Chapter 9: William the Damned by Lynette Ferreira

SUSANNA CANNOT SLEEP. The rocking motion of the boat does not lull her off to dream world as it did so many times in the past. She gets up quietly. Her door creaks when she opens it and then she walks along the dark passageway, only lit intermittently with sputtering gaslights, to the stairs. She climbs them toward the deck and then she stands at the railing. She looks down at the waves spraying up against the hull of the galleon. The white foam of the waves is luminous in the light of the moon against the indigo of the water.

It is just before daybreak, her most favourite time of any day.

She imagines William standing behind her. Her mind rebels, while her heart leaps. Turning slowly, knowing she must surely be wrong she bumps into a wall and then he circles both her arms with his hands. She looks up at him, smiling slowly.

William smiles down at her. “Could you possibly be moving in my direction now?”

Wearily, Susanna rests her forehead against his unyielding chest. Just to feel safe and protected for a short while.

He says softly above her head, “I am sorry, but I just cannot stay away from you. I am here to once again convince you to choose me.”

Susanna sighs resignedly, while she takes a step away from him. “I am not sure if you have not noticed, but I am married. I have already chosen.”

“You have made the wrong choice and I can see how unhappy you are,” William insists demandingly.

“What about choosing the night?”

“An all-inclusive package deal,” William says optimistically. “Talking of night, the sun will be rising soon. Could I possibly hope you will come with me or must I threaten to sacrifice myself again?”

She laughs. “Please not here. That is just too dramatic.”

Laughing softly, he takes her hand and he leads her down the stairs to the lowest deck.

When they climb through the trap door and down the wooden ladder, Susanna sees a gaslight lighten a faraway corner.

Awkwardly he leads her to a bundle of blankets in the corner and he sits down. He gently pulls Susanna down to sit across from him.

He says apologetically, “Excuse the mess. I have not had a chance to make my bed.”

She smiles and he lifts his hand to her face. Softly he puts his hand on the side of her face and then slowly he moves his hand into the nape of her neck while looking intently in her eyes. He is waiting for a moment of doubt, and when he does not see it, he pulls her closer to him, while he leans into her.

Susanna cannot help it when her eyes rest on his lips and when his lips touch hers softly; she is unable to stop herself as her arms reach up around his neck.

A moment later, he leans away from her. Sighing deeply, he says, “When you are with me, I have the strange ability to breathe.”

Susanna laughs softly.

His fingertips come up and stroke her cheek lightly until they come to rest on her lips, while his other hand smooths over her hip slowly.

Sensation shimmers through Susanna, a sensation she could not and did not want to resist. She moans softly, a little whimper in her throat.

When William leans closer and kisses her, a kiss filled with all the hunger he has suppressed, she yields without a word. Her eyelids close as she gives herself completely to his kiss.

His arms slide around her, holding her tight against him, his hands holding her head steady against his.

Desire floods through Susanna, as her body leaps in recognition of what is happening. Her arms wind around his neck, holding him to her, unable to let him go while the hunger in her is feeding on him.

He unties the straps of her dress and he smiles amused. “I prefer you in drawers and a shirt.”

Smiling she shrugs out of the dress and with only her petticoat on, she leans into him. His mouth ravishes her. She fumbles with the buttons of his shirt, overcome with a desperate urge she has never experienced before or even knew existed. She longs desperately to feel his skin, his flesh and his muscles beneath her hands.

William squirms out of his shirt, and then he pulls her petticoat over her head. Susanna’s hair tumbles onto her shoulders as the clips become untangled from her hair.

Her hands roam over the smoothness of his back, as he gently pushes her down. Her heart is racing and thundering in her chest. She feels the crumpled blankets beneath her naked back. She is filled with a longing so intense, as her hands grip around his shoulders tightly and slowly he lowers himself over her. He traces his cold hands against her skin and he sends shivers across her body. She arches her back, pushing her body closer to his. Her body soaks up his touch.

She feels the palm of his hand in the small of her back and he lifts her closer to him. When they become one, William can feel her heartbeat as if it is his own.

Long ago Susanna packed away her dreams and stowed them away in a dark corner, but now there is no more reservations or fear of what the future might hold. She loves him.

Later, when they are lying in each other’s arms, he whispers close to her ear, “I will never again walk away from you. I thought surely this could not be love when I kept you against my better judgement, yet I was already drawn to you and now I cannot get enough. I cannot stop loving you.”

