25.11.2012 - Annabell Riley
Totally made up, the Ireland scenes are more or less real, don't think the castle actually exists though.
Two Weeks Into Hell
It was early summer when I joined a backpacking trip through Ireland. At the beginning everyone was just for them selves, but within the three weeks, we became something like friends. At least I thought so. Hiking was one of my most favourite hobbies, along with sight seeing, dancing, exploring and cooking.
Our group consisted of about twenty people, thirteen girls and eight guys, all in the age between nineteen and twenty-nine and coming from all different kinds of backgrounds, and everyone with their own story.
Day One of our trip, after a two day getting-to-know-each-other-meeting, was very exciting for we packed our things together and left first thing after breakfast in the hostel the company had booked in advance. We had maps, routes, sights and leaflets with information about the different places. They even gave us a few numbers of locals we could contact if we got lost or if the weather changed.
Day one of our trip started in Dublin itself. We walked to all the sights like the Book of Kells in the Trinity College, split up into groups to explore different things.
The Irish seemed to be friendly and helpful people, showing us the right places to see on the map and telling us places we had to see. In our rooms we fell into our creaking beds, at least I fell asleep almost immediately.
After two days we had spent in Dublin City, exploring the capital city of Ireland, we went off to our next goal, the Newgrange burial grounds, the Brú na Bóinne. It is said that these graves go back about 5000 years in history, only accessible through the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. Since it was summer we arrived early in the morning, planning in lots of time for cueing in front of the centre. It seemed like ages until we were able to enter the visitor centre and have a look at all the things in there. After the visitor centre we even got to spend a few hours in the grave chambers! Everything was so impressive and when I asked the staff about the neighbouring Knowth, which is said to be about 500 years older than Newgrange, they told me about archaeologists exploring the area even further. I was not sure if they told me that we were or were not able to go in and see at least a part of it though…
Day four of our tour started with a bus tour from our hostel in Dublin to Athlone and with a boat southwards on the river Shannon. It was a really fascinating sight as we approached the ruins of Clonmacnoise Cathedral. From afar could we see the hill, the stone walls, and the ruins of the cathedral itself!
The castle had been built in the 13th century, shortly after followed by the two round towers of the cathedral. Our tour through the ruins was so stuffed with information that I was hardly able to remember a single word our guide had said.
We stayed in a hostel in Athlone, and went to County Tipperary the next morning, heading to the “Rock of Cashel”, built in 1235, rebuilt in 1495 after duke Gerald of Kildare had tried to burn it down. After the tour and a movie about the history of the castle, we had some time to go off and explore our selves, so I went to see the Cormac’s Chapel, said to be about 100 years older than the cathedral itself, with Madison, Sophie and Garrett. Legend tells that St. Patrick baptised the King of Munster in the 5th century.
“I mean, I love history, but this is just too much information, don’t you think, Annabell?” Sophie, who studied history in London, asked as we went for dinner in the “Brú Ború”, a restaurant below the car park of the Rock of Cashel. “But for a subject like the history of a castle and a country there can’t be enough information!” Garrett said, “A lot of the things we have heard so far, I’d read about them before for my courses!” Garrett studied Irish History in Galway, so this was his subject anyway.
Day six led us to the city of Limerick, where we would stay for the next night. I had my first SD card filled with pictures of Ireland already, luckily I had a few more, and with a bigger capacity as well. I had been told that Ireland was beautiful, and I had seen it myself a few years back, but seeing all these new things was just so beautiful and capturing.
In Limerick we first dropped our things at the hostel and went of to explore the city, the sights and the university. Garrett, Sophie and Joseph, a student from Israel, studying arts, joined me and I was glad to get along so well with them. Our cultural mix must have been interesting anyway. It was like a global tour, united in our sight seeing tour through the beautiful Ireland.
After lunch we met up with our group to get a guided tour through the Bunratty Castle and the joined open air museum, exploring the country life of the 19th century. At half past five we got to join a medieval banquet and listened to the Bunratty Singers. A cultural experience as our guide had said.
Later we had time to go out, experience the Irish nightlife and club scene. Garrett, Joseph, Madison, Sophie and the others from our group went to a night club, drinking and laughing, enjoying life and our youth. On our seventh day we had some more time to explore Limerick and see some more sights like the King John’s Castle, the St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Hunt Museum.
