The rain pours down in the pitch black forest as a young maiden searches for shelter. Her old peasant dress rip in rags, as branches reach out to harm her. She slips and falls in a huge mud puddle, where she lies, now soaked more than ever. As she looks up, lightening races across the sky. She sees, in the distance, a shadow of a house, mansion, castle? She wasn't sure, but felt a sudden push to go there. She rises and shivers her way to the architecture. The rain pours down harder on her, almost causing her to fall to the ground once more. She cries, but the rain soon washed away the relief of the tears to fall down her cheeks. She holds her head down, as she approaches the gates for the structure. She looks up the see that it, and the home within, was larger than she thought. It both frightened her, and took her breath away. She regains herself and tries to open the gates, but they do not budge. Now balling with pain, anger, and frustration, she throws herself against the thick black bars. "Let me in!" she screams. "PLEASE, I beg you, let me have shelter–even if it is your stables," she cries, "I will not steal from you! I mean no harm! PLEASE!!!" She tries to compromise, "I will work for my keep in the morning. But if you do not let me have shelter, I shall die from this storm..."
Suddenly, the gates open, as if by themselves. "Bless you, bless your souls. You will not regret this, I swear to you, my Lord or Lady. I shall be forever grateful!" She shouts out into the storm. The gates close behind her, as she walks several hundred feet to the house. Her body ached, her knees scratched from her fall, and her limbs bleeding from the forest's monsters clawing at her. She walks up, shaking from the cold, to the giant wooden door. Her dress, hair, and body were covered in muddy rain water, as she knocks on the door. The door opens slowly, as she peers in. She expects the butler to be behind it, but no one was there. From out of nowhere, a warm gust of wind pushes her inside, almost causing her to fall to the floor. The door closes behind her and locks by itself. She turns around, frightened to see this with her own eyes. She circles the dark room, and freezes in her tracks, as the fireplace bursts and begins to burn with a warm fire. It blinds her for a moment, but as her eyes clear, she sees fresh linens in a chair, as well as a few night gowns, and blankets. All looked so beautiful to her, as she walks closer to the fire place. She quickly undresses, and washes herself at a washing basin next to the chair, which sat the linens. She dries herself, and examines the night gowns. Some were made of the finest silks, while others were made of satin. But one night gown, a simple white little thing, was made of cotton. The young maiden picked up the simple little gown, and clothed her tiny frame with it. Then she looked at the blankets. All were the same, matching the gowns. But one plain white cotton blanket, called to her, as it sat pitifully next to the more expensive fabrics. She picked it up, and warped it around her cold shoulders.
She felt her stomach growl, as she smelled the most delicious of cooking. She looks up to see a lit dining room and tiptoes in to catch a better glimpse. There she found no one, but a long table was there dressed with plates and dishes of food. Her mouth watered, as she walked around the cherry oak table. She saw all the food that she remembered making for her landlord's company. Roast, hens, ham, turkey, every meat of the day laid out before her. All kinds of breads and rolls, vegetables, fruits, salads, desserts, and drinks from all around the world, sat happily in front of her. They called to her, "come, join, eat!" She sat down, in one of the large dining chairs, and waited for someone to come and shoo her away, but no one did. She timidly took a sweet roll, and pinched off nibbles of it, afraid to be caught eating at a lord or lady's table. She knew a friend of hers got her hand chopped off for licking chocolate off a spoon once. It was done right in front of the other help, as an example. Soon, the young maiden finished her roll, and become very thirsty. She noticed three glasses in front of her. One was a goblet of the finest red wines. Another one was a glass of milk, and the next was a cup of water. She never had wine before, but knew it was not in her class to drink something so proper. She had just about enough water to last her a lifetime, so she did not want that either. She picked up the glass of milk, and drank it, as if it were the last drink on Earth.
Very soon she felt drowsy, and knew if she did not get up to find a place of rest, she would be sleeping with her head on the nice clean plate in front of her. She quietly got up, and pushed the chair against the table. She felt an erg to climb the stairs, by the large, self-shutting door, and walk toward them. As she got to the first step, she turned around to look at the beautiful setting on the dining table. But to her amassment, the room was dark, and the table was neatly clean. Thinking she was dreaming, the young maiden climbed the massive staircase to the top. She then stumbles down the dim hallway. Candles lit, and went out as she past them. She did not notice their odd behavior, as she walked. She soon came to an open door, which was lit with a nice fire in its fireplace. She goes in, and lays her simple blanket on a chair beside the door, and climbs into the huge four poster bed. As the rain softens outside her window, the door closes, and she falls into a deep sleep.
As the young maiden slept, a mysterious man walked out from the shadows of her chamber. He stood, ever so still, at the foot of her bed. His clear green eyes studied her wounded, sleeping body as she lies still. He was dressed in fine black evening attire, with a cape. In one hand, he held a black top hat, and in the other he stroked a silver wolf's head, set on top of his shiny, black cane. His long dark red hair was tied back in a black silk ribbon. He looked as if he just came home from a dinner party, and well he did have a habit of making a party out of his dinner. As he watched the young lass, he scratched some dry blood from the sides of his goatee. She slept so peaceful in the old cherry oak four poster, he almost couldn't resist her. His sensitive ears could pick up the pounding of her heart, and the pulsing of her blood, through her young and innocent veins. She breathed faintly as she slumbered, but he could still hear her take in every breath. He licked his fangs, as he came closer to her. He opened his mouth and tasted the air, like a beast-hound of the night. He could taste her sent on his tongue; she tasted so sweet and fresh to him.
He had just come home to find her begging at the gates, and took a special interest in her. He controlled the lands near him, and would capture his victims in the same manner, but on this night, his brother had thrown him a banquet for his birthday. He laughed at his brother's gesture. Neither one could remember how old they were. He was about to let her die out in the storm. He had fed until he was engorged with his food. He didn't feel like having dessert. But he felt his black heart tug as he heard her pleading to him. He let her in and gave her choices of what would make her more comfortable. He tested all his victims, just to see what they would do, or if they were worthy to be his next meal. If they stole and ran from him, he would kill immediately. If they chose expensive things to wear, eat or drink, he would kill them as they slept. He loved the rich blood of runaway aristocrat children, and adults whose buggies would get caught on the muddy roads. If they got drunk on his fine wines, it made him drunk when he fed. He loved it! Some victims would drink the water. This told him they were religious, and he would frighten them out of his house. But this maiden did something, he never expected for one her age. Though he knew she was starving, and looked rather poor looking, she chose the simplest of clothes, ate only a sweet roll, and drank just a glass of milk. He never had a maiden do that before.
So he watched her. She looked so beautiful, and angelic to him. He could feel her wounds and bruises on her body. With the slow wave of one hand, all her sores were gone, and all her pain vanished. She stirred slightly, as he walked quietly back to the shadows of her chamber. He would wait to dine on her later. He was curious about her and wanted to know all he could before he would have his fill with her blood.
The young maiden awoke to find the morning sun shining in her room. She squealed and stretched her way awake, and sat up. She panned the large chamber room, and for a moment she forgot where she was. Her realization came to her as she stepped down from the bed. She wondered if she would meet the people of the house, and start her chore of repayment for her lodging last night. She opened her chamber door, and peeped out. No one was in the hallway, but right across from her was an open door to a smaller room. She tip-toed across the floor, to the other door, to get a better look. Inside was the grandest of washing tubs. It was white porcelain, with gold trim. The feet, which held the tub steady, were golden animal claws, the sides of the tub were decorated with painted roses. Steam came from the tub, as water splashed back and forth. She had never seen something so beautiful. She walked cautiously inside, and placed her hand carefully in the water. It flowed nice and warm around her hand, and she had a feeling that this was meant for her. But once she bathed, what about clothing? The young maiden returned to her room to find drying linens, soaps of the finest quality, and a dress, with all its trimmings, laying on the bed. She gasped as she examined the dress with her eyes. This dress was not of the fashion of today. Rather it was something from a century past. The frock was the most beautiful, blue, and cream empire dress she had ever seen. She loved to see paintings of women from the past, as they wore these dresses. But as she looked closer to it, she realized that she had dreamt of being in this exact dress, while dancing with a red headed man, last night. This was both frightening and intriguing to her. "This place is truly enchanted." She whispers to herself, and quickly cleans, and dresses herself.
Soon, the young maiden descended downstairs, to still find no one home. Her stomach growled, as she smelled breakfast waiting for her at the table. A single plate, covered with a sterling silver dome, laid in the same place she sat the night before, as well as, a glass of milk. She smiled, as she looked at the simple setting, and then looked around the room. "Good Morning to you!" She called out to whoever had made her breakfast. She sat down, and took off the dome, and placed it beside the plate. She ate happily, wondering if anyone really lived here. Of course someone had to, to prepare her food, and give her fresh clothes. But it still doesn't explain the strange appearance, and disappearance of things. Maybe this place was haunted, and starved to have her company? No matter, she was not at all frightened, only pleased that she was taken in when no one else wanted her. After breakfast, she called out to anyone in the place, to see if she needed to do some chore as payment. But no one answered her.
She thought of going for a walk, outside, but when she tried to unlock the front door, it wouldn't budge. "Well, I do believe that I am stuck inside today. No matter, I shall walk the halls to see what I can find." With that, the young maiden began herself guided tour of the castle. But as she walked, she began to notice that this place was much stranger than she first thought. She knew of some of the castles around Northumbria, and this place did not match the others as it should. The whole interior of the place was modeled, and decorated as modern as the times. Where there should be stone, and cold flooring, there were wooden walls and floors with the finest of carpets. The furnishings were also modern, with furniture, and art pieces placed delicately everywhere. "Hello? Is anyone here?" She called out, as she stepped into a large sitting room. The windows were draped in dark red velvet, and the furniture was upholstered in shades of its main color, in order to accent the reddened color of the wooden floor and ivory colored walls. The young maiden walked over to the drapes and pulled a cord, which opened them, and cause the sun to light up the glorious room. "Hello?" She calls, as she pans the room. A piano sets, by itself, at the far end of the room. She smiles as she remembers one of her uncles playing one, just like it, for his Landlords company. When she was younger, and the lords were away, her uncle would bring her to the piano and teach her to play it. Her eyes soon scan over several paintings on the walls, as she walks around the room. She stops short, as she notices the largest painting hanging above the room's fireplace. The painting was of a grand gentleman, with green, almost glowing, eyes. His dark red hair was tied back, and he wore all black. A cape draped ever so boldly around him, as his weight was held up by his cane. He stood with one leg striate, and the other propped up on what first appeared to be a rock. But as she looked close, the rock was that of a skull, and what appeared to be clouds in the background, looked to be of poor screaming souls rising to heaven. This made her shutter, and find a place to sit. This man was in her dream, talking to her and dancing with her, as she slept.
