• Alice Godwin

Lament

“If you were in love with a vampire and he offered you eternal life what would your answer be?” The words where spoken so softly I wasn’t sure I'd even really heard them.


I shifted my position and looked up at his face, there was a smile on his lips as he gazed back at me. I lifted one eyebrow, sucking in my bottom lip, a nervous gesture that I’d never quite gotten rid of.

“What sort of question is that?”

“A legitimate question?”

I tried to read his face but his countenance was enigmatic as usual.

“Hypothetically speaking?” I folded my elbows onto his chest and leaned my chin on my arms.

“Hypothetically, if you so wish.” His low voice was tinged with humour.

I gazed at him, trying to discern something in his look. His eyes were half shut as his head lay on the pillow, his wavy brown hair with its honey highlights, that shimmered like gold thread, spread out over the white linen luscious like animal fur. His skin always seemed darker against the sheets, a tawny brown as though he spent his life lazing under a Caribbean sun. His right hand was languidly stroking my spine, the fingers circling my lower back, occasionally drifting down to caress my bottom. He had very sensitive fingers; my body tingled wherever he touched it.

I closed my eyes and counted to ten before opening them again and saying. “Is this some sort of psychological game?”

“Why do you say that?” He asked.

“Well the answer would demonstrate a particular type of profile.”

“In what way?”

“A Vampire is a predatory creature, it feeds off humans. Not everyone would be comfortable becoming such a creature; it would take a special type of personality I would think. Someone who was capable of being a natural predator, someone that could kill.”

“Surely that definition would apply to all humans.” He laughed. “Most humans eat what was once alive, they just choose to not do the actual killing themselves. Someone else does that for them. Although in the past one was much closer to one’s source of food and actually participated in the hacking off of a sirloin steak, knew what part of the anatomy it came from.” He teased his hand down to my buttocks and squeezed one cheek. The tingling intensified into something stronger. “Mm juicy piece of rump here.”

He grinned at me; his eyes wide open now, the dark indigo blue of a fathomless sea. “All humans are potential killers, the bloodlust stirs just below the surface. Many psychological studies have proven that, even as history has, we are drowning in the blood of our past misdeeds.”

“Still it’s a big step going from supermarket shelves to tracking down someone that you would then kill.” I said defensively.

“Why do you think that vampires kill their prey? Humans can lose a lot of blood before they die. Otherwise there would be no blood banks.” He looked at me amused.

I shifted my position and glanced down at my arms, my skin was pale like creamy pearls, lying against his body I felt like I was made of marble, white, translucent, smooth against his skin that was like sun-warmed sand. Sometimes I would almost feel myself dissolving into his skin, pushing aside the surface particles and dissipating into him, becoming one with him. I found the sensation disturbing even as I found it somehow pleasurable.

“And never seeing the sun again. That would be hard.” I whispered almost more to myself than to him.

“Like you spend so much time in the sun.”

His other hand had risen from the pillow and was stroking my face. I smiled and felt his fingers caress my lips, his other hand zinged up my spine and curved around my neck, he pulled me closer so I was leaning over his face, my eyes staring straight into his, his mouth so close that I was breathing his breath. His teeth were very white. I kissed him, his warm lips and tongue wrapping over mine, his hands stoking my body, he rolled me over and began licking my breasts, his tongue looping around my nipples like a plane circling, rolling down and down in ever diminishing circles until it landed in a place that made me forget about blood and vampires for a long while.


I was lying in his arms, half asleep and glistening with sweat, our bodies slippery like glass on glass, I fell back in time to almost four weeks ago when we met.

I was leaving church, the late night Easter Sunday mass, it was almost midnight and the temperature had dropped to near freezing. I had attended the morning service with my husband and children but something had drawn me back for a second time. I was certainly not religious, particularly not after what had happened to me, yet the sermon on Christ’s resurrection and our own redemption on the day of judgement had somehow enthralled me. Even as I whispered to myself that it was all lies, part of me wanted to believe, wanted to have some hope, wanted to understand why. I sat for a long while as all the others left and only the priest and a couple of older nuns remained, praying and tidying up. Finally I departed. I walked down the steps and into the deserted street.

