It was just after midnight and his bus had just left the station, each turn of its wheels moving him eastward--eastward from the country's mid section toward the East Coast and Charleston, that historic and antebellum city, which over 150 years previous to this night, witnessed the opening volleys of the War Between the States. It wasn't that city's rich history and unique architectural structures he was traveling there to learn about however, though he had a keen interest in both. Rather, he was leaving the familiar landscape of his Ozark home in order to participate in a gathering of the darkly inclined--The Southeast Gothic Festival, a one-night annual reunion taking place each year at the autumn equinox with the sole purpose of celebrating the return to darkness--the yearly time during which the night once again overtakes the day.
For Renwick, this would be his first experience with this particular event. The truth is that he hadn't even known of its existence until he found himself invited by Adrienne; after all, it was not as widely known as Wave-Gotik-Treffin or Whitby. Still, that suited him just fine as he generally shunned large crowds. He found them just too overwhelming. But this...
As the Greyhound continued through the darkness his thoughts turned to Adrienne. Ah yes Adrienne, Dark Lady of the Sea! What an appropriate name for such an enticing woman living on the edge of the ocean! Yet, his fascination with this most special friend was tempered by the fact that he had never met this potential object of his affections. After all, this was the age of the internet--a time during which it was common to become friends with kindred spirits from all over the world through social media, such as Facebook. Although his friendship with her had deepened through that medium, their history went back even further. Both were writers--wordsmiths--each one admiring the work of the other; and during the months of their deepening acquaintance, they had chatted online often; even indulging in the occasional late-night phone conversation. Still, he was somewhat apprehensive because they had not yet met in person. What will she think of me when we stand face to face, he wondered. Will things remain as they have been?
Then, his mind flashed back upon her erotic but reassuring words."You will be thoroughly be taken advantage of," she had told him flirtatiously, "in a city unknown to you by a creature of the night."
He sighed silently as he gazed into the darkness that spread its cloak beyond his window. Every time he considered those words he became flush with excitement. Intuitively he knew that nothing would go wrong. Yes, he was traveling to have one night of pleasure; and truth be told, he asked nothing more than to share friendship with Adrienne--to enjoy her company; yet, her suggestion of intimacy weighed heavily upon his mind. Eventually, Renwick's need for rest overcame his excitement and he fell into a light slumber as the bus continued rolling along the dark highway.
Shortly after sunrise on the morning of the second day, Renwick first noticed the appearance of palmetto trees, which seemed to grow in abundance as his transport pressed ever closer to the coastline. Then, as the bus wound around a curve in the highway he saw it; a city's skyline glistening in the morning sun--Charleston! The end of his journey was at hand.
At first he thought of texting or calling Adrienne; just to let her know that he would soon be arriving. Then he decided against it; this, due to his growing apprehension over their impending first meeting and a desire not to further disturb this nocturnal creature under whose hosting and care he would soon be placing himself.
As the Greyhound turned off the expressway the driver took to the microphone. "This is Charleston, South Carolina. For those continuing south, your bus will be loading at Gate 3 at 8:35 a.m. If you're heading north..."
For the next few minutes the driver kept on with guiding his passengers to their various destinations. Renwick continued to gaze beyond his window toward the streets, sidewalks and buildings of this city for which he had long held a strong fascination. "It's been my pleasure transporting you this far," the driver went on, "and thank you for riding Greyhound. This is Charleston, South Carolina."
Suddenly, the bus began to slow and Renwick saw the terminal just off to the side. His original apprehension quickly magnified into outright nervousness as the vehicle came to a stop. After grabbing his luggage he disembarked and walked inside. No sooner had the apprehensive man entered the building before he saw Adrienne from a distance walking in his direction. As they grew closer he could see that she was wearing a short, black corset-like dress, which was lined in red. Her long black hair cascaded past her bare shoulders and hung down to her supple breasts. She smiled warmly and affectionately with her approach and all of his nervousness dissipated within a heartbeat.
They embraced, each holding on to the other as if they were lovers, who for too long, had suffered a painful separation. It was when they broke the embrace that he first looked into her eyes. They were warm and welcoming. She seemed sincerely happy to see him and he knew that he would enjoy every moment of her company during his stay, which he was already concluding, might be too short.
"It's so good to finally meet you," he told her genuinely.
"And I'm just as happy to finally have you here.You must be tired from the long trip. "What time did you leave?"
"About midnight Thursday--or yesterday, whichever you want to call it. But yeah, I'm tired and hungry. It's too early to check into the hotel but I could sure use a decent meal. Any good places to eat around here?"
