Xavier Harcard carried his wife into their home. Her normally pale porcelain skin had turned to a bluish hue. He could feel the cold settling into her body. It was well past midnight and the night loomed ahead. Taking her to their bedroom, Xavier placed Khryssa on their bed.
He then started the slow process of caring for her. He bathed her. Going over every inch of her skin with a warm cloth, he removed the blood that had been spilled earlier. He had no idea how to do her hair. So he simply washed it and pulled it back. Her long curling tresses were held together with a silver clasp. A deft hand gave her cheeks and lips a bit of color. Through all of this, tears fell down his cheeks and landed on his beloved’s cold skin.
Xavier never knew love as he did with this woman. He loved her so much that he made her his wife. He knew he never would again. Never before had anyone challenged him the way Khryssa did. Never before had any single being loved him unconditionally, until she came into his life. Leaving her body on the bed, he went and opened the cedar chest that Khryssa kept.
In there was a box of cream colored silk. Retrieving the box, it was soon placed on the bed next to her body. Opening the clasp, Xavier took his wife’s wedding gown out. His fingers caressed the delicate material. The memory of their wedding overtook him. The way she had looked at him from across the room, her eyes brimming with love and adoration. He had returned the look, his eyes mirroring his wife’s.
“I am sorry my Khryssa. I failed you.” Xavier spoke quietly. “I promised you that I would keep you safe. I promised you happiness. I failed you my beloved wife. I failed you.”
He dressed her in her wedding gown. Xavier fastened to Khryssa’s ears and throat the jewelry that he had given her on their wedding day. Rising to look at her, he stared for a long while. Xavier never knew that an angel could be this beautiful. It was perhaps a little over an hour before dawn. There was not much time left. Xavier carried her back out of their home and to the mortuary that was known to him.
He walked there, through the streets of their town with Khryssa in his arms. He was giving himself any excuse to hold her for that much longer. He spoke to the director that had already shown up for the day, per Xavier’s request. Xavier suggested several things to the man, in the subtle way of his. This allowed the director to believe that these were his own ideas. Khryssa was placed in a coffin, the most expensive one that the mortuary had on hand. A better one would be ordered later. Before the lid was closed, he kissed his wife’s lips one last time.
“I love you Khryssa, you will never be replaced. I promise I will take care of our son. He will always know that his mother loved him more than life itself.”
The lid was snapped closed and Xavier turned to leave. “Mr. Montgomery, I will return later this evening to finish up the arrangements.”
“Of course Mr. Harcard, I will await for your return.”
Giving a sharp nod to the man, Xavier walked out and into the rise of sunlight. He merely wandered for the first hour. Watching the families leaving for work, the kids taken to school and his heart filled with sorrow. He would never know the joy of any of this ever again.
He walked into the house that was once their home, finally. The servants saw him enter and there was something to his demeanor that sent them scattering. There was one exception though, that was Emma. Emma had been with the household since Andon was a newborn. She had seen Mr. and Mrs. Harcard through all sorts of trials and tribulations. She was not afraid of him. After all, when something was truly wrong Mrs. Harcard kept him in check.
“Good morning Mr. Harcard. I was about to wake Andon. I noted that Mrs. Harcard must have already gone into the office today. Would you like to join me?”
“Yes Emma. I would. I think I need to be around my son today, more so than normal.”
“Very good Sir, would you like to do it on your own?”
“Yes please Emma. Would you alert the other members of the staff that if anyone arrives or calls that I am indisposed please?”
“Yes Mr. Harcard. Will you be taking Andon to his tutors?”
“No. Cancel them. I will keep my son with me today.”
“Yes Sir.” She looked back over her shoulder and walked away.
Xavier walked into his son’s room. He stared down at the small sleeping figure that was nestled beneath blankets and stuffed animals. He had the Helsing children bring his son back to the house in the middle of the night.
“I owe you an apology too my son. I failed you as well.” The words were barely audible.
Sitting down in the chair beside the child’s bed, Xavier brushed his fingers against his son’s cheek. He wasn’t even able to smile when his son’s bright blue eyes popped open.
“’mornin’ Dad” Andon said sleepily.
“Good morning Andon. What would you like to do today?”
“No my son, it is just you and me today.”
