• dkrago

"Eternal Hunger" - Deleted Scenes

Christian, Le Chȃteau des Singes, Halloween Night ~ Present Day

I tried to stop the trembling as Michel turned away from me. No matter the circumstances or how much time passed between us I never got used to him leaving me. I wanted so much to follow him and leave all of this behind, but I could not, at least not yet. I had to plan.


Exiting the library I caught my reflection in the glass doors. I was a joke in my silly frock coat and high heeled mules. A pitiful fool, pretending to be the king … of what?


There was no vampire war, no factions fighting one another as it had been in the eighteenth century. They were as lazy as the mortals they criticized; wallowing in their luxurious salons, drinking blood and bemoaning another age long past. My, my how they mirrored the mortal world. Why were we still trying to create an era long past?


It was a charade. The entire idea was, and had been, a charade. I truly believed Josette loved living like we had been dropped right back into the eighteenth century but what had I been thinking? How could I have believed that we could be lovers again, after centuries of estrangement, anger, and guilt? This had been my father’s crazy idea, and I could no longer play along.


"Christian?” Josette called out as she silently padded across the parquet floor. “Where’s Michel?” I said nothing, for so much weighed on the way she said my name and at the moment she was angry.


"He’s gone, Josette.”


"But…but I thought…”She glanced into the darkness. “You were going to talk to him about the three of us?” She stopped a few feet away from me as if to come any closer might do neither of us much good. “I was hoping that if Michel came back, it could be like it was between us.”


You mean you sneaking between both our beds and feigning undying love for us both? I wanted to say but I dare not.


"He basically laughed in my face.” I shrugged. “You know Michel. He could no more live here than he could commit to one woman. He’s just not built for living with monarchs or monogamy.”


"We are both so screwed.” She whispered.


She was right yet I fought to find the words to tell her so.


"I feel like a caged animal,” she confessed, searching my face for a reaction “I suppose I was kidding myself in thinking Michel could do the same. I guess it is safe to say that what we had centuries ago is gone. I cannot exist on memories of how it was between the three of us.”


She was right, and my heart sank because I felt for the two of us. This experiment had been a painful reminder of just how we had failed one another all those centuries ago.


"What the hell do we do?”


She shrugged. “As you say, I am happy to live here with Mathieu, but Ghislain would never allow me to stay without you.”


"Michel is living in the Marais now.” I tried to change the subject.


"I know. When he and Amanda lived in California, he owned a club and bartended there. It was doing quite well. I … was angry, and feeling quite vengeful, so I paid him a surprise visit.”


"And?”


Her face a porcelain mask that seemed to crack ever so slightly to let me see the real Josette. "He’s in love, Christian.” She confessed. “But no longer with me.”


I fought to imagine Michel together with my Amanda. True, I had left her in his care, but I could never have imagined how it would turn out between them.


"He was different, somehow,” she explained. “Still beautiful, yet there was a seriousness about him and….fear, yes fear in his eyes, but different than when we three were in bloody Paris and it seemed the world was falling apart around us. He was actually protective of her and her unborn child. He cared about another more than himself. It was ……earth shattering.”


If she had intended to hurt me, she has succeeded.


"Quite a new emotion for our dear Michel.” I tried to smile. “I’m glad he has finally found happiness.”


A tear escaped down her cheek and instinctively I reached for it. Her blood had a different taste now that she was a vampire and I was taken back to Paris, back to when Michel and I were her lovers. God, I could barely remember the time yet I had pined away for her for centuries. Why was the memory of love sometimes so much sweeter than the actual experience?


Because it became frozen in time, with nothing to ruin or shatter it.


Life got in the way and changed everything. “How do we end this, Jo? Neither of us wants to be here.”


"If I were less powerful, I would be waiting for the sunrise and end it all.”


I glanced at her, but she would not look at me.


Even through the modern windows, we could not feel many of the sun’s rays. Oh, we could see it burning in the sky, but it was like watching a film of a fire without smelling the burning logs or feeling the warmth on your body—that wonderful feeling after coming in from the cold and plopping down in front of a roaring fire and feeling your limbs again. That was one of the few mortal experiences I could still recall.


I got one of her famous furtive glances, and I knew what she was thinking. We could end it all so simply.


Josette slid into my arms and pull me close. Her hair smelled of the familiar rosewater.


"I need to think on it,” I whispered, continuing to stroke her hair.


"There is no other escape for me, Christian.” She mumbled the words into my shirt, but I could hear her perfectly.


My mind raced past the horror of what she was asking me to do, to the peace she would finally experience in the release of her immortal body. “What about Mathieu?”


