“After the incident I went to Grant Memorial Hospital. There was no way to save my left eye. I feel lucky to have partial sight in my right eye.” Claudette said. “The entire town of Juliette was outraged at what happened.”
“Claudette, I can’t imagine going through something so awful. I am so sorry my family did that to you.” Molly said.
“You had nothing to do with it, so do not feel ashamed. I am glad you apologized and that you feel what your family did was wrong. A true hunter would laugh when they hear about pain coming to a vampire.” Claudette said. “I realize that this is a lot for you to take in. I am here if you have any questions.”
Molly wondered if anybody heard about the incident. If other towns heard the gunfire. She wondered if any newspapers reported the attack. She doubted there would be headlines saying “Vampire Hunters attack glass factory owner.”
“I have a question, did anybody hear about what happened? Did they know vampires and hunters were involved?” Molly asked.
“In the all the major papers, the Juliette Gazette, the Pittsburgh Tribune, the attacks were blamed on employees who were recently fired from the glass factory. No reporter in Juliette would say the word “vampire” Our friends on the press knew it was like shining a beacon on the town for more vampire hunters to find us.”
“Secrecy has always been our clan’s policy.” Alister said. “The less people know the truth, the better. We always try to blend in to society. It is easier for my family because we are Dhampirs. We tolerate the sun a lot better than pure first generation vampires.”
“First Generation vampires?” Molly asked. “Dhampirs? I had no idea there were different types.”
“There is so much people do not know about vampires.” Alister said. “I do not know everything about them, either. The traits that are in my family are not present in other vampires. All I know is my family history. The Stirling Dhampir blood line was started by my great-great Grandfather McAlister Stirling.
McAlister Stirling lived in Scotland with his wife Ruthven in 1803. They had one child and Ruthven was pregnant. He worked as a banker and an accountant. The family was fairly wealthy. He handled contracts for large shipping companies.
One company was Lafitte Shipping. One of his most important clients was a man named Jean-Baptiste Lafitte. He was from Lafitte Island. His business partner was Julien Delacroix. On the night after the meeting, Julien and Jean-Baptiste were going to the local pub after dinner. They decided to see if McAlister wanted to join them. They wanted to reward him for working late and taking care of their accounts. While they walked there, two men ran past them. One was holding a bag and the other had blood all over him. When they got to the bank, they were shocked to see blood splattered on the floor. They found McAlister laying on the floor in a pool of blood.
Jean-Baptiste said, “Those men we passed did this, I will go after them while their scent is fresh. You stay here and see if you can help him.” Julien nodded.
Julien ran over to McAlister and kneeled beside him. He put his hand under his nose. McAlister grabbed his hand and whispered, “Help me, I don’t want to leave my wife and kids. They need me.” McAlister then choked and spat out a glob of blood on Julien.
Julien bit McAlister on the neck. He then bit his own wrist and dribbled blood into the wound. After a few minutes, Jean-Baptiste came back to the bank. He ran over to Julien. “I see you took care of him. You do realize he is our responsibility now? We need to stay and help him. The villagers are already attacking our kind. Remember Bruce Boyd?”
Julien nodded. “We have to take him somewhere safe until he is through with the change. He has a family. I know they will look for him.”
Jean-Baptiste shook his head. “We can’t let him near his family until he is through changing. I also want to make sure his wife and children will accept him this way. Bruce had his own family turn on him.”
“We don’t have much time. I hear the villagers whispering about us in town. They have called hunters. I think we need to get this man’s family, take them aboard our ship tonight.” Julien said.
“I say we wait. McAlister might not survive. I don’t want his family given false hope Jean-Baptiste said. Julien sighed and nodded. Both me picked up McAlister and carried him out of the bank. They took him to their ship.
Ruthven Stirling was devastated when her husband did not return that evening. The next morning a bank employee came and told her that there was blood inside the bank. McAlister’s body was not there. Ruthven collapsed and cried.
Over the next few days, she heard crazy stories about what had happened to her husband. Her neighbors claimed that her husband was not attacked by ordinary bank robbers. They told Ruthven about similar bloody attacks that happened in the village. No bodies were found at the scene of the attacks. One villager said that vampires were responsible for the attacks. Two strange men that recently visited the village were the main suspects. Their names were Julien and Jean-Baptiste. Ruthven said that those men had business with her husband. The villagers said that they took her husband. They told her that there was no chance her husband was alive.
Imagine her shock when her husband came back the next week with two men. The two men introduced themselves as Julien Delacroix and Jean-Baptiste Lafitte. Jean-Baptiste had straight dark blond hair. He was tall, barrel chested and had broad shoulders. Julien had curly hair that had receding hairline. If you looked at him closely, his skin had dark hue. At first, Ruthven was frightened of the men. Her told her that these men saved his life. He has been with them for the past few days.
