Love Is Darkness - By Caroline Hanson


Prague, Czech Republic

15 years ago

He wasn’t God.

Although there had been a handful of years between his ascendancy to the throne and the killing of the Others, where he may as well have been. The world had not only responded to his whims but feared them.

He wasn’t death.

He’d created death, given death, even taken death away by making someone immortal. But death had never come for him.

Time to rethink that one.

He supposed it was fitting that he would die like Gaius. Lucas, a 900 year old, vampire ‘upstart’, had walked straight up to him and cut off his head without Gaius even blinking in protest. One swing of his sword, a clearing of ash and he had taken the throne.

Gaius had sat there for weeks, staring at nothing like a mindless fool, until Lucas had decided it was enough, that faded glory and reverence only lasted for so long.

But now death was stalking him, sinking claws into him slowly and sweetly so that he barely noticed. Did it matter? Did he care? If he went back into that catatonic state and never came out again, would it be so bad?

He shuffled memories like a deck of cards in his mind, turning over static pictures of his life: himself laughing, despairing, fighting, even fucking. Events that should prompt vividly colored reactions, yet all he felt was gray.

From birth he had known his death would be in battle, fighting for something with all his heart. And that’s how he knew he wasn’t death. Because death knew what he wanted and was able to keep it well out of reach.

The sound of wild masculine laughter floated up the stairs to his room and Lucas returned to himself quickly, his heart thundering loudly as it sped up, momentarily blotting out the sound from below. His heartbeat calmed and he blinked, thick, dark lashes shuttering his pale blue eyes. There was a rustle of silk outside the door; Marion was coming.

He'd sired her centuries ago. She knocked and he bid her to enter. Almost quivering with agitation she went down on one knee, head bowed modestly.

“My King, Roberto has returned from the New World. I would ask that you come to see him, if it pleases you.”

A thread of excitement weaved through her words. She was uncommonly tall, almost six feet, and painfully thin, her features sharp and harsh. Marion's hair was a vivid auburn, her eyes forest green. She looked just as she had at eighteen, the year she had died and become a vampire. But centuries of hard living, dissipation and unhappiness had hardened her, leaving their mark upon her frailness so that her vitality was a brittle mask.

Lucas stood and went down the stairs, the vampire guards straightening as he passed with Marion at his heels like a vengeful spaniel. The New World she called it, as though she'd never heard of the United States of America.

He looked at the grandfather clock as he passed, noting that it was now the 30th and he'd been inward for... twenty one days. Was it possible? His hands tightened into fists and he felt a pang of worry that the episodes were getting longer.

In the entryway to the great hall, Lucas and Marion came to a halt, taking in the tableau before them. The room was almost empty and dimly lit. A vaulted ceiling was high over-head, the beams dark with age. A gigantic limestone fireplace dominated one wall, necessary to generate enough warmth for the room which could easily seat two hundred people for dinner.

Roberto was standing on a table, walking heel to toe in a careful process like he was drunk. He began singing, a soft song in Spanish.

“What did you do?” Lucas' voice was deep and deceptively calm as he eyed the vampire up and down before pulling out a chair from the dining room table and sitting, crossing his legs casually as he studied Roberto.

“I was in California, and I found a woman,” he started giggling then tried to stop. “She was, like drugs or candy— ” He gave a loose shrug, like he was giving up on finding the right words.

There was a long pause and when he spoke again his voice sounded dreamy, maybe even a little regretful. “Stupid to have drunk her in one.” He sighed, his red lips tilting downwards into a frown. “Her blood burned me it was so sweet. An explosion and now it’s like colors racing through me.”

Lucas stayed still. He didn’t want to make Copyright 2016 - 2021