Serpent Hearts

by Thyme In Her Eyes

Author's Notes: Here's something a little different this time. I've always wanted to write something about the Brides (and Lucy too, but hopefully I'll get to that later). Appropriately, it's rated just for safety's sake. Anyway, this is based on the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula and set during scene when the Brides confront Mina and Van Helsing outside Castle Dracula. Enjoy, and remember that all feedback is useful and appreciated.


Beauty is love kissing horror.

– Ladislav Klima.


Her name is known to us, though we do not call her by it, for what use do we have of names? The only sounds in this world that matter are the sighs, moans and screams which we tear from our lovers and allow to ripple and drip from ourselves. We call to her blood, to the primitive craving that stirs and rises inside of her. The hunger commands, and she hears it. We call to the side of her that cannot be denied. We call to the snake, the spider – the poison of all the impure things lurking inside her ravenous soul.

We know so much of her now, for her body is changing and her senses are becoming like ours. We can feel it, and know that she will soon begin to look for nourishment. However, even after she has fully transformed, we shall not use her name. It is meaningless here, in this night of hunger, as are our own long-forgotten names. There are no mortal titles that hold sway among us. Only Nosferatu. Kindred. Bride. Sister.

We speak this name affectionately and offer open hands to her, welcoming her to her rightful home and entreating her to come with us and learn much. Words mean little to us, but we feel their power now. We speak to her in soothing tones at first, for she should have no fear. She belongs here, and has been greatly missed.

Of course, we knew her true name long before we felt her approach us, before she set foot on the soil of this land, before she even became our blood-kin, for she was his obsession. Ever since the handsome foreign youth – our sweet plaything – came to us, we knew of her and her destiny. Before we called to our virgin novelty by night and took our first taste of him, our Master began to whisper this woman's name and then whisper of love. Her mortal name echoed and raced through his heart, skittering across the cold stone of the castle walls, reaching even us in our solitude. We knew her then, for she was his target and quarry, the focus of all his passions. She became his need, a song of madness in his desires. We know desire well, but we did not know this. All we needed to understand was that he would have her, and that she would soon be among us.

It is now our duty to take her, to teach her. We hear our Master call to us, commanding us to see to her safety and needs and, old and strong as we are, we cannot deny him. And we would eagerly do his bidding, we agreed amongst ourselves, if only for a chance to see her. The Princess. The sad beauty whose aged and crumbling image still haunts his castle and his thoughts – one we have known for so long, but have never met. She is the one who holds his heart now, and always has. She is the one he cannot be cured of loving, the one who took his control and mastery, the one who fanned tender emotions and desperate needs that nothing could take away. Most of all, she is the one who has brought our dark Master to his knees, who actually made him hesitate and doubt before finally wedding her.

Fascinated, we gaze upon her from a distance. She cannot see us yet, but she feels us. Without jealously or rancor, we search her face and form for the thing that could inspire passion in one so cold and hollow as our Master, eager to find something that perhaps a centuries-old portrait cannot reproduce. We remain disappointed, confused and curious because her face offers us no revelations. Though it certainly holds beauty, it is hardly greater than the loveliness we possess, and the bond between this woman and our Master continues to elude us. We do not understand what is there between them. He is an old demon, and yet she has fallen in love with him. On his part, she had been dead and buried for centuries and yet he has never forgotten her or ceased longing for her. We must strive to know our new sister better if we are to comprehend these things.

He has won her utterly, as we knew he would, but she has gained something too, something precious. It has always been understood that this is no ordinary conquest, and it is confirmed as we feel his thoughts fix on her from miles in the distance. Love fills her heart now and gives her courage and fortitude, and we faintly feel the bond reverberating between them, entwining them ever-closer.

He has dared much for her sake, setting aside every safeguard and precaution to ensure that she comes to him. Many risks were taken and vulnerabilities exposed so she could follow his trail and find him here, and we cannot understand why she should matter so much. He is a cold mystery to us, but we feel his desire keenly, as we always have. We must abide by that desire, and serve it. And his most powerful and dominating desire is to be with this dark-haired one forever; to love her as he never loved us.

