There was a shattering crash as the china hit the hardwood floor, followed by an ear splitting scream. Charlotte sat up, the long falls of her curly brown hair bouncing wildly around her. The sun was shining through the stained glass window behind her, painting the room in a riot of soft color and dancing light. It did nothing, however, to change the absolute horror on the house maid Megan’s pretty Irish face. She was white as a ghost, and her green eyes were practically popping out of her heart shaped face.
“Mr. Henry!” She screamed hysterically. “Mr. Henry you must come quickly!” Megan was three years older than Charlotte, but looked much younger; the gift of the faery, the woman had told her. At present, she had pushed herself against the wall of the hall just beyond Charlotte’s room, unable to look away or erase the complete terror etched upon her features.
Charlotte frowned. “Why all the fuss, Megan? I know I look afright in the morning, but surely I am not that unsightly?” She tried to laugh to lighten the mood, but could not help the slightly unsettling feeling that caused the flesh to rise on her arms. Clearly something was very wrong, but for the life of her she couldn’t possibly imagine what. Megan was a very calm and reasonable woman; it was extremely unlike her to react so aberrantly without good cause.
The familiar sound of her uncle’s footfalls coming up the stairs reassured her. Uncle Henry always seemed to have the answer to everything. He had always been like a rock in the storm, and looked so much like her father, his older brother, that sometimes she had to catch herself before calling him ‘father’. He was a tall man with short cropped auburn hair and the same almost gold eyes she herself possessed. Well educated, financially brilliant, and funny, he had a gentle way about him that could turn to steel wrought impassability when someone crossed a line with him. Whatever it was that was causing Megan such distress, it was a surety that Uncle Henry would set it to rights with a kind smile and wise words.
“What seems to be the trouble, Megan? Not another spider, I hope?” There was a lighthearted teasing in his mild voice, but his smile faded when he saw the look on his maid’s face and where she stood. She just shook her head and pointed, muttering the Lord’s Prayer under her breath and refusing to speak otherwise.
Henry Grey Looked beyond her and into his Niece’s room. After her death six months before, they had not had the heart to change it, and so it had been left as pristine as the day she had died. All of her brushes were where she had left them, her much loved journals stacked upon her desk, pens and inks here and there. Her shelves were full of books despite the impressive library downstairs. There was an easel set up in one corner with a painting of the yard beyond half finished. Everything looked normal. Even the girl he knew so well, sometimes even thought of as his own, sitting up in the beautiful four poster bed looking confused.
But this otherwise completely normal picture was dreadfully wrong. Six months ago Charlotte had disappeared, only to be found several days later, murdered. It was impossible that she could be sitting there, looking as alive and well as the last time he had seen her. Pink colored her cheeks; life stared back at him out of her large and expressive eyes. Her hands were folded in her lap as if nothing in the world should be wrong. Except that it was. He had buried her. He had stood beside his wife and held her as they wept bitterly, angry that they had lost the sunlight in their world. After the death of her parents, he and Sarah had happily taken her in, for they had no children of their own. They had always loved her, the quiet and bright girl who looked at the world with so much wonder and beauty. Even as a child she had been serious, thoughtful, and yet full of so much innocent hope and determination that they had all joked she would change the world some day.
“Charlotte?” His voice was ragged, and he had to grip the doorframe to keep from falling to his knees. This simply was not possible. There was no way under sun and sky that she could be sitting there looking back at him. She was dead. He had seen her cold and lifeless body, tiny and void of color when the police had asked him to identify her at the morgue. Someone had stabbed her in the heart, just the once. That image superimposed itself over the one before him in a horrific duplicity.
Sure as the sun shone, she smiled and laughed a little uncertainly. “Who else would I be?” Her smile fell when all he could do was stare at her. There was a sickly pallor to his coloring, like Megan’s. Try as she might, Charlotte knew that something was very, very wrong… and the wrongness had to do with her.
“Uncle Henry, what is the matter? You look dreadful. And Megan too. Why are you both acting as if you’ve seen a ghost?”
“Because we have,” he replied lowly.
Now she frowned, for the first time growing slightly frightened. This was very unlike Henry. He was a direct man, if kind, and not given to riddles or half truths. “I don’t understand,” she said with a hint of a quiver in her voice.
