The day was calm as usual; with the incoming draft of spring air, filling this forgotten place of herbs and its vast green lands. But something wasn’t what it seemed despite this lands forgetfulness, something was off like the bitter cold of a winter snowstorm that threatened the calmness to be forever changed with just a gust of wind. It was sunny yet to be honest Lupita’s pale white skin felt like it could neither reflect that of the warmth of the sun or that of the cold. She was somewhere in the middle, somewhere in between, nothing less and nothing more. Lupita carefully unwrapped the blood stained linen cloth she had rested on her skirts. In it held the purest whitest rabbit that she had ever seen roaming around for carrots and other edibles inside her mother’s garden patch. Now the once living animal was still with the death she had brought upon it. She could not describe the deep pain and hurt she felt when she had took the rabbit’s life and innocence away from it, yet the red blood clung to the rabbits neck to prove that even though it was blood stained its innocence would remain. Lupita’s hands shook, she was frightened yet at the same time she was intrigued and even amused at the sight of the rabbit. For some reason she could not describe the equal rush and satisfaction that its death had brought her. She lifted the rabbit closer to her face and inhaled the heavenly scent of tangy spiced oranges and cooper bloods fill her nostrils. She let it linger there as her mouth watered, she wasn’t one to partake in the sufferings of little animals but why did it give her so much pleasure to do so.
“What are you doing?”
Startled by her sister’s voice, she quickly looked around for a place to hide the rabbit in the patched of wild parsley growing sporadically around her. When she finished she looked up at her younger sister, the real daughter of her adopted family. Lupita could tell that Eve had been running because her face was flushed from the heat of the sun as Eve brushed aside the sweaty golden brown hair that clung to the side of her face.
“Nothing, I’ve just been….just gathering some herbs.” Lupita quickly grabbed the basket filled with lavender and rosemary that she had gathered earlier and stood up. Eve fanned herself with
“Oh is that all Mum was worried where you’d run off to. She sent me to get the vegetables again.” Eve scrunched up her nose like she always did at the thought of gardening. “I was on my way back and saw you in the field.” Eve looked at the scorching sun and shielded her eyes with her free hand while the other held a large basket of vegetables. ’It’s hot out, why don’t we go back home?”
Lupita quickly wiped the dirt from her hands and placed the bundle of lavender into Eve’s basket and started to walk ahead of Eve, in hopes that she didn’t see the disturbed ground.
Eve ran to catch up with her. “Can you believe that Mum would ask me, to even get the vegetables again? She knows that I’m allegoric to the grass in these fields.”
They walked in silence as they made their way out of the fields to the medium sized cottage that belonged to them. They could see their Mum on the stool with a fan to keep the heat away as she coolly drank a glass of water. As they came closer their Mum smiled and stood up immediately as she wiped the sweat off of her forehead.
“Ah! Me girls finally made it back. I thought that I might have to go and look for ya.”
“Mum how dare you make me gets the vegetables again? You know that I’m allegoric to the fields.”
Mum rolled her eyes and placed the glass of water on the stool she was sitting on. “Calm down Eve, its not like doing one favor for me is going to kill ya, ya know.”
Eve crossed her arms. “It could’ve”
Uncomfortable with the stare down contest between the two, Lupita shifted weighted from one leg to another, she really needed to get away. She could feel her throat pulsing with hunger and going to the bathroom was the only way to get out right now.
“Excuse me Mum, but I’m off to the loo, here are the herbs you needed.” She quickly passed the herbs to her mother and ran past the barn and then to the outhouse. As soon as she got inside the outhouse she immediately started coughing up blood into the wooden toilet bench. After what seemed forever she finally lifted her head and wiped her mouth. The smell of rotten blood and urine clung to her nose as if she were bathed in the scent. She clenched her teeth together she could feel her fangs protruding. Being around her mother and sister made her thirst for blood, even more unbearable, she thought that the rabbit was enough for her to feed on but it wasn’t she would have to find another place to get blood soon or her family would find out. Where was a place she could go to get blood without anyone being suspicious of her whereabouts? The clinc was an excellent place but her father was the doctor on call there and there was plenty of watered down blood to feed on from the attacks the village had been having recently. The only thing was that she couldn’t go there without some purpose, she had other household duties, her adoptive mom had a weak back and every time she did any heavy manual work her back would give out and she would have to stand in for her. This was also a time where woman’s duties were to the household and men’s duties were to be the provider. Her family was lucky enough to have her father be a doctor and hire men to keep the animals so she was extremely lucky to not have to worry about other work as well.
