The human body does not die quickly from the vampires poisonous infection. The cold parasitic blood invades the carriers own arterial system, spreading it toxins throughout the corpse. The sanguinary dysfunction leads to the decay of the primary organs for supporting life, within hours the effects start with minor respiratory affectations, rapid breathing and shortness of breath, an incredible thirst and peculiarly a lack of urine production. Left to its own devices the body will gradually atrophy, stagnate, and decay, individual organs failing at their own rates leaving their roles unserviced until finally, the pump, the heart, will fail, the only question is whether the brain has been poisoned with toxins before this. It is neither painless nor rapid and until ones eyesight begins to fail the victim can but watch the ravages of the disease as it is reflected in the skin, which pales, discolours with jaundice and a rash of lentigines more commonly associated with the ravages of age or alcohol.
This is the death that awaited me now, but I get ahead of myself.
That first night, through the exhaustion, brought on by the terror and exertions of the act of violation, yielded sleep; though it was a sleep dominated by dark and fearful overtures in my mind. It was not until the morning that the emotional trauma and fear subsided and the tears came. The terror of the moment, the fear of the future, the shame of the violation, the thoughts of what has passed and what is still to come possesses one, crushing the will to go on, but of course that choice, the choice of dying has now been removed. I lay in my bed, a dark coldness in my stomach feeling every bit as dirty and desecrated as the young child I had once been had felt in the early days of incarceration. Back then I went to the safe place in my mind, shutting out the physical world, keeping the Self secure. But now even my mind had been assaulted, there was no place left inviolate, nowhere to hide the desecration complete.
I ran a bath as hot as I could bear. I have no recollection of how long I had sat there, staring, crying, scrubbing but it was here that Orchid found me.
"Beq? Beq where are you...", hearing the sobs and the splashing of water Orchid tentatively opened the bathroom door, peering into the steam filled room."Beq?"
I looked up, my eyes red and puffy from crying.
"Orchid?", I sobbed, wiping my eyes as if to cover the evidence of my anguish. She steeped into the room, not able to meet my gaze directly, biting her lip nervously[6:38] Orchid McMillan bites her lip.
" Beq...what.. I ...Nareth, she..", Orchid stumbled and sputtered, "Beq, I know.". She squeezed her arms around herself, eyes fixated on the floor
"Then leave me, you know what I am, what I will become", I lifted a hand to the back of my neck, to touch the scratches there and pulled it away, puzzled to find that they were not there.
"No! You know I won't do that Beq."
"I know,", I sighed
"I, I honestly have no idea what is happening... how all of this works. Nareth asked Rip and I to hide you both."
"That is the problem. I know you will not leave me and I'm scared, you must not trust me now. Not trust us, She took me, trapped me, I am so stupid."
"I may keep one eye over my shoulder, but I can not let the Beq I know go, not until I know she is gone forever and no, Beq. She is too strong, too sly. Do not blame yourself."
"Orchid", I stopped her, my eyes staring at her.
"I..I am dying, did she tell you that?". Orchid nodded, glancing at the wall, unable to look at me.
"But then... what does that really mean? She has died, yet she is here. I do not understand all of this. She's asked if we would hide you two, from prying eyes. She made it sound as if there was more of a danger, that if I want to keep hope, we must hide you and keep you safe. You both have been welcomed into our home...". She covered her face with her hand. "Beq, have I made the wrong choice?"
"I would have you abandon me, but I know that you would not."
"You are right, I would not. I made every decision last night based on what I thought may bring the best outcome for you, Beq.."
"but she, she has lied, deceived and corrupted me....I do not even know that the bargain I have to save you both stands now. I fear that she will use me, use me to take you because she cannot have you herself."
"She tricked me last night...", I looked up in horror, what had Nareth done? "she made me an offer, to be hers fully for one day and night, in return for releasing you. I almost accepted Beq, I really almost did. After I denied her, she laughed, she had never meant it.". I stared down into the water and sighed.
"It is as I feared. She will twist us."
"You can only imagine what Rip's reaction was as I stumbled to deny her.". I looked up, my eyes full of tears and sorrow.
"Orchid, I am so sorry, I have brought all of this upon you, you would have been better to have never known me.". Orchid knelt down beside the tub.
"Don't you ever say that Beq, I cannot imagine my life in Babbage without ever having known you.", I wept openly at her words.
"thank you Orchid, you are far more than I deserve, you both are."
"You know we will not give up on you Beq, so please, do not give up on yourself.". I wiped my face, washing the tears away and tried to force a smile. Orchid laughed slightly,
"You needn't force a smile when all you feel are tears."
"I will be as strong as I can."
"That is all I ask", Orchid smiled and I smiled back.
"See it is working already"
"You are my best friend Beq. You are the only one I trust as much as Rip.". I looked up awkwardly, aware that the water was cooling.
