Friday, December 17, 2010

Twisted Christmas Fairy Tale - #fridayflash

Hey, it's nearly Christmas. A time for tales. This story is vamping up the old Cinderella tale.

‘Cindy, please don’t go,’ the step-sisters begged.

‘I’m 18 years old! I’ll do what I want!’ Cindy snarled.

Philomena and Persephone looked on in alarm as they saw what Cindy had chosen to wear to the Prince of Darkness Christmas party – black, black and more black.

‘Er, Cindy, don’t you think you could lighten up with a touch of red? Here, take my Hermes scarf I've never let you borrow before. It’d go so well with that knockout dress, even if…er…you trail it out of your pocket,’ Philomena said hastily when she saw the murderous look Cindy sent her way.

Philomena was stunned at how white Cindy’s face was. Cindy had used her palest pancake make-up to top off her Gothic princess look. She could be a very young and elegant Helena Bonham Carter.

‘Cindy, do you realise how dangerous this rave will be? There’ll probably be all kinds of party drugs...’

‘Oh whsst Meanie! What are you worried about? You girls hate me. You’ve spent years humiliating me, making me do all the chores, making me stay home while you went out and had all the fun. Now it’s my turn to party. God, I’ve waited long enough. Nothing’s going to stop me now.’

Cindy leaned close to Philomena's Hollywood-style mirror and applied the last touches to her black eye make-up. She finished with a slash of black lipstick.

Philomena and Persephone stepped back in horror. Cindy had turned herself into a freak show. What had happened to her long blond hair, her tanned skin, her vintage dresses? Here was a stranger in a silk and net flowing dress with handkerchief hem, black onyx beads, black vamp stockings, black stilletos, black net elbow-length gloves...

‘Would you like us to style your hair, Cindy?’ Persephone asked, ‘I could put it up on top of your head,’ she said hopefully.

‘Don’t be ridiculous, Phoney. I’m a gothic princess. My hair stays down.’

‘Can I help you with your shoes then?’ Persephone begged.

Never ever touch my shoes,' Cindy growled, 'even if you're feeling a tad guilty about the way you treated me as your valet. Don’t bother. I’m well able to dress myself, something you've never learned to do. Look at you!’

Persephone ignored the slight. Without Cindy's help she knew she looked a fright. But Cindy was out for herself tonight and she deserved it after all the years of drudgery, Persephone had to admit.

‘What’ll we tell mum when she gets home?’ she asked.

‘Nothing. She’s always wanted me dead so there should be no problem there. It’s because of her I’ve got to wear these black gloves to cover my callouses. I’d hate the Prince to think I’m some lackey.’

‘Cindy! You’ve got to be home before midnight!’

‘Or what? I'll turn into a pumpkin? Don’t be ridiculous. The party will only just be getting pumped by then.’

‘But mum…’

‘If you think I’m worried about your mum, forget it. My mum’s the only one I answer to.’

‘But your mum’s…’

‘Dead. Yes, I’d noticed. Still, you’d be surprised how helpful she can be.’

With that, Cindy stomped out of the door, steel stilettos stamping an angry staccato on the tiles.

On the subway Cindy ignored the black looks the other commuters sent her way. She never cared what people thought of her.

While she hung from the strap she stroked her cross and said a little prayer to her mum. She’d just visited her grave that afternoon to tell her what she’d planned to do. The little white dove that settled on the grave had a message for her. She’d picked up the note with shaking hands and read:

 ‘Come to the Prince of Darkness party! Best-dressed prize! A private session with the Prince!’

She’d wept with bitter joy over her mum’s grave. When she was done crying her hazel eyes felt hard and dry. This was it. This was her time…

When Cindy arrived at the party the bouncers let her go right in, such was her proud bearing. They thought she must be a foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in her black, floaty dress. Her black jewels caught the light as did her black hair which fell to her waist in a river of silk. The bouncers escorted her inside, reluctant as they were to leave her side.


