His portrait stares at her, reminding her of the way he used to be, before. During the days that’s all she has of him, his picture mocking her. She hears the servants whispering, gossiping over the reasons he’s so often gone from their home. He’s found another lover, he’s spending all his time in the gambling dens, to even more outrageous suggestions, he’s a spy for the queen, he’s become a criminal. If they only knew, the truth is even more horrible than anything they could imagine.

Seven days ago he woke her as he slipped into her chambers in the small hours. “Darling,” he said as his hand glided down the side of her face and neck, stopping in the hollow at the base of my neck. His fingers, long and gentle, were cold, and his touch made her tremble with a fear she couldn’t understand. “I found him.” She looked up at him, confused by sleep. “Who?”

“It’s all true,” was all he would say. She knew then, her mind clearing, the monster he had been told of, the man who had lived for hundreds of years, who drank blood and avoided the daylight, who controlled the city, the man he had been intent on meeting, existed. Tears sprang to her eyes. He looked down at her with a small, sad smile. He bent down and kissed her gently and then more demanding. His lips caressed her neck and she felt his teeth brush her skin just before he growled softly and jerked away. “I must leave.”

He rushed from the room but was the back the next night. He lay in bed with her for a couple of hours, warmer than he had been that first terrible day, but never touching her. She begged and pleaded, but could feel him pulling farther and farther away.

Today she’s made her decision. He should be here in an hour or so. He would find her on the edge of death and have no choice but to save her, to make her like him, and together they could roam the world. She drinks the liquid from the small green bottle the chemist had sold her and leans back in her chair closing her eyes. Slowly she slips to the floor, her green satin dress pooling around her.

He does arrive, but she’s cold when he holds her in his arms. He doesn’t shed a tear, doesn’t bellow his grief or rage against heaven. He knows at that moment he is doomed. She had been keeping him sane, a bright spot in his new world of death and darkness and now she’s gone, beyond his reach forever.

‾‾‾‾‾

Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.