Saturday, February 28, 2015

CHAPTER 4, Justine: Into the Blood

while on offer for 99 cents: 



My heart was pounding. Down the hall I rushed, until I found a door that opened onto a terrace. I expected guests to be there, many of the terraces were full of party goers, but not this particular one. Out I stepped. I looked quite a sight, my gown was torn and I knew my hair was disheveled. I paused. Where to go? It’s all well and good to try and flee but in what direction?

I thought to walk to the gates but there were guards. From the state I was in, what would they think? I’d be hauled before the head of the household staff. There was no doubt about that! That was the last thing I wanted.

Then I noticed two people walking toward me, a lady and a gentleman. I am done for I thought. So I ran without thinking, I just rushed in the opposite direction. And horror of horrors I saw I was going to crash into a man. And crash into him, I did.

“I am sorry, Monsieur. I did not mean to rush so.”

He didn’t answer right away, but took me by the arm toward the palace. “You’re not a thief are you, up to mischief or anything like that?”

I protested, I pleaded. But to no avail. Suddenly we stopped. There was enough light for him to see me. “You are a mess! What happened?”

“I was attacked…!”

“What do you mean?”

I began to stutter and found myself unable to go on.

The gentlemen reassured me. “There, there.” he said. “Calm down. Tell me are you hurt? Did someone harm you?”

“Yes! He tried…”

He was waiting for me to go on but I could not. I didn’t want to say what I had to tell him. At last I broke down. “Oh sir, I fought him as hard as I could but he beat me. And…then when he began to have his way with me, I killed him, he’s dead!”

“Dead? Are you sure?”

“Yes. He is that!”

“Do you know his name?”

“The Duc Amont!”

If I thought he would be horrified, he wasn’t. He didn’t even look surprised. “You come with me. I shall help you. I give you my word! Wait here. I will have my driver come.”

Before I could answer he put his cape around me, quite a long cloak it was too. “There, you look fine now. Wait here no one will see you and I will be right back!” He led me into the shadows. “Now wait!”

I did, sobbing as quietly as I could and shaking too. It was all so crazy; I had actually killed a man! It was not to be believed. I had killed an aristocrat! I would be thrown into prison and executed. Of that I was sure. I was one of the common people. Before I could think any more of this, he returned.

“Come,” he said. He hurried me along so quickly, I stumbled. He asked me if I could walk. I said I could.

I had the feeling he was angry, not at me but at what had happened to me. He did say something, nothing I could understand for he spoke in Italian and rapidly. I thought he was excited and upset for me, so he lapsed into his native tongue.

When he realized he stopped. “I am Italian by birth--Monsieur Oriani at your service.”

At last we came to his carriage. He helped me inside. And the carriage was off.

He was speaking a great deal. I tried so hard to listen, but I kept falling asleep. “It is alright. Just rest we will be there soon.”

I did sleep, waking only when the carriage stopped. He helped me out.

“That is it.”

I was surprised for I saw an ordinary looking house. I thought him quite important and expected to see something out of the ordinary.

“It is the home of a friend, on loan to me.” He said. “I will tend to your wounds after I light a fire.”

He made poultices of evil smelling concoctions. “This will help the healing and prevent infection…”

I had deep scratches. They stung and the cool mixture, though it chilled me at first, did ease the pain—still I hardly cared, for I was barely awake. In fact he said I slept nearly two days.

When I woke he gave me broth to drink. It was thin and not at all nice. “I found a cooked chicken in the larder and I have made the broth from it. Please, it is good for you.”

I took it and under his encouraging stare, I sipped it to his satisfaction. I think those were the beginnings of the tenderness I felt.

We didn’t discuss what had occurred. If I thought he’d ask me about myself he did not. Instead he spoke of mundane things to distract me.

I realized I quite liked him; his handsome features and his voice. It was rich sounding and educated.

Time passed strangely through dreams and shadows. I had the sense he was there and then he wasn’t. The dreams stopped but the shadows lasted quite a long time. I was only aware of light and dark and his gentle voice asking me how I was.

When the shadows receded and I was alert he asked me what I was going to do.

“You must have a plan. There is danger everywhere. If others do not understand the danger they are in, they soon will.”

I asked him if he meant the King and Queen. He said he did. “Day by day the people grow more angry. There have already begun to be arrests and there is the talk of more, much more. You can stay here if you like. I will have a servant stay with you and I will come by whenever I can to visit you.”

I would have preferred him to stay, but who was I to make such a suggestion?

He explained he had important business to attend to. But that he would see me often. I watched him leave and was heartsick, but true to his word he brought a servant back that very day, before night fall.

She was a sober looking woman, quite beyond middle age. She was kind and didn’t ask any questions. “Call me Anna,” she said and I did.

She realized I had many questions about her employer and she answered them but her answers only made me want to ask more questions.


In time a routine was established where Monsieur Oriani came by regularly. Anna would always leave when he did.

It was late summer. It was hard to believe that two months had passed. I had begun to wonder why he was keeping me there. Yet, I welcomed his all too brief visits.

When he came, we’d have a quiet meal Anna prepared. I had been fully recovered and was starting to wonder what I should do. Any time I broached the subject of leaving, he told me it wasn’t safe to be about. “There have been more arrests. Even those servants who worked for the palace are being scrutinized. Soon the king and queen will be put on trial.”


“Yes, but plans are being made for their exile!”

If I thought highly of him for having saved me, I regarded him now as a saint. “You are very kind.” I said.

He took my hand and kissed it. ““Do not worry, my child. I will protect you.”


It happened during a storm. There was thunder and lightning, loud and frightening it was. I had been dreaming, some terrible nightmare. When I heard someone call to me. “I will sit here so that you sleep.”

I was so grateful for the comfort and slept peacefully, the nightmare was gone because it had turned into something filled with warmth and light.

I woke sometime during the night. The fire was low—and I could just see his face in the flickering light. He smiled at me. Then he kissed me. If I thought to pull away I didn’t, instead I kissed him back. And with a young woman’s first burst of passion I responded ever more.

Not before too long I was naked before the fire in his embrace, touched and caressed as I never had been. He whispered my name and I imagined love lasting forever.

“I will love you forever,” I swore.

He didn’t respond in kind, instead he whispered my name and took me again and again.

