September 25, 2012 § 14 Comments
And tomorrow did come, and home we did go. But home wasn’t for her what was for me.
Getting to the airport was a blast – I don’t even want to remember it. When we did get there, for the second time in a very short period of time, we were once again buying tickets straight from the airport. No reservations, no pre-booking, no man to wait for her and hand her the tickets as she walked in.
I wasn’t sure if this was “going towards normality” or “going towards chaos” – for her, because for me it surely seemed more normal.
In any case – there we were.
<Arrivals> – <Departures>
“Left! We have to go left!” – I said.
“Regina, left!” – I said again while spinning around in circles not knowing if she’s following or she has other plans.
“Wait here, I’m going for tickets.” – Now I don’t really know whether she actually bought them herself or not, but it seemed like it.
Only when we got near the gate did I realize we weren’t actually going to fly in a direction known to me.
Above the gate towards which we were rapidly approaching there was a big LCD reading “A2 – Departures – 12:15 – Rome – Boarding.”
“Ummm I don’t think we’re at the right gate.” I said.
“What do you mean?” Regina replied.
“Well these people are going to Rome…”
“So are we.”
“I’m sorry. What?”
“Where did you think we were going?”
“Yes. Home. That’s where we’re going.”
“Wait I think we have a bit of a confusion here. Whose home are we going to, to be more exact?”
I said nothing. I just… adopted a neutral face and looked in the distance.
“What? You didn’t think I had a home?”
“Well… no, not really. I mean you don’t seem to act like it. It seems to me you’re always on the go…”
This time she was the one who didn’t say anything. The line started moving. We were boarding. Well, that’s that I thought. Apparently I was going to Rome. Hurray?
By the time we got to Fiumicion Terminal C I was already at peace with the idea. After all I was the one who got confused, and nevertheless, getting the chance to see “home” – whatever that meant – was a too good to be turned down of an opportunity.
We took the train from the airport for… about half an hour. We were almost downtown Rome. Now we were heading towards the subway.
And the fun part began here.
It was always like this with her. Never knowing the plan in advance. Never knowing where you’re going or what are you supposed to do. And for some people that might be the most stressful thing in life, not knowing what comes next. The unknown scares us for the most part, and we don’t really want to have anything to do with it. On the other hand, there are the few that are always attracted by the unknown, looking to see more, to do more, to explore. I’m talking about climbers or explorers, cave explorers, any explorers. Those that do not fear the unknown. I wasn’t part of them, but I wasn’t scared of it anyway. Call it a neutral feeling.
We descended in the subway, and instead of getting into a train, Regina seemed a bit confused.
She kept looking left and right, left and right, until there was no subway stopped and nobody around.
“Are we waiting for someone… some… thing?”
And she jumped on the tracks. “Come quick.”
And I did. Without saying anything, without opposing the idea that I might get electrocuted right there and then. I had no idea which track “you shouldn’t touch” – but I did know that one of them was not cool with being touched.
We only walked about 40-50 meters, and then she suddenly turned a right, opened a door, went down a corridor, turned another right and then we were faced with a pretty long corridor that apparently went on forever, and which was also flanked from 5 to 5 meters or so by large square stones, asymmetrically arranged spanning across the full length of the corridor. On top of each of these stones was a thick steel beam supporting the ceiling. I figured they were support beams, considering how old the town was and everything.
Regina looked closely at each and one of them, and then stopped in front of one. She pushed the beam aside and then started pushing that stone rock like her life was dependent on it.
“If you’re taking me in another crypt I’m not coming. I’m telling you now, Sweden was enough.”
“Shut up and help me.” – But that wasn’t the case, because before I had the chance to fake helping her, the stone started moving and revealed an access hatch connected to whatever was downstairs by a metal ladder.
“I really do hope we’re just taking a detour and there actually are easier ways in getting to wherever we’re going.”
“Mmm maybe, but I’d rather not open other doors.”
Before going further, you have to know something: Rome has the biggest and oldest underground network ever discovered. It’s a whole town, the old Rome, buried under the new one. There are literally streets and buildings, rooms and passage ways that haven’t even been discovered yet, or only seen by a hand full of people. If you want to know more read this and this.
I had always imagined her without a home. But ever since I found out she actually had one, I imagined it more in the style she was. An old building, big, imposing, secluded, and yet modernly equipped and with quick access to a large city. Maybe even a butler, who knows.
But no. Instead, we were descending into the depths of hell, because that’s how it felt like. Cold and dark.
We walked and we walked and we walked.
And finally we ended… nowhere. We were faced with a large, thick, old and rough block of stone, the size of Jupiter, which marked the end of the tunnel. There was no right or left, no way around it.
But sure enough, Regina found a way, because the left side of it wasn’t made of rock. It wasn’t even old. It looked like the same material, but was mostly clay and on top of that – it was smart clay.