I crossed over and there he was leaning against a lamppost.

He smiled at me. I stopped. It had been so long since anyone had acknowledged my presence that I responded spontaneously, like an alley cat responds to the kind touch of an anonymous stranger by purring and leaning into the hand that strokes it.

“Hello.”

His voice had a low resonant quality to it that made me think of wooden sailing ships with decks of polished burnished timbers, of gleaming copper instruments, of billowing sales held taut by miles of rigging. I could practically smell the ocean, feel the salty air, and taste the brine.

I stared at him, his eyes such a dark blue like a winter evening sky about to turn into night, his olive skin, his lips that curved into a smile that made me think of fallen angels. He was dressed in a coat that hung to his knees and he had black polished boots on under his trousers. He looked as though he had travelled from somewhere far away.

“My name is Atticus.” He passed me over a card.

I stared at the card; it felt like Egyptian parchment, the paleness of ivory and his name Atticus D’Alton hovered in the middle like the frozen flight of a midnight raven silhouetted against a dawn sky.

“And yours?” His tone was playful.

“Lilith.” I murmured.

“An appropriate name indeed,” he nodded, “for one such as you. The wild wanton first wife of Adam. Independent and defiant, not to mention stunningly beautiful. You are aptly named. She of the night.”

He reached for my hand, took it and kissed it, his lips so hot against my cold skin I felt like he had seared me with a brand.

“Shall we have a drink?” he suggested, “it's cold and you feel like you need warming up.”

He held on to my hand still. I nodded and he took me to a bar nearby, a place that was dimly lit with opulent velvet furnishings. It was almost empty and he escorted me to a booth that looked over the deserted street. He ordered a Bloody Mary and asked me what I wanted. I had only managed to glance at the martini list.

“ A silver bullet.” I whispered.

He laughed, it was the first time I had heard his laugh. It resonated through me like I was made of crystal, a harmonic wave that rolled into me and over me, realigning my cells and spinning my emotions into some sort of whirlpool. I wanted to tear my clothes off and dance naked in the moonlight. I wanted to rip his clothes off and feel his flesh against mine. Some laughter has that effect on you.

He nodded to the waiter. “As the lady desires.”

I looked out into the street there was a shimmering quality to the light probably because the full Easter moon hung at zenith and coated the earth in silver shades. I noticed that the lamppost that he had been leaning against was now dark, surely the light had been working before, I could recall seeing his face so clearly, if the light had been broken his face would’ve been in shadow. I turned to see him watching me. We didn’t say anything until the waiter returned with our drinks.

“To us.” He said. “To the future.”

It was then that I knew that I would spend the night with him and not just one night but also almost every night since. Of course not the entire night, after all I had to be home before dawn. What would the neighbours think? I had been in denial for so long I even believed my own lies.


I refocused my eyes and turned my head to look up at his face, his eyes were shut and his breathing languid.

“What about sex?” I murmured into his chest, “Vampires don’t have sex.”

He laughed.

“You shouldn’t believe everything you read. Why wouldn’t they have sex? Nearly all creatures do. After all it’s so very pleasurable why wouldn’t they indulge? Nothing beats an orgasm on a cold night.”

“Why would something as powerful as a Vampire even ask the question? Surely he would just take what he wanted?”

I looked up into Atticus’s face; he brushed some strands of hair away from my cheek, black hair like spilt ink flowed to my shoulders. My childhood name had been Snow White. I had always found the concept of a lingering limbo-like death in a glass coffin strangely appealing.

“Lilith,” he whispered staring into my eyes. “A gentleman would always ask, would always give his love a choice. Otherwise it would be akin to rape. Worse than rape, far worse. After all rape is usually confined to a short space of time. But to take one’s soul by force and consign someone to an eternity against their will would be a sin of the highest order.”

“So Vampires have a moral code?” I tried to make light of his comments.

He looked at me and kissed me lightly, gently. “Most probably, just as not all humans have ethics.”

He leaned to one side and turned a switch, the wafting ethereal sounds of Debussy gently filled the room, the piano notes rippling through the air covering our bodies like a transparent blanket woven with tears and sadness. I fell asleep in his arms waking a few hours later to his whisper. “It’s time to go.”


