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The Englishman Repents; Dorian Gains His Power

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.
Er, next two chapters. Meg inspired me. (-:

*******

Phoenix had been living alone for about a year when she arose one night to discover Byron standing in her apartment doorway. Dressed in a pair of black skinny pants and scarlet poet’s shirt, with his left forearm braced against the entrance and right fist resting on his cocked hip, he appeared refreshingly lucid and clean, something which Phoenix had not seen in her occasional glimpses of the man across the lawn. He also was beautifully handsome, the courtyard lights illuminating his figure with a sort of aura and highlighting the long line which ran from his left forearm to his armpit, and down his side. At once she felt both greatly attracted to and sickened by his presence, conflicting emotions invoked by his beauty and her memories of his abuse.
“You are not seriously sporting a nightgown, are you? It’s midnight," he inquired.
Fiddling with her entwined hands, Phoenix blushed and took step back. “I just woke up,” she offered.
Byron sighed, and entered the room. “You need to get out more,” he suggested, strolling over to the refrigerator and pouring himself a glass of Vintage Red before returning to stand before her. “You look horrid.”
“Thank-you,” she answered. “I wish I could say the same for you.”
Byron laughed. “Ah mes petites panthères, usually you can. I‘ve seen you staring at me from inside his haven of yours,” he added, waving his glass around to indicate her guest house.
“So what is it you want, Byron?”
“Want? Do I need an excuse to come visit my wife?”
“Quite frankly, yes. You’ve agreed it’s in our best interest if we no longer see each other. I’ve been living here peacefully for over a year now, and suddenly tonight I wake up to find you standing in my doorway. Why?”
“Have you reviewed my latest manuscript?” he asked. “I sent it to you three nights ago.”
“Yes, I’ve read it and responded yesterday. I gave the letter to your boy Marcus. Did you not get it?”
“I confess to not having checked my mail today, but if you say it’s done I’m content.”
“What is the point, Byron?” Phoenix demanded. “ What happened to you and why are you telling me I need to go out more when you‘ve done everything to immure me?”
Shame-faced, Byron gazed down at the floor. “Yes, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You see, I think I’ve made a grievous error of judgment, and I owe you an apology…”
Phoenix burst out laughing. “…’you owe me an apology’…”
“Please don’t make this any harder for me than it already is,” he begged. “I’m not in the habit of asking forgiveness, but I am trying to change, and to make amends. You see, I have been reading a great deal, a very great deal, of modern psychology and I think I comprehend myself and my particular brand of madness better - much better than I did during the Age of Ignorance we now call ‘Enlightenment‘. In any case, I am trying to change and ask you’d not poke fun at my efforts…”
“I’m sorry, Byron, but you must understand my position…”
“Yes, your position,” he interrupted. “You know, you’ve studied me so intensely that I have become a kind of abstract representation of this static, romantic personality in your mind - a fixed object that cannot be altered or alter itself, but though I am dead, I am in a sense still alive, and I have grown a great deal over the past year.
Anyway, I am sorry for my control issues and the suffering it caused you. I do miss you Phoenix. Since our separation I have been suffering in so many ways - so many ways that only you can understand.”
“Like what?” she asked empathetically. Although she was still angry, she could not help but feel pity for his pathetic condition.
Grabbing her hand, Byron pulled her over to the couch and both sat down. “I received word from the publisher. I am ‘derivative’, ‘archaic’ - the ‘poor man’s Byron’.”
So, he had been rejected again. Although the news did not come as a surprise, at these times she could not help but wonder how such critics would react if they discovered their own absurdity, that with the same breath they heralded the bard as “genius”, they also condemned him as “plagiarist”, and shook her head in bewilderment at it. Unfortunately, despite his natural self-confidence, Byron was not immune to such reactions and in response would grow either bitterly hostile or lugubrious. To ameliorate his suffering, Phoenix often told Bryon that these “emperors” not only hadn’t any clothes, but were in fact buck-naked in the middle of New York City, while Byron, the prognosticating prophet, was standing on the corner and pointing out the obvious. But this time was different - this time, she had a plan.
