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Title and Copyright Page

Immortal Souls

Vampire Romance

Author: Darla Griffith


© Copyright 2016 by Darla Griffith

All rights reserved.

In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person,

living or dead, is purely coincidental.


From the Author:

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Table of Contents


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Immortal Souls

Description

Paris France, 1905. A young woman falls victim to the disease known as love. After the death of her brother, August is thrown cruelly into the evil world around her, left to fend for herself as she prepares to face the remainder of her life alone. It is only at the mercy of France's most respected lord that she is brought under the care of her late brothers friend.

With madness befalling her, she spends her days exposed to the merciless questions of her brother's passing. On the verge of losing her mind completely, August’s only saviour is a mysterious raven-haired lord who pulls the drowning woman from out of her deepening madness and into a world that she had never believed existed.

Never having been in love, the young woman falls victim to the mysterious noble, only to find herself entwined on a path that not even a sane man would tread. The lines between the worlds of mortal and immortal become blurred. The love of the immortal is a dangerous thing.


Chapter 1

August Delacroix walked the streets of Paris alone. Finally, she had left the glory of the wealthy streets behind her. She now wandered wherever her feet carried her. It had been so long, so painfully long since she had laid eyes upon her home. It had been well over a century ago. Her heart shattered. August was lost in her misery when she suddenly found herself walking a dimly lit street that harbored houses of the old nineteenth-century fashion. Her senses picked up a scent that she had not witnessed in many years. It smelled of a mixture of old pine needles and lavender.

As August drew closer, she could not believe her eyes. Somehow, after all this time, August’s feet had brought her back to the old estate where she had resided as a mortal child, along with her father and her brother, The Rue Chavern. She stopped sharply and looked up at the abandoned building. Most of the estates on the street were also boarded up and lonely. She fondly remembered the days when the old street had been thriving. So many memories in that place.

August knew that she shouldn’t enter the one place that had caused her so much turmoil in her mortal years, but a strength within herself told August that she had to face that which harmed her. She may be immortal, eternal, but she too could feel anguish just as mortals felt it.

Using her senses, she found the back entrance to the Rue Chavern, boarded and untouched. The place had been abandoned for years. The wood that covered the windows was old and weathered, falling apart from age. August tore off the long board that held the back entrance shut and threw it into the jungle garden. It fell into the grass with a hiss. She entered the big house with her heart racing and her fear prominent.

August didn’t know what she was expecting revisiting her childhood home. Coming back here couldn’t turn back time, or could it? She wasn’t sure why she was still grieving for a life that was lost to her over two hundred years ago. She didn’t know if she was grieving; she didn’t know what it was that she felt.

As soon as August entered, she felt the old dusty room reach out its arms to embrace her in a welcoming gesture. It was strange that she felt so comforted stepping inside a place of death, but it was rather fitting. Everything remained as it had been on the last night that she had been mortal.

The downstairs was completely overrun with cobwebs that disguised the small square dining room table that had once graced the kitchen. In the distance, she could hear the faint noises of rats. It smelled old, the Rue Chavern, and it felt so very old. It smelled of musk and dust. A pleasant smell, she thought. To her, it smelled of home.

Looming in the far corner stood the shadow of the old winding staircase that led up to the bedroom. Ever so slowly August approached it. Her eyes were fixed on the stairs as if she could not look away. She knew what she was doing to herself by even being in the vicinity, but there was no turning back for her now. Carefully, August ascended the staircase, its old, withered fragility creaking beneath her heavy boots. She reached out to caress the hand rail that was laden with thick dust and cobwebs. The dust and cobwebs clung to her hair and face as she went higher and higher, her heart threatening to burst from out of her chest.

Then August saw the bed as she reached the top. A silent rage suddenly consumed her as she stood motionless, staring at the bed where he and August had lain together so many times. She wanted to tear it apart, wanted to destroy and then burn it before burning the rest of the place to the ground. But she knew that she didn’t have the strength to part with such a memory. She loved this house as if she was still mortal. She would always love it. Always.

August approached the bed carefully. It was beautiful, made from dark oak wood of the finest nineteenth-century fashion. It was what would be called an antique if mortals managed to get their hands on it. She wouldn’t allow that, though. This bed was too precious a gift from her mortal lover than the cursed dark gift that he had bestowed upon me a year later. Everything was still intact. The lace curtains hung at the bedside, partly drawn in a bow-like fashion just the way he liked it. The bed itself was a mess; the blankets disturbed.

It all flooded back to August then, the night of her creation. He had made her in that bed. A shiver shot through August, cold and painful. With a shaking hand, she reached out to touch the lace, her fingers gently caressing the soft fabric. Then she turned mournfully to the bedside table and her heart sank.

August just couldn’t believe it. She wondered if it was even possible for it to still be here after so many centuries had passed? But there it lay on the dusty table, next to a wax candle that had burned to its hilt. Her old journal. Her mortal journal. She wasn’t sure how she had forgotten such a precious gift in her mortal years. But there it lay in all its splendor, closed and beckoning her to read the contents that she had long ago forgotten.

