Night time, whispers of the wind spread the gentle smell of the cherry blossom. A frail little thing she is, pale, with hair in long large curls of gold and copper falling to her waist, and dark brown, doe eyes. A white, short fitted dress covered her from neck to half of the thigh, black army boots, black hat, black bag, black trench, those were all the things she had with her, no other luggage, no other person, not too much money, barely enough to get he through a day and a night. But she had to run, she had to get away from that house, she had to get away from all the people she knew; they were beginning to notice the changes, the strangeness. Lately it seemed she lost all sense of reality.
The night before, she struggled to fall asleep, the day before she struggled to distinguish between the faces of her parents and the faces in her mind, between the voices of her friends and the voices in her mind, calling, screaming, burning…
"No! This is not real, you are not real!"
"Come to me, come take my hand! I'll show you the world. Ava, Ava…"
"I am not Ava, I am not this person" She then paused for a moment and continued in awe "I am Ava…" Another pause followed by a decisive "No! I am Irina. Yes, that is my name, Irina."
The girl kept trying to convince herself of the truth. How could it be so difficult to be convinced of the truth? She knew her name was Irina, she was called so all her life. But why did this other name sound so familiar? Who is this Ava, why are the voices in her head calling her so?
When morning light hit her bedroom window she left the comfort of her home, took a train then headed toward the airport, flew half-way across the continent and ended up in London. It was already 5 pm when she landed. By 9 she was in front of a large shady club in a back alley. She did not seem to fit the scene, between the half-naked girls and the bald shaved men with chains and knuckles she seemed far too innocent. After a long look from the guard outside the bar she went in.
"A girl like that? Daddy's little girl I'll say. They'll eat her inside!" said the guard, taking a long look at her entering the club.
The girl went inside. Men and women danced, alcohol was spilled, some pills were lying on the ground and music pumped through the speakers like there was no tomorrow. She walked straight to the bar and asked for apple juice. Apple juice? Surely she does not understand that apple juice is nobody's drink in here. But she asks and she receives. As she takes a seat, one by one, in the next 15 minutes, two men and two women come and make a pass at her but she politely refuses them all, until one of them, a brute of a man, 2 meters tall, built like a tank of muscle, does not like to hear no. He keeps pressing.
"Come on doll, give a guy a name. I won't bite, I promise."
"I am kindly asking you to go. Please go and don't call me doll!" she kept saying with a gentle innocence in her voice.
But the man liked what he saw and he did not take kindly to hearing "no".
He then grabbed her by the arm and said: "Come on doll, tell a lad a name! I don't do well when someone says 'no' to me. I promise I won't bite!"
As he pressed his fingers against her skin she jumped out of her chair, but the man stopped her from going away. She then turned to him, grabbed his palm and pulled him toward the hall.
"Ah, you are in a hurry somewhere doll? I like a woman who takes charge. So you do not want to give me your name, but you take me straight into the bathroom. Innocent looking thing, but you are a devil aren't ya?"
As they entered the men's bathroom she let go of his hand, pushed him to the wall. Then looked to see if someone was in the hall way and closed the door. The guy then pulled her close with lust.
"Aaah, you crazy bitch!" he said raising his right hand to his neck, but the blood currents kept rushing out of his punctured artery.
"I told you not to call me doll!"
She then threw herself over the brute, his body falling to the floor. She was on her knees, draining him of the last ounce of blood he had in him. The desire, the lust, the appetite for the red liquid was stronger than anything she had ever felt. She knew she would not be able to resist it so she went to the filthiest corner of London, the place where she knew only the scum of the Earth liked to roll.
As she dried him of life she raised her head, blood still dripping from her mouth to her neck and her dress. She stood there for a few moments, looking at the corpse. "He deserved it" she said to herself. "He deserved it, I could feel it pulsating, the filth, the crimes, the stench of decay."
And then she felt her own heart beat and tears came to her face. "Filth nonetheless but still a being, a human being, and now he is dead. I killed him." As she was muttering this, she got up, looked in the mirror of the bathroom and saw herself covered in blood. She let the water run, washed her face and neck but the blood was now deep into her dress. And then she saw the bag and trench coat she had laid on the sink. As she was reaching to them, a man came in and her eyes opened wide. He raised his hand and touched the corner of her mouth.
"You still have some blood there!" he said as his burning blue eyes pierced her gaze. "You are scared, I know, I have been there, but I am going to take care of you." He said as he took the trench coat and wrapped it around her. "Come, let's get out of here before someone sees you and this corpse and pieces the things together."
But she was scared, too scared of the crime she committed. And she did not know him.
"Don't be scared. I'll take you to safety." He said and then went next to the kill. "Go outside and wait to the door, don't look in!" he said staunchly.
