Monday, March 21, 2011

A Vampire's Soul

A Vampires Soul
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

My name is James. I am a vampire. Before I was made into what I am now, God made my soul. It is that soul which I protect and my daughter’s that I hope to save. It’s not easy. Linda, my daughter is willful. She believes we are already damned and therefore should behave as the creatures that made us, the creatures we have become. It is not an easy fight. Everywhere I turn I find opposition.

I won the battle in our coven though becoming the leader of those that have chosen to remain. In doing so, I ended a war between Lycans and Vampires that had been going on for hundreds of years and put protection in place for the human’s…at least those in our territory.

Outside our province are other covens. There is an unspoken code among vampires to respect another coven’s hunting ground. We reside in small boroughs that surround a larger city. Inside the city, hunting season is open year round. The Order exists there, a vampire society that promotes human enslavement. I don’t care for The Order. At the moment they operate in the shadows. The humans they have taken, junkies, homeless, the occasional lost soul. They aren’t stupid. But they are growing impatient, their hunger for power beginning to outgrow their hunger for blood. I worry about what will happen if they decide to take this city.

I suspect that Linda has joined The Order. She has broken the covenant that I put in place. And in the catacombs beneath our town I hear the others awakening. There is a new war coming, one that I may not be able to stop. Or maybe I never stopped it in the first place.

It was over 200 years ago when I was first made. It was my own daughter that turned me. She’d been dead a month when I first saw her, standing beneath the oak tree outside our home. I went running out to her, but when I threw open the front door and ran onto the lawn she was gone. I fell to my knees and wept uncontrollably, calling her name over and over. The neighbors came and helped me into the house. The next night I saw her again, this time sitting on the swing in the backyard.

It went on like that for a week. I would look out the window and see her, but when I ran outside she would be gone. I was beginning to think she was haunting me. Then one night I heard her calling me. She was standing outside our door and when I opened it she was still there, solid, not a ghost. I pulled her into my arms and hugged her, but she felt cold and I couldn’t feel her heart beating. Suddenly I was frightened. She was dead; I knew that…I had buried her in the plot next to her mother. When my time came I would be buried next to her and she would be nestled between her mother and me. But now she stood before me, lifeless, nothing more than a corpse. A beautiful corpse though and still my daughter.

“Daddy,” she cried, holding her arms out towards me when I pulled away from her, “help me.”

“What happened to you,” I asked. I longed to pull her into my arms and hold her, tell her everything would be alright, but I knew they wouldn’t be and I needed an explanation.

“Lucas Blackstone,” she said and with those two words I knew that whatever had happened to her, evil had been served.

“Can I come in?” Such a simple question, but one that chilled me to the bone. Something inside me screamed to leave her outside but before I could answer, she stepped past me and into the little alcove that was the entrance to our home. “I really don’t need permission,” she said, smiling at me, her teeth alarmingly white…and sharp. My heart leaped into my throat at the sight of them. “it just seemed polite to ask.” Then she leaned into me, crying big red tears and sobbing about how much she missed me.

I couldn’t help myself. I am a father and my daughter needed me, I put my arms around her. Then she bit me. In retrospect I should have resisted, but a sort of lethargy settled over me and I felt very peaceful. That peace stayed with me as I died and remained until I awoke again in my grave. Above me was a digging sound and I could hear Linda’s voice speaking inside my head, telling me we would be together soon.

Lucas Blackstone was the quack that ran Blackstone Manor. It came as no surprise to me that he was a vampire.

Blackstone Manor was an asylum where the insane were sent and then forgotten about. It didn’t take much for someone to be declared insane and sent to the Manor where Dr. Blackstone promised to cure all his patients from their madness, no matter how long it took. All they had to be was homeless and wandering the streets. The good people of Fairview didn’t seem to mind that no one that was admitted to Blackstone Manor ever came out; all that mattered was that there were no homeless on the street, panhandling and bothering the citizens. Even the surrounding towns considered Lucas Blackstone a godsend, sending their mentally ill to reside in the mansion on top of Crane Hill, out of sight and out of mind.

No one doubted Lucas’s devotion to curing the mentally ill. His mother had murdered his father, driving a stake through his heart as he slept. She then killed the rest of her children in the same way, all except Lucas who wasn’t home at the time. He was in the local bar, sharing a drink with some of his friends when she came in, her white gown covered with blood. She rushed at Lucas, a stake held high in the air, screaming that Lucas was a vampire and must be killed. My father was there and saw it all. It was his friend Thomas O’Malley that shot her before she had a chance to plunge the wooden weapon through her son’s heart.

Lucas left town after that, going to school to become a psychiatrist. When he came home, fully certified, he turned the family home into an asylum. I always thought he was a bit bent, suffering from whatever malady had affected his mother. Now that I was in a position to see things from a different perspective I was surprised no one noticed that for the last twenty years he hasn’t aged. Of course I had only been a vampire for a few hours when he welcomed me to Blackstone Manor, not as a patient, but as a new member of his coven. I didn’t know anything at that time about mind control, a powerful weapon that vampires use against humans, most of which are easily manipulated.

