February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
“It is you,” the monk said, and with that, stopped even his breath, in await for an answer.
Regina knew how to play each and every card, for she let the monks stir in their own emotions and thoughts, before providing an answer.
She looked questioningly at the monk, confused a bit.
The monk repeated the same phrase in Latin.
Regina said nothing again, and before I even knew it, the monk was trying to muster his words in yet another language.
Then, Regina, with an air of irritated aristocracy, blurted out:
And she kept going, faster and faster, one after another, language after language.
She must have said it in over thirty languages in total and with each one the monk opened his eyes and mouth wider and wider and stepped back further and further.
With each word Regina let out from under her breath, she also put a determined step forward, and the monk one backward.
She continued doing this heading for the entrance to the chapel.
She started walking towards the monks and the entrance to the chapel, with very determined paces, one, after another, after another. Step by step she took, made the monks tense even harder, each one pounding their faces like a tidal wave.
By the time she reached the entrance of the chapel she had run out of languages and continued to say:
“It is me and I can understand your petty languages. Now leave and let me be.”
She was really determined in making this monk have a heart-attack, or this is who she was, and I just didn’t knew it because she was different with me. I couldn’t tell. In any case, this episode really reminded me of the little excursion we had back at the monastery in my hometown. I giggled inside me, on the outside I tried keeping that same aristocratic air Regina had. It suited me and I liked it.
I followed, and they treated me as they treated her. With fear.
The monk that spoke was no more than twenty years old. He was the youngest monk I’ve ever seen. He was merely a young boy.
He followed us closely but cautiously.
“But you must see him…” he said.
Regina was still walking towards the end of the chapel.
“Who?” She responded. I was curios myself.
“The one before me.” The monk was quick with the answer.
She stopped short of two meters from the end of the chapel, which also held the crypt of Dracula.
“He still lives?” She asked with an amazed expression on her face.
“Yes, and he waited for your return for this long…” The monk added in fear.
I was getting the hang of what was going on here.
“Then I shall meet him now.” She responded.
She turned back and the monk led us quickly to a room outside the chapel and into the main building. The monk opened the door and retreated, leaving just the two of us in the room.
In the middle of the room there was a single massive double bed. Inside the bed was an old man, barely breathing, but perfectly conscious. His eyes sparkled at the sight of Regina and his mouth gasped for more air that he could hold.
“Hello…” she said smilingly approaching the bed. I stayed put.
“I have waited over seventy years for your sight once again. I do not know…” he trailed off.
“If you are an angel…” he looked shortly at me,
“Or a demon…” And Regina grabbed his hand and smiled towards him. The sunshine coming through the window above the bed was flowing down her dark curls and her smile that I couldn’t see but I knew it was there. She had an aura as I watched her from behind, the sun being occluded by her body.
For me, that truly looked like an angel, not a demon.
No demon would take pity in putting an old man’s fears and questions to rest, on his death-bed, so he could leave this world in peace.
“I am what god made me father, I do not need a purpose or a name, I am one of his children…” She was being kind with him and I knew it.
The old priest (monk?) smiled mildly and seemed very pleased with the answer. It was the answer he has been waiting for all of his life.
“I am what the Earth beneath my feet requires me to be, and I obey…” Regina added.
The monk nodded and Regina approached his forehead. My heart stopped for a second there but then, the monk closed his eyes and Regina kissed his forehead.
She reached for her pocket and gave him a little crucifix.
“You are free to go now father, your duty is complete.”
I almost started crying in seeing the kindness in her. She stood up and we both walked out of the room.
I perfectly knew that Regina was not a religious… being. She almost despised religion and considered it to be a plague upon mankind, yet she took the time to put an old monk to rest. She took the time to be kind with the ones who needed nothing else but kindness, for they were on the brink of death.
When she turned, her eyes too were short of a blink in letting a tear roll out. But they didn’t.
As soon as we left the room, the monk that led us there entered the room and closed the door after him. We continued on the hallway out of the building and towards the chapel. On our way she had told me that she met that old man when he was merely a young boy, not even twenty years of age, she had met him when she last visited this place. When she last visited her long-lost relative, Vlad Tepes.
