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The Castle Of The Bloodsuckers
The Castle Of The Bloodsuckers

The Castle Of The Bloodsuckers

Franc68Lorient Montaner

'Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.'—H. P. Lovecraft

There was a stirred tempest that night, when I had arrived by carriage at the castle of Count Belenguer upon one memorable evening, during the year of 1925. I was supposed to meet the count, for the purpose of obtaining a deed from him, for a vast property I was interested in purchasing on behalf of my family. My name is Remund Montaner, originally from Toledo—but I was of Aragonese descent. Because of its remote location and lack of functional roads, I was forced to ride in a carriage instead of a vehicle, once I had reached the province of Aragon from Toledo. I would be told by the lackey that the count would be awaiting my arrival. Along the way, I had seen the picturesque landscape of the rural area I was passing through, when it was not raining. It was like travelling through another period of time that remained isolated in the 19th century. I was also aware of the history of this remote region and had been to Aragon on several occasions. Despite the unsteady weather, my trip was accompanied by the fascinating experience of observing the natural scenery of the countryside. I shall describe to the curious reader the following descriptive details, about the castle and its impressive setting.

The medieval castle was located near the town of Loarre, in the province of Aragon on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by fir trees. It had eight massive towers and several sturdy walls of the ashlars of masonry, a keep in front of the ancient fortification, connected by a draw bridge. Once I had passed through the iron made door that creaked open, I could see the interior design of the castle. Inside it had chandeliers, decorative floors, tapestries, rugs, dark magenta draperies, a gallery, arched windows, columns of entases and trapezoidal capitals, a lone chapel that was composed of a singular nave, with an eastern apse covered by a semicircular vault, and lastly an abbey. All of these historical places I would eventually see with my stay in the castle, but little did I know about the lurking horror that was awaiting me upon my arrival. Its spine-chilling episodes of sheer ghastliness were devilish in nature and perverse in their consequences. There would be a mystery that would be attached, to the surreptitious lineage of the count and to the foul creatures that fed on the blood and flesh of the living.

The count and his sister the countess were already waiting for me in the dining hall. He was tall and lanky in stature. She was of average height, but her contours had revealed her attractive constitution. His sable hair was short and parted to the side, whilst her raven hair was long and flowing. I had noticed that he was well dressed in a black suit and trousers, with black polished shoes that had reflected a shining lustre. As for the countess, she wore as well the colour black. A black dress with ruffles at the seam and priceless jewelry that enhanced her natural beauty. Black it had seemed was a sign of reverence and Gothic appeal for them. I was baffled by the selection of that colour, and there was something eccentric about them that I could not easily dismiss with my practicality. It was their penetrating eyes that had gazed at me, with a sinister concealment of their deliberate intentions. The count would greet me with a cordial salutation, then he would introduce me to his beloved sister of whom I was enamoured, since my first sight of her.

'Señor Montaner. We meet at last. I hope that the rain has not dampened your spirits'.

'Thankfully, I am here now, for I don't know what I would have done, if the carriage was stranded on the road. As for my spirits, I am eager to do business with you count'.

'I must confess that I have enjoyed our private correspondences, and so too has my dearest sister. Allow me to present to you, the Countess Valeria'.

I kissed her hand and as was the Spanish custom two kisses on each cheek, 'It is my pleasure to meet you countess, and I am certain that the count has said pleasant things about me'.

'Trust me he has señor. I know Andreu well. It is always good to have new guests visit us here at the castle. Regrettably, we have lacked recently fresh visitors that could enlighten us with their knowledge. For we are an ancient race of people'.

'I can believe that countess'.

'Señor Montaner, we are an old lineage that has its proud history, and it is not often that we have new visitors that can entertain us from the outside world', the count interjected.

'The outside world. By that you mean outside of the castle or area?'

'Yes señor!' The countess replied.

'Do you not travel much abroad?' I asked.

'Not much of lately!' The count answered.

'I am intrigued by the history of this castle count. What could you tell me about it?'

'It is one of the oldest castles in the country. Built during the 11th century, so long ago it would seem. Everything that you see in the castle is the product of the utmost devotion we have had to its restoration. For centuries, we have dwelt amidst its timeless architecture'.

'You mean your family, when you alluded to centuries?'

'Of course!'