He has never spoken of his princess to us except in vague allusion, but we have seen him gaze upon deteriorating images and the river rushing beneath the castle walls. We have seen these things, and ached to see more and understand at last. We have also seen how men love; both us and the faithful women we stole them from, but we have never seen him reach out to another with anything over than ruthless malignance thinly-covered by a sheen of lust. But we shall see it soon.

We were made to be his creatures, his concubines. Though we have never sought to understand him or his motivations, as we grew vicious and ravening under his touch during those first nights, we knew we were created for his pleasure; to be his helpers, companions and ever-ready and hungering nymphets. If we were ever designed to replace the one he lost so long ago, if our duty was to make him forget her, then we have failed. He was full of tempestuous passion for us once, and lost himself in our flesh, but he never loved us; not even at his most ardent and jealous. We are always his and know we are still unique to him as cherished creations, but we have never felt any true affection at his hand nor have we been taught to expect any. We fulfill a base need, but it is enough. There is no sorrow for us, for base needs are the pinnacles of our world.

We adored him as a god once and gratify him now as languishing, resentful, doting servants, but we have never nursed any human love for him; only a deep, searing need that sometimes felt very much like love. For even as we desired and adored him, and would have greedily and wantonly welcomed the most sadistic touches, we feared him greatly. Although always spirited and strong, as he liked us to be, true defiance took years to cultivate. Only in his weary years, when he allowed his body to wither and age, did we begin to challenge and taunt him as we cowered and supplicated before his anger.

We recall that night vividly, and our frustration as our pretty young prize was ripped from our arms. He loved this woman too, as our Master does, though she has almost forgotten him now. We cannot blame her, and hope to take for ourselves the youth she has cast aside, so that we may kiss and taste him once more. Though we have not known it here, we remember love well: the love we once held for grooms and devoted admirers. In every fatal kiss, we recapture it and love again for the briefest of moments.

He made us to be slaves and queens, to be degenerate and elevated, to be mistresses and commanders of all except him. He was always his own and we were always his, and there has been as much humiliation as glory in our existence under his delicious tyranny. We were never only lovers to him, but also his instruments and means of spreading his disease whilst he was our master, seducer and captor – the ravishing celebrator of our pain and depravity.

He came to each of us by night, like a dream and a nightmare. We surrendered immediately to his touch, to the destiny of the immortal hunter, and became his devoted accomplices, desperate to share and revel in all his obsessions and to achieve beauty beyond life and death. We adored him in our frantic matings and each of our number worshiped him as we captured the desires and lives of so many victims. In his embraces, he reared and trained us, showing us the glory in sin, the great power writhing within murder and carnal ecstasy, and all the pleasures to be taken from cruelty and corruption. Finally, we venerated him as he taught us harsh, wondrous lessons in dismissing and destroying virtue in its bloodless, senseless, starveling's mask.

We three are not the only ones he made. Rather, we are the three who survived this battle of wits and lusts longest, and succeeded in developing the cunning, spirit and ruthlessness needed in order to keep a grip on life for so long a time. To be a vampire is to be outside of humanity and yet constantly close by its side, and so it was natural for him to make more of his kind and then shape each of us in his own image. Though he has not shared his gift with many, for he is at heart a solitary creature, more than we three have tasted its excess.

In past days, he traveled far and wide many times in order to sample life and change and to work his vengeance, and we were taken from many foreign lands, though we scarcely recall the images, songs and languages of those dead and forgotten places now. Something within each of us caught his attention, stirred his curiosity and presented an intriguing challenge, and for that we were given new life. There were many of us once, many sacred multiples of three, and none of us beautiful in the same way, but not all possessed the will, calculation or skill to endure eternity or even small snatches of it. Some died to accidents, some to hunting parties, some even to their envious sisters or the Master himself. Some died in love, some in hate. Some were abandoned in foreign climes, having been turned by him only out of malice, as an act of revenge, or out of fleeting want, only to then be left to their own devices in their home lands. Some were cast out of this castle, and some were allowed to leave in order to scatter our numbers and seek out new pleasures and victims. Most have not survived their absence from him. Favourites and novelties have come and gone over many years, but we three remain – his most loyal, most deserving, most desirous.

