The smell of smoke lingered in the air. Angelique couldn’t escape the haunting aroma. Hundreds of years had passed; yet, when she closed her eyes she could still see Mary’s body burning as she struggled to try to escape the flames. The reflection of the embers in Cain’s eyes. The helplessness she felt as she watched her love burn to the ground. Every moment was etched into her memory like an epitaph on a headstone.
She gazed upon her latest acquisition in her collection of antiquities. William Blake’s painting “The Night of Enitharmon’s Joy”. It was an exquisite piece that spoke of a woman’s desire to be stronger than man. Certainly it had a morbid quality about it. But it spoke to Angelique unlike any other painting that she owned. She understood the desire to be stronger than man better than any person possibly could.
Cain took Mary from this world and, while Angelique was stronger than all other beings on earth, she wasn’t stronger than him. They all lived but through his good graces, because he had not chosen to destroy them, yet.
Angelique longed for a day when she could outsmart him, or at least manage to outlast him. She held the unlikely hope that one day he would grow bored of the game and choose to await the sunrise.
“Is that the new piece?” James asked, coming up behind her. It always amazed her at how silent he was now that he was one of her kind. He was so very loud when he was human. She loved the way his scent excited her in a way no other had since Mary and she was glad it hadn’t changed much.
“Yes, do you like it?” Angelique asked.
“It is unusual. There is such darkness in this piece. It’s like a person terrified of losing control of their own future.”
“That is very astute. I never thought about that,” Angelique replied, turning to look at James. The look in his eyes reflected what he had seen in the painting. She imagined that her eyes also reflected the same thing. She kissed him softly on the lips and turned back to the painting.
“So, where shall we go to summer?” she asked James. “Venice, perhaps?”
“Anywhere you are is perfectly fine with me,” he answered and wrapped his arms around her slim waist.
“I will make the arrangements first thing in the morning. You will love my apartment there. And my art gallery there will be the perfect place to display my newest piece.”
It took a month to make all the necessary preparations for the trip to Venice. Angelique’s condo had to be closed up and their things needed to be shipped ahead of them. But, finally, they arrived in Venice on an exquisite night in May.
Her servants had opened and aired her apartment before their arrival so everything was perfectly in place that night. Unfortunately, one of them had forgotten to lock the door. Angelique knew immediately that Cain was there waiting for them. She had rather hoped he would choose to stay in the states.
“Angelique, my love, how good to see that you are well!” Cain approached her with unwarranted enthusiasm and wrapped his arms around her in a mocking warm embrace.
“What are you doing here, Cain?”
“Haven’t you heard? Apparently some fool decided to burn down my house while I was sleeping the other day. Now, who would do such a foolish thing, do you suppose?”
“I have no idea, Cain,” Angelique replied. “Perhaps you have made too many enemies as of late.”
“Nonsense! I don’t have enemies, my love!” he responded. His eyes darkened as he spoke, as if he hoped to have caught her in a lie.
Angelique was grateful for the fact that her heart no longer beat otherwise he would notice a very rapid heartbeat indicating her lie. She knew it was a slim chance that setting fire to his house would actually destroy him, but she had hoped that it would catch him off-guard. He didn’t even appear to be singed by the ordeal.
“I really must bid you farewell, Cain. I have a gallery to open and there is much still left to do. I trust that your villa here in Venice remains unharmed?”
“Yes, yes, of course. Do be careful, my love. If I do indeed have an enemy, it would be wise for you to tread softly for a while.”
“I always tread softly.”
Inspired by: The Speakeasy
Angelique is a character that I use regularly in short stories. I have started developing her character a bit more since I found Writing.com and created my WordPress blog. I’d be interested in hearing all constructive criticism regarding her and the stories I place her in.