On the morning of the eights day our journey brought us to County Clare, to a place called the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. Our bus stopped in front of a visitor centre, well almost, and we walked along the eight kilometre long cliffs to the end of the Hag’s Head as it was called. On the way we stopped at a place with lots of stones piled up into tall buildings, wishing piles as I heard someone say. People would put a stone for each of their wishes onto the piles, wishing for them to come true. For all tourists coming to Ireland I can only recommend to go and see the Cliffs of Moher, it is worth every metre you walk!
Time is a funny thing. Our way to the Hags Head seemed to take forever, stopping, taking pictures, enjoying the view, watching the seagulls fly to their nests and back to the water and walking on took so much time, so the way back seemed to be much shorter. Back at the visitor centre we had a look at the museum, watched a movie about the landscape, watching a bird fly, a fish dive and a seal swim through the waves and checked out the souvenir shops in the little caves in front of the centre, towards the car park. It looked like the houses in the lord of the rings, the hobbit houses!
After a stop at a pub in Doolin, we went to our hotel, some of our group went to the pub again, but I was too tired to walk through the town again. Instead I pulled out my notepad and wrote down a few notes for an article for university. After all some of the reasons for this trip were the inspiration and some assignments about places-to-see for my journalism courses.
Day nine of our trip brought us to the Burren itself. It wasn’t too far from Doolin and a fascinating sight for us tourists. We had been used to the mainly green landscape, sometimes getting more into orange, brown shades, but here, at the Burren National Park it was the exact opposite! Cold and bare rock areas, only little plants had been able to fight their way through, but it was really impressive. I felt the stone, took pictures of the flowers, stones and people, before we turned to the only accessible cave, the Aillwee Cave and got a tour through. 1650 acre of stony ground, lots of caves and only little plants remained. Archaeologists must love this place!
The next day was very exciting for we had to get into a plane to get to the Aran Islands, walking all day around the thirteen kilometres long and up to three kilometre wide Inishmore Island which was an extension to the Burren, covered with water and land in between, but the same rock, the same types of plants. The eleventh and twelfth days of our trip was up to us what to do. We were in Galway City, exploring the exquisite pubs and clubs and Garrett showed us everything you had to see in his city, even the university. To be honest, I loved Galway! The variety of shops, the colours of the houses and all the people coming over to see everything!
I’d been in Ireland for two weeks now, enjoying the life in Ireland, the weather, the people, the people in our group and just the change from studying. Maybe I should take a year and study in Ireland for a semester?
“Hey there Georgia!” Garrett said as he approached the railing on the roof of our hostel in Galway, “How are things up here?” I have no idea why, but Garrett had always called me Georgia, after the state I came from, instead of my real name. “Good.” I said and smiled, “It is so peaceful up here, a total contrast to the world down there!”
“How do you like Ireland so far?” he asked and leaned against the railing beside me. “It is green. Not only the colour, but also the way they think. They have green schools, green committee’s we don’t have that back in Georgia. Or at least not as normal as here, Ireland seems so fixed on the idea that we can change the world by energy saving, natural resources and everything.” I said and chuckled, “If everyone would do that it might work, but like this it is mainly only Ireland. A drop of water on a hot stone!”
Garrett smiled, “True… we are trying to do our best to save the world and our economy, but I have to say it really is only a drop of water on a really hot stone!”
“Tell me, Garrett!” I said and turned to him, “You already know so much about all those sights here in Ireland. Why are you doing this tour, bothering with this crappy guide?” “They told me there’d be cute girls on the tour!” he said and smiled at me. “Does that really work on girls here?” I asked and shook my head. “It does from time to time!” he said and laughed, “I chose to do the tour because I wanted to see the places I was learning about with my own eyes. What about you? You’re a far way from home, Georgia!” “Change, inspiration and for the fun of it I guess,” I said and looked over Galway again, “Back in Georgia, I don’t have any of this. I guess it’s like everything in America, people are busy and wild. Have you ever been in New York?”
