DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Neither English, nor German and especially not French are my first language. An yet, somehow, there's all three of those in this 3000 words deep barrel of my feels. I apologize to everyone. I'd like to thank longgonedown, wondersnatch-hi-have-we-met and kaleidoscopes-and-carousels (all @ Tumblr) for lending a hand.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To sowicked[at]email.t-com.hr
The one in which vampires do cry
By Kristina K
A scream tears out from her chest, burning her lungs and ripping at her throat. It's feral and desperate, angry and pleading, all at the same time. She tugs at the chains they shackled her with, pulling three of her brothers to the ground while two more dig in their heels to keep her from breaking loose. At that moment it is the truth: she is a monster. An abomination. A creature so vile not even Hell will have her. Instead, she is condemned to walk the earth for all of the eternity, cursed.
"Bitte, Mutter!" She begs. "Bitte tu ihr nicht weh. Lass sie gehen. Töte mich. Töte mich, stattdessen!"
The disgust on Mother's face is an even greater punch to the gut than the actual ones she receives. It hurts even more than the glowing iron they press to her back to subdue her. It's amazing how through of a torture it is to have every bone in your body broken, one by one. It's even more amazing how the pain of one's heart shattering into a million pieces trumps any other kind of pain known to man.
"Run away with me." Mircalla whispers across the pillow and then smiles when the other girl's eyes flutter back open, eyes shining with the light of a solitary candle still burning on the nightstand.
"What?" Ell looks at her and blinks her eyes, fighting off sleep. It's well after midnight and she should be already fast asleep.
"Tomorrow. I'll make all the arrangements. Let's just go."
"Where would we go?" Ell smiles.
"Where ever you want." Mircalla says. "London. New York. As far away as we can."
It's not the first time Mircalla suggests them running away together. She did it twice before: when they first met, Mircalla's evening dress ruined by the mud she fell in after her carriage's wheel broke off and it toppled over leaving her stranded on the forest path in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, Ell's father rode past not long after and offered to send for a carriage of his own to help a young lady out. It would be at his pleasure as well, he said, since he had a daughter of Mircalla's age sitting at home, bored out of her wits ever since she came home from Vienna over winter holidays.
The first moment she laid eyes on Ell, Mircalla knew she was in trouble. Nothing in this world should be that lovely, but there she was, a smile so radiant and welcoming, glee so genuine, a vision of pure delight on the girl's face at a prospect of a new friend.
"We should run away, you and me. Have adventures." Mircalla had said as she put on a dress Ell had provided for her while her dirty and torn one was being washed and mended. Ell laughed with such joy, she threw her head back, and then she demanded of Mircalla to tell her all about the adventures they would have.
The next time Mircalla brought it up was the first time she kissed Ell in the drawing room of her family's house. "I don't ever want to leave you." Mircalla whispered against Ell's lips.
"I don't ever want you to leave," was Ell's reply. She then called Mircalla a beautiful dreamer for suggesting they sneak out in the middle of the night, steal two of her father's fastest horses and just rode until they reached the edge of the world.
Now in the dimness of the late hour, Mircalla once again looks at Ell with hopeful eyes. Ell takes a moment and then props herself up on her elbow. She looks at Mircalla, her eyes searching the other girl's face with concern. "You're serious."
"Of course I am."
"No, my darling, you need not worry about any of that: your father, your family, the money "
"Money I do not have."
"But the money I do."
"Mircalla, you cannot be serious. I have obligations, a duty"
"A duty to your father to marry a man twice your age, a man he chose for you because he thinks he knows what's best for you?"
"It is not at all that simple, you know that."
"What I know," Mircalla says and sits up in the bed. She pulls at Ell's sleeve for her to do the same, "is that you deserve to be loved. You deserve to be free and happy."
"I am happy." Ell smiles and reaches over with her hand. Her fingers gently touch Mircalla's face and trace the pattern from the curve of her eyebrow, over her cheekbone, down to her lips. Ell leans in and kisses her softly. Mircalla sighs against her mouth and pulls her closer. Only two weeks gone and she's already so hopelessly in love. If it weren't tragic, Mircalla would think it to be the funniest thing in the world. She who was supposed to be doing all of the seducing has been seduced and turned into a lovesick girl. Mother would not be pleased about that at all.
Mircalla finds out just how unpleased Mother is, that same night, an hour before the dawn. Ell is fast asleep in her bed, her hair spread across the pillows, the face of innocence enjoying pleasant dreams for the first time in days, Mircalla made sure of that.
She's walking down the dark corridor of Ell's family house, rounding the corner to get to her room when a taloned hand snatches her by the throat and presses her roughly against a wall. Mircalla whimpers as she's lifted off the ground, moving her legs helplessly in the air as the claw tightens its grip around her neck.
"Tu n'es qu'une idiote! Fille ingrate!" Her mother's hiss is sharp in her ear. "Do you think I wouldn't find out?"
