(c) 2013 Laura Seeber
* * *
Bruce leaned back in the chair, his index finger tracing the curve of the brandy sniffer on the table next to him. It would be tonight. He wiped a small droplet of sweat away from his face and noticed that it felt warm. Tonight his Meara would return to him, and he would make her stay. Nothing would take her away from him again. How would she come? Would his lady with the hair of fire and the skin of moonlight come to him through the window as before? Would she wear that iridescent blue dress with buttons cascading down from the base of her neck? Or perhaps she would wear that deceptively innocent looking white lace dress – the one that would simply fall away with the cut of a few strings.
He heard a soft knock at the door. It was low and hesitant as if she did not know that he was waiting for her. Even now, her restraint was intoxicating.
“Come in,” he called, his voice thick and sweet. He felt himself nodding his head with the invitation, lolling slightly to one side. Soon he would see his beloved again. Soon he would have her.
“Lord Calihan?” asked Kaiya as she slowly opened the door. “I’ve come to change the flowers in your room, as you asked.”
She stepped forward, flowers nearly covering a third of her face. She grasped them tightly and began moving forward. Bruce watched her as she glided toward him, the freshly picked flowers framing her radiant hair, her long legs gliding beneath her like dandelion wisps on the summer lawn. He did not recognize this outfit. It was drab and black with hints of white. Bruce licked his lips and sat forward. It did not matter. A burlap sack could not hide the radiance of his beloved.
Kaiya glanced at Lord Calihan from the doorway. His eyes seemed glassy and distant. Heeding Agnes’s warning about the evening hours she walked forward quickly to the vase at the window.
“The morning sun will certainly be kind to these flowers,” she said cheerfully, her voice trembling slightly.
She had walked right past him, that little minx, Bruce thought with a smile. Meara had ignored him and sauntered to the window. No matter. She would know her place quite soon enough.
Kaiya placed the flowers in the vase and turn around and began to walk back towards the door. With a lazy smoothness, Bruce reached out and grabbed her wrist.
“And where do you think you are going, my darling? You came back to me. You came to me.”
Kaiya’s eyes widened as she watched him rise up out of his chair, the fingers of his hand gripping her wrist painfully.
“Your lordship, what are you saying? I was only replacing the flowers in your room like you asked.”
He was close to her, now and Kaiya began to step backward, blindly reaching for the door while trying to twist free.
He watched as she cowered before him, her red hair tumbling out of her braid and hitting the top of her breast. He watched as her full, plump lips opened in a plea of mercy. A wicked sharp grin came across his face and reached into his eyes.
“There will be no mercy here,” he snarled, lunging at his beloved, sending both of them crashing into the wall.
Kaiya gasped as her back was slammed into the wall, the brandy filled breath of her lordship burning along her chin and neck. She felt her body rise, her arms push back at his chest. She heard his throaty chuckle.
“Please, your lordship,” pleaded Kaiya, tears welling up in her eyes. “Don’t do this! I’m not who you think—“
“Please your lordship!” mimicked Bruce, his mouth covering her own as the words came, high and shrill into her mouth, his hand tearing at the top of her dress. “Please oh, please! Music, sweet music it is to hear you beg!”
With a strong yank, Bruce pulled down at the front of Kaiya’s shirt, exposing the pale white skin beneath. Kaiya felt herself stumble forward, his sharp teeth raking against her breast, his tongue leaving a trail of wetness. She felt his upper body slam her back into the wall, knocking the air out of her lungs. He brought his hand from underneath and began to grasp and tear at her underclothes.
“Please, please….” she begged, tears cascading down her face.
“Please, please,” he mocked, pressing into her as he began to pull his pants down. “You are mine, Meara. I am never letting you go!”
“I AM NOT MEARA!!” Kaiya screamed and brought her head forward, hitting Bruce square in his forehead. Bruce stumbled backward a few steps, and Kaiya skidded to the doorway.
“You bitch!” yelled Bruce, regaining his balance and lunging for her again.
Kaiya brought herself up, gathered her torn clothes and sprinted down the hallway towards the shadows. Her mind shouted at her that she should be running down the stairs, but her legs simply moved. He was right behind her. His footsteps echoed like soft gunshots on the carpet.
“Come back here, Meara! You can never leave me!”
Kaiya was thrown to the ground and watched as what could only be described as a black swirling fog materialized out of the shadows and barreled down at her attacker. She watched as blue cobalt lightening coursed through it, striking out at the ceiling and walls. Kaiya yelped and covered her head. The impossible cloud began to shift and Kaiya was left staring at the perfectly tailored back of Donovan.
