"He did indeed arrive the following night. I saw a coach pull up to the castle and out stepped the passenger aided by the driver. I knew at once the driver was Dracula. The man looked uneasy waiting there. Every sound seemed to unsettle him. He kept looking around for some time until at last the great doors opened and Dracula appeared. When I saw him motion the man inside, I was reminded of my own arrival not that long ago, but what is time to the undead?
Suddenly I realized I was not alone. I turned to find Verona standing beside me. Her face looked beautiful in the moonlight, her eyes burning red, her voice a poisonous whisper. “I can smell his blood,” she said. “Can you?”
If I admitted I too could smell it and was tempted, that would not have been a lie. That was probably why I hated Verona as much as I did. She was a constant reminder to me of what I had become.
“He will be ours when the master is finished with him.”
Those words rang true for Dracula had said them to me. The others soon joined her, each of them once again acting as though they were one being—the core of which would be that evil creature known as Verona.
All they could talk about was the master’s guest. “We shall kiss the life out of him... and we shall do it over and over until he is white with death.” They giggled, their mirth sounding ominous.
They left me then. And I watched them creep up toward the castle so slowly, it seemed they were gliding.
I imagined that they would lie in wait, waiting for any gift given them by Dracula. I followed along, not to wait with them but to remain by myself in the crypt, once again an outcast by my own choosing.
I would, during this time, occasionally visit Darka although my visits grew less frequent. The last thing I wished to do was to put her in danger. For her part, she pitied me. “If only you could flee,” she’d say. “But you cannot for you are so bound.”
She worried; for it was obvious things were only going to get worse for me. Darka was forthright enough to warn me yet again: “Be prepared, my sweet child of the night. He will go alone; he is so decided. There is no place for you or even his other wives in his future existence.”
That struck me. I hadn’t thought of them. Why were they so faithful to him? He didn’t care for any of us. It was always lust and nothing more.
“We are nothing to him.”
Darka did not answer, but then again, she didn’t have to.
In the days that followed, I rarely sought Darka out because I did not want Verona to find me with her. I was fearful of even going there in secret for I have often thought Verona more witch than vampire.
I had as little to do with the sisters as possible. And when hunger overcame me, I’d seek out my sustenance alone.
"The master had been keeping more to himself. And if I missed him, I knew the other brides did too, for I heard them complaining to one another.
Sometimes I imagined they laughed at me. In truth, I didn’t care. I was already resigning myself to eventual destruction, for I did not wish to exist without the master. The beginning of the end for me came the night I saw Dracula capture a small child. He had snatched it away from its home.
Yes, I had followed along, so eager was I to see where he was going and what he was doing. I had become a desperate, mad thing; both wanting him and fearing him at the same time.
He plucked the child away from its mother. The woman had only left it for a moment, just long enough for Dracula to carry it off like some predatory bird.
It occurred to me he was taking it back for the sisters, for them to feast on, and I was right. I heard their joy at having received such a gift. And though I too had done evil things to all human creatures, this troubled me greatly.
The child was devoured quickly. I heard it cry out once and then no more. The only sounds were those of enjoyment. Verona’s voice was the loudest: “Such a sweet child!”
End of excerpt