1.9 And Busted

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Sometime around lunchtime of Christmas Eve, I stirred awake. Surprised that Sophia hadn’t been there and woken me up earlier, I stretched slightly and yawned before getting up. I took a quick shower before getting dressed and heading downstairs.

Madeline and Ophelia sat at the table. Madie was gingery chewing on a bite of Sophia’s infamous pancakes and Ohelia was reading. There was an uncomfortable tension in the air. Sighing and refraining from rolling my eyes, I seated myself in my chair. Trying to lighten up the mood in the room, I smiled.

Both of them turned their heads to look at me, and both of them looked equally surprised.

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“Clarence,” Ophelia gasped, “you are smiling!”

“Yes!” Madeline agreed, “and that smile is actually quite pretty,” she laughed softly and I arched an eyebrow.

“Why does it come as such a big surprise? Today is Christmas Eve, aren’t all of us supposed to be happy and nice towards everyone? Besides, no one woke me up six o clock this morning, so I’m content. Uh… speaking of no one waking me up, where’s Sophia?”

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“She said she had some small errand in town,” Madeline said with a slight nod of her head, “and you’re right. Merry Christmas, Clarence and Ophelia!” she smiled and winked at my sister.

Ophelia looked annoyed. “Bah, merry Christmas to you too, little snack.”

“Ophelia!” I exclaimed, giving her a look that could have competed with the taste of a lemon, “behave yourself.”

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“Ugh,” Ophelia muttered haughtily, “very well. Sorry, Madeline…”

I sighed and slumped back in my chair, resigning. Couldn’t she at least try to be friendly towards other people? Had she forgotten all her manners? Ophelia was truly infuriating at times.Especially when she was being her snarky self towards people I liked.

I paused as Sophia came sauntering into the room, holding several shopping bags. I frowned and glanced at them curiously, trying to see what was inside. Instantly Sophia placed them down and showed them out of my sight with her foot.

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“Nah-ah! No peeking!” she chided, though she was not truly angry. Moments later her expression split into a mysterious smile.

“Merry Christmas, everyone!” she said happily, “and good morning, sleeping beauty,” she looked at me before letting her gaze wander to Madeline, “did you like the pancakes, my dear?” asked Sophia.

Madeline nodded her head. “You bet I did, they’re awesome! Not even my grandma could have done better… and she did make great pancakes,” for a moment sadness flicked through her eyes. First then I actually considered that Madeline had a family she belonged to, one she must have missed a lot.

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I looked down and bit my lip wearily. I liked Madeline a lot, but could I trust her? She was a reporter, the sneakiest of all human kinds… but she was also now one of my friends. Shouldn’t I trust a friend? Maybe it would be time to let Madeline go home soon… even if I somehow didn’t want her to. That was for selfish reasons, though. I’d come to like her a lot, and the house would feel empty without her, even if it really was not. Sighing I stared at the ground.

Suddenly I hear a small, mewing sound from under the table. I shifted my my eyes to meet the gaze of Vladimir. Smiling weakly I gently stroke his fur. “Good morning, my friend…” I murmured gently, scratching him behind his ear. He began to stretch on the floor and purr contently. My face lit up and I laughed softly. “D’wwww…”

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“You’re like a crazy cat lady… just… you’re not a lady,” Ophelia commented as she watched me, chuckling softly. “Oh wait, I might have to take that back… dainty flower. You were quite cute on the ice,” she teased.

I froze and glanced up, narrowing my eyes. “How do y-“

She didn’t let me finish my question and interrupted, “Aw, come on, Clarence! It isn’t really that hard to figure out. I followed you lovebirds…”

I could feel a slight blush spread over my cheeks. Well, if that now was possible- me being a vampire. Maybe it was just my imagination, though.

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“Why did you follow us?” Madeline asked, breaking the awkward silence that had manifested in the room.

“Why do you think?” Ophelia asked, smirking, “I was curious,” she stood up and started heading out of the dining room. However, right before she exited she turned around to look at us, “ah, sadly nothing interesting happened, though,” she winked and then quickly peeked into Sophia’s bags, “oooh, nice! Painting stuff, must be for Clarence…” she laughed before exiting.

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Sophia groaned. “You ruined the surprise!” shaking her head she grabbed her shopping bags and then stomped up the stairs, grumbling to herself.

When both of them were gone, the room went awfully quiet again. I sat there,  staring at my feet wearily as I was not quite sure what to say.

Again it was Madeline who broke the silence. “So…uhm… would you like to go ice skating again sometime? Or maybe do something else?” she asked shyly, “I-I mean… unless you mind. It was kind of fun… with or without Ophelia finding out,” she laughed a little nervously.

I paused and looked at her, tilting my head and starting to smile softly. “I would very much like to do something with you again, Madeline… “ I replied gently.

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Her face lit up. “Cool! Well… what would you like to do?” she asked, with slightly more confidence this time.

I looked thoughtful. “Uhm… “ There wasn’t really that much to do in the winter, was there? Well, at least nothing remotely safe, “We could have a dinner at the Bistro,” I finally suggested.

“Yes! That sounds like a wonderful idea!” she smiled, and I was pretty sure there was a tiny blush forming on her cheeks.

***

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“I am very disappointed in you!” Meg snapped, glaring down at me from upon the throne. “I ordered you to kill her, no matter if she was your sister or not! I did not give you the permission to make her one of us!” she shook her head and glowered with rage, tapping her finger on the handle of the throne. “You are a disgusting, piece of junk, Clarence… a whimp amongst our kind!”

I cringed at her words. “Your highness… please, try to understand. If you had to kill one of your family members, what would you have done?”