Garrett shook his head and looked at me as I continued, “During the day, everyone runs around, phones in their hands and racing to their next meeting or appointment. In the night everyone runs to the next bar or club to get really badly drunk. I’ve been there for my first semester, before I changed back home to Georgia. It is just too much of everything. Here, everyone has time, time to smile, time to care, time to chat and time to live.”
“Probably you’re right.” Garrett said and turned to me again, standing more or less right in front of me now. I turned my head to him, looking up into his face. “What’s your favourite part about this trip?” he asked, leaning sideways against the rail. “Meeting new people and one of our last stops I guess. I’ve heard so much about the Giant’s Causeway, and I really want to go there. I’ve been down in Cork before, checking out the university and a bit of sight seeing towards West Cork, so I knew what to expect about the language barrier!” I said and blushed.
“You’re American!” Garrett said laughing, “We both speak English!” “I know, I know!” I protested, “But the Irish speak funny. You’d probably say the same about us American!” “True…” he said, bending down towards me a little more, “Did anyone ever tell you how pretty you look?” I blushed even more, but before I was able to say anything, Madison stormed onto the terrace, “There you are! We’ve been looking for you!” Without bothering about the scene she’d walked into, she stopped beside us, smiling innocently, “We’re all going to the clubs, come on Garrett, you have to show us around!” “Ehm… I guess I could…” he said, “You coming, Annabell?” “Sure…” I said with red cheeks and followed the two of them down to the street, not even realising that he had said my real name.
I knew Madison liked Garrett and now I knew that he liked me… Damn it! How should I be a good friend to Madison, while Garrett liked me instead of her?
I sighed in frustration and shook my head. Just because he liked me, didn’t mean I had to like him too! I could still be a good friend to Madison, my friend from New York. At least that’s what I thought. In the club I changed my mind a little. It would be very hard to stay friends with Maddie! Garrett was chatting with her once in a while, but when he decided to go dancing, he pulled me to the dance floor, despite my protests. The Asian man with the short black hair was just too strong. And to ease the bouncers that were watching us already, I stopped protesting and send an apologetic glance over to Maddie.
“Come on, Georgia, relax, I thought you are American, and you can’t even dance?” Garrett teased and danced around me. “Don’t ever say I couldn’t dance!” I said crossly and joined the dance. I could feel Madison’s angry glare on my back, so I tried to dance away from Garrett, but he followed. “I need to go!” I said as my back had reached the wall. “Why?” he asked disappointed and held my shoulder, “We only just arrived!”
“I… I still have to write an article about… Ireland… about this trip…” I said quickly and turned around, freeing my shoulder and walked over to the exit. Before Garrett could follow, Maddie had seen her chance and pulled him back to the dance floor, “Leave her, if she prefers working, we can’t help her.”
With a sigh I walked back to our hostel and into the room I shared with Maddie, Sophie and Kerrie, a girl from Scotland. The others were all out at the bars and clubs. Maybe I should really work on my article.
Luckily the thirteenth day with our departure came soon enough and the bus made it possible for me to avoid Garrett a little. And Madison!
Instead I joined Kerrie’s group in the bus and for the long drive up to county Antrim. I ignored the glares I earned from Maddie and the way Garrett looked at me and looked forward to our trip to the Giant’s Causeway, one of the sights in Northern Ireland that I’d been dying to go to.
Legend says that many years ago, there were giants living in Ireland and Scotland and other countries too. In the legend about the Giant’s Causeway, it is said that Fionn was the strongest and most powerful giant in all of Ireland.
In Scotland there was a giant just like him. He was the tallest, strongest and most powerful in all of Scotland. Angus as he was called sent a messenger to Fionn to challenge him. While both of them prepared for the fight, building a causeway between the two islands, Una, Fionn’s wife, heard disturbing news about Angus being even taller than Fionn himself. So they started to think about a plan to succeed against Angus in any way possible. But no matter what they couldn’t think of anything that would work for sure. Then Una had an idea and started to knit and sew.
The day Angus arrived, she told Fionn to put on the dress she had made, a little hood and woolly boots and lie down into a cradle a carpenter had made especially for them. Fionn looked just like a baby in the robe and in the cradle and that was Una’s plan.
