All Things In Good Time

© Joan Ann Lansberry

''Sardok Unmoved''

Sebastian was amazed at the wealth of gold objects everywhere. Gold vases, gold pitchers, giant gold candlesticks, these were all gold and not brass! ''At the very least, gold-plated brass,'' Seb surmissed. The tallest of the candlesticks, about six feet tall, were to either side of his gold throne. Three others, in descending height, spanned out from those, for a total of eight elaborate golden candlesticks. In addition to all the portraits of himself, he had a couple of sculptures of himself, done by Michelangelo, at the farther ends of this wall. Sebastian marvelled at the physique of each of the sculptures, and then returned his gaze to Sardok. Michelangelo did not need to exaggerate the muscular forms, Seb noticed with sensual admiration.

Sardok must have been listening in on his thoughts, for he smiled at Seb in a leering sort of way and said,''I'm glad you're enjoying my furnishings. Heh, heh!'' How his smile showed his teeth. All of the relative calm was suddenly interrupted by a distraught woman who burst in on them.

She was an exceedingly gorgeous woman. Seb was reminded of the movie star Elizabeth Taylor in her prime, with her dark hair, full lips and fascinating violet eyes. All of her features were in perfect balance. But she was not happy! She screamed at Sardok, ''How dare you make me this way! I hate you! You knew I would never consent to it. Why did you force it on me?''

Sardok looked irritated. He did not want to deal with the woman. He'd turned her over a year ago, because her beauty fascinated him and it amused him to do so. He hadn't bothered to inform her of what he was about to do, as giving her a choice simply hadn't occurred to him. What ever he'd wanted in life, he'd just taken. He liked her beauty, and he wanted her around, as a trophy to enjoy through the centuries.

The woman continued, because Sardok hadn't answered her, ''I hate you, Sardok! This 'gift' of yours has been no gift at all!'' She picked up one of the gold vases and threw it at him. He dodged it, and said, ''Give it some time, you'll get used to it!''

''I NEVER shall! I hate feeding off of humans, drinking their blood! Were you to offer a less sickening alternative, such as animals, I would still hate it! I miss the sun! I wanted to be a movie star. I would have had a promising career ahead of me, had you left me the way I was. How can I be a movie star, when I can't even go out in the sun! Don't you see what you've done to me? You've ruined me! You've ruined me! I don't want to live like this!''

Sardok only responded to her plight with irritation. Anything that didn't agree with his plans just irritated him. Sebastian didn't know what, if anything, to say, and then just repeated what Sardok had said earlier. ''Just give it some time, you'll get used to it! I've been this way for 270 years. It's not all bad, really, it's not. I went into it thinking it was a curse, but there's good with the bad. Give the good a chance,'' he begged.

''I've given it a year, and it hasn't gotten any better! I hate this life! I miss the sun!'' With that, she ran into a wall of books Seb hadn't noticed before. The wall revolved to reveal an exit. She ran out into the blazing blinding sunlight! Seb followed after her and called out to her, ''Come back!'' He ran after her, but she only went further away. With the blistering of his flesh, Seb had to retreat.

He watched in horror from the door as she burst into flames. When the flames had done their work, only ashes remained. From the safe shadows, Seb examined her gray powder. He then returned to the 'temple of Sardok', noting where the exit was hidden.

He exclaimed to Sardok, ''Did you not see that? Could you not help her? She went into the sun and stood there until she was baked into ashes!'' But Sardok appeared very unmoved. ''She did not appreciate the gift. She complained constantly. No woman, no matter how beautiful, is worth that trouble. I am glad to be rid of the ungrateful bitch!''

Sebastian trembled in horror. He could not regain his composure, and get back into character. ''I'm sorry, I am not myself now,'' he apologized to the unfeeling Sardok. ''Do you have a bed in which I might rest for a while?''

Sardok showed him to a small room, which was also painted black and lit with candles. A four poster bed was at the center of the far wall, covered in a blood-red thick velvet bedspread and canopy. Once left alone in the now dark room, Sebastian sobbed. He did not care that his face and hands hurt terribly. His saltless tears almost soothed the blisters on his cheeks.

go to Chapter Forty-Nine, Under Sardok's Control
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