Nine: An Introduction of Fire and Ice
The very water that was flowing idly beneath the bridge began to crackle and freeze upon Perveen’s hand motion; almost at her behest, a plateau of ice began streaking across its surface in tortuous lightning patterns and with similar quicksilver speed. The grasses and trees and brickwork grew frost that was forming before my awe-struck eyes; like the sped-up VT footage of ivy clambering upwards on an invisible frame, columns of crackling, twisting ice reached upwards as if seeking some supernatural support.
In the very air about us, sparkling crystals began to fall to the ground, the moisture literally turning to snow as the blackness of night turned in an instant into a landscape of the fresh whiteness that only virgin snow can portray.
Our feet were back on the ground and our footfall crunched the frost beneath our steps as we ascended to the apex of the bridge. Without will of my own, I swept Perveen up with my hands into a similar position on the wall as when I had first set eyes on her only minutes ago, but which already felt like a lifetime hence.
Drawing me in, wrapping her knees around my waist, she lured me in for our first kiss, the kiss of the vampire. Every fibre of my being stood to attention. She had found what now passed as a heart and kick-started it after years of impartiality – from idleness to idolatry at the flick of a switch. Her razor-sharp nails dug into the back of my hair and her thighs squeezed me in tighter still, the heels of her shoes digging deep into my hamstrings.
Her frantic fangs drew blood from my tongue, which sent her into convulsive raptures, even more exaggerated than when Billy had first tasted my life force a little more than a day previous. My sensory input was again at melting point as the horrors and the beauty of her experiences as a vampire flooded my marvelling mind.
She broke the spell, but still clutched me tight. Our lips broke; I was drained to the point of weakness. No doubt I had passed a version of my life back to her at the same time as she had exchanged hers with me, although I had no cognitive recollection of returning that favour.
The look on her face was ‘hunger’. An appetite insatiable in my fledgling state. The surrounding air was literally snowing now, all moisture being sapped from the trees and waterside plants and grasses as they grew evermore brittle and limp to satisfy and support this encounter.
“You are not yet strong enough to know why,” she said, a tinge of disappointment underpinning the tone, but moreover accepting that it was so. “But you will be. That is our task at hand, primarily.”
This was hard for me. I thirsted to know everything about the undead lifestyle and my potential queen, but also knew that attempting to take in any more until I had the capacity to do so would send me to a brink of madness too far away to ever be brought back from. But more than that, I wanted Perveen, almost as much as her desire was to know me completely.
“Rest a while,” she coaxed, holding my head to her shoulder, stroking the hair she had gripped furiously just now. “We are outside of time itself, no one can find us here, as long as we are able to support it.”
That made a strange type of sense. With my cheek on her shoulder, I dozed, still standing, her legs, grip laxed somewhat, ensuring I remained upright. I dreamt of home, of new lands, of time itself but, most of all, of my new queen.
Was I to join her on that throne? I sensed that this is what she wanted more than anything, but also that I would have to prove my worthiness if I was ever to be her king. My trial was about to begin.