I know my dreams are made of you

Of you and only for you

Your ocean pulls me under

Your voice tears me asunder

Love me before the last petal falls


From "Beauty and the Beast" by Nightwish

Lyrics by Tuomas Holopainen




Chapter Eleven

Separation and Confrontation


This past month has been, at times, almost more than I could bear. Not since the earliest days of my immortal existence have I felt such anguish and desperation. Sometimes I shake from the pain of my longing, so much that I cry out into the night like a wounded animal. But soon — soon all of my suffering will come to end, and my love will once again be where she rightfully belongs — by my side and in my arms.

It seems so long since that fateful night when Charlotte's brother discovered us in her garden. My blood still burns with the hatred that I felt for Alan Elbourne at that moment. His words to me were cruel; but what else could I have expected? Like most humans, his hatred for vampires runs deep. But it was the awful things that he said to Charlotte — to his own sister — that made me want to rip his throat out. I can still see my beloved's face — all the hurt and sadness — when her brother called her a whore. Even now, I still clench my fists in anger as I remember the pain in Charlotte's dark eyes as her brother berated her and looked at her like she was some filthy thing not fit to be touched. Although I made a vow to Charlotte that I would never hurt her brother, still I will find some way to make him suffer for what he has done to her. Alan Elbourne will pay for his outrage and arrogance — I swear it on my immortal soul!

Yet as hard as these weeks have been, there is one thing that has given me hope — one thing that has convinced me not to give up. For I have found a place for us — and someone who has offered to help us get there. Yes — it is true! Finally, after all my searching and hoping, I have found the haven that I promised Charlotte. Even now the final plans are being made and it will only be a short matter of time before my love and I can be together, safe from the ugliness and prejudice of this world — free to love and cherish one another as we were destined to.


Despite Alan Elbourne's warning, I did return to their house several times in an attempt to see Charlotte. My main objective was, of course, to make sure that she was alright and that her wretched brother had done nothing to harm her. But as much as I wanted to touch her and speak with her, I was just as content with a glimpse of her through the window.

How Charlotte's face haunted me — her luminous amber eyes, her sweet mouth, the curve of her jaw . . . how it all haunted me as I rested during the day or brooded away the night. To think that I might never see her face-to-face again . . . no — no I will not allow myself to even consider such a thing — I would willingly embrace the dawn than allow such a poisonous thought to take root in my mind. Charlotte and I will be together — in that sanctuary that I have found for us — I must believe that or else all is lost.

I began to leave small tokens for Charlotte on the sill of her bedroom window: a single peach-colored rose, a lily from her garden, one of the ribbons that I used to tie back my hair — anything that I thought would show her that I had not abandoned her and that I still loved her. It was only after the final arrangements for our travel had been made and accepted, did I attempt to actually communicate with her.

I had spent the better part of the night working on the letter that I planned to leave for Charlotte. In it I told her of my quest to find a place for us — free from the prejudice and hate that surrounded us, where we could be free to love each other. I told her of the response that I had received and the offer of help, and the arrangements that I had undertaken for our travel. But more importantly, I wanted to reassure her of my love and devotion — that although we were separated in body, our souls and hearts were still joined for all eternity. I wrote several versions of that letter, and it was only a few hours until daybreak before I was satisfied enough to fold up the cream-colored pages and seal them with wax.

Tucking the letter inside my coat, I hurriedly made my way to the Elbourne house.


Breathing deeply, I drank in the night. For the first time in so long, I felt an elation in my heart that I thought had been lost forever. When everything had looked bleakest — when I thought perhaps that I had lost Charlotte completely — I once again knew hope. An unknown hand, offered in friendship, had given me hope for a future with Charlotte — a future of love and passion in a haven just for the two of us.

I crouched in the darkness, my eyes fastened on Charlotte's bedroom window. Although it was late, there was a faint glow of candlelight through the panes. Was my love awake? Could she even now be waiting at the window for me? No — my keen vision could see nothing but the sheer panels that covered her window. Perhaps Charlotte had left the candle burning for me — I seemed to recall some old custom about a candle in the window, but the memory was too vague. Whatever the cause of the light, dawn was approaching and I was running out of time.

