High up in the mountains, there are hundreds of forsaken hamlets where only some old people live. They are made up of small stone houses huddled together under the rocks. These are primitive constructions of scarce beauty, except for their rusticity and density, built as they were to withstand harsh weather through the centuries. Nowadays very few people visit the villages in the mountains, except those who, like myself, have inherited a house from their parents in one of them, and turned it into an inhabitable summer home. In the winter, when the snow engulfs them in cold, impassable whiteness, only the wolves roam around at night, fooled into thinking that there may be food there to steal. These are, in fact, the so called mountains of the wolves, notorious for being the habitat to an exhuberant number of those wild animals. As one descends lower into the valleys, it is frequent to find long stretches of mountain roads lined by wooden fences on whose pointed stakes the skin and heads of dead wolves are hung to dry. Every winter the peasents carry out raids to decimate the clans of predators that sneak into the stables to kill domestic beasts and eat them. It must be said thatt in the old days those raids were not legal, as the wolves begun to become extinct, yet something happened which no one could explain convincingly: suddenly the wolf population grew out of all proportion, as though the animals had decided it was time to make a come back in spite of humans. And so, the raids were legalized, due to the terrible losses inflicted by the hungry wolves on the cattle.
In such remote places, where people feel exposed to the very real dangers of nature, and ecroached upon by a lonelines and a darkness teeming with phantoms, a natural fear invades the dremas of humans and creates monsters which become real and influence day to day life. No one in such lands entirely doubts the reality of the lycanthrope, the bloodsucker, or the so called guaxa, an old vampire who madly seeks to regain her youth by drinking and bathing in the blood of maidens, afer putting them to sleep with a broth made from the deadly berries of the purple nightshade. Moreover, in the great ancient tree trunks found deep in the woods, all kinds of evidence may be found of the presence of witches, the godless creatures who have a whole array of magical ways of achieving whatever they wish, from the seduction of the young, to the revival of the dead, to the preserving of beautiful skin by applying paste manufactured from the mixing of plants full of power. Very few people know that throughout the so called middle ages, it was common for the noble ladies of Europe to keep a priest close by to ensure the safety of the spirit, but also old hags tried in the secrets of witchery, to preserve the paleness of their skin and the vigour of their blood. In the seclusion of their castles, overloking fields and villages from high promontories, the she-wolves clad in Venetian brocade and silken Spanish embroidery around the beautiful lean necks, sometimes commited crimes of blood which makes us modern people shudder. In the mountain country of my ancestors, the tales of cruelties perpetrated by the noble women of old have been trasmitted from mouth to mouth, and are the subject of myriad songs. They are the origin of the myth of the vampire. From the haze of historic memory, their crystaline, tinkling voices charm us and drag us into a sweet stupor, the only outcome of which is death for us, and an engorgement with blood for them.
Of course, the village where my mother´s family was from had the proverbial ruined castle on the top of a windy height, with its very own phantom: a lady who could not rest inside her monumental grave in some undefined dungeon of the once imposing, and now rather ruined, medieval structure. Now, too late indeed, I know that I should never have let my curiosity for the arcane take me there. But my wife also wanted to see the place, fascinated perhaps by its legends The truth is, that behind the desire to travel to such mythical enclaves, there always is a slightly shaming wish to be seduced by the supernatural, to be possessed by the sensuous creatures of nightmare.
