One evening a young woman stood at the bus stop with a single suitcase in her hand. Scarlet curls hung around her oval face that held a pair of green eyes that watched the final bus of the day stop at her feet. She lifted her luggage onto the steps and craned her neck to get a view of the rest of the vehicle.
"Where's the rest of the world?" she asked herself quietly. The bus driver, a portly man with a sunken face, turned to her with distaste
"Don't you know where this bus cuts through?" the woman smiled towards him and caused him to scowl
"If I'm not mistaking it goes through Englewood and passes the Casselbury Manor right?" she challenged as she took her seat. The man nodded and closed the doors
"So if you know that then you know about the rumors surrounding that good for nothing waste of space." he chuckled at his joke as the bus began to move on the smooth road.
"I don't know about a "waste of space" but I do know of an incredible mansion with an amazing history that I personally get to investigate. I, Antoinette Marks, will be the first and only person to stay in the Casselbury Manor and discover all of its delicious secrets!" the bus driver rolled his eyes as the ambitious young woman continued to drone on in his ear.
As the bus began to rock she turned to the window and watched dusk succumb to the shadows of the night. She turned to the front of the bus and watched the road become narrower as four lanes merged to two.
"Welcome to Englewood." read the plaque that hung on a wooden stake to the right of the bus. It swung back and forth as the bus advanced past acres and acres of woodland. Time stood still in Antoinette's mind when the mass of grey stone finally stood before her.
She could barely contain her excitement "Yes! I'm finally here!"
"Yippee! Now get off my bus before I kick you off!" Antoinette rolled her eyes and grabbed her luggage. Her red hair swayed as she carried her limited belongings to the door. The knocker was a large golden bat holding "C.M." to its' chest. The golden mammal was banged against the door to announce her arrival.
The door opened to an elegant man with dark eyes and champagne locks that framed a square jaw and flustered cheeks.
"Yes how may I help you?" she smiled at the sound of his voice. It was like listening to a soothing lullaby.
"Yes... oh right, I'm Antoinette Marks. I spoke to someone on the phone about staying here for a few days?"
A small toothy smile came to his lips, "Ah yes. I've been expecting you. I am Avion Casselbury." Amazement hit Antoinette as she realized she was standing with the only living member of the Casselbury legacy. The two shook hands as Avion led her through the door to the living room.
A quick scan of the room was enough to tell Antoinette that she was in the presence of true wealth. Everywhere she turned she could catch a glimpse of the Casselbury's family history. Hand painted and intricately detailed, the pictures showed four families that consisted of a mother, father and children. Antoinette took a closer look at the last family that was painted and became entranced by the teenage son standing with his family members. He resembled Avion in the right that he shared the same jaw line and hair color but...his eyes... they were a deep hypnotizing green while Avion's were a dark brown almost black color.
"Interesting isn't it? That’s my great-great-great grandfather whom I am named after." Antoinette jumped back and turned to see Avion's face inches from her own.
"I'm sorry Mr. Casselbury I was just..."
"No need to worry Miss Marks I am glad that you have noticed these paintings. Most guests just come and ask to see the material things, the possessions that came with a price tag. None stop and take in the fact that a family lived here, it is more than a "gold mine" as some would call it." Avion's face once again became flustered.
Antoinette was captivated by the level of passion that overcame his voice as he spoke of his family’s’ longtime home. His entire demeanor changed and it was a bit concerning
"Are you ok?" Avion turned to her and she gasped at the man before her. His eyes had turned a deep, dark crimson and his canines had grown to the point where they were long enough to reach his bottom row of teeth with his mouth open.
"Do I seem ok to you Miss Marks?" Antoinette felt paralyzed, not with fear but with confusion
"Well you did a minute ago anyway. What on earth is going on?" Avion took large swinging steps over to his guest who found that she no longer had the power to move her legs.
"My sweet little girl, isn't it quite obvious?" when Antoinette shook her head in the negative Avion rolled his eyes
"Why are mortals so dense..." he took a deep calming breath and circled her like an animal circling its prey. He stepped around her bag, which was placed next to her when he began to alter himself.
“I am not dense I’m just… confused and currently unable to move my lower half.” She heard the transformed man next to her snicker
“It’s called hypnotism my dear. I have hypnotized you so that your legs will not cooperate on your command…well, at least not until my focus is broken anyway.”
