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Dark Shadows Play

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Dark Shadows Play

A m/m slash vampire novel with real BDSM

 

By shadowsplay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

“Everything in the world is about sex — except sex. Sex is about power.” ― Oscar Wilde

 

200 year old vampire Barnabas Collins lives in the old Collinwood mansion with his servant and submissive lover, Willie Loomis

Willie was cleaning the fireplace in the front drawing room. He could hear an occasional cough or movement in the study. A moment of reading aloud; was it from Richard II? The piano was touched once, but did not play. At last he could hear Barnabas stepping outside to smoke and look at the moon. He pictured Barnabas leaning against a column, his breath visible as smoke, his eyes flashing and glinting in the moonlight.

Willie listened for Barnabas as he worked, ready to attend to him if needed. There were more sounds from the study, then the hallway door opened, the candles flickering from the sudden exchange of air. Willie felt his deep desire to please Barnabas, and stood and took a seat in a drawing room chair, wiping his hands, eyes down in respect, waiting to see if he was needed. The beloved, slippered feet appeared, then stopped. Willie looked up, enchanted. Barnabas stood in the hallway in the soft candlelight with a faraway look, loosely clutching a half-open book. Willie didn't see Barnabas' secret smile and soft eyes of fondness, and could not guess Barnabas was thinking of him.

"Willie," Barnabas said. 

"Yes, Barnabas." Willie could tell that Barnabas had closed his eyes.

Barnabas smiled, his head tilting back slightly, his body a dearness of pleasure. How Willie's voice thrilled him, how his submission captivated him. Barnabas remained where he stood, feeling the erotic tension growing between them. This moment held all that he required to be called sex, though on the outside it would not be visible as such. In our minds, we are half gone, Barnabas mused. The eloquence of sex requiring few words or actions—and which did not require touch—was a high art that was unknown to those who misunderstood this form of pleasure. It allowed for the spontaneity of endless variations, an exactness of increasing and astonishing amounts of passion and pleasure.

At last Barnabas placed the book on the hallway table and turned, walking to the middle of the room, looking down on Willie, who looked at the floor, feeling his desire. "You may," Barnabas said quietly, with a demanding tone of fond expectation. Willie understood. He approached with respect and knelt at Barnabas' feet.

"Feet," Barnabas said, and Willie felt himself falling with a controlled release of desire to the floor, his forehead coming to rest just touching Barnabas' slippers. Barnabas looking down on Willie could see his waxing pleasure and passion in so many tiny movements as Willie attempted to remain still. "Willie..." Barnabas almost whispered, praising him as Willie nuzzled his slippers with his face and lips, kissing and kissing and kissing Barnabas' feet. 

 

Barnabas was in his study, thinking of his Willie. He could not concentrate. His reading was fitful, his leisure the same. Finally he went outside to clear his head, smoking and looking at the moon, greeting the cooling breeze of the warm night, an intimate pressure at his hair and in his clothes, a fine counterpoint to his close heat and desire. 

The room that Barnabas used as a study was once the main drawing room of the house, a place of receiving and entertaining guests. It was on the ground floor, and had French doors that opened onto the back colonnade, close to the forest, with the beginnings of the sloping green which surrounded the house, pushing back the thick forest surround on the long escarpment down from the front of the house. The forest continued down to the lower cliffs unseen, far away in the distance, where the salt air came rushing at times to fight over the promontory upon which Collinwood had been built, gathering momentum as it mingled in great gusts.

This evening the wind was calm, and the smell of the sea was a gentle, ubiquitous given.

Barnabas closed his eyes, reaching far out into the night with his vampire senses. He was alone. How sweet, how sweet.

Settling into his solitude, he lit another cigarette, enjoying the special heat of the inhaled smoke in his lungs, a different sort of pleasure than that which humans received from smoking. He pictured Willie smoking when he didn't know Barnabas was watching him, his small, familiar movements, the loose pursing of his lips, the eroticism of seeing his breath. Willie. Willie.

Willie could not know how much Barnabas needed him, thinking of him, picturing his skin taut and ripe, the blood and rhythm released by bite or instrument, pooling and caking in the concave places of his body where Barnabas played in it with his mouth and tongue, running and slipping over the edges of him in lovely patterns of black scarlet, the aroma rising as a viscous cloud of plasma and iron as the blood touched the air.

If Barnabas went to Willie whenever he greatly desired him, Willie would soon run out of blood. Barnabas felt pleasure as he pictured Willie pale and weak on the floor, knowing he would both delight and rue such a moment. He loved Willie. He needed him. Modern life created restraints on his life that were greatly answered by keeping a human. Barnabas did not allow himself to imagine killing him. But Barnabas wanted to eat Willie. It was his nature, and his nature was most intense when he was sexually aroused. He wanted to bite into Willie's flesh, and take life from him, drinking and mouthing the thickening gore of a dynamic fluid that tasted different with every swallow, which contained the same, but much more of the life energy of all the food of mortals.

Barnabas had eaten countless humans, taking most of them to the point of death. It was most often a dark revel of forced fascination, the gush of seized breath, the tense and tangled gut of sounds strangled at the source, then his violent shaking of the body to reach deeper into the reservoir of blood, the bulbous flashing of white eyes wild in the intimate space of his own. These were some of the most satisfying moments of his life, defining him as the taker of life in a manner unique to him, and to his kind.

Barnabas felt sure that he would go to Willie when he returned from his taking of the air. Perhaps he would watch him as he pretended to read. He was capable of a tempest of visceral pleasure simply from watching and wanting his lover and his prey. Yes. Now he would have him. Stepping back inside, Barnabas' passion grew as he stopped to pick up his book, the door to his study snapping open, his progress down the hallway a pressing need moving slowly to the front of the house. 

Willie heard Barnabas' approach, and moved to a chair, a sign of offered submission, and willingness to wait until needed.

You are needed, Barnabas thought, making a sly smile with his face turned away from Willie, though he knew Willie's eyes were down in submission.

I will let him kneel to me. Barnabas abandoned the book and walked to the center of the room. Neither of them moved. There was a complete lack of the need to look at one another. They were lost in the passion of their dance of sex.

"You may," Barnabas said finally.

 

Willie waited at his master's feet, wanting only to know his master's pleasure. He knew the fierceness that was begun above him, and both craved and feared it. That his master received his worship without speaking or moving, without appearing to consider his presence more than anything else in the room, was uniquely pleasurable to Willie. To be loved was to be as fully familiar as a possession and an object. To be loved was for his beloved to have and expect full access to every part of him, and full direction of his actions. For Willie, this complete surrender was communicated erotically by kneeling physically to Barnabas. Willie's pleasure from prostration and worship was so great that he could often choose when to orgasm, although Barnabas also had this power over him. It was also very pleasurable for Barnabas when Willie knelt to him, to be given this demonstration of surrender to his power, though he had never received it from another human.

Willie had kissed the feet of men. With every lover, it was his personal language of love's surrender, his love made as respect and worship. The intensity of his desire soared with each moment of this fully nuanced, physical communication of his true feelings beyond the artifice of words. This range of response was a part of his very great value as a submissive, something any dominant, human or otherwise, would gladly acknowledge in describing their own.

Willie's submission to Barnabas was more than the worship of a man. Men were of a divine heritage, imbued with noble qualities and a terrestrial beauty. But worship of Barnabas was a true interaction with the divine, with the eternal, and the power to give life in eternity. In Willie's worship of him, Barnabas also experienced this quality of divinity in his body and soul. Though Barnabas still chose to keep his possession human, he held the power to make Willie eternal whenever he chose, and Willie felt sure Barnabas would keep him from the hands of death. 

Willie belonged to Barnabas; his life, his blood, his soul. Barnabas would keep him forever.

 

Barnabas stood over Willie, claiming him, considering him. This night. Now. How would he use him while also pleasuring him; this delightful reservoir of human blood, so fine, his beloved? There was no finer question.

He wanted to take Willie now, with no delay, dropping onto him with the mortal force to pin him barely breathing to the floor, opening him with his mouth, sating himself with several long pulls of the rich blood, then in his moment of pure fantasy, the beating of Willie's heart like approaching drums in his ears, a life waning, stolen, and gone, in his fantasy pulling every quarter of blood out of him, until he hung like a wilted flower in his hand. Ah, he could have all of this, he could feel always this sure satisfaction so close, mere moments of actions beyond this, his reverie. He could think about it, but he would never do these things. He would not lose his Willie.

Still standing. Considering. Now? Here? Quickly? 

Barnabas remembered several ways of taking Willie slowly that he favored, and last enjoyed; in his study, in the cellar near and upon his coffin, in Willie's room. In other rooms dusty, but with interesting furniture.

Slowly, he thought, beginning to imagine a certain sequence of pleasures, events orchestrated by his dominance and mastery.

Now... He felt his hands closing at his sides, his balance shifting as his desire shifted, beginning again at a new level of intensity.

I will take him so slowly... Tonight, I will make more of him mine.

 

Barnabas felt his breath a flow that had ignited in him as passion. He turned from Willie, culling from his own desire a sort of quiet madness, fueling his movements as he paraded as a nobleman, an actor, a lust filled soldier of highest rank down the grand hallway of the lower floor to the arches beyond, opening onto a special room along the back of the house. The grand gallery, facing south, not large enough for dancing, but well made for the formal invitations accepted by society, and attended in times past by them, all with a small army of servants, cooks and ladies' and scullery maids, valets and footmen of several ranks, all taking up residence for a time in the uppermost floor of Collinwood before it became known as The Old House.

The gallery was elegant, with a high, roccoco ceiling to shape the dancing shadows of candles at night, great velvet curtains flowing down and onto the floor to close against the daytime sun, which threatened the rich colors, the portraits that lined the walls, velvet chairs, couches and settees arranged with ornate tables and standing multiples of candelabra, long, luxurious carpets, now rolled up at each end, the curtains sagging under the weight of change. Now to Barnabas' heightened senses the wooden floor slightly springy underfoot, moving, but whisper silent as Barnabas went about lighting two immense, standing candelabra near the center of the room. The strong erotic association of the room was playing with his emotions, and he felt himself an actor arriving on stage, costumed, soliloquy prepared, the stage lights waiting, the props at hand by which he would assert upon the main prop his will and his sovereign action, all in the once cast and forever role as the single source of his great fame, known and feared universally for his murderous passion play.

As I tread here, here on the boards... Barnabas made his little jest of directing his play in this room with an uncovered wooden floor like a stage, the easier for Willie to make clean again later, a special irony.

Barnabas had brought forth the little key, and a little smile as he pulled aside the heavy curtains of the largest alcove in the center of the long inner wall, one of three salons that once held the society from old and new money that were invited to and mingled here during the season. The room had been magnificent in the flickering light of the evening, the length a parade of crystal, velvet and silk, a blaze of candlelight dancing in chandeliers and candelabra, the smell of the oils still drying on the latest portraits, the newer canvases highest upon the inner wall, the sounds of the affected speech of the wealthy and the clinking of little glasses of punch, port and sherry, and their servants' even tones as they replied, "yes, Madam, very good Madam."

Barnabas unlocked the two special cabinets specially made and delivered, one with long, thin drawers holding his collection of tools, the erotic tools of his kind, a collection of daggers, razors, lancets and knives, every one representing a favored specialty at handling and results, all a pleasure from his old and modern fetish for so very sharp objects of finely shaped steel, these extensions of his hands, but also of his teeth. He pulled open one of the slim drawers and made a strong breath through bared teeth. He passed his hand over the drawer of forged and sharpened steel without touching the contents, then turned to open the doors of the larger cabinet to reveal his other fetish, beautiful polished black leather in the form of many kinds and sizes of whips and compelling restraints, tools for binding and positioning of the human body for punishment and use, the smell of supple leather cleaned of blood an erotic poem written of desperate movement stilled, and intense motion absorbed.

Barnabas sighed, captivated by the matte shapes of inky black leather, too greedy to reflect the light. He reached back across the long drawer to touch some of the blades, remembering, imagining. This ritual as foreplay focused his desire, settling in him as a steady fire made from sight and smell, from memory and imagination, from the pleasurable shapes of precision crafted metals, and the leathers most useful, with the metal on metal clinking made by unyielding fasteners. In other places, with similar tools as these, he had tortured and killed humans, male and female, willing and unwilling, deserving and not. But now he kept tools that were only for Willie, as this room was for Willie. Though he did not kill or maim Willie with his special implements, here he did demand from Willie everything but his limb and his life.

Barnabas closed his eyes, reaching out through the house with his will and his focus. After several moments, Willie appeared at the door, his eyes wide, his face a little pale, his body moving with the pleasure of obeying his Master, finding Barnabas standing in the middle of the searching candlelight with his eyes still closed, reaching far out into the night with his senses.

He was alone. How sweet, how sweet. 

 

CHAPTER TWO: Master
There was a clarion silence after the sounds of a person coming undone. He felt a profound silence for hours, for days after it. It was a spiritual state, and he did not take it lightly. Willie was also silent as he returned from that place, as he was built up by the strong ego of a submissive, always knowing and trusting that he was well taken care of, that he had been taken there and brought back, cherished and loved with profound admiration, and earning a certain, sacred obligation.

 


 

Comment by Lisa on Chapter 1 - Sun 28 Jul 2019

 

 

These are wonderful! You really capture the essence of the characters. As I am obsessed with Barnabas and Willie as a couple, these are so satisfying to read. In fact, they’ve become before bed indulgences that sometimes continue after I’ve fallen asleep- my dreams are marvelous! Thank you!

 

Comment by chelldu on Chapter 4 - Wed 26 Dec 2018

 

 

This is incredible. I'm amazed at the poetry you sing, the scenes as so compelling and detailed, I cannot help but picture them as vividly in my head as if I were there. The bond between them is deep and utterly intimate, in a way only the two of them can unconsciously understand. It's simply astounding. It hits very close to heart in more ways than one, even though I've never met a vampire hahahaha. Thank you for sharing this story with us!

 

Please leave a comment or a kudo! They will be anonymous if you are a guest. You can also click on subscribe to be notified of new chapters. PS To all of my readers, know that I love you!

 


 

WARNING: Any institution or person using this site for study, projects, or personal agenda - You do not have my permission to use any of my writing in any form both current or future—with the exception of an excerpt of less than 200 words with attribution—and/or passing my writing off as your own on this or any website. If you have or do, it will be considered a violation of my privacy and copyright, and will be subject to all legal remedies.

Why? Because nine times out of ten, descriptions and analysis of BDSM, scientific or otherwise, are usually incorrect, false, and misleading. 

 


 

Copyright © 2020 jan ab ess. Reprint excerpt of 200 or less words with attribution only, thank you! I claim no rights to images.

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Chapter Text

 

 

 

“There was nowhere I could go that wouldn't be you.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

I. Surrender

Barnabas heard Willie's almost silent approach, and returned his focus to the room, turning to drink in Willie's beauty in the candlelight, relishing his pale and sober face as he stood at the doorway. Willie was barefoot, his shirt unbuttoned and open, which he knew Barnabas enjoyed as a sign of Willie's readiness for Barnabas' use of his body.

Standing inside the doorway, it seemed to Barnabas that Willie had come without the preparation or means to go anywhere, except to him. Barnabas touched his own chest, slipping his fingers under the buttoned layer of his scarlet waist coat. Willie slipped off his shirt, and then his pants, letting them fall to the floor. Barnabas did not move. He gazed at Willie's body, wanting him. Willie felt his gaze, and felt the vulnerability of his nakedness the only answer to Barnabas' call, the total surrender of his body for Barnabas' pleasure.

Barnabas lifted his arm, holding out his hand. Willie moved silently across the floor, looking into Barnabas' eyes as he placed his hand in his.

"Master," he said, bowing gently, relaxing into his role, feeling Barnabas taking possession of him.

"My Willie," Barnabas said, and Willie lowered his eyes.

Barnabas stood very close to Willie, pulling him into him with his hand, sharing with him a portion of his intoxicating vampire breath, which increased Willie's euphoria. He was listening with pleasure to Willie's heart quickening as he led him to the center of the room, to the place that he kept always ready for Willie and for himself. He left Willie standing in the center of the close candlelight as he moved the two standing candelabra back, lighting another near his tools, creating a large semi-circle of gently shifting, golden light surrounding the dark alcove, with room enough for working with a whip.

Barnabas removed his over coat and waist coat, and loosened his shirt, feeling the grandness of his costume and his play, with his lace cuffs and button placket, his high boots on a stage of finely polished boards, and all around him the sounds in the great room so different from other parts of the house. The room had its own, special kind of silence, where the smallest sounds of breathing and of movement were augmented, and where the greater sounds seemed to last a little longer.

He was listening to Willie now, hearing the subtle language he understood from Willie's sounds, noticing with deep pleasure the changes as Willie slipped into the training and habits Barnabas had fashioned in him. The sounds were very pleasing, and Barnabas used the nonverbal language of sound to guide his expert pleasuring of Willie, to challenge without undoing Willie's ability to turn physical pain into pleasure,

II. The language of intimacy

Barnabas was a sadist. He limited this sadism with Willie. But his wild nature as a vampire was to be so without limits, to torture and consume until death. Pain was his tool, no matter what implement he was using. He needed to change using pain, forcing sensations through lover or prey, through places in their being where the sensations could not be processed, where they broke a human down, almost to nothing. With pain and fear he entered his victims, finding every place in them, conquering them. This was intimacy to him, to become their only thought, their only reality, their only recourse. This was intimacy. This was real. The sounds of a person being undone because of his actions made him more, augmented his force and presence. This is what was erotic to him. This is what pleasure meant to him, a Master and a dominant.

There was a clarion silence after the sounds of a person coming undone. Barnabas felt a profound silence for hours, for days after it. It was a spiritual state, and he did not take it lightly. Willie was also silent as he returned from his undoing, as he was rebuilt by his ego, the strong ego of a submissive, always knowing and trusting that he was precious and well taken care of, that he had been taken there and brought back, cherished and loved with profound admiration, and earning a certain, sacred trust and obligation.

Willie had accepted that Barnabas sometimes took him past the point of consent. Barnabas needed to chase, and to terrorize. He needed to control Willie's body and mind with fear and pain. It gave him a wild pleasure that his vampire nature demanded, and which he did not always keep in check. Willie submitted to this from Barnabas, giving him the pleasure of that necessity, out of love.

III. Anticipation

Willie's body had begun to tremble with a sort of liquid calamity that he struggled to contain. Barnabas knew he felt tremendous pleasure. Barnabas could play with that pleasure, but he also knew well that he could not take the source of it. It was given to him.  Willie gave his all to Barnabas, all that was most precious. Because Willie had this promise from Barnabas: Do not fear for your life, I will never lose control. Let me take you to any of these places, before but not into the unknown. This is my promise.

Barnabas turned to his tools then, enjoying his steeply mounting excitement. He knew well what he wanted first, and became quick and practiced as he selected the leathers, as he walked to Willie, his mind singing with arousal and purpose, a force of breath opening his mouth slightly when Willie anticipated his requirements and held out his hands, wrists together, offering his freedom and sure surrender. Willie caught sight of Barnabas' bared teeth as he reached to Willie's hands, as he wrapped the cuffs on each of Willie's wrists, finding the worn setting for Willie in each tongue, testing the fit with satisfaction.

Barnabas could hear Willie's heart beating faster, his breath getting deeper, a hush sound to his exhale when Barnabas had selected the cuffs, when he first touched Willie's arms, when he pulled strongly on the restraints at his wrists to test their fit, knowing this would thrill Willie. Willie needed to know he was possessed, that he could not get away, that there was no place he could hide. It was an intense freedom from trying. He would be used, and thus, seen; every place in him discovered and conquered, every place in his lover revealed to him as most intimate need and action. This was intimacy to him. This is what pleasure meant to him, a submissive. He had always been this way.

Barnabas clipped the two cuffs together, anticipating and enjoying the certain clinking sound of the unyielding metal fasteners, again moving with his face close enough for Willie to breathe in his vampire breath. To Barnabas' subtle sense, Willie's breath affected him as well, so that he felt that Willie's lips were at his ear, that his breathing changed the pressure inside his ears with each push and pull of his chest.

IV. Preparation

Barnabas stepped back from Willie, admiring him naked and shivering with anticipation, surrounded by the candlelight, a picture of vulnerability framed by the center of the elegant room. How lovely the way that Willie's arms came together, with the black cuffs an imposing adornment across his lower belly. Again Barnabas lifted his hand, holding it out to Willie, who walked to him. Taller than Willie, Barnabas took up his wrists in one motion, moving them to above his head, slipping the clips over the heavy hook at the edge of the alcove ceiling, breathing again at Willie's face. He knew well that this binding of his hands and the great increase in his vulnerability increased Willie's senses a thousand fold.

Barnabas moved around Willie slowly, listening so closely to his lover, so deeply aroused, feeling his own silent intake of breath when Willie's gasp echoed in the room as he pulled Willie's back into him, moving his hand on his chest, the sensitive place under the little patch of hair there, his sides, his belly, just brushing the top of his erection, his sex which pulled tight against his body when erect. Barnabas stepped back, standing so for a long moment. The light on Willie's skin was so beautiful that Barnabas felt the familiar strangeness, as if he was almost remembering what it was like to make tears.

When Barnabas stepped closely again to Willie's back, he hovered very close to his shoulder, breathing upon it, enjoying the great effect this had on Willie's body. He placed his lips on Willie's shoulder, listening to Willie's sudden inhalation. He opened his lips and let his teeth rest like a bite on Willie, without breaking the skin. Willie pulled away, then straightened again, struggling to stand. A bite at this place of tougher skin—and before a long pleasuring with the whip—would be especially painful.

Willie's movements and exhale were exquisite. He struggled to stay still, still fighting the reflex to pull from an imagined bite, his body no longer his own, though a bite did not come. Barnabas rested his lips on Willie's other shoulder, stopping to listen to his breathing, enjoying his struggle with self-control. He moved around to face Willie, bringing his mouth to Willie's lips, just brushing them with his own, licking them, licking his exquisite teeth like pearls, hard and smooth. Then he placed his hands on each side of Willie's head and kissed him very gently, tongue to tongue, thoroughly exploring Willie's teeth with his tongue, moving his hands down Willie's back and pressing himself against him, communicating his fullness. Willie moaned, a low echo in the long room, a place and a purpose just for two.

V. Establishing communication

Barnabas felt that Willie was well prepared to begin, with increased sensitivity and desire with which to process a beginning of pain into pleasure. He selected a long handled whip, a quirt with two long, thick and flat tails. He knew that Willie loved this whip, and that it would prepare him for being challenged by others, if Barnabas desired. He allowed Willie to see the whip, and was pleased to see Willie's body clench and release involuntarily as he was thrilled with anticipation. Barnabas held the flat tails of the whip with the handle, and brought it to Willie's lips, who kissed it lovingly, then also kissed Barnabas' hand when offered.

Barnabas released the tails of the whip, and caressed Willie's body with the handle on both sides of him, his sex, his sensitive belly, then walked around Willie, out of sight, knowing this made Willie close his eyes in breathless anticipation. Barnabas pulled the whip through the air past Willie, just catching the whip hard on the hollow arm of the nearby settee, a loud crack sound of the tails coming together that echoed in the large room. Both of them stopped, their bodies and minds stilled, like the mind centering and stilling effect of a bell in worship or meditation. Barnabas did it again, and the arousal of them both was greatly heightened by this certain sound echoing in the long room. 

VI. Contact: building sensation/endorphins

Willie was holding strong to the cuff restraints above his head, partially holding his body up as his legs became loose with pleasure, as the sound reverberated through his body, and followed the fine, sliding surrender of his mind into a pool of ecstasy in the very depths of him. He was in the place where his consciousness was at perfect rest. Barnabas walked around Willie slowly, admiring him, wanting him, walking again around to face his back, Willie still facing the alcove, which Barnabas kept dark, like a sort of blindfold, playing with Willie's focus and his senses. He stood in the room where Willie's entire back was fully illuminated by the candles, framed against the dark of the alcove, and tested the whip at Willie's shoulders, landing just the tips gently, again and again, then casually covering Willie's back with stronger contacts with only the tail ends, bringing a redness up on his skin. He first focused on the sweet spot on his buttocks, where the intense stimulation was easily translated to pleasure, and endorphins were flowing freely.

Harder. 

Barnabas began to whip Willie so that the entire length of both tails made contact with his back and buttocks, and the backs of his arms and legs. Willie moaned again and again with pleasure. Gently at first, then harder; Willie's head moving with his moments of building pleasure. Harder, the lovely welts rising on Willie's skin, Barnabas baring his teeth, wanting so much to bite, listening to every intake of breath, every moan, watching as Willie arched forward, his back arching towards Barnabas, tightening his skin, controlling the sensation by keeping it at the surface of his skin. Barnabas answered this with several very hard and quick, full contact kisses of the whip, so that Willie stood completely still, processing the deeper pain into pleasure. Barnabas did it again, layering sensation, Willie inhaling sharply, then letting his breath out slowly, over and over.

VII. Challenging and release

Barnabas moved around, looking at Willie's face, checking that he was reading him correctly, then began lightly whipping Willie's belly, his chest, and very gently at first upon his sex, just touching it. Harder. He punished his sex with a slight contact of the tips, and Willie cried out with his full voice. Barnabas punished his sex in this way until Willie was almost crying, then took his head and brought it onto his shoulder, kissing long against the side of his face, reassuring him, rewarding him. Then he moved around and back to whip him hard again on his back, Willie moaning with pleasure, then Barnabas finally focusing on his sweet spot in the middle of his buttocks. Willie cried out with pleasure with each stroke there. Barnabas pushed him, whipping him harder and harder as he built sensation, waiting longer for him to process each stroke, the seconds becoming several, then harder still, then covering the back of his body with welts, continuing until he knew that Willie was reaching the limits of his ability to turn pain into pleasure.

Barnabas stopped. He stood so close to Willie and caressed the welts, the skin hot, raised and taught. Willie gasped and let his head fall forward as he felt a familiar ecstasy begin, growing to fill his whole body with the sensations of energy flowing as an orgasm, rippling everywhere over his skin as Barnabas expertly petted his skin in a certain way that brought back the pain and pleasure of the whip, the feeling now moving evenly and passive under his hand. Willie gasped again, then again as the rippling fire of intense pleasure ran through and all over his body like the sensation under Barnabas' hand, steadily, with no gaps or interruptions. Willie knew that Barnabas by touching him always shared this form of orgasm, an astonishing full body of fiery release that rippled over his entire body on his skin.

Barnabas moved his face very close to Willie's and breathed a full "hush" of his breath into Willie's mouth, causing Willie's consciousness to ripple on his inner state like Barnabas' breath on the air. Barnabas, judging his state, stepped back from him expectantly, watching him struggle to stand with so much pleasure, struggling to hold himself up by his hands, then arching as he reached the pinnacle of his pleasure.

VIII. Safe return

Willie ejaculated then, completing the physical part his release. Because his penis sat rigid against his stomach when engorged, his semen shot up onto his stomach and chest. Barnabas brought his index finger up to Willie's mouth, across his teeth, so that Willie opened his mouth and bit on Barnabas' finger gently, a form of erotic oral play with teeth that Barnabas enjoyed when he could not bite, and which Willie also used to steady his head.

Barnabas brought his other index finger to his own mouth, across his own teeth, biting gently to keep himself under control. I have just begun, my love, he thought to himself.

I will not bite you, not yet.

 

CHAPTER THREE: I know
Barnabas felt an operatic level of complex pleasure, the opening aria having opened them both, the libretto written in him by his nature, a beast restrained, the story imagined again in him as though it was not as old as all stories, as old as predators and prey, life and death. He had mastered the ability to rise upon the vast crescendo of Willie's pleasure, not only for his own pleasure, not only for Willie's pleasure, but because it helped Willie to endure more for him, longer. It gave him the most pleasure to shape Willie's pleasure in this way, to use it to serve his own needs. And so, he had carefully prepared Willie, giving him everything while taking nothing.

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Chapter Text

 

 

"“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.”
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Barnabas held Willie tenderly, lifting him as he reached up to slip the leather cuffs off of the hook. He caught Willie as he fell back into him, pulling at the fasteners on his cuffs, his arms falling aside, limp as Barnabas put the cuffs aside. Then he carried Willie to the nearby settee where he draped him on the pillowed arm, biting his own finger again, tenderly watching Willie's face as he was drifting inside, trusting Barnabas to care for him in his vulnerability.

Barnabas knelt next to Willie then, and enjoyed licking Willie's semen off of his stomach and chest, a sort of vampire snack. He was indifferent to the very small amount of sperm in it, and the semen had no blood at all, but it was a part of humans that he ate, a delicious cocktail of nutrients and flavors. When he was finished, Barnabas arose to sit next to Willie on the couch, petting Willie's face and hair very softly, allowing him to drift. Barnabas was purring to himself while absent mindedly grooming Willie's teeth with his fingers while he cleaned his own with his tongue. Willie was used to this form of self pleasure and grooming for Barnabas, for whom teeth were constantly groomed and inherently erotic, and accepted Barnabas' fingers without reaction.

Barnabas had partaken of Willie's full body orgasm, and the excitement and taste of his ejaculation. He was still very much aroused, mentally sated, but physically still full of need and frustration. But immediate release was not a part of the scenario he had imagined. He must now wait for Willie to return from his undoing, becoming strong again, and fully capable again of building pleasure and sexual response at Barnabas' hand. He would then take Willie much farther, and this level of play would be well worth his own current and temporary physical frustration.

 

After awhile, Willie opened his eyes to Barnabas, still sitting so close to him in the low candlelight, remaining eye to eye with him, neither of them moving at all. Willie loved his eyes, deep whirlpools of brown in a little sea of whitest white, pulling him in. He loved Barnabas' eyes. He loved them.

He lifted his hand to Barnabas' face, caressing his sharp cheekbone, feeling the so soft skin below it, touching Barnabas' lips, slipping between them to touch his teeth through closed lips, his eyes smiling as Barnabas' eyes were smiling.

"Will you let me please you?" Willie asked.

"Yes," Barnabas said.

"Will you use me? I need to give you pleasure." 

"I know."

Barnabas felt a midnight stillness as he leaned forward and brushed Willie's lips with his own, his favored form of a kiss. He breathed on Willie, watching the muscles in his face soften with intoxication. How he loved the font of desire pooling in Willie's eyes, desire becoming need, already blossoming again from a single, almost chaste kiss.

Barnabas felt an operatic level of complex pleasure, the opening aria having opened them both, the libretto written in him by his nature, a beast restrained, the story imagined again in him as though it was not as old as all stories, as old as predators and prey, fight or flight. He had mastered the ability to rise upon the vast crescendo of Willie's pleasure, not only for his own pleasure, not only for Willie's pleasure, but because it helped Willie to endure more for him, longer. It gave him the most pleasure to shape Willie's pleasure in this way, to use it to serve his own needs. And so, he had carefully prepared Willie, giving him everything while taking nothing. Willie knew a continuum of submission that ranged from gentle to his deepest reflexes. Soon he would be deeply challenged in his submission, for Barnabas' pleasure.

Barnabas reached behind Willie on the couch then and lifted him easily, lettings his legs fall so that he held him tightly around his chest, facing him, Willie's toes just touching the floor. Again he felt that Willie was his beloved toy, and relished that he was strong enough to hold him like one. He kissed Willie's forehead for a few moments. Precious... my precious Willie, he thought, still hugging him, then letting his feet down onto the floor. He felt Willie's back under his hands, the welts raised, the skin hot, patterns on his smooth and supple back, which Barnabas sometimes oiled to keep his back as supple as possible for the whip.

He turned Willie away, visually admiring the welts and the beginning of bruises on his back and buttocks, tracing them with his fingers, the sharp pangs of pleasure, his level of arousal becoming more intense with each moment.

Willie had become alert, responding to Barnabas' touch, waiting for the moment when he could know how to return Barnabas' pleasure.

Barnabas pulled Willie's back tight against him, reaching around him to lightly caress the most vulberable places on his chest and belly, just touching Willie's growing erection, gauging his arousal. Grasping him gently, he began to move his hand on him, feeling Willie becoming very full at this unexpected pleasuring. Barnabas knew many subtle secrets to pleasuring Willie with his hand, and very soon Willie was arching on his feet, trying to hold still for him in spite of this pleasuring. Barnabas stopped. He knew that he had Willie's complete attention, a fullness of anticipation. 

His mouth was near Willie's ear. Willie was standing perfectly still and erect, waiting to see what Barnabas would do next. Barnabas moved his mouth a little closer to Willie's ear, and whispered, "RUN."

Willie turned sharply in Barnabas' arms, which Barnabas left open as though reaching to him for a sweet, consensual hug. Willie knew well the expression he found on Barnabas' face, his fangs bared, his playful smile fierce, the obvious game he played with him as he desired: a predator playing with his prey.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: More
"Will you give me more?" Barnabas' quiet voice sounded different somehow. "Yes." Willie loved this word more than any he had ever known. "Yes." Barnabas reached down and stroked Willie's hair with great, poetic motions of pure love. "Come to me, my love." Barnabas' boots were gone. It did not break Willie's heart. Nothing would ever break his heart again.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

Willie felt a huge release of adrenaline, terrified to find fierce cruelty so close in Barnabas' eyes. He pulled back, his mouth wide, though there was no sound. For that second, he registered Barnabas' immense pleasure watching him reel from a sudden change from loving to cruel.

He loves me, Willie found the familiar words in his mind, a practiced mantra for these moments when he could not think at all, when Barnabas played with his reflexes for fear and flight. He loves me, Willie thought frantically as he turned in fear, his movements a fluid set of reflexes set in motion without his direction as he was running with full desperation towards the arching doorway that seemed so close... the horror of being chased now wild in him, the terror of picturing Barnabas pulling him down from behind, that he would land on him and bite him, bite him! Willie's scream was almost silent as he neared the end of the room, imagining the long hall beyond, the front door almost visible, picturing his hands undoing the lock and flinging it open. It was irrational, but he felt sure that if he could just get out the door, he could get away.

The weight and kinetic energy of Barnabas hit Willie, knocking him down, so that he skidded and rolled down the last of the room. Barnabas landed on him, pulling his head back as he plunged his teeth into Willie's throat, just piercing his jugular vein with careful precision. Willie was struggling, his movements useless against Barnabas' vampire strength, so that Barnabas' teeth had become a sort of stake that held Willie's throat and head still as the rest of him arched and kicked and pushed violently against Barnabas, trying to make the sounds of his terror. Instead, Willie heard from inside his ears a pathetic gurgling as he struggled desperately to get air in his clamped throat, flailing in fear and pain.

Barnabas thrilled at Willie's fear, imagining the intense pain he forced on Willie with his teeth still in him, biting him when he was unprepared mentally, and in the very intimate and vulnerable place on Willie's throat. But Barnabas had very carefully prepared Willie carnally with the endorphins he would need to endure the pain physically, allowing him to push Willie further without him passing out.

Barnabas had withdrawn his teeth, and was making loud, non-verbal sounds of hunger, of imminent satiation and relief. He pulled back slightly, his lips released, letting Willie slip down onto his thighs, suddenly silent as he pushed Willie's head back further, bending to clamp his lips against Willie's throat, drinking from him in long pulls of blood. Willie endured his embrace, and Barnabas relished the close sound of his breathing echoing in the great room.

Barnabas held Willie's head firmly, and pushed his flat tongue against his neck, pushing out the thickening blood, licking his neck, pushing the last of his fare about in long strokes of gore on Willie's neck. He sat back, looking about at the great room in the low candlelight, listening to Willie weak and struggling to breathe. He began to idly roll Willie about, slowly, toying with his body, watching with delight has the blood still leaked from the wound, flowing over Willie just so, until Barnabas lifted him so that a long trail of blood ran slowly, sensuously down his chest and stomach, under and around his sex. How tenderly he lay Willie back, laying him flat, enjoying that several flows changed direction and began down Willie's sides, some reaching the floor.

Precious blood, beautiful blood, my beautiful human. Barnabas' mind was singing as he stood, looking down on Willie laying upon his back on the floor, struggling hard to regain his breath. Barnabas was fully intoxicated, purring, feeling the warm blood filling him, making certain gnaw gnaw sounds as he sucked on his teeth to keep from taking more, tracing the shifting, dark and bright red patterns of spilled blood on Willie's skin with his eyes. His world had become a vibrant tapestry of colors and scents, sounds and tastes that almost brought him up to his toes, so that he grasped the doorway quickly to remain standing, leaning forward as he breathed so heavily that the sound had become deafening in his own ears, the sounds of his own breath and moans of satisfaction, with the sounds of Willie's breathing, Willie's heart pounding, Barnabas standing over him, imagining all the blood that was still in Willie, a rushing tide in him, just enough to have him again and keep him alive. To have him again, he felt a passion made of breath, picturing it. More of you, he thought, looking down at Willie so close at his feet.

Barnabas focused on the blood already inside his own body. It is enough, for now, it must be enough, he thought, when suddenly some of Willie's blood came back up as he was bent over, slipping through his fingers as he covered his mouth, the blood caked and gelatinous exploding into cast off as it landed at his feet, a mottled design of motion on the floor around him as Barnabas threw his head back, choking the rest of the blood back down.

 

Willie could not think. He had been conquered, opened, laid out as parts of himself, now unable to move in concert, to make any reply, physically or verbally. He had been conquered by fear, conquered by pain. He felt Barnabas standing over him, panting with the blood lust. My lover is a vampire, Willie thought without emotion. He terrifies me. He sports with me. He eats me. Why do I endure? Why do I love him? Because he loves me. Because he makes me his own.

But then Willie was no longer alarmed. This... beneath his fear, his terror, his loss of control, there was a discovery. Strange to contemplate.... And yet, it was true. For the first time, he was relieved of the need to flee, even of the necessity to reply or respond. He was free. He was possessed. Every part of him. There was no hiding. No getting away. Every place in him was found.

Willie relaxed, softening his body, opening his mind.

Barnabas looked down on Willie, feeling deeply of his inner state. He felt an unknown thrill moving through his body as he saw in Willie the moment of complete surrender that he had wanted from every human he ate, that he craved from Willie during every moment of their intimacy. And he felt it again in himself, a memory of once making tears, a subtle tingle in his eyes and his nose. He gazed down at Willie, his body arranged by his surrender, laying in the darkness beyond the reach of the candles. He was relaxed, his eyes closed, his face peaceful. Barnabas wanted to bend to Willie, pick him up, pet him and kiss him and carry him about like a new possession, a true gift matching his own true nature. How he wanted to ask Willie what he felt, hear it in his words, know it in his eyes, the curl of his lips, the arch of his back and neck. But Barnabas held back. This was Willie's moment. He had to let him alone. To get there, he must find his own way.

 

Willie felt himself fully opening to Barnabas, a complete surrender that became a feeling of complete freedom, complete release from fighting the consequences of Barnabas' nature, his desires or actions. Willie was sighing deep inside, moaning with a tender pleasure, aware of his beloved standing above him, knowing that he was also ecstatic, though Willie still did not know why. He only knew that he was alive with a new pleasure. He felt a fiery pleasure that burned throughout his being. He had been pursued, claimed, opened and possessed. Every place in him that could be touched by pleasure, could be touched with pain and terror, had become fully available to his lover. This was freedom. This was love. This was his reality, his ultimate desire. 

But Willie's mind was not tethered to the moment. It slipped. It was settling into a pattern of thought, a certain thought that had begun in him. He is not done. Barnabas usually took much more blood before he stopped. He is not done. Barnabas had yet to finish with him. Why had he stopped? What would he now do?

Willie watched inside as his waning fear involuntarily filled him again, taking with it most of the returning coordination of his thoughts or body, while replacing his thoughts with the overwhelming need to get up, to fight or to run. Willie found himself rolling over onto his hands and knees, struggling. The floor had become bright and sticky with his blood as he began to crawl towards the hallway, thinking again that he might get away, though he had nowhere to go.

Willie was still crawling, unable to get to his feet when he found Barnabas' boots at the archway, blocking his exit from the room.

Willie's torment became unbearable. He felt shame as his eyes stung with tears, his breathing jagged from the deep emotions released as he began to sob. All this is leaving me... he thought. I won't be this anymore.

No no no... Willie was crying harder than he had ever cried in his life. He found himself with his head turned and flat on the floor, quietly sobbing, staring at Barnabas' black boots, both near and far away from him. The sobbing did not stop. The boots did not move. Barnabas was there. He stood near him, waiting. For what did he wait? Willie was empty. He had nothing. He was nothing. He had nothing to give. But Barnabas' boots were near, and Willie was home, for the feet and body of his beloved were almost in reach of his hand. And he needed so much to touch them. They were all he had.

Willie crawled closer to Barnabas, closer, and placed his head at his feet, his forehead resting upon a booted foot.

There was nowhere to go. It was true. It would always be true. Willie felt tremendous relief pouring out from the deepest part of him, sweeping aside the last of his fear, extinguishing his terror in one moment, pushing out through him like a wave of long sought sweetness and relief. There was no escape. He did not need it. He cried softly, ready for whatever Barnabas required of him. He cried for a minute, a minute more.

He felt the moment when expectation would become words.

"Will you give me more?" Barnabas' quiet voice was different, new and old.

"Yes." Willie loved this word. "Yes."

Barnabas bent down and touched Willie's head with a light touch, uttering one word: "Come."

The boots were gone. It did not break Willie's heart. Nothing would ever break his heart again.

 

NOTE: Click on "Comments" upper right to read the lovely comment I received on this chapter

CHAPTER FIVE: Remade
Barnabas had brought out an old settee, the one he favored, with only one arm and close to the floor. Willie knew well the blood stains upon it, thinking of past times of cutting, but he felt little fear now. Barnabas always caught Willie and bound him to it for cutting, but he was not binding him now.

 

 


 

Comment by chelldu on Chapter 4 - Wed 26 Dec 2018

This is incredible. I'm amazed at the poetry you sing, the scenes as so compelling and detailed, I cannot help but picture them as vividly in my head as if I were there. The bond between them is deep and utterly intimate, in a way only the two of them can unconsciously understand. It's simply astounding. It hits very close to heart in more ways than one, even though I've never met a vampire hahahaha. Thank you for sharing this story with us!

 


Please leave a comment or a kudo! They will be anonymous if you are a guest. You can also click on subscribe to be notified of new chapters. PS To all of my readers, know that I love you!

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Chapter Text

Life is given to us. We earn it by giving it. ~Rabindranath Tagore

 

"Come." The soft tap tap of Barnabas' boots echoed behind Willie in the empty silence of the great room.

Willie came to his feet. It wasn't that hard. He turned, returning to Barnabas, who was rearranging the candles. How strange to be here again. Why had he left? 

Barnabas had brought out an old settee, the one he favored, with only one arm and close to the floor. Willie knew well the blood stains upon it, thinking of past times of cutting, but he felt little fear now. Not so long ago, when they were first lovers, Barnabas had sometimes caught Willie and bound him to it for cutting, but he was not binding him now.

Barnabas was holding Willie's bare shoulders, laying him gently on the couch, across the arm, arranging him, pushing the pillow just so under him. Willie was arched back slightly, one of his feet on the floor, gazing up at Barnabas so near. Barnabas reached down and took Willie's chin in his hand, bending to him with a tender kiss with full lips, brushing again and again. Then Barnabas looked down with tender pleasure as he caressed the length of his Willie, his skin so like silk, feeling Willie relaxing under his touch, knowing that his arousal from submission had begun again, deep within him.

Barnabas stood, intoxicated by a staged scene of exquisite surrender. He gazed at his human, his perfect body slight, his hair of golden ash, his light brown eyes offered to him as his body was offered to him. Willie's body unclothed was exceptionally beautiful with the golden candles washing him in a sea of amber light, the trails of blackish blood caressing him in places so vulnerable in humans. He pictured Willie's skin opened, the brightness of the blood released, his body pulled taut by pain, then his own pleasure as he claimed his silent feast of blood. 

Barnabas felt his own breathing strong, his heart full of desire as he imagined making Willie eternal. For a moment Barnabas allowed himself to long for that, an eternal companion, made as Barnabas was made, no longer alone. No, it is not yet time, he thought, picturing how beautiful Willie would look when he had attained the beauty and strength of a vampire, sharing in the beauty and strength offered from Barnabas' body and blood, as it had been shared with him so long ago.

Willie watched Barnabas turn from him, then moving about. He felt inside that he was still silently wet with tears on the floor at Barnabas' feet, his eyes now open wide, his hands open and relaxed. Barnabas brought the pitcher and basin, and knelt to wash Willie, a cherished possession, drying him with a length of fine cloth. Then Barnabas was moving again, standing at his beloved boxes, sliding one of the long drawers open with such a precise, whisking sound, Barnabas smiling at Willie's so slight intake of breath behind him. 

Barnabas returned to Willie, holding his hand where he could see. Willie began to struggle inside, his bonds invisible, made of love and power given. Barnabas sat on the couch with Willie, holding the polished metal so it flashed like a mirror in the candlelight. How pleasurable it was for Barnabas to touch unseen places in his Willie as Willie focused his eyes upon the knife, a beautiful, elegant scalpel of surgical steel. How pleasurable it was to find in Willie's eyes the fear that he had caused, that only he could answer.

Willie hated cutting. The only thing he hated more was fire, which Barnabas also hated. But Barnabas loved cutting. He loved seeing the skin opened, the first blood running, the feel of the full flow from a clean cut filling his mouth. His Willie could not hide from a cut. There was no place in him deep or far enough to escape. The pain of cutting was beyond any other intense stimulation which Willie had ever felt. And Barnabas had taken pleasure from binding him, then ruining him with that pain, undoing him mentally, watching with admiration as Willie slowly built himself up again, offering himself again for Barnabas' pleasure. 

"Will you?" Barnabas asked. "Wherever I please? As much as I please? Without binding you?"

I fear the pain... Willie felt himself swallowing to push down his fear. He remembered the echo in this room, his cries of agony. When he was bound. In moments when Barnabas was only a vampire to him. Consent did not matter then.

He looked at Barnabas now, his lover. He saw nothing of the predator in his eyes. Barnabas wanted something different from him, his willingness, his consent. How I want to say yes, my beloved. How I want to be yours in every way you desire. Willie pictured the doorway behind him where he had cried at Barnabas' feet, feeling then and now a place inside of him letting go.

"I will," he said, somehow finding these small words inside the bright glow of pleasure that grew in him with his deepening submission, aware of these two words briefly filling the entire room, with a new silence after.

Barnabas waited as Willie's reply took shape between them, then leaned forward and placed the cold knife on Willie's chest.

Silence. How had Willie not noticed the winds outside, finding the deciduous trees that grew above the level of the house, their fluttering leaves a certain casual song, the silent evergreens beyond growing close and dark for miles with their whispered hush of restless need searching for the heights. 

Barnabas was perfectly still, his influence withdrawn. Willie finally looked at the blade, imagining himself holding it then by the perfectly balanced handle, the blade designed to cut human flesh to a certain depth. His eyes were wide, and the knife seemed larger as he remembered how it felt the last place Barnabas had cut him with it. He found Barnabas' gaze again, his lover at the peak of excitement, his eyes both bright and drowsy with pleasure. 

Barnabas held Willie's eyes as he opened his own shirt and brought his hand up, his index and middle finger at his breast, above his nipple. Willie understood him. He felt the knife resting heavy and smooth upon his chest, but he could not look at it again. He looked at Barnabas, trying, willing himself to become willing.

For you I will wield the knife, I will cut my own body, Willie thought, feeling a new intensity of sexual arousal and pleasure, his muscles pulling, his eyelids heavy with an inner passion, knowing that Barnabas saw this in his body and his eyes. I will make myself completely yours. 

Willie looked at the blade, taking it in his hand, steadying his grasp. Immediately he brought the blade to his breast, placing it so carefully against his skin, feeling the tiny beginning of the cut under the very sharp blade.

Barnabas felt a stellar quiet as Willie began the cut, as a range of sounds began and resonated deep, a cry pressing hard against Willie's ribs, expelled with a gasp through his clenched teeth. 

Willie stopped, sharing Barnabas' look of sexual fire and intoxication as he cut more, crying out as the blood springing from him gathered in a shared descent down and onto his stomach. 

Willie paused, managing to keep the knife in the cut, struggling with the pain as he cut more, a wash of blood promised, released now for his beloved. Barnabas leaned to Willie then, taking the knife from him, bringing his lips to the wound, so that Willie felt in his heart a stirring passion of pleasure from Barnabas possessing the sustaining flow of his body, drinking with soft lips, grasping and curling Willie's body towards him, pulling his breast to his mouth, drinking long and deep, feeling his pleasure mingle with Willie's as Willie's tears dropped and mingled with his offered feast of blood.

Willie was floating. For the first time, he had experienced the extreme pain of cutting as pleasure. He had loved Barnabas' eyes on him, on his hand and the blade, Barnabas' lips upon him, the intimacy as he played with Willie's unbound surrender, and now Barnabas' look of deepest worship and love when he sat back slightly, licking Willie's breast to stem the flow, placing his hand at Willie's breast to quiet his wild heart, kissing and loving the tears and blotched skin on Willie's face.

When Barnabas lay Willie back onto the pillow tenderly, Willie's eyes were closed, his head falling back, his breath stirring in him with a new rhythm. He was completely open, beautiful to Barnabas like an ashen statue of classical repose, decorated by the new flows and washes of dark blood, clotting in streams and gathering as gore in the hollows barely moving from Willie's deep breaths.

Barnabas felt strange. He looked around at his world in wonder. He was old. But he felt new. His world was new. 

Barnabas leaned to Willie, speaking low in his ear. Willie lifted his hands and placed them around Barnabas' neck, receiving Barnabas' whispers of love and worship before he pulled Willie tighter and they sat entwined together, both somewhat bewildered, no longer needing to speak or move.

I am no longer alone, I will never be alone, Barnabas knew without thinking on it, finding this simple truth as he held his Willie, new and silent, remade inside by love and surrender.

 

CHAPTER SIX: A passion
Barnabas smiled. "I desire that you pleasure yourself." His voice low and hoarse with desire caused Willie to subtly arch and press his back against Barnabas, a sign of pleasure that he thought was hidden, but was like an illuminated road sign to Barnabas (who had seen one or two).

 
Note: Cutting is a hard limit for me. I haven't been interested even in fantasy. But it seems obvious a dominant vampire would greatly enjoy cutting as much or more than biting.

 

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Chapter Text

Willie stirred, his first sense the smell of almonds, then the happy cradling of his Barnabas' arms around him, holding Willie's back against him as they dozed on the couch. Barnabas squeezed him, refusing to let him move, and Willie relaxed again without opening his eyes. Barnabas put his hand in Willie's hair, caressing his head and face lightly as Willie floated in relaxed love and pleasure. Both wished the moment could last forever, as Willie drifted back into sleep.

Willie was still nestled against Barnabas when he opened his eyes. The candles were low as he idly pushed and played with the lace at Barnabas' sleeve, something Barnabas loved in a paternal sort of way.

Eventually Barnabas brought his hand to Willie's chest and the crusty blood there, causing Willie to also remember.

Barnabas gently traced the edges of the cut, remembering, eyes closed. I am proud, so proud. You gave what I asked, from love. How great was my pleasure.

Willie knew Barnabas was also remembering. I am so proud, Willie thought. I gave all that you asked, from love. Willie felt his body and mind still drenched with pleasure, now shared between them as warmth.

I will have my reward now, Barnabas thought, his body tensing with deeply anticipated pleasure as he remembered each step of loving that would now become his full imagining fulfilled.

"Barnabas?" Willie said, imagining the pleasure still unmet in Barnabas' body. "Will you let me pleasure you?"

Barnabas smiled. "I desire that you pleasure yourself." His voice low and hoarse with desire caused Willie to subtly arch and press his back against Barnabas, a sign of pleasure that he thought was hidden, but was like an illuminated road sign to Barnabas (who had seen one or two).

Barnabas took Willie's hand in his and used it to touch and encircle and squeeze Willie, who moaned as Barnabas moved Willie's hand with his own, with a firm vampire grip, so that Willie was overcome by so much stimulation, and gasped, throwing himself against Barnabas, making loud sounds of sexual complaint and pleasure.

Barnabas was pleased and darkly smiling as he played with his toy, pushing him to the sensitive edge between pain and pleasure in genital play. He breathed intoxication long onto Willie's face, thrilling with the change in Willie's muscles and posture.

Willie was reaching his peak when Barnabas reached up and touched Willie's wound, placing his fingers very lightly upon it, rubbing it gently, then pressing firmly upon it to create the level of pain Willie loved, recalling the pain he had endured. Willie's head fell back as he leaned forward slightly, Barnabas laughing tenderly as Willie came violently, crying out again and again, Barnabas' touch on him feather soft as he ejaculated onto the floor, then collapsed into Barnabas, breathing heavily, overcome and undone by pleasure.

After a few minutes, Barnabas hugged Willie, pulling him up to him, against him, bringing his mouth to Willie's ear.

"Lick it..." Barnabas commanded with a quiet voice, demanding obedience.

Willie's mental state of deep arousal was obvious as he slipped to the floor, feeling Barnabas' dominance over him, showing him that he would lick the floor, would lick his own issue if commanded. Soon Willie was aware that Barnabas was pleasuring himself, pleased while watching Willie crawl to each tiny puddle, lapping at it like a pet. 

"Come to me," Barnabas said when Willie was finished, offering him the carafe of water, reaching down to play with Willie's new hardness, tugging a little, teasing, then pushing Willie's head down to his own sex.

Willie sat between Barnabas' legs and lovingly accepted his sex into his mouth, thrilled at this treasured privilege. Barnabas put his hands on Willie's head, controlling his movements, hurrying him, so that he soon came. He lay back on the couch for some time, Willie resting his head in Barnabas' lap, content and happy from giving his Barnabas pleasure. He thinks we are done, Barnabas thought with a devious smile. Such a perfectly disguised surprise. 

He pulled Willie up, sitting in Barnabas' lap, then moved him sideways into his left arm, his feet still on the floor. He reached to him with his right hand. He is ready again, he thought, remembering his youth as a human. He pleasured Willie very lightly at first, so close after his previous release. He didn't want to tease or overwhelm Willie, not just now.

Soon Willie was fully aroused, and Barnabas set about creating a fullness of release that would culminate in his desire. He turned Willie so he was crouching away from him, then pushed Willie's head down so it was firm against the arm of the settee.

"Pleasure yourself," he commanded. His excitement was building. Soon... so soon. He returned with the tiny cat, long, tiny tails with knots, and began to land lightly on Willie's back and buttocks, preparing him for some time, feeling him lost again in his pleasure before he also began on the back of his legs, knowing the knots were challenging. He began to push Willie, thrilled as Willie cried out, again and again from pain, then from pleasure, then pain as Barnabas demanded more, a crescendo of pleasure without stopping until Barnabas knew he was again close to the point of release.

Soon, so soon... Immediately he abandoned the whip, crouching behind Willie, mimicking the posture of sex between them, pushing against Willie again and again as he reached to grasp and pleasure him, demanding release, pushing Willie over the edge. 

As Willie cried out with a devastating pleasure, Barnabas felt his fantasy becoming real as he pulled Willie's head back firmly by his hair and reached across him with the knife. Surging with the full power of his long delayed pleasure, he cut Willie above his other nipple, releasing a torrent, Willie crying out with fear and pain. Barnabas felt a long delayed release filling him with immense urge and pressure, immediately sucking and feeding from the wound, changing Willie's fearful state and unwelcome sensations to the pleasure of submission. He held Willie so tightly he struggled to take breath, pressing against him with his sex, feeling him go completely still with submission, so that he wanted to take all of him, to make him still forever. No.... no... I will take just enough. No....

Barnabas slowed slightly to make his meal and pleasure last, focusing on the gush of blood slipping down his throat, picturing again and again his Willie arched back as he cut him. He took what he could, then slowed his pull, licking Willie's breast, pressing the cut with his tongue and special saliva, which completed the flow. Now for my last desire... He still held Willie leaning back, arching as Barnabas looked at the wound, still oozing, ample blood on human skin a visual feast, a moment of stillness before he brought his hand up to Willie with the bloody knife. Pushing Willie forward, he offered the knife to him, and Willie obeyed, carefully cleaning it of his own blood with tiny, precise licks of careful submission.

Barnabas had his true release then, a vampire orgasm that was a vast rush of pleasure and energy surging through him as he fell forward onto Willie's crouched back, spasming upon him, Willie's strident breaths the urgent calls and gasps of vast pleasure endured, the knife falling to the floor with a clatter on the old wood. It started again, a crescendo of need demanded and fulfilled, growling and shaking with a long delayed intensity that sent his mind spinning with the colors and sounds of his long world of night, long, longer... still orgasming, a long delayed, carefully orchestrated release of perfect brilliance and fulfillment. More, and more, and more.

Finally he was still upon Willie, his Willie happily curled in pleasure beneath his pleasure, content with his Master's embrace. When he could move, Barnabas turned Willie around, laying him on his back, settling on top of him like nestling into a favorite, familiar cushion, his hand against the wound, caressing him and whispering to him for the longer hour of night.

Mine... he thought with great pleasure as he lay fulfilled at last by a passion, content against his beloved human softness.

Mine.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: Undone
Barnabas was aware of the scent of Willie's breath returning from perfect intimacy with the blood in his lungs. He pictured Willie bound and helpless, needing only love and mercy, chastened by pain for being so beautiful, and by taking the pain, made more beautiful still.

 

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"The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

Barnabas was standing outside of his study, enjoying a cigarette in the cool night air. He could hear the soft moan of the wind in the distant pines, and remembered in years past his sometime dark descent there, seeking the town beneath their familiar dark closeness, the swirling carpet of dark ferns trembling, as though for him.

He was barefoot, naked under his dressing coat. He enjoyed a familiar tickling in his toes, smiling. Willie had planted some dark flowers there for him to enjoy while smoking. The dark colors he had chosen were a playful bit of fun. There were tulips of the darkest maroon, and bearded irises of deep purple. The semi-wild rose bush gave small roses of blood red. A mysterious vine twisted up from the black earth with darkest green leaves and no flowers, spreading long and so beautiful on the worn white wood of The Old House at his feet. Of course, even on a moonless night Barnabas could see well enough to enjoy these dark colors, which was part of Willie's playful intimacy.

Barnabas tipped his head back, his eyes closed. The night air about him claimed Barnabas' naked body before passing possession of it on to the next heavenly breath of night. Above him the divine smelling wisteria, planted so long ago, had claimed the eaves and upper shutters. The fragrance of Wisteria was his favorite then and was his second favorite scent now, after the delicious smells of humans and their blood. 

Once there was a time when he was required to slip out at night, pushing his body like a rush of wind down to the town where he sought a source of blood that he could use up, leaving the container empty and useless in a crumpled posture of ultimate defeat, gone from the release of all that was most essential, and now his own. How fierce was his return then, moving with his body surging from within, buoyed by an inner current of life borrowed with no chance of return.

But time had changed his world. He had not taken a life for many years. He had his Willie.

Barnabas thought of how Willie would look biting a human, overcoming and feeding from them, a deeply pleasurable image he lingered on, closing his eyes. He pictured Willie pulling away from his victim, his teeth still visible and dripping gore, his breathing deep and pressured, like a series of sighs from the deepest need, barely met. He pictured Willie strong and virile disappearing during the night, then returning to Barnabas wearing the leavings of a dark secret to be known by exactly one other. For in the darkness, sharing a coffin, he would disgorge a portion of the blood for Barnabas, a vampire's kiss, a true and complete sharing of the secret then, a carnal knowledge of life taken, and death shared.

Barnabas opened his eyes, calling to Willie with his desire. Soon Willie came through the study and out onto the colonnade that circled The Old House, smiling, his posture that of pleasure from submission, and someone whose heart was light. Barnabas pulled him close, kissing his hair. Willie happily nestled against him, noticing that Barnabas was holding something with his hand in his pocket. 

Barnabas did not miss Willie's attention to his pocket. How adorable was his toy, how transparent was his submission. What a pleasure it was to watch Willie's eyes, feel the changes in his breath, notice the shifts in his posture. How delicious then to watch all of these things change as he pulled his hand from his pocket wearing the antique silver lancet on his index finger. 

Willie's eyes widened and he immediately looked up at Barnabas, searching there for his intention.

"Bring to us two sherry glasses, my love," he said. "The large crystal ones we once saved for guests." Barnabas smiled. Of course Willie would know nothing about the time when sherry sipping guests were entertained at Collinwood.

Willie went inside, seeking the favored glasses. He was used to the lancet, but he was confused by the two glasses. Were they about to have company? Then why was Barnabas unclothed?

Willie returned with the glasses, not sure what to do with them. Barnabas took one of the glasses, then took Willie's arm as one who owned it, turning the inner wrist upward. His eyes were holding Willie's soft gaze as he brought Willie's wrist to his lips, not to bite, but to kiss, breathing in the fragrance of skin with the blood close to the surface. He licked the soft skin there, enjoying the appetizing taste of human skin. Then he rested the sharp lancet on Willie's inner wrist, with the sherry glass held below it.

He pushed the lancet with a quick motion and blood flowed at once into the glass, a sweet flow that filled the glass slowly. Then Barnabas looked up, and Willie lifted his glass, filling it in the same way. Barnabas then brought Willie's wrist back to his lips, licking it with pleasure to stop the flow.

They stood together in the night outside their home, holding fine crystal sherry glasses filled with Willie's blood.

"Will you taste human blood, Willie? Will you drink your own blood?"

"You know that I will, if you wish it."

"You may sip, or you may drink it all at once."

Willie smelled the blood. The warmth of the glass was unnerving. Barnabas took a sip from his glass, then downed the rest with a happy smile, sucking on his teeth briefly as he sat the glass on the railing. 

Willie had only tasted small amounts of blood inadvertently when Barnabas played with him. Perhaps Barnabas had been careful about this until now. Willie took a sip. He wrinkled his nose. Barnabas smiled, watching as Willie downed the glass, quickly wiping his lips with the back of his hand. Oh no no... this is just not.... 

Barnabas was aroused by the sight of Willie drinking his own blood. Willie was still confused, and a little nauseous.

Barnabas put aside everything except for his sudden hunger. He took Willie's glass, placing it on the railing with his own. Then he pulled Willie to him, finding his mouth with his own, kissing him with a new passion, tasting Willie's blood mixed with his saliva, warmed by his mouth, slightly foamy from his breath. It was all new, and he kissed Willie passionately, searching with his tongue, sucking at his sweet mouth like a wound.

He grasped Willie, pulling him down onto the broken wood cover for the colonnade porch, pressing him against it with his entire body as he sucked at Willie's mouth. He took Willie's tongue in his teeth, puncturing it with his incisors, sucking it in earnest. Willie called out with pain, muffled by Barnabas' mouth on his, then relaxed, offering himself to Barnabas. He found that he loved Barnabas sucking on his mouth, a very intimate drawing of his blood. It was also a means of pulling the blood up so it did not begin to drown him.

