Thankyou very much for the reviews apart from the one from a 14 year old brat who should think about her own stories before being unnecessarily rude about other peoples!
Helena wasn't allowed to go to the funeral. All the kitchen staff and the cleaning maids and the servants attended the funeral of Victoria Sharpe but Helena was left to mope away the morning on her own.
Nobody knew Victoria's exact cause of death. There were whispers among the staff, mutters of murder while others suspected suicide, though Helena didn't see why Victoria would want to cut holes in her neck to kill herself. Somebody suggested that it was an animal that had bitten her throat and it was this theory which most people agreed with.
Victoria was buried in the village graveyard beyond the woods. Her body was laid to rest in the consecrated ground, there was drinking and food in the celebration of her life and then the excitement died down. Everybody went back to their work, silently grieving the young woman who had died before her time.
Helena saw even less of William. Her father locked himself in his study and refused to speak to anybody, even his wife. Helena hadn't forgotten the mark she saw on his pale skin and she found herself worried for his health and his sanity like never before. She even went as far to request Luke's help into breaking into the study. Luke agreed immediately.
They did it a week from Victoria's funereal. William had been extremely sick and Emily had managed to convince him to take a day of, to recuperate and regain some strength. Helena couldn't believe their luck and she didn't think there would be another opportunity to do it. If they wanted to find out what her father was up to they had to do it tonight.
At the stroke of midnight by the chimes of the clock in Helena's room the children sneaked along the corridor and placed their ears against the door. There was silence on the other side of the door. Helena tried the door handle but found the door to be locked. She glanced meaningfully at Luke who disappeared and re-appeared a few minuets later shaking his head. The other door was locked to but Helena had prepared for such an eventuality. She had stolen two keys from her father's bedroom while he slept, one for this door and one for the other door.
When Helena showed the keys to Luke his disappointed face split into a grin and he took one of the keys from her and jammed it in the lock. He turned the key and they heard a distinct click. Helena turned the door handle and pushed the door open noiselessly. They were in.
After locking the door behind them Helena turned at took her first look at William's study in the moonlight. She had often been inside before but it had always been in the day and she had always had her father's permission. Tonight a feeling of badness came over her. She knew that she wasn't meant to be here and she knew that if her father ever found out he would be beyond furious. They would just have to make sure they didn't disturb anything so that William wouldn't notice anything was amiss.
The study was a large rectangle room with two doors, one in the north wall and one in east wall. They had used the east door and directly opposite them was a large window with moonlight beaming through the wavy glass. The moonlight fell upon a desk with an arrangement of papers, an ink pot and an old quill.
"Shall I light the candle?" Luke asked.
There was a scurry as Luke found his matches and lit a single candle. He held it, his face illuminated by the flickering flame.
The study was filthy. Helena knew that Luke's sister, Alexandra, hadn't been in to clean the room since her fathers return. All the surfaces were covered in a thick layer of dust, the floor was scattered with mouldy breadcrumbs and Helena rather thought she caught the glint of a rat's beady eye. But as she turned to look at the experimentation table her heart started to beat faster.
She could see why William didn't want any of the staff in the room. On the experiment table where one could sometimes find the dissected heart of a cow or the brain of a horse there was now an array of glass cylinders and test tubes filled with some dark liquid.
"What do you think it is?" asked Luke. They approached the table, their eyes glued to the strange liquid.
"I don't know," Helena said, astounded, "Look at this one!"
At the end of the table was a lonely glass container with liquid swimming inside. But this liquid was different. It glowed in the candle light, a fierce red colour that reminded Helena instantly of blood.
Helena had never considered that Victoria's death could have anything to do with the secret being kept in William's study. Her little mind had never dwelled upon something so extreme but not that she could see his experiments, his blood experiments, her mind delved into the possibility that the events could all be connected. It wasn't everybody on the Yorkshire moors that a maid died from being attacked by an animal that had gotten into the house.
"Look," said Luke, pointing to a dark corner, "there's the coffin."
It was indeed the coffin and as the candle light gleamed over the varnished black wood they saw that it was empty.
"What do you suppose was in there?" mumbled Helena, running her hands along the burgundy silk that lined the inside of the coffin.
"The blood?" suggested Luke.
"No, I don't think do," said Helena, frowning, "Why would blood need to be transported in a coffin?"
