It was a short while after sunset, and Drusilla stirred and opened her steel grey eyes, looking about the hotel room. She stretched, arching her back like a cat, and ran her fingers through her dark curls. Angelus sat on the edge of the bed, lacing up his shirt. She paid him no mind. Instead, propped herself up on her elbows and sniffed the air thoughtfully, her nostrils flaring slightly.
‘My Willie’s gone away,’ she noted.
‘With any luck he’ll stay gone,’ Angelus growled.
‘Angelus is testy so early in the evening,’ Drusilla pouted, turning to her sire. ‘He says things he doesn’t mean because he misses Grandmother.’
‘Now why would I miss Darla when I’ve got you?’ said Angelus, crawling back up onto the bed. He placed a hand on her chest and pushed her back into the mattress. ‘I’m sure your little William is just fine. We’ll go out and find him later. But right now,’ he looked intently into her eyes, his own filled with dark lust, and smirked, ‘I really want to hurt you…’ He swung one leg over her, so he was straddling her hips.
‘Grandmother should go away more often,’ Drusilla purred, wriggling beneath him. ‘I like my Daddy this way . . .’
The Addamses lived in a very fine house in Holborn. The façade was white masonry, the door and window frames painted in blue. He glanced up at it. A part of him felt nervous, the other excited. From where he stood, in the street before the front door, he could tell that there were many warm bodies inside. One of them would be hers.
He knocked on the door, composing himself, trying to summon up the old William – the pathetic, sad William. It was easier than he would have imagined, and far more so than he would have liked.
A pleasantly plump, young maid, whose name he thought he remembered to be Harriet, or perhaps Henriette, opened the door.
‘Good evening, Mr. Pratt,’ she said with a curtsy.
‘Good evening,’ said William, and smiled his most pleasant smile. ‘Might I come in?’
‘Certainly,’ said the maid Harriet/Henriette.
‘I have come to enquire after Miss Cecily,’ said William, stepping into the house. The floor in the hall was tiled in white marble, squeaky clean beneath his feet. An elaborate floral arrangement stood on a small table next to the door, its sweet fragrance filling the air. At the end of the hall was a large, gilded mirror. William noted that he could see the maid reflected in it, but not himself.
‘Oh, I’m afraid Miss Cecily is not at home this evening, Mr. Pratt,’ said the maid. ‘You might be able to find her at the Carrington party, or I can take a message for you, if you’d like.’
‘Shame,’ said William, turning his attention to the girl before him. ‘I suppose I shall just have to make do with you.’
‘I beg your pardon?’ said the maid, cocking her head to one side. Then she screamed.
The bed was a mess. Drusilla lay on her stomach, panting, her back covered in scratches and teethmarks, her wrists still tied to the bedposts with strips of the torn bed sheet. Angelus licked some of the blood off the small of her back with a satisfied sigh, and began to search around the bed for his trousers.
‘Dear Angelus, won’t you untie me?’ Drusilla purred.
‘You can stay like that for a bit,’ said Angelus, and Drusilla shuddered and mewled happily.
She closed her eyes for a moment, but opened them again almost immediately. ‘Little William is being a naughty boy,’ she said.
Angelus stopped what he was doing and looked at her. ‘Oh? What’s he doing?’
‘He wants to take the king off his fine throne and crown himself prince of the ball,’ Drusilla murmured. ‘With a crash and a slash and pointy sharp things. Oh, he is going to hurt them so!’ she added gleefully, more than a little pride filling her voice.
‘I suppose we had better go find him, then,’ said Angelus. ‘Sounds like a hell of a party.’
Drusilla shifted s little, arching her back. ‘There’s no hurry, my sweet Angelus,’ she said huskily. ‘Hurt me again?’
William entered his empty house. He didn’t want to spend any more time in there than was necessary; he didn’t want to see the dusty remains of his mother by the fireplace in the parlour. He wondered vaguely if anyone had had time to notice that she was missing. If they had noticed that he was missing.
Thankfully, he found what he was looking for almost immediately – a letter addressed to himself. Opening it revealed an invitation from James Carrington, for a party, tonight. He supposed it was time to test whether a written invitation was as good as a spoken one.
