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From Light Into Darkness
Chapter 6
By: DarkenAngel

Back to present time . . .

	Melanie sat on the dust~covered bed and stared spellbound at Christiana. The
girl had sat carelessly upon the floor and read to her. Now she sat, telling her
the story without gazing at the pages, staring off at something that Melanie
could not see. Suddenly, her eyes came into focus and she gazed at Melanie
thoughtfully, the diary forgotten in her lap. "You are a vampire . . . ."
Melanie trailed off, looking at the girl's white skin, at her blue eyes that
positively glowed in the darkness.

	"Yes, my dear, dear, cousin. I am a vampire, and this story is my life. Do you
believe me? I can see the doubt in your eyes. . ." was the soft and controlled
reply.

	"Well, it is a little difficult to believe." Melanie told her. Suddenly, the
girl was gone from where she had been sitting, the diary still lying on the
floor. Melanie blinked in disbelief. She had not seen the child move. She looked
around and saw Christiana in the doorway, leaning against it casually, as if she
had been there all along. Then, she was beside her, so close to her that Melanie
moved back with a gasp.

	"Look at me, dear cousin. Look into my eyes." she whispered. Her voice was
soft, and something predator~like lurked beneath the surface. Melanie did not
meet her eyes. "Gaze upon me." the child demanded, placing a cold, pale finger
under her chin and lifting her face so that she had to look upon her. What
Melanie saw was not human. The skin was too white, too immaculate for any
sixteen year old. Her eyes burned like blue fire and her hair seemed to have a
life of its own as it flowed and tumbled loose around her shoulders. Then the
girl smiled . . .

	Her canine teeth were long and pointed, protruding beyond her other teeth.
Melanie gasped again. "What are you?" she whispered, and then repeated the
question. Christiana turned from her and returned to the window. When she turned
back, her eyes did not glow as brightly.

	"I am a vampire. I have roamed this earth for centuries. I am still a
fledgling, but have gained strength surpassing other fledglings, and even a few
of the weaker ancient ones. The people I introduced you to are like me, each
ancient and immortal. The one with hair of flame, she is the Juliet spoken of in
the diary. The young child, the albino, is perhaps more powerful than any
vampire I have chanced to meet. . .but you shall learn of her when I continue my
story.

	"You are a very distant niece of mine. You are part of my brother Michael
Devereaux's lineage. This explains our physical similarities. I have tracked
your entire life from the day you were born. I knew you would be the one to
inherit this place." she explained, indicating the estate.

	"Why me?" Melanie whispered, gazing at this seemingly 'child' before her with a
gaze filled with amazement and fear.

	"Because you are the last. You have no brothers to carry the bloodline any
further. My heritage ends with you. I wish for you to have this place, the place
where our family first gained its wealth, the place where I lived out the first
few years of my immortal life." The girl's words were soft, and the intensity of
the emotion was not apparent on her face, though it flashed in her eyes.

	"I did have a brother. . .once." Melanie said, lowering her head as the painful
memories took hold of her. Her brother, Bradley, had been killed in a dreadful
car accident when she was still a child. She had survived, but he had not, and
she had always thought that he should have been the one left alive instead of
her. He had been the favorite, loved by all. His green eyes had always sparkled
with laughter, and his long black hair was constantly falling into his eyes.

	Melanie could remember him swinging her in his arms, could hear his whispered
voice telling her to close her eyes and pretend that she was flying. She
remembered the many nights she had awoken in the night and called for him,
telling him that there was a monster under her bed or in her closet. Bradley had
been her hero and her best friend, the greatest brother a girl could hope for.

	She remembered her parents when they had come to her in the hospital room.
"Where's Bradley?" she had asked, with the innocence that only a child who has
not experienced death could know. "I miss Bradley." she had said. Her parents
had looked at each other, and the look they shared had frightened her. She had
started asking frantically, "Where's my brother, where is Bradley?"

	Her father had sat beside her and reached out for her. She had fought him,
sitting back and demanding to know where her brother was. Her father's sad eyes
had looked at her and said softly, "Honey, Bradley is dead." The only thing
after that Melanie remembered, was screaming. She had been twelve years old
then, and though sixteen years had passed since that time, she still felt the
pain as sharp as if it had been yesterday.

	Melanie shook herself from her reverie, lest her tears fall. Christiana was
gazing at her with an expression that was not unlike physical pain. 	"Forgive
me, cousin, for causing that memory to surface." she said in her clear and
cultured voice as she sat beside her again. She put her arms around Melanie,
who, after a pause, embraced her as well. Melanie was amazed. This girl had none
of the softness of a child either. Melanie felt as though she were embracing a
marble statue instead of a living creature. Christiana allowed this embrace to
last only a few seconds before she released Melanie and backed away.

	"The past is truly a painful thing, is it not?" Christiana mused, looking in
the direction of the window. She went on without waiting for a reply. 	"There
are many pains that are yet to be revealed to you, many truths held within those
pages that have yet to be read. I experienced the death of a loved one. I felt
betrayal. I was abandoned by friends when I needed them most . . . .But, now is
not the time to go into that. Those things shall be revealed when I continue
tomorrow night. Come, let us leave this place for this night. Come with me into
the clubs for the precious few hours that remain before dawn. Let me buy you
food and drink, and anything else you desire." Christiana gazed at Melanie with
an expression that looked so like a child in torment, that Melanie wished to
comply with the girl's wishes. Christiana reached out for her hand and she gave
it, allowing the girl to lead her out of the room, down the stairs and into the
night.

	Almost directly after sunset the following night, Christiana came to Melanie.
Melanie let her into her hotel room and the girl sat down on the couch without a
word. Melanie gave her hair one more vigorous rub with the towel she had been
holding when she heard the knock and then sat down across from her. "Do you wish
to hear more of the story this night?" 	Christiana asked her, her gaze not
faltering from Melanie's eyes for an instant.

	"Yes." was Melanie's only reply.

	"Very well. I thought you would wish to hear the rest, and I wish for it to be
told in more comfortable surroundings for you." Christiana said, leaning back.
"Now. . .let me continue. . ."

	From that time on, Raven and I visited regularly. He never visited me, for I
did not wish for Alexander to feel the pain of the death of the young debutante
Diana. Our visits averaged about one night out of each week.
My days were rarely spent in my chambers any longer, for I had come to crave the
feel of Alexander's arms around me as I entered my death~like sleep. I wished
for his beautiful face to be the first thing I gazed upon when I awoke each
night, his eyes closed in sleep, his hair loose around his face.
I had begun awakening earlier than him. Juliet had informed me that it was
because my strength was increasing. "But he is an ancient one." I had replied.
She had gazed into my eyes with a knowledge and slight amazement, then stated, "
Your strength is increasing at a rate I thought impossible for a fledgling. Your
power shall be incredible. You will be stronger than your lover, of this I
assure you." I had merely shaken my head at the wonder and possibility of it
all.

	My story picks up in early August of that year. I had come back from hunting
and had seen that there was much more bustle than usual around the manor.
Alexander approached me not long after. "Christine, I am preparing the move to
my estate. I have left it unattended for quite some time and I believe it is
time that I returned. If you think that this manor around you is magnificent,
the estate will positively astound you. I am hoping to be ready to leave in a
couple of weeks. I have had servants tending the land and ready the living
quarters. It will be wonderful." He took me into his arms. "By night we will
take my finest steeds and ride through the groves and gardens, and allow the
night to embrace us. I will show you my vineyards, and we will roam through the
maze until dawn. During the day, well, what occurs then shall be up to you . .
." He smiled down into my eyes with a hint of mischievousness in his gaze. I
laughed softly.

	Alexander released me. "Forgive me, mon amour, but I have matters to attend to
this night." He bowed to me and then, after a lingering gaze, he turned and
walked away.

	I wondered what I would do this night to occupy myself. Raven was out of town
on business, so I could not seek his company. After a moment's hesitation, I
decided that I would visit Juliet. It had been some time since we had been able
to simply talk, without lessons and advice getting in the way. I fetched a cloak
and called for the carriage, in the mood to indulge the mortal mode of
transportation.

	I climbed inside and directed the coachman where to go. I leaned back, gazing
out the window. The streets were so dismal in my view, so I turned my eyes
heavenward instead. The sky was clear, and the stars shone in all their
brilliance. I realized that it had been quite some time since I had merely
looked up and dreamed.

	But, I couldn't dream any longer, could I? I had everything, and anything else
I wanted was no sooner requested than given to me. For the first time since the
time Alexander had entered that clearing and offered me his world, I missed my
mortal life, my parents, the work in the fields, the nights spent gazing at the
stars.

	One tear slid down my cheek, leaving in its wake a dark red line. I wiped it
away, annoyed at the flood of emotions that had suddenly come over me. You
wished for this, Christine Devereaux, and your wish came true. You cannot begin
to regret it now. The damage is done, the path chosen, the point of no return
crossed. You must move on. I told myself. At that moment a change began to
slowly take place within my personality, the purity that Alexander so loved in
me began to diminish. But, at that moment, I had no idea, no inkling of what was
happening. I merely pushed all negative thoughts from my mind and forced myself
to enjoy the quiet ride.

	When I reached the home of Juliet and Stephen, I exited the carriage before it
had completely stopped. I called to my servant, telling him to leave, that I
would find another way home. I ran up the front steps, hearing the clatter of
the horse's hooves as the carriage left, and opened the door before the butler
could. I closed it behind me and hurried into the main hallway, ignoring the
man's shocked expression at my entrance. Juliet! I called out telepathically. A
moment later she came down the stairs, her arm linked with Stephen's.

	Christine! I am so glad you have decided to come calling. You have been missed,
mon cher. She answered me in the same manner with which I had addressed her.

	Oui, Lady Christine. 'Tis good to see thee again. Stephen added. What a picture
the two of them made, Juliet with her hair the color of fire and green eyes that
shone like emeralds from across a room along with Stephen, whose dark hair
glistened in the candlelight, and whose eyes glowed with the same brilliance as
Juliet's.

	"Comment allez~vous, mon cher?" Juliet asked me.

	"Je vais bien." I answered simply.

	She laughed. " 'Tis really good to see you again. Come, we have much to talk
about. How has your lover fared the past week?"

	"Alexander is well. He is in the midst of preparations for us to move to his
estate." I answered her.

	"Ah, he has decided to return there, has he? I was beginning to wonder when he
would move his residence. It is quite a beautiful piece of property, even for
one of our kind."

	"I can hardly imagine anything possibly being better than McClear House."

	"Then you will indeed be astounded beyond belief. Tell me, will you have a ball
to celebrate your first night?" Juliet asked me.

	"I do not know. What are your thoughts on the matter?" I said in reply.

	"I think 'twould be an excellent opportunity for you to gain recognition in
society. The grander the ball, the more elaborate, the more expensive, the
better they shall think of you. The more lovely your dress, the more charming
your smile, will determine how the men will think of you. You speak with Raven,
what would you believe his words to you would be?" was her statement.

	"He would say the same as you. In the past he has told me that I should attend
more social events, and acquire my own wealth so that I shall not have to depend
on Alexander for eternity."

	"He is quite correct. My advice to you is the same. If something should ever
happen to your precious Alexander, you will need the means to be able to
continue on your own. But, tonight is not for lessons and advice. Tonight we
shall talk and catch up on what each of us has missed. It has been too long
since we have had a simple night for visitation." Juliet said, putting an end to
the subject.

	"Oui, mon ami, it has been a long time indeed." I answered. Stephen excused
himself then, saying there were some matters he needed to attend to. I thought
he was just politely excusing himself so that Juliet and I could have some time
together without his ears, but he turned and looked upon us, flashing a vampire
grin. I noticed at that moment that he had not hunted. I laughed softly and
waved to him and Juliet and I went out into the gardens behind her home.

	These gardens were beautiful, enclosed within stone walls nearly completely
covered with ivy. I could see the dew~covered roses shining in the waning light
of the moon and could hear the sound of the leaves of the trees rustling in the
soft night breeze, and heard the tinkling of water as it fell from a fountain,
around a miniature of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

We sat upon a stone bench under a beautiful arch of vines and flowers. We
discussed everything that came to mind. I shared with her how my relationship
with Alexander was progressing, and how truly I felt dedication for him, and
would do anything for him.

	Our conversation then turned to Stephen. Juliet complained lightly of how
possessive and jealous he was becoming of her. "Really, mon cher, you would
think he would rather keep me in a glass case rather than allow me to roam of my
own free will." she commented.

	"Yet you love him still, do you not." I stated, filled with understanding.
Hadn't I myself been so blinded by my love for Alexander that I willingly gave
up my life for a completely different and infinitely more dangerous existence,
merely so I could remain at his side for eternity?

	"Oui. De bonne grace. Like they say, 'Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne
connait point.' N'est~ce pas?" she said.

	"True. The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of." I replied.

	Our conversation continued on a lighter note until we sensed that the sun was
soon to rise. I sighed, "I really must be going."

	"Oui, Adieu, mon ami." Juliet said in farewell.

	"Au revoir. Dieu vous garde." I told her.

	"I doubt that He can." I heard her whisper as I took to flight. I reached home
with minutes to spare. I went into my rooms and undressed, deciding I would
sleep in my bed this night. I lay back and fell asleep minutes before the sun
rose. I felt Alexander lay down beside me and kiss my forehead as I drifted off
into dreams, in which I saw Juliet's garden not only in the moonlight, but in
the sunlight as well.

Next Chapter


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