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Hello, my name is Aurora Nightly. I have long crimson hair and intense violet eyes. Many believe that my eyes are this color due to my “condition”, but that is not so. I was born with these eyes and this blood red hair. I know, I know, you are all wondering what exactly my condition is, aren’t you? Well, it is quite hard to explain, especially if you are not a true believer in the supernatural. It is not something I can define in one sentence. It took a very long time for me to become what I am, who I am. Read along and you shall see what I mean.
But anyway, back on subject. Most of you who are reading this have probably heard of vampires, wendigos, witches, and possibly even werewolves. In these pages, you shall read about some things you only hear about in books, movies, and horror stories told to keep the kiddies in their beds at night. But you shall see that some fiction isn’t as far-fetched as you believe. You are probably thinking, by this point, that I am just some crazy lady telling you a ghost story. You may not trust a thing I say, but what do I care? I am only here to give facts, not to argue with some brat who won’t accept what I say for what it is, true.
If you are afraid of gore, death, or pain, turn back now. This tale will have plenty of all three. It will account how I became what I am and maybe even the next four-hundred years since then. Yes, I did say four-hundred years. Actually, I am exactly four-hundred and thirty years old. I was born in 1575, the year that fifteen year old Elizabeth Bathory was married to Slovak Count Ferenc Nadasdy. You probably wonder why I bring her up, The Blood Countess. But I must say you will have to read more to find what you want to know. I was seventeen when I died, and now I hold more power than any I have ever known.
I have been through many hardships, some even too painful to dwell on. I watched as many girls who I had become friends with died, felt the pain of my own death, and watched as my own flesh and blood died, and last, but certainly not least, I watched as my lover died. I have been scorched by the sun, and even looked down upon by many of my own kind, yet these things mean nothing to me. The two men I loved most in my entire four-hundred and thirty years are dead!
I know you are thinking that I had two lovers, when, in fact, I only had one. His name was unknown to me for a long period of time, for we had only spoken in our dreams. But I knew and had always known that he was real and would be mine, and I his. He died many years after my turning and I hated him for it. He left me alone in a world where I should not have been in the first place. Yet, while I hated him, I loved him all the same.
The second love I had lost was my brother, my sweet Michael. I have never, in my entire existence, called him Michael though. He has always been my Mikey. Mikey was my twin brother. We looked nothing alike and had very few things in common, yet we were the best of friends. He took care of me and I cared for him as well. We were always there for one another, through thick and thin.
Now that I have explained a few things, you decide whether or not to carry on. But I warn you, once again, that when you finish this book you will have a deeper understanding of death, love, and possibly even fear. You will learn to beware the darkness and search for monsters in your closet as you did when you were a child. And if you ever cross my path, beware, for I am the thing that goes bump in the night!
I look around, my heart racing. I feel that familiar tingle running up my spine. The music, soft ballroom ballads, is now nothing but a distant memory. People all around me, dance elegantly to this eerie music. I look toward the door, waiting for my escape, when suddenly, dark black optics catch my gaze. As I look into those eyes, I seem to get lost. Now, they are all I see; all else a blur. I am completely mesmerized. My heartbeat is getting louder and louder; I can feel my blood rushing through my veins.
I am completely bewitched by this spell he has cast upon me. He seems to be getting closer, yet he has not moved an inch. I look down and I realize I am the one moving, not quite walking, gliding in a way, toward this mysterious stranger. I seem to be moving against my will, just a puppet being controlled by its strings. As I near him he takes my hand with a tender, yet strong, sturdy grip. He brings my dainty hand to his lips and kisses my fingertips, ever so lightly. I feel my knees go weak as his cool lips touch my overheated skin.
I close my eyes and he pulls my body up tight against his and we begin to dance. I lay my head against his chest, some of my crimson hair splaying onto his shoulder. We move together as if we are one. This hideous dress that bulges in all the wrong ways, this haunting music that is made worse by my the thumping of my heart against my ribcage, and these eyes that captivate my very soul; yet despite these things, I am having a tremendous time dancing with this tall, dark, handsome man. I turn my head slightly when I suddenly see something glitter. It appears to be some kind of metal, sticking from his ear. It looks dreadfully painful. I run my hand along his ear, gently touching this metal ring. I see that his eyes are upon me and I look at him, question in my violet eyes.
He smiles, “It is called an earring. Have you never heard of such a thing?” He is talking but his lips never seem to move.
I shake my head slowly. He smiles again. Now, all I can think about is that beautiful Transylvanian accent, the way all his words seem to just roll off his tongue.