It had a soft-spot. It was either the material which was special, or the way it was made. Either way, it wasn’t more than two inches thick. Regina felt the whole left side (which was about 20% of the whole thing) with her palm from top to middle and stopped in one place then quickly squeezed her hand into a fist and pushed in a short – but powerful – burst. The whole thing came down in front of us.
“Welcome home.” She said.
“Where the hell are we….?” I asked as we were descending once again through a tunnel.
“Yes, but where exactly in Rome?”
“I don’t have an address if that’s what you’re asking.”
“No, I mean what’s on top of us…? Aren’t you in danger of like… someone wanting to make a subway line through your living room?”
“No… not really. There are mostly only old protected buildings above us.” – We were, after all, in Rome. It only made sense and I didn’t give it another thought.
“We’re actually under the Vatican.”
My heart stood still. For several reasons.
“You’ve got to be joking. I mean seriously. From all the places in the world, you decided to live in the Vatican?! Can you mock everything more than this?”
Seriously. You just can’t make these things up. Movies can’t even describe such a thing. But there we were. Under the Vatican, me and a the vampire. This was just too much. Of all the things I had seen – of everything – really weird, unexplainable (some) and just plain hard to digest things – this was the worst (best?). The irony and the degree of mockery cannot be properly described in words. I had later to learn that this was no case of irony or mockery, and it did serve a very, very special purpose.
OK that was the first reason my heart stood still. I just didn’t know if I wanted to go further or not. Because we weren’t actually inside anything that even started to resemble a house. We were more in a basement.
We were crossing a very small and narrow bridge, that went over nothing, but looked like a bridge, a stone bridge, and in the distance, on each of the sides, there was a straight white marble wall with a cross sculpted into it and blackened with what seemed like coal, or graphite, or something like that. It wasn’t paint, it didn’t look like paint. We were under the Vatican alright, and what a view, and what an irony.
We finally arrived to what seemed like a door, but there was no door there, just a very narrow arch that quickly turned to the left and then went up in a small, narrow – but short – corridor.
At the end of the corridor, we were finally there. All in all, from getting off the train until stepping inside the “house” – took us just over two hours. I figured she could be quicker by her own, but no way you do this under an hour.
As soon as she turned on the lights – a combination of candles, lamps and light bulbs (yes, there was electricity down there) – I was in awe.
We were standing in a big hallway that was shaped like half a circle. We came from the back, and in front of us, there was the arched view of the circle, with three rooms – like choosing your fate.
You could see in all of the three rooms from there. They had no doors. It was more like one big arch with two walls separating three separate entrances. Each of the rooms was huge, and they were connected among themselves also through a second arch in each of them, in the middle of the wall.
One of the rooms served as a bathroom. All of it. It was huge. These were no ordinary rooms. Imagine the inside of medieval church, each room being at least 50 meters long and at least 20 meters wide, and with ceilings that spanned upwards until it became too dark to see. You literally could not see where the ceiling ended. They were that high. The echo in each of these rooms was just plain amazing, and annoying in the same time, and with Regina’s hearing I could bet she heard anything and anyone from a great distance.
The room that served as a bathroom had its own pool – with continuously flowing hot water – that overflowed all the time in a reservoir. Other than that, it had everything a bathroom needed, equipped with modern and old things alike. The whole front wall was taped with mirrors and the whole room was rather dark, only illuminated by the light in the pool and later a few candles in one of the corners of the pool, which also had around it, within reaching distance, a half empty bottle of wine.
The second room was more of an entertainment/training/living room. One side of the room, all across it, 50 meters long, had a bookshelf full with books. It was a damn library. I didn’t recognize half of them. The very end of the room had three chairs around a small but sturdy, brown oak table. Right at the entrance, to the left, there was a training area of around 20 square meters – there were ropes hanging from the ceiling and most of the equipment was just non-moving steel bars and handles made for climbing, staying in balance on them or god knows what. The right hand side of the room had everything your heart could desire in the matter of electronics, from large screen projectors to stacks of hard-drives, servers, and hundreds of CD’s. Old and new were merging together, like everything here, from CD players, VCR, to old gramophones, from stacks of hard-drives to stacks of diapositives. A whole library and in the same time an entertainment room. A small wine selection was laying in a shelf near the big leather chairs and the table, and other than that the whole thing, the whole room, was tapered in paintings looking down on you.
The third room was the bedroom. It was both the quietest and most peaceful bedroom in the world, and also the most horrifying one.
There wasn’t really anything there. Imagine a 50 by 20 meters room, that you can’t see the end of it or the height of it because it just seems to have none of those due to the low light. This room had a bed in the middle of it – a bed the size of which I had never seen. It could easily fit at least 10 people on it, maybe more. It was the size of maybe 6 or seven king-sized beds put together in a perfect square. The whole thing was covered in layers and layers of huge, thin purple silk sheets. You could go under one, two, three, ten or more layers, as many as you wanted. This was also the most sad bed in the world. One single small lonely pillow in one corner. That’s it. That whole gigantic bed and one pillow.
