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       The Dark Temptation of the Soul (S1:E1), p.1

          
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The Dark Temptation of the Soul (S1:E1)


  The

  Dark Temptation

  Of the Soul

  -A vampire tale-

  By Steve French & Brianna Carlisle

  Season 1 - Episode 1

  The Dark Temptation of the Soul

  ASIN:

  Copyright © 2013 by Steven French

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be

  reproduced in any form, except for the inclusion

  of brief quotations in review, without permission

  in writing from the author/publisher.

  Published by; Dark Hour Arts Inc.

  Publication Date:

  1st Edition

  Cover Art by Steve French © 2013

  Photo Credit Canstockphoto.com © 2013

  Agent and/or publishing inquiries may be sent to:

  Steve French

  stevedestiny@hotmail.com

  Brianna Carlisle

  Bri_carlisle_37@yahoo.com

  All characters contained herein are fictional and all similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

  The Diary of Gabriel Von Erlach

  CHAPTER ONE

  29th November, 1650 A.D.

  My Great-Uncle Henryk has died of a mysterious illness and mother has inherited his estate.

  Father has been in heaven for nearly two years now. He had died at the hands of a bandit that robbed and stabbed him. He lived through the attack, but died within the day. The culprit was caught by the authorities and put to death by hanging. I was surprised that there had been no hearing or trial for the bandit with the magistrate, apparently none was needed as my father was well liked and had a few important political connections. Father was a lawyer.

  Mother, my sister, and I had all gone to witness the gruesome execution and I am not sure if mother had cried more at fathers’ wake than at the hanging. I found the public execution to be somewhat appalling, although I know in my heart that the bandit got what he deserved. Father had not been carrying much money at the time, so I find it a shame that these two men have lost their lives over such a paltry sum.

  My sister, Celeste, is five years old now, she had her birthday celebration almost a month ago. She got a few nice presents and was very happy that day. Days like those are few and far between for my sister ever since fathers’ death. I find happiness myself only when my mother and my sister are happy. They have taken the death of my father quite hard and neither of them are quite over it.

  Celeste often has terrible dreams about the hanging of the bandit and sometimes she dreams about father coming to visit her as a ghost. I have never had such dreams of father, but I know that mother has spent countless sleepless nights crying over his passing and I suspect she has had dreams about him as well.

  Celeste carries a carved wooden bear with her, in her pocket, almost everywhere and has named it after our father. Edward, the wooden bear figurine was carved by our father and was the last gift he had ever given to her. She will not part with it and it comes with us wherever we go. I suppose she needs to hold onto it as a reminder of his love for us. I too, love her very much.

  Lately, Mother has been doing well, even though she claims her and my uncle were very close as children and while growing up together in our old family home. She only moved away from her family to be with father after their marriage. She does not seem to be as saddened by her brothers’ passing as she was with father. I am glad she is not taking it so hard. Perhaps all the time that has passed, since they last seen each other, and the distance between my uncle and my mother had helped to ease the pain.

  Today, mother is a little gloomy, but seems in relative good spirits all things considered. I think she may be excited about returning to the town and country where she grew up. She may also be looking forward to re-uniting with her sister, Berta, who is still living in the small town some thirty or so miles northwest of Pless. Mother is glad to know that we shall soon have another home.

  *****

  Mother is still weaving tapestries and knitting blankets to make us money, but she has told us that we are running precariously low on our current finances. That situation, however, is about to change for us. Uncle has left us with his manor, a small parcel of land, and some money. Once the will has been settled, we will be just fine for a while and I plan to find work in Pless, or in Prague –which is one mile to the east of Pless itself.

  I am excited about seeing mother’s home town and later I shall venture out to explore Prague as well.

  I was born and raised in Cracow, Poland. I will greatly miss that country, because that is where I grew up. It was home for me and I shall very much miss the friends I have had to leave behind. I remain positive that I will be able to keep in touch with old friends through correspondence and surely I will be able to establish new connections and make new friends in Pless.

  I am not sure where I will look for work, once we have arrived, but I still dream of becoming a poet. I have been working on some poems, but I am not sure that they are very good. I am usually too busy to find the necessary time to be inspired enough to pen great rhymes and such, but I have been somewhat fortunate to make time for this journal. This journey has blessed me with a great deal of spare time to pen my thoughts here and I have been thinking of a new poem.

  We are in a horse drown carriage as I write these entries, so please forgive me if some of my entries are illegible or difficult to read. These old and narrow roads are quite bumpy and sometimes treacherous between Poland and Bohemia. I can not accurately count the number of times we have had to stop to remove fallen tree branches from the road which had blocked our path.

  I shall briefly tell you of our journey so far. We have been traveling for nearly three days, taking different carriages from town to town. At night, we have been staying in quaint little Inns.

  *****

  November 30th, 1641

  Today we have just crossed over the border of Poland and Bohemia. The majority of the trip, we have traveled old roads through forests, around mountains, over bridges and across rivers. Bohemia is just as beautiful as Poland and if not, than more so. I have never been outside of Poland before, so this is quite an adventure for me.

