WHAT IF DRACULA HAD A FOURTH BRIDE? WHAT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN LIKE?
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I dreamt I heard soft murmurs all around me. It was not unpleasant for I was reminded of fairy tales and magical legends. I heard singing too; the sound of sirens perhaps. The songs were haunting, sad and beautiful all at once.
I saw three figures in the shadows. I reached out to touch them in my dream, and they came forward. “Sister!” they called.
Something cool yet comforting touched my lips. I opened my eyes to see a graceful hand lingering there. A woman was smiling at me. She leaned over and kissed me on the lips. And although her lips were icy, it was pleasing.
“Am I dreaming?”
She smiled. “Yes, some of it.”
“Who are you?”
She didn’t reply, she only took my hand in her cold one and kissed it. “ Dia...”
“How do you know my name?”
“The master told us.”
I was suddenly aware of other voices. Voices that answered in perfect unison. “The master,” they repeated until it sounded like a chant.
Then, in the soft glow of candlelight, I saw three women. They were strangely beautiful, garbed in long flowing white gowns. Suddenly they began to float up toward the bed ever so slowly, their fingers reaching out toward me as they called, “Sister.”
Were they ghosts or spirits from another world? Before I could ponder that question any longer, they began sweeping over me. I was frightened but thrilled at the same time, for there seemed about them the promise of joy and untold pleasure.
Their icy hands sought the top of my night gown, which they peeled away until I was naked. First one reached over and then the other two, each of them touching me.
A soft sigh sounded in my ears as cool lips touched my neck.
I moaned as the hands continued to sweep over me. Gentle yet persistent fingers probed my secret places—places previously unexplored—caressing and invading my body.
Lips replaced fingers. Icy lips, blue with undeath but soon to be reddened with life, my life—but I did not know then, that would be one of my very first lessons.
I felt two at my neck and one at my breast. Then I felt something sharp stab into flesh and nearly cried out but fell silent. For there by the fire stood a man. I could only make out that he was tall and slender. He moved toward the bed. Not to help me but to watch...!
At last I knew I was not dreaming. There were three women touching me and whispering as they did.
“Yes, now,” the man said.
Once again I felt their teeth upon my flesh. “We drink you and love you...”
It was only painful for a moment for when one bit me, another caressed me. And so it went on like that for an eternity it seemed.
I drifted away then, retreating into a warm place full of shadows, a netherworld so near the living one. How I wished to remain there.
In my mind I saw myself covered by three female figures and a male as well. I opened my eyes to see Dracula’s own burning like two red coals. I saw in their depths a new world I would soon be entering.
I watched as his mouth sought my neck and then my breasts. I felt the sharp sting of his teeth and the pressure of his suckling and drawing out of my blood. Yet, it was pleasurable and I wished him to do whatever he liked. There had never been a greater pleasure than this for me. I cried out in ecstasy.
After he fed he pulled away and in the semi dark I saw my blood on him. . “Beloved!” he cried. “Now you shall drink from me, for it is our wedding. I watched as he slit open his chest. “Drink and you shall never know death.”
And so I did.
I was thirsty and lapped it up. There was no wine sweeter than this; his own ruby port.
As I swallowed, I saw images of a life...a boy becoming a man. I saw battles and bloodshed, joy and sorrow. In the light and darkness of the visions appeared faces of creatures I could not identify. And then I saw the sisters calling out to me.
At first I thought I was still dreaming, but then I smelled their blood. “Sister, you are one of us now,” they said in unison.
I watched as they bent over me, each taking a part of me as though I were a feast set before them.
“They drink from your fountain for you are the new covenant. You are ours now and forever,” Dracula said.
The night was endless it seemed, and if there was pain, that pain would soon disappear and have pleasure replace it. Fathomless pleasure, the joy unending, for this was the beginning of the ritual of the blood.
“Love the blood,” he whispered. “The joy is in the blood...the passion is in the blood...endless life is in the blood...!”
I felt him mount me then. His eyes swept over my body before he took me in sight of the sisters, those who I would soon call the brides.
It was sometime later that I heard them whisper. “Dawn is breaking. Let us take her to the crypt.”
I slept the first sleep of the vampire there in the crypt. My eyes lighted upon the great caskets. The place smelled of rot and decay, yet it was pleasing to me as this place would always be my bedchamber.
Dracula carried me in his arms. “My wife,” he said. “Now, it is time to rest.”
I barely recall closing my eyes I only remember darkness and then the sound of the casket opening.
The crypt was full of shadows yet I saw a face peering into my mine. “Come, sister.”
Hands reached out and I saw the other brides. They sat me up and dressed me for I was naked. They giggled, too. “These are your wedding clothes. Now you are his forever as we are...”
Something struck me then. Something about their eyes. Though their lips spoke of love, their eyes reflected jealousy.
