March 15, 2012 § 1 Comment
** You may notice a bit of a rushed pace through this part **
As we opened the old tomb, Regina’s face lit up and relaxed but in the same time acquired something that maybe was a hint of concern. You see, this was a family tomb, and there was supposed to be a family in it. At least three I figured, but instead there were just two. Two really old and really dry skeletons, looked like plastic really.
Now for anyone that is not from Europe, this might sound a bit morbid I guess. Skeletons and all. At least that’s what I think based on all the U.S movies that I’ve seen and the way the dead are portrayed in them. You have to understand that people are different, countries and cultures are different.
The dead are not regarded as something scary, disgusting or even supernatural in Europe. Hell even the Mexicans have the “Day of the dead” festival.
But in any case, what I want to tell you is that skeletons, at least back home and a few other countries I’ve been too, are publicly displayed and can be admired or eve touched. There’s nothing wrong in that.
You can visit crypts under any church back home, crypts full of skeletons. For example in Paris there’s the catacombs with thousands of skeletons, in the Czech Republic you have the ossuary with another few hundred skeletons, and in many more regions this is something usual, common and accepted.
Even cemeteries back home in Romania are not like others. We have what we call “a happy cemetery”. You need to google that because it’s way too weird or long to explain here.
In any case, my point is: I was used to skeletons the same way you’re used to a door. Not the best comparison, but works.
So, what I did was, pick it up. The head, the small one. I did.
“This looks like a child to me.” I said as I was rolling it from one side to another. Regina was already looking at me sideways.
“Put that back.” She replied with a tone of revulsion.
“Did you know these people?” I asked.
“Not directly, but I think this is the wife and daughter of Sigismund.” She said and then continued: “But he’s not here…”
“How can you tell they are women? Maybe that’s him over there.” And I pointed towards the big skeleton.
She proceeded in pointing around ten things that are different between a man’s skeleton and that of a woman, things that only she saw, because even explained, it still looked like a “neutral” skeleton to me.
“If he’s not here, then maybe he’s alive somewhere.” I said.
“Yes, he might just be. Like he said, at the end of the world…”
“Well, the world doesn’t really end… I mean…” I was about to point out that small fact about the Earth being round and all, but she cut ahead.
“The Earth was not always round.” Regina said.
“Excuse me?” I replied instantly.
“I mean, it was, but not to our knowledge. You know that, a long time ago the Earth was considered to be flat.” Regina explained.
“And what does this have to do with anything…?” I asked.
“Well, based on that, I might just know where Sigismund is, if he’s alive.” She answered.
“So wait, you think he went to the end of the world after he made you and never came back? Why would anyone do that?” I was confused.
“I know you don’t understand that, but after living for so long, you often feel of doing just that. Retreating in silence and never coming back. I have such thoughts myself too, often.” Well that was rather unpleasant to hear.
“And he was much older than me, so it only makes sense…” She added.
“So where is the end of the world?” I asked.
She took a moment to respond. She started looking through that book again and by now we had already put the lid back on and shoved a bit of dirt on top of it. We were walking towards our horses which again, stayed still and didn’t even move an inch. It was like they were remote-controlled. Anyway, she jumped on the horses and as we started on our way back, Regina said:
“Well, it’s far alright… Want to keep me company?” I didn’t know what to answer. I mean, the end of the world? With a vampire? I would imagine there are few – if any – people or animals at the end of the world. That sounded FUN to me, but also really scary.
“Yes. I’ll go with you to the end of the world.” I felt like a movie star saying that. Heh.
The road back was even longer and again we had to stop for the night, in the same spot really, which was rather nice, made me feel like home, in the middle of the forest. In any case, by the time we got back to Gunnar, which I convinced Regina to do, to leave the horses back from where we took them. It’s not that I felt for Gunnar, hell no, but I didn’t want to leave the horses in the middle of nowhere, I was pretty sure that they would just stay there until they passed-out. They were either very loyal, or very retarded. I preferred the first one.