I was not a welcome addition to the coven. That became clear when after a week I still refused to drink human blood. There was plenty around, readily available from the patients that were chained in the catacombs that lie beneath the Manor. That part had come as a surprise, the catacombs that ran beneath the town, openings leading to various homes, businesses and even town hall. The mayor would have been surprised to learn that his assistant, the young, beautiful and much sought after, Veronica, was a vampire.

That first night was the hardest. Lucas waited for us in what he called The Grand Hall, the entrance to the Manor. He waited with a young child, one I had never seen before. It was later I would discover the other business to Blackstone Manor, aside from supposedly curing the mentally ill, which of course was a farce.

“Welcome,” Lucas said, greeting me warmly, despite the cold smile on his face. He held his hand out for me to take, but I just looked at it, refusing to accept friendship from the one that had stolen my daughter. Even then, I could see that she had fallen for the lure of the night life. His smile faded when I refused his hand, but he tried to appear unbothered by my rebuff. “You must be hungry,” he said, pushing the child towards me. The poor thing was covered with scars and looked anemic. Her hair was dirty and she smelled as though she hadn’t bathed, ever. I think there was shit caked onto her legs.

“This one has served her purpose,” Lucas said, “feel free to drain her if you like. Any other servant though you will need to be careful to leave enough so they can continue to be useful. We only drain them when they become too weak to be of any use.”

“Drain her,” I asked, confused.

“Her blood daddy,” Linda said. “You can drink it all; you don’t need to worry about killing her.”

I was aghast. Drink her blood? Drain her? Kill her? She was just a child. “You must be insane,” I said, “mentally ill like your mother!” It had not yet sunk in what I was and so I was still in the denial stages. Lucas just laughed, throwing his head back and filling the hall with his raucous merriment.

“Certainly you can feel the hunger,” Lucas said, breaking her skin with a sharpened fingernail. I leapt forward to protect the child from this insanity, pulling up short as I caught the scent of her blood, It was tantalizing, the allure of the sweet fragrance calling to me, begging my burning throat to drink. I swallowed, imagining holding her in my arms. I clenched my teeth together, imagining ripping out her throat and drinking from her open neck. I wanted to taste her blood and probably would have, if I hadn’t bit my tongue. Waking from my stupor, I backed away from Lucas and the child, fleeing back out and into the night.

“Daddy,” Linda called after me, but I didn’t listen. I kept running until I reached the cemetery. I stood over my grave, which someone had covered back up, staring at my grave. It read James Moore 1761-1802. Next to mine was Linda’s, hers reading Linda Moore 1785-1802 and my wife’s, Caroline Moore 1765-1785. She had died in childbirth.

“I always tried to make you love me as much as you loved her.” The voice behind me was Linda’s and I could hear the pain in her voice as she spoke.

“I always loved you,” I said.

“But not as much as you did her. You couldn’t, not when you blamed me for her death.”

“I never blamed you,” I said, turning towards her. “Women die in childbirth. It is always a risk, for your mother even more so. None of her sisters have ever risked pregnancy because of their family history, but your mother wanted to have you. She loved you enough to give her life for you to be born.”

“And you resented me for it!” Linda screamed. I sighed. I thought we had put this behind us two years ago when she cut her wrists. Apparently we hadn’t. I could also see what had come of the sessions with Dr. Blackstone. I had hesitated sending her to talk to him, but I was desperate and couldn’t afford to send her away. My fear of Linda succeeding in a second attempt had blinded me to the danger of talking to a psychiatrist I considered a quack. Had I known fully what he would do to her, I would have packed her up and moved her to the other side of the world.

“I never resented you,” I said, “but I couldn’t give you the same kind of love a mother could. Perhaps if I had remarried, but then you chased away any woman I courted.”

“No other woman was worthy of you,” Linda said, wrapping her arms around me. Uncomfortable, I pushed her away. She was so changed from the child she used to be. Had steadily been changing over the last two years. I thought it had to do with her becoming a woman. Now I know it was Lucas Blackstone’s doing.

“We need to get back to the Manor,” Linda said, tugging on my arm, trying to hide her tears from my rejection.

“I will not go back there.”

“You must,” she insisted, her voice beginning to panic. “If you don’t you will be caught in the sun and die!”

“Then I can join your mother,” I said. Linda sobbed loudly at those words and I regretted them immediately. I had no wish to hurt her for doing this to me. She had only wanted her father by her side. I apologized profusely, then taking her hand, returned to Blackstone Manor to live among the damned.

 Continued in Blood And Hunger

copyright © 2011 Lisa McCourt Hollar


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