The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire (Chapter XXI.)

Lucy Westenra’s Diary. 23 October. 5 a.m. Whitby. — I would save Thomas from suffering if I could. Two hours ago, he woke from yet another nightmare. I heard him thrash in his bed and mumble in his sleep. I materialized in his room and shook him awake. "Thomas, wake up! It’s just another bad dream," I said. His eyes opened wide and his face held a frightened look. He rubbed his green eyes and stared up at me in surprise. "Lucy, what happened?" "You were having a nightmare again," I answered tenderly. Thomas nodded. "I shouldn’t wonder after the story Jacob told last night," he said. "What did you dream about?" I asked. He shook his head stubbornly. I was tempted to become angry with him, but I did not for I certainly have not shared all my thoughts and dreams with him. Then, as his right leg moved under the covers, I realized where I was. I had never before been in a gentleman’s bedroom. I was sitting on the edge of his bed as he lay in his nightclothes. His hair was tousled. His heart raced from dream-inspired fright. I could sense his blood coursing through him. I swallowed and looked at him sideways. When he rubbed his eyes again, I ran my tongue over my lips and fangs. His nightshirt did not have a collar. From the corner of my eye I could see nearly all of his bare neck. Thomas looked up at me and I leaned slightly forward, my arm brushing against his left hip. "Thank you for coming to me," he said. "Our roles have reversed," I said. "I am accustomed to you rushing to my side when I am frightened." I wanted to succor him. I wanted to feel more of his lean, muscular body against me. He was near enough for me to have put my arms around him. I had never been with a man, a living man. I had been pure until Count Dracula visited me. My lips parted involuntarily, as my desire grew. I looked away from Thomas, unable to hide my wanton desire. "Lucy?" Thomas asked with confusion. I wanted to kiss him and to taste his blood. I knew I could pleasure him in ways he had never imagined. Dawn would not be for nearly three hours. I could make use of the time with him. The bed shifted as he sat up and the squeak of the mattress springs sounded erotic to me at that moment. He was so close to me that our bodies touched. My skin tingled with an aroused, desperate yearning. The clean, warm scent of him heightened my longing until the thought of him filled my mind. My mind had no room for thoughts of inhibition. I was dangerous with desire. "Lucy?" he asked again, this time softer, his hand lightly touching my right shoulder. I began to turn to take him into my arms when a loud knock rapped urgently on the door. "Carnacki?" I heard Captain Albion ask. "Is all well?" "I must go," I said. "I should not be in here." I became ghost-like and returned to my room just as the Captain entered. I heard the worry in Albion’s voice. He knew it was I in Thomas’s room. Had the Captain been on guard duty to protect the others from Lilith — or from me? 23 October, evening. Onboard a train. — I recognized the familiar sway even before I fully woke in my coffin. As formless as a moonbeam I passed through the train until I came to the sleeper compartment I was to share with Adena. She greeted me as I resumed my corporeal form in the compartment. "I have picked out clothes for you," she said, handing me a tweed outfit. I took off my shroud, ignoring her with a cold disregard. She glanced down. "Thomas and the Captain are in the dining car. Do you want to join them?" I shook my head. She looked up and then back down. "Are you still angry with me?" Our eyes met. My thoughts went back to earlier in the day. After I left Thomas, I wrote in my diary until the sun rose and I escaped into my coffin. Almost immediately, however, Thomas stood over my open casket lid, shaking my shoulder to wake me. "I am sorry to interrupt your rest," he said. "But an important matter has risen and we did not want to act without the agreement of all." I sat up. "What is it?" He answered by handing me a newspaper. On the front page was an article. "Five found slain." A second article asked, "Has Jack the Ripper returned?" "Either Lilith has lost control of her minions or else she no longer cares to stop them," Thomas said. "We must return to London before more people die. I find it frustrating not being able to transform my shape when the sun rises. There is no graceful way to climb out of a coffin. It is much more convenient to enter and leave after sunset. Thomas and Adena waited in the hall outside of my room for me to change clothes and then escorted me to the dining hall. The others sat expectantly and Thomas took charge at once. "Our return to London has to accomplish two things,’ he said. "We have to stop the vampires and we need more information about Lilith and the Hillingham Horror. We still have the addresses of the vampires’ other properties. If we raid them, we may find the information we seek. Perhaps even Lilith herself." I looked more closely at The Daily Telegraph Thomas had given me. A coster. A cab driver. A shop clerk. A mother of three. A spinster. Two men. Three women. Dead. Those were the known. Who