By the time we got there, Regina had told me why Gunnar hates her so much. She explained, nonchalantly, that apparently a hundred years back or so, she didn’t remember properly, she had fed on Gunnar, his wife, and his two kids. Well, that was hunger alright. But children? Really? She did, and she wasn’t too upset in admitting it. Anyway, they all died by her hands except Gunnar who accepted the turn, who didn’t want to die, and still doesn’t to this day. Who ever since then refused to have anything to do with her or with the kinship and also refused to take his own life, still clinging to it. So there was nothing really to do for him, and Regina refused to satisfy his wish and kill him, and that’s when I say that she was evil at times beyond one’s imagination.
Regina’s ‘lost offspring’ she said. The one and only, because there really wasn’t that many of her own descent as far as I knew. Only Viktoria and now him.
Well at least now we knew that Sigismund was alive, or did we? For all I knew, he was just not there, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t be dead elsewhere. I mean it’s ridiculous, how could such a being live, for so long, without having any contact with them? That was damn near impossible, but then again, I also thought that vampires were impossible before meeting Regina and seeing for myself what is there to see.
But the end of the world? What did that mean? This whole thing already seemed for me, even though I was actually living through this, not reading like you, a fantasy. A pure, ridiculous, made-up fantasy, a ludicrous dream that refused to let me wake. And still, I accepted it, even though I felt like the children who went through a closet and ended up in a magical land named Narnia, I accepted it and pushed myself to believe it.
It was, by all definitions possible, different that a fantastical magical land. You see, that’s the problem, all fantasy stories and magical beings are set apart from our world, in the creations that they appear. To get to Narina you go through a closet, to get to Hogwarts you go through a fake magical wall in a train station, etc.
But this was different, this was a fantastical world merged with my world, our world, the real world. It was both of each, and everyone could access it and see it – only if they knew. You see, it’s just like those times when you don’t notice something, even if it’s there, just because you don’t know about it, so you don’t pay attention, and then, later, when you do find out about it, you suddenly realize that it surrounded you and was there all the time, and push yourself to realize how could you not notice it before. It was that kind of a world. And once you see it, you cannot forget it. That’s why you AREN’T supposed to know about it, because once you do, they cannot hide from you anymore. The whole thing is a “slight of hand” trick, only for the eyes, and for a whole society.
It’s a magic trick, that cannot be pulled on you once you know how it’s done. And that’s why they take “care” in not letting anyone know about them and just go around minding their own business, because trust me, it has been tried, just that, but sooner or later, they all (the ones who knew) interacted in a bad way, or just interfered when they shouldn’t have.
As for me, I was getting ever closer to that spot, the point of no return, I mean, I should have been there a long time ago, if not for Regina to let me be, but how long could that last? Well, at least as long as she would be by my side, watching me. There was no danger in “stepping out of line” until then. But here I am, doing just that, with no Regina in sight for so long…
Back to the story.
We left the horses back at Gunnar’s and soon we were on our way back, full of mud and what-not, in the car, not even stopping again through Uppsala, we went straight to Gotheborg, drove all the way, straight to Lars.
Lars was living in a rather modest house which resembled very much the one Gunnar had, but newer and more imposing, also red. He received both of us with open hands and I was surprised to see that he had, wait for it – a family. I was – the least – surprised.
I mean this thing, which should be just a normal, common thing for anyone, shocked me more than it should have, and stunned me more than seeing a head being cut off. I mean, this was no ordinary family.
They were six people. Lars, a wife, three daughters and a son. And the best part was that they really were a family, those really were his daughters and his son, and they were all human, meaning they were turned, not conceived as vampires (I’m not sure about the children though). So, Lars, the viking of the north, this serious, silent and imposing man, had also a soft, loving side, because I saw no other way to keep a family near your for so long. And Lars was no young vampire, he neared the age of three hundred, and his family too. Now this was the true definition of a successful marriage, wasn’t it? I wondered how they go about having dinner…