AlyonaA Story by Whirl
My name is Alyona Petrov. I was born in 1876 to a poor family living in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Growing up, I thought my life was a living hell. That was until one night, in my twenty-ninth year, a man called Stephanos Vasiliev showed me the true meaning of hell. That night, my life changed forever. This is my story.
Ten years before that fateful night, my parents had left for England, promises of a bright and rich future beckoned. I vowed to stay in Russia and work hard, make myself someone they would be proud of. I miss them terribly, even now, but am thankful they never returned to see the thing I have become.
I was just living day by day, I worked hard cleaning and taking care of the homes of the rich folk, it seems the richer these people are, they less they pay their help. It was when I was working that I met Stephanos. He was tall, strikingly handsome, and very rich. He was a visitor to my place of work, invited by my employers. Stephanos caught my eye immediately, and it seems I had caught his. He kept smiling a charming smile, and we exchanged lingering looks. Unheard of given his importance and stature, and my being the hired help. I remember feeling my cheeks flush with each sly glance in his direction.
And so, when he eventually asked to take a walk with me after I had finished my chores, I immediately agreed. In that very second, fate had decided the rest of my life.
He took me to a wooden bench near a lake behind the biggest house in the town. The stars were shining brightly down on us, sparkling like jewels on the lake ripples, and the air was cool, my shawl barely keeping the breeze at bay. We sat and spoke of his work, and my childhood, he listened intently. I was drawn to his eyes, in the dark of the night they seemed jet black...but mesmerising. He was smiling down at me, told me he could change my unhappy life. That he wanted to be there to always take care of me. He took my face in his hands and kissed me softly. I was overwhelmed with joy; I readily accepted his generous offer, unknowing fully of what he spoke. In my naivety, I thought perhaps it was a proposal of an eventual marriage. I was mistaken; it was a one-way ticket to death. He kissed me again, I opened my arms to him, and he caressed me in the moonlight. Never again have I felt the elation I felt that night, in that very moment.
But it was over too soon, as he gently nuzzled my neck, stroking my face with his fingertips, I felt a sudden hot, searing pain, as I tried to wrench myself from his grasp, he pulled me closer to his chest. If anyone had been passing by, we would have appeared to be young lovers, caught in a moment of romance. My vision blurred and I fell into his arms.
When I awoke, I did not feel like myself, and I could vaguely remember the exchange just an hour or two before. I was in a strange chamber, red silk drapes hung drawn over a large window and candles were lit on an ancient dark wood vanity table. I was alone and confused. All I knew was that I had an excruciating hunger, I felt weak to the bone with need for something to ease this ache. But I did not hunger for food. It was then Stephanos appeared, as handsome as ever, with a smile in his black eyes. I noticed then, a change in myself. I had no strength, but my senses seemed heightened. I could hear a rattling of dishes from floors away. I could smell broth simmering on a stove from the kitchen; and my eyes seemed to pick up every minute detail around me, even in that dull hue. I was so frightened; I expected to feel my heart leaping in my chest. I remember placing my hand at my ribs and feeling nothing...nothing at all.
Stephanos came to me and sat on the edge of the bed, he explained that he had taken my old lost and lonely life, and given me another. A life where I will feel no pain, no loss and stay eternally youthful. I admit, it sounds like a wonderful dream, but there is always a price to pay for such a gift. In order to rid myself of the famine inside me, I had to feed, in order to feed, I had to kill. Something already dead cannot die, but at that moment, I wanted this new life to end.
I remained in bed for days, refusing to move, eat or dress. I was growing weaker by the hour, until eventually, instinct pushed me to rise and search for Stephanos.
The moment my feet touched the plush cream carpet, he came to me. He knew. He knew the time had come for me to feed.
I washed and dressed with the aid of Francesca, a pretty girl of eighteen years. She had a face of rare natural beauty, and a warming smile. As I slipped my arms into the gown she held, I was overwhelmed with a need to taste her. I could smell her skin, and sense the blood pumping just beneath the surface. I watched a thin vein throb in her neck as I let out a groan and reached for her, a strong hand clasped my wrist. “Not this one, Alyona. I have someone else for you”.
