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Freda Warrington’s Blood Wine Tour

Freda Warrington’s Blood Wine Tour

From award-winning British fantasy author Freda Warrington, A Taste of Blood Wine (Titan Books, May 2013) is the first novel of a gothic vampire melodrama.

To celebrate the return of the critically acclaimed Blood Books in collectable paperback and e-book edition, Titan Books and Freda Warrington are serialising two rare and risqué stories set within the universe of the Blood Books across a series of websites and blogs.

We’re publishing the final part of a short story called Little Goose. Read the rest of the tale here: Freda Warrington's Blood Wine Tour

Little Goose: Part 5

By Freda Warrington

She saw, when I went back to her, that something dreadful had happened. My eye was healing but still clotted, hideous. I sat in shadow to hide it but my hands were flushed and trembling. She saw, and suspected, but made no comment. I can’t blame her for preferring not to know.

All she asked was, ‘What did he say?’
‘He won’t give in.’
‘Well, neither will I,’ she said. ‘Not this time. All my life he has controlled me. Not any more.’
‘Even if you never speak to each other again?’
‘Even then.’
‘Even if you never work again?’
‘I shall work,’ she said. ‘I shall. I’ll show him!’

For he lived, against the odds. I’d left him groaning, barely conscious; but not dead. He would live, but – I already knew, and was proved right – he would never be the same again. And I despaired that he had created his last, his last exquisite piece, and would create no more. Was it my bite that destroyed him, the world-renowned master jeweller, or Rebecca’s defiance, or had he been teetering on the brink of secret self-destruction for years? Who can say, but oh the tragedy, and now the rarity of his work…

At that moment, though, I didn’t want Rebecca to know, or mind, or be hurt. I was desperate for the beauty to continue; if not through him, then through her.

‘Yes, you will work.’ Clasping her shoulders, I swayed her with the power of my design. ‘Imagine if you could live forever, without fear of age, illness or death. No pressure, no terror that time is running out. Never any end to the beauty you will create…’

She turned huge eyes to me, mad, trusting. Altogether my creature, knowing what I was, accepting it, loving me in spite of it. ‘You can do that?’

I can. I did. And now, oh God, she is a tiptoeing skeleton like me.

She says that she stares into the void of infinite time and it is too much; without a limit in sight, without an end, she cannot begin. And all that fills the void is human blood, not cold jewels. I forgot, I forgot that when we go through the veil we always change, and the things that were so desperately important in life cease to matter. There is no eternal frenzy of creation from Rebecca. Only silence.

Absorbed only in her own new, wondrous, terrifying vampire existence, still she will not speak to her dying father, nor he to her. She knows he is dying; he knows something appalling has happened to her; yet neither will acknowledge it, nor speak, nor heal.

Disgust forces me to walk away. My remorse is savage.

A few souvenirs I took, for even vampires need money; more than most, in fact, since we must plan for an elastic future. My pockets are filled with baubles enough to make the jaws of dealers fall through the floorboards. One alone I will keep, the Rebecca Egg I call it, in memory of my little goose. All gold leaf, lacquer and bloody garnets is this delightful object. The top flips back and up slides a daughter egg on a delicate mechanism; and down again, swallowed back into the parent shell. So perfect.

Summer offends me. Its greens dazzle like migraine, the opposite of sweet red. Soon I shall taste smoky autumn in the air and walk through cemeteries with my hands in my coat pockets – my bulging pockets – mourning the world’s loss. Ah, the sorrow, the speculation in the broadsheets, an end to the production of de Grise eggs, and the value of them rocketing as they pass like fever from hand to hand…

For I, a vampire, am bound to destroy what I love, and suffer for it. That is our condition and our punishment. It’s what we do. So if we must do it, then I am dedicated to doing it well. And, believe me, I am the best. I am the master.

The House of de Grise was crumbling. I merely touched it with a fingertip, and down it came, all its forbidding towers revealed as thin hollow shells, fragile as calcium, falling in dusty glory. I did that. Glorious destruction. Stand, then, as I do, and marvel at my latest creation.

A work of art.

The first book in Freda Warrington’s Blood Books series, A Taste of Blood Wine, is out now from Titan Books, £7.99.

Read the rest of the short story Little Goose here: Freda Warrington's Blood Wine Tour

© Freda Warrington