Monday, July 19, 2021
Thursday, July 1, 2021
It's been two days since my last entry. I had expected copying the letter I'd left Isabella to be hard, but not like that. I should have known better. Father told me in one of his letters that Isabella had kept my note on her nightstand to look at every night before she went to bed. I had made her a promise that she had hoped I'd be able to keep, in spite of all the news that came back from the front lines. I had always been able to keep my promises to her. No matter what the odds were, I always found a way to fulfill them. Which was probably why she was still clutching it in her hand that December night when...
Anyway, I felt compelled to enter the old grounds. I did not go inside the building itself, I rarely do these days. Maybe it's seeing how time has and has not touched the interior. Oh, the wallpaper has faded and peeled in many places. Yet, a lot of the furnishings are still there, untouched, preserved by yellowed sheets that have accumulated layers of dust. On the shelves sit figurines and books, untouched and forgotten. As if waiting for someone to brush away the cobwebs and clean them off to they can be admired once again.
The portraits still hang in the gallery beneath dust cloths, their colors preserved and vibrant thanks to being spared and denied the light. Forgotten and unappreciated works of art by some of the most skilled painters of their time.
Why has no one ever gone inside and tried to steal any of the these forgotten treasures, I do not know. Perhaps, some of the rumors of the place being haunted have a ring to truth to them? I wouldn't put it past some of my 'nephews and nieces' to have come up with story of the place being inhabited by spirits. They probably even played a few tricks to help reinforce the idea. Heaven knows the number of times they've begged me to claim my old homestead and live here permanently, so I can be close to them. Generation after generation have made this plea, and I always refuse.
Not that the idea isn't tempting. But as I pointed out in my last entry, the longer I stay in one place, eventually tongues wag and trouble follows. I couldn't bear the idea of the place and all the things within, being destroyed. I know time will eventually take its final toll, which is why I helped Brian's father create the museum forty years ago. My goal was to slowly remove the more valuable and treasured items from here and transfer them into the museum for safe-keeping. Yet, every time I go inside the old place, I cannot bring myself to remove even a simple knick-knack. It always feels like someone is glaring down at me with disapproval.
I did not enter the house, that night. Instead I walked the overgrown path towards the family plot which sits a back in the trees behind the house. There was once a little chapel as well, but that fell during the 'Night of Fire', along with my parents and our servants. Again, another story, for another time.
The family plot is surrounded by a wrought iron fence which is only a few years old. The original had long fell into disrepair and I'd had it replaced, with a new one that still had the old world look to it. Oddly enough, the new gate creaked like its predecessor. I could have had it fixed, but the sound seemed appropriate somehow.
So when I heard it groaning in the distance I new we had visitors. Normally, it would be one of my extended family, but not at three in the morning. Besides, I'd already caught a whiff of smoke in the air. No, these were most likely unwelcome guests. And as the only liv... still walking member of the household, it was up to me to greet them.
My footsteps become silent, even thought I'm walking over layers of dried leaves from autumns long past. Not only do I make no sound, there are no imprints to mark my passing. I'm still not sure how I manage this little trick, it just seems to happen whenever I go into stealth mode. Even after one hundred and fifty years, there are questions I have yet to answer about my condition.
I turn the corner and see three figures entering my family's resting place. Young would-be toughs. I've seen countless numbers of them over the years. The costumes may change, but the attitudes and arrogance is always the same. I'm tempted to wait and get an idea of what kind of mischief they intend to get up to. But I already hear the rattle of a spray paint can coming from one of their pockets, while another starts brandishing a crowbar. The third kicks an old white stone I know so well. It belonged to William, our butler. It strikes me as disrespectful to see someone of African descent violating the grave of one of his own kind.
I decide to make my presence known. "If you're not here to pay your respects, I suggest you take yourselves elsewhere and find some other form of enjoyment," I say loudly.
I won't bother repeating the profanity they shoot in my direction. Needless to say, it was followed with threats against my person if I didn't start running. Naturally, I did not retreat. I merely stood my ground and repeated my request in the form of a warning this time.
