Earnest Young is Forever Young

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Earnest Young is a struggling artist living in poverty in the 1920s. His only hope at salvation is the mysterious vampire Mr.Wright who he discovered living next door

Submitted: November 04, 2016

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Submitted: November 04, 2016

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"No, no, I won't do it, no more!" Cried a young blond man as he trudged through the snow. His skin was pale, his fingers bony, and his eyes were sunken in from lack of sleeping.

But what drew the attention of all who walked by, was not his fatigue or neglected appearance, it was his lack of shoes on that freezing winter's night. He was dressed only in a thin pair of pants, a crisp white shirt, and his feet lacked anything to prevent frostbite. But to the horror and amazement of all, instead of freezing from the cold and curling up into a ball to shiver, the man easily bulldozed through the snow like it was the middle of summer.

"No, no, absolutely not!” He wailed as he pushed through the crowd of workers returning home. Onlookers stopped to stare at the man who should have been frozen before they brushed off the spectacle and returned on their way.

"Why, why not?" Yelled Earnest, as he fought through the crowd to catch up with the blond man. "Why won't you turn me into a vampire?"

At the word vampire, the man stopped and froze like he'd been stabbed in the back, and Earnest used this opportunity to catch a must needed breath. Earnest bent over and grabbed his knees for support. His chest burned like fire and frantically moved up and down. Unlike the man before him, Earnest was wearing every piece of clothing he owned, which still wasn't enough to keep out the cruel winter cold. His coat was worn and covered with holes, and his shoes and pants were a sight to behold. Earnest's clothing wasn't the only thing in need of attention. His short brown hair was messy and unkempt, and his sea blue eyes were tired and drained. It wasn't unusual for this boy of nineteen to be mistaken for an older man without any home.

"When will you leave me alone?" Asked the vampire who oozed sadness. "Why is it always you who follows me home?"

"Please Mr. Wright," begged Earnest. "I ask only one thing, please make me a vampire so that I can escape this dreadful mortality."

"Don't call me that!" Boomed the vampire. "I'm not Mr. Wright. That's the name of the man who I killed in order to rest my head in the daylight!"

"Then how should I address you?" Asked Earnest with a hint of hope. "It's only fitting that I know the name of the man who shall deliver me into immortality."

"Immortality, you say," said the vampire with a chuckle. "You treat my curse like it's something desirable."

"It's not a curse Mr. Wright," said Earnest and he saw the vampire flinch. "The way I see it, it's more like a gift from heaven. There's no need to worry about money or age, and it apparently protects you from this blistering cold."

"You're a fool,” said the vampire, and Earnest noticed that his eyes were unnaturally red. “You see vampirism as a magical thing from a children's fairytale, and you have no idea about the truth of your words."

"That's not true," said Earnest. "I've thought about this every day, and there's nothing I desire more than to become one of you!"

The vampire's breath hitched in his throat, and he began to shake, but the man quickly composed himself and looked at Earnest dead on. "I'll tell you this once so listen well. Today's the last day you'll find me walking along this road. I'm leaving forever and don't bother to find me. I'm going to a place far removed from your world."

"But Mr. Wright!" Pleaded Earnest once more in desperation, but in the blink of an eye the vampire disappeared into the crowd.

"Mr. Wright!" He yelled in a panic, but no matter how fast he ran, or who he shoved out of his way, the vampire was gone and Earnest found himself alone. He kicked his boot in the snow and sighed in frustration. As furious as he was, he had no other choice but to make his way home.

Earnest Young lived on the bad side of town. It was a place where the poor, wretched, and needy called home. The buildings were worn down, gloomy, decrepit, and Earnest's apartment building was no exception. It was six floors high with a dirty stone exterior, and there were various broken windows which all had dim candles flickering within them. Outside men gathered in small groups smoking, and Earnest could overhear the occasional word in German or Italian.

He gulped and suppressed his feeling of dread, because unlike most people Earnest despised going home. He shuddered, pulled his coat around his face, shoved his hands into his pockets, and attempted to bolt towards the main door.