If you have never seen it for yourself, the power of a vampire is something to behold. The strength, the speed, the power to control human minds and the ability to alter our forms — all of this, and more, do we receive in exchange for the end of our mortal lives. These powers allowed me to exist in a world that hated me and wanted nothing more than to see me and my kind dead — they were my protection and sometimes, even my curse. But soon they would be a blessing, for they would help me take Charlotte away from here, to a place where we could be together at last.

With my enhanced abilities, I easily scaled the outside of Charlotte's house until I was at her window. Reaching into my coat, I took out the letter and looked down at it — my love's name written across the front in my old-fashioned, yet elegant hand. As I placed the letter on the windowsill, I suddenly realized how exposed it was — how the wind could blow it away or what if it rained before Charlotte found it? All of my hopes and dreams for a future with my beloved rested in those fragile pages and it was just too important to leave sitting on the sill.

As I thought about how I might secure the letter, I remembered the few nights that I had spent in Charlotte's bedroom with her. Once or twice I had opened her windows to the night air before we made love. If I recalled correctly, the lock on her window was not complicated; perhaps I could use my will to open it. Focusing my attention, I intently looked at the window and visualized the lock turning and the panes opening. It did not take much effort and after a few moments, I was rewarded when the glass parted before me and without a second thought I lightly jumped down to the floor of Charlotte's bedroom.

My gaze immediately went to the bed — but much to my surprise and dismay, it was empty. In fact the whole room seemed to have an abandoned feel to it. As my gaze traveled around the room, I saw that several things — pictures, the small carriage clock that sat on the table by the bed, even Charlotte's hairbrushes and combs — were missing. On impulse, I opened the doors of the large oak wardrobe against the wall only to find that it was empty. Moving to the chest of drawers on the other side of Charlotte's bed, I opened several drawers — but again, they were empty except for a few small items that had been easy to miss. My anxiety began to rise as I once again looked around the room. Where was Charlotte — what had her cursed brother done with her?

As my thoughts swirled around in my head, my eyes fell on the candle burning on the vanity table near the window. Why — why would there be a candle lit in an empty room? Had Charlotte left it for me — as a sign of some kind? Clenching the letter in my fist, I moved and sat down on the bed. What about the tokens that I had left for her — had she even received them? What if she were not even here? What if her wretched brother had taken her away? A low growl escaped from my throat at that thought. No — please not that . . . I would beg on my knees to the gods themselves not to let that be. Charlotte had to be here — the candle was proof of that.

She had to be here — in another room perhaps. No doubt Alan had thought that I might try to come for her and so he had made her change rooms. Yes, so simple — no need for me to be alarmed; I just had to find out which room it was. I would have to hurry, for although there was no clock from which to tell the time, I could feel the dawn approaching and I had perhaps an hour before I would have to leave and seek shelter. Rising from the bed, I had just turned back towards the window when the bedroom door opened.

I quickly spun around; "Char . . ." The words died in my throat as my eyes fell on the figure framed in the doorway.

"I warned you not to come back here — but I knew you wouldn't listen." Alan Elbourne regarded me with a cold, hateful look. "I won't let you have Charlotte . . . despite what you've done to her — what she allowed you to do to her — she's still my sister and I won't let you have her." He moved a little further into the room. "Coming here was the stupidest thing you could have done, Link."

Although Alan held no visible weapons in his hands, I had no doubts that he was armed — armed and ready to strike me down given the opportunity. But if he thought to scare me — to make me cower — he was gravely mistaken. For it was not fear that welled in me, it was hate — hate and anger. The hate that had burned in me since that night he had discovered Charlotte and I together. The hate at what he had said and done to the sister that he now purported to protect from me. The arrogance of the man — as if I had anything to fear from him.

"Brave words for a fool," I spat out at him. "Where is she — where is Charlotte? What have you done with her?"