And now, the cycle would repeat maybe, in a century, once more. For the monk that received us now was also barely twenty, and, maybe, in another seventy years time, she would return once again.
The monks had an entire book about her, which held sketches of her face, her body, and tales of how the angel returns once in a century, to seal the devil’s tomb on this Earth time after time.
When we got at the end of the chapel, she put her fingers around the edge of the crypt and was searching for a good place to pull the lid off. I didn’t see the purpose in doing that, but I was dying of curiosity.
The Romanian government had opened Vlad’s tomb years before, and I knew for a fact, with photos, that the tomb was empty. Except Vlad’s belongings, jewelry, a sword and other miscellaneous things, there was nothing. No bones, no clothes. Nothing. I remember that the monks refused to let anyone open it and barricaded themselves in the chapel. It took weeks for the government to be able to open the tomb and lots of monks died back then, they starved themselves, set themselves on fire or found other creative ways of opposing the opening of the tomb. The island as a whole, was strictly forbidden to outside interference, and only during a short period each year you could go visit, and that visit was strictly related to entering the chapel, seeing the tomb and leaving.
What I didn’t knew was that Regina had a little superstition of her own.
She deeply believed that nobody else inside the kinship, except her and Vlad himself, would dare open the tomb. She had always longed for the rumors to be true, she always wanted Vlad to be still alive. To be the father of all that she is.
She longed for his admiration and his return, she wanted him to return and be proud of what she is. She wanted him to see everything that she built, everything that was under her control, and how good she had dealt with human affairs over centuries and thousands of decisions.
For centuries, she had returned here and left a single drop of her own blood touch his long-lost sword. For she knew, that if someone would ever open this tomb, it would be him. And he would want what was once his. He would sense his own bloodline, he would sense the smell of his own offspring, and he would know then and there, that his blood still runs through the veins of the powerful.
So she did this religiously, and every once in a while, usually once every sixty or seventy years, she would do this.
She wanted me to know all this, and she wanted me to see that vampires too, have superstitions and beliefs, hopes and dreams, that were being crushed day after day, year after year, for centuries at a time.
She had put the lid back one, lit a candle on top of it and “sealed it” with a kiss, in front of the monks, for them to continue believing in their little miracle: the sealing of the devil’s tomb. With that we were on our way.
As we left the chapel the monks were flanking us on either side, watching us carefully and fearfully.
She kissed the young monk on the cheek and he gasped in the process, then she looked in his eyes and told him:
“Guard it with your life, wait for my return.”
He nodded and said nothing else in response.
And just like that, the monks shut themselves inside the chapel and allowed us to leave from where we came from. And we did.
I noted in my diary:
“This is how you scare a bunch of monks. You don’t go there and flash everything you’ve got at them, you go there and act like their deepest fear and in the same time, their most worshiped thing. You act like the devil and god himself, embodied in the same vessel. You act like Regina. You show yourself as a broken cup, glued back together. A cup made of mercy, kindness, smiles and light, but a cup filled with fear, that seeps through the cracks and shows its nature on the surface.”
We headed back to the car where the driver was soundly asleep. He woke up with Regina banging on his window and smiling. He sprung up in fear and immediately started straightening himself up once again.
I could see on Regina’s face that she was back in her comfortable self.
We set on the road once again and in no-time we were standing inside the Otopeni airport, in Bucharest.
The driver handed both of us two tickets and shook bowed his head towards us, and with that, and a sign of relief on his face, he was gone.
My ticket read: “Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) – Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO).”
“Are you mad? I can’t go to Moscow!” I blurted out upon seeing that.
“Why not?” Regina asked me calmly. She wanted an answer and she looked like she would indeed agree to me not going, if I would provide a sound reason for it.
I stopped for a second… why shouldn’t I go really?
“I don’t have a VISA. Don’t I need a VISA to travel to Moscow? Plus I’m underage, I need a tutor.” I said.
“That’s been sorted out.” she replied.
She handed me my “new passport”.
We were brother and sister apparently, and we both had VISAS for Russia.
Christina and Johannes Alt.
Really. Very funny.
“Alt” means “Old” in German.
Born in Vienna, both of us.
