Hocking, Amanda Letters To Elise (My Blood Approves 4.5)

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April 19, 1836

I’m writing this in the corner of the room with trembling hands. The candle long since burned out, and I sit in darkness, yet I can see perfectly. I wanted to believe this was some parlor trick, that the man who found me was merely a magician or a doctor, but I’m unable to refute it any longer.

My name is Peter James Monroe, and I am a vampyre.

I’ve taken a few sheets of paper from the one who made me. I have to write this all down, as if to

convince myself that I’m not mad.

It was only a few days ago that I was still human, but it feels like an entire lifetime has passed. I had been riding my father’s horse into the city. My younger sister Caroline had been bitten by a dog, and

despite my mother’s best remedies, she was gravely ill. That morning, when I awoke, she could no

longer move.

Father had me take Lysander, his fastest horse, and sent me to fetch the doctor. Lysander might be

faster than our elderly mares, but he was a horse built for work, not speed. He must’ve sensed my

urgency, though, because he pushed himself.

We didn’t make it far when a pack of wild dogs came upon us. They may have been the same dogs that

attacked poor Caroline, because they acted nothing like dogs should. They appeared mad, and

continued to give chase, even after Lysander kicked at them.

I turned Lysander off the road, hoping to lose the dogs in the thick trees of the forest, but I didn’t think it through. The smaller dogs were much better suited for dodging through the thick tree trunks than the

big work horse.

The dogs bit at Lysander’s legs, and one of them managed to latch onto Lysander’s haunch. The horse

couldn’t take it any longer, and he reared up, bucking me off him. I fell to the ground, cracking my head against a tree.

For a moment, I could see nothing but blackness, and the sound of the growling dogs muffled in my

ears. By the time I came around, the dogs were already on me. One of them had me by the arm,

dragging me away.

Lysander was gone, and from the echoed barks through the trees, some of the dogs gave chase after

him. The rest of them stayed behind, stalking around me.

I tried to pick up a stick or a rock, anything to fight off the animals, but my right arm wouldn’t move at all. The dog had begun to gnaw on my left arm, and I couldn’t even pull it away from him. My body was

paralyzed.

I called for help, relieved to find that I could still make a sound. I was breathing and I could yell, but that seemed to be the only things I could do.

A dog howled in the distance, maybe in victory at conquering Lysander, I’m not sure. The dogs that had stayed behind realized that I wasn’t going anywhere and ran ahead to see what their comrade was

howling about.

They left, but I knew they were coming back, and they would certainly finish me off when they returned.

I tried desperately to move my arms or legs, but they refused to budge.

My arm had been chewed up viciously, with my blood spilling onto the dirt. The one good thing was that I couldn’t feel it. I was incapable of feeling anything except for the ache in the back of my skull from where it hit the tree.

I lay in the cold ground, feeling weaker as my life drained from me. I yelled as long as I could, until long after my voice had gone hoarse. My throat was raw, and it ached to even swallow.

It wasn’t that I believed anyone could save me – if I couldn’t move, it would only be a matter of time before I died. But my sister needed a doctor. Caroline wouldn’t survive much longer without one, and

my family thought I was getting help. They needed to know that I hadn’t made it so they could go fetch him themselves.

I wasn’t sure who they would send in my place. My father shouldn’t leave my mother and sister alone at the house, not with the mad dogs on the loose, and both of my brothers had moved and lived too far

away to get help soon enough.

My younger brother Joseph lived in New York City caring for an elderly aunt, and that was almost a full day’s ride from our house.

My older brother Daniel lived half a day away from us, but he had a wife and two small children to worry about.

The thought of Daniel made me grimace. Every time I spoke to him, he lectured me about how I needed

to grow up and be a man. He never failed to remind me that when he’d been seventeen – two full years

younger than I – he’d gotten married and built his own home.

When it grew dark, I began to feel better. Father would’ve realized something was wrong and set out to fetch the doctor himself. Since I hadn’t come back, he’d be more careful and smart enough to bring his gun, something I would’ve done if I hadn’t been in such a rush.

