by Ddraig Ddu
It was almost dawn when William arrived home. He went straight upstairs to his room, and didn't even undress before lying down to sleep. As he lay there, he remembered the old days, when he was younger, and he'd have happily carried on well into mid-morning, maybe even into the afternoon. All that was behind him now, had been for a long time.
Nothing had been the same, of course, after he met Cassandra. Enchanting, fascinating Cassandra, who'd stirred such irresistible desire within him. He'd been powerless not to go with her, back to her place, where he'd thrown himself into the frenzy of that unforgettable night which had changed his world forever. He still remembered her long dark curls, her soft tanned skin, those clear green eyes, whose gaze drilled into his very soul, her caresses, her kisses so intense and full of hungry passion - his hand rose involuntarily to his shoulder, just below the neck, at the memory.
Tonight he'd had a successful evening out with his friends, drinking late with the girls they'd picked up. He wouldn't say he'd got lucky though, it wasn't hard when you'd been playing the seduction game as long as he had - longer than most, yet you wouldn't guess it to look at him. His hair was still as black as a hearse, his skin still smooth, his piercing blue eyes almost hypnotically captivating.
He lay down, closed his eyes, and drifted off. In his sleep he dreamed, a distorted version of the night's events. After the concert they had gone to a bar, where they had met the girls, fresh young beauties, like bluebells newly opened in the first spring of their lives. There they had gained their confidence, and taken them on with them.
He dreamed of how it would have been in the old days. In his dream he didn't flirt so easily, he still felt something of the awkwardness of adolescence, and at the same time its intense expectation, the adventure of the uncertain, unknown future, before life becomes too predictable. And in his dream there was too that lost innocence, the innocence of the young suitor whose intentions, whilst not necessarily sanctioned by the church, were still pure and natural, not like now.
The tinkling noise woke him suddenly, though coming out of his sleep he couldn't be sure what kind of noise he had heard. The room was still dark as night. It would be, even in the middle of the brightest day, the heavy drapes formed an impermeable barrier against the light, which let not even the slightest glimmer penetrate the chamber.
Through the window he'd just smashed, the man outside tugged sharply downwards on the drape, and as the rail came away from the wall, the whole lot crashed to the ground with a loud clatter. As if someone had shattered the side of a water-tank full of sunshine, the golden glow gushed into the room, pouring into every corner.
The glare seared William's bleary eyes, suddenly blinding him, and he tried to jump to his feet. But the unforeseen heat that now tormented his skin kept him down just that fraction of a second that the man at the window needed to leap across the room to his side and position the sharpened piece of willow stick, striking a heavy blow on top of it with the hammer.
When the stake pierced his heart, William's anguish, as he felt his life finally slip away, was mixed with an unexpected feeling of relief, that at last he would be able to rest, after 300 years of this hellish addiction that had tortured his undead body every time the blood began to run thin in his veins, and needed topping up again with a fresh victim.