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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3. First Blood

“She saw how magnificent the shadows played across his face – everything seemed so perfect that she was not quite convinced he was really right beside her.”

 

The following day turned out to be faster than expected. The sky was crystal clear with the enormous sun employing majesty over the whole school grounds. There was a slight breeze blowing some olives across the compound, with noise from chattering students who were obviously anticipating the Freshmen Kick-off party later that evening. The whole campus was in unison – everyone just pleasing their professors to discourage them from giving off extra projects in lieu of the party.

Belle got three classes for that day. French class in the morning and a back-to-back session with Physics and Analytical Geometry for the rest of the afternoon. Though she found it hard to pay full attention to the lessons, owing to the fact that her mind was completely occupied with other matters that would round up to a single word – Cythare.

She was more drowned in anticipation of Cythare’s whereabouts rather than the kick-off party which she could hear from Flannery all of the time. Her hopes were high about seeing Cythare that day; she even left off early to the academics building just so she could spot him and have a chance to talk to him before the classes would start. But she unfortunately had nothing pleasant coming on her, not even a shadow of his that day.

After the encounter with Cythare yesterday, she went off to Ponzo’s Grill to have dinner with Flannery. She was initially debating whether she should tell her of what she had experienced that day at the graveyard – finding an abandoned training facility, having a near death encounter with a still unidentified animal, seeing Cythare all of a sudden and disappearing afterwards leaving her alone in the woods. But she later on dismissed the idea after seeing her brother getting into a fit with the grill owner. She quickly rushed to Bret’s aid and apologized to the grill’s owner before dragging him out of the place.

They went home at around 9 PM. Their Aunt Natalie was already phoned about the incident and they had to endure 2 hours of guardian talk; trying just enough to pierce through Bret’s hard-headedness. It was around midnight that she finally had time to go off to her bedroom but she swore she could hear Aunt Natalie silently sobbing by the living room.

She was starving – craving more of Cythare. She spent almost hours seating by the window and staring at the neighboring houses at their block – as lights turned off from time to time. She could still see the beautiful piercing eyes of his in her mind. It was as if communicating to her – a sense of danger from those wicked stare. She looked at her arm which was now clean; her fingers playing across the scratch she got from her fall in the woods and wondered whether Cythare was really uneasy at the sight of blood. She remembered she was too, when she was still a child – she was even scared of seeing the doctor for check ups.

She was awakened the next day by her need to see Cythare again. Though she had warned herself of the tendency of turning very much obsessed with a complete stranger – but who could resist him. She had remembered even how the other girls from school would stare at him and thought that she was even lucky to have a private moment with Cythare yesterday in the woods – although the timing and place was not at all pleasant.

She had spent the whole of that day on a lookout for Cythare with her eyes scanning the school grounds every now and then, relying on Cythare’s exuberant aura to draw her eyes from the massive crowd of students but to no avail. Her yearning had turned into frustration and disappointment as the day finally drew to a close, now relying to the sole hope of spotting him at the kick-off party later.

Belle once again found herself staring at a pair of hazel eyes. She combed her hair gently while trying to peek at the wall clock’s reflection from her bedroom mirror. Fifteen minutes to Ten . . . the party starts at ten p.m. – we’re running late. She quickly placed her hairbrush on the desk and stepped backward from the mirror, having one last glance over her look. She was wearing a white tank top and fitted jeans. Perfect.

She quickly went to her bedside table and withdrew her book of Darker Days Downward; opening to the page she had last read. On it was another portrait of Cythare Elven – the vampire she was falling in love with. She took some time to take in all the details of his face; pouring out all her frustrations to see Professor Cythare again.

She traced Cythare’s features with her fingers and for the first time noticed an odd fashioned ring just around his index finger – it had an enormous ‘S’ embossed in the middle.

Shine bright like a diamond.

It was what Helena would always tell me whenever we were together. I bet she was going to tell me that again as we were supposed to meet later at night by Madamme Fleur’s flower shop.

