Whispers of Wind

Whispers of Wind

A Story by Casper Cross
"

Devlyn Shaw wanted only the eternal love of Catherine Addison... be careful what you wish, you might get more than you bargained for.

"
             Devlyn Shaw appeared at the gates of a stone crypt. A driving rain pushed his clothes against his body revealing the outline of lean muscle. Lightning flashed across the sky and he read aloud the name etched above the door: “Addison.” Water ran off in a narrow torrent from the corners of the peaked stone roof.
              He choked on the name. He spat it out and steadied himself on the iron bars. The rain came down all around him, drowning him less than the sorrows of his own heart. He fell to his knees hands sinking into the pooling mud. He pointed his face toward the sky, the raindrops prickling his face and rinsing the tears.
 
             The person encased cold and dead in the unfeeling concrete was Catherine Addison. Theirs was a forbidden love. He was poor, had always been poor, and would always be poor. That fact alone, made him unworthy of her love. 
             Catherine’s father was the ever-stately Jonathon Addison, a wealthy landowner whose property boundaries stretched for miles in all available directions on the compass. Devlyn and his mother operated a small roadside tavern in the English countryside. The tavern offered an oasis for the wary traveler, most often merchants on a voyage to cross the English Channel.
These were the regulars, those stopping in as a planned part of their journey. Sometimes the road delivered unexpected visitors; sudden weather changes sweeping these unfortunate souls to the doorstep. If hungry, they fed them. If tired they gave them a warm dry bed. If thirsty Devlyn’s mother, Kate Shaw, served up the alcohol.
Those were happier days. Six months ago, Devlyn buried his mother after the plague stole her from him. Now, he stood facing a catastrophe of equal proportions. The pain of it all was too much to bear and he wanted nothing more than to walk down those thirteen dark steps and share the eternal rest encased in cold cement alongside her.
 
   Fate brought a number of visitors in and out of their lives, with no lingering affects of their presence. For most, he could not so much as recall a memory of their face. Others made a more lasting impression. Such was the case of Catherine Addison. Fate deposited her at his doorstep.  
               The afternoon sky had turned dark as storm clouds blossomed in the heavens. Lightning strafed the sky like a hand deformed by arthritis curling and twisting in pain. A clap, then a growling boom rumbled on the air, like a multitude of angels tapping out a drum cadence.
                A finger of lightning reached down from the heavens and put its touch on a tree. A limb snapped off and the tree burst into flames. Catherine’s mount bolted, frightened by the sudden clap of thunder so strong that tremors ran through the ground and heat radiated from the flash.
                Catherine lost the reins and fell back, tumbling foot over head and landing face first on the unforgiving earth. Her breath jumped from her lungs like rats scurrying at the sight of candle light.
                Devlyn found her, lying face down in the mud, arms spread wide. Another minute more and she would have drowned in water no deeper than what Devlyn could hold in his cupped hands.
                Shoveling his hands beneath her, he felt her every fiber sink into his ladled embrace. The muscles of his arms growing taught under her weight, he carried her into the tavern placing her to rest on a dry bed. So began their love affair until her father discovered the secret and forbade Catherine from ever seeing the young peasant lad again.
 
               Lost in his memories, Devlyn was unaware of the silent visitor stepping through the entrance to the cemetery. He moved as if he controlled the night, the air folding then unfolding again like an accordion propelling him forward on the air silent and still. The stone monuments came to life casting whispers on the wind in the presence of an ungodly creation.
                He wore a black tunic, black breeches, and a silk white blouse shirt. He wore his hair pulled into a queue tying it in place with a red ribbon. A tri-cornered hat diverting the pounding rain sat perched upon his head. His leather boots sank into the soft earth but he left no prints in his wake.
                Through the darkness drawn by the scent of blood noticeable only to his enhanced senses, the dark figure encircled his prey. He found Devlyn kneeling on the ground, fingers clawing desperately into the mud.
               
