Tears down Cold Faces
By Christopher Allan Death
Everything is dark.
I can hear dirt falling over my head. It sounds like a million angry bees, fluttering back and forth in the pitch black void above me. They shudder and heave across the coffin lid, streaking the expensive mahogany finish and wedging into the engraved silver plaque. It says Ronald T. Thurston, 1956-2007.
That was my name once. Before I invited that damned woman into my life; before I opened up my arms and my bank account and my heart; before that damned woman took everything I had and shoved a meat cleaver through my chest.
That was before I met Katherine Von Saint.
Ever since I saw her that fateful autumn day, I knew she was trouble. Her gorgeous auburn eyes and supple Hungarian skin made my young American heart skip a beat. But I had no idea what she intended to do with it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Hungarian women are evil money laundering she devils; just the ones that wear glossy lipstick and bat their huge, sultry eyes.
However, that is not where my story begins. The events leading to my bloody fate started to unravel when I set foot into that damned country. The country where the sun rises into a blood red sky and the darkness embraces the landscape like a long lost lover; the country called Transylvania.
Now I must warn you. This story is not for the faint of heart. If you detest sad stories, please read no further. I’m afraid that my life contains very few happy moments after this point. But I digress.
The date was October 17, 1985 when I set sail from my native land. I was nineteen years old, with an unquenchable thirst for adventure. And like most audacious young men, I suspected that fate would lead me beyond the shores of North America.
Unfortunately I was correct.
With nothing but the clothes on my back and a thirst for salty sea air, I snuck aboard the USS Widget, a freighter bound for foreign soil. Little did I know the ship’s ultimate destination. Or the terror I would encounter once it had arrived.
The captain was a swarthy man named Jeremiah Cutter, whose bad temper was matched only by his mouthful of bad teeth. I will never forget the day when he found me below deck, feasting on his rations and fresh water supply. The lashings were endless.
Fortunately I managed to jump ship once we reached port. I was sick of eating moldy bread and drinking filthy water. That was my first taste of sea life and I never wanted to go back. The relentless sun and salty ocean waves had turned my skin into rawhide.
I spent the next two days wandering through the coastal towns, hitching rides from strangers and making acquaintances with the locals. I knew that I was somewhere around Bucharest, but that was the extent of my knowledge.
The foliage grew tall and thick as I ventured further inland. Trees thrust through the forest floor, threading their mossy arms heavenward like long-lost souls. Vines curled around hulking limbs. And the sounds of wildlife buzzed around me like a chorus of a thousand voices.
"What is this place?" I asked one of the village elders. He merely shook his head and affixed his gleaming yellow eyes into the distance.
"You stand in devil territory," he said. But when I tried questioning him further, he only uttered one word: "Transylvania."
Now there is one thing you must understand. Transylvania is not a mythical place where vampires roam the twilight and feed off wary villagers. It is a serene country with beautiful sights and ancient castles. A far cry from the bleak countryside portrayed in modern Hollywood monster movies.
Nevertheless, it took me several days to comprehend what the old villager meant. He was not talking about the country at all, but rather what I would discover inside it.
I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on Katherine. She was walking down a cobblestone street with a designer purse slung over her shoulder. She looked at me with those seductive auburn eyes and immediately I was in love.
Looking back on that day, I wish I had never seen her beautiful face. I wish I had never taken her hand and asked her name. But above all, I wish I had never placed my heart in her hands.
You see, not all women from Transylvania are vampires, but some are equally heartless and bloodthirsty. I learned that lesson the hard way.
She told me that she loved me. She wrapped her arms around me and made me feel like I was special. But she was merely a demon in disguise. And once she held my heart in her hands … she crushed it.
I can still feel the meat cleaver in my chest. The cold steel rends through my fragile flesh, severing muscle tissue and releasing a fountain of blood down my abdomen and thighs. It is sticky and warm and strangely exhilarating.
The next thing I know, I am eclipsed in darkness. I can hear the reverend speaking nearby, but his voice is muffled. The sound of people crying intermingles with his dry discourse.
The funeral service ends. I am enfolded within the sheltering arms of silence. Only the darkness can mend my broken heart. I am all alone.
Some people think that dead bodies cannot feel. They think that death is the final blow. But they are wrong. Even death cannot dull the throb of a broken heart. Some types of pain follow men into the grave itself.
Maybe you don’t believe me. Maybe you are sitting in your luxurious suburban home, watching the clouds float past and laughing at my misfortune. But it doesn’t matter. One day you will learn the truth. Until then, I will be quietly languishing in my grave. And shedding a tear for the love I lost.