The girl went outside, but she peeked back in and saw him touching the corpse and then fire enveloped the dead man, consuming him faster than air. The fire reflected splendidly in her eyes. The blue eyed man noticed her gaze and seemed a bit amused that she did not run screaming as fire came out of his hand and incinerated the corpse. It only took a few seconds for that brute of a man to turn to ash and, next, the blue eyed man grabbed the girl by the arm and pulled her out of the club and into a car. Complete silence was all the way to his hotel room where she immediately ran into the shower. As she finished, a shirt and a pair of socks awaited for her near the bathroom door. She took them inside and, then, came out.
"I am sorry I have nothing else to give you, I was not expecting to find you in a bar. Tell me, why did you go there out of all places?"
"Who are you?" asked the girl, drying her hair with a towel.
"My name now is Jonathan Mill, you can call me Johnny if it pleases you, I don't really care."
"Are you like me?"
"I am similar to you in some ways, for example in the appetite for blood. Though I have to say, I am quite surprised you drink it. You have a beating heart, I could hear it pump the blood in your veins since you arrived in the club. You were scared even before you… cleaned the city of one scumbag… You are human or so I think."
"You said we are similar, but we are not the same, so what are you?"
"No, no, first thing's first. Tell me, why did you go there? I can see that you were expecting it to happen, so why choose that place?"
"Everybody there is either a murderer, either a rapist or a drug dealer so it seems unlikely that society will miss either one… and I don't want to hurt someone who does not deserve it. I visited this city many times before. I knew about the club from one of my colleagues, since I was in school in this country. I don't want to hurt anyone at all, but I can't help this urge."
"Maybe I can help you with that."
"Can you? How? How can it stop?"
"I never said anything about stopping the urge, I just said I can help you. I can teach you how to control it."
"I don't want to control this, I want it to stop. I want to not be driven by this lust for something that runs in a person's veins. And I want these voices in my head to stop. They keep calling me a different name. I can't go through it another night. I haven't slept in weeks. I eat food but it does not feed me, I drank blood and it makes me sick." She was crumbling in despair. Tears were in her eyes, but they were too stubborn to fall on her cheeks.
The man came close, put his hand on her face and said: "I know it might seem impossible, but tonight you will rest and tomorrow, when you will wake, I will start teaching you how to control your urge and I'll help you find the answers you're looking for." He then took a small knife from the table, cut down to his wrist and faced it toward the girl. "Drink, this will relax you!"
The girl drank, and her head got close to his chest while she was devouring the blood in his veins. They both felt warm and his other hand gently pushed her head away from his wrist. "Now, you don't want to drain me of it. You just had all the blood of a man, how can you drink so much?"
They were both calm. The girl, having fed on his blood, felt like she could trust him and she was not scared even though she witnessed him turn a corpse to ash. They both were animals, but of a different kind, blood thirsty animals.
The two lay on a bed. The girl finally slept, it was the first time she could rest in weeks. She pushed her head into the white pillow which was completely covered by her locks. The man lay next to her, face up, with questions flooding his thoughts as she feel into a dream.
She dreamed of a world long gone.
It was the 5rd of February 1807, two days after the British army captured Montevideo from the Spanish Empire. In the streets of London, a young boy of sixteen was handing newspapers to people, spreading the news that Jack Smith was found guilty of embezzlement and murder and he would be executed in a public hanging on the 23rd of February.
"Brutes, that is what they are, I am telling you. A public hanging, what are we, beasts? It's 1807, not the Dark Ages." said Clara, in a pretentious tone. The brunette was the daughter of Lord Turick, a lawyer who argued the case against the man who was going to be executed.
"Does seeing a man being killed make you feel uncomfortable Clara? I did not know you to be such an emotional being."
"My dear Ava, I am not being emotional, I am simply stating that we have evolved beyond public executions."
"I quite enjoy seeing a man pay for his sins. We all have our sins, some more than others, and we all get what's coming to us."
"Let's forget this! Oh, please tell me you will join me tonight! The ball will be wonderful."
"Such trifles do not interest me."
"Oh yes I forgot, you prefer to spend your time in that dreadful basement with Professor Gutenberg."
"He is not so horrible, you know? And he is one of the only men who think that women can do just as much as men can. And it is not a basement, it is a laboratory."
"It is hell; it smells horrible from the dead bodies and all those substances you use. All your science experiments smell bad. Oh Ava, why did you choose to be such a drag on your friend? We could go and have fun every day, we are filthy rich and we have youth and beauty. Leave science to men, it is boring just as they are boring."
In that moment Ava looked at Clara wanting to smack her to the wall, but she kept her composure. How could science be boring? Men were of no interest to her, but science was a very different issue, it was a refuge from a society which put women behind a man. But Ava was not a regular young noble woman in an unequal society. She was the niece of Mary Wollstonecraft, the feminist which used to argue for women's rights, she was the daughter of Henry Burke, a British duke, 4th in line to the throne, and one of the youngest brothers of the king. But Henry was not interested in being king, why would he need to, when he was the one lending money to the king for wars? His affairs lay in the Indian Ocean as he went with the East India Company to Bengal where he became governor, The riches he gained out of trading spices and pearls from the Eastern part of India, also managed to gain him the seat of governor in Bengal. He was equal in power to the one who held the throne in Britain, but he had more freedom than him, so by no means was he interested in sitting on the British throne, not now, when Britain and Spain were at war again and when American colonies were no longer part of the British Empire. He saw the future in the Indian Ocean, less than he saw it in the Atlantic Ocean. Duke Henry took Ava to the Indie several times since she was a child and she even visited China and the most southern corners of Africa. The world was her playing field as a child and she met many of the thinkers of the time. She received an education that most men of the time would be envious of so no, she was not just an ordinary young girl.
