English Romance

“I love you, Emma!”

“And I you, Mr. Darby. Yet you know full well that my father will not hear of an alliance between us.”

“Your father! That bigoted old fool!”

“Mr. Darby! Compose yourself!”

“I am sorry, my dearest. Forgive me. My choler rises when I am reminded of the intractable gentleman. The prejudice that he exhibits against my kind is of the most odious. I cannot forgive him.”

“Yet, my darling, he is the richest, most powerful landowner in East Sussexshire. We ignore his wishes at our peril.”

“Emma, my sweet, I must have you, regardless of the cost. I am not as puissant as your pater, but my wealth is by no means inconsequential.”

Mr. Darby took his love into his powerful arms. Outside the Soameswick Mansion, a full moon lit the countryside in a thousand shades of gray: cinereous, glaucous, bistre, and nine hundred and ninety-seven others.

“Come away with me,” Mr. Darby said. “We will marry at my family home in Biledragon. We will return here to confront Sir Farnswrath only when you have his grandchild in your arms. Perhaps that new life will help him see the light.”

“Oh, yes, beloved. You have convinced me.’

“Then a toast to our happiness.”

Mr. Darby poured out a glass of blood for his beloved. Then, into a second glass he poured bile from a hip flask.

“Here’s to the joining of our two breeds, the blood drinkers and the bile drinkers!”

In his excitement, Mr. Darby’s bile-sucking canines sprang out to their full fifteen inches. Sucking blood from the neck is child’s play compared to holding down a victim and getting in to those thoractic bile ducts.

“Baby,” said Emma. “I don’t know why, but I’ve got a powerful thing for those teeth.”