Short Story
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            The Masquerade
                                    By Debra Dafoe


The Masquerade Ball in the elegant ballroom of the Northridge Mansion was in
full swing. Sipping a brandy, Paula Daniels surveyed the room.  Wade
Northridge had disappeared from her life fifteen years ago; she hated being
alone, especially on New Year's Eve 2008. Maybe she would meet someone
special this year.  Paula wore a purple chiffon gown and a mask to hide her
face. Was it not the purpose of a masquerade ball to be mysterious? She
thought as she glanced around the room.
Wade Northridge noticed all the people going into the Northridge Mansion with
costumes on.  Ah, yes, the traditional Northridge Masquerade Ball to mark New
Year's Eve.  He was a Northridge, so he would attend the ball.  No one in the
family knew that he was even back except for Greg Reynolds, his caretaker.  
He wanted it that way because he became a vampire again fifteen years ago
on the eve of his wedding to Paula.  The moon was full that night when he got
the craving for blood again, and it was so great, that he couldn't stop himself
from attacking the first woman he came across tonight.
Paula's cure that she had found was not permanent.  That was why he went to
the Orient to find one for himself.  But instead, he started attacking women.  He
had been 1living on the run all this time and still preyed on vulnerable young
women for their blood. It was on full moon nights that no women were safe.  
Wade was positive that Paula would try to find a permanent cure for his
vampirism, but not even she would be safe from him.  This blood lust came with
a price. Instead of just blood, he needed sexual release.
At the party, Wade noticed every woman in the ballroom. They were
masquerading in their beautiful gowns with their faces hidden behind masks.  
The woman in the purple chiffon gown caught his eye.  She stood out in the
crowd for she was alone. Wade saw her go out into the night, so he followed
her.  What a perfect opportunity to feed and satisfy his sexual pleasure, he
thought as he ventured outside in the darkness.  He saw her by the gazebo.  
She was too far away from the mansion for anybody to hear screams.  Wade
sneaked up behind her .
"Who's there?" She called out.     Before Paula could turn around, strong
hands wrapped around her waist and she felt the hot breath on her neck.  
When he felt her go limp, he dragged her deeper into the wood.  He opened
his mouth ready to sink his fangs into her flesh.  She started to come to and
gave a gasp when his fangs connected with the skin of her neck.  She tried to
moveher head, but she couldn't and passed out while Wade was feeding.  He
didn't notice that the mask was lying beside her.  As he fmished taking her
blood and was ready to satisfy his sexual lust, she moved her head slightly.
"Oh, no," he cried as he recognized the woman on the ground.  
He needed help in taking Pawa back to the Old Northridge Mansion.  His
caretaker would help him.  Wade went back to the masquerade ball unseen to
get Greg.
He found Greg by the punch bowl.  Thank goodness, he was alone.
"I need your help.  I attacked Pawa in the woods. I didn't know it was her until I
finished taking her blood."
They left the mansion and went to where Paula was.  She was still unconscious
and lost a lot of blood. Wade and Greg picked her up and carried her to the
old mansion. They brought her upstairs and laid her down on the bed in the
master bedroom.
"Greg, go get some warm water, so I can irrigate the wound."
While Greg was gone, Wade sat with her holding her hand.
"Oh, Paula, darling.  What have I done?  If I wasn't so in need of blood and
lust, I would have recognized your voice when you said who’s there.  I would
have made you run away from me."
Greg came back with a basin filled with warm water and handed Wade the
washcloth.  He left the room.  Wade dipped it into the water and patted Paula's
neck.  He heard her moan.  She regained consciousness and opened her
eyes.  At first, her eyes were blurry as they adjusted to her surroundings.  The
room looked familiar to her and then she saw Wade.
"Oh, Wade. You've come back to me."
"I. . . " he trailed off.
Paula took her hand and put it up to her neck.  When she took her hand away,
she noticed blood on her fingers.
"Oh, my god, I was attacked.  There is another vampire on the loose." She
cried.  "I remember someone coming up behind me and then I blacked out."
"I'm the vampire that attacked you," he said, casting his eyes downward.
"Is that why you left me at the altar fifteen years ago and didn't contact me all
those years?"
"Yes, I reverted back to my vampirism and the need for blood and lust was so
great that I started to attack woman.  I was afraid I would hurt you and that is
why I left for the Orient.  I should have never come back to the states."
"I still love you."
"And I never stopped loving you, either." He said as he caressed her cheek.
“Make love to me." Paula said.
"You're very weak from the ,blood I've already taken.  You need your rest and
strength.  If I was to make passionate love to you, I would take more blood and
you will be one of the living dead."
"I want to be with you for all eternity."
"Paula, you're not thinking about the consequences.  My blood lust is stronger
than my sexual urges.  Making love to you right now, would intensify my blood
lust, and I would feverishly attempt to take large quantities of blood from you."
Wade said, casting his eyes away from her as he turned away from Paula lying
on the bed.
"Don't turn away from me." Paula said, reaching out to touch his shoulder; He
turned again to face her.  She reached over and caressed Wade's cheek.
"I feed on sexual hunger."
