Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Vampire's Ball: Act 2

One night, the sisters found an open window at the local bakery. Their mouths watered as they shimmied through the narrow window frame eagerly imagining the days, maybe weeks of bread, cakes, and cookies they would store and then feast upon. Hands trembling, they scurry from the back kitchen to the storefront, snatching a couple of large and worn burlap bags lying on the floor. Their hunger nearly overcoming them, anxiously hoping to break the forced fast of the last few days as even the smallest scrap of refuse was hard to come by. The townsfolk were now concealing their trash, securing windows and doors, sitting on watch to prevent these new pests from entering their domiciles and stores. They would tolerate their antics no more, and if that meant starving them, even from their carelessly cast aside leftovers and garbage, so be it.

As they creep deeper into the bakery, eyes widened, as case after case filled with delicious treats comes into view. Pausing only for a moment to mentally digest the delicious panorama, they sprint, splitting up to mercilessly pillage each case of any and all contents that will fit in their sacks. Like vaporous blurs they move from area to area, grabbing all they can. Once their bags are filled to near overflowing, they begin to stuff whatever else they can snatch into their mouths, barely chewing each bite. Each taste is indescribable, a symphony of flavors orchestrating complete satisfaction. They want to eat more, but quickly find themselves full, nearly ill from the rapid fire buffet. Physically satiated, but psychologically famished, they hoist their goodie bags over their shoulders and make way to their escape, unsure of how they are going to exit with their newfound delectable treasures.

In the backroom, they cautiously place their plunder down to devise a plan of exodus. Suddenly Katalina interrupts their strategy session, “Felicity,” she screams, “The window!” Felicity looks up to see their point of entry now tightly boarded up from the outside. “Oh God,” she gasps, “They know we are here, it’s another trap!” “What do we do now,” Katalina cries? “We have no choice, we have to run to and through the front door,” she commands with the determination of a seasoned captain. She sharply grabs her sister's arm, leaving their prized cornucopia behind, “Run and don’t stop,” she demands. They spring from the back into the arms of a mob of angry awaiting arms.

Before they can react, they are bound and beaten by the furious posse. Dragged from the store they are brought to the town’s square and furiously locked into the stocks for all to view and mock. The relentless throng of the irrational horde endlessly pelts them with rotten fruit and wet and putrid trash. Soaked with the vulgar smells and textures of excrement and refuse the two weep, their tears burn like acid as they mix with the atrocious concoction now covering them like a slimy, stench ridden second skin. Felicity looks up from her hunched posture and glares through the fiery assault bombarding her tired eyes. She strains to see her attackers, her ears slowly filling with their taunts and profanity. The vile mixture drips into the crevices of her lips as her tongue retreats to avoid the hellish taste of her shame.

“I curse you all,” she struggles to scream as more of the repulsive residue oozes into her mouth slinking down her throat. “I will have my revenge,” she growls but is quickly muted by the heavy hand of the constable who incarcerated them. He strikes her two more times for good measure, “You will have nothing,” he scolds, “because you are nothing!” Blood streams down her forehead, embracing and dancing with the rest of the fluids she is engulfed in. Katalina cries out to her, but her sister has surrendered to the exhaustion, disgust, and pain. Katalina weeps as the constable provides her with his demented form of discipline as well.

In time the scowling and violent crowd subsides leaving the two battered and bruised siblings to suffer alone in the courtyard, chilled to the bone by the crisp night air. “We are in hell,” Felicity barely whispers, “it is certain now.” Katalina has neither the strength nor desire to respond. Hopelessness has taken hold, crushing their bodies and spirits with the weight of regret and solitude. “We are truly lost and alone,” she weakly continues, “there is no one to save us now.” Katalina groans as the heaving of her sorrow is painful as her body stands contorted and twisted by her shackles and wooden constraints. “We are utterly alone,” Felicity mumbles as she drifts out of consciousness again.

The air is still but brisk as the moon rises illuminating the scene in its eerie glow. All is quiet but the sounds of approaching footsteps, confident and determined. A shadow falls over their limp and fragile frames. A tall and slender figure looms over them, shaking his head, “Tsk, Tsk. Tsk,” he sighs, “what have these backwards fools done now to condemn their souls?” His large top hat nearly eclipses the moon as he drapes his silver handled snake's head cane over his arm near the elbow. He is wearing a black wool overcoat that covers his entire body, with only his black, leather, silver-tipped boots are visible. Pale skin, far whiter than even the moon’s silent luminance, glistens in the night's hue. He removes his grey glove and gently touches Felicity's bruised face, brushing away her matted hair, stripping away the dried and dismal coating with his fingers. Felicity does not respond she has nothing left to give; it is as if she is awaiting the sweet release of death’s cold hand.

His dark and empty eyes soften “No, my child, your story is not over,” he whispers as he bends down to her ear, “it has only just begun.” He rises and stares up at the grand ball of white fire smoldering among the shimmering stars. “It has only just begun.”

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