McAlister said, “I don’t remember anything that happened. I have been asleep most of the time. When I am awake, I am confused. I feel strange. I hate the light. I feel weak in the daytime. I feel much stronger at night. I don’t know what has happened to me. These men say they will help me.”
Jean-Baptiste put his hand on McAlister’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, we will make sure you and your family are safe. First, we need to give an explanation about who we are.”
Ruthven interrupted, “You are vampires. The villagers are already talking about you. How can I trust you men?”
McAlister said, “These men saved my life. Just listen to what they have to say.”
Ruthven shrugged and then nodded.
Julien explained. “We came back to the bank that night because we wanted to go to the pub. When we got there, we saw two men running out of the bank. Jean-Baptiste grabbed them and I went inside. McAlister was shot and bleeding very badly. He was on the brink of death. I did not want him to die. He is a decent man and did not deserve to die by two thugs. He told us he had a family, a pregnant wife. I bit him and gave my blood. So did Julien. He is now like us.”
Ruthven looked at the two men. “You are all in danger. My neighbors said that the village contacted vampire hunters.”
Jean-Baptiste said, “We are aware. A business partner and friend Bruce Boyd was attacked and killed. He was a decent man and he did not deserve to be murdered by stupid filthy hunters. People that are jealous and ignorant of our kind. They do not understand or respect our ways. They do not care that many vampires operate under a very strict code of ethics.”
“I know nothing of those ethics. I do not know how to live like this.” McAlister said.
“That is why we came back her with you. We wanted to wait until you got back to your family. We wanted to be sure your wife would accept you coming back.” Julien said.
“Of course I did! McAlister is the love of my life. I love him no matter what.” Ruthven said.
“Sadly, that is not always the case.” Jean-Baptiste said. “Bruce Boyd’s, wife did not accept him. Bruce became weak and hungry. He needed blood. He tried to bite and feed off of her. Her son stopped his father. He shot him. His wife went and told the hunters. She watched as her husband was burned and hacked up with an ax. Her children watched and cheered.”
Ruthven put a hand over her mouth and gasped. She had tears in her eyes. “Shame on that woman.”
Julien was about to say something when he was interrupted by screaming coming from outside the house. McAlister looked out the window and saw people holding torches. He was shocked to see that they were setting his house on fire.
Jean-Baptiste said, “They must have been spying on the house. They suspected that we would turn you and bring you back here.”
“What do we do?” McAlister asked.
“We will fight. They are attacking us and will not stop until everyone of us, including your children are dead.” Jean-Baptiste said.
McAlister said, “Ruthven, take the children and run out the back door.”
Ruthven grabbed her children and ran out the back door. The three men went out the front. All three men had their fangs bared and their nails lengthened like swords. They slaughtered the villagers one by one.
The Stirling’s escaped from the town. They boarded a ship that granted them safe passage. He found safety and peace in that city. He moved there in 1805. He bought land and owned a large plantation. His son Alister I was born in 1880. My family lived in Lafitte Island until 1888. The days of owning large plantations were long over. My family struggled. My father’s fortune was dwindling. He said the world had moved on and he wanted to find a fresh start. He heard about a business proposition from Julien Delacroix Jr. He had a glass factory in Pittsburgh. He heard about gas wells nearby. He moved his factory and started a new town called Juliette. From then on the Stirling family has lived in Juliette.”
Molly could not believe all the history that occurred. She was shocked that Claudette’s last name, Delacroix, was mentioned. Also the surname Sinclair. It seemed that everyone was related in some way. Molly sat lost in thought. She did not say anything.
“Molly, I know that is a lot to take in. Feel free to ask anything.” Alister said.
“Did the man who sired your grandfather settle Juliette?”
“No, it was his grandson. Julien Delacroix the third. He named the town after his twin sister. She had died in childbirth the year before he left Lafitte Island.” Alister said.
Molly hesitated before she asked the next question. She was afraid to hear the answer. “Is the original Julien still alive?”
“No. He died back in 1990. He was 230 years old.” Alister said. “He died in the massacre. The hunters ganged up on him, chopped of his limbs and his head. They fire to what was left.”
Molly was shocked. As far as what she heard from vampires, 230 was not very old. Of course, Julien died after he was attacked by her family. “How long do vampires live? I heard they were immortal.”
Alister chuckled. So did Malcolm. “No dear, nobody and nothing is “immortal” Alister said. “Let me guess you heard that from movies and TV.” He snorted and shook his head. He raised his hands. “It is true that vampires live longer than non-vampires. They are resistant to many diseases. They can heal from almost any type of injury. Sometimes very fast. Unless, they got silver or another weakness into their blood that slows down healing. Salt has been known to weaken healing and clotting abilities for all vampires. The point I am trying to make is: Everything has a weakness. Something that will kill it. That is the way Mother Nature works.”
“I heard that silver can kill vampires. Same with a cross. I also heard if you put a wooden stake thought the heart of a vampire, they die.” Molly said.
