The Vengeful Vampire
As the coast of Spain came into sight, Sebastian Bandores’ heart lifted.
Too much time had passed since he’d last seen his homeland and he hoped things hadn’t changed as much as he had. As a Spanish Officer, he’d spent the past two years stationed in Cuba, first dealing with the unrest between the locals and Americans, and then fighting in the ensuing war. He’d seen death—too much death. They lost thousands of men and eventually the war. However, Sebastian managed to escape with his life intact.
Would his wife and daughter be waiting for him at the Cadiz port? He didn’t know if they’d received word of the ship docking or if they thought him to be alive. Though he’d written to them throughout his stationing, he’d never received any return correspondence. Cuba to Spain was a long distance for a letter to travel.
His thoughts stayed with his family; his wife, Antoinette, with her smooth dark hair and darker eyes, and of Isabelle, his daughter, who possessed his own lighter coloring but his wife’s stubborn streak. The girl had only been two when he left. That she probably had no memory of him filled him with sadness. Sebastian hoped to make up for his absence in the years to come.
Ahead, the blur of the Cadiz shoreline took on contrast. Beneath him, the boat rose and fell with the gentle swell of the ocean. He’d experienced plenty of bad weather at sea, and despite the high wind that often battered this part of his homeland, the ocean remained relatively flat today.
As they approached the port, the crew called to each other, hoisting and pulling down the huge sails, skilfully guiding the large vessel into port. Sebastian scouted the port for his family. A number of dark-haired women made his heart lift in expectation but, as they docked, he realised none of them were his wife.
They must have not heard of his return, or something else kept them away. His home was a half-day’s walk down the coast and anything could have prevented them from making the journey.
Even so, Sebastian struggled to swallow his disappointment. He’d allowed himself to imagine a joyful reunion, but now his dreams would wait.
The ship bumped against the dock, and he braced himself, his stance preventing him from stumbling backward. He possessed little; a few items bundled together in a blanket and slung over his shoulder.
After a brief but emotional farewell to his comrades, Sebastian headed around the outer edge of the city, skirting the white stone wall built around its centre. On his right, the ocean morphed from blue to red as the sun sank into the depths of the horizon.
With the coming of night, the city’s busy streets emptied, leaving Sebastian to walk alone. Though exhaustion remained his constant companion, the promise of his own bed and the warm arms of his family kept his feet moving onward.
Not far ahead, the shape of a figure crouched on the ground made Sebastian slow his pace. The person wasn’t big enough to be a man, yet no woman or child should be out alone at this hour. A cloak, pulled over the figure’s head, obscured his view. Irrational alarm raced through Sebastian. At easily double the stranger’s body weight, there was no reason to be afraid, yet something put his nerves on edge.
Perhaps the figure was a set-up for a robbery? This seemed unlikely. Returning from war, Sebastian had little to steal.
Sebastian approached the figure, stopping a couple of feet away. Curls spilled from beneath the cloak; definitely a woman. Perhaps she was hurt?
“Are you all right, Señora?” he asked, touching her shoulder.
The woman looked up, her eyes flaring yellow. Sebastian stepped back in surprise. At second glance, the woman’s eyes appeared normal, the exact color indiscernible in the dark.
I must have imagined it...
“Gracias, Señor,” she said, though Sebastian detected a foreign accent, perhaps French, but certainly not local. “Thank you for your kindness but I stumbled and hurt my ankle. It feels much better now. Would help me to my feet?”
He reached out and took her hand, her fingers ice-cold against his skin, despite the balmy night. Her touch made him shiver.
“Are you sure I can’t help you home?” he inquired, taking in her face. She was radiant, her skin paler than any he’d seen before, her hair perfect, ringlet curls. Her eyes possessed a strange iridescence, even in the dark, like an effect he’d experienced one night on the ocean waves. This woman surely must come from a high-born family. “You shouldn’t be out on the street at this hour. It’s not safe for a woman alone.”