I am forced to live the life of a vulture, feeding from the deceased. I longed to die, and then scared of death and what it holds, I had the choice whether to plunge into death or not, and chose to live. What a foolish decision. Oh, why can’t I die? I’d give anything to go back to that one night, summertime of 1678, after dusk, but I never can. I have given up my pointless search for immortals as I have given up the will to live, I hate myself for what I have become, now my ruthless existence is now like a cancer taking over my body as I go on, alone, and I can never go back, ever…
May 5th, 1661, I was born a beautiful baby girl named Emma. First born of Jonathan and Mary Edwards, I was my father’s dream come true, and he was a brilliant father to me. I was brought up quite well as a child, taught good manners, not middle class mind you, but my mother and father tried. When I was three or four years old, my grandmother and grandfather both died of the plague, along with many people. Also among the diseased and shortly after, dead was my best friend, Sarah, we were all each other had, friend-wise. We made each other blood sisters, by cutting our finger and touching them together. We used to play all of the time; our favourite game was hide and seek.
“You couldn’t see her while she was poorly and so you used to sit at the window which looked out onto the front street, where her family lived, and you’d pretend she was outside playing in the street and you’d talk to her through the window, quite sweet really. You hated going to bed, your father had to drag you away from that window!” said mother. I never knew why she was poorly, her mother was ill also, and her big sister, Jacqueline, father used to say that god needed some more angels so he took some of the good people away with him for a while, his mother died of this strange illness.
I couldn’t remember this, I thought I really did used to sit at my window and talk to Sarah, although it was a long, long time ago so I couldn’t be sure. My mother often told me that story among others of when I used to talk to myself and ‘pretend’ that it was Sarah. “You told us that she was dead, you said that she told you, can’t you remember, Emma?”
“No, no I can’t, mother. Weird, I always thought that she was there.” We had many conversations about Sarah, and her beloved family.
When I was five, my mother found out she was pregnant with my little brother, Peter. I was ecstatic when I found that I was to have a baby brother or sister to play hide and seek with along with Sarah and I.
Then, one cold night, just after dusk, a dreadful and enormous fire broke out and spread across London, it was known as the great fire, it wiped out the plague and my mother and father decided to stay out of harms way and so we emigrated to a beautiful little village called Maise on the North Coast of France. I was devastated about the decision, I cried the whole way there. “I can’t leave Sarah! Mother, we mustn’t leave Sarah!”
“Sarah’s gone, darling. Now come on, you’re upsetting yourself. Get aboard the ship Emma, Emma get aboard the ship!”
“You will do as your mother tells you young lady!” That was when I got my first any only smacked bottom from my father, and I learnt my lesson. So, I was miserably dragged onto the ship to leave London, and Sarah. I waved to her solemnly as the ship lifted anchor and set sail heading for France.
We then lived on a cosy little farm, I loved it there, when Peter had grown up a little, we used to be very mischievous, of course it was Peter’s idea to do naughty things like let Monsieur Pepper’s pigs out of their pen and put frog’s in the town well, I just used to play along! He was great fun, we used to play together everyday, Peter was very naughty, and when he was seven, father decided to send him to school, I only ever saw him some weekends and in his school holidays, while he was away I decided I should make some new friends, so I started going into town with mother and going to tea with her when she joined Madame Noire and her defiant twin boys, Alister and Rupert along with their older sister, Clarisse. She was thirteen, a year older than me but I still tried to get along with her to form some sort of friendship. It took almost fifteen months to finally have a good friendship with Clarisse, as she was quite shy and something of a tyrant.
Clarisse then introduced me to some friends of hers she had met while she was at a social gathering for ‘big girls’ so she said, it was her friend’s sister’s twenty first birthday. These girls were called the BeJeux sisters, eight in total. They lived just out of town, in a place called Croncham Hall. There was Charlotte who was nine, Jane who was just gone twelve, Zara who was 14, Sophia, she was 15, and Francine was 17, Gina and Maria, the twins, they were18 and Eliza who was 21. They were all very delightful, all extremely pretty too.
Surprisingly, they were all quite good friends, I didn’t think they would all get along as well as they did, and they all very much liked me, as I liked them. We were all very close, years went by and we stayed friends, we’d all go into town together, we’d go pony trekking, we’d do almost everything together, all ten of us. Of course the twins would sometimes fight, but surprisingly there wasn’t many arguments between the sisters, they were all so close.