Angus arrived and roared that Fionn should show himself to fight. Una asked him to come in, telling him Fionn had gone off to hunt, but would soon return. She also asked him to talk softer to not wake her new small baby, who was sleeping in the cradle.
The giant from Scotland looked at Fionn in his disguise and got struck by fear, if this was Fionn’s little baby, how tall must Fionn himself be? He turned and ran back to Scotland, destroying the causeway they had built behind him.
A different legend said something about Fionn building the causeway to Scotland to meet his lover. I preferred the first one. And now I was there. At the place Fionn and Una had lived if you believed in the legend, the place where Angus had been tricked into running away in fear. I was there and ready to explore. Our sight seeing group climbed out a bit onto the rocks, still remaining from the legend, all in different shapes and height, some had six sides, others more than ten.
“Isn’t this amazing?” Madison asked and smiled out onto the wide sea, the waves and the cliffs. “It is indeed!” I agreed and sighed, did she act normal or did she actually forgive me? This place was somewhat magical!
On our way to Belfast I fell asleep in the bus. It had been such an exciting day with so many things to see and do, that I was just so exhausted and tired. At our next hostel in Belfast, Darragh, one of our Irish tourists, woke me up and told me we had arrived. Yawning we entered the hostel and went into our beds. I had asked Kerrie if I could share the room with her.
Darragh was one of the contestants that had only joined our group for a while, only for the Northern Ireland tour, since he was from Waterford, a county in the south of Ireland. On the fourteenth day of our tour, we had a guided tour through Belfast, including a boat tour.
“Do you have a problem with me or why are you avoiding me?” Garrett grabbed my arm and pulled me back, before I could enter the boat that would drive us around Lough Neagh. Maddie, believing Garrett was right behind her, walked onto the boat, trying to get a good seat at the front of the boat for herself and Garrett. “All aboard!” a man called and loosened the ropes, connecting the boat to the shore. “Wait!” Garrett said, and pulled me away from the pier, where the boat just left. “But…” I protested and wanted to call the boat back.
“Let’s walk for a bit and you have all day to answer my question. Why are you avoiding me?” Garrett asked again, pulling me out of sight for the boat. “I…” what should I say? I wasn’t sure if I should tell him that Maddie liked him or not… but then again, this was Maddie… she had no problem telling him about her feelings. And I bet she had done that already!
“Madison likes you!” I said and sighed, “She is a friend of mine, back from New York, we came here together and we’re leaving together again. I don’t want her to think I betrayed her or so.” “And that’s why you’re avoiding me?” the tall Asian with the chocolate brown eyes asked again and shook his head, “I don’t get that… Sure you’re friends, but you’re also avoiding her. I don’t get it, why should she feel betrayed?”
Boys, I thought frustrated and sighed again, “She likes you, if I am close to her; I’m close to you because she clings to you. She already thinks that I am trying to betray her by only talking to you! She’s probably going to hate me now as soon as she realises we’re both gone!”
“Sorry about that…” he said and shrugged his shoulders, “It’s not your fault for missing the boat! And it’s not your fault that I have a thing for brunettes and not for fake blondes. It’s also not your fault that I believe you might have some feelings besides anger for me too. And it’s also not your fault that I’m going to kiss you now!”
Quickly I turned my head to the side, so his lips touched my cheek. “You shouldn’t, Garrett!” I said quietly, looking down to the ground. “I won’t give up on you!” he said and pulled me close, “I will not give up liking you only because Madison wants you to!”
“Can we at least for now be friends, until the trip is over?” I asked and gave in to his embrace. “So you do like me too?” he asked with a smirk on his beautiful lips. “I don’t know. This is a really strange situation!” I protested and tried to avoid looking into his eyes. “Fine… But as soon as the trip is over we’ll talk about this again!” he said with a sigh, “Do you wanna go grab something to eat?” I nodded, relieved to do something normal again while waiting for the group to return.
After lunch at the pier of Ardboe, we had a look at the abbey of Ardboe, built in the sixth century, and the famous, about five metre tall cross, and the twenty two bible scenes from the old testament on the east side and the new testament on the west side, built in the tenth century.
Maddie was really mad when they returned, finding us together at the pier. I sighed annoyed and returned to the bus before her, choosing a seat beside Sophie, Darragh and Joseph.