The princess-reborn is no less than our sister now – our kin, our blood, our own. Her blood is tainted as ours is, marked by his sin and his curse. His passion unites us, just as the power moving in his blood binds us. She welcomes the metamorphosis, and we each are pleased in scenting her excitement as the night falls upon her. She is sensitive to much, and beautifully susceptible as she begins to sense our presence and proximity. Ah, she is awakening and will be with us soon, one of us always. The horses whinny in fright and our smiles are gleaming and greedy, our throaty laughter very close to them now.

As the princess waits for her demon lover to come to her and claim her forever, she knows all that our whispers are calling to. The heavy, burning throb, the arousal twisting within. The manic lust to consume, to feed. The ravages of a hunger that prowls and stalks from the inside. The heat, the power, the brazen need that can never be satisfied or ignored. All her shame and inhibitions must be cast away, we tell her. She must be lost to the carnal and the atrocious as we are to find the peace and bliss at the heart of such chaos. We whisper these things to her in a fever as she sways and convulses, lanced by frenzied sensations. Our lips are wet as our curving mouths run on and on to meet her soft, shuddering breathing.

For a moment, her mouth smiles savagely in return and her eyes gleam with suddenly-realized power. Her chants are guttural, now understanding and mimicking the tongue in which we call to her. She can no longer feel the stinging cold of the snow and sharp winter winds, but is awake and energized by the night and her own sovereignty over it. These feelings are right, we tell her in low whispered chants. This night is hers, as she is his. She is something beyond human now, a greater beast, and may do as she pleases. She is beyond all judgment and may freely take all she desires until she has had her fill. We are her sisters, and we shall help her.

We watch with pride and approval as she entraps her protector, her kisses red and greedy. Better yet, witnessing her become as wanton and starved as we have been sends new hunger racing through us. The impulse to join her proves impossible to deny, and we will share her first conquest and triumph in her victory. She has a generous nature, and will not leave us unsatisfied. We crawl on our haunches, stealthily approaching the red and burning scene, watching her with keen, desire-sharpened interest.

She now hears the fervent moans of human blood and the icy laughter of the moon, as we do. For a moment, she surrenders and abandons herself, her hair uncoiling and snaking loose from its constraints. She knows she can take all, command all, and that the man at her side only exists to satisfy her need. She can already taste his blood flooding her mouth and washing through her, igniting every nerve. She knows it is hot, sticky and so sweet. Should she taste it, all her pain and torment will disappear and she will be gloriously free. Her bloodlust is caustic and serpentine now, her desire slicing through the air, and its scent pleases and thrills us in equal measure. We beckon to her, tempting her to grasp all she craves, to take it in her mouth, to feast upon it deliriously.

She is such a sweet child, and has so much to experience. The Master will open so many forbidden doors to her and unveil countless hidden worlds of pleasure for her delight. Our laughter tingles with the anticipation of this. We see so many things, and as our minds stretch and touch hers, we let her feel this side of the night and of our Master, and she welcomes it. As she has journeyed far and faced much to be with him, she deserves no less.

We cannot remember our names or many details of our mortal lives, but we remember signing to the moon for his delight, as we remember plunging into the inferno of his touch. We whisper these soft and teasing things to her, speaking of how vividly we remember and worship the joyous freedom of total self-abandonment, of surrendering to the prowling animal state. We remember the power, the passion, and the pain, and how we relished each experience, hungering and shuddering for more. We fondly recall the orgies of blood, naturally.

There were many years of dark, bestial passion and of purest carnage, for we were made to work our Master's will. We sing soft incantations to her of all the details, such as the tiny, innocent sounds of fabric as our thighs raked across priceless silks and our bodies arched into his touch. We laugh deep and low as we recall grappling, coiling and writhing under him like burning demons.