Henry turned to Megan. “Please ask Roland to fetch the Inspector. And do be quick about it.”
The maid needed no other provocation to flee the scene as fast as her slender legs could carry her. Charlotte heard the woman’s frantic voice echo through the large manner as she sped toward the back yard where the workshop and garage were located. Henry, however, did not move. He stood in the doorway now completely unable to look away. There was a darkness behind his normally kind eyes, and something she had never before seen there; fear. He was honestly afraid of her.
For a moment, a wave of panic attempted to claw its way free of her stomach in the form of a sob, but she took a deep breath and forced it down with all of her resolve. If there were something wrong, there was nothing for it but to face it and find a right and proper solution. Nothing at all would be gained by fretting or acting overly emotional without due cause.
“Uncle Henry, what is it? Why do I feel as if you are afraid of me? Have I done something wrong? If so, please, tell me. I will gladly offer an apology if I have erred in some way.” She was pleased with how calm her voice sounded to herself. She certainly did not feel sure of herself.
For a moment, he hesitated, seeming at war with himself. With deliberate slowness and caution, he pulled the chair from before her desk and placed it next to her bed, sitting in it. The man who almost always had a gentle smile or kind word said nothing, but stared at her hands folded so neatly in her lap. He looked so unlike himself, she thought, even though everything about him was as familiar as her own reflection; his immaculate presentation in his smart brown suit, the careful way that he trimmed his mustache and side burns. There was the way that he held himself, very controlled and confidant that was in no way arrogant or presumptuous. Henry was a man who knew his place in the world and was comfortable with it, and himself. She had always admired that about him, as it was something that she herself lacked.
It was an eternity before he gingerly reached out and took one of her hands; almost as if he believed that if he broke this taboo she would vanish or become insubstantial. He did not look at her, but studied her hand when he finally broke the silence that stretched out between them.
“I cannot tell you how many times I walked past this room hoping, praying that I would see you just like this, bright and full of all the years before you. Sometimes, I would even stop a moment, sure that you were merely around the corner of the room where I could not quite see you and would come walking out with a book in hand and some wonderful bit of wisdom to share. I would find Sarah here often, sitting in your window seat just holding your journal as if it could somehow bring you back.” At the last, there was a tremor in his voice, but still he did not look up. “We prayed, begged… because so much has been lost by this family already. It could not possibly be true that you were gone and we would never see you again. Not you too… not like that.”
Charlotte felt a sick rolling in her stomach as he spoke. It sounded as if he thought something had happened to her and she had been gone or some such, which was, of course, completely impossible. After all, had they not played cards the night before? And the day before that, she and Aunt Sarah had enjoyed tea with Mrs. Morgan. Despite those facts here was her uncle obviously in quite some distress. He was not one to joke like this, and not so convincingly. She tried to deny the sick feeling, and chose instead to make light.
“Don’t be silly, Uncle Henry. I’ve no intention of going anywhere any time soon. I love New York, and full spring is just around the corner. I wouldn’t miss spring in the City for all the world.” Even to her ears her voice was strained, full of false levity and brightness. She knew Henry would hear it if she could, as he missed virtually nothing.
Now he looked up and there was such a profound sorrow on his handsome middle aged face that it verily broke her heart. His voice was a broken whisper. “Charlotte…. It’s mid September. You… you…” and his eyes, strong and confident, were anything but now. They swam with tears, and she felt her own filling in response.
This was impossible. He was being far too cruel. She shoved aside her rising panic and chose instead to hold on to anger, which was a far more easily dealt with emotion. She pulled her hand from his and angrily threw off the covers, crossing the large and immaculately kept room to where she hung her dressing robe. “This is no longer funny. You’ve never been this mean to me, no matter how angry you have been. Unless you tell me what I did, I cannot make amends. Whatever it was, it cannot have deserved this from you.”
Normally, she never would have left the privacy of her room without being properly dressed. Not even at home on a day when there were no expected guests. However, something about what her uncle had said scared her more than anything else, and she had to see it for herself. There was a quality to the light of the sun in the early parts of the spring in this region, a kind of lingering coldness. The light that streamed through her windows was warm and golden, the first hints of true autumn and the fire that would race along the leaves of the trees making of the neighborhoods an inferno of color. But that was impossible. Again that thought, as she swiftly fled her room and headed for the stairs to look out front.