The years have passed. I have lived them out in solitude, but often thinking about what happened to us there. I still cannot quite define the thing that destroyed us as a married couple and as individuals. I truly cannot say that it was a natural, perfectly normal distraction that spiritually took me away from my beloved wife, nor can I assert that it was a supernatural force. It seemed like a mixture of the two. It often does when love between two people is attacked from the outside. To this day, I have to say that Analissa was not the beautiful woman she appeared to be when I became fascinated by her, but a kind of age old monster in the form of a desirable woman. This I should have noticed that evening when, entertaining my wife and I with a haunting rendition of an old country song, she smiled at me sweetly, and I saw, in that smile, a million years of earthly evil, and was frightened as well as hypnotized by the force which seemed to draw me to her swarthy, fertile belly, a force which commanded me to create a child inside her, to make the gorgeous female give birth to a creature from my own insides. When the song was finished, she laughed, and it was a laugh as archaic as lust, a primeval sound that arose, gravelly, from the guts of the earth. My wife had met her on one of her walks by the little wood surrounding the local cemetery, and, happy to have encountered a young person in that hamlet where only a few old people seemed to live, had invited her for dinner that day. And Analissa had come, with her strange musical instrument, which truly sounded like the voices of angels. She had eaten our food, and drunk wine without restrain, and then sat down on the floor, legs crossed, the wooden Kantele on her knees, and sung an old sad song from the mountains. It was about a mother who lost her little son as she walked through the snow, pursued by warriors wanting to kill her boy, who in truth was a king. My wife had her eyes fixded on Analiisa, whose head seemed to be resting on her chest now. We had lit a fire in the hearth and its reflections run down along the girl´s amber coloured her, and defined her beautiful profile in the dark of the room. I was mad with love for her. I had noticed, too, that, under her short skirt, she wasn´t wearing anything, and that her legs, bent at the knees, were pointed exactly at me, so I could perceive the shadowy, exposed warmth of her flesh. That night my wife slept well, but I was kept awake by a painful longing, by a dark expectation which made me exceedingly nervous. And it must have been later than four o´clock in the morning when finally what I had been waiting for, appeared. Analiisa was there, in the darkness of the room, standing against the wall in front of me. She was resting on her shoulders, her belly and things, smooth and dark, projected towards me. There was a light in her greenish eyes. It was a wet, mindless, lusty shimmer, which, again , seeemed to have something to do with the earth. I knew then that the young woman had a mostly animal nature, if not somehow demonic. She was entirely, brutally naked. She had flown through the shadows of the night and appeared in the room where my wife innocently slept next to me, in order to seduce me and separate us. I felt I had no power to resist, and truly sad for my wife. But Analiisa´s perfect breasts, filled with sweet warm milk, were savagely magnetic and my mouth was thirsting after them.
When Analiisa did not visit us for a few days, both my wife and I fell into a quiet despair. We would not talk to each other about the coldness that had grown like a poisonous plant between us. In a few days, by the intervention of Analiisa, a perfect stranger, our former love had turned to nothing, and even being near each other felt uncomfortable, as if we had never been intimate. My wife, moreover, was suffering now from a fever which was the direct result of depression, and I thought she would need pills. Yet the idea of getting out of that mountain village and taking her to a doctor was unbearable to me. I didn´t want to be away from the vivinity of Analiisa for a minute, if I could help it.
" The trouble is, I love her" my wife said" I think of her as the best friend I have ever had"
"You are crazy" I said "She has appeared naked in our room more than once, and I could swear I made love to her"
"I don´t know, I really don´t know"
Who was Analiisa? Where did she live? I asked some old villagers what they knew about her. Predictably, I was told she seemed to live in the castle, in one of the towers that was not in ruins.
I climbed up a steep road overgrown with all kinds of weeds. As I approached the castle I could hear a delicate music that flowed with the wind, again the sound of crystals tinkling against one another. Suddenly I realized that it was the folliage of the woods making that lovely sound, and I felt as if I were walking in my sleep. Now, when she met me in the grea castle hall, Analiisa was fully dressed as the aristocrat she was. Gold, red and turqoise were the coulours of her opulent dress, in the fashion of hundreds of years before, but her long hair flowed over the high, delcately threaded, castillian collar of her dress, with a low cleavage which showed her breasts, which were now very pale in the silvery light which came in through the broken castle walls. "You look much paler than usual, my lady" I must have been dreaming, to speak to her like that.
"Yes, I have not eaten yet today, and hunger makes me look sickly"
When I had sex with her that day, in a large chill chamber, on a cold wide bed, I literally thought I was entangled in the leaves of a behemoth mandrake, whose pulp had the form of a woman, and when I entered her vagina a vegetable shriek came out of her mouth, a shriek more than a thousand years old. Oh, I left her side in horror, and in love, always in love...I knew even then that I couldn´t really escape from her. Her laughter flew after me, that SOUND which seemed to rise out of the deep earth.
But as I run toward the house, worried about my wife, whom I had left alone, I was actually wondering if I had in fact been in bed with anyone at all. The sense that Analiisa wasn´t real after all was beginning to take hold in my befuddled mind. I looked behind me for a second. I saw the ruins of the castle on the hill. Had I really been up there,in those ruins, in a completely furnished chamber, with a woman who had turned into a mandrake as I loved her? I could not say...
But now I looked toward the house, and something much worse met my eye: a great white wolf
had just come out of the buliding. Its snout was soaked in dripping blood. I stood there frozen, looking at it. The animal returned my gaze. And I recognized those eyes. Greenish, sleepy, hypnotic eyes. I smiled at the wolf, could have sworn thait it returned the smile, and it kept trotting toward the woods. Somewhere on the narrow pathway, with a horrific thud, my wife´s heart fell out from betwen its fangs.