1: Tomb Of Stone, Man Of Ice
Grace walked through the cemetery. Soon she came to the strange tomb like crypt on her way to her mother's grave. The tomb looked like it had been there since the middle ages or medieval times, whichever one came first. The stone walls were pock marked and stained from the years but was still magnificent. Ivy climbed up the pillars near the iron door that was slightly ajar. She stopped. The door was ajar? It hadn't been when she'd come yesterday. She visited her mother's grave every day after her mother had died a month ago. She bet someone had opened it and gone in as a dare. She turned off the path and walked up to the old structure, fuming about why some idiots would go in and disrupt the dead's sleep.
As she approached she felt the temptation to enter fill her. The tomb seemed magnetic. As if something was pulling her to it. Without thinking she stepped forward and pushed the door open and went in. The door grinded shut behind her. She whirled round. The magnetic feeling was still there but was crushed by her fear. She pounded on the door and started to scream as loud as she could.
"Help! I'm trapped!" No matter how loud she screamed no one came. She heard a ghostly whisper. The voice was soft, gentle and understanding.
No one can hear you child. No sound gets in, no sound comes out. This is a building for those whose lives are ended and wish to sleep for eternity.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?"
I am a dead one.
"But I can talk to you, dead people can't talk."
That, in any other case is true, but I am cursed. I am forced to live for eternity. I cannot die. I was locked here out of fear and cursed to slumber for thousands of years. I am awaking.
"You're a vampire?"
Yes. But do not fear me I mean no harm. I can unlock the door. But I must do it physically. I am bound. I cannot move unless freed.
"You want me to do it."
Yes. . . . . The voice started to say something else but faded out as if exhausted. Well, I guess anyone would be tired after so long asleep. Time to wake the beast. She thought as she began to descend the stairs into the chilly heart of the tomb.
What she saw took her breath away. The walls were all white; flames burned brightly in brackets on the walls, tall marble statues of angels and winged horse's filled miniature catacombs and stood guard over a white marble coffin on a raised dais at the far end of the room. She stood at the foot of the dais and read the inscription on the wall it read: Beware. Thy who approaches. This is a monolith to the living dead. In this tomb lies a dead man. A vampire lies bound and cold in this coffin if thy opens this stone casket then you will be leasing an ancient power upon the land.
She pushed the rising fear down and stepped up to the coffin. Something drove her on in spite of the warning that had been painstakingly carved into the wall. Grace put her hands to the cool marble and pushed. The lid slowly moved and slid into a slot that had been carved deep into the wall. Only a faint out line now shown that the lid had never been part of the wall. In the coffin lay a man. He was pale, tall and very, very beautiful. His hands lay over his chest in the death pose. He looked to be in a very deep peaceful sleep. If it wasn't for the chains binding him and the muzzle strapped to his head, he would have looked like an ordinary dead man, a very well preserved one at that. His hair was long, black and came to his shoulders; his eyelashes were long and very dark, his face was finely shaped and any model would have sold their soul for this kind of beauty (which is probably the asking price. She'd seen many plastic surgeons create fake beautiful faces but never had they created one as fine as this vampire's). His lips were just as delicate yet beautiful as the rest of this ice man. He was wearing what had probably been the highest thing short of royalty from whatever time he came from. His white shirt looked like the finest silk, the black trousers were just as fine though she could not guess what they had been made from, his shoes had been beautifully crafted, and his long coat looked like the finest velvet and was the deepest red, it ended at his ankles. His skin was as white as winter. Altogether he looked more like a marble statue of idolized beauty than a real man.
She looked at the manacles on his wrists; the other chains could be undone from them so she would need the key. She ran her hands over the insides of the coffin. Nothing. She wandered off and observed every statue and wall. She looked in every nook and cranny.
Would they ever make a key to unlock him anyway? She thought to herself. She kept looking because she reasoned that since they had key holes there must be a key.
She eventually found it. It had been cleverly hidden on one of the winged horses that she knew as a Pegasus and made to look like a feather. She walked back to the marble coffin. She reached in and gently took hold of one of the wrists and instantly flinched back. He was ice cold. She swatted the thought that she was touching a dead guy out of her mind.
She reached back in and took hold of the wrist, fighting back the urge to flinch away and gag. Grace tried to slot the key into the manacle but it didn't fit. She looked closely at the key hole then the key. It was the wrong one. She looked at the manacles holding his feet. They needed a different one too. The key didn't fit the padlock that rested on his stomach and bound his midsection to the other chains and the coffin. If none of these required the key then what did? The muzzle! It had to be. She moved back to his head and looked at the key hole. Yes! This key unlocked the muzzle. Why put a muzzle on him anyway? Fangs. In order to get the other chains on him they would have had to stop him being able to bite. She looked carefully and saw that thin yet secure metal straps went into his mouth from the sides. She slotted the key into the lock and turned it. The lock gave out a satisfying clunk. Grace slowly and carefully began to unstrap the muzzle. As she worked on the last buckle the vampire's eye lids fluttered as he began physical awakening. First his lips slowly parted, showing the fangs that the muzzle had forced to remain out. His eyes slowly opened when she began to remove the muzzle fully from his head. As the metal caps slid off his fangs they retracted like snake teeth. His eyes were deep forest green. Lined by those smoky black eyelashes they looked like emeralds on black velvet. She stepped back and looked at the muzzle. It looked like a torture device; unlike the dog muzzles today this hadn't been made with the wearer in mind. It looked like it had been made to make the wearer as uncomfortable as possible.
The man smiled, obviously relived to have the muzzle off after such a long time. The corners of his mouth moved, his tongue licked the sores that had been made by the metal chaffing against the sensitive skin in the corners. He took a steady breath, obviously reacquainting himself with movement once more. His eyes fell on her. A grateful smile curled his lips.
"Thank you, girl." He said in a thick welsh accent.
"Uh, that's ok." She was terrified. Her heart pounded fast and she looked at the writing carved into the wall. Had the vampire been locked away for a bigger reason other than fear? Had he killed? She worried that she may have done a bad thing. The vampire must have heard her heartbeat and seen the doubt on her face.
"Do not fear me, I won't hurt you. I am not like the beasts in the myths."
She swallowed and nodded. Her father had always told her not to base a book by its cover or base things in life on movies and films or books and stories. He'd told her to follow her heart.
"Do you want me to find the other keys?"
"Yes please. What is your name?"
"Grace. What's yours?"
She said nothing to that and went searching for the other three keys. She found one in the stone grip of an angel that wings moved when she pulled it out of the stone fist causing her to scream in shock. Theodore seemed to find that very amusing. She carefully fished the second key from under the hoof of a Pegasus in case it stood on her face or something. The last one was harder to find, she had to rummage in a marble cupids arrow holder that had been hollowed out to get the key. She walked over to the coffin and the chained vampire. She unlocked him from the feet up in case he decided he was hungry.