I was in love with him. There was passion stirred within me I had never experienced. If I loved him in this way, he felt the same about me, I was certain!

(end of chapter)

Born in pre-Revolutionary France and orphaned as a child, Justine Bodeau is taken in by a family friend who employs her as a seamstress. Eventually, she winds up to work in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. 

A strong-willed survivor, defeat does not occur to her. When she fights off an attack by an aristocrat and kills him, she is given refuge but is soon betrayed and winds up on the streets of Paris, where she is attacked and killed by rogue vampires. But for whatever reason, love will not let her die. 

Justine goes from wishing to be destroyed to wanting to survive, when she feels passion for the one who brought her back, Gascoyne — the one they call the Vampire Prince of Paris.





"It was indeed a fairytale and I welcomed it! Who wouldn’t wish living in such a place? Yes, there was work to do—so what? I was away from the world—away from reality too, but I liked it. It was better. My suffering had ended, I was convinced of it.

I did my duties and the queen was delighted with my work. There was the great designer Mme. Bertin, the queen’s favorite. She was kind enough to teach me a great deal and I was willing to learn.

I overheard her sometimes expressing her fear to other seamstresses about what was going on in France. It seemed only she and one or two servants discussed the growing problems in the country.

One day I overheard her mention a dream the queen had. She dreamt Mme. Bertin had dressed her in beautiful ribbons that each turned black one by one.

Mme. Bertin smiled sadly when she saw she had been overheard. I felt my face go red and apologized for not hurrying away. She only sighed and said, “No, it was not the overhearing of the dream that is bad, it was the dream.”

If she worried others didn’t. The Queen and King and courtiers were seemingly oblivious to the discontent around them. Although there had been some talk among envoys and officials. There was gossip too that filtered down. Still nothing came of it; no change or concern voiced by the aristocracy.

The scandals were all around. They seemed to follow one upon another but the scandal that over shadowed all the others happened shortly before I arrived. The affair as it came to be known concerned a diamond necklace. Actually the queen was misled along with a cardinal. In time I would realize it was one of the events that disgusted the people and helped to bring about the Revolution. By that time innocence was no excuse. Things had gone too far.

If the queen ever feared the worst, she didn’t show that she did. Of course there were her young children to distract her. I often saw her play with them as though they were dolls. They were each beautiful and well-behaved and a welcome distraction for her. I didn’t see them often but when I did I loved it.

My standing was the most important thing to me. Often I was praised. I was considered a good and diligent worker.

“Getting on with your work is your only concern.”

How many times had the senior seamstresses told me that?

Still we had our fun. The winter of 1788 was particularly severe. While the country froze and suffered, those within the palace, including myself were enjoying sleighing and making snowmen. We used makeshift sleds; whatever we could use. Our betters enjoyed rides in magnificent sleds with ringing bells. I had never seen anything like it.

I saw the queen and her entourage of friends throwing snowballs at one another. We didn’t get to join in of course—but we watched and laughed.

Christmas came and went. There were parties and balls and gifts too; not only for her children and her friends and court officials but for servants as well. I received some ribbons and was both delighted and amazed.

I remember thinking I had a full belly and a warm bed. Well not exactly warm—but an ancient bed warmer we all shared did the trick.

When spring came the young dauphin was ill. Everyone thought the worst. They were right for he was gone by June.

The queen took his death very badly and was not seen by anyone for weeks. I prayed for his soul, that was one of the few times I can recall doing such a thing—perhaps I brought about my own damnation because of how I was, I have wondered about that sometimes.

The mourning period ended and we did at last see her about. And when things began to return to normal there was much activity about the palace; people coming and going all the time it seemed.

There were shouting matches too between the King and Queen that could be overheard if one was brave enough to go close to their apartments. Their guards chased us away, but not before we got an earful!

There were accusations of foolishness and impropriety. The queen was very emotional and each confrontation ended with her rushing out to her private apartments to cry. I always wanted to go to her, but did not. I knew my place, every servant did.

We did gossip amongst ourselves however, although I always tended to listen more than I spoke, but I have always been like that by nature.

As time went on the queen tried to distract herself with frivolities. That was something she was inclined to do. She surrounded herself with people, friends and courtiers alike who made her laugh.

She had faced her tragedies bravely. Of her four children two remained; Marie Therese and Louis Charles. A daughter had preceded Louis Joseph in death by two years. Sophie was gone before her first birthday. I was told how the queen wept for her little daughter.

“One more month, and she’d have been a year old.”

One of the milliners told me of this and we both filled up with tears. “People criticize her, but she has paid the price for what she has…”

Of course her two remaining children were doted on. And it seemed the little family would get by on love—but the king was quiet and distant much of the time. That always led to speculation and gossip that the two were unsuited which I suppose they were. Although I must say in the Queen’s defense, she was loyal and loving. If others said she wasn’t, I did not agree.

When I think back on it, I wonder if I knew to what extant the danger was growing. I don’t suppose I did. My world was within their own, if they were insulated to so much I was too.

It just seemed life would continue as it had. There were parties and balls and gowns to get ready; hats to prepare. Not that I was the milliner, still, the queen came to value my opinions. And really if I enjoyed helping her decide on things, what I loved even more was fussing over the children, her daughter in particular who was already a little beauty like her mama.

Yet during all of this, the storm was brewing. Still, the sun shone, the sky was blue, we served, we praised, and we laughed and danced too— holding little soirees in our quarters. It mattered not that we were servants, for we were servants to their royal highnesses and we dwelled on Mount Olympus.


A year passed and another. I had no complaints. My life was good. I could not ask for more. In time, I began to be complimented on my beauty by others, mainly older female servants who said I’d best be careful. As many a pretty servant girl wound up being dismissed for taking up with her betters.

“You’d be surprised how many had to leave. And what, pray tell do you think became of them, eh—or the poor child they gave birth to?”

I had no answer, but I could imagine so I was determined to be a good and chaste young woman. Marriage and children, I doubted were in store for me.

Within a few years of having arrived, I was firmly entrenched in the fairy tale world that was the French Court. Had things never changed I’d have spent my life there, I am certain.

It had become easy under such circumstances to see no evil nor hear it. And when you do not, you not only do not speak it, you do not think it. Yes, I had changed.

