Letters to Elise: A Peter Townsend Novella / Page 16

Page 16


I gave you my word that you were my one, my true, my only. You were to be my last. But here, in Petersburg, everything has gone insane. The cold has been lovely. The blood is divine. And we lost ourselves. Ezra heartbroken over Abigail, me drowning in guilt.

Was it right to make him leave? No, of course not. But I didn’t make him leave. I could not stay any longer. Should I have stayed? Should I have suffered in silence, watching him fall in love? If that is what happiness required, is that what I should have given him?

I do not know. Sometimes I feel he asks too much of me, but other times I feel it his right. To this day, my life belongs to him. Not in the way that my heart belongs to you. But something about me is still bound to him, and I cannot shake it. I cannot change it. We are for each other.

So we left, we came here. The vampire population in St. Petersburg is five times what it was in Chicago, or any other American city I’ve seen. The cold suits us all so much better. I don’t know why we don’t all move here. It’s marvelous. The nights are endless. The days are frigid. Everyone is so poor, but there is a majesty to the city that reminds me of Prague. You would love it here.

We drank. I’m not even sure how long we’ve been here. Maybe a month, maybe six. It’s all a blur. I’ve never been drunk on blood before, but I’ve been in a constant stupor. The blood is prevalent. They have bars here, and they sell blood in wine bottles. They have bloodwhores on hand so we can feed as often as we want.

We bought a place above the bar. I think it was meant to be a hotel. Ezra sold his factory when we left, and he bought the place, with its gold vaulted ceilings and chandeliers and lush velvet furniture.

We used to frequent the bar. As soon as we’d wake, we’d head downstairs, and stay all night. Then we began to have the bloodwhores and bottles sent up to us. We rarely stepped outside. Other vampires came to our place, and the maids couldn’t keep up with the mess. At least five different phonographs were broken from roughhousing.

The parties were out of control. The way we lived was beyond decadent. Even Ezra took up with bloodwhores in a way I’d never seen him before. It broke his heart to leave Abigail, and he must have resented me. I’m sure he did. But Ezra can never say that. He can never really say anything about how feels. So he took girls to his bed, two at a time, and barely spoke to me.

This was our life. It may have been the closest to being happy I was since you died, because I didn’t feel a thing. I even laughed. I laughed a lot. I laughed with tears streaming down my cheeks, and everyone thought they were tears of joy. But I couldn’t believe my life had become this.

When I sobered up, it was too late. I woke up in my bed with another a woman, a bloodwhore whose name I couldn’t remember. I’m not sure that I’d ever known it. The night came back to me in a rush, and I realized I’d gone to bed with her. In some drunken haze, I’d slept with someone that wasn’t you.

I promised you that you would be my last. I even promised you that when you were alive.

When I realized what I’d done, I lost it. My binge turned into something darker. I didn’t want to live anymore. I couldn’t do it. I was only ruining Ezra’s life, and my own, and everyone else’s. I’d done nothing good for the world in so long, and it would be better if I weren’t in it.

I went to the bar and started fights with anyone I could. With everyone. I finally found a taker in a vampire named Gunnar, only he’s unlike any vampire I’ve ever met before. I didn’t know that, not when I met him, not when I challenged him. If I was in a right mind, I would’ve sensed the evil in him.

He’s a monster, Elise. A true demon. When he came into the bar, the bloodwhores all scattered. When I had a moment alone with a girl, she explained that Gunnar always raped the girls when he fed, and sometimes he killed them. He’d kill one by ripping out her heart with his hands.

I didn’t know this, not when he eyed me up as he stalked across the room, and I made a snide remark to him. I was looking for trouble, but not even I wanted to be a part of the kind of trouble he brought. His eyes were dark and black. They reminded me of a shark I’d seen at the World’s Fair. Calculating and cold. He was only biding his time to kill me.

Or that’s what I thought. That he’d go after me. But he only watched me, studying me. I’d offended him, so he wanted to hit me where it hurt the most.

Ezra came down to get me just before dawn, as was his custom. If I would become too inebriated, Ezra would fetch me. I was drunk, but not too drunk.

I’d gotten in a small bar fight with a vampire called Petra, but I’d won easily. It left me restless and on edge. I sat on a velvet couch, drinking blood from a goblet, and watched the bloodwhores pick up vampires.

That’s how Ezra found me, and that’s when Gunnar pounced. He leapt at him with a glass bottle, breaking it over Ezra’s skull. Then he sliced open his throat. It wasn’t enough to kill him, but it spilled his blood all over, staining everything around us.

“What are you doing?” I bellowed and tried to defend us against him, but I was weak and slow. Gunnar hit me, throwing me back against the wall.

“All his blood will drain from him, spilling all over the floor,” Gunnar said, and he sliced Ezra’s throat again, since the wound had begun to heal. “And then I will make you lap it up like the starving dog you are.”

Ezra kicked at Gunnar’s legs, and he slipped in the blood and fell to the ground. Even as weak as he was, Ezra’s always been strong and a remarkable fighter. But what saved him was the fact that he owned the hotel that we lived in, that the bar was located in. So the bouncers were there to protect him, and as soon as Ezra got Gunnar to the ground, they hauled him away.

Ezra wasn’t even mad about any of it, at least not at me. Still holding a hand to his throat to keep his blood from leaking out, he walked over to make sure I was alright. He’s now lying in the next room, resting with a bloodwhore.

I don’t know who I am anymore, Elise. I don’t like who I’ve become. My mourning has turned into something horrible, something that’s selfish and whining. I love you, Elise. And I have sinned against you. Not just by sleeping with someone else, but by dishonoring your memory as I have. I have become someone you would never love.

Ezra almost died because of me. Because of choices I made out of self-pity and jealousy. I won’t let my love for you turn into something grotesque, something that’s holding me back and making me cruel.


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