It had been a month since news had scattered about the psycho killer lurking around the streets of Paris at dark. Whoever this animal is, I’m certain it is not me or my brother Coundre. It made me wondering if there were actually more like us existing and living in France. When I say more like us – I’m pertaining to soulless creatures of the night, eternally damned to feed on the living.

But we could not allow this new animal to risk our exposure to mankind. We covered his tracks each of the time arriving late at the bloody scene – always too late to catch the culprit. He is fast, and clever; as if he knew we were shadowing him. A tiny diversion would always cause us to arrive just some seconds after he had reaped out another human again.

His victims were all stunningly beautiful ladies between 18 to 20 – young virgins. With a distinct bite mark on their neck, breasts and navel. As if he feasted on their bodies before delivering them to death himself.

This problem had already reached Father as he has a big share over the municipality’s funding. If people weren’t safe anymore they would withdraw their investments from his corporation and migrate to somewhere north or south of France. Anywhere far from this newly turned hellhound.

I took one last sip from the dark whiskey I had been drinking for almost an hour with my thoughts registering back at once. My eyes were like diamonds in the darkness. I swiftly jumped out of my window as I could smell another fresh prospect for tonight.

She was walking alone through Divina Alley; a couple of miles from our manor – but her scent had infected me all the way. She was clad in a very tight evening gown and appeared to be on her way home from partying. She was drunk – really drunk for when she saw my pale skin under the street light she quickly smiled at me and invited me into her.

I walked beside her, half listening to her stories about her drunkard husband and how he kept cheating on her just because she could not provide him an offspring. She said she worked for the post office but I doubt it. How could someone so beautiful like her just secure a spot in the local post office.

We approached the dark side of the alley; her hands suddenly gripped me as she said she feared the darkness for she too had heard about the news of the mad killer around the city. I smiled at this – though I wasn’t the killer they were talking about. I kissed her. She slowly returned the favor as her tongue played with mine; she suddenly went wild as her hands began rubbing my erection. I bet she could not take more of me without getting insane. It’s a thing about us immortals that drive them mortals like animals.

I violently tore her dress apart, she laughed at it – she whispered that she found it wild and sexy as she resumed kissing me again. My hands found their way cupping her large breasts. I could feel her heart beating madly as her whole body’s temperature went skyrocketing high.

My fingers played with her hardened nipples; as I drove it downwards through her navel then between her thighs. She gasped at the sensation leaning backwards, exposing her neck and craving for more. Alas – I could not control the urge from within me. It was her mistake for exposing the veins around her neck that early; we were just around foreplay but the thirst could drive me crazy if I hold it any longer.

I cupped her screams with my hand as my fangs tore through her neck. I could feel her heart in panic, madly pumping blood around her weakening body. She tried to struggle but this feeling was so ecstatic. I could not bear the thought of letting go of her as I drunk her dry…

The night was like a paradise – always a paradise for me. I quickly disposed of her as my thoughts wandered to my meeting up with Helena; excited to hear her angelic voice once again to complete my erotic night.

There she was, standing beside the flower shop’s main door, clad in a black corset as always; her hair knotted in a glorious curl behind her. Her emerald eyes met mine as I walked closer.

Shine bright like a diamond…

Belle closed the book as she could feel a part of her fell once again to the vampire she was beginning to crave for. How could people named Cythare affect me that much? She thought as her mind was still on cloud nine.

           

            “Belle – leaving now!” Flannery bellowed from the stairs outside Belle’s room followed by a fading array of footsteps.

“I’m c’ming,” Belle replied as she took off the maong blazer hanging by the closet and dashed out of the room. The hall was rather gloomy, with several scents of perfume drifting here and fro – obviously from Flannery who had sped down ahead of her. She tiptoed downstairs towards the living room and saw Flannery standing by the doorway, zipping up her glossy vintage boots.

“I thought you’d never come down from that nutcase of yours,” Flannery said as she managed to zip the final zipper of her boots. Flannery looked amazing with the vermilion coat she had over a black tee. “Aunt Natalie’s furious again – you know about Bret going to the kick-off party. She fears he might stir up another scene again.”