Enough... enough, Barnabas stopped himself, swirling the last of the flow in Willie's mouth with his tongue, waiting for the flow to stop. Then letting Willie's tongue slip from his mouth, he kissed him still, sweet and tender, licking and tasting Willie's blood on his lips. He rolled onto his back next to his lover, sighing. They both lay still, enjoying their closeness for some time without speaking.

"Cigarette..." Barnabas said, wistfully.

"Ow," said Willie, a playful complaint that also hurt.

"Did I hurt you, my love?" teased Barnabas, pretending to be alarmed.

As they lay still, they enjoyed the sounds of insects and birds stirring. An owl hooted at the edge of the woods. A mockingbird awakened to sing a midnight round; then the Hermit Thrush, which was Willie's favorite. He often felt it was the same bird singing to him each day, each night, all summer. Barnabas enjoyed sharing the world of these sounds with Willie, but he also heard much more. He could just hear the crashing waves far beyond and below the promontory upon which The Old House was built.

 

Barnabas came to his feet, pulling Willie up to him, hugging him the way he remembered, the way humans hugged. Willie kept a part of him human, something he enjoyed while he could. He lit a cigarette for Willie, then one for himself, sitting on the top step with his back against the railing, the fragrant grass beginning a few steps down. Willie as usual sat opposite him, where they could talk facing each other. He felt that Barnabas wished to speak of something, and waited patiently.

"How old are you Willie?" Barnabas began.

"Thirty-seven." Willie's tongue hurt, making speaking somewhat painful. Barnabas smiled, still sympathetic, but not sorry.

"At what age would you like to remain, if you could?"

Willie understood. "As soon as you wish to make me," he answered. This was why he asked me to taste my blood. 

"It will not be decided right away," Barnabas said. "Could you drink blood for your sustenance?"

"You know that I want to be with you, and never leave you," Willie said without hesitation. "I think on this every day." Both had spoken of this before, but always as a decision far off, in the future. This time was different, and Willie was paying very close attention to Barnabas as he spoke.

"You must want more than to stay with me," Barnabas said. "You must want to be what I am, live as I live. I will show you, then you will choose, before you grow old. We will be the same. There is no place for us in this universe. And yet, we live and we become."

Willie felt himself alone then, though he sat so near to Barnabas. He loved Barnabas' soft shoulders and relaxed arms, casually looking out into the darkness, letting Willie decide when to speak again. Willie wanted to reach to Barnabas, wanting in this moment to be like him. Barnabas had lit another cigarette, and Willie looked out over the dark field, remembering, watching the late summer fireflies dancing in the low places near the trees, aware that they would be gone soon with the first cold snap. What would it be like to awaken with the same body, to move unchanging in a world that never stopped changing? How then would he bear the remaining humanness in him? To need blood, to kill others, to go to earth during the day; to pay with a portion of his humanity for the fierce nature of a beast, it was hard to imagine enjoying these changes. Will I choose these things? He looked at Barnabas again, loving some of what he was, and all of who he was. Willie did not question if, but only how. Somehow, yes. For love I will choose these things

Minutes passed, and his contemplation of Barnabas became an hypnotic state of pleasure, watching Barnabas' sensual manner. How perfect Barnabas was. How Willie loved to submit to him. His beauty was both dark and divine, noticed first in the intelligent presence in his eyes, his fine and courtly bearing, his sudden roar of strength and passion. His black hair and eyebrows seemed to take the light, shining instead from his strange eyes of deep brown, with a thicker cornea than humans, so that they seemed to have their own light. How curious his lips, which were red when he had fed, and almost white when he was hungry.

"You are beautiful, Barnabas," Willie said.

Barnabas turned to offer Willie his softened gaze.

"You steal my breath with your beauty," Barnabas said.

Barnabas was aware of the scent of Willie's breath returning from perfect intimacy with the blood in his lungs. He pictured Willie bound and helpless, needing only love and mercy, chastened by pain for being so beautiful, and by taking the pain, made more beautiful still.

Barnabas stood, putting out his cigarette, stepping down onto the grass. He leaned to Willie, holding his eyes with his own, then taking Willie's wrists, lifted both arms up and placed them against the railing for Willie to grasp, as though to fasten them there. He opened Willie's shirt, caressing his face and his shoulder, so that the shirt drifted off of one shoulder.

"Eyes down," Barnabas said.

How delicious was this full display of Willie, eyes lowered, bound by submission, holding his arms as though they were tied. Soon he would test this.

Barnabas disappeared, then returned holding a small, unfamiliar leather bag. Standing over Willie, he pulled out a small, metallic object Willie had never seen before. "Eyes up," he commanded, and Willie looked into his eyes, answering his command with his rekindled submission. How vulnerable to be unable to look at the metal object, to be unable to see what Barnabas was doing it with it.

He felt the pinch before the pain as Barnabas attached the clamp to his chest. Still Willie held Barnabas' gaze as a small cry escaped him, as tears sprang into his eyes. He could feel a tiny flow of blood beneath the clamp, which had a sharp pincer in it. He found that any movement caused the pincer to penetrate more deeply, releasing more blood.

"Eyes down." Willie watched as Barnabas brought another clamp to his chest, very slowly attaching it so Willie could see how the clamp worked, and what it did to his skin. Barnabas stepped back, relaxing as he contemplated his Willie held by invisible bonds and the tiny bite of the clamps.

Barnabas bent to brush Willie's lips with his own, his eyes close to Willie's as he attached another clamp in a more challenging spot. So sweet the deep breath made as a gasp. Barnabas took a deep breath as well. Standing back again, he counted the dark trails of blood tracing Willie's chest and stomach, overcome with the beauty of Willie's strong submission. 

The next clamp was in a much more sensitive place, and Willie sang under his breath a lengthy song of pain, of holding still when he wanted so desperately to move, wanting to free himself somehow from the bites of metal that scourged him.

Barnabas waited. He wanted to hear Willie's song flung as far as that of the night birds, filling the night. He knew that there were no humans for hundreds of miles, except those at The New House, who were not drawing near.

Barnabas decided Willie's endorphins would have begun to fully flow. He put a clamp in a less challenging place to greatly encourage the endorphins that would have begun for Willie, then waited again. Then he knelt in front of Willie, holding his eyes with his own, watching closely as he attached a clamp just beneath his nipple. Willie cried out in full voice, again, and again. He pulled his hands from the railing briefly, then pushed them back into place. Barnabas was deeply aroused by Willie's gift of full submission when tested. He does this for me... He stepped back and gazed at Willie so very beautiful, chained by an inner submission with his arms above his head, his head resting against one of his arms, his chest and stomach red with trails of his bright blood.

Willie's body was rigid with a cresting pleasure to which he clung with his whole body, a complete round of pleasure fully demanded by the clamps, the price of his reprieve from the intense pain of any one of them working alone. 

Barnabas lit a cigarette, standing on the grass. He brought it to Willie's lips, and Willie tried to inhale without making the clamps pierce him deeper.  

"Are your arms tired, my love?" he asked Willie. 

"Yes, Barnabas." Willie's arms had begun to tremble. 

Barnabas said nothing. The question was for Willie, not himself. It increased Willie's pleasure to know Barnabas demanded and was closely observing his submission and discomfort.

Barnabas removed his dressing coat, placing it over the railing, inhaling from his cigarette, then stretching as he gazed up at the night sky. He brought the cigarette again to Willie's mouth. With his same hand, he touched one of the clamps, offering also the heat of the cigarette near to the clamp, and Willie sighed with pleasure. Barnabas touched another clamp—another sigh. Willie's eyes were closed. He was floating in pleasure. Barnabas put out the cigarette, then touched the clamp under his nipple. Willie's small cry was of the struggle between pain and pleasure. Barnabas touched this one again, and Willie's whole body became rigid with intense pleasure.

Barnabas grasped him through his pants and pleasured him expertly. He quickly took each of the clamps from him, which built an explosion of pleasure in Willie. Barnabas sat next to him, then brought his lips to Willie's ear. "Now, my toy..." Barnabas pulled Willie's arms down and around his waist so that Willie's body, slicked with blood, and the sounds and motions of release were made next to and against Barnabas' naked body, an exquisite dance on the edge of an intensity that Willie felt was too much for him to bear. Willie grasped Barnabas as hard as he could. He felt he was coming undone. With his face pushed hard against his chest, it seemed that he was riding Barnabas' scent intermingled with his own pleasure, both of the secret vampire alchemy that gave Barnabas the power to tell him when to orgasm, then train him to do it with only a word. 

Willie was done, sinking, folded between Barnabas' legs, his head in Barnabas' lap. Both were wearing Willie's blood. Barnabas caressed Willie's shoulders and played in his hair as his breathing came back to normal.

Barnabas leaned back as he pulled Willie to him, facing each other as they lay together on their sides, Barnabas snuggling into Willie's warming embrace, holding him close against the cold, warming him with his eternal vampire warmth. Soon they brought their hands to each other as tiny caresses, here and there on their close bodies, again and again. Both felt the possibility of a timeless connection, a magic beneath the stars for them to recreate from this moment, forever.

Barnabas sat them up, lighting a cigarette, sharing it with Willie. They leaned into each other, the fragrant grass and the roses joining the scent of the wisteria as they sat in close silence, but for the occasional small sigh of contentment. Soon they would warm themselves by the fire, sharing in its hypnotic spell, safe in their old, old home warmed and lit only by fire and flame.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: I will
Willie was completely silent. He felt a molten kind of pleasure moving through his body with a heavy push that swept all else aside. He did not move at all, except for his head, which was very slowly sinking back, so slowly that Barnabas was hypnotized by this motion of exquisite pleasure, ultimate pleasure taking hold of Willie's entire body in a loose way, graceful and fully relaxed, physical waves of ecstasy that did not translate into movement, only a singing softness of undoing.

 

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Chapter Text

"The mountains, the forest, and the sea, render men savage;
they develop the fierce, but yet do not destroy the human."
~ Victor Hugo

Willie had polished the candelabra in Barnabas' study, replacing the low candles and thoroughly cleaning and stocking the fireplace. He filled the little silver box with cigarettes, then organized a little, dusting everywhere he could reach, lingering over the open page in Barnabas' journal, admiring the beautiful colored pencil sketches of nocturnal butterflies. Barnabas was reading, sitting in his long dressing gown, with elegant ruffles at the neck and the sleeves. Willie could see that he was reading a book called The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, his current favorite. It was an exciting book, as Willie frequently heard exclamations from the study while he was reading it.

Willie looked at the books on the basket chair, which Barnabas used as a book table. There were others, but he could see Shakespeare's Richard II, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and The Confessions of St. Augustine. He recognized another book as Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, a favorite book that Barnabas had read at least twice, and never put away. Under the basket chair there were more. The Odyssey by Homer, The Sleepwalkers by Arthur Koestler, and Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore. Some books were from Barnabas' library of long ago, which Willie had cleaned and organized, making room for the new books he brought back from his regular visits in town, books ordered for the Collins family cousin, Barnabas Collins, the presumed descendent of another Barnabas Collins from long ago, who hid in plain site as his descendent.

Willie had finished looking at books, and was now looking at Barnabas, his skin pale and smooth, his dark hair short and side-parted, his dark eyelashes long and beguiling, his sensual hands beautiful, now curled around his book.

Barnabas looked up with a paternal smile, and patted next to him on his chair, which was easily big enough for two of so slender form. Willie kneeled to touch Barnabas' foot, resting his head against his leg. Barnabas rubbed his hair affectionately, then patted the chair again. Willie sat next to him, and Barnabas playfully clasped his legs and pulled him around so he was sitting upside down on his back. He put the little velvet lap cushion he saved for Willie under his head so he could see his face, then pulled Willie's shirt all the way up, tugging his pants down a little. He returned to his book as he began to tickle Willie very gently with his fingernails, something Willie loved almost as much as sex. Up and down, with very slight contact, so that Willie lay completely still with his eyes closed. He was most sensitive on his lower abdomen, and Barnabas knew that this was where the most pleasure was found, lingering there to gain more sensitivity, then exploring elsewhere before returning, again and again. Willie was praying, as always, that Barnabas' expert tickling would never end. 

At last Barnabas stopped, resting his hand on Willie's bare chest, rubbing the slight hair there and squeezing his nipples idly. He knew that Willie's nipples were more sensitive than he would admit, as Willie felt it made him less masculine. 

Barnabas stood, turning to put his book aside, stretching. Willie righted himself, sitting on the edge of the chair, watching with awe as Barnabas pulled off his fine linen dressing gown, seeming endless lengths of flowing fabric sliding silently over his body like silk, creamy white in the candlelight. For a moment Barnabas stood there, watching Willie worship him with his eyes, then he reached for his pants, stepping into his slippers. "Come," he said, taking up one of the candles, listening fondly for Willie's certain step, the very subtle puh puh sounds of Willie's feet on the hall carpet behind him. The sound stopped at the entrance to the inky dark of the gallery, then resumed as Barnabas shared his candle's fire with the candles there, the light that surrounded his stage upon a stage in the central portion of the great room.

Barnabas felt his concentration increasing, his creativity and desire blossoming. His sport, his art and his pleasure were all in the full pleasuring of another. Without thinking on it, he listened to, looked at, and smelled all about him the place of his artistry. A sense of drama was waiting whenever Barnabas entered this room, which he entered only for this purpose.

"Clothes," Barnabas said when Willie stood before him. He watched with pleasure as Willie slipped his clothes off, offering himself.

Barnabas felt a subtle vampire fierceness open in him as he motioned to the low settee, following Willie with his eyes, registering the parts of Willie moving together as he lowered himself onto the cushions, ready with his responses and his obedience. Barnabas brought out the now familiar little brown bag of clamps, his favorite new toy, listening to Willie's breath change, observing his lips just parting, exciting Barnabas, who as a predator recognized in his prey this slight dropping of the jaw as instinctual for defensively increasing the senses of smell and hearing. Barnabas responded by baring his teeth with a very low hiss sound made from the deep origins of his breath. But Willie's eyes were set on the bag as Barnabas casually reached towards it, watching Willie's subtle eyes almost wild, sensing his breath shifting with intensity. He touched the bag, caressing it a little, then withdrew his hand. Willie relaxed slightly, his eyes turned to Barnabas, questioning, a little frightened as always when Barnabas bared his teeth.

Barnabas reached to Willie with his other hand, closed and facing down, watching Willie's eyes following it until Barnabas opened the empty hand and caressed Willie's face. Willie looked into Barnabas' eyes, aware of Barnabas' teeth still bare, and in the sound of Barnabas' breath a hint of an ardent hiss, playing with Willie's fear. Barnabas brought his face very close to Willie's, his eyes seeming to dance so close that Willie could not stop himself from putting his forehead against Barnabas' with love and submission, closing his eyes. 

Barnabas breathed a full, very long, very slow breath on Willie's face, so strong his vampire breath, so full of intoxication that Willie was completely overcome. He slipped back against the settee, falling to one side into Barnabas' waiting arm. Willie was conscious, but unable to control his body. Barnabas with his vampire strength enjoyed moving Willie around, playing with the placement of his body, his head, his mouth, his shoulders. He lifted Willie with his head and arms falling back and brought his lips to Willie's nipple, licking it softly, nibbling it without breaking the skin. He did the same with his other nipple, pressing hard against it with his flat tongue, feeling the blood just beneath the skin, moving and piling up from his experienced manipulations.

Barnabas turned Willie over and arranged him so that he was facing down, with one of his feet face down on the floor. He ran his hand slowly down Willie's body from his head, down his back, over his buttocks and down the back of his leg. Willie was more alert, though he was drifting in and out of a dreaminess that caused his head to move very slowly, communicating this intense feeling of floating to Barnabas, who found it very pleasing to one whose breath was a form of bondage.

Barnabas turned, and returned with a dressage whip, with a very long and narrow, somewhat stiff handle, a short, flexible lash at the end, and a very small popper with a knot at the end of that. It made a beautiful, full whip sound when it was moved quickly, with a satisfying little snap to Barnabas' vampire ear when the quickened lash met with the skin. It was an elegant whip, with tremendous control from whisper soft to stinging punishment. Willie loved it because the touch of the lash was entirely "sting," a surface skin sensation, which he preferred to the more "thud" kind of whips, like floggers, which translated the sensation to deeper tissues. Willie's skin was his pleasure, and so, Barnabas' pleasure as well.

Barnabas put the whip to Willie's lips, who kissed it reverently, kissing Barnabas' hand when it was offered, leaving his lips on both until withdrawn. Barnabas started with a rapid series of strong slices through the air, each with a sharp singing sound. Both lovers sighed. They found these sounds very erotic, a delicious form of auditory foreplay. Willie moaned with excitement when Barnabas did this again.

Barnabas caressed Willie with the whip, soft upon his cheek, his shoulders, the long curve of his back, the length of his legs, lightly tapping the soles of his feet, then the top of his head with the slightly stiff middle of the whip, enjoying the small movements and the soft sounds Willie made. Willie was fully alert now, and Barnabas brought the lovely sting of the whip to bear lightly on Willie's sweet spot on his buttocks, building from very soft to quicker landings with the full lash, moving to the other parts of Willie's buttocks. Soon the skin was rosy, and Barnabas put his hand on the sensitive skin, feeling the satisfying change in the skin made by the whip, bringing blood to the surface in temporary welts with distinct edges, all on his possession, his exquisite Willie.

Barnabas returned to the sweet spot, building Willie's pleasure, then moved to his back, harder then, sometimes wrapping the whip at Willie's sides, which greatly multiplied the speed and intensity of the lash on more sensitive skin there, answered with gasps, bringing Willie's moans of pleasure to a new level.

Barnabas was ecstatic. The level of intimacy in whip play never failed to astonish him. It was intimacy without question based upon responses of complete honesty. How he loved playing with Willie's responses, how satisfying it was that his range of response was so great, and deeply nuanced.

He began to challenge Willie then, surprising him with intense landings on the very sensitive area at the point between the buttocks and the upper thighs, then hard on the thighs themselves, causing Willie to gasp and go rigid for a long moment. Barnabas knew that he was creating in Willie an intensity where translation from pain to pleasure was not immediate. This was a breathtaking moment of satisfaction for Barnabas, a perfectly still moment watching Willie processing intense pain to a deeper sensation of pleasure.

Willie was ready to be fully challenged. Barnabas held the whip higher, moving it more quickly, landing the lash where it could wrap slightly, then again where it could land very distinctly without travel, stimulating one spot alone.

Willie was now drifting in complete pleasure, and Barnabas was playing with his full responses. Barnabas moved the whip in tight slices from his arms and shoulders down to the backs of his legs, waiting a moment before he did so again. Landing a very swift, full arc of the whip on his upper back, Willie arched his back long, then slid back down against the couch, his head sideways, his eyes closed, moaning with pleasure. Again, and again. He was unaware of his own sounds, which ranged from sudden, gutteral "ahs" to "ums" to breathy "haaahs." All of which pleasured Barnabas intensely.

Willie was his. There was nothing else. Everything in him was his entire and honest response to one thing: Barnabas. Barnabas was allowed to chase anything and everything else out–except himself–by one thing: Willie's submission. If Barnabas did any of this without consent, or kept on after consent was withdrawn, all of this would instantly become something else entirely, and would ruin any chance for enjoying each other in this special way. Because Barnabas was a vampire, he sometimes used Willie without his consent. But he never mixed the two. Never. He could enjoy both because Willie still chose to submit to him when Barnabas again asked for and respected his consent.

Barnabas had greatly increased the intensity of the whip, whipping Willie rapidly in the same spots, building sensation. Willie called out with his full voice. He cried out again, the cry that meant mercy. Mercy, not to stop. Mercy to keep going, for release, for relief. 

Barnabas leaned down to Willie and breathed a long breath of intoxicating vampire breath. Willie was limp, and moaning with pleasure, moaning his complaint. Barnabas reached around Willie, turning him over on his back with his head on the arm of the couch. Then Barnabas had his little bag, and his bright song of pleasure singing in his ears as he held Willie's head up, showing him the clamp. Willie's eyes got bigger. He looked at Barnabas, then back at the clamp with its tiny gleaming pincer.

"Put you hand over mine," Barnabas commanded quietly as he put the clamp on Willie's nipple without releasing it.

Willie looked at Barnabas again. His lips became tighter as he struggled, struggling, wanting so much to obey. He was shaking as he brought forth his hand, placing it over Barnabas' hand.

"Will you release the clamp, Willie?"

"Barnabas..." Willie was almost there.

"Yes Willie."

"I will."

"My love," Barnabas praised him.

Willie paused, then very slowly released his hold on Barnabas' hand, which released the clamp, the pincer piercing the nipple cleanly.

Willie was completely silent. He felt a molten kind of pleasure moving through his body with a heavy push that swept all else aside. He did not move at all, except for his head, which was very slowly sinking back, so slowly that Barnabas was hypnotized by this motion of exquisite pleasure, ultimate pleasure taking hold of Willie's entire body in a loose way, graceful and fully relaxed, physical waves of ecstasy that did not translate into movement, only a singing softness of undoing.

"Barnabas... " Willie whispered, with one word communicating his ecstasy. Barnabas watched as the flow of blood from Willie's nipple reached the couch at his side. Then he carefully removed the clamp from Willie in one swift motion that did not pull at all on the released tissue.

Barnabas' fantasy was coming true. He leaned to Willie, bringing his mouth to the flow, suckling at Willie's breast, gently drawing from him as Willie drifted on a certain, unwavering intensity of pleasure. Barnabas changed to a rhythm that so slowly filled his mouth with each pull, feeling himself a creature made to suck attached to the sweet nib of Willie's nipple made to be sucked, enjoying the softness of Willie's aureole, his lips against its softness like a favorite dream never dreamed before, his eyes closed, thinking only of taking blood from Willie in this most sensual way.

The flow was gentle, and Barnabas fed from Willie for several minutes. He made little trills of motion across the soft nipple with his tongue, bunching up the tissues at the edges, pushing the last of the ebbing flow into his mouth. Then he found himself with his head turned slightly to view Willie's sex, clinging to his stomach, rising and falling with Willie's deep breaths and moans.

Barnabas moved slowly, bending Willie forward with great care, careful not to disturb his place of floating. He sat behind him, pulling him into him, cradling him in his arms, hugging him, very gently kissing his neck and his hair, savoring the taste of Willie's blood in his kisses. Then he took Willie in his hand, so slightly stimulating him, creating the energy for orgasm without disturbing Willie's gentle, but intense level of arousal. Slowly building, Barnabas could feel Willie begin to lightly stretch and jump with this new pleasure, his sex hard beyond any experience Barnabas had previously had of him.

Finally Willie's physical pleasure plateaued, and his orgasm was imminent, though he remained in the moment before release, a moment that could be prolonged. Barnabas held him there at just the right stimulation, knowing this level of hovering pleasure was often even better than the release.

"Willie... Come, Willie," he whispered quietly, making careful motions then as Willie cried out, Willie arching so that his head fell backwards, the motions of his release all contained by Barnabas' embrace, his pulling all of Willie's body against him, making an embrace so complete, so strong so that Willie's body need only spasm outward in unmeasured pleasure, with no concern or need for containment. Willie's spasms of pleasure continued as his calls of pleasure were spent, his voice hoarse, his legs uncoordinated as the motions diminished, as Barnabas slowly withdrew his hand.

Barnabas listened with eyes closed, feeling with his body as Willie's last moans and movements dwindled until he became still and quiet at last. An intimate storm had passed, and the quiet hour of the night soothed the lovers with an intimate embrace. 

Barnabas did not move. Willie slept in his arms. Then he took Willie with him to his rest, pulling him into his little box before the birds sang and the cock crowed, the lid snapping shut against all the world.  

 

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CHAPTER NINE: Skin
"Barnabas delayed their release, grasping both, covering Willie with the arching weight of his body as he settled into a slow rhythm of constant pleasure that spread through both of them without growing or receding."

 

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"My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel." — George R. R. Martin

“This is my skin. This is not your skin, yet you are still under it.” ― Iain Thomas

Willie awakened in late afternoon and enjoyed his usual breakfast of coffee and biscuits. He aired out the front drawing room as he cleaned there, then locked up again as he began his household duties in other areas. He knew that Barnabas was aware of his movements, taking his rest in his coffin down below. Willie loved the feeling of caring for Barnabas and his house while he rested peacefully without concern.

Willie stopped when he entered Barnabas' dressing room. He usually found layed out upon the bed the clothes Barnabas wished him to care for, those which would be ready for wear, or those to clean and put away.

Today there was a ladies dress, a simple dressing gown made of silk, a sort of pinkish gray, with delicate gray crochet lace at the neck, arms and hem. Next to it was a little kit with shaving supplies. 

Willie was distressed. Barnabas had clearly laid the clothes out for him. He approached the bed and touched the dress, feeling it's delicate weight and softness, unable to imagine wearing it. There were hours of daylight left. He left the room.

Willie returned later in the evening, bringing water for the pitcher basin. He removed his shirt and shaved carefully, making himself as smooth as he could for his lover. He felt sure Barnabas would want his chest to be smooth as well, and removed the little patch of hair there. He removed the rest of his clothes, still patting his face with the towell.

He lifted the dress as something new and foreign, bringing it to his face to capture a subtle floral scent. He draped it against himself, wanting to like it for Barnabas' sake. Standing naked in the golden light of evening, he raised the dress and slid it over his head, smooth over his face so sensitive after the shave, then falling around him like the hands of a lover, smooth and flowing quickly and easily upon his skin, the skirt dancing as the last of the dress slipped into place. Willie felt completely different with the dress on. He turned to face Barnabas' full length mirror. Who was that man dressed that way? How strange to see his own face there.

Willie brought his hands up and smoothed the dress downward. It did feel so soft, sensuous. Barnabas sometimes dressed him in shirts of silk, and he had grown to love Barnabas' touch upon these fabrics. But the dress was different, more. It was a sensuous flow of silk over his entire body, like being naked, but different.  

It was then that Willie noticed Barnabas sitting behind him, draped over the chair by the wall, liquid and languid in his dressing gown, sleep still playing at his eyes. Willie could not turn to him. He answered his gaze in the mirror, expecting ridicule and contempt in his eyes. Willie felt things visible in himself that were dangerous to reveal. Women would laugh at him, which would hurt his pride. But men... He had spent most of his life around men. They policed each other in these things, sometimes brutally attacking each other verbally and physically. That is why I feel fear, Willie thought. Barnabas required some things of Willie that were not masculine, but he required them. It seemed now that Barnabas wanted him to choose these feminine feelings. Willie found that he could not allow himself to enjoy this moment. To enjoy this would change who he was. No.

Willie looked, and found that he could see himself more clearly in the mirror. He saw a man wearing a woman's dress. He was pleasing his lover. Willie looked at Barnabas' reflection again, finding that he could see Barnabas more clearly as well. He did find feelings in Barnabas' eyes, but they weren't ridicule or contempt. They were love, and pleasure. Willie could easily see the sexual desire in Barnabas' gaze. He looked at himself again, trying to see himself through Barnabas' eyes of pleasure.

Willie watched in the mirror as Barnabas stood, coming to stand behind him. He pulled Willie against him, enjoying the feel of his body through the silk, then pulling his hands up under the dress, feeling his body hidden, delighting in the smoothness of his chest, letting the fabric bunch up, then letting it fall again over his hands, the secret travelers of Barnabas' desire. As he made love to Willie with his hands, Willie watched the changes in himself in the mirror, pushing against Barnabas, rocking slightly against him, the body of his lover also moved by pleasure, their pleasure exciting each other. How delicious it was to watch Barnabas' dark hair slowly moving about as he kissed Willie's face and shoulders, his hands disappearing, then reappearing from under the rippling fabric.

Willie closed his eyes, responding to how Barnabas took his pleasure. When he opened his eyes, he saw Barnabas making love to him with the dress. His body thrilled with a new sensitivity. 

Barnabas pulled the dress up slowly, revealing Willie up to his shoulders, both finding a new nakedness and sensitivity with a breathy surge of pleasure. Barnabas placed one of his hands under Willie's chin, holding Willie's gaze in the mirror as he followed his lust, pushing his other hand into the nest of Willie's sex, then gently pushing it and his testicles down with his hand over them. Willie answered Barnabas' pleasure by pulling his legs together, so he looked as a woman with her lover's hand on her sex. Willie felt again his body newly revealed as Barnabas brought his other hand down to squeeze and play with Willie's nipples. Willie moaned and arched with a full display of undisguised pleasure, holding his body tightly, communicating his answered desire to Barnabas, who continued to stimulate his nipples in various ways, smiling. He had Willie's nipples in honest pleasure at last.

Barnabas swept Willie up into his arms then, hugging and cradling him as he carried him to the bed, laying Willie there as something precious and delicate, arranging the dress so that it pleased him. He pulled off his dressing gown, his hands following Willie's sides as he came down to lay on him, pulling the dress down and off of his shoulders, kissing his smooth chest, his nipples, his shoulders, his face, his lips. He cradled Willie as he moved more quickly upon him, his breath making the sharp exhalations of mounting excitement.

Barnabas was swept up in his passion, holding Willie down with his full weight, spreading Willie's legs as he rocked against him as though to love. He pushed the dress up Willie's chest to his neck, thrilling again at this new display of Willie's body, and the pleasing difference of his smooth chest.

Barnabas sat up and opened the table next to the bed, opening a bottle of oil, smoothing it onto Willie, and onto himself, so that Willie thought he would enter him as he sometimes did. But Barnabas held his hand firmly against Willie between his testicles and the base of his sex, then loved his own encircled hand as he made all the motions of sex, kissing Willie's shoulders, his chest and nipples, moving his hand to hold Willie sometimes as he thrust upon him, loving Willie's gasps, his moans, his cries, before switching back to holding himself.

Barnabas delayed their release, grasping both, covering Willie with the arching weight of his body as he settled into a slow rhythm of constant pleasure that spread through both of them without growing or receding. The sun had slipped below the horizon, painting the room with an orange glow that seemed to burn both within and without them. The crickets had begun when Willie felt that his pleasure was following the sun, growing under the still night, deeper, deeper still as they rocked in darkness. Willie did not know it but his cries were different, his motions were different, who he was was changed by a new subtlety of touch and how it felt to be touched, and a new freedom he needed to fully love and be loved, a gift to him from Barnabas, and from Barnabas to himself.

As Barnabas came, encircled by himself, he cried out as a human, feeling himself changed by the thrill of watching and owning these changes in Willie. He grasped Willie anew as his own pleasure waned, watching tenderly as his motions sent Willie over the edge, thrilling to the new lilt to Willie's voice as he called out, crying his name, "Barnabas...!"

"My treasure," he whispered at his ear after Willie's body settled, as the remaining, tiny motions of his release found rest in his body at last, the night a familiar embrace for their rest in each other, their bodies still entwined as one.

 

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CHAPTER TEN: Fast
"Barnabas opened the door a little, a smile beginning as he saw Willie in his funny modern pajamas, so relaxed on the bed with the covers turned down, the firelight playing about his sleepy smile."

 

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"Soul meets soul on lovers' lips." ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Willie was curled upon his bed, dozing in his room on the third floor of The Old House, the traditional servants' quarters. He liked the private feeling of the upper room as a counterpoint to having and needing little privacy when he was in service of his Barnabas. He was completely alone now, as Barnabas was still at The New House. He and Willie had dressed festively and attended the Collins family traditional Autumn celebration. It was held with only family in attendance, a night off for the servants, but an exception was always made for Willie, as Barnabas insisted he was family, more than just a servant.

Willie had returned alone. Barnabas had some important family business to attend to, and had stayed after the party. Willie was bundled against an early Autumn cold snap as he walked home in the dark, a little tipsy from the punch, holding his little lantern aloft as he found his way through the long stretch of woods between the two houses. The night was uncharacteristically calm, with a clear sky full of bright stars. Willie had thought about the rest of the world under that shared sky who lived without knowledge of his strange life away from them, serving one whom they would hate and fear.

Now Willie found himself alone for awhile. He was completely relaxed, knowing his Barnabas was safe elsewhere. He watched the flickering light of the single candle chase up into the sharp roof of the garret, with the shifting glow of the fireplace lighting the lower reaches of the room, warming his body, his face and his hands after the cold walk. Willie enjoyed the luxury of as much wood as he could bring up and desired to burn in his little fireplace, which kept the small room very comfortable and dry.

Willie heard the front door open. He had left it unlocked for Barnabas, and built up the fire in his study for his return. He could hear the door to the study, then all was quiet for some time. Then Willie heard the old stairs creak as Barnabas ascended to his room. He felt so sensuous in the near dark and with the warm fireplace, he did not sit up, wanting to share his mood with his lover.

Barnabas tapped at the door, and said quietly, "Willie?" 

"Come in, my love," Willie answered, though he was not usually so informal.

Barnabas opened the door a little, a smile beginning as he saw Willie in his funny modern pajamas, so relaxed on the bed with the covers turned down, the firelight playing about his sleepy smile. He pushed the door open, then shut it quickly behind him to keep in the warmth.

Barnabas wore his slippers, but still wore his old formal clothes, finery that included his favorite scarlet waistcoat, elaborately embroidered, with cloth covered buttons and the easy movements of a garment lined with fine silk. He looked around Willie's room, reacquainting himself with the spare decorations and Willie's few belongings. Barnabas smiled again at the number of blankets piled up on Willie's bed, a source of some teasing. He turned to stand at the fire, enjoying the warmth, wondering again how Willie had come to collect tiny ornate boxes, admiring them displayed on the mantle and on the small chest of drawers made of oak which Willie had restored.

Barnabas pulled the chair over to Willie, putting his feet up on the edge of the bed.

"Do you mind if I smoke, Willie?" He asked politely. He lit a cigarette and offered it to Willie, then lit one for himself. Willie glanced at the ashtray behind the candle, and Barnabas pulled it to the edge of the little table.

They smoked in silence for some time, both enjoying a quiet reverie that made the night feel young. Willie heard the night song of his Hermit Thrush, perhaps singing his farewell before he migrated south. Barnabas noticed again how personal this little song was for Willie, making a note to research the bird so special to his Willie later. 

They had finished smoking, and Barnabas stood up, then sat next to Willie on the bed, stopping him when he started to move over. Willie sensed his hunger and let his head fall back a little, preparing to expose his neck. Barnabas touched Willie's lips, slipping his arm under his neck as he leaned down to kiss him softly, moving his other hand to Willie's sex, massaging it through his pajamas, turning his head to watch Willie's face and eyes, and listening with pleasure to his sudden inhalations, then long exhales as he intensified his pleasuring at these moments, playing with Willie's breath. 

Willie remained soft and relaxed, letting Barnabas move him as he desired. Unexpected loving in a room that was so intimate to him added greatly to Willie's pleasure, and he kept his eyes partly open, savoring how Barnabas looked in the dancing shadows above him, matching Barnabas' movements to the feeling of his movements against him on the bed.

Still cradling him, Barnabas unbuttoned the shirt of Willie's pajamas, pushing both sides back, loving his form and skin in the golden light. Barnabas felt himself revisiting familiar places on the map of his pleasure as he placed his hand gently at Willie's throat, then moved his hand down his chest and onto his sensitive stomach, tracing with his fingers up again, turning Willie to him as he bared his teeth, bringing them to Willie's throat. He felt the silent pop of the skin opening under his insistent pressure there, then the precise give of the vein as he opened it slightly with one of his teeth, and lightly covered the issue of blood with his lips without pulling, letting the tender flow fill his mouth like a sweet spring from the source of all sweetness, his Willie.

Barnabas began to suck in earnest, and Willie moved his hand slightly, nearer to Barnabas, intending for his own pleasure to brush discretely against his lover's fullness through his clothing, but Barnabas caught his hand, placing Willie's palm against his stomach, slipping it easily under Barnabas' silken pants. Barnabas' senses were opening, pressing through him with the blood, and Willie's movements upon him encouraged his hunger. Barnabas felt the small room holding him as he held Willie, the silent roar of the fire joining the inner sounds of Willie's blood fast flowing, flowing into him, giving him life. He was floating on the droning sounds of a little world as he surrounded Willie with his body, resting on him in a swoon of night, of endless nights that would find him here, holding fast to his Willie. He knew this.

Willie's movements were steady, then Barnabas' sexual release was gentle, the flow of life moving out of him, completing the circle. He disciplined himself to stop, pushing his tongue against Willie to stay the flow, lovingly licking and sucking the wound until free of blood. By tomorrow, it would be healed. He curled Willie's head against his chest as he slipped his hand under the loose fabric covering Willie's sex and brought him to orgasm. Willie was sleepy, and Barnabas removed his pajamas, desiring to lay skin to skin, then pulled the covers up over him. Though night was his day, he removed his clothes and slid in beside Willie, spooning against him, claiming his lover, remembering for a moment sleeping this way with lovers when he was human. He had loved then. But his love now was Willie, forever his Willie.

"I love you, Willie," he whispered.

"Mmmmmm," Willie answered.

Barnabas listened to Willie's breaths lengthening, then heard the magical call of the Hermit Thrush, and smiled. I am a monster, but I also love. 

Soon he was rising into the realm of brightly colored dreams that made his sleep curl and unfurl inside of him like the lotus odyssey of his soul.

 

 

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CHAPTER ELEVEN: Home
"Barnabas let himself remember how it had felt to take humans. How he had seduced their minds with his velvet, inner hand. How he possessed their bodies, pulling from them with all his desire and fierce delight. It was in his nature to do all of this, and he had never considered otherwise—until he came to keep his Willie."

 

 


The Hermit Thrush sings both day and night.
He is widely recognized as having one of the most
hauntingly beautiful songs of all North American birds.
Hermits migrate north early in spring, and south late in fall.
They are sometimes observed to have wintered over in the north.
Disturb the spirited Hermit, and he will fly up to a low branch,
fix his dark eye on you, and flick his tail jauntily.

 

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"The stroke of death is as a lover's pinch, which hurts and is desired." ― William Shakespeare

Barnabas was alarmed, restless in his little box. He had dreamed of the time before, before his Willie, when he had fed on humans without stopping, without sparing their lives. In his dream, he had experienced again the hunger that was only satisfied by drawing upon a life and a consciousness until it became a part of his own. 

Barnabas let himself remember how it had felt to take humans. How he had seduced their minds with his velvet, inner hand. How he possessed their bodies, pulling from them with all his desire and fierce delight. It was in his nature to do all of this, and he had never considered otherwise—until he came to keep his Willie.

He had stopped with Willie out of love, but that was not always enough. Sometimes he struggled against himself, and bit his finger to remember, recalling the vow he had made to himself, that he must know, he must be sure that he could stop with his Willie. At worst he would go to the town and take someone he would not miss and did not need or love, picturing in his mind the full satisfaction of his need without hesitation, without remorse. 

Barnabas had made his promise to Willie, that he would never reach the point of no return with him, that he would never take his life. Never.

Barnabas pushed slightly at the lid of his coffin. He considered it: going to the town. At night. To hunt. He had not done this since his promise. Going to the town might make his hunger worse. But this risk was far better than the risk of losing Willie to his own dark need. He could barely imagine the remorse that would fill him. No.

Barnabas pushed the lid aside and slipped to the cold floor, making his way silently to his room, dressing quickly and slipping out, piercing the forest darkness like an arrow far flung. So familiar, the feeling of anticipation as he flew down through the trees, the dark green carpet of ferns flowing like a river that he rose upon, so swift were his motions and his progress.

He stopped at the edge of town, remembering a time when the lights were fewer and much dimmer, when there were far fewer people. He felt himself a darkness at the edge of darkness, reaching out through the maze of lights with his consciousness, seeking one who would suit him, one he might taste and eat, a delicacy, as all humans were to him. He would choose very carefully tonight, so that his satisfaction might be complete.

Oh, yes. This part of the hunt had once excited him so...

He found someone who was sweet to touch, inside, but they were inebriated and he did not wish to dull his senses. Another who stood near the water; a man who had a malignancy, though he did not know it yet. A young woman who had been recently raped, whose mind was so tragically black and festering with fear that Barnabas in his mind turned away, mourning her torment. Another woman, who was touched with psychosis, and saw what was not there. Barnabas was reminded how sad many humans were, how much they suffered, how difficult it could be to watch at the edge of their world, needing them. He had long preferred the hopeless who wished to slip out of their darkness, who would come to him as they would come to the light. 

At last he sensed a younger man who was sitting on the dock, waiting. Waiting for what? His lover, who he thought was coming. But Barnabas knew that the lover was gone, for the boy knew deep inside that he would not return. He clung to hope, for he did not want to suffer heartbreak again, something he could not face after his previous lovers had all left him. 

Barnabas was pleased. The boy sat at the lonely end of the dock, and there was no one else close by.

Barnabas was near him in moments, appearing to him out of the silence that floated above the slap of the water below. The boy looked up at him, and Barnabas was enchanted by his youth and vigor. Come up to me, he said inside, and the boy arose, happy to comply. 

"What is your name, sweet boy?" Barnabas asked him, holding his gaze. He guessed him to be 19, perhaps 20 years old. He was still quite boyish. A young man who preferred the company of men.

"Samuel," he answered.

"You are named after Mark Twain," Barnabas observed, and the boy was pleasantly surprised.

"Samuel Clemens, that's right!" he said with delight.

"Dear, sweet Samuel..." Barnabas leaned closer to the boy, "...what do you find most dear about me?" He breathed close to the boy's nose and mouth, and watched his eyelids droop a little, a languorous look that added to Barnabas' growing arousal.

"I like your hair," the boy said. "It is very black, and your eyelashes..." the boy stopped, "...your eyes..." 

Barnabas was smiling, a paternal smile of tenderness. He wanted to scoop the boy up and cradle him just so. He breathed again near the boy's mouth. The boy wobbled, and Barnabas steadied him, their eyes together in a growing intimacy framed by their closeness.

"Will you give yourself to me, Samuel?" Barnabas asked, lingering in the dance.

Samuel was moved. All of his heartache was to be left in the past at last.

"I will, sir," he answered sincerely, though he guessed he was agreeing to something more than love.

"I will love you with my teeth," Barnabas smiled, baring his teeth slightly, watching the boy's eyes widen with a confused excitement.

"But I don't know your name," the boy complained, entranced again by Barnabas' eyes, immense pools of liquid, golden brown, his own eyes floating, bobbing upon a liquid, inner bliss. 

"Barnabas..." he offered, the "s" a resonant whisper stopped by the boy's lips as he pulled them onto his own. He felt the warmth of the boy's blood through his lips, felt his own body taut with desire as he slipped his arm further around the boy's waist, pulling him closer. 

"Barnabas..." the boy's lips formed from the waning kiss, his voice warm and heavy with a syrupy arousal.

Barnabas brought his hand to the boy's erect sex through his pants, and he gasped with pleasure. Barnabas pushed his own sex against the boy, rubbing against him with excitement. He leaned to the boy, brushing his lips against his as he breathed into him to increase the spell, pushing with his breath and his tongue, slipping it between the boy's teeth, so sharp, so smooth. The boy's cheeks had become pink, his breath hot from the newly plumbed depths of his lungs as Barnabas was thrilled by the boy's cresting heartbeat, his body quivering as Barnabas made love to him with his hand. Barnabas' breath was at intervals sharp and long, watching the boy's face as he sucked his own teeth, as he rode inside on the gilt-edge of anticipation.

"Ohhh...!" Samuel exclaimed as he reached his release.

Barnabas pulled the boy's head back and sank his teeth into him, bucking against him with his body and his sex, taking the boy's blood and climax into himself, his being exploding with bright and vast sensations from inside, radiating from a bone deep satiation for something craved and long denied. Immediately he reached his own release, as he pulled the wounds wider with his teeth, his jaw working heavily as he drank as much blood as he could hold and swallow with each pull, his mind spinning like stars, like hissing galaxies of light.

"Oh, oh, oh..." Samuel's pleasure was extending far beyond that of his physical release as Barnabas held him inside, pulling from him physically and mentally, his blood and his life pouring into Barnabas through his mouth and his mind. He could feel the intricacies of the boy's changing state as his life waned, as he surrendered everything to another, participating in the complete bliss of two becoming one. 

Barnabas still held to the boy's throat as he felt his vampire body thrilling with new life, as he savored the last of the blood trickling into his mouth, then loosened the bite of his remaining mouth's embrace to become a tender, farewell kiss. Barnabas was physically still then with a profound relaxation, eyes closed, partaking of the boy's fragrance and the last sounds of his breath as he prepared to carry these impressions away as memory. For minutes he held still to the boy full against him, taking the last of his warmth and essence, then leaning forward, he tenderly laid his body to rest at his feet.

The boy's eyelids were still slightly open, and Barnabas looked at his eyes, remembering who was there. Taking the boy's hand, he brought his slack fingers to touch his eyelids closed, then painted the pale lips with his own fingers bright with the boy's blood.

"I still taste your sweetness," he whispered, standing, knowing well the way home through an impenetrable darkness. This time, the way home had become the bright path to his beloved.

 

CHAPTER TWELVE: A kindness
That is how I look, Willie thought, remembering well how it felt to soar inside on the intoxication of Barnabas' vampire breath.

 

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"We are such stuff as dreams are made on
And our little life is rounded with a sleep."
― The Tempest, Shakespeare

Barnabas was away. He had left just after sunset without speaking to Willie. Barnabas rarely left without telling Willie when he might return, and usually where he was going. Willie was forlorn, sitting in his place on the back steps. He only smoked with Barnabas, but tonight he lit a cigarette, his eyes coming to focus on the worn spot where Barnabas rested his foot when they sat together. He raised his eyes, seeking the imminent darkness of the forest as though his Barnabas was there.

Willie was usually glad when Barnabas was away. He enjoyed the thought of him finding pleasure in moving through the wider world, even if it was only visiting his relatives in the nearby New House, or buying books and cigarettes in town on rare occasions of venturing out during the day. Something is different, he thought. Barnabas had seemed different for the last couple of days, though Willie only thought of it now.

Willie performed the minimum of his duties, replacing candles, then building up the fire in Barnabas' study. He found himself standing in the hallway outside the study doors, looking at the arched entrance to the gallery at the end of the hall. His body felt different looking there. He felt physical memories in his body, sensations that returned so easily, some with images and some without, some of pain and some of pleasure, some of both. The moment was pleasing, and Willie closed his eyes, missing his Barnabas. He thought of giving Barnabas pleasure with his body, of accepting the physical sensations of his loving. Willie loved his body. He cherished it, for it gave his Barnabas pleasure. For to love was to ask, again and again, how can I give my beloved pleasure? How can I give to him? To lose the ability to do these things would be unbearable.

Willie turned his head slightly, hearing Barnabas' step on the back colonnade, unlocking and entering through the outer doors to the study. The doors had an unusual vibration, as though opened awkwardly. Willie pictured Barnabas carrying a box of new books borrowed from The New House, or well wrapped additions to his curio cabinet bestowed on him by Cousin Elizabeth, who adored him. Willie was curious and happy as he turned to face the study doors, listening. He knew that Barnabas was aware of where he was in the house, and might call to him inside, as he often did. But Barnabas did not call him. He could hear him moving about. Was that the sound of furniture being moved? He began to feel that he was eavesdropping and went to the front drawing room, busying himself, remaining nearby in case Barnabas needed him, happy that his lover was near.

He felt Barnabas inside at last, and wiped his hands, smoothing his hair and adjusting his clothes. Be prepared, he heard inside as he approached the study doors. The door opened, and Barnabas was standing there, smiling, but serious. Willie noticed that the couch had been moved before Barnabas stepped back, revealing a woman laying on the couch, conscious, but with her head back and moving slightly with intense pleasure. Willie was astonished for a moment, then looked closely at her with a certain recognition. That is how I look, Willie thought, remembering well how it felt to soar inside on the intoxication of Barnabas' vampire breath.

"Come, Willie," Barnabas said, gesturing. Willie walked into the room, standing where he could see the woman better. She seemed young, but he found he could not guess her age. 

There were blankets under the woman, covering the couch and the floor. He will take her... he wants me to watch, he thought with some distress. He had only seen Barnabas feed from another human once. He realized Barnabas had carefully protected him from this, until now.

Barnabas motioned to Willie's chair as he settled into his own chair opposite, near the large candelabra recently lit by Willie, the candles and the flames high and bright. Barnabas' shadow had passed over the woman, and she turned her head, finding Willie's gaze.

"Are you a dream?" she asked. Her voice seemed more clear and resonant than he recalled in a human. That is how I sound, he thought. When I am bound by his breath.

"He is real," Barnabas said, and the woman turned her head to him.

"Barnabas!" she said, happy to find him near. But Willie could hear it in her voice. What was it that he heard?

"Lillie," Barnabas answered her. "This is Willie."

Willie struggled. It felt rude, but he could only gaze at Barnabas, could only say a single word: "Why...?" Why bring her here? Why introduce her to him if she was about to die? 

The couch had been arranged so it more closely spanned the distance between Barnabas and Willie's chairs, and Barnabas leaned forward, breathing lightly in Lillie's face, so her head dropped back in a swoon of increased pleasure.

Barnabas was looking at Willie, waiting, watching him struggle with his discomfort. Willie began subconsciously looking towards the door.

"Stay," Barnabas said. "Look at her, Willie. I will help you."

Willie focused again on her, the way her body was draped with great feeling on the couch, her eyes partly closed, her head tilted slightly.

"Look. Look at her face. Ask her Willie, inside. Who is she? What does she have to say? Inside. I will help you."

Willie looked at her, and felt Barnabas' touch in the inner place where he reached to Willie.

"Oh." he said, finding her. He could touch her in this same place.

"It is because I am helping you," Barnabas said.

Lillie, Willie tried inside. Who are you? What will you say if I will listen? 

Lillie found his eyes again, her lips moving silently. Willie could feel Barnabas withdrawing the intoxication, ebbing, flowing out of her. Her eyes widened. The place where he touched her was becoming dark, full of pain. 

He's dead, Willie heard her voice inside. The sea took him. He's gone. He's gone. Tears had started in her eyes. 

Her heart is broken, Willie thought. 

"Ask her Willie."

Lillie, Lillie... tell me. 

Gone to sea. He never came back.

Oh no, Willie thought, understanding what he had seen in her. He died... and she died with him. She hasn't returned from it. She did not make it back. She's already dead to this world.

Willie noticed her empty stare, her wilted and worn corsage, her clothes, boots and hat faded and unrepaired. Her skin was yellow and her body was thin. She was empty. He pitied her. 

"Do not think this inner death is necessary for me to eat someone," Barnabas said. "But it once was so, and may be that way at first for you."

Barnabas stood and sat on the couch, bending down to breathe on her, a sweet moan escaping on her breath as she slipped away on the returning current of relief. She looked up at Barnabas, so close, bent over her in a posture of tenderness, their eyes together.

"I see mercy in you," she said. "I see a kindness, a mercy."

"Do you want peace? I can give you peace." Willie could hear it, the vampire coming into his voice.

"Yes," she said. "A kindness..." Willie could hear her answer, inside. He gave his life to the sea. I will give mine to you.

Barnabas removed her hat and swept her curls back from her throat, turning her head towards Willie. She held Willie's gaze then as Barnabas leaned to her, lifting her as he brought his teeth to her, piercing in one motion the large vein firmly, drawing on the immediate gush of blood. 

She seemed to Willie to return to the world, her eyes no longer sunken, her lips again full, and her cheeks with a returning blush. But it did not last, and she began to fade, her lips pushing together in a thin smile of relief, her eyes closing with the relief for a few seconds at a time in shortening intervals. Her eyes were glazed and tired, her body sunken as her life slipped away. Eye to eye she smiled at Willie, and he prepared himself to see her die. I am here, he said inside, and with his eyes. You are not alone. 

He could see that Barnabas was pulling harder, reaching for more blood from her. She had lifted a gloved hand and caressed Barnabas' face, as though to pull him to her, and Willie saw the moment when her eyes became empty and her hand fell silently to the couch. Barnabas shook her slightly, taking the last of her, then released her body, pushing his face into the blankets, wiping his face and hands there for Willie's sake, then sitting back as the last blood oozed from her, slipping down to pool above her collar bone, then spilling down onto the blanket. He looked at her for a moment as he sucked his teeth, licking his lips, then closed her eyes for Willie's sake.

Barnabas turned to Willie, who could see in his eyes the vampire ascendant, glowing with new life. His breathing was different, his chest moving up as well as out. He eyes were dark and flashed with a consciousness that had been changed, that was joyfully assimilating a newness into the familiar, into the now greater being that was a vampire.

This is his true nature, Willie thought. He does not achieve this with me. My blood has been enough... because of love. He doesn't take all of me because of love.

Willie was stunned. He felt as though he had never known Barnabas before, and did not know him now.

They sat in silence for some time, and Willie's eyes returned to her again and again. Her face perfectly relaxed, her arms limp at her sides. She was gone. She would not return. But she was just here.

"Where is she, Willie?" Barnabas asked, his voice gentle as he spoke of her. "She is not here, but she is somewhere. I feel life further on, so much farther than humans until their death. I sometimes follow, but I always return." 

Willie looked closely at Barnabas, finding the familiar creature that he loved, trying to put it all together. 

Barnabas stood, pulling the blankets around the body. He reached to Willie, and Willie stood, but Barnabas did not touch him. Willie followed him from the room, relieved when Barnabas gestured and let Willie go first, following Willie up the stairs to the close comfort of his little room.

They sat on the bed facing each other, pushing off their shoes, sitting with their backs against the walls of the little alcove around his bed. Barnabas was careful not to suck his teeth. He could still taste her, could feel her life in his own. It is always so strange, to find myself at last on this side of God.

"Will you speak?" Barnabas asked, resisting the desire to touch Willie, to soothe and caress his leg. 

"I don't know what to say," Willie answered. He started again. "It's like a silence, this place... now between us." He pictured Lillie's body below, wrapped in a bloody blanket, and the way her eyes looked when all life had left them.

Barnabas waited.

"I always thought you killed people, you murdered them. But you take their lives. You drink it out of them."

"Sometimes I take, and sometimes it is given," Barnabas said.

"But you take it either way."

A carnal knowledge, Barnabas thought. A little life... rounded by a swirl in my tea cup.

"It is very intimate," Barnabas confessed. "And not always deserved. Not at all." His voice became sweet, close in the tiny room. "I live on your blood now, my love. But who will feed us if you become like me? I can go weeks, maybe several, but then I must feed again." There was a long silence.

"Is this all I must face before you will make me?" Willie asked.

"If you choose it, there are other things. But it is mainly this."

"Will you tell me what the other things are?"

"In time I will tell you. We are starting here. Perhaps you will become like me, Willie. But we have not made that journey, not yet. Think on this now, find what is now."

How wise he is, Willie thought. Was his maker this wise?

"Will you tell me, Barnabas. Who made you? How did you become... this?"

Barnabas was silent, but his eyes were full of meaning, of history, of sorrow.

"Not yet," was all he said.

Barnabas turned on the bed, stretching out next to Willie, shoulders together without touching, watching the candlelight dance on the ceiling. He brought his arms up, his hands above his head, purposely choosing a position that meant submission to Willie. He let Willie decide whether to touch or kiss him, and he did not, but then he touched Barnabas' sleeve, curling it lightly as he often did when he was lost in thought.

He is lost. Barnabas thought. But he is finding his way, back to the source of life. He was aware of Willie struggling, thinking of his own younger years, so long ago, when he prayed endlessly, needing to make his devotion known to God. But God had somehow come to live in him.

Barnabas waited. How can I help him?  He waited for inspiration. How might their love help Willie find his way back, returning to his place in this hidden, solitary life?

"Will you love me, Willie?" he asked quietly. He did not often take pleasure from Willie in this way, keeping it as a special moment between them.

"Yes, my love," Willie said, sitting up with a happy smile of ready delight.

Barnabas sensed a sweetness of much needed relief spreading in Willie, who moved to carefully undo the old-fashioned buttons, opening and pulling at his gentleman's trousers, bending to him, reaching to the source of Barnabas' pleasure with a quiet, but pressing relief. 

Barnabas was silent, listening to Willie's breath as Willie made love to him, as Willie followed the familiar memories of his own need met, his own release given, all that he had felt and made a gift of in his submission to Barnabas. All in a familiar kindness—a practiced way to each other—now made as a passionate return, Willie loving with his mouth just so and with the certain motions that Barnabas desired, steady on until Barnabas was carried on a resounding brilliance that surged through him again and again as a vampire and a human orgasm at the same time.

Willie looked upward as Barnabas cried out, watching him moved by a long season of fruition, swallowing from him with pleasure, season upon season, marveling then at his Barnabas, now loosened and soft on his bed, his mouth and eyes closed and soft, his hands open and relaxed above his shoulders. Willie was transfixed, astonished by his transformation. He sat looking at his Barnabas, who was not sleeping, but lay cast adrift on his pleasure, floating undone and still beside Willie on his patchwork pile of blankets.

I gave you this perfect bliss, Willie thought, moved beyond anything that love had brought to him thus far.

I must give this to you always, and forever.

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Because I can
Willie's body and mind exploded with pleasure. Barnabas moved Willie around by his hair, demonstrating his possession of Willie's body, pulling him off balance every time he returned to position. "You are mine," he said forcefully at Willie's ear. "Mine..." There was nothing Willie wanted to hear more than these words of spectacular intimacy. 

 

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Willie was remembering a few days before, when he emerged from the carriage path and found his Barnabas standing at the front entrance, waiting for Willie as he returned from town. The sun low in the west had painted the clouds a rich pink that colored all the world below, and he had stopped, thrilled by the sight of his lover at the center of this beauty and drama.

Come, Barnabas had reached to him with this word, the word he had used when Willie was first surrendered to him.

Tonight Willie was sitting at the west end of the colonnade, watching the red glow of the sunset filling the sky above the black edge of the forest, enjoying some solitude before his Barnabas appeared from his coffin below. The Autumn chill fell hard with the lengthening shadows, and he had his warmest coat on, with two pairs of socks. Barnabas sometimes teased Willie lightly about how easily he became cold. "This is Maine..." he would say with emphasis, pointing down, then towards the North. "The North Pole is right over there." They joked in this way about how vampires did not get cold, though they did enjoy the glowing sensations of warmth from a fire.

Willie loved the delicious smell of burning wood, and thought perhaps his Barnabas was already in his study, stirring up the fire he had built for him earlier. Because Willie was on the west side of the house, he did not know that the wonderful fragrance of wood burning was also from a fireplace in the gallery, which joined the study in facing south, a long room beyond the study.

Willie, he heard inside. He stood and walked around to the study doors, surprised to find it empty. Ohh... he thought, picturing the gallery, feeling an inner stab of excitement. He took off his coat, then walked expectantly down the hall towards a wonderful dancing glow that was spilling out into the end of the hallway. He stepped into the room, which was dark at the far end. He found that Barnabas had lit a fire in the closer of the two great fireplaces that filled the walls at each end of the room. One of the large carpets was rolled out in front of the glowing fireplace, and a spacious chair was positioned near the fire.

Barnabas was sitting in the chair, his legs crossed, his hands knit together at his chin, the black onyx ring a darker oval in the firelit darkness, looking into the leaping flames. He wore an earlier era waistcoat over modern pants, shirt and tie, with his fur lined slippers, his hair glistening black and perfectly coiffed. Willie was aroused by his charisma and power, startling even in repose. Let me give myself to you, he thought, hoping. He remained near the door, waiting to be acknowledged, needing to find what his lover required of him. Surely he will play with me, he thought, curious about the scene before him, enjoying a mounting excitement.

Barnabas did not respond to his entrance. He seemed to be considering things beyond the room, and Willie waited patiently. Then he noticed on the floor near his feet a black crop, exceptionally long, laying on a blood red silk scarf which he had somehow missed in the low light of the room. Oh, yes, he thought. He loved the crop, a whip with moderate sting. It had a stiff handle and body, and a little square of doubled leather at the tip. It was made to communicate a jockey's urging to his race horse. Used for pleasure, it was direct and precise to handle, clearly and instantly communicating his Master's delight in reaching and directing his responses, both body and mind.

Willie considered the whip, and how to respond. He had been taught to never touch the Master's tools with his hands unless he was instructed to, which was rare. This was a matter of deepest respect, and both lovers took it seriously.

Clearly, it is up to me what to do, he thought. He had learned that confidence was a very valuable trait in a submissive, and he purposely brought it to bear in situations that called for it.

He knelt before the whip, watching Barnabas for any reaction. He bent to kiss it. He kissed it fervently, which was very enjoyable, but elicited no response. He stood and removed his clothes, feeling vulnerable about being ignored after choosing to undress. He tried these things again unclothed. With delicious inspiration, he bent on all fours to pick the whip up gingerly with his teeth with the handle facing Barnabas, then crawled to him with his eyes down, grateful for the carpet. He stopped with the length of his body facing Barnabas, the handle of the whip within reach. He guessed that Barnabas would be pleased by this offering of the full length of his body, and pictured Barnabas' eyes flashing with pleasure above him. 

Willie found himself on all fours, unclothed in front of his Master, with a whip in his mouth. It was a very vulnerable place and position. What would Barnabas do? Surely he would take the whip any second and begin to whip his prominent rear. But the main pleasure of this moment was the offering of the whip in such a deeply submissive way. To undress, to crawl, to hold the whip in his mouth, to hold it out, waiting to be acknowledged—he had done all of this without being instructed to do so. Showing complete submission with this personal creativity was giving Willie deep pleasure, and he felt his mind and body glowing with intense arousal.

He caught a glimpse, his heart soaring with anticipation. The slippers moved. Barnabas had uncrossed his legs.

 

He is singing inside now, Barnabas thought, smiling. My Willie. It is so fun to play with the sources of your pleasure. 

Barnabas smiled, but he was very serious. He leaned forward and took the handle of the whip, long and black, removing it from Willie's mouth. He tapped Willie's lips with the little pad of leather at the end, and Willie tried to kiss it, but did not succeed. He tapped Willie's forehead, his chin, his lips again. Because I can... Barnabas thought, feeling a fierce place of desire growing him, expressed as a wicked smile. He tapped Willie a few times around his face, then reached down and punished his nipple with several strokes, so that Willie moaned through closed lips, arching and struggling to hold his position.

Barnabas leaned forward and ran his hand down the other side of Willie's body, checking that he wasn't overheating from proximity to the fire, smiling as Willie gasped and moaned with delight. Still seated, he slid the whip slowly down from Willie's neck to his rear, then back up again, then tap tapped down and back up. He tapped a number of times on his rear, moving to the backs of his thighs and calves, then at last to several taps on the sensitive soles of his feet. Then he reached around and very lightly tapped Willie's testicles once. Willie cried out from pain and fear, struggling not to move away. Barnabas waited until Willie relaxed again, then moved back up to tapping his back and shoulders. Willie's pleasure and sensitivity were now increased, and Barnabas had enjoyed taking control of Willie's responses with foreplay. 