Ava left Clara in front of her house and she continued walking until she reached the Royal Academy where she was the only female student. She entered and headed toward the basement where a faint putrid smell was floating in the air. A man was dissecting a body, taking a heart out, it was Professor Gutenberg.
"Ah, Ava, you are here. I am taking this heart and I will show you how Galvani discovered bioelectricity. I promised this and now I am keeping my word seeing as you have managed to keep your grades far above everyone else's."
The girl was fascinated by the professor's experiment. And as soon as it ended, from next to the door two hands were heard clapping. A blue eyed man with a black hat on his head entered the room saying "Bravo! This is quite the experiment."
"Tudor? Is that you? Tudor Emery, how long has it been?"
"It's been 10 years since the last time we met, old friend."
"Has it been 10 years already? It sure does not look like time has aged you the slightest"
"Ah, but it surely looks like it aged you more than it should have."
The two men laughed and shook hands and hugged.
"Tudor, this is Ava, my brightest student."
"Pleased to meet you sir."
"Ah, the pleasure is all mine" said the man while kissing her hand."
"Tudor was my first mentee back when I first started to teach. He lived in the New World since very young, then came here and, when he graduated from the Royal Academy, he went back to the Americas."
"You've been to the New World?" asked the girl with excitement in her voice. Her eyes and ears suddenly became more attentive to Tudor. The New World was the one place she had never visited.
"Yes, I have lived there for the past ten years. I prefer New Hampshire and Washington, but I have been to many other parts. I can tell you quite the stories."
The three people kept sharing memories and talked about the philosophy of Locke and Rousseau while imparting ideas about the latest technological developments.
"You are quite the wonder miss Ava, you know more about philosophy than I do."
"You are mocking me, Lord Emery."
"Please, call me Tudor, and quite the contrary, I think that women have just as much right as men do to do, work, learn, and believe in whatever they want to believe."
"Not all men think like you."
"So what? Whenever they tell you otherwise, tell them those two words and they won't be able to say anything else and they will leave you alone."
The three lost track of time discussing matters of society and technology until another man came in and asked Gutenberg if he would close the gates of the Academy.
"Oh, is it that late? Is it time to close?" replied Gutenberg.
"I am afraid it is already 8 in the evening. I think we should accompany Miss Ava home, to make sure she arrives there safe."
"Thank you, but I can handle myself"
"Oh, but I insist! We are gentlemen and gentlemen would not let a lady walk all by herself at night."
Lord Emery was back in London with business and until the 23rd he did not meet Ava again. On that day, the girl went to the public square to witness the execution. She was among the people in front row and, right next to her, Lord Emery appeared.
"Lady Ava, I did not know you would be here."
"I did not know you would be here." said the girl while letting a short smile slip. "I am curious to see this. But much more I want to see him pay for his sins. Embezzlement, murder, those are heinous crimes."
"How do you know the man is guilty?"
"He was found guilty in a trial."
"But what if he is not?"
He saw her hesitating and continued: "Does that make you uncomfortable?"
"I do not want to see the innocent die, Lord... I mean Tudor."
The man about to be hanged stood on the wooden planks waiting when, out of the blue, he noticed Lord Emery and looked deeply at him. Ava noticed the exchange of looks, but before she could ask if they know each other, riot burst and people started pushing and shoving themselves into others. Lord Emery covered Ava and pulled her out of the crowd gone insane.
"What is happening, what are these people doing?"
"Come on, get into the carriage!"
She noticed other people going next to the convicted murderer and free him while pushing aside the soldiers guarding him.
"Wait! "He is getting away! The criminal is getting away! We have to do something"
"We will let the authorities deal with this, right now, my carriage is taking us back home, we do not need to get involved with the riot or any other of these events."
Lord Emery seemed to be deeply lost into his thoughts, a fact noticed by the girl, but she considered it not to be the right time to ask him about it. The carriage arrived in front of her house, she stepped down and then the vehicle continued on its way to the hotel where Tudor was staying. He had paid for the room for the entire month of February, but he was out of the city for most of the time.
Two more days passed and the city was in a commotion. Everybody was talking about the fugitive, about his escape from hanging. The police concluded he managed to sail to France and they would most likely never see the man again.
"He will never dare to show his face here again. That crooked bastard Jack Smith." said Captain Cook.
"Surely you won't let the man escape justice." said Clara.
"There is nothing we can do."
"You mean there is nothing you would do. Captain, it is no news that you do not like the French, though I have to say I really see no reason why you cultivated this dislike of yours. But, come to think about it, this is exactly why you did not send the portrait of the fugitive to the French patrol. Are you hoping he will commit more crimes there?"