"I don't care.  Take me now.  I'm all yours," she said as she threw the covers
from the bed.
"No." Wade cried as he turned away from her enticing body.
Paula lifted her head off the pillow and swung her legs over the side of the
bed.  She stood up and wrapped her arms around Wade.  She noticed the
dark circles under his sunken eyes.  He spoke in a seductive tone while their
eyes met in longing.
"Are you sure you want to become one of the living dead and to have to rely on
whole blood to sustain your every existence."
"Yes."
"Are you willing to share my hunger?"
"Yes. "
"Are you willing to share my blood?"
"Yes."
"Are you willing to share my body?"
"Yes."
"Then I will make you mine for all eternity. " Wade said as he kissed her
passionately.
He started to unzip her gown.  His hands slid over her shoulders and let the
gown fall exposing her nicely formed breast.  Wade caressed them.
Paula moaned softly and said.  “Make love too me, now." She reached down to
unbuckle his trousers and let them fall to the floor.
He eased her down on the bed as her gown fell to her feet.  She stepped out
of it. Their bodies melted as one as they made love.  The passion turned into
lust as Wade released her lips and traveled towards her neck.  He planted
tender kisses there as his mouth opened slightly and his fangs connected with
her neck.  She moaned.  He didn't have the heart to drain all her blood to
make her his for eternity.
"I can't do this to you. I can not." He said as he got up and started to get
dressed.
"I want us to be together forever.  I love you, and I know you love me."
"Think of the consequences of what you will be giving up."
"I have, really, I have. Do you think I want to give up my medical practice and
all that I have worked for over the years?  But my love is more important than
my work."
"I can't have you make that sacrifice."
"If you won't let me become like you, then let me treat you at my clinic when I
get well."
"There is no cure for me.  There was a male doctor in the Orient by the name
of Dr. Rice, who tried to cure me, but I just got worse.  I have finally accepted
my fate, Paula, and so should you."
"I can't. I have been doing research on artificial blood for a few years now.  
This time the blood would be able to sustain you, so you wouldn't have to
attack any women ever again."
Wade looked at Paula and said. "That would solve my problem of my blood
cravings, but I would still have the need for the sexual part."
"You don't know that until you submit to my treatment.  Give it a try."
Paula had her own agenda.  If she could curb Wade's blood lust with the
artificial blood, then maybe she could convince Wade to make her like him.  
She and Wade could both live on the blood.  They would be together for
eternity.
"Paula, I will give it a try on one condition that you give up this notion of me
making you one of the living dead."
"Okay." She lied.
When Paula was back on her feet a few days later, she went back to her clinic.  
She called Dr. Rice to find out what he did in his treatment of Wade.  After her
long talk with Dr. Rice, she called Wade to schedule his first treatment in the
next twenty minutes.
"I called Dr. Rice and found that your blood lust and sexual lust correlates with
each other.  Dr. Rice diluted his serum which counter reacted with your blood
lust and made you want sex more.  I will be able to give you a series of
treatments.
Wade never liked being poked and probed with needles.  He didn't mind Paula
giving him the injections.  She was very gentle.
"Wade, roll up your sleeve."
She drew blood from his arm, twice.  Paula placed one sample in a test tube
and mixed it with a testing solution containing antibodies on a glass slide to
view under a microscope.  Paula had three different blood smears to view.
"Dr. Rice told me that he drew blood from you with his syringe and used
excessive suction that made your vein collapse causing you to develop
Hemolytic Anemia.  This is the excessive destruction of red blood cells."
"Is that why my craving for blood is so great?"
"I really can't say at this point in time.  I only know that, I can give you a series
of hypodermic injections of hemoglobin into the surrounding fluid that will
include blood serum and blood plasma."
"Can you fix this, Paula, and what about the artificial, synthetic blood?"
"To answer your first question, I can fix this problem.  I will have to cure the
anemia first.  Then I can start trying to develop new red blood cells by
extracting red bone marrow.  The stem cells in the bone marrow of the
immature cells will grow into new ones."
Paula took the blood samples and viewed them under the microscope. She
analyzed the anti serum that containe,d antibodies against specific antigens in
the blood
analysis.
"I found that you have monoclonal anemia which are synthetic antibodies in
your blood.  I had to mix the blood in the test tube in a centrifuge.  It's that
machine over there." She pointed to it and continued. "It spins the blood to
separate plasma from the whole blood.  The cells settle at the bottom while
leaving the plasma on top." She held the test tube up for Wade to see what
she was talking about.
“This is all so confusing and complicated, but I trust you to know what you're
doing."
"I had to measure the presence of antibodies that were attached to the surface
of your red blood cells.  The test was a Coombs test, which I used to make
sure that Dr. Rice's diagnosis was correct.  Your red blood cell count was very
low only three percent.  An acute blood loss was seen in your red blood cells
under the slide.  It revealed the anemia. "
"Is this why I had an excessive thirst for blood?"
"Yes.  Now that I know what I'm dealing with, I can elevate your red blood cells
and release new cells from the bone marrow which will retro transfuse into
fresh frozen plasma to replace the withdraw plasma with a series of two
hemoglobin injections.  But first, I have to give you two synthetic antibody
injections to cure the Hemolytic Anemia."