Barnabas tapped Willie once on the back of his head, and he bowed slowly, with obvious feeling, communicating his pleasure in submission as he brought his head down, forehead to the carpet, his rear still in the air. Barnabas rewarded him with a few light strokes on his rear, on his sweet spot, and Willie flexed his whole body with pleasure, knowing he had pleased Barnabas, enjoying his reward. 

Barnabas pushed upward with the whip under Willie's chest. He pushed up again, and Willie came up from his bowed position. Barnabas pushed steadily against Willie's rear with the whip. The silent language of the moment was being established, bringing a special and deeply pleasurable intimacy. Willie scooted forward a little, still on all fours, his rear directly in front of Barnabas. Barnabas was still, letting Willie feel his vulnerability.

Barnabas ignored Willie's rear, beginning in earnest on Willie's thighs, moving the whip back and forth, back and forth, with slowly increasing pressure, waiting between each stroke. He whipped several times in a row on the same spot, building sensation, and Willie arched with the challenge, glowing with increased pleasure. Again. Willie cried out, his body quivering as he processed the pain. Again and again on the back of his other thigh. Barnabas moved to Willie's shoulders, a place Willie loved as one of perfect tension of the skin and of taut padding below, easily increased by arching slightly. Barnabas moved back down to this thighs and calves. He paid special attention to Willie's feet, challenging him with fairly gentle, but quickly alternating, multiple landings on each foot. Willie struggled mightily not to move his feet. He was singing inside with lovely endorphins that sent him floating, even as he absorbed the intense flash of sensation with each stroke. 

Then there was a long period of nothing. Barnabas tapped Willie's cheek, correcting him. Willie had turned his head slightly and saw that Barnabas was standing next to him. His curiosity had crowded in next to his floating sensations of bliss. He was thrilled by this correction, intimate evidence that his Master noticed everything about him, and cared what he was doing. But again his curiosity slipped back into his state of velvet delight and passion. What is my Barnabas doing? 

Barnabas had hidden something from him.

The singing cane had already made contact on Willie's rear before he could recognize the song of its wicked speed and anticipate its demanding bite. He cried out, his sensitivity greatly increased by uncertainty. Barnabas landed the next stroke across his rear just below that of the first. The intensity was near Willie's limit of pleasure, but he had been prepared physically, and he gasped, moaning loudly from the strong sensations moving through his body. He relaxed into the next stroke, gasping again from the intensity of sensation, then moaning again as the astonishing pleasure moved throughout his body, some of the sensation going straight to his genitals, so close to his rear.

Willie both loved and respected the cane. It was long, very slim and strong, made from somewhat flexible rattan about as big around as a pencil. It was easy to create very challenging sensations with the cane, and care needed to be taken not to overly damage the skin, both of which made it an advanced tool. As used for pleasure, the narrowness and certain flexibility of the cane made it a combination of delicious sting and very contained and slender compression to the underlying parts of a landing. This flexibility of the cane slowed the compression and decompression very slightly, creating a unique complexity. The strong, second sensation of compression and release of the compression colored the initial moment of processing just after the bite, which was a delicious combination for a connoisseur of intense stimulation like Willie. It also made a remarkably singular and lovely song as it moved through the air, a sound that had become associated with the unique sensations given.

Barnabas continued to paint Willie's rear with a portrait of pleasuring done with careful accuracy and restraint. He was very careful not to land multiple landings in the same place, so as to avoid breaking the skin. He stopped occasionally to gently pinch and fold and roll the skin around the marks, keeping the skin a flexible as possible, making the marks shift as he pulled and pushed them slightly, listening to Willie's breath as he stimulated him in this way. Barnabas was greatly aroused by the marks, and ran his hand very lightly over them in circles, feeling the heat and tautness of the skin that was now covered with spectacularly red welts with a thin line of white in the center of each, all in a beautiful pattern, much like a work of art. Willie was shaking with pleasure from the intense caning followed by this long sensation of playing at the surface of his skin, and Barnabas' arousal increased greatly as he responded by continuing the flat pressure of his hand up Willie's back, grasping his hair, pulling his head up and back firmly.

Willie's body and mind exploded with pleasure. Barnabas moved Willie around by his hair, demonstrating his possession of Willie's body, pulling him off balance every time he returned to position. "You are mine," he said forcefully at Willie's ear. "Mine..." There was nothing Willie wanted to hear more than these words of spectacular intimacy. He was beyond the moment, his consciousness spinning with answering repetitions of Barnabas' firm and low voice echoing in the room and in his mind. Oh dear God... he thought, struggling not to orgasm without permission. Oh dear God.

Still holding Willie's hair, Barnabas walked around to his face and pushed his hardness firmly against it through his pants, grasping the back of Willie's head with both hands and grinding about on his face. Barnabas' breath caught silently again and again with pleasure from his movements against Willie's face. Your face is mine, your identity is mine. He stopped and pulled Willie's head back again by his hair, pushing his thumb into his mouth as they were eye to eye, and Willie responded by sucking and licking his thumb suggestively. Barnabas undid his pants and Willie took him into his mouth, bracing himself against Barnabas, who pushed himself deeper into Willie's mouth with a guttural moan and hissing intake of breath between his teeth, sounds of the volatile peaks of his consuming arousal.

Barnabas braced himself and pulled Willie's head onto him with a certain rhythm, roughly pulling Willie quickly onto him a few times, then slowly off, keeping his imminent orgasm in check. Willie knew that Barnabas liked him to suck on the special place at the top of his foreskin, where it was attached outside and just below the head of his penis, paying attention to this spot each time Barnabas withdrew slowly, sucking and twirling his tongue before Barnabas pulled Willie back onto him quickly. Again and again, with Barnabas stopping regularly to push deeper for a long moment before resuming this rhythm.

Barnabas pushed deeper, then kept Willie's face tight on him, covering his mouth and nose without moving, playing with his breath. Willie held his breath until he was released, taking a breath quickly as Barnabas pulled him tight again, for a longer period. Again. He gave Willie several moments to breathe before clasping him hard and holding him against his stomach for a long time, withholding the air from him, which pleased Barnabas greatly. Everything about you belongs to me. Even the air you breathe. He knew this ownership was clear to Willie and gave him an intense thrill.

Everything about me belongs to you, Willie thought, feeling Barnabas' grasp on his body and mind, offering his love to Barnabas as complete submission in the way that had always been his way, his natural source of pleasure, the certain way he was wired for sexuality and intimacy, all that found a perfect answer in Barnabas' dominance.

Barnabas had stopped completely for a moment, then returned to his previous rhythm. He grasped himself, keeping the head of his penis in Willie's mouth, Willie sucking and loving him as Barnabas made his own pleasure with his hand, holding Willie tightly by his hair as he climaxed, pushing into Willie's mouth as he arched in pleasure, making guttural sounds of release, pushing and jerking tighter again and again until he was spent. Willie was careful to hold him without stimulating him any further, and he slipped from Willie's mouth, holding Willie's face gently against him, his jagged breaths becoming more even until he relaxed his body at last.

Barnabas turned, pulling at his pants, leaning to Willie as he pulled the side of Willie's head lovingly against his thigh, petting his hair. "Make your own release, my love," he said quietly, He continued to stroke Willie's hair with his hand as Willie moaned and shook with an intensity that made it hard for him to remain crouched. Holding Willie's head, careful not to risk jarring Willie by knocking him back onto his rear, Barnabas pushed against his shoulder with his leg, causing Willie to sit back towards his feet, his back arched forward, jerking and taut, his head nearing the floor, his pleasure increased by the tautness of his body and Barnabas' hand riding on his head. Willie called out loudly again and again as he came, his release overcoming his outer senses. When he was quiet, he came back to the room very slowly. Barnabas was still standing next to him, and lifted him up slightly, so that Willie again rested his head against Barnabas' leg.

"My love... my love," Barnabas said, petting his hair. "My lover... you are so precious... my love..."

He grasped Willie gently under his arms as he sat back into his chair, pulling Willie to him, still kneeling, his arms and head in Barnabas' lap. "Precious... precious..." Barnabas whispered as touched him tenderly, petting his face and hair, both of them enjoying the return of the night stillness and the steady, sleepy warmth of the fire, listening to it pop and wheeze. After awhile, Barnabas pulled Willie's slight body up into the large chair with him, curled up against him, Barnabas careful again to avoid jarring pressure on his tender buttocks, holding and caressing him lightly, hugging him with great affection for some time. 

So often we end up in your room, now... Barnabas thought as he stood while lifting Willie easily with his vampire strength, cradling him against him as he walked. He loved carrying his Willie as he made his way up the stairs to Willie's little room, pulling down the covers and laying him gently in his bed. Barnabas removed his clothes and opened the covers, joining him in the silky darkness under the bedding, close in the silky darkness of his peaceful little room.

"Sweetness..." he whispered. "Sweet..."

Barnabas could feel Willie's feelings, and joined Willie in simply floating, petting Willie softly until his breathing lengthened. Then Barnabas snuggled tight against him for a sweet and well-earned little human sleep.

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Beginning
"Willie had slipped out of his robe, shivering now from the cold cellar air as well as the anticipation of confinement. He felt that he offered himself as he walked to Barnabas, as he gave all of his body to another, to the dark world of the one that he loved, the world that became this dark box at the end of his waking hours. "

 

PHOTO: Promotional still of Barnabas Collins, played by beloved thespian Jonathan Frid, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

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An Introduction to Dark Shadows Play: Beginning

PART ONE: A shared confinement

Willie was intensely aware of the ankle next to his face. It was a man's ankle, pale and smooth. A silk evening coat brushed above the ankle when the person it belonged to moved slightly. Fur caressed the ankle above a leather slipper, black as night, smelling exotically of the wax mixed with coconut oil that he lovingly polished the shoes with in the daytime. He could hear the stormy winds outside, sending the branches tapping together at the windows in the shared rhythm of sudden gusts breaking free from the marching forest trees, swirling around the ancient house, which creaked louder even than the crackling and popping sounds from the fire.

The carpet was old and worn and tickled his nose, but Willie resisted moving to scratch it. He pushed his nose into the carpet, moving his face so very slightly, trying to get some relief. But the true source of his distress was to be so close to the ankle without being able to touch and kiss it and press his face into it, against the feet of his lover and master, Barnabas Collins.

The ankle moved a little closer to Willie's face, touching his cheek. His breath was long, a silent sigh. Above him, there was a silent smile, the crisp turning of the page. More wild tapping at the windows, the distant thunder, the smell of the coming rain mingled with the salty ocean air. At last, there came a long moment of silence, the wind rushing elsewhere, the fire breathing all but silent sparks up the flue.

"You may," a voice commanded gently from above.

Willie's torment became relief as he moved his head over to the exposed skin, so gently rubbing his forehead against it with great reverence. It was warm, but only just. The skin was pulled taught, and had a different smell than human skin, almost like almonds, perhaps as almond oil must smell, he thought. He tilted his head up and kissed the ankle with soft lips, brushing his lips, then kissing again. He brought his hand up and cupped the back of Barnabas' slipper with it, moving his lips to the top of the slippered foot, worshiping it at last with a restrained, yet fervent tenderness. Then he rested his forehead there, home at last, riding an inner storm as a current of bliss he felt rushing up his body and into Barnabas, then circling back into his own body, alive with warmth and feeling.

"I love you, Willie," Barnabas said quietly, his voice resonant and soft with feeling.

I love you, I love you... Willie thought inside, feeling the words that went with this moment. There is something unsaid, he thought, waiting for Barnabas to speak again.

"You will sleep with me tonight," Barnabas' soft voice of affection moved Willie more than any physical caress.

I love you, I love you... Willie still heard the words in his mind as a thrill went through him, an electric charge through his taut body. It had been weeks since Barnabas had taken Willie with him to his rest. Barnabas referred to his sleep as "tonight," but of course it was actually the day when he slept, going down to his coffin before the dawn.

Barnabas closed his book. "Come..." he commanded and Willie did his best to stand, somehow keeping his balance in his intoxicated state, his eyes slightly lowered. His hands... he thought, for he found his Master's hands to be exceptionally beautiful. Barnabas was a regal figure in his green silk brocade evening coat, with lace at his sleeves, and with a modern shirt and tie at his chest. Barnabas' other modernity was a short haircut, which Willie had learned to trim. Willie wondered how Barnabas would have looked with the longer tresses of his youth, the fashion of a different time.

Barnabas had set aside his book, and Willie glanced at the spent coals in the fire, then lifted a candelabra, holding it up, illuminating the old house as they walked to and ascended the stairs to Barnabas' dressing room. Barnabas moved slowly, with the courtly posture and serene steps of another age, and Willie was practiced at matching his certain step with the candlelight, not because Barnabas needed light for other than reading, but because he enjoyed this illumination of the once vibrant colors of the old house he knew so well. Willie was the one who depended on the candlelight in the old house, which was completely dark at night, except when moonlight caught at the windows.

Willie helped Barnabas remove his clothes, revealing his body of muscles and bones, with little fat, and with hip and shoulder bones, ribs and muscles pressed tight and emphasized under his smooth skin, his chest shining like alabaster in the candlelight. Willie held the silk evening coat as Barnabas slipped back into it, naked under it as he stepped back into his slippers. Willie tended carefully to Barnabas' clothes, carefully hanging and brushing them clean, storing them so there were no creases or wrinkles. He knew that behind him Barnabas was brushing his hair, and carefully inspecting his teeth, cleaning them with a specially prepared piece of wood that was soft like a brush at one end, ignoring an old toothbrush, and the modern toothbrush Willie had brought to him.

Barnabas was seated, adjusting his sleeves as Willie undressed, folding his clothes into a neat pile on the bed. He turned to Barnabas, who was watching him. How beautiful Barnabas was, with his shock of black hair shining and swept to one side, his pale features not classically beautiful, but entirely stunning as a very expressive and compelling form of character and drama. Barnabas stood, somewhat taller than Willie, possessed of a stance and gait of grace and elegance.

Willie slipped into the red silk robe Barnabas had given him, and together they descended, continuing to the back of the house, then down the long, slightly curving stairs to the heavy door below, which Willie unlocked and Barnabas easily pushed open, the perfectly silent door turning inward as Barnabas stepped gracefully down the single step, appearing to Willie to float into the dark cavern, the large room with his coffin in the center, the sounds of the storm now muffled, and with the familiar smells of moist earth and musty wood.

Barnabas' shadow danced wildly as the candle flickered in the exchange of air, then became long and steady as Willie pushed the door closed, putting the candle down, then locking the door with the hidden latch. Twice.... he thought, feeling the stillness of the locked room holding him, anticipating the double confinement of the coffin, which he feared, but also loved for Barnabas' sake. He was mentally readying himself for the hours of strange intimacy, with the strange sleep and stranger dreams that began as soon as the lid was closed against his world of light and day.

Sometimes Willie awoke before Barnabas in the last hours of day, and endured his prison by kissing Barnabas' cheek, touching his hair with his lips, feeling sometimes his sex pressed against him, waiting for his love to awaken and push back the lid, returning him, still human, to the new night.

Barnabas had raised the lid of his coffin and unceremoniously lifted himself into it, looking up at the inky shadows of the vaulted ceiling. He was thrilled. He could smell the change, this last hour before the inevitable dawn, when the earth withdrew into its silence, before the intrusion of the day. He knew his imminent rest to be ecstatic and as refreshing as a thousand casual nights of sleep from his years as a human.

"Come..." Barnabas said. Willie had slipped out of his robe, shivering now from the cold cellar air as well as the anticipation of confinement. He felt that he offered himself as he walked to Barnabas, as he gave all of his body to another, to the dark world of the one that he loved, the world that became this dark box at the end of his waking hours. Willie leaned over Barnabas' chest, and placed his hands next to Barnabas' face, lifting his eyes to Barnabas at last, wanting and needing for him to find the full measure of his love there, finding the intense feelings of tenderness in those brown eyes, deep as pools in the golden candlelight.

Willie had rested his upper arms and elbows on either side of Barnabas' arms, offering his body to him, and Barnabas pulled with the easy strength of his kind, gathering Willie up onto him, face down, then pulling him into place, their heads next to each other. Barnabas' breath smelled slightly chemical, like ether, Willie thought, or the strange memory of decaying chrysanthemums at Christmas. It always made Willie woozy and he was already half asleep as Barnabas arranged his young body over his own, somewhat around him, an intimacy enhanced by moving slightly against each other, finding the place of best rest.

Grasping the lid by the inner handle, Barnabas pulled the lid down upon them, exhaling long in Willie's ear, his vampire breath sending Willie much further along the continuum of sleep, a different form of sleep, one that never quite managed to rob him of his life, or impose the ever confined sleep of a hapless corpse, as it might his victims.

"Good sleep, my love," Barnabas whispered in the close darkness, smiling.

"Good sleep, Barnabas," Willie whispered to his lover, feeling his body almost melting into the strange creature that wore the body of a man, yet remained outside of time and the kiss of death.

 

PART TWO: Barnabas' little box

Barnabas knew his consciousness as a song, his mind singing the joy from the pleasures he took from every moment when he rested in the dark of his little box, as he called it. Willie still referred to it as his coffin, but Barnabas knew more of what it was and why. He loved the size and shape, the complete retreat from external sights and sounds it afforded him, resting his greatly heightened senses as a vampire. It held him, and this was key, for his complete rest would not come otherwise, and he would never deeply rest, which was not necessary, but he felt that it was to him, for it was of the better part of his life. Sleep was what he might do in his beloved box since he chose to take refuge there from the glaring, overwhelming intensity of the day. And so he slept.

Barnabas rubbed his face against Willie, who was mostly asleep, but who made a tiny sound like a sigh. Barnabas could not bring his hands to his own face in their double confinement, and he had drooled slightly from subconsciously baring his teeth. Stop that... he chastised himself, laughing. It was so satisfying and erotic to brush Willie's delicious human skin with his teeth. Willie sighed again, moving against him. This full body pressure combined with subtle movement heightened Barnabas' pleasure. His fierce thoughts had become sexual, and he arched against Willie, willing himself to physical ecstasy. Willie sometimes slept through this, but this time he awoke, whispering to Barnabas, lost in a sudden passion, calling him "lover," and "Master," moving against Barnabas as they pressed together with their hardness and need. Barnabas adjusted his hand, massaging Willie and himself with his flat hand pressed between them, matching Willie's passion with his own controlled ascent.

"Yess," Barnabas whispered at Willie's release, his breath like an explosion in their little space, Barnabas laughing and sighing and exclaiming through his own waves of released pleasure as Willie rocked upon him, his entire body dancing so tightly against Barnabas' own.

"Well done," Barnabas said at last, relishing the irony of using this modern phrase he had learned from Willie while they were tight together in a coffin. 

"What?" Willie asked, almost asleep again.

"Good sleep, my love," Barnabas said, his body still moving from wave after wave of deep pleasure filling his body. The waves of pleasure moving up through him, made of body, made of spirit, made of soul.

My little darkness... Barnabas gave himself to the tingle of pleasure on his scalp, in his fingertips, in his toes. This little box of darkness is my world, he thought, not needing anything else, not needing anything at all. He thought of himself as a little box of darkness, a container of all that was mystical and magical, made entirely of his knowing, with no substance whatsoever, the real world inside... surrounded by an outer appearance, a wonderful, grand illusion of play. It was his favorite mock complaint. None of this, nothing at all ever happens to me... he partook once again of the ironies of his existence, wondering at the intensity of his life made from his greatly prolonged dance with death.

Willie's breathing had long since settled back into the calm and even movements of sleep. His scent was greatly heightened by the warmth of their pleasure in such a small space, and it pleased Barnabas that Willie wore his pleasure, had taken his pleasure, and was taking his rest now, wearing Barnabas' pleasure as more drool upon his cheek.

"Good sleep, Willie..." he whispered, loving him.

 

PART THREE: The beast awakes

Willie awoke with his face against that of his beloved, a supine creature whose thick scent and intoxicating breath mingled fully with his own in the small space of a shared coffin. Willie had learned how to hold back his immediate terror upon awakening, remembering where he was, remembering who the creature was, so close in a close world devoid of light, a silence that amplified breath and heartbeat, remembering that he would soon be returned to his own world of light and sound when the creature pushed open the heavy cover at last.

How strange this strange mix of hardness and softness, the creature's body that formed his bed, a hardness with finely tailored clothing of flesh, or the flesh like the finest of bedding arranged over a mattress of stone. Willie himself was like bedding, soft upon his beloved's body. He smiled, for he enjoyed the thought of himself as a living blanket, thrilled to be an object possessed, a carefully arranged cover for his lover's comfort in a solitary darkness. He felt himself utterly relaxed and still, living only for this purpose, drunk from his master's breath and from the intoxication of stepping completely outside of himself in the service of what and whom he loved most.

Willie had already sensed a change in Barnabas' breathing and his own heart quickened. He knew that Barnabas had felt this change, which would cause him to further awake and seek its source. When Barnabas first awakened, he was sometimes a beast, which made Willie his prey. Barnabas could be brutal in his primal hunger. 

"Barnabas," Willie whispered, hoping to awaken him gently. 

Barnabas' body was becoming rigid, coiling upon itself, a preparation to strike.

"Barnabas, my love," Willie said, louder. It must be, he thought, preparing himself. He turned his head slightly away in the tight space, willing himself to offer his neck, to stay soft and relaxed there so the attack would not damage him unnecessarily.

Barnabas growled, then roared from his belly, a guttural vibration that came up from deep inside him as he threw open the coffin, twisting as he sat up and buried his teeth in Willie's neck in one motion, sucking fervently, holding Willie's head by his hair, clasping his body against him with an iron grasp.

Willie's reflexes ruled him, and he struggled pitifully, his unseeing eyes wild in the darkness as he forced back his fear, knowing, knowing that Barnabas would stop long before it was too late, that even now he knew him from his scent and the taste of his blood, the unique signature of his heartbeat, the complete willingness he now gave to Barnabas as love, his eyes closed and his body become profoundly relaxed with heat and pleasure, lost in the swoon that carried him to another world.

Barnabas was mewling and groaning and sighing with satisfaction as he relaxed, then opened his mouth slightly, freeing his teeth's grip from Willie's neck. His lips were still tight as he sucked only slightly to lessen the flow, finally licking with his tongue to help coagulate what remained, then sucking and licking the gore from Willie's neck and shoulder, swirling the exquisite taste of new blood on human skin around with his tongue.

At last Barnabas softened, rocking back slightly in his state of sated pleasure. He still held Willie tight against him, the same, but different: as his lover and his little joy, his most precious possession, smelling and caressing his hair, touching his eyelids in the darkness, enchanted by Willie's full and soft lips, playfully kissing some of Willie's blood there, so that Willie opened his eyes to him at last, a return from his reverie. And Barnabas was thrilled to see the love and devotion offered in Willie's gaze, for though Willie could see him not at all in the darkness, he knew that Barnabas could easily see him.

Barnabas lifted the slender man with great care, keeping him close as he slipped out from under him and down onto the floor, Willie curling towards him, his sleepy voice a complaint. Barnabas opened the door with the secret catch, then returned to caress and lift Willie tenderly, wrapping him in his red satin robe as he carried him slowly up the stairs to the lovely summer evening above.

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN: The lesson
"'Where can you go? I own you. I own the deepest parts of you.' Willie was ablaze with pleasure as Barnabas played with the architecture of his sexuality, the larger part of him since he was a teenager. How baffled he was then. It took years to find the answer to his strange desires. Not strange at all... just... unexpected."

 

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"I hold you with my restraints. I enter you with my whip, caress you with my words."

"Do you know where I am, Willie?" Barnabas stood over Willie, who was displayed for Barnabas' pleasure unclothed and face down on a red velvet tufted bench, a bit of erotic drama enjoyed by both lovers. Willie's wrists and ankles were held by glistening black leather restraints attached to the four legs of the bench.

"Yess...?" Willie was confused. Of course he knew where he was. Barnabas was above him, standing where Willie's head was turned towards him on the bench.

"Yes, who?"

"Yes, Barnabas Sir," Willie guessed. He never knew what Barnabas wanted to be called. It changed. He got punished a lot for this at times.

"So, you know where I am. Do I know where you are?"

"Yes, Sir." More confusion.

"We are both quite certain?"

"Yes, Sir."

"I think we'd better be by this point."

Willie was floating on endorphins, his back and rear red from the large flogger Barnabas was holding, made with long tails of heavy, silken leather that flew in a lovely, tight group. Barnabas draped the tails over Willie's feet, pulling upward against them sensuously several times before twirling the whip above Willie's feet, just catching the tails on his heels. Harder. The tips alone were a slight sting on his sensitive feet. Barnabas trailed the whip up the length of each leg, then twirled the whip above Willie's buttocks, the stingy tips just catching there. Barnabas trailed slowly all the way up to Willie's face, turned aside on the bench, caressing it with the tips of the whip, then whipping his face very gently. He stood beside Willie, rubbing the length of the whip in sensuous, circular movements on his back. He had taken Willie from intensity to sensitivity, communicating an opportunity to float on his sensations.

Barnabas stepped back, waiting.

Willie was relaxed, waiting. His body glowed and tingled with exquisite sensation. Was he alone? He thought perhaps Barnabas had left. Who knew when he would return [NOTE: Barnabas would never leave Willie unattended for long if he was seriously incapacitated. But it can be effective to play with this possibility mentally]. Willie tested the restraints once again, delighting in the deep feelings of freedom they gave him. He lifted his head slightly to increase his hearing. More waiting. Finally, he lifted his head, tilting it up. No Barnabas. Then he lifted his head and turned it the other way.

"Willie." Barnabas said.

"Yes, Barnabas Sir."

"Did I ask you to move your head?"

"No, Sir."

"Willie. Do I know what you are doing?"

"Yes, Sir." Willie squirmed. He squirmed from how unbearable it was to disappoint his Master. He squirmed because Barnabas required of him minute control over his body. It was Willie's inborn language of intimacy and connection, the source of some of his greatest pleasure.

"Is there any doubt?"

"None, Sir."

"Willie. I know what you are doing. But do I care what you are doing?" Barnabas' voice was exacting, forbidding. Clearly he was thinking of nothing except Willie.

"Most certainly, Sir." Ohhh... More pleasure. More squirming. 

"I do care. And it seems you are sure that I do. How do you know?"

"You tell me what to do, Sir."

"And...?"

"You notice when I do something you haven't told me to do."

Barnabas added: "And I notice if you don't do something I require."

"Yes, Sir."

"Well I'm glad we got that cleared up." Barnabas' voice was both congenial and sarcastic in a playful way that showcased his easy dominance, and Willie was flexing mightily with pleasure. It struck Barnabas quite funny at times to watch his submissive exploding and melting when what he was doing involved being himself. 

"Willie." The lesson continued. "Tell me. I know what you are doing, and I care what you are doing. But do I care what you are feeling?"

Willie was melting. 

"Willie. Do I care what you are feeling?" Barnabas repeated. He is melting now....

"Yes, Sir." Willie felt himself melting all over, it was all too much. He's talking about reaching me. It's who I am. I can never believe it is real until it happens. Every time.

"Good. Okay. We're almost there. I know what you are doing, and I care what you are doing. Check. I also care what you are feeling. But do I know what you are feeling?" 

"Yes, Sir." You know me so well...

"Are you sure? How do you know this about me—that I know what you are feeling?" 

Willie hesitated.

"Because I take away every other reason for how you feel. I am the reason. I play with your responses for my pleasure. You respond only, and fully, to me. Because you are my submissive. This makes you more valuable than gold. I would fight to the death to keep you." Only a slight exaggeration... 

Barnabas walked around Willie, repeatedly bumping the bench slightly, which caused the metal clasps on the leather restraints to jingle. The sound was like pure honey flowing. Willie reflexively pulled at the restraints, thrilling at their strength, their permanence, their realness. They were Barnabas holding him.

"Where can you go, slave? I own you. I own the deepest parts of you." Willie was ablaze with pleasure. Barnabas knew about the very architecture of his sexuality, the larger part of him since he was a teenager. How baffled he was then. It took years to find the answer to his strange desires. Not strange at all... just... unexpected.

Barnabas continued around him, forcefully testing the restraints, pulling at Willie with them. Willie moaned and sighed with deep pleasure again and again. "No getting away, here. No hiding." A cure for the modern malaise, Barnabas thought. "I won't let you escape. I won't let you hide from me." Willie was half gone with pleasure. All from words. The right words.

Barnabas reached under Willie, pinching his nipple lightly, then a little harder. Willie squirmed with pain, then pleasure. "I know you like this... enough to like this," he pinched harder. "I want this. I want what you cannot pretend to be. On my terms." 

And I can have it because of one thing: it is what you want as well. All of the pleasure, the fulfillment we have always known would await us opens up between us because we are made for each other. Because we speak the same language.

Barnabas had traded the flogger for a long crop. He pulled a chair over to Willie's legs and began to tap the soles of his feet. Very lightly at first. Willie became considerably more alert. Barnabas had his full attention.

"When I see you squirm because of me, I feel pleasure." He increased the bite of the whip slightly. Willie struggled not to move his feet. "When you arch and pull away from the whip, I am pleasured." A little harder. Willie could not control his need to pull away, pulling against his restraints. Foot play was intense. "I know your insides now. No pretending. No holding back. You are reacting to me. I claim your response. This is intimacy. This is closeness." Barnabas continued from one foot to the other. "Intensity is my tool, my tool of intimacy, no matter what tool I am holding."

I hold you with my restraints. I enter you with my whip, caress you with my words.

Barnabas stood and took Willie gently by his hair, enjoying his gasp of pleasure. "I am not just gripping your body. I am gripping you. I see you. I see your mind on you, and your mind is my playground, where I use what my actions mean to you, and how my voice and my words reach you."

Barnabas walked back to Willie's feet, the room now echoing with the firm slap of the crop, each slap followed by a gasp. Barnabas was carefully skirting just short of Willie's limit, where he could no longer process the pain to pleasure. Soon he would beg.

"Barnabas, my Barnabas.... please..." Willie's voice was pressured from his struggle to accept the pain, to find a way, to not lose his willingness to absorb the strong sensations. His voice had become like pure honey to Barnabas. It was fully authentic. He had reached Willie, the place that was undeniably real. Why did he need this? He was born that way. It was his mind's language of intimacy.

Barnabas stopped. He was breathing harder, standing over Willie, looking down at him with his head high, a dominant, a sadist thrilling at his work. He touched the marks on Willie's feet, so undeniable, so real. He felt a heat coming up his legs from someplace divine, the place where divine was stored.

"I am greedy, my Willie. I won't share you with anyone or anything, not even you." Barnabas was looking over his captive, his body, his surrender, the beautiful marks on his skin. His voice became light, more intimate. "You cannot get in the way of me, Willie. I will have you. I know your secret, that this is what you live for. I am the one who finally gets you out of the way of yourself, who makes you be who you are. And who you are lives for me." And I you...

Barnabas very gently pressed unexpectedly against the top of Willie's shoulder with his knee, reaching to him with just this small touch, watching Willie's reaction. Willie felt anew that he was bound. It became painful. He could not reach to Barnabas, could not kiss his leg. He opened his eyes, seeing him near, wanting again his Master's touch, wanting so much to please him, needing this desperately. 

Barnabas rested his leg against Willie's shoulder, pressing again. Again. As for me. It is intimate for me to do all of these intimate things to you. And to see you squirm, with pain, with pleasure, with need. Because of me, only me.

Barnabas turned, feeling his whole body made of love, and swung his leg over Willie, sitting on his shoulders, fully claiming him.

"Oh-oh-oh!" Willie called out with overwhelming pleasure. Barnabas had grasped all of him, inside and out. He had become Willie's very world, the full weight of him, crushing him, everywhere. It seemed that there was no place where Barnabas was not, except his face.

Barnabas brought his hands to Willie's face, one over his chin and mouth, the other over his eyes and forehead. Willie's cries of fiery pleasure were louder, but were muffled in a pleasing way for Barnabas, who would not allow them to escape his grasp.

Barnabas was on fire. He was reaching his peak. It was the most intense mental play that either of them had ever experienced. Barnabas was reaching and pleasuring new parts of Willie's mind with complete presence and dominance. It was a form of closeness that had no rival. A closeness that was giving Barnabas so much pleasure that his entire body felt like rippling fire [NOTE: This is often termed a "full body orgasm." It is a full on, all over physical ecstasy that is often shared, and can last for minutes or hours].

Barnabas moved downward, covering Willie's body with his own, his legs outside of Willie's and pushing inward, his arms wrapped tightly around Willie's shoulders, his face next to Willie's.

"Willie... Willie... Willie..." he said low at Willie's ear. "My Willie. Mine. Mine."

Willie was gone. He couldn't help it. He came, a mental orgasm that quickly conquered him physically as well, sweeping through his body in a fiery crush of sparkling embers of pleasure that he could see on his eyelids and which tingled mightily in his toes.

Barnabas was very pleased. "Willie!" he scolded him. "You dare!!"

He leaped off of Willie and began expertly swatting his rear with the crop.

"Come again, you slut!"

Willie ejaculated, the sensations of the crop going straight to his genitals. His mind had become completely still as his entire body radiated pleasure over and over, through him and on his skin. His ears, his tongue, his bellybutton. It was spectacular. And it lasted for a long time. He was somehow aware that Barnabas was sharing the same exquisite sensations.

Willie's mind became completely still. He felt more peace than he had ever felt. He bathed in the peace for a long while before he realized he didn't know where Barnabas was. He felt the sensation of Barnabas' hand moving softly on his legs, upward, trailing upward, downward, upward, rubbing his back, his shoulders lovingly, then removing the restraints from his wrists. Willie realized his feet were undone as well and curled around Barnabas as he sat next to him.

Barnabas pulled his head into his lap and rubbed his cheek, trailing his hair back over his ear again and again, creating a gentle and hypnotic "shushing" sound with each stroke of his hand over Willie's ear. Willie nestled into him further, receiving his perfect embrace, desiring nothing more as Barnabas caressed his face, trailing his hand over Willie's face and his ear over and over and over. 

I will always find you, my love. Barnabas thought. I know this is love to you.

It is love to me.

 

[NOTE: These gentle, loving sensations of bringing the submissive back from their journey is called "aftercare."]

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The reader may ponder: The people in my stories have all sorts of orgasms, mental, physical, genital and full body, at will and on command. The orgasms sometimes last a long time. It's true! I have experienced all of these sorts of orgasms, with the exception of male ejaculation, as I am female, (and yes, it is possible for men to experience orgasm separate from ejaculation). BDSM can be incendiary. It is incredibly intimate, and incorporates very advanced sexual techniques. I have over twenty years' experience as a submissive, and I have played with the best. Much of my experience, plus some of my favorite fantasies, are incorporated into this story. It is very pleasurable to write it all down. PS I am heterosexual and only play with men. Why I write male/male "slash" is another topic I hope to address, but not here.

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN: First
"Barnabas' thoughts returned to the tiny room, listening to the pops and crackling sounds of the fireplace behind him. He became aware that he was clutching his waist coat. He chided himself for being surprised at how powerful these memories were. He stood and turned his chair to the fire, the intense warmth and glow of the coals soothing him. I am still human, he thought. That boy was me." 

 

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You touch me
I hear the sound of mandolins
You kiss me
With your kiss my life begins
You're spring to me
All things to me
Don't you know you're life itself

― Wild is the Wind, David Bowie

Barnabas was watching Willie sleep. The fire was low and Barnabas could almost see his own breath in the cold room. Willie slept beneath a pile of quilts and blankets, so that he seemed very slight under so much padding. His face looked like that of a doll slipped under the top blanket, turned towards Barnabas, the golden light of the fire dancing low around him, Barnabas' dark shadow covering him, holding him.

Barnabas thought of so many years ago, trying to remember who had lived in this room. It was over 200 years ago, and he was the son and heir of a successful and privileged merchant and property owner, and there were always several servants living in the house. Barnabas had hardly noticed them then, and could not remember them now.

His thoughts turned to the visit of relatives from abroad, a distant aunt and uncle who with his favorite cousins had come to live at Collinwood for the season that year, enlivening the rooms and halls with their spirited joi de vivre, pleasantly shaking up the reserved style of living of his own family. No doubt whomever lived in this room then had waited on them, perhaps collecting some of their secrets.

Barnabas was smiling as he recalled the visitors. He had looked forward to seeing his cousins again. They were sixteen then, a year ahead of him, a brother and sister who had always captivated him from a very young age. They brought with them chaste lessons in loving, Barnabas taking their kisses apart and together, alternating between them with the deep longings of love blossoming in him, wanting only to know them in some way not quite within reach or fully understood.

Clothes from France had arrived, and the discovery and modeling of the latest styles brought much fun and pleasure. The most elegant had been ordered for planned events and were promptly stored, but some interim clothes were donned for private parties for the two families, including elegant practice dinners in the formal dining room, and the rehearsal of continental customs, such as the gentlemen "going through" to the study for scotch or port and cigars after dinner, and the ladies continuing to the drawing room to drink sherry and pretend to gossip, which of course meant they were taking the opportunity to talk freely about the men. 

Barnabas had gone to the piano when the men returned, and the cousins knew some of the same songs, with a raucous round of only momentarily risque verses eliciting much laughter and applause. He changed to his favorite Chopin, and then another, and the magical evening lingered, the French doors open to the uncharacteristically warm Indian summer night, blissful after an early cold snap had killed all the mosquitos.

As if on cue, the adults arose to "go up," and made their goodnights, nodding and smiling together, seeming to agree that the younger people needed to enjoy the night alone, making fond memories for later, when they were successfully married off, and their lives became much different.

Was I ever that young? Barnabas' thoughts returned to the tiny room, listening to the pops and crackling sounds of the fireplace behind him. I was much younger than Willie is now, he thought, gazing on his youthful face in slumber. He became aware that he was tracing at his waist coat, and chided himself for always being somehow unprepared for how powerful these memories were. He stood and turned his chair to the fire, the warmth and glow of the coals soothing him. I am still human, he thought. That boy is forever me. 

He gazed into the fire and remembered. His cousins had led him out to sit with them on the back colonnade, where he and Willie often sat now, the light from the drawing room fire dancing on their quick faces, golden and silhouetted by the dark beyond, laughing and sharing a pilfered cigar, which made all three of them sick and deeply intoxicated. They dug a grave for the hated cigar, then found themselves sitting together, quietly looking at their shoes as their shoulders became the givers and receivers of a silent language. Barnabas was sitting in the middle, and had to repeatedly push away thoughts of how scandalized his parents would be by the three of them sharing a tingling intimacy as he turned to George, and then to Estelle, their kisses advancing to pressing interactions of their tongues and the tilt of their heads that seemed to Barnabas to be expressions of love invented out of an unexpected intensity of desire.

Barnabas realized that Estelle had sat back from him. He had turned to look at her, and in that moment he saw in her knowing smile that she was much more advanced than he was at what was happening. She tilted her head, seeming to agree with George via her gaze. Barnabas looked back at George and saw the same maturity in his gaze, realizing that he had been projecting his own innocence onto them, and that they were only now communicating their maturity to him.

"Do you desire George?" Estelle asked behind him. "Because George desires you, Barnabas." Barnabas was completely captivated by the glow of desire he found in George's eyes, a desire also fully blossoming in him as George looked at his lips, as he slowly, slowly brought his lips to his. His kiss was gentle, very animated, communicating layers of meaning and desire. Barnabas felt that he had only now discovered what life was about. All that he thought was real or important seemed to be carried away like so much smoke on the breeze from an unseen door, suddenly opened to a vista of the greater world around him.

George took Barnabas' hand and stood, helping him up. Barnabas realized that Estelle was gone, and he was alone with George. "Barnabas," George said, pulling gently at Barnabas' hand. As Barnabas began to follow him, George turned, his arm trailing behind him with Barnabas softly in tow, leading him through the drawing room, out along the hall barely lit by the last of the dripping candles. He took one of the candles from a wall sconce, leading Barnabas up the silent stairs to his room, then carefully opened the door, pulling Barnabas in, looking up and down the hall before closing the door very quietly. 

George took the candle to the little table next to the bed, throwing dramatic sideways shadows upon his face as he turned back to Barnabas. "Shhh." George said with his finger at his lips. Barnabas did not know what was next, but he did know he desired it and chose it freely. George came very close to Barnabas, looking into his eyes. Barnabas was thrilled by George's touch, his hand on Barnabas through his pants. Barnabas had sometimes touched himself there, but this was a revelation in many ways overlapping between heaven and torment. George immediately took his hand away from Barnabas, communicating with his eyes a rest from stimulation and thus from release. Barnabas understood.

Barnabas eagerly felt about with his hand, finding George, thrilling at his fullness. George made a "shhhh" sound again, pulling Barnabas' hand away. He pulled Barnabas towards the bed, laying him across it, his feet on the floor, then eagerly undid Barnabas' pants and pulled them down somewhat, exposing him, his eyes wide with pleasure. Barnabas felt that he had never been naked before this moment, and was thrilled by this exposure. George was laying next to him, looking there as he took Barnabas carefully in his hand, looking eye to eye at Barnabas again as he was very purposeful about not making pressure or movement. Barnabas understood him, to wait for his release.

George made careful motions that were exquisite, but not overwhelmingly so. His eyes were sparkling and heavy lidded with pleasure and desire as he held Barnabas' eyes with his own. Again he stopped. He held Barnabas' eyes as he brought his mouth down to his sex, barely slipping his lips over him while holding him lightly with his unmoving hand.

Barnabas felt a world made of pleasure had opened to him, with esoteric knowledge he had guessed at, but hadn't found a place for in his small world. This new world of sensation was alive and surging as heat throughout his body as George began to move his lips on him, so slowly taking all of him into his mouth, then pleasuring him with long motions that were tight and with a light suction.

George set a rhythm, and increased the pressure and movement. Long minutes seemed hours for Barnabas as he was drifting on the intense pleasure, sinking into the heart of it, the center place from which all would surge outward. George had carried him there, and now held him at the place of something that seemed only slightly akin to what he had experienced before as release. He felt challenged by this intensity, for this impending release seemed to be advancing in increments to a requirement that was bigger than all of him.

He felt George's rhythm changing, urging him, and immediately it began, like many waterfalls of hot release crashing through him, releasing every part of him, finding places he was newly aware of. George had his hand over Barnabas' mouth and carefully removed his own mouth from Barnabas at the right moment, when it felt that the pleasure would turn to discomfort. Barnabas realized George had grasped himself, and was near to his own release, falling onto Barnabas, dancing on him with his close moans and hard breaths made into the space of soft fabrics between Barnabas' chest and his arm.

When Barnabas could think again, his life had started over. He knew only that he was laying on George's bed, that George had gathered himself against his body, tracing upon him with gentle caresses of his hand, and that he was new in an old house, where nothing would ever be the same again.

Nothing was the same, Barnabas thought. He felt his body tightening slightly with these memories and smiled, pushing his legs out, stretching before the fire. He was warm from his long moments of remembering, and he stood, pressing again at his waistcoat, feeling his watch there, near to his heart. He seldom removed it anymore, except when dressing or undressing. Simply pressing on it was his ritual of remembrance.

Barnabas turned to the bed, looking down on Willie with great happiness. Willie was here, now. If he didn't know anything else, he knew this well. He reached into the little pocket at last and pulled out his timepiece, opening it with a tender click, looking after so many hundreds of times at the inscription. "To Barnabas from George, your first and best friend, with love." Barnabas always smiled. Of course, George had added the word "friend" to disguise the reference to his act as his first lover.

Barnabas pushed the secret catch and nudged the timepiece up, the little portrait faded, but still intact. "Still my first," Barnabas said quietly to the night. "The years fade, my love. They cannot come between us."

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: One
"How Barnabas looked forward to that day, that night, when he would make his beloved. When he would open himself to him, and bid him drink. He imagined watching Willie's body remade, his character reshaped with each following day, his mind becoming so strong and wise with a nascent rise of dark knowledge that he would hunger for, as he would begin to hunger for blood." 

 

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"The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust." ―Rainer Maria Rilke

Barnabas was flying. He was running with his vampire strength, emerging from the forest at the base of the cliffs above Collinwood. His home was still covered by the woods behind him until he had climbed some distance upon the scree and over the chunks of old and crumbling rock. I am not old. The earth is old. He stopped and turned to her, with white and graceful columns that stirred his heart, the grand house of his youth, just visible now above the trees on the little rise that held her up to him. He listened, for she was whispering to him, here... here... you were then, and you are now, here...

Barnabas continued to the tops of the cliffs, standing with the wind from the sea strong with salt pouring up and over him as though to remind him that he was a creature standing alone and above all most powerful, the descendent of an unbroken lineage of dark royalty. We followed you... he looked towards the intrepid humans somewhere down below. You who were new to this newest of lands. We watched your longing to find and conquer, we sailed on your ambition, reaching with you to these sudden shores, your longing met at last, needing your need to leave what was old, and start again.

Barnabas felt his many years reconciled from this vantage. Here he gained a perspective on his little life in a small part of a much larger world, measuring change in himself by memory of other such ascents. The view itself was never a surprise. He had climbed these cliffs as a boy, and the view had not changed all these years later. This continuity was pleasing to him. He didn't know or wonder about other places. Perhaps it was because his kin—human and not—had traveled far enough, both having chosen the company of those who stayed, settling with those who settled and built at the edge of a great continent, letting others go on.

Barnabas had not gone on. He had not roamed at all. He had found a way to stay in the home of his youth. A way to keep his coffin there, undiscovered, to keep the acquaintance and cover of relatives, and a knowing and loyal servant as his lover. It was a small life, and it was a good life. He always chose it again when he came up to this vantage. Returning again to his chosen life was good, as well.

He would face it then, for he would not think on it now. With three generations around him, he had begun to stand out as someone who did not age, who was not followed by death. Each time he had fabricated an elegant solution. He would do so again.

Barnabas found himself then reflecting on his life with Willie. He found again in his heart the strong desire to keep him. His commitment to this was both tested and sound, for he knew Willie was not yet ready, but felt that he could be ready, and had decided on a measured sequence of little victories that would get him to the greater prize. Willie had made it through watching Barnabas eat a human. He was challenged, and he had risen to the challenge. Soon he would meet new challenges.

How Barnabas looked forward to that day, that night, when he would make his beloved. When he would open himself to him, and bid him drink. He imagined watching Willie's body remade, his character reshaped with each following day of night, his mind becoming strong and wise with a nascent rise of dark knowledge that he would hunger for, as he would begin to hunger for blood.

He would change. He would be a different Willie. But he felt sure their love would remain. He was sure.

 

When Barnabas returned to the house, he found his Willie longing for him in the study, the candles lit and his eyes lingering on his open journal as he cleaned Barnabas' desk. Barnabas thought of Willie's journal, which he had touched, but never opened. He watched Willie with some fascination, standing at the French doors as he smoked, carefully keeping the glow of the cigarette out of sight as Willie moved about, then worked with his back to him, cleaning the fireplace with a remarkably thorough efficiency. Willie then carefully arranged enough wood to last the night, lighting the fire and tending to it until it was more than satisfactory. 

Barnabas stepped back for a moment as Willie moved about, cleaning some wax under some of the candles, then stopping to put away and rearrange some of the newer books on the shelves, clearly wielding an opinion as to which books went where.

Barnabas was relaxed, leaning against the outer door jam as Willie hesitated, then set his cleaning cloth aside. He reached for a particular book, with a newer binding, opening it to a page with a bookmark. Barnabas watched as Willie read for a long minute, followed by a moment of reflection, standing with his attention distant upon paths unseen. Barnabas was intensely curious, noticing the gentle affection with which he held the book, and that he did not turn the page. Willie picked up his bit of cloth, cleaning the book before putting it back on the shelf with care. He turned, looking around at the room, smiling with satisfaction before he left.

Barnabas opened the door quietly and went to the book, opening it as though to open the heart of his lover, lifting the bookmark, a piece of folded silk edged with delicate ribbon, the edges of the page worn and slightly smudged. He settled into Willie's place between pages now golden and warm under words from another generation of lovers, where he found a timeless confession of shared destiny, a final discard of waning ambivalence. For Barnabas felt sure that of the two poems marked, Willie held dear the one on the facing page.

 

Love Song - Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.

 

Barnabas was still, pressed by the muse against the bookcase as he read again. Pushing the open book flat against him, he covered his heart with the words of someone dead, made alive by the eyes of his lover. 

Willie will be the greater of us, he thought. But he does not know. Only I know, until he is made. 

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: A party
There was a moment of inner family intimacy in the festivities, and Barnabas sat back a little, turning his eyes to Willie, changed by what he saw there, knowing himself in the eyes of someone who knew him and held him close. A veil dropped away from him as he turned back to his relatives with a new and quiet warmth, so that they each stopped and looked at him, transfixed.

 

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"The finest silver needle, should never come between." ~ Gillian Welch

Willie was dressed for company, sitting with Barnabas in the front drawing room. It was cousin Carolyn's birthday, and Barnabas had insisted on hosting the family for a little celebration. The welcome guests were to arrive soon, and Willie had filled the room with tall candles and the fireplace with a gentle fire of perfect warmth. He had refreshed the metal scroll basket near the fire with a favored blend of dried leaves and spices, and arranged garlands of evergreens around the clock on the mantle. He added nearby a short vase of the last fall offerings from the wild rose, letting some petals fall to the table in a random pattern of elegance.

The festivities would include Collins heiress Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, her brother Roger Collins, and Elizabeth's daughter Carolyn Stoddard. The trio arrived with immediate enthusiasm about the state of restorations to the house, so elegant in the candlelight, Willie taking their coats and wraps and announcing them as though Barnabas hadn't already reached them in the entryway from the drawing room around the corner.

"Come in, dear family," Barnabas said with cordial formality, walking about with them as they admired the Victorian style wallpapers and wood wall coverings. He showed them each to an elegant chair drawn together in a loose semicircle, with room for the animated discussion sure to follow after a few drinks amongst the close knit Collins clan. There followed minutes of continued admiration for Willie's work, including delight when it was discovered that he had recovered the chairs as they sank into the beautiful jacquard silks.

Willie was glowing as he stepped to the sideboard to pour drinks, Roger and Willie electing for the usual port with Barnabas pretending to join them, the ladies accepting an immediate refill after exclaiming over the delicateness of the sherry. There followed at last some storytelling about Carolyn's younger years, and soon everyone was enjoying stories at everyone else's expense, occasionally mediated by a saving explanation from a courtly and chivalrous Barnabas.

Barnabas had nodded at Willie, who settled into his chair near the sideboard, opposite to Barnabas. His presence was required at moments of attending to the drinks, but he mostly sat in happy silence. Soon everything in the room had a distance, except for the space between him and his Barnabas. He watched his posture, his mannerisms, his comfort and discomfort, his gladness and a passing veil of sadness visible only to Willie. There were things said and unsaid, and he found that he could guess what they were. He wanted to hold Barnabas as he spoke, breathing with his breaths under the words and over the moments of no words. Give me your heart unsettled, and I will work these things, he thought. I know what would bring them together. I know. I am your lover. 

Willie asked himself if Barnabas fully understood the alchemy of love. He wondered if he knew that Willie returned as much or more of what their love demanded. He was surprised to find himself questioning in this way, but his gaze was only for Barnabas as he laughed with and chided and deceived his relatives. Willie knew that he loved them. He could see Barnabas' heart open to them. He could see how he accepted their love for him with a boyish delight. But the sadness... It was there in his eyes, in the very slight, inward curve of Barnabas' chest. Willie knew the price this love would exact as the years met with their certainty.

Willie felt himself slipping outside of his usual role as Barnabas' servant. The other Collins saw him as more than that, and spoke to him in turn, so that he saw himself as more, a person of more complexity than he knew. There was a moment of quiet inner family intimacy, and Barnabas sat back a little, turning his eyes to Willie, changed by what he saw there, knowing himself in the eyes of someone who knew him and held him close. A veil dropped away from him as he turned back to his relatives with a new and quiet warmth, so that they each stopped and looked at him, transfixed.

"Cousin Barnabas," Carolyn observed. "You are glowing! I swear you become younger with each passing year."

"You keep me young, dearest Carolyn," Barnabas pretended to tease. But he did not deflect the group focus from him. "I love you each," he said with feeling. "I carry each of you forever in my heart."

This means more to him than they could know, Willie thought.

There was a long moment of a quiet intake of breath after Barnabas' proclamation of love, followed by a warm round of acceptance and promises of the same before someone else took the focus. Barnabas looked back at Willie with the sadness and happiness that he knew Willie partook of with him. For they were lovers.

You are my story. When you are near. If you were far. You are. Both lovers held each other so with their eyes.

Barnabas noted that observant Carolyn had followed his eyes to where they had lingered momentarily upon Willie's gaze. She was intrigued by the vanishing look on Willie's face as she turned her eyes back to Barnabas, now silently holding hers as she smiled with a discerning and somewhat worldly look. She thought she had discovered the source of Barnabas' twinge of loneliness under his confession of love. "A special place in our family," her voice the fluid, steady course of youth, rose just above the upper limit which ladies of her elevated station no longer observed. "Our beloved Barnabas, and his faithful servant Loomis." 

"To Barnabas. To Loomis," they all toasted happily just beyond their upper class reserve. Then someone added, "to The Old House," to which Barnabas toasted "to the real Collinwood" over the others' toasts. They were all ready for his usual teasing about deserting the real house for its imitation.

These moments will be remembered for a lifetime of years... and more, Willie thought with his own love and warmth for the blood and clan of his beloved.

Soon the trio was refusing Barnabas' offer to have Willie accompany them, and rose when there was a quiet knock which turned out to be a gruff servant holding a brilliant lantern come to light their way down to the carriage path.

"Your secret is safe," Carolyn whispered to Barnabas as she stopped him a little away from the others and kissed his cheek.

"And I will keep all of yours," Barnabas whispered back, delighting her with the thought of having any momentous secrets worthy of being held in trust by such an intriguing person.

"I am lucky both ways!" She said louder, the others still taking the assistance of Willie to slide into their coats.

Hugs and kisses with Barnabas were complete and bundled up relatives were exclaiming in the cold. Soon they were waving to Barnabas at the door, then bidding Willie goodnight by the colonnade steps where he held a blazing candelabra, satisfied that they were being led down to the jarringly modern, warm and lightly chugging car by a competent servant.

 

"Carolyn has guessed we are lovers," Barnabas' voice was rich with intrigue after he closed the door, helping Willie blow out most of the candles and arrange their chairs in their usual place near the fire, turning them close together to face the hypnotic flames.

"She is younger, it is more acceptable," Willie observed.

"She delights in our secret," Barnabas said with his own delight. He looked at Willie anew, finding him outside of his usual submission, fascinated by his words and demeanor.

"There is another secret," Willie observed.

"Yes. Yes there is," Barnabas agreed. "We share a mighty secret."

"No one will ever believe that secret," Willie said.

"Hopefully that certainty will never be tested."

There was a long moment of looking into the fire.

"Willie..." Barnabas reached to Willie, taking his hand, bringing it to his lips. Willie returned his gaze, searching for Barnabas' heart there, the deep pool of passions and dazzling emotions that a creature of Barnabas' power and years could stir and bring to the surface.

"You have loved another Collins," Willie's voice was gentle, finding a moment to reveal his guess as to a deep source of Barnabas' emotional complexity.

"I have," Barnabas said as though he was leaning against a long shut door, forever gazing beyond a guarded memory. Willie noticed again how Barnabas' hand sometimes came to rest at his waistcoat pocket, over his pocket watch.

Both were silent. Willie did not ask, and Barnabas did not offer. Barnabas would not allow a sadness, and for this, Willie was sad.

 

Willie had bent to bank the fire for the night. He felt Barnabas' hand on his back and stood, turning to face him.

"You are more than my servant this evening," Barnabas observed as he looked upward, touching Willie's hair, looking down at Willie's lips, then into his eyes. "I will give you power over me, if you desire it."

Willie was surprised, and found that he was also pleased.

"How will you serve me?" Willie asked.

Barnabas stood with his arms and hands relaxed at his sides. Willie felt Barnabas physically offering himself to him. He found that he wanted him this way, Barnabas under him, Barnabas taken by him.

"Will you take the whip?" Willie asked.

"I will," Barnabas answered, his eyes sparkling with excitement.

"Will you be restrained?"

"I will."

"Will you lower your eyes?"

"No."

"Will you follow me?"

"No."

"Will you serve me?"

"I will."

Willie stood looking at Barnabas, the two men taking the measure of each other's gaze, smiling, understanding each other anew.

How shall I begin? Willie thought, feeling what it was like to choose the beginning.

Willie turned to grasp and lift one of the candelabra, walking with a casual step away from Barnabas, down the hall towards the gallery.

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN: Tell me
Willie created a little world between them, their heads together, their breath a mingled sound of mutual pleasure. "Tell me you love this," Willie said at Barnabas' ear. "I know you do. Tell me."

 

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Willie entered the gallery holding a living circle of light from his candelabra, looking up at the portraits, looking down at him. He stopped at the great fireplace next to the entrance to the room, building a large fire with practiced efficiency. Soon the flames were dancing dramatically, pushing back the chill of the room. 

Willie did not expect, and had not heard a step behind him. He will approach when it is clear he has not followed me, he had decided. His own footsteps echoed as he approached the center of the long gallery room, bringing two of the standing candelabra back to the area near the fire, sharing his candles' fire with them, creating an intimate arena of golden light.

Willie settled into Barnabas' chair in front of the fireplace, the light from the fire dancing, as his heart was, as he waited, curious and excited. How would Barnabas offer himself to him? Surely that is what he meant to do, after he made Willie wait. He had said he would give Willie power over him. Soon he would find out what that meant.

Barnabas appeared at last. He wore his clothes from another time, his gentleman's trousers with his loose inner shirt of fine muslin untucked. He was barefoot, walking with quiet assurance across the rectangle of thick carpet in front of the fireplace, and Willie found this exciting, communicating to him a vulnerability and real presence. His bared feet also changed the way Barnabas walked, appearing to Willie as a readiness to shed the role of dominance. So much subtlety to our intimacy in one detail, Willie thought.

Barnabas walked to Willie, standing before him, his body framed by the golden firelight behind him. He slipped the chain with his keys over his head, making a formal show of handing them to Willie, his smiling eyes dark with intention and innuendo. He offers me access to his tools, Willie thought, answering with a little bow of his head, his excitement growing. He means to submit completely. Willie slipped the chain around his own neck. Barnabas stood looking at him with a casual alertness that was pleasing to Willie.

He is ready. But is he really willing? Willie thought. I don't think he will easily submit, the way I do. 

"Remove your clothes," Willie tested him, directing him casually without standing up. Barnabas did not move. It could all end here, Willie thought, smiling. 

"Clothes," he said.

"I will remove my clothes if you give me sufficient pleasure," Barnabas offered with a tone of easy superiority.

"You will make an exchange," Willie observed, holding Barnabas' gaze.

"Yes."

Barnabas stood without moving as Willie rose and walked around him, admiring Barnabas' body as he slid his hand over the thin layers of clothing over his chest, waist, sex and buttocks, feeling how Barnabas moved from this pleasure. How exciting to be able to touch him freely, wherever, and in whatever manner he pleased. 

He stopped behind Barnabas, letting him feel some vulnerability. Willie knew that breath and bite were highly erotic for Barnabas as a vampire. How delicious it was to slip his hands under Barnabas' shirt, flat on his belly, pulling his body tight against his own. In the quiet room, Barnabas' exhale a confession, Willie's inhale a promise as he brought his lips and his teasing breath near to Barnabas' ears, feeling Barnabas' stomach muscles moving with pleasure.

He brought a hand to Barnabas shoulder, sliding the fabric aside, kissing and breathing there. He could not reach the neck of the taller man, but pulled Barnabas' head aside as he rested his teeth on Barnabas' shoulder. He bit firmly then, without breaking the skin, shaking Barnabas slightly with a firm grip of his teeth, and Barnabas exhaled sharply, his body an almost hidden swoon. 

Barnabas straightened, then reached to pull his shirt over his head, letting it slip down between them, undoing and dropping his pants. Willie was overcome by a rush of arousal. He had caused his lover to suddenly undress, something that was not usually his privilege as a submissive. For a moment he wondered if the Collins ancestors in the portraits above him were also witness to the source of his astonished pleasure.

"I allowed you to do that," Barnabas observed with the haughtiness of someone much stronger than humans, speaking to Willie behind him. "But it was pleasurable." Willie was reminded that Barnabas as a vampire felt a measure of superiority over all humans, which included Willie, even if he didn't fully show it. I will try to challenge that, he thought, at least for one night.

Willie set about caressing and playing with Barnabas' naked body, looking into Barnabas' eyes as he swept his hands through his hair, teasing and playing at his nipples and in the fur under Barnabas' erect sex before grasping him there while feeling Barnabas' buttocks, pressing into the firm and rounded flesh with a strong grip, breathing again at Barnabas' ear with a playful "haaah..." Barnabas was enjoying being the object of Willie's play, enjoying Willie's playfulness.

Willie stepped back, assuring himself that Barnabas was really going to remain until told otherwise. He turned and walked casually towards the familiar large velvet bench nearby, silently grinning with a broad and hidden glee. He is waiting for me...! He pulled the bench next to Barnabas, between the two banks of candles. Then he took a candle and walked down to the middle of the room, going to and unlocking both of Barnabas' cabinets. He opened the larger cabinet, finding and removing the nested leather restraints with nickel plated keepers, the jingling sound a familiar harbinger of pleasure and pain. 

He returned to Barnabas, who was standing where he had left him, so pleasingly near to the bench. Willie stood in front of him, holding the lightly jingling restraints at his side. They stood eye to eye, both men smiling a little more each time Willie purposefully jingled the restraints. 

"Face down," Willie spoke at last, his voice confident and commanding.

Barnabas did not respond. The lovers looked at each other, seeing what was familiar, what was new in each other. Barnabas was smiling. Willie could see the pleasure in his gaze.

"I see your pleasure," Willie said. He saw Barnabas' sexual fire coming into his eyes, a fire that had begun to melt the practiced composure of his dominance.

Willie began to walk around him, touching him lightly with the leather restraints, making them jingle, holding them against him, admiring the lustrous black leather against his white skin, touching his sex with them, continuing to touch him lightly with the familiar leathers. 

He found and held Barnabas' gaze again, his eyes a dark promise then as he pushed so very lightly with the restraints on Barnabas' stomach, causing him to sit down. Willie felt a triumph as he stood over his naked lover, a vampire, sitting on the favored bench. He stepped back to admire his Barnabas sitting perfectly straight, finding in his eyes the arrogance and fire of someone who chose to remain sitting, but had no intention of lying down. 

"Face down," Willie said again with fierceness, with fire, using the words as pleasure to one who needed to let go. Barnabas did not move, but Willie could see in Barnabas' eyes and from the small changes in his body that he was excited by the command, by being commanded. It is bringing him pleasure to submit, Willie decided with delight. But it is also bringing him pleasure to refuse.

"Face down," Willie said again, watching the subtle changes in Barnabas' body. That is how I look to him when I think he cannot see my arousal.