Susanna smiles thrilled and then she moves closer to him. She does not want to think about yesterday or tomorrow, she does not want to think about choosing day or night and she does not want to think about his immortality or her mortality. She wants to only live in the moment, but she knows she will never again let him go.

William holds her close to him. She is snuggled in the crook of his arm, her soft body moulded perfectly to his rock-hard frame. He wants to hold her every night under the stars as they appear in the evening shadows, for a million years to come. Forever will not be enough. He knows she has not yet made up her mind, but there is no doubt in his mind where she belongs.

He feels the moment Susanna falls asleep. For a while, he listens to her soft breathing, and he holds her a little closer. He feels a deep sadness settle within himself. Even if words will never be enough to convince her of his love, he will always believe she is the one he would want to spend his endless night with.

Later he hears the clatter and banging of dishes on the upper decks and softly he wakes her, “Susanna, it is time to wake up.”

She murmurs softly and shifts her body closer to him.

“Susanna,” he whispers again. “Wake up.”

Her eyes open slowly and he sees his future in her sapphire eyes. His love for her is not difficult to understand. He says, “They are serving dinner, you must go and eat.”

Susanna sighs softly and the mere rush of her breath over him excites his senses.

“Must I?” She asks sulkily, yawning. Her stomach abruptly insists she must.

Laughing softly, William sits up. “Your stomach is not shy at speaking up.”

Embarrassed, Susanna puts her hand over her stomach. She sits up, and then by the pale light of the gaslight, he stands behind her and helps her to pull in her dress, after she pulls it over her head. He helps her to bring order to her hair and tries to clip it back up again. Eventually, he declares her respectable enough to appear in front of people.

She turns to him and hugs him tightly to her. “When will I see you again?”

“Moments after sunset I will find you, as I always do.”

While William keeps away, standing in a darker corner, Susanna climbs up the ladder; opens the hatch and heaves herself up through the hole in the floor. She leaves him in the muted dark.

She excitedly climbs the stairs up to the upper decks, smiling widely. As she walks up onto the top deck, Carla immediately sees her and walks closer to her. “Madame, where have you been? I have searched for you all over the ship.”

Susanna smiles coyly. “Obviously, not everywhere.”

Carla looks at her and Susanna knows she sees her dishevelled look, although William declared her beautiful just minutes ago.

Susanna says frivolously, “I am so hungry. Come with me. I need you to fix my hair before I sit at the captain’s table.”

Obediently Carla walks a step behind Susanna, as they go toward the cabin.

Carla frowns at the condition of Susanna’s dress as she pulls it from over her head and helps Susanna change into a fresh dress. Carla takes the little clips out of her hair and then brushes out the knots before she pins it up again.

Suddenly Carla breaks the silence, “Madame, it is not my place but you are playing a dangerous game.”

In the mirror, Susanna looks up at Carla with a frown and dismisses her warning. “Carla, please just fix my hair. I want to get to dinner before it has all been eaten.”

“Yes, Madame,” Carla answers dutifully.

Soon Carla announces her ready and Susanna walks out of the cabin, while Carla stays behind. When she gets to the captain’s cabin, she smiles friendly at him, apologising for her lateness.

They eat and the captain talks pleasantly. He is a little brisk, but he can hold an intelligent conversation. They talk about the weather, his career as a seaman and inevitably about pirates. Besides bad weather, the pirate is a captain’s biggest threat.

After dinner, Susanna goes up to the deck and she watches the sun set over the ocean. The sun so large it almost fills the entire horizon. The half-sphere of liquid yellow hovers for some time, before slowly sinking. Susanna thinks about the words Carla spoke earlier this evening and she cannot help or push away the slight feeling of trepidation filling her. She has never admitted it to herself, but she fears Francois.

William appears next to her and once again he astounds her. He smiles down at her and his eyes glitter with mischief. “My lady,” he says, as he inclines his head toward her.

“My lord,” she greets him back, a smile playing on her lips.

He leans his elbows on the railing and softly they talk about nothing in particular. There are many people standing at the railing with them and he keeps his conversation and questions platonic, which Susanna replies politely and friendly.

The other people disappear below deck one after the other and when eventually it is only William and Susanna standing on the deck, he softly pulls her closer into him.

They stand quietly under the night sky, stars within stars, within stars above them from the horizon to the horizon.

Shortly after midnight, William says apologetically, “You need to go to bed now. Tomorrow you must join everybody else before you raise suspicion about your mysterious whereabouts during the day.”