"Ava, what is this my ears are hearing? I can't think that you are accusing the captain of the London police of such a thing." said Clara, with a dash of indignation.
"No, surely, I am not." said Ava, sarcastically.
The Mayflower mansion, Ava's home, was the scene of a party. Henry Burke, governor of Bengal returned to London as matters of his business called him back to his home town. The sprawling mansion of two floors hosted the party in the large salon which had in the middle stairs that would lead to the second floor. The salon was embellished with sculptures and paintings as the Burke family was a patron of the arts. The wall behind the stairs however, was covered by shelves of books in English, French, Latin and Ancient Greek covering every field of study that has ever existed.
"Ladies and gentlemen, after an absence of five years, I present Duke Henry Burke!" Said the butler as the salon orchestra was signaled to stop playing music.
The duke came down the stairs, went to his only child, then went on to salute the rest of the guests whom he had to entertain with stories from the east. Wine, cake, and fine food was everywhere, while music was delighting the ears of the guests. Two hours into the party and a man entered the doors of the house. It was none other than Tudor Emery. He took his hat and coat off and gave them to the butler and Henry signaled the musicians to stop singing for a while.
"Do my eyes deceive me? Tudor Emery, is that you?" asked the duke.
"Father, do you know this man?"
"Duke, I see Bengal is working wonders on you, you surely seem more chipper now." said Tudor walking toward and shaking hands with the duke.
Henry put a hand on Tudor's shoulder and said "Everyone, this is the man who saved my life in 1799 when a Frenchman was about to kill me. It was right before we allied ourselves with the Austrians and the Portuguese against the French. If it wasn't for this man, I would not be here tonight and I would not have seen my daughter grow into this beautiful and stubborn young lady."
The crown burst into laughter as Ava was indeed known for her stubbornness to succeed in all that she set out to do and, unlike most women of her time, she set out to be a scientist in her own right, a path supported by her father.
The duke then presented Tudor to the rest of the crowd and only words of praise came out of his mouth for the man. Tudor was close to turning 31 at the time, while Henry was a man of 50 and his daughter Ava was only 21 years of age. After hours of display and talks, people began bidding farewell and heading to their homes.
"I am afraid it is now time for me to leave." Said Tudor
"So much talk, but I forgot to inquire about where you are being accommodated now. I remember you sold all your properties here." asked Henry.
"I am staying at the Stanton. It is quite a comfortable hotel."
"You are staying at a hotel? This is nonsense! You must immediately come and stay here, you shall be my guest. No man who saves my life will ever have to stay at a hotel."
"I am afraid I will be staying for at least a few months starting today. I must stay at the hotel, otherwise I would intrude far too much."
"Nonsense lad, I will send someone to get your belongings from the hotel and you shall stay here from now on. Please, stay as much as you like! You will not be of any bother and nobody will bother you. There are fifteen rooms in this house, pick one in the east side and you shall have all the quietude you need there. My daughter and I reside in the west wing."
"Well then, I see there is no way I can back out of this."
"None whatsoever, you shall be my guest."
The Lord went back to the hotel along with the butler who helped him get his belongings and then moved into the Mayflower. The first two weeks went by uneventful, but he bumped heads with Ava a few times. Ava was fascinated by Lord Tudor's knowledge of the New World and science and philosophy, but she was irked by his cocky attitude, especially since he seemed to spend a day with a woman and the next with a different one. But the duke did not mind this attitude of the Lord as it reminded him of his younger days, before he met Ava's mother, who tragically died when Ava was still a child. She was brutally murdered in the streets of London. Police said it was an animal attack, a lion who escaped from the circus. But her death was no animal attack or at least not the known kind of animal. The members of the Augustine Society covered up the murder and made it seem to be an animal attack. They even let out the lion from the circus. Afterward a massive search for the lion began and, when it was captured, it was killed.
The sunlight was hitting the girl's eyes and as she woke she found herself on the hotel bed in the shirt given to her by the blue eyed man that found her covered in blood the night before. Next to her there were a white dress and everything else she needed to get dressed. She looked at them not knowing where they came from when she heard the man, Jonathan, come in.
"I see you are awake."
"Why are these here?" said the girl blushing a bit as there was more than just a dress on the bed.
"Don't worry, I was not the one to pick those, I just picked the dress. Somebody else picked those for you, it was a woman. I am surprised you did not hear me leave early this morning. Oh well, I suppose you are not fully awake yet."
"I am awake." said the girl, not understanding that he was referring to something completely different.
"This is so strange, I dreamed of…"
"You dreamed what?"
The man standing in front of her was identical to one of the men in her dream. The same face, the same posture, the same voice.
"Nothing, forget it. My mind is just playing tricks on me."
"Be ready in an hour. I will come back and we shall start."
