by Sammie Ham
Continuing Moira and Evelyn
So Close Yet So Far
I checked into the inn not too far from Mulkerry Manor. It was odd to me, being this close to home again. Though I had no need for any food like humans, I had even less need to be alone or to be with any night feeders. I cleaned up, putting something else on before going down to the dining hall where they offered complimentary dinners to all its guests. I grabbed a plate off of the cart before making my way to the buffet like set up they had.
“Hello dearie! May I interest you in some lamb?” The plump woman behind the counter smiled at me.
“Yes, please, rare if you wouldn’t mind.” I flashed her a smile.
While we don’t need food, I still very much enjoyed to eat, to feel human once more. After grabbing some bread and vegetables, I made my way to the tables. That’s where I happened to see Miss Clarke once again. She sat in the back by herself with a plate of food in front of her, a glass of drink in one hand and a book in another.
I looked over her, her soft skin like smooth milk, her hair like the soft brown silk of a bear’s fur. Her breathing was even, her throat rising and falling. Her breasts rose and fell with every breath. She was absolutely stunning to watch. Something in me stirred as she licked her full, soft rosy lips.
Instead of standing there like a creeper, I decided to make my way to her. “Do you mind?”
She jumped, looking up at me. Her chocolate eyes looked right to where my soul should be. “Oh, Miss Muldoon! Please sit!” She put a bookmark in her book, setting it down by her plate.
“Please, Claire,” I smiled, taking my seat.
“Well, Claire, you may call me Evelyn.” She smiled at me.
“What are you reading?” I nodded toward her book before pouring some of the wine on the table for myself.
“A biography of Mulkerry Manor. I own several of them,” she admitted with a bit of shy smile. “I may be a bit- obsessed for better words.”
“There is such a thing called passion. It’s amazing to meet anyone in this day and age with a passion beyond their next conquest.” I motioned in the air. “Too many people are too into what carnal desires they can satisfy that they full forget what kind of intellectual desires they can conquer. They forget that a body will wither, that gravity and Mother Gaia will have their due. But the mind, is a beautiful place that should always be nurtured and expanded!”
She stared at me with a look of what I think was admiration. “You are absolutely right! The most beautiful thing about a person is their mind. I have gone on far too many dates with someone who was physically pleasing, but I would have had a better conversation with the entrée.”
I found myself laughing from my soul with that one. Evelyn Clarke was a true diamond in the rough. “Might I ask you a personal question?”
“Sure,” she said, sitting back, “I am an open book.”
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-four,” she said. “You?”
“I am around your age, just a tad younger,” I answered, half lying. Technically, I was eight years younger, yet again, I was 654 years older than the age I was when I was- turned into this night feeder. “I am nineteen.”
She nodded, “It's nice to find someone near my age who isn't like typical people around our age.” She seemed to look over my body, blushing just a bit.
This wasn’t uncommon to me, as a night feeder, we were purposefully aesthetical. It made our prey want us more. There seemed to be something different about her, about the way she looked at me. There was something of a needing in her look. I wasn’t sure if it was needing of a friend, or a lover. Something was certainly there though.
“So, the Mulkerry family, that is quite an interesting passion,” I pushed my plate away after eating a few bites. I leaned forward, “How did you fall into that?”
“When I was a child, my mom once took me to the castle. I grew up in Derkshire, England, it’s a small town, not much to see. My mom used to tell me stories about the grand castles in the highlands and such. The year before she passed away, she gathered all the strength she could to take me on a castle field trip. There were so many enchanting stories, so many pasts and bloodlines cut short. Then we went to Mulkerry Manor, and I was just drawn to it. The realities of mortality and how even someone with so much could just fall so far. It was so beautifully tragic; I just wanted to know everything. My mom’s health diminished so badly by the time we got home that when she gave me the diary kept by Alisabeth, which was later filled by Cedric, she could barely lift it.”
She gently rubbed a worn leather diary beneath her left hand. There were tears in her eyes, and I wasn’t sure if they were for my family or her mom. It was only moments later, when my checks were warm and wet that I realized I had started to cry myself.
“Claire, are you alright?”
I sniffled, laughing at myself and wiping my face off, “Yes, I’m quite alright. You have quite a way with stories I guess. Would you mind terribly if I could look at the book?”
“Be my guest,” she said, almost hesitantly handing over the book.
I skimmed some of the pages, many of them in my mother’s handwriting. It had been so long since I had seen the beautiful, fancy script across the pages. I came to one with a handwriting that was much more masculine, and I gently rubbed the letters fighting back tears that threatened to flood from my eyes.