For a long time, August stood staring down at the little book, debating on what she should do. She was of two minds: one to walk away and leave it in the old abandoned house waiting to be discovered by mortal historians who loved nothing more than to collect artifacts, or to take it with her to London and read it in her new home. August’s curiosity was too strong to wait that long. She had six more hours before dawn. She had left Kyle to his own devices, and now she was finally alone.

She did what she had to do, and sat down upon her old dusty dresser chair and opened the journal that lay before her.

Paris, 1891: We have finally made it to Paris, Everard and I. With Madam Latrine's blessing, we have finally been released from the Plantation and set free. We are no longer trapped in a place of cold and constant darkness, but now living in a place that is beautiful and thriving, full of life. Never could I be happier than I am now; and to be here with him only makes my dream of freedom ever more a reality; one that I have not quite grasped yet.

Everard is quiet, yet I can see in his eyes that he is happy to be finally free. He is standing on the balcony of our quaint little apartment, gazing out at the lights of Paris below us, arms outstretched upon the railings, his hair blowing in the warm, gentle night air. God knows how long he has dreamed of this moment, and now he is living out that dream. I am happy for him, so happy. I am in love with him deeply. My friend, my lover, my soul mate. He deserves to be happy; he deserves to be free.

As August’s eyes read over the words of her first entry upon her and Everard’s arrival in Paris, she could see their apartment come to life as if she was back in those times. A dreadful sadness had consumed her then, and she found myself mourning for the past, mourning for the life that she had lost here. As she read the words, she could see now how in love she had been with Everard. August was obsessed with him; he possessed her like a spirit possessed a young child. He was the be-all and end-all for her.

Silently, August rose to her feet carefully picking up her journal as lightly as she could. She walked out to the old balcony where Everard had once stood. She leaned her arms over the railings and continued to read.

Paris, 1891: Everard has gotten a job at a local art gallery in central Paris. Everard has always loved the arts. He is now working on a new painting as I write. He brushes his hand so gracefully across the canvas; he truly is fascinating to watch. Below me, the streets of Paris have come alive. I can see men and women walking to the local theatres, dressed in all their finery to see the finest production of the evening. Everard insisted that I should go see a production tonight, but I refused. It would not seem right to witness a play without him beside me.

Now that I am with child, I am finding it difficult to enjoy the things that I once so loved. Instead, I find myself merely sitting here at my dresser writing down my thoughts while I sit with my free hand perched upon the round swell of my belly, counting down the days until our child is born.

I am very near now, the midwife says. I have another two months before Everard and I get to see our beautiful son or daughter. We truly will be a happy family then. All the hardships that he has endured! I hope our child will give him back the happiness that he lost so long ago.

He was overjoyed by the news of my being with child. When I had revealed the news to him, he looked at me with his blue eyes, face emotionless, before sweeping me up in his arms and kissing me so tenderly that his love almost burned my skin.

He will be the perfect father; of that I have no doubt. We are truly blessed.

August’s pale, slender fingers flicked through her old tattered journal until she finally reached the entry which she had almost inscribed upon her mind. With her hands shaking, she hesitated to look down at the tragic words that were displayed upon the brown-stained parchment pages. August suddenly became a child all over again; one who was afraid to face up to her past. August had to read it one last time, perhaps after all the years of ignoring its existence, she might just find an answer to what she was looking for. But then, she wasn’t quite sure what she was looking for.

Paris, 1891: Why have you left us like this? Have I displeased you? Insulted you? Tested your patience? Why have you left me to a lonely fate here in our Rue Chavern? Are you punishing me for some unforeseen crime?

You have been away from me for so many nights that I am beginning to fear for the worst. Do you know what torment I am going through, knowing that you are out there somewhere? Alone.

Are you dead? Are you alive? I feel numb, broken, and now our child is moving inside of me, making its presence known.

I cannot live like this knowing that I have wronged you. We were supposed to be a family, the three of us, remember? Yet you have left us to a fate that has cast us out of your life completely. Why? Have you suddenly had a change of heart? Do you no longer want us in your life? Have you left because I am with child?

All I did for you, my love, I did out of love. You are my beloved, my one true love and no matter how much hurt and pain you lavish upon me now with your disappearance, I will still pray that you will return to me, to us, when you see fit. I will wait for you, day and night. My eyes will search Paris for you and will only be contented until they see you again.

I love you, Everard, I always will, yet I hate you so for this!

Beneath was the final entry of my mortal years. What it contained frightened me.

Paris, 1891: Something is moving in the corner of the room. I can sense it. I can feel it watching. I no longer know if I am merely overtired or if I truly see it! I can no longer distinguish fantasy from reality. I fear I am losing my mind. I have not slept for many a night, and now all I see is darkness and hear an evil voice whispering my name over and over from the shadows.

I can hear it now. It's beckoning me to it! The strange thing is I am not afraid! Why should I fear death if it has come for me? I am ready. Let it come.

Oh, beloved, I will be with you soon! Death is calling me. Calling us.

Droplets of blood stained the parchment a horrid brown color. August felt sick by just looking at it. She knew all too well where that blood had come from. Not long after she had written her final journal and had clambered into bed, she was taken. The memory was so vivid, so intense that in her preternatural mind it replayed itself repeatedly.

August walked back into the room in darkness. Mournfully she stood in the center of the room, unsure of what do with herself. The words of her final entry consumed her mind. Why should I fear death if it has come for me? I am ready. Let it come.