"Hey, Young!" Yelled a man who emerged from the crowd to block his way. He was tall, dark, hairy, and had a beard like a mane. "You're two months behind in the rent. I've told you before. When are you going to pay up young scoundrel, it's soon or else!"

"Give me a break Mr. McClain," said Earnest shortly. He was still irritated about the vampire's escape. "I said I’ll pay you as soon as they sell."

"Sell?" Laughed a man smoking in the crowd. "Doesn't that fool know it's hard enough to find a job, let alone sell works of art?"

"A painter, he calls himself," said another man lounging outside. "But a five-year-old child could surpass him for sure."

Earnest suppressed his rage as his cheeks turn red, if he'd been an angrier man, he would have pounded their heads in.

“Look, Mr. Young," said the landlord with more sympathy. "You have three days to pay me my money or you're out on the street."

“But-” Earnest protested, but the man cut him off.

“Three days Mr. Young, that's my final word.”

Earnest gritted his teeth and nodded his head as his neighbours smirked at his terrible luck. He avoided their glares, looked towards the floor, and with two shaking hands pushed open the large front door.

The corridor had no lighting. It was dark and eerie, but many small children were running around playing. He climbed the creaky wooden staircase, avoided the holes, and Earnest finally landed on the fifth floor. The oil lamps were dim and it was difficult to see, but Earnest steadily walked forward until he was before room 503.

He reached forward and touched the nameplate which had been engraved with the name Wright. He ran his fingers over the word before growling in frustration, and with the toe of his boot he sternly kicked the wooden door. He knew the vampire was gone and would never come back, but that didn't stop him from banging on the wood until his hands were red.

“Why? Why wouldn't you make me a vampire?” He sighed in defeat. Earnest pressed his ear against the door and listened for movement, but the room was as dead as the deceased Mr. Wright.

His hopes had been thoroughly crushed, and Earnest had no choice but to retreat to his room next door. With a turn of a key and a click of a lock, the door opened to unveil the place that Earnest called home.

It was slightly larger than a closet and had enough room for a bed, a chamber pot, an easel, and a pile of paintings almost three feet high. It smelt of old cigarettes, rotten food, and stale bread. And as hard as he tried he could never clean all the grime from the walls.

The room was a far cry from the brilliant future he'd imagined as a boy on the farm. He'd dreamed of becoming the country's most famous painter, but there was no progress so far. He'd naively disobeyed the wishes of his father and created his own hell, where there was nothing but poverty and his inability to break through. As hard as he painted, no matter how frantically he tried, Earnest had yet to sell one piece of art.

Time was running out. His landlord never lied, and Earnest was terrified that he'd soon have no place to sleep at night.

With a sigh of despair, he collapsed in front of his easel to stare at his newest piece of art. It was a painting of a brilliant party. Colourful people danced merrily, and several sparkling chandeliers hung from a tall glamorous ceiling.

With one shaking hand Earnest picked up his brush, dipped the tip into the paint, and continued his work. He worked half the night until his hand began to ache, but no matter how hard he tried he could not capture the scene that he'd witnessed that night.

The night that he met the vampire who killed Mr. Wright.

Two weeks ago Earnest had been staring at his blank easel in vein. He had no idea what to paint or an ounce of inspiration in his brain. Fed up with staring at his narrow four walls, Earnest decided to take a short walk in the cold. The streets were dark and not a soul was to be seen. Earnest greatly regretted his decision and decided to leave.

But that was the moment when he saw something which he shouldn't have seen.

From the fifth floor of his building, from the room next to his own, a dark figure jumped from the window and plummeted to the ground. It was obvious that no regular man could survive such a fall, and Earnest stood there in horror and assumed he was dead.

He prepared to run over and check on the poor soul, but it was then that the shadow got up completely unharmed, and began trudging through the freshly fallen snow.

