Elena Gilbert: What the hell even is Iquity?
Damon Salvatore: Iquity is the characteristic I exhibit when I do not allow you to remove all of your clothes and ride me like a naughty pony, no matter how much you and or I both want it, because the quote unquote Sire bond between us may make you less than capable of consent.
Elena Gilbert: Oh, so it’s like not being a raging douchebag?
Damon Salvatore: With a side of pent up sexual frustration that will probably lead to the death of a cheerleader and/or epic hatesex with Rebekah next episode, yeah.
Stefan Salvatore: Hi Klaus! Nice dirty-ass snowflake!
Klaus: Thanks Stefan! I call it “oh woe is me, I am so alone and I plan to alleviate my pain by murdering the shit out of everyone while listening to Christmas music!”
Stefan Salvatore: You’ve always been such a kidder, Klaus! Say, I’ve been thinking! You know how we’re all trying to cure Elena, me so I can sleep with her again and you so you can drain her blood whenever you want to create another useless werepire? And how I had this super awesome plan to turn Jeremy into a remorseless murder machine hell bent on his sister’s demise? Well a funny thing happened on the way to the Miss Mystic Falls pageant …
Klaus: You know Stefan, it’s a good thing I married you for your looks, because you really do not contribute anything else to this relationship.
Wally the Werepire: Hi Klaus! You smell like butt and failure!
Klaus: …Why did I create you again? Oh that’s right, so I can tear your heart out later!
Wally the Werepire: Wait, what?
Wally the Werepire: Hi Tyler! I’ve been thinking, and I’ve decided that Klaus is a big poopy head!
Wendy the Werepire: Yeah! He bosses us around like he’s some kind of evil overlord or something, and we’re his useless henchmen!
Tyler Lockwood: Look guys, I understand your frustrations! I too know what it’s like to suffer under the hand of a meathead father figure with male abandonment issues!
Hayley: But fear not! For your salvation is at hand! I have tracked down a witch and a spell which will ensure that you nevef have to do anything for Klaus ever again!
Wendy the Werepire: Wait a second, that’s not because we’re all going to die in an incredibly painful, yet tastefully artistic, manner, are we?
Tyler Lockwood: Wendy, you’re so distrustful! Why would we ever betray you? Right Hayley? Hayley? Hello?
Hayley: What was that? I got distracted sexing the season’s Big Bad.
Tyler Lockwood: Hi Caroline! You remember that wacky time Klaus jumped into my body and then you kissed him and almost made werepuppies with him and you took your shirt off and ratings shot to their highet level all season? Well funny story …
Caroline Forbes: Tyler, don’t be silly! I was going to take my clothes off for Klaus next episode anyway!
Tyler Lockwood: Thanks, Caroline! Hey, waitaminute…
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: Hi Bonnie! I’ve been channeling all of my pent up rage into chopping wood, whittling stakes, and blasting my guns!
Bonnie Bennet: Please have all of my babies.
All of Twitter: Agrees.
Profesor Shane Hi Damon! Elena thought that breaking her brother’s mystical urge to murder her a ton was going to be too easy, so she invited me along!
Bonnie Bennet: You may also have all of my babies please.
Damon Salvatore: Just leave town. You keep telling yourself, just leave town. It’s nice in other towns, and there are fewer people who want you dead, and fewer idiot teenagers inadvertently helping them kill you, and less lead in the water …
Elena Gilbert: Hi Jeremy! I brought a sleeping bag and graham crackers and chocolate and marshmallows, and we’re going to have a sleepover! Can I come in?
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: Of course you can come in!
Damon Salvatore: So you can kill her?
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: Maybe!
Stefan Salvatore (on the phone): Hi Caroline! I was just thinking about you! I had a great time at your place last night, when we spent the entire night together, and I was all in pain and wounded and emotionally vulnerable! And I just wanted to thank you for coloring my hair! My highlights look fantastic, and I feel more heroic already!
Caroline Forbes (on the phone): Not now, Stefan! I have an emergency!
Stefan Salvatore (on the phone): What is it, Caroline? Has Klaus earned our trust only to stab us in the back at the last moment? Has tyler launched a foolish, suicidal plan to free the hybrids? Has Damon besmirched the honor of my chaste Saint Elena?
Caroline Forbes (on the phone): No! Well, yes, actually, but I’m talking about something important!
Stefan Salvatore (on the phone): Oh no! You don’t mean that you’re out of fake snow for the Christmas parade, do you?!?