The party was pumping when Cindy made her entrance through the large black doors into the cave-like room flanked by the two enormous guards. Everyone was astonished at her beauty. The Prince himself, who’d been checking out the dancers from the atrium, flew down the stairs and instantly took her by the hand and danced with no one but her for the whole evening. No one else dared invite her to dance. They feared the Prince.

Cindy was so bold as to ask, ‘Why, Prince, are you spending the night dancing with me and me alone? There are many girls who are dying to dance. I can see it in their eyes.’

‘Exactly, my princess. Their eyes are already dead, while yours are alive with light.’

‘But not for much longer, my Prince. The light is just for you. I came for your kiss of death.’

‘Is that what you want, my princess? To be with me forever after?’ he leaned closer, kissing her delicious white neck with its throbbing pulse.

‘That is what I want my Prince. My earthly life finished long ago. This mortal life has nothing for me.’

In the Prince’s darkened rooms, Cindy received her last mortal wish.

It all went to her plan. The Prince knelt before her, removing her stiletto with its razor-sharp steel-spiked heel.

‘Yes, come, my Prince. Kiss me quickly.’

He took her into his strong embrace and began to kiss her with a long and lingering passion, before suddenly yet gently piercing her neck with her stiletto heel.

So much easier than biting through skin, he thought.

He bent over her to taste the divine life source.

'Ah, at last. My Princess has come!'



Friday, December 10, 2010

The Child #fridayflash


The desert was pitch-black.

The Muslim call to prayer rang out across the Baluchi Valley, punctuating the silence with staccato bursts.

The dogs began to bark.

I struggled blindly through cool sand, thick around my ankles, dragging at my regulation boots.

As I followed the soldier in front of me, I fought against the exhaustion that threatened to overwhelm me. The lead soldiers were obviously a lot fitter than I, a newly-arrived recruit. My knees were screaming, my thighs were burning, my lungs were on fire and my head was thumping with the headache from hell.

And that is what I called this place – hell.

I was in another world, a world where nothing was as it appeared.

Who was friend?

Who was foe?

I was on covert foot patrol with Australian and Afghan soldiers.  We were outside the wire. We scaled rocky hills under the pressing weight of body armour and supplies. I hadn’t yet acclimatised to the blistering temperatures and the altitude was an unwelcome foe. Everyone except me had been here long enough to master the elements.

I tripped and fell onto my knees in the darkness.

No one stopped and waited. We were on patrol. To stop was to jeopardise the mission. I dragged myself to my feet. No princesses here! In uniform everyone is treated the same.

I prayed for sunrise to come.

The line paused.

The lead soldier signalled with his crooked finger, pointing to our surroundings. The desert was revealing Kuchi camps where the Bedouins lived.

He held his finger to his lips.

We moved again, silently into the night.

We crept around huge borewater holes, but we couldn’t see anyone guarding the precious substance.

A police checkpoint was just ahead. We had nothing to hide but these checkpoints could be tricky I’d been told. Best to avoid them if possible.

No one breathed as we crouched and duck-walked close to the ground, swinging our weapons from side to side, holding tight.

Then it happened, the situation we’d been dreading.

We heard a screech, then a huge spotlight shone down on us, bathing us in blinding white light.

Someone screamed ‘drescht!’ and we froze like a herd of startled deer, clutching weapons to our chests.

Two police yelled at us. I didn’t understand the language but there was no doubt what they wanted. They motioned for us to stand where we were. We stood statue still and identified ourselves. We knew we could be shot right where we stood.

Someone, I’m not sure who, yelled ‘Australians!’ The police muttered to each other, nodded their heads, then allowed us to move on.

We were heading further into the desert.

‘They were skittish because just yesterday they confronted insurgents in Kakarak across the river. Shots were exchanged,’ whispered the soldier behind me. ‘Thanks,’ I whispered back, but strangely I didn’t feel any better. Now my eyes were seeing insurgents behind the rocks, across the river, into the hills.