August wondered and thought. Had she truly lost her mind? Was that what drew him to take her? Or was it simply out of love that he brought her over? Either way, she was longing for death. She wanted it, craved it, needed it. Such a tragic truth to behold when at that time, there had been life growing inside of her.

Eternity had hardened August’s cold heart, yet at the first memory of her mortal life, that heart melted out of her into a pool of red at her feet. Suddenly she felt the urge to flee this place, but resisted it. She had one more thing to do. 


Chapter 2

Placing the journal back onto the old dresser, August left it open on the last page that she had read. No one would find it; of that she was certain. Leaving her past behind, she walked swiftly down the winding staircase and out to the back garden without a second glance. Her heart was racing now as she let her feet carry her to the one place that she had not been strong enough to visit until that moment. August followed the overgrown path as if it was only yesterday that she had been there. In her mind, it still looked and felt as if she was safely home.

Slipping silently through the overhanging ivy and fern trees that brushed against her face, August continued walking down the old stone path that was now completely submerged with wet leaves the color of autumn. When she broke through the clearing of trees, it was as if she had walked back into my past. Everything remained unchanged. In the far corner stood the little tomb that had been built especially for the child who had never lived, encased with overhanging ivy and lavender flowers blooming all over the great stone tomb of her child.

Before August could get control over her emotions, the tears spilled from her eyes, staining her marble-white cheeks crimson. She sobbed. Long, drawn-out cries of anguish and despair as she stood beside her child’s grave, staring at the nameless one whose body did not even reside inside of the cold tomb. There was no body. The child had emptied out of her in a red flush the moment Everard gave August the vampire’s kiss.

Oh, my child. August’s mind whispered painfully. Her pain greatly expanded as she took next to her child’s empty grave. You had a chance to live, and I stole that chance from you. I let myself be defiled by your father, but you see he was not himself, he was not human. What human feeds off the blood of their loved ones?

August found myself searching desperately for an excuse for why she let her baby die. She blamed him, but she knew deep down that it was not Everard’s fault. He was confused, new to the blood. He didn’t understand what he was doing. All he knew was the excruciating thirst that consumes all of them when first born to darkness. August had been enthralled, yet frightened. Upon seeing Everard return to her, all August felt was happiness until she saw his face. She let him take her. August wanted to die and she felt who better than to take her life than her beloved? She was selfish, so selfish! Not once did she consider the pain that their child would endure. She often wondered if their child suffered as it died. She often wondered if it knew how sorry she was for not being strong enough to save it.

With cold fingers, August reached out to brush against the old withered stone. She was weakening, she could sense it. August was in dire of need of blood, so thirsty yet too submerged in her sorrow to do anything about it. She would not leave here like this! She vowed not leave that empty grave until she had truly mourned a life that had not lived. After all, it was the least she could do as she stood in immortal mockery at her child's grave. Her child who never got to see the light of day?

Suddenly August was furious at Everard. A fire burned so intensely inside of her that she was afraid that she would lose control. She felt sick with crazed curiosity if he had even visited their child’s grave. As she stood beside the grave, August wondered if he had ever bothered to make an effort to grieve for the one thing in his mortality that he truly lost. Or if his selfness nature barred him in fear that the mud there at the cemetery would be too unbearable for him to endure on his new shiny boots?

Two hundred years in the blood had not only hardened a once gentle heart, but also corrupted it into a selfish, arrogant being who was insufferable and quite detestable. August understood completely why others of their kind hated him. The immortals hated to love him, and they loved to hate him. Who could resist the rebellious one? The raven haired one, the arrogant one? After all, Everard only acted out what they kept as their secret fantasies. Everard wanted to tell the world that he was immortal and that they would love him just because they could. It was hard to resist him no matter how much of a cruel fiend he had become over the centuries.

But could her Everard be so cold? So many questions flooded her mind at that moment that August suddenly had an urge to go back to the chateau in central Paris and confront him about it, but thought better of it. What was done was done, and she had to accept it no matter how bitter a taste it left in her mouth.

Mournfully, August turned her head to the side of the tomb to look at the inscription upon it. Nothing. An unmarked grave, an open invitation to all kinds of evil without the Lord’s blessing.

Pain. Anger. Thirst. In a cold fury, August tore her hand away from the tomb and descended into the night air once more. She had to leave that place. She couldn’t take it no more. The sky was already turning pale with the promise of sunrise. Shades of pale pink and peachy orange painted the sky. There would be no time to hunt now.

In her rage, August knew that she had two options of where she could find rest and sleep off the day. She could either choose to return to the one being that she had loved who she had not seen in over two centuries, or she could face her demons and sleep in the empty tomb of the nameless child. In her heart of hearts, she knew that she had made my decision. August turned on her heel and once again, like a figure of a lost soul, quietly made her way toward the tomb.

August forced open the stone lid before piling herself inside. She was drained, so very drained. She pulled the lid shut and lay there for a moment in the dank, dark silence wishing that the body of her child was in her arms and that she was singing to it. But it was just a fantasy, and no matter how hard August tried to remember that she was no longer mortal, the pain would consume her. Never again could she bear a child; never again would she feel the warmth of a newborn babe upon her breast. August was doomed to be this creature. Taker of life, cold and unfeeling. The walking death.