"I know just the place." Picking up one of his suitcases she instructed him. "Come on, my vehicle's over this way." After grabbing the rest of the luggage, Renwick followed happily after her.
The first two hours with Adrienne over breakfast were a joyous occasion. She intrigued him with her intelligence, sensuality and demeanor. More importantly, she held him captive with her devious smile and the occasional hint of dark desire to be fulfilled after the night would once again cast its cryptic veil over both land and sea. In spite of his almost overwhelming need for sleep, the enchanted man felt a pang of disappointment when, looking at her watch, his companion announced that it was probably time for him to go to the motel and get some much needed rest.
"Get yourself a good sleep," she told him when they arrived at the lodge, "and I'll call you at six. If you'd like, I can come by and help you get ready for the festival; you know, help you pick out your outfit, maybe help you apply a little eye liner? I'd like to turn you into my dark prince for the evening."
Her words and alluring demeanor thrilled him. She really likes me!" He thought to himself. "This is working out so very well! "You can come and do whatever you like," he informed her.
Smiling darkly, she gave him a light kiss on the lips. "Six o'clock," she reminded him. Then, he watched as she sped back into the late-morning traffic.
True to promise, Adrienne roused him from a deep slumber as 6:00 pm sharp and arrived to help with his preparations for the evening within the hour. Renwick gasped silently when he opened the door for his welcome visitor. She looked absolutely stunning in a full-length black Victorian dress. Her soft skin emitted the fragrance of an essential oil that could only remind him of autumn's sensual embrace while the delicacy of her hands was accentuated by nails polished black. And her lips...oh yes, her lips! They were so inviting as a bottom piercing contrasted sharply their otherwise, blackened hue. Renwick felt himself growing excited. He could barely contain himself but somehow, knew that he must; at least for the time being. He was certain that she would let him know when it was time to explore the forbidden things of which she had alluded. Meanwhile, he would content himself with her every attention, the festival, its people and music.
And how he did enjoy the attention he received from her as she took an active part in the choosing of his night's wardrobe and applied the right amount of makeup to make him not only spooky, but sexy! She too reveled in the process of modest transformation she brought upon him.
After the ritual of preparation had come to its conclusion, the couple stopped at a nearby restaurant for a light dinner. So intrigued were they with one another that they hardly noticed the stares coming from the other patrons; and when they did, the incredulous expressions of the others were of little interest to them. By nine o'clock they were traveling along the city streets toward their destination; The Seaside Oasis, which was hosting this year's Southeast Gothic Festival.
Upon arrival, the establishment struck Renwick as appearing typical of many nightclubs he'd been to. It's exterior was plain with the exception of a couple of palm trees painted under a sign bearing its name. There were only a few small windows visible, with each partially covered by neon lights advertising cheap beer. Still, upon climbing out of Adrienne's vehicle, he was thrilled to hear the relentless sound of surf crashing upon the nearby shore; a resonance completely foreign to his native Ozarks region. It was when they walked into the club however, that he became more enthusiastic about the club. Through the dim lighting he could see dozens of people darkly clad in a variety of Goth fashion--from fetish to Victorian--death rock to vampire.
The lighting from behind the bar aided significantly to the room's illumination as did that from the modest stage where a band was setting up and testing the sound system. In the darker recesses of the room lurked dark robed figures--skeletons and beings with ghastly faces twisted by pain and death, their eyes glowing orange, yellow and red, as if possessed by the fires of Hell.
"Care to buy a lady a drink?" she asked motioning to the bar.
"Why of course!"
Smiling, Adrienne took him by the hand and led the way. "Then, let this promising night begin!"
The two spent the next couple of hours mingling, listening to the opening bands and getting better acquainted with one another during breaks in the music. At about eleven the headlining act took to the stage. Its name was Von Fang, and its music proved the band worthy of the name; it was dark, surreal and haunting with provocative lyrics; yet, so danceable. The music was very moving—irresistible; so they danced further into the night--each song, each new dance further strengthening their growing bond.
When the last song ended a little before 1:00 a.m. they retired to their table for the last time. "Whew! What a night!" Renwick exclaimed with a tone of contentment.
Adrienne took his hand in hers, gave it a light squeeze and looked deeply into his eyes. "Would you like to leave now? There's something I'd like to show you."
So enchanted by this woman with whom he'd spent the last several hours, the bedazzled man realized that he'd follow her to the ends of the Earth if she'd only ask. "Lead me wherever you will," he responded. She gave him a warm smile.
After offering goodbyes to old and new friends, the couple exited the venue. "This way," she told him, motioning toward the beach.
