Chapter One (Re-Edited)
My dear reader, hello to you, you and whoever else it is that is with you.
You are probably wondering who I am.
Well if you were not you certainly would not have picked up this book and began reading it, now would you? Though I suppose I cannot blame you, for if I was you I would probably do the very same as you are now as you stand in your local book store looking for something to read, something that will undoubtedly catch your eye no matter what the story may be.
But this is no story that you are reading, this is my life.
My very life is in your hands right now.
You may laugh about it, maybe even think of it as a joke, but to me this is no joke, for what I have gone through, what I have witnessed in my so ever prolonged life, is something that I could never even joke about no matter how much I’d wish to.
For you see, I am a vampire, an immortal being that cannot die, who must drink the blood of the living so I may live another night.
Go ahead, roll your eyes, think to yourself “Oh no, another story about vampires it’s over done and boring to the point of being less than the ground I’m walking on.” Whether this is what you are truly thinking or not, it does not matter. For in this book I cannot read your mind so I can only guess as to what it is that you may be thinking right now.
If this story dose not interest you then put it back down on the shelf and head on your marry way as if this book never existed.
But if this story does interest you, if you are wondering how I as an undead being who at first gave up on living while drinking blood then I shall tell you.
It was not by my choice.
I was forced into this by a man, a man who I, at the young age of seventeen, believed to be an angel. Yet in reality it makes me regret my own foolishness, and the idiotic fear of not wanting to die the same way my mother had. But I am getting far too ahead of myself, allow me to go back and start over.
My name is Louise Bellerose, my life and un-life begins in Rouen, Northern France near the close to the countryside.
I was born in 1854 to the home of a banker family, my mother Joséphine and my father Jonathan, graced to have an older brother Arthur. Growing up I loved to run along the tall grass that grew around our small mansion, playing hide and seek with some of the workers while my mother watched closely from a distance. While my father would then come down and pick me up to see if we small humans could reach up and touch the stars that glittered like diamonds in the ink black sky during the night if I still played.
My parents, how I loved them so, my father with chestnut hair and dark blue eyes, with a tall lean stature, spectacles resting on the bridge of his nose as he always kept a pocket watch in his vest breast pocket that my mother gave to him as their first anniversary gift. He loved it so, just as much as he loved his family.
But then a few years later in 1862 when I was only eight years old my father came down with a strange sickness, I begged for my father to get better, alongside with my mother who tried everything with the many doctors that came and went but it was all with little prevail. In the crisp season of October, with the leaves having still its many coloured leaves in the trees that surrounded our home my beloved father, who seemed to be able to overcome anything that stood in his path, died in the late eve of the night.
I remember how my mother cried openly over the loss of her husband, my brother refusing to cry, for he was now the man of the house but even at a young age of fifteen, I could still see how his thin yet broad shoulders shook with grief as he held back his tears that demanded release.
I recall that all of the mirrors were then covered in black silk, even the one in my bedroom, at such an age I could not understand its meaning and tried to pull the silk off, only to be stopped by large graceful hands, my eyes followed those hands to its owner of a very handsome man with flowing hair the color of ebony that rested loosely around his broad shoulders, eyes of dark chocolate that seemed to fill a person with warmth by merely staring at them. Even while keeling down to be more at my level I could tell that this man was very tall, a towering giant that could undoubtedly crush my fragile body as if it were nothing more than the glass China dolls that rested upon my tall dresser.
“You should not do that.” The man said. “For your father’s very soul maybe trapped within this mirror if you remove the covering.”
I merely looked back towards the mirror before telling him. “But what if that’s what I want? I don’t want father to go, I want him to stay so mother will no longer be sad.”
The man merely shook his head slowly before he gently pulled me away from the mirror. “It does not work that way little one, if your father’s soul is trapped in that mirror he will be lost forever, and he may end up hurting you even if it is something that he does not wish. So do not remove the covering until he is buried and you’ve given your final goodbyes to him.”
I understood his words well, yet at the same time I still wanted father to remain, to remain by my mother’s side and then pass on when she died. Did that not seem like too much to ask for one so young?
“I wish that he did not have to die.” I said my eyes downcast to the dark wood floor. “I wish that there was some way he could come back and be with us, and live like before.”
