BOOK ONE - THE HOUSE ON BLACKSTONE MOOR
After discovering her savagely murdered family, Rose Baines is plunged into a nightmare of hell. She is incarcerated in two madhouses, after which she is helped to obtain a position as governess at Blackstone House. Located on haunted moorland, nothing is as it seems for the House and its inhabitants have hideous secrets. There is unimaginable horror there, and love too--love that comes at a terrible price.
They say my father was mad, so corrupted by evil and tainted with sin that he did what he did. I came home to find them all dead; their throats had been savagely cut.
My sisters, only five and eight, were gone, as well as my brother who was twelve. My mother too lay butchered in her marriage bed. The bed her children were born in.
I discovered him first—in the sitting room lying in a sea of crimson, the bloody razor still clutched in his hand.
How pitiful I must have looked, bent down trying to wake him. Calling to him over and over, “Papa please, please wake up!”
He could not, of course, waken. No more was he to open his eyes in this world—had I not been struck mad, I would have realized.
Yet, madness is sometimes a mercy when shadows come to take the horror away.
Do not pull away in terror, please. I have much to confess. Just be patient, for I promise I will tell you everything. The only thing I ask in return is for you not to judge me until you hear my entire story.
If I recall that dreadful night, I remember it in confusing images and noise. People came and went. Gentle hands touched me, trying to soothe away the shock and agony—voices too, hushed and sad, told me things I could not understand.
I probably said that, though I can’t be sure. Lucidity was not my strong point that night. I do recall someone carrying me out of the house to a neighbor’s house.
We lived in Notting Hill then, having moved from Mayfair after my father’s illness—more about that later.
The house was on Blenheim Crescent, a respectable house in a respectable neighborhood. Despite this, the grander environs of Mayfair were much remembered and longed for by my mother especially. My mother, who now lay caked in blood in her disliked rooms of Notting Hill.
“You remember me, don’t you Rose? It’s Dr. Arliss.”
Dr. Arliss? Our physician. Was he there?
“I am sorry Rose, but you must go with them.”
People can’t be left around screaming, you understand.
I was silenced by strong hands. “Come along, miss. That’s better.”
I hadn’t the sense to ask where I was being taken. All I can remember is being removed from my neighbor’s home.
I couldn’t very well stay in my own home surrounded by the blood-splattered corpses of my murdered family, now could I?
They half dragged me down the stairs and out into an icy rain.
“Just get her in...”
A woman reached for me. I did catch sight of her face; she looked serious but not unkind. “Come along now, dear.”
Dear, that was nice. I do believe I thanked her. Well, I wasn’t right in my head was I?
“Where are you taking me?”
So polite, a soft refined voice heard at church socials. But not me. Churches and I never mixed. Of course, I would regret that.
“Harry, go get the restraints!”
Restraints? It doesn’t affect me but that’s because it’s nothing to me. I’m not really there, you see. Well, not all of the time.
I must explain something. These first hours following the carnage were a blur to me, really. I have only understood things over time. But that is better as I can tell you my story more clearly.
I dozed, I think. Well, there was a pinch on my arm earlier and Dr. Arliss telling me he was giving me something to relax me.
The wagon moved—clip clop down the streets for an indeterminable time, but then it stopped. A door opened and other arms reached for me.
“That’s right, love, all out!”
They were taking me into a building of some sort. “What is this place?”
I’m not sure if I asked that question, if I was able to. But if I was, I know I didn’t receive an answer.
Someone had me under the arm, one of the men from the wagon. “It’s alright.”
Why was everyone telling me it was alright when it was the worst time of my life?
We stepped inside a vestibule. A woman looked up from a high desk, not at me but at the man who was still holding my arms. “Name?”
He took out a piece of paper, glanced at it and said, “Rose Baines 22 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill.”
“Oh! A lady are we, dear?” I start to answer but her words drowned me out. “Right, put her in with the rest of them.”
This was when I started to feel fearful. The rest of them? That didn’t sound nice. I needed help—had I been arrested? They didn’t think I did it, did they?
I started to struggle, which was the worst thing I could have done.
“Now stop that at once!”
I cried out. “I am innocent please help me!”
They dragged me away then. And as they did, I got a whiff of ether and disinfectant.
Was I in a hospital? Maybe that was good. It was better than being in a prison!
But why, if it wasn’t a prison, did I see a massive gate just ahead, in the very direction we were heading for?
And then, a surly face, along with clanging keys and the sound of locks being opened, completed the scene.
