Darker Days Downward

Belle had always been hooked into horror fictions lately, and gets the surprise of her life when a vampire character based on her latest read turns out to be her new history professor –alive and very much real! Belle had fallen in love with the vampire in the book she was reading; now she begins to fear whether she would fall in love with her new professor which she was suspecting to actually be a vampire.


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1. Out of the Pages

“The night was about to start, I could feel the relentless hunger again – the usual hunger creatures like me are doomed to be slave of eternally.”

 

You are not the girl who would hide in the closet anymore, I could feel it. Belle thought, while staring at a pair of hazel eyes in front of her. You’re strong . . . we’re strong – we’ll walk this whole new path with a new smile on our face.

Belle sighed. It had been two months since the tragic accident that took both her parent’s life, but it all seemed to be just yesterday. Belle mused over her reflection in the mirror and watched how the sun’s ray from the window turned some streaks of her hair light brown. She blinked and her eyes traveled to the photographs pinned around the borders of the mirror.

Her brother had advised her to remove their parents’ pictures from her room but she insisted to keep them as is for the sake of being strong. She needed to be strong not just for herself but for her younger brother. He is all she had left and she could not imagine losing him.

Belle smiled half-heartedly as she stared at a picture of her hugging her mum right after winning prom queen last year. Then her eyes wandered to the next photograph of her dad and her brother Bret which was a candid shot while they were playing golf. On the bottom right picture was a giant Christmas tree, with four of them seated around the base – smiling innocently at the camera. Who would have thought that would be their last Christmas together.

A little ray of sun had managed to sink deeper into her bedroom from the only glass window behind her – quite illuminating the nineteen year old girl with shoulder length ebony black hair staring back at her from the mirror. A neat maong blazer was fashioned over a red tee which her mum had bought for her last summer.

Belle closed her eyes, carefully sorting the scattered array of memories. She had perpetually loved to stay at their home in Lionfall. Since childhood, she had believed it to be the perfect place to spend the rest of her life. It was far away from any major city – guaranteeing a pollution-free air for as long as she wanted it to. It was a tiny district – a tiny blot on the map surrounded with rich, abundant wild forests. But after the accident they moved in to where they are now – their Aunt’s place in Crestfield; a district about 5 hours drive from Lionfall.

Her Aunt Natalie was the youngest and only sister of her mum. She had known her ever since she was a kid since they would sometimes spend Christmas here at Crestfield. Contrary to her mum, Aunt Natalie was outspoken, bold and the risk-taker. She remembered how when she was still a kid, her aunt would secretly allow her for a bicycle ride around the neighborhood – which her mum forbid her for she might get an accident. Well it came; the scar from her fall was still on her right thigh.

“You turning emotional again?” said Aunt Natalie who suddenly appeared by Belle’s door. She had an elegant brown wavy hair that touched her shoulders lightly. Aunt Natalie was a natural bombshell – it was just a miracle that she has not yet tied herself to any guy yet now that she is on her late twenties.

“Course not!” Belle lied, grabbing a brush and combing her hair. “Just sorting out my sched’ for today.”

“You knew Bret hadn’t come home last night?” asked Aunt Natalie, moving towards the curtains by the window and drawing it sideward to reveal the morning sky. “I’m really beginning to worry that he took everything so badly.”

“Let’s just give him some more time,” said Belle, looking at Aunt Natalie through the mirror. “I’ll talk to my brother about it later.”

“Good,” said Aunt Natalie, moving towards Belle and placing the book she was holding over the bedside table. “You forgot this downstairs again. Where’d you get it? The story is as creepy as hell.”

“I found it at the attic in Lionfall – I thought it was mum’s but you said horror-fiction ain’t her type.” Belle eyed the book, it was somehow old already. The brown leather cover appeared to be worn but unbelievably still intact. “Anyways, thanks!”

“If you need anything else – I’m just a phone call away,” Aunt Natalie smiled gingerly, almost dancing towards the door.

Belle smiled back, watching Aunt Natalie disappear behind the hallway. She took the book from the table. She remembered the day after her parents’ death; she locked herself up in the attic and cried the whole day. It was then that she found some of her mum’s old stuffs – and with it was the book entitled Darker Days Downward. It is a story of a rich and powerful nobleman in France who owned a huge part of land and industry during the 18th centuries.