“Actually,” she said coolly, “I drained my own mother of blood and tortured my father to death. Your argument is not valid,” a twisted smirk spread over her lips, “maybe you should need a taste of what I did to my old man. It would teach you a lesson…”

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Ophelia’s eyes widened, and for the first time she spoke. “Please, your highness… d-don’t harm him! He has done nothing wrong! What does it matter if he turned me or not? I promise I will never do anything to reveal our secret!”

“SILENCE!” Meg roared, a maddened glint in her eyes, “you have no room to speak, fledgling,” a scowl spread over her features, “The case is closed. Clarence Landcaster shall be punished, and if you try to interfere, I will have you punished as well,” she spoke with such coldness and authority; I felt a chill go down my spine.

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Ophelia looked scared, but like she was about to say something more.

I gently grabbed hold of her wrist.

“Sister, please,” I said gently, “I will be fine,” I forced a reassuring smile.

She looked down, her whole body was tense, but she said no more.

***

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We were seated around the dining table which was filled with delicacies and decorations. Everyone seemed to be in a rather good mood, even Ophealia and Sophia, despite what happened earlier.

“Clarence?”

I paused and glanced up at my sister as she spoke.

“Yes?” I asked.

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“Would you mind me inviting some friends and have a tea party?” she smiled.

I arched an eyebrow and leaned back in my chair.

“A… tea party? When? Why? Who would you invite?” I asked slowly.

She giggled a little, almost sounding like a child.

“Just some friends… I would simply like to have a tea party. Is there anything wrong with that?” she asked cheerfully.

I sighed and rubbed my forehead.

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“Very well, you can have a tea party,” I said, poking a little at the cheese on my plate with my fork before taking another bite. It wasn’t as good as blood fresh from the source, but it was good.

“Yaaaaaay!” she cheered, “thank you, Clarykins!”

I rolled my eyes and didn’t even bother replying to that. Then I glanced at Madeline and Sophia who were chatting happily and seemed to have a great time. A slight smile lit up my face. Liked to see all of them happy; it made me happy.

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1.8 Ice Skating

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“That’s such a sad story,” Madeline said quietly as she walked beside me, “It’s a horrible fate, dieing of a heart disease… I can understand how I make you uneasy now, I’m sorry,” she said quietly, looking down.

I walked beside her, watching her carefully as I stuffed my hands in my pockets and slowly nodded her head. “Indeed,” I muttered, avoiding her gaze. A chilly breeze blew straight at us and whipped up some snow from the ground. I noticed Madeleine shiver slightly and sighed.

I asked slowly, “Are you cold?”

She looked at me and then quickly shook her head.

“No!” she said, seriously, “not really… it’s just…uh…”

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“Cold?” I asked slowly, arching an eyebrow.

Madeline sighed and nodded her head, giving up.

“We should start heading back home,” I replied, turning left as I knew that way would bring us right home.

“Uh…yeah…” Madeline said with a weak smile, blushing ever so slightly. When we crossed one of the rivers, she suddenly stopped, tilting her head.

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“Hey Clarence,” she asked, “have you ever tried ice skating?”

I blinked and stopped as well, giving her a look that questioned if she was insane.

“No…” I finally said, slowly, “what is ice skating?”

Her yaw almost dropped. “You don’t know what ice skating is? Agh! You gotta try it out sometime! You skate on the ice, with shoes that have blades, kinda.”

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“Err… that sounds dangerous, girl. Are you sure you know what you are talking about?” I questioned.

She nodded her head and smiled, taking hold of my hand.

“Come on, I’ll show you! We just need to find some skates first. I think I know where…”

“Where do you intend to find bladed shoes in the middle of the night?” I asked wearily, following her. “Besides, I thought you were cold!”

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“This will warm us up!” she giggled softly.

***

Ophelia’s POV.

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I gazed out the window silently, holding a cigarette in one hand and a newspaper in my other. My eyes scanned the pages with information that was mostly of no interest to me, but then suddenly I stopped. Something with one of the articles had caught my attention. I put out the cigarette and dropped it into the ashtray, arching an eyebrow as I started to read it.

Young Emily Harper, a student at Twinbrook High, has fallen into a strange coma. Neither the doctors at the hospital, nor any of the scientists who have been contacted, know what it is. It seems

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I didn’t continue reading, but my gaze flicked to the picture that looked like it was of an old woman laying on the floor. Beneath the picture, the name Emily Harper was scripted. It looked like she had been drained of her youth, which I guessed she probably had.The whole phenomena reeked magical involvement. I had seen this kind of phenomena only one time before. It was when I encountered a witch in Simtalia. Did that mean there was a witch in Twinbrook now, stealing the youth of girls? Even if that was so, I couldn’t really care less.

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I froze as I heard the floor creak behind me. A chill went down my spine and I quickly turned my head to see what it was. For a moment I thought I saw a youg woman with flaming red hair, but she vanished as soon as she had appeared, so I never really had time to register how exactly she looked. All I remember fully is the red hair.

***

Clarence POV.

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Madeline stepped out of the garage with a triumphant smile and holding two pairs of bladed shows in each of her hands.

“See?” she asked, “I told you I knew where to find them!”

I sighed and rubbed my head. “Isn’t this stealing?” asked slowly. I didn’t like the idea of bladed shoes slipping around on the ice, or whatever.

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Madeline shook her head and smiled. “These belong to me grandparents… We’re just borrowing them. If we return them when were done they’ll never have noticed a thing. Now come,” She started back towards the river and I followed her.

“If you say so, Madeline, if you say so,” I muttered.

***

We arrived at the river and she told me to sit down on a bench. I did as I was told. Gently she helped me put on the bladed shoes. Then she put on the other pair. When we both were ready. she smiled and held out her hand to me. I raised an eyebrow.