She sat in a chair, just staring at the portrait. She licked her lips, and then cleared her throat, "My name is Anastasia." She looked away from the painting, trying to gather her courage and her words. She soon felt the erg to tell of herself to this painting. It called to her to look back at it, as she turned her head. "I say, my name is Anastasia. I am... was a chamber maid for Mr. Willowbee. I was born in to it. My whole family came from a long line of surfs." She smiles blushingly, "My great grandmother still called us surfs, so I suppose I will as well." She took in a deep breath. "But now, I don’t have family. All died before I was eleven. You might have wondered if I ran away from my Landlord. I did not. He kicked me out of his house, and off his land a few days ago. I have been living in the woods, and trying to find my way to town. I have never been to town, so I wasn't quite sure where I was going." She giggles nervously. "You see, he kicked me out because I wouldn’t bed with him. All the other maids did, but me." She shakes her head slowly. "He was old, and fat, and hairy in some places. And bald where he should have had hair." She almost regretted saying that. She bit at her nails, and tried to recover her lack of manners. "Pardon my words, I was not quite brought up properly. Just enough to know that I should keep quiet. To be honest I have never talked so much." Her cheeks turned hot, as she blushes at the painting. "Do you like music? I know how to play the piano. I'm not that good, but I know the keys." She looks at the man in the painting, and soon feels a push to play.
Anastasia sat and played the piano, for what seemed an eternity. She fell into a trance-like state, which made her play more beautiful than the house had ever heard. The musical notes found themselves floating all over the place, in nooks and crannies, under doors and through key holes, and even bounced down steps of some unknown dark place of the manner. The sound found itself dancing in this dark place, where vermin had made their home. This pitch black pit, cold and dank, began to listen to this wonderful sound, as it moved and swayed to the strike of the piano keys. The music swirled down a black hallway, and spilled itself into a long lost room, where housed the man of this enchanted castle. It whispered into his sleeping ears, of days gone by, and present now living, and even of dreams of the future. A slight smile grew up on the dead man's lips, and forgotten tears ran down his face, and dampening his ears and hair. Though he had no strength to move, nor speak, he could still hear this youth's words, as she spoke, and hear her gentle playing up on his piano. She, this Anastasia, the one name meaning 'resurrection', had come to resurrect his black heart. He knew of her. He had met her once, when she was a child. He was going to snack up on her fresh child's blood, but she turned to him with eyes of the most deepest of blue. Her chestnut curls feathered her face. She smiled at him, not fearing him once. All of his victims tried to scream before he caught them in a trance, but this one looked at him with such innocence. "Were her eyes still that blue?" He thought in his death dream, as she played on upstairs. "Now that I have remembered, will she remember me?"
Anastasia heard a clock on the mantle striking twelve, as she stopped playing. She shook her head out of the trance, and stood up. She could smell roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions coming from the dining room. She was hungry. She licked her lips and walked down the hall, to the dining room. Again, her plate waited for her as she came to sit. She ate quietly, still a little drowsy. She thought to herself that after lunch, she would go take a short nap. Then she would walk the halls again and see what else she could find to amuse herself. She had given up hope in finding anyone, or even doing chores. This place was spotless, yet no one lived here. As she ate she thought about the events taken place so far. "Maybe I am to serve this place as a keeper. Maybe a guest. It is very nice here, during the day." She thought to herself. "I only hope the storms, in the future, are more peaceful at night."
After lunch, Anastasia went up to her chamber room, climbed into her bed, and fell to sleep. As she slept, Anastasia dreamt of the gentleman in the painting. As in her dream before, they danced to the soft sounds on the piano, playing in the background. She gazed into his clear green eyes, as they danced around the sea of people. As he gazed into her deep blue eyes, he could see through her to her soul. She was older, now, and still fearless to his trance. She took him in willingly, and without hesitation. He wanted her mind, body, and spirit, now! He did not just want her blood to feed upon. He took her hand, as they stopped dancing.
Before she knew it, Anastasia found herself alone with this giant of a gentleman, in a garden filled with roses, lilacs, posies, and other beautiful and fragrant flowers. The sun shown bright in her eyes, as she looked up at him, with such devotion, as if she had known him her entire life. But he seemed to know more, as he kissed her hand, never leaving her eyes with his. He lead her to a stone seat, and sat next to her. "My sweet Ana." He spoke deep within his throat. "I need you here with me, Ana. I need you to be my eyes in the daylight, for I cannot venture outside when the sun is up in the sky." "But, my Lord, you are out here, and it is daylight." He placed his index finger on to her lips. "Please my dear, Anastasia, things are not all as they seem. If you are not willing to be with me... be my eyes in the day... you may leave. Just know that I cannot protect you, if you leave me. If you stay, I shall make every dream come true for you." He held her hand tightly, as he scanned her lovely pink face, framed in her chestnut curls. "My Lord, I shall do as you wish. I have no other place I would rather be, then with you." Anastasia smiled at him, innocently. "But, my Lord, I am afraid..." She looked down at her lap. "You have nothing to fear, child, I will not harm you. Nor let anyone else harm you." He told her, as he raised her head up to his. "No, my Lord, I am not afraid of you. I am afraid that I do not know your name." She shed a tear from her embarrassment. He smiles at her, and brushes away the tear. "My name is Marcus, my dear, sweet child. Lord Marcus, if you wish to call me." She smiles at the sound of his name. "Lord Marcus," she whispers softly. "Now I must leave you, child. It's time for you to wake up, and go play in your new home."
Anastasia woke up from her nap, in a peaceful manner. She stretched and sprawled herself all over her chamber bed. As she looked up and studied the craftsmanship of the bed's wooden canopy, as she grinned at the thought of the gentleman in her dream. She turned to look out her chamber window to find that the sun still shown bright outside. She sat up, walked to the open curtains, and tried to open her window, but the lock would not budge. She sighed, as she ran her small, delicate fingers through her hair. She noticed, on the mantle of the chamber's fireplace, was a small clock, just like to one in the sitting room. It only said that it was 12:50. "Surely I have been asleep longer than twenty minutes." She told the clock. She shrugged her shoulders, and went to her dressing table. She sat down, for a moment, and watched her reflection in the mirror as the brushed her long chestnut curls. They danced as the brush pulled away from them. After, she left her chamber room, and went to explore more of the house.
She peeked in several rooms, while she hummed the piano tune. Even her quiet, soft voice could be heard by Marcus' ears, as he slumbered in his death sleep. He hoped that his visit in her dreams helped any fears she had of him, or the castle. He could hear her thoughts, and her footsteps, as she passed every room. Even though she was content with her exploration, he could sense that she was in need of some activity. Like he knew of her hunger for food and provided her meals, he chose a brightly lit room and placed an embroidery kit in the middle of it. Anastasia noticed the room immediately, and walked happily over to the stretched cloth, small seat, and basket of sowing tools. "Sing, child, and make me something beautiful." He told her with his mind. But, to Ana, it seemed to have been her own thoughts telling her to create. She sat, stitched, and sang the most beautiful of songs. Songs the Lord had never heard in all his centuries of unliving. She had many talents, and one being able to make up words, poems, and sing them as if they came straight down from heaven itself and danced out of her mouth. Tears flowed, again, out of the dead man's eyes. Never had he heard such beautiful music, not even when he went to the opera. He wanted so much to be with her, but was afraid that she might fear his physical form. He had to leave as soon as dark fell, so he could feed. He did not want to feed up on her, for she was to be his link to the daylight.
"Oh, what would brother Kane think of me?" He thought to himself. His brother had maidens serving him during the day, but all were bitten by him so he could have better control over their souls. He could also keep track of them, just in case they decided to run from him. Or get accused of being witches if they were to accidentally slip and show their markings. Once night would fall, he could turn them into vapor, and they could float home undetected. But Marcus, though older, could not help his craving to kill quickly. He did not think it wise to create others unless it was necessary, but to him it never was. As he heard Ana sing, Marcus had a sudden craving for show girls. They drank the sweetest of wines, and once they danced it made their blood hotter. "I shall go to London this night, and feed on one." He thought to himself. "I shan't be long, I wish to watch Ana's activities tonight."
Very soon, it became dark, and Anastasia finished her supper. She had picked up a book of John Donne's poetry, and settled by the sitting room fire. She had been self-taught by order of her Miss' child so she could do the brat's schoolwork for him. She had done so well that it caused a strange chaos in her Landlord's manner. The child was pronounced a genius by his tutor, and was sent to the finest boarding school in England. But once he got there, he flunked every subject he took. His parents found out, by the head master, that their son couldn’t even spell his name right, let alone read or write. When they found out he was using Anastasia they sent her to her last Landlord. They told everyone that their son just fell so ill after he left for school and had to come back home. It was most shameful for a young man, at this time, to be uneducated. And to find out that a young female house maid was doing his work for him, was just a travesty, in itself. But, still the Miss cared for Ana, dearly, and never said a word about her education level to her new Landlord.
As she read, Marcus awoke from his death sleep, and appeared in the shadows of the sitting room. He could hear her mind, as she read, and envisioned Donne's poetry. He smiled as she read "The Flea", for she could not quite figure out what Donne was trying to say. Marcus gave her the images she needed, and as she reread the poem, her face blushed the most red of color for her pink cheeks. He soon felt his calling to leave her, and disappeared deep into the shadows.
Marcus had sat himself down, at a table, just in front of the stage. He viewed several dancers as they performed their acts for the gentleman in the audience of the gentleman's club. He tapped his fingers to the live music, as he studied each girl involved in their charming dance steps. Some fine young things wore feathers in their hair, or boas around their necks. Some danced as they took off bits of their clothing, while others teased. Like a red blooded man, Marcus use to be, he enjoyed these beauties greatly. But he grew ever more hungry and wanted to go home as soon as he could. That's when he spotted her. A nice plump dancer with dark curls tied around big blue feathers. She was very pretty, and quite sexy, in her midnight blue half dress. He could smell her sweet fragrance, and hear her blood raging in her veins, as she danced. He didn't detect liquor on her breath, or in her blood, but no matter. He wanted her... blood to feed upon. He loved them large because it ment he could feed only once that night. Tiny ones were pretty, but he had to kill at least four or five before he got full. ‘this one will do nicely." He thought to himself. He's gaze grew fierce in her direction, just before her part was over, and it caught her by surprise. She stumbled off stage, as the other gentleman clapped, whistled, and cheered her on.
The poor things hot blood raced throughout her veins, as she halfway crawled to her dressing room. Her heart pounded, like a frightened rabbit, and her pulse deafened her ears. She couldn't hear any of her fellow dancers telling her, 'she did a great job her first night'. What they failed to realize, as they left her alone one by one, this was to be her last night as well. She was ever so frightened, but did not know why. Instead of dressing, she decided to put on her coat, pick up her bag, and go home. Marcus waited in the shadows for her to leave. He didn't much like having his victims in public, and well lit, places, like his brother. The poor lass raced out the back door, without getting her tips, and scooted herself down the alley. She dashed across the street, and through the park, hoping whatever made her anxious to leave her new job so fast, would go away. Marcus followed, close by, waiting for the right moment to take her. Her blood was boiling with the cause of her dancing, and the rush of her steps, as she raced home. "Oh, Chrissa, calm yourself. It's only first night nerves." She told herself. Suddenly, her tiny foot stepped hard into a hole, and Chrissa fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Her bag was thrown open, and her clothes spilled out of it. "Someone help me! PLEASE!" She cried.