He drove me home in his car that was almost too luxurious to be called a car. It barely made a sound, riding in it was like sitting inside a purring beast, the engine was silent except for a low rumbling vibration. The world seemed to float by, perhaps it was just an illusion created by the night, after all at four in the morning, the air, the atmosphere has a bewitching quality, a calmness, a stillness not found during the other hours of the day.

“I can’t see you till Friday.” He said as he parked across from my house. “I have some business to attend to.”

I nodded. He was here in town for business, the penthouse just a short-term home before he returned to wherever it was he came from. He was extremely wealthy but seemed unconcerned by money, annoyed by it almost, as though it were a chore that needed to be gotten out of the way so he could concentrate on his passions. I couldn’t work him out. Perhaps I hadn’t tried. I was unprepared for his next comment.

“I’d like your answer then.”

“Answer?” I felt confused.

I was tired, sated by our night of lovemaking, all that physical desire fulfilled made me just want to sleep. Then I felt the music change subtly, a chord striking low, the keys turning darker full of portents of doom, a B flat minor moment. I knew what question he meant.

He stared at me. His face looked hard as the shadows from the trees outside wavered in the breezes shifting different shades of darkness over the contours of his features.

“What makes you think I’m in love with you?” I asked sharply. I’d always had a defiant streak that had gotten me into lots of trouble at school.

He gazed at me and said in a voice of such infinite kindness that my heart almost cracked. “Lilith. I think it’s time you faced the truth about your situation.”

He reached for my hand and held it. My hand felt like ice, his was so warm I felt like I might start melting and become nothing but a tiny pool of water that he could hold cupped in his palms. That he could then bring to his mouth and drink.

All gone.

All dissolved.

I stared across the road to where my house stood, bricks and mortar, substantial and material in a world that suddenly seemed so very hard for me to reach. The music shifted and changed, G flat major, Mahler I surmised. I breathed in deeply and something also shifted inside me.

“What do you think blood tastes like?” I said the words delicately, innocently like a child asking an adult something important. He smiled and his face changed, softer, mellower, like a sunny moment before the storm crashes.

“Like warm red wine but saltier.” He laughed and leaned over and kissed me goodnight.


The house was quiet and dark; I wandered the familiar rooms ending up in the lounge room, where there was a hint of fire in the air, the room still holding the vestiges of last nights heating. I leaned into the fireplace and gazed at the framed photographs, family portraits, enlarged spontaneous moments captured and held on paper, encircled by wood or metal frames. I noticed that they were all from five years ago; there were no new ones at all. I also noted that there was a definite layer of dust over all of them, my husband had never been good with cleaning, obvious the cleaner he employed was not that conscientious either. How quickly things begin to deteriorate when left, entropy the state the universe naturally inclines towards. I lay on the couch and thought about all that had happened, recently since meeting Atticus and maybe more importantly over the past five years since my accident.

I thought of the girls, five years older now, Bethany was almost sixteen; reasonably stable for a girl of her age, studious the majority of the time, occasionally rebellious. She had a new boyfriend that seemed to bring out the sensitive side in her.

Gabriella had turned thirteen last month, a big year starting high school, new friends, new emotions, and new hormones creating unforseen turbulence. She had thrown herself into her piano practice more vigorously this year I had noticed, perhaps it had a calming effect on her, something familiar and habitual, a place she could go and immerse herself that was safe and secure in a world that wasn’t.

Five years had passed so quickly. Children are very resilient, they cope with almost anything, in the beginning the distress had been palpable, I had almost been able to smell it, taste it. It hung over the house like a distress call, bitter and sweet entwined together like a honey covered sour lolly, the type you spit out once the sugary coating has dissolved leaving only the residue in your mouth that lingers longer than you would wish.

Even my husband Mark had eventually pulled himself together, showing some remarkable attributes that I wouldn't have suspected that he had. It’s amazing what people are capable of when they have to deal with situations.