We also remember a distant past when he crowned us with gifts and we cooed with delight. We remember the countless sensual experiments conducted over years of mating, as well as all he taught us of the darkness and how to weave supple-limbed snares. We remember the thrill of shared hunts, of heads thrown back in ecstasy, throats exposed, and the beauty of hands and mouths smeared in vital juices. We remember our tongues lashing his body like serpents' and scourging the naked beauty of so many victims like heated whips. We remember caressing and bathing uncountable scores of men in showers of lust and blood, and then drowning them in their own unchained desires. This is the life he has given us, and we have often loved it.

We are the flowers of the abyss, his splendid creations. He nurtured and tended us once, lovingly punishing rebellions and rewarding devotions in his own way. Under his cruel, beautiful hands, we thrived and grew wild and deadly.

She is his new creation, his treasured one, and she will be beautiful and powerful. We see her own cruelty rise proudly as the passion in her eyes turns to murder. Her thoughts are with her slain friend, our lost sister, and all she wants for this moment is mortal blood for the eternal life her companion was denied. We feel this grief and outrage with her, our desire darkening and fermenting at the sheer audacity of this man – bastard! murderer! swine! – to have touched one such as ourselves, to have dared rip eternity's pleasures and prices away from her. As we creep closer, we urge our princess to strike and protect herself from one who may yet destroy her as he did her friend.

For us, nothing matches this. The combination of seduction and feeding, of feasting on flesh and blood alike, is our dearest pleasure and we are happy to see her learn it. All men come to long for our love and our touch eventually – they lose all will to fight us and seek only to be annihilated in the selfish pleasures we offer, and they come to cherish and need us even as they despise and fear us. We have enchained and enchanted, killing abruptly when necessary, and sometimes stretching out the torturous loving and draining of our sweethearts for over many years. We have served our creator well and we will serve him yet, though we have desires of our own that even he cannot comprehend, should he care to know.

What we long for now is to see her move and sway to our death-dances, our sensuous spider-embraces. We know so many things, and long to share them with the Master's beloved. We wish to share our very selves, whatever it is that remains of us now. If we influence her much, then there will be something of us in her forever. And so there will always be something of us he loves.

Before this year and all its changes and upheavals came, the Master had long-wearied of us and his visits had become less and less frequent, and when they occurred were never as they used to be. He needs nothing from us now, and has given us no attention for so very long. He always savoured solitude, and though we came to know his moods well, we never understood them and were never offered more than a glimpse at what truly dwelt in his silences and absences. We gave him pleasure once, but not a scrap of peace, and eventually even the pleasure we lived for could not touch him.

Over the turning of many years, we shared in nothing any longer – not hunger, not malice, not lust. He despaired and we declined, and became not concubines, not slaves, not instruments, but only mouths to feed. Now we do not even hunt, but are fed like pets.

It was no secret that our Master felt more for a lifeless, decaying portrait of a dead woman's face than he ever did or could for us in our greatest moments of passion, power and potency. Like that much-loved portrait, he eventually allowed himself to be ravaged by age in his sorrow and bitterness. His ruination was reflected in us as we, like the castle itself, fell victim to neglect and disinterest. We gathered dust like the splendid sheets, heavy rings, sparkling ornamentations, gleaming jewels and brilliant perfumes he once gave us as empty tokens of affection. Like our ancient bridal gowns, his tie to us became brittle and fragile with age, only a rough touch away from crumbling into dust. Our boudoir became a prison, a dark chest in which he locked away evidence of past sins and deep regrets. He became a ghost haunting his own domain, and we were diminished to something even less, doomed to be nothing more than his bad memories; a legacy from a time when he thought he could forget a long-lost love and was proved crushingly wrong.

We have been stifled and have bemoaned our fate, but we are bound to him and cannot leave. Or perhaps what compelled us to stay was the certainty that, although we had been his lovers for generations, he would not have cared if we left him.