“I hate to admit it, but you are right. Carla is already looking at me accusingly and she told me I am playing a dangerous game.”

A dark shadow falls across William’s face, but he continues smiling. “Come, I will walk you to your cabin.”

Together they walk down the stairs. When they reach her door, he takes her hand and then leaning down to her, he brushes his lips softly across her skin. For a moment, Susanna closes her eyes in anticipation, but he says, “Good night, Susanna.”

Susanna watches him walk away, a faint smile on her face. When he turns the corner, she takes a deep breath and she opens the door to her cabin. She walks into the room and Carla walks closer to her. Silently Carla helps her out of her dress and into her nightgown.

Susanna avoids talking to Carla and she avoids making eye contact, she does not want to be reminded of her own fear of Francois’ vengeance, should he find out about her and William. When her hair is hanging loosely around her shoulders, Carla says goodnight softly and then she leaves the room. Susanna gets into bed and she wonders if William will come to her.

Close to dawn and unable to fall asleep, she gets out of bed. She decides if he does not come to her, she will go to him.

In her long white nightgown, she opens her cabin door and peers out into the dark passageway. There is not a single soul moving around at this early hour. The galleon moans and creaks softly as if it too is sleeping.

Carefully she tiptoes toward the stairs leading to the lowest decks and softly she descends.

When she climbs through the trap door, she sees the gaslight burning dimly, but William is not there. She sits down on the blankets in the corner to wait for him, anticipating his surprise when he sees her.

Much later, she hears the trapdoor open and she gets up from the blankets excitedly, walking closer to him.

When he sees her, he says abruptly, shocked, “Susanna! No!” He jumps down from the top of the ladder and lands softly on his feet in front of her. Smiling, she walks even closer to him, and briefly, she notices his lips are stained dark red. There is a small splatter of blood on his white shirt.

He sees the distress in her eyes and hurriedly he turns his back on her. “I never wanted you to see me like this.”

Repulsion once again pushes up into the pit of her stomach, yet she senses oddly that the feeling is not as strong as it was previously. She puts her hands on his back and she says softly, “I love you.”

He walks away from her to a wash bucket in the corner. He washes his face and she can see the water turn pink. She is unable to stop the flash of horror, but as soon as she feels it, so soon it dissipates.

He pulls his shirt over his head and he throws it down in the corner. He turns to her and says abruptly, “I am regretful you had to see me this way. I tried to hide it from you and thought if you never saw it, the truth would never really surface in your mind. I wish I could be free of this curse, but this is unfortunately who I am. I have many burdens which should make you run from me in revulsion and all I can really offer you is my love.”

Susanna walks closer to him slowly and then she puts her hands around his waist. Her hand brushes over his burn mark unintentionally and she feels him flinch briefly.

This reminds her that for her he would sacrifice himself and how could she not love him, even though he is a monster she should be running from. She knows even if she ran from him, he will always be just behind her.

He stands there for the longest time without touching her.

She repeats, “I love you.”

“It will soon be day,” he says feeling the change in the air.

She refuses to let go. “Love me.” She lets her arms trail up his naked back and then around his shoulders. She gently pulls his face down to her, while she lifts herself to him.

He feels her pliable body mould itself against his and then he softly kisses her on the forehead. He still has the taste of blood in his mouth and he does not want to make this any worse. He is sure she could only handle one shock at a time. “You have to go,” he says softly.

She does not want to leave him, but the look in his eyes is demanding and he gently loosens her hands from around him. Reluctantly she moves away from him and then feeling saddened she walks toward the ladder at the trapdoor.

He watches her go. He had no choice because he had to feed. He arranged with her to meet her the next night, and deep down, somewhere, he understands she wanted to surprise him, to be with him, but now the full impact of who he is and who she is, hits him in the stomach. How could he have been so foolish to pursue her when he knew this all along?

When he lies down for the day, folding his hands across his chest, he knows he would do anything for her and although there was this vast difference between them, he would not know how to continue from here without her love.

DEEP IN THOUGHT, Francois lies in his sickbed. He has heard William had embarked the same ship as Susanna. When he learned of this, he felt rage explode within him and for a moment, a red fog disrupted his vision. If not for William, things could have been so different. From the start, she was the one he had waited for. Now all she is doing is ripping him apart and his heart is burning with resentment when he thinks about William.

When he gets off this bed eventually, he decides, he will dedicate his entire life to getting rid of every filthy vampire who crawls in the night. However, first, he shall hunt William down. William shall be his priority and he will not rest until he sees William burn and writhe before his eyes.