                Devlyn felt the emotion run out of him, the purge so exhausting, he thought he might never again have the strength to rise. He pressed his face into the mud and thought he might try suffocating himself, but the irrepressible instinct to survive delivered him from a drowning death. Turning onto his back, he filled his lungs with air.
                Out from the surrounding shadows a voice cracked through the sound of pelting rain, dribbling into pools around him. Like a musket shot, the voice pierced him, causing such a start that his heart skipped a beat.  He wiped at the raindrops dribbling in his eyes hoping that he might see, something, anything, or anyone. Jumping to his feet, he forgot his burdens in the moments he spent searching the darkness in vain for the source of the voice.
              “Anyone there?” He determined it might just be Lord Addison. If the wealthy manor Lord caught him lurking on his family’s private burial grounds, it might spell the end for him. 
I am no longer afraid of death, for it brings me closer to those I love.
He shared this silent thought with no one yet the voice reacted as if he had heard it. “Cease that talk of death. Now that I am near, you will never know sickness, or pain, and you will never die.”
This wasn’t Lord Addison. He recognized the voice speaking to him from the shadows but could not recollect the time, place, or ownership of it. “Return home.” The voice said growing fainter. “Go now and soon the pains of your heart will be a distant memory.”
“Who is it there?”
“You will know me better in time. That is all you need to know. Now Go!”
Devlyn obeyed, making a hasty retreat to the entrance of the cemetery.
 
Back at the tavern, Devlyn prepared a warm fire and removed his wet clothes. Hanging them nearby to dry, he went to his quarters and pulled on his bedding robe. He threw one more log on the fire for good measure and went to the bar for a drink. No one was with him that night at the tavern though he had no way of measuring what future traveler might tread upon his threshold in the waning hours of the night.
Bringing a chair nearer to the fire, Devlyn sat and began to read. Before Catherine entered into his world, he knew nothing of the pleasure for reading. She brought this joy into his life and now it was as much a part of his nightly ritual as a turn down of the sheets.
As he read, he felt the focus loosen in the lenses of his eyes. The heavy thoughts swirling inside his head settled like loose sediment in his brain. His head slipped off the pedestal of neck muscles coming to rest on the right shoulder. In this position, he slept in a state closer to death than to life.
 
