Saturday, January 25, 2014
Morrigan stared at the man sitting across the bar from her. His meaty fingers covered in enough body hair he could be a werewolf. The stink could not only be smelled but she was sure she could see it as well. She continued analyzing him as he gulped down what was left of his ale and the bits he did not care to drink dripped down his bearded chin, clumping the hair together and in a knotted bunch at the end of his face. She cringed when she saw those hairy fingers reach around her mother’s waist. She knew later he would be touching her with more than those hands and the though disgusted her. She turned away not wanting her mother to catch her staring.
She loved her mum more than anything this universe could possibly give her. She felt the guilt weigh on her heart because she knew the reason her mother let that pig of a man touch her was so Morrigan would not have to do it as well. Morrigan’s father left long before she was born and ever since her mother had done what she felt was needed to keep the two of them fed. They did not live luscious lives. Nearly every night they would drag themselves to another inn to find a man willing to pay enough for her mother’s services. When Morrigan was younger, it would be easier for men to take pity on a struggling mother, but now all they want is for her to have a taste of their offers too.
Though she respected her mother for everything she had done to keep them alive, she did not want that as her life. Her mother knew it as well, and tried to prevent it, though as Morrigan grew into her womanly form it became more and more difficult to ward the men off her. At one point she had almost been raped, if it were not for a stranger who happened to be there at the right time Morrigan would have died. Her mother was haunted by that moment, and so was Morrigan, part of her wishing she had been greeted with a different fate.
The man with the hairy fingers and her mother had gone when she turned back around to check on them. Morrigan once again felt that sinking feeling in her gut, knowing what they were doing. She motioned for the barkeep to get her another drink.
The night continued on and the activity of the bar went from a thriving commotion of drunkards and whores to something almost peaceful as the bars pianist played through the growing silence as everyone made their way either to a bed or the floor that seemed comfortable enough for a drunk man to sleep on. Finally her mother returned joining her at the bar for a drink.
They did not speak for a moment. They both knew what she had just done, they did not talk of it. Morrigan nearly cried every night for her mother, but she was not about to start now.
“With this last one, we may have gotten a bit closer to leaving this place.” They had begun saving up enough money to leave the city of Errigal. It was filled with crooks and creatures who have sneakily made their way out of the Penumbrian forest for a little fun with the tourists. Morrigan and her mum knew better though, they stayed away and kept to themselves, never gaining the attention of the evil whose foot the city sat upon.
“It will not be much longer you have to do this mum, it breaks my heart.” Morrigan said with a painful look in her eyes.
“Everything is worth doing when it for your child, perhaps someday you will understand.” She said smiling as she brushed a strand of Morrigans dark curly hair from her face. Her mother had the same hair, but Morrigan had her father’s eyes, a bright blue that would only belong to a mountain dweller. As much as she hated her father for leaving them, it was a feature her mother loved and one that Morrigan enjoyed as well.
They continued with their drinks as the bar was closing up and the last of the drunks stumbled out of the bar on their merry way. As they began to make their leave as well, a commotion started outside. A loud scream is what caught their attention, a blood curdling cry for help that froze the blood in Morrigans veins. She felt her hairs stand on end as her mother calmed her. “It will be fine dear, just wait here.” She began to move towards the door to see what was going on, but the door swung open before she took five steps. Morrigan swore she saw something flash through it but dismissed it on the account of her tiredness. Her mother cautiously walked towards the door, with a quizzical look on her face when she turned to Morrigan. When she saw there was no one there she closed the door and looked back again at her daughter only to see a strong pale figure behind her. She screamed but it was too late, the creature grabbed hold of her daughter and bared its sharp teeth. She lunged towards the creature but not before it could sink its teeth into her daughters neck. She cried out for her, running towards the creature knocking into him. He dropped Morrigan who fell to the floor limply.
Morrigan, still conscious and fearing for her life tried to call for help, only to be silenced by a searing pain, one more painful than the bite she just felt on her neck. The ice she had once felt from fear in her veins now turned to flame. She was burning, but she couldn’t move. She lay there paralyzed and on fire, watching as the creature preyed on her cowering mother. She watched helplessly as the creature picked her mother up by her throat and held her off the ground. Morrigan desperately wanted to help but could not move, could not scream…she did nothing.
The creature pulled her mother towards him, his teeth growing sharper ready to feast on her mother before the door to the bar kicks in. She can barely hear what is said behind her but it caught the attention of the beast standing in front of her. An angry expression plastered on his face, whatever the person said behind her it did not please him. With that he took one more hungering look at her mother, who begged for mercy. Then in a moment the hand that was holding her snapped her neck sideways and dropped her to the floor in front of Morrigan. She screamed, she screamed as loud as she could but it was only in her thoughts that she could hear the screams. The light in her mother’s brown eyes dimmed as she lay facing Morrigan. The creature steps over the both of them and leaving her with Morrigan and her mother’s limp body next to one another. She tried so fiercely to reach out to her mother, to hold her one last time, but she lay there without moving a muscle as the scorching pain ran through her to the very core. She could do nothing for her mother, nothing but stare at the dead eyes that stared back. Nothing as a single tear fell down her face and onto the floor. Nothing as the darkness finally took over, and she only hoped it was deaths welcoming embrace she was being led to.