"My sister is no longer any concern of yours — do you hear me? Charlotte is somewhere safe — safe from monsters like you." Alan's hand slipped around his back and just as I knew he would, he pulled out a pistol and aimed it at me. "I'm going to make sure you can't get your filthy claws back into her — or anyone else for that matter."

I wanted to laugh at him, but instead I gave him a slow smile. "Your paltry little gun cannot kill me."

"No, but I'm sure I can hurt you pretty good-- the bullets are pure silver, dipped in holy water. After that, well it's only a small matter of finding your filthy little crypt and finishing you off for good."

Crypt — was the man an idiot? Apparently Charlotte's brother did not know that much about my kind — his knowledge seemed to be based on old legends and wives' tales. I did not lair in a crypt, for I had a house — a secret to everyone by my servants and I — that served as my residence and sanctuary. For all that I am named a monster I still enjoyed the mortal comforts of a chair in front of a blazing fire, to bath in hot water, and to read at my leisure. I was more civilized than many humans who thought themselves far above me. I did however possess a casket that I rested in during the day — for it was more secure than any locked door or shuttered window. But there were times when I longed for the enjoyment of a nice comfortable bed and did occasionally sleep the day away in an opulent bedchamber.

I will admit that he was correct in one thing however, the bullets would injure me — and the holy water would make it just that much worse. True, he probably could not kill me, but he would be able to weaken me considerably so that I would be easy prey for a hunter. Damn him — I had to get out of there. I could feel the dawn getting closer and knew that I was almost out of time.

The chance to give Charlotte my letter had been lost, but there was still one thing that I had to know before I departed. "What have you done with Charlotte? Is she alright? Please, I will beg you if I must . . . just tell me that she is alright."

Alan seemed genuinely startled by the abrupt change in the conversation and in my manner — so much so, that he actually answered my question. "She's alright . . . but she cries a lot — like when our mother passed away." The coldness returned to his eyes, "She cries over you — how she loves you! Why? Why couldn't you have left her alone? Why did you have to pick her?" Alan's voice broke and for the first time I glimpsed the vulnerable man that he tried to hide behind his arrogant exterior.

For some reason that I still cannot explain, at that moment I felt a strange kinship with Alan Elbourne. Perhaps it was our mutual love and concern for Charlotte that brought it about, I don't know — it is still very puzzling to me. "I love your sister, Mr. Elbourne. I know you don't believe it — but it is true. Charlotte is like the sun to me — she is warmth and beauty, all the things that I can never have . . ."

"Don't — don't say it . . . I don't want to hear this . . ."

"Why? Is it so hard for you to believe that your sister could love someone like me? You know Charlotte — you know how gentle and giving she is — how she sees with her heart. She looked past what I am to see who I was. Even I still don't believe that she could love me — sometimes I think it is all a dream. I love Charlotte — with everything that I am. I would never hurt her . . ."

"Liar!" Alan yelled as he waved the pistol at me. "You've hurt her just by knowing her. You've changed her — ruined her. You forced yourself on her and ruined her . . . and what was next, huh? Were you going to turn her into a monster like you? I'll kill her myself before I let you do that to her. I won't let my sister be your vampire whore . . ."

A growl escaped from my throat and I took a step in his direction, "Don't you dare — don't you dare call her that!" My anger radiated out into the room and I saw Alan take a step back. "You would say such a thing about your own sister? You don't deserve to be called her brother — a brother would never do to a sister what you have done to Charlotte."

Alan's eyes narrowed, "What would you know about being a brother — about family?" he spat out at me.

"I know that Charlotte loves you — you and your father. I don't think you know how difficult it was for her when your father was taken ill — how burdened her shoulders were. This has all been so hard for her — how torn she is — she loves her family and she loves me too . . ."

"My sister doesn't love you! Stop saying that! You've bewitched her — made her think that she's in love with you."

"You don't really believe that, Mr. Elbourne. That's why you hate me so much — because you know that Charlotte really does love me, just as much as I love her."

"You can't love her — you're a monster, a thing without a heart! You don't know what love is!"

"Perhaps I didn't always know what love was, but Charlotte showed me — she taught me what it meant to love someone . . ."