Marcus slowly walked passed her, in the darkness, pretending not to notice her. "Please, Sir, help me," She pleaded, "I believe I have broken my ankle." She sobbed as she rubbed her leg, now bloody from the bone which pierced her flesh. Marcus slowly turned to her, and walked back. "Poor, poor lass. It will be all right." He whispered. "I shall help take away the pain." "You a doctor, Sir?" Chrissa asked him, as he wiped her tears from her sweet and scared face. "No, child. I am your grim reaper." Before she could scream, Marcus chomped down up on her throat, cutting her oxygen and crushing her voice box.
Anastasia tossed and turned in her bed, as she slept. Dreams of running in the woods, flooded her nightmare, as the storm raged outside the castle. Thunder clapped, and lighting brightened the sky. Ana could feel the branches and thickets scratching and grabbing at her body, as she ran for her life. She was soaked in rain, but the rain was not clear as water, but as red and as thick as blood. She could not wake herself, and did not know she was sleeping. She suddenly fell in to a pit of muddy rain, and tried to climb out. But the walls were so fragile that they only sunk as she clawed. She kicked and thrashed, trying to stay afloat in the black liquid pit. Something grabbed her by the foot, and pulled her deep into the pool. She fought, and kicked, and struggled out of its grip. A sudden crack of thunder shot out, greatly, outside the castle, causing it to shake. "AAAWWW!!!!" Anastasia screamed and rose up from her chamber bed. She feel back up on her pillows, and called out with fear beyond any fear felt to her before. "Marcus! My Lord! Make it stop! Make it stop!" She cried, furiously, "Please Lord Marcus, make the noise go away! Make it stop!" She screamed over and over again, pressing her pillows tightly against her ears. The storm raged out side, as if trying to make Anastasia crazy.
Marcus, still feeding his hunger, shot his head up. Blood dripped from his lips, and fell onto his victims coat. He was almost finished with her, as he heard Anastasia's cries. "I am coming, Ana." He spoke into the wind. He quickly checked the girl, to make sure her soul left her body, broke her neck, just in case, and headed to his castle. It was only a matter of moments until he was in the shadows of Anastasia's chamber. She sobbed in to her pillows, as he waved his hand in the air. The storm subsided immediately, and his angel peacefully went back to sleep. Marcus took his handkerchief from his pocket, and wiped the rest of the blood away from his face. He slowly walked over to the chamber bed, and sat on the edge of it. He gently stroked her soft and sweat soaked hair, as she slept. He pulled the covers to her chin, and laid down beside her. He nuzzled close to her ear, and whispered to her, "My dear, sweet, Ana. I shall never leave you so long again. That I will promise you." Marcus laid there the entire night, until the clocks in the manner struck 4:00 a. m.
The next morning, Anastasia awoke, dressed, and ate her breakfast, happily. She seemed not to have any recollection of the nightmare the night before. The sun beamed through the windows of her dwelling, as if calling her outside. But every door and every window was shut and locked, as if to keep her prisoner in this beautiful structure. In her frustration, Anastasia charged into the sitting room, and glared at Lord Marcus' portrait above the fireplace. "Sir, I know you may be dead. You may be a ghost in this house, a prisoner, but I am still alive. I have never been an outside person, but I do need fresh air! I feel stuffed in this place, as if it were a coffin fit for a vampire! I live! I crave! I need fresh air! I beg you, Lord Marcus, open me a window?!" With that, Anastasia felt a cooling breeze flowing into the room. The smell of the sea filled her lungs, as she followed the invisible stream. A tiny window, in the library, squeaked as it swung back and forth. The drapes danced in the wind, and Ana could hear the birds calling, and waves of the sea smacking against the rocks below. Anastasia poked her head out of the window, soaking in the sun and breathing in the sea air, as the wind blew her curls around her face. She could feel her lungs opening, and breathing, no longer feeling as if she were held captive. She watched the gulls flying high in the sky, and dive down deep into the water, as they fished for food. She watched the blue water, and foaming waves crashing on the rocky cliffs below her. The rocks shined, as the sun sent rays of light on to their wet surfaces. Anastasia, then looked right ahead and squinted her eyes, as if looking for something. She could see a small bit of land in the haze of the horizon. But she soon grew cold, and shut the window. She smiled, happily, as she spoke, "Thank you, Lord Marcus." And somewhere, in the darkness of the castle, the dead man managed to stretch his corpse lips into a smile.
Anastasia searched the library, now, for something to read. She found another book of poetry, this time by a man named William Blake. She took the book from the shelf, and smiled. "Lord Marcus, shall I read to you?" She asked, as she sat down in the sitting room. She soon felt the erg to read to the painting. Marcus waited for her voice to recite the poems with her sweet voice. He couldn't help keeping her locked up, though. He feared that she might run from him. He knew he would have to kill her, if she did. He didn't want that. "I think I shall start with this one." Ana smiled, "It's called, 'The Tyger'. Tyger! Tyger! burning bright..." Anastasia read, until she could no longer see the words. She had gone through almost the entire book, which had taken half the day. The clock struck twelve, and Ana headed to the dinning room. She fed up on pheasant, and a fresh garden salad, as she thought of what she should do after lunch. She knew she would take a nap, and hoped to dream of Lord Marcus. As much as she loved living in this lonely home, she felt lonely, in need for company.
Soon, she fell into a deep slumber, in her chamber bed, as the castle laid quiet itself. She dreamt that she was in the great garden, smelling and picking flowers. She placed each flower into her hand basket, and sang one of her made up tunes. "You sing beautifully, child." A deep voice whispered behind her. She turned to find Lord Marcus standing and smiling above her. "Thank you, Sir." She curtsied to him. Marcus gave a soft laugh, then took her hand, and lead her to a swing made for two. "How has your day been, my dear?" He asked, as he picked up a pink rose, and placed it in her hair. "Lovely, Lord Marcus. I am truly sorry for my sternness today. About the fresh air, I mean." "No need to apologize, Ana. I know how it feels to not be able to things you like. I keep the place locked, only to protect you. But if you wish, you may open the same window in the library, whenever you need fresh air." "Thank you, my Lord." "And thank you for reading to me, this morning. You read beautifully, as beautifully as you sing." Anastasia blushed at his words, and smoothed out her dress. "Thank you." "No, Anastasia, thank you for being here, and keeping me company." He caressed her light curls, and kissed her sweetly on her cheek. Marcus wanted to apologies for not being quick enough to soothe her from her frightened state, but felt that she did not remember her torture with in her mind. He dared not mention it now, for fear she might remember and become frightened again. "Ana, are you happy here?" "Yes, I am, my Lord, you have a lovely home. And you are so kind to me." She spoke softly, as she studied his coat collar. He lifted her head, so their eyes could meet, "Are you afraid of me, Ana?" "No, Sir." Anastasia soon became nervous with his questioning. She never had a man asking her things, or even wanting to know her. "You don't think I keep you locked up, do you?" "Sir, as you said before, you want to protect me. Why should I question your actions? You are my new master." "Oh, Ana, I don't want to be your master. I want to be your companion, friend..." he couldn't speak the word, lover, for it was too hard to bare for him to even think it. He wanted to keep her pure. She smiled, sweetly at him, as he smiled at her. "You must wake now, and go play." "Yes, Sir, but is there any place in the castle which I should not venture to?" "All in the castle is free for you to roam." He got up, and kissed her hands, "Now wake, child."
That night, Marcus awoke from his death slumber, and watched Anastasia closely. He studied how she ate her supper, how she walked across the floor and viewed his art work, and thumbed through his books. He stayed in the shadows, though, and soaked in her every essence. But, at one point, curiosity got the better of him. She had done some embroidery, and he had gotten a little too close to her. She rose quickly from her seat, and walked right through him. Both shuddered with the connection, as Ana turned around to see if she could see what she just had walked through. Nothing there, she told herself it was just a cold spot in the room. Marcus stood, frozen in his place until she left the room. When she turned the corner, he let out a puff of air, and became visible. "What a rush." He whispered to himself, then disappeared from the room. He reappeared, in the corner of her chamber, as she walked in. Anastasia quietly dressed for bed, took her white cotton blanket from the corner chair, and sat near the warm fire. She had chosen another book to read, but this one was a novel, not a book of poems. Marcus watched her, making sure she would be safe until he returned, then left to go feed. Oblivious to him, Anastasia happily read her book, and listened to the crackling of the fire in front of her.
Marcus chose to visit his brother, in Scotland, this evening. He was nervous to see him, for he knew his brother would mock him, for having a living morsel in his home, and not choose to take her. But none the less, he wanted to be with him. He soon appeared in his brother's castle, and could hear his younger sibling entertaining his girls. Marcus appeared in the harem, as his brother finished pleasuring one of the young slaves, "Kane? Having fun?" Marcus asked him, with an evil grin on his face. His brother stood very still, and peered into the shadows. His maiden still bent over, and connected to him. "Marcus, you ever hear of knocking?" He bellowed, as he pushes the girl from him. She giggled, as she fell onto some pillows. Another girl handed her master a silken robe, and grins a toothy devil's smile. Kane ties his robe shut, and smacks the girl on her backside. "Drink!" He tells her, and points to his older brother. The maiden calmly walks over to Marcus, her red hair flowing down her body. She pulls her hair back, and exposes her neck to him. Marcus grins at his brother, "Thank you, how did you know I wanted a red head tonight?" "Call it mind reading, Marc." Kane answered, as his sibling held the young lass, by the hair. Marcus' eyes glowed bright green, in search for the perfect vein. He then clipped the lass' skin, and drank hardily. "Easy, easy, brother. She's new, don't kill her." Kane laughed. He then called one of his older slaves, "Bibiana! Come!" A large young woman walked from the shadows, and stood in the light of the fireplace, and candles set around the room.
"Yes, my Lord?" She asked in a raspy and saddened voice. Though she looked to be in her twenties, Bibiana was almost as old as the brothers, and served both well. But she craved to leave this world, for she felt she was no longer considered the favorite. As she grew older, the other girls, grew younger and more beautiful than her. She loved her masters dearly, but neither had touched her in fifty years. She served to feed, clean, and dress her fellow slaves. "Bibi, I know you think we do not appreciate you, but we do. You have never betrayed us, and served us well. You served me well." Kane spoke to her with such love, and compassion. "I have felt, for a long time now, that you do not wish to be here. The thing is, we all know what is to be done about it. And I have never been able to set you free in this manner." He stood closer to her, now, and stroked her bark brown hair. "This is your choice, my love. Do you wish to be set free, in this manner? Think long and hard, for there is no coming back." Bibiana looked at him, then at his sibling, who had let the young red head go. "Yes, my Lord Kane, I wish to be set free." Kane pressed his hand on her forehead, and chanted several lost words. "Go in peace, Bibi." He told her, as he handed her hand to Marcus.
