Dead grass soaked up the fountain of blood that poured from the injured woman’s stomach. Frosted air glistening around her as she staggered to a decrepit porch of an abandoned home. It was the only salvation she managed to seek in the short amount of time she had.
Cold fingers of her left hand fisted into her bloodied abdomen, the given warmth keeping her fingertips away from the inevitable frostbite. She pounded her way to the front door, her soaked palm slapping onto the entrance, a scarlet imprint left on the brown chipped paint. In those fleeting moments she caught her breath, her heart finally deeming rest. The icy air around her caught her sighs and enchanted them to a fog-like state. Iron in the back of her throat rose from her chest, its taste exploding on her tongue as a potent cough erupted out. With another bang of her hand in hopes that the door would budge, she stood helpless as her strength withered away. Close to giving up, she crumbled to the porch floor.
The heavy door finally opened in the winter silence, obscure shadows crawling out from the entrance. Not a hint of anyone behind the dark curtain. She let out a cry of relief as she shakily rose from the floor, her arms and legs trembling for a moment of rest.
But she hesitated to enter immediately, so politely she called out.
“Hello!” No one answered. The place looked vacant anyway, surely it was circumstance that opened the door.
First thing upon entering was the slamming gate and a distinct click of the bolt. Then darkness.
Her eyes adjusted rather quickly, revealing a foyer full of dust and gray lighting from a window above. The next thing was the absence of warmth. She nearly cried out, the chattering of her jaw increasing from the lack of it.
But she continued on, her listless steps quiet as she shuffled further into the dark home. Wearily, she took note of the intricate detail of cherry wood paneling. A wide area of the entrance opened up into the second floor with a staircase that wrapped up around the lobby. Right in the middle of the hall, was a simple rocking chair, and a complementary table.
She found the condition of this home out of place, it looked like it hadn’t been lived in, but was kept in great condition nonetheless. Was it like this throughout the whole estate?
She shook her head of the many questions and approached the chair, her back aching for a break. She just hoped that by some odd chance, someone living here didn’t mind the blood that trailed behind her and tainted everything that she touched.
She sat down onto the finicky seat, the chipped wood protesting underneath her weight. It seems no one had bothered to sit here, for good reason too. The damn thing could barely take a wounded guest. Above her, a chandelier came to life, its years of service proving to be satisfactory. But not without a flicker and a burnt out bulb finally giving out with a pop!… Startling her in the process. She huffed out with a frustrated chuckle, and a palm to her chest to calm her racing heart.
Moments of this allowed her to scour the surroundings. The round table to her left held a wicker basket of fake fruits, a light blanket of dust muting the colors of the decorative food. Placed just off to the side of the punnet was an unfinished piece of embroidery. Adorned in intricate threading of a bundle of blue bell flowers and a singular white lily. She reached out to the green stem of the lily, unaware of the blood that still drowned her fingers in red. A smudge of rust alarmed her, making her realize the mistake. She pulled away harshly from the art piece, a curse shooting from her lips.
Resigning deeper into the chair, allowed her frozen joints to thaw. The faint warmth from the foyer doing little to aid in her worn body. With the occasional squeal of wood lulling her burdened mind to untangle itself. She hung my head from her shoulders, catching the macabre sight of her stomach. Hands shook as she peeled the torn shirt from her skin, a displeased hiss leaving her lips as the cool air hit the bloodied sight.
“Damn lycans,” She said with a low growl, a hungry howl from her stomach almost in sync with her disgruntled agony. Fortunately, her body adapted quickly and the wound would thread itself back together. Blood clots were already stopping the flow, the visible fat peeking out from the inflamed hanging flesh, fibrous muscles exposed to the stagnant air. Her teeth gnashed together as she brought a delicate finger to a flap of skin, watching as it sagged across her fingertip. As much as her body was capable of healing itself, it still had its limits. With the damage reaching past her navel and inches from her left breast, she ticked off the estimated days it would take for it to be remotely manageable.
Her stomach fussed again, the hunger crashing into her like thunder. She needed something to eat. She needed flesh.
She ground her molars against her tongue, fresh blood spewing out into her throat, making her reluctantly guzzle it down in desperation. It wasn’t enough!