August 24th was coming up, the twins’ birthday; it was to be their 21st. We tried to keep their get-together a secret but young Charlotte just couldn’t keep it in! So the girls knew about their birthday celebration but it was a good thing as they mostly planned it all. I suppose out of all of my friends I was closest to Zara as we were the same age, we also had a lot in common like our love of horses and our mischievous tendency and of course love of fun. At Gina and Maria’s gathering she introduced me to John-Paul. She walked over with him on her arm and said “Emma, I’d like you to meet Monsieur John-Paul Petit, he’s a Soldier from Brittany.”
I glanced up from my glass of wine and my eyes were hooked. He was extremely handsome, with big dark eyes and very well done dark hair and also a strapping uniform, top button of his shirt un-done. I was silent for a few moments and then I burst out with “How do you do, Sir?”
He smiled and said “I’m very well thank you, Miss” Zara was gossiping about a girl from her cousin’s town who’s family has been known to have lost all of their money and land.
“Look at her, brave thing Daddy said that they were completely bankrupt, and she was wearing that dinner dress only last week at tea in the Cafï¿½ L’amaire.”
I obviously wasn’t paying any attention what so ever to whatever Zara was saying, we stared at each other for a few minutes until we were interrupted with
“Ooh Madame Groves! Yoo-hoo! Come along, John-Paul we shall have to talk with Madame Groves, I shall see you later, Em”
“And hopefully so shall I.” Whispered John-Paul as he was dragged away by Zara while she was running around gossiping about people’s attire. He looked back as he was dragged away and his stare pierced into me, the people dancing in the centre of the room blocked his face but his stare stayed with me.
He was really charming, and I was quite overwhelmed by his dark, mysterious eyes. He had been handed round all of the sisters like a rag doll, he managed to charm them all of course. I decided to follow the twins into their bedroom to discuss this shadowy soldier of whom we all knew nothing about and to re-apply our lipstick.
They, of course were full of giggles and they both were head over heels with him, they were both informing me that “He kissed my hand, oh, he’s such a gentleman!”
Gina was arguing, “He never looked twice at you, Maria!”
“He did so! He was talking to me much more than he was you!”
I was beyond the point of breaking up the twins when they bickered, these days I just let them get on with it, it was actually quite amusing sometimes.
“Anyway, Maria, shouldn’t you be with your fiancï¿½e?”
“And you didn’t have to say that in front of him! You’re just jealous, Gina, that I have a man and you don’t!”
“Well, we’ll see about that then won’t we?” she started out of the door and screeched “Monsieur Petit, hey, John-Paul! Over here!”
“Oh, I don’t believe her! The little-”
“Now, now Maria, you’re a lady remember, how would your daddy react if he heard you cursing, besides, is Gregory not good enough for you anymore?”
“Its not that, its just I feel a definite repore with that man. And I know he wants me, I can see it in his eyes”
I didn’t want to say, but I felt the same, it was silly, really, how I didn’t know the gentleman but I felt overwhelmed by his mystery, he seemed to have this ‘way’ with girls. It was quite creepy, but it was also exciting.
“Does that sound awful? Anyway, Must marry Gregory for his sake, even if I don’t feel love, oh my god-”
I could see horror on Maria’s face “I don’t feel love! I don’t love Gregory, but he would die without me, you see he’s slightly obsessed, I thought it was cute at first, but I- I don’t love him at all, I’ve got to call it off!”
“Maria, you mustn’t! Not tonight, please, it’s your birthday, don’t spoil it for yourself by saying something you might not mean-”
“I might not mean? The guy drives me crazy! I might have had a drink but I know my mind! You just want me to live with that idiot! You want me to live in misery! Emma I thought you were a friend, but you’re just like him!”
“That’s not what I-”
“Just leave me alone!” and that was when the crying began. She cried, non-stop for two hours, her head in my lap. She quite regularly hated Gregory when she had been drinking sherry, but he wasn’t so bad. In the time she had, she defiantly had time to think about Gregory, and how although he had been asking her to marry him since the day they met, he isn’t all that bad. She pulled herself together, went over to her dressing table to straighten herself out and then said
“Emma, could you do me a huge favour, sweetie? Please keep that to yourself, what I just said I mean, it’s just that things like that could cancel a wedding, you know?”
