FanFic ~ A Time to Remember…
By Sarah Prescott
“A Time to Remember”
Being a vampire was completely different 120 years ago, so was finding an easy meal for that matter. The year was 1891 and Godric and I had settled in England or more specifically, the East End of London after many years travelling. It was there that we had taken ownership of a small brothel for some time as the great depression in England made earning a living in that industry a bit easier.
The building we settled into was set in stone at the end of a busy street and the entrance to our place was enclosed within a narrow opening to a close. Inside the layout was simple, two floors and a basement. The ground floor was used as our living quarters containing a hallway and living room directly to the right of the entrance with a staircase at the far end of the hall leading up to four spacious bedrooms where we ran our business from and kept a few of the local girls. The ceilings were low with wooden beams and all the rooms were filled with solid wooden furniture. The only light that could enter through the day came through the small windows in the front rooms of the building which were round like portholes on a ship. The living room contained a long dining table with chairs and a red brick fireplace where Godric and I spent time totaling up the weeks takings. The basement where we spent our days was the only part of the building that was devoid of light. We owned around ten of the local girls providing them with shelter and security and in exchange they worked and provided us with a little something extra…their blood. We employed a middle aged woman named Kitty to watch the place during the day as she was familiar with ‘our kind’ however never spoke a word about it and agreed to work for us due to her addiction to laudanum at the time (more commonly known as a mixture of alcohol and opium) which we provided for her in exchange for her keeping a watchful eye.
It was not long after settling there that Godric and I first met William in the spring of 1888. He stood a little shorter than I at 6’2 with a lean physique and obvious physical strength, mousy brown hair with green eyes. He looked a little older, maybe late 30s and he claimed to be a private physician although never really spoke much so we didn’t question his motives as it wasn’t uncommon for men of his stature to visit different local brothels. He was a regular customer and enjoyed the company of the girls paying good money in return for their services which was good enough for us. It was also around this time however that a string of murders had started to occur in the area which, were uncharacteristically gruesome even for a vampire to admit. Someone had been killing local prostitutes and leaving them in alleyways to be discovered by the authorities.
It was a Friday evening and I was out checking the local competition at one of the neighbouring brothels and picking up a package for Kitty. I had been acquainted with Tam, the owner of a brothel called O’Malley’s’ for a while, he was complaining that one of his girls had been brutally attacked and murdered in a nearby alleyway. The murders were becoming more frequent and the authorities had no leads, which was frustrating for the locals. I thought about bringing it up with Godric when I returned as it may pose a threat to our business. I put the package Tam had laid wrapped on the bar in my jacket pocket as I left O’Malley’s’ and headed back to relieve Kitty from her duties. She was sitting in the front room when I returned and jumped up surprised when I entered the room.
‘You may leave for the evening’ I told her bluntly.
‘Thank you, Sir Eric’ she said, nodding her head as she spoke and holding her hand out palm exposed. I handed her the package silently staring into her face but her eyes never once met mine. I never understood the appeal of drugs to be honest. It tainted the blood that coursed through many women nowadays.
‘Have you seen Godric tonight?’ I asked her teasingly before she had turned to leave. She looked up at me slowly with tension in her eyes at the mention of his name. Kitty was terrified of Godric after he caught her trying to steal from us once. He had set her straight in his own effective way and it seemed to work. We had power over Kitty, whether she liked to believe it or not.
‘Yes sir, he went upstairs a moment ago’ she said quietly. She turned and headed out of the front door pulling her shawl over her head and closing the door behind her as she left. I smiled smugly to myself for a moment.
I could sense a sudden burst of fiery outrage and excitement simultaneously from one of the bedrooms upstairs which wasn’t too peculiar however I could also sense that my presence was summoned directly as the feeling I absorbed came straight from Godric. I was physically drawn upstairs to one of the dimly lit bedrooms to find Godric restraining a man to the floor with one hand while Kelly, one of our youngest employees lay dead on the bed, her blood everywhere. The smell made me feel a burning thirst in the back of my throat which I had to painfully ignore. The man Godric was restraining was staring up at me, his eyes full of fury. He was writhing around under Godric’s grip, crazed and grunting. I knew who he was as soon as he locked eyes with me. William Gull, our regular and he was covered in Kelly’s blood. In the corner of the spattered room on top of a cluttered wooden dresser was a black leather surgical bag standing open and upright containing numerous medical tools (I’m guessing) which he had clearly planned on using.
‘I never even knew he was here until it was too late!’ Godric said infuriated, then with one swift movement he pulled back William’s head and began feeding on him mercilessly.
It was Godric’s idea to turn that crazed imbecile, not mine. After draining him Godric had decided that due to his knowledge in medicine he would be very useful to have around the establishment and his bloodthirsty nature gave him the correct temperament for a vampire. I think he figured he could control William once he was turned as every vampire must obey their maker unfortunately in this case William was not an ordinary human when he was made one of the undead. We had already assumed that he was responsible for the murders of the other girls in the area. He later admitted this to us however.