The one with crowbar was the first to start walking towards me. He was white, about sixteen, with all the swagger and arrogance of someone who'd watched way too many 'Gangsta' films. I kind of felt sorry for him, which is probably why I didn't kick the living shit out him like I wanted. Yes, I do curse and swear with the best of them. However, I was also raised to be a gentleman and as such I refrain from using unnecessary violence when a simple scare can be far more effective.
He was about twenty feet from me when I smile at him, put my hands in my pocket, and then and look down at the bottom of the jacket I'm wearing. It goes all the way to the ground, similar to the style of coats back in my day. It's a style I've always been partial to and have kept using throughout the years. Though I make sure the cut and collar are always in keeping with whatever the 'modern day' trends are of the time.
In this case, my coat has what's called a Mandarin or Banded collar, which I leave unbuttoned as is the custom these days.
I glance up at him and smile. This enrages him and he gets even more angry, which pleases me. Anger can be your worst enemy sometimes. While it may give you an adrenaline rush and maybe add a bit more to your punches, it can also make you careless. He obviously has not noticed the movement taking place at my feet.
He soon does though. The first dog head slips out from beneath my coat when he's just ten feet away and growls. That catches his attention.
It throws him for a second and then he laughs, "Oh you got a dog, huh? You think he's going to stop me from cracking your fucking skull open? You a dead man, you here me?"
Then the second head emerges from the folds of cloth at my feet. His blustering begins to waiver as the two hounds emerge. Both are black with heads the size of beachballs, with bodies to match. I decide then to make their eyes glow red, a little something I picked up from the countless movies I've seen over the years. It may seem trite, but the effect they have are always impressive.
As he takes his first few steps backwards, I can see his friends coming out of the gate looking worried. There's just something about seeing something that looks like a Pitbull, but is the size of a Great Dane that is really off putting to people.
Tough guy yells as the first dog lunges for him. He takes a step back and tries to hit it with the crowbar. He connects and the dog's head splits in two. For a moment he thinks he's won, then realizes that each half is now shaping and becoming whole. Now he's dealing with an angry two-headed beast.
Unfortunately, I can smell the urine running down his legs as he screams like a girl and flees. His buddies are already far ahead of him, chased by the second hound which had silently shot past Mr. Crowbar before he could blink.
Once I'm satisfied that they've had enough I retract my pets. I've not moved an inch from where I'm standing, with good reason. Thanks to the darkness, none of the trio noticed the long black lines stretching from beneath my coat, across the ground and all the way to where the dogs should have hind quarters. As the canine figures distort and stretch back beneath my coat, I sigh. I could've easily shape-shifted into the form of a huge wolf, but that would start rumors. And as you know I abhor those.
After my 'pets' are back in their proper place and I can feel my legs again, I enter the family plot and right the headstone. I'm relieved to see that it hasn't broken, or even cracked. I was worried, considering its the original stone and fragile. Eventually, I'll have to replace it, but not yet. Maybe in another few decades, but for now it's still quite legible and beautiful in a weathered sort of way.
I check on the other graves, none of them were harmed. I got here just in time. But the flowers have been trampled, plus there are a few looking rather wilted. I know what needs to be done. As sacrilegious as it sounds, I slowly walk over each grave. As the tails of my coat pass over them, the flowers are looking strong and healthy once more.
Satisfied with my handiwork, I take a final look around. There's no one near. I can even hear the trio still running, they're at least a mile and half away. Good.
I knew they wouldn't be back, but I checked on things last night and stayed in the shadows until I sensed the dawn coming. I intend to do the same tonight. Brian is insisting on coming with me this time. He wants to keep me company and go over some of the other letters I have to transcribe. I think he's going to bring his laptop with him in case the mood to type strikes me.
If he offers to do it for me I'll decline. Those letters and journal pages tell just a part of the story, only I can fill in the other sections. No matter how hard or difficult I may find it at times, it needs to be done.
I can see it's almost nine now, I've been here for over an hour already and Brian is looking antsy. He wants to read what I've typed, which I will let him do. He's a good man, just like his father and grandfather and so on all the way back to his great-great-great grandfather, the first Brian Weston. Or rather I should say Captain Weston, hero, and childhood friend.