I was led to a large room; candlelight flickered from every available surface, casting dancing shadows on the walls. There was a large, dark red chaise longue in the centre of the room, facing a fine, stone fireplace. Standing by the roaring fire was a young woman dressed in black. She was no more than nineteen, and radiant. She was drinking wine, and turned to smile as she noticed Stephanos and I approaching.
‘Alyona, this is Helena, she has come to be given instructions on what will be asked of her, should she be hired as your aide.’ Stephanos turned to me, his black eyes shining and they seemed to speak to me. ‘This one is for you’, he told me, without saying a word.
He turned and left. I felt so weak; I clutched the couch and eased myself onto it. Concern etched on her face, Helena immediately placed herself down next to me. ‘Are you alright, Miss?’ I was barely listening. I was consumed with need as the heady scent of red wine from her breath assaulted my sensitive nostrils. Helena was leaning so close, and my hunger was uncontrollable. I reached out and touched her face; she was so soft, like the skin of a peach. I remember thinking what a beautiful face she had. Delicate cheekbones, beautiful, exotic brown eyes, and full lips. Helena was uncertain of my intentions, but she did not move. She seemed to be as much entranced with me, as I had become with her. Before I was aware of what I was doing, I had pulled her to me and kissed her. She tasted of heaven, so very sweet, with a drop of innocence. She did not refuse me. In fact, she had moved herself closer to me in order to deepen the kiss. Her lips were tender and her tongue playful. I had never received a kiss so sensual. I felt an arousal I had never experienced before, and with a woman! I remember wondering if any part of my former self still remained. I know now the answer is no.
Helena was breathing heavily, and my hunger was driving me to the point of insanity. She groaned as I gently caressed her breast and kissed her neck. Fingers lightly tracing beautifully soft, delicate skin. She arched her back and pushed herself to me, I could sense her excitement rising.
A second later, her groans and sighs of pleasure had turned into screams of pain. I had sunk my teeth into her and was feeding greedily. Blood pumped freely and I gorged upon it. I just could not get enough of her. I fed until I was satisfied...feeling a little strength return to my body.
Stephanos appeared as I was licking the final trace of blood from my lips. He smiled at me as he eyed the body lying limp across my lap. I couldn’t help but return that smile. I had never felt as good as I did at that moment. I never gave Helena a second thought as I stood and let her drop to the floor. I moved into Stephanos arms and kissed him. I felt another desire stirring that needed satisfied.
The weeks passed quickly. Stephanos kept me indoors until he was sure I had all my strength. He would bring me lovely young ladies night after night to feast upon. So, by the time he said we could venture out together, I was impatient and excited, as I would get to choose whom to prey upon for myself. I could see Stephanos was pleased with how I had accepted my new life, he was keen to show me great things, and I was eager to learn.
I recall the night he came to me in my chamber, Francesca was brushing my long, black hair to a sheen. With a swift wave from Stephanos, she hurried into the hall and closed the door. “You are beautiful, Alyona” His voice was deep and clear, yet it was almost a whisper. I had noticed a grand change in my appearance. My once mousy hair had become a jet-black mane of silk. Green eyes had transformed into shining jade orbs, almost cat-like. I still had my slim figure, but somehow, it felt different, I had become confident about my body, I felt powerful and alluring.
Stephanos clasped my shoulders and brought me to my feet. I knew he was going to kiss me, but he was aware of how I felt every time he was close to me, and seemed to delight himself with teasing me. I closed my eyes and waited. I yearned for him so much I was aching inside. Stephanos ran his fingers through my hair, clutched my scalp and held my face up to his. He lightly brushed his lips over mine; I became light-headed with want. Then he let me go, took a step backwards, shared his handsome smile and said, “Let’s go out tonight”.
The air was cold, but it did not register on my pale skin. My eyes were busy, as I tried to see everything at once; it all appeared so new. The sky had never held so many bright stars, or looked so close; everything seemed more detailed. From the leaves that still clung to the trees to the pebbles on the ground.
Stephanos took my hand and led me away from the place I had been kept for so long. The huge house I had come to call home.
Few people walked the streets at this hour, but those who were out, appeared to be courting couples. I kept glancing up at Stephanos, eagerly awaiting his approval, a sign that I could take one.