Changed though I had I saw what I saw or rather heard what I heard. It seemed the queen’s spending was getting more lavish. The queen we heard spent extravagantly on her friends.

“She does that because it’s the way she is. She gives people gifts—it makes her feel good.”

If this was so, it came at a price because she also spent lavishly on her dress and adornments so that each year she exceeded her clothing allowance.

I heard Mme. Bertin discussing it.

“The King will bail her out. At least she has him!”

It was the height of indulgence for such people. The style was excessive and overdone. Even the loyal Mme. Bertin admitted it.

“It cannot end well,” she said.

Even as she said it I wondered what she meant. Perhaps the royal court would go in exile! It was a terrible thought—little did I dream how much more awful things would become.

But meanwhile she had her diversions. The little palace called Petit Trianon adjoined Versailles. It was an escape for her without leaving. I never mentioned that to anyone but I did think it once or twice. Then there was a round domed building so named the Temple of Love, a graceful fanciful looking place. We’d peek out to watch candle lit soirees along the lake—at night. It was lovely—because it was all part of the fairy tale.

And if that was so more was in store for the queen also had built a rustic Viennese retreat called the Hameau. When I heard she enjoyed being a simple milkmaid I didn’t believe it, but everyone said she did. “Yes! She does that! Dressed so and beautiful to behold!”

The Hameau was stocked with perfumed sheep and goats, but the actual milking and chores were done by servants. I was determined to see it all for myself.

Alas I did not for fate was moving me along toward something else, just as it was already planning for the magic to end and the fairy tale with it.


Before the night became my one world, that of the undead—I enjoyed moonlit walks along the fragrant paths of the gardens of Versailles. Those were romantic times. I was a young lady and had one or two admirers. Whatever advice I had been given about being cautious, I remembered but I was young and foolish more than I was sensible.

There was one courtier, the Duc d’ Amont who rather had my eye. He was quite handsome, dark with smoldering good looks and the air of malice which can be so enticing to a young fool such as I.

He was always one to compliment me.

“You quite turn my head, young lady. What is your name?”

Well, that was how it started. But that was not how it ended.

“I am Justine, your Excellency.”

When he laughed I did not know why he laughed and felt my cheeks flame.

“Forgive me, sweet. But you are quite amazing. One gets tired of so much at court.”

This he said as he sniffed some snuff from a beautiful jeweled box. “Ah! That is nice. So tell me, you beautiful creature, what do you do in your spare time or do you not have any?”

“I have sir! I am treated most fairly. I could not ask for more.”

After this interlude and some others, I found the Duc’s attention growing more pronounced. When at last he tried to kiss me, he was drunk I and I was frightened.

“Propriety is foolish, Mlle., don’t you wish to know what love is? Or do you know already?”

I hurried away from him. Down the corridor I flew. I wanted to go to someone, to the queen really if I am honest. But I dared not.

So I just went to my own little room near the sewing room where I spent a sleepless night wondering what I should do. I didn’t see him for some time after that and my worry lessened, work took it away. Only an idle mind has time to worry, after all.


If one court season ended new ones began. There were always balls and engagements being planned and gowns to get ready. I was one of twenty busy seamstresses. There didn’t seem to be time for all we had to do and though we tended to work silently, we did always gossip about our lack of time to do our chores.

There were fittings for the Queen and her ladies too. I didn’t care about them; they looked as lovely as usual but she did not. I thought she was looking thinner and pale. I wanted so to offer her comfort but knew I could not. Such an action would be presumptuous.

She wasn’t as chatty with me as she had been in fact there was a marked difference in her behavior. She was more reticent. Gone was the air of happy expectation. She seemed to be sleepwalking through life.

I wondered if she knew I worried about her because of what she did. To my amazement the Queen suggested I attend the first ball of the season. She even offered me a gown, but I was too shy. I chose instead to wear something I had made for myself. It wasn’t a gown as such, it was plain; the sort of dress an ordinary person might wear on a formal occasion. Even while she complimented me, she looked distracted.

I did go to the ball. It was lovely to be able to mill around and not feel I was there as a servant. I was greeted politely by the courtiers. But then my heart nearly stopped when I saw the Duc d’ Amont staring at me.

How had I not anticipated his attending? I felt genuine fright at seeing him. Perhaps it was a sense of foreboding I had, I still cannot be sure. I only remember my feeling of disquiet.

“Ah you are vision of beauty, where others cloak themselves in jewels and finery your beauty needs no such adornment. It would be like dressing the sun up and what with your glorious red hair—you are sunlight itself!”

I nearly scoffed at what I took to be his effusive complements. Not unexpectedly he looked annoyed. If I expected him to stalk off in anger he did not. Instead he suggested I accompany him to an adjoining room. When he saw my worried expression he smiled. “I merely wish to dance with you.”

It would not have been proper for a servant to dance at the ball; attending was one thing and dancing another.

Before I could say anything, he took my hand and led me out. “I know the perfect place,” he said.

The room we went to was a waiting room of sorts for foreign envoys. It was close to the ballroom and we could hear the music.

“May I have this dance?”

I was flattered and found myself relaxing. Enjoy yourself Justine I thought. But instead of dancing, he closed the door and smiled. This was a smile I had not seen on his face before.

What followed was the beginning of the horror. Without a word, he pulled at my gown tearing it. I protested and he slapped me. I grew dizzy and passed out. When I woke I saw him looking down at me.

He laughed. “I have you now!” he cried.

I tried to shout but he hit me again. I managed to reach for a fire poker. He realized and snarled. “You’re a little fireball aren’t you?”

This said, as he tore my gown from me and launched himself at me. I would not let him take me! I begged and threatened but nothing worked.

In the excitement I had dropped the poker. However, I did manage to pick it up and hit his head with it. He looked startled—his eyes began to glaze over and when he fell hard upon me I knew he was dead.

I pushed him off and rushed to the door. I would have to escape. For I felt sure had this been discovered, even the queen would not have been able to save me."

(end of chapter)

Born in pre-Revolutionary France and orphaned as a child, Justine Bodeau is taken in by a family friend who employs her as a seamstress. Eventually, she winds up to work in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. 