Earnest gasped and pressed his back against the wall as the mysterious figure passed under the street light. It was a man in his late twenties with neat blond hair and eyes which looked unnaturally red. Despite the freezing cold, he was dressed only in a black dinner suit and didn't shiver or flinch like a regular man would.

Earnest was not an expert in the occult, but he could tell that something was most definitely off. He patiently waited as the man walked away, and with the utmost stealth, Earnest silently followed.

They walked through the snow covered streets, and block by block the decrepit old buildings gave way to huge mansions. He had never been to the rich part of town, and he stared in awe at the large houses and lawns. There were stone angels, fountains, sparkling street lights, and the roads were well paved for automobiles. Earnest looked on in wonderment and recalled how he'd dreamed of living in such a place when he first moved to the city.

The strange man took a sharp turn, Earnest jogged to keep up, and suddenly they were standing before the largest house of them all. It was three stories high with expensive white bricks, and a large veranda extended to all four sides. Shadows moved in the dimly lit windows, and Earnest could hear the faint sound of a joyful waltz.

The man in the suit strolled up the stone path to the front door where an overweight butler greeted him and said “we've been expecting you sir please go right ahead.”

Earnest sighed in despair. He knew that in his tatty clothes it would be impossible to enter a party as fancy as this. Instead, he crept around the house to a large window, stood on the tips of his toes, and peered through to see a wonderful abode.

There were wealthy men and women, dressed in expensive clothes, all dancing around a sparkling ballroom while he stood out in the cold. Crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling, a band played merry tunes, and butlers and maids cheerfully circled the room. They carried red wine in glasses, red food as well, and there was even a table laid out with a dazzling crimson spread.

“Amazing,” Earnest whispered, and his breath came out as white smoke. “What I wouldn't give to join a party like this.”

The only thing he found the slightest bit strange was how he could see no flames in the fireplace, and yet none of the guests appeared the slightest bit cold. Before he could ponder such a mysterious thing, the strange man he'd been stalking emerged into the room. He talked to the guests, drank wine for half an hour, and merrily danced for what seemed like forever.

Earnest watched on with bemused interest, but the cold was unbearable and had almost frozen his toes. He turned in disappointment to leave the spectacle behind, but it was then that the host of the party entered his sight.

He was a tall man in a brown suit with short black hair, unnaturally pale skin, and brown eyes which almost border-lined on red. He stood up on a chair and tapped a spoon against his wine glass until he had the attention of his guests and Earnest.

“Welcome,” he said in a voice so loud that even Earnest could hear it from his lone window. “Welcome, my fellow creatures of the night to another spectacular party at mine. I hope you've enjoyed the buffet and marvelous jazz band, but it is now time for the event that we've all been waiting for. I present to you,” he said while indicating to something behind him. “The young and magnificent Miss Eleanor Hall!”

On cue, two butlers entered through the door escorting the so-called Eleanor Hall. She was a girl no older than sixteen, whose petite face and long red dress were spotlessly clean. Her dark brown hair was tied back into a bun, and like Earnest outside, she shivered from the cold and looked almost numb. She frantically rubbed her bare arms, and her breath came out in small puffs of smoke.

“Why is it that this girl feels the cold, but no one else does?” Pondered Earnest from his lonely window.

“Tonight my guests,” continued the host. “We shall welcome young Eleanor into our higher than high society. From today onwards she will no longer know pain or age, and all her mortal problems will dissipate into the wind. For tonight, ladies and gentlemen, Eleanor shall become a fellow creature of the night!”

Eleanor Hall with her lips blue and small, muttered something to the crowd who looked appalled. They shook their heads at her frozen frame, and Earnest heard a nearby man mutter “what a pitiful girl, who honestly shivers these days.”

“And the one who will do the honor,” said the host. “Is the great and powerful Isaac Van Jones!”

With those words, the crowd parted and the man who Earnest stalked walked straight to the front. He gracefully bowed before the crowd, and then took a hold of Eleanor's petite hand and waist like they were going to dance. The band began to play, but instead of waltzing, the man threw back his head and dived his teeth into her neck.