He would just smile down at me, and continue walking. Without uttering a word he told me, “Not yet, but very soon”.
We walked for a while longer; it was not too long before Stephanos’ step became quicker. He suddenly knew where we were going. I tried to search his mind, pick up on the thoughts held within him, as he had done so easily with mine, but I could not. “In time, I will show you how” he said. I let out a laugh; he had caught me trying to invade his thoughts. He turned to me and told me to hush; we were almost there.
We came to a park; benches were placed sporadically around a grassed area, sheltered by the overhanging trees. There were stone, moss-covered statues; gargoyles with hideous features and dangling tongues. The spot was quite busy for such an hour, but glancing around I quickly came to the conclusion that this was a spot where lovers met in the dark of night. Stephanos looked at me, he asked me with his black eyes which couple should be taken. I was thrilled at the thought of being able to choose someone for myself. I remember studying the women, all very young and pretty. The men were handsome, and as yet, I had never tasted a man, Stephanos had always brought me youthful girls. I decided on the one I wanted. Stephanos flashed me a knowing grin, and I blushed, because he knew I chose that particular one for his dashing good looks and lean physique. Stephanos led me to the bench where the chosen couple sat. They did not even notice our approach, so enthralled they were with each other. We sat on the same bench and Stephanos pulled me into his arms and began kissing me. It was not long before I had forgotten the reason we were there. His mouth was forceful upon mine; filling my mind with only him. His hand had crept beneath my long black coat and was massaging my breast. I pushed myself hard up against him, disregarding the people around us. I wanted to feel him, all of him, my need almost as strong as my hunger. I knew he felt it too, as I placed my hand on him. He was growing as excited as I. I stroked him as his tongue grappled with mine. I felt a yearning to make love to him right there, but of course I could not. This only added to my frustration, yet heightened my need and excitement.
Stephanos pulled away from me, and indicated with his dark eyes that our chosen two were leaving the park, arm in arm. I tried to pull myself together, regain my composure, before we set off in that same direction.
Apart from Stephanos and I, and our quarry, the streets were empty, and the pair were in no rush to get home. They strolled just slightly ahead of us; my insides had begun craving again. We caught up to them quickly, I began a passing greeting aimed towards them, they were more than welcoming, and stopped to return our salutation. Stephanos was letting me lead and I felt so powerful because of his trust in me. As small talk began, I inched closer to the male, I could smell soap from his skin, I could also pick up the scent of his lady friend from him, and a fine wine he had drunk an hour or two earlier. Stephanos had the female completely entranced by that time; she was all but salivating over him and gazing into his beautiful ebony eyes. I had no problems enticing my new friend closer to me; he was more than willing to be flirted with. I had him so near I could hear his heartbeat, he was not afraid, confused perhaps, yes, and maybe a little intrigued. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and whispered softly in his ear, he suddenly tried to pull away, pure dread clearly etched on his face, the beating of his heart now louder and faster. The scent of fear filled the air. At that same moment a wail was heard from his lady friend, as Stephanos was gorging upon her throat. I flashed my white fangs in my victims’ eyes; his face became deathly pale as I sank my teeth in deep, deeper until I filled my mouth with his delicious taste. A thrill ran up my body, a tingling tantalised my senses. My prey was losing strength; he was becoming limp, lifeless. I drank all I could get from him, and then dropped him to the ground. Panting, I threw my head back and wiped the drops of blood from my lips. Stephanos watched me, his victim having been spent moments before mine. He saw the look in my eyes and knew exactly what to do. We did not wait to get home. He took me there, in the dark street, daring someone to catch us.
Months came and went, although time had no relevance to me. Stephanos kept to his word, he taught me how to read thoughts, not just his, but anyone in my vicinity. I learned how to go unnoticed in the night; I would creep out of view in the moonlight, silently stalking. Sometimes I would ambush young ladies; other times I would seductively lure men into my arms and feast upon their blood. I had become the very thing that once haunted my mortal nightmares. Yet, I felt like a dark goddess.