Tap! Tap! Tap! The steady tapping on the door.
Devlyn’s eyes peeled open and looked all around the quiet stillness of his tavern. The embers grew ever so dim in the hearth of his fireplace. Had he only imagined the sound?
Tap! Tap! Tap! The steady tapping on the door.
Some visitor entreating entrance through the tavern door. He rose to his feet and drawing his robe tight around his waist, he started across the floor. His bare feet made only a swooshing sound as dry flesh shifted across the wooden planks.
Tap! Tap! Tap! The steady tapping again at the door.
An impatient visitor perhaps, petitioning entrance. Devlyn’s hand encircled the knob and pushed back the door. Darkness, no visitor, no patron soliciting a warm bed with jingling pieces of silver in his pocket. Only darkness, quiet, still darkness.
Devlyn pushed forward coming halfway through the doorway. He felt his throat tighten as he pushed out the word, “Hello?”
No reply, only darkness. A gentle wind rustled a distant settlement of leaves. Behind him, the clock struck twelve. 
Dong! Once
Dong! Twice
His eyes strained to peer through the darkness but nothing more he could see. Was it the wind? The thought pushed his heart into his throat.
Dong! Thrice
Dong! Four
Could it be some evil thing at this late an hour? A hideous creature with scales and two bobbled eyes perched atop a round head filled with sharp teeth. The terror began to play tricks on his imagination and he could almost see the outline of the creature crawling through the leaves, moving closer and closer. A hand outstretched before it a long bony finger, directed at the object of its desire. Devlyn swallowed hard and closed the door. 
Dong! Five and Six.
The thwump of the closing door sounded all too reassuring. Was he safe? How could he be so sure? Pressing his ear to the door, he thought he could hear the creature reach the landing. A heavy thud landing on the wooden planks the creature was on the porch. More shifting sounds followed by the screeching of nails against the wooden door. Screech! Screech! A whispered voice, Let me in, let me in. Slurping of a tongue against a row of sharp teeth, mouth watering at the thought of a tiny morsel just out of reach.
Dong! Seven, Eight, Nine. 
Why was he counting? The end of the midnight cadence would do nothing to push aside the threat lurking just beyond the door.
Dong! Ten, Eleven, Twelve.
Devlyn held his breath and listened. Nothing but silence. The mysterious creature imagined or real seemed to waft away. A sweeping wind pushed across the landing, touching the door of the tavern with an unseen hand as if to reassure him that the midnight hour had come and all was well.
Bolting the door, he returned to his chair. Just as he was about to get comfortable again he once more heard the gentle tapping.
Tap! Tap! Tap!
Again, he flung open the door. Only darkness stared back at him. With more nerve than before he moved forward and called out into the darkness. “Hello? Anyone out here? The tavern is open if you need food, rest, or just shelter for the night.” He was in need of a good paying fare. 
On the wind, a whispered name blew into his ear. Catherine… Catherine… Catherine…
Devlyn made one more step forward. He stood on the edge of the landing watching and listening for the rustling of leaves, or the creature springing straight out of his imagination and into reality, the clawed hand reaching for him, a forked tongue straining for that first succulent taste of its next meal.
“Hello?” One final call, then his nerve broke and he returned inside.
He bolted the door and though he hated to turn away any paying customer, he made the decision not to open that door again.
Rap! Rap! Rap! 
The tapping turned into rapping, as the unseen patron moved from door to window. Shifting to this latest source of sound, he removed the latch and pulled it wide anxious to find what awaited him on the lattice. 
Silence again only…wait… darkness there but a pale white mist grew from the ground reaching across the window lattice pulling itself into the tavern, spilling across the floor. A ghostly apparition whispered the name… Catherine… Catherine… Catherine…
He formed the name with his mouth, his lips formed around the word but fear choked it out.
The sliding of bare flesh across the floor.
Not his bare feetThey remained as firmly planted as a tree.
What ghastly face would form from this pale apparition? It was all around him now seated heavy and thick across the floor. The foul stench of raw cabbage, death, permeated the room.
The feet shifting again, the sound stronger than before. 
Devlyn fell to his knees as if ready for prayer, supplicated to his fate he was ready for the ghastly fog to envelop his throat and squeeze off the beating of his own heart. He could hear it now rattling around in his ears.
“Catherine?” He spoke her name aloud tears spilling from his eyes, tossing out her name like water from a well spigot. “Catherine?” He fell on his face breathing, filling his lungs with the putrid stench. 
Sliding of flesh across the floor, they were closer now.
His eyes lifted falling on the figure of a smiling woman. Her dangled curls of black hair dancing around a lovely face of pale white flesh. Her bright lips, the color of crimson deeper than the color of blood. Two perfectly shaped white fangs protruded slightly from her upper jaw, dropping down just low enough to form a small dimple in the flesh of her lower lip.
            Two azurite orbs fell on Devlyn, the lips peeled away from the elongated canines into a grin that would make the devil blush with shame.
                Devlyn formed the name again only this time speaking it with more joy than before. “Catherine? Can that really be you?”
                “It is my dearest.” That was her voice speaking to him but with obvious changes in the quality and tone of it. The voice reminded him of the low women living in the harems in London slums. They always throw sweet nothings at man’s lustful hearts, but behind each one is a dagger ready to cut out your heart. “I have come for you.”
                “But you died.”
                Catherine shook her head. “I was only sleeping. Cast aside into the grave but no cold cement chamber can keep me from the man I love.”
                “I love you.” Devlyn’s undying oath spilled from his throat.
                “I love you and now we can be together forever.” The words of the dark visitor now filtered down from her lips. “We will never grow old, we will never know sickness, and we will never die.”
                “Oh, I only wish it could be so.” Devlyn said, convinced this was only a dream.
                “It is my darling. Come to me, let me kiss your lips and I will show you.”
                She extended a frosty hand and turning it palm up she bent a finger coiling it back underneath itself. “Come to me my darling. Take my hand and I will show you the way.”
                Devlyn accepted her offered hand.  As in life, her hand seemed so small and fragile in his. Now she held his hand with a preternatural strength pulling him into her embrace before he realized the trap.  Her arms closed in around him like a vice. Like the rabbit traps he set in the spring he bounded right into her clutches. Perhaps he might end up boiled in someone’s stew.
                He tasted her mouth. He could smell the stench of death but the sweetness of her kiss made him melt into her arms. Her fingers combed the hairs on the back of his neck. Taking a handful, she gave a gentle tug, like a skilled horseman reigning in his charge. The lips extended mouth opening, the canines forming a dimple on the flesh of his neck. 
“I will always love you.” He whispered. 
A blood tear formed in her eye the moment her jaws clamped down, canines driving into his flesh. The teeth pierced the jugular. Sweet crimson nectar filled her mouth her eyes closed and she savored every morsel. Two tiny streams of blood ran down the corners of her mouth.
The tavern door opening, the old metal hinges creaking, movement bringing them to life. Heavy footprints drumming an ominous dirge along the floor.  Was he dead?  Devlyn wasn't sure... could this be the angel of death coming to collect?
“I will take it from here my dear.”  The voice.  The same voice he heard in the cemetery.
Her teeth retracted from the wound and she surrendered her subject to her new master. 
“You are close to death, but I can give you eternal life.” Extending his wrist, he punched out a cavernous slice. Blackened, crimson, blood tainted by evil, oozed from his veins. “Drink this and have eternal life.”
                