We whisper this to his beloved princess now and it is a lick of pure flame to her, igniting and destroying. She screams, abhorring both her seduction and her incoherent rage, and denies us and her own nature. We horrify her, but we mean her no harm. She is our own kind and safer than any from us, and she will come to know this. Still she refuses us, clinging to the burns of uncertainty instead.

We grow aggressive in our frustration and command her to join us and enter into excess, opulence and obsession. We insist that she prove her devotion to her lover by destroying a frail, foolhardy man who is both his enemy and her own. All we three desire is to see her hunt, take her prey, and feed for that wondrous first time we each remember so well – and still recall vividly even after our names and pasts have deteriorated and crumbled to dust, like the bones of our first sweethearts and our first kills. We all wish to see her delight in drinking life itself. Instead, we mourn her resistance and the scarring of her beautiful face.

But that is not all that we do. We know blood and passion, and so we also know vengeance. Our failure to protect her from the old man will anger her prince, and so we must later take retribution and destroy this man for daring to touch her and mar her loveliness. But we have failed to draw her out into our world, and so we scream and rage, for we cannot snatch her away before the sign of the cross and the command of Christ repels us and drives us back.

Its holy power is greater than ours, and our fury howls and hisses. We remember failure and shame too well – it spat and raged within us when our sweet Englishman escaped our company. He was the Master's final gift to us, and was ours to love and devour at our will; our only uncompromising order to either kill him or render him too weak to leave us, whatever best pleased us as long as we ensured that the boy would never meet his intended again. Thinking only of the man's beauty and of indulging long-denied passions and appetites, we chose to keep him alive, to play with him, to imprison him forever in the dungeons of our desire, to pleasure and shame him as we drank his blood and slowly, tenderly killed him. But he kept faith and learned our ways, learned of the objects that harmed and weakened us and could keep him safe, and then he fled with the dawn. We believed the Arges took him as it did so many, and since learned of our mistake when he was far beyond our power. But he too is returning to this place and perhaps we can reclaim him then, and bestow our myriad punishments and mercies upon him. For now, the memory of his escape is enough to ensure that we will not disappoint our Master again.

Perhaps we have failed to entice his beloved into severing her last flimsy ties to the mortal world, but we can still thwart her best hope of returning to it. Their horses neigh, cry and rear uselessly in their distress as we set sharp nails, serpent fangs, and fists with power enough to break bones upon their pliant bodies. Our nails gleam and then drip with red as we shred the beasts to pieces, tearing the animals apart and pounding the remains, screeching laughter and reveling in the kill committed for pure pleasure. It has been so long, so very long.

Now these two mortals cannot leave this place, and must meet their fates here. They are trapped, and the old man cannot spirit her away from our Master's influence should it prove too strong for her to resist. And if we cannot kill him by night, the wolves may by day. Surely they have already scented the horses' blood and dead meat. We sense the old man's fear and vehemence now, and taunt him in our piercing, laughing cries, vowing to come back for him and to share him later. He is ours now, and he belongs to us as all men do, and when we have fully and thoroughly enjoyed him, the princess will come to us happily. We will come back, we whisper with the rising sun. We will come back.

We have been forgotten, unneeded and unindulged for so long, but our new purpose unites and strengthens us. This will be our last act of devotion to our Master, our loved and hated sire, for our time here is done. We do not imagine that there will be a place for us among the lovers, and know that when he returns we three shall be interlopers and voyeurs. This has always been their home, long before it became ours, and we have never truly belonged within these walls.

Her return signifies much, and heralds change. The princess is special, not to be one among a number of concubines, but his one and only for all eternity. We will never know his touch again and so we shall step aside, obey his command, and fly to new haunts seeking our own malefic destiny – perhaps together as sisters, perhaps each alone. Though we have been tied to our Master for uncountable years, for night after night of dark passion, we will allow him to sever that blood-soaked bond.

But for one night only, we shall remain. To watch them together, to see them belong to one another completely. The night he returns will be her last night as a mortal and living woman, and they will want to spend it together – and our reward will be to linger in silence and watch them, to witness their long-awaited reunion. We three brides shall see them become true lovers for the first time; it is our due. She will fall and he will be redeemed, and we must glimpse it. Already, we indulge in fantasies and imagines as we anticipate how it will be between them, and the rare wonders we shall see.