“I understand your feelings, I too have wished this in one time or another, but if they were brought back they most likely will not be the same as you remember them.”
His words struck me, I wanted my father back, and yet here he said he would not be the same, why is it that there were so many horrible people in the world who are living long lives while the good are taken long before they’re time, it did not seem right to me, even now I detest that so many people with souls so rotten that it is nothing more than a black stain that they can live much longer then a person who is filled with pure goodness.
The man then ran the back of his hand along my cheek, catching my tears as they fell. “I am sorry, I know these are the words that you do not want to hear, but it is the truth. But you must as least feel at peace that your father went on without feeling pain. He was a good friend of mine and I am deeply saddened to see him go.”
“You knew my father?”
He smiled softly as he as he continued to run his hand along my cheek. “Yes, I knew him well for he and I worked together from time to time, always a hard worker trying to do everything to provide for the family he loved dearly. He told me much about you and his son Arthur and how he could not wait to see what you would look like when you became a young lady.”
My tears slowly began to stop as I told him. “But Sir, I already am a young lady.”
He laughed softly. “That you are, but come now; your mother is looking for you.” he stood up, tall and regal as he extended his hand to mine, a hand like a musicians, that is the kind of hands he had. I slid my tiny hand into his as he led me down the hall towards the stairs, I could recall vividly just how much trouble I had keeping up with his long graceful strides.
In the late afternoon, my father was buried that day, there were many spectators, many of which I did not know of, others that I did recognize were men and woman that my father would allow to our home to speak of many things involving his work among other things a child like me would not be able to understand. Along with the workers that maintained our home, and that man whom I had spoken too not long before standing far off admits the shadows of the trees as the sun set.
After it was over, as my mother and brother spoke to the many people who wanted to know what would happen next for our family I wandered off blindly, wanting to find a place by myself so I could grieve. I paused when I heard the faint sound of crying, rounding a large tree I saw the same man who spoke to me sitting on a stone bench near graves that nature began to take over, his head hung low, his black hair creating a curtain to hide his face as he sobbed quietly.
He then stilled, his sobs stopping almost instantly. “Leave me be, I wish to be alone.”
“Will you be alright if I do?” I asked and he raised his head, his dark brown eyes filled with shock. “My Mother and brother have many people to be with them, yet you have no one with you in your time of need, why is that?”
The man merely laughed, his voice filled with detest. “They do not wish to comfort me; they merely wish to find out who will be taking his place. It has not even been a few hours since my friend’s death and they pry constantly. Your father was like my kindred spirit, I loved him so, and I loved him as much as a man could love another man. And yet they trample over it as if it was nothing. That dear child is why I sit here alone, among the stench of long dead corpses in a forgotten part of this old tomb.”
“Then do you wish for me to leave?” I asked him, unsure if I should disobey his words.
He was silent for a moment, eyes searching the ground as if hoping to find some grand answer to my question beneath the dirt. “No,” he said finally. “I do not wish for that.” Once again he raised a hand to me. “Please, join me; allow me to grieve over his loss alongside you away from prying eyes that are business men.”
I walked slowly over to him and place my hand into his once more, he pulled me into his chest, covering my tiny body like a shadow, as he wrapped his arms around my back and held me close, he began to cry once more, muffled sobs from my shoulder.
I knew his pain, his sadness, the loneliness that he had in his cries over the loss of a friend, a friendship that I knew nothing of. He held me closer; his head buried into the crook of my thin neck as a wrapped my arms around his neck holding him close to me. this man, this broken man looked to me for comfort, comfort that many of the people further ahead could not give him, why he allowed me close to him I do not know.
All I knew was that he needed someone to lean on, and even though I was a tiny little thing, I seemed to be what this man had needed.
“I am sorry.” I heard him in between sobs. “I am so sorry that I could not help your father when he needed it.”
Those words, even now still clench my heart, to some people will think that it is not possible for an undead being to recall such feelings and feel sadness or remorse for what has happened many years ago, but it stays with us, like a curse, it will always stay with us.
Years later after my father’s death in 1870 to be precise, two major events had impacted our lives. The first was the Franco-Prussian War, a war between Germany and France in July, a fearful time for our family. Though my brother was rather optimistic about, even going to far as to suggest in enlisting, which a family friend, a man named Edmond D’Amore, quickly forbid.
