Love: the Death of Dreams

The night sky was as dark as could be, clouds covering the moon and stars, but in the field below was the flickering light of candles arranged in a very particular pattern.  The night was eerily calm, and not even a cricket dared to chirp, as if they knew what was about to happen, and were waiting in suspense.

            Nervous and wracked with doubt, Clyde nonetheless stepped forward through the candles into the center of the pattern, where the last pieces of the ritual were waiting.  He knelt down and picked up the knife, staring into the ancient book that he only barely understood.  He recited the words of the book and then sliced into his arm, letting the blood drip into the chalice at the very center.

            Thunder rolled across the field from all directions and all the candles went out simultaneously, leaving the man in darkness.  Then, the candles lit back up spontaneously, the familiar red and orange mixed in darker blues and purples, while thin lines of fire with no source etched along the pattern of the candles.  And in the center of it, directly in front of Clyde, a creature appeared.  It was a grotesque parody of femininity, stretched out to extremes that only a very few would find appealing.  And then there were the claws, the forked tail that constantly whipped back and forth, the horns, and the razor teeth that constantly dripped some liquid, which sizzled when it touched the ground.

            “You have summoned me, creature.  What is it that you desire?”  the creature asked.  It had a voice that defied all expectations from its appearance, sounding very soft and charming.

            “I want to make a deal,” Clyde said, trembling as he stared at the creature in shock that it actually appeared.

            “Well, of course.  That s what you called me for.  What, exactly is it that you want?”

            “I, I want her to love me,” Clyde said slowly, hesitating with each word.

            The creature sighed, then suddenly stepped forward, pressing a single ‘finger’ of its claw into Clyde’s forehead.  Clyde, startled, staggered backwards, quickly losing his balance and almost knocked over a candle.  The creature sighed and moved again, catching Clyde with its claws with surprising gentleness, setting him back upright.

            “You need to be more careful.  Breaking the circle means bad things can happen,” the creature said.  Its voice had changed, still pleasant and feminine, but different.

            Once he had recovered, Clyde found himself staring at a person in front of him, instead of a monster.  A very special person to him.  The woman that he thought he loved.  “Becky!”

            “In a sense, mortal.  This is whom you were referring to, yes?  The woman you wish would love you?”

            “Yes!  I’d do anything.  Please!”

            “There are always costs for wishes like these to be granted.  Are you willing to pay the price?”

            “Of course!  I would give me soul for her to love me.”

            The creature as Becky laughed.  “I have no use for that.  I am not some pathetic demon bound up in petty dealmaking.  I am so much more than that.”

            “Well, what do you want then?”  Clyde asked, confused.

            “For you, I want so very little.  First, I want you to swear an oath; that you will bear responsibility for everything that happens because of our deal.”

            “Of course!  I’ll take care of her, no matter what.  She’ll get only the best from me!”

            “Excellent.  Second, and lastly, I simply want to watch.”

            “Like, in person?  Or am I going to have to videotape us?”

            The creature broke into laughter.  Even with the body and voice of a beautiful woman, it managed to make it rather disturbing.  “I have no interest in watching you in coitus.  What I mean is that I will be somewhere nearby at the major points on your life.  You won’t see me, and I will not affect things, but you will always wonder about seeing me just out of the corner of your eyes.  Is that acceptable?”

            “I can live with that,” Clyde said with a nod. 

            “Then all there is left is to seal this deal.” The creature said.  Somehow, its razor teeth seemed to reappear still in the woman’s form.

            “Do I get to kiss you?  Have to, I mean.”

            “Of course not,” the creature said with derision.  It returned to its original form, stepped over the chalice, then sliced into its flesh and let the blood mix with Clyde’s.  Then it picked up the chalice, swirled it gently, and handed it to Clyde.

            “I have to drink that?  Is that what you want?”  Clyde asked, gently taking hold of the chalice.

            “A deal is signed in blood.  You drink, then I drink, and what you wish shall be made true.”

            After a long hesitation, Clyde pressed the chalice to his lips and took a drink.  He tried to just take a sip, but the creature was suddenly beside him, and forced him to drink deeply.  It tasted foul, and somehow it had lost the distinctive taste of blood.  Once it was satisfied, it took over the chalice and finished the rest of the liquid, taking the time to let every drop come out.

            “With blood, an oath is made!  The one you claim to love will you until the end of her days.  It shall be a love as deep and true as the love of Jason and Medea, created by the blessing of Eros!  Go now to your beloved, and she will take you in her arms at first sight.

            With that, the candles went out again, and the creature disappeared.  Clyde ran off, intent on seeing his Becky, leaving the field empty.  Eventually, the clouds lifted, and moonlight shined back down into that field, and the nocturnal creatures emerged from their hiding places, and began to fill the field with the sides of life once again.

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