Caroline Forbes (on the phone): No one understands me like you do, Stefan!
Caroline Forbes: Hi Klaus! Here to steal Tiny Tim’s crutches?
Klaus: No, I just wanted to reiterate my eternal, existential loneliness, which will in no way become very important at the end of the episode, and to then be so British that our panties fall to the ground of their own free will.
Caroline Forbes: Oh come on, Klaus! I’m not going to fall for that! …And why is it suddenly drafty in here?
Stefan Salvatore: Hi Damon! Here’s a wacky story: Tyler is planning to lead a werepire revolt tonight, which will either end with everyone in Mystic Falls dead or Klaus wearing Tyler like a meat suit and buried at the bottom of the ocean. And either way, it will throw a wrench into our plans to make Elena human again, which we both want to do in order to have guilt-free sexytimes with her.
Damon Salvatore: Here’s an idea: tell Klaus about the werepire revolt, cue up some Christmas music, and let the single most powerful creature currently walking the earth solve all of our problems for us.
Stefan Salvatore: That’s a great idea, Damon! Except I was thinking more we keep everything a secret, let Tyler live, and listen to Hanukkah music, instead.
Damon Salvatore: You know what? You go ahead and do whatever your hero hair tells you. I have to go watch Slim Shady, PhD, bad touch Jeremy.
Profesor Shane: Okay, here’s the deal. Jeremy’s subconscious is telling him to murder the ever living shit out of you, even though his conscious is telling him that you’re his sister cousin (but not in a creepy hillbilly way) and that he loves you and wants to protect you. So all we have to do if take a crowbar, jam a suggestion into his brain, and let it ferment for a little while! Everybody clear?
Elena Gilbert: So … is anyone else creeped out by the way he keeps rubbing Jeremy’s shoulders?
Bonnie Bennet: Yeah, it almost makes me not want to have his little professor babies.
Damon Salvatore: What was that? I was busy washing my eyes out with bleach.
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: Hey, is anybody hungry? I’m hungry. Let’s brutally murder my fake sister and then get tacos!
Stefan Salvatore: Hi Tyler! I just dropped by to ask you to abort your plans to kill Klaus and rescue his hybrids!
Tyler Lockwood: Hi Stefan! I just dropped by to invite you to do unspeakable things to your mother, brother, and all of your friends!
Stefan Salvatore: Tyler Tyler Tyler … you seem to have forgotten that I’m the star of this show, and you’re -
Wendy the Werepire: Backed up by a dozen immortal ass kickers forged from the blood of your madman best friends and brother-bonking ex girlfriend?
Stefan Salvatore: …Poop.
Elena Gilbert: :-(= :-(= :-(=
Damon Salvatore: Hi Elena! What’s with all the frowney fangs?
Elena Gilbert: Damon, it’s hopeless! We tried to fix Jeremy’s brain for minutes and minutes, and it didn’t work!
Damon Salvatore: Here’s an idea … why don’t we have Bonnie try to turn him into a vampire slayer? That way he’s sure to be cured!
Elena Gilbert: That’s a great idea, Damon! In fact, it’s such a great idea that I want to tear off your clothes and have sex with you on the very spot I told your brother I loved him!
Damon Salvatore: Yeah, I think … I hear my mother calling, or something …
Stefan Salvatore: Tyler! This is more important than revenge!
Tyler Lockwood: Like what, Stefan? What’s more important than taking out the most dangerous creature in the world? Than gaining freedom for a dozen scared, traumatized individuals? Than seeing justice done to the guy who murdered your girlfriend, right after he murdered her aunt right in front of her eyes? What’s more important than that?
Stefan Salvatore: My sex life?
Tyler Lockwood: </facepalm>
Damon Salvatore: Hi guys! I have a fantastic plan! The first part involves ignoring everything Dr. Evil has been telling us! The second part involves Bonnie!
Bonnie Bennet: Aw yeah, Bonnie Bennet, back in the game! What do you want me to do? Summon an eldritch force? Tap into occult power? Parley with a benevolent spirit?
Damon Salvatore: I want you to show him your boobs until he stops thinking about his wooden stake and starts thinking about his … wooden stake.
Bonnie Bennet: …
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: No, wait, let’s hear him out on this one …
Profesor Shane: Hi Elena! Bonnie tells me that you’ve got a little somethin somethin going on with a certain elder Salvatore!