This man got everything he ever wanted within his reach. Everyone then depicts his life as perfect or ideal. He was very generous to the poor and he even provided warm shelters for his servants. But the story was not actually about the nobleman himself but about his two sons namely Cythare – the eldest and Coundre. Both of them inherited the handsome looks of their father and as the both of them grew up year after year – their beauty and manliness never failed to spread all over France that they almost had a celebrity status the moment they reached their twenties.

Girls from all over France – both powerful and commoners swoon at the grounds of their Manors, hosting parties almost night after night for the two gorgeous young men; all in the hopes of winning their hearts. But a dark secret was looming over the manor walls once evening approaches. Unbeknownst by the country folks of France that the cases of missing ladies overnight was because they fell victims under the brothers who were actually ruthless blood-sucking creatures, and that their angelic façade was too far from the actual evil that corrupts their soulless bodies.

Belle flipped through the pages and tried to locate where she was in the story. Page 212. There was a drawing of the eldest son on the left page and a name Cythare Elven as caption. Belle cannot stop but be amazed by how beautiful the man was. He got perfect angular cheeks and a nose so broad. His lips were pillowed and eyes were hooded with dark circles blending around them. His hair was somehow messy but fashionably intact. He was wearing a coat that magnified his muscular frame. He’s cute, wish I was one of his victims. Belle laughed silently as she continued reading.

The night was about to start, I could feel the relentless hunger again – the usual hunger creatures like me are doomed to be slave of eternally. I opened my eyes and stared at the tip of the coffin above me. Yes, I finally have my own personal coffin after compelling Jonas to fit one for me.

I lifted the cover with ease; this was one of the gifts I have from being immortal – unexplainable strength. I stood up; more like flew to my feet in one swift motion. The room was dark but my eyes were tailored to see through the darkness. I am in fact its son.

My brother’s coffin was empty. He was up ahead. I tried to magnify my senses and in a blink of a moment I was able to feel around fifty people are within the grounds, guests and servants included. Lady Helena was by the parlor, talking with… damn – my brother. That’s why he was up so early.

I stepped out of the hall and locked the doors. This area was secluded – it usually is where the prisoners of war were kept, but that was years ago. Peace was now eminent so my father bid no use for the prisoners’ quarter anymore. This was where I and Coundre made our biddings; satisfying our thirst and heightened sexual desires.

It didn’t take that long for me to travel through the shadows of the hallways into the parlor where Lady Helena and her crowd were entertaining themselves. It actually feels like I glided through the air. No sounds… no sounds at all.

“Cythare – my love,” greeted Lady Helena. Her eyes were as seductive as always. Her breasts full and very much accented by the tight corset she wore that night. “Coundre here have me lose three times already with crochet, why don’t you join us?”

“I certainly love to my dear,” I replied as I carefully pecked her breasts with my lips. I could feel her heart beat a little faster, and the blood rushed throughout her body. It invigorates me. “But me and my brother here have to settle something first.”

I stared at Coundre while my lips gave a final smack on her breasts before standing up. “Remember, the promise?”

“Of course my brother,” Coundre replied in a musical tone. He was surrounded by a crowd of beautiful ladies then. “Would you excuse me ladies… I’ll get back as soon as I could.”

The ladies giggled as Coundre made his way out of their intertwined bodies. We smiled back at Lady Helena who in turn gave us a kiss in the air.

“How many more bodies were unburied?” I asked Coundre in a business-like tone.

“I got it all covered brother,” He replied as we swiftly glided towards the back of the manor into the woods where the graveyard was found; the graveyard for our hundreds of victims.

Belle gasped at what she had just read. It was very much disturbing to think how the both of them could reach a death toll of hundreds already. But no matter how dark the book was, Belle could not get away from reading it. She was actually in love with it already. To the extent that she would sometimes dream at night that she was in France during those centuries, randomly walking past Cythare in a flower shop, then a church, a museum and the park. She would find herself engrossed with Cythare in her dreams, but then suddenly his fangs would appear and would bite her neck – then waking her up.

If it was love she had for the book, maybe it was more of for the characters in it. She loved how dark, mysterious and dangerous the brothers were. She finds their state of power, domination and cunningness appealing; except for the fact that they kill their prey very often.

