Category Archives: Lost Creatures

Book Two in the Dark Sanctuary Series

Prologue from Beautiful Monster: Book Four in The Dark Sanctuary Series

Vampires.
We can’t get enough of them. We read about them, we write about them, we fill our television screens with images of them. We eat, drink and inhale vampires. Some of us want to be vampires. And some of us just want to be with a vampire. Whether it’s a sparkly version with great hair or a tall blonde Norse god, we’re all just searching for our very own vampire hero.
I have mine. He’s no Norse god and he doesn’t have great hair. In fact, if anything it could do with a damn good cut, but Michael is mine nevertheless. Tall, handsome and irritating as hell Michael; a true born vampire with the power to move quicker than the eye can see and the ability to communicate telepathically. Trust me, if this was fantasy, he’d be in your books and on your screens.
But the difference between you and me is that I can see beyond the fantasy. I know what the stories and films don’t tell you anymore. I know them for what they can be. The stuff of nightmares. The demons of our bad dreams. Myths, monsters and bloody mayhem. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve run from them a million times. And I could keep running, but it would do no good.
Because you see, this time, I’m the monster. I’m the demon. And I have the power to change the world beyond anything even the darkest of nightmares could conjure.
Yeah, I know. Crazy, right?
But as insane as it sounds, that’s what I am; my existence foretold in the pages of a book hidden by a Cardinal and now burnt to cinders in the pit fire of a vampire den. The Church wants me. The Elders desire me. I’m in the middle of a war that has raged for centuries and it’s all because of me.
I’m a prophecy. I’m a myth. I’m the eye of the storm.
My name is Sarah Jacobs and I am the Damphyr.

Coming soon: Book Four in The Dark Sanctuary series

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013 all rights reserved.

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Lost Creatures Wattpad Cover!

Hello bloggers, writers, weirdo’s and friends!

For those of you who haven’t yet seen this, this is my cover for Lost Creatures that I have mocked-up for Wattpad. It’s only temporary and needs quite a bit of work but I quite like the feel of it.

Thanks to my good friend Alison Watkins for the idea and for also giving it the all-important thumbs up before I uploaded it.

Hope you all like it….if you have read Lost Creatures, do let me know if you think it fits the story. Be kind…I’m not incredibly artistic so this is the best I could do in a short space of time.

lots of love, Linz x

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The Imperfect Heroine

BE WARNED – IF YOU HAVEN’T READ DARK SANCTUARY, THERE MAY BE SOME SPOILERS IN THE BELOW POST! TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW!

HEY! I SAID TURN BACK!

Happy Friday bloggers, writers, weirdo’s and friends.

I’m back again, 3 times in one week….maybe WordPress hasn’t lost my love and devotion after all 😉

As you know I have uploaded the full length Dark Sanctuary to Wattpad and last week, due to popular demand, I decided to start uploading chapters from the second novel in the series, Lost Creatures.

So far so good, however this morning I woke up to a deluge of comments from my lovely Wattpad collective concerning my main character Sarah.

It seems Sarah isn’t being as well received as I hoped she would. I’m getting various comments about her, but to sum up it appears that some readers find her quite irritating because 1) she won’t put her trust in her vampire companion, Michael and 2) because she seems intent on putting herself and others at risk with her selfish and rather foolish ways.

I can’t say I completely disagree with the reasons why. As the reader, yes, Sarah’s actions can be frustrating. WE can see when Sarah is about to do something reckless. WE can see when she is being unreasonable and/or selfish. WE can see that ultimately she probably should let her guard down with Michael. But that’s because, as the reader, we have the power of foresight. Sarah, unfortunately doesn’t have this, so should we really chastise her for not seeing what we do?

When I read people’s comments (and the number of these comments has been increasing by the day), I automatically feel like I need to jump to Sarah’s defence. Is that a typical reaction with other writers? I don’t know, but I do know that I feel compelled to stick up for her a little bit. Yes, she can do stupid, reckless things. Yes, she can be frustrate the hell out of me. Sarah might not be perfect, but that’s what I like about her because somehow, for me, it makes her more real and it was always my aim when writing Dark Sanctuary to make it slightly more real than other contemporary vampire fiction. She’s human and she makes a ton of mistakes, and why not? Don’t we all?

But what is interesting is people’s reaction to Michael. Okay, so I dare say that the majority of my readers are female, so I get why they like him. There’s nothing like a hot male vamp to get the pulses racing, but Michael really isn’t the hero we think he is.

