I really enjoy writing from two points of view, especially when the characters are as diverse as Ellie and Will. Ellie is a modern young woman at ease with the 21st century and its technology. Will, however, is a product of the 17th and 18th centuries, and although he’s ‘lived’ a long time and seen many changes, there are some things he isn’t keen to embrace. (Like mobile phones for example – he has a real problem with those). He can drive a car, but ‘chooses not to’, preferring instead to be driven by Luke or to take a cab. It must be the ‘Duke’ coming out in him, even after three centuries.
There would have to be times when Will, much as he adores Ellie, would want to be on his own. He would need to be somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of modern life – somewhere quiet and peaceful. Where better than Highgate Cemetery? Then I wondered what he might be thinking as he walked around the mausoleums and graves late at night. Would his thoughts be serious or romantic? Possibly reminiscent? I’d like to share them with you …
THOUGHTS FROM A VAMPIRE
The Circle of Lebanon is a favourite ‘haunt’ of mine. I say this, tongue firmly in cheek, because of course a vampire must haunt as surely a ghost must haunt? How I love the peace and solitude of this place at night. The circle of vaults and mausoleums that were dug into the hillside decades ago, stand in their brooding silence, defying mere mortals to encroach their peace. The huge Cedar of Lebanon that gives the Circle its name, towers above the mausoleums, sheltering them – I like to think – from the worst of the elements.
Highgate is where I have lived for more than two centuries, not as some would suppose, actually in the famous Cemetery, but in a fine Georgian mansion. Popular fiction and films always like to have vampires living in mouldering coffins in dusty cobwebbed mausoleums. Personally, I enjoy the finer things in life; comfortable living, expensive wine, a good malt Scotch and the love of a beautiful woman. Although I have to admit this particular beautiful woman has very nearly been my downfall on a couple of occasions. Elinor. The love of my life. Or should that be death? I am never sure.
Unsurprisingly, Elinor’s arrival caused a lot of anger and jealousy at the time. My own maker, Khiara, arrived with a grisly assortment of … back-up … I believe is the correct term. Things did get ugly for a while. Things always get ugly when Khiara is around. Life returned to a semblance of normality once she left. Or more correctly, was advised to leave. Some of her minions did not survive the trip and, unfortunately for them, never did make it back to Italy.
Elinor and I often take a walk in the cemetery late at night. It was one of the first places we visited when she was a new, and very frightened, fledgling vampire. She very quickly developed an affinity with the place, and it has since become our solace in a city teeming with life and noise.
Elinor still has an aversion to feeding in the time-honoured way of the vampire. She simply cannot feed from a person. I respect her decision, although it does amuse me. So I hunt and feed alone. This walk around the cemetery can be thought of as my ‘after dinner stroll’ and is the reason I am alone. Sometimes I need solitude. Almost certainly that is a male desire – not necessarily a vampire one. Three hundred years-plus makes one a little selfish, and I need to separate myself from the madness of the twenty-first century sometimes.
Elinor appeared content to soak in a bath with more bubbles than I have ever seen, reading a favourite paperback. I doubt she will miss me for a while. Not until the water is cold at least. Although temperatures mean little to us, soaking in hot water is still preferable. Thinking of Elinor makes me smile. Thinking of Elinor naked makes me want to return home with all swiftness.
I sit on a convenient grave and listen to the sounds of the night. Even that phrase partially echoes the infamous Mr Stoker’s ‘children of the night’ quote. No wolves here of course, unless you count Stevie. I light a cigarette and watch the plume of smoke curl upwards and disappear into the night. It would be amusing if someone called the fire brigade thinking the cemetery to be on fire. Possibly not very amusing for me, should I need to explain my presence.
A bat swoops nearby, and I smile again, thinking of Elinor’s question over a year ago. ‘Can we turn into bats?’ She had asked me. I shuddered and said absolutely not. I think perhaps she felt a little disappointed that we could not. The thought to me, is quite repellent.
I finish my cigarette and stand up. Hopefully Elinor should be out of the bath by now. She wants to go to my club, Dusk, tonight, so that is exactly what we will do. Whatever my lady desires …
You can follow Will on Twitter @austen_will
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If you enjoyed reading about Will, why not try Berni’s books, where you can read much more about him!