THE WEDDING BED
Fiction by M Teresa Clayton
First published in issue #1 of Cerebral Agony zin, 2014
He could taste the dirt in his mouth. It was packed into his throat so he could not cry out. The weight of the earth was crushing him.
He could hear his name being called to him from… somewhere above him. Her voice was distant but familiar. He was not yet fully awake and his mind kept drifting to another time, another place. Her face, he could see her face…
It was late September, 1928 and the moon was full. The streets were illuminated by the moonlight. Devon was walking with his new bride. The day had been glorious. She was still dressed in her tea-length ivory dress, he in his tux. They made a handsome couple. They were young and they were in love.
She stopped and stood looking up at him. She could have been an angel standing there, the only thing missing were her wings, but she would not need them. She smiled and stroked his cheek lightly. He could feel the slightest quivering of her hand as she brushed it over his skin.
“Is the chill too much?” he asked her.
“No, my love, I am a blushing new bride. My body is alive with the excitement of the day!” she answered him. Her smile was competing with the light of the moon as it lit up her face and surrounded her with an innocent glow.
“Take my hand.” he instructed with a renewed enthusiasm. “We are married now and I cannot wait another minute.”
Devon had waited for months to marry his true love and then, finally, to make her his eternal wife. “If you cannot walk these two blocks to our home and our wedding bed, then speak up now and I will carry you in my arms!”
She giggled. “I can walk well enough, Devon; please don’t exhaust your self. You will need your strength to finish this, so that we can be together, forever.”
Devon could hardly resist the desire to throw her to the ground and devour her there. He chose to refrain from his addiction and to wait for the perfect moment to consummate their love. He must focus… first things first!
He pulled her to him and gazed lovingly into her eyes. “My angel” He sighed to her. “Your eyes sparkle like the stars in heaven. He traced her mouth with his fingertips. “Your lips are smooth and supple like the petals of the rose.”
Again, she stroked his cheek gently with the back of her hand. He could smell her delicate perfume. She was still trembling so he drew her even closer and continued, “The rose does no justice to the sweet aroma which only you possess. I should drink you slowly like a fine brandy. I will savor its warmth as it enters my throat and close my eyes as it fills me with its intoxicating spell.”
“Devon, my dear Devon” she answered him in a soft voice. “Within the hour you will have me. Command the sorceress to release you from this spell and we will continue to our bed.”
He put his arm around her shoulder and they continued on toward their new home.
He could hear the tearing of the ground above him. He was beginning to realize his fate here. He was buried beneath the weight of the ground. He was buried alive?
Devon tried to move his fingers, his toes, to feel for a gap in which he could move and work to free himself. It was of no use; he was packed solidly into this place and could not move.
“Devon! I’m coming, hold on!” he could hear her voice. He tried to answer but to no avail… he was remembering.
As the two were making their way up the steps to the door of their 12th Street brownstone they heard a scream and the awful sound of metal twisting and crashing nearby.
Devon sensed the worst. He could see that his bride was moved to help. How very human of her to think she could barter with death.
“Catherine, it’s too late, her fate is sealed. Let her be and we will continue with our plans.” He spoke to her. “Please! Catherine?”
She could not ignore the screams of pain. She pulled herself away from Devon’s arms and ran to the next block.
The woman was lying on the ground before her, torn and broken, barely alive. She realized in an instant that her efforts could not save the woman lying before her.
“Please help me.” The woman begged her. “Please. It hurts. I need… I need help. I don’t want to die.”
“It will be over soon.” Catherine whispered under her breath.
Catherine could see the woman’s hand shaking as she tried to reach out for her. She was lying in a pool of crimson ribbons. Clearly, it would not take long. Catherine could do nothing.
He was becoming more aware now. There was the scraping and beating of the ground above him, yet there was no beating of his heart, no movement at all within his chest.
He wasn’t breathing. And, yet, he was aware and alive.
“Who is this woman calling my name?” His thoughts were burning to remember.
Devon was standing beside Catherine now and she could see the sweat that was dripping from his brow. He wouldn’t be able to control this, she thought. There was too much blood.
Before Catherine was able to stop him, he was already making his way toward the mortally injured woman.
“Please don’t.” Catherine was moving her mouth to speak but no words came out. “Please, Devon, stop.”
It was too late, the bloody scene was too much for him to ignore. He did not have the strength to fight it. He slowly dropped to his knee and picked up the mangled arm of the woman. She was sobbing uncontrollably. Her eyes were wide and had that look of desperation to them. He understood. She was dying. She knew she was dying.
“Don’t touch her!” Catherine screamed. “Devon! Do not defile her!”
Devon froze at the command.
“Devon let her go. I will satisfy you, my dear. Please leave her, let her go.”
Devon could not control his own instincts as they pulled him down and closer to the dying woman. He closed his eyes and began to lap at the spilled blood like a kitten to a bowl of warm milk.
