The Tale of Maria – Chapter 2: Live

The crowd’s voice was all one can hear. Around ten thousand people gathered in the arena all excited for the concert that was about to begin. A cheer broke into the loud cloud of chatter. It came from the front row as a figure was seen approaching the drums on the stage. Is it the band’s drummer? The figure moved into the light and a short man with a toolbox and a vest saying Engineer appeared before the masses of feverish fans. Not the drummer. The man started testing the instruments one by one, playing some beats on the drums, strumming the guitars, and saying words into the microphones spread around the stage. He disappeared into the darkness and wasn’t seen on the stage again.

A few minutes later, another figure walked onto the stage. A tall dark-haired man emerged into the light and held the guitar. This time, the light revealed one of the band’s members, and the cheers started getting louder. Another came in and sat in front of the drums. The sound coming out of the crowd was now deafening. A third came in, this time a red-haired woman who took the bass guitar and started playing the first notes of a song, quickly joined by a riff and a beat from those already on stage, followed by a second guitarist walking in, already holding his guitar. The intro to the song Demon Dust was being played and the crowd was screaming louder now, some humming the melody while others banged their heads. And then, in walked the lead singer. A woman with black hair and dark brown eyes, dressed in black, with a red corset that her hair fell upon, and she started screaming the lyrics to the delight of the exhilarated crowd.

A black banner was dropped at the back of the stage reading Sanguis, the word written in a cursive white font, with stains of blood covering it. After performing for about an hour and a half, the singer started talking.

“We have one more song for you. Thank you all for coming tonight,” she said, with only soft guitar strums being heard from her band. 

“Please make a sound for Micheal Black on the drums,” she continued as the crowd did what she asked for and gave a loud cheer. 

“Please make a sound for Donny Peters and Sam Daniels on the guitars. Please make a sound for Samantha Daniels on bass, and I am Maria Cartier, and we are…,” she stopped and pointed the microphone towards the crowd who roared in reply: “Sanguis”. And the guitars went off again, joining forces with some fast beats as the band played their final song for the show.

Sanguis was going on tour all around Europe. “The Revival 2021 Tour” they called it. Of course, it wasn’t their own revival, as they were as alive as ever with their latest album receiving a huge amount of success. It was the revival of live music itself, as the whole world of concerts paused during the pandemic of 2020. The fans were eager for this tour, some following the band from their hometown in the United Kingdom all across Europe.  However, that night, Sanguis were not performing so far from home. In fact, Maria’s family descended from Paris. So in a way, Maria was home.

After the final song was over, the band members waved and said their goodbyes to the fans, tossing them relics to keep from the event. And into the darkness of the stage, Sanguis disappeared from the eyes of the crowd that worshipped them.

Hours later, all the members of the band were each in her or his hotel room. With the band stayed their tour manager and three assistants. Oh, and Alfred, of course. Alfred was Maria’s close friend who followed them all around their recording sessions, concerts, and recreational outings. The rest of the band members hated Alfred. He seemed like a nice guy, but something about him felt weird. The media accused him of being Maria’s “secret boyfriend”. He wasn’t. She called him in one of the interviews a “really close friend”.

That night, Maria and Samantha were hanging out in the hotel lobby, talking about the show and the many adventures in Samantha’s love life, when Alfred showed up, with his disturbingly tall and thin figure, at least to Samantha, and whispered something in Maria’s ear. Samantha, seated not more than a meter away, could make out the words “Andrei”, “meet”, and “bijou” from the whole sentence that Alfred uttered.

Samantha loved spending time with Maria. She felt attracted to her in ways she could not explain. She felt an urge to make Maria happy, and if Maria was content, Samantha’s life felt more complete. She was even wearing the dress that Maria once said she loved, even though Samantha hated dresses. It wasn’t a sexual attraction, and it wasn’t a pure friendly one. It was just something that neither Samantha nor her therapist could understand. And so naturally, when Alfred came and carried off Maria, Samantha felt very upset.

As Maria walked past the entrance to the hotel exit, Samantha followed her with her eyes, wondering what kind of business she would be attending with Alfred this late. It was almost 1:00 AM and Samantha was exhausted from the concert. Her fatigue, however, was in battle with curiosity, jealously, as well as worry.  As she stood up, thinking she would be heading to bed, the three latter feelings pulled her outside to follow Maria.

