George Sylvester Viereck would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The House of the Vampire

By George Sylvester Viereck All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Horror

Chapter 1

The freakish little leader of the orchestra, newly imported from Sicily to New York, tossed his conductor's wand excitedly through the air, drowning with musical thunders the hum of conversation and the clatter of plates.

Yet neither his apish demeanour nor the deafening noises that responded to every movement of his agile body detracted attention from the figure of Reginald Clarke and the young man at his side as they smilingly wound their way to the exit.

The boy's expression was pleasant, with an inkling of wistfulness, while the soft glimmer of his lucid eyes betrayed the poet and the dreamer. The smile of Reginald Clarke was the smile of a conqueror. A suspicion of silver in his crown of dark hair only added dignity to his bearing, while the infinitely ramified lines above the heavy-set mouth spoke at once of subtlety and of strength. Without stretch of the imagination one might have likened him to a Roman cardinal of the days of the Borgias, who had miraculously stepped forth from the time-stained canvas and slipped into twentieth century evening-clothes.

With the affability of complete self-possession he nodded in response to greetings from all sides, inclining his head with special politeness to a young woman whose sea-blue eyes were riveted upon his features with a look of mingled hate and admiration.

The woman, disregarding his silent salutation, continued to stare at him wild-eyed, as a damned soul in purgatory might look at Satan passing in regal splendour through the seventy times sevenfold circles of hell.

Reginald Clarke walked on unconcernedly through the rows of gay diners, still smiling, affable, calm. But his companion bethought himself of certain rumours he had heard concerning Ethel Brandenbourg's mad love for the man from whose features she could not even now turn her eyes. Evidently her passion was unreciprocated. It had not always been so. There was a time in her career, some years ago in Paris, when it was whispered that she had secretly married him and, not much later, obtained a divorce. The matter was never cleared up, as both preserved an uncompromising silence upon the subject of their matrimonial experience. Certain it was that, for a space, the genius of Reginald Clarke had completely dominated her brush, and that, ever since he had thrown her aside, her pictures were but plagiarisms of her former artistic self.

The cause of the rupture between them was a matter only of surmise; but the effect it had on the woman testified clearly to the remarkable power of Reginald Clarke. He had entered her life and, behold! the world was transfixed on her canvases in myriad hues of transcending radiance; he had passed from it, and with him vanished the brilliancy of her colouring, as at sunset the borrowed amber and gold fade from the face of the clouds.

The glamour of Clarke's name may have partly explained the secret of his charm, but, even in circles where literary fame is no passport, he could, if he chose, exercise an almost terrible fascination. Subtle and profound, he had ransacked the coffers of mediæval dialecticians and plundered the arsenals of the Sophists. Many years later, when the vultures of misfortune had swooped down upon him, and his name was no longer mentioned without a sneer, he was still remembered in New York drawing-rooms as the man who had brought to perfection the art of talking. Even to dine with him was a liberal education.

Clarke's marvellous conversational power was equalled only by his marvellous style. Ernest Fielding's heart leaped in him at the thought that henceforth he would be privileged to live under one roof with the only writer of his generation who could lend to the English language the rich strength and rugged music of the Elizabethans.

Reginald Clarke was a master of many instruments. Milton's mighty organ was no less obedient to his touch than the little lute of the troubadour. He was never the same; that was his strength. Clarke's style possessed at once the chiselled chasteness of a Greek marble column and the elaborate deviltry of the late Renaissance. At times his winged words seemed to flutter down the page frantically like Baroque angels; at other times nothing could have more adequately described his manner than the timeless calm of the gaunt pyramids.

The two men had reached the street. Reginald wrapped his long spring coat round him.

"I shall expect you to-morrow at four," he said.

The tone of his voice was deep and melodious, suggesting hidden depths and cadences.

"I shall be punctual."

The younger man's voice trembled as he spoke.

"I look forward to your coming with much pleasure. I am interested in you."

The glad blood mounted to Ernest's cheeks at praise from the austere lips of this arbiter of literary elegance.

An almost imperceptible smile crept over the other man's features.

"I am proud that my work interests you," was all the boy could say.

"I think it is quite amazing, but at present," here Clarke drew out a watch set with jewels, "I am afraid I must bid you good-bye."

He held Ernest's hand for a moment in a firm genial grasp, then turned away briskly, while the boy remained standing open-mouthed. The crowd jostling against him carried him almost off his feet, but his eyes followed far into the night the masterful figure of Reginald Clarke, toward whom he felt himself drawn with every fiber of his body and the warm enthusiasm of his generous youth.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

vane 3071: This book taught me so much and I even began to think, no wait know, it's important that people of all ages learn more about it. I may only be 14 but all we've always been told is that there the "special kids" that they have "issues", basically that they weren't normal. If we were to associate wi...

cacti: I thought the story progressed well. The dialogue was realistic and effective. Many unexpected situations. A very emotional read and thought out well.

KingofNewYork: This story is so captivating and stands out from any other mare story you might of read before 10/10 would recommend

Guava89: Read this if you want a story that is unique and different story line, read this if you want to connect really well with the characters and your life now like I did .1000% would recommend this story to anyone and everyone ❤️❤️

Ann Michelle: This book was so exciting and had me from the start and I couldn’t put it down until it was finished. Please write more. I absolutely love your work and your way of thinking

Ann Michelle: Very well written. The storyline to the book kept me intrigued from the beginning until the end. Amazing!

Gargie: The first meeting between Ava and Adam became the fantasy of my life. I loved the description of Ava’s eyes by Adam. It is different than regular fantasies and I adore the adventures from this book. Looking forward for Ava and Adam adventures’.

More Recommendations

AudreyInAshes: I think this book is a really great modern-age thriller. The idea of the drug and its symptoms were explained generously, and while I did really enjoy this I just want to add that there is some mild gore and the killing of a pet (sorry to spoil, but I like to be prepared.) It is very interesting,...

Hayls: One of the best pieces of writing I've ever read!

SilentReader_23: For being zombie like i know that this stories twist and plot is unique. I may read a different virus story but not like this kind,well except for the werewolf heat but we know thats not virus. Anyway i like how it the protagonist potrayed but i though they might be a moment with ian and im dissa...

DarkWolf .12: Very interesting plot! Had me up for the entire night. Keep up the good work 👍

greatbooks: I admire your creativity. You have written a great piece. I want to promote your Inkitt book for free to my list of newsletter subscribers. If that is alright by you then please email me at exzordsdevs AT gmail.com to book your spot, thanks.

Dylan Nichelle Manalo: Cool! Like this book

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.