Pull the blankets over your head and curl up with the Countess Constance Trollope: A Vampire Like None Since Dracula.
The little girl sat cowering in the corner; her baby sister clutched in
her arms. The expression on her face told the tale just as clearly as
if the story had been smeared across the front page of the Times.
“The evil witch stole Mommy,” she said, struggling through the wracking sobs and weeping floods of tears. “She said she’s keeping her—to teach you a lesson.”
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“No,” the elder brother said. “The responsibility is mine. The subject is closed.”
The younger man, steeped in sorrow, nodded in silent acquiescence.
Although he had wielded this weapon of retribution countless times before, still Jonathan faltered; for the end of her existence meant the end of his as well. The stake then, and with seemingly no mercy, plunged, pierced its mark dead center, and broke her heart as well as his in two. The blood, no longer foul but turned cleansed and pure, bubbled to the surface and pooled, peaceful as a meadow brook, around the stone-cold piece of wood. The momentary transformation was stunning; the blackened soul, dissolved. Felice was again as she had always been—a woman who’d known naught of fear or weakness. And yet was soft as stacks of autumn leaves.
“I’m sorry, Jonathan,” she said, her cascading tears enabled one last time by this oh, so brief return of her soul. “Don’t avenge me, darling. I beg you—don’t even think of it.”
With bitterness and despair, he choked on the words. “She will pay though it costs me my life.”
“No you mustn’t. You know how that twisted mind of hers works and how she’ll interpret this. From this moment on she’ll be consumed with thoughts of vengeance, and she’ll not rest until the children have been brought into the fold. Oh Jonathan, take my little girls and fly from this place; never, ever to come back. Promise me this, my one sweet love—I shan’t rest until I have your word.”
Felice was right of course. Avenging her and all that it would entail while having two little girls to watch over would be impossible. Unable to utter the words aloud, he nodded his oath to her.
Her eyes met his one final time; it brought to her a smile. For especially when good cheer was needed, her smiles had never been in short supply. But as that supply had met its tragic end, she placed within it all her heart, and all her soul, and every ounce of love that she possessed, hoping against hope that it would help carry her beloved husband through the darkened times which lay so dauntingly ahead.
“Kiss me,” she said. And he obeyed.
“Now finish it.”
Whereupon he took the few garlic cloves from his brother’s hand and placed them in her mouth. And again he put his lips to hers until, and only but a moment later, an angel turned to dust.