“I’d rather no-“

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It was already too late. She pulled me to my feet and then onto the ice. I remember letting out a scared yelp. This didn’t seem like a good idea at all. Madeline giggled with amusement, making me glare at her.

“Stop that!” I snapped, “this could result in broken bones and soaked clothes! I could catch a cold or get hurt in some other way! Don’t giggle!”

Madeline stopped giggling but started to smirk slightly.

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“Is the dangerous vampire scared of a little water? Come on, you dainty flower. There’s no need to be scared. I promise the ice won’t break and neither will your bones. it’s easy to learn, really. You’ll just have to put some faith into me. Mimic my movements,” she gently let to of my hand and then started skating across the ice. I frowned and tried to follow her, but instantly fell on my butt.

“Ouch,” I growled.

Madeline came skating back to me and held out her hand. I begrudgingly took it, letting her help me to my feet.

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“It takes a bit of practice, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll love it!” she smiled at me reassuringly.

And she was right. It took me a while, but once I’d gotten the hang of it I actually enjoyed it. Better still, I didn’t break my bones or the ice, so all my fears had probably been for nothing. Neither did I catch a cold.To be honest, this was one of the happiest days of my life, up to then. At least my life the last hundred years.

Not until the beginning of dawn, we headed home.

***

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After this experience, things around the house became more relaxed. Well, at least I did. Madeline didn’t bother me as much anymore, even though she still reminded me a lot of my beloved Juliet.

I continued my work at the Mausoleum, although I still found it totally pointless. At least I advanced in my career and didn’t have to dig graves anymore. Yup, life was surprisingly easy and actually nice, for once. Who’d have guessed? Even I could be… almost happy.

A week later, it was time for Christmas.

1.7 Not A Dream

Note: Warning! This chapter does contain some violence. I just thought I’d let you know. :3

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“How could you?!”

Juliet’s voice rang through the shack, “not only did you kill the man, but you executed his whole family as well. There were children, Clarence! Children! You killed an infant!” she shook her head in exasperation and fury, “you promise me you would never kill again! How could you break that promise? Does the truth really mean nothing to you?!”

The pained look that crossed her face was unbearable. I looked down, not knowing what to say. I hadn’t meant to. It was all an accident. I never meant to kill them all. I never meant to kill anyone in the first place. I’d just… lost control. How could I tell Juliet all that? She wouldn’t understand. She couldn’t understand!

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“I didn’t mean to!” I exclaimed defensively, my voice barely audible as my throat was so tight, “I didn’t want to kill them! It…I-It just happened!”

Juliet narrowed her eyes. “How can killing someone just happen, Clarence? It doesn’t,” she said flatly, “you don’t simply kill a person without meaning it. You don’t execute a family without meaning to! What were you thinking?!” she looked so disappointed. It hurt.

I quickly shook my head, unable to speak, unable to explain. “I haven’t had any blood for so long,” I finally whispered, “I was so hungry… I-I… I didn’t think. I just acted on instinct, Juliet,” I whispered weakly. And I had been drunk. I was still drunk… and when I was drunk I did stupid things. She didn’t need to know that, though. Then she would just scold me for drinking. Alcohol was my only way of cooping though moments.

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Juliet turned her gaze away from me, staring at the wall for a long time before she spoke. “I can’t believe you did it,” she finally said, her voice flat and emotionless, “it was irresponsible… and you broke the promise. How can I ever trust you again?” she looked back at me with a sad expression.

Somehow I snapped at that point. I don’t know how or why it happened. I just did.. Suddenly I was so filled with blind rage. How did she dare, a human, coming into my life and trying to change me? Trying to change what I was? She had no right to! It didn’t matter if I loved her or not! I was a vampire. I was a god of death. She couldn’t just expect me to change my nature! It was my… duty to kill!

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“BE SILENT!” I roared, a manic look entering my eyes.

She was taken aback by my sudden change of attitude and edged back, looking somewhat scared.

“C-Clarence,” she stuttered.

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“NO! BE SILENT!” I repeated, taking a step towards her, “I can’t believe I let a puny little human like you come so close to me,” I hissed at her, seething with rage, “I can’t believe you dared raise your voice to me! You are a human, a slave and a woman! You out of all people, have no right to say anything at all, do you hear me?!” I circled her, baring my fangs.

She just stared at me, stunned by my behavior.

“DO YOU HEAR ME?!” I roared.

Juliet flinched and nodded her head quickly, tears filling her eyes. I didn’t notice how scared she was. I didn’t even notice that she was nodding. All I saw was… red.

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“Clarence, p-please…calm down, I beg you,” she whispered in fear, “I-I didn’t mean to upset you,” she continued tentatively after a while, glancing up at me. She was trembling.

I laughed the laugh of a madman and grabbed hold of her neck.

“Of course you didn’t mean to! But you did!” there was still a crazed glint in my eyes.

“P-please…Clarence…”

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I didn’t let her finish whatever she was about to say. Without thinking I rammed her against the wall. Then I did it again, and again and again.

“SILENCE, SILENCE, SILENCE!” I roared manically.

Her screams and pleas echoed through the shack, but I didn’t hear.

Before long she stopped screaming.

And her body went limp.

“I love…you…Clarence…” was the last thing I heard her rasp.

And then she was gone.

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***

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I woke up from hearing myself screaming her name. My sweat soaked night attire clung to my body and I was shaking violently, tears rolling down my cheeks. I buried my face in my hands and began to sob.

“I will never kill again, Juliet,” I whispered in a hoarse voice, “n-never, ever, again. I swear, I promise,” I whispered, “never…”

I didn’t notice the door to my room open, but I did notice someone putting their arms around me and holding me close.

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“Shh, Clarence,” Sophia whispered softly, gently rubbing my back as she hugged me, “it was all just a dream. All just a dream,” she murmured soothingly.