“Charlotte, wait!” Her uncle called after her. She ignored him, still angry. One look outside would tell her that this was all just Henry being cruel for some reason.
At the top of the stairs she was brought up short, for there was someone there, someone with whom she was unfamiliar. He looked up, the sound of her bare feet alerting him to her presence, and in that moment she felt her heart stop. He was young, perhaps only a year or two older than she, with long dark hair pulled back into a neat plait at his neck. His long coat was of deep crimson velvet, a black tie at his throat. His skin was moon pale, flawless, and his features could only have been described as angelic. Lips… full, looked as if they were familiar with the taste of a smile, though cautious smiles she imagined. But his eyes… it was his eyes that held her. In all her life she had never before actually seen the color blue. Not until this very moment as she stared into depths so fathomless she was sure that she must be drowning. They were pure, untouched by any other color save that perfect oceanic blue.
The sound of his voice roused her from her staring, and she felt the heat rise to her cheeks for she had no idea how long she had been standing there dumb. “Forgive me, Miss. I did not mean to startle you. Is anything wrong? I heard raised voices.” The timbre of his voice was like the rest of him, all moonlight and gentle beauty.
“I… no… It was just…” She could not pull her thoughts together. They were a jumbled mess as she finally felt her heart resume its thundering in her chest. Her skin pricked like the feeling of the air just after a strike of lightning, all full of energy and possibility. Charlotte had never been one easily taken by a beautiful face. She favored a mind more than anything so superficial as physical beauty. But then, she had never before seen such as he. “What season is it?” She heard herself ask somewhat neutrally.
“Nearly autumn, mistress. Surly you must know this?” He seemed slightly confused by her question, but kind all the same.
“Autumn.” She repeated the word in a whisper, finally feeling the walls she had built about herself begin to crumble. Like a levy in a flood they broke and she could feel the blackness at the edge of her awareness closing in around her. Autumn. Henry had not been fooling. It was one thing for him to joke, but he would never have brought in a perfect stranger simply to torment her. Somewhere, she could feel her knees buckle under her, and feel Henry’s arms as he caught her before she could hit the ground, or worse, go tumbling down the stairs. She was only peripherally aware of her own words as they slipped between her lips before the darkness completely overtook her.
“But that simply can’t be. It can’t. The first day of spring is next week.”
Please accept this as a rough, VERY ROUGH draft. I'll be pushing through it to get it done by Christmas, so stay tuned if you're actually still watching. I promise near daily updates, or at least 3 a week. Please do not spare me. I need honest feedback.
It is not an unknown fact that it is customary for a proper murder mystery to begin, of course, with a murder. The unfortunate circumstance of this particular murder, however, is that the victim in question… is me. How is that possible, Charlotte, you ask? You'd only believe me if I told you, for it is as impossible seeming to me even now as it must appear to you. I would not believe it if I had not, pardon the irony, lived it myself. There is one very simple fact that no amount of skepticism or doubt can or will change: I was murdered.
It was a chilly early spring evening, and I was, as is my wont, attending to the task of writing in my journal. It is a nightly ritual I have not neglected since first, I think, I learned to write. My mother had a love of words, was entranced by them, and it is a passion that I well and truly inherited. I think even now I continue to write nightly because I feel closer to her when I do, as if that part of her is with me as a commit my thoughts to paper. I miss her and my father so much sometimes, it’s almost like a physical pain. However, uncle Henry and aunt Sarah have been nothing but wonderfully kind to me, no less than my own parents, and so I cannot complain overly much. I am still very blessed.
There it was again… that melody like heartbreak pulling at the very edges of my awareness. The first time I noticed it, a few nights ago, I was sure it was in my own mind. Even for a young woman of the upper class, I am told I spend far too much time in my books and alone. No one seems to understand that I am not, in fact, alone at all. I am surrounded by beauty, passion, and love, some that span the whole of history and human imagination. How could normal folk compare to the sorrow of Antigone? Or the adventure as experienced by Alice? Few have so sharp a mind for science as Dr. Darwin, nor think so deeply as Master DeCartes. I like my books, thank you… they never hurt me. When I have had enough, I can close their pages and walk away, letting the nightmares of the Jabberwalkie fade, or the pain of Prospero’s loss wash away under the light of the sun. But this song… I could not walk away from that.