I'll probably speak more of him in my next entry, since the next letters will begin mentioning my military service.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
While scouring my art studio for clean paper I found one of my old journals which I thought I'd lost. It's a fairly recent one with only a few entries in it. I remember buying it just after I headed out to California to meet with some movie producers down in Los Angeles. It had been many years since I'd last been down there so I bought some art supplies to do some preliminary sketches to be turned into paintings later on. The journal had originally been intended so I could make some mental notes and impression, but it wound up being a travel diary after I made an unexpected stop in Monterey and wound up visiting my first aquarium...
Friday, May 7, 2021
First off, a note from the author. Due to health issues (back problems with a pinched nerve) and being very busy with recording and editing audios (which will soon include short stories involving Nathan and company), I haven't been as productive on the story front. Aside from trying to focus on the next book in this series "The Vampyre Blogs - Family Ties", and "The Door", I'm limited in what I can do at this time. So for the next few months there will be re-posts of some of the earliest stories about Nathan and friends. However, I will also be posting to sneak peeks into TVB - Family Ties as well. So please enjoy this tale from seven years ago (wow, it's really been that long since I started some of these - I'm amazed). Any happy reading and stay safe everyone...
At The Crypt...
Not that I've had to worry about money for some time. I don't have as many needs to spend money on, and I've had many jobs over the years which paid nicely. What can I say, I like to keep busy doing things and learning new trades and skills. It also helped that my first wife also left me quite well off. Ah Madeline, even after 110 years I still miss her. She was a wonderful woman and we enjoyed our time together. Benjamin Franklin was quite right in his advice to a young man about being with an older woman, I learned so much from her. Unfortunately, it also meant our time together was not nearly as long as I would've liked.
I've just finished running the turntables and turning them over to my main DJ "The Scar Man". Former gang -banger I met a few years back. He's a great guy and helps keep an eye out on the younger crowd for me. I prefer things being friendly around my place, not that there aren't the occasional upsets and punches thrown. After all, a lot of my clientele are in their teens. Hormones are running rampant, and status is oh so important.
Tonight, I see trouble brewing but of the lesser kind.
Over in one corner a boy named Teddy is asking the head cheerleader for a dance. I've watched Teddy for a while. He's not one of my nephews, but he's friends with a few. He's a good kid, on the quiet side, not good at sports and certainly not a stoner. So in short, a prime 'bully' target. When he was younger, I heard he cried a lot when he got picked on which led to getting beat up. Although others intervened on those occasions, he seemed to suffer more than one would expect from a few simple punches. These days I think I know why. And now I see the football's quarterback Cory coming over with a few of his buddies.
He grabs Teddy and gives him a body check that sends him into a couple of chairs. Teddy hits the ground hard. I pass through the crowd without their even realizing it. Not one gyration or step is missed as I pass between the smallest of openings.
I'm standing before Cory and his friends before they can let out their first guffaw. Their mouths clamp shut instantly. I glance down at Teddy who is clenching his teeth in pain. I can tell from here there's only going to be a bruise or two, but I know what's really going on. I had it when I was a kid, only we didn't have a name for it back then.
Cory starts telling me that he'd warned Teddy about bothering Sherry, the cheerleader. They're not actually dating, but he's one of those alpha males who thinks they are destined to be a couple. Someone's been watching too many movies.
I nod and tell him he's not in trouble with me. But I also point out that I know for a fact that he's been riding Ted since elementary school. That's another benefit of being around for so long, you hear a lot of things. "While I'm glad you've channeled your more aggressive nature into sports, it doesn't give you free pass for tormenting those who are ill," I tell him.
He gives me an incredulous look. "What are you talking about? He's just a drama-queen who likes to have people feeling sorry for him," he shoots back.
Turning to Ted I ask, "How bad is your Fibromyalgia acting up today? What are the pain levels like?"
The young man stares at me in shock. "You know?"
I nod and say, "Of course I do. Takes one to know one. I had it back when I was a kid. I suspect you have too."
"Yeah," he tells me and looks away. "It's been this way my whole life. They only diagnosed me with it two years ago. Everyone kept telling me I was a crybaby, or a wimp who needed to toughen up. My dad kept telling me I needed to be a man. He never believed me until the doctor's told him what was wrong. He still doesn't, but Mom does. So do my sisters."
