This is my Fiction Friday piece for the Vamplit Blog this week. I'm putting it up early because I will be away from the computer for a few days and I have this overwhelming compulsion to share. For those with weddings coming up soon, let this be a lesson in not what to do.
The mirror tells her that all is well for the big day. Her hair is gorgeous, the long, naturally curly, dark black tresses sitting perfectly on the back of her white saffron gown, creating perfect harmony, the two colors augmenting the other in a glorious union of visual delight. Yes, this is her second marriage, and the prevailing notion in the past was that white was the color of purity and a bride who married again was no longer pure, but she wanted white, and damn it!: white it would be.
Her veil is small. She doesn't wish to detract from her beautifully sculptured face, figuring she will show it to full advantage. Vanity has never been a stranger to her, never a need for the mirror on the wall crap.
The guests are already starting to arrive and Mother Nature has been gracious in bringing forth a perfect weather day; not too hot or cool; optimal for an outdoor exchange of nuptials. Vanessa cares not to see anyone right now, not only because of the customs for such things, but this whole show of grandeur is merely a facade, a display of what others see so their own petty imaginings are satisfied. She didn't care much for John, other than the fact he made her a very wealthy widow, and Herb, an older man than John even, will bring more money into her hot little hands.
Same as with John, she will tolerate a certain amount of expected love making, and that doesn't revulse her, after all she is a red blooded woman. but when she has a hankering for some real slam/bam action, she knows where to go. She's always careful, not wanting to let the secret out of her infidelity, but also not wishing to come down with a nasty disease. Birth control is one thing; the clap is another.
The time draws close and Marie, her maid, lets her know the others are waiting. Vanessa nods and smiles, counting the money in her mind, thinking that Herb is one big shmuck, but he's a loaded one. Maybe he'll live longer than John. Maybe . . .
All eyes stare at her exquisite body, wrapped in such a delicate gown, extolling her every curve to the fullest. In the light of the afternoon, she looks like a dark haired, dark eyed Angel, one that every woman there is jealous of, and who every man desires,but for today and tonight at least, she belongs to Herb.
Herb waits with the minister, not believing this luscious woman will soon be his wife. Sure, he realizes that were it not nor the fact he is well heeled that this wedding would not be taking place, but there are many wealthy men in this town, and she did choose him. Lucky man.
She walks towards him, carrying a bouquet of red roses, all eyes on her as she slides in next to Herb, a hush spreading through the wedding party ready to hang on to every word before he takes her in his arms and they kiss one another.
The sky turns dark and a twirling wind arrives, carrying upon it the smell of decay, wails of angry murmurings, and a skin-crawling warning of impending doom. An enormous lightning bolt hits the tree under which the ceremony is taking place, splitting it in two. The minister runs for cover but is stopped from his escape plans when he trips over one of the guest's feet, falls to the ground, and a sharpened shard from the tree rams itself through his cowardly heart. Blood pours from his chest as he twitches the dance of death, joined from last second breaths exhaling his mouth, laden with phlegm and more blood.
Scrambling as fast as they can to escape the terror inflicted on them, the guests trample each other, caring only for their own worthless hides, not their friends or other social climbers there.
From the center of the vortex, a black hooded entity emerges, no face visible, but when hideous laughter springs forth from where his mouth should be, Vanessa recognizes him for who he is and searches frantically for a way to exit this maelstrom of evil.
"I'll deal with you in a bit, Vanessa. I mustn't allow your guests to feel left out of anything."
The black hooded, long robed man moves through the crowd, toppling the tables set up with the feast of food and drink which will now become a gourmet delight for the ants and worms after this party is over. Some of the party goers who tried to hide under the heavy oak tables built especially for the wedding are now trapped beneath the combined weight of the sumptious fare and heavy furniture. The uninvited guest stomps down on limbs crawling out from underneath, the unfortunate ones trying to escape before they are crushed or smother from lack of oxygen, their nails digging in to the dirt with only blood covered fingers as their reward.
"Your day has come!" the Dark One shouts. "You are finished here."
From room to room he chases the cowardly usurpers of greed and power. "Ha! Your power is gone now, isn't it? Who will you steal from where you are going? Who will believe your lies and manipulative ways?"
Many in the crowd, mainly the older ones, clutch their hearts and gaggle the murmurings of those who no longer have a pump to push that precious red fluid around. Their jerks and wild attempts to get their limbs to push their bereft organ back to work amuse the Dark One and he pauses to watch. This part of his journey back is new to him and he is rather enjoying it.
