Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Fourth Bride and Harker Approaches

             Still From 'Dracula,' 1992
99 CENTS! Standalone

From The Fourth Bride, The Blackstone Vampires Series:

"I was terrified of discovery and since I rarely knew where the sisters were, I was worried, but my desire to find out whatever I could, drove me on.

I found an immense room; filled with Dracula’s presence. Book cases lined the walls, going from floor to ceiling. There was a great table piled high with books and papers. A smaller table nearby was crowded with maps and journals. There was a log book too. When I opened it, a paper slipped out.

There were copious notes on it, none of which meant anything to me, but then I read something about a ship called the Demeter. There were notations along the margins, but the writing was so cramped, I could not make out what it said.

As I turned to leave, I saw some letters. I picked one up and read the sender was one Jonathan Harker.

Mr. Hawkins has referred your enquiry to me and I look forward...

That was all I read, for I was certain I heard footsteps. I flew back to the chamber to await his arrival.
Dracula is lord and master in the fullest sense of the word and we, his brides, are his lovers but we are his servants too and no servant to the master can afford to be reckless. Bearing that in mind, I made certain to be downstairs when he returned with our feed.

Occasionally the master would bring something special for us as though to pamper us. Earlier, when he told us he was bringing us something delectable, I thought he was trying to make amends for being offhand with the sisters.

Whatever his intentions, he returned with a young insensible man, half strangled but still alive.
Dracula smiled. “I have not tasted him; I wanted my brides to have the first taste.” He looked strangely at me then I thought.

When the sisters cried with delight at the offering, I did not. And when they flung themselves upon the bounty, I hung back.

“Feed, my Dia. Feed.”

I didn’t wish to but I did as I was told.

My reticence soon gave way to my beastliness. So that I too supped like a wild animal; voraciously until our victim was nearly white with death.

Then at the first light of dawn we retired to the crypt to sleep the sleep of the damned. Once again he came to me and loved me. And once again I loved him back. I almost dared to hope he was not going to leave me. However, the next night he was distant with me and more affable with the sisters. In fact, he took the three of them. I heard the sounds of their lusty lovemaking.

This went on for hours and when I could stand it no longer I ran from the castle for I had to see Darka. I found her alone in her hut. Before I could say anything she was telling me what I wished to know. “There are letters he’s written, Pali has posted them for him. Letters arrive too that Pali brings up from the village. There is something going on. And it will not be too long before you know what it is.”

I knew at once I would go to Dracula and beg him to tell me what all this was about. If I pleaded with him, he would surely tell me, I reasoned.

Darka called me back. “Do not trust him with your heart, for though undead you still have one. You will only be hurt, Dia.”

I knew the truth, I knew it without asking. He was going to leave of that I was certain. How could my love leave me? Would he do such a thing? But then I thought perhaps not. Perhaps he will take me with him wherever he goes.

I am certain I knew the truth to that false hope, yet I chose to hold onto the hope in order to banish the worry.

The castle was nearly dark. I thought to go upstairs but then I heard Dracula and the sisters cry out in joyful abandon. I quickly retreated to the crypt; a far more appropriate place for the weeping vampire that I was.

*He seemed different to me in the weeks that followed as the sisters did. They were no longer nasty, even Verona was nicer. In fact she was more pleasant than I have known her to be.

Dracula too was kindly. In fact he insisted on showing me as much love as he ever had. There were times when he asked to include the sisters in our lovemaking. More often than not I objected. Strangely that he didn’t mind.

But then he did and lost his temper with me. His behavior had become quite erratic by then. He was moody and sullen and once again I sought out Darka.

“The young man is coming; even now he is travelling by coach, Dia. You will see him before too long.”
I hurried back to the castle and confronted my master. He screamed and shouted and raised his hand to strike me, but I cared not.

“Are you leaving with the one who comes? Would you leave me? Would you do that to me, master?
He only looked at me; his expression; disdainful. His words harsh: “I will do what I must, Dia. I am to reside in London...the man who is coming will advise me on some property I purchased there. You may all do with him as you wish after I leave...”

He went to join the sisters then. For myself, I had no wish to see them or my master. Instead I hid myself away in the crypt, in sight of that long dead corpse in the cage, that errant bride.
In truth I no longer cared what happened to me.

Darka was upset. “But you do care, Dia! The death of the vampire is horrible and, that who can say what follows?”

I was struck by that and asked her what she meant. She shrugged. “I cannot know, beyond this world for I am mortal. There are truths beyond all understanding. Some say though vampires have no soul...they have spirit and who knows where that spirit may go after undeath!”

When she saw I could not be comforted she smiled. “Please, my child. Do not choose death lightly, nor let it choose you!”

She tried so to reason with me. And because she saw how greatly I worried she spoke optimistically. “Perhaps it will all be better and not as you think... Remember, he lusts for them but cares for you...”
Darka’s words said so often we both came to believe them.

At last Darka called me to her. “It is best for you to know. That which you dread is nearly here. The man comes...he will be here tomorrow.”

(end of excerpt)


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