“It’s a phase”; “You’ll grow out of it”; “Why can’t you be normal?”; to Charlotte, these were her parents saying conform to our expectations; Eliza refused, moved to another city to escape the oppression. It was Charlotte’s turn to explore her desires and her interest in the night. Rylan confiscated her book on vampire lore, seduced the reader, romanticised their life and world. The Vlad references, a being who has outlived his human appearance to one fitting of his reputation and years. This leather-bound book smelt musky, elegant needlework held it together; the cotton paper had glided in her fingers revealed its secrets, calling her into the world of darkness and blood. Eternal life, watching the world change, slipping in to bend it to her will. She imagined watching people grow old, her youth and beauty preserved, having wild love affairs and travelling the globe. Charlotte wanted to seek every experience a short life should enjoy.
Emile held her temper; Rylan pushed the eldest daughter away, and Patrick locked upstairs, she decided they should humour Charlotte’s vampire obsession, at least for the victorian inspired bedroom design. Heavy drapes blocked the sun; her double bed brought second hand for the large elaborate headboard, painted black and curtains hung on it for aesthetics. Emilie was grateful Charlotte chose purple as the predominant colour, but it failed to bring the room to life.
Charlotte decided they should have a proper funeral procession, make an event of the burial process. The dusty urns had been resting amongst forgotten toys and books; Rylan agreed they could have space in the garden, a place they gather and remember. Of course, winter brought the snow, digging the solid ground was back-breaking; Rylan’s stubbornness and anger at Ziva’s influence on the family meant he refused to surrender. He preferred to hack the earth than hear how he failed to provide a place for their dead relatives. In black dress and widow’s veil, Charlotte led her family outside, each carried an urn; Rylan first with their matriarch, Athena, followed in order with Joanne, Leonne, Aria, and her two husbands, Jose and Braydon. Candles lit, Emilie gave a sombre reading as each buried with fresh snow shovelled on top. Patrick yawned, Eliza elbowed him; he smirked clutching his ribs; these people meant little to him, sure they were the genetics that went into his creation, but they were dead, turned to ashes, why should he feel sorrow or act like he cared, how would they ever know. Respect, Charlotte asked nothing else of her brother; when Patrick dies, she will leave his body in the forest for the wolves to eat. If their ancestors looked favourable, he could be reborn, except disregarding their past, hungry wildlife will devour and “poop” him, like the rubbish brother he is.
Patrick bent double, a mouthful of brownie, laughing at Charlotte as she tried to rephrase her sentence, stomping her foot in frustration; she meant excreted, that he was excrement, the word evaded her, and the childlike answer amused everyone. He kept repeating her words, choking on his food, Charlotte’s face red with anger and embarrassment, forced Emilie to step in, deciding enough, ordering them to the lounge to decorate the Winterfest tree-like respectable siblings. Eliza sniggered; each had an idea of how to style the tree, lights and baubles; they disagreed; it was these moments she had been missing. Rylan settled back to watch, a peaceful moment for him, sipping coffee, a sugar cookie in hand; the conversation with Eliza awaited him; for now, they had made it through the day without a crossword.