Michael isn’t an Edward. Yes, he’s hot. But he’s also a killer. He kills more often than not for money. Lonely rich housewives are his meal ticket. Literally. And Sarah was right when she said he didn’t want to save James. Was that jealousy? Yes, probably. Could he have done more to save James and also Sarah’s nan? Undoubtedly yes. But he didn’t. And that’s something we should remember. From the start he always had an ulterior motive in protecting Sarah – to earn favour with her father and gain Marcus’ help. The resulting love affair is just incidental and a nice twist to the tale.

But nobody seems to see all this. He’s Michael after all. And as a result, Sarah seems forever destined to be slated for not falling at his feet and for not putting her trust in him one hundred percent. Is it so difficult to accept that she would still be wary of Michael when the only vampires she had ever met were nothing but monsters?

Okay, I’m not defending everything she does. But she has some amazing qualities. She’s feisty. She’s strong. She’s independent. She’s funny. She’s tenacious. And yes, she’s stubborn. She’s selfish. She’s reckless. But I wouldn’t have her any other way. I like her flaws. She wouldn’t be Sarah if she wasn’t flawed in some way.

I don’t know whether the Wattpad collective’s opinion of Sarah will change. I have sneaky feeling she will redeem herself when she and Michael finally bump nasties. But whatever happens between her and Michael, she will still always be Sarah. Flawed. Imperfect. Real. But that’s fine with me because I don’t want a perfect heroine.

Perfect just doesn’t exist.

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#TuesdayTaster -Excerpt from Lost Creatures

When I awoke my first thought was that my feet were freezing cold. I mean, seriously, freezing-to-the-point-of-numbness-cold. When I looked down I could see that my toes were embedded in thick snow and I could only see my ankle bones peeking through the ice. Bemused, I wiggled my toes and they broke through the surface of the snow and I wondered what the hell I had done with my boots.

I heard footsteps crunch behind me and a familiar buzzing moved across my shoulder-blades and down my back. I felt warm breath on my neck but didn’t flinch.

“I’ll want that jumper back at some point you know,” Michael said.

I looked down and saw that I was still wearing his sweater. I wrapped my arms around my body and hugged the material to me. “Why are we here?” I asked, looking at the dense woodland that encircled us. I could see dark spots between the trees, so dense that my eyes could not penetrate the blackness. I didn’t want to think about what might be lurking in those places.

“I was going to ask you the same thing,” he said quietly.

Finally I turned around and looked up into his face. His blue eyes were full of worry.

“I miss her,” I said simply.

“You won’t find her here.”

“But it’s where I left her,” I frowned.

When I turned back round to face the woods, they had gone. I was standing on the edge of the forest looking at the little grey cottage, lights twinkling where I had left them on, awaiting my return.

“She’s not here, Sarah,” Michael said anxiously behind me but I was already walking away from him towards the lights.

I picked up pace as I crossed the lane, hardly feeling the cold against my bare skin anymore. I pushed the gate open, moving the flurry of snow that had built up behind it, and ran up the garden path towards the unvarnished wooden front door with its un-polished brass door knocker.

The door was ajar.

 

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2011 

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#TuesdayTaster Excerpt from Lost Creatures