I almost had the unique impression that he as well as the countess were speaking, as if they had lived in the past themselves. An eerie omen had prevailed over the interior of the castle, as I stood before them and the stone walls of secrecy that were yet to be discovered or revealed. Thereafter, I was shown to my chamber, which was allocated to the guests who would stay on the first storey. Their chambers were upstairs, I had assumed. There were few servants in the castle that were tending to the needs of the count and countess. The stairway was refurbished in gold, and it had an enclosing frame at the bottom and top that was made of solid glass. This was something that I had never seen previously, and it simply had astonished me. The coat of arms was what arrested my attention afterwards. It was of some unknown creature that I had thought resembled a medieval dragon of some sort. I had stared at it fascinated, in a momentary trance of its unnatural appeal.

In the privacy of my chamber, I had begun to ponder the sudden oddities of the castle and above all, the personas of the count and countess. There was nothing that was so overtly conspicuous about them, except the ironic remarks and gestures expressed with their behaviour. Perhaps, I was only overreacting, and it was the consequence of my weary trip. I had conceded to that logical notion. The castle itself despite its brilliant display of architectural magnificence had a certain gloom of darkness that could be felt, within the cold chambers and the recesses of the narrow corridors. There were torches throughout the castle lit, and that was the only warmth I could feel at times, along with the oil lamps. It had seemed queer to me that these highborn people of nobility would result to such primitive usages, when there was the advent of gas lamps. There was a sparkling flame that had burnt in the fireplace of the dining hall. Even in the comfort of my chamber, I could hear creepy noises and secret murmurs of people it had sounded.

That night, I began to hear peculiar noises coming from behind my chamber door that I was not accustomed to their sound. At first, I was uncertain of what to do. Thus, I had remained in my bed, until I began to hear irritating scratches on the door that I had intuited were caused by sharp fingernails. Slowly, I rose to my feet to investigate the disquieting occurrence. When I had reached the door, I could hear the sound of heavy breathing. I was reluctant to open the door, and I had waited for several minutes, but the breathing did not cease. It was then that I had opened the door and stepped outside of the chamber, to find no one standing there present. All that I saw were the lit torches that had slightly covered the trammelled murk of the nights of the castle. I was extremely puzzled by what had happened. Perhaps, it was a wild animal that had entered the castle unbeknown to me and the others? Was it a wolf? Whatever it was, it had left for the time being.

In the morning, I would address this issue with the count and countess, expecting to have an answer. They were both in the gallery, observing illustrated paintings of the family lineage, when I had found them. I was eager to know more about their personal history and repute. I could not help but be mystified by their presence, and at the same time horrified by the eeriness of the castle. I had never witnessed a castle of this nature previously, and it brought sudden memories of my childhood, when I had read about dark tales of terror and suspense that were unnatural in their origin. I had the queer sensation, as I walked towards them that they were already aware of my approaching footsteps. The countess nor the count did not turn around to detect my immediate presence. Somehow, they knew I was coming.

'Good morning Señor Montaner. I hope that you slept well last night!'

'I tried count!'

'What do you mean try señor?'

'There is one thing that was troubling me that had caused me to interrupt my placidity'.

'What is that?' The countess interjected.

'It might sound very strange to you both, but I believe I heard a scratching and breathing coming from behind my chamber door'.

'Are you certain of what you heard señor?' The count enquired.

'I think so! What could it have been? Was it a wolf or wild dog?'

'Perhaps it was!'

'But how did it get inside the castle?'

'The castle señor has secret passages and entrances that even we do not use much. It is possible that this animal had entered unbeknown to us'.

'Has it left?'

'You can rest assure señor that whatever you heard left with the night', the countess replied.

'But will it return?' I asked.

'Perhaps. Only the night will tell, but I shall inform the servants to not leave any unnecessary doors open so that it can enter again through an ingress'.

We had changed the subject and began to discuss the deed of which I had come to obtain from the count. He would inform me that the deed would be ready in a day or two, because his solicitor was away at the time, and would not return until a few days. I had not prepared myself for this contretemps, but I willing to abide my time. The count had invited me to stay until then. Despite my reluctance at first, I had acquiesced to his invitation. In the meantime, I was anxious to ask him about his family's history and especially the coat of arms. After revealing to me the fact that his family had been in the province for countless centuries and were part of the Aragonese nobility, he proceeded to tell me that the coat of arms that I was interested in knowing was indeed a dragon. It was no ordinary dragon. It was the embodiment of a fierce creature.