I didn’t even wanted to know how she got a passport style photo of me. It was a photo I had taken a month before to hand in for the school to have what to put on diplomas and whatnot. I did hand them in but now I had a feeling I need to repeat the process because they “got lost”.
This was, by all means, movies for me. I truly believed this only happens in movies, not real life. I had to sit down for a moment and catch my breath. Regina was looking at me smiling, the same way you look at a small kid first discovering something very interesting for him, like seeing a plane taking off, but very common to the rest of the “adult world.”
“Fine.” I said.
And with that we both embarked on a flight to Russia.
We were there in no time and Regina looked at nothing else except out the window the whole flight.
The flight didn’t even took a whole three hours, but it was a very boring three hours. I wondered if she could jump out the plane and swim to Moscow safely, but the I remembered we’re not above sea.
We landed in Moscow.
Fear not Russia, for the storm has arrived I told to myself seeing as Regina was getting anxious and more stirred, like a storm preparing to unleash.
When we reached Moscow it was already pass midnight, it was now the 27th of May, 2005, and, sure enough a similar car was waiting for us, with a similar driver, yet less frightened and more comfortable.
Regina nodded at him and he opened the door for her. We hopped in and in after a short thirty minute drive we had arrived in front of a very impressive, very big, and very old looking style hotel.
It read: “Hotel Ukraina.”
I was impressed, but tired. The only thing that I wanted was a nice long bath and then a deep sleep cuddled next to Regina. But she had other plans…
February 23, 2012 § 4 Comments
I’ve compiled a document called the vampire manifesto which includes the two published already lists and the definitive guide to vampires that I also published earlier.
It is a document meant to make the reading more accessible to you, putting everything in one place and marking everything with appropriate sub-chapters.
You can get instant access to it, no e-mail or anything else required, except you having a PDF Reader installed on your computer, because it is a PDF.
Get it by clicking on the photo below.
February 23, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was now the start of May and this whole month went by pretty boring. We rarely saw Blanche anymore after school, only meeting every couple of days for a short talk and whatnot. She seemed more and more preoccupied by something but couldn’t muster her courage to tell us. We didn’t push.
Now that I look back on it, I truly believe that the monastery incident was caused by the months of… well, nothingness. We were all frustrated and it just built up. Yes, we were happy and we had peaceful days.
But deep down inside, we had our inner problems. I was frustrated at Regina, I didn’t even knew whether I’d ever see her again. Sophia and Viktor were frustrated with Blanche, for they knew what she was and didn’t really got their chance to see her or anyone else for that matter “in action”. Their fear from that night when Blanche got turned was now gone, and to think about it, Sophia was passed out most of the time and Viktor stood under a table. They never really did see anything.
But now, Blanche was here for a couple of months and except this and that, small things, like shows of strength or feeding, nothing really interesting happened. It built up for them too.
Blanche, was frustrated with herself. She felt constrained (she later told me that) and felt caged. She felt like a storm was brewing inside her slowly, each day, building up to something. She felt as powerful as an army, she felt like a flame. She felt like quicksilver and she couldn’t use all that she was. She was constrained by her life – and often wondered – whether it would be best to just abandon her life and go someplace where she could be herself. She was frustrated by the human nature being imposed upon her, when clearly, she was human no more.
But after the monastery, everything was tuned down once more and our frustrations were gone. Including mine, with Regina.
The letter that I had received from her, handed from Regina, read nothing more than two, very important lines.
“Vampriul cel mare și rău vine să te pape.
Ai face bine să fii pregatit cu țărușul acela promis, curajosule.”
That is written in Romanian, with the kind of terms and general tone that leads you to believe it’s meant to be taken on a funny, mocking tone.
It reads: “The big bad vampire is coming to eat you up. You’d better be prepared with that stake you promised you brave man.”
But P. ? Who the hell was P.?
Then I realized that P is actually R in old Romanian cyrillic, or any Cyrillic for that matter.
I swear to god that, at the time, I thought Regina was actually headed towards creating a new language. At time she spoke proto-language of her own. A combination between god knows how many languages.
