Antonio meets a mysterious stranger named Mestiphles who promises to give his family immortality....
For Flying Servants Only.....
The Vampire Family by Kristin Battestella
“Ye sharpen that old ax,” Antonio’s father dragged him out of bed. He pulled Antonio outside and shoved him up the jagged hill. There he left the young Welshire to grind away on the rocks. “Ye stay there till supper and then I says if you can eat.”
Sunset came, and Antonio’s father stumbled back up the hill. Antonio watched the large bull block out the waxing sun. The elder grabbed him and shoved Antonio down the hill. The wind picked up and dark clouds blew over the rising moon. Rain poured down and the ground quickly became soggy and muddy.
Two young girls ran from the wet fields. The rain poured down on the fair Ann, but she pushed the sheep into the barn. Elizabeth pulled the workhorse up the hill, and her wet dark hair flung in her face. Ann came to assist her sister, but even together, the adopted orphans were not strong enough to pull the horse and plow up the slushy hill.
Antonio saw Ann and Elizabeth wrestling below with the horse.
“Father!“ He tried to tell him, but the ax responded. Thunder and lightning crackled, and the workhorse stomped in the mud. He reared and the leather bridal snapped.
The horse and plow rolled down the hill. Horse then plow. Plow then horse. The plow landed on the soggy ground then the horse landed with a thud. Dead as the plow was useless.
The Welshire Patriarch raced down the hill and tromped over to Ann and Elizabeth. He grabbed Elizabeth, and Ann ran to the house. The angry Father threw Elizabeth down the hill. Her little body rolled and bounced down the and landed on the horse. Her legs bent in an unnatural, broken shape.
Ann ran towards the house as quick as her small legs and the natural circumstances would allow. Another bolt of thunder rumbled in the sky. Lightning followed and pricked the thatched roof of the stone home. Ann turned towards the barn, but Antonio’s father was on her tracks. The elder Welshire grabbed the golden-haired child by those wet and sun-tipped strands. He drug her back to the hill’s crest.
Antonio watched from the top of the hill. He looked at his sharpening stone, and heard Ann’s screams. Antonio leaped to his feet. His agile legs moved down the hill and passed the smoking home. His muscular hands touched his father’s evil body and sixteen years of anger and frustration and pain helped Antonio push his father down the hill. The muddy hillside sank as Antonio’s father rolled down the hill. The ax on his side ripped from its leather tie and dropped in the mud. Antonio spotted the shinny ax tip in the ground and raced towards it. The father fell into the mud and Antonio was over him with the ax. The elder Welshire tried to move from the danger, but he was a turtle overturned onto its shell.
Antonio raised the ax over his head and braced it with both hands. He let the ax come down and meet his father’s flesh.
Antonio sat on the edge of the bed. He felt Elizabeth’s sweaty forehead and reached into the bucket of cool water by the bed. He pulled out a wet rag and rang it over the bucket. Antonio applied the damp rag on Elizabeth’s face.
“You may come in, Ann,” Antonio called. Ann peeked around the sheepskin curtain that divided the house into two rooms. Ann stepped into the space reserved by the curtain. Antonio continued to apply the wet rag. “Today we will repair the roof, and I will take care of mother.”
Ann untied Mother Welshire’s horse from the outside post. She opened the basket on the horse and pulled out various coins and currency.
“I will take those,” Antonio stood in the doorway. He stepped over, took the coins, and dropped them one at a time into the pouch on his belt. Ann’s eyes widened at the ax hanging next to the pouch, but she led the horse to the barn. Antonio paid Ann no mind and set off to find his mother.
*Probably mourning by that tiny body. Tiny now! I can’t believe she fell for that robbers story! Pathetic!*
Antonio reached the slope, and his hypothesis was correct. He took his time getting to the woman.
I can take my time. She only has so much time. When Elizabeth no longer needs her…
Antonio reached his mother. She hovered over the bloody face and kissed her husband’s lips.
“Mother,” Antonio shook his thoughts away. The brunette wiped tears from her eyes, stood, and straightened her long dress. The Welshire Matriarch opened her arms and embraced her son. Antonio tried to resist, then he broke the hug. “Come, Mother.”
Antonio sat up in his bed. He heard screaming, and Ann burst into the house. Antonio tried to make sense of what she was saying.
“The frost came! The frost came early and killed all my crops!” Ann clutched some dead crops in her hands. She thrust the crops in his face.
Antonio stood outside the back window of the stone home and let snow pile up to his knees, but Mother Welshire sat inside by the fire. Antonio loaded a stone into his slingshot, pulled back, then released the weapon. The jagged stone hit the mother in the back of the head, and she tumbled to the floor.
Antonio climbed in the window and walked to the main door. He opened it and shoved the body out into the snow. Ann and Elizabeth stood in silence while Antonio kicked at the body to knock it completely outside. He shut the door, locked the cold metal latch, and gave no explanation to Ann or Elizabeth.
Mother Welshire woke in the snow. She sat up and touched the back of her head. Both her hand and the snow around her were stained with drips of blood. Mother Welshire panicked. She stumbled to her feet and knocked on the door, “Elizabeth, let me in.”
The three children raised their heads. at the outside hail.
“Do not move,” Antonio ordered. “It is for the best.”
“Ann,” The mother banged on the door. The urgency in her voice grew.
“Please let me in!”
Snowflakes fell fast and quickly raised the height of the wintry blanket across the land. Mother Welshire pounded on the door with equal velocity.
*Antonio tricked me. I suspect he was behind his father’s death, too. *
“Ann! Elizabeth!“ She banged against the wood again.
*No! Antonio is only trying to scare me. A game! What a sick game! I feel so dizzy! I knew he was evil.*
The woman collapsed against the door and sobbed, “Why won’t you let me in?” She smacked the door in vain. “What did I do? I didn’t do anything wrong! Why are you doing this to me?”
Ann jumped up and reached for the latch, but Antonio grabbed her arm.
“No. Unless you want to join her.”
Mother Welshire rattled on the door, and her fingers bled. The vessels in her hands popped from impact and the cold. Mother Welshire tried to stand on her own.
*Maybe a window? The barn! *
The rising snow and her freezing limbs thwarted Mother Welshire’s efforts, and she tumbled to the icy ground. The young girls heard their adopted mother’s cries for a few more hours and then slowly there was silence. Even the snow stopped, and Ann insisted that they open the door.
“She is dead, Antonio. Let’s not leave her out there.”
“I’m leaving her there to be sure,” Antonio warmed his hands by the fire, and Ann gave up the feeble plea.
The sun rose and Elizabeth woke in the pile of sheepskins by the fire. Antonio slept soundly in his own huddle, and Ann was piled nearby. Elizabeth stretched and rubbed her eyes. Quickly she remembered the horrifying events belonging to last night and slouched grimly.
Elizabeth slid out of the makeshift bed and took a few sheepskins with her to the door. Her stride was awkward. Elizabeth had a limp forever to be there as a result of her injuries. She reached for the latch and slid the bolt carefully, but It squeaked a little. Elizabeth looked to the floor of sheepskins. Antonio stirred, but did not wake. Elizabeth grasped the handle and slowly opened the door.
Mother Welshire stood frozen in the snow. Her arms were up in the air, and her fists were clenched in their banging position. Frozen blood lined her arms and the collar of the sheepskin. Mother Welshire’s eyes were open. The blue irises were now and forever to be glazed over with a white frost. Forever now was her mouth to be open, too. Her tongue was captured midway between the chapped lips and saliva dangled like icicles from the yellow teeth.
Elizabeth opened her mouth to scream, but a strong hand cupped her mouth shut. Antonio whispered in her ear, “Ann is still sleeping.”
He removed his hand, and Elizabeth looked into Antonio’s cold blue eyes. He forced an uncomforting smile, and Elizabeth was captivated by the opal-colored eyes.
*They are so mysterious. Deceptive? Frightening! *
Antonio forever shut the door on his mother and returned to the fire.
Chapters 2 and 3 are also posted at For Flying Servants Only!
The First 3 completed chapters are available at the Kristin Battestella Yahoo Group!
Visit http://jsnouff.com/kristin for a complete list of press, interviews, and reviews!