Summary: What if Lenore didn't die? What if Ragamuffin wasn't cursed to be a doll? What if she grew up and met him in completely different circumstances? A vampire Ragamuffin / grown-up, alive Lenore story, which takes place during Lenore's adulthood, at the beginning of the 1900's.
Warning: May contain bad language, some graphic, T/M rated scenes. Lenore will be a little OOC, because she isn't a kid anymore. It will be a more mature, less oblivious Lenore. Also, English is not my first language, but I'll try to write as properly as I can.
It was happening. Music and laughs were coming from downstairs, where almost all her acquaintances were joyously blended into a crowd that was scattering in the imposing house's biggest room. And even some other persons she didn't even know, business men that knew her father or elegant ladies that her mother spent time with, after she told her that she didn't have time to spend it with her own daughter. The grand living room, where her more-than-wealthy parents used to organize ceremonies and parties.
She loved people. Well, not more than she loved animals, but people were her second favorite beings in the world. Ok, maybe she loved butterflies more, too. And flowers. Did flowers count as beings?
She didn't know for sure. Since she was a little girl, she had always had this tendency to daydream and think about random things, even in the most serious, important situations. Her mother always reprimanded her about it, but she couldn't help it. She hadn't been aware that she was doing it, until she reached 14, but she was sure now she could control that urge. To an extent. Or at least, she thought she could.
She used to accidentally step on ants, kill birds and strangle cats, but she didn't mean to. She loved them. She loved everything. Except for guys who chased after her. She hated those, she even had the instinct to murder them, but it wasn't moral to do so. She was educated and she was completely aware that killing was out of league for people who lived in a society. Even though she almost did it to a boy called Gosh, when she was ten, because he kept sustaining that they were going to marry one day.
Fortunately for both of them, the boy's mother came at the right moment to stop her from strangling him with that rope she found in his backyard. Since then, she had never played with the boy again, because his terrified mother forbade him to meet "the creepy, blonde girl", as she called her. Funnily enough, she was actually relieved about it, because she couldn't stand Gosh. He still followed her after that, for a while, which woke her horrifying thoughts about killing him again, but he gave up after two years, when he moved from Nevermore along with his family.
Lifting her head, she studied herself in the large mirror that was hung on her bedroom wall, above the night table. A pair of blue eyes stared right back into hers and long, blonde hair covered her shoulders in a curtain. The white dress that she had been clothed with, by her maid, fit her quite well. She looked impeccable, just like her mother wanted.
After all, it was her 19th birthday, so it was proper to look like this.
Her longing gaze fell on the two small hairclips that she had loved to wear since she was little. Skull shaped hairclips that her parents hated, because they thought she looked unusual and quite strange in a way that invoked some sort of fear in those who saw her with them. She couldn't blame them. She liked creepy, even morbid things, which always offered her this unfavorable image in front of her family and town residents.
In fact, if she thought better, none of the guests who attended her birthday celebration probably came for her. Most were there just to form connections or strengthen bonds with her influent, rich parents. She smiled at little.
It was alright. She didn't need friends. She had some a few years ago, but they eventually went away, after they knew her better.
A few honks were heard in front of the mansion. She ignored them at first, but after the honks repeated, the curiosity got the best of her and determined her to pull aside the mauve curtains and look in the mansion's yard. A brand new, black Ford Model T was stopped right in front of the house, quite far away from the other parked cars, which only meant one of two things. The visitor either didn't intention to attend the party, or he just wanted to attract attention to his new acquisition. And she had the feeling it was the second choice.
Two knocks at her door woke her up from her reverie and she didn't even have the chance to respond, because the maid suddenly burst in, looking quite agitated.
"My lady!" If she didn't know better she would think the maid was going to faint from nervousness. She wrung her hands as she shifted her eyes in every other place except her face. "I'm sorry I have to be the one to give you the news, but your mother said she didn't have time to tell you and-"
"What is it, Martha?" She asked impatiently. That was one of her weak points. She had little patience and she couldn't stand when she had to wait for other people.