"Je t'en prie, Maman." Mircalla chokes out. "Je"
"Tais toi!" Her mother is a beautiful woman, with striking features and breathtaking eyes, but now she's a thing of nightmares, an animal more than a human, if human at all. In her eyes there's nothing but blackness, a hollow pit of terror and anger. Her teeth are sharp, clenching in a jaw just inches from Mircalla's neck, a breath away from ripping at her throat and ending her then and there. "I will not endure any more if your insolence. I did not send you here to play house, Mircalla. I sent you to get the job done! You're wasting my precious time. If she's not dealt with by this time tomorrow, I will quarter you both and feed you to the dogs, do you understand?"
Mircalla gasps when Mother releases her grip and she slides down the wall to the ground. She massages her sore neck; both fear and rage blooming inside her. She's not strong enough to defy her mother, to even stand up to her on the matter. All she would ever do is get herself killed. And Ell She would be doomed then for sure.
"Get some sleep," Mother orders her. "And get something to eat. You're miserably thin and weak."
Mircalla nods, "I will."
Then, in a puff of black smoke, her mother is gone and all Mircalla is left with is resolve to run and save both Ell and herself. She's not sure, though, resolve will be enough when fear is quickly suppressing all the courage she had built up within.
Mircalla wastes no time and leaves the house before first light. She bundles herself up in a heavy coat and a scarf and then takes the shortcut to town on foot through the orchard and the forest. She goes straight to the port and makes inquiries about the first ship that sails out. She is greeted with sneers and witless comments about young ladies not supposed to be traveling alone, or walking unchaperoned around the docks for that matter. As soon as she dangles a purse full of silver coins in front of a few faces, the tune changes and she finds out everything she needs to know about getting on the boat that leaves early next morning for Vienna and then continues its journey for France.
When she returns to the house, Ell is already awake, taking her breakfast in the winter garden. Mircalla rushes to her and then falls to her knees next to Ell's chair.
"It's done." She says breathlessly. "We sail out early tomorrow morning, but we leave the house tonight."
"Mircalla, what are you"
"Look!" Mircalla pulls out a voucher out of her coat and shows it to Ell.
"We need to go. I have to get you out of here, it's not safe."
"Not safe? What are you talking about?"
"Look at me." Mircalla takes Ell's face into her hands. "There are terrible things in this world you don't know about. You being married off to some stranger doesn't even begin to describe it. There is a way for you and me to be together, but we need to go."
The urgency in Mircalla's voice sobers Ell up. She sits up straight in her chair and takes Mircalla's hand in hers. "Why are you so eager to run away? Don't you like it here? I know Styria is a bit drab during the winter, but hold out a few weeks longer and you can come away with me to Vienna"
"Do you love me?" Mircalla cuts her off. "Do you?" Taken aback by the question at first, Ell does nod after a moment's pause. "Then let me love you with all the passion I have inside. Trust me, please, when I tell you we need to leave if we're ever going to be happy and free together. New York. That's where'll we go. That's where I'll take you and no one will ever tear us apart. Forever, you and I."
Possibly enchanted by the fervor of conviction in Mircalla's words, and certainly with her mind clouded by the recklessness of her youth, Ell agrees. She nods eagerly, squeezes Mircalla's hands in hers and then pulls her into a kiss.
"What do you need me to do?" Ell asks after they break apart.
"Go to your room and pack; just a few things, only the most essential ones. We'll buy everything else when we get to France. Now we just need to be quick and light."
"You'll tell me everything when we get on that boat? Why we're running, why so sudden and, oh! My father. I can't just leave him without saying goodbye"
"Ell, no. No goodbyes. We'll write him a letter, we'll explain everything. If you say something to him now he may try to keep you from leaving, he surely will."
"You're right. You're right." Ell agrees. "But Mircalla, this is crazy!"
"I know, my darling," Mircalla pulls her into a hug. "Just as crazy as I am about you."
The clock on the main town square strikes eleven just as Ell ducks into the shadows of the alley next to the barber shop Mircalla told her to wait for her at. They are supposed to rent a room at the Inn across the street to spend the night in, before they go to the docks in the morning. She is an hour early, however, the nerves getting to her so she fled the house before she lost her courage and blurted out everything to her father. Mircalla left the house earlier still, saying she had some things to take care of before they left and they would meet at the very exact spot Ell is now huddled in, blowing into her hands to keep warm.
"You're even more beautiful than she said you were." A voice comes from inside the alley, dark and low like the night itself. "I do see now why she's so enchanted by you."
Ell shrinks into her corner as a tall figure arises from the dark, the light of the gas lamp slowly revealing the figure to be a woman dressed in finery, with jewels and gems around her neck and wrists. She is beautiful, probably the same age her mother would have been now if she hadn't died soon after Ell's fifth birthday. She's an arresting presence that should be comforting but instead she makes Ell feel a pang of fear.
"Oh, don't you worry mein Schatz," the woman smiles. "I mean you no harm. You're Mircalla's friend, aren't you?"
At the mention of her beloved's name, Ell relaxes. "Yes, do you know her?"