It started a few nights ago, as I was settling in to write. This time of year in the city of New York it is still dark very early. Even late March can retain the icy grip of winter, and this year has been no exception. It snowed a week ago, even though I can sense a change in the air. It is in that rare breeze that stirs of the warm months to come full of flowers and honey. Tonight, however, was not one of those precious nights. It was dark, cold, and seemed so much more a part of winter than any hoped for spring to come. I sat before my mirror at my desk, the warn pages of my journal just beginning to fill with inked words. I began humming, not normally one of my mannerisms when writing, and realized the tune was not simply in my mind. It was all around me, a part of me, so it seemed.
How do I begin to describe the sound of complete and soul rending longing? Of a loss so profound that just the mere ponderence of it seems like it will break you? It was like nothing that I had ever felt in all of my nineteen years. It encompassed the floods of tears that ran hot down my cheeks when I was fifteen and learned of the death of my parents away on their trip to London. It was the iron grey of the darkest cloud laden winters when there seems no hope, and worse, not even a chance for hope. It was an eternity sundered from the one and only thing that could ever complete a soul, love lost never to again be found. It was the journey of a millennia in search of that which is forever as beyond reach as the moon is from the earth.
I cannot even now tell you how long I must have paused in rapture of the consuming nature of this mysterious song. Longer than seemed possible, judging by the swiftly dying candle. The second night was no different, save that I felt compelled most strongly to seek out the source of this great sorrow. I wanted to bring light into the darkness, warm arms to hold against the cold. It seemed impossible that anyone could survive such heartbreak and still have any will to render it into music. Yet… there it was as clear to me as my reflection in the mirror. I seemed so frail a thing as I stared at myself, cast in such contrast to the desperate passion of the music. Long curly dark brown hair that I had pulled from my favorite ribbons to fall to my elbows. I have always had my mother’s ivory English paleness, broken only by the single dot below my right eye. I have a serious face, even as a child I had, and my eyes are a brown so light as to be almost golden. They are like my father’s, only lighter. Uncle Henry has them too, large eyes and expressive when moved. I am neither a great beauty, nor unattractive. Only pretty, but I am content. I would far rather be loved for my mind than my looks. Those fade in time, but a keen mind is immortal.
On the third night that I heard the music, I could restrain myself no longer. The compulsion was more than I have any measure of discipline to resist. I wish I could say that there was a part of me that knew, sensed on some primordial level, that I was walking into terrible danger. I would be lying if I proclaimed that. I had no mind for anything save that soul consuming, heart rending melody that had made itself a part of the very fabric of my whole being. I could no more have resisted it than survived without breathing. Looking back, I know that I was not at all myself, but that does little to change the reality of the facts.
Even now, I cannot tell you why I stole out of the house in the dark of the night, alone, in my nightgown. I paused not even a moment for shoes or a cloak to maintain my warmth if not my modesty. I am a proper young lady, and have never in all of my life behaved so… recklessly or without thought. I can only guess that there was something more to that music than the tune itself, that I was under some unnatural compulsion and acting not wholly under my own will. Be that as it may, leave the house I did, not feeling the icy cold of the paving stones under my bear feet as I ran into the darkness.
The neighborhood in which my uncle and aunt live is one of the most beautiful in the City. The Astors live just down the street, and it has always been our pleasure to attend their seasonal balls. The houses here are magnificent works of art made physical; soaring columns, intricate latticework, and vibrant colors, even this early in the spring. Lawns remain perfectly cared for, not a blade of grass out of place. The houses were dark, their occupants dreaming unknown dreams in the deepest part of the night. I alone in all the world seemed to be awake, me and that haunting music.
It should be noted that I am not terribly known for being a risk taker. Far from, actually. I have always done my best to do my parents, and later my aunt and uncle, proud. I study hard, mind my manners, and attempt to behave as befits a lady of my station. I have modest ambitions of a family, a husband who loves me, and a chance to continue to write. If George Elliot can become an accomplished and respected writer, I see no reason why I cannot as well. Mary Shelly was quite respected, and so I have always somewhat hoped to become. I have a vision of my children playing at my feet as pages fill with ink, a legacy of my own to leave behind when I am gone. Something to say that I existed, and my life meant something to someone at one point. A family is well worth a life, but a person must also hope for more, to push to become their greatest self. Or so I have come to believe. That aside, I have always been well behaved, and on this night alone did I defy that. Much to my sorrow.