“She isn’t here Andon. How about you and I spend the day together?”
Andon bounded out of bed and hugged his father. Taking off for the bathroom to start getting ready for the day he yelled out to his father. “C’mon Dad!”
Even though his heart was breaking further, Xavier followed his son and, like Khryssa always did, helped him get ready to start the day. He knew he had to tell his son that his mother was gone. Tomorrow was another day; he needed to revel in his own sorrow for now.
They played. They colored. They talked. Then they played some more. Xavier introduced Andon to Puccini, Khryssa favorite composer. Xavier was fairly certain that his son was not impressed. It was a welcome distraction to the day that promised nothing but heartache.
Henrik Helsing called constantly throughout the day. The man tried everywhere he could to get in touch with Xavier. Xavier wished to speak to no one but his child.
Day turned into night so Xavier, with the help of the family chef, fed his son dinner. Bedtime followed shortly after the meal had been finished. Andon was already asleep by the time the book was closed. Giving the boy a kiss on his sleeping cheek, Xavier set out into the night. He needed to feed. The activity from last night and the loss of Khryssa left him weakened. He found one of the local girls jogging in the park. It took nothing to lure her over and take a sampling of the woman’s blood.
Xavier fed out of necessity. His heart was not in it. The only reason he bothered was because he had a son to care for and would not leave his child vulnerable. He did not drain the jogger. He just left the young woman dazed. Stepping past her semi-conscious form, Xavier headed to the mortuary. The time had come to plan Khryssa’s funeral. He would contact the family tomorrow.
He walked into the funeral home. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Xavier caught the scent of blood on the air and followed it. In the inner corridor of the building he found the funeral director dead. The man’s throat had been torn out. Xavier started to run into the room that he left his wife’s body in. If someone had taken her, he would hunt them down and they would pray for their own death.
Khryssa's coffin was empty and pushed to the side. The color drained from his eyes until they turned that pale yellow. Someone was going to die. Whipping around to leave, he then saw what happened. He just could not believe who it was.
“Hello Xavier, I missed you.” There was a seductive purr to the soft voice.
“How did this happen?” Xavier was barely able to contain the joy that flooded his senses.
“From my best recollection, which is still somewhat hazy, you gave me blood after Gabriel Gustavo tried to drain me. I was too far gone for it to help me heal and survive. Yet, it was enough for me to become like you Xavier.” Khryssa spoke, yet there was something very different about her.
Xavier shook his head. He whispered hoarsely. “You never wanted this.”
Khryssa nodded. “You are correct. Unfortunately, unless you or Papa wishes to undo this state with a stake, I am stuck.” Pausing and noticing the body on the floor, a look of horror crossed her lovely features.
“I did that didn’t I?”
“You could not help it Khryssa. If I had known, I would have stopped it. If I would have known that you would turn, I would have kept you within our home so that you would have learned how to feed from the start.”
Khryssa turned a shade or two paler than she already was. Dropping to her hands and knees, she vomited. Blood splashed across the parquet floor of the funeral parlor. Rushing to her, Xavier helped her up. Taking a handkerchief out of his pocket, he wiped her mouth for her.
“I cannot do this Xavier. I will not be able to live this way.” She was beginning to shed this unfamiliar skin and return to the woman that Xavier knew.
Taking his beloved into his arms, Xavier spoke in hushed tones. He tried to soothe her. “It gets easier. I swear to you my darling that it does.”
Khryssa tried to break the grasp Xavier had on her. “I am a physician and a scientist Xavier! I save lives I do not take them!” She felt ill again. Her hand rising up to her throat, Khryssa let out a soft cry. “Oh god our son, what about our son?”
“Come; let me take care of this. We need to get you back to our home.”
“The sun will hurt you Khryssa; you are too young of a vampire to have any immunity to it at all.”
“Will it kill me?” She almost sounded hopeful.
“No, the pain will just be unbearable.” He lied. It would kill her more than likely. He did not want Khryssa to make any rash decisions about her life right yet.
Nodding gently she looked at the corpse that lay at their feet. “What can I do about this?”
“I will have my private security team take care of it. They will remove any trace that you had been here.”
“Can’t I do something?”
“No my darling, these men are professionals in dealing with the art of cover up.”
