Photo & Article by Sila
Title brought to you by Aisling Jones
This newest article comes to you a few days late, as what happened took a few days to fully process everything.
November 9th the next victim to be attacked was the portrait Vladislaus the Third. He was violently slashed and defaced by none other than the being in our midst, a puddle of chicken’s blood left behind along with two more diary pages – #10 and #11. The irony of the portrait that was attacked, of all the possible portraits (as we likely have hundreds in the staircase alone) was that Vladislaus depicts a vampire. He screamed and demanded a new canvas, but there was much more pressing things on our minds that night than fixing up the damage done to him. Your writer had been considering the possibility that the unwelcomed guest among us was trying to get rid of every relation to vampires that existed – the vampire society, especially, and the affront on the portrait only seemed to further confirm that idea. When I talked with Lucille the next morning, she seemed to agree that their very presence seemed to be like throwing salt in the wound to the very person they have been in search of. It was with that attack that Lucille said it was time they finally took action. That comment alone had me wondering – why did they wait so long to finally do something? As Professor Dracheblume stated, the logical thing to do would have been to trap it, to confine it away from causing more damage, and then find out why it was doing what it was doing.Regardless, we were never told why they did things that way. We could have prevented more people from being hurt had they done things that way from the start, but the thing that stood out in my mind even after her departure was what she said before realizing I was even there:
Two brothers, one sick.
As I approached, I corrected her. Both sick, but perhaps a different kind of sickness.I had no clue just how right I was.
As the cold, chilling air cut through us all the next day we all knew something wasn’t right. The atmosphere always had a way of preluding any sense of danger we might be in and today was no different. Midway through the afternoon a scream tore through the long gallery right as all of the candles went out. Professor Arrietty and Professor Dracheblume were the first Professors there to see what happened – followed by a crowd of other students both curious and concerned. One of the vampires from the society, Emmaline, had been attacked by the being and she went on to say that we were not safe. A paper fell from her, crumpled and stained with blood as she said we were being watched. Lucille insisted we all go to the great hall. Every single one of us – so we did. I grabbed the parchment as soon as it dropped and realized very quickly it was a 12th diary page. I will leave a perfectly preserved copy of each diary page at the very end, just like prior ones have been. This only forebode of things to come – and it cleared up a few questions I had, only to leave us with more. This one was written much more recently and with a much more ominous tone to it, describing how he was surrounded by prey and that we would not escape him, going on to say that with each attack he left a diary page as they were nothing but words that obscured the truth. They were all lies and he wanted us to believe the lies. As we gathered up to the great hall every student stood in waiting, the anxiety and apprehension tangible in the air as we had no clue what was to happen. I had an idea, but I didn’t want to be right. But we don’t always get what we want.
As fate would have it, we were surrounded by three walls and a locked door with the very monster itself locked in with us. The realisation that we had locked ourselves in with the killer became a startling reality as a hard ragged breath broke through the chatter of students and Professors. As everyone backed up against the walls and lit their wands with mixtures of Lumos, Lumos Solem, and Lumos Maxima, we all did the only thing we knew that we could do to protect ourselves and our peers. But it was for no use, as all at once the lights flickered out against our strongest attempts, and a terrifying voice said nothing more than “Welcome.” An argument ensued between Lucille and the being – the one many thought was named Elliot. While we said we understood him, he hissed back that we do not understand him – we protect the very ones that would see us killed for their own safety. The voice went on to speak, repeating the name “Elliot”, before saying we were not like him. We were like Elliot – and for that, he would let us understand. A final parchment fell to the ground which was taken by Lucille and read out loud to us. I stood by her side, summoned my notebook and wrote down word for word what the last note said as it was read to us. The answers were finally revealed, and it was far different than what most of us believed.
Elliot is innocent, born a (half?) vampire from his mother’s affair with a vampire. Miles is his half brother who took care of him, murdering people for his brother’s “medicine”. Each time he murdered someone, he did not even twitch – it didn’t phase him one bit. He craved the bloodshed, born with a thirst for blood with no explanation or reasoning to it like Elliot’s. Elliot wrote the warning note, not Miles, and he was warning of his brother. A sickness not of the body. Two brothers. Both sick. Miles was the monster all along, not Elliot. And his reasonings behind the attacks was that of revenge – revenge for his innocent brother, who was killed despite everything he had been put through. As the last page was finished being read, Miles dropped from the rafters above and lunged at Lucille; the two tumbled through the great hall, out the door and were left to fight in the setting sun. Out of sight, we were left in the dark to what was going on, our only protection being the protego spells over the doorway blocking anything from entering or exiting the hall. It was only when Professor Dracheblume returned did we learn of what happened. Lucille fought with Miles until his protective cloak was ripped off, exposing his flesh to the direct sun. He was pinned down, left to burn and die in the sun.
Miles is dead.
Our early curfew has been lifted, the statues will be returning to their normal places soon, and everything is falling back to normal day to day life for most of us. Let us recall the words of a former headmaster as we remember this: “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities” As we come full circle, I will also share the exact copy of the warning note and the first diary page – the first page was unintentionally left out of the very first article explaining this situation.