For the rest of the morning and afternoon, I would be entertained by the count and countess. They had invited me to a ball that they were going to have the following night. I was not prepared for such an unexpected event, but I had given my word that I would join the festivities. Even though, I was not in the particular mood for such revelry, I did not want to offend them with my indifference. The weather was intermittent, and it would rain at intervals and then stop. Our conversations would be on the topic of what were my opinions about the castle and what I had seen so far. The countess was more interested in knowing, about my personal life.

'Are you married Señor Montaner?'

'Presently, I am not countess'.

'But would you want to be married?' She insisted.

'I suppose I shall one day, if I find the right woman; especially one as beautiful as you!'

'And you countess?'

She paused then answered, 'I have waited centuries it seems, for a good man to propose to me'.

'I find it hard to believe that any sane man would not make a proposal to you'.

'Beware of her deadly influence señor, for flattering will bring you to a maddening obsession', the count interjected.

'What do you mean count?' I asked with intrigue.

'Don't pay attention to him. He loves to speak in riddles and amuse himself with these things', the countess replied.

'That is true señor! It is better that we do not incommode your stay at the castle. After all you are our bidden guest,' the count said to me.

I would accompany them to dinner in the dining hall, where we had a sumptuous meal. I was not certain what the meal was, but it was delicious in its taste. It had reminded me of pork, but that was only my guess, for neither the count nor countess would reveal what type of flesh the meal had contained. The drink that I had imbibed had the taste of wine that I could feel on my tastebuds. I did not want as well to be inopportune in asking about the meal. There was something that I had not taken into consideration before that was the fact that both the count and countess had mutual predilections shared amongst them. They ate and drank from each others plate and glass, without any thought or reference to the practice of their customs, which I thought was somewhat unconventional. Who was I to tell these two prominent figures of nobility, how to eat and drink?

I was attempting to enjoy myself in their worthy company, but there was an unusual sense of the unknown that had resided in the castle that was unsettling me. I was told I was a guest, yet I was beginning to feel like a trapped prisoner. I had no clue why I had this lingering feeling within me that was gradually manifesting. After we had finished with dinner, I was invited to join them for a masterful recital of the harp played by the beautiful countess herself. Her fingers were angelic, as they struck the strings of the harp. I had never seen anyone play the harp, as she had played it, with such a gentle and graceful manner. It was like listening to a concert in person. I was bewitched by her abilities and charm. Whilst the countess was playing, the count was occupied with my every expression shown. It was almost as if in a sadistic regard, he was diverting himself in his deportment with my unexpected reactions.

Afterwards, I was in the sole company of the countess. The count was busy with the servants, discussing personal matters of which I was not informed of their relevance. She had invited me to the abandoned abbey, to take a walk with her. Naturally, I had agreed. It was dark and cold there at the cloistered columns that sheltered the abbey, but her enchantment had drawn me closer to her that I could not resist the irrepressible effects of her influence. Her ebony eyes were like no other eyes I had peered into before. As she talked about the history of the abbey and moved her mouth, I could not help but want to kiss her exotic lips. They were an erotic magnet that was pulling mine closer to hers. The attraction had intensified as I tried to resist. Soon, she would put her delicate fingers on my lips, to taste the wine that I had sipped.

'The taste of wine on your lips is like the taste of fresh blood'.

'And your lips are begging me for a kiss', I replied with a yearning desire.

I was about to kiss her, when she pulled away and then said, 'Be patient Lorient, soon you will be a prisoner of my lust'.

'Forgive me countess. I don't know what possessed me to want to kiss you. Perhaps, it is the spell of your natural beauty that is irresistible'.

'There is no need to apologise Lorient, you are only expressing your inner thoughts and passion. Call me Valeria'.

'I must admit Valeria that you stir the deepest passions in me that stoke my desires for you'.

'Be patient Lorient!'

That night when I had finally retired to my chamber, it was close to midnight, when I was suddenly awakened with the sonorous peal of the thunder and the whistling wind that had opened the shutters of my chamber, causing them to flap back and forth. When I had realised the occurrence, I rose to my feet to shut them. As I did, I had perceived a weird noise that was creeping behind my chamber door. Once more, I would experience an inexplicable incident that I would fail to distinguish with my lucidity. I began to hear the rattle of chains, and the deep breath of a stranger had returned. Outside of the castle, I could hear a blood-curdling howl. I was not certain, if it was dog or a wolf. For a moment, I was undecided of what to do next. I could sense the unmistakable presence of someone behind the chamber door, but I had no idea if it was human or a wild animal.

