Aftermath – Epilogue

Mizu held Michale for the rest of the bright day; the clan had returned to their coffins, but the newlyweds, though they never really felt like newlyweds, were left to rely on each other for security. Michale shook, weeping when he thought of his sister; Mizu was numb.

When the moon rose, they left solemnly, silently; they did not consummate their marriage that night or the next. They did not feed; they did not speak. Both of them kept their eyes averted. Mizu was afraid her husband might see in her a cold murderer, or worse, a miserable nerotic. Michale was afraid his wife would think the same. She would spend days at the piano, playing an improvised melancholy tune, working her fingers over the keys until one day the instrument's inner strings began to break. Michale stayed in the room that had been his sister's. He couldn't bear to tell Mizu that he had meant to give her this room until she had asked to sleep next to him, in his bed. He had only wanted to see a beautiful girl in this bed one more time. Mizu would have looked so perfect here. He cried on the bed sheets.

The bitter isolation continued for weeks. One day, however, there was a knock at the door. The visitor came almost a month and a half after that night in the dungeons. Mizu and Michale had been wed for that long and had not yet spoken.

Michale went to answer the door; Mizu was still pounding away on the worn piano. He was startled by the knock. He at first thought it was his bride's doing, but when it came again and more insistently this time, it could be mistaken for nothing. He pulled himself from Arikaile's bed and wiped away dry tears – he was dry, not having fed since that night. He lolled his weary head from side to side and began down the grand staircase. Michale could hear Mizu's distorted music down the hall as he reached for the handle to open the door.

"Darroun."

"Michale. . ." he found it hard to say this without surprise, considering Michale's current condition. "What. . .how. . ."

"It's not been good.

. . .Third Person. . .

The couple sat on the couch, hardly touching, hardly holding hands, still awkward. Darroun was pleading with Michale.

"Hunt with me, good man, feed yourself. Feed your wife," Darroun's green eyes flashed with emotion.

"Nothing is stopping you from hunting," Michale directed his statement at Mizu, but he did not look at her. She did not look at him nor answer. Darroun was blaming himself. Aside from Thomas, he had been in charge that night. He had given the command to remove Michale. Their wedding night. God.

"Just come with me. Talk to me, Michale."

"Talk to you?" Michale stood, "You destroyed me! How dare you, Darroun Trentovich!" Michale thrust an accusing finger at his guest.

"Michale," Mizu cautioned. She never took her eyes off of Darroun.

"You were a thief! An adulterer! And a murderer! If it wasn't for you, why, I would be –"

"Dead." Time seemed to stop when Darroun finally spoke again. He, too, stood. Stepping forward, he confronted Michale. "Lest ye forget, Sir Tarrovic, you would have died three hundred and fifty years before your beautiful wife was even born. It was in the darkest of moments that night that she in her youthful wisdom reminded me of that." Darroun touched Michale's face, "Accuse me all that you like, sir, but do not waste away here, now that you finally have found your love. Do not do that disrespect to me, to yourself, but most importantly, to her." He backed away from Michale. "And always remember, Michale, I did not murder your sister, your brother, your mother, your father. I did not touch them. I only killed you. Yet here you stand. And now where is my daughter, Michale, my daughter?" Darroun threw his fists to his sides and would out of the room, out of the door.

The silence between Mizu and Michale burned. Mizu seemed to wither a little, but Michale balled his fists and stared at the doorway. Darroun was right. Michale turned to Mizu.

"My dear," he knelt before the passive woman and looked into her slate-indigo eyes, "what are we doing?"

Mizu nodded. "Follow him," she said.

He would, but before he did, he kissed her mouth. "Never forget that I love you."

"I never have."

Michale sped out to follow Darroun.

. . .First Person. . .

He couldn't have gotten far, I supposed as I called out Darroun's name on the street. My feet hit the dry cobblestones, soles of my shoes clicking with each footfall.

"Darroun, come back, I'm –"

He stepped out from the next street down, hands in his pockets as he continued to walk forward. His easy strides were a saunter; he had been waiting for me.

"You're?" he muttered in our native Lithuanian, the tongue coming to him now that we were just the two of us. He cocked his head.

I ran to him, "I'm sorry," I told him and opened my arms. As he stepped nearer, I embraced him eagerly.

"You looked so much like your father that night. . .I don't know what I was thinking. I only did what she told me," Darroun whispered in my ear.

Looking him square in the eyes, I said calmly, "What's done is done. You were right, my friend." I held his arms firmly, "Shall we hunt?"

I took Darroun, who could not use magic, to a busy city where he could really drink his fill, and I could do the same. I consumed three times my need that night, and took great pleasure in watching Darroun, who had never been to a large, modern city, press his face against glass displays to scrutinize mannequins and vacuum cleaners.