It was a smallish room, more like a cage than a room—far too small for all of the sad humanity that populated it. A sea of the most miserable and pathetic faces greeted me. Some held their sides and rocked back and forth, others slept or cried. One or two were crouched against the scummy walls, muttering to themselves.
The realization hit me. They thought me insane!
I cried out but no one came. “Please, someone!”
The pathetic creatures I found myself with began to repeat my cries. They didn’t do it to mock me I’m certain, but it was horrible anyway.
At last I was quiet. I couldn’t stand their shrieking and if that wasn’t bad enough, some of them were filthy and smelled of the street and the gutter.
I was there for a long time I think, crying quietly and dozing, too. An attendant came around a few times, mostly to look in at us and saunter away, immune to our protestations or questions, mine included.
I did finally sleep deeply. I don’t know for how long; all I know is that there was the unmistakable sound of jangling keys and the realization that the door had been opened.
I picked my head up off of the filthy bench to see who had come in. It was a gentleman, that was obvious. He looked over each of us. A burly man accompanied him. They kept whispering to one another.
When he got to me, he raised the torch into my face. I put my arm up for the light was blinding.
“No dear,” he said gently, moving my arm down. “I just want to see your face.”
I almost asked him why. I think now, looking back on it, I should have—things might have been different if I had.
As he was holding the torch aloft, I could just make out his even features. His expression was kindly. “I am Dr. Bannion and I’d like to talk to you.”
I was unwell, confused in my mind, yet there are moments I remember well and this was one of them.
Before he led me out he spoke to the attendant. I am sure that was to ascertain whether she thought I’d be violent. Just to be on the safe side, she went along, her arms at her side but ready to go into action at any time.
Most of these attendants were big-boned and tall, and could have easily been taken for men.
“In here, please.”
It was a small room with a bench and some cabinets. It was filled with medicine bottles and books and things.
I sat on a bench alongside the attendant with the doctor facing us.
He began at once. “Now then! Would you prefer to be called by your surname or your Christian name?”
How singularly unimportant that was in the scheme of things. But I didn’t realize it then, I am certain I said I preferred to be called Rose.
He looked pleased when I spoke. “Well now, do you feel able to answer some questions, Rose?”
I quite liked his manner, as ill as I was—and I was very ill and confused a great deal of the time. But, I did like him because he sounded kind and caring. And because he did, I wished to answer all his queries. “I shall try.”
“Yes, that is all one can ever expect is to try.”
I noticed then that he nodded toward the attendant to take that as a sign for her departure. I was delighted.
“What can you tell me, Rose? You were away for the weekend, weren’t you?”
“Yes I was.” I hadn’t remembered that until he reminded me. “I was at my aunt’s.”
He was speaking to me and jotting notes down, too. I think I expected that.
“Your aunt is ill.”
“Yes, she is dying.” Suddenly, I remembered my mother telling me to go and I got choked up and found it impossible to go on. “Please, sir.”
He reached over and touched my arm gently as a friend would. I found the gesture reassuring and I smiled. “It is so hard.”
That, as they say, was the last straw for suddenly I collapsed in a paroxysm of tears and sobs. I was quite wild and unmanageable.
The attendant reappeared.
“Rose, I am giving you something. It will help to relax you.”
Everything became a pleasant blur but I did hear Dr. Bannion’s voice say, “I shall remove her to Marsh where she can get the best care.”
He told me Marsh was a place where I could rest, where he’d help me get better. “You’ll see, Rose. It’s in the country in a lovely location. I run it and I am certain you will benefit greatly.”
I had questions I wished to ask him but since I didn’t feel as though he wished me to ask him anything, I didn’t.
I wonder still what he would have said if I had.
“We shall take the train. Huddersfield is a long way from London.”
“In Yorkshire, sir?”
“Yes, the West Riding and it’s quite beautiful there.”
I remember bits and pieces of this day. I remember smelling the rain and him helping me into the carriage.
“Kings Cross, please!”
The cab jerked forward to oblige.
“It won’t be long now.”
I had so many questions but not the sense or ability to ask them, for he had given me another injection before we left.
“Yes that’s right, you close your eyes.”
In and out, sleeping one minute and awake the next.
The cab stopped and we were there—Kings Cross.
He had already explained that we would have to change trains a few times. “Don’t worry, I shall take care of everything.”
How comforting that was to hear. I began to trust him and to rely on him then.
