An online friend told me about this project she’s a part of called The Chrysalis Experiment and I decided to join them in it. The first prompt was: “I hate polite people. Especially when they’re murderers.” and this is what I wrote last night. I’m going to try to do this every week, but time is scarce so we’ll see. It’s just 1078 words but a good start I think.
He was wearing a top hat and swinging a walking stick when I first met him. The knob on it was shaped like a serpent and all his clothes were white, as white as the well trimmed beard that decorated his face.
“Do you juggle?” he asked me grinning. I was shivering, not from cold but from fear and excitement.
“No but I can walk a line real well” I told him, “and I’m very bendy”.
“Bendy?” the old man asked laughing. “What will I do with bendy?”
“I can balance a ball while standing on my hands” I stammered.
“We’re not a regular circus, little miss” he then said seriously. “We’re not just an amusement act. We live and breathe our roles. We are our masks, we have become one with our masks. Are you prepared to become one with whatever mask you are dealt?”
“Yes sir” I said without thinking about it for a second.
“So you say” he said, swung his stick in circles and signed me to follow him.
We walked through the city silently. I followed him like a hungry puppy without taking in my surroundings. He walked slowly and I followed, through the streets, over bridges and finally into a house. I couldn’t have traced our steps if my life depended on it afterwards and I guess that was his intention.
He took me to a cellar which appeared, at first, to be quite small. There was a bed, a bookcase and a small table in the corner. He didn’t stop though but walked straight to the bookcase and pulled out a book.
And the bookcase moved, opened like a door and revealed a much larger room. It was filled with people but not regular people, not people you saw on the streets of the city but strange people. Clowns wearing red curly wigs and wide grins, slim women wearing silvery, revealing uniforms, large bald men with white knuckles, red stern faces balancing large stones on their backs, dark haired woman stroking a large lion, a man covered in dragon tattoos, a woman wearing a large snake around her neck, a woman and a man with pointy hats and the longest fingernails she had ever seen. They were too many to count, all minding their own business.
“I have a girl here who wants to join us” the white bearded man said loudly over the crowed. Everybody stopped moving and stared at us. My face turned red and I realized I wouldn’t be able to say a word were it required.
“She says she is bendy and that she can walk on a line” the white bearded man said.
“Everybody can walk in a line” a woman shouted and laughed. The crowed laughed with her.
“Show yourself girl” the man said to me and waved me forward. I took a step forward and bent my knees in a curtsy. The crowed laughed some more.
“She’s a polite little girl” the man said, “but despite appearances I think she might have potential. I think she might have what it takes but she has to prove herself, like we all did before her”.
“What is her thing?” someone shouted.
“A temptress” someone shouted.
“A line dancer” someone else sniggered.
“A whore” someone laughed.
“She may look innocent” the white bearded man said but looks can be deceiving, which works in our favor. Show your teeth girl.”
I bared my teeth instinctively, unquestioningly although I did not understand why he wanted me to.
The crowed ooh and awed.
“She will need to be trained, she needs new manners and you all know I hate polite people. Especially when they’re murderers but she will be perfect in our midst.” He continued.
I looked at him, surprised.
“We don’t need another weird-one” someone said. “She brings us nothing”.
“Everyone brings something” the white bearded man said, “and she brings us more than most. She brings us the tainted blood. She brings us life. Never again will we have to suffer loss. She brings us eternity”.
A hushed whisper went through the crowed.
“Is this true?” someone at last answered.
“She knows it not but it is true. You can see it in her eyes and on her pale, broken skin.”
“But she is so tiny, so weak”.
“Not weak, just de-nourished” the white bearded man said. “Lovely Love-Lou will you offer a drop or two?” he turned to a little girl who had been standing behind him, sucking a lollipop.
“Sure” she said and walked towards me but before she reached me she bit her thumb hard. She stopped, sucked a few drops of blood and then offered me the finger.
I looked at the bearded man surprised.
“Do as you will” he said, “join us… or not”.
I took the girls finger and smelled it. Sweet, sour, pure but not innocent. It tasted like nothing I’d eaten before. It tasted heavenly, like the nectar of the gods must taste and I felt a surge of energy go through me.
“Ahh” the white bearded man smiled. “See, she is one of us, will you share your power with us?” he asked me. “Will you become one of us, share with us and we share with you?”
I said nothing. Just nodded and took another sip of the little girl.
“You’re my new best friend” she said and smiled, sucked harder on her lollipop and popped her finger into my mouth for the third time. “Just remember that I am not one of your offers or your victims”.
“Victims” I whispered, “offers”.
Later the white bearded man showed me to my room. He walked beside me and even patted me on the back.
“You will get used to all this” he said, “you will get used to who you are too”.
“Who am I?” I asked quietly.
“Don’t you know?” he smiled, “or does my serpent fool you? Are you wondering if you were this person we claim all along or if you became this person when you entered our fine establishment? Let me warn you, before you go looking for answers … eternity does not lie in the answer. Eternity lies with us. You are welcome here. You are needed here. You are the vampire.”
I bowed my head and nodded.
“And stop with this politeness, it makes me ill” he said and touched my head with the knob of his cane.
“It truly makes me ill”.