For as much fun as we were having, however, I was eager to return home. My wounds had now fully healed and my mind felt clear. Feeling my hair, pulling it in front of my face to examine it, I became aware of its smooth, shiny texture, as did many of the women and men who passed on their way to and from destinations. They noticed Darroun, too, who was unsure of how to react. Nevertheless, I felt handsome, aware, and myself again. I wanted to see Mizu, to remind her of how good it felt to be as close to human as was possible for us. My belly was distended – I had fed so much that my body could not absorb it all and I would eagerly share with her.

"Darroun, let's go," and finding a secluded spot, we left for home.

. . .First Person. . .

The sun was almost up by the time I stepped through the front door. I immediately threw my cape to the floor and leaned up against the wall, stroking the organ between my legs, engorged with a flood of blood. "Mizu," I uttered, and began to strip off my clothes. Stalking up the staircase, I made for the bedroom.

She was already asleep, but I needed her, and I needed her now. I pulled the covers down and away from her and pushed up her nightgown. Starting at her feet, I kissed her all over. I sucked her small toes, kissed her calves, bit her thighs, and finally her eyelids fluttered.

"Michale. . ?" she murmured, breaking from sleep. I pressed my mouth between her legs in response. She exhaled a moan. I kissed her lips and told her, "Drink." She opened her mouth and pulled back her lips, sinking her fangs into the crook of my neck. The penetrating feeling was almost a high, and when she pulled them back out to feed from the wound she had made, the pulling and sucking was enough to make me cry out. Bunching her nightgown around her waist, I slipped two fingers deep inside her, feeling her wet, warm crevice. She released the wound and gasped, blood trickling down the corners of her mouth. I licked it away, kissing her cheeks and lips. She arched her back at my as my fingers writhed inside her. One arm pushed her up to be closer to me as I straddled her in a sitting position, the other digging her fingers into the flesh of my back as, desperately, she tried to curve her loins closer to the source of their stimulation. Finally, I gave her what she wanted. Violently, I tore off the nightgown, throwing it to the floor. Then, lifting her, I sat her on my lap, my erect cock resting on her belly as she bit me again, below my collar bone this time, the smooth skin of her stomach massaging my organ. When she broke away, breathing heavily, she whispered, "Make me your wife."

I gladly obliged, carefully rocking her backward, letting my organ slip inside her. Mizu sighed appreciatively, wrapping her legs around my waist and her arms around my neck. "I love you," she murmured. I brought my knees up and let her slide completely onto me. Pushing her head to the side with my cheek, I kissed her neck and rocked her back and forth. She pressed her lips to my forehead. I tenderly sucked and bit her nipples, making her gasp and sigh.

I laid her down, mounting her, kissing her fluttering eyelids. Pushing into her again and again, I felt her flower throb as Mizu uttered my name. She was ready, I could feel it. My hair hung in her face as she curled closer to me, begging me, but she needn't beg – I couldn't hold back much longer. I sucked her mouth, my fangs tearing the thin flesh of the lip. Too much – the moment the blood found my tongue, I came, and I felt her come around me. For a moment we seemed to freeze, I holding myself above her, sweat dripping from my temples, she laying beneath me, her hands locked onto my shoulders, eyebrows knitted.

I exhaled and collapsed on top of her, kissing her forehead, her lips, her mouth. "My wife," I whispered.

"My husband," she responded, clutching me, cradling me between her raised knees.

. . .Michale's Journal. . .

March 15th, 2002

Mizu and I are leaving the manor. Maybe we'll come back some day. Maybe we won't.

Though it does pain me to leave the chapel, the bedroom, the parlor where she had played the piano so ethereally, there are too many ill memories here; too many from the past long gone and the past more recent. I'm sure we'll find something equally suitable somewhere far away from here. No one can find us if we leave no trace of where we go. Though all danger seems to have passed, it had seemed so three months ago as well.

I leave this journal here in testament to our new life – perhaps I'll never write one again. I've no doubt, though, that should we choose to return, it will all remain unchanged – too much clings to the house. The peasants who never learned of the Nostferatu that lived here centuries ago still fear it innately. The air of sadness permeates all who enter here, and none want to stay long. Yes, this place will only change if Nature should impart her will upon it.

Or perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the encroachment of modern civilization will never cease, and despite all emotions and beauty, some office space will claim this land. Whatever the case, it ceases to be in my power.

Mizu and I are leaving the manor. Maybe we'll come back someday. Maybe we won't.

. . .Fín. . .

. . .Paperclippe

10:38 PM

12/26/5. . .