As for the trip itself, I can only recall it as a muddle of steam and groaning metal, of sharp whistles too, so loud I covered my ears.
“That’s alright, Rose.”
The calming voice, again. I smiled for I was comforted.
I slept most of the time, barely noticing being guided gently from one train to another, with his voice always soothing me: “Yes, just this way now. There you may sit down now, Rose.”
And then later as if I was a sleepwalker waking from a dream, I heard him say, “You really have slept most of the way, we should be arriving fairly soon.”
He looked pleased and because he did I felt pleased, too. “Truly, I never meant to sleep so much.”
The train screeched to a stop and we disembarked like two weary travelers nearing the end of an expedition. And perhaps it was, as it was a quest to get better… or so I thought.
I was not prepared for the tumult. I cringed at the hustle and bustle of so many people rushing this way and that.
But he calmly ushered me along. “Just this way, Rose, you’re doing splendidly.”
I was proud and felt my spirits soar.
A line of cabs and a cab man called out. “Any place. Fair rates!”
A startled look from said cabbie. “Marsh, sir? The town or--!”
“The asylum, if you please.”
“Rightie oh, sir!”
Asylum? A madhouse? Why hadn’t I asked, why hadn’t I known? But what difference could it have possibly made?
“There it is, Rose.” he nodded, looking at me encouragingly.
I looked out to see a forbidding place with granite walls and towering gates, implacable barriers to be reckoned with and the words strung across the archway:
MARSH LUNATIC ASYLUM.
I had come home, at least for now.
BOOK TWO - UNHOLY TESTAMENT - THE BEGINNINGS
Eco, first seen in the previous book, has documented all of the sins he has committed during the course of his immortal life. Trying to get Rose to forgive him, he forces Rose to read his journal by holding her children hostage.
I am what I am for I have become a creature of the blood; a being who dwells in the world of the undead and always shall.
He knew I would make the choice to save the children who are also creatures of the blood. He knew it for he had orchestrated it, like the maestro that he is, Eco an immortal like my own beloved; both of them born of fallen angels and human women. But whereas Louis is good, Eco carries the seeds of Hell within him—Eco our worst enemy; Eco the destroyer of our friends, the fiend who had ravished me and would have married me in Hell, before Satan himself; Eco who haunts my dreams and always shall.
He had staked the children, my children now for it is my blood that flows within them. In order to save them I opened my own veins that they should drink.
“Drink, my loves, for it is the only gift I have for you.”
I gave up my living life for them and gladly, too. But because of my act I saw the flames of Hell and felt Hell’s horrific heat.
Yet, Hell left no mark on me. I passed through it and was raised. The one who loved me drew me forth. No demon touched me, although they tried. Hordes upon hordes of them reached out to pull me back, back into their master’s domain.
Yet just as they reached for me, I felt myself snatched away. They shouted in rage as I was pulled still further and further away.
And then, I heard a voice, a voice I knew. A voice, it seemed, my heart always dreamt of.
“Rose, I command you to rise from death for death shall not claim you!”
His voice called to me, summoning me forth—the voice of my love, my Louis.
And then, like a baby being born, I emerged into the bright light. I know now it was sunlight. Someone touched my hand. It was Simon. My child now for I had perished giving him my own life force.
And so I was reborn. My transformation was all embracing. All secrets were revealed as the truth of all worlds was shown me. Every question I ever had about God or heaven or humanity was revealed.
I knew God was good and people were supposed to do with their lives the most that they could. I knew about damnation and loyalty to Heaven so that I better understood exile from that kingdom of light. Though undead, I still did know what truth was.
I understood that to be separate from God for whatever purpose was not to be desired, yet one great and fundamental truth was this—that evil exists because good exists. It is the great balance to everything.
And so I left one world to enter another—the world of the undead, that place where I would dwell forever.
My senses were alive as they had never been before. I smelled the wildlife that called the moors their home; birds and rodents—and all manner of insects.
I heard sounds I had never heard. And it was all mine to share with those I loved.
How Louis wept.
And what of my undead children?
At least they had not seen their friends destroyed. At least they had been spared that.
Eco left us then for he had accomplished his purpose.
And so we took our friends’ mangled corpses—Dr. Antor and the sisters, Joan and Belle Lodge, and we burned them. Louis said the flames would cleanse their bodies of Eco’s vile touch and I was glad.
We left then. We left Blackstone Moor never to return.
So what of Blackstone House? Louis tore it apart as he would have liked to tear Eco asunder.
