Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for advanced learners. The name of the story is The Deepest Love. You can find a transcript of the episode at easystoriesinenglish.com/love. That’s easystoriesinenglish.com/love. This contains the full story, as well as my conversation before it.
I want to start today by apologising for the audio quality in some of the earlier episodes. This is my first time podcasting. I’ve done video editing and things like that before, but I’m not that experienced with audio editing. So one of the mistakes I made was I put my mouth too close to the microphone. So, it caused some popping sounds and things like that. So I’m further away now, so it should be better.
I actually also had to rerecord this entire episode because there was a strange noise, like a crackling noise, the first time I recorded it. So it was some problem with my microphone that I’ve managed to fix now by moving it around.
But in future, you know, I’ve been thinking of getting a more expensive microphone and if this problem continues, I may just do it. I wanted to say, ‘OK, so I’ll only buy myself this expensive microphone once I’ve got fifty episodes, or twenty episodes, or something like that.’ Because then I can show to myself that I am dedicated to the show, that I am gonna continue it. And that the microphone would be a worthwhile investment.
But I don’t want all of you to have to keep suffering with poor audio quality, so if there are continuing problems with microphone and recording and sound quality, then I will absolutely put in the money to get a better one.
So with regards to the quality of the earlier episodes, I would’ve noticed the problem sooner, but I actually, I record the episodes in batches. So I record usually two or three episodes at once. So I recorded the first three episodes before I edited any of them, so I wasn’t aware of the problem until I actually started editing. So that’s why it’s taken a bit of time.
Today’s story is a bit dark. So I want to warn all of you. This podcast will never have sexually-explicit language, it will never have extremely violent scenes, and it will never have swearing, but it may have content that is uncomfortable for some people. Especially for younger listeners.
So today’s episode, again, doesn’t contain any sexual language, but it does contain suggestions of sexual activity. So, if you are not interested in that… Don’t listen! I guess is the solution. It’s not hardcore erotica or anything like that. You know, it’s quite a manageable level, I think. But just be warned.
Today’s story is about vampires. And I have to say, I actually really love vampires. I didn’t realise this for a long time, but over the last few years I’ve realised I just have an affinity for them. And often when I start writing, it often just sort of naturally turns into a vampire story without me thinking about it.
But I realised that I haven’t actually read or watched a lot of the “classics” of vampires. From the really popular things like Twilight, to the popular but probably more well-written things like Anne Rice. I haven’t seen Interview with the Vampire, or anything like that. So that’s a problem I’m actually working on fixing at the moment.
So I think the reason I like vampires so much, that I’m so interested in them, is because when I was younger there was a series of very popular books in the United Kingdom called The Darren Shan Chronicles. So the author was called Darren Shan, and the main character was called Darren Shan. And when you’re reading it as a kid, you really did think, like, “Ooh, maybe the author really was a vampire and he’s writing about his real life story and pretending it’s fiction.” Or, at least I thought that. Maybe other people were just like, ‘No, this is clearly made up.’
But it was very, you know… It wasn’t high art, by any means, but I really enjoyed it, and I think maybe that’s what got me into vampires so much.
I actually also recently read the classic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So, the original mass-market vampire novel. And it’s really interesting reading it in the present day, having been through so many modern versions of vampires.
There are certain elements of the vampire lore, so the qualities and limitations and powers that vampires have, that are really quite different in the original book to modern vampires. The one that shocked me the most is that Dracula can just go in the sun. Now, when he’s in the sun he’s very limited. He can’t transform into a bat or anything like that. But he just walks around in the sunshine in London, which by modern standards seems ridiculous.
There’s this whole thing of, he has to carry these boxes of dirt from his homeland, Romania, to London and sleep in them, I believe. That element was actually kept in the film Nosferatu, which is, again, another one of the classics that I have actually seen before.
There are also just lots of abilities that Dracula has, like being able to summon wolves and turn into a bat… The bat thing is more common. Hypnotising, all these kind of, just a really long list of abilities. So the battle against Dracula is actually quite calculated because they have to work around all his abilities. But he also has limitations, such as he’s unable to pass running water during the daytime. So he has to wait till the night to cross, like, rivers and things like that, which I thought was interesting.
It’s actually really funny in parts because, like, the first time we meet Dracula in the book, the main character describes him. And it’s like, ‘Well, he was a very tall man. He was bald. He had long, pointed ears. He had very sharp teeth that hung off the edge of his lips. He had red eyes.’ And it’s just like, any modern viewer would be like, ‘OK, that’s a vampire!’ Like, that’s just a vampire! Like, there’s no hiding. But of course, this was before vampires were really a widespread thing.
And it’s based on a Romanian legend, which I think maybe most people know, but maybe not everyone is aware of. So, Dracula in the original Bram Stoker story, comes from Romania, which I think is really interesting, because I did learn Romanian for a bit, and I kind of wanna go to Transylvania. I think we did drive through there once as a family, actually. So, need to go back and get some spooky things.
There’s also a Transylvanian restaurant in the city where I live. It’s like, Dracula themed and they have all these gothic decorations, and the food is Romanian, and I need to go there as well.
There’s a lot of vampire stuff just around me at the moment, and I’m kind of loving it.
I’m also watching The Vampire Diaries at the moment. And again, I know it’s, like, that came out in, what, 2007? And I’m really behind the times. But I loved it, or I am loving it. I’m actually still on the first season. You know, it’s a perfect balance between, like, high-school teenage drama and serious, like, life-threatening vampire stuff. And it’s got a romantic element but it’s actually much more heavily-focussed on, like, the plot twists, and the drama and things like that. And I’m really, really enjoying it. More than I thought I really would.