Father would get help for Caroline. Mother would lock up the doors to the house, and she wasn’t a bad

shot herself, if the dogs came around. Father would have to take Helena, who was a slower mare than

Lysander, but she was younger, so she had more stamina.

Caroline would be alright, even if I wasn’t.

I imagined I could hear the hoof beats of my father’s horse on the road past the forest. They pounded

heavily in the dirt as he raced to the doctor. I could’ve called for him, but I didn’t want to slow him.

Then the hoof beats got louder. They grew closer, crunching on the twigs and leaves. This was all wrong.

Father needed to help Caroline. He didn’t have time to worry about me.

I tried to yell out, to tell him to go back and leave me be, but my voice only came out in a croaked

whisper. I sounded like a dying toad.

The horse stopped next to me, snorting loudly. The moonlight cast splotches of light through the tree

branches, so I could only see bits of the brilliant white horse and the rider. Helena was a dark brown, and Lysander was black. This wasn’t my father’s horse.

The rider dismounted. I saw his legs swing down, but his feet didn’t make a sound when they landed. He walked over to me, still silent when the ground should’ve crunched beneath him, and he crouched down

next to me.

His face was hidden in the darkness, but I heard him sniffing the air, inhaling deeply. He touched my

arm, covered in drying in blood, and then put his hand to his mouth.

“Can you move?” he asked finally, his voice deep with a heavy accent. Something about it made me feel

strangely comforted.

“No,” I whispered, barely making a sound at all.

“You’re dying.” It wasn’t a question or filled with pity. He was merely stating a fact. “Do you want to live?”

I was surprised by his question and didn’t know how to answer it. Of course I wanted to live. I had so much that I still wanted to do, so much I hadn’t done yet.

But it didn’t matter whether I wanted to live or not. My body wouldn’t move, and it was getting hard to breathe. I didn’t have a choice whether I lived or died.

“Do you want to live?” he repeated, this time with more force.

“Yes,” I whispered.

“Very good.”

He pulled something out of his pocket, and the moonlight glinted on the blade. He ran it down his arm, slicing it open, and I smelled the blood mixing with the pine and dirt around me. But his blood smelled unlike anything I’d ever encountered. It was sweet and tangy and… delectable.

He put his arm to my mouth, and the hot liquid poured down my throat. It tasted even better than it

smelled – rich and sweet. I swallowed it so quickly I nearly choked. Some part of me knew I should be

disgusted about drinking this stranger’s blood, but I couldn’t help myself.

I could feel his heartbeat in his blood, pouring through me. I could feel him – his intelligence and

strength filling me, radiating through me. It was like warmth and love, only so much more powerful.

He pulled his arm away much too soon, and I suddenly felt cold and small. The pleasure and

contentment of his blood had been ripped away, although a haze of it still lingered around me, making

me drowsy.

“Please…” I whispered, begging for more of his blood. My voice had already grown stronger, and my

throat had healed.

“You’ve had enough,” he said.

He reached out, taking me in his arms, and I hung limply. I couldn’t even lift my head. He climbed onto his horse, letting me hang over his lap so I didn’t slide off. I was fighting to stay awake, but once the horse started moving, almost rocking me to sleep, I passed out.

The next time I awoke I was in horrible pain. Worse than anything I had ever felt in my life, worse than I had even imagined pain could be. I lay on a cold dirt floor, writhing in pain and screaming at the top of my lungs.

My insides were moving around. I could feel them squirming inside my belly. I wrapped my arms around

my stomach, and I didn’t even care that I could move my arms again. I would gladly take the paralysis

and numbness for the agony that overwhelmed me.

When I opened my eyes, the dim light from a nearby candle shone too brightly. It scorched my vision,

and I squeezed my lids shut again. I curled up onto my side, trying to hold myself together, but nothing I did eased the pain.

I couldn’t hold it back any longer, and I struggled to get to my knees. I leaned over, vomiting up

everything inside me. A long black string of my own intestines came up, covered in something dark that almost resembled blood. It spilled out all over the dirt floor as pain ripped through me.