Before she could say something else, the man left the room and she was alone again. She showered and got dressed and saw ash in the garbage bin in the bathroom. There was just a small piece of white cloth left and she realized those were the clothes she wore the night before. A maid entered the room while she was in the bathroom and the girl was taken by surprise when she came out. The maid left and, right when the door closed, it opened again and the man came in again.
"Are you hungry?"
"Then why not eat the maid?"
"Are you insane? What did she do to deserve such a thing?"
"Hmm… good, I see you passed the first test."
"What? You knew she was coming in? This was a test to see if I would do to her what I did yesterday?"
"Yes. You see, that maid is an innocent woman, a good woman. And yesterday you said you do not want to kill innocents. But tell me: is there a type of human that you like to kill?"
"I do not like to kill, I want this to stop. But I do seem to be attracted by the worst kind. And I…"
"That man, he was a criminal, a rapist. I can't say how I know it, but I know it. I do not have concrete proof, but I felt it in his gaze. There was nothing innocent about him. I just wish I had proof…" she said with a sad look.
"If you had proof he was a very bad man, would you feel any better?"
"I don't know… I think so…"
"Well then, let's find that proof!"
As the man finished his sentence, the door opened again and red haired, green eyed, thirty something year old Irish entered. When he let go of the door knob the girl rushed to his neck but, right before she could reach him, Jonathan stopped her even though she was violently trying to push him aside.
"Stop, control yourself now! Your blood lust is getting the best of you!" screamed the man. Then he turned around and told the Irish to get out of the room for a few moments.
As they were left alone, the girl calmed down, but she was famished.
"Here's your proof! The man last night was a criminal. This man that just went outside killed, whored, betrayed and plotted against hundreds. He truly is one of the scum of the Earth and you jumped to his neck, but the innocent maid was of no interest to you."
"I do not know the man, I just know I am famished and I want to…"
"Here, drink this now" said Jonathan taking the same knife he used the night before and cutting down to his left wrist.
She pointed her doe eyes toward him and, without hesitation, she took the wrist and drank. The same feeling of excitement and warmth enveloped all the cells in her body.
"You are just now beginning to awaken and your lust for blood will only grow until the moment of your full awakening."
"What is this awakening you talk about? I am fully awake now, as you can see."
"Listen to me! There's much more to you than you know and I wish I could explain it all, but I can't now, it all must be said at the right time. All I can do is make sure, this time, there are no mistakes made, that this time, this story has a better ending."
"You really are not making this any easy."
"Ok, do you still feel famished?"
"I don't think so, but I can't vouch for it."
"I'll let the man back in. You have to stand still, don't attack him again!"
"She is a feisty one isn't she?" said Mark, the Irish, coming back in. "Still feel like you want to kill me little one?"
"I would rip your throat out if I could." said the girl angered. "But I think I can manage not doing it now."
"Yes, two hundred years later and she still hates my guts. You surely know how to hold a grudge"
"Well, she has enough reasons to hate your guts."
"Are you two mocking me now? What's this talk of two hundred years? As far as I know I have only been on this Earth for the past twenty five years." Said the girl annoyed to an extreme.
"As far as you know…" Jonathan went on. "Now, we should be on our way. There is still much to do before the night sets again."
The three took a cab and headed to a house just outside London. It was an old building, late eighteen century style. An old man was waiting inside, he looked like time forgot him, long beard, white hair and long moustache, but still very dignified in posture.
"Professor Gutenberg, I found her, I finally found her!"
The girl recognized him immediately, it was the other man in her dream.
"You, I know you! I dreamed you! how is this possible? I thought my mind was playing tricks on me but I dreamed you without ever seeing you. What is going on?" said the girl astonished.
"Oh, my little girl, it's been two centuries since the last time I saw you. Maybe now I can finally find my peace. I am old, I am too old and too tired to live in this world another day and you, only you, can give me that peace I so much long for. Let's all take a seat and talk."
"Yes, please, I need answers."
They all sat on two sofas in a living room filled with books.
"This is all I do lately. I read and I wait." said the professor.
"What do you wait for?" asked the girl.
"Death, I wait for death. I have been trapped in this body of an old man since I turned 80. I had hoped to die, but 150 years later I am still an 80 year old man."
"I find everything that is happening difficult to believe, and yet I can see it is real."
"That dream of yours, what was it about?"
"You showed me how Galvani discovered bioelectricity, a man, Jack Smith escaped execution, there was Clara, a policeman and I was the daughter of a duke, someone called Henry Burke. I have a father, he is a wonderful man, he is my father, not that Henry Burke. And I also dreamed Jonathan moved in with us and he was very annoying."
"Annoying? How was I annoying? You were just little miss goody-goody. " continued Jonathan.
"Did that really happen? If so, how is that possible? I am living in the present not in the early 1800s."
"You are not dreaming, you are remembering. It is all part of the process of awakening." said Gutenberg. He then continued: "As time will go by, you will remember more and more about your past, about the life you had long before this one. And until you will recover all recollection of that time, your hunger will grow. If you will not be careful, you will reach a boiling point and that is when you will start to kill innocents and you do not want that."
"So you are saying it is only going to get worse until it's going to get better."
