The Metamorphoses of the Vampire

Clark Ashton Smith

(Translated "from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire")

Turning and twisting like a serpent among embers, and kneading breasts against her iron stays, the woman in the meanwhile poured from her strawberry mouth a soliloquy that was pregnant with musk: "My lips are moist, and I know the art of losing in a deep bed the antiquated conscience. All tears are dried upon my triumphant breasts, and I cause the old to laugh with the laughter of children. For those who see naked and without veils, I replace the sun, the moon, the stars and the heavens. I display so profound a knowledge of pleasure, such subtle erudition, when I stifle men in my velvet arms, or abandon to bites and kisses my shy, lascivious, frail and robust bosom, that even the impotent angels would damn themselves for me on my swooning mattresses"

When she had sucked all the marrow from my bones, and I turned languishingly to give her an amorous kiss, I beheld only a leathern bottle with slimy sides, filled full of pus! I closed my eyes in a cold terror and when I re-opened them to the living light, beside me, in lieu of the lusty mannequin that had seemed so well furnished with blood, there quivered the confused debris of a skeleton, creaking like a rusty weather-cock, or a sign-board that swings from an iron rod, swaying in the wind of winter nights.

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