Marcus took, the older maiden, and lead her to a private room. Once there, he laid her onto a silken bed, and fed up on her blood, until she fell into her final slumber of death. "Rest in peace, Bibiana." Marcus whispered his last words to the kind and gentle soul. "May you be happy in your next life." Kane followed, after he felt her soul drifting to heaven.
Kane had ordered the other maidens to prepare Bibiana's corpse for burning, and had gotten dressed to join his brother in the sitting room of the castle. He walked in to see Marcus sitting in a chair with a far off look in his eyes. He sets in a chair, next to him, and took a deep breath. "Oh, Marcus, you smell like a live human!" Kane exclaimed, "You been walking with them, lately?" He took in a deeper breath, "A female? And she is still alive?"
Marcus stared at his brother for a moment, trying to find the words. "Kane, she's the one I couldn't kill when she was little."
"The one with the eyes?"
"Yes, I believe she was supposed to be with me, with us." he sighed heavily.
"What is her name?" Kane inquired. "Anastasia." "The resurrection has come?"
"I'm not sure, but what else could it be?"
"If she is the one brother, we shall be free from this curse!" Kane looked at his older brother with enthusiasm. "I must meet her brother."
"Not yet, Kane. I still haven't shown her my true form yet."
"What are you waiting for?" Kane frowned at him.
"I don't know. I just want to gain her trust, before I have her."
Kane smiled at Marcus' words, "Always the romantic."
Marcus smiled back, "What do you think of me having a living human in my home?"
"Well, brother," Kane put his hand on his sibling's shoulder, "To each his own, but if she is meant to help us, than I accept her."
"Thank you, Kane. I must be going, now. I feel she needs me."
"Good night, Marcus, I shall see you same time next week?"
"Yes, like clockwork, little brother."
Marcus appeared in Anastasia's chamber, as she slept on the floor. He smiled at her cuddling with her blanket, and picked her up. He laid her in her bed, and pulled the soft warm covers over her. He sat on the edge of the bed, same as last time, and kissed her forehead. He felt her dreaming of being in a peaceful place and dared not enter her mind. He laid down beside her, and held her in his arms, until it was time for him to leave. He watched her breathe, softly, and felt her strong heart breathing behind her tiny left breast. He curled some of her locks with his fingers, and nuzzled the side of her sweet, light pink face. He wanted to keep her safe, always.
Days past and Anastasia explored most of the castle, and seemed to manage from getting herself lost. She always had good sense of direction in large manners, and castles shouldn't be any different to her. But on this day, Ana found herself in a part that was different than the other parts of her home. It looked more like what a castle should be. She found this odd, but still ventured forth. The halls smelled dank, and cobwebs stretched from corner to corner. And the air seemed cold, as well as, heavy to her. Marcus was fearful the she might find him, but could not stop her. He had given her permission to go where ever she pleased, in the castle. He could not go back on his word. He loved her so.
Soon, Anastasia found herself walking down a flight of curving stairs. She carried a single white candle, and tried to watch where she was going. She felt her ears pop several times, and her heart began to pound heavily, within her chest. She had been sweating for a while now, and breathed dryly through her mouth. She clutched at the curving walls as she began to slip and stumble. Marcus desperately tried to get her to stop and rest, but with her thoughts of panic running through her mind she drowned him out. Suddenly, a large rat screeched, and ran across her path. Anastasia screamed with fright and drop the candle. Now she was in pitch blackness, as she tried to hunt for the candle, on one step, she lost her balance. She fell foreword, and rolled down the rest of the stone steps, screaming all the way, until the back of her head slammed on the rock hard flooring at the bottom of the castle stairway.
Night fell dark and quiet, now, no birds sang outside, no vermin scurried across the floors in side. An eerie, heavy presence roamed the halls in an invisible vapor, as if it were in search of death itself. The sun fell out of the castle's sight, and suddenly a freighting, curdling scream roared out, so loud that it seemed to shake the very foundation. Marcus, now able to move, appeared and kneeled at his loves head. Anastasia laid, in silence, bloodied and mangled limbs sprawled about the stone floor. Marcus screamed incoherent sounds, as he pawed, and stroked her tiny broken body. He touched her heart, and to his surprise, it still beat. But it was the faintest and most painful beat he ever felt in his unliving life. He gathered his senses and began healing her with all his strength, and power. He bathed her clean from her dark red life liquid, dressed her in a fresh gown, and laid her in his chamber bed, within his tiny tomb. He brought to her, food and drink, hoping she would waken with hunger. But Ana only laid still and slowly breathed, as she slept in her death-like slumber.
For days, Marcus staid with her. He lived on the blood of vermin, but only if the calling of his hunger would not subside. His clothes hung ragged on his thinning frame, and his god-like face became older and furred with a growing beard. But the sleeping Anastasia laid straight and frozen in her young beauty. Marcus tried several times to enter her mind, but all he could find was blackness. He called her name, over and over again, but she never appeared to him, and never stirred her body. "Ana? Ana, please wake up. Please." He pleaded to her, as he shook her gentle, weakening frame. "Ana, I fixed you. You do not have to die. Please, Ana, wake up. I love you, Anastasia. I will no longer hide from you. Please, Ana, if you wake, I promise to always be here for you." He sobbed, as he buried his face in her chest. "Oh, Anastasia, I am truly sorry. I will close these stairs forever, and keep you safe, if you wake. I will let no harm come to you, no bird, no rat, no insect sting you. Just wake, Ana. Please!" He held her tight in his arms, and rocked her small body with his. "Please don't make me take you, just to see you walk again. I want to keep you pure. I have to keep you pure. You were sent to me for a reason, Ana. Please, I'll tell you everything, if you just wake up!" Despite his pleas, Anastasia never opened an eye. She staid limp in his arms, and breathed fainter as each day passed.
"My brother has not been here for two weeks, my pets." Kane tells his maidens, as he finished dressing himself. "I must leave to find him, for I fear something terrible has happened." He strokes the one red head's hair and asked, "Can I trust you ladies to behave while I am gone?"
"Yes, master, we will be fine. Go find your bother, and wish him well for us?"
"I shall, my dear." And with a quick turn, Kane found himself in his older siblings chamber. "Marcus, you have not visited me." He scolded the man cradling a young lass in his arms. "Ahh, is this the beauty who will set us free? Has it been done, yet? And if so, why have you not told me? I thought I was supposed to be present at the time?" Kane walked closer to the bed, and studied his brother's thoughts, as Marcus laid still by his love. "Oh, Marcus." Kane whispered in shock. "Marcus, you need food! I shall return with a fine morsel soon. You need your strength." Kane disappeared as quickly as he appeared, before.
Standing at the corner of a cobblestone street, a young prostitute shivers, as she waits for a customer. "Oh, why do I do this?" She asked herself in a cockney accent. "John always sends me out when it's bloody freezing!" She huddled near a street lamp, and bounced herself, trying to keep warm. "Well, as soon as, I get one of these bloody wankers, I'm going home! John can stand here if he wants!"
Kane walks up from the shadows of the night, and tipped his hat to the lady. "Good night to you, miss. Are you paid?" He asked soothingly. He was always able to get his victims with his natural charm. "If you’re paying, sir." She answered coldly as she looked up at him. As soon as she met his dark eyes, they were gone.
"Brother, I have your supper thawing in the sitting room for you. Please go feed. I shall stay with Anastasia." Kane gripped his brother's arm in assurance. "I promise to keep her safe, Marcus. You need your strength to help her. Please go feed." Marcus nodded his head, and disappeared from the room. Kane took off his coat and hat, and laid them in a chair, next to the bed. He then sat near Anastasia, on the bed, and placed his cold hand on her forehead. He closed his eyes, and tried to enter her darkened mind. "Anastasia?" He called out in her death dream. "Anastasia, my name is Kane! I am Marcus' younger brother!" He called out to her soul. "Please, Ana, my brother needs you. He loves you. I can feel it running through him. You have to fight this darkness, Ana." He walked through her mind, trying to find some spark of her soul. He could feel her, she was alive. But barely. "Please, Anastasia, wake from this. You need not fear me! I mean you no harm! Please do not force me to drag you. It is very painful, for you are human!" He stood in the quiet pit of her mind, and soon heard a faint crying. "Ana?" He asked, as he walked toward the sound.
"Anastasia? Please come to me, and don't be afraid." Soon he could see her faint image huddling down in the corner. He kindly walked closer to her, and knelt beside her. "Anastasia, as I said, I'm Marcus' brother Kane." Anastasia looked up at the massive man, "I don't want to be a ghost." She cried softly. "Then wake up." Kane smiled at her. "He will make me into a ghost in this house." She told him. "Now, why would Marcus do that?" "Because he is one." Kane laughed at her answer, "My dear, we are not ghosts, we are Vampires. There is a big difference." She looked at him, horrified, "I don't want to be a Vampire, either!" "Then you must wake up on your own. If you continue to stay in this state, Marcus might take you just to force you to wake. If he wanted you to be a vampire, then he would have turned you into one before now." He stood up and helped her to her feet, "He will tell you what you need to know, but you must wake." With that, Kane opened his eyes, and waited for some kind of event to happen.
Marcus fed up on the victim his brother had chosen for him, and as soon as she died, he broke her neck. His color came back to him, as did his youthful appearance. He felt his younger brother sitting, watchfully, by Anastasia's side. Marcus then left his victim, to clean and straighten himself, before returning to his beloved Ana. He soon appeared by his brother's side in the underground chamber room. Kane turned to him, with relief on his face, "My dear brother, you look much better, now. Was the morsel delicious?" "Yes, thank you, Kane." Marcus nods at him, as Kane stands up. "That's good. I shall dispose of the body, and feed myself. I shall return later to check on you, if that is fine with you?"
"Yes, dear brother, I would like that."
Kane disappears, once again, as Marcus lays down beside his love. He caresses her cheek, and kisses her forehead, as he snuggles against her. He soon wraps his strong arms around her and closes his eyes. He finds himself inside her mind, and calls out for her. "Anastasia, please come to me. I won't hurt you, I promise." He feels her stronger now, as he concentrates on her soul. "I love you, Ana." He cries, hoping it would ease her fears. "Please don't die on me."
"Marcus." A small and frightened voice calls to him.
He opens his eyes, "Ana?" He whispers, as he sits up and leans down to her.