“Byron, you must understand, the publication industry is like any other industry these days - exploitative, corrupt, and interested in quantity over quality. They don’t care to advance literary interests but simply to sell as many books as possible to as many people as possible - to ‘make bank‘ as they say.
You’re a genius, Byron, and one characteristic of genius is that it is a exceptionally rare gift. Imagine those wretched moles sitting in cubicles all day reading nothing but tripe - and then they come across your work. It stimulates their neural synapses and forces them to think - or it simply doesn’t translate because of its lofty nature. It’s intimidating. Or,, worse yet, they might only publish work that supports their interests, whether it’s a cloying story about a handicapped girl or maybe a tale about Farmer Bob’s struggle to keep his farm. Whatever the case, it’s their deficiency, not yours.
One rule of modern political theory is that the self-designated gods of any industry will stop at nothing to maintain control and power over their kingdom. If you offer a different perspective or philosophy, you will be smashed underfoot as a threat. To join them you must assimilate yourself by adopting their perspective, their approach, their philosophy, their style; only then will they accept you into their collective.”
Byron balked, and slammed his fist down on the side table “I may have loose morals, but even I am not that degenerate. I will not sell my soul for fame or money!”
‘I know,” Phoenix smiled, “so now is the time to write. You have a whole lifetime to fill up with your work -- and amass a small fortune. Then, in your next life - when we re-invent you - you can establish your own independent publishing firm, and print your own literature. Not only will you get credit for writing those masterpieces, but also for discovering the talent, which is your own.”
“Perfect! - and that is why I married you, mes panthères. You are my Hobhouse and my Shelley, though of the female persuasion. But tell me, you look so frail, haven’t you made your first kill yet, or are you still clinging to that Christian sentiment of yours?”
“Clinging,” she muttered as she thought back on an incident that had taken place several weeks ago. During one of her evening constitutionals she had happened upon a creature in an alleyway with its teeth sunk in the delicate flesh of young child. It had looked at her and smiled, its villainous face twisted into a blasphemous grin. Though it was too late for the child, she had nevertheless crept around to the back, and, silently approaching the creature from behind, severed its head. Once she had disposed of it, she had bent down and held the girl as she died.
It was not the first time she had murdered a vampire, nor would it be the last.
Whether it was due to her human nature or Byron’s own self-absorption, he never gleaned her perfidious acts, and she thought it best to maintain his ignorance. Thankfully, he did not pursue her thoughts, but merely sighed and - sliding down his shirt - offered up his breast.
“My dear Phoenix, you are 41 years old. How long do you expect me to suckle you like a newborn mother? Are you going to be a breast and bottle baby forever?”
After nursing her, Bryon informed her he was taking her, in addition to his entire harem, out for the evening. Once he was gone Phoenix changed into a black dress with black tights and heels, then ventured over to the mansion, and from there departed ensemble for Purgatory.
********

Following their initial altercation, during which the three young men were brought to deeply regret their decision to attack the two strange males across the street, the urban youth gave the two Noctii a list of several clubs with dubious reputations, with Purgatory named as the most pernicious. Dorian and Tristan got directions, then departed - after a brief lecture on the benefits of being nice to one’s neighbors.
“Tristan, I need you to do something for me,” Dorian muttered as he strode quickly down the street. “Go to the hospital and collect as many syringes as you can find. We need to start collecting samples of our blood so when we will be ready to initiate that phase. Hide what you can where you can - you know where it will be safe.”
Tristan nodded. “Dorian, what if…”
“…Xander and these Sang spawn should join forces? I’ve already thought of that. Xander is a purist; any alliance he might forge with them will be temporary. Once he’s eliminated the Noctii threat I’ve no doubt he’ll destroy them as well.