“Are you all right, Miss Kaiya?” he asked, looking briefly over his shoulder at her. Kaiya blushed furiously and tried to cover what she could, tears of fright and anger streaming down her face. A strange, sharp look came over Donovan’s face, and he turned back to Bruce, his blue eyes glowing with the same unearthly light that she had seen just a mere moment before.
“You are hurting Miss Kaiya,” he called down to Bruce, his voice low and sinuous. “That is not acceptable, not even for something like you.”
Bruce chuckled, wiping a drop of spittle from the corner of his mouth. He grinned, his teeth somehow glinting in the darkness.
“Someone like me?” he answered, leaning forward with a slow, deliberate sneer. “You’re one to talk, servant boy. You have truly put yourself above your station.”
“Give back what you have stolen, Lord Calihan,” said Donovan quietly. Kaiya watched as his soft, slender fingers became longer, sharper.
“Give it back? Really. Meara is mine, and none shall have her again. Now, be a good little boy and get out of my way.”
Donovan shifted his stance slightly.
“Kaiya, you need to get out of here,” he said, his gaze narrowing as Bruce began to prowl forward, his steps low and soft.
“Ah, but there is nowhere to go, is there, Meara?” said Bruce. “You were always a bit idiotic, you know. The only exit from this hallway is through me.”
“Works for me.”
Kaiya felt a burst of wind as Donovan rushed forward to meet him. With a snarl that sounded more like a beast, Bruce jumped into the air, and the two men grappled against each other. She watched as Bruce lunged forward, snapping his jaw at Donovan’s neck. Donovan dodged, and brought his talon fingers down against the side of his head, knocking him off balance.
“Kaiya, come on!” he called out, his hand reaching back to her, wisps of black shadow swirling around him.
Kaiya reached out and grabbed his hand and they raced down the hallway toward the stairs. She heard a loud roar behind him, and the sound of something running on all fours. She turned to look, and her legs nearly buckled.
There was something, something between a beast and a man, loping after them, snarling, its fangs tearing into the air just behind Kaiya’s skirt.
“Donovan, Kaiya, get down!”
Donovan pulled Kaiya to him, and enveloped her in the shadowy fog, just as shots rang out from below them on the stairs. He watched as two bullets, glinting and silvery streaked past him and pierce into the monster behind them. Kaiya watched from within Donovan’s embrace as the blood splattered against her cheek, and the beast slowly transformed back into Lord Calihan. Donovan held her tightly for a moment, and then sat her gently on the top stair.
“How did you know?” he asked, calling down to Agnes as she began to wearily climb the stairs.
“Ah, well, it took me a while,” she said ruefully as she knelt in front of Kaiya and draped a blanket over her shoulders. “I’ve known about his lordship for quite some time now. Ever since he fell in love with her, well, you see. “
“What?” asked Kaiya, looking from one face to the other.
Donovan shook his head.
“There’s a reason why it is forbidden for the good people and humans to be together,” he said, his blue eyes finally dimming. “No good can come of it.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that far dorocha,” said Agnes. Donovan looked at her in surprise. “Oh, it took me a while it did, to figure out exactly what you were. You certainly talk more than you’re supposed to according to the stories. And frankly, you’re supposed to be a lot more menacing than you are. The lightening and the black fog is a nice touch, though.”
“WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON?” screamed Kaiya, the blanket slipping off her shoulders. Both Agnes and Donovan gave a quick start.
“Ah yes, I guess someone hasn’t been paying attention to her bedtime stories. Donovan, please go and fetch an outfit out of your room while I talk to Kaiya.”
Donovan looked at her, a puzzled expression washing over her face.
“You do love her, don’t you?” asked Agnes, pointing a thumb at Kaiya. Donovan blushed furiously.
Agnes shook her head.
“By all that is holy, go,” she said. “The morning light is coming soon, and we’ve got a lot to do before the sun rises if we’re going to fool the Fairy Queen Meara.”
* * *
“Meara is a fairy queen?” asked Kaiya as she watched Donovan go down the hallway to his room.
“Aye,” answered Agnes. “Come, let’s get you cleaned up. Did he hurt you anywhere?”
Kaiya shook her head and allowed her to be led down back to her room where she found another dress.
“You put up a good fight, lass,” said Agnes with approval. “I heard the ruckus all the way down in the kitchen. I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner, but it looks like Donovan was watching over you just the same.”
“What… what exactly is Donovan. He’s not…. Human, is he?”
Agnes shook her head.
“Aye that he’s not. Near as I can figure, he’s a far dorocha, a dark man. They serve the fairy queen and do her bidding. The only time they come over here is to bring someone back to the world of the fairies or to punish them for speaking too many secrets.”
“He was coming for Lord Calihan?”