Behind me I hear one of Cory's crew muttering, "Shit! My mom's got that."
I reach down and help Ted up onto a chair. He hurts more than he's letting on, but I can sense it. One of the other cheerleaders, comes over and sits down with us. I remember her name is Tina. She's one of the back-up cheerleaders. She starts telling Ted that she knows where he's coming from and that she has it too. Which is why she's a second-stringer. Her ability to perform is erratic some days.
I leave them all to sort things out amongst themselves. A few friendships may arise from this, even possibly a romantic relationship. Mostly I'm hoping to see tolerance come from this encounter. Invisible illnesses can be quite a difficult thing to contend with. Both for the person suffering it, as well as for others to recognize.
My own father never fully recognized it in me, but I learned to hide it with time. He wanted a son who was strong and able. I did my best for years to live up to that expectation. It was also one of the prime reasons I went to war, besides wanting to protect my friends. I no longer feel those old pains at least not physically. But I remember them as well as if they were still plaguing me. I can't do anything for the physical pain, Ted is feeling, but at least I may have lessened some of the others he's known for so long.
I glance back once more. Cory and most of his crew have moved on, but Tina is still with Ted. They seem to be getting on pretty well.
Katy Perry's "Roar" is winding down, so I head over to the keyboard. A little slow dance music seems to be in order.
Friday, March 19, 2021
For a second I thought she was about to attack us, but instead she nodded then fell to her knees. A moment later, she began pounding the floor, while sobbing hysterically. "Please tell me it isn't true..."
Sunday, February 28, 2021
Without thinking, I rushed into the room shouting, "That's enough, you're going to hurt him!" To my horror, neither brother nor sister seemed to hear me. In fact, they didn't even realize I was there. They were stuck in their cycle. The scene was going to play out to its tragic end right in front of me, if I didn't do something to interrupt it.
I don't know what possessed me, but I rushed forward and grabbed Madeleine by the arm.
Immediately, she stiffened and slowly turned to face me. "What is the meaning of this? Who are you? And how dare you lay hands on me."
"My name is Lisa, and I'm... I'm..." I was about to tell her I was a friend of her brother, but I could see he was staring at me as if he'd never seen me before. I briefly thought about saying I was the new governess, but thought better of it. Instead, I decided on the truth. "I'm someone who has a younger brother, just like you."
Madeleine's eyes never left mine. "And you think that gives you the right to touch me?" she demanded.
"Only if it keeps you from accidentally hurting your little brother," I replied evenly and released her arm. "I know how much little brother's can drive you crazy. How they can be so irritating and annoying, that you want to just ring their little necks. But then I remind myself, I'm the elder child and I have a lot more experience with life than he does."
"Not that it counts for much in the end," she pointed out, almost sympathetically. "You're not the one people, especially men, will listen to. Nor will they ask your opinions on things. But your brother? Oh they'll ask him all kinds of things and cater to his whims, no matter how silly."
"That's still no reason to treat him like this," I replied, trying to keep my voice calm. The fact that she was even speaking to me was a good sign, I thought. Perhaps, I'd be able to reason with her and break the cycle.
"He knows where our mother's jewels are," she told me, obviously trying to sound reasonable. "I need them, I'm entitled to them..."
"So you can be with the man you love, I know," I finished gently.
If my interruption had annoyed her, she didn't show it. Instead she began to smile. "Yes. That's right. You understand. He loves me, he'll take good care of me. We just need to settle his debts and then we can marry. Look, he has already given me his mother's ring for our engagement."
She held out on hand and I could see the ring in question on her finger. It was an impressive piece of jewelry. 'Had he given a ring to any of his other victims?' I wondered. 'If he didn't, perhaps he really had meant to go through with the marriage. But if so, why?'
Meanwhile, she continued, "We are to leave this night and then later return here, as husband and wife. Together, we'll make this place a home for all three of us."
"The three of you?" I repeated.
"Of course," she looked at me as if I'd were a simpleton. "I still have to watch over my little brother. He's still too young to manage the estate on his own. And as you said just a moment ago, we are the elder child. It's our job to make sure we watch over our siblings. I'd never abandon, Reginald."