One single thick rope was lingering above the bed, it was attached to the ceiling and when looking up at it you couldn’t exactly see where it led. It was just a rope descending from nothingness above the bed. In case of trouble I figured.
Regina pulled down a thick wooden door – more like a wall – after we entered, and sealed it by pushing it into a perfectly fit shape in the wall. We were sealed there.
The whole area, the whole place was covered in a thick black dust and spider webs the likes you’ve never seen.
I didn’t say anything, and nobody started cleaning. We just cleaned whatever we used next.
She started lightning more and more candles from one room to another room, and more and more lamps and light bulbs, until the whole area became rather visible and bearable. It was cold and damp as hell and stank of mold, but slowly it started getting warmer, more welcoming, dryer and the smell started going away, as we started actually staying there and stirring things up.
Regina headed straight for the pool and leaned in to check the water with one hand. She smiled.
“Eleven years… and still warm. Now that’s what I call welcoming.”
“Wait, you haven’t been here in eleven years?”
“No, I don’t come that often…”
Well that explained the dust and everything.
She undressed and was in the pool taking a bath before we finished speaking. I followed. The feeling of swimming in a catacomb was overwhelming, eerie but pleasant and quiet in the same time. Just like taking a bath in a warm-ish lake during a summer night.
After that we went in the living room and she started turning on one thing after another, computer after computer, screen after screen, they were all turning back to life, shedding their dust outer shell and aligning into a smooth, soothing humming sound, after the beeps and lights calmed down. The whole room started glowing and getting a whole different kind of light, with images reflecting from one brick to the other.
She then headed slowly towards the piano in the corner and sat down…[audio http://k006.kiwi6.com/hotlink/ss5hunhhh3/beethoven_moonlight_sonata_sonata_al_chiaro_di_luna_.mp3]
I slowly approached her and put my hands on top of hers and gently started playing together with her until she took her hands down and left me to continue. She just stood there, frozen, without saying anything, with me lingering above her head, smelling her hair and playing one of the only three songs I can play. I can’t play the piano, not really, I just learned them by heart.
“BANG” “BANG” – I stopped playing and we both jolted up. What the hell. Who’s there, what’s happening, who knows we’re here. We’re trapped. Oh god…
“I can’t even have five minutes for myself…” She said angrily while heading towards the bookshelves behind us.
She pulled one of the shelves away and pried open a door an iron door locked from top to bottom with three metal bars going across it from left to right.
I was already prepared to run.
Upon opening the door, a small figured appeared, an old man. A priest.
WHAT?! Oh this can’t get any better.
But it did. The priest bowed his head, looked at me and then looked back and said something in Italian. He moved aside and from behind him, a taller, more imposing man appeared, also a priest I figured, but dressed casually with only the collar giving him away and the cross around his neck.
Regina kissed his hand and they both bowed their heads slightly to one another.
Well, I thought, this is something else…
The old man handed us both a suitcase with clothes in it. How the hell did he know I was here? How did they know anyone was here? I later asked Regina about it and she pointed up all around us. There were cameras, all around us there were surveillance cameras! I couldn’t believe it! She agreed to let herself filmed?! Granted, as long as she didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, there was no need for her to worry.
She told me that “All weapons can fire in two opposite directions” meaning that she had as many reasons to worry for being filmed as they had for filming her. I wondered if it was recorded. It wasn’t, apparently. But you never know.
Regina and the priest talked in Italian while we both got dressed. She took of the clothes that she had on her right there in front of the two priests like they weren’t even there, while they were still talking casually, and she got dressed. I followed. This seemed way too awkward for me, but I kept pushing and pushing myself into putting myself into her shoes. I kept trying to imagine how I would feel about each and every situation if I was her. And apparently the less ashamed you are of your body, the less pudic you are. In that regard, I don’t think she would have had any problems walking naked through Trafalgar square.
From what I could muster in my broken Italian, I understood that there were others that knew about her, there was someone else we had to talk with about the attacks in Turkey, and that they would help her in any way possible. I also understood that we had to go.
We were given two crosses to put around our necks, which we both did. Seeing Regina dressed as bland as possible, in a gray skirt and a gloomy shirt, with a cross around her neck and her hair tied behind her back, I couldn’t help but laugh. They all looked at me like at some distracted kid, which I was. But you have to give it to me, this was too ironic and too funny to not at least smile.
It was like in those times when something so unbelievable or unexpected, but most of the times bad, happens to you, that you just give up and jump over being angry, straight to laughing… out of self-pity. I didn’t pity myself, but I just laughed in the same way. Just like when you’re too tired to even think anymore and everything seems funny. It was out of this world for me, seeing her like that, knowing what she is and knowing what the whole world thinks about her kind.