"I don't know but there must be a reason and I don't think-"
"Shhh!" hissed Helena. Luke stopped speaking and quickly put out the candle, throwing them into darkness.
They children stayed still for a moment. Helena held her breath, straining with her ears so much that it almost hurt. She could have sworn there had been footsteps in the hall…
"Quick!" whispered Luke hastily, "there's somebody outside the door we used."
Hardly giving any thought to covering up their tracks from William Helena quickly shoved the key into the lock of the door that they hadn't entered by and pulled it open. She and Luke rushed through and she closed the door behind them.
It wasn't until much later when they had bid each other goodnight and gone to their bedrooms to sleep that Helena realised she hadn't locked the door on their way out of the study. There was a few seconds of feeling sick before remembering that her father was ill in bed and she could always lock it early in the morning and then replace the stolen keys.
With that plan in mind Helena quickly fell asleep, not knowing the problems that her little error would cause.
William unlocked the east door to his study with a sense of relief. He had managed to awake early and slip past his wife unnoticed. She was obviously going to make him spend another day in bed but he didn't have time, the rest had done him good but he had a schedule to follow if he was going to be successful in his plight.
The coffin lid was set firmly in place and early morning sunlight was streaming through the windows. William glanced at the blood experiments on the table before drawing the curtains over the windows and blocking out the light. He lit a couple of candles before tapping on the lid of the coffin.
The vampire pushed open the coffin door and sat up. His eyes were drowning black pools; they appeared to suck all the light from the room in a greedy fashion. That pale face always frightened William but he didn't have any choice. He had to do what he had to do.
William picked up his syringe and the vampire in his usual routine rolled up his shirt sleeve and stuck out his arm. William injected the needle into the vampire's vein and took a measured amount of his blood. He poured it into a beaker, satisfied that he had taken the right amount but trying to delay the moment which was coming next.
"Now it is my turn," said the deep voice of the vampire. William turned away from the table, his features desperate.
"It makes me sicker. The blood loss is slowing down the process," William pleaded. The vampire smiled cruelly, revealing his pointed canines.
"Would you rather I kill another girl?" he asked simply.
No!" said William viciously and then he relaxed, "No of course not…"
"Then step forwards."
William reminded himself that he had no choice. He had to do it. It was the only way.
That thought was the only one he could use to force himself to step forwards and give himself to the hungry vampire.
The vampire took William's shoulders in his large arms and leaned forwards towards his exposed neck. William felt the stinging pain of the two teeth tearing little holes in his flesh and he felt the release of the blood. The vampire sucked hungrily and William turned his head in the direction of the north door, resisting the urge to push away the greedy vampire who was sucking away his life.
Alexandra had fished the cleaning of the rooms on the whole of the top floor. She had washed the floors, beat the carpets, dusted the ornaments and changed the bed sheets. Her jobs were done for the week and she could go down into the kitchen for a well earned drink and a slice of special chocolate cake.
She could, but something inside her head nagged. She hadn't been in William's study for weeks and the room was sure to be a dusty mess. The longer it was left the worse it would get.
A sneaky feeling came over Alexandra. She knew it was wrong, she knew that she would get the sack if she were caught but she also knew there was something in that room, something important, something William didn't want anybody else to see. Besides he was in bed, he had been ill in the night and his wife, Emily had refused to let him work.
Tip toeing to the study (though she didn't know why because she was the only one who cleaned on this floor and the others were in bed) Alexandra rested her hand on the door handle of the north door. She didn't expect the door to be unlocked, William was intelligent and careful, but she decided to try anyway. She turned the door handle and to her immense surprise the door swung open and allowed her entry to the study.
But when Alexandra laid eyes upon the horror within the room she wished that she was blind.
The curtains were closed against the sunlight and the room was only lit with a few candles but she saw everything clearly. William's grave face was looking in the direction of the door and a man shaped person had his hands locked on William's shoulders. The unknown man was moving his mouth, sucking something; it dribbled from the sides of his lips.
It was blood!
Alexandra didn't scream. She couldn't make a sound as her eyes widened in stunned disbelief. William shoved the man- the monster- away and stared at Alexandra with confusion and panic. The creature flashed its teeth at her- its fangs- and grinned at her obvious disgust. She imagined those sharp teeth breaking through her skin and the scream came.
But before the scream could leave her lips William darted forwards and clapped his hand over her mouth as the monster laughed coarsely and Alexandra saw her life flash before her eyes.