Malcolm stood up. “Let me ask you something.” He walked closer to Molly and jabbed her in the heart. “If I were to stick a wooden stake through your heart, would you die?”
Molly let out a shriek. She nodded. Malcolm laughed. He said, “Then there is your answer. Anything that gets struck in the heart will die. Nothing can live if the heart does not work. The same with a head, or rather brain. If you chop off a human or vampires head they will die.” He made like he was swinging and ax at Molly’s head. She flinched. “A body cannot function without a brain.” Malcolm said.
Alister broke in. “As for silver, some vampires have that weakness. The Sinclair clan has a gold weakness. As for a cross, that is a myth.” He pulled out his cross from around his neck. It was a Celtic cross. Malcom showed Molly his cross also.
“As for how long vampires live, I heard of some that have lived over a thousand years. Of course, those vampires were from the original family. The Original family lived in Lafitte Island. Some say they founded that city. One of the Originals sired Julien Delacroix. Julien started his Dhampir line when he went home to his pregnant wife. He turned her. His son was born and he was a vampire.”
Molly nodded in understanding. Nicole nodded also. Both girls were intrigued by the history they heard. “How long do Dhampirs live?” Molly asked.
“With Dhampirs, there is the rule of half. They have half the abilities, half the weaknesses and half the life of a vampire.” Alister said. “The further you get from the original bloodline, the weaker the Dhampir line gets. Dhampirs have been known to live 200 years. After that they become weak and require a lot more blood. Some of them go soft in the head. They become more violent. When Dhampirs get over 150 they become less resistant to disease. Their healing abilities weaken tremendously.”
Molly interrupted. “It sounds like humans live half as long as Dhampirs.”
Alister, Malcolm, and Claudette gasped. They all glared at Molly. Sean, Colleen and Nicole also stared in shock at her. “Young lady, how dare you! Dhampirs and vampires are human!” Alister shouted. “Most everything you hear about vampires is myth. How can I drum this into your thick skull? Vampires are not monsters! WE are not like what the TV says about them. Do not ever let me hear you say my family is not human!”
“Yeah, Molly look at me.” Nicole said. “I am a Dhampir. Do I seem like a monster? Wait do not answer that.”
Molly met Nicole’s gaze. She then looked at everyone in the room. “I am sorry, please forgive me. I did not mean to hurt anybody.”
Collen said, “Molly, a lot of the myths you hear about vampires being evil, blood thirsty monsters were started by The Catholic Church. The first hunters came from there. I know this because my family was Catholic. In the old country, the Murphy family were against vampires. When we came to America, we left our old religion behind. We met The Stirling Clan and did not want to be part of church that condoned violence because of petty superstitions.”
“I am confused.” Molly said. “I was always told that vampires were not real.”
“Well, many people as society became more modern, stopped believing in supernatural and superstitious things.” Alister said. “Plus, many vampire clans went underground. Remember, I said secrecy is how my clan survived.”
Claudette cleared her throat, “Sorry to interrupt, but it is 7:00. Colleen and I must leave and start dinner.
“We sure do! We are an hour late. I heard Sean’s stomach growl for the last half hour.” The two women walked into the kitchen. Since the kitchen had an open design, everyone could see them from the living room. Claudette walked without her cane. She knew the kitchen area very well. She went to a butcher block and pulled out a knife to chop vegetables that Collen got out of the refrigerator.
Molly was shocked. A blind woman using a knife? Being in the kitchen and cooking?
“Should Claudette be cooking and using a knife?” Molly asked.
“Why not? She happens to be a wonderful cook.” Malcolm said.
Nicole interrupted. “Shush, don’t say it!”
Malcolm waved his hand at Molly. “Go on- she’s what?”
“She’s blind!” Molly blurted.
“Oh Shit! Duck!” Nicole yelled.
Claudette stood in the kitchen holding a butcher knife. She had her head cocked in the direction of Molly’s voice. She threw the knife into the living room. It went flying toward Molly. Nicole grabbed her and threw her to the floor. The knife stuck in the wall above the couch where Molly sat. She screamed. Alister and Malcolm laughed so hard they fell off their chairs. Sean sat and shook his head. “Crazy Claudette struck again.”
“You better shut up if you want to eat.” Claudette said.
Sean put up his hands. “Sorry lass, I did not mean for you to hear that.
“I tried to warn you.” Nicole said. “I made the same mistake. I did not duck. The knife parted my hair.” Nicole bent down and whispered into Molly’s ear. “She really is crazy at times. Watch out for her. Of course what do you expect from a crazy Cajun, Creole woman.”
“I heard that ladies! Just for that, I am putting you ladies on dish duty!” Claudette said.
Nicole and Molly groaned. “It gets worse; Claudette does not believe in using a dishwasher. She thinks they break the dishes. She broke it on purpose.” Nicole said.