Fire, flames, heated thoughts spread through the darkness behind her closed eyelids. She lay there still paralyzed, alone in the black, her veins still burning. Is this what death felt like, was she to endure this forever? She wanted to cry at the thought, cry that she could not see her mother one last time, not spend the afterlife with the one person who made her first life worth living. Death was a cruel wish she was not sure she wanted any longer. Though she knew there was nothing to go back to, and it gave her a small bit of comfort to know she was free from her life at last, or so she thought.
The fire inside her grew, the pain more and more real. She wanted to scream, she wanted to yell, she wanted the pain to stop but it only became worse. The darkness continued to pull her in, and she thought this was her punishment for living a selfish life, leaving her mother to do all the work while she did nothing for them. At this revelation she took the pain on different, trying to embrace it, punishing herself for her poor decisions.
She continued to revel in it, angry at herself for what happened. Though just has she began to become numb to it, the pain began to fade. It was a slow fade, but it made her feel hopeful. The next thing she knew she could feel her hand again, but when she closed her palm it did not feel like her own hand. She wanted to open her eyes, she wanted to see what was happening to her, but she could not yet do so. Other parts of her started becoming alive again, she could feel her toes, her other hand and fingers. Finally she felt whole again, but still unsure. It did not feel like the body she was used to, it was cold and unfamiliar but at the same time she felt strong. She felt a tinge of power coursing through her instead of the fire that was there just a few moments before. Finally with that strength she opened her eyes.
She lay on her back, her arm outstretched towards her mother, still dead on the floor. Her arm was pale, much whiter than before. She moved to touch her skin, and was shocked by the icy feeling she had when she felt her own skin. She was not cold within but her touch was. She began to panic, wondering what had happened to her. Was she a ghost? She knew the answer soon enough as the morning light peaked through a front window on the bar. The light slowly made its way over to where she laid. She was welcoming the warmth she knew she would feel from the suns glow, but as the sun shined on her skin the flaming pain she felt before was back with a vengeance. Her arm was burning and in a split second she found herself curled up in the farthest corner of the bar.
She stared at her arm as the blisters the sun gave her subsided rather quickly. She knew what she was now. She wanted to cry at the realization but the dead do not cry. She scrunched her hands in her still curly hair and she curled into herself even more. This is not a life she had intended living, especially for an eternity, and now she was to do it without the suns accompaniment…or her mothers. At the thought of her mother she ran over to her avoiding the light that shined through the windows.
She still laid there with her eyes open. Morrigan placed her hand over her mother eyes and brought her mother close to her. She wanted to cry some more, but the tears did not come, so she laid there with her mother, holding onto the only thing left from her life she couldn’t bare to let go. She was unsure of how long she lay there holding her mother, but it was the voices she heard outside that caused her to move. She could not go see who the voices belonged to, but she could hear them as loud as if they had been sitting next to her. She waited as she listened to their conversation about what had happened the previous night.
“I have never seen a raid this bad before, there are so many dead this time.” One of the voices stated.
“Better dead than bitten.” At that statement Morrigans hand immediately went to her neck were the was a small bit of scarred flesh where the other vampire had bitten her. She had to agree with whoever had said that, she would much rather be dead like her mother than have transformed into the creature she is now.
The voices got louder as she realized they were heading for the bar. She was unsure of what to do so she hid from them, though she did not stay hidden long. The men reached the bar and as they opened the door a flood of light poured in. One of them yelled out to someone about there being more dead in the bar. She grimaced, knowing her mother was one of them. She tried not to sob, taking a deep breath, but it only made her throat burn. She grasped her throat from the pain and held her breath. The men made their way around the bar, one coming far to close to where she hid. The closer he got to her the stronger the pain felt. He moved into her line of site and the vein on his neck stuck out to her as if she were a starving child staring at a free meal. She was hungry, she had never been so hungry in her life. She needed whatever it was she was craving. She could not think straight, she stared at him, listening to his heartbeat that seemed to just get louder and louder. She wanted him, she wanted him more than anything right now. She would kill, just for one taste.
She stood up from her hiding spot and the man looked at her and spoke, “Oh my dear, are you alright? Did you see what happened her?” She nodded her head slowly, still remaining in the shade, he was too close to the light. He had to come closer to her, she begged him with her eyes. She knew one look at them he’d come closer to her. She went to speak and the voice that she heard was not her own.
“Come to me.” She said as she stared at him. He looked at her for a moment, and she saw fear cross his face.
“Your eyes”, he said startled, with the horror spread on his voice. That was not a response she was used to receiving, she looked at him with question in her eyes. He responded, “They are not the color of a human…” He was going to yell for his friend, he knew. Before he opened his mouth she attacked him, using him as a guard from the sun she dragged him to the shadowed corner. She felt her teeth grow with anticipation, they felt swollen but she was certain she could use them as she crushed his neck when she took her first bite. The blood filled her mouth and it was better than a fine wine seeping down her throat. It was like she was feeding on his energy, she suddenly felt stronger, more nourished. She wanted more, so she took more, and more. When she was finally done, she stood over the man’s shriveled corpse.