“Mama, where is the house?”
The children asked this and I answered: “It is no more. It is gone forever.”
And Louis nodded for it was true. Its sinister power would no longer haunt me.
I have survived much, Louis has always said so. I have survived madness and murder. The madness was in the guise of my lunatic father who stole my innocence over many years and then murdered himself and our family.
I did not emerge unscathed from such horror. No I did not. There were madhouses after that, two in fact.
And then there was Dr. Bannion, director of Marsh Asylum, a supposedly dedicated doctor, a doctor I trusted but one who was in league with Satan and who called Eco friend.
Yes, I have survived much.
The children were ill, though they both tried to hide it by pretending they weren’t. Still, Louis and I both knew they were weak; we could see it in their faces and in their dull eyes and their ashen skin.
The fever started within a day of our leaving Blackstone Moor. First Ada was struck down by it and then Simon.
“We will go to a doctor I know…” Louis’ words and I was relieved to hear them.
There was a coven in north Yorkshire. Louis knew the master; he had been a doctor in his living life. Now he tended his coven as their protector and friend.
Each one of Louis’ friends is like he is: selfless and kind, untainted by the forces of evil, although vampires vary as human beings do. There are good and bad; those riddled with sin or not.
He told me of his friend’s living life as we journeyed there.
“Edward was a good doctor, kindly and caring. He perished in the Great Fire. I tended him but he passed away. It was better for him too for his burns were terrible, his agony intolerable. Still, when I raised him he was free of the physical pain but not the pain of his new existence.”
Edward, another of the deserving undead.
I liked him right away. He reminded me of Louis but he was older looking, for he had been created in the winter of his living life.
His face was badly scarred, his ear disfigured. Those marks would be forever upon him; the signs of the fire which ended his life.
He welcomed us and embraced Louis.
“My friend, it has been too long.”
When his eyes fell upon me I had the feeling he knew. He took my hand and kissed it. “You are most welcome and all your kin.”
Then his eyes beheld Simon and Ada. He sobbed for he knew them and saw how weakened they were.
“They will recover,” he said. “But they need rest.”
He made them a poultice of wolfbane and herbs. The children hardly stirred and he smiled. “It is good they sleep, for it will speed the healing.”
The women of the coven were kindly too. They varied in age. That is, the time of their living lives when they were created varied. Some were elderly looking and others looked quite young.
There were sisters and a granny and children, too; children who had grown old before their time, ancient before their death and raising up.
Edward introduced them. “They are a family. They were and still are and always shall be.”
He would tell us later they had perished in a cholera outbreak.
“None of the factory owners did, just them. They like it here among the rugged dales and green hills, and it is here they shall dwell.”
This, their dwelling place, had been a farm. The outbuildings were still used as stables and there were chicken pens.
They were not regular imbibers of blood as we are not. Though when we sicken, and we do sometimes fall ill, all but Louis that is, we do require fresh blood.
“When the children wake,” he said. “They will take a broth. It is a mixture of herbs and animal blood. I am afraid it smells awful but it is what they need. I have given this to many who sicken.”
I was worried as vampires have been known to perish from disease and the effects of attacks.
“They were staked,” I said. “They nearly perished.”
“Eco,” Louis said.
The doctor nodded. “Yes, his name is a curse upon the lips of all vampires, and those who do not curse him are his servants in Hell.”
We were there for some time. The children were ill as the fever lingered. They were delirious too and that was the worst. They hadn’t spoken of their mother very much. But they did then. They spoke of Eve and of that terrible time when the vampire killers came and destroyed Louis’ coven.
Louis destroyed the killers. But if he killed them, Eve first destroyed herself. Poor Eve, she was truly her own worst enemy.
I tried to comfort the children for they were moaning and looked to be in great distress.
Edward said they could not hear me. “It is different than if a living person was delirious. They really do see those they knew, those other undead like themselves.”
I wondered then if they saw Eve wherever she existed. Edward was not surprised she had destroyed herself.
“Yes, poor Eve—there was a tortured being.”
I asked him if he thought the children might see her now, the way they were.
“They will only see her in shadow, in the shadowy realm she now inhabits.”
Louis said he had prophesied that Eve would bring about her own dark destiny upon herself and those she loved, and so she had, but she had only destroyed herself.
Days and weeks passed and I watched the children, relieved that the delirium passed and with it the fever.
“They have passed the crisis,” Edward said.
And they had. They looked better and stronger although I knew they would never be entirely right.