What will make him willing to obey?  Willie thought of a display of dominance Barnabas might use in this situation, perhaps when Willie needed the arousal that came with being ordered to obey.

Willie placed the restraints on the bench with a loud jingle. He stood close against Barnabas, pushing against him. Barnabas held his sitting position without moving, his body and head tight against Willie's advance. Willie bent down to him, suddenly grasping Barnabas by his hair, pulling his head tight against Willie's leg. "Barnabas Collins..." he growled. "Now."

Willie could just see Barnabas' eyes shoot sideways with pleasure and surprise. Barnabas moved slightly, as though to test his own willingness. He still needs me to force him, Willie decided, trying to picture a communication of force that would work on an itinerant vampire. Willie tried his full weight against him, pushing him onto his side. Barnabas resisted, but then allowed himself to be pushed over, slowly, his eyes closing, his body arching subtly with pleasure as he gave in. 

Willie crouched over him, covering him. He could feel Barnabas' body relaxing under him as he gave up control. He still tensed as though to throw Willie off, but then he relaxed again and again, melting into his pleasure. 

Willie had created a little world between them, their heads together, their breath a mingled sound of mutual pleasure. "Tell me you love this," Willie prompted gently at Barnabas' ear. "I know you do. Tell me."

Barnabas' had stopped hiding his passion, had begun communicating his pleasure with his breathing.

"Tell me. I love this," Willie repeated, waiting. Then at last. 

"I do," he confessed. Willie could feel Barnabas' breath pulling and pushing at the center of his body, sounding his arousal. 

"I do what...?" Willie said gently.

"I love this." Barnabas relented, conveying his ecstasy with a velvet voice of deep arousal. 

"Haaaaa...." Willie breathed at Barnabas' ear, so erotic to his lover.

"Haaaaa...." Barnabas' breathed on Willie, feeling Willie's body relaxing into the intoxication of his vampire breath.

"Submit, my love," Willie whispered. 

Barnabas turned onto his stomach.

Willie was moved by Barnabas' surrender to him. He pulled Barnabas' black hair back and kissed his face tenderly, then again. He moved so he was laying on Barnabas, his feet just tapping the restraints still waiting near the bottom of the bench, causing them to jingle. He put his hands on Barnabas' face, gently pressing with deep affection.

"My Barnabas. Mine..." Willie said. The lovers were thinking of the recent night when they lay on the bench together, when Barnabas had been on top. "My Barnabas," Willie repeated with great affection. "Mine."

"My Willie...." Barnabas answered, reaching to Willie with his voice. His voice in his vulnerability was boyish, and Willie was enchanted, feeling a rare delight and tenderness in this. He whispered at Barnabas' ear, "There is still a boy in you, my love." 

Willie could feel Barnabas letting go, relaxing his whole body. The lovers were becoming something new to each other. It was as though they were beginning again.

Willie sat up. Barnabas stayed down. Willie stood, looking down at Barnabas submitting to him, awaiting his pleasure.

"I allowed you to do that," Barnabas said so softly, his pleasure and desire riding on his playful words and husky voice. 

"Yes, you did," Willie said. "You allowed me. You."

  

CHAPTER TWENTY: Ask me
Willie had picked up the nested restraints from the foot of the bench before walking around, continuing up and around to where he began, at Barnabas' side. He leaned forward and placed the restraints in the middle of Barnabas' back, making him hold them in this way before wearing them.

 

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"Wherever I walk I am walking around you,
everything I say is in praise of you,
everything I do is to honor you."
~ Sri Adi Shankaracharya

 

Willie was standing in the gallery next to his Barnabas unclothed and face down on the favored velvet tufted bench, long and wide enough to hold him comfortably. The light from the candles and the fireplace played on his skin, and Willie was picturing how he would look restrained, with his body held where Willie wanted it. He touched Barnabas, walking around him, trailing his fingers on his arm, shoulders and back, from the small of his back and over his buttocks, the backs of his legs and his feet, causing them to move about. He could feel Barnabas shuddering from his touches, and imagined how sensitive his skin was becoming from this loving foreplay.

Willie had picked up the restraints from the foot of the bench before walking up and around, back to where he began, at Barnabas' side. The four restraints were stored nested, each one curled inside another, so they were easy to pick up with one hand. Willie placed the restraints in the middle of Barnabas' back, making him hold them in this way before wearing them.

The jingle of the metal clasps was followed by a stark silence. Barnabas moved a little, and the jingle returned. Then it was silent again. 

There was a long moment in which the absence of the jingling sound had become an auditory restraint, symbolic of Barnabas' chosen submission as he lay without moving. The restraints were holding Barnabas without him wearing them. It was serendipity. It was delicious. Willie wondered how long Barnabas would submit in this way. Willie stood next to Barnabas, over him, letting him feel that he was held down by his chosen submission, by the restraints unclasped and ready. When Barnabas moved, there was a jingle, then silence. Barnabas remained in his position of submission, face down on the bench. 

Willie felt a rush of heat and pleasure from Barnabas' submission. For the first time, he fully understood how exciting his submission was to Barnabas. Willie had understood that Barnabas enjoyed causing and directing Willie's behavior. Requiring him to be disrobed and displayed for his pleasure. The giving of pain. The denial of freedom. The shaping of Willie's need to please and respond. These were all things that Barnabas enjoyed. But now Willie understood something else. Barnabas simply and greatly enjoyed every moment that Willie chose to submit to him. Over and over Willie willingly responded as required no matter how he was challenged or tested. Every time he was required, and greatly challenged, and chose to submit, he gave Barnabas great pleasure. It was exciting. It was beyond exciting. It was a dominant's dream come true.

Willie couldn't find the words in himself to fully describe how personally intimate and exquisite, how essential and real the gift of submission was, especially in a modern world where there was little of what was real or sacred left. The modern world plundered life's riches. So much so that anything that could not be made profane or carted away was of great value. The intimate exchange of power, which combined an unlimited amount and endless possibilities of physical and mental intimacy, could not be copied, exchanged, or ransomed. It was a journey, one that could not be created in any other way than by joining in the most intimate arena between two breathing, living souls who were born with the same innate script of boundless delight.

Willie reached into himself. He was inspired by how profound he found Barnabas' choice to submit. He could feel how Barnabas was moved and inspired by his own submission. I can be more, I can give more. He stood before his lover's body held and displayed for him as a canvas of delicious potential. Barnabas was prepared for the journey, mentally and physically. He was ready for the whip, though he did not know yet which one Willie would choose. 

He went to the cabinet and considered the whips displayed there. He had played with whips at times with Barnabas' permission, but he was a beginner at really wielding them. Still, he had a lot of experience in how they felt, and how they could be used. He fondled the whips, feeling they were all his familiar friends. How he wanted to begin with the sudden tongue of the tawse, or the heavy bite of the quirt. How bittersweet the long fire of the signal whip, all advanced choices. He chose a moderately heavy flogger to start, a good choice for learning where and what Barnabas might like or what challenged him.

He walked around Barnabas slowly, letting him feel his vulnerability, knowing that Willie had returned, but not knowing what he was doing. Then Willie allowed him see the flogger, watching his reaction.

"Don't bother with that," Barnabas said.

Willie grasped the tails together with the handle of the whip, tapping Barnabas on the head with the handle. Barnabas pushed at the whip with his head.

"What should I choose instead?" Willie said as though Barnabas would decide.

"Go straight for the tawse, or the quirt." Willie tapped his head again. Again he pushed back with his head.

Willie answered so softly by wielding the flogger, communicating dominance as separate from the level of stimulation, communicating love. He piled the luxurious leather strands on Barnabas' face, letting them sit there. Barnabas did not move, accepting the restraint and pleasure of the soft strands. Willie swirled the strands gently around on Barnabas' face, then slowly, softly down his back, around the restraints with a sweet jingle. Down his legs and feet, swirling all the way up again. He could see Barnabas relaxing, settling inside mentally, wanting to learn about where Willie would take him.

Willie threw the whip gently, bringing it to bear on Barnabas' back and shoulders again and again, careful not to wrap it on his sensitive sides and spoil the relaxed mood. Each landing cause a tiny jingle in the restraints on Barnabas' back, a sweet sound of surrender. He spent some time on Barnabas' buttocks, building some sensation before landing on his legs and feet, twirling the little bite of the tips on his heels as Barnabas loved to do with him.

Willie stood back for a minute letting Barnabas process the sensation and adjustments to his expectations of control.

Willie thought this might be his only opportunity to ever fully dominate Barnabas, and he wanted—for them both—to make the most of it. He went to the cabinets, then returned to sit lightly on the bench next to Barnabas, who moved his head slightly, trying to see what Willie was holding. Willie quickly pulled the long, thick and flexible dual tails of the medium heavy quirt around Barnabas' throat, pulling up just enough to hold firmly under Barnabas' chin. Barnabas pulled his unrestrained hands towards his face, but immediately put them back, grasping hard on the edge of the bench. Willie was thrilled by this submission. He could feel Barnabas arching with pleasure, the restraints jingling as his feet jerked subtly. Barnabas pulled slightly with his head, finding the exact point where he had no room to move without choking himself, the place of the most pleasure and freedom. He did not use the stop word or knock the restraints off his back. He continued to submit.

Willie pulled slightly a few times on the quirt and spoke nearer to Barnabas' ear. "Call me Master." Willie sitting against Barnabas could feel his body tensing with pleasure as well as frustration. "Call me Master," he said again, waiting. "Tonight I am Master." Barnabas was choking a little and Willie let off a little, but he did not stop. "I will not let you go until you call me Master." Willie could feel Barnabas flexing with pleasure, but his denied sounds were of frustration. Willie let off a little.

“No.”

“Say it.” Willie jerked slightly.

"No..." Willie could hear his imminent surrender. There was a long moment of waiting.

Barnabas' voice was husky with pleasure as he gave in. "Master."

"Master who?"

"Master Willie."

Willie immediately pulled the whip away, and his praise was tender and sincere. "My love..." Willie had felt the remarkable thrill of dominance go through him with such a different feeling to it than that of submission. Still, while their usual roles were reversed, the language and dance of intimacy was the same.

Willie was beginning to feel comfortable with being a dominant. He landed the tails of the quirt somewhat restrained but solid on Barnabas' back, and immediately sensed that moment when Barnabas' mind went quiet with the intense concentration of inner submission. Now he will submit willingly, Willie thought.

Willie pulled on Barnabas arm, buckling a restraint onto his wrist, testing it firmly. Then the other wrist, attaching them both to the legs of the bench with the large metal clips that climbers called carabiners. He pulled a few times on Barnabas' legs as he fastened them, communicating control. Then he tested all of the restraints as Barnabas often did, pulling Barnabas around with them gently, making them more real, heightening the vulnerability and freedom that went with giving up so much control.

Barnabas relaxed. It was part of the magic of restraints that they removed the need to fight control. The mental freedom that went with this could be ecstatic. Willie could tell Barnabas was no longer suppressing vocalizations of pleasure, and no longer disguising changes in his breathing. There was a great deal of room for the bliss of surrender in Barnabas. Willie had seen that he craved it.

Willie walked by Barnabas' face, tapping his head firmly with the handle when he lifted his head. He waited. Barnabas challenged him by lifting his head again. Willie tapped it more firmly, then waited. He needs to know I won't let him get the upper hand again. Barnabas lifted his head again. Willie returned with a gag that could not be spit out or rubbed off and gagged Barnabas before he knew what was happening. Barnabas shook his head in frustration, pulling at his restraints. Willie waited while Barnabas struggled, with further testing of the restraints, coming to terms with the hated gag. Then Willie bent to him, opening Barnabas' hand and pressing into it the loud little bell, round and the size of his closed palm, easily dropped if he got into trouble and couldn't speak. 

Barnabas accepted the bell.

Willie landed the quirt on Barnabas' buttocks watching him carefully, then his back and shoulders, his thighs and calves, building observations of what Barnabas was capable of accepting and might enjoy from the whip's intensity. He landed harder on his buttocks, waiting between landings, aiming for various areas outside of and inside his sweet spot. He walked around Barnabas as he tested greater intensity in other areas, watching his reactions as he circled around Barnabas' face. He was ready to really test Barnabas, which meant he needed to read his breath and exclamations, and immediately communicate with words as needed.

Willie removed the gag, taking the bell. Barnabas did not lift his head. The silent communication of power play was in place.

Willie moved to a higher level of intensity starting at the top of Barnabas shoulders and working his way down in several even increments, allowing Barnabas to guess where each landing would come next. His body had loosened, and he accepted each stroke without fighting it. Willie could see that the landings of the whip on his relaxed skin and inner tissues began to give him consistently intense pleasure. He had relaxed more, relaxing into where he was, and where Willie was taking him.

Willie began to vary locations of his landings, the unexpected quality adding to Barnabas' experience of vulnerability and sensitivity. He increased the intensity of each fall, and varied the subtleties of how much tip to tail was landed at once, sometimes landing the intensity of a wrap, which greatly speeded the tips, adding a lot of intensity.

Barnabas let go into the ride of pleasure.

Willie was ecstatic. He was giving his lover intense pleasure. He was reaching Barnabas in a new way. He could see how all of his experience with Barnabas was being translated into new skills as a dominant, both mentally and physically.

Feeling the creativity that went with control, Willie reached firmly under and between Barnabas legs, squeezing his erect sex. Barnabas' vocalization of surprise and pleasure was not withheld or disguised. Willie reached over and around Barnabas' side, taking him in his hand, moving his hand up and down slightly. Barnabas' breaths became shallow and sharp as he jumped from the pleasure.

Willie withdrew his hand and felt Barnabas' silent disappointment. He unfastened Barnabas' right hand. "Pleasure yourself," he commanded, and Barnabas hesitated, then complied. "Do not come," he added.

Willie returned from the cabinet with the little tawse. It was a country cousin of the Scottish tawse, entirely flat, all of one piece of moderately thin leather which divided into two tails, which on Barnabas' whip both tapered to a point. Barnabas had attached it to a rigid handle for greater control. It was an unassuming little whip with a magnificent bite, and breathtaking sting with a wicked wrap to up the ante. With little weight, and with a very quick, simultaneous fall, the sensation was all about sting. It was Willie's favorite whip from the first time he felt it. It made his skin sing with the intense sensation that he loved.

Let us see what you think of the mighty tawse, he thought. He began on Barnabas' sweet spot on his buttocks, with a long moment between landings. He could see that Barnabas loved the whip. He walked around Barnabas, moving to other parts of Barnabas' back and shoulders, testing his thighs, returning to his buttocks again and again. Barnabas was arching with pleasure from the whip and his hand underneath his belly. His body now displayed beautiful stripes of red.

Willie felt that Barnabas had completely let go into submission. His eyes were closed. His body was completely relaxed between landings of the whip. He moaned with pleasure.

"Pleasure yourself," Willie commanded again, continuing dominance over Barnabas' hand on himself.

Willie brought the intensity of the whip to bear on Barnabas' mostly unmarked shoulders.

"Do not come," Willie warned. He could see Barnabas body going rigid with pleasure after each fall of the whip, processing the pain into multiple seconds of great pleasure. He focused again on Barnabas' buttocks, where he knew the sensation would go straight to his genitals.

Willie was even with Barnabas' right arm. He grasped him above the elbow and pulled his hand away.

Barnabas groaned loudly with disappointment, but also with pleasure. Willie could hear that he loved being dominated in this way in his voice.

Barnabas started to put his hand back under his belly. Willie pulled his hand away again. More groaning. Willie kept hold of his hand.

"Thank you, Master." Willie prompted. Barnabas had not tried to pull his hand away from Willie.

"Thank you, Master," Willie prompted again.

"Thank you, Master," Barnabas said. Willie squeezed Barnabas hand before he let go of it.

"Good. Pleasure yourself."

Willie landed the whip in various locations before returning to his buttocks, where the sensation went to his genitals.

He leaned against the bench again, but before he could pull on Barnabas' arm, Barnabas reached to Willie, circling his arm around his leg, rubbing with his hand.

"Tell me," Willie said.

Barnabas' hand on Willie's leg was communicating a great amount of feeling.

"I love this," Willie prompted him.

"I love this," Barnabas relented. His voice was that of a change inside. 

"My love," Willie said, again squeezing Barnabas' hand. He bent to Barnabas' and commanded quietly, "pleasure yourself."

Willie upped the intensity with the whip, coming back again and again to Barnabas buttocks. Soon he was near his release.

"Do not come yet. Ask for permission," Willie said.

Soon Barnabas had rolled very slightly onto his side with what little play he had in his restraints, straining to better pleasure himself. Willie quickly undid Barnabas' other restraints. He stood on the side of Barnabas' hand on himself, so that Barnabas was tilted towards him. Then he purposefully wrapped across him some landings on his tilted back. It was a breathtaking amount of stimulation, and Barnabas was gasping and arching as he processed the pain. Willie added some intense landings on his buttocks, and Barnabas had begun to quiver. Willie knew he was flying inside, sailing and floating on pleasure far beyond normal consciousness. His release would involve 100% of his mind and of his body, rather than focusing only upon release from his genitals.

"Ask me, Barnabas," Willie said. 

"Please..." Barnabas said. Willie was smiling, remembering well how hard it could be to talk when he was flying in a submissive state of intense freedom and pleasure. He waited.

"Please...." 

"Ask me," Willie said. He landed some bites with the tawse near Barnabas' sex.

"May I come," Barnabas said, though he never said the modern word "come." Willie was amazed to hear this request coming from his Barnabas. He realized he hadn't quite been fully prepared for this.

He waited. "Ask me," Willie said. Barnabas' body was tight with pleasure and frustration.

"May I..."

"Come now," Willie relented. He watched with astonishment as Barnabas was immediately thrown about by his release, growling and calling out again and again as he had a vampire and human orgasm at the same time. The movements of his dance of pleasure were spectacularly pressured, the undoing of denied need requiring every part of him to strain and extend, contract and shudder violently. It was beautiful, and Willie was greatly moved.

Willie came around to lay behind Barnabas, pushing against him, dancing with his movements as Barnabas' release began again and again. At last he trembled only slightly, and his hand fell away, its motions spent, his breathing heavy as his body let go into complete relaxation. Willie had slid his arm under Barnabas' head like a pillow, and Barnabas rolled back against Willie, turning onto his back. It was a very long time before Barnabas moved again, his inner journey following the long changes of the quiet and ease returning to his body and breath.

Willie knew Barnabas was floating on the ecstasy of his journey of submission and pleasure. He caressed and rubbed him lightly, letting him drift, awaiting his return.

When Barnabas' eyes fluttered opened at last, he found Willie looking down at him.

"My love," Barnabas said. He caressed Willie's face idly before touching his lips.

"My love," Willie said, bringing his lips to him. 

It was a very long, complicated kiss. Any number of questions and answers were summed up by a loving dance of their lips and their tongues. The conversation ended, then started again.

"I love you," Willie said. "You gave yourself to me."

"Willie. You have given me something beautiful that I've never had in my long years," Barnabas said. "Thank you, sweet Willie."

More kissing.

"Your kiss is so sweet," Willie said. Willie was still looking down at Barnabas, enjoying anew and in so many ways what it meant to touch his lover.

"The kiss of your whip is sweeter," Barnabas said, his face and eyes full of mischief.

"It took some time to convince you of that," Willie observed.

"Of course." Barnabas laughed. "Much was required."

"Much was required," Willie repeated, taking a little lesson in Barnabas' funny older English. "But not too much."

Barnabas rolled on top of Willie, pinning him down. "Who's next?" He laughed, baring his teeth.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE: Journal
"I wonder if Barnabas feels this surge of bliss, perhaps at the same time as me. But I am afraid to mention it for fear of breaking the spell. I know I'll have to tell him. But what if he doesn't know what I'm talking about? What if it's an affliction, with no meaning?"

 

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JOURNAL — William Hollingshead Loomis

October 25

I am picking up where I left off with my journal. It has been over a year since my last entry.

I want to write again because I feel as though all the edges of me are burning away. It's been happening for months now. It happened sometimes before, but now it happens more than once a day.

My love for Barnabas has been burning me. I feel scorched. Sometimes I feel intense bliss, and other times a very intense longing that is so painful, almost unendurable. I lean on the wall when I am standing. My head falls slowly forward when I am sitting. I become very still when I am in bed. Or I rock slightly, hoping for relief.

This comes without reason. There is no warning. It is as though my beloved's very soul is scourging me. I feel his love surging through me, an ocean of love saturating me. But I don't feel my love's words or intention in it, like I do when he calls to me inside. Perhaps it is too pure. What the learned men call subtle.

I wonder if Barnabas feels this surge of bliss, perhaps at the same time as me. But I am afraid to mention it for fear of breaking the spell. I know I'll have to tell him. But what if he doesn't know what I'm talking about? What if it's an affliction, with no meaning?

Later

The strongest ever... This is what "breathless" means. As soon as I sat down to write, a flood of bliss came up through me like a surge of sparks rushing as the fire itself up the flue. So I accepted it, followed it. I had to pull back inside, over and over to keep my thoughts from interfering, to just feel it. I felt Barnabas' love in the fire, but he is down in his coffin. Did he reach out to me with this bliss, with his fiery love?

Later

I heard Barnabas come up. Every day when I hear his step on the back stair I leap inside! Then his soft steps to his study, and the door snaps shut. I love him so. I picture him relaxing. He carries the little box of cigarettes to the back porch, smoking out there with no coat, like vampires can do. I wish that he would call me, but sometimes he is alone there, and I need that for him as well.

Later

Inside, but it didn't burn. He called me inside, and I went to him. We sat on the back porch and smoked and talked. He kept lingering with his eyes on my face, and at last I returned his long gaze. It's a long silent moment of knowing each other. Some days he doesn't look like a man, not really. He fools people. But tonight he looked very much a modern man, sitting with one knee up, his arm straight out on his knee, flicking the ash, bringing the cigarette up and squinting as he inhaled, his breath and the smoke swirling away from us. Barnabas doesn't usually look this casual. I don't think he quite knows, but he does not hold himself or move like a modern man. His relatives are charmed by his more formal style of moving and speech. But I see it best in him. I know where it comes from, why it is really he.


— William Hollingshead Loomis

 


 October 29

Again and again. I feel the inner touch of my love several times throughout the day.

Later

I finally went to him. I waited until he was outside, and came through the study. I don't usually disturb him there. 

He was surprised but very happy. He looked up, smiling brightly, his breath thick white on the freezing air. He doesn't know how it crushes me, how I can barely breathe when he is so happy to see me.

He pulled me down onto his step and wrapped his arms around me, playing with my bundle of clothes, then rocking me against him. So sweet... I closed my eyes and breathed in his funny scent.

We were quiet for awhile. He turned me around, like he knew. And then I told him. I was watching in his eyes as I spoke. His eyes dark, so dark...

I asked him: My love, I feel your touch inside. Over and over. Are you touching me inside? Do you reach out to me inside? It burns. I can hardly stand it.

His eyes became liquid, he was almost crying. I know he cannot cry, because he is a vampire. But it seemed like he was. He even seemed to blink a few times as he reached to me, his beautiful hand on my arm, like an exotic bird coming to rest there.

He said: Our love will become a shared fire, a fire that we share when I make you like me, when you drink from me. Do not worry. The fire will even out as we share it more fully. Already we feel each other! It must be because you hear me when I call to you. I am so happy!

He stopped then because I was crying. I felt such relief. I don't have to bear this intensity alone! I cried, and he did not reach to me or pull me to him. He just let me cry the tears. 

When I was done crying, I sat without wiping my face, looking down. Then he reached to me, and kissed my face. He kissed my tears! He dried them, then held my face against his. He hugged me to him. He kept me leaning against him as he smoked. I watched his face, so close to mine. The way he looks out around the porch as he smokes. The way his eyes squint a little. I felt so peaceful inside. 

I woke up later in bed. I am writing it down now.

I am starting to realize that who I will be when I become a vampire will be equal to Barnabas in every way. We are equal now, but I will also be as a dominant is sometimes, as he is. And I won't have all these human limits. Sexually, I will still be able to choose to submit. But I will not be a submissive all the time. I will change. We will change. I feel so hopeful. I think our relationship will soar.

Soon I will be like him. I will learn to love it as I love him. We will share everything, all of our secrets. Our own lives apart will grow too.

I am becoming stronger. I can bear this. I choose to do it. I will become what Barnabas is.

I am going to be a vampire. 

Now it's back to sleep.


— William Hollingshead Loomis
 

 


 

NEXT: BOOK TWO—How Willie came to be Barnabas Collins' servant and lover

 


 

Willie often wears a turtleneck, in case of visitors. We know why.

 

Dark Shadows is an American Gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. The show filled a half-hour, afternoon time slot. The original network run of the show lasted for nearly five years to amass 1,225 episodes. It continues to enjoy an intense cult following. 

The lead character of vampire Barnabas Collins was played by stage trained thespian Jonathan Frid. John Karlan played Barnabas' dedicated servant, Willie Loomis.

The entire series of Dark Shadows is included for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with individual episodes and seasons available for purchase. The majority of the first season, "The Beginning," is pre-Barnabas, which is also wonderful, but has no vampire theme.

There were also two fine major motion pictures produced by the original Dark Shadows producers and starring the original actors: "House of Dark Shadows" and "Night of Dark Shadows" (which has no Barnabas character). Most original Dark Shadows fans reject the more recent Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film as having basically hijacked and done unforgivable violence to the story.

Of course, my Dark Shadows fanfiction is completely non-canon. There are no explicit BDSM or homosexual themes on the original show (darn). Non-canon fanfic by its nature owes no allegiance to the legacy of the original story, characters, or universe. I have developed my own Barnabas and Willie, and I bring in the story very loosely.

 

Thank you so much for reading my story. Barnabas and Willie keep me busy. They call to me... "Get over here and jump back into our story!" Okay, then. An unpublishable story for the story's sake. A story that isn't for anyone but me, and my dear readers. Thank you!

 

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO: Darkness
Barnabas had grasped the neck of this man, his savior, pushing at the lid with his other arm, the remaining chains and the lid falling with an ear-pounding clatter to the floor. There could be no chance of the man deserting him, or the coffin ever closing against him again.

 

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  "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious."
― Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy

"What am I doing out here?" Barnabas wondered aloud, nudging aside some nameless inner moodiness. He had wandered about in the fluffy fresh snow while smoking, finding himself drawn to the dark stillness of the trees, heeding the animal place inside of him that required wildness. Now he was standing in a dark thicket of black trees on the dark night of the new moon, leaning with his hand on the crunchy, lichen side of a frozen tree, his voice close and muffled by the heavy snow around him. He had finished his cigarette and looked about—even he could see nothing, except his hand. He held it close to his eyes. He turned the looming hand around. How bony his hand looked, how pale. It looked almost hard. How did he fool his relatives?

Barnabas got out another cigarette. He pulled the little lighter Willie had bought for him out of his waistcoat, a smelly contrivance which he used only when he had to. When at home, he continued to light cigarettes and candles with tapers, borrowing flames from the fireplace or other candles as he had done before his long sleep. Barnabas learned later that when self-lighting matches were invented, everyone's servants had replaced their flint strikers with them. Soon everyone knew how to use the new matches. Candles were replaced by oil lamps, then gas lighting, then electric lights which did not require a match. By then the Collins had built the new Collinwood, with all such modernities, including running water. They had left the antiquated elegance of The Old House behind.

Barnabas had missed all these changes, chained as he was in a coffin at the behest of his father, who tried but could not bring himself to kill his only son, tragically remade into a murderous vampire. And so Barnabas had lived without light, in total darkness for almost two hundred years, alone in a box.

When Barnabas was released from his tomb, his family and every human he had ever known were long dead. He emerged to a world of fire made with matches, to a world that was no longer dependent on either. The lights on the walls seemed to light themselves, and water itself came out of the wall. It was a world of bright lights, much brighter than candles, a brightness that was painful for him after his long years of nothing but black.

Barnabas had pushed his way back into the world, becoming a modern man quickly in every way but one. He had taken up smoking the modern cigarettes. As a vampire, he enjoyed smoking without fear of injury or illness. But from the first moment he needed them, he had found matches artless... with a truly repulsive odor. They offended him partly because of his natural fear of uncontrolled fire, which seemed to burst out of nothing from them, threatening his hands, or his feet if he dropped them. He had quickly observed humans outdoors throwing them down while they were still smoldering! No no... not for me, he had decided right away. Somehow it seemed obvious to him: vampires don't use matches.

Willie of course immediately bought a finely fashioned metal cigarette lighter for him instead. This was an improvement, but he still resisted. At last he had relented, and kept the lighter on hand to light his cigarettes on the back porch, or when he might wander about, as he was doing now. But Barnabas continued to live in a world without matches. He used old-fashioned, elegant tapers to transfer fire from fireplace to candle to cigarette. And no matter how Willie lit the candles and started the fires in the original Collins mansion, he did so not only because these fires were required to light and heat such an old house, but because Barnabas loved these things. To him, these were life's luxuries, to live by candlelight and firelight. He enjoyed these luxuries, which for him included the luxury of living without matches.

Barnabas put out his cigarette, smashing it carefully with his shoe, enjoying the brushing sound of the wind moving by and through the endless black that replaced the tiny red circle from its flame. It occurred to Barnabas that he was standing in a very dark thicket on a moonless night, thinking about light and his years in a lonely, very dark coffin.

Barnabas had never described to Willie those hundreds of years locked away in the Collins Mausoleum, chained in the darkness of his coffin in the darkness of the hidden room. His coffin was his familiar and his prison. The feel and smell of it his constant and his torment. He slept. His father had presumed he would sleep, had assumed that making Barnabas sleep was a humane alternative to destroying him. But Barnabas had not always slept. He awoke at times, cruelly imagining voices outside in the old cemetery, with its very old graves and complete lack of visitors. He knew well that he was just a few miles from his lost world at Collinwood, where he pictured his family living beyond his dark prison in a world of beautiful, exquisite light, something he had learned to miss dearly.

Sometimes he was roused by an especially violent storm, and found himself pushing with so little leverage in a tight space, unable with his great strength to open or break the heavily chained, thick wooden cover, or dislodge the huge brass keepers, picturing these structural elements of his jail mere inches away from him but miles from his reach. He felt himself defeated again by the dire truth, the dire reserve of finality, his dire fate.

Only once had he called out, held by the darkness, by the sting of life robbed of all else by it, his wailing cry hushed, crushed like a velvet singularity of nothingness. It was unbearable, and he knew he would never speak again.

And yet... he had come to speak again. The day came when he was awakened in his little darkness, not by a storm, but by a man. He had listened to Willie in the outer room, sitting on one of the tombs, talking to himself, trying to figure out where a coffin was hidden, the coffin of a Collins ancestor who was rumored to have been buried with her jewels.

Barnabas listened with a surging torment of longing, wishing with all his heart that this human would somehow open the secret door and break the chains on his coffin, that he could somehow exert his influence on this man he did not know. He willed himself to silence when he heard the secret door swinging inward, fearing he might scare the intruder away. The man had worked hard to free the coffin of the huge chains and finely crafted brass keepers, slowly lifting the creaking lid, expecting an old corpse adorned with beautiful jewels. But Willie opened the lid and found... a living man in a chained coffin!

"Can you imagine the shock?" Barnabas laughed loudly, disturbing some of the snow above him. His life was such a very strange tale, forever beyond strange, beyond telling.

He could still hear it, how the coffin had creaked mightily, the old wood complaining as a growing sliver of stunning candlelight appeared at Barnabas' shoulder, followed by the bewildered face of a man peering down at him. Barnabas had grasped the neck of this man, his savior, pushing at the lid with his other arm, the remaining chains and the lid falling with an ear-pounding clatter to the floor. There could be no chance of the man deserting him, or the coffin ever closing against him again. 

Willie had screamed with terror as Barnabas leapt from the coffin, still holding him tightly, bending him back and plunging his teeth into him. Blood had never tasted so good to Barnabas, and he immediately felt the change in himself, becoming as he once was. He had pulled away from Willie at last, though it took all of his will after so many years without sustenance. He needed this man, though it took some time and mighty coaxing to get him moving again.

At first, he compelled Willie to obey him, a very useful power that vampires shared. Willie reassembled the coffin so that Barnabas could take his rest in it, pushing the hated chains into a dark corner to hold themselves for an eternity. Willie had taken a hotel room where Barnabas took the longest bath of his existence, soaking in ultimate luxury in already hot water that somehow came out from the wall. Willie bathed him and washed his hair, poking and prodding at him like a mother bathing her child. He cut and shaved Barnabas' beard, finding his face much more than passingly beautiful, with a pleasing display of character. Barnabas sat as still as a king at his coronation as Willie cut off his long hair, managing to give him a passable modern haircut and elegant manicure before Barnabas braved the early evening to visit the amused barber for a "trim."

Willie had obtained modern clothes for Barnabas, who required fashionable attire of good quality. Barnabas found modern clothes austere, but immediately anticipated with some irony how easy it would be for him to create subtlety and drama in clothes that had neither.

And so, an elegantly attired Barnabas had "arrived" to visit his relatives in Collinsport, Maine, a distant cousin traveling abroad from his home in England, looking the very image of his ancestor and namesake, Barnabas Collins the senior, whose familiar portrait hung prominently in the foyer of the great house. His relatives of course immediately adored him, and he had soon obtained permission to restore the original Collinwood—which they now referred to as The Old House—though they thought this was a strange project, moving into a derelict house with no electricity or plumbing. Barnabas had reassured them, reminding them that he had employed the very resourceful Willie Loomis to be his new servant. There was a lot to be done to restore Barnabas' not so new home to its former elegance.

How happy Barnabas was when he pushed open the front doors, stepping over the threshold, home again, home at last. He could see his parents, his sister, the parties, the quiet home life. He could see George on the stairs, coming down to meet him, to welcome him home. His eyes that sparkled, his whole presence so alive and full of fun.

Oh how I long for you, my love... Barnabas felt at his heart in the darkness, suddenly struggling with the vibrant memory. The hurt, the ache, this hollow place that has never been filled by anyone or anything... For you, I wish I could make tears.

No, Barnabas thought, forcing a smile. I know you would not want that.

Barnabas threw his head back, his arms opening at his sides, rewarded by a generous fall of snow on his face and under his collar as he threw off the pain and remembered again... his joy at returning to this, his childhood home, miles beyond and a world away from a cemetery and an old, empty coffin.

 



 

CHAPTER TWENTY THREE: Resourceful
As Willie began to reach down for his flashlight, the candlelight shined past him. He felt his body stiffen, his face distorting with terror as he saw clearly a face in the candle lit gloom beneath the lid.

 

PHOTO: Promotional stills of Barnabas Collins, played by beloved thespian Jonathan Frid, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

 


 

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After a hundred years
Nobody knows the place,
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.
- Emily Dickenson

Willie felt his frustration evaporating. He had found the old Collins mausoleum at last. He had easily found the newer mausoleum, overlooking what turned out to be the newer of two cemeteries near Collinsport. Now he had made his way to the old cemetery, which was not that far from Collinwood itself. It was a small cemetery that hadn't been used for many years, with very old graves, the graves close together, their headstones tilted and sometimes broken, surrounded by piles of whirling leaves. Tangled bushes grew about the graves, and the trees surrounding the iron fence were old and twisted, some of their branches extending far into the cemetery, reaching the tops of the headstones, and in some cases, the graves themselves.

Willie dropped the bag of tools he had gathered back at an old tool shed at the Collinwood mansion, shining his flashlight into the bag, searching for the tin of oil he had thought to bring. Always resourceful, always thinking ahead. He oiled the old hinges, struggling to force the beautiful scrolled wrought iron door open and closed somewhat until the oil worked its way deep into the hinges, suddenly smooth and silent, the door floating open at just a touch. Willie smiled. Always thinking ahead.

He picked up the bag of tools, looking around before he slipped inside, dropping the bag again as he shined his light around the interior. It was smaller than he pictured, all of marble like the exterior, with only three modern size tombs occupying the room. He read each of the names above them, and was disappointed. The name of the Collins ancestor he sought wasn't there.

Willie turned off his flashlight. He sat on a tomb in the dark and lit a cigarette.

"Where is she?" He complained to himself. "She's old enough, she should be buried here, her and her fancy jewels. She doesn't need them anymore. What she needs is to give them to me." Willie smoked and thought about these rich old Collins. "Your money isn't in here, is it?" he laughed to himself. "Can't make it this far, not even for you."

Willie wondered why the cemetery where past Collins ancestors were buried was so unkempt. It was as though they had once wished for the old mausoleum to escape notice, building a new one instead. It occurred to Willie that there might be a hidden part of the mausoleum. Why not? She could have had a hidden room built in or added on.

Willie jumped up. "That's it. You're hidden! You with your jewels."

Willie turned the flashlight back on and walked slowly around the room, inspecting the walls and the structure carefully. He payed closer attention to the small lions head sculptures on the wall above him. There were three, to match the three tombs below.

"Hey, what's this, Willie?" Willie said as he eyed the lions and the parts of the wall below the elaborate little sculptures. The other three walls were smooth, with no space between the large pieces of marble. But this back wall had three large pieces of marble inset into the larger wall, their seams not as close, with almost a gap. Each slab reached right up to below a lion head. The middle lion head had a ring with a chain, and the chain came out from the lion's mouth.

"And, hello." Willie exclaimed. As a confident and experienced thief, Willie often saw things others missed.  "Always resourceful," he purred as he jumped up on the middle tomb, reaching up to the ring. He grasped it firmly and began to pull it out from the mouth of the lion with a strong but steady pressure. He increased the pressure steadily, careful not to risk breaking something that was old and stuck. Finally he was rewarded with a slight give in the chain, followed by a stone on stone rubbing sound as the block of marble in front of him slid away from him on hidden hinges, opening slowly into a completely dark space. Willie coughed. The air was old and stale. But he was laughing as he jumped down, shining his light into a room also made of marble, a little lower, but of the same dimensions as the rest of the structure.

Willie stepped down into the room, shining his light on the coffin standing waist high on a pedestal in the middle of the room.

"What's this, Willie?" Willie exclaimed. The thick wood of the coffin was completely wrapped in huge, old chains!

"There you are," Willie walked around the coffin, inspecting the rows of chains and the huge brass keepers at each corner of the old coffin, screwed down to activate the seal. "You've gone to a lot of trouble to hide your jewels. But they'll be mine just the same."

Willie shined the light around the room. There was nothing at all in the room but an old standing candelabra and the coffin and its hidden treasure. The coffin was of very thick wood, carved with sumptuous, inlaid copper designs. He pictured her inside surrounded with thick white velvet, her dark skull and her bright jewels propped up by a white velvet pillow.

Willie was excited. He retrieved his tools, then pulled the old candelabra closer to the coffin, replacing the old candles with the new ones he had brought, the candles sputtering in the lightly shifting air before catching and filling the small room with light. 

He quickly examined the top and bottom of the coffin, and felt sure he could open it fairly easily. He looked closely at the old chains, poking at the lock, pulling the chains this way and that. Shining his light under the coffin again, he examined the space on the top of the pedestal where the chains had been passed through. Digging through his tools, he brought out a crowbar to balance on the thick end of a mallet for leverage, managing with huge effort to pry the end of the heavy coffin into the air long enough to slide each row of the very long chain over and out from under the bottom end of the coffin one by one. With the last few rows of chain heaped onto the floor and pushed aside, Willie was removing the brass keepers, which were easily unscrewed, each falling to the floor in turn.

Willie stood next to the coffin, testing the weight of the substantial lid, pushing against it with all his strength, still unable to break the seal. He pushed the end of the crowbar under the lid, and felt the seal pop. Pushing harder with the crowbar, the lid began to lift and shift aside. "Just enough to see you, my sweet," he said as he pushed with all his strength, pushing the lid further.

As Willie began to reach down for his flashlight, the candlelight shined past him. He felt his body stiffen, his face distorting with terror as he saw clearly a face in the candle lit gloom beneath the lid. The face was not that of a skull, but the face of a living man, and that man was glaring up at Willie! Immediately the man's hand shot out of the coffin and grabbed him by the throat.

Willie screamed. He was screaming, but not making any sound. He was running, but not going anywhere. The man's grip was superhuman, closing his throat so tight he could feel his windpipe beginning to crush inside of him. The man's eyes burned into his without blinking, glaring without any motion at all, steady even when the lid of the coffin and the remaining chain fell to the floor with a huge clattering sound in the small space, causing the candles to dance and sputter. The pulsing sound in Willie's ears seemed to push inward, sliding his consciousness down and away from him, but not before he witnessed the man's body flying up at him with a whirl of black and white cloth in full motion collapsing inward upon him, closing at his neck, a mouth and the glint of white teeth opening, then piercing his throat with a violently excruciating bite that buried the teeth full in Willie's neck, the teeth pulling the flesh aside to pull more and more blood from the distorting wounds.

Willie's mind went black.

 

Willie began to stir again, noticing with dismay how the pieces of his strange dream came together, when he suddenly realized his nightmare wasn't a dream at all. His windpipe hurt, and his hand at his neck was wet with blood. He scooted as fast and as far back in the tomb as he could, hitting his head on the back wall. The room around him was still lit by the candles, the lid and pile of chains from the coffin still scattered in disarray on the floor, and the man was still there—seeming larger than life in his crisp black and white attire—sitting in front of the door smoking one of Willie's cigarettes.

"These are really quite agreeable," the man observed, sending some swirling smoke in the direction of the candles, who directed it upward into the dark upper reaches of the tomb. "They are like little cigars, improved upon... so cleverly."

The man looked at Willie, who was trembling and holding his neck. "Poor Willie," the man said. "Grave robbers do not often free imprisoned, undernourished vampires..." He placed his hand at his stomach, closing his eyes with satisfaction. "In this case, your error was simply one of direction. You mistook the purpose of these chains to be that of keeping you out."

The man stood, looking about at a loss, finally dropping the cigarette and stepping on it, carefully inspecting the ruins. He bowed with a gentle flourish, his stiff clothes loosening about him as he moved. "I thank you, kind sir, for your very excellent blood, and for your excellent work freeing me from this box, which has robbed me of hundreds of years of my existence." Venom had crept into his voice as he stepped closer to the lidless coffin, removing a silver headed cane from the velvet depths of the thickly lined box, striking the coffin then with only slightly restrained violence. He pulled at his clothes, loosening and smoothing their long habituated crispness, feeling suddenly his beard with a beset look of extreme distaste, followed immediately by pulling at his long hair. "Oh! We must attend to this immediately."

The man belched then, at first startled, then greatly amused, patting his stomach. "You really must pardon me... you understand..." The man stopped to closely gauge the residual of Willie's sanity, diminishing or becoming more serious, smiling and standing silently with his hands clasped on top of the cane, waiting for Willie to get his bearings. 

Willie began to calm somewhat. The coffin memory was impossible, and obviously from his dream. He avoided looking at the parts of the coffin on the floor, focusing instead on the man, who appeared normal, though his clothes were oddly old-fashioned. How did he know my name? Right... it was because I was talking to myself.  

"But who am I?" the man said. "Perhaps I should clarify. I am a somewhat older member of the Collins family." He gestured around himself as he spoke. "But there is no plaque or monument for me... Barnabas Collins." The man bowed again slightly, then focused his gaze closely on Willie. "And you are Mr. William Hollingshead Loomis." Willie was astonished. How could the man know that?! It was all so fantastical. He felt his head drooping again, and shook it slightly, looking up once more as he struggled at refocusing his eyes.

"Do not fear, Mr. Loomis. Vampires know these sorts of things. You should know that your considerable resourcefulness is very much appreciated... and so uniquely beyond reproach! Again I thank you. And now it seems that you and I have formed an alliance. I can be of help to you, and you will be of much needed help to me."

 

CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR: Return
"On your knees," he said, his voice curling on itself like a velvet press of sound meant for only one. Hands on sinking shoulders, he sank to the earth, sitting on his heels, pulling Willie against him, possessing him, his hand around his face, touching his teeth, baring his own with a deep, resonant hiss.

  

PHOTO: Cap of Willie Loomis, played by John Karlan, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

 

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Willie was still holding his neck. He felt woozy, weak. He wiped his hand on his shirt every so often, then put his hand back, feeling about on the little tears in his flesh to see if he was still bleeding. It was as though he watched himself touching the wounds, with no feeling of motion, watching from so very deep in his mind.

The man seemed smaller now, sitting again in the doorway, smoking another cigarette and watching Willie, waiting for him to catch up with his new world.

The man closed his eyes, the depths of him purring with a gentle fierceness. He could feel the night behind him, touching his clothes, seeking his hands, finding the back of his neck. The air was fresh and alive, the sounds of the wind in the trees so close and so sharp that he was drunk with these changes to his world. Soon he would leave this prison and push out into the night, which would touch his entire body like a hundred hands of loving, easily slipping under his clothes, finding every part of him. How perfect that moment coming so soon, when he would stand and step out into the night, his lover, waiting for him, returning to him at last.

What is the world like now? Do the descendants of my family still live at The New House? Barnabas settled himself. He had developed from a very long necessity a close control over his own mind. He looked to Willie, his new companion. He must come first, for Barnabas felt a great need for a helper. 

Do not bite him again, he warned himself. He won't survive. He set about enjoying another of the little white cigars, lighting it from the candles, and watching his liberator, soon to be his captive, deciding if Willie was ready for his direction. His mind must be settled or there would be nothing to direct. He could see that the blood had stopped, but he was concerned about possible damage to Willie's throat from clasping it so firmly in his passion for freedom.

"Speak to me, Willie Loomis," Barnabas said. "Have I harmed your throat?"

Willie jumped. It had been so quiet. How does he know my name...? Did I say it when I was talking to myself? Willie was sure he did not say his full name. He switched to checking his throat with his other hand, looking at it carefully then in the gloom. The blood had lessened considerably.

"Come over to the candles," Barnabas said. He did not apply any persuasion. Not yet. He stood slowly and walked around behind the coffin, no longer blocking the doorway, helping Willie to not feel trapped. "Do not be afraid, we will make the best of this situation, you and I," Barnabas said in a soothing voice. He wanted to tell Willie that the bleeding had stopped, but he decided not to mention blood until Willie was more calm.

Barnabas leaned against the coffin while he smoked, looking through the doorway to the front part of the mausoleum, waiting. He could just see the night through a portion of the wrought iron door. The freshness of the night air, and the lovely darkness of a moonless night were inside him now, waking him up from his long sleep. His heart had been so long empty, his spirit so long subdued—and now he was drinking the sweet passage of the world back into him, his heart growing moist and eloquent within him.

Willie stood slowly at last, watching the man, the very strange man. Willie looked away, then found he couldn't look at him again. Steady... He stepped forward, rubbing his hands on his shirt, touching his wounds as he walked closer to candles, inspecting his hands carefully, touching his neck again and again. The remaining blood had dried—there were only some trickles of wet blood left. Willie stepped back. He could see dark stains on his shirt from rubbing his hands there.

Willie felt stronger now that he was standing. His throat hurt. He was hurting there, inside. He turned to look closely at Barnabas. 

"Okay. Mr. Barnabas Collins," he tested his hoarse voice, his throat expanding a little. "How did this happen to you? How did you get yourself chained up in a coffin?"

Barnabas was relieved. He had not damaged the boy's throat, though his voice was a little gruff.

"I will answer your questions, but first we have some things to accomplish."

Willie waited. "What things?" Willie asked impatiently.

"Come and stand here," Barnabas said.

Willie could feel his influence. It was very subtle, but it told him a lot about his situation. This man could control him. Without his permission. He stood with his back to the candles and watched their light playing on the man's face, trying to judge his intentions. The light seemed to find all of him, except his eyes. His dark eyes.

Barnabas watched Willie looking at him, and smiled with sincere sweetness, giving the boy time. The boy did not know yet that he could read his mind and feelings when he chose to.

"Come," Barnabas repeated. Willie felt his influence strongly then. He stood still, staring at the man, comprehending such power.

"Come," Barnabas repeated. His voice in tone and volume was identical, but the amount of influence was much greater.

Barnabas had walked out from around the coffin, standing in the middle of the little room.

Willie walked to him. He was not compelled to do so. He was compelled to want to. Willie understood what was happening. He knew very well.

Barnabas looked at the floor.

Willie knelt before him.

"You are mine, now."

Willie was reeling inside. He felt the shock of his situation slowly subsiding in him, the reality of it filling the moment, overflowing into his future. He felt tears. He had lost everything in a single night, in a single moment. His future and his freedom. His life. This was not his life, no. Gone. Adventure, travel, a lover. The dreams of his youth. It was all gone. It is what he had feared his entire life. To lose his freedom.

"You will have my life instead," Barnabas said, his voice conveying sympathy, an empathy for his sadness.

Willie sat back on his heels, a sudden fire to his voice. "So you can read my mind, too."

"It is true," Barnabas said. "I can read your thoughts and feelings when I choose to." He is starting to come to terms.

"Why must you hold me, Mr. Collins... Barnabas? Can't you let me go? Look at me." Willie exclaimed, standing. "Let me go."

"I need you, Loomis... Willie. "

That's how he knows my full name. He read my mind. Then, I can't get away. I can't get away. That was it. Willie turned away from him and cried. Somehow he knew, it was all too clear to him, his fate was no longer his own. The tears spilled over his cheeks as he wept quietly into his hand, the whispered sounds of his pain echoing sharply in a close space, as he was slowly shaking his head, again, and again. The memories came, and they stung him, briefly recalling how it felt to slip out from under his family's control over him, to take control of his fate, his freedom, forever.

When he was done, he stood quietly, his back to the man. He wiped his face on his sleeves, not caring that blood was smeared onto his face. He had cried, which was weak. But he had also faced his fate, a cruel fate. He turned back to the man.

"What do you want from me?" he asked. No. I will try once. I must try once.

Willie was through the door and out the gate in seconds, a fear tearing through him as he pictured the man, the vampire, somewhere behind him, catching up to him, biting him. Willie screamed, his cry opening his throat with a tearing feeling deep into his lungs. He knew immediately that he was caught, for it was thick black under the huge trees. He tripped. Flying forward onto the uneven earth, his head and face buried in grass and weeds, dry leaves scratching his face, the licorice smell of anise close and pungent in his nose and dusty mouth.

Willie tried to get up, but he couldn't move. He was lost, but the wind still knew him, pulling a thousand leaves on the trees above him, pushing a hundred blades of thick grass at his face and ears. "I tried..." he whispered, his words slipping away between markers of stone. "I will always know... at least I tried."

Behind Willie a vampire was stepping out into the night. He looked around at the living world, the sounds and fragrance of the lovely night, everywhere the song of the stars just visible through the trees, the whispers of leaves like silken tongues gently moving for him, the cemetery alive as so many grasses and bushes lightly dancing, as his heart was dancing.

He was free now to remove his clothes, piece by piece, the hairs on his arms and his legs stirring and fluttering on his skin, the cool night alive on his lips, on his breast, shifting to the sensitive back of his arms, his long hair shifting gently on his neck and shoulders, caressing his belly and around his genitals. He stepped away from his clothes, the cool stone on his feet a song, the movements of his feet upon it a story of love made and kisses shared. His eyes were closed as he wrapped his arms around himself like a lover and breathed it all in. Oh, oh... all around me, around me... around me. His arms loosened, falling to his sides, and he was humming, humming the song George had loved, that he sang unconsciously at times. Where are you, my love? Tell me... would life really be completely ruined if we had a hint about what was next, an undiscovered country...?

Barnabas opened his eyes. He looked at Willie, face down, several feet away in the gloom, noticing his broad shoulders and slim hips accentuated by his light colored shirt. How delicious that he was held there by Barnabas' will, his easy control as a vampire.

"Remove your clothes."

Willie found that he could move, that he wanted to move, though it wasn't his idea. He stood up slowly, still facing away from Barnabas. Here we are, he thought. Here we are. He dropped his clothes next to him on the ground, still unable to see what surrounded him in the inky darkness. 

Barnabas was on fire. The sexual fire was demanding every part of him, coming alive. Surging up through him, his body and mind were opening to desire, forgotten desire, remembered as need, filling him, opening him, opening him.

He moved very slowly. It was like a dance, approaching the beautiful boy's body, now the object of his need, his long, long delayed pleasure returning in full form inside him. His left hand was lifting, he reached out as he walked, small steps that matched his high and brimming pleasure, his right hand just a small touch at his own sex, a sudden urgent need to caress and gauge its fullness. 

"On your knees," he said, his voice curling on itself like a velvet press of sound meant for only one. Hands on sinking shoulders, he sank to the earth, sitting on his heels, pulling Willie against him, possessing him, his hand around his face, touching his teeth, baring his own with a deep, resonant hiss.

"Relax," he spoke low at Willie's ear. "Let me love you." He was licking his palm, remembering how it tasted when he was still human, when he licked it for George, licking and spitting and rubbing until he felt sure of his preparation, testing Willie's readiness to accept him. "I will not bite you again," his voice was very soft. "Relax."

Willie had relaxed. He had become ready. He wanted Barnabas inside of him, but it wasn't his idea.

Barnabas was slipping into him, seeking him there, an inner part of him, feeling it's warmth. He felt a very intimate pleasure from an intimate place, pushing against Willie, finding him just a little deeper. Being with him there. Do not bite...

"I was alone," he whispered at Willie's ear, his voice an inner death dying, receding. "I died inside. I felt no pleasure. You cannot imagine this sort of death."

Barnabas was moving slowly, his eyes closed, feeling their bodies against each other, the boy's scent filling his sinuses, the labyrinthine chambers of his breath, pushing in and out with each breath, leaving then returning, a sensuous interchange that matched the physical between them.

"I was alone..." he whispered to himself, to the night, his voice pressured, sinking, then rising, quickly, again.

Barnabas reached for him, but he was not erect. The need to comply had not equaled desire. 

I should have prepared him, groomed him, Barnabas thought ruefully. I will win him to me with time. I need him. But I have no desire for a slave.

Barnabas let himself go then, pushing deeper, the motions of a vampire, with deeper, limited motions rather than the large motions of humans, especially those of circumcised men, deprived of their silky sheath of greatest sensation.

"Alone..." he whispered as he slipped up and over his peak.

His vampire orgasm was spectacular, an entire universe of sensation he could barely allow. He felt as though he was spinning, his body flung like liquid in liquid space, somewhere so familiar, home, saturating him, through and through at last.

Then he was back to a little plot of weeds and stone, wearing a human on himself, pushing deeper as he came, deeper with each wave of unbelievable delight, a vigorous nudging forward, as though the measure of a fingertip's breadth found a different land of sensation.

Barnabas heard himself then. He realized he was calling out, a hoarse cry, a complaint, a weeping made of cries, many cries. "Not another day of it...!" He cried out, letting himself feel all of it, the agony of so many years alone, away from all the world, from the sensuous world of delight, the source of him. He cried out until he felt himself collapsing on the boy, until there was only the hoarseness as he bit his teeth together, immediately still as he silenced his heavy breathing, listening to the night, truly hearing the silence of it at last.

How strange, he thought, when he could think again, partaking of the surrender of the boy still underneath him. I feel regret. The human part of me lives, and regrets. Barnabas could remember scores of times when he had used a human against their will when feeding from them. Somehow I already care for this human.

He felt the human life underneath him, held upon the grassy earth by his will and his body. It wasn't for bestial pleasure. It wasn't to inflict pain, or power. Maybe it wasn't rape. Was it rape if I made him desire it? 

Barnabas put his cheek against the boy's, so soft and so young, listening to his heart, to his blood moving so near to Barnabas' ears. It was for my return—returning to the world, the world returning to me. 

Barnabas' listened to his own voice close, yet as full as a song. "I will not take you again unless you desire me," he said at the boy's ear, turning onto his back beneath the black trees stirring, beyond them the magnificent stars, a heavenly view, forever his birthright. 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE: Close

"So you are going to keep drinking my blood." This is just too weird. "I mean, this whole conversation is comical, Barnabas. It's like a play. The family gathers in the drawing room while Aunt Tillie explains her blood lust."

 

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"We shall never be touched. The world shall spin and they all, all shall die. But not we." ~The Return of Dracula (1958) 

Willie stood and removed his clothes, then sank back down into the grass. He wanted to remove his clothes. He wanted to lay back down. But it wasn't his idea. The vampire had power over him. He was making him want to do these things.

Willie had preferred men for lovers all of his life, and anal sex was not new to him. As a submissive, he had given a sort of permanent permission to some of his dominant lovers to have sex with him without his permission in the moment, without his specific consent, at any time and in any way—a form of extreme submission that gave him a truly amazing amount of pleasure, a riches of pleasure. How very intimate it was to be desired and used in this way. How sure he could be that every movement, every direction of pleasure was exactly what his lover wanted with him. It gave him an ecstatic form of freedom from having to respond in any way except what was required. Willie also received intense pleasure from the knowledge he was pleasuring his lover in just the way he most desired. Willie had only had this kind of relationship with a few lovers, the ones he had trusted to care for him as a highly valued possession, who cared very deeply about his pleasure, even more than their own.

Now he found himself face down in the inky darkness, held there by another's will. It seemed clear Barnabas intended to use him sexually. Willie had not given Barnabas permission to bind him—by physical or mental force. He had not given him permission to use him sexually—not now, not ever. And without Willie's consent, the interaction was not sexual for him. It was violence.

Willie endured the sex. He was actually relieved that it seemed Barnabas was not thinking of him at all while he used his body. The man seemed to be having some kind of spiritual experience from the physical experience of sex. Willie felt keenly that he was fully spared the kind of rape that involved violence against his mind, that would violate his well-being and tear down his walls inside and destroy him with sadistic hatred, which was often the essence of rape.

When he was done, Barnabas had rolled onto his back, next to Willie on the ground. "I will not take you again unless you desire me," he had said.

This statement caused Willie more distress than the physical act. Barnabas implied that he was giving something to Willie by not continuing to use him without his consent! And he implied that if he waited, Willie would eventually desire him. 

"Spare me your kindness," Willie said with momentary sarcasm, ready to move on. I will not let you drag me down. I am done with it. I am done with you.  

"It was rape to you," Barnabas said with dismay. "I did not mean it so. I thought I made you desire it." 

Willie laughed. What is he talking about? "You made a mistake. How sad for for you," He thinks because I cried I'm a softy, a push over.

Willie. Willie heard him, felt his touch inside. He sat up, alarmed, barely able to see Barnabas now his eyes were adjusted to the darkness, this very pale, very strange creature laying on the ground next to him in the gloom. It's true. He's like a magical creature.

"What the...?? Let me go." he said. "Now." Willie was angry. It's not my fault you're some kind of weird vampire. "You have some weird vampire problems. Really weird."

"I am not going to let you leave me, Willie. You are going to help me. I must have your help."

"Help with what?" Willie began to realize that Barnabas really needed someone to help him. Who could he ask? "You have a weird way of getting someone to give you a hand."

"I don't usually care about humans. I lost that a long time ago."

Willie believed Barnabas had not meant to rape him. Why do I care? Why do I believe him? Why am I trying to understand? 

"I'm new here, Willie, and so very old. Who will get me clothes? Who will help me find a place to live? I cannot stand this place, this prison." Barnabas shuddered thinking of the cold room, shut up from the world, shut up again in the very dark coffin, unable to move.

It's true, Willie thought. He has been locked up in that coffin, how horrible. Hundreds of years in the dark, unable to move.

"Look, if I'm going to help you, you have to be on my side. Don't treat me like a slave, like I don't have an opinion."

Barnabas felt himself opening. He felt happiness. It had been so very long... Perhaps I am still human. He pictured himself from above, looking up in the darkness. Smiling. 

"But... I have to understand this. Ugh... the blood part. Why did you do that?" It was incomprehensible. 

"It is like a curse. I wasn't always this... a vampire."

"So you are going to keep drinking my blood." This is just too weird. "I mean, this whole conversation is comical, Barnabas. It's like a play. The family gathers in the drawing room while Aunt Tillie explains her blood lust."

Barnabas was quiet. He gave Willie some time.

Willie fell back down on the grass, swatting at it, tickling his ears. He was stuck with this weird creature.

"Do the Collins still live at the new Collinwood mansion?" Barnabas' voice was wistful.

"Yes, they do. Jason and I are staying there." Willie pictured Jason pacing, wondering where Willie was.

"And the other Collinwood, The Old House...?"

"It is vacant." Willie pictured it as he had seen it, stepping inside the great house briefly during one of his excursions around the property. It was derelict, decaying, hinting of an elegant, nuanced past.

Barnabas saw it through Willie's eyes, and was sad, remembering The Old House as he had last seen it, before a fateful day took it all away from him. He pictured The New House when it was newly built and almost ready for the Collins to move into it. He thought it would look the same, but likely very different as well.

"Do you have family, Willie? Is there someone who wonders where you are, what you are doing?"

"No family. No one, and I like it that way." We have that in common. 

"I am your family, now, Willie. I don't want to force you. But I will." I don't want to force him. No. But I will.

Willie found that he did want to help Barnabas, this strange creature, so like him in some ways. Willie lived at the fringes of life. He had felt no desire to participate in the life of others, except for his lovers, and they had been the same way. It was obvious Barnabas was like this as well.

Willie rolled towards Barnabas. He reached out, finding and hesitantly placing his fingers on his face, feeling around this face in the dark. His skin felt different, harder and silkier. He smelled different. It was a pleasing smell, like almonds, mingled with the light smell left on him from his musty old clothes. Willie traced his fingers through Barnabas' hair. It was also very silky, thick. He was still partly human, but also a vampire. He moved his hand downward and found Barnabas' hand, feeling how it was formed. He does feel kind of different. 

Then he felt Barnabas' hand against him, gently clasping Willie's hand with his.

"Oh," Willie exclaimed quietly. He felt a strong connection. The kind of connection that went with being lovers. Barnabas, still lightly clasping Willie's hand, brought it very slowly to his lips, kissing it gently. Still entwined with Barnabas' hand, Willie reached downward with their hands to Barnabas' heart, feeling him there. His heart seemed human. He felt the connection between them forming there.

It is true. He did not intend to rape me. He thought I allowed it.

Willie was letting himself feel how empty his life was, how lonely he was. He imagined how lonely Barnabas was after the terrible ordeal he had endured. He found that he liked Barnabas in a strange sort of way. And he felt clearly in Barnabas a desire and ability to give, and to learn.

"I will help you," Willie said. "But you are a really weird friend."

Barnabas squeezed his hand. I am still human. I can still feel happiness. He pictured himself from above, smiling.

"But we're in this together. You can't boss me unless I let you."

"Agreed," Barnabas said right away, squeezing Willie's hand again. But I will always be the one who decides, the one who is in control. Always.

Willie rolled back onto his back, laughing. He was still laughing. He pictured them from above, naked, laying so close together, alone in an old cemetery in the middle of the night, smiling up at the stars.

I will remember this moment for all the rest of my years.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX: Hunger

When Willie showed up back at Collinwood covered with bits of leaves and with scratches on his face, Jason had to know what was going on, and how to get his cut.

