What am I thankful for? Let me count the ways…one, two, three…
I suppose I could get all altruisitic and say I’m thankful for health or family or not being homeless but that doesn’t really answer the question because those are all given for those of us who have them.
I guess the one special thing I’m thankful for is that I can write, and by that I mean I have the ability to set words to paper (computer screen as the case may be) in a comprehensible and literate way some people finds enjoyable to read. A reviewer once called my writing “near-prosody” (I had to look that up to make certain I wasn’t being insulted!), while another claimed it “reads almost like dark poetry.” (I love this guy!)
All kidding aside, I like to write, I enjoy putting descriptive words into sentences evoking emotion, happiness, tears, or anger. I like to read words doing the same. I’m an avid reader and an avid writer.
What am I thankful for? The ability to put consecutive words together into coherent sentences that entertain others.
One of the novels in which I employ my “near-prosody” and “dark poetry” is Shadow Lord, voted one of the Top Ten Horror novels of 2013 by the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll for that year. It got some good reviews, too.
Men call them vampires. They call themselves aventurieri. For generations, they hide in the mists of the Carpathians away from their human foes.
In 1794, everything changes… Their prince’s assassin is murdered. His son demands revenge.
Marek Strigoi’s quest for justice will take him from his Transylvanian homeland to the Hellfire clubs of Vienna, to the boudoir of a Parisian Marquise, but not even love will stop his vengeance.
Mrcea Ravagiu must die.
When both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell will stand in the way!
When Marek appeared, the girl was already dressed, braiding her hair before the cheval glass.
“You’re leaving?” He tried to hide his disappointment as he pushed the door shut.
“I must, my lord.” Her eyes met his in the mirror. “I’m certain Madame Lubos has already missed me.”
“Do you want to go?” Marek came closer, his feet making no sound on the thick carpet. When she looked up to find him standing directly behind her, she appeared startled.
“Not really.” The gaze she turned on him was unhappy. “I'll probably get a beating for coming here.” She tried to look unconcerned. “Oh, well, it won’t be the first time.”
“What’s your name?” He touched her shoulders. Unconsciously, she leaned against him.
“Don’t go, Lily-Magda.” He whispered the words into her ear, one arm going around her waist. “Stay here. With me.”
“Madame’ll never let me stay, my lord, not even to be a servant to a ghidaj.”
“I don’t want you as a servant.” Recklessly, startling himself with the words, he went on, “I believe I love you, girl. Stay with me, my crimson lily.”
To his surprise she burst into tears. Marek was dismayed. Oracle, damn it. Am I to be accursed this night with crying women?
“Oh, master, since the moment I saw you standing in the gallery…I didn’t know who you were and when I found out…How could the ghidaj want someone like me? You did and now…” She put her hands to her face and began to sob louder.
“Does that mean yes?” Marek pulled her hands away.
She gave him a watery smile and nodded. Throwing his arms around her, he lifted her off the floor, swinging her in a tight circle. He kissed her again. Holding her body against his chest, he ran to the window, climbing upon the window seat.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
With one hand, he pushed the shutters open and stepped onto the sill. There was a soft rustle as his wings unfurled. Marek flung himself from the window, Lily clutched in his arms.
She struggled slightly, then her squeal was bitten off as she realized they weren’t falling to their deaths, but instead rising above the trees. Marek circled the courtyard, then climbed higher, the sweep of his wings pushing the air past them in loud gusts.
“Look, Lily.” He gestured, and she glanced at the scene far below them…the castel and the forest around it, and further on, the rough slopes of the mountains and the far-off peaks.
On the parapet of the castel they could see soldati walking the walls. One looked up, pointing, calling to another, and they raised their hands saluting, not the least surprised by seeing their ghidaj flying with a female in his arms.
Marek swooped lower, spinning in the air, acknowledging their homage as Lily laughed with delight.
“Oh, master, it’s so beautiful!”
“This is all Strigoi land, Lily. It’s mine, and it’ll be yours too, if you’ll stay with me.”
Circling above the tallest pine, he rose higher until they touched the first wisp of cloud hovering above the mountain peak, the shadows of the cliffs covering and hiding them.
“It’ll be summer soon,” he said. “When the nights are warmer, we’ll fly over the river and see our reflections in the water. It’s so clear you can see to the bottom when the moon’s full. The travertine in the currents reflects it like a mirror. Would you like that? Will you stay?”
“Oh, yes.” Her arms tightened around his neck.
Before them loomed the highest tower of the castle, its stones silvered in the moonlight. His wings bore them to the spire where the Strigoi banner, a sword cleaving the sun, waved in the night air. Around the emblem in blood-red script was embroidered the clan motto, In Fidelitas, Est Potentia…In Loyalty, There is Power.
Circling the tower, he kissed her with a quickening hunger, eagerly, desperately, even
as he tried to be restrained, trailing small bites across her throat. His wings caused the banner to flap wildly as if in a sudden storm, the words seeming to blink at them…
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About Tony-Paul de Vissage
A writer of French Huguenot extraction, one of Tony- Paul deVissage's first movie memories is of being six years old, viewing the old Universal horror flick, Dracula's Daughter on television, and being scared sleepless—and he’s now paying back his very permissive parents by writing about the Undead.
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