That encounter was now one and a half centuries ago, and in all that time Thomas had never actually seen Arabella again. Although many times it almost felt as if she were watching him, staring at him from a distance or even just around the corner. Molten eyes boring into him from across a crowded room as she studied him intently, waiting there to be seen but he could never find her no matter how hard he looked. All he ever really wanted was to talk to her, to find out about her and about himself. Why had she done this to him? He had never met anyone like her before or since, was he the only one like her now? Was it just a game to her or some bizarre experiment? Bestowing upon him a great and mystical gift yet cursing him to become what he became. For as powerful as he had become in his own right, part of him still felt as he did as an orphaned child so long ago, surviving in a harsh world, alone and unloved.
Yet now here he sat in his plush Mayfair apartment, dawn was approaching rapidly, his instincts were telling him to hide himself away, but he held himself fast knowing what he felt he must do. He had been brought to this decision by his last kill. She had been an innocent and Thomas had always preyed on the thieves and killers, the guilty of society. A ‘purpose’, that was what he had always told himself, a reason for being what he was. He hadn’t fed for three nights purely because he could find no one suitable for his appetite. However, while out stalking the night, he had come across a red headed girl, the image of Arabella at least in his mind. He watched her, he stalked her, he waited and eventually he pounced.
He had known earlier in his pursuit that it hadn’t been Arabella, but his compulsion drew him on, pushing him toward his poor victim. She was the image of his torment yet the complete opposite too. This girl radiated warmth and life, he could smell the slight but beautiful feminine odours of her flesh and body as he moved closer in before he could control no longer and the crimson thirst took control of his whole body. Before he could rein himself back from the edge of the precipice, the once youthful and vibrant young woman lay dead in his arms, her blood smeared all over his chin and clothes, as it quickly turned cold and sticky.
The last thing he had seen was the face of his beauty from a lifetime ago change into the face of an innocent, but an innocent in fear of her life, the last thing that she had seen was a stranger pouncing out of the night like a wild animal to cut down her life before it had really begun. Her terror had inflamed the beast within him to more hideous and vicious attacks upon her body which lay now in his grasp, her ruined throat dripping from ribbons of bloody flesh.
So now he sat waiting for the dawn, he could take the guilt no more, the death of the innocent girl had brought home to him the finality of what he was, a monster. He could justify this no longer, it had to end, he had to end and end he would. Thomas got up from his armchair and made his way to the thick heavy blinds covering the huge apartment windows. He peered out first at the approaching morning, at the horizon and the first streaks of colour across the sky. Flecks of gold split the fading darkness, elongating to creep out and up the sides of the glass buildings. He mused to himself at what a beautiful morning it would be and how long it had been since he last witnessed one, but also that he would not witness this one either.
He knew what he must do, the inner turmoil began as his nature fought with his conscience but over and over he kept picturing the face of the innocent nameless girl, he had to do this. Thoughts spinning through his tortured mind of life and death, of love and loss but always his last victim and her innocence lost to the world forever.
He reached for the cord and drew open wide the blinds to allow the morning her full entry into the room and enter she did. Immediately he felt as if he had been dropped into a furnace, his flesh became molten almost instantly as the first rays of light touched it. The skin on his hands and face blistered and popped and he silently screamed his protests through gritted white, elongated teeth. He stood stock still however, he remained, his whole body shrieking out for shelter and refuge as his nerve endings screamed and howled but his mind and soul held firm as he took what was left of his punishment.
Thomas’ bones began to crack and splinter at the intensity before crumbling like dried twigs and he collapsed to the floor writhing in agony at the days first light. His final thought and words were not for Arabella but for his nameless victim “Forgive me” he murmured, but forgiveness was something that she just wasn’t able to give.
C. William Giles