Flannery smiled slyly before heading for her Porsche which was now flashing its headlights madly, Belle went to the kitchen to bid goodbye to Aunt Natalie.

“Please do keep an eye on him,” was the only word Aunt Natalie said while preparing her dinner.

“I promise,” said Belle, blowing a kiss to Aunt Natalie before following Flannery outside and sitting beside the driver’s seat.

The trip to Athena’s Park was short – or so Belle had thought for she was busy thinking and hoping for Cythare to show up just this once at the party. She could not imagine how she would feel if she could not have another glimpse of that immortal beauty of his tonight – now that she had just finished reading Darker Days Downward – her yearning for him grew more than ever. Flannery luckily found one vacant slot to park just beside the park’s gate and raced towards the spot, seeing that there was another car just behind them which was obviously eyeing the same parking space. They gracefully fitted through the spot with the engine giving out its final roar before dying.

Loud rock music boomed and invaded the night air, followed by screams of students – a beacon that the party had just begun. It was an open field decorated especially tonight to serve as a welcoming party for this school year’s freshmen. The usual bushy grounds were kept tidy, freshly ornate with Christmas lights of gold. Even the olives seemed to be sparkling as it was filled with the same lights. Drapes of burgundy and mahogany satin cloth were hung stylishly on the trees, exhuming a feisty vibe to the atmosphere. A stage was propped up in the middle of the park, reserved for the school band to do their musical theories on. The party’s main attraction was the giant hot-air balloon soaring high above the stage with the words: 78thFreshmen Kick-Off party taking most of the balloon.

“We better hurry before we miss the band!” Flannery piped excitedly as they made their way through the park gate which was flooding with students who had just arrived too.

“What band?” Belle asked looking puzzled.

“Red Arches,” Flannery said earnestly as they squeezed their way in. “In case you aren’t aware it’s the hottest band in campus and they are all third year architecture majors. Just spell H-O-T for short!”

Belle smiled, as she saw a girl ahead of them wearing a personalized jacket with the Red Arches band members printed behind it.

“Hey, Flannery!” bellowed a girl from behind them. Belle turned around and saw she was tall and slender, clad in an emerald green dress and black pumps. Her hair was golden blonde and straight that fell down to her waist. Her eyes were bright and blue with her perfectly chiseled nose. The girl seemed to have just jump out from a cover of a magazine.

“Dawn!” breathed Flannery as the two girls hugged. “I would like you to meet Belladonna, my best friend since sand-box days. Belle this is Dawn, we got some major sciences together.”

Belle smiled as she shook Dawn’s hands. She started questioning her gender for she appeared to be smitten by her out of this world beauty.

“Look I really need to see the restroom,” Dawn said in an urgent manner. “I’ll catch up with you guys later.”

Belle watched as Dawn was swallowed between the dancing crowds, with her golden hair waving elegantly as she walked. The music was suddenly amplified to almost four times as it played another song – leaving the crowd to respond with a much louder scream and chant. The crowd swayed madly as different lights began pacing all over the park; revealing shadows of feisty students dancing along Red Shoulder’s latest hit.

Flannery and Belle both tried to make their way to the far corner of the park, where the sound was less audible.

“I get it that you’re not the party type but do enjoy yourself,” Flannery said as she sensed that something was wrong with Belle, her eyes battling the lights that were zooming over them.

“To be honest, this was the first party I had ever been to,” Belle replied, quite relieved that she could speak at normal volumes now.

“I have been to all sorts of parties – you name it,” Flannery said in a matter-of-fact tone. “And I won’t hesitate to be your night’s guide to party 101, but first you need to spill out what’s with you and that mysteriously HOT Professor Elven.”

“What do you mean?” Belle’s face was all of a sudden washed out of colors. She almost forgot that she was supposed to be looking for Cythare among the crowd.

“C’mon – yesterday at History class he was staring at you the whole discussion period,” Flannery teased as she was starting to get a little curious. “It simply means that he chose you!”