Back in the cabin I bolted the door behind me and padded into the other room. In the darkened cabin, shadows engulfed me and even though I knew the bogeyman hiding under the trapdoor, I didn’t fancy making the journey down the precarious ladder in the pitch blackness. On the kitchen side, was a small candle in a white pottery holder and a box of matches. I watched as the tiny flame danced into life and I left it burning on the side for a moment, whilst I lifted the hatch door once again and then made my way down the ladder, trying to hold on carefully with one hand whilst holding the candle in the other. Placing the candle on the floor, I went back up and pulled the hatch door shut grimacing slightly at the thought of enclosing myself in an underground room with a vampire. Although when I went back down, the vampire himself was nowhere to be seen.
I frowned as I stared at the thin mattress and blanket in the corner but saw that Michael was not there. Hearing a noise I whirled around and saw the curtain, trailing across the floor behind me leading behind the ladder to the opposite side of the room.
There, crouched low in the corner, with his arms outstretched as if he were clutching at the walls to stop himself from falling, was Michael. His back was pressed straight up against the corner and his eyes flashed wildly. His teeth were clenched and his breath came out in a painful panting sound. I took a step towards him and he shifted quickly as if trying to press himself into the wall even further.
“Don’t!” he spat “Don’t come near me!”
“What?” I said feeling confused “What’s wrong?”
“What’s wrong?” he hissed “What’s wrong? I have just risked daylight, not once, but twice and you ask me what’s wrong?”
“Michael, look I know you were scared out there but….”
“Don’t even think to tell me how I am feeling! Ever! Because you have no bloody idea!” he said louder this time and I recoiled from the venom in his tone.
“Okay, I’m sorry, alright?”
“You’re always bloody sorry aren’t you? I’m sorry for being a burden. I’m sorry for constantly running away and getting into trouble. I’m sorry for running my mouth off and having an opinion of something I know nothing about!” he said it all in a whining voice and I felt my anger ignite.
“What the hell is wrong with you?” I snapped “I helped you get out of there and now you’re having a go at me?”
“I didn’t need your help! I told you that!” he shouted and stood up.
I couldn’t help but feel that there was something in his stance that made me think he was going to pounce at me. He looked all wound up tight, like a spring waiting to uncoil and fly across the room.
“I told you I would stay there. I told you I would meet you here, but no, you had to do everything your own way as usual! God forbid that you ever do anything that I ask! I asked you not to come looking for me. In fact I distinctly remember forbidding you to come there and what did you do? I should have known! And look what happened, you almost got yourself killed. Again! What is it with you, huh? Do you have some kind of morbid death wish? Do you get a kick out of it? Do you enjoy the pain, Sarah? Is that it?”
“That’s a stupid thing to say! You think I enjoyed this?” I scoffed, furious at his words and pointing the wound on my neck that still throbbed painfully “you think I wanted this to happen?”
“Well what the hell did you expect would happen? You walk freely into a vampire den, where every vampire in that place was desperate to take you and you expected to walk out unharmed? Why the hell did you think I told you not to go near there?” he was shouting now, his face patterned with hot rage.
“Oh you’re just great at telling me what to do, aren’t you Michael? It’s all I ever hear! Don’t do this, don’t do that. I’m tired of it! You spend half your time ordering me about and half your time lying through your teeth. Why should I listen to anything you say?”
“If I lie, it’s only to protect you,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Bullshit!” I cried “you lie to protect yourself! You lie because you don’t want me to know the truth about you.”
“Which is what exactly?”
“That you don’t do anything unless it benefits you. This whole thing has been orchestrated to suit you! The way you have watched over me all these years; looking out for me because my father asked you to. You did it for you, Michael! You didn’t do it because you cared for me; you did it because you thought my father would tell you what you wanted to know.”
“What do you want me to say?” he sniped back sarcastically “you want me to say that I did it out of love? You have read too many bloody novels! You’re a human!”
“Well sorry I disgust you so much! But thanks to you my father is gone now, so there’s no one here to order you to stay with me!”
“What did you say?” he said, his face going dark and taking a step forward.
“Well seeing as I am just a vile human, you won’t want to hang around me anymore will you?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. Thanks to you my father is gone. Thanks to me? Explain to me about the part where you think that was my fault?”
I glared at him now, feeling the fury burning through my veins and unable to keep a lock on my mouth. “Well you did it, didn’t you? You were the one that ended it,” I shot at him accusatorily.
