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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coven and Coffin Blog Hop: From One Shore to the Next

Gather round and hold your lovers tight for this next haunting tale.

From One Shore to the Next
By Peter Dawes

Lady Liberty stood guard over us just as I had been warned she would, her distant gaze peering out across the harbor as though she could connect with some other soul standing across the ocean. The thought caused me a moment’s pause, distracting me from a rousing conversation happening near me centered on the technological marvel which was the boat we stood upon. Just like that, I had been captured by a wistful notion and sent back to the shore from where I had departed.
She had forced me to leave her. Love could find no way of sugarcoating this truth no matter how hard I tried to be gracious to my darling Anneleise. While she had attempted every practical reason under the sun to convince me it was for the best, I bought them just as readily as I did the thought she actually wanted me to go. Our affair had been complicated at best, convoluted at worst, and while I was a man of questionable morals from the start, even I struggled to define us.
Especially when our first tender moments together fell under rank deception.
My darling Anneleise. I could not fight the frown her memory summoned. She had been exquisite, her beauty something which defied mere aesthetics. Whatever gods had crafted Annie took care to imbue her with the graciousness of a noble, the patience of a saint, and the wisdom of a sage. As one could expect, this meant she fell into a relationship with a man who could see none of these attributes. After she failed to become pregnant three years into their marriage, she had been relegated to servitude. Nothing more.
When she thought herself alone, though, her true self shone through. She sang whilst cleaning the modest house she shared with her brother-in-law. Lithe feet twirled across the wood floors and the first time I caught her mid-spin, I wondered if she might have been a pixie. Even the brute she had wed could not kill such a carefree spirit, one which simply settled into demure when he returned from work. He’d grunt out a greeting and from there, would sit in his chair, waiting for dinner. Annie would return to the kitchen and hum the rest of the melody he had interrupted in softer, dulcet tones. For the most part, they carried out their separate existences with little incident. Until the night he made her cry.
I stood by as an unwitting bystander, my words trapped in my throat when Annie caught her foot on the rug and spilled his dinner. They both stared at the mess for several seconds, Annie too horrified to move and her husband seeing more than wasted food spattered across the floor. I winced when he breathed a heavy sigh and as he stood, feared he might raise a hand to strike her. What followed encompassed such a harsh upbraiding, however, that I believed Annie might have preferred being beaten. Through her tears, she dropped to her knees and wiped at the stained fabric.
It happened so quickly, I could not bring myself to stopping it. He had been on his way out the door when suddenly he paused, taking a deep breath and turning to look at her. She failed to notice it at first. Through sobs and sniffles she continued collecting food back onto a plate.
Annie startled when he finally spoke. “I’m sorry, Schatzi.” The tough, booming voice sounded calmer, and much more composed than it had several minutes ago. He shut the door, tossing his coat aside and walked to close the distance between them. Her eyes widened when he crouched beside her. “We’ll clean this up together. No more tears.” The corners of his mouth curled in an apologetic grin.
Nodding once, she remaining quiet whilst his hands reached for the plate. Hers shook as she handed it over, but she did, and seemed not apt to question the miracle. Perhaps that was the moment I should have said something, but I remained mute and allowed the rest of the evening to play out, even when her husband returned to his normal senses and failed to bring up what he had just done. We might have fooled Annie, but the woman bore more intellect than her simple demeanor suggested.
Over the next few weeks, the boorish man experienced rare moments of humanity, which shone through just as another upbraiding seemed eminent. One second, he would have his pipe lowered from his mouth, the insults dancing on his tongue, and the next, he would issue a compliment instead, and resume smoking. The ice thawed in such gradual stages, I thought she might remain ignorant of the changes. He kissed her again after having not touched her in months. He made her smile ear-to-ear, where only he had managed to conjure soft, determined grins onto her lips. One evening, their kisses had turned heated and his strong arms carried her into the privacy of their bedroom.
In the dark, in the still of the night, she finally called his bluff.
“Who are you?” she asked, her fingers tracing down the hand which had settled onto her stomach.
The inquiry spurred him to laugh. “Schatzi, what kind of foolish question is that?” he asked, stopping her gentle strokes by moving his hand.
Annie froze for a second, and then turned to look at him, one eyebrow raised in a dare. “You call me that. Schatzi. He never did. Not even on our wedding night.”
Those eyes – that crystal blue gaze which had managed to penetrate into my soul – would not look away and in that moment, I found my voice again. It might have sounded like her husband’s, bearing his timbre and diction, but the words which emerged were mine. “It’s still a foolish question. Shouldn’t it be what has gotten into you?”
The arched brow relaxed. Annie failed to blink. “No amount of drink or food or comfort would have made Wilhelm this tender, stranger. It never has. And I had accepted that a long time ago.”
“Should you have?”
“What business is that of yours?”
“I suppose I’ve made it my business.” I frowned – using his lips to frown – and nodded when Annie continued holding me hostage with her eyes. “If you think me a stranger, why have you let me into your bed?”
“That isn’t your business, either, especially if you won’t tell me who you are.”
“My name is Christian,” I said, “And I’ve come to protect you.”
The comment had been intended to be heartfelt. It prompted an uproarious amount of laughter from Annie, however, and as she asserted I was the one who needed protecting, I could not help but fall into hysterics with her. A night of visceral honesty followed, as did twenty-one blissful years of lapses on her husband’s part.
But she had sent me away. And I would be lucky if I ever saw her again.
I felt a tug, disrupting my thoughts and bringing me back to Lady Liberty, and what would be my new home. After five hundred years, I had been taken away from the continent on which I had lived and died, where I had experienced both love and loss more times than I dared to recount. The young lady who peered in my general direction smiled warmly as she clutched her purse and motioned to follow a young man dressed in uniform.
“Come, Papa. I don’t want to leave you behind,” she said. In her voice, I heard the delight of a child. In her laugh, I heard the tinkle of wind chimes, reminding me that while the world could still hold beauty, even if her mother had captured more than a fair share of it.
I sighed good-naturedly. “Very well, Marjorie,” I said, my steps lighter than air, my form passing through the obstacles stopping me from following along.
Promise me you’ll stay with our daughter. I’m growing old, and don’t want you to be stuck with me while I die.