The night club stood just on the perimeter of the sandy expanse that served as a buffer against the tides and the tireless waves, which never ceased their assault upon the shore. The light of the full moon glistened and rippled as it illuminated the ocean's restless surface. "We'd better take off our shoes before we walk on the sand," she informed him. "The salt can do a nasty job on nice footwear." Sitting down on a large rock she began removing her boots. "We can leave our stuff right here. Nobody will touch anything."
As they stepped onto the soft moonlit sand she put an arm around his waist and Renwick, encouraged by her move, responded in kind. They walked as one as she led him along the shoreline toward the site she wanted him to see. Soon, they were standing before a grove of palmetto trees, silhouetted in the moonlight. A mild breeze blew in from off shore, causing their long leaves to rustle and their shadowy figures to sway gently. “I think this is what they call romantic,” Renwick said as he took in this magical moment. of this moment—this moment with her. Adrienne pulled him toward her and gazed deeply into his eyes. He could see her dark lips waiting for him—beckoning. Accepting her irresistible invitation, he kissed her, tasting the residue of wine she had earlier consumed, tasting her utter sweetness.
With the moonlight, the sounds of the pounding surf, the gentle breeze and the rustling palms creating an absolute utopia for the love struck, the couple engaged in a passionate exploration of one another—their tongues in a euphoric dance as they probed each others mouths—each person’s hands searching for hidden openings in the clothing that had, only hours earlier, been chosen to darkly adorn their bodies.
During a natural pause in their activities, Renwick again looked toward the towering palmettos as Adrienne rested her head against his chest. A feeling of remorse overtook him as he embraced her anew, holding her as if never wanting to let go. “This night is going by too quickly,” he said solemnly, “way too quickly.”
“Well, it’s not over yet. There’s still more in store for us. Let’s head back to the vehicle.”
“My place or yours,” he asked.
“Definitely yours," she responded with an evil smile. "I intend to fully take advantage of that comfy bed you rented for the night.”
Within a few minutes, they had gathered the items left on the rock and were heading back into the city, toward the motel and passion unknown.
After unlocking the door, Renwick turned to Adrienne. "Stay right here and close your eyes. I want to make things perfect for you."
While she did as instructed, he quickly opened his luggage and retrieved three candles along with holders for each. After placing them strategically around the room, he lit them; their flickering light immediately casting shadows along the floor and upon the wall. Next, he took out an incense holder, which came in the form of a moderately sized skull. Placing it beside one of the candles he'd placed on the nightstand by the bed, the amorous man then removed the top of the item, inserted a cone of incense inside and lit it. Once he had replaced the top of the holder, smoke began oozing out of the figure's eyes, nose and ear canals. Perfect, he
thought to himself, just perfect!
Returning to Adrienne, he took her right hand into his. "You can open your eyes now," he told her. A smile overtook her as she peered into the room. Renwick brought his lips to the top of her hand and placed a slow, gentle kiss upon it. "Won't you come into my dark chamber oh beautiful lady?" Deeply touched by his romantic gesture, she let him lead her inside.
Once the door was locked behind them she sat down upon the bed and patted her hand upon the mattress, signaling for him to sit beside her. Once he was seated, a sultry, yet devious expression overtook her as she began to speak with determination, all the while looking deeply into his eyes. "And now, you will be completely taken advantage of by a creature of the night."
Between the self-confidant nature with which her words had been spoken and the aura of determination his lover had so suddenly embraced, Renwick felt a sudden surge of excitement rising up from within. For months he had pondered those words and the circumstances under which she first spoke them. At this moment he realized that their fulfillment was at hand. It took him less than a minute to prepare himself for her before re-taking a position on the bed; this time, lying down--reaching for her--beckoning her to join him.
“Relax and enjoy,” she instructed him with an evil grin. Then, she began a slow tease.
Climbing over him without shedding any of her clothing, Adrienne gazed down at him, relishing in the moment. Then, she slowly brought her lips to his. Falling far short of the full, passionate kiss he was expecting, she only tantalized them with the slightest touch of her own---lingering, moving ever so lightly along the expanse of his mouth with eyes closed. Renwick rose in an effort to more fully feel her moist lips, but his efforts were to no avail as she simply withdrew, allowing him only the slightest touch. Her hair lightly brushed his cheeks and fell to his heaving chest. He was growing mad with desire; yet, she would not allow him to assuage his need.
Adrienne chuckled. “Well, I see that I’ve got your attention.”
“You’ve already had my attention—all night long,” he responded with more than a hint of frustration in his voice.