"Will the last series of injections curb my sexual lust?"
"It should.  Remember I told you there was a correlation between the two.  Now
to answer your second question about the artificial blood, the product is called
Oxyglobin.  Is the synthetic blood that is brewed in the laboratory to the fonn of
hemoglobin?"
"What will it do for me?"
"It will act as a substitute for more red blood cells.  The hemoglobin is isolated
from human blood.  It can be segregated and purified.  Once fermented, it is
mixed with water and other electrolytes to create useable artificial blood."
"This is all too technical for me to comprehend, but you are the doctor,
scientist.  So you know what you are doing."
"There will be plenty of artificial blood to sustain your craving for human blood."
"How?"
"I pasteurize the blood and put it into packaging to be stored for use.  I can
store quite a lot of it at a given time."
"This is reassuring."
"I love you and you know there will be enough for two." Paula said as she let
the secret slip from her lips.
Wade had a scowl on his face. He looked at her in disbelief and said, "You lied
to me. You're trying to cure me, so we can be together forever."
"I want to be with you that much, and I will be able to this way."
"If you are to cure me and this artificial blood works, how can you supply the
blood for both of us in the lab of your clinic when you will be like me a vampire."
"I can store it in the basement at the Old Northridge Mansion, and we will have
a plentiful supply of it, and I can set up my own laboratory in the basement."
"If you succeed in curing me of this blood and sexual lust, I will reconsider your
offer."
They seal it with a passionate kiss.
Paula gave Wade the first injection of the synthetic antibodies to elevate his
red blood cells to the right level.
"I will take another blood sample in four hours, and test it under the microscope
to see if your red blood cells have risen to a normal level.  Just lie down on the
table and relax, Wade." Paula said as she kissed his lips.
The passion was definitely there as he pulled away from her.
Four hours later, Paula took Wade's blood, placed it on a glass slide, and
reviewed it under the microscope.
"Just what I thought. Your red blood cell count is starting to reconstruct them.  
I'm sure the next shot will find them at the normal level.  Then we can
concentrate on the last series of injections to cure your excessive blood and
sexual lust."
"Paula, I appreciate all that you have done for me.  You have stood by me all
these years and for that I'm grateful."
"It's because I love you.  I can't cure your vampirism, but I can cure what is
happening to you now.  Then you can keep your end of the bargain."
"I said I would reconsider your offer.  I didn't say I would turn you."
The next injection was done three hours later and it succeeded.
"I made your red blood cells elevate to the normal level. You are cured of the
Hemolytic Anemia.  Now the first shot of hemoglobin will begin.  These
injections are very crucial.  You'll have to tell me what you are feeling at all
times. ''Now, roll up your sleeve."
She gave him the shot and he felt like he was becoming a pincushion.
"How do you feel?"
"So far fine."
"I want to monitor your vital signs."
She took his blood pressure and pulse and said. "They seem to be normal."
"When will I have the final injection?"
"In two hour if you have no side effects from this dose."
She watched him closely for the next hour and said. "Are you feeling any
discomfort?  Do you feel the excessive blood lust or sexual urges?
"As a matter of fact, 1 don't."
"That's good, I think."
"What do you mean?"
"I hope your excessive blood lust is gone, but 1 hope I didn't totally cure your
sexual urges."
"You mean, I can have none at all, not even my normal ones."
"It's a possibility, but I hope not."
"Well, I hope not too." He said as he closed his eyes and tried to relax.
Paula woke him up for his last shot.  After it was administered, for a few
minutes, he felt no strong need for blood and no rapid sexual urges, but he felt
them for Paula as he looked at her.
"You don't have to worry about having depleted all my sexual lust, for I still
want you that way.  And I'm ready to give in to your demand, if that's what you
really want."
"Yes, I want to spend eternity with you. We can have Greg set up my lab in the
basement, and I will store our synthetic blood and make it when we start to run
out."
Later that afternoon at the Old Northridge Mansion, Greg in the course of a
few hours transformed the basement into Paula's lab.  Wade and Paula were in
the master bedroom.  He laid her on the bed.
"We will become one, my bride to be." Wade said as he kissed her.
He skimmed her naked body with his semi-warm hands and said. "I want you, to
be mine for all eternity." He sank his fangs deep into her neck draining the ten
pints of blood out of her arterial system.  Before Paula died, he took out a
pocketknife and cut his wrist for the blood exchange.  Wade placed it to her
lips as she drank voluntarily until she took her last breath.
Wade sat by her side.  No mourning her death because in a few hours, it would
be twilight, and she would rise as a vampire.  Paula had given Wade the dose
of the synthetic blood before the ritual of the bloodletting.  There was an
injection waiting for Paula when she rose up from the dead to her new
existence.  The hypodermic was on the night stand ready for use.
At dusk, she rose from the dead, smiled at Wade, took the hypo, and injected
herself with the artificial blood.  She could feel it surging through her veins.  
She gave a sigh of contentment as she lay back down to feel Wade's body
next to her.  Paula turned to Wade and said.
“Make love to me as your vampire bride on our martial bed."
And they did just that.