James Carrington and William Pratt were close in age. As a young man, James’s father had invested in quite a bit of railway, both in Britain and abroad, and William’s father had been his attorney and friend, so as boys, William and James had played together, and spent summers boating and fishing at the Carringtons’s country home in Derbyshire. One day, a fourteen-year-old James, obsessed with trains, had convinced a reluctant William of fifteen to hop a freight train with him, saying it would be an adventure. Hiding in the back of a box car, they had got halfway to Birmingham before they were caught. They were both returned home by post, and beaten within inches of their lives by their respective fathers.
After that, James and William were never as close, and by the time they had both reached manhood, they had developed a rather intense dislike for each other, though propriety demanded that they remain tolerably civil towards one another.
These days, James lived well off his father’s investments, and had made a few of his own. For all intents and purposes, he owned a fair bit of railway between London and the Black Country, and even more in America. Still very much fascinated with trains and railways, he had put several tools, bits and bobs related to his obsession on display around his house.
‘They call him William the Bloody because of his bloody awful poetry!’
‘It suits him. I’d rather have a railroad spike through my head than listen to that awful stuff!’
William growled under his breath, a flash of amber entering his cornflower blue eyes. He intended to show them exactly who William the Bloody truly was.
‘William!’ James called out when he saw him, wading towards him through a sea of people. His appearance was, as ever, impeccable. He wore a fine grey suit, and his blonde hair was neatly parted, his large walrussy moustache waxed and groomed. ‘Good God, old chap, where have you been? It’s been absolutely ages!’ He clapped him on the shoulder, grinning widely. ‘Glad you could make it! Charlotte, Edward, William’s here!’
William forced a smile, and let himself be ushered through the main parlour into the second drawing room, where about a dozen of his acquaintances were sipping port and discussing current events. He had picked up fresh clothes at home (no, not home, he didn’t have a home anymore – at his old house, he should say), but not being able to see his own reflection, he suspected that his hair was a bit of a mess. The looks he received when he entered somewhat confirmed this. Ignoring their looks, he took a seat in a green armchair.
‘Well, look who finally decided to join us!’ cried Charlotte Weber. ‘Care to favour us with a bit of poetry, William?’
Meaningful glances were exchanged and snickers filled the room.
William reclined in his chair, crossing his legs and eyeing each of them in turn until they all fell silent.
‘No,’ he said simply, after a moment.
James shrugged. ‘Just as well,’ he commented, and they all returned to their conversations.
William glanced about the handsomely furnished room. It held a portrait of the late elder Mr. Carrington, a gentleman with a moustache to rival James’s. It also held a glass display case, inside which lay several iron nails, some bolts and five rusted rail spikes.
He had lost track of what his so-called friends were talking about, and he didn’t much care either.
‘James!’ he called, his baritone voice cutting clearly through the din, interrupting Charlotte’s husband Edward in mid-sentence. ‘Is Cecily here tonight?’
‘Don’t tell me you’re still moaning about Cecily!’ Charlotte exclaimed, shrieking with laughter. ‘Honestly, William, you should know better . . .’
‘Yes, William, you’ve lost her. Be gracious about it,’ Edward concurred.
William smirked at them. ‘While these admonitions are all terribly fascinating and entirely true, I’m sure, they in no way answer my question,’ he said calmly. ‘I simply wish to know whether she is here.’
‘She is not,’ said James. ‘I haven’t seen her all week, though last I heard she was coming tonight.’
‘I see,’ said William.
‘I’m sure she is still at home getting ready,’ said Charlotte. ‘Our Cecily likes to look her best, doesn’t she?’
‘There is no one at her house,’ said William.
Seven bodies: four downstairs, three upstairs. Maid, cook, Mr. and Mrs. Addams, and their three youngest children. The floor and walls of the nursery are splattered with blood. The parents’ necks have been snapped, and they lie crumpled on the floor in the library, wide eyes unseeing.
James looked up at him, both eyebrows raised in surprise. ‘No one at all? How peculiar.’
‘They’re all dead,’ said William, expression unchanged.
The room fell silent and they all stared at him.
‘That isn’t a very funny joke,’ said Charlotte in a far smaller voice than usual.
‘My mistake,’ said William casually, studying his fingernails. ‘I thought you all enjoyed such morbid conversation topics.’
‘I liked him better when he was writing his bloody awful poetry . . .’ Edward muttered to his wife under his breath. Under normal circumstances, William might not have been able to hear him, but with his heightened new senses, he could hear every heartbeat in the room. A few whispered words were no match for him now.