 

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Willie was adapting quickly to his new situation. Not again with that nasty blood stuff. He figured if he brought an expendable person to Barnabas, then he didn't have to be his next meal. Not that he knew many people, undesirable or otherwise. But Jason was a perfect fit to begin with, and no mistake.

When Willie showed up back at Collinwood covered with bits of leaves and with scratches on his face, Jason had to know what was going on, and how to get his cut. He had seen Willie out near the tool shed, so he knew it was some kind of job requiring means and know how, something Willie brought with him wherever he went. He was one clever thief, and Jason knew it. Wherever Willie went, Jason tagged along. And wherever Jason went, he saw to it that it was profitable for Willie to tag along with him.

"Come on, Willie. I know you're up to something. Look at you."

"I told you, I was out by the tool shed and tripped." Willie guessed Jason had seen him coming out of the tool shed. It was best to own up to that part.

"Yes, and what sorts of tools did you grab, and for what sort of job was it?"

"Jason, you're the one on the grift here. You're the one working the long con. You are looking like it's Christmas and your birthday on the same day. So where's my cut?"

"Patience Willie, we're rounding the last bend of that race. Meanwhile, where's my piece of your action?"

Willie was grinding his teeth. He hated Jason more every day. He only stayed with him because it paid. He was smug, and he was a pest. He thought the whole world owed him something, including Willie. Willie didn't owe anybody anything.

Willie slipped away from Jason and had some time to think. Should he wait for his share of Jason's big payout, or get out now? He already knew what he was going to do. He usually had no sympathy for rich people, and felt no guilt at all getting some of their riches for himself. But the Collins didn't act like rich people, at least not in the way he usually had to endure when he was around them. They were nice to him, and didn't lord it over him. If they had something to say, they said it as communication between equals. If Barnabas was related to these people, however distantly, that explained a lot about why he liked Barnabas in spite of how weird he was.

Willie had never stooped to blackmail. He knew some of what Jason was holding over Mrs. Collins, the dirty blackmail he was tormenting her with, and he no longer wanted anything to do with it. She didn't even do it. He just made her think she had.

Getting Jason to disappear without causing suspicion was his next task. It wasn't hard. He told him he would cut him in, but he had to make up an excuse about a little time away from the Collins, so there wouldn't be any questions. He insisted he would make it worth his time, but he had to trust him. They would leave at dark.

He gathered up the tools he had left back in the tool shed, another flashlight and a lantern, then they set out for the old cemetery. Not that Jason knew where they were going. Jason was baffled, but Willie kept telling him to shut up and trust him. It was a few miles of huffing through dark forest using the direct route he had planned out, one that didn't reveal the cemetery until they were right on it. There was no one around, of course, not on the old dirt road or near the cemetery itself.

Willie found that he was happy to return, and wondered why. He led Jason around and through the graves, listening to him complaining and speculating and talking incessantly, as usual. He was glad, as he had no doubt Barnabas had heard him well before they made it up the dirt road and down to the cemetery gates. Jason had begun ribbing him about grave robbing and how that must be a new low, even for Willie. Still, he was excited to find out what made a trip to such a creepy place worthwhile.

"I still don't get how you found this place," Jason said, making fun of a few names off the old graves. Making fun of dead people. Soon you will be one. As they neared the mausoleum, Jason read the large inscription in the stone just visible through the trees swaying above the scrolled gate. "COLLINS." "Here we are, Willie. You are at the top of your game. What did you find in here?" Willie took Jason's flashlight, handing him the lantern as he stopped for a moment to rummage in the tool bag, watching Jason out of the corner of his eye. Jason lifted the lantern, excited. He walked right up to the gate and swung it open, stepping inside, shining the light on the three tombs. "You opened these tombs?" he asked. "Marble. Oh, I see. It needs two men for the job. Why do I feel tricked? Let's get to it." He sat the lantern on the nearest tomb and rubbed his hands together, ready to get to work.

Willie had turned off his flashlight. He stood in the doorway. He could smell Barnabas, he could feel him. The hair raised on the back of his neck. Oh my god, he thought. He really is a vampire.

Willie saw the dark shape step out of the shadows. Jason stopped, then slowly turned around. His face was frozen, filled with terror, his eyes bulging, his mouth hanging open. Barnabas had no words for him. Willie saw pure contempt in Barnabas' ghoulish face of white, just visible in the light from the little lantern. Barnabas bared his teeth, and Willie caught a glint from the lantern reflecting on a long canine tooth. It was like a wolf or a dog's tooth, long and sharp. It was terrifying.

Willie was terrified, but he couldn't move. A low hiss emerged from between Barnabas' bared teeth as he took a step, his cape flowing forward, another step, his cape flowing forward, reaching to Jason and grasping his head, twisting his head as he pulled him back and his face upward, eye to eye, hissing, hissing. He pulled Jason's head all the way back, so his body was arched and stiff with fear, then clamped his teeth just so on Jason's throat, biting so fiercely that Willie could hear part of his neck giving way, a crunching and tearing sound as he pulled on the wound with his teeth. Willie felt his knees weak, his gaze blurred, but he still could not look away, watching, understanding what Barnabas was. He could see his pale throat working as he gulped full mouthfuls of blood at a time. He could see the change in Jason, becoming weaker and more pale with every swallow, until at last Barnabas was shaking him, sucking as hard as he could to get all him, all of his blood.

Two hundred years of hunger.

When Barnabas was finished, still looking into Jason's sunken eyes, he suddenly broke his neck and threw him violently to the floor, turning away, his body hunched slightly, shuddering, as Willie could hear him mewling, sucking his teeth with tiny snapping sounds, making deep sounds of satisfaction that he had never heard from a man or beast in this world, wondering what world this creature could be from, and how he had somehow come to be in this one.

Willie fell to the stone steps, leaning forward with his palms open in front of him, listening, listening to Barnabas making a very low howling sound. Willie felt his own body was heaving, his breaths uneven, uncontrolled. He had brought up his dinner. It was all too real. What have I done? He had joined his life with a vampire. What have I done? His life was over. It might as well be over. He belonged to a vampire. 

Willie realized then that Barnabas had spared him. With all of his years of hunger, he had taken what he could from Willie without killing him, without damaging him unnecessarily. Why? Because he needed Willie. This could have been me. Willie was consumed with a stinging, sinking fear, pulling him down inside, into darkness.

Barnabas was quiet at last.

"Take the body away," he said. "I cannot touch it now."

Willie couldn't move. He finally forced himself up. Holding his head, he tried to get the image out of his mind. He managed to walk to the body, turning it face down, the head at an impossible angle. There was no blood, the hands and neck completely white, the body bloodless, light, utterly cold. He grasped the legs and pulled hard, managing to get the body out and down the steps, dragging it through his vomit.

Now what?

"The shed," Barnabas said from within, his voice now calm and throaty, a dark purr made of a liquid, foamy satisfaction behind lightly smacking lips.

Willie found the flashlight and forced his way through the bushes, finding what used to be a shed, now a loose pile of old tools and implements. He pulled out the least rusty shovel and a pickaxe, returning to drop them next to the body. He was glad he had put gloves in with his tools.

Always resourceful.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN: Desire

He picked up the lantern and made his way through the headstones. The gate to the mausoleum was still standing open. He peered inside, lifting the lantern. It was as still as a tomb.

 

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Willie was dirty and sweaty. It was the middle of the night and there was one more grave in the cemetery, the newest by far. He was sitting on an ornate stone bench next to the little lantern, smoking a cigarette. He pictured Jason below, returned to the earth, a sinking cache of bones. He pictured nice Mrs. Collins happy and free, free of his dirty blackmail. Time to move on. Life was ever new.

"It's all right, we're going to be okay, Willie," he said to himself again. He was starting to relax. He was used to keeping control of his emotions, a skill that was particularly helpful in his current situation. A vampire. Now that was something new. Willie laughed. From what he had seen so far, they really existed. But it was somehow okay. It would work out. Life was ever new.

Willie had always done well no matter what life threw at him. He was never close to his family, and left home as soon as he could, finding his own way in the world. He had encountered darkness. He lived at the fringes of life and saw the darkness in people, depths of darkness. He had also seen ghosts before and knew there was more to life than what was visible to most people. And Willie's sexuality played with darkness at times for power and pleasure.

Okay. A vampire.

Willie relaxed. He began to imagine what it must be like for Barnabas to live this way. Willie was aware of his own substantial reserve of sensitivity and curiosity, always ready to bring a new perspective as needed. It was a form of destiny that he and Barnabas had come together. He felt sure of it.

No more Jason. Willie sensed that a connection with Barnabas was a match with infinitely greater potential. 

Willie looked around. Same old world. But this... he pictured a vampire smoking a cigarette, dropping the ashes, just another day. This was exciting. Ever new.

He closed his eyes, listening to the wind in the trees, their gentle shushing sound always a familiar call to his sensitive soul. A memory opened up in him.

 

Willie remembered a man he once knew, a friend of the family with whom he became intimate when he was a young man of 17. 

His name was Willard, but everyone called him Cone. Willie remembered the cool of the lake at twilight, the sound of the old Coleman lantern hissing as Cone made coffee, an adult's drink that Willie had only begun drinking recently. The two of them were sharing moments in Cone's large, old-fashioned camper, usually the center of activity for Willie's extended family, all of whom were back in town for the county fair. The lake seemed remote, wild again, everyone gone to town. Cone lit a candle and turned off the noisy lantern and sat down, blowing on his coffee. 

Willie sat across from Cone at the small fold out table. There were a few voices at the other end of the lake, echoing as though they were both near and far. Willie could just catch the sounds of the little brook behind the trailer, plunking sounds from the small and sweet little path of stones down to the lake. He remembered playing beside the brook when he was a toddler, one of his earliest memories.

Willie was looking at Cone's hands. He felt something opening up in him, in the space between the two men. Two men who had touched casually so many times were about to touch for the first time. Willie watched Cone's hand reaching to his, laying it lightly there, not a question, but a gentle statement. Willie lifted his eyes, suddenly a little shy, but wanting to be bold. He saw in Cone's eyes a warmth that was there for him. There was no specific invitation, just a revelation.

Cone rubbed Willie's hand, then smiled. The hand was withdrawn, and two men went back to drinking their coffee. A little touch, and Willie's world was changed.

Soon Willie couldn't wait anymore. He hadn't known he was waiting. But life wasn't just ready—it was ready to move forward, now. He stood, and the men stepped away from their coffee, their gentle kiss sharing the taste of it. They went to the back of the long trailer to love and talk and love again. Willie could tell that Cone was expressing as much tenderness as he could, perhaps as much as he had offered in his entire life. He was opening Willie for his own pleasure, but he also forming a little playbook of what was possible, offered as a series of beautiful moments. He was opening Willie to himself. 

It was very late and they were still talking. Willie confessed his peculiar desires and fantasies to Cone, hoping he could help him understand. Cone explained it to Willie, and Willie understood. Of course. It did make sense. He wanted to be intimate in a certain way. It was just how he was. He liked to be owned and commanded. That was his language of loving. There were lots of people this way. He had met them, but didn't know it. He would find them. They would find him.

Willie was happy, relieved. He relaxed. It was relaxing to know who he was, to have it make sense. Willie had learned things he didn't know, but also something that he already knew, but hadn't thought about. He loved men. Fumbling with girls was fine, and he had liked it. But to really fulfill himself, to be who is was, he would take the company of men.

 

Willie found that he was smiling, whispering to himself. The darkness of a cemetery was entirely different from the darkness beside the lake, but it was the same world. That world was still there. He pictured it there, now, in the dark. Willie knew where it was, but he didn't know where Cone was. "Thank you," he whispered.

Willie stood, stretching. The stars had spun a distance since he last looked up. He could see the little sparkle of the waning moon rising though the trees. He looked towards the mausoleum, remembering his bag of tools on the steps. He picked up the lantern and the old tools and made his way through the headstones. The gate to the mausoleum was still standing open. He peered inside, lifting the lantern. It was as still as a tomb. A little light shone from a secret room. The little rectangle of dancing candlelight seemed to reach out to whomever might glimpse its interior movements, and find there a new understanding, a deepening mystery.

He threw the digging tools into the bushes, setting the lantern down near his tool bag, then threw some soil on the steps. He got out his little water jug and poured it on the congealing vomit, whisking it away with a thick branch from a nearby bush. 

He stepped down into the hidden room, empty. The candles were low, but they still fully illuminated the small space. Willie pulled all the chains aside, piling them into the corner. The lid was back on the coffin, though it had been turned and moved towards the foot end. The inside of the coffin was dark, out of reach of the candles. Willie could smell the scent of almonds there. It was a pleasant smell.  

"Thank you, Willie."

Willie turned around. Barnabas was standing on the inner step. He seemed taller, more vibrant, intensely alive. Willie stared at him, taken aback. His presence was intense, charismatic. Willie felt interest instead of fear. Barnabas had praised him, offering him a little reward, his thanks. Willie noticed that it gave him pleasure.

The two men stood there, silent. What on earth would Cone think of me now? Willie had no idea.

Willie looked closely at Barnabas fully illuminated by the candlelight, standing with his lustrous black walking stick, an elaborate silver wolf's head handle under his hand. His cloak was thrown back over one shoulder and Willie could see his clothes more clearly. His cloak matched his coat and vest. Clearly he had worn these clothes many times. He was very comfortable in this formal attire from another time. Barnabas was a man. He had lived as a man. Something happened. How many years had he endured this prison, locked in a coffin, buried in a hidden room?

Willie found that his fear had completely slipped away. There were no thoughts of escaping back out into the night. Barnabas was fascinating. He was dynamic, forceful. He lacked the neurotic duplicity of modern men. He wore who he was on the outside. But there was something else, a new level of feeling beginning in Willie. 

Barnabas walked around the back side of the coffin, running his hand down the length of the velvet interior. As he came around the head of the coffin, Willie stepped back, his back finding the wall in the small room. He felt the sexual desire rising in him from this position of submission. Barnabas stopped without looking at him, still looking at the coffin. He continued around, running his hand down the near side of the coffin. His hand stopped. From the depths of the coffin he pulled out a small object, clasping it for a moment before sliding it onto his index finger, a large, black and silver onyx ring. He closed his eyes, remembering.

Barnabas turned towards Willie. He managed to reach him without appearing to walk, by somehow slowly changing his posture. To Willie, it seemed that his eyes were floating to him. The eyes were very close then. Barnabas was pressing Willie's body against the wall with his own. He tried to take Willie's hands, but Willie withdrew them, suddenly afraid again. Barnabas tried again. Willie brought them up, above his shoulders. Barnabas put his hands over his, holding them there.

Willie knew it then. Barnabas was dominant sexually. Yes. Of course. 

"You said..." Willie said, turning his head away slightly. He couldn't feel any influence from Barnabas, none of his magical vampire direction. He tried struggling a little. Barnabas let him go, taking his hands away slightly. When Willie stopped struggling, he held him fast again. 

"I did say..." Barnabas' lips were almost at Willie's ear. "But you desire me now, Willie Loomis. I feel your desire." Barnabas' breathing was at his ear, away from his face. He was keeping his intoxicating breath away from Willie. 

Willie could hear his own slow exhale as he closed his eyes. He felt intense, exquisite arousal. Barnabas was dominating him, expressing dominance. He had captured Willie against a wall. He knew where Willie's pleasure lay, and was playing with it. Willie felt his deep attraction to Barnabas. He felt a connection to the human part of him, to the man. And he had no doubt Barnabas was sexually dominant before and after he became a vampire. This dominance was deeply arousing to Willie. The intensity of it combined with being a vampire was breathtaking.

Willie opened his eyes. Barnabas' eyes were still close to his own. "Can you not read my mind?" Willie's voice was a complaint dripping with arousal.

"I can choose to stop, yes." Barnabas' tone was instructive. "But right now I am learning what brings you pleasure, and what you love is to submit."

Willie was silent. It was true. It was his secret passion. And Willie was aching with a familiar need. Make me obey...

Barnabas pressed against Willie, against his hands, against his body.

"Look at me," Barnabas whispered. 

Willie looked into deep eyes of liquid brown, falling into them. Submitting to this man, this creature, was more exciting than anything he had ever known in his life.

"Will you submit to me, Willie Loomis?" Barnabas said with the beguiling tone of one who was sure of the answer.

Willie was beyond all logic and knew it. The passions of this moment were deep enough to sweep aside the last of his fear. The remaining feelings were deeper than he had ever experienced, but they were the same ones he had always felt when he was acting from his essence. He trusted these feelings.

"I will." These words sent a thrilling surge of heat through Willie's body. For this moment. From now on.

Barnabas stepped back, making a very certain amount of space in front of him. Willie understood. He held the wall with his palm, sliding against it, falling to his knees. His body was humming with the unmistakable pleasure of a complete and perfect realignment of his world. It was his place in life, the place where everything was at the right height and proportion, where he felt a stellar peace. Barnabas leaned forward, offering his hand. Willie took it reverently and kissed the black ring on Barnabas' index finger, kissing it again.

"You are mine, then." Barnabas said.

"I am." Willie answered, wanting so much to hear those words again.

"You are under my protection. You need never fear me."

"Yes."

"You will take my direction in all things."

"Yes."

Willie sat back on his heels, his eyes down. His body was on fire. He was caught up in the intense fire of submission, and with this man the pleasure was beyond indescribable. His body knew where to go. He slowly bowed, his forehead on the floor. He became small, his mind fixed and compact, a singularity of focus, a freedom from all else. He felt his unique proficiency, his talents and skills, now available to another, at his call. Now, and from now on.

"Barnabas," he uttered, his lips and his voice were against the floor.

It was done.

 

Two men in a hidden crypt. One kneeling, the other smiling.

"Up." Barnabas commanded.

Willie stood. He saw a new world of feeling in Barnabas' sparkling eyes.

"Go home, Willie Loomis," Barnabas said. "Sleep well and return to me tomorrow. Come in the afternoon, I shall awaken to you here, in my hidden room. Bring clothes and all you will need to make me look like a modern man. I will be visiting my relatives, who will believe me to be my own descendant. They will give my beloved home to me, for they do not know that it is already mine. And you will come to live with me there.

"The Old House," Willie said. Yes, he would have lived there then.

"That is what they will call it. But it was... is Collinwood to me."

Willie went outside. He picked up his tools and started through the cemetery with the lamp. He turned after several steps. The moon was higher in the trees, the pale fingers of its rays swaying about on the mausoleum, on Barnabas standing on the steps. Willie still wanted his commands, his direction. 

"Tomorrow, Willie," Barnabas bid him farewell. "We will be together tomorrow, and from now on."

 

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT: Touch

Willie awoke to a sound on the stairs, steady steps up to his bedroom on the third floor of The Old House. He knew that it was Barnabas, coming up from his coffin in the basement. It was their first night in The Old House, and Barnabas had come for Willie's blood.

 

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"Two of these fellows you must know and own. This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine." ~ The Tempest, Shakespeare

 

Willie awoke to a sound on the stairs, steady steps up to his bedroom on the third floor of The Old House. He knew that it was Barnabas, coming up from his coffin in the basement. It was their first night in The Old House, and Barnabas had come for Willie's blood. 

Barnabas had not taken blood from Willie since Willie released him from his coffin in the Collins Mausoleum days before. Willie was remembering those moments of violence. He had chosen to submit to Barnabas, to obey him as his servant and source of blood, but he was still afraid. He stared at the door to his small room. There was no escape. 

The door opened. A dark shape entered the room, visible in the warm firelight. Barnabas closed the door, removing his cloak, then came to stand at the bedside, his silhouette with the fire behind him a posture of controlled need and desire. 

Willie was motionless, his body rigid with fear. The dark shape floated down to him, sitting next to him on the bed, facing him; Barnabas holding his gaze with a tender smile. He reached out with almost unimaginable purpose, gently grasping Willie's shoulder, holding Willie against the bed. 

"Obey me, Willie Loomis." 

Barnabas' gentle touch was reassuring. I want to obey, Willie thought, loving and fearing Barnabas' touch, his bite. No, no... I cannot. He will take all of me.

Willie remembered the terror of it, his body thrown about by superior strength, the feeling of flesh tearing, the intense joining of suction against his throat, the flutter of his heart, the liquid feeling of his blood flowing in one direction, to a forced outlet.

Barnabas leaned to Willie, brushing his hair back gently, his voice close. "You will taste different to me if you are willing. Are you willing, Willie Loomis?"  

Barnabas slid his other hand under Willie's shoulders, under his thick coat worn in bed for warmth until bedding could be brought from town. He pulled Willie up to him, hugging him tenderly, shaking him slightly with his need. "Relax for me... that's right. Relax."

Willie tried to relax, but he was afraid of the pain, of death starting where the emptiness began, where the blood was pulled from the deepest parts of him. But he also wanted very much to please Barnabas, to always please him. He wanted to give Barnabas this practical submission which he required from him. Such submission was intertwined with the deep desire in him to submit to Barnabas sexually. 

He won't take my life, Willie said to himself over and over. He pictured a feather, which he kept at hand sometimes to relax for his lovers.

Barnabas could feel Willie trying to relax, his seduction freeing him. "Take my kisses, Willie Loomis. My kiss will never mean death to you. I swear it." 

Barnabas was undoing Willie's coat, pulling it open, with Willie's arms relaxing at his sides at last. He detected these changes in Willie's bodily fragrance, and breathed deeply. He reached under Willie's shirt to caress his chest, his stomach, his sex through his pants. He unbuttoned Willie's shirt and sighed as he pulled it open. "You are beautiful..." Barnabas had turned Willie's face and body towards the fire. He brought Willie's lips up to his, brushing his own against their fullness, feeling Willie's motions of fear and pleasure against him. Barnabas sighed, and sighed again. 

"Are you willing, Willie Loomis?" Barnabas almost whispered at Willie's ear.

"Yes." Willie replied, his answer close in the small room.

"Ohh...." Barnabas said, his body flexing with a new level of pleasure. He breathed a long breath onto Willie's face, and Willie felt himself relaxing into an intense intoxication, melting into Barnabas' arms. Barnabas nestled Willie's head on his shoulder, rocking his body slightly, petting his hair and shoulder. He caressed Willie's neck with his fingers, testing the skin, seeking tender feelings there, adding to Willie's arousal.

At last Willie let his head fall back, offering his neck to Barnabas. It was an act of complete surrender, and Willie felt himself slide into a place of intense inner focus, of deep sensation and pleasure throughout his motionless body, now offered completely, falling open to Barnabas' embrace.

Barnabas was deeply moved, his breath a sharp intake, then a long release of fully awakening pleasure. He brought Willie's body tight against him, tilting Willie's head back further as he kissed his neck with great feeling. His need was cresting in him, but he was gentle, pushing with one sharp tooth until he felt the little pop of the skin opening, pushing harder, a little deeper, then quickly piercing the vein just so, the steady stream of warm blood flowing into his mouth.

The blood was sweet. The freely offered blood of a human, his own.

Willie opened. He felt his body moving without motion, flowing. There was an inner surge. He felt Barnabas joined to him, a part of him, an insistent demand, drawing from a compelling intimacy, Willie giving without loss, becoming him. He felt the potential for sexual release, learning instead what came before it. Willie was realizing how deep his submission to Barnabas could go. It was breathtaking.

Like a sea change, Willie felt his flow closing. Barnabas was kissing him then, the taste of blood on their lips. The lips pulled away, and Willie opened his eyes. He could just make out Barnabas' face, eyes closed, his head tilted downward, his expression one of quietly settling into a long lost state of rest and relief.

Willie wanted him to keep this feeling.

Barnabas opened his eyes. Willie reached up to him, touching his face and hair, surprising him, though he relaxed at once. Willie saw the sadness come into his eyes. 

Barnabas looked away.

Willie waited.

Barnabas' eyes were so very old, his voice almost a whisper. "It has been so, so long since I have been touched... touched. Humans need touch. Without it we go slowly mad. Mortal humans do not live long enough to feel my level of pain and need." He reached for Willie's hand. "I am still human, a part of me. Your sweet blood and your touch have revived me." He brought Willie's hand to his lips.

Willie grasped Barnabas' hand, pulling him down to him, firmly, insisting, feeling his weight full upon him, Barnabas' head on his shoulder, Willie's arms around him, grasping him tightly. Barnabas finally let himself go, relaxing, nestling into him. After several moments of silence, he was quietly sighing and sighing. He was silent again for some time before he moved, turning Willie with him as he rolled onto his side, still nestled firmly against him. He breathed long on Willie, and they slept.

 

Willie awoke under Barnabas' cloak. Barnabas was standing by the fire, holding an unlit cigarette, his back towards Willie. He was wearing his old clothes, having removed his cloak and coat, with the brilliant scarlet satin of his waistcoat outlining his powerful form in the color of Willie's blood.

My blood. I am in him.

"What do you call them?"

How pleasing his voice is, Willie thought.

"The little cigars," Barnabas added.

"Cigarettes," Willie said, pulling himself up to sitting on the bed. He touched his neck. There was one small piercing of the skin. No blood or pain.

"Of course."

Barnabas turned towards the bed, taking the unlit candle to the fire, lighting his cigarette from the candle, returning it to the little table. He pulled the wooden chair over to the bed, his back to the deep coals and dancing flames, accepting a small dish from Willie to drop the ashes into. Willie watched him smoke, the men enjoying sitting together without talking.

Barnabas hummed a little, looking at his cigarette, musing aloud: "How bright this tiny light would have been in my little box, the very soul of darkness." He remembered what it was like to be able to see fully in the dark, but have nothing to look at. He had created prose during his waking moments, though he could not write it down, and never spoke aloud in a horror of closeness. He looked at Willie, recalling a favorite bit that he had memorized, saying it aloud for the first time, watching Willie's face. 

"For I sailed a long tempest of darkness made, tossed by a dark ship of nothingness." It was inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. Barnabas pictured himself a traveler, his life shipwrecked by the cruelty of his kin. But then he also thought of himself as Caliban, a magical being enslaved, forever restless in his man-made box, surrounded by man-made chains.

He came up to me as the vampire. This is the man, Willie was fascinated as he watched Barnabas' face, his hands, the movements of his body.

Willie had greatly enjoyed Barnabas' prose, waiting before offering his own, a favorite quote from The Tempest: "Two of these fellows you must know and own; this thing of darkness I acknowledge mine." 

The two men were quiet then, looking at each other in the flickering candlelight, the dancing firelight.

"There is more to you than I thought, Willie Loomis."

Willie smiled. Everyone underestimated him. He wanted it that way. But he felt no desire to hide from Barnabas. He savored this unexpected freedom.

"What does it mean, to you?" Barnabas asked.

"To me, it is about my life. My fellow thieves are all owned by those they are jealous of, ever seeking to replace them, those of the light who know them through their treachery. But I am the king of thieves, a thing of darkness, owned only by myself, wanting only my portion of their wealth, and so never losing my freedom." He paused. "I feel empathy for you, Barnabas Collins. It is strange, but I feel more alike to you than anyone I have ever known."

I know a vampire... Willie was smiling, his eyes distant, his thoughts turning inward as his mental reverie was compassed by the darkness of the little room. Have I been searching for my vampire, a person of magic to submit to? A depth of submission far beyond that of humans...? Willie thought of Cone, of telling him about his extreme sexual desires, of wanting so much to submit fully to another. "You will find them. They will find you."

"Willie Loomis, King of Thieves," Barnabas interrupted Willie's thoughts.

Willie was happy to join Barnabas' playfulness, bowing his head slightly. "Barnabas Collins, King of Darkness." Barnabas bowed his head with a small flourish of his hand, and they laughed together for the first time.

Barnabas' face changed. Willie saw a sudden depth to his gaze, a flash like a revelation of loss in his eyes. 

"Willie..." Barnabas began.

This is the first time he has called me Willie... with such intimate feeling.

"I find that I feel something for you that would be lost if I forced myself onto you sexually. I can take your blood willing or unwilling. But I only want you sexually if it is also what you desire."

Willie was confused. Didn't I give myself to him? What is he saying?

"Willie. I desire you as a lover. I love you."

Willie closed his eyes. The words were a course of warmth in him, every part of him. When he opened his eyes, he wanted Barnabas to say it again, and again. But Barnabas was trying to tell him something. Something beyond these moving words of love.

"Know me, Willie Loomis. I am beyond wild when I am sexually excited. I feel it as a vampire, as a fierceness in me. I love the whip, the restraint, the gag. I sometimes cut or torture before I eat someone. My desire is wild. It is my nature. I haven't had a human lover since I was remade as a vampire. I have at times pleasured a human when I might have tortured, and I can also love you as a man, as a lover. But if I love you physically, it would sometimes be to ruin you, to take you apart mentally and physically, to go beyond your consent."

"I will force you as my lover, Willie. I will. It is in my nature. I will cut you, play with your pain and fear. And I cannot think of it. To cruelly torment you physically and mentally in this way would cause me great pain and distress afterwards. I cannot, Willie. I cannot be your lover, and love you... and then hurt you in this way."

A log collapsing into the deep coals of the fire, the tinkling dance of the sparks bouncing up the flue.

Barnabas leaned forward, brushing a lock of Willie's hair up from his face. He smiled and looked into Willie's eyes, caressing his face lightly, his own eyes full of a lightness of dissipating delight. Then he stopped. He sat back and smiled, his lips relaxing, fully covering his teeth. He drew a deep breath, his smile settling into a sadness as he settled into the chair, looking at Willie's lips, his hands, then away.

Willie felt a door closing between them. They would never be together in this way again. He knew Barnabas was sincere. His profound sincerity made Willie want him more. He felt himself opening to Barnabas in a rare but familiar way.

Willie sat at the edge of the bed, his feet on the floor, their eyes closer together in the dark room. "Barnabas." He was quiet for some time, letting a new place open up between them, a place for something completely unforeseen.

"Can you use me sexually without permanently damaging me? Without killing me? Even when you are a vampire? This is very important. You must be very sure."

"I can, yes. I am sure." Barnabas answered, curious. "As a vampire, it is my pleasure to search and know with pain, with no thought of consent, but I always control how far I go."

"Then I can give myself completely to you, sexually, all of me. I have given this complete consent to others in the past. I am offering this complete consent to you now. You can be a man or a vampire. You can be gentle. You can be fierce. You can terrorize or torture me if that brings you pleasure. As long as you do not permanently damage me physically or mentally. As long as you bring me back from every place you take me, physically and mentally. You must care for me, Barnabas. You must cherish me as your greatest possession."

Barnabas was searching inside, his mind intensely focused. Willie's words gave him a sudden, deep arousal, that was immediately joined with a feeling of settling, of settling into recognition of a desire not yet conceived of. To use Willie just as he pleased, and still be his lover? He felt his heart opening with the hope that awakened in it. To have his Willie, to know him as his lover.

Barnabas had never conceived of a lover since he was made a vampire, since he had been with his maker. He had never envisioned a compromise between his human nature to love and his sadistic vampire nature to use pain as his instrument of sexual intimacy. 

"I would also need to be sure about you," Barnabas said. "I would need to be very sure that you would gain pleasure from all of my pleasures. You say you have done this before. Tell me. Did you always take pleasure from it? Did you ever feel regret?"

"Of course I am not always feeling pleasure in the middle of it, but all of it gives me intense pleasure, every time. It pleases my lover. It is thrilling for them. How could I not want to give this to them? It allows me to give so much more. It is exquisite for me... As long as I can trust you completely. As long as you always bring me back. Then I can let go and be fully yours. I can be fully possessed."

"Barnabas, I am very strong, very steady mentally. It is how I have lived and thrived alone in this world. And it is how I give fully of my submission, how I can always return from a distance, an extreme. I build myself back up. I like to be taken far, then brought back."

Oh, how I love to say these words... "Barnabas Collins, I want you to possess all of me. I give myself to you."

"You are offering to give yourself completely to me.... without stopping me in my pleasures, great or small?:

"Yes."

"This would be love to you? For me to love you in this way?"

"Yes."

Barnabas sat with this understanding for some time. The minutes passed. The sound of the fire hissing from an inner place of intense heat, the sounds of their breathing arising from deepest desires coming true.

"Willie Loomis, the gift of this level of submission is beyond any gift I have ever encountered. If you will give it to me, I will cherish it. I will cherish you."

"Then I give myself to you, Barnabas Collins. I am yours."

It was done. 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE: For me

"Look at me," Barnabas said, decreasing the pressure enough for Willie to look at him, to see how excited and pleasured he was. "This is who I am when I am a torturer. I am made of this. It is what I feed in me. And you are my supper. You are the bread, the wine, your body, your blood. Tell me now, do you wish for me to stop?"

 

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Dear readers: This is a FANTASY from a fictional story about a vampire and his lover, and portrays consensually negotiated, advanced edge play without a safeword. I have never done this. Unless specifically negotiated otherwise, it is always assumed that the Dominant guards the submissive's consent in every moment, and stops immediately if the safeword is used for any reason. Playing without a safeword puts a lot of responsibility on the Dominant, who must then safeguard the physical and emotional well-being of the submissive with little input from them. Such play is too fraught with risk to be pleasurable for the majority of Dominants. In any case, play with a safeword can usually explore significantly farther than play without one.




"Sadism is all right in its place, but it should be directed to proper ends." – Sigmund Freud

"You are offering to give yourself completely... without stopping me in my pleasures, great or small? This would be love to you? For me to love you in this way?"

"Yes."

Barnabas arose from the chair, his body in dominance erect, profoundly relaxed, his head level, expecting, knowing, allowing. He felt the easy humanness in him tipped by the superior vampire, rising as primeval need, as feral delight. He stood in his old clothes from before, his old house from before, and felt only and fully now, forever young. 

He stood next to Willie, his legs against the bed. Willie let his head rest against Barnabas' thigh. Barnabas placed his hand on Willie's head. "Willie Loomis. I keep and possess you. I love and protect you," Barnabas said, understanding what Willie needed. "Will you now serve me? Will you obey me? No matter what I ask of you?"

"I will," Willie said. So happy, I am so happy. 

Barnabas closed his eyes. He felt no need to deny his wild nature surging. I can be what I am, unfettered and wild, taking my pleasures with or without his consent—and also have what I most desire, a lover. He realized that it was just minutes since he had learned this. Willie moved slightly and Barnabas stepped back, looking for the first time at his lover. Here at last...

"Remove your clothes," Barnabas said. "Reveal yourself." He felt again the years of numbness slipping away, the stilled places awakening, a full rush of life opening him. He leaned with his back against the wall as Willie undressed, as Barnabas was breathing, wilder, breathing, wild.

Willie was moving slowly, feeling a little jittery. It's like I'm getting married. He had let his open shirt fall to the bed, and was sliding the rest of his clothes off and onto the floor.

Let me be strong. Let me be willing.

"Stand," Barnabas said, seeing him anew. Willie stood facing him, his stance and muscles flexing lightly as openness, as offering. He followed with his eyes Barnabas' eyes on him, desiring and owning each part. 

Barnabas found each place, the ones that brought for him the most pleasure, guessing the places that would be most sensitive, testing in his mind the places most vigorously joined against him. He stopped with his gaze to trace the outline of Willie's large hands, desiring to feel the weight of them upon him, holding this as promise for another time of loving. Tonight he would take Willie first—and far. The thought spun as a passion under the wildness in him, driving him to action. He spoke aloud, to himself. "I am already gone. My need is wild. It will not be tamed."

Then to Willie: "You will let me take you where I want to go."

"Yes," Willie said simply, only available, only ready. "Yes." Let me be willing. Let me take my pleasure in his.

Willie remained standing before Barnabas, who was waiting to see what feelings might begin in him. He sensed no fear. He was captivated by the slightly shifting light from the fire on Willie's body, and pictured Willie held close by the dancing light of fire. "Lay in front of the fire." Barnabas waited until Willie lay on his back, then lifted Willie's head and placed his folded shirt under it. He lit a cigarette from the candle and turned the chair to face the fireplace, smoking as he looked at his Willie.

He wishes to look at me, Willie thought. It pleases him to observe my body in the firelight. Willie was still, passive. It brought him great peace, great pleasure to wait, to be ready.

Barnabas enjoyed the golden firelight playing on Willie's body, the light moving as if to be his own hands on him, searching the form of his Willie, warming him, reaching into him. 

"You are beautiful..." Barnabas said with feeling. How I love his body. A perfect man. Willie's body was smooth and full of the vigor of youth, with a little patch of golden hair at his chest and his skin honey colored, his lips and nipples of a soft pink that was pleasing. His hair was thick, a shock of golden brown. His sex was fully erect, tight against his abdomen, uncircumcised.

Barnabas pulled the chair closer, leaning forward to move his fingers lightly from Willie's breast down to his thigh, from Willie a quiet gasp, and small movements of sensitivity. Barnabas encouraged Willie's sex with his hand, touching it with only his fingers, then his testicles, both on and under them, between them, then his nipples, his jaw, his lips; smiling at Willie's private moans behind closed lips.

"Put your hands above your head." Barnabas leaned closer. He pushed lightly on Willie at a place just below his arm pit. "Do not move your arms, my love." Barnabas pushed down at the certain place with slowly increasing force. Willie was silent, keeping his arms in place. He began to struggle as Barnabas increased the pressure.

"Have you been used in this way?"

"No."

Barnabas put the cigarette out. "Your pain becomes my pleasure, my love..." Barnabas said quietly as he pushed harder on the sensitive place. Willie moaned long through closed teeth, struggling, pulling his hands down, then immediately pushing them back up again. 

"My love," Barnabas praised him, feeling a new depth of fire, the fierceness full up from the depths of him, singing in every part of him.

"I see you, Willie Loomis. I know you." His voice had no filter of civilization to it. Stark, fully relaxed, a vampire's voice, a body made of magic, sweet to the bone with pleasure, with sadistic pleasure.

Barnabas stood, stepping over Willie, then sitting on his knees across Willie's hips, holding him down. Willie looked up at him, and Barnabas held his gaze. 

I see you. I see a vampire... you. 

You see me. This is who I am.

"I am this. I am made of this. It is how I take you into me. Your pain. Your fear. My table and my supper. Your body and your blood are my bread and my wine."

Willie felt keenly Barnabas' words and shifting weight as he kept his hands tight against the floor over his head.

"Do not move your arms," Barnabas said firmly. He pressed hard under Willie's other armpit, so that Willie cried out with a long, lilting song of pain, pulling his hand down to pry frantically at Barnabas' hand. 

Barnabas was smiling. His face was full of satisfaction and dark delight as he tested Willie far beyond desperation, then decreased the pressure until Willie could almost tolerate it, making each word with a menacing firmness. "Put... your arms... back."

Willie tried, but could not raise his arms. Every time he began to put his arms up, he pulled them back again, tight at his sides, fearing the unbearable pain. He could see plainly the lively pleasure moving and subtly grimacing on Barnabas' face.

Barnabas moved his hand to a spot on Willie's shoulder, watching closely for the surprise and deep dismay on Willie's face, smiling with delight as Willie felt a deeper level of helplessness, realizing he could not grasp at Barnabas' hand there, that he could not move his arms or his body to try to make the pain less, to make it stop.

Barnabas increased the pressure very slowly as the collapsing and stretching tautness of Willie became a twisting, a reaching, as the gasps gave way to loud moans, as the long calls of pain became begging, all in a steady advance on decreasing reserves, the disintegrating concert of the parts of Willie. 

"Tell me Willie Loomis, do you wish for me to stop?"

Willie did not think. "Yes... oh yes!" Barnabas watched him closely as he let off only slightly.

Immediately Willie closed his eyes, pulling inside from every part of him, pooling the remainders of his waning strength in the center of him, flexing with renewed determination.

He opened his eyes. "No. Take more from me." 

Barnabas' face was a full portrait of surprise and happy delight.

"You would give me more pleasure?"

"Yes." It took so much effort for Willie to say this one word.

Barnabas felt a new depth of pleasure. Does he know that I would have taken more anyway? 

"Your willingness is so beautiful, so pleasing." Barnabas felt the sincere satisfaction full in his voice, watching then for Willie's private smile from the praise, shaded by weakness from pain. 

"Take my willingness." Willie's voice was tight, bracing against his fear. "Take it."

Barnabas immediately grasped Willie's wrists and held them with his vampire strength above Willie's head. He brought his face closer to Willie's, listening closely to his breaths, the most intimate sounds of his pain. He pressed hard again on Willie's shoulder, harder as Willie called out, again and again, shaking his head wildly then, his body rolling, twisting under Barnabas, his cries twisted as his neck twisted in his agony.

"Keep your eyes on mine," Barnabas commanded loud and calm. He pressed harder again and did not stop. "Eyes! Eyes!!" he was crying out then, singing and jubilant over Willie with rushing flows of breath, of pleasure.

Willie was wailing with pain, bringing his eyes wild back to Barnabas again and again.

Barnabas did not stop as he held Willie's face hard with his own, fighting against his cheeks, his forehead, his chin, until the moments became minutes, until Willie was defeated, exhausted, until he could barely move, his breaths and whimpering made of despair.

Barnabas sat back then, releasing the pressure, watching Willie, waiting until Willie opened his eyes to him.

"I see you Willie Loomis," Barnabas said so softly, searching in Willie for the changes he had caused, the collapse he had orchestrated.

Willie was lost. Every compensation in him had been drawn upon. It was moment upon moments gone before he could speak.

"I love you," Willie said. Everything you are, everything you do, pleases me, completes me.

Barnabas stopped, his heart captured in a moment. "My love, my love..." he said, releasing Willie's hands. He brought Willie's shaking arms around his neck, kissing him tenderly, kissing him, licking his teeth lightly, tasting Willie's blood from biting his own mouth in his frenzy of pain. 

Willie felt Barnabas' tongue on his teeth as a rough form of affection. He tastes my blood, it feeds his desire for me... He was certain of it. "Take more, my love...." For you.

Barnabas had slipped over the barrier of language into the flow of unrestricted voice, his breath pushed and pulled as sighs and groans of pleasure. He watched Willie as he slowly brought Willie's hand down, sliding it under his knee, holding it there. He took Willie's other hand, holding it firmly as he began to press on it in a place that caused a sharp, unbearable pain. He pressed hard and did not relent, and Willie's voice was full throated, loud and keening, a sweet melody to Barnabas who was fully quivering with an intensity of previously unknown pleasure, who could hear out into the night that every bird and creature had suddenly gone silent, listening with him to Willie's cries.

Willie shaped Barnabas' name into the endless wails, pleading with him, "Barnabas...! Barnabas...!"

Barnabas gripped Willie tightly under him, growling through clenched teeth as he orgasmed, growling and sighing and calling out with pleasure, long and long... and long, so much pleasure....

Finally his voice fell away, suddenly silent, for Willie was sobbing beneath him, broken.

Barnabas sat back from Willie. He tried to touch his face, and was rebuffed. He tried again, then sat back, his humanness still fully checked, delaying any need or desire to comfort Willie, choosing instead to watch all of Willie crying, moving about, shaking, as Barnabas savored the last waves of his dominance coursing through him. He found it deeply satisfying to be unable to touch Willie even slightly without it meaning more pain. He was completely still, watching and listening as Willie sobbed, savoring the way the sounds were pulled as breath in random patterns by the pain, by his body still holding the memory of its pathways. He sensed in Willie where the sounds began for each kind of pain endured, where the sounds went for each surge of pain released, all in the long and satisfying minutes as Willie slowly put himself back together again.

Barnabas was ready when Willie opened his eyes to him, finding his intelligence there, his love still there, Willie still wanting him from behind the familiar font of his tears, his eyes so close, open to his own.

Barnabas began to whisper to Willie, cooing and reaching and caressing with his breath and his voice until Willie would let him touch him at last. He bent to kiss the tears on both of his cheeks, making gentle "shushing" sounds, caressing Willie tenderly with open and gentle hands, eventually with great tenderness on the places where he had hurt him, his side, his shoulder, his hand. He rolled next to Willie, and waited until Willie would roll next to him, laying against him on his side, cuddling him, both facing the fire, Willie's head cradled on Barnabas' arm.

Barnabas closed his eyes, the flow of his mind and his physical sensations steeping in a place beyond the give and take of the breath, his belly filled and fully pressured with the thick, cold-hot sensations of fully met sadism. His body and mind were intensely still, floating with no contact to this or any world. Inside he had become the hidden place, the opening to the life force, the source of life deep within, where a sacred alchemy expanded, was exchanged and reabsorbed, leaving no lack or substance behind. Only the feelings. Only the stillness. Only the pathways made from and left by the molten heat of creation inside of his very being. 

It was the source of him, the source of a unique pleasure. The travel to and from this place is what made him physically ready for sex, made his breath deepen so fully, his heart quicken and race during physical intimacy. It was who he was.

 

New lovers were curled up together in front of the fire. The night was older, the fire gone to coals, when Barnabas stirred, thinking again of how much Willie had given, matching it to how much he had taken. He whispered to Willie with awe.

"For me...." You gave all that I asked of you.

Willie pulled Barnabas' arm tight around him, wishing he could give it all to him again, relieved beyond measure that it was done, entirely fulfilled by the certainty that Barnabas had taken exactly what he pleased from him. He rolled over, snuggling deep into Barnabas' arms, looking closely at his face, at his kind eyes, so recently cruel.

"I burn for you, Barnabas Collins. Already, I do. You are a fire in me. You will burn me up."

Barnabas felt his love for Willie pushing him again and again, ever into the next moment.

"Love will burn us. It burns everything else away," Barnabas answered with a distant certainty, knowing this well. 

"And I love you." Willie whispered, filled with pleasure, filled with pride. I gave all that you asked of me.

"You love me, a vampire?" Barnabas said, as though to tease, a deeply serious question, holding his breath.

This is the man, returned. "I love a vampire, a man... who loves me," Willie answered. "I love you."

"Ohhh," Barnabas purred, burying his face in Willie's hair. 

"You smell like Willie," he observed.

"You smell like almonds." 

"I do?" He remembered so long ago. I don't remember that one smelling different from humans.

Willie sensed the opportunity to use a joke to take someone down a notch.

"Yes, sort of. And your breath smells a little like chrysanthemums and... burnt vanilla smoke." You actually do.

Barnabas was laughing. He had smelled like this for hundreds of years, but didn't know. No one had lived long enough to tell him.

"So, I don't smell like a human."

"You don't."

"Right now my breath smells like loathsome flowers."

"No, only when you breathe on me to intoxicate me. And it smells nice."

"Flowers. I smell like flowers."

"You'll live." Oh, so satisfying.

"Ha!" Barnabas squeezed him. "That I will. That I will."

 

CHAPTER THIRTY: Shadows

Barnabas was vaguely aware that his desire for her might in some ways be unwise for him as a human. But he looked into the dark coals of heat in her black eyes and wanted her. He wanted her fire, her desire to live, her willingness to exist.

 

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NOTE: The time between chapters is longer since the story of Barnabas and Willie has changed from a short story to the longer narrative of a novel.


 

New lovers dozed in front of the last coals of the dwindling fire. Willie was face down, his head sideways on his hands, listening to the coals hiss, feeling a magic that filled his whole body with sweetness and profound relaxation.

Barnabas pushed himself up and gently rolled face down onto Willie, settling down into him. "You are my pillow. My nice bed," he said quietly at Willie's ear.

Willie's body curled with pleasure. 

Some time later, Barnabas rolled off, onto his back. He pulled Willie up onto him, face down. He wiggled under Willie subtly with pleasure, whispering at his ear, "You are my blanket."

Willie was swooning with pleasure. Barnabas must know how pleasurable it was for him to become an object whose only purpose was Barnabas' pleasure.

Barnabas stretched under Willie, relaxing into several minutes of rest with his eyes closed. He stretched again.

Barnabas lifted his head slightly. "You are my breakfast." He bared his teeth when Willie looked up at him, his head falling back as he laughed at the sudden expression of surprise and concern on Willie's face.

"Give me your hands." Barnabas took Willie's hands and placed them on his clothes, starting the motions of undoing and removing them, putting his arms over his head as Willie took his clothes apart.

"Mmmmmm," Barnabas was relaxing into the pleasure of having his body revealed for his lover. Willie undid his pants, then stood up, pulling them off. Barnabas sat up, and Willie removed his vest, his tie, his shirts.

"You smell so good," Willie said.

Lovers always do, Barnabas thought, remembering. He pulled Willie back down onto him. It was delicious to share nakedness, an intense newness of intimacy, and a tingle that went to their toes.

Barnabas sweetly kissed the tip of each of Willie's fingers, worshiping each door to his lover's heart.

"You taste so good," Barnabas said.

"Bite me..." Willie whispered, laughing.

Barnabas took his finger, licking and sucking it, lightly chewing and tasting it without biting. Willie purred with pleasure, then laughed.

Barnabas reached to Willie and clasped the base of Willie's throat lightly with both hands, pushing upward gently with his thumbs, finding the place of the large veins on each side of his throat, guarded there only by soft skin and flesh. He felt there the song, the play of Willie's heart. He inspected Willie's neck in the firelight, aroused by the beautiful wound, the place of his previous bite, almost healed. He kissed Willie gently on this place, and felt Willie relax, offering himself to him. Barnabas felt a sudden fire that became a sharp intake of breath.

Barnabas brought Willie's throat to his mouth, to his teeth, which he used to grip him by his throat, without piercing the skin, shaking Willie's head slightly. He exhaled as he released Willie, licking his neck in long pulls of his tongue over his throat, tasting him there. Then he put his closed lips firm against Willie's throat and growled, feeling the vibration with his lips and his hands. "Pah..." he said as he pushed outward with his breath, then "haah..." in Willie's face with his vampire breath, watching as his eyes began to swim and his body relaxed against his.

Barnabas turned Willie onto his back, cradling him with his arm. He kissed and caressed Willie, exploring every place, every sensation of pleasure expressed by movement and breath. How fascinating he was, how human, how vulnerable, how masculine, how strong. He took Willie's erect sex in his hand, sliding the beginning of his issue around him, smiling at Willie's sharp breaths of arousal. He moved his hand on Willie's sex, watching Willie's body tightening, the subtle dance of pleasure in him, his moans and exclamations of being slowly undone by pleasure.

Barnabas began in earnest to play with Willie's sensations, increasing, decreasing, and increasing the speed and rhythm, the tightness on the movements of his foreskin. He purposefully hurried him, and soon he was crying out, arching and kicking with a fantastic release that dissipated into a completely relaxed silence, but for the slowly decreasing rhythm of his heart playing in him for Barnabas' vampire hearing.

Willie had come to rest in an arched position with his back to the fire. "My love, my love..." Barnabas whispered. He ran his hands lightly up and then down Willie's body, slightly taut in his relaxed position.

He stood, and easily lifted Willie with his vampire strength, placing him on the bed, covering him with some of their clothes. He stirred the fire and added more wood, watching as the fingers of fire licked higher in the little fireplace, pushing the cold from the room, from the bed of his lover. Then he lay next to Willie, naked and with no covers. Vampires do not get cold, he smiled, remembering one of his first lessons. We do enjoy warmth as a luxury, the lesson had continued.

Barnabas did not sleep. Night was his day, and he indulged in "daydreams" as he lay in the liquid darkness, watching it dancing with the edges of the firelight. He remembered with pleasure when Willie had worn the close firelight for him, and was happy.

Then. Her fiery eyes. He remembered her. She had made him then. Would he make Willie now?

 

How young he was then. Impossibly young, though he thought himself to be quite mature. Still so naive. Like low hanging fruit, he thought, smiling.

She had stepped out of the shadows, seducing him with a long exhale of her intoxicating vampire breath, catching him as he swooned into her strong arms, their faces close together. Her eyes were dark, with a liquid fire within. He wanted to be behind those eyes.

You can be a part of me, he heard inside as she stroked his cheek, then let her fingers trail down to his neck. We can be one. She pushed his head aside and placed her thumbs on his throat, pushing at and widening the vulnerable space there.

Then she paused. listening.

Barnabas realized she was listening to him, that she could somehow hear his thoughts with the beat of his heart. He was thinking of George, remembering how it felt to be caught up in his arms. He was loving this memory, aching as he did always with the pain that never waned, now imagining that by some miracle of this creature's magic she might somehow bring his George back to him.

Barnabas felt some of the intoxication leaving him, going back into her. The weariness of his grief was waiting. He straightened up, watching her face, wondering what it was that she saw in him, for she was stepping back a little, looking at him as though he reminded her of something. He could tell; she was very interested in something in him, and her eyes sparkled with surprise and delight.

Barnabas. Do you want me? Do I awaken your desire? she asked inside, her gaze so playful, her smile increasing with the baffled look on Barnabas' face.

How can you hear me? 

I am a vampire.

It gives you this power? Barnabas didn't give too much thought to this vaguely familiar word. He knew only that he was captivated by her.

How old do you think I am? How many hundreds of years? She looked around at the world as if she had forgotten it for a moment.

She spoke aloud. "You intrigue me. Out of all the others, you are among the few in which I find something more interesting than a meal." She laughed. She was leaning against the gate where she had first appeared to him. She somehow reminded him of a pirate, and immediately she laughed. "Barnabas. You feel things very deeply. You ache for your George, your true love. I don't feel very much anymore. My only delight is in killing, in eating."

Barnabas finally, firmly realized that she was a creature beyond a simple human. He also realized he could have tried to walk away from her for some time now, but had remained. She was far beyond worldly. She was something supernatural. She lived beyond the limitations of humans, beyond death. She had kindled in him a certain hope.

"Can you return my George to me?" he asked at last, afraid of the answer.

"I can only take life," she said with compassion in her voice. "Though I sometimes give a portion of my life to the living."

He looked away.

She waited. At last she leaned to him, seeking his gaze, wanting to bring him pleasure, wanting him to want life again, to want her.

"Do you want me, Barnabas?"

She reached to Barnabas, taking his hand. "I desire you, Barnabas. Will you love me? Will you dance with forever?" She traced lightly with her hand down to Barnabas' sex through his pants. "You will have to give up everything else, but you will keep your life."

What do I have left? Barnabas forgot she could hear this thoughts. 

"You are so sad," she said. "Perhaps we can cheer each other. How quickly you have captivated me... something that does not happen to me anymore." 

Barnabas was vaguely aware that following his desire for her might in some ways be unwise for him as a human. But he looked into the dark coals of heat in her black eyes and wanted her. He wanted her fire, her desire to live, her willingness to exist. 

"It does seem that we have something very much in common," he observed, understanding her, summoning the dark maturity of one who has lost everything. "Our lives are both made of shadows."

She took his hands, laughing, playful. "I need you, Barnabas. I need you to make me young. Let us be lovers."

 

Barnabas returned to the little room for a moment, with Willie in deepest sleep beside him. He found that he was smiling at his good fortune—to have wanted her, to have known her, to have loved her. She had given him so much.

She saved him. George became in his heart an oath of loyalty to memories cherished, so many treasures guarded and kept alive in his heart. The pain did not leave, but he rejoined the living. He knew this made George happy, wherever he was.

She knew him. She taught him to dominate, to fully express his sexual desires by controlling physically, with pleasure, with pain. She taught him how to torture and kill without regret, how to set aside the liabilities of his human side when he so desired.

She made him her own. She demanded his devotion, and taught him subservience to her.

She loved him. They sometimes squeezed in together in each others' coffins. They brought each kill back to the other, blood shared as a vampire kiss. Their loving was passionate, a shared breath under the same moon, in the same room; a shared thought become fire when apart, burning the time and distance to their reunion, then the making of the hours and days of it, frenetic and wild, tearing at the bedding and each other, a passion... a passion of love.

They loved. He thought they would have loved forever.

 

His father had found them where they thought themselves safe, where he thought he could spare his father ever finding him in a coffin. Alive... and in a coffin. 

His father had returned with men and huge chains, somehow completely silent until the sudden clunking of the chains as they were thrown around their coffins, holding them before they could use their vampire strength to escape.

My love, my love! She cried out to him inside. They will kill me!! Barnabas! Barnabas!

She screamed, the muffled sounds rending the darkness from within the resonant hollow of the coffin. It sounded to Barnabas as though she was underwater, slowly drowning, her coffin sinking with her in it. The sound was unbearable, the image horrifying.

My love, my love! He cried out to her inside, pushing wildly at the cover of his coffin. 

He screamed. "Father! Father!! Do not destroy her, I beg of you. Have mercy.... mercy!! I will let you destroy me if you let her go..."

Barnabas could hear the stake being driven through her coffin, then into her heart. The top of the coffin had rent in two, the chains scraping as it all fell to the floor, as her screams became ear-splitting, jarred every few seconds by the mallet hard on the stake, as her calls faded quickly, and she became silent. 

Barnabas was calling her name, moaning, weeping. He waited for his own demise, wanting it without her. He could hear the sound of her coffin being taken away. He knew they would burn her.

Barnabas sobbed silently in a long silence, aware of his father's breath, the sounds of his weary heart, standing so still beside his coffin. Then he heard his father's otherworldly voice.

"My son. I cannot destroy you."  

"Free me, father. I beg of you. Send me to her." 

"I cannot, Barnabas. I must choose what horror to live with, and I cannot contemplate my existence after destroying you, my son. I cannot kill you in this way." Minutes passed.

"Oh my son, I must weep, but not yet. I must finish you somehow. I must stop your evil. Goodbye, Barnabas. Sleep, and be held sweetly by darkness. Sleep. Forever, sleep."

He was gone then, and Barnabas wept. Ariadne, he called out inside, falling and falling into the silence—the empty place where she did not answer. He tried, but he could not stop searching for her there. He could not imagine it—powerful, immortal Ariadne, his lover, gone, somehow gone.

At last he was finished with crying. He felt his entire being crust over upon itself, no longer of the outer world. He was ready to dream, to only dream.

The men returned. The chains were wrapped more tightly about his coffin, and he could hear the click of the locks. He could hear his father's voice, then knew himself to be picked up, the coffin conveyed out and slid into a cart. He could hear the old horse as the cart began to creak forward, bouncing down to the road, then a few miles along it, hours that seemed days of not knowing his fate. Then the horse turned up the rutted, old and overgrown road. Barnabas knew then where they were, and to where they were taking him. His chest was hollow, his gut stinging with horror and fear. He could not contemplate his fate. His mind began to shut down. He hoped beyond hope that he was dying.

They lifted him down and conveyed the coffin through the huge trees, their footsteps crunching on the rocks and dried leaves, their strength easily moving him when he could not, taking him where he would not go. And yet...

He heard the squeaky cast iron gate as they carried him over the step of the old mausoleum, then the stone on stone sound of the secret door sliding open before they stepped down into its depths, the secret room hidden from all the world. They placed him on a structure of squeaky, newly assembled wood, pulling and wrapping and checking the chains, until all became silent. His world became silence itself.

He waited for his father's voice, his farewell. Then he realized there would be no more farewells. He was alone as the men left, crunching away through the cemetery. The hidden door was closing then, and he pictured his father closing him in, desiring that the door never be opened again. He could almost hear his father weeping stoically as he left the cemetery. He imagined his father breaking down at last in the privacy of his closet, where he made his final farewells in silence.

An unimaginable fate. To be made into a vampire was in some ways horrible, irreversible. He had come to know this too late. To be locked away then, forever an immortal vampire, was more horrible than any fate he could conceive of.

Hungering, unable to move. Forever in darkness, forever alone. 

Until he found his Willie. Until his Willie found him.

He thought of those moments, remembered the sound of the chains being pulled across the lid of his coffin when Willie had freed him, the divine sounds of an unlikely redemption, of a sudden, exquisite freedom. It helped him to forget the last memory of her, the echoing sounds of her terror mingled with rumbling sounds of the chains being pulled across her coffin as she was dying. He remembered instead... how her eyes had sparkled so close to his, her soft lips given, and the loving kiss they shared before she pulled the cover over her coffin that last time—and he smiled.

He had once been born to a new life with her. Now he was born to a new life without her, to love again. He knew she would want it that way.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE: The source

The doors to Barnabas' study vibrated loudly as they flew open and they fell through them, landing on the couch. They tore each others clothes off in frantic frustration, then wrestled against each other, falling to the floor, their lips together, then at each others' ears, singing a passion of breath that became louder and shorter to shape the perfect silence between each breath.

 

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Willie was walking about the ground floor of The Old House, enjoying the beauty he had made using the manor house as the canvas for his art. It was over a year since Willie had moved into The Old House with Barnabas, and he had finished renovating all of the ground floor, except for the grand gallery, which was to be left as it was for the time being. He had scraped and refinished the floors, a seemingly endless task that had finally reached fruition. Walls of sumptuous wallpapers, curtains of heavy silk damask, and Persian style rugs thick and colorful recreated the elegance of the past life of the old house.

The renovation had given way to the rewarding, less strenuous task of decorating. Both carefully restored and newly purchased antique era furniture were arranged for comfort in the inviting candlelight, with all of the silver sconces and candelabra original to the house, as were the chandeliers, paintings and portraits, and the charming rococco clock on the fireplace mantle in the front drawing room. Now Willie was looking forward to completing his loving renovation of the hallway and Barnabas' dressing room on the second floor, the personal haven where his lover refreshed, and where he carefully stored and chose from his elegant clothes. 

Willie did not know from where Barnabas produced for him the required amounts of modern money, and he did not ask.

Willie had finished Barnabas' study last, decorated in a masculine style with more modern, dark leather furniture, heavy velvet curtains and a beautifully carved desk of dark cherry to match the bookcases and the large curio cabinet. The piano had remained in this room, and had responded well to multiple visits by a piano technician from town. Barnabas was a skilled and expressive pianist, and Willie was especially fond of his interpretations of Chopin's Mazurkas and Nocturnes, though Barnabas sometimes avoided playing for long periods, something Willie thought to be related to the Collins relative he had loved and lost to time. 

Willie walked through the study, then stepped outside to look out across the snowy twilight, the air fresh and crisp, and the new snow a brilliant white between the house and the dark green and black of the sudden edge of the forest beyond. He felt he was floating like his breath on the muffled winter silence as he stood warm and happy in his heavy winter coat, waiting for Barnabas to emerge from his rest below.

Suddenly the details of Willie's little world were pushed aside by a vision of his Barnabas standing in the snow between the house and the forest edge. Barnabas' face was still, with no expression. His body was relaxed, as though he meant to stand there forever. But his eyes. He was close enough that Willie could see in his Barnabas' eyes the pleasure of beginning, of dreams coming true.

Barnabas lifted his hand to Willie, and Willie dropped his cleaning rag, dropping his day and every day as he walked to his lover, walking to all that was new, ever new—with each step a hypnotic hush of swirling, sinking snow.

Barnabas opened his cloak to Willie, then wrapped him close. Willie could feel Barnabas' heart beating against him in a gentle dance as Barnabas kissed his head and squeezed Willie against him. 

Will you go with me? He asked inside.

Yes, Willie answered without hesitation. You know that I will.

Barnabas pulled Willie tighter against him and they were suddenly moving, Barnabas gliding between the trees in the forest darkness, down the snowy slopes, across the road and on down to the edge of town. He let Willie down lightly, smiling at him peeking out from his cloak in the new darkness, both of them enjoying the pretty lights of the town below.

I will help you, Barnabas said inside. Look...