Embracing her nature with bitter resentment, she let herself fall victim to the age of sleep.


Chapter 3

August’s burning and raw thirst woke her up. Her throat had become dry, and she could feel how tightly she clenched her jaw as she resisted the urge to bite down into her own lip and draw blood. She needed to hunt. August had gone too long without blood which was foolish of her to do. She knew she should have hunted before her descent to Paris, but August was so desperately curious as to why she had been summoned by her old lover that the idea of draining a human slipped her mind.

Silently August cursed herself for being so careless. She was always so careful.

The twinkling lights of Paris engulfed her as she stood beneath the grand Eiffel Tower, drinking in the beauty around her.

August watched the young sweet couples who huddled together in loving embraces beneath the illuminated tower of romance. August was hungry, insanely hungry. The scent of the blood of the mortals intoxicated her and almost made her drunk on the smell alone. She had to close her eyes to stop from revealing her true nature.

All the issues from the previous night left August’s mind as her main priority became feeding. But she had a problem, there was no evil that lingered within the grand central. They were all good people, innocent and in love. The only evil here was her.

However, August needed to feed and nourish her aching body. Somewhere in the back of her mind she could hear Everard’s mocking laughter as she fought with the urge to hunt an innocent. As wicked as he was, the one thing Everard taught August was to only hunt defenseless humans, the ones that littered the streets in sleeping bags and begged for mercy. They were not evil people, and when she fed upon them, she did it out of kindness. August released them from their pain, but Everard was not so kind. He would kill all of them and not bat an eyelid as long as his thirst was sated.

August was certain that she could go and find one of the undesirables so that she could quench her burning thirst. She was positive there was one lurking in alley somewhere waiting to rob or to rape a young woman. If her strength had been up to it, she would follow them like a hunter, but she was weakening by the minute and could not last another hour without sustenance.

So, August did what she had to do.

She found her target. He was a young man of about twenty. Dressed alternatively as August, as was the fashion. His hair was black as the night itself and fell down his back in a long waterfall. He could have almost passed for one of the undead himself, but for the fact she could smell his life-force on him.

He had been to a concert and was now returning to Central Paris to meet some friends at a club. He asked August to join him, and she, ever the hunter, accepted. If she was to drink from him, then she needed to do it in private.

They reached the alley where the underground club was located. The alley was completely abandoned, all its occupants already inside. August was grateful for that. Slowly he turned and gestured to the doors.

“In here,” he purred in perfect French. “It is a hidden doorway to stop others gate crashing our turf.” He smiled proudly.

He was so beautiful.

When August didn’t move, he frowned. “Ma chère are you not coming in?” Slowly August stepped closer to him. He was tall like Everard, if not a few inches taller. August quietly thought to herself that Everard would not like that. As she stood there, she could feel his gave fixated on her.

“Indeed, I do wish to go in,” August whispered softly into his ear, “Though, I fear I am very thirsty and in need of a drink before we continue.”

August heard him give out a slight laugh. It was obvious he didn’t know what she was and she was glad for that. It meant that his death would make her feeding all the quicker.

“There are drinks inside,” he said to August while taking her hand and edging her toward the door. He didn’t flinch at her coldness. “Come.”

It was then that August chose to make my move. Quickly she released her hand and pinned him to the wall next to the doors, her face staring up at him. He didn’t seem shocked.

“Or if you're in such a hurry we can go back to my place,” he whispered seductively, his arm snaking its way around her waist. For a moment, August found herself enjoying this activity but the need for blood was making her feel dangerous, and one wrong move on his part would force her tear him to pieces.

“Hmm,” August whispered leaning up to his slender throat. He tilted his head at her as if he knew what was coming. “As much as I would enjoy that, my love, I’m afraid I must cut our meeting short.” With that, August sank her teeth into his neck.

Hot blood filled her desperate, wanting mouth in a crimson waterfall. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t cry out, he only sighed, one that encouraged August to bite deeper and she gladly I obliged.

In a red tidal wave, his life was revealed to August. He was an innocent. He lived his life the way he chose, played in a heavy metal band and aspired to be famous. He loved his family, his mother in particular. She was ill, and he was looking after her; she was all he had.

August ripped her fangs free and let his body slump to the floor. He wasn’t dead just unconscious. If August had held on any longer, he had would have been dead. She had intended to kill him, to spare him false mercy but August found that she could not. He wasn’t an evil man, and no matter how much she thirsted for the rest of him, she refused.

Slowly August bent down to him. His eyes fluttered open and closed. With a serene expression, she whispered to him, “Do not be frightened my love. You have been spared. Go home and look after your mother. She needs you as much as you need her.” And with that, August left him there for a mortal to find and to care for him.

Chapter 4

“It’s me,” August spoke quietly into the slender phone.

“August?” his deep voice questioned. Silence followed. He never was much of a conversationalist.

“I’m coming home,” August told him.

“From Paris? I expected you last night, but you never returned.”

August let out a long sigh at his words.

“I... there were some complications,” she assured him calmly. It was his turn to sigh now. Oh, how August missed his sighs.

