Eighteen – A Time For Choices
Our descent slowed as if someone had pulled the breaks on an invisible elevator before hitting the ground with a soft flu-dump. An underground cavern that glowed as if lit by the flame of a soft, warm, hidden candle opened up around us, almost transferring the feeling of welcoming through the wax-laden, musty air.
The horrors of our plunging descent down the Well of All Times, the name of the treacherous drop we’d a moment ago exited as conveyed to me by Perveen through image-transference between minds rather than in dialogue, were thankfully now well above us. I half expected to see undead hands following the ceiling around from the aperture, but they did not even make it into the gramophone-speaker shaped exit. Assuming that we were to leave this sepia rock-hewn place at some point, which gave the impression of being inside a jacket potato and wouldn’t have looked at all out of place in The Flintstones, I truly hoped that there was a way out other than the way we’d made our entrance.
Perveen took my hand and started dragging me towards three exits sat next to each other in the far wall – they may as well have had a, b & c over the top of them as it felt like having to choose labyrinthian doorways on a cheap TV game show. I could tell she was hesitant as we approached the first doorway, her usual confidence momentarily undermined as she deliberated. I had an awful feeling that the jackpot lay behind one of these doorways and treachery beyond the other two. And we’re not just talking a dusty bin or coming out covered in slime.
“Have you been here before?” I asked in a whisper. She pursed my lips together, making a duck-bill from a thumb and index-finger to do so. She gestured for all communication to be transferred mentally. I had received images from her and had been both recipient and giver in transfusions of blood with both my queen and my maker, Billy, but I was uncertain about being able to wilfully transmit my thoughts.
Before I could stop myself, my brain latched onto some of the most recent images, those of me looking directly up at Perveen after she’d let me go in The Well of All Time and being able to see all of her modesty when her gown had belled out; also, my friend the brain recalled the image of us wrapped together in oral sex, conjured a little earlier in our decent as our bodies had contoured quite magically together.
She feigned a playful scowl, bore her fangs and nipped at my neck, transferring her own images of what lay in store for us, lingering long enough to give me a glimpse but yanking back before revealing too much. I juddered and wondered if and what she had shown me was even possible. It certainly dispelled the myth about vampires not being able to consummate their relationships in the flesh.
“That is our pre-nuptial courtship”, she fired across at me, “We have the chance to indulge only once in the physical act before we are joined in our souls and minds forever, where our existence and our love-making will transcend everything you have learnt about how two can become one.”
I was excited about the prospect, obviously, but disappointed that we would have to wait until our wedding day (she had not even asked me, yet!) for these events to unfold.
“How will I know what to do?” I asked, “There was so much happening in what you showed me; I want to be sure that I am worthy,” I paused, then added “I take it, then, that we are to be wed?”
“Yes. Do you not want that?”
I had little choice, being this far below how many levels of the earth I darest not conceive, and did not want to end my days in torment like one of those undead souls attached to the ‘hands’ in The Well.
“Of course it is what I want, Perveen. As you have pointed out, it is perhaps all I have ever wanted, as have you, but how can we make it so if I am yet so much lesser than you?”
“I can tell you more later, but now we must make the right choice here, otherwise all is lost,” she said, fathoming out which door was the right path.
“Have you been here before?” I asked, given her uncertainty.
“Yes, but only in the state you are now, fledgling vampire, no capacity for retaining true knowledge, not even a pair of fangs, yet. Now Ssh. Let me think,” she said, wracking her brain to the time that she had been here before. Seeing – or hearing – my head, so full of turmoil and uncertainty, she said, “There will be time for questions along the way.”
I ran my tongue over the bristles I had assumed to be my canines sprouting. With will, I could elongate them a little, now, but they were still pliable when I did. I thought about dipping them into a blood orange, about all they were capable of piercing, and sniggered to myself.
Perveen had decided, the vampire couple-to-be had chosen door c; she took my hand, hers so tiny yet full of might, and we left the potato chamber behind. Question Time was about to begin.