Suddenly they were on the street, the snowy sidewalks glistening under the street lamps, walking past the newly closed shops and the newly populated sidewalks and taverns. Barnabas was gracious and formal as he returned the greetings of those who smiled and offered a cheerful "good evening" as they passed. A few greeted him as "Mr. Collins," and Barnabas responded with warm recognition as well.

Look... Barnabas said inside.

Willie began to focus on individuals near to them. He knew that it was Barnabas who made it so, but it was still shocking for him to hear their thoughts, to sense their emotions, guess at their history.

A man who had been drinking all day, laying between the buildings, dreaming of his favorite fishing hole in summer, his jeans rolled up, his boyish legs in the cool water, the buzz of golden insects, the sunlight on the rippling water.

An older woman whom he found quite intriguing, dressed in finery, emerging from a lawyer's office across the street, waiting as her driver opened the car door, then sliding into the backseat with her thoughts on a book she had been reading, a world of fantasy that fed her imagination and spirit away from her forever crushing family obligations.

Willie smiled warmly at a young man, standing near a tavern door, wishing to meet men like himself, but not knowing how to find them, yearning in his heart for the companionship of a lover. 

There. A man standing over the water on the dock behind the tavern, drinking slowly and alone, remembering his father who had recently died. Willie knew that his wife was also dead, leaving him childless, and that he had no other relatives. For years his pastor had told him his life would begin again, but it had not, and he no longer attended church.

Willie was intrigued by this man, and lingered on him, listening, understanding.

He is dying, Barnabas said. Inside there is less of him every day.

Some people choose to die? Willie asked inside.

Yes, and some people just do, they begin to die. Then. Will you watch with me, Willie?

Yes.

Barnabas wrapped Willie up in his coat again, lifting him slightly so they seemed to Willie to almost float to the man.

"Travis Williams," Barnabas said quietly with an intimate, gentle tone. 

You already know him? 

Of him... for many years. I am old, was all Barnabas said, and Willie pictured him smiling.

The man turned to look at Barnabas, looking briefly at his strangely old fashioned clothes and cloak, squinting at him as though he might be the product of his beer, which he rarely partook of.

"How do you know my name, Sir?" he asked.

"I have lived here much longer than you," Barnabas replied. "I am old."

He is the Collins man, moved here from England... they must dress different there.

"Okay," the man laughed wearily with a feigned tone of interest. "Makes sense to me." The man turned back towards the water.

Willie could see how difficult it was for the man to respond to polite conversation, how the sound of his own voice was jarring to him.

Why do I try? he heard the man's thoughts. I have no interest in this man, nor this world... and less every day.

Barnabas leaned closer, breathing on the man. His body was loosened, and Barnabas caught him.

Willie reached out instinctively, steadying the man. The man shifted his gaze, and only then noticed Willie so near to him, under the cloak.

"Ohhh," the man said, still wobbling.

Barnabas held the man with care as he drew him closer, kissing his forehead. "Death has come to you twice, Travis Williams. Death has come again."

The man looked at Willie, bewildered, shaking his head. The drink... he thought. Steady, Travis. Maybe none of this is real.

Willie felt the drama beginning in earnest as Barnabas enfolded the man with his Willie, wrapping his huge cloak around the both of them, holding the man like a father, like a son.

"Ohhhh," the man said sinking into Barnabas with his eyes closed, embracing him as he embraced a sweet form of relief.

The man became eerily calm. Time seemed to slip off of his shoulders and away, revealing his essence, that which lived in him, that which would die, becoming another.

Barnabas gently nudged him against his arm, bending as though to kiss him, Willie imagined for a moment. But Barnabas was bending him back, bending over him, breathing on him again as he brought his teeth to his throat, piercing him twice with one sharp motion followed by the subtle movements of him pulling from the wound.

Barnabas pulled Willie closer, their heads together as Willie watched the man's face. Willie expected to be horrified, but he was fascinated, only uncomfortable, and this caused him to question himself, to wonder with some alarm at what he was becoming. 

Willie felt the man's body moving slightly against him with each liquid tug from Barnabas, his muscles becoming weaker, his body no longer coordinated, lighter, falling further into Barnabas' embrace as he came closer to death. Barnabas pulled away from him, licking his lips, sucking the gore from his teeth—the solid parts of the blood built up there. He was holding a knife then, feigning the work of a murderous thief, cutting at the man's throat, pulling out his pockets, the last of his blood pooling under his head where Barnabas had laid him at Willie's feet. Barnabas seemed almost tender for a brief moment, still bent over him before he rose and turned his back to the corpse.

 

Willie was not moving. None of him, all of him. Everything had come together in a way he had never known, a way that life had only hinted to be possible.

He saw energy all around him, through him. It was beautiful, scintillating with a blue sheen that flowed like blood through all of life. All that he could hear or see was one. He was inside of Barnabas, and Barnabas was inside of him. They had always known one another. Their love was a palpable energy that surrounded their joined consciousness, that radiated through all of Willie's senses as they were altered by time, sorting everything forward into a series of moments.

He felt another consciousness joined with them, the man flowing, alive, a current of life. A divine energy was exchanged. He felt it filling Barnabas, flowing through and from Barnabas. Barnabas was the catalyst of a divine flow that released and channeled the energy, a flow arising and subsiding into a greater whole beyond them both, a field of consciousness that Willie knew, and had always known. He realized the border between himself and this energy was an illusion, a part of the play.

Willie could tell that Barnabas did not share this vision, for he thought they were separate, not one. He could see that when he fed on a human, he felt that he was only taking from them, physically emptying them without recompense. The exchange filled him with immense power and bliss that was contracted by this limited understanding.

When Barnabas was finished, to feel all of what surged through him without regret, he turned away. He shunned the form of the one he thought he had vanquished, completing the illusion of separation.

Willie noticed the thought. How could causing death not be bad? He did not know. But he knew now that there was a wider meaning to life that could become apparent without answering this limited question—an understanding which challenged all that seemed obvious and easily taken for granted.

Willie experienced turning away physically, as Barnabas had, facing the same way as Barnabas. He felt his consciousness being altered by this intention and action. Then he turned again, turning into Barnabas, pushing against him, pushing, pulling him closer, down, a little closer—then spontaneously exhaling into Barnabas' ear. 

Barnabas closed his eyes.

They were both hearing it. Beautiful, divine tinkling sounds that seemed to be inside and just outside of their ears. They did not stop as Willie's breath in Barnabas expanded on an infinite scale. It became a spinning galaxy opening in them both as one, opening as all consciousness, as a universal being of subversive delight, of an intimate, playful consciousness... expanding, expanding. The source. The destination. Forever.

Dancing... dancing. It is all a dance. Willie saw the universe made out of a dancing consciousness. He knew himself as part of an energy contracting, then soaring, opening and becoming in him a sort of sparkly, golden energy bursting from the top of his spine, flowing out in silence. And he was soaring as this energy, out into the immense and endless space between stars and galaxies, the perfect silence. Out, out, and out.... then turning in a perfect arc, he came all the way back and surged up the base of his spine and out again, over and over in a continuous loop.

Willie felt his body pressed tight against Barnabas' body. He took Barnabas' hands and wrapped his arms tightly around himself, nestling deeper inside his cloak. Holding on.

Go.... he said inside.

 

Barnabas was already moving, flying with his new strength and bliss surging. Willie had to keep his face against Barnabas to be able to breathe. An ocean of air flowed over them with a shushing sound as they moved... up, and up to their home, to the so familiar doors they had left only moments... another age ago. 

The study doors were vibrating loudly as they flew open, as they fell through them, landing on the couch. They tore each other's clothes off in frantic frustration, then wrestled against each other, falling to the floor, their lips together, then at each other's ears, singing a passion of breath that became louder and shorter to shape and fill a perfect silence between them.

The lovers could not get close enough to each other. They grasped and rubbed, licking, sinking their noses and tongues into the close places. They heard each other, the song to their dance, the moans that sprang full-formed from them. Again and again they knew, and with their eyes partook of each other as light, part and whole, familiar and completely new. 

At last they moved to suck each other, taking so deep that breath was impossible, with their lips reaching, their need reaching into each other, pulling from the beginning of their love as energy at the base of the spine, seeking there with tight lips followed by noisy sucking that made them harder than hard, both of them swelling and moving through grasped lips and dancing tongues. 

Willie pushed against Barnabas and arched tightly, turning over, his shoulders bent down and forward. They were quiet and still when Barnabas was at his opening, with both moaning as Barnabas entered him slowly, slowly, like the entire sexual act would begin at the tip of him and culminate when he reached fully inside.

Barnabas pushed harder, finding, seeking deeper. Deeper still. 

Barnabas felt Willie's cries of need and pleasure vibrating in his chest, so close was he against his back, as Barnabas strained against him for it... deeper still. Then he was fucking Willie with a controlled urgency that allowed him to shape Willie's cries and play them, play him like an instrument of his pleasure, a song of intensity that was new and answered all that was old, gushing with an abrupt breath from the depths of his lungs with each lunge against and into him.

Fucking. We're loving... this way... Fucking.

Barnabas felt tears on his cheeks. He realized he was making tears, making tears...how could it be? He slowed then, fucking Willie soft, with exquisite tenderness, with so much tenderness that it was still not enough. He felt Willie was a treasure he would hold and worship forever, more valuable than his own life.

Willie was his whole world, his other self. He knew this would always be so.

"I love you," he said at Willie's ear. He could hear the tears in his voice, the quivering of his diaphragm from his silent and gentle sobbing. 

"I love you, Willie Loomis. I love you." You. His voice had tiny breaks in it from the sobbing. 

He grasped Willie at last, bringing him to orgasm in a few perfect strokes, stopping then to fall against him with his own release, growling, each growl culminating in a verbal gasp of bewildered complaint and impossible satiation. 

 

Barnabas was finished moving. He felt that he was crushing Willie but would not relent.

He realized he had rug burns on his knees, and was glad.

He was no longer bewildered by it, by their coming together in a brilliant current of life that was pouring through his Willie and into him.

"You will join me forever," he whispered to Willie. "You will let me make you mine."

"I know this," Willie answered calmly, his breaths coming more evenly. "I desire your blood in me now."

"So beautiful." Barnabas loved the words that meant forever. 

"My love," Willie said, falling silent.

"My love," Barnabas answered.

Barnabas felt his mind opening to a new sense of scale for his life and existence. He knew the purpose of his life. It had already come true. I forever choose my vampirism without reservation, for it gives me the power to make love eternal.

 

Lovers held each other closer than close, by loving entangled, refusing to move but for the shared rhythm of their breathing.

Willie voiced his complaint as Barnabas slid off of him at last. He took Willie in his arms, standing, lifting him, his treasure. He climbed upward to Willie's warm place of intimacy, his sparsely decorated, almost naked room, watching Willie's face, his closed eyes of perfect trust. He turned down the pile of blankets, tenderly placing Willie in the soft flannel bedding. Then at last he knew his Willie's eyes on him as he wove himself into him, as they settled into each other, exhausted lovers who did not desire sleep.

Lovers silent after loving, they listened to the wind that had come up, pushing against their house and their home, stopped by the thick glass of the old windows, the gusts dancing with abandon at the edge of their little haven of coziness, again and again.

At last Willie reached with the words, telling his lover. "I burn for you. In your arms the ache is answered, but it does not go away. You must take all of me, completely, or I will die from my love of you."

Barnabas took his lover's head in his hands, kissing his forehead tenderly, pressing against it with his own. "You will never die," he promised. "Is there really any doubt left in you? Catch up with me, Willie Loomis. I live in you, in every part of you. I will hold you under me until you know this, until your doubt is something of the past. Do not try me in this. Give up your doubt. Throw yourself on the fire of my love for you, let it consume all in you that cannot be changed by your love of me."

You carry me in your heart, Willie said inside. I have nestled into you. I feel you enclose me. When I am like you, I will do the same for you.

I know this. I feel your promise in my heart. Sleep my love. Sleep at last. Sleep.

Two lovers carried along on the current of love, drifting gently into sleep.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: Becoming

"How seldom do humans truly worship the throat, the neck. All of life passes through it. Sustenance as food. Breath as oxygen for the blood. Breath as words and emotions, as music." — The Translocation of Consumption and Intimacy, by Barnabas Collins (unpublished)

 

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JOURNAL —  Barnabas Collins, Collinwood

November 20

I watch Willie when he is with me. I am learning everything about him all over again. We feel a closeness now that is like we are bound together by a single covering, a wooley blanket of love around us. I spontaneously hear his breath—his heart—somehow inside of me. I reach out to him inside the very moment I awake, before I have fully returned from my dreams of him. 

All of this, and yet, we are on the way to something else. It is the beginning of a newness that I can only guess at.

And I feel it. Yes. I am sure. Willie is ready to take a step closer.

November 21

I will take Willie with me to the town. I will bring him close to the source of my life, the source of his life should he choose to become like me.

November 23

It has been a few days since my last entry, yet I feel as though it was written months ago.

Willie has understood. He knows fully what the choice will mean.

Willie will become like me. Sweet words! It is coming true, my heart's true desire. I am ecstatic beyond words.

The deepest parts of me are released. He is of one mind about it. I need not guard myself from hurting him by making the decision for him. I feel a profound relaxation throughout my being.

I will decide the timing. I will not hurry him in this.

I am happy, so happy.

Not all of this gift to him will be positive; a great deal is lost in becoming other than human. I will wait until the balance of what is gained becomes greater than what is lost. I was not finished with my life as a human when I was made, and this caused me difficulties that Willie can avoid. The timing must be purposeful. Changing him is not an easy choice for me. But no matter how difficult the choice to make Willie like myself, I have always been easily and selfishly certain of my desire to make him eternal.

November 23, later

I wish to make a few notes about how Willie is changing me. I continue to feel that Willie will be the greater of us once he is made.

Willie has opened in me a new and profound spiritual understanding of my nature and abilities as a vampire. My nature fits into the greater pattern of life, of preserving and sharing, of destroying and shedding of life. Somehow I am both a playful perversion of and expansion of the life energy of humans, which I still contain. How strange: it pleases God to sport as me.

I thought I was sure about what I have become. But what I am becoming...?

Once the alchemy of my blood was altered with vampire blood, the blood altered my brain and body, expanding my potential and decreasing my limitations. My mind has fewer limitations than the human mind, yet the limits of Willie's understanding are becoming equal to mine as he comes closer to joining with me as I am. 

We are changing and augmenting each other. Willie's immense transformation has already begun, and it is the catalyst for what we are becoming together.

Love is the substance of our joining. 

November 25 - Thanksgiving

It is a day of feasting, of thankfulness. Willie created and feasted on a special meal. I have feasted on my Willie. How festive! I thanked him for his delicious blood with delicious lovemaking and pleasure, and blissful romping about like fools. 

November 27

I have asked Willie to give up doubt. I must take my own medicine. I am so fortunate! Our love demands this.

November 27, later

I remember when I was young, I came to doubt and question myself in everything. I let fear take hold, for I needed something to keep me awake, to keep me from forgetting the possibility of ruin. Life seems an eternity to a child. So when I thought I had ruined my relationship with my father, I learned I could lose what was irreplaceable. I learned that I could ruin my life. And I would have to endure the horror of a ruined life for that long eternity of a child, that stretches out forever. Surely this was a fate would take away my very sanity. 

Then as I became older, I still doubted and questioned myself. I let doubt jar me from complacency. Death became real, very far away, but life seemed to be ever shorter, and I feared I would run out of time. I imagined the horror of coming to the end, and realizing I had ruined and squandered my life. I feared losing my way, becoming trapped by delusion.

Humans often avoid the discomfort of life's challenges by compensating with distraction and substitution. They fool themselves to avoid pain, which only delays it, and makes it worse. Were I to lose myself to delusion as a vampire, I fear a cold horror of regret would be greater every day, greater than all of me, for an eternity. This was a fate that would ruin and destroy my sanity, without the release of death.

I was made immortal. When I realized I had been made immortal, I saw that I still had this existential fear. I still feared forgetting, of going to sleep inside without the doubt that I tormented myself with as a human in order to stay awake. I feared going to sleep forever.

Now. My Willie keeps me awake. Love keeps me awake.

Love keeps me awake. I choose love over doubt. I choose love.

November 30

Doubt has no hold on me. I have been given a love that can last forever. I once lost a love to time. Now I can love again, and time will not become the violence that pulls my love from me. Time is now the tender arms that hold my love against me, forever my treasure.

November 29

I remain focused on my writing. It helps me to keep my balance, to keep my thoughts about timing for Willie focused and private. I leave it to him—for awhile—to decide if he wishes to talk about it. Then I will make a decision about when.

In the meantime, I hold him close with every glance, every sound, every touch, and every word. We circle each other as we go about our days, wider, then closer, then closer still... ever touching in the center place.

December 1

I continue work on my book. I hope to complete—and somehow publish anonymously—the first scientific treatise on the subject of vampirism.  

At the throat, a little doorway of soft skin and flesh, and an erogenous zone of secret pleasures revealed, vampires perform the act of penetration and an exchange of fluids that are involved in the power to give life, something similar to what humans do in their act of procreation, although vampires may also enjoy that human form of physical pleasure and intimacy.

How seldom do humans truly worship the neck, the throat. All of life passes through it. Sustenance as food. Breath as oxygen for the blood, blood as oxygen for the brain. Breath as words and emotions, as music.

To open the neck is to claim the flow of life for a time, sometimes forever.

The Translocation of Consumption and Intimacy, by Barnabas Collins (unpublished)

 I am pleased with today's work.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE: Remember me

"I remember you, Isabelle," he brought her hand to his lips, her eyes a sudden mist as they were anchored to each other in time, returning her hand before he let her go, watching her drift away with the moment.


PHOTO: Promotional still of Barnabas Collins, played by beloved thespian Jonathan Frid, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

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Dear ones, this is my most popular chapter. From the snowy squeaking of tires, to the light on Isabelle's face, from the little forget-me-not cutouts in Isabelle's boots to Willie's parting words to her, this chapter lives, it is alive. Thank you for breathing new life into it again and again. Willie and Barnabas live in me all day and all night now. When our part of their endless story is finished, they will live on in my heart. ~ Jana

 

 "Though the squally east-wind keenly 
Blew, with folded arms serenely 
By the water stood the queenly 
Lady of Shalott." 
The Lady of Shalott ~Tennyson 

Willie was standing under the broad overhang of a doorway on the main street of Collinsport, Maine. The business was a cigar shop, and the sign in the door said "Closed, back tomorrow at 8:00 am." The full-bodied smell of the cigars and pipe tobacco seeping from within was a pleasingly complex mingling of smoky and sweet. Willie looked up. The sky was heavily overcast, with an imminent promise of more snow. The streets and sidewalks themselves were piled with snow, the roofs and windowsills of the shops still layered with the whitest snow. Their windows reflected white in the still air, their reflections touched by the puffs of hot air rising from the automobiles driving slowly past, their tires hushed and squeaking as they lazily compacted the fresh layers of snow.

Willie was aware of the people walking by, to those nearby a nod and a greeting in turn, to all an interest in the cares of the day turning to the promise of the evening on their faces. 

Willie had borrowed Barnabas' cloak, something he had never thought of before, and yet, here he had done so without asking, and without regret. He felt in the heavy cloak some insulation from the world of humans, which he barely occupied, almost as a foreigner. He was watching a little part of their world, seeing it through his Barnabas' eyes, asking himself what it would mean to him when he became like his lover.

Willie recognized someone he knew on the sidewalk opposite, the proprietor of a shop he frequented. The man did not notice him, and Willie studied him for those few moments, noticing what was the same, and what was different about the man when he was walking away from his shop, walking steadily towards home.

The man was near the end of the block when he greeted someone familiar, the woman he noticed when Barnabas had brought him to the town, feeding with Willie's face so close to his own. She stood out in her fine clothes, her fur coat an elegant puff of thick warmth shaped about her, her shin high boots showing from beneath. She wore leather gloves and a fashionable hat, her makeup perfect, her red lips sharply outlined on her fair skin.

As Willie followed her progress, he pictured her near to him, her mouth open slightly, picturing her teeth, the quick flash of her silent tongue as she moistened her lips against the astringent winter air. He imagined them standing together, a stillness against the world moving around them. He embraced her in his mind, falling into her, his face deep in a fluff of fir and fragrant hair, her breath changing, rising around them. He was whispering in her ear as she stood with her eyes closed, caught in a trance of receiving the touch which melted her loneliness, reminding her of pleasure, there once was pleasure...

She was across from him then, walking away, the so slight hint of weight in her step, the weight of a life unsought and based upon lies, the lies of money and status that bound her.

She was gone, and he pictured her near instead, standing before him in his little room as he opened her coat, slipping the weight off of her with her fine clothes, her tight undergarments and shoes, her skin slightly dull as the truth of her existence. When he imagined her standing naked for him on bare feet, she seemed to awaken, her eyes becoming light, her breathing deeper as she took in the fragrance of life and freedom. Willie pictured her waiting, caught up by him so subtly as he took her head in his hands, his thumbs brushing her cheeks, her eyes closing with pleasure as he was tipping her head back, their lips meeting in a silent exchange of warmth and greeting.

His breath was a whisper escaping lips that pulled slightly as they so slowly parted, like a tender word released into the close space of his room. And he wondered, how would she answer this communication of honesty and sweetness?

 

My love? He heard inside, his toes curling with pleasure in his boots.

My love, Willie answered, opening his mind to his lover.

You are in the town, wearing my cloak? Where are your manners. And you are fantasizing about a woman. 

I am, Willie answered. The wealthy lady with the fine clothes. She walked past me, but she is gone now.

For the first time in months, Barnabas had in that moment the strong desire to reveal the secret to Willie, thinking of it... while they were connected inside.

Steady! He stopped himself. Did he find it in my mind? I cannot hold out much longer.

Willie registered that Barnabas had withdrawn from him, and was curious why.

My love? He said inside. 

I am here, Barnabas answered, relieved that Willie's tone was casual. He was intrigued by Willie's tone, so calm and distant. My Willie. You are there, looking at the world.

I am, Willie answered. He could feel Barnabas withdrawing slightly, giving him his privacy. 

When you have finished with the world, will you come back to me? Willie could see revealed in his mind's eye, Barnabas standing alone on the back steps, smoking and looking with a distant gaze towards the town, towards him.

I am not finished yet. Willie knew Barnabas would not quite know what he meant.

I will wait for you, my love, my love... I am so hungry for you.

Willie's toes were curling again as his focus returned to his surroundings.

 

Willie had turned sideways in the alcove, and he turned again towards the street. He saw her car approaching, stopping opposite him, waiting for traffic to move again. 

Time slowed down. He could see her face through the back seat window. Her head turned, and when their eyes found each other, she did not look away. The car was moving then. Willie saw her hand reaching to the front seat as she passed out of view, and pictured her leaning forward to say something to the driver.

The car pulled to the curb. Willie stepped out onto the sidewalk, then leaned down slightly to see her sitting back in her seat, relaxed, with her chin down slightly, not looking at him. He realized then that her chauffeur had walked around the car, and was opening the door for him. Her elegant movements captivated Willie as she moved to the other side of the car, then looked towards him as he slid in beside her. The chauffeur closed the door with a gentle click. He did not return to the car.

The car was very warm. She had removed her fur coat; her suit of fine wool was slate blue, with satin accents at her cuffs and breast pocket. Her hat and gloves were grey, and matched her eyes. Her ash blonde hair stopped below her single pearl earrings, and was straight with a generous curl at the ends. She reminded Willie of a starlet from the 1940s.

"What is your name?" she asked.

"My name is Willie Loomis." He noticed her fine leather boots had tiny floral cutouts that reminded him of forget-me-nots.

"Hello Willie Loomis, I am Isabelle, Isabelle Lachance." Willie recognized this name from some of the gravestones he had seen in the old cemetery, ages ago it seemed. She offered her hand, and Willie thought for a moment she had read his mind, something he was so accustomed to with Barnabas. Her gloved hand was very soft in his as she let him move her hand in greeting.

"I am here from Bangor, attending to yet another family matter." Her voice was endearing in a gentle sarcasm, a moment of humor that was very dry. She had turned her head, looking out of the car window for a moment, and Willie loved the light on her fine skin. She turned back to him, her gray eyes suddenly so close to his. "Do you live here in Collinsport? "

"I live at Collinwood," Willie said. "I am a servant to Barnabas Collins." He did not mention The Old House. Willie expected her to change her intentions once she found out that he was a servant, but he noticed no discernible difference, except that she looked at him a little closer.

"The intriguing man from England," she said. "A friend has had the pleasure. She wondered why he didn't have an English accent."

"His schooling was at _____________," Willie remembered the name Barnabas had prepared him with of a boarding school in London with curriculum exclusively for American students.

She was smiling. Willie saw his answer register in her gaze, but there was something else. She looked down and began removing her gloves.

Willie was relieved when she didn't pursue it further. He became silent, waiting for her. What was her intention?

"I discovered something in you, in your gaze," she smiled. "Tell me why you looked at me that way." She produced a cigarette, and offered one to Willie, who did not take one.

"You seem lonely." Willie found that he was not hiding himself from her, the way he did not hide his true nature from Barnabas.

"Yes, I am quite..." she said. She was enjoying the cigarette and the car was soon filled with a sinewy haze. "I saw an opportunity for a few happy words in your gaze," she said. Her gray eyes were impossibly kind when the sadness slipped away.

"You are beautiful, and you deserve more, you deserve freedom," Willie said. Willie was moved by the way her slack hand folded slightly with feeling, closing with her gloves like a flower. "Isn't there a way for you to be free?"

She looked at him without speaking. Willie waited, but did not press her further.

"You see, I knew I could share a few words with you, Willie Loomis." Willie was reminded of the way Barnabas often called him by his full name. Her manner changed, her head tilting slightly. "I know what you are," she said. "I know." Willie was surprised by her words, and equally surprised that her words caused him no concern. 

This was why she stopped when our eyes met. She knows who I am.

She was still looking at Willie, and he loved her eyes, liquid and languid, brightened by her knowing smile. "Your secret is safe with me. I once loved someone who... was like your Barnabas. I met him in my travels abroad."

"But you are human," Willie felt how much he enjoyed speaking with someone who understood what that meant.

"I lost him. He left me before I was made. They cannot make more than one, you know. They take a vow." Willie was learning more about vampires in this moment than all of his time with Barnabas.

She looked at him with a knowing, gentle pity at his confusion before she continued.

"He loved me so deeply, can you imagine? To love a human without making them? But he could not break the vow in the end. He sent me back here, to my home... to die alone." Her sadness was deeply palpable in her breath, in her body, in the liquid swirl of her eyes. Willie understood then the true source of her sadness. He thought of how unbearable it would be to somehow lose his Barnabas, left alone and greatly changed by him without being claimed by him forever. Willie had sometimes sensed a similar depth of loss in Barnabas, and had guessed that Barnabas somehow lost his maker after the change, a closely held source of unresolved grief in him.

"You could find love again," Willie was earnest. He thought of when he had first noticed her, picking her out amongst the others he saw in the town. He knew her now. We are kindred spirits. He wanted her to be loved. But he could not be her lover, for he belonged to another. 

"You are so thoughtful and kind," she said. "And you don't realize it yet, but you have already begun to change."

He knew she was right, though he wasn't sure how. 

"I didn't think I would ever meet another... like me." She was putting out her cigarette. "I thought Barnabas was the only vampire I would ever know of." It was hard for Willie to say this word with someone other than Barnabas.

"We... they are rare. I do think they manage to avoid each other." She laughed. "Perhaps all of them prefer the company of humans, however briefly." She laughed again, leaning back a little with an expression of sudden mirth. Then she was serious again, her light words barely covering the intensity of their full meaning. "How exquisite it is for them when they find one to make like themselves."

She was silent then. Willie was aware that his time with her was short. "Will I ever see you again?"

She was happy again; his words had touched her. "That will be up to you. Soon you will be like him, and you will think of me as the last to know you when you were still human. You will think of me that way long after I am gone." Somehow he knew they would never see each other again. He pictured himself finding her marker in a cemetery in Bangor, leaving her flowers, remembering her. He pictured a gray ribbon around a bouquet of forget-me-knots, resting below her name on the stone marker.

Willie was aware that the driver side door had opened and cold air was slipping into the car with the returning chauffeur. She held him with her eyes as the driver pulled his door shut, as the air in the car pushed sharply inside their ears, shifting the private space between them, sealing for a few more moments their little pocket of intimacy against the cold world beyond.  

"Remember me, Willie," she said, holding out her hand. Willie squeezed her hand with affection as she grasped his hand lightly, shaking it just so with obvious feeling. He felt it in her hand, her body becoming just slightly more liquid, like her eyes.

"I remember you, Isabelle," he brought her hand to his lips, her eyes a sudden mist as they were anchored to each other in time, returning her hand before he let her go, watching her drift away with the moment. He slid towards the door, stepping out into the new fall of snow. As he turned to shut the door, the car jolted slightly and was moving away. He watched it as it made its way down the street, the outline of her hat just visible in the small privacy window in the back.

Farewell... he thought, looking around at her world, turning towards home.

CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR: The cloak

Willie's eyes came to rest on a leather bound book next to the box, lit by the simple candelabra at the end of the table.

 

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The night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness
I learned the language of another world.
— Lord Byron

Willie felt anew his love of Collinwood as he gazed at the great house from afar, enchanted by the graceful white structure visible above the dark green of an endless sea of evergreens. It was beckoning to him as he walked up the long road to great house, leaving the recent world of humans and the gratingly modern car down below. He always found the lushly overgrown carriage path magical, arcing upwards towards the white columns, their tall elegance framed and shifting through the trees as he approached, a view of the eternal moving through and beyond the temporal.

Willie felt that he was returning a different man from the one that had traveled away from home in the thick cloud cover of day, and as he drew near, the house seemed to beckon to this newness in him, sharing in his sharply outlined presence in the diffuse light of the snowy twilight.

Willie turned off the carriage path before reaching the house, walking up the narrow road leading to the side of the house, where the wood shed and the servants' entrance adjoined the kitchen. As he emerged from the trees, approaching the porch underneath the long colonnade, Willie looked to his left, and found Barnabas standing facing him, dressed in his oldest clothes and standing with his cane, still and strange in the freezing air without his cloak. 

Barnabas looked so different to Willie that he seemed almost a different man. He appeared entirely human, a man from another time, an apparition dressed for his life then in the certain old clothes he was wearing when Willie had released him from his coffin, those elegant clothes of his youth kept and waiting for him until this day, cleaned and hung away behind his other old clothes, which were still hanging in the wardrobe when Barnabas returned home these many years later.

Except for the cloak. It was the one article of clothing that Barnabas wore on the day Willie released him, which was now missing from his attire. The cloak which Willie now wore instead on this special day.

Willie stopped, feeling anew the heavy warmth of Barnabas' cloak about him. Wearing the lengths of heavily woven fabric to town had been a last minute inspiration. As he shed his modern coat, swinging the long cloak around and over him, he felt that he was both shouldering and becoming this heavy disguise, both hiding and revealing his emerging nature as separate from his humanness.

As the men stood in silence, Willie realized that there was an entire aspect of his lover that had remained hidden. Barnabas was a complex man, as he likely was before he became both human and vampire. Willie was used to being taken through layers of knowing with his lover, allowing their connection to become more and more detailed and complex. But this was something more.

Willie stepped up onto the porch, following Barnabas' footprints in the virgin snow as he walked towards Barnabas, who waited for him. Barnabas' gaze was made of things revealed, essential and imminent. He was alive with a new freedom, more than his simple freedom in the crisp air with no heavy layers of coat. 

Willie thought to give Barnabas the cloak, and reached up to the clasp. Immediately Barnabas held his hand out to him, stopping him. Barnabas turned and Willie followed, their footprints mingling in the snow. He felt himself stepping in Barnabas' steps, counting the steps to a new revelation. He knew this well... how very few steps with Barnabas could reveal so much.

Barnabas led him around to the front entry, swinging the large doors open to reveal the warm light of candles spilling from the drawing room into the entrance hall. Barnabas closed the doors behind Willie before walking to the stairs and up towards another gentle glow, surprising Willie by entering a room on the second floor that was unrestored, with the door always shut. The door was now open, the room visible in the steady light of freshly lit candles. There was a strong, pleasant smell of a spicy perfume in the air. Willie had noticed a faint hint of this fragrance before, but had never encountered its source.

Barnabas stood beside a long table covered with a length of fine cloth, which seemed to be the source of the fragrance, a protection against the worms and mold of age. Willie gazed with wonder at a beautiful, wooden box on the table, rectangular, the long side about the length of a man's forearm.

He looked around at the rest of the room, which was empty. There was a square space in the wall that was empty and dark. The rug under their feet was old and decaying, but hinted at brilliant and intricate designs he did not recognize.

Barnabas was smiling, and watched Willie as his eyes came to rest again on the large, ornate box. It had two doors that met on the front, with little handles of copper shaped like swans. The box was decorated with intricate inlaid copper designs, and Willie immediately thought of Barnabas' old coffin in the older still mausoleum, still and empty in a perfect darkness a few miles from where they now stood. 

Willie's eyes came to rest on a leather bound book next to the box, lit by the simple candelabra at the end of the table. He turned to look at Barnabas, who nodded towards it, watching as Willie threw the cloak back over one shoulder, then touched the book respectfully. He opened the old book slowly, finding upon the title page of heavy vellum a lushly illuminated design around an ornate script which simply said: Nomina Nostra.

Nomina means names, Willie thought, recognizing the Latin.

Our names, Barnabas answered inside, remembering her... how she felt when she was under the cloak with him, nestling against him with deep feeling. He became keenly aware again that the last time he wore these old clothes was the last time he saw her; as she slipped into her lovely box, and he into his. The same soft and ruffled shirt and green embroidered waist coat he wore when he first saw this volume of sacred names.

Willie turned the pages, finding on each a beautiful, colorful illumination which surrounded a person's name, with two dates and one of a series of place names which were initially unfamiliar. He turned the pages, reading each name, in some cases with an aristocratic title or a place instead of a given name or surname, the dates advancing through centuries of time. He began to recognize the places; Paris, Roma, Wallachia, Venesia. Willie was fascinated by the names, turning the pages carefully, following each page down through the years until he came to a page with a familiar name, that of his beloved: Barnabas Collins -  1770, 1790 - Collinsport, Massachusetts. Willie knew that Barnabas was born in 1770, and that he was twenty years old when he was made. He also knew that Collinsport was originally in the State of Massachusetts, before the State of Maine was created in 1820.

Willie turned back a page. Most of the names had only two dates, but the page before Barnabas had three: Ariadne de Court - 1633, 1650-1792 - Aix-en-Provence, France - Bangor, Massachusetts, USA. Barnabas' maker was a woman. She was born in 1633, made in 1650 and deceased in 1792, two years after Barnabas was made. She had traveled from Europe to the newly settled lands in The West.

Willie touched the name of Barnabas' maker with affection before turning the page again to touch his Barnabas' name. 

Willie stopped. He felt his entire being vibrating as he turned to the next page.

William Hollinghead Loomis - 1946, a single date: his birth date as a human. The script was in the hand of his Barnabas.

Willie stood without moving. The room was somehow both completely silent, and with a continual, subtle buzz in his ears. He felt that if he turned, when he lifted his eyes to those of his Barnabas, his whole life would disappear, supplanted by another.

But Barnabas was beside him then, stepping forward as he reached towards the box, opening the doors to reveal a simple gold crown within, resting on a thick and fragrant layer of purple fabric. Barnabas reached into the box, taking the crown carefully in his hands. The rich gold was polished, and gleamed like the rising sun in the candlelight. It was breathtaking.

Willie thought Barnabas might place the crown on his head, but he lifted the crown and placed it on his own head.

Willie was stunned. Barnabas had been crowned. By whom? Barnabas held Willie's gaze with a soft and regal presence that seemed to flow through his body as this softness, this humility, this place in history that was his birthright as a vampire in a long line of vampires.

Willie was inspired to worship, and knelt to Barnabas, waiting. Barnabas touched Willie, who stood tall again, looking at his Barnabas with new eyes.

"William, as my successor, you will be crowned as I was, the next in our line, receptacle and guardian of the light in our world of fertile darkness. Will you accept?" 

"I will," Willie answered.

Barnabas then knelt to Willie, looking at the floor, waiting.

Willie's mind was swimming. He realized Barnabas was waiting for him. Willie touched the top of Barnabas' head where the crown shone in the candlelight. It was all catching up to him, like an epic poem, a story of ages past, of people gone on to a fate he would never know of.

Barnabas stood. He removed the crown, strongly grasping it as his own and lovingly familiar, aligning it vertically as he touched Willie's forehead with it three times.

"William Hollingworth Loomis, it is my intention to crown you as my successor. First you must serve me in the three ways to prove your dedication to our line. To earn the crown, you must prove yourself worthy." Barnabas stood for a moment before turning to place the crown with great reverence back in the box, closing it, then caressing the cover of the book lightly as he closed it as well. He returned both to their place in the hidden cupboard, wrapped in the long length of cloth, closing the opening in the wall. The rectangle shape of the opening was cleverly fashioned, now completely hidden. A regal, now ragged curtain fell over this place at a touch from Barnabas, who stepped back, enduring a subtle puff of very fine dust. Willie was fascinated by a subtle change in Barnabas' stance.

Barnabas turned to him with a happy, knowing smile, a surge from within, made of the best of outcomes.

Barnabas slipped under the cloak, and the men shared a strong embrace. Willie could feel against him the bones and the very breath of his Barnabas, the lively beating of his heart.

"My love," Barnabas said at Willie's ear, his body communicating great feeling. "My love."

 

CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE: Questions

Barnabas turned to the familiar page with the heading "The Three Forms of Service." He had not turned or looked at this page since that last time with her, so long ago.



PHOTO: Promotional still of Barnabas Collins, played by beloved thespian Jonathan Frid, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

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>

All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
Shakespeare - Sonnet XLIII

Willie was standing next to his bed as Barnabas unbuttoned Willie's shirt, removing his clothes. Willie had begun to unravel. He felt himself suspended between eras, between measures of time, the time of humans, the time of vampires, each because he had found they were never quite the same.

Barnabas turned the covers down, and Willie sat on the edge of the bed, watching as Barnabas began to remove his own clothes, sitting on the chair in between Willie and the fire to remove his boots. Barnabas seemed an inky black shadow of himself outlined by the low light of the dancing flames, and Willie thought for a moment that he was out of reach, that they had come to occupy two different worlds. He felt himself alone in a place that pushed out from him, taking him as he was lifted up and out of the house, rising by his changing consciousness far above the trees, soaring out over the ocean and beyond. He was rising above everything, and he braced himself against the wind and the cold as he looked down at the heaving, embattled, white-crested waves far below. There is only me. But I will return to you, my Barnabas.

Barnabas stood over Willie. He could see that Willie was shaking and laid him back, moving him over, then laying against him, pulling the covers up to their ears. He hugged Willie, pulling his head against his shoulder, making the vampire shushing sound that rumbled slightly in his throat. After awhile, the shaking stopped, and eventually Willie relaxed, settling close into his Barnabas with his eyes tightly closed.

When Willie opened his eyes. The comfort and darkness of Barnabas against him seemed to be his world, the scent and warmth of his lover a balm of tenderness as Willie turned to his lover's lips, as Barnabas tilted his head, bringing his soft lips to Willie, who closed his eyes again and accepted Barnabas' kisses, gentle, stopping, gentle again, more. Barnabas stopped, letting his forehead rest against Willie's, waiting.

Barnabas could feel some of his deeper nature touching Willie, becoming immediate and essential in his embrace. He immediately felt Willie's breath changing within and against him, the need arising in him—to know, and to understand. Barnabas came up onto his elbow, looking down at Willie, answering his intensely  uncertain gaze.

"Will our love be the same?" Willie asked.

"It will be our love, and somewhat different," Barnabas answered. He reached up to caress Willie's forehead, moving his hair aside, kissing him there. He knew this question and the ones that would follow. Willie needed this. He needed to hear it again.

"Will you be different?" 

"No."

"Will I be different?"

"Very much," Barnabas answered. "But it will be all of you and more."

"Is there anything you haven't told me about the change?"

Barnabas was surprised by this question. How perceptive was his Willie.

"There is something I cannot tell you until you are changed. That is all I can say about it."

Willie pulled his head back slightly, looking more closely at Barnabas in the candlelight, his brow furrowed. "You haven't told me everything?"

"There is a secret, only one. It has always been this way, my love. Do not be afraid."

Willie was quiet, and Barnabas kissed his forehead again, his cheeks, his face, pushing his hair back again with great affection.

"When will you change me, Barnabas?" Willie's eyes were relaxed, unflinching, with every part of his being poised for a reaction to this simple question.

"Days, my Willie. We will count the days together. You are almost there."

Willie was satisfied, and immediately felt himself relaxing into it at last, accepting the reality of his moment coming closer, coming close. It was a profound change, a sea change in his emotions, finding safe harbor inside.

"How will you change me, Barnabas?"

"It is just as you imagine. I will open myself to you, and you will drink of my blood. As the hours go by, my blood will change your blood. You will become like me."

"Will it be painful?"

"No. But it will be very intense before you are finished. Then you will feel quite different than you feel now."

"My love, my love... I want to be like you. But I want us to be forever as we are now."

"Forever, Willie. Forever."

Barnabas' eyes were very kind and a little wide as he watched his Willie's face, watching his knowledge rising, his very being settling. 

Barnabas snuggled down against him then, tucking the blankets tight around their ears, their shared breath becoming warm and moist. Their arms had joined as clasped hands as they rocked against each other a little, taking comfort in the familiar, their bodies accustomed to finding rest in an intertwined world of night beneath the covers.

"Willie, Willie... my Willie," Barnabas cooed at Willie's ear, feeling the intimate, answering movements of Willie's body from the sound of his voice. "Be my Willie forever, and I will reward you with all that is most precious, a coffer filled with all pleasure as my love."

"Barnabas Collins, I love your beautiful words. You are courting me anew," Willie said, his voice a smile of pleasure. "Please, do not stop, gallant knight." Willie felt Barnabas' body moving slightly with intimate pleasure.

Barnabas placed his lips at Willie's ear. "All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me." Barnabas' voice so near was breathy, his embrace the restrained form of many coupled arrays of finely shaped, strong and immortal muscles working together—under his skin, about his immortal heart, upon his immortal frame of bones.

Willie struggled slightly in Barnabas' arms, nestling into their tightening embrace, his movements expertly stilled at last. There was only his breath, which would not be stopped, which became his words. 

"Your days are night," Willie echoed the words of his lover. "And your nights are your bright days."

"And you are my waking dream, my dear Willie."

They kissed again at last as lovers with no cares or thoughts of the future, falling against each other in a familiar, profound relaxation.

"I have dazzled you with my virtues," Willie half teased in the moist darkness. "You have offered me your troth."

"I wear your token of love at my breast, near to my heart." Barnabas took Willie's hand and placed it over his heart with all seriousness.

They purred together in silence then, foreheads touching, sometimes sighing with the pleasure that slipped out on their breath, following its own path of release. Willie thought of how much more flowery lovers spoke to each other in Barnabas' time. He loved this about Barnabas, and vowed to himself he would never tell Barnabas of it.

Willie turned his head, listening. He heard an owl in the tree outside of his room, picturing its feathers fluffing in the crisp air, silent in the darkness, the arch of darkness above, so far above in a journey made of bright stars. He had seen the owl there before, and thought of it as his owl, another wild friend—his choice of friends. He knew that hunting was scarce for owls in the winter, and he sometimes killed a few mice hiding under the snow in the old stable. He despised their smell, so he left them on the windowsill of the empty bedroom next to his own, where the branches of the tree were near. The next morning, the mice were always gone. Willie was happy with his new friend. He still missed his Mr.  Hermit Thrush, and pictured him enjoying warmer weather in the south, wearing sunglasses and sipping a special bug cocktail by the pool.

Willie was laughing. Barnabas made a playful sound, muffled and distant under the blankets. "You are a very sad, silly owl," Willie observed.

"Vampires are never silly."

"SILLY." 

Willie's face came to rest against Barnabas' face, and he moved his lips so they stayed against Barnabas'.

"Don't move," he commanded with some difficulty. "I want to wake up this way."

Barnabas grabbed Willie's sex, so near to his hand.

"An unchivalrous attack!" Willie complained, grabbing Barnabas in the same way.

Soon they were completely relaxed, eyes half closed, barely holding each other as they moved their hands lazily in a haze of pleasure, the deep red hues of the slow burning fire painting the ceiling above them, their primordial cave of shared heat. They each complained at last from long delayed release, then slipped without moving into their dreams.

 

Willie felt Barnabas slip out from under the covers. He could just see his dark shape standing as Willie turned in the bed, watching as Barnabas dressed in the dim light of the blackened coals, the candle long spent. Barnabas always seemed to him to do more than dress. He was an expert, practiced in something more akin to the art of placing clothes upon his body. He stood and adjusted them carefully, looking at Willie, seeing his half open eyes glistening with a tiny spot of orange from the rippling tongue of fire behind him.

Barnabas knew that Willie had a fear of being abandoned that often came up in him when Barnabas was going from him, and leaving him behind, as it seemed. He knew Willie was very sensitive now, so he sat next to him, relaxing him by moving his shoulder subtly through the covers, then caressing his hair and forehead over and over with his hand.

"You are my love. I will always return to you. Always."

Willie felt his eyes closing, his body thick with the pleasure of drifting on the edge of his dreams, the deepest of him claiming him as he drifted back to sleep.

 

Barnabas felt himself drifting downward to his study, so pleasingly dark and quiet, with the clean smell of frost and snow pressing at the doors and windows. He built a fire, striking a hated match to the kindling, lighting some candles there as he settled into his chair by the bright flames. He held the smaller book stained by centuries of hands like his own as he folded himself near to the new warmth, feeling this relaxation deeply after his release with Willie.

Finally he opened the book, carefully moving its pages yellowed and fragile, reading the litany again as something more than knowledge or history. It concerned Barnabas very personally in a very immediate way. He must again live out his place in the history served by this book. 

He turned to the familiar page with the heading "The Three Forms of Service." He had not turned or looked at this page since that last time with her, so long ago. He thought of her then, the shadows playing strangely upon her face as she leaned to place the crown on Barnabas' head. When she changed him, he had rolled about in her arms, holding his breath to stop the hoarse cries that escaped his lips with each exhalation. 

"Breathe, my love," he could still hear her voice. How lovely her voice was, her very soul. How he had loved her, from his soul, his very soul.

Barnabas' low voice sounded loud in the quiet room. "I am passing on your gift, my love," he told her. Surely she was eternal. She was somewhere, and he still loved her.

He focused on the faded page in the warm candlelight, carefully considering each word.

"First, the supplicant must serve the progenitor as his unremittent source of sustenance." Willie had already met this requirement; for lengths of time measured in years.

"Second, the supplicant must serve the progenitor as his unremittent protector." How well do I know, to provide for the source without fail. 

Barnabas was ready for the onslaught of guilt. I shall not think of the sounds. Barnabas pushed the sounds from his mind before they began. He focused on the words he had prepared. He had armed himself to the fight, against the guilt, with words.  

I shall not shoulder it, it isn't mine, I forswear the scourge of blame, the horror of surviving, of letting her die as I lay helpless. Because I was helpless. I writhed as with fire as she was taken from me. I wished for the fire without her. I provided for you, my love. I did my best. I gave you everything. Everything.

Barnabas' hand still holding the book had fallen to his side, his eyes closed as he listened for a sound, any sound. I hear it near, the crackle of my little fire. I am here, not there. Not then. No.

Barnabas listened. He had heard Willie's owl, picturing it far up in the tree so near his Willie. He smiled. He pictured Willie snuggled deep in the blankets, the owl just outside his window.

I am this, now. I will not falter. The book was still open in his hand.

"Second, the supplicant must serve the progenitor as his unremittent protector." Willie had served Barnabas for years now as his protector, ever vigilant in keeping his sweet home—and especially his body in deep slumber—protected and safe. Barnabas felt how relaxed he had become while living and sleeping while under Willie's unfailing protection.

"Third, the supplicant must serve the progenitor by providing other sources of sustenance as required." This is where Willie was in his preparations for the change. He had never done this, and now he would learn. Barnabas had waited a long time before deciding that Willie was ready for this step. He considered the decision again, feeling a careful certainty.

It is time. Barnabas thought. Tomorrow night. We shall begin. 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY SIX: Destiny

"The third form of service is to provide me with another means of sustenance besides yourself. You must show that you are able and willing to provide for my needs in this way."

 

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For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks,
the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

It was late afternoon when Barnabas returned to Willie's room. He was pleased that Willie had slept all day, taking the rest he needed to process the changes to himself and his world. Barnabas had revived the pile of smoldering coals and was waiting by a warm fire when Willie finally opened his eyes.

Willie was so happy to find his Barnabas near. How he loved Barnabas and his very relaxed manner, the easy presence of one who had found his way, who would show him his.

Barnabas was alert to the waking changes in Willie's breathing, and stood, turning the chair to the bed. The lovers smiled hello with their eyes as Willie was stretching and sitting up somewhat, looking closely at Barnabas.

Today I will learn... the three ways I must serve you, Willie thought, becoming very alert, his hands arranged open and relaxed on the coverlet.

"Yes, my love," Barnabas answered. He was smiling, but his face became serious as Willie's did. 

Willie waited, his eyes a little wider as he noticed Barnabas' body and demeanor change as he became something new to Willie. Not a lover. Not just a vampire. A guardian of the power from a very long lineage.

"William, you must serve me in a way you have not served me before."

Willie felt himself drop into a place of profound readiness. I feel ready; I am ready.

"You must demonstrate the ability to provide me with another means of sustenance besides yourself."

Willie was struggling to understand. He had assumed he would not have to face this until after the change. "I have been your source, and I have loved this—I love it, Barnabas." Willie looked towards the window at the day peeking through the dark curtains, struggling with his feelings. He was unprepared for this difference in their intimacy, so soon. So soon. 

Either way, I might have seen this sadness coming.

Willie thought of how deeply intimate it was for him to provide for Barnabas physically. He shared his life force with Barnabas. He accepted his need and the unique act of penetration, the exchange of fluids as his lover. It had become very erotic to him, and he experienced all of the pleasures of sex with the act.

There was something more. He gave Barnabas comfort. Simple, profound comfort in a uniquely intimate embrace. Perhaps he would still do so. He would still have this. Yes.

He looked at Barnabas again. "It is so hard to change this, my love. Hard." He saw the compassion in Barnabas' eyes. "But I will serve you in this way. I will show that I can bring another to you, for your need." 

Barnabas was happy. He felt a surge of confidence about Willie's adjustment to this new phase in their relationship. But he also shared with Willie a large measure of sadness, his sadness from the intimate change in their relationship. Willie did not know yet exactly how that would change. But soon Barnabas would need others to live, as would his Willie. Their intimacy would be changed in this way. It was an unavoidable loss. I would much rather face this than losing you to mortality, Barnabas thought, making an effort not to think of George as he remained focused on the task at hand.

"William Loomis. You have been both my sustenance, and my protector," Barnabas said, carefully waiting to see that Willie absorbed everything he was saying. "These are two of the three ways you must serve me—to prove your allegiance to the line, our line."

"The third form of service is to provide me with another means of sustenance besides yourself. You are now ready to meet this requirement. You must show that you are able and willing to provide for my needs in this way. Will you accept this requirement?"

"I will."

Then, "Must I always do this?"

"No. We will find our own way of sharing in this, but you will begin to desire it with time."

"What if I am not prepared. How will I choose? How will I bring them to you?"

"You already know how to do these things, Willie. You need to find your own way. You will take the car to town, and return after nightfall. If you return alone, I will understand. Do not be afraid. Try it yourself, and if you cannot, I will help you."

"Will you come to the town with me?" Willie asked. "I will leave you there, and return to you here."

"Of course, if that is easier for you. I think it will help you to succeed." Barnabas was thoughtful for a moment. "When you leave, you will take the car, I will meet you at our promontory above town."

"You will not ride into the town with me?" Willie usually chauffeured Barnabas into town when he had business there, as would be expected of their relationship.

Barnabas stood, shaking the cloak into place on his shoulders. "Today I am only a vampire, a sponsor of you to our lineage. And vampires do not ride in cars. At least this one does not."

Willie did not smile. Barnabas was very serious.

"I will wait for you below," Barnabas said, leaving the room. 

Willie dressed quickly, tripping lightly down the stairs in his socks, donning his boots and heavy coat with nervous anticipation. He felt his heart beating faster as he slipped out the front entrance into the last full light of day, the sky entirely white with high clouds.

 

Willie found Barnabas waiting for him, standing between the old columns where the porch was still derelict, the victim of many harsh winters. Willie stopped for a moment. Barnabas was standing in a way that seemed as though he had stood that way for hours, for years. Willie knew this about Barnabas; when he stood this way, magical, supernatural things were about to happen. Willie stood as still as Barnabas, feeling him.

Barnabas is a vampire. He is real. Today he waits for much more than my blood, any blood. He is waiting for forever.

Barnabas did not speak. Willie was trying Barnabas' full nature with his eyes, seeing him anew, feeling a new arrangement of the intimate place between them.

Here stood his destiny, his purpose. This is my time.

Willie turned and walked down the old steps and off through the bright snow to the carriage path, moving with long strides down to the car. He did not look back.

 

The sky had begun to darken when Willie parked at the familiar overlook. He waited in the car, thankful for the heater and the quiet, insulated moments to gather his courage and intention.

Barnabas appeared suddenly, and Willie wondered again how he did this.

He turned off the car and stepped out into the quiet of early evening. The sounds of the small town seemed both near and muffled as he stood beside Barnabas, who welcomed him to his embrace under the cloak. Looking out from near Barnabas' face, Willie saw the buildings and the sidewalks as though for the first time, the way his Barnabas saw them: the place of sustenance. 

As they stood together, the sky was turning a subtle pink from the unseen sunset, and the street lights came on, creating a cheery feeling of home for the people they saw walking about between the buildings below. 

"We aren't like them anymore." Barnabas' voice was quiet at Willie's ear. "We need them, but we must not forget that we were once like them. We need to keep that part of us, Willie. It is how we endure. We must remember and maintain the memories of our beginnings as a source of stability in an existence of so many years."

They were quiet for awhile. Willie knew that Barnabas would wait for him to leave him, that there was no hurry to part as they were to one another, to join as something new that same evening.

"How do we remain undetected?" Willie asked the same question again. I need to understand fully.

"We will go to Bangor, Willie, and other places as needed. Collinsport is small, and we are very lucky to live near so few people. Soon you will travel, we both will. You will be able to move quickly, like me. You will have the strength of our kind."

Willie moved slightly at last and Barnabas opened the cloak, releasing him. Willie looked at him, and loved him.

"I am ready. I will return to you at Collinwood."

Willie opened the car door. Barnabas stood in the stillness again, a perfect stillness, his dark cloak and black hair sharply outlined against the rosy white sky. Willie started the car and pulled slowly past him, turning back onto the downward side of the road. The buildings came up to meet him as he descended into the village, parking and alighting from the car into the descending cold of evening, joining the people of the village in their pursuit of the simple life of humans, those who were once his kind.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN: Someone

Willie was looking for someone. Someone he didn't know, someone he was not associated with. Certainly it must also be someone who would not be missed, not really.

 


PHOTO: Promotional still of Barnabas Collins, played by beloved thespian Jonathan Frid, from Dark Shadows (1966-1971). I claim no rights to photos.

Please leave a comment or a kudo! They will be anonymous if you are a guest. You can also click on subscribe to be notified of new chapters. PS To all of my readers, know that I love you!

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We know what we are, but know not what we may be.
- William Shakespeare

Willie was walking down the main street of Collinsport. He exchanged a random nod and sometimes a greeting with those who were friendly or who knew him. Willie was looking for someone. Someone he didn't know, someone he was not associated with. Certainly it must also be someone who would not be missed, not really.

After a couple of blocks, he noticed a man who was going into a tavern, and followed him instinctively. A quick look about confirmed he didn't really know anyone in the tavern. He ordered a beer and watched the man. He seemed familiar somehow, though Willie had yet to guess how. Could he really have found someone so soon?

As he watched the man, he began to understand why he seemed so familiar. He was a con, as Willie had once been. Willie could tell he was very good at it, and was surprised to see him occupied with casing out the small potatoes people in the tavern. If Willie was right, perhaps he was between real jobs, the skilled grift and the long cons that Willie had perfected and made so profitable. Or maybe he just checked for easy marks everywhere he went out of habit.

As Willie watched him, a younger man came in and approached him, joining him at his table, accepting a beer from the barkeep, who greeted him as a regular. Willie did not know this man either. He did not seem to be of the older man's caliber of grift at all. He seemed fidgety, and Willie was aware that the older man had something under his hand which the other man eyed with growing anticipation. The presence of it almost within reach kept the younger man tight under the older man's control.

He is addicted to something, Willie thought. The older man had gained control as the provider of his new need. This was a con Willie found distasteful, as it usually involved a level of debasement and considerable evil which the sadistic provider often enjoyed in addition to their gains, sometimes as a sexual sadist as well. As someone who enjoyed consensual sadomasochism as communication and pleasure in the form and art of very intimate loving, Willie particularly despised such men, who debased what was divinely given as a shared pleasure. 

Willie could see that the men were having a quiet disagreement. The relaxed, yet threatening posture of the older man, who slipped the substance back into his pocket, caused the younger man to calm himself, with a heartbreaking look of defeat and hopelessness as he produced a piece of paper from his pocket, gripping it tightly. The older man discussed it with him, then seemed satisfied. As soon as he had the piece of paper in his hand, he slipped the substance across the table. The younger man pocketed it and immediately got up to leave.

The older man had him by the arm before he got anywhere. He gestured, and they both left together.

Willie found it was still easy for him to follow others undetected. He was near the men when they slipped up an alleyway toward a seedy tenement on the back of a building. Soon they were standing in a doorway, their careful voices a little louder now they were alone, and Willie was in a dark space near to them, listening to their conversation.

"Eight or nine," the younger man was saying, breathing heavily. He was obviously distressed, needing to get away for his fix. "You take him, I gotta go," he said with emphasis. Willie could picture him stabbing at the piece of paper with his fingers. "He's alone during the day. His mother will be glad if he's gone. I know you can get at least five for him, he's nice, easy to control."

The older man was losing his temper. "All right, I'll do it myself, as usual. Useless junkie. Leave now before I get mad. And forget getting any more tonight." Now that the older man had found a boy, Willie knew he would abandon the younger man to his fate.

Willie realized what was happening. The older man sold young boys to those who liked to own and abuse them. This was his real con, and it was pure evil. It was lucrative, no doubt. He first found a vulnerable younger man who needed "help," and shared drugs with them to get them addicted. Once they were under his control, he used them to find and abduct a boy in their town, one that was easy to spirit away and who would not be especially missed. Once he obtained such a boy, he moved on. His exposure to risk was minimal. He never got caught.

On the ladder of social status among thieves and cons, the man's livelihood involving children was near the very bottom, near serial killers. As for the addiction angle, Willie knew versions of this use of addiction in a tangled web of evil were common in every part of the world, wherever cities brought the greedy together with the needy, especially since industrialization had brought more unfamiliar people closer together. In his extensive travels, Willie had noticed many prostitutes in houses or on the street who had been enslaved in this way.

Willie watched the younger man as he hurried away, no doubt to feed his addiction in the privacy of whatever squalid room the older man had provided for him. 

Willie could hear the older man unlocking his door. He approached the doorway, and the man sensed Willie near to him. He spun around, his hand in the coat pocket where he kept his knife.

"Keep it," Willie said calmly. "I'm the man you asked about." I know how to act, how to talk to people like you. Willie was enjoying a return to some of his old skills, skills that gave him confidence in manipulating other people. 

"What man?" the man's hand was still on the knife.

"The man who can provide you with what you want, for a price."

"Who sent you?" The man was not concerned now. He had control of the situation. Willie suppressed a smile.

Willie mentioned the younger man's name, which he had overheard at the tavern.

"I don't know him, and I don't know what you want with me anyhow."

"I have a nice bit of product now, but you have to take delivery tonight. I am taking it to Bangor tomorrow."

"What's your price," the man said. Willie knew he was testing him to see if he knew what he usually paid. 

"Five," Willie said. He had overheard this amount mentioned in the tavern. It was all so easy.

The man was thinking. Clearly he was considering how much risk he was willing to take.

"If you deliver to me tonight, we can talk," the man said. "I'll be gone tomorrow."

"You have to come take it yourself," Willie said. He leaned into the man, "Look, he's in the trunk of my car. Especially for you. I know you will like him. He's quiet, shy even. I'll tell you where my car is. I don't need to be seen around here again." 

Willie was thrilling inside. He was working his old magic. He could see the man's desire overcoming his thinking.

"No. You have to bring him here. If I like, then I pay. If not, too bad."

"Okay, okay," Willie said, as though he had been talked into something. "Sooner the better, anyways. I'll bring him around, real soon." The man told Willie a signal for the knock on his door when he returned.

Willie was walking away, both relieved and pleased with his immediate success at finding someone. But then, he was a very good judge of character. He was very skilled at this. The man had stood out to him right away. Willie had found someone he knew how to control, who did not deserve to live, not at all. He had never taken the role of justice towards such low life scum, but he would do so now, with relish.

Willie returned to the car and drove casually through the side streets up to the dark doorway. The street was empty. He left the car running and knocked on the door twice, then twice again. He waited for some time, noticing the curtains moving. At last the man appeared. His coat pocket was bulging from the money. His subtle features were hideous to Willie, the anticipation of unspeakable evil. Clearly he sampled the wares before passing them on.

The man looked quickly up and down the street. Willie turned the key in the trunk. The man did not see the small bar of heavy steel in his hand. As soon as the trunk opened, Willie hit the man's head in such a way that he fell into the trunk unconscious. "Hello," Willie said with his old manner of speech, the broad dialect of the underworld. He swung the man's legs into the trunk and closed it gently with a click. The hit was clean, and Willie had enjoyed it. Plus, no interaction or real lifting was required.

"I'm a master," he said with satisfaction as he slid back into the car, smiling to himself in the rear view mirror as he looked up and down the alley one last time before slipping the car into gear and driving slowly away.

"No one will miss you, you evil bastard. I'd eat you myself if I could."

 

CHAPTER THIRTY EIGHT: Flesh

Willie accepted and put out Barnabas' cigarette, his own still hanging on his lip as he got out of the car, carrying the keys to the trunk as if he had done this every day for years.

 

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“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” 
― William Shakespeare, Richard II

 

Willie was sitting in the idling car, parked as usual above the road near the bottom of the drive up to The Old House. The heater was on and he was enjoying a cigarette, listening to the radio as a pleasant distraction from the frequent thumping sounds and muffled cries coming from the trunk. It was dark, and the high clouds blended with the snowy landscape in a strange sort of dark crystal ball of matte white, run through with black veins in abstract patterns from the scattered, leafless deciduous trees close to the road. 