After a few minutes of sheer anxiety, I made the conscious decision to open the door to investigate the matter on my own. My hands were extremely nervous, as I had slowly opened the door. Much to my amazement, there was no one to be seen in the near vicinity. As with the previous occasion, I had failed to witness what or who was exactly lurking behind my chamber door. My intuition was telling me that I was not imagining things. Thus, I had decided to walk on to the corridor and seek the stranger that was burdening my soul. In spite of the lit torches that were hanging inside the corridor, it felt cold and damp with the moisture of the rain that had penetrated through the recesses of the interior walls. Of what I was to discover was a mystery that was bound, by the unrevealing secrets of the castle.

My reaction then was to return to the chamber and attempt to dismiss the abnormalities within the castle, but it was difficult to forget the uncommon occurrences that were starting to unnerve me. When I returned to my chamber, I had pondered what exactly had I experimented on that night? Shortly afterwards, I began to once more, hear the heavy breathing and familiar scratching behind my chamber door. This time I reacted promptly and had opened the door. There standing in front of me would be the count, with a sarcastic grin that immediately had startled me. Apparently, he had come to check on my well-being. This I thought was odd, because he had not done this before, and why wait until practically midnight to do this? My hands began to sweat and my heart had beaten fast. I was unable to think clearly for a moment.

'Count Belenguer, what are you doing standing at my chamber door so late in the night?'

'I came to see if you were not troubled by any strange noises that you might hear in the castle'.

'Such as?' I asked.

'Nothing in particular. I just wanted to know'.

I wanted to admit to him that I had heard the breathing and scratching again, plus the unexplainable noises in the dungeon below, but I resisted and kept my silence, 'I am tired. That is all count. If you do not mind, I am eager to return to my sleep'.

'Of course señor!'

It was impossible to sleep for the remainder of the early morning, for I could not efface the images, the sounds, the footfalls, the cold draughts, the lit torches, the narrow corridors, the dungeon, and the uncanny nature of the count and countess. All of these things were truly haunting me and unsettling. I had questioned my sanity, and whether or not I was hallucinating or worse, drifting off into the insidious influence of the castle. I wanted to scream to release my tension, but my voice was quieted by the eeriness that had encompassed me. I had never believed in the supernatural realm of the nocturnal wanderers of creatures that lurked in the midnight hours, until then. There was an urgency in me to survive the remaining days I had left in the castle. If it was not for the procurement of the deed that I had been seeking and the protocol of my profession, I would have left the castle the morning after I had arrived.

In the morning, I had awakened to the rays of the sun piercing my face. I had left the draperies open. I was still shaken by the previous encounters I had experimented. In particular, the encounter with the count before my chamber door. I had pondered in my mind, the oddities of the occurrences and could not fathom with a feasible explanation what was truly happening to me inside the castle. I did not think I was going mad, but perhaps my mental faculties were profoundly being affected by my stay. I had written a private correspondence to my brother Bernal in Teruel, about my trip and experiences at the castle. I had omitted the ghastly nature about the castle and the occurrences. Instead, I had concentrated on explaining to him the antiquity of the castle and my encounters with the count and countess. I had also explained to him, about what I was planning on doing with the property I was going to purchase from the count on behalf of the family.

When I had joined the count and countess for breakfast, they were discussing the event of the ball that was planned for the night. I could hear them speak and laugh amongst them, as I had walked towards them in the dining hall. I had tried to compose myself before them and assuage my anxiety. I did not want for either of them to perceive, any abnormal sign of my comportment. Thus, I smiled and had joined their conversation. It was unnatural of me to have to feign my expressions and reactions and be so discreet in my character, but the count and countess were not normal persons of nobility. There were these peculiarities about them that were evidently discernible. As I sat there and listened to them, speak about the ball, I thought only of leaving the horrible castle. The count had handed me a list of the names of the guests, who would be attending the festive ball on that night. The surnames were the following, Sanz, Soler, Mur, Moliner, Monreal, Grau, Muniesa, Castel, Brun, Arnal and Fuster. None of which I knew in person. I had assumed they were people of Aragonese prominence. The count had sensed my concern and distraction.

'What is troubling you Señor Montaner?'

'Forgive me, if I seem to be distracted'.

'I hope that you are not sick Lorient,' the countess interjected.

