagstones. It never touched the darkened reaches of the room, and he watched the dust motes dancing, spiralling in the light.

He'd danced once. With her. They'd whirled about the dance floor, both laughing, both sure of what they wanted, she not wishing the night to end, he knowing it need not. When all the revellers had left, they'd continued out onto the terrace, down stone steps to the lawn, the moon casting shadow dancers for company on the dewy grass. He'd raised her up into his arms, spinning her round till she closed her eyes and leaned her head against his shoulder, exposing her white throat, even paler in the moonlight.

He brought a fist down on the chair's arm, the painful memory almost too much to bear. Why had he resisted? Why the hesitation, knowing this was what they'd both desired? Was the dream too beautiful to make reality? Was he already destined for Hell, and was that Hell simply the absence of Heaven?

Existence seemed a worthless thing without love, without her.

He pushed back the chair and stepped into the light.


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