“All done!” Victoria exclaimed
She ripped the page from the drum of her antique typewriter, and placed it neatly upon the fresh stack. Her muse was back, and this new material would keep her creative juices flowing for the foreseeable future.
Victoria leaned back, and heard the familiar creak from the chair. She looked into the fire as it crackled happily while its flames danced, and left her momentarily entranced. Victoria thought about the hours spent looking at the beauty of those flames and found it hard to imagine how all of that was about to change.
A lot of things had changed in short order, with more to deal with in the upcoming years. This time there was a guide; someone to lead her, and Victoria hoped their relationship would grow like it had for Evelyn and Marc. It was her wish that she would not only call Evelyn a friend, but consider her to be a sister, albeit a deceptively older one.
A smile appeared on her face, once she heard a knock at the door. She excitedly, jumped over the corpse of the building’s doorman to answer it. How unfortunate that he needed to be dealt with in such a manner. Unfortunately, he had been far too inquisitive about her return, and his bothersome insistence on calling the authorities only sealed his fate.
At least he was delicious, and still remembered the ecstasy experienced from draining the life from him. The essence of his life now flowed through her veins, it invigorated her, but that now came with the faint smell of his decomposing corpse. When she opened the door, Evelyn greeted her and kissed Victoria tenderly.
“You have been naughty, non?” Evelyn asked with a giggle, and licked the last of his blood from Victoria’s lips.
Victoria blushed, but Evelyn said nothing more on this matter. One’s first kill was a personal matter, as were the emotional and psychological repercussions. That had been the way for Evelyn, and that would be the same for any of Victoria’s progeny. Corpses did pose a problem, but there were ways to make people disappear. One did not live long in this day and age without having a few tricks up their sleeve.
Victoria turned her attention to the fire before noticing that Evelyn was different somehow. There was something about her attire, which was better suited to a formal New Year’s ball. Her suspicions were confirmed when Evelyn slipped her hand into a bag, and pulled a beautiful porcelain mask. At first, she imagined this mask to represent some wild beast, just like those described in her writings. Instead, it turned out to be the perfect porcelain reproduction of Evelyn’s face.
“Sometimes the truth is far more monstrous than fiction ma chère,” Evelyn said.
To that, Victoria agreed. Predators did not hide their true intentions, their motives were plainly governed by their genetics. While a growl and teeth could elicit primal fear, people were in far greater danger when such traits were hidden by the thin veneer of civility.
“Now come!” Evelyn shouted, while she glided over the uniformed corpse. “We have to introduce you to the family, and I assure you that their masks will not be as obvious as mine.”
With a smile, her mentor walked into the hallway and left Victoria to clean up before following suit. On her way out, Victoria left the fire a well-deserved gift for being her kindest critic, and biggest fan. She was certain the flames would happily consume this final token of her appreciation. Just as she closed the door, never to return, the flames spread over the cover page and left only the line The Portrait visible.
In the hallway, she heard Evelyn say in those musical tones, “In case you are wondering. Marc will be the one wearing a mask representing a dire wolf… Though he will be doing so grudgingly!”
All the while, Victoria thought back to what she wrote long ago, and said, “Remember, what lies underneath, is by far more frightening.”
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!