What other places could she go without being found out? The villagers all knew who she was ever since she was a small child but if they found out what she really was then she would be condemned to death for witchcraft or sorcery. What was even worse is that her whole family would be put on trial and condemned for witchcraft and that would result in a mob of villagers burning down their cottage with them inside of it. She seen it not that long ago to the Preston family and that was over the fact that that they had recovered from influenza in less than a week. No she mustn’t show her fangs or who she truly was to anybody, she needed to protect her family and conceal her affliction.
Lupita stood up and wiped the last of the rotten blood from her mouth with her handkerchief. If her mum had asked her about the blood she would only think that it was that time of the month for her and that is all. As she got up the door knocked.
“Lupita? How long are you going to be in there? I’ve got to go take a whiz and Mum wants you to help her with supper!”
Lupita quickly pulled the handkerchief back into her dress and straightened herself.
“Lupita, are you alright?”
“Yes I’m alright I’ve just finished.” She opened the door to the outhouse to see Eve standing there.
“Thank goodness you’re out I really need to go.” Eve quickly slipped inside of the stall and closed the door. “Mum, tried to make crackers and they’re really the worst.”
She walked back to the cottage to see the smoke coming out of the chimney. Her mum must have started the cooking way before Eve had told her she needed her. Eve had gone and sent her back to the cottage and she wondered how long she would last this time without attacking her mom or her family. She opened the door to the cottage and was greeted by the warm smell of savory stew that was cooking on the stove. Her mum had her back turned to her humming an old tune while she chopped up the carrots on the table. Lupita’s stomach lurched and her mouth pulsed with the same uncontrollably thirst and the nubs of her fangs touched her tongue. It was as if her senses were intensified, she could hear her mum’s heartbeat as if she were right next to her. She stifled a cough. She could feel her fangs protruding out as she drew closer to her mum. She could even see her veins waiting to bitten into, they were highlighted by her mum’s sunny blond hair that was peeking out of her tightly wound scarf. She could almost smell the blood through the veins like it was put there intentionally waiting for her.
The faint smell of rosemary herbs on the rising bread made her cough again, once again stifling the fangs that had begun to protrude. Startled by the noise her mum turned around quickly and put her hands on her heart.
“Oh! It’s only you. You’ve scared me half to death Pita.”
Lupita shrugged “I’m sorry mums, you were so engrossed in you’re cooking you must’ve not seen me.” She gave a sheepish grin and her mum gave her a playful nudge.
“Me girl that’s not the first time ye done it, you’re as quiet as a mouse ya know.”
Her mum went to the pot cooking on the stove and stirred with the wooden ladle now in her hands. After she was finished she held the top open enough for her to smell the delicious cooked rabbit in it. It only took her a moment to remember what happened earlier, that she was half starved of blood if she didn’t make up an excuse soon then she wouldn’t have been able to keep herself intact. She imagined how warm blooded the rabbit was when she had bit into it even though it lasted a few seconds before it turned completely lifeless, cold, and stiff. In those few seconds she could feel the warmth because it had been alive before she killed it.
“Pita I said did it look like it was ready to put in the carrots.”
“Hmm, oh yeah it smells great mum. I think it’s ready for the potatoes too.”
“Really the browning not that dark as I wanted it to be but…” Her mum walked back to the table where she had chopped the vegetables and then plunked them into the stew. She dusted her hands off with her apron. “There all we have to do is to wait for them to boil and we might have supper ready before ye dad gets here.”
Lupita looked out the window it was already getting dark outside and she wondered if she’d have to sneak away before it was too late. Her mum sat down at the table again wiping her hands on the apron she was wearing.
“Pita the dough for the bread should have risen already could you check it and heat the oven for it.”