His mouth dropped open in shock and then his cheek muscles twitched.
“I didn’t kill him,” his voice was low and he clenched his fists together tightly.
“Didn’t you? Funny because I could have sworn it was you I saw taking that final bite. How did that feel? Bet you were glad to get rid of the old bastard, weren’t you? Bet you thought all your Christmases had come at once!” I smiled at him cruelly.
“You think I enjoyed that?” he stared at me incredulously.
“Oh come on, Michael! The man who has pulled your strings all these years? Ordered you to do his bidding time and time again? You can’t tell me you didn’t enjoy finishing him off! Just a little bit even?”
“Shut up,” he snarled.
“See? The truth hurts doesn’t it? I know you, Michael. I know you better than you think I do and I know there was some part of you that wanted him gone.”
“You need to shut up now,” he growled.
“Why? What are you going to do, huh? Are you going to open my vein like she did? Finish what she started? Go on, you can take down a whole family in one night. That’s got to be a real win for you, right? A den leader and his sensor daughter! Go on why don’t you add another sensor to your list, Michael?”
“What are you talking about?”
“One you told me!” I spat “one sensor! And yet apparently it’s three. See, yet another lie that seemed to fall so easily from your lips. You really have a talent for it.”
“And you really have a talent for going for the jugular better than any vampire I know,” he snapped, shaking his head.
“Maybe I learned it from you?”
“Maybe you just inherited it from that bitch of a mother of yours?”
Now it was his turn to smile cruelly only he seemed to do it so much better than I could. I felt like he had reached across and punched me square in the gut.
“Take that back,” I said staring directly into his eyes.
“Why? She was a bitch. Even you can’t deny that. You hated her. I reckon you must have thought Bourne did you a really big favour that night.”
“I did not!” I gasped.
“But you did hate her, didn’t you?” he smirked, stepping forward “come on, Sarah, admit it! She thought you were a freak, of course you hated her!”
“Stop it,” I whispered.
“Just think: no more awkward silences. No more hate-filled looks. No more having to avoid her. No more having to be scared of her. I bet you breathed a sigh of relief when she was ripped from this world?”
“Stop it!” I shouted “stop it!”
“You were right,”he laughed, turning away “the truth really does hurt.”
For a few seconds I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I stood there, staring at his back, clenching and unclenching my fists, trying to suppress the most awful scream that was building inside my throat. With a cry of rage, I flew at him, ready to hammer down blow after blow on his smug face but with a quicker-than-the-eye move, he spun and caught my wrists before I could hit him and he charged forward, pushing me backwards until my back hit the wall and he pinned me against it, with his face dark and full of rage. I tried to kick out with my legs but he held my lower body still with his own and bared his teeth at me.
“You want to fight me, Sarah?” he said in a low, dangerous voice “you really want to fight me?”
“I’m not scared of you, vampire!” I spat, raising my chin in defiance.
“You should be, sensor,” he warned “maybe I should never have let things get this far. I always knew having a human in my life was…wrong…twisted even. And yet, for some reason I condoned it. I condoned it because I thought that maybe you were the key. But I think I was wrong about that. I’m starting to wonder if all this is really worth the hassle. I’m starting to think I’d rather go an eternity without knowing, than spend another night with you.”
“That would be completely fine with me!”
We glared at each other; the vampire and the sensor; both covered in the proof of our recent ordeals. The blood from the wound above his eye was still smeared across his cheekbone and he bore the marks of beatings he had taken at the hands of my father’s people. His hair fell across his right eye and covered a blackened eye socket. I still wore the faded bruises from my time in the Exodus cells, and I could still feel the bite marks on my thighs where Alex had attacked me. However all of these marks seemed to pale in comparison to the burning where Dominique had sunk her teeth into my neck. As I stood there now, feeling such overwhelming rage, my neck throbbed in agony and I thought that if Michael let me go, I would probably sink to my knees in pain. But, held against the wall and struggling to move, it actually felt like the pain was feeding my anger. The more it burned, the more I burned. The more I burned, the more I wanted to hurt him. And he definitely looked like he wanted to hurt me. His face was flushed with rage and his eyes blazed wildly as he ran them over my face.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, he released my wrists and stepped back, holding his head in his hands. I could feel my breath leave me in short sharp gasps and I rubbed the skin on my wrists where he had held me so tightly. Letting out a strangled cry, he jumped forward, grabbing me again and pinning me in the same position and when he lowered his head towards mine, I closed my eyes fearing the worst and hoping to God that it wouldn’t hurt but knowing that it most definitely would.