"W-well." Martha mumbled. She inhaled. "I know this will be a little frustrating, but I swear I didn't know about it either, because I've just found out about it, from your parents. But I swear I would have told you if I knew!"
"Tell me already or I'm going to hurt you." She deadpanned.
The maid gulped and pursed her lips.
"Alright, my lady." She slowly began. There was a pause, which was quite long, and even unbearably longer for her as she started to dig her nails into her palms into a gesture of annoyance. She always tried her best to act nice to the servants, but sometimes it seemed ridiculously impossible.
"Your possible consort has just arrived."
The maid cringed, as she tried to read her face, but she didn't even sketch an emotion. Her face remained blank, as doubt and confusion were clouding her mind.
What was all that about? Consort?
As if. She knew her parents' bad custom of trying to set her up with various gentlemen, but it never worked. She always found a way through which she got rid of them, usually by creeping them out. It was quite amusing, actually. Marriage was for girls who had nothing better to do with their lives but bow down at someone else's feet, metaphorically speaking, and being tied to another, which, to her, it appeared infuriating and unacceptable. That was why she always detested men who courted her. She couldn't be tied to someone else for the rest of her life. It was a principle that contrasted with the world she lived in, especially with her parents' own principles, although she didn't give a damn.
She just wanted to live with lots and lots of animals, especially kitties. Those were her favorites.
"My lady?" The hesitant voice interrupted her train of thought again. She turned her head and smiled at Martha, who visibly relaxed and returned a small smile.
"You can go." She murmured, still thoughtful. The maid turned around, prepared to leave her bedroom, but she stopped right before she opened the door and looked at her once more.
"Do you want to leave a message to your parents through me?"
She shook her head.
"No. I'll talk to them myself."
Martha nodded, then bowed and left her in the silence that was vaguely disturbed by the voices coming from the party held down below.
She threw one last look at the mirror, before she smoothed her dress' folds and went out, a few minutes after the maid. As she descended the stairs, the noise was getting louder and louder, until she got at the bottom of the steps, where she was enveloped in the ruckus, as various, unknown people passed near her, without even realizing she was actually the birthday girl. She snorted at the splendor of the room, at the elegance of the visitors, at the servants who carried different plates and ran from one corner of the room to the other, serving attractive dishes. She sneaked around one of them, snatched some sort of delicious looking, small cake and stuffed it into her mouth.
She mingled with the party-goers in the search of some guests' pets, but no one had come with their own animals, which made her deflate and want to return to her bedroom and go to sleep. It was almost her time of sleep, anyway.
Or maybe she could go and take a walk into the town, without anyone noticing it, and perhaps find some cat or dog that could keep her company. That would be nice. But it was too dark outside already and her parents would go mad if they observed her absence.
So she still had to wait for that dumb consort to present himself after all.
"Damn it." She growled. The words had come out too loud.
"You know I prohibited you to swear, Lenore." A hand grasped her shoulder tighter than necessary. She turned her head to see an older version of herself- in fact, she was actually the younger version-, along with a tall, dark haired man, who, as always, had the stony expression planted on his face.
Lenore faced them and remained passive, calmly awaiting their explanation for the Ford's presence in front of the house. Her mother appeared quite thrilled about it, while her father, even though he was deadpan, was giving a small, vague sign that he was anticipating this too.
"One of the richest men in town has asked your hand in marriage, Lenore! You'll soon be engaged to Howard Wilbur!" Her mother exclaimed, on the verge of happiness.
And that was how the bad part of the night began. This annoying guy finally decided he wanted to marry her and came onto her family, constraining her into sharing her life with him, while she still felt like she was part of a childhood. She felt like she was young, too young for this and this claw scraped at her chest every time the thought crossed her mind.
She, of course, didn't say much. She let those people surround her and congratulate her for her birthday and for finding a fiancé. She let her parents talk instead of her. She let that guy, Willard or Millard or whatever his name was, kiss the back of her hand in courtesy – although she hurriedly wiped it on the table cloth after it- , she let him hold her hand – because her parents made her-, she let him embrace her- only for a second because her elbow "accidentally" kicked him in the gut after that. The events were tiring and irritating, but she managed not to wreck anything or say something out of place. For the time being.
