In the Land of the Wicked

~600 words :: Vampire Chronicles :: Lestat :: 8/13/02
He was a very wicked boy, he knew that. But it was so hard to be good when you didn’t know what you were doing wrong.


Run. Run. Hide.

You’re a rabbit. A mouse. Hiding in your hole.

“Please, God. Mary. Don’t let them find me. I’ll be good, I promise.” He wished he knew some saints to pray to, too, but they never went to mass.

Not that anyone would probably answer his prayers anyway. He was a bad boy. He deserved to be punished. Didn’t Papa always tell him that?

Papa!

He shrank down even further into himself and held his breath as the heavy, angry footsteps passed by the cupboard in which he hid. They faded away and he took a deep breath. Too deep. His mouth filled with dust and his eyes bulged with the effort to keep from coughing. It was hard to move in such a small space, but he brought his hand up to his mouth and bit down hard, his small body racked with silent coughs.

Quiet. Quiet. Don’t make a sound.

Tears were leaking from his eyes, both from the effort to keep from coughing out loud and from the fear of being found.

He wondered what he had done wrong this time. He was a very wicked boy, he knew that. But it was so hard to be good when you didn’t know what you were doing wrong.

Papa was just trying to make him a better boy. But now he was being even badder, hiding from Papa like this. His face screwed up and he tried not to cry. He would get punished extra when they found him.

And Mama always looked so sad. She must be sad to have such a wicked little boy. He didn’t care about Papa or Augustin or Mathieu, but he wanted desperately for Mama to love him.

Maybe he should just go out and face up to it like a man. He was a big boy, after all. He shouldn’t sit here sniveling like a baby. But he didn’t make any move to get out of the cupboard.

It was perhaps an hour later that he heard footsteps again. He had dozed off, but now he was wide awake. Two sets of feet pounded up the stairs; he could picture them, sweaty and excited, wanting to find him so Papa would praise them. They weren’t wicked like he was, but he didn’t like them all the same.

As they thundered into the room in which he was hiding, he heard them stop and then Augustin’s voice, “Is he in here, boy?”

Oh no. Nonononono. He clasped both hands over his mouth to stifle a scream. They had the dogs. The dogs would find him. His own dogs used against him.

He heard snuffling and then barking and then the door was being thrown open and a strong arm was dragging him out. “Gotcha!”

All his earlier determination not to cry fled in the face of his brothers’ hollers of triumph and he started screaming at the top of his lungs. Augustin held him up by the back of his shirt and shook him. “Shut up! You only make it worse on yourself by hiding, you stupid git! Don’t you even have the brains to understand that?”

Of course he did. Of course he knew it only made things worse. Logic had nothing to do with it. He flailed against them, but he knew it was no use. They were big, both of them. Almost grown. Augustin was fifteen and Mathieu thirteen. Not-even-quite-seven-year-old Lestat didn’t stand a chance.

Their laughter mixed with his screams and echoed through the stone halls as they dragged him along, the dogs following obediently at their feet.

“Mama!”

Once they had left the room, she got up and quietly closed the cupboard. Only then did she permit herself to cry.