Twelve – the Storm Abates
The sickening crack of Amelia’s neck broke the spell of Marie’s stunned fascination with her sister’s demise at the hands of the vampire queen. Realising that she could do nothing to help her twin, that she was beyond even the sanctuary afforded the undead, she bolted for the door. With impossible speed and palpable anger at having to leave her feast, Perveen detached her fangs from Amelia’s blood-flow and stood before Marie, blocking her exit, even, before Amelia’s limp body had hit the floor.
When it eventually landed, it did so with a sharp, hollow slap on the cold, marble tiles. Suddenly, it was if someone had ripped out Marie’s spine as her shoulders slunk in acceptance of her fate. She looked at her queen, her own fangs now withdrawn in surrender to this superior creature and simpered simply, “Why?”
The question, or rather, the dawning of the answer, was akin to a slap around the queen’s own chops, a triumphant grin rapidly replacing the visible hatred that had masked her features not a second before.
“I cannot see my beauty, Marie, on this, to be my Wedding Night,” she started, “yet you can remind yourself of how precious you were every time you look into your sister’s face. She is the very image of you. For that moment, I could not bear it.
“The only time I glimpse myself is as others see me when I invade their mind. At the point of their death, I am nothing other than an object of fear, their nightmares embodied and twisted into a reality their minds cannot hope to grasp. You know this as well as I.
“Sebastian, however, sees me how I wish to be remembered. I am as perfect in his eyes as when we were but adolescent, before this undead existence, which makes us these monsters to mortal men. It is that beauty I crave daily, more than this very afterlife itself; with him, I shall have it for all time. Tonight, he will become my king, not that he knows it yet. Together we will rule this castle, this coven, this brood. Forever.”
With no hint of an apology for slaying her sister, the queen asserted herself, her innocent face now as placid as the surface of an underwater lake. She turned and left Marie in the room with her sibling. A single speck of blood on Perveen’s wedding gown was the only trace of her sudden, fatal outburst.
Marie turned to her sister’s body, lying askew on the cold, sterile floor. As she approached, one of Amelia’s eyes forced itself open. Unable to speak, her throat torn asunder, Marie saw the pleading in those still-sparkling blue eyes and in Amelia’s vampire tear, blood crawling down the ashen cheek, skin that only moments hence had been plump and ripe even in its undead state.
Marie nodded acquiescence. Closing her eyes, her hand plunged between her sister’s breasts, both now exposed as her body lay flat and at an unnatural angle to her broken neck. The sternum cracked as Marie’s hand disappeared to the wrist and exited the cavity just as swiftly, blood oozing from her twin’s still-pumping heart that she held aloft, sleek in the reflection of the candlelight.
Amelia almost managed a smile as her eyes closed for the final time, her last vision her twin eating her heart, which had for so many years beat in tandem with the vampire’s, who now gorged on its last trembling beat. For Amelia, it was the end; for Marie, only the beginning.