Squinting down at the mangled fat, her red finger sought out the largest piece. Pensively tugging at it. With her body in shock, she could barely feel the rubbery meat being torn from her body. All there was, was the sickening sight of skin tearing off, the buoyancy of it leaving her stomach lurching out. Ready to get it over with, she brought the slimy bit to her lips, teeth catching the mass of fat. Her throat worked its best to pass it, the grit of it left behind in her gums.
“Not enough…” She felt like throwing up. More blood poured from her lips, her torn tongue forming itself back together. Nausea overtook her as she straightened herself. She pulled her soiled shirt off her, wrapping it tightly around the lesion. The pain was faint, but the implications of it coming in full swing had her grovel. The shock wearing off was enough to cause her wince in pain.
More crimson fell from her abs, the wine color staining the waistband of her pants. Haggard breathing the only sound in the room. Chest heaving, she came to realize the situation she was in. She needed something to sustain her until she could hunt again. For all she knew, someone must live here, witnessing the horror that could rise if she was unable to prevent it.
With a shaky resolve, she rose from the old chair, her grip weak as she struggled to find a steady grounding. After two failed attempts, she finally succeeded to stand, her vision blacking out for a mere second. A step forward was followed with the feeling of falling as she stumbled to the nearest wall. Any weak attempt to calm her heart was met with stale air, the room around her coated with light dust. She’d be sneezing in a storm soon. But as she continued to take deep breaths, something else began to register. Meat…
Saliva immediately pooled into her mouth, the threat of it over spilling onto her chin an embarrassing fate. With a fat swallow of the tasteless spit, she made sure to wipe any traces that might have fallen. An overwhelming pit of shame settled in her stomach, the amount of transparency was beyond her. A stranger like her stumbling across the halls and drooling over herself would have anyone witnessing it curl back in disgust.
Eventually she found a long hallway with a white door to her right. She checked the doorknob to find it unlocked, and opened it cautiously, the hinges betraying her with a high squeal. Beyond the threshold was a small foyer type room with a daunting old-fashioned elevator. Approaching it, she noted the gates. They reminded her of the old black and white movies that were all types of rage when she was— alive. This lift must be ancient.
She looked to her left seeing that there was only one button pointing to one level; The basement. Anyone with common sense could tell you what transpired in the basement of an old home. Unlucky for her, curiosity overruled fear in the most unconventional times.
She reached for the button with no regard, watching the button flicker as her finger tip made contact. Almost simultaneously a dull thump from behind completely halted her. Peering over her shoulder seemed like a bad idea, so she took a peek. Regret was the first word that came to mind, but what came out of her mouth was not in fact a word. A short gasp crawled up her throat, threatening to break the loud silence. Before her was a head full of auburn hair, mouth cracked open, porcelain teeth peeking out from rosy lips.
The thing sat still, staring at her. Its dull eyes watching her. The eyelids were asymmetrical and unclear of emotion. One was wide and alert, the other drowsy, perhaps drugged looking. Its chirpy smile was too much a contrast to its terrible eyes. It would’ve been a spectacle if it wasn’t missing its body, but what unnerved her the most, was its eyes. The green irises looked too real, its pupils dilating.
From a pen tip to the size of a penny, the eye was swallowed in darkness. What came next could only happen in a nightmare. She considered it in the split second that it took for the head to close the distance and fly into her shin, causing the entire dictionary of curses to spill from her lips. She stumbled back into the elevator gates, her breath taken from her as the doll head rolled back. Its dark eyes peering at her again.
In her fearful stumbling to the white door, her foot made contact with the glass head, ultimately shattering it when it crashed into a wall. Her hands gripped the door knob for dear life, but it did not open.
‘Did someone lock it? Fuck!’ She thought.
Her eyes scanned the area once more to find another hallway across from the elevator. With no other way other than down; not fucking happening, and that hallway, she picked the daunting corridor. Her body could barely keep up with her legs as she crashed into walls like a bird with a window. It must have looked like a pathetic display, but she was too busy running like a madman.
As she heaved through the halls full of peeling wallpaper, her head feeling fuzzy, her body getting heavier, things couldn’t get worse could they?
But what awaited her at the other side of another door was horrifyingly unexpected. The entire room had a multitude of dolls on every surface. Her vision hazy as she entered the threshold, the room becoming noticeably colder. Above her a jarring laughter filled the room from all corners, a surprise she did not take well.