Khryssa nodded. When Xavier looked at her he noticed one thing, she appeared to be unbearably morose. While he, on the other hand, was trying to control his elation. She would be with him forever. Xavier made a quick call. Telling one of his men that about the incident that needed to be taken care of, they would be there right away. Leading his wife out into the night, they returned to their home.
Heading into the sitting room, he placed Khryssa in one of the leather wingback chairs. Kneeling down, he kissed her wrist. Communicating with her with touch alone about how sorry he was that it came to this. Xavier started several tasks immediately. The first was to make sure his son was taken care of. He had one of the overnight servants prepare a note for Emma starting that Mrs. Harcard was ill. He would be caring for her for a few days. It was nothing serious, he just did not wish for it to turn into anything more.
Checking on the men sent to clean up the mess, everything was finished within an hour. Khryssa would need a resting place. The best bet would be either in the crypt far below the walls or in the Helsing family crypt. That would be decided shortly. The final task was to contact Henrik Helsing. It was something Xavier was loath to do. Unfortunately, if something happened to him and Khryssa was not prepared. It would come down to Henrik imprisoning her. He would rather see his wife dead for eternity than suffer the pain of starvation.
Xavier looked at his wristwatch. It was now after eleven at night. The House of Helsing would be more than likely asleep. Perhaps trying one of the older children at Khryssa’s former residence? He shook his head. No, it needed to be Henrik Helsing. Hitting the speed dial on the phone, it rang immediately.
Henrik Helsing answered the ringing phone with a voice drenched in sleep. “Hello?”
Henrik woke immediately. “I have been trying to reach you all day. Where is my great-granddaughter?”
“She is sitting in the chair in front of the fireplace Helsing.”
“She is alive?”
“Yes.” The reply was terse.
“How did she survive? This is impossible.”
“She didn’t survive Helsing, at least not in the technical sense.”
“Oh.” There was a short pause. “Oh no. Not my sweet Khryssa no.”
Xavier shut his eyes when he heard the old man begin weeping into the phone. “Helsing, I am worried about her and this- change.” Xavier went on to explain about the vomiting along for her obvious distaste of blood. She was unhappy and frightfully morose. What he wanted to tell the old man was that he was at a loss. Most vampires are extremely happy with their existence, even if they did not want to be turned in the first place. He stayed silent upon those feelings.
Henrik asked Xavier why he was telling him this. Why didn’t he just keep Khryssa’s change a secret?
“She is incredibly unhappy with the turn of events Helsing. She has no desire to be a vampire. I did not expect her to turn. I tried to give her blood but it was too late, I had thought. Obviously I was wrong. If something happens to me Helsing and I cannot teach her how to survive. You need to destroy her. Do not imprison her, but destroy her completely.”
Henrik was furious at the request. “You expect me to do your dirty work Dracula?”
Xavier sighed and began to speak once again. “No Helsing, I want what is best for her. To imprison her would mean starvation. It is a very painful sequence of events. There is always that chance that she may lose control as well. If she does, I am not sure I will be able to destroy her. If something should happen to me before she knows her surroundings well enough, she will be a deadly force. I do not wish this upon her. I ask you not just for my sake, but for her sake as well Helsing. Swear to me that you will do it.”
“I swear Dracula. I swear. I will let the children know as well. In case she does not remember her family.”
“She seems to have good recall thus far, that is not something I am concerned with. Thank you Helsing” With the thanks given Xavier disconnected the call.
Xavier watched his wife; she sat unmoving in the chair. Walking up to her, he stroked his fingers through her hair as he had always done. She looked up at him. There was such a deep sadness in her beautiful eyes; he ached to return her to human once again.
“Shall we retire for the night my darling wife?”
Khryssa nodded mutely, then turned to him and offered her hand. When he clasped it within his and started to head up the stairs to their bedroom Xavier spoke again. “No Khryssa, we are going downstairs tonight.”
“It is safer for everyone.”
He did not have to explain. They walked together in silence down the stairs. Far beneath the main part of the vast home and even beneath what could only be called the dungeons, lay two rooms. The first room was fitted with a single coffin. Xavier would have a similar one built for her, or perhaps a much larger one built for two. He considered the idea. The other room was similar to their bedroom in furnishings except the large windows that drew the sunlight into the one upstairs were missing. There was not a single window in the room. Instead, there were thick stone walls that were well seated below ground. Khryssa looked around each room. She had never been here before. There had not been a need before.