We can also compensate for that possibility by allying ourselves with the humans. It will be premature and possibly disastrous, but it might be our only hope in such a situation.”
Once Tristan had disappeared, Dorian continued his trek towards Purgatory, taking the opportunity to scrutinize the subtle variations and dialectal nuances that comprised the city and it’s human life. Off to his right, three corpulent transvestites leaned against a faded brick building, their short dresses pulled tight against their flesh. The middle one - an aging blonde with a beehive- was applying a taffy pink lipstick to her over plump lips while talking to the others.
“Oh honey, he loved it - simply loved it! Ran his hand between my legs and called me Betty! I just feel sorry for his poor wife. She’s clueless that big ole husband of hers is a tranny queen…”
“You know Desiree‘s dead, right?” the brunette to his right interrupted.
“What?!” the other two exclaimed.
“Her ******* boyfriend came home drunk and beat her to death. He’s in jail, but I doubt he’ll get much time. You know the law doesn’t care about us…”
As Dorian passed, he locked eyes with the blonde, and was overwhelmed with such a deluge of despair he was forced to stop and steady himself. Resting with one hand braced against the wall, he sought to comprehend his suffering, and though he could not fathom the entirety, he saw that it started in childhood, with a little brown-haired boy and a faceless man in a room without a view…
“Ellos, lo negaron del hospital porque no tenia seguro medico…” came another voice.
Looking around, Dorian spotted a 30’ish woman with brown skin and long salt-and-pepper hair approaching him. In her arms she carried a pallid 7ish year old boy with arms and legs and face twisted from what looked like a childhood disorder. The woman had been speaking to a young girl who trailed slightly behind her and from what Dorian could tell seemed to be related to the two.
Again he was struck with torrential agony, but this time he was prepared and had braced himself for the impact. As the family reached Dorian’s position, he stood up and grabbed the woman’s shoulders. “I can help you,” he said, then reaching down with his right hand, drew out the knife he had used to kill Miranda. After slicing a small cut in his left forearm, he rubbed is right index finger in the trickle of blood before painting it on the boy’s lips.
“Go home and let him rest,” he ordered the woman and her daughter, who by now were transfixed by something much more powerful than themselves. The boy, however, was lucid, and smiling up at Dorian, uttered, “Gracias, senor”.
“You must not remember me,” Dorian whispered with a grin as he waved his hand in front of the boy’s eyes, which seemed to glaze over at that moment. Satisfied that his good deed would not be recalled by its benefactors, Dorian ducked into the closest alleyway and disappeared down the back road.
After several blocks, Dorian cut right and headed towards Wilshire Boulevard. Above him, angelic eyes shown down to light his path, which was strewn with small debris and pocked with potholes between broken pavement. Traffic signals flickered at regular intervals, issuing their commands in red, yellow or green as cars groaned to a halt, or squealed and sped off into the night.
As he neared the intersection he noticed several tatterdemalions stretched out on the sidewalk or reclined against a decaying wall. Old crumpled newspaper populated the street, along with several decaying cigarette butts and bubble-gum wrappers. Black garbage bags sagged against their neighbors as if in sympathy for the men who huddled close to each other to stay warm. Off in the distance, Dorian spotted a bonfire raging in an abandoned oil can, with a police car parked adjacent to it.
A man with his head propped up against a light pole was staring at him. With a full slate grey beard and brown skin, he appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent and was dressed in faded, grimy black pants and t-shirt, but his feet were shoeless and thus also dirty and worn.
“What do you want?!” the man demanded. “I have a knife.”
“Nothing,” Dorian smiled sadly. “I’m just passing through.”
“Cos this is mine,” he continued, grabbing a small brown bag near him. “It’s mine.”
Dorian stared at the bag, but could not identify the contents.
“Yuh, yuh…you don’t even know what’s in the bag, do you?”
Dorian shook his head.