I burst into even more tears and buried my face in her shoulder. It wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t even a nightmare. It was a memory.

“Ju-uliet,” I howled.

***

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I felt uncomfortable with Madeline around the house. To my annoyance, Sophia insisted on that we don’t simply lock her up but let her roam the house, on the conditions that she didn’t leave. This meant I had to see her at least once every day. Each time I looked at her, I saw Juliet, and each reminder of her hurt more than the last. At least I had Vladimir to comfort me. Although, it dismayed me that he seemed to like Madeline. Everyone seemed to like Madeline. Well, not Ophelia, but she disliked all humans.

Ophelia remained in the house as well, but she behaved herself. Even if she now and then teased Madeline because she was human, she didn’t touch her, which was good. She did, however, still nag at me to get rid of Sophia. She also kept trying to get me to hunt with her, which I of course refused. Sometimes I wished everything could just go back to how it once had been: only me and Sophia living in this house and life being pointless. Life was still pointless, but now there were annoying obstacles in it.

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The time when the police knocked on our door actually arrived, but all I had to do was use some compulsion to make them go away. It was an easy deal. However, Madeline was not too happy about still not being able to go home. She made her point clear by not attending to dinner that night. However, a few days later she had calmed down, and although I’m sure she wasn’t happy, she at least made the best of the situation and tried to enjoy whatever there was to do in the manor. I simply tried to avoid her as much as possible.

Time went and winter arrived in Twinbrook. It was truly beautiful with the white snow covering the hills. However, the arrival of winter also meant Snowflake Day was close, and knowing Sophia, she would like to celebrate it. I wasn’t really the celebration kind and Ophelia wasn’t the traditional person, but I was pretty sure Madeline would appreciate it. Not that I had a choice in the matter anyways. Sophia would make sure we celebrated it.

***

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It was an early December afternoon, and I was as usual in my atelier, painting. Suddenly someone knocked on the door. I sighed and frowned.

“Come in!” I called without taking my eyes off the painting.

The door opened and someone stepped in. Someone with high heals. That meant it was one of two people: either Ophelia or Madeline. Sophia didn’t wear high heals.

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“Uhm… Clarence?” it was Madeline, “I’d like to talk with you about something,” she said, sounding ever so slightly uneasy.

I arched an eyebrow and turned around to face her. “What do you want?” I asked shortly, narrowing my eyes slightly.

She smiled weakly and glanced at the painting I was working on. “Wow, you paint real well,” she said softly with a slight nod of her head. However, then she turned her attention back to me. “That wasn’t what I wanted to talk about, though. Uhm…” she looked down and scuffed her feet, sighing, “You know… I was wondering if you hate me? I mean, your sister has made her point clear. She really dislikes me. Sophia seems to like me, but you? I have no idea. One moment you can seem all friendly and proper, the next you drop some really mean comment or outright seem to try and avoid me. It isn’t like I want to be around you all the time or anything, but… I was just wondering,” she bit her lip and glanced up at me.

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I sighed softly and I shook my head. “I don’t hate you, Madeline… you just make me feel… uncomfortable.”

First she looked relieved, but then she frowned. “Uncomfortable? How?” she asked wearily.

I glanced out the window and sighed. It was dark and well past midnight. There wasn’t a big chance anyone would run into us or recognize Madeline in the darkness and at this hour. Then I set my eyes back on her.

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“Meet me outside and we’ll go on a walk. I’ll tell you a story,” I said after several hesitations.

She smiled a little and nodded her head. “Okay,” she said and headed out of the room.

I waited a little until I was sure she was gone, and then I made my way towards my closet to get my coat.

1.6 A Memory Worth Telling

Madelines’s POV

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My eyes fluttered open and there was a bitter taste in my mouth. My head was spinning and aching. However, most of all, I was confused. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, it also took me a while to regain my most recent memories.

What happened? Where am I? Who am I?

“I am Madeline Medalion, a 25 years old journalist who was just interviewing a-“

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“Please, don’t faint again,” a deep and surprisingly attractive soft voice came from somewhere in the room. A man with a deathly pale complexion and glowing aqua eyes, slipped out of the shadows and interrupted me. Jonathan Landcaster. My heart lurched with fear and I could feel myself automatically press against the wall.

He lit a light and then studied me carefully as I just sat there, staring at him with wide eyes.

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“Please don’t eat me,” I squeaked in a barely audible voice. Until now, I hadn’t even known vampires existed. I truly wished right then, it had stayed that way.

Jonathan let out a hearty laugh and shook his head slightly, obviously amused by my reaction. However, then his expression turned bitter.

“I would never do such a thing,” he said, dead pan as he tilted his head to the side, “but I am afraid you won’t be able to leave this house. I cannot risk having you tell anyone about the existence of vampires. It would threaten all supernatural species.”

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I blinked. “There are more… supernatural species than vampires?” I asked wearily. I shouldn’t really have been surprised. There was a sinking feeling in my stomach. He wouldn’t let me leave this creepy manor? “How can you stop me from leaving? I mean, of course you can stop me but,” I paused and frowned, “people out there will be looking for me. My family, for example.”

“Yes. There are more. But I won’t go into details about it. About the problem of people coming looking for you, however… I’ll take care of the problem when it arrives,” he replied nonchalantly. “Now, how are you feeling? Well, besides from obviously being scared. You look like you have seen a ghost,” his expression was still fully serious and his tone remained deadpan.

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The door swung open and a plumb woman sauntered in, shoving the vampire slightly out of the way. “So, so, Clarence. Don’t scare our guests!” she huffed, shaking her head slightly. She, at least, looked human. When she turned to me a soft and warm smile spread over her features.