"Know her? Mein Gott, natürlich!" The woman chuckles and then reaches to gently stroke Ell's face. "My sweet darling, I am her mother."
For a moment Ell feels lost at the woman's words. Mircalla's mother? Didn't Mircalla say her mother was dead? Or maybe she understood something wrong? That must be it, though, because there the woman was, alive and holding her hand, practically pulling her along and Ell had to quicken up her step not to end up falling face first onto the cobblestone.
Her mother said there was a change of plan, that Mircalla sent for her and they were to meet at another part of town. Ell felt there was no real reason she shouldn't believe what she was told because Mircalla's mother knew all the details about how Mircalla lost her carriage, how Ell and her father were kind enough to take her in for a few weeks until she had the time to come and pick her up. She didn't really know the details about the trip they were about to go on, but Ell explained everything after which Mircalla's mother seemed pleased and yet strangely annoyed.
"Where are we going, exactly?" Ell breathes hard. It seems like she's been running all the way across town. And it was a part of town her father never spoke particularly fondly of, but rather mentioned how a lot of unsavory business and unseemly characters gravitated towards it.
"Just around the corner, my dear."
But what lies around the corner is dark. Dark and mud and this horrible, horrible smell of rot and mildew and piss. It makes Ell gag. She opens her mouth to protest and demand the obvious charade to end. She is about to speak up and insist she be taken to Mircalla at once, when the light shifts and something in the dark moves. It makes a sound, a wet, gurgling sound. A hiss and a growl. From nowhere, a boy her age appears carrying a torch. He rounds the corner revealing the entire scene to Ell's eyes.
At first she thinks it's an animal, a large cat pouncing on her prey, but when the boy moves the torch, Ell takes a step closer and the animal raises its head, alarmed by the light. Ell forgets to scream at first, completely taken aback by the horrifying sight, until Mircalla realizes it's Ell in front of her and she drops the poor bastard on whose blood she was feeding. Mircalla reaches for her desperately, realizing right away it's completely in vain because how could she ever explain the sight and the blood dripping from her chin. How could she ever say anything to her besides: yes, I am a monster?
They take them both to the edge of the woods. The moon is out and not a single cloud is in sight. Stars shine like the brightest sparks in the sky. The night is so beautiful and fresh; if she could have chosen any night to be her last it would have been this one.
They beat her, three of them at the time, while the rest of them hold her down. Her jaw is broken, her ribs, her arms. It almost feels like that night when she died for the first time, but this time it's worse because it could literally take her forever to die while the pain consumed her from inside out, becoming replaced by guilt, and then with yet more pain.
Mother leaves after a time. She brings Ell with her. She was so dazed from the shock, it seemed like she was absolutely compliant. Maybe she made peace with her fate, just like Mircalla has. Another young soul lost to the darkness.
It's almost dawn when they stop. For a moment she feels relieved the night didn't end with her true death, that there's still time, still the possibility she could save Ell. And then they pick her up, heave her over to the pit somebody had already dug up, and just drop her in. Her broken body hits against the stone with a sick splat, but before they seal her tomb and leave her rot in the ground, they fill it with a seemingly endless river of blood for her to drown in.
"Carmilla! Seriously?" Laura pounds on the bathroom door. "It's been an hour already. I have to pee!"
The banging jerks Carmilla up, making her gulp at the stream of now freezing water. She sputters it out and shuffles to turn off the shower.
"I'm coming in!" Laura announces a second before she unceremoniously bursts through the door and makes a beeline for the toilet. "I'm not looking! I'm not looking!" She shields her eyes with one hand while she pulls down on her pants with the other.
"Look all you want, creampuff." Carmilla deadpans. "I don't care." Laura makes a happy sigh of an overdue bladder finally being emptied and Carmilla rolls her eyes. "Could you possibly pass me the towel after you're finished with not looking?"
"Sure." Laura bounces up, flushing the water down. She tosses Carmilla's towel over to her, making a show of doing it with her respectfully turned back.
Laura washes her hands while Carmilla dries off, and when she turns to leave the bathroom, Carmilla is there in front of her, wrapped in a towel. Laura swallows at the view, but then something else catches her eye which makes the whole oh-my-god-help-half-naked-crush freak out fall away into the background.
"Have you been crying?" Laura asks.
"No!" Carmilla bites back. "Pffft. Vampires don't cry!"
"Alright." Laura raises her arms up defensively. "Don't bite my head off. It just looks like you were."
"Well I wasn't. Could you please leave now so I could get dressed? Wouldn't want you to have a heart attack at the sight of some skin."
"Fine." Laura huffs.
"Fine." Carmilla mutters mockingly after Laura as she closes the door behind her.
When she comes to stand in front of the mirror, however, Carmilla takes a good long look at her face. For almost four hundred years that same face looked back at her. The eyes, once young and bright, burning with joy, now are tortured and red-rimmed from the tears she only dared let out once or twice since that night she was put into the ground.
"Not this time, Mother." Carmilla swears into her own reflection. "You can't have this one."
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