"Yes, but we were expecting this and I worked on something that can help ease your hunger. Take one of these little pills every morning, but do not take them and this desire to kill will only grow stronger."
Next, the door slammed to the wall and a man said: "Cars are approaching. They belong to Augustine."
"Quickly, you must go now, don't come here again, not until you have fully awakened! Come then and take this miserable life of mine. Now go!" said Gutenberg rushing them out the back door.
Jonathan knew who was approaching and he drove the car out of the garage which was situated to the back of the house, but he did not drive the same way he came, he changed direction so as to not meet the men of Augustine. On a street, five minutes away from his hotel, he stopped and let Mark out so he could continue his search of a different person. Next stop was in the underground parking lot of the hotel.
"I won't stay here." said the girl.
"You don't like the room? Fine, we can move in a different one or we can change the hotel."
"No, I mean, I won't stay with you here. I…"
"You have to!" interrupted the blue eyed man. "I am the only one who can supervise you. What if you do something foolish? Even worse, what if someone finds you doing something foolish like I did yesterday? I can't risk that."
"Why is this so important to you? Is it because the events of 1807? I only dreamed… sorry, I mean I only remember you being very annoying. I don't recall us getting along too well. The only thing I liked about you was that you seemed to have some knowledge."
"Do you really not remember anything else?"
"No, not the least bit."
"Please understand that you have to stay here."
"Fine, I will stay with you. I guess I do need you, after all, not all men will react the same way as you did if I will do it again. But, what is the next step? I just take these pills and I wait?"
"Exactly! We wait until Mark will be back with Rene. He'll find her and she will help us, she will help you remember all the events of your past. Once you remember them, you will be in full control of yourself again."
"And when will he be back with this Rene?"
"When he will find her, when that will happen, however, I do not know."
"Great! Those are some words of encouragement."
The hours passed. The two spoke and the man tried to teach her methods of withholding her lust for blood or masking her rage to the sight of people such as the one she had killed less than 24 hours early. Two days passed and the girl had no more dreams. And then Mark arrived with the other woman, Rene.
Rene performed an old ritual meant to help the girl remember her past life. Blood was taken from her veins and burned and then the remains were put on the palms, forehead, and the chest of the girl, but nothing happened. The ritual was used for over two hundred years with complete success in other being, but it did not work now, not on her.
"So what do we do from here on?" asked Jonathan.
"It should have worked." answered Rene.
"But it did not, so what now?"
"Now we wait."
"Are you telling me that there is no other ritual to awaken all the memories in her?" asked Jonathan, angered.
"I am saying that what I know does not work on her."
"Why?" asked the girl.
"Because you are a human, you died a human in 1814 and you were born a human again and you are still one now, unlike any of us. And my powers only work on non-humans."
Rene was a witch, Mark was a draco, a creature who was cursed to feed on blood and who feels the pain of those it feeds on, and Jonathan used to be one too, but stronger. They were all beings very different from humans and their rules and laws worked on them, but not so much on a human.
"You told me this would work!" said the blue eyed man in anger.
"I said it might work. In all our existence we never had a human who fed on blood, we never had a human with her abilities. And when we finally had her, she was... she died"
The thought of having been dead gave the girl the chills up and down her spine. She did not like the sound of that.
They were all disappointed with the result.
"So now we wait." said Jonathan.
"Now we wait!" replied Rene.
"I just hope she won't try to rip my throat again." said Mark.
There was a state of confusion, especially for the girl as she had questions but they were not answered by the two men and the woman.
"You don't answer, you don't want to tell me what happened in the 1800s, you won't even say what your connection is to me. This is torture."
"You have to remember by yourself." said Rene. "It is the only way to stop this cycle from repeating. You dying and being born again, Jonathan having to look for you again, to try to stop them to no avail."
After a bit more arguing, the girl gave up questioning everything as she realized there was no way they would tell her anything.
"That's it! I need some time away from all of you. I need to clear my thoughts."
"You can't be left alone." said Rene.
"Leave her alone. Let her have some time for herself." said Jonathan.
The girl then walked out of the hotel and wandered the streets alone, not knowing that someone was lurking in the shadows, watching her every move. She saw a back alley and headed in that direction only to enter another shady club. Inside she saw many who could serve as her meal, but she tried not to think about it.
A song, Paradise Circus by Massive Attack, was being played through the speakers imbedded in the walls. The song was like catnip to a cat, she loved it and her body began to move to the rhythm. Pretty little thing she was. And they stared, eyes pointed sharply to her movement. Among the people looking was one who sat on a sofa. He looked and looked and he enjoyed what he saw more than he could say. It was Jonathan. The man had been in the shadows watching her every move, making sure she stayed on the right track, but now he was in sight. As the song went by, the girl noticed him looking and came close, took his hand and said "Come dance with me!"
He tried to say no, but his legs moved in her direction and as she was dancing he kept staring, fascinated. It was the same woman he met in 1807, the same woman whose death he witnessed in 1814, it was his wife.