In a flash, all the windows and doors shut, and those trapped inside are not able to open or break through them. Lighting a long, wooden match, the bony hands from beneath the arms of the robe set fire to the long curtains and frilly lace doilies sitting on tables and dressers scatterred everywhere. "Soon . . .soon these flames will be nothing compared to the immensity of the fire consuming your scheming hearts and souls. You will scream out in the hope that they will follow the way of your physical bodies and be consumed and vanquished in to oblivion. But that won't be the case, and you will be forced to relive every dastardly deed ever done by you for eternity. Truly, you will be the damned."
The crackling flames spread throughout the house, setting fire to all the expensive hardwood floors, the paintings on the walls: everything! The hooded one stands in the middle and is not touched by the flames, seemingly impervious to them. Horrified by what they see as they watch him taunting them from within the depths of the inferno as they themselves are burned, their flesh forming blisters which pop and hiss in the heat of the flames, they strangle in the sudden absence of oxygen, the fire using it all for its evil mission to sate the desires of the Dark Lord. Soon, only the hooded one is left, and he walks through the flames and walls as it they didn't exist.
"Oh, my sweet Vanessa. You are still out here, waiting for me to return to you, just like the trusting, faithful wife you have always been. And who is that with you? Let me guess now. Ah, this must be Herb, the next one you intended to lead to the slaughter. Yes, you keep and use a man for a while, and then poof: no more husband. Tsk, tsk. You don't treat your men very well, my dear. Yes, you are a good fuck, but even that is when YOU want it."
"What . . .what are you talking about?" Herb asks, shaking in fear so bad, he appears to have pissed on himself any number of times already.
"Oh,"the Hooded One says, "Vanessa forgot to mention the cause of my demise, didn't she, Herb? Tell your almost husband what you did to me, my dear. There should be no more secrets. Not now."
Vanessa squirms, knowing that no good is coming to her. She doesn't care at this point what Herb thinks. Saving her skin is what she's after. "Why, John, I did nothing to you. We were both drinking and went for a walk along the cliffs, and you slipped and went over the edge. It's a long ways down to the shore at the end of the property and the beach is loaded with sharp rocks. You didn't stand a chance."
"And I suppose the surf slammed me repeatedly back and forth into the rocks until I was hardly recognizable."
"Maybe that explains why I have no face now. Who would want to look at a face like that? That would be totally gruesome, don't you think?"
Silence. not a word from either of them, the fire from the burning mansion in the background creating an atmosphere of impending doom. It is only when the sounds of fire engines in the distance reach them that John beckons for them to follow him.
Vanessa tries to flee, but John grabs her arm.
"Now. now, my love. we are simply going to take a little stroll along the cliffs and enjoy the beauty of the pounding surf beneath us, crashing against those brutal rocks. You're not afraid are you? Surely you don't think their power is capable of reducing your beautiful face to the horrid nothingness that mine is now."
Herb, torn between trying to save his betrothed, and perhaps believing what this foul entity is telling him, goes along without being coerced. No matter which way this plays out, he will be there for Vanessa. It is too late for him; her charms have already conquered his heart and soul and he is hers for the asking, his mind willing to force his body in to whatever action is required to save his intended from her doom.
Though she struggles, it is for naught. John has powers now that were never his when he was mortal. "Yes," he thinks, "I will get quite used to this."
The path ends and they stare down into the raging surf, a veritable tempest slamming without abandon against the cold, hard reality of what John has in mind. Herb knows now that the time to act has arrived, and he tries to pull Vanessa free from the tight grasp of their antagonist. John rears back, screaming wildly and grabs Herb with his other hand, pulling them off the edge of the cliff, and they cascade down to the rocks below.
Seconds before the point of impact, John releases his grip, and Vanessa and Herb fly into the rocks, the wild surf tearing their bodies to pieces, doing to them what it did to him. That beautiful face of Vanessa no longer exists. No more will she flaunt her beauty.
Hovering above the surf, John waits patiently for the souls of his wife and lover to rise up from the water below. They float above together and join the other souls milling around the burning mansion, not knowing what to do.
John stands and watches until the last embers are extinguished and the bodies are all removed and placed in the nasty bags they use at times like this. There are only a few souls heading towards the light. The rest are his. His master will be happy.
The powerful essence that is John brings the souls with him through the tunnel leading to the Dark place, new home for the scum accompanying him along his journey to the One who tends to those not worthy to call themselves human. John was supposed to go to the light when he passed, but he chose to lead the deserving ones into Hell, feeling that was his calling, not really expecting much comfort or love waiting for him beyond the Pearly Gates.
"My decision was the right one," he thinks. "This is my home; this is my calling."
The wail of the anguished is heard well beyond the boundaries of Hell . . .