“They have been through so much. I don’t think they could have taken much more,” Louis murmured. Those words chilled my heart.
But it was truth and truth must always be acknowledged.
Louis looked tired and worried. If he wasn’t worried about the children, he was asking me if I felt alright.
I smiled as reassuringly as I could. I think he sensed my desire to go to Marsh, for I wished to put flowers down there for all those who had perished in the fire Bannion had set; my friend, Grace, among them.
If Eco was from Hell, Bannion was destined to burn there for he used his position for evil and for sin. But he was no more, and the evil that was within him was gone now, too, as he was.
I began to recall him. I hadn’t thought of him in the longest time but now I did. Bannion, my own personal demon; Bannion, the debauched and evil Bannion who turned his own madhouse into the flames of Hell.
Louis saw I was troubled for I could not hide it. “What is it, Rose?” he asked. I told him what was in my heart. I said the name of the place I swore I would try to forget: Marsh Asylum.
“Please, Louis, I should like to go there to see my friend’s grave… When the children are well might we please visit there?”
He tried to dissuade me, but when he saw he could not, he agreed. “Yes, Rose. If that is what you really want we shall go there. Though mind, I doubt if there are graves as such…”
As such. I understood what he meant. Grace had been an inmate in a lunatic asylum. As I was.
As I was…
That phrase has often gone though my head countless times. I had been there and she was my friend.
“We will go if you wish it Rose, so that you may honor your friend.”
I did wish it, for I had to speak to Grace one more time.
BOOK THREE - UNHOLY TESTAMENT - FULL CIRCLE
Vampiric orgies and satanic rites fill the pages of this book. All of the hideous secrets of Blackstone House are revealed. Every evil that Rose Baines was subjected to is closely examined, as are those who committed the worst sins against her.
PART ONE ROSE
PART ONE ROSE
I must read the rest of Eco’s journal. I haven’t a choice. My children and I are held captive on a ship staffed by vampires, overseen by the demon, Eco—a monstrous being who calls Hell home and Satan friend. Eco, the walking embodiment of stinking corruption; enemy to man but friend to demons and undead creatures.
Eco, who has written an accounting of all of his sins committed during his existence. I am reading it now. But there is still more to read; how I shall get through it, I do not know.
He assures me has written it for me, that I might know of his great sins and forgive him—and if that is not horrible enough, he wishes me to love him. This beast from Hell wants my love!
Please, do not pull away in horror. I, too, inhabit the world of the undead as the children do. Yes, I admit it. I am a vampire raised from death, a creature of the blood. Yet I harm no one, nor do my children.
In living terms, I am younger than my little ones for my undead children lived centuries before I did—Ada and Simon perished during the witch hysteria that swept sixteenth century France.
Those days were filled with evil persecution, most of it perpetrated by people far more evil than those they singled out for slaughter.
The children were among the ones who were singled out. They died with their mother at the end of a rope before a screaming mob. Can you imagine anything as barbaric as hanging a mother and her children for witchcraft?
Still, they had escaped the flames that day. Of course, that was only because there was no more straw or wood. The populace was disappointed when the mayor announced that the ‘family of witches’ would be hanged instead of being burned. The crowd booed and threw whatever was at hand.
Louis told me this; even as he witnessed the horror, he knew what he would do. He was there watching, my beloved Louis, the righter of wrongs, the dark side’s one true saint-like being who endeavors to do less evil than himself.
That is what he is about. He seeks justice where there is none and life after death for those unjustly killed. So because the world is so unfair, Louis brings its victims back to life again the only way possible, as undead creatures.
But they have to pass through Hell before they are raised. Even as he calls them forth, Satan’s demons try to grab them, to populate Hell, for Satan can never have enough of the damned there.
They were indeed raised up. The woman, Eve, became his wife—wanton and evil and badly marked by Hell’s evil taint. That can happen. It did to her so that she returned different than she had been with every bad trait exaggerated.
The children did not return tainted. Ada and Simon were as sweet as they always had been. No demon came near; they were raised innocent and pure.
Louis saw what she was, but he married her still, for the children wanted their mother. And she had been, despite how she was transformed, a good and loving mother who became so self-hating that she sought her own destruction.
Yes, I was there in Blackstone House when it happened. She did it the time the vampire destroyers showed up by hurling herself onto a sharpened stake, happy to perish.
I thus became their mother, giving my life in order to save them. That makes them my children now!