Belle closed the book and deposited it into the bedside drawer. She took a glance at the wall clock that showed 9:30AM. She had to leave now or else she might end up late for her History class.

She took her bag and history books she had tried to read last night before heading out of the bedroom. The air was warm, carrying a scent of toasted loaves and eggs that gave Belle hungry ideas. The hallway was dark, Aunt Natalie’s gone. She thought.

Belle helped herself with toasts and eggs the moment she reached the kitchen, her friend Flannery was supposed to pick her up any time soon.

HONK! HONK! HONK!

“Crap – I ain’t done yet,” Belle frowned as she hurried out of the house and into the black audi which was parked in front of the gates.

“Time to take off – says the queen,” Flannery bellowed from the driver’s seat.

She went straight to Flannery’s car, and sat by the passenger seat. After buckling up her seatbelt they were now driving through the rest of Acacia Lane towards Crestfield University.

Belle watched the swirling colors of green passing swiftly outside the window. The sparkling angry sun somehow managed to pass through the tall olives that dominated the neighborhood, scattering patches of shadows on faces of over-excited college students. It was a sight of diversity – there were those who walked alone, heads down, not caring to greet faces they came in contact with. There were those in huge groups – apparently the noisemakers.

“Are you sure you’re in one grip Belle,” asked Flannery concernedly. “I can sense some dark cloud consuming your thoughts.”

“You always knew – as if you’re psychic.” Belle replied, she was actually confused whether the gloomy feeling she has right now was from reading the book or from over thinking how Bret is coping up lately.

“One doesn’t need to be psychic to sense that something’s wrong with you,” Flannery flashed Belle one of her warm smiles. It was Flannery’s specialty – with her clear and warm voice – to erase your worries and make you feel at ease all of a sudden. Flannery found a spot in the university parking and geared towards it before killing the car’s engine. “Look, my grams a pure African native and she keeps telling me I’m somehow psychic. I don’t know but I guess I’m just lucky enough that all my predictions do come true.”

“Then what could you see coming for me?” asked Belle. Flannery’s spell was beginning to work on her.

“I can see that this year . . .” Flannery touched Belle’s hands. She felt the tiny electrocuting energy run all over her arms to her body. “Is gonna be kickass! And you’ll be happy if you’ll choose to be so!”

“Haha – you nearly got me.” Belle finally laughed, it was something she had been missing since classes started for a week already; the spirit of laughter and happiness.

“What do you think of our new History professor?” asked Flannery as they made their way through the humanities building, between crowds of students. “A guy? Woman? perhaps gay?”

“I think a woman again?” Belle replied, turning towards the stairs to the upper halls. “I dunno or maybe they finally wanted to try how History is like with a guy this time? I can’t imagine a gay historian?”

The school bell rang a furious beastly buzz that echoed throughout the hallways, leaving no area untamed. The spirit of rush came possessing everyone as students started clattering to be inside their classrooms as soon as possible. It was time for history.

They both chuckled as they hurried to P206 and took a deep breath before entering the unusually silent room. Everyone was busy clearing their armchairs – some placing books over it. A group of boys were criminally vandalizing over their desks. Belle sat at the seat nearest to the window while Flannery took her seat beside her.

Belle took out her notes and pen, placing her bag beside her. She stared outside the window, at the whole parking lot which was very much empty by then. No unusual sign of movements other than the dancing olives which swayed flexibly – cherishing the nice sunny weather. Belle watched intently at a dove that had perched over Flannery’s Porsche. She’ll be mad as hell if she sees this. Belle laughed to herself, contemplating on how Flannery would react.

The classroom fell silent suddenly – as if all noise had been sucked out so swiftly by a giant vacuum. The professor must have arrived. Belle absent-mindedly thought, still staring at the dove which was trying to peek into Flannery’s car. There was a slight movement beside her – Flannery was elbowing her urgently. Belle took one last glance at the dove before turning to face Flannery.

“You know what – I guess I’ll be loving history more than ever,” Flannery whispered while her eyes were fixated at the front of the classroom.

Belle wondered what was wrong with her friend as she tried to follow Flannery’s gaze. Just behind the teacher’s desk, fairly illuminated by the sun coming through the window stood Cythare Elven – their new History Professor.

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