We followed the two priests up a corridor, out of the house (crypt, catacomb?). One priest in front of us, one behind us. And as the old priest closed the door behind us, through where they came from, I could see sculpted in rock above the door, three small words.
Ancient latin letters. There were others like it, all around the house, and before entering it from the other side, but they were all half of word, erased, some meaningless, some without any context, some were names….
However this inscription… this inscription read something else.
I’ll leave you to decipher what it said, and because I lack the means of actually writing in ancient Latin here, I wrote it by hand.
March 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
We stayed in Sweden for more than a month and just… didn’t do anything special. Well, for you it might be special, but for me it kind of started to blur and each new day became more and more like the last.
I was amazed at first by Lars and his family but I soon got accustomed with it, and as for dinner like I mentioned earlier, well, let’s just say it wasn’t screaming.
We only stayed with them for about a week and then moved to a hotel and Regina kept being on and off for sometimes days in-between without seeing her. I figured I should just go home, but she was deterring me each time. Sure, Gotheborg was nice, but I missed home nonetheless.
Just under a month since we were in Sweden, around two in the morning, Regina burst into the hotel room all excited and cheerful. I wasn’t sleeping because, well, that’s another interesting story.
Everybody that is “normal” and is only forced to pull an all-night for studying or partying will strongly believe that the human nature is strongly against functioning night-time. Because they feel like shit.
But this is false. If you only do it once, yes, you feel like shit, but ask any person that works nights how is it, and each of them will tell you that “You get used to it.”
And you do get used to it. I was by now fully active and lively during the night and always sleepy and tired, my body telling me to go to sleep, during the day. I had my sleeping schedule fully inverted. So no, I wasn’t sleeping.
In any case, Regina burst into the room announcing.
“We’re leaving!” She was even happier than me that we were leaving by judging her expression.
“Awesome. Finally…” I replied.
“But where to?” I added.
“Well, you’re going home, I’m going to the end of the world.” And she giggled.
“I’m coming with you.” I immediately interjected.
“No, you’re not. It’s too far and if Sigismund is there, too dangerous.” Regina replied.
Well this was new, usually she kind of forced me to go with her or do different things, but now it was the other way around. She was sending me home. But, as any human, you want what you can’t have…
“Come on, it can’t be that far. Where is it?” I asked.
“No.” She said.
“No what?” I replied.
“No, don’t even think about it.” Yes, I was planning in following her ass. Although that would prove difficult, if not impossible.
“Come on, you drag me all this way, make me literally open tombs for you, and now you’re ditching me?”
“Things would be much easier and more accessible if you would just accept me already…” She was referring to the fact that I continuously denied her from turning me. It’s like she was possessed or something with this thing. Seriously, Viktoria made it abundantly clear that she, Regina, hasn’t turned anyone in hundreds of years, well, except Blanche which I forced her too, and now she was obsessed about turning me.
You only know, from the story, about the only time she tried doing it and I refused, but trust me, she tried each and every time we were together. I won’t turn this story into a “fantasy romance” novel and just provide sex scenes each second post, but trust me, I was her main food supply, and she rarely fed without it.
Every third of fourth night, we had to fight over the fact of why I don’t want to be turned.
I… I had a lot of arguments against it.
Here’s what I told a reader about it:
Even sick, even in pain, it’s never an easy decision to make. Try thinking more about the implications behind it, other than “yay no death”. Movies romanticize it and make it look like a blessing, but it’s not. And it’s not romantic. There’s nothing nice about it and you can never, ever make peace with the idea of murdering humans to keep yourself alive.
Regina was an angel and yet she left a trail of bodies over the centuries. A genocide if you wish, and she was haunted by each and every face, every day. She had thousands of drawings, photos and notes, names and everything, with almost every human life she’d ever taken. You wouldn’t want to be in her head not even for a second. It’s not a blessing.
Most of them just shut down, go into nothingness, they just stop feeling. But that’s stopping almost everything. You can do that as a human also, but harder. You just become a sociopath, with no feelings. That’s no way to live eternity.
And no, you don’t get used to it. There are things that you get used to, but manslaughter isn’t one of them. You’re either a serial killer, or you’re not. It’s not something you learn over time.
Yes, you can feed without killing, but more than often you’re forced to, otherwise you would expose you and your entire kinship to that human. Some humans accepted it better than others, some thought nothing of it and were allowed to walk freely. They had no idea how close to death they even came.
My relationship with Regina was weird. We were together, but not really.
We would at times, stay in the same apartment, and I would sleep in one room while she was in the other room with another human being, feeding on him, which more than often involved sex, and then in the early hours of the morning coming next to me as if nothing happened. And I learned to accept that, but it’s never easy sleeping with your back to a person who just drained someone of every drop of blood just a few meters away from you, and who still smells like iron and copper, not even mentioning she just had sex with that very same one.
