The door at the end of a long hallway creaked open. The hallway itself felt like a coffin due to the meager light from one kerosene lamp. Only a few objects – glass cases, polished silver, mirrors, and gilded woodwork – reflected light. The door opened fully without assistance.
From the dark opening, a beautiful woman appears – pale, hair coiffed, and dressed in fine taffeta and velvet. She walked slowly to the middle of the hall and stopped at a table that held a silver serving tray and domed lid.
Before reaching for the tray, she took a ring of keys from a belt hidden beneath the folds of her dress. She placed them on the tray, and finally picked up the heavy service.
She continued her walk to the door at the other end of the dim hallway. There, she effortlessly balanced the tray on one hand and unlocked the door with the other. She entered and locked it from inside.
After a few minutes, the door is unlocked and opened. Along with the service, she holds a lace handkerchief, first dabbing tears from each eye, then wiping drops of blood from her lips. She walks slowly – almost gliding – back to the other end of the hall.
Her name is Anna, and she is a vampire.
The next night was much like the previous. The hallway was dark in the old mansion house, and the snow outside had blanketed nearly all natural sounds. Anna repeated her errand with the silver tray, keys, and handkerchief. She entered the room, and left as she always had, night after night.
Behind the locked door was the master bedroom. It was expectedly large, expensively furnished, and housed an elegant, immense bed. But upon closer inspection, the room was old, untidy. Much of it was covered in dust, and thrown about were clothes, shoes, and other signs of a captive life.
Inside lived Anna’s ’s husband, Karl. As with the room, he, too, was tired and disheveled.
Karl was sitting at a writing desk next to the fireplace. He has bite marks on his neck and arms at various stages of healing. Lately unwashed, dried blood cover his body, except for fresh droplets on his wrist.
Sheets of writing paper are scattered on the floor; some are crumpled and a few are burning in the fireplace. Deep in thought, Karl holds the nib of a fountain pen to his dry lips, staining it black. He is reading a letter just recently completed:
“I suspect it is mid-February, but I cannot say for certain since I’ve been interned in our room for many months now. Here, I continue to pay for my infidelity, and accept all punishment you see fit.
“I write this letter to remind you of who I was before, and why I broke my marriage vows.
“Our love, woven with a dark thread, was real – as real as you are a vampire.
“All was well in the beginning. I adjusted naturally to your new evening schedule and treasured our moments together. It was bliss, until I was bitten – by time.
“For you, time is just a concept. You measure it by events in your waking night and dreamless days. Your life flows right along time’s side. But for me, time is the ultimate vampire, patiently shadowing my every step and breath, waiting to strike.
“Time took its bite about ten years into our marriage. I aged but you did not. Understanding this is different from experiencing. I understood that our ages would eventually diverge, but experiencing it is quite different.
“And that’s when I failed you and had the affair. It was my weakness as a mortal man.
“Yet it was forewarned that I would betray you. Before we wed, I visited a Tarot Reader for counsel regarding a marriage with a vampire. The Tarot’s warning was correct, of course. I did not heed it nor the Reader, and am now in this pitiful state.
“I regret what I have done to you and our marriage. Only now do I understand that even though I age, you’re love for me would have remained unchanged until my death.
“It is time. All I have left to ask is for you to end my purgatory. I am ready.
The letter completed, he folded the pages, addressed it to Anna, and sealed it with wax. Karl slipped the letter under his door.
The following night, Anna repeats her task. When she exits Karl’s room, she looks different – vibrant. Blood again appears on her mouth but more than the usual amount. As requested, Anna has killed Karl by draining him of his blood.
Before his wedding, Karl visited a Tarot Reader. He asked if marriage to a vampire was viable. The Reader gave him his answer:
“You have drawn the Ten of Pentacles. The card depicts prosperity and a joyous union of people, support and abundance. It’s applicable meaning is a beneficial marriage or partnership. But your card is reversed, indicating disharmony or a fall from grace.”
“Marrying a vampire certainly has its challenges. If you proceed without any major complications, all should be well. But if you stray, well, remember – she’s a vampire.”
This is Dante P Ramon, your host and author of The Dark Reading, scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to listen to our podcast regularly, and visit us on the web at TheDarkReading.com. And please feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.
I just picked the Death card, so good night for now.
Season 1 Episode 12
©2020 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.
All third party marks are the property of their respective owners.