Antoinette glared at Avion, “What did I ever do to you to receive such treatment?”
“Who said you had to do anything?”
“Well my dear, I’m pretty sure that I came here to study and maybe stay for dinner not be your dinner!” Avion chuckled
“You may be irritating but some of what you say is truly hysterical.” He laughed and closed his eyes as merriment swept through him. Antoinette took the opportunity to obtain her luggage by the strap and hit Avion square in the jaw knocking him to the ground by the force of the blow. He rolled on the floor in agony holding his chin and yelling in a language Antoinette couldn’t recognize by ear. She took a glance and saw that his fangs had bit through his own lip, and that was enough for her to hurry through the halls and curve around the corners.
“I’ll get you Antoinette, you can’t hide from me!” she picked up speed as she heard the voice trailing after her. She found a door and opened it she tried her best to close the door without alerting Avion to her whereabouts. She sighed and leaned against the door, she allowed her body to fall against the door until she was sitting on the floor with her head resting on the door itself.
“Finally!” Antoinette jumped and banged her head as she looked to see Avion standing before her sipping a glass of wine. He noticed her eyeing the glass and smirked
“Red wine, it’s… my favorite.” Antoinette used the door to raise herself from her sitting position and turned to the door trying to fidget with the handle.
“Oh my darling little pet, I’m afraid you can’t leave just yet.” He became extremely close for Antoinette’s liking and he attempted to swing at him but this time he caught her wrist in his palm and began to squeeze it, crushing her wrist in the process.
“Let me go please!” She looked into Avion’s eyes and saw nothing but malice in his glare.
“I will do no such thing! No pathetic mortal will ever strike Avion Casselbury!” he threw Antoinette to the ground
“All I wanted to do was investigate the rumors about this place. Why am I suffering for trying to discover the truth?” tears slipped from Antoinette’s eyes as Avion grabbed her face and looked her dead in the eye.
“You want to know the truth…fine.” Avion turned to his victim and smiled sinisterly
“The rumors, all of them are ridiculous and the simple minds that created them are the same.” Antoinette watched as Avion paced around the room looking at random artifacts. “I am not who you think I am…”
“I never would’ve guessed.” Antoinette mumbled to herself. Unfortunately Avion heard her and gave her a menacing glare
“Regardless, I want you to know that you are not the first and certainly not the last woman I have entranced with the possibility of a tour, riches or a chance to learn my family’s history. I… am Avion Barnabas Casselbury. I am the young man from the picture and the creature of the night that will destroy the very vessel in which your soul resides.”
“Why me, why any of this?” Antoinette asked cautiously
“’Why’, what a dumb question, ‘Why?’” Avion rubbed his temple and turned back to his captive. “Why, well my pet it’s quite simple if you put a little thought into it. I am a vampire, vampires need to feed, we feed on mortal blood and you...are a mortal." Avion sniffed her neck and grabbed her by the throat, hoisting her into the air. Just as his fangs were going to pierce her skin she made a daring move
“One more question!” Avion rolled his eyes and turned Antoinette to face him
“You are really getting on my nerves. You are the most aggravating meal I’ve ever had over.”
“One more question and I promise to stop talking.” Avion nodded and Antoinette took a deep shaky breath.
“How does this Manor of yours work? Why turn something so beautiful into a center for kidnapping innocent women?” Avion let out an earnest deep laugh before turning his eyes back to her
“Madam I assure you I was not the one to alter this estate. My grandparents, who now reside in Rome, created the home specifically so our family could feed. The women fed on men and the men fed on women, that is how it’s always been and that’s how it will always be with the Casselbury’s. And to answer your other question, there is a spell over the manor. Those who enter are forced to stay on the grounds and in the manor. Why do you think you never tried to run for the door when you were so close to it?” Antoinette was secretly looking for an escape route while Avion was babbling on about his family’s clever tricks to capture the innocent.
“Now back to dinner.” Antoinette screamed as Avion lifted her again by her throat. Her screams filled the manor and the once well populated town of Englewood. No help would come for her, it had not come for the others and he would not be one of the lucky ones.
Avion closed his crimson orbs and sunk his ivory carnivores into her succulent alabaster flesh and let her limp body fall to the ground. He pushed a button on the wall and a large hole was revealed that led to the basement. Antoinette Marks’ body was tossed down the chute as Avion Barnabas Casselbury began to “purify” himself before his next guest of the night arrived.
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