I was weak with the terror with what had happened. It had been my first taste of danger. I lurched forward. My legs would no longer hold me up. I couldn’t kneel because my knees were screaming from the earlier assault, so I fell out of line and sat down in a dry gully and sucked air.

I was back on my feet in moments, terrified of being left behind in this unfriendly terrain.

Sunrise at last.

The sun broke through the mountains into the valley and lit up the shock of green land we were heading towards, the green belt.

It seemed we’d been marching for hours.

I saw a small boy, no more than four years old, shepherding his family’s goats through the green fields, while other children hid shyly in the doorway of their simple rammed-earth homes. They looked suspicious of us as we filed past.

Watching. Watching.

Our patrol met with some local elders, sussing out the lay of the land.

The elders were very guarded, constantly looking to see who was watching them talking to Australian soldiers. We knew they risked death just for having a conversation with us so we kept it short.

We moved on.

Over walls and through aqueducts we waded towards the village of Sorkh Morghab where coalition forces have built a school, market and medical centre. Yet I’d been told it was a hostile village. To be careful.

We wandered, apparently casually, weapons held across our chests, through the market area, where men and young boys showed us their shops and tried to sell me a burqa. I was just a woman to them after all, one who needed to cover herself, never a soldier.

One little boy was approaching me with an outstretched hand. He was about six years old but when I looked into his eyes I saw a man, an angry man. I shivered and felt a soldier pulling me back.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out two lollies to give to the child.

He smiled a toothy smile but it didn’t reach his old man eyes.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a large apple. We smiled at each other in what was a very easy but powerful gesture. No words needed.

I saw the apple had gone black with age and looked rough and mouldy. It looked like a…it couldn’t be…

‘Nooooooooooo…’ someone yelled, a voice full of pain and regret.

I felt the fire on my lips, the fire in my belly.

I tasted the fire as it burned in my throat.

I heard the voices and the staccato bursts of gunfire.

I heard the cry of a child.

Then I heard no more.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

The next 5 posts are the complete story of my vampires, Vipunin and Cuchulain. The Perfect Silence of the Night, Episodes 1 - 5 #friday flash This is Epidode 1

The Perfect Silence of the Night

The hazy moon hovered in the inky sky, asking the stars to dance.

The milky brightness shone upon the earth, lighting the way for two cloud-shadows who swiftly passed by the trees.

The cloud-shadows drifted through the forest in the perfect silence of the night, onto the bright green carpet of the upland grasses.

Vipunin and Cuchulain, strolling through the trees from the opposite direction, paused, alert. Camouflaged by foliage, they watched, their pale, stony faces rapt, eyes starry bright.

‘Something delicious this way comes,’ murmured Vipunin to his companion.

‘Hmm, delectable...oh, Vipunin, the journey has been tedious thus far. May we feast?’

‘No, Cuchulain, you are too impatient. Let’s watch awhile. Humans are endlessly fascinating. It takes me back...’

The two hungry vampires tugged their cloaks around their tall, slim bodies, blending into the cobalt night.

They watched, bodies twitching, eyes burning, thirst raging within their breasts.

Vipunin and Cuchulain looked at each other and nodded, knowing each other’s thoughts. Yes, the two humans were uncommonly beautiful as they stepped from the shadows into the Verdant Valley, a male and a female.

The male was strikingly handsome, so much so that Vipunin, who considered himself the most arresting representation of the male form on this earth and the next, was instantly awash with jealousy. He clamped his teeth, his jaw fixed in a scowl. This human could be his double, with his thick black curly hair falling to his shoulders and his features etched with pride and strength.

This male pretender will not live, Vipunin mused. He continued his incantation inside his head:

Oh proud one
The darkness awaits
It will claim your soul
then the darkness will eat you whole

Beware Vipunin…

‘The male’s mine,’ Vipunin spat.