They told me their names in their soft yet strangely discordant voices. Now, I could see them quite clearly. I was surprised to see they all looked alike; truly they did look like sisters.
The most beautiful of the three spoke first. “I am called Verona the fair,” she said, touching her long blonde hair. “ These are Marishka and Aleera.”
As she said their names she began to touch them and they moaned with pleasure until they were all three naked.
Dracula looked pleased. “They love one another as they will love you, dear one.”
Though I didn’t wish it, I saw that he wanted me to go to them. “Please,” he said.
Their hands and lips were once again upon me, although now it was different. Now their touch hurt and I tried to pull away.
Dracula didn’t see my discomfiture for he had turned to leave the chamber.
“Come, it is time to feed,” he said. “Our world is the night and our sun is the moon.”
The sisters were right behind me. Their giggles sounded ominous. “Yes, to feed, Dia. To feed and to love...”
I watched them drift beyond the castle walls. And remarkably, I did the same—a thrilling and strange experience. It was a dark fantasy, what else could it be? And though I wondered about it, I did not care. Just to be enveloped in it was all I wanted.
The air was cold, yet I didn’t mind. I found it bracing. Never had my senses been as keen. I smelled pungent foliage and animals, too. And blood. Yes, tangy blood. Blood I wished to drink!
Dracula stood nearby and motioned me forward. He didn’t have to; the scent of human blood would have drawn me there. A man lay on the ground, not fully conscious.
“I have half strangled him,” Dracula said as he knelt down and began feeding. At last he glanced up. “He still lives; you may only feed on the living. Come, child.”
I did not hesitate; any sense of decency was gone. I was a wanton thing, a creature of the night in search of blood and little else.
He took my hand to guide it toward my lips. “Feel them,”
I felt my longer incisors and gasped.
He dipped his finger in the man’s blood. “Taste it.”
I sucked his finger with great hunger and relish. Divine. Then with joyful abandon, I bent down to feed. I fed voraciously because I was ravenous.
As I sucked forth the man’s blood, I saw his life. I saw the simple cottage of a peasant and a woman and children—his family. Yet though I saw these things, I didn’t care. It meant nothing to me. Only the blood and my beastly satisfaction were important.
I continued to feed and began to see different scenes, all having to do with the dying man’s life. When he shuddered, Dracula touched me. “You can take no more.”
I realized the man was dead, for the shuddering had stopped. And I cried because I wished more! Dracula shook his head. “You must never weaken. Never sup on the blood of the dead for if you do, your fate will be more horrible than you can imagine.”
I feared his anger and wrath, and I agreed. “I would never do that.”
“Others have,” he said. “Come, I will show you. But first,”—he smiled—“let us go to finish our feeding.”
The cottage was not far, the dead man’s dwelling where he lived with his wife and three children. The sisters were already there feeding on his loved ones who lay bleeding. They were crying out though for they were not yet close to death.
The sisters did not look up; they were too engrossed in their feasting. We joined them, although Dracula did not feed as long as the sisters.
This had become my world, and I was one of them. As I fed on one of the three children I saw her life, short as it was, flash through my mind. There was little to see for she had only reached a few years.
The mother held more interest for me. And though she was fading fast, I fed upon her and saw her childhood and maidenhood. I saw her wedding and her passion. I saw the love there, too. But because I was already a blood beast, I had no feelings of remorse.
We fed until they were no longer food but merely dead things, white and bloodless. We then returned to the castle where I was to have my first lesson.
“Come,” he said, as he led me past our crypts into a dank, dark antechamber. “I told you that you must never feed upon the dead for to drink a corpse’s blood is to invoke my fury!” The timbre of his voice made me tremble. “There, look upon that!”
He pointed to something in the corner. Massive chains dangled from the ceiling and from them hung a cage. He ordered me to look inside.
I gasped at the sight of the mutilated corpse of a woman. “I have preserved her so that others might learn.”
There wasn’t one part of her that was not mutilated. Her eyes were gone as were her features.
“That was not the work of rats,” I said. My reaction was to cry. I buried my face in my hands and wept. Not only was I frightened of him, but I felt desolate. “I do not wish to anger you, master.”
He swept me into his arms and took me upstairs, past my sisters, to a vast chamber. “This was a ballroom once. There was music and laughter, days long ago, the days of my living life...” He sounded sad yet proud of those days.
“Do you miss it?”
He looked surprised and stared at me for so long I feared asking him what I had and worried at his reaction.
But he sighed. “That which has gone before in a vampire’s existence must not be recalled, but must be banished from all thought. That is the price of endless existence.”
“I promise never to remember!”
He kissed my forehead and then my lips. And then he took me there and I gave myself up to him over and over. This was my world and I cared not for anything that had gone before. Nor would I change, of that I was certain.
He was my master and I was his devoted wife, his lover and slave, and I would be for as long as I existed. I would kill for him and die for him. I was his fourth bride.
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