My love, Willie heard at last. Barnabas appeared on the road near the car, a black shape that moved like a shade, a ghost approaching the car in half time, each frame of time a different view of jagged movement. The movement stopped. Any other human would be terrified. Willie rolled the window down, dutifully stubbing his cigarette out in the ashtray. Barnabas had a thing about tossing matches and cigarettes on the ground. 

Willie smiled. Barnabas smiled. Willie lit a cigarette and offered it to Barnabas, then lit one for himself. Willie was focusing on all that was different about Barnabas. His stance was subtly aggressive, more pronounced. It felt to Willie that Barnabas had a reservoir of energy coiled up inside of himself. His smoking was purposeful, not that of his usual leisurely enjoyment.

Barnabas was enjoying his feelings of pride and pleasure at Willie's return. He is the vigorous future of our line, Barnabas thought with a new appreciation for Willie's uniquely modern skills and experience.

Barnabas finally spoke. "I didn't expect you to bag someone like a hunter of deer." Willie smiled to himself about Barnabas' modern emphasis on the word "bag." Modern slang mixed with his formal English was funny. Willie also heard in Barnabas' voice the sincere pride he felt for Willie's success.

Willie continued the casual conversation. "Cars make catching and hiding things so easy." The thumping and yelling had gone silent. Now it got considerably louder.

Barnabas was clearly amused and distracted by the thumping sounds, focusing all of his attention on their source. "And you are back so soon." Barnabas' voice was light, but his stance was very serious. The difference in him was very evident now. If I didn't know him, it would terrify me, Willie thought.

Willie laughed then, thinking of the source of the noises. He was remembering the man's confidence, and how it had been followed by a sudden, uniquely unforeseen end to his travels. "He stood out; a real evil sort. We've never imagined someone of his level of depravity."

"He will do." Barnabas' voice had become a stab of menace. 

Willie accepted and put out Barnabas' cigarette, his own still hanging on his lip as he got out of the car, carrying the keys to the trunk as if he had done this every day for years. 

Barnabas stood next to the trunk, then nodded. Willie popped the lock. The trunk flew open and a man with a face visibly red in the darkness began spewing hoarse obscenities as he came out of the trunk in one motion, his stance one of immediate aggression, a quick assessment combined with a readiness to fight. 

The man stopped, staring upward at Barnabas, reassessing his situation. Willie looked at Barnabas. He had never seen Barnabas take a human violently, and he was very sure this was what was about to happen now.

Barnabas was an arching creature with arms and shoulders like raised wings, a figure of madness. It was so eerie that Willie felt the hair on the back of his neck raise as a huge shot of adrenaline hit his blood. He was instantly poised for flight as his mind and body knew the dark apparition to be a predator, a top predator like a bear or wolves, which humans feared instinctively. It was terrifying, and Willie had to force himself to stand without running away.

Barnabas threw his cloak back over both shoulders, his powerful body revealed as a looming mass of sinister, ravenous need, ink black against the dark white of the sky. His long teeth were sharp and bared, and seemed huge; a shocking white against his lips and skin, dark as the shadows in the frozen gloom.

Willie did not understand it, but Barnabas' eyes were like coals, burning... burning.

Barnabas seemed to uncoil suddenly, grabbing and lifting the man with one arm.

"You are a very special treat," he hissed at the man, who had wet himself, the strong smell of urine scattering in the snow. "Were you born this evil? No matter. You will taste good, a perfect container of human essence. You hold all the evil one human can hold... so easily consumed all at once."

Barnabas abandoned all self control as he grasped the man with both hands and bit into him, a ferocious motion that bent the man's head back with such force that his body hung limp at the place of a superhuman bite, unable to struggle or make a sound. Immediately Barnabas pulled his teeth from the wound and clamped onto it with his mouth, sucking in great motions and coordinated gulps that drained the man quickly, his eyes drooping, his breathing shallow and weak, then stopping as his life ran out.

Barnabas shook the body violently, forcing the last of the blood into his mouth, then dropped the corpse and threw his head back to the sky. His breath was moving through his body as a silent heaving before it became a long groan of deep satisfaction, changed by the manipulations of his mouth as he sucked the gore from his teeth and wiped his lips with his long tongue. He was shaking then as he looked sideways at the corpse, holding his gaze on it for a long moment before turning away, shuddering and bending over as though he would throw himself on the ground.

Willie caught him and tried to hold him up, managing to steady him before he reeled around and dropped to his knees, his cloak bunched up about him in the snow, Willie dropped next to him, pulling him into his embrace as Barnabas was heaving, great breaths heaving in and out of him over and over. Finally his breaths began to slow so slightly and become less violent. 

A car went by on the road down below them, its long hum and searching lights a steady counterpoint to Barnabas' ragged breaths and movements, almost silent now as Willie clung to him, letting him shake and jerk against Willie again and again.

Finally a long, thin moan escaped Barnabas, ending in a long, gurgling hiss. He was silent, and Willie felt him sorting himself out somehow inside. He seemed to pull his body together, finding how it worked again, struggling a little to stand with Willie's help.

He let Willie hold him with his back to the corpse, then stood alone, finding his strength at last. He turned his head to Willie, taking in his large eyes and look of deep concern.

"Willie, my love," his breathing was almost normal again. "This is what happens if we go too long without taking all of a human, without devouring the blood until you touch the soul. This... this need never happen to you, my love. Never."

Barnabas tipped his head back, looking at the stars. Willie was moving the body back into the trunk, shutting it gently with a click. He stood, watching Barnabas for several moments, then slid back into the car.

 

Willie had returned, driving off the road and back up onto the lower drive. He parked the car and walked up to the house. The waning moon was high, and the snow glistened with a subtle white that sparkled in the untouched snow. As he walked, his feet found the dark, narrow path of three sets of footprints: two coming down, and one going back up, adding his own return. 

The winter silence was pleasing and profound as he made his silent steps through the snow, thinking of Barnabas waiting for him above. How pleasant it would be to heat some pots of water for a bath. Willie could just see the white smoke rising from the kitchen stove chimney as the house came into view, and he smiled at Barnabas' thoughtfulness.

Willie was tired, but he felt satisfaction from the work of disposing of the man's body. He pictured it still sinking downward in the secluded loch, a deep lake, the body weighed down by its wrapping of chains and rocks. The owners of the summer house had a tiny boat house down near the water, which ran fast enough at the surface of the little lake to stay ice free year round. Willie knew of the place from watching the bald eagles who flocked to the unfrozen lake to take fish in winter. Neither the eagles or the humans would ever be the wiser about the bones far below.

Willie came through the kitchen entrance, stamping the snow from his boots. He filled pots with water from the well pump, which forced the water up over the stove and down into the pots, adding more wood to the fire. Soon he was sitting in the little bathing tub with hot water to spare, scrubbing and relaxing.

He thought of his success, and what it would mean. He felt a soberness that went beyond excitement or dread. He valued his steady nature, and was relying on it heavily.

Barnabas came into the kitchen wearing his muslin dressing gown and bearing towels, which he placed near the stove to warm. Willie's surprised smile gave Barnabas a feeling of happy warmth. Barnabas rarely came into the kitchen, and usually only briefly to light a candle from the kitchen fire. He poured more hot water into the bath, then took the sponge and washed Willie's back. The motions became sensuous as Barnabas made love to him with his movements, bringing the sponge around to his chest and arms, his legs and his nest of salt.

Willie felt different. It occurred to him that he had captured and brought a man to be murdered, here, to his home, then watched as Barnabas ate him. And yet, they were exchanging the most tender of feelings.

"I do not feel bad, Barnabas," he said quietly as Barnabas washed around the back of his neck and down his arms. "Do you ever feel bad?" 

"I do," Barnabas said. He waited to see if Willie would say more. 

"But we do this. It is who we are. How did it happen to us?"

"It began so long ago... so very long ago," Barnabas said, still soaping Willie with great affection, feeling how relaxed he was, how much he gave his body to Barnabas' pleasure and touch, his intimate cleaning of his body.

"Will I ever know others?" Willie was becoming a font of questions.

"I have never known others," Barnabas said. "I only knew her. She taught me a lot. But I didn't ask all of the things I wanted to know. Then it was too late. But there are also books. I will show them to you."

"Why don't we know others?"

"We do not overlap our territories. It is how we remain undetected." Barnabas had stopped soaping, leaning against Willie with affection. "It is in our nature to be solitary. Most of us part after we make someone. We make only one, so the line continues. But I will never leave you, my Willie. If that ever happens, it will be because you choose to leave me."

"Oh, Barnabas." Willie's voice became full of feeling as he grasped Barnabas' hand tightly, soapy and wet, pulling Barnabas' face down and close to his, tight against his cheek. "Do not say that ever again. I will never leave you."

"My Willie..." Barnabas waited for Willie to let go, kissing his forehead, rubbing him with great affection. He held a warm towel for Willie as he stood, draping it over his shoulders. He gently moved Willie to sit down onto the slop bucket with a private smile. He stood behind Willie and kissed his head, caressing his shoulders as he waited.

When Willie was done, he dipped Willie in the bath again, cleaning him there. Then he stood him next to the stove, drying him from head to toe like a child.

Willie remained soft and passive from the warmth and the sensuous touches of his lover. Barnabas began to kiss him lightly on his neck and shoulders as he dried him. 

Barnabas handed Willie the candle. "Come," he said, lifting Willie easily.

"I love the way you say 'come,'" Willie said dreamily, remembering other times Barnabas reached to him with this simple word.

 

Barnabas carried Willie from the kitchen into the hall, bearing him easily up the two flights of stairs to his room. There was a banked fire there for Willie's return, and Barnabas had pulled down the covers to warm the bed.

"You are taking special care of me, my love," Willie said as Barnabas put the candle by the bed, then laid him back onto the lengths of warmth and softness, smelling so sweet and fine with the scent of his Willie. 

"I am caring for you. It is your time," Barnabas said. Willie knew what he meant.

"Soon I will be like you."

"Yes." Barnabas removed his dressing gown and joined Willie on the bed.

"Where will I sleep?" Willie's voice was still soft and dreamy.

"Wherever you like, my love." Barnabas was nuzzling at Willie's stomach, moving downward.

Willie moaned with pleasure as Barnabas took him into his mouth.

Barnabas was gentle and leisurely for awhile as Willie floated on an easy place of even pleasure. 

"What if sex is no longer important to us?" Willie asked suddenly, feeling his deeper fears coming into his consciousness. "My feelings are changing, Barnabas. I don't care as much. My need is less. Where are you, lover? Where are you, my love?"

Barnabas stopped. He came up to Willie, enclosing him with his body, his forearms bent tightly against Willie's sides, his head next to Willie's, his breathy lips near his ear. 

Willie felt Barnabas squeezing him tightly, rocking on him in little motions of insistent feeling. Barnabas' entire body was moving in slow and spontaneous, insistent movements of fierce and gentle loving, enclosing Willie as the font of all love, provoking his responses, overcoming him with a very deep communication of fiery pleasure and arousal.

Barnabas was speaking to him without words. It was as though his soul was seeping into and moving through and saturating Willie's soul. It had become an answer made of undeniable passion.

Willie's gasps and moans became pressured and wild. He felt instructed by Barnabas' pleasuring. He followed the pleasure moving freely within him. It came from the source, his life force. It had no bounds. There could be no cessation. He followed it deep and deeper, unable to fully plumb the depths of the source of this complete and endless intensity of pleasure, deep inside. 

He knew. The love that permeated their reality did not fluctuate. It was anchored in a shared source of immense sensations that brought them tightly together, enclosing the power of their love as heat between them, where their souls and their destinies touched, forever. 

My need and pleasure can never be extinguished. The source of our love is divine. It is eternal.

Willie understood at last. Their love was beyond attraction and repulsion. It was a timeless force that had claimed them, one which would give and demand everything. The last of his doubts about the permanence of their love—for their shared eternity—left him in that moment. 

"Oh, Barnabas," Willie's voice was full of pleasure and the heat of arousal. He shuddered with pleasure as Barnabas moved his mouth to Willie's chest, kissing his chest and stomach, returning his lips and mouth to his sex, the soft and moist parts of Barnabas' mouth moving as one upon Willie, who arched his back, tightening and pushing his genitals against Barnabas' mouth and chin.

Barnabas was mad for him now, sucking and pressing, using his mouth as a sexual organ, the skin, the structures and tissues of his mouth the same as all that were made for pleasure and release.

Barnabas stopped, and Willie complained loudly, aware of Barnabas reaching toward the candle. Barnabas had found the little bottle of oil, and was preparing himself. Barnabas put aside the bottle, then pushed Willie's knees up as he placed his oiled fingers there, watching Willie's eyes tightly shut, now relaxing, and his body restless with need and anticipation becoming quiet with the long dance of a certain pleasure as his fingers slid inside.

Willie's moans were animal and fervent as Barnabas placed himself at the opening, gaining entry. He came down with his body onto Willie as he continued, opening Willie, kissing and opening Willie's mouth with his lips and tongue as Willie's groans of pleasure escaped as breath through their lips. Barnabas sighed while tasting of Willie's mix of saliva and sweat in and around his mouth, his tongue searching as he was finding the depths of him below.

"Barnabas..." Willie whispered through love's lips, to the room, to the night.

"Willie, my love," Barnabas whispered at his ear, to his soul.

Barnabas rocked Willie gently with long and slow movements that brought them straining so lightly together, then sliding on each other's heat and sweat, their bodies arching so slightly into and upon each other, over and over.

"Make me your flesh," Willie's prayer was a whisper. "I am your secret place of self, hiding in another."

"You are my flesh, you live inside with me, here.... here... always here."

Their long release was already forming inside of them, as though time had contracted into more as each moment, a promise made of a future dance of taut places trembling. There came an immense surge, so slow from a deep place between them, pulling them together, together and together, on and on and on, until they were swept hard against each other at last, meeting in a liquid frenzy of muscles swimming with the tide—discharging a foamy lip of liquid pleasure—pushing them outward upon the endless waves rising, bearing them beneath their fervent calls of flight to a single, distant shore.

Both lovers became aware of the very moment when they started thinking again, both with thoughts of the other. They could make no words, and their thoughts remained subtle and sweet, like a spring from what was hidden and most essential coming at last to the surface, the source of a refreshment that would always remain, filling and taking the place of concerns now lost to the outward flow from dark, immense caverns of their intimate wonder.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY NINE: The last time

Barnabas had turned so he could look at Willie with great care, brushing his hair back with his hand relaxed and tender, memorizing his features as a mortal, the light in his eyes, the certain, soft pink of his lips, the soft texture and color of his honey skin. 

 

 

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After a bird tied by a string flies here and there without finding a resting place,
it finally settles down at the place where it is bound.
Similarly, the mind, after flying here and there without finding a resting place,
settles down in the breath, for the mind is bound to the breath.
~ Chandogyopanishad (India: 8th to 6th century BCE)

I am Aedon. I am eternal. 

I am the progenitor, and Cufure my supplicant; my sustenance, protector, and provider.

I was once mortal, a proud son of Cornwall against the Saxons scourge. My descendants, mortal, augmented the Franks, vassals to Charlemagne. My mortal issue became by inheritance keepers of an empire of forests, ruled by the Empress Hapsburg, peopling her lands, far and farther to the East, extending her influence and reign. 

Join with my blood, and in my mortal line share with these mortals a common ancestry in me, by my blood.

Join with my blood, and in my eternal line share our long ancestry conferred to me by the blood of Morcant, who was my maker.

I write this now, the litany of our kind. I record this for you, our progeny.

We have mastered the dark. Light is never extinguished. Light is never lost. We are made of light. 

To accept the light as your charge, you must kneel to the crown.

Swear to it now, that the light shall never cease. Swear that you will make one other to continue the line, one only, who will kneel to the crown.

Guardian of our spark, our light. Make this promise, swear to it on this, the auspicious day of the making of your own immortality.

Do you so swear? Sayeth this: 'yea," and live with us, who yet live, and know this forever: To kneel to the crown, we kneel to the light.

 

Willie was sitting beside Barnabas on his couch in his study, turned close to face the fire. They were reading from the books Barnabas cherished, received from his Ariadne, kept in their place with the crown. Willie still traveled through centuries of crisp and yellowed paper as Barnabas stopped to look into the fire, feeling the years coming down to this time, to this day.

He is searching for the secret, Barnabas thought, watching the fire dance. He is searching all of it.

After a time, Willie's hand with the book was falling slowly, his head tipping forward as he nodded, as though to sleep.

It is too much, Barnabas thought, letting him drift.

Suddenly Willie's head snapped up and he stood so quickly that he fell against the mantle, knocking the fire implements over with a clatter. He was staring at Barnabas, trying to see him, to see him, as Barnabas looked back at him calmly without moving.

Willie was moving then, leaping over the couch and out through the double doors, flying down the porch steps and out into the snowy darkness. He was fully dressed, but standing in slippers filled with snow as he turned to stare back at the dark house, strange and white floating against the blackish blue distance of snow, the fire a bright square through the double doors still open, his dark destiny there within.

He was hugging himself tight against the cold, shaking with his sudden terror. He tried to speak, to name his fear, but he could not make a sound. At last his head was tipping forward, his thoughts tumbling inward, his eyes tightly shut. He was crumpled in the snow then, the intimate darkness of snow all around him, closing at the edges of his vision.

He was remembering. The huge yard deep with snow behind his family's farmhouse on the night of Christmas Eve, scaring himself by approaching the abandoned outhouse, dark and menacing under the scraggy old trees, with huge iron nails leaking rust, the weather scored wood curling and gray with age for the many years since modern plumbing had shunted the structure's midnight sting.

Then he remembered... having never thought on it again. The pain of needing the outhouse at his grandparent's old farm, the well worn path by the menacing coal and tack sheds to the old structure stationed in the midnight wilds, far across the great yard in the moonless darkness. He felt a silent hiss from the structure as he approached, a thing once benign in daylight, now breathing, alive without movement, pitch black within as his feet moved forward by measured increments, as he reached to the door hanging open to a certain width and depth measured by fear.

The horror, the horror he felt as he pulled the door back slowly. He knew there was a blackness down there, just visible in the hole in wood much older than he. It knew that it was close. It was waiting for him, a silence of pure menace below all the world, the forever silence of darkness waiting at the bottom of a future grave, undug, his own.

It could claw him if he got close, if he touched that darkness. He pictured it shooting upward as a grisly, twisting hand, pulling him down to forever.

His child body was clamped about a chemical cold that sucked at his breath as he forced himself to climb up into the outhouse and sit upon that darkness, his eyes tightly shut as he stopped breathing, as he did not move at all, hiding in stillness on that oval gateway to the place where light could not go. There is a place where light cannot go. Not ever.

Then. He was tearing away from that black pit, crunching wildly across the frozen yard, holding his pajama bottoms around his hips with all might and force as he plunged back into the familiar house, not touching the floor in the bedroom as he landed on the bed, shivering under the covers with his heart pounding and blood in his mouth from biting his tongue.

He had touched the darkness. The darkness was alive. It waited for him, forever.

It was real, and it knew his name. 

 

Willie had shouldered the enveloping darkness, a heavy warmth. The cold beneath his feet crunched as he shifted slightly on frozen feet. He lifted his head, and the thick cloak fell back onto his shoulders. He could see Barnabas' leg next to him, and remembered where he was, out in the night, now covered by Barnabas' cloak, shielded against the bitter cold.

Willie grabbed onto Barnabas' leg. Barnabas closed his eyes, his body steady, listening to Willie's anguish.

"Oh, my love.... oh, my love.... my love, my love...." Willie was breathing again, the cold air a sting of poison with each gulp of breath.

"It was the last time.... my Barnabas, you were inside my body still human... the last time, the last time forever.... how did I not know?" 

Barnabas's eyes were closed. He was silent, listening, listening to Willie's anguish. He is already there mentally, between mortality and forever.

"I need more time, I thought I had time. Time to say no, to go back, my love... Oh, oh... but it's too late.... too late...." he sobbed with tears, the last of his mortal tears. "I can't! I CANNOT!! Please take all of me, Barnabas. Take all of my blood, take me into you forever, I beg of you. Please... please... please... please........"

Barnabas's eyes remained closed, his presence a silence of anguish, bracing his body strong and still as Willie pushed and pulled and tore against his leg with all violence, grasping and fighting him without letting go.

"No... no... no... no......"

Willie was still sobbing, quietly at last, then finding silence. His wrenching dance against Barnabas had become an embrace. His head was falling, sinking deeper, down down into the private darkness of snow on Barnabas' feet, finding them shoe less and cold as stone against his face.

Willie felt it then, an unseen shift between two parts of him, clasping anew as his entire being dropped inside, joined at the center place, the place where his soul was now tethered, where it came to rest, forever.

"Ohh......." Willie lifted his head, the snow falling from his head as he looked around at a brighter darkness.

Barnabas leaned down, lifting his Willie, curling and gentling him against his breast, carrying him back into the house. He laid him so tenderly on the couch, brushing the snow away, arranging the cloak about him, a sweet and gentle child who was silent and drifting in a magical state at the edges of sleep, where his mind could be stilled.

He closed the patio doors and built up the fire, rewarming the room. Then he carefully gathered the precious books and set them aside for his Willie. All but one.

He removed his clothes, folding them neatly, wearing only his dressing gown. He felt the heavy brocade lined with the softest of silk, fabric that had touched him as he embraced his George, as he was embraced by his Ariadne, her arms his only anchor in the wild darkness of forever. He settled into the couch at Willie's feet, watching the flames as he waited.

 

Willie awoke, his eyes lazy, the flames hypnotic, the warmth so familiar, the crackling sounds so sharp and close, immediate and soothing.

He sat up slowly, gingerly settling back against the couch beside his Barnabas now sitting beside him. Willie still looked at the fire, his thoughts soft and drifting as he laid his hand on his Barnabas' hand, relaxed and reassuring on his leg, then moved his fingers to toy with his sleeve.

Willie realized Barnabas was naked under his dressing gown, and here he was, sitting at his side. He turned his eyes to him, so near, finding the most tender brightness of feeling there.

Willie felt his neck. There was no bite there. Barnabas was waiting, sitting next to him.

"The last time..." Barnabas whispered to Willie. You last mortal kiss.

"I will make for myself a beautiful memory," Willie answered, turning his head, whispering love as Barnabas leaned to him, as he felt Barnabas' teeth at his throat, and Barnabas entering him, filling him with his subtle essence, taking the best from him, kissing him closed again, a perfect round.

 

Barnabas let Willie go, still sitting beside him, gazing at Willie as he sat back from their embrace.

Barnabas had turned so he could more fully look at Willie with great care, brushing his hair back with his hand relaxed and tender, memorizing his features as a mortal, the light in his eyes, the certain, soft pink of his lips, the soft texture and color of his honey skin. He felt himself fully enchanted again by him in every way, loving him, wanting to somehow hold the last of his mortal breath as it left his body. He leaned to Willie and covered his mouth, taking in his exhalation.

Barnabas closed his eyes, and felt within him the breath of his beloved, and throughout him the liquid form and flow from his mortality coursing through him, warm and strong, finding every passage and secret place served by life, by his life, his beloved Willie. Now would that sweet flow return to him, mingled with the liquid flow of his own immortality.

Barnabas opened his eyes. Willie's eyes were soft for him, his head moving so so slightly, changing for Willie the perspective of Barnabas' face, making it more subtle, a memory with a subtle depth to carry in the subtle depths of the wrappings of his heart.

Barnabas paused. He felt his Willies eyes' caress, still lit from within by the light of his mortal soul. Why must I change him? Not forever... Barnabas fought with his own anguish. Why not only for a day? 

He felt a silent answer, another, and one more. The remaining words of his George in his waist coat pocket, a sweet and bitter memory enclosed by brass. His Ariadne rising up in him, alive in his veins, made of copper, made of light, urging him to pass on the gift.

The crown. For the lineage he was crowned, and his oath now a silent answer of blood, long avowed. You must. 

I must. I must make one other.

He was still looking down at his Willie. It had all taken seconds.

Barnabas pulled his dressing gown aside, revealing his naked breast. He brought the small knife from his pocket, holding it on his open palm, bright and flashing in the firelight. He took Willie's open hand, and placed it on the knife, watching his beautiful flesh close about the handle instinctively. Then he placed his own hand over Willie's and brought the knife to his chest, above his nipple. 

His hand was firm and the cut was quick and long, with an immediate issue of vibrant blue as Barnabas pulled Willie's lips to him, gentle against his breast.

"Drink, my love, and become mine forever."

 

CHAPTER FORTY: Eternal

The room was filled with a wealth of warm candlelight. Willie sat up slowly, his eyes challenged by so much light, his gaze caught by the sudden gleam of the crown. He tried to stand, and Barnabas' helped him, greatly moved as he felt Willie's body was eternal like his own. "I am eternal," Willie said calmly.

 

 


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I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
For ever and forever when I move.
―Tennyson

 

Willie was falling. A thickness enveloped him, a substance that fluttered without sound at his ears. It was pulling on him as he fell, down into a place with no warmth, no air, no light.

Darker than darkness, he was solid upon a fleshy firmness covered with sticky and sucking filth, pulled by something that coiled against him, writhing against everywhere that he was. Horrible. Horrible, without breath, enclosing and coiled upon itself, consuming what it was, pushing against itself to go deeper, life that was feeding on its source.

Evil. Evil was eating of its source for sustenance, rotting to feed rotting. Like tearing wood from a house to warm it, humans had burned the source and treasure of their souls with a legion of blind addictions, with promised pleasures stolen from tomorrow for an increase of today, mistaking an expanding cascade of emptiness for endless, effortless freedom. They deceived themselves, feasting on tomorrow's bounty until it was too late, and they were hollow as a crown.

Evil. Evil was pushing on itself, making more darkness in a lesser space, deeper and farther away from the living force that expands as light and breath. Humans had given themselves to evil acts which pushed inward on their souls, mistaking the fierce cold and heat of their contraction for unending, effortless passion, until it was too late, and they served a perversity that hounded them to darker and darker acts, just to feel alive.

Willie knew the beast against him. Humans had made this evil. It was his inheritance as a mortal, a tangled morass forever greater than mortal absolution, passed from the past and from the many, on to the many more. And so it grew.

Willie was writhing and clawing at the black, coughing as a vaporous ether filled his lungs with stinging coils of dead air. He was suffocating.

Barnabas!! Willie called within. He felt arms around him in the darkness as he struggled without breath.

"Willie..." a voice called to him with all feeling in the silence. "Willie..." It was the voice of his Barnabas. Willie stopped struggling.

Where are you, my love?

"I am here."

Hold me, Barnabas, I am lost...

"I will not let go." 

Barnabas held Willie tightly as he began to arch and twist from new waves of agony that grew and tore at him, opening him with a ragged tear of his soul and imagined flesh, piercing his vital containers, emptying his heart and his lungs.

Barnabas....!! I am dying!! I cannot breathe!! Willie collapsed again and again into weakness, writhing in defeat.

Barnabas grasped and moved Willie's body about, helping him to feel his close and mighty embrace, preparing him as Ardiane had prepared him, his strength added to Willie's. Then Barnabas' head was falling back as he felt his own anguish peaking. The fire will come next... Oh, I have done this to you... my love...

Fire...!! Willie felt everywhere a consuming fire that was burning inward, burning outward. He could feel what was in him going away. Each and every thing. This. This. Gone.

Then.

The fire was extinguished. It had burned the last of the fuel made from Willie's human inheritance.

The evil withdrew. 

He was still, the struggle finished. A new fluidity held him, pouring through him from his Barnabas. He was flowing outward, expanding with a liquid coolness.

He felt himself released into a subtle place of hidden light, a darkness with light somewhere near. 

A light. A tiny point of light, blue and iridescent like a pearl. It opened and opened until he knew himself in it. He was substance and light. All of him was contained in this tiny orb.

Two, there were two. But he was one.

 

Willie opened his eyes, looking up at a greatly relieved Barnabas looking down on him, smiling, holding Willie's head in his lap, his hands at his cheeks, caressing his face lightly with immense affection.

The unfamiliar room was filled with a wealth of warm candlelight. Willie sat up slowly, his eyes challenged by so much light, his gaze caught by the sudden gleam of the crown. He tried to stand, and Barnabas' helped him, greatly moved as he felt Willie's body against him, eternal like his own. 

"I am eternal," Willie said calmly.  

"You are like me." Willie's new form dazzled in the candlelight. "You are mine forever."

Willie turned to him. "Your voice..."

Barnabas' voice was sugared with the honey of a thousand hives of bees, made with the thousand million flowers of summer. His words were sweet with the last sugar drawn from a thousand million leaves felled by a single touch from the promise of winter, his rhythmic breath following the sweetness taken up as sap by the bare trees as larder for the long cold, measured by moons, with a single promise of the sun's return.

"My love, my love." Willie touched Barnabas' lips. "Speak to me again. Your voice, your words....." Willie's voice was subtle and close as he brought his ear near to Barnabas' mouth, his gaze returning to the crown.

"I desired my dust to be mingled with yours, forever and forever, and forever." 

Willie floated on the sounds made by his lover, words of love and eternity made by a mortal poet, given to him now as a mingled eternity fulfilled.

As Willie listened closely to Barnabas' voice, he could hear another there, who was hidden from him. He is far more complex than I realized. "Barnabas. You are still a mortal, and eternal... and more than eternal." 

"I am," Barnabas answered. "There is always more change for us; we live one eternal round, ever new.

Willie looked down at a pillow on the floor before the heavily draped table and the crown, with Barnabas now standing next to the cushion, holding a little book from the table, waiting. Willie felt himself sinking through the last of his mortal days, down onto his knees on a tiny raft, a pillow floating down through the long years to him, waiting for him at his beloved's feet.

Barnabas opened and cradled the book with great feeling as he found a certain page. 

 

I am Aedon. I am eternal. 

I am the progenitor, and Cufure my supplicant; my sustenance, protector, and provider.

I was once mortal, a proud son of Cornwall against the Saxons scourge. My descendants, mortal, augmented the Franks, vassals to Charlemagne. My mortal issue became by inheritance keepers of an empire of forests, ruled by the Empress Hapsburg, peopling her lands, far and farther to the East, extending her influence and reign. 

Join with my blood, and in my mortal line share with these mortals a common ancestry in me, by my blood.

Join with my blood, and in my eternal line share a long ancestry of immortals by the blood of Morcant, who was my maker.

I write this now, the litany of our kind. I record this for you, our progeny.

We have mastered the dark. Light is never extinguished. Light is never lost. We are made of light. 

To accept the light as your charge, you must kneel to the crown.

Swear to it now, that the light shall never cease. Swear that you will make one other to continue the line, one only, who will kneel to the crown.

Guardian of our spark, our light. Make this promise, swear to it on this, the auspicious day of the making of your own immortality.

Do you so swear? Sayeth "yea," and live with us, who yet live, and know this forever: To kneel to the crown is to kneel to the light.

 

"Yea," Immediately Willie felt in himself a little surge, a flow that would never dwindle. "I swear, and I do so kneel. I kneel to the crown."

Barnabas set the book aside. He reached to the heavy crown, grasping and holding it vertically in his right hand. He touched Willie's forehead three times with it. "Then. Now. Forever." He held the crown over Willie's head, then placed it firmly upon his brow. Willie felt the weight of the lineage, the exquisite effulgence of it, symbolized upon him as gold and a lineage of royalty. Barnabas offered Willie his hand, and Willie stood.

"My love," Barnabas said happily as he embraced him. Willie felt Barnabas engulfing him with a sweet and swirling warmth that smelled like pears, and almonds... then mossy water. Willie stepped back. Barnabas' hair was still a crown of shining black, now with a subtle halo of liquid indigo. His hands were a lilting promise of movement, with the subtle motions of a resting pair of white doves, fluttering before flight.

Barnabas was entirely different to him. Then different again. Everything was different.

Willie looked around at the empty room, floor to ceiling. The table, the crown, the copper lit box had changed. It was all becoming real to him. I am changed. He looked again at Barnabas. His eyes and lips and skin were a different shade and texture. 

Willie began to reach to Barnabas' subtly haloed hair, then reached instead to his own hair, bumping the crown. He remembered it there, heavy, steadying it with his hand.

Barnabas reached to him, and Willie tilted his head slightly towards him. Barnabas lifted the crown from Willie's head and placed it back on the table with great reverence. Beside it, the beautiful box with inlaid copper arabesques shimmered with many dazzling, copper colored beams of dancing candlelight. 

"Copper," Willie said.

"Copper." He misses nothing.

"I taste copper."

"It is why our blood is blue."

Willie remembered drinking blue colored blood from Barnabas' breast. "Not like royalty, blue bloods..."

"No. I will explain it all to you soon, but first you must walk about in your new world."

Willie watched the darkness that was pushed back by the candles grow and reclaim the room as Barnabas went about expertly extinguishing all of the candles in the way he had taught Willie, so they gave off no smoke. Then he stood waiting.

The windows were still well covered by the aging velvet curtains, and yet... Willie could see everything in the pitch black room, especially his smiling Barnabas watching his face as he registered this change.

Willie was moving towards the door, and Barnabas followed a little ways behind, waiting as Willie opened the door, watching as he moved slowly out and along the upper hall.

Willie could feel the moonlight trying to get into the house. 

As they walked down the grand staircase, the last edges of the old carpet hidden beneath the new whispered to him of days past, trying to get his attention before he stepped onto the marble of the hallway.

"There's a lot of whispering," Willie said.

"Yes."

"I can feel the moonlight reaching to us through the house." Willie looked at his hand, expecting it to be illumined by the moon, but it was not. He could sense the sleepy, lotus steps of his beloved at his feet, a daily ritual path along the grand hall to the hidden back stairway, down to his coffin down below.

Barnabas stopped in the hall as Willie entered the drawing room.

Willie caught the fragrance of lilies, of camphor and whiskey, a heady mix. The older furniture had a subtle glow of bodies held and moments used.

The floor in front of the book cases had yielded to a barrage of slightly twisting footsteps, shifting subtly in long moments of interest and focus. Some of the books ached. Others were exultant. Some were like a port where the solid ship of history awaited its newest passengers.

Those of the old curtains which Willie had salvaged held memories of storms within and without the house, with and without the hiding behind or pulling down of curtains.

Willie stood with awe before the grand clock on the fireplace mantle, a creature which acknowledged him with a formal, silent welcome. You have a soul, Willie said inside. He touched the clock, and the face of It opened like a book to him, time trailing out onto the air around him, an account of many births, weddings, war wounds nursed, tragic deaths, and funerals attended by those secretly joyous and unrelentingly sad. Willie was spellbound by this parade of mortality. Then the clock closed, and it all evaporated as the clock was once again only ticking, ticking.

Willie turned to acknowledge Barnabas' happy eyes and great interest in Willie's experience as he returned to the hall, following upward with his eyes the epic curl of the grand staircase, flickering lightly as a hasty ascent for secret trysts and feverish betrayals. He sensed the joyous steps of his George there, then saw his own excited motion and breathless posture from the back as George led him up to his room.

Below the stairs, a gilt heeled parade began under his feet, progressing by measured gait into the great gallery beyond, where came the sounds of tinkling crystal, and the slowing, fading measure of hearts that floundered, surrounded and aching by words of sinister gossip, watching the dancing and loving of others.

Willie turned about to face the inward sweep of the crystal laden doors of the front entry, happily mastered by a steady stream of servants in a fading timeline of uniforms, reflections that bowed to Willie as he stepped through and out onto the colonnade.

Barnabas came beside him, watching as he was stopped by a dazzling scene of a grand scale that was beyond any attempt at simultaneous comprehension.

"Ohhh...." The sound died with Willie's breath on his lips, his eyes wide. He shook his head lightly. Again. It was all still there.

Silver moonlight swirled about the landscape like tiny interwoven rivers of sparkling, tumbling frost. The great stands of trees were so subtly shifting and shaping to face the house, touching each other with the physical whispers of a chemical language, embraced and enthralled by the sweeping reach of his astonished greeting.

"Ohhh ."

Willie forgot Barnabas, and was moving with slow and slightly dipping steps down and away from the colonnade and the shade of the house, full into the liquid moonlight. He looked up, leaning back but an inch into the close embrace of his Barnabas ready behind him, holding him as his knees tightened, then dropped as the first of a cascade of muscle groups, each immediately faltering in turn.

The great bowl of the sky was flung from end to end with the epic edge and the lofting, outward spin of a single galaxy, their own, surrounded by an incomprehensible, endless flux of galaxies made of many several several hundred hundred millions of millions of millions of stars and other heavenly objects in motion. 

Willie touched all of it. It all touched him. Every celestial body was held to every other by the space between and around everything, and all of it was expanding in an equally measured and vast kindred of motion in perfect relation to everything else, rushing outward from the beginning of time.

"Relativity..." Willie whispered, understanding the concept for the first time. 

"We can see back to the beginning," Barnabas laid a hand on Willie's shouldes as he came to stand beside him, his voice moving past and around him with his own endless, effortless state of awe.

"We have become eternal. It's who we are."

 

What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a million million of suns?

― Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

CHAPTER FORTY-ONE: Your soul

Barnabas pulled Willie closer in a gentle stance of a deeply anticipated, ultimate fulfillment, communicated to Willie through his embrace. "My blood has changed your blood, Willie. Now your blood will change mine."

 

 

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I am in you and you in me, mutual in divine love. — William Blake 

For the life of all flesh is in its blood. — Leviticus 17:14

 

Willie remained for awhile in a place of no words, delighting in the silent, snow covered expanse that surrounded The Old House, holding the graceful, Greek columns of the manor house upwards in the middle of the tree lined bowl like a timeless pearl on the half-shell. He recognized his feet upon, his place upon this beloved place of wildness preserved, now holding and surrounding a preservation of wealth as a fairy tale castle. It had become his home, a feeling of home in his body and blood, where he had no need of any other place, past or future.

Barnabas had moved a little away from Willie, waiting for him under the colonnade. Willie lifted his hand as he walked up the steps, coming closer to his very old friend and very old and new love, his timeless lover.

Barnabas walked beside Willie as they smiled with a tender, intimate formality, their hands clasped as they passed through the ornate doors together as though for the first time, as a forever partnership made from blood. They stood together in the front hall, and Willie was enchanted by the sparkling chandeliers raining an intimate elegance upon them, the dancing crystals showering them with the joy and happy privilege from so many years of making light more beautiful.

"I am like you, my love, at last," Willie said as they squeezed each other's hands with joy.

They came together, their lips soft, pressing, then soft again. The lovers made tiny movements against each other with their lips as the very beginnings of finding out who they were together, what passions they were to share. 

"Copper," Willie said, tasting it in their shared kiss. "Is that the secret?"

"No, my love," Barnabas answered.

"When will you tell me?"

"Now."

Willie stepped back slightly, reading Barnabas' face. It was so full of inexpressibly gentle intrigue and joy that Willie could not imagine a moment that might be more exquisite, even that of the next moment and an immense secret.

"To my knowledge, Willie, you are the only supplicant who has ever guessed that there was a remaining step to the change. All of the others, myself included, found out there was a secret—and what it was—at the same time, in the same moment. And it is a mighty secret, my love. Your dreams are already real, the ones you thought to put away."

Willie registered the words, but his mind was still focusing on the words to come, needing them.

"The secret is this, my love. We are for each other."

Willie felt a subtle thrill begin and open through him as breathless inspiration. He felt a visceral rendering of the words, an understanding that was not based upon their meaning. It was a guess, a hope, a return to a desire put aside, now reawakened.

"We sustain each other," Willie guessed. "You will still take from me." 

"And you will take from me." Barnabas loved the immense look of joyous surprise on Willie's face.

"But.... this is beyond every dream I have of my future with you!" Willie exclaimed, squeezing Barnabas' hands with joy.  "Is it true? Oh, my love!" 

Willie looked as though he was about to dance about, but stopped. "But... Why?"  

"Why did I not tell you? Because you cannot choose eternity without being fully ready to care for yourself, Willie. Forever. You would not make it through all of the years to come—not physically, not mentally—unless you were first and forever able to obtain sustenance for yourself, and fully expected to feed yourself without taking from me."

Barnabas waited, letting Willie catch up.

"It is our way, my love. We do not reveal our interdependence to the supplicant until after the change. And we do not complete the change until autonomy has been fully demonstrated, as you have demonstrated to my satisfaction. It has been done this way for you, Willie. For you."

"It is so? I will drink from you?"

"Yes, my love."

Willie reached to Barnabas in his happiness, touching his face, watching as Barnabas' smile softened, becoming more intimate, his eyes sparkling. Willie touched his lips, remembering so many times when they were tight against him in a loving passion of two, an exchange of life and loving, followed always by the taste of his blood on his lover's lips.

Willie looked down, taking Barnabas' hand in his, turning it over to look at and stroke his wrist, seeing in his mind's eye the blood flowing underneath his skin. He had known this blood only once, at Barnabas' breast. Now he would know it as Barnabas had always known his. It was so thrilling, so beautiful. 

"Come," Barnabas said, gently grasping Willie's hand. "We understand each other best in your bed, my lover."

Willie was not moving. His mind was still an immense dance of unfolding movement in his still body. "Come," Barnabas tugged a little on his hand, smiling at his Willie. 

Barnabas led Willie up the staircase to the second floor, through the whispering and gracious murmuring of unseen carpets, down the hall lit by the very old light of once fluttering candles, now barely visible, dancing with happiness in the old wall sconces. "Thank you, Willie.... " they whispered as the lovers passed, as they cast their warm light on the lovers, on the new wall coverings and carpets that Willie had provided for them to grace with their light from long ago.

"Time is different for us," Barnabas said as Willie looked about. "You can focus only on this moment if you wish." Willie refocused his senses slightly in a way he had never done before. The voices and lights went away.

Willie felt a sudden furtiveness as Barnabas pushed through the hidden servant's door and led him expectantly up the back stairs to Willie's room. As they came up the last few steps, Willie could see brilliant firelight under his door, a beacon of golden light as they moved into the dark of the hallway, as Barnabas reached for the door handle, opening the door to a sweep of candlelight and the warmth and light of a glowing fire dancing about in the little room.

Barnabas had prepared Willie's intimate place of refuge for his return, resplendent in his new form.

Willie stopped in the doorway, suddenly awash with the myriad energies of love and passion which saturated the room, flowing into and around him. Barnabas drew him slowly into the room, reaching over Willie's shoulder to close the door with a tiny click. His eyes were so very close to Willie's eyes for a long moment of Barnabas' almost unbearable anticipation before he stepped back and let Willie take in the entire room.

Willie looked around at subtle, dancing shadows of passion shared, so soft on the walls and on the tender bed. He looked at the plain floor at his feet, so lightly dancing with golden shadows of steps that stepped around each other in a steady passion. How often their footsteps had mingled in front of the bed just before their bodies were intermingled on the bed.

Barnabas watched as Willie's eyes found all the subtle images and movements of loving that lived in the space of their place of loving.

Willie touched his heart with feeling as he turned in the center of the small room. Barnabas had arranged on the mantle, the chest, and the bed table dried flowers, pink cabbage roses upon sprays of lavender wisteria, bright ranunculus and lilies of pinks and coral rust. On the mantle there was arranged as a spray several dried, fragrant gardenias of purest white. Willie pictured Barnabas drying these flowers for him on the short nights of summer, while Willie was sleeping here in the darkness of his room, dreaming of his lover. He knew that Barnabas had looked forward to this day, and had dreamed of how to make it even more special for him.

"All for me, my love." Willie was overcome. He felt that he was only just catching up to Barnabas.

Barnabas waited until Willie had taken it all in, until he could wait no longer, and took Willie up in his arms, turning with him, squeezing him with his love and joy and his intense need to know Willie's new body. "Let us make love... let us love..." Barnabas whispered. He let Willie down, then stepped back, throwing his coat over the chair, and quickly removing his boots, setting them aside. He began with a slow passion to remove Willie's clothes, loving his new form, kissing and tasting his lips, his face, his shoulders and his back as the clothes slipped away from Willie's body, his eyes and his hands following the soft places, and the light upon the beauty of Willie's skin and form, now standing in a perfect stillness with a new power and presence.

Willie's head did not move as he watched Barnabas moving about, in and out of his range of vision, reading there his waves of anticipation and passion as he moved around Willie in a slow dance of tiny steps and long kisses. 

It was all so familiar, so new. Willie lifted his arms slightly, and lifted his feet, soon naked and smooth under Barnabas' hand sliding up his back and holding him by the back of his neck as he slowly pulled Willie's lips to his own.

Willie answered Barnabas' grasp, raising his hands to the back of Barnabas' neck, pressing and moving his lips a little more tightly against his, tasting on his lips a breathy concoction that reminded him of what had once smelled like chrysanthemums, and now was a broad fragrance of desire, a heady froth of almond sugar and undutched chocolate, pleasingly bitter and sweet.

Willie was stretching then, a spontaneous expansion with his eyes closed. Barnabas steadied him as Willie lost himself in his new physicality, a profound change. He felt it deeply now, and settled by stages into his new presence. He opened his eyes and leaned to Barnabas' face, trying his breath, breathing long on him in the special way, watching as Barnabas' eyes widened, misting slightly with intoxication and gentle surrender. 

Willie steadied him, then began to undress him. He was an expert at it, the sequence of ties and buttons that held the formal attire together, slipping each piece off and onto the chair.

Barnabas was naked then, enchanted, sitting on the edge of the bed, watching as Willie stood over him, settling inward after stretching outward again, inhabiting his newness with his eyes closed.

Barnabas stood when Willie opened his eyes. Haaaaaa, he breathed on Willie as they fell into and against each other, feeling their bodies new and old and velvety soft against one another, moving their hands on each other in their growing arousal.

"Give me your body," Barnabas was suddenly, wildly impatient, demanding and grasping from a passion, falling back onto the bed, pulling Willie on top of him.

"...already yours, my love..." Willie complained firmly as he covered Barnabas and began to love upon him with a flexing passion, rubbing his sex upon Barnabas' sex, moving about on him as though they had somehow entered each other at once physically, feeling their hearts beating so close together through the press of immortal bodies dancing upon an intertwined soul.

"Oh, my Willie.... my Willie..." Barnabas whispered. "Your body is new. You must give it to me again."

Willie's sudden inhalation became a long moan of passion. "Take me..." he whispered, turning over. 

Barnabas loved the words, loving the way Willie's body relaxed and opened subtly to him.

"Do not wait," Willie hurried his Barnabas, losing himself for a few seconds in the larger dance between them. What if he is mistaken, and cannot possess me again in this, my new form?

Willie was soothed by their motions, by his body awash in the familiar sensations passing through him in the dance of their newness. His moans became deeper with each movement of their bodies, his hands buried tightly in the pillows. Barnabas could hear his passion in words as though to himself against the bedding, and he knew that Willie had thought of the owl, his friend who's passion was made as completely silent movement. "Oh my love... If I am at the window, do not wait for me..." he cried softly, the words jolting slightly with each inward stroke. "I am here. Live in me. Live in me."

"Forever..." Barnabas had bent down to his ear, moving quickly and deeply while grasping Willie's sex, bringing him to his release. Willie's cry of release was long and wild, his vocalizations still touched from within as Barnabas was driven by excited pleasure to his own release.

Finished at last, Barnabas covered Willie with all of his weight, spreading over him as they lay panting and sighing and quivering with several intense aftershocks of shared pleasure, their bodies slick with salty sweat.

"Willie is mine," Barnabas whispered at Willie's ear, still moving slightly on his body, pushing him about with his own. 

Willie's voice was soft in the pillows, somewhere between words and sighs. He was quiet then, and Barnabas sat up a little as Willie turned under him, sitting up to embrace him. 

Their kisses were long, sweet and long and deep, and long again. 

 

Willie sensed a change in Barnabas, whose touches became less fervent, then stopped. 

Barnabas almost felt that Ariadne stood behind him, next to the bed, reaching her hand to his shoulder, knowing the steady beat of his heart, listening to the words she had used to show him the way.

His voice was instructive, knowing. "Willie Loomis, your body is mine," Barnabas proclaimed quietly with a force of loving dominance and knowing in his voice. "Now, give me your soul."

Willie felt the deepest of his soul moved by these words. He resisted the urge to disentangle himself from Barnabas' embrace, from his words, needing so much to know what they meant. 

"Tell me how, my love, and I will give you my soul." Barnabas stopped, his breath quieted by Willie's profound depths of surrender. He pulled Willie closer in a gentle stance of deeply anticipated, ultimate fulfillment, communicated to Willie through his embrace. 

"My blood has changed your blood, Willie. Now your blood will change mine."

Barnabas pulled Willie very slowly, sideways into his arm, their eyes locked together in a certain, slow dance of anticipated understanding and fulfillment. Willie nestled into Barnabas' the way he had done so many times before, thrilling at his special embrace.

"Barnabas..." Willie whispered, as Barnabas caressed him; his chest, his stomach, then his throat with the back of his hand gently curled, watching the shadows of his movements dance in the firelight on Willie's body, playing in the ecstasy on his face, over his eyes partly lidded and rolling slightly with ecstasy from his touches.

Willie let Barnabas move his body as he pleased, his breathing deepening, his little gasps and moans released by Barnabas' gentle touches.

"Drink from me, my love..." Willie whispered.

"My love," Barnabas caressed Willie's face, holding Willie's gaze. He watched the dark shadows of his own face dancing across Willie's as he leaned to him, turning Willie's head away slightly, caressing and stroking his neck, softening the tissues and the structures underneath. Willie relaxed completely, his body falling away from Barnabas slightly as Barnabas brought his teeth to his neck.

Willie gasped, then breathed out with deepest satisfaction as Barnabas' teeth popped through the skin and past all else of him, into the stream of his life.

Barnabas freed his hunger as he felt Willie's blood surge into his mouth, as he swallowed hungrily from his long anticipated and urgent need of Willie's blood and soul, entering him at last as cascading waves of a gentle fire, slipping down, finding the depths of him, of his soul.

Barnabas was overcome as their souls touched in him, in Willie. The line continues... he thought of Ariadne.

"My love!" Willie whispered, his constrained voice changing slightly with the rhythm of Barnabas' pulls at his neck. "I feel you. You are inside of me!"

Barnabas felt they were floating together, drifting closer as a place between them opened to an inner vista of light emanating from two tiny orbs of pulsing luminescence, finding each other, closer and closer.

I in you, and you in me, he heard Ariadne's voice in his mind as the two pearls of light merged.

Barnabas felt his heart releasing the pain at last. He felt the empty place of her filled as love healed the deep wound that would always be the place of her in his heart.

Then Barnabas was gently sipping his last share of Willie's blood, kissing the wound, then resting his forehead against Willie's chin, feeling their mutual satiation in each other, their shared fulfillment seeping through their wonder and embrace. He brought his lips with Willie's blood to his.

"My soul is in you now. I in you, and you in me," Barnabas whispered as he caressed Willie, holding him against his heart so full.

Willie whispered with awe, "I know you, my love. Here... There is no place in me that is not you."

They held each other, and breathed from their place of shared ecstasy. Willie felt that he had finally caught up with Barnabas, with his world, everything. 

"Do you feel me everywhere, everywhere...?" Willie whispered.

"Everywhere in me, there you are, my love."

"When did you give me your soul?"

"I gave you my soul with my eternal blood. It is forever yours. Now that you have given me your eternal soul with your changed blood, we both feel each other. Your blood eternal holds your soul eternal. Your soul, Willie. " 

Willie whispered with awe, fully understanding his new being and sustenance. "We share the life source; we restore each other."

"Yes. We only need mortal blood to sustain our eternal blood, to keep from being depleted over time."

"We sustain each other?"

"Yes. Blood is the life, Willie. Our souls will mingle every time we take from each other. We are for each other, forever." 

"Forever," Willie whispered. "Our love will last forever." 

 

CHAPTER FORTY TWO: The Cousin

Barnabas was remembering, finding the words inside. George, my love, it is your turn to be released from the secret prison of my heart.

 

 


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The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.
The universe is flux, life is opinion.
—Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

 

Willie was alive with questions. He kept asking Barnabas about the next important thing he was most curious about, NOW.

"But, why is our blood blue? And why does it taste like copper?"

"I don't know what you mean."

"BARNABAS!" Willie slugged him over and over on his shoulder. Barnabas winced and playfully fought him off. Willie realized his new strength had made his playful attack painful.

"Ouch! You new vampires are all alike. Inflicting your new strength on your elders."

I am a vampire... A vampire. Willie caressed Barnabas' shoulder, sweetly kissing him there.

"My Willie. All blood has a metallic taste. Human blood has cells that are bound by iron, with some copper. Ours are bound by copper, with some iron. It makes our blood appear blue. There are other creatures this way."

"But we eat human blood." What does it mean.... that I am?

"We are served by the blood and life force of humans. Humans are our life legacy, our original source. We renew that connection to do more than just survive in our eternal nature."

"But why is their blood so important?" Willie was looking at his hand, touching his face, feeling his lips, his eyelids. I am meant to be this, to feel this way.

"My Willie. Our bodies are still served by human blood. Our bodies and blood are incomplete. We are changing. We are in between. It is a terrible hunger to live without their blood, almost like a sickness, though we are never ill, and we never die." 

"But all of the evil, the evil of mortals, was taken away from me when I was changed. Isn't it evil to take their blood and their life?"

"Do you want to kill mortals?" Barnabas' tone was rhetorical.

He thinks he's Socrates... Willie thought of the method of teaching based upon questions.

Willie was silent. I do. I want to kill them, to kill one of them.

"Do we have to kill mortals?" Barnabas asked.

"Yes. Eventually, yes."

"Why?"

"To live, to remain strong." Willie was feeling his way.

"That is true. But there is more."

"I... need to. I need to." I need to kill a human. Willie was feeling a new part of him awakening.

"It is in our nature, Willie. To fight this part of our nature is fruitless, and exhausting. Eventually we must give in. We are eternal. It does no good to starve. The blood of humans is our only sustenance, beyond each other. We must have human blood, we must reach their souls, and to do that we must kill them."

"Barnabas. Why didn't you explain all of this before?" The simple arc of my life has become a spiral, spinning ever outward.

"I'm never going to tell you why."

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH." Willie landed on Barnabas, who made an "ooof," sound. The bed also made a slight cracking sound.

"Be kind to my furniture, if you please."

"YOUR furniture. So that's the way it is." Willie was suddenly quiet, thinking of another bed, somewhere... where? Which bed did you share with another?

Willie's voice changed. "I am never going to let you up, Barnabas Collins. Not until you tell me..."

Barnabas knew the words that would be next.

"Who did you love, Barnabas? A Collins? Tell me." Willie waited.

Barnabas moved his lips, mouthing the words before he spoke aloud. "I loved my cousin..." Barnabas answered finally, finding the willingness to visit the pain with words. "His name was George." Barnabas spoke his name aloud, hearing it, feeling it in his body and breath, on his tongue and on his lips. He felt the pain stirring up the deeper pain in the walled off place in his heart made for his memories of Ariadne, so raw and wretched. Perhaps he could hope for peace about his George. 

I have hope... Barnabas was remembering, making words for his George, inside. George, my love, you must be the first to be released from the secret prison of my heart.

Willie slipped off Barnabas, turning to face him, coming to rest with his head and back against Barnabas' folded knees, watching Barnabas' face as he came back to him from his silent reverie.

"George was my favorite cousin, a first cousin once removed, as they say; my grandfather's brother's child," he began, his lips turning upwards into a special smile. "His family visited us from time to time. They stayed with us here, often for months.

Willie noticed Barnabas' hand flutter slightly, resting lightly on his heart as he soothed himself with deeper breaths.

"He was my first lover." Barnabas' eyes sparkled as he remembered. "He taught me about loving and shared pleasure."

Willie thought of the room on the second floor that Barnabas seemed to avoid, with the broken down furniture and ragged curtains still in place. He had instinctively delayed any plans for renovating it. For some reason, Willie had always pictured Barnabas sneaking away from the bedrooms on the second floor to couple more privately. Now Willie made the obvious connection, and pictured a very young Barnabas in that once new room, on the old bed with his new lover, learning about sex and passion.

"How did George die?" Willie asked, searching gently for the source of the pain.

The words will come at last...

"He stayed with us when his family moved back to Europe. He had a subtle sickness. The doctors there tried, then the doctors here, but they couldn't save him. We had more than a year together, and I loved him more than life itself, Willie. He was so alive, so adventurous. I idolized him. But I lost him so soon Willie. When we were still so young."

Barnabas closed his eyes, and allowed the pain at last, the gentle sobs with no tears coming up through him, his breath ragged with a stop-start of expelled pain. It was unbearable, but he allowed the feelings to come up through him at last.

Willie held Barnabas' hand. "I am so sorry," he whispered when the sobs dwindled, rubbing Barnabas' arm gently, feeling Barnabas' deepest soul in his tender touch, his body and soul vibrating in response. Barnabas' eyes were still closed as Willie lifted Barnabas' hand to his lips, holding it against his kiss so very tenderly, his heart aching with pain for his Barnabas' loss. He remembered Cone, and felt so lucky that he had not lost his first true love in such a sad way. Their path's had parted without being torn from each other. I still think of you, he said in his heart.

Barnabas opened his eyes. He looked at Willie with a raw, soul baring expression, feeling the quiet joy of their connection strengthened. Barnabas sat up somewhat, shifting inside; climbing against, then above the pain. "Bring me my waist coat, my love."

Willie slipped off of Barnabas, turning to sit on the edge of the bed. He stopped briefly, listening as Barnabas spoke quietly to himself. "How deep is love, how far; how instantly it ferries me here, to the distant reaches of myself, heaving and storm tossed..." there was a pause, and almost a whisper, "...where I am lashed to the wheel of simple hope."

Willie was enchanted by the formal prose. He is truly of another age, he thought with awe and affection.

Willie reached for the soft scarlet of the waistcoat, thinking of so many times he had noticed Barnabas briefly touching the little pocket. He brought the lovely garment to the bed and buried his nose in it before passing it to Barnabas, making a humming sound of happy delight at his lover's fragrance. "Mmmmmmm."

Barnabas removed the pocket watch and laid the garment aside. He popped the watch open, looking at the inscription, which always made him smile. He pressed the catch to the little space under the face, smiling tenderly at the portrait for a moment, so glad to find that he could look without the depths of him pulling him downward. He handed the watch to Willie, who took it carefully and with reverence. The young person in the portrait seemed to dance a little in the dancing firelight. He was beautiful and full of joy. Surely some of George and his love of his Barnabas was nestled in the watch with the portrait.

Thank you, George seemed to be saying. Take good care of my Barnabas. 

Thank you, Willie thought. Thank you for giving your heart to him, and accepting his in return.

Willie looked at the inscription and smiled. He handed the timepiece back to Barnabas, who clicked it shut with great feeling, then slipped it back into its place in the pocket.

Barnabas was lost in thought then, drifting with the memories. He sighed quietly, his breathing settling back into a familiar rhythm. Willie could feel his heart emptying of pain, hardened places filling with a release and gentle surge of warmth.

Willie came back to his own feelings. He felt his soul stirring in the silence that opened between them, following his own heart, finding what was there. He came up onto his knees, reaching up to part the heavy curtains from the window above them, the cold air released and pouring down on them with the astringent perfume of the snowy night air. He peeked out at the long branch to see if his friend was there. The branch was bare, but the night was there for him, very clear and cold, and it stirred something in Willie, something new.

Barnabas sensed this turning inward in Willie, and felt a shared fire in his body start where Willie leaned against him. Barnabas was thrilled by a subtle expectation, thrilled to see and feel each new moment in Willie's transformation as the mighty change unfolded in him. Soon it will open in him, the hunger.

Barnabas... Willie had tucked the heavy curtains back against the cold, and was kneeling against him, looking down at his Barnabas, completely still. Barnabas could feel it in the slight shifting of Willie's muscles. He can hear it now, my blood.

Willie... He answered inside, waiting.

Willie was moving slowly, with a new purpose unfolding in him as his body folded downward, shifting on the bed to the side of his Barnabas, following the subtle pulse of blood under exposed skin with his ears. He placed his hand on Barnabas' stomach, feeling the gentle pulse in his muscles, under his breast bone, beside it, fluttering in his lungs. He leaned forward to put his ear on Barnabas' chest, listening to his heart. The rhythmic, frothy shushing of the blood was a symphony of vessels large and small, pushing the blood far and near, far, and nearer still as he moved his ear about, stopping on the certain vessel that so efficiently carried the blood directly into Barnabas' lungs.

The mighty cells danced through tiny channels of an essential purpose; an exchange, a system, a machine in motion.

Willie felt himself pouring through a moment of destiny, almost shivering as he felt as sort of slow madness overtaking him.

I am a vampire....

"Barnabas..." Willie was touching Barnabas' chin as he leaned forward, as though to take a kiss, hesitating. He pushed Barnabas' chin away as he pulled Barnabas' back onto his arm, exposing his neck.

Barnabas reached to Willie's head, positioning it correctly on his neck, relaxing into Willie's sharp teeth as a low growl came up from the depths of his Willie, his sweet Willie, who was now a vampire.

Willie clamped onto Barnabas neck.

"Your strength," Barnabas reminded him, holding his head firmly in the right position, keeping Willie's teeth lightly against his skin. "Do not crush me, my love."

Willie struggled against him, treading lightly with his teeth on Barnabas' skin, releasing the taste of his blood into his mouth, the fragrance close, taken from the air by Willie's heavy breaths of need.

"Now..." Barnabas whispered as he pulled Willie's head into his neck, impaling himself on Willie's long teeth.

Willie pushed his lips tightly around the wound as he pushed deeper into his Barnabas, finding the vein and the immediate rush of sweet blood with an animal thrill that instantly became more of his animal hunger. Willie was making the sounds of his answered need as he pulled with all his might, sucking the liquid into him as a thrill that rushed through his body in wave after wave of intense pleasure.

His mind seemed to rush everywhere at once, out from him in a trance of movement, lost in the inward sensations that vibrated as life itself. He pulled Barnabas' body tight against him as the liquid form of thousands of years of living, of passionate and immortal beings flowing, flowed into him freely, making him as they were then and now, forever, again and again.

Willie slowed at last, then kept in his mouth some of Barnabas' blood, bringing it to Barnabas' mouth, sharing the taste of divine blood of the line with him as they swallowed lightly, savoring the viscous feel. Then he lapped at the place of opening until the blood had congealed and stopped.

Willie sat back, looking down at Barnabas, who's face was one of wanton lust fully revealed, his neck and chest so beautiful with ribbons of the dark blood running. Willie watched as Barnabas followed the changes in Willie's body with his eyes.

Willie stood, and Barnabas was looking up, taking in the transformation that was growing unchecked before him, Willie stood next to the bed, looking down on him, around at the room, closing his eyes and pulling the blood from his lips and face down his neck and chest. He shuddered and moaned, reaching for the ceiling beyond his reach, then finally dropped to the floor, moaning, then rolling about in a state of transformation and ecstasy. 

