It begins with a story, a story with a moral:

Gaslight flickered, casting long, skeletal shadows across the dusty library. Alistair Stock, his once vibrant crimson cravat now ashen, stood before Miss Clara Aitken. Her emerald gown, usually a beacon of life, seemed to wilt under the pallor of his complexion. Lord Stock, a personage of considerable vintage, had never appeared so awkward, so… mortal.

A line drawing of a lonely castle on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Clouds gather overhead.

For decades, their encounters had been a dance of veiled emotions. Stolen glances across crowded ballrooms, whispered conversations in moonlit gardens – a symphony of unspoken yearning. Alistair, burdened by his curse, held back, fearing to taint Clara’s incandescent vitality with his nocturnal existence. Yet, tonight, an undeniable pull, a hunger for more than just stolen moments, gnawed at him.

“Clara,” his voice a gravelly rasp, “we have known each other for a lifetime, haven’t we?”

Clara, her usually bright eyes downcast, nodded, a single tear tracing a luminous path down her pale cheek. “A lifetime of unspoken desires, Alistair.”

Alistair’s heart, long dormant, almost quickened. “Desires I can no longer deny,” he confessed, his voice dropping to a husky whisper. “Desires that transcend the boundaries of… well, mortality.”

Clara lifted her chin, a flicker of defiance in her lively eyes. “Do not underestimate me, Alistair. I know what you are. And perhaps, just perhaps, a love as extraordinary as ours deserves an extraordinary solution.”

Alistair’s pale brow furrowed. “A solution? What could—”

Clara’s hand reached out, her touch sending a jolt through his desiccated form. “There is a ritual, Alistair, a dangerous one, but one that could… bind our fates.”

Alistair stared, a sliver of hope blossoming in his desiccated chest. Clara, his Clara, was willing to share his eternity, his hunger. A tremor of vulnerability shook him. “But what of the risks? What if—”

“There are no guarantees, Alistair,” Clara cut him off, her voice firm. “But I would rather share an eternity, even a perilous one, with you, than face another night adrift in this ocean of unspoken feelings.”

A low, humming energy crackled in the air, the scent of ozone stinging their nostrils. The ritual had begun, binding their fates in a dance as passionate as it was perilous.

As their fingers intertwined, the gaslight sputtered, plunging the room into deep shadow. Alistair’s undead heart pounded, a rhythm both ancient and yet strangely new. He took Clara’s hand, the warmth a forgotten sensation. “Then let us face these perils together, my love,” he vowed, his voice resonating with a newfound determination. “Never… Not in this life, nor in the next… Never shall I give you up, neither shall I let you down nor desert you. Never shall we say goodbye,”

For the merest instant Clara glimpsed bright teeth flashing in the darkness.

“And you,” she replied, “You must believe me when I say I shall never hurt you”. With a firm and determined hand she readied the silver weapon she held concealed in the folds of her emerald gown.

Now read on for more on the Gothic side of AI: The castle of mysterious voices (no surprises, but Gothic chills are assured!)

Thanks to Andy Bell for his inspirational 14 ways to supercharge your workflow with AI (read at your own risk)

Also, don’t blame me, blame Google Gemini.

Image source: Wolf’s Crag (Public Domain)