Her vocabulary, both in writing and speaking, ranged from Cyrillic, to Russian, mixed with vulgar Latin and French, Romanian and Hungarian blended together, with a touch of English and Italian here and there, where the situation required more… detailed nuances of certain emotions. Italian can be very, very expressive.
A sentence from her could, at times, make your head hurt for a week. But that was rare, and she only used to give one out when she wanted silence or no more questions. So she’d say something like that and smile at you for cocking your head to the side and looking at the sky, trying to make sense on what the hell she just said.
Anyway, that didn’t change the fact, she was coming back and indeed I was ready. I felt giddy.
Before Regina actually coming back, when that was I had no idea, but a sense of impeding doom surrounded me more closely each sundown. Every day, at sundown, I would sit on my window sill, looking at the vastness of the forest and the citadel, and waiting for a sound or some movement, hoping that would be a sign of Regina approaching. Sometimes I would stay up well over one or two in the morning. But that only lasted for about a week after which I gave up.
During the weekend before the last weekend of the month, more exactly on the night between a Friday and a Saturday, from 24th to the 25th of May, 2005, the four of us decided to go on a little trip to a town 50km away, up north from Sighisoara.
It’s called “Târgu Mureș” and we usually went there for some higher states of entertainment. Like bigger clubs, more people and generally access to drugs. Ecstasy mostly.
There’s a club in that town named “Apollo” which is pretty big and awesome, but I’m just going to make a quick detour in the story telling you about this.
We arrived there at about 22:00, I was driving. I had a Seat Leon at the time which I felt good about, but we never got inside the club, because Blanche made sure to get in a ruffle with the bouncer for telling Sophia she’s not dressed properly and refusing to let us in, generally being rude, calling us uncalled for names and shoving us like pieces of paper to the sides.
She knocked off three of the biggest bodyguards I’ve seen in my life, with almost no effort, and I’m pretty sure she broke at least one leg from the bodyguard team, in the process. In a second. We quickly left and scolded her for doing that, she felt guilty, put her head down and never said a word about it.
Instead we went to another club, smaller, but generally more peaceful. We had a great night, Blanche complaining all night that the music is too loud, which was not, and the night ending in Blanche eating some waitress in the bathroom. Eating as in feeding from her, no funny business.
On our way back home she actually confessed about it, and felt bad, and was worried that she had been too rough.
“Did you kill her?” Viktor asked.
We all gasped.
She had the same reaction as the one a month before, when Sophia asked her if she kills her “victims”. She raged about what kind of person we think she is etc.
We all laughed at her, it might seem eerie for you when you read this, that four teens go into a club, one feeds on a waitress and almost leaves her dead, and then laugh about it.
But it wasn’t like that. It was just a very normal and fun night, we enjoyed ourselves, like we used to do in the old times, and at the end Blanche just did what she needed to do. No harm done. No she didn’t kill anyone and I was sure she was feeling pretty guilty as it is.
But that guilt was slowly going away in her eyes. The bigger the hunger got for her, the more time passed, the less human you could see in her, and the vampire came back more and more afterwards. The guilt itself started fading and, at times, she felt about humans as we do about cows. She regarded human kind as a big great heard of infinite food. Nobody feels guilty for a hamburger.
And then, Regina came.
On the 25th of March, that is a day later from that night, Regina came like never before.
She came with a car, had a driver and actually pulled the car inside the court yard. My mother received her like a VIP guest and all that happened during daytime, and I wasn’t even at home.
By the time I got home, my brother took me by my shoulder and just rubbed his hand against me telling me “Your girlfriend is back little brother…”
“Where is she?” I responded quickly.
“With father in the study.” He replied.
I picked up the pace and headed towards the study, but before that my brother made sure, with a combination of gestures and expressions, that I was aware of the fact he liked what he saw. He liked Regina. How couldn’t he?
Upon entering the study my father was laughing his ass off, Regina also. Apparently she knew good jokes also.
“Did you receive my letter?” She said upon seeing me at the door step.
No hello, no nothing. Manners.
“Yes I did, and I’m glad that you came…” I was being truthful here.
My father stood up, and with a pat on my back and a wink, he left the study closing the double doors behind him.
“So… where’s your… weapon of choice?” Regina said.