“He's in Paris, isn't he?” Kyle asked calmly as if he already knew what it was that had prevented her return the night before.

“A distraction,” August replied impatiently, “Nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“What was the urgency?”

Kyle’s clipped tone suddenly caught August off guard. Her mind had begun to wander with thoughts of her one true love. “I will tell you when I arrive back in London. I will meet you back at the house. Have you fed?”

“Not yet,” Kyle said.

“Remember what I told you. Stay safe, and when you feed keep out of sight. The world is even more dangerous than we thought it was.” At that, August hung up.

The night was young, and the lights of the city still sparkled before her. Part of August didn’t want to leave the city; it had been so long since she had been ‘home’. For over a century, she mourned for the city that she had so loved. For over a century, she had mourned for her mortal life and for her dead child.

August loved Paris as much as she despised it.

****

Kyle was an artist, a great painter with a talent so raw that his musings always made August weep. He was beautiful and knowledgeable, and gentle where Everard was angry. He was everything that Everard should have been, yet Kyle was everything that she didn’t want.

August loved him, but she didn't love him enough. Kyle appreciated her, and she him. He was her companion and many a night they would sit on the balcony of their hotel and quote poetry to each other, and talk of dreams, passions, loves and the nature of their kind.

Once there was a time when August did that with her Everard.

The thought of Everard made her bristle. The memory of the previous night burned inside August’s mind, picking away at her until she gave in and went back to the old chateau where the black-haired lord resided. But what reason did she have to go back? Everard wasn’t her problem any more. But then she thought of the voice and what it had said to her. August was to die by her maker’s hand. Well, she would not run away from death.

****

August found him in his chateau, lying on a bed of silk. The black silken shirt that had adorned his body was thrown upon the floor next to the finest, shiniest black boots that only Everard could wear. His black undershirt was unlaced at his chest, revealing the cold hard marble skin beneath. His perfect silken mane was loose and spread about him like a velvet veil. Blood painted the corners of his mouth. Next to him, the source of that blood lay lifeless.

Blood drunk, August’s mind whispered. Everard’s victim had been young, perhaps a girl of nineteen. Not slender but voluptuous. She had been a whore.

Everard was sleeping outstretched with his arm still beneath the young girl’s waist. He hadn’t been kind to her when he took her. Her neck was savagely torn. He did it out of anger; he was always the same. Each time he and August argued, he would always go out and hunt, lure them back to their home before brutally ravaging them in front of her.

August was glad that she left him when she did.

The girl was a drug user; August could smell the chemicals in her dead blood. Fool August’s mind snapped at him.

Everard had done it to get a fix. He was bored of the usual. He desired rebellion, freedom and a contaminated little whore was just the supply of ecstasy that he needed.

August stared down at him debating what she should do. She didn’t even know why she had come back. August had promised Kyle that she was coming back to London, yet here August was, standing over her maker with no reason to be there.

Slowly August turned away from the bed and sat in the velvet armchair. She watched Everard lying there, unmoving. For a moment, she contemplated killing him but she knew that she couldn’t do it.

Groggily, Everard began to stir. August got to her feet and walked back toward the bedside. August’s hand entwined with the white silken lace that concealed her face.

“Have you sunk so low that you only feed on harlots now?” August’s eerily calm voice questioned her lover as he stretched out lazily on the bed. He knew she had been there all along.

“Blood is blood, my love,” came his bored reply. August revealed herself from the lace confines. She stared down at him with an expressionless face. His blue eyes penetrated her soul.

“Even contaminated blood Everard?” August snapped, “She was a drug user. Could you not smell it?”

A cocky look crossed his alabaster face, “Of course, I could smell it!” he retorted sharply. Her eyes narrowed down at Everard.

“Fool!” August hissed and turned away from him, striding back into the living room. She knew his eyes followed.

“What are you doing here anyway?” his silken voice questioned authoritatively. “Shouldn’t you be back in London?”

“I should,” August answered, “I am leaving tonight.” And then the cocky vampire laughed as he rose to his feet. Hair in disarray, shirt revealing his body. These were the actions of a troubled vampire that she knew all too well.

“You won't go,” he sneered.

“Why won't I?” August questioned harshly. This was something that August wanted to hear. Slowly Everard approached her in the living room. The scent of the girl’s blood was still strong upon his lips.

“You have too much here that you don’t wish to leave behind.”

“And you're certain of that, are you?”

“Yes,” he snapped impatiently, “Paris is your true home. Not London. you belong here, not there. A Paris vampire always remains close to home.” His blue sparkled.

“I go where I see fit,” was all August answered, her voice emotionless. For a long while, he studied August in silence. He was still angry; she could feel it.

“Why have you come back here? You made it clear that you wanted no part in this.”

At his words, August sat down. August answered, “I came back of my own accord.” An arrogant smirk crossed his face as he began to pace the room.

“Is that so? Two centuries and not one word of your existence until you received a letter from me, and only now you decide to visit me?”

For once August didn’t have a reply to his sarcasm. She didn’t know why she had come back. August suddenly wished she was in London, away from here, and away from him.

“Do not flatter yourself Everard” August said coldly. “I can assure you that I have not returned out of my love for you.” He drew closer; August backed away. He laughed a mocking laugh at her actions.