Stephanos took good care of me; I was given anything I wished for, all the finest dresses, made from the most sought after fabrics, I was lavishly given trinkets and treasures to please the eye, I received all I could possibly desire, except one thing…love. Stephanos would use my body to satisfy his, and although I enjoyed his company immensely, it was never with love. I was given affection, but always, there seemed to be something missing. I recall asking why he could not return my feelings, he replied, “Love is a mortal emotion, and we have no need of it”. But if this were true, then why did I feel emptiness inside of me? Why did I yearn for his love?
One evening, as the sun was setting behind our heavy red drapes, and we were sitting in front of a roaring fire sipping wine, Stephanos received a message. A telegram handed to him nervously by Francesca. We were to expect an important visitor. I grew excited at this news, as the only company I had were Stephanos and my aide, Francesca. Our visitor was Levka Sevastian. A night stalker, like Stephanos and I. Only this stranger was one of the greatest of our kind, and Stephanos’ maker. While I was thrilled at having such an impressive houseguest, Stephanos seemed unsure, tense and almost worried. Levka had heard that Stephanos had created another, and it was his duty to address me. Levka was living in the city of Omsk, and was eager to see us; he was to arrive forty-eight hours after his message.
As my excitement grew, so did Stephanos’ agitation. His anxiety clearly displayed. It got so he would not even speak to me. I felt a little sad for him, but I had to plan for our guests’ arrival, so I could not question his manner. Two days passed and we were anxiously awaiting Levka’s arrival.
Francesca answered Levkas’ knock at the front door, and showed him to the lounge, where Stephanos and I were awaiting his arrival.
He was very tall, his eyes were deep ocean blue, I was mesmerised by the reflection of candlelight flickering to and fro in his pupils. He had an aura that demanded respect, walked with an air of authority and importance; just looking his way filled me with awe. Stephanos quickly stood to attention, shook Levka by the hand; and made the necessary pleasantries. “Levka, what a delight it is to see you again” then, after a slight pause, “May I introduce you to Alyona”? With that, Levka took my proffered hand, bowed slightly, and gently kissed my knuckles. “It is a pleasure to meet such a beauty,” he said with a smile. Without releasing my hand, he turned to Stephanos and said, “Where on Earth did you locate this rarity?” I replied a polite thank you, and asked the gentlemen to sit while I called upon Francesca to provide drinks.
That evening went smoothly, although I sensed an animosity between Stephanos and Levka, I tried to decipher what had happened between these two men, to have created such an awkward hostility. I attempted to see the thoughts of Stephanos, but he was concealing them from me, as was Levka. I knew not to question it; as it was obviously something I was not to know of.
Levka was to remain with us for three days, and I was enjoying every moment of his stay. At dusk on the second day of his visit, we were all seated in the kitchen. It was a large room with dark wood cupboards underneath a work surface that went most of the way around the room. The floor was marbled and shining. In the centre of the room were a solid mahogany dining table and eight chairs. A huge chandelier with lighted candles was hanging directly above the table. The windows were covered with thick velvet drapes the colour of rose wine and there was a scent of melting wax that drifted around us.
Levka was amusing me with a tale from long ago, a story about his previous life, and about the woman he shared it with. This woman was called Domnika Fevronia, and she had been the most stunning creature to walk the Earth. She had black hair, which appeared to be made of satin, brown eyes that saw deep into your soul, lips that were made for sweet kisses and a charm that made her extraordinary. Unfortunately she had passed on, and regret was evident in his eyes as he told this tale. As the story was coming to an end, Stephanos declared sternly, “That’s enough of these yarns, we have to leave and feed, or we’ll be here all night!” With that, he stormed from the room, leaving Levka and I looking at one another in bewilderment.
I retired earlier than normal, hoping Stephanos would come to me. I waited for the sound of his footsteps outside my chamber door. As the day dawned, the house remained silent. Stephanos had not been close to me since the moment Levka had arrived two days before. I slept fitfully that morning; I had a feeling of unease that was growing more intense as the hours passed.
I rose from my bed, and had Francesca help me get bathed and clothed.
As I approached the top of the stairs, I heard the furious voices of Stephanos and Levka. I recall that conversation well.
Stephanos: “We have to find another arrangement. Give me another year, I will provide what you need.”
Levka: ”You already have, my friend, and I am more than satisfied. I leave tonight. Make sure she is organized and ready to depart.”
Stephanos: ”No. There must be another way! I will not stand for this!”