“This is suffocating Xavier.”
Stroking her shoulders, he was trying to comfort in her moment of need. “You will get used to it. Fortunately, it is not needed often.” He paused, taking a good look at the beautiful face of his wife. Reaching out he allowed his fingertips to drift across her very pale cheek. “You will be able to lead a normal life again shortly Khryssa.”
She shook her head and jerked away from his touch. “Normal? How in the hell can I lead a normal life when all I think about is killing? How will I face our son? When is a good time for the talk about the birds and the bees, forget that, I will be worried about when is a good time to tell our son Mom and Dad are vampires.”
“We have been through so much. This is just another pitfall that we must face Khryssa. You are not alone in this. Your family knows and I will be by your side always.”
Looking up, anger and fear had turned her eyes to that inhuman yellow. Khryssa snarled at him. “Do not make promises Xavier. Look where that has gotten us.”
Xavier could feel his body clench. It was bad enough that he blamed himself for all of their problems, but now he knew that Khryssa blamed him as well. “I wish I could do something to make this easier Khryssa, but we have to live with what we have been given.”
“LIVE?” She roared and nearly leapt at him. “I am not alive Xavier! I am dead!” Khryssa started to pace. “I no longer have a pulse nor do I have a heartbeat. I am merely a shell of what I used to be.”
Xavier grabbed Khryssa and shook her. “KHRYSSA! Do you think of me as dead? Do you believe me to be just a shell of a man?”
She stopped, held tight in his grip. With a shake of the head she started to speak softly. “No. I never thought that of you Xavier. Ever.”
“Come here my darling.” Xavier wrapped his wife in his arms and kissed her forehead. “Trust me Khryssa, for once believe in me and believe in us. Everything will work out in the end my baby.” He made a mental note to contact Henrik Helsing again, and soon. Xavier had an idea.
Khryssa looked at Xavier with a furrowed brow. Not once in the ten years that they had known each other did he ever call her baby. It sounded strange. “Baby?”
He smiled at her. “Yes baby. You are the only woman I will ever love. So baby it is.” He moved her towards the bed and stopped. He realized something rather disturbing to him. Khryssa was still wearing her wedding gown that he had put on her. It was filthy with blood now. Sadness touched his heart. Khryssa had been a beautiful bride. She had looked so pure and innocent on their wedding day. This seemed to make a mockery of that day. Xavier helped Khryssa out of the gown. Her normally warm skin was cool now. He ached to feel her warmth once again. She would always be warmer after feeding, but never again would she have that vitality of life again.
“I feel strange Xavier.” Khryssa looked confused.
“In what way do you feel strange?” His brow furrowed with worry.
“I am not sure. Just. I don’t know. Strange.” She sat down on the bed and moved over so that he could join her. “It is like I should be bursting with energy and life, but I feel quite apathetic to most everything.”
“That is natural. Your body is changing. You – “Xavier started to elaborate on the fact that she was still dying in a sense and whatever it was that kept them alive was needed to stabilize. He didn’t think she would do well hearing the part about dying. “You just need time to adjust.”
Nodding, Khryssa began to speak again. “I don’t want this. I would rather cease to exist than have to live like this.” Sorrow tinged her soft voice, she was obviously in pain.
“You have loved me Khryssa, even knowing what I am. Please try to focus that upon yourself as well. You are not any different.”
She simply nodded and turned away.
Xavier helped her into the large bed. She was like a doll, just letting him manipulate her to where he desired. Climbing in after Khryssa, Xavier pulled her to him. Keeping his wife as close as possible, he knew that he would not sleep if that meant protecting Khryssa from herself.
Very soon Khryssa was embraced with the sleep of the dead. It was common for new vampires to sleep as such while their powers were still growing and they bodies still changing. She lay there on the bed motionless. Xavier was unused to this. It had been so long since he had actually protected a new vampire, the changes that it made in his wife were chilling. Rising, but not leaving the room, he picked up a land line phone. Dialing the number of the Helsing clan he needed to discuss with Henrik Helsing his idea.