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Chapter 9

 

Vanessa had reached a turning point, both with her sister, and more importantly, with Vincent.

She had enjoyed her brief time as a wife and Royal Princess and wanted more. Vanessa wanted to be her own person and not beholden to her brother Vincent. In fact, Vanessa no longer considered Vincent her brother and told Veronica so. She knew it would eventually get back to him. Veronica was weak, controlled by Vincent, and could no longer be trusted by Vanessa. It pained Vanessa but she knew she had to move forward one day without either of them. For now, she would bide her time. But one day she would make her own way in the world as a Vampire and as a woman.

Vanessa stared into the mirror and admired the pendant around her neck. It is a myth that mirrors are a problem for Vampires, a myth sown by the Vampire Council themselves. They simply did not want to see their own ugly decrepit reflections anywhere and had banned any form of reflective substance from their own castle. But the reality was that mirrors held no problem for Vampires, young or old. As Vanessa stared at her naked body adorned only by the Florentine Diamond, her last gift from Bertie so many years before, the door to her bedroom opened and her sister Veronica walked in.

‘I didn’t hear you knock sister’.

‘I didn’t think you’d mind Vanessa. Such a beautiful sight’.

‘Me or the pendant’, smiled Vanessa.

‘You, darling, but the pendant is a pretty little thing. Where did you get it?’.

‘From my husband Veronica. Remember him, Prince Bertie. The one you stole from me’.

Veronica stopped in her tracks by the venomous tone in Vanessa’s voice.

‘That was Vincent. You know he made me do that Vee’.

‘No matter sister. I have moved on. Time has been a great healer for me. These last seven decades have gone very slowly for me but in that time, I have reflected and forgiven you both for your selfish, treacherous, beastly ways. We are, after all, Vampires. We kill to survive’.

Veronica said nothing at first. The tone in her sister’s voice was something she had not expected. Her marriage had not been mentioned for over seventy years and Veronica was glad of it.

‘You see Veronica. This gem, this yellow diamond once owned by the duke of burgundy, was given to me with love. It is the only thing I have left that was given to me with love. It is also very valuable, and I treasure it. I have kept it a secret all these years and only we know of its existence and whereabouts. If it should ever go missing sister, I will not be happy’.

‘Are you threatening me Vanessa?’.

‘Yes, I am’.

Veronica turned and left the bedroom. At the door she turned and spoke.

‘Vincent says the festival is something for all young East Coast people to go to. The whole of New York will be there. And so must you. Vincent says….’.

Before Veronica could finish Vanessa was up close and held her tight, her arms gripping Veronica in a hug that she could not escape from.

‘Vincent says what?’.

‘Just be ready to party. Now release me, please’. 

 

Woodstock was indeed a festival that would live on in people’s memories for decades to follow. As Vanessa wandered around the massed crowd later that night, looking for food, hunting for a suitable prey. But for Vanessa, she felt something different as she pushed through the crowd. There was an energy about these people. An energy she had not felt before. They were as one, a beast of many parts, all focussed on a kind of togetherness. Vanessa liked this. It made her feel different. She looked around her, people everywhere, stoned, happy, in love. Smiling at her, offering her drink, food, drugs. Kindness, overpowering kindness. And the sound coming from the band on stage was also something Vanessa was surprised to find that she was actually enjoying. The sound was not unpleasant, not like some of the harsher sounds she had been exposed to. These sounds were far more controlled, melodic, comforting somehow.

As Joan Baez sang, ‘Oh happy day’, the crowd sang back, ‘Oh happy day’. It was a moment that changed something inside Vanessa. Over 400, 000 people had descended on the small farm for the music festival, set over three days, and this was just the first day. Listening to Baez perform, all thoughts of blood had vanished. Vanessa found herself transfixed by the singer. By the time Baez came towards the end of her set and encouraged the crowd to join in with, ‘Swing low, sweet chariot’, she found a hand was holding her own. As Vanessa turned toward the young man stood to her right, the young, bedraggled waif smiled at Vanessa, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

‘She’s good, isn’t she?’.

‘I think so, although I’ve never heard her before’.

The young man smiled, gently removed a garland of flowers he had been wearing around his neck and placed them over Vanessa’s head.

‘There you go. Even more beautiful than before’.

The young man let his hands linger on Vanessa’s shoulders and for a few seconds their eyes met. There was a moment between them then the young man spoke again.

‘Wait a minute. You’ve never listened to Joan before. The Joan Baez’.

Vanessa never spoke. She was still looking into the eyes of this young man. There was something about him, a vulnerability that she sensed. He was tall but quite thin. His eyes were a steel grey which Vanessa found a little intriguing. His skin, not quite as pale as her own, shone in the moonlight somehow. He was doll like in complexion. Pretty almost, if you could describe a man as pretty. He was talking but Vanessa could not hear the words. An instinct inside her kicked in. She pulled the man towards her and placed her lips on his. The kiss did not last long, the young man pulling away almost immediately.

‘Wait. There is something I should tell you about me’, he pleaded.

Vanessa smiled, pulled him back in close and whispered, ‘Tell me later’.

This time the kiss lasted much longer. It was passionate. It was tender. And it was conducted in the middle of the 400,000 strong crowd as Joan Baez completed her set.

‘What is your name?’, asked a breathless young man when their lips finally parted company.

‘Vanessa. I’m different’.

‘I’m Francis. But everyone calls me Fran. And I’m different too’.  

‘Then this weekend Fran, we can be different together’.

Vanessa and Fran spent the rest of the night watching the other bands, roaming around the site, and generally talking. Fran explained to Vanessa who were playing on which days and the type of music she could expect. Fran didn’t question why Vanessa seemed so ignorant about music, particularly when she had paid to attend a three-day music festival that was being billed as the biggest for a decade. Instead, he simply answered any and all of her questions about current music trends, the local area, New York, and his own troubled life, which he answered honestly. The first night went so quickly that Vanessa almost forgot she needed to return to New York before the sun came up. Fortunately, Fran too needed to go and asked if they could spend some more time together the following night. He had to work and would be back later this night after the sun went down. Vanessa never picked up on any unusual signals, being so lost in the music and Fran’s company that she herself simply fled the site sometime around 4am.

At the agreed meeting point Vincent and Veronica were waiting. Vincent seemed angry whilst Veronica tried her best to calm him down.

‘Look, she is here’.

Vincent hissed at Vanessa.

‘Where have you been sister. You are late and are putting us all in great danger’.

As Vincent sniffed at her he sensed a smell he was not happy with.

Before he could say anything else, Vanessa opened the door to the waiting limousine and climbed into the back seat. Stopping momentarily, she eyed up the two middle aged hippies slumped on the back seat. They were completely stoned.

As the other two climbed in beside vanessa she asked, ‘What the hell are these hippies doing here?’.

‘Snacks little sister. Just a couple of late-night snacks’.

‘Good, because I am ravished’, replied Vanessa, a moment before she bit down on the neck of the first hippie.


Submitted: June 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 sparkles9999. All rights reserved.

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