Catherine could not believe what she was seeing. He would not touch the woman, she was certain. But, his face was covered in the scarlet stain of her blood as he continued to drink from the pool next to her.
“Catherine” he thought. It came to him with a jolt. “Her name is Catherine.”
He was beginning to remember her.
She was tall and lean. Her hands were delicate and her fingers long; she would rake them through his hair and caress his face. She was soft to the touch, skin of silk, the color of buttermilk, and her cheeks and mouth blushed with a hint of coral.
Her mouth, relaxed in a permanent sensual pout, coaxing him to kiss her and surrender himself, body and… soul.
“You there!” came a harsh shout from behind her. “Stop what you’re doing! Stop him!”
He was discovered. They would not forgive this… this spectacle of depravity. She did what she knew she must do and ran away from the ghoulish display and the events she knew would follow.
Several men were wrestling Devon to the ground and held him down. Devon looked for Catherine but knew in his heart she had gone. She had to go. She had to survive. He looked up at the streetlamp and suddenly everything went dark.
Catherine watched from the window as they carried his limp body away and loaded him onto the bed of a truck. Some of the men now had shovels and pick-axes with them. She knew what they intended. All she could do now was to wait.
“Catherine. My sweet Catherine.” Devon could not understand the events that led him to this. He was certain that he was lying in his grave, but why?
Again, his mind took him to another time. She was laughing. With her head thrown back and cares tossed aside, she was happy and giggling as he tickled her with a fine peacock feather, tracing the length of her neck.
“I’m yours!” she was nearly in tears from the joy of it. “Take me now, Devon. Take me away with you.”
“I will, my love, but after we have taken our earthly vow.” He stubbornly replied. “I must have you in both worlds!”
They laughed together like two children at play. They were in love.
She had to wait one year. He must lie undisturbed for one year. That is what he told her to do in case something like this was to ever happen. And, it had.
It was the anniversary of their wedding day and of that fateful night when they took him and buried him in this unmarked grave. There was no need for a coffin. They were in a hurry to put him in the ground that night, before the sunrise.
She had watched them place him in his bed, a burial unfit for man or god. She wasn’t sure which he was; perhaps both. Now she was standing over him, calling out his name, to awaken him from his sleep. “Devon!” she cried out.
He could see a hint of light peeking in from above him. As he was struggling to stay awake he noticed an urgency he could not define.
The pain was growing more intense. He could feel the hunger burning inside of him. He must feed or die.
The light was being cast by a flame inside of a glass box which she was now holding out above him. He could feel the earth release him and he tore at the ground to free himself.
Catherine stepped back and waited for him to rise out of the depths and join her. It was not a mortal body she saw lifting from below her. It was more of an apparition, a ghost, the essence of her love – Devon.
Come to me, she beckoned. Come… to… me. She was speaking to him without making a sound.
As Devon was summoned forward from his grave, Catherine untied her cloak and let it fall behind her. He was being carried upon a mist to her side. He could feel her life emanating from her like the rays of a sun in another galaxy. It was calling him to her; light beckoning to the dark.
Standing before him, Catherine had disrobed and was now holding a small dagger in her hand. With the blade she skillfully cut a small gash into one side of her neck, careful to cut the vein and not the artery. It was important that she bleed out slowly, to stay alive until it was done. The blood was winding lazily from her wound and lacing delicately around her neck as she took a step toward him.
Devon could smell the sweet earthy musk of her blood and pulled her to him. Their lips touched and he could taste her on his tongue.
They fell to the ground together in a frenzy of lust that could not be constrained. He entered upon her there and felt the rush of life that now enveloped his senses. She held him to her and thrust once more against him. It was almost finished.
“You must consume me here, Devon. Now.” she whispered to him softly. “You must taste my blood and drink life so you will not perish.”
He could not speak. His actions were no longer his own, but that of consuming desire.
He slowly lifted her chin. Devon could smell the scent of her everywhere at once, both the metallic aroma of venous blood and the richer heavier scented blood pumping just below it.
He did what he needed to; he ripped at her throat with his teeth until he could feel the artery. The cord was thick and throbbing with its rich sustenance. He bit again. Catherine released a moan from beneath her breast. She was almost spent. He would have to hurry.
One more time he bit into the rubbery tube and finally severed it. The blood was pulsating into his mouth and he swallowed hard. It was not the sweet taste of death he held in his mouth but the coppery metallic taste of life. Her life.
Devon drank from her throughout the night. Catherine had separated from her mortal body before the sunrise. She lay pale and limp in his arms. His bride had satisfied him in life… and in death.
There was one more task at hand.
Devon placed the body of his bride next to his own, in the grave. There, the two mortal bodies will remain, in the grave that had now become their wedding bed.
Devon stood over the freshly turned soil that was now packed down solidly, and held out his hand. Catherine, resplendent in her immortal glow, reached out and took it. Together they walked away into the night, and into their eternity.