Atticus’s comment hung in my mind like a kite snagged on a tree branch, hovering reluctantly, tugging at what restrained it, wanting to pull free and continue on its journey. Lies, deception, when had I succumbed to them? Perhaps in the beginning when I was half crazy with grief and fear. But then I let them cover me like some coat that I refused to take off whatever the temperature might be.

In the beginning I could fool myself in believing that there was a reason that I needed to be here, that they needed me that they couldn’t live without me. In the beginning my presence probably did soothe them especially the girls. I would hold them as they slept, wipe the tears from their eyes, kiss them tenderly the way all mothers do, keep the monsters of the dark away. Now I wasn’t so sure that I had any justification to continue hanging on, often feeling so invisible that my absence would barely register a comment, a tiny breeze that was barely discernable.


I spent the next two days soaking in their faces, their beings, the physical world they inhabited, sucking it in, the colours, the textures, the smells. Saturating myself with it, immersing my soul so that their imprint would always remain strong, forever bound inside me. Preparing myself to leave. He was right I needed to face my situation and accept it as it truly was. It was finally time to go.

Yet fear held me paralysed, strung tightly like a cello string about to break and ruin the entire musical piece, strung on a web that stretched to eternity and eternity seemed so vast and endless. I had created a world that was comfortable, lonely and isolated but also familiar and safe.

I heard the crunch of the tyres as he parked the car; everyone was sleeping although I suspected Gabriella had snuck her earphones on as soon as the bedroom door had closed. Much like I had hidden my radio under the pillow when I was her age so as to listen to some obscure pirate radio station that only broadcasted at midnight, waking in the morning to the weird buzz of static and batteries so depleted they would need to be thrown in the bin.

I whispered goodbye, I didn’t have the physical strength left to open the front door, heavy wooden entrance that it was, I merely wafted my way out via one of the windows.

He stood leaning against the bonnet, the curved contours of the dark Jaguar looked like a metallic extension of his persona, the passenger side door was open. He searched my face as I approached.

“Ready?” He asked.

I nodded and stepped into his world.

He drove to the end of the road and turned left instead of the usual right. I looked at him.

“We’re going to the beach.” He answered my unspoken question, in a tone that made the statement not seem as ludicrous as it was.

Of course, I thought, where else would we be going on a night like this? I leaned back and listened to Debussy, the piano and the violins creating a tranquil space. It was only when I heard the harp playing that I began to weep silently. Finally I had cried all my tears away, there was nothing left, I felt empty and much, much lighter, as light as air.

“How long have you known?” I asked.

“I’ve always known, I’ve been searching for you, tracking you down. It has taken a while.”

He glanced at me.

“When you became what you are, you flared up, a brilliant white light, like a beacon, a lighthouse. For a moment there was a new star in the sky. And then you faded down, becoming an echo, a throbbing beat like a pulsar, that’s how I tracked you, circling around in tighter and tighter circles, following your pulse. Eventually to you.”

I was silent as I let his words sink into me.

“Why?” I finally asked.

He smiled as he drove, his eyes on the road.

“Because I’m looking for a companion. Someone with your intense life force might be more than suitable to join me on my journey. Might be exactly what I’m looking for.”

“Have there been other companions?” My voice was wary.

“Three.”

The car had stopped at a red light. He looked over and smiled.

“Where are they now?”

“I didn’t eat them if that’s what you’re thinking. My last lady and I parted more than amicably. We had been together for a very long time; we chose to follow separate routes. We still talk. The internet is a wonderful communication device.”

The car started moving. I stared out the window, we seemed to have left the city, and the road was winding through bushland.

“The other two, well let us say Eternity is a difficult concept, to live it requires a certain type of mental suppleness. You presume that the blood aspect is the most difficult detail to accept but really it’s just a matter of hunger. When you get hungry enough you’ll eat anything. Food is food whatever the receptacle. But forever is almost inescapable; it stretches the mind to its limit and then takes you over into the beyond. Some find it too intense and they choose death.”

“What makes you think I could deal with it?” I asked, my heart was beating at twice its usual rate. Then I wondered if I still had a heart.

He laughed his laugh that made me want to dance.

“My sweet one. You have already chosen eternity. You started the journey when you refused to be dead. You are already one of us. Your life force is very strong but it cannot continue indefinitely. You are already dimming. You must be aware of that.”