“My dear, there is no need for you to be scared of the moron. He can do about as much harm as a kitten,” she said gently.

The vampire groaned. “Sophia, could you please sto-“

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The woman frowned and swirled around, placing her hands on her hips. “Clarence,  don’t you have more important matters to take care of?” she asked with a stern undertone in her voice.

He didn’t take the hint.

“No, I d-“

“Leave!” she interrupted him. He rolled his eyes and then walked out, shoving the door shut with his foot as he went.

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I just sat there, watching them awkwardly. One thing was for sure, though. The vampire had just lost all his scary status. How could he let an old woman control him like that? It was a but comical, but fascinating to watch, though.

Sophia turned to me, all signs of how angry she had been moments ago gone.

“Are you alright, sweetheart?” she asked softly, looking concerned.

I rubbed my forehead and nodded a little. “I’m just fine. Uh-uhm… Clarence? Isn’t that the name of his great, great grandfather?” I asked wearily, trying to make sense of everything that had just happened, “and will I truly be struck here?” I shuddered at the thought. Maybe Jonathan or Clarence or whatever his name now was- didn’t scare me, but his sister sure as hell did.

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Sophia sighed softly. “You must have figured out by now that Clarence is a vampire, no?” she asked gently, “he is much older than most think he is. Since he almost never leaves this house, not many remember how he looks. Like that he could easily call himself Clarence son… and then Clarence grandson and then his grandson’s son. But no, Clarence is his name. There has never been another Clarence Landcaster before.” She explained.

“I…see…” I said slowly and before I could continue she spoke again.

“I am afraid you will indeed have to stay here. Clarence is right. We cannot risk having the identity of supernatural creatures exposed. It would not lead to anything good. Humans better stay oblivious to their existence,” she smiled sadly.

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“Damn it,” was all I could muster, slumping back down on the bed and shutting my eyes. The headache was becoming worse. How in the world had I ended up like this?!

***

Clarence’s POV

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Dawn had already arrived, but I was still awake, laying in my bed and staring at the ceiling. I sighed and shut my eyes. Juliet. My memories of her were so bittersweet. Why did this girl have to look so much like her?! Why did this girl have to come to my house and remind me of another thing I was trying to forget?! It wasn’t fair! Life wasn’t fair! Nothing was fair! I grumbled something to myself and turned on my side, opening my eyes again and staring at the wall.

You are confused? Well, I better start from the beginning.

Like I told this Madeline girl, I arrived in Simerica year 1857. By then I had already been a vampire for four years and my sister had been for three. She was not with me, though, for reasons not important enough to tell, yet. My reasons of coming here are not exactly relevant right now, either.

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Twinbrook was the city I somehow ended up in after some traveling. At the time, Twinbrook was only a tiny little village but they had plans on expanding the village, so that one day it would be a town. Because I have always been talented with numbers and had my knowledge, they made me their banker. It was a good job. Boring, but good. I earned most of my money that way. Painting has simply always just been a hobby.

Back then, my home was nothing more but a simple cabin.I couldn’t really effort more at that point.

One evening when I was just about to go to bed, someone knocked on the door. Wondering who would visit me at this later hour, I curiously opened it. Outside a young slave girl was standing, her arms tightly wound about herself. It was snowing and she was shivering with cold. The girl was bruised and there were blood stains on her torn dress. Although she was human and a slave, I pitied the her somewhat. So I decided to invite her into my home. After all, she could always become my lunch when I tired of having her as my pet.

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I gave her food, a roof above her head and a nice and warm bed. Somehow, I took a shine to her and she never became my food. I don’t know what it was I liked so much about her. Maybe it was her beauty, but I believe more that it was her tender and caring nature that appealed to me. Before I knew it, I was in love with her. Yes, I was in love with not only a human, but also a slave. Juliet was her name, and she was one of the most wonderful beings to have ever walked this earth.

I knew I could never confess my love to her, though and I knew there could never be something between us. It just wouldn’t work. I wished it was possible, but it wasn’t.

Juliet rather soon found out about my identity as a vampire but she never breathed a word about it to anyone. I think she was simply too grateful for what I had done for her and maybe she actually loved me like I loved her. However, that she found out also meant she found about about the killing. She hated it. She hated knowing what I did every night. It pained her so much to know other people suffered at my hands. It hurt me even more to see her so unhappy and pained because of my actions.

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Juliet made me promise I would never kill again. To take blood was alright. To use compulsion to make people forget was a necessity- but I promised never to kill again- no matter what my vampiric nature usually would have me do.

And I didn’t keep my promise.

1.5 Memories, Insterviews and Hungry Vampires

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I moved through the corridor of the hospital gracefully, my sister trailing after me with a rather disoriented and even somewhat frightened expression. I understood her. It was truly both of those things in the beginning of being a vampire, but she would get used to it, eventually.

“What are we doing in the hospital?!” she hissed behind me, glancing around wearily. I shoved the door to one of the rooms open, ignoring her question. Striding inside, a slight smile started to creep across my lips. Ophelia stepped in after me, biting her lip nervously. She was even trembling slightly. I had the feeling she knew what was going to happen. Or, at least somehow an idea of It.

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“Calm down,” I whispered reassuringly and then gestured to one of the two children sleeping in the room, “everything will go just fine,” I paused. “Now I want you to do something for me. Take a deep breath and tell me what you smell,” the smile remained on my lips as I turned around to face her. She nodded her head nervously and then inhaled a deep breath as she was told. Her brow furrowed.

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“Why does it smell so strongly of flowers in here? Flowers and something more,” she whispered in confusion, “there aren’t any flowers in this room.”