The voice could be best described as a newborn wailing, with a heavily rusted voice box that didn’t know whether to give up or spew out its hysterics. It increased in volume, the mere sound making her eyesight ripple in agony. Her hands pressed into her skull to dull the berating laughter, it did little to subside the upcoming headache, causing her to fall to her knees. All at once, the sound had shifted to combine to one source, moving to stand a foot in front of her. Tiny black polished feet were visible in her line of sight, the hem of a torn white dress just skimming the floor.
“We don’t get guests very often.” The voice said, matching a spoiled child, “Are you here to play?” It questioned almost innocently, a dangerous edge to its inquiry. Her head shot up, coming face to face to another doll. The thing was taller in comparison to the many others that stood on every surface. Its shrill voice hummed as its cracked face tilted, its large glassy eyes finicky in its skull. She fell back from her knees, her back end landing hard on the ground.
The decrepit doll had on a frilly wedding dress frayed on every hem, its yellowed lace folded in stiff creases. On top of its cracked face held a husk of flowers that adorned a long veil. The shroud did a disservice to not cover its unhinged jaw and its dots for pupils. They bore into her with some sort of morbid curiosity.
Immediate dread etched through her chest, slithering to her limbs. Palms skid on the floor as she whipped around to stumble back on her feet. Making a bee-line to the door she had come through. The cold doorknob shook in her grasp, desperately trying to pry it open. But it stayed stuck, copper crumbling in her inhuman grip. Her next plan was to kick the door open, but before she could act on it the air around her became suffocating. Pungent odors of pollen and something rotten choking up her throat.
“How impolite…” The doll rasped from over her shoulder, her fist swung around, knuckles hitting the doll square in the face. It flung back, its mouth wide open as its bony fingers covered its battered forehead. She had little time to realize such a mistake before she got knocked to the floor.
Weaponized dolls crowded above her, their bladed hands and legs snapping at her in warning. She shielded her face, eyes shut tight as she swung blindly. A deafening laughter filled the room once more, the blackness behind her closed eyes starting to leak red. Her head felt like it would split in half, the high shrill feeling like it was glued right to her ear.
Then it all stopped…
In the instant of relief, she pried her eyes open. Edges of her sight fizzling in and out. But everything else was clear, making it hard to not miss the dark figure ahead.
On the other side of the room, a woman stood. Her posture rigid, shoulders high with a sense of presumptuous timbre. She dawned on a black dress, her face shrouded with a thick veil. Just her hands were visible, sickly pale skin, nails painted the color of old blood. The black dress she wore mirrored the late Victorian age, her sleeves puffed with a cinched waist. It was a modest attire, but something about it gave terrified woman the impression of morbidity; tragedy. A haunting beauty.
The doll with the white dress floated to the woman, its skeletal arms held out to her. Pale hands of this haunting figure reached out to the doll, handling it with care as it settled in her arms. The puppet then whispered something to the woman’s ear, its finger pointing to the other woman. Fear grew in her stomach as the grip tightened on the doll, before the veil woman set it down carefully. And in one long stride, she neared other in a millisecond.
Out of instinct, words tumbled from the woman’s lips with no regard. “What’s with the vei-.”
But before the said sentence could finish, the veil woman had her fingers tugging at red hair, and with unforeseen strength she had her pinned to a wall. She yelped out, her hands flying to the vice tugging at her scalp painfully.
“Silence,” The woman hissed from under the veil, her voice gravely.
“I mean no harm!” She pleaded out.
“I should have you killed,” The airiness of this woman voice almost too broken from misuse. Her other hand snaked up the others chest, cold fingers lingering at her throat before they encased her neck, slowly applying pressure. A numbing chill creeped down to her dangling feet, the prospect of being choked to death making her heart speed up.
After an unfortunate run in with a pack of Lycans, Carmilla Stoica runs into another dire situation. A hostile Dollmaker who threatens her on first sight, and weaponized dolls. But with no choice but to raid her kitchen and stay the night, Carmilla is conflicted with the symptoms of loneliness and grows fond of the occupants of the house behind the waterfall. But as she promised, she leaves the comfort of the reclusive dollmaker to seek shelter at the nearby village. But as fate loves to play, her bond with Donna Beneviento is forced to bloom. Leaving her utterly open and exposed her long forgotten past.