"I don't want to hear anymore of your filthy lies!" Alan straightened his arm and trained the pistol back at me. "I'm going to kill you — I won't let you have my sister!"

"Alan — NO!" Charlotte stood in the doorway behind her brother, her eyes wide with fear. As Alan turned to face her, she brushed passed him and hurried to the middle of the room so that she stood between the two of us.

"Charlotte get out of here, now — go back to your room." Alan's tone was harsh and I could see the anger in his face.

"I won't let you hurt Meier . . ."

"Damn it Charlotte — why won't you listen to me? You don't know what you're saying — he's a monster — he put a spell on you . . . why can't you wake up and see that?"

"Stop it Alan — stop it! I love Meier . . . he's done nothing to hurt me. Please believe me . . ." As she spoke, Charlotte slowly stepped backwards until she was only inches away from me — I could have reached out my hand touched her; and oh, how I wanted to do just that. It took every ounce of will that I possessed not to take her up in my arms and carry her away. It had been so long since I had held her in the circle of my embrace and kissed her — so long since I had touched her and been touched by her. My very soul seemed to cry out and I felt a deep ache in my chest — Charlotte, my sweet beautiful love, was so close and yet still so far away.

As if sensing my thoughts, Charlotte reached back and gently touched my hand. Her touch sent a jolt through my body and I bit down the groan that threatened to escape from my throat. Thinking quickly, I pressed my letter into her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"Charlotte," I said softly to her; "I do not have much time my love . . . I wanted to see you — to see that you were alright." My eyes still on Alan Elbourne, I moved a little closer, whispering in her ear. "Have hope, my love — we will be together soon. Our sanctuary has been found." I squeezed her hand once more and stepped back.

Alan's eyes bore into me, no doubt wondering what I had whispered to his sister. As I moved back from Charlotte, he once again trained his pistol on me. "Don't move another step — I'm warning you."

Charlotte put her hand out towards her brother. "No Alan — let him go . . . please, for my sake, let him go." She turned to look at me and I could see the wetness of tears in her beautiful eyes. "You have to go Meier — it's almost dawn."

I looked at her, my feelings torn — the pale light of dawn was slowing pushing back the twilight and soon I would be trapped if I did not leave. Yet how could I leave Charlotte behind? How could I leave my love to the mercy of her brother? If only I had more time I would take her with me, Alan Elbourne be hanged! But I had no way to transport Charlotte to my residence and I could not take her with me in the mode that I needed to travel to reach safety before the dawn broke.

Damn the world — why was it so against us? What did Charlotte and I ever do to deserve such heartache and disappointment? Was it because we dared to defy the dictates of what was acceptable — because we dared to love one another?

"Charlotte . . .," my voice sounded hoarse.

"Please my love, you must go — I'll be alright." Her voice pleaded with me. Charlotte quickly looked in her brother's direction, but Alan had dropped the gun to his side and stood glaring at me as if his very stare could strike me down.

I quickly went back to the open window. As I stood on the ledge, I turned and looked at my love one last time before departing. "I will come back for you."

I watched her swallow back her tears and there was such sadness on her face and in her voice that it made me want to weep. "I love you." Charlotte gave me a small, sad smile.

"Just as I love you Charlotte Elbourne — never forget that. You are my heart and soul." Giving her brother one last dark look, I stepped off the ledge and was soon gliding through the pre-dawn; my heart aching and my anger barely contained.


As I made my way home, I knew that the time had finally come. Charlotte and I had to leave — and soon — for Alan would no longer allow himself to be put off by his sister's pleas; I had seen the truth in his eyes. The next time that we encountered one another, one of us would die. Yet I had given Charlotte my pledge, and I would not break my word to her; but I was not ready for it to be me.

I settled back against the pale satin lining of my casket and closed my eyes. I pictured Charlotte in my mind's eye — not sad and teary-eyed as I had seen her just a short time ago; but shy and smiling as she had been that first night that we had made love. As sleep started to fall over me, I once again replayed that sweet and magical night in my mind; and I silently pledged to myself that I would do everything in my power to make the rest of our nights together just as beautiful.

Chapter 12
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