Three years later and regrettably, William’s ferocity had not been controlled successfully. When a human being is turned into one of us, sometimes due to unforeseeable circumstances like drugs, brain damage or mental illness it can affect them even after death. This was the case for William or ‘Jack’ as the papers had referred to him for a while now since they had no clue of who was leaving this trail of bloodshed for the past three years. Godric and I came to the conclusion one night while having dinner that we had to do something about William as he had disappeared and was known by locals to be living with us for some time therefore anything he got caught doing would draw attention directly to us. This was not the best situation to be in as people were still oblivious to the existence of vampires which is how we planned on keeping it considering the bad press witches had received over the last three centuries in Britain. When I returned to the living room Godric was sitting at the head of the long oak dining table beside the open fire with Tess, one of our girls to his left. He motioned for me to sit on the other side of her.
‘Ahhhhh…dinner’ I said to myself content at the thought. Tess looked up tiredly then Godric spoke.
‘Tess…’ Godric said smoothly. I watched as her senses melted away and her eyes glazed over lifeless meeting his. He had her. Dining had been boring during our time here in London as all the locals knew each other well making it more difficult for us to feed as the loss of someone in the community proved to have a widespread effect as we had discovered due to our newest vampire, William. At least glamoring added a bit of fun but it took a lot of practice which was something Godric wasn’t short on.
‘Yes?’ she whispered.
‘Can you feel my influence?’
He stared unblinking into her bright blue eyes with intent like a lion does its prey.
‘Umhmm’ she admitted emotionless.
‘I would very much like to give you a kiss, will you permit me?’
‘Of course’ she said, her eyes stayed glazed as she surrendered to him.
He bent his head towards her throat while pulling her across him. She lay there powerless, while I took her wrist in my hand. She lay very still until we had had our fill then it was all business.
Once I carried Tess upstairs to rest I returned to the dining room, Godric was still seated at the long table however had turned to face the open fire his lips stained slightly in the flickering light. He looked thoughtful. I pulled up a chair adjacent to him knowing he had something important on his mind. I tended to feel a lot through Godric which was due to the bond we shared as vampires since we had shared blood.
‘We need to do something about William, Eric.’
His eyes stared into the crackling fire and for the first time since I’d known him Godric looked slightly worried. Or as worried as a vampire his age could look.
‘It’s been three years. Don’t you think it’s a little late for that?’ I exclaimed trying to hide my inner thoughts of ‘I told you so’ but he ignored my comment staring straight on.
‘He’s been disappearing over the last six months for weeks at a time and all the bloodshed is drawing attention to the brothels in the area especially ours now as none of our girls minus Kelly have been targeted. It also looks as though someone has been trying to cover his tracks by moving the bodies however I’m unsure who it is as there are few known vampires in the area.’
‘Why would anyone want to help him?’ I asked dumbfounded.
Godric turned to look me in the eyes thoughtfully and said ‘I have a suspicion that they may have been connected in some way.’
‘What would you have me do, Godric?’ I said, hoping his orders included William’s punishment. I loved a good fight and I despised William, some might say it was jealousy however I just couldn’t stand the hatred he harbored for women.
‘Dawn is approaching soon so I want you to go out sharp after nightfall tomorrow, and find him. He can’t be far from here.’
‘Yes, Godric’ I said bowing my head.
The following evening we had dinner courtesy of Martha who was a particular favorite of mine then I set out on my orders. The days were a bit shorter so I was able to leave a little earlier making an effort not to be seen as I slinked carefully along the slated uneven rooftops. This was one thing that I truly enjoyed and rarely got the chance to indulge in as it risked the chance of being spotted. Flying had come naturally to me as a vampire and I used it to my advantage tonight. It wasn’t hard finding William however catching him proved to be a different matter entirely as he had gained incredible speed for such a young vampire allowing him to practically fly over walls and through alleyways without being caught or properly identified.
I stood high above ground level on the edge of a rooftop looking over the vast city, feeling the air, allowing my senses to take over. The streets were busy tonight as usual with various local girls wandering around escorted by caped gentlemen with top hats while others crowded doorways enticing walkers by to enter. I crouched watching the crowds of mingling bodies for a while waiting to catch a glimpse of him. I knew he would be here sooner or later as it was the busiest part of the city with the most women on offer. Then I saw him. He was standing with an attractive young woman in her early twenties with dirty clothes and a head of long dark hair that was loosely swept up above her shoulders exposing her long neck. They seemed to be discussing something intensely and I guessed it was the usual…business. After watching their exchanges in the street for a few minutes my attention was drawn oddly to a short cloaked figure standing alone and unmoving unlike everybody else under the arch of a building not too far from William and his new ‘friend’. This cloaked figure was difficult to make out although I could sense that it was a female. She mirrored their movements carefully making sure she kept in the shadows. William seemed to be oblivious of the fact that he was being watched. I waited until he began leading the girl by the arm through the crowds then I followed from high above them jumping from one rooftop to the next silently until they came to the opening of a narrow close that was quiet in comparison to the rest of the street. They entered and the cloaked woman had disappeared into the shadows.