Elena Gilbert: I sure do! But he’s worried that I love him too much and that I’m not myself and that I can’t choose him freely and now he won’t show me his little vampire and that makes me sad and please oh please can you break the Sire bond so that I can go back to ravishing him in ways unfit for prime time television?
Profesor Shane: Are you kidding? With those dreamy eyes, that luscious hair, those taught abs … there’s no cure for loving that! Amiright?!?
Damon Salvatore: Aw, that’s so nice of you to say! So nice, in fact, that I’m almost tempted to not cut your head off!
Profesor Shane: What if I said that your fashion sense is impeccable and that I can lead you to the vampire cure without turning Jeremy into the Terminator?
Damon Salvatore: Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Carol Lockwood: Hi Tyler! Why the sad face?
Tyler Lockwood: Bad news, mom. One of us is gonna die tonight, and they just put a new name plaque on my trailer door, so …
Profesor Shane: Great news, Elena! If you dig up Silas, an unspeakably powerful necromancer whose very presence will upend the balance of good and evil, ushering in an age of suffering heretofore unseen and undreamed of by mortal minds, you’ll be free from the curse of being young and hot, while having young hot sex with Damon, forever!
Elena Gilbert: Thank you, professor Shane! You’re the greatest!
Damon Salvatore: Can someone remind me why, exactly, I’m attracted to her again?
Stefan Salvatore: Hey guys, did you know that we get perfect cell reception even though we’re twenty feet underground and surrounded by granite and iron? This Windows 8 Phone, powered byY AT&T wireles, is the best!
Damon Salvatore (on his iPhone (because Damon don’t do product placement, bitch)): Hi Stefan! Just wanted to let you know that Professor Liesabunch told me that we don’t need the sword, so you can feel free to let Tyler give Klaus a swirley or whatever that adorable pack of failure had planned tonight!
Wendy the Werepire: That’s awesome! All of our conflict evaporated in an instant!
Wally the Werepire: And the best part is that’s totally not something Damon would lie about in order to free his brother and further his own nefarious plans!
Wendy the Werepire: Let’s all go get milkshakes!
Profesor Shane: Okay guys, great news! We don’t need Jeremy’s tattoo to lead us to Silas, because I bought a Map to Unspeakable Terrors last time I was in Beverly Hills!
Elena Gilbert: Yay!
Profesor Shane: Bad news! We still need Jeremy’s tattoo to work the spell that will allow us to dig Silas up from his unearthly grave!
Elena Gilbert: Boo!
Profesor Shane: Good news! I think I can make it so Jeremy doesn’t want to kill you!
Elena Gilbert: Yay!
Profesor Shane: Bad news! I’m going to have to briefly end my torrid romance with an underage girl!
Bonnie Bennet: Boo!
Profesor Shane: So that Jeremy can cop a feel!
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: Yay!
Damon Salvatore: Oh whiskey, only you understand me …
Caroline Forbes: Hi Tyler! I’m here to calmly, rationally voice my displeasure with your suicidal plan, and then smash your balls with a rock until you see things my way!
Tyler Lockwood: Hi Caroline! I’m going to have a very stern talk with my hybrids about following the Evil Overlord List!
Caroline Forbes: You can do that after you’ve heard my brilliant plan to trap Klaus in his sister’s body!
Hayley: Kinky. Also disastrous to my evil plans. But mostly kinky.
Tyler Lockwood: Oh hey, something very important just came up on the other side of town! Don’t you two go breaking each other’s necks while I’m gone LOL
Hayley: Break her neck? Don’t mind if I do!
Caroline Forbes: No, he said don’t-
Hayley: Super werewolf breaking the blonde chick’s neck and taking the most popular girl on the show crown powers activate!
Elena Gilbert: Hi Damon! Professor Shane has renewed my hope, increased my joy, and instilled me with optimism! Let’s put up Christmas decorations!
Damon Salvatore: Alternately, we could try not trusting the guy who almost certainly blew up twelve innocent people and is leading us into yet another inevitable betrayal.
Profesor Shane: Betrayal? Would I go to all the trouble of fixing Elena’s brother if I was just going to betray you?
Damon Salvatore: …In order to earn our trust? Of course you would! That’s like Bad Guy 101. Hell, I was doing that for the last three seasons!
Profesor Shane: …Hey look over there! It’s Jeremy! And he’s mildly less homicidal!