Anastasia begins to cough and moan. "Yes, Ana, wake up! Wake, my love!" He shouts, as he shakes her.
Anastasia opens her eyes and sees Marcus smiling down at her. Shadows dance above them, and the candles flicker nearby.
"Marcus?" She whispers, "You've got big fangs." She reaches her fingers up, and touches his lips and teeth, as he giggles at her. "I'm a vampire, my love. But you don't have to be frightened of me." "I'm not. Your brother told me about you." "My brother?" "Yes, he came to visit me. Nice man." She breathes with great weakness. Marcus smiles, as he thought of his brother's efforts to help him. "Kane is a very nice man." He whispers to her, then kisses her on the forehead.
"Are you hungry, my sweet?" He asks. She nods slowly, and sighs weakly. Marcus sits her up right and waves his hand on her lap. A tray appears, with a hot bowl of stew, a napkin, spoon, and a drink, on her lap. Marcus unfolds the napkin and tucks it under her chin. He then picks up the spoon and dips it into the hot meal. He blows, gently, on the bit of food, and holds the spoon near Ana's mouth. She sweetly takes the spoon into her mouth, and savers the juice in her mouth. She swallows and takes a drink. "Good?" Marcus asks her. She nods, as he gives her another bite, and soon, she finishes her meal. Later, after she rests, Marcus bathes her in a tub of hot soapy water, and dresses her in a clean gown. She sits on his lap, as he brushes her wet hair, and they talk. Anastasia listens, contentedly, as he tells her of the dreaded curse an evil woman had put on him and his brother.
"A long time ago, before even Greece was a thriving empire, my brother and I were great warriors. We ruled our concurred lands with pride, and fears fist. We fell in love with two sisters, who, at this time, were great female warriors. We married them, despite their mother's wishes, and ruled the land with them. We soon came to a great conflict with a mighty neighboring tribe, and went to war with them. Both of our wives died in the heat of battle.
We survived and went home defeated. Their mother had heard the news of her only children laid died on the battle field, and charged into our gathering room. She cursed us both for killing her daughters, then demanded that the bats of hell come to eat us alive. She said something about not ‘til the innocence of the resurrection will come to us both, will we be free once again. She stormed out of the room, and we never saw her again.
A year later, on the anniversary of our wives deaths, both my brother and I were attack by bats, which had built nests in our look out towers. They populated so much that they began infesting the entire castle. When we woke, our bodies were buried in a tomb instead of being burned. It was strange that our people didn't burn us, because it was our way of death ritual. We weren't quite sure we even died, until we broke out and walked among our people. They screamed, and lynched us into the woods. That's when we discovered we had powers. We were able to get away from the mob, and hide. Soon, we felt a craving for food, but not food. We came upon a house, and two women were living there. A mother and daughter. I won't go into detail, but they were our first victims. We lived out our days, months, years, and centuries as we are now."
"Am I what you and your brother need to break the curse?" Anastasia asks as Marcus tucks her back into his bed. She and her white gown seemed to glow in the red satin sheets.
“I'm not sure, but your name means 'resurrection'." He lays down beside her, and holds her close. "And you are the most innocent of any woman I have ever met."
Ana blushes, as she snuggles her head into his chest. A warm breeze inters the room, as Kane walks from the shadows.
"Ah, she lives!" He smiles, as he comes closer to the bed. "Hello, Lord Kane." Anastasia smiles back at him, as if he brought her candy.
He reaches down and takes her hand, "Pleased to meet you, my dear." He softly kisses her hand.
"It's nearly dawn, Kane. Won't your maiden's get worried?" Marcus asks his brother, as Kane sits on the edge of the bed.
"They know where I am." He replies, as he takes off his coat, and places it in the chair, next to the bed.
"Besides, I thought you might need me. But if you wish, I can leave." Anastasia reaches out for him and clasps her tiny hand on his larger one.
"Stay, brother, she wishes it." Marcus smiles at him.
Kane nods, and prepares himself of his daily slumber. “Should I sleep on the floor?" He ponders to himself. "You can sleep on the other side of me, I don't bite." The brothers look at her with shock on their faces. "No, but we might." Kane chuckles.
Anastasia rolls her eyes, "You know what I mean, My Lord." They laugh a little more, as Marcus gets up and readies himself for bed.
Before the two brothers climb in, next to Anastasia, she asleep in a peaceful dream. "Brother, could we dream with her? I'd like to get to know her better." Kane whispers to his brother. Marcus nods, and blows out the last candle. They each huddle close to her, and soon fall into their death slumber.
Weeks passed by quickly, as Anastasia became close to Marcus and Kane. None of them really knew much about how to break the curse, or even discussed the matter. But for some strange reason, Kane had dissolved his ties in Scotland, and moved into his brother's English castle. What maidens he had captured, he sent back to their homes, or they died of sudden old age, depending on how long he had them. The ones still alive, remembered nothing of their time spent with him, nor had the thirst for blood, they were simply welcomed back to their families with open arms. Marcus and Kane even took it among each other to sit with Anastasia, as she ate dinner, read to them in the library, or played the piano for them in the sitting room. They waited until she turned in before they went out to feed. And when they left, they quickly returned to her side. They lived, strangely happy, like a family in their home by the sea. Well for a while, anyway.
Anastasia began to grow restless during the day. Marcus, though allowed her to dream of being in a garden, he still would not let her out of the castle. Anastasia spent her days looking out the open window, of the library, and breathed in the sea air. She watched the birds as they flew freely in the sky, as well as, the waves crashing effortlessly at the rocks, bellow. Anastasia stopped doing her activities during the day, as she used to. She stopped her needle work, her reading, her singing, and even her wondering around her home. The smell of spring was in the air, but it didn't seem to matter to her. She couldn't go outside to soak it in. Her sleeping habits changed, as well. She slept longer during the day, despite her two loves encouragement to wake up and play. 'Wake up and play!' As if she were a child of theirs. Yes, she was young, much younger than them, but she was considered an old maid at the age of twenty-four. They dressed her, as if she were a doll, and set out toys of knitting, and needle work, and quilting, for her in hopes that she would play. They tried to set out musical instruments to see if she could pick them up, and play. But Anastasia wasn't interested in playing anymore. She loved her Lords greatly, and they always listened to her feelings, and thoughts, and opinions. But when she spoke of going outside, both of her beloveds changed the subject. Like a polite young lady she never argued, and never pouted, instead her body reacted to the environment. It wasn't that she wanted to escape, it was that her body craved to be out in the sun, and breathing the flowery spring air. The tiny widow in the library no longer helped her get what she needed. Her form began to change, this much the brothers could tell, but weren't sure why.
Soon Anastasia stopped asking to go outside, as her skin grew ever so pale, and her tiny frame became more and more tiny. Her dresses hung longer on her, her beautiful chestnut curls grew out straight and brittle, and most days she only ate once. She stopped going the window in the library, and began to cough every time she breathed. It wasn't like she was doing this on purpose. She needed the sun! To feel free! To live! Soon, she began to fight out the brothers from her dreams, and slept whether they were wake or not. She couldn't help it, she was so sick. It was like she was a flower being suffocated by weeds. "We have to do something, brother." Kane spoke to his older sibling with worry, as he stood by the bed. Marcus sat next to Ana, as she slept and coughed. She broke out into a fever, this day, and was soaking wet with sweat. Dark circles appeared around her once lively deep blue eyes, now pale gray from her illness. Her cheek bones poked out of her ghost white face, as her veins became more and more visible in the light. Her tiny hands were nothing more than skin and bone, as Marcus held them in his. They were so cold and clammy into his huge warm ones. "You go feed first. I'll wait until you return, before I go feed, Kane." Kane nods his head, as he squeezes Marcus' shoulder. He bends down to kiss Ana's forehead, and disappears into the shadows.
"Anastasia, please tell me what it is, that makes you so sick. I thought you liked it here, with us? Please, don't die on me. Don't die on Kane. We love you so much, please, if there is anything you need, tell me." Marcus saw into her sleeping mind, nothing but black. Marcus closed his eye and tried to find where she was. Soon, the garden appeared to him, and Anastasia walking through a maze of flowers. She stops, sometimes, to pick some flowers, and places them into her basket. Marcus walks up behind her, as she hums a tune. "You have a beautiful voice, Ana." He whispers to her. But she does not acknowledge him, though, she stops humming. She walks her path, and picks a flower, or two, and places them into her basket. "Those are beautiful flowers, Ana. Could I put one in your hair?" As soon as he spoke, a wind in her dream began to blow. Anastasia's freshly picked flowers fly out of her basket, and around Marcus. She turns to face him, as he notices her grave looking face. She shows no emotion, as she stares straight into his soul. "You're killing me." A young woman's voice echoes in his ears, as the wind forces the flowers to fry and dance around him. Suddenly a torn off a rose strikes his hand, and as he jumps from the pain, the flowers change into large, dark, screeching bats.
Marcus woke, from his trance, shaking violently, as he tried to run from the flying beasts. It wasn't until he ran out into the dark light hallway, that he realized they were only Anastasia's images trying to frighten him. He trembled as he steadied his breathing, and gathered his senses. His ears, still numbing from the voice, faintly hears Anastasia coughing. He looks at her, as he stands just outside the door. He sees her, almost choking in her sleep, but for once in his undead life, Marcus is too frightened to come near her. He feels her heart beat hard and her blood race, as she clutches every breath. She is soaked to the bone, now, in a pool of feverish sweat, as she sleeps.
He soon feels his brother's return, and tries to get the courage to come back into her room. "Brother? What is the matter?" Kane asks him, as he walks closer to the bed. "She angry with us." He whispers as he takes hold of her wrist. "Why?" Kane asks, from behind him. "If you think, you will know why, Kane." Marcus stares down at his beloved, afraid to look another place. Her fever was getting worse, and her choking even more painful to hear. "She wants to be free, Kane." Marcus tells him, in an almost mournful fashion. "Since she stopped asking to go out in the sun, she's wasting herself away." Kane charges closer to his brother, and takes holds of Anastasia's hand, "You mean she's killing herself?" Marcus nods, as he breaks into tears. "How do we help her? I don't want her to die." Kane pleads to him. Marcus sniffs back his tears, as he turns to his dear brother, "We must let her go, if she wishes to leave." "NO! No, we can't do that!" Kane screams with fiery anger, "Why don't we take her?" "We can't, Kane. She's here to help us. We need her innocence, if we take her, she will be no use to us!" Marcus grabs his brother by the shoulders. "Marcus, if we let her go, we may never find out if she can help us."