Levka: ”You have no option in the matter. You sealed your fate when you partook in that illicit affair with Domnika. I should have killed you both the moment I found you together!”
Stephanos: ”What is done is done, Levka, we cannot change the past. Domnika is dead, you saw to that, is that not punishment enough?”
Levka: ”Of course not! You betrayed me, took the woman I loved, and now you stand before me asking forgiveness? You have fulfilled your part of this deal. I will leave tonight, and you will never see me again, that should be enough for you.”
Stephanos: ”Please, Levka, you cannot take Alyona, I love her! Please!
Levka: ”We leave tonight!”
I could not believe what I had heard. Stephanos had an affair with Levkas woman, who he, Levka, then killed. And in return for his betrayal, Stephanos was to provide a ‘replacement’ for Domnika. Was I to be this replacement? It was absurd, and I could not understand. But the thing that struck me the most, that shocked me to my core, was that Stephanos loved me.
I remember being angry with Stephanos, for taking me like he did, teaching me all he knew, and only because he was preparing me for Levka. But at the same time, I was elated to hear the words of love fall from his lips. He had told me we had no need for love. I assume he was trying to protect himself. Perhaps he was protecting me, also.
I marched into the room where this dispute was taking place, and looked straight into the eyes of Stephanos. Those beautiful black eyes that I had fallen in love with looked down at me with such heartfelt sorrow. I drew my hand back and struck him. He flinched and turned his head away from me. He felt no pain, this I knew. But I wanted show him how incensed I was, and I could not find the words. I slapped him again, and then I heard a chortle erupt from behind me. I swung around and spat in the face of Levka, then ran back to my chamber.
I cried for a while. Francesca, as always was at my side, sweeping a soothing hand over my shoulder, trying to control my sobs. I remember Stephanos telling me once I will feel no pain, no loss. This I had realised was a lie. Francesca continued with her pacifying sounds, “Hush now, Miss. All will sort itself out.” She caressed my head as I lay there, her sweet scent tormenting my senses. I turned to her and asked her to leave. I was fearful of what I might do to her. I was afraid of myself.
Hours passed before Stephanos appeared in my room. His head hung low, he whispered, “It’s time, Alyona. You must leave here.”
“I will not leave! You hear me? Let him find his own woman, I am not for him!” I bawled at Stephanos. I yelled until my voice became hoarse. “You cannot let him take me, Stephanos. I belong here, with you.” I was on my feet and attempting to wrap my arms around his waist. He grasped my wrist so hard he left imprints on my pale skin. “You cannot stay, prepare your things, you leave in one hour.” He dropped my wrists as if they had burned him, turned on his heel and marched out the door. Francesca had come with a large brown case, and had started to place my garments and toiletry items inside. I recollect the ridiculousness of it all. It was like a strange dream, but I knew it could not be a dream, because I was already living a nightmare.
Levka and I arrived at a magnificent house. He seemed thrilled to show it off, but I was not interested in the least. He took me inside, and proceeded to show me room after room, with much excitement. All the rooms were carpeted in luxuriantly thick cream coloured pile. The furnishings were the grandest anywhere, and the drapes were deep red or burgundy silk with heavy fabric backing.
Eventually I was introduced to a young girl, this tiny figure standing before me was to be my aide. She looked to be aged around seventeen, and was the most fragile thing I had ever seen, like a fine glass vase. She was quite fetching. With blonde curls she had no control over, and an adorable cherub face with pink cheeks. Her name was Lara, and as we exchanged names, she bowed down in front of me to curtsy, held out her pristine white pinafore, and giggled. She seemed to have a jolly persona that I hoped would be contagious.
Lara led me to my room; it was a stunning suite. There was a four-poster mahogany bed with a burgundy throw and ivory coloured lace pillows. Dark wood furnishing occupied every corner, grand ornaments and trinkets sat upon them. Paintings on the walls depicting ocean scenes and nature were surrounded in the finest gold frames. I knew it was the most beautiful chamber in the house, but I did not want to sleep in that bed. I felt completely lost without Stephanos at my side.
I was so miserable; I did not feel like venturing out for feeding, so Levka, like Stephanos, brought young girls for me. I was thankful for that at least. He would hire girls to come and entertain me, they would dance and frolic for me, and Levka thought this would cheer me up. It did not.