knew how many others whose bodies had not been discovered? "Here is my plan," Thomas said. "We will have to work separately." He held up a hand to cut off dissent. "We have a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time. But we have trained and we have been blooded. I know the arguments against splitting into smaller teams. But if we hesitate, all may be lost." Albion crossed his arms. "What do you propose?" Thomas looked at a sheet of paper in front of him. "Chief Inspector James and Mr. Griffin should stake out Police Commissioner Sheppard’s home and office. Follow him. See whom he meets and where he goes. "Henry, Anne and Adena — British Museum to do as much research as they can on Lilith. Find out what other demons, other ghostly manifestations have associated with her. Scour the museum for any tokens or charms or wards against demons and specters. Find out if any wards or charms can protect us against the Hillingham Horror." Thomas slid a sheet of paper to the Captain. "Jacob and Albion — search these addresses. They are close together. Lucy and I will take these properties." From the corner of my eye, I witnessed some unspoken message pass between Adena and the others through raised brows and slight shakes of their heads. Thomas, his eyes down as he made notations on his paper, did not see the reaction of the others. Thomas began to speak, but Adena interrupted him. "I agree we need to split up, but —" She paused, uncertain how to continue. "You may be spreading the vampire raiding parties too thin," Armitage said quickly. Thomas looked up. "Do you think so? We are ready for them. The ratio seems thin, but I believe it is feasible especially if we catch them off guard." Albion and Adena’s eyes met. "Maybe Lucy should go with me and Jacob with you?" Albion said. Thomas tapped the pencil against the table, totally oblivious to their true concern. They did not want him alone with me. He rubbed the purple bruise on his right cheek where absently. "No, this won’t work at all," he said to himself. He thought out loud as he looked over his notes: "I need Adena on the other raiding party since she can also draw a ‘Defensive Circle.’ I need someone better at fighting to watch over Henry. Send Jacob to the library? Anne and Adena with Albion?" He circled the map with marks in front of him. Albion looked over Carnacki’s shoulder at the list. "Why not send Lucy with me and Adena and Anne with you?" Thomas shook his head. "You need someone with you who can prepare a Defense quickly in case you run into the Hillingham Horror or something equally terrible. If you and I go on a raid together, it leaves the three ladies alone." "Jacob with Armitage?" the Captain asked. "Yes, Henry needs someone with him to keep him out of trouble should it come. Anne is a possibility though she is not as experienced as Jacob is at fighting. That would be putting too novices together and I’m trying to avoid doing that. The Chief Inspector is needed to shadow the Commissioner. The Chief Inspector will need a second pair of eyes to help him and to guard his back so I’m sending Griffin with him. I mean no offense Mr. Griffin, but I don’t think you’ll be as useful at the vampire lairs." "Send Lucy with Armitage?" Albion said. Thomas shook his head. "Her speed and strength may be needed against the vampires," he said. "What about yourself?" "My knowledge of preparing a ‘Defensive Circle’ may be needed on the raids," Thomas replied. "Could you not teach us?" the Captain asked. Adena shook her head with resignation. "It takes months to learn to do the ritual properly. It is not as simple as following another drawing. There are many factors involved in knowing which symbols to use and how to orient the circle." Eventually, Thomas convinced them to follow his plan. James, Griffin, Armitage and Jacob left to catch their train. They departed today to begin their investigative work ahead of our arrival. The rest of us departed in the evening on a sleeper train to have a full day of sunlight tomorrow to operate in. I hope I will have built up enough immunity to daylight to function. Otherwise, Anne will be going with Thomas in my place and I will be left behind in a hotel room. Adena, Anne, Henry and Captain Albion never directly expressed their fear, but to me it was obvious. The pieces fit together. They do not trust me alone with Thomas. I thought back to when I began to notice their suspicious glances and the way one or the other always seemed to be with us. It probably began after Fletcher’s when I almost kissed him. Since then, except for the briefest moments, they had not let me be alone with him. A knock at the compartment door interrupted my reverie. Adena slid open the door and Anne entered. The three of us stood with an awkward pause. "Are we not going to dinner?" Anne asked. "Please go on without us," Adena said. Anne gave a worried look, began to speak, hesitated, and took her leave. Adena bit her lower lip. "You have not answered my question. Are you angry with me?" I straightened a strap on my camisole. "Why? Should I be?" "No." "Then what makes you think I am?" "Because you are not good at hiding your emotions," she said. "You are frightening