I watched from directly above them as they stood together in a doorway within the alleyway then the glint of metal caught my eye, he had something sharp in his right hand, her face held against the wall with his left. I decided that now was the best a time as any. I angled it so that as I landed I would break his arm taking him a moment to recover while I dragged him back to Godric. Unfortunately when I landed on him the young girl got caught in the path of my landing and was hurled across the ground. She lay motionless but she was still alive. I managed to drag William away by force leaving the girl behind as I ascended up and over the rooftop holding him by the ankle as he lashed out at me. Out of the corner of my eye I was sure I saw the cloaked figure lingering nearby as if waiting for something. William shouted at me as my grip tightened in order to lift him higher.
‘I’m following orders, William!’ I raged as he glared up at me unforgiving.
We returned a short while later due to William’s incessant thrashing around, Godric was seated in the front room as usual the fire ablaze however it appeared that he had company. Customers’ weren’t allowed in our living quarters… I thought, curiously. As we entered Godric was already standing facing me with his hand held up to stop me as I locked eyes with our cloaked guest and delivered William as ordered to.
‘Anderson!!!’ William exhaled relief in his gruff voice. I stood staring at Godric confused as I recognized the cloaked figure to be the same one lingering around the street earlier on.
‘It’s ok, Eric’ Godric said strongly. His eyes were calm and full of answers. William was now standing alongside the cloaked woman seeming contented.
‘This is Anderson’ Godric introduced and I looked at the woman blankly.
‘Hello’ I said. ‘How do you two know each other?’ I asked pointing at William, frustrated as the conversation didn’t seem to be moving fast enough for the questions I had piling up.
‘I have been sent here on special orders from her majesty’ she seethed. She was a frail middle aged woman with long auburn hair and pale skin. Her eyes were piercing as she looked me up and down taking me in carefully.
‘It appears Eric that William is a former employee of the palace’ Godric interrupted.
‘I have been ordered to negotiate the terms of this man’s release and return from you’ the cloaked woman said sharply.
‘And if we refuse?’ Godric tested.
‘Do not forget that we are one of the only few aware of your existence. Do you want that to change?’ she threatened. I shot her a sideways glance.
‘Don’t you threaten him!’ I barked. She looked down at her feet for a moment thinking carefully then back at Godric.
‘Dr Gull is a personal employee of her majesty’s and has been sorely missed. I was sent to follow him at her request, in order to find out what had happened once she found out he had been turned into one of your kind. He was her private physician on occasion and they had a long friendship however he did have another side to his personality that she didn’t want made public.’ She looked at Godric carefully.
‘So you’ve been covering up his identity?’ I stirred trying to cause an argument then I realized that they had something on us. His death.
‘It is done’ Godric said. ‘Take him with you he is your burden now.’
‘And what if he is seen outside the royal grounds?’ I added hoping we had another chance to finish him off.
‘Don’t worry’ she said quietly. ‘We have our own plans for him’.
Anderson led William carefully out the front door and into the dim light of the street. He followed obediently and neither of them looked back.
“The Capital of Weird”
It had been a couple of weeks since the incidents involving William which had caused some unwanted attention and things were slowly starting to go back to normal. I was feeling quite confident that we had gotten away with murder (so to speak) by creating a vampire so perverse and conspicuous, as Britain at that time had no formal system of vampire hierarchy we were left to our own devices. In the case of creating William however we were now being watched over by the human royal family of Britain instead as he was associated with them in his former life. They were aware of our existence and kept ‘our kind’ a secret from the rest of society so it was mandatory therefore that we perform certain ‘favours’ from time to time, depending on the different gifts we possessed. They also came in handy sometimes when we needed certain favours including safe transport during light hours and allies in different territories.
It was a typical Friday evening and I was in the front room checking the log books and tallying up the takings for the week while Godric was out meeting with Tam and some of the other local brothels to find out what they knew about the recent events that had occurred. It was a dangerous time as any hint that we had anything to do with them could end very ugly for everyone. I had just relieved Kitty of her duties for the evening and she had left in a hurry as usual when I felt Godric getting nearer. I tended to feel his presence when he was nearby as we shared a blood bond since he was the vampire who created me. Then he was opening the front door and stepping in silently, his eyes telling me something was wrong while his face remained emotionless.
“Eric, we have to talk” he said calmly, his eyes meeting mine instantly. Godric had almost 1900 years of practice at hiding his emotions however I knew instinctively that he had heard something from one of the locals about our ‘situation’.
“I was just speaking with Tam along in O’Malleys’ and he mentioned the girl that survived William’s attack in the alleyway two weeks ago. The one you landed on and knocked unconscious, remember?” I did remember her but I was hoping that she couldn’t identify William as I made great efforts to haul him off of her quickly carrying him up and over the rooftops.