He smiles at me, once again and I feel my knees go weak. He catches me before I can even dream of falling. My eyes widen as he pulls me even closer to him, taking my chin in his tender hand and tilting my head slightly toward him...he kisses me. His lips are soft and oh so cool. I feel as if I cannot breathe. I taste blood in my mouth; Oh my god! He bit my tongue! I start struggling and try to pull away, I hit at his chest, getting weaker by the minute.
I finally manage to pull away and I gasp at what I see, William, the man I am betrothed to. I don’t want to marry that disgusting man; he only wants me for my riches. I scream and cry for help, but all in the room have left us to our own devices.
Now, I must tell you, this story is all from the past but when I tell about my dreams as I did only seconds ago, I will not write it as if it were past. I want you to feel as I felt during those dreams. I want you to live my life. Now, back to the story, children, I am sorry to have kept you waiting.
I felt someone shake me and my eyes quickly shot open. I saw my brother, my sweet Mikey, looming above me. I was shaking and I felt so cold yet Mikey seemed not to have a problem with the freezing air coming from my open windowsill.
He seemed relieved and blew out a sigh of content, “You scared me nearly to death. You were screaming as if a night-wolf had gotten to you.”
“They are called werewolves, Mikey. Not night-wolves,” I smiled slightly, “It was just a nightmare; I am sorry to have awakened you,” my head drooped, my bottom lip quivered as I began to sniffle, and tears entered my violet eyes, “I am scared, Mikey. In my dream, William was there. He was some type of evil creature and he bit me. I was terrified. I had no one, and it made me regret agreeing to this marriage even more. I only agreed so that you, mother, and father will not be left out in the dirty rat-infested streets. I don’t understand why it must be me to save this family. Is there nothing mother and father can do?”
Mikey took me into his arms and held me, letting me cry, “Nothing will happen to you. I would never allow it; you know that.” He embraces me close and whispers into my ear, “I will be here for you, my poor little sister.” He smiles and gets up slowly, “I must go; it is not proper for us to be alone for too long.” He rolled his eyes and walked from the room.
I sat up slowly and walked toward the bathing-room. I looked into the oval mirror at my own expression. All I saw was pure pain, disgust, and fear. I remember seeing a thin mist float across the mirror and I gasped as the visage of my fiancé suddenly appeared behind me. I twisted around hastily and struck out at where his misted face had appeared. Nothing was there. I turned back around and screamed as his face appeared once again. I punched at the face with my tiny fist. Glass shattered all around me and I could feel the bones in my fragile hand break.
Suddenly, I heard a beating against the door. I remember falling to the ground, broken inside and out. Everything around me was going black and I soon felt strong arms supporting me. I didn’t know where they were taking me. I couldn’t see; I tried to open my eyes but the lids were far too heavy. I heard my mother crying frantically and my Mikey, he sounded so scared. "No," I screamed in my own head, "Mikey! Where are you? I can’t hear you anymore, Mommy, Daddy?" The rest was black silence.
I woke up in the infirmary, with a feeling of complete and utter dread. My chest felt heavy; I couldn’t breathe. I tried to scream but no sound would come from my cold, chapped lips. I felt a sharp pain in my neck and I tried unsuccessfully to lift my tired limbs to hit whatever was hurting me. But, alas, I couldn’t move at all; I was paralyzed. I heard my name, and a familiar voice reached my ears. I felt someone shaking my drained cold body. My skin hurt as if my flesh was nothing but bruises and scars.
I tried once again to view what was before me, and I saw. I saw Mikey, my mother and father, and a doctor of medicine. They all looked reassured that I was well.
My mother launched herself at me and embraced me with all of her being. “Oh, my dear, I was terrified. We heard the mirror break and your screams. We thought you had been murdered,” mother was shaking as she said this; shaking with anger or worry, I couldn’t tell.
“What ever could have persuaded you to punch the mirror? You must be going mad,” my father said all of this, while avoiding my questioning eyes. “According to Dr. Stanly, it is typical for a girl of your stature to panic when such a big day is coming so soon. We have decided to put you on medication to help with these panic attacks, and to help with the pain of course,” my father smiled and that scared me. He had not smiled for years.
“Your wrist was fractured the second your fist hit the mirror. Your knuckles are quite bruised and cut from the glass, which is the reason you will need these pain killers,” Dr. Stanly smiled at me and I wanted to smack the look right off of his face.
“But mommy, daddy, I didn’t punch the mirror because I was worried about the wedding! Someone was there. I saw them. It was man; he looked just like William! I was trying to protect myself!” I looked at them with pleading eyes and they deliberately looked away from me. I glanced over at Mikey and I could tell by his eyes that he believed me.
