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The Heartbreaking Half-Life of Harper Marwick (Full Story)

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The Heartbreaking Half-Life of Harper Marwick

By Wendy L. Callahan - http://www.wendylcallahan.com

Cover Art by Erin Lark - http://erinlark.storenvy.com/

Published by Three Magpies Press

 

~Dedicated to those who believe love is unending.~

 

The Heartbreaking Half-Life of Harper Marwick

A Gothic Tale in Three Acts by Wendy L. Callahan

One Year

1839

 The flowers clutched in my hands seemed insufficient tribute to the person who lay beneath the crystalline marble headstone, but I left them there just the same.

One year today.

Society would have us believe one year was sufficient time to mourn the loss of a spouse.

My knees would not, could not, give out, even should I wish it.  That was the trouble with the strength that came with immortality.

Another enigma was the fact that, while unlife gifted one with physical vitality, it did not do the same for one’s emotional state.

Dr. Dunham believed it imperative we adhere to all of society’s standards.  He was fond of remonstrating us with, “Children of the night we may be, but our behavior should not be childish.”

It was Dr. Dunham who expected me to observe the standard mortal period of mourning when I became a widow.  Now the year was over and there was talk of me remarrying.  There was just one problem with that idea.

A single year was not sufficient to mourn myself.

 

1839 – Journal Entry

Being a Study of the Aftermath of Immortality

I, Dr. Abram Dunham, continue the study of my subject, one Harper Spencer.  Mrs. Spencer states that she wishes to resume her maiden name, and so I shall hereinafter refer to her as Miss Marwick.

Miss Marwick displays a rather unique set of symptoms for a newborn of one year.  While most vampires embrace their newfound power and status with pride, this subject retains strong attachments to the mortal realm.  I believe such attachments to be detrimental to her well-being.  However, I have yet to test this theory.

 

Act One

Kneeling over the prone figure, I took a long breath, my body shuddering with the exhalation.  His blood coursed through me, reinvigorating me as it quenched my thirst. 

While most of my fellow predators employed flirtation and pretense to lure their victims to them, I thought these seductions absurd and a waste of time. I felt no need to dress up this world of flesh and blood, of death and darkness, with come-hither gazes and promises of dark pleasures.  Each time I took my feed in an isolated location far from the prying eyes of the rest of the world, I thought, Let the others embody seductive nightmares – all I do is exist.

I rose to my feet and stepped over the body of the poor homeless sot.  He would remain sleeping in his alley until the authorities found him.  In truth, what I had just done was a kindness to him, for I had cleansed his blood of that poison called gin.  An eternal sleep was better than long, cold hours spent in an agitated stupor.  He would never feel the relentless compulsion for alcohol again, whereas I?  I was doomed to require mortal after mortal to slake my thirst.

As I pondered this unhappy state of affairs, I rounded a corner without looking.  My other keen senses, however, alerted me to the man’s presence.  Keeping my gaze low, I focused on making sure my smoke-gray dress was free of any bloodstains. 

The smell of this man, however, was… familiar.

I walked on, my face turned away from him as we passed one another.

“Marwick?” he breathed.

I stopped and waited, unwilling to look, yet unable to proceed after hearing his voice.

“Marwick.  Is it really you?”

“You-you mistake me, sir.”  It was all I could think to say.

“No, surely I do not.”

It was true.  Neither of us had mistaken the other.  My only mistake had been in trusting the organization for which we had both once worked.  Now it was an immortal error – one I was doomed to live with every day.  One year had lessened the pain, but now it returned in full force.

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