Warning Note found in the acromantula cave originally:
I heard a noise. Something is coming.. I’m going to see. My brother is sleeping, he has grown so sick. If you are reading this, it’s already too late. He’s out, save yourself. The diary pieces are your only hope at understanding this, Stay away from–——
…. The note was torn from here.
– Diary entry 1
It’s hard to think about how much things have changed. Looking at him now, I can barely remember the innocent blue eyes that once gazed upon me. – A child filled with wonder. Now he, well he mostly snarls at me. But that’s to be expected of the sickness.
I would not wish such a sickness on my greatest enemy. I would not wish for them to watch someone they love fall victim to something that slowly rips apart their entire soul and leaves them with but a fragment of their former self.
So much has really changed, perhaps that’s why I now find the need to write. Perhaps it’s on paper that I can preserve my memories and the way things once were. – And perhaps hope that these memories will someday return to reality.
My brother was born during a difficult time, witches were being hunted and my father had recently left. This left my young mother with my 7-year-old self and a new baby to take care of. Things were difficult enough as they were without Elliott being born, well the way he was. From the very beginning I knew that he was different, I knew that he needed special care and special treatment. My mother refused to accept him the way he was, she refused to accept the treatment he needed and so my brothers special care was left in my hands – the hands of a child.
I did the very best that I could by him. In hindsight I often wonder /how/ I did the things that I did. How did I keep him alive for so long? However as Elliott grew so did his craze. At 2 years old he was completely mad, like a rabid dog. My mother feared him – and in truth I did to. However I never would have done what my mother did. I never would have taken my baby brother, put him in a box and buried him that October night.
Diary Page #10
Winnifred. What a lovely name, don’t you think? Winnie for short. It’s a name that haunts my deepest memories.
Winnifred, or as she was often fondly referred to as ‘Winnie’ was the daughter of the widower. ‘Look at her, there is hardly anything to her, my Winnie. Sometimes I wonder if a gust of wind might blow down from the hills and sweep her away from me.’ – These were the words spoken to me so often by her father. The words were true enough, though what Winnie lacked for in size she made up in personality. A bright shining face that you could always count on. I don’t believe there was a mean bone in the girl’s body. Though it was not the wind that the widower needed to fear, for it was not the wind that would take his Winnie from him.
It was my brother.
From the very start, Winnie had a strange fascination with Elliott. Unlike so many others, she was not teetered by his quiet nature nor the fact that my brother preferred the indoors and dark shadows. Up until now, my brother had lived in a world without sun. A dark world… A world that was pierced by the shining glow of Winnifred. She became his sun. Her slender presence now filled the shadows that had engulfed him. Hours turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. The shadows around Elliott were melted by Winnifred. I watched them fall in love.
I feel guilty now, for the time that I did not spend with Winnie. She loved my brother, but she loved me as well, as a sister might. I loved her too. But I had become too engrossed with the knowledge of Elliott’s sickness.
Elliott and Winnifred were married. It was a beautiful moonlit ceremony.
Winnie loved picnics, she had always begged Elliott for one. ‘It will do you good.’ She had insisted. Of course my brother had refused such a request, picnics were for during the day. Away from the shadows – Something that Elliott held no desire for. It was on one Summers eve that Elliott finally took Winnifred on a picnic. I can still see Winnie standing in the doorway, one arm draped with a woven basket as the last one of the suns golden rays disappeared behind the hillside.
That was the last time Winnie ever smiled.
The hour was late.. I don’t know how long that I had been asleep. I was jolted awake by Elliott. ‘Miles’ he told me ‘I’ve done something terrible.’
I sat up in bed to find my brother’s shirt stained in blood.
That night we climbed the hill to where Winnifred’s body lay. The pale moonlight basked against our skin as we buried her. As we dug, I could hear the rustle of leaves as the wind tousled through them. No it was not the wind that took young Winnie.
It was Elliott.
Diary Page #11
Have we done the right thing?
I believe it is somewhere between morning and afternoon. I awake to find Elliott staring at me.
‘What do you mean?’ I ask him and watch as he gestures about the caves damp walls. ‘All of this’ he responds and I move towards him. ‘It’s what you wanted Elliott. We did what you wanted.’ I watch as he shivers and he turns to me. ‘Thank you, Miles. You never left me. You gave up so much for me.’
And how could have I left him? I watched Elliott fall to pieces that night Winnie died. I didn’t ask Elliott what had happened. I knew the answer long before we reached the top of the hill. I also knew that Elliott could never suffer another loss of someone he loved and so I did what I had to.
We barricaded ourselves deep inside a cave.
In these pages I’ve referred to Elliott as being sick, it’s because I wanted you to understand first… Though I find what I have written gives only a small glimpse into our lives. For you to really understand I suppose we must start with the truth.
If you have read any books, then you may have had the well educated guess that my brother is a vampire. Well let me start with saying that ————-
((The writing seemed to have abruptly ended on the original copy. There’s a few smears of the ink and what appears to be a red residue on it, too.))
Diary Page #12
((Author’s note: The parchment appears new and the ink is not faded. However the writing differs considerably compared to earlier pages. It’s scraggly and at times nearly impossible to read.))