Cuchulain gazed at the humans, enraptured. Vipunin was welcome to the male. The female was enchanting. Her long tresses glinted in the starlight, a shimmering curtain of silk. Her face was as sweet as an angel’s, her lips luscious and red. Cuchulain tugged his cloak tighter, his hands spasming at such an extravagance of beauty laid before his feasting eyes.

The humans spread a blanket that looked as soft as fairies’ wings. The female fussed, smoothing the creases, then turned, soft and slow, to recline on the silken cloth. Cuchulain glimpsed a shapely elbow where the sleeve of her peacock-blue tunic slipped away. The male, outfitted superbly in peacock-green from his aristocratic shoulder to his leathered toe, produced an old-fashioned wicker basket. He placed it reverently in the centre of the blanket, then lay beside the female, taking hold of her glorious face and kissing her again and again.

Cuchulain scowled, a deep growl forming in his throat.

With a rapturous sigh, the female sat up, smoothed her skirts, excitement written on her cherub’s face. With her delicate white hands, she daintily lifted the lid of the basket and gazed inside its hidden depths.

Vipunin and Cuchulain heard the humans gurgle with pleasure. The male lifted a flagon of red wine aloft. Vipunin saw it was an ancient, dusty bottle, probably a vintage from the nearby vines. He gritted his teeth. He remembered how he used to drink such wine. He thought of his vines, not an hour’s journey from this very spot, where his life had revolved around the pleasures of the harvest, the wine-making and the celebrations that attended a bountiful bottling.

He remembered with a terrible remembering the night when his human heart ceased to beat and his existence as one of the living dead began...

As he watched the humans sip from silver goblets filled with the rich red nectar, he was smitten by a thirst more powerful than his thirst for human blood.

He ground his teeth in frustration, tempted to rush in and snatch the precious bottle from those frail human hands and taste every delicious drop. He felt Cuchulain's constraint.

‘Not now Vipunin. Not now. Soon, brother.’

Vipunin watched as the female reached into the basket and drew out a loaf. Ah, freshly baked bread. Vipunin could smell its yeasty freshness, but it held little appeal. The male drew his knife and began hacking chunks of the doughy stuff. The female reached inside the basket for a second time, this time withdrawing a chunk of cheese. The rancid smell drifted across the clearing, assailing the vampires’ twitching nostrils.

‘Always hated the stuff,’ Cuchulain sniffed, 'where's the appeal?'

‘You'd wonder at that,’ Vipunin allowed, ‘but it is a good choice to accompany that vintage they’re drinking. Ah,' he laughed softly, 'let them have their stinky cheese. They’re only human, after all. And this is their last feast, remember. Indulge them.’

Cuchulain snickered, his thoughts racing. When was their feast to be? Why was Vipunin standing and staring instead of sinking his teeth into that tasty, tender flesh? Did he wonder, like Cuchulain did, if this was some sort of trap?

There was something a little off about these humans.

Was that why the great immortal Vipunin bided his time?
The cloud-shadows played in the cobalt night as the stars danced overhead.

The vampires watched as the hazy moon shone its milky brightness onto the bright green grasses..

...waiting for the perfect silence of the night.


©DeniseCovey 2010


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Perfect Silence of the Night #fridayflash. Vipunin becomes a vampire...

This is part two of the story of the vampire Vipunin. The first episode was published for #fridayflash on September 23rd.

The Perfect Silence of the Night

Fingers of vapour misted above the distant mountains, dancing on the air.

Aware only of themselves, the humans feasted on their wine and cheese and each other, their voices wrapped in the mist.

Vipunin watched them from his hiding place at the edge of the forest, scarcely aware of his friend Cuchulain rustling impatiently by his side.

The humans had conjured up visions Vipunin had tried to forget, visions of long ago when he was a man, not a monster.

His life had been as perfect as a man’s life could be.

How could he have been such a fool?

But how could any man resist Alliyra?

Yet…if he had been strong…he would be dead…long ago…instead of standing in the Verdant Valley centuries later.

Ah, Vipunin sighed, that night! It came back to him in a flash like it was yesterday…


The harvest was over for another year.