“Yes, I remember her” I said thoughtfully as I tried to think of the easiest solution to the problem. If it were up to me, it would be easy. I wouldn’t let anything jeopardize what we had here…especially a human!
“We cannot kill her” Godric asserted, “It’s too late for that.” I started to protest when without warning Andersson was stepping in through the front door removing her hood as she slinked closer towards us. She moved as if she were gliding on ice and there was something about her that wasn’t quite human although I couldn’t put my finger on it. I could feel a lot from different supernatural entities I’d been in contact with over the centuries, it’s a bit difficult to describe. She had a distinct magnetism that I felt in her presence. I felt drawn to her immediately. Although she appeared calm her eyes harboured something oddly fierce. Elf? Maybe. Elves usually had a deformity that gave them away like a tail or hollow back and they certainly didn’t do the bidding of humans either. Something was about to happen that we wouldn’t like, I just knew it.
“Good evening” she uttered, looking directly at Godric then myself.
“And why are we graced with your presence?” I said boldly. She glared at me with a threatening look in her eyes reflected red by the fire. “You should be more grateful, vampire. If it was my decision the outcome of your actions would be a lot different!” she hissed through uneven teeth. Definitely an elf, I thought. Godric shot me a heated look that made me stop dead and shut my mouth.
“Forgive him” he said defensively turning his attentions back toward her. “We have just received some information from the locals about your former employee that could pose a few problems”. I noticed that she didn’t look all that surprised.
Godric continued “We believe that our stay here may be compromised due to his antics and our lack of attention to detail.” Andersson looked at Godric flashing him an uneven smile that enticed me to rip her throat out, even though ‘dark’ elves don’t taste very nice compared to ‘light’ elves which resembled fairies.
“That is the reason behind my visit” she confirmed. “I come with a warning from her majesty. She apologises however cannot guarantee your safety here if you choose to remain in London as it could jeopardise her future on the throne.” She shifted her weight awkwardly feeling my eyes on her. “If the identity of Dr. Gull had been better concealed then you would have stood a better chance however his most recent victim survived and will be thoroughly interrogated. This creates a problem for you and us therefore you must leave the city immediately. We can arrange transport for you if need be.”
“Where do you suggest we go?!” I asked, infuriated at her request. After all, we had a business to run, steady income and food supply. Uprooting now would be very inconvenient. Godric looked thoughtful for a moment weighing up our alternatives then met her gaze.
“I will arrange our departure right away” he asserted. “No need to arrange transport for us, we move quicker on our own”. Andersson nodded once then turned for the door leaving us standing there in silence once again.
Godric turned and looked at me reassuringly as the door clamped shut behind her. “Eric, never share your thoughts when you feel overwhelmed by your feelings. Always be in control of your emotions especially in the presence of an elf!” I looked down towards the floor slowly realising he made sense. Elves thrived off of the power they could leverage over others, especially other supernatural beings. It made them feel important and superior. “Yes, Godric” I said feeling a little embarrassed at my outburst.
Two nights later and we were heading towards the capital city of the north, over the border from England. I had only ever passed through this city a few times before however knew that it had suffered greatly in the last 300 years (especially the supernatural community) and was now divided into two parts by the humans, the old town and the new town. The new town was being recreated and built up for the rich while the old town (or the slums) was where most of the supes and lower class humans lived. The old town was built along the main high street that led down the hill from the castle entrance and towards the Royal park and Palace grounds. The city itself was a breeding ground for all kinds of supernatural beings, including: fairies; goblins; imps; elves; witches and other locals that we weren’t too familiar with. There weren’t a lot of Werewolves north of the border luckily (that I had heard of), especially in the city centres as the punishments were as extreme for them as it was for witches. Werewolves were more common in countries further east especially Romania and Slovakia which were overrun with them and they carried their filthy reputations around leaving conspicuous trails with little to no control over their actions. I always found it curious that humans tended to be so naïve and in-denial about the supernatural world, especially in northern territories where it was extremely common.
As we made our way to the city approaching the castle from the eastern shore we stopped and stood perched on a small monument overlooking the palace grounds and the bottom of the main high street in the old town which looked especially quiet and grim since dawn was approaching in a few hours. The main street in the old town was used for everything especially trading. Near the top at the castle entrance it overlooked a marshy bog that used to be a vast stretch of water locally named the Nor’ Loch. It had since been drained of its contents in order to create gardens however still remained somewhat marshy. The loch had previously been used in defence against intruders to the castle however its’ most recent use included the drowning of hundreds of witches whose bodies still lay underneath the murky surface. The city was constantly covered by a blanket of thick grey cloud which darkened most days and due to the northern location the nights were a lot longer which was better for us. The new town was in the process of being built up for market space and apartments for the upper class. According to Godric, the local supes didn’t venture into the new town as tolerance for them was nil and they were carted off and executed if found. It was kind of an unspoken rule I figured. I found that a bit of a challenge to be honest and I was starting to feel quite hungry… I hadn’t eaten since London! And nobody could catch a vampire I thought arrogantly.