Jeremy the Vampire Slayer: I <3 boobs :-)
Bonnie Bennet: He really does.
Elena Gilbert: Thank you Professor Shane! This is the best Christmas ever! You know, except for all the ones where my parents were still alive, and I wasn’t a blood sucking monster, and our town’s population hadn’t been decimated by abominable hellspawn.
Stefan Salvatore: Hi Klaus! How is this absolutely normal, in no way devious evening going?
Klaus: Hi Stefan! You’ve been acting sketchy and Caroline has been acting nice! Both of which guarantee that you’re trying to screw me over! So what’s the plan, Stan?
Stefan Salvatore: Stefan.
Klaus: Yeah, no, I … you know what? I’m going to go mourn my eternal lonliness and then murder the shit out of the creatures I created in order to ease my pain. Tootles!
April Young: Hi Caroline! You sure look awfully dead!
Caroline Forbes: Yeah, that happens from time to time. Hey, could you be a dear, look into my eyes, and forget all about the fact that vampires are real, I’m one of them, so is basically everyone you know, Klaus is an immortal murder machine, his sister is fake-dead in the slave pit beneath my boyfriend’s house, and anything else that might resemble having a clue?
April Young: Holy crap! Vampires are real, you’re one of them, so is basically everyone I know, Klaus is an immortal murder machine, and his sister is fake-dead in the slave pit beneath your boyfriend’s house?!?
Caroline Forbes: …
April Young: I mean … durrr … my pretty crown is pretty!
Caroline Forbes: Perfect!
Matt Donovan: Hey, don’t you think that vervain bracelet Jeremy gave April really goes well with that gaudy crown she’s contractually obligated to wear to every event in Mystic Falls?
Caroline Forbes: Please Matt, you should know that mixing leather straps and diamonds is … poop.
Tyler Lockwood: Okay Hayley, let’s go free us some hybrids!
Hayley: So yeah, a funny thing happened on the way to betraying you …
Wally the Werepire: Hi guys! Anyone seen the witch that’s going to finally free us from Klaus’ tyrany?
Wendy the Werepire: Or the werewolf who’s been helping us break the sire bond for no particular reason, and who certainly has some hidden agenda?
Klaus: “Oh come all ye hybrids…”
Wendy the Werepire: Why is he singing?
Klaus: “Useless and expendable!”
Wally the Werepire: …I don’t like where this is going.
Klaus: “Oh come all ye citizens of My-ys-tic falls!”
Wendy the Werepire: Why does he have a sword?
Klaus: “Fall! On your knees! Because that makes it eas-i-er…”
Wally the Werepire: Easier to what?
Klaus: “To remove your heads and your hearts!”
Wendy the Werepire: …Sh-
Wally the Werepire: -it…
Klaus: Hi guys! Super Klaus taking heads and ripping hearts and committing slow motion slaughter while Christmas carols play in the background and getting all bloody and being all sad and making people pregnant right through the television powers activate!
Thomas: This is the most beautiful act of incredible violence I have ever seen I am in love please somebody hold me!
Elena Gilbert: Hi Damon! Look what I found! It’s mistletoe! And it’s hanging right over my-
Damon Salvatore: So I’ve come to the conclusion that I will only ever be happy if I’m completely miserable, so as your Sire, I command you to
choose for yourself create enough teenage angst to power us through the hiatus.
Stefan Salvatore: I feel terrible about lying to Klaus! Even though he’s a mass murdering monster straight from the pit of hell!
Caroline Forbes: I know what you mean! I feel the exact same way about failing to tell you that Elena rode Damon like a shiny new bike, pausing only to come up for air which they don’t actually need to do because they don’t breathe!
Stefan Salvatore: That’s okay, I’m going to deal with this in a calm, rational HAHAHA WHO AM I KIDDING COMMENCE EPIC SHIT FIT!
Elena Gilbert: Hey Damon, I was just thinking, you didn’t actually compel me to stop loving you, you just compelled me to get in the car and drive away! So if you want to-
Damon Salvatore: Hey look at the time you better be going you don’t want to be late Conan is all new tonight and I hear he has a really special guest you better hop in that car and get back home talk to you later bye bye!
Tyler Lockwood: Huh. It appears that my clever plan to trick a rage filled monster who has practiced deceit lo these thousand years has backfired! If only that could have been foreseen!
April Young: Hey, what’s this stupid dagger doing in this pretty blonde lady? Yoink!