But who was I to judge? I was happy she came, every time, and sleep with me. And maybe if in her place, I would have done the same as she did. And maybe if like her, we would have done it together.
So from all those movies and books that one sees and reads, the picture is very much distorted. Nobody goes around sipping blood from a glass all day long just as easy as he would buy it from a store. Hospitals don’t supply blood as easy as you think, they are out of it themselves anyway. Nobody has a full fridge of nice bags full of blood at their disposal and just heats them up in the microwave. That’s retarded.
Most of them have to feed straight from a human because I suspect, there’s more than blood what they are taking. I don’t know what else, but if you see the difference between a vampire who just fed on a human and one who just fed on human blood from a bag, you’ll understand. It’s ridiculously different, as if the feeding itself from a human offered something else, something invisible. I don’t know what.
And no, there’s no easy going around it. The whole “compelling” thing is a non-sense. There is a certain degree of hypnotic behavior or… influence if you wish, but it only goes as much as suggesting certain things, making some idea weigh more in one’s head… and I would guess it’s relative to the vampire’s charisma and age, and way of putting things, and not his pupils going big and just “hypnotizing someone”. That’s crap and doesn’t work. It would be nice, sure, it would mean almost no more human deaths, but it doesn’t exist, and people run and scream when bitten. I know I did.
And the ones that scream don’t stop until you either kill them or make them shut up in some other way, nobody just gets used with blood being drawn out by a monster from him. No girl just suddenly starts “feeling horny” and just “gives in” and starts liking it.
No. It’s horrifying to see and hear it and even more horrifying to see someone walking in the room and coming out in a bag. And it’s as horrifying for you doing it. Because if you can’t get used to it, you’ll forever be haunted by it, like Regina. But it’s either kill or be killed, and it sounds “logic” – but it’s not. Who gives you the right to murder thousands of people just so you can live. What makes you so much more important than them?
And many, many other things, make it a curse as much as a blessing.
No family (well, Lars did it, but he was pretty much a rare exception), no normal life, moving all the time, always hidden, no people to rely on, no true LIFETIME friends. Nobody to comfort you when it’s hard, nobody to hug you when it’s cold outside and you fall asleep in front of your TV.
No, when all those things above happen, you are just waking up, preparing to go out in the dark and the cold, and take yet another life. And it’s horrible each time, and all of them, all of them fight up until their last second. Those who do fight, they never stop squirming and fighting to get out from the clutches of the devil, but they never do. They fight until the end, without realizing that fighting it is the worst thing you could do.
So if you ask me why I refused, then I can only assume you’ve never seen a vampire feeding.
And then if you ask me so then, how could you sleep and love such a thing, then I can only assume you’ve also never seen how kind and loving one can be. It’s a paradox, at least for some of them, including Regina.
Demon by night, when they feed and hunt, angel by day, when they are just like you and me.
If there is a heaven and hell – then I tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that the “bouncer” has a really hard time deciding where a vampire will go. I could never decide where to send one, ever, and believe, I’ve tried.
It was official. I loved Regina. I loved the way she made me feel, you know, like life was worth it. Life was good.
I loved the way she looked like when she slept. I love the little birthmark she had on a hip, I loved her eyes, I loved everything. I loved her name, whatever it was, and I loved how I heard this song in my head every time I thought about her.
I also loved how she licked her lips sometimes before she started to speak, and mostly, I loved the way her laugh sounded. I loved her smile.
And as for becoming a vampire, well, some value life, even if it ends, more than eternity. I’m not saying I do, not, I had other reasons and this was not one of them, but life…
This is our life. It’s terrible and short and incredible and thin and beautiful… and none of us come alive out of it. And that’s ok, because it’s worth dying for. You know… life is worth dying for, that is my incredibly short, stupid but true and from the bottom of my heart meaning of life line, the only one that will ever be enough. It’s stupid to search for complex meanings and purposes in life.
Live it, live it like there is no tomorrow and live it until you realize it’s worth dying for, because trust me, you won’t realize that until you’re about to do just that, die for it, because it was so beautiful and so tragic in the same time. Die with a smile on your face, and accept, that the tragedy of dying, is a part of life itself, is a part of you, and that is the thing that makes life so intense in the first place. Knowing it will end.
I feel I digressed way too much from the story but I’ll continue anyway.
As soon as Regina once again made a point about how I should accept to be turned, I gave up and just told her that fine, I’ll go home, but I made sure that she saw I was more than angry, I was upset, at her.
That night she didn’t even came to the hotel and I couldn’t care less. I was on a plane even before sunrise and headed for home.
You might think that was childish of me, which I won’t argue against, because I was a child. And that was the point. I didn’t want to argue or push even more in this subject.
That was one big reason for me refusing the turning – I wouldn’t want to be a kid forever, no.