“So who is our contact here?” I asked curiously. Godric had known many vampires throughout the ages, many of whom I had never met, I trusted his judge of character minus his most recent protégé.
“We are meeting a vampire that I have met once before while passing through this city, hopefully he is still here. His name is Eoin.” Godric said quietly. “Eoin is a bit different from others of our kind so you might have to get used to his behaviour.” Oh great! I thought.
“Different how?” I asked cautiously. I really didn’t know what to expect as this city was very unusual and there were things that went on here that were kept strictly secret from everywhere else.
“You will see.” He said with a hint of a smirk on his white face. His eyes were scanning the palace grounds below and then along to the right looking downwards intently.
“Eoin?” pronounced oan like the word moan. “Is that Scottish?” I asked curiously, not that it made one bit of difference to me. Only that the Scottish were said to be a bit on the wild side, always up for a fight which was something that interested me.
“No, it’s actually derived from the Irish, Eric. Eoin was turned about a hundred years ago when he first settled here after the crossing from Ireland. I met him soon after he was first turned as I was passing through the city and his maker had abandoned him which was very unfortunate. It’s not something that happens a lot however at the time, there weren’t any other vampires nearby that were old enough to look after him and he had to learn to be one of us using his instincts instead. He was very hospitable to me despite this, and gave me a safe place to spend a few days before carrying on my journey.”
I wondered what this Eoin character was like. After all we were going to be staying with him for a while as we couldn’t go back to London any time soon. I never formed any attachments with the places we stayed over the years, they all blurred into one after time spent moving from one to another. We walked along, overlooking the high street from a road running towards the new town. As the road curved, it gave a very clear view of a Kirk yard which looked completely empty in the moonlight. The main Kirk yard entrance was at the bottom of the high street which was chained off to visitors at night. The Kirk yard was rectangular in shape with the typical assortment of gravestones and guard towers on either end. As I looked closer I noticed that there were a couple of open graves scattered around. There was a small guard tower in the top left hand corner and I could see a dim light coming from inside but there was no sign of a guard anywhere. Something wasn’t right here, I thought. In the light of the moon I caught a glimpse of something shifting near the main entrance. It was like a shadow but moved quicker, slinking along smallish, like a cat almost.
“Down there.” Godric pointed towards the right hand side of the Kirk yard where the shadow had descended.
“How do you know that’s him? I asked curious because as far as I knew, Godric did not share a bond with this vampire which made him harder to track.
“He has brought me here before, and he is set in his ways. You will understand more when you spend some time with him, Eric”
We moved quickly down the hill cutting through long grass approaching the Kirk yard from the bottom end and then up a cobble stone street that led to the side entrance where there was a black metal gate, chained shut. The entire site was surrounded by a seven foot wall to stop intruders, I stood at the side entrance staring through the gate and into the darkness silently, I could feel the change in the air and picked up on at least one heartbeat. It was quite fast.
“I can feel one human inside.” I informed Godric.
“There are usually guards on duty” Godric informed me. “They walk around at night in case humans try to steal freshly laid corpses. Although, that isn’t so common now, they are still kept on duty to guard the site in case of trespassers.”
Weird, I thought. Although a lot of humans had made a good living selling fresh corpses for cash it’s not something I would have ventured into.
“Eoin?” Godric whispered loudly through the barred metal gate. There was no reply, just a deafening silence. Just then there was a slight movement near one of the open graves and I heard a noise which sounded like a soft thud and then muffled protests. I could still pick up on the heartbeat somewhere inside getting slower, slower, and stop. I looked down at Godric and motioned silently for us to go inside so we could have a look around. We leapt over the stone wall in one swift motion and stood looking across to an open grave that had been freshly dug up. We approached slowly, stepping over twigs and leaves so as not to make any noise. As we approached I noticed that the headstone propped up at the top of the grave was blank. Standing over the grave peering down into its black abyss, it suddenly became increasingly quiet again. No heartbeat, no breathing.
Just then something flew through the dark and spiralled over our heads in one swift movement. I ducked as something wet sprayed across my face. Godric never flinched. We both took a step forward and looked down deep inside the grave searching for answers when suddenly out of nowhere a face slowly emerged from the darkness. Eyes staring straight at us, his face blood spattered and smeared with a wide open grin exhibiting jagged uneven bloody teeth and fangs.
“Alright, lads!?” he said hoarsely, his mint green eyes piercing and wild with excitement. He looked precariously at us back from one to the other for a moment, uncertainty strewn across his face. As I looked closer I noticed he had longish messy dark reddish brown hair and thick stubble on his face that made him look quite grubby. His eyes were very light green and his teeth looked uneven and broken. He leapt out of the grave swiftly to greet us. As he surfaced, it became clear that he was a lot smaller than I expected. He stood at 5”6 maybe and quite petite for a man although I didn’t doubt his strength. I glanced around hastily hoping that nobody had witnessed the head that flew out of the grave and rolled across the grass.