“Aye, that was his duty. Meara probably wanted him with her. They really did love each other, you know. Being apart was driving them both mad. Once you fall in love with a fairy there is nothing that can take its place. But you already know that, don’t you child?”
Kaiya blushed as the image of Donovan’s face flashed across her mind.
“But he can’t be with me,” she said sadly. “He serves the fairy queen.”
“True. As long as he’s alive, he has to serve her. That is the law.”
“Alive? You don’t mean—“
“Yes, child. To be truly free, Donovan has to die.”
“No! I won’t let you!”
“Kaiya, wait! Listen!”
Kaiya ran out of the room and straight into Donovan’s arms.
“Hey!” he said softly. “Are you ok?”
Turning her back to him, Kaiya glared at Agnes, her feet planted firmly between her and Donovan.
“I won’t let you do it! You can’t kill Donovan! You can’t!”
“It’s not like that,” said Agnes quietly. “As long as Meara knows he’s alive, she will know that he failed in his duty. A far dorocha that fails his queen and escapes to the human world is hunted down and destroyed. He knows too many secrets of the fairy kingdom.”
“Take me instead!” said Kaiya with a start. “Kill me, and put me in his place. Just don’t kill Donovan. Please!”
Donovan reached out and pulled Kaiya back into an embrace. She felt his slow steady heartbeat.
“Hey Kaiya,” he whispered in her ear. “Don’t say such things.”
“Indeed, Kaiya, “said Agnes with a smile. “Why would I use you, when there is a perfectly fine body right here?”
They worked together until it was nearly dawn. They dressed Lord Calihan in Donovan’s clothes and placed him out in the garden, beneath his beloved lilac bushes. Agnes then took some long iron nails and pounded them through his hands. Kaiya held the arm steady and winced with each blow.
“Why isn’t Donovan helping?”
“Iron, dear. Fairies are allergic to it. It will burn him.”
“Now, Mr. Donovan, if you would be so kind as to hand me one of those lovely earrings?”
“Oh, yes of course.” Donovan removed one of his silver earrings and Agnes placed it next to the body.
“Now,” said Agnes, looking over toward the eastern horizon. “You two got about two hours before the sun starts to rise. You’d best make good time on that mare and get away from here. You’ll find some clothes, money, and food in the stable.”
“What about you?”
“Aye child, don’t you worry about me. I’ll tidy a few things up here and then I’ll be on my way.”
“Come on Kaiya,” said Donovan, taking her hand. “The further we get from here, the better.”
Agnes looked down at the body and sighed. She turned to go back to the house and brought out an oil lamp and some extra oil. She poured the oil on the body, and left a trail back to the house. Taking the oil lamp back to the body, she lit it and threw it onto his chest and sat down, waiting for her to come.
As the fire spread from the body up to the house, Agnes through the thick smoke and haze saw a woman of unearthly beauty with fiery red hair and emerald eyes come forth from the lilac and honey suckle bushes.
“Your love and treasure are destroyed, Queen Meara,” she called through the heady smoke of the fire. “Your servant, your far dorocha is dead as well, driven insane by the lust for what he could not have. Come no closer, my queen, lest you be tainted as well.”
Queen Meara nodded and slipped back into the shadows of the night, and a burst of wind fanned the flames into the house even higher. Agnes sighed and walked towards the manor, her steps slowed by memories and a tightness in her chest. Soon she collapsed onto the ground and fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Donovan and Kaiya stood on the hill overlooking the moors watching the sunrise on the distant horizon. The sky around the manor danced with vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, and seemed to almost glow against the muted sky. With a sigh, Kaiya reached around her neck and undid the clasp of her locket. Pulling herself away from Donovan, she let it slip from her grasp and tumble to the rocks below.
“Kaiya, what are you doing?!” shouted Donovan with a start. “That’s your treasure!”
“It was my treasure,“she corrected him as she went back and embraced him tightly, her head resting on his chest. “I found something much more important now.”
Donovan chuckled and tilted her head up.
“So did I,” he said as he pressed his lips softly to her own. Kaiya welcomed his kiss and responded by pressing into him, their breaths becoming erratic.
“Hey,” said Donovan, pulling back a bit. “Relax. We’ve got all the time in the world.”
“I know,” said Kaiya with a smile and a quick kiss. “So why not start enjoying it?”
Donovan laughed and kissed her again. He helped her back onto the horse, his blue eyes glowing faintly just behind his smoky glasses, and climbed up behind her.
The hoof of the gray mare dislodged a few pebbles that tumbled over the side of the cliff, hitting a small gold locket that was nestled in the rocks below. One pebble hit just the right spot, causing the spring to open, revealing a picture of a fiery red headed woman holding a small baby. The words “My Treasure” etched within.
© 2015, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.