I followed the sound of the song down the dark lane that runs between our house and the Bryce’s, heedless of the cold and darkness. I am certain I must have looked little more than a ghost as I ran, something akin to Alice as she wandered through Wonderland unknowing, pulled into events beyond her knowledge or control. The familiar houses of my street faded, growing smaller as I went, deeper into the heart of the city. Manicured lawns were replaced by industry and soot. Still I ran on, seeing not a soul, passing no one in my frantic journey. Under a stone bridge, and into an unexpected courtyard I came to a sudden stop. Now, finally, something was out of place enough that my sense of self preservation overpowered the compulsion of that beautiful music.
I found myself in a stunning setting, so much out of place with the dirty industrial buildings around it. Beautiful arches, intricately carved, held up elaborately frescoed walls. There was a fountain in the center of the courtyard, surrounded by a riot of roses. It was the roses, not the beauty of the yard that caught me. It was far too early in the year for them to be growing so fully. Their impossible presence broke the spell under which I had found myself, and the weight of my unnatural situation came crashing down upon me. Try as I might to keep my calm, I began to shake, more from fear than the bone deep chill that had settled down around me. I could not tell you the hour, only that it was late, and I had to have been gone more than an hour from home. As if my awareness were a signal, the music stopped.
“H-hello?” I hear my brittle little voice stammer. What would anyone think of a young woman out on her own in the middle of the night practically naked? It was a shameful state in which I currently found myself, and well I knew it. I would be might lucky if anyone was about that would not mean me great harm, for this was no place for a young woman to be in the dead of night, regardless of her situation. Still, it was the music that had drawn me here, and maybe if I found its source I could also find my salvation.
“I-is there anyone here?” I questioned once more, hoping unrealistically for a friendly voice, a kind reply from some elderly gentleman who might take me home and never speak of it to my uncle. He would die of embarrassment if it were ever known that I had behaved so. Yet once more, silence was my only companion. I had no idea where I was, which direction in which to return home even had I wished it, for oddly, I found that I could not actually remember how I had gotten here. Certainly under the power of my own two feet, as they were sore, cold, dirty, and bleeding, but I had no memory of the journey itself. I studied my surroundings , hoping for some clue that might give me any measure of comfort or hope.
The architecture was something of a Roman style, villa-like, I suppose. I had been very young when we had traveled to Italy, and only vague images remained of it from my childhood. Still, I remembered enough to know this was similar, and very out of place here. Smokestacks were visible over the tiled roof, and I could smell the salt of the bay not too far distant. Here, however, it was all silence and shadow. The darkness under the second floor of the villa was so profound I had no way of seeing if there were any doors or windows, any passages to the interior of this place.
There, a light! Oh Merciful Father, a candle in a window at the far end of the yard. I could have wept I was so relieved. I clutched the gold cross around my neck and ran, desperately hoping that whomever was there would help me. Perhaps it was the mysterious musician who’s impossible song had brought me so far from home and into such a desperate state. The light was retreating, and I had to hurry to catch it before it vanished completely. I did not take the time to wonder that the heavy wooden door was left ajar, nor that I could not see who it was who bore the single candle, only the dim glow of it as it rounded a corner and down a long hallway. There were beautiful paintings I only noticed with my peripheral awareness, so too the dark red carpeting over highly polished hardwood floors. It was nice to feel the warm plush of the carpet on my abused feet, but I had little time to ponder it overly long. Even as I rounded the corner, the light was disappearing down a set of stairs and into further darkness.
Now, I know what one must be thinking at this point. How could anyone be so foolish? What would possess anyone, let alone a girl, lost in the dead of night, to follow an unknown light into a strange building seemingly at the heart of New York’s industrial center so far from home? I wish that I had a good answer for you, because then I would have one for myself. Sadly, I have neither answer nor reason for either of us. It was dangerous and thoughtless. I was scared, exhausted, freezing, and desperate. My musical enchantment was gone, and I was left feeling empty and bereft. I was clinging to anything that might lead me back home, where I would be safe and warm. That light was a lour as sure as anything, and I was a willing moth to the flame. I make no excuse other than a flawed human natnature. I would take it all back if only I could.