A week passed and I had not heard a word from Stephanos. I had hoped he would come and see me, or send a telegram, but I guessed that was not part of the deal. It seemed I was to go on without him, and him without me.
I would lie on the bed, in my burgundy room, and watch the doorknob for hours. I was so sure Levka was going to come for me, to make me his woman in the full sense. I knew he thought about it, those thoughts always made me turn from him and leave the room. I could not bear the idea of his hands on me. But I knew it was not going to be much longer before he came to me. I had to change his mind.
Lara had come with fresh roses and a glass of fruit juice. The drink was placed on the table at the end of my bed, and the roses put into the awaiting vase on the bureau by the covered windows. Lara hummed a pleasant little ditty as she pulled a rose this way, then that. Her cheerful demeanour, which had been so enchanting at first, just grated at what little patience I had left. I called her to my side under the pretence of wanting my robe. She happily obliged, and as I stuck my hand out for her to put the robe over my arm, I clasped her wrist. Her humming came to an abrupt stop as she looked at me in bewilderment. I pulled her to me until her nose was touching mine, and I said “Stop that f*****g noise, you’re driving me insane!” I know, I am not one for profanity, but she drove me to it. Fear crossed her face in the blink of an eye, and before I could stop myself, my fangs were getting deeper and deeper into her neck; spurts of blood had escaped my lips, and landed on the ivory pillows. She let out a little yelp; it seemed all her tiny frame could muster. Frustration kept me going, I tore a chunk of flesh from her throat and spat it on the floor, creating a spreading crimson stain on the cream carpet. She collapsed in my arms and I threw her on the bed. I picked up the glass containing juice and smashed it into her face. Shards pierced the palm of my hand as I pushed the glass further into her, skin peeled back from her cheekbones as the glass slid in.
I was astride Lara’s corpse on the bed when Levka strode into the room. The look on his face brought my senses back. I looked down at the pulp that was once a pretty little cherub face, I wanted to feel guilt, to be remorseful, but all I could do was throw back my head and laugh. It was a manic sound; even to my own ears. Blood still dripping from my lips trickled down my chin onto my chest. I ran my bloodied hands over my body, luxuriating in the silky feel of skin slithering on skin.
Levka struck me hard across my cheek. Of course, there was no pain, but sudden shock filled me. I was enraged that he would dare strike me; slowly I began moving from Lara’s diminutive form, but Levka knew what was coming, and he threw himself at me. I was knocked to the floor and he began tying my hands behind me with the sash of my robe. I could not get free; he was so strong. I was trapped by the binds and his weight. Levka flipped me over beneath him, trapping my arms beneath my back. I could see a storm in his sea blue eyes, but then, to my astonishment, he smiled. For the first time, I was truly afraid of him. He slowly circled my exposed breasts with his hands, watching my face all the time. He moved his hands lower, down to my waist and hips. The front of my body being massaged slowly up and down, I felt repulsed. He angled himself above me and began unbuttoning his trousers whilst pushing my knees apart. His breaths were coming faster now; he was almost frantic. I hated myself at that time for allowing myself to get into that situation. I tried to close my mind to him, push all thought out of my head, but his panting in my ear and his rocking back and forth as he raped me were all just too blatant. I turned my head and started to weep, the discarded piece of Lara’s throat inches from my face, taunting me.
I had decided on the night that Levka took me against my will that I would escape. I was not going to be kept a prisoner. Levka and his house were making me crazed. Being without Stephanos was killing me all over again.
Levka slept through six hours of the day, but it would be impossible for me travel in the hours of daylight. I had to wait until darkness, when he would be stalking some large-busted young woman to play with and feast upon.
I spent two days working out how I would do it. I was determined Levka would not win this. He left as usual, giving orders for cleaning and arranging bedclothes, which I had to do myself, since I ate my aide. I smiled politely and went about my chores. He had been gone a little over half an hour when I made the decision to make my move. I took nothing with me; I left the house in darkness, and was excited to be heading back into the arms of Stephanos.
