by Anisa A. Claire
portrait of Erzsébet Báthory
Oh, what did they expect? I am a woman, and it is of the utmost importance that I retain my youth. It isn’t my fault that my husband left me in a castle to rot while he went away to “study” in some foreign lands. Or that the stress of being a young bride left the markings of an old crow upon my face; that the boredom of being surrounded by my lame servants caused my eyes to go hazy. I needed something to refresh me, bring vigor back to my life, and youth back to my flesh.
Is it so bad that I bathed in the blood of virgins? I mean, I didn’t start out that way. I was an innocent girl that lived under her parents’ roof in the serene lands of Hungary. The demands of society had to be met and, in turn, forced me in to this ‘ungodly’ state. I am a countess, wife to the great Ferenc Nadasdy, I need my beauty. It’s not like I wanted to kill all of those women, Ihad to kill them, and there is a huge difference.
My political standing was in jeopardy, as was my relationship with my recently-returned husband. Really, who could possibly respect or love a woman of my stature if I couldn’t, at the very least, manage my own physical appearance. The pressure of being a public figure was astounding and I had to pay the damn toll or be shoved to the backlines. Hah! That wasn’t going to happen. Nobody would care if these other women went missing, who were they anyway? I’d never heard of any of them, and I highly doubt anyone else had either. Ok, maybe their families and some neighbors knew who they were, but nobody of importance, nobody worth their spit.
I would have eaten the flesh from their bones if that’s what it took. Instead I chose the more ladylike route, and I had my servants drain their blood into a tub that I would soak my crippled body in as often as humanly possible. The feeling of washing with the very essence that is life is invigorating; it is erotic. I could feel the wrinkles in my face reversing, the sag in my breast lifting, and the youth in my soul returning. It was wild! I scrubbed the blood deep into my arms, legs, stomach, and face; I rose from that tub so refreshed that I was ready to take on anything or anyone that got in my way. I was capable of ruling the world!
Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?
The hunt was such a rush, too. Stalking the low-born ‘victims’ (as the investigators like to call them), watching them shop, watching while they were courted by men in the area, and lusting for the spark in their eyes. I would always pick the youngest and the most beautiful of them; the ability to tell if they were a virgin or not came easily just by looking at them. I was never so foolish as to let my stocks run low either, I was smart that way. Women were kept in the cellars of my castle, and one in my room at all times so she could watch what was going to happen to her next. So she would fear me.
Legend has it that it’s not just the blood of a virgin, but also the blood of a virgin that has been tainted with fear that really has the working qualities. The fear is what packs the punch, what purifies my skin and washes away all the evidence of time. It brings zest to the spirit.
Like I said though, I needed that blood; I had a castle to rule! Now they have me locked away like some rabid animal, confined in the walls of my own home. Never again to see the light of day or breathe the mid-night fresh air. What a waste! After years of perfecting the skin I am in, no one can compare to what I now possess. Can they not see how beautiful I am? How womanly? What a role-model I can be?
So, here I sit, pondering what happened. My husband died, my children are dead or gone, and I am now left to face the remainder of time as it all started. Alone.
Once and always, Elizabeth Bathory.
Anisa A. Claire is a Licensed Property Manager by day and an eclectic author by night. She is also the creator and co-owner of Writer’s Carnival, a successful, online community for writers. When she isn’t out ridding the world of zombies with her weapons of choice, Brussels sprouts and spatulas, she can be found surfing the net for inspiring ways to create zombie-buddies from felt and other random what-have-you’s.