The moment she stepped outside the hotel, she could see Maria and Alfred walking down the street from afar. She noticed Maria had her hood on, hiding most of her face. She is not as famous as Maria, but she might still be recognized. She walked back inside disappointed at her failed adventure. But as she turned her eyes around the hotel’s reception, she noticed a stand selling beanies for tourists. She picked one randomly, paid for it, and wore it quickly as she walked back outside. She paced until the two of them were back in sight. Then she followed them, maintaining a distance, going faster or slower to stay unseen without losing them. Her A-line dress looked ridiculous with a beanie over her head, but she did not care.

Maria and Alfred stopped next to a huge building. “Le Bijou,” Samantha whispered reading the building’s sign to herself. Maybe it was jewel-like back when it was built. Now, however, the building looked old and creepy. Maria and Alfred walked into an alley next to Le Bijou. There, an old but sturdy-looking man stood. There were passengers walking by the perpendicular street, and Samantha walked between them to the entrance of the alley. She could not hear what was being said, until she took a few steps in, hiding behind a garbage container.

From there, she could see more of the old man. He was tall, making Alfred seem shorter, wore a flat cap, had pale skin, a tall nose and no sign of affability. She could now make out the words being said.

“The box I gave you contains all the papers you asked for,” said the man looking at a small box Maria was carrying. “About your mother, your family, and history.”

“Do you have an answer for the question I asked you on the phone, Andrei?” Alfred asked.

“I do not,” Andrei replied the man with a cold voice and an Eastern European accent. “I have never heard of something like that. A human has to die to become a vampire.”

“What if her memory was erased by whoever turned her and killed her?” interrupted Alfred.

“A vampire cannot erase memories. We can create illusions, but not remove things someone has already seen. This is all Netflix bullshit,” said Andrei.

“If I am not a vampire, then what am I?” asked Maria. 

“No, Miss Cartier. I did not say you are not a vampire. You definitely are one of us. I can sense it. I can feel the monster living behind your mask of humanity, feeding on your emotions just like mine did when I was younger. I can smell your blood that no longer carries oxygen to your organs, but curses and sickness. You are a vampire, Miss Cartier. How did you become one is what I do not know.”

There was a brief moment of silence.

“I must go now,” Andrei suddenly said, “we are not alone.” Samantha watched as he leaned down and whispered something in Maria’s ear. The man walked a few steps back and then disappeared. Samantha felt a chill going down her spine. She looked back at Maria. Maria was looking in her direction with piercing eyes.

Samantha did not care about stealth anymore, she just wanted to get as far as possible from that alley. As she moved towards the street, shivering in fear, she felt as if a strong wind passed by her, then firm hands holding her from the hips and pulling her back. In barely two seconds, she was back inside the alley, not at her former hiding spot but next to Alfred and Maria.

“Ma-Maria,” Samantha stuttered in a shivering voice as she looked at her friend. Maria’s eyes were crimson red. 

Samantha was shivering in fear. She closed her eyes and started weeping. Maria held her hand. “Come here,” she said. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine”. She hugged her tight. Samantha was still crying when Maria looked her in the eyes and said: “Don’t worry, Samantha, all is good…” and suddenly, Samantha’s fear was gone. She smiled back at Maria and held her tight. For a brief moment, Samantha felt that indeed everything was fine. She loved the way Maria smelled. She then felt Maria’s hand grab the upper part of her back. One hand was behind her neck. Maria’s lips were moving down Samantha’s neck, and Samantha did not mind at all. It was a kind of pleasure she never had before. She then felt a bite on her neck. It hurt but Samantha did not move. She moaned.

“Don’t,” said Alfred in a low voice, “She’s your friend.”

Samantha heard but did not care at all. She was sedated with a strange feeling of pleasure mixed with pain. She felt a trickle under Maria’s lips on her neck, and she loved that feeling. She could feel her strength leaving her body, her senses reduced into just that one feeling Maria was inflicting.

A few minutes later, Maria let go. Samantha fell to the floor, dead.

“She knew,” said Maria.


Police Report 
99 May 2013

On Sunday the 19th, 2013, at 2220 hrs, a call was received from a citizen with the name of Georges Dwayne reporting to have found two dead bodies on the side of the road at 6th avenue, Calvin Street. A patrol was sent to the crime scene right away. The bodies were determined to be those of Sean Mallark and Rebecca Stanley. Detective Michele Stones performed the autopsy. Her report stated that the murder occurred around two hours before the bodies were found. The cause of death is strangling. The bodies showed no sign of struggle. The case has been opened and assigned to Detective William Parker with the number 20131026.

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