Once he ruled the night. His name was legendary. It was upon every trembling lip and seeded in every mind. It was a name centuries old.
Now he was a myth. A mockery. Little children actually went to bed at night not knowing who he was. In his mind, it all had finally become unforgivable. He could no longer live with it - even though he wasn't truly living.
Count Dracula was a true and unliving begin. He had a beginning, an origin ... a birth. He existed for a reason and a purpose. He was living death. The night was always his, then times changed.
In times past, people huddled together in their homes at sunset and gave way to the night. Those foolhardy enough not to do so were fair game. He was feared around the world, but mostly throughout Transylvania. These people understood their roles and his position over them. They were terrified. Their terror translated into respect; he would not overly feed on them, instead going out into the world to spread his terror.
But times changed.
It had become painfully clear to him that those days of black and white were gone. Lovers now walked along the courtryside at night in laughter, and the children ...! They believed him to be imaginary! They dared to mockingly dress up as him on that time of the year and go out - at night - in search of candies! They wore his image as a caricature.
He would have it no more.
He stood looking out of the open gothic window onto the landscape of Bramstoke. A full moon would blossom on the night that was fast approaching - All Hallow's Eve. He was determined to carry out his plan for taking back the night. Especially that night.
"Are they assembled, Moodrum?" he asked through moistened lips, fresh from feeding in the nearby countryside.
"Yes, Master," answered Moodrum coolly as he placed the cloak around the tall shoulders of the Count. "I do believe every single one of them is here this evening." Moodrum combed the long, black cloak with a small hand-brush as the Count tucked his teeth beneath his lips.
"Very good. Let us see to our guests." Moodrum lead the way to the bedchamber door and opened it wide for his Master to glide through and out into the upstair hall. Dracula silently lead the way toward the sweeping staircase. Moodrum followed close behind. Before the Count emerged into the light of the chandeliers in the grand hall below, he paused just inside the shadows.
"Not quite yet," he hissed. "The clock hasn't chimed." They both stood still on the thick rug that ran the incredible length of the hallway and peered over the bannister. An antique grandfather clock down in the foyer by the huge front doors began to bong. With the first thunderous peel, the raised mingled voices began to quiet down. By the end of the second bong's echo, all eyes rested on the clock. Somewhere around the sixth tolling, one could hear the faint rustle of necks turning toward the stairway and arching upward. The old clock rang twelve - midnight.
"Now," whispered the Count almost inaudibly to himself, but he knew that Moodrum heard him. With unearthly grace, he appeared from the shadows and glided down the stairs. Most of them gathered had never laid eyes upon him before. He was very nearly a thing of myth even to them, themselves stuff of myths and legends.
Then, as silent as the grave, Dracula, Lord of vampires, descended. "Welcome to my house," he said with ease and grace. "Enter freely and of your own free will."
End Chapter 3