Reflections of a Soul


This work in progress is inspired by a prompt at The Writer’s Hangout, a LinkedIn group. Find me over there and join us if you’d like to play along.

 

Cyle gazes intently into the mirror on Dymphna’s nightstand, searching for the one thing he knows he will never see again. As vain as he is ambitious, the now-ageless bishop misses his reflection more than he misses his soul. He adjusts his powdered wig and runs a hand along his smoothly shaven chin. Grooming without the assistance of a reflection has become the bane of his existence.

Refusing to be discouraged by minor setbacks on this fateful night, Cyle turns away from the mirror. He focuses instead on the prize at hand. Dymphna will soon be his for all eternity.

***

Cyle initially experienced the deadly sin of lust when he first laid eyes on Dymphna. The ambitious priest had just become the youngest bishop in Ireland, and his devotion to Christ was never more apparent to his devout flock. Dymphna, attending the cathedral with her father, unknowingly seduced him with her virginal innocence and wholesome beauty.

After mass, Cyle made a point of speaking with her father in order to learn all he could of the nobleman’s affairs. He had no hope of effectively seducing the maiden who had enraptured him, but he could no sooner forget her than the sun could refuse to rise.

Lust for Dymphna sank deep into the bishop’s heart. He fasted with greater fervor, and his anguish was perceived by those within the diocese as purity and holiness the likes of which they had never before seen.

When the plague of darkness spread into His Grace’s domain, Cyle chose the unthinkable option. To save his flock from the vampire’s curse, he would sacrifice his soul. In so doing, he would secure his own immortality as well as his eternal damnation. After the sacrifice was made but before he fled to other shores, he would secure the object of his fascination and make her his own.

His Grace bargained with the vampire to leave the devout in the bishopric alone,  to taste no blood here but his own. Three feedings were required to complete the sacrifice. The first feeding, like a bride’s first union with her groom, left Cyle tender but with a new sense of awareness. On the vampire’s second visit, the bishop swooned almost immediately. At the third feeding, the vampire drank deeply. When the dark one removed its fangs from the bishop’s neck, a sense of euphoria rushed over him. The soulless existence suited him well.

***

Only now, as Cyle waits to take hold of his prize, does any feeling of regret come over him. He wonders what Dymphna will think of his appearance and laments his inability to behold his own reflection and to address any blemishes he might find.

Although he has no knowledge of the profound change that has come over his countenance since the final feeding, he fears his mere presence in these chambers might frighten the Dymphna. He had hoped to seduce her subtly. The rustle of skirts in the corridor commands his attention. He sits quietly on a low bench at the foot of her bed, waiting.

Dymphna enters the room and lingers for a moment at the nightstand, where she adjusts the pins in her hair before turning to see Cyle seated on the bench. To his surprise, she doesn’t seem startled by his presence.

“I’ve come to hear your confession, my child,” Cyle intones, unable to mask the lust dripping from every syllable.

“I confessed to Father O’Malley at the local parish only yesterday, Your Grace.”  Dymphna’s casual innocence serves only to further excite the corrupt bishop. He rises and moves toward her, then reaches to caress her cheek.

Cyle’s manhood swells in anticipation of the consummation of his worldly desires. His lips part, and he leans toward his love’s neck, failing to note the object clasped in her right hand. Pushing him back, Dymphna raises the crucifix. He scarcely has time to note the spike whittled into the bottom of the cross before she sinks it into his heart.

“For dust you are and to dust you shall return.” The timeless words ring out as the bishop’s form disintegrates beneath Dymphna’s steady hand.

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