She walked over to the window where the risen bread with the rosemary herbs was. Out of all her mum’s cooking rosemary bread and rabbit stew were her favorite but even with her human appetite she still couldn’t satisfy the hunger raging within her. She always knew she was different from the moment she had noticed her father’s brown and her mum’s golden blond hair that contrasted greatly with her jet black hair and gray eyes. She knew that she was different. Even when her parents had told her about how they had been trying for years to have a baby and when they found her on their front doorstep in a basket when she was a baby that she had been a miracle and answer to their prayers. Several years later another miracle would happen and they would then have her now sister, Eve. But something was still different, unlike her fellow villagers. Somehow she still knew that she was different. When she first thirsted for blood after she had helped a small village boy named Harry, who had almost fallen to his death and when her fangs appeared for the first time when she was eight years old she had kept his miraculous coming back to life a secret. Now every time they met up in the village she was constantly reminded of his possible death. She didn’t understand why she had bitten him but when others she had helped, the little girl she healed when she had drowned she didn’t how she was able to do it or how she had become this way she just was.
Lupita took the risen rosemary bread and placed it in the oven after she had heated. It would only take about thirty minutes to bake and for her mum to slice the freshly baked bread. She took in a deep breath, soon her father would be home and they would have supper together and her chance for proper “blood” nutrition would be gone as well. Lately her thirst for blood had become insatiable and she was beginning to think that she was running out of obtains as animal blood would no longer suffice her.
“Where in blood’s name is Eve? She should be in the house.”
Her mum’s sudden outburst made her turn around and hit her head on one of the hanging pots above the stove.
“Ow!” she exclaimed as she walked towards her mother.
“Oh, sorry are you alright?”
Her mum cupped Lupita’s face and then touched her forehead where a nasty bruise knot was beginning to form.
“I’m fine. I think I need to rest a bit though. Last time I saw Eve she went to the Outhouse she was in a hurry to use it.”
Her mum squinted her eyes as she poured hot water on a rag and wrung it out she placed on Lupita’s forehead.
“Here you go. Does that feel better?”
Her mum put her hands on her hips. “I think I outta know what’s taking your sister so long in the outhouse. She’s trying to best one on me again by getting out of her chores.”
“I can go get her for you.” She volunteered, it wasn’t the first time Eve’s antics and disappearances needed her intervention.
Her mum in turn patted her on the shoulder. “No ye stay here this time, let father see her come in late for supper and he’d hand it to her.”
In that moment her sister burst through the doorway out of breath, her face flushed with her hair strewn about and filled with twigs.
“And where have you’ve been?”
Eve slammed the door shut and then shivered from the change in temperature.
“I was using the outhouse and then when I was coming back it felt like something was chasing me so I ran and fell.” She gulped and then took a seat at the table. “I must’ve hit my head because when I woke up I was laying in the hay pile by the barn and then I rushed back here.”
Her mum squinted her eyes again to see if she had been telling the truth and from the looks of it she didn’t believe Eve’s story one bit. Lupita bit her lip, Eve’s story did seem a bit odd but the fear and look on Eve’s face made her doubt even herself that she was telling the truth, something had been after her. Even though Eve was one to complain and make up excuses this was the first time she actually seen her frightened. With widened eyes it was obvious that Eve knew that her mum was scrutinizing her story to see if it was true or not.
“And you expect me to believe that sorry excuse? Your father is going to hear about this incident this time!”
“Mum! I’m …I am not lying, I’m telling the truth I was walking back to the house and something chased me. PLEASE MUM BELIEVE ME I’M TELLING THE TRUTH.”
Eve moved to Lupita. “You believe me don’t you?”
From the pleading look in Eve’s eyes, she knew truly that she was telling the truth that or she was a great actor, however she knew that wasn’t the case something was out there and it had been after Eve. After a few seconds she nodded her head and Eve sighed in heavy relief.
“Mum, I think she’s telling the truth.”
Her mum looked indecisive at her sudden conclusion and looked as if really she couldn’t tell if Eve had been telling the truth or not. She gave an exasperated sigh.
“I believe ye girly but next time you cry wolf I’m not taking it seriously.” She turned to her. “Pita check the oven and see if the breads finished and ready to be cooled.”
Lupita hurried to take the bread out of the oven, she breathed in the warm smell of fresh rosemary on wheat. Her fangs again threatened to protrude and she remembered she needed to drink blood. She turned her head to the smell, if she went out now what if the thing that was after her sister was still out there? She placed the bread pan on the window sill and looked outside. She wondered where her father was. Usually he’d be home already. She turned around at the sound of her mother’s idle chatter apparently the vegetables in the stew came out quite good.