He stood from his chair and glanced through the doorway out into the large parlour. It was bustling with people, and a string quartet was playing an upbeat jig. He pulled the oak double doors shut and turned to the others.
‘You’d rather I read you a poem?’ he asked. Nobody moved, or said a word. Some of them bore looks of confusion, others amusement. William smirked and turned his eyes down, putting his hands in his pockets. Then, pacing the room, he recited:
‘A young man named William Pratt
Knew nobody liked him, and that
If he became a vampire
He could fulfil his desire
To make them all swallow their hats
This young man whom nobody likes
Now takes his chances and strikes
His poems they hated
So now, with breath bated,
He impales them with railway spikes’
As he finished speaking, a deadly hush filled the room. From beyond the doors, the sounds of laughter, clinking glasses and cheerful music could be heard, but inside the drawing room, everything was still. William had come to a halt just in front of the display case, directly next to where James was sitting. He glanced down at his childhood friend.
‘What was it you said the other night, James? That you’d rather have a rail spike through your head than listen to my poetry?’
James looked up at him. His expression was one of mild confusion, but William could hear that his heart rate had increased.
In the blink of an eye, William had wrenched open the display case and pulled out one of the rail spikes. Grabbing James by the hair, he jammed the heavy iron into his temple.
As James gasped and spluttered, there was a moment of shocked silence among the onlookers, as though they weren’t quite aware of what they had seen. Then William’s face changed, his blue eyes turning yellow, fangs protruding from his mouth, and he turned his head to look at them. There came a scream from one of the onlookers, and panic followed.
James had lost consciousness and stopped breathing out of sheer shock, but was amazingly still alive. As William pulled the spike back out, however, his body jerked and his pulse died. A thick, viscous liquid oozed from the hole in his head, dark red mixed in with grey.
People were rushing to the doors, fighting to get out, but the door handle appeared to have jammed. One of those closest, a young man in his early twenties, had looked on in trepidation. Now he doubled over, vomiting violently on the fine Persian carpet.
William moved quickly, grabbing Charlotte by the throat. She stared up at him, shock and terror visible on her horsey face. His lips curved into a smile, and he pulled her close to him so he could whisper in her ear. ‘I always hated you, you know. This is going to be a pleasure.’ Then he sunk his teeth into her. As he lapped at her blood, he looked up to see Edward staring at him in horror.
He threw her body aside and it hit the floor with a thump. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he smirked at her husband.
‘Did you like my poem, Edward?’ he drawled. ‘I thought it had . . .’ He paused and considered for a moment. ‘Panache. In the execution, I mean. Definitely my finest work.’
‘I . . . Wh–who . . . What are you?’ Edward managed.
William took a step towards him, and the dark-haired man backed away, but there was nowhere to go, and his back hit the wall. ‘Me?’ said William casually. Then his expression darkened and he smiled. ‘I’m William the Bloody.’
He still had the rail spike clutched in his right hand. Trapping Edward against the wall, he brought the spike up to his throat, resting the point against his Adam’s apple. Edward whimpered. His chest rose and fell rapidly, and his eyes darted around, as though looking for someone to come save him. Nobody did. Edward pissed himself.
‘Now, tell me,’ said William. ‘Do you know where Cecily Addams is?’
Edward shook his head frantically. ‘P-please, don’t kill me!’ he sobbed, tears streaming down his cheeks now. ‘I-I don’t know where she is, I d-don’t know her that well, please!’
William sighed unnecessarily, and without warning or further ado, he plunged the spike straight through Edward’s neck and into the wall.
In novels and fiction, when a person’s throat is slit or they are stabbed, they die at once. This is not true of reality. Edward made a choked, gurgling noise, spitting blood, and his legs gave out beneath him, but the spike nailed him to the wall, so he remained more or less upright. As blood gushed out around the spike, his body began to jerk and spasm uncontrollably. His eyes popped as his lungs filled with blood. William watched as he drowned in his own life force, and grew still.
The fleeing guests finally managed to get the double doors open, and in blind panic, they spilled out into the parlour. Some were fighting to get out, and got stuck in the doorway. William rolled his eyes. With a roar, he grabbed one of them by the collar of his waistcoat and bodily tossed him at the window. It broke with a loud crash, and the man screamed as he fell to the street below.