He looked at me held my eyes, there was a buzzing in my ears, I didn’t want to hear this even though I needed to.

He continued. “Once your loved ones go, their memories also disappear, there becomes less and less for you to hold on to. In eighty years you will have faded to almost transparency. You will have become in reality what you are, a ghost so insubstantial that only the most psychically aware will sense your presence. You will be like a shadow print of what you were.”


I knew he spoke the truth, already I was too weak to move inanimate objects, doors, chairs, windows even, it was much easier to just slide through them, a slightly eerie feeling but I was already getting used to it. Even my beloved piano was silent, my fingers unable to press the keys, no matter how hard I tried. I stared at him.

“I’m offering you a chance to retain your physicality, your vitalness, to live as if you were really alive, a chance to lead a fuller richer life, compared to the one you've chosen.” His voice was very gentle, so gentle that I wanted to close my eyes and accept everything.

“There is a price to pay though?” I took a deep breath.

“We are almost here.” He said as the car slowed and he eased it into a small gravel car park, cutting the engine so the rumbling vibration slowly stilled.


Ahead were the dunes and glittering like a black jewel was the sea. The full moon hung in the sky just above the horizon as though it had risen from the depths like an enormous pearl emerging from its oceanic shell.

“Come.” He said as he reached over to the back seat and grabbed a small bag.

He opened my door and held my hand as I joined him on the gravel. He took off his jacket and hung it around my shoulders. It radiated his body heat into my bones making me feel almost warm. We walked along the dunes and down to the shore. I felt like I was in a dream.

I sat on the sand near the water’s edge, it still held some warmth from the day’s solar rays, I could feel it discharging into my bones, my legs, my buttocks, my feet. The night was very cold. Atticus sat beside me; he had unbuttoned his shirt and taken his shoes and socks off. His hair glimmered in the moonlight.

“How old are you?” I asked.

“I’ve forgotten,” he said softly, “I was born on the coast of a country that doesn’t exist anymore, that has no name, that has passed into myth. I was recruited to be a soldier, there was a war, and I was full of anger. I overflowed with anger. I had lost everything, my wife, my three children, my home, even my village, all burnt and pillaged by barbarians. I was recruited because I was mad with hate. I accepted without thinking that I would survive more than a few years; I became part of a dark war between two dark lords. I vented my rage for two centuries; I did things that were abominable, heinous, deeds, which I have regretted ever since. It wasn’t called the Dark Ages for nothing. Eventually a truce was proclaimed and the few of us that were left dissipated. And I learnt to live again. I have mellowed considerably since those days.”


I dug my hands into the sand, feeling the warmer surface grains mix with the cooler interior ones, felt them sliding through my fingers. He leaned towards me and lifted my chin so I was looking at his face; his dark eyes stared into mine. He brushed my hair away with the fingers of his other hand. He kissed me, a long hard sensual kiss that made my body sing a harmony of joy and desire, a C major symphony transcending upwards. It left me breathless.

“Tell me some details.” I knew the question was vague but I seemed to have lost my ability to coordinate my thoughts. He smiled; his teeth were straight, normal looking. Where were the fangs?

“For a start forget everything you have ever read, heard, seen about Vampires, most of it is incorrect, although there are glimmers of truth among the falsehoods. Most of my victims would not even think they were victims. Seduction is a far more reliable technique than fear. Most only remember a night where the sex was dazzling and their tiredness adequately explained. Others remember a vivid dream, possibly erotic, certainly not disturbing and a lethargy that stays with them for a few days. A handful may have some inkling of what has transpired, deep down in their subconscious but most are happily ignorant.”

He stroked my face very gently as he talked.

“I do not grow fangs although the method of penetration is as you expect, its just my teeth don’t suddenly extend out, we are more subtle than that. We don’t sleep in coffins, a darkened room is sufficient, the sun can kill us but it is a corroding slow death not instantaneous. We can survive days, weeks even in the sun if we need although it takes its toll on our well-being and it can be a long time before we are fully functional again. On certain days of high energy, the solstice, the equinox, I can suck enough extra strength from the ether so I can watch the sunrise or sunset without any negative effect. I don’t fly or turn into a bat, although I have quite amazing acrobatic skills and if I choose I can be so still, so quiet, that I become almost invisible but that is just a skill nothing magical.”

