Thursday, March 21, 2013

Music of the Night

 photo by gimrie
It was in Venice where I first noticed him, in the noisy crowd gathered around a fire juggler. A tall, slim man, in an unusual Plague Doctor mask, red adorned with gold, golden hair cropped short, no brim hat, no long overcoat. Just red nobleman clothes from another time. Renaissance, perhaps. Sheets of fire danced over the dark, stale water of the canaletto, cries and foolish laughter mixing with Vivaldi’s violins. He stood among the crowd, and yet apart. The gold on his clothes seemed real. The fire and his red cape reflected in his eyes. He watched me, as if he could see more than my eyes behind my brilliant larva mask, underneath my elaborate dress. As if he knew why I sought the night mostly. As if he could see all of my secrets.
He left with a woman. A Columbina dressed in green. A random woman, I thought, as I followed them with my eyes, with a pang in my heart, until they disappeared into a darkened alley. She wasn’t his match, I was.
I looked for him at the airport in Rome, when I was boarding the plane to Rio. Why would he have been there? But I could still feel him. Watching me.
Stupid, stupid, I thought, asking for another glass of champagne, listening to Alessandro Marcello’s oboes on my earphones. When I fell asleep, he was in my dream.
In Rio, I prepared for him. I painted my skin carefully in gold and green, to match my eyes, my waist-long hair, my scanty suit, the lavish feathers.
Down in the streets, in the colored night, I looked for him again, and for the first time I barely took notice of the wild rhythms of the banda. I danced, only because the visceral beat allowed for nothing else. The floats, the glistening bodies, the cries, the lights, all swirled around me, dizzying. So many faces, all different, all the same. The surdo was beating right in my ribcage, and it annoyed me.
When I saw him on the other side of the street, I knew he too had been looking for me. It couldn’t have been a mere coincidence. It was he, I knew it. Taller than the crowd, and still standing apart. This time, torso bare, lean muscles moving under smooth skin painted silver, white linen pants tied with a rope around narrow hips, gold hair, cropped short, a small, bizarre silver mask that made me think of a cruel jungle god. His beautiful mouth held the hint of a smile. His eyes glinted in the light of torches. Blue. Or green.
A group of dancers pushed in between us, with frantic moves, carrying me with them. He was gone by the time I escaped their wave.
Where was he? How much of a coincidence was our encounter? Was he a Carnival chaser as I was? Was he chasing me
I didn’t notice those men until they were too close. Until their heat, their smell of caipirinha overwhelmed me. Three of them, no, five. They had bottles in their hands. They had tambourines and bells to keep the rhythm of the batucada; those would have covered my cries even if my mouth hadn’t been too dry. The alley became darker, narrowed by garbage cans. The street with the lights and the dancing seemed suddenly, impossibly, far away. I had left my knife in the hotel room.
That’s when I screamed. That’s when something else happened. A blur. A wind.
It was he. I stared at him. We were standing and those men were lying on the ground around us. There might have been some blood. I swayed, my knees almost giving way.
He steadied me, one cool hand digging into my left arm. His silver mask resembled the Inca Sun god. Maybe he was a god, after all.
For a moment, he looked at me as if he wanted to say something. But then he was simply gone, swift as lightning.
I didn’t wash my arm that night in my hotel room. I lied on my side, with the imprint of his hand in the bronze paint on my skin, and longed for him.
I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Always finished the season in New Orleans.
Where was he? I didn’t see him, didn’t feel him the whole day. The whole night. Maybe he was still in Rio.
Time to go home. Wait for next year’s carnivals.
Away from Bourbon Street, people were scarcer; with the distance, a plaintive tune of jazz was dying slowly, as if that could ever happen in New Orleans. It was the sax… the sax always broke my heart.
I didn’t hear his steps, I just saw him. We stopped, maybe at an arm length from each other.
No masks this time. I knew it was him. Clad in black, blond hair, face beautiful and savage alike. A prince of the North. He stood one full head taller than I, and I was tall and wearing the highest heels. His eyes –I still couldn’t tell if they were blue or green- held the most unsettling mix of laughter, and promises, and death.
“You were right in Venice,” he said. “You are my match. I have been waiting for you. We are both of the night…”
He didn’t try to hide his teeth when he smiled. His fangs.
But he wasn’t taking. He was asking.
I stepped into his arms.
“Tonight we’ll listen to the music of your blood,” he whispered on my neck, his breathing cool, soothing. “And then we’ll have all the nights…”

This is for Geraldine's Woven Dreams prompt: music.

19 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

So descriptive and yet so mysterious. I love this.

I meant to participate in this but the prompt didn't speak to me. Next week, perhaps.

I changed the header of my blog, by the way. It definitely matches the title, now. :)

Paul

the walking man said...

No one can say that you do not know how to set up a scene and bring it to a logical conclusion. Hell I was almost ready to let him bite me. But I think I'll wait for a female taller than me in my tallest heels.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

The perfect length and enchanting pace for this scene.

Brian Miller said...

the music of our blood...my goodness...really well written and engaging....romanticism at its finest...fidning that perfect match...and the intrigue of coming together...a hero...a seductive body painting...ha...it has all the elements

Charles Gramlich said...

My kind of tale!

mypoeticpath said...

Oh, you do know how to weave a tale in the night Vesper. A captivating story, couldn't wait to see where it would lead to. :<)

TALON said...

I've got to take the dogs out, but I'm looking forward to reading this when I get home, have my feet up and a cup of tea at hand :)

TALON said...

What pure pleasure to read! It pulsed and it wove, like a fine piece of music. I felt like I was there...

Lorraine said...

Excellent I voted like to the mask and couldn't wait to see the story well done
ps I'm from Montreal, moved a long time ago though, love Montreal
Vesper, where do you get your inspiration?

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This was extraordinary in its descriptiveness!

SzélsőFa said...

aww, what an enchanting story.
i didn't see the end coming, only when the narrator was attacked in that dark alley.
actually, and to my surprise, i liked it (i don't really like vampires, i'm more on the werewolves' side, you know :)

Marilyn Brant said...

You reeled me in with this, Vesper! I loved reading it. Breathed in the atmosphere you created... ;)

Vesper said...

Paul, thank you! Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to find inspiration in one word. I wasn’t going to write something either until this little story just “hit” me. :-)

Mark, thank you for saying this!!! :-) :-) :-)

Bernard, thank you! I’m glad you liked it. :-)

Brian, I appreciate this very much! Thank you! :-)

I know, Charles! :-) Thank you!

Geraldine, I know it’s not your genre, at least not in the end, so thank you even more! :-)

TALON, wow, thank you! :-)

Lorraine, thank you so much! Ah, Montreal, I find it’s such an interesting city… My inspiration… you are very kind… things just come to me, sometimes triggered by an image, a sound, a word…

Optimistic Existentialist, thank you kindly! :-)

SzélsőFa, yes, I remember you prefer werewolves… I’m glad you liked this. Thank you! If you ever get to watch True Blood, there’s a very interesting werewolf there, Alcide Herveaux… :-)


Marilyn, so very nice seeing you here! Thank you so much for yor compliment! :-)

laughingwolf said...

superb, nothing less... merci, madame :)

Vesper said...

LW, you're much too nice... but I like this! :-) Thank you! :-D

SzélsőFa said...

actually I checked the character's wikipedia site and read about all the interesting plotlines.
it was really complicated :D :D

mypoeticpath said...

Happy Easter to you and your family Vesper!

Lots of hugs, G

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Evocative, suspenseful, and yearning all at the same time. You held us in the moments with the scents, tastes, and colors. Excellent story. :-)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You should replay this story for Halloween. :-)