“Shh,” a man said, the same stranger that had given me his blood before. He knelt down next to me,

setting a pail of water on the ground. “Screaming will only making it worse.”

“What have you done to me?” I wept. I wanted to stay on my knees, but I collapsed back on the ground.

“I saved your life.” He reached into the pail, pulling out a rag soaked in cold water, and he began to wipe my face of sweat, tears, and my own blood.

“You didn’t save me,” I groaned, gripping my chest. My heart felt like it was about to pound out through my ribcage. “I am dying.”

“It only feels that way,” he said, his voice deep and comforting as he wiped my brow. “You’re turning.

You’ll feel much better soon.”

I knew I should be terrified of this man. He’d fed me his blood and made me feel this horrendous pain.

But I couldn’t fear him. I trusted him implicitly, and I even felt a longing for him. Not the way a man longs for a woman, but something more basic and primal. The way I longed for spring after a terrible

winter or water after a lengthy drought. I needed him.

“Who are you?” I asked, peering up at him through half closed eyes.

“My name is Ezra.” His dark brown eyes rested on mine, warm and meaningful. “Go back to sleep. This

will all be over soon.”

I tried to sleep, but I never seemed to truly be asleep or fully awake. I existed in an awful nightmare place between the two. The pain only intensified, and I begged for death. My dreams were filled with

insects and snakes eating my flesh, and even that was a reprieve from how I actually felt.

I’m not sure how long it lasted. It might have been days or even weeks. It felt like eternity when it was happening.

Then I opened my eyes, and I realized I wasn’t in pain anymore. I didn’t feel like anything. I’d been

asleep, my cheek rested against the cold floor, and when I awoke, I’d never felt better. Even the dirt against my skin felt amazing.

I sat up, looking around the darkness. I appeared to be in a cellar, a small room dug in the ground. The walls were packed dirt lined with shelves, and an old staircase led out of it. The doors at the top were shut, leaving me trapped in total blackness, but I could see clearly.

A thirst grew inside me, and it was unlike any thirst I’d ever felt before. It was like a hunger, only deeper.

Like it came from the very heart of me, and every part of my body needed to feed.

“Hello? Ezra?” I called out for him.

I moved towards the stairs, and I tripped over my own feet. I’d meant to take only one step, but it

happened with a strange ease.

“Ezra?” I repeated and got to my feet again. Somehow, I knew he was nearby. I sensed it, but even that small distance felt too great. “Ezra!”

The doors at the top of the stairs opened. Before I saw him, I could smell him – the same tangy smell I remembered from drinking his blood, only stronger and mixed with something heady, like sandalwood.

I heard a gently thudding, and I realized with some dismay that was his heartbeat. I could hear it, and stranger still, the sound of it made my mouth water.

I stepped back as he came down the stairs, but not because I was frightened of him. I was frightened of myself, of what I might do to him, and I could never live with myself if I hurt him.

“What’s happening to me?” I asked with a tremor in my voice. I reached out, touching the wall to steady myself. “What am I becoming?”

“It’s already happened,” Ezra said. “You’ve already became what you are.”

“And what is that?”

“A vampyre.”

“What?” I gasped. It seemed unreal, but I believed him as soon as he said it. I trusted him far more than I trusted myself. “I’m a demon?”

“No, nothing like that,” he said with a small smile. “We’ll discuss it more later. But now, I see the thirst is getting to you. You must feed before it grows too strong.”

“Feed?” I echoed.

“Yes.” He turned and began walking up the stairs. “Come with me. It’s time you learn the proper way to be a vampire.”

May 23, 1852

There aren’t words fit to describe her. I still can’t believe in my own eyes. I’m writing as fast as the ink will allow me, but it’s not fast enough. Ever since I first saw her, I feel as though I’m going to burst.

Something has taken hold of me, something too large for my body to carry, and I must release it or

perish.

I’ve never been one for hyperbole, so please believe this isn’t grandeur. As soon as I saw her, I was in love, horribly, deeply, irrevocably in love. It was as if my purpose in life suddenly became clear, as if every moment before this one only happened so I could see her, be near her, love her.

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