Marcus suddenly feels sick from hunger, "I need to feed. Promise me you will not take her!" "I promise, Marcus. Go feed." Marcus leaves the room, to find his next meal, as Kane sits down into the bed. He washes Anastasia's face with a cold wet cloth, and removes the covers from her chest, so she may breathe better. Her coughs soon quiet, as her body cools. Kane thinks of her questions over and over about the outside, and lefts his hands to the windows. They open, one by one, as his hand glides across their path. A gentle breeze rolls into the room, cooling Ana's body off even more. Her coughing stops, and her fever lightens. Kane slowly unties the ribbon of her gown and loosens her neck line, so her skin could feel more of the breeze. He re-soaks the cloth, and places it gently inside her gown. He brushes one tiny chest and throat with the cloth. She shakes a little, as he tries to break her fever. He unlaces more of the garment, and exposes more of her white, tender flesh. Since she stopped eating, her ribs poke through her delicate skin, like a skeleton covered in ash velvet. Kane refreshes the cloth, once more, and rubs her sunken belly, and protruding rib cage. Anastasia, now shivering, chatters her teeth, as she slumbers.
Marcus quickly returns to Ana's chamber room, and finds Kane rubbing their beloved down with the wet cloth. "Her fever's broken, brother." Kane tells Marcus, not turning around. Marcus sighs a deep breath of relief, as he walks around the bed. He lays down, beside her, and caresses her hair. "She began to feel better, once I opened the windows." Kane whispers, as if he were afraid she would wake. "I was thinking, that maybe she doesn't want to leave, but just go for an outing, in the garden. Maybe, if we kept a door open, to the garden, then she could go outside whenever she wanted. Marcus, we seem to have forgotten that she is human, and does need more than a cracked window to keep her from suffocating." Marcus nods his head, in agreement.
A few days pass. The brothers leave open Anastasia's chamber room windows, and soon she began to stir once more. They set a table next to her bed so she could eat. They had plenty of soup and stew, with bread, and milk to help her strengthen herself. As each day passed she began to eat better, and let the brothers talk to her in the dreams. Though weak, Ana walked around up stares, for exercise. She began to put her weight back on, and could fit into her dresses. She was becoming herself, once again.
As soon as Anastasia was well enough to venture off of the second floor of the castle, she found herself walking down the front stares, and onto the first floor. She could feel the breeze coming in from outside, as she walked the halls. Almost all the windows were open, and Ana found herself in the sitting room. The curtains were open and dancing with the invisible angels flying into the room. A few of them make their way to Ana's cheeks, and kiss her softly, warmly, as she came closer to the middle window. She soon realizes that this particular window, were two stain glass doors, and lead off to a great garden. Anastasia steps out of the sitting room, and onto the cobble stone porch. The wind was warm, yet cool, with the smell of fragrant flowers and wet sea.
The garden was simply breathtaking to her. The sun shined and the birds sang, to her as she picks up a brown, woven, flower basket, from a stone banister. She gets the idea of taking off the shoes, and stockings, then steps on to the soft, wet grass, and giggles as the dew tickles her bare feet. She strolls the path of the garden, and picks the freshest of flowers; a rose here, lilac there, and so on. She stays out side throughout most of the day, and even eats her lunch on the porch. But after she eats, she feels her gentlemen calling her to nap, so they could chat with her. Anastasia happily gathers her things and strolls into the sitting room. There she lays her things in a chair, and lays herself on one of the couches. She soon falls into a deep sleep, and find her loves in the dream garden, waiting for her.
"How do you like your new surroundings, my love?" Marcus asks Anastasia, as he kisses her hand. "I love it Lord Marcus, thank you both for letting me out. I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you. I'm not really sure it was me doing..." Kane places his hand, sweetly onto her shoulder, "No need for apologies, my dear. You are well, now, and we would do anything to please you." Marcus smiles brightly, "It was our fault for keeping you locked up. We've had this curse for so long, that we tend to forget humans need to be out in the sun light." Anastasia grins and looks down at her feet, "I'm sorry if I frightened you, My Lord." "Oh, Ana, it was your sickness, not you, that frightened me! Come let's talk of other things. How was your morning in the sun light?" Marcus quickly changes the subject, as the three dreamers walk to a swing and sit down. "Is the sun still warming to the skin, Stasia?" Kane asks her, as he puts his arm around her shoulders. "Yes, but the wind is quite cool because of the sea. I picked flowers for you. Maybe you could put them in your chamber, My Lords?" Anastasia studies both men's faces carefully. "That would be lovely, Ana." Marcus smiles, as he gently strokes her hand. "If it's not too much to ask, could I have some paints to create with? I never painted before, but I'd like to try." She asks them, shyly. She was still quite disturb from her actions towards them, when she was sick. She didn't remember much, but felt ashamed just the same. "That will be arranged, once you wake, Ana." They talk more of her morning, and soon have her wake up, so she could explore the garden some more.
Anastasia awakens and walks out into the garden. She finds her wish of paints granted. And easel, canvas, paints, brushes, and other things needed set ready for her. She giggles with delight, as she carefully examines her tools. She picks a nice spot in the garden, and sets up her work. She chooses to paint one of the rose bushes, and begins her work. The bush was far enough away, which let her paint the sky, but close enough to her, so she could see great detail. This painting would become her thanks to them, for their kindness to her. For several days, Anastasia painted on the canvas, not allowing her gentlemen to see her work, until it was finished.
One night, just before the gentlemen left to feed, Anastasia lead them into the sitting room, and went into a closet, only to quickly return with the painting. "I hope you both like it. It's not that good, but I'm sure I'll get better." She turns the painting around, and the brothers stare, not moving a muscle. She came closer to them, as she carries the canvas. "Ana, it's beautiful." Marcus whispers as he grabs the edge of it. "Is the sky really that blue?" Kane asks, as he takes the other side. "Yes, well, sort of. Do you like it?" "It's wonderful, Stasia." Kane smiles, "Does the sun really reflect off the flowers like that?" "Yes, but it's kind of hard to get actual detail. The sun moves to fast, sometimes, I think." She grins at them. "Look at you, Ana. I haven't noticed, until now, that you have gotten some sun. Your cheeks and nose are as pink as these roses." Marcus tells her, as he chuckles. Anastasia blushes, causing her cheeks to become pinker. "You know, I think this would look nice in our room, Marcus. It would brighten it up a bit down there." Kane smiles. "I'll take it down before we go." Kane kisses Anastasia, on the cheek, and leaves the sitting room. Marcus leads his love to her room and tucks her in her chamber bed, "We shan't be long, my love." "Good night, My lord."
The next day, Anastasia decided to paint an image of the fountain, which was placed in a middle of a circle in the garden. It was a beautiful old sculpture of harpies holding fish in their arms, and letting the fish pour streams of water out of their mouths and settling into the pool, below. It was made in a dark emerald marble, and had lily pads floating on top of the water. Some lily pads had brightly colored blooms on them, while others had frogs riding them, as they circled the pool. Anastasia set up her paints and began to work. She worked throughout most of the day on the painting, until she ate her lunch and had her nap, and painted all afternoon. She felt so inspired by the fountain, that she didn't want to stop. She stood, bare foot, in the grass and lost time in her joy. The sun was an hour away from setting, but she didn't seem to notice much. Soon she felt that she need to step back and view her work, but when she stepped her right foot back, Anastasia suddenly felt tremendous pain in her ankle. She screeches in pain, as she falls to the ground. She turns around and finds a viper wriggling away from her. Ana desperately crawled to the porch, crying and screaming in horror.
"Stasia! Stasia! Please calm yourself." Kane called to her mind. "Lie down, Ana." Marcus told her. She laid down on the stone porch, and tried to calm herself. There was nothing for the gentlemen to do, until the sun set. Their corpse of bodies laid like stone on their bed. "Shhhh... Stasia, breath slowly. The viper's poisonous. You need to relax, so the poison doesn't travel into your system as quick." Kane comforts her. "I don't want to die like this." She whispers. "You won't, Ana. We won’t let you. Come to us, my love." Marcus soothes her fears. Soon both men put her into a deep sleep, and holds her soul with them, until night finally came. Both men moan and grumble, which lead to shouting, as they force their bodies to wake. "I hate being like this!" Marcus shouts. They quickly go to her as she still slept on the porch. Kane lefts her head to his lap, as she stirs awake, and Marcus examines her leg. "Anastasia, this may hurt, but hold still. I need you awake to do this." Marcus tells her. She nods her head, as Kane brushes back her hair. Soon, Marcus glides his hand over Anastasia?s body, as he finds and gathers the poison inside her. "It burns." She whispers. Kane soothes her with a kiss, as Marcus begins to drain the venom out through the snake bite marks. Thick black blood oozes out of the wound, followed by a yellowish stream. "It burns." She whimpers, as she shakes. "It's all right, Stasia, it won't last long." Kane whispers in her ear, as he holds her still. Once the poison leaves her body, Marcus cleans her wound, with his shirt sleeve, and presses his hand down on the wound. Ana quivers at this new sensation. The tingling of his healing touch almost made her giggle, but still quite frightened she laid still.
Within moments, Anastasia was healed and comforted by her two loves. They stayed with her as she ate her dinner. She told them about the painting, which was now sitting in the sitting room, and how she loved the fountain so. The viper was of no more in her mind. She just now new she must where her shoes, though she hated to. Kane sat quiet, as she and Marcus spoke. It really wasn't like him, Kane always had something witty to say. But tonight, he was quite content, as he watched his love dine, and talk. Anastasia had captured his heart, as well as, his brother's. What great power she had over the both of them. "Brother, do you think one of us should stay behind tonight? Just in case she my need us." Kane asks Marcus, as Ana bit down on her dessert. "The poison's gone, Kane. She will be fine, but if you like to be with her, ask her." Marcus smiles, knowing that his younger brother, just wanted to spend alone time with their beloved. Anastasia glances at Kane, as he catches her eyes, "Could you name the flowers you picked today for me, tonight, Stasia?" "Aren't you hungry?" She asks him. "I can wait until Marcus returns." He replies, as he gazes at her delicate face. "If you like, My Lord Kane." She smiles and kisses him on the cheek.
Marcus left quickly, as soon as, Anastasia dressed for bed. She and Kane sat on the floor of her chamber room, by the fire, as she named the flowers she had picked early that morning. She had developed the habit of picking fresh flowers for some of the rooms in the castle, so it would brighten the place more for the brothers, and her. "And this is my favorite." She tells him as she waves the light violet bud under his nose. "Lilac." Kane whispers, and realizes that, that's what she smelled like to him. She smiles at him, sleepily, as she places the flower down next to some daisies and a pink rose. Kane lightly lifts Anastasia’s gown and touches her leg, "How's your bite, Stasia?" She blushes, as her body tingles to his touch, "Fine, I don't think there is even a scar." Kane raises her gown up to her thigh, and to get a better look, by the light of the fire. He places one hand on her knee, and gently turns her leg to the side. "No, no scar, just pretty milk white skin." He tells her, as she smiles. She enjoys his touch just as much as Marcus', but with the thought of her first protector, she begins to feel nervous. Before she knew it, Kane had kissed her ankle, as he hold her foot to him. She couldn't fight him off, and didn't want to, as he his kisses lead him up her calf to her knee. She just watched him, and felt his gentle caresses. He slid his right hand down the inside of her thigh, and placed his felt hand on the outside. He mouthed her tiny knee cap, trying hard not to nick her with his fangs. She touched his dark drown curls, as he kissed down her thigh. She knew she was becoming more attracted to him, but Marcus still shined in her mind. How could she love two men so dearly? So passionately?