“Eoin, it’s nice to see you again.” Godric said calmly. I wasn’t sure by the look on Eoin’s face whether or not he remembered much about anything never mind his brief encounter with my maker. Then something flashed behind those piercing eyes of his and before I could move he was on Godric, arms wrapped tight around him. Godric stood unmoving, his arms by his sides. Eoin was much faster than I’d expected. I moved quickly pulling Eoin off only to be met with Godric’s reassuring eyes.
“It’s alright Eric.” He said not phased by Eoin’s strange behaviour. “Eoin is just greeting me in his own way. He has retained a lot of his human traits over the years due to his maker’s absence remember?” I was definitely going to have to get used to him, I thought. Vampires did not greet each other physically unlike humans. The most a vampire would acknowledge another’s presence would be a nod, a word or eye contact.
“Sorry for that wee mix up lads. I’ll try to be better behaved next time.” He said brazenly. “Would you like a hug too like?” He looked up at me grinning. I exhaled loudly. Godric introduced us and I kept my distance.
“Eoin, we are in need of a place to stay for a while.” Godric asked hopeful. “Do you know of anywhere safe?”
Eoin replied thoughtful “Weeeeeellll, I’m not that friendly with many others like us, if you get me. I am staying in a bedsit right naw with three sisters. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind putting you two up.” He looked me up and down with a smirk on his face which I found puzzling.
“We are in your debt” I said bobbing my head.
“Ach it’s no bother.” He said sheepishly turning towards the open grave and looking inside. “Tell you what, we can finish off this little snack I was planning on saving for later then I’ll take you two along the road, alright?”
“Fine by us.” Godric said heartily following Eoin’s gaze downwards. I nodded in approval as we all proceeded into the open grave to drain the night watchman dry.
“Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live”
“I’m still hungry” Eoin said, lifting his head up from the corpse that lay beneath us.
“There’s no that much when you split it between the three of us eh?” he remarked jokingly about the body we had drained moments earlier. Godric and I just glanced at each other not knowing what was coming next. We sat in the open grave for a while contemplating our next move now that we had an extra vampire to consider in our equation. We didn’t want to tell Eoin but we were really relying on him for our safety during this short stay as we were in hiding after the murders that had happened in London over the last three years.
Looking at this vampire in the moonlight while he sat staring up at the night sky a strange expression on his face, I noticed the blood running down his neck from his mouth and thought he looked extremely sloppy. He didn’t even bother to wipe the blood off of his face after eating. If someone (human) saw him it would give us away I thought. His clothes were untidy and I noticed they were covered with numerous stains and dirt. Not fresh ones either. It would take me a while to get used to this guy!
“The place I stay at…” Eoin began while wiping his open mouth with the back of his hand, “is on the main street o’er there when you turn right at the main opening to this place, from there you go up the hill, it’s no far atoll really. What are you runnin from anyway?”
“We just had to leave London for a while that’s all. The order came from a higher power but that doesn’t concern you so keep it to yourself” Godric asserted. Eoin nodded then sat with his back against the side of the muddy ditch wiping his hands on his trousers.
“Shall we go then?” I said eager to head as dawn was approaching.
“Well wait a minute you can’t just stroll down the road you know. There are things you must know about this place. It’s not like down south in the slightest. I’m sure you boys have seen your fair share however Edina is like no other city in the world. Even the humans are somewhat aware of the supernatural community here. They are wise to our kind and have no qualms about executing in public, day or night. Just ask the girls when you meet them.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, my jaw tightening a little. I was feeling impatient with all this waiting around. We had to get rid of this body or it would be found at dawn and who knows what mess that would stir.
Godric sat quietly ingesting everything that Eoin was saying. As I looked at Eoin I realised that there was something hiding behind that fierce grin of his and we were yet to see it for ourselves. My guess was that Godric had already. I made a note to ask him about it later.
“Well there are a few rules that I tend to follow and I advise you lads do the same. Firstly, don’t go venturing too far out of the old town unless you’re headed out of the city altogether as humans do not put up with supes, especially witches wandering around the built up areas even though they only suspect the existence of our kind, they live in fear due to superstition and folklore.” Nonsense I thought. I loved to hunt in society and I was far too quick for any human to capture. I smirked quietly to myself while he went on with his ‘set of rules’.
“Secondly, don’t go into the queen’s park at the bottom of the high street and beyond the palace walls. There are Celtic fairies that live in the hills there and they use magic that no witch I have met can reverse. Their magic is different from human magic and they can transport you to places that you never even imagined…different plains or dimensions, I dunno. They also love to play tricks especially if you enter their territory and don’t take them an offering of some kind! And lastly, the loch or what is left of it is where I go to dump the remains of my dinner on a nightly basis. When we go there tonight be very quiet as there are hundreds of dead witches that lie under the marsh and if you happen see one move away quickly. They can be a bit unpredictable. No humans go near the nor’ loch as they live in fear of all the witches they’ve duked there.”