“Eve set the table and for heaven’s sake wash-up before ye do it, you look like you’ve been rolling around in dirt.”
Eve quickly turned around and took off the sweater she was wearing. Immediately Lupita gasped as she noticed the two gaping holes on the jugular of her neck. Eve looked at her, startled Lupita began to say something but stopped because in that instant the holes started to close up. In a way healing itself as if it were never there, as it finished healing before her eyes only droplets of blood were left in its place.
“What is it?” she heard Eve say. She now noticed underneath the candle lit room that Eve looked paler than when she last saw her.
“No everything’s fine, I just, uh, I should be helping with…helping you set the table.”
She quickly turned to get the bowls for the table. What was that? Why had there just been bite marks on her sister’s neck. She shook her head as she watched her sister run upstairs to wash off, there was no way that the thing that had been chasing her was a bat. Eve wouldn’t even let the chickens get close to her let alone anything flying, besides bats lived in caves and weren’t native in to the area where they lived. What if it was something or possibly something that had to do with her fangs? Or what if there were others like her and that the thing that attacked her sister was someone like her? She quickly set the table, she needed to find out but she needed an excuse to get out of the house to investigate.
Just then when she sliced the bread the door opened and her father came stumbling in.
“Aye its your father, how was work and how was your day?”
Her mother helped her father out of his coat and took his cap and hung them on the coat rack next to her.
“Long and interesting how was your day, my darling?” He kissed his wife on the cheek and from habit rolled up his sleeves and took out his pipe. “How is my Pita doing as well?”
She smiled “I’m fine father, how are you?’
“Quite well, I needed to make a house call to the Crawley family, their daughter has a ghastly case of the influenza, which reminds me I’m going to need some of the herbs in the barn. Pita can you get them for me, I need your mum to make a tonic so I can take it to their house when I’m off to work tomorrow.
She nodded this was why her father had been late, she was grateful that he hadn’t been attacked like others recently in the village. “I’ll get them for you right now?”
“Aye get the ginger root, if you’re getting the stored herbs and some dried lavender for soothing.” Her mum called after her.
Her sister came downstairs as she began to leave.
“Father!” she exclaimed as she ran to him and hugged him, in turn her father kissed Eve’s forehead. “You’re late! Usually supper is not even near ready before you come here.”
“I’ve been busy helping with the sick at the church there are more there than at the clinic.”
Lupita put on her coat and hat ready to leave but Eve spotted her and with a frightened look on her face she moved away from their father.
“Pita, where are you going?”
“Outside to the barn father asked me to get some herbs for a patient so mum can make a tonic for tomorrow.”
Her sister’s face paled and then quickly recovered. “Be…be careful out there, perhaps father should go out there with you it is awfully dark out there?”
She shook her head and gestured to the lantern in her hand. “I’ll be alright, see you in a few.”
She slipped outside the warm cottage to the cold air of the night, lantern in hand she made her way to the barn. She immediately stopped as she noticed the impression of her sister’s body was still in the hay, confirming that her sister had indeed fallen into the hay. She drew closer to the barn only to find the door slightly ajar. She paused and took in a shaky breath as another cool breeze made her shiver. As she reached out to open the barn even further but it creaked open.
“Hello is anyone there?” She shivered as she called out. She waited for a response but nothing happened and she decided to go inside anyway. “Hello?” she called out again as she stepped inside and scanned the barn with her lantern only to see nothing there except for the cows, horses, and hay in the barn. She took a deep breath in and searched for the box of herbs and quickly found them and went to grab them it only to feel something on her hands. Quickly she looked up with the dim light to find blood all over her hands and she could feel her fangs immediately protrude. The smell of blood was so heavy in the air she wondered how she could have not smelt the blood when she came in.
“So you really are one of our kind?”
She heard a voice say and immediately she turned around to see a pale tall young man standing in front of her, his hair was black and his piercing lighting blue eyes stood out the most against his features the most. She was too stunned to scream, she was too frightened too.
“Who are you?” she heard herself whisper. She shuddered as she heard him chuckle.
“No that’s not what you should be asking but rather who are you?” he questioned back.
Her gray eyes brightened with awareness and fear. “Then what is your name?”
He stepped closer to her and she could see him more clearly and could see that he was holding one of their hens now freshly dead in his hands.
“My name…well my name is Elias, how do you do?” He said with a mock bow.