“Brave of you to admit such a lie so fondly.” Everard chastised her as he all but fell into the silken bedclothes, resuming the position that he had when August first entered the chateau. August didn’t answer him. She didn’t know what she was doing. In her mind, August whispered Kyle’s name. She didn't know why she thought of Kyle, but as soon as the name crossed her mind, she wished that she could have taken it back. 


Chapter 5

Everard looked up at August sharply. A rage burned in his blue eyes. For a moment, she stared at him dumbfounded, uncertain as to why Everard was looking at her with such malice.

“What?” his velvet voice snapped at August. She blinked.

“What?” August whispered a little breathlessly. His frown deepened.

“You said his name.”

August frowned, confused. “Whose name?”

“You know damned well whose name!” he hissed. August realized what he meant.

“Kyle?” August rasped. Everard’s reply was a curt nod before he tore his eyes away from hers.

“Is that why you’ve come back? To gloat? To mock?” Everard hissed.

Testing her patience, August approached him before perching herself on the armchair opposite him. Everard couldn’t look at her, and it was at that moment that she realized that her lover was ashamed at what he had done. A sick satisfaction took hold of August. She was glad he was disgusted with himself. That was why he was angry. He was angry at himself.

“I don’t know why I have come here,” August answered truthfully, ignoring his hostility. “I should be traveling to London, but instead, I am here talking to you.”

“Oh, how disappointing that must be for you,” he snapped. August tensed.

“Drop the facade Everard!” August scolded, “It serves you ill to speak so childishly.” Everard shot her a glare that was enough to kill.

“You really have exceeded yourself in what you have done,” August began. “Why now after all these years have you decided to call upon me? You made it plain that you wanted nothing to do with me.”

Abruptly, Everard got his feet. August’s maker detested nothing more than to be spoken to like a child. But he knew she was right. August could sense it.

“Why do I have to tell you my most private thoughts?” he spat nastily.

“Because if you want to have any chance of redemption, Everard, then your best bet is to start talking now or I’m gone. I will turn my back on you, I will oppose you until you despise me and hunt me down and murder me in my coffin.” August’s answer provoked him.

“You're brave to speak to me so freely, August,” he muttered darkly, “I have forgotten the fire that you bear in your soul. But what makes you think that I won't kill you? After all, that’s why you’re here, is it not?”

Instantly August raised her chin as his meaning caught her attention. Everard was aware of what his duty was to her. He was such a damned good liar. He laughed at her expression. “And there you thought I didn’t know. Oh, I know what your new lover has been saying to you, love. He whispers to me the same poisons as he does you. I know I am to be your death. But you, my dear August, what exactly is your part in this to me?”

August dug her nails into the soft plush of the armchair. Her mind raced at what Everard uttered. Kyle was the one who was insisting on her death, the young fledgling that she had grown to love. Kyle was her companion, but he could never fill the void of losing her noble lord. That was the bitter truth. August was still loyal to Everard, but too selfish to admit her true feelings to him.

“I have no purpose to you.” August tried to sound as if she was not afraid but the way that he suddenly looked at her was unnerving. Everard looked like a lion about to attack its prey.

“That’s not the way this works now is it. Your dear little fledgling has grown jealous. He knows your dark little secret, my love. He knows our little secret. So, you see my dear, I have a purpose and you, my dear, sweet nightmares also have a purpose.” His face grew dark, hateful. “So what is it?”

August wanted to leave. She wanted to flee. For two hundred years, she had not once been afraid of her lover until that moment. For once August truly saw her immortal lover for what he was: a monster.

“I told you,” she whispered. Everard was stalking close to her. August did not move. Could not.

“Ah yes, of course, my blood.” Everard stopped in front of August before biting hard into his wrist. She had not expected his reaction but no sooner had he bitten into his dead flesh, his wrist was it at August’s mouth forcing her to drink, drowning her in powerful blood. She didn’t drink it.

Forcefully August ripped herself from out of his vice-like grip and launched herself at him like a crazed animal. She was furious, livid, outraged by his blasphemous behavior. His back hit the stone wall with a crack. His fangs bared in wild insanity. Everard was stronger than she thought, and August was thrown into the cold stone wall, her fangs bared at him in hate.

“You foolish, foolish girl!” He hissed at August, pinning me closer to the wall. “You dare attack me? Me! Have you forgotten who I am?”

“Have you forgotten who I am?” August retorted with equal venom in her tone. He didn’t release her.

“I know all too well who you are! I created you, you insufferable fool!”

“Release me,” August threatened. Her anger rose to the point where she was capable of destroying him. Everard arched an eyebrow in cockiness.

“Are you threatening me, my love?” he mocked.

“I will not ask again.” Everard all but practically slammed August into the wall before he released her. She glared at him, wanting to tear out his arrogant throat.

“What do you want from me? I grow bored of this game you play.”

“It is you who is playing a game Everard. You who once again has dabbled in the history of our kind. Your letter brought me to Paris, not in hopes of a reconciliation but a reason as to why you left me to rot the moment that I became your vampiric pet!” A strange look crossed his face then, and August knew that her words had struck a nerve.

“You dare speak of such things?” he hissed lowly.