"would you pass me the towel please?"
" Yes, of course..", Orchid grabbed a towel from the towel rail and handed it to me, turning so her gaze wandered from the tub. "I'll wait in the bedroom.". I stood up, letting the water drop from my body before quickly drying myself and wrapping the towel around me and walking back in to the bedroom where Orchid was waiting. "We're going to get through this, okay?". She smiled weakly. I stood for a moment,watching Orchid.
"I'm so scared", I admitted.
"I can only imagine Beq, I can really only imagine. I hope it gives you even the tiniest bit of solace knowing that we are here for you."
"For weeks now I've lived with the certain knowledge that I might die any day. Now it seems that was all a lie, a deception, those events have passed. The disaster averted, perhaps because She was here, because I commanded it but now the choice is undone, there was no final reckoning, I remain bound to her, and she has violated me. There will be no death, no sacrifice to the world's safety, The price went up, I will not receive my final reckoning now there is eternity."
Orchid shook her head, trying to wrap her mind around it all
"I will never again know love, for there is no feeling, only memory, I will fade, this body will die", Orchid blinked away tears that welled up in her eyes.
"I can't let that happen to you...There must be a way.". I stepped forward, hugging Orchid close to me, I smiled as Orchid returned the hug tightly.
"Listen,in but a few days, I will no longer be able to do that. Not safely". Orchid nodded sadly, her head on my shoulder. I held her, feeling her closeness, holding on to the memory.
"Then now, Beq, while you understand love, I must share something with you. I-I know it isn't what you would've liked, but, it is at least, happier news than all of this...". I released Orchid from my hug and looked into her eyes
"Rip, he's asked me to marry him, Beq."
"Oh Orchid, why do you say it is not what I would want for you. I can think of nothing better. My feelings for you, they should never have been shown."
"Well, because I can only imagine the pain of loving one that does not return the same love, that is all.", she looked saddened at what should have been such a happy moment. She was afraid of hurting me. It brought tears to my eyes.
"come here", I hugged her again, crying. This time with happiness for us, we had got through this, our friendship had survived. Orchid wrapped her arms around me, holding her tightly to herself.
"I would never have wanted to hurt either of you. This is such lovely news, you are going to say yes aren't you?" Orchid laughed, as she rubbed her sleeve across her eyes, wiping way her tears.
"Of course! I already have.". I smiled taking Orchids hands in mine and squeezing them, tightly. I realised then how cold my hands felt. Orchid squeezed back looking nervously down at my hands.
"Maybe you should get dressed, you're chilled..". I walked over to the wardrobe and put on some underwear, selecting something plain, comforting.
"I feel so dirty still.", I said, turning to smile slightly, Orchid nodded solemnly. "There is a pit of cold in me, my body fights it, I try to ...". I closed my eyes. "I force my self to be sick. It will not move.". Orchid looked back and urged me to keep on fighting, I sighed and shivered. "I will Orchid, I have to."
"I cannot tell you how glad I am to hear you say that.", she smiled.
"Who's going to be your maid of honour if I don't make it eh?", Orchid laughed and shaking her head
"I don't know...I guess that means you just have to.".
I moved to the bed and sat down on the edge of the mattress
"Orchid,",she moved closer at my beckon, "I had thought of how I was to have this meeting. I thought to drive you away, to tell you how much I hated you to show you the monster inside me. I was too weak."
"No Beq. I see that as strength."
"Facing this head on? That takes courage."
"Is it? is it not selfish? That hurt, hurt for us all would pass, in time you would forget me, you, Rip, the children", I grinned as best I were able, "I am asking you to risk all that, that is not fair."
"Let me ask you this, Beq...If the tables were turned, and I were in your place, would you abandon me? Would you wish for me to run you out of here?"
"You could try, I'd never accept that. I see that now.", I yawned.
"Perhaps I should let you rest, I imagine you haven't had much since, well, in a while."
"no, I need to sleep, I get tired so quickly it seems. I'm sorry. Thank you for coming to see me, it was brave and selfless.". Orchid moved towards the bed, reaching out to rest her hand against Beq's arm. "I will not give up, you must not forget that. Rest well Beq, I'll be checking in on you again soon.". I looked up at Orchid and reached out for a hug, resting her face against Orchid's chest, listening to the warm beat of her heart. Good bye Orchid. I will see you later I promise". Orchid McMillan wrapped her arms around me again,holding me or a moment. Then she left. I watched her leave, the future Mrs Wirefly, I smiled, the door closed and I was alone once more.
I did not sleep immediately, my throat was dry, and so I poured myself a glass of water from the jug by the bed. Before I realised it the jug was empty, the insatiable thirst had found me. I fell asleep and my dreams filled with blood.