Where am I? What has become of this place?
I’m surrounded by bones.. Wrapped in the fragments of ones death. – One so familiar.
I can’t remember anything.
((The parchment appears to have been wet, a yellowy dry crust creases the page. Drool perhaps?))
I had awoke to a thunderous crash. My body riddled with pain. Suffer. They all must suffer. Where is my brother? He was with me.
I am so thirsty. Parched. I must satiate my thirst. I crawled from the depths of this godforsaken hole, lured by the sweet smell of young flesh. What luck has been bestowed upon me to find myself surrounded by such succulent prey.
They cannot escape me.
This Castle was not here before but it now provides as a sort of colony for those I will feed upon.
I found the scrap of parchment amongst the pile of bones where I woke. “I heard a noise. Something is coming.. I’m going to see. My brother is sleeping, he has grown so sick. If you are reading this, it’s already too late. He’s out, save yourself. The diary pieces are your only hope at understanding this. Stay away from”
The page appeared to be torn. I have the other half.
The diary pages.
((Here the page is soaked in a red residue. The writing becomes a bit more clear.))
What a sweet sensation to quench one’s thirst. It had been so long. Too long. I attacked one by the river and another on a bridge. I left pages of the diary. Yes, I found the diary. They are nothing but words obscuring the truth.
Lies lies lies. Let them believe these lies.
((Another splotch of red.))
For I know the truth. A truth that pains me.
And it’s this truth that I will tell you.
((Page appears torn in half. Where is the other part?))
The final page – Diary Page #13
My father had left long before Elliott was born. His reasons for leaving were many, though one would be my mother’s unfaithful act. Elliott was born my half-brother. His father was the one responsible for his sickness.
But who was responsible for mine? Yes Elliott was born a vampire. A monster? No not a monster… That was I.
From the very start my mother did not understand Elliott. And maybe my reason for wanting to help him so badly was the fact that I always knew that I was different as well. Our mother did not understand either of us. Perhaps that’s why we latched onto each other. We really were all that each other had.” her hands still in tremor, “Now for another truth. My brothers medicine. What does one give a vampire child to keep them from going mad? Blood. ‘I did everything that I had to to obtain Elliott’s medicine.’ Terrible horrible things. Yes, I killed and I murdered. And I will tell you that I did not even so much as twitch. Elliott was born with a thirst for blood. However his desire can be explained by the sickness with which he was born. However I to was born with such a thirst…. It’s not only vampires that crave blood.
I did everything for Elliott. But did I really? I was distraught over the fortnight that Elliott disappeared. Why? Because I missed my brother? Yes. But I missed obtaining his medicine more. Without Elliott, I had no excuse to kill. I was lost without this part of me… I could not focus on the future for myself because I was far too distracted by my own bloodlust.
You might be thinking that we were both killers. Elliott killed Winnifred? Yes, he did but the difference is the remorse that Elliott felt upon doing so and the punishment he bestowed upon himself. It was Elliott who wanted to barricade himself in that cave, to protect the innocent from what he could not control, to hide himself away until death.”
I don’t know how many days it’s been… Weeks perhaps. I’ve lost count of my attacks. I’ve left a piece of the diary after each one. It’s been my way of remembering the final truth.
I remember now.
I was writing when Elliott confronted me. It was hardly threatening… I think he wanted to help me. But I attacked him and we fought and then everything went spiraling into a blackness. I awoke hours later in an angry rage. I found Elliott missing and I searched the cave until I stumbled upon his note. Lies. I tore the page when I heard my brother scream outside the cave.
I ran to him. He was staked to the ground and was burning in the sun. I did what I could to free him and I carried him back to the cave. I could feel the white-hot on my back as the sun penetrated my own skin. We made it inside and I wrapped my brothers limbs into mine as we sat in a huddled mess on the floor of the cave. I could feel his trembling body against mine as the world around us twisted into oblivion. My own body quivered, not with just the effects of the sun but the thirst that swelled within me. Darkness soon followed.
Blood starvation does not kill a vampire. I knew this from what I had read. I knew that you simply go mad until falling into a dormant slumber – only to be awoken by something of force. The noise. – I had taken this into consideration when Elliott wished to barricade himself into the cave. I had learned a great deal about vampirism from that book. I was romanced by the idea of mortality and a partner for my thirst. After Winnifred died, I knew that Elliott could not suffer another loss and so I presented him the idea. I wanted what he had and he gave it to me.
I had counted on my brother being weak. I had counted on the idea that once we were inside the cave he would become so desperate, so mad with the thirst that he would forgo the idea. That’s why I never truly sealed the cave’s entrance. Elliott only thought I did. And that’s why I kidnapped enough people to satiate my thirst while I waited for my brother to go mad. I sat in the cave, feeding on them while I watched him suffer.
But Elliott was stronger than I ever thought. He resisted it all despite the pain it put him through. Even completely mad he never hurt me. Those times in our youth when he attacked me, he never hurt me. It was I who hurt him. – And it was I who killed him.
You see, had I barricaded the cave then the Widower never would have found him.
I was the monster. Not Elliott. But it’s now that I will avenge my innocent baby brother.