At the bottom of the stares, the light vanished, but my heart rejoiced, for my music was back! Loud and clear it danced around me like so much shattering glass heartbreak. I fell to me knees and wept, for until that moment I had not realized how much I missed it, how I could not live without it. I craved the agony of it, the soaring longing. I wanted to bring light to the darkness here, warm summer to the winter coldness. I craved the chance to fill the void and make it whole. And in those mesmerizing notes, I felt I could… if only for a second. Something was wrong… a discord had begun to creep in. It was growing louder, overtaking the melancholy. I placed my hands over my ears to block out the sounds of the strife that was growing all around me.
“Come, Charlotte, do not be afraid. Let go of your fear and drive away the darkness. Share everything you have and bring life out of death.”
The voice was inside my head, I was sure of it. Yet it was so compelling, low and seductive. It was the voice of the music all around me, warring so hard to drive away the discord. I cried out, begging for it to stop.
“Please, please make it stop! I can’t stand it!” And I couldn’t, not anymore. There was so much sharpness and hurt, betrayal laced with bitter anger. All I wanted to do was bring it to an end, intertwine my own melody of life and hope. I wanted to do as asked, give everything. I longed to do so, and as my senses left me… I felt something horrible grip my heart. It was all the discord made real, a physical presence that was both beautiful and terrible. I screamed when I felt a sharpness grip my chest, cut off as I gasped for breath. The arms that held me as I fell over were strangely gentle, waiting.
“No… no please!” I heard the desperation in my own voice, felt the nightmare become real as my body betrayed me. My heart was thundering in my ears, laboring. Something hot and sticky made my shift cling to my shivering body, and I knew… I knew I was dying. The music had lied to me… begged me to save it from the endless dark in return for exaltation. This was no salvation, it was painful and empty and terrifying. It had taken everything… and I had willingly given it. I was a stupid, foolish girl, and I was going to die for it.
Darkness more profound even than that which surrounded me settled in as I felt myself losing, slipping away. My last thought was that Uncle Henry and Aunt Sarah would never know what happened, that I had betrayed their love and kindness with idiotic dreams of saving someone else from a loneliness from which I had never been able to save myself. I coughed and then there was silence. My heart slowed… and I knew nothing more.
It may be time to clear the dust from this old blog and get back into writing... I've been away too long, permitted myself to fall complacent and not write.
That ends now.
I understand those who have given up on me. I would have as well. For those who have not... I love you.
I will not let you down.
I will not let ME down.
Here we go... time to get back to work!
Even in the pouring rain, she could see as brightly as midday. Each drop was like a perfect diamond as it reflected the light of the streetlamps. She could smell the ash of the pavement, and the sour garbage of the Chinese take-out place a few blocks away. Dark reveled in it, stretched her arms up to embrace the rain and the night, closing her mind to everything but the sounds of the city and the falling drops. She was hunting alone tonight, the way she liked it best. But the rain kept her company, and that was better than anyone spotting for her anyway.
She felt him long before he appeared. She could always tell it was him. He had a kind of lazy grace that both intrigued and infuriated her. Ever since the first moment she had laid eyes upon him, fighting for his life, she had been intrigued. The sound of his voice and the forbidden nature of who he was only made it worse. It didn’t help that every time she looked into the honey gold of his eyes she felt like she was dancing under the summer sun in a field of wild flowers. He chased away all reason, which was more dangerous to her still because of who she was.
“You gonna perch up there all night?” He called laughingly from street level. He had a black leather coat tossed across his shoulders, letting the rain soak the white of his t-shirt so that is clung to his athletic torso. His golden brown hair was plastered to his face, and the smile he wore was amused and alluring all in the same moment.
“Dunno. Trying to decide if there’s something worth abandoning my post for.”
He frowned. “You on duty tonight?”
She shrugged. “I’m always on duty. A Hunter always is.”
His frown deepened. “Oh. I thought…”
Dark sighed. It was always like this with him. Any time she reminded him who and what she was, he would cloud over. It never ceased to hurt her, but she had no other choice. She had to make sure that he understood where they stood, and that there were some things that would never change.