Eco nearly destroyed them. He staked them and then watched the results of his act—results he had orchestrated.
Louis did not wish me to be undead, but I knew they needed my human blood and I gave it to them, my death paying the forfeit for my unselfish gesture.
Death claimed me. I died and passed through Hell. Hordes of demons came at me. I could feel the heat of Hell’s flames yet he called me forth, my beloved.
I heard his voice shouting my name. “Rose!”
My heart’s love raised me from that death—my Louis, a true immortal, a being unable to be destroyed, a being without the fragility that vampires have, for though undead, we can in fact be destroyed.
Louis cannot for he is demon spawn, born of a human woman and a fallen angel. He is the mirror image of his worst enemy, Eco—his cousin, who shares his heritage but not his goodness.
Eco is an evil abomination. Evil and madness are not always combined, but in Eco’s case they are, for they are blended in equal amounts to form that monster.
We left Blackstone Moor behind. Louis razed the house to the ground, hoping to expunge its hideous past. I wonder if that is possible.
We travelled from there and we had a peaceful existence but then the letter came. It came with no warning, addressed to Louis from his coven in North America.
“I must go,” he said.
He showed me the letter written by his old friend, Jean Dubot, the coven’s master. It mentioned a woman called Eliza and her son, Tom.
“I raised them up,” he said. “They perished on their way to the Virginia Colony. … I married her, Rose. I would have remained there but Eve wrote to me….”
At first, I didn’t understand but then I did and he left.
It was horrible being without him. We hadn’t been apart until that time. The children tried to help by being brave for me, but I could not be comforted. I ached too much for my beloved.
Still, there were his letters, though waiting for them to arrive was agony. Weeks and months passed, but then one letter came with our passage money in it. We would be able to join him!
None of us could believe it. We booked passage on a clipper ship the next day out of Liverpool.
We are aboard the Sea Mist bound for New York. Our steward has told me Louis is also on board but he is held in the Hold, drugged and powerless. He lies amongst the horrific stored food Eco keeps for the vampires and himself.
Eco and his friends and crew, demons all, like the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory. A depraved murderous sadist who bathed in human blood. Eco knew her and loved her. Can you imagine such a thing?
She is aboard, beast that she is, still wanting Eco’s touch, still longing for the sick love they gave one another.
And what of Gilles de Rais, friend and aide to Joan of Arc, notorious Satanist and child murderer? He is her husband and he is here, too!
They hold my children now as I am forced to read the rest of the confession. How will I manage when I cannot trust any of them, especially Eco?
There are others of his brethren—Caligula, an evil, twisted emperor, good friend to Eco in life, was raised to be with him after death. The bonds of their evil friendship could not be severed.
Christianity’s scourge, Attila, is here as well. Attila, a murdering cut throat, inspired by the monster, Eco.
Then there is the being that calls neither Heaven nor Hell home, but exists somewhere in the middle—in whatever middle that might be. Do not look or call out for him, for he will come soon enough.
Death is here for those passengers and crew the devils feed on. Death who is always eager for more souls—Death who always waits.
And she is here, too—Lilith, first wife to Adam, the mother of all demons, mistress to both Satan and Eco. Lilith, who has come to think of me as friend.
There! Now can you see the nightmare world I exist in? I am not only undead, I am with demons.
There you have it…well, almost. There is a point to all of this, at least in the monster Eco’s mind. I am requested to read his confession. It is his accounting of every sin he has committed during the course of his entire existence. I have already read a great deal, but there is more. There has to be in an immortal’s existence.
It is difficult reading, the most trying task I have ever had to undertake for I hate and fear him. And now, his monstrous friends—the Blood Countess and Gilles de Rais—are holding my children!
I have no choice but to finish reading the diary of a mad demon: Eco’s unholy testament.
BOOK FOUR - THE FOURTH BRIDE
After the tragic and sudden death of her groom, Dia, cursed by Dracula as a babe, is taken to his castle. Once there, she is seduced and turned by the count and becomes his fourth bride. Dia's tale is full of erotic sex and graphic violence. It is a tale of love and lust but mostly of blood, for the blood is everything.
Dia was indeed cursed and Dracula had done it. It’s rare that a dying mother would give her daughter to one such as I—a vampire—but truly she had no choice. She was surrounded by vampires and demons.
“Take care of her please,” she said. “He has bewitched my child. He has whispered death and abomination into her ears…my own babe!”
I promised I would; how could I not for the mother died in order that the evil vampires could feed!
