THE LONELY DEAD OF MIDNIGHT:
Tarot-The Knight of Cups"
Thursday, 11:04 pm
May 10, 2001
Julian nodded at
Chance’s aversion to the house. "I understand why you don’t like
this place. I know it’s where you died, but I had to have somewhere
with parking and I didn't want to be too far from home. This was the
only one for sale in the Quarter that fit the bill." He crossed the
street and began to key in his entrance code on the pad beside the
reluctantly, waiting in the middle of the empty street until Julian
opened the door. Only then did he finally step up on the sidewalk.
As soon as his silver-bedecked cowboy book touched the broken
concrete of the sidewalk, he was slammed against the wall of the
house. A furious wind sprang into being, whirling though the empty
street, howling and crying.
It held him pinned
against the old brick. The chain link fence surrounding the parking
area rattled and chimed with the sound Julian described as always
following the ring of gunshots. The trees bent in the gale, young
leaves torn from the branches, blossoms spinning in wailing
currents, their softness turned sharp and stinging as they beat
against Chance's skin. The wind whipped Chance's dark hair across
his face, the ebony strands thrashing against his teal eyes, tiny
sharp flails that sent tears cascading from their ocean depths down
"Robber!" the wind
Chance was lifted by the
tempest, thrown past Julian and slammed against the fence with
enough force that bright splotches of light played across his vision
as his head slammed into one of the steel posts. The metal links
tore into his shirt. The wind ripped at his clothes, tearing them.
Debris whisked up by the hurricane grated against his skin, seeking
to tear it the way it was shredding the delicate silk of his shirt.
It shrieked in his ears,
deafening him, labeling him a thief. Sand blown by the maelstrom
filled his eyes, further blinding him. He felt as though someone was
raining hard blows from determined fists on his face and body. He
could feel unseen knuckles, cruel and stony, pounding against his
cheek bone, against his stomach.
Disoriented by the blast
of sound and the might of the wind, he couldn't battle the force
that held him pinned to the fence. There was only the wind, the
noise of it overpowering and unstoppable.
He could barely hear
Julian calling out to him but Julian's hands were strong and solid
as his brother pulled and tugged, trying to drag them both to some
sort of shelter. Chance felt the inside of his mouth split as one of
the phantom blows drove his teeth against his lip. Blood, salty and
metallic, flowed across his tongue and dripped from the corner of
Julian threw himself
against his lover, trying to shield Chance from this invisible
attacker, shouting that they needed to head for whatever safety and
help they could find at their father's house. Wrapping his arms
tightly around the slim form he'd sworn more than once to love and
protect, Julian threw them both out into the street.
The wind died as quickly
as it had sprung up. The night was peaceful and calm, the only
sounds crickets in the hidden courtyards and the soft beating of
human hearts behind the walls of shuttered houses. Further away
there was music and the hum of tourists and distant traffic. But
here the French Quarter was quiet.
There was no evidence
that a hurricane had swept down Royal Street except the sound of the
vampire brothers' rough breathing and the tang of Chance's blood on
the still air.
Lying in the middle of
the street, they both heard the dying whisper of that illusory wind: