It began with the voices, at first they were a low hum, arguing. They choked me, like hands clasped around my neck as I slept. Only when I screamed did they cease. But each night they returned more evil than before - I dreaded the darkness.
Shortly after the voices started I began to detect an odor, an aroma of sweet honeysuckle floating through the house, it would stop me from what ever I was doing, pulling me into a daydream. An overpowering scent, I swam in its fragrance. Coldness followed, so cold my breath was visible, yet summer was at its height. And then it was gone, it did not linger for a moment like perfumes do, instead it was gone as quickly as it came.
My nerves feel ragged through lack of sleep and I cannot eat.
When I look into the mirror these days, it is not my refection I see-but a ghost of myself. Are apparitions toying with me? of this I ponder. In the dead of night do they come? Goose flesh with chills, unnerving sleep, erratic dreams. And in these dreams I see you and remember our life, our life before the sickness, like a thief it stole you, each time coming back for more. I speculate, was it this house that caused your affliction? perhaps- but then how?
We were happy. Spring came and turned the year around. Five months into our marriage and still it felt like a honeymoon. Then the letter changed everything. I remember your eyes as you read it, slowly. Widening with every line, placing your hand upon your chest, your breathing deep and shallow, unable to conceal your excitement.
'What?' I asked 'Tell me, why are you so agitated, is it bad news?'
'Not bad news Danny' you laughed, 'You’re never gonna believe this, but my Aunt Rose has just left me her house in her will'
'No Way!, give me the letter'
I read it with apprehension, but it was true.
'You never mentioned her before Chrissy, were you close?'
'When I was young my mother took me to visit her once, I think I was about four or five maybe, anyway, -to be honest she scared me a bit. Her face was like it was painted on, pure white -sickley almost. And her lips were colored the deepest red.'
'You obviously made an impression'
'I guess so, dunno why; never saw her again after that. Mom never talked about her much, rumor was she poisoned my uncle Ted, but they never proved anything - she collected the insurance they said, left her well off. Pretty eccentric I suppose'
'Pretty nuts if you ask me' I laughed. 'Sounds like a right old witch'
'Don't be cruel Danny, yes she might have been odd but, maybe she wasn't what they said she was, and I can't believe she was a murderer'
Four weeks later we were packed up and on the road, every thing we owned was crammed into our battered VW Beetle van. Said goodbye to Colorado on a high and and headed south through Dakota, stopping only to fill up on gas and junk food supplies; after two days we reached Cotton County California. Tired but still excited, the turnpike eased us off the free way and onto the B road five miles just outside of Applewood. A sleepy one street town that seemed to be permanently stuck in the fifties. Our first stop was the attorneys office that had dealt with your Aunts affairs. After a brief conversation with some old guy we were given the keys to our new home.
All through the interview his face seemed devoid of all emotion, his voice a monotonous whispering drone. 'There's only one prerequisite regarding this will, Miss Belux' he said, his voice trailing.
'Which is?' you replied perplexed.
'On no account must the house's name be changed, your Aunt was most insistent about this'
He paused for a moment and then raised his head from the documents.
'Do you agree to these terms Miss Belux?' he asked.
'Yes! Yes of course' I heard you whisper in response.
I remember you seemed transfixed by his accent, like none I had heard before, European or German, it was hard to tell. But we passed it over and took the keys.
Outside dusk was falling, daylight lay dying in the arms of evening and a warm wind caught our faces as we walked hand and hand to the V.W. Everything seemed perfect.
'It's getting late' I said, 'Lets sleep in the van tonight, we can go to the house in the morning'
Your reaction to my suggestion stopped me dead. 'No!, we must go tonight, Rose is waiting for us!' your voice was elevated and threatening.
'What do you mean Rose is waiting for us Chrissy, I don't understand?' then for a second I could have sworn your eyes held a glint of red while you starred at the setting sun's halo.
Looking back now I do believe this was the beginning.
'Please Danny, let's get to the house tonight, it's not far and besides, won't it be better to sleep in a nice comfortable bed than the V.W hard old camper cot'.
As usual I always gave in. 'Okay, Okay-lets go!' I agreed, the thought of a soft mattress did have it's appeal after so long on the road.
As we drove along the dark roads to the house the willowy light from the dashboard blanched your face, your eyes were sullen and empty. I looked at your reflection in the windshield, then to you. 'Are you O.K Chrissy?, you seem lost in your thoughts.'
A moment passed before you spoke- 'Turn right here' you whispered.
I looked ahead into the darkness trying to focus my eyes but could see no turn 'Where Chrissy, I don't... '
'Turn Danny! TURN NOW!' you screamed. I hit the brakes hard and yanked the wheel blind sending the Beetles back end into a ground crunching spin. How we ended up straight is anybody's guess.
Just in off the road in the van's headlights stood a house. 'This is it Danny, this is Rosewood, my Aunts house, I remember it now, the tree's are bigger, the house is still the same- isn't it wonderful, quickly, let's go inside'
Rosewood looked foreboding, caught up in the head lamps, back dropped by the night sky and a blue full moon aurora. Just as we stepped from the van I was aware of my first hint of Honeysuckle caught up in the nights warm draft. And the first whisper, a woman’s voice calling your name, a trick of the wind I was sure. You ran excitedly to the large oak door laughing like a child, like a five year old.
'Hurry Danny, Rose is waiting' those words raised goose flesh on my arms and neck, that was the second time that night you had spoken them. I slipped the key into the deadlock and it turned effortlessly, a gentle push and the door gasped open, a low groan seemed to emanate from the hallway, breathing an aroma of Honeysuckle, a whisper hung in its fragrance. Was evil inviting us in? At that time it never crossed my mind, but now as I lie here the voices are stronger, more menacing. I should have stopped then, I should have protected you, but you ached to enter and I was weak. Oh how I cry for the past, wishing, wanting to return to our happy life. But alas it is gone forever, of that I'm sure.
That night we were restless, dreaming a secret sleep, I was devoid of my body, I felt as if eyes were watching me, I felt bodyless hands caress my head, voices speaking softly in the darkness. Silent cries, erotic and frightening. Then in the morning you were gone from our bed. I found your listless body on the landing, pale and prostrate. Barely breathing.
For days this pattern continued, each night my dreams move vivid than the last. I dream of a room, damp and dark, slowly, as my eyes grow accustomed, a face of a woman emerges from the blackness, pale and deathlike, blood red lips holding a soundless scream inside her black and lifeless eyes.
Now I am trapped by your affliction, I can neither control it nor cure it because I understand now what it is. An ancient disease, as old as the devil himself, in this house's bowels it festered, waited till you came of age. Your Aunt Rose was the nucleus, and for years she lay dormant. That day you visited with your mother was the day you were chosen. She knew her bloodline must continue - before you her first host was Ted, but he proved weak and perished. So she slept, waited, left instructions that when you became 21 you would be brought here. But I was the thorn on the flower, if the house's name was changed before you entered her spell would have been broken, that’s why you were anxious to gain entry that night. once in, it began.
It's not like they show it in the movie's.
Vampires are real, and they are waiting outside my door.
I can hear their voices - God help me.
(Part one...to be continued)
For my wife Dianne who loves horror films and scary stories.