THEIR SHIP WILL reach the coast of France the next day. William waits for Susanna on the top deck because he needs to speak to her.

The sea has changed and the waves are swelling larger and larger, the galleon heaving from side to side precariously.

He sees her coming toward him, walking along the deck a little unstable as the boat sways under her feet. She reaches him and looks across the angry sea with a hint of fear in her eyes.

The ship lurches slightly and she lets out an involuntary cry. He grabs onto her to steady her and then he sees Carla behind her, looking at him. Dismay flashes clearly in Carla’s eyes.

He lets Susanna go and then softly he says, “I shall meet you in your room later.”

He walks away into the spray of a wave and Susanna stares after him. She sees the way his wet shirt clings to his muscular back.

Carla says urgently, “Madame, we have to go below deck. It is dangerous up here.”

Susanna looks at her as if she only now notices her and then she nods in agreement. Together they hurry down the stairs.

When they reach Susanna’s cabin, Carla turns to Susanna and then seriously she says, “Madame, may I tell you something?”

“Of course, Carla. What is wrong?”

“Well, it is about Lord Francois. I would not want you to think I am talking ill of the sick or of my employer.”

“I would not think anything. Please, tell me.”

After a short pause, Carla continues hesitantly, “Lord Francois, he has a terrible temper. After he was married to Lady Evelyn for six years, one day she mentioned William’s name mockingly and he struck her with his fist. She died instantly. We had to tell everybody she had fallen down the stairs and who would not believe Lord Francois rather than the servants.”

Susanna frowns deeply, she is shocked and she has known Francois to have a temper, especially when it came to William. Would he eventually kill her, even though he still says he loves her? She asks Carla softly, “What happened to his second wife?”

“We do not know. One night they had a fight and they were screaming at each other so loudly. His second wife was older than Evelyn and you, so after many years, she still had not conceived, although Lord Francois desperately wanted an heir. The next day, after their noisy fight, he told us she went to visit her mother. A year later, he called us all into his study and said she died. He did not explain how, but then, of course, he did not need to because we are only the help.” Carla asks worried, “I hope you are not angry?”

“No, of course not Carla. Thank you for telling me.” She feels fear coiling up inside her, as she considers every foul mood and temper tantrum she has experienced and witnessed from Francois.

Carla demands urgently, “Madame, I am afraid for you if you continue seeing William.”

When there is a soft knock on her door, Carla walks toward the door and then with a worried glance across her shoulder to Susanna, she lets William enter the room. Carla leaves the room and closes the door softly behind her. Although fear has nestled itself into the recesses of her mind, Susanna feels elation beyond words when she sees him. His blonde hair falls over his forehead messily and his dark eyes are mystifying.

William walks closer to Susanna and he stops in front of her. He is standing very close and his presence blocks all other sights.

Susanna shivers involuntarily, but William does not reach out to touch her. He says brusquely, “From the moment we met, there has been no doubt I love you, but we are different. When I saw you waiting for me this morning, I loathed myself, but this is who I am. I need human blood to survive and I am sorry I keep following you, but I think the time has come that I realise this is an impossible situation.”

Pleadingly Susanna interrupts him, “William. I have chosen.”

Abruptly he says, “Yes, you chose Francois and you chose the day.”


He turns away from her and walks to the door because although she denies it now, they both know she had already chosen Francois.

“Will you just listen to me!” Susanna exclaims exasperated.

He turns to her, his eyes hard, impossible to read. He looks at her, waiting for her to speak. His face is expressionless.

“I choose you. I choose the night and I want to be with you, always. Change me.” Susanna feels a weight fall from her shoulders and she feels indescribably free.

William walks to her hesitantly and Susanna tilts her head, so her neck is exposed. He smiles amused—very tempting. He takes her into his arms, hesitantly. “Are you sure you want me?”

“I have never been this sure of anything.”

He touches his lips to her skin, feeling her skin yield under his lips. He feels happiness beyond measure. He will turn her soon, but it would be safer for her at the ch√Ęteau when it happens. William lifts her in his arms and then he carries her to the bed. Gently he lays her down and he looks down at her, the one he wants to spend forever with. She smiles up at him and then he lies down next to her, cradling her in his arms.

The ship violently rides up and down the swells of the ever-growing waves, as the storm rages outside.

Continue reading Chapter 10/10

Copyright © Lynette Ferreira. All Rights Reserved. 
All work created and posted on this blog is the intellectual property of Lynette Ferreira.


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