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The sun fell below the horizon and he snapped her neck.
It was as simple and as easy as that; no dilly-dallying, no procrastination, no contemplation, no consideration. Her heart had given its last rose-like thud and she was dead to the world. She mattered to him no more.
She fell slowly, captured by the stale air of the catacomb she'd been fascinated by. That had marked her, her obscene, human fascination with the beauty and ugliness of death: by reason, she had as good as asked for it. His reasoning, would he bother to think of it, was quite simply this:
Paint her into the
portrait she admi
The thud of her hollow body against the stone echoed in his ears. Sharp little hairs supersensitive to those sound wave vibrations flexed, feeling nothing but the echo and slosh of an empty heart. Red-hot pulse of her body flat-lining. And she, like the woman before her, and the man before her, and the child before him, became a body without a soul.
Like the maggots on the bone of a dog, like crisp autumn leaves, like rust on a sea-bound ship, she became a statistic for the proof of the second law of thermodynamics:
Over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and chemical potential
equilibrate in an isolated physical system.
From the state of thermodynamic equilibrium, the law deduced the principle
of the increase of entropy and explains the phenomenon of
irreversibility in nature.
"Everything must end."
He smiled, bloody mouth showcasing the infinite sharpness of weapons that would rot the world in the wrong hands. The smell of her life, of that ripened rosebud, swam underneath his nose; his flesh warmed, his blood heated, his mind cleared. And out under the stars he stepped again.
As he ran, a slender sword on the bitter cold of the air, his mind drifted; he knew the path to his home intrinsically, a thick knot of shifting light and snarling coldness the beacon he flew to: and he was smug with himself.
Entropy, he thought, entropy.
It would never claim him, never pull him along the arrow of time as it did with all other things. He would remain forever in his prime, burly, bulky, as white as the snow leopard and as venomous as the Taipan; and always a thirst for the trapped, for natural things. He would always live outside that curious little sphere he was once a part of: and he thought again about the girl, and how he could have taken her from the system, too. He could have saved her, but it was a gratitude he did not want to share.
His blood was inside one person, and one person only: and within minutes, he was at the doorstep of his home, this old-fashioned place of wood and worm-ridden earth. He could smell three important things inside: fire, blood and—
Small, round face – pale, clear. Young. Fifteen, sixteen, innocent in comparison to his life. His tunic was wet with blood, which he held in his hand as he soaked it in water. He looked up, saw the other's blood-rimmed eyes, and he smiled:
Have your fill?
A nod, a flash of a movement, and the young one was dabbing a cloth at his mouth, wiping away that smeared blood: he parted his lips almost fussily, swiped over those ruby fangs, and smiled lazily when he felt the shudder of a moan ripple in his ears.
The elder's hands were already at his shirt, pulling it off desperately, but the younger's hands were lithe and they circled his wrists and brought them back down again. He stood on the tips of his toes, watched as the elder closed his eyes, and placed a kiss on his cheekbone. Tender, finite.
Calmly, gently. We have all the time in the world.
Eric's eyes fluttered open, and when he saw him, small Godric, tender Godric, gentle Godric, infinite Godric, he did not realise that in a thousand years he would understand the same thing Godric did in that moment:
All things end.