tales of the daywalkers (week 29)
Weekly Feature…Vampire Fiction Serial (Click to read week 28)
“Lizzie…Victoria…don’t stray so far from the house. It’s getting dark,” Mother called to us from the back door.
From a distance, Mother looked like Lizzie…red curls framing her face like flames. Even with three nearly-grown daughters, she carried herself like a woman half her age. I could only hope to look so young when I was her age.
“We won’t mother,” Lizzie called back, but turned to wink at me. “We’re just going to visit the horses and come straight back.”
I knew she was lying, but I let it go. She had promised me we wouldn’t go much further than the barn.
As soon as Mother turned to go inside, Lizzie grabbed my hand and pulled me through the tall grass, toward the clearing.
“I must show you what I’ve found,” she giggled as she ran. “But you have to promise not to breathe a word of it to anyone. Not Catherine, not Mother, and most especially not Father.”
A thrill cut through me as her excitement traveled from her hand up my arm, as she dragged me through the grass and underbrush on a course leading far past the barn.
Elizabeth stopped dead in her tracks and spun around to glare at me. “You didn’t promise. You must promise me, Victoria,” she urged. Her tiny hands pressed into her hips leaving little indentations in her linen skirt.
I rolled my eyes at her. “Fine. I promise.”
Elizabeth pulled her lower lip between her teeth and giggled again. “Good. Now come…we must hurry.”
And we were running again.
The barn was becoming small in the distance as we reached the edge of the clearing and Lizzie’s enthusiasm bubbled out of her like a hot spring, practically burning my skin where we touched. “Mother said not to go so far. You said it was just past the barn.” I tugged against her hand but she wouldn’t slow.
“It’s not much further. Come…you’ll see.”
As we reached the break in the trees I saw what she was speaking of.
The large carriage looked as if it had sprung up from the ground. Thick moss and vines covered the sides as if the very earth tried to keep it hidden.
“What is it?” I struggled to keep my voice from quivering.
“It’s a carriage, silly,” Lizzie dropped my hand and sprinted toward the vine covered carriage.
“Wait! What if it’s dangerous?”
Her bright laughter filled the air. “Come. See what’s inside.”
I hesitated, running the possibilities through my head as I watched my younger sister bravely…or foolishly run toward the unknown.
Lizzie reached the filthy windows and used her sleeve to clean a small circle so she could peer inside.
I heard her sharp intake of breath and it pushed me to run faster. “What is it? Lizzie? Are you well?”
“Hurry,” she croaked. “Tell me if I’m seeing what I think I am.” Elizabeth backed away for me to peek inside.
“Is that…?” I choked out, unable to say the words.
“I think it is.”
“Why would Father…?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered. “Do you think it’s empty?”
I spun around to look at my sister. “I dare say it had better be. Father wouldn’t…”
“I don’t know, Victoria. I’ve seen many strange things lately.” Lizzie plopped down on the grass, her skirt spreading out around her like a puddle.
I couldn’t help myself. I wiped away at the grime covering the window to get a better look inside. A shard of sunlight glinted off the shiny black finish. “It’s the most ornate…I’ve never seen anything like this. Not in all my years.”
“In all your years? You’re barely older than I,” she laughed, but it was hollow.
“Even in books, I’ve never read of anything so ornately jeweled…with shiny gold hinges,” I let my voice trail off.
“Do you think it’s empty?” she asked again.
“It has a name carved into the side…I can’t read…wait! Anne. Something. I can’t make out the last name. Do you know anyone named Anne?”
“No, but…” her voice hitched. “Do you think she’s inside?”
Until the next time…I’ll be preparing the final episode of volume one of the Daywalkers!