“Yes!” she growled, “I do! For centuries, I have walked the streets of London wondering if I would ever see you again! At first I thought that I could live without you, that I could live with the hurt that you inflicted on me. But with time, I realized that I could not. The pain was too deep. For years, I have walked this earth alone with nothing but my pain for company. How can you be cool when you know what pain you have caused?” August stopped before continuing slowly, disdainfully. “How can you face me when you know that we have a history of pain and suffering?”

Everard bristled like she knew he would. Her words had power. August stepped closer to him, playing the arrogant vampire at his own game. She was the only one brave enough to attempt such an act.

“Hmm,” August laughed slowly, mockingly into his ear. His back was to her. “You think you're invincible. Immune to the pains of the world. Little do you realize that are you are the cause of most of the atrocities that go on in this God-forsaken realm. When will you finally face up to your responsibility as a vampire to actually behave like a vampire? Why do you feel this constant need to be known? The urge to cause chaos? I know the reason.”

Everard didn’t face her when he spoke. “Do you?” he answered darkly, “And what is the reason, pray tell?”

It was simple. “You are afraid.” Everard whirled around so fast then in a white mist that even August’s supernatural eyes could not see his movements. Eyes of clear blue stared into hers like ice daggers, sharp and menacing.

“And what am I afraid of, dear August?” he roared. When August did not answer, he snapped, “Oh come, let's not be coy. You stand there in all your vampiric beauty, your immortal life that I gave to you, yet you insult me by calling me afraid? How dare you! You impotent wretch! You sicken me, get out of my sight before I obey your beloved’s wish!”

August didn’t move. “Fool!” he hissed again, teeth bared. “Do you have a death wish?” August found the pun amusing.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told him calmly, which only enraged him more. August knew what was coming next. Her determination always brought out the evil within him. Everard despised being challenged, confronted. Everard liked to think that he was the superior one.

Cold hands wrapped firmly into August’s hair. He dragged her over to the bed where the dead whore lay. August could have chosen to fight him. She could have killed him, and he could have killed her. At that moment, August thought he was going to, but she was wrong. This was another one of his games that he piteously believed would frighten me into obeying him.

“Damn you and your stubborn ways!” he growled as he threw her on the bed. Everard threw himself over her, pinning her down, trying to intimidate her. A long time ago it would have worked.

Silence prevailed between them as they lay together like two lovers locked in hatred. It had been centuries since they had been so close, so intimately close. When mortal, her handsome lord often showered August with his affection and would make love to her endlessly under the waxing moon.

When he was made immortal, all human desires died away with the body rendering them no longer able to love as mortals love.

Even though they were immortal, they still felt love. They were still able to kiss, caress the other’s cold, dead skin, whisper poetry, dance and laugh. All those emotions did not abandon them. What we chose to feel, they felt. And so, when Everard chose to abandon love and accept hate into his heart, August chose to abandon her love for him and accept her new love for her fledgling. August’s beautiful young fledgling who was conspiring against her. August damned him for his betrayal.

August lay in his bed, surrounded by his hard body. In their silence, his eyes looked into hers. She watched him, respecting and resenting the regal figure that pinned her to his blood-stained silken sheets all at the same time.

Anger still burned intensely in Everard’s eyes, though his expression had now become serene. At that moment, he almost looked like a porcelain doll. August wanted to share in his anger with him, to share his grief, his pain. She wanted to open herself up to him, to cradle his black head in her lap, caress him as a mother caressed her child. But August knew that what she felt was madness.

As if Everard could read her thoughts, he relaxed slightly. Slowly, tenderly, he raised his hand and placed it on August’s face. His action surprised her, but she showed no such emotion. August merely allowed him to do this, while her eyes watched his every move.

“Why do we do this?” he suddenly whispered to here. All traces of anger gone.

“Do what?” August answered.

“Pretend that we are no longer companions.” His fingers began to trace her jawline. Gentle, careful, as if she was made of marble.

“Because we are not, Everard.” It was a bitter-sweet revelation that made her feel sad. “We have not been for many a century.”

“But we could be,” he whispered leaning closer to August’s face. She inhaled his scent. So intoxicating and powerful that he sent her into overdrive. “Again.”

“And what madness has possessed you to think of such a thing?” August breathed as he toyed with her lips.

“You're here. Your presence intoxicates me as much as it irritates me. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I no longer want you, Ah, but the more I want you.”

“I would serve you no good,” August whispered gently as her own anger receded. They were actually communicating now, and she did not know why. The whole situation unnerved her. This was not the Everard she knew.

“I could teach you things. There is still so much that you could learn about your gifts my love. I could teach you, show you and we could become one again, like in the old days.” At his false hope, August smiled.

“The past is the past love, let’s forget it. I do not wish to continue living in my shadow.” His jaw tightened slightly at her words.

“But what if I cannot forget it?”

“What is it you cannot forget?” He sighed a heavy sigh and for the first time turned his eyes away from August to the dead girl that lay at her side.

“I am a monster. A cold-hearted murderer who preys on the fear of others. I am a killer, a hunter.” Then turning his eyes back to hers, he said coldly, “A stealer of lives.” August then realized that Everard wanted to talk of her making.

“We are all stealers of lives,” August told him half-heartedly.

