To Keep or To Kill
By Dottie Taylor
word count: 800
As Stefan sat under the gnarled branches of the old oak tree, he wondered about his long life. Was he the man behind the mask? Or was he the man who wore the mask? Did he wear the mask or did the mask wear him? Was he the opportunist or the carefree wanderer most thought him to be? Odd questions to ponder has he sat upon the cold wet ground. His cape the only thing between him and those who roamed the back roads and highways; vandals, murderers, and highwaymen... no one was truly safe, expect probably him... and his lady... at least for tonight.
He had come here to meet one of the ladies from the party. She was late, giving him this time to think about what he was going to do. Would he love her and leave her? After taking the gems from her throat of course. Would he want have her again? Should he keep her? He thought hard about these questions, discovering he knew the answer to his first questions, he was the man who wore the mask. He was the opportunist. He wore the mask, the mask do not wear him. He laughed aloud, he already knew this about himself, but it never hurts to contemplate one's existence occasionally.
As the night grew older, he heard the whisperings and knew his conquest had arrived. Rising from his spot on the ground, he made his way to the edge of the clearing, peering through the shrubs, trying to place the sound of his lady's soft whispers. But, what should greet his eyes was not the lady in question.
He chuckled silently to himself, pulling his cloak around him, red as blood on the inside, shimmering as the moonlit night on the outside. He crept toward his prey... as they were seeking him.
As he approached, he spied his masked lady, waiting in her carriage, waiting to her men to bring him to her. He found the first of the men, and wrapped his cape tightly around the poor soul. With a quiet thud, he was dispatched, as were the next and the next. Three in total. Just as quietly, he approached the carriage as the lady peered out of the blinded window. Softly he came to the door, as a whisper on the night breeze, and at the last moment flung the door open, startling the lovely young prey found inside.
“My love,” he murmured as her eyes filled with fear, “you've sent others in you stead, you naughty girl.”
“My Lord, forgive me, I was frighten...” Lady Katrina pleaded as tears stood in her eyes. Death was coming for her, she should have never agreed to this.
“My Lady,” Stefan stroked her with his soft words, “there is nothing to fear.” He grinned at the lady as she pressed into the back of the carriage, as he fell upon her, finding her throat, piercing her flesh. He had come to the conclusion that this one he must keep, she wasn't the little mouse he thought she'd be.
Lady Katrina gasped as her blood drain quickly from her body, pale as the pure white snow, weak as the tiniest butterfly. She felt herself slipping away into Lord Stefan's embrace, deeper and deeper, no longer caring.
Stefan's heart pounded with the fresh feed, he had to stop if he was keeping this one. He reluctantly lifted away from the tiny holes still throbbing with fresh crimson. He lapped at the twin droplets, taking the last of their zest. He gazed at the glazed eyes of his lady, not gone yet, but almost. With true regret, he brought his wrist to his lips and broke the flesh, quickly pressing it to hers.
“My love, drink if you choose to life, don't if you wish for death. It is now your choice. What are you going to be? Villain or Victim?” He laughed at the quandary, few chose death, not when life was before them, better than before.
Katrina pulled his wrist greedily to her mouth, and she drank and drank, as deeply as Stefan's embrace.
“Enough!” Stefan breaths came in hard short puffs as he prized his wrist free. “Come, my love, we'll find someone else to eat.” Again he laughed as he lifted her from the carriage. Life was grand, his for the taking, his for the keeping, as was the sweet Katrina.
But, Katrina wasn't as weak or as innocent as she might appear. She'd remember this time, this place. Had Stefan forgotten she wasn't a mouse? She'd bide her time, she'd grow strong. And when the time was right, Katrina would find out if she was the woman who wore the mask or the woman behind the mask. Her now chilled heart would guide her, to keep him or kill him? Only time would tell.
As usual, I'm way over on the word count, but oh well, it was such a great image, so hard to quit writing. Leave me a link, if you're playing along, and I'll take a peek at your response.
And remember to come back on Monday for....
Monday Morning Flash Fiction Challenge!!
Now back to watching Romeo + Juliet, this is my favorite rendition, Leo and Claire... so sweetly innocent and not. So violent, bloody, and lonely. I love this movie!!!