Carol Lockwood: Hi Klaus! You certainly are looking dashing this evening, what with the hate-filled eyes, the bloodstained skin, the ancient sword, the … this is going to end poorly for me, isn’t it?
Klaus: Don’t worry love, this just frees up your time for your role on Teen Wolf!
Carol Lockwood: Nooooooo!
The Plot: Thickens.
I hate holidays.
And Christmas, being the king of the holidays in this part of the world, earns the bulk of my ire. Festivities? I hate them. Well wishes? I deplore them. Good tidings? Good luck.
And Christmas carols? I hate Christmas carols most of all.
But something happened this week. Something special. Something almost … magical.
It turns out that Christmas carols can actually be wonderful, movings songs … when they play in the background over poignant, balletic, violence. When the voices cried “fall on your knees” and heads fell to the ground, tears fell from my eyes. When I saw Klaus ripping out three hearts without missing a beat, my heart grew three sizes.
It’s a confirmed fact: TVD fans pop boners for bad guys. Damon is a perennial favorite simply because he’s such an ass. Stefan is at his best when he’s being bad. Elena’s most interesting moment of the season came when she started ripping throats and snapping necks. Caroline became awesome when she grew fangs.
And Klaus, poor, lonely, murderous Klaus, charming, world-weary, scheming Klaus, handsome, brash, unrelentingly evil Klaus … this was one of his finest moments, and one of the finest moments of the show’s entire run.
After listening to some of the Twitter chatter, I’m now a bit confused by the whole Hayley-Shane-Klaus thing, but I think Klaus is working with them (and has been all along). His goal, it seems, is to find the cure for himself, to end his eternal lonliness … and his own life. And the hybrids? They were just a means to an end … a means to his end.
Which makes a lot of what we’ve seen before this make sense. Klaus, for all his talk about wanting a family of hybrids just like himself, has been very casual about throwing them into the fire … or in front of the bus, or into a wood chipper, or letting a Salvatore perform an impromptu cardioectomy. Klaus’ actions haven’t always seemed to line up with his words.
But, but, if Klaus’ really only wanted hybrids so he could sacrifice them, if he planned on them all dying anyway … well, his action suddenly, perfectly make sense. All he needed was twelve, so who cares if a few of them die. It wasn’t until he ran out of magic Doppelganger blood that he started to worry.
This is one of the things TVD does best … plots inside of schemes inside of betrayals, and a two minute montage of mayhem that also instantly changes the game everyone thought they were playing. Seriously, these are the kind of writers I want to be when I grow up.
This was a great Christmas gift. Like Julie Plec said, ho ho ho.
Oh, and I guess some Delena drama happened, too. I might have missed something, but I’m pretty sure Damon told Elena to “go away,” not to “stop loving him” or “turn off her feelings for him” or “quite throwing your underwear at me.” So my read on it is that Damon needs some space (while he has her brother murder a ton of vampires so they can unearth Silas so they can make Elena human and also probably end the world.
Because that, really, is the heart of the Damon/Elena relationship. Damon doesn’t want Elena, he wants Elena to chose him. It’s never been enough just to have her. If it was, he had plenty of opportunities to exploit her emotional vulnerability while Stefan was off killing his way across the continent. If it was, he’d be perfectly content to let the Sire bond work its magic.
This is Damon at his most noble.
Stefan’s reaction was genuine and fantastically acted. I loved the little tip of the chess piece, followed by the full-on rage. Paul Wesley nailed it, as he always does when given something meaty to work with. And Caroline’s reaction, quiet sorrow and just a little bit of fear, was perfect. I’m still rooting for these two to hook up.
And that’s that, the end of TVD for 2012. Thank you, from the bottom of my cold, dead heart, for all of the comments, retweets, and reblogs, and everything else you’ve all done to make these recaps work. The discussions we have here are, I’m pretty confident in saying, some of the most articulate, well-thought-out, and polite discussions on the internet, even when you disagree with me and each other. Thanks for not sucking.
If you’re looking for something to tide you over while we wait for the rest of the season, check out my novel Sire and my novella Debutante, both of which are available digitally and in paperback. And if you’ve already finished Sire, and are awaiting the sequel with bated breath …
You’re going to have to keep waiting. I’m working hard on (what I hope is the) last draft, and I should have something for you all in a few weeks. Until then, here’s a snippet from the opening of Scion, the second Vampires of St. Troy novel:
Spoilers for Sire, so be ye weary:
Michael arrived home half an hour later. William, his butler, greeted him at the door.
