My hands laid across my chest, I had pulled the coffin lid and as it slowly began to close my eyes staring at nothing, staring at the weft and warp of the velvet lining; deeper, up into the motion of the closing lid. I watched the velvet begin to move, woof and wave like the sea. Then came the mesmerizing voice.
I found myself enveloped in swirling red, unable to come back to reality, the velvet coming closer as I spiraled upwards into it. I was being lifted unguarded into an unknown red dream. My throat constricted, I told myself: You are home, in your coffin. The sides of your coffin are around you.
But, I sensed no coffin.
I thought: Even without the sides of the coffin, I am still here, still a Vampire, still in my skin.
But, I sensed no skin.
I felt naked, floating without form, without identity, surrounded by the infinite red fog. I wanted this to stop, I thought to close the coffin lid, to take control, but nothing happened. I had no will of my own, I was a prisoner, I was drowning; all I sensed were red ribbons of velvet binding me to the red fog. Was I dreaming? Seized by terror, I tried to shout, I heard no sound, only the echo of the voice. I struggled, desperate to get out of the coffin. I tried shouting again, a pleading call for help.
I could make no sound. Again and again I tried until I heard myself groan.
First I felt a vise around my wrist, felt as though I were a toy being tossed by a child, then I was shivering as though I had just been pulled from a frozen river. Finally the crypt was askew and I realized I was out of the coffin and on the floor.
Fall, filled my vision, he was kneeling beside me. Over his shoulder I could see the lid to my coffin, the red velvet lining. I realized Fall had pulled me from the spell, from the coffin, but just as Fall had snatched me from the spell, Emi’s face came before me. Emilia Grace, who I had not seen for many months, so many I had lost count. Emi, the fragile Sabbat Vampire, I had fallen in love with and the Princess with help from her court had forced me away from.
“Are you insane? She is Sabbat !” Lady Legacy Rembrandt, sister to the Princess, whispered. “You will lose your head if you don’t stop seeing her.”
It was Emi’s face that came out of the red velvet mist of the spell. Not threateningly, but as a savior, reaching for me. I felt our bond, which the family had not broken. Emi had power in the Shadowlands, her spirit companion, a shadow named, Arbu, had once followed her out of that world to inhabit Emi. But Emi was stronger than her size might suggest and she willed Arbu back. Now in a desperate call for help Emi had come to me. If Fall had not rescued me, I know Emi would have, not here but in that world beyond reality. In the world of dreams and shadows.
“Brother. I could not move. I heard a voice.” The words stumbled out of my mouth as though I were reading a telegraph: Brother-Stop-I-Stop- could not-Stop-move-Stop-I heard-Stop-a voice-Stop.
“Words to charge a spell. There is a Forged Chimera in your coffin. If you had closed the lid you would have been asleep for many years, Recka.”
Fall, stood. He watched the Vampire raptly and thought: What if I had not helped him and let the lid close; let Recka think he was going to the Vatican, let him think he would be given great power and wealth, when in reality he was being put to sleep for some insane reason. Because, I won’t kill him even though they want him dead. The final part of my assignment, a failure. I have disobeyed orders.
His commanding officer had told him, “Disobey these orders and you will perish with the Vampire.”
I stood up, thinking: There “was” a reason to be suspicious. Fall had carefully told me that I might be destroyed, if I chose not to return. There was a reason to suspect some deception but what purpose would it serve? Why did I need to perish? Who would it serve?
There had been no obvious reason I would decide not to go with Fall, but I had. I had spent several nights at Bloody Jacks Tavern talking with friends and kindred family but, I told no one. And few if any knew who Fall was, had met him or seen him in town.
And, Fall, why would he be a party to a conspiracy like this? He would not, as it was now plain to see but, he was a soldier, he would obey orders, and although he was not a human being, he was also not a robot. He would not obey blindly an order to destroy me, unless there were a good reason. Or would he? Had he devised this plan to put me to sleep instead of destroy me, or was this a preparation for a final blow? I stood watching him. I would say nothing about Emi.
~ To be Continued ~