“That, my dearest sister,” I said smoothly, “is the scent of death. One of the children in here,” I gestured at the child again to make my point, “is dying. She is in pain. Oh, such a terrible pain… and you can end it, Ophelia. Take her life and end her suffering. In that way she will go to heaven which she deserves, and you will have sated your hunger,” my voice was soft like silk and there was a compelling undertone in it.

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Ophelia’s eyes widened and she quickly shook her head. “I-I can’t do that! It would be… murdering a child, for heaven’s sake!” she was appalled.

I sighed, having anticipated that this would come. Slowly I shook my head, my smile faltering slightly. “Ophelia,” I said slowly, seriously, “did you not listen to me? Did you not hear what I just said? The child is ill, fatally so. She will die no matter what you do. Can you not smell it? You can end her suffering,” I paused again and tilted my head to the side as I considered very carefully what I would say next. “Think about this. Did you ever feel guilty when you ate flesh before?”

She thought about this for a while, still looking horrified by what I had said. Then she shook her head slowly. “No… but you cannot compare a child with cattle!” she exclaimed in desperation, although still keeping her voice hushed. I was glad for that. If anyone came in here, the game would be over.

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Smiling slightly I shook my head. “That is where you are wrong, sister. Of course you can. What difference is there between a lamb and a child? What difference is there between humans and cattle, really? Look at it this way. Humans eat chickens, and we eat them. We are superior to them, we drink their blood, they eat the flesh of cattle. There is no difference,” I paused for effect, “and now put an end to the suffering of the poor child. After all, it would be cruel to let a pig suffer before slaughter as well.”

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Trembling slightly, she just stared at me in utter horror and disbelief. It seemed like she had lost the ability to speak, and she did not know how to react. Then a resigned look entered her eyes as the hunger became too strong. She walked over to the whimpering, sleeping child and sat down by her side, carefully leaning down and then sinking her sharp, new fangs into her neck. The girl woke up and began to struggle, but Ophelia grabbed hold of her and squeezed her tightly so she couldn’t move. The blissful look on my sisters face warmed my heart. I knew it was her vampiric instincts influencing her, but I have to say; she did it beautifully. Within a moment the girl was as deathly still as pale, and not even the slightest of sounds left her mouth. Her chest was no longer heaving to show any signs of life, and the girl was stone dead.

My smile widened. My sister would make a fine vampire. She just needed to become accustomed to it.

Ophelia looked up at me, blood trickling down her chin.

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“Where to get… more?”

***

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The sound of someone knocking on the door snapped me out of my daydream like flashbacks. Wondering whoever would decide to knock at my door, I stood up from the sofa. I glanced down at myself and noticed that I was still wearing my sleeping attire.
“Sophia!” I called. Why in the world hasn’t she opened the door attended the door yet anyways? She always does, although no one ever really visits, of course… I thought and sighed, shaking my head slightly. Maybe she could have gone out? Although, I would have remembered that, wouldn’t I? Reluctantly I quickly got dressed and then headed to the door and opened it, wearily. There was a peasant girl standing outside. My eyes widened. I was sure I had seen that girl somewhere else before. I just wasn’t sure where.

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“Uhm, good evening, sir,” she started, flashing me a slightly nervous smile, “I am Madeline Medalion and am working on a project where I have to interview people who have lived here for a long time. Someone told me I should go and check with the Landcasters, since they have lived here for quite a while, no? Would you mind an interview?” she asked gently.

I narrowed my eyes and considered this for a moment. Then I shook my head a little and flashed a half smile, carefully, so that my fangs remained hidden. “You are correct and I don’t mind,” I beckoned her to come inside and then started walking through the corridors, towards the library. She trailed after me, glancing around at everything curiously.
“Thank you,” she paused, “Your home is very nice,” I heard her comment.

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“I know,” I replied, without any particular emotion. My mind was spinning. Where in the world had I seen her before?

***

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She sat down at the table across from me and pulled out a notebook and a pen, positioning them so that she could take notes. Then she glanced up and set her eyes on me, smiling slightly.

“What is your name?” the girl asked.

“My name is Jonathan Landcaster,” I said smoothly, placing my hands in my lap and leaning back in my chair slightly. The girl scribbled it down.

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“It is a pleasure to meet you, Jonathan Landcaster,” she smiled, “when did your family first come here?” Madeline continued.

“My great, great grandfather, Clarence Landcaster, moved here year 1856. He became a banker, and did help build this town. He built this house.” I was of course speaking about what I had done and Jonathan being my name was an outright lie.  My parents never even came close to thinking about moving to Simerica. Right then I wondered how in the world had I become so lazy the last few decades? Once upon a time I’d done so much, and now I was just… me. Painting, that was what I did now.

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“I didn’t know that. Cool,” Madeline laughed softly and scribbled that down as well. “Do you know why your great, great grandfather decided to move here?”

I was just about to answer when Ophelia peaked her head into the room. She arched an eyebrow but then began to smirk. “So that is how you do it, little Clarykins! You lure your food into the house, and then kill her. I must say, I am impressed,” she chuckled and made no effort of hiding her fangs as she stepped into the room. Madeline’s eyes widened in shock and she dropped the notebook to the floor. I narrowed my eyes and sprung to my feet, quickly stepping in front of the girl. I didn’t know why, but somehow I felt very protective about her.

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“Leave her alone,” I hissed at my sister.

“Awww, is little Clarykins in love?” Ophelia laughed maliciously and shook her head, “come on, brother… why must you always be so selfish?” she whined, “can’t you share your dinner with your beloved sister. She hasn’t had any blood all day,” she gave me that puppy eyed look again, but shortly thereafter her lips curled up in her on so infuriating smile of hers.

Great, Ophealia. Really Great. You go on talking like that and there really are no chances she will figure out we are vampires. I face palmed and groaned, shaking my head. “The girl is not my dinner, nor is she yours, so please leave and let her be. If you don’t, you are no longer welcome in this house.”