me." The strap broke. I muttered a curse and stripped off the undergarment. I opened up my traveling case to pull out another. "That is the problem," I said. "I frighten you so you do not trust me alone with Thomas." "That is not entirely true," she said. "It is not you so much as it is Thomas that we do not trust." I turned to face her. "Oh?" "Do you remember what happened after you saved us from Fletcher?" she said. I thought to myself that my suspicion was correct. "Yes," I said. "You wanted him." Our eyes met. "Yes." "That did not surprise us," she said. "No?" "No. What worried us was his response. He wanted you." "It would have been just a kiss," I protested. "Really?" I looked away. "Yes," I said. "Do you believe it would have stopped at that?" I bowed my head. "Yes." "No it wouldn’t," she said adamantly. "It would have gone much further, possibly to Carnacki’s death and beyond. You know it is true and what worries us is Thomas also must know it. And yet he wanted you to kiss him. We fear he may want to die. Although he has not said as much, he blames himself for the deaths of Johnstone and Walekar." "I see." "I adore you Lucy. But we cannot forget what you are. As much as we love you, we cannot forget that. Nor can you." I sighed. "It is not just a question of your soul and whether you are cursed or not," she said. "Would you want to risk his? Would you want to possibly damn him?" "No." "That is not all," she said. "You have been a vampire for weeks now and you have behaved remarkably well, all things considered. It is very likely that others could not control themselves as well as you have. If you turned Thomas into a vampire, he might become another Dracula killing mercilessly." "He would not," I said. "Nor would you or the others be like that." "Do not underestimate your own strength of character and will," Adena said. "We might not be as strong as you. Griffin said Fletcher and his fiancée had been good, kind people. Look what becoming vampires caused them to do. You do not want to do that to Thomas." I nodded slightly. "How long has it been since you fed?" "I do not remember. Osmotherley." "Why have you not?" "I am uncertain." "Come, let me feed you." She unbuttoned her top button and then the next and the next. I watched hungrily. "I cannot," I said. "Perhaps if you get the transfusion machine." "Why?" "Because you are a woman." "Does that matter? It was not a sensual act when you fed off the children." "Goodness no!" Adena bared her shoulder. "Here. Do it here, instead of my neck. See? I trust you." She stood close to me. I felt self-conscious, standing nearly unclad next to her yet hungering for blood. I had not bitten into flesh since late September and never into a living adult. I looked at the curve of her pale white shoulder and my lips curled up. My fangs grew and I kissed her. She gave a startled cry as my fangs slowly pierced into her skin and flesh. I pulled back. "Did that hurt?" I asked. "A little. But go on." "Are you sure?" "Yes," she whispered, trembling slightly. I resumed, sucking as gently possible. From the corner of my eye, I saw her lids were half closed and her lips parted. She breathed rapidly and deeply, color rushing to her cheeks. Her life flowed into my mouth directly from her and I found it much more intimate than drinking blood from a container. I suckled, my lips moving over her warm bare skin. The intensity of the sensation was not what I had anticipated and I emitted a low moan of pleasure and to my further surprise I heard a similar sound from her. Her fingers entwined and clutched strands of the back of my hair and her other hand held the small curve of my back. I drank until sated then I pulled my fangs out from her shoulder. With a gasp, her face flushed, she nearly collapsed faint from the blood loss. Her breathing slowed and she hugged me tightly with a sigh. "I may have needed that more than you," Adena said, touching my face gently with her fingertips. My tongue licked the last drops of blood off the corner of my lips. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Never mind," she replied. "Dress and let us join the others. Perhaps now you will not look at Carnacki like a tigress ready to devour him." I pulled the dress over my head. "Why have you not fed?" she asked, pulling a string through an eyelet to help lace up my garments. "I do not always understand myself," I answered, after giving the question thought. "Maybe it was something Thomas said. He had offered me blood with holy water one night as an experiment. Then he offered me untainted blood to drink." "I remember." "He wanted to kill all the vampires. I told him to drink it because he was more blood thirsty than I." "You meant to rebuke him, but it made you aware of your own nature," said Adena as she began to brush my hair. "There is more to it," I said, leaning against her living warmth. "I found myself wanting his blood, wanting him." I closed my eyes at the pleasure of the brush strokes. "The denial of blood was a way to heighten my want." Adena paused. I looked at her reflection in a small mirror. She frowned. "Is it safe for him near you?" "For now," I said.


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