In any case, I arrived home that very same day, I was back in that small town where everything has started, I was back at seeing my friends. I forgot about Regina rather quickly, being overwhelmed by everything that I missed, but I soon realized that even back home, things were very much different and not like they used to be. Blanche had made sure to change them.
One vampire in one town could make all the difference in the world. Especially if it’s a small 35,000 inhabitants town.
March 3, 2012 § 6 Comments
It was a surprisingly short drive from Arlanda to where we were going. After a mere 50 kilometers and a dash of more conversation we were entering a town. At first it seemed like we were heading into nothingness, surrounded by old and tall mountain trees that looked like over-fed and over-grown Christmas trees. However, as we entered more deeply into the town I could see this was no village.
We were in Uppsala. A town, which at the time I didn’t knew, was the old Viking capital of Sweden and the whole Scandinavia, back in the 1200 if I remember correctly. This holds no true relevance to the story.
We shortly stopped around the town and just… well, Regina seemed like a tourist. She seemed interested, she seemed amazed by the town. It held no special meaning to me, it was just a bigger version, more cleaner I could also say, of my hometown. Old buildings and the occasional cobblestone streets.
“Can I take photos?” I asked.
“Of what?” Regina quickly replied.
“Here, go stay in that bush. I’ll make a model out of you.” I said mockingly.
She laughed loudly and we thought nothing of it. We just kept walking and, what I didn’t knew about Uppsala, was the fact that it also held the biggest church in Scandinavia, and the oldest stone one in Sweden I think.
It was huge. Gigantic I tell you. I had never seen such a big church in my life. I have to correct myself, this was no church. This was a cathedral. And although I had seen the Milan Cathedral (in Italy) previously, somehow this church seemed taller, but not as wide as that one.
As we were walking past it and I was admiring because what else was there to do, Regina pulled me towards it and in no time we were headed towards the door. I didn’t really wanted to know what we were doing, but I was happy to see the inside. I was always a fan of old architecture, and although it seems something of a geek hobby, it wasn’t really a hobby. I just enjoyed watching beautiful things, is that a crime?
I understood why Regina dragged me around town all this time. She waited for the sun to go down, but I think she might have gotten tired of waiting because it was almost past 21:00 and the sun was still shining. I had learned on the spot that the sun in Sweden, during June, does not set until 23 and rises at 3 in the morning. And if you go ever more up north, the sun doesn’t set at all for a few days during summer! Go figure!
A vampire in Sweden! HA! That seemed hilarious. But then I remembered that there’s a winter too, and the same thing happens during the winter. Little to no sunshine. Aha…
In any case, we waited for it to at least dim, because it did. It was a in-between light, and we needed it. We were making a breaking and entering. Into a cathedral. Into the biggest cathedral in Scandinavia. Lord have mercy on my soul if you’re up there and real and watching what I’m doing now, I thought.
Well I have to tell you, that the door was… well, you couldn’t take it down even if you rammed a car in it. No.
Regina had a different technique however. She had a key! A key! I didn’t even want to know how and most importantly WHY would she be in the possession of a key from the front entrance into a world-renowned cathedral. But she was, and we were there. Well, at least no breaking in the “breaking and entering part.”
We went in like two mice, in broad daylight (well almost) with people around us and everything. I was actually amazed that nobody saw us going in. The cathedral was supposed to be closed I figured, by how tightly the door was locked.
In any case, as soon as we went inside I saw the beautiful inside of the church and my jaw dropped. It was out of this world. It really is something, you have to see it. We walked fast down the path leading to the altar and I thought we were going to say a prayer or something, but just in front of the altar, Regina turned a left and went behind it. The altar had some kind of a fake wall behind it and there was yet another room after that.
What I didn’t knew at that time was that the room hidden behind the altar – which by all means was open to the public all day long – was the most important one. Also, creepy wax model staring at you behind the altar. I do have a photo with that if you’re interested, which was taken sometime… later. During normal hours.
The walls around the room were literally taped with Latin texts, white or gold (can’t remember) on a blue background, that I can remember. And in the middle of the room, was the center-piece, of course.
I didn’t even need to ask – I figured it must be someone really important in that tomb, which was all marble and cast iron over it, and in the lid were sculpted three silhouettes. In the middle there was a man, with a crown on his head, probably a king I thought, and on each side he had a woman. Now that was a man who knew how to go into the afterlife.
I took the liberty of reading the texts and I quickly found out that there laid the most beloved (and apparently important) king that ruled over Sweden. Gustav Something. I kid, I kid. Gustav Vasa was his name.
There were little to no windows inside the actual church, which made it dark even with the dim light outside, but above us (well, not us, the tomb, because that was the important thing here apparently) there were nice, big windows which let the mild sun shine over the room. It made everything look even more golden that it already (physically) was.
“Tu esti barbatul asa ca hai pune cotu’ si ridica sau impinge cu mine.”