He smiled and began kissing my face, my neck, my décolletage, kisses so warm I felt my skin trembling each time his mouth caressed my skin. His arm came around my waist and disappeared up my jumper, his hand so hot against my icy skin, I couldn’t understand why I was suddenly so much colder than I had been or else he was so much hotter.

He stopped kissing me and as though he had read my thoughts whispered. “You’ll never feel cold again. I can walk naked through a blizzard and still feel comfortably warm. I just choose to be discreet.”

“Are there many of your kind?”

“More than you think, less than you imagine. We tend to live separately. No reunions No organised events to catch up. Occasionally I come across an echo in someone’s blood that tells me that another has been there. On very rare occasions I may even meet another. We are polite but distant. Being vampires doesn’t necessarily imply that we have anything much in common in any meaningful way.”


We sat together silently. I felt disturbed, uncomfortable. Finally I realised why.

“I have no blood. Do I even have a body?” I murmured almost to myself although the question was aimed at Atticus. I felt a moment of intense horror, absolute fear. What was I?

A ghost but what did that mean?

My physical body was lying somewhere under the ground slowly decomposing. How much did a body deteriorate in five years? Would there still be flesh? Hair? Nails? Or was I only bones? Bones not even joined together any more, just lying neatly as the body had been placed. Worms and bacteria sliding through and over and into me. Was that what had happened to my body? And if my body was there, what was I residing in, what receptacle held me, held my soul, my being, my essence? I felt myself falling lower down into the dank earth, perhaps I was merely dreaming as I lay rotting away, waiting for judgement day to make me whole once more.

I began to shake. I felt the sea breeze blowing through me like I was a harp, a harp of bones, strung with strings of light, a haunting eerie F minor tune played a mournful dirge, oblique, furtive, secretive.

I felt Atticus’s arms wrap around me, and pull me closer; bring me back out of the dark. He felt real, strong. I felt his body against mine, his breath warm and gentle against my cheek. I could feel my body; whatever it was made of it existed somehow. I remembered how he made love to me, night after night, and I could feel his hands, his mouth, on my body, him inside me, how was that possible if I didn’t have a body?

“You have no blood but you have a body that is pure light, pure life-force. When we feed on blood it's not the blood we want, it’s the life force swirling within that we need to sustain us. When I change you it’s your life force that I rearrange and alter.” He whispered.

I felt the panic subside a little; I sank against him, feeling frail and insubstantial.

“How do you know it will work? Have you ever changed a ghost before?”

My fears tumbled out like hailstones falling in a summer storm, harsh and cutting.

He looked into my eyes. “I have no reason to think it won’t work.”

“So you don’t know?”

“Lilith there is always a risk. Everything has a risk. I don’t believe that you being a ghost changes the outcome.”

I let his words roll over me cover me. What did I really have to lose? After all I was already dead. “Is there pain?” I asked.

“When you died was their pain? When you gave birth to your children was there pain?Whenever there is transformation there is pain.” He kissed me gently. “I won’t lie to you about anything, yes there is pain. It is intense, consuming pain. But it doesn’t last for long. It passes and becomes a memory.”


He looked into my eyes and then took both my hands into his. He stroked my long pale fingers with his dark ones. My thumb, index finger, middle, ring, little finger, and each one he gently stroked. His fingers so warm emitting their heat into my cold hands. He spoke very softly, tenderly and his lips smiled with a different quality, something mischievous lurked there at the corners of his mouth.

“Think Lilith. Imagine.” His tone was assured, confident, as though he were about to turn over the last card of a poker hand, a pause and the final card is revealed, the ace, a royal flush, the highest ranking hand, unbeatable. His words dropped into my palms, the inescapable hook. “You would be able to play your beloved piano again. Play it so much better than you have ever played before and I know how gifted you were. Play it sublimely. Magnificently. Imagine all the other instruments that you could master with so much time on your hands. Music you could compose, arias, concertos, symphonies. Or you could expand to jazz, rock, hip-hop, trance or something so futuristic it hasn’t been invented yet. Imagine what you could create?” He kissed each of my fingers before letting them go. I knew he had won me over.