Before Ophelia could reply, Madeline stuttered something. “B-blood? She h-has fangs-“

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I glanced at the girl again, quickly catching her as she fainted, falling off the chair. I glared at Ophelia who chuckled once more, before skipping out. Then I started carrying the girl to one of the empty bedrooms.

What in the world am I supposed to do now? I cannot let the peasant girl leave this house, as chances are she would expose us. I refuse to turn her into a vampire, I refuse to be responsible for another monster… and I cannot kill her. It would go against the wishes of- Suddenly I knew where I had seen her before! Or, at least someone with the likeness of her…

1.4 Bittersweet Death

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Frist then, when I looked down, I noticed the dead body by the eating competition table. So, even if we had a long history, Death wasn’t even talking to me. What a relief. I never realized how dangerous the competition could be. When I saw what had happened to her, I somehow was glad my diet wasn’t actually of food, but blood. Blood is hard to get by without going on a killing spree, so chances that you get too much of it aren’t too big. Then again, if you were human and ate this much, you probably were very foolish, and deserved no other fate.

Death strode over to the woman without even casting a glance at me. Being totally uninterested in watching the passing, I headed to where Ophelia was flirting with the cowboy guy from the apple fishing completion. It didn’t take me too long to convince her we should go home. After all, the festival was closing soon anyways.

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The next few weeks passed by fast. Every vampiric morning I got up early because I now had a job to attend to. Working at the Mausoleum was actually quite nice, unless you counted the whole point with my job as a grave digger. When I told Sophia my hands weren’t made to work, I had spoken the truth. Manual labor really wasn’t my call.

With both Ophelia- who had for some reason decided she would stay at the manor for an undecided time- and Sophia in the house, everything was somewhat hostile and strained- especially between the two of them. Sophia at least tried to be kind and courageous towards my sister, but Ophelia made no efforts of hiding how much she disliked the human.  It made me sad that two people I loved disliked one another so much. Yes, even if she always sets me on the edge and so easily infuriates me, I do love Ophelia.

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Like I always had done these last few years, I spent most of my time indoors, painting. Sophia spent her days cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, nagging at me and knitting. And Ophelia? I actually don’t know what she did with her free time. Probably she spent it flirting with poor, unknowing guys and then killing them. That was her way of hunting, and a reason as to why I greatly disliked her. At least her living style.

Because I know had to see her every day, I had no choice but to start dwelling on our past again. It was my fault. I knew everything with Ophelia was my fault. Although I once had meant well, I ended up creating a monster of a kind.

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I leaned over my sister and gazed down at her as she slept peacefully in her bed. My expression was grim and I extended my hands to grab hold of her neck. Ophelia’s death would be fast and painless. I would simply snap it and then make my way out of the Victorian manor as fast as possible. The Victorian manor… and my home before I ‘died’.  As the memories flashed back through my mind, my expression softened and sadness filled my aqua eyes. I loved my sister, dearly, and before we were separated because I was thought to be dead, she had been my best friend. We were always there for one another. How could I then kill her, knowing we had once been so close?

Shaking my head, I took a step back. I couldn’t. I simply couldn’t kill her. No matter how much a threat she was to the supernatural creatures, as she had found out about them and there now was a possibility she would expose their existence… I simply couldn’t. However, then Meg- the Vampire Queen’s warnings about what she would do if I didn’t kill her, echoed through my mind, and I came to a conclusion.

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I leaned down and gently kissed her forehead, smiling sadly as I grabbed hold of her arm. Her eyes fluttered open, but before she could react I sunk my fangs deep into her skin and started drinking her blood. Oh, and how sweet it was. The feeling of it running down my throat was heavenly. Only very few times before had I tasted such wonderfulness. Not all blood was nice to drink. Every human tasted differently.

To prevent her from screaming, I placed my hand over her mouth and held her in a tight grip. Then I pulled back reluctantly and carefully lowered her arm back onto the bed. When I was sure she would not scream, I let go of her. Instantly Ophelia edged away, staring at me wide eyed and in fear.

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“C-Clerence, is that you?” she finally stammered out, shaking slightly as she carefully placed her hand on her neck and rubbed it, wincing in pain, “y-y-you’re a-a vam-“

“I know,” I said flatly, “and now you will be one too,” my expression softened, “and nothing can keep us apart anymore. Not even death. We will be the siblings of the night,” I smiled at her reassuringly.

She frowned and still stared at me, disbelief reflecting in her eyes. “Clarence,” she finally whispered, “what has happened to you? You act like… like… like a monster, y-you are…a…m-monster…”

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My expression went dead. “Ophelia, I saved your life. Don’t you dare call me a monster!” I said very slowly, my voice venomous, “just… don’t,” I narrowed my eyes as my whole being filled with rage.

She looked as though was going to reply, but then suddenly started whimpering in pain instead. Again, I instantly my mood shifted again, and sat down by her side, taking her into my arms. I held her close, gently rubbing her back and murmuring soothing words to her. She held on to me tightly, twitching slightly and sobbing weakly as the poison spread through her body. I knew how it felt to die. It was terrible. It was more painful than anything would ever be for her or had ever been, but it was worth it. Or, at least it was what I was trying to tell myself. If I didn’t turn her, or I didn’t kill her, Meg Valencia would kill her herself. I didn’t want my sister to end up in the child vampire queen’s sadistic hands. Rather I kill her myself, or turn her. I knew it wasn’t what she wanted, but neither did I see any other way to save her.