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012

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Taster from chapter 36 – Lost Creatures

The little vampire stared at me for a moment before roaring with laughter that ended up into another alarming coughing fit that saw him double over in his chair. This time I did get up and rush over to him, crouching slightly so I could pat his back. When he had the coughing under control, he reached out and grabbed my arm, twisting it over so my wrist was exposed in front of him, blue veins criss-crossing just under the surface of my skin. I gasped and tried to tug my arm away but his grip was deceptively strong. Michael was by my side immediately but Monty just held up his other hand in a placating gesture.

“When you reach my age, the desire to feed is like a candle burning to nothing. I neither crave nor need it. If I did, then Michael here would have had a very ferocious battle on his hands. A mighty true-born he might be, but no match for an old creature like me, especially when faced with one as lovely as you,” he raised an eyebrow at me and released my arm and I couldn’t help but laugh softly at his veiled charm.

My experience with Elder vampires had so far not been exactly pleasant, but I couldn’t help but like Monty and when he smiled, crinkling up his eyes, I felt a small stab of warm affection for the old man.

“Be careful, Michael,” Monty croaked “I may just steal this one. We could do with some young blood around here, no pun intended of course.”

Even Michael laughed at this but I felt his hand move protectively to my waist regardless. The room grew silent again and I felt the laughter die away and the tension edged into the air space around us. Monty regarded us both, his eyes drifting over our faces, noting the hand that curled around my side and his face grew solemn and thoughtful.

“Love has a funny way of making the jigsaw pieces come together even when they are not meant to fit,” he pondered “You two are playing a dangerous game, I hope you know that?”

Michael shifted uncomfortably beside me. “We know the dangers. It’s becoming second nature at the moment. But we will be fine.”

“I hope that you will be. There are too many out there that would not wish to see your relationship continue. Deep-rooted beliefs run strong; old prejudices can be quite fearsome. You will have many enemies; you can count on that.”

“Yeah, we’ve met a few already,” I sighed.

“Then be prepared to meet a good few many more, my dear,” said Monty a hard tone creeping into his voice “a sensor and a vampire together will not be tolerated and I don’t just mean by the Elder Council. There are many out there who will stop at nothing to destroy this. If you do not stick together, then I am afraid for you. I am afraid for you both.”

There was something in the way he looked at me that made me think that it was I alone he was afraid for. I didn’t much like that feeling. It made me feel as if someone was running a very icy finger down my spine and about to plunge that same cold hold into my body and grip my heart in its freezing palm.

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012

 

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Montague Kerr: An Elizabethan Vampire

Everyone loves a back story. Every great character deserves a back story. What’s the point of introducing a new key character without giving the reader some insight into his/her life, even if they are not your main protagonist? Some characters cry out for it. And as a writer, it’s always an enjoyable diversion away from you main characters. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE writing about Michael and Sarah, but what’s a novel without variety? Sebastian is definitely one I will come back to. Maybe even Marcus. But new character Montague Kerr (from Lost Creatures) had me hooked from the start and begged for a back story.

Montague is an Elder vampire; exiled from the vampire council for refusing to agree with their views that all sensors must be killed and now lives his life as a night-shift warden caring for the elderly at Auburn Mews Residential Home. When Sarah and Michael seek him out in the hope he can help them find the answers to Michael’s heritage and the reason for their strange connection, he offers up the story of how he was transformed into a vampire. Born in Elizabethan England, trained in medicine but with a secret yearning for the theatrical world; he had denied his true self all of his human life to keep his father happy, even marrying a young girl called Millicent, although he knew it was nothing but a charade. After his father dies, he happens by chance to renew an old friendship with Cuthbert Burbage, part owner of The Globe theatre. It is through Cuthbert, that Montague meets the mysterious William Jonson, a writer from York, whose tales of great travels across Europe captivate Montague and they agree to meet up at The Globe’s first performance of Julius Caesar. However William doesn’t show until the final act and does not seek Montague out, and Montague is devastated……

I made my way towards the river, moving further away from the stench of the crowd and closer to the stench of the water. I paid little attention to anyone around me, I just had some vague notion of many people walking past me, some heading back to towards the taverns and inns near the playhouse where the night would continue and some heading towards London Bridge as I was. I had no desire to walk amongst them and discuss the afternoon’s entertainment as I would usually do after a performance. I just wanted to be on my own so I took a diversion down a less travelled road. As soon as I did so, I realised that it was probably folly to walk alone down such a quiet alley. The evening was now upon me and I was all too aware of the dangers that such a route could present. The back streets of London, especially those down by the river, were not known for their safety and if you did not want to meet your fate at the hands of robbers and other unsavoury beings then you would be advised to avoid them at all costs. How easy it would be for them to cut you down, take all your possessions and then dump your body unseen into the filthy depths of the Thames. You could spend eternity down in those murky waters, your decomposing body nothing but fodder for the river beasts.

Maybe I had a death wish? I think maybe I lost my mind for a moment, so deeply entrenched I was in my own shame and foolish desires and it was not until I was halfway down the thin cobbled street did I realise just how foolish a man I was. I suddenly became very aware that I was being watched. I turned but did not see anyone but I was sure that somewhere, deep in the shadows, lurked someone who meant me harm. My skin prickled in warning. My heart beat raced until I thought it might explode inside my rib cage. I was in danger! I abandoned all proprietary and decided to run for the other end of the alley which opened up near to the entrance of the bridge. But of course, an old man I was and had never been much of a sprinter, even in my youth and I struggled down the street, desperately listening for a pounding of footsteps behind me and hearing none; but no matter, I knew they were coming.