A strong-willed survivor, defeat does not occur to her. When she fights off an attack by an aristocrat and kills him, she is given refuge but is soon betrayed and winds up on the streets of Paris, where she is attacked and killed by rogue vampires. But for whatever reason, love will not let her die. 

Justine goes from wishing to be destroyed to wanting to survive, when she feels passion for the one who brought her back, Gascoyne — the one they call the Vampire Prince of Paris.

Friday, February 27, 2015




Before the Blood:

The dream came like a whisper; it was probably my own voice I heard beckoning me to remember. “Justine, remember us…”

It was my mother’s voice—I heard it without a doubt. It was so clear I thought her spirit had manifested itself. Sometimes I think she does come, Papa too. Such was this moment. There they were smiling down at me, looking at their child. They called my name as they used to do when I was little. “Tine…”

I recall them before they were sick, sick from being poor—from lack of food and not having enough heat in the winter or warm clothes. Paris’ poor were not highly regarded. Of course things would get much worse but no one knew that until they did.

As for my mama, my gentle sweet mother, she died quickly, between a cough and a seizure of some kind. Her chest was stained with blood. Her lungs you see. Papa sat so still by her bed; bed, indeed; a pallet on the floor with ragged blankets under it.

“She is gone, Justine Mama is gone.” I cried as any child of ten would. There was a funeral of sorts; a pauper’s funeral—where she would be taken to an open burial pit outside of the city. They were no longer burying the dead in Paris. The awful business of the rotting dead of Paris had ensured that. The Holy Innocents Cemetery had been closed as a result. Now the newly dead were taken away.

Mother’s poor corpse was put onto a wagon. It trundled away, its uneven wheels making such an awful noise along the cobblestones. No church for us, no kind words to lessen our grief. People like us didn’t live that way. Yes, one of the nails in the coffin that was to be the downfall of the aristocracy and their priests.

But I wanted something said to ease her passing. I asked my papa
where the priest was. “Mama deserves him!” I cried.

Papa kissed my forehead. “They do not care for the likes of us, Justine.”
Father and I were lonely, never had we clung to one another more than we did then. I tried so hard to look after him, but I could see he was no longer willing to live, though he pretended he was.

Some years passed. He continued to take whatever work was available—which was never much. Charity was not something he accepted readily. Still by this time, he did what was best for me. “I will not let you starve.”

I did not, as I had taken in sewing. I was adept with a needle like my mother Papa said. When I was fourteen, he looked ill; worse each day in fact. After he began coughing, he didn’t last long. I wanted to die too when he did. They took him away and I was alone. A man came. I had seen not him before. He was an acquaintance of both my father and mother. “I am Monsieur Coulon,” he said. 

“And I am sorry for the suffering you and your family endured. Pride makes victims by its very nature. You know how proud your father was. Had I known his circumstances I could have helped.”

I knew that was no boast. He had a kind face. He said he knew father through my mother. “Yes, Justine—I did know them both. Your father was a fine man and you’re mother a skilled seamstress.”

Skilled yes, but too ill to sew; I wondered if he knew.

He told me she had done sewing for his family, shortly after she arrived in Paris. I knew she had come from Normandy, I knew her to be a farmer’s daughter.
“There was none finer with a needle. Tell me young miss, can you sew?”

“I can sew … a little.”

When he smiled I knew I would be alright. I did not look back. There was nothing to look back to.

He took me to his carriage. There were people milling about, dirty and in rags, even those who knew me, refrained from speaking to me. The mood was such that they resented someone escaping from the mire.

I stared straight ahead as the carriage pulled away. My life begins again I thought.
The Coulon family had a fine house in the Marais district. I had never seen such a fine home as theirs. There were gardens with roses and enough food to eat. I caught the aroma of goose when I was led inside. Not through the front door I hasten to add, but through the back one. Very well, whichever door they wished me to enter I would have lodgings and a position as well.

The house was noisy with children but I didn’t mind. A servant took me in hand. “You are small for your age,” she announced, this pinched face woman who would have been remarkably ugly had it not been for her kind eyes. “Yes,” she went on. “Small fingers are good to thread needles and such. Let me see what you can do.”

With that she handed me a handkerchief. “The lace is coming apart. Let me see you stitch it up. Tomorrow is Sunday and Mme. is attending church she cannot be seen to take a raggedy looking hankie!”

I said nothing. I wanted to show her how efficient I was so I threaded the needle quickly. My fingers were not shaking, surprisingly. I had willed it as so much depended on it.

In a few minutes the task was done. And I was complimented. “Mme. Coulon was pleased, and told me so.”

I did have questions but not the courage to ask them. I wanted to know where I would sleep and how I would get on. But I had nothing to fear. If I went about my tasks quickly and efficiently and did not draw attention to myself, I got along fine. My employers’ children were slightly older than I was and they were rarely in my company. Their governess minded them, taking them into see their mama and papa twice a day.

Time passed pleasantly, six years in fact. I had enough to eat and grew better skilled at my work. In fact I became so competent I found I pleased my mistress with the gowns I was making for her. Nothing was too difficult for me; no trim too hard, nor decoration too intricate for my nimble fingers. There were balls and dinners and a banquet too and at court no less!

“The Queen will be in attendance! Imagine, Justine! She will be there – for my eldest daughter is to be presented at court.”

Such was the custom of the day before the world changed and blood ran through the streets of Paris.

“Think of it, Justine. You will see her!”

I begged off. That is I tried so hard not to go. It was intimidating. However, after a great deal of coaxing I did go. Mme. Coulon was delighted. “You will attend to us as our personal maid. Paulette and I shall be so lucky to have you there.”

Paulette was the daughter I felt certain was being groomed to search for a husband. The Coulons were committed to raising themselves ever higher. If there was dissatisfaction with the monarchy it was not known in their house. Not with an unmarried daughter and social climbing parents.

“There are so many suitable gentlemen, Paulette—please try and act less awkward. Do try and be at ease.”

The night came at last. Mme. Coulon was so excited she was stumbling over her words. “That is it! Have you ever seen such beauty?”

Paulette was delighted. “No, indeed Mama! I feel like royalty myself!”

I thought my mistress would say something to keep her daughter’s feet on the ground. Yes, they were a wealthy merchant family, but they were not aristocrats.
When Paulette saw me looking at her she smiled, “Don’t look at me, silly! Look out there!”