“Admirable of you to lie so freely,” he scolded gently. “But we both know you haven’t killed a victim out of pure hatred. I have and will again. I’ve stolen mortal lives and forced them into eternal darkness whether they wanted it or not. I have made fledglings that loved life yet I stole them greedily away from the light and threw them into the dark. I stole you.”

“Everard,” August began wearily, but he cut her off.

“We never had the opportunity to talk about it. You never had the opportunity to consent or refuse me. I just took you for my own selfish desires. I couldn’t bear the thought of being parted from you. I was cast into a world that I knew little about. I didn’t have a choice in my making. And so I returned to you, raging and angry and hateful, jealous of your life, your humanity. I couldn’t bear the thought of you living. I wanted you to suffer the same fate as I, so I took you against your will. I...” He stopped in mid-sentence.

Everard’s hand upon August’s face fell onto her stomach. She felt a surge of memories flood back to her in an unwanted tidal wave. A sharp breath escaped her lips at his touch. His eyes held hers as he spoke. “I murdered our child.”

August couldn't stand it anymore. “I went back there,” she whispered mournfully in a monotonous voice. “To our apartment. I went out to hunt, but I ended up back at the house.”

August forced herself to sit up. Everard slowly recoiled in bitter sadness, but she took his hand in hers. He softened. “I visited the grave my sweet. It’s abandoned. Ivy hangs overgrown over the tomb; it smells of death even though there is no body or no bones lying beneath it. I pity the place. I...”

“I took everything from you,” he answered, “Your brother, our unborn child, your life.”

“The past is forgotten,” August answered sadly. It was a lie. The past was not forgotten. It could never be forgotten.

Everard sighed heavily before reaching out his slender arms and encircling August in a tight embrace. He pulled her to his chest, and she let him. He smoothed her hair as he once did when she had arisen a distraught vampire. August closed her eyes, letting herself enjoy the moment one last time before she left him for good.

“Oh my love,” he said to her softly. “I have lain with many a mortal woman since you left me. In my pain, I went on a killing spree, I indulged in the most twisted, sickest perversions that I could imagine. Yes, there were many beautiful mortals, but not one of them was as beautiful as you. When I lay with the living, it was not the temptation that I was seeing. It was you.”

August smiled into the silk of his chest like a bashful child. “Fool,” August whispered and for once she heard him laugh. It was like music to her ears, light and magical. For a time, they were not two immortal beings entwined in darkness. No, they were two mortal lovers again.

Chapter 6

August don’t how long they had been lying there on the bed, but she was awoken by the sound of her phone ringing. August sprang to her feet at the sound and pulled the phone out of her leather jacket. August looked at the screen. It was Kyle. Swiping her finger across the screen, she answered. Everard was sleeping like a raven-haired angel.

“I know you are at a loss as to why I haven’t come home, my love,” August whispered to Kyle with her anger burning. August knew that Kyle wanted her dead. All this time he had conspired against her. He was jealous of her feelings for Everard. He was selfish. He wanted August all to himself but he knew that he could never have her. As much as she tried to deny it, she belonged to only one vampire: Everard Nightingale.

For a long moment, Kyle didn’t answer. The phone line went dead. August’s fledgling was furious; she could sense it. She could feel his hate, his resentment.

August turned to look at her lover then. Everard was sleeping, his arms spread wide out over the bed like an angel. She had to make her move now; she had to leave him, unnoticed.

August remained silent. All she could hear was the sound of the crackling fire in the hearth behind her. She stood as still as a ghost, unmoving, apprehensive. Her head bowed slightly, looking at the floor. August’s mind raced as she began to think how Everard should never have taken her humanity away and killed their child. Even now, the memory was too painful for August to bear, even after all these centuries.

August could feel his eyes burning into hers before she lifted her head to look at him. When she did, Everard was half-smirking his famous arrogant smile.

“I should go,” August whispered in a strange tone. She tried to make a move, but Everard shot his hand out to her wrist, halting her steps. August looked down at his hand on her wrist before looking back up into his eyes.

“So soon?” he answered, “You’ve only just arrived.”

“I have business to attend to in London,” August told him. He snorted then.

“Of all the excuses!” he began, and just like that the monster returned. August was in no mood to listen to his childishness. She had put with his childish ways for half of her newborn vampire life. As a mortal, Everard had never been so cruel and deceitful.

“There is no further reason for me to stay now my love,” August whispered tiredly to him. Everard's eyes sparkled a deep blue then, and she felt her heart race.

“You are going to walk back into the world and be at great risk of being murdered while you slumber?” he questioned.

“It's a risk I am willing to take,” she told him, “besides, if I were to die, it would be by your hand. You're my death!”

Everard studied August for a long moment then before finally, gracefully walking over to her, his silken shirt shining in the dim candle light. She watched his every move, waiting.

“You know I won't kill you,” he purred gently then, his blue eyes glinting in the light. “I made you because you are beautiful. Why would I want to end such beauty?” “It wouldn’t be up to you, would it?” August stated bluntly, unappeased by his flattering remarks. “My fledgling is a manipulator, a deceiver. He corrupts and he possesses. If you were to kill me right now and he was in control, I wouldn’t stand a chance against you.”


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