  Mother has told me that we have much extended family in Prague and that I will have to meet with them sooner or later. As we near our destination, mother seems to have become less gloomy and more positive about the new life that we shall begin together in our new home.

  Mother has also threatened to hire a matchmaker to find a potential bride for me. I laughed, but assured her that I was far from ready to be courting women. I’d like to become settled in for some time before pursuing such a matter of the heart. I did not have much luck with girls in Poland; I have always been a very shy man and reserved in mannerisms. Even if I were ready to meet a girl, I am not sure that I feel confident in letting my mother become involved in the matter.

  I wonder what the girls are like in Prague. Will they be just as beautiful as the ones I knew back home? I admit that I am curious to see what all of the people are like, but I am concerned they will judge us for our heritage.

  I know mother means well and is concerned for my happiness, but I would like to start making more decisions on my own. I am a man now, after all, and should start being accepted as such by my family. I am in no hurry to find love just yet, but I suppose having a woman in my life would be a good source of inspiration for my writing of poetries.

  *****

  I do hope there is a good library in Pless; I love to read and it has been a number of weeks since I have had the luxury of taking the time to become lost in a book. The trouble is that, as I have noted earlier, I have been too busy to write, much less find time to read a good book.

  *****

  It has been snowing all morning, and now this afternoon, the snow has been falling faster, heavier, and the wind is beginning to blow quite fiercely. It is getting much colder than it was before. Fortunately, we are all bundled up with our blankets inside the carriage, although it offers us very little shelter from the temperatures outside. I expect we will be delayed in our travel and we are all longing for a hot meal by a blazing hearth.

  I feel very sorry for the carriage driver and for the horses that must draw us along through this awful storm. I am beginning to think that we should stop in the next town and find a room for the night at the local Inn, as we are expecting that the blizzard shall grow much worse by late evening.

  The carriage driver had recently assured us that we were only another fifteen miles away from the next town and I am trying not to think of food. We are all very hungry, particularly Celeste, who has been complaining that her stomach is rumbling. We have only eaten at the Inns along the way and I look forward to our next meal. Sadly, all I can think about is hot soup and fresh bread while sipping at a shot of cheap brandy.

  Mother does not like it when I drink, but I have a little bit every now and then –whenever I can get away with it. Reason being is that father often became hot-tempered after imbibing spirits and she fears that I will become the same way. I do not think that I will, but I respect her wishes when we are together for longer periods of time.

  Mother is very religious and we are considered to be of the Jewish faith. I myself am not entirely sure what I believe in yet, but I do keep a very open mind. I feel like there may be some sort of greater power out there, but I can not claim to know what that is or how it works in nature.

  Celeste has fallen asleep and I am quite pleased that she can do so despite how hungry she was. Mother is already tired; she hasn’t slept well these last few nights. When mother is exhausted, she gives up conversation and thus has not bothered to speak to me these last few hours.

  *****

  It has been several hours since my last journal entry. I have taken some time to talk with mother about all that is going on. Celeste woke up crying; she had another nightmare about father and the hanged man. Mother and I were able to calm her down and to comfort her without too much trouble.

  *****

  Something very terrible has happened. We were all bundled up inside the carriage when it abruptly came to a stop. I could hear the horses whinnying and raising a fuss about something. The driver was yelling at the horses and I could hear the crack of his whip against their backs…yet we did not commence movement. Something was giving the horses a fright. I was led by curiosity to open the curtained window at my side and to look outside to see what the matter was.

  We were on a narrow dirt road, surrounded by a heavily wooded portion of a pine forest. The snow was very deep then, but it had stopped snowing as hard. The wind too, had also died down, but the chill air was piercing like daggers. Snow flakes were still falling, slowly, like small chicken feathers falling gently from the gray clouds above us. Dusk was upon us, and although the sky was heavily overcast, I could see the glow of the setting sun just over the edge of the snow-covered mountain peaks in the distance. Darkness was quickly settling around us.

  The carriage had stopped because a large wolf, nearly the size of the horses, was standing its ground in the middle of the road. It was growling and snarling fiercely towards our direction and frightening the horses. It seemed quite hungry and I was sure that it was debating wether or not to try and take out one of the horses for its evening meal.

  The huge and shaggy wolf was mostly white, but dappled with dark gray patches of fur. Its hot breath steamed from its mouth like plumes of fog while rivulets of saliva drooled from its foamy maw. Its mouth was full of sharp and bloodstained teeth. I could also see the glowing eyes of other wolves which were hiding in the forest just off the sides of the road. Those menacing eyes were watching us carefully and their chorus of low howls echoed loudly in the night. We were probably surrounded by an entire pack of the bloodthirsty gyr-wolves by then.

  Celeste was beginning to cry at the sound of the wolves, she was scared, and mother held her tightly against her bosom. I tried to comfort her as well, but my promises that we were safe from the wolves were of little use.

