The Cursed Vampire
by Anne K. Edwards
"Prince LeRoix is dying," the old manservant said. He raised his tragic eyes to the gathering of vampires around the large canopied bed. The heavy hangings of the room muffled their groans of empathic pity for one of their own.
"He wasn't out in the sun or anything?" asked a white-skinned female vampire.
The servant shook his head. "No. He has kept to the same routine for the eight hundred years that he's been a vampire. He reached over to tug on a bell rope.
The vampire in the bed moaned and opened his eyes. His blood-red eyes moved from one face to the next. "Ah, you've come," he said. "Good. Good."
"What is the matter, your highness?" asked a tall vampire who stood at the foot of the bed.
"I don't know, Ladislaw. I don't know." He shivered and the manservant tucked the covers tighter around him.
"When was your last meal?" asked the female vampire.
"Ah. Three nights ago. A young female. Quite lovely. A pity I took her life in the process. I don't like the killing, but she tried to scream. I couldn't hynotize her as I usually do."
A vampire with wisdom in his eyes looked at the ailing vampire and then swept the group with a slow gaze. "They found her in an alley," he said. "Her name was Myrna LeRoy." He paused as the door to the darkened room opened and a slim figure stepped inside.
"You rang for me, father?"
The manservant looked up. "Yes, daughter. I wish you to fetch some of the containers from the cold room." He glanced around. "We'll need eight."
When the girl was gone, the prince spoke, "You are quite right, Fredrich. My friends must not go out tonight. It may be something we are all susceptible to."
The vampires huddled closer together, spooked for a moment by some unknown threat to their immortality. The wise-looking vampire shook his head.
"You have no need to fear, fellow night travelers. I know what is wrong with Prince LeRoix." He held up a large black, leaather bound book. I looked up his symptoms. There have been two other cases recorded in our past."
The prince raised a feeble hand, that resembled that of a skeleton, so white and thin the fingers were. "What have you learned, good doctor?" His hand fell onto his chest. "What is wrong with me?"
"The news isn't good, my prince." The other vampire told him. "You have broken the pledge we vampires take to never drink our own blood. We must take that oath because to do so is fatal."
"I have not bitten myself," the prince protested with a involunrary shudder as pain swept over him.
"You drank the blood of Myrna LeRoy three nights ago."
Comprehension and astonishment passed over the dying vampire's face. "No!" he protested. "It can't be! It can't be."
"I'm sorry, my friend. It is the truth. Before you became a vampire, you were married to Princess Margareta Prosperet. She left you once you became one of us as you had no interest in things mortal any longer. She felt herself to be in danger in spite of all the crosses she kept around herself. Did you know she was with child?"
Prince LeRoix was failing fast as the hour of dawn approached. He shook his head. "I did not know. I never tried to find her."
The doctor gazed down at him sadly. "The baby lived and since that day, your bloodline has continued. Until," he said in a low voice, "you killed the girl. She was the last of the line."
He straightened and looked around. "If there's any possibility that any of you have children or descendants, I suggest you find them. We must be sure this does not happen to us as it has happened to the prince. In drinking the blood of a descendant, we drink our own blood."
As the first light probed with gentle finters into the deep gloom around the heavy drapes, the vampire in the bed shuddered and cried out. Then he was still.
The other vampires fled in a panic.
"They didn't wait for my daughter to bring their blood draughts," the manservant muttered and shook his head. He sighed. It was going to be hard getting used to a new master when he found one. And he'd better find a geneaologist to track that faithless wife of his, just in case...