For the last days of our trip we had a five day vacation in a mansion directly at Strangford Lough booked. We reached the mansion around lunchtime on the sixteenth day, admiring the beautiful blue house. I had heard that the mansion had a sleeping beauty museum down in the catacombs on the west side of the mansion.
There was also the beautiful rooms we were led to and all the other rooms we were allowed to use. Since we had a tourist group special, we were allowed to cook ourselves in the gigantic kitchen on the east side of the house. We had lots of time to explore after dropping our bags into our rooms, so I, Kerrie, Sophie, Darragh, Joseph, Chloe, Charles and a few others went to the lake to relax in the sun. Garrett had no choice but to be followed by Maddie and her new friends to relax in the garden.
As the night changed the colours into darker shades, we returned to the mansion, for dinner which had been served already as a welcome gift. Afterwards everyone sat together at a stove, telling stories and Darragh even knew one about this mansion.
Once upon a time, a duke ruled the area around Strangford Lough; he was a handsome man, loved by his subjects and peaceful at character. But one day a beautiful Missus came to visit the duke. She arrived late at night, covered in the shades of night and left after a short visit in the duke’s chamber!
From that day on the duke had retreated into the darkness of the night and his catacombs below. It is said that all the visitors that followed never returned. It was also said that the bodies of those who visited, are still in the catacombs, hidden in the deepest chambers and still as beautiful as on the day they had visited.
A shiver ran down my spine and I decided it was time for me to go to bed. Those kinds of bedtime stories were not my favourite. Maddie was glued to Darragh’s lips, and didn’t realise that Garrett left as well. “So what do you think?” Garrett asked, giving me a fright. “Hey!” I protested, trying to get rid of the goose bumps I’d gotten on my arms, “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Sorry!” he smiled and took my hand as we walked upstairs, where the bedrooms were. “It’s ok.” I said and sighed, “I don’t like those kinds of stories especially in the evening! What do you think?” “No clue… I’ve heard about it, of course, but I don’t know if it’s true. There are many legends in Ireland, no matter if you’re talking about Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. Some say different things about the same place. I’ve heard that the visitors were all female, beauties beyond compare. Another one that I heard is that the duke turned into a vampire, feeding on his guests.” Garrett shrugged his shoulders, “Maybe I should stay close to you, just in case he’s coming for the most beautiful one of this group!”
“You’re such a meanie!” I protested, but didn’t let go of his hand. I was afraid… Maybe he should stay close after all… “Why am I a meanie?” he asked chuckling, “I said you were the most beautiful of all!” “Exactly!” I said, “Did you not see the other girls? Like Kerrie? She is so beautiful with her fire like red hair and her fair skin or Claire who could also be Snow White herself!”
“Hmmm… I did look at them!” Garrett said, “But I still won’t change my mind.” “I think I should go to bed. It’s been a long day…” I said blushing and looked to the side where the door to my room was. “Fine!” he said and sighed. He pulled me close and kissed me before I was able to protest. “I was waiting for this!” he said, quietly chuckling and let go of me, “I’ll see you tomorrow I guess?” “Yes,” I said with dark red cheeks.
Garrett waited for me to close the door to my room, I wasn’t sure if he returned to the others or went to his room, but I went to bed. The next day would be fun enough… trying to talk to Maddie and such…
When I woke up the next morning, I felt the chill of the wind through the stone walls. With a sigh I got dressed and put on my jacket. I brushed my teeth and my long brown hair, wavy as always and put on some lip gloss, mainly to distract from my red cheeks!
Maybe I did like Garrett more than I had thought… Maddie couldn’t blame me for falling in love, now, could she? With another sigh I went downstairs, finding the others around the fire again, chatting and eating some breakfast, so I joined them. Somehow everything was different; our once united group was now separated in smaller ones.
“Hey, how about we go and explore this place a little?” I suggested after breakfast, “I heard there is a museum down in the catacombs as well!” “No, too lazy, but you can go on ahead!” Darragh said and looked outside, the others nodded in agreement, not even bothering to answer. Not even Garrett, who was sitting beside Madison.
