Counting Souls

I never Dreamed my life as this, but this is what it has become, and now I must except my fate. I will tell you my story, of horrific monsters, and the souls within them. Of pain, redemption, love, and horror. You must now forget all you know of the creatures that lurk in the night.

Lightly based off classic horror novels, such as Dracula, by Bram Stoker; The Phantom of the Opera, by Gaston Leroux; Frankenstein, by Mary Shelly; and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson.

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1. The Girl

Note: I've always hoped that this story would be read someday, and now the time has come and I must share it with the world. 

I was born Marissia Di Martello, on May the 18th, 1860, in the year of our Lord, in Transylvania, Romania, or what we call in my native Romanian tongue, Ardeal. I'm afraid, as many stories start, mine was a sad one to begin with. I've never known my absent father, and my mother left me to the orphanage at a very young age. Ak! How sorrowful and pitiful I must sound to you my dearest reader, but I tell you, pay no great mind to my childhood. I am no martyr, for despite my lack of parents, I had a pleasant time in my youngest days, when the other children in the orphanage would gather in simple shifts and play in the nearby river, close to the large home in which we all lived. There were so many lovely days as such that blessed fond memories upon me, but now is no time for tales of children and faries, for now I must tell you my story. 

I had just left the orphanage. The orphanage I grew up in my whole life. Most girls of my age had already left years ago to start their lives elsewhere and find suitable husbands, but I had feared this sort of living and continued to help the sisters who ran our home for girls. Eighteen years I had stayed with them, and now I was being pushed to move on with my life. Slight hints were constantly being delivered by the youger girls living in the house and the sisters that ran it. I did not want to leave my sanctuary, but it was ever presently obvious that I should need to go. So I did, ten days past my eighteenth birthday. The sisters had recommended many suitable lodgings, men, and jobs to me, but I found none suitable, until one day, while walking the streets of the nearby town I came across a maid service posting. It gave the address of a well liked family on the edge of town, The Druesselmeijers, a rich, foreign family that had since moved to Transylvania in the Autumn. Mr. Druesselmeijer was a large German man who owned a construction business in town. He lived only with his wife, a fair english woman, who very much stayed to herself and did not engage much in the town society, unlike her contrasting husband. I thought it seemed like a decent post and it offered maid's lodging in a small cottage on the estate, whom I was to share with the old cook, Ms. Darnish. I soon applied for the job, and was soon taken on. There upon, I began my post at the Druesselmeijer estate.

 

A Selection of the Diary of Marrissia Di Martello:

May the 29th, in the year of our Lord, 1879.

It is with great joy and sadness I write in this journal today, for I have thus left my humble orphanage and begun my life as a woman in employment of the Druesselmeijers, whom I think I will dearly enjoy. Both two of the pair are so different. Mr. Druesselmeijer is large gracious man who plans to pay me quite well for my good services. The Mrs. on the other hand is rather quiet, but she often spares many sweet smiles for me. I believe this job will be a good thing, no matter how I miss my old life, for that is how I see my future. A new life, a new chapter, where anything could happen. 

 

The Druesselmeijers where indeed very good to me. I soon was settled into the cottage and came into acquaintance with the cook. She was a very plump and hearty english woman, with "a mouth that ran like a leaky faucet", as I've heard many describe her. She held herself quite high, and had been maintaining most of the estate before I had come into service. In addition to my lodging, the Druesselmeijers begun to pay the cook to provide me with food. I was not certain if Ms. Darnish was quite fond of this deal, but nevertheless, she did cook for me. Her food was delicious. It was nothing like what I had eaten at the orphanage, not that I'd eaten badly there, but rather, Cook's food was so filling and hearty. It gave me good energy to go about my housework everyday. 

The chores were not that gruesome really. My job consisted of regular daily cleaning, setting the table for breakfast, dinner, and supper, making and folding down the beds, and other basic household tasks that may need doing.

Every Sunday I was given off to go to the church and take care of my own personal needs, which worked out quite well for me. I so often enjoyed those sundays, going to church, then running off to read, work on samplers, or sketch by the small peaceful pond on the estate. Sometimes, if the cook was in a well enough mood, I would ask her to teach me meal preparations and pasty recipes. Most times, she would grudgingly comply.

Now it happened on a very certain day, the family was dressing to go off to a charity banquet held by  high society family in the next town over. I helped to lady dress on this rare occasion. She wore a beautiful dark blue satin dress imported from England. Opening her jewelry chest, I was asked to provide her with her favorite sapphire necklace, which I thus adorned her neck with. She looked and acted so different in this stunning attire, so unequal to her usual self. I curled her hair with a hot rod and pinned up her dark locks in an elegant fashion. It made me feel so happy to see her as such, for I felt a special connection to this shy, quiet lady who often would ask me to take leave from my work and be as company to her in the parlor on long, lonely evenings. She first introduced me to samplers, which would entertain my mind for hours as I deftly stitched perfect marks with my agile finger maneuvers. It provided me a new hobby, and for the mistress, company. She also gifted me with a present during the Christmas holiday, an extra sum of pay and a sketch set, which I dearly cherished. In all, she was very good to me, and I admired her so. I trusted her, and she, I, but how could I have known then what the future had in store?

I had been working for the Druesselmeijers for a more than a year and it was then the Autumn of 1880 which all the devastation occurred. The family had once again been invited to a high society event. I again was beckoned to dress the lady for the occasion. I followed much the same steps as I had on previous occasions such as this, dressing her up in fine gowns, pinning her hair into fashionable up-dos, and placing jewels upon her neck. They left soon enough in coach and did not arrive back until late at night. I then folded back the coverlets to their bed, undressed the lady, and let them rest in peace, soon retiring to my own bed. 