On my own, I had gotten lost. I hid in abandoned barns when it was light, and asked for directions to Saint Petersburg from people passing in the night. A man in a carriage approached me; he offered to take me the rest of the way. I accepted his offer gratefully, deciding that if he turned out to be unfavourable, I could take care of myself.
Before too long I had been dropped off just a short distance from my destination. I was almost skipping along the pathway with excitement as I approached the house where Stephanos would be. My home.
I opened the huge wooden door and crept up to the lounge, and found him exactly where I knew he would be; in front of the blazing fire. He turned and looked at me, but before I could utter a word, he asked, “What took you so long?” I ran into his open arms, and shed tears of pure joy. I grasped onto him, afraid that if I let go, I would wake up, and he would be gone. It was not so. He pulled away from me a little, looked into my eyes, and said the words I had wanted to hear for so very long. “I love you, Alyona.” I kissed him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. Stephanos lifted me off my feet and carried me to the rug in front of the roaring fire. I was gently placed down on my back, and then he lay down next to me. He stroked light patterns on my cheeks, over my lips and eyelids. The beauty in his eyes captivated me, the glowing fire reflecting in their blackness. He leaned over and kissed me. Soft, lingering kisses, that soon became more needy and passionate. I started unbuttoning my dress while he removed his shirt and trousers. Soon, we were naked in the firelight; he moved his hands and kisses gently, lovingly all over my body, until I could barely contain myself, and then took me with so much love I thought I would come apart. We fell asleep side-by-side as the fire died. I will never again be as content as I was that night.
As the new day dawned, I was wrapped in Stephanos’ arms, he was asleep, and looked so peaceful. I thought I heard noises coming from several rooms away, and began to get anxious. I tried to convince myself it was Francesca, starting her chores, but something filled me with disquiet. Suddenly, there was a huge crash as Levka came charging through the door. His face was twisted in anger as he shouted,
“STEPHANOS, I WARNED YOU!”
Levka was brandishing a huge axe above his head. He stopped at the side of us, as Stephanos was rushing to his feet. Before he could move further, the axe came down with a horrific whooshing noise and took Stephanos’ head clean off. Stephanos had not even seen it coming. Levka went wild with laughter and as I fell to my knees I screamed. I clutched the headless body of Stephanos; his blood soaked the rug around us. I rocked back and forth with Stephanos in my arms, my mind refused to believe what had just taken place. Levka grasped my arm and tried to tug me to my feet. I could barely stand so he had to drag me. He pulled me into the hallway where, at the foot of the stairs, lay Francesca. She was still alive, but unconscious, and still holding the fresh linen and towels she was obviously about to put away. Levka let go of my arm, and walked towards Francesca as I slumped to the floor. I was terrified of what he might do to her, I screamed “NO!” as he bent and took a towel from her arms. “Clean yourself up, pathetic little w***e.” He threw the towel at my face and I instinctively began rubbing at the blood on my arms and chest, while trying to control the sobs that wracked my body. Levka entered the kitchen and placed the blood-soaked axe in the centre of the large dining table. It was just several feet from where I sat. I knew I could move fast, but could he move faster?
I heard water splashing from the basin, which I knew was at the other side of the room. Slowly and silently I stood, and with a speed only an immortal can posses, I swept onto the kitchen, grabbed the axe and swung at Levka from behind with all I could muster. He had flinched at my approach, and the axe had sliced a huge gaping wound into his right shoulder. He turned and faced me, his eyes full of fury; but sooner than he could challenge me, I swung again. The axe slid through his neck with ease; blood erupted from his neck, hitting me in the face and chest. His head landed in the basin with a loud splash and his body crumpled to the floor at my feet, spilling blood in a stretching pool around me. I was covered with a fresh coating of blood; it dripped from my chin as I licked it from my mouth.
Hours later, after I cried all the tears I held, Francesca and I set to the gruelling task of cleaning.
I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be unaccompanied for eternity. Stephanos was all I knew. I have never encountered another like myself, a night stalker. Will I live this eternal life alone? Almost certainly. Unless I move from here, and search for other night stalkers.
Remember Stephanos’ words? “A life with no pain, no loss.” He was so very, very wrong. The date now is November 2006. This took place over one hundred years ago. I am still in pain; I still feel loss. And I am still alone.
© 2008 Whirl
Added on November 23, 2008