“Can we not fight? Please? The rain is so beautiful, and I don’t have any mission that needs completing tonight. I thought you might wanna walk down by the pier.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “Daks?” There was something in the look on his face that told her he was thinking again. It never went well when Skyler was thinking.
“Hmm?” She still hadn’t jumped down from the rooftop to join him. There was something safe in the distance.
“Do you like being a Hunter?”
Dark knew that even in the rain and black of night he could see her shrug. After all, he was a vampire too. “I guess. I never really gave it much thought. It’s just something I’m good at.”
“Have you ever thought about quitting?”
She laughed. “You’re joking, right?”
“No.” Dark noticed that he looked sad.
“Why?” Now she was worried.
He met her gaze directly. “I just fear a day will come when you have to hunt me. I wish I knew what you would do.”
She stood up, all pleasure at the rain and seeing him gone. “You know what I would do, Sky. What I was bread and trained to do.”
He gave her a sad little smile that held no joy at all. “I know. That’s what worries me.”
“I care about you, Sky, but…”
“I know that too, Daks, and that’s what worries me even more.”
With that, he turned and left her alone with the rain and her regrets.
Venter: Markham Vineyards
Type: Napa Valley 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
This wine was really interesting because as we tried it with the different cheeses and crackers, the flavor changed dramatically. At first, it had a really soft start, which turned a little fruity, then finished soft. However, as we tried the cheeses, the flavor changed with it. For a while, with the sharper cheese, it became almost spicy! That opening was soft still, but the body of the wine took on a very spicy flavor that carried through to the finish. However, if tried with preserves, it took on a totally berry and sweet body with a spicy pepper finish. I found it to be rather dry as a whole, though August didn’t think so, so it may just be me. Over all, it was a beautifully full and dark wine. August liked it even better than the Sterling.
I thought this was an awesome cheese! It was a very sharp white with a bold body and a really rich finish. It went really well with the wine we had. We thought it would be totally delicious in a grilled cheese sandwich on herb faccasha bread. Add a little avocado and you have the nearly perfect lunch!
Type: Irish Gouda
Brand: Erin Gold
Cost: ? (it was part of the gift basket Bethie gave us for Christmas. ^_^)
This was a really soft and buttery cheese, much less tangy than the gouda we had earlier today. It was creamy and soft, just this side of a mozzarella or other lightly flavored cheese.
Okay… so round one was really yummy. We let the Cab sit for the next few hours, and found that it mellowed a bit. The opening and close were still really soft, but the full body of the wine had softened while exposed to the air. I liked it a lot better after letting it sit, which tells me that I need to be a good girl and let my wine decant before drinking it. At least if it’s a cabernet, anyway.
We finished that first bottle, but tried two new cheeses and some blackberry preserves as well. We also added some salami. Both of us liked it better than the turkey summer salami we had in the first tasting, as it was sweet and the salami was nice and smokey.
Type: Hickory Smoked Edam
I really, really liked this cheese. It had a very strong smoked flavor that went wonderfully well with the wine. Add some smoked salami and some of the preserves and it was freaking awesome. I’d never really added a fruit flavor to smoky cheese, and found I really like the way the flavors come together. This was my favorite cheese so far, with a sharp opening and a smooth finish, with a rich, full flavor that would go well with any kind of savory dish.
Type: Butterkase semi soft
The description of this cheese is as follows: smooth, mild, and buttery. We rather found it less buttery and more like a swiss. It was very soft and creamy, though, and had a kind of buttery consistency, which must have been what they meant. I liked the flavor, though it seemed more fitting for a hard cheese than a soft one. It had a slightly bitter finish, but went really well with the wine.
Sooo… August and I decided that rather than go somewhere this holiday for a vacation, we would stay in. We have our new apartment and love the place, so there was really no need to go and escape. Now, thanks to Bethie, we’ve been getting into wine a lot lately. Neither of us were ever big into the stuff before, but we’re getting to like it, and are having fun trying new things. As such, we decided to have a wine and cheese food vacation! We spent almost $200 on 4 bottles of really nice wine and an assortment of cheeses and crackers. We’re trying them all to see what goes with what, and what we do or do not like. ^_^
It’s a fun little concept, so I thought I’d share our thoughts as we go, in case you might find the info useful!