His vineyards had been heavy with fruit. Neighbours from the commune had gathered to help and he in turn had sent his labourers to return the favour. Now the back-breaking work was complete, and tonight the whole village had gathered at his manor to celebrate the bountiful harvest.

But tonight a stranger was in their midst.

Unlike those who had been amongst the vines since the break of dawn and looked like urchins on the streets of Rome, she was magnificent.

She wore a gown in a striking shade of deepest ruby. It looked as if it had been poured over her curvaceous body like red wine.

To Vipunin she was a goddess, a goddess of the vine.

Her white skin glowed in the flickering firelight of the manor’s forecourt. Her auburn tresses flamed against her shoulders and trailed to her waist.

She nodded her head at him as if in acknowledgement of some previous assignation.

If only he’d known what that gesture had signified.

She glided towards him like a hungry flame licking at shadows.

Her eyes, bright as her emerald jewels, set a fire in his.

She stood in the firelight, the flames flickering eerie patterns onto her gown.

‘I’m so glad to be here, my lord Vipunin,’ she murmured, ‘I’m called Alliyra.’

She took a cup of wine from his shaking hand, revealing fingernails the colour of smashed grapes.

Her voice was deep and husky, reminding him of woodsmoke.

Enchanted, he paid no further attention to the revelry around him. He took her arm and guided her through the crowds into his parlour.

Enclosed by walls of rich red silk, they reclined on stuffed lounges covered in tapestries and gold bindings. Here they supped on wine and cheese, although his appetite was not for food.

As they talked, bathed in candlelight, he watched her ruby lips move and dreamed about the wonders of that luscious body he knew he would taste before the night had passed. All thoughts of Ciassia, his betrothed, had vanished from his mind.

‘Are you a worldly man, Vipunin? Have you seen distant lands?’ she asked him.

‘No time. Grapes are a demanding taskmaster.’

She leaned closer, her proximity sent his head reeling. Her skin was soft, her eyes liquid as she whispered, ‘I can give you time.’

She walked to the window and drew aside the heavy drapery. He smelt a delicious, heady scent, her essence intermingled with the perfume from his walled garden.

‘Ah, feel it, drink it.’ She held out her hand to him. Mesmerised, he did her bidding. She turned to him with a glint in her bold green eyes and looked hard into his.

‘Vipunin, see the darkness beyond the wall, where the forest begins and the all-knowing moon hovers? That is where you and I belong, creatures of the night.’ She looked at him, considering. She tugged playfully at the red cravat at his throat.

He groaned, buried his face in the curve of her neck, reeling in her scent.

‘Night creatures don’t like solitude,’ she growled.

She placed her mouth on his trembling lips.

She tugged the curtain closed.

It was as if he dreamed…a glorious, terrible dream…

In his mind now the dream was a shadowy form. He remembered how she felt in his arms, her lush mouth, her eyes flaming with passion until...

...her green and flashing eyes had become red with glinting silver specks. Alarmed, he tried to pull away.  He struggled, feeble before her superhuman strength.

The huntress had captured her prey.

She took his face in her hands, revealing her fangs.

‘Who are you? What are you?’ he faltered.

‘Let me show you.’

She fixed a hand to his head, exposing his throat. ‘Merveilleux,’ she gasped, tearing his cravat from his throat with her teeth.

She struck.

He screamed.

Her fangs pierced his flesh.

He was mad with the pain.

He whirled and whirled in the flickering dark, falling towards death, spiralling to a place of no return—no Ciassia, no vineyards, no life. He struggled, but the pain was pulling him closer, closer to the void.

‘Oh my lord.’ She petted him as if he were a newborn, which he was, of course. ‘You and I will rule the night. Come, taste me and eternity is yours.’

He obeyed.

He drank his own death.
Watching the humans laughing and loving on the blanket in the soft grasses, Vipunin knew it was time to decide…

Will they live?

Will they die?

Their lives were in his hands. Cuchulain would not wait much longer...