At the Edge of Forever

by Evelyn Floyd

Alec stood at the edge of the roof and looked down. He felt a touch of vertigo. If he was to slip and fall, he'd be dead when he hit the pavement. It was a long way down, for he was above the tops of the streetlights that lined the avenue below. The stone roof under his feet was wet with dew, and his sneakers didn't grip it's uneven surface very well. He shivered in the night air, but not from the cold. He hardly felt the cold anymore. His left hand gripped the stone gargoyle a little tighter as he wished the vertigo away, the rough surface giving his mind something to focus on. He studied the street below, but it was empty, there was no one else out this late, it seemed. Alec idly caressed the three dimensional image, feeling the ridges and depressions that had been carved into the stone centuries ago. The artist who had chiseled out the water spout had long since turned to dust, and yet, this thing he had made still survived. It was quite incredible to think about, Alec mused. Abruptly he pulled his hand away from the stone and stood up, and he felt the wind tug at his clothes, threatening to toss him over the edge. He stepped back from the short wall he'd been leaning against, stepping into a hidden alcove that protected him from the wind.

Alec wondered where his friend had gone. It seemed that Khayman had been gone for hours. Alec shivered again, but it wasn't from the chill night air that swirled amongst the spires on the roof of the Roman era church where he waited; he shivered in hunger. He needed to feed and soon, because he was feeling weak. For what seemed like the tenth time, he wondered when Khayman would return.

Alec felt something brush against him in the darkness and he pulled away instinctively. Someone was up here, and it startled him that he'd been discovered. The dark figure pressed against him more firmly and Alec struggled for a moment, then grew still as he realized who it was. Khayman had returned.

Khayman stood there, dressed all in black, and in his arms he held something, a smaller being that seemed to be sleeping. It was human, Alec knew, for he could smell the heat radiating from it. Alec raised his eyes to Khayman, seeing a confident young man of seventeen who towered over him by at least a foot. Alec was seventeen too, but there was a difference between the two of them. Alec had turned seventeen about four months ago, and Khayman had been seventeen for several centuries.

Alec felt his hunger, a terrible ache deep in his belly. He reached for the sleeping figure, eager to begin feeding. Khayman held the thing that was tightly wrapped in a blanket as Alec brushed back the long hair from its neck. It was no bigger than a child; yet it was a young woman, one that seemed to be a bit older than himself. Alec moaned as he felt his fangs tear through the soft flesh of the woman's throat, and he drank the blood that filled his mouth. It was warm and coppery tasting, so rich he almost gagged on the flavor.

"Drink slowly," Khayman cautioned, "There is plenty for both of us." Alec nodded, but it was hard not to suck greedily at the warmth that flowed under his lips. As he drank, he felt the strength come back into his limbs. Soon his belly was full and he pulled his mouth away, watching as his companion took over, draining the body until it hung from his arms like a bundle of rags.

Khayman pulled back from the thing he held, letting it fall from his hands to hit the roof with a wet, obscene sound. Alec looked at it lying there on the stone parapet, finding it hard to believe the bundle had once been a living person.

Suddenly he felt ill and sank to his knees, putting his head down. His gorge was threatening to rise up. He fought to keep it down and he heard Khayman tell him, for what seemed the hundredth time, that soon it would get easier. Alec nodded, but he averted his gaze elsewhere, he couldn't bear to look at their victim. Finally, he felt strong enough to stand, and as soon as he did so, Khayman took him in his arms. Alec felt the cape as it was blown against him by the wind. Khayman was dressed in period clothing of the era he had become immortal, and the cape he wore hung to the surface of the roof.

Khayman spoke something unintelligible and Alec felt a rush of vertigo as they rose up into the air, away from the church and into the night sky. He tried not to think about the corpse they'd left there. Soon they would return to the crypt where they slept, and he would spend the daylight hours wrapped protectively in Khayman's arms. Alec thought Khayman was the most handsome man he had ever seen. His love for his mentor was beyond words. When night came, they would rise again, to seek out a new victim upon which to feed. Alec hugged his companion a little tighter, and lifted his face into the rushing wind that flowed past them as they flew through the night sky. Theirs was a love that would last forever.

Voting

This story is part of the 2018 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Empty Shoes". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 31 October to 21 November 2018 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2018 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - What?

At the Edge of Forever

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I will seek this author's work out
It grabbed my attention early on
I had to know what happened
I identified with at least one of the cast
Gritty - it had an edge to it
Realistic - it could have happened that way
I found it hard to follow
Good characterisation
I feel better for having read it
It was romantic
It was erotic
Too much explicit sex
It had the right amount of sex, if there was any
Not enough explicit sex
I have read and enjoyed other work by this author
It was true to the picture


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