“Come on, you can stop that.” It seemed to me that what I said that night really got to her. It wasn’t that much the fact that she felt afraid, it was the fact that I actually threatened her. It hurt, emotionally. And that was awkward. No being that old should be able to feel anything anymore, not even love. There’s been cases of broken hearts, forever, after not even a lifetime.
Regina was wearing the most simple yet elegant dress.
She had a white silk dress that stopped short just a pinch above her knees, it was tied with a thin golden strip in the middle and had a nice bow at the side.
It was cut straight about 5 centimeters down her neck, with no cleavage. It looked marvelous and shiny.
She had the most simple shoes, the no high heels yet very elegant type. They had a thin line that went between the big toe and the next one, and at the back it held the heel with an also golden leather line. They were summer sandals, simple, yet elegant.
Her curly hair was pinned in a spinning kind of motion behind her back, and a very sharp, golden pin, about fifteen centimeters long, went from one side to the other, piercing through her. It looked exactly how it looks when a girl pins her hair behind her back with a pencil.
It looked messy, yet carefully managed.
She was stunning. How could I have said such a thing about staking her? I couldn’t do that ever. Not even in my wildest dream, not even if she was unconscious next to me. I felt protective of her, not vengeful.
She didn’t really waste much time. She was here with a mission and we both knew it.
“Are you ready?” She asked me.
“I told you to forget about that. I’m sorry I ever said anything.” I replied.
“No, I’m asking about our little trip. Let’s go.” Regina said, still smiling. No sign of irritation on her face.
“What trip?” I asked again like a nagging child.
“You’ll see, right now we need to leave.” Still smiling.
// I stopped fighting my inner demons. We’re on the same side now.//
I figured, well, what the hell. I might as well go with her, this is a once in a life time chance for me to be with her for an extended period of time. I loved her sight but I also loved the knowledge and the feel of excitement that came with her at every step she took.
“I need to pack.” I said, and I really did need to do that. I wasn’t the sort of person to go out two days in a row with the same pair of underwear.
“No you don’t, let’s just go and everything will sort itself out.” She replied feeling confident of what she just said.
I imagined myself washing my clothes in a dirty sink, in some gas station. I, again, realized that I had seen too many American movies.
“Are you telling me where I’m going so I can tell my parents?” I asked.
“That’s already been taken care of too.” She said. And I was amazed. She actually did manage to convince my parents to let me leave, with her, to god knows where for an undefined amount of time. That was a rather impressive feat.
She influenced them, all three of them. I knew it. I didn’t care, I was happy to escape the town for a while. I didn’t even wanted to think about high school. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it I said to myself.
We left and as soon as the car started, she made herself comfortable, put her feet up touching the ceiling of the car and putting her head in my lap, looking up at me smiling like she had just done some very naughty thing.
“I kind of influenced your father. He’s pretty strong willed, that one.” She said.
“I know…” I said and caressed her hair with my left hand, kissing her from above. She closed her eyes and smiled, then we both fell asleep.
By the time we got up it was already daylight, we had slept through the night, like regular people for once. The car was equipped with darkened windows, obviously.
Nonetheless, Regina still had her sunglasses on as soon as she woke and the I saw the driver straightening himself up and arranging the rear view mirror, making sure everything looked fine and his tie is straight. I think he was terrified by his “employer”.
Before I knew it, we were in the middle of nowhere.
“Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” I asked.
“In lots of places!” She exclaimed cheerfully, clapping her hands together once and kissing my cheek. She then proceeded in taking her shoes on.
“Besides, we’re at our first destination.” And the car stopped to a halt in a parking lot, inside a forest, with no signs of civilization in any direction.
We got out of the car and walked through the forest for about a minute, no more, and ended up at the side of a lake, in the middle of which was a small island, in the middle of which was a small monastery.
I knew where we were. We were now watching at nothing else but the supposed final resting place of Dracula, a.k.a Vlad the Impaler. We were at the Snagov monastery.
“What are we doing here?” I asked.
“I need to have a word with someone, then we’re off again. Happy?” She said.
“Sure, why not…” I replied.