In making us, he has given us something of his loneliness, and perhaps he has given it to her too. But if so, he will try to take it away. Kisses and caresses, first soft and later needy, will revive many ghosts of their shared past. Emotion will shake him and he will touch her as though she were the blazing sun. He will close his eyes and let go, letting her take him away as he carries her to the edge, and we must see this. We must see all that passes between them, if only once.

And so we will stay for that one sacred night, haunting and circling the walls of their bedchamber and peering through the spiderweb-cracks, ravenous for every detail. We will smile and moan to hear the whispered words passing between them, as well as the desperately-spoken names, the gasps and cries, the sighs of completion, the tiny pleas and the softly-spoken but unbreakable vows made. We will bite our lips as we see how her eyes widen in the moment, and we will lick our mouths as we imagine the taste of all we have never known and breathe in the rich smell of their passion. Our hands will entwine tightly as their sheets twist, and our soft laughter, like the clinking of glasses, will bubble up throughout the walls of his ruin, and we shall rejoice for the first time in our new lives.

To us, he is a monster but in her eyes, he is a man of aches, tragedy and yearning. With us, he used arousal and pleasure as weapons, and wielded them against his victims mercilessly, using these passions to control and humiliate them. However, with her, he will seek only to give her joy. His only desire will be to please her as he desperately attempts to make her forget her mortal husband and first lover, and we know he will succeed. He could render her wanton and shameless, ardently alive and charged with need, trembling and drunk on every detail of him, but he will want something more than this. Together, something more equal will take place, and they lose themselves in the night and in each other. We know he will be masterfully careful with her, for she is his only treasure and he values her more than his own life. The misery and longing of so many years will show, and he will drink her pleasure as four centuries of anguish dissolve when they kiss and become one.

Very carefully, we will watch for the moment when she calls his name, so that we may bask in his response to her and all the desperate emotions she evokes. There are so many things we cannot predict, and we are made delirious by thinking on the things we can, and so we must bear witness to this. To see our maker become a man in the embrace of his princess, so we may be complete and ready to fly at last. We may never understand it, but to see it will be remarkable. He is a horror, and they both cannot hide from it, and yet she will love him regardless and allow herself to become as we are, cursed and blessed in our many ways, and his heart will bleed. It will be beautiful, and we have not known affecting beauty for such a long time.

He will be tender and human with her, as he never was with us, and when his mouth touches hers in a kiss, it will mean something and promise much. His hands will slide over her reverently and his arms will wrap around her, holding her close, as as she responds and touches him in return, drinking in the feel of him, the limits of his control will be tested, but he will not break. He will worship every part of her devoutly, and pay tribute to her limbs, her skin, her lips, her eyes, her hair, and all her smiles and secrets. He will be gentle, slow and strong as he moves in her and their heat melts the pain they have both endured.

Greedily and gratefully, we will catch every touch and brand it upon our memories. And one night, when everything we recollect so vividly now lies dead as our first kills, as much much of our pasts lie now, we hope to still remember this night now approaching on swift feet with pounding heart. A night when love was the master, and he the slave.

When this night finally comes, his lips will brush the scar on her forehead and kiss the lingering pain away. Perhaps he will shed tears as she reaches for him with a small, wandering hand and caresses his face as though they were never separated.

We sleep now, lined side-by-side, and dream together of this night. It will come soon, for he is drawing near and has been made bold and swift by her closeness, her pain, and their need for each other. Then, we will see what our ancient eyes, eyes that have witnessed centuries pass, have never before seen. What our minds never dared entertain thoughts of, let alone conjure bittersweet images. All that we have never contemplated or imagined will pass, and we will have our finest reward and see what our many years spent at his side have made us deserving of witnessing. We will see the truest beauty our serpent hearts can know. We will at last see the impossible, the thing which made us so recently laugh scornfully to even imagine.

We will see how he loves.

-- FIN --