I did just as our carriage was given permission to enter the palace gates. That’s when I took my first look at Versailles.

It was stunning and I gasped. My eyes filled with tears at the sheer beauty of it. There were the famous gardens even I had heard of. And there, just beyond them—was the great glittering palace. It seemed to be filled with golden light.

My mistress only stopped chattering when the carriage drew to a stop. I had already been instructed to follow along behind.

There were other guests milling around, each judging the other’s importance by their apparel and demeanor. Mme. Coulon was giving her daughter step by step instructions of how to move and what to say.

Two liveried servants ushered us inside.

“We are entering Olympus!” Mme. Coulon exclaimed. “The home of the Gods and Goddesses.”

And so we were. The opulence and splendor was all around. Clearly it could be nothing else!

We passed from one hall to another. Officials of varying importance saw to this, each haughtier than the next—even in their subservient state, they exuded snobbery.

When we passed through the Hall of Mirrors I thought I would faint. Mme. Coulon whispered, “This is only the beginning. Look!”

A handsomely dressed man, in lavender frock coat, smelling divine bowed slightly. I would soon learn that different levels of bowing—varying from deep to less deep were associated with class and standing. The bow accorded Mme. Coulon and her daughter (I didn’t count, of course) was a bit shallow.

When I heard Mme. Coulon’s hoarse whisper, “The Queen!” I almost stumbled.
She was there, resplendent in a gown the likes of which I could not have even dreamt of. What a poor excuse for a human being I was to be so impressed!
I had quite forgotten the poverty I sprang from. Would my poor parents be turning in their graves? I should think they would have.

But it didn’t matter! The spell was too strong—the magic of wealth and beauty too powerful to overcome.

We all curtseyed. And when the Queen complimented my employer and Paulette on their gowns and insisted on knowing who the seamstress was, I could barely breathe. But the royal command received an instant answer and I was introduced.
“It is my seamstress’s handiwork, your Majesty!”

There she was! Queen Marie Antoinette herself, smiling down at me. She was a goddess, a beauty, like something come down from heaven to dwell among lesser mortals, Olympus indeed!

Whatever I had sprung from the recollections were gone—blinded by the light that emanated from this real goddess.

“Shall I be naughty?” she winked at me. “Shall I steal you away?”

That was the first I heard of it. If I thought my employer would look horrified she did not. She looked proud. It was a great compliment to her taste for her own seamstress to be plucked away by the queen of France! As for myself, I felt I was dreaming.

(end of chapter)

Born in pre-Revolutionary France and orphaned as a child, Justine Bodeau is taken in by a family friend who employs her as a seamstress. Eventually, she winds up to work in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. 

A strong-willed survivor, defeat does not occur to her. When she fights off an attack by an aristocrat and kills him, she is given refuge but is soon betrayed and winds up on the streets of Paris, where she is attacked and killed by rogue vampires. But for whatever reason, love will not let her die. 

Justine goes from wishing to be destroyed to wanting to survive, when she feels passion for the one who brought her back, Gascoyne — the one they call the Vampire Prince of Paris.

1-4 CHAPTERS, Justine: Into the Blood

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Born in pre-Revolutionary France and orphaned as a child, Justine Bodeau is taken in by a family friend who employs her as a seamstress. Eventually, she winds up to work in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette.

A strong-willed survivor, defeat does not occur to her. When she fights off an attack by an aristocrat and kills him, she is given refuge but is soon betrayed and winds up on the streets of Paris, where she is attacked and killed by rogue vampires. But for whatever reason, love will not let her die.

Justine goes from wishing to be destroyed to wanting to survive, when she feels passion for the one who brought her back, Gascoyne — the one they call the Vampire Prince of Paris.


"We are prisoners of our past, hostages of our heart. Yes, even those like myself whose heart no longer beats are slaves to it. Do we remember love? I think we do. For I remember my first loving or am I only recalling lust? I wonder if it matters. Perhaps nothing really matters, all the things gone before the current moment. Ah but there are so many moments in an immortal existence.

Shocked? Do not be. I am what I am, no more no less. The truth is I am a creature of the night—Blood is like wine to me, no wait. It is better than that. It is my life--alright, existence then.

Why not be honest from the first? I am Justine Bodeau, a vampire who recalls her existence now in this telling. My past has returned to offer me comfort. I am embraced by it. It feels good—though I know as I go along, I shall find certain memories painful. I wonder if I will bury them or if they will insist on returning. And when the past and present meet, when I find the truth to questions I have—I wonder if I shall wish to be destroyed for I have wished it many times. Still, I shall persevere.

I am aboard a ship sailing to a new chapter in my existence. What lies ahead I do not know. All I can do is guess and try to learn from the past; a past that included two worlds, one living and one undead.

I sit in my cabin, glad to be alone frankly, for I am able to reflect on all that had gone before. Was my existence worth so much that I cared to go on forever or for as long as I could? That was not a question to be taken lightly. There was much I would have to consider first.

Suddenly, there was a gentle knock at the door. It was Ramet. “I have brought you something…”

My dear friend Ramet—do not worry, you will know all there is to know about him in the course of my tale. He was bringing in something for me, something to take so that I would not sicken. Craving blood and doing without is not pleasant for one such as I. There is such gross discomfort when that happens. One is fraught with pain and nausea. I have felt that way many times, and it seems to me each time is worse than the time before.


He came in quickly. “You must take this…”

I looked at the goblet and knew at once it not only contained blood but had an elixir he uses to restore vitality. It is the opiate of vampires as he says. We didn’t speak then, he just wished me to drink. And so I did. It tasted salty as blood always does, but there was the unmistakable taste of sweetness—too, probably from the honey I knew him to add.

“It is good, yes?”

I nodded and smiled. Sometimes I think Ramet is more like a concerned father than my friend. When I finished it he took it from me. “I will leave you now.”

He closed the door softly. Sleep beckoned, not the human sleep I can no longer recall, but the deep sleep of the vampire; sleep more like death than slumber—yet not being death it is often filled with dreams.