There is no way of getting on the island except a row-boat, which has no handler, especially now, at six in the morning.
A boat was waiting for us at the side of the lake and I imagined she would be the handler but as it turns out:
“You should be more of a gentleman and help a lady out…” She said, and shoved the paddles in my hand. Wonderful.
I rowed slowly and sleepy as I was, I didn’t stop for a second. The lake was of an eerie silence and peaceful, steam and fog coming out from the surface. Regina took of her nice dress, made me blush, and jumped for a quick swim in the lake. I didn’t stop rowing but she had no troubles swimming back to the boat and getting in. She shivered. I knew she wasn’t cold, I knew she was faking it.
With her hair wet and milky white skin dripping with water, she looked like a newly born angel that fell in this lake straight from the skies above. The rays of sunshine were struggling to make their way through the fog and could barely scratch the surface of Regina’s skin, giving it a golden to red glow. The color of sunrise. I stopped rowing and she looked at me questioning me with her eyes.
I cocked my head in a forward motion, signaling her to look behind her, but before she did the boat crashed into the shore and for a second there, I felt a hint of her losing her balance. She didn’t. The cat in her had been quick to respond.
As soon as the boat did that, it awoke in me a long lost memory. It is a memory of a superstition, a legend or myth if you wish.
Regarding that, Bram Stoker once said: “I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.”
And if you look at the map, the horseshoe he’s talking about is very visible in Romania. It’s what defines Transylvania. The mountains are Transylvania’s walls, and they do form a horseshoe, and everything inside, is Transylvania.
It is, by definition, the land of Mordor.
We were now out of that land, we had crossed its gates and descended into the south, the old land of Wallachia.
But back to the superstition,
On the island, there is also an old fountain, that is said to have supplied Dracula himself with water. And it is said, that anyone who drinks from the well, will be forever tied to this land and the blood that once flowed upon its surface. The superstition goes like this:
“And if you ever dare to appease your thirst from the well of the devil himself, know this: You will be bound forever, beyond your grave, by the waters soaked in blood flowing through these lands, and, during your lifetime, you will once again come back to this well, to appease your thirst once more. For it is a vice, from your first gulp, to your last breath.”
What the monks actually tell you is that: “If you drink from Dracula’s well you’re bound to come back here again.”
There’s a big difference, if someone would have told me the first part, the real one, I would have thought twice before drinking.
But the fact remains, I did drink from that well, long time ago, when I was merely seven or eight years old, and visited the place with a relative living nearby.
I remember I giggled at the superstition, because I always looked down at people who believed those things, I felt pity for them, for they were so naive and so small-minded. I was a young skeptic. Yet now, I felt stupid and guilty for judging.
For here I was once again, with no plans to ever return not even a few hours ago. The fact remained, the superstition had been fulfilled, and against all odds, I was once again drawn to the well, thirsty from all the rowing, I quenched my thirst with the sweet, delicious, cold water from the dark and deep well.
No matter why and how I was here, or why I was thirsty, the fact still remained that the superstition had been fulfilled and that made the island seem more eerie than I remembered it.
Regina looked at me drinking, smiling, leaning against the well and chewing on a calendula officinalis (no idea how it’s called in English). It’s a small, yellow flower, that grows almost year round except winter, it has a mild smell and makes places look nice. I’ve never seen anyone eating one, although I knew they were edible.
I looked at her sideways.
“What? My mouth feels funny.” She said.
“Funny how?” I replied.
“It tingles.” She giggled. I knew what she meant, she was feeling hungry.
I smiled and wiped my mouth.
Regina was looking at something behind me and her smile turned into a frozen, serious like expression.
She assumed the face of “I’m your queen”. She reminded me of Akasha, the queen of the damned, from the movie.
Her eyes sparkled a bit and I quickly looked back to see what was all the fuss about.
Behind me there were not one, not two, but three monks, kneeling at a distance of about twenty meters, their heads were covered with that monk style hoodie, and another one of the monks was approaching slowly with careful steps towards us.
Regina stepped in front of me, in a protective way, as in trying to let the monk know that touching me would be the last thing he would want to do.
As soon as the monk arrived, he stopped short of two or three meters and just said.
“It is you.”