“Aurora, darling, there is something more,” the unsure look on my mother’s face scared me but I did not let it show. She continued, “We have decided to send you to an etiquette school. It is hosted and taught by Mrs. Bathory. Elizabeth Bathory is quite a woman, darling. She has and knows money and would be excellent at teaching you what you need to know to be a good spouse.” My mother smiled at me and I felt heavy tears enter my eyes.
“Mom, please don’t make me go!” I tried so hard not to cry in front of them, not to show my weakness. I looked at my Mikey and he looked just as upset as me.
“You can’t send her away! What has she done?!” Mikey screamed and threw a fit just as well as I did, but still, they did not listen. He and I both knew that we had done all we could do. He walked over to me and hugged me, careful not to touch my wounded hand, “Goodbye, little sister.”
“Goodbye, my Mikey, please do not forget me,” I sighed as I said this. He nodded in answer before walking out of the room and out of my life for who knew how long. I glared at my parents but said nothing.
“You will be leaving tomorrow,” said my mother, “I shall pack your bags for you tonight.”
They both left me and I remembered that the doctor was still in the room with me. I picked up the first thing I saw, which just so happened to be a wineglass, and hurled it at his head, screaming for him to leave me alone. I heard the glass shatter far before I saw it. The door opened and closed, squeaking all the way.
All night, I was restless. I could feel in my heart that something bad was soon to happen. Thinking of the horrible school and of Mikey and about this damned marriage. But something else kept nagging at me. My dream and how it wasn’t all that bad of a dream. Sure the things about William were frightening, but the other man was something else. He was the type of man you should be hiding from, not dancing with and kissing. I sighed, if only he were real.
I sigh, entering the ballroom once more. My mother is sending me away, yet she still makes me come to this place. She still frets over how I dress and how I perform. At the moment she has me in a pink gown that makes me look like the cows that we used to herd. But that was a time when we had nothing; nothing but our dignity and pride. But it seems as if our pride is leaving us as well our money. We were once poor and now we are rich. Our riches will not last for long though; my father is so far in debt that he must sell me off to a rich man’s son. That is where William comes in.
William Gumshire is the local merchant’s son. William does not disapoint me with his looks; he is actually quite handsome, with his long auburn hair and bright sapphire eyes. But that man is a wretched pig! He wants to marry me only for my riches! But little does he know, once we are married, I will be living off of him and not the other way around.
I am shaken from my thoughts by the sound of a loud trumpet playing the song for the queen and king’s entrance. I watch as everyone around me bows and I am compelled to do the same. I lean forward slightly and keep my head bowed so as not to be executed. The king and queen walk past me on the way to their thrones and I cannot help but look up at their exquisite attire.
Suddenly, someone grabs me by my burgundy hair and pulls me toward them. My eyes widen and I scream as the man in front of me lifts an ax above my head. No, I shall not die, not like this! As he starts to lower the ax, I squeeze my eyes close and succumb to my fate. When several minutes pass and my head has not been removed from my body, I open my eyes and am met with a beautiful sight. It’s the man! He has come to protect me!
I then realize that I no longer hear the roar of the crowd, cheering for our emperors. I look around and past the man before me and I realize we are alone. He takes a step toward me and I instinctively take a backward step. I realize I can step back no further; he must have me pressed against a wall.
He smiles at me slyly, “I have yet to tell you my name. Should I tell or are you too frightened by me to care?” I breathe in deeply but do not answer. He gets this sort of wounded puppy look on his face and I wish I had said something. He takes a step back and I realize that I must have hurt him more than I had anticipated. I take a step toward him and using my, left and unwounded, hand I touch his cool cheek. He tilts his head to the side at the contact. Still, we do not speak any words. He takes this act as a sigh of apology, just as I had meant for it to be.
“What is your name, beautiful one?” I whisper, stepping closer to him. He smiles at my words and pulls me up close to him, smashing my scorching body against his cooler one. He just looks into my eyes, his lips unmoving, yet still, I hear it. He does not speak it, but I hear, Draegon. What a gorgeous yet quite unusual name.
He leans over slightly and I get the mental image of us kissing once more. He must be feeling the same thing I am, for it is he who kisses me, he who gives me what I most desire. I feel his tongue probe the entrance of mouth and I cannot help but let him in. Our tongues battle for dominance, and I grab him by the back of his head and try to make us impossibly close. I have feelings for him that I have never felt for another man, especially William.
William, my mind screams. You are engaged to him, what are you bloody thinking? I quickly block my mind and focus exclusively on Draegon. And my plan of ignoring my guilt of cheating on William went well, for a while that is. Draegon and I danced and kissed, all the things lovers do. I was simply ecstatic that I was getting to live out my most thought about desires.