She had felt disgust before, when her mother took men to her bed, men who did not deserve her. The disgust she felt with herself now was something far beyond that. She dropped to her knees at the realization that she just killed this man who had originally only wanted to help her. What had she done?
Morrigan began to panic. The reality of what she now has carved itself into her mind. She hugged her knees to her chest and thought about how her mother would see her now. As she began to swallow in this new depression the other man appeared behind her. The thirst was back again with a force, and her throat was scorching. She stood and looked at the man trying to hold onto her humanity with every ounce of strength and will she had left but it was no use. The hunger took over and before he could run away she snatched him up and treated him as she did his friend, apologizing every second of it.
She dropped his limp body to the floor and she wanted to run, though there was nowhere to go with the sun up. She made her way to the top room of the inn, passing the mirror at the landing of the stairs first. The person staring back was not her. Her curly hair was still there, richer than before, but the icy looking skin as flawless as marble took place of the pink that used to show on her cheeks. Her lips were blood red and full and when her mouth opened she saw the beastly teeth that she had only a few minutes ago felt break human flesh. Though it was her eyes that startled her most, what was once the color of the sky was not a devastating citrine color almost, like it matched the fire that had burned in her veins the previous night. The vision was haunting; her eyes were those of monsters. She smashed the mirror screaming then running up the rest of the stairs to the bedroom curling up in a ball on the cot hoping sleep would take her, only to realize she may never sleep again. She waited desperately for night to come, and as the sun set and the darkness took over, she realized it was the best metaphor she could think of for the new life that she had unwantedly attained.
Morrigan smiled for the putrid man sitting in front of her at the bar. Her heightened sense of smell may be ruined before she’s finished with him. He kept running his slimy fingers up and down her cold arms. Men did not care of these things when they thought sex was in it for them. Her yellow eyes stared him down as if he were a meal. She had considered it, but the thought made her sick. She would much rather have a cleaner meal, but in Errigal this was one of the better choices.
She flirted with him, playing this game of predator and prey, only he thought he was the predator, when she was all the more willing to pounce on him first. She chugged back the rest of drink turning to the barkeep to get another. She turned back around to realize her meal had turned into something far more delicious. The man who now sat before her was tall and lean, his dark hair and eyes made him handsome in his own way.
She smiled a delicious smile for him. “Well you make much better company than the slob before you.” She goes to touch him but he catches her hand and she stares at him coldly.
“I am not here to play your games Morrigan.” He says with a dark tone to his voice that even sends chills down her spine. “Do you know who I am?” He asks her and she shakes her head. “Well I know who you are.”
“I’m sure what you think you know is noth…”
“What I know is that you are done with selling yourself to men only to trick them into being your snack.” He interrupts her. “You were not always so deadly and cold.” He stares at her the ice still in his eyes.
“Well that part of me is cowering away somewhere.”
“No she is here now,” he looks at her intuitively “You don’t like being a murderer however that is what you have become. Though there are only certain types of men you bring to your bed…perhaps the same kind that treated your mother so poorly?”
“How is it you know these things? My mother had been dead for nearly four hundred years.”
“Warlock magic works in mysterious ways.” A stronger chill comes over her. Warlocks are not to be dealt with, the good ones are powerful enough, but this one she knows is nothing but evil.
“Do not fear my dear, for I can promise you a better life.”
“I hear that quite often I am sure you can imagine.”
“They do not mean it…I do.”
“Then what makes you so different.”
“I could use you. Vampires have been seen as the scum of this land killing for that hunger that festers inside of you. Though you are strong, intelligent and fast. If I were going up against the armies of the Patriam I would ask to have vampires like yourself at my side.”
“So you want me to be part of an army? Sounds more like slavery to me.”
“If I wanted you as a slave, it would have already happened my dear. I have something far more interesting in mind for you.”
“And what might that be?”
“A place at my side.” She cackles out a laugh.
“Sure, that makes enough sense.” She says sarcastically, but her tone fades as she notices the seriousness in his face.
“I am not a man to be laughed at Morrigan.”
“Why not have any of these other vampire women walking around the Penumbrian Forest?”
“You are a clever, and you still hold onto your humanity.”
“Most would see that as a weakness.”
“It is not a weakness for you. You are strong you just do not know it yet.”
“I have lived over three hundred years, I know my strengths.”
“Not as I see them.”
“How should that matter?”
“Because of these strengths, you can help lead my army. Stay with me, by my side and I can promise you the world.” His eyes almost gleam when he speaks those words. She ponders those thoughts for a moment, wondering what he truly has in store for her.
For centuries she has lived with what she has become, but he looks at her different. She feels accepted by this man, for who she really is. She knows he is dangerous, but she thinks to herself, maybe danger is what a vampire like herself needs. She looks up at him and he smiles a mischievous smile.
“When would you like to begin then, with this master plan for your army that you will supposedly have me lead?”
“My dear…it has already begun.”
Song inspiration: Though there are different moods through out this chapter this as the main one, mainly fitting the beginning of Morrigan's story.
What are You Asking Me? - James Newton Howard