Edmond was the one whom I had met as a young child when my father passed, and ever since then he remained close to our family helping in anyway he possibly could, going so far as to even teach my brother Arthur the trade that our father had done.
“You don’t understand Arthur,” Edmond told him. “It’s not something to be proud of, think of your mother, your sister. What will happen if you were to die on them then what?”
My brother who looked so much like a younger version of my father scowled at Edmond’s words. “But I wish to help our country from the Germans. I’m sure they would understand why.”
“I wouldn’t.” I told my brother. “Nor do I wish too, you’re to be married later this autumn, wouldn’t your fiancé also be troubled by this? I know you wish to fight for our country but there are other ways to do it brother. Please don’t think so rashly.”
My brother hesitated then, his dark blue eyes looked to me before he sighed deeply and embraced me into a tight hug. “Oh, my little sister, you worry too much for others.”
“As did father,” I looked up to him. “But then we both come by it honestly I suppose.”
My brother rested his forehead against my own. “That we do, then I suppose I have no choice but to not enlist. Even though I still wish too, I won’t, I’m sure mother will be beside herself with worry if I did something rash. Next to you of course Louise.”
I scowled to him. “Make light of it all you want, none of will be happy with you if something were to happen.”
My brother laughed and hugged me tighter. “I think we should concern ourselves now into finding a man for you my dear sister, a good man. When you’ve finished your schooling of course, that should be first and foremost.”
“Please!” I begged with my own laughter, as Arthur began to twirl around the room with me in his arms. Thankfully the dress I wore was not a heavy one. “Stop saying such things, you know I don’t wish to be married!”
Again, my brother laughed. Arthur had always been more concerned about others around him then that of himself. Perhaps if my brother had been a bit more selfish then it could have been avoided entirely.
For not only three weeks into this horrible war, my brother Arthur, at twenty-three had been killed, stabbed by a man who had been obsessed by his fiancé. Many tried to save him, but again to no prevail, my brother died from blood loss. Many had accounted it to the fact that my brother sympathized with the enemy during the war which was still taking place.
The reality of his death struck us all hard, more then the war which overshadowed everything else. My brother’s killer opting to take his own life before we could get any more answers as to why he did it. There was no reason for my brother to die. And I couldn’t help but think to myself that if we had let him go, then perhaps, that maybe, just maybe, Arthur would have still been alive.
At that time, I was only sixteen years old, and some of the girls who I schooled with would talk about my brother’s death, and other unpleasant things, behind my back, so much so that I decided to leave my schooling for a time. A reasonable affair since my mother was beside herself with sorrow and grief. To first lose her husband, and now her only son, something that was rather difficult for me to imagen at the time due to my age.
But my mother, with all of her bravery and fortitude, tried what she could to not let her emotions show. But there was only so much one person could do on their own and because of this it wore on her, making her show more of her actual age. But she was not alone, not only did she have her daughter’s support during this long time of grief she also had Edmond to help her in times where I could not. And there were many of them. I felt helpless, as I’m sure she did as well. Only so much could be done.
At times when Edmond did not have work to worry over, he would accompany my mother in the evening, encouraging her to go for walks, to get fresh air, he would also have me do the same as well, worrying for my metal state just as much as he did with my mother.
But I felt as though there was something more between my mother and that man, I could see clearly that my mother was slowly becoming infatuated with Edmond, something she felt immoral about on occasion, as though she were betraying my father. Something of which I doubted, my father would not have blamed her if she was able to find some form of happiness with Edmond. If anything, I encouraged it. And he in turn looked to be the same with my mother, but it was always hard to tell with him in what he thought. I however knew it was none of my business. Even though I began to wonder if he and my mother were similar, this man looked young, there were times where something about it did not sit well with me but I couldn’t tell what it was. The more this man stayed in our home the more I noticed his oddness.
Edmond would not go outside if the sun was out high in the sky; he’d sleep until it was almost one in the afternoon. He told me once the reason why he sleeps as such was because of his work at the bank and his hours were rather late then most, so I believed them. But it was also the fact that he would always put something strange in his drink and that he would barely eat a single thing during meals or anything at all.
At first, we thought that he may be sick, but he assured us that he was never the type of person who ate a lot of food.