Reaching in, the man produced a partial soda can, a cigarette filter, a white substance wrapped in plastic, two small vials of unknown liquid, a syringe and a lighter. After depositing the powder into the can, the man added small quantities of the mystery liquids, then proceeded to cook all thee over the lighter. Once the mixture had completely liquefied, he placed the cigarette filter over the substance, then drew up the solution into the syringe.
“Th, th…that’s how you make it,” he stuttered as he reached down and pulled up his pants leg. A series of huge boils marred his flesh, and several looked infected. The mendicant chose the lower one, and proceed to inject himself through the crusty, inflamed pustule. Afterwards he leaned back against the pole and Dorian watched as his eyes glazed over till eventually, he nodded out.
Beside the sleeping indigent a discarded grey wool blanket lay crumpled next to a jar filled with urine. Squatting down, Dorian proceeded to cover the man’s body and face with it.
“Sad, isn’t it?” someone asked.
Looking up, Dorian spotted a chubby Afro-American man in a pair of khakis and short-sleeved plaid shirt standing a few feet away from him. “Yes,” he answered as he rose to face the gentleman. “Their souls are dead but their bodies haven’t noticed. This place… is a virtual graveyard without tombstones.”
“My name is Frank Harris. I‘m the minister of Freedom Baptist Church,” the other said, extending his hand. “Dorian shook it but said nothing. “And your name is…?”
“Irrelevant,” the prince answered, though with a polite smile.
“Okay, Irrelevant. You said these people are dead. So you don’t think they can be saved?” Frank asked.
Dorian shook his head. “Not this one, at least,” he said, indicating the man under the blanket. “He’s dying as we speak.”
“We’re all dying, son. The question is, where will you go when you die?”
“Ah, this has to do with your God,” Dorian mused, reminiscing upon the religions he had studied whist on Noctura.
Frank chuckled. “He’s everyone’s God. The problem is people don’t acknowledge him.”
“That may be true. So, what do you think about aliens? Do you think they can be saved as well?” Dorian inquired, although he certainly had his own theory regarding the subject.
“The Bible says “God so loved the world,” so I don’t rightly know about aliens, do I?”
It was Dorian’s turn to laugh. “You are a wise man, Frank, to admit what you don’t know, but really, you should see to it the police are called. This man here is dead.”
The minister’s face grew serious, and bending down, he reached under the blanket and checked the man’s pulse. When he turned back to look at Dorian, his mouth was agape with horror. “How did you know? Who are you…?”
“Suffice it to say I’m not your Lucifer or any of his arch-angels,” the prince said, turning then towards Wilshire Blvd. “But don’t give up on these people, Frank. Human hope based on faulty assumptions has worked many a miracle -- with your God’s assistance, of course.”
And with that, Dorian disappeared.
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Comments

  1. motherhubbard's Avatar
    you're really moving right along. keep up the great work!
  2. mtpspur's Avatar
    I have four days in a row off starting Thursday and I see I have some catching up to do. Will get back to you on this.
  3. Shalot's Avatar
    comment comment comment comment comment comment comment comment comment comment and comment comment comment comment. (you'll have to overlook me, I'm feeling quite silly today)
  4. andave_ya's Avatar
    ooooh! I'd forgotten about Dorian and Tristan. now I think I can see where this story is going and I'm getting excited again. Looking forward to reading more! (btw, I did go back and read the chapter before this one) Just a thought -- when you say "skinny pants" in the beginning do you mean breeches? Cheers to you.
  5. Countess's Avatar
    You're smart, Andave - of course we knew that. Yes, I'm playing with the idea of how God relates to aliens. I've touched on many issues so far but without making decisions on them. I'm not sure I want to make decisions either. I like it when an author leaves it up to me to draw my own conclusions - I can enjoy it more that way. My task as I see it (at least one task, with Dorian) is to show a sinful creature entirely dedicated to a spiritual lifestyle (the Noctii are by nature spiritual creatures - Noctura is, in essence, a utopian society living in harmony with their planet, much we once did in the garden). I will point readers towards the light.