“Well let’s see if I can keep you interested a while longer.”
Renwick glanced momentarily at the skull on the nightstand as it continued to bellow the fragrant smoke from its orifices. Then, his focus quickly returned to the dark temptress looking down at him.
For the next hour or so she continued teasing him by delivering a potent mix of pleasure and frustration—denying his utmost desire. Finally, when she realized that she had driven him to the edge of madness, Adrienne removed her clothing and opened the doorway to their surrender. The lovers carried on with their sensual dance until it reached its ecstatic zenith—ecstasy--a union of body and soul. Exhausted, she collapsed upon him—embracing—kissing his lips and cheeks—letting her soft hair sweep across his skin.
For a few moments, she remained in place, enjoying the sound of his now relaxed breathing while she recuperated from their exhausting encounter. Then, she pulled up the covers and cuddled with him beneath them. Oh how her sated lover enjoyed the sensation of her silky hair—the feel of her soft skin—the lingering fragrance of her perfume! “Let’s not ever let this wonderful moment end,” he suggested. Adrienne just moaned in agreement before falling into a restful slumber.
As she slept, Renwick remained conscious, savoring every second of his remaining time with her. As the minutes passed, his dread of the coming dawn and their inevitable separation grew in intensity. His eyes continued to glance toward the curtained windows as if his doing so might have the power to ward off the coming dawn. Then he saw it; the first glimmers of twilight penetrating the thin openings between drape and window. It was happening; a new day was beginning to dawn.
Shortly afterward, Adrienne began to stir and she soon awakened from her slumber. After gazing toward the windows and seeing that the night had come to its end, she once again put her arms around him, holding him close. “So, how did it feel being taken advantage of by such a dark creature as myself,” she asked him.
“It had to be the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me.”
She kissed him deeply—affectionately. Then she said the words that he'd been dreading for hours. “I wish I didn’t have to say it, but I’ve got to go.”
“I know,” he said sadly. “The night ended all too soon.”
Adrienne got up and began gathering her clothes. As Renwick began rising she turned to him. “There’s no need for you to get up, Love. You’ve got a long trip ahead of you. You should try to get some more sleep.”
Knowing that she was right, he remained silently in place--surrendering to the inevitable—watching her as she adorned herself beautifully in her dark clothing—gazing longingly, as she brushed her disheveled hair.
Her tasks completed, she leaned over to kiss him one more time. “Get some sleep. I’ll call and make sure that you’re up in time to get you back to the terminal. I’ll be back for you around 10:30.” Picking up her shoulder bag, she blew him a kiss and went out the door.
Adrienne arrived as promised and soon Renwick found himself standing with her by the gate where Greyhound 3722 sat with engine running. The light of the southern sun glittered brilliantly upon the buses and other vehicles scattered around the boarding/disembarking area. There was movement everywhere—the hustle and bustle of a busy transportation hub. Then the announcement came. “All passengers traveling westbound to Ashville, your bus is now loading at Gate 3. Please have your tickets ready.”
Adrienne accompanied him through the doorway to where the driver was checking tickets. Renwick turned to her. “I hate goodbyes.”
“So do I, but this isn’t goodbye forever. It’s like I told you before, I want to come and visit you sometime—soon I hope.”
He gave her the best smile he could muster under the circumstances. “I hope that you can make it soon—very soon. Thank you so much for everything. You gave me the best night of my entire life.”
They embraced once more; and during that singular moment in time—a moment that he would always remember, Renwick reveled anew in her touch. He gave her one last kiss and then whispered in her ear. “I love you, Adrienne, Dark Lady of the Sea and creature of the night.”
“And I love you too, Renwick of the Ozarks.”
After the driver examined his tickets and itinerary, he picked up his luggage and took a seat on the bus. He took a seat by a window from which he could take a final look at her and muster last goodbye. Although overtaken by a profound sense of loss and sadness, he tried to cover his emotions by attempting a smile through the glass.
The driver took his seat and within moments, the bus was backing away from the gate. As the vehicle turned onto the busy street, he managed to steal one last glance at his beloved and threw her a kiss. Then, she was gone.
The distraught man sighed as he gazed out the window and watched the city and its inhabitants pass by. Then came the final reminder that his time here—his time with Adrienne had ended and that he was truly back on the road. A tear came to his eye as the driver turned on the public address system.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You’re heading westbound for Ashville, North Carolina on Greyhound number 3722 with stops in Summerville, Orangeburg, Columbia…”
Copyright © 2012 A.D. Vick, All Rights Reserved
Photo Source: Gothic Pictures Gallery Author unknown