I undressed for I knew the cupboard would be warm. It was and small as well, still I knew if I slept on my side with my legs curled under me I should fit nicely. The darkness was soothing. There was no sound; just that of my own breathing filling the space. Soon I would be in sleep’s embrace and I would dream of the life that was mine long ago."

(end of chapter)

"Top of its genre!"

"Revenge, betrayal, passion, bloodshed, lust and love are just a few of the elements of this dark and spellbinding book."

"Justine, realizes she as a vampire could actually love and in fact is in love with Gascoyne. I think that was the turning point in the story."

"This vampire romance is rich in history, deep in blood sex and exotic locations and is very highly recommended."

"Vampires have their own allure and none more so than the female."

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Chapter 1


In truth, Fred was worried; he just didn’t let on. Folks just didn’t have money to spend on anything. It had even begun to occur to him that the whole show might fall apart, that they’d just disband, which was not something he wanted at all.

He was many things. He wasn’t particularly honest or trustworthy—in fact he had terrible things on his conscience that bothered him. He’d suffered from nightmares most of his life, nightmares, and the jitters, as he called them. He had no idea they came from things he had done that he no longer recalled.

Despite this, he was affable and fair toward those he worked with. And because they had suffered as much as they had—his show people—he felt downright responsible for them. What would happen to them if they had no home with him? Still, he couldn’t afford to keep them as things were. He was down to the last bit of money.

Where would Alice go, poor kid, or any of them? The clowns would wind up being killed one way or the other, and the boys, too. They were out of their heads sometimes. Too fucked up from all they had been through.

As for Al and Hank, they’d eventually broken out of the mental facility they had lived in and joined up with circuses, fairs—whatever they could get into.

Fred ran into them one night when he stopped to pick them up. He had thought they were children. They knew he did and accused him of all sorts of crazy shit. After a while, they came round. It took time though. Both of them had suffered a lot.

The crew, as he often thought of them, had been with him for four years. It was two years since the ’29 Wall Street crash and things were bad. His father was worse. What else was going to happen? He often wished their luck would change though he doubted it could.

But things did swing another way, as a matter of fact. Yet, there was nothing to indicate a profound change was going to take place. No premonitions of any kind. They were sitting around the fire waiting for their food. Al poked the fire to get it to cook faster. “Yay!” he cried. “It’s ready!”

The meat was fatty though because it was cheap but it smelled as good as it tasted. Happy said it was almost as good as flesh, but not quite. The clowns laughed—including Happy.

They were just razing one another. Then they started to talk. Baby Alice spoke about movie stars she liked. She was a real fan of cowboy films.

In the early days, Fred used to sometimes take them to the movies and they’d get the works: popcorn, grape soda, whatever they wanted. No more, though.

Baby Alice asked Fred if he felt alright. He said he did. She looked unconvinced. Fred smiled to show her he wasn’t as worried as he actually was.

The food was good and they were grateful for it. After they ate, they stared into the fire as if to read the future.

The boys were shooting crap with the dice they stole from a Woolworths and the clowns were drinking some bootlegged gin. Fred didn’t mind as long as they didn’t get drunk out of their heads. They weren’t good when they ended up like that.

Still, it proved a fine evening, another evening for sitting under the stars and having a decent meal. Fred decided to be positive. He hoped he’d stay that way.
It had to have been past nine when a voice called out. A man’s voice. Everyone stopped what they were doing; they just froze and looked at one another.

None of them liked strangers poking round. For one thing, they could be cops. No, they didn’t want strangers asking questions. Fred stood and spotted him. A figure was just coming into view.

The man held up his hands. “I mean you no harm,” he said. “I just was out walking and I came upon your fire. That is, I smelled it and whatever you cooked…it smelled real good.”

Fred didn’t know what to make of him at first. Of course, he was relieved he didn’t look like a cop. He was dressed kind of shabbily, with a shirt and mismatched jacket, paired with trousers worn at the knees. He was carrying his jacket. “Sure is warm tonight.”

Fred agreed.

“Yeah, but that’s the way June is hereabouts.”

They both reckoned so. Everyone else did also and they continued to as they all sat around the fire. Just then, the man excused himself and said his name was Joe. “Joe Sabba.”

Sabba, Fred thought. It sounded like some kind of Hindu name, exotic: Sabba, the Magnificent. Joe cocked his head and said he could read Fred’s mind. Fred laughed. “No, really!” he said. “It’s what I do. Let me show you.”

The clowns started to guffaw and the boys did, too. Baby Alice called them rude and the stranger smiled and thanked her, calling her ma’am, which made her blush. “No, ma’am, I’ll show them. You wait. I think you were wondering if I was some kind of magician, Sabba the Magnificent, wasn’t it? Is what you were thinking?”

Fred nearly swallowed the unlit stogie he had been gnawing on. “What did you say?”

“I bet I was right!”

Fred nodded dumbly.

No one said anything. It was quite a moment. “Well, sir,” the man said. “Looks like I impressed you all. It’s just a talent I have. Been like that all my life. Even as a sprout growing up in Amarillo.”

Happy was impressed. “Amarillo way? I come from Lubbock!”

“Do tell. Like Lubbock, been there many times.” There was a pause although it wasn’t a long one. “Carny folk, are you?” Heads began to nod—even Fred’s. “I bet you all have a story or two to tell! Nothing like it, fires and storytelling.”

That was when it started. A complete stranger broke the proverbial ice. They were soon all chatting for the next three hours, the men interested to learn that Joe had been a carny most of his life.

“Yes, always liked carny folks. Best people there are.”

Everyone agreed, including Fred. When Old Pa stuck his head out—he had been in the truck because of dizzy spells, which he got every now and then—Joe Sabba grinned. “Well, hello there, sir. I am mighty glad to meet you. I was wondering when I might.”

Fred laughed at that. “Hey, you can’t prove you knew he was in there.”
Joe agreed. “You are right. Damned if you ain’t. But I will say this and let God be my judge—I do surmise that your father there won’t go nowhere without his little box of mementos.”

Fred winced. He couldn’t speak for quite some time. This would be one night during which he wouldn’t sleep at all.

(end of chapter)

Damaged people, torn up in one way or another, an old man with a box of mind-blowing secrets--and a stranger--just on the road or on the road to hell?


"Wonderful Horror with a side order of ribs."
5 stars!