“Chose me for what?” Belle asked absent-mindedly as she quickly scanned through the immediate crowd around them, hoping to see a bloodshot raven hair.

“He likes you Belle,” smiled Flannery.

“That – is something you are not going to jump into,” said Belle gingerly, remembering how their last encounter in the woods had ended. “He’s up there and I’m waaay down here.”

“Just admit it Belle,” taunted Flannery, while giving Belle a sharp elbow.

“Ok, so he is a little pretty,” Belle surrendered. She could not really hide her innermost feelings from Flannery, it was as if she was reading her like an open book. “He has that dangerous romance stare.”

“Cythare Elven looked deep into her eyes,” said Flannery in a dark tone. “Piercing her very soul.”

“Quit it – will you,” said Belle through smiling lips. The crowd was beginning to grow thicker.

“So where might he be in this sea of people?” asked Flannery, raising her finger to tap the corner of her lips.

“You tell me, you’re the psychic one, remember?” teased Belle.

“Right – I forgot,” replied Flannery. “Okay, give me a sec, grandma said that I have to concentrate.” Flannery closed her eyes and started taking deep breaths. “I could see – a plate. . . ”

“A plate?” Belle blurted out in surprise.

“Yeah – a plate,” Flannery laughed a loud musical one. “I could not concentrate that much without finding where the buffet is in this place.”

“You got me!” Belle started laughing too.

“Told ya!” Flannery said as she was about to head towards the opposite direction. “How ‘bout you wait here as I get our stomach something to concentrate upon.” Flannery flashed a wide smile before leaving.

“Don’t forget to grab some soda!” Belle bellowed as she watched Flannery waved back at her. The song had ended as the crowd roared angrily over a new tune which was being played right away. She turned towards the stage and found her heart almost drop – she was staring directly at two emerald green eyes surrounded by beautiful dark  shadows underneath.

“Boo!” Cythare said darkly.

“Oh, Finally,” Breathed Belle, her heart had began beating madly against her ribs – she could actually feel it.

“Finally?” Cythare mused, raising one of his eyebrows. “You were expecting to see me?”

“No – I mean. . . I finally heard Red Arches play that song,” Belle stuttered. She was never good at telling lies. “I was waiting for it.”

“What’s the title may I ask?” Cythare moved closer to Belle. She could see a faint smirk from his shadowed face; his eyes seemed to be shimmering amidst the dark. She stepped backward and took a deep breath.

“I. . . I am still trying to find out,” said Belle nervously. How she hated to hear herself speak whenever faced with him. “I’m just a new fan actually.”

“I see,” Cythare said, sounding a little unconvinced. “Do you mind if I take you for a walk Miss Summers? I am not a crowd lover and you seem to be alone anyways?”

“I won’t mind,” smiled Belle. Flannery, please forgive me. She thought of Flannery’s reaction when she comes back for her and not finding her.

Cythare lead the way. He moved serenely through the crowd as if he was dancing. She followed silently behind and noticed Cythare was wearing a black leather jacket and slim fitted denims over a designer labeled boots. Fashion forward. Belle thought as she hastened her pace to catch up with Cythare.

“You’re upset about something?” Cythare finally broke their silence as they slowed down now that they were near a wooden bridge towards the woods.

“No, it’s Flannery. She’s. . .” Belle struggled to relax. “You know what? Never mind. . . You’re – here.”

“I’m here,” Cythare confirmed gently. “How’s your arm?”

“Oh – it’s fine,” said Belle, feeling for her wounded arm underneath the blazer. “Just a scratch, barely. I get it that blood makes you squeemish.”

“You rather not hear what blood makes me want to do,” hissed Cythare, something that sounded like a warning. Belle looked rather ghosted as they carefully walked along the bridge.

“It’s fine – I get it,” blurted Belle, her heart still rebounding gently now. “Where do you live Professor Elvens?”

“I live with my uncle near the border of Crestfield and Heather Lake,” said Cythare. “We move around a lot actually.”