“What do they do if you see them?” I said curiously. “And why are they under that marsh and not buried or burnt?” Godric looked at me like I was a small child being told a scary story before bed and I realised I was asking too many questions.
“I dunno,” Eoin said “I never stuck around long enough to find out. All’s I know is that I don’t want to be under there along side them. I’ve heard stories about men being lur…”
“Take us there Eoin.” Godric interrupted, “We have to get rid of this body. Then you can take us to the house and we can rest for the day.”
“No worries follow me” he said grinning from Godric to myself before picking up the night watchman by his headless torso and hurling him out of the grave with one arm.
“So is there anything else we should know?” I asked Eoin as Godric and I jumped out of the grave simultaneously.
“You’ll get used to it here in no time, don’t worry” Eoin answered reassuringly. Oddly enough I didn’t feel comforted. The place already seemed to have its own eerie atmosphere, between the dark clouds that were cast over the city constantly to the other supes in the area that I wasn’t familiar with even I, a vampire found this place a little unsettling.
We made our way through the old town up along the rooftops overlooking the main high street that span downhill from the castle entrance. It was a long road leading down to the royal palace and park which we had been warned against going into because of the Celtic fairies. I had heard stories of the fae before however had never dealt with the Celtic kind before. Just looking down I could see that the streets remained busy even in the evening which was appealing to me as I enjoyed being amongst the living at night. They all had different smells to them and as I walked amongst them I could hear their hearts beating together like little drums, it made my mouth water at the thought of it. There were a lot of brothels and drinking houses, just like London I thought. I followed Eoin along the rooftops as he steered right and jumped down inside one of the closes that joined the parallel streets together and lead onto the north bridge. This bridge joined the old and the new town together and also acted as a flood gate for the loch. However since it had been partially drained previously there was not much use for it now. Godric and I followed Eoin as we headed over the bridge where we jumped over and onto the embankment that looked over the marshy loch. Staring down into the black abyss it seemed endless and the smell was putrid. I assumed that humans were using this place for a dumping ground as the fumes were odd smelling. Looking down I could see that there were odd shapes that looked as though they were just under the surface. I couldn’t make out what they were and didn’t want to get that close. Eoin waded in waist deep through the thick dark sludge to submerge the headless body under and as he slowly made his way through the bog there was a sudden deafening silence that came over the entire area. Mist lingered and settled over the top of the black endless mass making it unclear if there was even another embankment on the other side. Eoin headed back towards us quickly after dumping the body as far in as he could manage.
“Hurry! We must go or they’ll start.
“Start what?” I asked. Then as I slowly looked across the marsh I could hear whispering in the distance which seemed as though it was getting closer but I couldn’t quite make out what was being said.
“Let’s go.” Godric reiterated. “Eric!”
I turned obediently putting my back to the loch and retracing my steps towards the high street behind my maker and Eoin. I couldn’t fight the urge for long and looked back at the spot where Eoin had left the body but there was no movement. I don’t know what I was expecting to see; I sniggered to myself. Everyone that ends up in there is dead already I thought. We were walking back downhill towards the direction of the Kirk yard as the bedsit was across from it. We walked along the street sticking to the shadows so we could enter the house without anyone suspecting us and Eoin lead us down until we got to a little grey stone house that was built into the others on either side of it. They were lined up along the street like little dolls houses. To enter you had to walk through a short close that opened up to a small courtyard where the front door was up three rickety old wooden steps. The windows were small and round with bars on them. Godric and I stood there waiting to be invited in as it was a human home.
“Wait here” Eoin said before he disappeared inside.
“Are you sure there isn’t anywhere else that we can go?” I asked Godric hoping we could find somewhere more spacious as I was sure that I wouldn’t fit inside this house.
“No Eric” he said. “Don’t worry, Eoin is true to his word and we also don’t have many options at the moment. Do you know anyone here that we can stay with? This is the only city that no outsider would come looking for us as it’s too dangerous for them and they know the history here all to well”.
“You mean the fairies in the park?” I sneered mockingly. Godric glared at me disapprovingly. I could sense that there were some disturbances coming from the inside of the house and could hear two females arguing.
“They probably don’t want us here” I said begrudgingly.
“Just be patient with them Eric. It’s understandable as they’re not accustomed to having vampires show up uninvited” Godric reassured me just as Eoin appeared at the front door again grinning at us like a lunatic.
“You may enter” said a female voice from inside.
The door frames were very small for a vampire my size (6’4) so I had to crouch upon entering this tiny residence. As we stepped over the threshold I found the house to be surprisingly big compared to how it looked on the outside. It had to be visual trickery of some sort I thought confused by the size. The front door led into the living quarters of the house and as we entered, there sat two young women at a table next to an open fire, a deck of cards spread across the table and a single candle was burning. One of them was staring, her mouth open slightly and a weary look on her face. She had shoulder length dark brown hair and pale skin. Her eyes were deep blue and wide as she looked from my maker to me.