“Sure, anything you say, Maria, hold on I’ll go get us both a drink, you wait in here okay?”
No, no, I’ll come down, I fancy a walk in the garden anyway”
“Alright then, well follow me down then.”
“Yes, I’ll just be a minute” I guessed that was her apology, that was one thing Maria was not so good at, giving apologies, or admitting she was wrong, but she tried to admit without loosing any pride and I sort of respected her for that. I thought that seeing as though most of my friends liked John-Paul, I would forget about my feelings of desire for him, friendship was much more important, besides, he was kind of creepy.
As I walked down-stairs, I spotted my mother and father across the room; they were positioned just at the patio doors, leading out to the garden. There was dancing in the centre and people spectating around the perimeter of the huge guest room. I started to dip through the crowd and I felt a very swift brush against my back. It was John-Paul heading in the opposite direction to me. I caught a glance of his face, he looked awful, his eyes were bloodshot, face was quite pale and he was frowning terribly, quite drunk I thought. I reached my mother and her eyes lit up “Emma, dear!” Father then came over with a drink for her.
“Thank you dear.” She turned to me- “What a lovely night don’t you agree? Look at the moon, the fullest I’ve seen in weeks, beautiful, and not a cloud in the sky-” and just a matter of minutes after she said it, clouds moved in and within seconds there was a downpour like I’ve never seen
“Yes, mother it’s beautiful!” I said sarcastically
“Quite ironic if I do say so myself, ha ha!” father chuckled. Someone tapped me on the shoulder-
“Peter! Oh my goodness, how are you? What are you doing here?” I leant over and hugged him, he had gotten so tall. I spun him around-
“I am on my holidays, besides I’m sick of all that school nonsense anyway, I came to see my favourite sister!” He placed me down and I was astonished, I hadn’t seen Peter in two years
“Your only sister!” I replied.
“Yes well, whatever.” He said with a huge grin on his face. Mother looked proud, her and father obviously had kept it a secret from me that Peter was coming home
“Come along children, let us move out of the cold, Jonathon, take me to dance, dear.” Peter then turned to me-
“Would you like to dance, Em?”
“Why not?” I said merrily and we walked towards the centre of the room. We were dancing around the room, talking about allsorts, me, him, boarding school, Charlotte who had a crush on him and I must say, I knew he liked her too. I spotted John-Paul, hurrying down the stairs, he was brushing back his jet-black hair from his face, and I noticed he was still very pale. He saw me staring, I can imagine I had quite a confused look on my face; he looked for a moment into my eyes, a cold scowl and then looked away. I wondered if I had done anything to offend him, he headed towards the patio doors and stood looking out of the window for a while, just then Charlotte came over and I handed Peter over to her, he whispered something to her and she nodded and smirked, up to mischief I imagined.
I glanced back over to the patio doors and he wasn’t there, the doors blew open and the curtains were being sucked out and blown back in, it was very cold, for summertime. He must have gone outside, but why? Monsieur BeJeux dashed over and attempted to pull shut the doors, Monsieur Noire and his son Frederick ran to help him. I couldn’t help but laugh at the three of them struggling with the huge curtains and the howling wind along with the extremely heavy rain and massive double patio doors.
“Look at daddy, old fool! He shouldn’t be exciting himself like that you know!” it was Sophia, she was laughing along with me
“Have you seen the birthday girls, they are about to bring out the cake and we can’t find either of them!”
“Oh damn, Maria, I forgot!” I got some punch and headed for the stairs
“Do hurry up, Em! We’re waiting!” I heard from behind me.
As I was heading up the stairs I felt a chill, the higher I climbed the colder it was getting, the music and muffled voices from downstairs was getting quieter and quieter, I looked and at the end of the long corridor the window was open, however no wind was coming in, just a chill, an icy chill. I had a habit for scaring myself and making myself jump, quite ridiculous really! I reached Maria’s bedroom door and I shouted “Maria, punch is served, come along, it is time to cut your cake! Maria? Maria?” I felt something behind me push up against me.