‘9th of December the year of our Lord 1346:
It has been one year since ye have left me Alisabeth. I have failed ye, as I promised to love and protect ye till the last breath in my lungs and the last beat of my heart. I often tried to tell myself that had I been there, that ye would have survived. Then again, maybe we would have perished together. In the crypt we would be joined. For the last year I have searched for any sign that our beloved angel, our Moira had survived. I prayed that I would find her. I could hear her soft breathing, cry with her, to build strong what of my family that would be left. But not only have I failed ye, I failed my own babe.
Often times I have lost all the warrior within my body as I sat here weeping like a small babe. The pain within me is so great that I swear my heart will shatter so badly that I shall die. There were so many things I had not said yet. I never thanked ye, Alisie, for the most beautiful babes in all of the world. I never thanked ye for being my wife, for loving me deep, even when I didn’t deserve it. I never told Moira that the moment she was born was the most amazing moment of my life. Though I was a father to many, I knew there was something different, special about her. The way her eyes peered up at me the first time and all she did was hold my finger and make those tiny sounds. It was that moment that God had truly touched my heart. God the things I never said, the things I will never say.
How can I live this way?’
I then closed the journal, full on weeping by this point. I had always thought I was my father’s greatest burden, greatest disappointment. But I was his most beloved child. To see the love he had for me was overwhelming.
“Claire,” Evelyn said softly, confused.
“I apologize, Evelyn, this is just so- overwhelming. The loss he felt, the guilt he carried; it’s just hard to read.” I handed the book back to her.
Everything in my body wanted to keep it. I didn’t want to let my mother- my father- go. I wanted to pull them from the pages they scrawled on. I needed to hold him, to tell him that I was always here. For the first time in a long time, I felt what it was like to be human once more.
I laid in my bed, thinking of Claire and how she reacted to the journal. She must have lost someone special and close to her for her to react the way she did. I thought of the loss of my own mother. I was only fifteen when she passed away, the cancer had won its battle. I remembered the last days as I sat trying to get my mom to at least hold down ice chips, and while she would rest I would read all the old Gaelic stories to her that were in all the books she had given me.
This journal, the love of a mother and a wife until her untimely death followed by the love and grieving of a father and husband helped pull me from a dark place when my mom died.
“Mom,” I said to the empty room, “I think this journal would help heal her broken heart. Please don’t be angry with me.”
I went over to the trunk at the foot of my bed. I grabbed the thick old lace that had yellowed with time that was folded neatly in the right corner. This was the lace veil my mother had worn on her head the day she was married to my father, just months before he was killed helping a young couple who had been hitchhiking.
I thought of how perfect and beautiful it was. I kept looking and at the very bottom of the chest there was a soft silky periwinkle ribbon. I thought of her sad, silver eyes. The periwinkle was a close color to her eyes.
After sitting down on the bed, I laid out the lace before gingerly placing the book in the middle of it. I wrapped the book tightly before slipping the ribbon below it. I worked with swift delicate hands to tie the book up with a beautiful bow on top before going to the plant in front of my window. I snipped a bit of the lavender that was there, remembering once that my taught me all about herbs. Lavender was for calming, and if her heart was breaking like mine, then lavender would be good for her.
I ran myself a hot bath, placing lavender oil into it. The beautiful smell filled my senses, almost instantly relaxing me. After stripping down, I pinned my hair on top of my heart and slid into the almost boiling water. At first it burned my skin, but then it became relaxing. I rolled the face cloth on the side of the tub to place under my head. My eyes closed as I let the lavender and steam take over.
All I could think of was Claire’s face as she read the entries. There was so much pain in her, pain she seemed to try to avoid. Part of me wanted to hold her, to let her know that it will not always hurt so badly. Another part of me wanted to kiss her soft, nude colored lips.
I laughed at myself. There was never any time in my life that I could remember wanting to actively kiss anyone, especially not a girl. Loneliness can do anything I guess, or maybe it was the reason I never wanted to kiss anyone I had known in the past. My heart was looking for the perfect person, the perfect woman.
And suddenly, I was excited to go to work the very next day.
I looked at my watch, pretty upset that in all this time, Claire still hadn't showed up. The final tour was to begin in twenty minutes, and then that would be it for the night. Maybe she didn't really want to see the house at all. Or maybe something bad happened to her! My brain wouldn't stop coming up with possibilities.
"I'm so very sorry," I heard a thick Scottish brogue behind me. I turned to see Claire standing there, smiling. She wore a cream colored lace corset dress, with a layered skirt, that caressed her perfect legs. Her waist-length onyx curls were piled in a hurried, yet still stunningly beautiful way, a few curls hanging here or there. She wore cat shaped eye-liner and dark cranberry lipstick. There was just something about her that made my heart race.
"Oh you're fine. We haven't started yet," I could barely muster up the words.
"Oh thank God!" She looked at me with her piercing silver eyes. "I was running a bit behind tonight. I must have finally fallen into a good sleep."
"Well, then let's get started," I gave her a smile before going to the front of the large group. "Everyone, please, follow me."