 

A Selection of the Diary of Marrissia Di Martello:

October the 23th in the year of our Lord, 1880

Noon

I woke up this morning tired from a long night, waiting for the mister and mistress to arrive home from their gala. It is a dreadful day outside. The rain pelts the window so and lighting strikes coldly with no restraint. The booming clap of thunder has more than once made me  shake in a sudden fright this morning, and I'm afraid if this keeps up, I might topple a precious vase in the house during my daily work. I've been working all morning, but now I take a break to sup and write the days' events in my diary, which are rather few. It is funny that about a year ago, when I first came to work here, I was under the idea that my life would change so greatly, but really it no different than my old duties at the orphanage; pitching in with the cleaning, taking care of the children. It is not so different here, but I must admit, I have learned much since taking this post. Embroidery samplers, cooking, taking care of house; that is what all good ladies should aspire to learn, as to raise a family of their own someday. This is all fools talk for myself of course. I have not had a conversation with a marriageable man in ages and I fear I will die an old maid. But I must not despair, for I feel there is possibly still some hope in this world left for me. 

Afternoon

I am so lost in my own mind. I fear I am staining the pages in which I write with tears of agony. It has truly been a most terrible day. I should have determined the day's storm as a horrific omen of the day's bringing. I had gone about the day's events as normal, doing my cleaning duties until I heard such a fierce scream of fright from above my head. I thus raced up to the second floor of the house, fearing my mistress might have been hurt. There I found her, in her dressing room, weeping in frustration. 

"My Necklace!" She screamed. "Where have you put it!" I had not the clue what to say, so I stood there in stunned stupor. Her outburst seemed so out of character. "You took it, didn't you!" I look of fear came over my face as she suddenly approached me and slapped my face hard. I stumbled back and cradled my stinging cheek. Never in my life had I ever dreamed she would have such strength. I could suddenly see it now; her dark side, the one which humanity so often tries to hide. Her alter ego had come alive, fully exposed. That was when Mr. Druesselmeijer walked into the room, seeing his wife in a pitiful crying heap on the floor, and I standing over her.

"What is the meaning of this?" The large man asked sternly, though altogether confused by the situation.

"She! She stole my grandmother's sapphires. I know she did it. She must have snitched them last night while undressing me. I should have seen this coming when the three silver spoons disappeared from the cupboard. She sets the table. She stole them!" I lookeed in shock at both of them, not understanding what was happening.

"I will be the judge of that," The man said, his voice becoming steel. "Darling, you must pull yourself together," With that, he harshly clutched my wrist, making me wince, and brought me down to stairs. We soon entered the small cottage. "Where are they?" He asked me coldly.

"I-I- I didn't take them," I said, my voice quavering.

"I might be inclined to believe you, but first we search this cottage," At that, he started to throw apart all my things, digging and serching. Imagine the horror of a man ripping through your underthings and personal belongs! Soon he came to an old box I kept in the back of the cottage wardrobe. I kept my few personal things in it, but it was rarely opened. At sight of the container, he tore it open with his bulky hands. "Ah, you are a sneaky little theif and liar! After all we have done for you, this is how you repay us?" In his hands he holds the elegant necklace and silver spoons. At that, all of the gentleness I'd ever see in that man melted away, revealing a strong, hard core of anger. He approached me a slapped he hard on the cheek his wife had already bruised. I fell backward in recoil. "I will do you one more favor, you urchin. I will not report you to the constable, but I want to out of here and far away in one hour's time. You will no longer hold any good standing in this town! Do you hear me?" He shouts. "I said, do you hear me?" I shake my aching head quickly in reply, and scamper back. He quickly leaves the cottage and slams the door on the way out. 

Now you see why I cry as I write in this precious journal. I know I must pack to leave right now, but I know It is important to record all that has happened while it is fresh in my head, may my innocence someday be proven. Now I must pack, but I will be back soon to write, for I'm afraid I am to set off on a dark, unknown path.

 

After having such a terrible day as that and recording all in my journal, I set about to pack my suitcase and leave as soon as soon as possible. To where I would go, I had known not, for I doubted the orphanage would take me back. I had grown too old. I packed my meager belongings in my carpet bag; A frame of my mother which had been left with me at the orphanage (I like to think she some how cared for me by doing so), my sampler supplies, my sketchbook and  charcoal, clothes and other meager things. I know not why those people thought me to be a thief, for I swear I would never take such things. How they ended up in my box I  can only guess. I fancy The cook stole them, and hid them with my belongings in case she were to be found out. She never was quite fond of me. As for the great emotional outbursts from my previous employers, I know not whence they came, except from the darkest part of the human heart.

I left the estate soon after packing, making sure to take one last look at my pond. I set out for town. I could not stay long, for I knew word would travel fast. I set out, walking down the roads and slowly making my way to the edge of town. I was dreadfully tired and soaking wet from the still storming weather. My shoes had been soaked through, and I was miserably tramping through a muddy and dirty street. That's when the most fateful moment of my life occured. It seemed to come from nowhere; a dark covered carriage drawn by two midnight  black horses. The coachman at the reigns wore a wide dark hat to keep off the rain, and a large, dark, oilcloth coat. I couldn't see his face, but I knew he saw me, for he began to pull at the reins. The coach eventually came to stop in front of me, and the man stepped down from his perch. He gave a small, curt bow. 

"Dear Lady. Where It is that you are going?" He said in the old native Transylvanian accent.

"I don't know, the next town over I suppose," I knew I shouldn't have sounded so helpless and lost, but that was the absolute truth of my state.

"Are you in need of a coach?" He questioned. I don't know why I ever excepted the man's offer. Maybe because I had been through a terrible experience,  or maybe I was too weary from walking. Thinking back on that night, I like to think it was fate.

 

 

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