'No, I am fine. It must be the weariness of the castle or my lack of adjustment to its cold draughts', I responded.

'Perhaps you should sleep in one of the other chambers', the count suggested.

'There is no need to change my chamber. After all, I shall be leaving the castle, once the deed is handed over to me. I expect that you shall have the deed ready'.

'In the morning señor. In the meantime, let us rejoice with the preparations of the ball'.

'Are you much of a dancer Lorient?' The countess asked.

'I must confess that I am not Valeria'.

That afternoon I had spent contemplative, whilst they were busy with the planning of the ball. I had observed them even more, as time had gradually passed. There was this sense of confidence and serenity seen in their eyes, when they were together, as if they fed off each other's strength and wits. There was this pressing urge in me to discover more about their past and who they really were. I headed back to the abbey to clear my thoughts, amidst the statuminated pillars. There, I had seen that the door to the chapel was closed. What intimate secrets were to be uncovered in the chapel? Something in me was telling me that I had to get inside somehow to know the truth. I had assumed that the servants had a key to its entrance. I would have to choose precisely my time to search for that special key. There was something mysterious about the abbey that I could not yet resolve.

When I left the abbey, I had gone to the gallery to see the paintings that were hanging on the walls. I looked on with a singular stare, drawn to the vivid images of the persons that had reflected the count and countess back in the 13th century. The similarity with these supposed ancestors of theirs was too coincidental. They were the striking images of the count and countess, but that could not be, because that would be impossible. They could not be over six centuries old in age. The details of the paintings were so precise and even the expressions displayed were similar to them in every aspect. My intrigue had only intensified the enigma that was looming over the veritable identity of the count and countess. How could I prove my suspicion about them? That would not be an easy task to achieve.

I had returned to my chamber to meditate, when I had discovered an old and dusty diary that was inside a chest of drawers that was written in the year of 1620, lost and forgotten. It was written by a certain Frederic Ponz, who had been staying in the castle. His narration of his experience was shockingly similar to mine. He had come to help in the restoration of the castle. What was more shocking was the fact that he had met the same count and countess that I had met. I could not believe what my eyes were reading. Simply—it could not be real! He would discover documents that were written in the 14th century, stating that both the count and countess were actually born in that century long ago. If these were the same people that he encountered back in the 17th century, then how could that be? That would imply that they were both immortals? My immediate question was, were they even human in their genuine essence?

I could not afford to stray off into the madness of the castle. I had to concentrate on keeping my sanity intact. Although I have found some evidence depicting the abnormal things about the count and the countess, I was still apprehensive to know what to believe in its entirety. Was I falling under the superstitious effects of the folklore of the peasants? Was I allowing my nerves and uncertainty to overcome my rationality? There was one thing that I was aware about which was displayed with their idiosyncrasies, and that was the fact that both the count and the countess were never at odds with each other in discrepancies. At least, this was what they had demonstrated in front of me. Their behaviour was typical of nobility, but they were exceedingly confident in their gestures.

I was particularly keen on the idea that if they were indeed immortal, then in what capacity was that immortality conceivable? How were they even capable of accomplishing that implausibility? Was it attached to the mystery of the castle? What kept them immortally young and healthy? There had to be a genuine explanation that would equate to a reasonable assumption. Could the source be the castle itself? In my stay there, I never saw them stray much outside of the castle nor its grounds. They were content to the enjoyment of others that came and went than to seek it elsewhere. Immediately, my mind began to think, about the unknown sounds that had manifested in the castle, in particular, the heavy breathing and scratching on my chamber door. Was it truly a wild animal or a wild creature that was linked to the castle?

During the time before the arrival of the guests and the festive ball, I had pondered the event that would occur. There was something else that was of my urgent concern, and that was knowing the whole truth about the count and countess. The thought about entering the chapel was still fresh in my mind, and fortunately, for me, I would discover a secret passage from my chamber that would lead to the chapel itself. When I had explored the passage and reached the chapel, I was astounded by how desolate and drear it was in its appearance. It was as if it had been abandoned for numerous centuries. There was a bronze crucifix that was upside down, and a lone statue of Christ that was also upside down. I had found a fountain full of blood where baptisms were performed, along with holy books that were tattered and scattered into small pieces. There, I found more evidence about the count and countess.

I had discovered that they had inherited the castle, from another nobleman of the family branch by the name of Raimund Belenguer, whose family had built the original structure in the year 1108. The castle was handed over to his ancestral kindred in the year 1338. Ever since that period, the castle had belonged to the direct family of the count and countess. This had explained to some degree the origin or relation between them, but it did not explain how the count and countess could have been immortalised. I had heard a noise coming in my direction and scampered into the corridor, back to my chamber. I would soon hear a sudden knock on my door, and it was the count himself. When I had opened the door, he was standing before me with a conniving stare. He had come to inform me that the guests would be arriving shortly.

'I hope I was not intruding, nor imposing upon you Señor Montaner'.

'No you weren't count', I had answered.

'The guests will be arriving soon, and I wanted to inform you in person myself'.

'Thank you! I shall be looking forward to meet the other guests'.

'I hope that you are willing to participate in the festivities I have planned?'

'Festivities? Oh yes of course!'

'Are you okay señor. You seem to be somewhat distracted'.

'It must be the cold affecting me again', I had replied.

'I shall leave you to prepare. I must go now, for there is much to do'.

Did he suspect that I had located the secret passage and had entered into the closed chapel? I had the intense feeling that he was aware of my discovery. I could feel the tension gnawing at the core of my stomach. My expectations for the night and the festive ball were ambiguous as that castle. I had no clue of the immense terror that would transpire on that night. My thoughts were confusing at times, and my innermost soul was too. On one hand, I wanted to believe that this was nothing more than a rude nightmare, and on the other hand, I knew that it could be all true. How would I even confront the count and countess, with these disturbing revelations? I was willing to confront them if necessary, but with a great measure of caution and discretion. I was not going to be unhinged in my approach.

The night was progressing with an opaque shadow of uncertainty. The guests would arrive one by one and were cordially greeted, by the count and countess who were eager to begin the festivities. I could see from the window of my chamber, the arrival of their carriages. Everyone that was on the list had arrived promptly on time. Not one of them was absent. Their presence was an expected elation for the welcoming hosts, who had prepared a night of sheer entertainment and gore. I did not want to appear suspicious with my noticeable behaviour. Thus, I had attempted to act in accordance to the festivities presented. The servitude had kindly prepared the drinks and food that were to be given to the guests. The food would be accompanied with a pantagruelian feast, and the wines would be imported from Barcelona.

I was struck with amazement, at the sheer size of the food and drinks. A hundred guests could have been easily fed. The music had begun to play in the background. It was an orchestra of musicians that were hired by the count. The guests were mingling with each other, as I had observed with a punctilious eye. I had wondered what the count and countess had planned to be the final act of their festivities. They did not reveal to me what was the finality, but I had assumed that it would be grandiose in nature. Little would I know at the time how macabre would the festivities result in the end, as a symphony of horror. Within an hour, the guests would be eating at the dining hall, along with their hosts. I had desisted for some unknown reason. I was not hungry. I suppose I was more nervous than starving.

I had remained in the gallery, observing the paintings of the count and countess. I could not erase the thought that they could eventually be immortals. What I did not know was what were they in their authentic composition? I would discover then, that they were conceived from the most hideous form of monstrosity. The count and countess were occupied with the guests, and I had seized the moment to investigate more the passages of the castle, in particular, the dungeon. As I was touching the walls passed the gallery, I had inadvertently found another passage that was linked to the dungeon. I had grabbed a torch and slowly, I crept on to the corridor of the passage. I could hear the terrible echoes of cries and anguish. Of whom, I did not know, but they had sounded like tortured souls. It was not until I had reached the dungeon that I would be horrified by the unbelievable discovery.

I would witness with my own eyes, the sight of putrid flesh and bodies that were half dead. They were chained to the manacles of the adamantine walls. Someone or something had been feeding on them. I was aghast with the sanguineous colour of death that was pervasive. I was stunned by what I had seen that I froze for a minute, until I heard a heavy breathing that was coming directly from behind me. My hands were clammy from the shock. Slowly, I had turned to see who it was standing, and I would come face to face with the presence of a foul creature. It was unhuman and unsightly in appearance. It stood six feet tall and was vampiric in nature. Its eyes were of a ghoulish white pallor, and it was hirsute. It was its long, razor teeth that had decomposed me with a prolonging horror.

At first, its breathing had muffled mine, as I could see its parched mouth salivating for more human blood. There was something about the creature that I had noticed then, it was blinded by the flame of the torch. What I did not know was that it had been isolated in that wretched dungeon feeding on the flesh of humans and drinking their blood. I had gradually begun to walk backwards on to the passage that led away from the dungeon. The creature began to sniff, trying to locate me. I was able to escape its grasp of pointed nails and return to the gallery, unnoticed by any of the guests. My heart pounded, and I had to regain my composure. I had made certain to close the entrance of the passage, so that the creature could not get out and find me. Was this the horrid thing that had been lurking behind my chamber door?

I wanted to run past the guests and servants to the front door and leave at once, but I could not. The count had spotted me in the gallery and had asked where I had been all this time. I had to invent a lie quickly, and I did. I had told him that I was writing a correspondence to my brother in my chamber room. I did not know if he would believe me or not. Judging from his reaction, he was not convinced. He grabbed me by the shoulder and had escorted me to the dining hall, where the others were gathered. I was clearly nervous, and I knew that he had felt that anxiety of mine. The countess seeing me anew, had come to converse with me. I could not permit her to see me distracted or unsettled. Therefore, I smiled and had acted as if nothing was wrong.

'Are you all right Lorient. You seem very pale?'

'Pale? It is the cold draught. That is all Valeria'.

'Why weren't you with us dining?'

'Forgive me, if I was not there. I was not hungry, and I had to write a correspondence to my brother'.

'About what, if I may enquire?'

'Nothing relevant, except the property that I was interested'.

'Would like you to dance with me?' She kindly asked.

'Of course!' I answered.

As we danced, I was completely enthralled by her that I had forgotten for an instance, the horrendous experience I had back at the dungeon. Her radiant smile and beautiful, onyx eyes had captivated me once more. Then, there was a terrifying shriek that was heard. The music soon stopped abruptly, and what I had seen was a menacing monsterlike creature feeding on the guests. It was the awful monster from the dungeon, but there was another hideous creature that was the same in appearance feeding on the guests with it. When I had turned to face the countess, I would discover that she was an ungodly creature too. Her virginal beauty had then transformed, into the unfathomable guise of a vampiric being. Her onyx eyes had become absolute white in colour.

It had begun to rain outside, as the thunder could be heard from inside the castle. The beast had lunged at me afterwards. I had tussled on the ground with her, until I was freed of her clutch of long fingernails. Quickly, I had tried to run to escape them, but I would not get far. She had trapped me. Soon, I was in the dungeon with the others in manacles, food for the swarthy creatures that had roamed the castle as its faithful guardians. There was nothing I could do to save the lives of the others. They were doomed to their horrible fate, but something incredible would save my life and ultimately destroy them. The countess, the count and the foul thing that I had encountered in the dungeon first, were slurping the blood from the others. I was still conscious, as I had witnessed their macabre delights. They were drinking blood from a golden chalice.

For some reason, they did not drink my blood. Unbeknown to me, I was suffering from the initial effects of anaemia that was resulting in my pallor and fatigue. They had sensed this. All that I can attest to is what had occurred afterwards. They left me alive for the reason that they did not want contaminated blood, because of its bad taste and potential danger to their health. They were not going to let me escape. They unshackled me and threw me to the ground, until they had decided what to do with me. As they continued to feed on the others, I had seen an axe that was on the ground. Despite my state of fragility, I was able to grab it and chop the head of the first vampiric creature, killing it. I then grabbed a torch and began to burn the countess, as she was feeding. I had managed to kill the count as well, with the flame that had engulfed the countess and him. Their burning guises were then humanlike, and I would strike their hearts with the sharp axe, and one by one they fell on to the ground and had transformed, into the hideosity that was their final act of desperation. Their hair had turned into alabaster, and their skin began to wrinkle. It was as if the time that they had deceived would catch up with them in a ferocity. In the end, they were nothing more than hoary ashes of centuries passed.

I was freed of their influential control and fled the dungeon alive. Fortunately, for me, I would survive the distressing nightmare that was the castle. Its unique secrets would be constantly relieved in my mind. I would leave the castle to never return. As for its inhabitants, they would haunt me forever. Verily, I never told anyone about what had happened in that castle, for fear that I would be seen as a madman or a foolish follower of local superstitions. There was one thing that still had perplexed me, and that was how they had managed to keep their ancestral secret of being immortal from the outside world. Perhaps, it was better to think that the real count and countess had died long ago in the 14th century, and that the horrific beast that had given them immortality, was sent by the Devil himself.

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About The Author
Lorient Montaner
About This Story
4 Mar, 2024
Read Time
35 mins
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