"He’ll be fine.” She pulled away. Another tear ran down her opaque cheek. “It’s you and I who have no future together.”


I thought back to the first time we’d met on the Pont Neuf, on a warm summer’s night in 1787 and how I had known at that moment that our fates would be linked for all time. Now, here we were, planning our own deaths.


 "Don’t think too long on it.” She whispered, brushing her lips against mine and then she was gone. Swallowed up by the shadows of the cavernous room.


I stood in the silence, surrounded by my books and fine furnishings and cried.



Michel, Le Chȃteau des Singes, Halloween Night ~ Present Day

I was growing impatient, not that patience was ever a virtue of mine. Christian always counselled me on biding my time, but no, not I, Michel Baptiste. I rushed head-long into everything both in life and in my undead life. There were no carriages coming so I decided to walk a bit. I figured I had the entire evening to mull over seeing Christian again after all these years. God, was it weird.


As I headed down the gravel driveway, my footsteps making no sound, the half-moon radiated in the crisp, clear sky, casting moonbeams across the expansive lawn.


I was only about two hours walking distance from Amanda’s house and thought it might be nice to drop in on her. She was living alone now and so we need not meet in the clearing.


Dare I drop in on Amanda? Dare I confess that I missed her? Suddenly I needed desperately to hold her and see her smile.


Clutching the matchbook that Christian had given me, a remnant from the club we once owed in the East Village, I suppose he was trying to tell me something…. did he want me to return to New York and open up yet another club so he could come back to me or was he reminding me of the life we had lived together once upon a time? Was this the message, to get back to New York and wait for me?


I found myself absentmindedly following a path into the woods until I realized someone was someone up ahead of me, a dark cape flowing behind her. It could only be one person and in a moment I knew who it was and where she was going. Shit.


I had to get to La Maison des Rȇves before Josette did for I suddenly realized that she heard my entire conversation with Christian. She now knew where Amanda lived and there was no stopping her. Cutting through brush on a path I knew would take me through the town of Villepreux and from there I could get to Amanda’s house I thought about my plan.


I reached for my cellphone and punched in her number.



Amanda, La Maison de Rêves, Halloween Night ~ Present Day

I could not believe he was calling me. How long had it been? I never forgot his cell phone number.


So often I would scramble out my kitchen door into the woods to the clearing, desperate to meet up with Michel but I knew this time would be different. He never called me to announce that he was coming. Something was different this time.


In the beginning, he would leave a note in the planter just outside the back door so I would know to wait until my son Julien was asleep. Then I would rush to meet him. My anticipation would build as I moved through the trees like some primal animal, my vampiric-like vision allowing me to glide easily in the utter darkness.


It was Halloween night and the air was clear and crisp. Since Julien was now away at college in Paris, I had no concerns about being discovered. When he’d been a child, I had always feared getting caught, but as far as I knew, my secret was still safe. The woods were mine tonight. I was free once again.


I had spent my life trying to keep Julien away from Christian, Michel, and Victor, and the ethereal world they inhabited full of intrigue and murder. It was a world I had been thrust into with no understanding of the consequences. That had happened twenty years ago, and though I could not have imagined the outcome, I had ended up here, in my eighteenth-century manor house, aptly called La Maison des Rêves—the house of dreams—hidden in the outskirts of Paris, left alone to raise my son.


Not a day passed that I did not think about Christian. I knew he was somewhere in France, but I’d long since given up the illusion that he would come back to me, to us. Our love had been short-lived yet intense, the most powerful experience of my life. Like Victor, all the vampires in my life had left me, save one.


The mercurial, elusive Michel Baptiste had remained my protector, friend, and lover. He’d kept his promise to Christian to watch over Julien and me and to keep us both safe. By the grace of God, he’d kept his word, and to this day I knew not how he’d managed it, but here we stayed out of the fray of the vampire wars that loomed all around us as they jockeyed for power and control.


Victor had given me this house, and still my blood boiled when I relived the nights he would come to me. Ironically, my life had been saved by one vampire, my son sired by another, and this house, a gift from a third. Perhaps I could say that I had been very fortunate, for though vampires were attracted to my blood, I tried to live as normal a life as possible.


That is, until a note from Michel would arrive, and then I couldn’t get to the clearing fast enough to meet him.


Tonight, the air carried the scent of dying leaves and a hint of snow; the changing of the seasons, which felt invigorating. Just as I entered the clearing, the moonlight broke through the clouds and cast a bright light on the large boulders surrounded by now dying grass. It was then that I sensed something powerful lingering in the trees.


"Michel.” My voice caught in the swaying trees, yet even as I said his name, I knew something was very wrong and now there was no turning back.

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© 2019 Denise K. Rago

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