We have endured much, my children and I, undead creatures that we are. And my husband, too, Louis—son of a fallen angel and himself a vampire. Though demonic creatures, we seek to do less evil than ourselves. Louis taught me that; Louis who raised me when I perished saving the children. “Drink,” I told them. “It is the only gift I can give you.”
I gave them my living life in order for them to retain their undead ones. The choice was easy. The aftermath I faced was difficult.
We went on to exist then as best we could. And truly we lived happily and at peace for three years before Louis received a letter from his old friend and coven master in America begging for help. There were vampire destroyers closing in.
Louis left at once. I felt my heart go with him. We wrote for months and then a letter came with passage money. I was tricked into booking passage on a ship bound for America, a ship that was seized by Eco and his crew of vampires. Eco, the dark mirror image of Louis, also born of a fallen angel and human woman, forced this upon us, monster that he is. My children and I were held captive by him. And what was the fate of the ship’s captain and his passengers? They became the vampires’ food store!
In the face of all this horror I was urged to read Eco’s unholy testament, a document he had written in order to confess all of his sins committed in the course of his eternal existence. He had written it because he loved me, he said. He told me it was the only noble thing he had ever done.
I had no choice but to read it; that was made clear. I did read it under threat, for Eco’s demonic friends held my children.
“Now you have something to think about. Best start reading, Rose. You’ll do a fine job. You can concentrate better now, without the distraction of the children.”
I had no choice.
When I had finished reading the journal, my children were returned to me. But what I came to believe about Louis being held aboard ship was just another of Eco’s cruel tricks. I realized this when the ship at last came ashore. That was when I saw the point to Eco’s carefully orchestrated ruse. I was to attend the trial of my husband!
Satan was judge and Eco held the role of prosecuting counsel. The jury comprised a selection of Eco’s friends: demons and vampires all.
Louis was charged with being a fraud and deserting his brethren on the dark side. Had he been convicted, I and our two children, Simon and Ada, would have been destroyed. But Count Dracula spoke up for us. And because he was friend to Satan and Eco both, the case was dismissed. I felt relieved, but wondered for how long.
The last I saw of Dracula, he was with Satan. Louis said we would face more evil and as he said it, in the same moment, I saw Dia—the new addition to our family, bequeathed to me by a woman who’d died on the ship at the hands of Eco’s cohorts—reach out toward Dracula. I saw the expression in her eyes and Hell’s strange light burning there. I knew she would have to be saved. But first, she would have to be blessed.
Louis said a priest would bless her for she had done nothing wrong; she did, after all, still have her soul. I could not take her to the church, nor I thought should Louis. We are unclean, undead things—how do we dare approach a church? We only went in sight of one and waited. Eventually, someone saw us and a face appeared at the door. A priest motioned us inside. It wasn’t until we were in his hall that he gasped. “Be gone, evil things!”
“We are what we are, but the child has done nothing wrong!” Louis pleaded.
The priest glanced at Ada and Simon.
“No! The little one!” I held Dia up so that he could see her. He looked carefully at her. But his face was not kind, nor was his manner. “Why do you bring her here?”
Louis spoke. “We would like her to be blessed...”
The priest looked hard into our faces. “Why?”
“Her mother gave her into my care and died,” I explained in as steady a voice as I could. “But before she did she told me the child had been cursed. Can you do anything?”
He stared so intently at me, I blanched. “I can try,” he finally said. “God’s power is infinite... Give her to me and I will take her inside. Wait here.”
We did wait, for we could not enter a holy place. I heard Dia scream and cry. After a while, the priest returned. “I have blessed her. I have done as much as I could.” He nodded sadly. “I think there is something there within her you must watch. Be ever vigilant, for I am certain the child’s mother was correct. She has indeed been touched by evil.”
Louis’ friends were waiting for us: Jean, Eliza and her son, the only survivors of Louis’ old coven. Jean had defended Louis in the makeshift court.
“Come and be with friends,” they urged. “For it is comfort and nurturing which you need now. I looked at Louis and the children and agreed. It was best not to be on our own, not yet.
And so we went from that place, bound for New York State and a farm Jean had owned. And though we were content there and far from danger, it was a difficult time. For as much as I was pleased to be with others of my kind, I was worried about Dia. There wasn’t a moment of any day that I didn’t watch her and fear for the future. We remained with our friends for five years until finally Louis suggested we return to England.
“I was thinking about living in London. Would you like that, Rose?”
That surprised me for I hadn’t thought of London for so long.