“You’re a biggun aren’t you?” she exclaimed blinking and wide eyed. I chuckled to myself. The other sister was sat facing the fire. It was obvious that she didn’t approve of our visit. She had mousy brown hair that was straight as a dye with half of it back and pulled up, the same pale coloured skin as her sister. They both wore long sleeved floor length dresses that hid all of their best assets. Pity I thought as they were both quite attractive.
“Thank you for having us” Godric said in a timely manner. “I am a friend of Eoin’s, my name is Godric and this is Eric.” He said motioning towards me.
“Do you know how dangerous it is for you here?” the girl that faced the fire asked sternly.
“Oh for Goodness sake! I’m afraid my sister has forgotten her manners today, so sorry. My name is Fia and this is my older sister Blair. She’s only rude because she’s a little frightened of you” the younger sister said teasingly.
“No I am not! I just don’t want any unwanted attention brought here. We get enough of that here Fia you know? Remember why we left home?!” Blair turned to face us her eyes could have burnt holes into my skin as she looked me up and down.
“Where’s home?” I asked curiously.
“Mind your own business vampire!” Blair shot back. I clenched my teeth. Godric sat at the table and Eoin was crouched near the fire.
“Don’t be angry Blair, we came here in need of your help that’s all” Godric said calmly. He had a knack for this sort of thing, defusing tense situations. It worked immediately and Blair turned to face the fire once again. I could tell this was far past awkward but before I could say another word Fia jumped up.
“We have a special place for you to sleep.” She led Godric and me through to the left into a long corridor that had four rooms off of it. There were two bedrooms on either side, and one at the far end along with a communal bathroom. For guests I thought.
“So whe..” I started just as she stopped in the middle of the corridor and kicked over a rug that hid a little hatch built into the wooden floor of the house.
“Here you go. Eoin sleeps here whenever he’s not sleeping in that filthy graveyard. It’s the whole space under the house and it’s light tight so you can rest assured that you’ll be safe here during daylight hours.”
“Thank you” I said quietly and Godric nodded his head along with me.
“It’s nae bother. Now go on in and rest as I’m sure that you’re both knackered after that long trip” she said naively. I could tell that Fia hadn’t met many of our kind as we didn’t tire as easily as humans did. A little travelling wasn’t going to wipe us out. I sniggered to myself remembering what Godric had said about Eoin retaining a lot of his human traits. Neither of them had probably met vampires as old as us before.
“Eoin said that you came up here from London?” Fia asked curiously. I shot a disapproving look back in Eoin’s direction but he seemed oblivious. I knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep anything a secret. Just by telling these young girls where we came from could put them and us at risk. I’d just keep that to myself for now I thought.
“Yes we came from around that area anyway.” I answered smiling at her. She blushed.
“We just need a place to lay low for a while” Godric said. “And we are in your debt for this.” She smiled back at him then turned towards the sitting room.
Godric climbed down into the hole that they had provided for us and I told him I’d join him in a bit. He nodded and shut the hatch.
We walked back through to the sitting room, Fia resumed to gathering up her cards that were sprawled out in a curious order on the table and shuffled them between her hands while Blair was up from her seat poking at the fire. I looked around and noticed that Eoin had disappeared.
“He’s gone out again.” Blair said. “He must be very hungry tonight.” Yeah because we ate his dinner I thought.
“Not so talkative now are you, vampire?” she added.
“It’s Eric” I corrected her. She looked at me sideways then continued with the fire. Sometimes I wished that I could read human minds as it was not always easy reading their body language. Although I could tell that Blair was not as scared of me as Fia was there was definitely something on her mind that she didn’t want to share with either of us.
“I thought that there were three of you that lived here? Eoin mentioned that he lived with three sisters?” I asked shifting my attention to Fia who was sitting to my right.
“Well Eoin hasn’t been here in a while. Sometimes he goes off on his own for days at a time and sleeps in the graveyard. To answer your question yes we do have another sister but she left to go travelling and see family for a while. Her name is Nairne and she is the oldest of the three of us.”
“Why did you leave home so young? How old are you?” I asked genuinely interested.
“We are old enough to fend for ourselves ok” Blair added abruptly. “I’m going to bed now, goodnight.” She said walking out of the room through the hallway towards the far end. My eyes followed her until she was out of sight. I turned back to face Fia who was looking a bit nervous being left alone with me.
“We moved away from our family as it was too dangerous living together in such a big coven. There hasn’t been a witch killed in public here in over 150 years but there are still threats from the locals and if you’re caught doing anything suspicious then you’re punished severely. There are things about this place that you must know in order to survive here.”
“I know, Eoin already told me about the nor’ loch and the fairies in the hills and not venturing out of the old town. It all seems a bit silly to me to be honest.” I said mockingly as I smiled at her. Her expression didn’t mirror mine. In her eyes I could sense that she was holding back.
“There’s a lot more than that to be worried about Eric” she said.
“Tell me everything.” I said softly, pulling her mind slowly into mine.