It was boring as well, as she had to assist at the monotone conversations those people were involved in, conversations about politics, social gatherings and other dull events that had nothing to do with her interests. They didn't even offer her the opportunity to make herself known better.
To them, she was just a cute, blonde young lady that was going to be that guy's wife, who was quite popular, apparently.
After two long, wearying hours, she was definitely decided to leave that crowded, suffocating room, until someone's words attracted her attention for the first time in that night.
"…and that monster returned to this town again, after nine years."
The word 'monster' was definitely interesting.
More than ten heads turned into the direction of the voice. It was an older man, in his mid fifties, the one who spoke. Most seemingly knew what the man was talking about, because some widened their eyes in fear, while others remained in shock. Her parents knew, too, as they threw her cautious, worried looks.
"We found a woman's slaughtered body last night." The man carried on. "It's definitely one of his savage works." He shook his head in disgust, while some gasped in horror. "The poor thing was half eaten."
Now he definitely caught everyone's attention, as exclamations and whispers filled the entire room. There were a few who didn't know what he was talking about, although they were young, just like her.
"Oh my goodness. I thought he vanished completely when he left our town." Her mother interfered appalled.
"He almost did." The man retorted. "We got notice from other eastern countries that he was roaming somewhere around there, but he didn't kill more than one or two persons during this time. Not from what we've found out. I'm afraid his hunting session has started again."
A dead silence froze the air. She was so lost that she got frustrated. What was going on? Something that slaughtered and ate people? She always thought those were just made up stories. It was quite ridiculous actually.
"Ok." Lenore broke the silence. "What's up with this monster?"
People throughout the room shifted in uneasiness and, of course, no one bothered to reply. Her mother hesitated, before she opened her mouth to answer, but her father interrupted her.
"I don't think Lenore needs to be told about this, Evelyn." They exchanged strange looks and now she was definitely decided to find out about it.
"Yes, I do." She protested. "I think everyone needs to know about this, since it's dangerous. Or we can end up just like that woman." Alright, it wasn't like she cared about it. She was just really curious and it was funny to see those people believed she was a mature, considerate girl.
Her father furrowed his brow and rubbed his temple in an attempt to calm himself. After a minute or two, in which Lenore almost boiled due to impatience, he relented.
"You were really young when he started attacking this town. I believe you were about ten years old."
She enlarged her eyes when memories of a general, silent panic danced in front of her eyes. Oh, she remembered it very well. But she was too young to care then and those warning posters the townspeople stuck on every building's wall, with that guy's face printed on them, only contributed to her fun.
"You remember that he was everywhere. In the newspaper, in people's conversations, on the walls." He told her.
"'Beware of the Ragamuffin.'" There was a slight pause. "That's what everyone said."
So he was a serial killer who was given a title. It wasn't that big of a deal. In those times, serial killers were almost everywhere and they almost always created panic through citizens.
"Ragamuffin is a vampire, young lady." The old man said. "He's a vampire that eats people."
Lenore remained petrified. She felt her lips starting to tremble, as the corners of her mouth lifted up in a restrained smile. Her chuckles disturbed some, who frowned at her insensitiveness and unladylike behavior.
"A vampire?" She wiped a small, escaped tear from the corner of the eye. "I love people. They're so funny."
"It's true, Lenore." That Willow guy, who annoyed the heck out of her, tried to convince her. The idea of implanting a sharp object into his head passed through her mind, but she ignored it. Now she was really preoccupied with the vampire subject.
"He has been spotted flying by many and the damages we found on his victims were too serious to be committed just by an ordinary human. There have also been dates of him since the 16th century." The old man explained. "It's hard to believe, but…"
She listened with every fiber she had and she didn't even observe she was holding her breath in amazement.
"They really exist." The man completed his sentence, while she stood still as a statue. It was the fantastic she always dreamt about. It was extraordinary. Astonishing. Absolutely perfect.
"And this one is more horrifying that any other story ever told."