I had to admit, I hadn't expected to hear her talk like this. Could her betrothed have actually been serious about her?
"My Jonathan will be here soon," Madeleine continued, interrupting my thoughts. " In fact I think I can hear his carriage in the distance."
Without thinking, I found myself listening for the sound. She was right, there was a carriage coming. It sounded far off, but at the same time it was definitely drawing nearer. In fact, I could make out the sound of the horses hooves in the snow. Their steps had a certain rhythm that was very soothing.
I let her guide me towards the window in question. We were halfway towards the glass aperture, when suddenly, the image of Nathan landing on the fountain in a shower of glass loomed large in my mind. Immediately, I pulled away from her, or tried to. Only she was expecting it and had a death grip on my wrist. Still, I managed to pull us away from the window and back into the center of the room. I was between her and Reginald now and I could hear the boy breathing heavily behind me.
As desperately as I wanted to look back at him, I dared not turn away from Madeleine. Her grip on my arm had opened my eyes, in both the literal and psychic sense. There I said it. Nathan was right, I am psychic and boy was I seeing into a mind that had been twisted by an expert.
My original impression about Madeleine's anger at men had been right on the money. But it hadn't always been that way. She had been devoted to her father, brother and her uncle. It was only when she'd been denied her wish to marry that the resentment had taken hold, only to be fueled by her intended. From the glimpses I was getting from her mind, I could see he had all the classic traits of an abusive/manipulator. He had been putting her up on such a high pedestal that she had no clue as to what he had planned for her. I could even hear his words inside my head, praising her youthful wisdom and insights, and how angry it made him that others, including her own family, refused to listen to her. From there he helped foment her resentments, encouraging her to defy their antiquated concepts of duty and propriety. Yet in spite of all this, she had grieved deeply when her parents had perished in the carriage accident. Her pain had been as deep for her father as well as her mother.
Perhaps, that was why her 'intended's' manipulations worked so well on her. After her loss, she had felt lost and confused, making her more vulnerable to his renewed insistence on their marrying soon, so he could quote "Ease her pain and sorrows..." Only her uncle became the new obstacle to that plan. So he began redirecting her resentment towards her guardian. And when he would not listen, she began working on Reginald only to become resentful to him as well after he took their uncle's side. Which had eventually led to the tragic events that in turn brought the three of us to this moment.
Finally, I found my words and said, "You still believe he will come for you this night."
"Of course," she beamed, which nearly made me shudder. There was nothing warm or tender about that smile. "You see, I was telling you the truth about hearing his carriage approach. I hear it every year..."
That sent a chill down my spine. She was aware of her situation! And she willingly played it out in some vain hope that eventually she'd get the jewels and leave before being discovered by the servant. Which in turn would mean she could avoid taking the wrong turn and falling over the balcony and into the Great Hall.
"Do you know what it's like to be in love with someone, only to be told you have to wait over and over again?" she continued, still with that twisted, dreamy expression on her face.
I hesitated as my treacherous brain began thinking about Nathan. I had been in love with him practically my whole life. I'd even done as he'd asked and tried going out with other people, seeing if there was someone other than him that I might fall in love with. But, no matter how good things were between me and the person, I never felt for them the way I did for him.
"Ah, I see you have," Madeleine continued, the smile fading from her lips. Now, she began speaking to me sympathetically. "Then you know the pain I've been going through and how the wait can make you desperate. Desperate enough to risk everything for that chance of true happiness."
I nodded. "Yes, I do. And it hurts so bad sometimes you want to lash out at the world."
"Or at the ones who block your way, or..." here she paused and stared past me at her brother, "... refuse to be sympathetic to your plight, no matter how many times they tell you they love you."
I could feel her anger rising again and a part of me wanted to agree with her and step aside. But another part, that big sister who'd fight hell itself to protect my little brother, wasn't about to let that happen. I wasn't sure what I should say next, but then I spotted a movement behind Madeleine.
It was a greenish mist, carrying small bundle, making it's way to a large bookcase just over her left shoulder.
- TO BE CONCLUDED
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Now I fully understood. "After the screams she appears at the railing and falls to her death in front of anyone who's in this room," I breathed.