Eyes Cold Like Winter

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“Shh…!” whispered a familiar voice from behind.

Elise slowly turned around to find herself face to face with Lucius. He was still in the clothes he had worn today, with the exception of his bomber jacket.

“Lucius!” exclaimed Elise in a quiet whisper.

“Hush Elise!” he whispered back, “Follow me.”

Taking Elise’s hand, he quietly guided her away from his father’s room. The sound of the activity between Mr. Courbet and his female companion slowly diminished as Elise followed Lucius back to her room.

Closing the door behind them, Lucius took a seat on the sofa just in front of Elise’s bed. Elise sat down next to Lucius, but on the other side of the sofa to keep her distance.

“I’m sure father made it clear that you should be back in your room before midnight now, did he?” said Lucius, “You also do realise that eavesdropping is bad manners too.”

“It wasn’t my intention!” exclaimed Elise.

“Then what were you doing out there?” asked Lucius.

“I was on my way to the kitchen to get myself a drink,” explained Elise. “Then I just happened to see a light coming from across the hall and wanted to find out what it was.”

Lucius noticed how flushed and shaken Elise was, to have just seen something she should not have. She must be a virgin, judging by her expression. He thought to himself.

“I suppose I can't blame you for being curious,” he sighed. “All part of human nature. I also won’t tell father.”

“Lucius,” said Elise slowly. “do you remember on Saturday when you asked, if you were to tell me that vampires exist, would I believe you?”

“Yes,” said Lucius, “what of it?”

“This may sound strange,” said Elise nervously. “but on my first night here, I had a weird dream.”

“What kind of dream?” asked Lucius.

“A dream where I was bitten by a vampire,” she replied. “When I woke up, there was no blood on the sheets, and no puncture marks on my neck. However, I do remember feeling pain, numbness and for some reason… pleasure. They then said that I was to give up my blood, body, heart and future.”

“I see…” said Lucius.

“Crazy dream isn’t it?” Elise quietly chuckled, “You’re probably thinking that I just imagined it, because my mind is still a bit jumbled after that asthma attack earlier today.”

“No,” said Lucius. “What you’ve told me just now isn’t crazy. It’s the truth.”

“What?” exclaimed Elise.

“That dream serves as a warning,” Lucius told Elise. “…You are to give us neither your body, nor your heart. It’s better that way anyway.”

“What do you mea-” began Elise, but before she could finish, Lucius was flashing his fangs before her eyes. His amber eyes were also glowing red. It looked like he was ready to pounce on her any minute, all for the sake of her blood.

“Father and I are vampires,” explained Lucius. “Just like those vampires in fiction, we have to survive on human blood. However, garlic, religious relics, and sunlight have no affect on us. That’s why we can go out and about like any ordinary human. We do have supernatural powers though. We can manipulate memories, increased human strength, and flying.”

“Then, does that mean those port-?” asked Elise.

“Yes,” interrupted Lucius. “all those paintings of our ancestors are of my father. The very same man you know. Any human who has visited the manor naturally thinks we have a rich family history, but they don’t know that both my father and I have been alive for centuries.”

So that’s what he meant when he said ‘I’ve seen things come and go’. Thought Elise, It would also explain his smartness and familiarity with the history and attractions in Whitby. That was probably why Lucius looked a bit depressed when they were at Old St. Stephens Church.

“What you saw just a while ago is my father’s nightly hobbies,” said Lucius. “Every night, he would invite any random woman to this manor and feed on them. Once his thirst for blood has been satisfied, he will erase their memories of their time spent with him afterwards.”

“Now that I know you and your father’s secret,” said Elise nervously. “are you going to wipe my memories, or even worse, bite me?”

“Of course not,” said Lucius. “No one will believe you. And I’ve stopped biting humans anyway.”

He’s right, thought Elise, no one would believe me if I claim that vampires exist. Could she still trust Lucius and Mr. Courbet though? All her suspicions since the first day she arrived here at Wintervale Manor now made sense. If Mr. Courbet found out that she had discovered his vampire side, would he treat her indifferently?

“But if you bite me,” asked Elise. “would I be instantly turned into a vampire?”

“Not instantly,” replied Lucius. “but if vampires keep feeding on their victims, they will eventually be turned into vampires. However, it is also possible for them to end up killing their victims if they cannot control their thirst for blood. That’s also one of the reasons why I’ve stopped biting humans.”

“So those tablets you’re taking,” said Elise. “could it be…?”

“Yes,” said Lucius. “it’s just as you have figured out. I don’t suffer from anaemia as my father told you. Those tablets are actually ‘blood tablets’. Upon my arrival in England, I created those tablets using human blood donated to my father’s pharmaceutical company. Their purpose is to suppress my cravings for actual human blood.”

“Then does that mean what happened yesterday in Ruswarp..?” began Elise.

“I was about to bite you that time,” said Lucius. “The minute I saw your neck, I almost lost control. Back then, before I invented those tablets, any sight of female flesh would trigger my blood cravings. Luckily, I heard your voice and it brought me back to my senses. Forgive me for almost hurting you.”

Elise smiled and shook her head, “It doesn’t matter,” she replied. “what’s happened, happened. No one got hurt anyway. We can just put this whole ordeal past us and move forward.”

“Thank you,” said Lucius, feeling slightly relieved. The corners of his lips slightly turned upwards.

“Did you previously live elsewhere before coming to the UK?” asked Elise out of curiosity, “Cause you said earlier that you invented those tablets upon arriving in the UK.”

“Yes,” said Lucius. “Father and I are originally from France. You should’ve guessed by our surname.”

“Why did you move to the UK?” asked Elise.

“It was because of the French Revolution that took place in 1789,” replied Lucius. “At that time, me and my father were respected aristocrats in polite society. He ran a pharmaceutical company back then in France as well. However, France was ruled by King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette. They were not great rulers, and they were self-indulged with their wealth that it angered the peasants. The peasants decided to revolt by stripping France of their uncaring monarch and instead, have the country ruled by a republican government.”

Reaching into his pocket, Lucius pulled out the silver locket. He opened the locket, revealing to Elise the eighteenth-century miniature portrait contained in it.

“She looks just like me!” she exclaimed, “But how?”

“Her name is Genevieve Renouard,” said Lucius grimly. “She was the only human woman I fell in love with. She is also the reason why I stopped biting humans for their blood.”

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