Poor Eleanor screamed and struggled. She kicked and she cried, but Isaac continued to drink from her neck while the crowd looked on with bemused interest.

“Stop! Stop!” Earnest wanted to scream, but he could do nothing but stare in terror as he tightly gripped the window frame. Sweat poured from his brow and he wanted to flee, but fear prevented him from moving until the very end.

In a matter of seconds it was finally over. The man released his grip and Eleanor lifelessly fell like a doll. Blood dripped from her neck until it pooled on the floor and Earnest could imagine two giant teeth marks beneath it all. He assumed at least one guest would express horror or distaste, but they quietly all stood there sipping their red champagne.

Then, just when Earnest was about to run for help, the nearly deceased Eleanor jumped to her feet. Her eyes were wide as she gazed around the room, and she stared in fascination at her hands as though they were new. The color returned to her cheeks until they were pink, and the previously solemn guests began to clap and cheer.

The host grinned with pride and boomed at the top of his lungs “ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the newly turned Eleanor Hall!”

The butlers brought forth a towel and patted her neck clean and Earnest was bewildered at how she seemed to gleam.

The once comatose girl then proceeded to smile, dance, and eat with the guests without a single shiver in that freezing room.

It was then that Earnest finally saw the horror of that merry room, and he realized that what he was watching was no regular event.

They were people immune to the cold with inhuman eyes, and they drank red liquid which looked too thick to be wine.

“By God,” said Earnest as the color drained from his face. “I've stumbled into a nest of bloodthirsty vampires.”

From the depths of his stomach a terrible fear began to emerge and wrapped its dreadful fingers around Earnest's terrified soul. With what courage he had left, Earnest turned his trembling body away and he made a hasty escape back into the night.

“What a horrible sight,” the voice inside his head screamed. “How unfortunate for me to have stumbled across a gathering of hellish beings.”

The awful experience made him shiver and shake, but when Earnest returned to his pitiful abode, he could do nothing more than toss and turn on his mattress in the freezing cold. With no wood for a fire and only stale bread in his stomach, Earnest couldn't help but begin to see the positive side of vampirism. If he became a vampire then he would no longer have to suffer 

starvation and frostbite, and his everlasting depression could possibly end.

If he became a bloodsucking porcelain doll, then surely it would be better than freezing to death in the deadly winter cold.

It was then that a new obsession overtook Earnest Young. His dream of selling great works of art was replaced by the desire to suck dry human hearts.

He watched for the mysterious stranger like a man possessed, and quickly discovered that he lived in the room next to his own. Day and night Earnest would wait with his ear pressed against the wall, with his head out the window, or peaking through the door. There was nothing but silence until night finally fell, and the vampire would jump from his window to wander the streets.

Earnest would quietly follow and watch as the man devoured the bad, ill, wretched, and dying. A thief in an alley, a dying old man in his bed, they were all people with malicious intentions or very close to death. Earnest watched on in fixation and memorized every step like an ambitious student who was eager to learn.

Then finally, one day after the vampire had fed, Earnest emerged from the shadows and passionately begged “please make me like you, a creature of the night, a being that feeds on the living but has no weakness in sight.”

The vampire stared back in shock as the blood dripped from his chin, and with one quick shake of his head he said “no! I will never turn another man, please forget me and leave.” The vampire then quickly disappeared into the night.

Earnest was crushed and could do nothing but cry. He fell to his knees in the snow and wept over his pitiful life. He had sacrificed so much already only to consistently fail, whether it was at art or immortality, he could never prevail. He sat there and wallowed in his own misery, until from the depths of his soul a rage began to burn. He took a fist of snow, threw it in anger, gritted his teeth and cried “that's it! I refuse to stop until I become a vampire!”

And thus Earnest's harassment of the immortal began, and the other man couldn't leave his home without the young artist being there. Earnest followed him all over the rich and the poor ends of town while constantly chanting “please, please, make me a vampire!

