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Jo's Journal - Phantasmagoria - Flash Challenge - We Thirst At First

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So, the Flash Challenge over at Phantasmagoria this week, is related to the episode, 'Never Kill A Boy On The First Date'. Our instructions? Use a line from Emily Dickinson in a drabble.

This isn't a drabble. I think I'm congenitally incapable of writing a drabble. But it's just under 400 words, which is pretty short...



Author : Jo
Feedback : Pretty please. At LJ or to thelibrarian2003@yahoo.com
Rating : General

Summary : Emily Dickinson and Angel.


We Thirst At First

WE thirst at first,—’t is Nature’s act;

He’s reading Emily Dickinson, and hoping that Buffy is, too. And he’s come to poem CXXXIV. His fist clenches as the succulent taste of fresh blood fills his mouth.

We do, indeed, thirst at first. He remembers it well...

++++

He lies in his coffin, sleeping, but even in that sleep of death, he has dreams. In those dreams of horror and hunger and blood, he can hear the distant thunder of heartbeats above him. He recognises each one, as if he’s heard them before, subconsciously; as though, unknowing, he’s lived with their rhythms all his life. The one that he can pick out most easily is his mother’s. He might be back in her belly, surrounded by the sounds of her life.

It isn’t just heartbeats. He can hear the blood coursing through their veins, from the powerful rush of the largest vessels to the soft, wet sigh of the tiniest, marred only by the murmuring of voices. Then, the voices stop speaking, and he hears them leaving, a woman softly weeping. Just one remains. It’s the strong, steady heartbeat of his father.

Above him, the shadows lengthen, and his eyes open. His dreams were confusing, but he’s filled with fear as he understands where he is. This isn’t Heaven. Or Hell. Or... But what else is there?

There’s just the heartbeat, and it’s making him very, very thirsty.

He thinks that it’s a thirst that might never be assuaged.

He runs his tongue over his lips, and there’s a sharpness he hasn’t known before. He hasn’t enough strength to do more, but he can feel that growing, as the sun falls towards the western horizon. Still, it’s hours before his father leaves; impatient hours, in which he’s tormented by the burgeoning need to drink.

And then, there’s a different presence. She’s silent, but he knows she’s there. Her presence is a call to him, and he starts to fight his painful way out of this wooden womb and into his new world.

++++

Angel flinches in recollection, and he closes the book of poems. We thirst at first... Yes, he thinks, we do. But it’s got nothing to do with an act of Nature. And we never, ever stop.

The End
August 2008

Author’s Notes

1 My chosen poem was CXXXIV

Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part Four: Time and Eternity
CXXXIV


WE thirst at first,—’t is Nature’s act;
And later, when we die,
A little water supplicate
Of fingers going by.

It intimates the finer want,
Whose adequate supply
Is that great water in the west
Termed immortality.




Hope you enjoy it

Jo
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From:velvetwhip
Date:August 15th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
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Truly excellent, as I expected! You made exquisite use of the poem.


Gabrielle
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
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*Thank you*, Gabrielle - and I'm glad you think the poem fitted...

:~)))

Oh, I *love* your icon!
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From:velvetwhip
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
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You are more than welcome.

I love the icon, too. It was made by daylightshadow.


Gabrielle
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From:brutti_ma_buoni
Date:August 15th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
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It's always about blood... This is beautifully horrible; I think the birth imagery from the coffin works especially well - life and death all entwined and obscene.
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
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Beautifully horrible? :~))) *Beams*

*Thank you*! Glad you liked it.

And yes, eventually, with Angel, it's all about blood, isn't it?
From:ellan_vannin
Date:August 15th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
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Oooh, eerie!

I like this line especially:

Then, the voices stop speaking, and he hears them leaving, a woman softly weeping. Just one remains.

It's poetry in and of itself.
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
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:~)))

*Skips*

*Thank you* for the lovely feedback! And I love your icon.
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From:a2zmom
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Simply wonderful. Angel's recollection of how his new life started is sharp with detail and no small remorse by the end.
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
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*Thank you*, a2z.

*Hugs self*! :~)))

I really am glad you liked it.
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From:louise39
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
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... he’s tormented by the burgeoning need to drink...

Well done, macabre take on this poem line.

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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
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*Thank you*! I'm glad you liked it. :~))
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From:lynnenne
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:12 pm (UTC)
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Very nice.
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 15th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, my dear! I know it was a cheat... :~))
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From:faymeadows
Date:August 16th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)
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Ohh, Angelus rising! What an irresistible line for vamp-ficleting. :)

It's the "never, ever stop" at the end that gets me. Maybe he's no longer hoping that Buffy's reading this stuff too.
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 16th, 2008 08:22 am (UTC)
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Yes, it was entirely irresistable!

:~))

*Thank you* for the feedback.
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From:ares132006
Date:August 16th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
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This is eerie, terrible in its promise of what's to come. Angelus, thirsting, wanting, ready to feed.

He can hear the blood coursing through their veins, from the powerful rush of the largest vessels to the soft, wet sigh of the tiniest, marred only by the murmuring of voices. Then, the voices stop speaking, and he hears them leaving, a woman softly weeping. Just one remains. It’s the strong, steady heartbeat of his father

I, too, thought this was poetry itself. Wonderful fic, my dear.

It's always about the blood.


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From:librarian2003
Date:August 16th, 2008 08:25 am (UTC)
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*Thank you*, my dear.

:~))) There's something about Emily Dickinson that fits so well...

Glad you liked it!
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From:dal_118
Date:August 17th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
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ahhhhhh love the descriptives...
blood thirst- truly is the "nature of the beast"
"hounds" you... hee hee
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 17th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
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*Snort*! Thank you, Deb - I think...

;~)) Glad you liked it...

And I'm writing, I'm writing, honestly...

*Hugs*
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From:cornerofmadness
Date:August 18th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
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lovely
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From:librarian2003
Date:August 18th, 2008 09:04 am (UTC)
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:~)))

*Thanks*
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