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