Posted Monday, November 20th, 2006
Not in Springtime
Donna M. Kenworthy Levy
It was another oppressive summer night. The heat and humidity indices had been high, which had caused many afternoon thunder showers. However, this was the first storm to broach the evening hours, arriving after the sun had set.
Earlier in the year, it was in March to be exact, Meg had made a deal so to speak with a late night guest. He had soundlessly slipped into her townhouse in Ghent, an older neighborhood within the city of Norfolk, Virginia that is reputed to possess great charm. Her visitor informed her that the homes here greatly resembled those in New Orleans, a city close to his heart. All they were missing was wrought iron ornamentation.
For an interloper, this stranger spoke as if they were friends. Yet Meg was quite certain she had never met him prior to this night. In spite of a warm fire burning upon the grate, the library felt as if an arctic front had made its way into the house. Perhaps this strange man had brought it in with him.
“I knew your home would be lovely and well appointed,” said the stranger, as he turned and surveyed the room with his eyes finally resting upon hers.
Meg’s heart almost stopped. Her recognition was unequivocally certain. Standing in front of her was the personification of death. She prayed he wouldn’t smile and reveal his vampire’s teeth. It was quite enough to witness his chalk-white pallor and long pointed fingernails that looked like translucent marble claws.
She wondered to herself if she were hallucinating. Her battle with leukemia often opened the door to thoughts about her demise. Perhaps this was a scenario she had somehow drawn to herself in an attempt to foreshorten a protracted treatment. Oh, God, she was so terrified. Even though she tried to control herself, her entire body shook with intermittent jerking movements.
For the time being, the stranger had not approached her, but remained standing where he was, sniffing the air. No, not the air. He was taking in the scent of her blood.
She didn’t know how she managed to regain her composure or to muster the courage, but with great effort she forced herself to say, “You’ve come at the wrong time. I promised myself never to die in the spring of the year and certainly not until the all roses in my garden have fully blossomed.” Rising upon her feet, she stated, “It is a vow I made to myself long ago.”
The stranger’s eyes narrowed and he glared at her with fury. He started to utter something but stopped himself. It looked as if he had remembered something long forgotten. He slid himself across the room as effortlessly as a sheet of water flows down a sheer rock cliff until he stood within inches of Meg. The movement was so quick, she almost missed seeing it.
Towering above her shrunken 83 year old frame and regarding her with a smirk, he said, “Well, you’re certainly a lady with spunk! You must be the one! I have come upon you at last!” He began to laugh in a hideous fashion. “Enjoy your season, my dear. But be aware that you have already chosen the time of my return. So prepare yourself.”
The stranger gave a deep bow and slipped away under the door.
She could not believe that she had affected a reprieve from a vampire. She didn’t think one could ever negotiate the terms of a bite. She told herself she must remember however that it was merely a deferment, not a pardon. “My goodness, what irony,” Meg said. “Instead of receiving blood transfusions for my illness, I shall be donating my blood to a vampire!”
What a fierce and singular ending to a very pragmatic and predictable life, Meg thought. Certain that the stranger would indeed be coming back for her, she resolved to enjoy every day and every flower of this her final spring. Aware of time compressing, she spent most of her days in the Adirondack chair under the dogwood tree in her backyard, making peace with the fate that awaited her.
On this stormy summer night, her intuition announced that her reprieve was over. Meg knew that her time had finally run out. As she sat sipping a last glass of Merlot, she reminisced about the good times in her life and tried not to panic about the approaching horror. As soon as the grandfather clock in the hall struck 11:00 o’clock, she felt a cold draft enter the house. He was here.
“I have been waiting for you tonight, Monsieur.”
Like a ghost becoming solid, the vampire materialized before her.
“The hour has come,” said the master of her fate. “Do not be afraid. What I offer you is a great gift, I can assure you.” He bent over her and lifted Meg up into the air until they were face to face. He held her in front of him as he said, “Look deeply into my eyes.”
Before Meg knew it, she was standing in a ballroom. The stranger had changed into the most handsome man she’d ever seen. She was again her younger self resplendent in a magnificent gown. As the orchestra began to play a Strauss waltz, her dashing escort moved to the 1, 2, 3 . . . 1, 2, 3 steps of the dance. Round and round they circled. She was Cinderella and he was the Prince. Meg knew all her dreams were coming true as they spun around the dance floor. By the time the music stopped, she had magically fallen in love with the handsome lover who held her in his arms. The next thing she knew, his lips were touching hers . . . and then they were upon her neck.
The last thing she heard him say was, “You will live inside me forever. And the music will never stop.”
Suddenly in total rapture, she was sucked into him.
Comments [post a comment]
Posted by Saleh Razzouk [ firstname.lastname@example.org
] on Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 at 2:57 AM
This devotion and fantasy was in fact a true picture summarizes the wisdom of violence. The west after WW2 was inclined to mix Love with War, in order to overcome the middle ages heritage which was dark and against reason. Any way, the language was moving and touching. Emotions were also with strong reference to all sorts of instincts. Thanks Donna..
Saleh Razzouk ( journalist )