“Trebuie sa ridicam chestia asta, mormantu asta, sa-l dam la o parte.”
“Tu esti nebuna? Asta-i cel mai important rege al Suediei. Din principiu nu pot sa fac asa ceva, mi-e si rusine de mine daca fac asta.”
“Sa vezi ce rusine o sa-ti fie daca nu faci asta…”
“Rusine ca ai fost batut de o fata.”
“Mai poti sa ma ameninti mult? Daca vrei sa-l ridici, ridica-l singura.”
“Da’ nu pot SINGURA!”
“N-am mancat aproape nimic de cand mi-ai onorat inimia cu un dar, si sunt slabita.”
“Da’ daca nu vrei sa ma ajuti, atunci….”
That talk was in Romanian. I just felt the need to say it in Romanian first. However take notice, that although I write in English, the conversation was, most of the time, in Romanian. About half of the time I would say, and the other half in all kinds of languages which I was trying to understand, like Italian, French, Spanish, English and sometimes Russian, which I know nothing of.
But here is the actual talk for you.
“You’re the man so put a shoulder here and pull or push with me.” Regina said.
“Excuse me?” I replied.
“We need to lift this thing, this tomb, move it aside.” She explained.
“Are you crazy? This is the most important king of Sweden. Out of principle I can’t do a thing like that, and I would be ashamed of me if I did.” I said, trying to convince her to stop insisting. I didn’t want to see a corpse that laid there for hundreds of years.
“You’ll be ashamed alright if you don’t do this…” She said, trailing off and then quickly adding “Ashamed you’ve got beaten up by a girl.” I believed her. She was getting angry. Not angry that I didn’t want to lift it. I couldn’t even if I tried, but angry that I refused to cooperate, almost all the time, not just now.
“Aren’t you tired / Can you threaten me any longer? If you wanna lift it, lift it by yourself.” I said.
“But I can’t do it ALONE!” She shrieked at me.
We were arguing by now.
“I haven’t eaten anything since you honored my heart with a gift, and I’m weak.” She added.
“But if you won’t help me, then…” and she didn’t finish that sentence. Instead she pushed me with a hand towards a wall that it almost cracked behind me. She was in front of me, pushing me harder against the wall in a second afterwards.
She started kissing me.Nnot in a “I need love” way but in a “You’re getting it” way and I knew I was. I knew what was next. I could feel her fangs extending and grazing my tongue, which she bit also, just to toy with me.
And then I submitted, when she stopped kissing, I willingly turned my head and let her sink her teeth in it. No pain, nothing, that was good. She actually, against all her anger, made it a pleasant thing. I swear I could hear her thoughts, I could feel her emotions and I could see her, like she sees herself, in her mind. I don’t know how to explain. This thing formed such a strong connection every time, that you almost felt one and the same with her. I wondered if she felt the same. I wondered if she felt the same with everyone, not just me.
In any case, with a bit of practice, if indeed we felt the same, I was sure this was the key towards telepathy. Rhyme not intended. It was just that strong. I could feel her heart beat, in my mind. How is that possible? That doesn’t even make any sense!
She finished and didn’t even bother to heal me up. She just left me another nice puncture on my neck. Sweet. I wasn’t mad anyway, because what came next, shook my world again.
I swear to you, that tomb could not be lifted by a fork lift. It was massive, marble made, over half a ton. There is no way in hell ten people lift that. It didn’t make any difference if I helped or not. Physically. Well, I did, but not with my muscles.
She ran her fingers across the floor, at the edge of the tomb, trying to find a good spot to grab, and she found some kind of a ridge because in an instant I saw all her muscles tense like they were about to burst. Her face turned red – yes – it turned red like it does for me and you when trying to lift something heavy. She started shrieking and pulling hard on that. I literally thought she was either going to break her back or have a heart attack right there, but the tomb started moving. I couldn’t believe my eyes, she was lifting the damn thing, which was not only crazy heavy, but also untouched and unmoved for centuries. It was practically soldered to the ground from all those years standing there, but that didn’t stop her.
She lifted it about 10cm and then she started pushing it to the side. Then she let go of it, slowly, with no booms and poundings of the floor intended. As she laid it down, I circled around the other side and marveled at what was before my eyes. There were stairs beneath the tomb. Actual stairs, leading into pitch black.
She didn’t say a word, I didn’t say a word. We both knew where we were going and I didn’t have the guts to tell her I’m afraid of the dark. I just followed, and we descended beneath the old cathedral, through a narrow (very narrow, we were on our sides, advancing) tunnel, which was also dripping went and moist and just generally disgusting, and we kept going. I thanked all the saints that I knew and the ones I didn’t knew for not having claustrophobia, and continued going. Should I mention we had absolutely no lights and it was so dark you couldn’t see anything? NOTHING. Not even your finger in front of your eyes. Nothing. It was the darkest place I’ve ever been.