As he went to get himself a glass of whiskey she disappeared into the crowd. He was only gone for a few seconds but, when he returned, she was nowhere in sight. He also noticed that a woman who sat on a nearby sofa was also gone. He then rushed to the bathroom of the club but there was no one there. He rushed out and there were only the guards and some people in front of the club. He then turned right and entered a smaller alley and he felt the smell, he heard the noises of a heart beating fast and of one getting weak. He walked fast and pulled the girl away from the woman, and he arrived in time, as the neck wound was not too deep and not too large.
"Come on, let's go! She is too high to remember who did this to her." yelled Jonathan as he wiped the girl's mouth of blood and pulled her away. Then they both ran and on the way he told a guard that he saw a junkie in the back alley and he should check her out. That way, Jonathan made sure the woman did not die.
The two arrived back to the hotel room and the man went on a little rant: "You were supposed to stand still and you were supposed to listen to me."
"I have not fed in over two days, the pills I take can only make the lust weaker, but they do not suppress it. My hunger took over and she was a drug dealer just as she was a junkie. Who knows how many kids died because she shoved the drugs in their hands. She deserved everything I did and much more."
"Are you listening to yourself? You went from wanting this need to stop to justifying it." yelled Jonathan. "This is not you; it is just the lust getting stronger. We need to make sure it won't get out of control. You better get some sleep. Let's see what it's like in the morning. We'll take it a day at a time."
"I am still hungry. I barely took a sip."
"You almost killed her. Here take my blood again!"
"I don't want it!"
"Sure you want it! Take it!"
She then bit the wrist and the same feelings of excitement and warmth took over her entire body again, they both were sharing an experience more intimate than anything else. What else could be more intimate than sharing the same blood? And even though his blood was not food for her, it calmed her mind and muscles and she did not have the same desire to kill. An hour after she fell asleep the man went down to the bar of the hotel where Mark was drinking whiskey.
"Is she asleep?"
"I know you are hoping she was going to wake up with all her memories, but you can't get your hopes up and be disappointed. I know this must be painful for you"
"Do you think I hope? My hopes have been crushed time and time again. I would pray to all gods, if they would exist, to make her remember. Do you think it is painful? Tell me, have you ever loved someone so much that you were willing to wait entire lifetimes just to see her once? I would kill babies at their mother's breast if I knew for sure she would remember me. So no, you do not know, because you have not seen your wife through her best days and you have not seen her give all to you, you have not seen her die, you have not seen her be born again and live a life without ever knowing who you are. Four times I found her after she died in my arms, and four times she died again. The first time she grew in a family in France, I found her only to see her being killed the next day. I ripped the heart out of the man who murdered her. He was a hunter of the Augustine. The second time she grew up in Italy. I spent four months with her, but she had no lust for blood so I knew there would be no way she could remember me. I spent 4 months and she was falling back in love with me. And then she was kidnapped by an Augustine and killed. I tracked him down and after a year I found him and ripped out his tongue so he could not scream while I took parts out of him. The third time I married her again and we lived for 10 years together. We settled in New Orleans. She had no idea about our past lives until one night when a burglar entered the home and she rushed to his neck; it was the ninth year into that marriage and she began to have some recollection of the past. A few months later, Augustines found her again. She was teaching in a school and she was taken from there and killed. The fourth time, I found her while being married to a man. Her father, an American businessman forced her to marry him so he could advance his business and political motivations. I killed that wretched husband of hers and the devil that was her father. She then took over the business and we lived together for a year until she was again taken away from me."
"I… I am sorry, I should not have said that." said Mark, truly regretting his words.
"We have not crossed ways in almost two centuries, you do not know all that happened and you have no fault in this. All I want is for this cycle to break."
"What happens if it does not work this time either?"
"I'll just keep going. We keep finding ways back to each other. But this time, this time the Order will be destroyed. I called you here for a reason. I created a way to get into the Order and you will be the one to do it."
"Because you owe me your life and the time came for you to pay your dues. And for Augustine time has come for reckoning. Also, they do not know you are a draco."
"Good point, but how many dracos tried to get into the Order and destroy it from the inside? They all died as the entrance will capture any draco and will immobilize him. They will realize what I am as soon as they ask me to enter the cellar." said Mark clearly taken aback with Jonathan.
"I would do it myself, but until she remembers everything I am not a draco, I am an ardenti and I would burn when trying to enter the cellar. I need you to do this. Until she remembers it all I will continue being an ardenti and as such I am too weak to pierce through the entrance veil. I found someone like Rene, but more powerful. She can connect you to the entrance veil and it will not harm you in anyway. I am not saying it will not be dangerous to be in the Order, but I am saying we have a possibility to finally destroy them and free ourselves, I am saying the entrance veil will not have any effect on you as the connection will protect you. And damn it man, I would do it myself if it would be possible, you know it."
"If you say I won't be discovered as a draco by the Order, then I will do it. There is nothing that would give me greater pleasure than to destroy it. After all, they are responsible for our existence, they are responsible for all our misery."