He’d had a year to adjust, but having a house and a staff was still a bit weird. The house was actually a mansion, set far back from the road and hidden by trees, on the outskirts of St. Troy. And it was big enough that the staff was actually necessary. For a long time William, the head of staff, was the closest thing Michael had to a friend in the city.
All of it, the house, the staff, the car Michael drove, even the clothes he wore, had been given to him by Angelica. As her Scion, Michael was a reflection of her, and it wouldn’t do to have him squatting in some derelict building, covering himself with garbage to keep the sun at bay. But it had also been a leash, a means of control: she had given him everything, and she could have taken it away, too.
But she was gone now, and for the first time the mansion was starting to feel like his home.
“Good evening, Sir,” William said. “Happy hunting?”
“Successful, at least,” Michael said.
“Very good, Sir. Damsels around the world breath easier knowing you are on the job. Have you eaten, Sir?”
“No, I’m starving, actually. What do we have on tap?”
“The butcher made a fresh delivery this afternoon, so we have enough cattle blood to see us through the week. I also relieved a shipment from a wildlife preserve in Georgia … lion’s blood.”
“Huh. That has potential,” Michael said.
“I took the liberty of preparing a glass for you,” William said. He produced a tray from out of nowhere and presented Michael with a tumbler full of rich, red liquid. It was warm to the touch.
“Thanks, William,” Michael said, and sipped experimentally. “Hm. Smokey flavor, hints of oak, pleasant aroma …”
“No,” he said, then drained the glass. Nothing could compare to the blood he had tasted three nights ago. “But thanks anyway.”
“Of course, Sir. How is our guest?”
“I’m going to check on her now,” Michael said, and headed upstairs.
Angelica had tortured and starved Michael for days on end. By the time she was done, by the time she turned him loose, he had become a feral beast, a monster in every sense of the word. His humanity had been stripped from him, leaving nothing but bloodlust and rage. It hadn’t been a person in front of him. It hadn’t even been a victim. It had been nothing but a desperately needed source of food.
When Michael’s chains fell away, the animal took over. He didn’t remember the specifics, couldn’t tell you the details. All he remember is the taste, the indescribable task as hot, coppery blood gushed and foamed and filled his mouth. For the first time in its existence the monster drank its full.
And then he heard two words. Michael. Please.
Those words were seared into his brain. They were inescapable, a ghost that chased after him, accusing him. That’s the dichotomy he faced. Monster and man both lived inside of him, at war with each other. The monster remembers nothing but the taste of blood. The man remembers nothing but her pleading words.
The man won that night, but it was a pyrrhic victory. When his humanity resurfaced, Michael was faced with the bleeding, broken body of an innocent girl. The monster had nearly taken her life’s blood, and she was clinging to this world by the thinnest thread.
The blood of a vampire is powerful. Those who taste it often find themselves addicted to it. Those who drink too much find themselves transformed. But in just the right amounts, the blood of a vampire can heal almost any wound, repair almost any injury.
Michael bit into his own wrist and fed his own blood to the still, fragile girl, praying to any god that might have been listening that she would be all right. But even his blood, even the blood of a vampire, was insufficient. Her injuries were too severe, and she was too far gone.
Michael killed Angelica that night. That was the price she paid for bringing out the monster he had so carefully hidden. But that offered him little comfort. He still had to face the consequences of his, and his monster’s, actions.
The door to the master bedroom swung open silently, revealing the cavernous chamber within. Michael lit a handful of candles, bathing the room in a soft amber glow, and sat in an old leather armchair next to the bed. He leaned back and steepled his fingers. There, wrapped in white cotton and resting on black silk, lay the corpse of his lover, Caitlin Manning.
It’s cliché to say that the dead look like they’re sleeping, but it’s true. Her face was relaxed, her eyes closed. Michael had cleaned the blood and soot off of her, leaving her skin white and radiant. Her hands were folded over her stomach, and her hair, thick golden curls, fanned out around her head.
She didn’t look like a corpse. There was no sign of the violence he had done to her. No bruises, no wounds, no broken bones. But no matter how she looked, she was still dead, and it was still his fault.
Michael sat by her side, mourning and anxious. Suddenly, the deep peels of an old church bell rang out, signaling midnight. The noise echoed through the mansion, then slowly died out.
It was then, just after midnight, that Caitlin opened her crimson eyes.