Hi everyone, in the spirit of Halloween (yes, I know I'm 30 days early) I am going to post serialized bits of a short story called Crypt Queen... A story that involves a vampire queen's heartbreak and love that lasts beyond the grave.
St. Catherine’s Cemetery was still in the October moonlight. The tombstones glowed bluish in the pale lunar light as the occasional dead leaf skittered across the base of a monument. Then a stone scraping broke the silence as the heavy door of a mausoleum was pushed open.
Pausing within her tomb, Natasha sniffed the cold autumn night. For the first time in almost a year, the intoxicating scent of dead leaves, bonfire smoke and apples filled her nose. A poignant nostalgia rushed through her finely honed vampire senses. Last November, heartbroken with grief, she had locked herself in her mausoleum for a long sleep. It was a hibernation intended to forget the pain of losing the love of her very long life. Yet now the October wind reminded her sharply of his death last autumn.
She had only lived twenty-six years as a human before a lascivious vampire inducted her into the world of the undead. In the three-hundred-odd years since then, she had become Queen of her region and had known many seasons, many loves. But none of them could compare to the memory filling her now – the memory of her lost Jonathan and their exquisite seven years together.
It had been one year exactly since he died. One year since his murder on Halloween, driving her to leave her home and empire and retire here to her crypt. She no longer wanted to go on in a world without him. All of the pleasures she enjoyed as a vampire – wealth, freedom, beautiful and willing victims – tasted empty and flat without him. Despite her long rule over her city as the reigning vampire queen, she had sought the mercy of sleep instead.
Before doing so, she had made arrangements with her faithful assistant, Monica, to awaken her on this Halloween. Monica had done so by feeding her sleeping corpse with blood over the recent nights until she, Natasha, regained her vitality. Now it was October 31 and she was ready to reenter the world she had abandoned. As the reigning queen, one year was as long as she could afford to be away from her throne. Surely by now her memory of Jonathan, her voracious need for him, would have dimmed.
Instead the scent of wine and smoke brought back the memory of his beautiful body in a heartbreaking rush.
From a great distance she could hear the laughter and shrieks of trick and treaters. The music of Halloween parties and the breaking glass of vandals echoed through the dark. Normally she loved Halloween. It was the one night she felt the human world and the vampire world came together in a wondrous celebration of all that was macabre. Sometimes she permitted herself the amusing treat of appearing in the dark, letting her white skin and pale eyes transfix a passing human before smiling with her fangs exposed. No doubt the shaken witnesses always convinced themselves it was a costume they had seen… a very good costume.
She shook herself. Never mind that. She needed to put her reminisces behind her and attend to business. The Vampire Ball was tonight; she needed to make an appearance to remind everyone that her rule still held.
Her delicate heel descended into dry leaves. Only a thin black gossamer gown cloaked her voluptuous body but she wasn’t cold in the October chill. Her pale skin was tinged with silver in the starlight; her crystal blue eyes gleamed through the dark. At last she spoke.
“I know you’ve been waiting for me. Show yourselves.”
The cemetery went silent as even the breeze stilled. Then slowly, pale forms emerged from behind tombstones and oak trees. Natasha’s eyes narrowed with validation as several dozen vampires manifested before her. Their hungry, anxious faces glimmered like small moons in the dark.
A confident smile unfurled across her beautiful face. “How loyal you all are,” she greeted her acolytes. “I know, of course, that the only reason you’ve been awaiting my emergence is your eagerness to share the holiday with me – and not because you doubted I would awaken tonight.”
All of the faces before her turned tense with fear. She was a fair queen and a compassionate queen, but she ruled with an iron fist when she needed to. Many of the local vampires – if not all – feared her.
She swept her long brown hair to the side and smiled more genuinely. “Here I am,” she said. “I may be in mourning, my friends, but Halloween is the season of mourning, isn’t it?.... Or so it used to be.” She stepped forward and was rewarded with the approach of Monica, her assistant. “Monica,” she said. “Is everything ready for tonight?”
Monica bowed her head. “Everything is waiting for you, Natasha. Your home, your business affairs – everything is in order.”
“We are glad to have you back, my Queen.” A thin but determined voice spoke up from the back.
“Yes… very glad. We have missed you.”
“The Vampire Ball wouldn’t be the same without you.”
On and on went the welcomes and good wishes. Natasha had been missed; she heard the sincerity in their voices. Bloody tears prickled her eyes but she refused to show them. She was their queen and she had her pride. She turned to Monica.
“I will review my affairs tomorrow night – tonight is for the festivities,” she said. In truth she didn’t feel at all like celebrating but she couldn’t show her broken heart to her people. She needed to show that she was as powerful and composed as ever. “Monica, take me to feed…. I am sure you have lined up a choice meal for the night. Then we will join the others at the Ball.”
Minutes later she was riding through the city in a long black limousine, her fangs buried in the neck of a tender young man. He was just nineteen, with silky platinum hair that tickled her face as she drank. His heavy sighs of appreciation as she sucked his blood were music to her ears. Lovingly she stroked the hard muscles of his thighs. Yes, he was beautiful. She had known Monica would procure a gorgeous voluntary specimen for her first meal. Yet she wasn’t ready for anything beyond drinking. Appetizing as this boy might be, her body still longed for Jonathan. Only Jonathan would do – his hands on her breasts, his cock moving inside her…
To be continued.