The two kept talking for an hour and then each went to their rooms. Jonathan closed the door behind him to see the girl still very much asleep and he lay next to her, watching her while she turned and dreamed.
It was right after 1 at night, Henry Burke was out of town for two days, on business, and Ava went to Clara to spend those days there. Tudor was still very much awake and not alone in his room; Lady Mary Harrison kept him company, in the most pleasant of ways. Mary, naked, was lying on the bed, face up, and Tudor, also naked and on top of her, kissed her like an animal. While temperature was going up in the bedroom, the front door of the house opened and Ava barged in, angry at Clara. The two argued about whether women should take a more active role in the politics of the empire. Ava was very adamant in explaining how women should be given equal political rights. She gave her aunt's book to Clara and encouraged her to read it. Mary Wollstonecraft was famous for advocating in favor of equality between men and women. But Clara said that politics is not a woman's matter as it is boring and that involvement in it would just take away precious time that a woman can use for other things.
"Not all women are born rich like you and I. Those women do not spend their time with trivial things such as non-stop fun, those women have to survive. If you say that women should not have any say in politics you are just helping making the life of those who are not privileged, as you and I, more difficult and dependent on the whims of men." said Ava. And then she took her things, barged outside of the room and rushed toward her house.
"Ava, it is late at night, where are you going? Come back here!"
"I am going home, don't try to stop me!"
Lucy's house was only three buildings away so Ava arrived to Mayflower in a matter of seconds. But as she entered she could not stand still and paced around the house angered by her friend. They were friends since they were three and yet they were so different. Then Ava stopped as she heard noises coming from the east wing of the house, weird noises, and they stirred her curiosity. But as she got closer to the source she began to walk slower and she noticed a door half-opened and, behind it, was the source of the noises. As she got close to it, she peaked inside and saw Tudor with Lady Mary. And right when she looked inside, Tudor turned his head and looked straight into Ava's eyes. The girl then ran into the kitchen, flustered. She drank a glass of water and, as she turned, intending to go to her room, she saw Tudor standing in the door and then she froze for a second.
"Ava, I am sorry, I did not know you would be home tonight for if I knew I would have paid more attention to closing the door" said Tudor with a grin on his face.
Ava knew she was not supposed to have gone in that direction and she was definitely not supposed to have peaked inside so she felt like a cat who spilled the flowerpot and got caught in the act.
"I am sorry, I did not mean to intrude." Muttered the girl and moved toward the exit. "It shall not happen again."
She went straight to her room thinking of what a cocky bastard the man was. Using a woman for his whims like that, not thinking of Lady Mary's reputation. Yes, he would be gone in a few months, but Mary would have to continue living in shame here if anyone found out about the affair.
The next morning, she avoided eye contact with the man, much to Tudor's amusement.
"Do I amuse you sir?"
"Yes, I mean no, not even a little." said the man, clearly entertained by the situation. "You are exceptionally educated and very bold in your opinions and yet you cannot look me in the eyes today because of what you saw last night."
"I have seen a naked man's body before, so you do not embarrass me at all."
The man laughed and asked "Really? You mean those corpses you dissect at university?"
"Yes! It is the same thing. I've seen many of them and I have performed dissections myself on them."
"It is not the same! You saw them dead, not alive, it is not the same thing. You are young and innocent now, but one day you will understand the difference."
"A body, is a body dead or alive." interrupted him Ava, angrily.
And right before she could say anything else, Duke Henry returned from his trip. He asked if something interesting had happened in his absence, but both people standing in front of him said nothing. Since he returned to London, the duke did not have too much time to spend with his daughter so he decided to take Ava away for two days to their summer house in the country, while Tudor was left alone.
The hotel ceiling seemed to close in on him, the lack of sleep of the past days took their toll and Jonathan feel asleep, remembering days long past.
After Ava and her father went to their country house, Lord Tudor received a guest in the library of the house.
"I see you have grown accustomed to the new home." said the Irish.
"The house is comfortable and beautiful but it hosts a monster as its owner."
"It hosts a monster as a guest."
"And here's the third monster, the short lived guest." said Tudor, referring to the red haired Irish.
"I met with Jack Smith in Rome, he convinced the brothers to confess. The Scots are willing to help us to the fullest of their capacity." said the Irishman. "Both brothers are willing to testify to seeing the duke at the scene of his wife's murder and to seeing Lord Tully ordering his butler to release the lion from the circus. They are willing to say the lion was set free after the duchess was murdered."
"Good, that is exactly what I wanted to hear. Now, tell me Wesley, when will the Scots be arriving in London?"
"No later than a month from now."
"Good. Then we shall have all in order by then. The day the Scots arrive, it shall be the end of Duke Henry Burke. One by one, the Augustines will meet their demise. I have waited for over a century for this and there is nothing that will give me greater pleasure than to see their fall."
"We destroyed the Augustines in Rome, we destroyed those in Washington. Now we get to destroy their very head, the ones which orchestrated this all."
If you enjoy this story, you can find the complete version here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/380904
Thank you for reading.