"A true horror tale...Be prepared to be scared!"
5 stars! 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chapter 3 Circus of Horrors!

Chapter 3  

Fred was up early. Old Pa rose usually at dawn, which was really annoying. Then he’d have a good fart festival and coughing fit, after which he’d give his son a grateful toothless grin. Dressing next, which generally went smoothly. Then, if the weather was nice, Fred would help him outside. It was nice so they went out.

Al and Hank were already there. They had a fire going. “Water’s hot,” Al said. “You can have your tea.”

Fred thanked them and brewed a cup for his dad and himself. Then he sat the old man down and took a seat between him and the boys. “Sleep well?”

They did although Fred could see they looked worried. He knew why. They were all concerned about the same thing; where the hell to go next.

“It’s good to cool our heels awhile though...”

Yeah, they all agreed. Well, what else were they going to say?

They didn’t speak for some time, not until the clowns began to emerge. They weren’t wearing their clown makeup, which always startled the hell out of Fred. Al and Hank were less shocked as a rule. Good thing Baby Alice wasn’t up yet because she hated to see them like that, although she’d try not to show it.

It was a funny thing about the clowns but they were always polite—scarier than fuck but polite. Fred greeted them. “Water’s hot.”

They each mumbled something and took their coffee. Happy commented on the sunny morning and Fred answered him, trying carefully not to look repelled by Happy’s skin or his mates’.

It wasn’t easy. Of the three, Happy was the most disfigured. His face displayed a roadmap of his horrendous childhood and young adulthood. It told the story of brutality and unimaginable violence.

Happy’s real name was Arthur Mundt—not that it mattered. The happy clown face he wore gave him his name. But was he happy? Nah. How could he be? He used to say the best he could do was try not to kill people.

Yes, his life had been too hard.

The clowns met in the Storeyville Orphanage in Georgia. The place was infamous for brutality.

The cigarette burns had long since healed as they had on the others, but the scarring from razors and broken bottles was particularly bad. There was copious scar tissue which had turned deep purple. Jagged lines of it covered his face and ears, too. Poor fucker.

What Fred had pieced together about Happy was, he’d been living with hoboes after running away from home. Cops raided the shithole they were all holed up in and he got dumped at the orphanage as he was under twelve.

Noble and Danny had been turned over to the orphanage shortly after being born. No one told them where they came from. Their names were given to them by a doctor who liked to read. That was why they’d been called Noble Dickens and Danny Shakespeare, respectively.

“We all suffered hell,” Happy used to say. “If we weren’t used by the orderlies for sex, we were loaned out to their friends. They drank a lot and when they were pissed, they’d really start in.”

After a few orphans died, things got better, but not for Happy or his pals. They were good friends by then.

Danny was the most cordial, probably because he was the least scarred. “My face might not show it but all the times I been screwed up the ass—that’s what give me my hemorrhoids.”

Sad, all of them—Noble had it better. If it hadn’t been for the scarring on his jaw and throat, he’d have felt okay about not covering his face up with clown makeup.

“Anyone want eggs?”

The eggs were Fred’s surprise. He smiled when they reacted with enthusiasm. “Got them yesterday.”

They decided to wait for Baby Alice, but before she came out, the clowns had swallowed their coffee and applied their makeup. They liked her enough not to upset her. They surely didn’t feel that way about everyone though.

Fred got the eggs ready. He was already frying them when Alice emerged. “Aw, Fred! You got eggs, ain’t that nice!”

“You guys deserve it. I have rolls, too.”

It was like heaven for them, what a treat. They had some money now; that is, Fred did and he was feeling generous.

He enjoyed serving them, and when Happy thanked him and really looked as though he meant it, Fred was delighted.

“We have to make plans later. I mean we can stay here a bit longer…but we’ll have to hit the road some time.”

They knew they would but where would they go? This had been the topic of conversation for a while now. Even in that last place they’d stopped at.

“Any ideas?” Baby Alice asked as she ate. Her table manners were impeccable, considering she loved food so much.

Florida had been mentioned and as they were already in Alabama, it wouldn’t be out of the question to head that way. Still, Fred wasn’t sure. He wanted everyone’s opinion.

There was a lot of shrugging and sighing. No one really knew what to say. Al finally said one place was as good as another.

Everyone agreed. But that still didn’t edge them closer to an actual decision. Of course, that really lay with Fred. He glanced over at Old Pa, who seemed a bit out of it today, more than usual. Now he was kind of smiling to himself.

“What’s funny, Dad?” Fred asked this in the nicest possible way.
The old man winked. “I been thinking about some old jokes I remember. Serves to make my whole day bright.”

When Fred asked if he could tell them any, Old Pa’s smiled faded. “No, they just cleared out of me head now, they did. If they come back, I’ll tell ya!”

Okay…had to be okay; there was no other way. Just then, Al and Hank started to argue. The boys got along pretty well as a rule. This was unusual. They fought over a woman, which was funny because Hank just wasn’t interested in dames. Fred didn’t know much else, not that it was his business.

He did think Al and Alice liked one another and that was why she was staring at him now. Since she was, he was denying anything had happened. But Hank shook his head. “You lie! I seen you both—her with her legs spread and you pumping her as hard as shit! I seen your butt cheeks wiggle, you were using such force!”

They both stood to fight. Fred told them to stop it. They agreed. “Look, that’s past history, fellas, right?”

It was true. Al agreed so much he was already giving Baby Alice the come on. Fred wasn’t surprised when they went for a walk and didn’t return for an hour. And when they did, they were both red in the face.

Baby Alice was giggling something fierce but so was Al. Maybe, Fred thought, something could come of it. If only Baby Alice could lose some of that lard, it would be easier for Al when he was in the clinches.

Hank looked over and rolled his eyes a few times at Fred but it was funny more than anything. Even Al chuckled.

“We have to know when we’re leaving, right, Boss?” Noble wanted to know and so did Danny. Happy had fallen asleep.

“I’ll tell you by dinner time, how’s that? Got us some burgers.”

“What kinda meat?” Noble teased

“Not human, you pain in the ass,” Fred said. “Fucking cannibal."



"Wonderful Horror with a side order of ribs."
5 stars!

"A true horror tale...Be prepared to be scared!"