I spun round and the punch poured out onto the dark carpet, I turned and ran towards the staircase, I couldn’t shout, or scream, I was frozen, and I was trying my hardest but I couldn’t run fast enough, I managed to get to the top of the staircase and I darted down the stairs until I was in view of the company so I pulled myself together and brushed my hair back from my face. I was so uneasy; I went to fill up Maria’s glass for her and sat down for a minute to regain myself. “Are you alright, dear? You look a little on edge, darling.” Mother was always there when I needed her, I could count on it.
“Well mother its just that- nothing, nothing I’m fine, I’m just being silly. Silly old me, just jumping to conclusions, yeah, that’s me-”
“Sssh, dear, now look, you’re quite shaky, now tell me what’s the matter.” She said calmingly.
“I’m cold, mother, and when I went upstairs-” I realised how stupid I sounded, nothing was there, I was just scaring myself, anyway I needed to go and see Maria, ‘she’s a friend and she needs me, I’ll just take her drink up to her, and stop acting like a child,’ I was 17 years old, not some baby, okay, now I had to convince mother I was fine.
“Ha, ha, mother you fall for almost anything, ha, ha!” It was lame but it was the best I could come up with.
“Oh, you! Anyway, darling I need to nip to the loo, sorry dear, look, go talk to you father, I shall be back soon.”
I was perfectly well, and I started up the staircase again, again the voices muffled, again the chill made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, I knocked on her door “Maria!”
Again I felt a strange push coming from behind me, I never looked back because I knew I’d run back down, I tried her door, the handle was stiff, I pushed the door open and she was sitting at her dressing table, although she never had the lights around her mirror on, so I couldn’t quite make out her face, she never said a word, she just sat there, never moved an inch. I was saying “Maria, come along it’s time to cut your cake, everyone’s waiting for you, I’ve got you that drink-” I was slowly getting closer to her, she was dead silent, her head bowed, it looked like she was still upset.
I touched her on the shoulder, she was cold, I noticed her balcony windows were open and a slight breeze was coming in and it was freezing, I walked round to the front of her and said “Oh, won’t you tell me what is the-” I stopped and looked at her face, there was a handprint on it. I touched her face and her head fell back, she had blood all down her neck, I didn’t know if she was breathing, I panicked,
“Aarrgh!” When I scream I always seem to scare myself even more, I started pacing around, I didn’t know what to do, I was looking around for something-
“Oh, my God is she dead, she’s not dead it’s Maria, Maria? Oh, god what am I to do? Who did this, did you do it yourself, oh, Maria why?”
“Help! Help! Please, God somebody help her!” I grabbed her hand and knelt down next to her, crying.
“What if someone did this, what if they’re still here? Right just go get help, okay Maria wait there, oh god! If she’s dead I’ll never forgive-” I was stopped in my path by a little girl standing in the doorway, she had blonde curly locks and ribbons tying her shoes. She was looking at me and saying something, I couldn’t quite make out what. I thought she would be scared by all the commotion but she just stood looking. I ran frantically towards her “Excuse me, dear, out of my way, come along move, who are you here with? Come along with me, you don’t want to go in there.” I was in quite a state, I realised I was talking to a child, and I stopped crying.
“Come with me and we’ll get some help” I went to grab her hand but missed, I turned and looked behind me
“She’s dead. Want to play a game? Let’s play hide and seek. We always played by your rules, now we’ll play by mine. Loser dies!” I looked at the girl closely, “Oh my, is that you Sarah! No, no, you’re dead!” I began to shake and breathe heavily, the girl laughed and ran down the corridor. She stopped about seven feet away from me, she turned quickly, my heart sank, it was pounding, I was still breathing heavily, I couldn’t believe what was happening.
As she spun around I took a huge gulp, and a large man stepped out and stood behind her with his hands on her shoulders, she had blood dripping from her chin, she wiped it and smiled at me, as if to say “You’re next!” her eyes were bloodshot, she was smiling at me wickedly, I suddenly looked up at the tall man who was with her, perhaps it was her father, I looked at his eyes, those evil, bright red eyes. I screamed, I shouted for help, I was so scared, my heart stopped pounding it seemed. “Oh my God!” I yelled- “Help!” I felt very faint “Help, please, somebody!” I could see myself in the reflection of his eyes, I was white as a sheet, I was screaming and shouting but nothing was coming out. I looked at the tall shadowy man “John-Paul, please, no!”