Every attempt failed, but he refused to relent, and the poor vampire began to show signs of fatigue. The man would pull at his hair and abstain from taking blood. All color drained from his face and he looked pale like a doll. Earnest was confident that immortality was finally within his reach, until tonight when the vampire fled on the street.

Now all Earnest had left was his cramped cold room which would be taken away, and his paintings of a ballroom which seemed like a lifetime ago. Littering his room were other paintings too. Some were of pale vampires, and there was one of Earnest with red eyes as well.

Earnest continued painting long into the night, but as hard as he tried he couldn't recreate the mystique and awe that he had experienced that one time. With a sigh the young artist laid down his brush, and tried to accept what was inevitably to come. In three days or less they would throw him out onto the street, and what little he had would become obsolete. Earnest knew he was foolish and that it was time to give up on his dreams, but as he stared at his painting he decided to make one last attempt. He packed away his brush, put on his coat, and set out towards the place where his obsession began. He had been back to the mansion three times or more, but every time he returned there was no one at home.

Tonight, thought Earnest to himself. Tonight dear God let the vampire do his work.

To Earnest's delight as he walked up the street, he saw faint lights in the mansion which he saw in his dreams. Like a moth to a flame he ran to a window to see what he'd tried so desperately to paint. Well dressed men and women were dancing in delight around the astonishing ballroom in the middle of the night. Earnest caught sight of Eleanor Hall wearing pearls as she held the elbow of a wealthy gentleman, but as long as he stood there and desperately searched, he could not catch sight of the elusive Isaac Van Jones.

As the night wore on and no new vampires were turned, Earnest gave into his despair and decided to return home. He ran his fingers over the stone wall, and looked through the windows in hope of finding a vampire who could turn him. He found men smoking in backrooms and girls fixing their clothes, but alas, no mysterious vampire who could make him immune to the cold.

Eventually, Earnest came to the last window on the west, which was full of books and leather chairs. There the host sat at his desk while smoking a pipe before an open wood fire. He nervously tapped his fingers, ran his hand through his hair, and looked towards the door like he was expecting a guest.

Earnest stopped and stared as he tried to predict why the man was hidden away instead of dancing with everyone else.

Suddenly, who should burst through the door, but the very man whom Earnest had been desperately waiting for. His coat was patched with holes, his hair was unkempt, and the host instantly jumped from his chair with his face contorted in rage. The two men began to talk, but Earnest couldn't hear them until he pressed his ear to the cold window.

“Where were you?” Demanded the host. “We've waited for hours! There are two lords waiting for immortality and I promised them tonight!”

“No more Alexander,” gasped the exasperated Isaac. “I've reached my end. There have been murders in the north, west, and east sides of town. Men with gaping holes in their necks, children who have been drained dry. Yesterday they found a pile of bodies over seven feet high. If we continue this further, the bloodshed will never end, because there is nothing like the thirst of a newly turned vampire.”

“You must be joking Isaac, you've always been strange in the head, who honestly cares about the poor, wretched, and needy. Those people were a burden on our society, but they made a delicious appetiser for this evening’s feast.”

“No, no,” protested Isaac. “I'm different from the others, I won't continue this and neither should you. Immortality is a curse, an obsession for fools, it draws in the weak minded and makes them consume people as food. I'm tired of creating monsters that prey on the weak, but you and your men refuse to relent. Just recently I was stalked by a man obsessed with you all. He waited while I slept and followed me for weeks. He begged and he wined and he wouldn’t let me be. I can take this, I can't create any more!”

“Take that back! Don't you realize that without you, we can’t turn anyone. You're the oldest of the old and we're all still fresh and young. We're all too new to make even one.”

“I'm sorry, Daniel,” said Isaac as he bowed his head. “But this is goodbye, I hope that you and your new friends have what it takes to survive amongst our kind.”

