Forever Knight story features Victor and Richard, original characters.
Richard touched the folded paper on his desk. How many times
had he read this insanity? How many times had he tried to make sense of
his friend's delusion?
Victor had not been well, of that much he'd been painfully
aware. But guilt rattled his
chest as he'd read the letter and realized just how far his old
friend's condition had
No one had heard from Victor in two months. Some suspected
he'd met a violent end, yet
there was no evidence of this. Nothing had been stolen, there were no
signs of a violent
quarrel. Victor had written a long letter to Richard just days before
it became apparent
that he'd gone missing. And there was the curious statement he'd left
on his writing desk.
In his most neat and precise handwriting, Victor had penned
the cryptic message:
"I shall be as a dark angel in the night."
Messages left before a suicide generally held more explanation
than this. And the bodies
of those who'd dispatched themselves from this life were generally more
No, Richard thought. It was not a suicide note. And what's
more, no body has been
He lifted the familiar letter, careful not to tear it where it
was thinned from the wear of his
repeated unfolding. He read:
I write this letter not to disturb you, please believe me. But
our friendship dictates that I
explain myself. If this letter saddens you (please let it not be so)
take heart, Richard, in
knowing that my original message was to be a final farewell. This is
anticipation and wonder, and eagerness for what is to come. And, at
long last, a measure
I have not known joy for some time, as you well know. I
suppose I may
never truly know it again. But until mere days past I had no hope of
even a shadow
of happiness. All has changed, old friend.
My story begins but two nights ago as I sat with my head in my
hands, despairing my very
existence, having written a final, bitter goodbye before taking my
leave of this life in a
manner which, for both our sake's, I will not describe in detail here.
Having signed my
name and extinguished my candle, I rose from the desk, determined to
savor one last look
at the moon-dappled grounds beyond my study window. There, as I
tearfully admired the
fullness of the trees I had planted so many years ago, I sighed what
was to be my last
mournful sound on this earth.
Then (Richard, please do not think me mad) the darkness
Surely this is an inadequate description, yet its essence
rings true to my ear. The night, it
rippled before me! I have read tales of specters and ghosts rich with
description of how
the fine hairs bristle along the back of the neck, and the spine chills
foreboding, yet until that moment I had no cause to think those
outside the pages of books. But Richard, I promise you, it was as if an
icy gale had
somehow breached my very skin!
Suddenly, where moments before had been only darkness, stood a
man. Again the night
rippled and a second tall figure appeared only a pace before the first.
I was mesmerized by
these two shapes just beyond my window. At first, I doubted my eyes and
thoughts--my very sanity! But the figures would not be wished nor
reasoned away! They were, whether I chose to see them or not.
They were dressed darkly, Richard, and yet I thought they must
be angels--their unearthly
pale faces seemed to glow! The first figure's golden hair appeared as a
halo over his
shining countenance. I tell you, under the moon's glow, he seemed not
to reflect the light,
but to create it.
The second figure held out his pale hand to the first, as if
in alms. The first man refused
and pushed it away. They stilled, and my breath caught in my chest.
And then, Richard, they grappled!
If I'd still held doubt that the creatures before me were mist
or apparitions, I now had
proof of their solid form. They collided with such force! And the
sounds they made! Hellish sounds, as if they were not shadowy angels as
I'd imagined, but demons, or devil
cats! And listen well, dear Richard, and know I am serious and sound as
I tell you this --
for a time, their feet did not light upon the ground. As if swinging
from unseen ropes,
they wrestled and fought in the air.
Their cries reached a pitch that rattled the glass within its
pane. Just as I thought the
window would shatter, they fell to the grass below and grew strangely
silent. They held
fast together, and as they rolled, still struggling in a curious
battle, I could see that they
had torn at each other's throats with their own mouths! They appeared
more as devil cats, lions feeding after a hunt, than the angels I'd
imagined them to be only moments ago.
And then, Richard, they did not speak, nor gesture in any way.
They simply broke apart
and rose, soundlessly and swiftly. Their faced glowed less than before,
as their life's blood
spotted and darkly streaked their pale visages. Then the second man,
who had offered his
hand for an unknown reason and been refused, pulled the first man
forward and without
ceremony cleaned his companion's face. I tell you the truth! He gently
bit at the skin, and
licked his face clean, in the manner of an animal grooming an
offspring, or a mate. He
bathed the face of the first man as if men had been performing similar
actions for each
other since time began. Where I'd compared them to lions before,
Richard, I now could
not prevent myself from thinking of them as wolves! Those wolves in
packs whose rituals
of which I'd read with such eagerness in my youth.
I watched this grooming, and as the first man in turn lapped
the blood from his
companion's skin, I realized that I was in danger of being discovered,
as I had pressed my
hands against the glass and my quick breaths were fogging my view in my
catch every detail of the scene unfolding before me.
I gathered myself and retreated a step into the study, never
taking my eyes from the
strange sights ahead, when the first man tilted back his head and
looked toward the
heavens. The night seemed to envelope him -- he disappeared. The second
man did not
seem shocked at this, and he too looked toward the stars. I fully
expected him to vanish in
the same manner.
But now, a remarkable end to a remarkable tale.
As I held my breath and waited for his wondrous exit, he
lowered his head, Richard, and
he looked directly into my eyes! I thought my chest would burst as he
walked toward the
window, never releasing my frightened gaze. Just steps away from the
glass he paused,
and I, even in my terror, realized that my first thought about this
creature's nature had
been correct. He smiled and here, in all his glory, was a dark angel
before me, his eyes
golden, his lips rubies, the pallor of his skin as pure ivory.
Then he spoke to me with the words that have given me a hope
of which I dared never to
dream. He spoke to me, Richard. Not with his voice, no, no, an angel
would not need
such a device. His eyes held mine and he spoke inside my mind! His
melodic voice rang
out inside my own head! And then, as I fought to remain standing though
would surely sway if I stayed a minute more, he was gone. And I was
alone with the
memory of the words, and his voice, and his gaze.
You surely must think me mad by now, dear friend, and I could
not take offense at it -- I
would doubt the sanity of one telling a tale such as this had I not
seen it with my own
eyes. I doubted my own mind's clarity many times during this night.
At this moment, I will not blame you for doubt. Yet I shall
prove to you the truth in my
words. Unless I am truly mad, you shall hear of my absence and my
certain demise, and a
short time after that I will have proof to offer you. Know that I am
well despite reports to
Wait to hear from me, Richard, my old and dearest friend.
A dark angel
Richard laughed softly to himself, and the hollow sound
Victor had always possessed a fertile imagination. Illness and
despair must have twisted
his creative mind into something sinister and dark. Dark angel, indeed.
And yet, here he was, reading again, searching the message
again. Hoping . . . for what?
No. He'd soon be insane as his poor, lost friend if he allowed
himself to continue this way. He placed the letter carefully in a
drawer, and vowed to leave it.
He needed the crisp, night air to revive him and clear his
head of foolish thoughts.
He found himself spending more and more time outside after the sun had
behind the far hills, relishing the solemnity of being alone in the
dark, with only the stars
and the moon to witness an old fool's folly.
He walked away from the house, toward the moon, breathing
deeply of the dark, damp
air. He heard a rustling ahead, surely a prowling cat.
At that moment, another of the night's creatures proved to him
that his dreams of a dark
angel weren't nearly so foolish as his fears.
"Richard. My old friend . . . ."