The sun kissed the horizon the moment I entered the garden. A sweet breeze wound past my fingers as the ancient lock opened to their touch, spreading a scent of fading flowers. The hinges gave way noiselessly and I was in. Crimson flowers, their petals a lifeless grey in the evening guided my steps on the familiar path between the willows. The instant I was there it was as If nothing had ever changed, not in the garden, not in our lives. As if I had never left her.
I remembered where I should leave the path; it was when a faint splash of water could be heard over the gusts in the trees. My sight was not what it had been, but my hearing was still as good as always. There were no stars, nor would there be any tonight. The thin mist covering the earth would ensure that. I felt my way in the darkness, my feet finding their way without any help from my mind after all the times I had wandered this path. The soft grass silently gave way under me, lightly moisturising my bare feet. A distant croak of a cock brought a smile to my lips.
“A little early for announcing the morning, I believe,” I mused, “there’s a long night of bliss before your time will come.” Her habits had not changed at all in this whole time. Flowers red as the blood that was vital to her, and a cock to warn when the lethal rays of the morning sun was approaching.
My thoughts were interrupted then, because in the distance I could see her standing under our chestnut tree. Undoubtedly she had been watching me for some time. She was wearing a long dress; in the poor light it seemed the colour of blood. Her arms and neck were very white. The tree shadowed her face. Fascinated, I watched the faint glow the oil lamp beside her made in her auburn hair. She left the tree as I approached. Her bare feet barely seemed to touch the grass as the slender body closed in on me in an embrace that made my heart skip a beat. A faint smile lay on those lustrous lips of hers, lips as crimson as her lilies. I placed my own lips there, gently at first, but more passionate as she answered my kiss. After an eternity, yet far too short a time in my opinion she withdrew and I got my first close glimpse of her. I could see time had only laid His hand gently on my beloved. I wished the same could be said about myself. I wondered what she thought of me now, wrinkled and grey as I was. She, who had always had a taste for the young and handsome. She looked just the way I remembered. Just like she did the time I left her, I suddenly realised. Was it any important? Was it maybe a trick of hers to make me stay this time? To make me forget what it would mean? Forget about the hunt, the thirst and the blood. I made it a mental note, which I archived for later. I wanted to concentrate on the moment. It wasn’t difficult.
The red lilies marked our way over to the lamp under the chestnut. She gripped my hands and together we sank down on a coverlet she had put there earlier. This must have been planned very carefully. Should it alarm me? Well, in fact it did.
“Hello there, I haven’t seen you for a while. A guess we have plenty to catch up with.”
The sound of her voice was a like warm and familiar blanket in which I could hide. The feelings it made swarm into me poked tenderly about me having found my way back home. I met her feline eyes feeling a mischievous glint light in my own as an answer to what I saw in hers. “Hello to you as well, my ruby,” I whispered.
I realised it was not her perfume that was going to my head but the sweet scent of her crimson lilies. It made my mind spin, but then I’m not the right person to know; the sight of her might just as well have been the cause.
“How are you nowadays?” I asked, much for the sake of hearing her voice again. One glance on her face told me it was the wrong question to ask. The evident pain in those eyes betrayed what the rest of the face concealed. I tried to erase the question with another kiss but it was too late. “I fare about as well as I always have,” she whispered, refusing to meet my gaze. “About as good as I always will, I suppose. Eternity is a dark and lonely place to be in. You can be alone whether you’re human or not. Whether you’re alive or not. ” She fell silent and finally allowed me a green catlike glance. Then: “Are you coming back to me now, after all this time?” Well, was I? “Yes”, I assured her. “And I want to share existence, eternity, with you.” I was not sure whether she believed me or not. After all, I had told her that before, but then run away from her when I realised what sharing her subsistence would require of me. If truth were told, I wasn’t sure I believed myself either. I was terrified. A feeling of being captivated was beginning to dawn upon me. I had seen her trap from the very beginning yet willingly walked into it. Now my feelings bound me more tightly to her than any ordinary bonds ever could have. All I knew was this: I wanted her.
She bent those crimson lips to me again, letting her sharp teeth show between them. The look in her eyes appeared to me like that in a cat’s as it watches a bird. It made me draw back rapidly. But then, this was what I had come for, wasn’t it? Now that I had found her there was no way I would be able to leave her ever again. “I want to share it with you” I repeated. I bent close to her again and kissed her crimson lips as a confirmation to my pledge.
Before long I could taste my own blood on those lips, pulsing through the cuts made by her teeth in my lips. I also noticed I was rapidly getting weaker. As she let go of me I sunk heavily back against the trunk of the tree. Probably I was close to death. There was no longer any turning back. “Let me” I breathed to her with all the voice I could muster. “Let me share it with you.”
A triumphant glint was showing in her eyes. I could not decide whether I liked it or not. The cat was watching the death of her prey. Fear dawned upon me. But as watched her lips turned redder with blood, redder with her own blood as her teeth shred them. She did not bother to speak, just gave me another kiss. I greedily drank of her blood, waiting for my strength to return. As I watched her I could feel the thirst awaken in me. A thirst no water in the world would be able to quench.