“Parents?” Belle asked while trying to avoid looking through Cythare’s eyes. She would not want to feel drawn again now that she was starting to get a hold to herself; she was staring at the evening sky instead.

“My parents passed away when I was young,” Cythare said coolly.

“I’m sorry,” Belle felt embarrassed and sorry at the same time. She was trying to come up with a new topic to stir out of the complicated one when she had introduced. “Any siblings?”

“None that I talk to,” said Cythare, stopping midway along the bridge and leaning his back against the handles. He was staring at the sky. Belle had managed to catch a glimpse of his profile being illuminated by the full moon. She saw how magnificent the shadows played across his face – everything seemed so perfect that she was not quite convinced he was right beside her.

“You know you’re kinda talk of the town,” said Belle, quickly directing her gaze at the river below them which was gently rippling and distorting the moon’s reflection. “Mysterious new professor – ”

“With the dangerous romance stare. . .” Cythare promptly added a wicked grin on his lips while still staring above.

“You were eavesdropping,” blushed Belle. It was really embarrassing having to know that Cythare was listening to what she and Flannery were talking about. She just hoped he had not heard most of it.

“Is it a crime?” teased Cythare. “Well, you have the mysterious thing going on too. . . Masked with sadness.”

“What makes you think that I’m sad?” asked Belle curiously. Did she really appear to be that lonely?

“Well. . . we did meet near the graveyard.” Cythare said.

“Oh – that,” said Belle, she was very much aware that she only needed some time off for herself; remembering about her oath of finding her brother now that she is in Crestfield.  “You don’t want to know, it’s. . . It’s not exactly party talk.”

“Well I’m never really that good as well at partying,” said Cythare, moving his dark gaze now at Belle who met his and quickly stared back at the river.

“My parents died in an accident two months ago,” Belle started. “Being the elderly sister I should never show any sign of weakness for my brother’s sake. He had lost quite a lot already”

“You must be very close to your brother,” said Cythare, followed by a moment of silence. Belle stood straight and stared at Cythare whose eyes seemed to be piercing her with the intensity of his glare. “You won’t be sad forever, Belladonna.”

The faint music from the park found its course between them, with the rippling river below – singing a tune that was filled with danger and foreboding. A cold night breeze blew past them as the tension grew more unnerving. She found it disturbing yet relaxing at the same time. This was the first time Cythare stared seriously at her which made her heart pounding madly again. Belle was not quite sure whether her mind was playing games on her, but she could see the faint purple shadow below Cythare’s eyes grew darker and deeper – his eyes somewhat glinted as if there was something moving beneath it.

“Hey, uhmm. . Are you okay Professor?” asked Belle out of curiousity. “Your eyes it’s. . . it just. . .”

“Yeah – no it’s . . . it’s nothing,” Cythare quickly turned his back at Belle in such quick movement that he almost seemed to blur. “Are you hungry? I’m gonna go get us something to eat.”

Cythare left all of a sudden. He seemed to have the uncomfortable posture as he swiftly walked back to the park. Belle was left alone by the bridge. This was the second time Cythare had walked out from her and it made Belle confused. Is he really only playing around with me?

It took Belle some time before she convinced herself to go back to the park and find the others. She was now having an internal argument whether Cythare was making her appear as one of his toy and play around with her feelings – taking advantage of the fact that she obviously seemed to be mesmerized by his beauty. How stupid am I? He was obviously checking my reaction and making fun of me in his head. . .

The simple idea embarrassed Belle as she doubled her pace, edging through the last thick bushes that separated her from the park. It was then when she heard frantic screaming from a group of students standing besides the opening to the woods. She was quite sure that something caught the side of her eyes that she quickly turned to her right; only to find herself staring at towering trees of olives.

Belle dismissed it and quickly rushed to the crowd of students with only one thing on her mind. Please don’t let it be Bret again. She abruptly stopped running and her jaws dropped with utter shock. Roughly five meters from her she could Bret covered with blood, carrying a somewhat unconscious girl. Fear suddenly took over her as she moved closer to them, wishing that it would not turn out to be what she had feared it was.

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