I promise,” I had said to Annie. Even if it had meant saying goodbye.

Peter Dawes is the author of The Vampire Flynn Series, published by the micro-press Crimson Melodies. His serial story, “A Maker and His Child” appears on the BloodTideZine website and short “Lost Highway” has been featured in the Nocturnal Embers anthology, also by Crimson Melodies. While primarily a novelist, he has also contributed to the story cycle Red Phone Box, featuring the work of fellow authors Warren Ellis, Dan Wickline, and more. Always working on something new, Peter leaves it up to the reader to decide if it’s by sunlight or candlelight.
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The Vampire Flynn Series


As the moon rose over Philadelphia, on January 20, 1983, nobody could have known what was about to happen. Inside a coffee shop, a meeting between a young resident doctor and a redheaded vixen would end with a night of bloodshed. Two people would lay dead inside an apartment near Fairmount Park. A third victim would be claimed when their killer ran into the waiting arms of a vampire.
Rather than being met with eternal condemnation, however, Dr. Peter Dawes would wake several days later as a new creature. No longer possessing a pulse and with sharp teeth itching for purchase on human skin, Peter’s first days as an immortal would blossom into five years of decadent, sadistic killing. Exchanging the scalpel for a dagger and the scrubs for a suit, the man who once sought to heal would come to be known as the deadliest vampire ever to wield a sword. The covens referred to him as the Black Rose Assassin. To his maker, Sabrina, he was known as Flynn.
Her instrument in an ambitious struggle to gain control of the city, Flynn amassed a collection of conquests. All the while, secrets circled around him, speaking of special gifts and a human destiny left behind upon his turning. It would take an immortal named Anthony, a mysterious pendant, and a human sorceress named Monica for Flynn to learn the truth behind his turning. And what resulted would send a shockwave from the City of Brotherly Love outward to the rest of the world.

Join Flynn on his journey from ruthless assassin to immortal seer. In a mission which takes him to Chicago, Seattle, and the darkest corners of the globe, a vampire will reconnect with his humanity and a villain will become a reluctant hero. Along the way, wicked immortals, unlikely allies, and a society of gifted humans called the Supernatural Order will test the mettle of the reformed killer. In the end, a man divided will be forced to reconcile with his darkness, and two beings shall emerge from one.

Tomorrow we return with another story sure to raise some goosebumps. Be sure to visit the other blogs for some more festivities.

Peter Dawes: Stormy Night Flash Fiction
Jessica Fortunado: Halloween Treats and Recipes
Kayleigh Grian: Characters in Costume
M. R. Graham: Tributes to Those We’ve Lost
Kalya Curry: Murder Mystery Party

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  1. Blogs are awesome - I have a huge to read list but somehow I think that these books may "mysteriously" jump to the top!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. They are all great books!