© 2011 Casper Cross


Author's Note

Casper Cross
This is part of a much larger story I worte many years ago when I was just learning the craft. I have reworked the scene, tweaking it just slightly in order to make it a short story.

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Hi Casper: I think you've got this one entered twice. You may want to edit it out. I always love a good vampire story and I think you did a good job. I really liked the paragraph that began "Could it be some evil thing at this late an hour?" It was very good and full of great imagery. I also thought the ending was well written. The image of the blood tear was very good.

Posted 10 Years Ago


3 of 3 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The driving rain gave visual impact right off.
You use weather well.

"The foul stench of raw cabbage, death, permeated the room."
I always associate the smell of death with over-cooked fried
frozen shrimp. I would at least change it to
"rotten" cabbage.

"Sliding of flesh across the floor, " is quite horrific.

Kept me in suspense and great images of the undead
meeting the living one.

Very cool!
Jack

Posted 9 Years Ago


This was wonderful.
I fully enjoyed reading this.
You have such imagination.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I think this is wonderful, I enjoyed this.
Eveyrthing held together well.
Wonderful story.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

WOw. it was awsome

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

that was very suspensfull and intense i really liked it. you are a natural

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

it is awesome, very thrilling, a love storie, it's a Stephen king piece. I hate negative criticism, and there is none to say. I congratulate you on this work. cross your fingers it might just get it!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow, very descriptive. Really well written. For a man who wasn't afraid of death because he wanted to be closer to the one's he loved he was certainly scared out of his wits in that tavern. I was very intrigued by this.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The title is perfect,the mood of your story is a soft whisper. This should be red by
candlelight in the heart of a storm. Nice job Cherrie

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

hi, casper. this is the first book of yours i read. its amazing. you should be a famous author. i always love vampire storys. so this might be my fav work of yours.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Jo
Wow, you have some beautiful imagery here as well as metaphors and similes. I loved the bit of the multitude of angels. Your description is perfect, I must say. It's not too much, just enough to paint a picture for the reader and give a tone to the story. There are a few things though that I do want to mention.

You have a few places where I believe you should have a comma. For example the sentence: "He fell to his knees hands sinking into the pooling mud." I think you should have a comma between knees and hands to make it flow better. There are a few more places, but if you read through it, you should catch them with that in mind. Another thing is the sentence "Theirs was a forbidden love." To me, that sounds a bit awkward. I suggest trying to rearrange that wording somehow, maybe something like "Their love was forbidden."

Another one was "The muscles of his arms growing taught..." I think you meant 'taunt' there.

One last thing, you had two different places where you used the same words over in a short amount of space. I don't know if that was for effect or an attempt at something, and if it was, then forgive me for that, but just so you note it. One of the places was were you wrote "Some visitor entreating entrance through the tavern door." and not far off is "An impatient visitor perhaps, entreating into the tavern."

Oh, sorry, one last thing, I promise. When you used "frosty hand", I thought you should know as a reader we can assume that since you described the hand is "frosty", it is cold. You can get by with your main character noting the cold touch, but to me it seemed to stunt the flow of the piece a bit.

Anyway, I hope I didn't say anything too harsh. I do want to commend you on this though. You do have exquisite flow, imagery and description. Very captivating.

Posted 10 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on March 16, 2009
Last Updated on November 11, 2011
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Casper Cross
Casper Cross

Nashville, TN



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