“Yes, Louis. That would be good.”
Ada and Simon were pleased for they loved London as it had been their home for centuries. They were so good and loving to Dia except she could turn from pleasant to strange in a moment.
Simon thought, whatever it was, she would grow out of it. “After all,” he said. “She is living and can change.”
I cried when he said that. It was such a sad thing to say for this undead child who would never grow up. Ada wept too but then she always does when I cry.
As for Dia, she just watched me, her little hand reaching out toward my face to wipe my tears. “No cry,” she said.
I hugged her. Maybe she would be alright; she was only a baby really when Dracula had cursed her. Perhaps between the blessing and time, she would change. We could hope; and so we sailed on the steamship, Atlantic, to England’s shores.
We docked at the Royal Victoria Dock in London. We would take a house in St. John’s Wood. It was quite a nice residence.
“We will be happy here,” Louis said. And I agreed, in fact I loved it. I enjoyed the quiet of the neighborhood, the pleasing sights and sounds of London. It was good to be home.
Dia began to look happier than I had ever seen her. A woman Louis knew from a coven came to reside with us at that time. It’s always best to have one of our kind with us.
And so we thrived there and Dia did as well. Of course, in time, she did realize that though she continued to grow, her brother and sister did not. I didn’t look forward to explaining the reason for that. When I did, she said she understood though I doubted she could.
There were other truths to tell as well. I had to tell her I was not her real mother. I explained her own mother had given her over to me to raise. I did not tell her the entire truth surrounding her mother’s death until she was old enough to understand.
I knew nothing of the mother. All I knew was she looked to be a Gypsy, but I did not wish to tell Dia that. So I lied a little. “I am not certain where she came from. I think she was from the east. Her name was Nadya.”
Dia’s eyes filled with tears and she repeated the name. “And that is why I am Dia Nadya.”
I hugged her and assured her how very much she was loved from the moment I took her. “Your mother died knowing her daughter had a home.”
Dia smiled. “What you did was a kindness. You could not have done more.”
I saw hope then. I felt she was going to be alright. Whatever had happened was in the past. I thought perhaps being in the bosom of our family would drive away any evil influences.
One year passed and then another. Eventually, a nice young man began to call on her and they courted. His name was Edward and he was kind and forthright and seemed to love Dia, which was all we could wish for. I was certain he would ask for her hand, and he did.
Louis told me he was delighted. When he noticed my expression he said I worry about everything. That is true, but so too was my fear of a church wedding. I need not have feared though for they have recently eloped of all things. In truth, Dia suggested it to her fiance as it would put my heart at ease.
The house feels empty without my daughter. All I can do is wait to hear from her because they are bound for Italy by ship. Louis tells me not to worry.
“Let them be, Rose. We will hear from them.”
I agree, though I cannot stand the waiting.
(end of excerpts)
eFestival of Words 2014: Best Villain, Eco/ Best Horror, The House on Blackstone Moor
"92 Horror authors you need to read right now"
Carole Gill -- the Blackstone Vampires series
~Charlotte Books - EXAMINER
"In the attempt to find the just measure of horror and terror, I came upon the writing of Carole Gill whose work revealed a whole new dimension to me. The figure of the gothic child was there. Stoker's horror was there. Along with the romance! At the heart of her writing one stumbles upon a genuine search for that darkness we lost with the loss of Stoker."
DR. MARGARITA GEORGIEVA ~ Gothic Readings in The Dark
The House on Blackstone Moor:
"Carole Gill presents a monstrous mythology that evokes Milton and makes you resent any time you must take away from finishing this fabulous read!"
Unholy Testament - The Beginnings
"Outstanding horror by an amazing author!! Gave me the creeps! Ms. Gil really immerses the reader in her well-crafted and frightening dark world!"
Unholy Testament - Full Circle
"Is full of dark, gory, evil and heinous twist and turns which keeps your adrenaline going. Unholy Testament - Full Circle with all of the horrific things that goes on in it is just right up my alley. And believe me you definitely get plenty of evil in Unholy Testament - Full Circle. The ending left me with my mouth hanging open it was so surprising. I never expected it but I loved it."
NANCY ALLAN - Avid Reader
The Fourth Bride
Creepy and full of evil! Carole is by far the master story teller of vampire gothic horror. Once you pick this novel up there will be nothing more important than getting to the last page! There are more dark twists and turns than a roller coaster!
WENDE SHEETS ~ Julie's Book Review
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