An excerpt. From Paris, just before The French Revolution, children are disappearing. Eco suspects the vampiric nobles are responsible...!
"Actually, I was curious about just how bad things were and as we were to stay in Paris for a few days before travelling to Calais for the boat to Dover, I thought I’d satisfy my curiosity.
Edmund and I had it in our heads to go amongst the people before we were to leave. Naturally we did this in disguise. That is, we were dressed not as gentlemen. Somehow (with a generous stipend) we obtained an English speaking guide to show us around.
He had been suspicious about our motives but the money seemed to ease those feelings away. “I shall take you to a tavern, Monsieur. It is actually a notorious meeting place for vagabonds and miscreants.”
This he did by taking us to the notorious Marais area, which was a seething slum, one of the worst in Paris. One or two rather frantic individuals confided remarkable things to us. They said many children were disappearing.
“Monsieur, it is awful! They come and snatch them away and who knows for what purpose?! I myself have heard things…terrible things!”
Well, you can imagine how that struck me. I may be what I am but it was still dreadful—at the very least for what it could mean. Naturally, I wanted to know more.
It was then that I was told the most remarkable tale, recounted by a young man who swore that what he saw was absolutely true. He explained in his broken English how he had witnessed a child being pulled into a carriage.
“It came suddenly, just at dusk. A child was playing alone. A young girl. She had wandered away from her playmates. A cry was heard just as she was seen being bundled into the carriage. The other children shouted and the child’s mother appeared. When told what had happened, she collapsed. I did see the carriage slow down and stop but I was too far from it to do anything.”
He continued after a pause: “While another coach waited, the child was taken and placed in that second one. And Monsieur, the second one had a royal seal on it! A royal seal! I could not believe my eyes. What I had heard was true, I thought. The rumors were correct! Children were being spirited away from the streets of Paris and taken to the palace for some horrid mischief! It had to be. As the royal carriage then took off, I could do nothing but return to the poor mother to explain what I had seen.”
The young man spoke of the tears and shouts from the mother and her other children as an ever increasing crowd formed to bear witness to this horrible event. Many people shouted they too had seen such things.
“This has been going on for far too long! We must do something they shouted. We must!”
I thanked the young man and paid him for his trouble, although he was very proud. “No, Monsieur, it is truth and truth needs no recompense. It is how things are.”
“But can you not go to the authorities and report this?”
As I asked this, I remembered the crimes of Gilles de Rais and realized even centuries later, little had changed for the man shook his head and explained exactly who the authorities were. “It would do no good. We have no voice, we are no better than the filth in the streets, for we are regarded as such.”
Then I had visions of that so called filth rising up in order to make its nobles take notice.
Eventually, Edmund and I took our leave to make our way back to our lodgings.
“There is something going on here, Eco. I think it best to return to London, don’t you?”
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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