Part 2 of Chapter 10
Anastasia, soon broke herself out of this trance Kane had on her, got up, and headed for her bed. Tears formed in her eyes, as Kane griped her arms. "Stasia, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you." He whispers in her ear. He could easily take her and bed her, but he wasn't out for lust, but loving connection instead. What she did not know, nor realize, was that Kane and his brother both loved her the same, and were willing to share her, if she were willing. "I love both of you, Kane. I can't hurt Marcus like this." Her tears fell down her pink cheeks. "It's all right, Stasia. We both love you." He whispers to her, as he held her close. "I don't want to hurt either of you. This isn't right. I can't be in love with two men, it is wrong." She looks out in to space, as she cries softly. "Who says it's not right?" He asks her. "Society. It's not natural, not normal." With that, Kane spins her around to look into her eyes. "Stasia, my brother and I are not natural, and most certainly not normal." He smiles at her, hoping it would help calm her fears. "He's right, Ana, we do love you. There's no need to fear what you feel." Marcus steps out of the shadows, and kisses her wet cheek. "You have enough room in your heart to house both of ours." He whispers, as she falls into his strong arms. They hug for a moment, as she begins to realize she no longer has to hide her feelings from them. Kane soon leaves to feed, as Marcus tucks Anastasia unto her bed. "Sleep, Ana." Marcus smiles and kisses her. Anastasia yawns and closes her eyes. Before she falls to sleep, she mumbles to Marcus, "The garden needs to be watered tomorrow."
The next afternoon, the rain fell lightly outside, as Anastasia wished the night before, and she made her rounds inside the castle. She had just woken from her nap, and felt like a good read. She strolled into the library and thumbed the books on the shelf. Some were thick sailing novels, while others were romantic poems of the heart. She wasn't much in the mood for those today. She lifted one book that caught her eye, and sneezed as she opened it up. She tried to read it, but it seemed to be in French, so she put it back. She spent several hours searching for something, though she had no clue as to what. Ana found herself climbing the rolling ladder, and crawling on the floor, just to read the titles of each book. She grumbled to herself, "Maybe I'm really not in the mood to read." She sat, legs sprawled, on the soft carpet, as she heard the rain shower outside. Poor Anastasia was bored, as she sighed. She couldn't wait for her gentlemen to wake up. She wanted to be with them now, but after the 'falling down the stairs incident', Marcus forbade her to ever coming down again, unless he floated her there. She leaned back, on her elbows, and tapped her bare feet together. She wiggled her toes at herself, and turned her head toward a shelf next to her.
Anastasia caught, with her deep blue eyes, the most strangely bound book she had ever seen. She leaned over and pulled it carefully from the bottom shelf. It was very old, with weak twine holding it together. The cover was actual leather, and quite wrinkled. An odd symbol was placed in the middle of the front cover, and when Anastasia tried to open it, it wouldn't budge. She examined the edges of the book, but found no locks, just the jagged edges of the pages in side. She proceeded to wipe the dust from it, and found strange writing at the head of the cover. She couldn't make out what it read, but knew it wasn't any language she knew. The letters, or symbol writings were drawn in the deepest red she'd ever encountered, and soon became quite interested in what was inside. She got herself up off the floor, and headed to the sitting room, holding the book close to her. She sat down on one of the couches and held the book in her hands. She wanted to tell her gentlemen of her finding, but thought she would be interrupting their sleep. She sneezed, once more, from the book dust, and just decided to wait for them to wake.
Darkness came, slowly, as she waited for them. Anastasia laid back on the couch, still clutching the book, and closed her eyes. Soon a gentle hand touched her shoulder, as another touched her thigh. She opened her eyes and yawned, "What time is it?" she stretched and sat up. "It's nearly eight, Ana. We decided to feed while you napped." Marcus sat down beside her. "Are you hungry, Stasia?" Kane asks, as he sat on the couch, in front of them. "Yes, but I was hoping to talk to both of you. Why didn't you wake me?" She answers with a question. "You looked so peaceful, we didn't have the heart to." Marcus smiles, as he brushes the hair from her eyes. "What is on your mind, my love?" Kane asks her. Anastasia looked down at the book, and grins sleepily, "I found this book, in the corner of the library. I can't get it open, but it looks quite interesting. I thought, since it was yours, Lord Marcus, you knew what it was." She hands the book to him, as he looked interested, himself. He took the odd looking book and went to sit by his brother. Marcus opened it up, easily, and thumbed the pages carefully. "How did you do that?" Anastasia asked with surprise on her face. Marcus looked up to meet her eyes, "It's a special book, Ana." He smiles weakly at her, "I thought we lost it a long time ago. Thank you for finding it." "Why is it special?" She asks, curiously. "It holds the key to our freedom." He replies, quietly. "The key to our freedom? Brother, why didn't you tell me you had this sooner?" Kane frowns at him slightly annoyed. "Well, I found it when we had that little tiff, back in 1307. And by the time we made up, ten years ago, I thought I lost. It just disappeared one today, and I didn't think of telling you, because I didn't think we would ever find it again." Marcus tried his best to explain to his younger brother. Kane let out a big sigh, and starched his head. "Well, then, we have it now. So find our cure, dear Brother." Marcus licks his lips and glances at his beloved, sitting by herself. "Ana, why don't you go dine. You won't understand this language. Once we have read it, we will tell you what it says." He blinks at her with such a dark, mournful look in his eyes. Anastasia does as she is told, thinking the worst rituals possible that might cure her two loves.
Anastasia ate by herself, hearing the brothers sudden argument coming from down the hallway. She couldn't understand them, as they spoke in some ancient tongue. She suddenly jumped, as she heard something crashing on to the wall and lost her appetite. She quietly tip-toed up stairs, and got ready for bed. The two gentlemen argued for what seemed forever, as Ana laid in her chamber bed and cried. "It must be something dreadful." She thought, "Maybe they must sacrifice me, or eat my flesh. Maybe turn me into a vampire, in exchange for their souls." Ana thought of the most evil acts her innocent mind could think, hoping the real act wasn't so horrible. She soon heard that all was quiet and got up to see the time on the clock. "Only midnight?" She asks herself. She grabbed her night robe, and headed down stairs. She heard someone picking up broken glass, and peeped her head in.
"Careful, Stasia, you might cut your feet." Kane spoke to her, without turning around.
She always thought it strange that they knew where and what she was doing at all times. "Need some help?" She whispers so softly to him, that she couldn't even hear herself.
At first, she thought she only mouthed the words, or thought them, until... "No, thank you Stasia. I think I got it all." He throws the broken glass in a pale, and walks over to her. His eyes were red from anger, and his heart beat pounded so hard, it made him breathe deep. She stepped away from him, half thinking he would hurt her, and half thinking she was in his way. Her eyes were wide, but she dared not look in his direction. For once, she feared him.
Ana backed up into the library, as her breathing almost but stopped, until she hit a chair. Her eyes wandered the floor, as she waited for him to do something. He didn't.
She tried to hear his breathing, but now her pulse pounded in her ears, as her heart thumped in her chest. She held the back of the chair, behind her, and waited for him. A warm breeze passed over her, as she shut her eyes closed.
The breeze twirled around her, as she gulped and trembled in her place. Soon, it seemed that the breeze traveled inside her, taking over her body in an unrecognizable energy. Her knees gave out on her, and Anastasia found herself lying on the floor.
She shook, though not from being cold, as she laid in a fetal position. Her mind was blank, as she felt this serge running through her. It warmed her, and sent tingles up and down her body. Her head was pounding, her eyes closed shut, and her hands were folded up against her throat. She was alone in the dark room, as her breathing became shallow.
She breathed in, through her mouth, as she tried to gather more air. Waves of invisible hands massaged her limbs and torso, as she rocked her body on the hard wood floor. Tears streamed out of her eye lids, as she felt something sliding up between her clasped legs. Then the tingling seemed to seep into her delicate, secret place and rubbed itself against her. It made her temperature rise, and her body ache, as it traveled itself deeper inside her very soul. She gasped at the sensation, as it moved around in side of her, as she rocked and shook on the floor.
Her belly quivered, as her lungs searched for air. She began to moan and whimper from this strange energy, as it gave her such great sensations. Her whimpers grew louder, as the thing inside her body grew more and more great.
Suddenly waves of the utmost powerful emotion ran through her, as her cries filled the halls. But the sensation soon slowed down, as her whimpering quieted. Anastasia cried from the unknown source's touching her, as she soon fell into a deep sleep. Kane quietly stood over her, picked her gently up, and took her to her chamber bed.
Kane placed his love under her covers, and left the room, without making a noise. Anastasia slept peacefully through the night, as the men discussed their situation in their chamber underground.
"Well?" Marcus asked his brother.
"She will start tomorrow. Don't make me do that again. If she remembers this, she will hate me forever!" Kane shouts at his brother from across the room. "She won't remember, Kane." Marcus told him as he laid down on his side of the bed. Kane soon followed, and both began to drift into their death sleep.
The next few days were hard for the three being who haunted the house. Anastasia was weak from her natural cycle. Kane was angry for having to force her internal clock to speed up. And Marcus busied himself, trying to get ready for the ritual that was to come. Anastasia was finally ready to leave her room one night, and went down to have her supper. The men sat quietly by her, as she ate her dinner. "How are you feeling, my dear Ana?" Marcus finally broke the silence. "Much better, Lord Marcus." Anastasia answered him, as she wiped her dessert from her cheek. "That's good." "We must talk to you, Stasia. Are you finished?" Kane spoke to her, afraid that she would cower from him, once again. "Yes, I'm finished. Is it about the book? Your cure?" She put her tiny hand on Kane's huge one. She remembered what happened, but somehow knew it needed to be done. She could never hate her loves, and Kane didn't hurt her once that night. "Yes, Ana, we need to tell you what is in store for you. You do have a choice to not do this, though." Marcus tells her as he puts his large hand on her shoulder. "I want to help you both. I love you both so much." She presses her cheek to his hand, as she whispers her consent.
