Tides of Sorrow

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1.3 - GOTHIC EXOTICS

Life just sucked!

At least, it did for Becky.

This was meant to have been a weekend away with her ‘significant other’ but, that had all turned to shit five days before.

Eight months ago he had persuaded her to go to the Goth Weekend with him. His thinking was it could be an exciting little change from their usual kind of music venue. Both concert and festival devotees, the majority they had attended had always been enjoyable although sometimes - well... they seemed a little lacklustre.

So, confessing to a fondness for all things ‘dark and mysterious’ he had badgered her until she’d finally given in. “It’ll be fun,” he’d said. She’d agreed on a condition though; she would choose the hotel, the costumes, everything. His idea of appropriate accommodation had often left her bereft of words. He’d shrugged and told her to ‘go for it’.

Once she’d started looking at the huge selection of Victorian, steampunk and gothic costumes online, she’d started to quite enjoy the thought of dressing up. Pictures of past festivals with the revellers all parading around in some truly extravagant and wonderful costumes started to have a certain appeal. So much so in fact, she nearly blew an entire month’s salary on all they would require from travel to accommodation and the epic outfits themselves.

Costumes ordered, she’d checked her mail every day hoping the courier would deliver sooner rather than later. Even with the text message advising her delivery would be on the 21st - (48 hours away, then), she’d still paced the floor until it had arrived - a day early!

She’d eagerly opened the box and checked the contents, making sure everything was present and correct. She just had to show Michael and so she’d jumped into her car and drove over to his place.

Holding the rather heavy box precariously in the crook of her left arm, she’d slotted the key into Michael’s front door. She couldn’t wait to see him in the costume, he would look so good!

Her happiness took a nose-dive when she’d found him on the couch, jeans around ankles and some naked harlot grinding away on his lap. Becky dropped the box of goodies. It landed with a dull thud.

Michael’s reaction was one she would never forget. “Fuck! I forgot you had a key!”

“F-forgot?” Her voice was preternaturally calm.

Whether that unnerved him or not she would never truly know but he did seem to turn a shade or two paler. Pushing the female off his lap - causing her to land unceremoniously on the laminate floor - Michael reached down to pull up his jeans.

Inside, Becky was shocked - then noticeably fuming; raging even! But more than that, she was irrevocably humiliated and hurt. An eerie combination of emotions it turned out to be, for her calm demeanour persevered. “Oh, don’t stop on my account,” she’d said, eyeing the girl on the floor who was picking up her clothes and trying to dress. “He’s all yours.”

She’d turned to leave as the sting of tears started to nip.

“Becky! I can explain!” Michael pleaded.

She’d stopped and an uncontrollable need to strike back gripped her. She wasn’t the physical type of vigilante though; no, she delivered her deathblows with words. Sometimes, they were downright lies - and in this case, utterly necessary for her to ruin his life as he had just killed hers.

She spun round and with only the briefest of glances in his direction, she let her eyes rest on the semi-clad girl. “Here’s a little head’s up for you, sweetie. I stopped fucking him over a month ago because we needed to wait until his antibiotics and creams kicked in - again! You’re not the first, you won’t be the last, but you know what? I’m sure as fuck relieved he won’t ever make my crack itch again! Enjoy!” She’d fought a trembling smirk, watching the girl’s face harden and turning incensed eyes to the Lothario.

“Wh -what?” Michael gasped. “She’s lying!” He’d begged for the furious fuck-buddy to believe him but she was having none of it. Grabbing the last of her clothes she’d stormed past him and the spookily calm Becky.

Now, subconsciously licking emotional wounds like a cat would clean its fur, she sat outside a harbour-side pub in the Yorkshire town of Whitby, drinking a long gin and tonic. Quite why she still chose to come to the festival was a mystery. She supposed it was pointless not attending, considering she had paid for it all. She even brought the costume she had bought for Michael - another enigma! What the hell was she hoping to do with that?

Watching all the vampires, ghouls, werewolves and other gothic exotics a tiny part of her wondered what it would be like to be such a creature. To look at the world through ageless eyes. To never fear a heart being broken, for it couldn’t beat nor feel the betrayal of one once trusted. She scoffed, chastising her idiotic, self-piteous musings.

She took another slug of her drink, her eyes lazily roaming over the punters who meandered along the front, chatting, laughing, embracing the theatrical weekend in its entirety.

And there she sat. Alone. Pathetic. Hating the world, her life, her job. Detesting men.

Then, just across the road standing in front of metal railings, a figure caught her eye. Tall, with long dark hair, dressed similarly to many of the town’s visitors stood a man who arrested her attention. His eyes seemed to reflect every spark of light in the vicinity and if she was not mistaken he appeared to be searching for someone.

“Look not upon him, for he is marked,” a voice whispered in her ear. Startled, she felt her glass slip from her fingers as she spun to see who had spoken. She could not identify the culprit. Had she imagined it? she wondered. Perhaps she had simply been caught up in the moment; seduced by the atmospheric town. She shook her head. Flights of fancy again.

Turning her attention back to the front, she saw her glass had landed upright on the table. A few punters to her left had turned on hearing the sound of glass hitting the metallic surface but they soon resumed their conversations when they realised there was no drama.

Becky felt a little foolish and a hot flush rose from her neck. She looked over to where the mysterious man had stood but moments before. He was gone. Strangely, she felt disappointed.

Picking up her bag and jacket, she thought perhaps she should retire to the guest house and ready herself for the rest of the night’s entertainment. It would probably take her about an hour by the time she painted her face and squeezed into the costume, but she’d decided she was damned if she was going to let her good money go to waste.

She inched her way out between the seats and started up the small hill towards her hotel on Crescent Avenue.

A pair of pale eyes watched her as she left. Sliding the chair out on which she’d sat, the stranger took her place. Calloused fingers dipped in the small bowl of nuts on the table and he popped one in his mouth, laughing quietly to himself. Once again he’d been distracted by a pretty face. With a resigned sigh, he returned his attention to the crowds.

Cain seemed to outwit him quite frequently - for all he was unaware that someone watched him. Remarkable and a little frustrating.

He’d find him again though. He always did.

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