  Despite my mothers warnings, I decided to get out of the carriage. Armed with my fathers hunting rifle –the last thing he ever gave me before he died– I opened the door to the carriage and stepped outside to see if I could be of any assistance to the driver. I had been driven by some sort of natural instinct to protect my family from danger; father had made me promise that I would guard mother and my sister with my life. I had vowed that I would, of course, and I was not about to break such a promise.

  “Get back inside, lad,” the driver yelled at me while whipping the stubborn and defiant horses, “It’s too dangerous for you out here!”

  The glowing eyes in the forest seemed to watch my every move as I looked around the carriage. I was deeply afraid because I knew all too well that I could not shoot all of the wolves if they had charged me all at once.

  I had to wonder why the carriage driver had not been armed with his own gun or rifle. It would seem foolish to travel the roads far and wide without any sort of defensive weapon. Bandits and highwaymen were not uncommon along the roads in deeper forestlands.

  My plan was to fire off a shot from my rifle; I hoped the loud sound of rifle shot would scare off all of the other wolves while my sole target would be the one wolf blocking our path. I am not a violent man, killing animals for sport is not within my personality, although I have had to hunt live game for food many times in the past.

  I aimed my rifle at the gyr-wolf.

  “You fool,” the driver shouted at me as he wrestled the horses’ reigns for control, “Don’t provoke it!”

  I pulled the trigger and the loud thunderous shot echoed across the forest valley. I saw blood burst from the side of the wolf where my bullet had made its mark. It let out a yelping cry as it stumbled back and away from the carriage before collapsing into the snow. The howls of the other wolves went eerily silent and the terrible glowing eyes vanished as the smaller wolves escaped into the shadowy woods.

  The alpha-male gyr-wolf was dead, or so I had thought, and it would seem that I was a hero for the time being.

  Having finally calmed the horses, the driver climbed down from his seat at the front of the carriage and gave me a stern look. He swiped the rifle out of my hand and began to scold me vehemently. “Damn you, boy, you could have gotten us all killed.”

  Was this his strange way of thanking me?

  “It is just a wolf,” I replied as I stood my ground against him. I, of course, did not yet know about gyr-wolves at that time.

  “It was a lucky shot, lad,” he told me, “You could have missed it or angered the whole pack.”

  “But I did not miss,” I retorted.

  “We would have been ripped limb from limb by those gyr-wolves if you had missed your mark”

  “Gyr-wolves?” I asked him, because I had never heard of such a thing.

  “They are vampire wolves,” he answered. “Beast wolves that are neither alive nor dead. It is said that only a silver bullet can kill the damned things, but it looks to me like you killed that one with just one shot from your rifle.”

  “I have a decent aim, my friend,” I told him smiling.

  “Right you are, lad, and I would have helped too,” he told me. “I carry a pistol for security, but I did not want to anger the beast by shooting regular bullets at it. I had your safety to consider, you know.”

  I patted him on the back. “You’re a good man to think of us.”

  He nodded and handed my hunting rifle back to me. “It is a fine rifle,” he told me, “And I can see that you are quite capable with it.”

  “About these gyr-wolves,” I said, “I have heard stories of similar creatures in Poland, but I can assure you that such stories are nothing more than fairytales my good friend.”

  He shook his head. “I think not, but you are entitled to you opinion, lad. You will find that this land is full of many strange stories.”

  Not wanting to argue the matter, I dropped the subject. Besides, who was I to question the existence of creatures living in a country that I was not all that familiar with. I had to suppose that there might in fact be some truth to his claims.

  “Help me move the carcass off of the road so that we may continue on our way,” I said to him.

  I had actually wanted to skin the beast and take the pelt as a souvenir, but I also knew that it was much too cold to delay further and there was not enough time to endure such a task.

  “Not on your life, lad,” he replied. “I ain’t going near the damned thing. My job is to drive the carriage and nothing more.”

  “Come on now, the animal is of no danger to us now that it is dead.”

  He shook his head, crossed himself, and walked back towards the carriage. “You’re on your own with this one,” he said as he climbed back up onto his seat at the front of the carriage.

  I was not afraid of a wolf corpse and so I trudged through the deepening snow to the bleeding animal with intentions of moving it myself. I was annoyed that the carriage driver had refused to help and I was not sure if I believed he were scared more than I believed that he was nothing short of being lazy.

  As soon as I had touched it, the thing seemed to become suddenly possessed with all of its life once more. As I leaned over it, it quickly turned its head and bit into my wrist with all of its might. Its cruel and powerful jaw snapped tightly against my hand and its sharp teeth pierced into my skin there.

  I cried out in pain as the wolf scrambled to its feet and scurried off into the forest. The pain was so terrible, and so frightened was I by shock, that my knees buckled beneath me. I fell into the snow in nearly the exact spot on the road where the shaggy gyr-wolf had been only a few moments before. My own blood was spilling to the already blood splattered ground around me.

 
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