Trying not to be bothered by this, I went off to explore. I found a huge bathroom close to the dining hall, it was about five times the size of a normal bathroom, had light blue stone tiles on the floor and the walls, the ceiling was white. The big tub was made from the same material as the floor, just all connected as one piece. The sink, the toilet and the other entire spa like things were made from that exact same stone as well.
The next room was held in honey coloured shades of yellow and white, the washing machine and dryer were metal though. The next room was the kitchen. Reddish brown tiles on the floor and halfway up the walls, the rest up to the ceiling and the ceiling itself were painted in white. The cupboards were held in a black stone, specked with white lines like veins. There were a bunch of Tables in the middle from the room to the east facing glass wall that seemed to open up.
It was about nine thirty, when I left the kitchen, continuing my exploration, as I started to feel dizzy. I walked towards the stairs, but I wasn’t sure anymore if those were the stairs I had to use to get to my bedroom. Everything was spinning and I fought myself to walk on. I walked past a door with a sign that I knew said something like “no entrance” in Irish and towards the next… opening? There was a big sign. Sleeping Beauty Museum, entrance fees 5 pound for all non-residence visitors payable at the reception!
As I heard voices, I ran down around the long, round hallway, deeper into the catacombs of the mansion, until I ran into someone. They didn’t even seem to notice me. I wasn’t able to walk anymore, everything was spinning, and the moving people pushed me further into the museum. I wasn’t sure where to look or where to go and I could have cried out in joy, as I recognized Sophie and Kerrie in the crowd. But something was wrong with them, their eyes seemed to be dull and they didn’t even look my way, as I called their names.
I was about to faint, as someone held me with strong arms. “I knew you would come!” the man said and I wanted to get away from him as soon as I realised he was not anyone I knew. “Let go! Please!” I called out, fighting to stay conscious. “You will fall if I let go of you and never return!” he whispered into my ear, “They are hungry!” With that my consciousness disappeared and I sank into darkness beyond black, far beyond black!
When I opened my eyes, I thought I must have dreamt, I lay in a bed, it must still be night… Stupid Darragh and Garrett for telling me such things in the evening! I was just about to turn around and go back to sleep, as I saw a pair of bright red eyes staring at me. Screaming in shock, I fell off the bed, only to realise that I was trapped in this darkness! I tried to back off, tried to find a wall I could walk along to find an exit, but what my hands felt made me jump frontwards again. Soft like dolls, but cold as ice…
“You are safe here!” the voice, belonging to the red eyes said, coming closer now, “They cannot harm you!” “Who are you?” I screamed in fear, trying to get more distance between him and the walls. “I am the Duke of Strangford Lough!” he said, “I am the ruler of the night!”
My knees wouldn’t carry my weight anymore and I fell, pulling myself up on the bed again. I figured, the bed would be the furthest from the dead bodies, stored around the walls like on bunk beds. “Does that mean you’re a vampire?” I asked, my voice shaking with fear. “Yes!” he said amused and I got a glimpse of his teeth, “And those in the mansion upstairs are my slaves now! All destined to end as my food!”
He came closer again, “But you! You will become my bride! I will give you an eternal life! Everything you could wish for!” “S…s… stay away!” I screamed, holding my fingers in front of me like a cross. “If you want to give me everything I want,” I said, suddenly having an idea, “Then let me out of here, back into the mansion and back to my friends!”
“Your friends?” he chuckled and waved his hand in front of my face, wiping my hands away. As his hands touched mine, I saw a picture of my friends some of them up in the house, chatting, others with the tourists with those empty eyes and the dull expressions. “They haven’t even noticed you are gone. They also didn’t notice those two girls are gone. What makes you think they are still who you used to know?” he said and let go of my hands.
“That Garrett was right, you are by far the most beautiful amongst them and all the women I have seen in my life, even more beautiful than the woman who created me!” he said and came even closer. My heart beat was so fast, that I feared it would stop any second now! Maybe it would! A glimpse of light reflected on the duke’s teeth and made me shudder.
“I will not make you mine quite yet!” he said, “You need preparation first!” The duke clapped in his hands and Kerrie MacTavish entered the chamber through a hidden door, her eyes almost white now! I gasped for air and screamed, “Kerrie!” “She is your slave now. She will teach you about my ways and our kind!” he said and his nose slowly approached my neck, smelling and then he disappeared.