The host screwed his fist up in rage, but Isaac quickly turned and fled out the door. Earnest was quick on his feet, and ran towards the main entrance. He ran past the glorious ballroom and towards the intimidating oak wooden doors, where he waited in anticipation until the vampire emerged. As he predicted Isaac ran out of the house, and Earnest dashed towards him and tackled him to the ground. They rolled in the snow once before the vampire struggled free. He pulled himself to his feet and looked at Earnest, who was clinging to the vampire's clothes and refused to let go.

“No, no, not again,” moaned the vampire. “I thought I'd escaped, and yet you’re still here. What will it take mortal for you to let me be free.”

“Please Mr Wright,” said Earnest as he shivered in the cold.” Sir, I'll beg you once more, please make me a creature of the night.”

“Idiot,” the vampire cursed and tears formed in his eyes. “Don't you understand anything at all? What you desire is much worse than death. You can no longer walk in the sun or be with those you love. You must watch people you hold dear wither and age until only you remain the same. I live a terrible existence that I'm too cowardly to end, and I wouldn't wish this terrible curse upon anyone!”

He tugged and he pried Earnest's frozen fingers from his clothes, but Earnest's grip was desperate, and he wouldn't let go.

“You're wrong sir,” said Earnest. “You say your existence is terrible, but what awaits me is far worse. I already broke away from my family and I have no money or possessions of my own. I live in poverty and everyday is a never ending struggle to survive, but in three days time what little I have will be thrown out into the street. I will most definitely freeze to death in the winter cold. So don't you see Mr Wright,” begged Earnest as the tears rolled out of the vampire's eyes. “By refusing me immortality you're already condeming me to die.”

The vampire looked like he had something to say, but the words died in his throat. He hiccupped, choked and wiped his face with the sleeve of his coat.

“If I make you a vampire will you finally leave me alone?” The vampire said with despair. “Will you end your constant watching, begging, and stalking me home?”

“Yes!” Replied Earnest and a grin broke out across his face. “I'll do whatever you want if you’ll just turn me!”

“Then there is no choice,” said the vampire as he gazed out at the snow. “I'll make you the last one Earnest, the final monster I'm responsible for, after you, it's all over and I will create no more.”

“Thank you! Thank you!” Cried Earnest in joy. He jumped to his feet and began to unbutton his coat collar to expose his neck, but the vampire signalled for him to stop.

“Hold out your hand,” requested the vampire.

“But when you turned that girl-” Earnest began to protest, but the other man cut him off.

“That was purely for drama and not necessary at all. All it takes is one bite, and your mortal life will come to a close, so just hold out your hand Earnest and just let me be done.”

Earnest's hands shook with excitement as he removed one glove, rolled up his sleeve, and exposed his skin to the cold. The vampire reached out and held Earnest's hand (his grip was ice cold) and brought Earnest's wrist to his lips which lacked any warmth. The vampire opened his mouth to expose two sharp pointy fangs, threw back his head, and dove his teeth into Earnest's exposed skin. Earnest cringed in pain but refused to pull away, and instead smiled in glee as he watched his dream become reality. Then the vampire pulled away and wiped his mouth which was now stained with Earnest's blood.

“Is that it?” Earnest asked. He didn't feel like a monster, and other than the pain in his wrist he didn't feel any different.

“It will spread soon,” said the vampire as the tears began once more. “Vampirism is a disease which will affect every cell. First, you lose all feeling, followed by pain in sunlight, until you eventually find yourself consumed with a never ending thirst for fresh human blood.

“Are you certain?” Asked Earnest as he looked down at his hands. Perhaps they didn't feel as cold as they had moments ago.

“Goodbye Earnest,” said the vampire who emitted only misery. “I hope that you don't accumulate as much regret in your immortality as I have in mine.”

Earnest replaced his glove and looked up to the vampire, but he was already gone from his side and couldn't be seen. Earnest began walking home and almost skipped out of joy. For soon he could finally leave all his mortal misery behind. There was no longer any need to worry about money or food, and he could finally wander as he pleased without any impending sense of doom. He was still young and Earnest intended to enjoy his youth to the fullest, because from tonight onwards Earnest Young would be young for as long as he could imagine.


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