Atticus gazed out at the sea; there was a yearning in his face that I had not seen before. “You cannot imagine what it is like to be what I am. It is unexplainable. You think the night is less complex than the day, where are the colours but there are so many shades of blackness that exist, nuances and tints. The darkness has tones and hues that you cannot discern with ordinary mortal eyes. When you change you will experience sight, sound, taste, smell in ways you cannot begin to comprehend. All your senses are elevated, lifted. It is extraordinary.”

He took my face in his hands and kissed me again. His kisses tended to send my body spinning into some sort of vortex anyway, I couldn’t imagine what it might be like if everything was heightened.

He smiled and stood up, “I’m going for my swim now and I’ll leave you here to decide.”

I looked over at the sea, inky black except for the foam on the breaking waves shining white under the moon.

“There are sharks out there.” I said.

He laughed, that wonderful magical laugh of his. “I have nothing to fear from sharks. No shark would ever attack me, it has too much sense to attempt something like that.”

He threw his shirt off and then his trousers, he stood naked in the moonlight like some glorious beast. A god is what he looked like, something beyond this world, beyond human. Why hadn’t I realised that before? He was beyond anything I had ever encountered. It was as if tonight the veil had been lifted, and he was revealed as he truly was, immortal, divine.


He winked at me and ran into the sea, diving into a wave and disappearing. I looked over at the dark sea. The rhythm of the waves changed, slightly faster the tempo became, like a pulse rising from its normal beat when faced with excitement or a burst of adrenalin. The cadence of the waves had risen. The sea’s heartbeat was up.

Then I heard it, so quiet it was almost inaudible, I strained my ears and could just make it out. The ocean was singing, a song like a whale’s call only sweeter, the music unbearably profound, golden. Some sort of requiem in D major, I concentrated, the key of glory, the celestial melody.

Then I realised what it was, one force of nature meeting, acknowledging, greeting another force of nature. The ocean was singing a welcome.

Atticus’s head broke the surface and he rose up like a porpoise breaching, the sound rose with him, becoming higher like a heavenly choir, holy almost. I had never heard anything as beautiful; it made my heart ache, my soul craved to hear more. He dived back under and the ocean hummed with joy.

The wild card had been dealt, there was no way I could turn my back on this. I wandered down to the shore and let the waves lap around my feet; the water was cool but warmer than my feet. I could feel the ocean’s sound reverberating through my toes and up into my body. I stood there for ages just feeling and hearing the music, I felt strands of kelp whirl around my feet and then my ankles were caught in a grip, strong and manly. I looked down and Atticus was lying at my feet, sleek and wet like some seal or merman, the water rolled around whispering love songs to him.

He pulled me down into the foaming shallows and deftly pulled my clothes off. He made love to me as the sea bubbled and fizzed around us, wavelets frothed and the music moved up an octave, I detected a tone of possessiveness in the surf’s undertow.

“What’s your answer?” He murmured into my soul, his skin was like flame, if I hadn’t been lying in the cold water I wondered if I would have ignited like dry kindling.

“Yes.” I moaned, “yes.”

He leaned into my neck and I almost didn’t detect the bite, a tiny prick, a sliver of a cut, my body responded before my mind realised. The pain began as an adagio, sweeping into me like a glissando scale, then it rose into a crescendo, up and up, like a wave but monstrously huge. A tsunami of pain but scattered with something like total ecstasy as well, the two together whirling around and up.

It took me to a place I had never envisioned, into a light that was like the sun, destruction and obliteration together. I felt the song of the cosmos flow through me, the universe vibrated like a choir of infinite violins, darkness and light slithered around me like rainbow serpents.

Then far away I heard a bell toll, mysterious and compelling, something from the ship of an ancient mariner, it called me back, demanded my return. As I fell within its watery embrace the ocean chimed me home and his arms caught me as I fell.


©AliceGodwin 2009

originally published in Drops of Crimson Ezine– issue Blood & Roses - February 2009

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