Just as I somehow managed to reach the end of the alley, a figure appeared in front of me and it was then I realised how wrong I had been. The danger had not been behind me, it had lain in wait for me the whole time and by then it was too late to turn back. I was captured!

‘Montague! Whatever is the matter? Why do you run so?’ a familiar voice with a soft northern lilt said.

William! I clutched at his coat, feeling so relieved to find someone who I knew but desperate to warn him of the danger that stalked me.

‘Quickly!’ I cried ‘we must keep going, we are in grave danger!’

He wrapped an arm around my shoulder, comforting and protective, drawing me closer to him.

‘Come, come my friend, what on earth has happened? Have you been attacked? Are you hurt?’

‘No but they are coming!’ I urged gripping his coat tighter in painfully clenched fists ‘please William, we must go!’

He smiled at me, with no hint of concern etched upon his face and I thought he must be quite mad not to be alarmed and turn on his heels in fright.

‘Who is coming?’ he said, quite unperturbed ‘there is nobody here except for you and I’

Turning to face the danger I was sure must now be right behind me, I looked to find a very empty alleyway, except of course for William and myself and I felt stunned and all at once quite sick. There had been someone there! I had felt it with absolute certainty and I was sure it had not been the workings of a very overactive imagination. Scanning the shadows for any signs of movement and seeing nothing but the dalliances of a few street rats, I could feel my cheeks burning through the dusky evening air and my soul sank as I knew that William must think that I was mad, or worse, senile. With a heavy heart, I turned back to face him and he was looking at me in the same way he had back at the playhouse. His eyes were fixed on mine so intently that the saliva in my mouth dried up immediately and I wanted to clear my throat, so dry and arid it felt but I was scared that I would end up choking in front of him; another indication of my cursed age. I let my hands drop from his front, but he did not let go of me.

‘I’m sorry’ I croaked ‘I’m sorry, you will have to excuse me; I am tired and feel not quite myself’

‘Are you sick, dear Montague?’ he asked softly ‘what ails you my friend?’

I felt quite hypnotised by those eyes I must say and it was as if all my anger from his earlier performance seeped from my skin and trickled towards the river, to mix there with those dark waters.

‘No’ I replied grimly ‘not sick at all, just perhaps taken leave of my senses for a moment. Forgive me, I am an old man and it was foolish of me to come this way. I grew fearful in such a place and panicked. Like I said, I am an old man and sometimes commit such acts of stupidity that I thought I had outgrown when I was but a child’

I felt his eyes flit across my face and he inched slightly closer. If I had felt panicked before, I felt utterly flustered then! I wanted to flee, I wanted to slip free of his grip and run; even though I knew my tired limbs would not carry me very far.

‘Montague!’ he smiled ‘but you are not an old man! You contain a vibrancy that I do not see in men even half your age. The light inside you burns brighter than anyone I have met in a long time. Do not be so hard on yourself, please dear friend’

I felt my shoulders sag in despair. I knew his words were nothing but falsehood. How could he possible see me as anything but a stupid old man?

‘I think maybe you mock me’ I said, feeling my dejection turn into the embers of a fire, ready to be re-ignited in anger ‘otherwise why would you have not joined me this afternoon like we had arranged? I waited for you. I waited alone only to find that you were in the theatre all along!’

‘But of course I was not!’ he said, still smiling in a way that was starting to drive me half-mad ‘I am sorry if you think that, Montague but I was held up. I arrived halfway through the end of the final act but could not gain entry to the second tier. So I thought I would wait for you on the other side’

As I looked into his eyes I just knew that what he said was a lie. I so wished that it wasn’t but I could just tell that it was nothing but fakery. I was done with his games! An old man I might have been, but I would not stand back any longer and let him make a fool of me!

‘You lie!’ I said, pulling myself out of his embrace.

He said nothing for a moment, just brushed at the front of his coat as if trying to remove the ruffles I had created in the fabric. Pulling at the lapels, he looked down at his feet and when he looked back at me, his face seemed quite solemn.

