Stephen at the Kelly Quinn House

“Because,” said Cray, “I’ve loved you for a long time.  I could love you even more.  And I don’t want to.” 

Stephen was dressing himself roughly, taking out his anger on the clothes Cray had given him.  His uncombed hair was hanging over his forehead, but he spoke with the sharpness of his character as he said, “Don’t profane the word love to me, sir!  It’s profaned often enough.”  

“Ah,” said Cray with a slight smile.  “You’re referencing Shelley.  To me, sir.” 

Stephen looked up.  “I’m not referencing anybody.  I’m giving you the response you deserve.” 

Cray nodded, touched a few ornaments on his side of the bars, and said softly, “’One word is too often profaned/ for me to profane it.’  I would have thought you’d be familiar with that one.  Though there’s no reason you should be.” 

“No, there’s not.”   Stephen pulled blue jeans up over his hips, and before fastening them tucked in the bottom of the pink oxford he had buttoned.  He touched the open fly then let go and turned to Cray.  “I’m not saying I’m unfamiliar with his body of work.  I’m just, I don’t –“ 

“You don’t want me to make assumptions.”  Cray had crossed to the other window, the unbarred one, and was looking out at the stars.  His face in profile seemed human enough, and Stephen found his gaze riveted to it; Cray clasped his hands behind his back and recited softly, 

One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it;
One feeling too falsely disdained
For thee to disdain it;
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother;
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the heavens reject not,
The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow?


Stephen perceived in these words a sentiment he had heard many times; he felt offered to him a gift he had been forced time and again to decline.  He thought, Good God, this vampire is a Fan Boy.  Why am I not surprised? 

Cray heard the unspoken words and felt the mortal’s distaste.  He felt sad and misunderstood; he wondered whether Colbert was willfully misunderstanding every word he said.  Neither spoke for a moment, then Stephen said, “‘We sat grown silent at the name of love.’” 

Cray smiled.  “Yeats.”  His canine eyes still looked at the night sky.  Stephen had turned the direction of his thoughts, nudging them – kindly – back toward poetry.  He turned from the window and looked at Dracula’s prisoner.  “Can I bring you books?” 

Stephen’s eyes were less angry.  He shook his head and said, “You can let me out.  Cray.  Your master would never leave you here with me and no way to let me go.  What if the house caught on fire?  He went to a lot of trouble to get me here.  Would he take a chance like that?” 

“Stephen.  Don’t you believe me yet?  What do I have to do?”




Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

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