In the parlour, the music had stopped, and bemused party guests looked on in confusion as terrified men and women ran for the front door.
Some stopped long enough to warn their friends. Shouts of, ‘James is dead!’ and ‘Oh, God, he killed them!’ and ‘It was that William Pratt!’ filled William’s ears, and as he stepped out into the parlour he grinned.
‘That’s right, run away!’ he roared, and all eyes turned to him once again. They took in his blood-stained suit, his demonic face, and the blood around his mouth. It didn’t take long before these people, too, were bolting for the door.
‘What’s the matter?’ William called to them. ‘Isn’t a one of you man enough to fight me? Come on!’
‘I am!’ said a familiar voice. William turned.
Angelus stood against the tide of fleeing people, glaring at William.
‘Angelus!’ William grinned at the taller vampire. ‘Come to join the party? There’s plenty of food!’
‘I ate on the way,’ said Angelus, but grabbed a passing man by the hair anyway. The man screamed and struggled to get away, but Angelus pulled him to him and, releasing the demon within, bit into his neck. Tossing the body aside, he remarked, ‘I think this one had blue blood.’
‘Looks red to me,’ said William, shrugging.
‘What do you think you’re doing, Willie?’
‘William,’ William corrected him. ‘Got an invitation. Thought I’d have some fun.’
‘This stinks of personal vendetta,’ Angelus sneered. ‘How did you hope to control a crowd this big?’
‘You just hate fun, don’t you? They don’t need controlling, they’re scarpering!’ William protested, gesticulating wildly at the few stragglers still making their way towards the exit. The room was largely empty now, save for a few people crouching in corners, sobbing, too terrified to run. ‘Look at them, they’re cattle! Not one of them would even try to fight me.’
‘So you’re just letting them run away, tell the tale of what’s happened?’
‘Tell whom? Scotland Yard? Who’d believe them?’
‘That’s not the point,’ Angelus argued. ‘These people know you. They can name you!’
‘So?’ William growled, looking away sullenly. Angelus was spoiling his fun.
‘So, we’ll have to leave town! There are people who know about us, you know, and if they have a name and a face to go after, they can find us.’ He spat. ‘I have half a mind to leave you to sort out your own mess, but I’d never hear the end of it from Dru.’
‘Where is Dru?’ William asked, looking up at him again.
‘Outside, probably eating.’
William nodded. ‘Right.’ He shook his head, returning his features to human. ‘We going, then?’
Angelus shook his head and smirked. ‘This isn’t over, you know. I’ve got more than words for you, and believe me, if you ever pull something like this again, I’ll give you worse.’ He turned his head towards the exit, sniffing the air. ‘As soon as Darla comes back, we leave the city. We’ll go north.’ He turned back to William. ‘But for now, yes, we’re going.’
They found Drusilla out in the street. She looked well fed and content. William made to embrace her, but stopped a few feet short. He could smell Angelus on her, and glared at him, clenching his jaw.
Drusilla gave William a curious look, then turned to her sire.
‘Little Willie did not find what he was looking for,’ she said dreamily. She looked at William again, head cocked to one side. ‘You shan’t find her. She’s gone away.’
‘Gone away?’ William repeated. ‘Gone where?’
‘Gone. Or is going. To where the crows fly, to the palace of vengeance. She won’t be human for long.’ Drusilla closed her eyes, swaying from side to side. ‘You’ll meet again, but not now, not this eon . . .’
‘What are you saying, pet?’ William looked to Angelus for help. ‘What’s she sayin’?’
Angelus shrugged. ‘I wasn’t really listening, this doesn’t sound like it concerns me.’
‘Is she gonna be a vampire too?’ William asked, taking a step closer to Drusilla.
‘No,’ the lithe creature before him said simply. Then she opened her eyes again. ‘The sky is burning and our time is ended, dear William.’
‘Yes, you’re right,’ said Angelus. ‘We need to leave before Scotland Yard get here. Come on.’
He took Drusilla’s hand and started away at a brisk trot. William followed, giving one last glance to the house behind him. He had set out tonight with the intention of killing Cecily in as painful a manner as possible, showing her who was truly beneath whom, but the evening hadn’t been a complete waste, he supposed. And anyway, the night was still young.