Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Sleepy Hollow Inn, Part I

M. Davenport lives in Lexington, Kentucky and is a fledgling author. M. Davenport prefers gender to be unknown, but does wish it stated that the Davenport household is filled with the love of four cats and two dogs and six birds of various breeds. Personally, I am quite curious to see how the cats and the birds manage to get along, but according to Davenport, they do, quite well.

The house sitting on the outskirts of the sleepy little town of Richmond, Kentucky would make a perfect bed and breakfast. I knew it the moment I laid eyes on it. It was a massive Victorian era structure with a tower and enough land for wonderful, old fashioned garden parties. I could just see the evening garden parties with ladies and gentlemen in period costumes floating among the torch and candlelight on warm summer evenings. The majority of the land was screened from the road leading to Lexington proper and I-75 by a collection of pines, black cheery, and oak trees. An old iron fence did its best to keep things out and the trees in, although when I saw it, the thing had nearly fallen flat to the ground, yet defiant to the very end. Seeing it as I did in the moonlight, I could also see Halloween parties and me there on the expanse of front porch in my favorite costume of a vampire lord. It would not matter if people mistook me for the legendary Dracula: People just did not comprehend there were other vampiric lords besides him. The house would be a good investment, and just before dawn I made my requests known to my friend and protector, Micky Smith.

Despite having lived for 251 years, I needed income, just like everyone else. In order to remain hidden, and hidden well, you needed a cover whether you were a vampire or a human on the run. How many people would it surprise to know not all vampires were rich and had magnificent fortunes tucked away in unexpected places to fall back upon? Most of us of the vampiric kind, struggle to make ends meet just like those who work and toil during the day. True, I had enough money to purchase the house and enough left over to get it going fully, but I was no where near "comfortable" in means.

Besides that, I also had to pay homage to the elegant and beautiful Alison Reese who ruled over a good portion of the Small South as Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia were known as in the make up of the vampire world of North America. I was coming into the Small South from the Northern Territory and I had to pay tribute to her before officially opening my establishment. It has been done this way for centuries, and, I suspect, it will continue on for centuries to come.

Alison Reese had set up court in a refurbished plantation in Tennessee just outside of Knoxville as the crow flies. I sat there in the ballroom of the mansion and waited like everyone else. Humans mingled with vampires of high and low rank. The humans received wine and water in classic crystal goblets, and we vampires were served small sherry glasses of blood mingled with just the right amount of wine. The blood was of the porcine variety, which made sense - part of Alison Reese's income came from the sale of pork and beef to the markets of the day walkers.

To be quite honest, I was very used to the Northern Territory which was run very much like a business. Here everything was run in Old Southern style where nothing was rushed and it mattered if Alison Reese approved of you or not.

A footman dressed in vintage livery tapped a long staff upon the floor and those who had been sitting rose. Alison Reese floated in dressed in an antebellum gown of lavender and black. Her blond curls were done up in royal fashion and she even wore a small diamond studded tiarra. Seeing her, feeling her presence even before she entered the room, you knew you had met pure royalty, vampiric or otherwise. Her lavender eyes scanned the room quickly and quietly, sizing us all up openly. She seemed to linger over a human male dressed in a three-piece suite of fine silk. As he bowed before her I could see the coldness of her gaze settle upon him and I was very glad I was not him.

The order of business was simple. There was an introduction, the presentation of gifts, and then other business that required her direct, personal attention. Hopefully I would not require anything of her personal attention. Upon seeing her I had a healthy respected fear of her. The less I had to do in her court the better.

There were four new comers ahead of me. They presented her with chests of coins, stocks, and beautiful clothes. The vampire ahead of me merely offered himself to her service which she accepted with the slightest of inclinations of her head. Standing there before her as I now was, I was actually sad at having to part with the little bauble I had kept with me for over 150 years. It was a necklace of the finest gold and sparkling rubies accented by too many diamonds to count. I had received it from Queen Victoria herself as a present and now I presented it to another queen. Everyone praised my gift and waited for Alison's approval.

She extended her pale hand and I placed it directly upon her palm. Her fingers glided over it adoringly. She looked to me and gave me a soft smile and a gentle nod of her head. It was done. I could open up my beautiful bed and breakfast now, which is what I directly returned to Kentucky to do.

That was in 1999.

The Sleepy Hollow Inn became a big success for little Richmond and even was placed in the tourism map. It was a great mystery how some of the men and women awoke with bite marks upon their necks. It just added to the mystery of the place. We were booked for months in advance.

Micky ran everything during the daylight hours, and I hosted in the evenings. I was the story teller, the one dressed in period costume to make all giggle nervously at the ghost stories and tales of lost love and sadness. We were a good team. Micky received good pay for his trouble and I was at peace and mostly ignored by the residents of Madison County until someone didn't wake up one morning because they didn't have any blood left in their body. The thing is - I didn't touch them. Not once.

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