Venter: Sterling Vineyards
Type: Cabernet Sauvignon (red)
This red had a surprisingly soft start and finish. Unlike some of the less expensive wines, this one was not at all harsh, but still had a wonderfully full bodied flavor. It was very light overall, with a soft finish and earthy aftertaste. We had Gouda and an herb goat cheese with it, which served to really bring out the smoky flavors of both the cheeses and the wine. They went really, really well together.
Light and creamy with a hint of a tang to it. We think it would make a really awesome soup base and are planning to work up a recipe.
Type: Basil and roasted garlic goat’s milk cheese
This herb goat cheese was very deep and flavorful. The herbs didn’t take away from the flavor of the cheese itself, which is nice. It went particularly well with the savory crackers we had, and was a perfect match to the wine we had with it.
So... I'm playing in this vampire game... and need you guys to click on this link for me. Repost it, even, spread it far and wide and let the clicking beigin. Click ME... you know you wanna!
And then feel free to do so again tomorrow... and the day after that... and after that... *wink*
I know, nothing for like 6 months, and I post this. I deserve to be smacked with a platapus.
I posted this in the journal of a dear friend of mine, and thought that it might be relevent to more than just her. Perhaps someone else can find solice in my inadequate words.
are self destructive, my dear one. In a million tiny ways, and others not so tiny, they seek always to rend asunder, break, and torment. I think it's a human nature thing, personally. So, it should come as no surprise that you find that in yourself. Only in that you are self-aware enough to see it.
I also know what it's like to stare at that ceiling, a looming sense of self-loathing settling in around you as yet again, you've let him have his way, knowing full well that he does not love you. Will never love you. Not, anyway, in the way you need, desire, and cry out to be loved. He's kind enough, but when you look into his face and search his eyes, you don't see it there. Instead, you see a little pleah that you not ask him how he really feels, because he knows he'll have to tell you, and he doesn't wanna loose his guaranteed lay.
However, this much I can give you, though I would never have believed it myself had I not experienced it first hand. Love that is worthy, that is divine and rechless, all consuming, and all giving, exists. It will not hit you like a ton of bricks. It will not slap you in the face and drag you into extacy. That sort of think only happens in the movies. Rather, it will whisper in your ear, catch you in a glance or momentary smile. And you will feel that fragile flutter, often passing it off as something else. But it will persist, in a warm and soft kind of way, one that does not pressure, but that embraces.
And when you least expect it, and certainly are not looking for it, you will find yourself looking into the bluest eyes you've ever seen. Your lips will start moving all on their own, forming words your mind had not thought to set to flight. Unlike ever before, when you looked into those eyes and saw nothing, or close enough to that it didn't matter, you'll find somethign new and amazing. A core of warmth, like soft sunlight, and everything you have alwys kept locked away will be mirrored there for you to see. There will be shy looking away, and tenative caresses, but under it all, a force of deep passion and love that carries away all doubt.
Not to say you won't have moments. We all have them. You wake up in a near panic, fearing that that other part of you might not be what you think. What if it was all just in your head again? What if this seeming perfection, this bliss made real, is nothing but imagination and desperate clinging to make real what exists only in your own mind? But strong arms will enfold you in their love, comforting and understanding your fear, and all the shadows will fall away. He will know your wounded and frightened heart, and he will love you all the more for it, carefully and slowly nursing you back into the light.
It takes time. I'm 27, sadly, and only now do I know and understand. I was engaged for 5 years... and never understood what it could be like. It took the right moment, and those perfect blue eyes. *soft smile* It WILL happen, my dear one, my broken one. Sadly, however, we have to be patient, and that is the hardest part. But before you can find it, you must stop looking. That is when we find what we need most. Look inward and love yourself first, become content enough in who you are. We cannot love another if we cannot even love yourselves. Find peace there, and the rest will follow. Not an easy task, by any means, but neither is it an impossible one. And I promise... when that moment finds you, and you look into those eyes, you will understand. Nothing in the past will ever matter again, no pain or sorrow, because it will no longer be able to touch you.
You'll be free.
My baby's comeing home today... after a whole week away... I'm counting the minutes, seriously. *soft smile*