‘Yes, yes I do’ he said ‘you might be in the twilight of your years, Montague Kerr, but you are sharp and incredibly observant. There really is no fooling you, but of course I never thought you would make this easy for me. It is, simply, what attracted me to you in the first place. In a room full of young bodies and wonderful minds, it was you that reeled me in. On first sight, I was already captivated’

I gasped; stunned that not only was another man saying such words to me, words that I had longed to hear but never thought I ever would, but astounded also that he claimed to feel exactly how I had felt when we had met each other. How could this be? He reached out and rested a cool hand on my neck, the contact of skin against skin making me flinch.

‘I don’t understand’ I whispered.

‘I could not come any earlier. I lied to you. I had to wait until dusk started to draw in, but when it did, I did not want to join you in the box. Watching you brings me great delight, Montague. I have watched you every night since we met at Cuthbert’s home. I wanted to watch you this evening, a jewel amongst the dirt of the playhouse and think about how sweet it would be to make you mine. I stood there in the bottom tier, pondering on how much of your life has been wasted and how wonderful it would be for you to be like me; for me to make you like me. I think I knew that it was what I wanted as soon as I saw you and trust me, that rarely happens. I have only made one other in my lifetime, Montague and she died such a long time ago. I have walked this earth for too many years, alone, despairing that I would ever find another and as if by fate, you came along’

He lifted his other hand and touched fingers ever so lightly to my cheek and then he moved it down until his palm was flat on my chest.

‘Is that desire or fear, dear friend?’ he smiled, wider now and when he opened his mouth I saw sharp teeth; pronounced canines that you only ever saw in animals, certainly never in humans. I draw back quickly, stumbling backwards until I felt my back hit the wall behind me and I felt my hands instinctively cover my throat.

‘Do not fear me, Montague for I can give you everything you have ever wanted. You feel that, do you not?’ he stepped forward, one hand over his own heart and the other palm outwards ‘all your life you have lived according to another’s wishes. I know this. What must have that been like for you, my dear? To deny your very being, to be someone who you were not, all just to please your father? To be a good son. And you were that, Montague, really you were, because I don’t think I could have done the same. I have never really been one to deny myself anything and now I stand here after so many, many years, knowing that my wanton desires never gave me anything but loneliness and wanting’

‘What are you?’ I gasped.

‘I am me, Montague. I am William Jonson and always have been William Jonson. I have never known any other life than this. I was born as what you see before you today and one day, maybe I will die the same. Do not fear me, please. I am still the same person that you met, the same person that you conversed with, dare I say the same person that you flirted with; the same person you ached to meet again tonight, and do not say that is not the case, as your heart betrays you, just like it did earlier. You wanted to be angry with me but the moment you saw me, your heart rang out across The Globe, loud and clear above the performance as if it were you on that stage; a lone player, bearing his soul for the whole audience to see. I know this, Montague, I know this! But whilst your heart and your mind pulsate with the most beautiful energy, your body grows old, does it not? It fails you when you need it most. You would like to run, but you know you cannot. There are days when you feel it more, yes? The tiredness, the decay?’

I found myself nodding in response, suddenly feeling that exhaustion more than I ever had in my whole wretched life. William stepped closer still.

‘I can stop all that, you know. I can stop the rot, I can banish the decay. With one kiss, I can end it. I can make you like me, Montague. No more aging skin. No more aching bones. Just wondrous life! You will run; you will jump; you will feel movement in your limbs that you have not felt in years. Nay, you will feel movement that you have never felt! You will be stronger than you have ever been. And more than that, you will be free! You will be free to live how you have always wanted to live. You can be you, Montague!’

Those fingers were on my skin again, tracing a faint line across my cheek and he was so close now, so very close. I stared into his eyes, feeling a multitude of emotions; fear, joy, lust, despair, love and hope. Here was the danger lurking in the shadows; that much I knew for certain. Here he was, standing in front of me, and yes, I knew he was a monster; and yet for some inexplicable reason, I could feel hope in what he said. I believed him; every word. I knew it was the answer.

And so, I let him kiss me. His lips gently touched mine and his hand gripped the back of my neck and very quickly his head moved down and I felt him kiss me again, this time on the throat, and this time with an open mouth and teeth that pierced my skin so sharply that my knees crumbled beneath me.  He brought me to the floor very slowly and continued until it was done. As I lay there, with my blood spilling out onto the cobbles and his blood trickling from my own mouth, darkness overtook me and his words carried me into the night:

I was born free as Caesar; so were you:
We both have fed as well, and we can both
Endure the winter’s cold as well as he’

Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012

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