smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Carmella

1870

Greta Matska is dead, and I am once again homeless. I must flee Styria, and perhaps even quit the continent entirely. The New World beckons, and I doubt that even Vordenburg will find me there.

I will go to Spain, perhaps, and from there find passage to the New World.

O my darling Laura. Forgive me.

 

1875

Vordenburg is here! I saw him at the port with his attack dog Luther, the General Spielsdorf. I fear that Esperanza has betrayed me. I should never have let her know what I truly am. I have booked the first passage out of Mexico on one of the old galleons. Arnaldo will travel with me to ensure … my safety.

 

1890

Arnaldo is dying, but he has served me well. When we arrived in Manila, he took pains to establish me as my own daughter and he has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. I have many times considered giving him the gift, but as many times have I decided against it. 

His son Matteo – begot from a native – is stepping into his father’s shoes quite admirably. Everyday, he sings native songs to me and teaches me their tongue. And his friend, Leandra is beautiful, as far as these natives go. She is tall for her age, coming up almost to my eyes. Her brown skin radiates a glow as though it had soaked up the sun during the day only to shine it back to me at night. 

 

August 1892

Arnaldo Matteo has been very evasive lately, eversince I took his friend Leandra to my chamber. He refuses to look me in the eyes, and under his breath he mutters. Tonight, I will learn the truth.

The other servants tell me that Matteo has taken up with some scoundrels – rebels seeking the overthrow of the colonial government. If true, this portends much difficulty for my … unique circumstances.

Tonight, I will learn the truth.

16 September 1892

Arnaldo was surprised to see me walking down Azcarrage with Andres. He suspects that I now know the truth. 

Matteo was surprised to see me walking down Azcarraga with Andres. Our eyes met as we crossed each other’s path. And though he did not give any sign of recognition that others might notice, I was aware of his eyes on me even after we had passed by.

He must know now that I am aware of his other nocturnal activities. Rightfully he believes that, walking arm in arm with the one they call the Supremo only means that I have opened doors to many secrets. Including his own.

20 September 1892

Andres is delightful! He is intelligent and witty and truly enamored with the idea of severing all ties with Spain! I convinced him to let me become his shadow minister just as easily as I convinced him to use blood in the signing of their memberships. He is a Mason, he says, and perhaps he knows intuitively what I am but he has not said a word.

He also continues to defend me against Ramon Basa. Basa feels that the initiation rites are far too esoteric and he rightly ascribes them to my influence. He fears me, I think.  

These two will butt heads soon.


1894

Arnaldo Matteo is dead. By my hand. He was going to Basa to reveal all he knew about me. I took him out by the stables and drained his blood. I feel it coursing through me still. Unfortunately, a platoon of the Civil Guards happened by and I did not have a chance to break his back to make it look like he’d been trampled by the horses, but the bruises and wounds I inflicted still managed to convince the doctor. They bury him tonight.

Leandra – who has long forgotten her dalliances with Matteo – remains faithful, but she is jealous of Andres. She thinks the Supremo is a lover. I may have to deal with her soon as well, although it breaks my heart to even entertain such thoughts.

 

1895

Andres speaks of Jose Rizal as though the man were a god. I have told him many times not to involve Rizal in the Katipunan, but still he insists. They have plans to send an emissary. I fear the worst.

 

May 1896

Andres is very angry. He has not stopped pacing for the last three hours. The sun is almost up. Rizal rejected their overtures as I told them he would. The man is too much of a Spaniard to advocate armed revolution. 

 

June 1896

Arnaldo Matteo lives! I can feel his hatred in my mind. I do not know how, but he does. I may have left too much blood in him and … perhaps. In any case, he is new yet to the world of vampyr. He will still not know how to use all his abilities. Still, I must find him soon.

 

July 1896

The ritual was a success! I have taken the seed of my womb and, using the methods detailed in Hesselius’ grimmoire, implanted it into Leandra. My darling Laura, we shall finally have the child we wanted! It is fortunate that Andres thinks Leandra to be very attractive. More than once, I have felt his blood stir at the very nearness of my servant. Leandra’s heart too beats for the Supremo. I don’t know when that happened as she still responds to my advances with the same hot blood. 

TOnight, Andres will take her while I go in search of Arnaldo Matteo. 

 

August 1896

Too soon, I told him. But Andres never listens. Tonight, he gave instructions to Teodoro Patinio to reveal the Katipunan to his sister, Honoria, knowing full well that Honoria would reveal the secret to her confessor. Revolution is coming. I have sent Leandra to Del Pilar’s hometown. She is pregnant though she does not know it yet. Her daughter will have my fair skin and, if Hesselius was right, some of my gift as well. 

Although I hope for my daughter’s sake, Hesselius was wrong. 

The search for Arnaldo does not go well. I have been to the outlying provinces and I have heard tales of a marauder. It is him, I know it. Everyday, his presence in my mind grows.

 

September 1896

The arrests continue. Rizal has been arrested and I fear he will be dead before the year turns. As may I.

Tonight, I woke up to find all the servants murdered in their beds. Their throats ripped open. Arnaldo is here, but I doubt he has yet breached my sanctum. I’ve no doubt he expected to walk in here unchallenged, but he will have surprises waiting for him. 

If only he were Vordenburg – mortal and easy to evade. I have never fought one of my kind before, and I imagine I never will. 

The first fires have started. I pray Andres does not fail me and that he finds this and someday returns it to Leandra. 

Laura, my love, I am coming.

 

 

Mircalla, Countess Karnstein

(Also known as Carmilla and, in the New World, Carmella.)

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