So, today’s story is another one that I originally wrote in Esperanto. You’re probably sick of me saying that. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes I feel like I’m more creative when I’m writing in a foreign language. It’s almost like it opens up new connections in my brain? I dunno.
If any of you have thoughts on that, I’d love to hear it. And actually, if any of you do write in English, feel free to email your work to me at Ariel@EasyStoriesInEnglish.com, because I’d love to read it, and maybe it could even go on the podcast. Who knows?
So, the original title of the story in Esperanto was Ampiro, which is a pun. So the word for “vampire” in Esperanto is “vampiro”, and “am-” means “love”. So it’s like, “lovepire”, “love vampire”. The pun doesn’t really translate into English, so I changed the title to The Deepest Love, which is referenced in the story, as you will find out.
So, I’m really interested to hear what you think about this story. So, if you want to leave a comment, please go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/love. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/love. And of course, you can find the full transcript there as well. So, head on over, read the transcript, and leave a comment. I’d love to hear it.
So, listen and enjoy!
The Deepest Love
‘You do realise that you’re giving away your soul to me for eternity, don’t you?’
The gentleman leaned his head over the luxurious seat. His long neck moved like a snake, underlining the question.
‘Obviously. Everyone knows about you.’
‘Yes, yes. The people gossip. But do you believe them?’
Zara cast a glance around the room and shrugged.
‘Everything fits in with the rumours.’
‘And are you ready to work as my faithful servant?’
‘I’m ready to work.’
The monster stood up and his lips contorted into an unreadable expression. Whether it was a smile or a grimace, Zara didn’t know, but she didn’t care, either. She took his outheld hand.
‘No, no. We’ll do it the old-fashioned way, like the foolish men in the backwater villages. Didn’t you bring a knife?’
She raised an eyebrow. He went to a nearby table and searched through the piles of antiques, papers, and animal bones, until he clicked his fingers and pulled out of a drawer a long, elegant knife. Without hesitation he cut his palm, and scarlet blood dripped onto the carpet.
‘Do you want me to do it for you, little girl, or can you do it yourself?’
Zara grabbed the knife and copied him. She ignored the disgust she felt when the old thing put its hand on hers, joining their lives and souls through that ancient ritual.
‘I think we’re going to do good work together,’ he said.
They drank the life of everything and everyone. No place was too sacred for their activity. In chuches, in graveyards, in shops and offices, even in conferences where people spoke strange languages and discussed the meaning of life, they crawled in the shadows and feasted on the lifeforce of humanity. People didn’t feel it, of course, apart from a piercing cold, or a prickly déjà-vu.
The easiest victims were the businessmen and marketers. They had built up a wealthy, comfortable life with numbers and deals, and no longer needed to keep the old superstitions and gods alive, those backwater things. So when the monstrous gentleman and his assistant visited their huge buildings and smoky caves, they hardly noticed that something was sucking the most intimate and important aspect of their beings from them.
Zara always believed love was special before, but now she understood it better. It was abundant and cheap. Banal, even. She guzzled it greedily, and her master clearly valued that in her. He had finally found someone with as few scruples as him.
For his part, the master was also very content. With such a capable partner he began to push his limits more and more, chasing after bigger prey, winning in larger arenas, drinking his full at funerals and weddings. He wanted things to stay this way forever, but he understood that fate was a fickle beast, so when Zara invited him to her room one evening, the change in habit did not perturb him.
She was spread out on the bed like a piece of good gossip in the countryside, and her nudity, alongside her sad expression, awoke a strange feeling in him. Compassion? No, he never felt that. Sympathy, perhaps.
‘What do you want?’ he said finally.
‘You. I can’t lie any longer. I have eaten my full during the past months, grew fat on the passion and pathos of humanity. I never guessed that such a range of love existed, expressed in such a variety of ways! I feel I can die happily now.’
‘Your words make me sad. Why must you speak of death, when we live in an Eden of joy?’
She smiled flirtatiously. No, not flirtatiously. Something in her was different. She was above all those human traits now, like an angel. He was a child in her presence.
‘Don’t be sad. I’m offering myself up to you, and I am happy to do so. You should be happy, too. I already gave my soul away to you, so all that rests is my emotions… Eat them, and I will leave this world happier than I ever was upon it.’
The master couldn’t bear it any longer. So touched he was by her purity of heart, her deep, sincere love. He tore off his clothes and leapt into the bed next to her, wrapped himself around her body as if she was the fountain of life itself.
Zara moaned and accepted him, drank the flow of emotions which gushed from his skin. She caressed him slowly with her tongue, absorbed his sadness and joy, tasted and devoured his love.
The monstrous gentleman discovered too late what was really going on. He shook, tried to detach himself from her, but her arms held him like a snake swallowing a rabbit. She devoured everything: his feelings, her lost soul, even his. She was an insatiable beast, who drained his body of every last drop of its essence.
She rolled over on the bed, discarding the now empty body like an apple core, and burped loudly. Previously, she would’ve claimed she couldn’t possibly feel more fulfilled, more complete than she felt working with her master. But now she knew better.
The deepest love is always hidden beside you, hunting its prey like a savage beast.
I hope you enjoyed the story. You can support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes. Search for Easy Stories in English, give us a star rating, and say what you like about the show. It would really help us grow. Thank you for listening, and until next week.