Kerrie took my hand, pulling me along with her and out of this horrible room. I had to get out of this mansion! As soon as possible and I had to try and wake up the others! I had to do something! Kerrie pulled me to a hole in the cave walls and pushed me in first, following me, to get us up a narrow winding staircase.
“Kerrie wake up! Please! We have to get out of here!” I begged, but there was no reaction what so ever! I was a little surprised to leave the staircase through a painting on the wall, close to my room. But Kerrie led me away from it and towards one of the doors with the “no entrance” sign on. She opened it, pushed me through, followed me inside and locked the door just as I spotted Garrett on the top of the normal stairs, calling my name and running towards us.
“Garrett!” I called in panic, “You have to run! He’s a vampire and he’s controlling the others!” Kerrie hit me so hard that I stumbled against the wall, before I was able to say more. “Rule number one! Don’t ever tell anyone to leave from here, nor to take you away from the master!” Kerrie said with an emotionless voice. She turned away from me and opened a gigantic walk in wardrobe with noble clothes from every era since that duke guy must have lived, probably!
She pulled out a dress that I might have worn on a costume ball, but never in real life, never in a house like this or in broad daylight! She told me to put on the dress, but I refused. I wanted to get out! “If you won’t follow I’ll hurt your useless friends down in the hall!” Kerrie said coldly and pulled my jacket off, getting me undressed.
The dress was light blue, matching my eyes, sparkly downwards stripes with twirls over my chest, a big light blue, metallic shimmering satin bow and a very fluffy and puffy skirt part. It was like the lairs of the dress were thousands, all above each other, getting shorter with each lair, wrinkly and wavy on top of each other.
“Wear these!” she said and handed me a pair of ice blue high heels. With tears running over my cheeks, I put them on, hoping they would leave Garrett alone! He’d called my name, maybe he was awake! Maybe he would be able to leave the mansion and forget about everything that happened here, or better, warn everyone about the monster below the blue mansion at Strangford Lough!
“Rule number two,” she said, “You will always dress appropriately!” “Means what?” I asked pouty, looking down at the puffy blue dress. “All you’re allowed to wear is in this wardrobe!” Kerrie said and continued, “Rule number three, no perfume, no make up, no hair colours and no other artificial additions onto your skin, hair, eyes, ears or any other part of your body!” I sighed, “So I guess he won’t like my belly piercing!” “Before the transformation will be done you will have to remove it!” she said plainly and continued her list of rules, “Rule number four, never dare to criticise the master! Rule number five. If he requests something do it without question!”
“I’m not a puppy dog!” I mumbled annoyed and thought about how to get out of this. “You might not be a puppy dog, but you will be his!” she said and looked for jewellery, “And to be his, you’ll have to follow his orders!”
I wiped the tears away, and went to the window. From here I was able to see over the lake, if I had binoculars, I would probably be able to see Grayabbey on the other side. This was insane! Why couldn’t I just wake up and realise this was just a stupid nightmare? A nightmare caused by the guys’ stupid ghost stories!
There were no vampires! Vampires were fiction nothing real! And Kerrie couldn’t get blinded from one night to the next, not even! I had seen her in the morning and… what day was it anyway?
Kerrie continued with her list… but I didn’t bother listening… I would wake up soon and forget everything about this stupid guy and return back to Dublin, or maybe even back to Georgia earlier!
While I stood there, watching the lake, the sun set too quickly and Kerrie dragged me into another room. “The master will not be happy once he realises you didn’t listen and remember all of his rules, nor did you listen to the instructions for your kind!” she said calm, her Scottish accent gone completely and her eyes as white as freshly fallen snow. A shiver ran down my spine, “Snap out of it, Kerrie! Tell me about Scotland, about your boyfriend and you job! I don’t care about the master!”
“The master will punish you for that!” she said calm and walked away from me, towards the wall, where she stopped and watched me.
“You should eat! I need you strong and vital, otherwise I’ll have to feed you more of your friends’ blood!” the duke said, suddenly sitting in front of me, “As I see you are not interested in what you’re going to become!”
