Viscount de Morieve

February 28, 2015

LipstolickMidnight.

Snow softly falling on the small clutch of buildings comprising the Morieve family estate. As later related by Aristide Groult, all were sleeping when the child screamed.

‘It was a scream to curdle the blood.’

‘A soul in torment,’ Groult described, making the sign of the cross in the air before him. ‘It woke everyone. We all heard it. A death sound…’

Fear often paralyses. An individual, touched by unspeakable terror, finds him or herself unable respond; to take action of any sort. And that is precisely what happened now, following the screams of young Adine Boursang. Groult and his wife sat frozen into ridged immobility – as did most of the estate’s terrified inhabitants.

Josépha Boursang, however, after momentary hesitation, rushed to her daughter’s room above the stable; her husband was only seconds behind her. They found the girl on her bed of blood-soaked straw, throat ripped open and totally drained of blood!

Word of the bloody atrocity quickly spread. Many of the local peasants muttered an explanation of sorts with the single word: vampire…

‘The child had been sucked dry by one of the undead,’ said Groult. ‘A priest should be sent for immediately. Action taken…’

Because the vampire’s identity was known to one and all: the old Viscount, dead and buried these past ten years. Yes, the Viscount de Morieve, that shrewd aristocrat who had managed to keep his head, when all about him were losing theirs, during the ongoing terrors of the French Revolution, an upheaval soaked in the blood of the French aristocracy.

‘There was talk,’ said Aristide Groult, ‘of great evil in the man. Even before the Revolution, people claimed the Viscount’s blood was tainted; that he came from the East. Others say how could the man have survive the trials of Robespierre’s Reign of Terror? Explain that if you will. Madame guillotine was cheated by this de Morieve. He faced down the mob. Or so they say. He came through it, and with his lands intact.’

Came through it, yes, but greatly changed by what he’d seen and experienced. People ripped apart by the mob, literally ripped limb from limb; others stoned or beaten to death by peasants whose faces were awash with blood. He’d witnessed friends and close acquaintances beheaded by the guillotine, the national razor. He’d existed for some years in this sea of blood…

Biding his time, or so it was claimed, the Viscount de Morieve waited until the restoration for his revenge. He systematically began to murder peasants, day labourers and casual farm hands. Using a double-handed axe he would decapitated his victims, bathing in their blood and dancing naked in the moonlight.

These atrocities continued for some months, until one evening a blacksmith on the estate fearing for his own life brutally murdered de Morieve. The Viscount was dully buried in consecrated ground with all due ceremony.

‘But he came back,’ Aristide Groult claimed. ‘He came back and we did nothing. He murdered child after child. For years it went on. And we did nothing…’

Finally it was Nathalie Larrieu who took action. Seventy-two years after Adine Boursang’s bloody murder, Nathalie visited the newly appointed priest. The priest, uncertain, shocked by the woman’s tale of blood lust and walking dead, consulted with the grandson of de Morieve. Together they investigated the Viscount’s tomb, opening it to find…the perfectly preserved body of de Morieve, ruddy-cheeked, and in the full-bloom of health.

Without delay a stake was obtained and driven through the heart of the ‘sleeping’ Viscount. He screamed and his screams were heard for miles around. Blood spurted over the interior of the tomb and over the praying priest, the grandson and his retainers.

‘It was the most terrible thing,’ Nathalie Larrieu later testified. ‘As if he were still alive. I’ve never seen so much blood before. After the whitethorn stake was driven through him, the body was removed from the tomb and burned. The ashes were taken to a nearby river and scattered. Since then there have been no more attacks on our children…’

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