Before she knew it, all three were setting in the brothers' chamber. "Anastasia, before you give us your full consent you must know what we need to do." Marcus looks at her with a stern expression on his face. "What is it that you need me to do?" Anastasia looks back at him, not afraid of what she was about to hear. Marcus looked away from her and licked his lips. He stood up and took a deep breath, "Anastasia, the woman who cursed Kane and I was a very sick woman. She used an awful spell to turn us in to monsters, and I'm afraid the cure is just as bad." He took another deep breath, and turned to look into her deep blue eyes. "Kane and I must first bathe you, and rub scented oils into your flesh." He seemed to choke on what he was about to say. Kane took Anastasia's hand, as his brother regained his thoughts. "Then you are to spend the night with us, without having us feed upon your blood. The oils are to keep us from tasting your sent, but it will last for only a little while." He turned away from her and walked to his fireplace. Tears began to fall from his eyes, knowing she would object it, this vile deed. Ana just sat, listening to him, patiently.
"We are to be locked up like prisoners, then?" He hears her small feminine voice ask him, like a child asking her father if he was going to punish her. Marcus wheels around, and flies toward her. He kneels before her, "Yes, we've had to starve ourselves, tonight, as to purify ourselves. You have to watch us change, become monsters, as he grow hungry. We have to try not to harm you, or take in any blood from the vermin in this place. It will be like being trapped in a pit with hungry lions. And you will have to fight us off, without drawing blood from yourself."
He places his hand in her lap, and looks up into her deep blue eyes, hoping she won't be frightened. "Then you don't have to kill me?" She asks him. "No, Ana. If it called for harming you, we wouldn't ask this, but it will be dangerous. The more we crave, the more animal-like we become." Anastasia nods her head and places her hand on his face. "We had to wait for your blood cycle to end, before we could do this." Marcus glances over to Kane, "It was up to Kane to induce your internal clock. He didn't want to, but it was necessary. You had to be totally pure for this to work." Anastasia turns her head to see Kane looking paler then he ever did, "I had a feeling he did it for some reason." "Then you do remember?" He looks up to meet her eyes. "Yes, I thought it was a dream, at first, but the way you have been acting around me lately... it had to have been real." She smiles at him, as she leans over to kiss his cheek. "What do you say, Stasia? Will you help us?" Kane asks her softly. Anastasia kindly stares at him, as she runs her fingers through his dark brown curls, "Yes. I just hope it works, for all our sakes."
"When do we begin?" Anastasia asks her loves. "Right now, Anastasia." Marcus stands up, and holds his hand out to her. Anastasia glides her tiny hand into his, as Kane stands up with her. "Now, Anastasia, you must relax and let us do all the work. We want this to be as painless as possible." Marcus whispers to her. The two brothers begin their ritual, as they undress their beloved. They each take an arm and help her in to a tub golden of hot flowery scented water. Her white skin quickly turns pink, as she soaks in the heated pool. Kane wets and lathers Anastasia's hair, as Marcus begins to wash her feet. He smiles, as he admires her tiny toes, and soft wet flesh. Anastasia closes her eyes and takes in her pampering, as she feels like a queen being cleansed for a wedding. Marcus grins at his brother, as both seem to know her thoughts. He soon moves up to her legs, and thighs, as Kane washes her arms and delicate hands. Suddenly, Anastasia jerks up and opens her eyes wide, as she feels Marcus rubbing her soft belly. "Sorry, Ana." He whispers to her. She smiles at him, "I'm just ticklish." They chuckled together, as she begins to relax again. Marcus was careful with her, this time, as he raised her from the water so he could wash her better. As he lathered her soft torso, Kane lathered her back, and sides.
Soon, the gentlemen lift Anastasia out of the tub, and dry her off. The lay her, by the fireplace, and begin the next step of the ritual. They each pour scented oils, which Marcus had made, all over Anastasia's chest, stomach, arms, and legs. Kane gently massages the oils into Ana's arms, and soon works his way to her neck. Marcus rubs in the silky oil into her feet and legs, working his way up to her thighs, one leg at a time. Kane slowly, and carefully massages the oil in to Anastasia's chest, working around her ribs. Ana takes in her gentleness loving caresses, as Marcus works his way up to her belly. She all most falls asleep, but awakens to the feel of being turned over. Marcus and Kane pour more oils onto her back, and massages her back side. They work together as they rub in the silky liquid, and loosen her muscles. They work on her, until every part of her body soaked in the oils, and she was totally relaxed.
Kane gently brushed her hair, as Marcus made the floor ready for then to begin step three of the ritual. They dressed Anastasia in a white cotton night gown, and laid her onto the bed of silk and pillows, and let her slumber as they ready themselves. Both men bathed themselves, feeling very weak and extremely hungry, but knew if they were to be free, they needed to do this. "What if one of us attacks her, from our hunger?" "Please, Kane, don't think about that, just concentrate on the matter at hand." Both men walk toward their beloved, and kneel beside her. They each kiss her cheeks, which causes her to stir from her slumber. Anastasia stretches her body, and feels the cool soft silk underneath her, as she opens her eyes to see her loves. She smiles sweetly at them, knowing now, they would spend this last night together.
Both men kiss Anastasia, once more, and move away from Ana. They sit on opposite sides of the chamber room. At first, they did not crave the youth's blood. The oils she was bathed in, kept the men from smelling her real sent. But as the night grew older, Marcus and Kane found themselves pacing the room, in silence. They began to crave and hunger for food, as they took turns poking the fire. The fire, with the brothers’ powers, would never go out. But it gave the men some ease, to play with the burning wood. They each took turns, watching Anastasia, as she slept. Both hoped their hunger would not come to harm her. They took turns watching each other, as they sensed the other's hunger building up inside them.
Hours pass as they began to feel that tingling sensation in the back of their throats, and the twinge of pain in their guts that told them they needed to feed. Soon, their eyes began to glow, with animal-like glimmer, each studying the other, trying to protect their love from the other man. Their blood boiled, in their veins, as sweat formed on their brows. A small clock struck the time. "3:00 a. m. Three hours til dawn, Kane." Marcus sent his thoughts to his brother. Kane looked at the clock, then turned to the female, as she slumbered. "I don't think I can hold out, Marc." Kane sent back to him. "You have to fight it, brother." Marcus ordered him, not quite sure if he could hold on much longer, himself. They watched Ana, as she began to stir from her sleep. The oils' sent were fading from her skin, as her natural sent beaded forth from her night time sweat. The more Kane watched her, the more hungry he felt, as he licked his fangs and lips. He could taste the woman's sent on his tongue. "Easy, brother." Marcus spoke, with a growl, as he grabbed Kane by his shoulder. Kane quickly turned to his brother, with blazing fury in his eyes. He hissed at Marcus, as he grabbed him by the collar. With a flash, Kane had flown across the room, and pinned his older brother against the stone wall. "It's your fault, getting us into this mess!" He shouted out loud. "If you hadn't insisted on having the women to come with us, they wouldn't have died!" Marcus' green eyes glowed bright, as he gazed into Kane's eyes. "Kane, they wouldn't have stayed at the kingdom, if we forbade them to come with us. They fought just as bravely, and any man in our army!" "Go ahead, brother, don't blame yourself! Like always! You never want to take blame!" Kane shouted.
Anastasia sat up suddenly, as she saw Kane throw his brother against another wall. Her gasp took the men off guard. Kane quickly turned the woman, and began to charge near her. His eyes focused, like an animal, his movements, beast-like, his fangs gleaming and dripping with saliva, as he growled at her. Ana was too frightened to scream, but just before Kane could reach her, Marcus' quick timing, shoved Kane away from the young one. The men fought each other, back and forth, around the room, blood thirsty and vengeful. Ana, now fully awake, dresses herself in a robe, and tries to find a place to hide. She knew this wasn’t going to be pretty, or easy, but had the courage to stay near the men, in hopes it would break the curse. She stood, near the fireplace, watching the vampires wreak havoc in the tomb-like room. Next to her, stood a stand of fire pokers, and other tools, for the fireplace. Ana quickly picked up two pokers, and instinctively readied herself for defense.
Hearing the small sound of metal scraping metal form behind, made Kane's ears perk back. He just had knocked his brother to the floor and turned to see Ana across the room. He began to charge near her, again, as she screamed and ran out of his way. She rolled into a dark corner of the room, as the man rushed to her. Ana, quickly, made a cross with the pokers, which caused Kane to cover his eyes, and stumble back. Ana shook, as she sat on the cold stone floor. Marcus, unknowingly to his brother, jumped him from behind, and their fight continued, for what seemed forever. Anastasia sobbed, as the men fought themselves into a bloody mess. The room was wrecked, her painting of the roses was ripped to shreds, and anything breakable, laid broken on the floor. Quietly, Ana crawled to the thick wooden door, which held her freedom. She loved her gentlemen, but these men were nothing like her loves. As she tried to pry the lock open, with one of the pokers, her ears heard an eerie silence. She slowly turned to see the room in shambles. Like lighting, she found herself in the clutches of Marcus. "DON'T LEAVE!" He shouted at her, in a deep monstrous voice. His fangs protruded, long, from his mouth. Ana could feel the vampire's fingernails sinking into her flesh.
Before she could say anything to him, Kane came up behind his brother, and throw him from the woman. Ana thought the men were going to fight some more, but both seemed to collapse where they landed, and clenched with pain. Both men were now growing weak, from hunger and their brawl, as they moaned and groaned on the floor. Ana dropped her weapons, as she came close to her men. She watched them, cautiously, as they laid, agonizing in their hunger. Ana licked her lips, and timidly knelt down to Kane's side. Kane rolled over to she her sweet face, "What time...", he asked her. Anastasia looked at the clock, amazing still in one piece, on the fireplace mantle. "Nearly 4:00." She whispered. Without saying another word, she helped him up, and took him to the bed. As he fell on the soft down, his animal eyes gazed into the young maiden's. "I could never hurt one with eyes like yours. So blue... I see my reflection, I could never see any other place, Stasia." Ana smiled down at him, then kissed his forehead. She helped Marcus to his feet, and helped him to the other side of the bed. "Ana, it was my fault... my fault our wives died..." Marcus moaned. Ana put her finger to his lips, and shushed him. She kissed his forehead, and quietly walked to the foot of the bed. She knelt down, and for the first time since she came to this castle, Anastasia prayed.
The sun rises high in the sky, as a cock cries in the distance. Marcus lightly slept as he felt movement near him. Soon, a familiar sent fills his nostrils, and a female happily moans, as she laid her head on his chest. Marcus wraps his arm around the woman, as he slowly opens his eyes. He strokes the females thick hair, and lifted some locks to his eyes. He saw that instead of Anastasia's chestnut color, was the color of rich auburn. Marcus smiles, wide, as the female kisses him and looks into his face. "Morning, My King. Why do we look so happy?" The female asks him. "Because I had the strangest dream last night, Ana. And I missed you so much." Marcus replied.
Somewhere, on the other side of the castle, Kane groans, as sunlight hits his face. He rolls over, and found his arm hitting another body in his bed. He quickly opens his eyes, and sat up in bed. The body was female, as he watches it roll over. In the mass of strawberry red hair laid the most beautiful site he had ever known. "Stasia, you’re alive!" Kane shouts as he picks up his wife, and held her in his arms.