It was so dark that not even Regina could see. She made that abundantly clear several times when she asked me if I’m still there. And I can tell you, she wasn’t happy at all. She was not comfortable being blind after centuries of seeing perfectly. Not a bit. She was getting anxious, angry, frustrated and I truly hoped there’s no such thing as a claustrophobic vampire because that would not only be the most ironic, the most hilarious thing in the world, but also the most unsuitable for the time and place where we currently were.
I think we went through that tunnel at least a hundred meters until we reached (finally) a room. It wasn’t a big room, no. Just a simple two by two round room. Perfectly round I must say.
As we got to the room, she got a lighter and started setting things on fire. Torches. Four of them. It got bright and hot sooner than expected.
“You have light and didn’t say anything?” I asked frustrated towards her “secret.”
“I think you only have about five minutes of oxygen in here with all these torches.” She replied instead of an answer to my question. I was satisfied with it nonetheless.
“What is this place anyway?” I asked in an attempt to change the subject.
“This my dear, is my maker’s vault I believe.” She replied.
“So you’re not actually sure…” I said and waited for a reply, which came sooner than expected.
“Well, before going away, he told me that if I ever needed help, I should come here. I never did, until now, and so here we are.” She said.
“So what are we looking for then?” I said while trying to make heads and tails of the room. The walls were covered in holes, and each hole held either manuscripts, book, artifacts (jewelry), and all kinds of weird things, like dried herbs. I started poking around and kept trying to find something that was actually of a certain value to us, not money wise. But before I had the chance to come through as the victor, she replied to my last question.
“I believe… this is what we’re looking for.”
And sure enough, I stopped searching, because that caught my attention.
“Wait a second… don’t tell me he made the… this…” I said and trailed off looking confused.
“This doesn’t make any sense.” I added.
“Why is that thing here, why is it exactly like my necklace and why is Sigismund related to it – and WHY both of them are the same with Vlad’s seal, The Order of the Dragon?” I asked. Too many questions.
“I don’t know, but I believe this…” – and she ripped the necklace off my neck – “goes here.” She pushed the actual pendant in the middle of the ouroboros which had a perfectly carved inverted pentagram in the middle, just like my necklace. It clicked – it clicked! – right in.
Nothing magically started moving or opening, but instead the metal dragon ( the ouroboros ) jumped back by a few millimeters, we could see and hear it, and Regina rested her hand on it, looking at it confused, and then she tried pushing it back but that only made the pendant fall off from the spot.
She took it off the ground and pushed it back in, making the ouroboros once again jump out by a bit. She again looked at it and rested her hand on it but this time, instead of pushing, she grabbed it tightly and turned. And it started turning.
By god she looked like Sherlock Holmes. I was awed at how exciting this all felt, feeling giddy inside, but had to notice that the whole thing was nothing more than a lock, a clever, but primitive lock. What I did care about was, why the key to that lock, was being worn by me for all these years, with no clue of what’s dangling around my neck.
The head of the dragon turned exactly 180 degrees and then it clicked, but didn’t move. Regina stopped and then ran her fingers across the edge of what seemed a brick, and pulled.
The “brick” came off, rather hardly, but it did. I think it would have never been possible to take it out without breaking the whole damn wall around it, without the key that is.
Inside, there was one, very small and old book. No hardcover, just a bunch of pages wrapped in a thick leather hide – raw leather hide, untreated. It looked so fresh – and so raw – that I was surprised there wasn’t any fur on it still.
“This is it.” She said.
“Let’s go then because I think you were right about the air.” I replied.
“I was just joking, the tomb is still open…” She said.
“Or is it?” I said in an attempt to mock her too. Which worked, very much.
I think there was nothing more scary for Regina than being trapped in a lightless, soundless tomb. Nothing. I think that was also the reason she came back for me and released me from the crypt that first day also, besides the necklace. I really do.
You see, if someone would have been to actually close the tomb, I would have died in probably oh, about two days maximum, after I had run out of air completely. But her… well, she would have lasted much, much longer, even without air, she would have died slowly and painfully, and that was her curse. And her deepest fear. Being trapped.
A human – couldn’t be so scared – you’re not actually scared of being trapped, but you’re scared of death. She instead, was scared of not being able to die – SOON ENOUGH – for it to be acceptable.
I realized my mockery and its effect intended was more than I had planned for. I realized that when I found myself alone in the whole thing, because Regina rushed towards the entrance to the crypt, and when I say rushed, I mean she was there in under ten seconds, when previously it took us two minutes to reach the room.
She was yelling at me from the entrance to hurry up and stop being a “slowpoke”. Didn’t knew what a slowpoke was but I swear to god it pissed me off more than it should have. That, and the fact she didn’t at least have the common sense of leaving me the damn lighter. One crypt in my life was enough for me, seriously. This was just not funny anymore.