“I would rather die!” I said pouty, hoping he would kill me quickly, but I regretted the words immediately. The crazy duke smiled at me with his bright red eyes and showed his teeth while clapping in his hands once. A knock on the door freed me from his stare, the door opened and Chloe came into the room, stopping in front of the duke and going down onto her knees.
“Now, this is your fault!” he said with a smirk and Chloe’s eyes turned normal again. “Annabell?” she asked confused as she saw me, “Why are you dressed like that?” I was just about to tell her to run away, when the duke grabbed her shoulders. Shocked she turned around to meet his gaze; she saw his eyes, saw his teeth and started to scream. “No!” I screamed, “Leave her alone! Please!”
The duke smiled at me, showing me the full size of his teeth and bend down to sink them into Chloe’s neck. Frozen in shock and fear I had to watch Chloe scream and fight for her life, unable to move, unable to help. The worst part, besides Chloe being tortured and murdered, was the duke; he stared at me with joy and amusement while I had to watch Chloe’s fight. Even if I wouldn’t have been frozen, I still couldn’t have done anything, because Kerrie had held me down when the duke had sunk his teeth into Chloe’s neck. She was stronger now, I was sure she would have been able to rip my head off with one hand only if she wanted to! I screamed at him, begged him to stop and let her life. Chloe’s screams and struggles stopped and he just dropped her to the floor, his face full of blood, dripping down onto his clothes!
“No!” I screamed again, feeling Kerrie’s grip loosen and rushed over to Chloe, doing CPR and trying to keep her blood from dripping out of her neck. “Stay with me, Chloe!” I screamed, pushing my bloody hands onto her chest, trying to keep her heart beating, “Don’t die!” Tears flooded my eyes as I held the now dead body of Chloe in front of my chest.
“She could have lived if you took this serious and started preparing to become my bride!” The duke said and left with a smile, leaving me alone with Chloe and all the blood. “He told you.” Kerrie said coldly, “I printed off a list with the rules, I’ll bring it over to you in a minute and you stay put and don’t do anything stupid!” The once Scottish girl left the room, not even looking at her once best friend!
They had both lived in Scotland, worked together in an office. Chloe had moved there for a guy. They had met in Manchester, fell in love and finally got engaged that spring! They had been about to get married in autumn!
And now… now she was dead! Tears flooded my eyes, then I realised that Kerrie was gone and rushed over to the door, maybe it was still unlocked? I pulled, pushed and shook the door, unsuccessful. I ran to the window and pushed it open. The pitch black night embraced me. Jumping out was a no go, if I didn’t want to break my bones! Climbing out… maybe, but not in the night, I couldn’t see enough to climb down safely. Still crying I went back to where I had left Chloe’s body, but it was gone.
“No!” I screamed again, “Bring her back! Chloe!” Only the blood on the carpet next to the table remained. She was dead! Because of me! She died because I had refused to listen to Kerrie and learn for what seemed inevitable!
“Bring Chloe back!” I screamed again and broke down on the floor, resting my head on the dark spot on the carpet. Why didn’t I just listen and learn and do what they told me? The note! Kerrie had printed a note! She’d be back with the note! I jumped up, ready to find something to hit Kerrie’s head with as she would come in through the door and run out. But as I looked around for something to hit her with, I noticed a few sheets of paper on the table.
Rules for Annabell Riley
Rule number one! Don’t ever tell anyone to leave from here, nor to take you away from the master!
Rule number two! You will always dress appropriately!
Rule number three! Don’t talk unless spoken to!
Rule number four! No artificial substances to change your appearance!
Rule number five! Don’t talk to the food, unless you’re feeding!
Rule number six! The slaves’ only job is to feed; they may not be used for any other kind of satisfaction!
Rule number seven! No metal within the masters reach!
Rule number eight! Stay away from the Cinderella wing!
Rule number nine! …
The sheet fell out of my shaking hands, she had been here already! My chance had passed! Tears flooded my eyes and I fell down on my knees. How could I get away from here! How could I leave this horrible place? Now it seemed even more impossible than before! There seemed to be no way out!
With trembling limbs I crawled away from the blood and the list and back to the bedroom. Just away from all these horrible memories, away from the place where Chloe had died.