5 stars! 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015





Fred was pleased to hear Old Pa snoring. He had fallen asleep in an instant. He had his usual pee in the pot kept for such purposes and was now away with the fairies. Fred smiled. He had loved that expression as a child.

He began thinking of his people. They didn’t mind life on the road, the tents or anything. They were used to a lot worse. He pitied each one of them. What a strange group they were.

His dad, Charlie, had only been in a few sideshows back in England. He didn’t have what it took, though. He’d tried clowning and juggling—managing too when given a few chances, but none of it worked. Charlie wasn’t the circus type.

He did stay with the clowning but there were reasons for that. He liked being anonymous. And he liked making kids laugh. He was a great dad despite his troubled past. Fred could remember how Old Pa had been the only good thing in his life.

“I’m all you got, lad. Sorry.”

Fred could barely remember his mother, which was just as well. He had loved her, he knew that, but then she died and he didn’t like to think of it.
His dad had a rough time raising him. It couldn’t have been easy.

They lived in a lot of places; London, mainly, although there were many other places they called home for a while. But, London was the place he remembered most.

He had the vague memory of his dad having a kind of shop where he sold seconds—well, more like tenths and twelfths—old clothes, pots, hardware. As he grew up and matured, Fred suspected much of it was stolen. Still, the coppers didn’t care about petty stuff like that. So his old man was left alone.

If he thought back to his childhood, he recalled it in sounds and smells; the sounds of the organ grinder, his father’s voice as he hawked his wares. The memories were not all pleasant. There were the stinks too, the odors of unwashed bodies—whiffs of vomit and urine in alleys and doorways.

His dad tried to protect him from the ugliness of the place; the angry shouts that signaled a fight that often turned lethal. At one point, he told him he was taking him away. America was to be their destination.

Fred was thrilled when he heard that; he couldn’t have been more than ten. He bombarded his dad with questions he couldn’t answer. All the man kept saying was it would be good to start over, to begin afresh. Neither one of them could wait to leave.

The day finally came. The ship was called Sea Queen or something similar, he wasn’t sure. He didn’t recall much of the voyage. He did remember how crowded it was. They were crammed into something called steerage. Again, there were bad smells, vomit mainly. He recalled his father mumbling, ‘filthy pigs’ more than once.

Going on deck was heaven. His father told him about ships and sailing times. Yes, Dad had been a sailor once, long ago in his youth. He had been to most places but never to America.

Fred recalled sleeping badly and trying to eat, bread mostly—the only thing he could keep down. Two weeks like that, and he ended up hobbling, weak on his feet. Then came the sounds of whistles and men calling to one another, and his father’s excited voice urging him on. 

“We’re here, Son!”

And so they were. They saw the Statue of Liberty and Fred cried at the sight. He had never seen anything that grand. But there were things to do. His father warned him. “We ain’t outta the woods yet, boy. We have to clear this place and then we’re okay!”

There were queues and officials to see, questions and more questions and examinations, too. People were tagged and told where to go. At last, after what seemed like an eternity, they were put into a launch with a lot of people like themselves. That was it. They had made it.

His first impression of New York had been one of amazement. The city teemed with great buildings and masses of people and not all of them poor, either. No, this was something else. The mix was different; sure there toffs, loads of them. And yes, the poor were ignored same as they were back in England—yet his dad said a man stood more of a chance in this big city.

If he had hoped in his ten year old naivety to stay somewhere nice, he was in for a shock. They didn’t. No, it was cheap lodgings near the river front. Hell’s Kitchen they called it, and Hell’s kitchen it was.

Fred sighed. That was enough of the past to remember now. He was tired and needed to think not of the past, but of the future. What lay ahead? Plans had to be made.

If only he were younger. He was no spring chicken at forty-two. Still, he wasn’t ready to die yet. And really, he didn’t look as old as he felt. He wasn’t entirely grey, just a bit at the temples. Of course, he had circles under his eyes and the glow of youth had long since vanished. But there were years yet, weren’t there? Sometimes he tried not to think of his own questions and this was one such time.

They had just beat it the hell out of their last stop—that fair in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Why’d the clowns have to kill that nosey kid? He and Happy had a huge flare up over that one, stupid bastard, slitting the boy’s throat; he was only twelve. Happy said he’d be trouble and Fred told him off. He called him every name he could think of. He finally told him to take care of the corpse.

“No problem.” Happy laughed and handled it like nothing ever happened. The clowns were very efficient. They had enough practice. They knew how to get rid of a body. Of course, it would have to be cut up first. Pig farms were good, as well as swamps—take the corpse’s clothes off, burn them, and Bob’s your uncle.

The boys, however, were not happy with the moonlight flit; it was one of the few times they were critical of the clowns. Al said they were a real pain in the ass sometimes and Hank agreed. Baby Alice was crying because she had liked the fair.

“Who knows where we’ll go, Fred, but I have faith in you,” she’d told him. She was all dimpled when she said that and Fred smiled. He even kissed her hand. He liked the smell of her; she always smelled of soap and Johnson’s baby powder.

They were soon off, the bus and truck loaded. Pop had to pee constantly so they stopped and lost a hell of a lot of time pee stopping.

This was the second night they had parked here. The checks Fred cashed in town, he’d had for a while. They weren’t stolen or anything. 

They were proper checks, payment for his and his company’s expenses.
The boss man was surprised they were going, but Fred used his head. He told him that his ex-wife had served him with papers adding that she was still trying to soak him over a property sale.

“She took it all when we divorced—I don’t know what she wants now.”
“Yeah,” the boss man said. “You can’t figure women.”

He wished Fred luck and watched them chewing on his stogie as they pulled away. “Our lives are not easy. Take the good with the bad and don’t take shit from anyone!” he called out after them.

That was a certainty, Fred thought.

His father cried out in his sleep, and Fred went to sit by the old man. His eyes filled with tears. “You haven’t any pleasures left have you, Old Pa?” he said. “I best let you look through your souvenirs. That always perks you up.”

It was funny because even though his son was certain the old man didn’t remember where any of the souvenirs came from, he still seemed to enjoy looking at the stuff.


"Wonderful Horror with a side order of ribs."

5 stars!

"A true horror tale...Be prepared to be scared!"

5 stars!