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I stayed with her the whole night, and throughout the transformation. When the morning dawned, she was sitting slumped against her drawer, unconscious. I was sitting beside her, looking exhausted. Sometime in the middle of everything, Ophelia had simply fainted. By then I was starting to get worried about the time. After all, there was no saying when father, mother or Ophelia’s handmaiden would check on us.

I blinked and glanced at her as she made a slight sound, her eyes snapping open. Ophelia’s skin was far fairer than it had been before, and her eyes were glowing, like mine. She set them on me, her eyes widening.

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“Clarence,” she whispered, “what… have you done to me? M-my throat… it burns.”

I smiled at her handsomely and offered her my hand. “Come with me, sister… and I shall show you how to sate your demonic hunger.”

1.3 Autumn Days

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Later that same evening, when the sun was on its way down, I was on my way to that interview at the Mausoleum. The dream I’d had before still lingered in my head, making me feel uneasy. Again and again I had to tell myself that it was all in the past now, that we didn’t live in Victorian London anymore and there was no way the little witch Meg could find us. Instead I tried to focus how beautiful it was out there. With all the other troubles swirling around in my head, the heavy rain pouring down over me seemed like the least of my problems, and was surprisingly easy to ignore. Twinbrook may seem like a boring little town, but there has not ever been a place that I could call more home than there. The little suburban town was simply amazingly cozy. It wasn’t like I got out much, but when I did, I was almost always glad for it. Even if it was raining.

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A chilly breeze ruffled my hair and a thick fog crept like a giant monster over the graveyard as entered. I liked the graveyard too… it was almost as cozy as the town itself. Maybe getting a job here hadn’t been such a terrible idea after all.

The interview was quick and there really wasn’t anything special about it. However, I don’t think the man interviewing me thought I was right for this job… Or any job at all, for that matter. To be honest, I believe the only reason I actually got the job was because no one else showed up for the interview, and they were desperate for people.

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When I exited, the full moon was high up on the evening sky, looming down over Twinbrook and glowing beautifully strangely, like it always did. For some reason, the full moon always scared me slightly. I wasn’t even sure why. It felt like the moon, especially when it was full, had some amazing power over all living things. Of course, it did, but not just in a scientific way. I mean, it felt like there was something magical about it as well. Either that, or it was simply just immensely beautiful.

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On my way home, I suddenly stopped and tensed. Behind me there was a kind of gurgling, groaning sound. A chill went down my spine and I just stood there for a moment- listening, before I slowly turned around. As soon as I realized it had just been a zombie- and a ugly one too it: with her long gray hair and plumb figure (she kind of reminded me of Sophia, weren’t it for the green skin and crocked nose). Of course, Zombies eat people and are walking dead, but they’re so stupid and slow, they can’t even be considered a real threat. Not unless there are a lot of them. But there was just one, so really I had nothing to fear. If I could have decided, I would have just written the zombies off the script. They’re not worth the nuisance they cause… although, of course… I do find them somewhat cute.

Somewhere along the way, I also found a human who was all alone. I was so hungry, I simply couldn’t resist hypnotizing him and then feeding. I didn’t kill him, though, because I simply didn’t do it anymore. Also, he tasted awful. Really, never before had I tasted such sour blood. Still today, I shudder of just thinking about it.

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The rest of the evening I spent in my atelier, painting. Painting always made me happy- put me in a calm state of mind, and I’d heard quite a few times that I was rather good at it. Yes, painting is my passion.

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As I walked through the corridor next morning (my morning, humans afternoon), I found Ophelia playing her guitar. I hadn’t even known she could play the guitar, but she’d always been quite the musical talent. Not like me at all. I couldn’t even hold a tone if I tried with all my might. When she noticed me, she paused and glanced up, a slight smirk on her lips. She placed down the guitar and then walked over to me.

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“Good morning, Clarykins,” she said cheerfully, and I almost expected her to pinch my cheek, but she wasn’t that much like our dearest aunt had been, when sne was still alive. Luckily.

“Uhhh… good morning,” I mumbled blearily, forcing a weak smile and stifling a yawn. I was still tired, as I usually got up even later than this. However, since I was supposed to start working now, Sophia had insisted I revamp my sleeping schedule a bit.

“I know exactly what the two of us are going to do today!” she mused, leaning slightly closer to me, “there is an autumn festival going on in town,” she made a dramatic pause, “I’ll take you there!” a big grin was now plastered on her face.

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I blinked. “A festival? Really?” I asked slowly and sighed, “I really don’t want to go there,” I said vaguely, “too many people.”

She looked disappointed, “Awwww… you’re such a killjoy! Come on, Clarence! We have to do soooooooomething together, and unless you want it to be hu-“

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I held up a hand. “Okay, okay… I go with you to the festival. Just please don’t bring the hunting up again,” I muttered and then stalked off, towards the bathroom. From the corner of my eyes I could see her grin triumphantly.

“Yaaaay! We’re going to have so much fun!” she cheered.

***

So, that was how I ended up going to the festival with my sister. At first, she insisted on we dress up for it, but I managed to convince her not to, as it wasn’t Halloween yet. So we went without costumes- which was a relief. Seriously? it would have been humiliating. And, if anyone questioned us going without, we could always claim to be dressed up as vampires.

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However much I may regret to admit it, I actually had a lot of fun there with Ophelia. Well, if you don’t count the fact that she actually won every game we played. Then again, I was used to it. It always seemed like Ophelia was simply the lucky one in the family. Lucky, and most skilled one, for that matter. Sometimes it wasn’t any fun being the younger brother.

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The evening was great, until suddenly something felt very wrong. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but everything just wasn’t right. A chill ran down my spine and the smell of death filed the air. The scent was so strong, I thought I might faint. I did wonder where it was coming from. I froze. Suddenly someone was speaking behind me. His voice was dark and raspy, and I knew it well.

“Good evening…”