I hate this damnable ship.

Its ceaseless rocking. Its constant dampness. Every bit of it is wet, no matter how low or high I go. Everything smells of mold and filth. These humans are far more disgusting than I remembered them being, but I haven’t had to live in such close quarters with them in a very long time.

Ezra finds this whole thing amusing, but he always does. He’s maddening.

I’ve had to find new and inventive ways to vomit, since I can’t let the other passengers see my blood red emesis. The food here is horrible, as well. We’ve been at sea for over a week, and I’ve yet to eat.

Ezra found himself a nice girl, but it’s harder to hunt here. I’ve spent so much time below deck, holed up in our room looking ill and frail. I’ve heard the crew whispering that they think I’ve got the plague. It makes it harder for me to lure someone down for a snack.

Moreover, the nausea is destroying my appetite. Ezra had no idea that vampyres could even suffer from seasickness, but it is a condition of the inner ear, and I still have ears. The sea is sitting marvelously with him. Too well, perhaps.

He came down from the deck an hour ago, only to disturb me, I’m sure. He spends a great deal of time above ground, and far too much time with his young human companion.

He’s lonely, I think, and has been for some time, but traveling has always made him feel more contented, more human.

“Are you writing her again?” Ezra asked, splayed out on his small twin bed next to the writing desk. He smelled of sea salt and his hair is damp. He always stands right at the bow of the ship, trying to get sprayed by waves.

“You know very well what I’m doing,” I told him, catching the inkwell before it slid off the desk. I’ve lost more ink in this trip than I have in my entire life.

“Isn’t that a waste of time?” Ezra asked. “You’ve already lost three or four letters.”

“That doesn’t mean that I’ll lose this one,” I said, and held the paper tighter, as if he meant to take it and toss out the window.

“Come now, Peter.” He propped his head up on his elbow, staring at me severely with his dark eyes. Sometimes I think he has the same power that you hold over me, the power to hypnotize me into doing anything.

“Come where, Ezra?” I asked. “We’re trapped on this godforsaken vessel for at least twenty-two more days. I can’t go anywhere.”

“You can’t stay holed up in this room any longer. You’re gaunt and pale.” Ezra sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “The crew is beginning to talk about your condition.”

“Let them talk,” I muttered. “I can’t get them sick.”

“We don’t need any more scrutiny,” he said.

“You’re only concerned that I’ll scare your friend away,” I said, referring to his young companion. She spends every waking moment with him, and I’m presuming the only reason she hadn’t followed him down here is because it’s well after midnight.

“I would prefer if you didn’t chase off dear Aggie, it’s true, but I’m only concerned about your welfare.” Ezra stood up and put his hand on my shoulder. “You’re not looking well, brother. You must eat.”

I would’ve continued to argue with him, but he dragged me to my feet and pulled me out of the room. Ezra took me down the hall to where his dear young Aggie shared a room with her twin brother. While Ezra occupied the girl, taking her up to the deck for a midnight stroll, he left me alone with the boy to do some convincing.

I only feel mildly better after feeding. The nausea hasn’t faded, but at least I’m not so weak. Ezra thinks that if we have to wait a week or two between feedings, we won’t have to branch out farther than Aggie and her brother.

Of course, none of the seasickness even compares to being away from you. I know this is what is best for us, even if it’s hard. For me, being apart is agony, but I know for you to leave the farm that you have loved is the greater agony.

The neighbors have grown too suspicious that you haven’t aged past sixteen in the past ten years, and they’ve become older and wrinkled.

We will have a new farm in America, one with plenty of land for Hamlet to run. The trouble he’s been causing with the neighbors’ sheep is no good. But in America, they have acres and acres of land for a big dog like him to roam.

It’s been so long since I’ve been home, too. I’ve heard how New York has changed. I would love for you to see where I grew up. We didn’t live right in the city, but I’ve been told that the city has grown so much, it’s swallowed up many of the farms around it.

This will be a brand new start for us, Elise. We will be as newlyweds all over again. We will build a new home, start a new life. We can leave behind all the worries you’ve made in Ireland.

I haven’t wanted to say anything, out of fear of upsetting you. But even Ezra has noticed the change within you this last year. He’s called it “darkness.”

Sometimes, when you and I are sitting there, talking, I see it come over you. Like a shadow across your face, and I know that you’re not there anymore. You’ve gone, and left behind something that looks like you, talks like you, but it’s simply not you.

When I was still home, packing up my trunk in the bedroom, I heard you in the kitchen talking to Ezra. I couldn’t even see you, but I heard it in your voice. I heard when you left, and the darkness came in.

“That darkness is getting stronger with her,” Ezra said on the carriage ride to the port. “She’s hardly even there anymore.”