He was arching, aching, his body a land within a land. And everywhere, in his body, everywhere in his mind and consciousness, he felt him, found him... his Barnabas. It was too much. It was more than enough. It was perfection.

His motions slowed, he came to rest at last with his head against the carpet, turning to it, a little world around his face, under his hair, a private darkness.

You are not inside of me, Willie whispered. You are me... how can you also be me? 

Barnabas did not answer.

Your taste... you have a certain feeling, energy... a taste. I know you wherever you are, and you are everywhere.

Willie was frustrated, but he didn't know why. He banged his head lightly on the floor, then pounded with his open hands. He felt constricted by his little room, but had nowhere else he would rather be. He sat up, shaking, looking at Barnabas, who was looking back at him.

Barnabas did not move at all as Willie felt Barnabas touch him, filling him with love, his "taste" and soul as love, causing the shaking to stop.

Willie had a moment of woozy dissonance as he stood again, looking at his Barnabas, out of reach upon the bed, yet somehow a subtle presence behind him, his loving caresses moving up and upon his shoulders and arms.

You never told me about this. More. There is always more, Willie whispered inside. 

Barnabas answered. We are one eternal round. There is always more for both of us.

Barnabas had closed his eyes, and Willie felt inside Barnabas' memory of the exquisite feelings of his Ariadne touching him inside, embracing and enclosing his body with her presence. All as she sat before him, her only movements the blinking of her eyes.

Willie was falling behind again, lagging in contemplation and direction. He felt that he was losing what was left of his human complacency. He felt a sudden, immense surge of possibility, of imminent discovery. He wanted to jump, to fly, to sail out beyond the house, moving silently as the owl did, predatory, his senses as wild and keen as the owl's legendary sense of hearing.

Willie couldn't stand it anymore, standing taller. Moving as he had as a mortal was painful. He flexed and stretched, moving about. His muscles functioned better with each moment of becoming more relaxed. He sighed with relief as he began to settle at last into his new body, throwing off a lifetime of social restraints on how to stand and move. A quiet intensity filled him.

"What am I trying to do?" He asked aloud, rhetorically.

Barnabas whispered to Willie one word.

"Fly..."

Willie was in the wind. He was over the house. The dark tree lined bowl that was held by the wider circumference of the cliffs was spinning below him as he surged upwards through the freezing air, slowly turning as he moved upward.

I should be terrified, he thought. My love... he reached to Barnabas, whom he pictured far below.

My love... Barnabas answered, inside. Willie felt Barnabas' arms encircle him, that they were entwined physically, far above the landscape below.

"We fly...!?!" Willie tried to speak, but closed his throat against the rushing air.

Suddenly they were both on the bed, looking at each other, breathing heavily. Willie's clothes were cold. He was cold. The bed and his mind felt hot as coals.

Willie was staring at Barnabas, who had returned to his leisurely posture across from him on the bed. All he could do was stare.

"You don't tell me. You do not tell me." Willie was losing the need to have an agenda, to frame his possibilities with expectations. "There is always more to find out. Ever new..." One eternal round.

Willie was catching up again. He focused on Barnabas' face. He knew the look in his lover's eyes, the fire there. He was deeply aroused. Willie felt his own emerging intelligence a powerful aphrodisiac. A magnet of unparalleled attraction. 

He sat back slightly, baring his throat.

In an instant Barnabas was at his throat and he was crying out, "Yes!" as Barnabas bit him hard, sucking loudly from him with orgasmic pleasure.

Willie was not surprised by the pleasure, though it was like immense waves surging through him, pushing everything else from his mind.

I can hold an ocean of ecstasy, Willie managed this thought as he rode a crashing wave of feeling, spinning and foaming upon the shore of his inner world, playing as a bubbly froth as he was pulled back into the underside of the crashing waves, into the depths of him. Again. Again. 

This is a vampire orgasm, he thought when thoughts returned, still swimming and moving as an incandescent being made of two.

I feel it, my love, your pleasure. Barnabas whispered inside. I feel you.

Willie began to settle, the pleasure a rippling surface upon a gentle, liquid surge.

"We fly. Barnabas. I just... We fly." Then, "this is a mighty form of foreplay," he said playfully.

Willie could feel Barnabas' smile in his being, his presence pressed against his forever.

 

CHAPTER FORTY THREE: A confession

Willie was beginning to understand. It was death in the humans that attracted him. They had been close to death. They had touched it in some way. He could follow that knowledge of death, this intimacy with it on the inward journey to their soul, where their death surrendered their life and soul to him as his own.

 

 


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“The greatest thrill is not to kill but to let live.” 
― James Oliver Curwood

"God kills indiscriminately and so shall we.
For no creatures under God are—as we are—none so like him as ourselves.” 
―  Anne Rice,  Interview with the Vampire

 

Willie was flying. It was as if he was changing his world, as opposed to his place in it. It felt natural, as though he was remembering something he forgot how to do. He watched his little world so quickly slipping away, then turned to see the early evening lights of the little town rushing up at him as he slowed near the tree tops. 

Aha... he said to himself. We change time, and our place in it. Willie realized time had changed for him while he was flying. This was how Barnabas seemed to appear out of nowhere, but in a way that was more like something suddenly coming into his vision from somewhere just out of view.

For Willie, he had just left the house when he was touching down into the edge of the trees near the overlook. He sensed Barnabas somewhere behind him as he walked casually down the road to the beginning of the charming main street of Collinsport, stopping for a moment to survey the little dance of bustling life that appeared before him.

He does not speak of these things... because much of it is almost beyond words, and constantly changing.

He turned to look in the window of the little bookshop. Barnabas was a little more than several steps behind him, yet somehow still invisible. Something else I will learn when he feels like telling me about it, Willie thought petulantly. He sensed Barnabas smiling at him. Barnabas knew that Willie was not looking at books. He was looking at his own reflection in the window. He was looking at a vampire; one that was getting ready to eat someone for the first time.

I don't look like a killer, he thought, rather admiring his reflection. He looked different from the last time he gazed at his reflection, right after Barnabas had made him. He seemed older, more manly. We do change, he thought. I am beginning to have the subtle pale hardness in the appearance of my skin.

Willie turned and moved slowly down the street. He could smell the humans he passed, that he nodded at. He could sense much about them as he pictured pulling them aside, biting them, his teeth slipping into their flesh, into the river of sweetness below their skin.

He looked a little further ahead, sensing what those who came towards him had to tell him about their lives, the state of their bodies, the taste of their flesh, of their blood.

Willie instinctively slowed to gaze into another shop window, watching in the window, sensing those passing behind him in both directions, their voices a murmur over the murmur of their hearts, their blood pushing lightly in some, while surging through those who moved quickly.

How will I know, he thought again, idly.

He found himself behind her after she passed behind him, as she walked into the shop ahead of him. He slowed for a moment, then followed her into the apothecary. 

She walked directly to the counter, and the man there greeted her, pulling a package from under the counter.

"One moment," she said, walking into the cosmetics section.

Willie could smell fresh baked bread, with the buttery aroma of croissants. He walked to the counter with his purchase, greeting the pharmacist as he punched the numbers into the old fashioned cash register, which opened with a pleasing ding sound. Willie took his change, shaking his head at the offer of a bag, seeing her approaching out of the corner of his eye. He slipped the item into his pocket, then walked to the front of the store, fitting the change into his wallet.

He could hear her bag crinkling as she walked towards him, and he turned, opening the door for her, returning her smile.

"Have we met?" he used his influence on her as he stood with her on the sidewalk. "My name is Willie. Willie Loomis." 

"Evelyn York," she said, smiling as Willie reached to her, in his eyes the thrill of watching her drawn to him, responding to his influence as she offered him her hand. He bowed, and his lips above her hand were just shy of contact, but with feeling. His eyes did not leave hers. A Plantagenet, Willie thought as he released her pale hand with a subtle flourish. He pictured himself standing in a rose garden, reaching among the thorns, choosing a white rose, as he was now choosing her.

"You are friends with Mrs. Carter, at the bakery," he said, finding this information in her mind as she looked forward to her feast.

She smiled. "I love her croissants," she hugged the bag very lightly. "Full of butter. More on Sundays." 

Willie turned and motioned to her, and they began to walk up the sidewalk together. He could feel her relaxing further into his influence, intrigued by him now, beginning to need him. He paced himself, his influence a gentle given, enjoying the seduction. He could feel the need for her blood rising in him, growing with each moment, a pressing combination of sexual arousal and hunger.

"Will you come for coffee?" she asked. "I would like to get to know you better. And we can share my croissants. Or I can make tea if you prefer."

"I would like that," Willie said simply, making his voice casual, with hidden feeling, like a human.

She turned at the corner to judge the approaching traffic, and he touched her lightly as they crossed the street.

Willie could feel his Barnabas, his dark lover near him, behind him and in him, in every detail of his own movement and senses, in the air that caressed him. He was warm from this shared pleasure inside as Barnabas joined Willie in the thrill of seduction, as Willie was feeling in Barnabas a practiced anticipation, now added to his own. But Willie was not moving with excitement. He felt supremely calm, beyond calm. He was the movement of something greater, something in which he now played a part. Something dark moves through me because I am willing, he thought. It was all wordlessly new to him, a secret that opened like the dark and fragrant depths of a flower, rustling in the silken folds of his heart.

Willie reached to Barnabas. Did you ever feel this special calm with me? There was no answer. He knew it to be true. Why her? She is young, so beautiful. With a secret that makes her hard. She responds to me so readily.

You will find it in her, Barnabas answered at last.

Willie was learning. He felt it in her. He was attracted to her intimate knowledge of death, of an intimacy with it. It was this death that was living in the humans that attracted him. He would follow that indwelling knowledge of death, this intimacy with it on the inward journey to her soul, where death surrendered her life and soul to him.

They were climbing the sloping street, crossing First Street, approaching her house. She turned at the gate, her package making light crinkling sounds against her as she pulled her keys from her coat. Her skin was warm from the climb to her house. Willie wanted to taste the liquid source of that warmth.

Why am I doing this, Willie could hear her thinking. I don't even care if the neighbors see us. Willie could sense no one near, no prying eyes.

Perhaps she is lonely, Willie thought. But then, so many humans are. 

The lock turned and she was opening the door, welcoming him into her private world, still but for the China clock on the mantle. She is not lonely. She prefers to be alone.

"Please make yourself at home," she said as she went straight through the front room into the kitchen. Soon the aroma of coffee filled the house as she moved about.

Willie was enchanted by her house. It was very homey, with Kentia palms and doilies on the furniture, reminding him of a Victorian parlor. He looked about at the family photos she had arranged in ways that were expected. They were formal photos with a man who appeared to be her husband. No candid photos. No children.

She appeared with a tray of coffee service and croissants with butter and jam, sitting it on a low table near the sofa. Willie descended onto the sofa as she gestured, settling in lightly, watching her as she poured his coffee and placed a croissant on a dish on his side of the antique table, arranging the silverware. "Milk? Sugar?" she asked.

"No, thank you," Willie answered. He did not move. He sat quite still, looking at her.

She was buttering a croissant, then placing it near the jam. She stopped for a moment, then looked up, returning his gaze.

"Oh," she said.

Willie simply looked at her, curious about her intuition.

"Oh," she said again, changing her position in her chair, coming to terms with his power over her. She had just noticed it, and resented it in him, threatening her hold over her domain, interrupting the ritual moment of sating her physical hunger.

Now she will begin to fear my power over her.

Willie stood slowly. "Evelyn," he said her name. He waited for her to settle back into the moment.

She was looking down at the floor, shaking slightly, trying to find herself. She rearranged herself again in the chair, but then she seemed to find her way, and looked up, standing with grace and feeling, looking fearlessly into his eyes.

Willie moved closer to her, bringing his face to hers, his eyes so close as he stopped near her, breathing in her breath, breathing it mingled with his own onto her very lightly, as she swayed subtly. He was ready to take her then, and reached to her, pulling her against him. He could feel the life in her, and had claimed it, had claimed her.

This. A very pleasing treasure of knowledge. Comforting. He found it in himself, all of it... what he was doing. He knew what to do with her. I know. I know.

"Why me?" She spoke at last.

"You know death." His voice was unapologetic, with no feeling. He was feeling her flesh, the softness, the liquidity around the bones in her arms. He could feel Barnabas very close to him inside, very interested in her responses.

"It is because I am a murderess," she said without fear. Willie let her step back a little. He looked past her to the man in the photos. He seemed to know her secret, and Willie looked back at her with a new understanding.

"What have you done, Evelyn?" he asked. He could feel the simple need in her, the need to tell someone.

She had noticed his eyes on the photos of her victim. "He loved someone else." Her voice did not break. Her tone was calm, her words giving her pleasure. 

"And you killed him." Willie waited. I will hear her confession before I take her.

"He was not honest. He thought he could keep it a secret because she lived in Bangor. He had business there often. But she was still too close to my world. I could have easily killed her as well, but I would have been discovered." Her decisions were easily justified. She was doing what anyone would have done. "He kept her a secret," she repeated, as though that could be the reason for murder. 

"It was easy for you," Willie's tone remained one of casual observation.

"He could have told me. He could have admitted it when I asked. How could he expect me to just live with it? I put a stop to it."

Willie could hear it then. It was not bitterness. There was no sense of revenge. It was business like, her tone. She had taken care of an unacceptable situation.

"It was easy for you, Evelyn," he repeated.

"It wasn't hard," she agreed finally. "It has never been hard for me to get what I want from people, from situations..."

"You had nothing to give him," he interrupted her. Her eyes flashed then. She owed nothing to anyone in this world. Willie knew the word that described her, her kind. Sociopath.

She had paused then, remembering. She was deciding again that it was all obvious, that her actions were logical.

"What does it matter? He deserved it, and now I have everything, all the money, the house. It's easier."

She paused. She had had her moment; her chance to tell it all to someone. She was done with it. She was moving on.

"But now you are going to kill me. I know it in you, Willie Loomis. You are like me. You are a murderer as much as I am, more."

Willie felt their increasing intimacy. It was easy then to tell her his tale, a few words to reconcile his story with hers. A dalliance.

"He was wasted, Evelyn. You threw him away when it pleased you. But, you won't be wasted now. Your life will live in me."

Willie pulled her closer again, squeezing her just enough to control her breath, pushing it out from her, then letting her lungs expand again as he breathed on her just a little more, watching her take it in, falling into it.

I will not give her more of my breath. Force will be required to reach her, inside.

Willie was arching over her, his body flexing slightly with the readiness to strike, a new sensation and intensity. He held her tightly as he grasped the hair, pulling her back with it. She struggled then, but could not move in his grasp. Before he turned her head, he saw the satisfaction in her eyes, the defiant wickedness there. She savored who she was. She savored what her end would be. 

Death is more intimate than life, he whispered inside, though Barnabas had withdrawn from him slightly, releasing all of the moment to him. Willie stopped for a moment to share in Barnabas' pleasure, somewhere near to him and his dark passion play.

He pulled her head back, gripping her, enjoying her stiffness, the ease with which he played with it, using it to place her just so, taking in the readiness of her body, her neck exposed.

"You are just like me," she gurgled forcefully as he found her neck with his mouth, sinking his teeth deep into her in one motion, bending her back severely as he pulled from her with immense satisfaction, his ache and hunger satisfied at last with an easy gush of blood that quickly filled his mouth between swallows. New blood. Human blood. It was exquisite. Willie felt his heavy lidded eyes dancing about rapidly from the immense surges of heat and pleasure.

Her body, her blood. It was so simple. The surging, jewel tone colors of immense pleasure danced at the edges of his vision, and he was glad. The human blood thrilled him as it increased his need and hunger for it, and he drew more deeply, his eyes pressed tightly shut then with each increment of building satisfaction. The blood was exquisite, nourishing, essential.

Her soul. He had reached the beginning and the end of her, where the center of her was opening to him, exposing her purpose and essence. He sucked at this in her, taking the source of her life, the marrow of her being. He was pulling it into him with the last of her blood, and felt the tremendous relief human blood had given him, satisfying a need he had not known that he had, a complete sustenance that thrilled him as the claiming of life itself, suddenly rippling in the center of him as a vampire orgasm, rolling as waves through him as he remained tight against her.

Her blood had stopped, finished. He kept her there, felt his lips and teeth and his powerful sucking mouth as sexual organs that he flexed with his pleasure against her again and again with his long orgasm.

When he pulled his mouth from her, he stood panting with his arm at his side, holding her by her hair, her empty body bent towards the carpet.

He was the one left at the center of her world, still living around her, collapsing into her, into the empty absence of her. He heard someone calling to their children. He could smell someone's cooking, a roast with savory herbs, with potatoes and carrots, and a gravied broth on the stove. The chop chop of someone clipping a hedge on a distant street. There was a rushing sound, and he realized that it was far above him, where the air moved more quickly, with more force.

His fingers opened, she slipped away from him. Her body fell with a softly muffled puh sound onto the carpet.

This is who I am. I will not regret it. Not now. Not ever.

I am a vampire.

 

CHAPTER FORTY FOUR: I knew

He smiled as Willie was fascinated by her vulnerability, anticipating her as his sustenance, as the object of his sexual need and arousal.

 

 


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“I want to be with those who know secret things, or else alone.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Barnabas was singed by it, a thrall to a scene of dark passion, hidden from the world of humans by the walls of a small place, a life-sized box she shared with no one. Willie was with her, but alone in himself, even as he felt his Barnabas near to him, somehow not visible.

Barnabas had stopped near the door with his back to the wall, watching as Willie looked around at the large room, noticing the photos displayed there, listening to her moving about in the kitchen. He watched his lover closely, wondering, what were the traces, the remains of his mortal self, following him into this moment; the first of so many dark moments of his kind?

He is my issue, Barnabas thought again, and again, remembering the subtle interplay between Willie's neck and head muscles as he balanced the gold crown on his head. How sweet it was to remember his Willie's face and eyes softening in an intimate moment of joy and imminent destiny.

Barnabas shifted slightly on his feet, stepping through a pressured heat rising slowly upward through his body. He was burning. The heat singed the edges of him, the structures and skin that defined the container of his body, insistent as it surged upward through the inner organs and pathways. He felt it all moving so very subtly, responding to instinctual pleasures, so slightly rearranging the very insides of him.

She never mentioned this, he thought, picturing Ariadne's somber expression as she instructed him, remembering the subtle changes in her face and posture, seeking a sign then of this strange inner dance of passion in her. Why would she leave this out? Perhaps I will only live it, but never know why. Yes, this is mine, our solitary life; an endless discovery of our nature, ever more than we were taught.

Barnabas listened to the human moving about in the kitchen, noticing the change in Willie's stance when she returned, bearing a tray of human sustenance. 

He smiled as Willie was fascinated by her vulnerability, anticipating her as his sustenance, as the object of his sexual need and arousal. His Willie was casually settling upon the couch, watching her live without knowing yet what he was to her, death—what she meant to him, life—what the end of her life would be, and when—now. Willie relaxed into a soft, yet attentive posture, his only movement that of following her movements with his eyes.

Barnabas was overcome again by the reality of Willie's change, making the silent words for himself. My sweetness, you are like me.

She had stopped. She somehow understood what he was to her. "Oh." She wasn't afraid. She was uncomfortable, so greatly inconvenienced. She couldn't allow that someone had gained control of her.

"Oh." She said again, moving slightly with sudden spasms of fear, fully comprehending her predicament.

She was shaking slightly, staring at the floor as she found her way. Barnabas watched her shivering, a shudder that had become a continued reflex, a strategy for surviving intensity. He pictured her falling to her knees, her forehead finding the carpet; crying, begging as they sometimes did before they were caught up in their finality, his dark embrace. 

No. This one was proud. Her body would not bend or fold until she was no longer in it.

She looked up at his Willie, then stood gracefully, her face hard and with a slight smile. She had vanquished her fear. Barnabas swooned inside, with a sudden, silent inhale. He found pleasure in her strength, finding his pleasure in conquering a lack of fear equal to that of increasing it. Willie did not know yet how much Barnabas enjoyed these moments, how he often prolonged them. Would Willie find this sadism in himself now, in his first conquest?

Her body tightened as she made ready to accept her fate, as she suddenly felt that Willie was somehow much closer to her than before. The place had opened between them for Willie to take her, and Barnabas relished his Willie relishing his inheritance, thrilling with Willie as he rejected the human need to follow any pattern or expectation, finding in himself the knowledge of what to do with her, to find the depths of her, the essence of his task.

They had stepped apart a little, but Barnabas was beyond their words and did not listen. He had become liquid in his stance, shaped by the wall behind him, pushing against it to stay on his feet. He felt a greater tightening in his body, his genitals throbbing, his breath deepening and suddenly jagged as Willie found in himself the desire, the act, the answer to his need. His hands were on her, pulling her close again, breathing on her slightly, about to take her.

She was rigid, a wall made of flesh, but Willie had already found her, present in the places where she had never allowed, nor bid enter. Her intoxication had waned, and Barnabas knew Willie had chosen to fight her for her essence. Willie's stance had changed; he had become his strength, and moved her as he pleased, communicating his dominance to her. He was untouched by the venom in her last words to him, their eyes so close, looking into her eyes as though she was already a part of him, somehow looking back at himself.

The murder of a murderess, Barnabas titled the moment for Willie's last memory of her, living, so soon to slip from behind the eyes that he held with his own.

Death is more intimate than life, Willie whispered to Barnabas inside, opening to him with a suddenly deepening intensity, thrilled as his Barnabas answered with the full rush of his own exquisite pleasure, joining with his Willie, now spiraling deeper into her together.  She meant only life to him now, a receptacle of soft flesh, her strength useless as Willie pulled her back, his breath deeply pressured, his eyes softening with intense arousal. He rolled her head away, opening his mouth very near to her, tasting the air closest to her skin before pressing his long tongue flat and firm on her skin, like another hand holding her as he arranged her body.

Like a plunge into warm seas, Willie felt that he was riding upon a container, a ship roiling on a storm of passion, breaking open to the ocean which flowed out instead of in, feeling her breaking apart as he sent her down, empty into the unknown depths of the cold and dark beyond.

Death. He sucked the life from her, from her source; now swirling as kindred cells in the liquid darkness of his veins, dancing ever onward as a tiny current that would taste like her, forever.

Barnabas broke his silence, groaning as he fell forward, grasping the large chair before him to steady his trembling hands and body, fighting a kind of weakness that threatened to undo his rigid posture. His hair moist and heavy was falling into his eyes as he kept his gaze upward, watching. He felt it beginning then in a deeper place within him, an orgasm that washed and then surged like a heavy liquid, opening him with gentle waves of intensity that grew ever more insistent as he watched his lover open her, his teeth as the organ of penetration, her skin the organ of acceptance, her vein the vas deferens surging with an exchange of bodily fluids pumped into his mouth by her heart, gushing as he was sucking at her, making the guttural sounds of primal need and gratification.

She was in him, and she was gone.

Willie could see Barnabas now, bracing himself on the back of a tall and elaborately carved wooden chair. He saw himself through Barnabas' eyes as he stood with his arm at his side, her hair in his hand, letting her drop to the carpet.

Willie closed his eyes. He was listening to her world, to the world without her in it. Then he moved slightly, taking a deep breath, a sort of marker of the change between his partition of two larger moments, one waning and one ascendant at last.

"I knew..." he spoke at last. He felt his throat so profoundly softened, heard in his voice the full relaxation of knowing fully and forever his place in the world.

"I knew, my love. I knew what to do with her." 

 

CHAPTER FORTY FIVE: Intertwined

"Give her to me," he commanded. His voice was low, supremely confident. An old voice. So much older than his Willie. Knowing and being so much more, the living arc of Willie's future made flesh before him in every moment, in that moment as Willie stood and looked again into Barnabas' eyes.

 

 


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Modernity is the transient, the fleeting, the contingent;
it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.
—Baudelaire

 

Willie stood next to a human body, his head turned away from it. His eyes were for Barnabas, who held his gaze, drinking in the pure elation and previously unmatched, deep satisfaction he found in Willie's gaze.

Willie was changing. New life had entered him, opening into the shared soul with his maker, near at hand. His facial expression was of a new and supreme relaxation and confidence. His eyes changed, darker, but with a slight disc of shine over his iris and pupil from his slightly thicker cornea. His face altered slightly as the muscles there relaxed and shifted. His hair became lustrous, darker, seeming to lift slightly as it became thicker and more vibrant. His posture changed. He stood straighter, taller, without any effort. Barnabas could see Willie's hands moving so very slightly, as though he was cupping something round and soft in them, trying it out in his grasp.

Willie moved at last. He brought his hands up to look at them, watching as the skin on his arms was changing, becoming smoother and more pale, subtly glistening like chalcedony. His felt his muscles changing again; he felt lighter with their strength, heavier from their growth and extension. He felt his new form unfurling like immense wings much greater than his body, so much greater than the little house, the little town. He subtly embodied the full sweep of the wild waves and snow covered lands surrounding the harbor and the cliffs, the dark and deeper earth, the farthest sky over the familiar forests, and out over the greater lands beyond.

He was fully initiated into Barnabas' inheritance of place, his world.

Time was different in different parts of himself. His being shuffled around him like a book of many pages filled with simultaneous moments of living, the measure of time lightly ruffled backwards and forwards by the winds of the moment. He understood it fully, and accepted it again, desiring it. Vampirism was a process, initiated in him by Barnabas' blood and superior intention. His understanding of who he was now would be forever some steps some behind his transformation.

Willie came back to the same thought. He thought of it again, but did not move. When he did so at last, bringing his eyes down to where she lay, he saw only a sodden vessel of flesh on the carpet. He looked away quickly, turning away from the body. It no longer held the source of life. Corrupt, dying, every cell decaying, it disgusted him.

It was no longer her. He had consumed her. She was his.

Willie looked up with a deep hunger newly ascendant within him, submissive and sexual, thrilled by Barnabas' body flexing as he pushed away from the wall, as he pushed his sweaty hair back behind his ears. The older vampire's movements were sudden, full of purpose as he walked to the center of the room, his stance radiating a fierce delight, his dark eyes like red coals burning behind a shifting layer of dark ash.

Come, Barnabas said inside, his dominance surging, flowing like a river of sweetest demand to his Willie, who looked to him for his sweet dominance and direction. 

Willie left her body forever, walking to his Barnabas, still looking into his eyes before he lowered his own in submission.

"You may," Barnabas said, and Willie lowered himself to his knees, feeling the surge of her blood running, the memory of his dominance of her flowing, building in his submission to Barnabas, all in Willie's body, all in his veins, pumping through and by his heart.

"Feet," Barnabas said, and Willie bowed with erotic need somehow both intensely earnest and completely silent, his forehead coming to rest on the fine leather shoe that contained Barnabas' foot.

Barnabas did not miss the subtleties of Willie's exhale of deepening pleasure and supreme rest as he relaxed into his home at Barnabas' feet.

"Do you worship me?"

"I do."

"Do you belong to me?"

"I do."

Barnabas said nothing, letting Willie float in the pleasure of submission before he spoke again.

"Now you will give her to me." His voice was low, supremely confident. A voice so much older than his Willie. In his very being he defined the living arc of Willie's future made flesh before him in every moment, in this moment as Willie stood and looked again into Barnabas' eyes.

Willie found there the love and burning arousal for him that had become a part of a shared soul, pouring through the familiar places of his longing and surrender, as his inner and outer responses were accepted and shaped again and again by his maker, as his submission was received and returned as the exquisite dominance he worshiped, that he needed.

Barnabas was waiting. He rarely waited. He only commanded. He only took. But Willie knew his silent command, moving very close to him, their eyes close, their breath fully mingling between them as Willie turned his head, offering his body and blood.

Willie seemed to almost float as he allowed Barnabas to slowly turn his body, as Barnabas arched Willie back into his left arm, his right hand with outstretched fingers pressing on his chest, over his heart. Barnabas felt his love sweet and cresting as warmth and intention flowing into Willie through the press of his hand. As Willie turned his head further, fully exposing his throat, Barnabas' exhaled quickly with pleasure, baring his teeth and hissing slightly, bending into Willie as he brought his teeth to him, positioning them precisely upon his throat.

Willie's arms were relaxed, his body soft and confident in Barnabas' arms, resting into his maker's need of him, his entire body open to Barnabas' embrace.

Barnabas bit into Willie with a firm, but slightly delayed sequence, a steady bite that pierced the skin and then the vein in a distinct succession, pressing his lips as he slipped his teeth out, his mouth firm on Willie's neck as the flow began with a gentle gush, settling into a subtle rhythm timed to each beat of Willie's heart.

Willie felt her life anew, flowing as his passion for her, as the taste of her, the feeling of her swirling out through his blood into Barnabas' mouth, into a certain place of him inside their larger being. There was no barrier between them, no sharing beyond the one that they were and became as she was swallowed whole by their union.

Willie... Barnabas whispered inside, where a passion caused him to contract, sweetly crushing his Willie against him.

Willie was fully possessed, feeling almost the blood squeezed from him as his greater and enriched life force was shared with his maker, his only purpose in that moment. He focused on Barnabas' breathing so close to his ear, following it into himself, led by the sound of Barnabas' heart somehow beating deeper in his inner ear, journeying to the labyrinthine centers of his brain, the passion centers of his soul folding over and over with his lover's in sweet layers of unquestioned intimacy and shared destiny. 

So gentle was the savored flow that it became a long bridge of time from minutes to more, as a sacred voyage of time unmeasured, the profane world gone silent, the only sounds that of two hearts beating and intertwined in their inner dance of the sacrament shared, that of the eater and of the eaten.

Barnabas finished the flow with a press of his tongue, then slipped away from Willie with closed lips, his head tilting back, his ecstatic face of closed eyes near to Willie's as he pushed his fingers against Willie's neck, further stemming the flow, defining the container of his Willie as his own to open and close at will. He let his hand slide down Willie's chest, painting Willie's shirt with a trail of his own blood as Barnabas' hand fell to his side.

Barnabas was tall and taller with the exquisite feelings radiating hard from his consumption. A new orgasm began in him, surging through both of them, building as they pressed against and with each other in a sort of quiet madness that waned as a swoon into a familiar embrace of intense pleasure, shared in a long crescendo of sweet release, a pressing of flesh and shared heat flowing between them as one.

 

Willie felt the last of Barnabas' orgasm slipping away as the present intruded with an unforeseen calamity. Barnabas' knees were slipping, and Willie read his distress instantly, bringing him carefully down onto the carpet. He lay beside and over him, calling to him as he slipped somehow away from Willie, who was calling to him again and again, soothing him, rubbing his face and hands. Willie was trying not to panic, feeling keenly the deficit of his knowledge of what was happening.

Barnabas, come back to me, speak to me, my love... Willie was lost. I need you my love, do not abandon me, every moment of your life is my journey, I am lost in this one without you... my love, my love....

Willie lay upon Barnabas, covering him with his body, listening to his heart and his breathing as he waited. He had been frightened, but Barnabas' breathing had become that of sleep, and his face was peaceful, his body relaxed. Willie relaxed into him, waiting.

Barnabas' body tensed, and he opened his eyes. Willie lifted his head, his expression communicating his need and concern.

Barnabas moved, and Willie slipped off of him. They both stood, and Barnabas caressed Willie's neck and bowed head, moving his hair about slightly, soothing him. "I will never leave you, my Willie. We change, my love. It is unique each time."

"Barnabas, you have not warned me that you might slip away." Willie chided with a serious tone.

"It is true, my love, and I am sorry." Barnabas waited, happy as he felt Willie forgive him.

Willie had moved on, making his own understanding. "It is always so, that her blood and being has changed us both in an unforeseen way."

"Learn now how your own life is augmented by her," Barnabas instructed him. "This will help you always to be ready for the next change."

Life is ever new... Willie thought. He remembered when he sat in the graveyard after burying Jason, knowing that his new master was near, wanting to never be apart from him. "Barnabas. Where did you go?" 

Barnabas thought of the words that might go with the rearrangement of his world, and could find none, for himself or Willie. He had slipped farther down into himself, under a veil of half-revealed truth, rising then with a wordless tide of new understanding.

Barnabas touched Willie's arm with intention, communicating his journey as Willie grasped Barnabas' arm to steady himself, closing his eyes as he felt himself soaring inside, seeing below him a vast desert at night, the moon a silver sliver above. A dark island of lush growth appeared on the horizon, still an inky black as he spiraled into the oasis, skimming the surface of the dark pool, spinning as he broke through into another world, saturating him with a liquid, viscous darkness of pleasure that had waited for him there, forever.

Willie opened his eyes, and saw Barnabas open his. Willie communicated his feelings with his breath, taking in deeply, his shoulders raising, his head tipping slightly with the in breath, pressing a new ecstasy outward with his breath's slow release.  

"My Willie. You will know all of my reverie the next time you feed from me. Now you must let her be your moment and sustenance. Feel how she has become us."

Willie looked around at the room, noticing the changing in his senses, his life force. Barnabas noted that he was careful not to look in a certain direction. 

"It is always this way, Willie. We are repulsed by the body. It is an inherited adaptation. Perhaps it extinguishes a desire we once had to eat the flesh. It is poison to us, for it begins to die without the blood." Willie could hear Barnabas' distaste for the task in his words. "I will attend to the body this time."

Willie felt a happy relief, and a new curiosity as Barnabas turned slightly towards the door, offering a new instruction. "I will teach you now, my love, and you will change again."

"We change," Willie laughed petulantly, happy as Barnabas smiled slightly at his weighty humor. Life is ever new... Willie thought as he reached to Barnabas, squeezing his hand. "I do understand, Barnabas, why you cannot tell me about some things, but only show me."

Barnabas was pleased again and forever by Willie's honest submission. "Learn to love the mystery of us, my Willie. For each time and in every way you know yourself, you will find that we will soon have changed several times over."

Barnabas knew Willie well, and anticipated that he would feel a need to add his subtle understanding to Barnabas' instructions. He waited for Willie to speak again.

"But I am forever like you, Barnabas. No matter what that means, or how often I change, it is the sweetest expression of my love for you.... And being changed by you is the sweetest answer I have for your love of me."

Barnabas squeezed Willie's hand with pleasure at these heartfelt words, turning his head as he turned towards the door. He was waiting for Willie then, and Willie detected a moment of growing concentration.

As Willie approached the closed door, Barnabas pushed him through it.

Fly, my love. I am close behind.

 

CHAPTER FORTY SIX: MY WORLD

Willie sighed with pleasure as Barnabas' hands were on his shoulders, as Barnabas kissed the top of his head. "Come, my love," Barnabas whispered at Willie's ear, so happy as his Willie arose and turned to him with the earnest availability, the intense curiosity of a submissive regarding his intentions.

 

Dear readers: Chapters 46 and 47 are the last two chapters of my novel about vampire lovers Barnabas Collins and Willie Loomis

 

 


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What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours;
being part in all I have, devoted yours.
—William Shakespeare

Willie waited for Barnabas in the study, settling into his newness as he settled into his familiar chair, thinking about his darkly magnificent day. He felt a special comfort gazing into the fire, feeling the warmth reaching to him as the arms of the flames, touching him as the steady hands of this radiant warmth which found and melted away all remaining doubt in him about his nature as a vampire and predator. The consuming reaction that danced before him as fire mirrored to him his own transformation, a reaction that had started and would never stop, for he was wed to his Master's blood, which would fuel his new life forever.

Willie had moved his beloved's chair a little closer to his own, with Barnabas' lastest books near at hand, and his elaborate little cigarette box and slipper of tapers close to him on the mantle. The so familiar room was a pleasing place of contemplation and mutual interest ever ready with Willie for the possession and enjoyment of his Barnabas, listening for, knowing his familiar step as Willie listened to the gentle crackling of the fire, sounding so close at the center of the growing evening silence. Willie felt his existence would always be this, receiving his Barnabas, the only thing that he would ever want. 

He felt his throat. It was healed, smooth and perfect under his searching fingers. Her blood was still fresh in him, still living upon his tongue. He remembered how her blood felt slipping down his throat, the thickness of it as he swallowed, the taste of it so different from Barnabas' vampire blood. Blood that had been taken into him, then taken from him with his own blood, as it would be returned to him when he next fed from Barnabas.

I have consumed a life. I have murdered. I feel no inner conflict about it. None. How exquisite it is to have stolen a life—so I could share a newness made of blood and soul with my Barnabas. So exquisite...

How great was this day! It was the culmination of the first complete cycle of Willie's transformation into a new creature, and he felt in every part of himself the full and complete reworking that would be renewed and expressed by the rest of his infinite days to come. He had become all that was precious and essential, the manifestation of Barnabas' life work, an embodiment of Barnabas' satisfaction of his vow to make another like himself, a vampire, and to thus ensure the continuation of the line.

Willie thought briefly of the two other days of his life that had been as profound as this day of eating his first human; the day when he first met Barnabas, and the day he was made by him. He thought of the dreams of his youth, of himself as a human. How so very far beyond them was this day's fulfillment of choices made and promises given!

Barnabas had also showed Willie how to pass through a closed door, and Willie was deeply satisfied with this step, each step of settling into his growth as a new creature. He had once slipped through a closed window, flowing outward with Barnabas' help as he discovered he could fly. Willie laughed at the delicious, absurd realities of his new existence. He was glad to know of them now, as he mastered them. Learning of such exotic powers before would have distracted him as a human from the real choice, that of changing his life and form—and the murderous form of his sustenance—forever.

Perhaps I am no longer that person, Willie... he thought, trying on this possibility. No, I am still Willie, but I will never know completely who that is, what I am. Willie focused for a moment on the ever changing language of the fire as he gazed at it, hissing and popping with a life of its own, a familiar creature that came and went, and which always returned at his bidding. I am forever his to command. I am two become one. I am both, and one; no longer my own.

Willie shuddered with a sudden stab of pleasure, remembering a recent moment when Barnabas had thrown him onto the couch and taken him with no preparation or lubrication, taunting him when he did not manage to silence a momentary fit of whimpering, stimulating him so forcefully that his sex was sore afterward. He remembered Barnabas darkly praising him as he was rewarded by being allowed to kiss his Master's feet, to worship him, to offer his love in most favorite, physically demonstrative way.

My love, I know myself only as I follow your will and dominance over me. It is exactly what I would wish for. How lucky I am to see myself again and again through your eyes. 

Willie had a sudden, special smile. He felt Barnabas as he arrived at the outer doors to the study behind him, slipping through the closed doors without opening them, no longer bound to subterfuge about this ability. He brought with him the fragrance of the new evening darkness and cold winter air, which Willie enjoyed before it was quickly extinguished by the fire's radiant warmth. Willie did not turn, hoping Barnabas would wish to join him in his contemplation by the fire, his settling into his new form and purpose. He sighed with pleasure as he felt Barnabas' hands upon his shoulders, as he felt Barnabas' lips on the top of his head. "Come, my love," Barnabas whispered at Willie's ear, so happy as his Willie arose and turned to him with the earnest availability, the intense curiosity of a submissive regarding his intentions.

Barnabas reached to Willie, who lifted his hand in answer, startled slightly as they began to float upwards. Barnabas' expression was one of encouragement as they floated upward through the floors and walls of the great house, through the halls of once furtive secrets, the rooms perfumed by past dramas, through the ubiquitous sounds of furry rustling in the freezing attic, then the dramatic drop of the roof receding below them as they drifted up through the cold air beyond. Barnabas was transcendent, beautiful as his hair and cloak floated and danced around him in the liquid darkness, his eyes large and bright, his lustrous skin and lips pulled tight on his face and his long hands by the cold.

Willie was thrilled as he found again in his lover's eyes and face a quiet sense of forever delight and reconciliation with the inevitable moments of his fate.

They had begun to spin so slowly, looking down on their world turning, getting smaller, the house dark from above, surrounded by the stark white of the snow, the thick darkness of the trees growing into each other, their growth a visible movement in time so very slow as they huddled together, deserting the stragglers thinning below the great cliffs. Willie felt the stars above him spinning, the universe rushing ever out from itself, taking him and Barnabas and their world of night with it.

"This is my world, Willie Loomis," Barnabas spoke loudly in the wind, motioning with a sweep of his arm and open hand. "It was mine when you were born, though I was chained in darkness, by violence deprived of it. Now I have married you to myself and my world forever, and for this I will always love you and keep you close. You are a part of all this, and of me."

Willie was filled with wonder as the earth below showed itself alive, reaching and breathing far below, every part of it knowing its Barnabas as he knew it as his own, all of it whispering to Willie that it belonged in love to this man, and more than a man, his Barnabas. For Barnabas had won the heart of all that he touched that was living, and his great world was alive.

Willie took a sudden breath as they were suddenly in his room. He found himself sitting at the edge of the bed watching Barnabas crouched by the fire, the darkness of his body outlined by the sparks that rose from a vigorous stirring of the coals. Had it been a dream? Was his Barnabas really such a force as to be worshiped from every direction by the very land beneath his feet? Willie felt an operatic sense of his place in the dream as he stood to remove his clothes, pulling the bed covers back, sliding down onto the soft sheets and into his cavalcade of pillows. He slid under the covers up to his chin, finding in his state the place of complete rest, a return to the center, to the source. His transformation was complete.

He turned on his side then, watching with great pleasure as Barnabas undressed, his dark form dancing slowly before the flames, his movements a confident expression of freely chosen destiny as he finished, as he came to his lover, slipping under the covers to accept Willie's very gentle, slowly encompassing embrace.

Willie gasped. Barnabas had so lightly grasped Willie's new hardness with a soft hand moving like a whisper across skin pulled tight by arousal. Like a hand taking the feel of fine silk, Barnabas' hand was slipping very softly upon the skin and foreskin, building an intense sensitivity as he played Willie's evening song of sighs. 

Barnabas kept Willie's searching hand away, placing it instead upon Willie's testicles, enclosing his hand there with his own firm grasp, then taking his kisses to Willie's nipples as he returned his hand to him, beginning to move the skin and foreskin with great care, soon playing a crescendo of sighs both of complaint and desperate need of continuance.

Willie groaned as Barnabas stopped, then was blissful as Barnabas' newly oiled hand returned to careful motions on his sex, lightly squeezing the head with a slippery friction off and back onto his sex in long motions.

"You are mine... you are forever like me," Barnabas whispered at Willie's ear as he played the subtle, animal dance of Willie's body in pleasure and passion, enjoying the change in Willie's breath at these favorite words. "Mine... mine..." Barnabas whispered, looking down along Willie's body so subtly writhing in the firelight that jumped and played on his moist skin.

Barnabas had a moment where he heard only Willie's breath so close to his ear, and somehow the hissing breath of the fire so close in the other, opening in him as a living vibration that rushed as sound through a place of primordial heat and pleasure. He slipped his arm under Willie's shoulders, pulling him closer, curling around him as he made the motions of increasing passion. He received Willie's struggle of pleasure against him, marking the sharp intake of breath that matched his greater movements, and the little jerking motions that communicated a mounting focus on sensation and loss of awareness of his body as visible to his lover.

There came the moment when the jerking stopped. Willie was floating in an exquisite state of fully relaxed, glowing pleasure that filled him as a container of all of his senses, inside and out, with no boundary. He felt he could go on building this unlimited place of pleasure almost forever, already so much farther than he had ever gone in this type of pleasure, opening ever more fully with each moment of expansion and surge of exquisite sensation.

Barnabas could feel Willie's body let go into the sensations he was carefully building in him, and was thrilled by this close intimacy, which became a surge of passion in his own body with the same relaxed, forever state of expansion that had no contractions, no struggle of the body as it opened to more pleasure.

Barnabas... Willie called inside. My Barnabas... He was hovering on the edge of release, waiting for Barnabas to go over with him, to know each moment of the flood that was beginning at the sexual center of his body, building, still building.

Barnabas breathed a long sigh that became a moan as the promise of physical release was answered and began at the sexual center of his own body. He grasped Willie tight against him and called out, expelling a fierce cauldron's worth of air, inadvertently turning Willie over, landing on him as he jerked about, seeing stars and feeling the earth rocked by his release. He slowly registered that Willie was drowning under him in the pillows, writhing about in tight motions of extension and jerking contractions of his body, all of which became life-sized and fully animated as Barnabas rolled away from him, watching and feeling Willie's dance continuing against him in his arms.

With time the lovers came to rest as a tangled creature of slick skin flushed from blood that had rushed to the skin with a wealth of oxygen, now flooding their veins on its way back to the two hearts that beat as one, pumped through two recently surging sets of lungs now settling into the easy, delicious dance of deeper breaths of satisfaction.

Willie moved his head upward to look at Barnabas' face, so close to his own. As if to read his mind, Barnabas moved his head away from him, exposing his neck. Willie bit him without hesitation, and fed from him with a steady pace of perfect satisfaction, tasting her in Barnabas' blood, drawing her back into him, as much and as long as he desired. He felt the circle was complete, and knew his fare as the first of so many cycles of life shared, circling one from the other, without end, knitting the lover's bodies together in a rhythm of consumption allowed and received that made of them one being in body and soul. 

It was so easy, so natural now for Willie to take from Barnabas, almost without thought as he contemplated this change in himself. ...What lovers have ever consumed each other as I eat from you, as we eat from each other? Our love is unmatched in this way, but for the few of our kind.

Willie was sated, and lifted his lips to Barnabas, who took them with his own, licking and sucking the last of the shared blood from Willie's lips and mouth. Their kiss was velvety with the blood's last leavings as they swirled their tongues together, making their mouths one which enclosed two, dancing as one.

"Perfect," Willie whispered the moment they separated, and his lips were again his own. "A perfect meal and a perfect day, from my perfect lover."

Barnabas felt a celebratory affection arising from their renewed cycle of blood as shared sacrament, and rolled onto his back, pulling Willie up onto him, to touch all of him fully, their bodies fitting together just so. He sighed as Willie rested his forehead upon his, his body suddenly very still as their lips met, kissing without pressure and very slow movements of loving for several moments.

"I take you upon me, with me," Barnabas almost whispered, his lips and body so close against Willie's. "We are ferried by this earth through the dark heavens, and for me only because you exist, my love. You have become my world. You are my world." 

"Live in me," Willie's lips danced lightly against Barnabas' soft lips, a sensation of shared meaning. "Live in me, always."

 

CHAPTER FORTY SEVEN: FOREVER

"There is no death for us but this, an eternal night, exchanging the daylight for a box of dreams, claiming the night as our closeness of an endless darkness, forever." 

 

 


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Chapter Text

The air is so cold here
Too cold to see
We have to take cover
Cover me
Way up here with the Northern lights
Beyond these broken bars
I pictured us in another life
Where we're all super stars
~Dave Gahan and Depeche Mode

 

Lovers had found their way to a shared bed in the hours before dawn, and slept with both hearts turned toward an eternity of love.

The last of the evening falling with the shadows into the promise of night caused a special stirring of dark possibility in the measured eternity of the two lovers, still entwined in sleep beneath the remnants of the day.

Barnabas felt Willie's light kiss on his forehead, his own answering stillness that of continued sleep. Willie slipped over him, dressing quietly and slipping out into the hall, the door closing again with a quiet click.

He will be thinking on it all... Barnabas smiled, picturing his Willie in the study, bright and thoughtful as he gazed into the fire. He nestled deeper into the bed, drifting back into his unfinished dream.

 

He found his Willie there, finding his own chair close to Willie at the fire, settling into the depths so fully formed to his body after many years of living. Their intimacy required no outward acknowledgement of rejoining each other physically, a delicious intimacy that was for men immensely satisfying as they were joined in the moment by the living fire before them, finding the hypnotic depths with an open gaze.

Barnabas reached for a book, but it soon fell to his lap as he returned his eyes to the fire.

Barnabas had chosen this day, this night to discuss Willie's future. He thought of Ariadne, when she first began to bring up his future, reassuring him that there would come a day when he wished to be solitary. She was murdered long before that day, and Barnabas had been enclosed by a prison of grief in a world devoid of her light. Her screams lived within him in a place he walled off, a sacrifice of consciousness for a chance at peace. Peace. Would he ever feel it? He had come to a place of peace about his George. But Ariadne... it was a reality of horror that he had to make unreal in whatever way he could.

Willie was stirring so slightly next to him. He had sensed his mood, curious. It was time to begin.

"My Willie, you have chosen to remain second to me and live in my world. But your vow must somehow bind you to another, one other who is yet to come. Have you encountered that person?"

He guesses that I have. Could it be? Isabelle...

Willie remembered her, picturing her gray eyes, the grayish skin of her slender hands clasping her folded gloves. He remembered their brief conversation, and the deep impression it had left upon him. When they had parted, Willie was certain that they would never meet again. Even after he was made, he continued to assume that she would have passed long before it was time for him to fulfill his vow.

Barnabas' question stirred him to remembrance, and possibility.

Isabelle. Will you be mine, Isabelle?

"The wealthy woman I saw in the town," Willie began. "From Bangor. I talked with her."

"Tell me." Barnabas remembered the day, but knew nothing of what had happened. Willie had gone to the town alone, and Barnabas had given him his privacy.

"Her name is Isabelle. Isabelle Lachance." Barnabas nodded. He knew of this family, but did not know of her. He noticed how happy it made Willie to say her name aloud, to speak of her with him at last. "She is like me. She belonged to a vampire once. I suppose she must have met one in her travels. But he left her, Barnabas, to die without him." Willie remembered the unimaginable sadness and longing in her eyes when she spoke of her lover. 

"We cannot make more than one," Barnabas said, understanding. She had belonged to a vampire from the line, an ancestor who had already passed on the gift of light. Why had he prepared her...? It was too terrible to think on.

"Yes, the vow," Willie answered. "He prepared her, then abandoned her." Willie was silent. The level of betrayal was unthinkable.

Willie looked at Barnabas, and felt a sudden regret. He had never mentioned anything of that day to Barnabas, for he knew that Barnabas had lost his own maker, and was deeply haunted by that loss. Willie had chosen to protect Barnabas from her sad story. He had kept his memory of Isabelle close, and his feelings of meeting another like himself closer. But Isabelle was to be known by both of them now. She was important to them both.

"I am sorry, my love. I should have told you about this before now."

Barnabas nodded. He was very quiet, absorbing this information. Someone who knew of the lineage and lived near to him had recognized him for what he was, had known his secret. But she had kept that secret, and Barnabas was glad his Willie had met her. He was very sad as he thought of the woman's deep sorrow, and how that had touched his Willie. He found that he was pleased by Willie's deep feelings about her, and did not mind that he had kept knowledge of her to himself.

Barnabas smiled. A slow smile that started with his lips and cheeks and spread to his eyes, his happy breath.

"She will be yours."

Willie knew it to be true. He would make her; if she would be his supplicant. But how would she fit into their life together?

"I will tell you now, my love, how it can be so. You must take her world as your own for a time. I will keep your place in my world, forever, my love. Forever, if you should choose to return to me..."

Willie almost called out, stung with the pain of such a certainty referred to as only a possibility.

Barnabas was quick with his words. "I know, my love. I know you will return to me, as surely as night comes to us each evening. You forever belong to me, my love. Because of this, your time with her, until she is ready to be solitary, will be lived apart from me. She is prepared, and the time will pass quickly. With time she will seek a place in this world to make her own, her part of this great earth to breathe her life into and draw as love from a living world of treasured consciousness and happiness. She will be solitary, as we are... except for you, my treasure. And she will continue the line." Barnabas was happy to know she had been prepared. It would take Willie far less time to introduce the changes required before she was changed by the blood, and became ready to become her own, and eventually make another.

Willie thought of the book, the list of vampires in the world, each with a maker, each with a made, the lineage of blood that flowed down to his own maker, vampires that had each and every one spread out to a solitary world of their own. Except for me. Perhaps he had a twin, someone who had remained with the forever of another, who had chosen to serve them for an eternity after the fulfillment of their vow. Willie could not think of any other life for himself. And yet, he must live apart from Barnabas for a time.

How strange it was, what a strange coincidence to have met another like himself who lived quite near, someone who had also been taken by a vampire. Could this be fate? Was there such a thing? Yes. It was fate that he had met his Barnabas. So it must be with her.

Willie thought of a life with Isabelle, wondering how it would be to teach and develop her, to become one with her in her rebirth. He remembered who he had been then, when he was with her, a human already withdrawn from the world of humans, as she had. He thought of how much he had changed since their meeting. He savored his strength and confidence in his new form, and felt a strong desire to pass this heritage on to her, to watch and to know her ascendancy.

"I will go to her," Willie said. "She will continue the line." 

Willie was silent then as he bent forward, running his hands through his hair as he looked unseeing at the floor.

Willie's voice was raw, low and measured. "I cannot think of one day away from you."

Barnabas felt a twinge in his heart that was mercifully brief, but far beyond painful. He could not fathom it, the depth of Willie's love for him. How great was his fortune, to have wedded his life to such a one. Was it fate? He remembered first appraising Willie after he had been released from his coffin, and fed from him as his savior. Barnabas had recognized immediately in Willie a sensitive and deeply loyal companion that would make his life complete. He thought further back, far back on his dreams to when he was a young man, human, reaching for the stars. So far beyond that visage was the breadth of his life now, spinning outward through a vast heritage of place that hummed gently to him, that knew his name. A world that was now one with his Willie.

Barnabas breathed in deeply, out with a careful silence. He chose the fewest words he could make, matching his voice closely to the quiet emotions of Willie's confession. "You are a part of me. We are never apart."

We are one, Willie reminded himself. No matter where he was, he was always in his Barnabas. I am in you always. Always.

Willie sat back again, and Barnabas reached to him, resting his hand on Willie's shoulder as Willie turned to look into Barnabas' eyes. 

Barnabas touched Willie's face with a soothing tenderness, caressing him lightly with the back of his gently curled hand. Willie closed his eyes, feeling the certainty of the moment and his decision. He opened his eyes and found in Barnabas' eyes his admiration of and delight in him, and smiled.

"I will go. I will give your blood to her," he said, grasping Barnabas' hand at his cheek, intertwining their fingers. Willie assessed his memory of her, marking her age, guessing her to be in her fifties. She was precious to him, and she was still mortal. "I will not wait. I will go soon to ask her, and instruct her as the one who will choose the timing, if she desires it. I think she is almost ready." Isabelle... so fully prepared for the change, and then left to walk about in the world of humans, so alone in her great loss of him, and of her future.

"You will fulfill your vow in whatever way you choose, Willie. You will decide when you will go to her." Barnabas settled back in his chair, fingering his book. It was a difficult topic that he had timed carefully. Now that it had been decided, he felt himself much relieved, and proud of Willie, who was so earnest and capable in all of the things that mattered most. 

Barnabas opened his book. He noticed Willie's leather journal as Willie lifted it from under the Rilke on the little table, taking up his pen. Willie could write for hours, and would choose so much to set to memory on this special day. It would be a quiet night of reading and sitting together, such sweet intimacy shared as silence.

 

The night had gone quickly, the candles low as the promise of dawn caused a special stirring of dark possibility in the measured eternity of two lovers, their fingers intertwined together as they meditated by the fire which breathed life into Barnabas' treasured refuge of books, as they shared the sweetness of prolonging and luxuriating in the delicious call to sleep.

Barnabas squeezed Willie's hand, then stood and stretched, feeling his excitement. It was time at last. "Come, my love." Barnabas took Willie's hand as he stood, as he led Willie into the hallway, smiling as he led Willie to the end of the hall, stopping where the servant's door opened to  the little landing above the stairs which lead to the cellar below. Willie also felt a special excitement. Perhaps Barnabas would take him into his coffin with him. How would it be different now that they shared a new communion of new blood? Barnabas seemed serious and playful at the same time as he released Willie's hand and gestured for Willie to go down first.

The heavy door stood open, the interior barely lit by the long-burning pillar candles that Barnabas preferred for his place of rest. 

Willie stopped, overcome with feeling. Near to Barnabas' simple coffin was a matching pedestal holding the coffin from the mausoleum, everywhere inlaid with the beautiful copper arabesques. Willie pictured Barnabas braving the place of his former confinement, reopening the hidden prison, taking up the solitary cell that had held him for so many years—until Willie released him, and forever pushed aside the chains that had bound him.

Willie walked around the coffin, following with a sensuous touch, caressing the finely polished wood of deep red cherry. He pushed lightly at the heavy lid, which slid so easily with his vampire strength. Reaching under the coffin, he easily lifted it several inches and smiled, remembering his struggles to pry it upward when he removed the chains. He did not look at Barnabas as he pushed the lid across and downward on the coffin to the foot end, standing opposite the white pillow which matched the lustrous silk of the interior of the great box. He remembered Barnabas' head on that pillow, his hair and beard long and wild, his face wild with fierce intention as he leaped out and sank his teeth into Willie for the first time. He remembered well that terror and pain, a terror that was unmatched in his life. He looked up at his Barnabas, now the source of all that was treasured in his life, finding in his eyes and facial expression a tender and happy curiosity as Willie enjoyed his gift, and his next lesson of so many to come.

Willie easily pulled himself up and into the coffin, immediately sliding the lid back up and over to cover his body and face, closed against the world, against all light and sound in the deep cellar. He felt at home—inside the coffin, inside of himself. He could feel the rest that his senses needed, that was provided by the close darkness, the same experience of refuge that Barnabas had explained to him when Willie was first learning to protect Barnabas during his time of rest.

Willie noticed the magnified fragrance of himself, the one that reminded him of almonds. I have become thus...

My love... Barnabas spoke to Willie inside. Barnabas was touching the lid of the coffin, so that it moved slightly, a sort of gentle knock at the door of Willie's inner reverie. Willie pushed the cover down and aside, smiling, his eyes an offering of desire as he reached up to his Barnabas, receiving the quick body of his lover in the tight space. Barnabas turned to face downward as Willie pulled the cover back into place. It was very tight, but the two men fit in the immense coffin, sliding about on the silk to find the best fit. Willie breathed deeply of his lover's fragrance mingling with his own. 

I remember sleeping with you, thus, Willie said inside. You would slobber on my cheek. 

"You can return the favor, now, my love." Barnabas' low voice was beyond close, a bare whisper, sweetened with amusement.

"I am cradled by the darkness here," Willie whispered.

"We must have complete darkness," Barnabas said. "It feels best if we have it very close about us every day of night, or most nights." 

Willie understood the coffin's function better. 

"But a coffin is for the dead. We are living." 

"There is no death for us but this, an eternal night, exchanging the daylight for a box of dreams, claiming the night as our closeness of an endless darkness." Willie thought on how the world seemed smaller when the vault of the heavens was opened by the nightly absence of the sun's powerful rays. It was this more intimate world that had claimed him, the night of his days.

Barnabas moved his head in several little movements, timed with his breaths, bringing his lips then to Willie's brow, his eyelid, then towards his lips. Willie turned his head slightly and gave his lips to Barnabas, who played in their softness with his own, slipping his tongue inward to follow the sharp arc of his teeth. Willie shivered, and felt his chest pressing against Barnabas from his subtle gasp, his loins tightening. Perhaps they could be one physically in the tight space, their movements together and against each other a perfect dance of give and take.

Willie wished for their bodies to be tighter, to become so tight that the inhalation of the one matched the exhalation of the other, forever.

My Willie... Her blood... Willie was thrilled by Barnabas' hunger.

Take more from me, he answered.

Barnabas shifted his body, bracing himself subtly as he slid downward, his lips finding Willie's neck. His teeth were barely touching as he seemed to wander, so slightly dragging, pushing and pulling the very tips of his teeth upon Willie's skin. Willie moaned. 

The bite was small, surgical, of a perfect depth, and Barnabas quickly removed his teeth from the small holes, his lips so soft upon Willie as he sucked lightly at him, tasting the steady stream he took gently into his mouth, suckling from his lover, caressing his fare with his tongue and pallet before swallowing the delightful liquid, feeling his body surging with new life. She sustains us, he whispered inside as he stopped the flow with his tongue and saliva. He brought his mouth up to Willie's and they exchanged a kiss of common tasting and enjoyment of a special liquid, swirling it together with almost silent moans of shared pleasure. When Barnabas withdrew his tongue slightly, Willie cleaned his lover's teeth carefully with his tongue, then they sucked so softly and lightly at each other, swallowing the last of the sweet blood as the remainder of their shared dance of pleasure.

Willie's lips were still moist as he was floating and drifting towards sleep, feeling Barnabas following him on the pleasure of dipping closer to his inner world of dreams as they were still connected inside, as Willie tried to keep his consciousness open to Barnabas as long as he could—until he felt himself slipping under the veil of sleep and into the inner world of his private subconscious.

Barnabas sighed. He caressed Willie's body with the tiny movements of his own, holding him as the coffin held them both, held by the cellar, the house, and the great night beyond, keeping them small and safe at the center of all as he inhaled very deeply, enjoying the sweet and musky scent of his Willie mingling with his own, fully opening to the world of scent in the tightly enclosed space.

How delightful it was each time he no longer had to hide a secret, this secret, which Willie would know when he awakened. Barnabas hummed the words through barely opened lips, and the cover of the coffin floated off of them, settling unseen against the wall in the darkness. As his body floated upward, he was looking down at the beatific countenance of his lover, sleeping and enveloped by the world of dreams. If Willie opened his eyes now, he would learn more of what they became naturally capable of when they were made. "Someday, you will know all that I now know," he whispered, floating in the close darkness. By then I will know so much more, and I will give this to you in time.

He remembered when Ariadne had first lifted something with her will, how exciting it was when she had first made herself invisible to him, when she slipped with little warning through a crack in the window sill and out to float away into the night. We do not learn everything at once, he heard the words she repeated again and again, remembering the thrill that went with the unforeseen challenges to the unexamined boundaries of his life, the world he had once taken for granted as a human, the world that was changed, then changed again and again.

As Barnabas hovered above his vampire lover, he felt new blood within, the new life that fed his own eternal life, keeping it strong, supporting his expanding nature, ever fueled for his marriage with infinity. He cradled so easily within him the thought of an endless future together as he was picturing the expression that would claim Willie's face, the startled look of happy discovery there when he would move something with his will for the first time.

Barnabas touched down lightly next to the coffin, the lid floating back and sliding slowly into place. Barnabas was overcome with tenderness as Willie's completely relaxed and happy face disappeared from view. He turned to his own coffin, readying himself for sleep, still thinking of Willie's sweet face, his body in rest sleeping there beside him, and he embraced the feelings that went with this special dream coming true at last.

My love, my love... This is the truth of our world, the true secret. Will you ever catch up with me as we evolve together? Then, Ariadne, my love. How I wish I could have caught up with you. I would have followed you into your long portion of my forever as your possession, your protege, your work of art.

Barnabas lifted himself into his coffin, the lid floating upward from the wall, then sliding into place over him as he remembered again with great joy and affection the moment when Willie's peaceful face was covered, held in sweet trust at the center of Barnabas' world.

Willie, my Willie, how I love you. My love. Oh, my love. We are just beginning. And you are mine, forever.

Forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So ends our journey, beloved readers,
through our part of 
Barnabas and Willie's forever.

Farewell, sweet lovers.
Farewell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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