Now I know what you’re thinking, that these are clear signs that he was something out of normality, but I must tell you I did not believe in such things like monsters that took the blood of virgin maidens or things that stalked throughout the everlasting night.
It was then in 1871 where in the coldness of the ending winter and beginning spring began to merge that I had found a rather peculiar book which talked of such things and upon my initial reading of it, I found such things laughable at its obscurity. It sounded impossible. It sounded ridiculous in how people could merely believe such things without proof. However, Edmond told me something that should have told me to run when I did not.
“Just because you believe that they do not exist in the world does not make it true. These creatures that wander the night could very well be someone you know. So, you should never take something like that so lightly.”
“I find that very hard to believe,” I said to him, since I had grown, I could see him much more as a man then before. But still only as a man who helped my mother in her time of need, for even though a year had passed my mother was deep in mourning. I felt as though he was like a second father to me, always there for us even for the smallest of things, kind and loyal, willing to listen to what I had to say and give advice as best he could as he did now. “That such a thing, a being like that who could exist in this world. The only kind of monsters I see Edmond are those who go out of their way to harm innocents. Good people who do nothing to others only to have such a horrid fate fall upon them.”
“You mean your brother.” He countered as he walked into the small library before sitting across from me on a chair while I remained of the sofa looking out of the large pained windows to the small forest that resided behind my home saying nothing in response. My hands clenching the fabric of the light blue dress that I wore, ever since I had been young I had always been told that blue always suited me greatly, complementing my light blue eyes. My hair done slightly up, yet blonde strands of my curled hair fell resting gently on the curve of my neck, it had grown out just past my shoulder blades, and that was where I intended to keep it.
Edmond was watching me; I merely glanced at him before responding. “Yes, among other people as well besides him and my father.”
“Louise, it has been a year since then, you cannot keep dwelling on such thoughts, think of your mother and how it may affect her.”
“It is not my intention to do as such, but you and I both know well that once I turn eighteen next year I maybe forced to marry a man from the bank that you work at so that they may try to get their hands on the inheritance that has now been left in my name.” I felt such bitterness at this, I did not want to marry, I did not want to be used as some kind of doll towards men, but that was all anyone saw me as.
And I was sick of it.
“I hate it.” I said when Edmond said nothing in return. “I hate how people look at me; how people openly show how much pity they must give me. I’m not some child needing a new toy to play with. I don’t need to falsehood of comfort when they don’t even mean it.”
“I know,” Edmond admitted to me, “You are clever, you are smart, you try and think things through much better than any man I have known, even more so than your father.” He then moved to sit beside me his hand clasping mine. “But Louise, you must remember that your mother needs you more than ever, you cannot leave her the way she is now.”
“Yes, you are right.” I said looking to him tears in my eyes. “But I… I just miss them, my father, my brother, I miss them greatly. And though it is childish, part of me wishes that they could return for just one day so my mother can smile like she used too. Like I used to, is it weak of me to even think such a thing?”
“No Louise it is not.” He placed a hand on my shoulder and held me close to him, his hand felt cool to the touch but I welcomed his embrace as I began to cry into his strong chest. Having to act proper, having to always hold back my true feelings, it all felt too much for me, but Edmond, he let me cry he let me talk what was on my mind when everyone else told me to keep it to myself.
I felt grateful that he was with me, but that gratefulness I held for him would soon change. For a few days later, deep during the night while all the workers had gone home for the day, it all changed. I was in my room, fast asleep when a sudden sound jolted my being away, I pushed myself upright, tucking some strands of my blond hair behind my ear as my eyes that were slowly getting used to the darkness of my bedroom looked around. Getting out of bed I quickly headed down the hallway to my mother’s room where I believed that the sound came from there, I did not care if I was in my white gown, no one but my mother and I were here so it would not matter. I opened the door to find myself completely wrong.
It was not just my mother and I but another, and that other person stood over my mother’s unmoving body that was now on the bedroom floor. I looked to the other figure, to the looming shadow that broke the moonlight entering my mother’s room with wide eyes filled with horror.
“What have you done?” I said in a soft voice.
Edmond looked at me, his brown eyes hollow with sadness, his expression like a blank mask as my eyes went to his mouth where remints of blood remains on his skin.
And this is where my story truly starts.