“I’m beautiful,” he says looking from the painting finally, his voice both soft and concussive.
“Yes, you are. Always.”
The artist feels sad at this. So much of his life spent running from this thing to find time and time again himself its victim. Here covered in paint another masterpiece created at its beck and call. Michele Angelo Merigi da Caravaggio trembles with exhaustion. The final dab of paint still wet and gleaming in the light of a hundred candles. Hot salty tears seep from his eyes. And the vampire waits for more adoration. He feels it waiting like the impossible thing he is. Dead. But there to do as it wishes. Black eyes glare hot in an alabaster face. A face still like carved marble. Deep pools of indigo pull at his soul waiting forever teasing him with the knowledge he is slave.
Caravaggio whispers, “I feel you in every inch of my bones. Your presence in the world motivates each stroke of my brush.”
“And?” the boy-faced-man he has been told to call Bacchus toys.
“And I willfully offer” hoping this time the vampire frees him,” my soul.”
Instead of acceptance, he endures laughter, haunting bitter laughter, and when his eyes open the beast has gone.